Tag Archives: Exercise

Light a Fire Under Your Butt! A Free 30 Day Exercise Challenge starts October 12

You, me, your living room and just a few minutes a day.

You, me, your living room and just a few minutes a day.

The hardest thing about making exercise a habit is the whole getting started part!

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they wanted to start exercising . . .

How many times have you said “I need to start working out! I’ll start tomorrow!” and then found yourself not feeling up to it when tomorrow comes? Or you decide it’s not worth doing unless you can do a whole hour or at least a half hour – which almost never happens. You might also hate working out alone – it’s so  much more fun and the time passes by faster when you’re with a friend (but none of your friends can exercise when you’re free so again, it just doesn’t happen).

How many weeks, months or years will go by before you do start exercising?

How much more fit could you be at the end of this year if you started now?

Why wait?

What’s really stopping you?

One of the biggest reasons people don’t get themselves moving despite a desire to be healthier and fitter is the time issue I mentioned at the beginning of this post. We think if we can’t exercise for 45 minutes 5 times a week then we shouldn’t bother. We think that it doesn’t make a difference to do what we can but even just 3 minutes of intense exercise per week has been shown to have health benefits! Bump it to 7 minutes and you can see some even bigger benefits. Anything is better than 0 minutes!

Another reason people don’t do it is because they think they need fancy equipment or a gym membership to get fit. In the beginning, your body weight can be enough – in fact, some of the most challenging exercises can be done with just your body weight (think planks, push ups, and squats!). I’ve been working out in a variety of ways for years and I still find ways to make body weight exercises strenuous – so I can get some activity in wherever I am.

Lastly, despite what it might look like on Instagram, not everyone who works out does so in $100 tights and $80 sport bras. It’s not a requirement for getting fit! While I’ll admit that wearing clothes that make you feel good will help make you want to workout more often, they certainly don’t have to cost a lot to do that. You just need something comfortable to move in and a supportive pair of sneakers (unless doing barefoot routines like yoga, barre or pilates)! And if you’re going to be wearing them in public, you may want to bend over in front of a mirror (in a well lit room) and check out your rear to make sure they’re not see through. It happens to the best of us.

Because I have a lot of people in my life who tell me that they really do want to start exercising but just can’t get themselves started, I started thinking about what I could do to help that. I’m not a personal trainer and I’m not super buff (though I like to pretend I am) but I do know the benefits of exercise and I have a lot of experience in trying to find activity that keeps me from getting bored (because if I get bored I’m not going to do it!). While I workout several days week consistently now, there have been many times in my life where I was just like you, sitting on the couch, wishing I could find the motivation to do some physical activity and I just couldn’t get myself started.

I want to light a fire under your butt. Please, let me light a fire under your butt. I’m putting together a free 30 Day Exercise Challenge that starts October 12 (Columbus Day). Each day of the 30 days as a group we will commit do doing at least 5 – 8 minutes of activity. I will send out an email daily that has a link to an online workout routine for all of us to do. The daily workout will be between 5 – 8 minutes long and they will be challenging. You will sweat, you will feel clumsy and you might feel like giving up if you’re new to exercise but you won’t because you don’t want to let the rest of us down (and you want to see what a difference it can make in your life).

If you don’t want to do the daily video, you are welcome to do whatever you want for exercise – you can dance, run, bike, lift weights, whatever! But you must do it (a minimum of 5-8 minutes per day!).

This challenge is free. It’s online and you’ll have group support and encouragement. I’ll either be doing a Facebook Group or Google+ community (though I haven’t decided which yet!) to go along with the daily emails and I’ll post the daily workout there as well. All you have to do is show up each day and do your 5-8 minutes. I don’t even care if you do your 8 minutes on commercial breaks while you watch TV. Just get it done!

Can you do that? I know you can.

