SMARTer bodies

Category: Inspiration

Sweat SMARTer For Haiti: An upcoming charity event in NYC to benefit those who were hit worst by Hurricane Matthew

Date: December 17th, 2016

Time: 9am to 1pm, Ripley Grier Studios, 520 8th Avenue

            2pm to 7pm, Vitor Shaolin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, 780 8th Avenue

In the midst of this current political climate, it may surprise you to know that we are holding a fitness charity event to help Haiti recover from it’s most recent natural disaster. The media’s predominant focus is on the DAPL, social injustice, post-election concerns and women’s rights- ALL worthy of our attention and issues that we, at SMARTer Bodies, care about and continuously advocate. It’s easy to forget, however, that our neighbors in the Caribbean are still struggling to find loved ones and rebuild their homes. The small country continues to struggle from the earthquake that devastated its land 6 years ago. But in October, Hurricane Matthew aggressively swept through Haiti wreaking havoc on the fragile land and civil infrastructure that Haitians worked so hard to rebuild. Aside from the 1000+ people that have died during the storm there is now the spread of disease, like cholera, taking lives. To read more about the most recent tragedies this click here.

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We know it’s difficult to not succumb to the inertia of global-issue overwhelm. Many of us feel powerless to help ourselves, let alone extend help to others so far away. We feel that in times like these, it is important not to lose sight of those who are in desperate need. Kim, our co-founder, has done the research and made the connections to find a charitable association that you can trust to help the Caribbean’s forgotten. The Haiti Development Project has a specific mission

Haiti Development Project (HDP) speaks for thousands of invisible children in rural Northwest Haiti who are growing up illiterate and without the necessary resources to succeed in life.

For this important reason, Haiti Development Project (HDP) is championing the cause for universal primary education enrollment for thousands of unschooled children in rural Haiti.

We are one of a small number of NGOs operating and planting seeds in a region that is mostly isolated, poverty-stricken, underdeveloped and neglected.

It’s difficult to be charitable even when you want to given all the corruption that happens in non-profits. Kim has taken the time to personally speak with the founder of HDP, an employee of the UN, Nionese Prudent, who was more than happy to answer all of Kim’s questions and make herself personally available to help with this project.

We can assure you that this non-profit is a aware of and committed to negating the corruption that makes people hesitant to send financial assistance. Here’s an organization that will continue to rebuild the lives of the students who have been once-again impacted by uncontrollable forces.

You can give by clicking this link http://www.haitidevelopmentproject.org/ or by going to our charity event. It’ll be a day of fitness and fun! Teachers are volunteering to teach classes that you can enjoy while giving to people who are in need. Classes will be held at 2 different locations in midtown Manhattan. Classes will be $25 each and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Haiti Development Project. Class descriptions and schedule as well as teacher bios can be found below. Also, for the months of November and December our book, Exposing Yoga Myths will donate 50% of our profits towards the cause. You can find our book on Amazon or the e-book on http://www.smarterbodies.com/exposing-yoga-myths/

Here’s our class line-up. Please note that the link to sign up for the class is in the class description below the schedule:

Class time Instructor Class Type Location
9:00 AM Marcus SMARTer Strength and Cardio Ripley Grier
10:00 AM Kim SMARTer Interval training Ripley Grier
11:00 AM Abby SMARTer Flow Yoga Ripley Grier
12:00 PM Christopher ConBody Bootcamp Ripley Grier
2:00 PM Mario kickboxing vsbjj
3:00 PM Alvaro No Gi BJJ vsbjj
4:00 PM Julio “Fighting Dirty” vsbjj
5:00 PM Rafael Women’s self defense vsbjj
6:00 PM Kim Yoga for grapplers vsbjj

Class descriptions:

SMARTer Strength and Cardio with Marcus:

A 60 minute workout using nothing but your own body weight. We will incorporate full body strength and cardio moves to build a great sweat and some muscle as well! This class requires a moderate amount of effort and is better suited to those who are used to more moderate training. Open to all ages (18+).

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

SMARTer Interval training with Kim:

This class is sure to get your heart pumping and sweat dripping, no matter what fitness level or age (18+). Appropriate modifications will be shown for every movement. This class requires no equipment, but will cover balance movement patterns in all 3 planes of motion and integrate the whole body. Since this class is based on timed work to rest periods with active rest in between, you can be sure that no matter which modification you choose, you will getting a great workout!

