The Universe Will Provide Just Not What You Might Expect

Being vulnerable and putting my story out there in hopes it helps someone else…The universe puts you where you need to be even before you realize you need to be there.

My life has drastically changed in the last few years partly due to the discovery of infidelity, an opinionated best friend and a fitness studio like no other.

My dad was killed in a plane crash when I was 13 years old, my first husband committed suicide while we were stationed in Puerto Rico while I was 21 years old, my step father took his own life, my mother died while I was in my thirties, I discovered a dad, brother and sister I did not realize I had in my forties and I have had my heart broken many times over by the man I trusted the most. Life has not been easy, but I like to think I have been strong, loving, kind and generous despite all of this. Sounds harsh to sum it all up like that, but that is what I have to do to keep myself going or so I thought. I did not have time to feel this grief, pain, hurt and all the emotions that come along with that kind of loss.

With my second husband, I was living this amazing life I did not think I could ever find again for years. However, everything was not as idyllic as I imagined. Would a move to a small coastal town in South Carolina be a hopeful solution? He had retired, we thought we could sell our house and live our best life. Our plan was for him to follow shortly after and rediscover our love for each other and family. His relocation never happened, yet he was committed and visited us twice a month. Months turned into twelve years and then I found myself sitting in bed one morning a year ago with him telling me he could no longer keep this up. What was wrong with me? My world was falling apart before my very eyes. Living my life solely focused on my kids and dogs for the last 12 years can be fulfilling yet quite lonely. It was comfortable, safe and easy the way it was before, but was I really happy? The first eight years, being a stay at home mom for the first time ever was glorious. Scout meetings, travel ball tournaments, camps, school sporting events and homework filled my days, kept my mind busy and my body exhausted.

As the years flew by and my daughter prepared to leave for college, my cry on your shoulder friends list was short and almost non-existent. Having neglected my needs for so long, I realized how alone and dependent I had become on my kids for feeding my self-worth. A part time job might just be the short term answer I was looking for. Let me tell you, I was not expecting what the universe provided. A woman from my days volunteering at my son’s elementary school sat next to me at a school function. Let me just preface this by saying, she scared me. She was bold, loud, aggressive, spoke her mind and the kind of person I typically avoided having conversations with. Uncomfortable small talk led to a meeting that night at her house and a job proposal I was too terrified to turn down. If you have ever gotten yourself in a situation you have no idea how to get out of you know what I am referring to and there I was stuck in one.

Marketing and running a small fitness boutique and providing social media promotion for a few of her other businesses was my new gig. Hard core cardio and lifting was my jam, so I thought free fitness classes and promote a gym, hey, I can totally get into that. Wicked Fitness is not a GYM. It is like a magical carpet ride into another dimension. This was a yoga studio, pole and aerial fitness studio, along with cardio classes and crazy events. You were encouraged to offer what no one else offered, think for yourself and outside the box. Like way, way outside the box. I am shy, introverted, embarrassed easily and lost my self-confidence many years ago. My goal was to empower other women to love themselves, their body & enrich their mind, soul and spirit when I did not even feel empowered myself. Easy, right?

This “gym” concept was intriguing: Wicked Fitness is a place that brings women together to experience a rare fitness concept that embodies “out of the box“ ideas and ever evolving exhilarating classes. Truly a unique and inviting space that embraces the true you, just as you are, encourages creativity and hosts diverse and stimulating events. Invested and committed to your success and personal growth, our highly sought after instructors assist you in surpassing your goals and ultimately changing your life.

Combine these elements and Wicked Fitness is a home away from home. An extraordinary place of love and support with a steadfast desire to bring health, wellness, fitness, and uniqueness together while embracing sexuality, beauty and a flare for the amazing. How could I not get behind this kind of small owned company?

Having been neglected for many years due to other business needs, Wicked needed some love, attention and some quality instructors brought on board. Interviewing yoga instructors in the beginning was like communicating with aliens who spoke a whole other language. Sanskrit, asana, chakras, mantras and savasana were words I had never heard before. How could yoga change your life? Come on, really? Who cries during yoga? Babies? Let’s not even get me started on Pole Fitness. We offer what? How is that fitness? Embrace your inner sexuality at the gym? What are people smoking? How does she even move like that? It was a challenge to say the least, but I was at a point in my life, that I knew I needed one. Wild, crazy, passionate and outspoken instructors are what I found.

One of our first events suggested by one was how to keep your va-jay-jay happy and healthy. Oh good lord help me. I can barely type that and you want me to talk to clients on the phone about that. If in tune, clients could see colors during meditation. Say what? What kind of place am I aligning myself with? Despite my disbelief, I even brought on sound and crystal healers. Google became my best friend. The need for understanding became an addiction for me. How is any of this possible? I needed to know.

As instructors came on board, classes got scheduled and wild events were put up, clients started calling. Not just any clients, clients who have never worked out, who were embarrassed to look in the mirror, who had tried multiple gyms only to walk away in fear, who needed a place to call home. As I began to talk to these clients, I found myself being healed right along with them. I met several at the door the first time they walked in so they had someone they “knew” there for them. I offered to go to counseling with a woman I’ve never met before as she cried and told me her story over the phone. I was being sucked into this beautiful vortex. I pride myself on possessing customer service skills that could teach the Disney franchise a thing or two, but this was a whole other level. We offered boudoir photography and women showed up in droves, flaunting their beautiful selves like they have not done in years. We created a safe and truly judgement free space. I witnessed so many transformations, that I became inspired to transform my life too. How could I be so scared to live my own life, while I am encouraging all these scared women to do things I had not done for myself yet.

