Collagen for a Stronger, Healthier Body – Guest Post!

There’s a pretty big buzz around collagen supplements and gelatin in the nutrition industry these days. Collagen is touted as beneficial for hair, skin and nails, excellent for digestion and its gut healing properties.

Collagen supplements can also be vital in maintaining optimal performance ability for athletes. Over time our bodies naturally begin to lose collagen, we begin to have aches and pains in places we are constantly putting pressure on, no matter how careful we are or how perfect our form is. Shoulder, knee and joint pain can become all to familiar for many athletes.

I became an avid proponent of collagen supplementation because joint pain started to hit home directly.

My husband is one of those people who is just good at every sport or athletic event he attempts. He can just “do” sports. Its both amazing and slightly infuriating, as my personal athletic capabilities are…lacking. He has been a runner for as long as he can remember, and that’s his thing – he needs to run. I mean that in the sense that he loves it, but also he has to pass a PT test with a timed run every year for his job. He literally needs to run. After years of pounding pavement, his knees were on their way to being shot to sh*t.

About 5 years ago, we did some research and came across the benefits of collagen hydrolysate as a natural, traditionally used supplement to relieve joint pain. After a few weeks of consistent use, the pain he felt in his knees had diminished significantly and he was able to discontinue the other over the counter supplements he was taking to manage discomfort. We both felt better, had better skin, stronger nails and thicker hair. All around, a winner!

Collagen hydrolysate has a unique amino acid makeup that is extremely valuable for the body’s ability to replace synovial fluid found within joints to help rebuild and strengthen the cartilage. Three amino acids in particular (glycine, lysine and proline) are what makes collagen hydrolysate an ideal supplement, as they build connective tissue that promote cell growth within joints. Glycine is also a beneficial amino acid for athletes who are looking to maximize muscle growth. Glycine promotes the production of creatine and human growth hormone, helping to prevent deterioration of muscles. After all the hard work that goes into building that muscle in the first place, these benefits are key!


​Which collagen supplement to choose??

There are many types of collagen supplements on the market. We have used Great Lakes brand Collagen Hydrolysate and Gelatin for years. We’ve been very pleased with both the quality and consistency of their products. Collagen hydrolysate comes in a powder form and can be dissolved into both hot and cold substances. This type of collagen dissolves completely and has no flavor or any effect of the consistency of your food. It is perfect for mixing into coffee, tea, smoothies, oatmeal, soups, sauces, pancake and waffle batter – you get the idea! It really is super versatile and easy to fit into your daily nutrition regimen, has a 90% absorption rate and is fully absorbed into the body within 30 minutes.

​Gelatin is formed when collagen has been broken down and differs in that it needs to be dissolved in a hot liquid and gels when cooled. You know, Jello-O.  Gelatin provides the same benefits, but it is not as easily digested. Remember, everybody and every BODY is different. It is not very common for people to have problems digesting gelatin, but if you are prone to digestive issues, just be aware.

I listed many suggestions for using Collagen Hydrolysate above and I’ll leave you with one of our favorite gelatin recipes for Bulletproof Coffee Gummies. Each tablespoon of gelatin has about 11 g of protein making these an easy post-workout refuel or afternoon boost. Enjoy!

Bulletproof Coffee Gummies
6 oz. freshly brewed organic coffee (I recommend Mayorga brand)
1 tbsp. grassfed butter (like Kerrygold)
1/2 tbsp organic coconut oil or MCT oil
OPTIONAL ADD-INS: 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. tumeric, 1-2 tsp. raw honey for sweetness, if desired
3-4 tbsp (depending on preferred consistency) Great Lakes Brand Gelatin* (the red can!)

1. Add all ingredients to high speed blender, except gelatin, and blend until frothy.
2. Add gelatin and blend until fully incorporated
3. Pour immediately into molds and refrigerate for 20-30 mins until solid

If you have any questions about collagen supplements or using it effectively, feel free to email me!

Leah Harvey is an Air Force wife and mother of 2 girls. She is a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant, completing her certification at American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2015. Shoot her an email at lharveychnc@gmail.com  and give her some love on Instagram (@lealoves3).

*Sources
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885

Tension, Compression and the “Hard Stop”

Tension and compression are concepts in the yoga world, taught and made widely known by Paul Grilley.

Tension is the muscular effort, the muscular edge. In order to build a muscle to strengthen it or lengthening it for flexibility, you have to go beyond to see or feel results. There’s “give” and room to go deeper with consistent practice.

