A Good Hike!

It felt so good to hike.  Open space, greenery, fresh air and big rocks; it made me feel like I was part of nature.  My hiking partner included me and my husband.  Like me, he too is an enthusiast when it comes to hiking.  So, it was easy to plan and go.  On this morning we got our backpacks ready, dogs fed (did not take them this time), us fed and we were on our way.  This mountain we were to hike is practically  in our backyard…two hour drive from where we live.  Our drive was split: one half on the highway and the other half on two-lane roads curving up and down the mountains.  Oh, the curvy roads give me headaches and motion sickness, unless I’m the driver.  So when the winding roads began, my husband became the passenger, and I, the driver.

The thing is that once I am in the mountains, all feels good – My headaches and motion sickness instantly leaves my body.  The great view and openness brings tremendous feelings of joy and freedom in me.   It’s all good times after that.

Hiking

Vastness was breathtaking!

Cloudland Canyon is located in Rising Fawn, GA, on the western edge of lookout Mountains in the northwest corner of Georgia.  It was established in 1938.  The 3,538 acre state park includes rugged canyons, dense forest, abundant wildlife, cascades, waterfalls, wild caves, and numerous recreational opportunities, according to Cloudland Canyon State Park Trail Map.

This hike offered great views with good challenges.  The beautiful mountain top views, its  vastness, blue skies up above, greenery all around, and the fresh air was all I needed!  We also got to see, up close, the unique vegetation on wet rocks, and got to touch some big rocks. I would definitely recommend Cloudland Canyon if you are up for a good workout day or to just enjoy the beauty of it all.

A $5 entry fee got us in and in a few minutes we were at the Main Trail Head.  Before starting, we ate our sandwiches on a picnic bench and reviewed the map.  We picked two trails to do – Waterfalls Trail (strenuous) involves 600 steps one way.   The number 600 really means nothing until you get on them.  The second trail we picked was the West Rim Loop Trail (moderately strenuous); it was formerly rated as one of the top ten hikes in the U.S. by Backpacker Magazine.  This one was hiking through marked trail with wilderness all around.  There were spots where you could walk to the edge of the trail to see the vastness of it all.

Fueled and energized we started with Waterfalls Trail.  The day was hot, in the high 80s. But felt good because of the shade provided by the trees.  And, that slight breeze made it all good.

Hiking

These are those never-ending steps. Picture credit Tripadvisor. My photo did not come out good 😦

Going down these never-ending steps could challenge your mind a bit.   These steps are made where you cannot slip, and water falls right through the rectangular holes in them.  So while going down you can see through them and you can see the deep bottom…that’s where your mind has to look elsewhere for a bit to gain balance and orientation.  It’s a lot of going down, down, and many more downs.  Coming back up just as challenging.  We had to take a couple of short breaks during our climb back up. These little stops gave us a moment to catch our breaths and replenish our bodies with electrolytes and water.  This trail took about hour and a half, and was well worth our time and effort.

Next, we continued on the West Rim Loop Trail.  And, this one felt long.  It’s a 5-mile loop trail with several overlooks to explore the scenery of the canyon.  It was gorgeous.  The trail got narrow at places, but a very safe trek.  We went over a tiny wood bridge and climbed up some huge mountain-like rocks … it was so much fun.  This hiking challenge was well worth it.  Once we completed the loop, we took a break at one of the big rocks overlooking the canyon.  We ate our snack as we enjoyed the mountain beauty and the breeze, which felt really good on our sweaty bodies.

Our snack included orange wedges, peanuts, and a protein bar.  We hydrated ourselves again.  (I made sure we were well hydrated throughout our hike).  After this short but very relaxing break, our hike continued for another hour to reach back to the Main Trail Head.  That turned out to be a good 3-hour hike.

Sitting at the overlook eating my orange wedges is when I decided that I’ll write about my experience.  I thought to share my experience so you may want to go hike a mountain near you.  You will not be disappointed.  I can tell you that no matter where I hike, local or not, it’s always an awesome experience.  I feel my being merging with nature…no better feeling than that!

