|‘Brave’ (Photo: Walt Disney Pictures)|
- Make sure it is safe for you as an individual.
- Do it with your safety in mind. Don’t go running outside without shoes in a place where there could be sharp objects.
- Start slowly. Don’t just jump right into an hour workout without shoes, start with 10 minutes and continue to work your way up.
- Stretch out your toes and feet and do exercises that focus on strengthening your feet. Here are some examples of Feet Exercises. As your feet get stronger don’t be afraid to do things like jumping squats, burpees, and mountain climbers barefoot! Also, look at your local gym for barefoot classes!
- I recommend getting a pair of barefoot shoes such as the Vibrams so that as you advance in your barefoot training, you are not limited to places where your feet will not run into sharp objects.
- If you’re lifting heavy weights, please where shoes. We don’t want any of those many bones broken!
Erica, The Mastermind
|Some call them goggles, I call them bug deflectors.|
I still work out most every day – because I love working out. I’m still conscious of what I eat – because my body is my future. A few weeks back I did the Spartan Race in Laural, IN and came in 6th among women, second in my age group! I went home and had a cookout with some friends and cocktails – there’s balance! I also attempted my first 100 mile bike challenge last weekend (The Three State Three Mountain Century in Chattanooga, TN – it was cut short because of the weather). I run half marathons and finish sprint triathlons. Exercise is a joy to me. I love to have something to train for, and to be honest, I still have trouble treating my body well (nourishment and rest don’t come easy…yet). It’s a process and I wouldn’t be where I am today without Erica’s help.
I also LOVE encouraging, coaching, supporting, helping/butt kicking anyone who needs it. If you’re feeling down or need a boost, please feel free to friend me/message me – sincerely!
— Courtney Skells, Publicist and adventure junkie
I met my friend Megan in high school, but it wasn’t until freshman year at IU when I moved in across the hall from her and Emily that they then became 2 of my best friends. I was the annoying across the hall neighbor who woke up far too early in the morning without an alarm. Years later they told me they would lock the door and pretend to still be sleeping so I couldn’t bother them.
I remember the day many years ago when Megan called me and said “Erica I need to get healthier.” It was this day I noticed a change in her attitude about her health, and this day I believe is the beginning of an incredible journey in her life that brought her to this point. At this point she was a new navy wife which brings on all sorts of stress and trials. She was also at her heaviest non pregnant weight. Shortly after this phone call she found out she was pregnant. While she couldn’t start to make extreme changes at this point, her view on health started to change here.
Shortly after Meg found out she was pregnant, her incredible husband Steven left for deployment. The strength and courage Megan has amazes me. They had their sweet little girl Mady.
After Mady was born Meg started again to focus on losing weight and being healthier… then came pregnancy number 2 and sweet Brynn!
As you can see, Megan’s weight loss story was exactly a straight and narrow path but had many detours… 2 pregnancies, deployments, and 2 children at one point under the age of 2. You could understand why after the 2nd pregnancy Megan could have easily given up, but she didn’t.
With the support of her husband, Megan started to make an effort every day to be active and to eat healthier as a family. It started out with just walking, but she kept working up her stamina and now has even completed P90x. When I asked her how she does it Megan said:
For the most part, Megan kept her efforts quiet until one day on facebook she posted this incredible before and after shot:
Such an INCREDIBLE change! I am SO incredibly proud of her for so many reasons. Her strength and courage amazes me. For those of you looking at making lifestyle changes here are the words of advice Megan has for you:
As this incredible family faces another deployment, lets join together in encouraging them in their strength and courage all around. I am so blessed to have this family in my life and am daily encouraged by them! Thank you Whitsitt family for letting me be a part of your journey!
Want to read more about Megan’s story and new exciting news? Visit her blog here The Long road to Cake
During the summer months, swimming and water sports are a great way to stay active, yet the exposure to heat and sun can really create a mess for our hair. Just as important as keeping our skin protected from sun/UV over exposure, we need to also protect our beautiful locks from the drying affects that occur from spending the extra time outdoors. I will provide some added information to help you feel and look your best while being active during the warm summer months.
1. Use Mineral Removal Treatments/Swimmer specific shampoo/conditioner
If swimming at a public pool or even the salt water ocean, chlorine and the natural salt damage will occur. Both chlorine and salt are very drying on our skin and hair. A good way to help keep your hair at a minimum damage is by using Mineral Removal Treatments which help draw out the excess chemicals/minerals from your hair without further damage. These are easy to pick up and use. Malibu C (http://www.malibuc.com/content/default.aspx) is a great brand to which has packets of these treatments. They are an inexpensive way to help promote healthy hair. Use once or twice a week at most. They also offer a “Swimmer’s” hair solution line to which I would also recommend if you are in the water frequently.
