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Family Fitness FUNdamentals

iGnite Exercise Playdate

by Alli Phillips M.Ed.

A child’s first and most important teachers are her/his parents, and just as daily reading to our children helps develop literacy, daily exercise teaches our children healthy living practices.  Furthermore, exercising on our own, with a group, with neighbors and friends, and especially with our children and families, demonstrates that we value our health, as well as theirs.  Weaving exercise into daily routines teaches kids that fitness is a way of life, how we live, and how we live well.

The Cross-Training Playdate class I teach for iGnite is offered for women with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and provides moms the opportunity to get out, exercise, and “play” with other moms, while their children enjoy a built-in playdate of their own.  And, women who attend this class, while enjoying an exercise fix and some “mommy-time,” are also modeling healthy habits for their children and creating for them a “fitness-lifestyle” framework.

DEVELOPING A FITNESS LIFESTYLE
Suggestions for Mommies of Young Children (and Daddies too!)

MAKE A PLAN
Based on your current level of fitness, your goals, your work schedule, and your family’s routine, devise a daily exercise plan by which you achieve the weekly totals below:

  1. 100+ minutes of aerobic conditioning 
  2. 30+ minutes of muscular endurance and strength training
  3. 30+ minutes of flexibility and balance work
  • Write your plan in your calendar. 
  • Expect the unexpected…. Having kids means “stuff” will come up and there will be days, weeks, even months when you are not able to exercise as much as you’ve planned….
  • Keep an attitude of gratitude for your current level of health and fitness and your families’, and enjoy any amount of time you have for exercise.
  • Be kind, patient, and gentle with yourself when/if you do not or cannot stick to “the plan.”   It takes time to develop a fitness-lifestyle, and even after exercise routines are established, they are ever-changing and evolving. So, plan to….
  • Make changes to your routine periodically, mindful of what from your original plan is working and what is not, and what activities and exercise modalities “enhance and improve your quality of life.”

 

BREAK IT UP. SQUEEZE IT IN.
If you do not have a ½ hour or hour block of time in your day for a large “workout meal”, try to “break it up” and “squeeze it in” with shorter bouts of exercise, “exercise snacking,” throughout the day. Actually, the fitness benefits of “exercise snacking” are equal to or greater than those of longer-duration exercise if the intensity is higher. So… no time for your regular workout class? Run the stairs in your house between sets of push-ups and squats during your baby’s morning nap; after a picnic lunch with your toddler at the park, play chase between sets of lunges and dips; and/or after dinner take a family-walk in the neighborhood followed by a game of “Yoga-Simon-Says.” What a great day of exercise!… Make that a great day, period.

playdate3 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

  • Aerobic conditioning can be as simple as a walk or bike ride with your children, to/from school, the neighborhood library, or the grocery store. Or for moms of babies, “cardio stepping” on your front porch during your infant’s morning nap is a great way to get a quick aerobic-fix.
  • Muscular endurance and strength work need be nothing more than squats and push-ups thrown into your day whenever you have the opportunity.
  • And a few simple yoga poses like down-dog, warrior I, II, III, and plank, mixed into your daily routine will improve your balance and flexibility, not to mention calm your mind and open your heart.

MAKE IT FUN
As I mentioned, parents are role models and we teach our children by example, but our children teach us too! My children have taught (and continue to teach) me how to make exercise play, and vice-versa, how to make play exercise. With older kids the opportunities for “play-based fitness” are endless; sports are an obvious way to enjoy exercise with our children; but equally fun are good-old-fashioned playground games like tag, duck-duck-goose, hop-scotch, jump-rope, and relays. Also, neighborhood-public tennis and basketball courts and tracks may be available for trike-bike-and-scooter-riding; so while the kids run, ride, and/or scoot around, mommy can do the same. Finally, for moms with babies and very young kids, squats beside a baby’s crib or a child’s bed can turn into a game of peek-a-boo, push-ups with a 2-year-old on your back can become a game of “bucking-bronco,” and yoga poses can be integrated into “tummy-time” for infants or a game of “Yoga Simon Says” for toddlers.

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THE FUNdamental EXERCISES
These simple exercises are ALL you need for a well-rounded fitness program.  They can be integrated easily into the daily routines of women at various stages of mommy-hood, adjusted for all levels of fitness, and tailored to personal goals. And with a little imagination, creativity, and inspiration from your children, they can also be incorporated into “play.”

