The Freshest Nutrition Bars Ever Created by Brittney Hogan

 

Last month, Instagram health enthusiast, Jeanette Ogden - also popularly known by her cheeky Instagram handle @shutthekaleup - invited her followers out to the Perfect Bar headquarters. After hearing about Perfect Bar around town, Team Virago headed out to see what all the hype was about. We were greeted by only the friendliest of people - Jeanette Ogden herself, her faithful followers, and the staff of Perfect Bar. Of course, we immediately started in on our questioning:

"So, what makes this bar so 'perfect'"?

"Is it organic?"

"Is it gluten free?"

"Will I understand all of the ingredients?"

Turns out, they had all the right answers, and we quickly realized that this is a product Virago can stand behind. It is gluten free, and totally organic (hence why you'll see these bad boys in the refrigerated aisle at your local grocery market). These perfect bars are non-GMO, soy free, contain 13 grams of whole food protein, and are packed with "20+ expertly-hidden superfoods to get the perfect combo of taste and nutrition" (Perfect Bar, 2017). 

That's all great, but how does it taste? We opened up the bars and all took a bite, looked at each other and smiled. These bars are indeed perfect. They're great for you and they are effing delicious. Not to mention they have a great story, and if there's one thing Virago is a sucker for, it is an inspiring story. Read Perfect Bar's story here

Grab a Perfect Bar

If you didn't know, now you know. Go grab a Perfect Bar pack today.

Can't choose between all of their delicious flavors? No worries! Click below to buy their variety pack and try them all.  

Coloring Books and Post Traumatic Growth by JIllian Marshall

You already know that #TeamVirago loves to use fitness for post-traumatic growth, but on days of rest (or rainy #Spring days that keep you from getting your sweat on) coloring in a coloring book can be just as good for your well being as a shot of aerobic endorphins.  It’s actually those [seemingly harmless] stuck-inside-on-a–gloomy-day-moments-of-boredom that have been proven to be most detrimental for people going through a hard time. “Boredom, lack of structure, and stress are some of the greatest triggers that exist” says Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, “but the time and focus that adult coloring takes helps the individual remove the focus from the negative issues and habits, and focus them in a safe and productive way.”

 

Coloring books and the act of coloring are also useful to those who have PTSD.  After trauma, the part of your brain (the amygdala) that controls “emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation — is hyperactive.” Coloring in a coloring book can actually decrease activity in the agitated amygdala, “which helps calm you down in moments of heightened stress” says Erin Maynard, President of PTSD Survivors of America.

This colorful and trending adult pass time also has meditative benefits. According to art therapist and owner of Bloom Counseling Rebecca Bloom “tasks with predictable results like coloring create changes in your heart rate and brainwaves, allowing you to focus and get some of the benefits of meditation without the training and time it usually takes to focus.”

Lest we forget, it’s also f******* fun! So download this image and add some color to your world like a bad ass Virago.

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Boston Marathon Runner Samantha Poccia Runs For Great Cause by Brittney Hogan

Our latest Virago Warrior, Samantha Poccia of @WellBySamantha, is running the Boston Marathon this year with the Brigham Women's Hospital Gillian Reny Foundation for Trauma Innovation. Gillian Reny was a victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing where her leg was severely injured. Because of the fantastic care she received at Brigham Women's Hospital Gillian is able to walk today. Samantha is committed to fundraising for this cause; help her reach her goal of 9k!

Beginning today until May 15th, 20% of all proceeds generated from the Virago Fitness website will be donated to Samantha's goal of $9K. Thank you for your support!

Gillian Reny - Survivor of Boston Marathon Bombing

Gillian Reny - Survivor of Boston Marathon Bombing

Is Sports Fitness Hypnosis Right For You? by Brittney Hogan

 

Demystifying hypnosis

Hypnosis is nothing new. It has been around for thousands of years. However, given Hollywood’s interpretation of hypnosis, it is very misunderstood. Hypnosis is a state of human consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestions. The term "hypnosis" comes from the Greek word hypnos meaning "sleep", and the suffix –osis: "put to sleep”. It has been used in many different capacities over the years. My role, as a sport hypnotist, is to use it strictly for enhancing athletic/fitness performance. To help in understanding the role hypnosis plays, it is best to understand what it is not, and talk about some of the myths that exist around it. Once the myths are taken care of then I can talk about how it can help.
 

MYTHS

1. WILL I FEEL HYPNOTIZED?

No you will not feel hypnotized, which can be confusing due to what people see at stage shows, where people are made to do many funny things. If you asked them they would say they didn’t feel hypnotized because they heard everything that was being said. There is a myth out there that while hypnotized you won’t hear anything. The reality is you will hear everything, but from time to time you may drift off and not be paying full attention to what is said, but this happens all the time anyway and is completely normal.

2. WILL I STILL BE IN CONTROL?

Yes, you will still be in control. When you are doing hypnosis for sports/fitness you will still be in full control. The hypnotist will not be able to make you do anything you truly do not want to do. You will only accept suggestions that you want to accept.

 

WHAT IS SPORTS/FITNESS HYPNOSIS?

Now that we have demystified hypnosis, let’s take a look at what sports/fitness hypnosis is all about and why it works so well. The reason sports/fitness hypnosis works so well is because the body responds to commands from the mind much like a robot responds to commands from the programmer. You are in charge. You tell your body what to do.

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:

When you read a book, do you generate emotions inside your body? What is an emotion? An emotion is a biochemical change. Now, would you ever say that the words on the page created the biochemical change? No, but what did create the biochemical change was your interpretation of the words. You interpreted the words in such a way that it created a thought. That thought became so realistic that your body created a biochemical shift inside your body as if you were actually in the story line.

So the purpose of sports hypnosis is to create images and thoughts in the mind that are so realistic that they create a biochemical change in the body, that then makes the body feel like it is actually there.

The traits you need mentally, emotionally and physically for success you already possess within. With the assistance of sports/fitness hypnosis you can gain access to these abilities and experience the reality of your potential. You are capable of being the athlete you wish to be!

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SPORTS HYPNOSIS?

