Category Archives: entrepreneur

Camping in the Village

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Last week a woman who was just starting out on her entrepreneurial journey asked a group of seasoned mompreneurs what their Number One Challenge was when launching a business.  Nearly without exception, each mom replied: “Reliable childcare.”

For many women (myself included), starting her own business was fueled by the desire to have a flexible schedule.  Rather than working in a traditional job with traditional hours, the flexibility can (ideally) allow women to have more satisfying work-life balance.

You know, that old unicorn you’ve heard so much about.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes every single villager to get the moms through Summer vacation.  While many of us designed our work lives with the intentional benefit of having more time with our children, school holidays throw a real wrench into the finely-tuned works.  It’s impossible to keep the work side of life moving forward and be a full-time parent and 24/7 entertainer, referee, chef, chauffeur, and snuggler to each child. As someone with three kids at three very different stages (preschool, elementary, and adolescent), I kind of want to tear my hair out trying to do the algebra of how I can keep them all safe, happy, and motivated in the summer while I’m working my odd-hours job.

Enter Nurture My Child, and Austin-based resource that presents a single site to help families find options for all of their child-related camp, class, and childcare needs.  The database is updated consistently and is the only place where a large majority of camps in Austin and the surrounding areas are listed and families can search by multiple criteria like activities, schedule, location, or ages.  The ease of use and reliability of information takes a lot of the investigative drudgery out of the parents’ hands.

If you’re in my village of Austin, put Sunday, February 28, 1-5pm  on your calendar.  Nurture My Child will host the annual Austin Summer Camp Fair at Norris Conference Center in north-central Austin.  Come by and meet representatives from Austin’s “best of” camps, including The Thinkery, Kidventure, Creative Action, Ballet Austin, and the Art Garage— there’s something for every kid!

This kid-friendly event will include booths from over 70 local camps, arranged by location of venue.  Two thumbs up from this mom who is more than willing to give her kid any great opportunity….so long as it doesn’t require a soul-beating, traffic-laden commute.

So as you’re pulling together your summer plans (I know it’s only January, but you can’t say you aren’t already starting to plan….), know that Nurture My Child can make your life easier.  Invite them in to your village, and let your kids go camping.

I was invited to attend a blogger’s launch of Nurture My Child.  I received no compensation for my time, and all opinions are my own.

 

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Hold it! A Static Circuit Workout

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For those of you deep into the January doldrums, for whom the enthusiasm for the New Year and all of its promise has already waned, I offer to you today a simple but effective workout.

And while it may not instantly transport you to a beach with a beautiful, golden-lit sunset, it probably will make you feel better.

Baby steps, people.

This workout is a static circuit.

Static?  What’s that about?

Each of the five exercises in this circuit don’t require any movement.  You simply hold the body form– this type of exercise is known as an isometric exercise because even though the muscle isn’t moving through a range of motion, it is still under stress (this is a good thing) which is necessary for muscle growth.

This workout is five exercises done one right after the other, three times through.  The total workout time is fifteen minutes.

The first circuit is 30 seconds/exercise.

The second circuit is 60 seconds/exercise.

The third circuit is 90 seconds/exercise.

That’s right…it gets harder as you get more tired.

(How delightfully wicked of me!)

In order, the exercises are: plank, wall sit, v-sit, cobra, bridge (lift & hold).

If you know how to do those exercises, rock and roll.  If you don’t click on each one to be taken to a short video with Yours Truly espousing form cues and tips for modifications.

Let me know how you liked this workout.  Sometimes not moving much is a harder workout than you’d expect!

Good health and great happiness to you!

Five “Wins” from 2015

Goodbye, 2015!Thanks for the memories!

One of the best parts of blogging is that I have an easy way to review my year.  I can’t say that 2015 was my greatest year ever, but there are definitely things I’ve learned this year.

