Tag Archives: strength

My Past Doesn’t Define Me – It Strengthens Me

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By Ryan Skinner

Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” As a recovering addict given a second chance at life, I have been given the opportunity to pay forward my reversal of fortune to help others struggling with the disease of addiction. Every day I ask God how I can be of service to others using the talents He’s given me, and I have learned that the true measure of success is found in how many people you bless. It may sound ironic to be grateful to have gone through something so horrific, but I thank God now that I can help people experiencing the same nightmare. Continue reading

A Woman’s Guide to Building Muscle

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Creatine is a substance known to help build muscle mass and increase performance. Even though there are a growing number of women pursuing bodybuilding, it’s predominantly used by men. A survey in 2007 revealed that only one percent of female athletes use creatine to help them achieve their goals. This is primarily because they see creatine as something that will bulk them up and make them larger, and our society teaches us women should be small. However, what they don’t consider is that it also keeps them weak. By implementing the use of creatine for women, they can build strength and look better than they ever imagined. Continue reading

Care & Strength: The First Moments of Fatherhood

Sunday, June 21st we celebrate the men who have filled the role of “father” in our lives. The transition into motherhood and fatherhood can be so different. Women experience a physical change that clearly reflects entering this new phase of life. It’s very hard to miss that something new is happening. For men, however, there is no growing belly, second heart beat or fluttering of a baby’s kicks to signal a new page outside of watching their partner. This means becoming a dad can be just as much about deciding to step into the role as it is contributing DNA. It means readily accepting the care and responsibility for a new life and that is a big job! Continue reading

Dose of Inspiration: Being Strong

Happy Thursday!
Wishing you a day of strength, of fearlessness, of feeling free.
Here is a little drop of wisdom from some of our favorites:

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

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The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
-Ernest Hemingway

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Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
-Hermann Hesse

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Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.
-Khalil Gibran

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Silence is a source of great strength.
-Lao Tzu

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You have power over your mind – not outside events.
Realize this, and you will find strength.
-Marcus Aurelius

Staying Strong: Our Favorite Quotes from Demi Lovato’s New Book

Demi TattooMost people know Demi Lovato from her stint as a Disney Channel princess (no really, she did play a princess in one of their Disney Channel original movies – Princess Protection Program) or you recognize her as a judge on FOX’s X-Factor. What you might not know is that a couple of years ago the pop singer entered a rehabilitation clinic to battle her issues with self-harm and an eating disorder. When she emerged from treatment she had the words “Stay Strong” tattooed on her wrists to help remind her of the strength she has to overcome the personal demons she was battling.

Demi has been vocal about her struggles, sharing quotes and advice to her 20 million Twitter and Facebook followers. She’s an advocate against bullying and works constantly to provide support services and positive outlooks for young people that struggle with the same issues that she has had to face. Her latest effort to bring support and positivity into the lives of teens dealing with depression and eating disorders is a new book “Staying Strong” which is a collection of 365 quotes and meditations that Demi has personally used to help motivate herself and bring her out of dark places. We are giving out five copies of the book this week from Intent Blog and Intent.com so make sure you comment below for your chance to get one!

In celebration of Demi’s recovery and in honor of her work in trying to provide a bright light for those struggling with the same things we have compiled a few of our favorite quotes from “Staying Strong.” We hope that if you are dealing with any darkness that they empower you to seek help and your own light to find your inner strength.

On sharing and communityListen to other people’s stories and find the strength and beauty in their actions

Demi: I love to hear my fans’ stories because they are so inspiring. They tell me how they have overcome bullying, eating disorders, addictions, cutting and it’s amazing how much strength we each have inside us. I also believe that when you share your story the strength in you grows and the inspirational effect you have on others multiplies. It takes courage to open up to others.

On positive influences: “You’re only as strong as your weakest member; you’re only as positive as your most negative friend” – Kelly Rowland

Demi: It’s important to remember how our friends have such a powerful influence on us and vice versa. This can be a great thing as long as your friends surround you with love, loyalty, respect and positivity.

On jealousy“Don’t torment yourself with jealousy. It’s a silly illusion that someone’s life is better than yours when the truth is that each one of us is on a different path.”

Demi: There are times in my life when I let myself get consumed with jealously for someone else’s life, their body, their wardrobe, their talent. They call it the green-eyed monster for a reason. It’s a self destructive and when it’s in the room, it consumes you. Be strong and don’t focus on what other people have.

On giving: “Give what you want to receive. If you want happiness, make others happy.” – Russell Simmons

Demi: It’s a simple law of attraction that you get back what you put out into the universe. The more love you give, the more love you attract. The more love you attract, the more love you receive. WHen we put good energy into the world, we feel good. We make those around us feel good.

