I left my job, and all of the security that it provided, because I wanted to do something that truly inspired me, and where I felt that I was able to truly make a difference here in my local community.
Coincidentally, and perhaps ironically, I actually left my job on November 16th, 2018. Somehow I had today's day, November 22nd, in my head. I didn't realize until today that Burpees for Turkeys was actually the celebration of my one year anniversary! It was totally a coincidence....but one that I find
meaning in and will cherish.
This past year has been absolutely amazing!
The stories that are shared with me about how the experience at WILCOX has changed one's life is truly inspiring! The stories from our clients and expression of gratitude for what we do at WILCOX means the world to me. It keeps me moving forward even when the days are long and nights seem too short
I'll be honest, there have been some tough times over the past year. I have had some sleepless nights and fought through some anxiety from time to time, but when I step back and really think about what it's all about and why I made the choice to embark on this journey I realize the importance of my work and the gifts that it provides to me each and every day.
It's the challenges that we encounter that provide us with the opportunities to learn and grow as a person. I don't always learn the lesson in the moment, that's for sure! The struggle that I'm working through can feel all consuming in the moment, but I try to take the time to reflect on a regular basis and consider the purpose behind the what is happening and what can be gleaned.
This past year has been a lesson in balance. In creation of new routines and rituals and trying to find what works. Lessons in ways to unplug a little bit and give myself time to recharge. It can be a hard lesson to learn.
When the to-do list seems endless, the days seem too short, and the sleepless nights felt too long it is easy to slip into bad habits. It's easy to put off the time to exercise. It's easy to resort to convenient, less nourishing meals. It's easy to slip into the comfort of the sofa for an entire weekend and do absolutely nothing. When I would allow these tendencies to occur I would always feel at my worst. When I built in time to exercise, when I planned easy, go-to meals that I knew my husband would happily prepare and have ready for me at the end of a long day, when I planned for some fun over the weekend that ensured that I got up off my duff and took time to actively recharge, I would always feel my best and be most prepared to handle whatever the coming week had in store for me.
Many of our clients are super busy. They have demands pulling them in all directions. Jobs are demanding, family obligations are sometimes inconsistent and require a great deal of flexibility, many have responsibilities for not only their kids but also their aging parents. Weeks are unpredictable, routines are easily broken, and it can feel like it's impossible to find time to take care of one's self.
I have learned so much from the stories and life experiences that my clients share with me.
I take these lessons and stories to put my own challenges into perspective and work to learn and grow so that I'm better able to relate to the struggles that my clients face.
I try to use my commitment to my clients as fuel and motivation to find strategies that work well for me. Strategies that help me stay the course even during the toughest of weeks. I hope that I'm able to use my personal experiences and how I work through them to guide my clients and help them find the strategies that allow them to give their minds and bodies the love that they deserve.
When we take care of ourselves, when we build in that time to exercise and nourish to our bodies we are better able to meet the crazy demands of our lives. And when we are better able to meet the demands that we face we are more equipped to learn from those experiences and make the most of even the most challenging of times.
I'm grateful for what I have learned this year. I hope that I've been able to help others make the most out of their personal challenges, and find a path towards their own self care that works best for them. Giving back through this process of self discovery can be very humbling and a lesson learned in itself.
This past year has been exactly what I set out to do. To contribute to my community, to do good and to make an impact.
I am eternally grateful for the people who make up the WILCOX Community. I cherish each and every story that is shared with me. I deeply value all of the trust that people put in me, and am so appreciative for the support extended my way.
I am delighted to be celebrating this one year mile stone of leaving my old life behind and starting this new journey with no other than the people who have allowed me to make it happen....the members of this amazing community at Wilcox Wellness & Fitness.
Thank You to each and every one of you.
One in Five Children in Maine live with food insecurity, meaning that they lack the necessary nutrition to live a healthy life style.
This is such a devastating statistic and I'm proud of the impact that we as a community were able to make through this event.
Food insecurity is a serious issue even here in our local community of Greater Brunswick. The signs of hunger can easily go unnoticed, and we often don't realize who is impacted. Hunger impacts people of all kinds. A financial crisis brought on by a medical issue, lost job, or divorce can result in food insecurity even for families that you would least expect.
The evidence of hunger is most obvious to those who work directly to provide food within the local community, or people who work in roles such as teachers, coaches, and counselors. When you talk with people in these kinds of roles in our local community you will realize that hunger is real.
I'm impressed by the work of the Good Shepherd Food Bank and their efforts to fight against hunger across Maine. Their goal to end hunger in Maine by 2025 is an impressive one. Good Shepherd vision is to make food available to anyone who needs it through a variety of programs that they provide.
I'm proud of the impact that we were able to make this past weekend, and am honored to support Good Shepherd Food Bank in the work that they do.
