Month: December 2017

Fitness Fact and Fiction

It boggles my mind really that there are so many misconceptions to working out and living a healthy life style. I don’t know why it boggles my mind really, because I too watch the infomercials and am intrigued by the buzz words they choose to use to sell their products. The uninformed public desperate to lose weight and feel good again takes these things to heart because they are bombarded by the fancy “science” and guys in lab coats. I am going to try today to dispel some of these myths by separating fact from fiction and helping people create a better understanding of how the body works and what REALLY happens when you workout.

Let’s Start very simple: 1. Fat DOES NOT turn into muscle or vise versa. Fat and muscle are two completely separate organs. They have two completely different functions in the body and it’s important not to confuse them. Fats primary roll in the body is to create a cushion and protect vital organs. It helps to transport fat soluble vitamins and is necessary for insulation and temperature control in the body. Muscle on the other hand is a support system, it helps keep your bones erect it provides your body with stability and it is actively moving and changing. Muscle uses food as fuel where fat on the other hand, just absorbs the excess causing it to expand. So you ask, what happens to fat as you get more fit? Simple, the fat cells shrink. See you are born with a set number of fat cells and depending on how active or inactive you are they either expand or contract. When you eat, two things happen. One, some of the food gets stored in the body in its most basic form and then two, the rest of it gets used up to provide you with energy. If you consume to much food your fat cells expand to accommodate the extra energy your body is not using. As you become more active your body turns to those fat stores and begins to use the reserve to fuel your body hence the fat cells shrink. As fat cells shrink, and you build the muscle that is under it, you start to see the definition of the muscle as it hypertrophies(gets bigger). Since muscle uses more energy than fat, your metabolism speeds up and you use the energy you take in more efficiently there for keeping the fat cells from expanding.

2. You CAN NOT spot reduce. Spot reduction simply means that you want to shape or mold one part of your body specifically. This is not possible. Your body moves as a unit. Some areas will change faster than others and a million crunches and biceps curls will not give you shapely arms or washboard abs on their own. A few other things have to be put into place before you start to see either change. Also as a disclaimer, genetics plays a role in this as well so you may be doing all of the things I’m about to mention and still never get a six pack….I’ll explain later. Lets start with diet. As I stated earlier, if you are consuming more energy that you need you are just going to continue to stretch your fat cells. Second remember how I said that muscles use more energy than fat, well when it comes to muscles, bigger muscles burn more overall calories that smaller ones. So If your eating is out of whack and you are blowing out biceps curls hoping for supermodel arms….it aint happen-in! Let’s think about this. Biceps are small muscles they are not going to use as much energy as say your legs for instance. Also your building your muscles that are under the fat that is laying on top of them so instead of making your arms smaller you can actually make them bigger because the fat cells are not shrinking and your building the muscle under it. Oops! not what we were going for. However, if you combine cardiovascular activity such as the walking or running or elliptical, you will be using more energy which will help to shrink the fat cells in your body there for showing off all the hard work of repping out biceps curls. Same can be said for the abs as well. If you do not incorporate cardiovascular activity and healthy food choices your abdominal’s will be ultra strong from the crunches but the fat that is on top will not go away! So add a little cardio and some fruits and veggies to your diet and you will get a leaner physique. Now going back to the genetics. Some peoples bodies are just not predisposed to having certain muscle definition. Flat abs is possible, because you are shrinking the fat cells that lay on top of the abdominal wall. However, the six pack look may vary, some may only get a four pack or some may not get any distinct definition at all… really it just depends on your body type and how your muscles respond to your weight lifting efforts.

3. Women, lifting heavy weights is NOT going to make you look like a man: Oh if I could collect a quarter every time I heard that, I swear I would be freaking rich! Seriously, this is a huge misconception and yes I would be rich off of collecting quarters because that is how often I hear this. I don’t know where it came from or where women get this idea, but HONESTLY, I am about to dispel this myth for you so that you too are not afraid to pick up heavy weights!

First, from a hormonal stand point women, do not have the same amount of testosterone as men.

Second women are not physically built the same as a man.

Third, diet and sometimes, supplements are what can be attributed to large muscular physiques. Testosterone, a hormone that can be found in men and women, but more so in men. It is what gives men their masculine characteristics. It also helps with bone mass and muscle growth. Since men have more testosterone than women it plays a more primary roll in men’s muscle development, along with other male sex characteristics. Since women have less testosterone, physically, women have both a smaller bone structure and physique than a man. This smaller bone structure has a harder time handling the forces that heavy bulky muscles put on your body. While women are able to put on muscle mass and look muscular it is only in proportion to their size.

I know your skeptical…hold on I know what you are thinking! “What about female body builders?” OK, I am just about to address that next. OK, your female body builder question, a women does have the ability to drastically increase their muscle mass to be similar in size to a man, however, this takes extreme dedication, strict diet adherence, and even sometimes the use of supplements. Women body builders not only lift heavy weights but they also lift very very frequently, sometimes for hours at a time. Body builders also adhere to a very strict diet. Many consuming upward of 3000 calories a day. You see, muscle thrives on fuel and it is very important that body builders keep their muscles well fed. Sometimes women who body build also use muscle enhancers such as creatine a steroid like substance that helps to promote muscle hypertrophy. Getting the body builder physique takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Many general exercisers are not consuming the amounts of food that these competitors are ingesting and they do not have the time of day or desire to be spending hours in the gym. On the same token, many average women exercisers are not taking muscle enhancers or supplements unless hopefully under the supervision of a doctor. So hopefully this helps to quell your fear of getting big and bulky.

So what have we learned today from all of this?

First, muscle and fat are not interchangeable.

Second, if you want to see changes in one area of your body you have to work the whole body.

Third, women should not fear bulking up, instead, they should feel confident that lifting heavier weights is going to make them stronger, leaner and longer.

I hope that this helps you move forward in your weight loss and weight lifting efforts. Its been a pleasure helping you dispel some of these myths! Have a happy healthy holiday!