Lower Body 

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Step-Ups

Upper Body

  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Rows or Pull-ups

Core

  • Plank
  • Ab Crunches
  • Back Extensions

Flexibility & Balance

  • Yoga
  • Down Dog
  • Warrior I, II, III
  • Plank/Side-Plank
  • Twists

Cardio 

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Aerobic Stepping – on stairs, a curb, or low ledge
  • Jump Rope
  • Track, Tennis Court, or BBall Court Drills
  • Playground Circuits

plank

downward dog

…Now go play! 

alli teaching

Alli Phillips has years of experience teaching child-friendly exercise classes for moms in the Austin, Texas area, and she teaches iGnite’s Cross Training Playdate class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:45am in central Austin.

During this class, moms enjoy a cross-training opportunity while their babies, toddlers and pre-school age children enjoy the outdoors and playtime in the park. Lifting primarily body weight, this mom-specific class emphasizes functional fitness, fundamental strength training, cardiovascular conditioning and yoga-based flow. Not only does this class leave moms feeling rejuvenated and strong, but it’s a perfect time to model healthy habits and actions to our children.   All fitness levels are welcome.  View the class schedule here.

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Goals Shmoals, Just What Do You WANT?

by Catherine Hearn

by Catherine Hearn

In the world of self improvement and self-help, you’re always hearing about the importance of goals. What are your goals? What are your dreams? What are your passions? And if you’re at all like me, those questions just make you want to roll your eyes and think… I don’t know what my “goals” are!  Who really does that anyways?!   But something happened in my life that made me think about them in a whole new way… a way that made complete sense to me.  And now, I see that they are just as powerful as people are always saying they are.  It just doesn’t have to be approached in such a boring way!  It’s time to make “setting goals” more approachable, more interesting, more…fun?

To make a long story short, the journey that brought me to setting and achieving “goals” and completely changing my life for the better went about something like this:

Stage 1:  Live my life as an absolute perfectionist, overachiever,  make-sure-I-look-good-in-everyone-else’s-eyes kind of  gal.  i.e.   always trying to get the ‘perfect’ grades, look as ‘perfect’ as possible (whatever that means?), be the president of my college organization, date the ‘cool’ guy, and on and on…

Stage 2: Get a standard office job doing what my college major prepared me to do…regardless of whether it really inspired or interested me. It’s what we’re all “supposed to do” after all, isn’t it? (gag)

Stage 3: Find out I have a brain tumor.   A benign, non-cancerous tumor called a pituitary adenoma to be exact. Not dangerous or life-threatening, but try explaining that to me in the same sentence as  the words BRAIN and TUMOR  in a voice mail left on my cell phone by my doctor’s office (awesome customer service, I know) , and I didn’t exactly hear the “you’re gonna be fine though” part…

Stage 4: Sit down and realize (post freak-out and crying session)… ok, clearly I am NOT in control of my life.   So, what CAN I do? Suddenly I realized that SO MANY of the things we sit around and complain about in our lives are actually within our control of changing.  Unfortunately, for most of us it often takes a moment of — oh wait, I might not have another day— to realize that.   So I asked myself,  how am I spending my days that suddenly seem more numbered?  Well, at the time… 9 hours a day at a job I didn’t like, in a 7-year relationship that wasn’t healthy, not working towards anything I had always talked about wanting to do “some day,” not really doing anything that necessarily excited me… not the best start, to say the least!  I  had been living my life entirely with the purpose of impressing others and was completely out of tune with what I personally wanted and who I really was.  This prompted me to sit down with a piece of paper and make a list (I love lists 🙂 ) — I asked myself just for fun, what are all of the things I’ve  said I’ve always wanted to do?  The list started something like this:

  • study abroad
  • complete a triathlon
  • become fluent in Spanish
  • go rock climbing
  • live in Southern California — I love the beach!
  • go to ACL (it had always sounded fun but because my friends weren’t into it, I never went)
  • drive a black bug convertible (why not?)

…and many more things, both small and big.

I decided then and there that THIS was my new to-do list. And to start on it…. RIGHT THEN. And what do you know? Within two years I had lived and worked abroad entirely in Spanish, spent  6 months living in San Diego (which led me to discover my passion for women’s empowerment & psychology of health & wellness) … and the list keeps going on.  Of course I have not checked everything off of my list, but I see them ALL as achievable and I am always working towards making at least one of them happen.  No more stagnant living for me!  My self-talk has changed from, why do that? That’s ‘not normal.’ To, why NOT? My new mantra became “no regrets,” and I became the queen of trying new things, getting outside of my comfort zone, listening to what I wanted to do instead of what was seen as “normal” to those around me —  and WOW am I a happier, more fulfilled and more joyful person on so many levels, to say the least.

