My sisters have been asking me about the benefits of the sauna ever since I made them sit in it with me after our polar bear plunge! Saunas have a long tradition, starting in Finland, where bathers expose themselves to temperatures from 175 to over 210 degrees F for the purpose of relaxation and pleasure. Studies have now been able to show the following health benefits linked to saunas (of course, if practiced safely):
Fuerte Fitness is partnering with Love & Light Healing to bring you a spring retreat for your mind, body, and spirit:
Save your spot HERE
I often wonder what my caregivers thought about self care during the time that I was growing up, especially my mother. She was a single parent raising 8 children. I don't think self care was even on her radar because she was too busy trying to survive and take care of us. I understand that I am privileged now, and that my daughter will have an entirely different perspective on taking care of herself because of her upbringing. She has 2 parents raising her and just one older brother. She has grandparents who love to have her over for week-long 'Grandparents camp' during her summer vacation. She has a village of fitness competitor aunties who look after her. She has a variety of strong women to look up to. These people not only serve as positive, healthy role models for her, they also allow me to take a break from parenting so that I can properly take care of myself.
It wasn't always like that for me. Being a daughter of migrant workers, I put in a lot of after school and summer hours working to help our family financially. We weren't thinking about nutritionally sound food or macronutrients either; it was all about what would fill our bellies up longer. Culturally, we ate a lot of rice and beans, tortillas, and chorizo. They became my comfort food as I made my way through college. Whenever we did have extra money, it went to fast food and quick fixes for the adults such as a drink or cigarettes. So my upbringing, culture, and economic circumstances shaped my eating habits and my relationship with food.
Let's just say that I didn't learn about self care from my aunts, who were so heavy they couldn't babysit us. I watched as issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic knee and joint pain held them back from having a full normal life. It was enough to teach me to get onto my health at young age. It's funny how sometimes we don't know what we want, but we definitely know what we don't want.
As we start a new year, I find myself reflecting and taking stock of my life:
What do I want to experience this year? Joy!
What do I want to see more of? Fun and Adventure!
What was my greatest challenge in 2022? Death. I lost my aunt/godmother, my biological father, and a friend and colleague in the fitness industry.
What makes me feel blessed? To be surrounded by people who truly want to support my dreams.
Even though I have built a supportive community, sometimes I get caught up in my old habitual thinking that I have to do it all alone. So I will seek out what I find comforting, which isn't always good for me. When I catch myself doing this, it takes work and a bit of time to redirect my thinking; I get up a little earlier and start my day off with some stretches. It can be a struggle to make time for yoga, even knowing that my body feels better after, when really just want to do is run. It takes effort to stop, breathe and meditate instead of letting my monkey mind run amuck. It takes strength to let people work out their own stuff, because I tend to be a "fixer." It takes courage to say 'No,' because I am a people pleaser.
And as I do these things, I am slowly able to change my perspective. Stretching helps releases the tension in my body so that I can be more flexible. Setting my intention for more joy when I meditate helps me set my roots down so I can hold space for people: my husband, kids, friends and clients. It makes me a better listener. When I focus on others, it honours our relationships and strengthens the support we give to one another. When I am grounded, I enjoy my time in the the gym and find flow. Strength training gives me the courage to say 'no' or 'yes'. When I create more joy in my life, I have more patience and more empathy to give. Taking care of myself ultimately allows me to take better care of the people in my life.
Self care isn't selfish. It isn't a luxury. It is a necessity. I heard a psychologist talk about how it's not healthy for a person to solely focus on a single way of being, such as being a mother, wife, business woman, or friend. For example, if you focus on being a mother, after you raise your child, you may realize you don't know yourself anymore. It's the same with fitness. If you only focus on one thing, like running, you will eventually get an injury. If you only do yoga or strength training, your cardiovascular conditioning will be poor. It is possible to be flexible and strong at the same time- in and out of the gym!
How do you practice self care? And what differences do you notice when you are taking care of yourself and when you aren't? At Fuerte Fitness, we take a holistic approach to health. We know that being healthy goes beyond being fit. Join- or get more involved in- our community to strengthen your physical, mental, and emotional health. And have fun doing it! I invite you to take a semi private training with me in the morning or evening. You can do it online as well! The Mamacita Program starts Monday, Feb 6th! And when have some down time or when you're on the road, listen to our podcast to get inspired by other members!
Regular exercise benefits people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and is one of the best things you can do for your health and longevity. Here are just 8 benefits of physical activity:
1. Weight management and weight loss. Exercise burns calories and keeps your metabolism going, even when you are sleeping.