Members of the WILCOX community came together to help raise money for the cause. For every $5 raised participants pledged to do one burpee. As a community here in Brunswick we did 629 burpees and had a ton of fun!
What is incredible is that of the $3,145 raised, $1,720 came in the form of cash donations to the trainer team by members of the WILCOX community! The remaining total came from participants who did additional fund raising.
I was so impressed by how everyone came together to support the fund raising effort. The moral support provided by clients leading up to the event was overwhelming. Several clients joined us on Saturday to cheer us on and make last minute donations to support Good Shepherd Food Bank.
Good Shepherd Food Bank is able to leverage the money that we raised to do the most good. For every burpee that we did on Saturday the Good Shepherd Food Bank is able to feed a hungry child in Maine for an entire week! For every dollar raised they are able to put FOUR meals on the tables of Maine families in need.
The WILCOX community came together on Saturday for a great cause and as a result helped Good Shepherd Food Bank put 12,580 meals on the tables of Mainers!
Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed to the success of this year's event! A special thank you goes out to business owners across Bath & Brunswick who made donations to the prize pack that was awarded to our top fund raiser.
Thank you to Morning Glory Natural Foods, Fleet Feet Brunswick, Calm Moments Spa, Casco Bay Kayak, Gulf of Maine Books, Hatch on Maine, Wild Oats Bakery, Kerry Watterson / Emerald Esthetics, Little Dog Coffee, R.E.D.D Bar, and Cool as a Moose.
We are super excited to celebrate Kelly Wentworth with this month's High Five Award!
Kelly joined us back in February for our very first KickStart program. She has been incredibly dedicated right from the start and her enthusiasm takes her to the finish line with each training session.
Making the initial commitment to one’s self can be the hardest part. It’s not unusual for people to contemplate starting a training program for several months before making that first big step.
It has been so much fun to be part of Kelly’s journey and seeing her incredible progress.
We absolutely love having Kelly as part of our community and congratulate her on this High Five Award!
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When Emily joined our KickStart program in April she was looking to build strength in order to support improvement with a herniated disk and SI joint disorder. Her fear was need for back surgery and had a neurosurgery consultation in her future.
Emily knew that exercise was needed to support her back recovery, but as a busy nurse scheduling was going to be tough. With our numerous training sessions to choose from she was hopeful that she could find a schedule that would work for her, and she did! And boy are we happy! We just love having Emily in our community!
Stories like Emily’s is what it’s all about for us at Wilcox Wellness & Fitness. Improving quality of life so that people can live their absolute best life to its very fullest is so important to us, and when we hear a story like this one we want to celebrate! Congratulations Emily! We just love having you in our community and we’re so happy to hear of the amazing impact your training is having on your health and quality of life!
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Earlier this winter I had the opportunity to connect with Matt Dexter, Founder and Executive Director of the Christine B Foundation, and learn more about the upcoming Eastern Trek for Cancer. I am proud that Wilcox Wellness & Fitness is a sponsor of the 2019 team in their 7-day, 300 mile trek from Portland, ME to New York, NY.
Since 2015 this event has raised more than $110,000 to help CBF build a community of support for those affected by cancer in Eastern Maine, with 100% of the funds raised going directly to support the CBF mission. Participants pledge to raise at least $2,500, and will make stops along to trek to connect personally with cancer patients and their families.
I was completely blown away by the level of commitment of those participating and wanted to learn more about what inspired them to get involved at such a large scale. Matt offered to introduce me to Kate, a Bowdoin student from Southwestern, Connecticut.
Kate is participating as a runner in the trek as well as Mission Coordinator. In addition to this SEVEN DAY event from Portland to NYC, Kate is also intimately involved in the planning and coordination that occurs before the trek itself. As mission coordinator Kate manages and confirms service events such as those at the Ronald McDonald Home of Springfield and the St. Francis Hospital Cancer Center, both of which she will visit during the trek, as well as reviewing and ranking the scholarship submissions for the 2019 Christine B Dexter Scholarship, another component of this amazing foundation and fund raiser.
When I asked Kate how she got involved she shared how she learned about the event on campus. Her mother had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma over the summer, and she saw the trek as a way for her to counteract cancer's devastating power. Seeing a loved one suffer from cancer fueled her desire to get involved in this way. While she finds the biological aspects of cancer to be out of her control she hopes that by raising money, volunteering, and connecting with people along the trek she'll have the ability to lighten the load, if even by a small amount, for people like her Mom.
To help the 2019 CBF Team in their 7-day, 300 mile trek we will be collecting supplies here at the gym.
