Eliminating Shame & Enjoying Food Over the Holidays

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Eliminating Shame & Enjoying Food Over the Holidays

I sat down with Holistic Health Coach Holly Toronto from Love Your Body Health Coaching to talk about eliminating shame and ENJOYing your food during the holiday season! 

I love everything Holly has to share because she's all about approaching our health and body image from a place of radical and unconditional self love. 

Hell yes! 

 

We talk topics like: 

~ Ditching the dieting "rules" + what you need to do instead

~ The scientific reasons you need to 10x the amount of times you chew *each* bite

~ Taking back your power from the enticing Holiday Food Table

 

PLUS, we challenge you with an assignment you can do TONIGHT! 

 

WATCH:


Get your family, friends, or partner on board and try this challenge at dinner tonight! 

 

We'd love to hear how it goes, so share with us in a comment below: 

~ What does it feel like to chew *each bite* for 20-30x? 

~ Was it challenging to stick with it? 

~ What did you notice about your meal or your dining experience?

 

Bottom line: we don't have to diet, restrict and shame ourselves into a certain mold in order to experience health and vitality.

If you're looking for more support around body positivity and want to focus on self-love as the root of health and happiness, check out all the details about Holly's 21 Days to Love Your Body Online Course right here. Get in there, it starts next week!

 

With love and body kindness, 

xoxo elyse

 


HIYA, I'M ELYSE!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Why the 21 Day program?

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Why the 21 Day program?

I talk to people all the time who say they aren’t getting what they need from crowded gym classes or mass produced DVD’s, and want working out to actually feel manageable in their schedule + positive in their life.

 

This program is designed to help with that!

It has everything you need to start, build, and stay consistent with a workout routine at home.

 

After going through my programs people who hated, HATED exercise are now working out 3x a week, because they WANT to.

People who were shaming themselves for not doing ‘enough’, now feel balanced and have more self esteem.

People who couldn’t hold plank for 10 seconds are now on over a minute and feeling like they got their bodies back.

People who avoided shopping and were hiding in their clothes are now confident and proud of their bodies.

 

What some people have said after working with me: 

 
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Yes, you’ll be doing squats & stretches, but really this is about feeling great in your body again, having KIND thoughts about yourself, and learning principles to be able to stick with it no matter what life throws your way.

 

It’s for anyone who prefers to get sweaty in the comfort of their own space, on their own time schedule, with a trainer who’s going to encourage and uplift you (that’s me)! :)

 

We'll be starting the 21 Day program THIS Monday!

 

HOW IT WORKS: 

~ You’ll sign in to your membership site where all the course materials live

~ You’ll print your 21 day calendar so you know exactly what to do on each day

~ Each week of the 3 weeks, you’ll get a new 30min full body workout video that combines cardio & strength, high intensity interval training, and yoga so that you build strength, endurance, and flexibility.

~ You’ll also have modification videos with break-downs of the moves so you’ll never be confused

~ Plus shorter STRETCH & BLAST videos for when you take it down a notch or pump it up

~ You easily stream the videos directly from the site to ANY of your devices so you easily have them available to you even after the 21 days have finished

~ You’ll get emails from me with ideas, writing prompts, and principles I’ve used in my own life to go from feeling aggravated and overwhelmed in my body to feeling strong balanced and confident

~ You’ll have the option to join in to an amazing community of other people doing this with you, so you KNOW you’re not alone, and you always have encouragement and support.

 

**All profits from purchases THIS WEEK are being donated to the Maria Fund to help Puerto Rico rebuild**

 

 

THIS PROGRAM IS FOR YOU IF: 

~ you work from home and you can’t seem to peel yourself away from your desk to get to a class,

~ you take care of your kiddos and the ONLY time to workout is nap time which is unreliable and can change from day to day,

~ you travel frequently you want a quick full body workout that you can do in your hotel room,

~ you’re getting ready for a big event and instead of spending hours on the treadmill and restricting your calories, you want a structured plan that will shape your body and keep you sane,

~ you want a plan for staying health + de-stressed during the holidays.

 

THIS IS NOT FOR YOU IF: 

~ you're looking for a quick fix

~ you're not willing to show up for yourself

~ you'd rather say "next year" and not take action

~ you're not willing to go out of your comfort zone

~you're not ready to look beyond calorie counting or restricting

 

We start a new program on Monday, so give this gift to yourself and join us today!

 

It comes out to about $7/day, which is less than your coffee + afternoon snack! 

PLUS, you get to keep using all the materials even after the 21 Days are over. 

If this sounds like just the kickstart you've needed, I hope you'll join in! 

 

 

With love and mindful movement, 

xoxo elyse


Elyse_HR-42.jpg

HIYA, I'M ELYSE!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Too busy to workout?

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Too busy to workout?


5 Day Fitness + Body Image Mindset Reboot

DAY 5


BUSY-NESS. 

We've all got it - between work + kids + hobbies + ...spending 60 min looking at your 3rd grade crush's wedding album on Facebook!

But we still have to find the time to commit and be consistent, so then... how? 

 

IN THIS VIDEO, YOU'LL:

~ learn the hard truth about trying to "do it all"

~ find out the 2 "D's" that will make it possible for you to find the time  

~ be challenged to SHOW UP for yourself this week. 

 

WATCH: 


YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

Answer these Q's in the comments below:

1. What is one thing you’re are going to commit to -hell or highwater- that you can keep consistent for a week? What is it? How much time will you spend on it? 

*I recommend you make it very reasonable that you’re setting yourself up for success!

2. What can you DROP in order to make that happen? 

3. What can you DELEGATE or ask for help with in order to make that happen? 

 


You heard what I need to DROP in the video. I'd love to hear yours too!  

Leave a comment with your answers to these Q's! 

 

With love and commitment to dropping + delegating, 

xoxo elyse

 

 

PS - JOIN US!

In order to help you commit AND stay consistent I’m starting a LIVE run of my 21 Day program next Monday!

And a little bonus that goes beyond those of us participating -  if you sign up this week 100% of the profits are going to be donated to help the people of Puerto Rico rebuild.

This program is a focused amount of time -21 Days- on both physical movement + mindset practices to help you build strength, flexibility and confidence.

If you’re starting from scratch, I walk you through EVERYTHING you’ll need to COMMIT to 3 weeks of balanced, sensible movement that actually fits into your schedule.

 

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I highly recommend this program with Elyse.

This is such a terrific program for so many reasons. The workouts are thorough and fun to do, plus 30 minutes is SO doable. The writing exercises help you think about your life in bigger, more expansive ways. Elyse delivers all this material with an infectious energy, a huge smile, and tons of motivation. She’s also genuinely there for you - to cheer you on and support you, to answer questions, address concerns and sympathize if you’re facing a challenge. She’s knowledgeable, bright, wise, and funny. I highly recommend this program with Elyse. She’ll brighten your day.

~ Deb Hall

You’ll get:

~ 13 full length videos

~ membership login

~ printable calendars

~ modification + low impact options

~ extra mind/body exercises + meditations

~ access to our online community

 

All you need is a set of weights (5-8lbs) and a small area to move around in!

 

And if you’re really keen on that consistency piece - start for $35/month and get in on a YEAR access to the Entire Workout Library.

