Turino Fitness

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Dancing with the Devil

There’s this amazing woman and great writer – her name is Wendy and her blog is called Athletic Monkey.  Check her out. She wrote this incredible post that just made me well up.  It’s called The Bucket List. Thanks Wendy for sharing your story, inspiring others, and giving me the courage to write my story. Lately, I’ve had the devil scratching at the door a little more loudly because…you know…I’m older, do NOT have a perfect body, and am teaching fitness classes to people who may (or may not) look at me closely and may (or may not) judge what they see. It’s hard to keep the voices from screaming and taking over…so…here we go.  My dance with the devil:

My whole life I didn’t have to think about weight – I was tall and naturally thin.  And yet it was always swirling around me.  “You’re so thin!”  My tongue-in-cheek mom, “Skinny bitch.”  So, though I didn’t have to ‘think’ about it, I was always dealing with people’s perceptions of my weight.  My mom, like so many women, struggled with her weight, self-image, and would try various diets and exercise.  But our family life was (understatement here) challenging and she and I would self soothe over some potato chips – sour cream and onion for her….barbecue for me.  (More on that later…)

Around the time I was 40, I put on some weight…what?  Now, all of the messages that I’d received clearly about how important it was to be thin started banging loudly like a gong.  Must.lose.weight.  Now you add to that that I had just had kids and felt all the weird pressure that new moms feel to ‘get back into your pre-baby pants’ and you have a person whooooooo signs up for a marathon while pregnant with her youngest daughter for 18 months later. (insert headshake here…)

But the bite wasn’t venomous yet.

The poison came when I got my fitness certification.  “Well, I have to be super fit and lean or people won’t take me seriously or want to work with me.”  Combine training for a half Ironman with some very.clean.eating and you have a very thin Sarah.  I wasn’t ‘trying’ per se.  But the day I went to get some new jeans and was a size 4 or size 6 … and I’m 5’ 9 ½”  mmmm perhaps I’d lost some weight.

I WAS DELIGHTED.  Look at me.  Look how fit I am.  Look how thin I am.  Yessssss.  Everyone, “You look GREAT!”  “You are SO thin!”  “You look AH-MAZING!”

But it was at the expense of something really important…balance and my mental health.  I wouldn’t let anything pass my lips that was contraindicated.  I wouldn’t drink any alcohol during the week.  I exercised all the time.  I’d slipped off the edge of wellness.

Fall came.  My events were done.  I fell into a funk…nee depression.  I started comfort eating.  I started self-loathing.  I started feeling like a loser because I couldn’t control myself or my urges.  I drank wine and ate bag after bag of barbecue potato chips in front of the television set.

I was a TRAINER what was WRONG WITH ME?  What a LOOOOOSER.

I gained back the weight.  All of it.  And maybe then some.

I looked up in the spring and was freaked out.  It was shorts weather!  I was going to be teaching people soon.  I HAD TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!!

It was around this time that I realized that I was dipping my toe into something dangerous…something powerfully addictive…something that felt sticky and gross.

I read a book that changed my whole self – inside and out.  It was called “Women, Food & God” by Geneen Roth.  From that moment forward, I tried really hard to slay my dragons.  I try every day, to be in touch with myself and eat accordingly and give myself what I need.  I also try to model listening to my body for my girls.  Because if you tune in, it tells you when you’re hungry and when you’re full.  If you listen, you can tell when you are calling out for comfort…instead of potato chips.

But it’s hard work.  And as a 46 year old mom of two young girls, it is a worthy battle for me and for them.  And I will stand up for my beautiful self in the face of all of the bullshit society and marketers shovel every.damn.day.  Because I’m worthy.  My health (mental and physical) and wellness are worth it.  And that wellness is about being ABLE TO MOVE.  It’s about BEING DURABLE.  It’s about feeling STRONG AND ABLE.  It’s not about the size of my damn pants.

Peace.  Sarah

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Tongue Scraping

So you wouldn’t think that scraping my tongue in the morning would have a component of spirituality to it would you…?  I said tongue scraping in my class today and was met with a hilarious mix of curled noses, incredulity and raised eyebrows.

They’re not alone.

On Saturday at Yoga Teacher Training, our teacher Molly from Yoga North demonstrated tongue scraping and…wait for it…using a neti pot for the class.  Fantastic.  I have a huge smile on my face thinking of it because the faces around the room (mine included) were the same as the faces in mine.  Except I may have turned my head away during the neti pot part because I get gaggy at boogers.