Mine is a story that millions of other women share, your husband finds someone else, you have suffered loss, you have lost your voice, you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror, you are scared to make a move, scared to have a say and even terrified of change. My story is different however, because I have starting transforming my life along with hundreds of other women at the same time. At Wicked Fitness, nothing is off limits. I have taken multiple Krav Maga self-defense classes alongside women who I know needed it more than I did and they inspired me. My teenage son indulged me by escorting me to one of our ballroom dancing classes where I witnessed couples laughing who I knew were struggling. During restorative yoga classes, I have comforted women who broke down crying, kissed puppies and kittens in our fun yoga fundraisers, drank beer and mimosas with smiling yogis, actually saw the color pink during savasana and literally glowed along some badass women in glow yoga who had not felt a “glow” in years. With the lights down low, I have pole danced my way to laughter, belly danced with goddesses and blushed my way through Yoniverse workshops. These women that surround me in these classes who were shy, withdrawn and scared are completely fearless now.

My kids and I have attended sound healings and tuning fork sessions. Yes, they thought I was crazy until it worked and they felt better. I have aligned my chakras and learned about animal spirit guides. I AM AN EMPATH. Once I learned what that was, it made total sense and helped me cope with my daily struggles. The moon cycles help me purge, manifest and visualize now. I see numbers, recognize patterns and I am intrigued by what it all means. Oh and ghosts are real!

The most intriguing part of my journey has been readings with our psychic medium on staff and tarot card readings with our crystal healer. What an amazing experience that leaves me breathless every single time. The guidance I have been provided has given me so much strength. Meeting my guardian angel is next on my bucket list. Those are words that I never imagined would come out of my mouth. When a client calls to book an appointment, I am beaming with excitement for them. I know the empowerment of knowledge they are going to receive. When they are skeptical, I can relate and talk them through it. I was the most skeptical of them all and now look at me carrying around crystals in my bra and saging my house of any negativity.

That crazy, wild lady that sat down next to me almost four years ago, well, you may not be surprised to know that she is my best friend. She pushes me to stand up for myself, have my own voice, my own ideas and is that person who is there for me no matter what. I have cried on her shoulders, been hugged and comforted by her more times in the last four years than I have with any friend my whole life. I would like to think I do the same for her. She has been burned by many people she trusted, so she is closed off and hates emotions. I am bringing her soft side back out, she hates it but quietly appreciates it although she would never admit it. She had a vision for a “gym” that would change lives almost 11 years ago and I am so fortunate the universe put me in her path. Wicked Fitness is seductive, it draws you in slowly, working it’s magic whether you are hard core fitness oriented or more spiritual yogi, we offer it all and I get to be a part of that. I am still a work in progress and I probably always will be, but what I thought would break me has only pushed me to be a fighter, who is not only fighting for myself but fighting alongside so many other strong women. We just started a women’s support circle group the transformations are already flowing. Despite everything, I feel like the luckiest woman in the world right now. Everyone needs a scary, pushy friend and a little Wicked Fitness in their life.

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The Cold Hard Truth: Straight Answers for Common Questions

I’m sure we all can agree the idea of “going on a diet” and “getting in shape” can be like a dark, looming figure in the corner of the room. Something every once in a while we look over at, and quickly look away from until it’s spring and we have to go bathing suit shopping. Nothing like a tiny dressing room with fluorescent light bulbs to put things in to clear perspective.  We won’t even mention how in our New Year’s resolutions, we all vowed to get in shape and have an amazing bikini body by summer, but that was forgotten about by the beginning of February, and now Spring has sprung and time is running out.

But where to start? There’s so much to know….what to eat and not eat, what exercises are best for what you are trying to accomplish, do supplements work? It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. Never fear! Your friendly Wicked Fitness trainer can help! First, we gotta start with your mind.

You need realistic expectations. News flash, losing weight is incredibly HARD work. How fast or slow you lose really is up to you. You decide to work out, and workout hard 4-5 days a week and partner it with proper nutrition, that you are incredibly disciplined with, you are obviously going to notice changes faster than someone who is only working out at a moderate pace 2-3 days a week, and only being half way strict with nutrition.  Unfortunately, losing weight really goes hand and hand with nutrition. So, unless you are eating for your goals too, the road to results is going to be a slow, frustrating one.  Let’s just be honest…the client who says, I want to lose 25 lbs. in 2 months, but I can only come to 2 classes a week, and I have no intention of changing my eating or drinking habits….. not realistic expectations.

Are you obsessed with how many calories you are getting, or macros, or carbs, or whatever? Let me ask you this…. Has it gotten you the results you want despite the length of time you have been committed to it? Probably not, which is why you are now asking a trainer. If you truly feel the need to count something, count reps of exercises. Wipe out your mind set of what magic number you think you need, because every single body is different.

What about skin? The human body is pretty amazing, and usually the better we are to it, the better it will be to us in return. Let’s say we haven’t always been so kind to it, which has led us to a place we are not the size we want to be. I often get questions about losing weight and having loose skin. The key is to tighten and tone as you go which definitely without a doubt will help. However, let’s use a balloon as an example. You take a balloon and stretch it, and blow it up much larger than its original size.  If you instantly let the air out, it will go back close to its original size, but the latex will be a little loose.

Now, let’s say you blow that balloon up much larger, and the latex is very stretched, and then you leave it that size for a significant period of time. When you deflate the balloon it will be much looser and still stretched out. Skin acts the same way. If you lose a significant amount of weight, your skin has already been stretched out for a period of time, and once it is that stretched out, although some will elasticize, it has no place to go. The same actually goes for muscle. If you visualize a body builder, (for example’s sake an extreme body builder like an Arnold Schwarzenegger type), they build their muscles to a certain size. Well, in turn that muscle mass has no place to go when they stop training, the mass just changes form usually to bulk unless they continually tone. The same with stretch marks, they will lighten and get significantly smaller, but traces of them will always remain no matter how small you get.

