Outdoors Winter Workout – Prepare For The Unexpected

Outdoors Winter Workout – Prepare For The Unexpected


When I say training outdoors I don’t mean only running. I mean taking all your workouts outdoors, the whole thing.

There are so many things to consider when we workout outdoors in winter. Prepare for the unexpected as best as you can. Particularly in winter when the weather is cold and it can get dark in a matter of minutes, but not only, all seasons have their challenges.

However, no matter how much I or anyone tells you it is you who have to discover. It’s part of the game.

But I will give you a number of things to think about:

  1. Temperature – do you need layers? Base layers, compression shorts and shirts etc. 
  2. Less daylight – do you need a head torch?
  3. Weather conditions: fog, rain, snow – do you have water resistant jacket prepared? Or layers such as neoprene vests when temperatures drop below 0 degrees Celsius.
  4. Where you run – on the streets, in the woods? What do you need? Maybe reflective kit, head torches to be seen and see.
  5. Ground conditions: wet, muddy, slippery, snow, frost – this will determine the type of shoes you wear. I personally have 2 types of shoes: one pair for when the ground is muddy and slippery and another pair for dry seasons. You can find recommended shoes here.
  6. Water and snacks – although it is not hot out there the body uses so many resources to keep at a stable temperature, dehydration is sometimes worse. Use a water belt.
  7. Equipment – besides layers and head torches do you need:
    • gloves (fingerless or with fingers?)
    • beanie hat (don’t want your ears to get cold)
    • a Buff neck warmer (instead of a scarf)
    • calf warmers and arms warmers (they are compression equipment)
    • socks (bear in mind socks get wet and you will keep that for the whole duration of the session, I trained myself to go without socks)
  8. Be informed – check weather report and know when the sun rises and sets
  9. Id card and your phone – you know why you need these, in case anything goes wrong you can call and/or you can be identified.

Walkabit in Oxted 24th nov 15

Things you may not have considered when working out outdoors in winter.

Training outdoors is all awesome and fun, but things can go wrong, and we need to be aware of the environment we interact with.

  1. Keep your eyes on the ground as well as seeing everything else around and above you. Develop your peripheral view.

 

  1. Gone are the days when you were in a gym worrying about nothing allowing yourself to day dream. When you are outdoors you have to be focused, otherwise you end up with a branch in your face and a foot in a rabbit hole.

 

  1. If you are in a forest pay close attention to falling branches and dead trees. This is for any season.

 

  1. Take small steps and go slow when unsure. Better to slow down instead of slipping on ice under snow or stepping in a hole you can’t see under the mud or a puddle.

 

Do you have questions? Or are unsure how to workout outdoors in winter or any other season? Contact me and I will guide you.

Crutches For Your Immune System

Crutches For Your Immune System


simple-habits

Today I want to make you think. Think about your style of life, about your habits, about the things you just can’t live without. Or so you believe.

And I chose, as the topic, the immune system and how we use crutches to keep it upright. I will actually share with you my style of life.

That does not mean you have to do the same, the purpose here it to challenge your thinking not to tell you what you should do. You have to decide that for yourself.

 

I will just go straight into today’s topic.

I have water with lemon and ginger and I also have garlic (not with the water an ginger) every morning.

 

However, to ensure I don’t get dependent on them I take long breaks, a week, a couple of weeks. It’s like a test if you wish, to see whether I can “survive” without them. Then I go back to them.

 

But, if within a week or two I catch a cold then there is something wrong here. And it has to do with something else that I do or don’t do on a regular basis as part of my style of life.

 

Are you with me?

 

If your immune system cannot sustain itself, and fight a common cold for example, unless you take vitamins, mineral and all sorts of drinks, and without them your immune system will weaken, then something else needs your attention.

Sure, have a boost. I do. I sometimes have 2-3 months of multivitamins. I don’t have them on a regular basis. Personally, I want my body to put up a bit of fight.

If I was to catch a cold 1-2 weeks without these then it is obvious my immune system in not actually strong but uses supplements as crutches. In that case it seems healthy eating and training are not enough and it needs extra support.

 

Does this make sense to you? Of course we are not talking about illnesses. That is a different side of the coin.

 

But with the cold weather around the corner you may benefit from giving your current style of life a little bit more thought.

Don’t depend on any kind of food or supplement to keep your immune system up. It has to be able to fight by itself. Don’t use them as a crutch. 

This is a small thing but the small things make the greatest difference in the end. Small elements of your style of life will either make you stronger or not.

 

So now think about your style of life. Are you dependent on anything, healthy or otherwise?

 

 

 

The Key To A Strong Immune System

The Key To A Strong Immune System


 alexandra merisoiu

Many times I am asked whether I catch a cold running in shorts and t-shirt in rain or snow, summer or winter. My answer is always no.

We do not catch a cold because it’s cold outdoors. No. We catch a cold when our immune system is down, that firewall. That’s when we are open to viruses and we catch that virus.

Your immune system can drop because of many different reasons. One of them could be intense training or cold. Yes. Cold can lower your immune system. However it’s not the cold that makes you catch a cold. It’s your weaken immune system.

However, if you keep your immunity strong constantly you needn’t worry about cold and intense training.

 

THE MISTAKE

There is a habit. The habit of inconsistency. You cannot have a strong immune system if you are not consistent with your eating habits, your training routine and sleeping patterns.

The “bad day, good day” stories are good excuses but the only one suffering will be you. In time, by confusing the body so much, its defense mechanisms will weaken and it will be more difficult to get them back up than if you were consistent from the beginning.

You may or may not be aware that what you do for months can cause those defences to gradually weaken, and not what you did yesterday. So running in the rain….no I don’t catch a cold.

 

STRESS AND LACK OF SLEEP

When I do catch a cold I know these are the 2 reasons that weaken my immune system a lot. I know because I pay close attention to my habits. Sometimes I even write them down.

Need I say more? Just that sleeping well (resting well, quality sleep is not the same as quantity) 3 days out of 7 or 20/30 doesn’t mean you are consistent. And don’t be surprised when you catch a cold because your body didn’t have the chance to recharge.

By the way, sleeping is the only time when the body heals in its natural way. Bear that in mind.

 

FUEL

This is one of the Food Discipline™ lessons I repeat over and over again.

Food is fuel. Leaving aside the cultural aspects and that it satisfies our taste buds, food is actually there to fuel our bodies and keep them strong.

Understand this, really understand it, and you will witness your food choice begin to change.

 

THE KEY

If you want to have a strong immune system be consistent with your (right) habits and drop the “good day, bad day” story. The right habits that build and help your body recover.

Recovery is not only after exercising. Recovery is after a day of work or looking after the kids. The body uses resources and it needs to recover.

 

There is no such thing as a good and a bad day, they are the reflections of your habits. Exceptions should be exceptions, and not daily and weekly habits.

Thus the KEY to a strong immune system is CONSISTENCY.

 

The KEY to consistency is, many times, ACCOUNTABILITY. If you struggle to stay consistent and want to get certain habits in place, habits that will last long-term contact me.

Equipment For Outdoors Winter Workout

Equipment For Outdoors Winter Workout


These are the main pieces of equipment you should consider having through winter training.

Of course it also depends on what winter we are talking about. Does it snow, how low does the temperature go? In this case I will talk about London, where winter temperatures are around -5 degrees Celsius.

 

Clothing and shoes

 

Layers

You may get hot, you may get cold, you don’t know. You might want to take layers off, if you don’t have them you are stuck. Be prepared.

Base layers

Base layers regulate your temperature and keeps moist out. When we didn’t have them we were ok. But now that we have them put them to good use.

Arms and calf compressions

It is said that compression layers help you reduce muscle strain. In winter they also keep your muscles warm, reducing risk of injuries.

Shoes

I don’t know about you but we train on muddy terrain and having a good grip is essential. If you are a runner and run on pavement think about slippery surface and if there is any snow.

If you go off road, make sure you have the right shoes. We use Inov8 and Vivobarefoot for winter.

Beanie hat and gloves

You can lose a lot of head if your head is uncovered. This is not fashion, it doesn’t matter whether you look good with a beanie hat or not. If you are doing a photoshoot fine, look as you want to. But when you train outdoors you have to keep warm.

Hands are the most exposed to the elements. Get a good pair of gloves, fast wicking, that will keep your warm.

Good quality stuff

Don’t go for cheap stuff. With few exceptions, in general, you get what you pay for. If you are serious about outdoors winter workout treat yourself to good equipment.

In the long run you will actually save money.

 

Food and liquids

It’s not summer, it’s not hot but winter weather will take up a lot of resources. Make sure you sip water throughout your workout.

Add a pinch of salt to replace electrolytes.

Have snacks such as fruit leathers and bars. I don’t particularly eat bars, I usually have a piece of fruit with me. Here’s what to look for in the ingredients list when you choose your bar.

 

Other pieces of equipment

 

Head torch

Depending on the time of day you will do your workout you may start or end it before sunrise or after sunset.

I began training with head torches in 2012 with my coach. What an amazing experience.

Backpack

You have quite a few pieces of equipment to carry with you. Plus the layers. Have a good backpack. We use Lowe Alpine 18l. You can find models on the UWF Amazon store.

 

I think I have covered the essentials. If you have questions post them in a comment below.

 

We are affiliates of Amazon store, but not to a particular brand. So you will find various brand for equipment, snacks and books on health, fitness and personal development topics. Access the store here.

 

If you’d like more advice contact me and I will be happy to give you some more suggestions.

 

How To Prepare For Outdoors Winter Workout

How To Prepare For Outdoors Winter Workout


Training outdoors in winter is a matter of experiencing the world from a different angle. There are a few things about the environment to consider when you take on winter training.

 

Temperature

You know it’s cold already, but knowing the temperatures will help you with more than just on the day.

You learn about your body, how it behaves at certain temperatures, what it needs and when it is time to push cold weather conditioning, if that is what you want.

You also keep track of your progress in terms of changes in your overall body temperature as your body acclimatizes to harsh weather.

Knowing the temperature will help you decide on the type of kit you will be using. And knowing how your body is accustomed to certain temperatures you will know that when others feel cold for you it’s comfortable, or the other way around.

Numbers are your guidelines.

 

Environment

Temperature is one aspect. The other is whether it’s wet, dry, foggy, raining or snowing, muddy or ice under the snow. So the ground and general weather conditions.

Knowing this will help you decide on the layers you will wear, the type of shoes you will wear and other accessories you may need.

Don’t over think things. You don’t need 100 pairs of shoes and layers. Have one main kit for winter and one for summer. In the next blogs I will be talking about winter training equipment.

 

Timing

When we workout outdoors in winter we must not forget it gets dark earlier and the sun rises later. Now it’s light, 45 minutes later is dark.

If it gets dark while you are in the park or the forest it can get dangerous, for both men or women.

I was lucky to have been coached by an experienced coach and learnt what to look out for.

You must time your workout to make sure you are well equipped. A head torch with you is one of the best pieces of equipment to have in winter.

1. EXPERIENCE THE WORLD FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE

Contact me if you are in need of more advice.

 

 

How To Train Outdoors This Winter

How To Train Outdoors This Winter


The previous article was on why you should ditch the gym this winter. Now I will share with you 3 ideas of how to train outdoors with winter.

 

1. Running

If you choose to go without and experiences coach, although you should consider it, running is the easiest way to begin with.

Mind that there is a running technique to run on wet or muddy surfaces or through snow and over ice. That’s why I advise working with an experienced coach who specialises in outdoors training. This is what I specialize in, so contact me.

However, here are some tips to consider, whether there’s mud or snow:

– keep your feet underneath your body

– small strides

– go slow

– don’t push off the back foot, lift the foot off the floor

Actually all four conditions are met if you keep small strides.

3. Think Live And BreatheOut Of The Box

2. Ditch the gym equipment

Leave the gym in the box, you are outdoors now so you leverage nature. Not in a bad, disrespectful way, not at all. You can use equipment such as longs and rocks for weight training for example.

Don’t use benches. Honestly, when I see people in the park using benches for step ups, why are they even outdoors.

Get creative and think outside the box.

 

3. Get your hands dirty

Want to condition your spirit and mind? There is nothing more wonderful than crawling on the ground with no gloves on. Your hands will get cold, but they will condition.

Besides, in London, winter is not as bad as in other parts of the world.

Cold is a matter of perception. Like walking over fire or walking on broken glass, don’t try these as home though. Physical conditioning is about getting the body used to certain temperatures, or a certain training routine.

Mental conditioning is about getting the mind to see things from a different perspective.

That doesn’t mean you hands have to go numb, but a little cold will only get the blood moving. Get gloves if it’s too bad, in time your body temperature will adjust.

The topic of one of the upcoming blogs is how to prepare for outdoors winter training and what to do after.

 

This winter, think, live and breathe outside of the box.

As usual, contact me if you need more advice or want to discuss more on the topic.

 

 

Why You Should Ditch The Gym This Winter

Why You Should Ditch The Gym This Winter


 

A few years ago I used to only run, all year round, outdoors. On snow and ice, rain and heat. The last few years have witnessed a massive shift in my training methods, my fitness in general and my coaching style and philosophy.

I am talking about a different type of fitness. I am talking about fitness that, besides getting you really fit, it also teaches you many, many lessons, about yourself, your body and it give you the chance to reflect.

So why am is so set on outdoors training? Here are a few reasons that might convince you that training outdoors is one of the best decisions you would ever make, and training outdoors in winter:

 

Different kind of fitness

A couple of months ago I pulled a muscle. I’ve been through it before so I know how a pulled muscle, and even pulled tendon, feels like.

A pulled muscle takes weeks to heal. I was shocked at how fast my body heals these days. In 3-4 days I could walk without limping and within 1n week I was recovered and ready to get back to my training routine as usual.

Now this is the kind of fitness I am talking about. For me and my clients fitness now means: cardiovascular and strength (including weight training) BUT it also means:

– training the body from all different angles; terrain is never the same, you never o the same exercise, every time you place your foot or hand on the ground muscles work in a slightly different way, strengthening from many different angles

– get the body prepared to withstand and recover faster from things such as sprains, pulled muscles

– awareness

– increasing the body’s natural healing abilities

– understanding the basics of biomechanics, just enough to understand why some things are good for the body and some are not

And these are only some of the benefits of training outdoors. You can learn these in the gym as well. But nothing compares with the diverse, wavy terrain, when you walk and run. It teaches you a lot about your body.

But what does this have to do with winter? This leads me to the next point:

5. Winter - IT'S TIME TO PUSH YOUR BOUNDARIES - Copy5. Winter - IT'S TIME TO PUSH YOUR BOUNDARIES - Copy

Challenge your body

Winter is not comfortable. It pushes you out of your comfort zone in many different ways.

First there is the physical as in cardiovascular and  strength. Training in harsh conditions takes a lot, a lot of energy. Maybe it will not make you sweat but you WILL work really hard.

Second, is at the mind level. Waking up at 5 am and going out there on rain or snow is not easy and it is not for the faint of heart, as the saying goes. The reality is that this is not for everyone.

Don’t get me wrong. Absolutely ANYONE can do this, except the people who want to be comfortable in a warm, and nice environment such as the gym or their house.

The mental strength, the dedication to your outdoors winter training will impact absolutely ALL areas of your life. Period. All of them: social, work, business, self esteem and self confidence, they way you present in front of audiences and so on.

Third. The unwavering spirit. THIS is the substance. The elements that we cannot easily see. Honestly I find it difficult to explain how outdoors winter training conditions the spirit. It’s such a deep and complex concept.

Meditation, while we do it, it’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about the spirit of a warrior. That’s the only way I can describe it.

What I can say is that outdoors winter training is the most important element in my life and that changed everything. The way I interact with people, they way I see and love myself, my self confidence, my ability to stand up for myself.

It changed the very essence I am made of. Sounds weird right? There is no other way I can explain it really.

BUT, there is a catch. Do the same exercises you do in the gym and the magic disappears. The trick is to adapt your training to the outdoors and do things in a different way, and not in the comfortable way. This is the topic of the next blog.

 

Bottom line. Outdoors winter training will condition your body, your mind and your spirit to a level you have never experienced before. This was my experience after training indoors for many, many years.

This winter push your boundaries. Contact me for more information on how to start your winter training program

 

Snack Bars: What To Look For In The Ingredients List

Snack Bars:
What To Look For In The Ingredients List


 

How often do you take the time to read the ingredients, the percentages of each ingredient and not just read but also think about what you are seeing?

I seldom have bars, almost never, and there is one main reason. We, health and fitness professionals, tell you all the time to eat unprocessed foods, right? And then we recommend bars, shakes and powders. Those are processed. I don’t mind them, not at all. My point is don’t say eat unprocessed and recommend processed. Does that make sense?

To turn your food into powder or make a compact bar it needs to go through a lot of processing. And they use the same products you’d buy from your store, they don’t use organic, some do but most don’t. And even if they did they go through so many processes that they lose whatever was in them in the first place.

I don’t really endorse any particular brand. If asked I can give my opinion, but most of the time I will tell you to avoid processed food which also includes the above.

The other day I posted on my Facebook timeline a picture with bars, such as paleo bars, quinoa bars, fruit bars and others.

And I said don’t just grab whatever bar you see on shelves, just because it says it’s good. Take time and read the ingredients and percentages.

One of my followers asked what to look for in bars. And I thought the answer to this question will help everyone. This is what I pay attention to for myself, I don’t buy them but I like to keep up to date with what’s out there:

 

1. Sugar

Let’s begin with this. Companies started to leave sugar out of bars, particularly in the case of fruit bars because fruit are already sweet of course.

However, we forget that fruit also contains sugar. Yes, indeed the natural sugar is processed by the body in a different way. But what we did is take out the refined sugar and replace it with loads of sugar from fruit, such as dates. You must remember that fruit are also sugar. And dried fruit are very high in sugar.

Some bars are made out of 50% dates. I understand dates are needed for consistency and to keep the bar together. But it’s too much sugar from dates and all the other fruits added.

Thus, look for sugar content, and see whether it comes from natural sources, hopefully yes. The lower the sugar content the better, but if the bar is made with fruit sugar content will be higher of course.

I am not sure for bars but in the case of juices 15g sugar per 100g juice is maximum you should go for, I’d actually say less than 10g / 100g. In the case of bars sugar will be higher in general.

Compare a few products to decide which one to go for.

 

2. Apple juice from concentrate

If we try to eliminate as much processed food as possible then let’s do it as best as we can. To make concentrated apple juice, apples go through a lot, a lot of processing.

They are smashed, juiced, filtered, the water is evaporated and you are left with a high sugar, no fibre, no nutrient concentrated liquid. This is transported (concentrated juice weighs less so it’s cheaper) and combined with water, at its destination, to make apple juice. And that’s apple juice from concentrate. Concentrated juice from other fruit go through the same process.

On top of that if metal is used for smashing apples oxidize and, in a nutshell, there is not much left in them.

Not all bars have fruit juice from concentrate. If I buy a bar I go for bars without fruit juice from concentrate.

bars

3. Nuts

Nuts are good to balance the blood sugar levels, more correctly is to say glycogen. If there are ingredients that spike blood sugar levels nuts and seeds will keep them balanced.

But, if you are looking to reduce calories intake a bar full of nuts is not your best choice. Why not get an apple and a handful of nuts and eat. You have better control over how much and what you eat then having a bar made by someone else.

 

4. Protein, carbohydrate and fats

Protein bars have a lot of protein of course. What I look for is the source of protein. Is it natural ingredients such as nuts or is it protein powder which?

Carbohydrate. In the case of protein bars carb content will be lower. If not, for fruit bars, it will be higher. Fruit carbohydrate comes only from sugars. If we didn’t have the fibre in fruit we’d be in trouble, blood sugar levels (glycogen) would sky rocket. That’s what’s missing in commercial juices by the way, that makes them so dangerous.

Fats. Again, the sources of fats are important. Is it butter? Is it nuts? What is it?

Where do your macronutrients (fats, carbohydrate, protein) in the bar you choose come from? This is what you want to ask yourself.

 

JUDGE FOR YOURSELF

These are things I look for whenever I read the labels or if I decide to try out a new bar and see what up with it.

You now need to read labels, compare products and decide which is the bar for you.

 

My personal choices

Bars are very easy for transportation and they don’t get mushy and messy like fruit do. They also take up a lot less space. Therefore I have two options I go for, when I need to:

1. Nakd Bars – Berry Delight (no apple juice from concentrate)

2. Frutina Real Fruit Snack – 100% dried fruit puree

By the way, I am not an affiliate of these brands, I do not get anything from telling you about this. However, if you buy anything from my amazon store, then I do, from amazon.

You can find the products and different brand I use on the UWF amazon store, including Nakd bars and Frutina.

 

Would you like a more personal advice? Contact me, I will offer you a 45 min consultation free of charge. Click here to get in touch

Why You Should Stop Punching Bags And Pads

Why You Should Stop Punching Bags And Pads


Punching. A simple act of striking something with your fist. But is it really that simple?

After training in different Martial Arts for the past 20 years, Karate Shotokan in particular, competitive but keeping the traditional path when not competing, I can say I have learnt how to punch in a way that protect my body and injures the body of my opponent if choose to do so.

And one of the things I have learnt in these 20 years of punching anything from a human body to walls and tree bark is that you should never, ever punch anything until you know how you punch in the air, how to hold a fist, how to use your whole body to punch and until your body is prepared.

Doing a few kickboxing sessions, particularly the ones focused on high intensity training and weight loss, is not enough to learn this.
If you learn a superficial technique, superficial results is what you will get.

boxer

THE WHY

Why I don’t agree for most of you to punch bags and pads at the gym. There are many reasons:

1. No matter how much weights you lift your body is not accustomed to the impact of punching another object and if your body has not adapted to the correct technique you will be using your body in the wrong way which damages the body.

2. For every action these is an equal and opposite reaction.

We get so caught up with punching and releasing stress, we hit the pads as hard as we can, with the wrong technique and unprepared and we burn calories but at what expense? Weight comes and goes, a damaged body is more difficult to heal, if it ever heals.

Remember is it the pressure at the wrong angle, the wrong technique, that damages the body.

3. Focusing on high intensity for weight loss means forgetting technique, if there was any to begin with, and in time injuries start to show up.

If you punch bags and pads and your shoulder or elbow start hurting chances are it’s from your punches.

4. If the elbow goes out the impact is even more destructive. Nerves can be affected.

5. If you punch from your shoulder, you will damage your shoulder. Read bellow for a few guidelines.

6. In those bulky boxing gloves few people even know how to actually hold a punch.

Do you know? Did anyone with real experience teach you how to hold your fingers? At Every Karate session we practice the simple punch over 1000 times. Yes, we did the numbers.

Learn how to hold a punch, the wrist, the elbow, how to move the arm, how to use the body and then, only then you can think about gloves and pads.

There are other reasons, but I will stop here.

 

THE HOW

And now few things you should know, practice and repeat thousands of times before you start punching pads and bags:

1. Learn how to hold a fist without the gloves

2. Punch using the two first knuckles: index and middle fingers.

Even when you do a round punch, which, by the way you should learn how to do it properly so you don’t damage your shoulder, the rotator cuff.

Most of the gym people and PT’s don’t know how to punch properly. Study boxers’ movement and you will see.

A “boxercise” qualification and a few years of punching pads does not mean someone knows how to punch or teach.

I am sure there are trainers out there who come from a Martial Arts background and how how to punch and teach it correctly, no doubt about that. There are.

3. Wrist is on the same line as the arm and first

4. Elbow should stay down, the twist comes from the wrist.

See Japanese Karate masters. This protects the nerves going down the arm.

5. Arm never goes out to the side.

A beginner’s mistake when working with pads. You can do a round punch without the arm going out to the side. This protects the shoulder rotator cuff.

6. The punch must come from the back heel.

The force starts at the heel, goes up to the hip, side of your body, arm and out through the fist. A punch does not come from the first, arm or shoulder.

7. Body is kept straight.

Distance can be achieved through different tactics. Body alignment should always be taken into account to minimize the muscle tension and stress on stabilizer muscles.

 

What about professional boxers and Karate competitors?

When you compete you trust that your training was enough to get your body through the stress of usual movements, twists, bends and aggressive impact.

If, when you train, you nurture your body, in competition your body will be ready and will respond to the training.

If body alignment is a habit for you then you will carry that with you on a street fight or competition.

I know this because I used to focus on training hard and fast. Now I train harder, faster and smarter than ever before.

I have made greater progress in 1 year in England than in 10 years with my former Karate squad. Yes, correct body use which came through others sports and forms of training, is that powerful. Just because I brought the elements of efficient body use and mindful control into my Karate.

I have reduced the risk of injuries and when I do injure myself I can get back to training in a matter of days.

Thus, make sure you actually learn how to punch and then punch bags and pads. Same goes for kicking, which is actually worse, I haven’t seen anyone doing a correct kick outside martial arts classes. Maybe because we all focus on burning calories instead of looking after our bodies and learning something properly

 

Punching in a correct way is something easy to teach, the pure technique. Although I do not teach Karate yet I am certainly qualified, as a 3rd Dan Black Belt to teach you this.

I can teach you the correct technique over a 30-45 min call. Contact me to book the FREE call and I will show you how to punch in the proper way.

How To Strengthen Your Body Starting With Foundations

How To Strengthen Your Body Starting With Foundations


 

Six packs, toned triceps and strong thighs look nice. There is no doubt that strong quadriceps, glutes, core muscles are essential, they are stability muscles in the body.

What I was to talk about today is the difference between looking strong and actually being strong.

When they look at me, many people don’t realize that one of my kicks or a punches can actually cause them a lot of pain.

I don’t look particularly strong, but the foundations are strong and when everything comes together there is a lot of power behind a fist.

 

Alignment

Today we are very focused on strengthening the larger muscle groups such as glutes and hamstrings. And yes, they are really important as they are stabilizer muscles.

However, we are missing something. Something really important. We are missing the small muscles in our bodies. Just because we don’t see them or they don’t bulk up that doesn’t mean they are not there or they are not important.

Furthermore we also talk a lot about posture and we focus on core strength. Which, again, it’s essential. But how can you strengthen your core in the wrong position?

What I mean is this. We have developed an incorrect body alignment as a consequence of sitting, slouching, looking down to our phones to text, leaning to one side when we talk on the phone,  carrying our bags on one shoulder and so on.

Our body is in an incorrect position to begin with. So why strengthening it in that position?

What I recommend before anything else is understanding how you should hold your body, proper alignment, first of all.

Then, with that alignment in mind go ahead and strengthen your core muscles….in the correct position.

 

Joints

Every joint has a position where it’s at its strongest.

For example your wrist in the case of a punch. If the wrist is slightly bent up or down, when you punch it will give in and maybe even injure it, or even fracture it, depending on the impact.

I disagree with punching against a pad for beginners. That is why, although I come from a Martial Arts background, Karate Shotokan since 1995, I never do this with my clients.

A punch is so much more than just throwing it in a pad or bag. And those round punches that PT’s teach their clients damage the shoulder, the rotator cuff. Plus how someone who has never punched before hold their wrist. Ok, I will stop here and write a separate blog about it.

Another example are the knees when you run. There is repeated pressure on the knees. The angle at which the impact falls is the one that decides whether there will be an injury or not.

Pressure is there but it’s the angle the pressure falls on that damages most.

 

Strengthen from the inside

After you become aware of body alignment begin working on your deep core stability muscles: diaphragm, pelvic floor etc.

You will not be able to isolate these muscles but what you can do is practice techniques which targets them. For example the crawls I do with all my clients.

They are safe on the back and strengthen the inner/deep core muscles as well as other stability muscles in the body.

Balance techniques are also a great way to strengthen the deep core muscles. Not only that, balance exercises strengthen the small stability muscles in your joints.

So your joints strengthen starting with deep foundations. And the slower you go the better with these type of exercises, particularly at the beginning.

Alexandra

Fast or slow?

I think one of the most overlooked element with all exercises today is the speed at which we practice the exercise.

Plyometrics (explosion) exercises are very important, particularly for runners. Muscles need to fire up. So they should be in your workout plan if they aren’t already.

What plyometrics overlook is the small stability muscles which strengthen through slow movement. Movement that requires stability.

Let’s face it, everyone can do things fast, but how many can slow down to a snail’s speed? Now that’s control over your body.

 

One whole unit

Your body is designed as one unit. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that running is only about the legs and lifting or punching only about the arms.

A strong punch comes from your feet. It involves the whole body, not just the shoulder. Maybe I will explain how this work in a video rather than writing.

Everything you do is more efficient if you use your body how it is meant to be used. In a correct way of course. If you use your whole body and it’s not correct then we’re not getting anywhere.

 

Do you need more personalized advice or would like to go into more detail? Contact me.

The 4 Ingredients Missing In Your Workout

The 4 Ingredients Missing In Your Workout


I used to work in a gym. I am very grateful to have been part of the Virgin Active PT team. I learnt a lot.

I used to walk around the gym floor for hours and hours, about 50 hours a week without clients, was walking on the gym floor. I approached and talked to hundreds of people and coached them as well.

One of the things I would ask was something like “why do you do this routine every time you come here?” or “why do you exercise?” or” do you enjoy what you are doing?” and so on.

Many times the answers would be something like: “I do it because it’s healthy“, “I do it because I was told it’s good for me“, and the best one was “I am bored of it but I still do it“.

 

Don’t we do things we don’t like or want to do every single day? Why, after spending 8 hours in front of the computer, we choose to be surrounded by even more electronic devices and spend another couple of hours in another box getting bored and doing something because we have to do it.

Don’t get me wrong, since I was 1995 I’ve been practicing Karate and competing at international level. This sport, if you want to call it so, it’s not something superficial, it’s not a “I feel like training today” thing, nope. It’s a responsibility.

But, the difference is that Karate is my thing. It’s what gives me life, what makes me feel like a champion and actually be a champion. Yes,  it is something I have to do, but it is something that makes me grow as an athlete, coach, entrepreneur and as a human being.

 

It’s substance, there are no superficial layers. There is passion, there is life in what I do. Is there life in your exercise routine? These are the things missing in peoples’ workouts. And here’s how to bring some substance into your workout routine.

 

In terms of substance, just like Karate, the outdoors make no exception. When you train outdoors you start feeling alive as you actually interact with the world surrounding you.

How come you will never get bored training outdoors? I can only talk here about my own programs, other Personal Trainers have other methods and many just take the exercises from the gym and bring them outdoors.

 

Here’s how we do things here at Urban Women Fitness through The Merisoiu Technique:

1. You repeat but not really.

Our sessions vary from session to session. There are elements, the basics, we always go through but the main theme of the session changes. In a 3 months, 12 sessions of 1h30m, program you practice 6 different type of sessions.

In some instances you work the same muscle groups but in a different way. So you repeat the training but not the same session.

Practice makes perfect so a certain degree of repetition, particularly the basics, is necessary. There is so much you can do in 3 months though.

 

2. Different environment

Today you train in the sun tomorrow it’s a snow storm. Every session is different form a weather point but also how the ground feels and looks.

Even if we go back to the same location it’s going to be different from yesterday. That means you will work your body in a different way. Which is a good thing.

There are many physical and mental challenges with this change in weather, all aimed I conditioning your body, mind and spirit, so you get stronger from the inside out.

The Merisoiu Technique

3. A practice, an art

Exercising for weight loss or fitness is boring. Hunter gatherers didn’t stay fit because they were concerned with their fitness. Athlete, we don’t keep fit because we want to stay slim. That’s comes with the practice of our art, or because hunters needed to hunt.

The Merisoiu Technique was developed with this in mind, not the hunting part though. It is a lifelong pursuit and here we strive for mastery.

My clients focus on the process of perfecting their movement or their sequences and, in the process, they get fit, toned, healthy and lose weight as well.

Develop patterns that you can gradually get better at. The feeling of accomplishment will keep you going and not get bored.

 

4. Feel alive.

Just what I’ve been talking about at the beginning. That substance we, as society, have forgotten about. We focus so much on fashion, trends and how we look in bikinis that we forgot the outside reflects the inside.

I like to look good in my bikinis, but most than that I like to feel proud and confident in my own skin. The bikini will look good after I feel good in my skin.

What does that even mean? We all see this in a different way. I can only tell you my view of feeling good in my own skin.

For me it means to feel strong. To feel grounded and in control of my body and that includes any type of movement, posture, breathing, everything. But those things comes as a result of what’s going on inside of myself.

 

So what does “feeling good in your own skin” mean to you?

Have questions or in need of advice? Contact me.

Tricks To Fall Asleep When You Cannot

Tricks To Fall Asleep When You Cannot


 

Many years ago I used to not be able to fall asleep till 4-5 am. Many times, around 5 am, when I’d have enough of not sleeping I would put my running kit on and go for a long, refreshing run.

The biggest problem was that I was always very active and creative at night, and still am, and I could always focus and learn better after everyone else would go to bed and I was alone in a very quiet house.

Sometimes that happens even now, actually some of my best blogs you see here were written after midnight.

Sometimes I don’t even try to fall asleep if I cannot because I know I create some cool things, including poems. Much of what I write is never seen by anyone else but I still write them.

The other side of the coin is that I am also a morning person. I like and I am able to wake up even at 4:30 am to do my training.

So do you struggle to fall asleep….but would like to? These are tricks I used to do and still do if I cannot sleep. Not all may work for you but you can try them out. You don’t sleep anyway.

clock

Here are a few tips to help you fall asleep, things I do myself:

1.  Open the windows for at least 1h to get some fresh air in your room before you go to bed. If it’s winter it’s even better, believe me.

2.  Stop tossing and turning, if you cannot fall asleep you won’t. Stand up, walk around or just lie down and stop moving.

3.  Work the muscles, get them tired. When you lie down in bed they will just relax to maximum. Some say that this will keep you awake. In my case it actually helps me sleep better. You can try it a couple of time, you won’t sleep anyway. If it doesn’t work for you then you don’t do it anymore. Try the others.

4.  Practice some fluid movement. If you don’t know how contact me and I will show you a few movements. And you don’t have to commit to anything at all.

5.  Breathing meditation. I have to admit this doesn’t work for me all the time. Fluid movement and getting my body tired work better for me.

6.  Stretch your body to release that tension you gathered throughout the day. And here’s the perfect stretch for this.

7.  Count. When you count you do something very boring your brain will go “I can’t take this anymore, I will shut down” and you fall asleep. It may take up to 100 or even 1000. When you start losing track it’s a good sign, keep counting though.

8.  Focus your attention on sounds from outside. Every little sounds. Listen. It’s a beautiful feeling.

9.  “Listen” to the silence. One of my favourites. Listening to that deep silence. If the environment allows you to do that it’s a wonderful experience.

10.  Go for a walk, if that’s possible. Yes in the middle of the night. It’s one of my favourite things. But make sure you don’t go alone, for safety purposes.

11.  Read a book, paper book not kindle. Preferably nothing violent and horror. Poetry would be nice and different for many people.

12.  Have a glass of water. Cool your body down.

13.  Write and draw. Write and draw what? Anything. Anything at all. Take a sheet of paper, a pen or pencil and let your hand do whatever it wants. Scribble. If it doesn’t help you fall asleep you might create a beautiful piece of art. If you think you cannot write or draw, think again, you are a creative being. We all are.

 

When you cannot fall asleep, never:

1.  Turn on the tv

2.  Check your email

3.  Check facebook and other social media

4.  Make phone calls or text

 

 

How To Improve Your Posture

How To Improve Your Posture


 

It is not enough to have a strong core alone. It is not enough to do just crunches and situps or just squats and lunges. Here are the different aspects when it comes to improving your posture and attain a stronger and healthier body.

 

Core exercises

Many people go for crunches and situps because they are straight forward. You cannot lift yourself if you don’t tense your abdominal muscles. So there is not much thinking and it’s all bout repeating it.

However crunches and situps, while they can strengthen your abs, can also harm your back and your neck.

Here are some suggestions of core strengthening exercises: mountain climbers, planks and variations, pressups and variations, hanging leg lifts.

Crawls. Besides the fact that they are safe on the back, they work  your core (that includes your back) as well as the rest of your body….if done properly that is. That means hips down and knees close to the ground, among many other technical points. This is something I teach in detail in the videos in The Academy.

Another exercise is rope skipping. Can be fun and works your whole body.

 

Variation

While it is important to practice, or to repeat your core exercises, do not limit yourself to just 4 or 5 types. Anything in exaggerated amount can be detrimental.

And variation will also train your body in a multilateral way, meaning from different angles.

For example you may have a core workout that consists of exercises such as planks and pressups under many variations.

Another core workout can be crawls. They still workout your core muscles and actually they do it better, if you ask me.

And another can be hanging, hanging leg lifts, pulls ups and chin ups. Yes all these work your core, not only your arms.

Multilateral training.

 

 

Mobility and flexibility

Sure, now you have a strong core. But do you walk with your shoulders dropped forwards?

Or maybe you have tight hamstrings that may lead to lower back pain?

Or maybe you have tight hip flexors from all the sitting and so you bend from your hips and you butt sticks out slightly when you walk.

Many forget that a tight and closed up body will never have a good posture. It is not enough to be strong, you also have to look after your range of movement.

Mobility and flexibility is essential for health.

Alexandra Merisoiu

Alignment

Well, this wraps up everything. No matter how strong you are, how flexible and mobile you may be if you do not know the basics of body alignment there is no posture to talk about.

Aligning your body properly will also make ALL those exercises more effective.

How do you align your body? I explain everything in one of the Posture Masterclasses. I also explain why posture is so important for your health and happiness. At the end I take you through a guided visualization for posture alignment.

So watch it and practice. And if you need my advice, contact me.

What are Masterclasses?

Masterclasses are online webinars I hold regularly.  Although they are free to attend from anywhere in the world, they are full of valuable content and practical information. I do not hold back. Check out the events page.

The Source Of The Fluid Movement Principle

The Source Of The Fluid Movement Principle


Fluid Movement is one of the 5 essential principles of The Merisoiu Technique along with Organic Movement, Earthing, Mindful Control and Food Discipline™.

When I coach my clients they see it as Tai Chi or Qigong. They are not wrong but not quite right either.

The Fluid Movement principles comes from Martial Arts indeed but it is deeply rooted into Karate Shotokan.

I’ve been practicing Karate Shotokan since 1995 and I think I had my first competition in 1999 or 1998.

So you can safely assume that no matter what I do there is a touch of Karate in it. And my coaching makes no exception.

Tai Chi and Qigong and both Martial Arts. There are many common elements between different disciplines. Of course, they influenced each other.

So yes, if I coach you then you will notice similarities.

 

What are the Fluid Movement sequences

In Karate we have Katas which are movement sequences executed as a specified series of a variety of moves, with stepping and turning, while attempting to maintain perfect form.

By perfect form we mean technique, posture, the established pace or rhythm.

Each movement in every Kata, there are Katas where you take 54 steps or more, has a purpose. Since this is a Martial Art we are talking about, the purpose is usually self defence.

However, there is more than the eye can see. If you take out the self defence aspect of Katas you can turn them into beautiful movement patters that contribute to health.

Fluid Movement (4)

What are the Fluid Movement sequences meant to do

I have created the Fluid Movement sequences to solve the following problem for my clients:

 

1. Stress

Some of them are aimed at stress management. Calming the nervous system and bring peace and relaxation.

 

2. Improve focus and patience

And with this productivity in your work.

 

3. Reduce the risk of injuries

Injury happens when brute force meets brute force (Tai Chi Philosophy).

The law of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

What happens when we use force, when we stump around when we walk? That’s the action. The results is the reaction which will be aggressive as well.

The sequences requite a lot of softness and Mindful Control (another one of The Merisoiu Technique 5 essential principles).
Practicing the sequences you become more aware of your posture, breathing , movement your body as a whole. As this happens you begin to move softer and more fluid.

Thus your action turns into something soft, calm and controlled. As a result the reaction will be soft and calm as well.

And so we reduce the risk of injuries by becoming aware of our bodies and moving softer and more fluid.

 

4. Feeling more comfortable in one’s own body

These are the more advanced Fluid Movement Sequences which work on mobility and flexibility.

 

5. Improved posture

Remember, the Karate Katas are a variety of moves, with stepping and turning, while attempting to maintain perfect form.

Posture is essential and in the Fluid Movement sequences you will learn to keep your posture in various given positions and moves. This is again part of the Mindful Control principle.

See the webinar on Posture I hosted.

 

6. Core strength

Do not be fooled thinking these movement are slow and easy. To have control over your body you must have core strength.

Correct breathing, Mindful Control component again, is a very important aspect in my coaching, whether running or moving slow.

Correct breathing also strengthens your inner core which is responsible for posture and movement in general. Your core is where your strength comes from.