Ok so why, you may ask, am I blogging about Tongue Scraping and how could it possibly be a spiritual act??  Bear with me.

One of the legs of the table of yoga is Ayurvedics.  Supporting the body, treating it with the best care, so that you can do your best work serving the world with your gifts.  And one of the suggested practices of Ayurvedics?  Tongue Scraping.

It sounds so violent.  But truly – it isn’t.  You use this nifty little tool – mine’s copper.

Nifty Tongue Scraper!

Nifty Tongue Scraper!

And just kind of slide it down your tongue after you wake up.  The metal ‘scrapes’ off the gunk that accumulates in your mouth as you sleep.  Why?  Well how Molly said it was this, “Your body is getting rid of the gunk and gets it to the tongue, you’re just helping move it off the tongue and out of the body.”

The Chopra website has many things to say about it, but here’s a good one,

“Scraping the tongue daily removes any build-up on the tongue, which, if left untreated, can lead to bad breath and may house a significant number of bacteria. This simple practice is a direct way of removing Ama from your physiology. In Ayurveda, Ama refers to any accumulation of toxic residue in the mind-body. This can result from improper eating, poor digestion, or a reflection of an imbalance somewhere in the gastrointestinal system.”

Umm…ok.  I’m in.

I’m on Day 2.

And here’s what I want to say.  It’s not the act of tongue-scraping itself that is for me a spiritual act.  It’s that I’m doing something that CARES FOR MY BODY that is a spiritual act.  I am taking a minute out of my day to care for my beautiful self.  Just one minute.  Why?  So that I can support my body as I do my work, as I live and love.

Tongue Scraping may not be your thing.  And that’s cool.  But what is one thing that you can do to support your body as you live, serve, work, love and be in the world?  What’s one thing that you can do every day – without it seeming like a drag?  But a loving act that you can add in gently?

Here are some suggestions if you can’t come up with anything:

*Warm glass of water in the morning with a capful of lemon juice or a squeeze of fresh lemon.

*Lotion after your bath/shower.

*Taking a minute after you wake up – ONE MINUTE – to throw some gratitude around for this cool life you have.

*Stretch after you get out of bed.

*Go for a leisurely walk when you get home from work.

*Take some deep breaths throughout your day.

*Eat more vegetables.

*Drink more water.

*Smile at yourself in the mirror.

Or…you could tongue scrape!  haha!  If you’re interested, I got mine through Yoga North’s Online Store.  Click the ‘Products’ button after you link in.

Much peace to you on your journey and may it be filled with joy, love and peace.

Namaste,

Sarah


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Self Love Month – Hypnosis

Tell me – how has your Self Love Month been going?  Have you treated yourself to some kindness and care?  I hope so.  It’s so easy in the hub-bub of everyday life to neglect to give ourselves even the smallest kindnesses.  We forget.  We get lost in the shuffle.  And all of a sudden, three months have passed by and you have neglected taking care of your beautiful self.

This month, we have featured some amazing healers that I work with at Tula Yoga & Wellness in Saint Paul, MN.  Why?  Because they are so special and loving and I wanted to share them with you.  Wherever you are, seek out some of the modalities that we featured here and treat yourself.

This week, I am focusing my loving eye on Stacy Dunn.  Besides being an incredible massage therapist (her myofascial work makes my body sing), Stacy is a hypnotherapist.  She is the first to say that her work isn’t aversion therapy nor will she make you cluck like a chicken (unless you’d like that I suppose.)  But what she DOES do is help with stress, choosing healthy eats, avoiding things that harm you like smoking and alcohol, and choosing calm. This is Stacy

selflovestacy

Stacy worked with a group of my clients to help with mindful eating and choosing healthy foods in healthy portions.  And it was wonderful.  What I love about Stacy is that it is all about Self Love.  She creates a beautiful situation in your mind that you WANT to uphold and attain.  She helps you to realize that the calm and centered feeling you feel when working with her, is attainable and maintainable in your life.

Here’s what she has to say:

Sarah:  What is hypnosis?

Stacy:  Hypnosis is a deeply absorbed state of focused relaxation.   This state of absorption is one that you achieve everyday.  If you’ve ever driven somewhere and wondered how you got there, you have experienced this state.  Hypnosis is the ability of your unconscious mind to convince or unconvince yourself of anything.

Sarah:  Are people in control of themselves during the session?

