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Lifestyle

Empathy and Unity
Lifestyle

Empathy is Unity

This past year has been, well, a ride.  No matter what your opinion on any of it, no doubt you have encountered someone on the other side who you just did not understand. Or maybe someone who was unkind to you about your opinion.

This can take a toll on your mental health, relationships, and self-esteem.  So where do we go from here?  A great place to start is with empathy or trying to put ourselves in someone else’s position emotionally.  All of us have probably felt the same way about this year: fed up, misunderstood, maybe angry at some point. Start there.  Start with an emotion you know is universal regardless of peoples’ opinions. Likely even the people who have gotten under your skin the most have felt these emotions as well, and knowing this common ground may help soften some of your frustration.

Take a minute for the relationships that matter most to you that have been strained. Family members, long-time friends, or people you expected to always be close to. Write down their best qualities, or better yet, write down a time they were there for you that meant a lot to you. Remember that this is why you have a relationship, and why you want it to stay strong regardless of differing viewpoints.

Remind yourself that you are not a mind-reader.  We have all been guilty of assuming we know why people have chosen to believe what they do.  Sometimes they tell us out loud, but often they do not.  Try to notice when you are making an assumption about a belief and remind yourself you would not want someone to do the same to you.  This might help you feel more at ease with a differing opinion. Just like with anxiety when we jump to the worst-case scenario we tend to feel overwhelmed and emotional, but when we think of the many other possibilities of why something is happening, it becomes a much more manageable situation emotionally.

Expression is okay, aggression is not.  When you feel yourself start to get aggressive with your own opinion, check yourself.  It is good to be passionate, however often when we are aggressive with our thoughts and feelings, we tend not only to not convince others, we tend to alienate others.  Think of this especially when talking with loved ones. With the many difficult subjects on the table in the last year, this may take patience, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.  So thinking for a moment about how others feel is the key to coming back together.  In order to bridge the divide, we have to do the work of remembering how it feels to read an upsetting comment before we post our own comment.  

Let’s talk about the uncomfortable truth: some of us may be so frustrated and exhausted we have stopped caring how others feel to a certain extent. It is okay to feel this way for a time.  This is human. Emotional fatigue is real, so take a break.  Turn off social media, don’t engage with someone who triggers you, limit your headline intake, whatever you need to restore that side of yourself. Be very honest with yourself so that you can take care of yourself if you need that.  When you start to feel less frayed, you can re-engage with more empathy and less frustration.

Take care of yourself. If you have had to forget yourself during this difficult year because of a job loss, a death, a difficulty of any kind, remember you deserve self-care. Find small ways to nourish yourself; a short meditation, a walk in the sun, a nice cup of hot tea at night, and build that habit back. Caring for yourself will allow you to feel more love for others.

Metta Meditation is a practice in sending peace and kindness to yourself and then others that helps remind you that we all essentially desire the same things in life.  Check out a nice guided beginner meditation for Metta that can help build empathy for others in your life.

This past year has been, well, a ride. No matter what your opinion on any of it, no doubt you have encountered someone on the other side who you just did not understand. Or maybe someone who was unkind to you about your opinion.

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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.

RELATED The Toxic “Hustle Culture” Has Left the Discussion

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.

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Lifestyle

8 Father’s Day Gifts for The Active Dad

Whether you’re looking for a gift for Dad or another important father figure, or just an all-around cool guy, we found eight options for the active fella.

Somehow it’s mid-June and that means that Father’s Day is right around the corner, as in this Sunday, June 21. While you may have to have a socially distant day with Dad, don’t forget to get him something to show your appreciation for all that he does for you. Whether you’re looking for a gift for Dad or another important father figure, or just an all-around cool guy, we found eight options for the active and wellness-minded fella.

