Mind

Is Sports Fitness Hypnosis Right For You?

 

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 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."

 

6 Yoga Poses to Combat Pre-Flight Anxiety

 

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

 

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 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."

Having An Off Day? Here's How to Bounce Back

We all have those days when we didn’t push ourselves in the gym the way we wanted, or the workout just didn’t feel good. As humans this is natural. The challenge often is how to deal with a workout or performance that wasn’t as great as it could have been. While working with clients this subject gets brought up quite often. The sensations we feel or our perception of ourselves and our bodies rarely matches the reality of what is really going on, both good and bad. This can often easily make us get down on ourselves when our workouts or performance didn’t feel the way we wanted them to. It doesn’t always equal a poor performance. Sometimes for various reasons, a lot of the time emotional or hormonal in nature, how we actually do and what we feel are very different.

A great example of this is giving 100%. In our minds we have this idea of what giving 100% should feel like. However, the reality is that our 100% from one day to another is very different, as well as within a workout. The effort we have to give at the beginning of a workout is different then the end. Giving 100% is not about a specific feeling, it is about giving everything you can and have to give in that moment. Each moment of our lives we will have different amounts of energy to give, but if you are always giving 100% you will continue to make progress.

I know every time I go to the gym it will look a little different, and sometimes I drop the amount of weight I am using because I am more tired. I often change the exercise to slower movement to get the same workout for my body but with lower weights, simply because I don’t have the energy for heavy weights that day. Sometimes I give myself shorter rest periods; other times longer rest periods between exercises depending on how I am feeling that day. The biggest thing is listening to our bodies and making adjustments that will help us get a lot out of the time we spend working out. Both men and women have monthly hormonal cycles that greatly impact mood, energy and the amount of food needed to make certain gains during our workouts. So listening to our bodies is a must.

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Now we will still all have those days when perhaps our minds are somewhere else, or we didn’t get a good night sleep and our workout is just not what we wanted. In those cases it is all about taking a moment to evaluate what contributed to it, and figuring out what to do better moving forward. For me I know when I feel rushed to do a workout even if it is great workout, I don’t feel like it was. So the majority of the time I find the time to workout where I won’t feel rushed. I also know when my body feels at its best at the gym and try as often as I can to get to the gym during that time. First thing in the morning doesn’t work for me, as I need food in my system before working out. Now sometimes I have to do it bright and early, so I make something the night before to eat on the way to the gym. 

Having consistently good workouts is all about understanding yourself, your body, and listening to it. It is important not to beat yourself up for a poor performance, that will only make things worse. Remember that even if you have a poor performance you still progressed more than if you didn’t show up at all. 


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.

365 Days of Healthy Living

Derived from the famous Socrates quote: "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new", Virago's #buildthenew campaign is about just that. New Year's Resolutions are sometimes unsuccessful for many people because they are too focused on fighting the old. Also, they expect the change to happen overnight. Don't forget my friends, that although symbolic of a new beginning, New Years day is just another day. Nothing is going to change or happen overnight. Thus, we must focus all of our energy on building the new. Living a healthy lifestyle takes dedication, but it can be achieved. Here are 365 ways that you can live a healthy life one day at a time. 

CHALLENGE: Do everything on this list, and when you do tag @ViragoFitness on Instagram and use the hashtags #BUILDTHENEW & #VIRAGOFITNESS

