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Lifestyle

Rilde Leon
Lifestyle

Try This 45-Minute HIIT Workout - No Equipment Required

Mixing things up in the gym is often easier said than done. And now that things have more of a virtual twist to them, motivation is even more of a factor.

New workouts led by inspiring instructors are at a premium, and we have one for you today. Rilde Leon is a Miami fitness instructor that can be found all over town including Equinox, not to mention streaming live on platforms like Echelon. Leon has hosted several STAY FIT 305 virtual workouts and we can't wait to have him back for more.

Try this 45-minute HIIT workout from one of Leon's latest classes.

Follow the pattern below for each round:

  • One minute per exercise (three minutes of work) ⁃ 30-second rest.
  • Three-minute AMRAP with 10 reps per movement ⁃ 30 second rest.
  • Round 1: Low Squat Jacks, Burpees, Air Jacks
  • Round 2: Low Squat Fall Forward, High Jumps (B-Ball Shot), Donkey Kicks
  • Round 3: Skaters, Pogo Hops Single Leg, Push-ups
  • Round 4: Lunge Hops, Mountain Climbers, Plank Jack Tucks
  • Round 5: 180° Squat Jumps, High Knees, Down Dog Military Push-ups

Miami fitness instructor takes you through a 45-minute HIIT workout for all levels that can be done anywhere - no equipment required.

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Lifestyle

3 Fitness Apps to Download for Virtual Training

Virtual training continues to dominate fitness in 2020. Here are three apps offering different options for virtual training.

Virtual training continues to dominate fitness in 2020. Not only is it a convenient option, allowing you to join any time and anywhere, but it offers variety and allows you to stay connected with your local studio and find motivation from new trainers. Here are three apps offering different options for virtual training.

1. Mindbody Flex

Bring your favorite classes into your living room and find workouts to fit the space and equipment you have at home. Mindbody has a new membership that offers 10 virtual classes per month for $59. Tapping into the wide variety of studios that are already on the platform, this recurring membership allows you to attend classes from participating studios around the world. If you hop on the waitlist for this new membership now, you can get two weeks free.

2. FlexIt

FlexIt has a network of trainers and fitness experts ready to provide you with personalized, one-on-one sessions using the equipment you have available. Prior to your first workout, FlexIt offers free consultations where you can submit your fitness goals, injuries or limitations, and the equipment you have available to find the best trainer for you. You can also use the app to visit local participating gyms and fitness studios and only pay for the time you are there.

RELATED 6 Local Trainers Share Their Thoughts on Teaching Virtually

3. Motify

Tap into a library of virtual workout classes with Motify. There are programs to suit everyone's skill level and preference, with trainers hosting one-on-one sessions including unique offerings like stretching, meditation, and pre-and post-natal specialization. There are also nutritionists available to offer guidance and help you reach your health goals. Subscriptions to Motify start at $9.99 per month.

Download one of these apps and start training today!

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Lifestyle

6 Products to Help You Battle Blue Light

Blue light is the light that emits from our devices. So how do you battle blue light? We found six products for the job.

Who remembers the childhood game, Red Light, Green Light, Go? When it comes to blue light, however, it would be a no. Most of us know that we should be protecting ourselves from UVA/UVB rays which have been proven to contribute to skin cancer, but there is a lesser-known ultraviolet light, blue light, that can have detrimental effects on your body and we are all being exposed, now more than ever.

Blue light is the light that emits from our devices - computer screens, phones, tablets, even energy-efficient light bulbs - and it can have negative effects on our vision, skin, moods, sleep, hormones, and weight.

Blue light is stimulating, which can be helpful during waking hours, however, when over exposed, especially after sundown, it throws off our circadian rhythm as it fools our brain into thinking that it’s still daylight. This messes with our melatonin production and leads to restless sleep, which affects our bodies in more ways than one. Additionally all that screen time causes our eyes to strain and even damage our skin. So even if you’re working from home, apply your sunscreen.

So how do you battle blue light? We found six products for the job.

Protect Your Eyes

When you’re in front of a screen protect your eyes with Barner Blue Light Blocking glasses that have lenses with a coating specially developed for people who spend a lot of time indoors and are exposed to the blue-violet and LED light of digital devices. These super stylish glasses, with high quality, organic CR39 lenses block 40% of the blue light on the 430-450nm spectrum and 100% of the blue light at 410nm, are one of our top picks. $72.00, https://barnerbrand.com, and on Instagram (@barnerbrand).

While we personally won’t sit down in front of our computer without Blue Light blocking glasses, if you don’t feel like rocking the “four-eyes” look, there are a number of vitamins to enhance your eye health. Radio Foresight is a proprietary blend of nootropics and vitamins crafted to not only protect your eyes from blue light but also boost your energy levels, concentration, alertness, cognitive function and focus. Improving mental clarity while helping to keep your eyesight and mind sharp as a tack, we’re here for that! $59.99, https://turnonyourradio.com, and on Instagram (@turnonyourradio).

For those with children, their little eyes are seeing an abundance of blue light thanks to virtual school and increased screen time during the pandemic. Thankfully, Viteyes.com recently released a version of their popular Blue Light Defender+ for children, Blue Light Defender Kids, which contains Lutein & Zeaxanthin to naturally filter blue light and AstaReal® astaxanthin to combat tired eyes. These berry soft chews are for ages 4 and older. $21.95, https://www.viteyes.com, and on Instagram (@viteyes).

Protect Your Skin

If applying daily sunscreen is not already part of your daily skincare routine, your Florida card should be revoked. What might surprise you is that even if you’re working from home and inside most of the day, you still need protection. Sun can filter through windows and now you know that blue light can damage your skin you’re going to want to apply daily.

We discovered a simple solution to add in SPF and block blue light in Coola Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30. A few drops of this organic sun silk can be added to your favorite moisturizer or foundation, or use on its own and allow the proprietary blend of antioxidants and specially harvested plant-cell cultures to help lessen your exposure. $46.00, https://coola.com, and on Instagram (@coola).

Another skin protector that we recommend is The Better Skin Co.'s Super Shield Anti-Pollution Serum, a liquid defense system, which is designed to fight this and other silent aggressors while nourishing the skin with ingredients like Turmeric, Eggplant, Aloe, Henna, and Pearl Powder. $38.00, TheBetterskinCo.com, and Amazon.com. Follow on Instagram (@betterskinco).

You can battle skin-damaging wavelengths by applying makeup with SPF, like Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Fluid Powder Foundation SPF 20. This liquid-to-powder foundation reveals a soft-matte finish. We especially love this SPF formula as it not only offers sun and blue light protection (though we still recommend wearing sunscreen), but it is also sweat resistant, transfer-resistant, and non-acnegenic aka won’t contribute to maskne. $40.00, https://www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com, and on Instagram (@bobbibrown).

Resilience CBD|Resilience CBD|Resilience CBD
Food,Lifestyle,News

3 Pre and Post-Workout CBD Recipes You Need to Try

Resilience CBD, a CBD brand designed specifically for athletes, has a growing library of healthy recipes that incorporate their CBD.

The food you eatbefore and after exercising is crucial to get the most out of your workouts,and to stay on track with your fitness goals. Pre-workout: You’re fueling yourbody up. You need to prep it for the physical stress you’re about to put itthrough. Post-workout: You need to replenish your body so it can recover andrebuild from the workout you just crushed. 

Resilience CBD, a CBD brand designed specifically for athletes, has a growing library of healthy recipes that incorporate their CBD. Not only do they taste great, but they also add an extra anti-inflammatory boost that you may not be getting enough of otherwise. Below are a few great pre/post-workout recipes to get you started!

PRE-WORKOUT: Orange Honey CBD Overnight Oats

Unless you eat a few hours before working out, you should try to stick to something on the lighter side, that’s also high in carbs. Oats are especially great pre-workout food because they release slowly, keeping your energy levels high throughout your whole workout. The CBD oil is an awesome addition to keep you focused and feeling refreshed after. If you’re a morning gym-goer, this is perfect to grab on the go.

