Healthy Lifestyle

5 Reasons to Cross-Train for the Best Results

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We are all guilty of finding a type of exercise we love and sticking with it day in and day out. There’s nothing wrong with practicing yoga every day, or running every day or strength training everyday. However, if you want to optimize your health or performance, prevent injuries, stay motivated and meet new goals, we suggest trying something different every now and then.

Cross-training simply means supplementing your normal routine with a variety of exercises that focus on flexibility, endurance, and/or strength training to balance out the effect of your workouts on your body.

Here are 5 reasons why you should cross-train:

  1. Recovery or Rehabilitation. If you’ve developed lower back pain, or tight hip flexors, or pain in your shoulders, or whatever it may be, it’s likely you need to slow down, and allow those areas recovery and healing. However, when you experience an injury, it’s well-known you never want to stop moving. Supplementing your strength-training program with lower impact programs can keep you moving, allow you to modify to protect and heal the injury and get you back on your favorite program sooner.

  2. Bust Through a Plateau. Your body adjusts to something you do repetitiously. When I hit a plateau in my health or weight loss goals, changing it up always works. When I do change it up, I feel soreness in areas of my body I don’t normally feel sore. This means those other areas of your body need work and could benefit from a balance of different types of exercise. I do this often as a yoga and barre teacher by adding high-intensity interval training, running, or kettlebell exercises.

  3. Injury Prevention. When you do the same exercises over and over again, it’s possible to have a muscular imbalance which could lead to injury. It’s important to think about the extensive amount of small and large muscles and connective tissue in the body and how we can utilize different areas of the body to build strength and stabilize our joints. Also, giving your body a break from repetitive movements that may be overused in your exercise of choice can allow necessary recovery for greater injury prevention.

  4. Motivation. Practicing one type of exercise every day or 5 days a week will inevitably cause boredom. That doesn’t mean you’re cheating on your favorite instructor or gym, it just means your body and mind may appreciate it more with a little curiosity and change occasionally. It’s a way to stay committed to your goals while also continuing to move.

  5. Mind-Body Connection. Trying new movements with intention and focus teaches your body to work in a different way. This inevitably changes the way your mind and body are connecting and strengthens that connection. Routine is great and is a foundation for true health, but variety is the way to optimize your able body and mind to come even more into your body and grow.

Flow Space will be opening soon offering a variety of group fitness classes from yoga to barre, and bootcamp to kettlebell.

Eat the Ice Cream...Just Not Everyday

“Most people have no idea how good their body is

designed to feel.”

-Kevin Trudeau

Let’s talk about moderation. It has taken me a long time to get here, but I’m at a place now where I have no guilt over the occasional indulgence. Why? Because the majority of the time I’m eating plant-based, clean, whole foods. For me, it’s not a diet, its a lifestyle. This is how my nutrition looks on a normal day or week:

Breakfast: I always start my day with coffee. That is a pleasure I allow myself unless I’m pregnant. I add in a delicious Almond Milk creamer and raw honey. Then I typically have some version of a green smoothie, which is in an earlier post, or I will scramble two organic eggs with 1/2 an avocado.

Snacks: Banana or some type of fruit or Larabar (fav is Cashew Cookie) or other Gluten-free bar

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Lunch: Always go for the Salad. I almost always pick up a to-go salad from Publix or Whole Foods. If it’s not perfect, it’s ok. I choose the ones with nuts, fruit, maybe even some cheese and just don’t eat all the cheese and I rarely use all of the dressing. My favorite days are when I can fill up on the salad bar at Whole Foods. My choices are tons of veggies, seeds, beans or legumes(chickpeas are my favorite) and vinegar based dressing. Here’s the thing about eating mostly greens for lunch: You can stabilize your blood sugar to avoid that afternoon slump and get the most out of your day!

Dinner: Before dinner, Zach and I usually snack on gluten-free crackers and hummus or chips and guacamole. Our go-to dinners are a “Buddha Bowl”(will blog about this later but choose a base of greens or quinoa and pile on raw and cooked veggies, organic tofu or chicken, etc) or Baked Fish(wild-caught) and Veggies.

Before Bed: Tea- currently loving Chamomile with Lavender.

The truth about us though is about one night every two weeks, and honestly sometimes once a week, we will absolutely, without any guilt, go to town on a huge tub of Haagen Daz Coffee Ice Cream. We will occasionally finish off the mac and cheese we cooked for the kids. And some days my only snacks consist of goldfish or graham crackers because I’m ravenous and that’s all I have on hand from being a mommy.