Compression is the way your bones and body are built, causing a hard stop, bone to bone where there’s no more room, its just IS.  The way you are built determines your fullest expressions of any given pose.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BO74ujFALHy/?taken-by=theleighryan

With tension, we can push, go beyond and get out of our comfort zones. This tension can happen on the mat in physical practice and off the mat, if life situations. We can see, feel and experience personal growth or a deeper expression of a pose.

In compression, the hard stop, it can feel damning, almost, to have to accept that your fullest expression won’t ever change.

Sometimes, in life, we feel the hard stop.  More often than not, its the story we are telling ourselves versus the reality of the situation. When you feel bone to bone in a pose, it takes a strong mind to be fully there, at the “end” of the pose. At the end of the pose, using your breath, you can experience all the pose has to offer. It’s said that in the compression (and the absence of pain), that energy and prana are being stimulated even more!!

I’ve been feeling the hard stop lately, a “life” compression.  Where it really feels like a ceiling, a wall, bone meeting bone, no more.  But if I look at the idea from a yogic perspective, there is opportunity by simply being “in it.” There is room to explore whether or not it is actual compression or is it the story I’ve created. There is room to grow if I allow energy to flow here, versus looking at it like a kink in a hose. There is room to flow in the space where it feels like nothing is flowing. Finding my breath in the space where there’s nothing more to do, fix or change.  Can I just BE with everything the pose or situation has to offer?

My next step? Harnessing the energy.  Finding another path to keep going and growing.  If you are in this place right now, I invite you to do the same.  Look at the compression as a place where energy flows, where you can be fully present in the situation as it is; feeling and experiencing it  instead of letting it feel like a reason to stop, either stop practicing the pose or stop chasing a goal.

Have you ever felt tension and compression, on your mat or off? How do you deal with working with the compression?

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The Whole30 Challenge – Guest Post!

Have you ever reached a point where you just wanted to push a reset button for your body? Maybe you ate too many sweets during the holidays, maybe you indulged in one too many glasses of wine, or maybe you don’t feel great from eating too much processed food. Whatever your reason, you know that what you put into your body directly affects how you feel. When we don’t eat the right foods, we get sluggish, our brains get foggy, and unfortunately sometimes our pants get a little too tight. By cleaning up the way we eat, we can reverse these effects and feel better from the inside out.

WHOLE30

If you’ve never heard of Whole30 before, it is a 30 day eating plan that helps to reset your body through nutrition. It is designed to help you overcome cravings, repair your digestion, and determine how certain foods affect your body. Sometimes we eat foods that throw our body out of balance, and we don’t even realize it! By eliminating these foods for 30 days, we become more in tune with our bodies. Then, we learn how certain foods really make us feel after we slowly add them back to our diets.

HOW IT WORKS

For 30 days, we will eat only real, clean, whole foods. Meats, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats…all of the GOOD stuff, and none of the junk. We will NOT eat added sugar or sweeteners, alcohol, grains (including oats and corn), legumes (including peanuts and soy products), dairy, white potatoes, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, or “Paleo junk” like grain-free brownies. We want to reset our bodies, not find ways to give in to cravings!

You can find more detailed info on the Whole 30 website. I also highly recommend the book It Starts With Food, to give you more insight into the program.

THE MEAL PLAN

I’ve eaten Paleo-style foods in the past, and I’ve even started the Whole 30 a couple of times before. I’ve found that is the biggest predictor of my success is how well I plan in advance. If I don’t have a meal plan in place, or don’t have my fridge stocked with “approved” foods, I will fail. If I have junk food easily accessible in my pantry, I will fail. So I know that I need to have a plan that keeps me 100% on track. Here is my meal plan for week 1:

I also will be prepping as many meals in advance as possible. Chopping veggies for snacks, making salad bowls for when I need to grab and go, and throwing crockpot meals into a freezer bag so I can prep dinner as quickly as possible during the week (super important when I have a 4 month old attached to my hip!).

In addition to hitting that reset button on my nutrition, why not also reset my body and mind at the same time — with 30 days of yoga? Check out Leigh’s post on yoga, the Whole30 and mindfulness in our daily life. She will post short yoga practice videos, varying in style, for you to try at home.

Want to join the group? Click here! We would love to have you join us for the next month.

Amanda Seghetti is a fitness professional, social media influencer and mom of 3 based in the Denver area. Go check out her blog, Phoenix Fitness and give her a follow on Instagram.

