SMARTer bodies

From the Blog

Hey, what’s YOUR Dosha? Ayurveda in Your Life.

ayurveda

It’s totally normal to have spring like temperatures in February right?

No, obviously not. So, try to enjoy the respite from cold weather while managing your environmental anxiety (and your angst against climate-change deniers).

But these swiftly fluctuating temperatures can really mess with our immune systems and our general sense of being. In this article, Abby will explain how the model of Indian medicine, Ayurveda, can help you regain balance:

While doing my certification with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition For more about INN click here, I learned about Ayurveda. Simply stated, Ayurveda is the sister science to Yoga.
Webster’s definition of Ayurveda
If you know about Yoga and have a practice, that statement might connect for you. However, to be more clear, Ayurveda is a practice of keeping the physical body in balance through diet.
Ayurveda sees food, plants, herbs as medicine. Where Yoga seeks to create and maintain balance through movement, Ayurveda is considered the “medicine”, using food and herbs to support and balance the body.
One of the key tools that Ayurvedic practitioners use is the assessment of the doshas.
Before the explanation of the doshas, try taking this assessment. Be as honest as you can be, and it should reveal your general dosha.
Most of these quizzes on the internet are connected to a product that is being sold. I have picked the test I think is most thorough and least commercial. Give it a try!
http://www.mapi.com/doshas/dosha-test/index.html#gsc.tab=0

For now, don’t get caught up with what appears to be your dosha. Doshas are not fixed. So, this is why it is suggested to take the quiz a few times a year. In the fall you might feel more scattered, less focused. In the summer you might feel more lazy. In the winter you might feel more aggravated. You might feel the total opposite of those. No matter what your reaction to the changes of the seasons, insight into your dosha can point you in the right direction to balancing. If you are the type who feels a little “lost in space” in the fall, you can try eating and drinking foods that will bring you “back to earth”. In the current marketplace, we can eat foods that once were out-of-season, like raspberries, pretty much anytime. If you are willing to pay, raspberries are available all year long. However, in North America, raspberries are normally only available mid-summer. Eating with the seasons follows a pattern that reflects the changes in nature. For example, in the winter we tend to eat more root vegetables like sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. In the summer, more juicy fruits like peaches and nectarines. Ayurveda follows the path of nature so we live in more harmony with the seasons and therefore in our bodies. If we are in balance with  our dosha, we may  feel more in balance with nature.

doshas
I am intentionally not giving much detail about the definition of each of the three doshas. I find that people often look at the doshas as if one were favorable over another.  What is more significant is creating balance between the doshas. If you are a fiery spirit, you might benefit from balancing with something that will cool those fires. If you are an earth bound type, perhaps something to lift you up a little. One dosha isn’t better than another. In addition, we have a dominant dosha, but we are often a mix of all three. So, as you are learning about the doshas, make it a fun experiment!

Here are two of my favorite resources for ideas of what to eat in the seasons:

https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/seasonal-guides/autumn-guide/

October Seasonal Guide

Come to my Yoga classes to learn more about how your Yoga practice can also help to bring more balance to your dosha!

How to not fail your resolutions Part 3: the super nerdy post

If you read the last 2 posts and you aren’t new to our blog, you may have noticed that we’ve avoided writing in our super technical, science-y voice. That’s because we saved it ALL for this post. Oh yea!

*please note* this post is based off of our latest studies in these fields from various sources. Like any other scientific discussion, this information may be obsolete, incorrect, misinterpreted or debatable. 

Now that you have some advice about how to create reasonable goals and keys to achieving those goals, you have to know that it won’t be easy and there are several things holding you back, but don’t get discouraged! Just get educated! In this post, we will go over these factors and talk about what is under your control and what isn’t, so that you can avoid frustration and make SMARTer decisions!

Here is our comprehensive list of the ways your body is trying to sabotage your fitness goals. We have arranged these in the order of least controllable to most manageable.

Your genetics

In a very technical sense, this is the “code” of base sequences in your DNA (the “rungs” of the double helix ladder thingie you’ve seen in sci fi movies). This was passed on to you from your parents and CANNOT change, barring EXTREME chemical intervention (as in more than trace amounts of “toxic” substances) which can produce random small mutations in DNA and most likely not result in any noticeable phenotype (physical) difference, despite what David Wolfe might tell you (f*** that guy, for real). Your genes (specifically, portions of your DNA that code for proteins that carry out specific functions) determine several characteristics of your appearance (including height, body proportion, body type, etc), determines your likelihood of becoming obese, risk of chronic disease, etc. One can have surgical procedures done to change appearance, but it will not alter your DNA. In other words, there is nothing you can do about your genetics and these traits will be passed on to your children.

Epigenetics

Epigenetics are modifications to the structure of your genes (not the DNA base sequence itself), occurring in the cell that affect gene expression (whether or not certain proteins will be made and how many will be made). A good majority of epigenetic modifications occur while we are in the womb (again, something we have no control over now). Some modifications are dependent upon the environment and respond in an attempt to save the organism from DRASTIC environmental changes (like famine, drought or moving to a war-torn country, for example) and these modifications can have long lasting effects for decades, but no modifications are permanent and they will not necessarily be passed down to offspring. This is also something you have very little control over but can affect your overall health. It can affect your tendency towards obesity and disease and it can affect your metabolism, sleep cycle, hormone balance, tolerance to pain and drugs, your mental health and much more.

Limbic system modification to motor output

Before you Google search what all that means only to become more confused, the concept is pretty simple. Your mid-brain (specifically your limbic system) is what some refer to as our reptile brain. In a way, it acts instinctively in a threat vs reward system and associates past experiences (particularly emotional and traumatic ones) with new ones. That’s an oversimplification, but let’s say you were in an accident in the water as a child. You may have a large hesitation or even fear being around water as an adult and might avoid things like pool parties. 

As far as movement is concerned, unfortunately, before thought in the pre-frontal cortex is turned into movement, the signal passes through this part of the brain first. Our past emotional experiences with movement can prevent us from doing particular movements, influence the movements we choose to do or dictate how we perceive new movement. For instance, if I’m told from a doctor that squatting will re-injure my knees, any time I hear the word “squat” in a fitness class, I may become overly concerned with knee pain or sensations (one can even induce a psychosomatic experience of pain). Similarly, if I was rewarded as a child for certain activities (let’s say I was an award winning gymnast), even if I haven’t worked out for decades, I may favor movement that mimics what I did as a child.

