Kristy, Au Naturale: Making Fitness Fun Wherever You Are

Alright Alright. I have waited long enough to talk about it. So let’s do it. Guess what? I Crossfit. And what’s the first rule of Crossfit?

               Always talk about Crossfit.

And boy, oh boy, did I ever uphold that rule! I’m pretty sure people ran for the hills when they saw me coming because, “She’s gonna tell us how many pull-ups she did yesterday”

images (3)

Yup….that is exactly what I would have done;) But now, I have learned the power of balance and FUN in adapting workouts to fit into the life of all that wish to have fitness be a priority in their lives.

It seems about time that I share some of my hubs’ and my favorite Crossfit Workouts. I do this so you can know that not only is Crossfit for everybody, but it can also be adapted and scaled down for every BODY. 

I’ll give y’all (that’s right I am a Virginian) two versions for these adapted workouts. The first version will be the Crossfit prescribed workout. The second will be adapted for the at home motivated fitness junkie.

You should of course only do these if you know you are medically safe to do so – if you’re not sure, ask your healthcare provider. And for Pete’s sake, use good form!!!! Not sure what good form is? Invest in a few personal training sessions or CrossFit Gym sessions (you might just get hooked like me).

Kristy’s Most Favoritest Crossfit WOD Ever

“Annie”

download (5).jpegWhat you’ll need: A jump rope and a yoga mat. Oh and some Chamois Butter  just trust me and buy it. High Reps=hello sit-up chafe. 

Oh and also if you’ve had kids……..These little life saver Poise Impressa protection things are Ah-May-ZZZING protection for those 150 reps of jumping. And yes, you will probably pee on yourself if you aren’t using them, let’s all just be real.

The point: We do these repetitions on a metabolic conditioning scale. The way it works is the clock starts, and you want to get in 50 reps of double unders then sit-ups. Then, you do 40 and 40, 30 and 30, and so on…..FOR TIME.

download (2)
You said do what?

Don’t have double unders? No problem, just triple the amount of single unders (standard jumping rope) you have to do.

50-40-30-20-10 reps of

Double unders

and sit-ups

Annie at home”

What you’ll need: Your body and a yoga mat

50-40-30-20-10 repetitions of:

High Jumps

and Sit-ups

images

Record your time. And repeat in a couple of months and see if you can can get a faster time!

images (4).jpeg

My Husband’s Choice

“Nancy”

3ff8f5f064a0897e960b563e87ce1168

We are back into the METCON here, but this sort of run/weight training is amazingly efficient in reaching your anaerobic thresholds. Threshold meaning the point when you “feel the burn” but you keep moving through anyway, fighting the urge to quit!

5 Rounds for Time:

400-meter run (roughly a quarter mile)
15 overhead squats

Men: 95 lb (with weight plates and a barbell)
Women: 65 lb (weight plates and barbell)

Crossfit.com explains this workout of the day, or WOD, perfectly.

“This benchmark couplet is meant to be light and fast. Reduce the load on the overhead squat so you can perform all the reps unbroken and still run fast.

Intermediate Option
5 rounds for time of:
400-meter run
15 overhead squats

Men: 65 lb.
Women: 45 lb.

Beginner Option
4 rounds for time of:
400-meter run
10 overhead squats

Men: 45 lb.
Women: 35 lb.”

grant-foreman-700_1.jpg

“Nancy at home”

What you’ll need: A 1/2 mile route and free weights (you choose the load)

NO weights?

Find a heavy object in your house or use your baby/toddler for Mom/Dad-ercise!

5 rounds for time of:

1/2 mile run

15 air squats

OR

15 squats with free weights resting on shouldersDB-Double-Front-Squat (1).png

OR 15 baby thrusters (shown below)

These are some fun ways to “dip your toe” into the world of High Intensity Interval Training to see if it is for you. But trust me, it is.

Enjoy rocking out and sweating massive amounts of High Intensity Awesomeness!

download (4).jpeg
I mean, who can argue with that?