  1. Make a smoothie
  2. Sign up for a free exercise class
  3. Start a gratitude journal
  4. Listen to your favorite album
  5. Stargaze
  6. Take your favorite dessert and adjust the recipe to make it healthy
  7. Try yoga
  8. Write a letter to someone that inspires you
  9. Go to your local farmers market
  10. Print your favorite photos and hang them
  11. Start taking a multivitamin
  12. Take a bath
  13. Surprise someone you love with a gift
  14. Read your favorite inspirational book
  15. Eat a salad
  16. Try kickboxing
  17. Draw a picture
  18. Go on a walk around your block
  19. Go meatless for a day
  20. Watch a TED talk
  21. Give yourself a spa treatment
  22. Drink hot tea before you go to bed
  23. Wake up early and run
  24. Meditate
  25. Get a fancy dinner at a restaurant
  26. Watch your favorite movie
  27. Create a new recipe
  28. Write a positive review online
  29. Put on clean sheets
  30. Go to Trader Joe’s and buy something you’ve never tried before
  31. Learn a few sentences of a new language
  32. Meet a friend for a drink
  33. Go to a Zumba class
  34. Give a server a big tip
  35. Camp in your backyard
  36. Write down all of the things you like about yourself
  37. Make a budget
  38. Eat an avocado
  39. Go to an art gallery
  40. Invest in some good running shoes
  41. Follow an inspiring Instagram account
  42. Forgive someone
  43. Write a letter to your future self
  44. Have sex
  45. Give a stranger a compliment
  46. Sign up for a 5k
  47. Make your own hummus
  48. Buy a houseplant
  49. Try a spin class
  50. Wear your favorite outfit
  51. Watch the clouds
  52. Pay for someone else's coffee
  53. Turn your phone off for the day
  54. Infuse your water with fruit
  55. Go on a hike
  56. Plan a staycation
  57. Treat yourself to something tasty
  58. Look at old photo albums
  59. See a chiropractor
  60. Make homemade oatmeal
  61. Go outside and take photos of things that inspire you
  62. Give a homeless person a sandwich
  63. Take a nap outside
  64. Make chia seed pudding
  65. Listen to oldies
  66. Tell someone you love them
  67. Drink half of your body weight in oz of water
  68. Go indoor rock climbing
  69. Surprise someone at their work
  70. Buy flowers
  71. Get some fresh air
  72. Read your favorite book again
  73. Take a cooking class
  74. Buy some workout clothes
  75. Apply a face mask
  76. Visit your local flea market
  77. Get a massage
  78. Get yourself something special
  79. Subscribe to a health / fitness magazine
  80. Organize your pantry
  81. Do a detox
  82. Juice your fruits and veggies
  83. Go to the beach
  84. Sit in the sun for 15 minutes
  85. Get rid of something you don’t use
  86. Make a space in your home that is just for you to relax in
  87. Tell yourself you are beautiful
  88. Learn Karate
  89. Listen to a podcast that interests you
  90. Volunteer for a cause you care about
  91. Burn sage in your home
  92. Don’t check social media for a day
  93. Start a blog
  94. Stretch
  95. Go for a bike ride
  96. Write thank you cards
  97. Don’t worry
  98. Plant a garden
  99. Buy a fountain
  100. Go to a concert
  101. Sign up for a 10k
  102. Make an Acai bowl
  103. Learn how to skateboard
  104. Clean your house
  105. Look into hiring a meal prep service
  106. Make a playlist for working out
  107. Do yoga outdoors
  108. Go swimming
  109. Make a healthy recipe book
  110. Buy a new album
  111. Go to the library
  112. Take a dance class
  113. Go for a long walk
  114. Plan your meals for the week
  115. Watch a stand-up comedy show
  116. Learn how to build a fire
  117. Jot down positive affirmations and tape them to your mirror
  118. Collect shells on a beach
  119. Get inspired on Pinterest for an hour
  120. Host a party
  121. Go kayaking
  122. Exfoliate your face
  123. Go camping
  124. Learn to surf
  125. Hug someone
  126. Get a haircut
  127. Make an inspiration board
  128. Go roller skating
  129. Try hypnotherapy
  130. Get a facial
  131. Jump Rope
  132. Watch the sunrise
  133. Color a coloring book
  134. Plan a vacation
  135. Practice positive thinking
  136. Write a letter to your future self
  137. Window shop
  138. Go to Barnes N Noble
  139. Stretch before bedtime
  140. Meet a neighbor
  141. Ride a scooter
  142. Make your favorite drink at home and invite friends over to share
  143. Dance in your living room
  144. Do something you have been putting off
  145. Take deep breaths
  146. Drink green tea
  147. Practice good posture
  148. Play frisbee
  149. Buy a stand up desk
  150. Meal prep
  151. Set goals for the week
  152. Use essential oils
  153. Buy organic
  154. Kiss someone
  155. Join a fitness subscription box service
  156. Declutter your workspace
  157. Hike to a waterfall
  158. Cook a new cuisine
  159. Fix something that has been broken
  160. Watch your favorite sports game live
  161. Floss
  162. Go paddle boarding
  163. Get a full night sleep
  164. Eat more leafy greens
  165. Grill dinner on the BBQ
  166. Make your own butter
  167. Get friend’s recommendations for their favorite healthy restaurant
  168. Join a gym
  169. Sign up for a free week of Blue Apron
  170. Take Omega-3
  171. Drink herbal tea
  172. Step away from your desk at least every hour
  173. Prepare healthy snacks for the week
  174. Create a morning ritual you will look forward to every day
  175. Take the stairs
  176. Buy energy bars
  177. Recycle
  178. Don’t complain
  179. Do something you love
  180. Organize your email inbox
  181. Learn to say “no”
  182. Call your friends to see if they are doing okay and need to talk
  183. Write down your biggest dreams
  184. Try hot yoga
  185. Go grocery shopping for healthy food
  186. Light candles all over your home
  187. Relax in a sauna
  188. Diffuse essential oils
  189. Download a meditation app
  190. Replace store bought butter with olive oil or coconut oil
  191. Incorporate turmeric into your diet
  192. End your day with 10 minutes of reflection and self evaluation
  193. Drink a glass of red wine
  194. Learn how to knit
  195. Whiten your teeth
  196. Sign up for a 15k
  197. Try acupuncture
  198. Buy an inspirational tee or tank top
  199. Follow a health blog
  200. Drop a eucalyptus bar in your shower
  201. Try oil pulling
  202. Do something that scares you
  203. Make raw banana “ice cream”
  204. Try a vegetable that you hated as a kid
  205. Learn to make sushi
  206. Bring a candle to your desk at work and light it
  207. Try to get someone to join you in your workout
  208. Make a healthy recipe you find on Pinterest
  209. Try taking Melatonin before bed for a relaxing sleep
  210. Go on a boat ride
  211. Ask for a raise
  212. Go to brunch
  213. Check the fluids in your car
  214. Go to an inspirational talk
  215. Run somewhere you have not run before
  216. Go fishing
  217. Download a running app to track your progress
  218. Start a food diary
  219. Cut out added sugar
  220. Start a new workout program
  221. Go junk food free
  222. Aim for 10,000 steps
  223. Eat celery with peanut butter
  224. Thank a service member
  225. Build something
  226. Watch a youtube tutorial
  227. Make a savings plan
  228. Buy a BPA free water bottle
  229. Visit an oxygen bar
  230. Start a squat challenge
  231. Take a Mermaid fitness class - Trust me!
  232. Make sure your skin care routine is healthy and right for you
  233. Paint a picture
  234. Go on an adventure
  235. Incorporate ginger into your diet
  236. Go see a movie
  237. Buy massage blocks
  238. Bake your own kale chips
  239. Get to work early
  240. Try geocaching
  241. Give someone a massage
  242. Look at an old photo album
  243. Call a friend or family member
  244. Make your backyard a sanctuary
  245. Buy new workout pants
  246. Remember a low point in your life and figure out what you learned from it
  247. Look up the benefits of lemon water
  248. Play a board game with your family
  249. Learn about a different culture
  250. Sign up for a half-marathon
  251. Visit a spiritual shrine
  252. Reach out to someone that is having a hard time
  253. Donate blood
  254. Cook Salmon
  255. Start a new tradition
  256. Do yoga before bed
  257. Lift weights
  258. Visit a juice bar
  259. Try Pilates
  260. Make hibiscus tea
  261. Do a pushup challenge and tag #22kill
  262. Buy some local raw honey
  263. Learn how to make sushi
  264. Rent a convertible and drive it around your town
  265. Visit a farm
  266. Buy a stress ball
  267. Inspire others to get fit
  268. Clear your mind
  269. Be social
  270. Take a power nap
  271. Check your blood pressure
  272. Send someone a postcard
  273. Rearrange your room
  274. Get a breast/prostate exam
  275. Plant a tree
  276. Take a mud bath
  277. Go to the river
  278. Tell someone you are proud of them
  279. Get down to 1 cup of coffee a day
  280. Accept your flaws
  281. Buy a sleep mask
  282. See a therapist
  283. Listen to your gut
  284. Create your own personal success mantra
  285. Try aromatherapy
  286. Climb a tree
  287. Try Zero-waste for a whole day
  288. Look up the many benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
  289. Be more assertive
  290. Buy a zen garden box
  291. Try Aerial yoga
  292. Buy a shower pill for after workouts
  293. Make your own apple sauce
  294. Drink chamomile tea before bed
  295. Splash cold water on your face
  296. Look up local businesses and find out how you can support one
  297. Eat protein
  298. Look up progressive muscle relaxation
  299. Buy a houseplant that detoxifies the air in your home
  300. String some lights up in your home
  301. Try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise
  302. Work out a part of your body that you don’t typically work out
  303. Sleep in
  304. Meditate at a park
  305. Give yourself a foot massage
  306. Start a crunch challenge
  307. Try a headstand
  308. Watch the discovery channel
  309. Sign up for a marathon
  310. Buy a rain barrel
  311. Go on a trip and ask the locals what they do for fun
  312. Pop open a bottle of Champagne and celebrate yourself
  313. Climb to the top of a mountain and soak in the view
  314. Donate to a cause that speaks to you
  315. Go for a run through nature
  316. Paint a wall in your house your favorite color
  317. Take a survey about yourself (Myspace Style)
  318. Buy someone a gift that you don’t know that well
  319. Go for a barefoot run on the beach
  320. Purge negative people from your life
  321. Stay at an AirBnB
  322. Get a hot stone massage
  323. Stop eating when you feel full
  324. Go to a theme park
  325. Familiarize yourself with the dirty dozen and clean fifteen
  326. Dance in the rain
  327. Eat at a salad bar
  328. Stop smoking if you do, if not, encourage someone who does
  329. Go vegan for the day
  330. Pull weeds in your yard
  331. Send a text to a random friend and tell them to have a great day
  332. Bring baked goods to your neighbors (healthy of course)
  333. Get some cardio
  334. Look up ways to cook healthy for the holidays
  335. Buy reusable bags for the market
  336. Make a list of all of your accomplishments this year so far
  337. Make a list of the things you’d still like to accomplish
  338. Set goals to achieve them before the new year
  339. Take a gondola ride
  340. Go hunting
  341. Sign up for a turkey trot
  342. Sing
  343. Look up places to volunteer around the holidays
  344. Buy a new hat
  345. Make a list of everything you are thankful for
  346. Remember why you started
  347. Massage your scalp
  348. Be proud of yourself for how far you’ve come
  349. Indulge in some dark chocolate
  350. Try infrared yoga
  351. Buy a workout jacket
  352. Put cucumbers on your eyes
  353. Take a different road home
  354. Check your tires
  355. Smile at everyone you pass today
  356. Start a collection
  357. Sign up for a triathlon
  358. Go to a bootcamp class
  359. Rake leaves
  360. Clean your baseboards
  361. Drive around and look at Christmas lights
  362. Read a book in a genre you don’t normally read
  363. Learn a new word
  364. Take a self defense class
  365. Enjoy it