There is also another important factor to consider here. Our limbic system comes from thousands of years of evolution. In order for our species to survive, at one point we had to eat as much as we possibly could while expending as little energy as possible. Because we have not evolved much since that time (evolution takes a REALLY long time), our limbic system still retains this idea. People new to exercise will often subconsciously view exercise and diet as a threat. As soon as any level of discomfort occurs, there is a part of our brain that will try to convince us to stop. Eating less and working out more goes against our instincts. That’s why it is so important to do things we enjoy so that we can override this system. This is one of the factors we can indirectly control. Having this knowledge can help us trick our brains to favor better decisions.

Hormones, hormones, hormones

Ok, admittedly this part is way too complicated to go into in this post, however we can simplify. Without medical intervention we do have some level of control over our production of hormones, indirectly. The problem is that there isn’t a direct equation for optimal hormone balance and this balance depends on environmental stimulus, genetic (or epigenetic) predisposition, age, stress levels, diet, etc. Testosterone, estrogen, thyroid hormones, glucagon and insulin all affect how our body processes food, stores food, how we build muscle, how we maintain tissues, lose or gain body weight, and how quickly we recover. While the levels of these hormones relative to each other will change in response to how we eat, how we work out and how we rest, there is too much variability to imagine we have total control over this process. Consistency seems to help and certainly medical intervention may be needed if our levels of these hormones become pathological.

One hormone that is talked about a lot in fitness is Cortisol. This is a long term stress hormone that comes into play when our bodies are made to think that we are in conditions where food and water may become scarce and we start to stockpile (we keep on added weight). The funny part is that it doesn’t have to be extreme conditions that cause our bodies to pump out this unfriendly hormone. Things like lack of sleep, work-related stress, over-training and poor diet can trigger the release of cortisol. This is something we have control over. While we may not be able to eliminate the stresses of our lives, we can handle how we react to those stresses. Meditation and stress management as well as exercise are shown to lower cortisol levels. So if you aren’t attaining your reasonable fitness goals with hard work and diet, you may want to check your stress levels. 

Logical fallacies

Because the human brain is imperfect, we cannot view reality objectively. Plus if we did, things would be pretty boring. We are all prone to logical fallacies, of which there are hundreds, but there are a few in particular that affect us when trying to accomplish fitness goals. One of the blogs I read a lot, wrote about this as well, “Common Logical Fallacies in the Fitness Industry.”

Appealing to common belief: This fallacy makes us more likely to believe something the more we hear it, despite it being true. That’s why there are SO many fitness myths that people still believe even though science tells us otherwise (the myth that cardio is the best way for women to lose weight, for instance). It’s important to recognize this fallacy so that we don’t waste time doing something dumb like a juice cleanse or anything else Gwenyth Paltrow is selling…..

Mistaking correlation with causation: This is a tricky fallacy. Weight loss and body composition changes are complicated processes and if several factors are changed at once, it may be too hard to determine what worked and what didn’t. Sometimes we may believe that one method worked just because the change we wanted to see occurred at the time we were using that method. Like we have mentioned before, however, changes often take several weeks to show effect so it may have been something we did weeks ago that created a change. Changing one variable at a time and testing it out for a few weeks is best when trying to determine what works and what doesn’t. Have patience. 

Confirmation bias: This is where we tend to seek out information that affirms our beliefs. This can get us into a whole world of trouble and not just in fitness. Facebook algorithms fully take advantage of this and we can often find ourselves in an echo chamber, completely oblivious to reality. So if all your friends go Paleo, and all you read about are the benefits of Paleo, you are more likely to adopt this absurd diet and blame your lack of results on something else.

Simply being aware of these fallacies can help us avoid them and luckily this is something we have total control over. Critical thinking is key here and can help you avoid bad fitness information and make more objective decisions about your fitness goals.

Habits

Old habits die hard, they say. The good news is that all of the above factors are what create good or bad habits. It is helpful for us to know all of this information so that we know what is stopping us from breaking bad habits. After breaking bad habits, we clean the slate, so to speak, and can begin to create positive change in our lives.

 

How to not fail your resolutions Part 2

Following our first post about failing New Year’s resolutions featuring general advice about creating reasonable resolutions, this post talks about pitfalls to avoid and steps you can take to achieve those goals. Here are 4 tips to help you reach your fitness goals and maintain the results!

1) Don’t buy into gimmicks!!!

Here is the sad truth: the ONLY proven method of obtaining and maintaining a “better” body (whatever that means to you) is hard work, manageable dietary changes and maybe some mental changes/ attitude adjustment!!!

There is no magic tea, no juice cleanse, no ab product, no waist trainer, no cream, no pill and no app that will give you what you seek for any reasonable amount of time. Most likely the companies selling you these products are preying upon your insecurity, desperation or gullibility. They are interested in your money and are not invested in your well-being. Don’t trust testimonials or before/ after pictures. Aside from these pictures being most-likely photoshopped, they only capture a moment in time (figure competitors and fitness models, for instance, have an “off” season and those pictures are rarely ever circulated). A lot of the product testimonials you will see are scripted and for fitness programs specifically, the testees are often put on a very strict and unsustainable diet that isn’t mentioned to make you believe that their 21 day workout can completely transform your body all by itself. Unfortunately, there aren’t any magical shortcuts and each body and circumstance is different. What worked for someone else may not work for you (more about this in our next blog post).

The good news: If you build it, they will come. The results, that is. HAVE PATIENCE. When starting a new fitness program, sometimes it can take 4 to 6 weeks before your body starts showing results. I won’t even take measurements with new clients until after at least 2 weeks and I still have to explain that the graph towards body change (if there were to be such a thing, which there isn’t!) is NOT linear and there are also annoying plateaus on the way and times that you will back-track! Slow and steady wins the race, remember?

