sam

Loving, Kindness Meditation

By | Fit Community, Food for thought, Uncategorized | No Comments
I hope this message finds you feeling well, happy, and peaceful. I would like to share with you an interesting experience that I had last week. I appreciate you allowing me to share some of my Self and I invite you on a journey to find more peace and happiness. 
 
Sunday evening started with listening to this podcast interview with Congressman John Lewis, who has been my representative as long as I’ve lived in Atlanta. He was often beaten during the Civil Rights movement and has been jailed many times throughout his life for civil protest, but always remains peaceful and with love in his heart – even for those who were treating him as less than human. This podcast is less about his life details and more about how he views and lives in loveIn faith. With the knowing that we are all One Family. I urge you to find an hour – even if you’re doing something else like cooking – to listen to this conversation. I promise you will hear at least one thing that inspires you to be a better neighbor, a better human, and to have more compassion.
 
After listening to this inspiring talk, I opened social media for one of the first times in the previous few days. Probably needless to say – but it’s part of the story – I saw lots of things that discouraged me, made me straight up mad as hell, and saddened me so, so deeply. I read some things that encouraged me as well, but mostly I closed that page feeling hopeless, depleted, and overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure what to do. Then I remembered a goal I had set for myself recently.
I realized this would be the perfect time to practice a Loving Kindness meditation. A Loving Kindness meditation starts with simply closing your eyes and breathing. You then find love and kindness for yourself, followed by someone you know, and then others, and on and on. The goal I set for myself is to practice this every night before bed for the next few weeks so that I may find more peace in my heart, and so that I may share it with others. I am inviting you to join me on this journey of practicing just once each day or night. 
 
Here is the one I listened to that night which inspired this post. Please trust me that you need no experience, no meditation cushion or any other thing to facilitate this. All that is required is the willingness to be open and to take ten to fifteen minutes out of your day to breath and think good thoughts. If you are in a partnership or family setting, listen to it with others and watch the love blossom. Share your experience, or journal about it. I beg you to try it at least once. The first video is 13 minutes. 
 
I will be leading a group Loving Kindness meditation at Powerlady Fitness each Tuesday in February at 8 PM, starting 2/7/17. Please contact us if you would like to join. 
 
I look forward to hearing from you if you would like to cultivate loving kindness with me. 
Always know that you have my gratitude and my love just for being you. I send you peace, wellbeing, and joy in each of your days.
 
Much Love,
Samantha 
habits

Start Slowly, Build Methodically

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If you haven’t exercised in a while and are unsure of how to get started – try making a daily challenge to start moving your body in small ways and build to where you can handle longer, more strenuous exercise sessions. Climb stairs if given the choice between that and escalators or elevators. Walk your dog, chase your kids, toss balls with friends or mow the lawn. Anything that moves your limbs is not only a fitness tool, it’s a stress buster.

Every little bit adds up and the important thing to focus on in the beginning is building the habit. I promise if you are consistent in doing the exercise you will see positive changes over time.

“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ~William Faulkner

organic

The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen

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Much of the produce that is sold today in supermarkets is supplied from farmers who practice conventional farming methods using chemical fertilizers as well as pesticides and herbicides. As we expose ourselves to these synthetic substances over the years, our bodies become overloaded, and our ‘cleaning’ mechanisms fail to work. As a result, many of us develop sickness and disease because our bodies cannot efficiently remove these toxins anymore.

Pesticides are poisons designed to kill insects, plants, fungi, moulds and rodents. Even when used as directed, pesticides have many negative side effects on human health and the environment.

Some pesticides accumulate in the fatty tissues interfering with growth, reproduction and behavior. Repeated exposure to pesticides has been linked to neurological problems, brain and lung cancer, immune suppression, leukaemia, Parkinson’s disease, kidney damage, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive disorders, including endocrine disruption, low sperm count, and sterility.

Pesticide contamination tests on popular fruits and vegetables are regularly performed on produce after it has been rinsed or peeled – the results of which should help you decide where to best spend your organic food dollars.

The Clean 15: Onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangos, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, mushrooms.

The Dirty Dozen: Apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, kale.

