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Body Essentials Personal Training & Wellness

Move more and eat less—that’s the key to weight loss, right? Unfortunately, most people end up struggling to lose weight and keep it off with this advice alone. In reality, losing weight to get healthy isn’t so simple. That’s where a weight loss trainer comes into the picture. If you’re on the fence about hiring a weight loss personal trainer, here are three reasons you should take the leap. 

A weight loss trainer can develop a personalized program. 
Are you exercising often and still not seeing any results? There may be lots of reasons you’re not getting the results you want. You may be doing the wrong exercises for your body type, or you may not be pushing yourself hard enough. A trainer will devise a plan that focuses effectively on the changes you want to make and that challenges you safely. A customized plan designed with your goals in mind will give you boost you need to stay motivated with consistent results.

You will learn how to exercise safely. 
There are right ways and wrong ways to work out. If you’re consistently doing movements with the wrong form, you could also risk serious injury—and fail to see results from your workouts. Personal trainers are educated in body mechanics and can show you how to complete your workouts safely, so you can remain active. 

Your weight loss trainer is an accountability partner. 
Losing weight is hard, so support is crucial. Your personal trainer for weight loss can help you stay on track by helping you stay accountable. It’s harder to blow off a workout when you know a trainer is waiting for you, and they can make sure you work hard throughout your session. This kind of support can be what makes the difference between you succeeding in reaching your goals and giving up. 

At Body Essentials, we’re here to help you become the best version of yourself. We offer a variety of training services designed for all fitness levels. Request a free consultation now.

In order for our clients to be fully prepared for a complete year of amazing fitness and health, I hosted our first Fitness Fest in place of our usual line up of classes on Saturday January 2nd. For four hours we focused on all the important details of starting and maintaining a fitness routine that will get results which of course includes many "not" fitness specifics. Here are the top tips from each hour for you to consider on your own journey.

  1. Know your body. There are plenty of subjective ways to measure improvements from exercise like being able to lift heavier weights over time, feeling and being more stable and balanced when doing 1 foot exercises, having more energy, experiencing less pain, clothes fitting differently, being able to exercise longer. However everyone likes numbers when it comes to body improvements from exercise so dump the scale and just take body measurements when you start and then periodically do it again (like every 2-4 months). Photos of your journey before, during and more during is a great way to see change over time! AND instead of trying to remember things in your head, write it down. What was your body feeling like when you decided you just had to start exercising or change your eating plan? Take daily or weekly notes. It is so easy and beneficial not only to write it down but to actually be mindful about what your body is feeling and perhaps how bad lifestyle habits are part of the problem and more importantly to see how breaking some bad habits can make you feel oh so much better! Not to mention, knowing your own body well can save a lot of wasted time going to the Dr's for every cough, ache, and sniffle.
  2. Before our clients first workout we complete a movement screen with them that helps us understand areas we, as coaches, need to address right away to start building an effective program. It provides a great time to start good conversations about proper posture, stability and movement patterns when performing different exercises and in daily life! If you are beginning an exercise program on your own start slow and build up. Just like we meet clients where they are at (never intentionally making them so sore they have a hard time sitting down), meet yourself where you are at! You will be much more successful and less of a statistic of those who drop out of exercise after a short time, especially in January!
  3. Be clear WHY you are putting time into exercise and what you are trying to get from it and what that end result will look and feel like and WHY that will improve your life. Understand your own track record with creating a healthy lifestyle and be honest about how motivated you are to work thru the thick and thin of reaching your goals. Know who is on your side and will support you to work towards improved health vs those who will deter you from it. If you cannot answer 8 out of 10 as to how committed you are to seeing a consistent exercise program thru, spend more time considering why you should do it, stick with it and how amazing you will feel as a result! Anything less than an 8, especially working out on your own will make it very challenging to persist.
  4. Now perhaps most importantly, is how you workout and by that I mean make sure your exercise routine is based off of strength training the uses adequate weight being lifted. There are a couple hard and fast rules that we live by in our training. 1 is that there is VERY RARELY a reason for any of our clientele to lift a weight lighter than 6lbs. Women are not going to bulk up by lifting heavy weights, and I am not talking big barbells here. I mean 10, 15, 20, 25lbs....it is not going to happen. If you are working out and doing 3 sets of one exercise for 10 reps and you get to the end of that 30th rep and you do not feel fatigue, you are not lifting heavy enough (that is rule 2). Knowing your baseline weight on numerous different exercises and movements takes the guess work out and then depending how an exercise is scaled, you scale the weight to match. And most importantly do the exercise well, know what should be moving and what should be stable. If you do not overload the body in a reasonably safe manner you will not get results. Same goes for life. Status quo will get you know where.
  5. And finally, take good care of the rest of your life. You cannot out exercise a crappy diet and sleepless nights. Your body needs a well-rounded lifestyle to benefit from your workout routine. Wear good shoes, drink lots of water, surround yourself with good people, practice good posture in all your daily activities whether working out, cleaning your house or working at a desk and go to a physical therapist, massage therapist or chiropractor as needed and be knowledgeable about how to take care of pain points on your own with a foam roller, therapy ball or some type of percussive massage device like the Theragun. Whether you workout or not, your body is going to give you pain. Take care of it. And strength train so it is mostly good pain!

Make 2021 your  fittest and healthiest year. YOU deserve it!