A Simple Guide to Practicing Mindfulness Meditation

“Most people assume that meditation is about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind.  But actually, it’s about stepping back, seeing the thought clearly, witnessing it coming and going.” – Andy Puddicombe

It is true: Meditation is not the practice of clearing your mind of all thoughts. Who can do that anyway?!  The first time I sat down to meditate my mind jumped from one thought (what am I going to make for dinner tonight?) to another (is the 2 minutes almost up?) to another (F*!? I suck at this!). A wandering mind is normal and meditation is called a practice because you can always get better at it and it will never be perfect. 

With that being said, studies show that it is 100% worth a try. In an article published by the Psychosomatic Medicine journal, the author's finding suggest that "a short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable positive effects on brain and immune function" (Davidson, R.J, 2003). That's not all meditation does folks, the benefits for your mind and body are endless. See more here

Want to give it a try?

  1. Find a quiet place that is away from distractions and noise. 
  2. Sit with your back, neck, and head in a straight line. 
  3. Focus on your breath or try focusing on just one thought or word. 

A few techniques that work best for me personally (read Type A personality): sit with your back up against a wall or chair for support, set the timer for 2 minutes a day to start - then gradually work your way up to 5 and then 10 minutes (a timer will keep you from constantly checking the clock), and either count your inhales and exhales (1…2…3…4…) slowing down your breath, or think the word “inhale” as you inhale and “exhale” as you exhale. 

Need a bit more of a nudge to get started? There are apps you can download to guide you through it. My personal favorite is Buddhify, and another great one is Headspace. There are also corporate wellness companies, like Goomi, who offer guided meditation at your office. 

It is medically proven that meditation can benefit both your mind and body. So grab a mat, pillow, patch of grass, beach towel, ANYTHING, sit down and get started!  

Be Well, 
Mika

For more yoga & meditation tips, visit www.GoomiGroup.com


MIKA LEAH - OWNER OF GOOMI GROUP

My life changed on my 33rd birthday when I found myself breathless with chest pains on an easy hike in Temescal Canyon. The cardiologist’s tests revealed that something was VERY wrong, and told me I needed surgery right away. And not “right away” as in “take these pills for a couple weeks and check back with us,” but rather “you aren’t leaving this hospital until we’ve opened you up and fixed this.” Even though I already led an active lifestyle and maintained a healthy diet, my heart had a major blockage to the main artery. The doctors told me that birthday hike had saved my life.

Three procedures, five stents, and five years later, I’m still here and I understand that life needs to be lived with love and joy throughout, not just “when you can fit it in.” You can enjoy what you do every day, and you can make a difference in the world. This is why I founded Goomi - to give people the opportunity to live a healthy, balanced life. From experience in the fast-paced world of advertising and sales, I have gained insight into the need for employees to balance work and life, which benefits companies and employees alike. By bringing yoga and meditation to you at your office, we make it a part of your day instead of something you do “when the day is over.”

