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Spirit Soul Inspiration

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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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!

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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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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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!

If you're exhausted by writing 'lose 5lbs' on your to-do list, read this

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If you're exhausted by writing 'lose 5lbs' on your to-do list, read this

There is SO MUCH more to life than weight loss. 

And yet... 

I spent many many New Year's Days writing out my target weight goals and devising complex systems for my exercise and meal plan in order to lose that 'final 5lbs'.

Finally, THIS will be it!

Then throughout the year I would stare at the scale every morning (sometimes noon and night too) to loose that weight OR to make sure I wasn't gaining.

Ironically, those years were the most UN-healthy times of my life.

I felt like there was always weight I couldn't shed, I had anxiety attacks, loss of my period, had severe skin and digestive problems, and so much mental stress that I could never relax at a meal with friends. I always had to be moving to 'burn calories' (I even took up knitting so I could move my hands while I watched a movie)!

Studying mindfulness flipped that lifestyle on it's head and now I feel connected with my body (how it is, right here, today) and exercise and eat for altogether different reasons.

If you're exhausted by writing LOSE 5 POUNDS on your resolution list (yet again), follow these steps for a new approach. 

*Pssst... You can write your own answers in (click here), with this interactive worksheet!

Find your WHY

One thing that helped me was shifting my focus from "Skinny=Happy" to "Healthy=Happy". Instead of my one and only goal being to maintain a certain weight, I concentrated on using food and exercise to heal my health. 

I see huge shifts in my clients and program participants when I encourage them to dig deep and discover the true WHY behind their health and wellness goals.

What is it for you?

  • increased energy,
  • more sound sleep,
  • building flexibility/stability/mobility,
  • practicing balance,
  • being able to lift your kids/grandkids,
  • improving your posture,
  • reducing stiffness, aches and pains,
  • preventing diabetes and high blood pressure,
  • preventing frail bones,
  • improving your digestion, 
  • decreasing mental stress, 
  • feeling confident in your clothes?

1. Write out ALL of the reasons being fit is important to you.

2. Keep it somewhere you can see it everyday and look it over when you need a friendly reminder. :)

Take an action towards how you want to FEEL

If the number goals (lose 5 pounds, have a 29 inch waist, etc.) ARE really important to you, go deeper into the WHY behind that as well.

Ask yourself:

  • WHY is this important to me?
  • What will be available to me when I reach this goal?
  • What will I do differently when I've gotten there? 

3. Write out the answers to the questions above. 

  • Will you buy yourself a new outfit? 
  • Go to a group yoga class?
  • Start dating again? 
  • Apply for a new job? 
  • Finally think you look good? 
  • Make a YouTube video for your business? 
  • Take a selfie? 

4. Choose something you can do TODAY to treat yourself like you're ALREADY there.

  • Buy yourself an outfit you like!
  • Go to a class!
  • Set up a date!
  • Compliment your body (to yourself or to a friend!). 

I know, I know!

This might feel uncomfortable.

You might want to deprive yourself from the get-go and say, 'but I'm NOT there yet!'

So I'm going to step up on my soap box for this one.

Listen up:

You've got ONE life to live and the living starts NOW.

From my personal experience and from working with hundreds of people over the past 12+ years, those magical five pounds are NOT the catalyst for change. 

The catalyst for change starts in shifting your thoughts and your actions.

By,

A) Talking to yourself and about yourself with respect and honor.

B) Moving from product based goals (ie: lose 10 lbs by May) to PROCESS based goals ("I move my body - in a way that's exciting to me - for 30 minutes 3x a week. I text a friend when I need support").

C) Recognizing that,

  • your body is with you for the long run, so this whole health/fitness/wellness stuff is an ongoing, continual process, and
  • gifting your body exercise and nutritious food is something that's important to do at ANY + ALL body sizes, shapes, and ages.

D) Treating yourself like your most precious possession.

 

Ready to really take action on this?

Click HERE for an interactive worksheet to record your answers and go deeper into this process!

 

After you go through the worksheet, I'd love to hear about your answer to #3!  

Comment below and let me know what is the thing you're going to commit to do TODAY?

With love and shifting thoughts and actions, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - After last week's post, many people expressed interest in starting one of my programs and we've had great new members joining in!

If you're interested in getting fit and healthy in a way that's holistic, body positive, and achievable, you can start the 21 Day program with us this coming Monday! 

Click here to sign up! 


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!

holiday body grogginess

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holiday body grogginess

Holidays + parties + house guests + overflowing amounts of food/drink + long car travels + out of the daily routine + plenty of movies to be watched =

A whole lot of body grogginess. 

[Raise your hand if you're feeling it] 

I am! 

I can feel my mind tipping toward what I like to call 'calculation mode': 

  • "Starting tomorrow only salads until New Year's Eve!" 
  • "January 2nd I'll start with a clean slate."
  • "If I do 5 hardcore workouts this week, it'll make up for the past two weeks!"
  • "There's 3 weeks until my honeymoon on the beach, can I get in shape in that amount of time!?!" 

But after years of thinking like that (especially around New Year's!) I know now what that does for me in the long run.

It takes me out of the current moment and backfires with bingeing/starving and over/under exercising cycles. All while increasing my anxiety with a constant feeling of chasing after something I can never achieve.

And it's not particularly motivating. 

Can you relate? 

I still have these thoughts, sometimes on the daily! 

Here's the difference: 

Instead of convincing myself to follow through with those things when the thoughts come up, now it clues me in to say to myself:

"Woooooooah, SLOW DOWN there sista!

How about we back up, take a deep breath, and ask the question that really wants to be answered:

What does my body truly need right NOW?"

Not on January 1st.

Or tomorrow.

Or the tomorrow after tomorrow.

Not the master complex plan.

What do I need right here, right now? 

For me, after I taken a long(ish) period of rest, my body is asking for movement.

Easing into it usually feels like the right thing to do.

Some simple moves that connect me to my breath and move my spine.

If that's you too, here are some sequences that can help: 

If your body came up with a different answer, I'm curious... what did it say?

Can you gift yourself that today?

Comment below and tell me what your body is asking for and what you're going to do to give it that today!

With love and bringing your attention to the now, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - I'm looking for 8 more people to become founding members of the *brand new* Sparkes Wellness Library!

Is that you?!

The Library is great for you if you:

  • want to focus on getting fit in 2017 in a way that feels holistic, balanced, and full of support
  • have a tight schedule and want to find a way that you can get a good quality workout in at home
  • want to have personal trainer-style training, but hiring a private trainer isn't in your budget this year
  • want to be surrounded by a fabulous group of people who understand that losing weight is not the ONLY reason to exercise and are focused on overall health & wellness 

You'll get: 

  • access to a full library of my workout videos, ranging from 30 min full body workouts to 5-15 min sequences focusing on balance, strength, flexibility, meditation, and more. 
  • brand new videos every month so you always stay interested and add variation into your workouts
  • new calendars each month so you don't have to waste time wondering what to do next (you can print calendar's out OR fill them in online)
  • a monthly video chat where our intimate group gets together to share and encourage each other on

 If you're interested, click here to contact me and say "I'm interested!"