Written By Julie S.

Fitness

Oh I Don’t Know…I Tried Yoga Before…and I Got Hurt. “Ahhhhhrg”

Like everything in this world, you can have an amazing experience or you can have a horrible experience and either way it will leave a lasting impression on you and help you make decisions when similar circumstances come up. Unfortunately in the latter part, having a bad experience or working with someone who does not know what they are doing, could leave you hesitant to try again.

Just as in the world of personal trainers there are hacks out there that get a low-grade certification and have no experience and put a shingle on their door that says personal trainer, the same unfortunately holds true for the sacred practice of yoga. Fortunately for yoga, in order to actually teach you have to go through a 200 hr teacher training so there is some hope that hacks are a little harder to come by, but then again, it is part of the fitness industry and there are trainers who think because they know what downward facing dog is, it qualifies them to offer yoga to their clients.

Fortunately, these people do not get jobs in reputable studios but that does not stop them from duping you into believing, because they speak with a soft voice and say take deep breaths and do downward facing dog, that they are “professional.” The reason that I am writing this today is because I have heard over the last few months from people who want to try yoga again or who want to try yoga in general have either themselves been hurt or a friend or family member has been hurt either by taking a yoga class at a local studio or gym or tried yoga with a personal trainer who was not professionally trained with a 200 hr certification, but, knew a few of the “moves.”

Which, if a trainer says they are going to teach you yoga moves, then you might right there hesitate to try it. Yoga postures and asanas are not just “moves,” they are a purposefully guided practice done with intention and for a reason. The fact that the people I talk with either have been hurt or know someone who has been hurt sets off red lights and I begin to probe a bit further into what actually happened.

Usually it was one of three things.

1. The class they went to was packed full, they were brand new to the practice. Because of this it seems the teacher was not able to physically get around to personally give attention.

2. The new student walked into a studio or gym and talked to the person at the front desk who thinks all yoga is the same, and says, “oh yeah try this one it starts in 10 minutes.” Without knowing anything about the person who wants to join.

3. My personal favorite, my personal trainer told me to do these “stretches” because he/she did them in a yoga class and thought they would be good for me because they were challenging. (YIKES!)

As a yoga teacher and personal trainer all three of these bother me on MANY levels. The first scenario is a little harder to avoid. With yoga being a popular activity to do, many classes tend to be large and packed. Yoga studios are a bit better at keeping numbers small, but even this can be hard to do all the time.  I personally love teaching big classes and going to big classes but at the same time, I keep my eyes peeled and make sure that I walk around the room to make myself accessible if necessary. It’s important that the instructor keep the practice about their students and not about them.  It is easier to get hurt in a big class because it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, you may not be able to see the instructor or hear the instructor give cues.

Maybe the instructor is subbing and is not used to large crowds and does not actively move about the room, giving you less access to the instructor to give you attention.

The second one is a little more irritating because getting hurt could have been more avoidable.  This is especially true at small studios. It is the job of the studio is to inform their staff of the classes that are offered and who would be ideal for each class. It is the job of the staff member if they are not yoga savvy to grab an instructor or owner if they are unsure about a potential member going to a specific class. For example, I had the opportunity to meet a few people who wanted to give yoga another try but were hesitant because they personally had bad experiences. Upon further investigation I found out that it was lack of information that caused them to injure themselves.  One woman in particular had severely injured her lower back because she had arrived late to the gentle yoga class that she wanted to try. Being her first time,  when she got to the studio she found it was full and already started. She asked the staff member at the desk when the next class would be.  The staff member told her that there were no more gentle classes scheduled for the evening, but that she could attend the next class and she would probably be just fine.  The woman insisted, “are you sure I will be OK? I have never done yoga before and would like to start easy.” The staff member assured her that she would be fine and to just try it. So thinking that the staff had her best interests in mind, she set up her mat.

The class began to fill and fill, until there was no space left. The door closed and class began, what she found was that no one in the class was beginner, she was in the back of the room and it was a heated fast paced power vinyasa. Not knowing any better, she tried to keep up with the others in the class and afraid to get behind, pushed herself too far and got hurt. Now I know what you are thinking, “well, when she saw that it was not for her she should have left, or she should have asked for help.” But before we are quick to judge this woman, put yourself in her shoes. When was the last time you were insecure about something and stuck it out because you were nervous to look silly or get embarrassed? Ok, now that we are all on the same empathetic page, you can see why I would be frustrated by this situation. First of all it gives a bad impression of the studio because their employees don’t know what is happening and how to properly guide clients.

Second as a teacher it shows negligence of paying attention to her students. If a student is struggling, it is the instructors JOB to make sure they offer modifications, or gently go over to the struggling student and give them the OK to bow out or rest in child’s pose or another gentle pose.

As teachers we know who our regulars are even in a big class, we have a general idea of who is in attendance. If there is a new face its imperative that we as teachers acknowledge the newbies just as we chat and talk with the regulars. This could have been avoided with a simple introduction of I see some new faces this is a such and such class please feel free to rest if you need to or if you feel uncomfortable know its OK to try a different class another time.

The third scenario annoys me three ways to Sunday. Not only because it is irresponsible but because it is extremely unethical. The personal trainer who uses yoga without properly understanding the rational for having a client do it other than it was cool or challenging is not acting in the best interest of the client. This not only annoys me as an instructor of yoga but it also annoys me as a personal trainer.

Yoga is not just another activity to spring onto your clients without understanding the principles of yoga. Each pose in and of it self is work of art that requires dynamic muscular actions and immense concentration. Proper alignment and understanding of why a pose is being chosen for a person can dramatically change the way the body responds to the pose. Just doing a pose for the sake of the pose is diminishing the value of the practice and puts the client at a risk of being injured. The potential injury to the client is where I find using yoga just because it is new or different or the “cool” thing to do, unethical on the part of the trainer. As a personal trainer our job is to make sure that we lead our clients through a safe, purposeful workout, with our clients best interests being at the forefront.

