Stress Relief for the Time Strapped

Ever been in a stressful situation that leaves you anxious, worried, angry, or frustrated? Have you ever been on the receiving end of somebody else’s bad day and had to encounter hurtful actions or words but still needed to go on with your own work or responsibilities? Catering to these actions is not always a pleasurable experience, and oftentimes you are left in a state of stress with little time to respond, react, or even catch your breath.

Understand that stress in a negative sense is a mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences; it is capable of affecting physical health- usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and in some cases depression. It can affect the body physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. These factors can impact our personal lives, careers, hobbies, and extracurricular activities, plus create a lot of tension within many of our relationships.

The good news is there are a few simple strategies to employ if the unfortunate ‘Grinch’ seeps itself into your otherwise pleasant day. By taking just a few moments to catch your breath, mentally refresh, or do a few simple mini-stress workouts (see our samples below) you will discover your mind-set greatly improves and the return to your activities will be just as rewarding the second time through.


  1. Change the environment if possible- quiet, no distractions, soft music, and some dim lighting. By creating this relaxed ambiance your body will release tension and let go of anxiety. Use candles or other smells to enhance the experience (lavender is excellent!)
  2. Change your mind set- quieting the mind, curbing negative self-talk, gossip or the urge to retaliate, focus inward on breathing and heart beat. Close your eyes and actively relax all muscles from head to toe
  3. Change your breathing patterns- take deep, long, meaningful breaths. Count to 4 as you inhale slowly, but exhale longer (about 6-8 counts) to increase relaxation effects. Place one hand on the abdomen and one hand on the chest and feel the breath lift the body on the inhales, but soften the body with the exhales
  4. Try some physical movements- yoga inspired stretching (see below), which open the chest, twist the spine, and help relieve tension in areas of chronic tightness usually encountered by stress. Common areas are the neck, upper back, lower back, hips and shoulders


5 minutes or less– change your environment as much as you can, begin releasing attachment to the situation that caused the stress. Sit upright or lie down, and close your eyes. Use slow, deep breathing and actively release tension in the face, neck, and jaw.

10 minutes– same as 5 minutes, but add 4 basic yoga-style stretches. Hold each one for 3-5 breaths, and repeat the sequence 2 times. Use a yoga mat, block and strap as necessary.

  1. Seated chest expansion
  2. Lateral neck stretch to R and L
  3. Seated forward bend
  4. Seated twist to R and L

20 minutes or more– repeat set up from 5 minute section, perform all seated stretches from 10 minute section, and then lay on floor on top of yoga mat to complete the last 3 exercises. Repeat them one time to each side and hold them for 5-10 deep breaths. Finish with the legs elevated on a chair, lying on back with eyes closed (covered if possible with an eye bag), a small blanket or pillow under your head, and arms resting along side of body with palms facing up. Use deep breathing, relaxation, and visualization techniques to further enhance your stress relief. Stay in this position for 5 or more minutes.

  1. Lying Figure-4 outer hip stretch for R and L
  2. Lying twist to R and L
  3. Cobbler’s Pose

By taking a few moments to disconnect, breath deep, relax, and move a little you will discover the stressful events leave little, if any impression on you. Remember, stress affects us all at some point in our lives, but it is how you handle and act upon your stress relief tactics that ultimately relates to your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual self.

Amy is the NW Regional Trainer for Resist-A-Ball, Inc. and Faculty Trainer for the American Council on Exercise. Her Bachelor of Science was attained in Holistic Nutrition and is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and yoga instructor. She also offers workshops, lectures and trainings for fitness professionals through her own company FIT Launch as well as providing personal training services locally.

To learn more and review health, wellness, and fitness products visit the Healthy Gatherings website.

Aromatherapies, Herbal, and Nutritional options for relieving stress can be found on the Healthy Gatherings website. These products are in addition to many exercise products and opportunities to connect with a personal wellness consultant in your area.

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Spat Treatments to Relax

No matter how much we enjoy our work, our family and our friends, they can still stress us out. That’s why we all need a chance to get away, relax and pamper ourselves, even if it’s just for an hour.

