This month’s client spotlight goes to Monique Breault, and this crew so excited to be celebrating Monique this month.
Every day when Monique arrives for her training session we will ask how she’s doing. Without fail her reply is “Peachy keen and hunky-dory”. This phrase has become a regular response amongst the trainer team. It always brings a smile to our face, and adopting this phrase brings a little “Monique” into a busy day and it helps us remember what’s truly important in life. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Commit to your goals and have fun while doing it. Make the most of every moment, and give thanks to those who inspire you. This is what I’ve learned in knowing Monique. While we are all so inspired by Monique she won't let me forget that it's the WILCOX community who inspires her. She frequently reminds me that WILCOX is her "happy place". This brings joy to my heart because Monique makes this place a happy place for so many of us, and inspires us all daily through her values and commitment to her community inside and outside of the gym. She demonstrates her commitment through her actions and truly makes an impact in our community.
Thank you Monique for all that you do to inspire us. We just love having you in our community and supporting you in your health & fitness journey.
We would love to welcome YOU into our community!
Our next KickStart Program starts on Saturday, April 6th!
We promise that we will meet you where you are and support you every step of the way.
Come join us. We are excited to meet you!
I've been talking a lot lately about the importance of our core, and how a strong core has such an incredible impact on all aspects of our life. When in training sessions my clients will often hear me say "a strong core = a strong body". When we engage our core during exercise we will be stronger in all of the movements that we are using, allowing us to maximize each movement and make progress building strength throughout the entire body.
I have noticed so many benefits of focusing on my core. I recently wrote about how my new found core strength has had an incredible influence on my snow boarding (you can read it HERE), and I know that I'll continue to feel the benefits in my kayaking this summer. I notice how my core works for me when I'm shoveling snow, lugging heavy groceries into the house, or simply sitting on the floor comfortably.
Did you know that having a strong core will make you a better runner? I'm always thrilled to hear from our clients who are runners. When they first start their training program they will talk about focusing on building strength in their legs as well as cardiovascular conditioning, but before long they'll start to notice how their stronger core is allowing them to hit PRs and enjoy their running more.
Your core also influences how you breathe. When your core is strong, the muscles in your torso are more balanced – and that leads to having a stronger diaphragm and better posture.
Both of those factors can help you take deeper breaths. According to the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, deeper breaths help you relax and reduce stress. (win-win!)
And if you haven’t tried belly breathing (taking a few minutes to breathe slowly and deeply in and out of your belly and up through your lungs), try it! You’ll be amazed at how quickly it helps you to relax.
Your core will also help you with balance. So many people will comment on how they have terrible balance. Balance is something that we have to work on, and working on a strong core will help your balance improve. A strong core helps you stand up straight with better posture, and in doing so you will improve your proprioceptors, which improves your body's awareness of where it is in space.
And if this isn't enough, a strong core will also allow you to live an active and agile life, allowing you to move with less aches and pains. When our core is strong we avoid slouching, keeping all of our joints aligned. Think about how a slouched posture impacts an elderly person's ability to move. This is something that you can avoid if you are aware of your posture NOW and support it through a strong core.
This topic is SO important we created a resource guide for you that will help you build that core strength and improve your posture with some simple exercises that you can do at home!
Click HERE or the image below to download your copy of our Restore Your Core Guide.
Core exercises are especially important if you’ve had an injury; sit or stand all day at work; spend much time in front of a steering wheel, computer, or phone; or if you’re a new mom.
All of those factors can lead to muscular imbalances that, after a while, can contribute to pain and even injury.
Training your core properly can help counteract all that, plus have you standing taller and feeling more confident!
Feel free to share this guide with your friends, family or coworkers who might benefit from it! I hope you find this information helpful and enjoy this resource guide!
To your health!
