The start of Fitness Playground

I first started exercising regularly to 1) reduce back pain and 2) to look and feel better about myself. I would always just stick to about 30 minutes of a cardio machine then repeatedly do the same exercises I knew because I didn't want to embarrass myself or didn't know a lot of exercises. 

When I'm at the gym now I feel like a little kid and theres so many new toys to play with. Theres so many different new ways to move either my boy, the tool I'm using or both. I get excited. 

I think this shift in mindset happened over years of experimentation, exploration, watching other youtube videos and asking other people what they do in the gym.  I'm starting a new series of videos where I share my personal workouts, my thought process behind it along with any tips that I wish I had when I first started my journey and I still have to constantly remind myself now.

I think the how tos are important, but I think the reasons behind them are more fascinating because it allows every individual to uniquely design the workout that works best for their mind body and soul. My goal is to share my learnings to help others figure out the best path for themselves. Also, uploading the videos keeps me accountable to never stop learning and doing what makes me feel alive. 

Take a peek into why + how I play in my fitness playground (:

 

10 Tips from Fitness Playground 001

  1. If you don’t know where to begin, start with what you don’t want to do
  2. Warm up for about 10 minutes otherwise we’re more prone to injury. Sun Salutations are usually done in yoga but are a great warm up because it gets blood circulating to the entire body
    1. How to Simple Sun Sal
      1. Repeat
      2. Jump Forward 
      3. Pushup
      4. Plank
      5. Arm up over head like Jumping jack
  3. Jump Mindfully - Land Softly when jumping to protect your joints
  4. Use tools to make it easier for you - Resistant bands for pull ups are great because they reduce the amount of weight you pull up. Over practice and time it becomes easier and you can use light bands and eventually no bands (:
  5. Figure out a way to make it work for YOU so you can have fun while doing it. 
  6. Good music puts you in the mood to make you move. The app I use for almost 4 years now for all my workouts and for my classes is  http://fitradio.com Favorite DJ Steady 130, Rolemodel, Mami Chula
  7. Put your body off balance to work your core so you don’t have to do 1000 sit-ups… ridic 
    1. Personally I hate doing sit ups, so instead I trick myself into working my core by working on balance because I enjoy that more. I’m forced to activate my core otherwise I would fall or shake
    2. How to activate - its the same muscles used when coughing. It kind of feels like you’re wearing a internal corset, not so much a sucking your belly button feeling but more like pressure in your hips and torso
  8. Channel an alter ego
    1. Using fictional or real life role models can help put you in the zone where you’re ready to work. Lately i’ve been channeling Wonder woman. Depending on the activity I channel others like Michael Phelps when I swim
      1. Connecting that Alter Ego with a song can also help! My favorites
        1. 2pac - Changes
        2. Rocky - Eye of the Tiger
        3. Eminem - Til I collapse
  9. Play around with different equipment and putting your body in different positions to keep your mind and body alert 
    1. What can be move? equipment
    2. How can you move? your body 
  10. Focus on what you have and can do not what you don’t have. 

xx
Live with Joy
Live with Passion
Live with Kindness
Live Long & Prosper 🙏

🔑 The 4 keys to being your own Superhero & How I apply them to my life

I believe we all, even Superheroes, have 4 different types of needs. mental, physical, spiritual and emotional needs. Here are 4 ways I apply them to my life. 

1. Mental: The mind controls and shapes our reality. It is the most important muscle we have so we must exercise it or it becomes limp.  

The practice of Yoga, not just physical poses, but studying texts along with daily meditation in the morning sets the tone for my day. If i’m teaching an early morning class and don’t make time to read or do asanas, I practice a moving meditation, where I listen to classical music on my walk to the train station. I try to focus on really breathing and connecting to my body. Sometimes I play around in the length of the inhales and exhales to match the tempo of the music. The purpose of meditation is to really pay attention to what I’m doing in that moment whatever it is, without allowing distraction to flow in and out. When I’m cooking its another form of meditation where I really try to notice each separate step of the process, because I know if I don’t ill probably cut my hand or burn something. 

