Monthly Archives: June 2016

Be a Novice, Keep Moving & Stay Young

How to Stay Energized, Renewed and Balanced Throughout Your Summer, Part III

iGnite - June26_2016 2

Point to Ponder:
How often do you practice being a beginner?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

This weekend I attended a portion of the Yoga Journal Conference in San Diego with iGnite Leader and friend, Amy Younkman. Amy leads our yoga and Power Pilates classes, has attended the Yoga Journal Conference for many years and always returns with excellent information. While we attended different classes, the one class that we took together was led by Bo Forbes and titled “Body Maps: The Road to Healthy Aging, Pain Modulation and Emotional Balance.”  Bo teaches yoga throughout the world, and, interestingly, she is also a psychologist. She is a yogi-brainiac, and she specializes in integrating yoga, mindfulness, neuroscience, psychology and movement studies and she has worked with professional sports teams, corporations, healthcare professionals worldwide. Obviously, she is a wealth of fascinating knowledge, all of which I am so eager to share with you because as Amy and I did, you are going to love it!

First, in regard to the physical aging portion of her class, what science is finding out is that unlike what we may have once thought or been told, aging is NOT what causes the loss of muscle mass or connective tissue. Instead, the loss of connective tissue and muscle mass is what causes aging! EUREKA!

As a refresher, the reason why connective tissue is important is because it connects, supports, binds, or separates all other tissues. And, muscles are necessary because muscles are the only tissue in the body that have the ability to contract and therefore move the other parts of the body. The muscular system’s second function is the maintenance of posture and body composition. Healthy connective tissue and muscle mass is what keeps us moving and physically thriving.

Next, as it relates to mental aging, emotional balance, memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression–neuroplasticity is the key. According to Dr. David Hellerstein in Psychology Today, neuroplasticity is the ongoing remodeling of brain structure (or the re-wiring of our brain map) and function that occurs throughout life. And, our day to day behavior and activity can have measurable effects on brain structure, function and health.

The key ingredient to healthy connective tissue is daily stretching and movement in every and all directions. The main ingredient for having muscle mass is strength, body weight and resistance training; and the primary ingredient for neuroplasticity is becoming an “expert beginner” and striving to participate in new movements and new experiences every day. As Bo reminded us, “The body and brain do not learn and grow from repetitive movement. Instead, they learn and grow from new experiences.” Therefore, the more we participate in life as a novice, feel incompetent and even engage in awkward and uncomfortable experiences, the healthier we are mentally and physically. BRILLIANT!

So, why is this the best and most exciting news ever?! You can access all of this goodness through iGnite! As it relates to our summer theme of staying energized, renewed and balanced, when constantly re-wiring and expanding our brain map by means of being a beginner and trying new things, the scientific proven outcome is that we are energized and experience a boost in mood. Therefore, our emotional capacity is expanded and our spirit stays uplifted!

With July 1st only a few days away, the timing of our fun summer contest to Give It a Try In July, could not be more perfect. Throughout the entire month of July, we encourage you to try all of our 28 weekly classes led by our passionate, talented and amazing Leaders. This is the ideal opportunity to re-wire your brain and body map by mixing up your exercise routine, which includes driving to new areas of town, iGniting with new members and creating new relationships.

There has never been a better time to stretch beyond your comfort zones and get good at becoming a beginner. After all, it’s in the spirit of anti-aging and health, which is TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Action Item:
Try one new thing this week.

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Simple & Healthy Summer Supper


Summer Supper Menu:

Wild Alaskan Salmon “Burgers” – purchasd at Costco

Homemade Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Avocado & Walnut Romaine Salad

Homemade Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
Serves 4
2 large organic sweet potatoes
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Directions: Preheat over to 400. Wash, peel and cut sweet potato into fry-like size. Place fries in a bowl. Toss and coat with 2-3 TBSP of olive oil. Spread fries on pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then toss and flip fries over. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until fries are crispy.

Avocado & Walnut Romaine Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 10 -15 minutes
Serves 1-3
One Organic Romaine Heart – chopped
Red Onion- 2 Tbsp – 1/4 C chopped
1/2 Avocado- chopped
1/4 C chopped walnuts or pecans
Optional: 1/4 C chopped strawberries, 1/4 C feta cheese
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Balsalmic Vinigrette
1 tsp honey (raw and local prefered)
1 tsp dijon mustard
Directions: Combine all salad ingredients in bowl. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients on stovetop, simmer on med/high heat. Stir with wisk, remove from heat and toss on salad.


