Posted in Self Reflection

Rest In Peace: Three Things I Learned from My Friend Kirk Akahoshi

A friend of mine from grad school recently passed away. Although we weren’t close, I will always remember him fondly. We met during those most chaotic, yet transformative years of my life. And from both near and afar, he taught me lessons that will continue to impact my health and my happiness until the day I pass into the next life. Today, I feel compelled to share with you the top three things I learned from my friend Kirk Akahoshi.

When The Opportunity Arises, Dance.

Hip hop was his format of choice, so every few months I’d get a text inviting me to try a new hip hop night Kirk found somewhere in the Bay Area. To be honest, I spent a lot of time alone, feeling homesick and stewing in dark thoughts. So when the opportunity arose to dance, it was a welcome relief. Who knew that years later, I’d become a dance fitness instructor?

I Deserve to Be Happy

At the risk of sounding crude… I’ve dated a lot of dirtbags in my life. Although we rarely saw each other after grad school, Kirk had this amazing intuitive sense that I wasn’t happy. I remember the time when I brought an ex (my boyfriend at the time) to his birthday party in the city.

“Listen to me,” He said. “You deserve someone who loves you and appreciates you for the amazing person you are. You DESERVE to be happy.” At the time, I hadn’t even realized how unhappy I was or how damaging the relationship was to my self esteem. But only a few months later, I realized how right he was.

PS – As you can probably guess, I ended that relationship and resolved to be more picky when choosing a life partner. Can’t say I got it perfect on the first try, but my relationships did get better. And now I’m with a man who loves and adores me, as I do him.

Recognize the Impact You Make

Kirk is a huge inspiration to me as an entrepreneur and coach. I was proud to see him creating a difference in the lives of men he worked with and I looked at him as an example of success, someone to aspire to.

One of the last things I heard him say was that he mistakenly thought he wasn’t doing enough in his business and his life. So he spent years stressing out over it, feeling the need to get better and to do more. But in reality, he…

  • Was creating change in the world at a level that those of us who feel called to the helping field can only imagine.
  • Was married to a loving, supportive, and talented wife.
  • Had a wealth of strong, meaningful friendships.

That day, he realized that he had actually been WINNING in work and in life. Knowing his prognosis was bad…He warned us. Don’t make the same mistake.

Rest In Peace, My Friend

In my field (Transpersonal Psychology), it is said that in your life, you meet certain people for a reason. I feel grateful to have crossed paths with Kirk Akahoshi in this lifetime. Whether he knew it or not, he made in a difference in my life. I hope that his transition to the next incarnation is as smooth as possible and that I am lucky enough to bump into him again.

Love & Light <3

Nadia

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Posted in Clean Living, Getting Rid of Toxins, Goal Setting, Healthy Eating, Personal Growth

The Toxins In Our Lives: Shocking Facts I Learned at the EWG Clean & Healthy Living Summit

Today I attended the Environmental Working Groups’s Clean & Healthy Living Summit at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The event was both confirming and eye opening for me on my journey better my nutrition knowledge and create healthier habits for my body and my life. I found out that there are SO many toxins in our lives. Keep reading to find out the shocking facts I learned at the EWG clean & healthy living summit.

We Are Born Riddled with Toxins

Scientists from EWG cited a study conducted on the chord blood of newborns, which showed the appearance of hundreds of toxins from mercury, PFA and pesticides, to flame retardants, BPAs and PCBs… 287 to be exact. 180 are known to “cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.” Wow!

If kiddos have this much in them at birth (having just come out of the safety of the womb), just IMAGINE how much we are exposing ourselves to on a daily basis. To start hitting the reset button, our expert panel of scientists suggested these top tips:

  1. Eat Organic
  2. Use a home water filter
  3. Use glass instead of plastic food storage containers. If you do use plastic, avoid microwaving your food in them.

Your Furniture May Be Poisoning You

Although I already knew that there were toxins in the environment and in our foods that could vastly impact our health and wellness, I was shocked to find out what simple things in my home could be dangerous to my health.