One of sports/fitness hypnosis’s main benefits over some other forms of Psychology is its ability in accessing unconscious behaviors rapidly. It is often easy for an athlete to be aware of their ‘problem’ but solving it is another matter when they retain unconscious motivations to keep it alive.


SOME OF THE WAYS HYPNOSIS CAN HELP ARE:

  • Focusing on success, strategy (how to get into the success zone when you need to)
  • Overcoming mental blocks and barriers
  • Reinforcing self-belief, motivation and positive thinking
  • Revisit a previous good performance and set up anchors to trigger that resourceful state again when required.
  • Good nutrition instillation
  • Increase strength: Weight lifting - increase bench press by 30% through hypnosis.

If you want to find out if sports/fitness hypnosis could benefit you

please contact me at kate@qpathlete.com and I would be happy to set up a free 45 min consultation to discuss your needs and goals and if it is a right fit. Hypnosis does not have to be done in person to be beneficial, so even if you can’t make it to my office in San Diego hypnosis may still be right for you! 


KATE ALLGOOD - SPORTS PERFORMANCE PSYCHOLOGIST

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Kate Allgood, founder of Quantum Performance, is a sports psychology coach and the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Get Into the Zone: The Essential Guide to High Performance Through Mental Training. She has a BS in psychology from Brock University and a dual masters in general and sport psychology, with a concentration in family psychology, from Capella University. Allgood has been excelling at hockey since she was 6-years-old, was pegged as a potential candidate for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and was even recognized as one of the best female athletes in Canada where she was born. Kateʼs approach as a sports psychology coach comes from a combination of her experience as an elite athlete and different techniques that utilize her certifications in Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), TAIS Testing, and sports hypnosis. Allgoodʼs passion is helping athletesenhance their mental skills and focus to achieve peak performances. Clients have included professional, semi-professional, high school, collegiate athletes, fitness enthusiasts, as well as Navy Seals.

 

Natural Remedies 3 Of Our Military Veterans Used to Combat PTSD by Brittney Hogan

 

By Rachael Mynatt

It is a battle only the individual understands. A personal fight of post-traumatic stress is combatted and fulfilled differently in each case.

Medication may be prescribed and successfully suppress multiple symptoms, yet there is still a yearning of something more; something natural and fulfilling.

The adrenaline rush of working out; community involvement; the peace of nature; the presence of God; and the companionship with animals have proven to be therapeutic.

Our own Veterans and their family members tell their own stories of the natural ways in which they fought PTSD:


Fitness/Crossfit

Thomas Whiteway, United States Marine Corps Veteran

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“At 21 my dream of having a career in the Marine Corps was over. I was left with a brain injury, PTSD, and no direction for my life. I decided to try CrossFit and instantly found my drive. For the past 7 years I have set goals, worked hard and stayed dedicated to bettering myself through fitness. It has changed my life and helped me immensely with my PTSD. It gives me a place to let out frustrations, to find that adrenaline I crave, a place to relate to others and connect with people in my community. Most of all it gives me ambition to live life, to deal with my issues head on but not let them debilitate me and hinder me from enjoying everything life has to give.”

Outdoors/Faith

Sergeant First Class Bradley Lee, United States Army

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“After Afghanistan, I really struggled with learning how to balance the professional life with my family life. My head always hurt and as a result, I found myself constantly angry for no reason, stressed out, or just plain lost. I grew up hunting and fishing and loved being in the outdoors. So as my “therapy”, I went to the wilderness as much as I could. I learned to talk to God while sitting on a hill top, just staring into the wild. I found that the solitude of nature was good for my soul; it calmed me and gave me balance. The more I did it, the better I was able to manage myself when I returned to home and work. A few years later, I got my first horse. I didn’t even know how to ride. I quickly learned that he was more in tune to me, than I him. Many days, when those demons would start creeping up, I would just stand in pasture and let him rest his head on my shoulder. Those moments really crushed the demons. Still to this day, a trip to the woods or some time with a horse do more for my well-being than any medication the doctors ever tried on me. During my trials, I became a believer, and now I place all problems in God’s hands. Nothing is more holistic than a few prayers, a trip to the woods, a pond, or a horse ride.”

Horses/Animals

United States Army Veteran Spouse

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“He returned home with a lack of emotion; a sense of avoidance. Every day seemed like a fight of restlessness and anxiety that stemmed from an unknown source. He constantly stressed about where his life was going, what he wanted to do. He was an avid fitness junkie but that just never did it. He was never a man of routine; he needed spontaneity, a challenge. The moment he got on a horse, it just clicked. There was a spiritual connection that was lit that day, and has burned like mad ever since. When he is on that horse, he is alive. His horse allows him to be emotionally vulnerable. His horse gives him the rush he craves, yet calms him at the same time. They are an unbreakable team of mutual hard work and respect. My husband’s experience with horses has given him a purpose. It has brought out the life in him.”

 

What inspires and fulfills each of us is different.

Regardless- there is something to be said of the healing aspects of the natural life around us.

Fitness, nature, faith, animals, community- are all powerful. 


Rachael Mynatt

Rachael earned her BS in Health and Exercise Science from Colorado State University. She has a variety of experience in preventative health settings as well as rehabilitation clinics. She has worked as an Educator and Marketing Coordinator in Wellness Centers as well as assisting Physical Therapists with treatment programs and rehabilitation. Rachael is a yoga instructor of two extremes: Sculpt Yoga and Medical Yoga and Meditation. She is a firm believer in exercise as medicine. 

In 2013, Rachael moved to Vicenza, Italy to be reunited with her husband stationed overseas.  Rachael began working in the Army Wellness Center performing health assessments, exercise testing, marketing campaigns, and was selected to instruct Medical Yoga and Meditation to physically and mentally broken soldiers and referrals of Behavioral Health. While instructing, she emphasized mind-body awareness and the utilization of low-intensity movement and postures. Medical Yoga and Meditation is meant to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination, as well as develop mind-body integration and self-regulation skills.

"I believe mindset and self-regulation are powerful tools. There is nothing more fulfilling than the sound of a soldier suffering from insomnia and PTSD snoring throughout guided meditation. Instructing our broken military men and women has inspired me and motivated me to create an impact. It is our duty to create positive change."

