Free Workout

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Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

This is metabolic style conditioning workout. It’s meant to keep your heart rate elevated for the entire 20-30 minutes. Ideally, you will complete the work out in around 20/25 minutes and should not exceed a total time of 30 minutes. I do not rest in between sets. Rest if you need to though or slow down your treadmill speed here and there in order to catch your breath.

 

What you’ll need:

  • Access to a treadmill
  • Set of dumbbells – as heavy as you can go
  • Water, a watch/stopwatch/phone timer, and your favorite workout tunes

The workout:

  1. Run .25 mile
  2. 25 bent over dumbbell row
  3. 25 dumbbell push presses
  4. 25 dumbbell deadlifts

Repeat the above 4 times.

By the end you will have:

  • run 1 full mile
  • completed 100 bent over dumbbell row
  • completed 100 dumbbell push presses
  • completed 100 dumbbell deadlifts

If you do not have access to a treadmill, you can either jog/run outside, use a row machine, or substitute with 25 burpees. Record your time.

*Always consult a physician before starting an exercise plan. If at anytime you feel pain, dizziness, or uncomfortable stop exercising and seek medical help when necessary.*

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How We Respond is Everything

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I’m sure you have all heard the phrase “you are responsible for your actions”, right? It has been regularly instilled in us by our parents and teachers throughout our lives nudging us into adulthood with hopes of us becoming respectful people who are held accountable for our behavior. This phrase is all encompassing, however. Meaning — you are also responsible for how you respond, react, and perceive situations or confrontations that arise in your life. No one else is responsible, but you. Even if you are the one who is wronged. Ouch! That sure is a lot to take in though, isn’t it? But, do we not have the choice of how we are evaluating information, circumstances, and others behaviors; whether they are meant for us or not? I believe we very much do have the choice, but navigating how we choose to respond can be confusing at best.

Below are some key points on how to check yourself and your response to the outside world. This practice at it’s very core is the essence of living mindfully and creating balance within your mind and can truly predict how you show up in the world both emotionally and logically. I don’t know about you, but I want nothing more than to create harmony and open communication in my relationships and add value to my connections (personally, professionally, and generally) with others every single day.

1. It’s none of my business. When someone does something you don’t like or approve of that doesn’t mean they are wrong or at fault. They are just living their life the way they want to. You have the choice to respond or not to how they are behaving, and honestly what they do with their lives is not for you to worry about. If you are choosing to take others behaviors or actions personally then you are giving up your power and, ultimately, losing control of how you respond. This is the perfect opportunity for you to pay no mind and get on with your day. To each his own — you do you, and I’ll do me.

2. I take radical responsibility for my thoughts, actions, and behaviors. This means that you are 100% responsible for how much time you allow in between your responses, the words that fall from your mouth, and how you act as a result of the information you are processing. No room for blame here, folks! You are fully responsible for whatever happens with your mind, body, soul, essence, whatever. No one makes you do or say anything. So, own up and take that giant leap into adulthood and resist the urge to blame others for what’s happening (or not) in your life.

3. I’m not perfect. This goes back to shying away from the urge to criticize or judge others. For example, if your partner has a bad habit that drives you crazy, try to be an empath and look at it from his/her perspective. You have the ability to intuitively feel what others feel. How can you approach them without attacking them and criticizing their choices? Can you step back from the situation and remind yourself that nobody’s perfect, including you? This one can be tricky because we never want to feel as though we are not being heard in our relationships, or that our friend or partner is disrespecting our requests. However, approaching it mindfully and responding in a way that is loving and supportive will likely allow both of your voices to be heard, and hopefully result in your needs being met somewhere down the line.

4. Choose love. This one is my fave! For obvious reasons, right? Okay, it is not always easy to be the light in a heated moment. We humans are incredibly reactionary and we desperately want to be heard. Well, unless you avoid conflict and are a completely passive communicator, which is also a form of response albeit nonverbal. Something I try to do when I am in conflict with someone is to imagine them as a small child –someone who is innocent — and totally in need of my love. It’s a little silly at first, but it works wonders at softening your heart and allowing you to react less hastily and with less negative emotion in hopes that you can overcome your differences.

