Category Archives: love your body

How to Listen To Your Body

Struggling to find a balance with fitness? Here’s how to learn to listen to your body and enjoy exercise in a healthy way.

Have you ever had one of those days where you were tired? You started a workout, but then felt heavy, exhausted, and needed to rest?

I have those days. I get excited to sweat, but just don’t seem to have any gas in the tank. My mind feels tired, my legs are like lead, and my body is asking for rest. So I listen, call the workout, and stop.

I wasn’t always like this. Growing up in a strict school of ballet I was taught the “no pain no gain” philosophy. Self-sacrifice, self-discipline, and “pushing through pain” was celebrated. You were a good dancer if you gave your all, no matter what, all of the time. No days off.

My life moved on from dance, but it took me a long time to change this mindset. There was never a specific moment that changed things for me, that turned me from self-sacrificing to self-loving. I just started to evolve over time. I learned many hard lessons. I began to see how pushing through the pain wasn’t actually helping, but rather hurting my fitness goals long term. I changed the way I viewed exercise and training. It wasn’t something to “be good at” or “win”. It didn’t have to hurt or leave me drained. It could actually make me feel strong, confident, energized, and balanced. It could enhance the quality of my life – if I chose to listen and train smart. So I learned to listen to my body. I developed my fitness plan that met my needs, preferences, and energy levels. I found a way of exercising that made me feel happy, healthy, and whole, all because I took the time to listen and figure out what that felt like.

Being a wellness coach, I work to help others find balance. And I can honestly say that today I practice what I preach. Now I train with a self-compassionate mind, a training regimen I would prescribe to a loved one. It’s always a work in progress and my body changes all the time. Every day is an invitation to choose to check in, listen, and find a healthy challenge. One that makes me feel amazing.

I believe exercise is one of the most powerful ingredients in having energy and living a healthy life. The hard part is figuring out when enough is enough and when it’s just too much. The good news? Your body is SMART. You just need to train your brain to recognize the signs for when to put the pedal to the metal and when to pump the brakes—and actually do it.

Here are my thoughts on how to learn to listen to your body and enjoy exercise in a healthy way.

How to Listen To Your Body

Check YoSelf before You Wreck YoSelf. We move so fast these days and follow our busy schedules from start to finish. It’s rare that we take the time to slow down to notice how we are feeling or if our plans are in-line with what we need. Every day is an opportunity to pay attention. Before exercising, take a few moments to do a mindful check-in to get in touch with your body and mind.  How does your body feel? How is your energy? How is your mood? Notice where you might be storing stress, tension, or emotion. With all this in mind, what kind of exercise is right for you that day? Do you need a hard cardio workout to burn off stress? A strength workout to feel grounded? Some functional movement to address muscular imbalances? A few exercises to boost your energy? A yoga workout to stretch out tight hamstrings? By noticing how your body and mind feels in the moment, you can move forward in choosing a workout that meets your needs.

Give it 20 Minutes. If you are feeling tired and are not quite sure if you should or should not workout, give it 20 minutes. Start slow, ease into it, and check in with how you feel. Sometimes a workout can completely transform your energy and turn you from sleepy to energizer bunny. And sometimes it doesn’t work that way. It’s always worth getting moving for 10-20 minutes to see how it goes. If you feel good and end up exercising for more time, then great. If not, at least you got some movement and found out how your body felt. It’s always worth it to try a few minutes and check in with your physical self.

Be Mindful of the Fitness that surrounds you. Those “motivational” quotes that tell you “Unless you puke, faint, or pass out keep going”? Yea thats just plain stupid. That’s not motivating, that’s body shaming. Those types of mantras will end up hurting you mentally, physically, or both. Get away from that sh*t. Also be a conscious consumer of what fitness classes, instructors, and groups you choose to be around. If a class or an instructor ever makes you feel pressured to push or compromise your health for “conquering” a workout, it’s probably not a healthy source of fitness support. There are plenty of fitness classes and coaches that can help you challenge yourself in a positive way, so if you haven’t found them yet, keep looking. You should feel encouraged to listen to your body and supported in doing what you need to do to be strong.

If it hurts, stop. This seems really straightforward but I can’t tell you how many people I know who push through the pain. If you feel sharp pain or discomfort during any type of workout, don’t keep going. Doing so can result in serious injury that will sideline you for a long time—talk about frustrating! Pain signs are not hard to recognize, they HURT. Be smart and listen to your body if it’s telling you to slow down or stop.

If you feel tired, do less. I love hard workouts, but I definitely don’t do maximal, high-intensity workouts every single day of the week. In fact, I usually let my energy levels and body awareness dictate how hard I work. While I love to go fast and do a million burpees, some days I head into the gym for a workout and my body feels low on energy. I take that as a sign that I need to go easier that day. I’ll slow down, ignore my pace, do a little bit of feel good movement, or focus on recovery foam rolling. Using this strategy allows you to take care of yourself, stay active, and make fitness a habit, but without overdoing it.

What would you tell a friend to do? Would you tell a client or friend to train the way you do? If the answer is no, you might want to re-think how you workout. Exercise is supposed to help you not hurt you. Would you tell a friend with achilles tendonitis to go run a hard 6 miles? Or someone who pulled their lower back to toughen up and do their workout anyways? Probably not. But would you encourage a friend who’s feeling down to join run club? Or tell your stressed out colleague to go to yoga? Or suggest some fresh air and a walk outside when your friend is feeling tired? I would too. Sometimes we take better care of others than we do of ourselves. When you are not sure how hard to push or whether or not you should do a workout, think about what you would tell someone you care about to do. Then listen to your own advice.

The younger version of me would have felt guilty for stopping a workout early. Old dance mantras and “fitspiration” quotes would run around circles in my head. I would have continued to workout. I would have pushed past the fatigue. I would have seen “conquering” a tired day as a win.

But today I know better. I know to listen.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for challenging yourself to be your best. But there’s a line between healthy challenge and just not smart. Your body is the only place you have to live and it deserves to be respected. Learning to listen to your body may be one of the best things you ever choose to do. There’s no quote or class out there that can teach you how to find the right balance between push and recover. It’s on you. But the beautiful thing is every day is an opportunity to check in with yourself and choose to do what YOU need to do to feel your best. This process of listening, honoring, and giving to yourself will allow you to find your strongest self, inside and out.  

Do you listen to your body when it comes to planning, modifying, or sometimes skipping workouts? Does this habit work for you? Let me know in the comments below.

I wish for you the wisdom to listen, the strength to find your own challenge, and the courage to do what YOU need to do to be well.

Here’s to you my friend, listening to yourself and living a feel good life.

Caroline

Want to build a balanced body? Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough and get your mind, body, and spirit in great shape so you can love your life.

Please SHARE this with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. Everyone deserves to be healthy and live a life they love. 

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How To Stay Positive With An Injury. Healing Thoughts

Cheer Yourself Up when injured! Here are some positive thoughts to help you heal from an injury.