Let’s take a second to talk about the scale. I blame society for this. It apparently has become so engrained in our minds that we, at our height should weigh a certain amount.  My next question…Says who? I have women who come seeking counsel regularly that say they want to be 120 lbs. Little does that woman know, her bone structure is not built to be that size. That particular woman might look sickly at 120 lbs., whereas someone of a different build and frame, that may be a healthy weight for. Guess what… your frame, and your build, and your bone structure are not the same as the person next to you. Whoever said the scale was anyone’s friend LIED. Stop focusing on numbers on the scale and focus on what you see in the mirror. Focus on how your clothes fit. You like what you see, Fantastic!!! Keep up the great work! You are uncomfortable in your own skin… then make some changes to meet your goals.

At the end of the day losing weight, toning up, getting healthy… it is a LIFESTYLE. Not to mention a commitment that takes time, work and constant dedication. Results take work. There is no magic supplement, or pill despite all the hogwash the nutrition industry will try and sell you. They are making tons of money off peoples strong desires for a quick, easy fix.  YOU are the owner of your body and mind. So, is it possible? ABSOLUTELY! But it starts with realistic expectations. Set your mind on the right course, and you are already on your way.

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New Year New Me

Sounds so cliché, doesn’t it? Yet this saying is said by so many of us right after the ball drops ushering in another year. What does one mean by this exactly though? Everyone has New Year’s Resolutions that are very rarely accomplished and although they put in a few minutes of thought on what they’d actually like to create for their lives in the New Year, usually by the first of February those resolutions are quickly forgotten and we are right back to our old same routine, our old same thinking and our regular, comfortable life, with no real commitment for change because after all, that would require work and effort.

So, first, maybe we should start by giving recognition to the “old” me, since you are determined at this point still in January to change it. What really great things did the old me do for you last year? Did it stay relatively healthy, fighting off colds and flu season, or that 48 hour stomach bug brought home by one of your children that everyone got, except you? Maybe the “old me” kept you super calm and collected three months ago during that stressful work meeting. Maybe it even gave you the strength and confidence to get out of an abusive relationship you hung out in way too long. So what, if after that relationship ended you fell off the wagon and gained 15 lbs. Maybe you should thank your body first for getting you through some big obstacles.

Now that you have cut yourself a moment of slack, on to the task at hand. What exactly do you mean by, “New year, New Me”? This is actually a very broad term. Since “Losing weight” is the number one New Year’s resolution by just about.. well.. EVERYBODY, let’s start there. So, you want to lose weight. What is your game plan? Now that the holidays are over, and New Year’s Eve, and all of the New Year ’s Day left overs are finally out of the house, we are in to the second week of the year, is it a safe time to evaluate that? You see, a failure to plan is really a plan to fail, and although you have vowed for the last 10 years to lose weight, this truly is your year! So, I say again, what is your game plan?

Write it down! You want to lose weight? How much weight? Are we talking numbers on the scale, total inches lost, or fitting back in to our skinny jeans, or all of the above? Unfortunately, yes, this resolution is going to take effort and work. Despite what the diet and nutritional companies try to tell you, there is no magic pill. It’s going to take nutritional guidance and hours and sweat, (yes, sweat) put in to get you where you want to be. Luckily for you, at Wicked Fitness we can get you right on your way.  The biggest trick is not losing sight of your goal. Life happens, but change is also possible if you stick to the plan!

What else would you like to change about the old me? Write that down too. You see, almost as if sending a direct message to the universe, when you write something down it puts it in your face and gives it power. Now that we have the weight resolution out of the way, what else would you change about the life you have? A new job or promotion? Alright, what is it going to take to get you there? More schooling? Again, what’s your game plan?

What about your mental resolutions? These ones are not as commonly thought of. Things like, “meditate more”, “change my thinking “, “Read more” , “Write in a journal”, “Start loving myself”, these are often forgotten altogether or quickly moved passed in the chaos of everyday life. These can be just as important as all the physical, in your face goals of a new year like fitness and careers.

You see, nothing that is truly rewarding comes without hard work and sacrifice. Most people get so caught up in not really wanting to work for change that they fall into their same patterns repeating year after year because they are comfortable, and venturing out of that comfort zone would really shake the boat. Comfortable bears the same results, whether that be in your physical body, career, or everyday life. However, when you rock the boat, do something out of the usual, take steps that make waves toward your goal, this is where change starts to happen. Change in your body, your mind, and your overall reality.  NO change can happen without steering the course and following through. So, is this really going to be a year of change, rebirth, and redesign? Every journey starts with the first step. Are you ready to take yours?

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Healthy Skin For 2017

As we age, the glowing skin that once came naturally to us during our youth seems more difficult than ever to achieve and maintain. The good news is, you can help your skin look radiant and beautiful from the inside out. The easiest way you can do this is through incorporating specific foods into your diet.

Did you know that certain fruits and vegetables have excellent benefits for your skin? Pomegranates are a great source of polyphenol and ellagic acid which are believed to help increase the beneficial effects of sunscreen. In turn, ellagic acid will help prevent premature aging and free radical damage to your skin. Another fruit that is believed to contain dermal benefits are berries. They are great source of Vitamin C which helps with collagen synthesis, maintaining the elasticity in your skin, and aiding in the prevention of oxidation which is essential for those who desire healthy youthful looking skin. Vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes can also help stop the dreaded signs of premature aging due to their high amounts of Vitamin A. These super foods are contain antioxidant beta-carotene which ultimately become Vitamin A. Ingesting Vitamin A can help protect your skin from the inside out and is also excellent when applied topically as well.

Probiotics are next on the list for glowing radiant skin. Studies have recently shown that as you consume probiotics, they line the intestinal barrier, which can help prevent certain molecules from penetrating the walls. This lining ultimately helps prevent inflammation that these harmful molecules would typically trigger thus promoting a clearer complexion without redness and flare-ups.