You’ll start with EVERYTHING included in the 21 Day program, get access to a variety of videos in the library, then get a brand new video every month so you always have something to look forward to and never get bored with the same ‘ol same ‘ol workouts.

 

 

Check out the program details here: 


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

Elyse_HR-42.jpg

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com



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SPOILER: People don’t get results from Personal Trainers

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SPOILER: People don’t get results from Personal Trainers


5 Day Fitness + Body Image Mindset Reboot

DAY 4


 

Unless you literally have someone reserving your spot in class, dragging you out of bed and to the gym at 5am, and replacing that latte you’re lifting up to your mouth with a dumbbell, you’re going to have to ya know... put in some effort.

What I try to do as a personal trainer and coach - especially in my online programs, because I’m NOT there with you in real time - is to help you learn how to create your own effective workouts, maximize your time while you do that, and be there to support you.

This system moves you toward the results you want to see more quickly AND in a way that works for YOU even if I’m not physically there.

 

IN THIS VIDEO, YOU'LL:

~ learn 3 practical ways you can maximize your workout time  

~ get a 6 min challenge you can do RIGHT NOW!

~ hear my deadpan response to "what can you do about this?" from prospective clients.

 

WATCH: 


YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

 

Do this round of a HIIT 50/10:

Set a timer on your phone and do 50 seconds "on", followed by 10 seconds of rest of each of these exercises:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squats
  • Lunges

Do this 2x through. This will take you 6 min and you’ll feel it in your legs!

 


I’d love to hear how it goes. 

Leave me a comment below after you've completed your 6 min circuit! 

 

With love and handing the power over to YOU, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - JOIN US!

I’m going to give you even more tools and support in the upcoming LIVE run of the 21 day program. We’ll start together next Monday!

And a little bonus that goes beyond those of us participating -  if you sign up this week 100% of the profits are going to be donated to help the people of Puerto Rico rebuild.

This program is a focused amount of time -21 Days- on both physical movement + mindset practices to help you build strength, flexibility and confidence.

By the end you will be able to keep signing into the membership site to keep using all of the weekly videos + bonus videos and continue to be part of our support Sparkes Wellness Community!!

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As a mom to a young child, being able to do these workouts at home was invaluable...

I could make the workout happen without a ton of planning. Elyse is also very supportive and encouraging and I found her words helped me to focus on the good work my body was doing rather than the typical negative self-talk that can pollute exercise experiences.

-Sarah Miller Shea


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

Elyse_HR-42.jpg

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com



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Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

My husband is Skinny Fat.

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My husband is Skinny Fat.


5 Day Fitness + Body Image Mindset Reboot

DAY 3


 

My husband is Skinny Fat. 

(Those aren't my words! They're his doctor's words!)

And he's a great example of how the scale is only ONE type of measurement that misses SO MUCH of the whole picture. 

 

IN THIS VIDEO, YOU'LL:

~ learn why you need to STOP idealizing certain pant sizes 

~ find out 7+ really important health benefits of exercise, besides managing weight

~ figure out how to LOVE to workout (even if you think you Hate working out)! 

WATCH: 


YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

Find your JOYworkout - Get out a pen + paper and do this with me.

  1. Recognize what you do like to do.  It doesn’t have to have anything to do with fitness.  So, do you like to host dinner parties?  Do you like to learn new skills?  Do you like to raise money for organizations?  Do you like to spend alone time?  Do you like to be creative?  Whatever it is, anything!  What do you like to do?

  2. Write down why you like to do that thing.  So, if you like to host dinner parties is it because you are kind of a socialite and you like to have people around you and you like to be amongst your friends or give something to your friends?  If you like to raise money for organizations is that because it makes you feel good to give back and support something that is very important to you?  If you like to have alone time and be creative, is that because it connects to your inner wisdom or you get to slow down and quiet down?  Those are just some examples of why you like to do the things you do.

  3. Find a physical activity that combines those things!  For example, again with the dinner party, you could get a group of your friends together, have tea and maybe a little pre-workout snack and then go to a fun new class, like do something kind of crazy and weird like the pole dancing classes or something like that.  Or if you want to give back then find a 5K that supports an organization that really means something to you.  Raise some money and then do the 5K in that honor and give the money back to the organization.  If you like to learn a new skill, maybe find something where you are going to be leaning a specific technique like martial arts or dance or something that you can find a guru, a teacher and follow them and learn everything you can about that subject.

EXAMPLES: 

  • BIKE RIDING
  • HIKING
  • SWIMMING
  • DANCING
  • CAPOERIA
  • ROLLER DERBY
  • ROCK CLIMBING
  • ROLLER SKATING
  • SNOW SHOEING
  • SKIING
  • GYMNASTICS
  • KAYAKING

*I forgot to say in the video, but my husband's JOYworkout's are biking around Brooklyn, doing yoga to relax, and lindy hop dancing for fun!


I’d love to hear what your JOY workout is. 

Leave me a comment below! 

 

With love and fun, joyful movement, 

xoxo elyse

 


PS - JOIN US!

I include JOYworkout time in my online programs because it’s a huge aspect of making movement balanced, fun, and something you look forward to!

We’re starting a LIVE round of the 21 Day program next Monday and 100% of the profits are going to help Puerto Rico rebuild when you purchase this week!

If you want engaging and manageable full body workouts you can do at home, based in self-kindness and mindfulness than join us!

 

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I went from barely being able to hold a plank at all (when I really pushed myself I just made it for 40 seconds) to holding it for a whole minute and a quarter! 

 

Being back in the zone has made starting exercise feel easy, and Elyse’s pep talks, tips and tricks have made me understand that it’s all about balance, gentle encouragement and self-cheerleading - carrot not stick!

 

~Marsha Shandur

 

You’ll get:

~ 13 full length videos

~ membership login

~ printable calendars

~ modification + low impact options

~ extra mind/body exercises + meditations

~ access to our online community

 

All you need is a set of weights (5-8lbs) and a small area to move around in!

 

Check out the program details here: 


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

Elyse_HR-42.jpg

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com



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All your problems will be solved...

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All your problems will be solved...


5 Day Fitness + Body Image Mindset Reboot

DAY 2


You know that whole “lose weight and all your problems will be solved” thing the fitness industry tries to sell you? 

(THINK: every weight loss ad, fashion magazine spread, BEFORE/AFTER pic, diet commercial you've ever seen where the person was miserable "before" and Happily Ever After "after"). 

It's not true.

It’s not sustainable.

And it’s keeping you stuck in a vicious ‘never enough’ cycle.

Believe me, I’ve tried it.

 

IN THIS VIDEO, YOU'LL:

~ hear about the time I lost 30 lbs in 2 months. 

~ learn why those "last 5 lbs" ARE NOT going to change your life.

~ learn the scientific reason you MUST get your brain on board! 

 

WATCH: 


YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

  1. Simply NOTICE where you’re focusing your thoughts today.

  2. Write them down (especially if they’re unkind or generally not the direction you want to be going in)

  3. Re-write each one with a positive direction *(we’re not talking flowery language here all about puppy dogs + rainbows!, we’re talking re-writing these in a way that feels authentic to you in the moment. For example you could say something like: I’m doing my best and showing up for myself in this moment.