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

SMARTer Flow Yoga with Abby:

Take the principles of SMARTer Bodies (evidence based training built on techniques proven to be reliable) and bring them into a flowing Yoga class! This is a great opportunity to see how we take the Yoga Myths and bring them to what you might typically see in your Yoga classes. Take this class so you can know better what kinds of modifications will work for you! This class is open to all levels and all ages (18+).

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

ConBody Bootcamp:

You my have heard about ConBody as one of the hottest fitness trends in NYC right now! This military/prison cell bootcamp class requires no equipment and integrates calisthenics, cardio, endurance training and strength training. For more information visit www.conbody.com

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

Kickboxing with Mario Hernandez:

This class is an excellent way to burn some calories while learning effective striking techniques! Open to all levels, but be prepared for a challenge. Note: If you have your own boxing gloves, please bring them.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Alvaro Tautiva:

This no gi class is open to all belt ranks and will include a warm up, a couple of techniques and some live rolling. No gi apparel is appreciated, but not necessary.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

“Fighting Dirty” with Julio Rivera:

This class will cover simple attacks to sensitive areas (groin, eyes, throat, etc.) that anyone can use for self protection. No prior training experience needed and open to all ages (18+)

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

Women’s Self Defense with Rafael Santana:

This class will use simple, yet practical techniques that anyone can use to get themselves out of dangerous situations. These techniques can be used on opponents that are physically larger and stronger and are ideal for women.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

Yoga for Grapplers with Kim:

This class will address asymmetries, imbalances and compensation patterns found in grapplers and work to improve flexibility needed for difficult techniques and positions.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

We hope you’ll be able to join us for this exhilarating day of celebrating what we do best, moving and helping those who need it.

PICS AND BIOS TO FOLLOW

Abby Kaufmann – Yoga Teacher with SMARTer Bodies

abby

Abby’s desire for in-depth knowledge of the physical body’s experience in yoga has led her to teach with SMARTer Bodies. Her diverse education includes a Bachelor’s degree in social work and certifications as a Health Coach, Pilates teacher and Karuna Reiki master.

Marcus Hudnell – Personal Trainer with SMARTer Bodies

marcus

Heavily involved in sports and athletics for the better part of 25 years, Marcus developed an appreciation and fascination with the human body. “Health” and “Fitness” are terms that apply to both the physical and mental/spiritual nature of a person.

Christopher Kennedy- trainer at ConBody

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Freelance model, military veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and trainer at ConBody.
Recovering from alcoholism. I am an individual who has concern for others in the midst of disaster. My concern for others is legitimate, sincere and I am eager to do this for #Haiti.

Kim-lien Kendall – Yoga Teacher, Personal Trainer and Co-Founder of SMARTer Bodies

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After obtaining a degree in Biochemistry and deciding that her talents would be better spent helping people one on one rather than in a lab, she started working with bodies in 2005. Kim’s experience in gymnastics, sports and martial arts combined with her studies in somatics, kinesiology and biomechanics have equipped her with the knowledge and skill set to work with a wide range of clientele. She started SMARTer Bodies with Melissa in order to teach upcoming body workers from their combined experience and give back to the community by working with various organizations that benefit disenfranchised populations. She is a co-author of the book Exposing Yoga Myths and Co-founder of SMARTer Bodies.

Julio Rivera – Founder of Omni Martial Arts

julio

Sensei Julio Rivera has been involved in health and fitness for twenty years as a bodybuilding competitor, personal trainer and journalist.  He currently holds 3 black belts in Judo, Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has trained in HAGANAH (a no nonsense Israeli Self Defense style) and boxing. Sensei Julio has trained students who are agents and officers from the NYPD, Customs and Border Patrol, Secret Service and private security agencies.  He has also helped train and corner MMA fighters.

  Alvaro Tautiva – Assistant Instructor

alvaro

Alvaro Tautiva is a Brown belt in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Sensei Julio Rivera. Before joining the Omni family in 2010, Alvaro trained in Muay Thai and was a certified trainer with N.A.S.M. An active competitor in the BJJ scene, Alvaro has competed and medaled in several tournaments in the United States. In 2015, as a purple belt, Alvaro was runner up in the IBJJF Masters Worlds championship and soon after took 1st place in the no gi Pan-Ams championship. As an assistant instructor, Alvaro implements his background in speech and language pathology, from LaGCC and Brooklyn College, to help with the instruction of the children’s programs at Omni Martial Arts.

