inner engine fitness

building a better body

Put some spring into your step

Spring has sprung, so that means that it’s time to get moving again.  If you have been a little more sedentary the past few months and are feeling a little heavier than you would like to, just strap on those walking shoes and get outside.  This is a great time of year to renew your fitness goals and jump into action. 

It is our body’s natural reaction to want to move more as our energy renews in the spring.  Use this natural desire to step into action!  Think about what you would like to achieve in the next month or two.  Keep the goals small and manageable, as those are the ones we tend to finish.  They also serve to spur us on and make us feel more in control of our lives and our bodies. 

As an example, if you have never run in your life and would like to start, just begin with small steps.  First, make sure that you have a comfortable pair of shoes.  Then, start with a short distance and time commitment.  Each day, increase the distance little by little, walking farther each day of the month.  At the beginning of the next month, start with a few short bouts of jogging followed by walking.  Extend those short bursts to longer periods of time, and by the end of the next month, you will be ready to jog a longer distance.  Keep increasing the goals until you are running, say a quarter mile, then a half mile and so on.  By keeping the goals small, you will be able to increase your abilities slowly, thus making significant progress.  Keep track of your improvement and then look back at what you have achieved each month.  It does wonders for your motivation!

Now, it’s time to get moving!  Think of your small goal and then head out the door.  Walking is a great place to start.  You can simply just wander and admire the flowers.  I’m sure with the time to think and move you can come up with a perfect accomplishment to work toward for the spring.  Good luck and happy walking!  

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Top of the Tower (Big Climb 2014)

Well, the Inner Engine Climbers made it to the top of the Columbia Tower yet again!  Thank you to everyone who participated with and supported the team in all of our efforts.  It feels so good to raise money for such a great cause and to push through limits to get to the top of a very tall building.  Both feats seem tough at certain points and it’s wonderful to know that we have many wonderful people to help get us through the event.  The summit is a lot harder to reach without a team behind you!  Thank you again and enjoy the pictures!  Until next year…

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Go Hawks!

Tomorrow is Blue Friday and time to get ready to watch the Seahawks win on Sunday!  If you are wondering what to prepare for your Super Feast, don’t ditch healthy foods altogether.  There are plenty of healthy green and blue foods out there to make for your Super Bowl party.  You don’t have to forego the blue and green cookie, but it will help you stay balanced and healthy!  Give these healthy blue and green ideas a go, and watch the magic work on Sunday!  Every little bit of fanthusiasm helps to support the Hawks, just like every little step toward healthy habits keeps you moving toward your goal :)

-Try a blue and green salad: You can start with a lettuce or spinach base and add blueberries, pumpkin seeds and feta cheese.  Light blue cheese dressing would work nicely on top.

-How about a blue and green fruit salad or fruit kebabs?  Use honey dew melon or kiwi and alternate with blueberries and apples with the skins cut off.  Use yogurt as a dip.

-Seahawks tortilla rolls would be fun.  Use flour tortillas, then spread with a little guacamole.  Add turkey and thinly sliced white cheddar cheese.  Serve with baked blue corn chips.

-Another great side to bring would be mashed blue potatoes.  They may be a little hard to find, but if you can get them, you could add this fun Seahawks dish to your spread. Just make sure to have some green tomatillo sauce to accompany it for the green extra!

Now that you have some ideas, have fun and stay healthy.  It shouldn’t be too hard after you whip up some nutritious, FANtastic treats to have on hand!  Try to sneak in a walk before the big event and then you can be sure to enjoy the game.  GO HAWKS!!!

