One in five children in Maine live with food insecurity. What's worse is that 1 in 3 children in more rural parts of Maine live with food insecurity. That means that they lack the necessary nutrition to grow up strong and healthy, When I first heard this statistic I was shocked and wanted to do something about it!
The thing about food insecurity is that it is largely invisible unless you're on the front lines at the food pantries. People of all walks of life face food insecurity. A family illness, temporary job loss, or a divorce can be the event that tips the scale and causes a family to suddenly find themselves in a situation where the cost of healthy and nutrition food becomes a major challenge. During this pandemic the need for food support has increased dramatically. According to representatives from Good Shepherd Food Bank, food pantries are reporting a shift in the population who are relying upon them for food support. Many of those who have historically relied upon local food pantries have been able to lean upon new programs that have been made available through various pandemic support programs, but that hasn't reduced the numbers of people needing what these food pantries provide. I've heard first hand form families who have had to make tough decisions. Parents have needed to leave their jobs due to the new responsibilities associated with caring for children who are out of day care and to support their children through the new remote learning approach that has been necessary during this pandemic. Many people have lost their jobs, have been furloughed, or have found a major reduction in their hours each week. There are so many new challenges that this pandemic has created that has dramatically increased the need for food pantries in our communities.
All proceeds from Burpees for Turkeys goes directly to Good Shepherd Food Bank where they are able to leverage their resources to make the most of every dollar.
I started participating in Burpees for Turkeys when this event first began at the Bangor location in 2015. At that time I hadn't opened my location in Brunswick, but this focus on the local community, and having the opportunity to give back as a business is one of the reasons that I decided to work with Mike & Paige Wilcox through their franchise program to open the Brunswick location. I am proud to be an active member of the business community, working to make a difference in the communities where we live through events like Burpees for Turkeys.
Although we were virtual for this event we could feel the love of everyone present. I am so grateful for the incredible community here at WILCOX Brunswick as well as friends and family, and local businesses who helped us achieve these results.
I want to extend a special thank our local business "round sponsors" for their support in helping us with these amazing results!
For every $5 donated the trainer team pledged to do one burpee. This year we completed over 2800 burpees as a collective team! That's a lot of burpees but we did each and every one of them with a smile, knowing that our efforts will make such a significant impact.
I look forward to next year when we can invite our clients to join us in the fun. We're already geared up to exceed our 2020 fund raising totals and prepared to do as many burpees as necessary until we are able to aid the Good Shepherd Food Bank in ENDING food insecurity in our state once and for all!
Do you want to hear something crazy?! I was reminded the other day about our tendency as human beings to have A LOT of negative thoughts about ourselves each day. Did you know that a person thinks 60,000 thoughts per day and 75% of those are negative!?! That means that we have 45,000 negative thoughts each day.
I first realized that I wasn't the only person who would engage in negative self talk a few years ago when someone recommended the book "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. I now know that I'm not alone in thinking that everyone else had it all together and that I somehow was the only person on earth fearful of all kinds of things I thought might be wrong with me, or of all of the reasons that people may not like me, or how I presented myself in a conversation with someone who I respected...the list goes on.
I also know all too well that when we allow ourselves to listen to these negative thoughts that we have we can easily start to begin thinking that they're true, and that's just not the case!
It's no wonder so many people are so unhappy, and why we have a tendency to get so stressed out. When I realized that so many other people were experiencing the same self doubt that I had it made me feel so sad, because I know that we are all so much more than what we sometimes think of ourselves.
I just started reading an incredible book by Gabriele Bernstein called "Super Attractor". In this book the author takes this problem a step further and suggests that when we align ourselves with these negative thoughts that we are actually inviting "the universe" to create more resistance and difficulty in our lives. When we align ourselves with positive thoughts we invite the universe to bring more joy, and more intuitive creativity, problem solving and overall ease into our lives.
This may seem like a bit of hokum, to steal a word from the infamous Sheldon Cooper, but I have experienced this phenomenon in my own life. I've noticed in over decades, and in all different periods of my life. I can't believe it's just a coincidence.
Have you ever noticed how when you're operating in a low frequency of negativity that things are just harder, and when you're vibrating at a higher frequency things come easier, life feels more fulfilling, and success feels more attainable?
The concept around the power of attraction makes so much sense to me because I have experienced it first hand. As a new business owner I've found myself going down the rabbit hole of these feelings of self doubt. Starting a business is the hardest work I've ever done and I just don't have time to make things harder for me by listening to this nonsense that sometimes takes up residence inside my head, and neither do you!
What is incredible is that we have the ability to consciously redirect our thoughts to those that bring joy, inspiration, and soul fire enthusiasm to our lives, and through those thoughts increase our vibrational frequency and therefore attract more high frequency outcomes.
Gabriel Bernstein offers up a simple three step process to help redirect your vibrational energy. This advice can apply to so many areas where we struggle in our lives.
Step 1: Acknowledge the negative thoughts that you have.
Step 2: Be thankful for the experiences that have led you to these negative thoughts, because it is through those experiences that you are able to know what you want and don't want in life.
Step 3: Choose a different Path. Imagine your life absent of the fear, insecurity, and any other negative emotions that are tied to these thoughts. Imagine all of the pieces that would change your current situation into one of joy, freedom and love. This could mean making major life style changes, removing negative influences from your life, getting a different job, asking for help and support from those you trust, etc. Once you get a clear vision of the life you want start making steps towards living that life.
This may seem overly simple, but that's just it! Being happy doesn't have to be complicated. For some reason we feel like happiness requires hard work and sacrifice. But in reality we are creating hard work and sacrifice for all that we love through the negativity that we allow in our minds.
My challenge to you this week is to bring awareness to the negative thoughts that you have in your head. Call that voice out and tell it that you don't believe what you're being told. Choose a different path. A path of joy, happiness, freedom and love.