Self Acceptance & my Annual (anti) Resolution

Over the past few months, I’ve gained weight.

Its not something that a group fitness instructor or anyone who makes a career in the fitness industry likes to admit. That said, we are human too, with the very same struggles.  I’ve gained enough weight that I’m not comfortable in my own skin, in spite of how others see me.

Struggling with a wrist injury, a busy schedule and not planning or choosing food properly, all the hard work that I I put in slowly unraveled. I’ve fallen into some old habit patterns, the ones that got me to this point, and I’m trying to avoid the patterns that I would have previously taken to “get out” of this situation.

One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Holden. We share often in our yoga teacher training and even in classes.  He says that no amount of self-improvement can make up for a lack of self acceptance.

Today, I accept me, as a I am.  Not where I want to be but knowing exactly where I want to go – not just physically, but in my path as a yoga teacher and fitness professional.  This isn’t a resolution; I don’t do resolutions.  I set goals and I go after them.  The timing here is simply coincidental.

Accepting me, today, as I am and everything, today, as it is, will clear the way, the energy will flow and all this good shit that the universe has to offer will be even *more* available.

Self Acceptance and Resolutions #newyear #goals #weightloss Click To Tweet

Want to learn more about my nutrition and training plan?  Head over to Growth Stimulus Training and check out what Ryan and Adrianne have to offer!  I’ve been working with Adrianne for almost a year and her sanity in nutrition and a sound training plan is refreshing amidst a world of “Instagram trainers” and bikini models peddling teas.  If you have more questions, email me or get in touch with Ryan and Adrianne directly!

 

Yoga Myths AND Upcoming Workshop!

As a yoga teacher, I’ve heard a LOT of “reasons” as to why someone *thinks* they can’t do yoga. Let’s run through a few of them and dispel some yoga myths!

1. “I can’t sit still, I can’t do yoga.”

Great news, not all yoga is “still” or on the floor. Vinyasa yoga is a powerful style – and there’s a style for every body. Some styles, like yin, are still. Some styles are a happy marriage of the two,  Vinyasa, in particular the LifePower Yoga style, can be a physically intense practice!

2. “I’m not flexible.”

Then we have something in common. And I’m a yoga teacher so hopefully the yoga police don’t come to class when I’m practicing!  Think of it like this – if you didn’t lift weights, you wouldn’t become stronger.  Same principle applies!  By avoiding yoga, you certainly won’t become more flexible but like lifting heavier as you get stronger, with a consistent practice, you will find your flexibility improving.

3. “I don’t know poses.”

And like learning anything new, you start by knowing very little. And that’s ok – this is why it’s a practice and any yoga teacher will help you with poses!  Either by consistently showing up to class or by working one on one with a teacher, you’ll learn poses.  That said, poses are actually secondary to the practice; your breath is always the first “pose” to learn.

vinyasa, yoga, lifepower yoga

With an open mind, this practice peels away layers. With strong breath, this practice is rejuvenating, revitalizing and is amazing for your body too.

Prove these yoga myths wrong! Come check out my workshop at Life Time Athletic Mount Laurel on January 18 at 7:30pm.  Learn the basics of connecting breath and movement and some common flow sequences to help you feel more confident when you step on your mat!

Yoga Myths & Upcoming Workshop! #phillyyoga #southjerseyyoga #lifepoweryoga #ltemployee Click To Tweet

You did YTT ….twice?

With a slightly guilty conscious, I’m here, writing and reflecting, about my experience doing a second YTT (yoga teacher training).

Guilty because my kitchen needs to be cleaned, guilty because the clean unfolded laundry pile seems to be getting bigger before my eyes.

But, as this round of YTT wraps up, I need to sort out the feelings, the takeaways, the a-ha moments, not only for myself, but to put in words why one would do the SAME training twice, within months of completing the first. (“Did you fail?” and “Are you crazy?” came up quite a bit and the answer is no. Well, that second is up for discussion, I guess.)

One huge takeaway is that the more I spend time learning and growing, into a better teacher and better human, the less I’m concerned with taking time to clean or fold laundry!  Only half kidding, while I know that those things need to be done, my time spent teaching, practicing, writing and my time with my family are more important than the dishes in the sink. So much more than just time management, its like a lesson in living life fully without stressing or worrying about chores and choosing to fill your cup with your passions and loves instead.  (And if you are reading this while your wet laundry hangs in the washer, namaste, friend. Do some sun salutations after and if there’s time, you can always get to the laundry later.)

