Guest Post: Burning Out is Not an Option

The bright lights lured me here to make a name for myself. I wanted to make it big and what better place than New York City. I did what most people do when starting a new career; I went the safe route and joined a big health and fitness club.

Joe

 

While I enjoyed the comforts of working for a company, I have always had the desire to start my own business. With that dream I took the leap and I started my own personal training business. I left the comfort of the big brother and went out on my own. It was cool, it was exhilarating, and it was scary!

It was great at first, the money was piling in, I was my own boss, and I was making a name for myself.  The more money I made the more work I took on and before I knew it I was exhausted. Soon after I started I was completely burnt out. Trying to do so much was killing me, or to be less dramatic it was aging me. I started to look like a vampire with bags under my eyes. I had to fix this. How could I be helping people better their lives while neglecting my own? I was making people happy and healthy but I was looking and feeling like crap!

The solution was to take care of myself first so I can take care of others. What did I do? I didn’t have time to go to the Himalayas and hang with Buddhist monks, however, I made the time to sit quietly, plan, relax, breathe and have fun.

Here is my routine to success (or sanity) 

  • Start the day with YOU

Scarfing down breakfast while responding to emails and rushing out of the house is so unproductive. Instead, wake up a little earlier and give yourself time to jumpstart the day. During this time don’t allow emails, texts, social media, or any other distractions. This time is solely about you and your thoughts.

  • Write it out and give gratitude

While sipping my coffee I write down all my thoughts and worries. This might seem daunting but writing down your worries actually makes them seem more manageable. This process is a great form of release and most times it helps you come up with a solution. After I am done I write a short gratitude entry. This includes everything I am happy or grateful for. Seriously folks, this really changes your attitude. This is so therapeutic and has changed my life forever.  When you try this you will be forever grateful. (see what I did there?)

  • Plan, plan and plan again

Planning everything in a business is a must. After your morning notes take time to look at your schedule for the day. Fail to plan and plan to fail kind of thing. This will help resolve conflicts and organize your day. I do this with my personal life and business since they always overlap. I plan my free time. This might sound silly but if I have learned anything from being a workaholic it is that you have to PLAN TO HAVE FUN.

  • Take the day off

There will be days that your body or mind just needs a break. Listen to your body. You’re a business owner and you will always have work to do, its inevitable. Your task list isn’t going anywhere but there are times when you are running on empty and need to recharge. When I am feeling like I am getting run down I clear my day. I rather sleep and rest a day then be sick for an entire week. Take the time for yourself when you need it.

  • Practice what you preach

We like telling our clients to get their rest, stay hydrated, eat healthy, sleep 8 hours a night, and exercise regularly but it is astonishing how many health practitioners don’t take their own advice. My health and wellness is my priority and it should be yours. My energy and focus have been amazing since I make sure my meals are healthy, my sleep is adequate and I am moving and recovering daily. Practice what you preach.

  • Hard Stop—“Work Hours” 

This is something I have been culminating over the years. I have an end of the workday hard stop. Usually it’s at 7pm and sometimes 9pm if there is a particular time sensitive project I am working on. I stop, put my phone away and just unwind. I have employees, customers, friends, and colleagues that all know that I do not respond to emails or phone calls after 7 pm. Once you set those boundaries your quality of life will improve dramatically. Put your mobile device in the other room, turn off alerts, and unplug from the matrix. Spend time with a loved one, even if that loved one is you. If you respect your time so will everyone else.

These are some of the tools and practices that have given me sanity through the craziest of times. We are entrepreneurs, employers, leaders, and coaches. We need to take action in our own lives so we can lead by example. Learn to take care of your health and well-being so everything else can follow. Give yourself as much as you do to your business and clients.

 

 

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Joe Barbagallo is the owner of Joe Barbagallo Fitness training systems; a New York City based coaching service that focuses on fat loss, performance, and strength. His clients include professional athletes, actors, models, and mixed martial artists. Joe also is the co-owner of the film production company Planet Nerd Rage Productions. He is currently in production working with his comic book idol Larry Hama of GI Joe shooting their latest film “Ghost Source Zero!”

