All posts tagged: holiday

First Week

Like many people, I took advantage of a lot of opportunities to indulge over the holidays. Nearly every event was centered around food. The wine, beer and cocktails runneth over. My rambunctious brother was visiting and stayed at our house for a week. So yeah.

I think we all “give ourselves a break” during the holidays. Normal lives may be filled with order, boundaries, regime. Especially if your routine changes, like you are off work for a week, you are kind of vacationing from reality. You feel entitled to freedom, freedom from standard “proper” actions and freedom from guilt in your own mind. Like I said, I did it. Celebratorily. Gladly.

For the first week in January though, I came up with some “get back on track” rules for myself. (I know this could sound silly to some, but creating these rules on a weekly or monthly basis have been truly crucial to my personal health and fitness, the key to goal-setting.)

The rules for January 1-7 were simple:

  • No candy
  • No soda
  • No fried foods
  • No alcohol

One could certainly set stricter rules, and in the past I have. But in this case, I only wanted a solid week off from the top four offenders in my diet. These were the specific foods and drinks I noted I was consuming too much of in weeks prior. I had to cleanse!

Tuesday, January 2, I came home from work after a hazardous day. Here was my thought process…

  • Gosh, today was tough, and I’m exhausted.
  • I wish I could treat myself, to feel better, as consolation.
  • I really want two mini Milky Way bars that I got in my stocking.
  • I had a good day by the rules, did not have soda, fried food or alcohol.
  • Maybe that’s what I should do instead – just allow myself one thing from the No list each day.
  • Cool! I will have the candies.
  • Chomp. Chomp.

A minute later, I felt terrible. I had just set these rules for my First Week, and I broke one immediately. I thought, what the heck is wrong with me? I realized I wanted to write a blog post about this experience right then. I wanted to document my own journey and failure. If this happens to a health and fitness expert, then it most definitely happens to those unpracticed and unaware. My problem was talking myself into that candy. I rationalized why I could have it, why I deserved it. This thinking was not in line with my goal. The person who lost here was me.

This is what my clients go through every day when trying to be active and eat healthy. They set goals. They make themselves promises. They welch on the deal. Because behavior change is not instant. It takes having “I want the candy” moments followed by “I ate the candy,” “I know eating the candy does not get me to my goal,” and “I resolve to not do that next time” moments.

We are all learning more, all the time. The better we recognize and analyze our behavior, the more likely we will change it and make positive, healthy lifestyle decisions.

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaFirst Week
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GO Day

Saturday, June 11, 2016, was National Get Outdoors Day, or GO Day for short. This year marked the ninth annual recognized day, but it was the first time I had heard of it. Thanks, random TV commercial!

I talk all the time about the importance of getting outside more. The benefits of fresh air and sunshine are pretty obvious. Even more significant could be the variety of activity – moving your body in a new way, breaking a pattern of boredom, enjoying competition and company or just plain playing.

This special day gave me the perfect opportunity to pester all my training clients via text message, saying “Today is National Get Outdoors Day. Do something fun!”

I took this idea to heart, too. My husband and I were in Vermont that weekend for a wedding. The event was not taking place until 5:00 in the evening, so a group of family and friends and us went for a hike. Although it wasn’t an extreme excursion, it was on target, and may have been one of my most majestic experiences. (The Trapp Family Lodge scenery will not disappoint!)

I was also happy that we turned our whole long weekend into a Great Outdoors adventure by visiting Moss Glen Falls, the “most photogenic waterfall in the state,” and doing a trek along the above-cloud rocky trail of Mount Mansfield, covering about one-third of the trail toward the summit in 46 degrees and 40 mile per hour winds. (Don’t worry. We rewarded ourselves for this physical toll by touring the local Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory later.)

I heard back from my clients…

My shirt for the day! (with a photo of her wearing a “Celebrate the Great Outdoors” t-shirt)

Sweet. Fits my plan of walking to a lake […] and taking pictures.

Ok. Will do it!

I bought a huge piece of cake and ate it OUTDOORS!! (just kidding)

Incredible case study. I was a champion of GO Day as well as a good influence. ☺

AarikaGO Day
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The Power of Ex

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m writing an article about couples.

My fiancé and I are currently in the middle of a three-week fitness challenge. It requires being active seven days a week and adhering to an eating plan. So far so good. Day One was the worst, where he really had to make some mental adjustments regarding working out with me, put the pride aside. He was “anti,” but I’m nothing if not persistent. Day Seven has been the best. We’re in a groove now, falling in the floor dramatizing when we’re tired and cracking jokes mid-hustle about the people on the instructional videos.