One of the many aspects that attracted me to opening a Wilcox Wellness & Fitness is the commitment to give back to the community. Not only do I feel that this is an important responsibility as a local business owner, but I am also aware of the incredible health benefits that are associated with acts of giving. We focus a lot on how nutrition and exercise make us feel, and I find it so interesting to learn more about how other factors impact our overall feelings of wellbeing. It's amazing to me how these factors can have such a positive impact on our overall health and quality of life.
Studies indicate that the act of giving boosts one's health, happiness and wellbeing through the release of neurotransmitters in our brain. Interestingly, these neurotransmitters are connected with motivation, memory, learning, sleep, digestion and appetite.
Through acts of giving we can literally feel better, and this can ultimately influence our behavior and how we engage with those around us in such a positive way. As a result, one act of giving can create a ripple effect throughout our lives and the quality of the life that we live.
Acts of giving don't have to be enormous and huge consumers of time. Even the simplest acts of giving can make an incredible impact, and can influence those around you in a very real way.
Many times it's the cumulative effect of many people coming together, making smaller contributions through donations of money, goods or service. Even in situations where one person may be making a much bigger commitment to a cause, they rely upon these smaller, incremental acts of giving from others in order to bring together a larger impact for the cause.
These kinds of incremental contributions have helped to support Kate in her fund raising efforts.
When I asked Kate what was most daunting in her preparation for the trek she noted the fund raising requirement. Kate spread the word about her initiative on social media, sent hand-written letters to friends and family, and distributed donation containers at local businesses in her home town, and to date has raised over $4900 through the generous support of her donors.
The outpouring of support was overwhelming for Kate. Through this experience Kate has become acutely aware of the support and kindness of everyone from those closest to her to complete strangers. Through this experience Kate has learned that "no act of kindness is without worth".
The response that Kate experienced, and the ripple effect that can be felt across a community through the act of giving can be quite profound.
Furthermore, altruism is contagious. The act of giving doesn't start and stop with the act itself, but actually propels others to get on board and continue the ripple.
So, let's continue the ripple that Kate, Matt and the rest of the Christine B Foundation team has started in our community and beyond. Their commitment is absolutely inspiring, and I can tell you that I'm already feeling the contagiousness of their drive and passion. I hope you do too.
Please consider a small donation to help "Fuel the Trekkers" in their incredible journey from Portland to New York! Drop your donation in the box at the gym from June 10th -20th.
It's hard to believe that we've been in business here in Brunswick for 17 weeks, and during that time we have really enjoyed welcoming new people into our community, supporting them in their fitness journey, and celebrating their accomplishments with them. In the spirit of celebrating our incredible community and the many achievements that we hear about the Brunswick team would like to recognize one client each month with a "High Five Award".
Our first high five award goes to Marty Neely! Marty joined WILCOX Brunswick during our very first week launch, then participated in the first ever Brunswick KickStart Program, and has since continued on as a client with us. We are just delighted to be working with Marty and enjoy seeing him every time he's here.
Marty always arrives for every training session with a big smile on his face and ready to foam roll with Paul or Tennyson. He always makes his training sessions even when his muscles are sore knowing that the activity will be well rewarded. His positive attitude is absolutely contagious and inspirational to anyone who talks with him.
Thank you Marty! Keep up the great work and inspiring all of us at WILCOX! We love having you in our community!
Learn more about our KickStart Program!
KickStart is a 4-week program that is designed to help you implement healthy habits that are sustainable for a lifetime, and to help you build momentum in getting active.
Would you or someone you know benefit from our KickStart program? Click below to learn more, and to schedule a call to talk through any questions that you have and determine if KickStart is right for you.
Over the course of the past couple of weeks I have had a few different people ask me for my thoughts on Monk Fruit Sugar. At Wilcox Wellness & Fitness we promote a whole foods based diet. That means eating foods that are as close to mother nature as possible, and are minimally processed. When ever I hear about new sugar alternatives on the market the first thing I wonder about is the extent to which that product was processed, taking it away from it's original form the way that mother nature intended.
Another sugar alternative that I have been asked about is Stevia. This is a great example of a natural product being processed into the product that you buy in the store. There are natural forms that are made into tinctures from the leaves, but many forms are highly processed and go through dozens of steps before making it into the bottle that you buy in the store.
Monk fruit sugar isn't as processed as Stevia, but it is a few steps away from its fully natural form. Monk fruit produces an antioxidant called mogrosides that is responsible for its sweetness. Monk fruit sugar is 150 - 250 times sweeter than sugar, and due to this highly intense sweetness the final product is mixed with other ingredients to level out the sweetness to something more palatable. Monk fruit sugar contains the sugar alcohol erythritol, which helps to balance out the sweetness as well as dextrose in some versions.
