Movement

A Silver Opportunity

“Seriously? You are going back to Costa Rica again? But didn’t you just go there this summer?” a friend asked when I told her of my upcoming trip.

My unplanned, unexpected, but gotta-go trip, to the beaches of Santa Theresa, in the Nicoya Pennisula of Costa Rica.

That’s right, I went to CR earlier this summer for two glorious weeks and blew up my social media feed with post after post of the tropical paradise that it is. The first week I attended an amazing yoga retreat given by my dear friend Kim Goyette (aka Meditation Mutha on YouTube) with two of my besties.

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The next week I enjoyed a second honeymoon with my husband in a little cabina at the edge of the Pacific ocean, lulled to sleep by its waves crashing on rocks. Overall, the two weeks there was like adult summer camp: yoga, playing in the ocean, massage, waterfall hiking, surfing and incredible food from local farms that made your body come alive. It was incredible!

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Which is why I jumped at the chance to go back this Fall when my friend Nora invited me to be a fitness model for her new surfwear line, 124 West. (Check out my IG feed for Nora’s story of how she is creating enviromentally-friendly surf gear for women.)

”I want to show women of all shapes and sizes, I want to show diversity and I need a woman who is . . .” [insert long pause of awkward silence after Nora issued this invite.]

”Of a certain age group? You need a women with red AND silver hair, right Nora?” I asked, playfully finishing her sentence, and laughing because discussing my age does not bother me.

Yes, she invited me not only because we are friends and she knows my deep abiding love for the country of Costa Rica and surfing, but also because I represent a growing demographic of post-menopausal women who don't think that getting older is a curse, but a blessing. I finally have the time, the choice, and the boldness to pursue physical activities (like surfing) for the sheer joy of it! Not because of what some magazine or social media image tells me who I am suppose to look or wear at the beach.

You’ve hear of a Golden Opportunity? Well, this is my Silver Opportunity.

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My husband, who always supports my crazy endeavors, did ask me, “Why are you going on this trip? Is this for business or what?” (A resort in CR is now carrying my #dailyheartnecklace in their gift shop.)

After a moment of reflection, I said, “The reason I am going is not just to surf, or to help my friend, both of those are important. But I am going so I can tell my great-grandchildren that they need to dream their big dreams because if I can become a surfer and international surfwear model at age 50, they can do anything!”

Be sure to follow my adventures on Facebook or Instagram. And yes, Wi-Fi willing, I plan to blow up your feed with pictures of natural beauty, not-so-natural beauty like the challenge of waterproof make-up application; and holding surfing poses without falling over laughing.

Have you been dreaming of Costa Rica and need just the right place to go? Join the email list for Kim Goyette and read about the details of the 2019 yoga retreat she and her husband, Scott will be hosting at Anamaya Resort in July 2019. I hope to see you there! Pura Vida!

5 Things You Need to Know when You Start or Re-Start Exercising (and 5 Pointers to Get Moving)

I have trained clients in the gym from age 28 to 94, and all of them say the same thing when we start:   “I really think I should be able to do more.”  And they say this regardless of being new to exercise, recovering from an surgery or illness, or being new to the gym. 

So here are a few things I have told them that may help you when you are ready to start or re-start exercising again.

1) You are not an expert yet. 

Ouch, that sounded a bit harsh.  But we are all susceptible to the learning curve.  As adults, we like to think as ourselves as being good at stuff, or being able to learn things quickly.  With exercise, there are a lots of new things to experience simultaneously - a new location (like a gym), a new way to move your body (like dance steps in Zumba), possibly new equipment (note: a stability ball is a misnomer), and new energy expenditures (so.much.deep.breathing).  As a result, we need to give ourselves time to learn and adapt.

How to move past the newness?  

Action:  Act like a newbie - look around, ask questions, don’t worry about getting everything right, right away. Stay open, be curious and just observe what is happening.

Mindset Mantra:  It is okay not to know everything today.  I am new, curious and able to learn.

Here are a few mindset chats you could have with yourself:

 "Wow, this gym is huge.  I think I will walk around and just look at all of the equipment before I start so I can see what is here that interests me."

