It's Never Too Late to Get On Track

As summer comes to an end and we find ourselves having to get back into a routine, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life. Whether it's getting the kids ready for school, commuting to and from work, that college course you just can’t seem to grasp -- all these seem to take away from that underestimated yet very important “me time.” No matter what your life looks like we all need that time to unwind and get in tune with ourselves. That’s why I’m here to introduce you to On Track Wellness and shed some light on the idea of getting your health and wellness back on track regardless of that busy schedule.

On Track Wellness is a versatile fitness and martial arts studio new to Midway District near the Pechanga Arena San Diego, but has been around since 2012. This gym emphasizes getting you out of your comfort zone while still following their 5 selves philosophy -- a philosophy that prioritizes self-awareness, self-discipline, self-control, self-respect, and self-defense. 

 At Virago we have been graced by a longtime friendship with On Track Wellness and when we heard they would be opening their new location we wanted to provide as much support as they’ve provided us. We sat down with co-owners Nate and Eric, to get the inside scoop on their newest endeavors and provide our readers with everything they need to know about On Track Wellness.

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 “A safe space to hit your limits but be supported and guided.”

 As I walked through the doors to see what their gym was all about Nate and Eric both showed their immediate support as we took a look around. It is very apparent that they’ve created a space where one can fully focus on themselves and have every tool necessary to enhance their wellness. At first sight you’ll come across a fully equipped gym area with a chalkboard wall that has workouts pre-planned for you. As you walk forward you’ll see the matt where all their martial arts classes take place and space on the side for parents who wish to watch their kids practice. 

“We offer solutions for the whole family and especially our small group classes that offer personal attention at a lower price that other gyms.” 

This is an awesome opportunity for those who have always wanted to try guided fitness training classes as you’ll be getting a great workout and the guidance to learn the proper techniques. When talking to Nate he emphasized that On Track Wellness is looking to add members to their fitness family. They aren’t looking to be a huge 300 person gym, they simply want to promote health and hold each other accountable in their journeys. Most of their fitness courses are modeled by a 35 minute class for adults and teenagers while their martial arts classes are for all ages. 

“We want health and wellness with coaching to be available to more people.”

They understand getting into this type of fitness can be intimidating whether its cost or just not knowing what to expect, which is why they aim to eliminate as much of the intimidation as possible. They even go as far as providing work out plans for the parents who are their watching their kids’ martial arts classes.

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“Often I get parents saying they wish they had more time to work out. So, while their children are learning, I encourage them to use our gym area and if they aren’t sure where to start, we are more than happy to put together a workout beforehand with them.”

On Track Wellness is constantly finding ways to accommodate and help others in their fitness journey, including partnering with Virago as one of our F.I.T. Project partners -- where we offer free fitness classes to overcome life’s stressors and promote post traumatic growth. Their next class with us will be held on Thursday October 10th and 7pm. Come by after work and relieve some of that stress through an awesome kickboxing class and get to know the amazing people behind On Track Wellness.

Hear what our founder Brittney Hogan has to say about her experience at On Track Wellness;

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“I have never been to a gym that made my workout this fun and easy. After just one of Nate's classes, I was hooked. I took the earliest class he offered 3 times a week, and it was such a good workout for only 35 minutes, that I left there feeling so incredibly accomplished and sore (in a good way) before it was 7am. I love that the groups are so small, so you get one on one attention from the instructor, almost like a personal training session but at group fitness prices.”


Jessica Blanco | Journalist Intern

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Jessica Blanco is a student athlete graduating this December 2019 with a Bachelors Degree in History. Her journey as a student has led her to us as she has experienced first hand the therapeutic benefits of fitness.

At the age of 7 Jessica began playing tennis, but 11 years later when it was time to leave to college she decided to leave sports…

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Relevate Fitness Uses Reiki Harnessing Energy to Promote Self Awareness

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“We’re all made of energy.”

Shannon Werner reminds us, as we get a firsthand look into her Barre, Pilates, and Wellness studio Relevate. Whether one remembers this teaching from their high school science courses or not, it’s hard not to believe when coming face to face with the uplifting spirit of Shannon herself. 