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!

shaken to your core

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shaken to your core

Many people have told me they’re feeling shaken to the core.

Unsteady and distraught.

Extremely anxious.

Full of “what’s next?”.

This could be true for you no matter which way you voted in the election or where you live in the world.

This could be your experience just from scrolling your Facebook feed!

This could be true for you if you strongly disagree with your family, friends, or colleagues, and you have/will find yourself in intense conversations (Oh hey there Thanksgiving dinner).

This could be true if you don’t understand the “other” side.

This could be true if you feel helpless in any area of your life right now.

I’ve posted comments + videos in the past two weeks, usually leading with “I don’t have the right words. I don’t know what to do.”

But that’s not entirely true.

Here’s what I know:

This week a woman in one of my private group classes said to me, 

Thank you for guiding us last week. You knew just what to do and it was extremely helpful.

This was in reference to the class we had the week prior, on Nov. 9th, when in the beginning of class 6 women were shaken to the core - talking non-stop, not understanding, unable to focus, taking quick shallow breaths.

Instead of our usual moves focused on building strength and stability, we switched to a focus on BREATH, locating sensations in our bodies, foam rolling, and relaxation.

They left feeling more clear, more calm, more settled.

I know that the wonderful group of people I’m leading through my 21 Day program, many of whom have felt emotionally drained this week, have told me that moving their bodies at home with the videos has given them some structure, helped them process, and/or that they’ve really appreciated having our intimate community centered around kindness + compassion.

[Doing the workouts] helped me accept things as they are, right now.
— 21 Day participant

This post isn’t about testimonials though, it’s the deeper connection.

Here’s what I know:

YOUR BODY IS WISE.

Pay attention to

...that uneasy feeling in your gut

...stifling sadness in your chest

...overwhelming tightness in your throat

...the holding of your breath

and sit with it for a moment.

Feel it.

Let yourself REALLY feel it.

Shake.

Cry.

Get hot.

Get cold.

Notice what your body is telling you.

ASK your body what it’s telling you.

For real. Ask your body,

  1. “What are you telling me?”
  2. “What’s important about this?”
  3. “What do you (I) need right now?”
  4. “How can I give that to you (me)?”

Here’s what I know:

When you quiet and tune in to your body, you can sift the outside noise.

Eventually the shaking/crying/heat/cold will shift and your solid, sturdy center will remain.

Your center of KNOWING will be revealed.

To KNOW what you believe in.

To KNOW you matter.

To KNOW your body is wise and here to help you.

To KNOW what your very next step will be.

Practice strengthening that place.

Here's a sequence to get this concept out of your head and into your body. 

It's 6 min of core and stability work. It will strengthen your center, and you might just end up shaking your in core from all that strength building. ;) 

*I'm doing this with a 6lb ball for extra challenge, but that's optional. You can also do these same moves without equipment. 

Extra credit: 

Strengthen your centering of KNOW-ing by listing the things that you know to be true in the current moment while you're doing this workout. 

Say them out loud or silently to yourself.  

Over to you... 

In the comments I'd love to hear what you know to be true when you sincerely LISTEN to your body and ask what it needs. 

What comes up for you? 

With love and connecting to your center, 

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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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!

Ease your election anxiety

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Ease your election anxiety

Whether you live in the US or not, we can all probably agree that the 2016 election season has taken us on quite a stressful whirlwind! 

This post isn't about politics per se, but it IS about how politics and current events in the world in general has upped our collective anxiety. 

A survey by the American Psychological Association said that 52% of people in the US have said this election is causing them significant stress.

That was reported a few weeks ago, so by now I'm willing to bet that percentage is even higher! 

Almost every in-person training client has told me that they're feeling super stressed about this election and I've absolutely been feeling it too (after the 3rd debate I had a full blown anxiety attack!).

One thing you can do to slow down racing thoughts and feel more calm, relaxed, and grounded is to do some restful movement with a focus on your breath and your body in THIS present moment. 

Will this have a huge impact on this national election and global political atmosphere? Probably not before Nov 8th. ;) In the long run though, it will start to shift how we collectively approach any stressful situation - including crazy elections. 

Let's just start on ourselves with a few moments of inner peace today, shall we? 

*I hadn't filmed this video in order to share it - I was just documenting the sequence for myself!... It's off centered, I had just woken up (note the morning hair ;), and I didn't even have a mat.

I'm sharing it with you anyway, because if it can help even ONE person feel more calm and relaxed for just 7 minutes in the next few days, I feel like I'm helping to ease the collective anxiety! 

I always like to hear what you think: 

How do you reduce your anxiety when stressful things are happening all around you?

Please keep your feedback positive, kind, and focused on helping to ease tension and anxiety. Thanks! 

Try this out and then leave me a comment to tell me how you feel afterwards!

With love and starting with a simple step to less stress, 

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

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To lose weight (or NOT) before your wedding

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To lose weight (or NOT) before your wedding

I'm the bride in this scenario.

Yup, for real - I got married 3 months ago!

To my surprise, one of the most challenging parts of the whole wedding planning process was finding THE ONE.

Not the life partner.

THE DRESS.

I wasn't expecting that this would be a struggle.  I didn't grow up fantasizing about this day and I'm pretty low key fashion-wise (read: stretchy yoga pants on the daily). 

Who knew that finding a dress that:

  1. looks good and feels like “me”,

  2. is comfortable for a full day of wedding fun,

  3. is NOT a million (okay, thousands) of dollars,

...would be so challenging.

Not just that, but every single bridal shop employee assumed that I was going to lose weight before the wedding.

One even asked -albeit tactfully- if it’s probable that I’ll be gaining weight.

If I had had this experience a few years ago my body shame and insecurities would have skyrocketed with so many people commenting and having opinions about my weight.

Plus, with dissecting every curve of my own body in the mirror… having my girlfriends, mom, and sis watching me change… and poking and prodding at the places to “highlight” and the areas to strategically “hide”...

I would have fallen into a swirl of stress about my body.

And then I would’ve buckled down:

  • “For the next 4 months I’ll go to the gym every day and double my treadmill time!”

  • “No more sugar!”

  • “Take measurements and lose 3” around my waist!”

Inevitably going about it in this way would always lead to counterproductive bingeing and bleary eyed exhaustion.

Not only that, but I would struggle silently and feel isolated and alone in this “lose weight and get in shape for this special event” race.

And then at the event, even after going to extremes, I’d still try to strategically hide my stomach or my arms when the camera came around.

But here’s the thing: on my wedding day I knew all eyes were going to be on me and naturally, I WANTED TO LOOK + FEEL MY BEST!

Yes, of course, I want to rock toned arms in my strapless gown!

Yes, of course, I want to look healthy, vibrant, and bright in my wedding photos!