  4. What action aligns with that? What can you do today that will nourish your mind and body?

 


I’d love to hear what your Aware Thought + Action is today. 

Leave me a comment below! 

 

With love and new thought-feeling-action neural pathways, 

xoxo elyse

 


PS - JOIN US!

 

If your action DOES have to do with getting your body moving in a mind/body centered way, join us in the 21 Day program

 

It’s all about non-drastic non-extreme way to consistently add movement into your life. We’re starting a LIVE version next Monday - where I’ll be leading you through it - and BONUS all the profits from the program this week go to a charity to help Puerto Rico rebuild after the hurricane.

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This program has given me so so much. The videos are fantastic—I can work out anywhere—in a hotel room, in my apartment, in a park—and fit it in anytime. I’m so much less stressed when I’m in the 21 day program. I look forward to exercising, I’m able to stay calmer during stressful situations, and I feel better about my body. I love the support from the Facebook group and Elyse’s weekly emails and videos. It’s a life-changer.

 

 

~Erica Cox

There are two ways to join:

$149 for the 21 Day program

$35 today + monthly installments for the 21 Day program AND a year access to the entire Workout Library.

Check out the program details here: 


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

Elyse_HR-42.jpg

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com



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Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

The FIRST thing you need to know to get fit

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The FIRST thing you need to know to get fit


5 Day Fitness + Body Image Mindset Reboot

DAY 1


I went to a group fitness class recently + I got PISSED. 

The things the instructor was saying for motivation made my inner angsty 13 year old make an appearance BIG time. 

(I couldn't even film this video without rolling my eyes...)

 

IN THIS VIDEO, YOU'LL:

~ hear about a major Pet Peeve of mine, and why you don't need to put up with it anymore! 

~ become YOUR best personal trainer + get a taste of an exercise I have all my online program participants do. 

~ finally make movement MEANINGFUL and CONNECTED.   

 

WATCH: 


YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

Answer these Q's: 

1. What is your WHY? WHY is movement important to you? 

If you want to dive even deeper: 

2. What will be available to me when I have _________?

3. How will I act differently when I have _________?

4. What does is really mean about me if I’m __________?

5. What will other people believe about me if I ____________? 

6. What will I believe about MYSELF?   

 

Write your WHY somewhere where you can see it throughout the day, better yet PROCLAIM IT out loud.


 

I would love to hear your WHY.

Leave a comment below this video to me your WHY!

 

With love and meaningful WHY's, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - JOIN US! 

If you want to get your body moving in a mind/body centered way, join us in the 21 Day program

It’s all about non-drastic non-extreme way to consistently add movement into your life. We’re starting a LIVE version next Monday, where I’ll be leading you through it.

And BONUS -  all the profits from the program this week go to a charity to help Puerto Rico rebuild after the hurricane.

There are two ways to join:

$149 for the 21 Day program

$35 today + monthly installments for the 21 Day program AND a year access to the entire Workout Library.

Check out the program details here: 


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

Elyse_HR-42.jpg

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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5 things to connect inward + nourish

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5 things to connect inward + nourish

Here are 5 things I've done recently that have really helped me connect inward and receive some nourishing energy.

Sharing with you in case they can help you too!

Give 'em a read and leave me a comment to tell me which one resonates with you or which one you'll try. 

 

 

1. Learn how to have the tough conversations, find your True Belonging + stand alone in your truth...

Prepping to talk politics at a holiday dinner or have to type an intelligent response to a troll on your "Me Too" post? Read this!

Brené Brown just released a new book: Braving The Wilderness, The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.

I devoured it in 2 days!

She explores how to find your true belonging in a world of increasing polarization. Read this if you want to practice standing in your truth, even if your view goes against the popular opinion around you.

 
If leaders really want people to show up, speak out, take chances, and innovate, we have to create cultures where people feel safe - where their belonging is not threatened by speaking out and they are supported when they make the decision to brave the wilderness, stand alone, and speak truth to bullshit.
— Brené Brown
 

 

2. Take the inner journey + write it out... 

If all the external stimulus (your facebook feed, reading the news, your co-worker's opinion etc.) is leaving you feeling disconnected, confused, and uptight - unplug and take time to dive into YOUR thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

Elena Brower created a BEAUTIFUL book, entirely composed of journaling prompts to help you go inward to Practice You

We constantly doubt it, but we have all the wisdom we already need. This gorgeously curated book bring that inner wisdom forth and onto the page. Just holding this journal feels calm, peaceful, and nourishing. 

 
How can you practice your best self? Having endured times of doubt, disconnection, and insufficiency, I’ve learned that the only way out of that morass is to go inward.
— Elena Brower
 

3. Put your MOVEMENT first and make it inspirational...

If you've been around me for awhile, you know I'm a huge fan of Erin Stutland's work. She combines uplifting mantras and movement in a way that truly MOVES you forward in your life. Don't know what action to take? She'll help you find how to take aligned action and (literally) get moving on it. 

5 minutes is all you need to get a good sweat therapy session.

PS - I'm certified to teach her technique and I'm a proud affiliate of her online programs because I've seen the huge shifts in my own life. Doing her process affected everything from developing my business to meeting my husband! She has some sweet bonuses and discounts if you join in her program before Friday October 20th at midnight EST.

Click here to get in there! 

 

 

4. Share safe space with people who can support you...

Supportive community is where's it at!!!!

As much as I love my online peeps, I've upped my commitment to find IN-PERSON supportive communities. There's just something different about receiving group energy in the real live flesh.

I've been teaching my new Sculpt Your Future event recently at places like Rebecca Casciano's Sacred Beauty Collective and with Six Degrees Society. Building a tribe of people who can create safe space for your to explore your feelings, emotions, actions helps with processing everything that's going on around you. 

I'll be leading another session for the Sacred Beauty Collective's Fall/Winter session coming up soon. We'll do a gentle yoga + restorative movement practice and journal about letting go of what no longer serves us. 

PS - Here's a discount for you if you can attend live in NYC! Use code GODDESS when you register at www.rebeccacasciano.com/the-collective to get $50 off! 

 

5. Get off social media...

Simple, no explanation necessary. 

Just. Stop. Scrolling. 

Go outside.

Talk a walk.

Call a friend.

Do #1 - #4. 

It will sooth the soul. 

;)

 

Hope these tools can be helpful to you! 

 

With love and connecting body/mind/soul, 

xoxo elyse


Elyse_HR-42.jpg

HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


 

 

 

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Actually you can.

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Actually you can.

I slapped a tattoo on my arm before I went to a business retreat last week, because I desperately needed a change of perspective. 

(It's temporary. ;) And gold. And shiny. You can get one too right here). 

As I was checking into the flight online I could feel ALL my insecurities popping up. 

"I can't do this." 

"Who do I think I am?"

"I'm not good enough." 

(BTW if you go to work conferences too my good friend + storytelling coaching Marsha Shandur just wrote a BRILLIANT story about this, she calls it The Conference Feeling, you might relate!). 

We all have that, right?

Those pesky thoughts that we repeat over + over again and BELIEVE, even though they're not really true. 

A movement example...

I started working with a new personal training client recently and she was like: 

"Aahhh I'm so out of shape I can't even hold a plank for 30 sec." 

ME: Hmmm, actually I bet you can. 