At the end of the 30 days, you’ll be stronger, you’ll find the workouts don’t tire you out as much, you’ll be sleeping better, you won’t get as winded going up stairs and you might even lose weight or see muscle definition in places you’ve never seen it before! But the best thing of all, is after 30 days, you will have created an exercise habit that you can continue – 8 minutes a day will become a part of your normal day, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. You can then choose to do more or make it harder – whatever you want, but you can pat yourself on the back because you are NOW someone who exercises. You are NOW someone who is making their health a priority (and that is my goal for all of you). You are NOW someone who knows they can commit to lifestyle change.

If you can do this, what else will you be able to accomplish?

Come light a fire (under your butt!) with me! It’s free and we start October 12th. Sign up here . Share this challenge with your friends who also could use some help changing their habits – it’s always more fun to do something like this with friends!

Join the Light a Fire Under Your Butt free 30 Day Exercise Challenge.

Please read below
Participation in this challenge is free but joining means that you accept and agree to the following disclaimer:

All information provided by Andrea Quigley Maynard for this Free Exercise Challenge is of a general nature and is furnished only for educational/entertainment purposes only. No information provided is to be taken as medical or other health advice pertaining to any individual specific health or medical condition. You agree that use of this information and participation in the Free Exercise Challenge is at your own risk and hold Andrea Quigley Maynard harmless from any and all losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.

 

 

 

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Video: Eating for Energy & Vitality Conference on Google Hangout

Check out this free Eating for Energy & Vitality Call I did on Google Hangouts (the call was live but records automatically and lives on youtube).  Lots of great information to share with you!

Find out why so many women struggle with low energy, why that matters and what you can do about it (it includes tips for eating for high energy, specific foods that can help as well as some non-food ways to boost your energy quickly).  This is exactly the type of stuff I help clients implement in their lives!

Do it Because You Can

Move because you can.

Do it because you can, even if you don’t want to because someone else can’t.

Some mornings, I’m more likely to hit the snooze button than get out of bed to go work out.  Though I have to say I usually only do that now on days when I know I can get my exercise in later in the day.  If I have a packed day ahead of me and my only opportunity to exercise is first thing, well you can bet I’m getting up.  I’m squeezing myself into a sports bra, pulling my hair into some sort of attempt at a ponytail, grabbing a smoothie out of the fridge and on my way in less than 10 minutes from when I hop out of bed.  Sometimes I just want to go crawl back in bed but I don’t, for a few reasons, but one that stands out to me more and more the older I get is:  Because I can.

I walk because I can.
I run (sometimes!) because I can.
I bust my butt at Booty Barre because I can.
I ride my bike outside in the summer and my indoor spin bike in the winter, because I can.
I lift weights in my living room because I can.
I do yoga at home, outdoors and in a studio because I can.
I do push ups & crunches because I can.
I go swimming because I can.

I do these things even though I don’t always want to. Sometimes I’d much rather just lay on the couch and watch TV. Sometimes it would be way more fun to go out for a cocktail.  And sometimes when I’m in a grumpy mood, even though I know working out will make me feel better, I just straight up want to stay my grumpy self. Most of the time, I do what my body feels capable of each day – even if it is just something small (and yes I do allow for rest when it’s needed). And I push forward because I can.

Why am I repeating myself? What’s the significance of “because I can”?  Well I have 3 people whose experiences I can thank for it.

The College Roomie’s Mother
In college, we walked all over campus, all of the time. Over time, as some of my friends brought their cars on to campus (parking was always a pain), the idea that we wouldn’t have to hoof it from one end of campus to another on foot was pretty appealing! One friend insisted we still walk everywhere even when her car was parked directly outside of our apartment. Me and our other friends would complain and tease her, saying “Ug, you make us walk everywhere!”  One day, as we were walking across T-hall lawn, she turned to us and said “You want to know why I walk everywhere? Well some days my Mom can’t. Some days her legs don’t work, so as long as mine do, I’m going to walk everywhere I can.”

Her mother had MS, which all of us knew, but we didn’t really know enough about the day to day goings of someone dealing with it.  We were young, the general public was less informed about it than they are today and this friend didn’t talk about this stuff with us very often. While it helped me understand my friend better and what her family was going through, I don’t think it had a huge impact on me personally then, but a seed was definitely planted in my mind.