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Guest Post: Pilates is Optional

Oh hey! Pilates is Optional. Ways I Make Myself Indispensable to My Business and Students

The author, Anula doing kneeling side kicks

The author, Anula doing kneeling side kicks

My mother always told me: "make yourself indispensable". She had a lot more motherly advice like "don't wear a shirt with a stain" or "its never too late to write a Thank You note", but being indispensable stuck with me with me over the years.

I came to Pilates from the Art world where fashion is fickle and a lowly assistant or a mega star can be replaced at a moment's notice. Its the typical NYC high anxiety, cut throat, competition one would find in any field. Lots of big fish in a small pond. The Pilates landscape can feel that way sometimes. But unlike opening a gallery in Chelsea opening a studio or working for one is more about knowing who you are and sticking to it. After all: teaching others to move well never goes out of style.

Here are some ways, in my opinion, to make sure I can't be easily replaced.

  • Remember: Pilates is optional!

There are millions of people who have lived full and rewarding lives without ever doing the Hundred not even once. So when someone comes to me, an "expert" on movement, I owe them something: honesty. Not only can clients go to dozens of other studios they can go to dozens of other fitness modalities (spinning, under water spinning, just jumping up and down in their living room...). Why am I stating the obvious? because even though I do believe Pilates can be for everyone, I, ME personally, am not. I am never afraid to tell a student who isn't "buying" the Method that seeing me is optional. I also don't like to miss represent my skill set. I am not a healer. I often say "sometimes Pilates will help with pain or discomfort and sometimes it won't" and that's OK.

  • Friendship Re-Defined

Am I friends with all my students? It feels that way sometimes. I check in periodically and ask: did I leave that session totally drained or did I leave rejuvenated and ready for the next? A draining dynamic can be "deadly". You know that friend who shows up and sucks all your energy and leaves? Yeah... No. If boundaries got blurred I am not afraid to re-set them. I don't shy away from asking my client to remind me of their goals or re-define those goals together as we go. That usually brings derailed sessions back on track. Same with personal friendships that may have lost their thread. Are we friends because we are helping each other grow or are we friends because we can't remember a time where we weren't? I learn something new from my students every day and I try to make sure they know that. No one likes to be taken for granted.

  • Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself - in group class

We all have off days and off classes. But overall, seeing me isn't a chore, teaching can't be either. For example: when an instructor walks into a group class and announces its their tenth class of the day and they are beat I kinda want to leave. The odds of me returning are slim even if the class was great. I try to watch why I say and the tone I use. I have a sarcastic personality which sometimes does not translate to all students especially in a group setting. But being bland isn't the answer either. Not everyone is going to "get" me so I try to be myself to a point. I am the first to admit sometimes I cross that point and am maybe too cheeky. Its good to remember that there is a section of the population who will go to any class because it fits their schedule and then there are those who make a special trip to MY class. 80/20 rule applies here. 80% be myself. 20% try to be normal.

  • The Rock Star Effect (you win some you lose some but try to win some)

The last and most important point: if my students do not leave classes/sessions feeling like rock stars I should have my Pilates badge taken away. I want to set people up for success however we decide to define it. If I don't hear the words "I feel so much better!" at the end of an hour, at least most of the time, I lost. I don't know how all instructors operate but I find myself walking down the street thinking of my students and what they came to me with. Fitness goals, aches and pains, serious injuries, pregnancies... all that "stuff". My students need someone to really hear them. That means knowing when to push harder and when to back off. When to introduce new concepts or exercises. And when to stop being nice and start getting real: the Real World - Pilates Edition.

 

10527594_10203606678301143_2643539730946280733_nAnula Maiberg was born in Israel and moved to NYC in 2001 in order to pursue a career in photography. While finishing her
degree at the School of Visual Arts she fell in love with Pilates through the classes and private sessions she took at Sixth Street Pilates. After college and a few years at a "desk" job she realized happiness wasn't in front of the computer screen. She decided to attended the Kane School for Core Integration to become fully certified on Pilates apparatus. After a few years of teaching she is now the co-owner (with Jeremy Laverdure) of Sixth Street Pilates where it all began. Anula also recently graduated the Kathy Grant Heritage Training in Denver led by Cara Reeser of Pilates Aligned.