I hope that this provides you with some helpful insights that will give you the power to take control of the thoughts you have and how you feel about yourself. I know that you're awesome. The people around you know that you're awesome. And I want you to know, without a doubt, that you are awesome.
Lots of Love,
We are so excited to welcome you back to the gym!
The health and safety of you, our community, and our team is our #1 priority. We hope that the policies and procedures that we have put into place will help you feel really confident and comfortable re-joining us at the gym. If not... that is fine too. We will continue to offer our LIVEStream and OUTDOOR Training Sessions as an option to support you through this really crazy time. This webpage will give you all of the information you will need to understand the policy for attending in-person training sessions, either INDOORS or OUTDOORS.
We are adhering to Guidelines set for by the State of Maine and Maine CDC to provide the safest environment possible during COVID-19. We take these guidelines seriously and appreciate everyone's cooperation as we find our way through this challenging time. Please scroll down for more information about INDOOR and OUTDOOR policies.
Steps taken to decrease risk of COVID-19 while training inside of the gym:
Please SCROLL DOWN for specific information about attending INDOOR and OUTDOOR Training Sessions. A Q&A section is also at the bottom of this page. If you have additional questions that are not addressed on this page please contact me at email@example.com.
When attending INDOOR Training Sessions:
1) You will need to sign a COVID-19 waiver when you attend your first in-person training session. Subsequently, enrollment in a training session confirms your commitment to the terms of the waiver (waivers are located at the front desk counter).
2) Wear a mask when you arrive and up until you get into your training station.
3) Do not arrive more than 10 minutes before your training session!
4) Bring INDOOR SNEAKERS and change your shoes when you arrive.
5) Leave your belongings in one of the provided chairs when you arrive. DO NOT use the cubbies.
6) Use hand sanitizer when you arrive and before entering the gym.
7) Showers are available for use. Please follow instructions for cleaning after use, which are posted in the shower rooms. Please ask if you have any questions.
DURING YOUR TRAINING SESSION:
1) Please go directly to your training station when you arrive.
2) You will have a “Training Bubble” where you will stay for the entire duration of the training session.
3) These bubbles are spaced to ensure that you can ALWAYS maintain 14’ of distance from your training neighbors.
4) Hand sanitizer will be provided at your station. Use it frequently and avoid touching your face.
5) A foam roller and blue mat will be in your station. You are encouraged to take some time before the start of your training session to perform some foam rolling! Let’s get back into the HABIT of giving our bodies this extra love – it will surely enhance your training experience!
6) Please observe the white "X" in your station. Always use the "X" as your starting point for any exercise within your station.
7) Equipment will be dedicated to YOUR use. Please sanitize ALL equipment and the blue mat with the provided “pink” cleaner BEFORE and AFTER use. Please use the provided Lysol or Alcohol Spray to sanitize the TRX after use.
8) If you need lighter or heavier weights please ask the trainer and they will get it for you.
9) MASKS MUST BE WORN FOR THE DURATION OF YOUR TRAINING SESSION PER EXECUTIVE ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR. Masks may be removed for brief periods of time to recover and drink water. Please turn your back away from others and step as far away as possible when removing your mask. You may also step outdoors as needed to catch your breath.
10) Training sessions are being adapted for the need to wear masks when exercising in order to keep you as safe and comfortable as possible during your training session.
1) Please leave IMMEDIATELY following your training session. If you want to catch up with an old training buddy please move out to the parking lot.
2) If you would like to leave your sneakers in the white cubbies please sanitize them before storing them.
3) Please use the sanitizer to clean the chair where you left your belongings.
When Attending OUTDOOR Training Sessions:
OUTDOOR SESSIONS ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL SPRING
1) You will need to sign a COVID-19 waiver when you attend your first in-person training session. Subsequently, enrollment in a training session confirms your commitment to the terms of the waiver.
2) Please arrive 10 minutes early so that we can start right on time.
3) Please bring a MASK with you to your training session. You do NOT have to wear a mask while exercising, but we do ask that you wear a mask if unable to maintain social distancing while signing the waiver, picking out your equipment, etc.
4) There is a 3' x 4' rubber mat at each station. You may find it helpful to bring a towel for use under your feet or hands.
5) Equipment will be dedicated to YOUR use. Please sanitize ALL equipment with the provided “pink” cleaner BEFORE and AFTER use. At the end of your session please spray down the mat with the cleaner.
6) You may want to bring insect repellent - the bugs haven't been too bad, but the black flies and mosquitos are most active early in the morning and in the evening.
7) No special shoes required. You can wear your regular "outdoor sneakers".
Before arriving for your outdoor training session please ask yourself the following questions. These are the questions that you will answer on the waiver. If you cannot answer “NO” to every question, please consider LIVEStream Training for the time being.
1) Have you been in close contact with anyone who has or had COVID-19?
2) Do you have a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or any other COVID-19 like symptoms?
3) Have you had a fever or felt feverish in the last 72hrs?
4) Have you experienced loss of taste or smell recently?
5) Have you been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms in the last 14 days?
6) Are you living with anyone who has been sick or has been quarantined?
7) Have you traveled out of state hot spot and interacted with the general public in the past 14 days?
We've got ANSWERS to your QUESTIONS!
Q: Will a warm up and cool down be included in the training session?
A: Yes it will! Feel free to arrive 10 minutes early to perform your SMR - foam rolling. Then the trainer will take you through a dynamic warm up. A cool down will also be included at the end of the training session.
Q: Where can I put my mask when I take it off?
A: There is a cone in each station where you can set your mask.
Q: When can I remove my mask?