We want to keep our vibrations high, and our negative emotions low throughout the day so we live a happy, fulfilling life. This does not mean that we just allow others to walk all over us or devalue us in any way. It simply means that we are being true to ourselves, and taking responsibility for our own happiness without letting others dictate how we react. Because all we really want is to feel like we are in control, and if we are constantly allowing others to get under our skin and piss us off, then we lose all of our power and end up in situations that do not take best care of us.

Let it go when you can. Take care of yourself. Respect yourself. Respect others. Mind your own business. Don’t let others choices bother you so much. And, please show some love. We need more love and more light now than ever before.

xo,

Natasha

Chicken Matzo Ball Soup

IMG_20171007_180105_767This is my all time favorite soup to make! I make this all year-long, so don’t feel like you only need to pull this one out when the weather turns cool or cold season sets in. 😊

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole all natural or organic chicken
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 small bag of baby carrots
  • Matzo ball mix (which will require 2 eggs and 1/4 cup vegetable oil)
  • salt and pepper to desired taste

Directions:

Prepare chicken by rinsing in cold water and removing the insides. You could always add the inners to your broth if you’d like! Add chicken to appropriate size pot and fill with water until chicken is fully submerged. Bring chicken and water to a boil then spoon off any foam on top of the water. Add sliced onion, whole garlic cloves, parsley, dill and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then let simmer on low heat for around 4 hours or until chicken falls off the bone and your broth is a nice yellow hue. Remove the chicken from the pot, then pick all the meat off of the bones and set aside. Strain broth into another pot or large enough bowl and set aside. You can discard the remaining bone pieces, fat, herb and onions. At this point you should have only the broth and the chicken meat back in your pot. Return broth to a boil and add the carrots. Prepare the matzo ball mix according to the instructions on the package and add to the boiling broth. Cook the matzo balls and carrots for another 30 minutes. Allow to cool a little before serving. Enjoy!

 

 

Food is More Than Fuel

IMG_20170801_200918_502People talk a lot about food these days. And when it comes to food and nutrition, there is so much emphasis on food as fuel. What does that even mean anyway? It’s analogous with a machine like a car using gas as its source of energy; food is the fuel you add to your tank, or stomach rather, to function efficiently.  I get the analogy, but at the same time I don’t necessarily wholeheartedly agree with it, and have a bone to pick with its constant use. Some of the common sayings surrounding this phrase we hear are: “fuel your body with clean foods, fuel your body with proper nutrition, fuel your body post-workout, you don’t want to fuel your body with cheap or “bad” fuel, do you?” Alright, we get it. Food is fuel! Please excuse me while I top my engine off with some premium octane. Oh wait, that’s a protein shake. Gah! Food is so much more than fuel alone. The food we prepare and eat everyday is an experience, its ritualistic, and is a cultural practice that dates back hundreds of thousands of years to when Neanderthals began cooking in prehistoric times. I mean, if that alone doesn’t shed a little light on the fact that food is more than fuel, I don’t know what will. 🙂

Seriously though, we put so much insistence on food being calories in versus calories out, religiously counting these calories and obsessively tracking our macros (proteins, carbs, and fats), and adhering to specific diets like Paleo or Ketogenic or Vegan to maintain our physical appearances, yet we sometimes lose the beauty that is the food itself. Just imagine all the beautiful bushels of vibrantly colored fruits and veggies that are popping up at your local farmer’s market right now, or go to your butcher and check out all those salty cured meats and yummy artisan cheeses that are available. Ever notice how food usually tastes better when it’s prepared and enjoyed with others? Food should not simply be something that you only look at as fuel for your body. Food and the meals we eat are celebratory and should be valued as abundant gifts that fill our lives, and I’ll be damned if that means ALL my meals have to be bland and eaten out of a plastic Tupperware that I’ve used for meal prepping the Sunday before.

Food is date nights, birthday dinner celebrations, home-for-the-holidays (generational) meal traditions, summertime BBQ’s, and Sunday evening family dinners. We have so many beautifully shared experiences that revolve around food. Preparing and cooking food ignites our creativity and can also be a relaxing meditative practice that allows us to shut out all the daily busy that surrounds us. The smell of certain foods cooking like sautéed garlic and onions, for example, might remind you of someone close to you or of a specific meal that you loved eating as a kid. Food can carry emotional associations for us that bring a little nostalgia into our lives, and leave us filled with yummy memories.