 

DR EMILY POCCIA'S NATURE CURE SERIES : TIP #5 - Eat Whole Foods by Brittney Hogan

 

DR EMILY POCCIA, ND, EXPLAINS IN THIS 5 PART VIRBLOGO SERIES HOW A LITTLE CONCIOUSNESS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE CAN HAVE INTENSE HEALTH BENEFITS BY INCORPORATING THESE NATURE CURES INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINES.

Nature cure is about getting back to the basics. It encompasses elements of life that make us thrive and heal. Many illnesses and diseases today are derived from our lifestyles and can be prevented with some attention to these basic, yet essential human needs. Here's #4.

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Eat Whole Foods From The Earth

Food is what fuels our bodies, our cells and is critical for our energy and health. Diet is perhaps one of the most talked about and controversial discussions in health today. You may ask yourself on a daily basis, “Should I eat Paleo or gluten free? Or maybe I should become a raw vegan!” Today we are not going to discuss a certain diet per se, but more about a way to choose your food.

Grocery stores have made it easier and easier to get all sorts of food into our home and into our mouths, but you may want to think about these simple guidelines before opening a package of Oreos.

Guideline #1- The most nutritious foods are whole foods that come from earth. These are foods that are not tampered with to get an end product and come directly from the earth. These would include fruits, vegetables, dried beans, nuts and seeds. They are high in fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins essential for our health.

Guideline #2- There is only 1 ingredient- the food itself! No additives, preservative or chemicals.

Guideline #3- Eat the rainbow- and I’m not talking about skittles here, I’m talking about colorful, fruits and vegetables! If you think about getting in all your colors then you will be making sure to get a variety of foods that offer an array of vitamins and nutrients.

Guideline #4- Buy organic when possible. Unfortunately there are a lot of genetically modified crops circulating out there, which interfere with our hormones. Hopefully these guidelines help to boost your health and increase your vitality. I’m not saying you can’t add other things to your diet, but just try to add more of these whole foods.

When picking foods that have more than 1 ingredient make sure that all or most of the ingredients are whole foods themselves.

Most importantly make sure what you’re eating is tailored to you! If you have a sensitivity to a food then take it out!

References: 

http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/whole_advantages.html


Dr. Emily Poccia

Dr. Emily Poccia offers a Family Medicine practice at RestorMedicine in San Diego with a primary focus in the treatment and management of chronic Lyme disease. She graduated from Southwest Collage of Naturopathic Medicine in 2014 and moved to San Diego soon after. Originally from Connecticut she is no stranger to Lyme Disease and felt a need to support this population through their health journey. She was trained by Lyme literate doctor and author of, “The Beginner’s Guide to Lyme”, and “Lyme Brain”, Dr. Nicola Ducharme. 

Dr. Emily is highly committed to using Naturopathic principles that are centered around supporting the body’s innate ability to heal itself and treating the whole person. She does this by using diagnostic testing to find the root cause of illness then supports the body’s healing process using natural therapies like botanical medicine, nutrition, gemstone energy medicine, nutritional supplementation, homeopathy and nutritional IV’s. Her goal, whether you have a chronic illness or any health concern, is to support all dimensions of your health- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic. Dr. Emily believes strongly in doctor as teacher, a principle that allows her to empower her patients and their families so they can take an active role in their health and live healthier lives.

You can find out more about Dr. Emily, the practice, and schedule appointments at RestorMedicine.com. She also hosts lectures on different health topics, and be sure to check out her personal blog called High Five to Health.

Follow her on Instagram / @highfivetohealth and visit her blog / www.highfivetohealth.org

 

DR EMILY POCCIA'S NATURE CURE SERIES : TIP #4 - GET RESTFUL SLEEP by Brittney Hogan

 

DR EMILY POCCIA, ND, EXPLAINS IN THIS 5 PART VIRBLOGO SERIES HOW A LITTLE CONCIOUSNESS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE CAN HAVE INTENSE HEALTH BENEFITS BY INCORPORATING THESE NATURE CURES INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINES.

Nature cure is about getting back to the basics. It encompasses elements of life that make us thrive and heal. Many illnesses and diseases today are derived from our lifestyles and can be prevented with some attention to these basic, yet essential human needs. Here's #4.

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GET RESTFUL SLEEP

Are you one of those people who only needs 4 or 5 hours of sleep to function? Although that may seem true lets take a closer look at how important restful sleep can be. When talking about sleep we normally hear about how getting 8 hours of sleep a night is ideal. While this is true it is also important to know that the time you go to sleep and the quality of that sleep plays a big role as well.

Ideally the best time to go to sleep is between 10 and 11pm and wake at 6 or 7 am. This time of night is when our cortisol levels (stress hormone) and temperature start to naturally drop and melatonin (our sleep hormone) is stimulated in the pineal gland in the brain.

Our sleep cycle is directly affected by light and darkness so as it become darker our brain knows to produce melatonin to go to sleep. When we miss this window of time to go to bed our circadian rhythms are thrown off and we may miss the most restful part of sleep! Everyone is different so find the timing that works best for you to go to sleep but try to stick to a schedule so your brain can pick up on that pattern.

When we are sleeping this is the time when the immune system reboots itself, thus increasing our immune functions and even our life span!

Memory is also improved. When sleeping the new things we are trying to learn during the day are laid down with more permanence in the brain leading to better memory and learning skills.

It also enhances our attention for the next day. Sleep is required for our nervous system to work properly and to balance our neurotransmitters. People with sleep deprivation or insomnia may have issues with mood, hallucinations, nervousness and more.

Sleep can help curve inflammatory markers that lead to heart disease, arthritis and even allergies.

It also helps regulate our weight by increasing metabolism and directing our body to break down more fat. The part of the brain that controls sleep also controls metabolism. So when there is sleep deprivation certain hormones increase in the blood that drive appetite.