Relevate is located in San Diego’s University City, near the UTC Mall. With its natural light and open space, one can expect to feel at peace when stepping foot inside -- after all, “Relevate” means “to return to good spirits”. Relevate was born when the previous barre studio Shannon managed and taught at closed its doors, and she immediately saw this as an opportunity to create a new home to celebrate community. Picturing a welcoming environment where both men and women can feel comfortable participating in a Barre class, even if it’s their first time, Shannon opened Relevate. She aims to leave her students feeling inspired not just by the class experience, but also by their own effort, ability, and inner strength. Relevate is not just a movement studio - it also focuses on spiritual, emotional and mental wellbeing. In addition to Barre and Pilates classes, Relevate offers Transformational Nutrition Coaching and Reiki Energy Healing, a practice where Universal Life Force Energy is harnessed to heal and balance the mind, body, and spirit.

With a mission to use fitness as therapy and promoting post traumatic growth here at Virago, we of course were intrigued by the idea of Energy Healing and were excited to learn more as Shannon explained to us her experience with Reiki. 

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Reiki is a Japanese Energy Healing technique where practitioners transmit Universal Life Force Energy through their hands to the recipient. Shannon explained that Universal Life Force Energy is the essence of our physical being, consciousness, and spirit. Life Force energy moves through our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies, and can often become stagnant or blocked, which can lead to physical manifestations such as injury, imbalance, or disease. Reiki Energy Healing allows that “stuck” energy to flow freely once again. Reiki not only calms the nervous system and assists with healing physical symptoms, but also leaves the recipient with a feeling of wellbeing and deeper connection to him- or herself. Shannon explained that she was first drawn to Energy Healing through her studies of Yoga and Spirituality, and later experienced Reiki’s powerful healing potential first-hand when she was offered a treatment by a Reiki Master who was also a dear friend. Instantly, she felt a spark of interest and intrigue, but it wasn’t until a few years later that Shannon dove in deeper as a Reiki student and practitioner. Shannon shared that Reiki allows her to reconnect with herself and keep her grounded during times of challenge, and she loves that it is a practice she can administer to herself as a form of self-healing. Most of all, she loves being able to share Reiki with her Relevate community. Shannon believes that wellness is found at the intersection of physical, emotional, and spiritual balance, and she infuses her classes with uplifting mindset/life coaching in addition to teaching movement to help train the body AND the mind. As energy work is a natural extension of physical healing and wellbeing, Shannon loves sprinkling in Reiki, Sound Healing, and other healing modalities into classes and workshops as a bridge for individuals to experience it a way that is approachable and accessible.

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“We all go through challenges, and feel pain or alone at times, and we need community more than ever.”

Shannon’s understanding and empathetic nature has allowed her to create a welcoming environment for individuals to move, breath, learn, and be in community. At Relevate, you’re encouraged to always listen to your body, connect with your heart, and love yourself unconditionally as you move through the class, especially when experiencing a challenging exercise. This is what really ties Virago Fitness and our FIT Program to Relevate. We believe in the power of fitness as therapy, and encourage people to fight through their struggles one breath at a time during their workouts. It’s not about looking good or getting that bikini body, it’s about feeling good about yourself and allowing yourself to break those internal barriers or mental blocks so to speak. 

“You have a body. You have a bikini. Awesome, put the two together and rock it out!”

Shannon reminds us of this while explaining to us that her studio is welcoming to all no matter what shape or size you are, or what state of mind you’re in. It is Shannon’s top priority to welcome and encourage you before and during class, and leave you feeling renewed and inspired when walking out the door. 

Understanding and accepting this mentality when it comes to fitness is so helpful and life changing. If you’re in need of a positive change or looking for a way to cope with any life stressors check out Relevate in San Diego and remember that Fitness Is Therapy.


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JESSICA BLANCO | JOURNALIST INTERN

Jessica Blanco is a student athlete graduating this December 2019 with a Bachelors Degree in History. Her journey as a student has led her to us as she has experienced first hand the therapeutic benefits of fitness.

At the age of 7 Jessica began playing tennis, but 11 years later when it was time to leave to college she decided to leave sports…

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Teach a Man to Fish

Sometimes all we need is to be given a chance; for someone to open that window of opportunity. At Alpha Lofts -- a permanent supportive housing complex for homeless military Veterans -- they’ve done just that. 