She did. 

Then she held another 60 sec.

With perfect form.

That 'ol "I can't" story, isn't serving anyone. 


At the conference I mentioned, Dr. Jade Teta spoke about this - how we have to shift our perceptions in order to change the stories we have about ourselves and how you have to 'BE it till you see it'.

Intrigued by this, I incorporated the idea into the sample Sculpt Your Future session I led at Rebecca Casciano's Sacred Beauty Collective a few nights ago. We all created a new MOVEMENT MANIFESTO for ourselves.

It was amazing to see these ladies literally punch + kick out their old stories and transform them into NEW power statements!

Mine? I built upon my (temporary) tattoo + kept it strong and simple: 

ACTUALLY YOU CAN.

AND YOU ARE.

That's my new story right now.

What's yours?

1. What is an old story that you've been repeating to yourself?

2. What is the new story you want to tell yourself?

 

Leave a comment below, I'd really like to know! 

 

With love and punching/kicking/plank-ing to new heights, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Want to come move you body + mind with me in-person? I have a new events page on my website! 

www.elysesparkes.com/events

*Photos from previous event by Deb Hall

*Photos from previous event by Deb Hall

Scroll to October + you'll find: 

 

OCT 5th, 6pm - I'll be sharing transformational movement tools to help nourish and support your beauty, health and happiness throughout fall and winter at Rebecca Casciano's Sacred Beauty Collective Fall/Winter preview!

>> Get your tickets here

 

OCT 18th, 7pm - I'll be leading movement with Six Degress Society, a fabulous community where social networking, career and learning unite!

>> Get your tickets here

 

I'd love to see you in the real life flesh! 

Not in NYC? Share this with someone who might like to attend. Thanks! :) 

 

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Build THIS kind of Strength

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Build THIS kind of Strength

I agreed to teach for a week on an island off of New Hampshire without knowing exaaaactly what I was getting myself into. 

I had been warned: 

  • only 3 (luke warm if you're lucky) showers per week
  • it will be 'campy' - in all senses of the word
  • wifi is iffy at best 9 miles off shore

Turns out that it was a family conference called Life on a Star, on one of the picturesque islands of the Isles of Shoals

LOAS seagull.jpg
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LOAS coastal.jpg

(Rocky coast, seagulls, lighthouses, crashing waves... the epitome of New England-ness).

Non-showering aside, it was extremely magical.

I got to... 

  • teach daily yoga + swing dancing to energized and engaged students, 
  • watch dozens of dolphins come into the harbor
  • join in the Starlettes' synchronized swimming performance (in 60 degree ocean water, no less!),
  • disconnect from the internet (except for a few instagrams about aforementioned magical-ness)
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But what I really got was an immersion into the sense of STRONG COMMUNITY.

I met sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, cousins, in-laws, kiddos... who had all been coming year after year to enjoy this sacred time together.

Yes, they come together on the island for fun and relaxation (family summer camp, if you will), but they also told me stories of coming together back at home when they need it most.

They help support each other when someone is sick, when someone else is in job transition, or when someone passes away. 

By sharing this precious week together year after year, they create a strong, loving, welcoming, and supportive community.

Since I've gotten back to the "real" world, this sense of community feels imperative. 

Among the hurricanes, wild fires, nuclear threats, white supremacy riots, and many other horrifying things happening all over the world, we need STRONG COMMUNITIES where we can get support, compassion, give + receive help, and come together to take inspired action individually and globally.  

I want more STRONG COMMUNITIES in my life and I want to invite you to join in!

That's why I've designed this brand new in-person event series, Sculpt Your Future, where it's all about building strength in MOVEMENT, CREATIVITY, + CONNECTION. 

Within each event, we'll build: 

  • physical strength with a movement class,
  • internal strength through intentional journaling exercises, and
  • strength within community by connecting deeply with the other passionate people in each workshop.

The first 6 week series starts here in NYC on Thursday, September 28th at Doing/Living Marketplace!

ALL DETAILS + SIGN UP HERE!

We'll dive into themes like:

  • CONNECTION - tuning in to listen to your body's unique wisdom + get clear on what you want.
  • HEART - defining what fulfillment means to you + determining your values.
  • CHALLENGE - identifying your obstacles + learning the 'martial arts' way to handle them.
  • PERSEVERANCE - "nevertheless she persisted", aka how consistency, grit, + going after it lead to MASSIVE change.
  • ALIGNMENT - practicing coming back to center + how to be grounded amongst chaos.
  • EXPANSION - finding strong stability in order to lengthen, grow, take action and move forward.

 

Join us to sweat out stress, spark creativity, and step into your best self for the rest of the year! 

 

With love + building STRONG COMMUNITY, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Not in the New York area?

Send this to someone who might like to join OR become part of our online membership community from anywhere in the world!

 

PPS - Banner photo by Robert Levine! 

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Download your free Self-Kindness journal!

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Download your free Self-Kindness journal!

Have you ever felt frustrated or confused when you want to lose weight, gain muscle, get more toned, or really… make any kind of body change?

I don’t blame you!

There’s a lot of confusing information out there.

Here's a video with 7 different mental shifts + practical approaches that you can use to practice kindness while you’re focusing on a body change. 

PLUS below there's a printable Sparkes Wellness Self-Kindness Journalette with questions for YOU to answer for each step!

Watch...

Read + Write...

This section is designed to act as journaling prompts for you!

I recommend writing in a stream-of-consciousness fashion - write as much as you can without picking up your pen and let whatever comes up for you come onto the page.

Click here to get your 14 page journal delivered to your inbox! 

After you answer these journaling questions, I'd love to hear from you! 

Send me a message or leave a comment below to tell me what you discovered. 

With love and body kindness, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Know someone who might need to hear this today? Send them this page! 


                              Hiya, I'm elyse!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day + Sparkes Wellness Library program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


 

 

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How can I stay fit while I travel? 7 things to prep before you go.

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How can I stay fit while I travel? 7 things to prep before you go.

Staying fit while you’re traveling can feel like a challenge.

You might be on vacation and get in “time off” mode or just can’t figure out how to keep your fitness life going when you’re out of your regular routine.

Prep with these tips before you go so you stay active and healthy while you’re on the road!

 

1. RESEARCH BEFOREHAND

Once you know where you’re headed, look up local studios, gyms, or classes in that area. A simple google search will do the trick!

Find your location on the map and then type a keyword like ‘yoga’, ‘pilates’, ‘gym’ or wherever you’d like to go, into the search function. Look up the studio schedule and call/email beforehand so you have an idea of which days and times they offer classes or daily memberships.

*Many studios + gyms have free trial offers or 3 for 1 deals, so take advantage of that! 

 

 

2. CREATE A (FLEXIBLE) SCHEDULE

Even if you have researched beforehand, missed trains, housing reservations that can change at the last minute, and the natural spirit of travel adventure and spontaneity might create a wrench in your previously well thought out plan. Go into it knowing that you probably won’t have a reliable schedule and be flexible and able to go with the flow of changes that come up.

If that class that you researched beforehand falls through, have a backup plan in place. If you’re unable to go today, be gentle and kind with yourself. Instead of beating yourself up, do some stretches before bed and then create a new plan for tomorrow.  