Conventionally grown is better than not at all but choose organic from the dirty dozen when you can. The benefit of fruits and vegetables outweigh the risk from pesticides even if they’re not organic.

“The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.”  ~Deepak Chopra

differentclassesheader

Change is as Good as Rest

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The term cross training refers to an exercise routine involving several different forms of exercise. For most people cross training will help them reach and or maintain a high level of overall fitness. It’s a great way to condition different muscle groups and develop a new set of skills.

After months of the same exercise not only does the same old workout routine become boring but your body becomes extremely efficient in adapting to these movements. It automatically fires up the right amount of energy, muscles and fibers so that the exercise becomes or seems easy. That’s a great accomplishment for you but it limits the amount of the overall challenge you’re actually getting. So instead of continuing to improve your fitness, you’re simply maintaining.

Cross training keeps it interesting and engages different muscles all the time. This builds overall muscle strength and reduces the chance of injury from repetitive strain or overuse.

The benefits to cross training are countless…from conditioning the entire body and not just specific muscle groups, to improving your skill, agility and balance. Try skiing; jumping rope, rowing, yoga, racquet ball, basketball, skating…the list is endless! Mix and match your sports and change your routine on a regular basis.

If you want to see an improvement in your cardio, stronger bones, muscles and joints, reduced body fat and improved flexibility, better balance and coordination, get started on a cross training exercise routine today!

“Pursuit optimal fitness is a journey, a lifestyle; a process where intensity during each exercise session, what you eat every single day and patience over years is what’s required…”  ~Dr Deepak S Hiwale

foot-stretch

Fitness for Your Feet

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Because our feet are the most used & abused part of the body, it’s important to incorporate foot exercises into our wellness routine.

Our feet provide us with flexibility, help to absorb shock, distribute the weight of the body, and assist in adapting to surface changes when walking, running, & climbing. Lack of proper strength and flexibility can lead to fallen arches, ankle, knee, hip, back, shoulder, & neck problems, and potential pain or injury.

Walking is the best overall foot exercise. Each step puts your foot through its full range of motion, from the time your heel hits the ground until you push off with your toes. In addition to walking, flexibility and resistance exercises can also help keep your feet healthy.

Flexibility exercises. Exercises that improve flexibility help keep your feet limber. The easiest way to build flexibility is through slow and gentle daily stretches, focusing on one group of muscles at a time.

Resistance exercises. Resistance exercises are those in which your muscles work against some type of resistance, such as weights or exercise bands. Resistance exercises strengthen muscles, which, in turn, provide better support and protection for the foot as a whole.

One of the most effective foot exercises is the foot stretch. For this exercise you will need to sit on the floor and stretch out your legs. Loop a towel or resistance band around your feet. Keep your heels on the floor and pull the towel with both your hands and draw the toes and the middle of your foot towards your body. Stay in this position for 5 seconds and then go back to the initial position.

Don’t do foot exercises if they cause you any pain. And if you have arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, or structural foot problems that might affect your ability to exercise, consult a foot care specialist first.

“Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.”  ~ Unknown

clockunsplash

Best Time to Exercise

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If you’re a morning person, starting your morning with physical activity sets the day’s pace. Your mind is focused and you can complete your exercise before other distractions intrude. It jump-starts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours, and that means you’re burning more calories for much of the day as a result. By exercising at this time you will find that the increased intake of oxygen and improved circulation of blood in your body will help you stay energized and get your workday off to a good start. Moreover, research has indicated that people who exercise in the mornings tend to be more consistent in their fitness regimen. If you do choose early in the morning though, take extra time to warm up your muscles.
If the best time for you is later in the day, you may find that’s the time when you are at your high in strength, flexibility and endurance. Exercising at this time of day may also help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Avoid exercise within two hours of going to bed as it can have the effect of making you too alert and may cause you difficulty falling asleep.

Conclusion: the best time to exercise is the time you will actually do it!  If you are not a morning person don’t force it. You will only succeed in beating yourself up and feeling guilty. Don’t go to Dr. Google and Nurse Facebook. You will find thousands of articles on the ‘one best time’ to exercise. There is no ‘one best time’. The best time for you is the time that works best for you.