As a yoga teacher, because of the lack of education, ignorance, and negligence all for the sake of a dollar, makes it very difficult to explain to someone who has had a bad experience that not all yoga is the same. I honor this challenge because it shows potential clients/students that I care about their well-being. It is frustrating, I must admit, when I am constantly having to apologize for others lack of responsibility. However,  I also welcome it as a chance to show people I am different and I am here to provide the students a class that meets their needs at all levels of their practice. My hope in writing this piece is to reach out to anyone who has had a bad experience and let me show them that the power of yoga is actually meant to be beneficial and preventative. My hope is that if you are reading this, you give yoga another chance.  If you do here are a few suggestions that I would make to minimize another bad experience.

Call the studio ahead of time or gym and ask to speak directly to the instructor or leave a message for the instructor to call you. If you are new to yoga; look for classes that say gentle, beginner, not heated.</b></li><li><b>Go in to class with an open mind and know that child’s pose is ALWAYS an option.This kinda goes with #1 I highly recommend NOT talking to the front desk person about yoga class  suggestions. Unless they say, “I teach that class” my personal opinion is  to set up a time with the instructor before going to class to get a synopsis of the class level, demographic, and intensity. I hope this helps you in your attempt to either give yoga a try for the first time or give it another try after a rough experience! When in the right setting yoga can and will be an amazing practice to add to your life!<Namaste!

Jules

Yoga

Why I Love Yoga During the Holidays

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can really leave us drained and needing energy. The thought of getting exercise in seems impossible with the endless things we need to get done on a daily basis.The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can really leave us drained and needing energy. The thought of getting exercise in seems impossible with the endless things we need to get done on a daily basis.

What I love about yoga, is that it leaves you feeling like you can take on the day. Just 3-5 yoga poses can completely shift our thinking from a negative mindset to a positive one.

5 of my favorite poses to help bring me energy and leave me feeling ready to take on the day no matter what time it is are the following.

Cat and Cow

Downward Facing Dog

Warrior II

Reverse Warrior

Child’s Pose

What is it about each of these poses that possess the ability to lift our spirits?
Cat and cow helps to liberate the spine. Having flexibility in the spine helps to prevent back pain, it loosens the muscles of the back helping us to feel like we have space to move and feel free.

Downward Facing Dog is a nice way to get blood to the brain in a safe and effective way. Increasing blood flow to the brain increases our energy naturally. This pose also helps to elongate the hamstrings, the muscles in the back of the legs which helps to stave off low back pain and it lengthens the spine to help us feel taller and more confident.Warrior II: </strong>What’s not to love about warrior II?  It is expansive, strong and expressive.

Warrior II is grounding giving us a sense of stability and it fosters our inner strength.

Reverse Warrior: This pose is awesome for helping you put things into perspective! Sometimes we feel like we are being pulled in a million different directions especially at the holidays. Reverse warrior helps us to come to peace with that feeling because it too pulls you in different directions while maintaining the same position at the same time. Physically you are maintaining most of the Warrior II position but the slight modification with the arm reaching up and over your head lengthening your side body. Energetically however, your are being pulled up and over, forward, back and in. If you can handle doing all of that you can handle anything!!

Child’s Pose: Besides stretching the lower back and hips, Child’s Pose is a very relaxing and self reflective pose. Our lower back and hips hold a lot of stress & tension. That stress and tension build up can cause us to feel chaotic and out of sorts. Child’s pose liberates the hips and lower back helping you feel less tense and stressed. It also is an introspective pose in that it allows you to look inward and close yourself off from things that can cause you to be over stimulated over the holidays.

Give these 5 poses a try and see if when you are done, you feel ready to handle the holiday season with grace and energy.

Namaste!
Jules

Yoga

Personal Trainers…Staying in Our Scope of Practice

With more and more gyms requiring personal trainers to get certified, it still baffles my mind that so many of these personal trainers still do things that are outside their scope of practice. In this blog post I am going to discuss areas where personal trainers tend to step outside their scope of practice and how you can pin point it.With more and more gyms requiring personal trainers to get certified, it still baffles my mind that so many of these personal trainers still do things that are outside their scope of practice. In this blog post I am going to discuss areas where personal trainers tend to step outside their scope of practice and how you can pin point it.
With this being said, I know that many personal trainers pair their services with other things that they are licensed to do like chiropractic, physical therapy, dietetics etc. This does not apply to them. They obviously are trained professionals in their field and are highly qualified to do what they do.

This article is geared towards those trainers that “think” that they are qualified without having the proper licensure or credentials, and how you can stay safe by knowing the difference. Personal Trainers who crack your back or joints, or give you a massage after your workout. It is unethical for a personal trainer to engage in this activity even if they have had some “training” on it. Adjustments, and massage therapy work should be done by those who are properly educated with licensure to do so.A friend of mine who is a licensed chiropractor was in the gym and she saw a personal trainer ask their client to lay on the floor while he proceeded to crack this clients back.

Later on when she was telling us of this she very clearly explained why this was inappropriate for the trainer to be doing so.

1. They are not a health care professional (chiropractor or physical therapist.)

2. While she can assume that as a personal trainer this person has some knowledge of the human body, this does not give them permission to perform such treatments.

3. This personal trainer could have popped the clients rib, dislocated a disc, or punctured an organ.

This is very serious business and as personal trainers our MAIN responsibility, in my opinion is to provide safe and effective training programs. This clearly crosses many legal and ethical lines! Don’t let anyone but a chiropractor, or physical therapist perform this on you!

2. Massage treatments, what harm could come from muscle manipulation? It seems harmless right? Well it’s not! Improper manipulation of musculature could cause nerves to be pinched or joints dislocated. There is a reason why Massage therapists need to get licensed! A personal story from a personal client of mine. We will call her “Abby.”