Healing Thoughts To Recover From Injury

Healing Thoughts To Recover From Injury

“Aloha from Maui Caroline! I just want to thank you so much for your positive attitude. You have helped me get through such a rough time. Since Sept. my Father was in and out of hospital sick and passed away March 28th. Meanwhile I had broke my foot and had surgery in Jan. I was on crutches for 2 months and just got out of my boot this past Monday. Your ‘hurt foot’ workout videos got me through it without going crazy from not being able to exercise. I’m an avid runner and spinner so it took everything for me to not go crazy. I start PT on Monday and looking forward to getting my life back. Thanks again for ALL your positiveness from the bottom of my heart.” – Lauren, Maui, Hawaii

“Hi Caroline, My name is Bob Mayer, and I live in northern Wisconsin.  I’ve never so much as commented on a YouTube video before, but I needed to go out of my way to thank you for providing the broken foot workouts on YouTube. I’m a triathlete, half-marathon runner, cross country skier, basketball player, and (aspiring) weightlifter.  So, having a broken foot really upends my lifestyle.  I’m appreciative that folks like you are willing to put some time into people like me that have a frustrating injury. Again, thanks!  Keep up the good work. Best, Bob” – Bob Mayer, Wisconsin

“Hi, Caroline! I just wanted to say thank you, really! I sprained my ankle for the first time in life, 5 months ago and it was horrible! It happened after training and I was so depressed about it and felt so helpless not able to move for almost 2 weeks and then having pain and not training at all. I was so happy to find your channel on YouTube and your videos have been so helpful ! Thank you for your advices, positive energy and help in such hard time. You rock! Keep on your great work! Looking forward to more videos from you! Have a great summer, Trisha” Trisha, Denmark

“Caroline, I just want to thank you SO much not only for your YouTube workouts for a broken foot, but for your AWESOME attitude and positive energy!! I have really been lifted up by your validation and empowering dialogue. Seriously, it is a hard thing to recover from an injury and have my usual cardio addiction at a standstill. Your workouts were my turning point from feeling completely depressed and victimized by my injury–to feeling optimistic and empowered that there IS something I can do to stay fit and positive. Your quote, “The only disability is a bad attitude” is like my new life motto!! I can’t tell you how much I needed that! And I can tell I’m healing faster with working out too. Thank you so much for your amazing work!! It’s making a huge difference for me!! ” Elsie Madison, California

Injury. Sh**t happens.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of injuries. Each one has brought it’s own lessons and opportunities to strengthen my internal fitness. Injuries are part of being human and part of the experience of having a body. Sometimes you get sick, tired, hurt, or face physical challenges that are not in your control. It’s life and it happens. But it doesn’t make getting hurt any easier. If you are working through an injury right now, I am here to offer you some comfort and support.

Wellness is so much more than physical. It’s mental, it’s spiritual, it’s taking care of yourself as a whole. Keeping your mind + spirit in good shape will help you recover from your injury and return to good health.  And I am here to help you take care of yourself inside and out.

Here are some healing thoughts to help you recover from injury and stay positive through the process.

How To Stay Positive When Recovering From An Injury.

Acknowledge and radically accept the injury. It is not what you wanted. It is not what you asked for. It sucks but here it is and you must be the one to prioritize and deal with it. Resistance in the healing process is not good. Acceptance helps release resistance. Accept that there are some things you cannot control about the healing process, like how long it may take. But also recognize that there are many things you can control, like how you react to it (moment by moment), how consistent you are with your rehab and treatment, the energy of people you keep around you while you are healing (this is a big one, keep the Negative Nancy’s away!), the alternative activities you do with your time while you are healing, and so on.

Be non-judgmental but honest with yourself about how it got to this point. Ask yourself, “What was my body trying to tell me?” and “Did I listen to its first signals? Or wait until it got to the point where the only way my body could get my attention was to take me out of the game for a bit?” This will help you learn how to better listen to your body. It will help you understand your body’s signals and messages to possibly prevent an injury from occurring again. However, sometimes sh*t happens and you break your foot without notice. Acknowledge that too and move on.

Affirm Your Body’s Ability to Recover and Empower Your Mind To Help you Heal. If you believe your body isn’t healing and talk about how you are not getting better, you are affirming the negative and NOT helping the recovery process. You must empower your mind to help heal your body. It’s kind of like preparing to run a race or deliver an important presentation at work. Close your eyes, visualize the outcome you want, and affirm to yourself that your body WILL heal and WILL recover back to full health. Empower your mind to think positively about recovery and help your body heal.  

You are going to have good days and you are going to have bad days. And it’s important to know: thats OK. Throughout the recovery process you will have days where it’s easy to deal and manage healing. You may also have days where you feel frustrated, upset, impatient, angry, all sorts of emotions. It’s important to know that its totally normal to feel those feelings and to have positive strategies on hand for coping with them when they happen. Don’t isolate yourself or hurt yourself doing something self-destructive (like using drugs/alcohol/food to numb emotions or pushing your injury too far in a workout session that you re-hurt yourself.). Reach out to friends, family, loved ones. Do something to help release the feelings and restore your spirit in a healthy way. Which leads me to my next suggestion…

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Cheer Yourself UP. Life is short. Injured or not, there is SO much to enjoy about it. Count your blessings instead of adding up your troubles. Choose to see the good in everything and make the best of the situation. Put on your favorite music. Sing out loud. Shake your booty. Watch funny movies. Surround yourself with friends. Plan your next vacation. Write thank you notes to those who made a difference in your life. Write a note of encouragement to yourself. Find ways to cheer yourself up. Your body will feel the positive energy and it will make you feel better. 

positive thoughts

Do what you CAN do. Don’t stew over what you can’t do. Do what you CAN do. If you have a hurt foot, work on your push-ups. If you hurt your wrist, practice your body weight squats. Work on the physical therapy exercises prescribed to you through your doctor. Do all your “homework” exercises and follow the doctors orders. Be the best patient there ever was, the kind doctors love to work with. You’ll heal faster and it will make you feel better to be proactive and positive about the recovery process. 

Visualize it. Affirm it. Talk about itYes, realistically you are injured but that is no excuse to rehash the past every day with every ache or pain, or with every person that asks how you are doing. If some asks how you are doing say to them “Thanks for asking and I’m healing up.” or “On my way to coming back stronger and better.”

Most of you know, I am a big believer in positive affirmations (in fact, there’s a whole chapter in my book on them!).  I recommend repeating one or two healing affirmations throughout the day. This will keep your mind in good shape. My favorite healing affirmations are “My body now restores itself to its natural state of perfect health” and “Every day in every way I am getting healthier and stronger”.

heal-your-injury

Be kind to yourself. The healing process is all about the art of allowing. Allowing releases resistance and therefore releases tension in the body that is needed for healing, as opposed to the resistance creating tension that inhibits healing. Being angry with our body is like being angry at a kid for having broken leg. What is done is done and now what is needed is support and kindness towards yourself. Also, allow others to take care of you and trust their care. This can be difficult for Type-A-control-freak-independent types (again I say this in the most endearing sense, you all know I love you) but maybe that is a part of the lesson. Many high achieving individuals struggle with asking or receiving help. Be kind to yourself and allow others to help support your needs. This in itself can be very empowering because we are all in this together. There is no person on earth that does not need someone for something in their life, we are all interdependent.