The next time you’re invited out to dinner or brunch, go! Don’t let diets or gains rule your life all of the time. Obviously if you are prepping for a competition or something along those lines, you’re going to be less flexible, but don’t let that food mentality rule your world indefinitely. Be grateful for the food you have access to, and give thanks at every meal.

Pressure Versus Motivation: How to Differentiate Between the Two

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Image courtesy pexels.com

As someone who works in the fitness industry, I hear a lot of talk about motivation.  It seems like motivation creeps it’s bubbly little head up everywhere these days. It shows up on blogs, in memes, in Instagram hashtags like #motivationmonday, and wherever else it can brightly chime its way into. Amirite? Your motivation for doing something is your why. For example, why are you setting specific goals and where exactly are you headed because of said goals? Your why can also turn into your who. As in, who are you doing this for? Are you starting a fitness journey so you can have more energy to play with your children? If so, your children might be your why. Or are you starting an exercise program because your health is suffering and you need to lose weight? If this is the case, you and your well-being may be your why! 

Regardless of your reasons for taking on this lifestyle shift, are you fully in touch with your why and are you remaining true to yourself while committing to it? Staying true to yourself and your intention means that you do not feel pressured to behave any particular way. If you are living your truth and are fully in line with your mission, words like should, ought, or have to have no place in your vocabulary when it comes to fulfilling your bottom line. So, how can you tell the difference between true motivation versus pressure to complete a particular outcome? Below I will map out some simple techniques to use if you’re having doubts about how your reasons for doing something are being influenced:

If it doesn’t excite you, forget it! Let’s really break this one down. If you are not going to feel fulfilled by it and you’re not pumped about this new undertaking, ask yourself if it is truly right for you at this point in time. Sometimes we simply are not ready. And that’s okay! Other times, it isn’t necessarily our cup of tea. Most of the time we think we want things, only to find out in the end that we really don’t want them at all and end up wasting time and energy as a result. So, pay attention to your feelings and notice whether or not it feels thrilling or more like a chore. Don’t get me wrong there are times when going to the gym, for example, might feel like a chore, but if the majority of the time it feels energizing (motivating) and you WANT to be there then chances are it is not something you are feeling pressured to do. Hone in on listening to yourself, and notice how you feel emotionally and even physically about your situation. Trust that YOU know what takes best care of you!

It’s always inconvenient. If you are dragged down by it and only doing it because you “have to” chances are your heart is not in it. And if your heart is not in it, you are not being truthful about your why. Are you noticing a recurring theme yet? Yep, it’s being true to YOURSELF. If something does not feel right to you, but you do it anyway, doesn’t it seem like you’re being influenced in a way that feels pressured rather than motivating? It does to me. Obviously there are things we have to attend to on a regular basis like showing up at our jobs, taking care of our children, and being supportive to those we care about. But if you are saying “yes” all the time out of pressure rather than you wanting to, you may end up feeling bogged down rather than empowered.

You’re doing it to please someone else. If you are only working out or creating a lifestyle change to please someone else rather than yourself, chances are you are not doing it out of motivation. There certainly are a lot of demands put on us by society, our peers, and by family members to look and act a certain way. If you are only working out to achieve a certain body type based on what others are saying you should have, you are not living your truth or doing it for the right reasons. Namely, under your terms and for YOURSELF. You are not only doing a disservice to yourself by behaving this way, you may be harming relationships as well. For example, if you are going to the gym because you are after a “perfect body” to please your boyfriend/girlfriend, you are not only attaching a negative tie-in to it, you may, subsequently, begin to resent that person and have feelings of animosity toward them as a result. Again, an insult to yourself and now the other person you’ve involved. This scenario will not serve you now or in the future. Try not to let outside noise cloud your judgement and make you believe that you need to look a certain way to feel worthy. Know your worth and own your truth by doing and finding the things in life that truly make you happy.

If you are not wanting to do something, but are doing it anyway, chances are your mindset isn’t in the right place. Instead, you are putting pressure on yourself to execute an outcome that you are not passionate about and conversely, you are not being honest with yourself. Ask yourself: do I want to do this; am I ready to take this on; will doing this make me happy; and who am I doing this for? I hope this post leaves you with some insight on how to notice when you are being driven by pressure versus motivation, and remember that it is not selfish of you to make choices based on what is truly best for you.

XO,

Natasha