Yes, of course, I want to stand up in front of my closest family and friends and say sweet things and make commitments to my partner.

...and holding in my stomach is the last thing I want to be thinking about during those moments.

 

Have you ever experienced something like this?

This isn’t really about wedding prep or dresses.

This is about anytime you have a special event, a beach vacation, or tank top season on the horizon and you start to freak out about our body.

This is about anytime you’ve said, “I have one month to lose 10 pounds!” and started a strict diet + workout plan, only to stop at day #3 and beat yourself up about it.

You don’t have to beat yourself up to get in shape and your life doesn’t have to revolve around calories in/calories out.

When I started studying mindfulness and yoga, I became determined to find a BALANCED approach to fitness.

I began to create a system with workouts and mindfulness practices that would build strength and flexibility, release body anxiety, and feel manageable for a busy schedule.

This system became the 21 day program and it's supported over hundreds of people from all over the world find EASE + KINDNESS in their fitness lives.

People who have been through the program say things like:
 

I’m actually DOING this thing. A year ago, I had my 3rd baby and zero time for myself. Now he’s one… and here I am, in probably the best shape of my adult life making ‘me time’ happen. I’ve got lots of KG/lbs’s to shed but it’s not even about that anymore.
— Jody
Your exercise videos have a PROFOUND effect on my happiness and well-being. Because of both the artful way you put them together, and your warm, encouraging voiceovers, I feel motivated and excited to do them. I feel so good about my body - not because of how it looks but because of how it feels and what it is capable of. You are a HUGE part of that.
— Marsha
It’s definitely more than exercise - you provide something much more holistic. It’s fantastic.
— Anna

Latin Lover (my now husband) and I did the 21 day program with everyone last Spring so we could kickstart our "wedding fitness" and feel our best (and most sane) ;) at our nuptials this summer.

 My husband and I, fairly excited about this whole wedding day thing.   Wedding Photography:  Lexi Lowell Photography   The DRESS:  ARIA Los Angeles   Shoes:  Chelsea Crew   LL's suit:  Zara

My husband and I, fairly excited about this whole wedding day thing. 

Wedding Photography: Lexi Lowell Photography

The DRESS: ARIA Los Angeles

Shoes: Chelsea Crew

LL's suit: Zara

It was a blessing!

Want to join in with us to build your strength + confidence (and to leave the body anxiety behind)?

Sign up here by Sunday, October 30th (cart closes at 6pm ET) to start day #1 with us on Monday.

 

To proud, confident, strong, flexible bodies! ;)

xoxo elyse

 

 

PS - tl;dr...

The quickie version: In the end, I did find a great wedding gown and I wasn't stressed about losing/gaining weight because I practice what I preach in the 21 Day program.

I'm inviting you to do this program along with me, so you can get stronger and more fit in way that is manageable in your schedule and puts an end to this 'beating yourself up' cycle.

I'll be doing it along with you starting this Monday!

Join in with us here!


Hiya, I'm elyse!

 Lexi Lowell Photography

Lexi Lowell Photography

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 Do I Stay Consistent With Exercise!?

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How Do I Stay Consistent With Exercise!?

Every few minutes I glanced up to the upper right corner of my screen.

(4:44pm) I’ll put on my sneakers at 5pm.

(4:59pm) I’ll close my inbox + head out the door at 5:15pm.

(5:25pm) Can still make it to the 5:30 class if I run! But… I don’t want to rush, I don’t want to walk in late. Uggh.

I could feel my eyes starting to well up with tears. I had been sitting behind my desk for hours, and hadn’t worked out in days. My knees were aching and my shoulders were tight.

I was this close to saying, "Forget it! It’s not going to happen today. I’ll start tomorrow!" But I knew that the only way I was going to get out of this body funk and mental fogginess was to get on my mat.

So I took myself outside and started with these two grounding moves:

Sounds like a good place to end this story, but after I did these two moves I got attacked by mosquitos in my backyard. Oy vey!

Sometimes it feels like the odds are just not in your favor, and shouting FINE, I'LL START TOMORROW! is the only option.

This time with determination (read: frustration), I packed my mat up again and came inside. I was down to a final 20 minutes before I had to leave home to meet a friend and I KNEW I had to move.

I turned on a video from my Fast Track to Fit & Flexible mini-course so that I could get a quick effective workout in without wasting any more time on what to do and where and how to do it.

This happens to all of us from time to time, right?

Like when you planned to go to a class, but you forgot to bring your yoga pants to work [face palm].

Or you say you’re going to start tomorrow, and then a dinner with friends comes up and you’ll say OK, I’ll start the tomorrow after tomorrow!

If that ever happens to you here are some tips to help you take the stress out of the who/what/where/how of staying consistent with your fitness routine.

5 tips to stay consistent with your workout routine

1. Pre-schedule

Take a look at your calendar right now. What are the days + times you can carve out the space to move? Can you go online and pre-book a class at a studio? Can you schedule with your personal trainer? Can you put an alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time to work out at home? When it's already booked and scheduled, you know you have to show up and you'll create the time to get there. 

2. Have a plan B

If that plan does happen to fall through, what will your back up be? It might turn out that it IS starting fresh tomorrow and that’s okay. But maybe you can also add some bedtime stretches in tonight? Or squeeze in a 6min workout right now?

3. Get your buddies involved

When you have accountability to someone beyond yourself you are much more likely to follow through! Call a friend and schedule a time to go for a walk together, turn your kiddos play date into a parent/baby workout, or post in your favorite online community for encouragement (join in our Fit & Flexible community here). Now other people will help you stick to your word!

4. Have an at-home option on board

For rainy days or last minute meetings or anytime unexpected chaos comes up, have a go-to system for creating effective at-home workouts. In my FT2FF mini-course I teach people how to break down the essential elements of creating a well-rounded workout with minimal equipment, so that you always have an option to do at home!

5. Be nice to yourself, even when it all goes to sh*^!

Know that life will always throw curve balls your way. Be KIND to yourself if things don’t go as planned. It’s almost a guarantee that at some point your plans will foil! If you miss a day it’s NOT the end of the word, it’s a chance to learn from what happened and use that information to prep yourself going forward. Self-kindness always wins in my book. :)

What about you?

What do you do to take the scheduling guessing game out of the equation?

Have any tips or ideas? I’d love to hear about them.

Leave a comment below!

With love and consistent self-kindness, 

xoxo elyse


HI, 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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3 simple things to calm your mind

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3 simple things to calm your mind

I was tossing, I was turning, my mind was going a mile a minute, and most importantly it was 1am and I wasn’t sleeping.

This was the eve of Labor day here in the US, the unofficial end of summer, the week of ‘back to school’ mentality, and I was up all night worrying about every single tiny detail of my life.

Ever happen to you?

Here are 3 simple things to do when your mind is on overdrive:

1. Breathe

When your thoughts are going a mile a minute, your breathing is probably speeding up as well and increasing your anxiety. Zone in on your breath to focus your attention and heighten your experience of this present moment.