Abby went to a salon where they were allowing their new massage therapists to offer free chair massages. She thought she would give it a try. Not being seasoned, the massage therapist had her sit in the massage chair and without asking if she needed adjustments to the chair, the massage therapist began her work. When she was done, my client got up, and finished her appointment with her hairdresser.
A day later, Abby felt a pain in her hip and there was a bruise where she had been leaning up against the massage chair. Slightly freaked out because it hurt to sit, stand, or bend, she called her physical therapist. After the physical therapist did her assessment, she assured my client that no real damage had been made, and that the most likely cause was that the massage therapist, being new, probably should have taken the time to assess the chair because when she applied pressure to Abby, the hip bone was pressing into part of the chair that was not as well padded.

Now I understand you are probably thinking well that has nothing to do with personal trainers. Well it does, because you see, if an unseasoned massage therapist can make that mistake and she is licensed, think about the damage that a personal trainer, who is not properly trained or unlicensed can do. Not to mention it is beyond their scope of practice as a personal trainer to be doing such things so keep that in mind the next time your personal trainer offers to give you a massage at the end of your workout.

3. Personal Trainers who give meal plans that are not registered dietitians. I see this all the time. Personal trainers telling clients what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner because that is what they ate to see the results that they have.

As a personal trainer, yes it is part of our job description to talk about nutrition and eating healthfully. However, beyond that it’s really not in a personal trainers scope of practice. Why? What is so harmful about telling people what to eat? A few things

  1. Everyone’s physiology is different. How we process food is different for each person and our nutritional needs are different. Yes there are a few commonalities among all of us, such as well all need to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and we should all strive for high fiber foods, etc. However, there may be some things that differ such as food allergies and intolerance that prevent people from eating certain foods.
  2. People may be harboring illnesses that do not have visible outward signs or they may not know themselves that they are in the process of developing conditions. Altering a persons diet without having a full understanding of a persons health history and how components of food can alter a persons health can be detrimental.
  3. The ONLY people that should be administering food menu’s are those that are licensed to do so with the proper education and training. Registered Dietitians go through rigorous training to understand how the human body works and how food can react in the body.

I will give you an example, it’s a bit extreme, but I feel that in order to make a point it is important to really see the damage that can be done when personal trainers start giving menu’s to their clients.

**This is not a true story**
Jenna, 54 years old, about 40 lbs over weight comes to you the personal trainer for help with weight loss. As far as she is concerned, she is healthy and has no health issues that she is aware of, but then again, she has not been to the doctors in a few years.
She asks you to give her a meal plan as part of her program to help her with her weight loss. You are not a registered dietitian. You have been doing research on different diets and you decide on one that worked well for you, so you give it to her as part of her plan.
With in a week or so of starting the diet she starting noticing that her hair was falling out, that she was feeling weak and tired all the time. Worried that she might be sick she finally caves and goes to see her doctor. Upon further review, it turns out that the diet that worked so well for you was missing nutrients, vitamins, minerals etc. That she needed for her body to function properly. Noticing the recent weight loss, he orders a few more blood tests and then he refers her to a dietitian. The dietitian analyses her diet and realizes that she is severely deficient in several key nutrients that are necessary for hair growth and decreasing fatigue.

This is bad news for the personal trainer because if the dietitian makes mention that the personal trainer should have had Jenna go see a registered dietitian right off the bat, then Jenna would have been saved a lot of time and money not to mention the health scare. Jenna extremely upset, decided that she needs to take action and she files a law suit against you as a personal trainer for neglect and malpractice.

See what I am getting at here? 1. You have stepped over your scope of practice by offering a meal plan that was not approved by a dietitian. 2. You put yourself in a situation that easily could have been avoided. 3. You jeopardized another humans health and well-being.
These are only just a few of the things that you should be keeping your eye out for when looking for a personal trainer. Here is what you can do to keep yourself safe. If your personal trainer offers to crack your back, give you a massage or offer to manipulate your skeletal or musculature in any way ALWAYS ask if they are licensed to do so. Meaning they can provide PROOF that they are licensed, chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists. If they can not do this and you like them as a personal trainer kindly reject the offer. If you don’t feel that you have a connection with the trainer feel free to start looking elsewhere!

  • Instead of asking your trainer for a meal plan, ask them to refer you to a dietitian or ask if they know one who they can refer you to. If they offer to provide a meal plan to you, ask if they are licensed and registered to do so. Meaning the have a degree in nutrition management AND they did the proper requirements that all registered dietitians are mandated to take  AND they have taken their boards to be certified. If one or ALL of those components are missing kindly say thanks but no thanks and talk with your physician about getting a referral.

I hope that after reading this article you can feel confident that your personal trainer will surround you with a team of professionals including themselves in helping you achieve your goals. A great personal trainer knows when to refer out. A great personal trainer always has your best interests in mind and a great personal trainer will ALWAYS know how to stay within their scope of practice.
Namaste!
Jules

Fitness

There’s NEVER a GOOD TIME to Start

There is never a good time to start anything. There will always be things that stand in your way. That is just how it is and how it will always be. But here’s the thing, when you do start, that will be the perfect time. Why, because when you decide to start, you have decided that you are ready to take on obstacles, ready to forge forward, ready to see success.

There are so many times that I said, well when the time is right I will have a baby, I will lose weight, I will start a business, I will…But each time I embarked on any of those things the time was far from right. But it became right because it was something that I decided was something I wanted.

When you truly want something the right time is not important. I knew that I wanted to have a baby. I thought that the best time for that would be when my business was thriving and everything was going well. Well, when I found out I was pregnant, things could not have been further from going well. I was struggling financially, my business was struggling and it was not how I had pictured when I would get pregnant. During my pregnancy, I was sick all the time, we closed the business down, I was back to traveling around, I had to take a bridge job, and my student loans were piled miles high.  But, I wanted to have a child, I wanted that family, I wanted to be a mom. I made it work, I make it work. Now, almost a year and a half later, my business is thriving, my clients love my daughter, my student loan payments are under control again and I am making money doing what I love, along with being the mom I always wanted to be!