Furthermore deep breathing may boost your body’s immune system and so helping your body heal in a more natural way. It is not recommended to replace your medical treatment with breathing exercises though.

 

Does this sound like something you would like to bring into your life? If so contact me.

How Today’s Habits Will Impact Your Health Tomorrow

How Today’s Habits Will Impact Your Health Tomorrow


Many people think that the reason for my energy levels, my health and fitness condition, my mobility and strength is the young age. Yes, age is important and it does make a difference.

However, I ask you this: do all young people my age have high energy levels, strength, fitness and no health conditions, no vitamin deficiency etc? No, actually many people my age have big health problems. And in many cases they are caused by poor habits repeated on a regular basis over an extended period of time.

habits_bundle

For years I haven’t taken supplements and every year I do all my tests and nothing changes, no deficiencies, no internal organ problems. Just by being consistent with my habits and making exceptions very seldom. That is no necessarily true for everyone. Some need supplements and vitamins.

Remember this Food Discipline™ lesson: exceptions should be just that, exceptions. If you make too many exceptions they will become habits.

The real reason I am this way is because I have created habits for myself when I came out of eating fast food and drinking fizzy drinks. Read here about my story.

Since then I’ve been consistent in nurturing my body, keeping it strong and fit inside and out. Sure I cannot claim to be perfect and I make my exceptions, but I have rules and I respect my own rules. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Don’t think now that I struggle and force myself into eating only certain types of food. No, not at all. I just go used to not having them that I never need them so it’s very easy for me to ignore them as food altogether. There is not struggle, no craving or strict regime.

Age does matter. But what you do when you are young matters even more. The things you do in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, those daily, weekly and monthly (un)healthy habits will impact our life in your 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

I’m not saying that this is the case for every single person, but in many cases it’s long term small, damaging and overlooked habits that cause the greatest health problems.

Thus, stop postponing changing your habits. Stop finding excuses and making exceptions every day and every week. You only hurt yourself and no one else.

Of course you will not see the damage this year or next, look further into the future, you might feel the damage 10 years from now.
Build strong, lasting foundations which you can keep for a lifetime. This what I stand for.
And if you cannot do it alone then seek guidance.

The Secret IngredientTo Turn Your Boring Workout Into Purposeful Training

The Secret Ingredient To Turn Your Boring Workout Into Purposeful Training


Substance. That’s what is missing and so many Personal Trainers forget to educate their clients on.

My knowledge comes not only from the gym, or from Karate, no, it comes from Daito Ryu, Ninjutsu, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Target Shooting, Swimming, Latin American Dancing, and more more more.

There is more that meets the eye and there are things you cannot learn from a book.

For fitness and exercise to turn into purposeful training you need that SUBSTANCE. That’s the secret ingredient that makes many hate exercising or only do it for weight loss or only because they were told they “have to do it”, or only because “it’s good for your health” etc. And after a few months or a year they give up.

Of course they do, there is no substance in what they are taught to do. It’s not their fault though.

 

So how do you get substance?

 

1. Passion

If in your fitness or exercise routine there is no passion, no love and excitement then it will not work. You don’t need to like the training itself, you can only like the results.

But even so do what you do with passion. I know sometimes when I go to my Karate class or even think about it I feel like coming up with the best excuse ever for not going.

Sometimes it’s the last thing I want to do (shhhh don’t tell my Sensei). But I do go, and when I am there, maybe I don’t give 100%, but what I give I give with passion. Whether it shows or not I feel it and that’s the secret.

 

2. Purpose

Goals are great and they are a must but what’s the purpose, what’s behind those goals, that’s what will keep you going when the tough gets tough? What are you going to do when you see results not showing up or they show up slower than you expected?

Because that happens. If getting results was that easy everyone would get them. Purpose!

 

3. Skills

We are build to learn and grow. If we don’t do something that makes us grow we will not do it for a long time. And you waste your time as well. Develop skills, learn patterns, study your body, learn complicate movement sequences and you will fall in LOVE with your training.

I have personally developed movement sequences for my clients and they challenge their minds. That is substance.

champion

 

4. Champion.

This is what wraps up everything. Do the thing that makes you feel like a champion. Train like a champion. Be as dedicated as an elite athlete. Eat as healthy as an athlete. Have the mindset of a champion. Because there is an athlete in you, you are just an untrained athlete.

 

Missing something? Let’s figure it out together.

Benefits Of Fluid Movement

Benefits Of Fluid Movement


Why is fluid movement so important that I made it one of the five principles in The Merisoiu Technique?

Why do I insist my clients practice it?

And why do I spend hours upon hours creating videos for The Academy on fluid movement sequences?

 

Fluid Movement (2)

Here’s the answer to all these questions:

 

Slowing Down

Too often we go through life in a rush. And then, at the end of the year we wonder “where did the year go?”.

Although there are the same number of days in a year every year, give or take one day from February every 4 years, it seems like time is against us.

What we all fail to understand is that that happens because we are in a rush  a l l    t h e   t i m e.

We are not aware of what is happening around us or even within us. And we always think about the next thing we need to do, failing to feel the moment we are in right now.

Thus, Fluid Movement teaches my clients to slow down and to feel every movement, every step, to synchronize body, breathe and mind.

 

Harmony

Another aspect of the modern society is the perception that we are formed of legs, arms, trunk and head. No, we are one whole unit.

Fluid Movement develops the awareness of this one unit.

Fingers, hand and arms work in harmony with hips, legs, feet and toes. It’s like a dance, a very mindful and slow dance in Karate patterns.

 

Mental and Physical Relaxation

When the mind is occupied with Fluid Movement sequences I have developed myself, there is no more room for troubled thoughts, stress, anxiety, depression.

Furthermore, as our thoughts and feeling leave an imprint on our body in the form of muscle tension, releasing that physical tension through the Fluid Movement sequences will also lead to releasing mental tension and invite calmness and peace.

Your mind and body are always connected. And although the mind can function independently of the body, they still work better together.

 

Focus and Patience

I encourage my clients to practice the Fluid Movement sequences as slow as they can. This Cultivates The Art Of Attention And Focus (one of The Merisoiu Technique 20 Laws Legacy).

Focus and patience leads to more productivity and calmness as well as improved relationships with people around you.

 

Challenging the mind

The patterns I create are not random. They develop a certain type of movement and incorporate the principles of balance and body weight transfer.

They are also not something easy to learn. It requires a lot of co-ordination, focus and patience to learn the patterns and then practice to refine them, getting a better and more complete understanding of your body and mind the more you practice.

In fact everything I teach is based on learning skills, patters and techniques. Your personal creativity comes after the foundations have been set during your training with me.

 

 

So there you have it. Some of the benefits of practicing fluid movement as part of The Merisoiu Technique.

In fact, in The Academy visitors section you can see how fluid movement works. There are no specific fluid movement sequences but it will give you an idea of I mean.

If you’d like FREE access to one of the Fluid Movement sequences do book a complimentary call with me.

Things To Do Under The Shower

Things To Do Under The Shower


It’s not what you think ok? It’s about stretching.

Too many of us “complain” we have no time to stretch. Well, beginning today you can incorporate stretching in your other daily “must do” habits.

And for stretches, doing them under the shower is actually good as they release tension faster and they are also warm and ready for a stretch.

Some safety stuff: showers are slippery so you might want to sit to do some of the stretches or all of them so you don’t injure yourself.

 

So here are a few things you can do while you shower

 

Be mindful of your posture

Hahaha, thought you got away. Nope, the more aware we are of our posture and body weight distribution the better.

So stop slouching. Relax your shoulders. What makes the greatest changes in life are the habits you do when no one is watching.

It’s difficult sometimes to hold your posture, I know very well. But if we want to make any difference in the way we feel we must make an effort, just at the beginning until the habits become automatic. It will be worth it in the end.

Read my blog post on Posture: 3 Awesome Benefits Of  A Great Posture

 

Stretch your toes and fingers…one by one

This the the best feeling ever. And it’s not only me saying this. My clients and my readers stretch their finger and toes and they feel amazing as well.

Imagine your fingers all day tensed after tipping, carrying, throwing, catching and, in my case punching. Toes are the same, curled up in shoes (particularly high heel shoes…ouch!), walking, running. They need to stretch and relax.

 

Stretch your wrists

Pretty straight forward:

– bend your wrist and push one at a time with the free hand, to feel the stretch on top of the wrist

– palm facing up, push the fingers and palm down and pull them towards you, to feel the stretch on the opposite side

– palm facing down, pull the hand towards you (slowly); elbow tucked in; drive your thumb towards your body

– palm facing down, pull the hand towards you (slowly); elbow tucked in; drive your palm and little finger towards towards your body

 

Breathing exercises

Here I actually have a chapter of my upcoming book, Breathing Mastery, available for free download. 

Take the linear and triangle breathing techniques and practice them.

And if you want to know why correct deep breathing techniques are important, check out my blog: 16 benefits of deep breathing. Among them we have:

  1. Relaxes the mind and brings clarity, focus, allows room for more creativity and productivity.
  2. Helps detoxify your body.
  3. Relieves emotional struggles, calms you down in moments of panic and anxiety.
  4. Assists in weight control. More oxygen to your tissues burns up the excess fat more efficiently.
  5. Improves cellular regeneration.
  6. Encourages good posture. When you slouch notice how your body closes up and your breathing becomes shallow. Then you take a deep breath, your chest comes out and your body naturally straightens.

 

Stretch the sides of your body

I have a couple of pictures of you here:

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (10) Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (11)

 

Stretch your neck

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (7) Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (6)
Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (8) Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (9)

Stretch your forearm, shoulder and triceps

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (2) Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (3) Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (1)

Stretch your shoulders and chest

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (4) Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (5)

 

The Merisoiu Stretch (of course)

I must remind you here about safety on slippery surfaces. You can do this after you come out of the shower, better.

Should You Hurt After Your Workout?

Should You Hurt After Your Workout?


 

What is Delayed Onset Of Muscle Soreness or DOMS?

DOMS is that discomfort, or muscle ache or soreness, that occurs 24-48 hours after activity. Although I must say that some experts agree on 12-72 hours after activity.

Either way it happens to everyone, fitness beginners and elite athletes.

 

Why DOMS happens?

“Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common result of physical activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is accustomed to,” says David O. Draper, professor and director of the graduate program in sports medicine/athletic training at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. “Small microscopic tears occur in the muscle”.

 

Do you need to feel sore after your workout?

The aches and pains are a sign that the muscles are adapting to the new training routine, exercise or movement.

Adaptation means your muscles are making progress and they will perform the movement easier the next time you do it.

Hurting really bad doesn’t mean you worked really hard, rather it means that the movement or exercise you did is new for your body, it is strange and it needs to get accustomed to them.

DOMS does not indicate how hard you’ve worked. This is just a misconception. Your session can be really easy but very new and still get sore muscles the day after.

As mentioned before, it does indicate that your body is adapting to the type of training routine or movement. There is progress.

swimming

Variation

When you do the same things over and over again you plateau. Your muscles adapt to certain specific movements, or very similar, and those exercises become more comfortable to perform.

However, you are not made of a few main sets of muscles: quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings, gluteus maximus, triceps, biceps, trapezius.

To continuously develop your all round muscle strength you should cross train.

That means you vary your training. For example, let’s say you are a runner. Variations can be:

– cycling

– mobility and flexibility

– swimming

– strength training

– balance and body weight transfer

– rock climbing

 

And so you develop your muscle strength all round. You may get sore muscles if you do something new; that’s something you haven’t done at all for a couple of months. But that’s normal.

 

How to reduce muscle soreness

You cool down is the most important. This includes about 10 min of light aerobic training such as light jogging and then stretch, I’d say about 15 min of all body stretching.

Get some inspiration from Urban Fitness Academy visitors section.

Other options include: rest, ice, massage, heat.

I personally go with stretching.

 

Conclusion

Although we love to feel that pain because we get excited that we got results, the truth is no results occur over night. But sore muscles can tell you that in fact you are working the muscles.

On the other hand you should feel your body and be aware of which muscles work during your session and not based on the pain you feel after.

If you don’t feel pain the day after your session that does not mean your workout was a waste of time.

 

It is important to  make the difference between moderate muscle soreness induced by exercise and muscle overuse or injury. To know when when, for example, you are experiencing muscle soreness and when you have overstretched or pulled a muscle.

Oh…and if the soreness prevents you from doing daily activities that is too much and this will prevent you from continuing training. Not to mention some beginners end up hating it all together.

Insight Into My Personal Nutritional Habits

Insight Into My Personal Nutritional Habits


I think every one of my clients ask me the same question at one point in our coaching journey: Alex, what do you eat?

So I thought I would write some of my habits and answer this question for them and everyone else. They are neither the best habits nor the worst. Choose the ones you believe can benefit you.

I will talk about things that I do and things I do not do in terms of nutrition. And I will try to keep it real and tell you about the less good things as well hoping you will find something to learn from this.

 

Consistency

I have sustained this type of diet and lifestyle for many years. A few exceptions were made when I moved from country to country, when the first 3-6 months were a struggle to adapt to the local food.

However, my body is very well adapted to this kind of diet and lifestyle. So if you try any of these habits and you find they do not work in the first 3-6 months that means that either your body needs more time to adapt or this is not the right thing for you.

Just bear in mind that a lifetime of poor habits takes more than just a few months to change and for the body to adapt. You need patience and perseverance, be committed to your daily habits and don’t make exceptions after exceptions.

After all, exceptions made on a regular basis are actually habits.

Exceptions from my rules

Since we mentioned exceptions I make exceptions one day a week, and many times not even that. I don’t do this because I have to, but because I do not need to make those exceptions.

Many times we make exceptions because friends and family urge us to “have a break”. I don’t allow this to happen, and if I do I am very controlled no matter how much I like what I am eating.

I have developed this control over the years. It’s not something I’ve always done.

lifetime_habits

Fuel

Food for me is fuel for my body. Thus my food choices follow this rule. Taste is just an awesome add on.

 

Processed stuff

I used to have a pot of chocolate ice cream a month. I haven’t had for the past 3 months. But if I want it I will have it. I usually don’t want it, because I don’t really need it. Can’t think of anything else I have.

 

Dairy

Yes, I have dairy. Maybe a little too much sometimes. However I am aware of the quantity I have.

It is important to be mindful of your habits as this way you will be able to control them.

In my case dairy is cheese, white cheese (you find this in eastern Europe more), goats cheese (not any goats cheese) and yoghurt. That’s pretty much it.

 

Meat and fish

I grew up eating meat, all sorts. I am not vegetarian today but I eat meat very seldom. I do have fish 2-3 times a week.

 

Fruit

Every day. I don’t particularly like bananas for two reasons: there is not much water in them, they are pretty dry for me and they have a lot of sugar.

Since I don’t have a lot of sugary foods, bananas for me don’t taste that awesome. On the other hand I have them if I have no other choice of fruit.

I don’t have dried fruit. It’s again the taste of high sugar that I don’t like. This happens because I don’t have sugar in general so when I do have it’s too much.

 

Fresh vegetables

Every day. Every day I either have a big salad with each of my meals or I have them cut on a plate and I just have them like that, with cheese, or next to eggs, or whatever.

I always have my salads with: vinegar (not vinaigratte, but wine, apple or plum vinegar), olive oil and salt.

water-lemon

Drinks

Water. How much? Don’t know. I drink throughout the day, I have it next to me and in my back pack and I just drink.

Unsweetened tea. Not every day.

Warm water with lemon and ginger every morning and sometimes during the day. It’s not a “trend” thing though. I like lemon in general.

Grapefruit juice I make myself. By the way, have the pulp, the best things are in the pulp.

Coconut water….once in a blue moon when water and tea become useless for hydration. That’s it really.

 

Snacks

Baby or plum tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers.

Fruit. Depending on the season: strawberries, oranges, nectarines, sometimes grapes.

Nuts and seeds. I used to have every day because they are convenient, particularly when I coach several consecutive sessions.

But I was beginning to have too many so now I seldom have them. Although nutritionist advise us to have fruit with nuts, that just makes me not eat either. The combination for me is not great.

Natural yoghurt

 

I have every day: diary (that;s cheese and natural yoghurt), legumes: beans, peas, broccoli etc; quinoa and other similar stuff, warm water with lemon (every morning! ), fruit, vegetables

Other things I probably have 1-3 time a week: rice, eggs, honey, humus, broth or soups, meat, fish.

Every 2 months or even less often: these are more like treats: cereal (with the least sugar i can find) with rice milk, home made rice pudding

Twice a year …or 3 times maybe, I go “crazy” and I have: pizza or chips

 

Other habits

I don’t eat after 6-7 pm. I like to go to bed with my stomach calm.

I eat when I am hungry.

I finish eating when I am still hungry, 80% full. Remember the Food Discipline lessons I wrote the other day? Check them out.

I eat little and I get hungry more often. So I eat little and often. The fact that I have my own business gives me the possibility to live on my own terms. Having little food as often as I need to is very important for me and I can do that now. So you can say I am lucky….made my own luck really.

Discipline. I have my own food diary. I know what I have had in the week and month and I am mindful of the quantity of food I eat.

 

So there you have it. A summary of my habits. There will always be ups and downs but I respect my rules, if not 100% then very close to that anyway. Why? Read The Story Of How I Changed My Relationship With Food to better understand

 

Questions? You know how to find me.

Lifestyle Habits That Can Lead To Weight Gain

Lifestyle Habits That Can Lead To Weight Gain


There are three reactions taking place in our body at any given moment: Physical, Psychological and Chemical

Whenever there is a problem in one of those systems, chemical (digestion), psychological (high stress levels, depression), physical (injuries) the body will drive most of its resources to “fix” that problem with the respective system.

It does this by taking resources from the other two systems. And this way they end up imbalanced.

It is important to identify the cause of your problem: weight loss, weight gain, injuries etc beforehand.

So today I would like to give you some examples of weight gain triggers from each system.

balanced_weight

Physical

Sedentary lifestyle

If you read the book “The Story Of The Human Body” by Daniel Lieberman, and other books on evolution, you will learn that we are meant to move.

And move a lot. Hunter gatherers used to walk 15km or more. Today we walk 10 min around Tesco and get food that’s already prepared for us.

Furthermore, the fact that our body is mobile, has joints, is a good hint that it is not supposed to sit but move in all ways possible. Bicep curls are not what I have in mind when I think about movement.

 

Too little physical movement

You probably walk 30 min a day or so and you think it’s enough. Allow me to disagree. In the society we live today we sit far too much for 30 min a day to be enough.

Maybe in the past when we used to work in different, more active conditions it was very good but today …. it is not enough.  Walking is great but there is more needed: movement, flexibility, mobility, strength, stamina.

Moreover, you can’t always, for the rest of your life, count the calories you intake and the energy you use. That’s just a burden if you ask me. So use up your energy by practicing some type of movement every day.

I give my clients 5 min, 8 min, 10 min routines to practice every day for a few weeks at a time, each of them at their own level, but they move their bodies as well as walk.

 

Too much training

Yes you can do that. When we do too much of the same thing, same routine over and over again without changing must you over train.

Under times of stress, such as exercise, cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and its purpose is to maintain energy supply through the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and protein.

Cortisol is a double edge sword. When we are continually under stress, the body is constantly releasing cortisol. This triggers the release of sugar from the liver, which releases insulin from the pancreas, and which causes more fat storage.

 

Chemical

Toxic environment

The majority of harmful toxins come from medication, alcohol, cigarettes, and pesticides found in non-organic produce and processed products.

Your body protects itself from pollutants by building a layer of fat. It’s like an armour. When it can’t eliminate toxins, it stores them in your fat cells creating a type of buffer between the toxins and your body. And since the fat is protecting your body, its natural reaction is to protect itself by not burning the fat.

Exercising, breathing correctly, drinking water and eating the right foods will help your body eliminate those toxins, if done consistently and long term.

Create strong foundations which last for a lifetime.

 

Not eating truly nutritious foods.

Playing with food, this week good, next week bad, today was bad but yesterday was good is not the way to go. You will just go up and down, never finding a balance.

Aim to have a little bit of everything and a day when you can have anything you want.

If you keep the same diet for too long you plateau. A day off can get you out of the plateau.

 

Making too many exceptions and giving into cravings

If you want a lifestyle that is easy to maintain long term you need to stop thinking about food as a tasty, cultural treat and start seeing it as fuel for your body.

In essence that’s what food is: fuel. Food is not for us to play with and enjoy the taste. The taste is just an awesome add-on.

When this lesson sinks in, when you really understand it, your food choices will change. You will want only good quality fuel for your body and mind to function at its peak.

 

Not eating high quality foods that promote digestion

Fibre. We do not digest fibre but our body uses fibre for healthy digestion. Eating too much of it, particularly from sources such as pasta, creates bulk and we feel unwell, bloated, cramps etc.

When you eat the wrong foods your digestive tract suffers the consequences. This results in starvation response, which puts your body in fat storage mode and increases your hunger.

 

Eating too much, even if healthy

Quality and quantity are both important.

Carbs, fats and protein in high amounts will lead to fat storage. Your body can utilize a certain quantity of these essential macronutrients, it’s not infinite.

So if the body doesn’t use the nutrients for energy, or storage for later use, it will store the energy is in the adipose tissue, fat.

 

Psychological

Stress

We mentioned cortisol earlier. High levels of stress release too much cortisol in the body which, leads to weight gain. In a tiny nutshell that’s how it works.

 

Emotional eating

Stress, depression, worry all lead to unhealthy over eating and weight gain. We’ve all been there at one point in our lives.

However, I have experienced the stages myself and I can say that if you have good, solid foundations or food discipline habits in place, and they are automatic, emotional UNHEALTHY eating turns into emotional HEALTHY eating.

So instead of ice cream you will actually eat a lot of fruit, vegetables and other foods.

 

Negative self talk

Telling yourself all sort of negative things will not help either. You will only bring yourself into a position of stress, depression, worry and over eating.

If you have nothing particularly awesome to say, take action, change your habits, change your lifestyle accordingly and get yourself into the position where every day you have something awesome to say about yourself.

 

If you’d like to talk more about the three reaction do get in touch.

 

Posture. And The Message You Send Out

Posture. And The Message You Send Out


I remember one of my clients told me that the moment I shift the body weight onto one leg I change.

She noticed that when I balance my weight on body legs, stand grounded, tall and my body aligned I have a different attitude.

And she was right. The slightest body movement can send a different message. Sometimes those who receive the message are unaware of it, others feel it or even see it, either way it’s there.

 

Your body

The brain communicates with the body through nerves that send and receive information to and from anywhere in the body.

The nerves the body uses to send and receive information to and from the brain, all go through the neck and spine. Or should I say they come out, they originate, from the spine and then go everywhere in the body.

Your spine can be compared to a garden hose through which you have running water. If the hose is bent there is no water flowing, or very limited. The spine is curves but not bent.

Same goes with your neck. If the neck is not straight then those nerves will not be able to function optimally to send and receive information and so the reactions in the body will not take place in an effective way.

There is much more that takes place in your body as a consequence of your posture. For now just think that without nerves no much takes place in your body and if they don’t function properly it leads to many imbalances in the body.

 

There are mainly 2 kinds of people

Those who look down into the ground and compress the trachea which can restrict breathing. This position also encourages slouching which, in turn, leads to compressing the rib cage and internal organs. Pressure builds up.

Those who tilt their heads backwards and put a lot of strain on their spine. This also leads to slouching as the shoulders drop forwards.

This is very basic but you go the idea. What we need to find is a balance between the two.

That balance is the elongated, relaxed and aligned posture.

computer-15812_1280

Your mind

In his studies and practice Frederick Matthias Alexander, as in the Alexander Technique, helped not only patients suffering from physical pain such as neck, shoulders and lower back but he also helped his patients suffering with depression by re-educating their manner of USE, the use they were using their bodies.

It is no surprise that posture affects physical wellbeing as well as mental.

When you are sad for example, all you need to do it change your stance and that changes your mood as well. These are your power stances.

When feel sorry for yourself, you slouch and look into the ground. But the moment you lift your head high and look ahead your attitude changes as well.

These are basic, simple examples. They work in probably any situation. Stand tall and confident and you will notice how your mood, your thoughts and emotions change almost instantly.

 

In self defense

In fact in martial arts and self defence among the first things they talk about is posture, how you walk  and attitude.

You see, someone who walks with their head into the ground, hands in their pockets and slouching are seen as less confident and vulnerable and they often fall victims.

When you are confident on the inside, which can be influenced by your posture, you send out confidence.

 

In business

Here’s what you might be interested in more. Posture is body language.

In business, negotiations, when you speak in public, when you walk on stage, your posture is the first thing people see.

Actually they do not see your posture, what they actually see is your attitude and confidence.

They see the confidence you have in your own product and service or the words you speak.

What are you telling your audience? That what you do is the best or that you are not very sure whether they should buy from you or not?

 

Every moment of every day you send a message through your posture. What is the message you send out?

 [tweetthis]Every moment of every day you send a message through your #posture. What is the message you send out?[/tweetthis]

For me, the journey to an improved posture started when I was 8 years old. That doesn’t make my posture perfect, no one has a perfect posture. However I know I do send out the right message.

Karate Shotokan, Daito Ryu, target shooting, archery, Latin American dancing and all the other sports I practiced since 1995 all require a good command of the body and mind. They also require confidence, power and mental strength.

And posture is where everything begins. As posture will determine the kind and quality of physical movement you engage in and what happens in your mind.

So posture for me, and for my clients, is number one. From the first day we meet my clients hear my talk about posture and every sessions after that.

 

How about you? Do you think posture matters in your business, profession and life in general? If you are unsure how to achieve a relaxed, elongated and confident posture I would like to invite you on a call with me.

There will be no pitching or selling, and I will take you through a guided visualization which will help you improve your posture. Here’s how you can book.

 

 

Food Discipline Lessons To Live By

Food Discipline Lessons To Live By


We all know why we gain weight, why we feel bloated or unwell. We all know that nutrition is what keeps us alive, healthy and in peak performance.

And we also know if the quality of the food we eat is not high quality then the way our body functions will not be either.

And you know very well, I am sure, the kind of food you should eat to allow your body to thrive and the kind of food your should avoid. We all know this.

However, for some reason, a lot of people still struggle to develop healthy habits. We make exceptions so often that they begin to look like regular habits rather then exceptions.

We blame it on sugar addiction and while it is true that once you start eating sugar it’s difficult to stop, I do not agree that sugar should be compared with drugs.

Many people, including myself, come off sugar and you don’t see us hitting our heads against the wall. Yes, we may be grumpy in the first 3-5 days after we stop eating sugar but once it’s out of the system it’s out. Until you bring it back that is.

Some cases I more difficult than others but, in the end, no one forces a tablespoon or ice cream down your throat. You do it yourself.

Looking back at my life, how I changed my relationship with food I realized that it was not the knowledge but the discipline that made the greatest difference.

If I didn’t have the discipline all the knowledge and nutritionists in the world wouldn’t have been able to change my habits. Your life cannot change until you decide and commit to change it.

So I dug deep into my personal habits and came up with Food Discipline lessons for my clients. And today I will share with you some of those lessons:

 

Lesson 1 – Eat high quality when craving otherwise

When you crave sweets or unhealthy snacks and foods think whether you have actually eaten a proper meal that day.

Many times we crave those things because we are actually hungry. Surely we don’t actually  need them. Once you eat a proper meal you will find that you don’t crave them anymore.

Eat high quality food when you crave unhealthy options.

The choice is yours.

 

Lesson 2 – Don’t have them when you crave them

Don’t give your brain the satisfaction of giving it what it craves, when it craves. It will never stop craving because it will learn that craving/asking also means receiving. So it will always crave.

Instead, if you do what to have that treat then have it when you do not crave it.

You have the power to decide what you are going to eat. You are in control of the decisions you make in your life.

Make a conscious choice not to have unhealthy foods when you crave them. You may realize that is a passing phase anyway.

The choice is yours.

food_discipline_lessons

Lesson 3 – Never twice

This is particularly important if you want to lose weight but also if you want to maintain it and also if you don’t want to feel bloated and….well it’s good for everyone really.

Sometimes we eat healthy but we overeat. And this itself prevents us from losing weight or makes us gain weight, as well as making the digestive system overwork.

One way to control the quantity of food you eat is to never serve yourself twice. Once you’ve eaten what was on your plate that’s it.

 

Lesson 4 – 30 Minutes

After you eat your meal don’t jump straight into dessert, even if it’s a fruit. Make a habit of waiting 30 min. It’s roughly the amount of time it takes the feeling of fullness to reach your brain.

By the end of the 30 min you might realize you don’t need to have anything else anymore.

And so you save yourself from feeling bloated, eating too much, feeling too full and of course calories for those of you who are looking to lose weight.

You can have your fruit later on, as a snack if you still want it. But give your digestive system time and room to breathe even if you really, really want to have that piece of fruit.

The choice is yours.

 

Lesson 5 – Fuel

Look at food as fuel for your body. Because, if we leave aside the love for food and it’s taste, that’s what food does.

That’s the purpose of food, it is not to satisfy our taste buds, although it’s nice to have both of course. However Its purpose is to keep us alive, to fuel us, our brain, our muscles, organs.

When you begin to understand this, really understand it, your food choices will change and you will begin to give your body good quality fuel.

And it can be tasty in the same time. It’s a win win.

This is one of the first things I did when I changed my relationship with food. If you haven’t read my story yet check it out here.

 

There are so many other habits and lessons I take my clients through on an individual basis, but for the moment 5 lessons are enough to get you started.

 

How to put them into application:

I always say focus on one thing at a time as it will make a greater difference.

Thus, you have 5 lessons. Each week focus on one lesson and one lesson only.

Tip: take a post it note or a piece of paper and stick in on your fridge so, throughout the week, you are constantly reminded about the Food Discipline lesson you have for the week.

After you so each lesson a few times they will become second nature and you will not need support.

Remember The choice is only yours. You are in control.

 

If you are considering implementing Food Discipline lessons in your life, or you’d like a different approach and different habits I can help you.

If you book a call for this purpose there will be no sales or pitching, instead I will help you with a plan to implement habits and Food Discipline lessons into your life starting today. Book a free call here.

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons Why You Should Have Your Own Personal Health Coach

10 Reasons Why You Should Have Your Own Personal Health Coach


Have you ever asked yourself whether or not you need a coach? If so, here are a few reasons why a Personal Health Coach can be a good idea if you want to get results. It will also help you decide whether you need one or not. Not everyone needs a coach and coaching is not for everyone.

1. Consistency and accountability!

I will begin with these 2 because they are essential to get lasting results. You will see your Personal Coach weekly, or maybe even more often and they will make sure you get things done to get results. And even if you make mistakes they will be there to guide you back on track.

Your success is your coach’s success.

Personally I keep in touch with each of my clients in between the sessions, asking them how their week is going, if they did the routine we have chosen for them to do, what they struggles are and so on.

And those who are committed to transform their lives do the work, make time and make it possible and they do get what they seek.

 

2. Trusted source of information

We do our research. We study, test and learn. You have access to all that information, so you don’t have to waste time on reading everything on the internet.

Furthermore, there are things you cannot learn from a book.

 

3. Saves you time

It takes time to come up with exercises and routines to get the best results. If, for example, you do the same routine at some point you have to change it or you will stop making any progress and you might actually regress.

See my blog on the adaptation process to better understand what I am talking about.

 

4. Gets results

There is a reason athletes have coaches. As athletes, although we know a lot about our sport and we can actually coach others, we still need coaches. Because you cannot push yourself harder than someone else can push you.

 

5. Gets results….safe

It is important not to compromise aesthetics for a healthy body. What I mean is that too many of us focus on weight loss at our body’s expense.

Remember that weight will always go up and down, but once you damage your body it takes years to heal. In some cases certain injuries never heal completely.

 

6. Out of your comfort zone

You can only take yourself out of the comfort zone so far. And if you are not taken out of your comfort zone you will never get results.

If what you do doesn’t make you grow stop doing it, there’s no point doing it.

[tweetthis]If what you do doesn’t make you grow stop doing it, there’s no point doing it.[/tweetthis]

Urban Women Fitnes - The Merisoiu Technique

7. Attention and care

Having a Personal Coach it’s…well…personal. You and your coach will get to know each other very well.

Your sessions together are not limited to the 1h-1h30min a week but you talk in between your sessions. That’s how you get long lasting results, by having someone who cares guiding you.

Your coach will create a training program that will take into account your goals and aspirations but also who you are as a person.

8. Saves you money

You may think not, particularly if it’s an expensive coach, however your personal coach can teach you how to care for your body inside and out.

They coach you smart, keeping you away from injuries and they can give you tools you will be using for a lifetime, that will save you money on physiotherapy sessions, diets and all sorts of things you really don’t need once you establish strong foundations.

My Sensei once told me that when someone asks for a certain amount of money, which seems a lot, that means there is always something more than the eye can see. In some cases this is spot on.

9. After coaching resources

You personal coach may have online resources so when you finish your personal coaching together you have everything ready for you to continue by yourself.

For example I give my clients lifetime access to the UWF Academy which follows 12 weeks of weekly training, food discipline, technique guides, meditations and more.

And they can do these programs over and over and over again. This is very valuable as they can do things by themselves and not always depend on someone else.

10. Motivation and support

When the tough gets tough many people give up, they reset and then have to start all over again. Remember, consistency is key to make progress and get results. Those who have their Personal Coach are less likely to give up.

There is someone there behind you to push you forwards and walk the journey with you. Of course you can cancel your sessions but will you? I am pretty sure you will not.

When you give up you reset and have to start all over again, if you continue no matter how difficult it gets that’s how you get the results. And how do you keep going when you want to stop? Yep, that’s right, you have a Personal Coach before you even get to that stage.

The Story Of How I Changed My Relationship With Food

The Story Of How I Changed My Relationship With Food


This is one of my stories and one that will shed some light on why I am the way I am, why I know the things I know and why I coach the way I coach.

It is the story of how I built healthy habits that stuck for a lifetime. It’s long but I tried to make it easy to read.

And I actually had to talk to my mother to remember when everything began. Everything as in me eating healthy and being aware and caring about the fuel I gave my body to work with.

 

The Beginning

I began practicing Martial Arts in 1995. My diet mostly consisted of broths, home cooked meals, sandwiches at school, I didn’t grow up with breakfast cereal.

However, believe it or not when I was a child and through part of my teenage I used to drink Coca Cola and Sprite. I used to drink a whole 2l bottle sometimes in just one day. Seriously.

That was until one day when I threw up after drinking coca cola and eating a sandwich. And it was not the sandwich that got me sick. That was the end of that for me.

I also used to eat fast food. I didn’t do that all the time but it was on a weekly basis. Fast food was on the menu frequently, again in between those broths I didn’t like then and now I love.

However the fact that we, my family, would not generally eat take aways, or go to restaurants or visit too many people, it kinda levelled up the toxins I’d put in my body a couple of times a week. I was extremely skinny though. I didn’t end up obese, somehow. Anyway, let’s just say I wasn’t always like you see me today with regards to food.

In 2003-2004 (if I remember well) I was at least 10kg heavier that what I am today. That’s 22 lb. Seriously…again.

Nonetheless I went onto a difficult journey.

 

The Downfall

When you are an athlete training 6 days a week and competing at international level you don’t really care about the amount of food you eat, even if it’s healthy. You just eat and burn everything straight away.

But…when you stop training, or go from 6 sessions a week to 3, and you still eat a lot of food and you also start eating more garbage food, well that changes your life….and weight, and not for the better.

I went to France with a friend to visit my family. For 2 months we ate burgers and chips at unusual hours, 1 am, 2 am, it didn’t matter. Now I’d never do either of those.

Long story short, I got home and I was 10kg heavier. Yes, I felt fat, that was fat for me and we all know how it can go further and further if you don’t wake up and do something about it.

From being slim and toned to clothes not fitting me anymore. I didn’t feel good in my own body anymore. The transformation was incredible, in all the wrong ways.

Running

The Commitment

Soon after, I made a decision… no, I made a COMMITMENT to myself that it was time to change. That I was going to lose the weight and get back to myself again where I felt strong in my body, and moved freely and gracefully, I made a commitment that I would fit in my clothes again.

That meant training again and eating better, better than even before the weight gain.
So bread was out. For years I didn’t touch it, now I do a couple of times a month, even less than that. No pasta, no pizza, no breakfast cereals, less rice and less potatoes. I still had the later 2 but only 2-3 times a week.

No more sweets, or ice cream or anything that wasn’t supposed to be there. Not even dark chocolate, which I hated by the way. Now I learnt to like it…kinda. And no more homemade jams or pastries or Christmas family food and so on.

In 2007 I took up running and since then I never looked back.

Can I also say that when all this started to change and I found my balance through nutrition and training the friend I went on the wrong road with disappeared from my life. It’s as if she was there to show me a different way.

Once You change your environment automatically changes as well. It all comes from within you. But I didn’t know that then.

 

The Struggle

It was difficult, not only because I was changing habits and refusing to give my brain what it craved and when it craves but because no one would understand why I would say no to grandma’s jams and my cousin’s awesome pies and desserts. And why I wouldn’t make exceptions.

They did not understand that making exceptions every day will turn that into a habit rather than an exception.

So they would offer me and ask me if I wanted foods they knew I loved. No one understood how difficult it was for me to say no, until I got those toxins out of the system and then it got easier and easier.

Sure, I had my “let go day” but that was once in a while.

And the first 3-6 months were the worst. That’s why today my coaching programs are 3 or 6 months. It takes time to build habits that last for a lifetime.

I did it myself, been through it and now I guide others. Of course it is down to each of us to put the work in. As my Sensei once told me: we [coaches] open the book for you but we cannot read it for you.

 

The Result

The result was that by changing what I ate and train up to 6 days out of 7, by building healthy habits that would stick for a life time, by taking my time (1-2 years), be patient, and focusing on the process every day, instead of weighing myself every day and seeing myself fat, was that I went from 60+ kg to 49 (3 kg thinner than today)!! To the point that people thought I wasn’t eat.

What they didn’t know was that I would eat a lot of the right foods and train every day. Not walking, training. Not exercising, training. Training to get better at running. Training to get stronger and more flexible. Training with a purpose, to learn and to develop.

I was the strongest and fittest and healthiest than ever before. And I was working in an office 8 hours and after than I had my Masters courses. Before work and after the courses I would run and ice skate or take my waveboard out.

There are many, many habits I changed in those 2-3 years. And they stuck with me and they will be part of my life forever.

Today I am in a place where I have control over my life, I am aware, more disciplined and able to guide others on their journey to building Food Discipline and foundations that last for a lifetime.

 

The Lessons

I learnt so many lessons I teach my clients today and probably the most important ones have to do with creating habits and a lifestyle that will last forever through discipline and strong foundations.

In the end I don’t get you healthy and fit for summer, I teach you to be and stay healthy and fit for the rest of your life.
This is my story. What’s yours? Are you committed to change your life like I did? If so, book a FREE call with me and let’s see how we can make than happen by building strong foundations to last for a lifetime. Book here.

This Is Why You Feel You Are Not Making Progress

This Is Why You Feel You Are Not Making Progress


The reality is we all go through them. You know, the dips. Those moments that can last for days and weeks, where you feel you’re not getting anywhere, you just want to kinda “take your toys and go home”. You feel you’re not making any progress, or even worse you feel you are regressing!!

What a horrible feeling! Especially when you work really hard to get those results.

But you know what, if we didn’t have those dips we would never see any progress in the first place, in anything. Whether it’s training, or a new diet or a change in lifestyle habits, or even building a business and a brand, believe it or not. Entrepreneurship takes you through the same process.

And actually it’s those dips that make you grow. What happens is the adaption process. And this is how it works:

 

The Stimulus

This is your new training routine or you come back after months or years of not training.

And even if you have always been training when you start a new, intensive routine, that’s the stimulus that starts the adaptation process.

 

The Alarm Phase

The alarm phase follows the beginning of your training routine, or a new training routine, the initial stimulus.

This is where you feel you’re not going to make it. It’s difficult to push through. But that’s also when the adaptations in the nervous system occurs. It’s the first stage of adaptation.

Any stimulus will initially lead to a decrease in performance in the alarm phase. And this phase can last for days or weeks. During this period, you may experience fatigue, stiffness and soreness and a temporary drop in physical performance. Some confuse this with over training. Nope, that comes later and only if you keep doing the same things without changing anything, there are certain conditions.

The alarm phase is a must as without it we would not have the next stage, the adaptation phase. You must go through the alarm phase.