Accept this moment and this injury in this time and space. Try to see your injury isolated to this time and space in your life. Just because something is happening now does not mean it will happen again, especially if we learn from it. What you resist only stays with you longer and when you fight something, you only make it stronger. Flow with reality, not against it. Choose to accept what is, be positive and proactive, let go of the need to control every little detail, and embrace peace in the process. Remember: what you resist persists, what you embrace dissolves. Practice letting go and trusting your body. Which leads me to my last suggestion…

Trust yourself and trust your body.  Time to heal allows you to focus on yourself. Sometimes we think that because we train and workout we are paying attention to ourselves when really we may be distracting from life or other issues. An injury allows you to learn more about you. It provides and opportunity to learn how to be more self compassionate. It also provides time to reflect on things that may need to change in your life. Healing through an injury allows you to make space in your life FOR YOU. Guess what, your life is not going anywhere and if you use this time to take care of yourself and heal correctly you’ll probably come back stronger, wiser, and better than before. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. However, it is up to you to prioritize yourself and take good care of YOU during this time.

the-happiest-people-quote

While I could go on and on about coping with various psychological and emotional aspects of an injury, I truly believe that each individual faces their own unique healing process. If you need additional support moving positively forward to health through this time, I offer phone wellness coaching. You can set up an appointment by emailing: carolinejordanfitness@gmail.com

I hope this offers you some comfort and support through this difficult time. It is important that you recognize that you can choose how you react to your situation. Remember, “If you change the way you see things, the things you see change.” Injury and pain in life are opportunities to grow and sometimes change directions in life. Be open to what this time in your life is reflecting back to you. Take it one day, one breath at a time.

Have you ever been injured? Whats one thing you’ve done to stay positive during the recovery process? Let me know in the comments below. And make sure to check out the best foods and supplements for healing from an injury here. 

Injury or not, every day life gives us so much to be grateful for. Keep finding the blessings and stay positive my friends.

Sending good vibes and healing energy to you,

Caroline

For more uplifting support Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough. It will help you keep your mind, body, and spirit in great shape !!

If you liked this post or have a loved one who could benefit, please SHARE it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. Everyone deserves to be healthy and live a life they love. 

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70 Actionable Ways to Love Yourself and Love Your Life.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
– Lucille Ball

Want to fall in love? Start with yourself. Here are 70 actionable ways to love yourself and love your life.

When Valentine’s Day approaches, we all start looking for signs of love outside of ourselves—chocolate, cards, phone calls, flowers, gifts or other sweet sentiments.  It’s all too easy to connect our happiness to these external factors and use these things to define the level of love in our lives.

Yet it’s important to remember that happiness is not really determined by the external world, but by the world found inside of you. No amount of flowers, gifts, or love from someone else can fill a void created by a lack of internal happiness. Love is an inside job—and the irony of it is, in order to receive it, we have to already have it. So with Valentine’s Day coming up, Id like to invite you to look at your relationship with yourself and your life. Are you in love with it?

Love takes work. Relationships take work. And the love you have for yourself and your life – yes, you guessed it – takes work. Just like anything worth working for, great love doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, sweat, dedication, patience, practice, persistence, and a positive attitude. It’s a never ending work in progress but one thing I know for sure: learning to love yourself is a sure way to bring more happiness into your life. Here are 70 actionable ways you can love yourself and create a positive, powerful relationship to your life.

70 Ways to fall in Love With Yourself and Love Your Life.  

  1. Love yourself first.
  2. Live in the present moment.
  3. Don’t ignore the past.
  4. Look for the good in everyone.
  5. Don’t believe everything you think.
  6. Be honest with yourself.
  7. Do what you enjoy doing.
  8. Eat foods that nourish you from the inside out.
  9. Travel. As often as possible.
  10. Give back to others.
  11. Practice patience.
  12. Don’t avoid conflict.
  13. Know what really matters.
  14. Learn to say no.
  15. Learn to say yes.
  16. Create positive rituals.
  17. Find something to believe in.
  18. Accept what you cannot change.
  19. Don’t try to change others.
  20. Let go, forgive, and move forward.
  21. Stand up for yourself.
  22. Be grateful for what you have.
  23. Avoid judgments, stereotypes, and assumptions.
  24. Expect good things.
  25. Be open-minded.
  26. Find a positive outlet.
  27. Use positive language (especially when talking to yourself).
  28. Take chances.
  29. Don’t sabotage your happiness. Get out of your own way.
  30. Find your voice and listen to it.
  31. Surround yourself with positive people.
  32. Believe in your ability to change your life.
  33. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  34. Ask for help.
  35. Take life one day at a time.
  36. Treat others how they want to be treated. Golden rule people!
  37. Don’t let fear hold you back. Feel the fear. Do it anyway.
  38. Avoid complaining.
  39. Don’t create unnecessary drama. Don’t put up with people that do.
  40. Stop making excuses.
  41. Get rid of mental clutter.
  42. Get rid of physical clutter.
  43. Set up clear boundaries.
  44. Seek out opportunities.
  45. Don’t take things personally.
  46. Celebrate the little things.
  47. Trust your intuition.
  48. Help others help themselves.
  49. Be a good listener.
  50. Don’t take life so seriously.
  51. Pick your battles.
  52. Highlight your strengths.
  53. Look for beauty everywhere.
  54. Let go of what you don’t need.
  55. Work hard and play hard.
  56. Know your life has a purpose.
  57. Greet yourself with love.
  58. Pay attention to what your body is saying.
  59. Take calming time-outs.
  60. Don’t wait for someday.
  61. Look for learning opportunities.
  62. Make time to play.
  63. Don’t settle. Ever.
  64. Don’t waste time on hate and envy.
  65. Handle stress positively.
  66. Inspire yourself – and others.
  67. Try your best in everything.
  68. Turn your face to the sun.
  69. Stop wanting to be what you’re not.
  70. Be your own hero.

“The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself.”. Give yourself permission to fall in love with yourself, no matter what’s missing or what you wish could be different. You’ve got one life and like it or not, you are married to it. You might as well make it the relationship of a lifetime and find all the beauty in it. To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. So go ahead! You have nothing to lose. Fall head over heels in love with yourself and love your life (every minute of it).

With love,

Caroline

Want more help on loving yourself inside and out? Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough . I’ve got chapters worth of content on self love, self-esteem, and self-care. It will help you take action and love yourself so you can love your life.

If you liked this post, please SHARE it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. Everyone deserves to be healthy and live a life they love. 

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How to Have A Healthy Relationship to Holiday Fitness

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Festive, Fun, Feel-Good Holiday Fitness

Many people talk about “burning off” holiday calories or exercising to earn their holiday treats. Well let me tell you: this mindset sets you up for a negative relationship to fitness and a lifetime of fighting for a healthy weight. Anytime the motivation to move or eat well comes from a place of guilt, shame, or fear, the outcome never leaves you feeling better long term. And who wants to live through the holidays feeling scared to gain weight? Shouldn’t it be a time of joy and celebration? Yes. And it all starts with shifting your mindset. 

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Christmas Morning Run. How I like to celebrate after seeing Santa 😉

It makes me sad to hear people equate sugar cookies consumed with number of burpees performed. Or over-exercise just to over-eat and make themselves sick. Eating well and exercise during the holiday season is about SO MUCH MORE than avoiding weight gain. It’s about :

– Having energy, stamina, and strength. From holiday parties to shopping, long days of cooking or socializing, you’ll have more power to do it all with quality fuel and exercise induced endorphin power. 

– Having a healthy way to bond with friends and family. One of my favorite ways to build positive relationships is through exercise and eating well. Preparing nourishing meals and making time to exercise with each other, supports both your relationship AND your health goals. Its all about how you choose to spend time with your loved ones. Together you can create an environment of support that embraces exercise and eating well in a positive light. If you want them to, your relationships CAN support you in your health.

Family Bonding over Making Strawberry Santa Hat Treats for the holidays

Family Bonding over Making Strawberry Santa Hat Treats for the holidays

– Managing the physical stress of traveling or unusual schedules. Nothing says back pain like a full schedule, the car, or airplane. A little bit of exercise goes a long way and helps you not feel so bent out of shape from long days. Healthy meals and snacks keep your digestion and mood on track despite unusual hours. Exercise and eating right helps you travel smart, manage long hours, and get around feeling your best. 