 

 

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Guest Post: 3 Ways to Connect via Social Media (No Selfies Required)

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Selfies. Baby Pictures. Buzz Feed articles about which Disney character you’re likely to be if you turned into a cartoon. For many, social media seems overwhelming and self-centered. And for business owners, it can feel like one more task on an already overflowing “to do” list, but there’s hope!

 

When used well, social media is an incredible way to genuinely connect with your students and clients to help them achieve their life and fitness goals. Read on, to see how…

 

3 Ways to Authentically Connect with Your Ideal Clients:

 1- Post with Your Ideal Client in Mind: social media for business isn’t about you; it’s about them. Who’s your ideal client? What excites him/her? What are their biggest pain points and how can you help them reach their goals? Photos, videos, and blog posts that inspire and encourage them to take action, while inviting them to join you in the journey are a fantastic way to engage.

 

2-Social Media is Social for a Reason: People would not be on social media if they were not open to connect with new people, so don’t be shy about reaching out to someone new via Facebook, Twitter, or other networks. Start with something you genuinely appreciate about her. Maybe you liked a post she wrote or a photo she shared. Let her know, and she will almost always respond and reciprocate.

 

3-Quality Over Quantity: Posting a million times a day is not the answer. Consistency and high quality are much more important. The amount of posting varies based on network and ideal client, but in general, daily posting is preferable and photos, short videos, and quotes that provide high quality content receive more engagement.

Jacqueline Smile

 

About Jacqueline:

 

Jacqueline Boone is a Business & Digital Marketing Consultant and the Creator of the online publication & web series, 6 Months to Live. She specializes in working with mission-driven entrepreneurs (or soon-to-be entrepreneurs) and small businesses that want to make a profound impact on a global scale and teaches them strategies to expand quickly.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Jacqueline at

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Post: Beat The Heat With Coconut Water

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The summer heat is kickin’ and so are your legs while trying to stay in beach body shape so you can rock that itsy bitsy bikini. Working out and getting your sweat on during the summer can cause dehydration and overheating. It is super important to make sure your body is hydrated and full of those awesome molecules called electrolytes aka sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and so on. Without getting too scientific, electrolytes are charged particles that help maintain voltage and send electrical impulses between the cells. Think of your body as a battery, your heart, muscles, kidneys and nerves communicate and operate via these electrical impulses. Electrolytes give the charge to keep your battery running. When you exercise and sweat you lose electrolytes, or your charge. Without them you are like a dead battery, 0% on the charge bar.

Coconut water is a great way to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes. Below are a few facts, so study up and stay hydrated.

It’s Juice! That’s right it’s not water, it’s juice that lives inside a coconut. If you were to go to a beautiful tropical island hack open a coconut with a machete you would find liquid inside, that’s the juice. In the big city we just run to the deli and grab a bottle. Look out for added sugars and from concentrate, keep it real.

More Potassium Than a Banana: One small bottle (about 9.5 fl oz) of coconut water can have up to 600mg of potassium, more than a banana which contains around 400mg. Great if you experience leg cramping before, during, after your workout or to recover from one too many margaritas.

No Dyes or Preservatives: Unlike other sports drinks coconut water does not contain any harmful dyes. You won’t see any color in coconut water unless it’s raw and pink. This is simply anti-oxidants interacting with light. If it’s pink it’s good! Be sure your “go to” brand does not contain preservatives, read the label.

Moisturizes: Dermatologists have found that drinking coconut water will hydrate your skin form the inside out without producing excess oil. For even more moisture use a coconut mask – sit back, relax and hydrate.

Beyond Potassium: The tropical juice also contains sodium, magnesium and calcium to help replenish those depleted electrolytes we discussed above.

No, Low, Healthy Fat: If you’re drinking coconut water without the pulp, there’s no fat, if you prefer a little coconut meat you’ll be getting low amounts of fat. Don’t be scared of a little fat, it’s great for your brain and can help settle a queasy dehydrated stomach and give you some energy. If you are afraid of fat choose the no pulp option.