  • Shower curtains – plastic and other synthetic materials in this typical household good can leach out gases that are considered to be “hazardous air pollutants.”
  • Your couch and other furniture – The culprits here are the glues, flame retardants, fabrics, and finishes. For a list of toxins, check out this article form PaloHacks.
  • Carpet
  • Paint

These are only a few of the many items in your home that may be hazardous. Thankfully, EWG created a Healthy Home Guide to help us reduce our risk of contamination.

Personal Care Products are Unregulated

According to presenters, there are 1400 ingredients that have been banned in the EU because they are known to be toxic. In the U.S., there are 12. We’re talking about ingredients that are known endocrine disrupters, cause genetic defects, and linked to cancer. In fact, even when consumers have reported adverse effects from products they are using, companies are not required by law to report these concerns to the FDA.

Huh!? This little tidbit made no sense at all to me! What is a personal care product? This class includes but is not limited to:

  • Body wash
  • Shampoos and Conditioners
  • Cosmetics
  • Lotions
  • Deodorant
  • Nail Polish
  • Toothpaste

The fix: Switch to non-toxic alternatives.

We are lucky that right now there are a ton of products on the market that we can use instead. I personally make my own body and hair oil mixture and I swear by Dr. Bronner’s, which has products in almost all categories. But of course, EWG also has a guide for that called “Skin Deep.” Click here to access it.

Change Starts with You

Some of the scientists at the EWG Summit painted a bleak picture of our current system and standards for regulating food, home, and personal care products. But what they also shared was that we each have the power to educate ourselves and the people we love the most. I know that I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned with my family, my clients, and as many others as I can. Who will you reach out to with your new knowledge? And what small changes can you start implementing today that would make an impact on your health and wellness?

Let me know in the comments below ๐Ÿ˜‰

Nadia

Posted in Body Fat Loss, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Personal Growth, Weight Loss

Online Nutrition Challenge: Coming Soon!

How would you like to be given all of the tools that you need to create a healthy, happy lifestyle for you and your family/loved ones?

We say it every year… that this is the year we’re going finally start exercising and eating right. In 2020, don’t just SAY it. DO it with the…

#NutritionGoals! 90 Day Challenge

Think of the #NutritionGoals! Challenge as a 3 month adventure into creating a lifestyle that will help you feel motivated, energized, and happier than ever! Throughout this journey together, we’ll learn habits and skills that will:

  • Shift your mindset
  • Nourish your body with nutritious and great tasting food,
  • Transform your physical body.

More Than Just Weight Loss

In contrast to a typical diet programs, which require a ton of restriction and tend to be short-lived, in this challenge, you will learn to master small, digestible tasks one at a time so that each habit becomes an integral part of your daily routine. Bonus: This is an opportunity to create lasting change for yourself and anyone in your life that relies on you for guidance and support (kids, friends, your spouse, and/or family)!!!

More Details to Come!

I’ll be releasing more information on this exciting program in the upcoming weeks. If you want to stay up to date with this and other news, make sure to follow me on instagram @nslifeinfitness.

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Confidence, Gaining Experience, How to Become a Fitness Instructor, My Life In Fitness, Personal Growth, What It's Like to Be a Group Fitness Instructor

5 Reasons I Shouldn’t Have Become a Group Fitness Instructor

In this world, we are often taught to base our future careers off of what we have already done in the past, along with our strongest skill sets. When I set out to become a group fitness instructor, all I had was a love of kickboxing and a lifetime of playing sports to back me. What I didn’t know was that I lacked many skills, qualities, and habits that were fundamental to a life in fitness. That’s why today I’m sharing 5 Reasons I Shouldn’t Have Become a Group Fitness Instructor.

Reason 1: I’m An Introvert

Who knew that enjoying the workout was completely different from leading and creating engaging group fitness classes? If you’re not up on Myer’s Briggs, a key identifying personality trait is introversion versus extroversion. Whereas extroverts have a tendency to really enjoy being around others, to thrive in social situations, and display a range of positive and intense emotions, introverts are the opposite. They tend to:

  • Prefer being alone or in the company of a small, select group of friends
  • Come off as socially awkward or uninterested
  • Experience a wide range of emotions inwardly, but channel it inward instead of expressing it outwardly

I credit John Heringer, Chief Motivator at Fast Action Training (now Method3 Fitness) for being the first to point out that I needed to speak more, get louder, and bring the intensity so I could motivate our clients. I can’t say it was easy, but these are skills I was able to learn and I continue to refine them even now!