Here we are three weeks from the end of 2020. We are all feeling different emotions of what this year was or was not but one thing we have to agree on if you are reading this is that YOU are going to survive! 2020 was not for the faint of heart and on January 1, 2021 we are not just going to flip a switch and go back to pre-pandemic life. If you struggled continuously or periodically in 2020 , you are not alone. This was a year that impacted absolutely everyone and we all had a choice of how we would respond to all the restrictions, changes, and cut backs. What was or is your coping mechanism? Blame? Anger? Grief? Relief? Curiosity? Something different entirely?

Personally, I am allergic to negativity of any type. This does not mean that I do not have bad days or have not suffered hardships. It is precisely those experiences that I wanted to be more resilient against that set me on a path to automatically moving to a growth mindset where I constantly ask myself what am I learning from this challenge and how can I improve because to me, any other response is a waste of my energy and does not take me in the direction I want to move in my business, my life or with the clients I serve

So you may be reading this and rolling your eyes, thinking that is such "pie in the sky," idealistic thinking and that is just fine but if you are reading this and thinking, I would love to get out of that rut of negative thinking and immersion that seemed especially pervasive this year, then I want to talk to YOU. Since March 22nd, our community has run entirely online with 13 live group fitness classes per week, and countless private and semi-private training sessions. As a personal trainer, coach and group fitness instructor it is imperative to go above and beyond 100% to be able to get the most maximum potential out of our participants and like so many businesses, when I made this pivot it was an act of survival so bringing over 100% energy and positivity to every hour of remote work was partially for myself and the eventual sustainability of my fitness community. Suffice it to say, it worked. We are thriving and feeding off one another's positive energy and each month, week and day that energy multiplies and creates great things like results, physically and emotionally and the vision for more possibility.

Body Essentials is indefinitely staying as an online fitness and wellbeing facility and now that we have mastered how to provide live fitness online well we can get back to other important aspects of our eight year mission to be the most comprehensive provider of fitness, nutrition and well-being services as we start 2021 and we want to serve you.

Here are some of the most exciting options coming up as soon as 2021 launches!

See what I mean by most comprehensive provider of fitness, nutrition and wellbeing services??

If ANY of this sounds compelling to you please e-mail me at [email protected] or text me at 802-345-9644 to set up an absolute zero obligation consultation so you can learn more about what it is like to workout at a virtual studio, so I can learn more about your goals and we can learn more about how we can collaborate to get you feeling better than you ever expected. Let me remind you, it will take work on your part!

And you are probably wondering about cost! It always depends on what training option becomes the best for you based on my recommendation. So perhaps it is less than $100 per month or up $300 per month. Is your health worth it? are YOU worth it?? If you are only concerned about the cost of services, we are not the studio for you.

Just contact me today to learn more. We have limited space in our live programs and the earlier you join our on-demand program, the more money you will save.

I cannot wait to meet you!

Christie Garofano

Chief Empowerment Officer

Can you believe that we’re talking about the holidays & the new year already?! I mean, I can. Honestly, I’m psyched. I have been waiting to watch Polar Express and Elf! The best time of year!

Today’s motivation is all about helping you find what healthy during the holidays looks like for you! Maybe you’re reading this and you’re like, yeah okay…. healthy during the holidays? That’s impossible! Yes I get you. BUT. After years of figuring out what “healthy” actually looks like to me, I’ve finally figured out that healthy during the holidays looks different for everyone, and I’m determined to help you find yours.

I’d like to say I’m a lover of all things health and wellness, with a side of Christmas cookies. Or rather, Dad’s mint pie (to die for!!!).

You're ready to hear all of the quick fixes and pro tips I have on how to lose weight fast before the Holiday's hit?

Okay here it goes...ready?? If you want to lose a quick 5lbs, workout like crazy, eat chicken and asparagus for every meal and completely restrict yourself. Yeah, sounds pretty miserable right?

I'm assuming you implement one of these two approaches people usually take with Thanksgiving and Christmas. One, you either have this "ALL IN" mentality. You eat and drink whatever you want, keep telling yourself it's the Holiday's and you'll start after New Years. You pack on the pounds and immediately following NYE you regret everything. OR you go into total restriction mode, fearing food or eating a damn carbohydrate, you go extra hard in the gym, track every morsel of food and ultimately dread attending Holiday parties because all you're thinking about are the calories you're consuming.

IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE THIS WAY! You can achieve balance with fitness and living your life. So for once, ditch your one sided mentality and try a different approach to get through the holiday season!

Here are a few tips:

1. Keep moving (try a holiday 5k with family, or bring a friend to the gym to keep you motivated)
2. Watch your portions (try grabbing a smaller plate. A full-smaller plate gives you the illusion that you're eating more food)
3. Lots of water (a glass when you wake up, & a glass before each meal)
4. More protein (whatever you put on your plate, make sure there is some protein! Protein will make you feel fuller for longer…perhaps room for only 1 dessert… no seconds!)

Most importantly, ENJOY yourself & the time spent with family and loved ones. Not only is this time of year stressful and busy, it is also cold and flu season! Make sure to continue eating healthy, working out regularly and hydrating with water throughout all of those holiday parties on your schedule. It is okay to indulge a little (within moderation, of course) to enjoy this time of year, but your body will support you better if you replenish it with what it truly needs to run at its best.

Happy Holidays!

I love food! And really who doesn't? What I do not like about food is grocery shopping and wedding thru food items that manufacturers are trying to sell as healthy when I do actually partake in a grocery shopping trip. I enjoy preparing food at home when I have ample time to do it in a manner that does not seem like I am just doing it to fuel myself (AKA rushing to put the healthiest thing together in the quickest amount of time) and obviously I enjoy eating food!