Coconut water will help you stay charged and hydrated through these hot summer months so you can keep on sweating. Remember to drink good ole regular H2O as well, the classic hydrator.

8b23fa_98359f271ca346bd84885bdaecfb4925.jpg_srz_323_293_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzAbbey Matson~Health and Nutrition Counselor

After a decade working in several different industries spanning fashion, mental health, finance and clinical research, I recognized how often general wellness is ignored. We have become accustomed to feeling sub-par and eating anything convenient, regardless of the negative repercussions on our health and life force. I founded Mind to Body Health so I may support others in creating a life that allows the individual to feel well and function at full potential. I work with clients as a Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor to help individuals understand their mind to body connection and determine what works best for their bio-individuality. Contact me today to learn more.

 

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Guest Post: How to Grow Your Business Through Speaking

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Ask any new business owner what her biggest challenge is and chances are she will say “finding clients.”

Now, ask that same business owner how she is marketing her business to prospective clients and you’ll get a range of answers: social media, networking events, email marketing, word of mouth referrals and more.

One marketing tool that’s often left off the list is public speaking. With thousands of events happening daily, public speaking is a great opportunity to attract more clients, develop your personal brand and take your business to the next level.

Here are a few ways, speaking can grow your business:

  •  Establish credibility – By speaking at events, both in-person and online, you become a thought leader in your industry. You’ve received an endorsement from the organization you are speaking to, which gives you a competitive edge.
  •  Increase visibility – Speaking at events exposes you to new groups of people, thereby expanding your reach. It also allows you an opportunity to speak to a large group of people at once rather than speaking to people individually.
  •  Create connection – Sharing your story creates authenticity and helps to build the “know, like and trust” factor. When people experience your knowledge and expertise first-hand, they are more likely to buy from you.

You don’t have to have a seven-figure business or be a best-selling author to land speaking opportunities. So what are you waiting for? The time is now to start thinking about how to get booked to speak and grow your business.

Want to learn more about how to land speaking gigs? Join me and Lindsay Lopez at the Biz-nass Social on May 30. Click here for more info and to register for the event!

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Regina D’Alesio is a lifelong storyteller with a passion for helping others share their stories with impact. She helps entrepreneurs craft a signature talk and land more speaking opportunities to grow their businesses. Sign up for free weekly speaking and business tips at www.reginadalesio.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Post- Your Niche Engineered

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I can’t remember the first time I saw Top Gun, but I can say I cried when Goose died. I can also say that I wanted to be Maverick, soaring through the sky in the Grumman F-14 Tomcat at Mach 2.2, writing checks my body couldn’t cash. Cheesy? Yeah, but true. It wasn’t the speed, the “glamour”, the aviator sunglasses, or the bike. It was because fighter jets are fascinating, inspiring, and just downright awesome. The thought of flying around in one gave me goose bumps – I was seven. Meet Regina Arras, Aerospace Engineer.

I can’t remember the first time I did the hundred on the Reformer, but I can say that I probably silently cursed my teacher. I can also say that I was hooked from the start. Simple, yet complex movements accomplished with maximum effort and the minimum number of repetitions for maximum results. Genius? Absolutely!  It wasn’t about getting skinny or ripped. It was about making connections and finding equilibrium through corrective exercise The thought of using specially designed apparatus to help people find answers to questions about their bodies that they’d had for years put a huge smile on my face. – I was much, much older than seven.  Meet Regina Arras, Pilates Instructor.

What seven year old gets chills watching fighter jets soar above the clouds in a corny 80s action-adventure love story and then grows up to geek out about metal machines, springs and wheels, and how they can change people’s lives? Meet Regina Arras, Pilates Engineer.

I never chose to be an Aerospace Engineer or a Pilates Instructor.  They picked me.

What I did choose was to become the Pilates Engineer. I found my niche in fact I created it.

What’s the equation?

Niche= (2 x Passion) + (Support group + Mentor)

Time

Simply, find two things you love to do (anything – promise), add in a support group and a mentor, and give it some time.

For me it looks like this:

Pilates (Instructor + Aerospace) Engineer

Life has a funny way of working out sometimes doesn’t it?

