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Don’t let the Cold Weather Squash your Workout Goals.

In the midst of snowstorm after snowstorm, I’ve found my enthusiasm for staying active really hard to keep up. It’s difficult keeping my eye on the prize when all I want to do is snuggle up with a cappuccino, look at the falling snow, and read. Relaxation is a great thing, but easy to over indulge in this time of year. So how can we make it easier to maintain the get in shape habit when all we want to do is hibernate?  

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  • Trade the gym for something you love. When getting to the gym becomes a chore and going outside to workout is a few months away, switch it up! My personal favorite is tennis. I play in a women’s league once a week for an hour and a half. It’s a nice change to break a sweat doing something I love and it gets me out of the house meeting new people. Working out doesn’t have to be something you dread! 
  • Do something every day… even if it’s only for 20 minutes. If you can’t get your tush to the gym, (or just don’t want to), even doing something for 20 minutes will help. It gets your heart pumping, and more importantly keeps your workout routine going. Running up your apartment building stairs, getting on the floor and doing a few yoga poses, push ups or jumping jacks, can all get you moving for a short period of time. 
  • When all else fails, join a workout challenge. Challenges have become more and more popular over the past few years as gyms and workout studios everywhere are hosting them. The concept is that everyone commits to working out and eating healthier for a few weeks to a few months and often there are cash prizes for the winners. Cash can be a great motivator if nothing else does the job. And even if you don’t win, you’ll still be in better shape!- Jessica Geier

    Jessica Geier is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and the co-owner of Raw Generation Juices. Raw Generation makes it more convenient to incorporate fresh juices into a busy lifestyle without being a slave to a juicer. Jessica trained at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and continues to educate herself daily on what’s new in the field of nutrition. In her spare time she runs, practices hot yoga, is obsessed with the Bar Method classes, and writes for her two blogs at Raw Generation & Plenty of Thyme. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter


Put Your Feet First

image viaThree years ago, I was a physically and mentally exhausted self-supporting college student succeeding in completing my degree, but failing miserably in both the relaxation and wellness areas of my life. A friend of mine was studying reflexology and noticed I was in desperate need of help and offered to practice his technique on me. At his house, I lay back in a reclined chair, and placed my feet and my faith in his hands.

Reflexology is an ancient practice whose origins are undetermined, but the concept was first recorded as a pictograph on the wall of Egyptian pharaoh Ankhamor’s tomb in 2330 BC. According to reflexology theory, specific points in the feet reflect every limb, gland, and organ in our bodies. By applying an appropriate amount of pressure to these reflex points, we can understand the areas where our bodies need attention and help to relieve minor pains, anxiety, headaches, and congestion. In both eastern and western cultures, this ancient art is valued as a way to induce deep relaxation, relieve stress, and balance the energy within the body.

Because of the targeted application of firm pressure, reflexology is less like a foot massage and more similar to acupressure. It can be uncomfortable in the beginning, especially in tender areas, seeing a trained reflexologist for your first few sessions will give you a feel for the level of pressure and reflex point that work best for you. After this initial understanding, you can begin practicing on yourself in the comfort of your home. Here are some basic steps to get you started:

Soak your feet in warm water - This will help to soften tough skin and make the area more workable. Dry your feet after soaking and avoid oils or lotions that will detract from the concentration of the pressure. Sit cross-legged or in a comfortable position, with your right foot upward facing and accessible. While you work on one foot, keep the other one warm with a heated towel or by simply keeping it wedged beneath you.

Mentally divide your foot into five zones - These zones correspond to your head, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvic areas. The left foot reflects the left side of the body and the right foot reflects the right side of the body. Understanding your anatomy is crucial to the effectiveness of this practice, so keeping a foot chart next to you for reference is a good idea.

Apply gentle pressure for about 10 seconds to areas of the foot that need attention. Essentially you will use your thumb or pointer finger to walk up and down the foot, feeling for tender spots. If you are already aware of a specific area you want to focus on, you can direct the pressure there. If you are unsure or want to treat the entire body, then start with your big toe (the brain) and work your way down to your heel (the pelvis).

Different discomforts require different foci of pressure. To relieve headaches, apply pressure to the five toes, beginning with the top of your big toe and working your way around the surface. If you are experiencing neck pain, direct pressure to the creases of your toes at the point where they join the foot. For chest tightness or shortness of breath, try applying pressure to the ball of your foot. For abdominal discomfort, try working the arch of the foot. After a few self-sessions, you will develop a more intuitive practice and a deeper understanding of the unique way pressure affects your body. You will find that you possess the innate ability to heal yourself!

All day long, our feet are slaves to the whims and responsibilities of our bodies. They support our total body weight and get us where we need to go, but how often do we stop to give them the attention they deserve? This month practice self-love by putting your feet first. Learning how to read the maps of our feet, we can accurately navigate and better understand our bodies. - Josalin Saffer


Well On The Road: Jen Morris

Our Travel Tuesday series cozies up to fabulous entrepreneurs who spend countless hours away from home in the name of their passion. Here we asked them to share some of their secrets for staying well on the road.