A few photos from our hike:

Hiking

Massive rock with water trickling down. This was one of the two waterfalls we climbed down to see, but to our surprise we did not see the water gushing down, just trickling down. But the view was still amazing and the rock looked massive right from where I stood.

Hiking

Keep going! A beautiful day.

Hiking

Unique vegetation growing on wet rocks…

Hiking

Look at this! This is a mushroom I found while following the trail.

Hiking

Not much water falling here but I enjoyed going down to the foothills of this big rock.

…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life To Healthy blog…until next time…:)

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What are you craving?

Craving something?  I’ve been craving mint chocolate chip ice cream.  I will end up at an ice cream shop very soon.  And, I want it from a specific ice cream place.  I have noticed that my cravings generally are for junk food.  How about your cravings?

I think it is safe to say that most cravings are rarely about eating fresh vegetables, fresh fruits or drinking plain old water?  Unless, you are super hungry or super thirsty, then you want any food.   Do you ever crave to eat green spinach or orange carrots?  I never do.  Craving is all about fried foods, sweet gooey desserts, salty savory foods, and cool fizzy sodas.  Cravings can create hurdles when you are trying to lose weight or maintain a good weight.

Source: newsmax.com

A food craving is an intense desire for a specific food. This desire can seem uncontrollable, and the person’s hunger may not be satisfied until they get that particular food, according to an article, “What Causes Food Cravings?” by Jon Johnson and reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD, in the Medical News Today.  Some experts believe food cravings last only about 3-5 minutes.

 

So, what causes food cravings?  It is all in our heads.  Yes, it’s true.  It comes from the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward.

An imbalance of hormones, such as leptin and serotonin, can cause food cravings. Cravings can come your way due to endorphins that are released after a meal has been eaten.  Emotions play a part in causing someone to crave for certain foods – foods that bring comfort to the body. One more reason could be the connection between the cravings and nutrients – the body craves certain foods because it lacks certain nutrients, per Johnson.

Here’s some ways to reduce food cravings?

  1. Reducing stress levels: stress or unhappiness brings on food cravings. So take some time to taking care of yourself.  Spend some time on something you enjoy doing, like a hobby, going for a walk, exercising, meeting a friend for coffee.
  2. Drinking plenty of water: helps to feel full and hydrates your body at the same time.
  3. Getting enough sleep: we should know this…sleep regenerates our body and gets us ready for next day.
  4. Eating enough protein: lean protein in your diet will keep you from cravings.
  5. Chewing gum: Chewing gum keeps the mouth busy and may help reduce both sweet and salty cravings, according to Johnson. A study showed that those who chewed gum rated themselves less hungry, had fewer cravings for snacks, and felt fuller than those who did not chew gum.
  6. Planning meal times with healthy meals and snacks: don’t wait until you are having hunger pangs. You’ll end up eating whatever and that may end up being unhealthy choices.
  7. Portion control: this should not mean less food on your plate. Just cut carb in half, add more greens and more beans or lean proteins.  If you cut fat, add more sautéed veggies to your plate.  Make your plate healthier than it is right now! Portion control is good!
  8. Replacing cravings with more nutritious option, e.g.: potato chips with popcorn; or regular milk-chocolate with dark chocolate; regular cheese with low-fat ones; cookies and cakes with dried fruits. You get the idea…
Cravings!

Foods to eat to curb cravings. Photo source: medical news.com

Cravings!

I love my salads. I eat them most of the days. I add healthy carbs, lean proteins and healthy fat.

Craving a Snicker’s chocolate bar or a grilled cheese sandwich?  This can completely satisfy ones cravings but at the same time add several extra calories to the daily caloric intake.  And, fat percentage amount – forget about that…it’s a lot in these types of foods.  One way to handle the carb and fat content in these foods will be to replace with healthier options, according to Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, in an article, “The Facts about Food Cravings,” in WebMD.