Sing Peace: The Power of Positive Intention

light-a-candle-for-peace-today-better-pictures-including-with-wm-640x427.jpg

Our scene opens to an Amphitheater. Its Grandparents Day and its my son’s first year at this Montessori School. I am excited to show my Father in Law and his wife how AMAZING this school is. It’s reputable accreditations, top notch facilities, child led education model, etc. Then the kids come out. They get in their positions for a song. Then the music starts…

Light a candle for peace

Light a candle for love

Light a candle that shines all the way ’round the world

Light a candle for me, light a candle for you

That our dream of peace, will one day come true

Sing peace around the world.

Goosebumps. Tears.

download

I am utterly inspired by this song that my son’s Montessori Primary class is singing. Mesmerized by the message, I soon forget about all the impressive outward characteristics that the school offered. They, in front of my eyes, are showing me that they are teaching the kids about world peace.

What a notion! Light a candle for peace? Is it really that simple? Can I really believe that me lighting a candle for peace for all, will be enough to actualize that peace?

Yes, the power of positive intention is exactly that. Amazing, untapped, raw, power. 

“This morning, in this room, these children are using their power to change the world.”

<Andddddd……scene>

Many folks ask me whether or not I’ve heard the latest on local, national, or world news.  The many tragedies that happen daily, the “government’s latest screw up” and “this party is responsible for the demise of all humankind”. For those who absorb and feel energy,  frequently called Empaths, these types of things go beyond effecting just their thoughts. We feel this sort of devastation viscerally, which is why it can be hard for us to stay “up-to-date” with current events. It physically and emotionally hurts….quite literally.

There is a feeling of hopelessness that comes with constantly being bombarded with the negative things that go on in the world. It is not that we wish to remain ignorant, it is that the physical and emotional pain of feeling it becomes too much, and we must protect ourselves from it in order to live our best life.

kid-covering-ears-18342447.jpg
I know, kid. I feel it too.

Within the last ten years, I have developed a ritual that helps me feel the power of proactivity within what feels like a muddy bog of the energy of today’s world. When I feel taken by the overwhelming feeling of the worlds tragedy, I stop and light a candle. This grounding technique helps me to send up a prayer of protection for myself and the world. I take one moment to speak aloud my intention for that day. “I intend to live today happily and in gratitude” or “I intend to offer a feeling of peace to all whom I encounter.” Walking in that truth, I believe, has the power to effect maybe even ONE person. If I can effect one person, then the ripple effect can begin.

pay-it-forward-clipart-5.jpg

I feel as though it is safe to say that most of us have heard of the Power of Intention. Ever heard of the book, The Secret? Oprah has!!!!

51SQGo2WnZL.jpg
Whaddup Oprah’s Book Club List?

The book explains that in the theory of Quantum Physics, everything has an energy; including thoughts. If we think about all that we have to be grateful for, we tend to open our hearts and minds to attract MORE of the same. This goes both ways. Both negative thoughts AND positive thoughts attract one another. Relying on this can have profound changes on one’s life. Simply speak your intention until it ultimately becomes your reality. In the book, that can mean financially, spiritually, romantically, or anything you else can imagine. We are, in essence, limitless.

After all, we’ve heard this same notion since we were littles ourselves.

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.” 

armored-moth-jiminycricketcloseup
Nice one, Jimminy. Thanks.

And why the heck shouldn’t they? If we are all individually powerful enough to make this happen,

imagine the potential energy of the collective?

The mountains of positivity that things like The World Kindness Movement can move.

An example lies in yesterday’s stresses I faced.  For me, they were almost too overwhelming for me to function. Money, parenting, and hormones (TMI? ah, lighten up;))got the best of me. So today, I woke up with the intention that I would feel nothing but butterflies, unicorns, and rainbows. (photo below) I even dressed the part as a reminder. Needless to say, I had an amazing day today in that I could see the good, the fun, and especially the hope in all the things that had stressed me the day before. Had I not intended to live differently today, I would have most likely felt the same stresses take me over. Silver linings are just that. Shiny lines in the proverbial sand that let us choose whether to stay on the side the negative, or to choose to see the positive.