Mario Hernandez – Assistant Teacher

mario

Mario Hernandez is a purple belt in BJJ under Professor Vitor Shaolin and  Sensei Julio Rivera.  He is an active competitor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and amateur Mixed Martial Arts fighter having trained under Bellator MMA standout Marcos Loro Galvao.  Mario has been training since 2009 in various martial arts, (BJJ, Kickboxing, Boxing)  In 2013, Mario scored his first MMA victory as well as a silver medal at the Big Apple BJJ tournament.  He gained experience early on working with children as a camp counselor and now assists with teaching kids and adults at Omni Martial Arts.

 Rafael Santana – Assistant Teacher                                          

rafael

Rafael Santana is a brown belt in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Sensei Julio Rivera. He has also studied self defense techniques under World renowned BJJ and MMA Champion, Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro. Rafael earned a Masters in Criminal Justice from John Jay.  He began training in Judo and BJJ at Omni shortly after.  He has earned medals at several competitions, including the IBJJF Boston Open, New York International Judo Cup, Big Apple BJJ tournament, LI Pride and Tech Judo.  He uses his six years of teaching experience from City University to teach children and adult classes.             

(My) Truth About Yoga and Body Image

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There’s a popular idea people seem to have that once they obtain the body they want, they will all of a sudden be happy. Both women and men are constantly exposed to advertisements with images of scantily clad, tanned bodies with tips and tricks on how to achieve rock hard abs, tight butts, sculpted arms and impossibly thin waistlines, as if to say “Hey asshole, you look like shit and no one will ever love you, unless you resemble these fucks!” Ok, so maybe that’s a bit harsh, but not far from reality. Despite it being common knowledge that these images are photoshopped to oblivion, people still aim to achieve the impossible. So much so that they focus their entire lives on it, not realizing it is a never-ending wild goose chase!

In most cases you will never attain the body you want, because you will never like what you see in the mirror until you are happy with what you see. Happiness precedes having the body you want, not the other way around! I work in the fitness industry and am surrounded by colleagues who have bodies people would literally be willing to die for. The unfortunate truth is, most of these people are never happy with what they have. There is always someone with a rounder butt, more of a washboard on their tummies, bigger biceps, etc. This is a realm where eating disorders (disguised as “cleansing”), exercise addiction, illegal substances, and complete and total insecurity (think the emotional maturity of a middle schooler) run wild and free. The behavior I have seen from these fitness professionals is NOT healthy!

I wish I could tell you that yoga was a safe haven from this insanity, but it’s not. I’m here to tell you my personal story about body image, hoping it will help you have a healthier practice and help you transcend the bullshit.

I have to preface this by saying that I grew up in the eighties, but not in a typical household that promoted gender roles in children. My immigrant mother was raised to value education more than social experience and my hippie feminist father never placed any emphasis on the way that I looked. Neither of them ever spoke to me about body image, because it wasn’t important to them, but it seemed to be the only thing that my middle school peers cared about. At the time, my source of female body inspiration was shitty magazines targeted at teens (this was before the internet). Most of the popular girls in my school were blonde, white and thin. I was not. I’d always been fairly athletic and muscular, but that look wasn’t “in” back then. I would often shy away from pool parties and the like because I was thicker and darker than the ideal “pretty girl”. Boys were interested in me, probably because I had boobs, but that’s not what I cared about. I wanted to look like them.

Enter body dysmorphia, which at the time seemed so normal for a teenage girl that it was overlooked. One summer, I got my tonsils removed and the surgeon botched the surgery. I ended up not being able to eat solid foods for about 3 weeks. I lost so much weight that I had to be re-hospitalized. However, when I went to the beach that summer, everyone kept telling me how awesome I looked. I remember starving myself and hiding food from my parents, desperately trying to cling to my thin-ness and becoming terribly depressed when all the FAT came back. This led to drugs (lots of drugs…) so that I could emotionally cope with the feelings of being a fucking loser (the girls at my high school were really mean- but I forgive all you hoes in case you are reading this…).