Disconnect to Reconnect

How to Stay Energized, Renewed and Balanced Throughout Your Summer, Part II

iGnite - JournalJune19_2016

Point to Ponder:
Do you have an unhealthy relationship with your smartphone?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I think it’s safe to say that most of us rely heavily on our smartphones and may even struggle with a little smartphone addiction. I, for one, fall into this category because when I lose it I freak out! This handy device serves as my main communication mechanism (phone, text and email), camera, photo album, map, alarm clock, encyclopedia, dictionary, calculator and babysitter. I’m not proud of the ‘babysitter’ admission, but it keeps my kids entertained at times when I need them to be quiet.

Smartphones are an incredibly convenient tool that has simplified our lives in many ways, however too much of anything is too much and healthy boundaries are needed. Therefore, my second tip for getting and staying energized, renewed and balanced throughout the summer is to limit the use of your smartphone and reduce your time on social media. I believe that this time will not only allow you to authentically connect and reconnect with your friends and loved ones, but it will also allow you to check-in and reconnect with your body, mind and spirit. The blog Pop Sugar provides a very reasonable and realistic 7-Day Smartphone Detox plan.

  • Monday – Unfollow people who are not your real friends, unsubscribe from unwanted email lists and delete unused apps.
  • Tuesday – Turn off push notifications.
  • Wednesday – Resist the urge to look at your phone first thing in the morning.
  • Thursday – Set up a charging station outside of your bedroom and don’t look at your phone an hour before bed.
  • Friday – Go out to dinner and leave your phone at home, or if you aren’t using it for directions, keep it in your purse and only use it in the event of an emergency.
  • Saturday – Spend the day not looking at or posting on social media.
  • Sunday – Turn off your smart phone the entire day, or only use it as your phone, camera or map. No texting, emailing, or social media.

Of course these are just suggestions, an experiment if you will, but the main take away is as often as we use our smartphones and possibly social media, a good break is needed and necessary.

As you disconnect so you can reconnect, I encourage you to take note of how you sleep, feel and function. Do your smart phone and social media affect your ability to get a good nights rest, 7-9 hours per night? Do they impact your self-esteem or affect your mood? Do you have more time?

Finally, often times I think that we tinker with our phones out of boredom and even discomfort, like when standing in line at the grocery store and not knowing what to do with our eyes. If you do, I recommend resisting your smartphone. Instead, look around, people watch and maybe even strike up a conversation and connect with the people around you. I know it sounds cliche, but offline is a luxury which provides a definite peace of mind!

Action Item:
Significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on your smartphone and social media so you can authentically connect with others and reconnect with your body, mind and spirit.

You May Also Like:

  • Grow Inside by Getting Outside
  • Our 20 Habits for Feeling Our Best
  • How to Maximize Nature’s Body Benefits

Class Highlight: Cardio Blast


Cardio Blast

Molly Daniels

Leader Molly Daniels

Who wouldn’t want to take a class surrounded by nature with an amazing view? My Cardio Blast class is located at Mount Bonnell – a great location for a fabulous cardio endurance workout with a hill, stairs, ledges and picnic tables while overlooking Lake Austin at the top!

Cardio Blast takes place on Wednesdays, so it’s the perfect mid-week “break” between strength training days. Because you want to give your muscles at least one day to recover from lifting weights so that they can grow and change, some form of cardio is a great go-to. And, if you are looking for a great quad and glute workout, this one is for YOU!

DSC_4445This high intensity class has many benefits especially because we aren’t moving in one steady state. Cardio Blast focuses on the lower body through hill and stair sprints with intermittent bodyweight exercises. This type of interval training :

  • burns more calories than steady state cardio
  • increases your level of HGH (human growth hormone), which in turn engages your fast and super-fast twitch muscle fibers so you are healthier and stronger
  • improves insulin sensitivity, which can improve your overall health since poor insulin sensitivity can lead to chronic disease
  • produces results faster

iGnite - Mount Bonnell Group
I hope you’ll join me for Cardio Blast and experience the benefits above as well as improved speed and performance, higher energy levels, stronger quad and glute muscles, and increased oxygen in your blood.

