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Athlete

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Are you tired of…being tired, PMS, restless sleep, not having enough energy to do what you want?

Read no more if you...

  • Have all the energy in the world
  • Don't struggle with hormones and PMS
  • You don't know what a "busy mind" is
  • Wake up feeling like a FRESH DAISY
  • You don't know what it's like to live feeling OVERWHELMED (all the time)
  • Don't crave carbs
If you are still reading, lets get right down to it. We live in a society of GO GO GO.  Do MORE.  Have MORE. Being BUSY is the norm.  If it's not working, then work harder. And if you are reading this...you are probably a lot like me. Athlete. Looking for PRs. Parent. Striving to provide better. As a person, always looking to see what you can take on, looking to see JUST HOW AWESOME YOU CAN BE! Nothing wrong with any of that! Here is where we get into trouble: Most of us are driven people. Type A. The movers and shakers. out-of-order-tiredSo our person type leads us to run harder, faster and not give up. The price to pay for that, for a life time of living like that, is issues within adrenal health. Those babies are glands on the kidneys that are crazy important. Yes, everything is important. But these gems aren't getting any publicity. If you go into the docs office and complain about PMS they certainly aren't going to educate you on how the adrenal produce progesterone, which levels out estrogen, which helps that week of PMS not be a FLIPPIN' CATASTROPHE. Hey guys, HORMONES ARE FOR YOU TOO! The adrenal glads produce testosterone. And you can be deficient too. So maybe low energy. The adrenal glands work hand in hand with the thyroid. You really can't help one without looking at the other. There are varying degrees of adrenal issues. And various things to do for them. A lot of them are super awesome in that nurturing the adrenals is fairly easy and little negative side affects. The catch. YES THERE IS A CATCH. Depending on where you are at with your adrenals, it might take quite a while to build them back. It's not a quite fix. 6 months to a year if you're lucky. But you want to go down that road, because here's the SCARY PART, the little issues...they pile up. PMS, Infertility. Female issues. Hysterectomy. Depression. Chronic Anxiety. Heart palpitations and other BIG BAD issues with the heart, like A FIB. The list will go on and on. Because these adrenal glands affect important hormones that affect everything. So... Here are some classic symptoms:
  • You're not eating breakfast because you chow down on carbs in the pm
  • You're intake of carbs and quick energy in the am is OFF THE CHARTS
  • You feel awesome at night, have lots of energy (aka you aren't winding down)
  • You can't shut off the mind, you don't stay asleep, you are taking sleep aides
  • You wake up feeling NOT RESTED
  • You have PMS (no, ladies, this isn't normal)
  • You're libido is in the tank
  • You struggle with low blood sugar or low blood pressure
  • Allergies, asthma, frequent illness, unexplained heart pains/palpitations
Ok. Thats the IN YOUR FACE, do you need to address this chat. Be on the look out for the following...
  • PART 2 on this topic
  • Information the the 30 Day KICKSTART to A NEW BEGINNING program. This is going to be a group activity that I will be hosting. Three levels to join...FREE, Level 1, and Level 2. We get started soon. This is going to be a very private thing. So if you are serious and wanting to commit, contact me. I'm going to be here throwing a lot of stuff at you, so you can use this next 30 days to develop and GET YOUR OWN PLAN in place. Email me if you want to join.

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Easy Yoga Pose to help with Plantar Fasciitis and hamstring tightness

Yoga is a great tool for preventing injuries.

As a sports lover, you know that injuries come with the territory. You know that injuries, whether caused by repetitive motion, imbalances in your biomechanics or both, can be painful, frustrating, and limiting. Through a combination of active and passive stretching, yoga can be helpful to keep you injury-free. One of the most common injuries for athletes is plantar fasciitis.To prevent plantar fasciitis, practice this yoga pose on days you train or workout. Perhaps at night before bed.

reclined-leg-pose-manReclined Leg Stretch

What it Does: Reclined Leg Stretch provides a safe stretch for the hamstrings and the tissue that runs along the back of the hip, thigh and calf, which tugs on the sole of the foot when it gets tight. How to Practice: Lie on your back, legs together. Strongly extend through the heels. Keep the left leg pressed on the ground as you bend the right knee to the chest. Place a strap around the arch of the right foot and hold the strap loosely in both hands. Exhale and extend the right leg straight up. Walk your hands up the strap until the elbows are fully extended. Keep your neck relaxed and make sure you are not throwing your head back. Lengthen the back of the leg between the buttock bone and heel. Try not to be overly enthusiastic about pulling your leg toward your chest. Instead, emphasize the grounding of your left leg as you draw your arms back into their sockets and lift your collarbones. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Breathe evenly and then slowly release. Repeat on the left side.