My Mother
Many of you know that my mother passed away just after I graduated college, and her passing has heavily influenced my lifestyle decisions since.  But even before she passed, my mind was often on her health. She was a smoker, had asthma (and more lung issues but we didn’t know it yet) and I remember coming home for a holiday break and hearing her having coughing fits in the middle of the night, so bad, that I got up to check on her.  She was up doing a nebulizer treatment (a common sight in our house – most of our family had asthma) for the second time in an hour – which was not like her.  Coughing fits were the norm, having the nebulizer not help the first time wasn’t. In fact, her cough was so distinct (at least to us kids) that when I was in the Catholic school choir and the school attended a monthly mass together, my sisters and I always knew when our Mom was able to make it, without even seeing her, because we would hear her cough and recognize she was in the building. My mother quit smoking not too long after the two nebulizer night but her lungs only got worse.

Regular breathing was such a struggle, that without her saying anything, I learned to recognize the signs – shoulders up high and lips pursed, it would take up a ton of her energy to just breathe.  But she continued doing things normally as much as she could.  Going to the grocery store, I’d offer to push the carriage but she wouldn’t give it up.  I realized later that it wasn’t because she wanted to be tough, it was because she literally needed it to hold her up, because she was exhausting herself just trying to breathe, something that most of us take for granted.

My father gave her a hard time about needing to exercise – he (and my sisters & I) thought, that if only she exercised, her lungs would get stronger and her “asthma” wouldn’t be so bad.  Her “asthma” at this point was really end stage COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) but none of us knew this, and if she did, she kept it from us.  Her exercise goal was just to walk to and from the mailbox a few times a day. She said she would be proud of herself if she could do that. Our mailbox was not very far from our house. I have no clue what the length of our driveway was, but if you parked 5 cars back to back from our doorstep to the mailbox you would probably reach the mailbox before the last car was even squeezed in.  Covering that tiny distance took everything she had.  And she’d have to stop and catch her breath when she came back in the house.

Looking back, the biggest sign of how sick my mother was and how limited her physical mobility was, came my junior year in college. I was living at the “Gables”, UNH’s on-campus apartments and my mother was coming to pick me up so I could work for the weekend.  She hadn’t see my apartment yet and I was excited for her to see it and meet my new roommates.  When she arrived, she called me on her “emergency” cell phone.  Back then, no one used cell phones for anything but emergencies but my mother wanted to let me know she was there but didn’t want to come up. I gave her a hard time.  I really wanted her to come see my place! The building we were in had a little cul de sac out directly in front of the doors, you weren’t supposed to park there but we all did if we were just going to be a minute (the parking lot was really far away otherwise), then you walked down a short hallway into an elevator, rode it to the 6th floor and my apartment door was right in front of you.  She would not have had to walk very far at all – probably no farther than the distance to the mailbox.  I was a bratty know it all 20 year old and acted ridiculous about her not wanting to come up.  I couldn’t comprehend how she wasn’t fit enough to come inside. Even though she told me she just didn’t have the energy to come up, I saw it as her being “lazy” but what it really was was her cells being completely starved of oxygen because of the COPD.  She was in tears (and I probably was too) by the time I got down to the car.  She rarely let us see her upset so I knew she had to be hurting.  Still, I didn’t quite get the message until later.

My Aunt
My mother had one sister, Denise.  She was “Aunt Ninny” to my sisters and I.  She never married and had no children.  She chose a life of freedom & adventures with her friend’s John, Rosie and Linda, instead of settling down with a family. She enjoyed wine, cheesecake and her dog when she wasn’t hitting the casino or visiting a new city.  She was one of the most giving and hilarious people I’ve ever known.

