General Health, Misc


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Recent studies indicate gratitude can help strengthen your immune system, lower your blood pressure, reduce symptoms of illness, and even reduce your everyday aches and pains. So during this season of joy and giving, I’m wishing everyone more joy and gratitude attitude with 5 suggestions to help incorporate more gratitude into your life:

1. Start saying blessings over your food, over nature or have more intention and focus when you are saying them.

2. Have a gratitude journal where you write about someone or something that you encountered each day which was good. Use these things as affirmations or mantras when you may be feeling down.

3. Volunteer

4. Pay it forward– offer to pay for something for someone else that you have abundance in that they are lacking in (even if its paying their parking meter) or handing out a snack to a homeless person.

5. Take a walk in nature and focus on all the sights and smells you are appreciating.

Gratitude makes for improved physical health, happiness, enhanced sleep, improves self-esteem and better relationships. Gratitude is self-care

What are the ways you incorporate gratitude into your daily life? Tell me about it in the comments below.

I’m grateful for all my wonderful clients and the many ways they enrich my life by bringing their best to session and sometimes by bringing their worst but showing up anyway. Thanks for sharing the journey.

Exercise, Misc

Exercise and Emotional Trauma

One out of three women will experience a sexual assault, domestic violence, attempted assault in her lifetime! 3d002060-3ed0-4c3a-9011-79812960e2c2

As a fitness professional who works primarily with women, I understand the sense of helplessness, depression and other symptoms that can linger and hold you back from achieving your optimal health and well-being.  April is sexual assault awareness month and I’d like to talk a little more about how exercise can help in the healing process.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder triggered by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Although it is commonly associated with combat veterans, it also frequently affects survivors of violent personal assaults (rape, mugging or domestic violence), childhood abuse, natural disasters, accidents and life-threatening illnesses.

Exercise can play an important role in helping clients with PTSD or who experienced a trauma recover and regain confidence. Exercise also addresses many of the health problems commonly associated with chronic PTSD, including cardiovascular disease and depression or other bodily manifestations of the emotional after-effects of trauma.

Mind-body exercises like yoga, low-intensity aerobic exercise, in addition to the sense of accomplishment provided by feeling stronger through resistance exercise are valuable components of a comprehensive treatment plan.(Tsatsoulis & Fountoulakis 2006)(Cohen & Shamus 2009)(Cohen & Shamus 2009).

Diaphragmatic breathing, muscle relaxation exercises and stretching are an essential component of all my training programs. Abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to improve immune function, hypertension, asthma, autonomic nervous system imbalances and psychological or stress-related disorders (Jerath et al. 2006).

Symptoms of PTSD can vary from day to day and may be triggered by seemingly innocuous situations, such as loud noises or crowds. The bootcamp drill sergeant approach may really trigger someone for whom being pushed or yelled at was part of their traumatic experience. This is another reason why I think touching a client without asking permission or standing  too close to a client in general is inappropriate.

Sufferers of trauma often need a sense of control which they lack in other aspects of their lives. There is a risk these clients could develop unhealthy or unsafe approaches to exercise. It is my job to show my clients how to make sure that exercise does not become an excessive behavior.

I would welcome the opportunity to assist you in your journey to wellness, wholeness, health, fitness and peace.


Six Super Safety Tips


Earlier this month we were treated to a fantastic self-defense workshop from Leslie Bockian.

Although you might have missed the opportunity for hands-on practice and entertaining, but practical self defense with everyday objects (including a pen, a toilet tank lid, and a flashlight), you can still up your odds of successfully avoiding being a victim by studying these Six Super Safety Tips!

Follow these easy strategies from Leslie Bockian to increase your security:


The single most important idea for personal safety is awareness of your environment.  Every attacker, regardless of the type of crime, looks for the easiest possible target, and being able to take you by surprise gives the assailant a huge advantage.  The more alert and aware you are, the less likely a criminal will even try to target you.


Trust your instinct.  If something just feels wrong – with a person, a location, a situation, etc. – something IS wrong.  You’re not imagining it, and you’re not being “paranoid.”  Don’t waste time trying to analyze exactly why you feel uneasy, just change the situation:  leave the area, move away from the individual, reschedule an appointment – whatever it takes to make the uncomfortable feeling go away.


Make it a conscious practice to move with an air of confidence and a sense of purpose.  Attackers look for people whose body language looks weak, confused, off-balance, or distracted – in other words, an “easy target.”  Don’t let that be you.


As much as possible, keep a cushion of open space around yourself. If an assailant can’t reach you or your belongings (cell phone, laptop, jewelry, purse, etc.), you are much safer. Keep in mind that attackers OFTEN use tricks to try to get too close to you, usually asking you for some kind of help (“Please, have you seen my missing child?  Here’s a picture!”).  Don’t let them use the fact that you’re a nice person as a way to harm you.  It’s OK to refuse to help if doing so will put you in danger.


Your voice is a wonderful self-defense tool.  You can yell “Fire!” to get attention; you can give the assailant a direct order (“Stop right there!”); you can yell a name to make the attacker think someone will be coming out to help you; you can even outwit an assailant.  You’ll hear amazing stories of these kinds of strategies in every self-defense workshop.


Being the victim of a violent crime disrupts someone’s life in a truly devastating way, and to a staggering degree.  Take a fun and convenient one-day women’s self-defense workshop!  Send Leslie your email address to be notified of the dates and times of upcoming classes (


8 Great Gift Ideas for Aerobics Instructors, Personal Trainers & other Fitness Fanatics

8 Great Gift Ideas for Aerobics Instructors, Personal Trainers & other Fitness Fanatics on your Holiday Shopping List

These gifts are appropriate for you to give as an individual or if a group of people pool together to make a nice gift…I’ve tried to list a variety of things at various price points.

A Watch or a Heart Rate Monitor Receiver ($100-$150) Fitness pros are hard on their watches. A nice waterproof watch with a second hand for taking pulse rates or a heart rate monitor calorie counter watch is a lovely thoughtful and functional gift.  A Nike sportband or similar would also fit the bill. How about an interval timer from ($25) for your Bootcamp Sergeant?

A Gym Bag– ($40-$120) You can stuff this with a monogrammed white towel if you want to be fancy, and some power bars, a hair brush and some hair accessories and notepad or reusable water bottle..or simply give a nice bag. Yogis might appreciate a special mat strap or mat bag. Some great bargains on gym bags can be had at places like Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshall’s.

Spa Basket ($20-$60) Aromatherapy bath salts, a soothing CD with relaxing music, a fitness magazine and a bath poof for washing off sweaty muscles. Sephora sometimes even has some holiday bath products from Philosophy that might make a nice gift.

Massage Gift Certificate ($40-$80)

Jewelry ($25+) Barbell earrings, or dumbbell necklace or weight plate bracelet are all nifty.  I found some great stuff on ebay, overstock and

Athletic apparel ($25+) Gift certificates to stores like Lululemon, Athleta or Big 5 Sporting Goods. If there’s a charity close to their heart you may also find t-shirts and sports apparel supporting them like breast cancer awareness fitness gear. A sweatshirt to put on after a hot class on a cold day is a nice touch.

Tunes ($10+) ITunes Gift cards fit everyone. Other ideas for aerobics instructors include specially designed and licensed music for instructors and gyms  such as that found on or

Cook Books ($15-$20) Canyon Ranch Cookbook, Eat Clean Diet Cookbook..and many other healthy natural food cookbooks.