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Healthy Oils – the quick skinny

fatsMuch Smarter in Regards to Fats In order to be healthy we need healthy fats. We've gotten SMARTER in recent years.

In fact Harvard is saying "dozens of studies have found that low-fat diets are no better for health than moderate-or high-fat diets—and for many people, they may be worse."
Read more at harvard.edu. As an athlete, healthy fat is a MUST. Men and women alike can suffer serious issues, like in the area of hormones, if healthy fats are not regularly consumed. Understanding that fat is the main fuel for the endurance athlete is important. Research is showing that chronic diseases are lower in fat-fit athletes. Read more here...

The Quick Skinny

Olive oil: This oil has been so highly research. Let's leave it at its seriously good for you. It's a rich monounsaturated fatty acids. The cardiovascular benefits have been shown to be outstanding. Cook with it, add it to your smoothies, use it as salad dressing. Coconut oil: The lauric acid in coconut oil may help improve your ratio of good to bad cholesterol. Select virgin or raw options. You can add to smoothies, good with it, put it in your coffee. Grapeseed oil: Polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to lower total cholesterol. Cook with it as you would olive oil. It's also makes a smooth base for salad dressings. Pumpkin seed oil: Contains a blend of vitamins, such as A and E and antioxidants that can reduce free radicals and protect skin from UV damage. Walnut oil: A great source of the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, and has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It has a warm nutty flavor making it excellent for salad dressings or in soups. Happy eating!

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15 Healthy Smoothie Making Tips – great for athletes 

Change up the ingredients.
Using different fruits and vegetables will help you get an even amount of nutrients and health benefits from the varying components.
Fresh is always best
The fresher the juice and ingredients you use in your smoothie, the better the flavor and nutrition. Use organic ingredients in your smoothie whenever possible, not only to increase nutrition and avoid pesticides, but also for better taste.
Healthy Tea Time
Use a healthy tea instead of water, milk, or juice as the base of your smoothie to boost the nutrition.
Smoothie Sweetness
Using dates is a great way to sweeten your smoothie. Remove the pits and soak them overnight or for at least an hour before blending. If using a sweetener, stick to the good ones. Honey, maple syrup, and stevia are excellent choices. In the winter you might find your fruits are not as sweet as you’d like, causing your smoothies to not taste the best ever. Try using fruit juice as the base of your smoothie instead of water.
Juice it up
Juice your own fruits and vegetables for use as the base of your smoothie. Nothing is fresher, tastier, or healthier.
Add in some Kefir magic
Milk and young (Thai) coconut water kefir deliver a probiotic punch while improving digestion and nutrient assimilation.
Spice it up
Various spices enhance both flavor and nutrition. Play with them and perfect the taste. Cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, and nutmeg, are a few good options.
Protein Power
A good protein can go along way, especially for guys looking to put on muscle. Make sure you’ve got a good source, Juice Plus Compete is what I use. For more information, check out Juice Plus Complete.
Healthy Fats
A good fat like coconut, flax, or hemp oil, an avocado, or cream will keep you satiated and full of energy for hours, and put the smooth in smoothie.
Get Salty
Adding a high quality salt to your smoothie not only provides much needed minerals, but also enhances the taste. Celtic Sea salt, Himalayan Pink salt, and Redmond salt are excellent options.
Fresh-Fruit-Smoothies
Superfoods
Experiment and try different superfoods to really boost the nutrition of your smoothie. Maca, cacao, goji berries, bee pollen, aloe vera, coconut oil, hemp seeds/protein, spirulina, and acai are great to start with.
Seed it
Flax, hemp, and chia seeds are perfect for boosting the nutrition of your smoothies.
Herbalicious
Adding Chinese herb powders like Ginseng, Astragalus and Rhodiola is a great way to increase the medicinal properties of your smoothie.
Turn up the Base
Don't skimp on the base of your smoothie. Use high quality water (filtered or spring water), almond, coconut, or raw milk, or fresh juice. One of my favorite bases is water from a young (Thai) coconut, which provides sweetness and a bevy of electrolytes.
Have Fun!
Get everyone involved in making smoothies – your friends, family, children – and have fun! Note, if you dance while making your smoothie it will turn out much better :)

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3 Simple Activities where Yoga helps the Athlete keep calm