In addition to food, you should always remember to drink lots of water and green tea. Water of course will keep your skin hydrated and healthy and help it to maintain that dewy glow. Studies have also shown that consuming regular amounts of green tea can produce amazing benefits for your skin such as preventing skin cancer. The properties in green tea paired with the use of sun screen can make all the difference in the wellness of your skin as they can help release free radicals and prevent UV damage from occurring.

Lastly, for those who love to indulge, we have excellent news. Red wine along with dark chocolate are also believed to be catalysts in maintaining a youthful appearance. Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol which may help decrease inflammation as well as preventing blood clots within our bodies. While dark chocolate has been shown to help prevent the harmful effects that UV exposure can cause. So next time you’re thinking of splurging, you may want to consider these options.

Although these are just some of the foods of many that that can help your complexion remain young and radiant, the main thing to remember is that what you put in is what you get out. If you eat healthy and are conscientious of what you are putting you’re your body then it will ultimately show on the outside.

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Wicked Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Did you know the holidays is also one of the most stressful times of the year? Yep! Neck and neck with tax season. (I know, right?!) Are you thinking? “But all the joy, the merriment, the family?” Who are we kidding, right? Probably right behind that thought is the laundry list of things to do. The list of presents to buy, the date of the kids holiday performances, not to mention making the costumes, decorating the house, trimming the tree, the office party, all the extra cooking, teacher gifts before winter break, who is coming in to town, and who in the family no longer speaks to the other (that always makes for an interesting dinner), where will all the money needed for this come from…the list seems never ending. We won’t even broach the subject of waiting in a million lines… EVERY WHERE.
Between the seemingly Santa sized list of to-do’s, must have’s, and not to be forgotten, it is incredibly easily to lose complete sight of your goals you set back in September. Did you know on average people gain between 10-15 lbs. over the holiday season? 10-15 LBS!!!! That’s a staggering amount especially when you have been working so hard to get it off. Stress, less time to exercise, and more time eating and drinking the worst of the worst, all that holiday merriment quickly gets out of hand and January presents itself to you no longer fitting in to your skinny jeans that you just got back into months ago.
Luckily, with some pre-planning, it doesn’t have to be this way! You have probably heard of the Elf on the Shelf or maybe even use it with your kids. The Elf keeps a watchful eye on the kids, reports back to Santa nightly and returns every morning in a different “sneaky” place. If you are like most of us, we use this “toy” to keep our kids behaving in the month of December. Man, it works like a charm too…the horrifying thought of “Santa” finding out they fought with their siblings or did something they weren’t supposed to…(like maybe steal a cookie from the cookie jar)… Well, maybe adults need an elf of the shelf as extra “eyes” to when they are being naughty as well. Someone watching when you are pouring that extra glass of egg nog to help deal with your in-laws. Here’s a start… don’t buy the eggnog. Around the holidays, extra junk inevitably finds its way in to our houses, pantries and even our work place. Yes, it is going to take some serious will power, but you can say no. Make sure you are bringing your snacks and lunch to the office so when the breakroom is full of calorie filled temptation, you can easily escape.
Don’t let yourself get hungry. If you get busy without preplanning your next snack/meal you are that much more apt to grab the first thing you can get your hands on, which will almost guaranteed be clean eating sabotage. Snack on vegetables galore and drink your water. Get enough protein daily which will lead to feeling less of a need to snack.
Don’t skip workouts. I realize time is of the essence and during this season there is never seemingly enough of it. Workouts easily get placed on the back burner, but they are IMPERATIVE for staying on track, not to mention mentally it’s the best combatant you have against all the stress that comes along with the season. An extra bonus, you aren’t just boosting good endorphins, but also your immune system to fight away the gift of the common cold that often shows it’s face around this time.
Choose your calories wisely! Imagine you are at an event, family gathering, office party, holiday get together and you are staring at a table of temptation and don’t want to seem bah humbug or anti-social. Suddenly the room seems smaller and panic mode sets in. Relax! If this is a pot luck event, you can start by making something clean eating YOU can eat and like. It might possibly even turn others on to a new recipe or even a whole new outlook on healthy living. If the food is provided, usually, there is healthier options. Almost every party these days offers a veggie and fruit platter, even meats and cheese (don’t go crazy on the cheese).
Let’s talk Liquor! With all the extra merriment of the season also comes extra drinking. When trying to cut weight, alcohol of any kind is not your friend, but if you are going to let your hair down and do some celebrating, certain options are better choices than others. Wine, red or white, you are looking at about 120 calories a glass (that’s in an exact 5 oz pour, which I can guarantee you are pouring possibly even twice that. Beer is loaded with empty calories, and leads to belly bloat. Mixed drinks of any kind are loaded with excess calories and sugars, easily racking up over 1000 calories if you aren’t careful. If you are choosing to drink, straight liquor in a shot or on the rocks, is really the way to go, when it comes to getting the most alcohol with the fewest calories. Keep in mind, the sweeter the taste of the liquor usually the more calories as well, so steer towards the “original” versus the flavored.
At the end of the day, the holidays, although packed with a ton of extra stress and things to do, can also be quite nice and a celebration of the year’s end. For some, a time to celebrate an amazing year with family and friends, for others a time to say good riddance and on to a better new year, but regardless a time of celebration. Life is absolutely for living in the moment and should be enjoyed, or else, what are you doing all this hard work for any way? Life truly is too short, but do not let all the hard work you have already done go by the wayside and derail you from the fast track to reaching your goals.

Who knows, maybe that Elf on the Shelf is making a pit stop at Wicked and letting us know what you have been up to. We do have connections at the North Pole.

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Mind over Matter: Mentally Strong

But Did you Die though?