2) The way you measure makes a difference

Are you trying to lose/gain weight or are you trying to change your clothing size? If you are trying to gain muscle mass or drop pants size, measuring your progress on the scale may not be beneficial. The number on the scale may not accurately reflect progress. Try circumference measurements instead. I usually tell people to pick 3 places (often times waist, hips and thighs, but it doesn’t have to be) and make sure you measure from the same place each time and the same time of day. Also don’t measure too often (once every 2 weeks is fine). For women who are still menstruating, you may want to measure at the same time of each cycle because there will be some fluctuations due to bloating and water retention (oh they joys of not having an sRY gene!).

Now, if you are competing in a sport that involves a weight class, or you have a bet with someone at work about losing actual pounds, then by all means, measure by the scale. Just make sure you understand that there are lots of factors that affect your scale weight. You can measure more frequently as a way to experimentally determine what changes this number as long as you don’t obsess over it.

3) Feel the burn, but don’t feel burned

Failure is more likely to occur if you hate your workouts and loathe your diet. You need to be able to pick something sustainable. Remember, our bodies want to ensure our survival and if we do something that feels like death, the brain will find a way to make you “safe” again by convincing you to stop. This might be the time to recognize any emotional aversions you have towards exercise and/or emotional reliance on food. These things can be changed, but they first need to be addressed. It’s important that you enjoy your workouts and that your diet doesn’t feel like torture.

Also, good to remember, if you are doing a 30 day program (or whatever arbitrary amount of time), don’t expect your results to last longer than the program itself! Again, in order to ensure your results will stick, you need to find something you can do consistently that won’t make you burn out. Be reasonable about your time constraints, your tolerance levels and your preferences. Space out your workouts so that you can keep up a schedule.

If an exercise routine isn’t working for you, change it! If a diet isn’t working for you, try something else! It’s your life so enjoy it!

4) Don’t give up if you slip up!

Oops, you ate a piece of cake. F*** it! Now you have to eat the whole thing, right? And order some pizza! WRONG! (I mean, I’m not personally against either of those things, but if your goal is to slim down, this won’t help…)

You’re going to make mistakes, it’s human. Don’t let one slip up destroy your resolve. If you are having a really hard time, you may need to adjust your goals to be more realistic. Give yourself permission to fail and then pick yourself back up. The road to success is never linear, you are going to hit bumps or get a flat tire. Shake it off! You got this, homie!

 

Sweat for Haiti

Date: December 17th, 2016

Time: 9am to 1pm, Ripley Grier Studios, 520 8th Avenue

            2pm to 7pm, Vitor Shaolin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, 780 8th Avenue

In the midst of this current political climate, it may surprise you to know that we are holding a fitness charity event to help Haiti recover from it’s most recent natural disaster. The media’s predominant focus is on the DAPL, social injustice, post-election concerns and women’s rights- ALL worthy of our attention and issues that we, at SMARTer Bodies, care about and continuously advocate. It’s easy to forget, however, that our neighbors in the Caribbean are still struggling to find loved ones and rebuild their homes. The small country continues to struggle from the earthquake that devastated its land 6 years ago. But in October, Hurricane Matthew aggressively swept through Haiti wreaking havoc on the fragile land and civil infrastructure that Haitians worked so hard to rebuild. Aside from the 1000+ people that have died during the storm there is now the spread of disease, like cholera, taking lives. To read more about the most recent tragedies this click here.

haiti      

We know it’s difficult to not succumb to the inertia of global-issue overwhelm. Many of us feel powerless to help ourselves, let alone extend help to others so far away. We feel that in times like these, it is important not to lose sight of those who are in desperate need. Kim, our co-founder, has done the research and made the connections to find a charitable association that you can trust to help the Caribbean’s forgotten. The Haiti Development Project has a specific mission

Haiti Development Project (HDP) speaks for thousands of invisible children in rural Northwest Haiti who are growing up illiterate and without the necessary resources to succeed in life.

For this important reason, Haiti Development Project (HDP) is championing the cause for universal primary education enrollment for thousands of unschooled children in rural Haiti.

We are one of a small number of NGOs operating and planting seeds in a region that is mostly isolated, poverty-stricken, underdeveloped and neglected.

It’s difficult to be charitable even when you want to given all the corruption that happens in non-profits. Kim has taken the time to personally speak with the founder of HDP, an employee of the UN, Nionese Prudent, who was more than happy to answer all of Kim’s questions and make herself personally available to help with this project.

We can assure you that this non-profit is a aware of and committed to negating the corruption that makes people hesitant to send financial assistance. Here’s an organization that will continue to rebuild the lives of the students who have been once-again impacted by uncontrollable forces.

You can give by clicking this link http://www.haitidevelopmentproject.org/ or by going to our charity event. It’ll be a day of fitness and fun! Teachers are volunteering to teach classes that you can enjoy while giving to people who are in need. Classes will be held at 2 different locations in midtown Manhattan. Classes will be $25 each and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Haiti Development Project. Class descriptions and schedule as well as teacher bios can be found below. Also, for the months of November and December our book, Exposing Yoga Myths will donate 50% of our profits towards the cause. You can find our book on Amazon or the e-book on https://smarterbodies.com/exposing-yoga-myths/

Here’s our class line-up. Please note that the link to sign up for the class is in the class description below the schedule:

Class time Instructor Class Type Location
9:00 AM Marcus SMARTer Strength and Cardio Ripley Grier
10:00 AM Kim SMARTer Interval training Ripley Grier
11:00 AM Abby SMARTer Flow Yoga Ripley Grier
12:00 PM Christopher ConBody Bootcamp Ripley Grier
2:00 PM Mario kickboxing vsbjj
3:00 PM Alvaro No Gi BJJ vsbjj
4:00 PM Julio “Fighting Dirty” vsbjj
5:00 PM Rafael Women’s self defense vsbjj
6:00 PM Kim Yoga vsbjj

Class descriptions:

SMARTer Strength and Cardio with Marcus:

A 60 minute workout using nothing but your own body weight. We will incorporate full body strength and cardio moves to build a great sweat and some muscle as well! This class requires a moderate amount of effort and is better suited to those who are used to more moderate training. Open to all ages (18+).

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

SMARTer Interval training with Kim:

This class is sure to get your heart pumping and sweat dripping, no matter what fitness level or age (18+). Appropriate modifications will be shown for every movement. This class requires no equipment, but will cover balance movement patterns in all 3 planes of motion and integrate the whole body. Since this class is based on timed work to rest periods with active rest in between, you can be sure that no matter which modification you choose, you will getting a great workout!