By the way, this is when most people give up. Whether we talk about a new diet, lifestyle or training routine, when the tough gets tough here’s where most give up. But if you push through it you reach the next stage.

women running

The Adaptation

If you “survive” the alarm phase adaptations begin to occur.

This is where your nervous system has adapted and you begin to notice muscular and aerobic adaptions. This is progress in performance.

There are also skeletal adaptations taking place and that is why it is essential not to grow the muscle mass too much too fast, to allow the skeletal changes to take place as well. Otherwise it will lead to joint damage. Slow progress is the best. It’s about building strong foundations first.

 

The Plateau

We’ve all heard about the plateau. You know, when you adapt to a certain routine and you stop making progress, or make very small progress.

It’s part of the adaptation process and unless you give the body another routine, to stimulate adaptation again, it will only be a maintenance program. You’re not getting anywhere when you hit that plateau.

Furthermore if you stay for too long in the plateau your performance will slowly begin to decrease as you reach the exhaustion phase which can lead to over training. This is where over training can occur.

This is where you need a scheduled break. By break I mean you either do a type of training like balance and fluid movement or do a different sport like swimming if you are a runner. You don’t just stop for a few weeks and do nothing at all.

 

The Exhaustion Phase

This is critical. You see so many gym enthusiasts doing the same routine for months, some even for years without changing much or anything at all.

Continuous exposure to the same routine, or stimulus, will eventually lead to overtraining. This is due to the inability of the body to tolerate the cumulative stress of the same stimulus over a period of time.

This is why I always say variation is key.

The exhaustion phase is characterised by a decrease in physical performance, as well as monotony, soreness and fatigue.

So the aim is to keep the body in the adaptation phase as long as possible. And to do this you need:

– periods of rest scheduled into the programme – remember rest doesn’t necesssarily mean you sleep all day and do nothing

– stimulus to be changed on a regular basis

 

This is how the process looks:

adaptation.

Technical Plateau

This is an element of the plateau which although it is not part of the adaptation process it’s something I’ve experienced in my athletic career and as a coach. And I’ve seen it in other sports people as well. Or rather heard about it.

The technical plateau is when you feel you just can’t get it right. You are still making progress in terms of adaptations, as we discussed above, but technical wise it feel weird and unusual. You just can’t get it right no matter how much you try. It’s like you have just lost your mojo, you know what I mean?

This is normal. It’s similar to the alarm phase. And what follows the alarm phase? Yep, adaption and progress. At some point you just get it right and it feels perfect.

 

So what do you do when you feel like you’ve lost your mojo?

1. Have patience

2. Focus on the process, on your training regime,  rather than on how things are not working out right that moment. Do your very best.

3. Have a coach, who can tell you what’s happening and who has been and/or goes through similar experiences and is familiar with the 4. phases. I believe a coach should go through all the stages themselves to be able to guide others through them.

4. Know that, if you coach says your techniques is fine, you are just in a dip and when you come out of it, in a few days or weeks, you will witness great progress.

5. Vary your training. For example I look to do something else than Karate, like Obstacle Racing. When you train and focus too hard on one thing, in my case the World Championship, you stretch yourself too much. You stretch like a rubber band and there so much a rubber band can stretch. It needs a bit of slack as some point.

I’ve been an athlete since 1995. Can you imagine how many adaption processes I went through? And they are never the same. But it’s beautiful to come out on the other side and see the massive progress. And this also helps me understand the different phases my clients go through and I am able to guide them accordingly

 

The same process applies to a new diet, implementing habits in your life, getting a new job, becoming an entrepreneur, moving from one country to another. You go through the initial alarm phase, adaptation and then plateau.

In terms of diet and healthy habits however, you want to reach the plateau, that’s where it gets comfortable and your body has adapted to the new types of food and new habits. Simple right?

Now that you understand how it all works you will not give up after a month or two of training or trying something new right? You know you are going through the alarm phase.

Are you going through any alarm phases or plateaus and not sure how to get through them? Are you stuck? Book a FREE call with me and let’s see how you can get through it.

Why I Don’t Give Free Sessions

Why I Don’t Give Free Sessions


When I began my journey in the industry I was a Personal Trainer in a gym. Among the first things I was advised to do was give free sessions away so members know who I was and what I was doing.

So I did, I gave away hundreds of sessions for free while at the gym. All was good. I loved what I did, and still love it, so I was doing it with a lot of pleasure.

However, it became clear that those who really wanted to get results have decided to work with me and were committed, they didn’t even need that free session.

On the other side, many of the people I gave free sessions to not only were they not committed to change anything in their lives but they didn’t even follow the program I gave them. Actually many would now set foot in the gym for months. Or just kept walking on the treadmill.

So here’s my point. A free session will not actually show you anything. You think you would see what I do, but you won’t.

I don’t know about other coaches and trainers but my coaching sessions each have a theme, a topic we work on. It’s not all in one. And I insist on a very detailed approach, we leave nothing unclear.

Among the many techniques we look at posture, breathing, how to move your body. If I give you this all in one session you will go home without learning anything.

And if you want a bit of everything just to see how it is you will get nothing out of it. You will just be left confused.

You will not understand the principles behind the movement, your mind will have several  different themes and topics from only one session.

It’s like trying to learn maths, English grammar, chemistry, sewing and play football in 1h30min.

There is no clarity to what and how you did and there is no pattern. There is the creative side, but everything is coached with purpose, nothing is random.

Urban Women Fitness Paris(1)

The dangers of knowing too little

Learning a little bit is useless, incomplete and in some cases dangerous. Not knowing what to do with the information you receive and how to use it in the correct way can lead to injuries.

Plus how many details of what I taught you will you actually remember?

So you go home and you will practice an exercise you vaguely remember, you will practice it repeatedly for weeks and months and then you start getting pain.

A free session will no introduce you to a system. You can make a program that doesn’t need supervision, a simple pressups, squat, lunge, crunch program but nothing more than that.

However when you decide to work with me, learning and practicing The Merisoiu Technique, you commit to actually learning and growing.

You can learn crunches and do 100 of them by yourself, you don’t need me to sit next to you and count? But you do need my help for guidance on more complex movements which do more for your body and nervous system.

The Merisoiu Technique is a practice and without practicing it you will never benefit from it. It’s not a one session thing.

PLUS all my sessions are 1hr30 and we are mindful and work deep, we are not superficial and there are no quick fixes.

 

My programs are either 3 months or 6 months. Either way you will go at least twice through the same theme, double that for 6 months programs.

First time you get familiar with the exercises and drills and the second time you understand how it works and remember most of the technical points so you can do it yourself.

 

But a consultation is extremely important

As you already know I do give 45 min free consultations over Skype or phone. This is very, very important.

The free 45 minute call is to delve deep into your goals and aspirations to see whether you are even suitable for coaching with a health and wellness coach.

Much work goes into the evaluation and planning stage. It is not a simple 30 min training plan with 5 exercises, 10 reps each. That’s not enough to build foundations and achieve real transformational results my clients leave our programs with.

The only way to benefit from the work we do is to evaluate where you are at to start with and that’s what we do on the 45 min call.

 

If this resonates with you feel free to book the 45 min free call right here.

Why I Am Not A Personal Trainer

Why I Am Not A Personal Trainer


Who would have thought that the knowledge about the body learnt after thousands of hours spent in the Dojo training for Karate competitions and teaching will be the foundations of my coaching today.

Everything from breathing, posture and meditation to developing a strong, flexible and healthy body as well as knowledge about bones, tendons and muscles were ingrained in me from an early age. All I needed to do is fill in the gaps through studying and experimenting on myself and form a complete system: The Merisoiu Technique.

 

So why am I not a Personal Trainer?

I was a PT for the beginning of my career in the health and fitness industry. As a PT I used to help my clients lose weight, tone up, get fit, gain muscle mass as well as nutritional advice.

I loved it. I loved it until I realized that I had so much more to give my clients. And I wasn’t. I couldn’t give what I wanted and the way I wanted. I wanted to transform my clients’ lives by addressing the foundations and personal development.

Now as a Coach I not only help my clients with their physical appearance and wellbeing but change the way they live their lives.

I don’t coach my clients to get fit and healthy for the summer, I coach them to be fit and healthy for the rest of their lives. And we do it by addressing the root cause of their imbalances and slowly changing habits, starting with the smallest ones.

My clients leave my programs with a lot of knowledge about their bodies and how they function. They receive intrinsic knowledge which they cannot learn from a book. This comes from years and years of experience. In essence it’s a Personal Development journey.

I wanted to introduce my clients to a new way of living life. So I transitioned from Personal Training to Transformational Coaching…outdoors

[tweetthis]I wanted to introduce my clients to a new way of living life.[/tweetthis]

Alexandra Merisoiu Shotokan Shield Open Karate Championships

The roots of The Merisoiu Technique

So when I created the system, The Merisoiu Technique, it was because my clients wanted to get fit, strong and powerful. However they also needed to understand how their bodies function, how to move soft and fluid and how to prevent injury as much as possible. And it was essential not to sacrifice the later for the former.

It was imperative for them to understand the difference between tension and relaxation, intentional movement, posture and balance and counterbalance. The Mindful Control component is where my clients learn to bring together or to align body, breath, and mind. And then to catapult their results we brought in the physical and psychological benefits and the freedom of training outdoors all year round. Benefits such as strength and emotional balance. And of course the nutrition and healthy habits part.

Finally, it became clear that my clients needed to have access to a complete system which would offer them the foundations they needed to live a healthy and fit life for the rest of their lives. Once you understand the basics of movement, posture, breathing, nutrition and Mindful Control then you actually become in control of your own life, for the rest of your life.

All in all The Merisoiu Technique involves coordinated movement, breath, and awareness, building a strong and fit body and learning how to implement healthy habits and nutrition. It’s about building the foundations of a healthy lifestyle and reclaiming your nature.

Alexandra Merisoiu Watch Fit

The principles of The Merisoiu Technique

The Technique covers five main areas of health and wellness:

 

Earthing

It is no coincidence that The Merisoiu Technique is an outdoors system of Personal Development which takes place all year round, be it hot, cold, freezing or rain.

I believe nature is the most powerful force. And when you train with natures elements you become as powerful as the elements. Well…almost as powerful. It’s perfection to strive for. However they do make your stronger than you have ever thought you could be.

One of the elements of The Technique that many are afraid of is rain and winter training. What many don’t realize is that this is your challenge, this is what shows how dedicated you are to the way, the path you chose.

And this is when you strengthen your body and mind, more than in any other season. Winter is the season of breakthroughs for all my clients. You make it through winter training with me, you make it through almost anything else.

 

Natural Movement

Natural movement was created by Movnat Founder Erwan LeCorre. It’s training and conditioning the body through movement such as lifting, throwing, hanging, crawling, balancing, running, walking. So you will find natural movement element in this system as well.

 

Fluid Movement

I have personally development a range of fluid movement sequences based on my experience in Martial Arts. Imagine Tai Chi but different.

Fluid movement can be done very slow, slow, fast or very fast, it can still flow. The Merisoiu Technique fluid movement sequences covers all.

 

Mindful Control

Here we pay close attention to posture awareness, breathing mastery, attention and focus, technique and discipline.

This component also includes mindfulness and meditation practices.

There is a touch of Alexander Principles in the Mindful Control component

 

Habits Transformation

This component addresses any habits in your life that keep you from getting fit and healthy for life.

In general, with my client, we focus on nutrition,  food discipline, individual training routines planned weekly and meditations.

 

So you see, this is a complete system. It pays close attention to every detail of your life. From breathing to posture and daily movement.

Your training never ends in the forest we train, it goes beyond. You take this knowledge home with you and you transform your life. What I was doing as a PT could not be taken home, it was left in the gym and it was changing your body but it didn’t go much further than that.

 

If this sounds like something you desire I invite you to book a FREE call with me to go over the struggles you are facing and see what are the best options for us to work together.

8 Reasons Why Training Outdoors Is Less Stressful

8 Reasons Why Training Outdoors Is Less Stressful


We have too much stress and worry in our lives. If keeping our bodies healthy and strong has to be stressful as well then we are getting nowhere. It’s just…wrong.

So here’s why training outdoors is far less stressful, just a few of the reasons

 

1. Dirty shoes, or shoeless, doesn’t matter

When you enter the gym with dirty shoes you feel awful or other people staring at you make you feel awful. Outdoors no one cares, not even the squirrels. They can be full of mud for a month if you don’t feel like washing them up. In the gym you can’t go with dirty shoes, they would probably kick you out.

And you can’t take your shoes off either, healthy and safety regulations. And if you do, or others do, imagine the smell 😉 No stress.

 

2. Where will you go?

A problem I faced with my clients very often when I was a gym PT. If there is sweat on the floor how many option do you have? Yuck. How far can you go? In the outdoors if there’s dog poo here you just take two steps to the side and it’s clean. No stress.

 

3. No space to move

In the gym if you don’t like a corner of the gym you can only move a few feet away before you hit a wall. Outdoors you can run or walk for 10 min and you find a totally different place. Unique. No stress.

 

4. Too crowded

In the gym, when it’s busy you struggle to find your little corner to do your sit-ups. That or do them in the middle of the gym…if you have room. In the outdoors you have km of land, you can go anywhere you feel comfortable. No stress.

 

5. Too close for comfort

In the gym is someone moves around to much, like skipping rope, or pushing and smashing things against the ground they almost step on your feet or hit you.

In the outdoors there is room for anyone to do anything, wherever they want whenever they want, and you as well. No need to go around others to make sure you don’t get hit. No stress.

 

6. Rainy days

If it rains and you want to enter the gym you have to dry up first. In the outdoors the more it rains on you get the more incredible you feel. And no one kicks you out. No stress.

 

7. Things break down

In the gym is your favorite piece of equipment breaks down….or worse if someone sits there for half hour, you need to change your routine.

In the outdoors there is no equipment. And you don’t need any, to get and stay healthy and fit. All you need is your body and creativity. Lots and lots of creativity. No one will take that and it won’t break down. You just have to make sure your body, the only equipment yo need, will not break down. Ahhhh…No stress.

Photo Credit: martinak15 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: martinak15 via Compfight cc

8. On your own terms

Don’t you hate it when you want to do an early morning training and have to wait for the doors to open?

The gym closes and opens at certain times…..that won’t happen outdoors. No stress.
In the outdoors you can do whatever you want (with respect for nature, law and oters around you) and whenever you want! Who’s up for 3am training? No stress.

 

In summary…

Outdoors you don’t have to be worry about being clean, how you smell, how you look, your makeup, huffin’ a f puffin’ or any other sounds you want and feel like making. Not worry about throwing stuff around, about people looking weird at you, someone interrupting your training to say “hello” or give you their invaluable advice. Or worse, trying to sell you stuff. No stress.

Outdoors you are you, you can be anyone you want, you can do whatever you want, within the rule of law and respecting others and nature.

Outdoors training doesn’t mean you do the same boring gym routines just outdoors. Outdoors you can train for strength, cardio, flexibility, mobility, endurance and you don’t even have run on the hamster wheel (aka treadmill). And it’s a lot more challenging.

 

Finally, training outdoors is freakin’ awesome! And if you have the right guidance, knowledge and source of creativity you will have the time of your life and awesome stories to tell your friends and family. Who will ever tell the story of how they ran on the treadmill.

 

Ready?

Do you feel in any way intimidated by the gym book a free call with me and we can come up with an outdoors specific training routine for you. Are you ready for this adventure? Let’s make you life awesome.

What Is A Walk-A-Bit? What Does It Do?

What Is A Walk-A-Bit? What Does It Do?


During our sessions, at times, I ask my clients to “go for a walk”. This usually comes after an exercise, whether it’s a strong one or a light fluid movement one the WalkABit is like a reset for the body and mind, after which we resume training.

As opposed to walking meditation, we do not put a specific focus on the walking itself. Walking meditation is a component of our training but it’s not Walk-A-Bit.

You know when you think about something really intense? When you focus really hard to get something done and do it properly? And sometimes the harder you try the less it works, you simply cannot do it. Or you do it but it exhausts you, the mental effort required when focusing on one thing for a while.

Well that happens in my coaching, there is a lot of focus needed as my coaching involved very technical elements. So a WalkaBit is the perfect way to reset so my clients can give another try. It’s like clicking refresh on this page.

When your computer has glitches, sometimes all you need to do is switch it off and back on. That’s the Walk-A-Bit.

Alexndra Merisoiu

So how do you do Walk-A-Bit?

It’s simple, yet complex. It requires total relaxation of the upper limbs and maximum relaxation of the lower limbs without losing form, without losing posture.

If you think it’s easy think again. Nowadays we are so closed up in our bodies that letting go, relaxing is almost impossible. Making the difference between tension and stress and relaxation is essential in my coaching.

Walk-A-Bit means walking normal, not slow, not fast, just normal.

Walk-A-Bit is just walking. Walking to reset joints, muscles, ligaments, to re-align the body.

Walk-A-Bit means letting go. Letting go of the arms from the shoulder, letting them go floppy as if they don’t belong to your body anymore.

Walk-A-Bit means feeling the grass underneath your feet, or even the mud, the earth, the carpet, whatever is there under your feet. Walk-A-Bit is best done barefoot

Walk-A-Bit is about resetting the body.

You don’t focus on anything in particular though. In walking meditation the focus is on walking and feeling the ground, feeling how you pick up your feet off the floor and so on.

Walk-A-Bit is just walking, without a focus, walking to bring the body to it’s natural stance and state.

 

There you have it, the Walk-A-Bit as part of The Merisoiu Technique.

How To Build Food Discipline

How To Build Food Discipline


One of those blogs again, right? How can you possibly build discipline in one step? It’s difficult, right?

Just because we lost control that doesn’t make it difficult. Is food controlling you? I mean, really! Don’t tell me food is controlling you.

You are in control. This might upset some people but it is the truth. You have the control over your life and that includes everything you eat. No one forces you to put that bagel in your month . You have the power to make choices. Through those choices you decide how tomorrow will look like.

Yeah, but I am fit, it’s easy for me to talk, right?

Ah, but you cannot assume that because I am fit today I was always like this and I don’t have my own struggles.

Secret #1: If I gave up training I’d start putting on weight. I eat a lot. I eat healthy, because that’s how I was brought up. But I eat a lot. And I can eat less, as I said it’s a choice. But I’d feel miserable. So I prefer to train.

Secret #2: I used to be about 10kg heavier than today, just a few years ago. I wasn’t always how you see me know. And it took me a few years to get here. Because I don’t exercise to lose weight. In fact I don’t exercise. I train, I train with a purpose. I train to learn and develop skills not to burn calories, those come with it.

Weight slowly came off when I began training and gaining control over the food I was giving my body. And it was bloody difficult, I tell you that. But IT IS POSSIBLE.

So I know a little something about food discipline

eating

How to build discipline

As always I love stories and I believe we learn from stories. So let me tell you what happened a couple of days ago.

It was a Sunday, and Sundays I only train in Karate and study. I study topics that will allow me to help my clients reach their goals in a more efficient way.

I woke up around 8 am. I knew I had planned my 2hr karate training in the afternoon, so all morning I did my QiGong routines and I read. Aaaaand…..I ate fruit. Yum!

However I didn’t take into account the 2h karate training and that I needed a bit more fuel than that.

It all went well though, I had really great and strong training session in preparation for the world championship. One of the best sessions I’ve had, I was half dead by the end. Felt awesome!

But then, on the way back……I began craving pizza. You see I have 2-3 pizzas a year and I didn’t have the 1st this year yet. And I also craved chips. Yeah…I crave stuff as well.

But every time I crave I make a conscious choice not to have them. Sometimes I also makes a decision to have those things I crave but NOT when I crave them. Remember this one:

The dogs that beg for food when you eat are those who know they will get receive food when they beg and make a lot of noise. I know my dogs do.

So discipline your mind and things will get easier. Start by NOT giving your brain the satisfaction by giving it what it craves, when it craves.

[tweetthis]Don’t give your brain the satisfaction by giving it what it craves, when it craves.[/tweetthis]

Knowing that these cravings were ONLY the sign of lack of food and nutrients, I began thinking, or rather forcing my brain into thinking, about the food I had in my fridge. Which is all boring, healthy food.

I kept thinking: what will I eat when I get home?

So I got home, had eggs and a big salad and cheese and then fruit and voila….cravings gone!!! Yes, it’s that simple. You are in control. It’s about making conscious choices.

Next time you crave something unhealthy keep in mind that it probably is because you haven’t eaten or haven’t eaten properly. Think before you act.

So that’s what you need to do: when you crave don’t give in and instead have the right kinds of foods. Cravings will disappear in most cases.

 

By the way, this is a lesson my mother taught me as a child. So if you have kids and you feel this is lesson could be useful for their future health then teach it to them. They will take it with them throughout their lives, just like I did.

You might think that kids don’t listen, but what you say stays with them, it’s imprinted into their subconscious and they will access that when they need it most.

 

Need to build food discipline but don’t know where to start? I can help you with that. However you must know that I cannot do anything for you if you don’t do the work. It’s ALL on you. I cannot come and take that pizza from you. You need to make the conscious decisions. If you really want food discipline and are committed and ready to put the work in then yes we can talk about it. Only if you are committed please.

What Is Raw Food? And Why Should You Care?

What Is Raw Food? And Why Should You Care?


 

Have you ever wondered why your shape may not be changing as fast as you’d like, despite going to the gym? Or why you may still be feeling tired or run down? Exercise, while vital to good health, is only one part of the equation. The other part of course is what we eat. And living food, or ‘raw food’, as it is often called, can be your ally both inside and outside of the gym. But what is raw food? And why should you care?

What is raw food?

Raw food is defined as any food that has not been heated to above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).

Many people think that this means carrot sticks and salads, but actually all it means is that the food has not been heated excessively.

Raw food can be marinated, chopped, blended, juiced, fermented (think wine, kombucha, sauerkraut) or dehydrated till crunchy (think kale chips, sprouted crackers, crunchy granola cereal).

What do fruit smoothies, granola, kombucha, tomato salsa, marinated mushrooms, wine and kale chips have in common?

They’re all technically ‘raw’!

Why should you care?

Here’s why raw food is fantastic for your health…and therefore your figure, your sports results and your energy:

Raw food retains many of the digestive enzymes that we need to maintain good health. The food is literally still ‘alive’, so its vitality hasn’t been totally lost.

Think of an onion: if you plant a raw onion, it will continue to grow. If you plant a cooked onion, it will rot.

The vitality in living foods makes all the difference to our health when we are eating them on a regular basis!

Pad_Thai

What can I eat apart from fruit and veg?

Nuts, seeds, edible flowers, superfoods such as maca and spirulina, seaweeds, natural sweeteners, sprouted beans and grains…all of these can be combined to make the most delectable dishes, including sprouted hummus, Thai green curry and chocolate pudding!

I and others like me specialize in creating living, vegan and gluten-free goodies:  cereals, soups, dips, pickles, curries, crackers, cheeses, chocolates, cookies, ice creams…the list goes on! And if I can do it, so can you.

What are the benefits of eating more raw food?

Here’s what people tend to notice: more energy and vitality, smoother skin, weight loss, weight gain, less need for sleep, relief from allergies and other issues stemming from food sensitivities, and improved well-being overall. Wow!

You can also improve your recovery time. My children do a lot of sport and also eat a lot of raw food – although they also eat a lot of other foods too – and they both have very fast recovery times. It’s amazing how much energy we can free up for ourselves by feeding our bodies food that is packed with vitality!

How much raw food do I need to eat to see a difference?

I always say ‘more than you were eating before’. And I do recommend listening to your body – it will guide you better than anyone. For example my partner lost over 4 stone by eating a high-raw diet but still eating meat. It was a vast improvement over what he was eating before!

Living foods are like any other way of eating: there’s the right way for one person and then the right way for you.

And there are wrong ways: there are some people who say they eat 100% raw food but they don’t look healthy because they’ve forgotten to look at the nutritional balance of what they are consuming. For example there is plenty of protein in living foods – dark leafy greens are full of protein, chia seeds are a complete form of protein – but you have to know that and not just eat nuts all the time. Balance, as with everything, is key.

Fresh juices, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, superfoods, fasting, detox – these are useful for us all, but the degree to which you implement these things needs to be your own personal choice.

And it needs to be easy, fun and delicious – which is where I can help.


Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. Your health is the sum total of all your life choices and appropriate professional care and guidance should be taken as you make changes to your diet. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.


 

About Barbara:Guest_Post_Headshot_HiRes Barbara Fernandez, the Rocking Raw Chef, is a raw food expert who has been helping people learn to make delicious raw food that’s quick, easy and family-friendly for over ten years.

Barbara’s passion is teaching others how to make healthy food for themselves that is family-friendly, made with simple equipment and ingredients, ready in 5 minutes and above all, super delicious. “I’m a total foodie,” Barbara says. “I’d rather rock out than spend hours in the kitchen, and I’d definitely rather eat curry than chew on a carrot stick!”

Barbara feels very strongly that people should be allowed to start where they’re at, rather than be forced to adopt a 100% raw lifestyle. To this end, she specializes in what she calls ‘ONE meal for everyone’, enabling busy people to make raw food dishes quickly that can easily be combined with other foods so that parents and children, friends and lovers can all eat a single meal together, no matter where they may be on their own personal ‘food journey’.

Barbara holds David Wolfe’s Ultimate Raw Nutrition certification, is a graduate of Anthony Robbins’ Leadership Academy, is trained in Voice Movement Therapy and in addition to  singing, performing, giving interviews and teaching, she has written 7 ebooks on raw food, which are currently being published in both English and Spanish.

In addition to holding workshops, giving talks as well as singing her ‘rock it raw’ spoof songs, Barbara also holds Raw Food Detox retreats in the beautiful Cotswolds.

A free starter program as well as recipes, articles and tips are available at her website.

www.rockingrawchef.com

www.thecotswolddetox.com/rawfoodimmersion

 

How The Practice Of The Merisoiu Technique Changes Your Life

How The Practice Of The Merisoiu Technique Changes Your Life


When you begin something and you stop after a few months, a year or even 2 you will never master it. And when you don’t master something you don’t receive the essence of it and you don’t grow.

You never receive the true value of what you do. And your progress never gets over a certain point before you choose start all over again with a new practice because you were bored of the old one or for other reasons.

Mastering one thing will automatically make you very good at many other things. If you are unable to master one thing then do you think that by jumping from one activity to another will help you master anything and be really good at anything?

If you cannot be dedicate to one path, how can you be dedicated to any path at all, in any area of your life. You cannot.

You must begin by mastering one thing before you move on to the next.

Don’t just play with your life, your habits, your passions. Dedicate yourself  to something and practice it, day and night. Then and only then you will see the true value of the lessons you are taught.

It’s not about how you slim you are, how fast and strong, it’s about dedication, loyalty and perfecting the art you are involved in.

It’s about daring to be the best you can be every day and every moment of the day.

The Merisoiu Technique was built with this in mind. It is not a fitness regime and just because it is outdoors that does not make it a bootcamp.

You will not do your usual reps and sets, press-ups and burpees and if you do they will be with a twist. We are here to challenge your mind not only your body.

No, The Merisoiu Technique is a process, a practice, a “way” for you to follow, dedicate time, be disciplined and learn to be consistent. It’s mastery.

It is an art by itself, built upon thousands of years of Martial Arts wisdom and techniques and modern coaching methods.

In return for your dedication and commitment, The Technique will open new doors for you, because it is a Personal Development tool. It strengthens your strengths and turns your weak points into strengths.

My clients who have been with me for over 6 months, some of them have been working with me for 2+ years, take the learnings into their daily life and it transforms everything they do, for the better.

The Technique is not meant to be practiced only in your session. It’s a practice that changes the way your live your life, for the better. It’s a transformation process rather than a change.

How you use your body and mind in your practice of The Merisoiu Technique will become the way you use your body and mind in all other areas of your life.

Finally, The Merisoiu Technique is an education system for your body and your mind. Master the elements of The Technique and you will find yourself in control over your emotions, thoughts, your body and over your life.

The breakthrough

It is no a coincidence that The Merisoiu Technique is an outdoors system of Personal Development which takes place all year round, be it hot, cold, freezing or rain.

I believe nature is the most powerful force. And when you train with natures elements you become as powerful as the elements. Well…almost as powerful. It’s perfection to strive for. However they do make your stronger than you have ever thought you could be.

One of the elements of The Technique that many are afraid of is rain and winter training. What many don’t realize is that this is your challenge, this is what shows how dedicated you are to the way, the path you chose.

And this is when you strengthen your body and mind, more than in any other season. Winter is the season of breakthroughs for all my clients. You make it through winter training with me, you make it through almost anything else.

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Transferable skills

The Merisoiu Technique is the way to train your mind and body, build strong, lasing foundations and then transfer them into your life.

When you learn discipline, dedication and consistency in one area of your life, the practice of The Merisoiu Technique in this case, then you will automatically implement them into other areas of your life like work or family. And so life is just a little bit easier.

The Merisoiu Technique tests your limits, so when you choose a path in your business or profession you will take that determination, dedication, consistency, that power and strength of mind and body developed through the practice and use them on that new path.

Once you follow a difficult path, that pushes you out of the comfort zone every single time, then all the other paths you choose become a lot easier to dedicate to, be consistent and make the greatest progress.

So if you are ready to know how The Merisoiu Technique can transform the way you move, breathe and live, jump on a free call with me.

What Is Efficient Body Movement and Why Should You Care

What Is Efficient Body Movement and Why Should You Care


 

Why you should care

First things first. First things first. Unusual way to start a blog but bear with me.

Your body and your mind are always connected. No matter what you do or when, they will always work together and influence each other.

When I began the journey of studying movement and teaching it I realised that the way I was using or carrying my body, my stances and my general physical state were influencing my state of mind and my emotions.

The same with some of my clients, particularly when we talk about stress caused by lifestyles, work environment, life events etc.

And this is more often than the opposite, although the mind influences the body as well.

However I noticed from experience and working with my clients that the moment we release physical stress release, psychological stress release takes place as well. And often this happens in a matter of seconds.

What is efficient body movement

I often speak about efficient body movement or body use. While my clients have a good understanding of what this means and most of them begin incorporating the elements from our sessions into their daily life, others don’t work with me so they do not know.

Everyone can move, everyone can run, everyone can breath, sit, stand and walk. No doubt about that. We do these day and night.

However efficient body movement or use is a healthy type of movement that nurtures the body, mind and spirit. It is the movement that enhances creativity, allows the mind to flow and the body to move with less restrictions.

It is the type of movement that allows all the functions of the body, internal and external, to function with as little resistance and restrictions as possible. It is the movement that allows you to thrive.

Your body is just like a musician’s instrument. You play that instrument. But unless you look after it and fine tune it you will not be able to make great music. It’s the same with your body, fine tune the way you use your body and it will function smoothly, with less problems and difficulties. And so will your mind as well.

[tweetthis]Fine tune the way you use your body to function with less problems and difficulties.[/tweetthis]

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Is movement only about the body?

No. It is my belief that a relaxed physical state will allow the body and mind to function at their best. When we do not use the body in a healthy manner there is a lot of pressure and many restrictions at all levels. Movement impacts everything else, it is not only about the body.

There are 3 reactions taking place in our bodies at any given time: PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL and CHEMICAL (i.e. digestion).

[tweetthis]There are 3 reactions taking place in our bodies at any given time: PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL and CHEMICAL[/tweetthis]

Whenever there is an “emergency” in one of the systems (i.e. stress) the brain directs most of the resources to deal with that problem.

The downside is that it takes the much needed resources for other functions. For example it takes the resources, the energy which deals with proper digestion. So stress leads to poor digestion, which leads to poor nutrients for the body, weight gain and so on.

Can you see what’s happening here? Any imbalance of any sort, in the body or mind, will cause the brain to focus on that particular function more and leave the others aside until that “emergency” is fixed.

But what about the body?

Here I’d like to give you an example using posture.

When we slouch and/or tense our bodies we compress our torso and place unnecessary pressure on our internal organs, as the body collapses forward and head hangs backwards.  And so the internal organs functioning is restricted.

And with restricted internal functioning, digestion is restricted as well as many other functions, but let’s stick with digestion, it’s easier to explain and understand.

If digestion is restricted then the body will not be able to extract the resources it needs from the food we eat.

When this happens our bodies cannot recover, nourish and thrive. And if our bodies cannot thrive then our minds will not thrive either. Besides what we eat and how we digest the food directly impacts the mental functions as well.

With restricted internal organ functioning, because of all the stress we place on them by slouching, many other problems arise at a physical, mental and emotional level.

What to look after

To achieve this balance, or rather to go back to balance, because your system will always try and get back to that, we need to look at the body and mind as one whole unit. They are not separate.

We need to address all three reactions taking place in our bodies at any given time: physical, mental and chemical.

So here’s a simple example on weight loss, because many people struggle with this.

“What is the reason I gained weight?
Is it lack of exercise – physical reacion?
Stress or depression – psychological reaction?
Nutrition – chemical reaction?”

Find the real cause. Because, for example, if your imbalance is caused by a psychological reaction you can tackle the physical and chemical as much as you want, you may even see results, but if you do not address the real cause, nothing will change, and the experience will perpetuate over and over again. Same goes for the other systems.

The brain will send all its resources to take care of that problem and that means it taking resources from the other parts. There’s your imbalance. Bring your body back to balance.

Allow yourself to thrive. Book a free call and I will help you with the first few steps.

What Does The Warm Up Actually Do

What Does The Warm Up Actually Do


A warm up simply brings your body into a state of readiness for the movements to come.

A warm up raises your heart rate, your body temperature and sends blood flow to the muscles to be used later on as well to tendons and ligaments. It also lubricates joints.

Remember the webinar I held where I talked about synovial fluid and fascia? If you haven’t seen it already you can request access here.

Benefits

Some of the benefits of warming up or preparing your body for physical activity include:

• reduced risk of injury

• increased flexibility

• better physical performance – you might have noticed that if you just start running the first 10-20 min are very difficult and then it gets easier; that’s because your body has warmed up

• better focus – you get into “the zone”; but this happens ONLY if you stop checking your phone, facebook and texting during your session (unless there is a good reason for it of course)

The warm-up is like a heater. Some heaters don’t heat up the room until they have reaches a certain temperature themselves.

Same with the body, the body needs to reach a certain temperature, flexibility and level of preparation to function at its best.

Components

1. Low intensity cardio – to raise your heart rate and body temperature
2. Dynamic movement – to mobilize the muscles, tendons and ligaments
3. Agility, acceleration, deceleration, speed drills – specific to your sport
4. Sport specific skills

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Guidelines for warm-up

• start with low intensity cardio

• start slow and build up

• do dynamic movements (for example this one) and not static stretches (static are the ones you hold for 10-15 sec and are for cool down section)

• mimic movements you planned for your main section of your workout or specific to your sport

• “wake up” your core – do a couple of planks, some pressups, squats etc

• but don’t fatigue your muscles – particulalry the core as you’ll be using this no matter what you plan for your workout, even if you isolate muscle groups

Mental preparation

Having your body is in one place and your mind in another is the recipe for injury.

The 7th Guiding Principle Of Karate-Do says that Calamity springs from carelessness. That’s just lack of awareness.

Throughout time I noticed that it takes about 20 min to get the mind out of the work – family – other things and into the present moment. So this is the warm-up.

This is one of the many reasons the sessions with my clients are 1h30min and not 1h , 45min or 30min. I put a lot of emphasis on being aware of what we do at any given point in time.

This being said, do you have a proper warm up set for your training? If you need advice and guidance book a free call with me.

How To Structure Your Workout

How To Structure Your Workout


You might think I’m just going to give you a routine. What I will actually do is make you think. I will give you the steps to create your routine but then you will do it by yourself. And then you can come to me with it and we can fine tune it.

Your workout is simply structured like this

1. Cardio warm-up – about 10 min

2. Warm up stretches. These not stretches you hold. They are movements that slowly stretch and unwind your body and which should mimic the exercises you have planned in your main section.

3. Main section. This is where you push really hard, your main workout. Around 30 min.

4. Cardio cool down – about 10 min. Here you can walk , slow jog etc

5. Cool down stretches. Here you can really stretch, holding the stretches for 10-15 sec and even give that box split a try. But be aware there are some basic guidelines for stretching to avoid injuries. However I will not discuss them here now.

Now, if you were to work with me you’d add the technical section as well, just before the main session.

Ok, cool, so this is it. This is how it looks. Usually training sessions last 1h but my sessions and those of my clients last for 1h30min.
Why? you ask. It’s simple. Before the “push hard” section we practice technique.

This ensured the body knows how to move and what to do in the most efficient way. This is where we build strong, long lasting foundations.

Furthermore the body and brain cannot just understand and fine tune movement after one try, so we are consistent and we repeat and build on the previous sessions.

I personally like to make my clients understand that training is more than just moving the body, it requires attention, focus as and fine tuning details.

We look at breathing, posture, general movement (what move before what so we avoid injuries) etc.

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How to plan your session

1. Type of session. Decide whether you are doing a strength, cardio, endurance etc.

2. Strength session. What are you going to focus on? Upper body, lower body, core or full body? Then select 6-7, maximum 8 exercises. Depending on your focus you make the appropriate choices. If you do a full body you might want to consider alternating arms with legs, doing 1 arms exercise then 1 legs, or 2:2 etc. If your focus is on arms but want to bring some leg exercises in you can simply do 2-3 arms:1 leg.

3. Cardio session. This is usually characterized by speed training doing exercises such as sprinting, cycling or jumping and bring strength exercises in between. You can also do running intervals, or on the cross trainer (but that’s indoor and it can get boring). So here we also talk about power and explosiveness, getting your heart to beat faster.

4. Endurance. This can be done either by long duration training (running, cross trainer, cycling for long periods of time at a constant pace/speed) but also by holding positions for a longer time (planks for example, or squats). A mixture is the best.

Other stuff to consider

But wait, besides the general, basic structure outlined above there are a few elements to consider, again general knowledge.

1. Don’t fatigue your core. You will use your core muscles in almost everything you do. Even if you isolate muscle training you still use your core up, even if less. So make sure you don’t do intense core exercises at the beginning of your workout as it will fatigue and it leads to injuries. Save them for the main section and towards the end of your session.

2. …but you should “wake up” your core muscles, to get them going. Try doing some press-ups or planks. But not too many or for too long so you don’t fatigue. If you are not supervised by an experienced coach you can easily you can easily end up injuring yourself due to fatigued muscles.

3. Don’t overdo the cardio. Again you want to warm up the body not fatigue it.

4. Avoid brutal warm-up stretches. They should unwind your body, opening up the joints and releasing the muscles so they can stretch and contract easily.

5. “Calamity springs from lack of carelessness” (the 7th Guiding Principle of Karate-Do). This means that when your mind is not where your body is there is lack of awareness. And this is when injury happens. If you cannot focus and be mindful you should stop your routine and re-gain your focus, change your routine to match your state of mind or even stop and go home.

6. Resting. Athletes rest, they even rest for one whole week after a series of intense training sessions. Take one week off training ever 12 weeks of training or somewhere around there. This does not mean you stop moving, it means you do something else such as swimming if you are a runner, running if you are a cyclist, play squash, badminton, practice some Tai Chi etc.

7. Recovery between sessions. Allow for at least 1 day between sessions. This is a general rule but, depending on your level, your training purpose and your routine this can change. If you have a routine and you are unsure of how to plan your rest get in touch.

8. Be flexible. Your routine should allow for unforeseen circumstances. Injuries, emergencies, feel unwell etc can get you out of balance but you need to adapt.

Progressions

When you reach the plateau not matter how much you try you may not see any progress anymore so you need to make some changes. To change your routine get creative by addressing:

★ number of exercises
★ number of sets
★ target repetition range
★ recovery periods between sets (decrease, increase)
★ workout frequency
★ movement speed – slow to fast
★ different exercises
★ stable to unstable surface
★ simple to complex
★ split routines

Things to add you probably never thought about

These are some elements that very few consider and if they consider many don’t action them as it seems they are not useful, but actually they are the foundations. You are as strong as your weakest link!

1. Fluid movement
2. Breathing exercises
3. Flexibility and mobility ONLY sessions
4. Meditation
5. Barefoot or minimalist training (caution here, risk of injury)
6. Balance ONLY sessions
7. Training the foot muscles (strong foundations…)
8. Posture

So now let’s design your program, keep it simple, then you can work on it. Download the PDF document I created for you, a table for you just to fill in, and get started.

Are you stuck or need guidance on this planning? Jump on a FREE call with me and let’s create a program for you. I will also help you program your rest days and training for a month. Book here.