I truly believe that God made us each purposefully unique, with very different, specific (sometimes random or silly) desires in our hearts.  He put all of these random desires within each of us for a REASON. We just have to have the courage to listen to them and go after them. It is THEN, along those crazy missions toward checking those small and large things off our “lists” that we will find our unique purpose and experience the abundant, exciting and joyful lives we are cut out to live.

It’s simply a matter of taking ownership.

I think this quote says it best:

The best day of your life is the day on which you decide your life is your own.
No one to lean on, rely on or blame.  The gift of life is yours, it is an amazing journey, and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.  Life is about the choices you make — choose wisely.

So I challenge you,

  1. Ask yourself: Do I take ownership for the quality of my life? Or do I blame my circumstances or other people in my life for the way things are?
  2. Sit down & write down all of the different ways (big & small) that you complete these sentences:
    • “I’ve always wanted to _____________”
    • “I really want to _______”
    • “Someday I’d love to ______”
    • “I  wish I could __________”
  3. Get to work! And remember, it’s all about baby steps.  Decide that the second you want to start complaining about something,  you will instead decide what small steps you will take to CHANGE them.

You might just find that the grass, right where you are, suddenly gets a little greener 🙂

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Living Forward

The only way to live is forward, but every now and then you’re permitted to look back, remember and laugh.  But, don’t waste too much time looking back…start moving forward again…it’s the only way to live.

Per this week’s Journal theme- to make it a goal to overcome negative and hurtful words or past experiences- this week’s video could not be more perfect! Check it out and remember these two things:

    1. To appreciate your past (even it was hurtful)
    2. Don’t let it keep you from living forward!

In the event that you are human like us, you can sometimes get stuck in the past, which does not add value to your present or future life. Living an abundant and joyful life (which we know is what everyone wants) is all about the positive energy we carry and pass on to others around us. In the event that you have yet to set any goals, or are having trouble determining a goal to set, you might consider letting go of and moving on from something hurtful in your past. After all, life is too darn short to carry anything that doesn’t serve us and our loved ones well.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION– What do you need to let go of to move forward with your life? 

Learning to Shake It Off

Everybody’s got a past. The past does not equal the future unless you live there.
– Tony Robbins

Point to Ponder:
What words from the past are you hanging on to and allowing to limit the way you live your life?

Action Item:
Make it a goal to overcome the negative and hurtful words of other people and start living an uninhibited life.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Last week, while talking with a group of friends about our goals, we realized we had one thing in common: we were hanging on to negative comments from the past and allowing them to affect our self-esteem. Let me explain.

When I was in the third grade, I was definitely a chubster. My parents never told me I was anything but perfect, so I really didn’t think much of it. However, my opinion of myself changed after our neighbor looked right at me and said, “Well aren’t you a little fat thing!”  Granted, this comment was 28 years ago, however I still vividly remember how hurtful it was. And, despite being told I was too thin at different times in my life, her words have always played in my head and I often times have to give myself a body image pep talk.

As for my friends, one of them hasn’t worn shorts since junior high because she was once called “thunder thighs,” while another is paranoid about her forehead because one time, many, many years ago, she was told she had a big forehead! After talking to my friends about our ridiculous, yet real insecurities, we realized that we were allowing the words of other people affect how we feel about ourselves and essentially limit the way we live our lives. Therefore, we decided that one of our goals would be to shake off the comments of the past so we can start living for the future.

So, in the event you are struggling to determine a goal to set for yourself between now and Christmas, maybe consider shaking off a negative comment that is haunting your spirit and preventing you to live a full and free life. Not only do you deserve it, but your family, friends, and community deserve to see and experience the very best and uninhibited you!

What do YOU think? Share your stories & join the discussion by leaving a comment 

 

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Do You Get in Your Own Way?

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Jane F. skiing like a pro at Lake Escape class

The only thing standing between you and your goals is the B.S. story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it!

WOWZA! Did the quote hit you between the eyes like it did ours? It’s so true!  We determine our success, which is directly related to our attitudes and beliefs about ourselves.  Don’t limit yourself, judge what you want or worry what others think.  Make up your mind and GO FOR IT!  Goals always turn out better than you imagined- much like the kid in the video below.  I am sure the flip was a goal of his, but not the outcome! SO COOL!

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Who are you going to share your goals with? 