Try this:

  • Lightly close your lips
  • Breathe in and out through your nose
  • Count how long it takes you to inhale
  • Match that count to the count of your exhale

Ex: Inhale for 1-2-3-4, Exhale for 1-2-3-4.

Continue for at least 8 breath cycles. 

2. Write it out + be curious about the struggle

Remind yourself of this: The one thing we can count on? Impermanence.

Things will always change. So what you're struggling with right now? It may be monumental* or it may be minute, but no matter what it WILL shift, change, and make you grow over time.

Maybe it will be a catalyst for saying No to an unhealthy relationship, maybe it will be the brick wall forcing you to follow a different career, maybe it will be the injury that urges you to listen more deeply to your body.

This moment always changes.

What if instead of rushing to figure out all the details, you had patience and curiosity around where you are right now?

My favorite tool for being curious is simple pen and paper.

Get your pen to the page and write out all your questions (and perhaps some answers will pop up too).

  • What’s bothering me right now?
  • What is this really about?
  • What’s important about this?
  • What do I truly want?
  • What’s the next step I need to take to get closer to what I want?
  • What do I KNOW about this?
  • What don’t I know about this?
  • Where do I feel this in my body right now?
  • And now?... And now?

You might find that after writing it out, it’s already shifted.

*I’m referring to ‘struggles’ that are not putting you in danger, abuse, or extreme risk. If you are experiencing that, please seek professional help to change your situation as soon as possible.

3. MOVE

Get up and move your body! Gentle, slow, and steady movements can help relax your nervous system, help relieve places in your body where you’re holding onto tension, and get you from feeling stuck and frustrated to creative and inspired!

My favorite quote from Julia Cameron speaks to this,

Exercise is often the going that moves us from stagnation to inspiration, from problem to solution, from self-pity to self-respect.

We do learn by going. We learn we are stronger than we thought. We learn to look at things with a new perspective.

We learn to solve our problems by tapping our own inner resources and listening for inspiration, not only from others but from ourselves.

Seemingly without effort, our answers come while we swim or stride or ride or run.

By definition, this is one of the fruits of exercise: ‘exercise: the act of bringing into play or realizing in action’ (Webster’s Ninth).

Follow along with me in these short videos to join me in moving your body:

Over to you... 

Tell me, which one of these resonates with you the most? 

Do you have go-to simple tricks you do when you need to calm your racing mind? 

I'd love to hear about them in the comments below! 

With love and a calm mind, 

xoxo elyse


Hi, 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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ask yourself this when you're not feeling up to an intense workout

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ask yourself this when you're not feeling up to an intense workout

Are you feeling that sticky, end-o-summer feeling?

Because of the heat, maybe. But also just the transition of seasons and that "back to school" energy right around the corner?

*Even if you live in a place where you're in a cool season, you might feel this transitional energy!

It's made me feel irritable, fatigued and for weeks kept me from doing any intense workouts.

Which of course, just made me feel more irritable and more lethargic. 

BUT.

I know that when I force myself to do strenuous workouts when my body realllllllly doesn't want to (which is different from never challenging myself at all) I start to avoid working out altogether and it creates an even more vicious cycle.

Instead of beating myself up or shaming myself into lifting heavy weights, I paused and asked myself what kind of movement would feel good right now?

What came to me was: 

Flow

Ease

Cool

Simple

So for a few weeks I've been doing gentle yoga, mixing it up with slow strength moves, and going swimming.

And low and behold, after weeks of more restful movement, yesterday I went to a group weight lifting class AND did a 32 miles bike ride!!

  This is what I looked like by the end of the day, more on that another time! ;)

This is what I looked like by the end of the day, more on that another time! ;)

Over to you.

When you just can't get yourself to go for an intense workout, close your eyes, ask yourself this question:

What kind of movement would feel really good right now?

...and then wait to see what comes up.

If you truly need/want to challenge yourself, lift up those heavy weights! 

If it's more on the flow, ease, cool, simple side of things, I've got a few things for you to try: 

Wherever you're at, LISTEN to what your body is telling you. You might need to speed up, you might need to slow down, you might need a mix of both and that's ALL okay.

Be gentle, be kind, and practice what you need.

I'm always curious to hear where you're at, so leave a comment below to tell me how you feel like moving this week!

With love and listening to your body, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - I'm creating brand new videos with yoga-inspired workouts. Is there anything specific you'd like to see included in that? Hit reply to let me know! 


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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the truth about when I was 'skinny'

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the truth about when I was 'skinny'

I grew up believing HAPPY = SKINNY.

As an aspiring ballerina (and frankly, just as a woman in our society) it’s kinda hard to avoid that message, amiright?

By age 11, I was in at least 6 dance classes/week, counting calories like it was my JOB, and religiously including 100 sit-ups into my bedtime routine.

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

If I missed an extra workout, I felt like a failure. If I got it in, I was on a treadmill for hours - literally running my body down, depleting my energy, and going nowhere fast.

People classified me as a “naturally skinny” person. Which felt like a pat on the back - a secret handshake - part of the club!

Yet every time I received a comment like that I secretly wished that they could see how HARD I was working to be where I was.

It took A LOT of discipline to live my life!

The daily weighing in, counting food points, measuring my waist, following the latest “lose 5” fad, tripling reps of the best fat burning exercises, restricting, depriving, and covering up my health problems.

There was never a day my stomach didn’t hurt. 

My skin was a mess and my eczema was out of control.

My menstrual cycle disappeared, and the amount of anxiety I felt was overwhelming.

Then when I was 26, my grandmother died from tongue cancer and my perspective started to shift.

In the last few years of her life she had many surgeries and treatments.

 With my Gram on the dance floor in 2002, feeling stuck in an unhealthy cycle I felt I couldn't control.

With my Gram on the dance floor in 2002, feeling stuck in an unhealthy cycle I felt I couldn't control.

As an always-looking-on-the-bright-side kind of a person, she said she was so happy in these years because she physically couldn’t eat that much and she finally lost the weight she had wanted to lose for her entire life.

She had ⅓ of a tongue and was ecstatic because she was a “skinny person”.

 

This turned my whole idea of HAPPY = SKINNY on it’s head.

During this time I studied yoga and mindfulness, and came across this life-changing quote (in the video below) in my readings about death and impermanence. 

I became determined to find BALANCE in my approach to how exercise fit into my life in a way that I could maintain and feel GOOD about.

In ways that freed me up to focus my thoughts on my other passions, my career, what I want to create in the world.

In ways that kept me strong.
In ways that kept me centered.
In ways that were exciting and fun.
In ways that felt full of EASE.

In ways where HAPPY = HEALTHY.

Over the years, I've incorporated practices into my life that allow me to truly appreciate my body, feel in tune, aligned, and treat it well.

I want to share this lifestyle with as many people as possible, which is why I do the work I do!