I was 21 years old, I was in college, I was 50 lbs over weight. I knew how I got there, I knew what I needed to do, but I was in college. College food, drinking with friends, late night stops at fast food joints. That was by far the worst time to want to lose weight, but I wanted it…I could not stand being heavy. I took my first aerobics class, I was so sore, but I felt so good. Then I started watching what I was eating making better choices with food, and cutting back on the weekend drinking. I lost 20 lbs in the course of a year and graduated feeling better about myself. I continued to exercise and eating healthfully after college, and before I knew it, I was down 30 lbs. I had lost all the weight I had gained plus some. I have been able to maintain my weight for 12 years. It took dedication, it took discipline, but I did it. It was not glamorous, it was not easy, but I did it.

I guess what I am trying to get at is that there is never a perfect, good or right time to do anything. Everyday that you get out of bed you make the decision to either do what you have always done and get what you always get, or you can do something extraordinary to change your circumstances for the better. Will you get it right off the bat, probably not, will you hit obstacles? YES! What you choose to do when you hit those blocks will determine your success. I can say from experience that we are our own road blocks and until we get out of our own way and allow ourselves to be bigger than our blocks, it is then we will find success on the other side.

Happy NEW YEAR!! Namaste

Fitness

I Am In Network Marketing & I Really Do Want To Help YOU!

You look great! What are you doing? I hesitate because I know the look I will get when I tell them the program I am using. It is not so much about the program,but rather the industry in which the program operates.

I wish I had background music it would sound something like this “dun, dun duuuuhhhhhh” network marketing. YES, I said it, shame on me, network marketing that shameful and gross sleezy sales business where everyone has a motive and everyone is out to get you for something.

I wish I had background music it would sound something like this “dun, dun duuuuhhhhhh” network marketing. YES, I said it, shame on me, network marketing that shameful and gross sleezy sales business where everyone has a motive and everyone is out to get you for something.

I have been having this conversation with a few other people in the same industry, different businesses but business model is that of network marketing. What we all find sad is that the few people who have come before us, and who might be among us in our particular companies, who choose to take the hard, blunt, and down right rude approach, are the ones who create havoc and make the road for those of us who work with integrity challenging. This can be said and true for almost every industry not just network marketing. However, it just seems that when I answer the question, you look great what are you doing? And I reply, xyz company, I get eye rolls, and INSTANT objections thrown at me because they fear that I have become … one of them. The person who tries to ruthlessly recruit them. That person who will only talk about and be obsessed with the company I work with.  They fear that I am going to think less of them because they are not doing what I am doing. Yes, part of this is on them, their fears or perceptions. However, those fears and perceptions would not be there if they had not been conditioned to guard themselves and put a wall up. They would not be there had the reps who work their business, had done so with honesty, integrity and kept in mind that the people they are approaching are human too.
Is this what this industry has turned into? People shaming others into doing something they do not want to do? Not having a life outside of our companies and thinking everyone needs to think like us or they are wrong? That we in network marketing see everyone who walks around us do so with a dollar sign on their forehead? If that is the case, then that is sad. Now, it is my job not only to share with those who are interested, but also at the same time make sure that people who work with me know that I am not out to scam them or force them to do something they do not want to do. Now I have to convince who ever I tell what company I work with, that I am not like that creepy sales person who manipulated them into having a party, or harassed their friends after they purchased, to have a party of their own.
I am in network marketing and when I get pitched by reps from other companies it disgusts me at some of the ways people go about it. Seriously, this is just perpetuating the problem people. It is making network marketing reps look about as reliable and honest as  politicians. #sorrynotsorry. Some people I will not even tell I am in a network marketing company. Some people do not know that I use products from a network marketing company. Why? Because they did not ask and therefore I can easily assess that they are not interested at this time to know. When I do get asked, I talk with discretion. I do not automatically consider it an invitation to pitch and sell. I merely talk about it from my perspective and what I like about it like any other casual topic of conversation. If no other questions are asked, I move on to other topics. If and when I do get asked more questions, and I do pitch to others, I make it very clear to each and every person whom I am talking to about the product, exactly what my intentions are for them. I am very clear and upfront about why I think that they should partake in the either the products or the business I am in. I am not saying that my way is the best way, but I am saying that I am working with integrity and making sure that people know, like and trust what my motives are and know like and trust me as a person.
Over the last few weeks I have had the unfortunate pleasure of being involved with network marketers that taught me and enforced my belief of how I should NEVER talk to either some one who is just curious,  a potential customer, or a down-line member.  This is what I took away from the interactions I came across.

If someone says no, the answer is no. Maybe not forever, but for the time being. My rule of thumb is that once a person has expressed to me that they are not interested, then I drop it. I  move on to other topics. I am not in the business of convincing because then the person is not working or doing from a place of true motivation they will eventually fall off the wagon because it is not their passion. The end result usually ends up either ruining a friendship or burning a bridge for future relations.

I do not force my family and friends to do what I am doing. If they are curious about it, then sure I share with them. In the end however, family and friends, unless they are truly as excited and into it as I am, are and will be your most challenging people to work with, and again, why ruin a relationship over a business transaction.

When asking questions about another reps company do not make them feel like they made a poor choice with the company they chose first. It is classless and tasteless to say things that cause your potential recruit or customer to feel like crap for choosing a different company. For example, the other day, I was approached by a rep from another company, she did everything in her power to make me feel as if I did not do my research and that the company I chose, because it was not her’s, was not superior. Every person is going to work with a company that aligns with them. Would you make your friend or acquaintance feel badly about shopping at Walmart over Target or for buying Nike over New Balance? No, hopefully you would not…So don’t do it to another network marketer or their company. You never know when they will be looking for a new company or looking to work for a company that melds well with the one they are with. You might just have burned a very lucrative bridge.