On peace: “If you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the wounding of the world” – Deepak Chopra

Demi: Violence is the easy way out and it only leads to more violence. We need people in this world who are willing to find solutions through peace, through communication, honesty and diplomacy. World peace may seem impossible, but it’s worth aiming for.

On creativity: “And all the colors I am inside have not been invented yet.” – Shel Silverstein

Creativity is so much more than just producing art. It also allows you to purge toxic emotions and thoughts in a positive, healthy way. For me, it’s singing and playing music. When I perform I’m able to express my emotions without engaging in self-destructive behaviors.

On fear“I am not fearless. I get scared plenty. But I have also learned how to channel that emotion to sharpen me” – Bear Grylls

Demi: All fear has ever done is hold me back. I have so many things I want to accomplish in my life. For myself and for the world. Fear is useless; it just gets in the way of accomplishing everything Overcome fear today and and confront one of your phobias.

If you have a favorite quote share it in the comments below!

Demi Lovato’s “Staying Strong” was published via Macmillan Publishers on Nov. 19, 2013. Comment below to win a copy or purchase from any major book retailers. 

From Intent.com: Why Wait

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So the month of December is officially the month of “Why Wait” here at Intent.

In our newsletter last week, we wrote that there is nothing special about January 1.

Nothing magical will happen to you at the stroke of midnight of 2014 that will magically give you the empowerment or will power you never felt like you had in 2013. If you want to make a change, if you want to take a step out courageously, then there’s no need to wait for January 1. You can and should do that today!

Needing some inspiration?
Here are some of Intent users that could use our support:

So here are some questions to ask yourself-

1. If you could have any life, no limits, what would it look like?
In the brainstorming process for ANYTHING, it’s important to let yourself imagine everything as a possibility- large or small. Don’t try and edit yourself while in the brainstorming process. It only slows you down. Instead let yourself think outlandishly. Imagine yourself as an astronaut. Imagine yourself only needing to sleep 3 hours a day. Whatever life you could dream of, give yourself unlimited freedom for a short amount of time to really push the limits in picturing it.

2. What has to come? What has to go?
After you decide whether or not it’s practical (ie- “I want to be Harry Potter. Like, real Harry Potter. I want a magic wand and an archnemesis with no nose), then ask yourself what things would have to enter your life to make it a reality. Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make some of those things realities? If so, move forward. If not, cross those things off the list. The things you’re passionate about are going to be worth your time and energy. By the same token, some things are going to have to go. You’ve always wanted to paint, but your evening are filled up with every activity but that. If you love those other activities, that is one thing. That might require you use a little bit of calendar rotation. But, if your calendar is filled up with things that you are less than jazzed about, start taking steps to pull back and slowly phase out of them. How do you know which things you don’t love? They’re normally the things that make you say “Tonight I have [insert activity]. UGH.”

3. Set some big goals.
In the past I’ve talked about how we give ourselves small goals so we don’t fail. You want to get in shape so you set a goal of going to the gym once a week. That’s not bad, right? You’re currently going to the gym zero times a week, so that’s 100% improvement, right? Wrong. What happens when the day you picked gets slammed with a last minute meeting? What happens if you get sick that day? I say, with life changing goals, aim high. Say you’re going to the gym 5 times a week. If you end up missing one or two or three of those days, you’re still getting greater motivation to get up and out the door. You’re still going to see results of 3 days working out versus just 1. And I say that’s worth the effort.

So what are you waiting on?
What is the life you’re dreaming of?
Why wait?

The Power of Intention: A Little Touch of Cancer

 1. Prevent Digestive System CancersBy Betsy Horn

When I started studying acting with Robert Lewis, co-founder of Actor’s Studio, one of the first things he said was that in rehearsing a play, you have to figure out what is your intention.  The same thing, I learned, is important in life.  What are we doing, what do we want, and why?

We’re told by our parents, mother usually, that our health is our greatest gift, that without that, you won’t be able to have the life you want.  It almost goes without saying that for much of our lives, we take our health for granted; it’s something we don’t think about when we are young.  We are invulnerable, untouchable.  Yet we are not, especially in today’s world.