Few things cater to that need to relax and pamper better than a spa. Massages, facials, body treatments, steam rooms…who couldn’t de-stress in a place like that?

Of course, sometimes it can take the entire hour just to get your mind to settle down enough to enjoy your visit. By that time you’ve got to get up and return to the real world. If that’s the case, why not consider starting your relaxation period before your spa visit?

Whether you’re at home or already at the spa, you can find other ways to soothe your mind and spirit. That way, you’re already in the process of calming your mind, and by the time your get to the spa, you’ll be ready mentally, physically and spiritually for your treatment.

Get there early

One of the best ways to make sure that you can fully enjoy your time at the spa is to get there at least 20 minutes early. That way, you’ve got plenty of time to check in, change into your robe, and enjoy any other amenities they offer, like a hot tub or a sauna. You won’t have to rush around and worry about being late. Plus, you’ll also have time to shower so that you’re fresh and clean before your treatment.

Start relaxing at home

Sometimes it’s just not possible for you to be able to get to your appointment as early as you’d like. In that case, try to do things at home that will start relaxing you before you go. One way is to take a hot shower or bath before you go. Even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes, that’s 5 or 10 minutes that you’re starting the process of calming your mind. If you can just get into that mindset, it will make relaxing at the spa worlds easier.

Another way to start decompressing in your home could involve your favorite meditation tool or technique. Do your meditation technique right before you go, and you’ll be carrying that tranquility with you when you enter the spa.

For some people, though, time is of the essence, and some meditation can take more time than they have. If that’s the case, a meditation tool can help you focus quickly. One such tool is the Zen Stick, a polished wood stick that you simply toss and catch with your eyes closed. Having a physical connection like this with your meditation can clear your mind faster than a breathing meditation alone.

Even better, a meditation tool is portable, so you can take it with you to the spa. That way, you can use it both before your treatment to attain serenity, and after to extend it.

Time at the spa calms even the most harassed mind, re-centers the spirit, and helps erase the little stresses of the day. By adding meditation tools and techniques to your spa repertoire, you will be able to extend your peaceful state of mind even if you can’t extend your massage beyond 60 minutes.

About the Author
Laurie Desjardins is a meditation expert and creator of the Zen Stick relaxation tool. If you want to truly align your mind, body and spirit, consider adding the Zen Stick to your relaxation repertoire. For more information about meditation techniques and Zen Sticks, visit

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Organic Aromatherapy – Therapeutic Essential Oils

Have you tried aromatherapy and been disappointed in the experience? Or maybe you just thought you tried aromatherapy.
lavendar stress relief

Therapeutic aromatherapy has recently enjoyed a revival of interest among the 20 somethingcrowd. The powerful effects scents can have, mental and physically, interest them. Oil burners, scented candles, and reed diffusers have become very popular. But, many are coming away from the experience disappointed.

If you just want a pleasant smell, there are many products that can provide it. But if youwantthe benefits of organic aromatherapy, such as romantic moods, reducing stress or anxiety, boosting immune systems, etc., you need to look more carefully at the product.

Real aromatherapy will use real essential oils. The higher grade essential oil used, the better the benefits will be. Essential oils are the carefully extracted part of a flower or plant that actually composes the aroma you smell from that plant or flower. These odors provide a variety of functions for the plant, such as attracting pollinators, repelling harmful insects, and killing infections. These properties can now be scientifically studied and are the reason essential oils have been valued for so long.

An essential oil can contain hundreds of identifiable properties, many of which are known to be beneficial to people. Another benefit of aromatherapy is that essential oils are believed to enter and leave the body without leaving any toxic residue behind, unlike chemical drugs (or chemically reproduced scents, perhaps?).

All the different grades and products available could seem a bit intimidating. If you are looking for stress, anxiety or insomnia relief, it might be overwhelming. Or it could also be as simple as putting a few drops into melted candle wax, if you have the right resources.