The first couple years of college, I was able to pull my shit together because I became really interested in academics. Turned out I was really good at school and being an intellectual badass. I also got into martial arts, which was fun and healthy. But then came yoga… and not the yoga (you know, the real hippie shit) that my dad had been teaching me since I was 8… these people were doing headstands and other cool shit. I wanted to do cool shit too! Yet again, the popular yogis were so, so thin… clearly if I wanted to be good at this, I had to be thinner. I had to have a “yoga body”!

Along came exercise addiction. I used to make myself run 4 miles every morning before school (I FUCKING HATE RUNNING). I started biking, kayaking, rock climbing every weekend… but not because I loved to do those things, because I wanted to burn more calories. Then I became vegan, because, you know I didn’t want to hurt animals and shit… only later to realize that my veganism was a disguised eating disorder (as I, unfortunately, think is the case for a lot of yogis). This was hard, and my body fought all of this like crazy. It is literally written in our DNA that our bodies will try to force us to expend as little energy as possible while eating as much as we can (it was a survival mechanism for our species at one point).

My weight fluctuated constantly. I used to buy weight loss supplements and do “cleanses” to try to keep the fat off. During this time I landed a pretty sweet job at the University and I started traveling a lot, going on yoga retreats. Somehow I ended up in New York City and I immediately fell in love. Once I moved here, I started hanging out with a bunch of raw vegan yogis. I adopted this diet and the pounds immediately started shedding off! This was mostly because your body doesn’t absorb too many nutrients from raw foods because, you know, we aren’t fucking rabbits. You pretty much just shit everything out, but who cares! I was a size mother fucking 2! For once in my life I WAS THIN!

But alas, this didn’t last… I became bloated. My weight started fluctuating again. I started suffering from various health disorders like irritable bowel, athletic dysmenorrhea, migraines… oh and my fucking hair was falling out. But I was so convinced that I could be thin again, I stuck with it. I started counting calories. I literally limited my calorie intake to 1,200 a day. I was starving ALL. OF. THE. TIME. Enter bulimia. By this time, I was teaching yoga. Yes, I was trying to teach people how to find inner peace while sneaking sugary snacks in the wee hours of the night and puking my brains out. The fucked up part? I wasn’t the only one. I have heard horror stories of other yoga teachers teaching their students aggressive vomiting techniques as kriya (cleansing practices). Teachers telling their students that if they lost some weight, they would be able to perform certain poses better. Teachers encouraging students to go on liquid diets. NO, NO, NO, NO! This is beyond wrong! How has a practice that is supposed to build inner peace and self love turned into this???

Now, the yoga hustle in NY is real and the pay for classes is shit. I was getting turned down left and right for gigs. Two very well known studios flat out told me I didn’t have the “body” they wanted a teacher to have. I wasn’t thin enough and I wasn’t white enough (by the way, this is a thing and if you don’t believe me, ask any person of color who has ever stepped foot in a yoga studio). Well, as I mentioned before, I was really great at studying and so I started to go back to becoming an anatomy nerd so that I could differentiate myself from other teachers. If I couldn’t get by with my looks, might as well use my brain. That and I started personal training. Turns out this was a place that welcomed muscular bitches such as myself.

So I started eating meat. I stopped counting calories. I started lifting. I started dancing. I started biking. I started judo-ing. I started jiu-jistu-ing. I started kickboxing…ing. I stopped going to yoga classes. Then something incredible happened. I felt fucking strong as hell. All of a sudden that became WAY more important than being thin. I started focusing on how fast my mile was on a bike, how much my 1 rep max was on a dead lift and how many chokes I had in my repertoire. I started feeling amazing! I’m a fucking sexy, badass fireball of muscle and sarcasm and I. ABSOLUTELY. LOVE. MY. BODY! I used to stand in front of a mirror, assessing every part of my body and crying over how much I hated it! Now when I look at a mirror, I wonder how that shit doesn’t break from handling all this sexiness!

This is what happy looks like.
This is what happy looks like.

Now when I return to MY yoga practice, it feels more authentic. It feels more like home. MY body is my home. It’s comfortable because it’s me and not someone else. It’s incredible because of what it can do. It’s perfect because there is nothing else it can be. This is, I think, what yoga is supposed to feel like. Finally… I have a yoga body. My fucking body.

