For Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne-(For Days of Old)
The New Year is upon us!!! What was awesome about your 2015? What didn’t work out so well for you? The questions you ask yourself and the evaluations you give to those questions will determine the quality of your life, not just for this new year, but forever. Most of us ask questions that trigger bad answers. Ask: Why am I fat? , your brain will say :“Because you’re lazy”. The reason for this, is because most of carry around our past failures with us. Instead, carry your victories with you. Ask better questions if you want better results. What are you proud of? What are you juiced about? What makes your feel good? Those questions will get you unbelievable results in the gym and in your life. In other words, feed the beast and starve the rats.

Sometimes it helps to think about areas of you life like fitness as if it were a car being driven along the road. What type of car do you want to drive? How fast are you reaching your destination? Do you have enough fuel? I like to remind people they are always driving somewhere, but often they’re looking in the wrong direction. While the rear view mirror is very useful, if that’s all you’re looking at while driving……CRASH!!!! Make sure you check it to see what’s behind you, but focus on the windshield so you can see what lies ahead. And what a bright future it can be if you let it.

Auld Lang Syne the tune many of us hear during the New Year was written in 1788 by a Scottish poet named Robert Burns. You know the tune, but do you know what it means? Auld Lang Syne means ‘for days of old’. The poet was talking about “talking a cup of kindness” for days of old. The song instructs us to think fondly of our past, not take our defeats with us. In other words, it’s good to reminisce, but only if you’re focusing on what was good and what you can be grateful for.
So let’s change your focus in 2016 to your victories and not your defeats. Focus on what you love and not what you fear. Focus on your goals, but focus more on the reasons you want to achieve them. Remember, success leaves clues. Find out what you want, then figure out who has done it before you and get some coaching. I’m here to help you reach those goals. But I have to know what they are? Post them to our Facebook wall and hold yourself accountable.
So what’s your real goals for 2016?

Attack! (Your Thoughts)

How I Attack Negative Thoughts Every Day

“You’re lazy.” “What the hell am I doing?” “Why am I so stupid.” “Why me?” Why did they leave me.” “Why does God let this happen?”
If you’re alive, you’re probably had one or more of these thoughts pop into your head. Maybe it even changed the feeling in your stomach or turned your smile into a look of concern. Your brow may have been furrowed. Negative thoughts are something that everyone has almost daily and probably will forever. Aren’t you glad you’re reading this positive article? The point is, you cannot control every thought that pops into your head, but you can control both how you let it affect you and how long you allow it to stay in your mind.
“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.” Revelation:12:7
LIFE IS A BATTLE
Everyone has a metaphor for what life is to them. I have many. Life is a party. Life is a gift. It’s a Wonderful Life (my favorite movie). But, life is also a battle. There is a constant battle going on in the world and in your body. It’s not necessarily good versus evil, but it is a battle within nature itself. In your body, even at the cellular level, there are bacterium and viruses trying to invade and destroy your own cells. You even have precancerous cells that are trying to avoid your immune systems’ efforts to kill them. The negative thoughts you have daily and the battle you face to rid yourself of them are no different than your immune system trying to kill unwanted invaders. Therefore, the answer to a negative emotion is that you must attack it. Your enemies must be attacked or they will conquer. The weeds must be attacked or they will take the garden. It’s a fight that we’re in, just as there was in heaven. Times haven’t changed.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS
The first way to attack negative thoughts is to face them head on and remember that you are not your thoughts. You are the one listening to them. The fastest way to attack the bad thoughts is to say out loud, “thanks for sharing.” By saying that phrase out loud, you are actively reminding yourself that you have control. You get to choose where you live emotionally, but you must exercise control over yourself to make that happen. It’s no different than training in the gym. You must train yourself to attack your negative thoughts.
REPLACE THEM AND CHANGE FOCUS
You become what you think about most of the time. So, you must attack bad thoughts and replace them with good ones. What are you grateful for? Who do you love? Who loves you? Who makes you laugh? What was the best time of your life? Just by shifting your focus and asking better questions, you will flood your mind with incredible thoughts and memories. One way to think of thoughts is to think of light. Negative thoughts are like darkness. Positive thoughts are light. No amount of darkness can prevail if there is even a bit of light. The light will always win.