This class is very fun and challenging. Although we move at a fast pace, all fitness levels are welcome! Plus, you’ll have a group of women who encourage you every step of the way.

See you at the bottom of the stairs!

View Class Schedule

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Member Spotlight: Kelly Glasgow

iGnite - Kelly GlasgowRoots:
I grew up in Dallas. My husband grew up in Houston. We moved to Austin in 1983 for my husband to get his MBA, and we never left!

Family Life:
I met my husband, William, at Vanderbilt. We married the January following graduation. We have five wonderful children and five beautiful grandchildren. Merrill (30) and Chase Laguarta live in Austin with their three daughters (5, 3, and 15 months). Megan (29) lives in NYC. Walker (27) and his wife Haley live in Oahu with their two boys (23 months and 6 months). Molly Frances (25) and her husband Joe Denham live in Austin. And last, but not least, Mallory (23) lives in Chicago.

Work Life:
I am a Registered Nurse (currently unemployed).

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Hmmm…that’s a hard one. I have so many lessons learned through iGnite but I would say my biggest take away is that there is so much wisdom to glean from all ages
of women. I have learned as much from the younger women as I have from my peer group. These young ladies are mature and very cool!
The best advice I’ve ever gotten… “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.”  Matthew 6:34

As a mother of five children, I have done my share (and more) of worrying. I knew as a Christian it was not biblical to worry, but I was very stubborn in this area. I think I somehow believed the amount of worry correlated with my love for my family or some such nonsense. I did bible studies on worry, read books on worry, but yep, you guessed it, I continued to worry. I am a very slow learner. I didn’t release my kids until my son joined the army. At that point, it became very apparent to my that I WAS NOT IN CONTROL. All of those wasted hours worrying…as I loosened my grip on my children, I had a new outlook on life. When our son deployed to Afghanistan, I didn’t want his absence and my worry to define me. Instead, I put into action what I knew but never truly embraced…God has a plan, and I need to trust in that. So there you have it. I let go and trusted God. Every day is a new day, and daily I have to renew my trust. I must admit that I am so grateful that I’m not in control. It’s too big of a job for me! Do I still worry some? YES of course…I am a work in progress 🙂

Something people may not know about me…
I am a NCIS junkie.

My guilty pleasure…
A glass of bubbly at lunch.

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Sitting is the New Smoking


Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

You can be very athletically fit, but if you are SITTING ALL DAY  with minimal walking or movement, your health will most definitely suffer.

According to Dr. Mercola’s Optimal Fitness,  when you stop moving for extended periods of time, it is like telling your body to shut down and prepare for death. Sitting for more than an hour slows your metabolic rate drastically, your arterial dilation — the ability for your arteries to expand and allow more blood flow to flow through them — is reduced by 50%, with the corresponding decrease in blood flow. Your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and toxicity levels all rise, and the cellular mechanisms involved in the maintenance of your body and health SHUT DOWN.
Studies looking at life in natural agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for only about three hours a day, a baseline of a heathy amount of sitting that is a stark contrast to the nine or more hours the average American spends seated in a daily office job and then later on in front of the TV.

iGnite_PowerUp_300ppi-5SO… YOU NEED TO GET UP EVERY HOUR! You can set an alarm on your phone or computer that rings every hour to remind you to get up – maybe climb the stairs in your office or go for a walk around the block.

“Walking is not considered an exercise, but rather an essential movement that we all require,” according to Dr. Mercolas Guide to Optimal Fitness. Walking is a phenomenal maintenance activity that will allow you to stay healthy into old age. In fact, the older you get, the more important it becomes.

The good thing about walking is that it does not tear your body down too much, so it does not require recovery time like exercise can. The flip side is that walking won’t build your body up much either, even if you are taking the much-heralded 10,000 steps a day.

Another solution along with walking is a standing desk. According to Dr. Levine, a consultant with Fortune 500 companies, in every company that implements standing desks for their workers productivity increased.  Sitting for less than an hour at a time or standing at a desk has also been proven to decrease back pain!
Sitting less requires a change in thinking and being — a change in how we live. Your best solution is to stand up as much as possible, making it your goal to sit for 3 HOURS OR LESS DURING YOUR WAKING HOURS!!