Based in San Diego, CA, Alpha Lofts supports qualified higher risk clientele found on the streets and brings them into their housing unit providing continuous care for both their health and wellbeing, if they comply with the program guidelines holding each resident accountable for their future.

Todd Vance, Project Manager of Alpha Lofts, explains to us at Virago that they use housing as a foundation while providing other services which include; case management, financial assistance, healthcare enrollment, VA assistance, appointment scheduling, and making sure their tenants get to where they need to be. "Ultimately we are preparing them to be out on their own again," Todd informs us as we toured the facility. Just like the famous Chinese Proverb says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day”, what really stands out to us about Alpha Lofts’ approach is that they don’t simply feed their residents, they teach them to fish. For example, instead of simply putting a roof over their heads, Alpha Lofts works with SDGE to get each apartment’s utilities in the Veteran’s name to re-establish credit. 

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Throughout our tour we caught a glimpse of Alpha Lofts’ modern apartment structured facility fully equipped with a laundry room, food pantry, outdoor quad where tenants can enjoy some sun and fresh air, parking garage, and security. The open hallways and elevators make the complex wheelchair accessible, accommodating anyone with mobility restrictions. Walking around the building we could feel the homey atmosphere, as Todd showed us around tenants would politely greet Todd and the Virago team. Alpha Lofts felt like a community of its own and we are so excited to be a part of a foundation like this as we hope to add to the resources available for these Veterans.

Upon visiting Alpha Lofts and meeting with Todd, Virago Fitness is eager to bring our FIT Program -- where we promote post-traumatic growth through our free fitness classes and use fitness as a form of therapy, to the Veteran residents of this facility. We have already held one yoga class and it was a huge success. Implementing our FIT Project mantra -- “You Are Strong, You Are Bold, You Are Resilient, You Are Fearless, You Are Committed, You Are Driven, You Are Humble, You Are Limitless. You are Virago.”, and the breathing tactics of yoga, we aided a handful of men and women in working toward their recovery from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and begin to let go of any stressors they may have. “I’m deeply committed to the idea of bringing yoga to our residents. I know firsthand that it will help them be mobile, move without pain, and not focus on the negativity around them.” Todd’s willingness to bring yoga to these men and women stems from personal experience as he turned to yoga to cope with his own traumas from being in the military. When learning about our mission he could not wait to partner with us and bring this opportunity to his brothers and sisters in arms.

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Currently, we have scheduled two more yoga classes for the Veterans of Alpha Lofts and are excited to continue this partnership. If you'd like to help this amazing foundation they are always accepting in-kind donations and are currently in need of summer attire to accommodate the heat along with any food items. You can also extend your help outward on a day-to-day basis by simply treating these homeless Veterans as human beings – simply stopping and “having a normal conversation with them can go a long way” (Todd Vance). 

With the community’s help and support, Alpha Lofts is a pioneer in social change, recognizing their residents not only for their needs but for their sacrifice and service to this country. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” 

Find out more by visiting their website and watching our interview with Todd Vance of Alpha Lofts.


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JESSICA BLANCO | JOURNALIST INTERN

Jessica Blanco is a student athlete graduating this December 2019 with a Bachelors Degree in History. Her journey as a student has led her to us as she has experienced first hand the therapeutic benefits of fitness.

At the age of 7 Jessica began playing tennis, but 11 years later when it was time to leave to college she decided to leave sports…

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Empower Yourself at the Barre

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An Instantaneous feeling of warmth and welcome. As we walked into Ashley Adam’s studio, The Dailey Method Barre and Cycle, we felt nothing but that. If you’re looking for a community of kindness, encouragement, and support, while getting an awesome workout, this studio is right up your ally! With its convenient location in beautiful Downtown San Diego, near Waterfront Park on Kettner Blvd., it's no wonder this studio shines bright inside and out from its people to its location.

After partnering with Ashley on our program, “The F.I.T. Project” – a program collaborating with fitness instructors in San Diego to offer free classes that inspire fitness for therapy – we had the pleasure of getting the inside scoop on her life changing fitness experience, learn how she applies this lifestyle to her family life, and get to know her kind hearted self-proclaimed “hippie at heart” personality. Before The Dailey Method, Ashley did not see herself as the motivational fitness instructor she has become today. She worked at a non-profit full time and her go to method of exercise was running. It wasn’t until she was invited to check out The Dailey Method, by a friend, that things began to change for her. 