– Feeling confident at family/friend gatherings. You know that feeling you get after a workout? Or that satisfied sensation you experience after eating a nourishing meal? A million bucks, top of the world, happier than ever, ready to conquer? Yea I thought so. Me too. It’s that undeniable, unstoppable power that health gives you. It puts extra strength in every step and the confidence that gives all your holiday plans a little boost. 

– Finding calm, stress relief, and a better mental state. The holidays can be emotional, demanding, and challenging for many people. From dysfunctional family gatherings to running into ex-boyfriends or old memories, it’s a time of year that can bring up a lot of feelings. But when you take time for yourself and connect to the silence within you, that’s when you can make sense of any chaos going on around you. Exercise can be that space for you. It can give you time to clear your mind, feel your feelings, sort through your emotions, and find a better state of being. Simply by taking time out to take care of yourself will allow you to be your best and deal with any stress with a positive outlet. 

– Being more present and in the moment. Taking care of your health allows you to be conscious of how your body feels, what you put in your body, and what you put in your mind. Fitness is a practice of listening to your body and mindfully nourishing yourself with healthy foods and movement. Research has shown that being more present with how you care for your body can relieve stress, while also improving energy levels, memory and attention. Which in itself allows you to truly be present throughout the holiday season. 

I’m not saying NOT to indulge in your favorite holiday treats or take some well-deserved time off to hang in your christmas pjs over the holidays. Please DO! I believe in balance, listening to your body, and living life to the fullest. I just want to invite you to shift the way you look at exercise and eating over the holidays. Motivate from a place of gratefulness, health, and feeling your best. You deserve a life full of energy and strength to celebrate all the blessings in your life. Through moderation and choosing to look at health as a gift, I believe that you’ll drop the holiday “fight to fitness” and find yourself feeling your best. 

What gifts does exercise and eating well give YOU during the holiday season? Leave me one way you power up your holidays as a comment below.  Lets choose to be grateful, grounded, and happier through making exercise and eating well a positive, uplifting part of our lifestyle. 

If you liked this post, please SHARE it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. More great content is headed your way every week to help you live a happy, healthy life!  Thanks for your support and for being a part of the healthy, happy, community online.

Heres to you, living a life you love.

Caroline

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From Body Loathing to Self-Loving. An inspiring story.

Photo Credit Mark Kuroda

Photo Credit Mark Kuroda

“Hi Caroline,

My name is Megan, I am 19 years old and I am writing to you to say thank you. I have struggled with body image and exercise my entire life, when I was 12 years old I was extremely over weight, and by the time I was 14 I was in the beginning stages of anorexia. I went from being a kid who hated sports and loved junk food to a teenage girl that would go days without eating and exercising constantly. As I got a little older I realized neither scenario was healthy. I cared only about my exterior and not about my health. As I started to eat again, I gained weight, which was good but I wasn’t happy with how I looked.
By 16 I knew how to eat healthy and loved the way good, nutritious food made me feel, but HATED exercising because I associated it with the struggles I had with my eating disorder. Again, I still hated the way I looked.

About 2 years ago is when I found your YouTube channel. I was looking for workouts to make me skinny and busting my butt and hating exercise. Your channel was different, your exercises eased me into a healthy fitness regime and your positivity, energy and kindness made me realize that a healthy lifestyle is achievable by forgetting the exterior and most importantly having a positive outlook on yourself, others and on life.

Now, I am the happiest I have ever been, I feel amazing, move every day, and eat healthy food for energy to keep me going. I would like to say you were a huge part of how i feel today. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In health AND happiness

Megan”

“Megan,

I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly touched and inspired I was by your story. THANK YOU for taking the time to write and to share your journey so openly with me. I am extremely grateful youtube brought us together and allowed us to share time online being healthy, happy, and positive. Your story is exactly why I do the work I do, to inspire a healthy relationship to self and to empower others to live a life that FEELS good and is full of happiness. I hope we continue to share this life journey together and I hope to see you on towards dreaming big, being brave, accomplishing goals, loving life, and loving yourself. Your note today touched my heart in such a powerful way. You have truly inspired me and I am honored to have been a part of your journey.

I can’t wait to film more videos to share with you through youtube! If you ever have any requests for videos please let me know – I am so happy I get to support you through the channel. And in the event you ever want to share your story below anonymously as a testimonial on my “Caroline Jordan Fitness” social media I would be honored. I know your story would  inspire others to adopt a healthy and happy relationship to exercise! WE are the change in the world! WE can help others live a life that FEELS good and is positive simply by doing it ourselves. THANK YOU for being the change and helping create a healthier, more positive, more self-loving world. I hope you know how beautiful you are inside and out. And I hope you know how your life is positively impacting the health and happiness of the planet.

Till next time – keep inspiring and keep shining. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this beautiful note 🙂

Caroline”

“Caroline,

Wow! I did not even expect a response. I can truly tell you care about what you do and it makes a huge difference in the lives of others. I just thought I should say thank you, because you definitely were a part of the push I needed to get me where I am today.

I think that a healthy body image and acceptance of self is so important in creating a happier life. I would love to help you improve the happiness and health of others by sharing my story anonymously. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope to inspire others the way you do.

Also, your channel and weekly newsletters have inspired someone all the way in Canada! Good for you 🙂

Megan”

*** Reader’s name has been changed to respect her privacy ***

Megan’s transformation story touched me deeply and re-affirmed my work in the world. People ask me all the time: Caroline, what exactly do you do? And I don’t have a one word answer. Im a little bit of everything. A little bit teacher. A little bit coach. A little bit writer. A little bit model. A little bit speaker. All of these little bits mix into the big piece of Caroline Jordan Fitness. I am not a one word answer. I am a unique blend of positivity, purpose, heart, and character. I want to make the world a better place through my work. I want to inspire and enable people to love themselves, take care of themselves, and live a life that feels good inside and out. Megan’s story reminded me of WHY I do what I do. I wanted to share it in this space as I thought it might inspire you on your healthy journey too. 

I was raised in movement. Dance and fitness are part of my DNA makeup. It is in my blood, it is something I love, and it is what I live. My first big career dream when I was growing up was to be a “successful fitness instructor” teaching world wide and helping others find the joy in movement. I have journals from high school where I described in detail my visions of success in spandex. Teaching group fitness through high school nurtured my passion and I continued on to pursue Dance and fitness in college which affirmed my mission: I was put on this planet to inspire movement and loving life through health.

After graduation I hustled in San Francisco to work in fitness full time. It was a successful career, yet burnt me out. I became disillusioned. While there is a lot of good in the fitness world, there is also a lot of negative. The extreme, image obsessed, “push yourself till you puke”, and “work yourself to exhaustion” messages are very strong and celebrated. They reinforce a negative relationship to exercise, body, and self. This superficial side of the industry and “six pack abs” songs of glory turned me off. I believe that looking good on the outside is not the path to happiness, but instead believe that feeling good on the inside is the path to happiness. Exercise and movement IS a gateway to fulfill your highest potential, but too often this message gets lost in the “harder better faster stronger” and “look sexy or you aren’t successful” messaging thats out there. I didn’t want a part of it, I wanted a way out. So I signed up to earn my Health and Wellness Coach cert and I started to change career paths.