Cravings

I now eat that one fun size, 80 calories, 4 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 9 g sugar and 40 mg sodium, compared to a full size (the middle one in the photo) which has 250 calories, 12 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 27 g sugar, and 120 mg sodium. I take tiny bites and take my time eating it…this satisfies my craving. Photo source: pintrest.com

I love my Snicker’s bar and my grilled cheese sandwich.  So how can I make them healthier for me?  I don’t eat a full size Snicker’s bar! (Please see caption on above photo).  My grilled cheese sandwich – I use whole wheat bread with reduced fat cheese slice, and tiny amount of butter on one side and tiny amount of olive oil on the other.  This works!  It’s delicious!  I love eating all different kinds of foods, and I am constantly making similar adjustments.

Now for my mint chocolate chip ice cream – I seem to have lost that craving.  That 3-5 minute is on my side right now.  Well, or it could be that now I’m craving grilled cheese sandwich J    Well, take healthy care of your cravings my friends.

…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life to Healthy…until next time 🙂

 

Keeping Myself Hydrated…

Hot weather is here and I’m going to have some fun this summer!  Summer is a time for enjoying the outdoors.  Walking, swimming, trails, hiking and just lazing around on my deck sipping something cold are just a few things I’ll be doing this summer.  I got inspired to create a garden in my backyard…so I plan on spending time in the dirt, too 🙂   What will your summer fun be?  It doesn’t matter what your activity will be, make sure to pay attention to your body’s hydration.  I did not know that if I was even slightly dehydrated, my ability to fully enjoy my activity would be affected? Yes, it’s true.  So, this summer, I’m going to remember these words – KEEP MYSELF HYDRATED.

I read bunch of articles and found out bunch of cool information about our bodies and hydration.  I thought to put all that I learned here to share.  I hope it’ll be helpful to you.

First, what is hydration?  It is defined as the process of causing something to absorb water.  As in, “The human body requires adequate hydration to function properly.”  Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60% of your body weight, as stated in an article in Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Lifestyle. Your body depends on water to survive.  Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly.

When you keep your body hydrated your body can take better care of you.  I’m definitely planning to keep my body hydrated!  I want my body to feel good and fully enjoy any activity that I choose.  I was so impressed by how water functions in my body.  Just check below:

                      Functions of water in the body

Functions of water in the body

Hydration includes water intake for most people, most of the time.  If your body sweats, you are losing water and electrolytes.   “The proper balance between water and electrolytes in our bodies really determines how most of our systems function, including nerves and muscles,” says Larry Kenney, PhD, a professor of physiology and kinesiology at Penn State in an article by Heather Hatfield.

Hydration

Second, what are Electrolytes?  Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids.  Since water does not contain electrolytes, we must replace them by drinking fluids that contain electrolytes. Common electrolytes include:  Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Sodium.  So, remember, if you sweat from activities, give your body some electrolytes.

Does coffee, tea, soda count toward hydration?  I always thought that these drinks just made you run to the bathroom more.  Instead I found that “There is no truth to the idea that coffee makes you dehydrated. That is a pervasive myth,” says Kenney, who is a spokesman for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). “The diuretic effect of the caffeine of soda and coffee is mild compared to the amount of fluid they contain.”

As I continued my research on hydration, I was really surprised to find a fact about drinking eight 8-ounces of water every day.  I found that, “There is no scientific evidence whatsoever for that rule,” says Kenney. “It’s certainly not a harmful rule, but there is no scientific rationale behind it.”  Since it’s not a harmful rule, let’s keep the rule and let’s keep drinking water.  Definitely drink more water if you are an active person, and definitely more in the summer season.

Third, what else can we add in our quest to stay hydrated?  Foods like soup, yogurt, milk, fruit, and salad have lots of water in them.  “You don’t have to drink water per se to get water, you can eat watery foods and that will count,” says Nancy Clark, a registered dietitian and sports nutritionist in Boston.  She gave an example of an orange.  Orange is 90% water!  “So all in all, people get plenty of water through foods and beverages other than water.”

“You should be drinking enough so that you urinate every two to four hours, and that the urine is a light color,” says Clark, author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. If you urinate and it’s dark yellow, you need to definitely hydrate.