It's about fusing mindfulness into your fitness life, and:

  • starting right here, right now, exactly where you are in this very moment,
  • heightening your awareness around your daily thought + action patterns so you can make mini adjustments that have large impacts,
  • shifting your perspective of "balance" so you're no longer beating yourself up over perfectionism and actually feeling a sense of peace with your body, 
  • getting on the self KINDNESS wagon, so you actually feel like you LIKE yourself and you enjoy being in your body.

When you follow these steps, which I layout in greater details in my online programs and coaching sessions, you will start to find greater strength, confidence, ease and balance in your body.

If you're ready to do this too, watch this video, and leave me a comment with the ONE thing you're going to do today to get started.

How does this sit with you? Leave me a comment below with the ONE thing you're going to do for body today.

I'd absolutely love to hear from you.

With ALL my love and happy balanced healthiness,

xoxo elyse

 


hi, 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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On Being fit + Erin Stutland

On Being fit + Erin Stutland

If you are feeling stuck mentally, emotionally or physically, head straight to Erin Stutland! 

She's been a personal mentor, colleague and friend to me, and I can tell you she will teach you how to get unstuck, and FAST. As a former professional dancer and actress, she's the creator of workout programs Shrink Session: Sweat Therapy and Soul Stroll, which combine everything from dance, kickboxing, toning, yoga, meditation and life coaching. She blends mantras into all her workouts in a unique way so that not only get you more present and focused while working out, but you walk away feeling uplifted and inspired, ready to take on whatever you set your mind to.

Plus, she's appeared in Glamour Magazine, Fox News, KTLA, Shape, Yoga Journal, Mind Body Green, Well + Good and more!!! Erin doesn’t believe it takes going to extremes to get a body and a life you love and will help MOVE you- physically, mentally and spiritually.

Want a glimpse into how she keeps herself fit? Read on! 

Meet Erin Stutland:

How Do You Help People Stay Healthy?

I help them create movement in their bodies which creates movement in their lives.

 

What Is The #1 Thing Someone Could Do TODAY To Feel Better In Their Body?

Move their body for even 5 min. Put on some great music and dance around.

 

What's Your Advice To Someone Who's Having Trouble Getting Started With That?

Nike was on to something with their 'Just do it' slogan. :) I know it's not profound, but sometimes doing the thing that you don't want to do IS the very thing that WILL make you feel better.

 

What Does A Typical Day Look Like For You And How Do You Fit Movement Into It?

I wake up around 8am, drink 2 big glasses of warm lemon water, make a smoothie, take my vitamins, jump in the shower, do a little work, then I squeeze in a workout late morning usually. (Yes, I still need to shower first thing in am to wake me up). Then I do a little more work for a few more hours and some nights I head out to teach Shrink Session in NYC. If I am not teaching, I usually cook dinner for my husband and I to enjoy together. Maybe a little Netflix. Then bed.

 

What Other Practices Keep You Healthy? In Body And/Or In Mind?

I am really in love with the Headspace meditation app. This has really transformed things for me. 10 minutes a day of meditation. I don't get it in every single day and sometimes I simply use it to help me fall asleep, but it has been wonderful. I also try to drink A LOT of water throughout the day. Being dehydrated makes you grumpy, hungry, constipated and more. So drink your water!

 

What is your JOY workout?

*Elyse calls a "JOYworkout" a form of movement that is something more than a workout for workout's sake. It's exercise and it's ALSO something that: a) you just plain LOVE to do, b) builds your community, c) teaches you a new skill, d) enhances your spiritual life, e) helps you give back, f) gets you outdoors + is adventurous.

Shrink Session is my joy workout. The combination of dance, kickboxing, yoga and of course community lifts me up again and again!

 

If you "fall off the wagon" with your health/wellness, how do you get back on track?

I spend a day grocery shopping and organizing my week ahead. This always helps. So does a yoga class as a good reset.

 

Where are you getting motivation from right now?

I went back to acting class this last month. It has been so incredibly inspiring and soul filling.

 

What is a motto or quote that you live by?

"You don't need to see the whole staircase, you just need to take the first step." -MLK

 

Thanks So Much For Sharing With Us Erin!

Want to connect with Erin even more?

Join in erin's free challenge!

This week long challenge is a unique blend of soul-lifting fitness and mind-shifting inspiration.

Think music, movement and mantras to take your thoughts to another level WHILE you blast through calories.

*Warning: after one week, you are bound to feel unstoppable!

I'm doing it! Want to join in with me? 

Sign up HERE!

With love and soul sweat therapy, 

xoxo elyse

PS - Are we meeting for the first time?

hi, 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.

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!

Do less

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Do less

Easier said than done, of course!

Especially when you're busy. You've got bills to pay, kiddos to take care of, deadlines to meet, classes to take, and you're attempting to stay in shape on top of all of that.

It's at the times you feel like you're juggling a thousand porcelain cups, like you don't have an extra second, that it's MOST important to do less and take time off.

Time off doesn't have to mean dropping everything and moving to a remote tropical island (although I was fantasizing about that back in January). ;) 

Time off can be: 

  • closing your eyes for a few moments on the train, 
  • taking a stretch break at work
  • not checking your phone before bed, 
  • or taking a local weekend getaway and taking time to read magazines and swim in an Endless Pool

Recently I've done all of the above to give myself a "time out". 

"Often just twenty minutes, or even twenty seconds, of "time out" - time, literally, off - where we return to our breath and body, can do wonders for our brains, nervous systems, hands, arms, and backs." ~Marc Lesser, author of LESS, Accomplishing More by Doing Less

This month I've been taking it even further by taking internet fasts on Sundays. No email, no Facebook (...okay, okay, there's still some instagram-ing happening). ;)

Because of this time away from technology, I've been able to spend time with my precious family and swing with this cutie, take JOYworkouts through brooklyn, connect with more friends, create a 'city garden' in my apartment, and leisurely read, Just. For. Fun. 

By taking time off and doing LESS of something you don't really need to be doing, you have time to do MORE of what you want to be doing.

I'm committing to continue taking mini adventures every Sunday this month instead of sitting behind my computer! Enter hashtag: #AdventuringInApril :)

Over to you...

How are you going to take time off and DO LESS?

1. What are the activities that are sucking your time away? Do you need to be doing them? Can you delegate, postpone, or let go of them altogether?

2. What is it that you really WANT to be doing in your time off? Reading? Working out? Adventure-ing? Sleeping?

*Did you choose working out? ;) ...Here's an Arm Burn and a Power Leg workout you can do right now in 6 min each.

3. Gift yourself some time off this week and do that thing!

Send me an email and I'll help keep you accountable!

I want to hear how you're going to DO LESS.

With love and "time out", 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Want even more moves that will help you feel easeful, energized, and aligned throughout your day? Start these FREE videos now! 