Resilience CBD

Ingredients: 

½ cup oats
½ cup preferred milk
1 mL Orange Rise CBD Oil
1 tsp raw honey
½ tbs peanut butter for an extra protein boost
1 or ½ banana

Instructions: 

Add oats, followed bythe wet ingredients into a bowl or glass. Stir lightly so the Oats arecompletely wet.

Store in your fridge overnight. Top with bananas and/or other fruit in the morning.

*Yields 1 largeserving* 

POST WORKOUT

Eating immediatelyafter a workout is a must. You need to restore your depleted glycogen levelsand load up with protein so you are able to recover and build muscle. 

Recipe: Strengthening CBD Smoothie

Smoothies are a quick, easy, and effective post-workout meal. This one is packed with protein and stabilizes your sugar levels, while the CBD works to fight inflammation. The greek yogurt also makes for a creamy, indulgent treat!

Resilience CBD

Ingredients: 

1-2 scoops vanilla protein powder
½ cup preferred milk
¼ cup chopped peaches
¼ cup mango
1 banana
1 mL Citron Zest or Orange Rise CBD Oil
1 tbsp hemp hearts
¾ cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt

Add ingredients to a blender, mix, and voilà!

*Yields 1 largesmoothie* 

Recipe: CBD Lemon Pepper Chicken Bowl

If you’re feeling something a little heavier than a smoothie, this easy meal provides an awesome source of recovery boosting nutrients that work with the CBD to promote muscle growth and healing, so you can go just as hard in the gym tomorrow.

Resilience CBD

Ingredients: 

1 chicken breast
¾ cup broccoli
¾ cup chopped zucchini
¾ cup chopped brussel sprouts
1 mL Citron Zest CBD Oil
1 tbs olive oil
¼ lemon
⅔ cup cooked quinoa
1 tsp salt, pepper, lemon pepper
1 tsb lemon juice

Instructions: 

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste until cooked through, about 5-8 minutes
  2. Set chicken aside. Cut half of your lemon into thinly sliced pieces.
  3. Add veggies, CBD, and thinly sliced lemon to the pan. Stir and sprinkle lemon pepper, salt, and pepper.
  4. Turn skillet to medium-low, add quinoa, the juice of the remaining lemon, and the chopped chicken.
  5. Stir until fully mixed, and pour into a plate or dish.

*Yields 1 largeserving* 

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Lifestyle

Lift Off: We Tried A Lash Lift, Here’s What To Expect

We sought out Miami’s premier lash experts, Lash Society Miami to help us give our lashes some love with a treatment known as a Lash Lift.

Whether or not you’ve learned to smize through your mask or not, it’s time to highlight the feature that is most exposed when you’re covered up, your eyes. There are a multitude of ways to keep your lashes looking long and healthy such as mascara, false lashes, lash extensions, or a treatment known as a Lash Lift. The only service we’ve yet to explore is a Lash Lift so we sought out Miami’s premier lash experts, Lash Society Miami to help us give our lashes some love.

Nestled in The Roads (1110 SW 18th Ave), Lash Society Miami was founded by spa industry veteran, Melina Cespedes, who while living in Los Angeles went to a lashing seminar as a way to step outside the traditional spa industry services at the time. It was love at first lash and lashing became her therapy.

Cespedes moved to Miami five years ago to open Lash Society Miami, which offers the best “lash care” to those in-the-know including many of Miami’s TV news personalities, celebrities, and now you, our Stay Fit 305 readers.

Since we’ve already had our run with lash extensions, and while love them, can’t handle the maintenance, a Keratin Lash Lift and Tint, which in essence is a perm for your lashes, seemed to be the best fit. Cespedes explained the step-by-step process which includes cleaning your lashes and them gently tapping your bottom lashes down. Next, she gently adheres your top lashes to what is called a rod. Don’t be fooled, it’s a small silicone-like piece, not some kind of metal. Your lashes curl around it and then she applies a “perm” solution, followed by a keratin setting solution, which gives you the curl and the lift.

Next, she finishes with a tint in order to give you the darkest lashes. It's quick (we chatted the entire time so it really flew by) and a totally painless process with totally eye-opening, literally and figuratively, results. We were shocked to see the dramatic curl and lift.

The results last 8-12 weeks, which is the natural life cycle of the eyelash. You need to keep your lashes dry for 12-24 hours and the only other post-care is keeping lashes hydrated, with an eye area friendly oil like Castor or Coconut Oil. The treatment costs $120.

In addition to the Keratin Lash Lift and Tint, Lash Society Miami offers Lash Extensions and Eyebrow design. For more information on Lash Society Miami, visit http://www.lashsocietymiami.com and follow @lashsocietymiami on Instagram.

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Lifestyle

5 Products to Help Raise Your Vibration

If you need assistance finding your inner peace, we found these products will help give you and your aura a boost of calm and quell stress and anxiety.

From a global pandemic, lockdowns, racial unrest, political turmoil, and our environment being ravaged, 2020 has been a doozy. While we all are doing our best to get through this historical year of hardships, trying to find a glimmer of hope in all the despair will not only help you get through your day but can help raise our collective vibration. In case you need a little (or a lot) of assistance in finding your inner peace, we found these products will help give you and your aura a boost of calm and quell stress and anxiety.

1. Skinesiology Auric Mist

Skinesiology’s entire line is dedicated to raising your vibe and offers an online quiz to help you find your personalized, mindful beauty products. Taking sight, smell, hearing, touch along with organic ingredients into consideration, this collection of face and body increases your energy and decreases stress. Auric Mist Bliss (others include Female Warrior, Blossom, and Peace of Mind) instantly boosted our mood and has become a part of our daily routine. @skinesiologyskincare

2. I’m Outside

Craving the outdoors, but the heat, humidity, and fear of catching Covid-19 keeping you in? Well, now you can get outside in an instant with I’m Outside, a mist that gives you the benefits of being in nature without having to leave the house. Infused with Tree Oil Phytoncides, which are linked to lowered stress and boosted immunity; Vitamin D3, which has helped elevate mood, increase immunity, and reduce inflammation; and Fulvic Acid, which has been linked to a healthy microbiome, free radical protection, and shields from indoor pollutants; along with Microalga, it’s like forest bathing in a bottle. This self-care mist for your face and body has a subtle blend of cypress, hinoki, spruce, Japanese mint, and pine that leaves you feeling calm and grounded. 

3. Mazz Hanna Clarity Mist

Align your aura, your face, and just about your entire life with this clear quartz crystal infused mist that combines a hydrating blend of organic aloe leaf juice with the calming scent of organic lavender. 

4. Bathing Muse Auric Cleansing Soul Bars

Instantly clean your aura while you're getting clean with these newly launched Auric Cleansing Soul bars. Created by Francesca Cruz, a Miami-based, award-winning journalist, who has studied with diverse spiritual practitioners during her travels around the world, has created these soul bars with a variety of organic ingredients including, potent herbs, oils, and flowers bars to clear your energy field. Depending on your spiritual needs there is Clean As a Whistle (Hex Remover) to remove negative energy, La Reina (also el Rey)  for love, lust, and attractions, and Mo’ Money Honey, for wealth, esteem and success. Just be sure not to share your bar with anyone else, protect yo’ self! @bathingmusesoulbars

5. Annie The Alchemist Protection Pouch

Annie Vazquesz, Miami’s Queen of Good Vibes, Reiki Certified, and founder of the award-winning blog, TheFashionPoet.com, launched her collection of T’s, crystals, candles, and other accessories to spread her wellness and positivity through energy-enhancing goods. This evil eye protection pouch is the perfect place to store everything from your makeup, essentials, or even your crystals. 

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Lifestyle

5 Beauty Products for Your Booty & Your Body

We searched out some booty (and body) enhancing creams that will help enhance, smooth and tighten to keep your bum looking its best.