Erythritol is one sugar alcohol among many. Another sugar alcohol you may be familiar with is xylitol. Unlike xylitol, erythritol is absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted through the urine, so this helps to reduce the gastrointestinal effects commonly associated with sugar alcohols. Other sugar alcohols travel to the intestines and colon where they ferment and can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea. Some sources report gastrointestinal issues even with erythritol, so it is possible that monk fruit sugar can cause problems for some.
Monk fruit sugar is a new comer to the sugar alternative scene, so there is limited research on the long term effects. Some known issues to be aware of include:
Furthermore, there is something to be said for providing our bodies with intensely sweet flavors all of the time.
Frances Largemen-Roth, registered dietician, editor for Health Magazine, and author of "Eating in Color" warns that Americans are so used to food tasting incredibly sweet, and cautions against overuse of artificial and naturally derived, but calorie-free sweeteners, that can taste hundreds of times sweeter than sugar.
It is also thought that providing our bodies with a sweet flavor that doesn't spike blood sugar can actually confuse our bodies. Spiking our blood sugar is not a good thing to do, but when our bodies are expecting that spike but doesn't get it there can be consequences to how our bodies recognize the food in general. This is a concept that is being further studied.
Any sugar should be used in moderation, but we recommend using a whole food sugar when a little touch of sweetness is wanted. Honey and Maple Syrup are great whole food options. Both of these are not processed and contain some nutritional value, although not significant. Another whole food sugar that is a good option when a more traditional sugar flavor is wanted is Sucanant. Sucanant (Sucrose natural) is evaporated cane sugar, and retains the nutritional benefits of cane juice. Again, all sugars should be used sparingly, but looking to the most natural source is going to be best unless you have health issues that require you to avoid sugar.
Over the past few weeks something really special has been happening here at the gym....It's the growing sense of community.
I'm losing count of the number of times that someone suddenly jumps up to greet a friend, realizing for the first time that they're also training here at WILCOX. Just the other day I was sitting with a soon to be new member of our community when she jumped out of her chair to greet an old friend who she hadn't seen in a while. And then this morning as another new member walked through the door she was greeted by an old friend. A couple of weeks ago as our KickStart program was nearing kickoff and I was meeting with new participants for their success sessions, two friends, unaware that they would both be participating in the program, greeted each other in the entry way.
Another member of our community recently got an amazing opportunity that she couldn't pass up for a super cool job over the summer. This opportunity will take her 15 or so miles off shore to Hurricane Island, which means that she'll be taking a short hiatus from her training with us. As she left the gym after her 2nd to last training session before departure phone numbers were being exchanged and hugs were being shared. Although we will miss her SO much over this summer, I am equally excited for her opportunity and to share in the amazing energy of everyone celebrating exciting adventures and new friendships.
When I decided to embark on this journey of opening my own business a lot was rooted in this "feeling". A feeling of making a difference, of bringing people together in a place that embodies positivity. A feeling of building a culture that supports individual growth and opportunity for everyone involved. I envisioned a place that would have a positive vibe when you walk in, a place that reenergizes you even when you're feeling tired after a long and hectic day, and a place where friends would run in to each other and new friends would be made.
Experiencing this very "feeling" coming to fruition is the greatest gift I could ever ask for. I am honored to have the opportunity to know each person who is a part of our growing community, and look forward to welcoming new friends as we continue to grow.
We would LOVE for you to join our Community!
To learn more about our programs and how we work with our clients schedule a brief phone call with me. I would love to learn more about you and your goals, and talk about how we can support you in your personal health & fitness journey!
During a recent bout of warm, springtime weather, I got out for a long overdue walk with my dog, Moe. The cold winter days disrupted my routine of walking on a regular basis and it was time to get back to it!
I have always found walking to be my place of solitude. It gives me the space to think....sort through problems, put certain matters into perspective, and simply appreciate the beautiful world around me.
During this most recent walk it occurred to me that, despite my efforts, I struggle to sit quietly to reflect on life....or plan....or solve problems. I'm one of those people who need to be in motion when thinking deeply about something. I tend to get distracted by unfinished tasks, or projects that are calling my name. When I'm walking all I can do is think. Anything else will simply have to wait, and that's okay. I suppose I hadn't completely recognized my struggle to sit still and think, but something about this walk brought it into focus for me.
For me it's all about making that time to take in the view. To ponder and create new ideas. To nurture my soul. What do you do to nurture your soul? Do you have a favorite place where you go to slow things down and take that special time that's just for you? I'd love to hear about it! Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Positive self-talk is one of the most powerful tools in the world, and we're constantly ‘talking’ in our subconscious mind. The words that we use can either be positive and build us up or negative and tear us down.
It is critical to understand the words that we are using and work to reframe those words and thoughts into a more positive story. Because… what we focus on expands; we become the product of our thoughts; and life is too short for any story that is short of positive.
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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!
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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.