First things first, the BEST thing to happen too Rutland, VT is the Hannaford To Go service. Being able to order my groceries online from the comfort of my home with the ability to check the fridge and pantry to assure I do not over look something is as AMAZING as it is to walk into Hannaford and get great customer service at the HTG check out area when I pick up my groceries. Lets face it, most of the challenge of eating well is in the plan and prepare phase. Hannaford has lightened the load in part of that process. The only redeeming aspect of physically doing the grocery shopping now is seeing any new products on the shelves that I may not have seen in the online grocery store BUT similarly the same thing happens when I shop online at Hannaford, I see things I may not have found walking around the store. Truly this is not meant to be a manifesto about HTG but it has been a game changer in my weekly schedule for over 2 years now!

In August I reflected on how 30 days of no alcohol made a difference in my life so in September I went on another nutritional journey and eliminated as much added sugar from my diet as I could. Added and processed sugar is a huge issue in the Standard American Diet (SAD). According to the American Heart Association (2009) Men & Women over 19 years of age average 18-25 teaspoons of added sugar per day. The recommended daily amount if no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men and 6 (25 grams) for women. Given that data was from 10 years ago, there could be some changes but they would not be improving numbers. If you read nutrition labels at all when you are shopping, you may see an added sugar total on some labels under the total sugar number. As of January 2020 this will be mandatory  on a majority of food items  with the date being expanded for others. So depending on your nutritional knowledge base, just because something says it has sugar, does not always mean it is added sugar, some are naturally occurring in the food product  such as some dairy and some grains. It can be confusing. I have a relatively healthy diet but it is not perfect and a month of looking a bit more carefully at this particular ingredient further enhanced the quality of my diet and overall health.

As I started my month of no added sugar the first two changes I made were that I only bought plain greek yogurt which was already a staple but I would allow a flavored yogurt as a snack (and I could write an entire post on the spectrum of bad to good flavored yogurts). I also stopped using maple syrup. Shhhh, do not tell my husband. Although maple syrup is all natural it is still sweet so I wanted to go entirely plain on my yogurt which is the only place I use syrup (aside from the occasional pancake, french toast or vanilla ice cream). These changes were relatively simple because what I found as I continued this process is that I really don't have a diet high in added sugar so the flavor changes were not huge for my palette. I did minimize bread intake which again I was doing anyway but even more so in September. I have a weird weakness for toast but months earlier I had switched from regular bread (cue the Klingers Jewish Rye) for whole wheat sandwich thins which have less than 3 g of sugar. One of my biggest learning came from my affinity for Cabot Cottage Cheese (great source of protein for snack). I had no idea some of the sugar was added sugar. No more cottage cheese which meant more fruit and plain yogurt. Next up was my love of lattes on any given day of the week and when one certain coffee shop in Rutland starts selling pumpkin lattes in September, the challenge is on. Thankfully THESE pumpkin latte's are made with REAL pumpkin, not that flavored sugar syrup of many coffee shops so I was in the clear especially since I prefer oat milk from Planet Oat which is low in sugar from the oats and no added sugar. Otherwise the challenge was in condiments which are not huge for me but when my husband does the cooking he is more likely to use BBQ sauce if grilling chicken and just loves sauce in general. AND of course, salad dressings. Unless you make your own salad dressing, you are accumulating added sugar even from locally made dressings. So I did some research when I was shopping (online of course) and ended up going back to an old favorite, Briana's French Vinaigrette. Any food not mentioned is because it is fresh protein with only fresh herb flavoring, fresh fruits and fresh or frozen vegetables so sugar was not an issue at most lunch or dinners. Moreover, staying away from things like ice cream and other sweets was quite easy. Now that October has rolled around, I got a bit more lax the first week but have stuck with most small changes I needed to make and the box of chocolates I just received are hidden and unopened!

Another area that I was unsure about was oatmeal but I was pleasantly surprised that I was in the clear here. So overall I was reassured the my diet was above average with no plan to change anything!

So if I have piqued your interest as to what are some big offenders when it comes to added sugar (aside from the obvious), here is a list of things that I talk about regularly when coaching & advising nutrition to clients:

-Boxed/Shelf Stable food items including boxed meals

-Processed food items from the shelf, frozen, food section, in the dairy section AND in the "healthy food section"

-Pasta Sauces

-Yogurts

-Condiments (Salad dressings, BBQ Sauces, Ketchup etc)

-Bread Products

-Flavored foods (like frozen veggies with added sauce, or frozen prepared foods, or canned goods with additives).

-Flavored Coffee Creamers

-Dried Fruit

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, just some items that always shock people where other high sugar items are obvious including alcohol & most everything you can buy at a convenience store. The best strategy when trying to reduce sugar in your diet is to get things as plain and natural as possible and then added your own flavoring via fresh or dried herbs, prepare your own foods as straight forward as possible (AKA not from a box and with fresh or plain frozen veggies).

Source: American Heart Association, Scientific Statement on Dietary Sugars Intake & Cardiovascular Health (2009)

Three months ago we started tracking Lisa's progress publicly. Fitness & nutrition comes with many ups and downs as Lisa had experienced but we are so happy to report that she is back on track to the best version of herself after some hard work this summer and navigating all the challenges of daily life and not using social events and holidays as an excuse or not the right time to change. Read on for Lisa's own words.......