Don’t be fooled by glitzy packaging or fancy words. Most fragrance oils are chemical reproductions. Many essential oils used are so low grade (commercial grade) very few therapeutic benefits will be derived.

The website,, focuses on providing the resources to keep the fun and “art” in aromatherapy without sacrificing quality. The web master welcomes any comments or questions, and will make sure you find what you are looking for.

So, don’t let your search for a romantic or relaxing evening turn into flop, or, worse yet, additional stress. There is now a place you can come to find the information, quality, and convenience you are looking for.

Nancy Shonkwiler

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Fit Biz Evolution

Welcome to TrueNorth Business Consulting presentation of a Business Makeover.  Each month will feature an idea that can help your business.  True North focuses on helping health and wellness practitioners to maintain and grow their business using the areas of law, marketing, insurance and project management.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average U.S. worker changes careers 3-5 times during their lifetime. In today’s economy I do not see it feasible.  Changing careers requires, more often than not, a large investment and sometimes an uncomfortable amount of risk.

I believe that already existing skills can be changed and repurposed with a limited investment. 

I am looking forward to taking a mediation course in March, which will certify me as a Massachusetts mediator.  This alone can not be the focus of my business.  Yet, it works well within my business service parameters and it was a course at a limited cost.  I can offer another service to my clients.

Offering another service

Think about the service you are currently providing.  Is there something you can add that will work in conjunction to your business plan?  Is there something from your past you can tap into? For example, you may now be a weight loss coach, but previously you were a fitness instructor.  How about offering small, at home, group classes?  These are many people that feel uncomfortable in a gym atmosphere.

Don’t let your old skills go, revive them and reuse them. Be green and recycle.


Every service provider uses some sort of product consistently in their business enterprise. Or there are products that work well with your business.  I receive mail catalogs that contain many different products, products that people are not aware of, which could be stocked in your office.  Are you an acupuncturist who helps neck and back injuries?  Then why not sell not just herbs, but other products that can help your patients?  It requires some effort to find a product you can support, which fit into your business, but there can be great monetary rewards, especially if you deal directly with the manufacturer.

Think of the convenience you are bringing to your clients.  With you they can get many services.  You have so much expertise, and it can work well together.  Take a look at the True North Business Consulting Blog to see the Remarkable Women post for some great examples of how you evolve your business beyond your dreams.

About the Author

Are these some of the problems that you see in your own health & wellness practice when it comes to running your business:

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Fit Pro Nutrition Service

We, FIT Launch, offer a number of programs specific to the fitness pro. Working with you in the areas of fitness business, fitness education, and even fitness leisure.

The Diet Grader tool can be ideal for you and your clients. The simple process that our users enjoy can also be enjoyed by you and help you provide new services to your own clients, students, or athletes.

Two primary options exist for you

1. Create your own account with Diet Grader and utilize it for creating appropriate menus, shopping lists, or dietary evaluations for your clients, students, or athletes. This can be an add on service or as a stand alone. Either way your business will benefit while your client benefits from needed professional dietary guidance… Create Your Account.
2. You may also choose to begin your own Diet Grader style program, branded under your own business name and image. This option may have a slightly higher upfront expense, but your potential financial benefit is enhanced… Learn More

If you’d like further information on implementing Diet Grader as part of your service and how it can earn you extra income and set you apart from competition, just use the email on the contact page to let us know you are interested.

Something More for the Fit Pro:

Ever thought about a short term working vacation at a tropical resort? We can help. Check out the Working Vacation.

Interested in a turnkey business model that takes your expertise and mixes it with a small group home party and a ton of great products that you don’t have to stock, process, and ship? We can help. Check out the Home Fitness Party.

Do you like the idea of a simple, subtle, promotional tool for spreading the work of your fitness profession expertise? We can help? Fitness Professional Branded Platinum Visa Card is a cool and useful way to let the world know of your expertise

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Personal Trainer Business

Find Personal Training Fitness Careers in the United States and Canada. Currently, there are a variety of vocational schools and personal training schools from which to choose should you desire to pursue personal training fitness careers. In addition, there are a number of certification programs that are offered through traditional colleges and universities that help candidates get on track for successful personal training fitness careers.