How Learning To Say "No" Can Boost Performance - by Kate Allgood

We have all been there. When we would rather not do something, but we feel the need to please the person asking, and before we know it the words, "I am happy to help" are coming out of our mouths. However, the truth is that sometimes we really don’t have time to do it or could spend our time doing more productive things. 

This is not to say we don’t ever say yes and always say no, but too often people are putting too much on their plate and it is taking away from their own goals, dreams, business or aspirations all because they want to please others or are worried about what others might think if they do say no. 

One of the reasons being able to say no is so important is because it greatly impacts our confidence, trust and belief. Saying no is about boundaries. It is about knowing your boundaries, keeping to them and respecting yourself to stand by yourself even when you feel uncomfortable doing so. This is very empowering, and greatly aids in developing our self trust, which in turn impacts our confidence and belief in ourself. 

The funny thing is that when you stick to your boundaries, other people begin to respect you as well, and understand your boundaries and are not as bothered by you saying no as you think they might be. You might be thinking how boundaries and saying no is important for performance. Well, performance and the ability to be successful, in any arena, requires a great depth of focus, time, energy, and a bit of selfishness. If you are giving your energy and time to others that are distracting you from what you need to do, you are sabotaging yourself and your success. 

It is important to give to ourselves, so that we may later be able to give to others, but first you must do what you need to do, and with time figure out a way to be able to say yes every once in a while. 

I know all too well the uncomfortable feeling that comes along with saying no. It is not pleasant and can sometimes scare me into saying yes, although I know it will add too much to my plate or I won't be able to give what I would like. However, the bottom line is that we can’t create more energy or time. Sometimes that means saying no to give myself down time; time to recuperate and relax. 

When I was going through my double Masters program there were a number of times I had to say no to going out with friends on a Saturday night because I knew it would be a late night and would impact my Sunday, which is a day I needed for school and doing my work. I remained focused and once I was done with school I was able to say yes and have some fun with my friends. 

Figure out what you want, what you need to get it and how much you can handle on your plate at one time. Then go out and create a schedule that works. If that means saying "no" to things that are not on your schedule, then do it. Your dreams and goals are worth it and your friends will understand.  

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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.

Dr Emily Poccia's Nature Cure Series : Tip #1 - BreathE Clean Air; The Air You're Breathing Might Not BE As Clean As You Think

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 illness and diseases today are derived from our lifestyles and can be prevented with some attention to these basic yet essential human needs. So here is the first one!

Emily Poccia Nature Cure Blog Series

BREATHE CLEAN AIR

I know this sounds like a duh moment but you’d be surprised just how dirty our air can really be. In fact, according to the Environmental Performance Index, a study ran by Yale researchers, “in the US alone air pollution accounts for 200,000 premature deaths per year. That’s 6 times the number of people killed in car accidents.”

There are 4 major pollutants that the study monitored including Ozone, Particulate Matter, Persistent Organic Pollutants, and Mercury. These may sound foreign but these pollutants are coming from everyday factors like factories, car emissions, airplane fuel, pesticides, solvents, household products and even pharmaceuticals! Think about it. Do you live in or close to a city or places where there may be a heavy amount of pollution?

Find out how dirty your air is and ways we can help keep the air clean by using sites like CARMA.org, and the Environmental Performance Index’s interactive site. 

Every cell is dependant on oxygen for cellular respiration- Our lungs may receive the air first but our brain is affected the most by poor air quality leading to all sorts of health issues including confusion, and cognitive decline. Our immune systems use oxygen in order to produce hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and our muscles use oxygen as a way of transporting iron to maintain energy.

Take some time away from the hustle and bustle and venture into the mountains or more rural areas so you can let your lungs breathe in clean, crisp air. You may also want to consider a filter for your house to help clean the air like a hempa filter. Remember to take full deep breaths of clean air to boost your brain function and health.

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

RESOURCES:http://epi.yale.edu/reports/2016-report


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

Your Developement is in the Details - By Kate AllGood

Many people are overly focused on big goals, or big results but fail to pay attention to the small details of their lives.

How a client approaches and performs the small things in life will tell me a lot about how they are doing with the bigger things. I have worked with many people who want to be seen as reliable, and may even have reliable performances in different aspects of their lives, whether it be work, school, or their time at the gym. However, they often are unreliable with themselves on the small seemingly insignificant day to day things. If you can't rely on yourself to do small things, how will you trust yourself to be reliable when it really counts?

Each small moment of your life prepares you for the big moment you are striving for. You don't know when that moment will come, and you won't know if the next big adversity is waiting for you around the corner. All you can control is how prepared you are when the time to perform presents itself. To prepare for these large moments I recommend that you ask yourself important questions in the seemingly uneventful moments in your life: What is the foundation that has been created that will allow you to thrive in a big moment? What is the motivation to keep moving forward when the world is pushing you down? By paying attention to the small inner workings of your everyday life you can build a foundation that can get you through any adversity.

These small things are so important because they are the foundation of trust and confidence. Using the example of reliability again; if you set your alarm with the intention of getting up and going to the gym, however, you hit snooze and end up not going, in that moment you weaken your internal trust. Do it enough times and it greatly degrades the overall trust you have towards yourself. This will then create a ripple effect and impact other areas of your life where you need a high level of trust. One small seemingly insignificant moment, often like a pebble in a pond, creates a ripple effect outwards and touches everything in our lives.

Today, try and think of how you approach the small details of your life. Reflect on something big that is not going the way you would hope, and see if there is a connection to any smaller detail and how it might not be getting taken care of.


KATE ALLGOOD - SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY COACH

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.

 

How the color of your althetic gear can make or break a great workout

Psychology of color

Clothes make the man, and apparently the workout. The color apparel you choose before you hit the gym or go to the yoga studio can have an effect on you, the people getting their sweat on next to you, and even the quality of your workout. Color psychology is the study of hue and how it affects human behavior and studies have shown “that when light enters from eyes and skin, it travels through neurological pathways and affects the pineal gland in the brain, which in turn affects our body, mind and emotions”. Whether you realize it or not, the color of the clothes you choose effect your mood, your ability to self-motivate and even inadvertently communicate with the people around you.

