My Never-ending Story

Here’s a fun fact: I love learning. I love learning about new ideas, stories, people, recipes, practices, routines, places, and¬†myself…. This life is full of wonder and I hope and pray that I will keep¬†my eyes¬†and my mind open to all that I have yet to learn.

I thoroughly enjoy being a student! I want to learn and to be challenged and to grow. I become angsty and frustrated when I perceive a short window of my time spent learning, trying, and having new experiences.

As educators, we strive to instill a passion of life-long learning in our students. Well, to my teachers, my parents, my coaches, my peers, THANK YOU. Throughout my life, you have ignited a fire within! A fire which becomes restless with the status quo; a woman that constantly wants to try and learn and fail or succeed, but TRY.

Recently, I have been incredibly active in trying new things: fitness classes, holistic healing practices, eating habits. That fire that yearns to learn more about my health: physically, emotionally, and socially.

I have been trying all of these new things out of fear that I will become jaded by the same routine. I am curious about the world around me with the seemingly never-ending sights, sounds, scents and ways that this life can shape the body.

All this said, my¬†next few posts are going to be reflections¬†on learning experiences. I encourage you to join me! Try¬†out fitness¬†class that you’ve been itching to take. Make an appointment for that massage. Or, even better, let’s visit¬†a boutique¬†studio and take a class together! New restaurant in town? Let’s go! Suggestions or recommendations? I’m game.

As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life” and my goal is to write my narrative with messages of positivity, physical challenges, and a mentality to never stop trying, growing, and learning.

Who’s ready to expand upon¬†their never-ending story?

xo,

Ariana

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Accountability

Accountability (noun): the quality or state of being accountable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

Who holds you accountable? Who takes responsibility for your actions? Your choices? What I teach my students, is “YOU are in charge of you. No one is forcing you to do anything that you don’t want to. You have the power to study or read when you’re supposed to. You have the voice to suggest what foods to choose. You have the knowledge and tools to avoid drugs and peer pressure. You are in control of the choices that you make every single day, that effect your life, for better or for worse.”

This is all well and good and important to teach a young child. Hopefully, their lives  contain a type of structure, any semblance of structure. Structure is important in developing good habits. Strong practices. Positive coping and management skills. The habits that we develop in our childhood have the power to shape our futures.

But what often happens when we get older? More independent? More financially settled? We can fall out of our previously stable structure.

Falling out of our structure, our former norm, can cause topsy-turvy in our lives. We may feel chaos, anxiety, low motivation. We may feel freedom, comfort, heightened excitement. We may feel a mixture of these emotions at any moment of the day. Topsy-turvy indeed!

How can we create new habits? How can we build a new, yet sturdy and stable structure? How can we take responsibility for our actions and choices and hold ourselves accountable again?

It is important to remember that our choices are only as good as the TEAM surrounding us. As children, our parents/guardians, siblings, extended family, friends, teachers, coaches, and instructors made up our team. They were rooting for us to succeed. These wonderful people showed us the skills that we needed to build our structures and supported us in our quest to find our personal successes.

When our lives become topsy-turvy and we are open and ready and committed to regain balance, we need to call upon our team to guide us, show us, teach us, and hold us accountable for crafting our structure of The Now.

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Image by: Ronnie Gray

Putting together your team:

  1. Accept that you want to make a change (i.e. financial savings, increased fitness, dietary substitutions, spiritual realignments)
  2. Reach out to supportive friends or family members with SIMILAR interests or goals in mind
    • Your teammate/s will feel honored that you asked them for help on your journey in building your structure of The Now
    • They may ask you for help in keeping them accountable on their own, similar journey
    • You are the strongest learner when you can create and develop¬†from¬†what you know
  3. Set a SMART goal or goals and share that goal with your team
    • Remember, SMART goals are safe,¬†realistic, and timely
  4. Update your teammates with your successes, complications, set-backs
    • If chosen appropriately, your team is rooting for you no matter what
  5. Enlist professional assistance when needed
    • Seeking consultation from a financial planner may be the person you need to talk to if financial savings is what you strive for
    • Joining a gym may be the first step in reaching your fitness goals if working out at home is not the best practice for you
    • Hiring a personal trainer, nutritionist or registered dietitian, or health coach may be the professional teammate that you need to reach your health, nutrition and wellness goals
    • Have open an communication with your primary care physician before engaging in strenuous or increased physical activity and extreme diet plan if this is not already your norm

You have the power, the skills, the knowledge, the tools to make the best decisions for you and your life IN THIS MOMENT.

Lean on a friend. Recruit a spouse. Talk to a health coach.

Set goals. Work hard. Stay committed. Remain focused. Believe in your abilities. Trust in your team. Be kind to yourself.

 

Are you ready??

Yours in accountability,

Ariana xx

ENCOURAGEMENT!

Have you ever had one of those weekends (weeks? months?) when your healthy lifestyle has gone out the window?¬†You feel bloated. Your clothes don’t fit. Your energy is caput. And you are CRANKY.

How can you shake yourself out of the bad habits and back into healthy living?

Set those SMART Goals:

Weight goal – 5 pounds in 30 days? Doable.

Healthy eating goal – no cheese for 1 week? Doable.

Exercise days in a row goal – 30 minutes every other day? Doable. 30 minutes every day? Doable!

Reach your goal? Set new ones. Doable!

Grab a Partner in Health:

Having a friend or loved one working on their similar health goals as you will make it WAY EASIER to reach for the veggies, put on your sneakers, and join you at the gym. Hold each other accountable and reach those goals faster, stronger, and together.

Try something new:

Changing up your routine will make eating and exercising fun! Avoid exercise plateau by keeping your body guessing. *I highly recommend trying new exercises at studios or gyms where trained professionals can guide you safely.