2. Stronger bones and muscles. Exercise helps young and old people build stronger bones and slows the loss of bone density as you age. Studies have shown that strength or resistance training is the only type of exercise that strengthens your bones.
3. Prevents and helps manage disease and health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and many others.
4. Keeps your mind sharp. Exercise improves cognition and keeps your thinking, learning, and judgment skills on point.
5. Better mental health and reduces stress. Exercise improves your mood, reduces depression and anxiety, and helps you sleep better. It physically makes you happy with by producing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine and opens the gate for more endorphins which relieve pain, reduce stress, and improve your sense of well-being.
6. Boosts your energy. Exercise has been shown to reduce fatigue. Aerobic exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system, making your heart and muscles more efficient. This allows you to do the same activities using less energy and without getting winded easily.
7. Better sex. Physical activity can improve sexual performance and pleasure, and is associated with increased desire and function for both men and women.
8. Longer life. An estimated 110,000 deaths per year could be prevented if US adults ages 40 and older increased their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by a small amount. Even 10 minutes more a day would make a difference.*
There's no better time to start a daily exercise habit. Find fun ways to incorporate movement into your day. Instead of meeting friends for a coffee or meal, go for a walk or play sports together. Join an exercise class to make friends and stay motivated. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible. Start a new hobby: kayaking, aerial yoga, ice skating, ballroom dancing... sky's the limit. Learning new skills while moving your body will bring even greater benefits!
At Fuerte Fitness, we are always here to support and inspire you, so feel free to get in touch or comment below!
Over these last 20 years living in Seattle, I have created a community of clients that have become friends, and neighbors that have become family. Gym friends are now my sisters and their daughters have become my daughter's baby-sitters. What an honor it has been to have these people in my life as well as them letting me into theirs. I recently went to a friends' daughters' graduation who I've known since she was born and another who I met at 5yrs old just turned 18. To see them become young ladies brings me so much joy and gratitude. Just thinking about how I met them as I was teaching their parents to implement self care, even in challenging times and moments in their lives, brings tears of joy. What lies ahead in this coming year?
I love it all and am grateful for my community. The strong support system I belong to gives me love and direction, and is only possible through relationships and being open. We all need a strong support system that gives us guidance and energy to tackle other departments of our lives, not just the physical. We all have the power and capacity to move our dreams and desires along, even as we get bombarded with consumerism or other people's ideas of what the holidays should be. For me, it starts with a having a healthy body and healthy relationship with myself. Then I can strengthen my mind, spirit, and soul through relationships with others. I may not have family in this city, but I have made my own village in this community with other mothers and aunties. I'm grateful to have healthy modeling of partnerships and parenting, which has inspired me and allowed me to create my own healthy family unit.
I love my job and all the people I have met along the way. I thank you!
A healthy body is necessary to feel good during the holidays. Make sure you sleep at least 6 hours every night and eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack. If you have sugar one day, skip it the next. Try some yoga, or go on a walking meditation if you can't sit still for 15 minutes a day. Try writing down what you are grateful for at the end of the night or at the beginning of your day; that itself will invite more of those things to come.
A healthy mental space is so good for helping us empty out what we don't need and shed the heaviness of limiting beliefs. It helps us process our emotions, and truly enjoy peace and tranquility in our bodies as we release tension. We can nurture our mental health through meditation and also through stretching.
Let's make sure we keep exercising through these last 4 weeks of the year by doing home workouts and cardiovascular exercises such as HIIT. If you need support, I have plenty on my YouTube channel here.
Let's avoid feeling the guilt and shame of letting our bodies and minds go to shit because we got stressed out or overwhelmed and numbed ourselves by eating, drinking and shopping way too much.
Let's have the different reality for the rest of 2022 and start in a better spot in the beginning of 2023.
Let's end the cycle of off-and-on. I was caught up in it for way too many years.
Let's enjoy a different experience: joy and excitement for what's to come while still enjoying the present moment.
Need a good strength regimen? Try these videos on my YouTube Channel:
For mobility: https://youtu.be/w_fdG4P8ytc
For stretching: https://youtu.be/V8bANPb1gHQ, https://youtu.be/AyVyr_VsyIY
For balance: https://youtu.be/BRBq0QBG5tg
Brought to You by Adriana
Living the good, fit life in Seattle, WA. Stay tuned for more bilingual fitness tips and nutritious recipes.