HI, 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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On Being fit + Martin Klein

On Being fit + Martin Klein

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Today's On Being Fit guest is near and dear to my heart - he's my uncle! Also known as clinical psychologist Dr. Martin Klein. :) My Uncle Marty always presents me with philosophical ideas to ponder and loves to discuss life's deeper questions. 

Recently he told me more about his beliefs and his psychology practice: 

"The roads we travel are not always smooth and straightforward. Sometimes there are curves and long uphill stretches. Often we find ourselves at crossroads faced with complex decisions. Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher said: 'Man is a being who walks forward but looks backwards.' Where we come from is important -- there is no doubt that our past shapes who we are and how we think about ourselves. However, there are certain advantages to being able to turn your head around -- look forward -- and see what is in front of you. In my practice the goal of psychotherapy is self exploration -- the discovery of how the past affects the present, learning how to break free of maladaptive thought and behavior patterns, and constructing new strategies to redirect your life in a positive forward-moving direction."

I teared up when I read that and know that his personal and professional experience can help so many more people with self exploration and discovery.

Read on for more of his ideas On Being Fit! 

Meet Dr. Martin Klein:

How Do You Help People Stay Healthy?

As a clinical psychologist I help people feel less stressed, anxious or depressed. I work with individuals as well as couples to improve communication, relationships and work.

 

What Is The #1 Thing Someone Could Do TODAY To Feel Better In Their Body?

Learn to love themselves as a unique being and not try to live up to someone else's expectations or ideals.

 

What's Your Advice To Someone Who's Having Trouble Getting Started With That?

Try to pay attention to the different messages in your head. Are you often self critical and hard on yourself? Are you the kind of person who focuses on the minus sign when your grade is an "A-", or if you get an "A" you convince yourself the test was too easy? You need to realize where the irrational negative and critical thoughts come from.

 

What Does A Typical Day Look Like For You And How Do You Fit Movement Into It?

I typically see about 8 to 10 patients. It is not always so easy to sit all day listening to other people's psychological issues. To avoid neck and back pain I do yoga stretches between session and always take ten deep breaths.

 

What Other Practices Keep You Healthy? In Body And/Or In Mind?

I find it is important to eat healthy and exercise at the gym several times a week. I often go to Elyse Sparkes' videos and follow her stretches. They are easy to follow and great for the office.

 

What Is Your JOYworkout?

*Elyse calls a "JOYworkout" a form of movement that is something more than a workout for workout's sake. It's exercise and it's ALSO something that: a) you just plain LOVE to do, b) builds your community, c) teaches you a new skill, d) enhances your spiritual life, e) helps you give back, f) gets you outdoors + is adventurous.

I love to hike in the woods especially if I can follow a stream and find a waterfall to sit by and reflect. What is stronger the rock or the water?

 

 

If You "Fall Off The Wagon" With Your Health + Wellness, How Do Get Back Into It?

I remember to keep my head straight and look forward in the moment. To waste time worrying about the past just drains the chemicals in your body and leads to negative thoughts and emotions.

 

 

Where Are You Getting Your Motivation From Right Now?

My six year old twins. Sometimes being too busy to think is a blessing.

 

 

What Is A Motto Or Quote That You Live By?

Row row row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream.

 

 

Thanks So Much For Sharing With Us Martin! 

Want to find out more about Dr. Martin Klein?

Visit his website at www.drmartinklein.com.

who's elyse? 

Elyse gets people moving with in-person training and her signature 21-day at-home workout program.  She helps make movement a joyful part of one's day, and inspires confidence with her kindness and personalized approach. When she's not doing squats + sun salutations, she's dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives.

 

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!

On Being fit + Zoe Levine

On Being fit + Zoe Levine

When I first walked into Zoe's personal training studio over 10 years ago, we clicked immediately over our shared love of dance. She offered me my first job as a personal trainer, and she's been a mentor, friend, and inspiring colleague ever since.

Her eyes sparkle with her passion for life, the human body, and helping people feel better.  She's an ACE certified personal trainer, a MELT instructor, and specializes in pre/postnatal fitness and longevity. Zoe works with people that aren't just looking to lose weight, but who want to understand their bodies better, get out of pain, reconnect to their bodies, and get moving better than ever. Zoe's a pro at working with new moms, and helping people learn how to manage and heal a variety of chronic pain issues with the MELT Method.

Zoe's words are a MUST read for anyone balancing parenthood, career, and self-care!

Meet Zoe Levine:

How do you help people stay healthy?

I help people feel better, stronger, and more connected in their body, and heal after injury or childbirth so they can do what they love to do best.

 

What is the #1 thing someone could do TODAY to feel better in their body?

Move. Listen to your body and MOVE. Generally, no one moves enough any more. Even many teenagers I see these days already have the aches and dysfunctional pattern of a 50 year old. We don't move nearly enough. Use it or lose it.

 

What's your advice to someone who's having trouble getting started with that?

Ask for help. If you already know how you like to move... schedule it!

 

What does a typical day look like for you and how do you fit movement into it?

Typical day starts at 5:30am so I can get in a quick movement practice without my two young children climbing all over me. I see clients 7-2pm which involves a decent amount of walking or biking. After 2pm I'm in full mommy mode and try to spend much of the after school time playing outside, pretending I'm a monster, hanging from the monkey bars, or relaxing on the side. By 8pm kids are asleep and it's time to prep for the next day, get a few other things off the to do list, do a little relaxing MELT work, and get to bed. With a crazy working mom schedule, I depend on at least one anchor class in my week that I LOVE and will not change for anyone. My current favorite is Brooklyn Body Burn in Cobble Hill.

 

What other practices keep you healthy? In body and/or in mind?

I love MELT, meditation, and acupuncture. I'm not always great about it, but finding time for myself away from kids and business work, is very important.

 

What is your JOYworkout?

*Elyse calls a "JOYworkout" a form of movement that is something more than a workout for workout's sake. It's exercise and it's ALSO something that: a) you just plain LOVE to do, b) builds your community, c) teaches you a new skill, d) enhances your spiritual life, e) helps you give back, f) gets you outdoors + is adventurous.

DANCE!

 

If you "fall off the wagon" with your health + wellness, how do get back into it?

I schedule it in. Usually if I've fallen off track, it just means I've allowed other things to get in the way. To get out of that cycle, I go to my calendar and schedule some movement time for myself or choose a class to go to.

 

Where are you getting your motivation from right now?

I'm pretty sure I'm just addicted to moving. I can't not move. I feel horrible, disconnected, and dysfunctional when I don't. I'm also just constantly in awe of the human body. Life itself inspires me to move.  

 

What is a motto or quote that you live by?

When I first became a trainer 12 years ago, each trainer at the gym that I was working had a picture, bio, and quote up on the wall. My quote was from a Mary Chapin Carpenter song "Why walk when you can fly?". It's the first quote I thought of and it still feels right.

 

 

Thanks So Much For Sharing With Us Zoe! 