There are ways you can get yourself involved bringing kindness to the world. The Random Acts of Kindness Organization has plenty of ideas, lesson plans, and even motivational quotes to help you on your way. If you’d like to keep it simple, then just smile at a stranger every now and again. It is said to be hella contagious:)

Or, be like this kid,  Maurice Adams, Jr..

We can all learn from Maurice. Well done, good sir.

At Home with Christiana: Best Fitness Apps

Fitness is something that has always been a part of my life. From junior athletics to marathon running to postpartum recovery, fitness is a major source of stress relief, confidence, and balance in my life. So while a day in the life of home renovating and chasing little people is almost always a workout in some form, my personal fitness is something I work very hard to prioritize. For me.giphy4

We all know by now the countless benefits of exercise (if not, read up!) but sometimes LIFE HAPPENS and getting to the gym just doesn’t. Parent or not, sometimes just adulting feels like sabotage to your fitness routine. Then add the schedules of 1, 2, or 3 little people that have little no regard for your agenda, and well, you get the picture. Client meeting runs late and you miss your spin class. Baby changes her nap schedule and you miss yoga by 5 f&*ing minutes. Ugh. “Namaste!”  Luckily, for days like these, technology is here to literally save our asses. Praise to the Fitness Apps.

Fitness apps have been a game changer for me because they allow me to get a serious workout in whenever and wherever I choose. No gym, no trainer, nobody else’s schedule but mine. Even multiple little people can’t sabotage these – there is a pause button for diaper changes, (because sh*t happens) and frankly, babies make great kettle bell substitutes for those walking lunges.  Also, no one is around to judge me for drinking coffee during my morning yoga session. #mommasrules

giphy5

In sum, fitness apps are totally awesome! With one caveat. Apps are definitely a realm where not all are created equal, but don’t despair if you’ve struck out in the past.  I have included my three favorite, time-tested apps below.  They won’t let you down.

Best Strength/Cross Training App: Nike Training Club

Nike Training Club (NTC) is my go-to app for at-home cross-training. NTC features a wide variety of workouts designed by pro athletes and celebrity trainers (oh heeeey Ronaldo, I see you). Ranging in intensity and activity level, these workouts can get straight up hardcore.  I love that this app allows you to select a workout based on a number of criteria. Only got 15 minutes? There are workouts for that. No equipment on hand? There are workouts for that, too. Want to target a certain stubborn body part or muscle group? There are PLENTY of workouts for that.

Another great feature is you can play your own music without interfering with the app’s audio cues. Because NO ONE likes doing burpees in silence. No one. New workouts are uploaded pretty regularly so I have yet to get bored. You can also set up 4-8 week personalized plans via the app that provide you with workouts in the order and frequency you should do them based on your personal inputs. This app really gives you everything you need to get a serious sweat on. So get after it!

Cost: Free

Great for: Strength training, beginners to serious athletes

Best Yoga App: Yoga Studio by Gaiam

Anyone who spends the majority of their week surrounded by little people who have yet to develop the concept of ‘personal space’ can use a little zen. But sometimes a lot of the time your yoga studio’s schedule won’t jive with yours, your kids stay home sick, or you just plain sleep in. Fear not. Gaiam’s Yoga Studio is a great app that can bring the Om at home, on vacation, in the backyard… anywhere. Time to get those yoga pants doing some actual yoga, y’all.

I will be the first to say that I am picky about yoga, and I think this app does a great job of channeling the calming vibe of a studio class via your wireless device.  You can download a wide variety of pre-made classes and meditations (more of our thoughts on meditation here if you missed it) ranging from 5 minutes to over an hour that target specific muscle groups or problem areas (such as lower back pain, yoga for runners),  or a particular mood (strength, Relaxation, AM/PM). Or you can create your own custom classes too. The one-hour Relaxation class is a personal favorite in our household. After the kids go to bed, light a candle, roll out your mat, (maybe pour that glass of wine, because why not? You’re at home!) Annnnd enjoy some well-earned savasana.  You won’t regret it.