USE YOUR BODY
Exercise is a must. It’s by far the most researched and best antidepressant there is. But there are other things I do to keep a mind of positivity. One way is to expose myself to intense cold. Every morning I start by taking a warm shower and then turn it to cold and force myself to focus on my breathing while the water races over my skin. I’ve learned to not only tolerate it, I now love it. I realize there isn’t a negative though in my head when I’m near freezing. You don’t have time to be sad when your body is being pushed physically.
Another big weapon in my arsenal against negative thoughts is breathing. I forcefully breathe deep, hold it for a four count and then exhale. I try to repeat this thirty times in a row. By deeply oxygenating my body, my mind begins to flood with happy thoughts. It’s amazing how breathing differently can positively change your life. It changed mine. For more information, research Iceman Wim Hoff. The man is literally a superhuman.

ICEMAN AND JOE ROGAN

The last thing I do to attack negative thoughts is to force extreme discomfort to my body. The effect is similar to cold therapy, but I choose to use deep tissue massage and lying on a spike mat. Yes, a mat with sharp plastic spikes. What deep massage and spike mats force me to do is to control my body through my mind. It forces me to control my breath and therefore my thoughts. I recommend the Spoonk mat for 10 minutes a day.
Spoonk Mat
Remember, you want to be able to say you fought for what you loved and kept the faith. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in others. And remember, it’s a fight we’re in. Fight for your mind every day.
If you have 15 minutes to spare, this classic Jim Rohn video may help you attack your
Challenges To Pursue

God Bless and Merry Christmas

Got Breath? 9 Reasons to work out this system.

Here’s a riddle for you:

You do this 20,000 times a day, yet it is likely your weakest muscle.

STUMPED?

For something we do 20,000 or more times a day without thinking about, as soon as I ask people to draw attention and connection to their breath, a weird shift occurs. It’s as if they think they’ve signed on for a one-way trip to Hippy-Dippy land where they’re forced to burn incense, ball themselves up into pretzel poses, and spend hours praying incantations to a Buddha statue.

I sense the anxious energy in the room as we spend the first 2-5 minutes just settling in, focusing on the breath in hopes it can let the monkey mind unravel. The boredom and monotony strikes as our brain projects a million reasons to do ANYTHING else but focus on the simplicity and direction of our inhales and exhales.

I acknowledge that they are waiting for us to DO something. To stretch, strengthen, improve mobility and relieve some of the nagging pains that go along with being a human. This is the product that they are promised. This is why they’ve carved out the time to show up for Mobility|Gains.

So a part of me feels like I am not yet ‘selling’ my clients on WHY and HOW we use breath as our foundation and gateway into understanding and manipulating our bodies for better performance.

I think the fitness industry (especially CrossFit) has come a long way in their understanding that you can only be as strong as your mobility allows. More people now know WHY they need to stretch, strengthen weak links in isolation, and re-pattern their horrible movement mechanics. Every year more products pop up on the market about the new bulletproof way to knead out your sticky bits.

There is a whole industry now focused in on injury prevention, self care and myofascial release, but still no one is understanding and preaching the ultimate key to an effective and long-lasting mobility routine that results in improved performance and reduced injury.

The key, of course, is your breath–your life source that feeds you with oxygen, fills you up with space, and keeps you calm in the storm.

Story Time!

Mobility|Gains actually started as a result of complaints the owner at Brick CrossFit (JP) had received after I started incorporating breath work and “Movement-with-Breath” sequences as warm ups while teaching CrossFit. While some people really dug the change, some members were really uncomfortable with being forced to be alone with their breath for 2-3 minutes and find a way to sync their breath to their functional and explosive movements.

The complaints flooded in…

“I’m sorry did I step into a yoga studio or a CrossFit box today?!”