Until I was 60, I had taken my health for granted.  First, my mother’s great mantra was that her greatest gift to her children was perfect health, “wonderful genes.”  How she knew that in the 50s remains a mystery to me. But I went along with it, until one day in May, over a decade ago, I went for an annual ultrasound to monitor a pesky ovarian cyst which hadn’t bothered me too much for over seven years, but having been told to check it annually, I did so – and got the shock of my life! Suspected ovarian cancer, and not only that, “aggressive ovarian cancer.”  I knew little about ovarian cancer but soon found out it was one of the most lethal and difficult to diagnose of all the female cancers, known as “the whispering disease” because the symptoms are so subtle, a paradox, as the disease is so very dangerous.

As my doctor told me this, although he was gentle, he was also straightforward, I collapsed inside.  I remember saying to myself, (the mind can have so many messages almost simultaneously), “Now, stand up straight and show you are OK.”  I remember pulling back my head and lifting it and looking at the doctor as if bewildered.  Tears were forming as I thought, “It’s a beautiful day outside and I have come in touch with my mortality.  How is this possible?”

Back in my car, in a cavernous garage, dark and empty, I railed, first at my mother, for the perfect genes which turned out not to be and then just at my frustration.  I had done so much work on myself and now this.  But I am fairly pragmatic and while driving back to New York City from New Haven, I regulated myself fairly quickly and started making mental lists. In times of dire circumstances, a good list can come in handy.  From then on, I did everything to stay healthy and prepare for surgery.  I bought a wonderful book by Bernie Siegal, Love, Medicine and Miracles which I highly recommend.

It turns out that my intention was strong and already forming as a plan for my survival. I would find out everything I could from reliable sources, go to the therapists I already knew, including my GP and do everything anyone smart told me to do as preparation. My intention was to survive and beat it but then to get as healthy as I possibly and follow whatever regime, diet, exercise, meditation and all of those to stay grounded, calm and alive.  So far, it’s worked.

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Betsy Horn’s book, A Little Touch of Cancer and How it Made Me Well one woman’s travels through ovarian cancer, is now available on www.betsyhorn.com through a direct link to Amazon.  

Lean, Toned, or Buff: What It Really Means to Be Fit

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Different people have different reasons for starting a fitness program. Some want to lose weight, others want to build muscle, others want to reduce cholesterol, and the list goes on. If you’re a wellness-enthusiast, you’ve undoubtedly come across countless fitness philosophies, and it can be hard to know what’s really important in a workout routine. Do we need to be as big and bulky as, say, a body builder? Is that the epitome of fitness? Or rather should we focus on toning and building functional strength?

To help us answer some of these questions, we interviewed Sports Club/LA fitness expert Rob Kram.

There’s so much health information going around these days, but what does “fitness” really mean to you?

To me, fitness is the physical component of the entire health and wellness continuum. It fits right in with the importance of nutritional health, mental acuity and the holistic view that includes stress management leading to overall happiness. When you consider the body’s ability to move properly and painlessly, fitness encompasses many levels from an elite athlete focused on performance enhancement, to a grandmother simply wanting to be able to bend over and pick up her grandchild.

Is it more important to be thin, toned, buff, or what?

There are plenty of people with buff bodies who cannot functionally perform well in athletic activities. There are also very toned people who are functionally weak. Fitness is relative to one’s activities. For example, an elite marathoner and a world class sumo wrestler are both probably very functionally fit for their activities. But, switch their roles and both would fail miserably. Quality of one’s movement relative to their targeted activity is the most important factor.

Is muscle-building a sure-fire route to fitness? And if not, what’s your number one rule for building muscle for fitness?

Nothing is sure-fire in the fitness industry, simply because everyone’s body is so different. Muscle-building is as important as any other factor in overall fitness. It is a forgotten component for many who focus only on cardio exercise. As for a number one rule for building muscle – “surpass the ignition point every time.” Regardless of the exercise or goal, if you don’t reach the point of discomfort during your workout, you simply do not realize the benefit of that exercise. This point of discomfort is what I call the “ignition point” and many people waste their time working out and going through the motions without ever, or rarely getting past this point.

If someone comes into the club who is struggling with weight, endurance or a specific health concern, what are some of the first fitness tools you would suggest?

Each of those struggles are very different from one another and require different tactics. One thing that they do have in common is the need for professional guidance. Without a trained professional the struggles will simply continue through trial and error. Most people get their information, and therefore fitness advice, from the mass media. Although this raised consciousness is a positive thing, the application of exercise science needs to be specific to each individual. There are simply too many factors that create the person that you are for mass marketed trends to be effectively applicable to everyone. One exercise that yielded great results for one person may be detrimental to the health of the next person. If I had to pick one fitness tool that I would suggest to everyone, it would be a Private Trainer consultation.

What daily lifestyle practices would you encourage people incorporate in order to stay fit and strong, apart from (or perhaps in addition to) a formal fitness routine?