5. I earned my certification as a Third Age Woman educator.  As someone who is in the beginning of the peri-menopausal phase of life, this course was educational for both personal and professional reasons.  In addition to confidently helping perimenopausal women in person, I’m busy developing an online course to help other women develop strategies to balance fitness, hormones, and the priorities of life in their 40s and 50s.  Subscribe to my newsletter if you’d like to know when it launches!

4. I’ve undertaken the longest training cycle in my nearly 30 years as a runner.  In June 2015 I started prepping for a 5K on July 4th.  That was the beginning of a training cycle that will peak (hopefully!) on May 29, 2016 in Durban, South Africa at the finish line of Comrades Marathon.  I’ve had a busy fall of training and racing.  The end of 2015 marks the halfway point– stay tuned for what’s coming to get me ready to toe the line in Pietermaritzburg in just under five months.  (You can click on the Comrades tag on the right ————> to find all the blog posts about this adventure!)

3. I made my first attempt at blog post series this year.  The first series was about aqua yoga— I absolutely LOVE aqua yoga, but since I can’t be with all of you poolside, sharing the highlights of this practice was the next best thing.  I also ran a video blog series about How to Do A Pull Up. Looking for an achievable fitness milestone?  Follow the videos and feel the confidence that comes with the strength and coordination of doing a pull up.

2. Even as my business grew this year, reaching more personal training clients and swimmers than ever, I was able to balance work and family.  From the ways kids can help me see the world in different ways to how having older kids is really fun to the occasional night out as a family of five, I’ve enjoyed sharing the stories of my family with you.

1. I earned my certification as a Prenatal Kriya Yoga instructor.  This is a bit of an ironic highlight to my year, as I don’t really teach prenatal yoga very often. However, the certification process was a fantastic education in yoga, and the summation retreat in California was one of the best few days of my whole year.  It was a great reminder that when business growth and personal growth can happen simultaneously, I’m one lucky gal.

Hope your 2015 had some meaningful wins for you.

Here’s to good health and great happiness in 2016!

 

Congratulations to Robyn— she’s the winner of the Leonie Dawson 2016 Shining Life Workbook and wall calendar.  

You didn’t win?  BOO!!!

You can still order a Shining Life workbook or planner for yourself — order a .pdf version, and start filling it out right away!  Go make a great life!

GIVEAWAY: Look Back to Get Ahead

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The end of the year always heightens my need for personal retreat time.  It is time to pause, step back, and look objectively at my work-life balance. It is useful and beneficial to get quiet and clear about what my intention is with my work.   It is imperative for me to pause, do a body scan, and make sure that I’m treating my own body well.   It is important to reflect on how I’ve used my creative talents and served my greater community.

Before you go thinking that I’m going to tell you to wander through the woods or take a spa weekend, let me be clear: a personal retreat does not have to be extravagant or expensive.

For me, personal retreat time does usually mean nature.  I have a park near my home where I like to go hiking, and it is during these quiet solo hikes that I can think clearly.  But sometimes it means simply locking myself in my bedroom in my PJs and slippers and taking some quiet time.  I think about the parts of my business that are working well and the parts that are chafing.  But most importantly I think about how I feel towards my work.  Is it still feeding me?  Am I still giving my clients my best self?  Does my family suffer because of my work?  I love to have time to free-associate and think of all the ways my work and life are flowing– and clogging.

But just as important as time for reflection is time for planning.  After all, if we don’t use the reflection for growth, it just becomes sappy nostalgia.

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I know I benefit from both the mental wave-riding of free thinking about my year as well as a more structured, guided reflection.  I have used the Leonie Dawson Shining Life workbooks for several years with great enjoyment.  They never fail to challenge me, even as I’m encouraged by all that is going well in my life.

I so believe in the power of reflection and planning to help you achieve your goals that I’m giving away a 2016 SHINING LIFE WORKBOOK.  I know that it will help you take stock of where you are now and map out where you’d like to be this time next year.  It’s not just for entrepreneurs, either– anyone can benefit from Leonie’s colorful, engaging, creative, and soul-stirring prompts.