1. FitFighter

Designed by an Army veteran, who post-army joined a local volunteer fire department, FitFighter Steel hose Home Gym Set, is a strength and conditioning system built out of real fire hose. Available in 5 – 25 lbs, the steel hoses allow you to carry, throw, drag, and lift them without concern for their durability. Plus, they come complete with iOS workout app, safe for kids, and perfect for at-home workouts. $59-159, fitfighter.com

2. KleenWraps

These personal, reusable, wraps made with antimicrobial treated materials that reduce odors, inhibit bacterial growth, and provide a safe barrier from bacteria and viruses left behind on surfaces are perfect for the gym, biking and beyond. Wrap them around dumbbells cardio equipment, use them on Citibike (or any shared bike) handles to ensure a slip- and germ-free workout. They even work over shopping cart handles. The Wrap Set, $14.99, kleenwraps.com

3. Slyde Handboards

Surf’s Up! After months of our beaches being closed, Dad will appreciate The Wedge, a sleek, lightweight, built-to-last, and designed-for-speed bodysurfing hand-board. It’s great for every-day surf and a whole lot of fun. Sylde Wedge, $169.99, slydehandboards.com

4. Revtown

Dad jeans? We think not! Dress dad in a stylish pair of Revtown jeans, a performance denim brand that offers the comfort of an athletic pant, but with the look and feel of designer jeans. Not sure what size? Gift him with a gift certificate and allow him to utilize the site's online proprietary digital tailor so he can size himself with 96% accuracy in just four clicks. Shopping and style made simple. Revtown jeans, $79, revtownusa.com

5. Rheos Floating Sunglasses

No more sunglasses lost at sea. For the guy who spends time on the water, Rheos polarized sunglasses feature a lightweight frame material that is 20 - 30% lighter than standard sunglasses, so if they go overboard, they won’t sink when they hit the water. An added bonus, Rheos donates a portion of proceeds directly to nonprofit organizations that defend US coastlines and waterways. $55, rheosgear.com

6. dpl Flex Pad

If Dad overdid it while working out, this flexible medical-grade infrared light safely stimulates blood circulation, relaxes muscles, accelerates healing, and relieves pain associated with many physical ailments. The convenient wrap design fits the contours of different body areas comfortably and will provide relief in just 20 minutes. Great for sports injuries, arthritis, neuropathy, sprains, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, neck and shoulder stiffness, sore back, ankle swelling, tissue repair, he’ll be feeling better in just 20 minutes. $199, revivelighttherapy.com

7. Beast Box

Make skincare simple with this grooming set that includes Peppermint Lip Balm, Sandpaper Scrub Bar Soap, Balanced Face Mask, Beast Black Candle, Beast Bottle Liter, and Everyone Wash Refill Pouch as well as a travel size. Use code BEAST2020 and receive 20% off (site-wide) as well as get a free beast bottle on all orders of $50. Beast Box Set, $149, getbeast.com

8. Toast™ Vodka

Vodka made with coconut water? Yes, please! Gift Dad a bottle of Toast, the world’s first ultra-premium, unflavored vodka made with coconut water. Toast Vodka is 100% corn-based, six times distilled, gluten-free and non-GMO. And it’s from Miami. $24.99, toastvodka.com

Lifestyle

3 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

A Miami Trainer shares three ways to give your metabolism a boost and help it move faster.

Your metabolism is basically your body's ability to utilize and produce energy more efficiently. It's no secret that everyone wants a faster metabolism. But how can you ensure yours is running quickly?

1. Resistance Training

The more muscle mass you have, the more energy your body has to burn at rest, therefore increasing your body's metabolism. Doing strength training exercises with or without equipment is a great way to build and conserve muscle mass, keeping your metabolism strong and steady.

2. Move More

Neat stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. That's a fancy way of saying the-stuff-you-do-that-isn't-exercise-but-still-burns-calories. One of the best ways to increase NEAT is to get up more often. For example, try adding a walk into your routine every morning and/or evening. Or if you work a desk job, get up for more frequent walks around the office (or for now, around the house). Whatever you do, moving more = faster metabolism.