How did I get here, and by here, I mean 21 pounds lighter,  eating a whole food plant-based diet, and certainly stronger then I was three months ago? It’s not just the big change in my eating habits it’s the change in my habits period. At the beginning of the summer I was tired all the time. I started every week with a good nutrition plan only to have it fall apart by day 2 or 3 then just give up. I was avoiding the gym because my weight gain made everything so much harder. I certainly would have given in to my pain and come home gone to bed and never even considered a low impact walk to get some exercise in.

Over the past three months I have changed my habits a little at a time. It started with accountability. Weekly weigh-ins made me really think about what I was eating. This is where the support of Christie and the other trainers at Body Essentials became an important part of my journey. Their support encouragement and constantly pushing me to jump out of my comfort zone was key to my success. Toward the beginning of the summer we, as a group, hiked up Killington. I was slow and struggled most of the way up. One of the trainers stayed behind with me and encouraged me to take it a few steps at a time until we reached the cabin. I gave up at the cabin, a decision I regret. I have made a plan to go again mid-October, this time I am determined to go all the way to the top and can’t wait to feel the difference. Another change was just changing up my times to exercise. I exercise two mornings a week giving me some evenings to walk my dog, spend time with my husband or just do nothing (I rarely do this anymore). This, I believe, was an important change for me. Starting my work week off with a good day of exercise and some accountability made me think twice about every bite of food. Logging my food intake also was an important part of this journey. It is part of the accountability. I always reminded myself if I eat it and don’t write it down it was just hurting myself. Looking back every week to see where I could make changes no matter how little they were they made an impact.

Part way through the summer I got food poisoning. The bacteria I had was reportable to the health department. When the health department called to follow up all their question about my food intake were meat related. (By the way I could answer their question because I had my food logs I knew exactly what I ate 2-5 days before my symptoms started). I, at this point stopped eating meat. I was eating meat replacements, but no meat. About two weeks later I went to a talk at Body Essentials about anti-inflammatory diet, watched Forks over Knifes on Netflix and am now I have been eating a whole food plant-based diet for 14 days.

So, what have I learned through all this? One, if you get off track don’t give up. In the past 14 days I ate a piece of pizza I didn’t say to myself oh well I’m off track I might as well have two pieces I said how do you feel? I felt full and like someone had put a weight in my stomach. I felt hungry or maybe just a craving within 20 minutes of eating it. I wrote that down and have it on my desk at work to remind myself that if I make that choice again that is how I will feel. I learned vegetables actually taste ok. I learned it’s ok to live it up once in a while. I went out one night with friends and Christie was at the same restaurant and there I sat with a bowl of pasta, but I still lost weight that week because I had my pasta then I was 100% locked down on my nutrition the rest of the week. I learned I am strong. I learned it’s ok to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I learned I am the only one that can make the changes and do the work. Others can encourage and give advice, but I have to do the work. I learned not to compare myself to other people. I learned to start my week prepared. I learned to plan ahead for events. I learned a schedule is so important (I keep mine on a wipe off board). I learned how important it is to have friends and family encourage, love and support me. I, also will not ever forget that the support and encouragement Christie and the other coaches at Body Essentials gave me. They made this journey fun, challenging and possible. I am looking forward to continuing on this journey and ending the year at an all-time high (or low) with another 20 pounds lost stronger than ever. Thank you, Christie, Megan, Jacob, Julie and Sabrina.

Coaches Note: Lisa was not perfect or without challenges in this process but she stepped up to every difficulty and navigated it with 100% heart. If we had not been challenging her or making her accountable with record keeping and coaching check-ins first thing Monday morning, I am not sure she would be in the place. It is easy to not be accountable to yourself or talk yourself out of the right behaviors. At Body Essentials clients can only "hide" for so long before we pull them aside and say something is not working well, what is going on, we have to do something about it. The benefit of our clients working with more than one coach and in small groups is that everyone is holding everyone accountable for all the right reasons. Lisa is and always has been a leader in our community. She tried to slip to the back of the room for a little while but when she did not come back to the front of the classroom, we pulled her back to the front. We know she will reach her ultimate goal by the end of the year. It will only take 1 lb per week for most weeks and at the rate she is going with her new nutrition plan, she will reach her goal before Thanksgiving.

 

Before   (May 2019)                                                                                                      Today (September 5, 2019)

I have been a student of health & fitness since the early 90's, before you could find your desired dietary answer on the google machine. Academically, experientially, additional education, studying, reading and learning from other professionals has kept me active in enhancing my life. In the work we do with clients, nutrition is critical and we are constantly trying to debunk poor nutrition information. Personally, I am constantly working to optimize my nutrition practice not because I want to improve how I look or lose weight (those are just bonuses) but because I want to be healthy inside and out which to me is do what I can do to prevent disease and stay out of the Dr's office and because I want to have abundant energy to keep up with my life and be a good role model for others in my daily work. SO,  in August, I did the thing I said I could never ever do! I went an entire 30 days with no alcohol. I LOVE beer, good craft beer (and wine).  But lets' face it, there is no nutritional value to alcohol in your diet, end of story. It is calories, gluten, and more calories. So I just decided, after feeling like I had had my fill, that I just wanted to take a break and reset my body a bit without the influence of alcohol for 30 days. I have heard it 100 times over in my studio and have said it myself many times, I just could never give it up entirely.  I am here to tell you, you can!!! My level of resolve may be pretty well developed when it comes to behavior change compared to others but anyone can do it.  I am strong believer in not "leaning" your life to the point of no enjoyment. Cutting all the "good stuff" sucks the fun out of life. It also has adverse short term impacts the one time you put something in your body that is not "clean" after a long period of clean eating! So let me provide you with my top 5 outcomes of abstaining from alcohol for 30 days:

  1. Energy: This is not necessarily an area that I struggle with, but give me a beer or glass of wine and the day is over. In the absence of alcohol I never got sluggish. Alcohol is a depressant and always drained me no matter how much or little I had.
  2. Improved overall nutrition: It is well proven that drinking alcohol leads to less optimal nutrition selection especially when in social settings. So in the absence of alcohol  I saved  on empty calories and ramped up my nutrition density by not having that slip in choices and decision making no matter the setting.
  3. Improved overall healthy behaviors: If I was not making alcohol part of my life for 30 days, what was I going to do with that time? I got more rest, I read more, I wrote more, I enjoyed nature more, I managed my time better, felt less stressed and when my husband finally asked why I was not drinking (it took 2 weeks), he started reducing his own consumption.
  4. Reduced Body Pain: A number of years ago an integrative medicine Dr. told me that 100% of people who reduce gluten intake will feel better. Gluten is found in anything made from wheat, barley or rye. So cutting my consumption of beer for 30 days meant no gluten (no I did not cut gluten from other aspects of my diet) which also meant none of that full feeling and reduced inflammation in the body. Of course not drinking alcohol meant I was drinking a lot more water because if I am not drinking coffee, I am drinking water. I am not going to give up alcohol and start drinking something else  because that would be sugary beverages. One of my personal nutrition rules is don't drink your calories and do not give up one bad habit for another. So increasing water (GOOD OL' FASHIONED WATER) is always a great way to make your body feel better and reduce pain.
  5. Apparently I look Younger: So after my 30 days was up I celebrated with a beer (not what I preach to clients about rewarding yourself). I went to the beverage store in search of a Maine Beer Company IPA, found exactly what I was looking for and was immediately carded by the cashier and when I assured him I was plenty old enough he proceeded to make my day and maybe even my year by telling it me I look far younger than what my ID indicated. So yes, how I look to myself and others still matters in some way shape or form. I had not been carded in quite a while! That beer was very good but I think I was more satisfied by not drinking!

Consider for a moment how easy cutting alcohol from your diet is compared to other nutritional change. You do not need to read any labels or consider any facts. You simply need to say no. When trying to cut processed ingredients or sugar from your diet or reduce calories, you need to scan labels and perhaps do some google searching on different foods and understand terminology to make good choices. Alcohol is alcohol, you either consume it or you do not. SIMPLE!

Do the thing you have been telling yourself you could never do. Do it just because change does a mind and body good. Do it to see how you look, feel and how others respond to what you are "working on." Do it because you never know what will other great things will manifest in your life! Stay tuned as I am on to two other challenges over the next couple months!

Cheers!

(Picture Credit: Anchorage Brewing Company, AK Owned & Operated by a former Rutlander. This beautiful brew was enjoyed on our last day in Alaska in 2017 and has stuck with me as one of the best beers I have ever had aged in a red wine barrel with rose petals).

In 2017 we traveled to Alaska and that is when I reconnected to the value of nature as a means of restoring my mind & body. I openly share with people that I love Vermont and I love exercise but I do not love camping and other "woodsy" related outdoor activities. My idea of camping is a hotel with no indoor hallways. My idea of outdoor fitness is running on pavement. Who knew it would take going clear across the country and outside of the 48 contiguous states to reconnect with an appreciation for nature.

When returning home my goal was to keep the same feeling I had on vacation in my daily life. Well it worked out for a while but I guess it is called vacation for a reason. Nonetheless, one way to get back to that fairly regularly is in nature. Because that feeling is peace, quiet, nothing else calling for your attention, nothing else to do besides whatever it is you are doing in nature which for me is never camping but always moving. So within two days of getting home I put our dog Austin in the car and set out for the first of many walks on the Trails Around Pittsford. All of them are super close to our house, relatively short and flat, all of which were a bonus of getting away with an aging dog who likes to believe he is 8. That summer we completed all the trails. The best one is the one closest to our home so we have done that one numerous times. If you are looking for a quick and easy solution outside of Rutland check them out: Trails around Pittsford

Last summer my nature consisted of a bit more time on the golf course which is a frustrating form of nature but very beautiful in its own way and certainly enjoyable in that when the going gets tough, the beer cart is probably close by. But I digress, last summer was hot and a great place to escape to on hot days is the mountain so the ONE, only one hike I did in the summer of 18 was Camels Hump and to this day it is the trek with the best view and it is just enough of a challenge to remind you that your workouts are working or that you better start getting more exercise. It was the perfect combination of everything you want in an active summer weekend day trip. Lets face it (in my personal opinion), once you get to the top of any Vermont mountain the view is essentially the same. The fun and the benefit is getting there, catching your breath, taking a peek and then seeing if you can get back down faster than you made it up! Camels Hump is 360 degrees of pure beauty on the edge of  a rock. Make it a priority!

Now this summer has presented itself with many more opportunities to get to the mountains than I was planning on. First and most pleasantly was Mt. Mansfield. I happened to be in the area so instead of a day trip, I made it an overnighter and got up and down bright and early. This hike was just plain enjoyable as it was early enough to not be crowded and there is something fun about knowing you have been to the top of "that spot" when you see it from a drive you are making around the state, similar to Camels Hump.