 "I have never done Zumba before.  Look at that, my left foot seems to want to do all the dancing today.  [to Instructor:] Could you show me a breakdown of that step after class?"

 "Deep breaths feel really good.  All of this delicious oxygen and I feel like I am thinking more clearly."

2. You will feel awkward. 

That is because it is new, or new all over again.  You are gonna forget to bring your water bottle.  Your iPod battery is gonna run out in the middle of your workout.  You are gonna forget how to adjust the weight stack on that machine that you like how it makes your legs feel strong.

You are going to feel weird, like you are doing it wrong.  And that is okay.  That is part of the learn and adapt process.  Our brains are trying to learn this new process and get it smoothed out, so then you won’t have to think about it so much.  Our brains actually prefer to automate as much of our actions as possible.  Our minds are clever like that!

Just do what you can where you are at, and don’t worry about the rest.  

How to get past the awkwardness?    

Action:  Fly your freak flag and stick with the awkwardness; it is trying to teach you something.  Everyone was awkward when they first started learning something new.  Pinkie promise!

Mindset Mantra:  I feel awkward today and that is normal.  I won’t always feel this way; I am getting better at this each time I try it.

Or, try this mantra:  I am trying my best to figure this out and it is messy at first. 

3. No one is watching you. 

No, really, I promise.  Unless you are literally falling down on the gym room floor, or break-dancing in yoga class, no one is looking at you or thinking about what you can or cannot do.  They are worried about their own little selves.   Which leaves you feel to just focus on your little ol’ self.

 How to get over feeling watched?  

Action:  Fake it, until you make it.  Just act like you know what the heck you are doing.  And eventually, you will.  Stay in your own head and stay out of others’; you really don’t know what they are thinking.  

Consider the freedom in knowing this:  you are free to try new things without others judging you.  You are free to “mess up” - drop a weight, miss a dance step, get all tangled up in yoga. 

Mindset Mantra:  Eyes on my own page.  I can adjust and do what I need to figure this out.

4. Resistance is real. 

This is a weird thing:  we want change, and then when we try to change, our brains throw down some barriers right away.  And usually some non-productive self-talk.  Don’t worry, this is completely normal.

Self-talk like:
“Are you kidding me?  I have 2-left feet, there’s no way I can do that?”
“That gym looks like a guy kind of place.  I’m not suppose to be in there.”
“Those yoga people are so bend-y.  I will probably pull a muscle if I try.”


How to get past the resistance? 

Action step:  Ask yourself:  What *could* I do right now?”  If your resistance is strong, try a lesser version of what you had planned: if you were going to get on the treadmill for 20 minutes, try 10 minutes instead.
Mindset Mantra:  Some is better than none.  I am going to go slow and build momentum.

5. It takes longer than you think.  The fitness and health industry has itself confused with the fast food industry: that speed is the goal.  And, as you might have noticed, with fast food, fast does not always mean good.  The same is true for exercise.

Much of the advertising about exercising for change has you think that it is easy and fast.  Not true, lasting sustainable change starts slow and goes along slowly for a while.  A good while.

Which is okay, right?  We don’t want a quick fix.  We want something that lasts.

It usually takes about 2 weeks to notice a slight energy pick up and then about four weeks to notice improvement in coordination, or to feel as though we have a bit more control over our movements.  And, depending on our metabolism and the activities we choose to perform, it can take somewhere between 4-6 weeks (or longer) to notice body changes - slight different in how clothes fit or a scale change.

Action Step:  Start with 15-20 minutes of movement to start. If there is no rush to get to the end, then its okay to start slow.  And yes, you have permission to leave Zumba, yoga, Piyo, Scottish clogging dance class BEFORE class is over.   Try a sample of an activity to see if you want a bit more.   Check in with yourself the next day to see how you feel physically and mentally, and then decide.  Building up stamina, muscle coordination and mental comfort level with a new activity takes time.

Mantra:  Slow and steady wins the race.

Making a decision to start or re-start exercise is hard.  Showing up and exercising at your gym (or home gym) that first time is hard.  So give yourself permission to embrace your beginner status: you don’t have to do it all, or do it all correctly to get started.

What do you find difficult about starting or re-starting with exercise?