3. Eat Enough

Caloric restriction and crash dieting all work to slow your metabolism. Our body's goal is to maintain homeostasis at all times. In order to do that, it has to resist change. The lower your calorie intake goes, the slower your body will metabolize as it tries to conserve energy and resist change. That's why a lot of times, I have to build a client's food intake up before I can safely cut them down.

Another thing to keep in mind is that height, weight, gender, and even genetics all play a role in the speed of your metabolism. For example, males burn more calories on average than females and taller people more than short. Take control of the factors that you can change instead of worrying about the ones you can't. Movement and good quality food are always your BFFs!

Lifestyle

Come Back to the Gym Smart With These Tips from a Miami Trainer

A Miami trainer shares how to train smart post-quarantine by making sure that your frequency, intensity, training type, and volume are appropriate.

Gyms can finally reopen their doors on June 8 in Miami Dade, and I for one, am doing burpees with joy. Well, maybe not that happy, but I am excited to get back to the gym and lift some heavy stuff! I can only handle so many backyard training sessions doing lateral raises with gallons of water and front squats with my dog.

I know I'm not alone because I get calls from people every day asking me, "Coach when are we opening up?" And while I am happy everyone is excited as me to get back in the gym, the veteran coach in me sees the danger in this enthusiasm.

At Live Free Crossfit we officially closed our doors on March 12, thinking we would be closed a week or two at the most, but as of today, we have actually been closed almost 12 weeks!

That is 11 weeks longer than I advise people to rest when they finish a training cycle. After one week most people are fully recovered neurologically, mentally, and physically and they can jump right back into lifting heavy. 12 weeks is a long time to be out of the gym, and a lot can change in your body during that time. Even if you stayed active by running, doing calisthenics, and yoga, the rigors of resistance training are very different. 

Basically, it's like you are starting from scratch and as a beginner, your frequency, intensity, training type, and volume must reflect that to avoid injury. Frequency is how often you train, intensity is how hard you train, training type refers to cardio or strength training, and volume or time is the measurement of how much work you are doing for a given movement during a training session. This is better known as the FITT principle.

The type of (T)raining you choose will help determine the other three components of the FIT principle.

FIT for Cardio

When we think of cardio exercises we are referring mostly bodyweight and mono-structural movements like running, rowing, biking, and swimming. There are many other forms of cardio, like boxing, wrestling, and Jiu-Jitsu to name a few, but for the sake of this article, we will stick to these commonly known ones.

Frequency

Cardio workouts can be done more often than weight training because it doesn't put as much strain on your nervous system, and you aren't bearing the load of your full body weight except when running. Running should be done with more caution and less frequency early on because of the amount of strain it can put on your joints. As a beginner or someone who hasn't done anything over the quarantine period, starting with 3 training sessions a week is good because it gives you a day of rest between workouts. If you have been running often than you can get away with performing cardio workouts 5 to 6 times a week as long as they are at the proper intensity.

Intensity

Your intensity, in the beginning, should be minimal. If you have been doing nothing at all you can start with walking, a slow jog, or an easy bike ride, row, or swim. As you accumulate volume over the weeks you can begin to increase intensity naturally. Using a heart rate monitor is a good way to monitor your intensity. In the beginning, aim to stay around or under 60% of your max heart rate (220-your age = max heart rate), and after a couple of weeks, you can start to move towards the upper end of your range or 80-90% of max heart rate as long as you monitor your volume.

Time

Time refers to how long your sessions should be. At lower intensities, your sessions can be longer in duration, so in the beginning, if you are walking you can do it for 30 to 40 minutes a day, but if you are doing anything more intense than walking I would suggest 15-20 minutes for a few weeks before increasing to higher time frames or intensities. A good rule of thumb is to increase by 10-15% increments. So if you run for 15 minutes the first week you should shoot for 16-18 minutes in week 2.