References:

http://www.byrdie.com/best-time-to-sleep

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10608-014-9651-7#page-2

http://time.com/3183183/you-asked-whats-the-ideal-time-to-go-to-sleep/


Dr. Emily Poccia

Dr. Emily Poccia offers a Family Medicine practice at RestorMedicine in San Diego with a primary focus in the treatment and management of chronic Lyme disease. She graduated from Southwest Collage of Naturopathic Medicine in 2014 and moved to San Diego soon after. Originally from Connecticut she is no stranger to Lyme Disease and felt a need to support this population through their health journey. She was trained by Lyme literate doctor and author of, “The Beginner’s Guide to Lyme”, and “Lyme Brain”, Dr. Nicola Ducharme. 

Dr. Emily is highly committed to using Naturopathic principles that are centered around supporting the body’s innate ability to heal itself and treating the whole person. She does this by using diagnostic testing to find the root cause of illness then supports the body’s healing process using natural therapies like botanical medicine, nutrition, gemstone energy medicine, nutritional supplementation, homeopathy and nutritional IV’s. Her goal, whether you have a chronic illness or any health concern, is to support all dimensions of your health- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic. Dr. Emily believes strongly in doctor as teacher, a principle that allows her to empower her patients and their families so they can take an active role in their health and live healthier lives.

You can find out more about Dr. Emily, the practice, and schedule appointments at RestorMedicine.com. She also hosts lectures on different health topics, and be sure to check out her personal blog called High Five to Health.

Follow her on Instagram / @highfivetohealth and visit her blog / www.highfivetohealth.org

 

DR EMILY POCCIA'S NATURE CURE SERIES : TIP #3 - Get Adequate Sunlight by Brittney Hogan

 

DR EMILY POCCIA, ND, EXPLAINS IN THIS 5 PART VIRBLOGO SERIES HOW A LITTLE CONCIOUSNESS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE CAN HAVE INTENSE HEALTH BENEFITS BY INCORPORATING THESE NATURE CURES INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINES.

Nature cure is about getting back to the basics. It encompasses elements of life that make us thrive and heal. Many illnesses and diseases today are derived from our lifestyles and can be prevented with some attention to these basic, yet essential human needs. Here's #3.

Get Adequate Sunlight

Sunlight is extremely important to our health. Ever wonder why there is seasonal depression in some parts of the world? The places with the highest incidents are places with less sunlight!

Sunlight activates the Vitamin D in our body. Vitamin D plays a big role in our mood, in maintaining bone density and maintaining our immune system. Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with autoimmune disease. In order to get enough Vitamin D from the sun you must be out in the sun ideally when the sun is the strongest (noon) and allow for your bare skin to be exposed (ideally your chest or back or any large area of skin) for 10-15 minutes, or just long enough for the skin to start to turn pink.

Sunlight has a multitude of benefits. It was used to disinfect and heal wounds in World War I. It can heal skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema, fungal infections, and acne. The sun has the ability to convert cholesterol in the blood into steroid hormones and sex hormones needed for reproduction. It can help reduce blood pressure by dilating blood vessels and also increasing the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood-(it’s ability to deliver oxygen to the tissues).

The best way to get sunlight is to get exposure slowly. This will decrease the risk of sunburns. Another great way to reduce burning is to increase your antioxidant levels. Look for dark red, blue and purple foods and herbs like blueberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries, elderberries, and barberries to name a few.

See Emily's Nature Cure Tip #2 here.

READ MORE FROM DR. EMILY AT WWW.HIGHFIVETOHEALTH.ORG


Dr. Emily Poccia

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Dr. Emily Poccia offers a Family Medicine practice at RestorMedicine in San Diego with a primary focus in the treatment and management of chronic Lyme disease. She graduated from Southwest Collage of Naturopathic Medicine in 2014 and moved to San Diego soon after. Originally from Connecticut she is no stranger to Lyme Disease and felt a need to support this population through their health journey. She was trained by Lyme literate doctor and author of, “The Beginner’s Guide to Lyme”, and “Lyme Brain”, Dr. Nicola Ducharme. 

Dr. Emily is highly committed to using Naturopathic principles that are centered around supporting the body’s innate ability to heal itself and treating the whole person. She does this by using diagnostic testing to find the root cause of illness then supports the body’s healing process using natural therapies like botanical medicine, nutrition, gemstone energy medicine, nutritional supplementation, homeopathy and nutritional IV’s. Her goal, whether you have a chronic illness or any health concern, is to support all dimensions of your health- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic. Dr. Emily believes strongly in doctor as teacher, a principle that allows her to empower her patients and their families so they can take an active role in their health and live healthier lives.

You can find out more about Dr. Emily, the practice, and schedule appointments at RestorMedicine.com. She also hosts lectures on different health topics, and be sure to check out her personal blog called High Five to Health.

Follow her on Instagram / @highfivetohealth and visit her blog / www.highfivetohealth.org

 

10 Things your trainer wishes you would ask before your workout by Brittney Hogan

 

1) What should I eat before I workout?

The perfect snack before a workout is a banana.  This whole, natural food packs a one-two punch of powerful electrolytes and quick-digesting carbs.  To top it off, the banana contains about 12 grams of sugar (the good kind!)- the fiber in the banana controls the release of the sugar, giving you sustained energy throughout your workout!  As a general rule of thumb, you should eat no sooner than one hour pre-workout.  Important: stear clear of synthetic pre-workout pills and drinks, which can contain dangerous amounts of caffeine which can lead to heart arrhythmias by elevating your heart rate to very high levels.

2)  What should I eat after I workout?

Post-workout, a good mix of protein and carbs will help to replenish your glycogen stores.  Steamed veggies, a baked sweet potato, and some grilled chicken is a great example of a post-workout meal.  A smoothie with a handful of fresh leafy greens (spinach or kale are my personal favorites!), an all-natural protein powder, and ½ cup of your favorite fruit is also a great after-workout meal replacement. Just make sure you eat within 60-90 minutes of finishing your workout to ensure that you are refueling your body and rebuilding muscle. View Virago's free Meal Plan here.

3) When should I arrive for a workout?  

On time or earlier if you want to get in some extra foam rolling or hop on the treadmill for a quick warm-up jog.  Your trainer has a planned warm-up for you, so arriving with enough time to complete the warm-up is crucial to maximize your workout and prevent injury.