Reason 2: I’m Asthmatic

If you read my previous blog about That One Year I Joined the Cross Country Team, you got a sampling of what it was like for me to be an athlete with asthma. But the truth is, as an adult I never realized it could have an impact on my chosen career path. In fact, when I first start out as a fitness professional, I didn’t have an inhaler (Remind me to come back to the problem of insurance in a later post). And yet I taught the following formats:

I never actually thought that I couldn’t hang… until I couldn’t anymore. Long story short, I started getting sick due to my workload. When I finally realized it was the asthma, instead of quitting I decided to give up my most intense classes and focus on a path that was more sustainable. I realized that being an asthmatic fitness professional wasn’t a no-go. But for me, avoiding burnout required me to plan smarter, not work harder.

Reason 3: I Was Out of Shape

I discovered fairly quickly after entering into the fitness profession maintaining a full time fitness schedule was physically and mentally demanding to say the least! When I first started out, I taught an average of 4-6 classes each week. After each class shift, which varied in length from one to three classes, I went home and crashed. If I wasn’t working, I was usually sleeping. Even 10 hour nights weren’t enough, until I:

Hey, if my job is to help others get healthier, I had to make sure I was healthy too, from the inside out.

Reason 4: I Wasn’t Skinny

“Weight” and “body fat loss” are major drivers within the fitness industry. Although those words never entered my thoughts when I was doing my research, I’ve heard from instructors all over the country how it affects the way they are viewed and treated. There’s this idea that we should “be the example” for our students. But in my opinion, the goals we set as individuals, both teachers and students, vary widely. Why assume that weight loss is the goal? There are many others:

Most students will never feel skinny. It’s not the instructor’s responsibility to make them feel that way either. But it is our job to deliver an effective and inspiring workout.

Reason 5: Zero Experience Teaching

Well… zero experience is a bit of an exaggeration. As a matter of fact, in grad school I was a teaching assistant. So I’d given lectures and led labs on how to effective qualitative research. Not to mention that one time I organized and lead a merengue and bachata meetup. But I guess that’s not the same. I’ll never forget that first interview I had.

“So you’ve NEVER lead a group fitness class before?” This was John from FAT.

I told him point blank. “No.”

But it wasn’t a deal breaker. And, seven and a half years later (at the time I’m writing this post), I’m still teaching there. And I owe a huge debt of gratitude to John and his team (especially Lead Coach Keith) for taking a chance on me and for helping me develop the skills I have today. They emphasized the fact that I shared the values and I found very quickly that it was the right studio for me. And over time, I gained more experience, there and at other studios.

The Lesson: Keep Learning. Keep Growing.

I’ve never been one to sweat the details of what I CAN’T do. And what I’ve learned in my career as a fitness professional is that, if there’s something I don’t know how to do, with some time and effort, I can figure it out. As a matter of fact, LEARNING has always been my greatest skill and my favorite thing to do. If you can teach yourself to not only enjoy, but become good at THAT, just imagine what you can do… even if there are reasons you shouldn’t.

Until next time ๐Ÿ™‚

Nadia

Posted in Goal Setting, Personal Growth

My Top 5 Tips to Set & Achieve Your Goals

As Racheal Cook, creator of my favorite podcast Promote Yourself to CEO has said, planning is an essential aspect of getting things done in your business and in life. I truly believe in the power of setting goals that matter. That means taking the time out of your busy life to think it through and write it all down. Here are my Top 5 Tips to Set and Achieve Your Goals.