Don’t send the wrong message during your work out, choose a Virago tee instead.

Green shirts, like the Virago Mermaid tank, remind us of nature and tap into our high energy and primal instincts. “That’s why we feel more energized when exposed to greens,” says neurologist and psychiatrist Kurt Goldstein (author of The Organism), “and more fatigued when exposed to colors like orange”.  

Blue is a psychologically calming color according to color experts and psychologists. Throw on a Indigo V Tee to naturally keep your nerves under control on the day of your 5K or the marathon you’ve been training for the last few months. In a 2009 study, Dr. Juliet Zhu found the color blue suggests “knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness. It evokes a sense of calmness while stimulating creativity.” Wear a Indigo Virago Women's Slouch shirt to your next yoga session to help cultivate a wave calm and zen over the class, and signal to the people around your that you are there to be a positive force. 

Want to add a little competition to your work out? Throw on some red and let everyone in the weight room know that you are there to crush WOD’s and set new goals. In a “study published in the journal Biology Letters found men wearing red in athletic settings can inspire aggression and competition.” 

 Don’t yet have that perfect red work out shirt? If you are really looking to express a recent streak of competition in your workout, sign up for the Toys for Tots Foundation Virago Virtual Race and get a bright red commemorative T-shirt that lets everyone know that when you achieve your fitness goals you are also determined to give back. You can #RunforTots, #BikeforTots, #CrossfitForTots, or participate in any exercise that inspires you. You can do it from anywhere in the world, and the best part is that as long as you sign up and complete your personal #VirtualRace fitness chanllenge by the end of October you get a race medal that tells the world you want to make a difference in a child's life this year. Sign up for the race today and join us for our Last Chance Run and Wrap-Up Bonfire Party. 

Our Top 5 Favorite Motivational/Inspirational Books

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a business owner. I was fascinated by business: what it takes to run a business, understanding all of the moving parts, juggling everything to keep the business afloat, managing employees and inspiring them to stay on task - you name it.

However, since college was never really in the books for me (no pun intended), I began reading business and career related books from a very young age to get as much business knowledge and inspiration as possible. When most kids in Middle School and High School were reading J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, I was reading Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad. That book changed my whole outlook on business, and I still find myself quoting philosophical lines from it today. 

Although, inspirational books don't have to be related to business and careers. They can be based on whatever inspires you and teaches you and urges you to become the best version of yourself. Here is a list of my top 5 favorite motivational/inspirational books that I've read so far. 

1. Letters to My Son - Kent Nerburn

You don't have to be a son to benefit from Nerburn's profound wisdom. This book took me only a few days to finish, and as soon as I read the last page, I instantly started back on page one. The author touches on "love, marriage, travel, money and wealth, tragedy and suffering, spirituality, sex, and the true meaning of strength" (Google Books, 2016). Whenever I need a pick me up, or am confused about anything in life, I find the answer in this book. Letters to My Son is a MUST READ! When my step-kids turn 18, this will be their gift. 

Buy it here.

2. Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad changed my outlook on business and wealth forever. The first time I read it, I was 17 years old. Robert Kiyosaki tells the story of his "Rich Dad" who wasn't his dad at all, but gave him profound career and financial advice which he shares in this book, and his "Poor Dad", which was his biological father who lived a life of conformity in career and wealth. His wisdom and guidance in becoming financially free was eye opening, and I will never forget his quote: "Work smarter, not harder." - Robert Kiyosaki

Buy it here.

3. Outliers - Malcom Gladwell

"There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential." - Google Books.

Buy it here.

4. I Shouldn't Be Telling You This - Kate White

Kate White, the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan shares her "Success secrets that every gutsy girl should know". This book is great for anyone who just took a higher position in a company or is looking to manage employees of their own business. She tells you her secrets for getting promoted, gives background of her life, education, and career, and tells you what she looks for in employees. Much like Ivanka Trump's The Trump Card, this book is jam packed with valuable lessons you'll never forget, and that will help take you to the top. 

Buy it here.

5. Brand Advocates - Rob Fuggetta

This book isn't exactly in the same realm as the first four. It isn't so much inspirational and motivational, but more educational. However, it is one of my favorites for business. Rob Fuggetta tells his readers how to turn enthusiastic customers into a powerful marketing force. Before I read this book, I thought my only option was to take out a small business loan for marketing and advertising my brand. However, Brand Advocates changed the way I thought about advertising and taught me how to leverage my loyal customers and ask them to help me spread the word about my company. It worked! This is a must read if you are starting your own business. 

Buy it here.

RE-BLOG: 11 Tweaks to Your Daily Routine Will Make Your Day More Productive

Routines take dedication to establish but once you lay them down they will stick. Building your perfect daily routine will reduce stress in your life and routines are a life hack to staying organized.

It can be as easy as writing down your schedule on a chalkboard to regulate time management, buying a planner or creating new fitness goal and plan to achieve it in the Toys for Tots Virago Fitness Virtual Race this September.

Routines are a vital part of being a productive person, and you can make your routine even more productive. Check out Entrepreneur.com's article on how 11 Tweaks to Your Daily Routine Will Make Your Day More Productive.

Tone Your Life : Simplify your day with our favorite wellness and fitness hacks

In honor of #NationalSimplicityDay we present our favorite fitness hacks to help you get rid of some daily clutter. Take these first steps to streamline your life and make room for the things that really matter.

  • One and Done

In a rush to fit in gym time today? Make your workout simple and choose one exercise per work out, and perfect it. Instead of trying to rush through a circuit or speeding through 10 different exercises in one day choose one lift, or one cardio challenge today, and try a new one everyday going forward. Many people try to pack their gym time with multiple stations or workout with the aim of working multiple muscle groups in one session, but when you hurry yourself through a dynamic routine you may not be completing the exercise correctly which is the exact opposite of your fitness goal and can even lead to injury. There are many full body exercises you can do at the gym to get you in, out and back on the road. Monetizing your work is also meditative. Instead of constantly having to strategise your workout navigation and time management, (something that is exhausting enough outside of the gym) choose one motion and let your mind meditate in the moment. The focus will ensure that you are getting the most out of your workout and clear your mind before heading back out into a world that always keeps you on your toes.