Move daily and stay conscious of how you are moving. Do things hurt? Does life get in the way of moving at all? Whatever you have to do to remind yourself to raise these questions in your own head, do it. Sign up for a fitness blog, hire a Private Trainer or coach, buy products that remind you to move and track movement. Create the conversation with everyone in your life (who’s willing to talk about it) so that they are all involved as a support system to continue to motivate you.

Add fitness to your calendar and make it a priority. Even picking a favorite tv show and starting a habit for yourself to do an “at home” workout whenever it’s on, works well. Everyone has time to do a set of push-ups, so there is never a reason to go extended periods without some type of strength training. Look for opportunities to challenge yourself and see if you can lift, move something or engage in any manual labor. Getting and staying strong needs to be a priority. The penalty is that if you don’t make time for it now, your body will deteriorate sooner and make you spend that time later in life.

 

Rob shared some great tips, and we hope this inspires you to get out there and get active!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

How Functional Fitness Change Your Life – Plus 4 Exercises to Try Today!

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If you’ve ever wondered why your workout leaves you with overly achy muscles, sprained joints, and strength in all the wrong places, then you’re not alone. Pumping iron or running for miles on the treadmill may seem like great ways to burn calories, but how helpful are those activities in our real lives?

For most of us, the true test of our strength comes in moments throughout our daily lives. We pick up heavy bags of groceries, reach for items on top shelves, dart after our kids on the playground, and climb stairs at the office. If your hours at the gym still aren’t helping you develop strength and stamina for everyday requirements, then it’s time to opt for a new functional fitness routine.

What is “functional fitness”? The idea behind this style of fitness training is that your workouts should improve your daily life. The activities mimic everyday activities (like squatting to pick up grocery bags), thus preparing your muscles to undertake tasks with increased strength and flexibility.

As Rob Kram, National Director of Fitness Education and Development at Sports Club/LA, explains:

It is important that anyone engaging in a functional training program consider the movements they incorporate in their daily lives. For example, functional training for a golfer may include medicine ball twists with a weighted ball that trains trunk rotation. This specificity with your biomechanics recreate what is happening during a golf swing helping create the neuromuscular pathways needed for improved efficiency and the resulting performance enhancement.

Benefits of functional fitness:

  • Exercises help you develop strength and stamina for everyday activities
  • Exercises engage multiple muscle groups and joints, which reduces the risk of injury
  • Workouts are safe and particularly helpful for seniors and people with a history of injuries and joint pain
  • Exercises promote balance and flexibility, along with strength

Examples of functional fitness exercises:

1. Squat to bicep curl: For help lifting your children, the laundry basket or a grocery bag

Start with your feet hip-width apart, back straight, core engaged. Holding dumbbells at your side, slowly bend your knees and lower your body until your knees reach a 90-degree angle. As you return to standing, turn your palms facing up and curl the dumbbells in toward your shoulders.

2. Stair climb with bicep curl: For strength and balance while climbing stairs (especially while carrying a load)

Start at the bottom of a staircase with a dumbbell in each hand. As you ascend the stairs, slowly curl weights in toward your shoulders. Walk or run down the stairs with dumbbells at your side (not doing curls), and repeat 5-10 times.

3. Multidirectional lunges: For strength and flexibility while vacuuming or doing yardwork

Begin standing straight. Keeping one leg in place, extend the other leg forward, to the side, or behind until your knee reaches a 90-degree angle. Your stationary leg should be fairly straight with the knee parallel to the ground. Repeat on both sides.

4. Diagonal reach with weights: For help reaching up in the cupboard or closet

You can use either hand weights or a medicine ball for this. Start in a standing position holding the medicine ball in your hands at chest level. Lift the ball above your head and to the right, extending your arms entirely. Simultaneously extend your left leg to the side. Your body should be in a diagonal line from toes to medicine ball. Return to start position and repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Perform these functional fitness activities every day or several times a week, and begin to notice your strength, balance, stamina, and flexibility increasing in your daily life!

What are your favorite functional fitness exercises? Let us know in the comments section below!

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SPortsClubLA2012This summer, Intent and Sports Club/LA are teaming up to host a worldwide fitness challenge – The July Games. By participating in the July challenge, you’ll join thousands of people around the world in setting a collective intent to get stronger and healthier this summer. The July Games include seven fitness “events” you can do to build your strength, endurance, and stamina throughout the month of July.

Read about the challenge and each event here.

If you’re unable to get to your health club, or don’t have prior fitness experience, you can still participate. Simply set your intents for each event, get support from your community on Intent.com, and update your progress throughout the month.

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