Bone broth supports gut health and is known to help alleviate digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation or gas, and can even help improve more serious digestion issues like leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
When our digestive system is healthy our immune system is more robust. Poor gut health can lead to small perforations in the intestines, which allows bacteria and viruses to move from our digestive system into the blood stream, and this is one path towards getting sick.
bodies with collagen through our diet is even more effective at reducing wrinkles and cellulite from the inside out!
Bone broth can also help improve sleep, memory and learning, and even reduce symptoms of anxiety through an amino acid call glycine.
And, if that's not enough, bone broth also contains potassium and magnesium, which are electrolytes, often found in sugary sports drinks, and help with recovery after exercise. Even major league sports teams are moving to the natural benefits of bone broth over sugary recovery drinks to support their overall health and recovery after practice and games!
So of course my next natural question was how to make bone broth without it being a huge chore. I was pretty excited to find a very simple slow cooker recipe that is not only super fast (well, at least prep is fast) and easy, but also a great way to use food scraps that have previously gone into my compost pile or trashcan.
I have made two batches so far. It's incredibly easy, and since you can simmer it for as little as 18 hours and as long as 72 hours it's easy to find a good time to strain it without worrying too much about timing.
I have been enjoying a warm mug of bone broth at the end of the day when I get home from work and before dinner. It helps to wind me down for a chill evening with my husband, and serves as a good addition to my afternoon snack so that I'm not likely to snack while cooking dinner.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Here's to your health!
Looking for More Awesome Stuff to Cook in your Slow Cooker?
Download our Super Amazing Slow Cooker Cookbook!
I am a HUGE fan of smoothies. It's my go to for breakfast during the week. I often hear people struggle with the time that it takes to prepare a nutritious breakfast, making it the primary reason why people don't eat breakfast. I have the process for preparing a smoothie down to a science and can whip up a delicious, nutritious breakfast lickity-split.
I find that raspberries and blueberries freeze really well, so when they're on sale I stock up. Bananas also freeze pretty well, but be sure to take the skin off and break them up into useable sized pieces before you freeze. I buy organic frozen strawberries when they're out of season, and when they're in season I like to buy local and will freeze any that I don't eat before they start getting soft.
Have you ever noticed that your smoothies are either too gelatinous or on the flip side, they tend to separate and have a grainy texture? This has to do with the mix of soluble vs. insoluble fiber.
Some of my favorite soluble fiber picks for smoothies are blueberries, strawberries, pears, banana, peaches, citrus, mango, kiwi and carrots. Avocado is also a great source of soluble fiber, but use sparingly (no more than 1/4) or your smoothie will be way too gelatinous.
Insoluble fiber is found in leafy greens and in the skins of many fruits and veggies. This type of fiber doesn't dissolve in water, which is why it can cause your smoothie to separate if not properly balanced with soluble fiber sources. But insoluble fiber is super important since this is the stuff that makes you feel full and keeps you regular.
Some of my favorite insoluble fiber picks for smoothies include peas, spinach, unpeeled apples, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi and pineapple.
Be sure to have a good mix of soluble and insoluble fiber. This will ensure your smoothie has a delicious texture as well as balanced nutrition.
Consider some fun and nutritious extras:
Matcha Tea: I love adding matcha tea to my smoothies. Matcha tea has a ton of amazing health benefits, but I love that it gives me an extra boost in the morning without the jittery feeling that coffee can give you. In fact matcha tea provides a calming effect to the mind and body while also providing clarity and focus. In addition to that matcha tea is packed with antioxidants, helps boost metabolism, has detoxifying qualities, and can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Bee Pollen: I started putting bee pollen in my smoothies and yogurt a few years ago after reading about some of the incredible health benefits. Bee pollen is packed with nutrients and contains ALL of the essential amino acids needed to help to build and repair muscle, and is the richest source of vitamins in a single food. Keep in mind that bee pollen comes from flowers, so if you suffer from allergies you may want to check with your doctor first and start with a low dose in case you have an allergic reaction.