 

 

3. GRAB A FRIEND

Traveling with your friends/family/colleagues/partner?

Ask them to workout with you! You’ll be more likely to go if you have all your peeps involved.

Traveling solo?

Find group classes or activities so you can make new friends while you’re moving your body.

 

 

4. COMMUNICATE YOUR NEEDS

To your travel buddies:

If you ARE traveling with other people but they DON’T want to exercise with you, make sure you clearly communicate that carving out this time for movement is important to you while you’re on this trip. Ask them to support you and help you fit in fitness while you’re away.

To teachers, class instructors, or trainers:

If you have any injuries or special conditions, make sure you tell the teacher or trainer beforehand. If you’re traveling to another country with a different language, look up the essential words beforehand so you can let them know exactly what’s going on in your body.

 

 

5. PREP YOUR BAGS

Remember to pack a few exercise outfits and sneakers in your suitcase before you go.

Traveling light? Pack shirts, shorts, or sweats that could function both as active day-wear and for an hour at the gym.

Select a few pieces of equipment that aren’t hefty to carry around. A travel yoga mat goes a long way! 

Take a look into my travel bag here! 

 
 

For larger equipment - especially if you’re in one location for an extended stay - look for places where buy used equipment or rent (surfboards, bikes, etc).

 

 

6. HAVE YOUR FAV ONLINE WORKOUT READY TO GO

As long as you have a phone, laptop, or tablet, you can really get a full body workout in anywhere with online programs!

Members of my Sparkes Wellness Workout Library program get new videos every month (plus a growing Library of over 30+ videos) that they can download or stream and do with very little equipment - all in 30 min or less.

If your class falls through or you just want to wake up and immediately workout before you start your day, have these videos prepped on your device so you can roll out of bed, do some movement, and go on with your day.

*Start with me for $35! You'll get a structured 21 Day program, a super supportive community, plus a brand new video every month.

 

 

7. TURN YOUR TOURISM ACTIVE

There are so many ways to get moving AND discover a new city! You could:

  • take a bike tour,

  • learn a new dance form native to the culture you’re visiting,

  • map a running route throughout the city,

  • find the local pool,

  • research a unique class in the area, or

  • get a surfing lesson!

 

 

What about you? Have any fitness travel tips? 

How do you stay fit while you're on the road?

Leave your tips + tricks in a comment below! 

 

To road trip squats + sun salutations, 

xoxo elyse


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online programs. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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What is Self-Kindness?

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What is Self-Kindness?

When I first glanced at this picture I loved it. 

then I zoomed in. 

"Ugh!" I thought to myself. "Why the fat rolls!?!" 

 
 

This type of thought used to completely spin-tail me into FIX ME MODE. 

  • Okay, tomorrow it starts again - No! Sugar!
  • I'll go to the gym tonight, tomorrow morning, AND tomorrow night. 
  • Where do I sign up for the next 100 crunches a day challenge? 

This time though (after cycling through a feeeew more mean girl thoughts), I changed my tune. 

Instead of rushing to FIX, I thought,

"Woah sister, hold up a sec. What's the truth about this moment?"

1. I have skin.

It folds when I sit. Especially when I'm not "holding it in" (And thank goodness for NOT holding it in, amiright!?). 

2. I have fat.

It helps insulate me, it protects my organs, it keeps my period regular.

3. I felt bloated on this day.

Common when traveling. (Wrote about that here, so... yeah... that). 

4. I'm #bodypositive, promote Body Kindness, would 100% say I LOVE my body, and I teach people how to drop the guilt/shame game around exercise...

AND I still have negative thoughts about my body sometimes. 

That's okay. 

Those negative thoughts no longer rule my universe.

 

I Grabbed my journal and scribbled:

What is self-kindness anyway? 

For me, it's LESS about an uninspired "I love myself" in the mirror. 

It's about being CURIOUS - especially in the face of un-kindness, disappointment, discouragement, discomfort, self-nagging, self flagellation.

1. Something happens + you place judgement on yourself. 

2. Your brain says "Doh!"

3. You punish yourself in order to learn how to NOT do that again OR to confirm that you suck OR you rush for a quick fix.

And the cycle continues.

What if instead we got curious:

  • Hmm, what's happening there?
  • What's triggering these thoughts? 
  • How can I nourish myself right now?
  • What do I want?

Forgive yourself. 

Tell yourself that you're okay. 

Release the judgement. 

Talk to yourself with gentleness. 

Take an inspired, compassionate action.*

 

*Self-kindness isn't an excuse to keep yourself in an unhealthy state. Taking inspired, compassionate action towards something that will help your health might be the KINDEST thing you can do for yourself. Self love and wanting to change aren't mutually exclusive.

 

When we show kindness to strangers and friends and family and lovers, we're calling upon skills like: 

  • LISTENING
  • EMPATHY
  • COMPASSION
  • AFFECTION
  • GENEROSITY
  • CONNECTION

Are those things we can show ourselves?

 
 

 

Then I got even more curious and wondered what YOU thought about self-kindness.

I asked, and you brilliantly said...

 

In a way I think about it from a mindfulness perspective. I can not control my thoughts but I can control my reaction to them and I try to make it a point to choose the most generous approach to myself.
— Eric R.
Being in my body and accepting where I am emotionally, physically, spiritually.
— Lydia M.
Ignoring all of my self-unkind thoughts.
— Allegra KS
Sipping tea, meditating, positive self-talk (“I am a warrior goddess”) coloring, avoiding chemicals, yoga, and..... Netflix
— Amy B.
I would say NOT ignoring unkind thoughts. I notice them then become tender and gentle and kind toward that part of me that was feeling xyz feeling or core belief that produced the unkind thought. Turning again and again toward the feelings and thoughts that hurt and giving it/them tenderness and lovingkindness. Also, throughout the day doing breath in for me, breath out for you. Also, getting enough rest, nutritious food and moving my body regularly. Meditating every day. Hand on heart.
— Vanessa P.
When I started focusing on eating healthy (I had switched to a vegan diet 5 yrs ago) all my concerns about body image vanished. Now, I just love myself as I am, however I am, and cheer myself on for doing the best I can, whatever it is. Also...It’s so much easier to have compassion for someone outside of yourself. But, then I remind myself, what makes me different from others? (Nothing.) So, if others are kind and compassionate toward me, why can’t I have that toward myself? We really are all one, so let’s love all as one (including ourselves). ❤
— Amie A.
Self-forgiveness.
— Sara AK
Improving my involvement in the world. What we feel is, so often, what we exude.
— Diane S.
Giving yourself a big giant break on all the little things you criticize yourself for all day. I guess that’s the whole “don’t sweat the small stuff” thang. That!
— Deb H.
Staying in bed when my body needs the rest. And not beating myself for doing it. Which is ultimately about taking advantage of the flexibility I’ve designed into my life.
— Karen W.
Putting kind, value-neutral attention on my body and my internal state
— Marissa W.
Living inside my body.
— Duba
Allowing yourself to have negative emotions, do things you feel you shouldn’t, but always forgive yourself. Realizing that if you’re not on your own side, you’re missing the whole point of life, which is to enjoy it, and be kind to everything around you. When I have a disagreement with someone I realize that the problem is my need to be right. Slay the ego, and self-kindness comes naturally, because you can be in the wrong or in the right and it doesn’t matter.
— Rich L.
 