How Long Does It Take To Get Fit

How Long Does It Take To Get Fit


Firstly, it depends on what “being fit” means to you. For example for some being fit can be gaining muscle, for others running a marathon, for others be great at the sport they practice. The dictionary says that fitness means the condition of being physically fit and healthy.

Then it also depends on your training routine, which depends on your goal of course. And then if your training is not properly planned and you overtrain your body will not make progress, adaptation will not occur. Same goes if you don’t train hard enough.

It depends on the supply of nutrients. Adaptations occur not when you exercise but after, in the recovery period. So the recovery time also plays an important role.

 

How your body adapts to exercise

Whether you are a coach or not it is important to have at least a basic understanding of what’s going on with your body when you begin a new training routine or you just got back into training.

What you are looking for is to maximize the adaptation phase and avoid exposure to exhaustion phase.

 

Physical activity and the nervous system

Before you see any major changes with regards to your physique, the first adaptations occur in the nervous system.

Regular training and practice cause adaptations in the central nervous system allowing greater control of movements.

Thus movements become smoother and more accurate and performance improves.

Once the adaptation occurs after a certain stimulus (training routine) the initial rate of gain usually begins to slow down. And this leads to the well known plateau.

This happens within a few weeks, 6-8 in general, from starting the training program. What you do next to create the new stimulus is critical, and it makes the different between reaching your goal, stagnate or drop training.

When we perform an activity our senses provide constant feedback regarding limb position, force generation and the performance outcome through the nervous system

 

Structuring an appropriate adjustment or modifying the fitness programme will keep progress moving in the desired direction.

To change your routine get creative by addressing:

 number of exercises
 number of sets
 target repetition range
 recovery periods between sets (decrease, increase)
 workout frequency
 movement speed – slow to fast
 different exercises
 stable to unstable surface
 simple to complex
 split routines

Photo Credit: Alain Limoges via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Alain Limoges via Compfight cc

But still…how long does it take?

In general give your routine 6-8 weeks, training 3-4 times a week. And have a way to measure your progress.

For example with my clients the progress is easily visible as they can hang for longer, crawl with a better technique and longer distance, or manage to do all the unusual movements, sequences or exercise combinations I come up with.

If you train outdoors like we do, and change locations, every few weeks you must go back to the previous locations and perform the same techniques to see the progress.

Or counting, works as well. However outdoors the terrain is never the same so what you can do in one location will be different from what you can do in another location, so you must think whether counting is the best option.

How long does it take to get OUT of shape?

So to get into shape, or rather to increase your fitness levels, it takes 6-8 weeks before you need to makes changes and take it further.

To get out of shape it doesn’t take that long. If you stop training for about 2 weeks your cardiovascular fitness will begin to drop.

According to Dr. Edward Coyle, The director of the Human Performance Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, in highly-trained athletes, VO2 max decreases by 7 percent in the 12 to 21 days after stopping training and another 9 percent during days 21 to 84.

VO2 max is a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use. It is measured in millilitres per kilogramme of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min).

The initial decrease in cardiovascular abilities is followed by muscle mass and strength atrophy.

The good part is that your body can get fit faster if you were fit in the past. And also the fitter you are the less your fitness will decrease if you stop training for a couple of weeks. But why would you do that anyway?

Make it easy for yourself and, when you don’t feel like training, just do something to  maintain the level you are at. To maintain your fitness you don’t need an extreme amount of training. Aim for 2-3 days a week, not necessarily high intensity workout, just maintaining the level.

Also, a decrease in fitness levels is not a good excuse not to take a break. Athletes have 1-2 weeks break from training to recover and, in some cases, to get past plateaus. You won’t get out of shape in a few days.

There is a lot of information and science behind this adaptation process, but I tried to make it short, to the point and just answer the question: how long does it take to get fit. Hope I managed to clarify.

 

If you need advice on your training routine you can book a free call and together we can create progressions or regressions in your routine to get you back on the right path or to set you on the right path. Book the free call here

What To Do When You Are Short On Time To Train

What To Do When You Are Short On Time To Train


If you don’t feel amazing then you will not be able to make others around you feel amazing either.

And to feel amazing you must look after your health. And part of that is movement. Not workout, not exercise but movement.

What’s the difference

Well training, circuits and training systems all have their place. As a qualified Personal Trainer I know the importance of a properly designed training program. It’s a must if you work towards a goal and need to make proper progress.

However I also advocate for creativity, flow and the pleasure or pure, simple movement. Sometimes it’s good to break the pattern, to stop counting sets and reps and just allow your body and mind to be creative.

So that’s movement and what I coach.

The benefits

Whether it’s simple movement, a properly structured training routine, a sport or just walking through the forest, crawling under tree trunks and up steep hills the core benefits are the same:

Energy. My mother says it’s like an energy drink. She hasn’t done any type of movement in over 30 years! and how she started running, 1 min at a time.
Reduce stress, anger, frustration, depression name it. And if you also do stretching and Fluid Movement you also reduce physical stress.
It leads to other healthy habits, such as nutrition and healthy, quality sleep. They will automatically begin to change for the better when you start training.
Done regularly it lowers risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke according to NHS
Boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy

You got the picture. You will feel amazing and you will make others around you feel amazing.

“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

 [tweetthis]“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” Dr Nick Cavill[/tweetthis]

When you are short on time

Ok you have your business or are very busy at work and cannot fit a 1h or 30min full training or movement routine.

That’s fine. Because remember the things which will create a massive difference in your lie are small habits done on a consistent basis.

So when you have 5 min or 10 min you could do the following:

A quick, short and classic routine: 50 star jumps, 30 press-ups, 30 squats, 1 min plank, 1 min side planks left and right, and add other exercises as needed depending on the time you have. Need help to decide what to do? You just need to ask, click here.

Alexandra Merisoiu Watch Fit

Incorporate movement in your daily routine. This is my favourite. Here are a few examples:
o crawl upstairs
o balance on one leg when brushing your teeth (careful this can lead to injury though)
o before you sit down to have your meal do 30 squats
o crawl/inverse crawl/jump/frog jump around the house between rooms, if possible

Stretch throughout the day.
You may think “ah stretching is no worth, it’s not going to help me with anything”. I must disagree and say you are wrong here. Stretching, unwinding your body is imperative to reduce physical and psychological stress. And if you bring in Fluid Movement that’s even better as it will release more tension in the bosy. So stretch often throughout the day.

Here’s what you can begin with. The stretch I teach all my students.

Deep breathing exercises.
Ok, now why would I want you to do this? Well there are about 16 reasons why breathing exercises are important for your physical and psychological health.For example:

o improves and maintains your cardiovascular capacity.
o helps you heal faster by directing the breathe into areas of the body where there are injuries and illnesses.
o relaxes the mind and brings clarity, focus, allows room for more creativity and productivity.
o encourages good posture. When you slouch notice how your body closes up and your breathing becomes shallow. Then you take a deep breath, your chest comes out and your body naturally straightens.

Read all the other awesome benefits of practicing deep breathing, here.

Breathing exercises

And here are two deep breathing exercises to begin with:

Step 1. Make sure you breathe correctly, that means when you breathe in you make your stomach big, when you breathe out you pull your stomach in.

Step 2. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth

Step 3. The exercise. Let’s take 4 seconds as count for breathing in, out and holds. You can adjust them to fit your level:

Linear breathing technique

I use this as a warm up for the others.

– BREATHE IN through your nose on a count of 4
– BREATHE OUT through your nose on a count of 4.
– Repeat

Triangle breathing technique

Imagine an equilateral triangle. It has 3 equal sides

– BREATHE IN through your nose on a count of 4.
– HOLD on a count of 4.
– BREATHE OUT through your nose on a count of 4.
– No hold after this one. Repeat

Adjust the in breathe, out breathe and holds according to your level.

More advances breathing techniques are square, rectangle, therapeutic breathing.

I can give you more ideas but just try one of these and see how they work out for you.

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Alexandra Merisoiu is the Founder and Coach at Urban Women Fitness and creator of The Merisoiu Technique.

She works with professional women in their 30’s and 40’d helping them to relieve stress and take them feeling overwhelmed and exhausted to feeling energized, enthusiastic and transformed.

Her HODs (Habits Of The Day) series helps you

★ Change the way you feel physically & emotionally, for the better
★ Reduce aches and pains (shoulders, back, neck etc) and feel excellent in your own body
★ Be more calm, patient, focused and productive
★ Build discipline and learn to be consistent
And it’s a step by step process

To sign up for Alexandra’s 28 Days HODs, click here

100th Blog

100th Blog Post


Thought I’d make something special for my 100th blog post. So I picked (hand picked that is 😉 ) a few sentences from each blog post I wrote and added the link to the blog post it came from. A piece of wisdom from each of them. Some more interesting than others, but starting with the first ever…

  1. Researchers at the University of Essex in England are advancing the notion that exercising in the presence of nature has added benefit, particularly for mental health. Benefits of Exercising Outdoor
  2. Eating healthy snacks between meals helps control your weight and provides healthy protein, healthy fats, fiber and carbohydrates. Healthy Snack Ideas For You
  3. If you do them [breathing exercises] constantly you will feel great improvement on your stress levels,patience and coping mechanisms. Stress, anxiety and depression
  4. In the UK we have adapted the original food pyramid and underpinning guidance to follow what is called‘The Eatwell Plate’ . Nutritional Guidelines
  5. Just because it’s fruit doesn’t mean it’s good if you are trying to reduce the amount of sugar intake. 7 Easy Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake
  6. When breathing in a correct manner we have more power, more control over our bodies and we reduce the risk of certain injuries. Learn The Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique For Running
  7. Matcha tea is a natural caffeine boost & green tea finely milled or fine powdered.  Vivid Drink Matcha Tea Review
  8. Your skin absorbs anything you put on it from water to chemicals we use every single day several time a day. Why what you Put On Your Body is very Unhealthy and how you can Change that
  9. A mother’s depression, especially when untreated, can interfere with her child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. What meaning do you give to depression?
  10. Even if you immune system is down you have less changes of contacting a virus outdoor than indoor with 100 other people. 7 Things I do to avoid the FluYoga silhouette virabhadrasana II warrior pose

  11. Use Ginger to reduce muscle and joint pain, swelling and stiffness Painkillers in your kitchen Part 1/4
  12. It is important to learn simple and fast ways you can do instantly to relieve the stress, center yourself and regain focus How to let go of stress instantly
  13. How you use your it determines how it works and how it feels; your body can be a well oiled machine or an old and rusty pickup truck. How To Use Your Body To Reduce Aches And Pains
  14. When you want to improve productivity, focus, reduce stress and be healthier but you struggle, there is nothing better that creating and nurturing a good habit, which comes automatic, it’s fast and easy. How to easily create healthy habits that stick long-term

  15. Rather than me or anyone else telling you what to eat I wanted to give you a very very brief explanation of what carbs are,, what are their properties and types of carbs are there.  Good carbs Bad Carbs
  16. Fitness, power and strength shape our bodies yes, but as a consequence our mental processes, our self esteem and finally the actions we take on a daily basis dramatically change. How fitness changes you at a physical and psychological level
  17. Do you dread Mondays? No need to, it’s a day like all the others. 10 Habits for a Happier, Healthier Monday
  18. The squat, even without any weight and when done properly, strengthens your stability muscles to recover faster after an injury, small or big, regain your balance faster and injury free when you trip, slip or otherwise lose balance, balance how the body functions, strengthening the weaker points. The squat: Why to do it,  How to do it
  19. Fish seems to help with tummy troubles such as Indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases. Natural Painkillers in your kitchen Part 2/4
  20. Reconnecting with the Earth’s electrons has been proved to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being. What does Earthing have to do with mental health?
    PauseAnd breathe
  21. Meditation is not only about quieting your mind, but rather allowing your thoughts to pass, one by one, without judging them in any way. Meditation What, Where, How, When & Why
  22. If you want to make any changes in your life then you need to change your attitude, that’s what training in cold weather does. Why 99% of my clients are afraid of outdoor winter training
  23. Your brain is naturally turned on when the phone is around, waiting for alerts from it, this prevents the body from achieving the desired state of total relaxation. 7 reasons why you shouldn’t sleep with your phone
  24. Whether we talk about mindful eating, walking or running, they all contribute to our mental and physical wellbeing. 3 steps to Mindful Eating and its benefits
  25. Besides getting stronger and fitter I’ve gained so much more, higher self esteem, confidence, calmness, patience, resilience.[when I chose the outdoors over the gym] 6 reasons why I choose the outdoors over the gym
  26. For a food to taste good it need fats and sugars, if it lacks one it has more of the other; watch out fat free food lovers. 13 simple nutritional habits to improve your health right now
  27. “Everything breathes: breathing is the inspiration of Life within all living forms of reality” 1st Principle of Conscious Connected Breathing – J. Yost. How I breathed my way into physical and mental well-being
  28. Mindfulness is paying attention rather than anything else, mindfulness is everywhere and in everything we do. The role of mindfulness in my childhood
  29. Press-ups are not limited by muscle mass. You do not need muscles to be strong and those who have muscles are not necessarily stronger than those who don’t. How to do a full press-up and Why
  30. Although no one has ever seen the mind, we can consider the brain as the platform for the mind and thus a platform for out mental wellbeing. How nutrition affects our Mental Health
    cherries
  31. Calm joint and headache pain with Natural Painkillers in your kitchen Part 3/4
  32. When you want to achieve something there are times when you need a kick in the butt, and no one is more able, motivated and caring enough than your coach to do that. Why on earth would you want a Coach?
  33. Recovery it’s largely about tissue regeneration and nutrient delivery. How much rest do you need for fitness gains
  34. MOBILITY is the ability to move or be moved freely and easily. FLEXIBILITY is the quality of bending easily without breaking. The difference between Flexibility and Mobility
  35. Scientists have discovered a connection between connecting with the Earth and reducing inflammation in the body which is responsible for many diseases we suffer from. How I discovered Earthing
  36. [training outdoors] is the best way to warm up when you’re cold. You will walk around in a t-shirt while others have coats. 10 awesome things about training outdoors
  37. [Breathing] helps detoxify your body. 16 benefits of practicing deep breathing
  38. When we sit or stand tall the exchange of information is free to go back and forth helping us function at our optimum level, heal faster and better, have more energy and vitality and sending nutrients where we most need them. 3 ways to enhance your meditation experience
  39. Don’t go to bed with your mind running around.Allow your mind to settle before you fall asleep for a quality rest. 11 habits to help you feel better in your own body
  40. Rhythmic exercise, such as walking, can be conducive to the process of self-discovery. What is a walking consultation and Why I do it

  41. By stretching your fingers, toes and consequently wrists and ankles you: improve the blood circulation to those areas, you relax your tendons, ligaments, muscles which leads to relaxation further up the arm or leg and better connectivity to the hands/fingers, feet/toes, reduce the risk of plantar fascia or carpal tunnel syndrome, improve range of movement in your hands, wrists, feet, ankles and thus freedom of movement. How to stretch your fingers and toes and why
  42. Physical tension leads to impatience, mood changes, frustration and mental stress. This in turn lead to lack of focus, creativity and productivity. How to relax your shoulders while you sit tall
  43. This is my personal story. A story of 15 years of grade 3 knee meniscus damage. How I overcame 15 years of knee pain
  44. [Self-Discipline] is one of the 20% skills that contribute to 80% of results when applied to the right habits or areas of our lives. Building Self-Discipline
  45. Make anger or stress a matter of minutes rather than days, weeks and months. How I managed to manage my anger and stress (when I used to be like this)Alexandra Merisoiu Urban Women Fitness
  46. “It was everything I wouldn’t and haven’t done before…it was LIBERATING” What Nadia has to say about her Urban Women Fitness outdoor training sessions
  47. Going to bed with your mind running around means it will still be running for a while after you fall asleep and there goes your restful night. How to wake up fresh and energized every morning
  48. A busy mind leads to an imbalanced body. And the opposite is also true, a balanced body leads to a balanced, calmer mind. 5 lessons I learnt from balancing exercises
  49. Walnuts, besides fats, have a good amount of iron, vit-B6 and magnesium, grapefruit (as you guessed) vit A and C in abundance and grapes vit-B6. Why listen to what your body asks…sometimes
  50. Train hard but train with purpose. No matter where you train, be creative and search for variety. Have a purpose and experience the journey Why your workouts are boring and 4 ways to make them exciting

  51. Target shooting is indeed a sport of the mind. It also teaches you about relaxation, mindfulness and focus. It’s a challenging sport. 3 Mindfulness Lessons From Practicing Target Shooting
  52. Weight loss is a result of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle has several components: Body, Mind, Emotions, Soul and Social. Weight loss is simple…
  53. The difference between leaving someone with the love for sport and exercise and making them hate it for the rest of their lives. “Beasting” vs Smart Coaching
  54. Science has proven, beyond doubt, that the content of our thoughts and emotions directly and immediately influence our biochemistry” Kelly Howell (Sound Healer, Meditation Guide, Consciousness  Researcher) How the meaning you give to your words can make you sick
  55. When you deal with weight loss have a plan, a healthy lifestyle plan, and stick to it. Have a schedule of exercising, create healthy habits for the entire family and just focus on the process only.  3 Mistakes Women Make Which Increase Stress Levels
  56. One of the reasons they [athletes] do [have coaches[, and one of the reasons I have 3 coaches training me right now in Karate, Obstacle Racing and running and business, is Struggling to stay motivated? This is why…
  57. You know I always mention about “the purpose behind your training” and I always say the purpose is not the same thing as a goal. Purpose vs Goals
  58. All [The Merisoiu Technique] principles blend into each other creating a bigger picture which gives you a better understanding of how health really works and stop seeing health as a goal in your life. How Does The Merisoiu Technique Really Works
  59. I believe, from my experience, that running can and should be enjoyable and pain free. I know because my running transformed from painful to actually enjoying it. 7 Ways To Make You Enjoy Your Running
  60. Mindfulness does not have to be meditation, a chore, a to do thing on the list and in fact i tcreates more time and space rather than reduce it. What’s all the fuss about mindfulness
    swimming
  61. We struggle too much to follow thousands of rules. 3 Ways To Stay Healthy And Fit For Life
  62. If you brushed your teeth only once a week would your teeth be healthy? Why Training 4 Days A Week Is Essential For Transformational Results
  63. We do not realize that if we respond to stress and tension with more stress and tension we make things worse. We cause tension after tension after tension.Why You Should Master The Art Of Nothing
  64. Don’t believe what I, or anyone else tells you or writes about,you need to filter the information we all give you and think for yourself.  Confused About Food: How To Get Past The Confusion
  65. I am a firm believer in taking long walks outdoors after leaving the office. The space and fresh air  clears the mind and calms down the nervous system. By the time you get back home you’ve cleared most of the negative emotions and thoughts. 3 Ways To Cope Better With A Stressful Working Environment
  66. You’ll never ever progress being comfortable. Nature will get your out of your comfort zone at every single training session, no exception. 3 Things That Happen Instantly When You Train With Nature’s Elements
  67. Every habit, healthy or not, has its purpose in the body. Your brain uses those habits to solve something. The Secret To Creating Healthy Habits That Stick Long Term
  68. We run from one corner to another, always in a rush, always looking at the time and always under some type of pressure. We seldom, if ever, stop to breath and look around. Finding Balance In Life
  69. When I think about my daily diet I always go back to when my grandmother used to cook for her grandchildren in the countryside. 9 Simple & Intuitive Approaches To Healthy Eating Habits
  70. Among the benefits of tree scrambling you have  core strength, arm and shoulder strength,coordination, agility, flexibility, mobility and even lower body strength depending on the tree and how you climb through it. Reclaim Your Nature
    tree-scrambling
  71. It’s the details make the whole so cutting out all your favourite foods and going to the gym 5 days a week all of a sudden will not necessarily work for building healthy habits leading to a healthier lifestyle. How To Use Triggers To Effortlessly Create Healthy Habits
  72. Make it easy and fast to prepare your training by making permanent lists and strategically placing them where you can easily see them. 3 Ways To Design Your Environment And Make Exercise Easier And Enjoyable
  73. Posture sends stress signals to the brain. 3 Awesome Benefits Of A Great Posture
  74. Muscle soreness can kick in anytime within 72 hours from your training session. Some experts say 24-48 others go to 72. 5 Ways To Deal With Muscle Soreness Without Medication
  75. We, humans, are build to move, yes. But we are also programmed to grow, to learn, to develop, to make progress one way or another. We are evolving all the time. And that makes us happy, thrilled, excited about that thing that we do. So why is it that so many people don’t like it. Some go so far as saying they hate it, exercise that is. Why? How To Fall In Love With Your Training Routine
  76. Weight loss is easy, it really is, when you stop trying to lose it and just look after your body from the inside first. And have patience. Why Weight Loss Should Not Be Your #1 Priority
  77. Running is more than just physical movement, it requires consistency, dedication, resilience and discipline. When you become a runner your body changes but most importantly your mind changes as you face challenge after challenge. What Can Running Do For You
  78. As the spine straightens and lengthens you get that feeling of release in your lower back and throughout your spine. 5 Awesome Benefits Of Sleeping On The Floor
  79. It’s good to have a Coach you can lean into when things get difficult. It’s even better if you like your Coach, the teaching methods, exercises, the empathy, enthusiasm, energy, philosophy (if they have one) and what they stand for. The First Step To Take As A Beginner In Fitness
  80. Many injuries occur as a result of body misuse. How An Injury Almost Brought An End To My Worldalexandra-67

  81. Stop exercising and start moving in ways you’ve never done before. STOP Exercising! Do This Instead
  82. No one knows how limiting knee pain can be unless you’ve been there. 5 Secrets To Less Pain And More Freedom Of Movement
  83. If we cannot control the simple act of breathing how are we suppose to control our thoughts, our bodies or ever the world around us. And if we cannot feel and fully experience breathing how are we supposed to be mindful of anything else within or around us. HOW to breathe and WHY it is important
  84. When you feel your body is not working at its peak, you feel aches and pains everywhere,you feel as if your body is falling apart.  Are you falling apart?
  85. Your mind and body are always connected. One influences the other and when one is out of balance the other will be as well. Where Do You Hold Your Stress? And 5 Steps To Combat Stress
  86. MOBILITY is the ability to move or be moved freely and easily. MOBILITY is an indication of how well and efficiently we move. FLEXIBILITY is the quality of bending easily without breaking. FLEXIBILITY is a component of MOBILITY. Why Your Flexibility Today Is Different From Yesterday
  87. To get rid of many of these physical pains and stress all you need it 5-10 min. Do This NOW To Revitalize Your Body
  88. Bringing mindfulness into running makes it a lot more enjoyable. Do You Hate Running? Here Are Three Steps To LOVE It
  89. Zanshin is the state of readiness in Budo practice. Budo is the code of Martial Arts, the Martial Arts path, an education system in the modern world, rather than a fighting system  like many people believe. What Is Zanshin And Why It Is Important For You
  90. Everyone lives different lives and so we all need different things. It all comes down to mindset really. What Day & Time Is The Best For Training Sessionsbarefoot

  91. We are so dependent on our eyes nowadays. We receive most of our information through the sense of sight. It seems to me we are slowly losing the ability to feel. Stop Looking And Start Feeling
  92. Why does our butt stick out when we heel strike if heel strike is the natural way? Then back arches and we end up with back pain, thus hating running. Don’t Run On Your Toes…Or Heels
  93. In the end the experience you have is the only thing that matters . Getting Off The Treadmill Of Life
  94. Cultivate the art of attention and focus and your life will change Why I Stand For 1h30m Training Sessions
  95. The way you go through life, the way you see the world, how you feel and what you listen to will change the way you live your life. How To Cultivate The Art Of Attention And Focus
  96. Practice breathing and your running performance and your general health will see huge improvements. TMP 001: Breathing Technique For Runners
  97. Your cannot balance properly to strengthen your foot muscles and the rest of the body if you cannot hold a nice, relaxed, elongated posture. You MUST address your POSTURE. Strong Foundations For A Strong Pain Free Body
  98. If the foundations of a system are weak then the entire system is weakened and will collapse sooner or later. Why And How To Look After Your Feet
  99. If I had to choose the one thing I’d like my clients to take from their experience of training with me that’ll be Posture. If there was one thing I could choose. How To Stop Your Shoulders From Hurting At The End Of The Day
  100. We are organic beings and we should remain in contact with the matter we are made of. The Risks Of Going Barefoot

crocodile

The Risks Of Going Barefoot

The Risks Of Going Barefoot


Ok here’s the truth about my beliefs in barefoot lifestyle, whether running or not. And I must emphasize these are my own beliefs.

I started going barefoot ever since I could walk. And over time I went through rivers and lakes (and not all clean I’ll tell you that) and forests and sand and all over the place.

I was lucky that my father taught me, what we call today, mindful walking. Back then we called it paying attention to where you put your feet.

Then, at 8 years old, I began practicing Karate. And in Karate you always go barefoot.

 

To tell you the truth all the scientific proof about earthing and benefits/risks of going barefoot don’t really influence me that much.

I did this since I could walk and what I like about going barefoot is the feeling of relief when my toes are free to expand and release tension in them. I like the feeling of freedom that comes with it. Always did, always will.

The risks of going barefoot

But it’s not all sunshine when you go barefoot. And I never insist on my clients going barefoot if they don’t wish to.

Did I ever tell you I steps on a wasp walking on wet sand on the side of a stream?

Now, because I had a god barefoot mentor, my father, I don’t remember ever cutting myself and stepping in something that would injure me or anything.

But I do remember I was running around like a crazy child and buried into the sand there were there leftovers of a rusty bridge over the stream in the form of strands nicely interlaced.

As I was running around I uncovered them and I ended up with nice scratches on the sole of my right foot. Very superficial but very ticklish hahaha.

Anyway those were the 2 occasions.

Here are some of the risks of going barefoot:

Unprotected feet – from what you step on/in and for you joints
Infection – if you have or even if you don’t have an open wound and step in “stuff” you risk infection
Sharp objects you could step on
Pressure on joints. Look there’s a risk, right? There is pressure on joints, particularly if you don’t really know how to run/walk soft on your feet and you are in a rush.
Blisters – never had them, I had them in shoes though, but could happen if your skin is not tough enough
Achilles tendinitis, plantar pain (on sole of foot) – to be honest going barefoot helped me with these two things. I used to limp to the bathroom in the morning because of my Achilles and plantar pain. For me it helped, barefoot and muscle strengthening by going barefoot. But I guess it can happen to others, we are all different. The weird thing is that on Very Well (former Sports Medicine) they say it can lead to injuries AND it can reduce injuries in Achilles. But that depends on how you transition
Calf strain – yes this is true, particularly if you are at the beginning and your calves didn’t strengthen; must say my calves have never ever been so strong, they used used be really skinny and weak before I began training barefoot (not necessarily running). But then it can also reduce the injuries, by stretching the calves.
Looking weird – hmmmm is that really a problem?

There are benefits of going barefoot…

…such as waking up dormant muscles which we never use in our shoes. Feet are the foundations of your system (the body) and with weak foundations the whole system is weak.

Or another good thing is that you can do a forefoot strike (on the ball of the foot) easier. May reduce certain injuries and improve balance. But today I want to make you aware of the other side of the coin: the risks of going barefoot

barefoot

Other opinions

Here are two other resources for you. Other opinions that’s all. Now you need to filter the information and choose what’s right for you.

Barefoot Running – The Pros and Cons of Going Shoeless

Science, American legal system confirm barefoot shoes are bullshit

My advice to you

There’s not need to praise anything in this world. Everything has pros and cons: cheese, beer, water, wine, the ocean, training, dieting, ice cream, fruit, air and the list can go on. That’s the truth.

So here’s the thing, scientific stuff left aside, if you enjoy taking your shoes off then go for it. Just know the risks and learn to transition from someone who did it before.. If you don’t enjoy it then don’t, no one will force you to.

Everyone stands for something in this world. This is something I stand for. I believe we are organic beings and we should remain in contact with the matter we are made of. This is among the things I believe in.

That being said I will not shout out that barefoot is the best thing ever. Because it’s not, there are risks. But there are also benefits.

So what do you stand for in this world?

If you want to have a chat on the topic, or if you want to transition but not sure how let’s talk.

How To Stop Your Shoulders From Hurting At The End Of The Day

How To Stop Your Shoulders From Hurting At The End Of The Day


Photo Credit: anchor1203 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: anchor1203 via Compfight cc

That’s a good question. Working in front of the computer for hours and hours can make your shoulders ache…..and the whole body actually.

Here are a few things to consider and do to avoid tensing your shoulders throughout the day and painful at the end of it.

1. Posture

I always say that if I had to choose the one thing I’d like my clients to take from their experience of training with me that’ll be Posture. If there was one thing I could choose.

Maintaining a good posture throughout the day will help the body relax. You cannot imagine how important posture is until you begin to understand what a good posture means.

Elongate from the crown of the head rather than tensing the shoulder blades to push your chest out (military style and the one I learnt as a child). A good posture should help you relax your body while maintaining a straight line ear-shoulder-hips-ankles (actually slightly forward than the ankles, close to middle of foot).

Need to look at your posture? I can help you and also take you through the meditation exercise I take my clients on to elongate the body adn spine. Book a free call with me and let’s get you more relaxed.

2. Therapeutic breathing

This is perfect for tensed, painful shoulders. I personally do it regularly as I am currently experiencing injuries and this helps the injured area relax, and increases blood circulation there, helping it heal.

There are many benefits of deep breathing, read 16 of them here.

But breathing exercises should not replace other forms of treatment, however they may compliment them in most cases.

I learnt this many years ago but my OCR Coach Michael Cohen explains it very well so I will quote him here.

Therapeutic breathing is where you can direct the breath into a particular part of the body, where you may have an injury, illness or ailment to help it recover and heal.

• Decide on the region or part of the body that you are going to breathe into. For a moment take your mind and eyes to that region. Then sense the direct route it will take to go from your nose to the target location and then back out through the nose.

• Keep your mouth closed, take an extended BREATHE IN along the route, filling every cell along the route to the target location. The route can fill thick like squeezing toothpaste or it may flow as easy as oil.

• Hold the breathe for the same length as the in-breathe.

• Slowly BREATHE OUT from the target area, feeling each cell empty out through the nose.

• Hold the breathe for the same length as the in-breathe.

• Repeat

3. Go floppy

Yep. Move your shoulders left and right and let your arms hang freely from your shoulders. Imagine they are no longer attached. You have no more control over them. Let them be free. Let them go!

4. The details

Here I want to talk (or maybe even write 😉 ) about the way you use your body at the desk when you work. This is a major contributor to shoulder pain…but you already knew that right? Here are some point to bear in mind.

• When you type and/or write are your elbows supported? They should be placed on the desk so your shoulders relax.

• Are your desk and seat at the right height related to each other? For example my chair is low relative to the desk so when I place my elbows on the desk my shoulders naturally raise. I have my ways of dealing with it, do you? Relax your shoulders.

• Posture!! Elongate …. as above

• Place your feet flat on the floor. Everything you do affects muscle tension in your body. This will relax your legs and aligning your hips will make sure you place even tension on both parts of your body. Everything in balance.

But besides how you sit at your desk also considers how you use your body throughout the day:

• posture when driving (relax shoulders)
• walking (relax the arms from the shoulders)
• gesticulating when you talk (keep elbows down so your shoulders don’t tense up)
• holding items (how much tension in your shoulders do you need to drink a cup of tea or bring the fork to your mount, don’t raise the elbow as this will sent up your shoulders)

And now you may think “there’s no way these small things can affect tension my shoulders to the point where they hurt really bad”.

Well….there’s only one way to find out. Become aware of how you move your body, find all the possible ways to relax your arms and shoulders and then you can get back to me with the results.

5. Fluid stretch

Unwind at the end of the day like this (just much slower). Open up all joints, stretch all muscles. Don’t use strength, just flow. Your body knows where to go. Do this sitting or standing. Do it before, during and after your workout. Stand up and do it in from of your desk.

Each of the techniques I’ve listed here can be taught in a 30 min free call with me. You probably need to look at one of them. The one which will create the greatest improvement. Book a free call with me to go through the one elements you need.

Why And How To Look After Your Feet

Why And How To Look After Your Feet


The Why

You are as strong as your weakest link.

How many times have you thought about your feet lately? And I don’t mean making your toenails look pretty. Sure you can do that as well.

You feet are your first contact with the ground. They are your foundations. Yet you never use them in your shoes. They are dormant and weak.

As with everything, if the foundations of a system are weak then the entire system is weakened and will collapse sooner or later.

In some cases they also the cause of many injuries, aches and pains throughout your body such as knees pain and shin splints.

Because when a weak link is put under repetitive pressure (while walking, standing, running etc) it will:

1. Weaken further until it breaks
2. Cause other links to take more pressure than normal and they will weaken as well

Makes sense right?

Here’s what Steve Bloor Musculoskeletal Podiatrist or “The Barefoot Podiatrist” says:

“Stiff, supportive shoes, acting like braces, cause muscle weakness & atrophy, along with joint stiffness. The evidence is showing that the plantar fascia & arch muscles need to be used in a repetitive stretch/shortening cycle in order to keep them strong & pliable. In essence, to keep the foot healthy it needs to function in the way it was evolved to function – naturally! Stiff supportive footwear don’t allow this.”

He wrote an article on barefoot lifestyle talking about feet here.

barefoot

The How

Be different and look after your body starting with the foundations. Strong thighs will be of no use if your foot muscles are weak. The same goes for biceps and hands but that’s another story.

Choose one of the following to begin strengthening your foot muscles:

1. Pick up things with your feet.

One of my clients picks up the shampoo bottle with her foot. You can also pick up socks, pens, sticks, shoes, golf ball and so on.

2. Do what I do in this video alone of play with a partner

3. Go barefoot

You can do this in the house but it’s good to walk on many different surfaces and allow the feet to curl around objects so the muscles develop multilaterally.

With all of them you don’t necessarily have to feel a burn or ache the next day. That’s not the point. Your muscles are working

 

Remember you are as strong as your weakest link. Strengthen that link and bring more strength and stability to the system.

[tweetthis]You are as strong as your weakest link. Strengthen that link and bring more strength and stability to the system.[/tweetthis]

If you have any questions I can answer them and help you with the exercises, just jump on a free call with me.

Strong Foundations For A Strong Pain Free Body

Strong Foundations For A Strong Pain Free Body


I think you agree with me when I say that if a building cannot stand without strong foundations, no matter how much iron rods and cement we put on every floor, a human body cannot be strong without a strong foundation no matter how strong the other floors may be.

For your body that foundation is your feet. If your feet are not strong, your weight properly balanced between your two feet and you do not use/move them in the correct way there is damage to be expected.

And that damage might not even be felt in the feet. No, no, it can be the knees, the hips , the lower back. But the source of your pain may very well be your feet.

Now I am not a doctor, a physio or podiatrist. But I study books such as The story of the human body , Alexander principles and I read articles by doctors, listen to interviews etc etc.

Moreover my ankles were the cause for 15 years of severe knee meniscus damage. Yep, at 12 years old I could not move my legs. I did though, because I was used to push through pain from my karate.

Today I realise how much the faulty use of my body and particularly of my feet has contributed to years and years of pain and struggle.

As a teenager I used to literally walk on the outside of my feet, lifting my the arches as high as I could. Why did I do that !!!

I was also very, very heavy footed, stumping around like a dinosaur. Still am a little but that’s changing day by day.

And in the past I also used to take, rather force, long strides just because I was short and everyone was making fun of my short strides.

 

But things changed

I had the greatest luck to be coached by the amazing Michael Cohen, obstacle race coach and founder of Wild Forest Gym.

What he did was to open my eyes to the bad habits I developed through time. From there on I took  over, I began to study and experiment on myself and boom!! my knowledge of the human body and movement exploded. And my body started to heal as well.

Now I believe I am here to give back. To help you heal as well. And for this I bring in not only what I learnt from Michael but the extraordinary wisdom from Traditional Martial Arts. Together they form powerful tool for my clients.

Now although my clients come to me to get fit, reduce stress, even lose weight I also help them with pains throughout their bodies that come as a result of body misuse.

The moment they understand how to use their bodies everything, everything changes. And in some cases the changes come after 2-3 sessions as we address posture and balance. Things I also coach over skype from the comfort of their home.

1

Three elements for you to become aware of and practice:

If you manage to address these elements you are on your way to healing. Ignore them and probably nothing will change. Your choice…

3. WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION

When you walk become aware of which foot takes the most pressure. Then is there a foot that pushes off more aggressively than the other when you step?

Once you become aware of this imbalanced try to balance your weight evenly on your feet. This can solve so so so many problems as in knee pain, leg pain, hip pain, lower back pain. In some instances your pain comes from this faulty body weight distribution.

2. STABILITY MUSCLES

This is where we talk about strong foot muscles. The easiest and fastest way to strengthen them is to sand on one leg. Yes, balance exercises.

And you don’t need a stability ball, trust me. First you need to learn to balance properly without under or over pronating, distributing the weight of your body evenly on the ball of the foot and heel.

Then you learn how to use your toes to strengthen the muscles. Then you look at the knee position. Then your become aware of your core contribution. And so on.

Then there are loads of variations of balance exercises you can try home. You do not need a stability ball so stop wasting your money on gym equipment and start actually doing something.

Lack of equipment is just an excuse for not doing anything. Sorry, but in many cases that is the truth. I used that excuse many times as a teenager 😉

1. POSTURE

Although we are talking about feet I want you to know that your posture is the beginning of everything.

Your cannot balance properly to strengthen your foot muscles and the rest of the body if you cannot hold a nice, relaxed, elongated posture.

You MUST address your posture. I cannot stress this enough

 

Changing the way you move, breathe and live

I am putting together a virtual coaching program which will cover all these elements here as well as meditation, mindfulness and habits that lead to pain, discomfort, weight gain, lack of energy in the first place.

All designed to take you from stressed out, exhausted, in pain and feeling down to energetic, enthusiastic and pain free by transforming the way you move, breathe and live.

This program will also have the power and tools to enhance your body’s ability to heal itself.

If this sounds good to you please email me at alexandra@urbanwomenfitness.com and I will contact you with more information regarding the upcoming program.

TMP 001: Breathing Technique For Runners

TMP 001: Breathing Technique For Runners


 women running

Part of what I teach is Running Technique and today I would like to talk to you about breathing while running. One of the most overlooked aspects of running, health and physical and mental performance.

There are many ways to breathe while running and coaches teach their way, the way that works best for them. I will teach you the breathing pattern my sensei taught me many years ago.

So let’s begin.

Correct breathing

First we must make sure you breathe in a correct way:

1. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. This way you avoid inhaling dust particles by filtering the air. You are also using your nose which is part of the respiratory system. We are supposed to use that to breathe because that’s what it was designed for in the first place. You can also breathe out through the nose.

2. Breathe in expanding the stomach or pushing the belly button out. Breathe out pulling the belly button in towards the spine. Your chest should not move in and out and your shoulders should not move up and down. You should practice this stationary or while walking before you bring it into your running.

3. Don’t slouch when you breathe out or push your hips forward, rounding your lower back when you breathe in. Your body is stationary and only the stomach moves in and out.

The rhythm

Now let’s move on to breathing rhythm while running. This works for myself and my clients and it’s a good place to start.

1. Breath in on 2 steps, breathe out on 2 steps. It goes like this…

2. Break down the breathes , don’t do a long inhale and long exhale. You must control the air that goes in and out so you don’t inhale or exhale too much pr too little. It can also make you dizzy . So try to do This…… And not this…..

3. Do not fill up your lungs with air or empty them all the way. Leave some space otherwise you create pressure and run out of breathe

4. From time to time you may need to take a long in breathe through your nose or mouth or exhale long. Thats ok, there was a break in the rhythm and your body needs to adjust that

5. If you are not used to breathing through your nose this will seem very difficult and unnatural. That’s ok and normal. Practice the breathing when you walk before you run and practice other breathing techniques as well to increase lung capacity. Remember that the nose is part of the system responsible for breathing, it was made for us to breathe through it not through the mouth. The more you practice the easier and more natural it becomes.

Practice breathing and your running performance and your general health will see huge improvements.

How To Cultivate The Art Of Attention And Focus

How To Cultivate The Art Of Attention And Focus


Now this is a challenging topic for me to write about. There are many ways you can cultivate the art of attention and focus. I will only show you one way, or rather 3, the way I practice.

The magic word is indeed “practice”. Just like we can lose anything, muscle, weight, discipline, faith, we can also lose the ability to focus.

The reason this is difficult for me to explain is because I was taught attention, focus, discipline from a very early age, 8 years old, when I began practicing karate.