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As someone who promotes balance and wellness in all that I do, I want you to experience how good it feels to know where you are right now and know that you can get where you want to be.

It may feel luxurious to indulge in navel gazing, or it may feel like a waste of time.  Either way, it will be worth it.  If you can use what you have learned this year to plot out how you want to grow in 2016, you’re already bringing balance into your life.

If you just can’t wait to get started on this work (I know am the type!), use the button on the right ————> to order your own Shining Life or Shining Biz Workbook right now.  You can buy a .pdf copy of the workbook that will be sent to your inbox for you to start TODAY!

Well done, You!

GIVEAWAY:

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If you would like to be entered into the drawing for a Leonie Dawson 2016 SHINING LIFE WORKBOOK & WALL CALENDAR, leave me a comment that tells me one thing you learned in 2015 and one goal you have for 2016.

I’ll draw the winner at random at 10am Central time, Tuesday, 29th December, 2015.  The workbook & calendar will be mailed to the winner that day.

Three Exercises That Keep Me Running

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve been fighting a few niggling injuries in my marathon and ultramarathon training.  Nothing is keeping me off the streets, but I am spending more time than usual with the ice pack, foam roller, and epsom salts.

There are three exercises that I do regularly that I credit for keeping me running. I do them every day in small sets throughout the day.  I want to keep those little annoying issues from becoming full-blown injuries.

To avoid the dreaded runner’s knee, I have been working to strengthen my gluteus medius.  A stonger glute med helps the IT band to function efficiently; a happy IT band keeps the knee tracking appropriately.  This triumvariate relationship is a great example of how pain may or may not be related to the location where you’re feeling the pain.  Working various parts of the kinetic chain helps the running gait to be as smooth and natural as possible.

Strengthening the glute med is really important for people like me– women who have had multiple babies and who have a pelvis that may not be sitting in its optimal position.

The three exercises I do are:

Fire Hydrant— two sets of 20 per leg each day

Side Plank Lift/Lower— two sets of 12-15 per side each day

Outer Thigh Leg Lift— two sets of 20 per side each day

 

Give those a try for a few days, and let me know how it affects your running.  I’ll be back in a few weeks for the second level of Glute Med work.

Until then, good health and great happiness to you!

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: A New Mom’s Tip for Creating Balance

Today OnBalance features a post from new mama, experienced yogi, and fitness trainer Katie Painter.  Katie is based in Richmond, Virginia.  Find Katie on Facebook for more healthy living tips.

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“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Is this not the most irritating quote you’ve ever heard? No? Just me?

I think this quote grates on my nerves because it sends me right into defense mode.

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As a new mom to a six-month old I like to say that parenting is easy… as long as you’re lucky enough to have a laid-back baby and you’re super organized. I am only one of those things and it’s not organized. (Though now that I’ve put it into writing I’m sure I somehow angered the Happy Baby Gods and my little one will now suddenly turn into a sleepless, teething hellion.)

So in an attempt to make life a little easier, I tried to get organized and started food prepping on Sunday nights. Because when I fail to plan, I fail HARD at eating well.

Food prep means different things to different people. For my family, food prep isn’t perfectly portioned containers stacked up in the fridge ready to go. That’s not necessary or practical for us, but I do like to get food cleaned and ready to go so at the end of the day cooking isn’t a time consuming challenge.

Here’s a quick peek at what food prep usually looks like for us:

  • Veggies sliced, diced and seasoned
  • Crockpot chicken (By far the greatest food prep hack! Place 4 chicken breasts in 4c water, let sit all day with some salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder then remove, shred with a fork and store.)
  • Baked chicken (We love Lowery’s seasoning)
  • Ground turkey in homemade taco seasoning
  • Mason Jar Salads

Lunches are the hardest meal for me because if the little one is being needy, I have to eat with one hand while she squirms in my other arm. That means I grab whatever is ready to go. Mason jar salads are the best thing Pinterest has ever given me.