Want to try being a pescatarian? Try it out! Want to see if those articles on dairy¬†intolerance¬†affect you? Try it out! Feeling sluggish and checking to see if gluten isn’t for you? Try it out!

Say Cheese:

Document your journey. In your favorite outfit, workout gear, bathing suit, take before pictures and weekly photos to SEE your commitment to yourself paying off. Now, I’m not saying you have to post your pictures for the social media world to see – if that’s your prerogative, go for it – but when you can literally see your transformation (brightening of your skin!) it can give¬†you the motivation you need¬†the¬†get that workout in, maintain¬†your healthy diet, and keep focused on your journey back to your optimal health.

BOOM.

Good luck getting back on track!

x, Ariana

 

You say you wanna ‘resolution’

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s 2016! Time for change, time to start anew, time to set goals…and achieve them!

You don’t want to be the person that a) doesn’t set a resolution or goal for yourself or b) set a super tough resolution that you end up breaking 4 days into the new year [hence the reason I’m writing this post on January 4th]

What I learned growing up, in school, in athletics, in sport psychology, in teaching and in coaching is to set SMART goals for yourself.

S – specific –¬†what exactly are you trying to achieve?

A more toned physique? A fatter savings fund? A stronger relationship with loved ones? A greater spiritual connection?  A mindful, present, and positive journey? All of the above?

Set specific resolutions in the areas of your life that you want strengthened and improved.

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Image from Picserver.org

M Рmeaningful Рwhy is this goal important to you?

When you attach emotion to your resolutions and goals, they become a “passionate want, thereby creating¬†a much higher likelihood of achieving your meaningful goal” (Tabaka, 2013).

Write out your resolution or create a vision board for your goals. The more passionate you are about your goals, the more driven you will be to achieve them.

A – action oriented – what are the steps that you’re going¬†to take to reach this goal?

Write it down! Start a gratitude journal to stay present, positive, and thankful. Keep a fitness log or calendar of your physical achievements each day and feel the pull to keep consistent with your resolution.¬†Don’t break the chain!

Pack a fitness bag to bring to work. Meal prep. Set alarms on your phone to get you off the couch and into class, mass, off your HEY NOW.

R – realistic – how do you know that you can achieve this goal?

Is your resolution a reasonable one? If your resolution is a specific number in weight loss, is it an unhealthy amount of weight to try and lose in 1 year? Have you consulted your doctor about this goal?

Did you set a goal to to travel more, but your finances or vacation days are limited?

Is your goal to organize your life, but you live in a large home with years of saved memories and paraphernalia?

Set smaller goals that work up to your ultimate resolution and you will be successful!

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Image from pixabay.com

T – timely – when do you want to achieve this goal?

Are your resolutions meant to be completed daily? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly? Calendars, logs, and journals can help keep you on track to reach your goals.

Some ideas for fun, attainable, heart-warming resolutions:

Buzzfeed’s Achievable Resolutions in 2016

Good luck, be SMART, and enjoy every moment of 2016!

Wishing you much success,

Ariana xo

Workout Anytime, Anywhere

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Image by Victor R. Ruiz

Do you frequently feel like you have “no time” to exercise? For me, it feels like the¬†“I’m too busy” bug has been running rampant…especially with the holidays looming and the sun setting far too early for me to be productive after work.¬†If you’re stuck in the same mentality as I am, it’s time to change it up!

The American Heart Association, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization recommend adults to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (like jogging or dancing) per week and participate in muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. When you break it down, these leading health and wellness organizations are recommending you exercise at the minimum 21 minutes per day.

21 minutes. That’s one sitcom before commercials! Come on Netflix and chill-ers, stop binge-watching and start moving.

What I teach¬†my students year after year, is that you don’t necessarily need to hit your recommended exercise minutes in one activity. That’s the beauty of physical activity! It’s defined as¬†“any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure”. Break it up! Five minutes here, ten minutes there, one-minute plank hold during the end credits of your latest TV kick.¬†By the end of the day, you’ll probably surprise yourself and exceed the¬†minimum 21 minutes.

Here’s where you can get creative – SAFE – but creative. Below are my top 5¬†favorite muscle-strengthening activities that I have turned into daily¬†habits…

  1. Exercises while brushing my teeth: strive for 20 reps for each side
    1. back lunges and side lunges
    2. arabesques (slow and controlled leg lifts to the back)
    3. attitudes (slow and controlled leg lifts to the front/side/back with a bent knee)
    4. wide-squat hold with side crunch
  2. Squats when you step into the restroom: strive for 10 squats before taking care of business
  3. Walking lunges when moving around the apartment: if you have a larger space, choose your most-lived in room (i.e. kitchen) and make walking lunges your go-to locomotor move
  4. Curtsy lunges when making copies: depending on the number of copies I have to make, the more I change up my movements
  5. Exercises during commercial breaks: I’m just as guilty in my television indulgence
    1. Plank holds
    2. Sit-ups
    3. Push-ups
    4. Wall sit
    5. Jump rope (aerobic, but any way I can add it to my 21 minutes!)

**When performing any exercise, be aware of your BODY PLACEMENT**

  • knee and ankle in alignment – 90 degree angle
  • shoulders and chest lifted in good posture
  • belly button scooped back toward your spine
  • hips slightly tucked under and forward
  • Parallel squats:¬†“find the chair”
  • Wide-leg squats: straight line with your upper body – shoulders-chest-hip

Alright, alright, alright. Challenge yourselves:

Simplify the word workout, move more often, and surprise yourself.

Wishing you new exercises¬†and that wonderful “second-day sore”!

xo, Ariana