My advice? Stop obsessing over fat. Don’t let it control you. There are way more important things in life…

Eat, Drink and Be Merry, in a Mindful Way- 5 tips to stay centered in your healthy eating habits

Avoid this awful feeling.
Avoid this awful feeling.

 

Even the most “disciplined” of us can fall off the healthy eating habit bandwagon during the holiday season. Whether we are going to holiday parties and are fully into the holidays, or if we can’t stand them and are comforting ourselves by over-indulging, there are a few tricks that we can use to keep the “damage” to our waistlines to a minimum.

 

1. Don’t go to a party, gathering or supermarket HUNGRY!! Make sure that you have had some healthy snacks before you head out to the festivities. That way you won’t eat every goody that you come across. Great snacks to stave off cravings include almonds, Brazil nuts, or a goat milk kefir drink.

2. When going to the home of others, offer to bring a veggie dish- like sautéed Lacinato Kale, roasted broccoli and cauliflower so that you are sure to get ONE addition that is delicious, simple, satisfying and nutritious.

3. Try to eat the processed foods as early in the day as possible- the stuffing, the cakes and cookies- so that you have as much time as possible to digest them. Going to bed with a lot of undigested processed carbs can leave you sluggish and foggy the next day- not to mention make you crave MORE of the evil, but delectable treats. If you are throwing the party try substituting some less processed items to your menu. Add some goat cheese options, crunchy seeded crackers, try brown rice and quinoa instead of potatoes.

4. STAY HYDRATED! Let the first and last thing you do everyday be taking a nice big glass of not too cold water. If you drink alcohol, try to drink at least a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you imbibe.

5. Finally- REST!!! Before you go out, plan a target time to get home so that you can still get enough rest so you don’t feel wiped out. If you know you have a late night ahead, try to get a little nap in before getting ready to party!.

Try not to fall into the, “well, I screwed up my diet, so I may as well go for broke,” and help yourself to ANOTHER piece of pecan pie a la mode. Take pauses between bites, listen to your body. You can always have more later! Try never to eat past the 3/4ths full rule.

8 Reasons Why Martial Arts Will Make Your Kid a Better Person

mmaAs a general statement, I think that movement (especially learning skilled movement) is important for young children. While there are arguments for and against specializations in sports at a young age, it seems that a variety of movement and skills can be more transferable to everyday life and can provide more options for movement choices later in life as we age. It’s also important that kids have fun and enjoy whatever activity they are doing, so that they are more likely to stick with a healthier lifestyle. Considering all of this, I decided to enroll my (at the time) 3 year old daughter in martial arts classes. I’ve seen her benefit in so many ways! Here’s a few I wanted to share:

1. Straight up self defense: Although it is always best to avoid confrontation and to tell a trusted adult, there will be times when your child may be in physical danger with no one to help him or her. Knowing how to defend oneself is a useful skill to have just in case.

2. Cultivating empathy: While it would seem that introducing your child to potentially violent techniques might entice them to physically bully other children, with a good instructor, the opposite is usually true. In classes that allow sparring, children will be faced with opponents that they may not be able to overcome at the moment. This humbling experience often teaches an aggressive student not to underestimate their opponent. They also learn what it feels like to be on the receiving end of physical oppression and this can help them create compassion and empathy. Some children may even speak out about violence they see in school or elsewhere.

3. Athletic ability: Many martial arts require varied movement and skill sets which will help your child create useful athletic adaptations such as increased speed, strength, power, coordination and cardiovascular output.

4. Transferable skills: A lot of the athletic adaptations above are learned through skills that can easily be adapted to other sports. Running, jumping, kicking, punching (throwing) and learning how to fall and tumble are skills that can help in other sports and in everyday activities.

 

5. Self confidence: In the same way that (with a good instructor) an aggressive child can be humbled through physically oppressive situations, a timid student can be encouraged to overcome adversity with appropriate challenges. If a smaller student develops good technique and is able to overcome a larger and more physically imposing student, this can be a huge confidence builder and may teach the student to take on bigger and bigger challenges in life.

 

6. Respect: In most martial arts, there is a system of hierarchy or a belt system. Students are required to show respect to their teachers and other students who are higher up on the ladder than they are. The higher belt students are not always the biggest and the strongest or oldest, so this system teaches children a more sophisticated form of respect. They are also often asked to help newer students to learn. I have personally seen children learning to become more helpful to their parents and of younger children and to become more respectful of their elders outside of their classes.