Stacy:  You are completely in control during a session.  You will not do anything under hypnosis that you wouldn’t otherwise do.  Unlike the unfortunate “stage show”image of hypnosis, sessions are very peaceful.

Sarah:  Can anyone be hypnotized?

Stacy:  Everyone can be hypnotized, if they are willing.  Like most things, practice can improve your self-hypnosis skills.

Sarah:  What is a session like?

Stacy:  Sessions use comfortable zero gravity chairs.  The beginning of each session is a gentle, peaceful guided relaxation to help you achieve a calm and relaxed state.  Once in this state, suggestions, metaphors, and images area all used to help you achieve your personal goals.

Sarah:  Who can benefit?

Stacy:  Everyone can benefit.  Hypnosis has been clinically documented to relieve stress which can contribute to most medical conditions.  For example, in a study on teeth grinding, which is significantly related to stress, 100% of participants experienced reduced grinding as shown on EMGs.  A study on hot flashes showed almost ¾ of participants reduced their hot flashes.  Hypnosis can help you unconvince yourself of harmful beliefs and convince you of beliefs that help you.  I focus on easy relaxation skills that can be used in everyday life as a part of every session and using self-kindness as a gateway to achieving your personal goals.  These skills can have a broad positive effect on many areas of your life.

Sarah:  Why did hypnosis call to you as a healing modality?

Stacy:  I became interested in hypnosis after I brought my daughter for 3 sessions.  She responded easily and painlessly.  I felt that hypnosis was a skill that is so painless, helpful and strengthening that it was underutilized.  Several years later, I decided to attend a training and really found my niche when I started incorporating self-kindness as a gateway for all behavior changes.

My personal experience with hypnosis.  I went to Stacy because I was irritated that I used wine as a crutch in awkward family and social situations.  I felt that I wanted to not have ANY crutches and be able to be peaceful and centered and at ease in all situations…even ones that make me feel really uncomfortable.  So – I went to Stacy.  And we recorded the session and I did the work and listened at home to the sessions for 30 days, as she recommended.  Result?  Frankly, I know it’s crazy – but I’m not really interested in drinking anymore.  It doesn’t feel like something I really want or need to do.  I can’t figure out the ‘why’ of doing it…so I just…don’t.

Think on it – if there is something pulling you off of your center, or if you have never even FOUND your center, or if you lose your temper, or if you eat for comfort, or if you wish you could make a different choice in various situations…consider it.  It was incredibly peaceful and I really just could listen to Stacy all day – I think she should have her own Pandora station.  You can schedule with her by clicking here (for MASSAGE TOO!)

Much peace to you on your journey.

S


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It’s all going south.

I like it when three completely different things present themselves to you as gifts from the Universe and they all illustrate the same thing in different ways.

First thing – A conversation with my neighbor Joan. We were talking about our parents getting older and how difficult that is for us to see. For each of us the takeaway was to MOVE AS MUCH AS WE CAN, WHILE WE CAN.

Second thing – I’m at the gym in the changing room and the beautiful women of the Water Aerobics are drying off and naked. And most of them are senior citizens. They are laughing and seemingly at home and content in their bodies. They are beautiful. They are fit. I admire them. I want to be like them when I grow up.

Third thing – a woman came to my class. Lovely, strong, full of life. She is living with Multiple Sclerosis. And when I asked the class to run down a hill, she wept. She wept because she used to be able to run down hills, and now she can’t. Now, with a determined look on her face, she concentrates on her balance and she walks down that hill. This woman was a runner, a mountain climber, a MOVER. She grieves the loss of ability in her body, and yet pushes herself to do her very best in what she CAN do.

We spend a lot of energy….wait, no, we WASTE a lot of energy disliking our bodies and wishing that they were different. So much energy wasted despising, wishing, working, coveting, loathing….

And here’s the deal people. It’s all going south. For each and every one of us eventually….it’s all going south. Eventually the skin sags around the muscle and things loosen up. Unless you are going to get a body lift (is there even such a thing?) it’s coming for all of us…

So when are we going to love ourselves? Love this shell that we’ve been given that holds our beautiful selves? Take care of it, move it, stretch it…but moreover – be grateful that we CAN do what we do.

If we take a wider view of our beautiful selves…not so myopic on our bellies, butts, jiggly arms, sagging jowels and zoomed out a bit. Maybe we could see how lovely we are as a whole. How nice it is to be right where we are…right here, right now.