Bubba Sparks wrote a song about it (Ms. New Booty). GluteHouse created a workout just for it. While an extra set squats won’t hurt (well, maybe just a little) paying more attention to your derriere by way of your beauty routine is a simple way to keep your bum looking and feeling it’s best. We searched out some booty (and body) enhancing creams that will help enhance, smooth, and tighten

Miami Beach Bum Signature Bum + Body Cream

If you’ve ever stayed in your bikini or sweaty workout clothes too long chances are, you may have experienced bum bumps or blemishes. Miami Beach Bum’s soothing plant-based cream with aloe and oregano is designed to eliminate unwanted skin conditions folliculitis, acne, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, and more. You can also check out Vanessa DeSilva for a Miami Beach Bum “Booty Facial,” which is just like it sounds, a facial for your booty. @themiamibeachbum

Soap & Glory Sit Tight 4-D

Developed to help stimulate skin around the thighs, hips, and bottom, it delivers slow-release microencapsulated ingredients that optimize while you sit, which is perfect while working from home. The combination of ingredients including Sweet Orange Oil help revitalize and tone skin and the fragrance blend of aromatic essential oils including Petitgrain, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Ylang Ylang, Elemi, Lime, and Palmarosa, will help to firm and smooth the appearance of stubborn problem areas.

NakedProof End Of The Line Stretch Mark Minimizing Lotion

If you have stretch marks, like 99.9999% of women, this Shea Butter and Pomegranate extract infused cream can help reduce their appearance by helping to stimulate natural elastin production and visibly reduce stretch marks. @avoninsider

H20+ Detox White Clay Body Butter

Infused with White Clay and a proprietary Detox Blend of plant extracts, this ultra-hydrating body butter will help revitalize and illuminate the skin while providing a healthy dose of hydration. @h2oplus

June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Body Emulsion

Formulated with a powerful patented antioxidant blend of white, red, and green tea extracts combined with goji berry, pomegranate, and grape seed extracts, this body emulsion helps to neutralize free radicals, protect skin from environmental toxins and combat the visible signs of premature aging. @junejacobsspa

Lifestyle,Uncategorized

How Coffee Protects The Brain and Supports Memory

There are more good effects than bad when coffee is consumed in moderation. Plus, coffee may have benefits later in life.

It's no secret that drinking coffee can affect energy levels, digestion, and even athletic performance. While these physical effects are generally fast-acting, coffee consumption also has some long-term effects on brain health. Different bodies of research have suggested coffee may even support memory function and lower neurodegenerative disorders, like dementia.

Coffee and brain health

In 2017, Boukje van Gelder and her colleagues reported on 676 elderly men they had studied over 10 years to see if coffee protected them from cognitive decline. They found men who drank coffee had less cognitive decline than those who didn't.

The greatest effect was seen in those who drank three cups of coffee a day. Those who drank more or less saw less dramatic effects.

In another 2009 study, Marjo Eskelinen and her colleagues reported on a group of people they had followed over 21 years to see if coffee helped cognition. They found coffee drinkers at midlife had a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease later in life, compared with those who drank no coffee or up to two cups per day. The lowest risk of dementia was found in people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day.

3 ways coffee supports the brain

There are a number of ways in which coffee might protect the brain. These are just a few:

  1. Caffeine: Caffeine increases serotonin and acetylcholine, which may stimulate the brain and help stabilize the blood-brain barrier.
  2. Polyphenols: Polyphenols in coffee may prevent tissue damage by free radicals, as well as brain blood vessel blockage.
  3. Trigonelline: High concentrations of trigonelline are found in coffee beans, which may also activate antioxidants, thereby protecting brain blood vessels.

Is some coffee better than others?

Despite the benefits, not every substance in coffee is helpful. Unfiltered coffee contains natural oils called diterpenes, which increase LDL cholesterol levels. These can potentially result in a thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries in the brain (though they do have some helpful anti-inflammatory properties).

Acrylamide, a chemical formed when coffee beans are roasted, can inhibit neurotransmission, destroy dopamine neurons, and increase oxidative stress. The amount of acrylamide in coffee can vary, but dark-roasted, fresh coffee beans generally have the lowest amount.

Bottom line.

Because there's a wide range of chemicals in coffee, researchers can't say definitively whether coffee can protect against dementia. However, there are more good effects than bad when consumed in moderation. Plus, it may have benefits later in life.

Two to four cups per day, or less than 400 mg/day is recommended, and drinking dark-roasted, freshly ground coffee beans may decrease unwanted chemicals.

This story was originally published on MindBodyGreen by Uma Naidoo, M.D. and can be found here.

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Lifestyle

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by Supporting These 6 Beauty & Fashion Brands

It’s officially Hispanic Heritage month and to celebrate we’re spotlighting Latin-owned beauty and fashion brands, many of them based here in South Florida.

It’s officially Hispanic Heritage month (September 15 - October 15) and to celebrate we’re spotlighting Latin-owned beauty and fashion brands, several of them based here in South Florida. From Cuba to Brazil, take a minute to discover these 6 brands, and remember to shop small businesses, they need our support more than ever.

Beauty

Bomba Curls

Created by Lulu Cordero, an Afro-Dominicana who believes that curls should be celebrated. This line of hair care products made with premium and organic super-ingredients is designed to not only enhance curls, but help hair grow. After suffering from severe traction alopecia, Lulu turned to tightly kept Dominican beauty secrets used by generations of women, to create a line inspired by the Dominica- style formulations and blends that suit the needs of natural coils and curls. @bombacurls

Beni Skin and & Body

Based in Miami, Beni Skin & Body Care is a nature-inspired skincare line created by esthetician Beni Díaz. Using natural ingredients found in her native island, Puerto Rico, such as coffee, papaya, and local herbs, the line is created for all skin types and is consciously crafted to help you shine from within. The Blueberry & Coffee Bean Exfoliating Cleanser with cocoa seed, coffee, green tea, cardamom, and papaya not only gently exfoliates, but is almost good enough to eat. @beniskin.care

Cuerpa

Dominican Founder Edwin Jimenez Casanova developed Cuerpa to be free from synthetic ingredients, parabens, phthalate, fillers, chemicals, animal testing, mineral oils, petroleum, and sodium laurel sulfate. Using the highest quality and responsibly sourced all-natural ingredients, Cuerpa is made in small batches and combines natural and organic, effective ingredients to create luxurious face and body products like face and body oils and polishes. Cuerpa helps you feel silky smooth from head to toe. @cuerpaofficial

Teadora Beauty

As a young girl Valeria Cole, harvested, dried and blended botanicals found in Brazil’s Rainforest to craft nourishing natural remedies from the Amazon. Today, she has created a sustainable beauty company that shares her ancestral beauty secrets in Teadora’s raw and organic skin and hair care line. Products range from Raw Açaí Pulp Scrub to Raw Coco-Mint Tonic, and what is most impressive is the brand's commitment to sustainability inclusion. Teadora is actively focused on fighting climate change through the preservation and restoration of the Amazon. @teadorabeauty

Fashion/Accessories

XIO

Created by Miami-based, Cuban-American, Latina entrepreneur and mom of 4, Ylette Luis, XIO by Ylette, is a carefully curated, monthly jewelry subscription box. With pieces inspired by Ylette’s love for all things fashion and astrology, XIO, which costs $60, delivers four to five distinctive pieces with the option to choose between sterling silver or gold-dipped subscriptions - both options are the same price. Plus, subscribers receive an exclusive discount of 20% off the entire XIO website to shop for individual pieces. The September box honors Hispanic Heritage Month and is titled "Encantadora- Bajo me Hechizo" which translated to "under my spell". @xio_byylette

Flor De Maria

Founded and designed by Peruvian TV host, style and beauty expert, and influencer, Flor De Maria Rivera, this line of high-end, handcrafted, and high-quality shoes is a result of Flor’s quest for shoes with quality, style, versatility, and comfort. Rather than adding her name to another brand, she studied at one of Italy’s top design schools, Arsutoria, as well as an entrepreneurship program at Stanford University before launching her own collection. If these shoes might sound familiar, Miami’s own fashion, style, and lifestyle maven, Kelly Saks, has a pair named for her. The Kelly, a hybrid design between a slingback pump and a strappy sandal. @flordemariacollection

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Lifestyle

Seeking C - Reasons To Add Vitamin C to Your Skincare Routine

Taking in Vitamin Sea is a way of life in South Florida, but are you giving your skin Vitamin C to protect and repair after time spent in the surf and sun?