Zoe has two exciting workshop series coming up, join her at:

Want to connect with Zoe even more? Find her + The Thriving Body on Facebook + Instagram, and at her website www.thethrivingbody.com.

 

who's elyse? 

esparkes@gmail.com

Elyse gets people moving with in-person training and her signature 21-day at-home workout program. She helps make movement a joyful part of one's day, and inspires confidence with her kindness and personalized approach. When she's not doing squats + sun salutations, she's dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives.

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

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100 yr Old Secrets to a long happy life

100 yr Old Secrets to a long happy life

For my entire life -and his entire 100.5 years- my grandfather has been THE example of living a healthy, happy, wealthy, wise life. He wanted to get the most out of every moment of every day and inspired everyone around him to do that too.

Over and over I asked him, "What's your secret!? How have you created such a long, happy life?"

I recorded his answer at his 99th Birthday party:

*It's only 52 seconds... listen till the end to hear his infectious laughter.

There you have it!

He would have been 101 this weekend and my family is gathering to celebrate his long, happy life.

More than anything, I know that passing on this message is one of the most important things we can do to honor his legacy.

My cousin Marisa really said it best:

"Thoughts and prayers are not required. Just go out and love your life fully, with grace and gratitude. Greet strangers as friends and friends as family. Love your nearest and dearest with everything you have. Do everything that keeps your body moving, heart ticking, and passion flowing - especially Gpa Jack's favorites: exercise, laughter, dancing, hugs, and lots of flirting."

 
 

Now tell me, what are YOU going to do today live your most VIBRANT life? 

I really want to know, tell me in the comments below! 

To moving your body, eating good food, loving with all your heart, and celebrating life!

xoxo elyse


HI, 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


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

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On being fit + Gigi Boetto

On being fit + Gigi Boetto

 

Gigi and I met studying at The Breathing Project and I was immediately attracted to her warm, welcoming, soothing energy. Her nurturing presence fills up any room she's in. Gigi teaches a practice of yoga that is not only asana. She looks for a student/teacher relationship that is based on mutual respect where both parties grow by spending time together.

This is so evident in what she shares with us today about her own movement practices and how she supports people listen to their own intuitive knowledge. Plus, she's also a painter and is now combining art and asana!

She has so many brilliant gems to share, read on:

Meet Gigi Boetto:

How do you help people stay healthy?

My teaching comes from my personal questions around empowerment, autonomy, and connection. I’m interested in helping people understand what has taken me a long time to understand-- they know themselves better than anyone else could ever possibly know them. My journey is about exploring deep inside (I understand this can mean a lot of different things) to learn what I can about myself-- mind/body. I find the deeper I've gone, the more I am capable of relating to everything/one else in healthier ways. I think empowerment is a first step, but that ultimately we want to connect to others, our communities, and our universe. One of my teachers says, “It’s not special being special.” I love this. We’re all special, now how do we connect knowing we are all special?

 

What is the #1 thing someone could do TODAY to feel better in their body?

I’d ask my student-- what is the #1 thing you could do today to feel better in your body? They might have a great answer. Together, we can take it from there.

 

What's your advice to someone who's having trouble getting started with that?

At this point, I can listen and witness. What are my students concerns? After this, I might offer an action. Maybe they are thinking too much, and they need an action.

 

What does a typical day look like for you and how do you fit movement into it?

My days are really different, so nothing is typical. :) This may sound funny, but it's convenient-- First thing in the morning I feed my two cats, so I have a practice on my kitchen floor next to them while they're eating. It involves movement and a short meditation. Later in the day, I will have a practice whenever I have the time. Somedays it's only 20-30 minutes, other days it's 3 hours.

 

What other practices keep you healthy? In body and/or in mind?

I am also a painter. I spend a lot of time in my painting studio. I also like to walk around this wonderful city I live in. It fills me up-- the energy, the people. My husband is the greatest yogi (who doesn’t practice asana) I have ever met. He has a beautiful perspective on life because he has had a lot of health issues that have brought him near death. Spending time with him and my cats is the healthiest practice around.

 

What is your JOYworkout?

*Elyse calls a "JOYworkout" a form of movement that is something more than a workout for workout's sake. It's exercise and it's ALSO something that: a) you just plain LOVE to do, b) builds your community, c) teaches you a new skill, d) enhances your spiritual life, e) helps you give back, f) gets you outdoors + is adventurous.

Sex...oh, and I like running and hiking. ;)

 

If you "fall off the wagon" with your health + wellness, how do get back into it?

Journaling has always been a way for me to reflect on what's going on in my life. The deeper issue troubling me and keeping me from healthy habits is usually found on the page.

 

Where are you getting your motivation from right now?

My motivation to do anything right now is coming from a sincere sense of gratitude that I have for my privileged life. I really don't have a good reason to bitch about anything. All of my needs are met-- food, shelter, love & health.

 

What is a motto or quote that you live by?

My motto changes with the life questions I’m marinating with at the time. Right now, it comes in the form of a question from a Mary Oliver poem, The Summer Day-- “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

 

 

Thanks So Much For Sharing With Us Gigi!

Want to connect with Gigi? Find out more about her at:

who's elyse?

Elyse gets people moving with in-person training and her signature 21-day at-home workout program.  She helps make movement a joyful part of one's day, and inspires confidence with her kindness and personalized approach. When she's not doing squats + sun salutations, she's dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives.

 

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!

On Being Fit + resetting your nervous system

On Being Fit + resetting your nervous system

As a passionate yoga + meditation teacher and holistic lifestyle coach, Ellie Aaron truly embodies everything she teaches and practices. In every interaction I have with Ellie her friendly warmth, compassion, and earnest desire to connect, support, and enhance people's lives is so apparent!

I love how she values connecting with people, and even hosts her own podcast "The Ellie Aaron Hour". She's certified from Yogaworks-200 Hour Training, the OM 500 hour Certification, and is a graduate of the OM Meditation Program and of IDP's Yearlong Meditation Immersion and Instructor Training Program. Ellie credits yoga and meditation with transforming feelings of anxiety and self doubt to confidence and joy in her body and mind. She helps others to re-connect with the wisdom inherent in their bodies and hearts, so they can embrace the beauty of what life has to offer.

I'm so excited to share what she's offered us today from her own practice. Read on!

Meet Ellie Aaron:

How Do You Help People Stay Healthy?

I support them in creating a loving relationship with their body and mind through yoga, meditation, and health coaching.

 

 

What Is The #1 Thing Someone Could Do TODAY To Feel Better In Their Body?

Breath deeply! This resets the nervous system and has a calming effect on the body. Take three full slow breaths. Inhale for a (slow) count of 5 and exhale on a (slow) count of 5. Do this 3 times.

 

 

What's Your Advice To Someone Who's Having Trouble Getting Started With That?

Ask a friend to it do with with you!

 

What Does A Typical Day Look Like For You And How Do You Fit Movement Into It?