Get upside down. #inversionsmakeyouhot #yogaeverydamnday

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

Another more significant observation is that this second time through, I realized that I’m not comfortable in the “gray area” – not a faculty teacher but to the other YTT students, being a “been here, done this” presence.  Not a leader on paper, but wanting to help lead, not just implicitly.  And as any yoga teacher knows, still always, ALWAYS, a student.  This gray area is a slightly stressful place to be so obviously, it can also be a place of growth, if you allow it.  The internal struggle of being a teacher on the schedule, having high aspirations for my growth and really feeling confident teaching a strong class…then at times, feeling really small and raw during our YTT meeting times. Those extremes kept me humble, “in my place” even if it didn’t always feel good.

humble kanye YTT yoga teacher training
Caught between humility but also not “playing small”…

Finally, the last revelation and certainly most powerful, is becoming fully aware that my heart is so invested in teaching yoga.  That I don’t want to *just* teach classes, that I also want to teach yoga teachers.  Seeing this YTT unfold through a different lens, a lens that maybe was uncomfortable at times, taught me so much and it was so rewarding to watch these student teachers grow, even if my impact was ancillary, at best.

I didn’t sign up for a second YTT to learn Ashtanga again; I signed up to get deeper into my “why” – why I practice, why I feel so passionately about this style, why I want to teach student teachers.  I’m still working on articulating my “why” but I do know this….yoga feels like home.

you did YTT twice?? #ytt #yoga #lifepoweryoga Click To Tweet

Patience and Hustle

I’ve been working a lot lately.

I’ve been reading a lot lately.

I’ve been living a lot lately.

hustle

There has been a lot going on, a lot of learning and loving this life I’ve created.  What there has no been a lot of lately is execution.  Execution of taking next steps to keep the momentum, the growth.

I’ve been overloading on a combination of mindfulness and Gary Vaynerchuk….which is a pretty interesting combination, almost contradictory.  Intentional living and gratitude with a hard dose of real talk.  Gary Vee talks about patience – that people get frustrated when success isn’t handed to them on day 2 of a venture.

 

In my professional existence at Life Time, where I’ve been working exclusively for 11 months now, I’ve been patient.  Patient in waiting for more opportunities, patient in the process of being a part of a family within a large corporate structure. Where some people would lose patience, I’ve held myself to the standard that if I’m delivering my best, with every class I teach, and giving my attention to members and students, then my work will pay off and I’d be a stronger teacher and instructor regardless of any black and white metrics of success or the number of classes I teach on the schedule.

I had the realization last week that while patience is important, it is also not the reason to stop the hustle.

Yeah, the hustle. The hustle in me that wants to reach more, do more, be more.  Patience is one thing.  Inaction is another and I confused them for too long.  I stopped writing, even though I love writing, because I didn’t feel as though it would help me within the walls of my gym and studio.  I deleted my blog related Facebook page because I didn’t want to keep up with it, too time consuming for little reach, no return.

My hustle fizzled.

#namaslay

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

But last week, I pulled out the NASM textbook I’ve had for a year, put a date on the calendar and started studying to finish my personal training certification.  Today, I pulled out my laptop and, here I am, reviving my baby blog.  And still, being patient and believing that there are more opportunities that will present themselves.  Inaction, however, will not force the universe to notice though.

The hustle is back and good things are coming.

Patience and Hustle - have it and do it. Click To Tweet

Amazing Grass Review & Giveaway

As my readers my know, I’m currently (and almost finished!) my 200 hour LifePower Yoga teacher training. Part of this training has been adhering to a few guidelines to help us grow as teachers, practically, technically, physically and spiritually.

One guideline is a vegan lifestyle, and we are also currently in the middle of a 21 day cleanse, in order to really fine tune some of our eating habits, at least temporarily, to observe any changes in our bodies.  This opportunity to use Amazing Grass came at the perfect time!!

amazinggrassblueberry

Amazing Grass Protein Superfood is an organic, vegan plant-based protein superfood that is PERFECT for anyone looking to remove animal products from their diet while still taking in a solid amount of protein.  In addition to yoga 4-5 days a week, I also strength train and teach group fitness.  Keeping my protein intake up is crucial for my goals right now!

I chose the chocolate peanut butter flavor and my absolute favorite way of drinking it was with almond milk, a tablespoon of almond butter and blended! I’m a sucker for the chocolate peanut butter combo and this was yum….no odd aftertastes, no “proteiny” or “green” taste either.