There are really only two rules for building any kind of mason jar salad:

1) Use ALL the veggies. (The more veggies you can throw into your salad, the happier your body will be!)

2) Keep your dressing and leafy greens as far away as possible. (Harder veggies like tomatoes, peppers, etc. will soak up the dressing a bit without wilting so put those in first.)

Here’s my current favorite recipe:

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  • 2 TBSP Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Grape Tomatoes (As many as you want… go ahead and load ‘em up!)
  • 1oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2oz Pasta (Please don’t fall for the PROTEIN label in the picture! This is still a starchy carb and does not count as a fat loss protein source… we just like the taste of this particular kind)
  • 2c Baby Spinach

Add ingredients in the order listed above starting with the dressing on the bottom of the jar. (I add a small paper towel square to help absorb water and keep my spinach crisp.) Then seal up the jar, pop it in the fridge, and flip upside down into a bowl when you’re ready to enjoy.

Add protein later by heating up chicken before adding the salad OR add your favorite protein source right into the jar.

Have you tried mason jar salads? Share with us your favorite recipe!

Women’s Wellness Through the Decades

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For most of the past decade, I’ve worked as a personal trainer who specializes in women’s fitness.  I have a special affinity (and specialty certification) for working with prenatal and postnatal women, as I think that the perinatal period is one where women should spend extra time and focus taking care of themselves.  Whether a woman always been an avid exerciser and just needs a little extra expert direction about the dos and don’ts of working out while pregnant or she’s never had a consistent exercise habit, I can help keep both the mom-to-be and the baby healthy.   I love supporting new moms during “the fourth trimester,” especially working to ensure that the core muscles work efficiently and effectively again after pregnancy.

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That said, I’m getting older.

(Sigh.)

Now the far side of 40 and feeling the changes of my body aging, I decided to invest some time into educating myself about the body’s changes during menopause.  While it’s been societally  taboo to discuss “The Change,” I find mass ignorance unacceptable.  If I can learn more about supporting women through menopause– and approach my own transition more happily and healthfully– then I think that’s a worthy goal.

In late summer, I undertook a certification course offered by Burrell Education, a leading women’s wellness organization based in London.  Its founder, Jenny Burrell, is well-known and highly respected for her science-based, practical fitness and wellness education.  In the course focusing on “The Third Age Woman” in peri-menopause and beyond, Burrell partnered with Jessica Drummond of the Integrative Pelvic Health Institute and Irish physiotherapist Michelle Lyons.  The trio delivered a twelve-week course that covered everything from shifting hormones to optimal nutrition to ideal workouts and even the importance of rest for women who want to not just survive menopause but actually THRIVE during the “third age” period of life.

I am confident that I can help women learn real, practical, and do-able strategies for creating a well-balanced life.  By addressing nutrition, exercise, health screenings, and how daily habits affect physical health, I can support women through the small behavior changes that will result in improved health and greater ease of living.  My peri-menopause POWER program has me all fired up to help third-age women feel fierce!

So while I continue to work with perinatal clients– and am honored to be part of the excitement of motherhood– I am eager to share my new-found knowledge about surviving and thriving during menopause with clients.   Because this work is more holistic than my previous personal training, I am looking forward to working with women in Austin and well beyond.  There is much good work that can be achieved through phone coaching, virtual training, and other digital support.

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My work has always been focused on helping my clients find and maintain balance.  Never is it more important to feel balanced than when riding the hormonal rollercoaster of menopause.  For some women, this period can last a decade– that’s a really long time to feel “off” or “not myself.”  There are strategies that can be employed to regain a sense of balance that will let women live boldly with both mental and physical strength.

Please do let me know if I can support you.  Regardless of your life stage, feeling healthy and strong shouldn’t be a luxury.  You’re worth it.

Good health and great happiness to you.