She also was a smoker and had asthma.  She spent many years on corticosteroid inhalers to control the asthma and that medication caused osteoporosis. One day, she had a coughing fit and coughed so hard that she fractured her T4 and T5 vertebrae. When brought to the hospital she was still able to walk so no one thought it was that serious, but within a day or two she mentioned being unable to feel her legs and then after that she lost all movement and sensation.  She ended up being paralyzed from the waist down and was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, which sadly was only a few years. She spent many months in the hospital and in rehab and then many more months in a nursing home while her home was renovated to be wheelchair friendly. Doing basic tasks for herself became impossible. Things we all take for granted – cooking, going to the bathroom, showering, walking the dog, reaching for a cup on a shelf – were all out of reach.  Her vibrant life was whittled down to days spent waiting for others to come visit or assist her with everything, and though she tried to put on a brave face when we came to visit, you could see in her eyes just how painful her new reality was.

My Motivation
The conversation with my college friend happened around 1997 or 1998, my Mother passed in 2001 and Ninny died in 2005.  By the time Ninny became paralyzed I had fully heard the message – do what you can, while you can.

Nothing is guaranteed.  You could say that both my mother and aunt ended up the way they did because of smoking, so if you just don’t smoke, you’ll be ok, but that’s not true.  People who don’t smoke get Emphysema and COPD, get paralyzed and develop MS. And there are countless other conditions or unfortunate situations that arise suddenly and can take away one’s ability to do the things they love or do the things that keep us physically fit.

Exercise keeps me sane.  It gives me an outlet for nervous energy, helps give me focus and clarity.  It helps lower my blood pressure, reduces my chances of getting sick and gives me energy to get through each day.  It keeps me strong enough to pick up my 70lb niece like a sack of potatoes and climb 5 flights of stairs to get to a class.  Being able to move when I want to and because I want to is currently a choice, but if it was suddenly taken away from me, whether through my own fault or not, I would be devastated.  So, I will continue to move when I can and how I can, not just because of the benefits I outlined above, but because I CAN.

I keep my friend’s mom, my mom, and my aunt in the back of my mind when I’m thinking about skipping my workouts.  I know not everyone feels the same love & need for exercise that I do and I understand that.  But if you enjoy your physical ability to do anything you want, I hope you honor it by indulging your body and moving it the way it was meant to be moved, even if “movement” for you means going apple picking with the kids, visiting a new city on foot with friends or just getting your feet wet at the pool.

What’s your motivation for exercise or for pushing forward when you don’t want to? How do you honor your body?

Let’s talk about priorities

I know I need both alone time (spent outdoors) and social time to feel my best.  How about you?

I know I need both alone time (spent outdoors) and social time to feel my best. How about you?

Today I want to talk about what is getting in the way of the things you wish you had time for. Do any of these statements sound like you?

  • You envy your friend who finds time to workout almost every day but you’re too busy.
  • You miss going out with your girlfriends once in awhile but that laundry isn’t going to do itself.
  •  You’d like to eat healthier but you just don’t have the time to cook.
  • You’d like to start a meditation practice but you just aren’t disciplined enough.
  • You’d love to have a date night with your husband but you’re too tired at the end of the week

If some of these statements are true for you, you should take a moment to reevaluate your priorities. We all have things that we’d like to do more or less of and have a hard time making them happen.  The three biggest reasons for this are because:

  • it’s not really something we want that badly (despite feeling like we should want it)
  • we’re not ready for change
  • we don’t believe we deserve it

Are any of these ringing bells for you? If you’re like most busy women today, you fall into the 3rd category but don’t even realize it. We spend so much of our time taking care of the needs of others (husband, wife, kids, job, our home etc) that we often end up neglecting our own needs. That isn’t to say that these other things aren’t important (quite the contrary) but in order to give them the attention that they deserve we first have to make sure that we are getting what we need.  This means becoming #1 on your priority list.

Eek, did I say that?  Yes, I know it’s not popular to put ourselves first or to own up to the fact that we are number one.  It’s considered selfish.  We’ve been taught to put others first and for some reason we ignore ourselves entirely in the mix.  The only way you’re going to be any good to any of the people, activities or obligations in your life is if you take care of yourself first. Think about the flight attendant safety spiel we hear every time we get on an airplane:  “put your oxygen mask on first” before helping other passengers.  That’s no joke.  You can give more when you’re getting what you need.