So you have made the decision to start working out. Yes! This is the first step of the journey! But suddenly you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you have decided to try out a class, but are suddenly feeling anxiety about it. “I need someone to go with me”, “What if I’m the only new person”, “I don’t know what to do in a gym”, “Everyone is going to be looking at me”, “What if I’m the most unfit person there”, “I don’t feel comfortable working out in front of people”, and the list goes on and on, and suddenly you are talking yourself out of your decision for a healthier you, before you even start.

Did you know that over half of your fitness journey is actually a mental one? The first step is forcing yourself out the door and in to the gym or class. When I was getting ready to go to boot camp for the Marine Corps, you know what my biggest fear was? Running. It wasn’t the Drill Instructors, getting up a 4am, or even the thought of going to the gas chamber like most recruits dread. It was the simple thought of running and how I had to run 3 miles for my PFT, and I was a terrible runner. I did pass my run in boot camp… I was one of the very last few recruits, but I passed.

If I only knew then what I know now about mental mindset and physical training, I probably would have done much better. When I got out of the Corps, I was looking to lose weight and thought I had to run. It was like a nightmare. I would dread it. I would put it off as long as I possibly could, and then as I start out and am running down the street I’m literally thinking 15 excuses as to why I had to turn back… “I have to pee”, “my ankle hurts”, “damn, why does my knee feel like that”, “I wore the wrong sports bra”, and the list again goes on and on. I was already in motion, half way around the block, still making mental excuses. If only I had not dreaded it so much and thought about all the “ I think I can’s” and “ I know I can’s” and the “ I will’s!

I realized later in life if I took all the excuses and the same mental force I used thinking how I couldn’t and put a positive spin on it, how different things would have been. If I focused on all the things I could do, instead of the ones my body wanted to fight me on, I would have better results quicker. It didn’t dawn on me until much later in life that although my body thought I was going to die during physical activity, I never actually died. Although my lungs were absolutely certain I couldn’t breathe and I didn’t have enough air, there was indeed plenty of oxygen in the air and my body was doing exactly as it was supposed to. You see the first step is getting out the door, and starting your workout, whether that’s in a Wicked Fitness class, or at a gym. The next step is mentally pushing through your workout. When you feel like you just can’t, push just a little bit further. In this “I’m going to die” moment, that’s where big changes occur to NOT just our physical bodies but our mind. Our mind is truly where all our power resides anyway.

So, you did it! You made it through your workout and didn’t die! Now you go home and want to eat the first thing you see. Slow your roll, home slice. That will sabotage the hard work you just put in. The rest of my family is eating pizza and I just worked so hard is not a valid reason. The next hardest thing is mentally training yourself to eat healthful foods to benefit your body and help you reach your goals, even when you are surrounded by poor choices and possible bad decisions. If you are like me, late night temptations will whisper in your ear like a devil…..Stay STRONG!

Finally, you have to train your mind and not just your body to keep going! Just because you worked out and did really well on your eating plan for a few days, or a week does not give you permission to suddenly go crazy. Results take time, hard work, and dedication. That extra 20, 30, 40, 50 plus lbs did not go on overnight, and it’s not going to come off in a few weeks of eating right and working out. You are going to have to sweat and work really, really hard for it. You may have to wake up extra early just to get your workout in… yes… we know it’s way easier to stay in the bed a few minutes longer, or stay up a little later watching that T.V. show. Hard work, commitment, and sacrifice are the only things that truly create change , but the mental work you put in to make the physical happen will leave you a stronger, more confident, healthier YOU. That YOU is incredible and can accomplish anything. KNOW you can. See it in your mind. Believe it. And keep going!

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Own Your Own Story

Last week I celebrated my 27th birthday. Naturally, I started reminiscing about my past, my personal story. About nine years ago, I was in a full blown battle with an eating disorder.

As a child, I was super anxious, had panic attacks, and even OCD. I was so afraid of dying. I didn’t feel safe in the world. At that time, I learned that food could comfort me in ways I didn’t know how to do on my own. I started to feel bad about myself and developed low self-esteem because of the way I was treating myself. I got picked on and felt gross. I didn’t know how to handle my thoughts. I never felt good in my body or about the way I ate.

Senior year in high school, I found my control. I started eating less. Way less. I saw myself getting smaller. I started exercising more and more. I started to gain control over my anxiety and panic. I even got more attention from boys. I felt so high because I finally was good at something, I was thin and nothing else mattered. I became obsessed. In just a couple months, I lost an unhealthy amount of weight. I was eating very little and on a very rigid schedule. I put this first before anything else. I avoided parties, family, or anything that I thought would set me off track. I avoided anything food related. I lost a lot more than weight. I lost friendships, fun, my period, my thick hair, and my connection to my intuition . After 3 years of food restriction and over exercising, my body’s hunger could not contain itself. I needed to be nourished. I needed food.

So I ate. A lot. I was compulsive and nobody knew it. I started binging on anything, especially the foods I had denied myself. I would leave functions to sneak eat in the bathroom, car, or anywhere private. I gained 30+ lbs. back and some extra in 2 months. It was drastic and made a major dent to my ego. I felt hot, uncomfortable, and depressed. I felt as if my worth went out the door. I hated putting clothes on. I hated looking at my closet at the clothes I used to prance around in when I was…thinner. I felt sucked in to this guilt / self-sabotage habit loop. I was mentally and physically at war with myself.

When I hit my rock bottom. I decided to write. It was midnight. I ate so much that day that I actually got sick, my body naturally rejected the food I put in it. I couldn’t sleep because I felt so ill, so uncomfortable, so full, and ready to just give up on myself. Somehow, I went downstairs on my computer and I started typing. I wrote…

“There has to be a way out. There has to be a different way. I don’t wish this pain on anyone in my life. GOD, I swear, I will get better. Help me get better and when I do I will help others. ”

So I got better.