Cost: $1.99/month or $19.99 annually

Great for: All levels of  yoga 

Best Running App: Map my Run by Under Armor

IMG_6521

Running for me currently goes one of two ways…  either the stars align and I get a glorious solo run while someone else watches the kiddos OR I’ve loaded up the jogging stroller with kids, snacks, blankets, water bottles and goodness knows what else. Either way, I just want to GO before something goes wrong. I don’t want to worry about creating a route, monitoring my pace or distance, or fidget with a bunch of settings on my devices.

Enter: Map my Run. I can load saved routes with a touch of one button or simply “start workout” and go. All while my distance and pace and calories are reliably monitored and saved to track progress. You can add notes to your run once it’s completed (like perhaps “double stroller into the wind” or “goldfish spilled”) so you can track your training performance without trying to remember why you had a couple really off pace days.

giphy2

You can also connect with your running buddies/family members that use the app to encourage each other along the way, which is especially fun if you’re training for an event together, even long distance, or just for added support.  That “NICE RUN, BUDDY!!!” text from your partner never, ever gets old.

Cost: Free

Great for: Running/walking/biking, tracking outdoor routes, race training

I hope these apps are as helpful for some of you to maintain or even begin your fitness regimen as they have been for me.  Shout out with your favorites if you have some to add!  Now go get you some Om. Cheers!

IMG_6400

 

 

View More: http://taraliebeckphotography.pass.us/homecoming123

Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe and fine wine explorer.

Friday Feels: Dealing with Adult Bullies

Ever hear these lines?

“It’s not about you, it’s about them.” “Take it as a compliment that she is so focused on you still after all this time.” “Just ignore them.”

bull-landscape-nature-mammal-139399.jpeg

These are all things other people will say to you when you are the target of an adult bully. These are what they will tell you to think to yourself as you take deep breaths and  “let it go” (thanks Elsa). But, the ugly truth is that engaging in this calming behavior, while helpful to you, doesn’t help address the continuance of the behavior of the bully. 

Someone very smart once told me, “power and insecurity are a dangerous combination.” Power comes in many forms – physical size, career position, money, and/or social influence, to name a few.  (Political power is the form currently reflected in the administration of our country, but I won’t get into that right now). This is the common ground underlying bullying whether age 2 or 92.

So, since I like to focus on solutions, I want to talk about things you can do to attempt to curb the behavior without sacrificing your own integrity and sanity (and ultimately avoid becoming a revenge-bully yourself).  But first, a little bit of background:

kickboxer-girl-moscow-thai-161017.jpeg

I personally have been the target of a bully.  This person has spent the last two years telling people various inaccurate and reputation-damaging stories about why I left my previous career to become a full-time financial advisor. More than a dozen people have told me some version of her story after they heard it.  I won’t bore you with the details, but the most alarming untrue story she likes to spread is that I had post-partum depression due to my daughter’s emergency surgeries and couldn’t face returning to work.

kim zolciak love GIF-source.gif

It shouldn’t have surprised me, really. She had said rude, untrue things about many other people in my presence, and you know what they say – if someone talks sh*& about others, they will talk sh*& about you too. And even though I hope that the majority of people she said these things to realize there was no truth to them, the bottom line is: they might wonder if there is a kernel of truth in there. And as Señora Gibson told us all in high school, “You only have one reputation. Protect it with all of your might!”

So, what actually works to combat a bully?

Here are my tips:

  1. Find compassion. Remember that at the root of the bully’s behavior is insecurity. Start fresh with this thought, “I want to see this person for the first time.” (thanks Gabby Bernstein). Allow compassion to be your starting point. This won’t stop the behavior (remember, you can’t control what others do, only your own actions), butsad mean girls GIF-source.gif it might prevent your blood pressure from rising or result in screaming in their face like you want to.  People who are happy and secure don’t feel threatened by other people’s success. They don’t find pleasure in or feel compelled to harm others or put them down.  Picture them as a child themselves, experiencing bullying or their own trauma. It will potentially shift your view enough to give you the space to find empathy instead of anger in a challenging moment.   
  2. Let go of the “why”. Asking, “Why??” is a waste of energy. We often create these stories in our minds about other people that are not helpful. There is a great kids book called Have You Filled A Bucket Today? that breaks it down. The basic storyline is that everyone carries an invisible bucket around with them, filled with love and happiness. Bullies have empty buckets. They think that by emptying other people’s buckets they will fill their own, but the truth is that every time they are mean to someone else, they not only empty that person’s bucket but they also empty their own as well. You don’t need to know “why” their bucket is empty. All that matters is that you remember that the bully’s behavior isn’t about you. 
  3. Confront them calmly and kindly (over and over again if needed). Have patience and remember that this is a process. I confronted this bully after this first began and asked her kindly to stop spreading misinformation. She denied it washappy excuse me GIF-source.gif happening and carried on. No surprise. Doing it once usually doesn’t do the trick but you have to start somewhere. You have to be consistent and clear. Every time they say something rude or condescending to you, respond with a simple “What do you mean by that?” Interestingly, this usually stops them in their tracks (I swear, try it!). In a situation where they are forced to explain the meaning behind their comments, you will usually find that they backtrack or walk away altogether. If they alternately, explain an explicit threat – you then have grounds to take more formal action. Write it down immediately with date and time. This works in the workplace, in social settings, and at home.
  4. Be mindful of the record. If they send you something mean or rude in writing (like an email), do not respond in writing. If you feel you must, keep it short, without malice, and consistent with other communications. For example, “I am not sure exactly what you mean by this. However, I would prefer a face to face conversation to prevent any miscommunication and feel confident that you will treat me with respect.” Set the tone proactively.  Stop the cycle of condescension.  30124233_2081515945450971_2698465873672939413_n.jpg
  5. Don’t give their words life. When someone wrongs us like this, spreading rumors and causing heartache, you want to run around and shout from the rooftops- “Can you believe what this person said?! It isn’t true!!!” But when we do this, we end up giving their voices more power. We are further spreading the rumor!!! Don’t repeat it.  Don’t give it life.  Complain to your spouse, partner or besties, but leave it there.
  6. Allow your frenemies to expose themselves and then say goodbye to them. Perhaps the greatest gift a bully can give you is clarity around some of your relationships. If people believe the bully, or worse, if people participate in the gossip, they are showing you their true colors. Don’t make it a dramatic break up, just stop including them in your life. People with integrity will always stand up for what is right, even (and especially) when it is hard, no excuses. As my husband says, “Excuses are like buttholes. Everyone has them and they all stink.” Shoutout to Mrs. Driscoll’s banner in her classroom in 7th grade: “What’s popular isn’t always right, and what’s right isn’t always popular.” 
  7. Spread your story, the truth, far and wide – with positivity.  Send out a letter announcement or email saying your truth. Be your own PR agent – a PR Agent of Truth.  While legal action is always an option, slander cases are rough on the accuser too. Consider this PR Campaign for Truth as a less costly, positive alternative to battling it out in a court of law (although that’s always an option if it gets bad enough to harm your potential or current relationships, particularly your professional relationships.) 
  8. When they go low, you go high. Be the bigger person when responding to the michelle obama GIF by Election 2016-source.gifrumor mill. I saw a mutual contact in a bagel shop a few years ago. She said, “Wow – Margo. Why are you so dressed up in a suit today?”. I looked confused and said, “I’m on my way to a meeting!” She, even more confused said, “She told me that you left your job to stay home with your kids.”. I smiled and said, “No, actually, I had been planning this career change for quite some time now – took my series exams the year before, …etc.  But how are you?” Ultimately, I heard from a few others that this person, outraged at the lie, became an ambassador for my truth, without me even requesting that she do so. This is the absolute hardest one for me. My gut reaction is to want to fight back. But, in every relationship in your life, you are doing a dance with the other person. Don’t engage in a revenge-bully tango with the Bully.  It will ultimately bring you down to their level. Before you speak about someone, ask yourself: “Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?”. Keep your bucket full. 
  9. Engage in self care. Go to yoga classes. Start using self-affirming statements. Seek counseling if you need it. Don’t let it harm your mental health. If anything, let this be a stimulus to Rise Up

And when all else fails and you want to scream? Go for it (in the privacy of your own home). Call your besties, pour yourself your favorite glass of wine or grab your favorite treat and remind yourself that tomorrow will be a better day and that bullies never prosper.  Because after all, living a life of unhappiness and insecurity is punishment enough. Thank goodness that’s not you, right? 

me and kids
Margo is a married mom of 2, financial advisor and software developer in Maryland.