  • Meal Prep is Your Ally

Cooking large portions and pre-packaging lunches and snacks sounds intuitive but it does take more forethought than people expect. Cooking in bulk and packaging it as you clean up after a meal takes a little more time in the present, but it will be one less thing to think about for the rest of the week in a world where anything that can happen will happen. LiveStrong.org has more step by step tips on meal prep for beginners.

  • Simplify By Multitasking

Everyday mundane activity is an opportunity to sneak a little fitness in. Waiting for your prints to come out of the copier? Great excuse to do some calf raises. Watching your pasta water boil? A vinyasa flow is a great way to pass the time, since a watched pot never boils.

  • Abs to go.

A strong core is an important aspect of any fitness foundation but you do not need to spend an hour on a crunch machine to strengthen yours. In fact, abdominal isolation exercises are not the most effective way to strengthen and slim your mid section. If you are pressed for time, skip the ab isolations and concentrate on compound exercises like overhead presses, squats and dead lifts. These full body movements strengthen multiple muscle groups and will yield full body results. If you are addicted to a sweet core burn - take your ab routine home. Planks are easily done between commercials and mountain climbers are a nice way to break up the stream of emails you may be replying to at the kitchen table.

 

 

Life is, by definition, busy. You will never be less busy than you are right now, contrary to what you may tell yourself everyday when you look at a fully packed planner. Take time now to figure out what the most important things in your life are and trim the fat from there. By simplifying your workout and eating habits, and refocusing your life on the things that truly make you happy, you will find that the complications, and the unhealthy habits, will melt away.

 

Stranded in Death Valley

 

When you decide to camp in the hottest place on earth, 50 miles in any direction from modernity, it should be a calculated adventure. You should have reliable transportation, a map, and a plan. We decided we didn't need any of those things when we resolved to see the #Superbloom this past March.  My husband, Kavon, and I felt desperate to see the once in a decade phenomenon taking place in Death Valley, but realized half way there that what we really wanted was an escape from the monotony of a 5 day work week of tedious tasks and never ending unfruitful deadlines. We used the excuse that we were young, fit, and being in our twenties, obviously immortal, to blow off work and find inspiration in a place notorious for its lack of cell reception. But Death Valley is not a babysitter. It is not a place you can outrun your financial woes, family issues, social strifes or unfinished business. It's a place where you adapt, improvise and overcome, or you die.

We left San Diego like a whirlwind after about five minutes of research which basically only included Googling campsites and how to drive there. We ignored the ferocious mountain range on our Maps App that we would have to dive through and let our hubris take the wheel. We picked up supplies like bread crumbs at different gas stations as if on a day trip to Disneyland. Five hours outside of San Diego on the deserts edge Death Valley gave us our first warning to turn back. A condemning rattle in the engine of our car that began as we were half way up the mountain road forced us to pull over at the first dusty camp site in view. We opened the engine bay slowly fearing that a valve had snapped off and turned our entire engine into a pinball machine of parts, but nothing appeared out of place. We decided not to risk pushing the car through the most treacherous stretch of terrain this side of the Mississippi, which meant we were stranded on the Western basin of the valley.

We had left San Diego Friday morning like two invincible trailblazers and by Sunday we looked like the last survivors from the Oregon Trail. Three days of crushing scorpions, mild dehydration and malnutrition had left us delirious. We were dust covered and our "camping tans" had started to burn.  The valley was a literal dead zone and our cell phones could only be useful as cannon fodder for chucking at dangerous spiders. There was no Superbloom in Stovepipe Wells, but at that point in my life, I would have rather been left to fry to death on the flowerless range, than continue the soul crushing work of product management or selling words no-one wants to by as a freelance writer. This trip was meant as a way to escape the things that I didn't want to think about; bills, careers and unrequited dreams. Standing in the desert with no idea on how were going to get back to all the things we had run away from, I felt hopeless. Kavon and I always thought that we would make it and build are Barbie dream-house lives with love alone, but I just felt passionless and destined for failure. Even the predatory buzzards waiting for us to pass out in the noon sun seemed to caw "give up. dreams are for children. grow up. the adventure is over." It was here, in the lowest point of elevation in North America, that I had found my lowest point.

I sulked for three days and on the third day we finally escaped in a tow truck. Thanks to the merciful employees at the 10 room Stovepipe Wells ghostown Hotel (which was more ghost than town, or hotel) we were able to finally call AAA. After a two hour drive back to civilization our tow truck driver, moonlighting as a mechanic, even took pity on us by looking under the hood and confirming two things:

1) That my husband's work as a DIY mechanic had been meticulous over the past years four years;

AND

2) Although we were right to have been scared of the sound it was only a loose spark plug.

That meant that instead of having to pay a mechanic in Pahrump (yes that is right, Pah-rump) Nevada to rebuild our engine and give us a money enema, all we needed now was a socket wrench. We screamed like we had just won the lottery and fell into each others arms, frightening the gamblers walking into the rundown Gold Digger's Casino parking lot. We had the wrench in an hour and left Pahrump with an ice cold gallon of water in each hand.

The road back to California was a forced confrontation of the desert, and as the Leaving Pahrump sign came into view, the drive felt like a second chance to stick our middle fingers out the window at the Valley that tried to break us. High on survival, the landscape transformed from dangerous to hypnotic. The surrealism of the geological curves of sky-scraping rainbow granite, and the bleach white sand-stone caves, melted into each other, and burst into snow capped mountains on the horizon. We crested the top of a steep hill and a field of wildflowers bloomed into view. Suddenly we weren't trapped in a desolate wasteland, we'd found Wonderland. For three days I had loathed that valley and now I couldn't wait to pull over and embrace it.

We parked at the first pull out near the field, and didn't bother taking out the keys or closing the car doors. Kavon walked into the field and let the ambitious thigh high desert daisies flutter past his palms. I wandered aimlessly away from the field's edge, and walked till I couldn't see the tar road in any direction, and exhaled. Birds I didn't even know could survive in this terrain shot out from the low-lands like they were carried by my breath. The drought had not broken this earth.

