As we bring attention and movement to our body, we release stuck energy. I can't tell you how many times I have cried during an ab workout. There was a lot of shame harbored in my belly. Shame for being "fat", not being good enough, attractive enough, for not being what society told me I should be. Allowing the grief to arise and giving myself the space to cry enabled me to release those emotions. And as I did, I got stronger.
A strong core is the foundation for your body's movements. It is the central focal point of attachment from which your limbs move. When the core is weak, the arms and legs lack stability. This is often how injury can result.
A strong core is especially vital for people with a small torso and long limbs. This is because they have a smaller base from which to stabilize their long levers (arms and legs).
All my life I have been plagued with knee and low back pain. Much of this centered on having a weak core and an unwillingness to address this weakness. Given the amount of emotion harbored in my belly, it makes sense that I would avoid training this area of my body, and instead try to compensate with the over-use of my hip flexors and low back muscles.
This is a common pattern in many people: there is pain in the body and we don't want to face it because, well... it hurts! As humans, we want to avoid pain and pursue pleasure. This is ok. There is no shame nor judgment. This is instinctive and adaptive.
And yet, in order to grow, we do need to go through the discomfort. They don't call it "growing pains" for nothing.
I believe in providing a safe and supportive atmosphere for my clients to face their discomfort and move through pain when it comes up. On the other side of pain is phenomenal strength and freedom.
As I have moved through my challenges, I have gained enormous strength to do and achieve things I have never thought possible. I can run now without pain or injury. I can rock climb and mountaineer - something I didn't even know I *wanted* to do until I tried it. I have a strong foundation from which I am free to explore and try new things and an inner sense of confidence that tells me I can handle whatever challenges might come my way.
The same is possible for you.
Wellness comes in all shapes and sizes! I tend to not focus on weight loss as a primary goal with my clients. This is because weight is usually not the primary challenge people are facing. I have found that focusing on body acceptance and self-love to be far more effective in creating lasting, positive change in a person's health. Yes, often weight loss is a result of making positive changes, but it is actually more of a side-effect from an increase in self-acceptance.
Why self-acceptance? How can we accept the unacceptable?
Because we can't change something without first accepting that it is how it is. We must first acknowledge our current circumstances - without judgement - before we can take effective action to change them.
Accepting ourselves, as we are, fully and without judgment, is not always an easy task. It can start with realizing that we are so much more than the number on the scale or our pant size.
My primary goal for all my clients is optimal wellness: this means how we feel in our bodies and about ourselves as a whole. Are we living our best lives? Are we driven by stress and shame, convinced that we must do more in order to be good enough?
Or do we feel good in our own skin? Can we smile at ourselves in the mirror? Do we find joy in our daily lives, confident in our abilities to meet whatever the day may bring?
Wellness means celebrating our bodies and ourselves, exactly as they are, in this moment, right now. There are so many positive things about *every* body - let's start acknowledging those things now. And as we do, it becomes easier to create even more positive changes in our lives, for ourselves. Not because we need to change to be good enough, but because we love ourselves so much that we see how capable we really are and feel inspired to show that to the world and to ourselves.
Exercise is medicine. Repeated studies have shown that regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. It also reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
People who exercise regularly see an improvement in their confidence, mood, overall energy, and of course, improved physical strength and endurance.
Our bodies were meant to move! We were not designed to be sedentary beings. Exercise doesn't have to be a chore, something we "have to do" because it's "good for us." It can be fun, a source of joy, something to look forward to at the end of a long day, or a welcome break from work, or a reason to get up in the morning.
The key is finding exercise that you love: something that feels good, that makes you feel good about yourself. That starts with trying new things, experimenting. AND it often means looking at our mental commentary about exercise. What thoughts come up for you when you think about working out? How do you talk to yourself while you're exercising? Are your thoughts negative, or positive? Are you encouraging to yourself, or judgmental?
Many studies have shown that positive reinforcement leads to lasting behavior change, more so than negative reinforcement. So a huge part of my training style includes lots of positive reinforcement: positive affirmations, encouragements, highlighting accomplishments and achievements.
When we focus our attention on what is working, all the good things we are doing for ourselves and the good that is already in our life, we feel better. Exercise can absolutely be one of those good things, and it starts with the way we thing about exercise and how we talk to ourselves when we are exercising.
Let exercise be medicine for you: body and mind!