7. Focus: Not to take away from the value of play, but it is important for school age children to appropriately discern time to play and time to focus. A good martial arts instructor will implement both in their classes to teach their students to focus when necessary. Being more skillful always leads to more options.

8. Teamwork and relationships: Many martial arts require a partner to learn various techniques. Working with a partner in such an integrated way requires the student to be able to assess and adapt to the other person’s mood, energy level, physical ability and personality. This can teach the student patience, tolerance, acceptance and many other valuable  characteristics to help build strong friendships and relationships.

Blog: How to Not Fail Your Resolutions Part One

Blog: How to Not Fail Your Resolutions Part One

It’s that time of year again: make 10 resolutions, start 3 of them seriously and then fail at meeting any of them by the end of February (March if you are lucky). According to statistics, only 8% of Americans are actually successful in achieving their intentions…womp womp. Why the annual ritual? If it were simply a matter of willpower and determination, more people would be able to make significant changes each January. As it turns out, you actually need a plan, one that works!

We can help you plan to stick to those fitness and health resolutions- like for real.

1) Know yourself

Know your limits (time, physical, emotional, etc), your likes, your dislikes and your preferences. Don’t pick workouts that you won’t enjoy, or are too difficult or too easy for you. Don’t try to commit to an hour of gym time a day if you know your job and your commute doesn’t allow for that. If you like challenges, pick something challenging. If you don’t, that’s ok too. It doesn’t matter what your preferences are. Just be honest with yourself, and you raise the likelihood of sticking with something.

Practice honesty in evaluating your starting point. If you haven’t worked out since last February, maybe signing up for advanced level boot camp isn’t the best idea. If you are shy working out in front of others, maybe you should steer clear of commercial gyms and try something smaller. If you know that you suck at basketball, and you’d rather not feel embarrassed than actually learn how to play, then don’t agree to play with your friends who have similar resolutions. Find what you are good at and do that. If you do like learning new things, try something you have never done before. If you are not the type to motivate yourself, workout with a buddy or sign up for a class. If you work better at your own pace, hire a personal trainer. Whatever plan you make, just make sure it starts where you do.

Finally, be aware of your patterns in the past. What made you give up last time? How can you make sure that you don’t run into the same issue? Don’t sign up for sessions 3 times a week if you know historically you can only handle one or two. Do you tend to go into things full throttle and then lose your steam quickly? Pace yourself. Do you tend to take it too easy on yourself? Ask someone else to kick your butt!

2) Make small goals and move one step at a time

Is one of your resolutions to lose weight? Great! Now what…Plan! OK, so you want to lose weight. What are you going to do about that this month? What are you going to do about it this week? What are you going to do about it today? WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW?! Ah, now you see…Don’t reach for one ambiguous goal; split it up into manageable and specific steps! Not sure how to do that? Do some research or hire someone who does know. It IS worth the investment, because if you are unable to plan, failure is imminent! Construct a realistic timeline. Have an overall goal in mind, then break down that goal into monthly or weekly increments. Create an action plan for each day. This way you won’t bite off more than you can chew.

3) Be realistic

Make sure your goals are actually attainable and sustainable. Don’t sacrifice more than you are comfortable with. Don’t give up anything that you know you might regret (perhaps that absolutely-no-carbs diet is a bit extreme considering how much you love bread?), or make plans that involve things you hate (not a morning person? Yea those 6am workouts aren’t going to last). Health and fitness require constant commitment. You need to be able to sustain your efforts. Remember, if the goal is health related, make sure your workout plan isn’t making you more unhealthy by stressing you out ( i.e. making you lose sleep, making you adopt poor eating habits or sacrificing too much time from your family).

If you are working 80+ hours a week, perhaps training for a marathon is not the greatest idea; you might not get the sleep you need. If you want to bench over 300lbs by the end of the month and have a hard time getting up 85lbs today, you might be in for some disappointment. If having a six pack means that you have to eat food that you hate, then that six pack is probably not going to last for long. You either need to change your goal, or change your plan. Again, the outside perspective of a professional could be very valuable to help you understand this distinction.