Taking in Vitamin Sea is a way of life in South Florida, but are you giving your skin what it needs to protect and repair after time spent in the sand, surf, and sun? Boca-based, Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jacob Steiger, M.D. of Steiger Facial Plastic Surgery explains that “by living in South Florida, you are subject to constant sun exposure which increases the risk of free radical formation.” Free radicals can cause damage to our DNA and ultimately cause signs of aging. Gasp! 

Thankfully we can turn to Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that when applied topically, can help reverse damage. “As an antioxidant, Vitamin C strengthens the skin from within by preventing the formation of free radicals (i.e. thymine dimers) which affect collagen structures and are a potential factor for causing cancer,” says Steiger.

If achieving a brighter skin appearance, increased hydration, and boosting your collagen production sounds like something you’d be interested in, then we suggest the following Vitamin C serums (and scrub) to help you reach your #skingoals. 

Steiger Skin Care Pure C, $120

This brightening and hydrating Vitamin C serum delivers skin-enhancing benefits of pure, stabilized L-Ascorbic Acid and TetrahexyldecylAscorbate, in combination with Vitamins A & E, Arbutin, Bearberry, Emblica, and Ubiquinone, to achieve improved skin texture and tone resulting in healthier-looking skin.

No7 Youthful Vitamin C Fresh Radiance Essence, $24.99

This 2-week treatment quenches skin with 5% pure Vitamin C, a key antioxidant for supporting skin's natural renewal and bringing back a healthy glow. According to No7, after 2 weeks of daily use, skin will be brighter, skin tone more even and skin texture will be improved.

The Better Skin Co. Epik C Serum, $38

This hydrating and tightening helps reduce the appearance of fine lines with plant-based technology. Its advanced Vitamin C formula works hard to improve skin health and brighten skin, and its natural botanicals and fruit extracts guard against pollution.

Avon Anew Vitamin C Brightening Serum, $44

Clinically proven to brighten skin after the first use by up to 44%, this serum is  packed with as much Vitamin C as in 30 oranges. 

Elina Organics Vitamin C Elixir, $63

This natural ester Vitamin C (14%) and collagen-building formula helps to reduce free radical damage. Extracts of Yarrow, Sea Buckthorn, and other nourishing organic botanicals help to even out your complexion, hydrate, and rejuvenate your skin. It can be used as a serum for dry skin and as a moisturizer for oilier skin types 

Eight Saints Seeking C, $74

This concentrated treatment that targets age spots, acne scars, and skin discoloration will leave skin brighter, firmer, and with a more even skin complexion. 

Peter Thomas Roth Potent C Power Scrub $38

This new facial scrub is formulated to be the future of Vitamin C, with THD Ascorbate, an ultra-stable scientific breakthrough ingredient 50x more powerful than traditional Vitamin C. 

yoga poses for better sex
Lifestyle

7 Yoga Poses for Better Sex

Have you ever considered yoga’s many benefits can translate into the bedroom? Here are seven poses that can improve your sex life.

Yoga in all its forms has been a trusted practice for centuries when it comes to strengthening the body, mind, and spirit. But have you ever considered yoga's many benefits can translate into the bedroom? Not only can yoga help you improve your physical form, but it can also help you get in touch with your sexuality. Here’s how the two work together, plus seven poses that can improve your sex life.

The relationship between yoga and sex.

In case you didn't know, yogic sexuality is a thing. By learning how to tap into your body and nervous system through yogic practices, we have the capacity for powerful, intentional, and connected sex. Yoga allows us to relax and open up our bodies and hearts, and it can potentially help unlock trauma stored in the body that inhibits our sex lives. It also can help you feel strong, sexy, and confident, to name a few.

These traditions can be traced through all different lineages, including Taoist teachings, Kundalini teachings, tantra, and more. Each is a little different, but they're all related to using breath, movement, and energy. The body-mind connection is emphasized in yogic sexuality. When you can gain some control over your physical body, whether that's working with poses or your breath, your mind is open to greater expansion. And when your mind is clear and intentional, it allows for a more powerful experience.

We also know yoga has been found to reduce stress levels, which can have a huge impact on sexual desire and functioning. It can also get your blood flowing throughout your body, which can support sexual arousal, and boost serotonin.

One small study even found a link between practicing yoga and better sexual functioning in women, particular those over 45 years old. They asked 40 women about their sex lives before and after a 12-week yoga program, and 75% of them showed improvement in levels of desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and sexual satisfaction, plus a reduction of sexual pain. Another similar study found similar yoga seemed to improve men's sexual functioning as well, including desire, erection quality, ejaculatory control, orgasm, confidence, and feelings of being in sync with their partners.

Here are a few yoga poses specifically geared toward opening your body and mind to help you get in the mood.

1. Forward Fold

A forward fold will definitely get your blood flowing. While you're doing it, try to calm your mind and let go of all the day's stresses. The increased oxygen and blood flow will give you a youthful and energized glow so that you can confidently take on a bedroom session.

How to: Stand in mountain pose with both feet planted firmly on the ground, hands on your hips. Exhale and slowly fold forward from your hip joints, lengthening the front of your torso. Bend your elbows and hold onto each elbow with your opposite hand. Lightly sway from side-to-side if it feels good. Hold for 1 minute.

2. Low Lunge

This pose will help you to activate your sacral chakra—the energy center that guides sex and intimate love. It will also open and deeply stretch the front thighs and pelvis.

How to: Starting in downward-facing dog, step your right foot between your hands with your knee aligned over your ankle at a 90-degree angle. Rest your back knee down onto the mat. Your hips should be square; make sure to tuck your tailbone. Inhale, lengthen your torso, and sweep your arms up to the sky or rest them on the front thigh.

2. Low Lunge

3. Low Lunge With Twist

Adding a twist to this pose will lengthen and strengthen the muscles along the spine. It will also help you to remove energy blockages, which in turn will leave you feeling revitalized and ready for a steamy session between the sheets.

How to: Starting in low lunge, place your hands in prayer position at heart center and gently twist your torso open toward the right leg. Hook your left elbow over your right knee and use it as a lever to open your torso. Hold here for 5 breaths. Repeat on both sides.

4. Reclined Big Toe Stretch

Not only can this stretch improve your flexibility over time, but it also can release tension, stress, and emotional baggage. This will allow you to walk into the bedroom with fresh energy.

How to: Start by lying on your back. Lift your right leg up to the ceiling and grasp onto your big toe. If you can't reach your toes, it's totally fine to use a strap. Flex the foot of your extended leg on the floor. Press your thigh down and make sure not to let the hips lift. On your elevated leg, press up through your heel and draw your toes back.

4. Reclined Big Toe Stretch

5. Pigeon

Pigeon pose provides a deep stretch for your hips by opening your lower body. We hold a lot of tension and emotion in our hips, so this can help release that.

How to: Starting in downward-facing dog, bring your right knee forward to the ground and place it in line with your right hand. Your shin should be parallel to the front of your mat. Extend your left leg back, and rest your knee and top on the foot on the ground. Square your hips and fold forward, resting your forehead on your hands. If your hip doesn't touch the floor, you can prop yourself up using a block. Hold the pose for 2 to 5 minutes on each side.

6. Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-facing dog is a total-body energizing pose that will start to increase your flexibility, open your hips, and get the blood flowing to your pelvic region.

How to: From a forward fold, place your hands on the ground shoulder-distance apart. Walk your feet back so that your body is in the shape of a "V." Activate your arms and draw your site bones up and back. Press your heels firmly toward the ground. Relax your head and neck while gazing back toward your feet.

7. Upward-Facing Dog

Upward-facing dog is a beautiful heart opener that will lift your energy and your self-confidence. It also opens up the energy of the heart chakra—the energy center that rules love and happiness.

How to: Stand in mountain pose with both feet planted firmly on the ground, hands on your hips. Exhale and slowly fold forward from your hip joints, lengthening the front of your torso. Bend your elbows and hold on to each elbow with your opposite hand. Lightly sway from side to side if it feels good. Hold for 1 minute.