Sometimes, personal training fitness careers may require a bachelor’s degree for various hiringfitness professinal working vacation institutions; however, the greater part of employers seeks candidates who have at least achieved certification from an accredited school or college.

Once individuals have made the active decision to pursue personal training fitness careers, it is wise to review potential training academies for prerequisites, tuition, curriculum, and whether the school meets all certification credentials (with regard to educational programming).

Common academics for personal training fitness careers include exercise science, physical education, anatomy and physiology, first aid and CPR, kinesiology (muscle testing), nutritional counseling, and business training. In addition, while many training courses like this focus primarily on personal fitness, some degree programs integrate additional coursework in business administration and management, as well as general training in communication, humanities, and other health sciences.

The great prospect of personal training fitness careers is that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “opportunities are expected to be good for fitness workers because of rapid growth in the fitness industry.” Also, depending on education and experience, professional personal and fitness trainers have annual median earns of about $25,000 but may well exceed that pro career

If you (or someone you know) are interested in achieving personal training fitness careers, let professional training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs near you.

Employment source: (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Personal Training Fitness Careers Today
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The CollegeBound Network
All Rights Reserved

Resource Box: CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd – Freelance Writer and Web Consultant for, in association with – Educational Resources for Personal Training Fitness Careers, Personal Trainer Schools, and other Schools.

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Best Foot Forward

A best practice is a process that a business uses to effectively deliver a service or product to the public, consumer, or other business.  It is efficient because there is a pattern that will be followed so that a good experience is produced.

It is used in education, insurance and nursing, to name a few industries, but the idea can be applied to any business no matter the size.

For example, my friend went to a yoga class at a local gym.  She had attended that particular class for over a year- Intermediate Vinyasa.  On this day there were the ten regular people and two newcomers.  The instructor changed the class to benefit the two newcomers.  However, her other clients were left with a workout they did not want.

This is where having a published Best Practices would be beneficial.  Perhaps something like:

  1. Classes will start on time.
  2. If the instructor is not present, and the class cannot continue then the students will receive a certificate for a free class.
  3. Classes are marked at certain levels; please choose the level that is right for you.  Modifications will be announced, but the classes will continue at the published level.
  4. Our location will always be clean and safe.


The benefits of having Best Practices can be used in marketing to show consistency in your product, plus you will gain word of mouth clients because of your standards. You are also setting a legal benchmark for your business, because of this you want to make sure that you can meet your best practices.

If you have a business to business model, then Best Practices can still be used. Your focus may be on:

  • We believe in alternative dispute resolution and will use mediation if a conflict arises.  We want long term relationships
  • We always use Delaware law in our contracts.
  • We will answer your request within 24 hours
  • We work with the following charitable organizations and hope you will help.


It is a gain for employees too.  They will gain an understanding of what is expected of them, and what level of service they need to provide.

Taking some time to create a Best Practices will allow you to put your best foot forward.

About the Author

True North Business Consulting, LLC will empower you to take control of your legal decisions by providing unique legal coaching that focuses not just on the law but insurance, marketing and managing your projects.

In the field of Health & Wellness you are providing consumers with support with complimentary alternative medicine. Let True North support you in with your legal needs.
TrueNorth Business Consulting    You Tube

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Balance Ball Training

One of the latest trends to be introduced into our industry has been Stability Ball training. Stability balls are large balls, similar to the big, plastic ones the kids play around with in the backyard, which are made of sturdy material that allows users to sit, lay, kneel, and even stand to perform varying degrees of exercises. The dynamic nature of the ball improves balance, posture, body awareness, coordination, and allows for different positioning options to increase the challenge and progress the exercise’s level of difficulty.

The most important factor of all when it comes to ball training is the amount of fun it can bring into your program. Whether it is a group fitness class, private training session, or just personal use at home these balls add an element of play and excitement to your current exercise regimen. Not only are they fun, but they also provide one heck of a strength-conditioning workout at an inexpensive price!