A: At the present time you must wear your mask while in your training session. This is per executive order 14 FY 20/21 which was issued on November 5th, 2020. You may remove your mask for brief periods of time during your training session in order to recover your breath or have a drink of water. Please distance yourself as far away from others as possible and turn your back to the group when lowering your mask and return it to your face as quickly as possible.
Q: Do I have to choose INDOOR, OUTDOOR or LIVEStream?
A: No - we want to keep this as flexible as possible for you. In our group training program, you may attend any of these sessions - just sign up as always via Pike13 with a 1-hour notice.
NOTE: OUTDOOR Sessions are suspended until spring.
Q: Do I need to buy new shoes to wear indoors?
A: No - we want you to use clean indoor shoes. The idea is that you aren't tracking germs from places like the grocery store into our facility, and as always prevent tracking dirt into the gym. You can clean an "old" pair of shoes and dedicate them to the gym going forward.
Q: What if I forget my indoor sneakers?
A: Please use the sanitizer provided at the front to clean the soles of your shoes before entering the gym.
Q: How do I know that the equipment I'm using is clean?
A: We ask that you clean the equipment that you are using during your training session BEFORE and AFTER use. This ensures that it is completely clean and you can be confident in the cleanliness since you did it yourself. The disinfectant provided in all stations is EPA approved as a disinfectant that will kill viruses.
Q: What if I need a heavier or lighter weight than what's provided in my station?
A: No problem! Just ask the trainer and they will get you a different weight. Although the new weight was previously cleaned we recommend cleaning the weight again before you start using it.
Q: Why is Alcohol used to clean the TRXs?
A: Lysol spray may also be used for spraying the TRX, however Lysol spray is currently hard to come by. The aerosol allows for a "less wet" sanitation method compared to using the "pink" cleaner. Alcohol is also an approved chemical for disinfecting and because it evaporates quickly it will prevent the TRX from getting sopping wet throughout the day.
Q: What does OUTDOOR "No Tent" mean on the schedule?
A: There are 5 spots under the tent that allow for 14' of distance between participants. The "No Tent" option provides 3 overflow spots that are not located under the tent.
PROTIP: If a tent session is full put yourself on the waitlist for the "tent session" AND enroll in the "No Tent" option. This will "put you in line" for a space under the tent should someone cancel. The trainer will remove you from the "No Tent" option if you are moved off of the waitlist.
Q: Can I use the showers?
A: Yes. Please follow the sanitization instructions that are posted inside of the shower rooms. Ask if you have any questions.
Q: What do I need to do in order to return to the gym if I travel out of state?
A: If you travel out of state please contact me to discuss the specifics of your travel. You may be required to receive a COVID-19 test or quarantine for 14 days before returning to the gym. You may choose to attend LIVEStream Training during this time.
Q: What if I have seasonal allergies that are causing me to have a cough or sore throat? Am I not allowed at the gym?
A: Please consult with your physician to determine if they believe that your symptoms warrant a COVID-19 test and to confirm that your symptoms are consistent with allergies. Please refrain from in-person training sessions while you seek additional guidance from your doctor.
Do you have other questions not addressed here?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll gladly address your questions.
I hope these protocols and policies makes you feel comfortable rejoining us in our physical location. I am pleased to be able to offer LIVEStream, OUTDOOR and INDOOR options so that you can choose the format that best fits your personal circumstances and preferences.
REST ASSURED! LIVEStream Training Sessions will continue to hold a strong position on the schedule. I will continue to assess demand for each of the formats at different times of day and will make occasional adjustments to the schedule in an effort to provide the best mix of options to meet everyone's needs.
I thank you again for respecting the guidelines that have been put in place to keep everyone safe. If you see anything that seems out of place please let me know. As we continue to learn more about this virus and the situation evolves as we go into the fall and winter seasons I will look for adjustments to address the changing needs. We are in this together and I appreciate your feedback.
Thank you for sticking with us during this crazy time, and if you're new to our community, thank you for putting your trust in us. I realize that exercising in a gym is something that requires certain considerations for each person, and I am committed to providing you with the safest possible environment and supporting you in remaining active during this time!
I'd throw in a couple of bags of cookies and a chocolate bar or two. After all, this should all last the month, and we are in a national health crisis so it seems reasonable to have a little extra guilty pleasures on hand to help us find our way through it, right?
This was all well and good for a month or so, but for me things have been relatively "back to normal" for a good month. The grocery store is a civilized place again and I don't feel as if I need to consolidate my shopping. I've regained my routine, and a sense of control of the situation. But I have NOT regained a sense of control when it comes to sugar.
For me when this happens I know that I just need to cut out the sugar for a week or two and regroup, and I'm always glad that I did.
I don't know about you, but mustard with sugar and mustard without sugar tastes the same to me and I prefer to not waste the sugar that I eat on something that doesn't even bring me some extra joy.
The thing about sugar is that it causes way more problems than a little weight gain. Sugar is a major contributor to inflammation. Inflammation is a major player in healing, but if it runs wild it can lead to big problems. With chronic inflammation , your body is on high alert all the time, and this prolonged state of emergency can cause lasting damage to your heart, brain and other organs. Sugar can also lead to painful joints, lack of energy, difficulty sleeping, mental health struggles such as depression and anxiety, increased risk for diabetes, and increased risk of certain cancers. It's easy to ignore these concerns until they become a big problem, so if a little vanity will help to encourage you to decrease the added sugars in your diet you may find it interesting to know that sugar is a major cause of acne and it interferes with collagen and elastin, which effects how firm your skin looks, and will increase the rate of aging!
Sugar fills up your body with empty calories and has no nutritional benefit whatsoever. These are such good reasons to give it the boot!