I pushed for him to join me on this challenge. Our wedding day is coming up quick, and I do think it is nice for us to both be at our best for such a grand occasion. I also know how much it can increase our relationship success. Per expert analyses, laymen surveys and even lab studies, it has been proven that there are a lot of positives for couples that sweat together – namely they stay together.

Here are the biggest benefits of couples exercising from my perspective…

1) Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins into the body. People experience this natural high; elevating mood, decreasing anxiety, leading to healthy patterns for energy balance and sleep. Best of all – couples are experiencing this “good juju” together.

2) Many couples spend all day long apart. Each person has work, errands, meetings, kid shuttling, etc. These regular duties keep us so busy, we’re starving for quality time with our significant others. Exercise can be a way to kill two birds with one stone. You’re together. You’re in sync. You’re bonding. And heck, setting up a workout schedule is kind of like making dates with each other – “let’s get started around 7:00” – that can be reminiscent of the courtship past.

3) One of the biggest limiting factors that my clients are faced with is a lack of social support. You know it – how you have a fitness goal in mind but then others don’t really understand it or want to hear too much about it or join in on the good behavior. When couples are active together, that not only can ensure long, healthy lives for them but also creates a built-in partner for “cheerleading,” someone who completely relates and is rooting for your happiness. You may also logistically enjoy having a spotter or duo for certain moves and stretches.

4) People get comfortable. You feel settled in a relationship. You’re not on the market anymore. So you maybe don’t try as hard? However, physical attraction is still a key factor to a romance. Be real. Who doesn’t want to be seen as good-looking through his or her partner’s eyes? Exercise, similar to sex, triggers several physiological signs similar to arousal – sweaty palms, increased heart rate, shortness of breath. Use this phenomenon to your advantage. You may also find those yoga pants or fitted t-shirts to be visually pleasing!

5) Like my guy and I, you may find that fitness is fun. You may fall down together. You may pick each other back up. You may smile through the pain. You may push yourself harder because someone is watching. You may banter wittily back and forth. You may start inside jokes. You may realize a little competition creates a spark or fuels a flame.

6) I believe part of being a good person is seeking self-improvement. How productive and fulfilling could couple-improvement be? You set out on new adventures together, striving for a common goal. And when you reach that goal, it is a joint accomplishment. You have a reason to celebrate and cherish the victory. Then you take on a new challenge, and the splendid cycle continues.

7) Exercise equals physical adaptations. You can get stronger. You can get faster. You can last longer. Endurance, people. A magical thing. It’s essential to everyday tasks and managing your responses to everyday stress. It can have benefits between the sheets too.

8) Exercise creates new avenues for communication. You are learning skills and terminology, for sure. The experience alone gives you something new to talk about, chatting about what routines you like most, what is sore today after yesterday’s tough gym session. That sharing also generates trust and appreciation. You are able to be yourselves, potentially vulnerable up against new odds. You offer constructive input without judgment to each other.

AarikaThe Power of Ex
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New Year, Y’all

Like many, as the holidays approached, I began to say to myself, “I’ll tackle that in January.” Now it is January, eight days gone in fact, and I’m left with no excuses.

I am a trainer, a very aware health connoisseur. But I am not immune to powers of the anti-routine. Rich, salty, sugary foods all around. Sacrificing time exercising for time with family and friends. And just plain procrastination.

The holidays are great for cherishing and indulging. I am better off accepting that. Doesn’t sound too strange to a lot of you who also treat January as a go-to month, a time to get everything back on track or begin again. So here we go…

January is famous for resolutions. The New Year brings a hope and a determination. I admire the spirit. The problem is how often good intentions still breed failure, when after a few months, or less, we give in to life’s hustle, conveniences and lethargy. We fall short. Because the adage “it’s easier said than done” holds true. That’s why there’s a saying.

Particularly in health and fitness, identifying areas for improvement and dreaming of that is not so hard. Yet the follow-through is what people lack. There is such a visible drop-off in gym attendance around March that professionals could laugh (or cry). Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are really more infamous these days.

This year, along with whipping this body back into shape, part of my objective is to help. Yeah, yeah. Altruistic. And maybe cliché. But I am very proud to be in this position to preach what I love and attempt to preserve what I believe to be a completely worthwhile tradition – setting goals, creating plans, committing to change.

In short, my resolution is to focus on building my health-ness business, for my wellbeing and for others’.

AarikaNew Year, Y’all
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