Most obvious sign of dehydration is feeling thirsty.  Other mild to moderate signs include: headaches, cramping, dark urine, and dizziness.  “Headaches and cramping are common signs of dehydration,” says Rick Hall, a registered dietitian in Phoenix. “However, these are late signs. Unfortunately, the body hides mild dehydration very well, and it can take hours before you recognize that you are dehydrated.”

Lastly, it seems pretty simple to keep hydrated – Water, Electrolytes and Foods rich in water are excellent choices.  Continue enjoying your coffee, tea and soda (no sugary soda (topic for another time).   I feel like drinking a hydrating smoothie.  I’m going to make one for myself, right now!  Smoothie – water rich, fruit rich in water and greens containing water!  Are you with me on this?  Okay then, go make one for yourself!

I’ll direct you to my favorite and simple smoothie recipe. It’s on my other blog The Unstoppable Optimist. Enjoy!  Have fun this summer and remember to KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED!

 

 

…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life To Healthy … until next time 🙂

Choosing healthy for this body

Most of us, at some point think about eating healthy and doing all the healthy things.  For the most part we have good intention, and then as we get busy with family, work and other things in our lives, eating healthy takes a back seat.  Of course, it’s always easy to stop at a restaurant and order food and be served or just go to a fast food joint.  Usually, restaurant foods are high in fat, calories and sodium.  But I’m not here to tell you how bad they are, instead I’m going to share with you one way to start focusing on eating healthy.  One important thing I learned about eating healthy is that it takes less time to fix than when you go to a restaurant, look at the menu, decide what to eat, order food, wait for the food to come, and then finally the food arrives.  During this time, I would have fixed and eaten fresh, tasty, and healthy meal at home and still have time to enjoy a short walk.

I have indulged in more than my share of fast foods and restaurant gourmet foods.  But once I realized what it was doing to my body, I quickly wanted to make the change.  I assure you, eating better is the best thing you can do for your body.  You will feel the positive changes inside your body and see the positive changes outside your body.

Eating Healthy

This is how my plate looks like. My taste buds rarely crave for salty, sugary or fatty foods. Eating bunch of fresh, whole foods can do this to your taste buds. It’s a good thing 🙂 Photo credit: Choose MyPlate

If you are thinking of starting to eat healthy, use portion size with your food.  One site I felt was helpful was USDA’s Choose My Plate to find the amount that’s right for you.  In addition, check the nutritional facts label on packaged foods for serving size, calories, fat, sugar and sodium content. Limit saturated fats and trans-fats.

Eating Healty

This seriously does not look pretty! How can this be good for your body! I make my own healthy version of pizza, burgers and even fried food … lightly dust coating a chicken strip and frying in one tablespoon of pure olive oil. That’s the way to do it. Works for me 🙂 Photo credit – Harvard Health, Harvard Medical School

The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between…read this helpful article posted in the Harvard Health blog.

According to Choose My Plate, key elements of eating healthy are:

  • Variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups – dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oil
Eating Healty

A sample of my healthy meal. 2/3rd cup pasta, 1/3rd sautéed peas with onion and garlic, 3 large shrimp cut up and sautéed, 1 teaspoon extra virgin oil drizzled with pinch of dried oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Satisfying meal. It’s a huge meal but all good 🙂 Photo credit: Me 🙂

It really is a choice we have to make to eat healthy.  I have noticed that although I mostly eat healthy, once in a while I want something unhealthy like French fries, chicken strips or fried vegetables.  I try to limit myself to those foods to once or twice a month and limit to a small portion size.  Growing up I never knew restaurant or fried foods could be harmful to my health.  Now, I know better.

Start your healthy eating habit today … it’s never too late to start something good for yourself.  Start now!

…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life to Healthy blog…until next time 🙂

Enjoying – Coolness and Warmness of Fall Season!

Loving fall season!