Another topic that often comes up when I'm talking about nutritional habits with new clients is a strong determination to reduce or even eliminate fat in the diet. We've been told for a long time that fat is bad, and we've gotten into a bad habit of paying closer attention to fat in our foods than we do sugar. And the thing is, we need healthy fat in our diets. Our brains are made up primarily of fat and it needs to have fat in the diet in order to function properly, sending signals across synapses. Furthermore, when inflammatory cells, which are exacerbated by sugar, hang around for too long in blood vessels, they promote the buildup of dangerous plaque. For so long we think about plaque in our arteries as a problem with fat in our foods but it's actually sugar.
And what's worse is that all of those low fat foods have a lot more added sugar than the full fat version because without it the food would taste terrible! The next time you're at the grocery store compare the amount of sugar in a full fat version of a food compared to the low fat version. I bet you'll be surprised!
Kicking sugar is HARD! It is literally an addiction and the first few days of eliminating added sugar can feel pretty brutal, but it's totally worth the effort! I came across a little tidbit of information my reading over the years about how sugar and gut health are related, and when I think about this it gives me a little extra incentive to kick the sugar habit. I'll share with you in hopes that you can use it to your advantage too!
When we eat sugar we are literally feeding sugar loving bacteria that exist in our gut. Although these bacteria are simple organisms they're smart enough to stay alive, and they do this by sending signals to our brains that tell us to eat more sugar. When we are not eating sugar those bacteria can get pretty upset. They are fighting for their lives, sending strong signals to our brains in order to preserve their life. When I'm feeling those cravings I just think about how I'm literally killing off those bacteria that are serving to be a very bad influence on my decision making. On the flip side, when we eat healthy nutritious foods we are feeding the bacteria that thrive on healthy, whole foods. Just as with the sugar loving bacteria they will send signals to our brain that tell us to eat more healthy, nutritious foods. Have you ever noticed how once you get into habit of eating better foods that you actually start to enjoy those foods more and start craving them? This is why! So just remember, when you are craving sugar it's because you're successfully killing off those bad bacteria, and when you start craving broccoli it's because you're doing an amazing job feeding those good, beneficial bacteria!
I hope that I have provided a little extra inspiration to take a look at the sugar that may be sneaking into your diet!
I wrote in this blog about how our gut health plays a big role in how we crave sugar, but it also plays a huge role in our overall health, affecting not just our digestion and sugar cravings, but also our mood, energy, aches and pains, and even our brain function.
Your gut is the host to an entire microbiome of bacteria – an estimated 100 trillion of them! Keeping those bacteria happy, healthy, and in balance is a big part of a wellness lifestyle. As you can imagine, what you eat plays a very important role.
If you're looking to learn more check out our Gut Health Guide. In this guide, we outline the basics of gut health. Plus, we've included lots of delicious recipes. I hope you LOVE IT!
We got married at the top of Ragged Mountain in Camden, Maine, home of the Camden Snow Bowl. We used the chairlift to bring our guests up to the top of the mountain, and a small group of about 12 friends and family members joined us for a mountain bike ride back to the bottom. It was an amazing day and one that our friends still talk about to this day.
I train because I want to be able to continue to live an active life style with my husband. I want to consider new adventures, new sports, and all that life has to offer without having to give it a second thought.
We dream of traveling to the Mediterranean where we can explore the Via Ferrata (translated as 'iron path", a climbing route that employs steel cables, rungs or ladders, fixed to the rock to assist in the climb and prevent falling) through the European mountain ranges at high heights with views that are awe inspiring. We dream of kayaking in Croatia, white water rafting in Costa Rica, and Snowboarding in Chile.
This is why I train. Why do you train?
Have questions? Want to talk through some of your worries about getting into a training program?
Let's Chat! I'd love to talk more about the support that you're looking for and how we can help!
Click below to schedule a brief call to get the conversation started. I can't wait to meet you!
Did you know that 45% of the actions that we do each day are out of habit? That's pretty amazing isn't it! And it's great news because that means that we can easily build upon those existing habits in order to implement new, healthy habits into our life.
By blending new habits into our existing routines we can create massive impact in our lives! There's a lot of information out there about how long it can take to develop a new habit, and when you boil it all down it comes down to repetitions of that new habit, or just plain practice. So the simpler we can make a new habit the more likely we are to practice it and make it an automatic part of our day. From there you can build upon this new habit to make it even more impactful in your life, stacking other easy to execute habits on top of it.
So, let me give you an example of how focusing on one of these goals has made a massive impact in my life and has allowed me to achieve goals far bigger than one of these habits.
Next I wanted to start drinking our morning mojo (scroll down for the recipe!) which is a mixture of apple cider vinegar, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and fresh grated ginger with all kinds of great health benefits. This was now super easy to implement because I'd already made drinking a glass of water a habit, so adding the morning mojo to it was no big deal. Next I needed to continue to drink more water throughout the day, so I started filling my water bottle at the same time that I made my Morning Mojo and Coffee, and set a reminder on my phone to make sure that I drank that bottle by lunchtime and refilled it for the 2nd half of the day. Before I knew it I was drinking more water and feeling SO MUCH BETTER in all kinds of ways.
This simple addition to my existing coffee drinking routine led to being better hydrated, which in turn led to having more energy, my body and joints felt less achey and stronger, my workouts were more enjoyable and more effective, this led to even more energy, which led to more productivity, which led to feeling a greater sense of accomplishment, which led to feeling more confident in the work that I do. And all of that was created by stacking the addition of a glass of water to my morning routine of brewing coffee. Amazing right?!
Do you want to learn more about how you can use habits to help you live your happiest, healthiest life and to reach your goals? Download our latest guide, Powerful Habits for a Powerful Life .
You're going to love it! This guide will provide you with a SIMPLE five step approach to reaching any goal by implementing simple habits into your life.
