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Be Kind to Your Workout

There have been times in my fitness journey where I’ve left the gym and felt overwhelmed with disappointment, whether it was due to injury, lack of motivation, or even something like coming off of vacation.  I came across the words by famous poet, Maya Angelou.  She said, “The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.”  This quote in itself led me to take a look at self-compassion.  I’ve mindfully put into action the knowledge I’ve gathered over the last few months and applied them towards my workouts.

 

First things first when it comes to working out…it’s important to eat.  I realized that I need food!  With the amount of energy and effort I give to my workout, using food for fuel became my first mindful attempt to start my kindness trend.  At times I’ve noticed that during my workout I begin to feel light-headed and have tummy growls that no amount of water could quiet.  In the morning, I would only grab a banana and a yogurt and run a RPM of 3.0 or higher in the gym.  I would do my warm-up, increase my weights during my strength training portion, and jump rope in between the two.  First-round of the workout, I would be good.  Second-round, I would be unfocused and hungry.   Third-round, I would end up walking to the closest deli to eat!  This created a revolving door of cheating myself.  There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a sandwich, but the problem for me was giving up too early into my workout and harshly punishing myself for the mere fact that I was hungry.  On my way to the deli shop, I’d be bashing myself for leaving the gym and be upset at myself for being hungry.  Breakfast is an important meal to kick-off your day, especially when you’re planning for a workout.  For that time of day where I criticize myself the most, I need to make sure that my body has the fuel that it needs to fully benefit from my workout.

 

Eating breakfast and making sure you’re body stays hydrated is important during workouts. Make sure your body has the right amount of food at the beginning of a workout to burn the proper amount of calories.

 

Food is important for your body, especially when it comes to working out.  The body needs to be able to burn calories during our workouts, and without it, we lose the energy that is needed.  I learned that one of the keys to a good workout is actually having healthy foods in your system that will help keep you strong and satisfied while you workout.  My mood and thought patterns become more positive after I eat.  Therefore, my first step for success was to put together a meal that matched my workout goals for that day.  Eating foods throughout the day that cater to the success of my workout is a sure way of being kind to your body and your workout.

 

I was able to tackle the first problem by making sure my body had the essential foods it needed to burn calories and increase my energy.  The next issue was to make sure that I followed through with my workouts strategically, ensuring that I did the proper warm-up, workout, stretches, and cool-down for my body.  Mapping your workouts, allowing yourself to see what your goals are for the day, and hitting all of the important factors are important when working out.  The breakdown of a daily workout can be found here.  This is when I can apply effort and focus in order to maintain the integrity of the workout.

 

Proper stretching after workouts will ensure progress in flexibility, muscle maintenance, and solidifies a successful workout.

 

Kindness and compassion should NEVER be seen as laziness during the workout.  This whole process is about coaching yourself through one of the toughest things you put your body through.  We choose to challenge ourselves and reach new goals, making sure to avoid injury.  When you relax your mind, try to consistently remind yourself to be your own best friend.  Make sure that you give yourself a pep talk when tackling workouts; say nice things, compliment, encourage, and enjoy yourself!  It may sound a lot like “mirror talk,” but remember that it’s okay to give yourself these positive affirmations.  Get rid of the negative and instead of saying “I can’t,” you can remember how good it feels to say “I can do 100 core crunches with no problem!” Take the time to enjoy what you decided to do.  With the tools at hand, it will trigger pleasant results and improve your confidence.  Motivation is a great thing and working out definitely enhances that.  Other mood-boosting suggestions can be used to assist workouts and be beneficial to them.

 

Be kind not only to your workouts, but also to yourself. Stay motivated and send out positive affirmations to yourself.

 

Next time you decide to add extra weights to your machine or you tackle a new workout, be sure to add more positivity to them.  Take the time to provide the body with sustenance before and after your workout.  Continue to stay hydrated throughout the day.  Take time to warm up thoroughly, based on the fitness routine we have committed to.  Put forth much effort, not slacking, and enjoying the process. It’s time to smile and move forward.  Self-compassion is worth exploring, especially when we apply it toward our fitness lifestyle.  The personal achievement of being aware and present daily will ignite a desire to train and workout with style and grace.

 


 

For more information on weight management, nutrition and health issues, and meal planning, please visit the United States Department of Agriculture.  Nutrition-related articles, food information, and other dietary facts can be found.

 

Article Written by Chante Smith, Instructor at Aradia Fitness Cary in Cary, North Carolina

March 23, 2017

 

 

Healthy Recipes to Boost Your Workout

Physical activity is crucial to maintaining a healthy body, but some days you just can’t seem to power through that workout.  Part of the reason people lose steam halfway through a workout is because they’re not giving their body the proper nutrients it needs to perform at its best.  What you eat before and after a workout can be as important as the workout itself.  There are several foods you can incorporate into your pre-workout diet to help give you that extra energy boost.  When fueling up with energy boosting, healthy foods you’ll notice the effects on your performance in no time.

 

Fruits and vegetables are a great way to jumpstart your day and can be incorporated into all meals, especially breakfast.

 

One of the ways you can boost your workout is by eating a healthy and filling breakfast.  Eating breakfast makes you less likely to snack throughout the day and gives you the energy boost to start your day off right.  Try these Chia Cherry Crunch Bites for a dose of protein and healthy fats.  They also just happen to be gluten-free and paleo-friendly for those who are on more restrictive diets.

