Category: fitness

A Labor of Love Without a Question of Value

It is no secret that most teachers – yoga and group fitness – teach because it fills our cups to help, motivate and inspire others.  We teach because we love it.

Our members and students come to our classes, early in the morning, holidays, Sunday mornings. We lead with passion and knowledge, and some humor to break up the edgier, grittier parts.

What happens behind the scene of the 60 minute cycle class, vinyasa practice or strength workout? Hours of planning, music selection, practicing the moves and flows and promoting our classes – like a business. And on top of that, the physical and mental aspect of giving everything to help our students be the truest versions of themselves – class after class.

The best teachers and instructors are also always students. Continuing education for maintaining certifications, keeping up to date on current trends, formats and teaching methods adds up too.  Time away from our families on nights and weekends to sharpen our craft because we LOVE what we do and we hold ourselves to the highest standards.

But our labor of love isn’t reason to devalue our knowledge and expertise. We are passionate about delivering YOU an experience.  And on the other side of that experience, the smile, the energy, is a real person, with a family at home on a Sunday morning.  The other side is acknowledging that the HIIT class you took with me that kicked your butt, was the second class I taught that day and there’s still one more to go.  The other side of the person with the mic or giving you a sweet yoga assist is a person who knows they are providing value and stacking class on class to also earn an income – whether its to save for a vacation or to contribute to their household.

Yes, this is a labor of love and certainly not the most lucrative career.  It’s not just a job when your heart and soul thrive on teaching – but practically? We are also worth it – in dollar signs.  Time, training, set up, break down, clean up, the necessity of delivering fun, safe, challenging and empowering experiences day in and day out (and sometimes a few times a day) is worth an extra fee or class rate.

The next time your favorite teacher is offering a class that may be a higher rate for a workshop experience or a specialty feature that’s truly unique, before balking publicly or privately about the fee or price, remember the teacher, the one wearing the mic and encouraging you to do one more rep, the one giving undivided attention and instruction to help you get into your first headstand.  It is our labor of love, but it is also our profession, our business.

Because we love it and our souls are poured into the experience, we are worth it. Truly.

 

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

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!

 

Total Body Workout in 30 Minutes for Fitness Friday!

In honor of the impending blizzard, I wanted to share a total body workout I created for my group fitness classes!

Back in December, when it was mild, sunny and snow was no where in sight, we played the Snowman Challenge in my Strictly Strength class at Life Time Fitness.

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After each set of exercises, we earned a body part to our snowman.  In 30 minutes, we were able to go through four sets and complete four snowmen!!  It was a killer workout, hitting every major muscle group and it was FUN!

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I wrote out a plan that you can do at home with minimal equipment – in 30 minutes!  Even better, you can break it down into sets, so if time is crunched, you can work through what you can and still get a burn.

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Here are some tips to maximize this total body workout!

  • Add as much or little weight to make the moves challenging.  For example, you can hold one weight “goblet” style for your sumo or you can load up two dumbbells at your shoulders.
  • You can do a forearm plank, high plank, add thigh taps to your plank, etc., to make it more interesting! Just keep your awesome plank form – squeeze your glutes, inner thighs, pull your belly up and keep a nice straight line (drop the butts! drop the butts!)
  • Add weight to your glute bridges by holding a dumbbell on your hips.  Raise those hips to ceiling and squeeze your glutes at the top!
  • Try varying your bicep curls by only coming halfway up, halfway down (to 90 degrees), doing wide curls or hammer curls.  Keep it consistent for set of 10 but have fun with each round.

Tweet this post to share the love!

Total Body Workout in 30 Minutes? Yes, please! #fitnessfriday #flexfriday #sweatpink Click To Tweet

Questions on the moves? Need help with form or modifications?  Let’s talk!  Leave a comment or email me at leigh@theleighryan.com.

P90X On Demand!

Remember that time I did something crazy and sent my information into a casting call for a Beachbody On Demand Challenge Du Jour featuring the workout I TEACH, P90X Live?

On June 30, I found out I was picked!