I would LOVE to support you in reaching your goals, and supporting you in your journey to living your happiest, healthiest life. Let's chat! Click HERE to schedule a call with me to talk more about your goals and how our programs can help to support you in reaching these goals once and for all.
Questions? Shoot me an email! email@example.com.
To your health & to reaching all of your goals!
A regular conversation that I have with my clients is around the discomfort that occurs when learning something new. I will often hear people say "I've never had good balance" or "I'm just not very coordinated". There seems to be this limiting belief that we only have good balance and coordination if we're lucky enough to be born with it. This is simply not true. Both balance and coordination are learned and can be improved with practice.
For many of us, when we were kids we were regularly climbing on things, jumping up and down from high places, climbing on jungle gyms, and practicing balance and coordination on a daily basis through these playful activities. As we grow older we are encouraged to contain our desire to climb on things, and by the time we become adults we may be seen as a bit eccentric if we were seen hopping down the street, skipping over the cracks in the side walk. And so we lose that opportunity to practice and as a result we may lose a sense of balance and coordination. But that doesn't mean that we can't relearn it.
tions that are no longer necessary or useful, and strengthen those that are being used.
Neuroplasticity is what allows us to learn new things as an adult, including balance an coordination.
At Wilcox Wellness & Fitness we incorporate balance and coordination into all of our training sessions. We work to provide just the right challenge to support progress over time both in terms of overall strength and stamina, and also to improve our sense of balance and coordination.
When we challenge ourselves we are going to fail at first, and that's what it's all about. This is often a big mindset shift that needs to be made before major progress can occur. Giving ourselves the grace to fail is what allows us to embrace the journey.
Every time we are doing a balance exercise on one foot, and the opposite foot taps the floor for a moment our brain is learning. Every time we practice a coordinated movement while feeling like we have two left feet our brain is learning. And with practice those movements become easier and we are able to achieve them with greater confidence.
I know how it feels to be outside of my comfort zone both in my personal life, and in the gym. In fact, the trainer team and I make a point to get out of our comfort zone with new movements on a regular basis. Remembering how it feels when awkwardly learning a new movement makes us better coaches. Being outside of our comfort zone allows us to spark new creativity, and continue to grow into our best selves.
Getting outside of our comfort zone is what allows us to grow both physically and mentally. Creating brain-body connections inside of the gym allow us to tackle all of the activities that we want to do outside of the gym with absolute confidence. Additionally, when we are able to challenge ourselves in a safe environment where you know that the trainer has your back we can move even further beyond our comfort zone. This is such an incredible opportunity because we can experience all of the rewards of the challenge and begin to recognize the value in getting outside of our comfort zone in other aspects of our life that may not feel as safe at first.
This may come in the form of taking on a new challenge at work, or pursuing a new talent or hobby in your personal life. When we realize that challenging our brains, embracing the fear of failure, and boldly stepping outside of our comfort zone will pave a path to great personal reward, we are more likely to accept these opportunities when they present themselves.
Impacting the quality of our client's lives outside of the gym is what we live for! Creating challenge in our training programs not only makes the process a ton of fun, but also creates the environment for real progress. There is a method to the madness when we present new dynamic movements that may feel impossible to complete at first, and it is important to remember that it is through that failure that one is able to take not only their health & fitness to the next level, but also the course of their entire lives!
Getting started in a health & fitness program can feel really scary! We are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment where you can feel good about getting out of your comfort zone.
We've got your back! We will support you every step of the way! We are honored to be on your health & fitness journey with you!
Let's Chat! Click below to schedule a call where we will talk about you are looking for in a health & fitness program and answer your questions.
Not sure where to start or what questions to ask?
We know that finding the right gym isn't always easy. That's why we created a special guide to help you find the trainer and program that will work best for you.
This guide will arm you with the questions to ask so you can feel CONFIDENT when it comes to hiring a trainer or choosing a training program. You’ll know exactly what info you need to get the most VALUE for your money, time, and effort.
It has been 13 weeks since our lives changed due to COVID-19, and yet there is still so much to be learned. For me, I've noticed some difficulty adjusting to being around people again. After weeks of working from home and going out for errands very infrequently I never had the opportunity to develop good habits when it comes to being around my friends in this COVID-19 era. I've found myself in awkward social situations where we get distracted by our conversations and activities and suddenly realize that we're too close together without wearing our masks....but now who is going to speak up and get us back on track? It's easy to say, "oh, it was just for a second. It will be okay". But these "just for a second" moments can add up and I'm just not that comfortable with that. It had me in a bit of a conundrum because the overall the attitudes of those who I interact with on a regular basis are extremely positive. Everyone I know wants to do the right thing. We agree with the importance of wearing a face covering. We are committed to the health & safety of our communities. We want to do our part, but in reality it is so much harder than I ever thought.
As a business owner I have to think about how my actions impact the bigger picture. If I am complacent in my social activities then I am risking the health & safety of my team and my clients. This is simply not an option me, and I knew that I needed to get better. I needed to be a leader and a role model. I need to set aside my worries about feeling awkward and behave in a way that will ensure that I stay healthy and that anyone who interacts with me is safe.
In contemplating how I could best approach this and begin to shift my own behaviors to begin to build some healthy habits in this space I began to think about my values. What do I believe and what do I need to remind myself when I'm in a situation that feels uncomfortable, or when I'm setting expectations with those around me? I came up with six initial values, and I expect that this list will continue to grow.
1) There is still so much that we don't know about this virus.
2) The health & safety of those around me is my #1 concern.
3) It is important to remain diligent with wearing a mask and hand hygiene.
4) I must be an active participant in staying healthy & keeping my community safe.
5) I must avoid complacency at all costs.
6) I must be a role model to others.