The yoga practice of mindful breathing and meditation can greatly help with the areas that the athlete struggles mentally. Like if being in the water really scares you. Or you let yourself mentally quit before you are physically done. Or you doubt yourself, not reaching higher. Here's the skinny on breathing/meditation and I even want to talk about "mantra". They are meant to help you get back to your most awesome self. Because you know what... YOU ARE FLIPPING AWESOME!!! Breathing practices help the athlete to manipulate/use the nervous system; to calm yourself or get yourself going. Meditation helps us to learn to turn the volume down on life and live in our Awesomeness. Manta, which literally means "mind protector" is a crazy easy way to put positive thoughts into our being. Helps us to live in our awesomeness, not the silliness that we sometimes believe to be true. It's not weird stuff, it's the same as positive affirmations, praying, etc. Just a different language/word for a universal truth. Here are things easy ways to practice.

Breathing practice:
Sit, stand, lay, walk, bike, run, skip (whatever). Just count the breath. Inhale "1", exhale "1", inhale "2", exhale "2"..."10", "9"..."1", "2"... Over and over. When the thoughts pop in say "oh hi" then back to "1", "2"... It's a powerful mental muscle to be able to sit with the breath. The heart rate goes down. Blood pressure down. Cortisol down. Good stuff.
Easy meditation practice
Walk around where you can relax. Focus on your feet. Barefoot is best. Everything else is fine. Concentrate on your feet. How they feel as you walk. The heel strike, how the ground feels, the temp, texture, etc. When the thoughts come on, move back to the feet.
Simple mantra
Find a saying that you want to embody/color your whole being with. For example, for those athletes who struggle in the water; with each stroke repeat to yourself "I am long, I am strong." Other possibilities, "I am enough" "I do not quit" "I will make it". The key to this one, SAY IT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.
With each of these three simple activities to help the athlete rock it out, you MUST PRACTICE when it's easy. Then it becomes a skill. Rote. Habit. Something that you can call on when you need to dig deep.
"The bravest thing to do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly."  ~Corra Harris
Eat Clean, Live Well, Be Awesome

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45 years old and alone in the attic…

samuel-prokop2No no, it's not what you think... I actually have an awesome attic/man/pain cave! A cross between a fully-fledged modern gym and the entire 3rd floor (roughly 1200 sqft) of a 150+ years old Victorian New Orleans home which has never been finished... On my DFB schedule for today my coach slipped in YOGA for the first time! YOGA! What in the hell: I am a 45-year-old grumpy, old, French man...yeah, right... Well after a 30 minutes session of yoga for runners from Coach Bonnie I am sold! I have been training pretty seriously now for about 5 weeks or so and I am now realizing that I totally needed the stretch. It's really eye opening for me! I feel relaxed and something tells me I am going to sleep better tonight. Samuel-prokop-1 So Namasté my fellow athletes! ~ Samuel Prokop

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Athlete Yoga Education Video – Triangle Pose

triangleThe yoga pose "triangle" is an excellent way for athletes to bring a synergistic balance of stretch and strength to the whole body. Also called Trikonasana.  Athletes/runners, this is one of your "go-to" poses. [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"] Here is a video for Triangle. Enjoy. It's a short one. 8min.  ;) [embed width="560" height="315"]http://www.youtube.com/embed/6GTKXw22vY0[/embed] [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"]

What Athletes and runners need to know about Triangle Pose:

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  • Benefit: Stretches the hamstrings.
    This is a wonderful pose to 1) find out if one hamstring is tighter than the other. Which causes a whole lot of issues and 2) gives you a way to address it. Also, you can spend some time with this pose to might small adjustments to find the different parts of the ham, which might have one tight part vs another.
  • Benefit: Strengthens the glutes.
    When done "correctly" or in the idea of alignment, you can learn to fire your hip rotators in a healthier way. As well as learn if one glute is weaker than the other. Which will probably be the case, especially if the first bullet about the hams is true.
  • Benefit: Stretches the back.
    There are parts of the back that are hard to stretch. This pose gets to some of that. Especially if you ratchet it down a bit and practice on a wall. This is really a lovely way to study this pose. Getting your hand to the floor is not the goal. Balance of the body, in relation to itself is the goal. So if you aren't touching the floor, your spine isn't parallel to the floor (which it probably won't be and thats a-ok", your hand reaches up in relation to alignment with your heart. Not the ceiling. Develop this idea and your shoulders will thank you.
  • Benefit: A really DARN GOOD POSE.
    This pose does a ton of stuff. More later on it. Just take my word for it. You can look forward to practicing this one for a long time because there are a lot of this to learn from this pose. And of course, the running, biking and swimming...this is a therapeutic pose. So when you jack something up, this is one you pull out of your bag.