Beyond all of that, how often you do cardio will also depend on finding something you enjoy. If you abhor running, maybe just doing the minimum you have to do to stay healthy is what you aim for, but if you find something you love to do, you will do it more often.

FIT for Strength Training

Frequency

Like cardiovascular training, beginners should only start with about 2-3 days a week. Unlike cardio, lifting weights can put more stress on your nervous system and leave you sore for longer, so you'll want at least one rest day in between workouts...more if you get very sore. Start with a balanced full-body workout for the first couple of weeks so you don't overwork any one muscle group and develop connective tissue injuries like tendonitis.

Intensity and Time

Determining intensity and time for weight training is different than cardio because strength training doesn't affect your heart rate the same as cardio and you don't spend as much time under tension during your workouts, so the way you measure it will be reflected in weight, sets, and reps.

If you are a beginner or just coming back after a long layoff, you should look to build stability, neuromuscular efficiency, and endurance in the first couple of weeks. Look to use lighter weight with fewer sets and high repetitions: aiming for two or three sets of 12 to 20 reps.

After a couple of weeks of higher rep sets, you can begin to increase to a moderate amount of repetitions at heavier loads. Shoot for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

If your goal is to continually build strength, increase to heavier weights with fewer reps and more sets as you continue to get stronger. Finally reaching 3-5 sets of 4-6 reps. This should be at least 6 weeks after you started if you remained consistent over that time period.

This kind of progression allows your body to adapt over time and will help you avoid overuse injuries and plateaus.

Conclusion

As you can see, the type of training you do will determine the amount of time and intensity you spend doing it. At our gym, we will be alternating the type of training every day between cardio, strength, and skill work allowing our members to slowly build up their nervous system, connective tissues, and stamina. This approach will minimize injuries and allow for faster progress, ultimately leading to our end goal which is a happier, and healthier lifestyle.

You can't stay healthy if you get injured jumping back in too quickly, so take your time coming back. If you make your goal consistency over intensity, you will see better results and your body will thank you in the long run.

Taylor Walker
Lifestyle

5 Things I Missed About the Miami Fitness Community

After a few years in San Francisco, fitness influencer Taylor Walker is moving back to Miami. Walker shares five things she missed about the Miami fitness community.

Over the past five years, my husband and I have moved from New York to Portland to Miami and most recently, the Bay Area. I have had many different adventures in the fitness space and actually spent my longest haul in Miami. Miami is the place I was able to establish myself as a trainer, acquire certifications and build strength and confidence at my local gym in Aventura. It took a bit of time, but the Miami Fit community became home to me and I was so sad to leave everything it has to offer behind.

When you live in a new place, it takes time to acclimate, to make friends, find your way and truly begin to make a life for yourself. As we are about to make our sixth move, back to Miami in a few weeks, I began to bubble up with excitement and joy of rejoining a community I know and love so much. When you live in the same place for a long time, you have the tendency to focus on the negative aspects of your surroundings (HELLO I-95 & Crippling Heat), but when you leave a place like Miami, it’s like a break-up; you only remember the good. And, there is SO MUCH GOOD.

Here is a list of the TOP five things I missed about the Miami fitness community.

Atmosphere: Miami is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, hotels, and parks in the world. I miss getting up on a Saturday and working out on the Beach or with STAY FIT 305 or Beat The Gym in a park while the summer rain pours down. I miss running through South Pointe Park and then diving into the ocean before returning home sandy, dewy, and tan. Miami is truly a paradise that fuels your need to sweat.

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Post-workout Fuel: I miss Juice Bars like Miami Squeeze or Under The Mango Tree. It seemed like a healthy and delicious space was on every corner. It helped to make takeout a happy/healthy experience.

Inclusiveness: Coming from New York, I was always floored at how fitness brands in Miami are so inclusive. Everyone gets together, sweats together, and allows a seat at the table. In 2015, things began to shift. Big fitness brands like Soul Cycle were moving in and it was such a blast to be able to bounce around and take other instructors classes all over town.