“I’m going for a run…I’ll be back after this whole “meditation” stuff is over.”

And my personal favorite:

“Emylee, now I know you went to Bali recently and love that whole ‘Namaste, shove incense up your asshole stuff’ but CrossFit classes aren’t the time or place for that.”

Clearly they didn’t get it.

So after some convincing, JP let me have a time and place to gauge interest and see if Mobility|Gains satisfied a demand for members at the gym.

I am proud to say that over 30 people showed up to the very first Mobility Gains class (then called CrossFlow) And from that moment on, a mobility monster was born.

Ever since, I have been trying to create a safe space to get connected and explore the inner functionality of your mind, body and spirit, and show you that if you can cultivate power over over breath, it bleeds into every facet of your life–from performance to relaxation.

So just in case anyone has any qualms about “wasting” 5 minutes doing what I now call “Respiratory Muscle Strengthening” (because strength appeals more to athletes than mindful meditation) here are the top 9 reasons a daily breath routine will improve athletic performance and make you a happier person.

…as if keeping you alive and oxygenated wasn’t enough. 😉

1. Last longer with Less Effort

You never think about breath until you’re neck deep in a workout huffing and puffing, wondering why can’t catch your breath to save your life. In terms of exercise, it’s no surprise that the body demands an increase in oxygen as well as breathing ventilation. This requires our respiratory muscles and intercostals surrounding the lungs to contract forcefully and rapidly as intensity increases. A stronger diaphragm and intercostals mean you can slow your breathing rate down whilst getting more oxygen to your muscles. Improve stamina and strength of your respiratory system, and breathing becomes more efficient, requiring less energy—which leaves more energy for you to put into the task at hand. This is a classic example of why it’s always better to work smarter instead of harder.

2. Ditch the Stitch

Cramping in the body is a sudden, involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles that generally results from muscle fatigue and lack of oxygen to fill up the tissues. Breathing slower increases oxygen saturation in cells, fills up space against constricted muscles, and eases the stitch away.

3. Stand Taller and Lift Heavier

My personal favorite reason to cultivate a deeper breath is that the deeper you breathe, the taller you get. In general, the rib cage should expand in a 3D pattern–top to bottom, back to fro nt, and to the sides. When you breathe, your ribs should expand, creating more mobility and space through the rigid thoracic region of the spine and thereby lengthening it.

In addition, your breathing muscles are an integral part of the core stabilizing and postural control systems. This means when anticipating a load or an impact, it’s best to take a deep breath and then brace the core. Not only will this make us more difficult to knock over, it will also help protect the spine.

4. Relax, Damnit. You’ll recover faster.

Breathing deeply is the fastest way to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, aka the relaxation response, which makes you feel relaxed and jumpstarts your bodies natural ability to recover, restore and replenish.

Stress is at the core of most diseases and really attacks the body’s ability to function and recover. When we breathe shallowly, the body does not receive as much oxygen as it needs and it makes our muscles constrict. You can literally feel this when you are stressed–we wear the weight of our world on our shoulders, in our jaws, and through our hips. The sympathetic nervous system is triggered when we feel stress or anxiety and sends out spikes of cortisol and adrenaline. It is the parasympathetic nervous system which counteracts this. Breath is the gateway for these two systems to communicate.

You can learn to turn the switch on and off with little transition time and use your breathing practice to get back into the gym quicker after a killer workout that straight up shocks the central nervous system!

5. Panting Isn’t Sexy…Nor is it Intimidating.

Nothing is more of a mind fuck than your opponents staring you down with a cool and calm energy while you are hunched over panting like a dehydrated dog.

Panting = Weak

Belly Breathing = Strong

Inside you could be dying, but if you have the secret weapon that keeps you cool, calm, and collected, you will scare your competition and crush the game.