I’m here to tell you, you can meet your weight loss goals, feel great in your body and give in occasionally. The trick, from my experience, is to let go of the guilt and move on to the next healthy meal.

With that being said, the days I feel the best, I eat like I’ve laid out above and I drink lots of water.

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The old me would freak if I ate 5 goldfish or indulged in ice cream the night before and punish myself the next day by replaying in my head over and over how disappointed I am in myself. This results in bad decisions from the guilt and negativity. The new me knows I’m human and I’m doing my best. I really focus on easy concepts such whole foods, tons of veggies, and the majority of my food is organic, and eaten for fuel and nourishment. Disclaimer: I don’t feel great eating meat, so the majority of the time I’m eating plant-based, but if you need/love/have-to-have meat, just choose grass-fed and organic the majority of the time. Maybe try some meals with and some meals without and take note of how you feel. Food can be confusing. We get it, and that’s why our “rules” aren’t really rules. They’re guidelines. There’s so much to talk about with food but in the interest of time, here are a few guidelines I keep for myself when making the decision of what to eat:

  1. 80/20 Rule. Make it a goal that 80% of the time you’re eating clean, unprocessed, well-balanced whole foods. Allow yourself an indulgence, the occasional pasta dish or the coffee ice cream. This goes far in ensuring a healthy relationship with food. You’re human, its really ok.

  2. Focus on “Adding in” Greens/Fruits/Whole Foods rather than “Taking Away” the unhealthier foods. I read a study recently that concluded that people who added in greens daily still felt/saw the benefits even though they ate other foods that were processed and unhealthy during the same time. It’s best to eat clean the majority of the time, but even if you don’t, your body will benefit from giving it all the nutrients, minerals, clean protein and fiber from greens, veggies, fruits and organic whole foods when you can. Also, when your cells are given the nutrients they need and your blood sugar is regulated from the steady supply of healthy, low glycemic food, you probably won’t even crave or want the other stuff as much.

  3. Ask Yourself How You Want to Feel. Most people look at food through the lens of “is this in my diet plan?” or “will I gain weight by eating this?” That will only get you so far. Your body will tell you what it needs if you listen. It will ache and feel bloated and fatigued with foods that cause inflammation and it will feel light and energetic with foods that are healing, detoxifying and clean. There’s also a direct effect on your mood that you will see crystal clear if you start journaling or just taking notice of how you feel when you eat certain foods.

I truly believe that most of our struggles with food is a matter of changing our mindset. We have so many resources these days. Food can be incredibly healing if you let it, and it also can be one of the greatest pleasures in life. Keep an open mind. Let yourself be human. Give your body what it needs to thrive so you can too.

In health,

Erica

Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call

“I hope there are days when you fall in love with being alive.”

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The last couple months I’ve learned a lot about people’s personal struggles with health. As I’ve shared tidbits of my story on this blog, taught barre classes, and shared how I try to live to be healthier, stronger, and feel better on a daily basis, people have also shared with me their challenges. I’ve heard a pattern of explaining why they aren’t actually making the changes. And truthfully, I’ve come up against a wall. What I have found is that most people simply don’t want to hear it. People don’t want to hear that fast food will kill them or that exercising is a non-negotiable or that anxiety and stress can be healed holistically. People don’t want to hear that lifestyle changes are the number one thing you can do to prevent disease. People don’t want to hear it because it’s hard and it takes work. I completely understand and relate to that perspective because I had it myself and I pushed aside day after day what I needed to do to end my own struggles.

I didn’t want to hear it either. Then I had no choice.

You see, health issues happened to other people, not to me.

Then on April 28, 2015 I got a call that my sweet father and one of my best friends was found unconscious. It was in the middle of a workday, on an ordinary Tuesday. I entered the hospital, after the longest drive of my life where I pled with God that I would walk in and talk with my Daddy again, and discovered that it was over. There was no recovery or rehabilitation, no second chance. It was just over. The doctor said they could “find no electrical activity.” I asked “people can come back from that right?” She said “they can sometimes.” She could tell I wasn’t processing it. I couldn’t process it. Then it was just people shaking their heads and asking if we would like to see him.

He was a 58 year old former collegiate and professional athlete. He had just left the gym. He always cooked homemade meals. He chased after his grandkids and rarely if ever sat down at work. He wasn’t supposed to die at 58. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he also didn’t look the part of a man who was going to die of his first heart attack.