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A Fresh Fall

Now that the weather has turned to crisp days and cold nights, it is time to spend some time thinking about your health goals. The summer gave you the ability to eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies (I hope!), but the fall has its own pleasures and bounty. With the cooler weather, you tend to spend more time indoors and should use this time to contemplate how you are going to make some positive changes to your dietary routine.
To give your body a chance to step forward with the right foot, consider integrating some cleansing habits. Fall is a great time to jumpstart your system and get ready for the holidays. (Yes, they are just around the corner.) It may take a little time and effort to determine what type of cleanse is right for you, but I will give you a few tips on how to pick the best option for your body and mind.
First of all, look for something that gives your body the break it needs. For instance, if you eat out frequently, spending extra time home cooking could be just what’s in order for you. You may be unaware of how many added calories, hidden fat and salt is awaiting you at most restaurants. Another example would be for you to try cutting out meat while increasing the fresh produce you’re consuming for a while. Meat takes longer for your body to break down than fruits and vegetables (think days rather than hours), so choosing meatless options for a few meals a week or more could give your body more energy and get things moving in the right direction. The key is to think about the foods that have become your crutch and to pick a fun, healthy way to kick them to the curb.
Another thing to consider is the time you can devote to a little extra work. Some cleanses are just liquid, so as long as you are able to make the juice or liquid and save it for a day or two, it could cut back on your time in the kitchen. Think of all the preparation time in the kitchen you will save and can then use for other activities. Other cleanses have you making everything from scratch, so if you have a lot of time and want to hone your culinary skills, they would be a good choice for you. Preparation time is a big factor in sticking with a cleanse, so choose mindfully. (As a side note, I would check with your doctor before starting a liquid diet, as they are not meant for all individuals. They are also not the best option for weight loss. I do not personally recommend them, but I wanted to mention them as some people do experience benefits from participating in them.)
Cost is also a factor to consider. It is great to read about the amazing results that someone gets from their chosen cleanse, but think about if you can afford or want to spend the same amount of money they have spent at the grocery store. Most cleanses will tell you that organic is always preferable to non-organic produce. Sometimes that can mean a much larger food bill, so if you are participating in a cleanse with your significant other or housemate, you could really spend a lot more than you are used to. In this case, I would suggest staying as clean or organic with your choices as you can and then just wrapping it up after 3 or 4 days.
That brings me to the next deciding factor. Time is important, so choose a cleanse that will not be too much of a hardship to complete. It always feels best when you reach your goal, so pick a period of time that is short, but effective. Maybe you are new to this idea, so a 24-hour cleanse could be as long as you want to endure. If you have done a cleanse before, you may just want to challenge yourself with a three or five day cleanse. Remember, you can always add days if you’re feeling great and want to continue.
One of the amazing things about cleansing your body is that it helps you to pay more attention to what you put in your body and how it responds to those choices. It is a perfect time to pay more attention to how food makes you feel. Journal or take notes. That way you have a record of your thoughts and feelings the next time you embark on a change of diet. Choose something that will be a bit of a challenge for you, but won’t totally deprive you of everything you like about food. The idea is to give your body a rest, not throw yourself into shock!
Now, go make some healthy changes. Some will probably stick and others won’t, but consider this time of year a good time to pay attention to the choices you make and how they affect your well-being. Health and wellness comes from truly knowing what works for your body! Here’s to happy cleansing!

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Great websites for green home cleaning

It is becoming ever more evident that the products we are using to clean our homes are harmful to us. Unfortunately, these products are not regulated like we all expect them to be. Surprisingly, the product manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients on the bottles of our favorite cleaners, thus leaving us in the dark about what chemicals we should welcome into our homes.  Products are being let out into the marketplace before they are tested for safety on humans.  As a result, we are buying and using many cleaners that are incredibly harmful to our health, especially when used in combination with others. When we clean our windows, we spray ammonia and when we clean our floors we mop with petroleum solvents. Yikes!  Now, are you ready to become a little greener with your cleaners?

Okay, so  in order to arm you with the information you need to green up, not just clean up, I will direct you to a few websites that give you great alternatives to the products in your cabinet right now.  In my house, we use a lot of vinegar, a great overall cleaner that is cheap, easy to use, and pretty potent when mixed with lemon juice or baking soda, depending on what you want to clean.  Check out the first website listed for suggestions on using these three ingredients.  There are many options out there, though, if you want to use a store-bought cleaner or make your own.  You can even add fragrances that are appealing to you and label each product for separate uses in clean, recycled bottles.  Also, if you are interested in a campy documentary on the topic, look for Chemerical on Netflix or check out the second website listed below.  It follows one family as they try to convert to green cleaning in their homes.

Another important resource I’d like to share with you is a user-friendly site to look up any of the products in your bathrooms and kitchens.  It will give you the information that we should all get by reading the bottles in the stores, but don’t.  It grades each product, using A through F, based on impact to your health and the environment, as well as ingredient disclosure. You’ll probably be surprised by some of the information you find and hopefully you can use the websites to make the changes you want to make in your own home.   Now is the time to feel green and clean, so start changing your cleaning products today and you’ll be breathing fresher air tomorrow.  Here’s to happy and healthy cleaning!

Here are your sites:

http://housekeeping.about.com/od/environment/a/Homemade-And-Natural-Cleaning-Products.htm

http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

http://www.chemicalnation.com

http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners

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Small Steps to Fitness

There are many ways to incorporate activity into your busy schedule.  It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing endeavor, as many people think of exercise today.  Calorie-burning can fit neatly into your already-packed routine.  Here are some ideas on how to make that happen today!