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

SMARTer Flow Yoga with Abby:

Take the principles of SMARTer Bodies (evidence based training built on techniques proven to be reliable) and bring them into a flowing Yoga class! This is a great opportunity to see how we take the Yoga Myths and bring them to what you might typically see in your Yoga classes. Take this class so you can know better what kinds of modifications will work for you! This class is open to all levels and all ages (18+).

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

ConBody Bootcamp:

You my have heard about ConBody as one of the hottest fitness trends in NYC right now! This military/prison cell bootcamp class requires no equipment and integrates calisthenics, cardio, endurance training and strength training. For more information visit www.conbody.com

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

Kickboxing with Mario Hernandez:

This class is an excellent way to burn some calories while learning effective striking techniques! Open to all levels, but be prepared for a challenge. Note: If you have your own boxing gloves, please bring them.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Alvaro Tautiva:

This no gi class is open to all belt ranks and will include a warm up, a couple of techniques and some live rolling. No gi apparel is appreciated, but not necessary.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

“Fighting Dirty” with Julio Rivera:

This class will cover simple attacks to sensitive areas (groin, eyes, throat, etc.) that anyone can use for self protection. No prior training experience needed and open to all ages (18+)

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

Women’s Self Defense with Rafael Santana:

This class will use simple, yet practical techniques that anyone can use to get themselves out of dangerous situations. These techniques can be used on opponents that are physically larger and stronger and are ideal for women.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

Yoga with Kim:

This class will address asymmetries, imbalances and compensation patterns found in grapplers and work to improve flexibility needed for difficult techniques and positions.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

We hope you’ll be able to join us for this exhilarating day of celebrating what we do best, moving and helping those who need it.

PICS AND BIOS TO FOLLOW

Abby Kaufmann – Yoga Teacher with SMARTer Bodies

abby

Abby’s desire for in-depth knowledge of the physical body’s experience in yoga has led her to teach with SMARTer Bodies. Her diverse education includes a Bachelor’s degree in social work and certifications as a Health Coach, Pilates teacher and Karuna Reiki master.

Marcus Hudnell – Personal Trainer with SMARTer Bodies

marcus

Heavily involved in sports and athletics for the better part of 25 years, Marcus developed an appreciation and fascination with the human body. “Health” and “Fitness” are terms that apply to both the physical and mental/spiritual nature of a person.

Christopher Kennedy- trainer at ConBody

img_20161106_192613-1

Freelance model, military veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and trainer at ConBody.
Recovering from alcoholism. I am an individual who has concern for others in the midst of disaster. My concern for others is legitimate, sincere and I am eager to do this for #Haiti.

Kim-lien Kendall – Yoga Teacher, Personal Trainer and Co-Founder of SMARTer Bodies

me

After obtaining a degree in Biochemistry and deciding that her talents would be better spent helping people one on one rather than in a lab, she started working with bodies in 2005. Kim’s experience in gymnastics, sports and martial arts combined with her studies in somatics, kinesiology and biomechanics have equipped her with the knowledge and skill set to work with a wide range of clientele. She started SMARTer Bodies with Melissa in order to teach upcoming body workers from their combined experience and give back to the community by working with various organizations that benefit disenfranchised populations. She is a co-author of the book Exposing Yoga Myths and Co-founder of SMARTer Bodies.

Julio Rivera – Founder of Omni Martial Arts

julio

Sensei Julio Rivera has been involved in health and fitness for twenty years as a bodybuilding competitor, personal trainer and journalist.  He currently holds 3 black belts in Judo, Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has trained in HAGANAH (a no nonsense Israeli Self Defense style) and boxing. Sensei Julio has trained students who are agents and officers from the NYPD, Customs and Border Patrol, Secret Service and private security agencies.  He has also helped train and corner MMA fighters.

  Alvaro Tautiva – Assistant Instructor

alvaro

Alvaro Tautiva is a Brown belt in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Sensei Julio Rivera. Before joining the Omni family in 2010, Alvaro trained in Muay Thai and was a certified trainer with N.A.S.M. An active competitor in the BJJ scene, Alvaro has competed and medaled in several tournaments in the United States. In 2015, as a purple belt, Alvaro was runner up in the IBJJF Masters Worlds championship and soon after took 1st place in the no gi Pan-Ams championship. As an assistant instructor, Alvaro implements his background in speech and language pathology, from LaGCC and Brooklyn College, to help with the instruction of the children’s programs at Omni Martial Arts.

Mario Hernandez – Assistant Teacher

mario

Mario Hernandez is a purple belt in BJJ under Professor Vitor Shaolin and  Sensei Julio Rivera.  He is an active competitor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and amateur Mixed Martial Arts fighter having trained under Bellator MMA standout Marcos Loro Galvao.  Mario has been training since 2009 in various martial arts, (BJJ, Kickboxing, Boxing)  In 2013, Mario scored his first MMA victory as well as a silver medal at the Big Apple BJJ tournament.  He gained experience early on working with children as a camp counselor and now assists with teaching kids and adults at Omni Martial Arts.

 Rafael Santana – Assistant Teacher                                          

rafael

Rafael Santana is a brown belt in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Sensei Julio Rivera. He has also studied self defense techniques under World renowned BJJ and MMA Champion, Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro. Rafael earned a Masters in Criminal Justice from John Jay.  He began training in Judo and BJJ at Omni shortly after.  He has earned medals at several competitions, including the IBJJF Boston Open, New York International Judo Cup, Big Apple BJJ tournament, LI Pride and Tech Judo.  He uses his six years of teaching experience from City University to teach children and adult classes.             