 

 

What do you think? 

What does self-kindness mean to you? 

Leave a comment - I'd love to hear your experience and your perspective! 

 

With love and body kindness, 

xoxo elyse


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day + Sparkes Wellness Library program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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4 moves to keep your digestion system "flowing" while you travel

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4 moves to keep your digestion system "flowing" while you travel

Does your digestive system get clogged while you're traveling?

Some of the best parts of traveling - seeing new terrain by plane, train, bus, or car; changing your diet in order to try new foods from different cultural cuisines; and living in an entirely new place (possibly unsure of where you’ll find your next pit stop)  - are unfortunately also some of the things that can leave you with a clogged digestive system while you’re away.

The gut is sometimes referred to as the ‘second brain’, aka the enteric nervous system, which is said to be able to control your gut independently of your brain.

Your tummy can tell when you’re away from home and if that creates constipation and bloating, soon you can start to feel increased stress and depression too.

I’m sure that’s not the way you want to spend your vacation!

Yoga, simple self-abdominal massage and understanding your digestive anatomy (along with plenty of water and fiber!) can help your digestive system stay on track.

Read this article + follow the moves I created for mindbodygreen.com to help keep you flowing while you’re traveling.

4 moves to keep things "flowing" while you're away from home.

After you've read this article, tell me what you think!

Do you get a little 'clogged' when you travel? 

Do these moves help? 

What are your tips to keep your digestive system flowing? 

Leave a comment to let me know! 

With love and getting everything moving, 

xoxo elyse


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Win these prizes!

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Win these prizes!

 

GET SWEATY = WIN PRESENTS!!

Just by entering in this *live* round of the Fast Track to Fit & Flexible you'll be entered to win a gift.

(A little friendly bribery never hurt anyone, right? ;)

It’s in the name of accountability and keeping you healthy you'll be entered to win these amazing give-a-ways from my favorite health & wellness pro's!!

 
Samples of all-natural, Brooklyn made deodorant from Lymph Candy! 

Samples of all-natural, Brooklyn made deodorant from Lymph Candy

A copy of Rebekah Borucki's new book You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life!

A copy of Rebekah Borucki's new book You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life!

Sweet Talk Tats from The Taste Exchange.

Sweet Talk Tats from The Taste Exchange.

A night of DIY home facials with friends, PLUS skincare + nutrition goodies from Arbonne with Katie Bland

A night of DIY home facials with friends, PLUS skincare + nutrition goodies from Arbonne with Katie Bland

A YEAR membership to the Sparkes Wellness Workout Library with Elyse Sparkes  

A YEAR membership to the Sparkes Wellness Workout Library with Elyse Sparkes
 

A Recipe and Meal Planning Strategy Session with Ali Fitzpatrick  

A Recipe and Meal Planning Strategy Session with Ali Fitzpatrick
 

A spot in Brittany Kriger's Fed Up Fellowship!

A spot in Brittany Kriger's Fed Up Fellowship!

1-hour coaching session with Life and Business Coach, Elani Nicole

1-hour coaching session with Life and Business Coach, Elani Nicole

More Than Mom online course from Kelsey Fox Bennett. 

More Than Mom online course from Kelsey Fox Bennett. 

 

Here's how you play:  

1. Enter your name + email here.

2. Use hashtag #FT2FFchallenge on Facebook + Instagram + in our community throughout the 14 days. 

3. You'll be entered to win a gift! 

 

We start on Tuesday, so join in with us NOW!

Can't wait to get fit & flexible with you, 

XOXO ELYSE

 

PS - Are we meeting for the first time? Let me introduce myself...

Hiya, I'm Elyse! 

I'm a fitness coach, personal trainer, and yoga teacher. 

Back in the days of my professional dance career I was stuck in a never-ending under-eating → over-exercising → binging cycle. And worse, I was beating myself up about it every second of the day. 

Then I started studying mindfulness and yoga, and I became determined to approach my body and staying fit with balance, ease, and kindness. Now I work 1:1 with clients and develop online video programs to help other people blend fitness + mindfulness to live in their most joyful, confident bodies!

You can read more about my personal story here

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Skinny Doesn't Equal Happy

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Skinny Doesn't Equal Happy

When I ended this call I curled up on my couch, pulled a blanket over my face, and felt the immediate dizzying effects of a Vulnerability Hangover. 

*Vulnerability Hangover = Dr. Brené Brown speak for "the feeling that sweeps over us after we feel the need to connect… and we share something deeply meaningful. Minutes, hours, or days later, we begin to feel regret sweep over us like a warm wave of nausea.”

(Somebody hand me the ibuprofen!)

The marvelous Dr. Valerie Baker had just had me on her podcast, the #INCHARGE Show, and I shared more than EVER about my personal story + struggles with body image, unsustainable lifestyle, and health issues that led me to be so passionate about the work I do today.

Like:

  • the time I was cast as a hippo in a ballet about the circus, I was sure I was typecast + the body shame really set in (are there even hippo's in the circus!?!)
  • how in my upbringing "you look healthy" was an insult
  • when my body was so out of whack I didn't get my period for 7 years. Seven. 

I've kept some of these things to myself, my 1:1 clients, my besties, my family, my coaches or therapists for years.

But recently I've been feeling a pull to speak to larger audiences about my own recovery from body shame in order to help others on their path. 

So here goes...

After you have a listen here, I'd love to know what resonated with you. 

Did this conversation bring up anything for you about your own experience?
Do you have a story you'd like to share with me? 

Join in our group and leave a comment there. 

With love and shedding body shame, 
xoxo elyse


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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6 ways to befriend your body right NOW

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6 ways to befriend your body right NOW

The brain is the organ that learns, so it is designed to be changed by your experiences…whatever we repeatedly send and feel and want and think is slowly but surely sculpting neural structure.
— Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson, Ph. D.

So then, what do you want to teach your brain? 

And how can your daily experiences - what you repeatedly send and feel and want and think - inform that learning? 

I want PLAY, JOY, LOVE, GROWTH experiences. 

I want to befriend my body, rather than feeling like my body and I are in a constant struggle.

I want to show up with confidence, with optimal health, and with vibrancy to the things I'm passionate about. 

(Just to name a few) ;)

 

What about you? 

 

The beauty is, it only takes a few simple changes – done consistently – to start creating thoughts and behaviors that will help you feel better in your body. 

I wrote an article for Sivana East about 6 of my favorite ways to use mindfulness throughout the day to start to respect, honor, and feel better in your body.

They might not seem like *such* big deal things to do each day, but these changes have had huge impacts on sculpting those good 'ol neural structures of mine, so I hope they're helpful to you too. 

 

 
 

Read it here! 

 

*Spoiler: My favorite is #5. 

Can you guess what it is? 

That's right, the #JOYworkout. 

In my online programs, we talk about a JOY workout as something that gets you moving, but feels like SO MUCH MORE than a "workout" just for the sake of squats + push-ups.

It could be something like:

  • blasting your favorite music for 10 minutes and having a dance party at home,
  • going out for a nature walk or bike ride,
  • heading to the pool for a swim,
  • or playing hopscotch!