First, you need to think about activities you enjoy doing.  That is one of the keys to making exercise become a permanent part of your life.  Maybe you like to dance or ride your bike.  Perhaps you are a natural at climbing stairs.  Maybe you like jumping rope or kick-boxing.  The sky is the limit.  Think of what you like to do and you will be more likely to keep doing it.  Believe me, there are enough activities out there to engage in that you can fit something fun and sweat-provoking into your routine.

The next step is to figure out how much time you can feasibly spend on the activity or activities you have chosen.  For instance, if you like to bike-ride, maybe you can wake up thirty minutes earlier in the morning to take your spin around the neighborhood.  (Hint: adrenaline feels a whole lot better than hitting your snooze button!)  If you like to dance, set a timer for ten minutes or pick a few songs to dance to while you are getting the coffee ready in the morning or getting dinner ready at night.   You can cut a rug in your living room until the aroma calls you back from your disco days.

It is quite possible that you only have small amounts of time, but don’t let that stop you!  You could take a break from your screen time at work to stretch or do a few calisthenics, like jumping jacks or jogging in place, for a minute or two at a time.  If you don’t like jumping, you could always do some push-ups, squats, or lunges.  Just take a one minute break every hour and you will have added at least eight minutes of brain boosting exercise to your busy day, without having to invest a ton of time at once.  You can also make several small changes, like standing while talking on the phone, taking the stairs, and parking far away from the office or the grocery store.  Think about what you are able to work into your schedule and make that time work for you!

After you have completed those steps, it is time to keep track of your increased activity.  Make a schedule that you can stick on your calendar or set up reminders on your phone to keep you on track.  If you record your activity, no matter how small the amount of time you have to devote to exercise, you will have made it a reality in your mind and on record.  You can follow your progress and make yourself accountable.  Start with small goals, adding something every week or month.  You can even track how many extra calories you burn, if that helps you with motivation.  For instance, My Fitness Pal is just one of a number of apps available for you to use.

To refresh, aim for a small increase to your activity level at first.  Let’s say ten minutes a day to start.  Frequency makes a difference when making a change in your routine, so make sure to fit it in somewhere.  The more seriously you take it, the less likely you are to give it up.  You can build from there, once you realize that it’s not as hard as you thought it was to incorporate activity into your busy life.  The key is to find the time hidden in your day.  You all have a few minutes that you could spend on activity every day.  All you need to do is to make a plan and start moving today!

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A Trail of Two Goals

I can’t think of a more beneficial way to spend the morning than to start it off with a fun and sporty 5K race, followed shortly by a tree planting event! Lucas and I took part in an event in our community called Healthy Earth, Healthy You and enjoyed a few early hours doing just that: taking care of our bodies and the earth! We chugged along a trail close to our house, feeling the surge of adrenaline and endorphins as we crossed the finish line. When we were re-hydrated and re-energized, we joined the after party as we found our individual trees to plant along the Duwamish River. It felt great to celebrate our accomplishment by lending a hand in creating a natural environment that will beautify the area and help to oxygenate the air!

I encourage all of you to spend the last few days of this month, deemed Earth Month, doing something to help the earth and yourself feel better. There are many volunteer opportunities in your community, if you just look for something that speaks to you. As well, it is good to step outside and take a walk around the neighborhood or visit a local park. Getting out in the open air will help your mind and your body feel great. We all have the ability to step outside and make a difference in our communities and our lives by being more active participants. Try it out and see how good it makes you feel!

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Massage out the kinks!

On your fitness quest, you may realize that there are a few spots on your body that need extra attention.  It may be a hip that clicks a bit or a shoulder that lacks a little flexibility.  Here enters the healing power of massage.  Working the muscles is great for health and well-being, but we also need to relax those muscles and give them a bit of loving attention every now and then.  There are many types of massage from Swedish to Shiatsu to Sports massage.  Here is a link that tells you the differences between the types and gives you a better idea of which massage may suit your tastes.  http://altmedicine.about.com/od/massage/a/massage_types.htm

If you work out regularly, you could definitely benefit from a sports massage, but it may not be the one that feels the best to you.  A massage should make you feel good and keep you coming back for more.  I have been talking to many of you about finding a good massage therapist in your area.  I decided to go on Yelp and check out the West Seattle  neighborhood to see what is being said.  I found a few places that get great reviews.  Here they are and I encourage you to check them out:

M3 Bodyworks (http://m3bodyworks.com/)

West Seattle Active Body Massage (http://www.wsactivebodymassage.com/West_Seattle_Active_Body_Massage/Home.html)

Liberty Massage (http://www.amtamembers.com/rebekahvian)

Gypsyfoot Massage (http://gypsyfootmassage.com/) and no, it is not just for your feet ;)

 

These are just a few of the places I found that seemed worth a try!  In addition, one of my clients recommended Ryan at Gene Juarez and another client suggested Pain Free Solutions for a great massage.  Here are the links for those who are interested:  http://www.genejuarez.com/ and http://www.painfreesolutions.com/

If anyone has any other recommendations in your neighborhood, please don’t hesitate to share.  Thanks to those who already have.  It’s great to pass along the resources so that others can benefit!  Stay happy and healthy while taking care of that body!

 

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Big Climb finish!

I am still so pumped up from our amazing success in the Big Climb that I decided the news and pictures couldn’t wait! Our focused, motivated little crew of five made it to the top with an average time of 24 minutes. Excellent work everyone! It was great to see you give it your all and be happy to be part of a team. As of this afternoon, we had achieved $1625! Amazing total for a group our size. You all deserve a big hug, a warm bath(participants for sure;)), and many thanks! :)
As we revel in our success, I just have to ask the question: Who’s with me next year?! LOL  Ok, I’ll give you a few days to recover!
I want to shout out to all of our supporters one last time because we couldn’t have made it without your support and well wishes. You are in our thoughts as we rest our lungs and our legs, thinking about all of our collective hard work.
The last day for donations is April 5th, so I will post the final tally after that, in case you are wondering what our grand total was. So, without further adieu, here is the proof that we made our goal…

Getting ready to climb!

Getting ready to climb!

 

Check out those shirts!

Check out those shirts!

 

Celebration mode at the top!

Celebration mode at the top!

 

Next year I'm taking the elevator :)

Next year I’m taking the elevator :)

Big Climb 2013 1898

Happy to grab a seat!

Happy to grab a seat!

View from the top!

View from the top!

Big Climb 2013 1883 Big Climb 2013 1888

Music and cheers at the finish line!

Music and cheers at the finish line!

 

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A Few Fun Finds at the Natural Products Expo

I traveled to Anaheim, Ca. a week ago to help a Stacy with her company, Healthy Hoo-Hoo.  We had a blast and met some great people while handing out tons of samples to very interested, informed people.  They are concerned with finding the best natural products to put on and in their bodies.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by the Healthy Hoo-Hoo booth to say hello and try some samples.

Another fun extra to being at the expo was that I got to visit some of my favorite companies, trying new products as well as tasting beloved items I already knew.  I relished meeting people and companies that believe whole-heartedly in bringing natural products together under the same roof to support the same cause:  making the consumer healthy and informed!  Thanks to all the companies that are making headway in the natural products market!

Here are some of my favorite companies and products:

(feel free to let me know which are your favorite natural items, too!)

Zevia is a great alternative to soda of any kind.  It has no calories and deserves to be on your shelf for a special treat, in case you need a break from your lemon water :)  I really like the ginger ale and the citrus grapefruit.  At the expo, they were even using it as a mixer, so don’t be afraid to mix it up in your favorite cocktail, giving your evening splurge a guilt-free edge!

Keeki is a line of nail polish, polish removers, lip balm and other aesthetic items that teenagers and adults alike will appreciate when they want to add flair, but want to go without the chemicals!  I tried the Hoo-Hoo blue and green nail polish, as well as the creamsicle lip balm :)

Teeccino Mediterranean Herbal Coffee Almond Amaretto

Teeccino is a tasty herbal, caffeine-free coffee that is made from figs, barley, and chicory root, among other natural ingredients, to give you a health boost instead of a caffeine high.  It is a perfect addition to your morning brew or a great substitute for your afternoon java.  I also sampled their new super seed cereal which is tasty and really filling.  If you have this warm porridge in the morning, you can rest assured that you won’t get hungry mid-morning, as it is packed with seeds, oats, and nuts to help carry you through to lunch.

Those are just a few of my favorite products that were present.  I’ll share more later.  I can’t give away all my favorites in one blog, now can I?!  Feel free to check out these products and let me know what you think.  If you like them, share the knowledge.  Together we can make a difference in each other’s health!

Thanks again to all who were present at the expo and are making products worthy of the name natural!

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