And then there are the decent hikes in our own backyard which frankly were my least favorite. Killington. A group of us from the studio did this hike together so that was definitely the highlight, getting 10 people at varying fitness levels to the top. But when you have busted your butt moving up the Bucklin Trail to the peak and then out of state (or local) folks come galavanting to the same point in their bright whites after taking the chair lift, you lose your level of accomplishment fairly quickly. Nonetheless the Bucklin Trail is great and it sneaks up on you after a relatively level start. And Pico. I was reminiscing that hike at the start of the 4th of July holiday. I had done it a number of years ago, may I say decades so thought I would go for it again since it is so close and I had nothing else going on. The time and the people I met along the way was nice, the hike, meh but the peace and quiet, priceless. OH the snake sighting I could have done without but the run back down again confirmed that my workouts and level of fitness are on par for my cardiovascular and joint health at age 44.

The one place I have not made it to yet is Pine Hill Park . Talk about being close by. The last time I was there we were building a trail, that was definitely long ago and the only other time I had been there it had felt a bit more creepy than peaceful. So very soon I will head out there seeking serenity and shade from everyday life. The whole point of this is fitness appears in many different ways and sometimes with fitness we get relaxation and peace of mind and body especially living in Vermont. So as summer winds down and you are looking for things to do outside and closer to home, getting out in nature is the answer whether there was a question or not and regardless of you are seeking from your nature experience!

In typical Vermont fashion, we went from winter to warm pretty quickly as the official start of summer started and thankfully the nice weather and warmer temps are sticking around this week so here are a few annual reminders about playing it safe when exercising in the summer heat, inside and out:

Do not just go 100% into your same intensity of exercise once warm and humid weather appears. The body needs time to acclimate to heat and humidity so take the intensity and duration down for your first couple warmer weather workouts and notice any differences in the body’s response to the environmental change.

If you do a lot of walking and/or running outside: Try to schedule your activity during non-prime heat and sun hours (AKA first thing in the morning or in the evening). Otherwise take it easy going for less distance and less speed so the body can adjust over the period of a week or two depending on how frequently you workout outside in one week of warm weather. Another great idea is take your workout to the mountains. Hiking any of our local glorious peaks is a great way to get an amazing working, enjoy nature and staying a bit cooler and safe from the sun.

Hydrate: Water up! Unless you are out in the heat for 90+ minutes and/or sweating profusely, water alone is a fine form of hydration, no fancy sports drinks needed. If you are out for extended periods of times it is wise to replace electrolytes with a sports drink or make one of your own.

Embrace the air-conditioning if you need to workout mid-day and keep it inside a nice cool and controlled environment.

IF you have chills when working out on a hot day or get light headed or super thirsty before/during or after your workout there is a good chance you have over-heated or dehydrated. You want to make sure you are well hydrated prior to beginning your workout and take in small amounts of water during your workout. And if you get light headed or begin to have chills while working out you should stop your workout, rest in a shady or cool spot. You then want to cool yourself progressively not rapidly using a cold compress and take in some water or some sort of sports drink or orange juice.
Play it safe this summer by being prepared and playing it safe with your workouts. Your body will thank you for it and your exercise will be much more pleasant!

I know I am not alone in saying that I am sick and tired of the wet, cloudy weather that has followed up the gray and snowy weather.  I do love the multiple seasons that make Vermont special but for the first time ever, I would take a sunnier and warmer location for living and working. Think about it, it is May, we have been in gray, wet and cold temperatures since at least November…..6 MONTHS! We have a shot at 4 months of warm and sunny weather with 2 more months that are a toss up. ARGH! Reality is that I am not moving anywhere sunnier soon and do not have the time to head to any land of palm trees, beaches, and sun filled sky every month in order to get my spirit and vitamin D recharged. If the same goes for you, then we need to some strategies to keep our Vermont loving gas tanks full so here are some of my favorite ways to stay in love with Vermont when you live with 22/30 days of rain in the month of April and limited sun thus far in May.

 

 

 

 

Sunnier Days are ahead (I hope) so don’t give up hope but do embrace the abundant opportunities we have in our great little state to enjoy on sunny, rainy, and snowy days before heading south or west to sunnier and warmer locations! The grass is not always greener elsewhere.

This post was written by a former team member in 2018 but my morning routine of over 2.5 years is still the forefront of well-being as a fitness professional and business owner. I cannot speak for everyone in the caregiving/service field but for I feel strongly that making a way of taking care of yourself first and an on an on-going basis when you spend your day helping and teaching others to do the same is at the center of being able to sustain oneself in the fitness business or any work related to caring for others PLUS why would anyone trust someone dispensing and educating on health and well-being if they do not appear to practice what they preach?! So ponder my level of craziness getting up now as early at 3:30am to keep sometime for myself each day.

Trainer Christie Garofano wakes up at 4 a.m., when the rest of the world is still in bed.

Why?

Ask her and she'll say it's the most critical part of her day.

In her profession, where she's constantly giving to everyone else, this is the time she gives to herself.

For the past 11 months, Christie has structured her mornings around what she learned in the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

Elrod teaches you to start your day with this routine called S.A.V.E.R.S.:

SILENCE (AKA Meditation)

Sit calm and peaceful. Breathe in and out slowly. Be in the present.

AFFIRMATION

Remind yourself of how capable your are. Focus on what’s important to you and read positive affirmations out loud. 

VISUALIZATION

Close your eyes and visualize your daily goals, what it will feel like when you reach them. Imagine what your day will look like and then create it.

EXERCISE

Get your heart rate up and get energized.

READ

Read a self help book to learn a new tidbit or a new fact or to discover something new about yourself.