Raw Cacao Nibs and/or Powder: Cocao nibs are pieces of crushed cacao beans that have a bitter, chocolatey flavor. I don't recommend eating them on their own, but they make a great addition to smoothies and other recipes. Cacao nibs are the least processed of cacao products on the market and have a lot less sugar than other chocolate products. They are a great source of protein, fiber and fats, all nutrients that provide you with a feeling of being full. They're rich in several minerals including iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and magnesium, as well as flavonoid antioxidants. In fact, cacao nibs contain the highest concentration by weight of flavonoid antioxidants than any other food! Antioxidants are important for protecting cells against damage by free radicals, something emitted by sunlight, x-rays, cigarette smoke, air pollutants and industrial chemicals.
Cayenne Pepper: Capsaicin is the active ingredient of cayenne pepper, and this is what provides it with its medicinal properties. Many consider cayenne pepper to be the "king of medicinal herbs". It's been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat a number of ailments. Cayenne has been found to help boost metabolism, reduce hunger, and help with overall digestive health. It is also thought to help reduce the risk of cancer, and lower blood pressure among other benefits.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidant. The active compound is called Curcumin, and research indicates that it can help boost brain function, improving memory, and reducing symptoms of depression. It can also lower the risk of heart disease, help reduce symptoms associated with arthritis, and may even help reduce your risk for Alzheimer's disease and cancer! Note: if using turmeric, be sure to add a dash of black pepper. It's necessary for the absorption of curcumin.
Ginger: I love to add ginger to my smoothies. It adds a nice kick...if you like the taste of ginger :-) Ginger has some interesting health benefits. It can help support your immune system, reduce indigestion or nausea and improve digestion overall. Ginger is another anti-inflammatory food that can help reduce pain and symptoms of arthritis.
Combine all ingredients and blend. Add more almond milk to adjust the consistency to your liking.
Are you looking for even more amazing smoothie recipes? We've got you covered! Download our Smoothie Recipe Guide!
Smoothies are a ton of fun because you can experiment with different flavors and ideas. I'd love to hear about your favorite recipes. Email me at email@example.com with your favorite recipes or favor combinations.
Are you sleeping well at night? If you aren't, you are not alone! Did you know that 30-40% of people struggle to get a quality night sleep on a regular basis?
There are many factors that can lead to sleepless nights including stress, work demands, and big life events like a wedding, buying a house, or having a baby. Sometimes underlying health issues can also impact one's ability to get a good night sleep.
Sleep is critically important to our health, so identifying ways that you can improve your sleep is worth while.
Not getting enough sleep can effect your mood and weight. It can also have a powerful impact on your hormone levels and blood pressure, and can even impact the way that your body feels and moves.
The need for sleep varies from person to person, but studies show that people who regularly sleep more than 7 hours per night are generally healthier. On the flip slide, people who get less than 7 hours of sleep tend to experience health problems including an impaired immune system, and an increased risk of heart disease, depression, obesity, and even certain types of cancer. Researchers are still investigating the links between sleep and disease, but if you're anything like me I'd rather work on improving the quality of my shut eye than risk disease.
My ability to get a good night sleep ebbs and flows depending upon all kinds of things that might be going on in my life. For me I find that creating a nighttime ritual that helps me wind down will help me fall asleep and stay asleep.
I like to listen to some music, which also helps to reduce evening screen time. I'll curl up with a nice, warm, soothing beverage, (read on for one of my favorite night time beverages) a book and the dog and start to get into the mindset of getting a good night sleep. For me this works, but it's important that you find what works best for you.
There are a few factors that can have a big influence on how well you're sleeping including the position you're sleeping in, use of drugs or alcohol, timing of meals & water before bed, level of activity during the day, your nighttime screen time, the temperature and darkness of your bedroom, and more.
Getting a good night's sleep can help you wake up feeling rested and energized with less aches and pains, improve your immune system, decrease your risks of disease, improve your complexion, decrease cravings by controlling hunger hormones, improve your memory, and make you happier! Who doesn't want that?
The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to help improve the odds of getting a great night of sleep EVERY night, and that's why we created this "Supercharge your Sleep" resource guide.