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“It wasn’t until my fitness came from a place of healing, that's when everything changed.”

From her first class with The Dailey Method Ashley knew there was something special about it. She was left wanting more. She had always been the type who felt lost at the gym; not knowing what muscle groups to work or which exercises to do. This studio had her feeling muscles in her body she had never felt before. She felt healthy, and she loved the hands on guidance provided in the class. Not only was Ashley loving The Dailey Method, but with a recent back injury and potential surgery on her mind she wanted to try a more natural approach to healing her back. She felt as if she had tried absolutely everything; acupuncture, natural methods, different orthopedic exercises; The Dailey Method was helping her more than any of these attempts for healing. She began making this a routine for herself, and it was then that she realized the change. Her fitness now came from a place of healing; she not only felt her back getting stronger, but she found herself gaining self-love and she knew she had to share this with others.

            Ashley went from exchanging her time as a volunteer in their childcare facility for free classes at The Dailey Method, to owning her own studio here in San Diego. She takes pride in the family that has developed in her studio and describes it as a community which “comes from a place of really trying to honor yourself and the people around you.” This tightknit group was put to the test when Ashley decided to move their studio to its newest location in Downtown San Diego; taking them two years to finalize the move. At this time Ashley really appreciated the strength and support of her Dailey Method family and told us many of her customers felt as if they were coming home when the studio reopened.

Not only does this community shine with honor, strength, and support, but The Dailey Method itself comes from these fundamentals. When going to work out one can expect to learn how to focus on their body’s individual alignment. Ashley teaches her class in a way that is very hands on and is adjusted to each individual in the class. She teaches people to respect their body and the bodies around them, providing a safe space for everyone to work out.

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“It’s important to honor that everyone, every body, is different.”

Today many people find it hard to juggle exercise with work and/or family life, but at The Dailey Method they find ways to help you regardless of your schedule. They offer online instructional videos through their website and childcare in their studio’s Kids Club. While interviewing Ashley she told us how she incorporates her workouts with being a mom. She aims to lead by example and show her children the importance of self-love. She does this by working out in the living room where her children can see her and sometimes even attempt to copy her movements. It’s easy to imagine Ashley juggling her kiddos as she works out with her fun loving personality. 

“It’s important to carve out me time and love yourself just as much as you love others.” 

Ashley describes herself as a hippie at heart and aims to spread kindness wherever she goes. This is apparent when meeting her as she is very welcoming in and out of her fitness instructor role. With her calming energy and positivity it is nearly impossible not to feel at peace as you walk out of her studio. She teaches with a sense of humility and speaks to others in a way which leaves them feeling proud of their own body. If this type of community is something you’re seeking, click here to sign up for your first class.


Jessica Blanco | Journalist Intern

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Jessica Blanco is a student athlete graduating this December 2019 with a Bachelors Degree in History. Her journey as a student has led her to us as she has experienced first hand the therapeutic benefits of fitness.

At the age of 7 Jessica began playing tennis, but 11 years later when it was time to leave to college she decided to leave sports…

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Virago heads Eastbound

From buddies to business men -- Marco Rodriguez, Ben Clevenger, and Jason Nichols first met at El Capitan High School while playing on the football team together. Little did they know a few years down the road their friendship would land them a successful business. 

As young adults, its nothing out of the ordinary to have a dream or set goals for future success. One day while hanging out, Marco, Ben, and Jason decided they wanted to open a bar together. With little to no business experience, the friends tossed around the idea and came to the conclusion that Lakeside, their hometown, was the perfect place for their dream establishment.

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February 2010 Lakeside, a small town in San Diego’s east county province, welcomes Eastbound Bar and Grill; a new light for this small town, a place where the community could come together, eat some great food, and have fun with their families and friends. Upon opening, their business was booming and the band of three amigos had successfully opened their Pacific Beach vibe bar and grill in their hometown.

Unfortunately, every great success story stumbles upon a hardship from time to time. An early Saturday morning in March of 2016 Eastbound was set aflame. A faulty wire in their freezer sparked leaving the interior of the bar charred and a burning desire in both the staff and community of Lakeside to rebuild. 