So what do you need to perform your best?  Think about this.  For me, that means sleep, exercise and good nutrition have to come before anything else.  If I’m getting those three things most days, I’m going to have more energy (and less attitude) to do all the things that I need to (or want to).  Those are 3 of my priorities because when I let them go, I become a crabby lunatic who cries at commercials or gets flustered for seemingly no reason.  I also need a good balance of alone time and social time.  When my instinct is to say “no” to events, I know it’s time for a quiet day at the beach or a walk in the woods, alone!  Get to know yourself and your needs.

Here’s an exercise to try.
On a piece of paper, draw a line down the center so that the page is divided into two columns.  On the left hand side, list how you would spend your ideal day if you had no obligations or restrictions (would you sleep in late? get up early and go for a run? volunteer at your daughter’s school? go for a massage?).  Once you have that side well squared away, list how you actually spend any given day on the right hand side.  Include all the little things (like checking facebook 10 times throughout the day, watching TV after dinner, meal prep etc).  When you are done, compare the two and ask yourself the following questions.

  • Is there anything that you are doing during your actual day that you could do less of so that you could have a little time for something on your ideal day list?
  • Is there something you could delegate to someone else?
  • Could you get by with putting off laundry, errands etc for just another day or two?

Your first instinct will be to say “No, Andrea I can’t delegate or push things off. I’m too busy!” but I bet if we videotaped you every moment of every day for a week, we could find some lost time. As busy as we all are, we accidentally waste a lot of time.  Those minutes we spend searching for something to watch on Netflix or goofing off on the internet really add up.  How satisfying are those moments really? Not knocking watching movies or browsing the web (or anything else in your life) but how important are those other things vs. the things you really want?

If you are frustrated that you don’t have time to exercise each week but are spending an hour on facebook or watching TV each night, why not cut that FB or TV time down to 30 minutes and give yourself 30 minutes of exercise. Heck, you could do them at the same time.  I’ve been known to do tricep dips, squats and pushups while watching my trashy Bravo shows.  Or maybe it’s household chores that are taking up too much of your time.  Ask the kids to help.  There’s no reason they can’t pitch in (even the young ones can help a little).  You are not a mean parent for asking your kids to pick up after themselves. There will be a learning curve but it will ultimately benefit all of you.  And if there are no concessions you are willing to make then maybe it’s not about not deserving these things, maybe you just don’t really want it.  It’s ok if you just wish you wanted to exercise but really don’t have the desire.

But if you are truly willing to make yourself a priority, make no mistake about it, if there is something you really want to do or someone you really want to see, you can and will make it happen. I don’t care how busy you are.  Your friend with two kids who somehow manages to workout each day? Your sister who seems to always be out with friends?  Your co-worker who always brings in a healthy homemade lunch? They all have busy lives too. In order to get exercise, have an active social life, and eat healthy they may be putting something else on the back burner that you can’t see.  Odds are it’s not the important stuff like family or the job, but it’s the little piddly things we busy ourselves with.  Before you judge that someone else must not have that much to do because they’re able to do something you can’t, take a moment to check in with yourself. Are you jealous that they feel they deserve those things?  Put the torches down folks, I’m not saying that you ARE jealous, just asking you to quell that judging thought process for a sec if that is popping up for you.  As a side note, you have no idea what their life is like anyway (despite thinking you do) and our reactions to other’s lives are usually about us, not them anyhow.

Now that I’ve got you questioning what your needs are and what you deserve, I want to bring your attention back to other’s needs for a moment. For some of us, time with friends is very important for our wellbeing.  Or maybe it’s not that important to us but there are people we care very much about who want to spend time with us.