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It’s Time to Make Magic Happen!

iGnite Goal Setting Sheet

Goals are like magnets. They’ll attract the things that make them come true.
– Tony Robbins

Point to Ponder:
What are some different things you would like to do or accomplish by the end of 2013?

Action Item: 
Determine 3 different things (be specific!) you would like to do and/or accomplish by the end of 2013 and write them down on the iGnite-provided goals card provided above.

By Neissa Springmann

By Neissa Springmann

I don’t know about you, but for me the summer months are fairly unproductive. Maybe it’s the heat mixed in with vacations, but I just can’t seem to find my rhythm, which is why I love September! With school starting, cool temps around the corner and college football (random, but it helps!), I am energized and motivated to get organized, establish a good routine and set goals. September is the fall’s ‘New Year’ and we get a do-over, so let’s take advantage of this ripe goal-setting season and experience magic!

I am an absolute believer in setting goals, creating vision and dream boards and living an intentional life, but I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t need to be consistently inspired to take action. And, not that there is ever a bad time to get serious and set specific goals, but now that the lazy and crazy days of summer are in the rear view mirror and we are entering the final quarter of the year, September is the perfect time to get motivated. Need more convincing? Check out a study conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program and from the book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack:

In that year, the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only 3% of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13% had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84% had no specific goals at all.

Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, TWICE as much as the 84% who had no goals at all. And what about the 3% who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, TEN TIMES as much as the other 97% put together.

So, do you believe in the power of writing down your goals? Are you motivated to set up to three specific goals for the fall? If so, take some time to determine what three goals (one physical, one mental, one spiritual) you’d like to accomplish by December 25, 2013. We have created the tool below for writing them down.  When you’re filling yours out, here’s one more goal setting suggestion:

Focus on the things you want, rather than the things you don’t want, and like the picture above states, choose a friend to share your goals with so he/she can provide you with support and hold you accountable.

…What do YOU think?

Join the discussion  & let’s learn from each others’ experiences
by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.
 
(it can be anonymous!)

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Start Dreaming TODAY

iGnite members creating 'Dream Boards' at the New Year New You Retreat

iGnite members creating ‘Dream Boards’ at the New Year New You Retreat

Sometimes you see folks who have a negative view of dreamers- people who sit around all day on their hindquarters and do absolutely nothing. These folks aren’t dreamers– they are just lazy. To me, dreaming is just part of being alive, inspired, and curious about the world. -Dolly Parton

By Neissa Springmann

By Neissa Springmann

Are you feeling alive, inspired and curious about the world? If not, there’s no time like now! As Oprah so eloquently says, “You deserve to start dreaming today!”

Picture 1

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Good Golly Miss Dolly: Transcending Generations

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
– Dolly Parton

Point to Ponder:
If someone described you, would they use these words:
authentic, passionate, joyful and committed to living a great life?

Action Item: 
Take pride in your unique individuality and don’t allow what anyone says steer you away from creating the life you want.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Several months ago while watching the morning news, I stumbled upon a Dolly Parton interview. Dolly candidly described her recent book Dream More, and charmed both the male and female news anchors with her jokes, big smile and surprisingly (at least to me) wise and optimistic outlook on life.

Of course I know who Dolly Parton is, as I have been familiar with her music since I was a child — “9 to 5,” “Islands in the Stream” (one of my favorites!), “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You,” etc. But to be brutally honest, prior to her interview the first things that came to my mind when I thought of her were not her extraordinary wisdom and impressive outlook, rather it was her big hair, full lips, heavy makeup, tiny waist and extra extra large you-know-whats!

However, during her interview I became laser sharp focused when she was asked about her positive outlook and lengthy success. She said, “The way I see it is, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!” which was of course followed by her very distinct giggle. From that moment I carefully listened to every word that came out of her mouth and I now consider myself a fan!

Since becoming a Dolly fan (no, I won’t be making a special trip to Dollywood), I have found that she has accumulated an impressive list of “Dolly-isms”, that, like her rainbow quote, are equally as inspiring. Here are ten of my favorites, with some humor thrown in too:

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.

Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

Storms make trees take deeper roots

I’ve always just thought if you see somebody without a smile, give ’em yours.

They think I’m simple-minded because I seem to be happy. Why shouldn’t I be happy? I have everything I ever wanted and more. Maybe I am simple-minded. Maybe that’s the key: simple.

The magic is inside you. There ain’t no crystal ball.

You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.

I would never stoop so low as to be fashionable.

