Inspiring others: An Instructor’s Blog

As we move about the routine of our lives, it becomes easier to follow the daily pattern we have set up for ourselves. Even if our days are slightly different from the day before, our patterns of work are fairly stable and consistent. This can be both good and bad for us as people. We reduce stress in following a set routine but we also avoid opportunities that might allow us to stretch ourselves as people in our lives and careers.

Opportunities do not always come looking for you; you have to start actively looking for them. Perhaps you have been approached to teach a new fitness class. Of course you can prepare to do a class but what can you do differently to make this a unique class? If it’s a Yoga class, do you have music that is appropriate for the group and time frame of the class? Perhaps you might use an essential oil diffuser to add an aroma of relaxation to the class. Little things but reasons for student to want to return to your class again.

If you teach a Zumba class, do you ask about the kinds of music that the class enjoys? Depending on the audience, people react to music they can easily move to and appreciate a practiced instructor who knows how to cue well. Instructors are looked upon to lead in a way that makes the class fun for everyone. How can you make this a unique class?

Perhaps someone you work with may ask you to do a presentation or short speech. Look at this not as a problem but an opportunity to try a different approach to reaching out to people. Most successful public speakers have started in a small group setting. When you are asked to present, remember to find out the particulars such as the setting, audience, and topic. An outline will help to organize your thoughts and help you stay on topic.

Small steps move us forward out of our comfort zones into new experiences. Be open to opportunities that arise and look at your routine in a new light. Make every day an opportunity to look for new ways to be challenged.

Heat Tips

 

As Spring approaches and warmer weather makes its return, what can we do to protect ourselves from heat related illnesses while exercising outdoors? Illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke are easily preventable. Outlined below you will find some tips to keep you safe and healthy as the weather heats up.

  • Wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing – Light colors don’t trap heat from the sun’s rays like darker colors do, and wearing clothes that move and breathe allows heat to escape through your skin.
  • Stay hydrated – You’ve got to drink LOTS of fluids, to replace those you lose sweating. Drinking 8 oz of water every 15 minutes while exercising is recommended in a heated environment.
  • Wear a hat and/or sunscreen – Makes sense, right? Just by reducing the amount of sun that reaches your skin, you keep yourself cooler. And if you’ve ever had a bad sunburn, you know it only makes the heat feel hotter. On top of the fact that you’ll be reducing your risk of skin cancer. Added perk!
  • Seek out shade – Just avoid being directly in the sun if at all possible. The air temperature will feel as much as 15 degrees cooler in the shade.
  • Allow time for your body to acclimate to the heat – It can take as long as 2 weeks for your body to completely acclimate to exercising in a heated environment. Consider reducing your exercise intensity and duration if you are just beginning to exercise in the warmer temperatures.

Above all, just listen to your body. If you start to feel any symptoms of nausea, dizziness, fatigue and/or shortness of breath, stop exercising immediately and ask for help. If recognized early enough, moving to a cooled area and drinking water will usually get rid of any symptoms of heat illness. Happy exercising everybody! Stay safe out there!

-by Savannah Swafford, METFitness Coordinator

Finding Ways to Love Yourself

hearmindValentine’s Day is a time of year when we show our love and gratitude to the special people in our lives. We shower our loved ones with shows of affection, not only on this holiday, but also in our daily lives year round. We all want to make others feel loved and admired, but what about ourselves? In order to serve those around us in the most meaningful way, self-love is essential.

Many people that consciously embark on a self-love journey are inspired to do so by someone else in their life. Love for yourself lives not only in our minds, but also in every cell of our bodies. Nurturing yourself, mind and body, has been undeniably linked with a longer, healthier, and happier life.