4) What should I wear?  

Athletic clothing can boost your confidence and give you one extra reason to be excited for your workout!  The proper gear can enhance your workout.  Sweat-wicking fabric, the right fit and making sure you have the appropriate gear for the weather (when doing an outdoor workout) can make or break your workout experience.  Try a variety of clothing brands and styles to find your perfect fit. Virago’s performance-enhancing workout gear is my go-to for athletic clothing that enhances my athletic performance and helps me look good while working out!

5) What type of shoes should I wear?  

Your shoes are exercise specific; for instance, if you are going for a 5 mile run, you should wear shoes that are specifically designed for running.  For a crossfit workout, a lifting shoe or cross-trainer is the best bet.  In general, a good cross training shoe that can be adapted to multiple types of exercise will work well across the board for most group exercise and boot camp style classes; more specific types of exercise, such as running, call for more particular footwear.

6) What type of exercise will help me get the best results?

The best part of working out is that physical fitness is not “one size fits all”- this means that you get to try as many types of exercise as you want to in order to find the one (or many!) forms of fitness that you enjoy the most!  The best exercise for you is one that you enjoy doing- the more you enjoy an activity, the more likely you will be to sustain that behavior.  So get out there and explore all of the different workouts that are available to you!

7) Should I be worried about this pain in my shoulder/back/knee?  

Informing your trainer or group instructor of any aches/pains/current and or former injuries is very important as it allows your instructor to modify exercises that could potentially cause discomfort or worsen injuries in any problem areas.  Always let your instructor know if you are experiencing discomfort, and she should be able to offer you some modifications that will enable to you to perform any exercise, pain free.

8) I have to leave early- is that ok?  

Informing your trainer of an earlier-than-expected departure allows her to modify your workout to ensure you still get the most benefit for your time in the gym, as well as allowing for a proper cool down and stretch phase.  Leaving a workout a bit early may be necessary in order to fit in your fitness while also maintaining a busy work/life balance, however bolting from a workout when you’re still in a full sweat, your heart racing, and your muscles not properly stretched out is a recipe for injury.  A proper cool down is an integral part of the workout and time must be allotted for the post-workout recovery period.

9) I saw this really cool workout on Instagram- can I ask my trainer to try it out in our next session?  

Asking your trainer about new workout techniques that appeal to you is a great way to be an active consumer of your fitness.  You are in ultimate control of how you workout- we are much more likely to continue with activities which we enjoy doing, so asking your trainer to incorporate an exercise that appeals to you is absolutely encouraged!  After all, the only workout worth doing is one you look forward to, so do not be afraid to approach your trainer with feedback on areas you would like to change up.  Any trainer worth her salt will gladly apply any constructive feedback and integrate your input into your workout routines!

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10) I only got 3 hours of sleep last night - is that bad?  

Lack of sleep can definitely impact your performance in the gym.  Inadequate rest can cause elevated heart rate, making you fatigue more quickly during exercise, and fatigue can increase your risk of injury.  Ok so for most of us, a solid 8 hours of sleep every night is just not happening- we all have busy lives full of work, school, family and friends, and often sleep can take a back seat to other activities for which we deem worthy of sacrificing our rest.  However, if you have a pre-scheduled workout session at 5am, plan accordingly- maybe skip the after-work happy hour, or set a time limit for your nighttime activities.  Remember: the sleep you get before midnight is most important.  So prioritize yourself, your fitness and your health and put systems in place to help maximize your shut-eye- 30 minutes before  bed, turn off all screens, try reading a book, or meditating.  Early morning workout life-hack: The night before your morning sweat session, take an extra 5 minutes to set out your workout outfit, neatly fold your clothing, and set your shoes and workout gear at the foot of your bed- that way, as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning you are ready to go!


Vera Ross - Personal Trainer - San Diego, CA

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For more fitness and healthy lifestyle tips,

follow Coach V on Instagram @coach_v_sd,

find her on Facebook or email her at vera@coachvsd.com

for information on personalized fitness plans! www.CoachVSD.com

 

20 Ways to Fit Exercise Into Your Vacation by Brittney Hogan

 

When I first started my career as a Flight Attendant it seemed like keeping up my regular fitness routine was going to be impossible. As an avid travel junkie who’s job keeps them on the road and in the air for half the month maintaining an active lifestyle outside of the airplane cabin did not seem possible.

One day, as I was sitting in my jump seat taxing out for takeoff with the cold damp streets of Toronto disappearing behind the wings of the plane, I realized I just couldn't keep making up excuses. Something had to change. 

 Now that my job required me to both sit and stand in tight crowds for long periods of time during any and every city’s cold season, sticking to my health and fitness goals was going to be vital to my long term wellness. I had to find a way to continue to make my healthy lifestyle a top priority no matter where I was in the world.

We are all creatures of habit so when we are out of our routines generally our goals and plans just go straight out the window! But you don't have to lose the momentum with your workouts and just because you have an incurable case of wanderlust. 
To ensure that fitness is a significant part of a nomadic lifestyle you have to link Pleasure to movement. If exercising and working out is a giant pain for you then you need to look at what kind of exercising you are participating in. 

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week to prevent heart disease, stoke and to improve the quality of your cardiovascular system. The following list is a compilation of travel-friendly activities that will burn off the careless calories that come with any family vacation or business trip. These fun physical activities will not only allow you to get your workouts and exercise in but will also allow you to discover the area in which you are visiting. No one likes feeling left out while on vacation so these exercises will be a sure hit for everyone!


 1.   Biking


 2.   Roller Skating


 3.   Rollerblading


 4.  Yoga (Go Zen out and meet some locals)


 5.   Dancing (Hit a local dance studio, bar or nightclub)


 6.   Hiking


7. Walking


 8.  SWIMMING


 9.  SEX! (MY FAVORITE!!!) 


10. Rock Climbing

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 11.  PILATES
 

12. HORSEBACK RIDING
 

13. SKATEBOARDING (GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INNER CHILD? ;)

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14. Surfing


15. Golf


16. Jogging/Running

17. USE THE STAIRS INSTEAD OF THE LIFT AT YOUR HOTEL


18. SKIING


19. SNOWBOARDING

 

20. Playing ball with the kids at a local park


   Finding out what traditional sport or perhaps dance that the locals enjoy is a great way to learn something new and is also a great way to link pleasure to movement.