6. Don’t Pass Out

In class, I see people holding their breath. A lot. I always say, How you do one thing is how you do everything, and if you hold your breath in uncomfortable situations, you probably do it instinctively during exercise. Holding your breath increases pressure inside the chest (which is good for stability when explosively executing a lift), but holding it too long can impede the return of blood to the heart and raise blood pressure, causing you to feel light-headed and wobbly.

7. Sharpen Your Focus

Instead of letting yourself be distracted by the clock, the competition, or the myriad of thoughts that flood our monkey minds, when you focus on the simplicity of the inhale and exhale, you begin to clear out distraction and become narrowly focused. When you have total control and connection with your body through your breath, that’s when the task at hand becomes easy and clear, and your ability to adapt to a changing environment is vastly improved.

“Being in a relaxed state is important to achieving optimal performance in any endeavor, not just sports,” says Karlene Sugarman, M.A., author of Winning the Mental Way. “It’s a vital stepping stone to peak performance whether you’re working out, giving a presentation or dealing with your children. The individual that is mentally and physically relaxed and has ‘quiet intensity’ is the one that is going to come out on top.”

8. Breathing is the Simplest Form of Detoxification

Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. Oxygen travels through your bloodstream by attaching to your red blood cells and enriching your body to metabolise nutrients and vitamins. This strengthens your immune system and lessens your recovery time. Carbon dioxide is a natural toxic waste that comes from the body’s metabolic processes and it needs to be expelled from the body regularly and consistently. However, when our lungs are compromised by shallow breathing, the other detoxification systems in the body take over and have to work harder to expel this waste. Why make the body work harder than it already has to?

9. Massage your Organs and Tighten your Tummy

Yep, that’s right. I am arguing that the better you breathe, the thinner you’ll be.

The more oxygen you take in, the more fuel your digestive system has to function properly. Also, extra oxygen in the body will help to burn up excess fat more efficiently. When we are stressed (and most of us live day to day in a fairly stressed state) your body tends to burn glycogen instead of fat. Deep breathing triggers the relaxation response which encourages the body to burn fat instead. When you inhale, your diaphragm descends and your abdomen will expand. This action massages vital organs and improves circulation in them. As you deepen your exhale, you strengthen and tone the intercostals and deep abdominal muscles.

So there you have it. 9 reasons to incorporate more breath-strengthening work into your life! So where should you start? Click here to get the Mobility|Gains Beginners Guide To Breathing, a quick + easy way to strengthen your breathing engine.

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Emylee Rose Covell
Health Coach XFlow Fitness
530-383-3178

Questions to Ponder This Holiday Season

Questions to ponder during the Holiday Season:
The following questions are for your consideration. There are no answers provided here. Only some intriguing questions that, depending on your answer, may be the key for you to fully enjoy this holiday season and thrive in 2016.

What if the holidays are really about gratitude for others and not receiving yourself?

What if the type of body you want and are committed to having will determine your attitude towards the holidays? What if the more fit your are, the happier you can become?

What if the cold weather can be your ally in reducing inflammation in your body and burning fat?

What if cold therapy can eliminate depression altogether?

What if Christmas and New Years are like any other day?

What if Christmas and New Years are magical days, if you choose them to be, but every other day can be as well?

What will you do if you do not receive any gifts this year?

What if the only gifts you accept from others are charitable donations to a charity of your choice?

What if your actions can light up the face of someone else this season?

What if you can be a hero to a child this season?

What if you open your heart and destroy your limiting beliefs this season?

How will that affect everyone around you?

How will it affect you?

What if you could give to others all year?

What if your family receiving a heartfelt written letter of love this Christmas?

What if you didn’t eat desserts this holiday season and instead donated the money you would have spent on them to charity?

What would happen if you believed your loved ones who have passed are really still with you this season because all humans are made of energy and energy cannot be destroyed, only transferred?

What if the reason for the season is “to go out and love others as I have loved you.”

What if New Years resolutions mostly never happen because people have limiting thoughts keeping them from achieving them?

What if discipline is freedom and your rituals, including holiday rituals determine your life’s outcome?

What if you could carry Christmas in your heart every day?