My recovery journey was a slow, steady, yet rewarding one. I took action and got professional help. My boyfriend at the time, Kyle, introduced me to his sports mental management goal system. He used it for golf. I was a horrible golfer. So I used it for my personalized goals.
That was my first introduction to learning about the power of our mind, our thoughts, and that we can change our reality by changing our minds.

All that lead me to where I am today. Helping others find freedom around negative habits and beliefs. I still struggle, I still battle the obsession, the thoughts that tell me I’m gross. However, it doesn’t stop me from living and doing the things I love. I have to redirect myself, every damn day. Truth is, it doesn’t matter how much you weigh or what your dress size is. IT DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is how you treat yourself, how you feel in your body. Instead of working out to lose weight, work out to nourish your muscles. Eat healthy to have energy to do the things you love. I have learned to approach my disordered thinking with more kindness, love, and compassion. At the end of the day, you need to be happy with where you are now. I was not any happier being smaller. I am happier now more than I have ever been. I fill up on experiences with my good friends, with meaningful and uplifting work, and doing the things that nourish my body, mind, and soul.

Whatever path you are on, the first step is to forgive yourself. Forgiveness equals freedom. Use your challenge, your suffering as a pivotal turning point to change. Be grateful for the challenge as it serves a purpose. It is easy to focus on the negative side effects of our challenges. However, without it, how else would we evolve and transform? Use them as learning lessons. Get curious, what is the benefit of this suffering? Believe it or not, this is your bodies way of telling you…my darling, PAY ATTENTION !!!

“In the long run, you’ll be proud of yourself being able to push through the obstacles. The outcome is great and all but the journey is better because that will be your story” Kurt

Just take the first step and the path will show up later. You are worth the fight. Fight for yourself by asking for help. Message me. Message a therapist. Google. One step every day. The biggest thing was I had to accept myself as I was. I learned to stop waiting till I felt better to act. Now is the perfect time to start, now is always the perfect time.

So own your story. OWN the darkness. Shout it out loud. Express your secrets that nobody knows. Why? Because you never know who you might help heal. When we free ourselves from our past, we help others heal and do the same. Make the choice to be free from the darkness inside you. Shine the light of awareness on that dark spot.

All we need is a little inspiration, and I hope this is it.

From my heart to yours,

I believe in you.

Anna Elizabeth Nadolski

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Why Am I Sore After Yoga?

So you just took a yoga class, maybe your first or maybe your fiftieth and you’re scratching your head asking “Why am I so sore after a Yoga class?” After all, yoga has the reputation for being a class to improve your flexibility, so why all the joint pain and/or muscle soreness?

Great question. First of all, congratulations on stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying a yoga class. You’ve discovered a time honored tradition of rhythmic stretches that dates back generations upon generations. These practices were once held in secret, reserved only for men of great wealth and influence. Interesting isn’t it that now in 2016 it has a reputation of being a female dominated choice of workout? Balance. All things, especially energy, looks to return to balance. So no matter where you are at on your yoga journey, welcome to a lifelong exploration of who you are and what being fully present and alive in your own body temple can look and feel like. As the esteemed yogi and writer Pattabhi Jois writes, “do your practice and all is coming.”
One definition of yoga means union, discussing the union of breath and body. When you undertake a yoga practice, you are syncing your breath with your movements. Each pose has both a physical and emotional component. Take note that your body has both a physical and energetic nature. Your physical body is the realm of physical matter such as blood, bones, organs, lymph system, muscles, etc. Your energetic body, however, is the transmission of energy to, through and around your actual physical body. Some may call this your aura, or discuss your chakras (if you’re into the lingo,) or reference your 12 energetic meridians as the acupuncture studies may chart. Consider the word emotion. Emotions are actual Energy in Motion, E-MOTION, ENERGY-in-MOTION. How does that feel when you read it?

Consider a frustrating experience that you may have had recently, a time when you did not feel supported or protected. For illustration, imagine having to pay your bills and not having enough money. This is a first chakra issue, and this particular energy in motion disturbance tends to manifest right in your lower back, causing lower back pain. The energies felt may have been frustrating, defeating, humiliating, exhausting and a plethora of associated energies in motion, your emotions. Without consideration of your energetic body, you may wake up the next day with your lower back singing to you, tight in pain, and you start scratching your head wondering why your lower back hurts? Did I pull it? Did I do something in yoga? Did I sleep funny? Instead, consider that your emotions were not fully processed and your body stored them in your lower back, for a time later when you were ready to fully deal with them.

Now back to yoga. When you are in class, your instructor has prepared a sequence of postures (called asanas) to warm you up, challenge your balance and strength and then stretch out the muscles used in your flow sequence. From power yoga to hatha yoga and even including Buti yoga, the back story is the same; you do your practice and all is coming. Yoga instructors will repeat “breathe,” and “inhale” and “exhale” multiple times during most classes.

They are holding space for you to go within your body find the balance, to match your breath with your movement and to create a very relaxing space where your body can open up and allow your energies in motion to ground and release. Yes, release. This is one of the many secrets of yoga. You can clear out old, stuck, unwanted energies in motion through your yoga sequences and not have to relive those old memories. The incident of not having enough money to pay your bills may come to mind during your yoga class, likely when you are in a first chakra grounding position such as malasana (squat pose) or Vrksasana (tree pose) when you are finding strength through grounding in these Earthy solid poses. Adding affirmations, even if just in your mind, can expedite the emotional work.

Affirmations for the first chakra could include, “I am lovable and capable, I am enough, I am protected, I am safe, I am well provided for, All my bills are paid and I still have all this money.” Thoughts become things and you can create your own reality by choosing the thoughts you think and the words you speak. The beauty is that if your life isn’t created the way you would like it to be, through visualization and spoken affirmations you can re-create it to be just as wonderful as you can envision it to be. You are that powerful.