2. Condition and add moisture back
The sun is so very drying. When your skin is dry, you use lotion. When your hair is dry, we suggest conditioning often. This is something that will promote silky beautiful hair outside the sun exposure and limit the amount of damage being done. What the conditioner will do is form a barrier on the outside shaft of your hair. For extremely dry hair, you can also go into your salon of choice and ask them what Deep Conditioning Treatment options they offer.
Another daily option which will also help is using a little Argon or Moroccan Oil through your hair. Use sparingly as it may make your hair oily verses silky, but it will help promote moisture.
3. Avoid over processing and over working hair; use Heat Protectors
Rule of thumb, if your hair is already dry–avoid chemical services (coloring, permanent wave, and chemical relaxers), straightening, curling and blow drying your hair. If your hair is already dry going into the summer months, be proactive and moisturize it.
If you must straighten and blow dry your hair, use a Heat Protector from a professional line. These can be found in serums or sprays and it is so important to use them regularly. The heat is not good for the hair and what these Heat Protectors do is form a barrier on the outside hair shaft protecting your hair and allowing the iron to do the least amount of damage possible. Argon or Moroccan Oil also make great heat protectors.
4. Protein Treatments
So we have done a lot of talk on protecting the outside of your beautiful locks, but just as it is important to keep your inside of your hair as strong as it can be too. Since our hair is made up of protein, we need to restore what has been lost through processing it. In the salon, we offer Protein Treatments to assist in this matter. There are both leave-in options as well as a once a week solution. The leave-in option you can use on a daily basis and the once a week is never a bad idea. Ask your salon professional what options they offer and they will be able to suggest which would be best to fit your lifestyle.
5. Trim ends frequently during summer months
In the salon, we recommend a trim every 4 to 6 weeks. When you follow this recommendation, it minimizes how much we cut off and promotes beautiful looking hair. When our hair dries out the ends of our hair if split can begin to unravel much like yarn. If it unravels too far, that means we have to trim off more hair. You would be amazed what even a 1/4″ off of the ends would do for the over all quality of your hair.
All in all, there is only so much we can do to protect our hair from damage in the summer sun, salt water and chlorine. When we feel good on the outside, it also helps promote good self-esteem, build our confidence, and bring a smile to our faces. Being proactive allows you to have the upper hand in the quality of your hair and in return your hair will thank you kindly.
-Ms. Catie Manning, Hair Stylist
This Sunday morning ended my year and a half of being on and off night shift. I can’t say I’m sad to see it go, but I am incredibly thankful for the things it allowed me to learn. Until the night shift, I would consistently go to bed at one time and wake up at pretty much the exact same time every day. Before I worked night shift I had only slept past 1030 AM a very few times in my life. Until I worked night shift I did not realize how incredibly hard it is to stay healthy on a night shift schedule.
As a nurse, I learned so much in my career by being on night shift. It allowed me to work more autonomously. I definitely learned the wonderfulness of Ambien. I transferred far too many patients to the ICU, but not a single one of them coded in my care for which I am thankful. And I got to know some really incredible people and learn how to be a nurse without all the people around.
As a nutritionist I learned that working the night shift means that those regular meals are not going to happen. That when you stay up all night and are stressed, as nursing as a career makes you stressed, you crave those high fat foods.
As a personal trainer I learned just how hard it is to get in a regular work out routine when you walk an average of 6 miles a night at work and you are never actually awake consistently at the same time every day of the week, let alone have the consistency to work out.
As a person, I learned that my body much prefers a day schedule and I’m not the nicest person on night shift. I learned that there were times I could sleep for almost 24 hours. And I was definitely able to sleep past 10:30 AM.
As a person who constantly likes to learn, I cringed every time I saw another article pop up in an e-mail about the long term health effects of shift work. But shift work, especially in nursing, will always exist. There will ALWAYS be sick people, and just because it is healthier for people to sleep at night, it doesn’t mean diseases, especially cancer, will stop causing people to be sick at night. So since we don’t live in a magical world where suddenly at night everyone is not healthy, we must learn to be the healthiest possible with the schedule we are given.
My advice for evening/night shifters:
1. Don’t fight sleep: your body needs sleep to repair. Staying up for 24 hours multiple times reduces your ability to think clearly. Especially for people in shift positions, this can be very dangerous. If you need to revert back to a day schedule, make sure to sleep a couple of hours after getting off of work.
2. Blackout curtains: seriously, especially during the summer, they really help. It also helps your body to release the proper hormones, like melatonin.
3. Silence your phone: I have a rule that unless there is something I HAVE to hear my phone for, it is on silent while I’m asleep during the day. My schedule changes every week, so it was hard for my family and friends to keep track of the days I would be sleeping during the day. Your sleep is more important than that text, I promise.