*This story was originally published on mindbodygreen.com by Claire Grieve and can be found here.

Lifestyle

Labor Day Beauty Deals That Can’t Be Beat

We rounded up all the best beauty sales happening this Labor Day. Stock up while you can to treat mascne, fight off frizz, or just some general self-care.

While summer was not canceled, it certainly looked different this year, which is why it’s hard to believe that Labor Day is upon us. Whether you’re in need of some extra self-care (who isn’t these days!?), looking for something to treat mascne (ugh, we feel you!), or fight off frizz (hello, humidity), we rounded up all the best beauty sales happening for skincare, hair care, and CBD. Stock up while you can!  

Skincare

23Skin, This South-Florida based collection of all-natural, DIY face masks is offering 15% sitewide. Sale runs September 4 through September 7.

Aillea, Clean beauty retailer that sells brands like Vitner’s Daughter and Kosas is offering 15% off online, some exclusions apply. Sale runs September 2 through 8. Use code "Laborday2020 at checkout.

AHAVA, The skincare line that uses minerals from the Dead Sea is offering 20% off sitewide, 25% for $75 purchase, and 30% $100+ purchases. Sale runs August 31 through September 7.

C’est Moi, This clean skincare and color cosmetics brand is offering 20% off all their product bundles for the entire month of September. No code needed.

Deborah Lippmann, Step up your at-home manicure game with this celeb-favorite nail care line and receive 25% off orders of $60 or more plus free shipping. Sale runs September 3 through September 7. Use code "labor2020" at checkout.

The Better Skin Co, This clean skincare brand that focuses on multitasking products formulated #Forallpeople is offering 20% off the entire site. Customers will receive a free full-size cleanser with $50 purchase and free shipping with $75 purchase. Sale runs September 7 through September 13. Code "TBSCLBDY" at checkout.

Bubbly Belle, Best known for their luxurious bath bombs that come with a surprise ring in each one, will be offering 30% off site-wide. This includes their newly launched line of essential oils and diffusers. Sale runs from September 3 through September 7.

Eden Beauty, This high-potency natural skincare line that is made in small batches and ensures the highest quality and effectiveness, is offering 25% off sitewide. Sale runs September 3 through September 13. Use code "LABORDAY2020" at checkout.

Foreo, the coveted skincare devices like the UFO smart mask that counts celebs like Rita Ora and Kim Kardashian as fans, can be purchased via Sephora at Macys at a savings. Deals vary by store but plan to scoop up the UFO masks starting at 30% off and the LUNA starting at 20% off. Sephora sale runs September 4 through 7 and Macy’s sale runs August 31 through September 7.

Free Agent Skincare, an indie beauty brand focused on clean science, is offering 20% off sitewide. Sale runs September 5 through September 7.

Gray Lane Beauty, Lengthen, Plump, and Curl your lashes with this line of vegan, cruelty, and paraben-free mascaras that has a formula for all your lash desires Try all three in the Discovery Set for just $10. Use code "FIRSTSET" at checkout. Sale runs September 4 through September 8.

Isola, the South Florida-based line of all-natural, vegan body oils, body and lip scrubs, lotions, and soy candles, is offering 20% off sitewide. Sale runs September 4 through September 7. Use code "LDay20" at checkout.

June Jacobs, Revive parched hands with Rapid Repair Healing Cream, which will be 50%, as well as enjoy free shipping on all orders. Sale runs September 1 through September 7. Use code "JJLabor" at checkout.

LaFlore Probiotic Skincare, This probiotic infused collection is offering $45 off their Probiotic Serum Concentrate, which features patent-pending live probiotics that fight off viruses, bacteria, and pathogens while boosting skin’s immunity, Also on sale for $20 off is Longevity Barrier Repair Oil. Sale runs through September 8th. Use code "SERUM45" at checkout for serum. No code necessary for oil.

Makeup Geek, The cult-favorite, affordable line of highly pigment products that are made in the USA, is offering a Buy One Get One offer on a selection of top products including Lashes, Sponges Brow Pencils, Eyeliners and Healing Lip Glazes. Sale runs September 4 through September 7.

Naturally Serious Skin, The brand committed to using clean, good-for-you ingredients and no “B.A.D. (Banned, Ambiguous or Debatable) ingredients'' is offering 25% sitewide plus free shipping. Sale runs September 1 - through September 7. Use code "NSLABOR" at checkout.

Nectar, A line of adorable, food-inspired bath and body products that will put a smile on your face while soothing your skin, is offering 30% off sitewide. Sale runs September 4 through September 7. Use code "LABORDAY" at checkout.

Orpheus Skin, a luxury clean, vegan, and bioengineered line of skincare products that harnesses botanical powers without doing harm to the planet is offering 20% off all products site-wide. Sale runs September 3rd through September 8.

Olay, a trusted name in the beauty industry for decades has a number of deals, but be sure to scoop up Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream and Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Moisturizer both $2 off. Sale runs September 4 through September 8. Use code "MOISTURIZE" at checkout.

Perfect Image, At-home peels, cleansers, moisturizers, masks, and more are 20% off during this sitewide sale. Sale runs September 4 through September 7. Use code "LABORDAY20" at checkout.

Repêchage, The pioneers in seaweed-based skincare will be offering 15% plus free shipping on all orders. Any purchase of $100 or more will also receive one free Lamina Mask Sheet Mask. Sale runs September 4 - September 7th.

RE:ERTH, This line of effective, simple, easy to use products, based on nature and science is offering 15% sitewide. Sale runs September 4 through 7.

Spongellé, These soap infused body buffers and other body products, is running a Sale on Sale offering 25% off sale items. Sale runs From September 3 through September 7, Use code "LDSALE25" at checkout.

Tammy Fender, With a spa location in Palm Beach known for heavenly facials, this line of luxury, organic skincare is offering 15% all purchases to new customers that sign up for the newsletter. You will receive the code via email. Starts on September 14, 2020.

HAIR CARE

Better Natured, Clean, vegan hair care that features a synergistic blend of naturally-derived, purely science ingredients, with a triple plant milk blend of Coconut, Orchid, and Tahitian Palm milks, is offering 25% off plus free shipping. Sale runs August 22 through September 7. Use code "SUMMER" at checkout.

CHI Haircare & Tools,Leaders in hot styling tools and haircare, Chi is offering 25% off sitewide. Sale runs August 14 through September 7. Use Code "BTS25" at checkout.

Drybar, Fight the frizz and keep your hair healthy with products from popular blow dry bar during their “Clear the Bar” sale which offers 30% to 50% off specific products. Sale runs August 19 through September 9.

Glam Seamless, Because sometimes your hair needs a little extra oomph, the popular hair extensions will be buy 2 get 15% off, buy 3 get 20% off, buy 4+ get 25% off plus free tape with tape-in purchase. Additionally, you can receive up to 30% off sale items.

Luxy Hair, Channel your inner Ariana Grande as this luxury line of extensions is offering $15 off full sets and clip-in ponytail extensions. Sale runs September 3 through September 7.

Voloom, Known for their volumizing hair irons, these smoothing yet hair-boosting hot tools will be on sale for $99 from $139.99. Sale runs September 5 through September 7 on their website and Amazon.

CBD

Veritas Farms, South Florida based Veritas Farms is offering a not-to-be-missed BOGO sale. That’s right, buy one, get one free sitewide, including full-spectrum hemp products as well as the brands CBD skincare line. Sale runs September 3 through September 8. Use code “LABORDAY” at check out. Promo codes and additional discounts are not valid on hand sanitizer gels, sale items, bundles, and kits.

Radio, This line of CBD tinctures infused with hemp extract and botanical terpenes is offering 40% off. Sale runs September 5 through September 7.

Ojai Energetics, This line that encapsulates full-spectrum CBD oil in nanobubbles of water so that it instantly absorbs upon contact with the mouth, is offering 20% off your total order. Sale runs September 6 and September 7. Use code "Peoplepower20" at checkout.

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Lifestyle

Seven Ways to Be a More Sustainable Athlete

Reducing your carbon footprint comes in many forms. Here are seven ways how you can limit waste, pollution, and more while you work towards fitness goals.