1. Allow Yourself to Dream Big.

In the process of setting goals, we often jump right into strategy. As the authors of Helping People Change: Coaching with compassion for lifelong learning and growth might say, you focus on want you want to do in the context of your current skill set, career path, or societal norm. According to authors Boyatzis, Smith, and Van Oosten, we benefit from exploring what we care about, what we dream about, and who we want to become. The more freedom we are allowed in our explorations, the more creative and innovative we become with our solutions. Try this:

  • Ask yourself, โ€œWhat would I want in an ideal world, if I had no limitations and knew that I couldnโ€™t fail.โ€ 
  • OR close your eyes and imaging yourself walking through a day in your ideal life. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? How do you feel?

Write down your responses in a notebook or journal. Each of these exercises will give you insight into how you want your future to appear.

2. Set Goals in ALL Areas of Your Life. 

There are six key areas to focus on when setting goals:

  • Relationships
  • Career
  • Financial
  • Emotional/Spiritual
  • Health & Fitness
  • Location/Lifestyle

Whether we realize it or not, most of us have goals for each area. Some are subconscious. Unless we make a conscious effort to bring them to light, these “hidden” goals may cause us to behave in ways that sabotage our progress in other areas of our lives. Having very clear goals for each area also gives you an opportunity to prioritize which one(s) are most important and which ones will take a backseat (at least for now).

My recommendation: Write down at least TWO goals for each area. If you can’t think of anything right away, take a few moments reflect

3. Choose ONE to Focus On.

One of my favorite quotes in the area of goal setting is a sentiment by the author Atomic Habits:

One of the greatest barriers to achieving your goals is
the other goals you have.”

James Clear – https://jamesclear.com/

Straight talk: If you try to achieve everything at once you’ll stretch yourself too thin. As a personal trainer and wellness coach, I’ve seen clients adopt a new exercise regimen (from 0 per week to 6), overhaul their diet (no carbs, no problem!), while working overtime and trying to maintain a home life. They usually get great results at first, but more often than not, their workouts fizzle out, they revert back to their old eating habits, and lose most of the progress they’ve made. In my opinion, it’s better to choose ONE main thing to work on and crush it.

How to Choose Just One Goal

I get it. There are so many things you want to work on, you may not be sure where to start. I handle it in one of two ways:

  1. Ask yourself “Which goal is most URGENT for me right now?” If you’re in a situation where you HAVE to make a decent living or you’ll lose your home or you’re at risk of a fatal heart attack if you don’t change your habits now, your situation falls under the urgency rule. The goal that addresses this problem is of top priority.
  2. Ask yourself “What one goal, if I achieved it, would have the biggest impact on the rest of my goals?” For example, a few years back, I had a weight loss goal. I also wanted to increase my energy on a daily basis and adopt a healthier diet. After doing some research, I realized that adopting a healthy diet was the goal to focus on, because I’d be knocking out all three at once!

4. Create a Practical Action Plan. 

It’s surprising how many people set to work trying to achieve a goal without taking the time to map out how to get there. Why is this important? A plan will:

  • Allow you to outline the steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal
  • Provide a visual representation of how long it will take to get to your goal
  • Uncover areas for further development (such as learning a new skill)
  • Reveal “hot spots,” necessary elements of your plan that may push you out of your comfort zone
  • Keep you on track when you’re unsure of what to do next or find yourself lacking motivation

Take some time to do a bit of research on how to achieve your specific goal. That means checking out reputable websites, asking a professional, or reading books on the topic. Then, write down all of the action steps needed to get you to your goal.

Pro Tip: Write an estimated timeline beside each action step. Be realistic about how much time it will take to achieve each goal. I tend to err on giving myself EXTRA time, rather than less.

5. Renew Your Excitement EVERY DAY. 

It takes commitment to work consistently toward the goals we set for ourselves. There will be days when motivation comes naturally, in waves, and others when you’ll wonder why you started this journey in the first place. Get ahead of it by intentionally renewing your excitement for your goals every single day.

The big reason that I’m so passionate about seeing others achieve their goals is because I transformed my own life the first time I set one. My hope for you is that you take what you’ve learned here and begin to make the shifts in your own daily habits that take you to the life you dream of.

Good luck <3

Nadia

PS – If you want more great content related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness, click here to join the community on Facebook!