 

Green smoothies have been popular in workout communities in recent years, and for good reason.  They’re a quick, easy way to give yourself that boost you need to hit the gym or power through the rest of your day.  Try this recipe which uses kale.  If green smoothies freak you out, don’t worry.  This recipe has lots of fruit to balance that green flavor.  For an added boost try adding some spinach and a banana.

 

Healthy and leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and lettuce are good sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Plant-based substances help to protect the body and fight off common ailments.

 

Try this High Protein Oatmeal recipe.  This oatmeal is filling, but packs a punch with the nutrients.  In addition to fueling your workout, oatmeal can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.  It also contains lots of fiber which aids in weight loss.  The best part about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for a grab and go meal.

 

To get an extra lean energy boost combine a lean protein, a fibrous carbohydrate, and fruit in a delicious, healthy salad.  Try this recipe for an extra antioxidant boost that comes from berries.

 

Don’t forget that it’s also important to eat the right foods after a workout.  Try this brown rice egg bowl recipe to help your body recover.  It also helps build muscle with protein and heart healthy fats.  When you get proper nutrients by eating the right foods you have more energy.  Consuming lean proteins in combination with exercise can also have lasting benefits for your heart health.

 

All of these quick boosting recipes can help your performance in and out of the gym.  Do your workout a favor and try out a new healthy food today!

 


 

According to the American Heart Association, living a healthy lifestyle is beneficial to your body.  A healthy eating plan can help with the prevention of heart disease, obesity, and many other health issues.  To get more information, please visit the American Heart Association.

 

Article Written by Alessa Isabella , Instructor at Aradia Fitness Cary in Cary, North Carolina

March 1, 2017

This Body, This Journey

There’s a question that constantly has my wheels turning and I’ve always asked myself this question in particular…”How can I be seen as being plus-sized if I’m an athletic and active person?”  Everyone’s definition and meaning of the words “plus-sized” are different.  What one person sees as plus-sized, may not necessarily mean that to another.  Society’s view of “average” has changed throughout the years.  Years ago and even today, women are praised for being thin; however, according to a recent study in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education, the average size of an American woman is now a size 16.  Having a curvaceous figure doesn’t have some of the negative associations that it once had.  Women can be proud of their curves, and the world can understand that just because you’re plus-sized, doesn’t mean that you are not healthy or active.

 

Everyone has their own fitness journey.  Part of the journey is figuring out what workouts you enjoy doing best.  Photo by Scott Chmelar.

 

I decided to take a deep look and explore my own workouts.  Within this fitness journey I’ve discovered many ways to motivate my workouts with a more focused mindset.  My “pole sister,” Xenia once told me, “Get motivated and move with focus and a purpose!”  These became my daily ultimate goals…finding my MOTIVATION and deciding how I wanted to MOVE.  I wanted this to be the base for my workouts.

 

I want to encourage others to go a tad further than they did yesterday.  You must have a clear understanding of what you want.  This can influence your attitude when you meet with your coach, when you go to the gym, how you interact with others in your exercise classes, and how you choose to tackle your daily workouts.

 

Most importantly, we must figure out our main reasons for wanting to get up and workout.  Is it for you?  Your spouse or significant other?  Your friends?  Society?  Hopefully, this will be your opportunity to give a selfish answer and the answer is YOU.  If you don’t want it, it’s not going to happen.  With exercise, you must have a desire to work out.  You must also look at the journey of where you want to go and look back to understand and appreciate the progress that has been made.

 

It’s always good to switch up your workout completely.  The same circuits and gym visits can become repetitive and lose its’ luster.  Good things to do would be to explore your neighborhood, try out different types of classes, go for a swim or maybe even a run.  All of these are great options.  Choose just one or all of them…just as long as you stay motivated and you’re getting out there.  Once you see how great you feel, reward yourself with positivity.  Your workouts will now have a purpose.  Each rep will be fueled, just like your desire.  Every workout should be seen as a success and becomes a deposit in your motivation bank.  Set aside the time and be creative.  Don’t limit yourself.  You’re going for that inspiration!

 

Every workout, consider what your goals are.  It doesn’t matter if you’re curvy, plus-sized, skinny, overweight, thin, athletic, or any other body type.  Give it your all and put your heart into it.  Remember that the shape of our bodies do NOT define us.

 

It shouldn’t matter what size or shape you are, fitness is for everyone. Photo by Leen Isabel of Pole Dancing Adventures.

 

I chose pole dance fitness because not only is it a great workout, it empowered me as a woman and as an instructor.  So, I’m not going to just send this message out to the plus-sized polers, but to ALL of my fellow polers and fitness gals…Happy Exercising…because the road to fitness is for a lifetime.

 


 

Aradia Fitness in Cary, North Carolina debuted their Pole 2eXceL class in January 2017, which is a mixed level pole class that caters specifically to their shapely and curvier students.  To sign up for one of these classes or to view the full class schedule online, please visit http://cary.aradiafitness.com/classes/class-schedule/

 

Article Written by Chante Smith, Instructor at Aradia Fitness Cary in Cary, North Carolina

February 21, 2017

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