Studying positive psychology and wellness coaching lit a fire in me. I discovered strengths and skills I didn’t know I had. My career blossomed and branched out as a result. Through coaching my brand began to morph from one of just “fitness professional” to “other”. I still held a space in fitness, yet was pursuing all these opportunities under the vast umbrella of wellness. Through the years I morphed into what I am now – this unique combination of a little bit of everything with one mission: inspire positive thoughts to enable positive actions that create positive outcomes in the world.

For so long I wanted “out” of the fitness industry because I was tired of fighting it’s dark superficial side. Yet over the past few years and through email reminders like Megan’s, I have come to a realization. Fitness is something I love and something I strongly believe in. My work in fitness has been a powerful pathway to get my message out into the world. I now understand that by embracing my fitness roots I can take my Caroline Jordan Fitness mission to new heights. I have been called not to leave the fitness industry, but to LEAD the change within the fitness industry. Will you join me?

I know that the work that I am doing IS serving a purpose. My brand works to shift perspectives and allows others to adopt a healthier life not because it makes them “look good” or fit into a cultural mold, but instead to live their best lives and fulfill their greatest potential. It’s stories like Megan’s that keep my fire burning that remind me to keep going.

Let me ask you: Where are you on your healthy life journey? How can I help you along the way? Tell me how I can be of service in the comments below, it brings me great joy to see you thrive.

I believe in you and believe you have the power to choose to love yourself and love your life. And if ever you forget your own greatness, I want to be the voice thats there to remind you of your strength. Stay committed, positive, present, and persistent. You deserve to feel good and to live a life you love.

Keep going, keep growing,

Caroline

If you liked this post, please SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and SHARE it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. Lets support eachother in living a healthy, happy life. 

Want to boost your body image, self love, and self-esteem? Read more in these posts:

How to Be Fit Without Obsessing about it. Getting In Shape for Summer the Healthy Way.

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Every year around this time, gyms get the influx of new members wanting to get “beach-ready” bodies in time for summer. We go crazy trying to find the perfect “30 Days to Perfect Abs” workout and the right fad diet that promises to make us fit and fabulous by the time we need to get into a swimsuit.

Is there anything wrong with that? I mean, at least people are trying to get into shape, right? There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to shape up for summer, but it’s important to go about it in a healthy manner that promotes your overall wellness and doesn’t push you toward unhealthy fad dieting or injury from overly intense workouts.

The summer fitness obsession distracts from the joy of the season and is often the reason so many people’s healthy living goals are failing. Listen up: Just because beach weather is a few weeks away does not mean you have to go on a crazy crash diet. Instead, I suggest you take action with these expert tips to get your body (and mind!) in tip-top shape — the healthy way. Can you get fit without obsessing about it? I think so, here are my tips on how :

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How to Be Fit Without Obsessing About It : Getting In Shape for Summer the Healthy Way. 

  • Ignore the hype and lose the extremes. If a program offers “instant” results—AKA, 30 days or less—it is probably either complete  nonsense or extremely unhealthy. As fabulous as it would be to go from size 12 to size 6 in one months, it’s simply not feasible or sustainable. The kinds of diets that promise this kind of impossibly fast change are usually those that encourage you to starve yourself and deprive your body of essential nutrients in favor of dropping pounds or getting “lean” for your swimsuit. This is unsustainable because your body can’t function off of gummy bears or cotton balls for long before it starts deteriorating. You’re also pretty much guaranteed to gain back the weight afterward. Avoid falling into the “quick fix” trap and….
  • Make SMALL changes consistently. Instead of jumping on the next 10 day juice cleanse or giving up carbs forever, make small healthy consistent changes. Many studies have shown those who focus on slow and steady lifestyle changes are far better at sustaining it. Start small and make healthy changes that work for you. Anything from eating a better breakfast or adding one more workout to your week counts. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day – the secret to lasting lifestyle change is to keep going in a positive direction. Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.
  • GET OFF the scale. This is controversial advice, as many studies have shown people who weigh themselves regularly are more successful at long-term weight loss. The problem with the scale is that it can lie, it can be frustrating when it barely budges, it doesn’t reflect gaining muscle, and it can just become something you hate doing (or cause more body obsession – not a good thing). While the studies show regular scale users are better at weight loss, they haven’t been compared with what I think are far more positive things to measure, such as miles run each week, weight lifted, fitness classes attended, fast food meals avoided, healthy meals prepared, fruits and vegetables consumed. And there are better ways to assess results, like how your clothes fit, your energy levels and even your sex drive. If you can use the scale in a way that elicits a positive mindset, then go ahead, but if it stresses you out, consider tossing it and tracking other more important variables instead.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people. It’s okay to be in friendly competition with your gym buddies. It’s not okay to get so caught up in trying to be the best that you become discouraged when others seem to be making more progress than you. Everyone is different. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, with differing metabolic rates, body fat percentages and capabilities. The best thing to do is to judge your own progress. If you’re doing better than you were last month, or last week, then you’re doing something right.
  • Get Your HEART pumping. Regular exercise helps you achieve both physical and mental wellness. Make movement part of your life and exercise most days of the week. For cardio, aim for at least 20 minutes, everyday for health; 30-45 minutes 5-6 days per week for aerobic and fitness improvement. There’s no need to hit the gym HARD everyday. Vary your cardiovascular training with low, moderate, and high intensities. And most importantly don’t forget to….
  • Build lean muscle and body confidence with Strength Training. Strength training is the secret to maintaining a healthy body and mindset throughout every season of your life. It gives your metabolism a major BOOST by increasing the metabolic rate, allowing the body burn more calories throughout the day. It also increases lean muscle mass and overall strength, helping to improve performance, endurance, and energy levels. These things combined work to help you maintain your weight goals over a long period of time. Not only that but lifting weights has been shown to improve psychological health, by increasing self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth (all KEY components if you want a healthy body and mind for your lifetime). Aim to strength train 2-3 times per week to reap the lifetime benefits. Get motivated here and follow the A.C.E. strength training guide to get started. 
  • Find Your Team. A good support system is a vital element to reaching your goals in a healthy way. Often times its not about getting tons of support, but about finding the RIGHT people to help you. Communicate your goals to people in your life who will hold you accountable, help you overcome obstacles, and keep you from going crazy with extremes (no 30 day juice cleanses!) when it comes to reaching your goals.  Im a big believer in coaching, as I have seen the rewards that investing in yourself can bring. A coach can help you overcome roadblocks, keep you moving forward towards the life you want, and give you constant encouragement and support. The secret to a life of lasting healthy habits is surrounding yourself with others who lift you up and keep you in check so you don’t become “obsessed” with a bikini brain mindset 😉
  • Don’t diet. Just eat HEALTHY. If you go ON a diet you will eventually have to go off a diet. Want lasting, healthy, positive change that doesn’t have a yo-yo effect? Improve your relationship to food and learn to nourish yourself. Don’t just eat salads this summer – learn about nutrition and how to eat to feel amazing – it’s worth investing time in and will help you eat healthy for all the seasons.
  • MIX it UP. Routine is the enemy of results. After doing the same cardio/strength routine your body adapts and you burn fewer calories. Eventually your results – weight loss, muscle definition – will slow down. And repeatedly placing stress on the same muscles and joints could lead to an overuse injury. Also sticking to a super strict routine can cause you to become too obsessed with it. If you feel like you always have to run 10 miles a week or do yoga on mondays at noon, it might be time to force yourself out of your routine comfort zone. Heres your ACTION PLAN: Once a every 2-3 weeks, change one thing about your workout regimen. Take a dance class instead of your saturday run, or use a resistance band instead of dumbbells. Not only will you see better results with a varied plan, mixing things up may help you stick with exercise in the end. Refresh your mind, body, and spirit on a regular basis by mixing things up consistently.
  • Stop criticizing your body. Quit grabbing the skin around your waist and staring at it angrily in the mirror. Stop complaining to your friends about how bloated you are or how much you’d rather look a certain way. Stop! None of this is helpful. Obsessing over how great some model or over how you wish you had a different body part is only detrimental to your health. If you continue to beat yourself up over your imperfections, you’ll never be happy with yourself. You are going to be in your skin for the rest of your life – you might as well learn to love and get comfortable in it.
  • Think beyond the bathing suit. FOCUS ON HOW YOUR LIFE FEELS. Getting into shape is great for beach season, but it’s also much more than that. Eating clean and exercising regularly won’t just make you look good—a healthy lifestyle will make you feel better all-around. So while getting bikini-ready might be a good starting point for your fitness journey, it shouldn’t be the sole reason for the changes you make to your lifestyle. Because of the culture we live in, we’re always going to be under-impressed with our own bodies. It’s human nature to constantly feel like we could do more and look better. But if your perspective is to focus on how you feel more than on how you look, you’ve got a much better chance of sticking with your goals and being healthy longterm. Besides, feeling good is addicting! The more energized and productive you feel, the more you’re going to want to continue doing the things that are contributing to your wellbeing. Live a life that feels good on the inside, not just one that looks good in a bikini. 