SCRIBING

Write down what you’re grateful for - what you’re proud of - to put you in an empowered state of mind. 

Christie heard the author speak at a business owner’s conference and she said it's changed her life.

“It means that I am giving to myself everyday prior to taking care of everybody else all day long as a trainer, coach and business owner,” she said. “It helps me focus and proceed mindfully into the day.”

This is what her  S.A.V.E.R.S routine looks like, from start to finish:

4 a.m.-wake up (no alarm needed).

5-10 minutes - SILENCE-Christie mediates for 10-20 minutes.

2-3 minutes - AFFIRMATION Christie uses the ThinkUp app on her phone which has a selection of pre-recorded affirmations. It also allows you to pre-record your own affirmations.

Examples:

2-3 minutes - VISUALIZATION-Christie visualizes what the day will look like.

25-35 minutes-EXERCISE-Christie walks her dog for 1-1/2 miles if she’s not doing a strength training routine or yoga.

20-30 minutes -READ- Christie is currently reading

1 minute -SCRIBE-Christie writes in an online journal with the app Stigma. (in addition to noting daily gratitude handwritten (lost art) in a journal) The app is handy because it limits journal entries to 200 characters. It also allows you to rate how you’re feeling.

There you have it. Who's ready to give it a try? If you feel like you need to freshen up your daily routine or just feel like you would like to increase the meaning in your life, week, and day, I highly suggest this book and routine. Soon after I read the book the author was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer with a very low survival rate. He fought the cancer and is alive and thriving today…...perhaps due to the high quality of life and daily practice of SAVERS and the value it brings into the rest of his day and overall well-being. Exercise is not the only tool in our box of health and well-being. Weaving in practices that keep our mindset as strong as our fitness are as equally important to stay resilient to life’s challenges.

BE. Well.

My husband and I have been together for almost 9 years. Before we met I had never had a dog as a pet. As our 9 years have progressed so has my relationship with our now 14-year-old Australian Shepard Austin. I do not know much about the development of dogs but Austin was 5 when I first met him and he jumped all the time and I was not crazy about that but I suppose he was just a kid at that point but perhaps old enough to know better. Nonetheless he has grown into a faithful friend whose best day is every minute of each day. Recently I got thinking all the great correlations I can make to the four pillars of health and what dogs can teach us. So keep reading.

What do I mean by the pillars of health? The four critical pillars of health that inter-weave with one another to create a truly healthy life includes: Exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress management. As a fitness professional I do not like to say that nutrition is probably the most important but in this day and age with a growing obesity issue and sky rocketing diabetes crisis, nutrition is far and away the best way to decrease side effects of obesity and diabetes. At a time where sitting is considered the new smoking, a physically active lifestyle comes in a close 2nd place for helping us live a long vigorous life free of disease and rich in preventative measures against age and lifestyle related health complications like falls, fractures and joint replacements! A variety of unhealthy sleep patterns prevent us from benefitting from good nutrition and exercise practices and an inability to bounce back and actively manage stressful life events and day-to-day stressors can undo the other three patterns more than we like to believe. So what do dogs have to do with all of this? And where do cats fit into this post? Keep reading!

On dogs and the pillars of health:

Ok so what about the cats? Well first, I lost my cat of 10+ years in March of 2018. Target was a great companion and similar to Austin would meet me at the door many days when I came home from work. It took me over a year to feel ok with the absence of her temperamental presence. Cats are like humans when it comes to caring for our health, consistently inconsistent.  Cats (especially indoor cats) seem to be put out by exercise including walking to the food bowl or litter box. I mentioned earlier that Target lived on the 2nd floor of our house for almost two years to the day but once she finally stood her ground and told Austin to cut it out, we were unable to successfully transition her litter box to the basement. That was apparently too many stairs to take multiple times each day. Cats are finicky about their nutrition and as Target got older she got fussier with her food selection. Cats are not as resilient to the stress they have  (in our case Target’s stress to old age and failing health and still being annoyed by the dog). And finally, cats sleep so much, they do nothing else except find other locations to hide and sleep so their canine and human counterparts will leave them alone!!!!!!

This years weather is putting a delay on the gardening season this spring which means there is still time to get (re)started on an exercise routine to prevent those seasonal gardening and landscaping aches and pains.

It can be physically exhausting to do yard work, especially if you are otherwise sedentary in the winter months. Between the digging, the pulling, the bending, and everything else in between, our body becomes sore and aches the following day. Do you know that strength training, and even cardiovascular training, can improve and lessen the injuries of gardening and landscaping?

If you have joined us at Body Essentials, daily living activities such as moving boxes, carrying groceries, and moving furniture have become MUCH easier. Why is that? Your strength training sessions! Remember those back extensions or super(wo)man’s we do on the floor or exercise ball? That will help with bending over in the garden to do all the labor it entails. Even the rows with dumbbells and barbells strengthen our back to prevent injury with no more aches and pains. Remember those bicep curls, tricep kickbacks/ pull-downs, and shoulder exercises? All of those exercises you are sweating and pushing through during your training at Body Essentials will help you pull the weeds and dig the dirt not to mention the benefit of squats and lunges.

On the cardiovascular side of everything….remember those burpees, mountain climbers, plank jacks, and every other cardio intensive workout we have you do? All of these exercises have increased your endurance and the strength of your heart and blood flow. These cardiovascular exercises will help you dig longer and be less physically exhausted because your endurance in cardio has increased! Sounds awesome, huh? And Spinning?! Those rides are also increasing your ability to log in the long hours to have a beautiful yard!