So what to do about that sore back? Whenever a pain or discomfort arises, consider both your physical and your energetic body. What emotions are you feeling? Where does it hurt? Louise Hayes outlines in a nice chart different dis-eases and discomforts in her classic book “You Can Heal Your Life,” if you would like full chart reference, this book is highly recommended. On the energetic plane, does your throat hurt? What is it that you do not want to say? Sinus infection? Who are you close to that has angered you? Migraine? What has you feeling that you are not good enough, what perfection are you struggling with? Once you’ve considered the emotional culprits, and have written out some positive affirmations to change that energy in motion to a positive flow, now it’s time to look at your physical body.

Are your hamstrings sore? Perhaps a sore shoulder or sore wrists? What is your physical body trying to tell you? Again, consider looking up the emotional component, but then consider your physical form. What exercises are you doing? If you’re not exercising at all, it should not be a surprise that soreness is your reality. You are a living breathing human being, not a human resting, so you must be all you can be to feel as good as you can feel. Choose exercises that challenge you. If the exercise practice doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. So after a good yoga class or exercise practice expect soreness.

General soreness is a nice indicator that you put in some work, and your body is changing. Excruciating pain, however, is a red flag that you need to change your approach. Perhaps, in the case of yoga, it is an issue of form. Sore wrists and sore shoulders can be remedied with hand placement on the mat and some instructions on how to balance your weight evenly into both shoulders for inverted postures, such as downward dog. What about a sore lower back after yoga? This sounds like a form issue to, posture especially, which can be remedied by holding a tight Mula Bahnda. Mula Bahnda is your root lock, which is summed up as holding your abdominal wall in tightly with a tucked pelvis and a nice squeeze through your pelvic floor while performing almost every asana. The pelvic tuck protects your lower back, and engages your muscles properly for utmost alignment.

What if you are just sore head to toe after a vigorous class? Good question. First of all, consider the physical body and the emotional body. Did you overdo it? Did you push too hard? Did you try to get into a pose that was far out of your realm (such as headstand) and now have both a migraine and a sore neck and shoulders because you wanted to nail a pose too soon? For every yoga class there are modifications. Take the modifications and use the props provided to work your way up, to and through postures. If the instructor is flying through a vigorous sequence and your body is telling you that it’s tired, take child’s pose. Take the rest posture and watch what is being offered, and join back in when you are ready. See what is available in your class, knowing that you do not have to do each pose. Challenge yourself only to your level, and only you know what you level is for that day. Pick classes that you cannot finish, knowing that you are set up for growth just by being there and taking it all in at your level. Pick other classes where you can fine tune your form, perhaps going slower or faster than your normal preferred rhythm, and get the poses into your muscle memory. Please do not beat yourself up mentally when you cannot complete a pose or class. You are here for practice. You will improve. You are getting stronger. “Do your practice and all is coming.” At Wicked Fitness especially, you are safe in a judgement free zone, and that means talking nicely to yourself too in your mind. You are lovable and capable. You are deserving. You are enough.

Remember above all else, that your body is both physical and energetic, and what you feed it will create the body that you have to operate within. When you are doing energetic work, like exercises and yoga, please feed your body lovingly. Choose foods that grew in the sun, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose foods that have one word ingredients, such as: apple, banana, kale, spinach, rice, potato, orange. Your energetic body is fed by live foods. Processed baked goods with dairy whipped sugar beverages surrounding a yoga experience is a great way to promise yourself soreness. As a matter of fact, fast food, sugar, corn syrup and negative thoughts all wrapped together is a guarantee for sore muscles. Keep it up, and you can invite depression, desperation and sickness into your reality.

Dear loved one, please drink water. Water cannot be overstated. Your body is made up of water more than any other element, and drinking plenty of clean water is the road to flushing out toxins and wastes. You may see yogis walking around town or in television shows carrying either coconut water or a green drink; why do they do that? Coconut water is an excellent hydrating beverage, delivering more electrolytes than any red drink could ever imagine. Your body can rehydrate effectively and quickly with coconut water. Did you know that back in World War 2, when blood products were unavailable for wounded soldiers that coconut water can and was used intravenously instead? It’s molecular make up is so close to that of human blood plasma that it is a viable substitution. So indeed, drinking coconut water can get you feeling perky with a quickness, especially great for when it is hot and you are sweating. Thank the wise Universe for putting coconut trees readily available in very hot areas. What about the green drinks? Green drinks are a fun, easy and tasty way to consume some good alkaline type foods, such as your kales and wheatgrasses. Fresh pressed juice, from a specialty store or juice bar delivers wild wide open energy in an easy to digest form, sippable through your straw. All the goodness of sun grown vegetables in your 16oz easy to carry cup, it’s a little miracle, actually. Being alive in 2016 means that you can actually buy some green drinks of fresh pressed juice, (no, we are not talking Shamrock Shakes) from big stores such as Kroger’s or Whole Foods. The local Kroger’s in Garden City now stocks a brand called “Suja Uber Greens” that can be found in the cooler of the produce section. A 46oz bottle costed $9.99 and is delicious on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, (perhaps before your Tuesday 6AM Vinyasa class) or later in the day between meals as a ‘pick me up.’ This brand is loaded with cucumber, celery, grapefruit¸ lemon, kale, green chard and more, all in one convenient bottle. Of course, in a perfect world you would have a gorgeous juicer and a gorgeous live in cook that would juice the fresh juice for you each morning. Perhaps work on your affirmations to create a reality like that.