Athletes are increasingly trying to minimize their impact on the environment—and athletic events and brands are taking notice. Boxed water brands have popped up at race finish lines. Companies like HydraPak are making hydration better for the environment.

Of course, reducing your carbon footprint comes in many forms. Here’s how you can limit waste, pollution, and more while you work towards fitness goals.

Be smarter about electrolytes.

Choose concentrated products like powders or tablets, which can be mixed into reusable bottles. “Eliminating waste in the first place is better than recycling and reusing, which should be considered secondary strategies,” says Shelley Villalobos, managing director of the Council for Responsible Sport.

Donate your shoes.

“Just because you’re done running in them does not mean someone else won’t enjoy walking and living in them in a second life,” says T.K. Skenderian, a runner and marketing executive at Boston-based event company Conventures, which plans the Boston Marathon Expo. (The same goes for unworn race shirts or lightly-worn apparel you no longer use.)

You can ship sneakers via companies such as Soles4Souls. Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe program accepts shoes from any brand; the materials will be recycled and turned into playgrounds, turf fields, and more.

Mind your transport.

It's becoming more common for events to report their environmental impacts to the Council for Responsible Sport, says Villalobos. Now, participant and spectator travel is typically responsible for at least 90 percent of climate-changing gas emissions at these events.

You can limit your footprint by carpooling, flying direct, taking public transport and “slow travel” (boats, trains), and purchasing carbon offsets (many airlines offer them).

Go small and local.

Far-flung and large-scale events can of course have a place in your program, but between them, explore smaller, local options. They often use a fraction of the resources and man power, says Michael Olzinski, Precision Run coach at Equinox locations in San Francisco. Use these races to hone your skills and race tactics for bigger events.

Fuel with plants.

Raising animals for the food industry is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions, and it damages ecosystems with chemical runoff and waste. “Plant-based proteins like nuts and legumes are more planet-friendly,” says Villalobos. “By incorporating more of these foods, preferably grown nearby and organically, athletes can support the land and reduce the impacts of their diet significantly.”

Refuel with plant-based proteins at least once a week or choose a vegan protein powder, says Olzinski. Patagonia Provisions has many responsibly-sourced, plant-based, on-the-go products, adds David Siik, LA-based creator of Precision Run.

Buy hybrid gear.

Apparel and shoes with creative designs and fabric technologies can serve multiple purposes in different climates. Importantly, they limit your footprint without compromising performance, says Siik.

He has two favorites: First, the Brooks Canopy Jacket which blocks wind and rain but is also lightweight enough for a cool but sunny day. Second, the recycled Patagonia Houdini Jacket which fits into your running shorts pocket when rolled up.

Speak up.

Taking responsibility for your contributions to the environment is step one. Speaking up—which can normalize progressive behaviors—is step two. If you think one of your favorite races could do better with waste, get ahold of the race director. “So often it just takes one person to say something to affect change,” says Siik. “Few things feel better than being that person who can spark it.”

This story was originally published Futhermore site by Cassie Shortsleeve and can be found here.

Lifestyle

How Relationships and Results Fuel The Fitness Business

The fitness business is all about relationships and results, as proven by standout instructors. Now we’re breaking this business fundamental down for you!

The fitness business is all about relationships and results. Standout instructors and brands exemplify this daily and it’s why they’ve enjoyed tremendous success.

Now we’re breaking this business fundamental down for you.

Relationships with Colleagues

The ability to work with others well is clearly a skill set that transcends fitness. The fitness business is unusual in that we spend a lot of time in close proximity to our colleagues. In an office setting, co-workers have a designated place to work in. Their desk is their personal turf. In the gym or studio, we are all constantly moving and shaking. We don’t “own” a territory, in fact, we are constantly sharing every area we work in. This creates an opportunity for us to improve our interpersonal communication skills.

Due to the early mornings and late evenings we spend together, we often create strong bonds that extend far beyond four walls. Whereas it’s common to go to the cafeteria or out to lunch with a co-worker in an office setting, in the gym, we come together during team workouts. There’s a certain vulnerability that is shared during this sacred time. You can either bench 200lbs like your colleague or you can’t. When we are vulnerable with each other, we strengthen relationships and increase trust. We motivate and push each other to dig deep to reach new personal records and cheer each other on when that goal is achieved.

Some of the best parts of being a part of a team include bouncing ideas off others, collaborating to come up with the best solutions for problems, learning from others, gaining perspective. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Relationships with Clients

Frequency enforces connection. In the gym and studio, we are consistently seeing the same group of members. This is unusual in a business setting as you typically see people you do business with on occasion. For example, you might see your accountant 1-4 times a year, your hairstylist monthly, or your doctor annually. Fitness enthusiasts see their trainer and or group fitness instructor 3-5 times a week and the real fitness freaks see us even more. This gives us the chance to know our clients on a deeper level and create a strong connection and sense of community. It also creates raving fans, which are more likely to provide you with referrals. Referrals are pre-qualified leads that are ½ way closed before you even speak with them. It’s the easiest lead to convert into a client.

Everyone wants to be acknowledged and made to feel special. When we learn to do this well, we never have a problem generating revenue.

RELATED 5 Mistakes Fitness Professionals Are Making and How to Avoid Them

Relationships within the Community

In the fitness business, there is so much competition, however, there is also much room to collaborate with one another in ways that benefit all. A rising tide lifts all boats and that is true of the fitness and wellness industry. When we connect with like-minded businesses and create partnerships, we are stronger. A great example of this is the recently developed California Fitness Alliance, which was formed to be a unified voice for the fitness industry to aid and support the reopening of fitness facilities as we navigate the unchartered waters of COVID-19.

Results

There’s no greater way to cement loyalty between a brand and client than results. Results are measurable, but not always in the way you think. It might or might not be a certain amount of pounds lost or an improved sense of energy. It may be an overall improved outlook on life thanks to the flow of endorphins post-workout or it could even look like improved performance at work. We all know that there are numerous benefits to working out. Once a client feels the results followed by seeing it, you’ve taken your relationship to the next level.

Establishing and maintaining relationships is the gateway to great results and longevity in this business.  They go hand in hand.

Invest in your relationships like you invest in your stocks! Relationships pay the best dividends.

Lifestyle

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your At-Home Workouts

Lynsee Hee Kyeong, creator of Body By Lynsee and the 21-Day Challenge, sat down with STAY FIT 305 to discuss all things at-home workout.

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced feelings of uncertainty surrounding working out in gyms and studios, whether gyms are open or closed where you live. Regardless, you aren’t the only one who may be panicking. Your fitness routine has likely shifted in some shape or form, and you might feel like you’re stuck with a pair of dumbbells and a yoga mat, wondering what’s next.

Lynsee Hee Kyeong, creator of Body By Lynsee and the 21-Day Challenge, sat down with STAY FIT 305 to discuss all things at-home fitness. Check out her five tips and tricks to make your at-home workout space work for you.

1. Try something new during this time.

Rather than stressing out about the lack of equipment or schedule change from being home with the kids, consider other options for new activities you can participate in. Whether that’s swapping out dumbbells for laundry detergent or gallons of water, or swapping out heavy lifting for calisthenics, there’s a variety of exercises you can do with what you have. The best thing you can do is to get creative, experiment with high-intensity interval training, or try out some live workouts on Instagram until you find a style that works best.

2. Use exercise as a form of getting mentally focused.

With the current state of the world, navigating a structured schedule can feel overwhelming. Using exercise to keep your mind focused can help with monitoring stress, anxiety, depression, or other feelings you may be experiencing. Set aside a designated time to do your workouts, get an accountability partner, and stay consistent.

3. Develop your alone time.

If group fitness was your primary motivator before, take this time to hone in on your skills and how you can conquer your mind. Or, look for other ways that you can count on other accountability partners or friends to keep you motivated. There are various workouts that can be done virtually, whether it’s live-streamed workouts or participating in a group challenge.