“You cannot expect to achieve new goals or move beyond your present circumstances unless you change.” ~Les Brown

brain-health

Exercising a Healthy Mind

By | Food for thought | No Comments

Your brain is no different than any other muscle in your body and therefore needs to be exercised. Physical exercise is not only important for your body’s health but it also helps your brain stay sharp. By putting on your runners and hitting the gym you can boost your brain’s fitness especially with aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise has shown to have positive effects on the brain on many levels, ranging from molecular to behavioral. According to a recent study, even 20 minutes of exercise helps the brain’s informational process and memory functions. While another study states that exercise increases the growth factor in the brain making it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.

Exercise increases your heart rate which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the release of hormones which helps provide a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells. From a behavioral perspective, the same antidepressant-like effects of “Runners High” are associated with a drop in stress hormones.

In general, anything that is good for your heart is good for your brain. Aerobic exercise not only improves brain function but it also acts like a first aid kit on damaged brain cells.

The next time you change your routine, try incorporating coordination into your cardiovascular exercise. Why not try a dance class? Ballroom dancing is both physical and mentally demanding as it involves different parts of the brain such as coordination, rhythm and strategy.

And finally if you like your alone time at the gym, try a circuit workout. It gets your heart rate up quickly and constantly redirects your attention.

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

nansi

Transformation Tuesday!!!

By | Success Stories | No Comments
Need a little inspiration?  Read Nansi’s interview below:
PL: Tell us a little about yourself.
Nansi: I have two girls and both are special needs.  I work full time from 6am-12pm during the week and all day Saturday.  A typical day for me is to work from 6-12, go home to have lunch with one of my daughters, pick up my other daughter from school and then drive 40 minutes to the Marcus Autism Center during the week.  Before knowing I would be taking my daughter to the Marcus Center I had decided I was either going to go back to school or get healthier.  When I got the call from the Marcus Center I realized school would have to wait.
PL: What brought you to this gym?
Nansi: My daughter was going to have therapy three hours a day during the week.  I googled places near the Marcus Center.  Several came up but b/c this one was all female I thought I would feel more comfortable coming here. At first I was worried that having one more thing ‘to do’ would add more stress. I realized I needed to get healthier so I went to check out the gym and decided to sign up.
PL: What changes did you see within the first month?
Nansi: My clothes felt a little bit looser and I had more energy.  I lost a total of 7 inches all over my body and 10 lbs. My stress level got better too.  I was really stressed before but coming to the gym helps me think more clearly and get rid of some of the stress.
PL: Did you feel like coming every day during the week?
Nansi: At first I didn’t, but once I got in the habit I did feel like coming.  It only took a week to get into the habit too.  I also felt that since I paid for it I would use it.  I feel so accomplished when I leave.
PL: What have you been doing each day for exercise?
Nansi: I do different things each time.  When I first started I did cardio to build up some endurance and to get into the habit.  I always do some cardio and I have added in some weights.
PL: Anything else you would like to add?
Nansi: It is awesome.  I feel great when I leave.  Life is still challenging but taking care of my health helps keep my stress down and helps keep me going. I needed to just stop thinking about it and just do it.  You can always find time to fit in exercise.
kristenandconnor

Meet Kristen & Connor

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When I moved to Atlanta I was in search of a women’s only gym that would give me a great sense of community for myself and my 6 month old son. I really liked that Powerlady fitness was a smaller gym and the classes offered were challenging and fun. The offered childcare was an added bonus and made my workout routine very easy. I quickly became friends with the other ladies in class and the amazing instructors. There is a great variety of classes to challenge any fitness level and plenty of equipment to use as well. Coming to Powerlady each day felt like a normal part of my day that I looked forward to. The positive and encouraging staff always made my visits pleasant and fun. My son went from just sitting up on his own to walking and talking with the childcare employees. They were extremely attentive and loved to play along with the other kids in the childcare room. The childcare hours fit perfectly with my workout schedule. My son loved playing with the other kids and all the toys. He was always so happy to come and visit everyone. He always was ready for nap time after a great time playing in the childcare room. I definitely recommend Powerlady fitness to help you reach your fitness goals and to have fun while doing it.
fairleigh1

Meet a Mom

By | Meet a Mom | No Comments

We know it’s tough to find time and space for yourself when you are working full time, raising a family, and making it through each day.  Read our interview with Fairleigh, a longtime member and mom, for inspiration on how she makes it happen.