Finally, consider the power of Epsom salts. Your body needs magnesium. You likely do not get enough in your food, based on current farming practices and depleted soils. Supplements taken orally won’t cut it, they are not properly absorbed. The best absorbtion for magnesium is through your skin. There are topical magnesium creams if you are interested but a relaxing way is to add a cup or more of Epsom salt (magnesium salts) to your bath at night. (Be mindful to get plain Epsom salts, as some brands have added in artificial fragrances that can cause headaches and skin irritations. They may read ‘therapeutic’ but know that the synthetic fragrances do not have healing or therapeutic properties. Yucky.) Allow your skin to absorb the healing properties of the magnesium salts. Do you know what the sign and symptom of magnesium deficiency is? Sore muscles. Yes, sore muscles. Do you know that when you’re engaged in energy moving practices such as yoga, you burn up your magnesium? Yes, you do. So treat yourself to a loving bath, maybe add your affirmations and a nice cold glass of coconut water and enjoy the fact that you had a wonderfully challenging yoga practice, you are growing, you are becoming stronger, you are releasing old emotions and old thought patters, and you can sleep sound knowing that each day you are better than the day before. Treat yourself right. You are worth it. You are enough. Your body is your greatest teacher. What is it telling you today?

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Halloween Treats: How to Slow Down & Be Mindful

Halloween is right around the corner and most of our clients ( including me ) are already beginning to worry about how they will manage so much Halloween candy next week. The stash of candy sitting around the house, at work, or the treats at holiday parties can lead most of us to automatic patterns of just grabbing, devouring, and not paying attention to the process of eating. Instead of feeling numb or overwhelmed, we can shift our attitude from judgment to honesty. Fear to self trust. The best way to do this is by slowing down and being present.

Here are a have a few of my favorite tips that will help you slow down, beat overwhelm, and give you the confidence to choose wisely and enjoy Halloween.

1. CONTEMPLATE. Take plenty of time to scope the party room or candy basket. Notice what you really want. DO NOT DENY what you are craving. Start by becoming aware of what you want. Examine all of your options before picking one. Once you pick it enjoyyyy baby!

2. HOW SLOW CAN YOU GO? Chew slowly. Notice yourself chewing the food and truly tasting the party in your mouth. Notice how your jaw moves as you chew. Connect to the present by tuning into your physical sensations : sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.

2. WAIT ON MORE. Fully enjoy one piece of candy from start to finish before you move onto the next bite or decide if you want another piece. Put a timer on. Place a gap between urge and reaction. This gives you time to check in and ask “How do I feel?”

3. HUNGER SCALE. Check in before and after you eat. On a scale of 1-10
(1 – being starving, irritable, extremely hungry)
(10 – feeling you need to unbutton your pants, very full, uncomfortable)
Just checking in will help you slow down. The mindful eater may say something like, “I just ate a meal and had a cupcake. On the hunger / fullness scale I am at about a 6.5. I am comfortably full. I know if I eat another cupcake it will put me over the edge. I know this craving will pass. Let me wait 20 minutes and if I feel hungry, I am more than happy to have another or at least take one home to enjoy later.”

4. SIT DOWN and stop multitasking. Before you eat, take a seat!!! This will help you reduce distraction, meaning less chances of you over eating.

5. EAT KINDLY. Plan on eating with the intention of being in full view of others. Notice if you have the urge to eat in a private setting. Ask what is triggering you emotionally to eat in private?

Other Tips:
– Be KIND and compassionate to yourself.
– Make sure you don’t skip out on meals. Aim for at least 3 well balanced meals. When we are hungry, we make poor choices that can increase your chances to binge on candy and sugar later. Choose foods that light up your world…think plant-based rainbows (veggies and fruits) on your plate at each meal and you will naturally want less later.

– Make a list about all the things you love about Halloween that doesn’t include food. Fill yourself up with fun rather than food. I personally love painting pumpkins, making crafts, and planning my costume. If you are headed to a party, bring a game like Cards Against Humanity or Jenga. If you are spending time with family, maybe plan on watching a movie together after trick or treating. Plan your evening around having fun and socializing. Filling up with laughs and good company will help you forget about any urge to eat.

– Set yourself up to succeed. Create a special vibe and treat Halloween as a special day by enjoying candy for a day or two, then throwing the rest away.

– Candy buy backs. Check out Or contact your local pediatric dental office. Some will do candy buy backs for a good cause.

Remember Halloween is one day, so remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself. When in doubt, just slow things down.

What are your personal challenges that you face during this time of year? We are here to support you at Wicked Fitness.

Anna is a Certified Health Coach and Yoga instructor. She weaves both worlds into one, to help others live more balanced, positive and healthful lives. Make an appointment today to find out more.

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Uncovering the Truth about Abs

Planking, crunches, and core work, oh my! These along with a plethora of devices that are on the market today like the Ab Wheel, the Ab Coaster, the Ab Cruncher and the Ab Doer all promise to deliver rock hard abs and a strong core. The burning question is however, do they really work? The simple answer is yes; they do work. With the help of these devices and exercises your core and your abs will become stronger. Unfortunately, if you want to see them, it’s not that simple.

What many people don’t realize is that you can’t spot lose weight. What this means is, you can’t simply point out a spot on your body and decide that this exact place is where you are going to lose the weight regardless if you concentrate on toning that area or not. For example, if you are looking at yourself in the mirror and think I love my body but… I really would like to lose just a little bit more of this back fat right around my bra line. Your only option to make that happen is to lose some weight overall and hope it comes off in that specific area. You can tone that area, however, and it can make a difference but especially when it comes to seeing your abs, you have to face reality.

The reality is, is that your abs are made in the kitchen. Regardless of your efforts in the gym, if they are not matched in your diet as well, you will never see your abs. Males generally tend to have a lower body fat percentage and so it can be a little bit easier for them to achieve this than it can be for us, women. Achieving and maintaining abs is a lot of work and a full time commitment so mentally prepare yourself to dedicate all of your efforts towards your goal.

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