4. Invest in at-home exercise equipment intelligently.

You don’t necessarily need an extravagant amount of equipment to get a good sweat on. Just be adjusting your timing, tempo or tension can change the amount of work you put into each session. For example, slowing down your squats or hip thrusts with a resistance band can start to feel much heavier than your typical bodyweight squats. It essentially forces a different kind of recruitment in your muscles and how they develop. You can purchase a pair of dumbbells for arm exercises and a separate pair for leg movements, without having to buy a whole set. Try to find something that will challenge you, however. Otherwise, you might as well be throwing up cereal boxes in the air.

5. Work within the space you have.

Surprisingly, you can get in a sweat-torching workout without needing much space at all. Plyometrics and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are really great for minimal space because you only need about 3 to 4 feet of room. Or, take your workout outdoors and get some fresh air at the same time. Try intervals of running or sprinting by running for 1-minute and jogging for 30 seconds and repeat the process for 15-20 minutes. You can even get your kids involved to keep them active as well.

No matter where you’re located or what your resources are, you’re perfectly capable of making a positive out of this situation. If you need a little motivation or you’re not sure where to begin, Lynsee Hee Kyeong’s 21-Day Challenge begins August 10 and includes 3-weeks of step-by-step workouts, a nutrition guide with meal planning tips, a grocery shopping list, and community access for accountability. Check it out at bodybylynsee.com.

Lifestyle

Is 2020 The End of Superficiality?

Image is a part of who we all are, but it may be a healthy thing for our society to move away from the elevation of the outer being over all else.

Living in Miami we all love a good lewk…even at the gym. Hair, nails, face, the whole nine. Before this year, the trend has been moving more and more towards a perfectionism that almost seemed unreal, between updates in aesthetic surgery, photoshopping, Instagram filters, as well as curating specific photographs for your Instagram feed, superficiality appeared to be a new religion.

I’d like to pause here to define superficiality. Superficiality is not just the enjoyment of the surface things; the material, fashion, image, money, looks, but the elevation of the surface over the internal. It isn’t necessarily that people individually were doing this, but it seemed that society was moving in that direction. There were certainly examples of counterculture questioning the race to Lambos and lipo, but it was getting undeniable that the airbrushing and the keeping up with that famous K-family was getting more and more prevalent among everyone we knew. Instagram influencing was becoming the new norm, and most of us were thinking, why not just embrace the false eyelashes and over-the-top flashiness of this new 2019 life.

Then 2020 rolled in. Suddenly a mask on your face meant that half your makeup wouldn’t be seen. Half of your social life wouldn’t even happen. Half of your workouts might not even happen. Your hair might not get done, it might not be safe for your nail tech or you to get your nails done as often. Or maybe you lost some (or all) of your income and you just had to reprioritize what parts of your routine really mattered. And maybe it turned out, you didn’t actually miss getting your nails done. Maybe you felt better not fretting over putting your full face of makeup on every day. Maybe you remembered you actually like your face without some of the goop. Guys seem to be experimenting with home barbering and facial hair out of boredom and curiosity.

RELATED The Toxic “Hustle Culture” Has Left the Discussion

Another thing that has happened since the year has gone full-on Jumanji.  Previously preoccupied with full social lives, full employment levels, secure health and stable economies, social injustice may have seemed in the past like it would work itself out. Or at least that was what most people who were unsettled by different current events told themselves when no action appeared to be taken en masse against large corporations or corrupt people who did wrong against one another. With time on our hands to spare, and glaring reasons to speak up, we have had to reexamine what really matters in our society, causing us all to ask, is it time to go further than skin-deep?

What’s funny is, and I am sure that females reading this piece will understand instantly, is this is a debate that feminism has had for ages: enjoying the visceral things in life and the deep spiritual things in life are not mutually exclusive. Meaning: you can wear a full face of contoured makeup and fight for social justice. The question I am posing here is this; Are we ready as a culture to stop elevating the visceral at the expense of the deeper conversation? Or even more important; Are we ready to stop pitting the two against each other?

The last several years have been not only superficial with looks but also superficial with labels. People tend to label people who are into their looks, fashion, or fitness as stupid or vapid, and I would encourage everyone to look again and try to drop those stereotypes and labels. Spirituality and inner depth tend to get a bad rap of being hokey and “woo-woo” but it doesn’t mean those people can’t have major drip on the gram too. Being one dimensional is almost impossible, and as much as we want to call each other out, we need to try to see how we are alike and try to come together and go deeper.

RELATED 2020 Can Still Be Your Year. Here's How

Enjoying fitness is so much more than enjoying looks as STAY FIT 305 so often talks about, and enjoying lewks is great too, because image is a part of who we all are, but it may be a healthy thing for our society to be moving away from the elevation of the outer being over all else. A healthy integration of all of the parts of ourselves, including looks, body, personality, emotions, values, and relationships can help balance us internally and mentally.

The external is so easy to compare that it can easily create a question in your mind of your value. However, the internal is intangible and invaluable. The internal is available to fight battles on behalf of the struggles of others. The internal is something that can be questioned by others but cannot be defined by others. In this way the internal counters the external so that if you begin to question your value based on someone else’s image, you remember the intangible value of both of your inner existence and remember there is no real comparison, you both have an intangible value as humans, and no longer see each other as competition, but as companions in this wild ride. 

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Lifestyle

It's True. Just 5 Minutes of Exercise Can Reduce Stress. Here's How

Exercise releases endorphins and neurotransmitters with benefits like a better mood, better sleep, and improved cognitive function.

With the weight of the world weighing down on us this year, more people are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety than ever before. When stress runs unchecked it can have serious negative health consequences leading to things like headaches, problems sleeping, chest pain, and even worse: a heart attack or stroke.

Luckily, there is one thing you can do that is guaranteed to relieve stress and anxiety: exercise.

Exercise and Stress

Exercise is considered by health experts to be vital for mental fitness. When your body feels better, your mind will too as exercise releases endorphins and neurotransmitters that lead to a better mood, better sleep, and improved cognitive function.

RELATED How the State of Flow Can Limit Your Stress Levels

Studies have shown that just 5 minutes of exercise stimulates stress-reducing effects and regular exercise yields less overall tension, a stable and positive mood, more restful sleep, and higher self-confidence. All things that indicate less stress in the body and on the mind.

Exercise and Anxiety

Unfortunately, stress is a normal part of everyday life, but anxiety disorders are a little more serious and are actually the most highly diagnosed mental illness today. About 40 million adults in the US have generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. Luckily, exercise can be extremely beneficial to those who experience anxiety as well.

For example, studies show that 10 minutes of walking outside can quickly elevate a depressed mood and lessen the physical effects of anxiety. One vigorous exercise session can quickly eliminate symptoms of anxiety and depression for several hours and a solid exercise routine can help reduce symptoms over time.

Exercise teaches the brain to better cope with stress, leading to active people having less risk for anxiety and depression as well as a better ability to deal with life’s stressors when they come along (because let’s face it, they always do). If you don’t know where to start, try a brisk walk a couple of times a week, find the form of exercise that you find fun and enjoyable, recruit an exercise buddy to help keep you motivated and consistent, and consider hiring a knowledgeable trainer to get you on a workout routine that is right for your body and goals.

Sources:

  1. Exercise for Mood and Anxiety, Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, by Michael W. Otto, PhD, and Jasper A.J. Smits, PhD (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  2. How stress affects your health. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress. Accessed March 5, 2019.
Lifestyle

5 Tips on How to Achieve True Emotional Gainz

Emotional and mental health progress akin to those gym gains, you have to get comfortable with getting uncomfortable in order to see the results.

We are used to being sore after the gym. Sometimes we even get excited about it, earmarking some new exercise or class after we feel a good burn the next day so we can try it again and get gram-worthy results.

But think about it, were you always this way about your fitness? I bet there were some days in the beginning that the soreness made you want to stay home the next day and chill in sweatpants (back when home in sweatpants was not mandatory).

What about the famous runner’s high? How many awful runs did it take you before you actually attained it? Because I’ll tell you, I had many cramps prior to hitting that elusive endorphin kick. Emotional and mental health progress akin to those gym gains, you have to get comfortable with getting uncomfortable in order to see the results. try these concepts for some real emotional growth.