"All is ours" I though to myself. All the world's natural wonders are ours to see indiscriminately. Death Valley does not care who came first, the CFO or the corporate bust. The drought did not care whether global warming was lore or lord. The desert did not care if El Nino rained for 40 days and 40 nights, and neither should we. All is ours. Mistakes and triumphs, love and loss, burn or bloom, all is ours.

The dessert had humbled me, so of course defiant, dehydrated, and probably hallucinating, I did the only thing my withered brain could think to do, I stretched into my favorite Yoga Pose. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got back to San Diego, but in the moment the only thing that mattered was this yoga pose. I skipped the Vinyasa flow and exhaled into the strongest Warrior II of my life. I'd come here to see desolation and fight through indifference, but wobbling in an emaciated yoga pose on the side of CA-127 was not suppose to be part of the plan. But this mistake was too beautiful to regret.

I realized that I could never apply for jobs I'd been too scared to grab, or fellowships I was too scared to seize, but suddenly here, with the desert barring down on me in a sea of wildflowers, my dreams no longer seemed like mirages. These flowers were thriving in one of the most desolate places on earth and so was I. My aspirations were suddenly as real as the miracle I was standing in.

I breathed deeply, refocused on the landscape, and let gravity of what Kavon and I had experienced together come over me. Yes, this adventure had begun as an ill-planned folly, but it had become a journey that had reinvigorated my appreciation for the wild. It had solidified my confidence, not only in our ability to survive whatever else life may throw at us, but in our ability to make our dreams reality. All is ours.

Two weeks later I found my calling at Virago.

 

 

 

 

Don't Forget to Vote Tomorrow! #CaliforniaCounts

Virago is a small local business located in San Diego, so we thought today we would keep it local. Tomorrow is the California Primary Election so we put together an election day survival guide with links for anything you may be unsure about when prepping for tomorrow, including links to the lists of candidates, propositions on the ballot, and even information on the voter election locations.

-If you need to register for the general election in CA : http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration

Tomorrow is the Primary Election for California. Unfortunately if you have not registered up to 14 days before the primary you are ineligible to participate in closed California primary. That does not mean you should not register for the general election which will take place in November. Even if you are unsure if you want to participate at all in the political process this year, give your self the option to make that choice. Registrar today.

If you need to know where you go to vote: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/polling-place

Everyone has a very specific polling location to report to that is determined by the voter's registered address. Make sure you make it to the correct place by checking out the link or calling the Secretary of State's toll-free Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683). Don't procrastinate on this one!

What if my name is not on the voter list at the polling place?http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/where-and-how

You did it! You made it to your correct polling location. You triumphantly hand over your picture id to the volunteer with the I VOTED sticker and she says “your name is not on the list here”. Don't panic. Even if your name is not on the voter list at your designated polling place, you have the right to vote with a “provisional ballot”. It will be counted after the elections official has confirmed that you are a registered voter and that you are only voting once. If you do run into a provisional ballet situation be sure to ask the poll worker for confirmation on how you can check that your provisional ballot was counted after your voter registration is verified.

Who are the candidates? http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/pdf/

I think we all know who the big three for the Presidential Election are, but what most people don't remember in the shadow of all the pomp and buzz that comes with the presidential elcetion, is that the candidates we vote into local government and congress are equally important. Make sure you know who you are choosing to represent your interests in congress, in your state legislature and local bureaucracy. These elected officials have more influence over your daily life than the new President Elect will.

What propositions are on the ballot?http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/pdf/

You are not just choosing your political representatives when you go to vote. You are voting directly on initiatives, placed on the ballot by either the California State Legislature or via a petition signed by registered voters that can change the laws, penal codes and even the articles of the California Constitution.

You still have time to drop off a mail in ballot if you want! http://www.sdvote.com/content/dam/rov/en/election/MBDO%20Sites%2006%202016_English.pdf

Find Your Voter Information Guide Booklet!!!

Most likely it is sitting under a pile of unfilled in credit card applications you were waiting to shred. Do yourself a favor and pull it out tonight. Each county will have it's own local elections and city wide measures on its ballot. Look through it tonight so that you don't accidentally elect Hitler Jr or The Hulk out of lack of knowledge.

Half A Million Ways to Love A Tree

Monday is National #LoveATreeDay. We often take them for granted, but without trees our world would be bland and inhospitable. The sculpture“Middle Fork” was artist John Grade's cure for that ambivalence

In the top room of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, in the Renwick Gallery, an 85' long tree, woven out of a half million segments of reclaimed cedar, hovers in the air, on its side, like fallen Hemlock from another dimension. The hollow sculpture hangs horizontally at waist height, swaying heavily with the slightest movement in the air. “Middle Fork” is an exhibit not to be missed, and its story is as beautiful as its form.

To create this sculpture Grade used the cast of a 140-year-old Hemlock tree that still stands tall in a forest in the Cascade foothills of Washington state. Casting the tree was a two week long process. A team consisting of artisan assistants and trained arborists carefully wrapped the Hemlock in a layer of protective aluminium foil, and then applied paster by hand to the entire tree, all while hanging from a system of pulleys and ropes 80 feet off the ground. Painstaking care was taken to make sure that even the hanging apparatus left no damage to the tree. Although cutting the tree down, or a digitally scanning the tree would have been an infinity faster way to create the cast, Grade wanted the hands on experience to facilitate some time to appreciate the subject of his art.

“That process, although spread out over two weeks, was very rewarding because what it allowed for an opportunity to be intimately engaged with the tree” said Grade in the 'making-of' short film “Middle Fork”.

When the piece has completed its two year museum tour, the sculpture of reclaimed cedar wood will be laid at the base of the the Hemlock Tree is was cast from. The pieces of cedar were never coated in preservatives so that when the exhibit is laid to rest in the forest it will decompose, return to the earth, and be a vessel for new life in the woodland.

Grade mastered the art of tree loving, but not everyone has the time to reconstruct a symbolic representation of tree out of old wooden furniture in honor of Monday's holiday. No shame in that. Here are some small scale ways you can give a close arboreal friend some love:

-Be a pal, buy your friend a drink.