Sweat SMARTer For Haiti: An upcoming charity event in NYC to benefit those who were hit worst by Hurricane Matthew

Date: December 17th, 2016

Time: 9am to 1pm, Ripley Grier Studios, 520 8th Avenue

            2pm to 7pm, Vitor Shaolin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, 780 8th Avenue

In the midst of this current political climate, it may surprise you to know that we are holding a fitness charity event to help Haiti recover from it’s most recent natural disaster. The media’s predominant focus is on the DAPL, social injustice, post-election concerns and women’s rights- ALL worthy of our attention and issues that we, at SMARTer Bodies, care about and continuously advocate. It’s easy to forget, however, that our neighbors in the Caribbean are still struggling to find loved ones and rebuild their homes. The small country continues to struggle from the earthquake that devastated its land 6 years ago. But in October, Hurricane Matthew aggressively swept through Haiti wreaking havoc on the fragile land and civil infrastructure that Haitians worked so hard to rebuild. Aside from the 1000+ people that have died during the storm there is now the spread of disease, like cholera, taking lives. To read more about the most recent tragedies this click here.

haiti      

We know it’s difficult to not succumb to the inertia of global-issue overwhelm. Many of us feel powerless to help ourselves, let alone extend help to others so far away. We feel that in times like these, it is important not to lose sight of those who are in desperate need. Kim, our co-founder, has done the research and made the connections to find a charitable association that you can trust to help the Caribbean’s forgotten. The Haiti Development Project has a specific mission

Haiti Development Project (HDP) speaks for thousands of invisible children in rural Northwest Haiti who are growing up illiterate and without the necessary resources to succeed in life.

For this important reason, Haiti Development Project (HDP) is championing the cause for universal primary education enrollment for thousands of unschooled children in rural Haiti.

We are one of a small number of NGOs operating and planting seeds in a region that is mostly isolated, poverty-stricken, underdeveloped and neglected.

It’s difficult to be charitable even when you want to given all the corruption that happens in non-profits. Kim has taken the time to personally speak with the founder of HDP, an employee of the UN, Nionese Prudent, who was more than happy to answer all of Kim’s questions and make herself personally available to help with this project.

We can assure you that this non-profit is a aware of and committed to negating the corruption that makes people hesitant to send financial assistance. Here’s an organization that will continue to rebuild the lives of the students who have been once-again impacted by uncontrollable forces.

You can give by clicking this link http://www.haitidevelopmentproject.org/ or by going to our charity event. It’ll be a day of fitness and fun! Teachers are volunteering to teach classes that you can enjoy while giving to people who are in need. Classes will be held at 2 different locations in midtown Manhattan. Classes will be $25 each and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Haiti Development Project. Class descriptions and schedule as well as teacher bios can be found below. Also, for the months of November and December our book, Exposing Yoga Myths will donate 50% of our profits towards the cause. You can find our book on Amazon or the e-book on https://smarterbodies.com/exposing-yoga-myths/

Here’s our class line-up. Please note that the link to sign up for the class is in the class description below the schedule:

Class time Instructor Class Type Location
9:00 AM Marcus SMARTer Strength and Cardio Ripley Grier
10:00 AM Kim SMARTer Interval training Ripley Grier
11:00 AM Abby SMARTer Flow Yoga Ripley Grier
12:00 PM Christopher ConBody Bootcamp Ripley Grier
2:00 PM Mario kickboxing vsbjj
3:00 PM Alvaro No Gi BJJ vsbjj
4:00 PM Julio “Fighting Dirty” vsbjj
5:00 PM Rafael Women’s self defense vsbjj
6:00 PM Kim Yoga for grapplers vsbjj

Class descriptions:

SMARTer Strength and Cardio with Marcus:

A 60 minute workout using nothing but your own body weight. We will incorporate full body strength and cardio moves to build a great sweat and some muscle as well! This class requires a moderate amount of effort and is better suited to those who are used to more moderate training. Open to all ages (18+).

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

SMARTer Interval training with Kim:

This class is sure to get your heart pumping and sweat dripping, no matter what fitness level or age (18+). Appropriate modifications will be shown for every movement. This class requires no equipment, but will cover balance movement patterns in all 3 planes of motion and integrate the whole body. Since this class is based on timed work to rest periods with active rest in between, you can be sure that no matter which modification you choose, you will getting a great workout!

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

SMARTer Flow Yoga with Abby:

Take the principles of SMARTer Bodies (evidence based training built on techniques proven to be reliable) and bring them into a flowing Yoga class! This is a great opportunity to see how we take the Yoga Myths and bring them to what you might typically see in your Yoga classes. Take this class so you can know better what kinds of modifications will work for you! This class is open to all levels and all ages (18+).

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

ConBody Bootcamp:

You my have heard about ConBody as one of the hottest fitness trends in NYC right now! This military/prison cell bootcamp class requires no equipment and integrates calisthenics, cardio, endurance training and strength training. For more information visit www.conbody.com

Sign up here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-ripley-grier-tickets-29709429704

Kickboxing with Mario Hernandez:

This class is an excellent way to burn some calories while learning effective striking techniques! Open to all levels, but be prepared for a challenge. Note: If you have your own boxing gloves, please bring them.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Alvaro Tautiva:

This no gi class is open to all belt ranks and will include a warm up, a couple of techniques and some live rolling. No gi apparel is appreciated, but not necessary.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

“Fighting Dirty” with Julio Rivera:

This class will cover simple attacks to sensitive areas (groin, eyes, throat, etc.) that anyone can use for self protection. No prior training experience needed and open to all ages (18+)

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

Women’s Self Defense with Rafael Santana:

This class will use simple, yet practical techniques that anyone can use to get themselves out of dangerous situations. These techniques can be used on opponents that are physically larger and stronger and are ideal for women.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

Yoga for Grapplers with Kim:

This class will address asymmetries, imbalances and compensation patterns found in grapplers and work to improve flexibility needed for difficult techniques and positions.

Sign up and reserve a spot here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweat-smarter-for-haiti-at-vsbjj-tickets-29708581166

We hope you’ll be able to join us for this exhilarating day of celebrating what we do best, moving and helping those who need it.

PICS AND BIOS TO FOLLOW

Abby Kaufmann – Yoga Teacher with SMARTer Bodies

abby

Abby’s desire for in-depth knowledge of the physical body’s experience in yoga has led her to teach with SMARTer Bodies. Her diverse education includes a Bachelor’s degree in social work and certifications as a Health Coach, Pilates teacher and Karuna Reiki master.

Marcus Hudnell – Personal Trainer with SMARTer Bodies

marcus

Heavily involved in sports and athletics for the better part of 25 years, Marcus developed an appreciation and fascination with the human body. “Health” and “Fitness” are terms that apply to both the physical and mental/spiritual nature of a person.