So now the challenge is for me to teach others how to do it….my way. Of course I could easily go to others who have systems in place to coach others to develop such skills. But what’s the point then? They will never ever be able to show you how I did it, how I made it possible, my way.

So let’s get to it.

If I was to choose 3 ways to cultivate attention and focus those would be:

Look and See

We all look at things. We look at people around us, at trees, at buildings, at the device you are reading this on. But do you actually see….anything at all?

Do you actually SEE the colours, shapes, sizes and patterns. So often we just go through the day blindfolded and in a rush.

When I walk many times I try to imagine I’m slowing down time. Imagine Matrix, it’s old school but a great way to imagine what I do.

So I slow down time, not slow down my pace, and I look and see things that I’d normally just walk by, things that most people don’t see.

For example: a spot on a leaf, a chewing gum stuck on the sidewalk, a spot on the bark of a tree, a drop of water

drop-of-water

Touch and Feel

Again a personal example. Walking to my Karate class I pass by a cemetery (a nice one though) and the fence is covered in trees, bushes and flowers.

Many times, slowing down time as before, I touch the leaves and the flowers, while I walk past them.

But it’s not just touching, is feeling their softness or harshness, feeling the drops of rain, the freshness of those drops.

Listen and Hear

We are seldom aware of what’s going on around us. We walk around like zombie or robots, and I do the same, I am part of it.

Yet sometimes, when you slow down time (there’s that “slow down” again) we begin to actually hear things we’ve never heard before.

As you walk down the street or sit on the tube or bus try to find all the sounds you can possibly find. Count them. See how many sounds you can capture.

You’ll be amazed at what happens when you do this. Please try it and leave a comment or email me. I’d like to hear your experience because it will be totally different than mine or anyone else’s

 

The common element

That’s the “slowing down” element. That’s the pause, the stop, the moment of stillness.

That’s what we’ve lose as humans in our pursuit for better, faster, stronger. I do the same, but from time to time I practice the Art Of Attention And Focus.

When you manage to do that you are cultivating the art of attention and focus. Practice these are your life will change for the better.

The way you go through life, the way you see the world, how you feel and what you listen to will change the way you live your life.

These are the things that I do with my clients. Sometimes our sessions are really physically challenging but other times we challenge the mind and spirit so we develop at all levels not just one.

Why I Stand For 1h30m Training Sessions

Why I Stand For 1h30m Training Sessions


Ever since I began practicing Karate, 20 years ago, I learnt that training is at least 1h30min long. Not 1h, not 45 min. And I kept it this way. Here I will explain WHY this is so important.

Today we have all sorts of sessions. And they are all good. They target different things, mostly weight loss or general fitness. And I agree with them all.

However, what they also do is turn us into little robots. Sorry…but the attitude of “get in and get out” is like programming a machine.

What is the general 1h training:

1. Rush inside the gym with the sole purpose of exercising and leave as quickly as you can. This is called “me time”

2. Warm up 10min

3. Stretching 5 min… most people don’t even remember that. That’s not even half of I do with my clients

4. Main session. This is usually a circuit of general exercises to target specific goals. The circuit, in many situations, is not actually broken into small pieces and each exercise explained thoroughly: how not to injure yourself, why that’s important, what muscles you are working and how to BREATH

5. Cool down and stretch….maybe….5min??? Noooo…..that’s not enough. And most importantly the exercises in the main session seldom improve mobility and flexibility. Read here why they are so important.

6. Rush out the door

So much rush and lack of attention and focus leads to all these injuries we see everyone suffer from. I’m not saying that not rushing will definitely lead to no injuries, ever. But the risk is far greater when we rush.

What a 1h30min session does:

1. Brings you THERE. Not just your body, that’s not enough, you are there with the mind. You are focused and prepared. That’s a true “me time”. This can be done through meditation or some deep breathing exercises (which by the way helps with warming up your body besides many other benefits).

2. Warm up, without rushing, ok…..that can be 10 min

3. Stretching 20 min!! Yes, 20 min if your training has a limited number of exercises which improve flexibility and mobility as well as working towards your final goal

4. Technique. Before the killer cardio session you go through ALL exercises which will be in the session. You break them down to its smallest elements. You adjust and make sure your body understands how to move and what to expect. This way you reduce the risk of injuries….a lot.

5. Cardio session. This is where you put into application what you practiced earlier.

6. Cool down and stretching, 20 min stretching again. If your session had elements of mobility and flexibility it can be shorter. But most routines don’t. Many of them tighten muscles and with 5 min stretching you are no actually doing too much.

And these are only the basics 😉

clock

Benefits of such long sessions

I train myself and my clients like this all the time and here’s what happens

1. It takes you about 20 min to get out of the rushing world and work/family related thoughts. The world full of noise and clutter and into a moment of peace and focus dedicated to yourself. That’s the “me moment”. Twenty minutes.

2. Reduce the risk of injuries because you actually warm up properly, stretch and you go through technique. You understand how to move your body, how to adjust, why you are doing all those things you chose to do.

3. Your Coach is not rushed when explaining the elements of good posture, breathing and efficient body use which can make the greatest difference in reaching your goals and protecting your body. If they do explain these at all

4. You get the most out of your Coaches’ knowledge. Knowledge which you can take home and apply yourself whether in your individual training or daily life (like posture and breathing for example).

5. NO RUSH. I cannot stress this enough. We are always on the run. We NEVER ever have time. There is enough time. You can make time. You can stretch time. If you only take a moment… and breathe

6. You pay attention. Rushing around will only cause chaos, mistakes and injuries in your mind and body. Is a hardcore training worth all that? Causing your body extreme pain (the wrong kind of pain). Pay attention to yourself, your body, your movement and the world around you and you will be HAPPIER, FITTER and HEALTHIER

[tweetthis]Cultivate the art of attention and focus and your life will change[/tweetthis]

These are some benefits from the top of my head. But these 1h30min sessions are priceless for me as a Coach and my clients. They get the very best of me and my knowledge.

I have time to explain every little details, building strong foundations for 12 weeks before I let them go knowing they know what to do by themselves in the correct way.

 

 

Getting Off The Treadmill Of Life

Getting Off The Treadmill Of Life


I am not even sure the title is the best one for this post. I was inspired by one of my students to write about this after a conversation we had the other day.

Let me tell you my thoughts first.

One day, last Wednesday to be more precise, a thought came to my mind: Wednesday? I thought Wednesday was last week. I thought we were done with it and moved on.

Now that was a funny thing (for me at least). I wasn’t really serious.

But come to think of it we never move on. Wednesday will come every 7 days, again and again…..and yet again. May will do the same. We keep ourselves in this infinite cycle.

“We” because we humans invented the cycle and named the days of the week.

Another wheel going nowhere

Now the point is that not only we are on a hamster wheel already we also run on treadmills and cycle on stationary bikes…..going nowhere…..again.

Do you really want that? Do you really like that? Just askin’…

Yeah, but I’ll hurt my knees otherwise

If your running is aggressive you will probably hurt your body wherever you run or even just walk. And you will probably hurt it more on surfaces that absorb that aggressiveness and you will never become aware of it. You will never learn, never grow, never understand, never move on.

Is that what you want? Another wheel going nowhere?

You will ache anyway

You will be old and you will ache anyway, might as well ache for a good reason. That’s the answer I gave my aunt who said running will damage my body.

I will not say it doesn’t. Anything can damage your body, even if it’s wear and tear. And it comes sooner or later even if you do nothing.

My mother once said that her neck hurts and knees sometimes. She’s getting old.

I told her my knees hurt from a very early age.

But then she said, yes….but you have a good reason for it.

She was talking about my karate training. And she was right. It didn’t matter that I was in pain, what mattered was those unforgettable moments. When you live pain can be overcome.

girl-running

We live it, we breath it

In the end the experience you have is the only thing that matters . That’s what you will tell your friends, family and grandchildren.

You will never talk about the shoes you wore on the treadmill at one point in time. You will not tell them you ran a 5k on the treadmill and actually feel awesome about it.

But run outdoors through mud, water, rain, snow or whatever the weather. Then come home and tell your story.

 

At Urban Women Fitness we live and breathe every moment we are outdoors. Whether running, climbing trees, lifting logs or moving in ways we’ve never moved before.

We feel the wind, the cold, the snow, the sun, the rain, we feel them all and we become a part of the elements and the elements a part of us.

We listen, we touch, we experience, we discover, we experiment, we live even if just for a few hours every week. 

And the stories we tell our loved ones are precious, are unique but most important we are proud of ourselves and we finally LOVE this thing that many call “exercise”

Don’t Run On Your Toes…Or Heels

women running

Don’t Run On Your Toes…Or Heels


You may or may not agree with my ideas and practices. But that’s ok. The world would be so boring if we all had the same ideas and philosophies. Don’t you think?

So I would like to share my opinion on running skills. Particularly regarding the strike in this blog post. First of all I base my running technique on POSE Method and Chi Running elements as well as Natural Running. Plus I bring into it some elements from Karate. Yes, Karate and running have common grounds, believe it or not.

 women running

About heel strike

I’m not saying heel strike is good or bad but I am asking the following questions:

Why don’t children (up to the age of 5) run heel strike? If heel strike was the natural way.

Why does running feel so heavy when we heel strike? You only notice the heaviness when you experience the opposite, lightness.

Why so many people struggle so much when running? …and most people heel strike

Why does our butt stick out when we heel strike if heel strike is the natural way? Then back arches and we end up with back pain, thus hating running.

Why don’t we run heel strike first when we don’t have padding/platforms (that’s shoes)? The moment we try to heel strike barefoot that impact goes right up the head is it’s too aggressive. Have you ever felt that? I tested.

Why do we feel so much pressure on the knees when heel striking? And why does it look so aggressive on the body when we heel strike? Have you ever notices the aggressive force on the body? I notice it by watching runners every single day…

Why do we lose control and easily slip on ice, snow or mud when we heel strike?

Why is running so difficult for my clients before I teach them the “other way”?

 

About toe strike

If we run on our toes, without placing the heel on the ground, there are other problems.

As the foot touches the ground, knee bends and if the heel doesn’t touch the ground then the knee bends further passing over the toes and so receives all the pressure and weight. There is a similar principle in Karate.

You can also get shin splints and force the ankle too much. Add to that the poor weight distributions and poor alignment of the body which keeps it in a weaker form. Let’s not mention the strain on the calf.

 

No heels, no toes….then what?

There’s another option: Ball of foot – Midfoot strike

That is landing with the ball of the foot (has nothing to do with the toes) a fraction of a second before the heel touches the ground. It’s really that long, a fraction.

You should not point your toes and never land on your toes as this can indeed lead to other types of injuries.

Ball of foot is wrongly mistaken for toe landing. It is completly different and the body works in a different way. It is actually heavy and difficult and you bounce up and down all the way. Who’d want that! It can be exhausting.

 

Conclusion

I do not claim to know the best way to run. All I know is that since I changed my running form my knees are better (having had 15 years of sever meniscus damage, now my knees are in their best shape), running feels light like gliding over the ground and it’s so much easier.

I also have a lot more control when running on different surfaces and can apply the principle of body weight transfer so I don’t push off.

Because push off action, or pushing against the ground, causes will lead to a response an equal and opposite reaction – according to the laws of physics.

When you heel strike you end up pushing off to move forward. Alternatively when you lean from your ankles, using gravity and using the body weight transfer principle you make use of that source of free energy. You also nicely and smoothly lift your foot and place it softer on the ground. More control, more enjoyable run.

And this doesn’t come only from my experience. Once I begin teaching running techinique my clients start smiling and begin enjoying running. Even those who hated it before. They feel lighter and more in control of their own bodies. And they look like runners from their first session. Because it’s about forma AND efficiency.

You must also bear in mind that landing is only ONE element of the running technique I teach. There are many other elements which when brought together transform your running and how it impacts your body.

So there you have it. What I stand for in terms of running and the reason why I stand for this. As mentioned the technique is much more complex but this gives you a glimpse.

 

Review your running technique

If you’d like me to have a look at your running film yourself running 50m a few times, book a call with me and we will look at it together

 

Stop Looking And Start Feeling

Stop Looking And Start Feeling


We are so dependent on our eyes nowadays. We receive most of our information through the sense of sight. Not saying that’s a bad thing.

But it seems to me we are slowly losing the ability to feel. Particularly feeling our bodies, the position, the movement, how it feels, what it needs.

I will not claim I have absolutely mastered the art of listening and understanding my body and its needs. But I strive to get better and better every day at it. And pass on to my students everything I know.

 

Mirrors

This is what I actually want to write about today: mirrors. Particularly mirrors when we train. In the gym, in the house, in the Dojo, everywhere.

Mirrors are really good from one point of view. To see how you move and correct technique. Not talking about looking at how your biceps pump up. That’s another story.

I use the mirrors in the Dojo to look at my technique. And I use them a lot, I find them very useful.

However there is also the downside. The more we use them to watch ourselves the less we are aware of our bodies, how they move and feel.

Again back to the Dojo. The best thing is that what I do requires me to move away from mirrors so unlike the gym where you are static, in front of the mirrors while you do everything, here you move around a lot.

In the outdoors…..no mirrors at all of course. You are left with just feeling your body, becoming mindful of it. For many this is a challenge itself.

Alexandra Merisoiu

What I do with my clients

First of all we have no mirrors. We only see each other and we feel our own bodies. This enhances our kinaesthetic sense.

Kinaesthesia is knowledge of the position and movement of parts of your body, which comes from sense organs in the muscles and joints (Oxford Dictionary)

Sometimes, very seldom and only when really needed for advanced techniques, we take pictures and/or film the exercise to have a better picture of how the movement is and how it should be.

Another thing we do is walk with our eyes closed. Beware there is a high danger of injury so if you do this make sure you either walk very, very slow and/or there is nothing around you to make you trip, fall and injure yourself.

We do this barefoot as it enhances the sense of touch and orientation. We feel the ground beneath our feet from the moment they touch the earth to the moment they leave the surface and the journey they make above the ground.

It’s a wonderful and relaxing feeling. Also called walking meditation.

Conclusion

STOP Watching Yourself & START Feeling Yourself

Other ideas to try:

  • lying on your bed at night, before you fall asleep, become aware of your toes
  • imagine your breathe going in through your nose and all the way down to your toes
  • become aware of the position of your body as you sit, stand and walk
  • pay attention at how you use your body when you eat and drink

 

 

What Day & Time Is The Best For Training Sessions

What Day & Time Is The Best For Training Sessions


This is a common question so I’d better answer it. A straight forward answer would be: there is not BEST. Ok, now I’d better explain.

With over 20 years of being coached in many different sports: Martial Arts, Target Shooting, Swimming, Skiing, Archery, Dance etc. I trained every day, at different hours.

Now….I’ve also coached at many different hours and noticed the difference in clients between times and days in terms of performance. There is a difference, more or less.

But while some feel awesome at 2 pm, others give it their best at 6am.

stretching

What day

It’s up to you really. Some say that training on Monday prepares them for the week. While others feel Fridays are best because they unwind after a difficult week at work.

This shows that everyone lives different lives and so we all need different things. It all comes down to mindset really.

If you believe that training Monday at 5 am will set you up for an awesome week then that’s how it’s going to be. If you ever miss a Monday session and have a bad week you will blame it on that.

We self program ourselves, consciously or not, we do. There’s nothing wrong with that by the way.

My suggestion is to make sure you don’t become depended on one day that decides how you will feel for the rest of the week. If you miss a session is not the end of the world and nothing different will happen.

I personally like to train the same days of the week every week. The reason for that is because I like to be in control of my schedule and I like my body to know when to be ready for training. It’s programming again.

Leave a comment below and let me know which day you train and why that day.

 

What time of the day

I’ve read articles in the past (don’t ask me to dig them up please!) which state that mornings are the best as they get you ready for the day. Others say evening a few hours before you sleep. Yet others suggest 4 pm is the best.

There seems to be research to backup everything. And in their research they are all right.

My story…..I trained at different times throughout my sports career. From 5 am to 3am at night. Morning, afternoon, evening, night. Did them all.

Night training is wonderful. It’s one of the most incredible experiences. I can train at any time of day or night. That’s because I never programmed myself to think that I cannot perform well at certain times.

In Karate you don’t complain. If your coach wakes you up at 3 am for training, you go and give it your best. And I did…many years in  a row.

 

What should you do now

Again because we all live different lives we work in different ways. So you need to test and see which time of day you are at your best.

You should have set days/times but not be dependent on them. I have Fridays and Sundays for Karate at set times. Those are a weekly must no matter what.

The rest are not as strict. I also like to be flexible.  If I miss one of my karate sessions for any reason I am a little upset but it doesn’t affect my day that much.

Choose your times and stick to them. It’s good to have a routine. But if you need to change them do so without thinking everything else will go wrong because of that.

Leave a comment with the day and time you do your regular training and why.

 

What Is Zanshin And Why It Is Important For You

Alexandra Merisoiu

What Is Zanshin And Why It Is Important For You


Zanshin is the state of readiness in Budo practice. Budo is the code of Martial Arts, the Martial Arts path, an education system in the modern world, rather than a fighting system  like many people believe.

Translated literally, Zanshin means “left over or remaining heart / spirit”.

 

Zanshin is not something you can aim for, it’s not a goal, it’s rather like discipline or awareness, you always have to work on it. You will never “get there”.

I have yet to understand what it is but I will give it my best to explain what I’ve learnt so far in the past 20 years.

I took elements of Budo into my coaching and teachings blending the wisdom of traditional martial arts with modern coaching methods.

This approach helps me make huge breakthroughs with my clients, taking them from exhaustion and shut down to energetic and fully functional. As they learn about Zanshin they apply the 8 aspects and their life changes.

 Alexandra Merisoiu

The 8 aspects of Zanshin:

It was difficult to find sources on Zanshin. Well….good sources with information that explains what it is in a satisfying way that I agree with and resonates with my teachings.

After searching and searching I found the eight aspects of Zanshin which made perfect sense and bring out exactly what I teach day in and day out.

The eight aspects refer to Martial Arts, at first glance. But….if you look closely you will see they apply to every and any area of your life. And here’s how:

1. Posture (Shisei)

How you use and move your body. Elongate your body, be relaxed yet prepared to respond to any unpredictable situations that may arise. Be prepared for the expected and unexpected.

If I’ve ever coached you then you know how much emphasis I put on posture at every single session and/or call we have. I remind and remind and remind you until you hear my voice in your head reminding you.

2. Eye control (Metsuke)

Observing the world around you, take notice of everything and everyone and be prepared

3. Engagement distance (Ma-ai)

Interacting with the outer world. Although you can clearly notice the application of this aspect in fighting there are ways to bring it into your day to day life. You can call this you personal bubble that no one should disturb.

You have to be aware of who and how close someone may get. This can also be applied to other circumstances like how close you stopped to the car in front of you.

It’s paying attention to distance you put between you and someone or something for your own safety and comfort.

4. Focused energy (Kiai)

Be involved with your mind, body and spirit and let nothing disturb your focus. This is probably easier said than done with today’s technology and facebook on our iphones.

I personally refused to have internet on my iphone or ipad so that I am not tempted to see who and what commented or what emails I’ve received. If anyone wants to get hold of me they can call.

5. Connection (Ki musubi)

Awareness of and connection with your inner world. Now we talk about how much attention you pay to what’s going on inside of you.

And here I mean thoughts, emotions, but also how your body feels, what it’s asking for and how tuned it you are.

6. Decisive focus (Kime)

Don’t waste energy, channel it towards one thing. In Karate you do not think about your business while you practice a Kata. You do that and your focus and energy are lost.

You focus on what you are doing in the moment. You can be aware of what are your next 3-4 moves but the focus is on the move you are engaging in at that moment in time.

Of course this is difficult to do for someone who has 1000 other things. But this is where meditation come into play, to help make space and re-arrange your thoughts in the correct order.

7. Essence of the technique (Riai)

This is something I emphasize to my students over and over again. In life look for quality rather than quantity.

Too often we find ourselves running for more, faster and better. I know I do…many times. I am always striving for speed, perfection as well as quality. Sometimes I fail and that’s when I slow down.

It’s not easy, that’s why Zanshin is a lifelong journey. It is not a goal, a milestone or destination.

8. Intuition/awareness (Kanken)

The 8th aspect of Zanshin is link between the heart and the mind and brings together all the other aspects.

You cannot keep good posture if you are not aware of your own body. And you may notice what your body feels but you need intuition to know what it needs to thrive.

All aspects come down to intuition and awareness. And you need to train your awareness to train your intuition.

 

This is what Zanshin is and the reason I chose it to be part of The Merisoiu Technique Five Essential principles.

Zanshin can be taught through face to face or virtual coaching. That doesn’t mean you will master it. Mastering takes years, but you will get a glimpse of what I am talking about here.

So if you want to talk about it and I will also take you through a posture and breathing analysis book a FREE call with me and let’s put you on the Zanshin path, starting today.

 

 

Do You Hate Running? Here Are Three Steps To LOVE It

Do You Hate Running? Here Are Three Steps To LOVE It


 

Many people tell me they don’t like or even hate running. The most common 3 reasons I get when I ask them why (but not the only) are:

1. It’s boring
2. It’s difficult (running out of breath)
3. It’s painful (on the joints, muscles)

If you feel you don’t like running because of the reasons above or other reasons (let me know which) here’s how you can overcome them:

 

1. It’s boring

I don’t blame you. Running can be really boring when you’re just…….running. Unless you reach “the zone”, which requires time and practice.

So to counter that here’s what I do. I take my clients through drills such as breathing techniques, fluidity in running, relaxation while running (yes, that’s possible and recommended) and posture.

Bringing mindfulness into running makes it a lot more enjoyable. And it’s not me saying this, but my clients themselves.

[tweetthis]Bringing #mindfulness into #running makes it a lot more enjoyable.[/tweetthis]

Photo Credit: Alain Limoges via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Alain Limoges via Compfight cc

2. It’s difficult (running out of breath)

It’s true that if you run out of breath after running for a few minutes there’s not fun or enjoyment in running. You need patience and consistency to overcome that.

Ooor you could do breathing exercises three minutes before you fall asleep. Don’t tell me you don’t have time. No one falls asleep within three seconds from placing their head on the pillow. If that’s the case then that’s not good.

Three minutes before falling asleep do a breathing technique. Here’s one to get you going. Do it for two weeks, ever week, religiously and you will see improvements. Do it for longer than three minutes and the progress will be even greater.

Triangle breathing technique:

Imagine an equilateral triangle. It has 3 equal sides

• BREATHE IN through your nose on a count of 4.
• HOLD on a count of 4.
• BREATHE OUT through your nose on a count of 4.
• No hold after this one. Repeat

If 4 sec is too much take it down to 3 or 2. If it’s too little take it up.

Note: make sure that when you breathe in you breathe into your stomach (making the stomach big) and when you breathe out you squeeze your stomach, pulling your belly button towards your spine. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

After you increase your lung capacity running will not be a nightmare anymore.

At the end of this blog post you have 2 other breathing techniques if you need progressions. But believe me if you go up to 10-20 sec with the triangle you won’t need any progression.

3. It’s painful (on the joints, muscles)

Ok here’s a real pain. Literally. Although we’ve been designed to walk long distances and to run, that’s what history of evolution shows us, and although we have such amazing technology around and comfy shoes we still experience loads of running related injuries. Ever wondered why?

Here’s the thing. Any sport you practice can lead to injuries. I never really ran (once a month maybe) while I was a Karateka in Romania and still got severe meniscus damage on both knees.

When I became a runner it didn’t get any better but it didn’t get any worse either. And I wasn’t stronger either, weaker yes, not stronger. So let’s leave the running leads to injury part and see how we can reduce the pain you feel so you enjoy running.

 

It’s simple really. Technique, mindfulness, breathing, fluidity and posture. Five elements that will take the stress off your joints and make you not run but glide over the ground (won’t promise you will levitate though)

[tweetthis] Five elements that will take the stress off your joints and make you not #run but glide over the ground[/tweetthis]

A good running technique looks at the following major components:

• posture
• stride and pace
• landing and kick off
• using gravity instead of brute force
• arm movement, angle and hand position
• leg and foot movement
• hips movement
• breathing rhythm

[tweetthis]A good #RunningTechnique looks at the following major components:[/tweetthis]

Read my blog post on What Can Running Do For You and you will understand what I am talking about.

Need advice on your running, get in touch.

 

 

Do This NOW To Revitalize Your Body

Do This NOW To Revitalize Your Body


Feeling achy and your body stiff and tired? If you sit a lot, type a lot and your shoulders and neck probably hurt also if you are stressed out, especially if you are stressed out, then this blog post is for you.

To get rid of many of these physical pains and stress all you need it 5-10 min. OK, I know I am asking a lot from you. But do you want to hurt and be tired all the time? If you answered YES then this article will not help you. If you answered NO then keep reading, I’ll go straight to the point.

Here’s what you need to do. I have the pictures for these stretching exercises below but you may actually want to have a look at a webinar I hosted a few days ago. There I take you through the exercises and explain in more detail what they do for you.

#9. Triceps – your hand reaches down along your spine, pushing the elbow down gradually and  lightly with the other hand, keep your chin up and shoulders down and levelled, breathing out when you stretch to release tension. This one also mobilized your shoulders besides stretching your triceps.

 Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (1)

#8. Forearms and fingers – stretch the arm out in front of you and slowly push the fingers down and towards you, push forward through the top of the hand to stretch the forearm (again a detail many overlook), breathing out when you stretch to release tension. It’s good to stretch the thumb after that as well.

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (2)

#7. Shoulders – arm goes across the body, straight. The other arm pushes it towards you, under or above the elbow not on top of it to avoid injury. Keep the arm straight and shoulders down, breathing out when you stretch.

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (3)

#6. Chest and shoulders – one of my favourites. Interlock the fingers at the back and slowly lift up without leaning forward (you can do that as well, but not in this example). Besides stretching you also mobilise your shoulders. It’s an awesome feeling. Keep your arms straight and shoulders down, breathing out when you stretch.

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (5) Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (4)

 

#5. Sides of body – the hand below pulls down the hand above. Instead of bending to stretch you pull your arm down slowly. It is important here to lean to the side not forwards of backwards. If you are not sure of the position of your body it is safer to lean forwards slightly to protect your back. When you come back from such stretches use your abdominal muscles instead of your lower back. breathing out when you stretch.

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (10) Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (11)

#4. Back/front of neck – this is easy to understand, avoid lifting your shoulders and breathe out on the stretch. When your head goes back you can open your mouth to relax the neck and get a nicer stretch….and a minty breath even.

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (8) Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (7)

#3. Sides of neck 1 – here the ear goes to the shoulder rather than lifting the shoulder to the ear. This is a common mistake as many of us are not mindful of our bodies. Breathe out on the stretch

Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (6)

#2. Sides of neck – important here is to bring your chin over your shoulders and not your forehead. The chin leads the way and the forehead follows. Keep the chin down , keep the shoulders down and breathe out on the stretch.

 Alexandra-Merisoiu-Flexibility-Exercise (9)

#1. THE MERISOIU OFFICE STRETCH. If you have a look at the webinar, in the comment box you have the link to the video with this stretch. Believe me….you will forget all the others when you do this one.

It’s fluid, it’s going with what your body needs, how it needs it and you are flowing rather than forcing. It’s a wonderful feeling and everyone who tries it feels amazing.

And I do recommend and encourage you to watch the full Webinar “Take Your Body From Shut Down To Fully Functional And Age Gracefully”. Get instant access here.

So stretch, stretch and stretch some more

Why Your Flexibility Today Is Different From Yesterday

Why Your Flexibility Today Is Different From Yesterday


Sometimes we can stretch one day and feel very, very flexible and mobile. Then the next day we notice we cannot do the same things anymore.

Like touching your toes, it can be so difference from one day to another. And then you think that the first time was just a one time thing and you are disappointed.

You shouldn’t be. There are a few things that can influence your flexibility and mobility from one day to another. Yep, that fast.

But that doesn’t mean you lost your flexibility or mobility. It also doesn’t mean you should not work on them constantly.

 Alexandra Merisoiu Urban Women Fitness

Mobility vs Flexibility

Before I go any further I’d like to point out the difference between flexibility and mobility. We use these words a lot but how many of you know the difference?

• MOBILITY is the ability to move or be moved freely and easily. MOBILITY is an indication of how well and efficiently we move.
FLEXIBILITY is the quality of bending easily without breaking. FLEXIBILITY is a component of MOBILITY.

• MOBILITY deals with how loose you feel, or how stiff you feel.
FLEXIBILITY deals with muscles length

• MOBILITY is about the whole picture, how easily the body can move.
FLEXIBILITY is specific to a particular movement or joint and it can vary around the body.

 

What may affect your flexibility and mobility from one day to another.

These factors DO NOT apply to everyone. The reason I am listing some of them is for you to understand what’s happening whenever you feel like you’ve lost flexibility. In fact you probably haven’t lost it, it’s just temporary.

Weather – warm weather will help your flexibility

How you feel – emotions leave an imprint on our bodies in the form of muscle tensions.

Type of workout – natural movement training such as the ones I do with my clients, although may be challenging) encourage flexibility and mobility. A high intensity interval training, or otherwise called HIIT, may cause your muscles to tighten up.

How warm your muscles are

If you’ve workout the day before – you may be in recovery mode and your body may feel stiffer. Again here it depends on the type of workout as well

Sleeping patterns – sleeping is the only time your body recovers and heals in a natural way. the only time. a good rest, not necessarily long one, will help your body in terms of flexibility and mobility.

How you use breathing in your stretches – breathing is again a very overlooked elements in training and many coaches do not teach breathing patterns and techniques. How you breath can determine how efficient your workout is. Proper breathing when stretching can increase your mobility and flexibility while incorrect breathing can lead to pain and injuries.

Diet – to thrive your body needs quality food. you release toxicity from your joints, your muscles and your body, you become more flexible

Hormones

Age (or so they say) – I personally do not agree with this. I have many examples of people in their 50’s and 60’s who are more flexible than I am (that doesn’t make me feel good, but that’s the truth). You work on flexibility, you keep your bofy flexible

Fashion – high heels for example can tighten and shorten muscles and tendons in your toes, foot, ankle, calves. Or jeans that are too tight can restrict blood circulation.

There are so many things we overlook when we work with our bodies. And many PT’s and Coaches fail to point them out thinking you don’t need to know these things.

I believe your should be aware of everything that causes your body to change in any way. It’s your body after all.

You don’t need to become a health coach but you should be aware of what’s happening so you can better understand your body and look after it better and with more patience.

 

Yesterday I held a live webinar on flexibility and mobility to take your body from shut down to fully functional and age gracefully. There are also practical stretches there which you can use while sitting at your desk….simple.

Where Do You Hold Your Stress? And 5 Steps To Combat Stress

Where Do You Hold Your Stress? And 5 Steps To Combat Stress


You heard me say it before and I will say it again: your mind and body are always connected. One influences the other and when one is out of balance the other will be as well.

[tweetthis]Your mind and body are always connected. One influences the other and when one is out of balance the other will be as well. [/tweetthis]

Good, now that we got that down let us talk about how you can combat stress easier.

So if the body is connected to the mind and vice-versa that means that by relaxing one of them the other will relax as well. Right? (good, happy you agree with me).

Now, the mind is a very complex system and sometimes it just does whatever it wants. Sometimes it’s just difficult to calm it down.

However, we can easily address the body. Well…..easier. By releasing physical stress, tensions, pressures in your body your mind will follow this process of relaxation.

We hold much of our mental stress from being business owners, mothers, wives etc in our bodies. Probably all of it. Everything that happens in our lives may be stored in our bodies.

neck-pain
Photo Credit: micolumnasana via Compfight cc

You may hold stress all around you body however the 2 most common areas are:

1. Shoulders and neck. Very painful stuff and the problem with holding stress and tension here is that you are restricting the nerve pathways leading from your cervical spine (The Arch Of Life) down your arms and so end up with pain and numbness in your arms, wrists, fingers

2. Lower back. Do I need to say anything about this? We all know that nagging and painful pain. The problem with holding stress and tension here is that you block other nerve pathways leading down your legs and can lead to problems such as knee pain which can lead to other problems.

 

The consequences of holding psychological stress in your body:

The less time you spend to relax your body the more tension you build up. And it builds up until the system collapses. Holding that tension in your body for years and years may lead to:

•  Carpal tunnel syndrome
•  Compression the intervertebral discs
•  Chronic Lowe back pain
•  Knee pain and even meniscus damage. Read my story of how I overcame 15 years of sever meniscus damage
•  Ankle pain and even Achilles tendonitis
•  Should pain as mentioned before

The worst ones are those that send shooting pain down your arm or leg. Have you ever experienced that? Tension, tension and more tension.

 

How on earth are you going to RELAX? 

Many of us struggle to relax. I know I used to, but not anymore. I learnt how to “let go” of my shoulders and arms with every occasion I have and I teach this to my students as well. The result: instant stress relieve.

So here are 5 steps to help you relax, let go and….get floppy as I always say:

1. Become aware of your body
2. Become aware of the places you hold stress and tension
3. Find a position that does not cause you to tens those areas (i.e. some desks make you unconsciously raise, and tense up, your shoulders when you type, that might be because the chair is too low or the table it to high)
4. Breathe into those areas
5. Visualize the muscles melting away and relax

 

Benefits of doing these steps:

Besides the fact that you feel awesome in your body again:

•  you release that tension you put on your body and help it heal and recover
•  you can be more focused and productive (of course with less pain to nag you you can actually do some work)
•  you are more patient and calm with yourself and those around you
•  you achieve more freedom of movement
•  you age gracefully  Tweet: age gracefully

 

I practice and teach more advances techniques. So if you feel the above steps don’t work for you then give a shout and I will step in and give you others that will work better in your case.

These relaxation practices and methods I teach should not be used to replace professional medical treatment. You may use them together with your treatment if you believe they are beneficial to you. Please also bear in mind that I am not a doctor or a therapist, but I do have experience and work with women who hold stress and tension in their bodies to help them let go it and achieve more freedom of movement.

Are you falling apart?

Are you falling apart?


It seems like so many people, from any walks of life and almost any age, complain about aches and pains.

Whether we talk about sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries or growing old most of us are aware of something going on with and in our bodies.

Every client I work with comes with an initial goal in mind, weight loss, fitness, toning the body etc. However there is always a second, additional element.

Almost all of them come with a certain pain or injury they want to solve as well. The cool thing is that by working with their bodies from the inside they actually achieve the other goals as well.

Photo Credit: anchor1203 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: anchor1203 via Compfight cc

The 3 most common aches and pains my clients come with are:

• lower back pain
• shoulder and neck pain
• knee pain

To those we can add repetitive stress injuries, but the 3 and the most common.

When you feel your body is not working at its peak, you feel aches and pains everywhere, you feel as if your body is falling apart.

And I can say that I’ve been there, I know how it feels, I know what pain means, it’s not very ….. nice and when it starts it seems like it’s going to be there forever. It leaves you feeling miserable and it just adds more stress in your already stressful life. This has to STOP.

Exercise is not enough anymore

It is not enough to exercise, practice yoga and see your physiotherapist. These have their place and purpose and they are really, really good, I do all of them. However we need to go deeper if we are to relieve stress and pressure on our bodies and in our lives and to age gracefully, no matter the age.

We need to address the CAUSE of your pain. And usually the reason your body feels like it’s falling apart rests in how you USE your body on a daily basis.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are slouching now (are you?) that’s not going to necessarily cause any major problems. These are not injuries that show up all of a sudden. No, no they’re silent, sneaking up on you when you least expect it.

If you slouch now nothing happens, but if you slouch now, and tomorrow, and for the next 5 years and 10 years then pain, really bad pain will start to show up. And you begin to wonder where it came from thinking you did something yesterday to have caused it.

Nope, it’s something you have done all your life and were not aware of. You see, we get so caught up with weight loss, fitness, toning and all these surface goals that we forget there is something more important: how you USE your body.

Don’t worry you will still lose weight and tone up, that’s part of the “body use” game. It needs to be at a balanced weight and strong to be able to more efficiently.

I have to admit that since I was 8 years old and until 2-3 years ago I have put my body under tremendous stress and pressure. This lead to injuries and old ones recurring.

That was my lesson to learn and now my mission is to help as many women as I can to understand their bodies and use them in an efficient way, achieving more freedom of movement, less stress and ageing gracefully.

Do you want to have less pain and more freedom and comfort in movement?

If so then we need to address the following elements:

• posture
• upper body relaxation
• head position
• body balance (and I am not talking about standing on one leg)
• learn to stand, sit and walk all over again

These are the first elements I take my clients through. But ALL of them come down to BODY AWARENESS. This will keep your body from “falling apart”.

There is no way you can address the CAUSE of your pain if you do not become aware of your own body, how you use it, how it feels and what it “tells you”.

You cannot age gracefully until you address the underlying CAUSE of the pain you have right now in your body.

BUT……do you actually know how to do it? If you do then I congratulate you, keep doing it as the rewards will be fantastic. If you do not then it is time to find out what are the causes of your pain and how to address them.

You have the chance to personally get in touch with me so we can look at how you MOVE and USE your body. No sales or pitching just giving you my advice as an expert in the field.

After reading this blog many people will jump on a call with me so I suggest you book yours sooner than later.

 

HOW to breathe and WHY it is important

HOW to breathe and WHY it is important


If we cannot control the simple act of breathing how are we suppose to control our thoughts, our bodies or ever the world around us.

And if we cannot feel and fully experience breathing how are we supposed to be mindful of anything else within or around us.

Everything begins and ends with breathing.

Unfortunately very few fitness professionals teach their clients about correct breathing, breathing patterns or even breathing exercises. Although breathing:

• removes stale air from lungs
• helps the body recover and heal injuries or illnesses
• improves blood circulation
• improves cardiovascular capacity
• reduces your cardiovascular warm up time
• reduces muscle soreness
• helps with flexibility and mobility
• increases amount of oxygen in your blood
• enhances the immune system
• relieves stress, anxiety and depression
• enhances focus, patience and calmness
• enhances the 5 senses – touch, smell, sight, sound, taste
• can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure (Harvard Health Publications January 26, 2015)
• even helps you fall asleep easier

These are some benefits of deep breathing. And you can find research on the topic everywhere. So why aren’t fitness pros teaching their clients this? I don’t know.

Alexandra Merisoiu breathing meditation

What is deep breathing

Deep breathing is also called diaphragmatic breathing, breathing deep into your stomach, abdominal breathing.

However we seem to struggle with deep breathing for some reason, although it’s a natural thing and we should be able to do it. There might be 2 reasons why we find it difficult at the beginning according to Harvard Health Publications:

1. Flat stomach is a symbol of attractiveness. So we need to hold out stomach muscles to make sure we are sexy enough.
2. The range of motion in our diaphragm is restricted because of shallow breathing.
3. And to add one from myself….. the abdominal muscles get tighter and tighter since they are not used. There’s no flexibility to “inflate” the stomach

Breathing in a correct way

When we do the breathing test many of my clients reverse breathe. Reverse breathe is when you:

• breathe IN and DEFLATE your stomach (belly button towards the spine)
• breathe OUT and INFLATE your stomach

I cannot do that even if I try. You are basically trying to inflate something that’s deflating.

So do THE TEST for yourself:

• place on hand on your chest and one on your stomach
• exhale to empty your lungs
• INHALE
• the hand on your chest should NOT move, the hand on your stomach should be PUSHED OUT by the stomach as it inflates
• EXHALE
• the hand on your chest should NOT more, the hand on your stomach should be COME IN, as the stomach deflates and belly button goes in towards the spine.

Next step – linear breathing

If you got this right then you can go to the next level, linear breathing:

• BREATHE IN through your nose on a count of 4
• BREATHE OUT through your nose on a count of 4.
• Repeat

If you cannot do on a count of 4 then start with 3 or even 2 and build up.

Cool, you got this right? I know you did.

However, just in case you need to take your breathing exercises at the next level, or maybe you want to know when you do then or how to better control your breathing, or how to breathe while you run and exercise book a FREE call with me and I’ll take you through everything you need to know.

5 Secrets To Less Pain And More Freedom Of Movement

5 Secrets To Less Pain And More Freedom Of Movement


I was forced (so to speak) to learn about my body from a very early age. You may or may not know yet that 4 years into my karate training, at 12 years old, I suffered from debilitating pain in my knees and ankles.

That pain limited me at all levels including social as I could not walk or stand comfortably and I could not play with my friends. Many doctors recommend I have surgery on both knees because I have severe meniscus damage, grade 3.

My body weakened and since then it has certain limitations and is very sensitive to movement.