It doesn’t bother me when someone calls me a ‘dumb blonde.’ I’m neither dumb nor blonde.

It takes a lot of time and money to look this cheap, honey.

What I appreciate most about Dolly is she’s authentic, funny, and overflowing with passion. But, most of all, she’s genuinely joyful and committed to living a great life. She’s the real deal and embodies qualities and characteristics that transcend generations!

Join the Discussion

Being Conscious of What We ALLOW In Our Lives

What you allow is what will continue

It all begins and ends in your mind.
What you give power to has power over you, if you allow it.
– Leon Brown

POINTS TO PONDER:
What are you allowing into your life?
What do you need to allow more of in your life?

ACTION ITEM:
Take control over what you are allowing in your life.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

A few weeks ago I attended a noon yoga class at Black Swan Yoga. Unfortunately and for now, I am unable to attend an iGnite yoga class on Friday, so a 45-minute lunch hour class is my best opportunity.

The instructor, Gustavo, walked in and informed us to stand at the top of our mats in Mountain Pose, and with a passionate and beautiful Spanish accent he asked this question, “What are you allowing into your life?” Then, he said the following: “Today I encourage you to allow. Wonderful people, places and things can come into our lives when you simply allow them the space to be there.”

Being an intention and quote junkie, I thought this was a fantastic thought and suggestion! So, throughout my practice I contemplated his very introspective question: What was I allowing into my life?

Off the cuff, I felt confident I was allowing a lot of good, like: love, joy, fun, opportunity, gratitude and positive thoughts and people. However,  while I love my life, it and I have plenty of room for improvement, so I knew I had to go a bit deeper.  As I delved deep, I realized that not only did I need to know what I was allowing in my life, but in order to experience growth and create the life I dream of, I needed to determine what kind of people, places, thoughts or things I needed to allow and let in.

Honestly, I still don’t have this question completely answered. On the surface it seemed simple, but as I thought about all of the areas I needed to experience growth and change, I quickly realized this might take some time. However, I did leave Gustavo’s yoga class with extra awareness around what I was allowing into my life as well as what I need to allow more of in my life; because ultimately, I, like you, hold all of the power and get to determine exactly who and what we allow into our lives, which is a game-changing, BIG deal.

Join the discussion here

Wisdom from the Rock

fear-of-commitment

“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings.  Always believe in yourself!”    (Anonymous)

Point to Ponder:
What “thing” in your life have you pretended to or attempted to be committed to?

Action Item:
No more excuses. Commit to that “thing” that needs and deserves your full commitment.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

A few weeks ago while on the Monarch Escape in North Carolina I rock climbed for the very first time. I anticipated the experience would be challenging, scary and exhilarating (which it was, plus much more!), however I didn’t expect that I would walk away with life wisdom.

While rock climbing, a special bond is formed between the climber and belayer. The belayer is the climber’s anchor and is responsible for keeping slack out of the rope while the climber ascends. The belayer also must provide the climber with just enough slack so the climber can repel safely.  Therefore, while the climber climbs, if the belayer does not keep the rope taut, if and when the climber slips, it could get ugly.

As you can imagine, the climber relies heavily on the affirming words of the belayer, and in our group of eight, it most often sounded like this:

Climber yells down to the belayer “You got me?!”
Belayer yells up to climber: “YEP, I got you!”

It was always then that we, the climbers, felt confident enough to proceed to our next move, which many times felt hopeless.

In addition to having to trust our belayer (with our life, literally!), we also learned to listen to our ‘super chill’ and awesome guide, Wes. While climbing, many times we were certain there were no other spots to place our big toe or grab with our finger tips, but Wes always assured us there was. And, when I didn’t feel I could push myself any further and wanted to quit, he would simply say, “Neissa, commit to taking the next step.” Even though I doubted myself, I knew he was right (ugh!) and my body would do whatever my mind commanded and commited to doing — and it did!

So, our wisdom from the rock is this: Anything is possible as long as you trust and commit, but by the same token, defeat is inevitable if there is no trust or commitment.

Therefore, if you are wanting to make a positive change or pursue a goal, relationship, career, etc. commit to it! Without 100% commitment it’s merely a nice sounding idea or dream, which, at the end of the day will only use up precious time and energy and leave you feeling disappointed.

In addition to commiting, you must also trust yourself and trust the process. Know that even though the act of trusting may be extremely difficult, scary and filled with uncertainty, in the end you will have no regrets and plenty of confidence and wisdom to take you to your next big opportunity.

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