So working out for me is more than just about being healthy; it’s a whole mind and body experience and I have often been quoted on a Sunday morning saying “it’s my church”. People often laugh but it really is a spiritual connection for me. I know that when I am taking care of myself, I am a better wife, friend, mother, daughter, coach and mentor and it connects me to my higher self. Here are my five tips on how I view my workouts and found the connection of mind, body and soul:
1) Listen to your thoughts. This is your time to be mindful. We don’t always have time to mediate or really be mindful throughout our day but if you are already dedicating an hour or more to your body then try adding mindfulness. I don’t necessarily mean clear your head of thoughts, although sometimes when all you can focus on is that next burpee, it works as well! But focus on what you are saying to yourself. Are you beating yourself up? Are you looking in the mirror and judging what you see? Instead, lift yourself up. Are you competing with the person beside you? Try focusing and competing with only yourself. Are you stronger than then last time, faster, healthier? Heck, you’re moving, who cares about anyone else!
2) This is where you can meditate and workout! I know, it sounds strange as we are so used to lying still to mediate but this works really well. I find that after my workouts that I feel as if I mediated for hours. I feel light, happy and clear. First step, focus on the exercise or movement you are creating and thank your body. Really connect with what you are doing. If a thought passes your mind that is not positive, don’t judge, but change the story. Instead of “ugh, I look fat in the mirror” change it to a truth such as “I’m kicking butt today and I am doing something healthy for my body”. Try not to compete with the people around you and do the exercises that serve you and your body. For example, before I incorporated mindfulness and spirit into my workouts, while I was participating in group fitness classes, it was so hard for me to focus on doing the exercises properly. Instead, I would bust through them fast, just so I could keep up and show the super fit person in the class that I could keep up. But guess who I was serving there? Not my body or my mind. I was serving my ego. When I slowed down and focused on doing the movement 100% correctly, I got stronger, burned more fat and calories and stopped looking and comparing myself to others. I am a healthy, strong, super awesome woman so forget trying to keep up with the Joneses (or “Arnolds” in the fitness world!) and focus on your amazing self and body.
3) Before your workout take 20 deep belly breaths. I actually do this before getting out of bed. Breathe deep and allow your belly to expand and then release make the out breath longer then the in breath. Again, being present and mindful of your thoughts. The reason for this is in our days of running around and stress, adding a strenuous workout can signal to our bodies that we are stressed even more, bringing on adrenal failure. If we breathe nice and deep, we are telling our bodies that we are not in our primitive “fight or flight” mode (i.e. not running away from a tiger or in a famine) and can help lower our cortisol levels and be more prepared for our day and workout.
4) Serve your body right down to the cellular level. Your workouts are nothing if you are not eating healthy. Eating a whole food, mostly organic, low processed diet is your base and you need to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need to perform at your best for your workout and life. However, eating a healthy diet does not cut it anymore; our soils are depleted from nutrients and that means so is our food. Plus, the way we process our food and the toxins in the environment has stripped nutrients from our food and bodies. For anyone I coach, I teach them that at a minimum, it’s ideal to take a pharmaceutical grade multivitamin and fish oil and then personalize based on your specific health needs and goals. As I am an active person, I take products to help support my joints, decrease inflammation and boost my immune system. I have personally chosen to trust USANA Health Sciences as have over 750 elite athletes.
5) Come up with a power move. I’m not kidding. I have a few moves that I do to either connect with myself or with the Universe. If I am not connected and mindful, I look in the mirror and either giggle or give myself the “nod and point”. If I want to give thanks for all I have, I put my hands up and send thanks upwards. Actually, I do this whenever I want, doesn’t necessarily have to be during a workout but I really do it. Sometimes it is incorporated in a class so it’s seamless and sometimes I’m laughing at myself for no reason! It does not matter what your power move is, it’s all about you focusing on you and connecting the mind, body and soul.