2. Physical: The body needs to be physically fit & in optimal condition because it is the vehicle through which we do everything. If its hard to change from the inside, start out.

Besides teaching 6-12 strength training classes a week, where I demonstrate the exercises before the beginning of each set, I try to listen to my body. Sometimes I lift 2-3x a week at a gym because I truly feel at home at ease. But some weeks I don’t go to the gym at all and rest because my body needs to recover from overtraining. It that delicate balance of training enough so I can move with freedom but not so much that I’m not letting my muscles heal, which is where most of the muscle building happens.

3. Spiritual: The soul is what makes us human. Doing things that make us happy and searching for wisdom from others

This is the greatest joys of life. To be able to do things that make our heart and soul smile. For me this comes in many forms, dance, painting, anything with glitter, eating, cooking for friends & family, spending endless hours at art museums alone. The things that make you feel like you’re floating on a puffy white cloud shooting rainbows and glitter. I feel like everyones soul thing needs to be fed. Its so hungry and when its fed, you start to radiate the glow out to others. Sparkling with amazing jovial energy that its contagious. It makes others want to do your soul thing! 

4. Emotional: The heart needs love. When we surround ourselves with Dreamers & Optimists, we develop meaning connections that allow us to feel joy & warmth. But this starts by taking care and loving yourself first.

I believe the mind, body and soul need to be fed first in order to allow the heart to fill up. To truly share love and care to best extent I can, I need to take care of myself first so that I am on my A-est game and I can give my full attention them. The practice of self love is necessary first before loving others. I relate it to the instructions stewardess give on airlines in case of a crash landing. Its instinctual to give the oxygen mask to your child, but they tell you to put on yours first before helping others. It is very honorable and generous but If you die first, you help no one. 

Like normal hunger, I need to constantly re nourish my mind, body and soul needs. I can’t feed it once and I’ll be never hungry again. I believe if we feed the mind body and soul, the heart needs will be fed after, love starts oozing out of you naturally. Imagine if Superman had no food, could be still be superman? No, he would be weak and can't help save the world.

I believe we are all Superheroes in our own epic saga and its an injustice when we don't start listening to our mind body and soul. The light & strength, that shines out when we are happy and not hungry, is infectious and inspires everyone around you to take care of themselves to be their own Superhero. 

 

I believe ⚡

I believe:
in the joy and power of movement to create freedom in our body
in the power of breathing to calm the mind and soothe the soul
in the infinite potential of love to conquer all
in the immense power of collective energy harnessed to catalyze positive changes
there is a force within every person destined for greatness
in the power of words to connect with emotions to trigger positive change
that things are not good or evil, but our relationship to it that makes us suffer or joyful
in the power of focus to drive action forward and upward
there is a radiating energy within ourselves that can be shined outwards if nourished

i believe :
the purpose of life is to live as the most radiant, authentic truest you and that we can’t expect anything less or more
everyone is beautiful in their own unique way
in the power of diversity to strength human kind
in the kindness to conquer fears
in strength to conquer doubts
in letting go to get stronger
in creating space in your life to let the goodness flourish and flow

i believe:
everything happens for a reason, but you must choose to see the lesson and learn from it
people tend to be forgetful and need reminders of their awesomeness
people are all aching for love and can find it in the most unexpected places if you start to slow down and notice
when you become in tune with your thoughts, and notice the words you use, you have the ability to radically change the way you think and the way you view the word
we can change our outsides and environment all we want, but if we don’t exercise our mind and soul then we’re all dying inside in a living body
the soul gives birth to life through breath
the breath is so precious and a blessing
to be able to live a life full of endless possibilities
we can choose to see the freedom in our lives if we change our focus from what we don’t have to the precious gifts all around us