The guide contains simple lifestyle changes you can make to get more sleep – and improve the quality of the sleep you do get.
Get your copy of this incredible resource by clicking below.
Take some time to experiment with different approaches to find what works best for you. Give this delicious recipe a try too. I hope you LOVE it as much as I do!
I hope you enjoy these resources and find them helpful in improving your quality of sleep! Feel free to share this information with anyone you know who could benefit from a better night's sleep. We always appreciate it when you share our resources and posts with the people who you care about.
During both of these days out I couldn't help but be blown away by how my training has benefited my riding. Keep in mind that I opened Wilcox Wellness & Fitness because I wanted to make an impact in my community. I had known Mike & Paige Wilcox for many years and was impressed by what they had created in Bangor, and I wanted to share it with my community in Brunswick. I've never been a gym goer. My past experiences at a gym included a clip board and a monotonous routine that I quickly became bored with. My lack of regular strength & conditioning training started to become more evident as I "got older". I noticed that I would injure myself more easily, which landed me in physical therapy on a couple of occasions, but even more so my overall strength & mobility was suffering.
During my day in New Hampshire I noticed how much stronger I felt as I literally shredded the mountain. We only had 2 hours so we wanted to maximize our time and we rallied to get in as many runs as we could. As I carved the edges of my board into the soft snow I noticed how my ab engagement would support the most gracious carves through the snow. I was able to lean into my turns with power and control. When on my heal side edge I could sit into a squat position without the quad burn of years past and power into my turns in the opposite direction. I felt AMAZING! I had never felt so strong in all of the years that I've been snowboarding.
Within two runs I had it figured out. When navigating through tracked powder each turn can be unpredictable. The snow gets piled up into soft moguls by the skiers and riders who had been down the hill in front of me. In the past these kind of conditions would have felt intimidating. I would have to work hard to maintain control, moving my board nearly 180 degrees from side to side to maintain a checked speed. I would use my legs to power my board from side to side.
But this time was entirely different!
I realized that my thoracic mobility was markedly improved.
I could comfortably look up hill behind me, yet the clothes I wore were exactly the same.
The strength through my core and obliques were working for me.
I was able to use this strength to almost effortlessly move the board from side to side.
This gave me the confidence to go much faster, knowing that I could easily correct my trajectory if the line I had picked was different than I had imagined and I would need to change course without warning. My legs also feel stronger, so as I surfed over the unpredictable moguls choosing to carve in between some, bank off of others, and ride up and over...maybe even catching a little air.
I love the feeling of recognizing the benefits of my commitment to my training sessions.
Remember, before making this big decision to open my location of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness I didn't visit a gym regularly. Although I have spent a great deal of time in preparing for the opening of this business studying and learning about nutrition, exercise science, and the skills of being a great coach I wasn't super fit. I'm on this journey right along side the people within the WILCOX community who have also made themselves a priority and take the time each week to invest in their health & fitness.
When I feel the impact of my training I get so excited. Not only because I'm able to live my very best life because of the time I take to be healthy, but because it provides me with so much perspective around what each client is experiencing.
Everyone is on their own journey, finding their own path to their commitment to wellness, and learning and growing at their own pace....but I know that with each day that they spend in the gym, each opportunity they take to step outside of their comfort zone and try a new movement, each time they commit to the movement, they are contributing to some greatness outside of the gym. I love hearing the stories that clients share with me about where they feel the benefits of their training program. Whether it be doing household chores, playing with their kids, or embarking on a new adventure of some kind or another the benefits of their commitment to their health & fitness is seen.
I love what I do. I love impacting people's lives in a positive way. I love that I have the opportunity to share this experience and provide people with the tools that will allow them to feel absolutely amazing in what ever it is that they love doing.
Are YOU Looking to Elevate the FUN in YOUR Life?
I would love to talk with you to learn more about what you're looking to get out of a health & fitness program, and to share more with you about how we work with our clients.