Resist-A-BallTM, the leader in stability ball education, provide 3 different levels of challenge in their C.O.R.E. (Competent On Resist-A-BallTM Education) instructor training manuals. The position of the body is always placed in the easiest, or least amount of resistance, at first. By repositioning the body, the resistance challenge (1st level of challenge) is increased to make the exercise more difficult. The base of support is also decreased from wide and more supportive, to narrower and less supportive to increase the balance challenge (2nd level of challenge). Finally, maintaining a certain position on the ball, or performing a movement pattern while adding movement on the ball can add a dynamic challenge (3rd level of challenge).

No matter what exercise you perform on the ball to overload a particular muscle group, several others are acting as stabilizers to facilitate the joint actions of the particular prime movement. After one session of abdominal training using the ball, you’ll never lay on the floor to do another crunch. That is unless you are too sore to do your next workout, which in most cases after your first ball training session you are.

Besides being a tremendous benefit to your body, it adds another layer of variety to your current strength training protocol. By replacing your bench with the ball you can add a whole new level of coordination and balance to your seated and lying exercises. Not to mention the great core muscle strength and endurance you develop from stabilizing your body during all of your sets and repetitions.

Don’t delay, get on the ball and roll with it!

Sizing Tips and Guidelines

  • When seated on the top of a stability ball your knees should be even with your hips or slightly above.
  • 45cm- used for shorter (generally under 5 ft) participants.
  • 55cm- used for most people
  • 65cm-used for taller (generally over 6 ft) participants.
  • Larger, softer balls are great for de-conditioned, overweight, or mature populations
  • The firmer the ball the more difficult the exercises are to perform; the softer the ball the easier exercises are to perform.

Amy is the NW Regional Trainer for Resist-A-Ball, Inc. and Faculty Trainer for the American Council on Exercise. Her Bachelor of Science was attained in Holistic Nutrition and is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and yoga instructor. She also offers multiple workshops and trainings through her own company FIT Launch as well as providing personal training services.

To learn more and review health, wellness, and fitness products visit the Healthy Gatherings website.

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Sexy Fit Camps

Fitness Camp Blog Entry

Still relatively new to the fitness industry are the “strip-tease” and “exotic dance styled programs.  “sexy diva fitness classes(must login at sexy fitness camps“) made popular by the likes of Carmen Electra and the silent majority of women who dream of exposing their inner sexiness.  (maybe a little husband/boyfriend/girlfriend pushing there as well)
Sexy dance, strip-tease, belly dance, erotic dance, pole dancing, sexy yoga, or whatever title/format you want to throw to it are all forms of exotic erotic moves that bring out the diva in all women and at the same time offer cardio, strength, and flexibility benefits.
The fitness benefits are great.  Tone your body, burn calories and increase your flexibility; empower yourself with renewed confidence and self-esteem; spice up your relationship; improve your self expression; and learn basic to complex moves that require no dance experience.
Hell, you know we’re all about the fitness, but the psychological benefit that comes from the freeing of spirit and mind is by far more beneficial.  You also know the LBN program is totally ok with you working out purely for your own egotistic reasons. There is little wrong with getting more whistles, having more drinks bought for you, or making your partner(s) desire you more.
Our current local schedule is out and the popularity of the physical and emotional benefits of both the pole class and exotic dance class have  kept these classes full for many months…. therefore, more sexy camp classes are available this time around.
Exotic MovesFind the Sensual side of fitness with this integrated workout that combines erotic dance styles, modern dance and the art of striptease in on complete empowering sexy session. These moves will build your core strength, increase your flexibility, improve your stamina and deliver a mind opening experience for all participants. Come explore the sexy inner you and walk away with a new mind, body, and soul connection… OR host a party at your location. (more)
Pole Siren Camp Embrace your inner seductress with some sassy moves inspired from burlesque, bellydance and exotic dance while exploring the enticement of the pole. Campers will learn basic spins and moves around the pole while incorporating their sultry new dance movements into this 90 minute class. Feather boas, hats, gloves and accessories are encouraged to bring out the sass of this camp.