    TRIANGLE - a pose that can be studied by the yoga student for years and has benefits that last a lifetime.
  • Benefit: Can help to strengthen the "flat foot".
    This is a great pose, once again on the wall, to help with strengthening feet that like to collapse in the arches. Most of the time this is just de-conditioning of the feet. Maybe a lifetime of it. Generally you can strengthen the foot to have a stronger arch. This can be a long process but well worth it considering the function of the arch, as a shock absorber as well as help you have better running form, more natural and flowing.
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Yoga Athlete Runner Education Video – Warrior 2 and Strong Legs

warrior-2-bhanda-2The yoga pose "warrior 2" is an excellent way for athletes to bring a synergistic balance of stretch and strength to the whole body. Also called Virabhadrasana II in your more "refined" yoga classes. hahaha. Just joking, sort. of. Thanks for the picture: Daily Bandha [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"] Here is a video for Warrior 2. Enjoy. It's a short one. 6min.  ;) [embed width="560" height="315"]http://www.youtube.com/embed/z24DzzboMF4[/embed] [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"]

What Athletes and runners need to know about WARRIOR 2:

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  • Benefit: Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles.
    This pose done well takes a lot of effort in the legs. If you find yourself bored with this pose, you're not working hard enough.
  • Benefit: stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders.
    When you build this pose from the feet up and engage all muscles, keeping the pelvic bowl upright, neutral (which requires a lot of length in the back leg groin area) you find a nice organic stretch. Then to add a tall spine with the chest, shoulders and arms lifting up, from the action of the lower part of the body and back...this is where the elusive opening comes from. This is exceptional work for the athlete, who most of the time, is very tight and tense in this area.
  • Benefit: Increases stamina, builds mental toughness.
    If you doubt me, attempt to stay in this pose for awhile. Like minutes. Get back with me if you have more doubts. ;) No, seriously, this pose, once you can stay in it for minutes, you develop this equilibrium in the body, where your muscles are holding your body as a whole, a well balance whole, in equilibrium and you discover that once your mind gets out of the way, your bones are holding you up. It's almost becomes effortless. Though I will throw out the disclaimer that this might take years of dedicated yoga practice.
  • Benefit: Stimulates internal organs.
    If this sounds weird to you, think about Grey's Anatomy when they say do cardiac massage. When you stretch, twist and strength muscles, the organs get a squeeze and other stimuli, which increases blood flow, etc etc. Not silly talk, just science.
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Warrior 2 - a pose that can be studied by the yoga student for years and has benefits that last a lifetime.

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  • Benefit: Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica.
    This might sound too good to be true. But if you think about all that this pose does, these are the outward benefits of your body being healthier, stronger, and more in balance. The stretch of the hands, kinetic awareness and stretch of the arms/wrists/hands as a whole helps with the openness of carpal tunnel. Watch the video, I talk A LOT about the feet. Flat feet is something that can be fixed in most cases. With awareness and patience. Weight bearing exercises are proven to help with osteoporosis. And then add on happy hips. BOOM! Addressing sciatica, getting it to be a thing of the past is just a matter of a well balanced hip. Strength and length in balance, which this pose can help you to develop.
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Yoga for running – stretching tight hamstrings

hamstring-forward-bend

The yoga pose "forward bend" is an excellent way for athletes to stretch their hamstrings

This is an excellent visual on the goings-on of the standing forward bend.  This pose is awesome for becoming friends with your hamstring.  Most athletes probably HATE this pose.  Those that practice yoga laugh, when we say we "hate" a pose, that's usually the pose that we need to practice more than anything. Doing this pose with some thoughts in mind, listed below, will help you to gain big benefits that will have a great impact on your running, as well as feeling better before and after running.  I'm mean really, who would love to have a back that doesn't hurt? Thanks for the picture, Daily Bandha. [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"]

What Athletes and runners need to know about forward bending:

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  • Hinging at the hips is important.
    What this means for the runners; most likely the runner has either one or two tight hamstrings is that you MUST be patient at this stretch. If you are only bent at the hips a little bit, that's ok. Practicing forward bending with a flat back. This helps you to focus on stretching the hamstrings and not involving the back too much.
  • Understand that the hamstrings are connected to the back.
    You have two hamstrings that are separate and can be different in length. So what are we talking about here? Tight hamstrings can cause the pelvis to tilt backward, which causes the lumbar spine to flatten out. And it really doesn't like to be flattened out. The lumbar spine is designed to be curved (lordosis). To compensate, the back muscles and maybe the psoasis (etc) work (excessively) to correct the imbalance. You get this tug of war with the athlete ending up with a very sore and cranky back. Then add that one hamstring might be more tight than the other, which causes a side lilt in the pelvis as well. This results in the athlete having one side of the back more angry than the other. This imbalance continues up through the back and can cause shoulder and neck issues as well.
  • Do not get aggressive with forward bending.
    The hamstrings need to be treated like babies. They work alot. They probably have been neglected and expected to work a lot for little pay. If you stand a lot, they are constantly engaged. If you sit a lot, they get short and angry. So when you are working with the hamstrings and back in forward bending, always go slower, be more mindful. Ensure that when you are stretching the hamstrings, that you feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle, NOT in the back of the knee or at the sit bones.
  • Use a block.
    If you are working on lengthening the hamstrings and you are doing a standing forward bend, use the block. Some athletes are resistant to using the block because they feel like it's an indication that they can't do it "right". Using the block can be necessary to get a good connection with whats going on in the hamstring and the back. If you do this, you will stretch better. If you stretch better, you will have a greater chance of the hamstrings becoming longer and staying that way. If you do that, you will have a greater chance of getting to not needing a block faster. So...use the block! Also, there is this interesting thing that happens if you use the block: Having your hand on the block, mildly engaging the upper body, feeling a bit of push off from the block helps you to engage the entire back fascia chain. This means that kinetically you get smarter, experience a more whole body response. And that feels AWESOME.

    Let's be clear. In yoga, "not right" is whatever hurts your body. For the runners, you want your yoga practice to help you race, be strong and stay in the game.
  • Forward bending engages the parasympathetic nervous system.
    This calls you down. Turns off your body's stress response. Most of us, the runners, are very driven and perhaps prone to "running at high speed" all the time. In the gym or at the office. Forward bending can be very nurturing for the body. If you allow yourself to slow down for a bit, and during your yoga practice don't skip the boring and slow stuff, you allow your body to recharge, rest and recovery.
[/tie_list] [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"] Here is a video for hamstrings. Enjoy. [embed width="560" height="315"]http://www.youtube.com/embed/Z-RawDwT_00[/embed]

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Yoga helps the Athlete deal with stress by increasing vagal tone

yoga-nugget-vagal-tone-2HA! I know athletes (and the rest of the world) what you are thinking...vagal tone...what's that!?!?!

Here is the 101 on it

So crazy important. Because while we all know that exercise is important, exercise is still stress on the body. And if you aren't exercising right now, keep reading...unless you have no stress in your life. The vagus nerve, the largest cranial nerve in the body, starts at the base of the skull and wanders throughout the whole body, influencing the respiratory, digestive and nervous systems. It's the "air traffic controller". It helps to regulate all body functions. Breathing, heart rate, digestion...as well as our ability to take in, process, and make sense of our experiences. This vagal "tone", as it increases, we feel better. Digestion improves, our heart functions more optimally, etc etc. This means for the athlete specifically that if our digestion is better (for example), we are absorbing nutrients better and getting of waste better so the SYSTEM (aka the exercising body) is working more optimally. So the athlete recovers faster, better. You get sick less often. We have an easier time moving from the more active and often stressful states of being to the more relaxes ones.  As we get better at doing that, we can manage life's challenges with the right blend of energy, engagement and ease. Low vagal tone bring on a feeling of depletion, digestion gets sluggish, our heart rate increases and our moods become more unpredictable and difficult to manage. Studies are showing that low vagal tone is correlated with health conditions such as depression, PTSD, chronic pain and epilepsy. Ok, so what does this mean? DO YOUR YOGA. Get to class, do the practice. Don't go to the class thinking about toning the vagal nerve. (hahahaha) Just know what when your yoga teacher is asking you to do that breathing practice that seems odd, it's gonna benefit you in a really BIG FAT WAY! If you really want to know, the practice of the ocean breathe, aka Darth Vader breathing, aka breathing as if you are fogging up a mirror, (ujjayi pranayama) is a great way to increase vagal tone, as well as repetitious speaking of single symbol words such as "om" (aka chanting or prayer). To take the mystery out of it, its the vibration quality or frequency that results of the word "om", when chanted, that works to increase vagal tone (It's science, not voodoo). Yoga helps to manage the crazy, or increase vagal tone. However you want to think about it. And that's the rest of the story!

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