Click below to schedule a brief phone call to talk about how we can help you live your very best life!
These kind of successes that our clients experience is exactly why we do what we do as trainers. To impact people’s lives in ways that allow them to live their very best life. We couldn’t be more proud of what Ellen has accomplished over these past 10 months!
Great work Ellen! Please join me in giving Ellen a HUGE HIGH FIVE!
Better Posture = A Healthier Body!
Having a strong body starts with a strong core, and our core and posture have a co-dependent relationship. Restore your core and become stronger from the inside out!
Because posture is so critically important to living your best possible life we created this guide, which will show you how to improve your posture, protect your back and neck, and gain core strength in and outside your training sessions.
Download your free copy of our Restore Your Core resource guide and start improving your posture and core strength TODAY!
I know that with every person I meet and strive to impact in a positive way that they are most definitely making a positive impact in my life. Through the stories that they share, the wisdom that they pass on, and the contribution that they make to everything that we stand for as a business - making the world a better place by helping people live their very best lives. For that, I cannot thank you enough.
We would love to welcome YOU into our community!
Our next KickStart Program starts on Saturday, February 8th!
We promise that we will meet you where you are and support you every step of the way.
Come join us. We are excited to meet you!
A few years ago I had a flu shot that caused a lot of pain in my shoulder. When the pain didn't go away after a few weeks my doctor referred me to a physical therapist.
I learned that the whole issue stemmed from poor posture!
And wouldn't you know that as soon as I corrected my posture through my chest, shoulders and upper back I started to notice issues in hips and as that got corrected the issues traveled down to my feet.
My time in PT was a process of correcting my posture.
This investment in my posture over several months provided an opportunity to learn more about my body. I began to take more notice of how I moved and how I felt as I moved in different ways.
From that point forward I became much more aware of how I walk.
I notice that when I pay attention to how I walk my body feels better.
During my time in PT I learned that when I walked I wasn't engaging my feet with the road with each step. Because of that I wasn't fully engaging my quadricep and glute muscles (thighs and butt) as I walked, and as a result I wasn't properly absorbing the impact of each step, and this was causing me to have lower back and hip pain after a long walk.
So, now when I walk I pay attention to all of this. I engage my feet with the road, I flex my quads and glutes as I propel myself forward, I engage my abdominal muscles, which in turn gives me strength through my trunk and supports my posture through my shoulders. I pull my shoulder blades back and make sure my shoulders aren't kissing my ears as is often the case in this cold weather, and I hold my head high.
When I am mindful about how I walk my body feels so much better. I end my walk feeling refreshed and strong rather than sore and tired.
I've noticed something as I've become more aware of my walking stride, and I'm going to tell you what it is!
I noticed that I'm strutting as I walk!
I'm walking with confidence, with strength, with purpose.
It seems that as we get older it becomes taboo to strut as we walk. Why is this the case? Strutting is actually good for you!
It's interesting to consider the definition of strut vs. walk.
To walk is to move on the feet by alternately setting each foot forward, with at least one foot on the ground at all times. Simple enough, right?
Now, think about what a strut is. A strut is a brace or support that will hold something in place or to strengthen it. To walk with a strut is to move while in a position of strength and support, with a proud step, and with the head erect.
When you strut while walking you are literally holding yourself with a strengthened, upright support. You are in control of your posture and you are walking with purpose and strength.
My challenge to you as we enter the new year is to pay attention to how you walk and to walk with purpose.
We know that our behavior affects how we feel.
When we walk with strength we feel strong.
When we walk with purpose we feel purposeful.
When we walk with our posture in mind we will be more aware of our posture in our other activities.
To your health...and to good posture in 2020!
Our posture impacts so much in our lives. It's worth it to invest some time in good posture. I have a free gift for you to help you gain proper posture.
Our Restore Your Core guide will help you become stronger from the inside out.
This guide will show you how to improve your posture, protect your back and neck, and gain core strength in and outside your training sessions. To download your free copy click below.
Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.