Regina's headshot smallAerospace Engineer and certified Pilates Instructor, Regina Arras, has a unique take on body mechanics and a very real passion for the “nuts and bolts” of Pilates. Regina approaches Pilates from an engineer’s perspective, dissecting the mechanics of each exercise, and from the artistic perspective of a dancer, always pursuing and appreciating the beauty and elegance of each movement. Regina’s distinctive approach has given rise to whole new business model as she tackles the service and maintenance side of the industry to redefine what studio upkeep really means. Learn more about Regina here

 

 

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It’s Your Mind That Builds Your Money

 

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An interviewer recently asked me, “What’s the biggest issue you see when it comes to people and their money goals?” and without skipping a beat, I replied, “Resistance.”

I know with Pilates and other forms of fitness, resistance is often a good thing — it helps to strengthen, burn calories and build muscle.  Bring it on! However, when it comes to money matters, resistance translates to procrastination, avoidance or just plain denial

In many ways, having a money goal (like getting out of debt, sticking to a budget, saving more, or raising your rates) is not that much different than starting a new exercise plan or diet.  We start with good intentions and lots of motivation. But before we know it, we fall back into old habits and resist making any real changes.

We may know, deep inside, that we need to get out of debt, stick to a budget, save more, raise our rates, etc.– just like we know that we need to exercise regularly and eat kale.  If we could just get ourselves to do it…but, much to Oprah’s dismay, when we know better, we don’t always do better.

The interviewer was surprised by my answer. She thought that I would have said something more obvious like personal debt or underearning, but in my opinion, those are just symptoms of the real issue.

The real issue is that people don’t have the right money mindset.  When it comes to money, more often than not it’s we’ve inherited an underlying money story from our parents or other authority figures in our lives that have caused us to look at money in a negative light. Rather than view money as something that comes naturally to us and something we want to take care of, people tend to see money from a perspective of lack and scarcity, or use it to mask deeper feelings of fear or inadequacy.  We see finances as too overwhelming, complex, over our heads, boring, etc. that we want nothing to do with them, and would gladly hand the responsibility over to someone else.  Hence, the resistance.

But the question is what can you do about it? 

Developing a healthier money mindset is similar to training a new muscle.  But in this case, the muscle you are flexing is your brain.

Here are a few tips to get you to think about your finances differently so you can begin to tackle all those money goals, break through your resistance, and create the life and business you’ve been dreaming about:

  • Look at Money Story. Begin by noticing what you are telling yourself about money and identifying the stories or belief systems you might have you inherited as a child about money (and work). Did you always hear that there was “never enough money?”  Was money is your household tied to work that was stressful or unappealing? Or was it something that easily flowed in and out of your household?
  • Find alternate evidence.  Whatever negative story you might have inherited, start looking for evidence that proves otherwise.  For example, if you were always told that one could only make a decent living by working a 9-5 corporate job or becoming a lawyer or doctor, find examples of people who became successful by other means, say, through entrepreneurship or creative pursuits. If you were always given the impression that women were not good with money, find examples of females who rocked their finances or career, like Jean Chatsky or Amanda Steinberg.  By finding alternate evidence, you can start to create a new money story that works better for you and brings you closer to the goals you want to accomplish.
  • Change your language. There’s power in words.  Catch yourself whenever you find yourself using negative language when saying things like “should” “have to” “can’t.”  Instead, practice replacing those words with “choose” and “decide” (e.g., I should save more > I chose to save more; I have to keep my rates where they are > I decide to keep my rates where they are) etc. Recognizing that you always have choices will help you start seeing your money goals as empowering rather than as a sacrifice.

And remember, be patient!  Joseph Pilates once said, “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”  Our money stories run deep, so be patient with yourself and trust that a new money mindset is something you too can achieve.

 

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Jennifer Faherty is a Martha Beck Life Coach and Certified Financial Planner who loves helping people save and spend freely.  Sign up for more money tips at www.redbirdpartners.com and you’ll also receive a free copy of ‘The Mindful Money Tracker” — the one step you need BEFORE you start budgeting.  