Lets try this!!

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A Time to Have Fun (but don’t go crazy)

How to Stay Energized, Renewed and Balanced Throughout Your Summer, Part I

iGnite - June 12 journal pic

Point to Ponder:
What is something you have been hesitant to try, experience or say “yes” to?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

It’s summer!!!!, which means that you can take a deep breath, exhale, stay up late, sleep in, paint your toe nails and finger nails multi-colors and experiment with bright lipstick. I don’t know why it takes a change in season to give myself permission to do these types of things, however I suppose like in Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8, and also quoted in the song Turn!, Turn!, Turn! by the Byrds, there is a time for everything:

For everything that happens in the life–there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to collect harvest;
A time to kill, a time to heal; a time to tear down, a time to build up; a time to mourn, a time to dance;
A time to scatter stones, a time to pile them up; a time for a warm embrace, a time for keeping your distance;
A time to search, a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, a time to throw out;
A time to tear apart, time to bind together; a time to be quiet, a time to speak up;
A time to love, a time to hate; a time to go to war, a time to make peace.

Reading a little further, in Ecclesiastes (3, 12-13) it says, “What good comes to anyone who works so hard, all to gain a few possessions. I know there is nothing better for us than to be joyful and to do good throughout our lives; to eat and drink and see the good in all of our hard work is a gift from God.” This is what I think summer is all about–it’s our season of harvest. A time to celebrate our seasons of hard work, to reap what we have sown, slow down, unplug, breathe, rest, be intentional with having fun, try new things, and chill out.

Throughout the next few weeks I am going to share a few tips that I hope will allow your body, mind and spirit to stay energized, renewed and balanced throughout the summer months. The objective is to minimize your need to achieve and be hyper-productive while maximizing the time you spend having fun and experiencing renewal.

My first tip is to Have Fun! (but don’t go crazy)- What I mean by this is to try new things and do more of what makes you laugh and smile. Paint your fingernails funky colors and experiment with shiny and different shades of lipstick. Turn music on throughout your house and play it loudly. Dance! Try new cocktails, eat ice cream and venture to new restaurants. Let go of self-induced expectations and judgments. Take a nap, read a book, and go to the movies. Be spontaneous. Say “yes” when you might otherwise say “no”. Say “no” when you might otherwise say “yes”.

Next, just as Amy Younkman suggested in the journal How Daily Discipline Can Set Your Summer Months Free, keep some structure throughout your summer. Even though you need to relax and focus more on fun, continue to prioritize your health. While on vacation, be sure to move. Embark in the organic activities within your destination, like hiking, and taking long walks and running on the beach, swimming, or exercising poolside or in a park. Long road trips as well as flying creates stiff and achy bodies, so be sure to stretch. (Click on our travel-friendly workouts: Pilates Stomach Series, HIIT Workout, Body Weight Circuit, 3-Step Workout, Swim Workout). (Click on our travel-friendly streches and yoga poses: Poses for Travel, Release Neck Tension during Travel, Tibetan Twisting, Flexibility Stretches , Heart Opening Yoga Series).

In addition, definitely splurge and indulge, but don’t over do it. Eat lean protein with each meal as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, and don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and/or cranberry water. Flying in airplanes cause dehydration. Clean eating and adequate hydration will keep you feeling energetic and renewed, rather than bloated and puffy. And, for cleansing purposes, it never hurts to start and end your day with a cup of hot lemon water (1/2 juice of lemon with 8 oz of hot water). Hot lemon water, along with proper hydration will keep your bowels healthy. I know…bowel movements aren’t a desirable topic, but for many women this is a problem, especially when our daily routines and diets are thrown off. And, don’t forget about our delicious and high protein and fiber travel snacks: Black Bean Brownies and Peanut Butter Protein Bars.

There’s no doubt that every season (fall, winter, spring and summer) is a gift and should be celebrated, but summer is the season where fun and renewal must be a daily priority. It’s the season of absorbing the sun’s energy and letting loose so your body, mind and spirit can illuminate and you can shine bright throughout the remainder of the year.

Shine Bright this summer with our *new* summer bundles, apparel and goodies and I hope that during the summer you will Try Everything!

Action Item:
Minimize your need to achieve and be hyper-productive while maximizing the time you spend having fun and experiencing renewal.