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Benefits & Perks, Confidence, How to Become a Fitness Instructor, Personal Growth, What It's Like to Be a Group Fitness Instructor

Haters Gon Hate: When People Say Your Job Isn’t a “Real” Job

Not too long after I’d first become a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, I had a strange experience with an old friend. It’s 3:00PM on a Friday afternoon. We made plans to hit the beach for happy hour cocktails and he’s running several hours late. No text or call, presumably because of his busy schedule. Since I know he’s pretty flaky, I decide to go alone. It’s an hour long drive to the beach and if I get there early, I’ll have a nice view of the ocean from the bar patio.

As I’m driving, I get a call from you know who.

I pick up with my car’s bluetooth. “I already left.” I smiled. He is not amused. He huffs and haws trying to convince me to turn around. I won’t. “Sorry friend. The bus has left the station.”

“Some of us have to work real jobs in order to pay the bills,” he says.

I did a double take. Hater much? This was the first time I’d heard anyone say something like this about the work that I do and it surprised me. What I wanted to say was…

  1. I woke up at 5:00am to prepare for my day and show up for my 6:00am shift.
  2. I worked continuously without a break, serving 4 small group training sessions, 1 cardio class, responding to client emails, and making phone calls till 12:30.
  3. I do this same work 5 days a week then when I go home I plan, create, and schedule content for my blogs and social pages.

Instead, I said “Enjoy your day!” then hung up. Later that day, as I sat by the beach, sipping margaritas, I thought about it some more. I could see why my job might feel “unreal.” Getting out of work before 1:00pm on a Friday to hit the beach is one of the many perks many people never get to experience. But here’s the truth:

It is no mistake that I chose a career path that is both fulfilling for me spiritually and beneficial for my well being. I took the time to explore what I love, what I am good at, and what will ultimately pay the bills. I put in the WORK to find the path I am on now.

Being a fitness professional is physically demanding and can often be emotionally taxing too. I had to work at becoming an skilled, engaging instructor.

And I am so grateful to be able to say that I love what I do. I wish for everyone who is dissatisfied with their jobs to find a path that creates happiness, not only in their lives but in the lives of others too. But for now, I don’t fault anyone for feeling a little jealous. I’d be jealous too ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Mwuah,

Nadia

Posted in Books and Podcasts, Personal Growth

Alternatives to Music: What I Listen to While Working Out

I’m gonna get straight to it. Although I love creating playlists on Spotify for the classes that I teach, I don’t actually listen to music during my own workouts. As an entrepreneur, a lifelong learner, and a yogi, my workout time is an opportunity to grow. Here’s what I listen to while working out.

Audio Books & Podcasts

I’m a sucker for a good life or business lesson. Since it’s a little challenging to read while lifting weights, I sneak it in with audio-books and podcasts. A few of my all time favs include:

  • The Bitch Switch by Omarosa
  • Goals! by Brian Tracy
  • It’s Called A Breakup Cause It’s Broken by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt
  • Promote Yourself to CEO with Rachael Cook
  • MBOM with Amanda Kingsmithh
  • Side Hustle with Soul by Dielle Sharon

My Breath

This will probably sound strange to anyone who is not familiar with yoga, but in the studio, it’s common to practice:

  • Focusing on your breath
  • Manipulating your breath with structured practices
  • Linking your breath to movement

Research has shown that pranayama (or breath practice) can help to balance your nervous system, reduce stress, improve focus and aide in managing conditions such as insomnia or depression. 

Affirmations & Mantra

If you’ve got any type of goals and/or a vision for your life that you’re determined to see through to fruition, the perfect time to affirm your aspirations is during your workout. Your body is already sending out feel good hormones that pump you full of energy. Capitalize on that with a few words or phrases that will motivate and inspire you to believe in yourself and take action. Some of my favorites are:

  • I am strong
  • I am capable
  • I always stay true to my values
  • Love lives inside of me (from India Arie)
  • I got this!
  • I am already on the path to greatness.

So tell me… do you listen to music while working out? Have you ever tried one of the strategies I mentioned above? Tell me your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Nadia

PS – Want to learn more about how to live a happier, healthier life? Join our community on Facebook.