However there is always a silver lining. As I became more aware of my body inside and out I began learning, experimenting and noticing how movement affected my body.

And so I read and tested and I invested loads of money and time in coaching to learn as much as I could. However no one knows how limiting knee pain can be unless you’ve been there.

Every movement, every push off, every jump, landing, every step up the stairs, every step in general had to be mindful and controlled. I had to have total awareness and control all the time.

All this lead to me being a better coach and understanding many of the pains my clients go through.

alexandra m-3

This might sound like something really difficult to do, to be mindful all the time. I tell you it’s not. It’s actually a very beautiful thing to experience, knowing and understanding what your body’s going through.

So if you feel like your body just doesn’t want to move, it’s stiff, it aches and movement is uncomfortable then consider the following:

1. Stretch every day, many times a day.

There’s a membrane called fascia, which connects our body as one unit and which builds up when you don’t move. At the beginning is a fuzz that melts when you move and stretch. But if allowed to build up it may cause tissue stiffness and joints to lock.

This is something I’ll be sharing in my upcoming FREE webinar “Take Your Body From Shut Down To Fully Functional”. I recommend you sign up to learn how to use your body to age gracefully. Sign up here

2. Avoid repetitive movements and patterns.

If you repeat the same movement time and time again your muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments will strengthen in one particular line of motion. When you do something outside those patterns your body is too weak to cope with and may suffer. Variation is key to more freedom of movement and aging gracefully.

[tweetthis]Variation is key to more freedom of movement and aging gracefully.[/tweetthis]

3. Be aware of the words you speak.

When it comes to injuries there is also a psychological component to it. The more you talk about your injuries, your aches and pains, the more focused you are on them the more they will show up.

Train your body, strengthen it focusing on your weaknesses but limit the amount of time you talk about them.

You can create your program and then just focus on the program rather than the injury. You think about your injury only when you create the program. If the program is good then everything should go according to plan.

Do you know how to create a good plan for yourself? If you need any advice book a FREE call with me and I will help you.

4. Treat your body as one whole unit

Do you want a strong and fit body? Then isolating parts of the body when you workout will do just the opposite.

Besides, there is no such thing as isolation. Every bit of your body is connected with another part of your body by the fascia. For example your hamstrings are connected to your cheeks.

So stop isolating and start training your body not your arms, legs and core, but the whole unit.

5. Use your body in balance

We are so dominated by one side of our bodies. Typing, eating, writing, walking, running, jumping we put more strain on one part of the body than the other.

This come with 2 concequences:

1. The side you use the most may wear out
2. The other side may weaken and be fragile

So use your body in balance when you stand, walk, eat, write, type etc.

 

These are things that most PT’s and Coaches do not teach. It’s normal. These things are not taught in books. They come when you begin to be aware of your body and how it functions. Theory is a must to understand the body but it does have its limits.

And if you want to learn more about how the body functions then come to my FREE webinar.

STOP Exercising! Do This Instead

STOP Exercising! Do This Instead


Stop exercising and start Developing skills

Stop exercising and start Exploring yourself and the environment

Stop exercising and start Playing around so you enjoy life

Stop exercising and start Being Mindful of what you are feeling, seeing, hearing and doing

Stop exercising and start Listening to the life surrounding you

Stop exercising and start Discovering what your are actually capable of

Stop exercising and start Moving in ways you’ve never done before

Stop exercising and start Acknowledging the world around you

Stop exercising and start Paying Attention to how you move, live and breathe

Stop exercising and start Experimenting with new ideas and concepts

Stop exercising and start Being Creative with your body and mind

Stop exercising and start Learning & Growing

Stop exercising and start Feeling Alive for a change

Stop Being A Zombie.

 

For many exercising can become boring or feel like a chore. That’s because there is no passion in it. So many of us exercise just because it’s healthy and we have to because we were told we should.

Thus we end up doing it for the sake of it. There is no pleasure in what we do. And that for me is a waste of time and a waste of life.

[tweetthis]Learn, develop and be mindful and you will never ever have to workout a day in your life.[/tweetthis]

mer-ka-bah-filming8

The Merisoiu Technique was created by bringing all the above elements together and more. The 15 elements above at the philosophy of the technique.

The Merisoiu Technique is not another fitness routine or bootcamp, it is based on technique, smart coaching, focus and creativity which enables women to push boundaries for physical, mental and spiritual growth and development.

So stop exercising and embrace The Merisoiu Technique philosophy right here at Urban Women Fitness. To find out how you can work with Founder and Coach Alexandra Merisoiu click here.

How An Injury Almost Brought An End To My World

How An Injury Almost Brought An End To My World


I just came back from a 5k+ run. The first 5k in many months. I was forced to take a break from running because of an injury. One of the few I have in my lower body.

Today I will not talk about “how to’s” like I usually do. Instead I want to tell you something that happened when I was 13-14 years old that almost brought an end to my world. I hope you will enjoy it nonetheless. There is a lesson in it, it’s not random.

Four years into Karate I experienced debilitating knee, ankle, foot and Achilles pain. Mostly knees and ankles though. Little that we (my parents and I) knew that the way I was trained was the cause of what was to become severe knee meniscus damage on both knees.

Injury that I’d have to struggle with for many many years until I learnt a different way to use my body.

 

Back then

Back then, when the pain was unbearable to the point where I could barely walk, I asked my parents to take me to a doctor. They in turn asked me to ask my Sensei for a referral. So I did.

And I went with my father to the doctor I was referred to. I was 13-ish back then and Karate was the only thing I knew besides school. It was my life, the essence of who I was and it still is now more than ever.

The doctor looked at me, my spine, how balanced my body was and so on. A full body scan. And then he began listing all the skeletal and muscular imbalances he could find.

At the end he told me “You cannot practice sport anymore at least until you are 20 of age. Even stop  running for a bus.”. And I said “ok”. He repeated the same thing to make sure I understood (I remember this as if it was yesterday). My answer was the same.

It was settled then, no more sport (not even running for the bus) and weekly electromagnetic therapy for 1 month. Or I think that’s what it was. No way physiotherapy or anything else, straight into other stuff.

That meant that my whole world, everything I knew then was about to vanish together with any dreams I might have had back then

Walking to the car I had tears in my eyes. My father came to me and said “What’s wrong? You will still practice your sports. Don’t worry.”

Alexandra Merisoiu

Today

And so I did, and do and always will. All doctors advise me to have surgery and tell me that my knees may lock at some point. None of them ever gave me hope. But my father did.

Even if I am not fully recovered after 15 years I am better now than ever before.

That does not mean I encourage you to not listen to your doctor. It is important to listen and understand the consequences of your decisions. Maybe I was just lucky…

 

The lesson

The point I want to make in this story is that an injury doesn’t have to be the end of the world. And my example is very small compared to others.

There is always a way around everything. It’s a matter of patience and perseverance, attention to detail and looking for ways to optimize the way you use your body, the way you function.

Many injuries occur as a result of body misuse. So when we begin to use the body in a different way we can address those injuries. It takes time though, and patience and consistency are very important.

[tweetthis]Many injuries occur as a result of body misuse[/tweetthis]

What I always tell some of my family members who, every time I meet them, remind me that running causes injuries is that I will grow old and be in pain anyway, so I want to live my life now (and enjoy it) and worry about those things later if they ever happen.

 

Taking care of your body

No one is perfect, and I am one of the experts of imperfection. Although I strive for it.

However the more you take care of your body and give it what it needs to thrive the better chances you have to keep active and strong for many, many years.

There are 90 year olds who are at their peak, they’re fit and strong and there are 15 years olds who cannot lift a 1kg shopping bag and are obese. So age is not an excuse – but you knew that already right?

Look after your body and it will always be loyal to you.

 

The First Step To Take As A Beginner In Fitness

The First Step To Take As A Beginner In Fitness


I love to work with beginners or those coming back to exercising. I love to witness the huge changes from one session to the other and watch them learn and develop from scratch. The journey is amazing.

Of course I like to work with you advanced runners and fitness enthusiasts as well, for the same reasons because I teach you something new so you develop new skills as well.

But this blog is for beginners and particularly if you used to exercise or practice a sport and for a good amount of time you haven’t been on any fitness regime.

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These are some the problems you might encounter as you come back to fitness, or at least the problems many of my clients face on our first session:

– you suddenly realize that what you used to be able to do with ease now it’s challenging, i.e. easily run 10k nonstop
– you become aware of the lack of strength, reduced cardiovascular fitness and low endurance levels
– you become frustrated thinking you used to be able to do those things so easily
– you feel disappointed that you do not progress as fast as you throughout you would
– you run out of patience and might even start hating exercise as you find it very difficult
I’ve been there not once but many times. So I know exactly how it feels. But I will not tell you any of my stories in this blog.

Instead I will give you the first few steps and how you should look at things so you don’t give up or end up hating exercising.

First steps into getting your fitness levels up:

1. Decide why you want to get your fitness levels up.

Health and weight loss are not good enough reasons. Health should always be there and weight loss will not always be there. No matter what you do your weight will go up and down throughout your life and, for many, that is demoralizing. So make sure you know why you are doing what you are doing.

2. Enjoy your training.

Really, there’s no point forcing yourself into doing something you hate. My clients come to me because they just don’t like the gym. If I made them go into a gym they would feel locked in a dusty, smelly, loud box. So they enjoy the outdoors and the skills they learn and develop with me. They do something they get better at and they experience a sense of fulfillment.

3. Enjoy the company of your Coach.

It’s good to have a Coach you can lean into when things get difficult. It’s even better if you like your Coach, the teaching methods, exercises, the empathy, enthusiasm, energy, philosophy (if they have one) and what they stand for. You will know you got the right Coach for you the moment you meet up.

4. Patience.

This is probably the most common issue, lack of patience that is. You know you were at a certain level of fitness a while ago and you expect to come back to it quickly or not even notice a difference. Then you realize you actually need to start all over again. That can be demoralizing. This is where a good Coach comes in handy, by the way. Have patience and focus on the process. Focus on your training routines, on your plans, and just take one step at a time. Sometimes it’s good to ignore assessments, just do your workout as results come after you put the effort in and you will know when you get the results. Understand that any transformation takes time.

5. Consistency.

No matter what you choose to do as your fitness or sport routine if you don’t do it on a regular basis you will get nowhere. Furthermore practice and practice some more and go back to basics as this will cement the foundations from which you can build further. With your Coach, if you have one, if you don’t contact me, make sure you focus on building really strong foundations. If you know how to do one proper pressup then you are able to count to 10 by yourself. You do not need a coach for that. But you do need a coach to make sure that pressup is damn good and efficient so you don’t injure your body.

 

Key points to bear in mind:

– it takes time
– you cannot expect results without putting the effort in first
– be accountable to someone you look up to and are inspired by and who can push you hard but also understands where you are
– one training session a week will not do anything, think a minimum of 3 to see some improvements
– your training never stops after your session, take the lessons home and incorporate them into your lifestyle
– a run (literally or figurative expression) is not about the finish line but about what happens between the start line and the finish line. It’s good to set a goal, plan towards it, then forget about it and focus on the process, on the plan.

[tweetthis]A run is not about the finish line but about what happens between the start line and the finish line.[/tweetthis]

These are the things I stand for. After 20 years of being a competitive athlete, on and off, and practicing many other sports than the one I compete in, Karate Shotokan, I’ve been through moments like this many, many times.

 

I know how it feels and I know how to guide you through the process. If you need a structure, a clear plan and someone to give you that kick up the bum then don’t hesitate to book a call with me right now.

 

5 Awesome Benefits Of Sleeping On The Floor

5 Awesome Benefits Of Sleeping On The Floor


This is something I have never talked about and very few of you know that one of my greatest pleasures is sleeping on the floor. The earth and grass and perfect but if it’s a nice straight wooden floor that’s even better.

But what are the benefits of sleeping on the floor? Here are 5 benefits that come with it:

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1. You can truly “let go”.

Because there is nothing there to take the shape of your body, your body cannot sink into the mattress, so you don’t need to tense up, you can actually relax and let go of tensions in your body.

2. Reduces lower back pain.

As the spine straightens and lengthens you get that feeling of release in your lower back and throughout your spine.

3. Aligns hips.

So many issues come from misaligned hips or pelvis, imbalanced muscles and body, poor posture and misaligned bones can also trap nerves. A straight wooden floor can realign the hips.

4. Aligns shoulders.

Misaligned shoulders can put strain on your neck and back, causing chronic pain, and even headaches. The consequences of a misaligned body take time to show up but it’s the details that many ignore which cause the greatest injuries. A straight wooden floor is perfect to realign the shoulders.

5. Posture.

You cannot achieve a nice lengthened posture if the pillow or mattress takes the shape of your head and body. It means that if your head and neck are in a wrong position they will take that shape and will keep your posture in the same (incorrect) position.

A wooden floor, if sleeping on the back, will align your head, neck, spine, hips, the whole body. The communication between head and the rest of the body is enhanced helping healing, improving circulation and better functioning of the body.

Remember that sleeping is the body’s natural way of healing, so sleep in a good resting position to enhance the process of healing.

A good posture also tells your brain it is happy while slouching tells your brain it is unhappy and sends stress signals towards your brain.

Thus by simply aligning our physical body we tap into mental wellbeing, happiness and optimism. Laying on the floor, on your back, makes things very easy, you don’t even have to think about it, you just need to enjoy the moment.

 

Other awesome benefits include grounding, less tossing and turning, falling asleep immediately, waking up earlier and there’s this feeling of clear mind that I always experience when I sleep on the floor. But that comes down to you to experiment and experience it for yourself.

 

How should I sleep on the floor?

The best position for most people is on their back. That’ll help align the body. On the side….not that much. Even if you say you cannot sleep in that position, on your back, you might be surprised at how much and how fast you relax and end up sleeping like a baby.

Of course as with anything else in the world there are also disadvantages but you just have to decide whether this works for you or not.

 

Won’t my body ache?

It might, at the beginning, if you’ve never slept on the floor or haven’t in a while. The body positions itself in a different way and joints straighten so if you do feel achy that might not be that bad. It might take up to one week for your body to adapt. However if you feel very uncomfortable start slow.

 

How should I build up so I don’t ache too much?

As with every habit it is good to start small. Just lie on the floor for 10-20-30 min or for how long you want before you go to bed or throughout the day. It may take up to a month to slowly build up. It depends on your body and its structure. You will know when you can sleep on the floor all night. Your body will let you know.

 

Warning!

If you have any injuries, skeletal problems or anything that sleeping on the floor might make worse do check with your doctor so you don’t create more damage.

Please keep in mind that this article is for information only, based on personal research in biomechanics and different therapies and personal experience. The author cannot take responsibility for any consequences if you decide to follow any of the advice in this article or on this website for that matter.

 

What Can Running Do For You

What Can Running Do For You


Do you feel like running is a physical exercise, boring and a “must do” for health? If so then it’s time to open your eyes and see beyond appearances so you can enjoy and love running.

I am the kind of person who likes to look beyond appearances. I believe there is always something more than just what we see at first glance.

When I was asked what can running do for someone it was difficult for me to put into words what I feel when I run and what it can do when you leave aside the physical benefits such as:

• weight loss
• cardiovascular fitness
• tone your body
• strengthen your body

My longest nonstop run was on 11th of Sept 2010 when 44.172 km in 3h 27min 42sec in Bucharest, Herastrau Park. Since then I did many other runs under 30km and recently obstacle course races.

My longest OCR was Spartan Beast on the 9th of November 2013, 25km, 75 obstacles finished in 3 hours 41 minutes and 2 seconds.

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The “other” benefits of running

We focus a lot on the weight loss side of running. That’s probably because we are all paying a lot of attention on obesity. Messages regarding obesity are in our faces every day. If we looked beyond these things, then obesity would disappear as well.

So what are the other benefits of running that not many talk or write about? Well this is my personal experience but I am sure there are many runners out there who would agree that when you run:

You let go.

You let go of stress, worry, plans, work, responsibilities and housework.

You begin to see a different side of yourself.

Running is more than just physical movement, it requires consistency, dedication, resilience and discipline. You cannot become a runner if you do not run on a regular basis. When you become a runner your body changes but most importantly your mind changes as you face challenges after challenges. After that many of your other problems will seem small and insignificant.

You reach “the zone” or the “runner’s high”.

This has to do with endorphins. The greater the endorphin surge in certain areas of the brain, the more euphoric a runner feel. Well this is what every runner is searching for. That moment when everything disappears and you “just run”, nothing else matters. To get the runner’s high you have to push yourself hard but not too hard.

You solve problems.

Here I have to tell you my own experience. There are phases you may experience when you run:

• first your mind is flooded with thoughts. It’s like a waterfall, they all come at once.
• after a while, depending on how busy your brain is, thoughts start to fade
• then your mind goes quiet, there is finally silence
• but then you start getting ideas, solutions to problems and get creative.

There is research done on why this happens. The thing is that many times on my runs I create blogs, art work and I have brilliant ideas.

It all has to do with letting go of stress, with brain oxygenation, improved blood circulation to the responsible areas of the brain.

It’s not a random thing that just happens. But leaving science aside for a moment, try to just enjoy this pure feeling rather than analyse why it’s happening.

[tweetthis]We get so caught up in scientific evidence and forget to just enjoy the moment.[/tweetthis]

You see, it’s not what you do but how it leaves you feeling. That’s it. Scientific proof will not make you feel happy. Knowledgeable yes, and that’s important, but happy …. not so much.

 

How long does it take to reach that stage where you can let go?

You can “let go” and just run when you are comfortable with running. I wish I could give you an exact time frame. It depends on a lot of factors such as:

• if you have injuries and how long do those take to recover
• how much you run and train for running
• what you do besides running to build up your running, such as breathing techniques
• how dedicated you are
• why you want to run
• how disciplined you are
• whether you are coached or not

How can you reach that level where you can let go?

There is some good amount of work to put into it. After I injured myself back on August 2014 I haven’t reached that stage since.
When I recover I’d have to resume my running training well under my normal level. I’ll have to built up again.

But what you should think about is the process, the journey, not the destination. You may or may not find “the zone” for a very long time. Don’t aim for that, just enjoy your run.

 

As a beginner what is the first step?

Because of my experience with injuries in the past and then moving onto a new style of running which proved to be more beneficial, if I was a beginner I’d want to be coached so I could:

• learn a running technique which puts less pressure on joints
• learn how to hold my posture so I don’t close up my body and restrict breathing
• be pushed outside my comfort zone and make progress
• learn how to breathe properly so I can enjoy my run
• train my body in a multilateral and creative way because running is a full body movement

A good running techniques looks at the following major components:

• posture
• stride and pace
• landing and kick off
• using gravity instead of force
• arm movement, angle and hand position
• leg and foot movement
• hips movement
• breathing rhythm

 

Are you looking to start running or take running at the next level? Running is my passion and I’d love to give you some advice. Book a FREE call with me and come with a few questions.

Why Weight Loss Should Not Be Your #1 Priority

Why Weight Loss Should Not Be Your #1 Priority


Before I even begin to write on the topic I want to tell you my story on weight loss, or rather weigh gain.

Until not long ago I was about 10 kg heavier than how you see me now. That’s almost 2 stones and I am sure at some points I was 2 stones heavier than what I am now.

And let me tell you something. After you are an athlete training 6 days a week and eating whatever you wanted and whenever, drinking soft drinks , eating fast food and never putting any weight on, not even knowing what cellulite it, putting 10kg on brings you down like a rock in a lake. It’s really a shock.

Ok, so now you know I had to lose weight myself. Busted!

weighing

How gained weight in the first place

I took a break from Karate and for almost 2 years my physical activity went from 6 training session a week to 1….. maybe!

However my food intake was the same AND I started eating fast food and eating out with my friends as well as drinking soft drinks more than before.

#1 mistake: lack of physical activity

#2 mistake: junk food and eating out

#3 mistake: stressed out because of the extra weight and quality of food intake

 

How I got back to my normal weight

 

Habit #1

stop eating out, junk food, soft drinks, even sauces with my food.

My mother put me on a diet of grilled meat, salads, fruit and whatever else she thought I needed to nourish my body. Rice and potatoes once a week, maybe twice. Bread …..not really. Pasta never, we are not pasta lovers.

My mother is a diet genius I tell ya! She helped me lose the weight and keep it off. Would you like a consultation with her ? :)) Ah, sorry to disappoint you but you are stuck with me.

 

Habit #2

Stop spending time with friends so often and start training and running. That’s when I fell in love with running, 7-8 years ago I think.

 

Habit #3

Stop thinking about losing weight. And this is THE SECRET. Allow me to elaborate on this idea.

Focus on losing weight and it will become the most difficult thing in the world. That’s because it takes time.

You have ups and downs and it’s so easy to get demoralized when you see the scale showing you lost weight today and next week you are 1kg heavier. Drove me nuts!

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This is why you should not make weight loss your #1 priority. Rather than making weight loss your priority focus on the process:

1. Eat healthy, unprocessed food. Find foods that are simple and grilled meat with fresh vegetable salads are a great starting point. Eat….more……salads!

 

2. Find a sport or type of exercise you like and can get better at. Where you learn something rather than just burn calories for the sake of burning calories.

Where you feel fantastic that today you managed to do that exercise you worked on for weeks. It’s exciting! And accomplishment.

Where you come with a smile on your face knowing you have no idea what you’ll be doing. It’s always a surprise.

Doing the same routine you did yesterday, the day before and last week will just make you feel like you’re not going anywhere. There’s nothing new, nothing exciting.

That’s why I love the outdoors and my clients love it as well, because every time you go out there you find something different.

Nature is never ever the same. And they learn what to do, why they do it and how to do it by themselves, they become their own mini coaches.

Of course training with me takes them out of their comfort zone, they learn more and so they make much more progress when coached.

And finally I spark creativity in them. I encourage them to allow their body to flow and be creative  rather than just go from 10 press-ups to 20 and then 30.

 

3. Have patience

It took me over 2 years to lose the weight I put on in less than 2. How long did it take you to put the weight on?

It may not take 10 years to lose weight you put on in 9 but it will not take 3 months either. That’s is if you want to keep it off.

 

 

Lose weight without trying

Awesome isn’t it? Losing weight without actually trying. Just by giving your body the nutrients and the fuel it needs through good nutrition and movement.

That’s what our body needs to function properly. And when it functions properly then it goes back to its original weight and shape. You weren’t born overweight.

Weight loss is easy, it really is, when you stop trying to lose it and just look after your body from the inside first. And have patience

 

As usual I am here to give you free motivation and inspiration through my blogs. But I know how difficult it is to take the first step alone. Even I had a coach, my mother that is. Believe me, it was like in the military. No love and cuddles, I was on a serious journey to re-gaining my balance.

 

How serious are you about your journey? Are you committed enough? Do you do what you are told to get the results you seek? Do you focus on the process?

 

Let me show you the path you need to follow to get from where you are to where you want to be. And I will show you this for FREE when you book a call with me.

 

We will go through you initial weight loss goal. Then we will talk about your diet and finally we will see what activity you can take on to stop you thinking about weight loss and just focus on the process. This takes less than 45 min. Book that FREE call with me and let’s go.

 

How To Fall In Love With Your Training Routine

How To Fall In Love With Your Training Routine


The other day I kept thinking why is it that so many people start a workout routine and then they either look very unhappy after a while, they don’t enjoy it or they just give up coming up with all sorts of excuses.

The thing is humans were built to move. Our bodies are made to move. So why is it that so many people don’t like it. Some go so far as saying they hate it, exercise that is. Why?

From personal experience as a sports woman, practicing many different sports, and as a coach to women and men as well, I believe the answer is simple. And you will learn what that is in this blog.

We, humans, are build to move, yes. But we are also programmed to grow, to learn, to develop, to make progress one way or another.

We are evolving all the time. And that makes us happy, thrilled, excited about that thing that we do.

Think about it this way. You are in the same line of work, doing the same thing day after day, nothing ever changes. You see the same buildings, roads, people, same process and routines. You are happy when you begin but how long does that happiness last?

I changed a few jobs and worked in a few different, unrelated industries and I remember every time I’d be very excited at the beginning and loved what I did. So I was making huge and fast progress.

That’s because it was something new for me and challenging. I was learning new skills, improving others and making progress in many different ways.

Now back to exercising

It’s the same thing with your workouts. If you keep the same workout for weeks and months you will end up doing it for the sake of it. Checking your phone, email and facebook likes. Because it’s BORING!!!

Now that does not mean that repeating the same techniques isn’t necessary. That’s very important for progress and fine tuning. I should know that, Karate is what I do and we repeat one techniques thousand of time to master it.

However within your regular routine you can bring other elements that you’d love to learn, that challenge you to think, to find solutions and alternatives.

 alexandra-15 - Copy

Here are some things you can bring in your routine straight away to LOVE it more:

 

1. Change scenery. If you are indoors go outdoors. If you are outdoors find different places to do your run and workout. Take different routes. Changing the workout location will challenge you in a different way. I actually changes the way your body will move and function.

2. Be creative. Allow your body to flow and move freely. Be a little weird. It will enable you to create some really cool things. Stop thinking about what others might say if you start crawling around in your local park. Do it, be weird.

3. Fine tune. Pay attention to what you are doing and try to do it better and better. Think, think and think some more. This is also a form of being mindful and aware. Get your brain involved, that’s what it’s there for, it will love to get involved.

4. STOP. Chances are you are in a hurry all the time. When you workout you want those 30 min in and out. Now, forget about “gotta sweat and feel the burn” for a moment. Stop and look around, listen, feel, smell, see. Open up your senses. This small habit brings with it a feeling of calmness and peace leading to a better workout than otherwise.

5. Learn new skills. As I said before, we are programmed to learn and always grow. Get a Coach and learn some new stuff. Then you can bring them into your routine.

 

Oh, and stop watching and “learning” from youtube videos. They have their place but not when you learn something new.

You can work with a coach face to face or virtual. You will learn and get more out of being coached than watching videos presented by someone who doesn’t see what you are doing, who has no idea who you are, what you like, what your passions are, how you function and where you’re heading.

So go try some or all of these things, come back to this post and comment below.

And if you want to have a chat about this type of coaching book a FREE call with me.

5 Ways To Deal With Muscle Soreness Without Medication

5 Ways To Deal With Muscle Soreness Without Medication


Sure, ibuprofen is the easiest and quickest way to get rid of muscle soreness. Good option for a placebo. My mother used to tell me to take aspirin. Another good one.

Muscle soreness can kick in anytime within 72 hours from your training session. Some experts say 24-48 others go to 72.

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Nowadays when I get DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), because I do, rarely but it happens I allow my body to heal itself and if needed help it this way:

 

1. Hot bath to relax those muscles and improve circulation.

2. Stretching, particularly after your workout, to release the tension. Make it gentle the next day.

3. Keep training. If you stop for a week just because your muscles hurt, when you go back they will hurt again. Keep training, maybe not as hard but keep moving. Besides when muscles warm up they don’t hurt….as much.

Remember that muscle soreness is a type of muscle conditioning, which means your muscles are adapting to the new activity. That’s all.

4. Massage to loosen up muscles and improve circulation to the area.

5. Hot/Cold. Apply some Apply an ice pack for 15 minutes, followed by a heat pack for another 15, and repeat. Promoting both circulation and muscle recuperation. I haven’t tried this one on myself.

 

BONUS 6th: Earthing

Scientific research has shown that connecting with the earth barefoot, especially when humid or wet, reduces inflammation in the body and improves circulation. So away you go barefoot outside.

 

This being said I do not agree with muscles soreness that lasts for day and you cannot get out of bed. That’s just wrong.

If you are a beginner at a certain type of exercise do not push over your limits. You can do that later when your body becomes accustomed to the exercise.

Many of my clients are beginners, some of them haven’t exercised in years. When they come they want a really tough workout from the first session.

However I do it my way, the first 3-4 session are within their comfort zone or just a little bit outside it. They may get some muscle soreness but not to make them hate just thinking about our next session.

So how do you treat muscle soreness? Leave your comments below.

3 Awesome Benefits Of A Great Posture

3 Awesome Benefits Of A Great Posture


As a Martial Arts kid you never get a break. I’ve been practicing Karate Shotokan since the age of 8. Now that’s a long time, 20 years to be more exact.

Posture, precision, focus, body control, emotional control are some of the few elements of a great Karate-Ka. And I do consider myself a great Karate-Ka.

But today I want to talk to you about one of these elements, that is Posture.

As a professional or entrepreneurial  woman you have a lot going on. You have the business, family, friends, and yourself to look after. Probably more to add to the list.

There is a lot of stress and tension piling up and then you feel exhausted, burnt out and overwhelmed instead of energized and excited.

But the real problem is…

And the problem is not that you feel like this for a day or two. The problem is that you feel like this ALL the time and it’s difficult to change that state in a blink of an eye if you don’t know how.

You go for a run from time to time, you try to eat healthy and at regular times and to sleep well but sometime things don’t work out as planned.

Well I am here to tell you that there is a simple solution. Things that really work do not need to be the most complicated ones, many times the simplest elements make the greatest differences.

That one simple thing is POSTURE, but you’ve already guessed that, it’s in the title of this blog after all.

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Here are 3 reasons posture is the most awesome thing you can do for your body and your mind.

3. Posture sends stress signals to the brain

Your brain records everything your body does and when you slouch that sends stress signals to your brain.

Your brain actually thinks you are stressed. The opposite is also true, a good posture tells the brain you are happy.

When you adopt a tall, relaxed posture the “feel good” hormones are free to move around your body. And Voila! Happy you.

2. Your mind and body and always connected

If you feel stressed, nervous and anxious relax your body instead of struggling to “empty your mind”. It’s easier to relax you body, then your mind will shortly follow.

1. Reduce aches and pains around your body

When you slouch and you compress your body you put a lot of stress on it so everything starts hurting. That’s neck, shoulders or lower back pain many times comes from repeated body misuse, and the most common body misue it’s the posture.

Pain leads to stress, frustration and grumpiness and then to less focus, productivity and creativity.

A good, relaxed, elongated posture takes the pressure of your body and, because your mind and body are always connected, relieves the pressure or stress at a mental level as well.

 

To elongate your spine you need to relax your shoulder and pull your body up from the crown of your head. But there are many ways to do that.

 

My clients learn a series of elongated posture techniques throughout our coaching, whether that is face to face or virtual.

I’d be happy to share one of my techniques with your completely for FREE. All you have to do is book a FREE call will me and I will show you how it’s done.

 

3 Ways To Design Your Environment And Make Exercise Easier And Enjoyable

3 Ways To Design Your Environment And Make Exercise Easier And Enjoyable


Developing the habit of exercising regularly can be difficult for some. For others it may be easier to start with but when they hit the plateau it gets really difficult to keep going. What’s your challenge?

There’s a thing you can do to make life easier for yourself. That’s designing your environment in the right way.

From experience I can tell you that waking up at 5 am 6 days a week to go running, followed by work (I worked in corporate banking back then) and then to courses (Masters in International Business) can sometimes be very difficult.

However not matter how difficult it gets you need to push a little bit through it otherwise you end up at the beginning and have to start all over again.

So here are 3 tips to think about when designing your environment for success.

woman-running

3. Use triggers

I wrote about triggers in more detail in another blog, right here.

Triggers are habits you do automatically without thinking too much about them. Like brushing your teeth in the morning and before you go to bed. Or pushing the right pedals when you drive, you don’t think about it anymore.

Triggers can also be for example when your kids come from school or when the alarm sounds in a certain way.

Choose a special ringtone for when you have your running days, you will set your brain to activate when it hears that particular ringtone and you will jump out of bed and run out the door.

These are triggers you can use to get you up and running, literally.

 

 

2. Make a list

Depending on the type of exercise you go for you will need different kit and accessories. Make a list of what you need.

I used to have a list for Karate class, one for running in summer, another for running in winter, at night or on rainy days and others for whatever other types of activities I was doing.

I’d have the lists on post-it notes and place them somewhere where I could easily see them without actually looking for them.

Make it easy and fast to prepare your training by making permanent lists and strategically placing them where you can easily see them.

 

1. Don’t wait until the last moment

Waiting to put your kit in your bag 5 min before heading to your outdoors session might just put you off.

Same goes for when you go for a run after work. When you arrive home don’t change into house clothing, change into your running kit straight away. Trust me it works like a charm.

Have everything prepared and ready to go.

 

Now you have 3 simple steps to make your workouts easier and less of a hassle: use triggers, make lists, and get everything ready beforehand.

 

Want a more personalized tips on designing your environment? Then book a FREE call with me and let’s get your triggers, lists and prepare you to enjoy your exercising days.

How To Use Triggers To Effortlessly Create Healthy Habits

How To Use Triggers To Effortlessly Create Healthy Habits


 

I love this part of Habits Transformation principles of The Merisoiu Technique simply because it’s like a game and it can be very creative and enjoyable.

Many clients who seek my guidance come to me struggling to reach a healthy or healthier lifestyle. Achieving a healthier lifestyle is just a matter of detail.

It’s the details make the whole so cutting out all your favourite foods and going to the gym 5 days a week all of a sudden will not necessarily work for building healthy habits leading to a healthier lifestyle.

Those details are tiny habits we overlook. Depending on how much my clients allow me to know about their lifestyle we address the smallest habits first. From there the big picture changes for the better as well.

One of the many ways I do this is by using triggers to create or transform habits.

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How triggers work

The triggers have to be habits which you automatically do without thinking about them. Such as brushing your teeth, food shopping or even walking, waiting at a red light or changing your clothes before going to bed.

So this is how it works. We take a trigger and associate a habit to it. Every time you do one thing the other one automatically follows.

For example:

– every time you wait at a red light you stand on one leg (if balance exercises are in your program)
– every time you brush your teeth you first do 5 squats (if moving more is a habit you want to build into your life)
– or every time you pour coffee in your cup you also pour water in a glass (if you need to build the habit of drinking more water)

These are simple examples yet the system works for any habit you want to create. And it makes things so much easier without getting you overwhelmed. You are probably busy enough just as it is.

However remember to take one habit and one trigger at a time. Trying to transform more than one habit will again lead to overwhelm.

 

Post your comments below with the habits you are trying to create and the associated triggers. I will give you some ideas to help you.

And if you need extra help please book a FREE call with me to discuss your current habits transformation journey and give you some idea moving forward.

Reclaim Your Nature

Reclaim Your Nature


I was a lucky child. I was born and raised in a big city where I had almost everything a child wanted. But every summer holiday my parents would send me to the countryside to spend 3 months with my grandparents.

The little poor village had 2 small shops. There was no cinema, not many buses, the closest city was pretty far away. We didn’t have cell phone network and there was not internet and we didn’t have electricity or sewage system (my grandparents were building the house themselves).

However that place was a paradise for me and my friends. I used to forget about my shoes for days and days, going barefoot on the hills, through rivers and lakes, sand, stones and earth. Everywhere at any time in the day or night.

There were 2 activities I enjoyed the most though:

1. Building tunnels through thorny bushes and crawling through them

2. Climbing trees

Nowadays when I climb trees I do it a bit more elegant let’s say, refining my climbing technique through coaching.

The video below, Tree Scrambling, shows how we train and condition our body here at Urban Women Fitness through the Natural Movement Principle part of the six guiding principles of The Merisoiu Technique.

tree-scrambling

Benefits of tree scrambling

Among the benefits of tree scrambling you have  core strength, arm and shoulder strength, coordination, agility, flexibility, mobility and even lower body strength depending on the tree and how you climb through it.

But you get more out of tree scrambling than physical benefits. These are:

Focus
Precision
Patience
Creativity
Self-confidence
Elegance
Learning new skills which makes training enjoyable and less monotonous and boring.

9 Simple & Intuitive Approaches To Healthy Eating Habits

9 Simple & Intuitive Approaches To Healthy Eating Habits


When I think about my daily diet I always go back to when my grandmother used to cook for her grandchildren in the countryside.

No doubt that the food nowadays is not as nutritious as what my grandma used to have in her garden but it’s still up to us whether we make good or not so good choices when we decide what we are going to have for dinner.

So think about it, if you were in the countryside what would you have available in your garden and, if you eat meat, what kind of meat would you find around your house?

These are some ideas to get your creativity going.

1. Vegetables. Probably the fastest, easiest and most nutritious thing you can eat right from the garden picked up by yourself. You can cook them but you can also eat them raw. Vegetables have minerals and vitamins as well as some protein, fats and carbohydrates in some cases although in less quantities than meat or other foods.

 

2. Fruits. Have a sweet tooth? There are no supermarkets in your village. And to cook a dessert you will need a lot of other ingredients. Fruit are again an easy and nutritious way to satisfy your craving for sugar.

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3. Water. Sure you might have a place to buy tea and coffee but what if you don’t? And you certainly don’t have the soft drinks you find in the supermarket. And you can’t be too picky either. You’d drink water more often in the countryside. We don’t have water as good as at my grandma’s but it’s still better than most other options.

About 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Your body is about 70% water. Thus water is life.

Remember to drink water throughout the day rather than gulping 1 litre in 10 min, give your body the change to take in and utilize the water.

 

4. Eating local, eating seasonal. Seasons happen in cycles and so are your bodies. You can’t rely only on certain sources of food all the time. Firstly because you’ll get bored of it but most importantly because you will not get the diversity of nutrients to nourish your body. Eating seasonal is a great way to explore various food options.

 

5. Have proteins with every meal. Yep, I remember that one very well. I ate meat but even when we didn’t have meat with our meal we had other types of protein. Although my grandma never knew what protein are she instinctively knew how to combine foods, similar to what we learn in our nutrition books. Amazing really.

 

6. Don’t deprive yourself from eating certain foods. Instead have them every now and then. Depending on the quality of the food you can think about having it every other week, once a month of even a couple of times a year like I do with homemade chips and pizza.

 

7. Cook it yourself. Oh yes, not more readymade meals or restaurant adventures. Good old home cooked food, with no sugars, additives, preservatives or unnecessary elements added just to give “the greatest taste”. Certainly sometimes you may need ingredients which have these things in them but you will not end up with a meal made of artificial colours for example.

It is also good to bear in mind here that for a food to taste good it needs fats and sugars. And when it has less of one it usually has more of the other. So watch out what your choices are.

 

8. Don’t eat until you can’t stand up anymore, even if it’s your favourite dish and you are very hungry. Stuffing yourself puts your digestive system under stress and you really don’t get much out of it. It takes about 7 seconds for the food to reach your stomach so give it time. Nourish yourself properly.

 

9. Eat mindfully. I left this one last because if there is one thing I want you to leave with is this. Eating mindfully has many benefits such as: better digestion, better extraction of nutrients from the food you eat, eating slower which helps you chew better and in turn helps your digestive system break down the food easier and with less stress, it will not have to overwork. It also contributes to weight loss and weight maintenance.

 

These are 9 of my many habits for a healthier and more meaningful eating. Keep thinking what and how would you would eat if you were in a village and eating healthy will suddenly become automatic, you will not need to think about it anymore.

I have written a blog on mindful eating, “3 Steps To Mindful Eating And Its Benefits”, to read it click here.

This is something I teach in my program. To sign up click here

 

 

 

Finding Balance In Life

Finding Balance In Life


 

I am the Coach who helps women find the right balance in their lives. The physical-mental-spiritual balance and the family-professional-personal life balance.

So many of my clients come to me seeking this. And I give them the tools, knowledge and support they need to grow, develop and nurture the seeds of wellbeing.

Everyone is seeking balance. Whatever that may mean to each of you. But what is this balance I am talking about?

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Teach your body and brain what balance is

This is how I see things, and as I said in other blogs don’t believe me, think for yourself and decide.

We run from one corner to another, always in a rush, always looking at the time and always under some type of pressure. We seldom, if ever, stop to breath and look around.

Some of us seldom pay attention to the world around us and the one within us for longer than a few minutes, if that.

Under these circumstances is it really possible to be or find “balance”?

And are your body and brain able to recognize balance at all?

Teach your body and mind what balance is and how it feels first. How? By doing, throughout your day, small things you qualify in your mind as being balanced: balancing your backpack on both shoulders, balancing your body weight evenly on both your feet when standing, uncross your legs when sitting and place them flat on the ground.

The more you think about balance throughout the day the more balance you will attract in other areas of your life.

It’s the small things that make the difference. It’s the details that we, as society, are failing to observe. And it’s the details that make the whole….always.

Think balance and you will receive balance.

 

But the reality is…

Philosophy is so easy. Everyone gives wise advice, including myself, and they are all true….in theory. When you actually get to applying them that’s the challenge.

The truth is you will always lose balance. It’s not something new. It’s not a shock to you. When you have an awesome day something happens and throws you off balance.