Christopher Kennedy- trainer at ConBody

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Freelance model, military veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and trainer at ConBody.
Recovering from alcoholism. I am an individual who has concern for others in the midst of disaster. My concern for others is legitimate, sincere and I am eager to do this for #Haiti.

Kim-lien Kendall – Yoga Teacher, Personal Trainer and Co-Founder of SMARTer Bodies

me

After obtaining a degree in Biochemistry and deciding that her talents would be better spent helping people one on one rather than in a lab, she started working with bodies in 2005. Kim’s experience in gymnastics, sports and martial arts combined with her studies in somatics, kinesiology and biomechanics have equipped her with the knowledge and skill set to work with a wide range of clientele. She started SMARTer Bodies with Melissa in order to teach upcoming body workers from their combined experience and give back to the community by working with various organizations that benefit disenfranchised populations. She is a co-author of the book Exposing Yoga Myths and Co-founder of SMARTer Bodies.

Julio Rivera – Founder of Omni Martial Arts

julio

Sensei Julio Rivera has been involved in health and fitness for twenty years as a bodybuilding competitor, personal trainer and journalist.  He currently holds 3 black belts in Judo, Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has trained in HAGANAH (a no nonsense Israeli Self Defense style) and boxing. Sensei Julio has trained students who are agents and officers from the NYPD, Customs and Border Patrol, Secret Service and private security agencies.  He has also helped train and corner MMA fighters.

  Alvaro Tautiva – Assistant Instructor

alvaro

Alvaro Tautiva is a Brown belt in both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Sensei Julio Rivera. Before joining the Omni family in 2010, Alvaro trained in Muay Thai and was a certified trainer with N.A.S.M. An active competitor in the BJJ scene, Alvaro has competed and medaled in several tournaments in the United States. In 2015, as a purple belt, Alvaro was runner up in the IBJJF Masters Worlds championship and soon after took 1st place in the no gi Pan-Ams championship. As an assistant instructor, Alvaro implements his background in speech and language pathology, from LaGCC and Brooklyn College, to help with the instruction of the children’s programs at Omni Martial Arts.

Mario Hernandez – Assistant Teacher

mario

Mario Hernandez is a purple belt in BJJ under Professor Vitor Shaolin and  Sensei Julio Rivera.  He is an active competitor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and amateur Mixed Martial Arts fighter having trained under Bellator MMA standout Marcos Loro Galvao.  Mario has been training since 2009 in various martial arts, (BJJ, Kickboxing, Boxing)  In 2013, Mario scored his first MMA victory as well as a silver medal at the Big Apple BJJ tournament.  He gained experience early on working with children as a camp counselor and now assists with teaching kids and adults at Omni Martial Arts.

 Rafael Santana – Assistant Teacher                                          

rafael

Rafael Santana is a brown belt in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Sensei Julio Rivera. He has also studied self defense techniques under World renowned BJJ and MMA Champion, Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro. Rafael earned a Masters in Criminal Justice from John Jay.  He began training in Judo and BJJ at Omni shortly after.  He has earned medals at several competitions, including the IBJJF Boston Open, New York International Judo Cup, Big Apple BJJ tournament, LI Pride and Tech Judo.  He uses his six years of teaching experience from City University to teach children and adult classes.             

Book Review: The Vital Psoas Muscle by Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones

Book Review: The Vital Psoas Muscle by Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones

The Vital Psoas Muscle: Connecting Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being promises to help readers see the link between the anatomy of the psoas and its influence on some of the esoteric aspects of the human-movement experience. Tall order for such a small book, only 128 pages. Ms. Staugaard-Jones deserves applause for bringing readers reference material about a largely unmarked territory. Well, it’s territory that many have explored and continue to attempt make more clear: the melding of the physical and emotional body. This work is useful for healing (as reported by many seeking help from pain or difficulties of many kinds), but can seem vague and difficult to put into a concrete framework of guaranteed protocols.

Isn’t that what all of us movement professionals are really looking for?! The manuals that help you treat weird and out-of-this-world (seemingly so) shit by saying, “Work on this muscle here, release this emotion, follow-up with said movement. Breathe. All better!

The author has already won my admiration for attempting to illuminate us on such a complex subject, the psoas as influencer on emotional state, digestion, gait, posture and everything else. But I was disappointed with the delivery. Psoas function is still a hotly-debated topic in the movement community. Is it primarily a hip flexor? Does it mostly stabilize the lumbar spine? Does it matter? Should we stretch it?! The author posits that the psoas is the most important muscle in the body, because it is the only one that connects the upper and lower body. This vexes me greatly! Hello?! What about the Latissimus Dorsi???

What I did truly appreciate is the information about the nerve plexus that runs behind the psoas, which is intimately connected with its function and manipulation. At SMARTer Bodies we do believe movement of the muscular system will always affect nerve pathways in such a manner as to influence the emotional/cognitive experience. This book does present 3 case studies that exemplify the importance of incorporating a client’s emotional state while trying to address physical pain or dysfunction. These human elements inextricably and dynamically constantly relate to one another.

The last section of the book describes the Chakra system and its connection to the psoas. Love that concept. But it is overly simplistic by suggesting yoga poses as a way to affect that system and the muscle. In my opinion, this is the kind of overly prescriptive habit that movement teachers employ when discussing yoga, the human body and the complex energy system that drives it. This way of describing the effects of yogasana is a slippery slope to overgeneralizing such a sophisticated organism and trying to prescribe asana is a guaranteed way to set up failure. Doing so without knowing the idiosyncrasies of one’s client is anathema to the standard the book sets up in the beginning: one’s relationship to the psoas (as with all parts of ourselves) is sensitive and unique.

Read it if you’re unfamiliar with the ideas presented here. Otherwise, tell me what book about the psoas you prefer.

(My) Truth About Yoga and Body Image

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There’s a popular idea people seem to have that once they obtain the body they want, they will all of a sudden be happy. Both women and men are constantly exposed to advertisements with images of scantily clad, tanned bodies with tips and tricks on how to achieve rock hard abs, tight butts, sculpted arms and impossibly thin waistlines, as if to say “Hey asshole, you look like shit and no one will ever love you, unless you resemble these fucks!” Ok, so maybe that’s a bit harsh, but not far from reality. Despite it being common knowledge that these images are photoshopped to oblivion, people still aim to achieve the impossible. So much so that they focus their entire lives on it, not realizing it is a never-ending wild goose chase!

