September Wellness 01: Move It

With winter and cold season just around the corner, my family and I are focusing on improving our health and boosting our immunity in September, so I wanted to share some tangible ways in which we are doing that! We are focusing on movement + exercise, eating as many vegetables as possible, being consistent with our supplements and ridding our home of any lingering chemicals or chemical-laden products. I'll be sharing little tidbits over on Instagram if you want to play along!

First up: MOVEMENT
+ Goal: do something, everyday.
It doesn't have to be an hour long workout, but move your body and challenge yourself every. single. day. I get that it is difficult to carve out 60 or even 30 minutes with commuting, kids, a job, whatever, but make it a priority and make it work for you! Maybe that means a long walk around the neighborhood, or a ten minute HIIT workout. Whatever time you have during the day, make it count. I guarantee you can find 5, 10, even 20 minutes to devote to your physical health if you are truly honest with how you spend you time (hello Pinterest! Guilty as charged.)

If you have:
+ 5 minutes: hollow rocks, renegade rows, pull-ups, pushups, good old crunches. You can even do some tabata work: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds. I like to do pull-ups, push ups, squats, sit ups for whole-body training in under 5 minutes! 
10 minutes: complete one of these great HIIT workouts
+ 16 minutes: do some sprints. 30 seconds full on sprint, 90 seconds recovery x 8 rounds
+ 20 minutes: complete a metcon (metabolic conditioning workout) and get that heart rate up OR for a low key recovery workout, do some yoga (I personally like the YogaX from P90x)
+ 20-30 minutes: complete one of the videos from this great series
+ 30 minutes or more: mix it up! Go for a trail run, a light jog or a swim, then do some hollow rocks, then stretch it out.

Oily tips:
+ We use peppermint oil + Ningxia Nitro before a workout for a little boost! 
+ We support our post-workout bodies with supplements like BLM (more on that later) and a peppermint protein smoothie.
+ Adding grapefruit oil to your water is another great way to maximize the post-working burning window. Just make sure to use a glass drinking vessel. 
+ Other postworkout favorites: Deep Relief, PanAway, OrthoEase massage oil, copaiba + peppermint oils, lavender for calming.

Other tips:
+ Spend some time foam rolling and stretching while you watch TV.
+ Concentrate on mobilizing any problem areas where you experience any discomfort or have knots. Remember that the root of any discomfort may be upstream (i.e., if your ankle hurts, think about mobilizing from the hip). Here are some good explanations. 
+ Get your spouse, significant other, roommate, best friend to be your workout partner. Having someone else with you will inspire you to stay committed! 

Let's set tangible, measurable goals for movement and make September our best month yet! Want to join me?!

Mint Mocha Protein Smoothie

When the stars align and I make it out of bed early enough to squeeze in a workout (hello 5am!), I like to follow up with a nutrient-rich protein smoothie to maximize the post-workout window. We eat a low-carb paleo diet, so we try to keep the majority of our carbs in the post-workout time frame. I don't usually jump on the liquid meal bandwagon, especially first thing in the morning since it's a big insulin spike, unless I've done a good cardio workout. Here is my current favorite post-workout recipe:

Mint Mocha Protein Smoothie:
A large handful of organic spinach or kale
A handful of organic blueberries
1/2 a frozen banana
1/4 - 1/2 an organic avocado
1 T raw cacao powder
1 scoop grass-fed protein powder
1 drop peppermint essential oil
Almond milk to desired consistency

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed and blend well! Pour into a glass and serve with a glass or stainless steel straw. 

I typically make my smoothie, then head to a quiet place for a little down time and prayer before starting the day. I like to dab a little frankincense or grounding blend on my wrist or place it in the diffuser. On the days when I need to hit the door immediately after a workout, I follow this quick three minute facial and done!

Jog to Java Facial

If you follow along on Instagram, you may have seen that I've been doing the Tone It Up Bikini Series workouts, which I have loved! I needed to mix it up a little and was weary of deadlifts and squats, so mixing in the TIU workouts has been great! I have to say though, that fitting in workout time in addition to two jobs and a wife + mama gig is a lot. So whenever I have 15 minutes or so during my day, I'll often do a strength workout - abs, arms, etc. The Mermaid Workout is one of my faves! If I don't have time for a full-on shower, I spend just a few minutes freshening myself up before heading out the door. This is also a great way to freshen up after a jog or hike when you have errands to run. I keep all these oils in my purse for just that reason! Here is my one-minute jog to java facial:

Step 1: Place a drop of peppermint oil on a cool, damp rag, and place the rag over your entire face. Leave on for about 20 seconds to support the respiratory system, pull oil from your pores, and bring cool relief to your skin. 

Step 2: Place a drop of tea tree oil onto a cotton ball and swipe across the forehead, bridge of the nose and/or any other areas on the face that feel oily. 

Step 3: Place a drop of joy, stress away, peace & calming, or other desired oil behind the ears and onto the wrists for a quick + natural perfume! I like to keep a roller top on my bottle of joy and on my bottle of stress away for just this reason. Plus, you get the added mental and emotional benefits of inhaling the oils! 

Step 4: Hit the door!

If you want to learn more about essential oils and why we use them, click here. If you are ready to start your oils journey, click here. I'm also giving away a bottle of lime oil to new members this month! Read more about that here

Mobility + Foam Rolling

One of the most important things when it comes to athletic performance is making sure that you take time for recovery and mobility. This is something that the dancer in me has to be intentional about, since it is something that I often take for granted. I am so used to stretching and flexibility being a part of my workout routine, that I often forget that it's needed now that I'm not at the ballet barre everyday. Since adding one more thing to your daily to-do list is basically impossible here are a few ways that we incorporate mobility into our workout routine:

+ Choose one area to focus on every night.
Start with rolling along your hamstrings and quads of each leg. The next evening move down to the calves and shins. Maybe you want to start with the thoracic spine. Just get started!

+ Foam roll every night while you are watching television, reading, or just having family time.
We get down on the floor and roll around with Elliot in the evenings. He loves it, and so do we!

+ If there is a specific issue you want to tackle or an area of serious immobility, check of some of these videos to find exercise specific to your needs. We especially like the scapular mobility and first rib exercises.   

+ Keep a lacrosse ball in your bathroom and roll out your feet, especially those arches, while you wash your face, brush your teeth, put on makeup, etc. 

+ Keep a lacrosse ball in your car or at your desk at work to focus on trigger points in your back while sitting in traffic or sitting at your desk. 

+ Stretch every night. We alternate doing this couch stretch and a few others, all of which you can find here. Kelly Starrett is my go-to when it comes to mobility. There are a lot of reasons, but I won't list them all here. Just check out some of his videos and you will understand why. 

We use both a standard foam roller and a trigger point roller. Other great tools to have include massage stick and a few lacrosse balls. These are especially great for targeting smaller trigger points and for working the muscles in the feet. If you are ready to move onto more in-depth exercises, we really love this book. Happy foam rolling friends!