Getting in shape is a great goal, and getting started on it in time for summer is fantastic! But do it for the right reasons, the right way. Health is not a 30-day thing, a 60- or a 90-day thing. Healthy is not about being “fit” for summer, its about living fit for your lifetime. Put your overall well-being ahead of any aesthetic details. The better you feel about yourself, the better you take care of yourself, and the healthier you are for the rest of your life.

There are so many other amazing things to enjoy this summer. Dont waste your days in diet and workout obsession trying to get to a image of “beach body” perfection that doesn’t exist. Love yourself, accept yourself, take care of yourself, and enjoy the season FULLY in health and happiness. Now how does that sound for a summer vacation?

Till next time, keep shining, 

Caroline

Did you like this post? Share it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. More great content is headed your way every week to help you live a happy, healthy life! 

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Get Your Butt, Hips, and Core WORKING for you! Free exercise Videos!

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Friends who take my exercise classes in San Francisco often tease me for my little “mat routines” that I do for a few minutes before teaching. They are right, before every class I take a few minutes to warm up my core, hips, and butt so they are ready to GO when I want to work hard during my workout. Some personal trainers refer to this as “activation exercises”, you want to “activate” or turn ON the muscles that will help you perform well and prevent injury before you move. Often too much sitting or repetitive movements (running, spinning, etc) can lead to tight or weak muscles that can cause improper movement patterns. I’ve learned that its important to counteract those imbalances with physical therapy exercise routines so that I can enjoy a lifetime of movement.

In this post you’ll find two of my “go-to” physical therapy based exercise programs that I use to keep my butt, hips, and core strong. I’ve found doing these moves before workouts helps me feel fabulous and make the most of every moment.   I’d recommend doing these exercises 2-3 times per week in addition to your well rounded strength, cardio, and flexibility workout routine. They can be used on their own as regular strength maintenance and are also perfect as a warm-up for workouts.  Combined with a clean, healthy diet and balanced lifestyle you can achieve the happy weight and performance you desire. The best part? These videos are FREE and available because I want to support you in living a healthy life free of injuries and full of amazing workouts. 

As always: please check with your doctor to make sure this video and recommendations are right for you. If you honor your body and are good to yourself, you’ll enjoy a lifetime of health.

10 Minute Hip and Butt Strength Video. 

So you want to ACTIVATE your hips and butt without any equipment? In this free 10 minute YouTube video, I’ll guide you through some of the all time best bodyweight exercises to tone strengthen, and activate your lower half the lower body. The result?? A more stable pelvis, less injuries, improved performance, and YOU feeling your very best in all the activities you love. Its a “do it as you view it” type of experience that will leave you feeling strong, satisfied, and ready to rock. In this video you will do the following physical therapy and pilates based movements:

  • leg lifts
  • clam shells
  • side planks
  • butt bridges
  • inner thigh lifts

This routine is a workout that will leave your butt feeling fired and fabulous! Perfect before a run, spin class, or even a night out dancing with friends 🙂

4 Minute “Series of 5” Ab Workout  

This workout is an intense sequence of classical pilates based exercises that you can do anytime, anywhere with no equipment—indoors or out. Sometimes referred to as the “Belly Burner,” these five Pilates mat exercises will challenge your abdominal endurance. Try it for yourself! In this challenging core workout routine, you’ll do the following exercises:

– single leg stretch
– double leg stretch
– single straight leg stretch
– double straight leg stretch
– criss cross

A few notes on form: Most people agree that these are some of the best ab exercises of all time. Yes, they are challenging. You can modify them by not taking your legs too low and/or keeping your head down. There are modifications for these exercises included in the detailed instructions in the video. In general, use your abdominal muscles to keep your upper body curl, to stabilize your pelvis, and to move the legs from your center. Do not take your legs any lower than you can control the movement from your abs and keep your back from coming off the mat. Your pelvis must stay stable.

This little routine only takes FOUR MINUTES and makes for the perfect “activation” series to warm your core up to ROCK your workouts.

There you go! Two of my all time favorite exercise routines to get my abs, butt, and hips working for me. These moves help keep me performing and feeling happy! Do you do “activation” exercises before your workouts? Leave your thoughts as a comment below.

Did you LIKE this post or did the videos above HELP you? SUBSCRIBE to my Youtube Channel and  SHARE the content you love with your friends on  Facebook, twitter, or email. Join the community online and get the support you need to live the healthy, happy life you love.

Till next time…. keep smiling

Caroline

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Don’t Seek Love, Live in Love. 70 ways to Fall in Love with your Life!

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When Valentine’s Day approaches, we all start looking for signs of love outside of ourselves—chocolate, cards, phone calls, flowers, gifts or other sweet sentiments.  Its all to easy to connect our happiness to these external factors and use these things to define the level of love in our lives.

Yet it’s important to remember that happiness is not really determined by the external world, but by the world found inside of you. No amount of flowers, gifts, or love from someone else can fill a void created by a lack of internal happiness. Love is an inside job—and the irony of it is, in order to receive it, we have to already have it. So with Valentine’s Day coming up, Id like to invite you to look at your relationship with yourself and your life. Are you in love with it?

Love takes work. Relationships take work. And the love you have for yourself and your life – yes you guessed it – takes work. Just like anything worth working for, great love doesn’t happen over night. It takes time, sweat, dedication, patience, practice, persistence, and a positive attitude. Learning to love life and all that life has to bring you is a sure way to bring more happiness into your world. One small intentional action a day can create a big changes in creating a life you love. Here are my thoughts on 70 different ways you can create a positive, powerful relationship to your life, and fall in love with it…. every minute of it.