If you do have a down-line, when or if they choose to leave, don’t make them feel like crap for doing so. I mean really, they have worked or maybe not worked, hard for you to get your commissions and help you grow your team. Respect them for the time they spent and respect their decision to move on. Keep in mind that your down-line rep might like the product, but might not be interested, or in a place to work the business. You never know when they may feel in alignment or if their path recrosses. If you treat them like crap and make them feel like they betrayed you or let you down, you might just lose them not only as a customer, but also as a consultant if they choose to start up again. They will look elsewhere because they will remember how you treated them.

When you are working with someone, always give them an out. For example: When I signed on two new clients to the company that I am working with, I let them know, you do not have to sell the products, you can just be a loyal customer. You may however, get asked what you are doing because you will start changing and people are going to be curious as to what you are using. If you want to sign them up under you I would be happy to share with you at that time how the opportunity works. If you want to share with them what you are doing, but you do not want to deal with having a business, then I would be very grateful if you just referred them to me and I can chat with them about what they want their journey to be.  This way, they can feel comfortable, that you will either guide them on the journey for the whole aspect of the program soup to nuts or or just guide them as a customer. This way as a customer and or as a business partner or they will feel comfortable and good about referring people to you. This has been super successful for me, and my clients appreciate that I share this with them. They get bombarded with enough sales and stuff to deal with, I should not be one of the things that causes them stress, I should be the solution, not the problem.

I am tired of having to defend my choices in how and why I run the type of business I do. I want to be proud of my chosen profession and be seen by my peers and those who know me as someone who works with integrity. My hope is that as representatives of network marketing companies, we can ban together to create a new era where people do not smell us coming a mile a way and run and hide when they see us coming out of fear. Rather I want them to say YES come over here tell me about what you have going on, I want to know more.  It would be nice if we as network marketers are seen as leaders in our industries and we come together to uplift and support each other on this journey to health, wellness, financial freedom, more for our families etc. Rather than treating each other as rivals, we treat each other as team mates and commend each other for our achievements and feel confident if we do not have what someone is looking for that we can refer them to someone who has what they need. You never know, the favor might be returned. In this way we can build relationships and grow our businesses to their fullest potential.

Network Marketing

Me time? What’s that? I don’t have time for that!

As the busy individuals that we all are, it can be hard to justify taking time for ourselves. I am just as guilty of it as the next person, but being aware of my inability to justify personal time has made me realize how important it is to our everyday lives and living our best life. What I have come to find is that if I do not take even 20 minutes for myself to do whatever I want to do, whether its take a nap, do a quick workout, or read a book, I burn out much  more quickly than  if I didn’t do these things. It does not have to be all three but at least one of them helps me to be more productive and have more energy. Let’s talk about why this happens and how we can achieve this ultimate balance between giving and taking.

Our bodies are like machines they function only as well as we take care of them. If we neglect our car by not taking it for oil changes or tune ups it falls apart faster. When we overload our computer with too much information it crashes. When we take a back seat to our health by eating junk food, not getting enough sleep or running ourselves ragged we begin to fall apart as well.  The problem is that we put more value on taking care of our material things but we do not value the one thing that allows us to use those material things…our bodies and our minds. We only acknowledge ones sacrifices at the expense of their own health. We only recognize people when they have given so much of themselves that they fall ill and can not do it any more. It is then we not only consider them virtuous but we also pity them. We say things like “They should have taken a rest or a break.”  “They should have taken a little time for themselves.” The problem is that no one views taking a  break as noble or virtuous, rather they think that it’s being lazy or unproductive. People are looked down upon when they are not busting their butt or running themselves ragged. The problem we are having with this is that eventually we are going to break. Either as a person or a society or both.

We have to take care of ourselves and be OK doing so. The best way that I have found to be OK with taking time for myself is that I remind myself daily, that in order to give my best to my work, my family, and my friends, I have to give back to myself. When I am my best self or best version of myself, I can give more and be more for those that need me. It is a phrase that I have to tell myself everyday. So what do I do? I do a 20 minute yoga video. I do 20 minutes on the elliptical, I take a nap when the baby naps.  Do I feel guilty as I am falling asleep because there is laundry that needs to get done, there are dishes that need to get done, I have blog posts to write.  HELL YES!! Yes, I feel awful, but I remind myself, I can get 10x more done if I am rested and ready to take on tasks. My blog posts will have better content because my brain is fully functioning. I will be able to do more laundry and more dishes plus other things that I might have just left because I was too tired or unmotivated.

Another reason I am so insistent on taking care of myself is because I want my daughter to value herself and her time and her life. I want to set a good example for her so that she can understand that being stressed to the max is not as productive as we all think that it is.  The thought process of thinking that being stressed is going to give better results is a fallacy. It is ingrained in our brains by a few successes that our brain associates with when we are successful when we are stressed. In the short term this may  be effective, but in the long term it is really setting us up for failure because our bodies will fail. Our brains and our bodies will give out on us. So, I do not want my daughter to see me doing this and think that this is an OK way to be.

You are probably thinking, how can I do this and make it a habit to take time for self care.  These are my top 5 ways that work for me and hopefully they will work for you. These are persona,l so some of them may work and some may not. However, I suggest you give them a try and see what works for you.  Hopefully, there will be one thing that sticks with you and helps you feel a little better about taking better care of yourself.

Daily affirmation: ” I am worthy of taking time for myself and doing good for me. I give my best when I feel my best. I can only do this if I am healthy and put myself first.”

Block 20-30 minutes of “ME” time in your schedule just as you would checking emails or other work activities.

Set boundaries. It’s important that people know that you are human too and that you deserve personal time. Maybe you could not take calls before 9am or after 7pm. Maybe you stop answering emails after 5pm or sit and have a conversation with your family about chipping in to help with household chores and activities.

Think about things that you love to do and make a list. Check them off as you would any other check list so that you can see how taking personal time is helping you achieve your own goals.

Just start doing something for you. Forget about being selfish, because you are not. Forget about feeling badly, because you deserve to feel your best. Live your best life and take a little time for yourself…take a little “ME” time!