Think about what you are saying about yourself when you don’t make time for your needs (you don’t deserve it, you’re not valuable etc).  You also send a message to others when you don’t make time for their needs. Maybe you can’t hang out with your best friend on the spur of the moment like you used to, but if she calls you and wants to get together for dinner this week but you’re just too busy?  Don’t hang up the phone with her until you find a time you can get together. It doesn’t have to be on the time schedule she is asking for but you’re going to eat meals anyways, why not spend a few minutes together, even if it’s shorter than you’d like? Meet for breakfast the following week or try facetiming or skyping on your lunchbreak at work if you have to. It’s understandable if it takes a few weeks to find a spot of time that will work for both of you (especially if you don’t live in the same town) but if you really want to, you’ll make it happen.  If you really care about this person, you’ll find a way to put less important things on the back burner for a moment (laundry, facebook etc) and spend time with her. And if you don’t? Well, she’s probably not a priority for you and don’t worry, she’s hearing that message loud and clear.  Again, this doesn’t mean you have to drop everything when a friend reaches out, but don’t leave them in limbo.  Make sure they know they are on your priority list, even if it’s a tough one to juggle.

The takeaway to this long post?  

  1. You deserve the things that make you able to give/perform your best (sleep, massage, social time etc).
  2. Figure out what your priorities are and how you can get more of those needs fulfilled.
  3. Remember that you don’t know what someone else is giving up to get what they need.
  4. Be conscious of the messages you send. Make time for those who consider you a priority (if you consider them a priority) even if it takes some juggling.

I think that’s all for now!  Does any of this resonate with you?  Do my words infuriate you or make you feel empowered?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Let’s Go to the Barre!

 

Coaching Blog Photos1If you knew me when I was in my 20’s, it would probably be not too far of a stretch to say that I was addicted to going to the bar.  Now, in my 30’s, I’m also addicted to going to the Barre.  I never thought I’d enjoy going to a fitness class so much that I would drive 40 minutes to it, each way.  But I do.  In case you’ve never heard of Barre, the classes are fitness classes that are based on ballet, pilates and yoga.  I’ve had such a good experience with the classes that I wanted to share about them here.  I love sharing things that I love because I think you will love them too!

I started taking Barre classes at Strength in Balance NH (the first barre-only studio in NH) last November.  I bought a groupon/living social deal with a friend and settled in to enjoy what I thought would be a handful of reasonably priced fitness classes.  I’d workout and move on to something else when I used up all of my classes . . .because that’s what I usually do with trying something new (BECAUSE I HAVE ADD AND GET BORED EASILY. WHY AM I YELLING?).

I enjoyed my first classes.  I thought they were challenging but still doable no matter what your fitness level with modifications. I enjoyed the classes so much that I signed up for a 90 day 50 class challenge in January when I used up my deal classes. I knew it was going to be tough for me to make it to 50 classes in winter (when I live in a town that thinks snow plowing is optional) but I was determined to do it.  It was tough!  Towards the end of the challenge, I had to double up on classes just to get them all in but it was totally worth it.  I lost 8.6 lbs and 23 inches over the 90 days!

Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of exercises – running, cycling, Body Pump, yoga, heavy weights – you name it. My body changed with those things for sure, but Barre hits spots that no other exercise gets to in the same way.  For the first time in my life I’m wearing skinny jeans.  Even when I weighed 30 lbs less than I do now you would never have caught me in a pair of skinny jeans because they just didn’t look right on me. I’m not a tiny girl but I now look fab in my skinny jeans.  I’m noticing definition in places that have never had definition before (hello abs? I have some under there?) and changes in places that have historically been impossible to change (for me at least), my inner thighs!   I can even now zip up knee high boots over my calves . . .something that was pretty tough even when I was my thinnest 5 years ago.  Barre can be crazy hard but it’s also crazy effective.

The instructors constantly change up the workouts so I’m not getting bored and my muscles continue to be challenged.  Just when I think I’ve got a certain move mastered or that something should be getting “easy”, we do something else and I feel like I’m at square one.  It never gets “easy”.  You’d think that would be unmotivating, but it’s not!  I keep coming back because I’m getting results (results I wasn’t getting even when I used to run 25 miles a week).