Most importantly, you’re getting your body moving in a way that feels good and finding a type of movement that you really truly enjoy!

Taking a little time to PLAY is Mar del Plata, Argentina!

Taking a little time to PLAY is Mar del Plata, Argentina!

Moving your body does wonders for your physical health as it increases your cardiovascular endurance, strengthens your muscles, helps with balance, creates better sleep, aids in digestion, decreases stress, and much more.

It also gives your mental health a boost. You get a dose of warm fuzzy positive endorphins leading to a natural boost of confidence, as well as feelings of happiness and joy.

A few minutes of a JOY workout and BOOM, usually feeling better already!

So, two questions for you:

 

1. What is your JOY workout?

(I'll go ahead and answer the most commonly asked question... YES, sex counts!)

2. What helps you feel good in your body (right here, right now, today)?

 

Leave me a comment and let me know!

With love and blending fitness + mindfulness! 

xoxo elyse


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Stay fit while you travel - 6 things to pack!

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Stay fit while you travel - 6 things to pack!

What a great adventure the last month has been!

*If you missed the news, I was honeymoon-ing and visiting my South American family + friends in Argentina.

I learned a lot about my own patterns for what works and doesn't work for my fitness life while living abroad.

It wasn't always easy.

Like when:

  • I missed a Pilates class I was going to take just because google maps sent me to f*%$^ train tracks and I couldn't figure out how to walk across them. Doh!
  • I planned to do a video at home, but the internet went out (happened often) and I hadn't pre-downloaded so I had to pull up my yoga pants and design the workout as I went along. 
  • My digestive system and I became frenemies and I was bedridden for a few days (but really, what's traveling to another country without a hospital visit!?!?!).

There were also plenty of things that worked well... like these 6 pieces of equipment I packed in my bags.

Having these in my backpack ready to go at anytime helped me focus on keeping true to what I knew I needed for my own body and carving out the space and time to make that happen -even if it didn't always go as planned- while I was away from my normal routine.

1. PonyBabe Multi-Use Wrap

"Multi-Use" is an understatement! This was one of my most valuable pieces because it's so extraordinarily versatile (and soft + cozy!).

I used PonyBabe's wrap as:

  • a 'yoga strap' for stretches after long travel days
  • a scarf for unexpectedly cold winds
  • a sun cover up for beach days!
  • a blanket on a chilly plane
  • a head wrap to shadow my face when I forgot my hat
  • a folded for a meditation cushion
  • and for feeling like Super Woman ;)

Plus, everything from PonyBabe is ethically produced and made in Brooklyn, NY. It feels good for body/mind/soul to wear the comfy clothes from this company. 

2. Gaiam Travel Mat 

This gal has been my sidekick since 2012. We've been together in Thailand, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Uruguay, all over the US, and we're constantly together in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

This mat rolls up to about the size of a small handbag and is super light. It's been a life saver, especially when traveling, for doing on-the-go workouts in tight spaces, for setting up yoga space on the (questionably clean?) floors of hostels, or joining in a class abroad when you have to bring your own mat.

We filmed about 8 new videos for the Sparkes Wellness Workout Library on this trip, and they all feature my Gaiam travel mat!

3. The Stick

If you've ever been on a long plan, train, bus, or car ride (or heck! even if you're at your desk all day) you know what sitting for that long does to your body. 

Stiff. Sore. Achey. Tired... just to name a few. 

Having a really simple massage tool along for the ride, can make a 10+ hour flight feel a-okay on your body. I used this after our long car rides to the beach and to they country, and after my at-home workouts. 

I even showed mis suegros how to use The Stick after their legs were sore from all the walking we did in Uruguay. They were impressed! 

4. 2 Balls + A Sock Trick

Speaking of self-massage, another very simple and effective tool is this DIY trick. All you need are 2 balls (I use tennis balls) and a sock. You can use the balls together along your back and around your neck and shoulders, as demo-ed in this video:

OR you can use one at a time for around your hips: 

  • Take one ball and stand near a wall. 
  • Place the ball in the center of your butt and lean in toward the wall. 
  • Bend your knees and angle your body as you need to massage your tender spots. 
  • Repeat on the other side. 

 

5. Tempur-pedic Travel Neck Pillow

When you're on the road, you never know what kind of mattress or pillow you'll be sleeping on. Having this travel pillow allows me to relax knowing I'll always have a comfortable night of rest. 

Plus I use this for lumbar (low back) support and/or behind my neck for cervical support when I'm on a long flight or car ride. I love it so much I use it as a regular pillow when I'm at home too! 

My ma-in-law made me this cute removable cover for it! ;) 

 

6. Thera-Band Exercise Resistance Bands

I've been experiencing pain in my hip for almost 9 months now. Ugh! I didn't want to drop my physical therapy exercises just because I was on the road, so I took a Thera-Band, wrote down my PT exercises and made sure I did them 2-3x per week.

Resistance bands are great to add into any fitness routine (not just for PT) to add resistance, get creative, and add variety to your exercises. They take up virtually no space and don't add any weight to your luggage.

I find that they can break easily, so I recommend taking more than one - I packed 2 different bands in my bags!

 

What about you? What fitness equipment do you bring with you when you travel? 

I'd love to know! Leave me a comment with your recommendations. 

 

With love, packing light, and keeping fit on the road! 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Just fyi - I'm not getting paid by any of these companies to tell you about them. I just found that these helped me and I believe in the products, so I want to share them with you! 


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


 

 

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How to stretch with your partner - A Guide

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How to stretch with your partner - A Guide

Ever wish your partner could stretch you out after a long day? 

In this guide, you’ll find outlines of simple partnered assisted stretching and Thai massage* techniques to help you and your partner reduce body aches and pains, relieve tension, relax, and improve your body alignment.

Plus, you’ll get to connect with your partner and feel great in your body afterwards. Win win! 

*What is Thai massage?

It sounds a little mysterious, but not to fear!

It’s an ancient healing art form that combines pressure points, reflexology, assisted yoga poses, and massage. It is commonly done on a mat on the floor and the receiver is fully clothed and completely passive. It’s sometimes referred to as “the lazy man’s yoga” because it’s like getting the benefits of doing yoga (minus the balance and strength aspects) without having to do much of anything.

This makes it super accessible and easy to do at home with your partner, family, and friends!

Pretty good deal, right!?!

Before you start

1. Gather your materials.

You’ll need:

  • a yoga mat, blanket or towel for your partner to lie down on,
  • an *optional* extra blanket, towel, or small pillow to support your partner’s head if needed,
  • a folded blanket or towel to support your knees while kneeling to work on your partner.

2. Set up the space.

You can:  

  • make it comfy - make sure the temperature in the room is comfortable and that your partner feels okay on the floor,
  • make it quiet - make sure you have a quiet space (silence your phones + devices, put pets into another room, etc),
  • create the mood - go classic romantic with candles and dim lights (or take the time to create any mood you like!).

3. Prep your partner. 

make sure to:

  • communicate with you about injuries, skin bruises, or sensitive areas,
  • be passive and relaxed as you’re working on them.

 

Self Care Always Comes First!

Make sure that you prep your own body to feel centered, grounded, and thoroughly warmed up before you work on your partner.

Follow along below with video #1 to warm up and learn three important techniques to use while working with your partner.