70 Ways to create a positive, powerful relationship to your life. 

  1. Love yourself first.
  2. Live in the present moment.
  3. Don’t ignore the past.
  4. Look for the good in everyone.
  5. Don’t believe everything you think.
  6. Be honest with yourself.
  7. Do what you enjoy doing.
  8. Eat foods that nourish you from the inside out.
  9. Travel. As often as possible.
  10. Give back to others.
  11. Practice patience.
  12. Don’t avoid conflict.
  13. Know what really matters.
  14. Learn to say no.
  15. Learn to say yes.
  16. Create positive rituals.
  17. Find something to believe in.
  18. Accept what you cannot change.
  19. Don’t try to change others.
  20. Let go, forgive, and move forward.
  21. Stand up for yourself.
  22. Be grateful for what you have.
  23. Avoid judgments, stereotypes, and assumptions.
  24. Expect good things.
  25. Be open-minded.
  26. Find a positive outlet.
  27. Use positive language (especially when talking to yourself).
  28. Take chances.
  29. Don’t sabotage your happiness. Get out of your own way.
  30. Find your voice and listen to it.
  31. Surround yourself with positive people.
  32. Believe in your ability to change your life.
  33. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  34. Ask for help.
  35. Take life one day at a time.
  36. Treat others how they want to be treated. Golden rule people!
  37. Don’t let fear hold you back. Feel the fear. Do it anyway.
  38. Avoid complaining.
  39. Don’t create unnecessary drama. Don’t put up with people that do.
  40. Stop making excuses.
  41. Get rid of mental clutter.
  42. Get rid of physical clutter.
  43. Set up clear boundaries.
  44. Seek out opportunities.
  45. Don’t take things personally.
  46. Celebrate the little things.
  47. Trust your intuition.
  48. Help others help themselves.
  49. Be a good listener.
  50. Don’t take life so seriously.
  51. Pick your battles.
  52. Highlight your strengths.
  53. Look for beauty everywhere.
  54. Let go of what you don’t need.
  55. Work hard and play hard.
  56. Know your life has a purpose.
  57. Greet yourself with love.
  58. Pay attention to what your body is saying.
  59. Take calming time-outs.
  60. Don’t wait for someday.
  61. Look for learning opportunities.
  62. Make time to play.
  63. Don’t settle. Ever.
  64. Don’t waste time on hate and envy.
  65. Handle stress positively.
  66. Inspire yourself – and others.
  67. Try your best in everything.
  68. Turn your face to the sun.
  69. Stop wanting to be what you’re not.
  70. Be your own hero.

“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” Give yourself permission to fall in love with your life, no matter what’s missing or what you wish could be different. It’s your life and like it or not, you are married to it. You might as well make it the relationship of a lifetime and find all the beauty in it. Love is a choice. No one can take that choice away from you and no darkness is bold enough to extinguish it. Go ahead… you have nothing to lose. Fall head over heels in love with your life. Every minute of it.

Till next time…. live in love,

Caroline

As always, if you liked this post, be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook, twitter, or email. Join the community online and get the support you need to live the healthy, happy life you love.

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The Long Lasting Benefits of My Wellness Retreat in Costa Rica

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In today’s non-stop world, the daily stresses of life can build quickly. Always reachable on our mobile devices, many of us have endless ‘to-do’ lists and are constantly racing to “keep up”. By running from errand to errand, always plugged in to technology, we rarely give our bodies and minds the break needed to recuperate or live fully. Then we wonder why we are tired, unfulfilled, or struggling with anxiety.

People always say they dont have the time to take a break. They put off resting. “Ill just push through this project, work through lunch, finish up these to-dos this weekend and THEN relax” But not taking the time off for yourself will eventually turn around to bite you in the butt. Choosing to go on a health retreat can be the perfect opportunity for you to restore your mind and body to an optimum level of wellness and live a healthier life upon your return home. Wellness retreat benefits are ENDLESS and will allow you to renew your mind, body, and spirit. Here are a few of the top reasons to get off the grid and invest in yourself by joining me in for an inspiring and uplifting trip to Costa Rica January 24-31st:

1. Detox

Eating healthy can be a time consuming process that many have a hard time finding time for. On our retreat the focus is on taking care of every aspect of your well being, starting with the food you eat to fuel your body. If you come on our retreat, you can expect well thought out meals that are not only clean, organic, and nutritious but also delicious. Food is a primary focus at the Chirriposa Mountain and Beach retreat center in Costa Rica. You’ll indulge in healthy, inspiring, vegetarian and vegan dishes, incorporating a wide selection of locally sourced fresh organic ingredients, providing a culinary experience that will nourish, satisfy and make your experience as perfect as nature intended. Your digestion, skin, energy, and weight will all benefit from the week spent nourishing your body with clean, healthy, foods.

2. Unplug

It seems like we are always in front of a screen these days: the computer at work, the television when we’re home, and our phones at all times in between. Our retreat experience offers you a chance to leave your chargers at home, give your eyes a break, and spend some time offline with your thoughts so you can work on your well being without any distractions. It is AMAZING how taking time to unplug can recharge your energy levels and renew your connection to yourself. We recently talked about how stress and anxiety can come from your relationship to technology.  Unplugging for a week offers you the perfect chance to reevaluate what you want to be plugged into most.

3. Break from Routine

It’s easy to fall in a continuous cycle for the sake of convenience. Eat, sleep, workout, work, repeat. But too much routine can have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health. Our Costa Rica retreat is a chance to do something different. To have an active adventure in a breathtaking location with positive people. Its an opportunity to take a time out to look at your day to day life, get coaching, and create powerful goals for what you want for your life. Taking a break from your routine can be the very thing you need to mix it up, gain perspective, and live your life in line with what you value and want for yourself.

4. Exercise

Are you too tired to exercise when you come home after working all day? We all have good intentions but keeping up with our physical fitness can be a demanding task when we all lead such busy lives. Retreats are an excellent way to reconnect with and reboot your physical fitness. On our retreat in Costa Rica the exercise options are endless! Beach bootcamp, jungle running, sunset yoga, surfing, dancing…. every day will be filled with a variety of fitness, dance, and adventure options to fuel your physical wellbeing and re-awaken your love for movement.

5. Connect with Others

Whether you are going on a retreat by yourself, with a friend, or with a group, being surrounded by other like-minded people is sure to inspire you. Retreats facilitate a powerful positive atmosphere and can be very social if you want it to be. Genuine interaction, connection, community, real conversation and laughter can do wonders for your health. In Costa Rica, You’ll make some new lifelong friends who will support you in your health and happiness.

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6. Pamper Yourself

Retreats offer you the chance to take some much needed time for yourself. A retreat allows you to pamper yourself and heal your body with a massage, facial, other wellness treatments, sleep, and relaxation. You’ll feel completely supported and taken care of.

7. Relax and Unwind

Without your everyday demands and distractions, you will finally have time to do the activities that you have always wanted to do. Take a walk, go to the beach, read a book, or meditate. Simply getting away to a more peaceful atmosphere will reduce your stress levels exponentially and restore your physical and mental health. Chronic stress can create a slew of serious health problems and prevent you from living your most positive, present life. Taking the FULL retreat experience to relax and unwind will allow you to maintain your health and wellbeing over time.

8. Get out of Your Head

There’s no better way to get out of your head and break the pattern of negative/abusive thoughts than putting yourself in an environment of striking beauty. A beautiful retreat sanctuary in a lush tropical environment with panoramic ocean and mountain views is the perfect solution for a mind awash with negativity. Transcend your own mind and merge with the beauty of paradise!

These are only a few of the incredible health and happiness benefits of taking time for a wellness retreat. I know its scary to take a week off work, put yourself in a new environment, and reconnect to yourself and what you want. But you know what? YOU ARE WORTH IT. You deserve to feel good and to live a life you love.