It’s not just a great workout.  It’s also a positive and warm environment. The instructors, Becki Somers (owner), and Julia LeFebvre make it a point to learn everyone’s name who comes to class. I’m always impressed at the effort they put into making newcomers feel welcome and comfortable.  There’s nothing worse than going to a new class for the first time and having it feel like a big high school clique. I’ve been to some straight up snotty & superficial classes before. That’s definitely not the case here.  Everyone is too busy trying not to slip on the floor in their own sweat puddle to spend a moment judging you.  There’s a lot of laughter and joking among the women who come to class. It’s a great group of women. Everyone is super friendly and welcoming.  We may not know each other’s names (in some cases) but if I’m sweating alongside you for months while we both curse the little blue sponge ball that we’re squeezing between our thighs (while on our toes and in a pulsing plié) I feel like we’ve bonded.  Sweaty sisterhood.

If you live in the Nashua or Hudson, NH area and are tired of your current workout or looking for something to help you get through a plateau, you should come check it out!  Strength in Balance NH is right on the Nashua/Hudson border on Bridge St.  There’s a fabulous deal/challenge going on right now. It’s the Bikini Challenge (no bikini involved) and it’s $99 for UNLIMITED classes for 6 weeks.  You can sign up between now and May 25th.  It’s a ridiculous deal and I’ve already signed myself up for it.  If you’re interested and thinking of checking it out but feeling intimidated, let me know when you’re going and I’ll come with you if I can!

A couple of things you might want to know before going:

  • Your first class is free!  And you can sign up online for it.
  • Class is done barefoot or in socks (if it’s cold)
  • Yoga mats, weights, thera-bands, and any other equipment you’ll need is provided
  • You don’t have to have a dance background or be graceful to take these classes
  • You’ll probably be really sore after your first class (even if you workout already). My calves were so tight after my first class that I almost fell getting out of bed the next morning.  Husband thought that was hilarious.

Oh and the studio just moved to a new location on Bridge St and they may not have signs up when you go, so check out my little dorky picture spread below to give you hints about how to get there.  It’s like fitness and a treasure hunt all in one.  Aren’t you lucky?!

The new studio is a little tricky to find if you've never been in this area before so I made you dorky OCD picture directions!

The new studio is a little tricky to find if you’ve never been in this area before so I made you dorky OCD picture directions!

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How Ninjas Spend Their Sunday Mornings in Manchester, NH

Photos courtesy of Karen Gagnon

Photos courtesy of Karen Gagnon

Last Sunday, I took an Introduction to Aerial Fitness Circus Workshop with my friend Karen.  She bought a groupon for the workshop earlier this winter and asked if I would go with her. I love trying out new ways to get and stay fit so I jumped at the chance to try it even though the idea of me doing “Aerial Circus” conjured up not very graceful images in my head.  Willing, yes.  Graceful, no (but working on that!).

The workshop was through Go Ninja which is a part of Bareknuckle Murphy’s Boxing Gym in Manchester, NH.  When you first walk in to the gym, there are colorful silks hanging down from wooden beams on the ceiling and a boxing ring in the background.  Our instructor, Heather Murphy, was super welcoming and made us feel comfortable with her sense of humor and no bs attitude.  She ran our group through a warm up that included jumping jacks, downward dogs, planks and a few different stretches for our hip flexors and wrists and had us introduce ourselves. Once we were warmed up, she showed us how to tie a knot in the silks that would be supporting our bodies while we were in the air.  If you are afraid of heights, have no fear (or not too many) we made our knots low to the ground since we were all beginners.  Heather told us they have a “no falling” rule and none of us wanted to break it!  She stressed that we needed to learn the foundation of each move and how to activate our core before we could go on to crazy complicated stuff.  She made the moves look so easy but some require a ton of strength and all require trusting in yourself (and in the silks) for support.