Kristy, Au Naturale: Daily Meditation for folks who don’t have time to freaking meditate.

As a massage therapist and energy worker, I put a lot of pressure on myself to put out a “zen” vibe to others. To be perfectly honest though, I have the knowledge and the tools to become and remain grounded, but I am just like many of folks in rest of the world when it comes to my ups, downs, spaz-outs, and whirlwind emotions. The struggle has been real when it comes to self-doubt and judgement about how much I am not focusing on harnessing the inner strength that I know lives within me.

I have, though, found some simple, do-able things you (yes YOU!) can do to integrate meditation into your life.

Take five

It is during the most stressful times that I find it amazingly important to spend 5 or even 1 minute shutting off my mind, and really just listening to myself breathe.  That’s as easy as closing your eyes. Forget your to-do list (those can wait), no phone calls (silence that sh*&), and just really breathe.

“But how do I ‘just’ breathe, Kristy?” Truth is, I don’t use a certain style of breathing like ‘diaphragmatic breathing’ or ‘yoga breathing’. My answer is simple. In and out, people. In and out. Then, When you open your eyes…smile. Fake it if you have to. But smile. Find something you find funny and really SMILE. Think about something you hold dear and feel the love of that something within you, and surround yourself with it.

pexels-photo-156731.jpeg

ONE TO FIVE MINUTES. This can be done at stop lights (with eyes open of course), right as you sit down at your desk, as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. Brushing your teeth…..anytime or anywhere. No excuses. We all drive. We all brush our teeth… (hopefully). Set a reminder on your phone if you have to… oh then put it away for five minutes.

Other people do find special breathing techniques helpful or grounding. There are great online tutorials like this one on YouTube or on apps such as the Insight Timer.

After you breathe, step two is finding a way to be mindful about setting your energy and intention up for the day by learning something new about your inner self and practicing it throughout your day.

Start at work

We all email, right? Sometimes WAY too much! How many emails do you write in a day? Read in a day? 10? 25? Well, before you start your daily “this meeting should have been a F*%#ing EMAIL, CARL!!!!!!” anger freak out, go here: The Daily Om

My wonderful mother signed me up one day during a hysterically crying episode of postpartum anxiety to receive these daily emails full of insights that helped me ground myself with purpose.

Madisyn Taylor authors this website and when you subscribe, you get wonderful emails each day as a reminder to consider yourself first. Through this webpage, there is also a series of free or donation-based courses that you can take ranging from ’21 day at home Yoga’, to ‘freeing yourself from people in your life who are energy vampires’, *f’ing Carl* .(that is the subject of a whole other post–people who DRAIN the every last shred of life out of you just by being in the same room).

It’s science

In the book Handbook for Happiness: A 4 Step Plan For Resilient Living, the Mayo Clinic sums up that emotional and physical benefits of meditation are vast. It can help emotionally with stress management, imagination, creativity, tolerance and patience (cash reward for anyone who can teach me these), reducing negative emotions, increasing self-awareness and sense of being in the present.

Oftentimes, we overlook the effects that meditation has on illness and medical conditions.

“Meditation might also be useful if you have a medical condition, especially one that may be worsened by stress…….” “some research suggests that meditation may help people manage symptoms of conditions such as:450300_300x340_Cover.jpg

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Sleep problems
  • Tension headaches”

LOADS of folks deal with these chronic issues, so why not arm ourselves everyday with the power of mind to DO SOMETHING about it? For free. With no bad side effects.

The power you have within you to change the vibes your giving off each day is remarkable. You just have to remember that it is there. It is important to realize that YOU and YOU only determine the course of how you handle situations.  This information is key to starting each morning off with a bit of peace to face the day. You can take back  the power to decide how you will feel and use that power to decide how you will react to each situation. Or… at least fake it until you make it!

Good luck and Namaste!