Some are thrown off balance by something like a sudden rain when they are at the beach. Look at your life. How many times are you thrown off balance?

And how many of these events are actually real enough to be taken seriously?

The reality is that unless you learn to see the other side of the coin you will always feel miserable because there will always be events to throw you of balance.

The other side of the coin I’m talking about is the one that helps you develop further and grow, and grow and grow some more from these unbalances.

Actually balance comes from unbalance. How are you suppose to know what balance it if you never experienced unbalance? It’s like night and day, you see what I mean?

Be grateful for those moment when you feel you lost balance because they guide you to the path of balance. If you learn to see the other side of the coin that is.

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Unusual experiences

As a professional woman do you like to walk through muddy puddles, walk in pouring rain and stay for hours outdoors in the cold winter doing balance exercises? In most cases the answer is no.

All my clients experience mud, rain, cold winds and winters at some point in their training programs with me. Normally they would all pull back and give up their training day because of these obstacles.

Yet, when they train with me they know that everything (particularly breaking the rule of being clean, ha ha) makes them push boundaries for physical and mental growth and development.

It’s unusual, different it’s exciting and exhilarating. It’s liberating.

Being out of their comfort zones makes them grow. You see, after they train with me they feel liberated. This is how some of them describe the experience they have. They see the other side of the coin, the other side of cold, wet, muddy days. The side that makes them grow.

 

Injuries

The most recent experience I had myself was yesterday, Saturday the 7th of March.

I competed in Bracknell Legends Shotokan Karate competition. I went there convinced I’d leave with 2 first places.

Instead, I left with 2 third places, a sore eye and a severely sprained middle left finger. It’s all purple and swollen as I type and it makes writing this blog bloody difficult. It’s not fractured though.

Today I went to my regular karate class. And I immediately saw the benefit of the injury and of not using my left hand.

I usually fight with my left leg and hand forward. That’s my strongest, fastest stance. Now I am being  forced to change that and use my weakest side of the body. Now I block and attack ONLY with the right hand and arm and legs.

By damaging my left hand I am actually strengthening the weaker side of my body. And that will only make me stronger. Being ambidextrous has many benefits but that’s a topic of another blog.

 

Conclusion

No matter which example you take, in each of them you see BALANCE. In the first one is balancing the adult and the child.

In the second example you see balance between the left and right side of the body, left and right brain hemisphere, Ying and Yang.

 

Advice

I cannot give you advice through a blog. These things are so individual. I’d need to know more about you and your life and then point the path for you to take.

There is always something that needs balancing or re-balancing in everyone’s life. Because no matter what we do we will always be thrown off balance sooner or later.

What will make you grow is how you interpret these unbalances. How you will grow from them. There is always a way to grow from an unbalance in life.

 

So are you seeking balance in your life? If you feel what I wrote here is something that resonates with your please email me and let’s talk about it more at alexandra@urbanwomenfitness.com

The Secret To Creating Healthy Habits That Stick Long Term

The Secret To Creating Healthy Habits That Stick Long Term


 

You are a bundle of habits. Your life is governed by habits whether you acknowledge and accept that or not.

From the first thing you do when you wake up (open the curtains or brushing your teeth first) to the route you take to work, where you buy your coffee from, where you place your coffee on your desk, even the traffic light where you cross the street.

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Every habit has its purpose

Every habit, healthy or not, has its purpose in the body. Your brain uses those habits to solve something.

It doesn’t make the difference of whether they are healthy for the body or not, it just knows that a certain “thing” will help it solve a given problem.

For example emotional eating. Usually emotional eating involves high sugar or another form of high carbs foods. Your brain struggles and sugars are the way it deals with the struggles, because you gave it this option in the past. Your brains learnt fast and now it asks for sugar or another forms of carbohydrate to solve a similar problem.

Same goes for smoking when stressed. Your brain learnt that smoking calms it down. So it asks for it.

Running can be another example. Many people use running as a stress relief, or to “run away” from their problems. This is a healthier habit nonetheless is can turn into a destructive one.

But I will not talk here about how you can take these habits out of your life. There is a step by step process I teach in The Merisoiu Technique Home Study Program which you can sign up for here.

 

Change vs Transformation

Before we talk about changing, transforming or creating anything let’s make the difference between change and transformation.

Change implies that what was before was totally wrong and it needs to becomes something else. When you change something the past is suddenly wrong.

On the other hand transformations come from the inside. Here you design your future and work towards it. Transformation is about changing beliefs not just working at the surface. Because it’s more fundamental, transformation is more likely permanent.

If you’d like to read more on the topic please download my ebook. I go into more detail there.

 

How to transform habits

When you attempt to transform your habits your brain will get confused and try to resist it. But there are ways to work around it so your brain and body respond in a favourable way.

As I said I have a step by step process I teach. Here I will give you 3 of those steps:

#3. Start small and go slow

You need to approach habits transformation it slowly so your body and brain adjust comfortably.

For example in nutrition I like to take my time with my clients, where possible. If I want them to eliminate bread from their diet I start with taking out a slice. Then wait for the body to adjust, then make another adjustment, then wait again.

It’s veeeery slow but it works so well. The changes are so small that there is no disruption in the system.

And most importantly I believe, they learn how to approach other habits in the future when I will not be there. This is empowerment, the foundations of my teachings.

#2. Focus on ONE thing at a time

Trying to tackle 10 things all at once will lead to overwhelm. There are too many things to think about.

Start with ONE thing. Usually one small alternation to your habits follows another and another and another. It’s like a snowball effect.

Simple example. When you workout you tend to eat healthier. Workout one day a week for 2 weeks, then go up to 2 and, with time, you will train 5 days a week and eat healthy 5 days a week as well. Then you also have 2 cheat days.

Boom! You only needed to start training once a week then everything else came by itself.  Simple

#1. Accountability

I believe this is among the most important steps in habits transformation. Why? Because of several reasons:

1. you don’t need to think about everything by yourself
2. there is someone you need to report to so you will feel bad if you come with a bad report every single time
3. when things get really tough there is someone there to let you know you are on the right track. You are motivated and know that someone has your back
4. you don’t need to know everything, someone else already has the knowledge and is willing to share it with you

 

This is how I work with my clients on the Home Study Program. They have all the training in terms of nutrition, exercising, personal development, healthy habits etc and they have someone there, myself, to guide them through the whole process.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can work with me please email me at alexandra@urbanwomenfitness.com

3 Things That Happen Instantly When You Train With Nature’s Elements

3 Things That Happen Instantly When You Train With Nature’s Elements


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1. Stepping out of your comfort zone

You’ll never ever progress being comfortable. Nature will get your out of your comfort zone at every single training session, no exception.

The thing is that your mind will be so busy being out of the comfort zone that any other thoughts are way out of your mind. You only thing about what you are doing at that point in time, that’s it.

 

2. Realizing how strong you actually are

I’m not talking about muscles, that’s easy & anyone can build up to be physically strong. I’m talking about mental strength. There are some situations where muscles do not help.

 

3. Always finding something new

Every single session will be different even if you do the exact same exercises in the exact same place. Nature changes from day to day, hour to hour, you are challenged at all levels: physical, mental, spiritual.

And as nature changes you change, you become stronger and more resilient every time you train with it (nature that is).

 

Then you have the official right to BRAG. Anyone can train on a nice, sunny day. But how many of your friends can train outdoors at zero degrees or below on a windy evening? Not too many believe.

 

I believe in training outdoors because once you step out there you become someone else.

ALWAYS pushing boundaries for physical, mental and spiritual growth & development.

 

Ready to step out of your comfort zone and change your life for good? I can show you how, book a FREE call with me.

3 Ways To Cope Better With A Stressful Working Environment

3 Ways To Cope Better With A Stressful Working Environment


office

I was asked this by one of my readers. And she has a point there. The environment we live and work in for at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, can have a great impact on our personal and family lives.

It can be positive and that would be great, but many times it’s not. So how do you deal with it?

Before becoming a Coach and working for myself I was an employee. I worked as an insurance broker, in corporate banking, photography and hospitality industries.

In each case there were situations and people who would not be on the same wave length as me. We did not get along at all and made our lives miserable.

As opposed to how I am today, calm and patient, back then I used to get angry, stressed and frustrated on anything and everything. But that was ages ago.

Over the years I learnt how to deal with these type of situations and not allow them to affect me. Sometimes they do, I’m not going to lie, but it’s very mild and I clear them fast.

So here are 3 things for you to try. Depending on your situation they may or may not work, so give them a try and post your comments so I know how they work and guide you further as needed.

#3. Take a detour

After a tough day at work you want to clear your mind and energy before you go home. So make a detour somewhere where you enjoy spending time and with someone you enjoy spending time, or even alone.

I like spending time with myself, especially when I need some expert advice 😀

That being said, going for a pint is not what I’m thinking. And meeting friends who complain and talk only about the awful day they had is not a great idea either.

Choose more calm and quiet places where you can gather your thoughts with people who make you feel extraordinary.

When I was working in corporate banking, in winter, I used to go ice skating every single evening after work. Sometimes I didn’t feel like going.

But that’s the thing, because my energy was low and my mind was so full of stuff it felt like a burden. Once on the ice it wouldn’t take long to get my positive and enthusiastic energy level back to normal.

In the other seasons I’d go running or practice different sports. That’s my thing: sports.

#2. While at work

When you are at work and things are getting out of hand here are some things to think about:

1. Go for a short walk in your break, clears the mind

2. Stop and pay attention to your breathing. My habit is to focus on my heart area and breath into it 3 times, normal breathing. When I have time I do it for longer. This slows down your heart rate and calm the nervous system. You can do this throughout the day and not only when you feel stressed or overwhelmed.

3. Smile. Yep, force the smile. You will instantly feel better and people around you will start feeling better. They will end up laughing at you and before you know it everyone is in a happy mood. Do it in front of the mirror in the bathroom alone if you don’t want anyone to witness it though. I’m serious, smile.

4. Pay attention to the words you speak. When you use words like “this place is awful”, “I hate him/her” or “I can’t wait to leave” you make these things real. Believe me, been there done that.

So back in the old days I used to say out loud, to anyone who’d listen, the opposite of what I was feeling when I was down. This made me feel amazing and people around me would compliment me on my positive and enthusiastic attitude.

I’d say things like “every day is a learning experience”, “what I like about what I do is that it challenges me to learn more and get better. All this will help me in the future.”, “I think our boss’s plan can actually work, let’s see how it goes before we decide it’s not good”.

I’d also see the good things in people, those small things that are positive and buried underneath their worst character traits. Everyone helped me grow to the person I am today, even if they drove me mad sometimes. I see/saw this as a learning experience rather than a destructive one.

So when you tell yourself something you become exactly that. I’m not talking about “fake it till you make it” rather about actually seeing the good things around you because there are always, always good things, even if they’re small. Open your eyes and actually see.

 

Exercise: make a list of all the good things about your work and the people you work with. For each person make a list of things that are good. It will help you see and focus on those good things.

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#1. The Outdoors

I am a firm believer in taking long walks outdoors after leaving the office. The space and fresh air  clears the mind and calms down the nervous system. By the time you get back home you’ve cleared most of the negative emotions and thoughts.

When you take the walk allow your mind to buzz, let it talk, talk to yourself, let everything out. It’s like counselling, and it’s free. And it can also be a meditation, walking meditation that is.

Besides the only person you can get expert advice from is yourself.

 

That’s how I leave my clients feeling. I take them outdoors where they exercise, they meditate but we also created space and find calmness.

They find the positive person to spend time with, they learn to be healthy and strong and we also laugh a lot. All I mentioned above and more.

Do you need further guidance? No worries, you can book a free call with me and we can talk about it, I can even take you through a guided meditation.

It’s different form your usual meditations and that’s why my clients love them so much. It’s fits in with the modern world.

Book the free call right here and let’s chat.

 

Confused About Food: How To Get Past The Confusion

Confused About Food: How To Get Past The Confusion


Honestly the word “healthy” has no meaning anymore. Let me tell you why I say this.

I recently had some conversations about “this is bad and this is good”, and came across articles about cheese, honey, bread or apples. Again that is, that’s what made me decide to write this.

What I found, now as I did in the past? Many contradict each other over what’s healthy and what’s not. So I dare to say that we have no idea of what healthy is anymore.

We’ve been influenced by ads on tv and articles in newspapers and all the information online that we don’t know what to believe anymore. It’s like a form of brain wash.

There’s so much confusion about it. Whether it’s good or not I do not read everything that comes to me on nutrition. I avoid some of them on purpose. I have a 900 pages book on nutrition and performance and I stick mostly with that and less with random articles.

 

I have the basics and science behind it. If I really wanted to know about nutrition and really know the real thing then I would have studied it and because a dietitian.

But I don’t as this for me means to keep my life simple as I know my parents did when they were my age. Blissful simplicity.

And they had no idea what carbs were, they still don’t. But they know exactly what to eat and what not and what to eat if they want to lose weight. It’s instinct and you have it as well.

 

When it comes to special diets for certain health problems then that’s another story. But for health and weight loss simplicity is something to consider.

By simple I mean as close as nature gives us the food we eat. That means breakfast cereals are out of the picture. I don’t remember my grandma having any, or my parents.

 

May I tell you yet another one of my stories? I will assume that’s a yes ….

At some point in my life I had to lose about 10 kg (about 1.5 st). It was obvious why I had put it on in the first place but I needed help to see what I was doing wrong and get on the right track.

When the time came to lose the weight it is was a nightmare. Yet my mother knew exactly what I had to eat. She even got me on what I learnt to be the 5 to 2 diet and then 6 to 1 hahaha.

Yet she had never read about this things, she just knew it. And even today I ask her for advice on nutrition and as I know some of the science behind it I am shocked about how she knows exactly what, how and when and sometimes the why as well without having to read as study as much as I do.

Now I’m not saying she’s an expert, yet she tells me something and then when I check it in my books she is right.

As I said before until very recently she never knew what carbs were but she knew that breakfast cereals were among the NO things. And many other things, just cereals are one of those most common.

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It’s about filtering

It’s instinct and you have it as well. You just need to think for yourself – that’s how you get past food confusion

Whenever there’s someone saying something is healthy there will always be someone who says it’s unhealthy. And the other way around. That’s what’s going on out there.

No one is right and no one is wrong. We are all right and wrong in the same time. Why? Because we over complicate stuff.

It all comes down to how you filter the information. Because we have so much out there we stopped thinking for ourselves and just go with what we are told and read.

My diet is not the best. Your diet is not the best. There is no best out there no matter what anyone, including myself, tells you it’s “the best” way to go.

Don’t believe what I, or anyone else tells you or writes about, you need to filter the information we all give you and think for yourself: is it good or not? Just like my mother did with me.

You need to go back to thinking for yourself and stop allowing outside information to influence you. And this includes everything I give you.

I will never pretend that what I teach is the best and there is nothing better. You need to decide for yourself which path you go on.

And finally keep is simple, keep it clean, keep it pure.

 

Want to make nutrition simple, clean and pure? Then book a FREE call with me and let’s simplify your life through The Merisoiu Technique Nutrition Principle.

 

Why You Should Master The Art Of Nothing

Why You Should Master The Art Of Nothing


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How many times do you allow yourself to do nothing? No work, no writing, no worries (that’s doing something you know), no talking, no waiting, no smoking, no eating or drinking, no sleeping.

One day when I got really, really overwhelmed and realised that I will never get anything done unless I stop for a moment, I laid in my bed and, since my walls are filled with posts-it notes and dream boards, I stared at the white, empty, boring ceiling.

And there were, apparently no thoughts on my mind. At times one would pop by but I let it go past like a soft feather as if it never actually happen. Then I would take my attention back to the white ceiling.

I am not sure how long I did nothing for but the result was this:

I suddenly felt lighter, calmer and more peaceful
My mind was so free and clear, even if I had the same things to do and nothing outside of me changed
I was ready to go back to writing and replying to my emails and messages and working on my business, taking each item one at a time.
No more feeling of overwhelm
I was more productive than usual

It’s such a wonderful feeling to be so deeply relaxed mind and body, a perfect combination. You can call this a meditation or mindfulness exercise.

I call it “nothing” because I was not trying to be mindful or aware of anything, I was not focusing on my breath, of my senses, there was no aim at all.

The feeling is that you create space around you. All your thoughts come out of your head, they order nicely and when you allow them to come back you can see more clear what you have to do. Everything is in order

 

But can you actually do it?

The problem now is that we are so caught up in the web of things that it’s becoming difficult to do nothing.

We are so busy getting things done, making things happen that now it’s virtually impossible to stop and do nothing. I think you you’ll agree with me.

So, weirdly enough, I now actually show my students how to do nothing. And it’s a challenge for all of us. Just try it….do nothing for 2 min. Don’t touch your mouse or keyboard. Just try… can you do it right now?

We do not realize that if we respond to stress and tension with more stress and tension we make things worse. We cause tension after tension after tension. Then what?

This is just one of the elements I teach my students on my course. It’s the most simple and unexpected things which really helps them break through blocks and get them to be more focused and productive, relieve stress and tackle challenges life throws as them. So check it out, it might help you as well.

 

So I recommend, actually I challenge you to DO NOTHING for 5-10 min today.

Then place your comments below.

Why Training 4 Days A Week Is Essential For Transformational Results

Why Training 4 Days A Week Is Essential For Transformational Results


If you brushed your teeth only once a week would your teeth be healthy? The answer is no…..at least I hope so.

So why do you think that training once a week can actually get you the results you want?

Whether we talk about weight loss, toning, fitting into your favourite jeans, overcoming depression, once a week effort will not make a difference.

If you want transformational results you NEED to transform your habits, your life. And exercising is one of the most important aspects of your life.

I am sure I don’t need to tell you about scientific facts proving that exercising (whether it’s yoga or intense workouts) is healthy for all aspects of your life: physical, psychological, emotional, social.

And I may be biased but I do believe that taking your training outdoors makes again a HUGE difference. I see this all the time.

I have clients I trained in a gym, with weights and treadmills and all these things for over a year. Really challenging exercises. When I took them outdoors their bodies changed massively in a matter of months.

But not only their bodies, they were also more focused, ADHD symptoms dissolved, they became more patient and so on. But those clients train with me at least twice a week and alone twice a week.

 

It’s in your genes

As human beings we have always been moving, running, climbing, carrying, lifting, throwing for millions of years, every day. Every Day! It’s in your genes, whether you accept it or not.

Now you attempt to go AGAINST  your nature. Against what your body needs and you focus only on what your brain wants: comfort – 1 lousy exercising session a week.

That’s not even half of what your body has been used to for millions of years. And you expect transformational results…

We have created an environment for our comfort, for our brains but our bodies are still behind, a long way behind.

If you do not keep in touch with your body you will suffer the consequences.

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There’s no time

Something I hear every time I talk to someone about anything. Ladies…there is no such thing as “no time”.

I am one of the people who should say that night and day. I’ve done almost 1 year’s worth of progress in 6-7 months. And ever since I can remember I always did 10 times more than everyone else. I also got 10 times more than everyone else.

No one “has time”, we all make the time we need to do the things we DECIDE to spend the time we have on. I believe it was Earl Nightingale I heard talking about this.

Whenever I feel like saying “I don’t have time” I stop and say “I choose do to something else with the time I have”. Do this and things will begin to change.

I decide what I do with my time. Sometimes I give up a few hours of sleep a week. Sometimes I gives up going out with friends, partying and having fun.

When things need to get done you need to choose what you will do with your time. It’s simple…

From now on NEVER say “I don’t have time”. The more you say it, the more you believe it and the more true it becomes.

To transform your life you have to decide what you are going to do with your time. You want to exercise more? Then make the time in your life for that.

And you want to transform your life? Make time for 4 sessions a week.

 

Making time for 4 sessions a week to get transformational results

I’ve been really strict with what I wrote in this blog. But I had to and I hope it woke you up and made you understand that nothing with transform if you don’t change the way you think and the words you speak.

So here is how I make time to do 1000 things in one day. I give you this not because I want to prove something but because I am hoping you will take something out of them

1. Discipline. When I get lazy then I work twice as hard to recover the time I lost. Be disciplined enough to go out there and do your 4 sessions.

2. Accountability – have a Coach. I am accountable to 4 people in my life right now: Amanda my business and marketing coach, Michael – natural movement and OCR coach and Sensei Robin and Sensei Graham – my Karate coaches. They always keep an eye on me to make sure I don’t fall back. It’s difficult sometimes but when I get the results it’s worth all the effort.

3. Accountable to myself. I admit I am hard of myself. Many people tell me this. But that’s how I get what I want out of life. It’s difficult to please myself but when I do it’s for massive transformations and breakthroughs and I give myself a high five. And sometimes a hug (shhhh….don’t tell anyone). Expect great things from yourself, get those 4 sessions in to get results.

4. Say no to parties, movies, nights out. It takes discipline and commitment but hey….who said it’s going to be easy. No to parties, YES to training to get transformation results.

5. Have a strong WHY. This is what Amanda taught me. She says that if you have a strong enough why you can overcome almost any how. And looking back I always had a huge WHY behind my actions. Everything I ever did has a strong why and strong emotions behind. So this way you will make the time to do your 4 days a week training.

 

So if you want transformational results, get those 4 sessions a week in. They do not all need to be intense and sweaty, but they need to be there if you think you need to exercise more.

Yoga, Tai Chi, running, natural movement, anything, get them in there so you can make the transformations. Otherwise you will struggle all your life.

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But I can make things easier for you

I have a program which makes things easier. This program is for a period of 6 months and you will do 2 sessions a week for the first 3 months and then 4 sessions a week for the last 3 months.

Plus you get:

Accountability
Nutrition guidance
Training plans we create together to fit your lifestyle and your personality
Weekly calls to make sure you are doing the work to transform your life
You get your sessions recorded so you don’t miss anything
You get life access to all my online resources: exclusive articles, podcasts, webinars
And much, much more…

It will leave you feeling

Proud that you achieved your transformational goals and you did not give up
Confident that you know exactly what and how to do things moving forward, to continue transforming your life
Enthusiastic when you think about exercising. No more confusion.
Relaxed you have the right knowledge and right person behind you
Motivated and inspired to move on, reach your goals and purpose

If you want to know more about this particular program please email (and mention this blog and program) at alexandra@urbanwomenfitness.com

 

 

 

3 Ways To Stay Healthy And Fit For Life

3 Ways To Stay Healthy And Fit For Life


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Easy for me to say right? Having 20 years of sports behind me it’s in my blood, I don’t even need to try.

I’m sorry, I have to tell you that you are WRONG. Any habit can be undone if not practiced, practiced and practiced some more.

And it’s so easy to stop when the tough gets tough. But today I am not going to preach about this, I am going to give you food for thought, as always but today a bit more.

Staying healthy and fit for life is not difficult. We make our own lives difficult by trying to do what others do and what others say, and we never go with our instincts.

Here’s what I mean. Some people really, really love the gym, and they like to be really toned and some like to bulk up and that’s ok. That’s what they like and motivates them and that’s good.

However many of us don’t want HD muscles, we just want to stay healthy and be happier as a result.

But here’s the thing, we struggle to get to where we want, healthy, fit and happy, because of a few simple reasons, you already know and I will remind you:

1. We make health a goal.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, health is not and should not be a goal. Health is there all the time, it’s like the nose on your face. We should never make a purpose of it.

I don’t really know how to emphasize this more. It’s like oxygen, it should always be there, it should be natural and we should not think about it.

Health comes as a result of your habits. Your life is a bundle of habits. Focus on them instead.

2. We struggle too much to follow thousands of rules.

Many of the rules, which I call health fashion, come and go (i.e. fats are bad for you!). We listen and put into application everything out there, just in case they are all right and you are wrong.

And this makes us miserable because we are virtually not allowed to eat, do or have anything according to the rules. You already know what is good and less good through common sense. You already know!

 

May I give you an example from my life? I hope so… 😀

I travelled to a few countries, working and studying, so I’ve been on my own for a long time. But no matter where I go and what I do, how the new world I find myself in tries to change me I always, always go back to the habits I developed back home, with and by my mother.

You know why? Because my body is programmed to eat certain foods and not eat others. And I am programmed to exercise on a regular basis otherwise I start gaining weight and feel miserable.

I first noticed when I left home and went to US in 2007. I began putting weight on and I realised that my eating habits had changed because I allowed the environment to dictate what I should do.

So I went back to what I used to eat home and I came back to normal. That’s the story in a nutshell.

That’s what I believed to be good for me and I stopped listening to everyone around saying this is good and that is bad. I just went with my common sense. And it worked of course.

 

So this is my advice, stop listening to everyone (yes! that includes myself) and follow your intuition, the habits you grew up with (because I am sure most of them were healthy) and move as if you were a child again (that means leaving the car home more often).

 

The exception to this rule is if you train for a specific purpose, marathons, competitions etc. That’s a different story. But if it’s health you are looking for then common sense is a good way to go.

3. We force ourselves to do things that everyone else does even if we hate it

And here I have “going to the gym” in mind.

As I said before, some people love it and it works for them, but it will not work for everyone. It never worked for me.

In the past I’d go to the gym 3-4 months and then get bored. Even if changing routines I’d see the same place, the same scenery, roughly the same people, never changing, always monotony, never having a purpose. It made me unhappy to be there.

Try instead looking for a sport you like. There are hundreds of sports you can take on. Learning a new skills is personal development and we, humans, are made to learn and evolve, not stagnate. That’s what makes us happy.

Examples: rock climbing, cycling outdoors (actually going somewhere!), running (learning from a coach), target shooting, archery, swimming, squash, badminton, tennis, Martial Arts.

I suggest you have a coach, you learn more, you are accountable and a coach never lets you get bored.

 

Finally spend more time outdoors. If you can take your training outdoors it’s even better. You’d never get bored of it, because every time yougo out there everything is different, from day to day, even within the day.

You have so much to see and do, to listen, to feel, to smell (good stuff that is). And be creative, your life is more colourful when you allow your creativity to flow.

 

Do those things that make you feel ALIVE

 

This is how you stay HEALTHY AND FIT FOR LIFE. Bring creativity, diversity, intuition and happiness in your life and everything else will take care of itself.

Furthermore look to be coached by someone who will teach you how to do things by yourself, who will educate you rather than just train you. This way you will know what to do when you finish your program.If it works for me there is no reason why it would not work for you as well.

 

As you already know this is what I do, I train you outdoors, I help you get fit and healthy and I spark your creativity on one of my 12 weeks programs, 1-2-1 or groups, and then you take it from there because you LEARN HOW.

Book a free call with me to see how we can get you out of boredom and monotony and release your creativity to get you healthy, fit and happy.

7 Ways To Make You Enjoy Your Running

7 Ways To Make You Enjoy Your Running


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The other day one of my readers asked me a series of questions about running and how to enjoy it more. As you probably already know, and if you didn’t know you will now, this is one of my favorite topics. I am a long distance runner, to be more precise, since 2007.

I believe, from my experience, that running can and should be enjoyable and pain free. I know because my running transformed from painful to actually enjoying it.

So here are her 4 questions and my answers:

How to enjoy running?

This is a common question because so many of us run just to train for a race, to lose weight or for general health. Now, these are all good but let’s at least enjoy it if we dedicate so many hours for it. Try these tips:

1. Learn to relax. Relaxing when you run not only makes it a more enjoyable experience it actually saves a lot of pain and reduces the reduces the risk of injury.

2. Take your shoes off. You can run short distances (attention:risk of injuries) or just walk barefoot. This will not only change your routine, brining something new and different, it will also strengthen your foot muscles stabilizing that arch and again reducing the risk on some injuries

3. Don’t stick just to running. Alternate running with other sports. If you want you can choose a sport that compliments running such as playing squash, tennis or anything that requires power, change of direction or something similar. Personally I’d go with target shooting, rock climbing, hiking, these are the things I like to do that are not directly related to running, they’re like a reboot to the system

 

How to balance running fast and breathing?

Breathing while running is not very complicated once you find your own rhythm.  So my personal rhythm is 2 breathes is and 2 out, on each step. This is the topic of another blog so I will not go into detail here.

Once you find your rhythm then you practice it at rest every single day. Furthermore you also practice other breathing techniques, daily, such as: linear, triangular, square etc.

Breathing will be discussed in my book coming out in March. It goes into a lot of detail. So keep an eye out for it. For now find and focus on breathing exercises and see these 2 blogs where I talk about the briefly: this one and this one

Should we push through discomfort to improve physical performance at the expense of enjoyment?

It all depends what type of discomfort we are talking about. If it’s muscle burn, lactic acid, then push through it. To reach a certain level of performance we need to get out of the comfort zone.

And this goes for everything in life, whether it’s sports or business or you are a student studying for exams or to get a scholarship. It’s the only way to progress, get out of our comfort zone.

So yes, sometimes, not all the time so you don’t start hating running, push through this type of discomfort at the expense of enjoyment. And if I have to me precise I’d say push hard every 4th-5th running specific session.

This also depends on your training program so it may not work for you. You need to leave time for recovery as the progress and adaptations occur not while training but up to 7 days after your session.

If the discomfort is caused by an injury, a mechanical discomfort, then I advise caution and no pushing through. See a doctor, physio or GP instead.

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How can we be happy running if we want to improve performance?

So as before alternate your training, try different things that would increase your performance as a runner but not only through running. You will improve performance and when you do your running training you won’t feel it like a chore.

Here are some tips on how to increase performance but still love running:

1. Change of scenery. Don’t take the same route all the time. Don’t ever run in the same place all the time. Would be good if you went somewhere in the mountains, in the forests, beaches etc and change

2. Try different sports that will make you a better runner. Unlike the first example where I said you can do sports non-running related here they are related. Don’t limit your training only to running. So cycling, rope skipping, log dragging are other ideas.

3. Alternate running training methods. You have long distance running, short distance, sprinting, interval training, fartlek. You can wear a weight vest or ankle and wrist weights. Spice up your training.

4. Run and/or walk backwards. This will develop your hamstrings and spice up your training a little bit.

 

I hope these tips will help you in your particular running program. Try them out and come back with feedback.

As usual if you need to talk to me just book a free call and let’s look over your particular case.

 

How Does The Merisoiu Technique Really Work

How Does The Merisoiu Technique Really Work


The Merisoiu Technique or TMT is based on Six Guiding Principles of a Healthier Lifestyle:

1. Earthing or Reconnecting With The Earth
2. Natural Movement or Reclaiming Your Nature
3. Zanshin or Awareness and Mindfulness
4. Nutrition
5. Personal Development
6. Habits Transformation

 

TMT is not a step by step plan, you cannot do one principle and then go to the next.

All principles blend into each other creating a bigger picture which gives you a better understanding of how health really works and stop seeing health as a goal in your life.

Health is something we should not have to think about, and I should not write about…. but I do for some reason. We should not make a life purpose out of it, a milestone or a goal.

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How I came about it

The simple answer is 20 years of sweat, blood and tears. Ha ha, seriously it’s everything I’ve learnt and applied from my coaches and mentors from the age of 8 to this day. And I am still learning of course.

TMT has strong roots in Japanese Martial Arts, particularly Karate Shotokan, but Daito Ryu and Ninjutsu as well. I also apply some of the internal Chinese Martial Arts philosophies of Tai Chi and Chi Gong.

Everyone sees Martial Arts as fighting methods. I agree and disagree with this.

Martial Arts, when the students is wise enough to take the essence of the art, can be a powerful Personal Development journey.

This is a different story of how Martial Arts planted the seeds of discipline, determination and motivation in me from a very early age. A story I will talk about in another blog.

For now it is enough to say that The Merisoiu Technique brings together everything I learnt and applied in six pillar which are the Six Guiding Principles.

 

Here’s how TMT principles intertwine:

 

Natural movement if the physical part of the program which takes place outdoors.

But it’s not just Natural Movement you are practicing because another principle is involved as well, Earthing.

You may do natural movement training indoors but then you are missing a very important element of your health: reconnecting with nature, with the organic matter of which you and me are formed. Break that connection and you suffer the consequences.

Natural movement in the outdoors challenges your body in so many different ways, from flexibility to strength, power and physical fluidity and balance to mental focus and emotional stability.

 

Zanshin is an essential part of natural movement.

When they hear about outdoors training most people think about bootcamps. Natural movement is NOT bootcamp, it’s technique. Technique requires awareness and mindfulness,  energy and focus.

This does not mean that your training will not be challenging. They will be more challenging than you  imagine. And no, you do not need machines to get results. Training outdoors is more challenging that indoors.

 

Nutrition is what gives you the energy, focus and strength for your training.

You cannot train the body on the outside and forget about the inside or the other way around. They come together to form the whole. Only then you can say your body is healthy.

 

Personal development is continuous learning and growing.

It’s about rewiring your brain, doing things you haven’t done before and explore your true potential. Through natural movement and Zanshin you develop, learn and grow.

 

Habits transformation is the principle that brings everything together.

No matter how much you study, apply and you are coached on if you do not address your habits you will not be consistent and you will not get the results you seek.

However, it is not easy to wake up and go training at 6 am. It’s not easy to put your training kit on in less than 1 min and run out the door to meet your coach (that’s discipline). It is not easy to say no to ice-cream when we love it so much. It is not easy to do anything.

That’s why the habits transformation principles in The Merisoiu Technique takes you through a series of steps which you can apply to any habit to create and make it stick long term without so much struggle.

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So here’s another benefit of The Merisoiu Technique: IT SAVES YOU TIME…. and money.

So instead of going to the gym, then doing earthing separate because science has proven to be beneficial, then of course you need Yoga and some fluidity so you go to Tai Chi lessons. But then you want to practice mindfulness and awareness so you go to yet another class where you spend more time searching for it and travelling to it and of course more money.

So stop spending time and money and embrace The Merisoiu Technique.

This is a brief intro to The Merisoiu Technique so if you really want to know how it works and how it works for you in particular, book a FREE call with me and let’s chat.

 

And read more about the technique by downloading the free ebook 

Purpose vs Goals

Purpose vs Goals


You know I always mention about “the purpose behind your training” and I always say the purpose is not the same thing as a goal.

I never trained myself without a purpose. I always had something behind, a purpose for training, a purpose for competing. Training or working out for the sake of it was never an option for me.

This is what I believe or how I feel the difference between the purpose and the goal.

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Defining the Purpose and Goal

First let’s define the two terms.

A goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

A purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. A person’s sense of determination.

So from the definition we can tell that purpose is the big picture.

When we look at weight loss, exercising for health or toning, goals are very important, but if there’s not purpose behind your weight loss or toning you will get bored and stop, or simply give up when the tough get tough.

Then of course you want to reach your goals so you start again. And because there is no purpose you stop and so on so forth..

You need to find the purpose behind your training, so you give meaning to your training.

 

So here are some differences between Purpose and Goal and I see things. I suggest you actually take your goal now and try to find the purpose behind it.

1. A goal has a deadline, in many cases a purpose doesn’t

2. The purpose is the reason you want to reach your goal

3. Purpose gives meaning to your actions, and even your life

4. Goals have a specific aim, the purpose doesn’t

5. You can have many milestones and goals to get close to your purpose

6. Your purpose will influence your goals

7. Your purpose is your mission. Purpose is personal and it’s who you are.

8. Goals are, or should be, aligned with your purpose

 

For example…

I’ll try to give an example from my life right now. In obstacle racing my purpose is to become an elite racer.

My purpose has no deadline and it’s not really measurable.

The immediate goal, which has a deadline and it is measurable, is to finish at least one race in top 10 by the end of the year.

My purpose will gives meaning to my actions: training, nutrition, mindset, lifestyle of an elite racer.

Becoming an elite racer is the reason I was to achieve my goal.

And my purpose influences my goals. If my purpose was different than the goal would have changed. Does that make any sense at all?

 

How do you find the purpose

I am sure there are loads of ways to do this. But as I like to keep things simple, as much as I can, I always ask “WHY” many, many times.

I learnt this from my coaches. I just liked the simplicity and put it into practice and it works.

Plus I can see the results when my coach Amanda asks “why” 100 times to get to the roots of what I am doing, so I can see it works even on myself.

 

Need to find the REAL purpose behind your training so you can reach your goals with less pain and resistance? Then book a free call with me.

Struggling to stay motivated? This is why…

Struggling to stay motivated? This is why…


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When I ask my clients what is their greatest health and wellness struggle in that point in time I often get this answer: finding it difficult to stay motivated to exercise.

 

And the usual reasons are:

1. They don’t really know what to do

2. They know but they find nothing interesting in what they do

3. It’s boring to go to the same place, do the same thing (even if they change exercises), see roughly the same people and have the same view all the time.

 

There are many other reasons but there are probably the most common I get.

However there is more than that. These reasons that lead to lacking motivation are just the surface. Underneath there may be many other reasons, such as:

1. There is no purpose behind your training or exercising.

If the reason you do what you do is not strong enough, when you hit the wall you will most probably give up. There is nothing to keep you going. Read my blog on Purpose vs Goals to get an idea of what you should look for.

2. You do not grow.

As human beings we are always on a path of learning. Once we stop doing that we lose interest. Progressing from 10 press ups to 20 is not learning. Learning is developing the technique or learning different techniques. Here you also need creativity and colour in your workouts.

If you have a great purpose (goals are not purposes! – will write about this) and you learn and develop then the motivation will be there for longer and will be stronger.

3. There is NO accountability.

You can be accountable to yourself up to a point. When the tough gets tough and life gets in the way many people slide back and then have to start all over again. And that is a motivation killer itself. Are you one of them?

Why do you think top athletes still have coaches? Do you think they cannot train themselves at their level? One of the reasons they do, and one of the reasons I have 3 coaches training me right now in Karate, Obstacle Racing and running and business, is accountability.

 

There are moments in your life when you want to stop, when things are so difficult in your life that you cannot go any further.

That’s when your Coach comes into the picture. She will always be there for you. Of course you will always be responsible for your own actions and thus the results but a Coach is critical for you to keep on the path and move towards your purpose.

 

So are you lacking motivation to exercise and stay healthy?

I am an athlete and I know exactly what that means and how it feels. I’ve had loads of ups and down in 20 years of competitive sports. I have also had many, many coaches who supported me along the way.

I know how to coach you so you stay motivated and you will also learn how to stay motivated even after we finish our program.

With me you have a purpose, you grow and learn and you are accountable. Of course you will also reach your goals and milestones.

 

Book a free call with me so we can talk in more detail about your purpose and goals.

What’s All The Fuss About Mindfulness

What’s all the fuss about mindfulness


 

“Mindfulness” is becoming a buzz word. Do you agree? I see this word every single day, many times a day and sometimes it gets to the point where it actually bothers me. You see, when everyone goes in one direction I go the other way

However, it is also a very good thing, when it’s not taking time and space out of our busy lives. My job is to simplify things for you, and not make them more complicate. So I will tell you why mindfulness is good, in simple bullet points.

 

Meditation??

Mindfulness is seen as meditation which by many is seen as something else to do. It’s slowly becoming a chore, another thing on the to do list, something that takes time and space. Makes you not want to do it!!

But you are wrong. Mindfulness does not have to be meditation, a chore, a to do thing on the list and in fact it creates more time and space rather than reduce it.

 

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Pay Attention!

From now on I will refer to “mindfulness” as “attention”. Because that’s all it is to it. Mindfulness is attention. Simple…

Why is it good to pay attention (bullet points as promised):

1. Smoother interaction of the physical world.

You see the road you walk on, you stop tripping and bumping into things, you drive better, safer and smoother because you actually pay attention to the road. You are safe on the street because you pay attention to who is around you and what they are doing.

2. Peaceful connection with your inner world.

Paying attention to your thoughts and emotions is one of the first steps to a balanced lifestyle and personal development. It allows you to better understand why you feel the way you feel (happy, energetic or sad and miserable) and how to approach a situation calm and in control or everything. When you pay attention to your inner world you re-gain control over your own life.

3. Enhanced quality of life.

Better quality relationships of any kind, better communication in the office, family and social environment. Choosing quality over quantity leads to a more happier and joyful life. Would you rather live 110 years unhappy, depressed and without purpose or live 80 years surrounded by happiness, love and fulfillment? Attention bring quality to your life.

4. Less physical pain and fewer injuries.

How you use your body determines the way it functions (Alexander principle). That headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain, knee, ankle and almost any other physical pain you may experience comes as a result of body misuse. Paying more attention to your body and how you use it will save you a lot of physical pain.

5. Improved overall health.

Holistic health is about the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social life balance. You cannot think about holistic health if you are missing any of the 5 areas in your life. Paying attention to your inner and outer worlds gives you the chance to achieve that balance.

 

I will leave you at this. Everything else derives from these 5 blocks and you can easily see the other benefits of paying closer attention to your inner and outer worlds.