Warm Up + 3 Important Techniques

1. MITTEN HANDS

Spread your fingers wide and then bring your fingers together like you have mittens on (your thumbs will stay separated from your fingers).

Sequence:

  • Press your palms together.

  • Inhale your arms straight up overhead.

  • Exhale fold forward over your legs.  

  • Keep your knees slightly bent and bring your palms to the top of your thighs as your round your back.

  • Inhale to arch your back, lifting your chest up toward the ceiling. Keep your hands on your thighs as you do this.

  • Exhale round back, draw your belly button up toward your spine and relax the back of your neck.

  • Inhale come through a flat back to come all the way up to stand.

  • Exhale fold over your legs again, and this time place your hands on the floor.

  • Step your left leg behind you to a low lunge.  

 

2. ½ LUNGE POSITION

Lower your back knee down to the floor.  *Make sure your knee has support underneath it (like a yoga mat, blanket, or folded towel). Bring your hands to your top thigh. Your shoulders will be directly over your hips and you hip directly over your knee.

Sequence:

  • Inhale here.  

  • Exhale move your hips forward.  

  • Inhale back to the ½ lunge position.

  • Exhale to move your hips forward. Since your back knee is stable on the floor, it's okay that your front knee moves beyond your front ankle. When you exhale forward give a little bit of pressure with your palms down into your top thigh.

Try this ½ lunge on the other side.

 

3. PALMING

Come onto all 4’s - on your hands and your knees.

Shift your weight onto your right hand. Lift your left hand off the floor. Stack your weight, so your right shoulder is directly over your elbow, your elbow is directly over your wrist. Keep your arm straight and feel your body weight go directly down into the floor.

Sequence:

  • Alternate like this a few times by switching your weight from your right arm to your left arm

  • Come back to the center on all 4’s

  • Tuck your toes and lift your hips up to come into downward facing dog

  • Walk your feet all the way forward to your hands and roll all the way up to stand.


 

Well done! Now you’re ready to begin with your partner.

 

Follow along below with video #2 to be guided through a full body sequence with your partner.

Full Body Sequence

1. THE WAVE

(mobilizes foot and ankle joints, stretches the intrinsic components of the foot)

Hold your partner's foot with both hands, with your fingers underneath and thumbs on top of their foot. Mobilize the ankle joint by lifting your fingers up and moving your thumbs down as you gently squeeze the foot. Move from the base of the foot to the toes in a wavelike motion.

2. FLEX & POINT

(mobilizes ankle joint, stretches muscles around the calf)

Take one hand to your partner's heel and one hand to the ball of their foot. To flex their foot, bring their heel towards you and the ball of their foot away from you, towards your partner's shin. To point, switch your hand (the one near their toes) to the top of their foot and guide the upper part of their foot toward you. 

3. HIP CIRCLES

(mobilizes hip joint)

Hold underneath your partner's knee and ankle to bring her leg up as you transition into a ½ lounge position (move #2 from the warm up) to the side of your partner. Instruct her to give you "dead weight" (aka completely relaxed leg without trying to hold it up herself). Use the motion of your ½ lounge to create circles in her hip joint. *Remember that this movement is coming from your HIPS, not your arms. 

4. INNER THIGH PALMING

(stretches adductors of hip and hip flexors of opposite hip)

Next time your partner's knee is to the side, rest her foot in the crease of your hip. Place your outside hand lightly to inside of her knee.  Place your inside hand on her inner thigh. Keep your inside arm straight and use the shifting of your pelvis forward to give light pressure from your arm straight down to her leg. Release. Turn your foot out, move your hand to the middle of her thigh. Move your pelvis forward again in the 1/2 lunge position. Release and repeat this again and move your hand another time to closer to her upper inner thigh. This is done in 3 places along her inner thigh.

5. PALM PRESS ON CHEST

(mobilizes shoulder joint & relaxes chest)

Support your partner's leg again at their knee and ankle. Guide their leg across their body until they're in a side lying position. Kneel in ½ lunge behind them. Rest their arm on your thigh or hold it up as you gently palm their chest with your other hand. Remember that the tissue in this area is very sensitive, so make sure you're gentle and check in with your partner to see how they feel. *(For a review of "palming" go back to move #3 from the warm up)

6. SPINAL TWIST FROM BACK

(increases spinal mobility & stretches multiple tissues in back)

Guide your partner's arm down to the floor to open them up into spinal twist. Take one hand to their chest and one hand to their outer thigh. On your next exhale, let your body weight drop down to the floor to deepen their twist. On your inhale, release. Follow your breath like that at least 3 times. 

7. SPINAL TWIST FROM FRONT

(same as above & massages glutes)

Now, walk to the front side of their body. Place one hand to their chest and your other elbow to the back of their pelvis towards the center of their hip. Move your hand away from you so that their shoulder moves down closer to the floor. Simultaneously draw your elbow towards you, so you guide their hip toward you as well. 

8. HAMSTRING w/FOREARM PRESS

(stretches hamstring, calf, achilles)

Support at your partner's knee and ankle again and roll them onto their back. Keep holding their leg as you stand up. Rest their extended leg on your torso (or on your thigh if your partner has tight hamstrings). Take one hand to the front of their ankle to hold their leg in place and bring your other forearm to the bottom of their foot. Move your chest forward as you gently lean on their foot. Press with your forearm on various spots on their foot(make sure you're directly in the center, on the meaty part of your forearm). Roll your forearm on the bottom of the foot from your heel to your toes (pressure on the big toe feels especially good!).


9. LEG TRACTION

(creates traction in the hip joint, relaxes the leg)

Hold your partner's ankle with both legs and slowly lower it down to the floor. Lean back slightly to create traction in their hip joint. 

 

Now compare both sides. 

Does the side that you worked on feel longer than the other? 

More relaxed? 

Resting closer to the floor? 

 

Repeat this entire sequence on the other side!

 

Have any questions or comments? Leave me a comment below! 

To relaxing and stretching it out - partner style :) 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Did you like this? Get more! 

Sign up at stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com to the free stretchbreak series and ongoing videos sent to your inbox. 

 

**Photography by Samantha Lawton


Hiya, I'm elyse! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Upper Body Stretch Sequence to De-Stress from Sitting

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Upper Body Stretch Sequence to De-Stress from Sitting

Shoulders feeling stiff from the winter cold? 

A long travel weekend?

Sitting all day at your desk?

This kind of tension usually creates elevated shoulders, a rounded forward chest, and a 'holding' in your upper back. De-stress (from any/all of the above) with me in this #stretchbreakwithelyse - you can do in a train, plane, or office chair. :)

Follow along with me in this 4 min video.

 

 Try these moves out and let me know how they go! 

Want even more moves you can do while sitting or at your desk? Get the whole series here. 

With love and upper body stretching, 

XOXO ELYSE

PS - I'll be back at the airport tomorrow doing this too! Latin Lover and I are going on a delayed honeymoon and we're starting it off with a 10+ hour flight, soooo yeah, I'll definitely be doing this at the airport. Want to see some of our adventures? Follow along with us on instagram

PPS - What are your favorite ways to stay fit while you travel? I'm going to be writing more about this coming up, so I'd love to incorporate your tips! Post them in the comments below! 


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!