These values were then translated into the values that we as a team commit to at Wilcox Wellness & Fitness. I think that posing this dilemma in the form of values rather than by creating strict rules helps us take personal ownership in a different way. I think it's hard to argue with any of these values, don't you? Of course the team embraced these values just as I expected that they would, and I think that it's helped us all work together in the struggle to be more diligent in this area.
When I feel myself getting nervous about the reopening of businesses across the state, and how that will impact me and how I reopen my business I think that my concern lies more in the ability to be confident that all of the steps being taken are enough. There is so much that we don't know, so it's hard to feel a complete sense of confidence that I'm doing everything right. It's not so black and white. But I think that if I continue to make decisions, and set expectations based upon these values, and remain committed to adjusting policies and procedures as we learn more information, than I can find confidence in my actions. When I reframe it this way in my mind I start to feel more optimistic about what the future holds and our ability to find a new normal that we can live with.
For now I'm feeling most comfortable being outside. I stay outside in my social interactions with my friends and family, and the programs that my business offers to my clients are outside as well. For me, I'm going to continue to observe the outcome
The other day I was reading through some old emails and came across this quote from Sam Parker, the author of "212 the Extra Degree".
I used to walk my dog every morning when I got up, but these days I have a very lazy dog and there is no guarantee that he'll want to get out for a walk the way that Jake used to.
This is not a habit that I've been in at all. In fact, taking time to read has really fallen off since I stopped traveling for my old job. When traveling for work there's all kinds of downtime on airplanes or trains when you can get caught up with your reading list, and these days I often feel too busy or tired to take the time to open a book, but I missed the benefits of reading. Reading is inspirational. It helps to stir up new ideas. It feeds the brain and creates a sense of accomplishment. But I admit I was struggling to find the time, and when laying in bed nice and warm in the morning, despite my stewing, I didn't feel motivated in that space to get up to read. So I started small.
I love my morning coffee, and these days it's light outside early in the morning, the birds are singing, and the thought of a warm, creamy cup of coffee was really appealing. So I started with just that - getting out of bed no later than 5:30am and taking some time to enjoy my coffee in the quiet of the early morning hours.
I've been working on my Corrective Exercise Certification, and the book is always nearby. I intentionally left it by the couch. Reaching for it was easy. I didn't have any commitment necessarily to read it at 5:30am, but it was there.
After about 10 minutes of sitting, relaxing, soaking in the morning sun and enjoying my coffee I already felt more awake. I reached for the book and started reading. Before I knew it I was 20 pages in and soaking in the new information, feeling inspired about how I could apply this knowledge to the benefit of my clients.
The next morning I remembered how great I felt after feeding my brain, but I still preferred the warmth of my bed, and still struggled with the challenges of the day ahead. But I thought about how wonderful my warm coffee would taste, and how quickly I'd start to feel more alive, and how this was going to inevitably lead to me picking up my book and feeling the sense of accomplishment and inspiration that the material provided.
Within just a few days it wasn't the coffee that motivated me but the excitement to see what interesting information the next chapter would hold, and that was what got me out of bed.
Now I have a routine of getting up each morning, brewing my coffee (after my morning mojo of course) and sitting down for 45 minutes or so to read.
I look forward to it. It's helping me refocus away from the feeling that I'm in some sort of twilight zone in this new COVID-19 world that we live in, and focus on how I can contribute to my community during this difficult time.
This in turn completely shifts my mindset. Starting my day inspired and thinking about how I can give back is far more productive than starting my day worrying about how the universe might give me another punch in the nose.
And when your mindset changes, everything else follows.
So what is my point? My point is that if I had focused entirely on a new morning ritual that seemed perfect to me at 5pm, but daunting to me at 5am, I would never have gotten there. But the simple act of just getting out of bed eventually led to something greater, more impactful, and more productive.
Don't think for a second that the smallest step could lead you to where you want to go. Getting up to read is just another small step in something bigger for me. Our current situation in this global pandemic is a big deal. I struggle with it every day, and I think it's important to admit that and to embrace it. It's not going away, and for me it's important that I am able to cope with the longer term implications of life as we now know it.
Getting up in the morning to read is one small step towards getting through what the coming months have in store. It gives me a sense of strength and control in the situation. It sets me up to make another one degree shift towards the implementation of new ideas that will allow me to support my clients and commit to my business during a time that is out right scary. As I identify those new ideas, embrace them, work towards implementing them, I gain traction, I create momentum, and I feel a greater sense of knowing that we will find our way forward in all of this. And all of this started with me just getting my butt out of bed in order to drink my warm cup of coffee.
What feels daunting to you right now? What small step can you start that will help you build momentum toward something bigger? Give it some thought....and if it still feels like it's too much, think even smaller. There's no such thing as taking too small a step. Any step is a step in the forward direction, and as long as you're moving forward you're making progress.
Looking for some inspiration on where to start?
Download our FREE Survive & Thrive Resource Guide
This ‘home survival kit’ is going to give you the reinforcement you need to stay on track with your healthy habits in a time of ‘social distancing.’ This guide is loaded with tips, recipes, and workouts to keep you feeling positive and productive!
Okay, full disclaimer here. I've been wanting to share some information with you about some really nasty stuff that's in our food, and when we created our "How to Crack the Food Label Code" resource guide I thought it would be a perfect opportunity. Well, I have to admit that my old scientist brain has gotten the best of me and I have included a lot of info in this blog post about SIX food additives that I think you should watch out for and avoid then as if your life depends on it....because it does!
If you want the cliff notes version than download our guide, but I hope you'll read on and take a bit away that just might change the way that you look at food labels and what food you consider acceptable for you and your family going forward.
For a long time I thought I was eating healthy, but I wasn't really paying attention to what was actually in my food! So much food is packaged to appear healthy, but when you start reading the ingredients you'll often find that's not really the case.