 

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GUEST POST: When Your Nest Moves…

IMG_0358While I crave experiencing new places or relaxing changes in scenery, all the planes, trains and automobiles can be a total drag. When I was packing for a recent trip, I wondered, “What do other people pack to take care of themselves when they go all Road Warrior?”

So, I thought I’d share. Here’s what I take with me when I head out of town:

  • A backpack – While my idea of camping is an outdoor fireplace at a spa, I bring along my little old backpack. I love its comfy, padded straps. especially when there is going to be a lot of walking or standing. Why un-do all that fabulous Pilates work that you’ve doing all year?
  • A 32 oz. water bottle – Staying hydrated while in transit can be a challenge, but it’s SO important. With this size bottle, it helps me keep track of how much water I’ve been drinking (or, sadly, sometimes not) drinking. I shoot for emptying this bottle twice each day.
  • Probiotics – Each of our guts plays hotel to trillions of microbial cells. Some are friendly; some are not so much. Probiotic foods (or supplements) can help those friendly microbes crowd out the pesty ones. The result: we have smoother digestion and better immune response. Both are totally important when you’re traveling and likely encountering lots of new germs and bacteria. While I pack a probiotic supplement, I also try to enjoy some of my favorite probiotic foods like miso, tempeh, kombucha, coconut kefir, kimchi and other fermented pickles & veggies. Mmmmm!
  • A stash of herbal teas & healthy snacks –Gas stations and airports are getting somewhat better, but healthy choices are usually limited. However, you can always get hot water. Having a cup of tea just feels like home to me, so I always carry an herbal assortment with me. Depending on my mode of transportation, I usually have some fruit, dried fruit and nuts with me. Montmorency cherries, for example, can even help with jetlag. It does require a little planning, but it’s way better than stressing to find something that won’t make you feel gross when you’re already starving. (My husband would probably add “and a pain in the @$$” to the end of the last sentence.) All natural meal replacement bars have also saved me when I’m off my normal meal schedule. Just read the ingredients first. If you can’t speak or spell them, please don’t eat them.
  • A can-do Pilates attitude – One of the first things that I fell in love with is how damn portable the method is. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve done a challenging mat workout with nothing more than a towel on a carpeted floor. Let your teacher know that you’ll be traveling. Ask what exercises you can take with you and about their favorite resources. Like a DVD or an audio classHint, hint.
  • A yoga strap – I love to walk, especially when I’m touring some new place. My hamstrings quiver with joy (or resistance) when I pack my yoga strap. Lying on my back, I hook the strap around my heel and gently open up the back of my legs and do a couple of hip stretches. I also can also use it to bind my legs and settle into a constructive rest position to unwind after a long day. The strap is light and rolls up into a fist-sized ball for ease of packing.
  • A hot water bottle – My hot water bottle is bright red, so I’ve named it Ruby. Before you think I’m about 150 years old, I challenge you to try it. Remember all the walking that I mentioned? Well, it’s great for applying heat to soothing sore, tired muscles. (Use cold water/ice for bumps and bruises.) I tend to get cold when I’m tired, so I’ll rest it on my center when I first settle into bed. It’s so relaxing.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a little lady who loves lots of options. These are just a few that work for me personally. Like I tell my clients, play and experiment with these; or create some new options that work even better for you. Just remember: You CAN get out of town without feeling run-down. Safe and happy travels!

Be (s)well.

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027_130425_MARTINSYNDER-(ZF-3036-76899-1-001)Kara Martin Snyder, CHHC is the Owner & Chief Coach over at vital corps, a health and wellness studio located at the intersection of strategic action and self-care. Kara’s not your run of the mill, woo-woo wellness coach, though. Sure, she’s got the classroom and professional creds that many health coaches have but she’s also got an arsenal of bad-assery stemming from her boardroom, kitchen, and street savvy. Devotedly serving whipsmart, Type A, professional women, Kara deconstructs the broken processes in her clients’ lives and together they co-create actionable, manageable steps to creating healthy, more fulfilling lives slathered with joy. Forget frazzled and famished, it’s time to get focused and downright fierce… without starvation, deprivation, or tribulation. Visit Kara’s little slice of digital Shangri-La at http://vitalcorpswellness.com/ and scoop up your free copy of Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness today.

