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What Life is REALLY All About

iGniters pushing the limits at Molly's Cross Training Class- Pease Park

iGniters pushing the limits at Molly’s Cross Training Class- Pease Park

Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them. So go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.
– Holstee Manifesto

Just like the saying by Napoleon Bonaparte “a picture is worth a thousand words,” this week’s video is also worth a thousand words. Check it out and be inspired to keep living an awesome life!   ~Neissa

JOIN THE DISCUSSION- Life is Short. If this day were your last, what would you be doing? 

On a Bullet Train to Nowhere

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things.  And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.
– Stephen Covey

POINT TO PONDER:
Where do the relationships in my life rank in my priority list?

ACTION ITEM:
Identify one way you can invest in a relationship this week that you don’t usually take the time and/or effort to do.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

A few weeks ago I had a run-in with perspective. Of course having a toddler and a five month old always has a way of doing this, however there are many times when I become hyper-focused and move so fast that my priorities and common sense become skewed. For example, Durant, our funny two and three quarter year old toddler just started a Mother’s Day Out program, and as to be expected, cried during the first two weeks of drop-off.  As painful as it was to walk away from him with a smiling face, we knew that if we freaked out, he would freak out more and this would only prolong that difficult phase. Thankfully, on his fifth day he walked in without hesitation, smiled and waved goodbye.

Following his first successful walk-in, my dad and stepmom offered to take both Durant and Malaine (my 5 month old daughter) for the night. Initially I jumped on the offer, but then my inner “Crazy Voice” took over, telling me:  Durant was just starting to make “walk-in progress,” and if he skipped Thursday he would likely regress, which meant more crying. As I began retracting the kind proposal, “Common Sense Voice” shouted, “Calm down sister! “What in the world are you thinking and why in the world do you think that Durant going to Mother’s Day Out is more important than spending time with his grandparents, whom he adores?!  Furthermore, at the end of the day what’s more important? Making memories with his grandparents or making two-year-old “walk-in” progress?”  Thank goodness “Common Sense Voice” prevailed.

Lately, I’ve had several random yet profound life conversations with my husband Russell and friends. We discussed how quickly we can become robotic, get tunnel vision and lose perspective of what’s most important. More often than not, it feels like life moves at breakneck speed and before long we lose consciousness, become a slave to our work, our lifestyle and societal expectations. It’s as if we jump on the bullet train to nowhere and before long we’ve traveled thousands of miles with nothing of real substance to show for it. During this speedy process we may have received a special title, collected things and accumulated different experiences, but in the midst of riding on the accelerated track it’s likely that our most valuable and precious cargo (our relationships with family and friends) have suffered.

We come to classes to push ourselves and be there for each other to become our best selves.

Other than pushing ourselves to become more fit, we go to classes to be there for each other when motivation or reminding each-other of our values is necessary. 

Whether it be family, work, children, friends, or just a typical life situation, it’s easy to lose perspective and focus on the trivial and inconsequential. However, I urge you to stop the train, get off the tracks and make sure the most important part of the ride (time for relationships and with the people you love) are your highest priority. Everything else is replaceable.

What do you think? Click here to leave a comment & join the discussion. 

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Start Where You Are

Happy October!!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you START.
– Nido Qubein

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Per this week’s fabulous journal message  ‘Goals Schmoals, Just What Do You WANT?,’ have you ever WANTED to be so free that you dance without worrying what others think? Dancing, for sure, is one of the greatest expressions of freedom and joy, and this week’s video is a great example of doing what makes you happy (with confidence!), regardless of age.

Here’s to starting where we are… now!

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.

abs

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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