B Well, B Fit, B Happy

The 3 B's – by Sheri Myers

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The 3 B’s…

We all have our must-haves in life; what we feel we need to feel comfortable and safe.  We look to tangible items quite often to find that security.  Favorite foods or sweaters, pillows, teddy bears and the likes can invoke pleasant feelings.  Some of us rely on conditions, situations or other people. But regardless of what each person’s must-haves are, what we’re all really seeking is happiness and contentment in some form or another.

Wikipedia defines happiness as “a fuzzy concept and can mean many different things to many people. Part of the challenge of a science of happiness is to identify different concepts of happiness, and where applicable, split them into their components.”

Personally, I think it becomes a counter-productive process to over analyze what can be specifically considered happiness as it really is a subjective term.  So for myself, I created the 3 B’s.  Be well, be fit, be happy.  You can look at this as an equation or as 3 complimentary states of being.  But for me the 3 B’s travel as a pack.

First off, I should explain who I am and why I even feel I get an opinion on such an important topic.  My name is Sheri Myers. For the past 10 years, I have been the owner and master trainer of Fōkus Pilates Studio and Boutique in Laguna Beach, CA as well as a designer of women’s activewear and a line of hand made jewelry and accessories.  At Fōkus, I have not only taught hundreds of Pilates enthusiasts but have also had the honor of certifying a good number of men and women to teach Pilates to others.  In addition, I have created a retail and organic skin care boutique and organic airbrush tanning studio. Over the years I have hosted various professional advisors such as Physical Therapists, Structural Integration Specialists, Nutritionists, Holistic Healers  and Chiropractors.  These professionals have either been in as clients, co-workers or as guests providing services to myself or my clients.  Regardless of their roll, I have taken the opportunity to learn from each and every one of them so that I can enrich not only the experience my clients have at my studio but also so that I may enrich my own life and journey.

My clientele over the past decade has included professional athletes, moms, teens, post injury and surgery rehab cases and beings of all types with one common goal: to feel well… Alongside the obvious physical results of Pilates come the emotional and physiological results. Pilates empowers and shapes the core, lengthens and strengthens all muscles in the body and can improve posture and the execution of movement.  The longer, stronger body leads to an improved physical appearance which can lead to a more confident emotional state. All of this helps to increase body awareness and balance which can lead to the desire for a healthier lifestyle in general. All of these self-caused improvements create a sense of control over one’s general health which then can lead to mental strength and a sense of calm. Quite a chain of reaction!

In my experience working with the fabulously vast array of people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, I found that while each person may have different specific goals, they all want to feel good.  To feel good we must be well from the inside so that our body operates optimally.  To feel good we must be fit to some degree so that the outside of our body operates optimally.  To feel good, we must feel happiness.  I take a significant interest in acquiring all of the above, not just for myself but also for my clients and other people in my life.

This blog site is a step in furthering this endeavor.  I hope to share with my readers all the interesting, wonderful, helpful and sometimes disturbing facts about wellness, fitness and happiness that I learn from my research.  You, the reader, may benefit from the information or maybe able to teach me something I can benefit from.  Either way, my plan with this site is to reach the global community that shares my same goals: to Be Well, Be Fit, Be Happy…

Enjoy…

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Making a Fitness Routine Stick!!!

We all have the best intentions when we set fitness goals. We want to look better and feel better! Exercising is good for us! Studies have shown it to increase longevity in life. A fit body suffers less injuries and has more energy. A fitness minded individual adjusts their diets to include healthier foods. A fit body looks better in and out of clothing! It’s ALL good! So why do so many people quit their fitness routines before they ever really get started?

In the 13 years I’ve been in the fitness industry, I’ve seen and heard all sorts of reasons. Some are legitimate but some are not so much reasons as they are excuses. Health issues, job restrictions, family obligations are all possible reasons why a fitness routine can be squashed. But even with these very real limitations, usually, some sort of form of exercise can be integrated into a lifestyle with some motivation and planning. Now, let’s talk about the reasons that feel a little more like excuses. Fatigue, lack of time, geography, financial limitations, social obligations are more than a few reasons people give themselves for skipping exercising. We humans can be pretty convincing when we’re reasoning with ourselves!

Okay, so let’s take the people that really just don’t want to exercise out of the picture. They wouldn’t be reading this article anyway! Let’s talk about the people that just can’t seem to get a routine to stick. If you want the results, you have to do the work! Start by making a plan with yourself. Work on your self-perception and inner motivation. Make it clear to yourself that you are exercising to improve your health and well-being. Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). Set up an obtainable but specific training plan.

Next, let’s be real with ourselves… Common sense already says that if you don’t enjoy an activity, you are not going to keep doing it! Unfortunately, many people end up doing a certain kind of exercise just because they have been told it’s good for them or that others have had great results. Pick an exercise that has validity but one that you like and that fits in with your schedule, financial abilities and lifestyle.

Once you have a plan, schedule your workouts ahead of time for the week. Treat the schedule as if it’s set in stone, as if it’s a job or a doctor’s appointment. Get ready for the workout the day before: pack the gym bag, put it in the car. Eliminate everything that could serve as excuse that prevents you from keeping the schedule. Keep yourself on track! Once the results start rolling in, it’ll become a lot easier and much less a chore and more just part of your routine.