Fall season is beautiful.  The leaves are turning colors and falling off the trees.  Days are getting cooler and shorter.  It’s time to really enjoy this season before winter arrives.  Making the best of this season with dark mornings, as we leave for work/school, and dark evenings as we get back home, makes it super challenging to enjoy the day.  We still have a decent amount of daylight to enjoy, but how?  Hibernating inside our homes after a whole days work sounds comforting.  But, how about getting out whenever we can – During lunch hour, breaks, and on the weekends – Keeping our focus on soaking in the sunlight whenever possible.  What I’m trying to say is to embrace the cool weather and enjoy the warmness from the sun every possible chance we get!     

Here are five reasons why I think cool weather is cool as I soak-up the warmness:

  1. I feel refreshed: The cool crisp air touching my face is an instant boost to my sensory neurons.  It awakens my body, mind and soul.  (I dress in layers to keep my body warm.) 

2. The season’s unique scenery motivates me: The blue sky with golden sun light streaming through bare branches of strong stark trees look majestic and beautiful. (I take many pictures as I walk.)  Walking gives me an opportunity to look at things closely and process visual details…it’s stimulating and motivating.

3. Reminds me to be positive and humble. When I breathe that cool air into my body, every cell in my body feels positive.  I am humbled by how much is given to me, for my existence.  I am humbled by the power of our weather system … changing continuously but yet keeping a firm balance.  The Earth doing its best everyday to hold us up!

4.  My energy level shoots up: How do I know this?  I feel less tired and less stressed; and I can walk longer distance. Thomas gets his body-tension out by rolling on the dry grass.   (Thomas, our family Beagle, loves cool weather…so it works well for both of us.)

 

 

 

5.  Cozying up is cool: After walking, stimulating my brain, and feeding my body, I relax.  My favorite indoor activity is sitting by my fireplace.  I love to wrap myself in a soft blanket and plop on the couch as the wood in my fireplace blazes away.  I enjoy looking at the pictures I took on my walk.  And, seeing Thomas stretched out on the couch…that’s the ultimate enjoyment!

A good read for fall season – Autumn sadness, an article I read on Today show website; another one from Psychology Today about staying healthy in the fall season.  Let’s feel good and enjoy the season change.  I always convince myself to get outside for even 20 minutes, every day.  Out, out, out!  Get that sunshine, breathe-in the cool air, and wake-up the mind, body and soul.

…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life To Healthy… until next time 🙂

Always Learning…

I’m always learning…

Strenght

I never ever thought that I could do this!

I surprised myself! I lifted myself into a Bird Pose!  I had been practicing for weeks, ever since a friend from the gym said, “Of course, you can do this!”  She is strong and accomplished in yoga and exercise world.  She was patient enough to show me the correct technique, kind enough to coach me, and generous enough to hand me a bunch of encouragement to set me up for success.  At the time I was not sure if my body was capable of such a pose.   As a matter of fact, I was sure I would never be able to do this.

First time I tried at the gym with my friend, I fell.  Thankfully, I laughed at myself saying to my friend, “Why am I even trying?”  She did not laugh, instead she said, “Your body needs to slowly learn all the techniques required and that takes time.  Keep practicing a little bit everyday.  You will see a change.  Trust in yourself.  I trust in you that you can do this.”  Wow! Those were empowering words – gave me the push I needed to make a commitment to this pose.

I started practicing at home. Practicing at home felt awkward.  Gym is always filled with energizing vibes.  Home felt quiet.  First practice at home was over as soon as it began.  Next few days were better.  As a week went by, the quietness of the home began to feel comfortable.  It brought my focus internal.  I began to hear my friend’s words clearly.  I began to make progress.  My core was sore from daily practice of achieving Bird Pose.  I did not want to give up until I held the pose for even a few seconds – this took me about three to four weeks.

Practice, practice and more practice brought me to my few seconds of Bird Pose!  I felt proud of my Bird Pose!  My friend trusted in my strength!  I, too, now trust in my strength; especially my core strength.  This is not the end though, with this pose – I need to work on holding the pose for more than just a few seconds.  (This picture was taken by my friend at a yoga session, under the sky, that we frequent.)

…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life to Healthy … until next time:)

Certified Personal Trainer! I’m One Now!