One of the primary ways to cultivate self-love is through exercise. Of course exercise makes you feel good for the superficial reasons – when you look good, you feel good – but there’s so much more to it than that. We’ve all heard it; exercise releases endorphins. These are beautiful little chemicals that your brain pumps out to make you feel good. Improved self-esteem is a well-know benefit of regular physical activity. Exercising, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body. So, even on those low energy days, just show up. If you can just show up to that class or the gym, the second you start moving, your brain will start to reward you. And that in turn will make you want to replicate the feeling. And when you are truly happy, high on life, your amazing mood will positively affect others.

Meditation is another way to really check in with yourself and nurture your mental and emotional health. Many extremely successful people have shared that meditation has absolutely been a key part of their success. Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Sting – these people have testified to the value of daily meditation and even admit that some of their best ideas came to them during this time of introspection. It’s like a daily cleaning for your mind.

In the age of social media, we are constantly being bombarded by everyone else’s thoughts and opinions. Meditation allows us to hear ourselves, and only ourselves, and the insight and wisdom that can come from just paying attention in the moment will surprise you. Even if you feel like you have no idea how to start, you can find a plethora of free, guided, meditation videos online. Just pick one and see what happens. Meditation is like any other type of exercise – just focused on your brain. It does require practice and patience. You don’t expect the rest of your body to change overnight, so don’t expect your brain to learn to meditate perfectly either. But if you stick with it, the rewards can be very satisfying.

So just remember, when you’re sending out love and gratitude to the people in your life, add yourself to that list. Sometimes being the best version of ourselves is the best gift we can give to others.

-by Savannah Swafford, METFitness Coordinator

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Here’s to a Healthier New You!

 

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2017 is upon us, and that means another round of New Year’s resolutions. According to Nielsen data, 69% of Americans made a health or fitness related resolution in 2015. The problem is that 80% of those people had given up on those healthy resolutions by the second week of February. So the question is, what can we all do to stay motivated? How can we keep up our will power to make healthy lifestyle changes when there are temptations and obstacles all around?

It may sound cheesy, but positive thinking is a very powerful thing. Because health and fitness have to do with our bodies, it’s a common problem that we focus only on the body. But our body can only do what our MIND tells it to do. For many people there comes a time in their fitness program when things get harder, and then come the two words that can stall any new venture – “I can’t.” These moments are very real, but you are so much stronger than that little negative voice in your head. Try to turn negative thoughts into positive affirmations. Instead of saying “I can’t do that” try saying “I’m going to learn how to do that.” I’m sure there are already many ways in which you choose to stay positive without even realizing it; like holding out hope that a parking space will open up close to the front door, or that you’ll get those concert tickets at a better price. Those are positive thoughts, and you’re thinking them because you really want that parking spot or those concert tickets. I personally love to start my day by listing 3 things I’m grateful for in the morning when I make coffee, just to get the positivity flowing. I also like to write myself notes like “be kind to yourself” or “you got this!” and stick them in random pockets in bags and jackets for me to find later. You’d be surprised how often those notes turn up RIGHT when they’re needed most.

The other thing absolutely necessary to accomplish your 2017 fitness goals? Patience. In a world full of instant gratification, the first thing we should all do is become VERY comfortable with the fact that our bodies will not change overnight. One of my favorite fitness sayings is “in 2 weeks you’ll feel it, in 4 weeks you’ll see it, and in 8 weeks everyone else will start to see it.” The understanding that quality and real change take time is the little voice you should have in your head, and that voice will also help keep the negativity at bay. Having patience for your changing body is a form of positivity, basically reminding you to be nice to yourself.  So if you really want to stick to your 2017 resolution, be positive and tell yourself that you WILL reach your goals, with healthy habits and exercise that works best for you. Because we are all unique, make the choices that work for your body and mind to achieve your goal – a healthier you.

So now, here’s your first little bit of pre 2017 motivation – YOU CAN DO IT!!! You are everything you need to lead a healthy lifestyle, and you deserve it. Happy New Year everybody! Make 2017 a good one!

-by Savannah Swafford, METFitness Coordinator

Happy Holidays!