4) Celebrate baby steps

So you did some investigation and created a realistic plan with micro goals that works for your personality. Now it’s important that you recognize the achievement of your smaller goals. If your goal is something that will take a lot of time and effort, and you do not acknowledge the smaller steps you have taken to get where you are, it can be hard to see progress and you may be discouraged. Plus, once you see the results, and you know the effort it took to get there, it can help you get back on track if you happen to slip. It’s ok to mess up every once in a while, in fact, unavoidable. A plan will orient you back to the right path.

In the next 2 blogs, part 2 and 3, we will talk more specifically about fitness resolutions and what contributes to success and failure. Good luck!

Our Student Inspires Us with a Geriatric Rap

Our Student Inspires Us with a Geriatric Rap

A privilege that comes with teaching is getting to know students and their incredible life stories. One such individual is Dev … She is 89 year-old survivor of cancer, a retired occupational therapist and all-around badass. While getting to know Dev, she explained that confronting cancer gave her the nerve to follow an interest in acting. She found it to be a profoundly liberating experience and performance helped Dev to find a strong voice in the form of poetic, on-stage expression. We wanted to share with you a fruit of her labor.

This Youtube Video is of Dev performing her, “Geriatric Rap.” Apologies for the faint sound. Turn up the volume on your speaker. This spoken word performance is worth the watch! The Geriatric Rap describes Dev’s experience as a Jewish woman growing up in a NYC landscape before it was deeply carved by the liberal politics that characterize the City in this present day. Her bravery and joy in performing are a pleasure to watch. Her message and story are important for us to witness. She inspires us to find the gumption to confront life with the same level of guts she has and continues to with much success.

Enjoy!

Leonardo DaVinci and the Brain

We all know that Leonardo da Vinci is a renowned Renaissance artist with incredibly recognizable work: the Mona Lisa, the Vitruvian Man.  But what catches our art-loving eye is his work with anatomy.  Here’s a quick synopsis according to Wikipedia of what his anatomy work entailed:

Leonardo’s formal training in the anatomy of the human body began with his apprenticeship to Andrea del Verrocchio, who insisted that all his pupils learn anatomy. As an artist, he quickly became master of topographic anatomy, drawing many studies of musclestendonsand other visible anatomical features. He studied the mechanical functions of the skeleton and the muscular forces that are applied to it in a manner that prefigured the modern science of biomechanics. He drew the heart and vascular system, the sex organs and other internal organs, making one of the first scientific drawings of a fetus in utero.

He did all this during a time when the Establishment wanted to vilify anybody interested in serious, scientific study of the human body as a heretic. Leonardo is considered to be one of the first true scientists.  He was especially forward in his intense study and beautifully accurate rendering of the human brain, “which he believed was the key to understanding the relationship between the senses and the soul.”He was one of the first to find and map out the ventricles of the brain. We wanted to share some of these staggering works with you.  If you want to learn more about Leonardo’s contribution to neuroscience start here Behind the Canvas.

skull2

brain3The brain of an ox injected to demonstrate the shape of the cerecns

“Why Not You?” A Mother’s Inspiring Weight Loss Story

 

Amazing change!

Before she was pregnant Amelia Estrella was a full-time, bellydancer, personal trainer, fitness instructor and B-Girl; making good use of her dance major from Hunter.  During her first pregnancy she was put on bed rest and gained 80 lbs.  Before she could lose the weight she found out she was pregnant again when her first son turned 3 months old.  Deciding she needed a change, Amelia went from 279 lbs to 165 lbs.  That’ s a 114 lbs. weight loss in 14 months of her second child being born she. Here’s her story:

An Inspirational Monday: Don’t Stop Moving!

Here’s a fair amount of inspiration to help you start the week strong.  Mondays can often be characterized by our hesitancy to let go of the weekend and start the rat race.  So whether you’re having a hard time starting the week off with excitement or even having a hard time getting into your movement practice here’s what you need to get started.  We have really awesome friends on facebook, so if you want to keep seeing cool videos that they post then you should “like” us and then “like” them.  That being said, Enjoy!

The first video comes from Elephant Journal, which is full of awesome yoga-related news, environmental news and social commentary.  Fun!  This man’s story is an incredible testament to the power of faith and perseverance.  Warning: You Will Cry!

This second video shares the importance of play for the body, mind and spirit.  Again, this man’s attitude about having fun on a daily basis proves that this is the way to total health and well being.  Watch and learn; he’s pretty much a genius.

Find more inspiring video, audio, and images at Growing Bolder.