I made it!  Studying for NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification required a lot of studying – for my middle-aged mind, mind you! 🙂  But,I was determined to work hard, as hard as I could.  And, if I failed, I was ready tell myself, “I did my best this time,” and give it another shot.   Keeping that in mind, I started to mentally prepare myself for the exam date.  I read many blogs on taking NASM CPT exam.  Many bloggers wrote they had to re-take the exam, some had to retake it twice.   On the day of the exam, I was nervous and pretty sure that I would have to be retaking this exam.  I was not sure what to expect on the exam.  But I knew that my newly acquired knowledge was definitely going to be a big help.  Thanks to those wonderful bloggers who shared their tips, strengths, fears and thoughts on this exam.  All helped me!

Certified Personal Trainer

Index cards for flash cards… did not happen!

The only tip I did not follow was making those flash cards.  I started to, but did not care to continue.  My brain does not work well with flash cards!  I guess I’m weird that way :).  What worked for me was taking umpteenth amount of notes.  I bought the on-line textbook and started to read and make notes.  A slow process but a great one for me.  I seem to remember where I wrote what; I seem to quickly visualize where I drew what diagrams, etc.  I reviewed just from my notes.  I took many of NASM practice tests.  One other thing several bloggers mentioned was that most questions on the exam  were not from these practice tests.  I found a few questions directly from there.  But, all questions were based on the material right out of  the textbook.

Many questions, on the NASM exam, were where I had to calmly think of an answer.  Some questions wanted to test my understanding of the subject matter, and I had to think step-by-step to get to the answer.  I read the multiple choice answers…I read them very carefully…then decided on the best answer.  Had I not studied thoroughly, I don’t think I would have passed.

Certified Personal Trainer

My textbook, my composition notebooks, plus a sample sheet, under my book, of when I tested my memory on muscles… the check marks are correct answers 🙂 … will keep them! Reminder of my hard work 🙂

Some chapters required several days to finish.  A slow and tedious process!  What was killing me, at times, were the 30-40 pages of a chapter!  So long!   So draining!  To prevent fatal exhaustion, I allotted 5-6 days for those long chapters, and made sure I made extensive notes in my composition notebook.  I ended up finishing two composition notebooks.  Both full of detailed notes, all in my handwriting.

Certified Personal Trainer

My scary handwriting:) And, the diagrams I drew, even more scary :):) But they worked for me!

( I never knew I could get back to handwriting .   Keyboard is the way I go in my daily life.  So, this handwriting at first hurt my fingers.  Over several days, my fingers stopped hurting.  But handwriting is a slower process than typing!  I type fast and my thoughts move right along.  But I had to quickly learn to slow down my thoughts so that  my handwriting could catch-up :).  Once I found a good medium, I was off to a fit and healthy start 🙂 I will never throw my composition notebooks.  They are full of information and I know exactly where to locate them!)

Study, review; study, review; and study, review some more!  Last 4 weeks were hectic!  But by this time I had already finished more than half the textbook.  Last few chapters did not take up as much time.  What took a lot of my last month was reviewing some obviously important topics related to fitness – The OPT Model, body anatomy, muscles – agonists, synergists, antagonists, overactive and underactive muscles, bones, central nervous system, metabolism, macro-nutrients, assessments, exercises – type, progression and regression of exercises.

The information was overwhelming, to say the least!  The textbook was over 700 pages!  So, pacing myself helped.  Reviewing, taking practice tests, and reviewing the appendices in the hard copy of the textbook also was beneficial.  (NASM sent a hard copy in addition to the on-line textbook).  I love the book.  I’m going to use it as reference.

In my About page I had mentioned getting my personal trainers certification and now I have it!  How does it feel?  It feels pretty awesome! I reached my goal!   Here’s to a new beginning!  Next step is right in front of me – to secure a job as a personal trainer.  I’m excited to start.  Awaiting actual certificate from NASM!  (Unofficially, I am making my hubby be my first client:))

Certified Personal Trainer

“PASS” – The result sheet given to me at the test center! It was a great feeling to see this!

…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life to Healthy …until next time 🙂

 

Studying for NASM Certification!