The holidays are here and between Thanksgiving and Christmas we are all celebrating and eating and drinking perhaps a little more than we should.

It is hard to stay focused on maintaining our healthy eating habits when treats are all around us. Or friends and family members are all urging us to let go and celebrate. And we should but we can celebrate the season without letting go of our goals for ourselves.

One of the ways we can do this is by continuing to stay with our healthy eating habits as much as possible. If we take a day to eat more sweets than usual, we should not give up, but start every day with a positive approach to eat healthy again. Drinking is also part of our celebratory approach to the holidays but again, best not to overdo and regret it the next day.

One way to remind us to stay healthy and help make us mindful of our daily choices is to continue our daily patterns of exercising. Walking or running, cycling, taking a Zumba class, or working out at a gym are all ways that we remind ourselves to take care of our bodies. This healthy pattern, continuing throughout the holiday season, can keep us more aware of our daily choices for nutrition as well as exercise.

So let us celebrate and join in the holiday spirit but keep our eyes also on our personal goals to live a healthy and happy lifestyle.

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Dance for the Cure!

 

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October signals the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month and we at METFitness love to help in hosting Zumbathons in different communities.

Our instructors all volunteer their time to come together and plan a variety of exciting dance routines that keeps the community dancing for a good cause.

This year we were happy to host a Zumbathon at the Eagle Creek Community in Lake Nona on October 26th.

People in the community came out to support the cause of raising awareness about breast cancer by dancing together with their friends and neighbors and donating what they could.

The Zumbathon is free to all who want to dance for the cause and have a great time. METFitness donates all the supplies and resources for the event. Even METFitness’ own instructors donate their time to raise awareness and host the event, keeping none of the proceeds in order to make sure we donate the most we can. 100% of  all donations are given to the Susan G. Komen Cancer Research Foundation with each event hosted, including our event that was held yesterday.

If you are interested in hosting a Zumbathon in 2017 for Breast Cancer Awareness, or any other important cause, please contact us on our web page at  metfitnessflorida.com .

 

Yoga Journal Live! – More than a conference.

 

 

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Yoga Journal Live! at Estes Park, CO

Whether it is to gain more experience and knowledge, personal or professional growth, explore new ideas or programs that are available, or to simply get away from the norm with some other intentions in mind, there are plenty of reasons to attend a conference or convention.

If you are able to go to a conference close to home and still have the opportunity to stay on site for a day or two, it is definitely something to try once in a while. Immersing yourself in the learning environment 100% can help you connect with other participants, allow time for personal reflection and help you stay committed to your sessions, truly getting the most out of the conference as a whole.If you are close enough to commute, it’s a great idea to save money. But keep in mind you may be less inclined to attend the whole conference towards the end if it is a far drive.

I recently attended Yoga Journal Live in Estes Park, a fun conference to attend. Some of the sessions available to attendees were created with nature in mind to compliment our surroundings on site, with outdoors hikes, outdoor meditation and walks with nature. Yoga Journal definitely chooses their conference locations and activities with Yogis in mind so that participants can take advantage of all the areas have to offer.

The next Yoga Journal conference, right here in South Florida, will have sessions like Stand Up Paddle Yoga and Beach Yoga to benefit from some of the beautiful surroundings Hollywood, Florida offers! The conference also goes above and beyond to offer extra events to get attendees involved. With a concert, film debut and more going on all throughout the weekend in Estes Park – there is no time to waste while I was there!

The Estes Park, CO conference I attended was very well-organized. Highlighting the conference was a group of very different and unique instructors and speakers.                         I came to learn more about Yoga and the speakers provided insights applicable to both Yoga students and teachers. This information helped all of us to benefit our personal practice and look at it in a new light. We were introduced to a variety of methods, allowing Yogis to choose the path for their teaching and practice that most authentically resounds with them. I came away from the conference refreshed and enthusiastic about my teaching skills and my personal practice. I am looking forward to the Florida Yoga Journal Live event November 11-14th!