Over the past few years I've taken a greater interest in understanding what's in my food, and learning why some of the ingredients that are listed can be particularly bad for you.
I try to eat a whole foods based diet - in other words, food that is just the way mother nature intended for it to be. Unadulterated, fresh, and natural. This includes lots of fruits and veggies, whole fat dairy, lean meats and seafood, whole grains, nuts, and beans.
I'm sure you've heard that when you grocery shop you should shop the perimeter. This is great advice! That's generally where all of the fresh, whole foods are located.
It's when you start working your way down the aisles that things can get a little hairy. But packaged food has a place in our lives, and I admit that I enjoy a number of products that are packaged such as crackers, rice and other grains that include a convenient spice packet, snack foods, breads, nut butters, ice cream, and so forth. One rule of thumb that I use in my shopping is to look for packaged foods with 5 or less ingredients. Generally speaking, when there are fewer ingredients they are all ingredients that you're familiar with....and are the ingredients that YOU would use if you were to actually prepare the food yourself. For example, my go-to crackers have THREE ingredients....Whole Grain Wheat, Safflower Oil and Salt. That sounds like what I'd use if I were to actually make these crackers myself!
I've looked at labels in the past....but funny enough I always looked at the number of calories and less at the ingredients. Who knows what I'm talking about? But we have to acknowledge that all calories are not created equally. For example, 100 calories of almonds is NOT the same as 100 calories of Oreo cookies! So the number of calories is probably the least useful piece of info on the label.
These days I look at the ingredients, and how much ADDED sugar is in the food. It seems silly to me that there is added sugar in something like mayonnaise. I don't know about you, but when I get all crazy and make mayo myself I do not add sugar to it!
Now, I admit, I love me some snack foods and other packaged foods that have a few more ingredients included than if I were to make it on my own, but there are SIX ingredients that I really look out for and I will always put the item back if any of these are in the ingredients.
#1: Artificial Sugar: This is an absolute NO WAY in my diet. These products are pure chemicals, do not exist anywhere in nature, and NOT good for you at all because your body simply doesn't recognize them as food and this can really wreck havoc on your metabolism and health in general. If I want a little sweet in my food or drink I'll add a little local honey and it hits the spot. It's all about moderation.
There are three main types of artificial sugar that you may use in your coffee or baking, or that you'll find in your food.
One of my favorite stories that I came across is about a chemist named Constantin Fahlberg, who in 1879 accidentally discovered saccharin (a.k.a Sweet-n-Low). Fahlberg was in his lab working with a chemical called toluene, a clear, colorless liquid produced in the process of making coal. Its sweet aroma is often recognized in gasoline or paint thinner. Yeah, right! I'm serious! Look it up! Fahlberg accidentally spilled some and got it on his hands. Given that clean laboratory practices weren't quite what they are today back in 1879 he went off to lunch without washing his hands and noticed that his food tasted sweet...and that's how saccharin came to be invented! Count me out!
I'm sure you've heard of aspartame. Aspartame is what Equal and Neutra-sweet is made with. This artificial sugar has received some more significant mainstream coverage about the potential health concerns. The FDA once listed 92 different symptoms associated with the use of aspartame, that were confirmed through controlled studies. These symptoms include depression, irritability, heart palpitations, diarrhea, joint pain, memory loss, confusion, aggravation of diabetes...the list goes on for 84 more symptoms!
Sucralose is the newest to come to the market in the form of Splenda, and what really blows my mind about this chemical sugar substitute is actually starts out as sucrose (a real sugar) but undergoes a complex five-step chemical process that involves many caustic chemicals, which selectively substitutes the three atoms of chlorine for three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sucrose molecule, creating a substance that is called a polychlorinated compound. I don't know about you, but I don't want to eat anything that is a polychlorinated compound! Other polychlorinated compounds are insecticides, such as DDT, which can accumulate in the body's fat and tissues.
Need I say any more?
#2 MSG: There is no doubt that food containing MSG tastes really good. I totally admit it! For many years I knowingly ate foods containing MSG because I just loved them so much. My favorite packaged rice and beans that I used in burritos contained MSG as did my all time favorite beef jerky. But once I started to learn about the harmful effects of MSG I became quite strict about eating anything containing it.
There are all kinds of problems with MSG. First of all it's highly addictive, and I'm sure that is why even though I knew it was in some of the foods I was eating I really loved those foods and didn't want to stop eating them. I think that speaks for itself!
MSG is a flavor enhancer that lights up our tasted buds and not only makes us eat more, but also makes us eat faster. The foods that contain the most MSG are highly processed foods that are fat free or sugar free. This is because when you start stripping out the natural sugars and fats from food they start to taste not so good....so the manufacturer has to trick our brains into liking it. This is one of many reasons why you should eat foods in their WHOLE form including naturally occurring sugars and fats.
Both MSG and Aspartame are called excitotoxins and are linked to serious diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. I have Alzheimer's in my family history, so I want to do anything possible to prevent developing this terrible disease, and one way of doing that is to avoid these two chemical food additives.
You have to be careful when it comes to MSG, because it's often hidden in the ingredient that is listed as "seasonings". It is nearly impossible to be sure if there is MSG in the ingredients because the FDA does not require food manufacturers to list it as an ingredient. MSG is one of the ingredients used to make a number of other food additives, and only the name of the new chemical needs to be listed. Some MSG ingredients you may have seen on ingredients lists includes autolyzed yeast, anything hydrolyzed such as hydrolyzed soy protein, or hydrolyzed yeast, maltodextrin, isolated soy protein, textured soy protein, yeast extract, and natural flavorings...which brings me to #3...
#3. Artificial Flavorings & Natural Flavorings: This is a tricky one because one sounds far less harmful than the other, but the reality is that both are made in the laboratory. There is a BIG difference between Natural Flavors and Natural Flavorings...and it's important to keep them straight in your head.