As I study for my NASM personal trainer’s certification I welcome any advice, suggestions and pointers on how to accomplish this!   I’m excited and nervous about it.  I’m studying hard but need to study for longer time though.  I’m unable to shift gears to student mode, I keep getting distracted.

NASM studying

I gotta keep going!

First couple of chapters were not too bad.  But it seemed like  chapters 3 and 4 were never-ending!  The chapters were loaded with information.  I really need to speed this up so I have time to review later.

I have read several blogs about what to focus on when studying.  I also printed NASM’s study guide.  This will help me in concentrating on specific areas.  There’s a lot … the book is 900 + pages!  I have to take my exam in August, this year.  I have not registered yet.  Thinking of doing it in June.

As I’m reading I’m making notes.  That takes up a lot of time.  I still need to make flash cards of definitions.  One composition notebook is almost finished making notes.  And, I just started chapter 5 😊.  I realize I need to speed this up but having a tough time.

NASM studying

My blank index cards for flash cards…

I will keep posting my failures and triumphs here.  If anyone is hearing and extending support… I truly appreciate it!  Thank you.

…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life To Healthy…until next time 🙂

My Soulful Stroll!

Walking by waterside

My being – my mind, body and soul. I feel a delicate, yet, strong aura of connection between my being and everything else around me – The finely course but soft earth I’m walking on; the gentle breeze that’s touching me; the cool water that I’m feeling; and the warm sun ray that’s reaching me from a distance afar – Everything I need to exist in this captured moment – My soulful stroll.

…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life To Healthy … until next time 🙂

A Body Flow Certified Instructor: I’m That Now!


I can’t tell you how excited I am to get certified to teach Body Flow! You already know I lift weights and ride stationary bike…but doing the Body Flow class touches something deep in the core of my being. So, I want to highlight my journey to getting this certification.  I am not certified in teaching lifting weights and RPM…I just love taking those classes.

After my Initial Training,  I had 60 days to teach and pass in three categories: Choreography, Technique and Coaching.  Also, I had to now learn the entire release, that’s ten tracks. Yikes!  Not a dancer, not a musician,  I constantly felt butterflies dancing in my stomach!

With great nervousness, I started practicing with the Masterclass Video by Les Mills that I had downloaded for Initial Training.  I listened to the music, watched the presenters, and focused on the Choreography Notes.  Overwhelmed, more times than not, I kept practicing.  I kept reminding myself that this certification that I want was not for anyone else but for me.  I wanted to do the program correctly, for me!  That kept my nerves under control.

Body Flow certification

Not a good Form at all…

I had to  videotape myself teaching this release, and send it to Les Mills for assessment.  My deadline was mid October 2016.  After speaking to a few Body Flow instructors at the gym, I started taping myself teach in their classes.  My Body Flow instructors are amazing people!  With their busy lives, they took me under their wings.  They coached me and encouraged me.  They let me shadow with them, and answered my questions.

A must for me was practice, practice and more practice;  everyday, two, three or four times.  I had sore muscles in my body.  I practiced in my basement, bedroom and even bathroom.  I practiced at the gym, when no group classes were scheduled.  The cleaning person there knew I would be coming to practice, so he cleaned the floors before I got there.  He told me that he wanted me to get a nice clean smelling room.  That was very sweet.  I greet him every time I see him.

Result of my first assessment – SEND NEW VIDEO!  That meant I did not get certified.  Other instructors were encouraging and said that happens.  I knew right away why?   I was moving faster or slower than what the music allowed.  I needed to fine tune my work, and be on the beat of the music!  My assessor sent me a detailed feedback.  I read it a hundred times as I practiced.  I actually felt that this feedback that I received was great.  Had I been certified first time around, I really wouldn’t have known how to fine tune myself.