These are the 5 things that I do to help remind me to take time for myself. Will it be work and will you experience anxiety as you work on this? YES! It’s important that we take this time though for our own well being. I encourage you to remind yourself that you are worth 20-30 minutes of time for yourself. I encourage you to step outside of the thoughts that you are being lazy or unproductive. See that taking time for yourself will make you more productive and less lazy, more healthy and be able to give more than ever before!!

In good health!

Jules

Network Marketing

New Energy, New Opportunities, New Starts.

The one thing I never thought I would have to worry about is my energy levels. I was so used to running circles going to bed and doing it again that I felt like it was boundless. It was wonderful, I felt like Wonder Woman. I felt like I could do anything and achieve anything, and then I didn’t.

It’s like one day I woke up, and it was gone. I could not understand it. At first I attributed it to being a new mother. Not getting enough sleep, always being on alert and just all the new stuff that came along with being a new mom.  I figured once I started sleeping a bit more and I got into a routine, I would start to feel more like myself again.

Three months passed, six months, a year, nothing. I was back to working again, my daughter was sleeping through the night, I was eating healthfully, and I was exercising regularly. I should have been feeling more energized, yet daily I woke up feeling as if I could sleep longer, the days dragged on and I was always tired and I was hungry all the time.

I decided that I needed to do something but I was not sure what. So I started with the basics going to bed a bit earlier, getting into a routine where after the baby got settled to bed, I went and relaxed. I added more fruit and vegetables to my diet for vitamins and minerals. I increased the protein in take to help satiate my hunger. It worked for a little while, but then the feeling wore off.

I decided to try a program that a friend of mine was doing, it was a vitamin supplement that was supposed to fill in the gap from what I was missing from my regular food intake. My energy levels increased a little bit but I was still hungry all the time and I really saw no significant changes after a month of being on the vitamin. I needed something more. I needed something that was comprehensive, well rounded and could help me stay on track with my health and fitness goals.

Not long after I had decided what I wanted, I was introduced to Isagenix. A nutritional supplement company that seemed to have everything that I was looking for, but when something has what you are looking for, you know the first thing that comes to mind is that it has to be too good to be true. For another almost eight months, I avoided the conversation with the woman who introduced it to me, but I stayed in touch with her to learn more quietly and just observe.

Finally, being sick and tired of being sick and tired, I decided it was time to do something. So I went over to the Isagenix website and took a look around.  I picked out a few things that I thought, I might like and pushed send. The woman who I had originally talk to saw that I had made a purchase and she contacted me. We chatted a bit and I said I like the stuff, but I was not sure if it was really making all the difference.

That was when she explained to me that I really needed to follow the system. I hesitated. I did not want to lose weight, I didn’t need to lose weight. Then she explained to me that I would not really lose much if I had nothing to lose. That if I followed the system, I would be resetting my body and clearing it of toxins and refilling myself with nutrient rich products that would help to increase my energy. A few days later I purchased my first pack.

Three days later, I was sleeping better. More soundly. Five days later, I noticed that my energy levels were elevated through the course of the day. I felt better. Nine days later, I lost that bloated feeling that I had gotten used to and figured was normal. A month later, I started to develop real muscle tone ( I could see the nice shape of my muscles in my arms with out having to flex) and I had definition in my abdominal area, something that no matter how much I trained, I never was able to accomplish. So not only was I feeling better but I was looking better and it was then that I realized that I had finally found what I was looking for.

It has been three almost  four months now, and my energy level has been staying up. I feel like I can take on the day like I used to, before I became a mom. I no longer feel like I am dragging and pushing my way through my day. I wish eight months ago, a little bug had whispered in my ear that Isagenix was definitely not going to be too good to be true.  That Isagenix was going to be the solution to my dilemma of lacking energy and not only that it would fortify my over all health in general. I am so grateful that I met the women who introduced me to Isagenix and I am lucky to now call her a friend. She gave me the tools I needed to finally feel like wonder woman again and be the mom, wife and now business owner that I have always wanted to be.

Want more information? You can visit my website at jshapiro82.isagenix.com 

Network Marketing

Your Opportunity to Grow & Achieve (YOGA)

Have you ever had one of those days where every time you tried a challenging yoga pose you seem to miss falling on your face by mere inches? It’s frustrating right? There are days when I just want to say forget it, its not worth the effort.

I have been working on arm balances lately, learning to distribute weight evenly has been one of those things that I seem to have the most trouble with. The funny thing about arm balances, and  yoga in general, is how much of how we deal with challenges on the mat can often mirror how we handle the challenges in life.

This is one of the reasons why I love my daily yoga practices. Each time I step onto the mat, I am presented with the opportunity to look at my patterns and take note as to whether or not they are serving me and my goals. It gives me a chance to ask myself, “how am I going to approach this?” What is making me hesitate, or feel unable to complete a pose or practice? At the moment with arm balances I know that I am not distributing my weight properly. I know that I have the strength to express the pose, I just am blocking the energy that is needed to allow myself to do it. That blockage of energy is fear. Fear of failing, fear of falling, fear of the results.

When I step on the mat, to practice, I begin with looking at my process. How do I set myself up, how do I move into the pose. I take note as to what works well and what does not. The goal is to find patterns that I keep repeating that are not serving my purpose. Just like in business. As I work on creating my empire, if I keep doing things that are hindering my business why would I want to continue doing them? Would you continue doing things that are not working for you? Do you keep doing the same thing and expect a different result? I have been able to take my time on the mat to see that while, my consistency and stick-to-itness is great, approaching it from an all or nothing attitude, is not helping me to balance properly.

What I mean by this is that, while I am staying the course and working hard to accomplish a goal, I am placing all my weight in one direction and not taking into account that the energy needs to be flowing evenly through out the entire pose not just all dumped in one area.  (All or nothing) While my determination to stick with it is honorable, I am not going to get to where I want with an attitude and actions that are not serving me.

Do you have areas in your life or business that you find yourself working your tail off but maybe not getting the results that you want? Do you ever take a moment to see if you are repeating patterns that are not serving you?