What's crazy about artificial flavorings is that they are made up of a laundry list of ingredients, and the FDA does not require companies to disclose the ingredients that are used to make the artificial flavoring as long as the chemicals used are "generally regarded as safe", which is a whole other subject of what defines a chemical as "generally regarded as safe". Anything that is "generally" safe is suspect to me and I'd rather avoid it and eat the real flavors that mother nature blesses us with in whole foods!
Natural flavorings are also made in the laboratory. They have the same or similar chemical make up of natural foods, but they are not naturally occurring or derived from actual food. An example you may be familiar with is real vanilla extract vs artificial vanilla flavoring. Both smell and taste almost alike, but the latter is made in a laboratory. I'd rather have the real stuff that Mother Nature gave us.
#4. Sodium Nitrates and Sodium Nitrites: It can be really hard to find certain foods that don't contain sodium nitrates or nitrites. They are commonly added to cured and processed meats. Their primary purpose is to prevent botulism and improve color and flavor, which sounds like a decent enough reason for adding them to food, but they're also linked to cancer, including childhood brain tumors and leukemia that has been linked to hotdogs containing nitrates.
There are a lot of nitrate free options available for sandwich meats, bacon, sausage, etc, and it's worth a little extra money to make sure that the option you choose has zero nitrates or nitrites in the ingredients.
#5. BHA, BHT and TBHQ. These chemicals are FAKE antioxidants. The term antioxidant can be a bit misleading because normally we consider antioxidants to be really good. Colorful foods like blueberries are known to be high in antioxidants, and this helps to fend off free radicals that attack the cells in our bodies. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are all around us, so eating other foods high in antioxidants is kind of like the anecdote. But the so called antioxidants in BHA, GHT and TBHQ is quite the opposite! These are man made chemicals that are added to food to prevent oxidation, which in turn preserves fats and prolongs shelf life.
The problem is that these chemicals are linked to cancer, and repeated studies demonstrate that these chemicals accumulate in the body, cause liver enlargement, and retard cell development. Dr. Benjamin Feingold, a diet specialist in the 1970s, found through his studies that BHT could cause hyperactivity in children, so it's disappointing to find this in the ingredients of foods that are mainly consumed by children, such as breakfast cereals, lunch meats, and snack foods.
#6. Trans fats: Last but certainly not least on my list of additives to look out for is Trans Fat. We have all heard about trans fat, and I think many of us already try to avoid it, but we're often tricked into thinking that foods are trans fat free when in fact they aren't. Did you know that a manufacturer can claim that a food product contains ZERO trans fat as long as there is less than 0.25g per serving? The problem is that the serving size can be manipulated to hit this target when in fact you will most likely eat the whole package that is likely to be 2.5 servings or more. So in reality, the serving that YOU ate did contain enough trans fat to make you worried.
The word to look out for on ingredient lists is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. This is the fancy word for trans fat. What I find most interesting is what trans fat is from a chemical perspective. If you had to take a chemistry class in high school or college you may remember that molecules exist in either a cis or trans configuration. Naturally occurring fats exist in the cis configuration, which allows for a little bend to occur between a couple of carbon and hydrogen molecules. These fat molecules actually attach to receptors on the surface of cells which allows things to flow in and out of the cell. The problem with trans fats is that the trans configuration of the molecule results in the inability for the molecule to bend the way that the cis version will, and it also becomes much more rigid. It's similar enough to the naturally occurring cis-fats, so they can still attach to those receptors on the cell, but instead of function the way that it should it can block the cell from opening up those pathways for everything to move in and out. This includes the ability for LDL cholesterol to move into the cell from the bloodstream so it builds up in the bloodstream leading to high cholesterol and heart attacks. And prevents sugar from flowing out of the cell and into the blood stream to get used for energy, resulting in diabetes. Additionally, that rigidity in the trans fat molecule causes a stiffness in the cell making your cells stiff, where as the cis fats will allow our cells to be supple and pliable. Because your cells are stiff and not functioning optimally the good essential fats that you're eating aren't able to be properly utilized because the trans fat blocks them from being incorporated into the cells.
The blockage of these cell receptors can lead to all kinds of problems. Trans fats have been linked to cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and diverticulitis among others. They also weaken the immune system, and decrease the response to insulin, another catalyst for diabetes.
It can be difficult to avoid foods that contain these ingredients. These types of chemicals are in a lot of the foods on the grocery store shelves, but it's worth being extra diligent and at least being aware of where they exist. Even if you can't resist some of the delicious foods that these additives are in, I hope that knowing how harmful they are will help you eat these foods very, very sparingly. They should most definitely NOT be a part of your regular diet.
I hope that you'll be able to use this information to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and feeling their very best. Don't forget to DOWNLOAD our "How to Crack the Food Label Code" resource guide. It will help set you on the right course and you choose the healthiest, most nutritious foods and avoid the added ingredients that can be a real hazard to your health.
Are you looking to feel better, have more energy,
and live an overall healthier life?
Download our QuickStart Guide
This guide was designed to introduce people to healthy living with a 7-day plan that Includes healthy recipes and an easy to implement workout guide
Are you looking to get active
but not sure where to turn during COVID-19?
We've got you covered through our LIVEStream Group Personal Training Program.
Get your body moving with the guidance and support of a certified personal trainer.
Join Our LIVEStream TRIAL Program! This is a great way to give LIVEStream Personal Training a try, get to know the WILCOX Team, and get pointed back in the right direction.
Our LIVEStream TRIAL Program provides you with Two Weeks of UNLIMITED LIVEStream Training for just $50. Click below to learn more.
We would love to support you in your health & fitness journey!
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.