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The rebuilding lasted two months and was a true testament to Eastbound and its tie to the community of Lakeside. To show their appreciation and honor the fire department and members of the community who stood by their side at this time, the bar threw a party upon reopening their doors; now known as the Eastbound Fireversary. Since then they’ve also designated every Monday as their community night where 10% of their proceeds go to a local fundraiser and continuously look for ways to give back to their town and the people around them.

Today, approximately two years after the reopening of Eastbound Bar and Grill, one can still expect this communal, family-friendly environment, with great food and drinks. Upon opening the door one is greeted by the crisp air, welcoming staff, and a picture-perfect bar scene with just the right ambience and music. Whether you’re in need of a quick drink or a family meal, Eastbound Bar and Grill offers an environment for all occasions and we encourage you to check out this staple in the community of Lakeside for yourself.


VIRAGO FITNESS & EASTBOUND BAR & GRILL

At Virago Fitness, we are honored to be Eastbound Bar and Grill’s next community night partner. This Monday, August 12th, from 5pm-9pm we will be raising money for our FIT Project – promoting the use of fitness for post-traumatic growth. 10% of your bill will go directly to this cause as we bring free fitness classes to Lakeside. We are excited to expand our community and look forward to seeing you all at Eastbound Bar and Grill!

View full event details here.


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JESSICA BLANCO | JOURNALIST INTERN

Jessica Blanco is a student athlete graduating this December 2019 with a Bachelors Degree in History. Her journey as a student has led her to us as she has experienced first hand the therapeutic benefits of fitness.

At the age of 7 Jessica began playing tennis, but 11 years later when it was time to leave to college she decided to leave sports…

Read More

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

When an individual hears the words Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), immediately some people think about veterans and the traumatic experiences they endure. Veterans are not the only ones whom have the prognosis of PTSD. People who experience the loss of a loved one, domestic abuse, sexual violence, or anything traumatic, may have the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Going through a traumatic experience does not only affect the person, but it also takes a toll on their family and social environment. There are several triggers that may cause a person to mentally re-experience a traumatic event such as, smells, touch, sounds, and external visual stimuli. Many veterans avoid attending counseling due to the stigma of appearing weak to their peers. There are several other cultures who also dodge mental health services because of historical context or religious affiliation. It is important we educate ourselves on mental health disorders because you never know if the person next to you may require some assistance in a time of need.

Kyle P. Goodwin, QMHP

Clinical Counselor

USMC, Veteran.

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What You Need to Know About Training Low

What You Need to Know About Training Low

You may have heard the new term floating around the gym: "Train-Low". The term refers to a way to burn fat while one works out. More specifically, "training low" refers to the minimal intake of carbohydrates before exercising. Similar to the ketogenic diet, training low, may help one achieve ketosis; however, is training low the most effective way to exercise? This article will be exploring what you need to know about training low…

The Low Down on the Low Carb Diet - The Ketogenic Diet

The Low Down on the Low Carb Diet - The Ketogenic Diet

Social media has caught on to the craze of the Ketogenic Diet (KD), and it seems like everywhere you look people are talking about this trending diet. You will find people posting on Instagram about it and others writing blog posts on it. Many people believe it’s the next diet for fast weight loss results. This article provides you with the low down on this very low carb diet.

Ending The Cycle

Giovanni Cinfio of Newport Beach, CA, struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for many years. He found himself constantly falling into the cycle of getting high, getting arrested and going to jail. This cycle took over his life for nearly five years. Until it all came to a head when he was taken to jail for the last time. "I remember the date like it was yesterday -- December 23rd 2013. I was arrested and wasn’t getting out for a while. My lawyer and I worked out a deal with the judge to get help, and I knew that this was my last chance. It took 4 attempts, but I finally landed where I needed to be" (Cinfio). Giovanni attributes the success of his recovery to the help he received from the Tree House Recovery (THR) Center, in Costa Mesa, CA. THR is a treatment center for drug and alcohol for men abusers, which require their patients to use physical activity everyday as a tool for treatment, among other therapy. The treatment center utilizes instruction in body weight, cardio, conventional weight lifting and team sports to treat the whole person rather than just their behaviors. They told Giovanni and the others there that everything they needed was already in them.  

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"I played football, wrestled and trained in mixed martial arts growing up so fitness has always been a part of my life, but I never knew how powerful it could be for me. Now I use exercise and meditate everyday to keep myself healthy from the inside out and stabilize my emotions." Giovanni says. 