    No matter how big or small your workouts may be, the key is to keep moving and to praise yourself for keeping up the great work!


Kerrie Mitchell - Women's Empowerment + Health Coach

Kerrie Mitchell is a Women’s Empowerment and Health Coach and has been inspiring women since moving to Toronto, Canada from Melbourne Australia in 2012. After coaching many women over the years on their health and fitness goals, Kerrie’s end goal is to work with women who are ready to feel energized, alive and connected with their mind, body and soul and those who want to start living a truly fulfilled life that they deserve. Working as a Flight Attendant and specializing in women’s Health Coaching, Kerrie has found the balance between staying fit and healthy while on the road and maintaining a lifestyle that still reaches her own personal health goals. After completing her personal training certification and Health Coach certification with the Become a Health Coach Institute, Kerrie works one-on-one with her clients so they receive a personalized and memorable experience. Kerrie Loves to travel, meet new amazing people, eat awesome food, swing a Kettlebell and dance to really awesome 90’s RnB.

Her true love is a good conversation over a perfect cup of coffee!

http://kerrieemitchell.com/

 

 

 

 

 

6 Yoga Poses to Combat Pre-Flight Anxiety by Brittney Hogan

 

I don't know about you, but I am not the biggest fan of flying. As irrational as it may be, I always find myself becoming extremely anxious when I board a plane. However, since being the president of Virago Fitness has made traveling inevitable, I decided to do an experiment. 

We all know that yoga is a great tool for combatting stress and anxiety, so I decided to try it out before jumping on the plane last week. I have to say, it helped tremendously. Naturally, because of my success with it, I had to share it with all of you!

The next time you find yourself anxious before a flight, try these six simple anxiety relieving poses:


Childs Pose

Childs pose helps release upper back, shoulder and neck strain. Also, by conscious steady breathing it can help calm the nervous system.

Extended Puppy Pose

While lengthening your spine, this pose helps relieve tension in your back and calms your mind.

Legs Up The Wall Pose

Legs up the wall pose relieves pressure in your hips, the lower back and also calms you by increasing focus on balancing.

Tree Pose

Believe it or not, the tree pose increases personal confidence. By taking a tall and empowered stance and practicing physical balance, you will also feel more balanced mentally and emotionally.

Seated Spinal Twist

The seated spinal twist not only combats anxiety, but it is also healthy for you. "When coming out of a twist, large amounts of stored tension is released. This relaxes your body delivering fresh blood and nutrients to your muscles and organs" (http://www.lexiyoga.com/poses/seated-twist).

Lotus

Ending with the best of them all, Rod Stryker writes in Yoga Journal, "While energizing the body, Padmasana [Lotus] can also be a profoundly calming and stabilizing pose. Lotus helps to maintain proper posture and spinal alignment, which facilitate the deep breathing necessary to obtain a meditative state" (http://www.yogajournal.com/article/advanced/full-bloom/). 

Did you know that the San Diego Airport has a Yoga and Reflection Room? Did you know that so do 8 other major airports across the US? Check them out here: https://www.seatmaestro.com/airport-meditation-rooms-9-spots-for-zen-on-the-go/

 

3 Secrets that will Extend New Year's Resolution Success by Brittney Hogan

 

It has been a month since the calendar switched to 2017, and right about now is the time when many people who made those wonderful New Year’s Resolutions start to fall off from what they had wanted and intended to do this upcoming year. There are a number of reasons why this occurs, but there are also a number of things you can do to stay on track. Here are a few tips to ensure this year’s resolution sticks beyond the first month or two of 2017.

Tip #1: Don’t put too much on your plate

I see this all the time. One year ends and another begins and all of sudden this is the only time of year people feel they can think about what they want to change or how they would like to grow. This emphasis on the New Year being synonymous with big change can cause many people to put too much on their plate at one time. It is important to have goals and a desire to change things, and the New Year is a good time to reflect, but growth is a process.

While you may want to change a few things over the next year, start one at a time. If your goal is to get to the gym four times a week and eat healthier this year, first try to get to the gym 4 times a week for a month or two. Let it become a habit before you add something else. Once you feel getting to the gym is more of a habit than a chore, start making changes to your nutrition.

Tip #2: Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Much in line with the first tip, be realistic about how much change you can implement but don’t forget that your goals should be as realistic as your expectations. If you try to change too much too quickly you will fail. If your objective is to go to the gym five times a week for an hour after you have been avoiding your gym for the last decade, there is a good chance your commitment to this resolution with end before your 30-day trial does.

Instead, begin your journey to change with the intention of progressing in stages. If your gym attendance goal is first set at three times a week in January, then four times a week in February, then five times a week by March you are much more likely to maintain the five times a week for a longer period of time, then just jumping right into it.

When I have my clients start to meditate for the first time, I don’t have them start off with 20 minutes. They would never do it. I have them start with five minutes sessions with the target of practicing five times a week. With time, when they make that a habit, we start to increase the time.

Tip #3: Make your resolutions habits

When you start something new it requires a good deal of willpower. When you are first trying to go to the gym it takes effort, and if that effort and self-discipline is not changed into a habit within the first month or two, then you will stop. We only have so much resolve.

Think of the habits you have - both good and bad - and how easy it is to do them when you're on autopilot. Now think go trying to do something that is not a habit. It takes a whole lot more effort. One of the reasons I start my clients off with five minutes of meditation is that I want them to create a habit around finding the time to sit and meditate. Once they do, increasing their focused time is easy.