This super healthy, super convenient superfood definitely supports a very active lifestyle while also being mindful of the ingredients, nutrients and food quality being used to fuel my body.  Enter to win the flavor of your choice over on my Instagram!  Make sure to follow the instructions for the giveaway!

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

With yoga teacher training winding down, I’m still aiming to keep up with a few changes that I’ve made in my nutrition habits. Amazing Grass will definitely continue to be a part of my routine!

Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Review & Giveaway #feelamazingeveryday #sweatpink Click To Tweet

 

**Giveaway open to US citizens only.**

My LifePower Yoga Experience – so far.

It is 10:30PM on a Wednesday night.  Four Wednesdays ago, I was typically in bed by 10, at the very latest.  On February 27,  my LifePower Yoga experience, this 200 hour yoga teacher training, started…and almost everything that was normal – albeit, blissfully chaotic – changed entirely.

yoga_logo_header

“YTT” – our LifeTime abbreviation for the program – has all but taken over my life.  And usually, when someone says that, its in a negative way.  This “overtaking” has been a far cry from negative.  I’ve never really lived every day, and seized every moment quite like this….perhaps because I have so little time to waste now.  Perhaps just because I’m yolo’ing the shit out everything that comes my way.

#ootd to meet with the accountant. Haha. #carpediem #taxseason #seizethatshit

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve learned to teach yoga.

Not a full class, but almost there.  But, with confidence, I can say, I’m a yoga teacher.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve learned to manage my time better.

Not perfectly, because I’ve still forgotten some things, still have to rush a little.  But, with confidence, I can say that this Hot Mess Express has been running smoothly.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve become a stronger group fitness instructor.

Not that I wasn’t a *good* or even great instructor, but with confidence, I can say that my group fit game has gone next level, with some of the tools I’ve learned and the confidence in my instruction, knowledge and motivation.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve become a more patient mom.

Not that I wasn’t a *pretty* patient mom, but with confidence, I can say that now, in the 6 years of being a stay-at-home-kinda-working mom, I appreciate my time with my kids so much more that losing my patience with them isn’t a good use of any of our time together.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve watched my husband really own his “Dad” title.

Not that he didn’t own DAD before, but with confidence, I can say that he’s taking this in stride, supporting me, making our team work with more teamwork.

Study, study, study in the place I live, live, live, live. #poweryoga #ytt #yogaeverydamnday

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

3 weeks down, 9 weeks to go.  So much more to learn.  So many more chances to grow stronger, physically and mentally.  So excited for the rest of this LifePower Yoga experience, this YTT – because if this is the beginning??

Damn, the end will be something amazing.

Like this post? Give some tweet love!LifePower Yoga Teacher Training! #yoga #yolo Click To Tweet

SmartyPants Vitamins Review & Giveaway!

I’ve never been good at taking my vitamins. Until…..SmartyPants vitamins.

But, not because I don’t remember.  Since a child, I’ve had trouble swallowing pills…they get stuck, I gag, I get anxious.  It is just a bad scene. But with my insane schedule, all the intense training plus general busy-ness, I HAVE to take vitamins to make up for any nutritional gaps that are just not met with my healthy BUT rushed diet.

When I got pregnant, taking my prenatals was an absolute NIGHTMARE for me.  Even though I didn’t have morning sickness, prenatals would make me sick if I took them on an empty stomach.  After some quick “mom board” research, I discovered various gummy prenatals and they saved me for the rest of my pregnancy (and two more!).

Flash forward to the present and I’ve realized gummies are not just for kids and pregnant women!!!

IMG_9727

Since getting these vitamins, I haven’t missed a day – they taste SO good, its almost like a treat and I confess that I have actually saved them for LATER in the day, when I knew I would be craving something sweet.

They also have a men’s and children’s version as well, plus an adult version with fiber!!  My kids never turn down anything gummy and I know my husband doesn’t remember to take his so we will be filling the cabinet with ones for everyone in the house.  (How about a pet version??)

For me, no puking, gagging or weird aftertaste? SIGN ME UP.

Want to win some SmartyPants Vitamins to try for yourself?  Head over to my Instagram and follow the directions!

Tweet the love and get your friends and followers in on the giveaway!

SmartyPants Vitamin Review & Giveaway!! #thegoodgummy #sweatpink Click To Tweet

**Disclaimer: I received this product to review.**