Events: STAY FIT 305 events at the Eden Roc, Carillon, and Loews were always otherworldly experiences. To be able to sweat in a space where the atmosphere takes your breath away is something I missed tremendously!

Athleisure Boutiques: The athleisure boutique is my happy place. I miss perusing Restless Soul Shop or Flying Lizard Boutique. I probably spent most of my money on leggings, but it was well worth it! I still wear most of my purchases five years later.

RELATED Restless Soul: The Athleisure Boutique That Will Change Your Life

Miami, you are beautiful, colorful and I cannot wait to come home! Stay safe Miami.

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Lifestyle

Free Your Pores With These Post Quarantine Facials

If you’re looking to get your post-quarantine glow on and revive your complexion, we have two new places for you to check out.

Even if you took care of your skin while sheltering in place, chances are your skin is screaming for help. If you’re looking to get your post-quarantine glow on and revive your complexion, we have two new local places for you to check out.

Sana Skin Studio

This skincare escape in the heart of Wynwood, not only offers goal-driven, customized facials using clean product lines, but also has a shop carrying cult-favorites from brands like Naturopathica, Pai, Ursa Major as well as wellness products, all of which you’re going to want to snatch up. Right before quarantine began, we had the opportunity to experience The Superglow facial, one of the dreamiest we’ve had. The facial has it all - brightening peel, massage, gua sha, microcurrent. The 70-minute skin (and soul) soothing treatment left us calm, relaxed, and glowing.

Another Sana highlight is the LED Light Room where you sit for a 15-minute session under the LED light that helps calm inflammation and breakouts, reduce fine lines and promote circulation, all while listening to the most Zen guided meditation. Sana offers other facial options too, The Express and the Signature as well as affordable memberships and packages.

167 NW 25th Street. Follow @sanaskinstudio on Instagram for more information.

NKD.Beauty

The last outing we made before the lockdown was a visit to Vanessa DaSilva, the esthetician known to leave clients with an incredible glow. Located in Edgewater, Vanessa offers it all - from dermaplaning, microneedling, HydraGlow, Chemical Peels, Fibroblast, body treatments, and more. She’s a wealth of skincare knowledge and she delivered the glow we were seeking. Her facials are customized to your skincare needs and her results-driven medical facials do not disappoint. We got the works during our first custom facial, including dermaplaning, detoxifying pore treatment, HydraGlow, wet dermabrasion, a micro peel, and jelly mask. We left feeling rejuvenated and fresh.

If you’re not quite ready to venture out, but want to get your skin in check for when you do, Vanessa also offers virtual skincare consultations, where she will help you identify what products are best for your skin. Virtual consults are $30, the first facial is $99, and packages are available.

1900 North Bayshore Drive, Suite 206. Follow @nkd.beauty on Instagram for more information.

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Lifestyle

4 Stylish Mask Brands to Wear When Social Distancing

Wearing facial coverings is required in some places and might be for the foreseeable future. Here are 4 stylish mask brands to check out.

Shelter in place restrictions are lifted, but wearing facial coverings are required in some places and might be for the foreseeable future. While there has been some controversy over covering up, if masks are now going to be a daily wardrobe item, they might as well be stylish.

We found a number from local brands as well as some fitness companies who have switched gears to create stylish face masks. 

Miami Fit Wear 

With a wide variety of solids and fun prints for both adults and kids, this leggings company (that has a collaboration with Peloton) was one of the first to start making masks. They’ve outfitted first responders with their protective gear and are continually expanding their design offerings. From camouflage to bright pink lips with polka dot print, one of our favorite features is the pocket design that allows you to place a filter into if you choose. $15 single mask, $75 for 5, miamifitwear.com 