In most cases you will never attain the body you want, because you will never like what you see in the mirror until you are happy with what you see. Happiness precedes having the body you want, not the other way around! I work in the fitness industry and am surrounded by colleagues who have bodies people would literally be willing to die for. The unfortunate truth is, most of these people are never happy with what they have. There is always someone with a rounder butt, more of a washboard on their tummies, bigger biceps, etc. This is a realm where eating disorders (disguised as “cleansing”), exercise addiction, illegal substances, and complete and total insecurity (think the emotional maturity of a middle schooler) run wild and free. The behavior I have seen from these fitness professionals is NOT healthy!

I wish I could tell you that yoga was a safe haven from this insanity, but it’s not. I’m here to tell you my personal story about body image, hoping it will help you have a healthier practice and help you transcend the bullshit.

I have to preface this by saying that I grew up in the eighties, but not in a typical household that promoted gender roles in children. My immigrant mother was raised to value education more than social experience and my hippie feminist father never placed any emphasis on the way that I looked. Neither of them ever spoke to me about body image, because it wasn’t important to them, but it seemed to be the only thing that my middle school peers cared about. At the time, my source of female body inspiration was shitty magazines targeted at teens (this was before the internet). Most of the popular girls in my school were blonde, white and thin. I was not. I’d always been fairly athletic and muscular, but that look wasn’t “in” back then. I would often shy away from pool parties and the like because I was thicker and darker than the ideal “pretty girl”. Boys were interested in me, probably because I had boobs, but that’s not what I cared about. I wanted to look like them.

Enter body dysmorphia, which at the time seemed so normal for a teenage girl that it was overlooked. One summer, I got my tonsils removed and the surgeon botched the surgery. I ended up not being able to eat solid foods for about 3 weeks. I lost so much weight that I had to be re-hospitalized. However, when I went to the beach that summer, everyone kept telling me how awesome I looked. I remember starving myself and hiding food from my parents, desperately trying to cling to my thin-ness and becoming terribly depressed when all the FAT came back. This led to drugs (lots of drugs…) so that I could emotionally cope with the feelings of being a fucking loser (the girls at my high school were really mean- but I forgive all you hoes in case you are reading this…).

The first couple years of college, I was able to pull my shit together because I became really interested in academics. Turned out I was really good at school and being an intellectual badass. I also got into martial arts, which was fun and healthy. But then came yoga… and not the yoga (you know, the real hippie shit) that my dad had been teaching me since I was 8… these people were doing headstands and other cool shit. I wanted to do cool shit too! Yet again, the popular yogis were so, so thin… clearly if I wanted to be good at this, I had to be thinner. I had to have a “yoga body”!

Along came exercise addiction. I used to make myself run 4 miles every morning before school (I FUCKING HATE RUNNING). I started biking, kayaking, rock climbing every weekend… but not because I loved to do those things, because I wanted to burn more calories. Then I became vegan, because, you know I didn’t want to hurt animals and shit… only later to realize that my veganism was a disguised eating disorder (as I, unfortunately, think is the case for a lot of yogis). This was hard, and my body fought all of this like crazy. It is literally written in our DNA that our bodies will try to force us to expend as little energy as possible while eating as much as we can (it was a survival mechanism for our species at one point).

My weight fluctuated constantly. I used to buy weight loss supplements and do “cleanses” to try to keep the fat off. During this time I landed a pretty sweet job at the University and I started traveling a lot, going on yoga retreats. Somehow I ended up in New York City and I immediately fell in love. Once I moved here, I started hanging out with a bunch of raw vegan yogis. I adopted this diet and the pounds immediately started shedding off! This was mostly because your body doesn’t absorb too many nutrients from raw foods because, you know, we aren’t fucking rabbits. You pretty much just shit everything out, but who cares! I was a size mother fucking 2! For once in my life I WAS THIN!

But alas, this didn’t last… I became bloated. My weight started fluctuating again. I started suffering from various health disorders like irritable bowel, athletic dysmenorrhea, migraines… oh and my fucking hair was falling out. But I was so convinced that I could be thin again, I stuck with it. I started counting calories. I literally limited my calorie intake to 1,200 a day. I was starving ALL. OF. THE. TIME. Enter bulimia. By this time, I was teaching yoga. Yes, I was trying to teach people how to find inner peace while sneaking sugary snacks in the wee hours of the night and puking my brains out. The fucked up part? I wasn’t the only one. I have heard horror stories of other yoga teachers teaching their students aggressive vomiting techniques as kriya (cleansing practices). Teachers telling their students that if they lost some weight, they would be able to perform certain poses better. Teachers encouraging students to go on liquid diets. NO, NO, NO, NO! This is beyond wrong! How has a practice that is supposed to build inner peace and self love turned into this???

Now, the yoga hustle in NY is real and the pay for classes is shit. I was getting turned down left and right for gigs. Two very well known studios flat out told me I didn’t have the “body” they wanted a teacher to have. I wasn’t thin enough and I wasn’t white enough (by the way, this is a thing and if you don’t believe me, ask any person of color who has ever stepped foot in a yoga studio). Well, as I mentioned before, I was really great at studying and so I started to go back to becoming an anatomy nerd so that I could differentiate myself from other teachers. If I couldn’t get by with my looks, might as well use my brain. That and I started personal training. Turns out this was a place that welcomed muscular bitches such as myself.

So I started eating meat. I stopped counting calories. I started lifting. I started dancing. I started biking. I started judo-ing. I started jiu-jistu-ing. I started kickboxing…ing. I stopped going to yoga classes. Then something incredible happened. I felt fucking strong as hell. All of a sudden that became WAY more important than being thin. I started focusing on how fast my mile was on a bike, how much my 1 rep max was on a dead lift and how many chokes I had in my repertoire. I started feeling amazing! I’m a fucking sexy, badass fireball of muscle and sarcasm and I. ABSOLUTELY. LOVE. MY. BODY! I used to stand in front of a mirror, assessing every part of my body and crying over how much I hated it! Now when I look at a mirror, I wonder how that shit doesn’t break from handling all this sexiness!

This is what happy looks like.
This is what happy looks like.