Jen Morris | Urban Detox ClubJen Morris
Certified Health Coach, Co-Founder of Urban Detox Club & Shaklee Independent Distributor
most recently in: Kenya and Paris

The one snack you can always find in my carry on is... 
Actually there two! For the actual flight day, I always have an almond butter and banana sandwich on flourless sprouted grain bread. It's almost impossible to find anything healthy at airports and in-air flights can be hit or miss so I make sure to have this on me. I also always keep my favorite snack bars from Shaklee handy. I love the Shaklee 180 snack bars and Chewy Apple Fiber bars. Depending how long I'm away, you may find one or two boxes in my suitcases.

Tell us your in-flight rituals.
If I'm traveling for pleasure, I really try to use the flight to start the relaxation process. I'll bring a book I've been wanting to read or treat myself to an in-flight movie. I think it's important to have some breaks from the craziness of running a business so I try to use the whole process as an opportunity to relax. However, I have found that I can be very productive on a flight since distractions are minimized. So if it's a business trip, I will work on a project for a few uninterrupted hours. To stay healthy, I always take some extra immunity boosting supplements the days leading up to flying and while I'm away since planes can be an incubator for germs. I'll pop some extra Vitamin C, elderberry and other immune boosting formulas. And I always take my favorite alfalfa tablets - which can help keep water retention and puffiness at bay. Finally, I try to stay very hydrated and always sit on the aisle because I like to be able to stretch my legs in the air and have easy access to the bathroom (see above about hydration!).

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived?
Jet-lag is rough however you cut it. Personally, I find that I'm more sane and catch up faster if I do nap when I arrive or go straight to bed if it's an evening arrival. I simply don't function well on no sleep and I find it hard to sleep on planes so I try to get some as soon as I can. If it's a nap, I make sure to keep it a nap and not climb in bed at 11am and sleep all day. After a nap, I'll get up, have a good meal, be active in some way and then get back to bed at a normal evening time. If I arrive in the evening, I'll try to get right to sleep and get up at a normal time in the morning - even if I want to keep sleeping.

Which fitness icon best describes your 'workout on the road' style?

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I think I'm closest to Bear as I'm a big walker and would much rather be outdoors than in a gym. I love to get out in a new city and just walk everywhere! I'll utilize mass transit when necessary but if it's walkable, I always take the scenic route. If I'm in a less urban environment, I'll swim, jog or go hiking and explore as much as I can.

How do you keep sickness at bay?
I always travel with my immunity supporting supplements (garlic, vitamin C, probiotics, and more), aim to stay well hydrated and avoid hand sanitizers opting instead for good, old fashioned soap and water.

Jen & her sister visiting the Huduma House in NairobiWhat's your 'go-to' restaurant item?
I really love experiencing new foods and enjoying local cuisine and there is no better opportunity to do this than when you are in a new part of the world. So I always opt for local cuisines that still fits with my healthy lifestyle. Fresh veggies and fish are good options and I'll enjoy a glass of wine, (local when possible), and if there is cheese and bread available, I'm sure to indulge a little. Life is too short not to enjoy delicious food on occasion. I do try to eat at local establishments versus chains or obvious tourist destinations, as I find the meals are usually fresher, healthier and served in smaller portions.

What do you do to stay grounded?
As I mentioned, I don't do well with too little sleep so I really try my best to enjoy where I'm at but still rest and sleep so I don't arrive home more exhausted than when I left! I also try to disconnect as much as I can when I'm away. I typically don't pay for international cell service so I don't text or call much. I'll try to check email once a day but use the time away to really BE away and appreciate the experience. If I'm traveling but constantly on Facebook or email, I feel pulled between two worlds and not present or grounded.

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones?
I'll always let my family know where I'll be staying in case of an emergency and send an email when I arrive to let them know I'm safe. I may Skype once or twice if it's a longer trip but I think having some separation from my iPhone is healthy and needed. One of my favorite things to do is put my "Out of Office" message up on my email and voicemail. :-) 

Jen is currently keeping up with her clients one-on-one. Follow her around the world when she travels via Instagram and Twitter and become a fan of the Urban Detox Club today.


Well On The Road: Roxane Wagner

Our Travel Tuesday series cozies up to fabulous entrepreneurs who spend countless hours away from home in the name of their passion. Here we asked them to share some of their secrets for staying well on the road.

Roxane Wagner | Utopia VillageRoxane Wagner
Co-Owner & Director of Wellness and Sustainability at Utopia Village
most recently in: Nicaragua & Ireland

The one snack you can always find in my carry on is... 
As a Registered Dietitian, my homemade goodies are always my first choice. My granola bars made with organic oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and dried fruit accompany me on all my flights along with a bottle of water. Both keep me satisfied and energized throughout the flight.   

Tell us your in-flight rituals.
Once on board I always say hello to the person beside me. At times that leads to an intriguing conversation that can occupy a lot of time in-flight. There is always plenty to do on a flight and it really depends on how I am feeling. I can easily sleep on a plane so if I am tired I will take off my shoes, put on fresh socks and listen to my favorite music and have a nap. I also find once on board that my flight time is my relaxing time, I get my thoughts together for the trip. It’s a time that I reflect and read about my destination and drink lots of water and green tea.  