Join me in Costa Rica and make an investment in YOU.  Click HERE for more information. Dont miss out on this once in a lifetime wellness experience at the life changing Chirriposa Mountain and Beach Resort! 

Cheers to health, wellness, and living every second in this one and beautiful life.

Caroline

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How Important is a Rest Day?

How Important is Rest Day? Most exercisers know that getting enough rest after exercise is essential to high-level performance, yet some still over train or feel guilty when they take a day off. Here’s the truth about rest days, why it’s important, and how you can make the best of it for your fitness program. 

how important is rest day

I went for a beautiful run with a friend the other day. She was a collegiate athlete who upon graduating moved into medical sales full time. Her background in sports ingrained in her a very active lifestyle and she works out every day. On our run, she asked me to join in for an upcoming sunday workout. “I wish I could” I sighed, “but Sunday is my rest day.” It led into a conversation about how difficult it can be to take a day off from exercise (especially when it’s such a valuable part into your lifestyle). “How important is a rest day after all?” she inquired. And it led me to begin this post….

Most exercisers know that getting enough rest after exercise is essential to high-level performance, yet some still over train or feel guilty when they take a day off. Here’s the truth: Rest days are an essential part of training and when you get the MOST from your time in the gym. Exercising  creates tiny tears in the muscles. When you allow the muscles to rest, the tissue is able to repair itself using proteins and amino acids. This creates stronger muscles over time, which appear leaner, especially combined with the fat-burning process. It’s this rebuilding process that makes you tougher so refusing to take rest days will negate all that hard work you’ve done in the gymWhile it may feel like you’re slacking and make you worry that you won’t build strength or increase speed or lose weight, time off allows your body and mind to fully recover and grow.

Think about how you feel after a poor night’s sleep: Your cognitive skills are fuzzy and your body starts to fall into a catabolic (breaking down) state, which can skyrocket stress, sap muscle strength, and cause mood shifts. The same fatigue happens on the body when you don’t allow it to recover properly from exercise. Never taking a day off sets the body up for a breakdown. You become more susceptible to severe muscle soreness, a suppressed immune system, a decrease in strength and performance. Not only that but over time over-training can also cause irritability, mood swings, excessive fatigue, weight gain (oh yes!), heart-muscle damage, thyroid dysfunction, brittle bones, amennorrhea (losing your period), and overuse injuries which can have life-long impact. Not to mention the mental health complications that can come from too much working out like OCD, depression, and anxiety.

That being said, taking rest days can actually be the hardest part of a training program for some. Sounds like an oxymoron, but for some of us, forcing ourselves to leave the running shoes, not go to yoga with friends, or step back from the weight rack and hot-step ourselves out of the gym is a very real challenge.

rest day funny image

People often worry that taking a rest day will set them back in their training and delude themselves that somehow they’re the superhuman exception but in reality not resting will catch up with you. Even Olympians take rest days. But seeing as there are a lot of misconceptions about resting, here are my suggestions for making REST days a healthy part of your training:

1. Rest days are a MUST (aka non-negotionable!). Get in the mindset that resting isn’t “cheating” and that your body deserves time to reap the benefits from your training. Remind yourself that time off is actually PRODUCTIVE: You are allowing your body to grow stronger!

2. Regularly assess How Often Should you Rest. Everybody’s body is different and how often you need to rest is unique to you and your current training load. Its best to play around with different rest day frequencies to see what feels best to your body. As a general guideline: If you are starting out with a new exercise program or are a beginner exerciser, rest every third day (that is, exercise two consecutive days and rest the third). More experienced exercisers should take a recovery day at least once a week. In addition, its a good idea every eight weeks include a week where you decrease your training load and/or cross train with new, different activities. Regularly look at your training program and intensity to define how often you should include rest days week to week.

3. Schedule the day. Plan ahead for rest days. They have a place in every workout program – you can even call them periodization if you want to sound fancy at the juice bar. Just don’t be too rigid about your plan. If you wake up one morning feeling extra sore or sick, just take some time off.

4. Define what “Rest” means to you. How inactive you are on your rest day depends on the intensity of your workouts leading up to it. For example, if you are killing it in the gym day in and day out, your rest day should be a day completely off from taxing your body. You might go for a casual walk at most, but no great effort to do more physical work than necessary should be made (read: no gym!). However, if your workouts have been light to moderate intensity all week or you’re a beginner exerciser, you can take a more active recovery day. That might include playing a sport outside, taking a yoga class, or going for a longer walk. Everybody’s body is different and how you rest will vary week to week. The important part is that it HAPPENS and that it is part of your training plan.

5. Take a Mental Break as Well. Don’t forget that any activity you do on your rest day should also help your mind take a break. Whether that’s journaling, a cooking class, an evening with friends, a walk in the park, or taking the dog out with your spouse, do whatever clears your head and stops you from thinking about counting reps or reaching your goal. You’ll be fresh and ready to train once you’ve had mental time off.

6. Eat a normal, healthy, balanced diet. Just because you didnt work out doesnt mean you should drop your healthy nutrition habits. Don’t restrict your calories because you didn’t “earn them” from working out or binge on sweets if you feel guilty from not exercising. Maintain a normal, balanced, healthy diet and eat mindfully!  Pay attention to your hunger and eat till you are satisfied (not stuffed). Nutrition is a big piece of recovering right – you have to nourish your body with good foods in order to come back stronger. Eat healthy no matter whats on the workout agenda. Good in = good out. Keep it up!

7. Get enough sleep. Nothing messes up your system more than not getting enough shut-eye. One of the symptoms of over-training is having a hard time falling asleep and/or insomnia which can start a vicious cycle of over-exercising and under-resting. Make sleep a priority and get the hours you need nightly. It may be hard to get to bed on time, but its a habit worth working for. you deserve to feel good and recover right.

8. Do something for your mind and spirit on your rest day! Remember: fitness isn’t about looking good. Its about mental health, life satisfaction, and energy levels. On your rest day, focus on the OTHER parts of you that can use self care. If you have a hard time not working out, it may help to build hobbies and habits outside of fitness. Remember: when working out becomes your life, you need to work on your life.  Call a friend, take a class, meditate, take up a hobby – anything you find that helps give your mind and spirit a workout. Need some ideas that dont require burpees?  Click here for my suggestions on “Mental and Emotional Self Care” strategies for success! 

How do I recover and rest right? Watch this quick video where I share my recovery tips for success with Sara Plummer of “Get healthy, sexy, happy!”

Learning when and how to rest is a constant process and a balancing act. I am by no means perfect –  I’ve struggled with my propensity to workout too much and too hard. But this is why I’m writing about it. I rest now. ( I still have crazy moments… dont we all?) but resting is a valuable part of my healthy lifestyle. And it’s made a huge difference. Exercise will always be a balancing act and finding the right balance will take constant tweaking and adjusting as your life evolves and changes. But once you learn to embrace the rest day as not just an “off day” but a “productive-in-a-behind-the-scenes-ways” day it’s a lot easier to recover right. The most important thing about rest is that it happens and that you get healthier, stronger, and happier over time 🙂

What’s your philosophy on recovery? How often do you take rest days? Do you schedule them into your weekly workout plan, or go on an as-needed basis? Leave your thoughts as a comment below, Id love to hear from you. 

Heres hoping we all keep growing stronger and finding balance in work, training, and life. Sending you lots of love and rest,

Caroline

Want to build a balanced body? Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough and get your mind, body, and spirit in great shape so you can love your life.

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