Love the body you’re in. It’s part of wellness. Let go of the blaming, shaming, self-disgust, frustration. Embrace love, admiration, celebration and delight.

Please. And please stop letting marketing and sales geniuses define what beautiful is. It’s crap. Healthy? Yes. Eating well because it contributes to your wellness? Yes. Moving because it makes you feel good inside and out? Yes. But dieting yourself into submission because people say that’s what size you ‘should’ be? No. Working out obsessively because you want to look like xyz? No.

It’s all going south people.

Until then. Love your beautiful selves. Be grateful. Delight in yourself. Focus on health and wellness. Spread love around to others….and to yourself.

Peace,
Sarah


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Why Strength Train? A manifesto…

“Muscle is metabolically active tissue that is highly responsive to the stimuli of progressive resistance exercise. With appropriate training, muscles grow and become stronger; without appropriate training, muscles diminish and become weaker.” –American Council on Exercise

I have so many people that ask me about how to lose weight. And even though my message is about loving yourself and embracing yourself wherever you are on your wellness journey, I get it. I think you can love yourself and still want to be healthier and want to make changes.

The problem is there’s a lot of shaming stuff out there. Stuff that makes you feel less than. Especially about nutrition. I’m not going to talk about that today. But I will say this – if you can just be as consistent as possible with eating really good, really whole food in healthy amounts. That would probably be all you’d need to get you where you want to be. In addition, if you are eating when you aren’t hungry, start journaling and figure out what emotions trigger you to use food for comfort. Then, you can start really giving yourself what you need emotionally instead of turning to food…which doesn’t really comfort you. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth. Or, check out her website at www.geneenroth.com.

Ok I digress. So after the food thing can get looked at with some tenderness and care, the next thing is STRENGTH TRAINING. Yeppers – it’s time to GET STRONG.

And here’s why – (thank you American Council on Exercise for giving me some fantastic words around all of this) READ THE WHOLE LIST…IT WILL BLOW YOUR EVER-LOVIN’ MIND.

*Feeling STRONG. Important…no?

*A decrease in depression.

*Improved posture.

*Improved tensile strength in tendons and ligaments.

Improved bone mineral density which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

*Injury prevention. – Muscles serve as shock absorbers and balancing agents. Balanced muscle development reduces the risk of overuse injuries that result when one muscle group is strong and the opposing muscle group is weak.

*Raised resting metabolic rate. Even during sleep, resting skeletal muscles are responsible for more than 25% of the body’s calorie use. More muscle = higher metabolic rate. In a matter of WEEKS you can improve your resting metabolic rate.

*Improves metabolism. – After a hard workout – you can raise your metabolic rate by 7-8% for 3 DAYS.

*Results in more calories burned on a daily basis.

*Raised lean muscle mass looks pretty good on a body – enhanced self confidence.

*Improved body composition, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

*Lowers resting blood pressure.

*Improves blood lipid profiles.

*Facilitates movement of food and waste through gastrointestinal system. Four months of basic resistance exercise increases GI transit speed by 56% in older men!! Why is this important? May reduce risk of colon cancer!!

*Stronger muscles = reduction or disappearance in low back pain.

*Reduced pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

*Improved functional ability in older adults – Also in one study, older adults who performed 6 months of circuit training experienced positive adaptations in 179 GENES associated with age and exercise, giving their muscles mitochondrial characteristics similar to those of young adults.

Taken together…these benefits enhance the quality of life and lower the risk of premature all-cause mortality.

Now…let’s talk about aging.

Age alert…Physical capacity decreases dramatically with age in non-strength training adults due to an average 5-pound per decade loss of muscle tissue. You want to maintain your physical capacity and performance? Make strength training a regular part of your life.

BUT GUESS WHAT ELSE – that 5-pound per decade muscle loss leads to a 3% per decade reduction in your resting metabolic rate. That reduction = weight gain. When less energy is required for daily metabolic function, the calories that were previously used by muscle tissue (that has since atrophied due to disuse) are stored as fat.

    BOOM.

Everyone wonders why they gain weight as they get older…this is why. “But I’m not eating any differently”…you don’t need to! Your reduction in muscle is doing the trick.

So, if you’re a person who grew up in the 80’s…we were told cardio, cardio, cardio. For the good of your heart, you bet! Get some cardio exercise in a way that pleases you. But for the love of all things good and right in the world…STRENGTH TRAIN.