Today I encourage you to take a step back and take a moment on your yoga mat to observe how you approach challenges in your life and practice. Viewing yourself from an outsiders perspective will give you the opportunity to see what exactly you are doing and what might not be in your best interest to do. Be open during this process and set an intention for your practice that allows you to fully accept all that you find. When you go in with an open mind and heart you will be more likely to find and a way that might suit you better and also make you more attuned to what you are doing that might not be working so well for you. You can take this same approach to business and life as well. Yoga is such a great tool to help us become more observant. It’s present moment practice gives us a moment to be introspective and honest with ourselves.

Today as I step on to my yoga mat, I am going to set the intention of being open minded to new ways of exploring arm balances. I am going to give myself permission to fall. I will give myself the opportunity to observe how I act and see if those actions help or hinder and find a way to let go of actions that are not allowing me to find success.   I can only learn by doing and knowing how the mechanics all work together to create a master piece that is the art form of yoga poses!

Namaste!

Jules

Yoga

Is There Such Thing as Balance?

Today’s yoga practice led me through a series of balancing poses. I transitioned from one balancing pose to the next. Some of them with ease and the other not  so much, fumbling as I moved through them.

That is what I love about yoga. Like life, sometimes I feel graceful and ready to take on the world and other days I feel like I am constantly tripping over my own feet or stopping myself from doing what is going to push me forward.

When practicing this afternoon, I could feel the difference in how smoothly I made the same transitions from the right and the left. The right side was effortless, I was graceful and felt as ease moving from half moon to tree pose back to half moon pose. The left side was a completely different animal. I felt lopsided and off balance not to mention clumsy and doofy. It was entertaining to say the least, and as I bounced around the yoga mat like a pinball in an arcade game, I could not help but sometimes this feels an awful lot like business and life. One moment you are gracefully gliding through, things are going your way, things are running smoothly and the next, you are luck if you can keep a steady cup of coffee in your hand with out spilling it all over your nice white shirt or tripping over your own feet getting from point A to point B no further than 10 feet away.

When it happens I notice how I talk to myself, it is much more harsh and less reassuring than when I am moving with ease. I notice that when I am having a harder day or have more to juggle than other days that I tend to get a bit more flustered with myself and tend to not be so forgiving of myself when mistakes happen. As I work through my yoga journey, I have notice that I am very much a creature of habit. When the practice goes well, I am super pumped and left feeling invigorated. When it does not go as well as I would have liked, I finish feeling unsettled or unfulfilled. I found myself saying things like I could have done that better, or I am never going to be as good as so and so. I noticed this pattern in my every day too. When I begin something and it does not go as well as I would like, I find myself saying things like, well maybe I was not cut out for this or maybe this is just not my thing. I have to find that happy balance between being satisfied with what I am doing and the outcome whether it be perfect or not.

Interestingly, no matter how much trouble yoga poses give me, I have not given up. I have kept keeping up with my practices. No matter how challenging a pose is, I keep working at it. I am finally learning that I need to have that kind of patience with my business with my journey and adventures in life too. Just because it is causing me to fumble does not mean that I was not meant to do it, it just means that I have to give just a bit more of myself and dedication to getting it. For example I just recently released an e-book.

The first release I received ZERO, ZIP, ZILCH, response. I could not believe it I poured so much time and energy into it and I was so excited to have something that I thought was valuable and helpful. I shared it on facebook, Pintrest, Kindle direct publishing. You name it and I shared it. Feeling like a failure, rather than reworking it, asking for some feedback or evaluating what was up, I just took it down and let it collect dust for a while on my hard drive.  I chalked it up to it not being something that I was supposed to do.

I went about my business and the same theme kept creeping up in every conversation that I was having with people. How do I create a home yoga practice. What can I do to make practicing at home more comfortable? How do you get yourself on to your yoga mat at home? Just like that tugging feeling I get to keep trying and keep working on my balancing poses and transitions in yoga, I started to get that same feeling about the e-book I had written. So, with determination I pulled it back up and started working through it piece by piece. I added components that people were asking me about, and I took out parts that seem to be too much for people to do. I simplified it. I made it prettier, easier to read with bigger text and pictures. I realized that the first book was too starchy, too much like a text book. There was no real flow to it. There was nothing about that first book that made it stick out or say HEY I’M DIFFERENT COME READ ME!

Taking a step back after today’s yoga practice I realized that my journey to writing that e-book was a lot like the floppiness that I experienced on transitions on my non-dominant side. I realized that just because I almost fall over on one side, I do not put my mat and practice in the closet to collect dust, I keep it out and keep working on it, cutting out the garbage and focusing on the goal. That is exactly what I did with the e-book. I cut out the things that were unnecessary, condensed, tightened and honed in on my goal. The result clear, concise, and quality piece that people enjoyed reading and actually did get value out of.

I released it again, same outlets, new and improved version…it was a HIT. I received so much positive feed back from it was an easy read, to it was beautifully laid out to things like “you really made it feel like I could pull out my yoga mat right now and get started.” Is it perfect? No, but neither is my yoga practice and I am OK with that. It was value packed and it was something that people appreciated. What this says to me is that even if I am floppy or not graceful, that does not mean I am not successful or accomplished. I just have to look to my yoga practice to see that I am growing and a work in progress.  I know that if I keep practicing my yoga the balancing poses and transitions will get smoother on both sides and what was once challenging will no longer be a challenge and I will move on to other things that will present me with challenges. What I have learned is that I can and will endure the shaky moments and walk away better and stronger for having stuck it out.

My message to you is to keep on keeping on. You will find the balance that you are looking for. It will be your balance, not what someone else’s version of balance is. Your life is not like anyone else’s and neither is your yoga practice. We each have our own struggles and our own challenges to over come. There is no such thing as perfect balance just balance that works for us. You will persevere if you continue to be faithful on your journey to self growth and you will find success in all that you do with continued practice.  Remember your yoga practice is here to help you tune in to you and break free from limiting beliefs so that you can let your brilliance shine through! Namaste 🙂

Yoga