Just like fitness, it's great to start small and build up slowly.

Take, for example, a mental concept we’ve heard a lot about lately: boundaries. When you return to the office, you can start by simply saying, “Hey, Susan, I think we should probably not talk shit in the break room, it got me in trouble last time.” A simple, honest statement that does not blame the other person and sets a clear boundary, and gives your work buddy a chance to show you that they respect your boundary is a great place to start. Is it uncomfortable? Yes, but it allows you to also establish your needs, and you can work up to telling your fun cousin you have to stop lending him money for his business ideas----once you have built up your boundary muscles.

Try, try again.

When you are practicing a concept, like meditation for example, and find it is difficult, rather than giving up, do what works for you in fitness. Try finding a podcast, YouTube video, group, or coach to guide you. There are many teachers to help you on your way, you don’t have to flounder on your own, and just like fitness trying different methods can help you find works what is best for you.

Find a buddy.

Just like a good workout buddy, think about having a friend or family member you can count on to be objective about your mental state and let you know if something seems off, and vice versa. Being open about mental health can be scary and is often stigmatized but it is so important that it is worth the initial uncomfortable conversation. Find someone you can be comfortable enough to start slowly expressing what your normal looks like so that if you start to feel off, they can help you get back to home base. You don’t have to disclose every feeling at once, and you don’t have to open up to everyone, certainly not anyone you don’t trust. Just start slow and see how they respond, a good friend will be receptive, and likely will feel comfortable starting to share with you as well.

Sometimes, you need a break.

Sometimes there are going to be difficult emotions by nature of making progress with mental health. Realizations about unhealthy relationships you need to let go of, habits you have to change, even moving, or taking other opportunities can bring up sadness, regret, and resentments that you may need to express and process. It may feel bad at the moment and may even cause you to question whether you are doing the right thing, but it is a normal part of progressing mentally and emotionally. Just like soreness does not mean you should stop working out, uncomfortable feelings do not mean you should stop progressing with emotional growth. However, similarly to working out, where the actual pain is a clear time to take a break, intense negative emotions are a sign you are at a stopping point and it may be time to set a solid boundary with a particular person or take a break for a day or two from something.

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Find an expert to help.

When things are really overwhelming, seeing a therapist to help you work through it in a systematic way is similar to having a personal trainer who can guide you through physical growth. They help you identify your most important goals and are well trained in the best ways to get you to them so that you can alleviate that stress. All therapists have higher education in theories and treatment modes that help clients to meet objectives, and many of these theories have been backed by research. Like trainers, you can look at their backgrounds, specialties, and philosophies to see which one will be a good fit for you. Much like personal training, not every session will be enjoyable, but sessions will bring you closer to the progress that you want to make.

Keeping your mind fit the same way you keep your body fit will hopefully be the way we look at mental health in the future, and so much information is out there to get you started, so start small, find a buddy, a coach, a therapist, or start wherever makes the most sense for you.  Just keep in mind that just like fitness, any goal worth reaching is not going to be without a little struggle and sweat, but trust me, you will like the results.

Lifestyle

Beat the Burnout and Come Back Better With These Tips

In high-stress or helping professions, burnout comes with the territory and can affect the way you perform at work. Here are tips to beat the burnout.

Burnout is rough, and it feels like 2020 is going down in some serious flames. If you weren’t feeling burnout already, it’s likely you are now. If you are in a high-stress or helping profession, burnout just comes with the territory and can affect the way you perform at work. But we get mixed messages about how to deal with it and often mishandle it or just suppress it altogether.

The first step is to recognize the warning signs of burnout. Often people cannot tell burnout is coming on until more pronounced behavioral changes occur like irritability, changes in sleep patterns or appetite, headaches, or increased alcohol intake. However, you can start to track earlier signs. If you start to notice a small drop in productivity over a couple of days, a few days in a row of tardiness to work or a late start to zoom meetings or notice that you are starting to forget what you are doing mid-task, these are all early warning signs that you are starting towards a bigger burnout.

If you can halt the progress earlier on, we can avoid some of those later, larger problems which tend to come with bigger consequences. How do we halt early burnout? If you have receptive managers, this is always a plus; start by letting them know you may need to either rework your schedule to allow for a longer lunch break or start later to get a bit more sleep to recharge or need assistance with smaller tasks.

If it is absolutely the type of work you must do yourself, it may be something that you either need to A) power through and finish so you can have a day off at the end of the week or B) take a day off so you can focus better once you’ve recharged. That sounds counterintuitive if you feel like you already have more work than you can handle, but if your mind or body has already given you signs it is shutting itself down, not taking a break at some point soon means you are bound to crash and burn.

What if you are already in full burnout mode? If you are already snapping at coworkers, showing up an hour late, working through lunch, staying on your work computer until 8 pm, and pulling your hair out, drinking whiskey in the backyard in tears? That is a harder nut to crack, but not uncrackable.

First, you really need to evaluate how you got there. Boundary setting has got to be something you consider from here on out in any job and from now on if you choose to stay in this one. The first person you must set boundaries with is yourself. You have to show up on time, you have to eat lunch and recharge, you have to take on projects you have the energy for and be honest when you are completely overwhelmed. This will be difficult but will be the only way to dig yourself out of the hole.

Now, beyond what you do with your coworkers, it’s also important what you do with yourself and your loved ones. Sure, whiskey tastes great, but endorphins last longer. You have to make time to exercise and get your heart rate up 3-5 times per week. COVID-19 has seriously decreased the amount of exercise people have been doing, which has increased the amount of anxiety mental health professionals have seen immensely. Make it a point to do 30-45 minutes of cardio at least 3 times per week, no matter what.

Limit the booze, especially on a stressful workday. Drinking during stress reinforces alcohol as a coping mechanism and creates a habit of dependence on alcohol versus other healthier coping mechanisms when you are feeling overwhelmed. Choose hot tea, fizzy water, or one of the new sober-curious elixirs like Kin, or Ritual as a substitute while you journal, color, or do a puzzle with the family to take your mind off of the workday.

Actually eat meals and do not do it while you are working or multitasking. Eat breakfast at your table sitting down before you open your computer. Try not to do your work in the same place that you eat. Designate a different area of your house for work if you can. If you go into an office now that the quarantine rules are relaxed never eat at your desk. Even if you feel pressure to do so from your coworkers or boss. Even a 15-minute break away from the desk will do wonders.

For that matter, leave your phone at your desk during that time as well, just sit and eat, outside in the sun if you can. Think about the breeze on your face, the taste, and texture of your food, the smell of the food or the fresh air, the time it took to cook, or the crispness of the veggies in the salad. Turn it into a mindfulness exercise, going through each of the five senses until your break is over. Expanding each flavor into a meditation will create space in your day you never knew you had and will make lunch so much better than shoving your UberEats in your face while you mindlessly send another email back to accounting.

When you head back to work try to stay as focused as possible on only work, but if you find yourself with your mind wandering, don’t scroll through your phone every five minutes then back to your computer alternating for hours and barely do a thing, leaving work left over for tomorrow, that will only stress you out more. Use a timer app to help you stay on task and use the grayscale setting on your phone to make it less distracting, then when you’ve spent 50 full minutes of productivity give yourself a 10-minute stretch, meditation, or bathroom break to recharge. Then look back at how much work you achieved and take stock.

Congratulating yourself helps reinforce good habits and keeps you on track. It also keeps positive energy going counteracting feelings of overwhelming. A small piece of chocolate, a shot of Cafecito, or a quick gif to a friend about what a badass you are before you do your next 50-minute stretch can be a good productivity reward.

When you go home for the day, or when you have finished working for the day, put all of your work paraphernalia out of sight. Mentally close the book on the workday and prep yourself for personal time. Remind yourself that you will have plenty of work time during the next shift to get any other work items done and that you are capable and competent.

Make sure you plan pleasurable activities for yourself throughout your workweek solely for enjoyment. Not because you should study more or be a better person or because mom thinks you should learn a new language or whatever, but because you genuinely enjoy it. Life is meant to be enjoyed.  

Beat the burnout and come back better.