Body Flow certification

Form still not quite there…

I sent my second video a month later.  Assessment result – SEND NEW VIDEO.  What?  Even my Body Flow instructors couldn’t believe this.  I had felt pretty good with my taping.  So, what did I miss?  I read my second detailed feedback from my assessor.  I shared that with other instructors.  I had passed two out of three categories –  I made it through Choreography and Technique.  I failed Coaching.  I was very disappointed.  I started to lose the little confidence I had.  I fought with my own thoughts and felt totally discouraged.  I thought I was pursuing something I was not cut out for.  But something inside me poked me to get up and keep reading the feedback and practicing.  So, I kept going.  The feedback was written in an encouraging way and I never felt that the assessor wanted to fail me.  The assessor’s words had this powerful “push”; enough to get me lifted and going!

Coaching starts with Layer 1 Coaching.   As an instructor,  I would need to cover Layer 1 Coaching – “Alignment: Include the Pose Name, Body Part(s) and Direction of the Movement,this tells people what to move and where to move,”  per Les Mills.  Next in Layer 1 is giving Breathing Cues: “Encourage deep nasal breathing, which helps to oxygenate the brain and counteract the effects of stress.”  Lastly, in Layer 1 is giving Options to reduce intensity or advance the pose.  I was good here.

Next is Layer 2 Coaching.  This is where an instructor must Pause and Look at  the class participants.  “See what is really happening on the floor for your class.”  Then correct a pose if that’s what’s needed or cheer if the class is doing great with a pose.  Encourage and support the participants.  Video taping, focusing on passing, being on the stage, and teaching a real class was enough to make me forget coaching altogether!  And, you say Coaching had layers! 🙂  Of course I knew, but in those moments it was miles and miles away from my mind!

Then came Layer 3 Coaching.  My assessor wrote that I did do some Layer 3 Coaching, just not enough.  Layer 3 Coaching – “These cues coach your class, evolving, extending and enhancing the feel and experience of their poses, thus moving your participants closer to perfect technique and experience.”   Those wonderful, seasoned Body Flow instructors who were my biggest support system were shocked that I did not pass 2nd time around.  After seeing my detailed feedback, they said maybe I need my video reviewed again.  They all agreed that Layer 3 Coaching came with time and experience.  The instructors said that was never part of their passing criteria.

The National Lead Assessor (NLA) for Body Flow reviewed my video.  They said that the assessment standards had become stricter in 2016 and it was now more difficult to pass.  This change was done to align with global standards and meet partner demands.  They also wrote, “You (that’s me) sit quite well in the essence of Body Flow and teach with authenticity and ease that will serve you well throughout your teaching journey.”  I loved this part!  This hit me right in my core.  Remember, my core,  I mentioned it earlier.  I got what I needed to push me.  I loved reading NLA’s feedback over and over.  They sent me a beautifully crafted detailed e-mail.  Told me exactly where to go in my videotape and what to do.  They really wanted me to succeed!  I felt that deeply!

Third video, done!  In early December, I videotaped it in one of my instructors morning classes.  Then I videotaped a 2nd one that evening in another one of my instructors classes.  Nervously, but bravely, I did it!  I reviewed the videos at home.  Picked the second one and uploaded it to Les Mills.  Done!  This is it! I took a deep breath in and exhaled a long breath out!

Body Flow certificate

Got the Form, the Choreography and the Coaching! And, the Certificate!

Three days before Christmas 2016, I fell sick.  As I rested I re-read all my feedback sheets from past assessments.  I checked the Les Mills portal everyday to see if the results came, even though Les Mills sent me a message saying that result would come by December 29th.  Still sick in bed the day after Christmas, I picked up my phone to check stuff and decided to open my email.  “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU PASSED YOUR ASSESSMENT VIDEO AND ARE NOW A CERTIFIED BODY FLOW INSTRUCTOR!” I am ready to move forward in this journey!  So happy!

Body Flow certification

My certificate is official!

P.S. Thanks to my assessor.  You were tough with me, but I needed it!  I clearly understand how I need to script my coaching.  

P.S. Thanks to my wonderful group of Body Flow instructors.  I couldn’t have done this without your strong support, advice and hugs!

If you are wanting to become a Body Flow instructor, I hope my article helped you.  I’ll answer any question(s) you may have.  Feel free to send them my way.

…thanks for visiting Coaching My Life To Healthy…until next time:)