Now when I return to MY yoga practice, it feels more authentic. It feels more like home. MY body is my home. It’s comfortable because it’s me and not someone else. It’s incredible because of what it can do. It’s perfect because there is nothing else it can be. This is, I think, what yoga is supposed to feel like. Finally… I have a yoga body. My fucking body.

My advice? Stop obsessing over fat. Don’t let it control you. There are way more important things in life…

Podcast #42 – Exposing Yoga Myths (part 4)

Podcast #42 – Exposing Yoga Myths (part 4)

Oh, so much more we discuss. Listen here for:

  • Some things that we love about yoga in our personal practice and how we use it as a tool with students and clients.
  • Yes, our book criticizes concepts often taught in yoga teacher trainings. Being critical doesn’t mean that we’re being negative. We’re criticizing something we love because we want to make it better.
  • Some thoughts on the importance of critical thinking.

Click here for Ariana’s article for Mind Body Green.

Hit us up and share your thoughts 🙂

#complimentsandwich

 

You Think You’re Training “Functionally,” But Are You Really?

You Think You’re Training “Functionally,” But Are You Really?

Ideally, being “fit” is a concept that encompasses, not only your physical well-being, but also the mental and emotional aspects of your overall health. It’s easy for everyone to focus on the more outwardly visible effects of strength training, mostly because marketing focuses on aesthetics. The reality of strength training is that it takes many different shapes and forms. Hearing the word “strength” doesn’t necessarily need to invoke visions of stacked barbells and biceps larger than your head. When we talk about strength training, traditional isotonic training  (the exercise involves both a lengthening and shortening of the muscle being worked i.e. the biceps during a biceps curl), and isometric (muscle contraction that doesn’t involve movement of the joints i.e. a plank) training methods are generally what first come to mind. However, the addition of functional strength exercises to any traditional strength program is what will have the greatest effect on your daily life and overall health.

But what do I actually mean when I say “functional?”

In the last decade “functional” has become a bit of an all-purpose word among fitness professionals, and, in itself, is open to different interpretations. Because of this lack of consensus, there isn’t one simple agreed upon definition. “Functional” can be thrown in front of just about anything. Functional movement? Sure why not? Functional “exercise” or functional “training?” Which one do you choose, and how do they differ? Not surprisingly, this ambiguity leads to misuse and difficulty for those want to benefit from the concept. Functional training is exactly that, a concept that manifests differently depending upon who is using the principles that make up the idea.

Click *here*, *here*, and *here*, for three informative, but also very different explanations of functional training. There’s no lack of information out there. But what does functional mean for you? This is where the waters can muddy for some and rightfully so, but this variability is also what makes fitness so beautiful. What’s functional for you will undoubtedly be different from the person standing next to you. When beginning an exercise program, whether you’re starting from (or feel as if you’re starting from) scratch, your consideration should be on what goals you’re trying to achieve, and how will your exercise program serve the “function” of reaching those goals. The more specific the goal the better. Do you want to lose weight, gain weight, train for a marathon, train for a bodybuilding competition?  Functional training doesn’t have to mean doing a single-leg squat on a BOSU ball, blindfolded with a dumbbell in one hand, a kettlebell in the other. If you’re an 80-year old and it’s getting harder to get out of bed every day then part of your functional strength plan should probably include exercises to help you move more easily. What makes this approach different than the more traditional forms of strength training mentioned above (isometric and isotonic) is the emphasis on movement as the key, instead of focusing on individual muscle groups.

Specificity is the key, and in the end, functional strength training is any program that works with the distinct purpose of quite literally improving the way you function in your everyday life. This idea is known as “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands” or the “SAID” principle. In a most general sense, the SAID principle asserts that the body will adapt to any physical demands that you place on it. Through SAID, we can start to understand why any effective training program should be individualized and begin to realize that nothing happens by accident. All training is specific to a task and the benefits gained from the adaptation that occurs when the body is introduced to certain stressors cannot be generalized among other tasks.

So are you incorporating functional training techniques into your routine? Did you think you were and now you’re not so sure? If you’re looking for the definitive answer, ultimately the only person who can answer that is you. What’s important to you? What are your goals? Are you looking to compete in your first triathlon? Or simply to be able to ascend from the depths of the subway without it seeming as if you’re climbing Kilimanjaro? Functional training is training for life, and you get to decide how that life looks for you.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry, in a Mindful Way- 5 tips to stay centered in your healthy eating habits

Avoid this awful feeling.
Avoid this awful feeling.

 

Even the most “disciplined” of us can fall off the healthy eating habit bandwagon during the holiday season. Whether we are going to holiday parties and are fully into the holidays, or if we can’t stand them and are comforting ourselves by over-indulging, there are a few tricks that we can use to keep the “damage” to our waistlines to a minimum.

 

1. Don’t go to a party, gathering or supermarket HUNGRY!! Make sure that you have had some healthy snacks before you head out to the festivities. That way you won’t eat every goody that you come across. Great snacks to stave off cravings include almonds, Brazil nuts, or a goat milk kefir drink.

2. When going to the home of others, offer to bring a veggie dish- like sautéed Lacinato Kale, roasted broccoli and cauliflower so that you are sure to get ONE addition that is delicious, simple, satisfying and nutritious.

3. Try to eat the processed foods as early in the day as possible- the stuffing, the cakes and cookies- so that you have as much time as possible to digest them. Going to bed with a lot of undigested processed carbs can leave you sluggish and foggy the next day- not to mention make you crave MORE of the evil, but delectable treats. If you are throwing the party try substituting some less processed items to your menu. Add some goat cheese options, crunchy seeded crackers, try brown rice and quinoa instead of potatoes.

4. STAY HYDRATED! Let the first and last thing you do everyday be taking a nice big glass of not too cold water. If you drink alcohol, try to drink at least a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you imbibe.

5. Finally- REST!!! Before you go out, plan a target time to get home so that you can still get enough rest so you don’t feel wiped out. If you know you have a late night ahead, try to get a little nap in before getting ready to party!.

Try not to fall into the, “well, I screwed up my diet, so I may as well go for broke,” and help yourself to ANOTHER piece of pecan pie a la mode. Take pauses between bites, listen to your body. You can always have more later! Try never to eat past the 3/4ths full rule.