Finally, continue to be real with yourself. If you find yourself committing and showing up but you’re not enjoying it or not seeing results, go back to the beginning and try something else. Keep at it until you find your niche or multiple niches. Always remember that a fitness routine is personal and should enrich your life. Make it work… You got this!!!

• 67% of gym members never go.

• 1/3 of people who buy online fitness and health products never even download them.

Running may be such a thing. For many it’s simply boring. Coupled with the fact that it’s not very effective for weight loss or strength gain, it’s no wonder that so many give up running come fall. Injuries are also a factor in exercise abandonment. If combined with other factors, harmless knee pain can lead people to give up on exercise completely, when they really should work to find alternate or rehabilitating exercises. Don’t quit!

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Let’s Hear it for Endorphins!!!

As mere humans, we have all experienced emotional challenges. Sadness, depression, despair, fear, and stress are all an unavoidable part of life. Although normal, these emotional swings can vary in extremity and can have serious affects on physical health. Whether sad or angry, a person’s brain chemistry is affected. The imbalances that occur by the change in the brain’s chemistry can cause a rise in blood pressure and blood sugar due to the stress of the emotional state. Blood chemistries can fall out of balance, which include sodium and potassium. These disturbances can lead to temporary and long term illness. Some external symptoms of these changes are fatigue, forgetfulness, listlessness, lack of motivation, despair and discouragement. Of course many cases of depression are very serious and can require more extensive treatments but often the road to relief can start with something as simple as exercise!

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

Endorphins act as analgesics and sedatives, which means they diminish the perception of pain and anxiety. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors the endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind with some pain medicines. However, unlike medication, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence and the side effects include a happier person with a better physique!

It’s important to remember that not everyone has the same fitness abilities. If you are just starting an exercise routine for the first time or haven’t been active for a while, you should choose a safe but effective program that is somewhat challenging but not discouraging. Consult a fitness professional to get you started to avoid injuries. Once you find what works for you, the improvements in overall health will be noticeable and addictive! Be Well, Be Fit, Be Happy!!!

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Pilates and the Athlete

For over 12 years, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Pilates to all types of fitness enthusiasts. From prenatal/postpartum women to injury or surgery rehab patients all the way to professional competitive athletes and several types in between.  Every individual has their own goals for what they hope to acquire from a Pilates regimen and as an instructor I aim to not only help them meet those specific goals, but also to teach on a comprehensive level striving to go beyond those specific goals and see them benefit from the countless and positive results Pilates can bring.

While I truly enjoy all of my clients, I’ve always specifically enjoyed working with athletes.  I find that the more intense the athlete is about their regular conditioning program, the more skeptical they are initially about the effectiveness of Pilates and how it will actually improve their physique or athletic performance.  Will it be too simple, or too slow?  Will I actually feel or see results? These are some of the questions I’ll get.  Being an athlete myself and knowing how beneficial Pilates can be for improving overall athletic performance, I almost salivate at the opportunity to prove how effective it really can be!

“Pilates helps athletes develop core strength, increase flexibility, assist in rehabilitation after injury and create muscular balance throughout the entire body,” says Moira Merrithew, Executive Director of Education for Stott Pilates.

Of course each type of athletic performance will benefit a little differently from Pilates depending on the specific movement and strength required for that sport but there are are a few general advantages all athletes will benefit from.  In my experience, the most important thing anyone can gain from Pilates is a stronger core.  When the core is fit, the poster improves and movement becomes more aligned and more effortless.  Often times when a muscle is used repeatedly and stressed as it is in many sports, the body in general, not just those muscles, will get fatigued and that’s when injuries occur.  A volleyball or tennis player may suffer from lower back pain from an upper body movement when the core is not strong enough.  Even though the spike or the forehand swing is coming from the shoulder, the root of the power should come from the abdominals and when they are weak, the back muscles can be used improperly and strained.

The next most important acquisition an athlete can gain from Pilates in my opinion, is increased flexibility.  When muscles, ligaments and tendons are tight and they are used in an impactful movement, strains, sprains and tears can occur.  When a golfer lines up and swings his or her club, a lot of torque and rotation is involved in the core and upper body.  No matter how strong the golfer is, without flexibility, each swing can be a disaster.  The back, hips, shoulder, neck, you name it, are sitting ducks!  Extreme and repeated rotation in the body requires the ability to be mobile and without flexibility, mobility is limited.

Finally, another huge benefit obtained from Pilates that can assist in athletic performance is balance.  Balance is needed in everything from simply walking down the street to running a marathon.  When you transfer weight from one side of the body to the other, the pelvis and gait should have stability.  Otherwise, over time one side of the body will be overused causing long term problems. Tightness and strain in the piriformis and psoas muscles, which bridge your lower and upper body and connect your legs to your spine, can lead to instability and pain in the hips and back.  A stable pelvic girdle comes from a strong pelvic floor which is one of the focuses of every Pilates regimen.

The many benefits that athletes get from integrating Pilates into their regular conditioning program are incredibly beneficial and more and more athletic trainers and making it a regular part of their athlete’s mandatory work outs.  It’s no wonder so many professional athletes are swearing by it and seeing that Pilates, when done regularly, really does work!

 

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