The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instructor. Challenge – The Beach.

confessionals_03(Or: Summer is coming.  It is okay to love yourself.)

Summer is coming.  If you are like me, you likely have some painfully honest swimsuits in your bottom drawer ready and waiting to pounce on you like a spooked cat.  

Before you run off in panic to Whole Foods to purchase a 30-day raw diet cleanse, why not take a step back to breathe and assess the person looking back at you in the mirror.  You can do this fully clothed or in your swim suit.

We’ll start with the basics:

Are you standing up straight?

  • Check your hip placement – Hips over knees, knees over heels.
  • Roll your shoulders back to help work out the kinks from a long day at a desk.
  • Pull your belly button in and up to the back of your spine.
  • Breathe. (You have permission to briefly release your belly button while this happens)
  • Smile.

Who’s looking back at you?

If it’s a rockin’, can’t stop me now hottie: Fantastic! You keep doing what you’re doing.

If it’s someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, someone with flaws you dislike, or someone that doesn’t look the way you feel inside, please take a couple of minutes to think about what you’ve accomplished lately.

Are you able to hold a solid plank that you couldn’t do 6 months ago?  Have you recently increased your kettlebell size from 6kg to 8kg?  Did you realize last week you can keep your heels on the ground while in a squat?  What’s going on at work? Are you grinding hard to earn a promotion? Did you parallel park the car in front of your boss in one shot?  

It’s easy to dismiss both big and small accomplishments: when the hard work is over, it can be difficult to remember how much effort you had to put in. You may even have moved on to your next goal without even taking a minute to appreciate what you have just achieved!

We all have big goals, but each one of them must be broken down into many small, short term accomplishments to get there. It’s trite but true: a journey of a million miles must begin with a single step. And often step #1 feels a lot harder than step # 3, or #15, or #12,569. Think back to those moments  when you successfully jumped to the chin-up bar unassisted.  I remember a client’s face brightening up with surprise like a kid at Christmas.  That was a big deal for both of us; a moment to be savoured and remembered. It’s a memory to keep, even when it’s outshone by a new accomplishment.  Remembering your success might help you look at the person you are and the bikini or board shorts in a different way.

So, back to the mirror. You’ve taken a minute or two to savour your achievements; to appreciate the work that you’ve put into both your physical and mental self. Do you see someone physically different looking back at you?

Are you still looking in the mirror?  Standing straight? How about that smile — does it look a little more natural now?

Written with love by Marcia Lucas
Edited with vigor by Megan Chalmers

The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instructor. Challenge – The Beach.

Exercise — Better Than Medicine

better-than-medicineWe have all heard it too many times: exercise is good for you, get out and move, etc. We often get tired just from hearing all this. However, please, don’t ignore this advice. Several recent medical papers have shown a significant, provable link between exercise and longevity.

The April 2016 journal of the BC Medical Association describes research conducted at the University of British Columbia showing that increased fitness lowers the incidence of cardiovascular mortality (heart-attacks), reduces high-blood pressure, incidence of diabetes, stroke and even cancer.

Coincidentally, the March 2016 CMAJ and April 2016 CMAJ (journal of the Canadian Medical Association) published an article stating that prescribing exercise results in similar outcomes in the treatment of many chronic conditions as does prescribing medication. The article states that prescribing exercise for the treatment of non-life threatening conditions such as back pain, type-2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and other conditions is often even better than prescribing pharmaceuticals.

The American Cancer Society states in their guidelines that second only to avoiding tobacco, the most important factors for reducing cancer risk are weight control, dietary choices and level of physical activity.

If you exercise regularly, you KNOW the value of exercise. But know this, the biggest health benefit from exercise is gained by adding some exercise to people who do not exercise. The biggest gift you can give your sedentary friend is help them find a fun exercise that they may enjoy doing. You will literally will be adding years to their life!

Exercise — Better Than Medicine