Clearly, strength training can help much more than just gardening and landscaping, but with great weather just around the corner…it is time to start applying your knowledge and strength from this winter, and use it around your house!!! Also, getting outside and absorbing all the vitamin D is always important. If you read this and have never been to our studio but feel like you could benefit from an exercise program to help you feel more energized and confident for any aspect of daily life, get in touch with us today!

In the spirit of it being the week of Valentines Day (enter eye roll) but also Heart Health Month lets traverse all things love, resilience, and working out!

On Love: I LOVE it when obvious things that I know and have lived come, go, and then re-enter my life like a it is an entirely new concept. Last week in a discussion and then listening session on utilizing strengths in our daily life the topic of love came up as a strength. And the conversation went from giving love to receiving love (we are not necessarily talking romance here) in the spirit of relating to others, accepting kindness from others and not just giving of ourselves to everyone else. This seemed so simple but has been my February profound moment that was just a great reminder. So take a moment and think about that. Do you receive offerings of kindness, compliments and gifts well? Some of us are better than others and it is certainly something to consider, reflect on, and practice in either direction especially if you feel like something is lacking in your life or if you are feeling burned out in one or more areas of life. When it comes to making time for exercise, optimal nutrition or self-care priority this is a discussion we often have to have with clients here not to mention with ourselves as coaches given that we are so attuned to selflessly and endlessly giving to others.

On Resilience: One of my favorite expressions in the work we do day in and day out with clients and prospective clients is “Every BODY has a story.” This means every physical and emotional body. As we begin a relationship with human beings here at Body Essentials we are entrusted with and take in a lot of information about people: Goals, experiences, failures, successes and fears to name just a few. With that comes a heaviness and lightness of giving, receiving and caring as we work purposefully to help people transform themselves physically which also results in an emotional transformation around confidence, behaviors, beliefs and past experiences. Exercise is medicine, therapy, and FUN all in one gorgeous yet sweaty package. I always share that one workout will make anyone feel better in the moment but there is a damned if you do/damned if you don’t impact of long-term exercise: Pain! Many people find their way to exercise to get stronger to minimize pain from weakness. Many people experience pain in exercise from the newness of it as a physiological response to new stimulus and intensity. AND many will experience pain from continued exercise as they get stronger and we continue to challenge them to grow and get better and reach goals and reach different areas of the body that are ready and able to work effectively. The bottom line is that with pain comes growth and improvement in the body and out of the body when we look in the mirror. And probably the coolest thing about resilience is JUST THAT. The ability of any BODY to bounce back. Now I am talking about people who have had significant setbacks in life and move through them to become what I consider amazing super heroes of or to themselves. Heart Disease is the #1 killer of men and women but I can (and I sure you can) share at least 6-7 stories of people who have had significant heart events who are absolutely crushing life, particularly very physically active lives.

On Working Out: You must do the thing you think you cannot do! And maybe do it more than once. We have asked our community to participate in many activities around vision building and goal setting for this year and so many take the challenge very seriously and set the bar high. From pull ups, 5K’s, Spartan Races, 100 mile bike rides, extended plank holds and fine tuning other activities around strength and cardiovascular pursuits our community is fierce and on fire and embracing exercise. If you know you should workout but are scared, take the step, because it can change your life if you let it. Exercise will keep you young, make you young again, and help prevent countless age related accidents if you are not participating in some sort of exercise routine. So change your mind and change your body by exercising fiercely but appropriately for where you are at right now!

So I invite you, no, insist that you celebrate yourself this week, and every week. At times the world, our country, our community seem dark and often times we are hard on others and ourselves unnecessarily so just stop it. Be nice to you. And as Ellen DeGeneres says each and everyday “Be kind to one another.” This is our one life ….. Go for it whatever IT means.

-Christie

I was taking a spinning class at an area gym this past weekend. All of a sudden I saw a flash of light go off in mid-pedal and wondered what it was thinking strangely that someone was taking a photo. It turned out to be inches away from me. The rider next to me had her cell phone on her handle bars and had got a text message. Now, let me be frank......CELL PHONES ARE UNNECCESSARY WHEN WORKING OUT especially in a group fitness setting lead by an instructor with music. And if for some extreme reason you need to have your cell phone in front of your face working out (i.e. on call Dr.) you sure as hell should have a discrete notification setting not one that could disrupt another participant to the point where they think they will have a seizure due to multiple flashes of light, which in my experience was what the instructor described when the flash went off and interestingly enough she has not addressed with this repeat offender in her class. So this whole experience got me thinking about how technology is doing more harm than good in this day and age from a well-being perspective physically, emotionally, socially and otherwise. Agree or disagree, think twice and beyond yourself about how your own technology usage may be adversely impacting others because of your own selfish behavior and adjust accordingly.

I could go on but I think we all know that we are all guilty of over use. I know I am and the reminders above are as much for me as for everyone else. I utilize numerous well-being apps for meditation, journaling, affirmations and other tracking mechanisms in addition for audio book "reading" and yoga practice not to mention grocery shopping and banking and business. In the past three months I have set up some rules of use for myself that generally work well but there are periodic moments when I unnecessarily use my phone when silence or detachment would be the better option and other times when my phone being on silence has resulted in being late for or missing calls or scheduled appointments.

At the very least I think it is important to audit our behaviors around technology usage and how it may be adversely impacting us and others around us! And I will never know why a "camera style" flash is an optimal message notifier especially in a dark spinning studio at 8am on a Saturday morning!

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