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived?
Luckily, jet lag has never been a real problem for me. When I arrive if I am tired I take a short nap then shower; the goal is to stay up as long as possible before retiring for the night. I spend that first day exploring my destination, sitting in coffee shops and watching the local interaction.

Which fitness icon best describes your 'workout on the road' style?

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Coming from a farming background, I am an outdoors person. I love adventure, nature, exploring and hiking, so Bear Grylls would be the fitness icon that describes my workout style.  

How do you keep sickness at bay?
I drink lots of water, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, get plenty of rest and wash my hands regularly.  

Roxane walking the streets of Copan, HondurasWhat's your 'go-to' restaurant item?
I always choose the local healthy cuisine favoring seafood and green salads.

What do you do to stay grounded?
I spend the first moments of the day in a park or on a dock to meditate and if possible catch a sunrise, that and a cup of coffee in a small café to take in the local environment and set the tone for the day.

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones?
I use Skype, preferably with video so that I can see my family and animals.  


As a hotel co-owner, Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer, Roxane is always on the move. Keep up with her at her home base in Honduras via her resort YouTube channel, on Facebook and Twitter


Staying Centered Overseas

Josalin in ThailandPicture this: It’s 102 degrees. Your face is burnt, your lips are chapped, and you’re dripping with sweat. Lost in a foreign country and surrounded by illegible signs written in characters that may as well be hieroglyphs. You are holding a pack that weighs half as much as you do, and you have no transportation besides the worn-out feet that are barely supporting you at a standstill. You see people that you want to ask for help, but you don’t know their language, and they don’t know yours. And in this moment, I am infinitely happy. Why? Because I'm thousands of miles from home, light-years beyond my comfort zone, and I'm thrilled to finally be here. 

Thailand. For 8 months I lived in a small town devoid of Western influence, English speakers, and intelligible books, signs, and menus. I stuck out like a sore thumb and I struggled with the simplest of tasks on a daily basis. But, being my first trip abroad I was determined to challenge myself, and I was rewarded tenfold. By setting the intention to push myself outside of my comfort zone, I allowed myself the opportunity to discover who I was - a much stronger woman than before I left. There are a few things I learned on my journey, which helped to keep me balanced, flexible, and receptive.

Relinquish your routine. Before I left for Thailand, my wellness routine consisted of a daily yoga practice. But, a tiny 10 x 10 sq. ft. room or a two-hour commute, (by pickup truck and the grace of Good Samaritans), to the nearest yoga center will change all that. Oftentimes when we are traveling for long periods in unfamiliar territory, we are temporarily lost without our routines. At first, I was lost too. Yet by letting go of my routine, I gave myself room to adopt someone else’s. 

While volunteering in local villages, I had been introduced to the art of walking meditation. Instead of the traditional seated poses I had been accustomed to, the Buddhists I was living with taught me to actively meditate while in motion. This is the time when the mind wanders the most, they said, so if you can maintain a focus while walking, you can master the art of keeping peace in the most difficult of circumstances. I was sold. While living in my small town, without room for or resources to what I was familiar with, I found solace in this newly learned meditation technique. By letting go of the past and integrating what I had learned into my nightly walk to the market—walking slowly, deliberately, mindfully—this became my new routine. 

Josalin with the local kidsLet people surprise you. I pride myself on being a fairly independent person. Pre-Thailand me would rather do something myself than ask others for help. But, what did the lost, sweaty girl with the heavy pack do in the 102 degree heat? Asked for help. Some deliberation among the concerned shopkeepers and one phone call later, a man on a motorbike was by my side, ready to take me anywhere I needed to go.  

Throughout my trip, I relied on local strangers to get me through the toughest situations, to unstick me from the thickest mire. I felt more connected with the world around me, more convinced of the ubiquitous compassion of my fellow human beings. There was a certain magic in relying on other people, instead of a guide book or a smart phone, for navigating an unknown land and culture. By the end of my 8-month stint, I hardly planned anything. I had learned to flourish within the go-with-the-flow culture that had me so worried in the beginning. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and to receive kindness from others on a regular basis, I easily adopted an attitude of gratitude that stays with me to this day.

Resist the temptation to take the easy route. When we are busy sightseeing, exploring, and traipsing around in a foreign country, we are usually exhausted, hungry, and in need of some comfort by the end of the day. Often the easiest thing to do is look up the nearest Western restaurant and nicest hotel, throw our bags to the ground, crank the A/C, and collapse on the bed. There is definitely a time for this. But resist the temptation to always flock to things that are familiar to you while traveling. Not only will you absorb more of the culture around you, but you will force your brain to make new connections, rousing your most creative problem-solving resources. Learn the language, get off the grid, go exploring, meet new people, and get lost. You will become more confident, resourceful, and resilient. Use travel as a way to go beyond your perceived limitations. One step and one deep breath outside of your comfort zone, you will find a better you. - Josalin Saffer