Mahina Bikinis 

Local bikini brand is using up-cycled nylon spandex from their previous collections to create facemasks with cotton/polyester blend on the inside in accordance with CDC guidelines. Like their swimsuits, the fabric prevents odor and growth of bacteria, fungi, and mold, and wicks moisture to keep skin dry and protected in active environments. We also love that 5% of every mask sale is being donated to Buddy Systems, a Miami-based organization that is working to provide food and supplies for the elderly, sick, and immunocompromised. And if you really want to take your summer swim fashion to the next level, match your Mahina swimsuit to your mask. $14, mahinabikinis.com 

Pitusa

Wynwood-based Pitusa has donated 200 masks to doctors on the front line in Miami and now is selling their reusable cloth masks made from cotton. These machine-washable masks have a pocket to optionally place a disposable PM2.5 activated carbon filter inside. Featuring the brand’s Inca-trim detailing and elastic ear straps, these are great for everyday outings. $3.50 without filter, $5.50 with PM2.5 activated carbon filter. www.pitusa.co 

Onzie 

Yogi favorite, Onzie, has also been resourceful in using upcycled fabric from their yoga clothes to create Mindful Masks, which are stretchy, comfort fitting, quick-drying, and breathable. They can be worn on their own or as a cover for N95 and filtered masks. Pack of 2, $24, onzie.com 

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Lifestyle

6 Products To Keep Your Feet Fresh Post-Workout

Your feet bear the brunt of your workouts. We’ve sought out six of the best products to keep your feet feeling fresh and refreshed.

Whether you run or dance, do CrossFit or yoga, your feet bear the brunt of your workouts. Calluses, blisters and cracked heels are often the side effect of a good sweat but don’t that get in the way. We’ve sought out the best products to keep your feet looking and feeling their best. 

LovaSkin Instant Foot Peeling Kit

We are head of heels in love with LovaSkin, a foot spray and professional foot file duo that will have your feet, especially your heels, feeling smooth as silk. It is so easy to use too. Simply spray the formula on your heels, massage it in, and use the foot file (with a little elbow grease) to scrub away dead skin. Warning there is a lot more than you think! The cruelty-free formula includes Edelweiss Flower, Swiss Glacier Water, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Hamamelis Bark, and Fruit Acids, which work together to restore softness and leave feet looking and feeling flawless. $59.99, lovaskin.us 

ARM & HAMMER™ Invisible Foot Powder Spray

With sweat-activated fresh guard® technology, which keeps feet feeling fresh all day, this spray goes on clear and works to neutralize odors as well as absorb moisture and sweat. Not only will it keep your feet dry, but it will also refresh, rejuvenate shoes, sneakers, and sports gear. $6.99, target.com 

Spongelle their Pedi-Buffers

Not your average buffer, Spongelle’s Pedi-Buffer works to revitalize tired feet while keeping them soft and silky smooth. The Pedi-Buffer is infused with extracts of peppermint and sea kelp to cleanse, buff and polish, feet. The convenient size makes it great for travel (or the gym — for when we resume visiting gyms). Available in seven scents, we’re fans of the Bulgarian Rose. $16, spongelle.com

Footlogix Foot Soak Concentrate

After a tough workout or long walk or run, nothing feels better than giving your feet a rest and a soak. We turn to Footlogix Foot Soak Concentrate, which is a gentle, cleansing foot soak that also helps soften rough, dry skin without dehydrating it. $21.43, amazon.com

MasqueBar Moisturizing Foot Mask

While we’re all familiar with face masks, your feet can (and should) get in on the action from this hydrating foot mask. Slip into these "sock-type" masks and sit back while they smooth, soften and repair dry, cracked, calloused feet and heels. $9.99 for 2 pairs, masque.bar

Dr. Hunter's Foot Cream

Once you’ve pumiced, buffed, and soaked away tried feet (and dry skin), Dr. Hunter's Foot Crème will moisturize them. Made from oils of Tea Tree, Spearmint and Sunflower, and extracts of Lavender, Balm Mint and Rosemary, this refreshing, conditioning, and soothing cream will hydrate while giving relief to tired feet. $16, caswellmassey.com