We had a blast!  I got sweaty palms just watching Heather do some tricks on the silks but once I got on it and felt how strong it was (the silks are rated for supporting 2000lbs) and could feel how close the floor was, it became a lot less scary to lift my legs up over my head and go into an inversion or stand on the rope with both legs.  It was a little difficult to get comfortable with how the silks felt pressing in to my back/waist but they had little foam “noodles” you could use to pad the area – it helped a lot!

Photo courtesy of Karen Gagnon

Photo courtesy of Karen Gagnon

I definitely plan to take more aerial classes.  I actually can’t wait!  It was super fun and challenging!

In addition to the Aerial Fitness Circus classes, Go Ninja also offers Modern Dance, Pilates, Aerial Yoga, Mixed Martial Arts and workshops for kids and moms.   They also offer private sessions and can host parties.  This workshop would make a great alternative for a healthy bachelorette party or girls night out.  If you want to try something new and build confidence – check them out!  The best way to make exercise a consistent part of your life is to find something you really enjoy doing.  Don’t be afraid to try new things!  Everyone was a beginner once!

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Day 4 – Commit to Movement Twice a Week

Climbing Cathedral Ledge in NH in 2008

Climbing Cathedral Ledge in NH in 2008

We’re already at day 4 of 31 Days of Healthy Ways to Enjoy the Holidays More!  Today’s tip is to commit to getting some form of movement at least twice a week . Bonus points if you are already doing that or more!  Keep it up!

For those of you who have regular exercise routines established already, this one is easy, but for those of you who haven’t had regular exercise since gym class in high school or before you had your first baby, it can be really hard to get back in to it.  You know how good it makes you feel and you know how good it is for you but you just haven’t been able to make yourself do it.  You’re tired.  You’re busy.  You have laundry to fold and dinner to cook, (isn’t that exercise? Not really).

The holidays are a perfect and important time to get back on the horse!  You’ll likely be taking in extra calories (at those parties & dinners) and your stress levels are probably high.  Committing to getting exercise at least two days a week will help you burn off the extra calories and some of that stress.  Two days is doable.  You can work in more as it becomes a part of your life.   As a bonus, exercise has been proven to boost your immune system, especially for exercise newbies!  People who exercise are less likely to get a cold and no one likes someone who’s sniffling and sneezing all over their Christmas dinner.  So be a guest that gets invited back and get some exercise between now and then.

If cold weather demotivates you and you don’t have a gym membership, there are plenty of things you can do to get some exercise from the convenience of your home.  Here are a few things to try:

1.  Have a yoga mat and an internet connection? Check out Do Yoga With Me, an entirely free streaming yoga class website.  You can choose from more than a dozen different styles of yoga classes, everything from beginner to advanced and as short as 5 minutes long all the way to 90 minutes. And did I mention it was Fabulously Free?

2.  Create a playlist of your favorite fast songs on Spotify or iTunes (or whatever your digital music source of choice is these days) and then dance your tail off in any room of your house.  You might feel silly at first, but you’ll get over it when you see how great it makes you feel!  Get the kids to join you.

3.  Visit Fitness Blender for free strength training and cardio workouts that are very well done.  Don’t have any weights at home? Do you have bottles of water?  Canned goods? Paper weights?  Get creative (but be safe of course).  My husband once came home to me doing overhead tricep presses with a cast iron skillet.  It got the job done.

4.  Drop to the floor and do a few sets of push ups, crunches, squats, jumping jacks, lunges and calf raises.   Jog in place. Kick your own butt, because you can.  No equipment needed.

5.  Lower body injury?  Search for seated workouts on youtube.  There are gazillions to try that will get your heart rate up.

6.  Have a little cash to spend and bored of your usual routine?  Check out Groupon or Living Social for great deals on local gyms, yoga studios and more.  I’ve been taking some fun Barre Classes at Strength in Balance NH and I’m about to take an Aerial Fitness workshop at Go Ninja Manchester.  Variety keeps me from burning out!

Do you need help figuring out how to fit a few of these ideas into your hectic lifestyle this December? Let’s talk.  I’d love to help you make exercise a fun priority.

Hiking in Lincoln, NH this fall

Hiking in Lincoln, NH this fall