4. Keep the caffeine to a minimum: Caffeine is a drug, a legal one, but still a drug. In excess doses caffeine can be really dangerous. Don’t keep increasing the amount and set a time to stop drinking caffeine so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. On your days off try and stay away from the caffeine so your tolerance doesn’t increase and your rest isn’t interrupted.
5. Have a social life: Make sure that though you’re working a funky schedule you plan ahead to have a social life. If you’re working shift work, chances are you have to work weekends. Work with those important to you to have time to relax and hang out and feel like more of a “normal” person.
6. Exercise: Try to exercise at least 3 times a week. This could be just taking a walk or doing a 20 minute video. Exercise will help your body to feel healthier and actually be healthier. It will also help reduce those stress hormones that shift work increases.
7. Eating schedule: Try and keep your eating schedule as regular as possible. Try consistently eating when you get up and then every 4-5 hours from there. There is no research I have behind this, but it seemed to help me. When I waited to eat until the same hours each day, I would often be up for far too long without eating food. Eat when you’re hungry. Your body will tell you. And eat real meals.
8. Stay away from the junk: You can’t always stay away from it, but as much as possible focus on healthy eating. Late nights often make your body crave the worst foods. Make it an effort to pack healthy and know where at work you can buy the healthy food.
9. Take care of yourself: Keep up with your hair, your laundry, get a massage or mani/pedi, plan fun events you like to do. Often with shift work, because it runs your schedule so much you forget to take care of yourself. Your job is only part of your life, remember to enjoy the other parts :-).
10. Water and Nutrients: Water, your body needs it. Make sure you drink enough. Make sure your body has enough of it. Monitor your nutrition and if you think you aren’t getting enough, talk to a healthcare professional who can advise you on supplements.
Chances are on the night shift you are not going to be the healthiest you will ever be in your life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live at the optimal health for your current life situation. Take care of yourself, your health and happiness are worth it!
We all do it, especially women. It is something we struggle with without even realizing it. But it nags at us. When you’re sitting at lunch. Sitting in the break room. Sitting at your desk. Walking down the street. It happens. Working out at the gym.
“I wish I had this..” “I wish I looked like that..”
We compare ourselves. The way we look, the clothes we wear, our personality, our abilities… and so much more. Why do we do it? Sometimes, because it makes us feel better. But often because we don’t believe in ourselves.
From talking to many males, it seems they don’t escape this sink hole either.
So why am I writing about this on a fitness and nutrition blog? Because I believe that starting here, can make a huge difference!
1. Realize that you are unique. EVERYTHING about you. Your personality, what motivates you, your body shape, how your body will respond to different exercise and nutrition, and what you need to do to live a healthier life.
2. Find what works for you. If you are looking to hire a personal trainer and/or nutritionist, make sure that they are not going to give you a cookie cutter plan. Cookie cutter plans don’t work for everyone, it takes some listening and experimenting to truly find out what works for each individual person.
3. Find out the reasons YOU want to make changes and what motivates you. This will be different for everyone. Is it for your health? Is it for your family? Is it just so you feel better? What is going to motivate you? Are you competitive? Are you just going to work out to get it done? What will keep you working harder while you are doing your work out? What is going to keep you on a healthy eating schedule?
Before you sit down and truly commit to a lifestyle change, figure out what it is that is going to motivate you and keep you accountable. Put together a plan, and remember, you aren’t going to be successful every day, but that doesn’t mean you have failed!
Who YOU are is beautiful. Right now. Start with believing that, then take the steps to a lifestyle change that is going to help you be the best you, you can be!
There are two worlds I live in. I live in the health promotion striving to help people live healthier lives. I also live in the world of cancer patients. 3 days a week for 13 hours a day I work with people who have one thing in common, they are facing something that very well may take their life.
It is interesting to me that my two favorite things in life are kind of opposite. On one side I like to help people live healthier longer lives. On the other side I really enjoy helping to make patients comfortable in their last few hours and help them realize it is ok to let go. They are different, yet they are the same. In both circumstances I get to look someone square in the eyes and tell them who they are at that very moment is enough. Who they are at that very moment is beautiful.
Lifestyles changes are hard. REALLY hard. Accepting that you haven’t been living the healthiest is hard to digest. We all beat ourselves up over it. But here is the truth: beating yourself up over the past is going to get you no where.
Wanting to make changes in your life? Learn these things..
1. The past is the past leave it there.
2. The choices you made yesterday are left there. Make new ones today.
3. Who you are, right now, is beautiful.
So my dear friends, make the decision today to love yourself where you are at and accept that every decision you’ve made has helped to shape you into the beautiful person you are right now. Live life in this moment and decide today to start making those better choices!
Afterall, you aren’t making lifestyle changes to be a more beautiful you. You’re making them to be a healthier you!