I usually teach 3-4 classes a day, eat tasty delicious foods, and connect with people I love. I fit movement into my day- by making it a priority! I'm currently doing a 365 days of yoga + meditation challenge for 2016. Practice has to last at LEAST 5 minutes, and because I set the bar low (5 Minutes) it usually ends up lasting 15 Minutes (if not much more) and I feel accomplished! Start small. But do it daily.

 

 

What Other Practices Keep You Healthy? In Body And/Or In Mind?

I connect with friends I love. Friendship is pure medicine. Love is pure medicine. So much of pain and disease comes from feeling lonely and a lack of connection. Knowing there is always someone there to connect with grounds and nourishes me profoundly!

 

 

What Is Your JOYworkout?

*Elyse calls a "JOYworkout" a form of movement that is something more than a workout for workout's sake. It's exercise and it's ALSO something that: a) you just plain LOVE to do, b) builds your community, c) teaches you a new skill, d) enhances your spiritual life, e) helps you give back, f) gets you outdoors + is adventurous.

My JOYworkout is pole dancing and sensual movement dancing! It makes me feel vibrant, alive, and powerful. It moves out emotions that are stuck in my body. Time vanishes and my body takes over- and its oh so freeing. It often feels mystical and like some divine entity has joined me as I dance. I adore it.

 

 

If You "Fall Off The Wagon" With Your Health + Wellness, How Do Get Back Into It?

I come back to my intention. That I want to feel good in my life, and that starts with my health. Without that, its hard to do anything else. Intention gives me motivation to start again. Whether it be the next minute, the next day, or week.

 

 

Where Are You Getting Your Motivation From Right Now?

My 365 Days Of Yoga & Meditation challenge!

 

 

What Is A Motto Or Quote That You Live By?

Love Everyone & Tell the Truth. ~ Neem Karoli Baba

 

 

Thanks So Much For Sharing With Us Ellie!

If you're inspired by how Ellie combines sensual movement, yoga, meditation, and self-love practices, take a look at these exciting events she has coming up:

Find even more at her website: ellieaaron.com

who's elyse?

Elyse gets people moving with in-person training and her signature 21-day at-home workout program. She helps make movement a joyful part of one's day, and inspires confidence with her kindness and personalized approach. When she's not doing squats + sun salutations, she's dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives.

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!

On Being Fit + taking care of your sweet heart!

On Being Fit + taking care of your sweet heart!

When I started watching Daniella's love coaching videos, this phrase that she says stuck with me: "Take good care of your sweet sweet heart".  Whenever my own heart was feeling a little deflated, I would say these words to myself.  Since then I've had the chance to befriend Daniella and her warmth and her own sweet presence is even more vibrant in person!

I'm so excited that she's sharing some of her own self-care practices with us today because this is what she's all about! Daniella is a love coach who believes that every woman deserves to be in a healthy, loving relationship without having to change, play by the “rules,” or become someone you’re not. How? Simply by adding a heaping dose of SELF-CARE to your regular dating routine.

It doesn't really matter if you're single or in a relationship, there are so many self-love gems in what she shares with us today!

Meet Daniella Astor:

How Do You Help People Stay Healthy?

I help women attract healthy, loving relationships. Because healthy LOVE makes for a healthy mind, body, and LIFE!

 

 

What Is The #1 Thing Someone Could Do TODAY To Feel Better In Their Body?

Allow yourself to feel the love you already have in your life right now. I bet there's a lot. That feeling makes your body all warm and fuzzy inside. It's almost impossible not to smile. And smiling is very sexy!  

 

 

What's Your Advice To Someone Who's Having Trouble Getting Started With That?

Just like taking your vitamins, or stepping out of the office for lunch, schedule your LOVE TIME. Put a date on the calendar to devote to feeling the love in your life. It could be a writing a little to your dear friend after dinner, remembering who you're grateful for first thing in the morning, or a loving kindness meditation before bedtime. No matter what it looks like, schedule in your LOVE TIME. 

 

What Does A Typical Day Look Like For You And How Do You Fit Movement Into It?

My alarm goes off at 5:30, I'm out of bed by 5:45. During those 15 minutes, I do my own version of LOVE TIME, where I focus on what I'm grateful for in my life, and the amazing love around me. It's easy to feel grateful because my husband is sleeping next to me. :) Next, I eat breakfast, drink tea, and read something nourishing for my mind and soul. Then, and only then, do I open email and start my work day. As a love coach, I speak with clients for most of the day. In the evenings, I move. By that time, my mind and emotions have been going non-stop. So at the end of the day I give my mind a break and hit a yoga class, the gym, or pilates class. Feels so good!

 

 

What Other Practices Keep You Healthy? In Body And/Or In Mind?

I'm most proud of my healthy morning routine of gratitude, nourishing food and drink, and reading. I've never felt more focused in my day, and kind to my body than when I began my days this way. Also, I drink an absurd amount of water. So drinking and bathroom breaks are my life!

 

 

What Is Your JOYworkout?

*Elyse calls a "JOYworkout" a form of movement that is something more than a workout for workout's sake. It's exercise and it's ALSO something that: a) you just plain LOVE to do, b) builds your community, c) teaches you a new skill, d) enhances your spiritual life, e) helps you give back, f) gets you outdoors + is adventurous.

SO many! Yoga, dancing in the apartment with my hubby, cardio classes where I sweat like crazy, and most of all, aimlessly walking around my beloved New York City and taking in the energy of the people. I've always felt a profound, safe, grounded love with this city.

 

 

If You "Fall Off The Wagon" With Your Health + Wellness, How Do Get Back Into It?

Slowly but surely. It's hard to jump right back in for me. I'll go to the gym once a week, then twice a week, then once I feel more comfortable and confident that "I'm back" I'll exercise and eat cleanly without candy or junk on a more regular basis.

 

 

 

Where Are You Getting Your Motivation From Right Now?

Health, in my body, in my mind and in my relationships. Health and longevity is what's most motivating now. Maybe it's because I got married last fall, and I already worried about fitting into the dress, or because I'm looking forward with someone for the first time in my life. But I'm feeling motivated with being healthy in ALL parts of my life, so I can stick around to enjoy all the fun this life has to offer!

 

 

What Is A Motto Or Quote That You Live By?

Love yourself first. I keep coming back to this over and over. It's not the easiest thing, but it's always the right answer and miraculously fixes everything else!

 

 

Thanks So Much For Sharing With Us Daniella!

*Daniella is leading a DATING DETOX starting Monday January 25th! It's for single women who are SO over feeling exhausted and frustrated with dating and know, deep down, that they're destined for deep healthy love.

By the end of the week you'll learn some simple and totally REAL-LIFE things to focus on to attract healthy love this year. Check it out here!

You can also find out more about Daniella at:

 

who's elyse?

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Elyse gets people moving with in-person training and her signature 21-day at-home workout program.  She helps make movement a joyful part of one's day, and inspires confidence with her kindness and personalized approach. When she's not doing squats + sun salutations, she's dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives.

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!