And before you go all crazy and start doing plyo pushups or go buy some crazy DVD’s…I’d like to urge you to visit your nearest trainer or a gym with trainers. Why? Because then you can learn about form. Trainers can help you learn how to do strength exercises properly. Most trainers are taught to ‘straighten before you strengthen’ and that simply means – we’ll look for postural deviations and weaknesses and help you correct those before adding load to your work. This helps prevent injury.

Ok. Woohoo! Get after it. 
Peace,
Sarah


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Negative Self Talk

Today my daughter said something like, “ACK I almost forgot my water bottle!” then she whacked her head and then said, “that would have been dumb of me.”

Quicker than quick, my husband says to her, “Be careful with that kind of talk Ava.” They proceeded to have a discussion about self talk and how powerful it is.

I’ve been wrestling with some negative self talk lately. I have a big exam coming up and over the course of the past six months or so – these are the statements that have swirled around me – in my head, out of my mouth, around and around…

“I’m not a good test taker.”
“I have a lot of anxiety around test taking”
“I’m not good at math”
“It seems like I can’t remember ANYTHING”

Hm.

Self talk. How does the saying go? “Be careful with self talk – it’s a conversation with the Universe.”

I find it ironic that I teach this to my clients, to my children, and yet this ONE BIG RED PAINFUL SCARY SPOT brings my self talk back down to self defeating, self flagellation, self doubt.

So for the past two weeks or so I’ve been trying to practice what I preach.

I can.
I am.
I will.

Words that I apparently need tattooed on my body so that I can remember them better.

I can.
I am.
I will.

No negatives, just positives.

I can pass this test. I can do this. I can do anything.
I am brilliant. I am capable. I am smart. I am great at retaining and recalling information.
I will be confident and calm while taking this test. I will rock this test. I will pass this test.

What are you telling yourself today? What words are you telling yourself that are dragging you down? Making you feel less than? What beliefs do you have about yourself that aren’t REAL, but you keep telling yourself the words and therefore reinforcing the belief?

Enough now.

Words are powerful. And they can change your reality.

So – take a listen. And then, replace the negative self talk with something good. Even if it seems absurd. Or unrealistic.

(Believe me…it was really difficult for me to type ‘I am brilliant’…)

And keep replacing them…until you’re not saying them anymore. Because you’re worth it. And you’re deserving. And you need to be your own advocate.

I am.
I can.
I will.

Peace,
Sarah


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The House with Four Rooms

Take a ride if you will with me in the wayyyback machine – back to 1988. AAAAHHH! I was in college and besides having larger than normal hair, I was balancing 3-4 jobs, going to school full time and… searching for something.

It took me a good 25 years to find it, but what happened on a particular day in 1988 stuck with me.

I lived in a house with many young women and, as you can imagine, there were many boys coming and going from this house.

One of these boys, threw me a lifechanger.

I was 19 years old, and he threw me something that has hung with me for all this time. I don’t remember who he was, or if he was there with me or a roommate. I don’t remember his name or any details except for what he told me.

What he said was, “Sarah – a human is like a house made up of four rooms. Physical. Emotional. Intellectual. Spiritual. And those rooms must be aired out each day.”

Umm….. YES. YES. YES.

Yes.

We are like houses made up of four rooms:

Physical – Get out and move your body in a way that pleases you each day. Delight in the complex, amazing, beautiful you. Stretch. Walk. Hug. Move.

Emotional – Share of your beautiful self with others and open yourself to receiving the gift of others. Share air. Share thoughts. Share time. Share your gifts. Love freely.

Intellectual – Read things that challenge you, inspire you, teach you. Try new things. Go new places. Learn about different people, different cultures. Travel. Eat different food. Talk to people about things that make you think. Ask questions. Be a lifelong learner.

Spiritual – Connect with the Divine in a way that makes sense to you and resonates with you. Feel the deep connection with each other and with the collective. Open yourself up to the big mystery – LOVE. Quiet your mind so that you can feel it, hear it, and be one with it.

And all of these rooms need to be opened up and aired out every day. For balance. For harmony. For connection. For wholeness.

So – dear, sweet boy whose face I don’t remember, name I don’t remember, reason we were having this deep conversation in my rental house on Wright St. in Marquette, Michigan circa 1988 that I don’t remember…

Thank you. Thank you for teaching me something that I’ve tried to honor as best as I could, all of my life. I hope others will benefit from your wisdom as much as I did.

Peace,
Sarah