i believe:
the time spend on planet earth must not be taken for granted and spent wisely on things that matter most to you
that reflection is needed help drive you forward and learn from your experiences
the experience, journey of life and the enjoyment of the journey is more important than the destination
if we choose to focus on each step, really focus with all earnestness and patience, the universe will flow energy towards you
the universe is within your soul and has always been there
sometimes we feel helpless and a small part in a big world but we need to remember we are the world and the world is us. its the way we choose to see things that matter
its not under our control. we are a vehicle through which energy flows. we just need to get out of our own way to let magic happen

i believe magic occurs when we start listening to all the signals in front of us.
to feed our mind, body and soul so that our hearts can flourish and help the world.

i believe we are all superheroes in our own tale. we create our own story and journey by letting the universe lead us.listening to the flow and energy that is yelling in our ear but we refuse to listen.

start by shutting up. slowing down and listening. 

breathe. let it go. let it flow. 

Side note: to be real honest the idea of posting seems a bit daunting. I tend to to make everything as perfect as I can. Plan to plan, outline, first draft, edit, redraft, clean up blah blah. This time I tried to ease the pressure off myself and write whatever I felt flowed out. Not caring if i didn't punctuate or  correct grammar.

Reminder to self: Done is better than perfect. Be a little easier on yourself to let the magic happen.

Netflix & Paint 🎨: Minimalism

This past weekend I decided to take time to do two activities that always lift my spirits.

1. Watch a Netflix documentary
2. Paint

At first I thought I would be painting mindlessly while the documentary played in the background but couldn't concentrate on either so I decided to combine them. This documentary was exactly what I needed at this point in my life and highly recommend to everyone that's looking for more meaning in their lives.

Highlights of my notes on aka reminders to myself on  ✒️ Minimalism: A Documentary about Important Things


As a society we've been conditioned to define our self worth through compulsory consumption because it stimulates the economy. To live a life full of meaningless stuff that gives us temporary happiness but leaves us feeling empty later on.

But what about stimulating our soul? We all long for meaning in our lives but among all the noise and chaos in our lives it's easy to get caught in the rat race. Always on to the next big thing, rarely connecting to the present moment.

 In order to truly create purpose in our lives, we need to be willing to let go to things that serve us no value or brings us joy.  Question what you are spending most of your time and thoughts on. Does that connect to what you want your ideal life to be?  We need to tune inward to create time and space for the abundant life we want. We can do more with a lot less if we choose to live consciously and with intention.  Our version of success. Our vision. No one else's.

Live with Joy
Live with Passion
Live with Kindness
Live Long & Prosper 🙏

Pain - Why I started exercising

Pain - a warning sign from our bodies to tell us “ Hey! There's something wrong here fix me before it gets worse! Or you'll be hurting a lot more later.” Often we ignore it, too consumed and busy with our lives or just think it will go away soon. But it has such a big effect over our lives when you're in constant pain.  The degrees to which people feel it is so different some are super sensitive and some have high pain tolerance.

Often times we don't treat the root of the problem and treat the symptoms and hence why we injure the same locations we must figure out why and fix it. It will take time and dedication but we will get stronger. Our bodies are constantly communicating with us and when we’re more in tune with that feedback we can listen.

I started working out in high school from back pain from scoliosis. After working with a chiropractor for a few months, the pain subsided and was manageable as long as I was doing my back strengthening exercises. About a decade later, I started experiencing shoulder pain that I found out after working with a physical therapist that was caused by the curve in my spine. Today I have to again work on new techniques to strengthen my weak traps and rhomboids to prevent further pain.

Pain is a constant reminder from our bodies that we’re doing something wrong and so I am thankful for it. That my body notices when things are off balance so I will listen to it and try to find the root of the problem.

The law of entropy states that everything gravitates towards chaos. If I’m not persistently working to prevent chaos everything will crumble. Trying to connect my body to my mind to be able to listen to it, is something I must work for constantly.