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Cinfio is a huge proponent of fitness for therapy and is sharing his story to inspire others going through similar obstacles. He says "If you or someone you know is struggling, get help at the Tree House Recovery Center (855)202-2138. Change your lifestyle, friends, workplace and everyday environments."  

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To get in touch with Giovanni or follow his fitness journey, follow him on Instagram @gio.fitness.quest


Tree House Recovery 

https://treehouserecovery.com/
1901 Newport Blvd #271, Costa Mesa, CA 92627  
(855) 202-2138  

Pain, Passion and Purpose

Pain, Passion and Purpose

Karah Joyner is a freshman at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She is majoring in Psychology with plans of becoming a PTSD therapist who works with Veterans. She will be contributing articles to our website on a regular basis, with the first being her heartbreaking, yet incredible story. Click to read her bio and personal “Struggle Into Strength” story here.

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes: Emily Katz’s Struggle Into Strength Story

Emily Katz grew up in three countries, six schools and twenty homes. She was raised by a different nanny each year. “My dad is a textbook narcissist and my mum was a submissive victim. Both of them were emotionally unavailable to me”. As she recalls her childhood, she said she was a hypersensitive, gifted and strong willed child; a combination that led her to crave attention due to her emotional needs, become a rebellious substance abuser, have a very poor sense of self and identity, as well as have extremely low self esteem, respect and self worth.

“In my teens and early twenties I was sexually assaulted and abused more than once. I had a full blown drinking problem by seventeen and managed to overcome a coke habit by myself. At age twenty-two, a very abusive relationship (a prolonged traumatic event) threw me into acute PTSD. Since then therapy, meds, booze and drugs were my norm.”

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A few years later, at the age of twenty-seven, Emily went through a divorce. After the divorce she went on a year long bender with someone younger than her who was emotionally unstable. Her decision to end the relationship with him sent him into a downward spiral that eventually resulted in him overdosing. The turning point in Emily’s life was when she found him. He was still alive, and Emily was able to get him treatment. It was then that she realized she need to make a change. She felt the need to be an example for him as well.

“He was like a reflection of me”, she said, “Of who I’d been. It made me confront my behavior. I realized that passing out drunk on the kitchen floor was no life for me. I was relieved to wake up most mornings. Something had to give.” Emily took up yoga and that was the catalyst that changed her life. “It quickly got me to reconnect with myself and within a month or so I went cold turkey and got sober”.

“Once you remove all your vices and crutches like booze and smoking, you are left to confront your feelings and you are no longer numbing yourself. So I started to confront my issues head on. Got a good therapist and started digging deep.” - Emily Katz


Four months later, Emily went back to college to pursue a postgraduate degree. Three months after that, she quit smoking. Soon after, she found herself in a wonderful, accepting and understanding relationship and she is now a healthy, happy mum.

Reflecting on her young adulthood and comparing it to how far she has come today, Emily knows that she couldn’t have overcome her obstacles without fitness and yoga. Referring to her practice, Emily said, “It connected me to myself, got me to listen to my body, to respect it and care for it. I started wanting to feel better, eat healthier and live healthier. For example, yoga is a lot about breathing, and I was a heavy smoker for 15 years at that point, and the yoga made me realize how I could barely breathe; I couldn’t inhale fully, and it really upset me. Within a year I quit smoking. I believe it was the yoga. Once you remove all your vices and crutches like booze and smoking, you are left to confront your feelings and you are no longer numbing yourself. So I started to confront my issues head on. Got a good therapist and started digging deep.”

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Now Emily shares her story whenever she can, as she wants to inspire others going through similar issues. The advice she gives to others is simple: “Get a good therapist, find good people to support you and encourage your growth, take up yoga, give it time.” Her goal is to do what she can to help others, and she encourages others to do the same. She says that if you help others work on their self-care, self-respect and self-worth, you will not only help them like themselves more, you will like yourself more. Self-love is vital to healing.

If you would like to contact Emily, please email her at emilykatzbiz@gmail.com she would love to hear from you.



The Freshest Nutrition Bars Ever Created

 

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

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.

Boston Marathon Runner Samantha Poccia Runs For Great Cause

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?

 

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."

 

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

 

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

 

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