KATE ALLGOOD - SPORTS PERFORMANCE PSYCHOLOGIST

Kate Allgood, founder of Quantum Performance, is a sports psychology coach and the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Get Into the Zone: The Essential Guide to High Performance Through Mental Training. She has a BS in psychology from Brock University and a dual masters in general and sport psychology, with a concentration in family psychology, from Capella University. Allgood has been excelling at hockey since she was 6-years-old, was pegged as a potential candidate for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and was even recognized as one of the best female athletes in Canada where she was born. Kateʼs approach as a sports psychology coach comes from a combination of her experience as an elite athlete and different techniques that utilize her certifications in Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), TAIS Testing, and sports hypnosis. Allgoodʼs passion is helping athletesenhance their mental skills and focus to achieve peak performances. Clients have included professional, semi-professional, high school, collegiate athletes, fitness enthusiasts, as well as Navy Seals.

 

The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Veterans Struggling with PTSD by Brittney Hogan

By Rachael Mynatt

Photo from YogaJournal

Photo from YogaJournal

I sat on my mat, looking at the blank faces of pain, of instability, of anxiety, of fear. The intimidation I felt sitting as a civilian instructor, attempting to relate and calm the physically and mentally broken veterans and soldiers of the Army, was immeasurable.

How could I relate?

I introduced myself, instructed them into Child’s Pose, and the class began. As I guided the class, I watched one man, then two, sit down in exhaustion and frustration. I felt an overwhelming sense of failure. But- I continued instructing. The men and women alternated taking breaks, wiping tears, and rocking back and forth.  

I cut the practice short, closed my eyes, and began guiding the soldiers into meditation. Just minutes in, I was interrupted - snoring. I was in disbelief. One of the men suffering an ongoing struggle with insomnia had fallen asleep. I guided this man into a deep sleep, each class, for the next year.

I moved to Vicenza, Italy in 2013 to reunite with my husband who was stationed at Caserma Ederle Army base. I had no previous experience working with the military upon arrival. Soon after working at the Army Wellness Center, I was selected to take over the Medical Yoga and Meditation program. The participants included soldiers and civilians referred by Behavioral Health and the Medical Command in hopes of gaining mental and physical strength and relief. Prior to teaching, I was informed by Behavioral Health the class would be difficult to instruct. My participants suffered from PTSD, insomnia, anxiety disorders, and physical injuries. Many had very limited movement, some extremely unsociable.

According to the National Center for PTSD, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault” (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2016). Symptoms may include: flashbacks; avoiding reminders of events; trouble sleeping; anxiety; feelings of hopelessness, shame or despair; depression; drinking or drug problems; etc.

 

PTSD affects 2.2% of the population and 20% of veterans. At least 22 American Veterans take their lives every day (PTSD Foundation of America).

 

Although there are multiple recommended medications and means of treating PTSD- the root of the problem is a loss of mindfulness; a loss of the ability to self-regulate and control the mind- a specific struggle the practice of yoga is meant to teach.

Yoga is an ancient meditation and religious practice dating back to the third century BCE. In Western society today, yoga has adapted into a popular practice for health enthusiasts and has become one of the top ten complimentary alternative medicine programs in the United States (The Trauma Center, 2007). Each yoga practice is based on the philosophy that mind, body, and spirit are each connected.

I witnessed, first-hand, the power yoga has on the traumatically affected military men and women. Yoga and meditation allowed them a private, safe, space to practice regulating their breath; slowing their thoughts down. Meditation allowed them to block out distractions, flashbacks, and focus on finding calmness. These men and women developed a space on their mat in which they focused on finding their inner peace; their true self.

 

Of the 20% of veterans suffering from PTSD- less than 40% reach seek help (PTSD Foundation of America).

 

If you know of anyone, specifically veterans and/or soldiers, suffering from PTSD- reach out and inform. Self-regulation is an ongoing practice and devotion- help those who served us. 


Rachael Mynatt

Rachael earned her BS in Health and Exercise Science from Colorado State University. She has a variety of experience in preventative health settings as well as rehabilitation clinics. She has worked as an Educator and Marketing Coordinator in Wellness Centers as well as assisting Physical Therapists with treatment programs and rehabilitation. Rachael is a yoga instructor of two extremes: Sculpt Yoga and Medical Yoga and Meditation. She is a firm believer in exercise as medicine. 

In 2013, Rachael moved to Vicenza, Italy to be reunited with her husband stationed overseas.  Rachael began working in the Army Wellness Center performing health assessments, exercise testing, marketing campaigns, and was selected to instruct Medical Yoga and Meditation to physically and mentally broken soldiers and referrals of Behavioral Health. While instructing, she emphasized mind-body awareness and the utilization of low-intensity movement and postures. Medical Yoga and Meditation is meant to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination, as well as develop mind-body integration and self-regulation skills.

"I believe mindset and self-regulation are powerful tools. There is nothing more fulfilling than the sound of a soldier suffering from insomnia and PTSD snoring throughout guided meditation. Instructing our broken military men and women has inspired me and motivated me to create an impact. It is our duty to create positive change."

9 Healthy Snacks to Pack For Your Next Trip by Brittney Hogan

Kerrie Mitchell is a busy Flight Attendant and Women’s Health coach, which means she is always on the go. We all know that eating healthy while traveling can be quite challenging. Minimal access to a variety of food options and refrigerators between hotels means that knowing what types of snacks are good for us is key. If you are able to pack them ahead of time, that's even better! 

Here are 9 travel approved healthy snacks to keep your eye out for on the road, in the air, or to pack before you leave the house. 

First, what is important about healthy snacking? 

Healthy snacks are important for those in-between meal moments because they:

  • Sustain your energy from meal to meal
  • Stabilize your blood sugar
  • Keep your mood steady and focus sharp  

9 Healthy Snacks

1. NUTS

An excellent source of high protein:

Look for raw or dry roasted and stay away from nuts with additives like vegetable oil and salt, as these can turn rancid if they sit in a bag in a store. 

2. Fruit

Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants:

Look for organic fruit like bananas packed with potassium, and oranges loaded with Vitamin C.

3. Yogurt

High in protein and good source of healthy fats:

Look for full-fat, organic yogurt or ones that do not contain artificial flavors or sweeteners like corn syrup. 

4. Hard Boiled Eggs

High source of protein and will keep your blood sugars level:

Boil them the night before and throw a couple in your bag. 