 

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The Truth About Your Sunscreen

 Post by Lauren Gralton

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When it comes to pricey purchases, like a TV or refrigerator, I always do my research prior to buying anything, but with sunscreen I’ll admit to letting my wallet decide. Little did I know, that many claims of protection displayed on the bottle were as baseless as the substance inside. 

Upon reading the almighty Consumer Reports’ sunscreen stats, I was relieved to find out that “the least effective sunscreens were among the priciest.” It turns out that the top three, actually include two generic brands. Said rankings placed Equate from Walmart in first, then Up & Up from Target, and Coppertone took the bronze (no pun intended).

 Can’t find any of the above options? Here’s a couple tips on how to choose your shield from the hot, glowing star-

– Always purchase sunscreen with a broad-spectrum label. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends this because, “SPF ratings found on sunscreen packages apply mainly to UVB rays [so] many sunscreen manufacturers include ingredients that protect the skin from some UVA rays as well.”

-When it comes to SPF, any number lower than 30 is providing less than 96% protection. Please note, the Environmental Working Group states that “higher SPF products require a greater concentration of chemicals but fail to reduce skin damage.” In my opinion, it is better to use SPF 30 or SPF 40 and be more conscious of application.

So, how often do you really need to apply? 

The EPA advises to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going out into the sun that way it has time to absorb into your skin.

Amid my researching, I found that many websites give a formula to figure out how long the SPF will last on your individual skin type. They said to take the number of minutes it would take for your skin to burn without any protection, then multiply that number by the SPF number. This means that if my pasty coloring starts to fry after 10 minutes, then a SPF of 30 would keep me safe for 5 hours. A recent experience in Orlando gives me more than permission to say, “I beg to differ.” Granted swimming, inevitable perspiration, and any contact with clothing will cause the sunscreen to rub off sooner. I’ll side with the experts that encourage application every 1-2 hours, depending on your natural skin coloring.

 Protect and Educate your Children 

If you are a parent or in charge of any little ones, make sure to slather that sunscreen on. According to SunWise, a program created by the EPA to educate kids about sun safety, between the ages of 0-18 is when sunscreen is the most vital. Skin damage and sunburns earlier in life can have dangerous long-term effects. They note that it is important to educate children at a young age about taking care of their skin. What better way to do this than by playing a game. Test your sun safety knowledge here.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a few random facts that I learned: 

  • Hippos naturally secrete an oily, pink sunscreen (tweet this!)
  • The black rings around a meerkat’s eyes act like built-in sunglasses!
  • UV rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm

So, whether you plan to be outside for 30 minutes or 3 hours, make sure to cover yourself and your loved ones in sunscreen first. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 and apply liberally. Now go soak up some rays!

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How To Detox Your Life of Negative People And Not Feel Bad About It

This week I welcome Chin Pham. Chin and I met at our mentor Marie Forleo’s Rich, Happy, Hot Live last year in NYC. We sat next to each other all weekend, experiencing all the wicked speakers, Marie’s brilliance, and shaking our booties every time someone spun the  wheel of dance (that’s right- wheel o’dance!). This girl could MOVE and I fell in love with her energy and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and her calling as a life coach. We vowed to stay in touch and I thought she would be a perfect addition to our little blog. This week she’s written this handy post about detoxing negative peeps from your life. Take this girls advice people- it will help you not just with your life but also in your business! Now on with her post….

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

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Firstly: my definition of a toxic person- Someone who complains and dumps their problems on you but doesn’t do anything to change their situation. Someone who is not supportive. Someone who makes you feel bad. Someone who shoots down your bright ideas, big goals, or bold (and risky) decisions that you need to make in order to be successful.

Secondly, this article isn’t intended to reprimand or paint toxic people in a negative light. Toxic people are usually in a place in their life where they are not open to constructive feedback or changing, so they are stuck in their current situation and don’t have the insight to see beyond their own struggles. And that’s okay. This article is meant to advocate for you so you don’t allow their negativity to impact your life.