Partner YogaMix up your flexibility training and yoga practice with a little help from your friend or loved one. This workshop will share how yoga postures and movements become not only a work of art, but an amazing experience when performed with someone close to you. A perfect opportunity to connect, grow and explore a new appreciation for each other.

Stripping not required to enjoy any of these fun, healthy, and sexy programs.  If you have a private group that wants to step up to this uninhibited level of exotic art, let us know and we’ll work with you to schedule a series of programs for you.

Pole Dancing is the hottest rage that is hitting the U.S.A., Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Finland and New Zealand, and will soon be in your area. It has been seen on The TODAY Show, 20/20, The View, “A Current Affair” and Oprah. Yes, Oprah and Barbara Walters have pole danced in front of millions of viewers!

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Dynamic Warmups

No matter what Johnny’s dad thinks, he is not a small adult.  This is a significant hurdle each youth coach must understand and overcome before doing anything beyond general playground effort level activity “training”. Because of Johnny is not a small adult, he must be treated differently as several factors need to be taken into account for reduced injury risk and future performance development.

Prepubescent youth should have the goal of fitness education placed far a head of physical development.  Techniques and progression taught appropriately can build a foundation for reduced risk of injury and even enhanced future performance gains.  A coach who understands these principles will be providing a far greater service to the physical and mental well being of a young athlete than the sole concentration on immediate performance improvements and team wins.

Dynamic Stretch & Warm Up:

The dynamic stretch & warm up provides many benefits to athletes of any age.  Increased working muscle blood flow prepares the muscle group for more strenuous work loads. This portion of the warm up period generally last 5-10 minutes and precedes any form of activity that may occur anywhere near peak power/strength efforts.

 The dynamic stretch as part of warm up is distinctively different than “static” stretching.  Static stretching is done at the end of an activity and is done with the purpose of elongating muscle and connective tissue for greater range of motion around a joint.

Dynamic stretching is done within the normal range of motion with a goal of increasing blood flow and temperature of the moving muscles and connective tissue.  It best ensures that the body is prepared to go through activities of greater demand, and does not negatively impact strength or power production.

Strength & Conditioning:

For the young athlete there are several factors that cause them to be ill prepared to achieve significant gains in strength & conditioning.  Those factors include elements of kinesiology such as differing growth rates of various pieces of connective tissue and hormonal quantities that are insufficient for significant improvements.

Another aspect for the sport coach or strength coach to consider is the mental and emotional development of the young athlete.  Adolescent immaturity in these areas may not only lead to compliance failures in program design, but also safety issues during moments of non directly supervised activity.

Strength & Conditioning for the prepubescent athlete should include general fitness elements that affect the entire body.  Intensity levels of these strength activities should remain at or below 75% of a perceived 1 rep max (ie repetitions 10 or greater).  Supervision and program focus should be built around core strength, joint stability, and exercise technique.  Deceleration mechanics are also needed coaching elements for the athletic foundation and appear to be even more essential in female athletes in the prevention of ACL injury issues.

Movement screening is an effective method for determining athletic foundational needs that may be addressed through supervised programs design. It will also highlight potential risks for future injury and performance plateau, which may also be addressed through proper program design.

Coaches working with young athletes have a great responsibility.  The physical expectations of the child, their parents, and even the coach themselves must be tempered with a dose of reality and a view point focused on the future. To provide the greatest potential for safe injury free activity and future peak performance, youth coaches should concentrate on core strength & stability (functionality) and correct exercise & movement techniques.

Parents and coaches should consult a strength & conditioning specialist or other qualified professional prior to progressing programs to advanced levels, working at intensities beyond 75% of maximum, utilizing overhead or Olympic styled power programs or plyometrics.  Consult a physician at least every two years or per significant change to ensure the young athlete is prepared for sport or exercise programming.

By Tom Bomar, CSCS

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