This changed me. How could it not? I felt it would be in vain or lost on me if I didn’t allow it to wake me up and change me to my core. It sparked in me a fire and a passion to learn from it and change my life accordingly.

So, over time, I’ve found a way, a way that came about after much trial and error, hardship, tears, frustration and victim mentality. I finally found the way after I was brutally honest with myself and said that this was on me. It is on me, 100%. This was no one else’s problem or future or life but my own. So, I found a way that I come back to again and again after I lose track or fail. Because failing is inevitable. No one is perfect, it’s just a matter of knowing how to start again. I found a way that has empowered me about my health. A way that I’m sharing with anyone that cares to hear it. I strongly believe that most of the time it doesn’t have to be pills and doctors. I believe that our bodies are freaking miracles from God that can do amazing things. I believe that each decision in our teens, 20’s, 30’s and up will decide what kind of life we will live as we age. I believe it is a gift and a privilege to get the opportunity to help our complex and magnificent bodies heal and grow and get stronger by giving it yoga and functional exercise and living, green foods. We get this one life. We get this one body. Don’t wait until you get that perspective from loss or reality that stops you in your tracks. Live healthy now, be present now.

I’ve shared below three people that inspire me. These people and their stories have helped me tremendously in the past few years find an intention that has catapulted me into caring about true health. They also helped me feel empowered about my health.

  • The first is Kris Carr. She is a cancer survivor and self-taught wellness advocate. She is living, breathing proof of what nutrition can do for you.

https://kriscarr.com/meet-kris/

  • Dr. Joel Kahn gives you real life advice, having treated thousands of heart attacks, his answer is that nutrition can heal the body.

https://drjoelkahn.com/about-us/

  • Rich Roll, is an ultra-athlete and plant-based nutrition guru, who has overcome a lot to find a whole new life in wellness. His podcast is one of my favs and gives me tons of resources.

http://www.richroll.com/bio/

Lastly, please know I’m always here, for anyone who needs a little help. You can work with me or Zach in our group fitness classes, personal training or through skype workouts where we do the same thing as in class, just over skype. If you are interested, contact us through our website or email me at Erica@flowspacefitness.com for more details. We are about to launch a way for Flow Space to aide you in your healthy journey so we can work with you wherever you are, so stay tuned for exciting details coming up in the next month!

In health,

Erica

One Addition To Your Daily Routine To Feel Instant Results

Do you want clearer skin? Less bloating? A flatter stomach? More energy? Less cravings? To bust through a weight loss plateau? Or jumpstart weight loss? Or better yet, prevent cancer and disease? Then I assure you, if you add this one thing to your daily routine consistently, you will see and feel all of those results. For years I couldn’t imagine drinking my greens, but now I do it on an almost daily basis and it has changed my life.

Here’s Today’s Recipe:

Organic Spinach about 2 cups

Organic Romaine Lettuce about 1 cup

Organic Kale about 1 1/2 cups

2 stalks of Celery

1 Organic Apple

2 Tablespoons Milled Flaxseeds

1 Tablespoon Chia Seed

2 teaspoons of Coconut Yogurt

1 cup Almond Milk

1 Scoop Vega (Optional)

Most mornings I blend without any Vega or yogurt, but this morning I had no bananas, so I needed the flavor. Bananas are the key to countering the sometimes bitter taste of the greens, so be sure to add one in.

This morning I started with this spread…

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I blended my greens, celery and almond milk first…

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Then I added in my apple, seeds, yogurt, and Vega…

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Voila!

When people say Food is Medicine, this is what they’re talking about. It is rare, as a working mommy, that I can down this many greens. So this smoothie is crucial for me to maintain a baseline of energy. It is also very high in tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If you’re interested in why I chose these ingredients, let’s take a closer look:

Spinach- proven to reduce inflammation, high in antioxidants that protect against disease, and amps up the immune system by delivering tons of Vitamin C, A, Manganese, Zinc and Selenium.

Kale- Cancer Fighting Powerhouse; Natural detoxifier.

Celery- Tons of water for hydration, Good source of dietary fiber, Helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Flaxseeds- Plant-based source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids; Improves skin, hair and nails.

Chia Seeds-Protein, Antioxidants, Vitamin E, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Balances blood sugar.

All of these foods give you a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that protect your body and fight disease at the cellular level. When you do this, when you give your cells what they need and help your body detox the toxins and excess that it doesn’t need, you will naturally lose weight and feel better.

I guarantee you will FEEL the difference, give it a try and feel free to shoot me a message for any recipe variations you find that you love! Cheers!

In health,

Erica