And on July 1, I booked flights.

And on July 8?

I got on a plane and flew to L.A.

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Philly Airport at Foolish o’Clock AM

FOR THE SAME WORKOUT.  WHAT!?!The best part of this whole surreal experience was that not only was I picked for P90X Live (out of Insanity, TurboKick and Piyo) – which is my favorite new group exercise format – my girl, my partner in crime, my UPLINE COACH and the REASON I dove into Beachbody, Amanda, was picked too!

So, naturally, I did what any good friend would do and I flew to Denver to pick her up.

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Wifi? Check!

Well, my connection in Denver was purely coincidental.  But off we went, headed for Burbank.

Sleep deprivation started to set in but once we got to the studio for the dress rehearsal?? Adrenaline.  Nothin’ but adrenaline.

A quick rehearsal and an early call time….we headed back to our not-so-swanky-but-perfectly-functional motel.  And by perfectly functional, we had exactly what we needed.

Shower. Bed. Check.

Up EARLY and over to the studio…to be greeted by the Master Trainer leading our workout, Rawlins Apilado. We chatted with him and our castmates and after learning more about each other, Rawlins used the perfect word…serendipitous.  Not only were Amanda and I partners in fitness, life and tattoos, our castmates had a strong friendship too.  Similar personalities and ideas about our businesses….clearly, we were chosen because we are just that awesome.
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Then Rawlins brought us some of the new Beachbody Performance Energize – an awesome pre-workout.  Energy, focus and some adrenaline and we were READY to go!

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Love me some pre-workout!

The workout, P90X Live, was shot continuously, with no takes to make it look and feel like a REAL class.  That meant we were dripping sweat, grunting, cheering…that’s all real, folks!  We were pushing!

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Rawlins and I working the P90X guns.

After the shoot, we were free to go….so we did what anyone in L.A. would do….and drove up a mountain, gawking at mansions and went looking for the Hollywood sign.

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Welcome to Hollywood, baby.

We got to experience the tourist spots of L.A. in a matter of 8 hours or so.  Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive….we were productive.

Back to the airport for our red-eyes…and we were quite literally bleary eyed.

Time for some tea….some reflection…WHAT JUST HAPPENED IN THE PAST 24 HOURS?!?!

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To say that the experience was surreal would be a great understatement. To say I’m thankful would not even come close expressing how amazingly lucky I feel.

But is it luck? I don’t think so.  I work hard every day, putting my dreams into plans, my plans into actions and taking risks.

This may have been the first shoot….but it won’t be the last.

Amanda and I have already picked out a better hotel.

 

That time I got picked to be in a workout video?? Yeah, that. Click To Tweet
>Related: Goal Setting & Goal Getting

Finding Myself Again

Do you remember me?

Frankly, I barely remember who I was…what made me tick, what inspired me. The past 6 years have been consumed by pregnancy, toddlers, play groups, pick ups, drop offs, cutting over 11 million grapes and changing enough diapers to earn a Pampers reward to Cancun.


For a while now (and maybe still, to a degree, I mean, they give me a LOT of material), I let my kids identify me. And before them? Well, I really don’t even remember.

But this is me now:

* legitimately confident, not faking it till I make it

* a work in progress, not a final product that is outdated and unchanging

* healthy, energized and strong, not “skinny fat” or struggling with being comfortable in a post-partum body (x3) body

* being an example, not looking for one

* knowing what I’m meant to be doing and earning an income from what I love and working with a team of inspired and supportive partners, not filling in the gap for a paycheck earned by work I’m just *doing*.

I have a CLEAR as day view of ME now. It just took a while to get here.

Do you remember you? Who are you NOW? Do you need help getting there? Maybe I can help.

Free Fitness Challenge!

Everyone loves a free fitness challenge!!

Each day during the month of February, I’ll be posting a mini-workout to incorporate into your workout schedule or if you are a beginner or just short on time, you can use these moves on their own to improve your fitness level! 

Email me at leigh@thefiteffectnj.com or fill out the Challenge Group Application to join! There’s still time to get in on the fun!