We never think about watering our trees but they would love a little pampering this Monday. The correct way to water a tree is to soak the root area out to the line where the leaf canopy ends (as most root systems can extended even past their our tree's leaf growth). Who doesn't love a cold glass of water on a hot day? The plant contributing to 20% of your planet's breathable oxygen will sure appreciate it.

-Dress Um Up

When someone buys you a gift you can't help but feel loved and there are tons of eco-friendly accessories for your local trees. Bird feeders are always cute, and nothing beats a pine cone rolled in peanut butter and birdseed.

-Hugs not drugs

Many trees can fall victim to herbicide damage as green weed-less lawns become a priority for front yards and gardens. Non-selective herbicides will kill weeds but can also hurt surrounding trees and send them into extended hibernation. When it comes time to prep the yard for garden parties, think twice about weed killers and consider pulling the lawn pests out at the root. On Monday put down the chemicals and give your tree a good old fashion hug instead.

 

Happy Tree Hugging!

Carl Boudro Turns His Struggles into Strength

I was an active child -- so active my Mom put me in hockey at four years old so she could sleep at night.  I played from then on until I left for the Navy when I was 25.  Through hockey I found an outlet for my aggression and high energy.  I played for ten months a year all through middle and high school eventually winning a state championship in the 11th grade.  Hockey helped me grow as a person more than any other activity in my youth.  I played baseball and ran track, but Hockey had the aggression, the physicality that fit my style.  I met men who filled the gap of a father figure, as I was raised by a single mother. I learned how to work hard.  I learned to understand defeat and enjoy felt.  I learned to calm down, to deal with setbacks and to work around injuries. Hockey taught me how to deal with all of life's little issues and was the outlet I needed.  After high school I played for a few years, and eventually joined the Navy, in that break I learned how to lift weights, work out, and develop my body in different aspects, but nothing filled the void hockey left, until I found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

In that short break from when I joined the Navy to when I started training BJJ, I didn't forget about working out. I became a First Class Swimmer in the Navy, a scuba diver, graduating from the Navy Scuba Class, as well earning certifications in Nutrition,Personal Training, Strength and Conditioning, and Nutrition.
 
I was deployed when a shipmate recommended I tried training MMA.  We tried a self defence class in Guam, and a wrestling class in Japan. I rolled for the first time in Japan when a few surface sailors challenged us to matches, and through my limited experience, I managed to force out a few submissions and started to see the influences of BJJ and the power behind it. 
 
When we transferred to the East Coast and got settled in, my friend Pat found us a gym under Kevin Watson to start training.  I loved it.  I went five days a week, pushing every-time.  I did my first competition after only six weeks of training and won gold.  I earned my blue belt in only nine months, which usually takes at least two years.  I competed four times winning gold twice, a silver, and a fourth place finish. I trained in Boston then after I was promoted, flew to Seattle to train with my instructor's original teacher, and began to realize how far BJJ could take me.  Shortly after that I moved back to San Diego and met Alfredo Barum, who is my current instructor. 
 
Alfredo, Harlan, Neco, Chad, Frances, and many other black belts helped shaped me into the grappler I am now.  I was a blue belt for two years, won some small competitions, as well as learned a lot, developing my own style of BJJ, as all practitioners do.  In that time period I also herniated two discs in my back which was my worst injury.  I was out for only a month, and during that time the only sports I practiced were BJJ and yoga.  I made a full recovery, and was able to ran a mile and a half in under ten minutes again (Navy fitness tests). Thankfully I have had no problems since.
 
 

I am now a purple belt having won my first super fight last weekend. It was an amazing experience and I continue to learn more and more about myself.  Jiu Jitsu has shown me how to be calm, to handle situations, to see the small opportunity to get out of bad situations while training, or and has taught me about life in general.  I teach kids a few days a week with my instructor and my friends, and it amazing to watch them understand techniques and learn how to move on the mats. Being an instructor (BJJ teacher) is amazing and I would like to be one in the future. Watching people learn and progress and understand Jiu Jitsu is awesome.  It changed my life for the better, helped me to be a better person and I know it can allow others to be better as well.


Keep track of Carl's fitness progress by following
him on Instagram: @ccbiv

A New Way to Self-Heal

Here at Virago Fitness, we are so excited about a new product that was recently introduced to us by Nate Church of On Track Wellness and Rachelle Clauson of Flourish Bodywork. It is called an Acuball. The Acuball was invented by Dr. Michael A. Cohen - a respected Chiropractor and Acupuncturist who continuously encourages his patients to explore their self-healing abilities. 

The Acuball's patented design combines natural acupressure and heat that when applied allows the body to relax and stimulates blood flow. Some call it a 'revolutionary healing tool'.

Acuball Benefits

  • Relaxes tight muscles & connective tissue
  • enhances joint movement
  • Stimulates blood flow to oxygenate tissue & flushes out built up muscle wastes
  • releases natural painkillers and sedatives relaxing the central nervous system 

Last month Virago and OTW held a class at Cali Coast Elite that allowed attendees to try out the Acuball. It was amazing. The class was lead by Rachelle Clauson, a Nationally Board Certified Massage Therapist, owner of Flourish Bodywork and Flourish Fitness, and an Acuball Teacher Trainer. Although the ball comes with directions, we highly recommend attending a class that shows you how to properly self-heal with the Acuball. The great thing about Rachelle was that since she is a massage therapist, she mixed in elements of meditation and deep breathing that you wouldn't normally think about on your own. The mind-body effects of the Acuball are extremely important and beneficial. 

Personally, I hold a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders, so thankfully the first exercise we did with the Acuball was on our necks. After thirty seconds of resting my neck on the heated Acuball, I could have fallen asleep. I was instantly relaxed and relieved of all pain in my neck. 

Anyone can benefit from the Acuball - athletes, runners, gymnasts, pregnant women, and anyone with joint or muscle aches and pain. 

If you are still shopping for loved ones, the Acuball makes for a great gift! Give the gift of relaxation and healing this Christmas. 

For more information about Acuball and purchase, visit www.acuball.com

If you would like to be informed of our next Acuball class, click on the button below. After every class, you have the opportunity to purchase Acuball products and the chance to win them in a raffle. See you there!