First, why it’s important to detox your life of negative people:

  • Negative people slow you down towards achieving your goals. Whether they know it or not, they end up discouraging you from being ambitious or following your dreams by questioning what you’re doing and planting doubts into your head.
  • Negative energy from toxic people affect your energy level, not to mention your stress and anxiety. Ultimately, it’s your health and well-being, so you are responsible for taking care of it!
  • You need to create space for positive change to happen. Being in toxic relationships with people and allowing their negative energy into your life will hold you back from manifesting opportunities for success. Also, releasing negative people will create space for the positive people to enter, who will encourage, support, and help you grow as a person.

How to detox negative people from your life:

Step 1: Decide that you’re worth it

  • You need to feel as if you’re worthy of achieving your goals and changing into the person you want to be. Letting go of any negativity in your life will help you get there faster. You’ve got to be committed to doing this for yourself otherwise your guilt for letting go of these relationships will prevent you from moving forward (more in Step 3).
  • How to realize you’re worth it: Decide. Simply make the choice and decide that it’s time you committed to yourself, your goals, and your dreams and you won’t let anything or anyone slow you down.
  • Think about the negative side effects of holding onto these relationships. Ask yourself:
    • What effect are these relationships having on my life?
    • What are my goals and how badly do I want to achieve them? Are these people supporting my goals or slowing me down?

 

Step 2: Identify the toxic people

  • Toxic people make you feel worse than when you started talking to them. They bring your energy level down. They leave you feeling bummed out. Notice how your body feels after talking to them, particularly your chest and stomach which are areas where most of us carry stress and anxiety.
  • There is a difference between someone sharing with you their struggles/challenges vs someone who constantly complains. The difference is the prior is willing to listen to constructive feedback and is open to change (and does change). Conversely, the latter (i.e. whiners and complainers) don’t want to change and just want you to feel sorry for them.
  • They shoot down your ideas. e.g., They question what you’re doing. They may say something like, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t change careers because you have so much job security here. What about your benefits? Or your retirement?” This is pretty common and sometimes subtle and harder to notice. Even though it may sound like they’re giving you advice, in the end they’re just putting more doubts into your head because your actions may bring up their own fears and insecurity.
  • Toxic people can fall within the spectrum of being subtly draining to all around toxic and poisonous. Even if they fall on the less severe end of the “toxic people spectrum”, it’s important to identify this and work towards letting them go as they will still affect you negatively.

 

Step 3: Let them go

  • Just start. Use whatever method you think is appropriate. Avoid them. Don’t pick up their calls. Apologize for being distant but you do not need to explain why or defend your actions.
  • You don’t have to explain anything to them unless you feel like you need to because they’re being persistent and pushy. Avoid explanation because they are probably in a state of mind where they won’t listen to what you have to say, take it personally that you are letting them go, will probably get on the defensive if you try to justify your reasons.
  • Do it gracefully and with love. Send them off with love and a prayer. Be open to the possibility that if and when they are ready to change and be more positive/supportive, then you would be open to rekindling the relationship.

 

Step 4: Don’t feel guilty

  • Again, you are worth it. You must be your own BEST FRIEND. If you don’t take charge of your life and well-being, nobody will do it for you!
  • You are not abandoning them even though you may feel like that. There is a distinction between abandoning someone vs letting them go so they can find their own way. If you’ve already tried giving them advice, encouragement, or even a wake-up call and nothing happened, then no amount of wise words from you will change their thinking or behavior.
  • It’s not your obligation. You may keep these people in your life because you feel like you have to or you’re obligated to. Maybe they’ve been your closest friend since grade school. Or maybe they’re your cousin and you feel obligated through your blood ties. Whatever the reason, people grow and change and it’s normal for relationships to evolve.

 

Step 5: Bring in the positivity!  Surround yourself with positive people. These are people who:

  • Support your ambitions
  • Encourage your ideas no matter how scary, risky, or seemingly unknown the outcome could be because they know how important it is for you.
  • Are up to big things. They are people you admire because you think they kick ass in life!

You are worth it and you can do this. It begins with an intention to change your life and a commitment to yourself.

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Chinh small FINALChinh Pham is a fear conqueror and life revolutionizer helping people embrace their inner badass so they can create a bigger vision for their biz and life!

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