  1. What do you do for a living?

I am a veterinary technician and work full time.

  1. What do you like to do for exercise?

I like to do a combination of weights and cardio for exercise. I have started recently to vary my cardio in between sets of weights – I will do 15 min on the elliptical or treadmill then move directly to a series of weight machines then right back to 10-15 more min of cardio like the bicycle, then another series on the machines. I have recently added in some of the evening classes and have really enjoyed them.

  1. How does being able to fit in exercise affect the rest of your life, family, etc.?

Being able to (finally!) fit in exercise has been so important for all aspects of my life. Not only does it feel great to have that “me time” but it also helps me to relieve stress after a busy day. I am a happier and healthier person for it!

  1. What brought you to Powerlady Fitness?

I originally came to Powerlady on a Groupon but I picked it specifically for the location and the child care option. Also I was not interested in a big gym experience but wanted some place more relaxed and comfortable. After a month of the Groupon, I joined the gym and that was three years ago!

  1. What is your favorite thing about our childcare?

My favorite thing about childcare is that the “sitters” are willing to engage with my child, play with her or draw with her. Each visit for my daughter is varied and fun, she loves coming to the gym and is very upset when I decide not to go!

  1. What advice would you give to new moms who want to exercise but aren’t sure how/where to start? (I hear so many say they feel guilty about spending money, being away from their child, taking their child from daycare straight to childcare).

My advice for new moms is to recognize the importance of taking that time for yourself to get some exercise. Even though it may seem like you are being selfish, its really just the opposite! The gym does not cost much money as compared to many other places and the childcare center is so close to the rest of the gym, your child is just right around the corner! I know my daughter loves coming to the gym right after I pick her up from aftercare at her school because its another fun activity for her, a different kind of stimulation in a small comfortable environment. When new moms take time for themselves, everyone benefits!

  1. Comment on the classes you take at Powerlady Fitness. Meet your needs? Stretch you in a good way?

I do not take classes regularly and have only taken one Pilates class. That one class was amazing and I was motivated to attend other classes, but instead have mostly done my own workouts on a 3-4 times a week basis.

  1. Comment on the camaraderie you experience with other young moms either in classes or with your friends, neighbors, a buddy who also comes to the gym.

I have made casual friends from some ladies I see on a regular basis, but I don’t know their names! I always feel welcome and comfortable at Powerlady, I feel like we are there all for the same reason and that feels very good.

  1. Is the location convenient to your home, your neighborhood?

Yes! I live in the Oak Grove neighborhood and work in Decatur. Most days it is easy enough to pick up my daughter from school and then take her with me to the gym. That is one of the major benefits to Powerlady, its in my neighborhood!

  1. What does your child like about childcare?

She loves the variety between the childcare providers and the children that are present each day. Even if she is the only child there, she is stimulated and happy for the interaction with the provider.

  1. What activities does your child enjoy at Powerlady’s childcare center?

My daughter loves coloring and reading while at Powerlady and she also loves playing with the other children. The childcare providers sometimes guide the play among the children and most of the time they are right in the middle of the play as well!

  1. Comment on the cost and/or the value of childcare at Powerlady Fitness.

The cost to me is so minimal compared to the value it provides for me, my daughter and my family. I am more content having my time to exercise and my daughter is happy to have different interactions each time she is at the gym. My membership at Powerlady makes the whole family happy!

  1. Comment on the childcare workers at Powerlady Fitness, their caring attitude, professionalism, etc.

The childcare providers at Powerlady are always enthusiastic, caring and motivated to give my child a wonderful experience. They are professional and truly interested in the care that they give to each child there. I am glad to have such wonderful staff persons to take care of my child!

You have One Million Reasons not to Work Out. And One Great Reason to Start Now: YOU. Contact us!