Photo Credit: motiv8ntjana via Compfight cc

 

But it’s difficult…

I know very well how difficult this is. But I also know very well how simple it can be once you understand that it takes no more time than you already waste being inefficient and unproductive because you lack attention in your life and work.

It’s so easy once you see how you can easily take your focus and attention onto everything you do, takes no time and not more space. In fact it creates more time and more space.

 

And I’m not talking about meditation. No wasting time, no more chores and to do list items.

This is where I come in. I can show you in 30 min how to become more alert and relaxed, more focused, paying more attention and be more mindful.

It’s so simple that my clients, after just spending some time talking to me become more relaxed and mindful without me doing anything in particular.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Mistakes Women Make Which Increase Stress Levels

3 Mistakes Women Make Which Increase Stress Levels


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#3. Obsessed about weight gain and weight loss

Keeping a healthy weight is crucial for your health. However weighing yourself every day or every other day won’t get you anywhere and you will be continuously worried and stressed that you are getting nowhere.

Your weight will fluctuate from day to day, often throughout the day as you eat and drink. Better weigh yourself at the end of he week to see where you are on a weekly, not daily basis.

And if you really want to lose weight, doing it fast will get you nowhere. Sure, you will lose it – the weight, but you will put it right back up.

When you deal with weight loss have a plan, a healthy lifestyle plan, and stick to it. Have a schedule of exercising, create healthy habits for the entire family and just focus on the process only. This will also reduce the stress and frustration of slow progress.

 

#2. Worrying about every little detail

You like to do things well, to strive for perfection. I know, I do the same. However, many times, although we strive for perfection, we cannot reach it not matter how hard we try.

This tension of trying to get things 100% right leads to working long hours, frustration and stress. The result… unhealthy lifestyle.

Because no matter how well you nourish yourself, and how often you exercise, you also need to look at your emotional wellbeing. Then we can talk about real and not partial health.

 

#1. Not allowing for some space in their lives

You look after everyone else and there is not time and space left for yourself. As a result you are continuously under pressure and stressed.

And you also transmit that pressure, tension and stress to the people around you, particularly your family and children. Believe me when I say your family suffers a lot when you are unwell, I tell you this from a child’s perspective.

As a child and teenager I took all my mother’s stress, anxiety and depression, all my parents’ anger and violence into my early 20’s. Only when I left to live on my own in UK I managed to heal and become the opposite of them. Nowadays I manage stress in a totally different way, and no more anxiety, depression or anger.

 

The solution

But it’s so difficult to make the space in our minds and bodies to allow ourselves to heal and nurture ourselves.

No worries, this is why I am here doing what I do. I can show you how to make that little bit of space in your world to allow yourself to slow down, breathe, relax and then resume your hard work and make things happen faster and better than ever before.

You may think I am talking about a sort of meditation or some mindfulness techniques. No, no, none of this. I have a much, much simpler and easier to implement habit to help you relax and find a little bit of calmness in your life.

A habit which no one ever considers because it’s so obvious we overlook it all the time. I can show you what it is, FOR FREE. Book a free call with me and I will share it with you, my little secret weapon 😉

 

How the meaning you give to your words can make you sick

How the meaning you give to your words can make you sick


 

The meaning you give to the words, events and experiences unfolding in your life will decide whether you will feel miserable and defeated or stronger and more confident than ever, after anything and everything you encounter in life.

And that event can be related to your weight, a cold or flu, stress, anxiety or anything else.

What we tell ourselves  and what we tell those around us will influence the outcomes of that particular experience you are going through right now.

Whether we talk about stress, depression, illness, job loss, overweight, all consequences  come as a results of our interpretation of the world around us.

In terms of illness “Science has proven, beyond doubt, that the content of our thoughts and emotions directly and immediately influence our biochemistry” Kelly Howell (Sound Healer, Meditation Guide, Consciousness  Researcher)

This does not mean that if you are ill you can suddenly come off your medication, but you can use this knowledge in parallel to it.

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The meaning you give to the words you speak

I’ve experienced cold and flues many times, like everyone else. A cold is a cold, although I think I never actually had a flu.

And we generally see the common cold as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, lethargy, feeling lifeless and miserable.

But how I see (or interpret) the common cold as opposed to how many others see it makes the difference between how I feel and how most other people feel.

~ when I catch a cold I feel energetic, while they feel lifeless.

~ when I go running in shorts in the middle of winter they sit in the kitchen thinking about how bad they feel.

~ while I am more enthusiastic, and stronger at all levels they lie on the couch with pills and tea in front of them thinking “I feel like crap (pardon my French – no offence French people, this is just how the saying goes)

 

So, in the rare occasions I catch a cold, I feel more energetic, more enthusiastic, more confident and literally stronger than many other times when I am under the common cold, while you probably feel lifeless, lethargic and miserable.

And I will give you MY SECRET,

the ONE thing I do to feel awesome even when I’m ill

In high school I was sick and tired of telling everyone I caught a cold (or it caught me!) all the time. It made me feel worse actually.

The mere mentioning of the sentence “I caught a cold” made my mind associate it with being sick.

So one day I began doing something different. And since then I never changed it. I began telling everyone this:

“You are WRONG, I am not sick, I did not catch a cold.

I am creating anti-bodies…”

And I kept telling this to literally everyone who asked me if I was sick or who didn’t ask for that matter. And the more I repeated this the stronger my belief was that that’s what was actually happening.

Everyone was surprised to witness how well I was training (as part of Romania’s National Karate Shotokan Squad), how focused I was in class, how much energy and vitality I had.

To be honest I was amazed as well.

So for me now the

COMMON COLD = ANTIBODIES PRODUCTION PROCESS

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The meaning of “Stress”

Based on the same principles. We learnt and now associate the word stress with bad things (weight gain, depression, anxiety, lack of productivity etc all the bad stuff).

So when we tell ourselves “I am stressed”, your body immediately reacts to bring forth those results.

If we were to replace the word “stress” with the word “apple”  (I know it’s stupid but bear with me).

So if apple was not a fruit but its definition would be that of ” a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” (the definition of stress) then every time we would use the word apple we would automatically go into that state of emotional tension.

The meaning you give to the words you use will determine how you feel

mentally, physically, emotionally and socially, whatever those words may be.

Again I associate stress with success, and so every time I am under “stress” or stressed I work harder and I am more focused. And that’s how it works for me.

And how I did that is simply telling everyone that stress makes me better at what I do. While they were telling me the opposite in their case.

The same principles can be applied to weight loss and many other events and experiences you go through over the course of your life.

This is where I come into play. I help women overcomes stress and depression through The Merisoiu Technique, enabling them to push boundaries for their physical, mental and spiritual development.

So if you are looking for guidance with something that’s going on in your life right now and you can’t shift it alone, book a free call with me and I will give you the tools you need. Yes! I give you stuff for free on the free call.

Beasting vs Smart Coaching

Alexandra Merisoiu

“Beasting” vs Smart Coaching


Today I will touch on a topic which I believe makes the difference between leaving someone with the love for sport and exercise and making them hate it for the rest of their lives. Beasting or extreme coaching vs smart coaching or coaching with purpose and passion.

In 20 years of sport I’ve been coached by many coaches, each specializing in their own field, each pushing me to be better and better at what I was doing in that particular time.

Over the years I pushed physical and mental boundaries. And I learnt a lot. I never thought that coaching was the thing I was to become very good at, my talent as some say, my purpose.

Although I learnt many aspects of coaching over the years there is one thing that stands apart today and governs my style of coaching: beasting and pain are not always the solution to reach a goal. And a goal can be anything: weight loss, running, lifting, muscles building, competition etc.

Oh, beasting is what I (and others) call shouting when there’s not need for it, putting people down to make them feel worthless thinking that will motivate them, pushing without seeing the consequences, forcing when the time is not right.

 

This often leads to injuries and leaving people hating exercising.

Many of my clients had bad past experiences with Personal Trainers and almost all of them tell me they were left with a bitter taste regarding exercising.

But I am here to tell them and you that there is another way, which gives results and makes you love what you do. And, among many things, I should know the difference between beasting and smart coaching and what each of them brings.

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Why I choose smart coaching

I began training in Karate at the age of 8. I was not pushed to do it, I was simply shown a class, I liked how it looked and 20 years later I compete for England.

In the first 10 years I used to train 6 days a week during school term and up to 12 times a week on school breaks.

Pushing hard is not even close to describing some of the training sessions, I would be underestimating them. But it was good, I progressed, I pushed boundaries. Even if no one noticed my potential until later in life.

I took on habits and traits others wish they had. Values that are now deeply embedded into my being: discipline, ambition, perseverance, inspiration, motivation, ability to push through anything and everything to get to where I want to get, and on a physical level: strength, flexibility, posture, body awareness and more. A lot of things. Oh and sense of humor, more like sarcasm.

So I know a thing of two about beasting, about motivation, about pain, about tears and pushing through everything to strive for perfection.

But I ask you now: at what cost? After 4 years of karate, at 12 years old, I damaged my knees. Then in 2013 I did an MRI and found out I had grade 3 meniscus damage on both knees, the most advanced form of knees meniscus damage, and 2 doctors recommended surgery… which I refused…

 

At 12 years old I could barely walk. I was moving my legs as if they were walking sticks. I could not bend them or put too much weight on them. Going up and down the stairs was unbearable. But I know how to push through pain, I learnt it from an early age.

Pushing mental boundaries is one thing, but when we talk about pushing physical boundaries we need to make sure our bodies understand they are capable of anything. To make sure they know they are limitless.  Because they are, just they are not prepared for it… yet

 

We must make sure our bodies are prepared…

I am happy now that I went through 15 years of knee pain. I believe this turned me into a better coach today. Without this Alexandra would not be Alexandra.

So beasting, although in some cases works, it does not work in all cases. Then we turn to coaching with purpose or smart coaching as I call it.

 

Smart coaching

Over the past few years I had the opportunity to be coached by coaches who did, and still do, push me to achieve greatness.

But there’s a difference: we push physical boundaries when the body is ready to withstand the pressure and only at the level just outside boundaries.

And once I saw the opposite of beasting I immediately understood that results (be it weight loss, running or competing) can be achieve through a different form of coaching other than beasting.

Furthermore, smart coaching bring results easier, faster and with less injuries and less painful moments. It also brings joy, really, joy. You really love it and look forward to your training session.

Smart coaching is focusing on technique foremost. Going deep into detail and repeat… and repeat… and repeat, until the body is strong enough to be taken to the next level.

Because no one’s body is perfect, we are not perfect and we do not function in a perfect way (whichever that may be) but we can optimize the way we function to get the results faster and with less pain.

And optimization is different for every single person. That is why a coach has to pay close attention to detail, see, change, experiment and analyse.

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These are the elements of smart coaching, as I see it today:

 

– observe and analyse (that’s different from assessments)

– listen to and trust your intuition (I’ve put this the 2nd because I put a lot of emphasis not only on what my eyes see but what I feel as well, I think this is important and in my case works so well)

– experiment what works and what doesn’t for each individual (for some a strategy or technique works extremely well, for others not at all)

– attention to detail

– listen (by far the most important character trait of a coach)

– empathy (no one took me seriously when I told them my knees were hurting… until I could not walk anymore)

– motivation (pushing boundaries is important, that’s how we progress)

– choosing the right moment to push further

– calmness and patience (when teaching and when motivating, it’s all in the tone of voice where your students either feel empowered or just shouted at, where they look forward to your sessions or are eager to finish and never see you again)

– inspiration

– leading by example (be the change you want to see in the world)

 

There are probably more… and I am proud to say that I do my best to follow my own rules. I am not perfect, and will never be, but that does not mean I cannot strive for it 😉 we all should.

So if you are looking to get results in a way which is effective and also brings you that feeling of happiness on the day of your training session book a free call with me and let’s discuss what your options are and what path you should take.

 

Weight loss is simple…

 Weight loss is simple…


Ha, I knew this will draw your attention.  But I am serious, it is simple. If you struggle with weight you might say this is nonsense. But hear me out, read the whole thing including my story at the end. Read with an open mind.

 

Weight loss is simple, keeping it off is bloody difficult. You can lose weight fast in so many ways including going day and night to the gym for an X number of months, stop eating carbs and fats, being “beasted” into running and weight lifting, pills and shakes and all other stuff.

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But what happens when all this stops?

 

Because you can’t do this forever. You know why? Well….you will be miserable because you want to live your life, you only have one after all, and it’s short. So you want to enjoy it not feel you are trapped in your own body.

 

You want to eat a biscuit from time to time, you want chips now and then , you want to have an ice cream once in a blue moon, because they are tasty, your brain is thankful, you are enjoying life.

 

So after you lose the weight and start living your life with pleasure again, even if that means you will have an ice cream once a year, what will happen?

 

I’ll tell you what will happen. After you put your body and brain under so much pressure to avoid fats and carbs and everything else, when they finally get some they will hold on to it thinking they will probably not get any more because that’s what you taught them.

 

And every time you eat something you “shouldn’t” your body will keep it all.

 

So what is The Secret to losing weight and keeping it off

 

Oh the secret….there’s no secret. Sorry to disappoint you. Harv Ecker said in a video that doing SIMPLE THINGS on an ongoing basis will change who you are.

 

Yep, I’m sorry again, but to get the weight off and keep it off you need to look for simple things and do them on an ongoing basis. Don’t worry, they will become automatic and you will not struggle with them after a while. But you should look for simple things anyway, so you don’t struggle.

 

Weight loss is a result of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle has several components: Body, Mind, Emotions, Soul and Social.

If and when you understand this, really understand it, that’s when you will get your weight loss with a lot less resistance.

But focusing on weight loss alone will get you nowhere, and you will end up slim, sad and miserable.

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Here’s what I mean by simple things which you do on an ongoing basis that will change who you are:

 

Simple Thing #1. Eat healthy

 

You heard me saying it before and I say it again.

 

Understand that weight loss and weight maintenance is the result of a healthy life. And that means eating food how mother nature gives them to you (95% of the time at least, exceptions are allowed). That’s fats, carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals. Everything that’s in the books.

 

 

Simple Thing #2. Exercise a little

 

Walk, run, practice a sport, 15 – 30 min a day 4-5 days a week. If now you walk everyday and you don’t lose weight that means your body is ready to take exercising at the next level, maybe a run or maybe longer or/and faster walking.

 

Or maybe searching and finding a sport you like instead of going to the gym if you don’t enjoy it that much. Or how about spending more time outdoors?

 

Simple Thing #3. Be happy, be grateful

This is emotional and spiritual health.

 

See the small beautiful things in life, because they are everywhere. I used to be happy collecting dried leaves in autumn and I love feeling the texture of a tree bark. Yep….now you know. I am a tree hugger…..as if you didn’t already know… The fact is that it does not take a lot to make me happy.

 

 

These are simple things you can do on an ongoing basis. Easier said than done….I know very well what you mean.

 

The fact is that  to do this you need to create space in your mind and in your life so you can see clear and make wise decisions.

 

And that’s when I come into the picture. I create a healthy, fit and organic lifestyle for my students which they learn to keep by themselves, which stick long term. That’s empowerment, so they achieve and keep and improve their achievements. And I invite you to book a free call with me to go over some of your struggles and find solutions (yes, FREE COACHING on this call!!)

Be consistent, keep going…and going

Something done over 3 days will be a waste of your time. Done over 3 months will do nothing. Done over 1 year will get you nowhever. A simple habit done over 3-4 years will literally change who you are.

 

This is continuous development. Consistency is key when we want to continuously grow and improve, whether we talk about weight loss and maintenance or being a top athlete. Consistency, even if it’s slow and steady, they trick is to keep at it.

 

And that’s what my business mentor Amanda Watts keeps repeating and repeating hoping we will all get the picture at some point.

 

My personal experience with weight loss

 

 

And I tell you this from personal experience. Yep…..even since I took a break from Karate I always had problems keeping a balanced weight.

 

When I was around 18 I was 10kg heavier than today, maybe even more. And that’s because I stopped karate (after 10 years of being in the National Squad) and for 2 years I didn’t do too much sport or physical activity. And I had a friend who was not interested in these things.

 

And we used to eat junk food and all sorts of crap (pardon my language), day and night. Since that unbalance I experienced weight gain and weight loss throughout the years.

 

When I started running, in 2 years I became so addicted to it that I went down to 49kg and people thought I was malnourished. Then I slowed down on running and weight went up to my balance point which s 51-53kg. But then it went  again to 59kg and down again and so on so forth.

 

So the way I have maintained my weight balanced throughout the past few years is by following some simple actions and doing them on an ongoing basis. And 3 of them are in this article. It’s as simple as that.

 

And I enjoy life and food, I have ice cream every other month, and sometimes I have milk chocolate as well and bread, and pizza once or twice a year, same with home made chips.

 

And I am happy and healthy, and I am not miserable that I can’t eat this and that. And instead of saying I’m not allowed to eat this and that, my mindset was always that I choose not to eat them, and I choose when to have them.

 

Weight loss is a result of health and not the other way around

…and a healthy life consists of healthy habits. But to transform your current habits you need to go through a step by step process that’s as little painful as possible. But I am here for you, book a free call with me and I will work with you on a couple of habits to get you on the right path.

3 Mindfulness Lessons From Practicing Target Shooting

3 Mindfulness Lessons From Practicing Target Shooting


 

 

target

Lately I’ve been thinking and talking about the time when I practiced target shooting. I practiced for more than 1 year, I even entered some competitions. Sorry, unfortunately I have no pictures from that time.

 

I also practiced archery but not as much.

 

I practiced target shooting on rifle but the pistol was my favourite and I was also better at it so that’s what I trained for mostly.

 

I was always amazed at how good I’d do in training and how everything changed when competing.

 

Target shooting is indeed a sport of the mind. It also teaches you about relaxation, mindfulness and focus. It’s a challenging sport.

 

Nowadays I still practice some of the mindfulness and focus exercises I learnt from my coach. And I wanted to share 3 of them with you. Here they are:

 

1. The finger on the trigger

 

Pulling the trigger does not just happen. If you pull the trigger just like that you will certainly be off target. The trick is to breathe in half way and hold your breath for 10 seconds then slowly push on the trigger, millimetre by millimetre.

 

Do you have any idea how difficult that actually is? :)) And how annoying it is when you pull it a little too fast and you are waaaay off target.

 

Awareness of how you use your arm, hand and fingers is essential in target shooting. And the millimetre by millimetre requires relaxation, focus and so much control.

 

2. Mindful of the breath

 

I remember this as if it was yesterday: “feel your breath on your upper lip”- my coach said one day. And you know what…this made a huge difference, it made my mind focus on the present moment.

 

I still do this from time to time. The feeling is unique. Try it…

 

3. Posture

 

Again with the posture. No matter what I talk about I still end up here.

 

That’s because no matter what you do, posture is the first thing you need to be aware of. Whether it’s showering, making toast or practice target shooting, good (and relaxed) posture should come automatic.

 

In target shooting, every millimetre of your body, of how you position and use your body can make the difference between shooting in the centre of your target or off it. One millimetre makes a huge difference.

 

 

This is what I wanted to share with you. Learn from everything in life, good or bad. Gather wisdom and later on, when you’re ready, pass it on.

 

Want to learn or practice some of my unique exercises or learn a good and relaxed posture? You can always book a free call with me. I’d be happy to share my teachings with you.

 

And, of course, to learn more about my philosophy download my free ebook The Merisoiu Technique

Why your workouts are boring and 4 ways to make them exciting

Why your workouts are boring and 4 ways to make them exciting


 

I used to be a Personal Trainer in a gym. I loved it and I learnt a lot. However I could not help but noticing how many people would come to the gym and seem bored by what they were doing.

 

I used to talk to many of them, and although they had a good training program in place, one that got them results, and change it every 6-8 weeks to keep getting results, they were bored….bored of everything.

 

To be honest until I went to USA for my studies I never stepped into a gym. Really, why would I? I was practicing sports, Karate and others, 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day. And I had a purpose, I had variety, I had excitement. I never thought about health or weight loss, those came with the purpose and excitement.

 

I went to the gym in the USA and after a few years here in UK. Everything the beginning was exciting, new stuff, new things. But after a while no matter how I changed my routine it was still boring.

 

And I dare to believe that there are many of you who feel the same. So I wanted to give you the salt and pepper of efficient, always interesting and never boring training routine.

 

1. Purpose

 

I will begin by saying that health and weight loss are not part of your purpose. Sorry girls, but it’s not.

 

Health should be there all the time, we should not make of it a goal. Health is the foundation of success in business, life, career and whatever you want to excel at. Health is not a milestone.

 

Weight loss is something many of us want but we never consider that this is not one of those things you will have forever, it’s not there to stay for the rest of your life. You lose weight then at some point in your life you gain, then lose again, then gain.

 

I tell you this because I had many ups and down with my weight. But because I always had a purpose behind my training I never stressed to much about it.

 

Weight loss comes as a result of health. And health should always be there, you should not even have to think about it, it should be automatically part of your life. If should be your life for that matter.

 

So what’s the REAL purpose?

 

When I coach my students I give them a purpose. It can be a challenge to learn and master a technique, or a run, or any other event, or something they’ve always dreamt about doing or achieving but never could.

 

Training outdoors is a challenge for most so that itself can be a purpose for a while.

 

Personally, the purpose behind my training is to get really, really good at what I do. And the milestones are races and competitions.

 

For a while my purpose was to condition myself enough to train outdoors in the winter in shorts. Achieved this winter!!

 

But do you know why those are purposes and weight loss is not? One of the reasons is that when you master a technique, you cross a finish line or you get that medal no one ever can take that back from you.

 

That’s an achievement for life, while a slim body (which you will get anyway because you train with purpose) with come and go throughout your life.

 

So train hard but train with purpose.

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Photo Credit: Michael Cohen / Wild Forest Gym

2. Variety and creativity

 

This is one of the reason the outdoors are such a big part of my life. When you train outdoors you will never, ever experience 2 identical sessions.

 

Even if you try and replicate it going in the same places and doing the exact same exercises, it will always be different.  And these are some of the reasons:

 

– weather will be different from day to day, even from hour to hour

– the earth will be different, muddy, frozen, dry or wet.

– the ground is never flat, you will go up and down, left and right and you will need to adapt

– if you get bored of one place you run 2k and you find something totally different. The difference can be from field to thick forest. This is what one of my students said to me once.  And he was right.

 

In a gym environment the trick is to be very creative. When I was coaching in a gym it was difficult not to fall into monotony like others.

 

I was always coming up with new stuff and so my clients stayed with me for months and some of them are still with me now after 2 years.

 

One of the reasons they liked training with me was because I bring variety and creativity wherever I train. Outdoors is my most creative environment though.

 

So, no matter where you train, be creative and search for variety. Don’t fall into routine and monotony, it’s not exciting.

 

3. Experience every moment

 

No matter how much purpose and variety you have if you don’t experience the moment you will not love what you do.

 

This means to breath, feel, see, touch, smell. And so many times we don’t do it. But when we are outdoors the different aspects of nature automatically make us open up our sense.

 

Because everything is different all the time we suddenly need to become aware of what’s around us. There is no monotony.

 

No matter what you do don’t do it for the sake of it.

 

Have a purpose and experience the journey. Then the results, whatever they may be will soon follow.

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Photo Credit: Michael Cohen / Wild Forest Gym

 

4. Learning

 

And finally whatever you do never stop learning, developing, evolving. We are humans and learning is part of our evolution. We are hardwired to continuously learn and develop.

 

Take you training routine as a personal development journey, because that’s what it actually is.

 

Stop being a little robot and use your cognitive skills to be creative, develop and learn something every time you do your training session.

 

Combining 20 years of sports, particularly Martial Arts, and bringing natural movement training and running as well yoga, in my coaching gives me the possibility to show my students so much about movement and make them enjoy every moment they spend with me and then working out alone.

 

This way they:

– always have variety

– always experience the moment

– always look forward to our sessions and…

– always have a purpose behind their training – learning more and more and getting better and better if we don’t have an event planned for them ;).

 

Hope this inspires you to take your training sessions to the next level and actually enjoy them if you aren’t already.

 

As always if you want to chat with me feel free to book a call with me or if you want to learn more about my philosophies read my free ebook The Merisoiu Technique

Why listen to what your body asks…sometimes

Why listen to what your body asks…sometimes


Today I am writing a shorter blog based on recent events in the past week. A lesson I hope you will learn something from it as I did.

 

I usually eat a decent quantity of food to fit my active lifestyle. However quality is more important than quality for me.

 

Although some say that for an athlete I should eat more. But if I ate more I’d give up moving. I’m an athlete but I’m a small one, there’s so much I can eat at a time.

 

Anyway, for some reason the past week my food intake resumed mostly to grapes, walnuts and grapefruits. That does not mean I didn’t eat proper food throughout the day and week. I ate lentil soups and salads and eggs and everything I usually eat.

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Photo Credit: AHMED… via Compfight cc

I did eat but my body needed these 3 foods more than anything else. And since I get cravings very seldom, when this happens I usually listen and do what I’m told (unless it’s ice-cream I “need”).

 

Then two weird things happen at the end of the week. At one of my karate training session my Sensei told me I need to get more mineral intake. He is a very wise man and knows so much and I believe him when he tells me something.

 

This also reminded me that throughout my childhood I was recommended to make sure I had enough iron intake.

 

So I went home and looked at the nutritional values of the 3 foods I was craving: walnuts, grapes and grapefruit.

 

I found out that walnuts, besides fats, have a good amount of iron, vit-B6 and magnesium, grapefruit (as you guessed) vi A and C in abundance and grapes vit-B6. But the walnuts got my attention.

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And my mother, my wise mother, has send me a bag of walnuts from the countryside in Romania. Usually I keep them for a very long time but now I am all over them (even as I write this).

 

Plus I was aware that my fat intake hasn’t been enough for a few weeks prior, so walnuts covered some of that as well, it seems.

 

The second thing that happened is that my mother felt like eating mostly fruit the whole week last week as well (she just old me today). Ha ha, so it’s my mother who won’t let me eat proper food. Well, this is not so important, just an interesting coincidence.

 

Really, this does not happen often, but when it does I listen and do what I’m told. Obviously if it was ice-cream I would have ignored it for a few days and if it persisted then I’d have some (some means some, not a whole tub of ice-cream). That’s because usually this is a temporary “I am hungry and I’m too lazy to cook so let’s have whatever to fill the stomach” thing. So I wait days to see if I still want ice-cream.

 

But that’s another story I will tell you another time.

 

For now, learn to listen to your body and make wise decisions. You might cover something your body really, really needs.

 

5 lessons I learnt from balancing exercises

5 lessons I learnt from balancing exercises


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For an athlete who has practiced many sports in the past 20 years, particularly martial arts, balancing is probably one of the most important lessons when it comes to fine tuning movement.

 

However balancing is not only for athletes and not only for the body. You see, if your mind is busy ere are good chances you will lose that balance.

 

But when your mind is calm, clear and focused balancing becomes easy. It’s really that simple….or is it?

 

So these are 5 lessons I learnt from balancing exercises:

 

1. Clearing the mind. As I said before, a busy mind leads to an imbalanced body. And the opposite is also true, a balanced body leads to a balanced, calmer mind.

 

2. Self-confidence. Nowadays this is particularly true when I balance at heights that are less comfortable for me. We all have our comfort zones even when we balance.

 

3. Relaxation. Relaxing the body is so important when balancing and results in a relaxed mind as well.

 

4. Fluidity. When I walk up and down branches, relaxed and focused, is a bliss, I am in another world.

 

5. Patience. When I began balancing as a part of my coached routine I used to get so frustrated because I could not make it to the end of that wobbly branch. But as times passed I became more and more relaxed, more aware, more under control and patient.

 

It really is a wonderful feeling when you reach a point where you know that in the past a certain event would have made you angry and lose patience and now you are calm and relaxed, no sign of negativity in sight. But alone this would have been a difficult task, I wouldn’t have had the patience to keep going with it.

 

Nowadays I take others through difficult and challenging moment either physical or psychological. I believe that once we learn or master something and we are good at it we should pass it to others, otherwise what’s the purpose if we keep everything for ourselves. That my opinion anyway.

 

Incorporate balancing in your life. But before you start balancing make sure you are safe, there is nothing for you to fall on and hurt yourself. It is important to be responsible and mindful of your actions and the consequences.

 

These are things I might do throughout the day:

 

1. Walking on tree roots I find in parks.

 

2. Standing on one leg when I wait for the bus or tube. Just stay at a good distance from the street or railway.

 

3. Standing on one leg while I brush your teeth. Again make sure there is nothing around you can fall on and injure yourself.

 

4. Stand on one leg when I read, watch a movie or tv. Yep…I do that quite often.

 

Don’t forget to alternate legs. Everything in balance.

 

 

Be creative and incorporate balancing in your daily routine, don’t save everything for the gym.

 

So if you’d like to know more about my philosophies and approaches please download my free ebook The Merisoiu Technique or book a free call with me and let’s chat.

How to wake up fresh and energized every morning

sleeping

How to wake up fresh and energized every morning


Today I was coaching one of my students and after the session she approached me with a question regarding sleeping.

 

She said that she can fall asleep just fine and she sleeps a normal amount of hours but she wakes up tired and she would like to wake up more refreshed and with energy. So she asked me if I had any advice.

 

I told her I do and I will write this blog for her. So here it is for everyone to learn

 

First a story

 

To answer this question I have to tell you a little bit about my experience. You know, I believe we learn through stories better than any other way. You must be used to this by now.

 

My sleeping patterns have never been strict. Is this wrong or right? Some may say it’s not healthy. However, I dread routine, I love creativity, freedom and the sense of “I choose what to do with my life and sleeping is a choice”.

 

I loved my crazy, colourful life. Filled with excitement and never a day similar to the other. And sleeping was one of the things that I felt was the most colourful. And health wise, this for me was pure health, when I had colour in my life.

 

I can sleep 10 hours and feel refreshed, I can sleep 5 hours and train, compete or study at the highest levels without a sign of tiredness or weakness or even the need to eat certain foods for energy. And then go to bed as normal and start the next day the same.

 

And no, there is no sleep debt and I don’t sleep 5 hours every night, it varies.

 

I can still do that now although I don’t do it as often because my social life is not as colourful as it used to be but my creativity is still at its peak after 10 pm. So you can sometimes call me around 1pm if you can’t sleep, if I am up at that time I am most likely writing.

 

sleeping

So what is the secret

 

There’s no secret actually. The amount of sleep is less important than the quality of the sleep. And sleeping is not the same thing as resting.

 

Ok, so how to you rest you ask. I did some experiments when I went through a period of time when I would wake up extremely tired no matter how much I slept and what my sleeping patterns were at that time.  So I began to experiment with certain habits. And here’s 3 of them:

 

 

1. Falling asleep watching movies

 

This was by far the biggest reason that kept me from resting properly. I experimented by alternating the days. One day I would watch a movie up to 10-15 min before going to bed and the next day I would read a book for 1 hour before going to bed instead.

 

The difference was massive. The day I turned off the movie and the computer 1 hour before going to bed I would wake up the next morning energized and rested. It was like magic.

 

And the change was from one day to another, it didn’t take weeks to see the difference.

 

Oh these days this means watching movies and tv but also smart phones, ipads, social media etc.

 

 

2. Not allowing time for digestion

 

Depending on the food you eat your body uses up more or less energy to digest it but it’s still energy usage. And depending on the food, its quality, amount and how you cook it can take hours to digest it.

 

So while you body, and that includes your organs, should rest and take a break they actually work for maybe half the night or more.

 

Doesn’t it make sense that eating 1 hour before going to bed is something you want to avoid?

 

If I am hungry around 10 pm I have a piece of fruit or a natural yoghurt (maybe add some organic honey if I crave something sweet). If I am really hungry then I have a plain salad with vinegar and olive oil.

 

I usually have my dinner around 6 pm, sometimes even earlier, and by the time I go to bed the food is well digested and I get a good night rest.

 

Remember that during the night you are not using a lot of calories anyway and they end up in the adipose tissues  in some cases the muscles.

 

But this takes us into a different topic and story so let’s go back to sleeping.

 

 

3. Clear your mind before going to bed

 

Now you probably went straight to “oh, the meditation thing again, heard it before”. While meditation is a good idea I don’t always do it before going to bed. Sometimes but not always.

 

Going to bed with your mind running around means it will still be running for a while after you fall asleep and there goes your restful night.

 

What I do is go for a 30 min walk around the block. Talking to myself is another way to get thoughts out of my mind (and I get some real expert advice as well 😉 .

 

When I do both is pure bliss, talking while taking a walk. By now my neighbours are probably used to seeing me talking by myself on the streets.

 

 

 

 

Anyway, do try these habits and if they don’t work for you come back and we can talk about it. Everyone has different lifestyles and what worked for me will not necessarily work for you as well.

 

So if you’d like to know more about my approaches please download my free ebook The Merisoiu Technique or book a free call with me and let’s chat.

What Nadia has to say about her Urban Women Fitness outdoor training sessions

What Nadia has to say about her Urban Women Fitness outdoor training sessions


Nadia’s first session was in November 2014 in pouring rain.

Nadia has her own business, she is in her mid thirties, with two children and a family of three sisters that “come with emotional baggage!!” She finds it tough  getting the best out of her days, being effective and organised, juggling work-life balance, and it takes its toll on her as a person and without realizing she is “sinking”.

 

Her first session

Taking her workouts outdoors was a different approach Nadia had not tried before.  And she was the lucky one as the day of her first session was in November, so cold and very wet!  That did not stop the session from going ahead….and that certainly did not stop her from showing up.

It was raining and before we even started our trainers were completely drenched with mud so they felt very heavy!  Nadia’s mind at that point was busy thinking ‘what am I doing ‘ but she says that within minutes she stopped thinking and just followed my instructions.

“It was everything I wouldn’t and haven’t done before

…it was LIBERATING”

 

Jogging in the middle of the open field submerged with nature she absolutely loved it and more so because it was raining and cold, it made it more challenging.

 

“The ONE WORD I could use to express how I felt is ‘FREE’!”

 

How she transformed in just a few days

In her everyday life Nadia is always on the go, however during our sessions she can’t help it but relaxing her mind. It’s automatic.  

After leaving on that first session and going home, she found herself with a new mindset:

– more aware of her surroundings

– thinking with clarity

– not allowing situations to take over

– be more in control of her emotions

 

“I definitely felt lighter on my feet and my mind. What I gained from Alexandra through my sessions is priceless.”

And here’s a picture from our first session we took really quick after our session.

14 nov 2014 - Nadia

How I managed to manage my anger and stress

How I managed to manage my anger and stress


Nowadays anger is as foreign to me as Mars. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating. But I get angry and stressed out very seldom and when I do it only lasts for a few minutes before I’m back to myself again, the self you all know to be Alexandra. However it didn’t always use to be this way.

 

Anger and stress used to be 2 constants in my life. Always present, always a burden. As a child I grew up in a very competitive environment and I lived a very angry, stressed and frustrated family life.

As I grew up almost everything would get me angry and make me lose control. From someone cutting in front of me to my mother expressing her opinion on which jeans I should wear as an answer to my questions.

Yes, I was not the calm, patient and thoughtful person you and my clients see today. So what changed? What made me transform?

 

The experience

 

I used to be a very shy kid. The kid at the back of the class, on the last chair. I was in the shadows, invisible to everyone, just the way I liked it. But that was what I chose to show my peers. Inside I was a different person, I was a volcano ready erupt any moment. They learnt this as well.

 

Growing up my volcanic personality was more obvious and more difficult to control. Of course I did not know what I know now and I did not live my life like  I do today. There are some things you only learn by experiencing the opposite extreme.

 

 

The explosion

 

I don’t want to make this story too long so I will fast forward to 3-4 years ago when my anger as well as depressive inclinations peaked. No one knew what to do with or to me. Well I decided to come to the UK in the end.

 

I ended up living in a village where I worked 1 year until I could get my permanent work permit so I can work without restrictions. A place where I had a bus every 3-4 hours to take me to a slightly larger village.

 

That was the place I fell into the worst and darkest places I ever was in the past. I went into depression for months, almost 1 year actually. I cannot write here all the details.

 

But what I can tell you is that I used to get angry only by sitting on a bus. Angry at myself, at the world, the people around me, my friend and on everything and everyone that crossed my path.

 

My ways of dealing with anger were always punching a punching bag, running and trowing myself into cold water if I had any. But those actions did little to solve those feelings. I was addressing something that came from inside myself with things I found outside myself.

 

Alexandra Merisoiu

 

The transformation

 

How can you see the light if you’ve never seen the darkness?

 

I always wanted to be different from my parents. They were angry all the time, at each other and not only. But how could I achieve calmness if I never knew what anger felt like?

 

Of course those were not my thoughts back then. I was a volcano in eruption.

 

Somehow that period slowly dissolved as I began to explore the English country side, walking, running, swimming in cold waters, hanging off trees and walking barefoot through rivers. Then silence replaced anger, frustration, fear and depression. Making me wonder how long will it last.

 

It seems like it was planned to last forever and for me to help others overcome these moments like I did.

 

 

Who I am today

 

Today I notice many situations which in the past would make me explode with anger. Many situations which would cause me to slip into depression again. But then don’t have the same effect on me. In some cases I am socked of how calm I feel. Is there something wrong with me or what?

 

The difference is that now I know how to welcome them. How instead of building resistance I just let them past, I even open the doors for them. One for them to enter and one to leave.

 

This is not something that can really help you is it? I will give you something more applicable then.

 

 

The #1 thing that helps me make anger or stress a matter of minutes rather than days, weeks and months

 

Out of all the things I learnt, I wrote and I preach there is one thing, the most important, which I emphasize to my clients every single time we work together. One basic, overlooked and underestimated but powerful habit we all take for granted.

 

So the #1 thing I do to achieve this calmness is…..BREATHING. Yep, the simple and powerful, yet underestimated, act of breathing.

 

But there’s more. It is mindful breathing not breathing for the sake of it. Which we all do all the time.

 

Sure I’ve now learnt so many other things I may use but I always end up going to the basics, breathing. And the more I practice and the most often I am aware of it the better I get at managing, or controlling, or letting go of these types of feeling. Leaving behind a sense of calmness and stillness, in the body and in the mind.

 

It’s simple really and I can easily teach you in a 30 min call, for free. I promise that if you use what I teach you in 30 min you will feel the difference in a matter of minutes, just like I do.

 

Here’s where you can book that call with me.

 

 

 

 

 

Building Self-Discipline

Building Self-Discipline


Self discipline is a trait everyone should have in their life. Whether it’s related to health, business, diet or fitness self control is what will get consistent results.
No one is born disciplined. It is a behavior we can learn, develop and use for success in any area of our lives. And as any other skill or behavior we can develop it but we can also lose it if we don’t practice it. I tell you this from personal experience.

 

Why is it good to be self disciplined:

 

1. Makes it easier to create and follow a plan. If you want to take up running 5 days a week, at 6 am it will be a lot easier to follow through if you have already practiced self discipline.

 

2. When you are disciplined you are in control of your world and life and you can make more rational decisions without feeling stressed or upset.

 

3. Self disciplined people get the results they are looking for. As my mentor Amanda Watts would say, consistency is key. When you are self disciplined you are consistent with your work, your training and your goals every day, week and month. You get where you want to get and let nothing get in your way.

 

4. Self discipline is training or control of oneself and one’s conduct for personal growth. It’s one of the 20% skills that contribute to 80% of results when applied to the right habits or areas of our lives.

 

5. Daily chores will be less stressful and frustrating. Everything will become easier.

 

IMG_1465

 

Here are some easy ways you can start to discipline yourself before you go for bigger, more relevant goals in your life:

1. Make a schedule for the first hour after you wake up. For example mine is 20 min practicing Qigong or another type of exercise, 20 min working on my to do list and 20 min reading, listening to TED talks or inspirational videos to get my mind ready for the day.

 

2. Wake up at the same time every morning. Not 5 min earlier or later and no snooze button. Put your alarm clock, or phone, far away from your bed or in a another room to make you get out of bed to turn it off. Just make sure wherever you leave it you can hear it.

 

3. Plan a to do list, decide how much time you will spend on each task and do them. Turn off any phones, laptops, email, facebook etc if you don’t need them to avoid getting distracted. You don’t have to start with 1hour per task if that’s difficult to keep up with. Instead start small, 15 min for example, and slowly build up.

 

4. To build discipline I ask my clients to do food diaries. Besides the fact that we look at their nutritional habits we also build self discipline which helps us later in the program and helps them later to keep going without me

 

5. And the cherry on top