5. Energy Bars

A much healthier and nutritious alternative to chocolate bars:

Avoid brands with soy protein isolate and look for brands that contain over 10 grams of whey protein, hemp protein or pea protein. (Make sure they are not loaded with sugar or sugar alternatives).

6. Dark Chocolate

High in natural caffeine that can give you that energy boost you need: 

Look for brands that list cocoa as the first ingredient not sugar. 

7. Trail Mix

Packed with a combo of proteins and sugars to increase your energy:

Look for a mix that doesn’t contain added vegetable oil and salt or buy a variety of nuts, seeds, raisins and cranberries at the health store to mix yourself. 

8. Raw Veggies

Loaded with vitamins and minerals:

Choose organic veggies where possible and cut the morning of to maintain their maximum nutrients instead of buying pre-cut slices in a bag. 

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9. Seeds

Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are high in sources of vegetable protein: 

Look for raw seeds wherever possible. You can find them in the bulk food section. 


What do I do now?

If you want to make sure that you’re eating healthy all the time, before traveling, I recommend that you schedule in your diary some time to plan and prepare what you are going to take with you or buy while away from home. 

Eating well starts by deciding that you are worth it and making a commitment to put in the extra effort. Decide, commit and succeed! Ever heard that old saying, "You are what you eat"? You better believe it! 

We cannot overwhelm ourselves by thinking we have to change everything about who we are! Start small, bite size chunks and lean into the healthiest action steps you can take to becoming a healthier version of who you want to be! In my next article, I will show you what meals are ideal for you to eat while on the road to optimize your energy levels, stamina and moods.

Healthy travels!


Kerrie Mitchell - Women's Empowerment + Health Coach

Kerrie Mitchell is a Women’s Empowerment and Health Coach and has been inspiring women since moving to Toronto, Canada from Melbourne Australia in 2012.

After coaching many women over the years on their health and fitness goals, Kerrie’s end goal is to work with women who are ready to feel energized, alive and connected with their mind, body and soul and those who want to start living a truly fulfilled life that they deserve.

Working as a Flight Attendant and specializing in women’s Health Coaching, Kerrie has found the balance between staying fit and healthy while on the road and maintaining a lifestyle that still reaches her own personal health goals.

After completing her personal training certification and Health Coach certification with the Become a Health Coach Institute, Kerrie works one-on-one with her clients so they receive a personalized and memorable experience.

Kerrie Loves to travel, meet new amazing people, eat awesome food, swing a Kettlebell and dance to really awesome 90’s RnB.

Her true love is a good conversation over a perfect cup of coffee!

Want To Get Fit & Healthy This Year? Stop Setting Yourself Up For Failure by Brittney Hogan

New Year-New You?  Let's get real.

Don't set yourself up for failure. Whether you are going carb free, gluten free, dairy free or wanting to be the best you can be, you can't do it cold turkey. If you cut out all sugar, carbs, wheat, dairy or do 200 sit ups on January 2nd, on January 3rd and 4th you will want to die. Ok, that might be a little dramatic, but drastically changing your eating habits will give you flu like symptoms because your body is detoxing, just like going off of a drug. Let's face it... sugar is a drug and most of America is addicted! You will think, "This isn't working. I feel worse". 

That is why when creating healthy habits this year, everything needs to be done in moderation.  No shakes, diet pills or gimmicks. Eat real whole foods, drink clean water, engage in moderate exercise and take small doses of supplements. Becoming a healthier you is life style change, not a 30 day plan. It is a lifetime plan. 

For best results slowly cut out all processed food, carbs, etc. If you eat three pieces of bread a day start eating two for a couple days. Then reduce your bread intake to one piece and then start slowly cutting out other forms of sugar. If you are drinking soda, slowly cut down. When you decide to start taking supplements, slowly introduce them to your body. 

I started taking a different form of magnesium a couple of weeks ago. It said to take four a day.  So I started taking one a day, then after a week starting taking two a day. I'm still not taking four yet, but as with anything do it slowly and in moderation. Even good things need to slowly be introduced to your system. So instead of joining a gym tomorrow, how about a walk or a run. 

Remember, this is a lifestyle change not a diet. You can do it! Just do it wisely.

For more sustainable health tips, visit www.littlemountainfarmco.org. IG: @littlemountainfarmco


KRISTIE RESTIVO - LITTLE MOUNTAIN FARM CO

Born and raised in Orange County, CA, her and her husband are unlikely farmers working toward sustainability, organic and low carbon footprint living. A free spirited entrepreneur with gypsy like qualities being married to a retired Gunnery Sergeant who is always on a "mission" makes for a very interesting life.   

"We have a strong passion for supporting our military, as we all should. That is why we give a portion of our proceeds to helping transitional/homeless veterans in our community."

Dr Emily Poccia's Nature Cure Series : Tip #2 - Drink CLEAN Water by Brittney Hogan

Dr Emily Poccia, ND, explains in this 5 Part VirBLOGo Series how a little conciousness in your everyday life can have intense health benefits by incorporating these Nature Cures into your daily Routines.

Nature cure is about getting back to the basics. It encompasses elements of life that make us thrive and heal. Many illnesses and diseases today are derived from our lifestyles and can be prevented with some attention to these basic yet essential human needs. Here's #2.

Drink Clean Water (and enough of it!) 

We are made up of 75% water so essentially we are just big bags of H2O! It is critical that we drink enough clean water everyday. Ideally you should be drinking ½ your body weight in oz of water per day and more if you are detoxing, exercising, or live in a dry or hot place.

Make sure you are drinking clean water! Most tap water is not clean enough for drinking. It is processed and purified using chloride, which has been linked to some serious health issues. Distilled water and reverse osmosis water are depleted of all minerals, and deionized water has not been purified of bacteria and pathogens. You also want to be weary of bottled water as toxic chemicals from the plastic can leech into the water.

So what type of water should you drink?

Ideally you should choose from natural spring water, mineral water or alkaline water. These are all clean waters sources that include minerals which are needed for the body to function- in particular your heart, muscles and adrenal glands. 

You may also opt for a water filter in your home. Look for ones that have Absolute 1 micron filtration or Ozonation. I like Life Ionizers for alkaline filters.

You can find them at http://www.lifeionizers.com/