Tag Archives: fitness

Sister perspectives: what rest does.

I’ve rustled up my sis Jess from her blog retirement for this post and I am so glad she wanted to write this with me  as it is a topic that is near to our hearts but also one we both wrestle with more often than we probably care to admit.

Rest.  We talk about doing it, we do it sometimes, but do we *really* do it fully and believe in why we are doing it? Not always.

As we have both been hit with illness the past couple of weeks, we noticed some major realizations and observations and we share that here, openly, honestly, and fully.


My perspective:

I believe in rest, and in rest days. I completely do. But I also wrestle with rest days when I feel good, strong, and interested in being active on said rest day. Sometimes I bend that rest day a little, as a result, and almost entirely because I absolutely adore my workouts – my chosen workouts – barre (n9ne) classes and running, primarily, and there are days where it is truly hard to temper that excitement and passion. And I’m not talking miles and miles and miles and doubled up classes (taken). I’m talking a quick (extra) run or a Sunday afternoon class (a rare treat, especially if my sister is teaching!). And Jess and I are really good at tempering each other’s workouts and being that reality check for each other – do you want to run, or do you feel like you have to run. If the latter, don’t even bother. Do you hurt everywhere? Fail. No workout. Nope, don’t even attempt it.  But that doesn’t mean the mental mind games don’t stay behind, even if I’ve agreed to keep that rest day and honor it fully. *That* is what I wrestle with most, far more than stillness.

But illness is a funny thing, isn’t it? Suddenly, you are flat on your back, can barely keep you eyes open, and everything hurts in a hurts so bad way and all you can fathom is recovery and feeling normal again. Nowhere near workout ready.

And as those days pass, where you rest, rest, rest, sleep, sleep, and more sleep, a funny thing happens. You realize what rest does. It renews you, mind, body and soul. It resets you. And it reinvigorates you. And when you come out on the other side of illness, you appreciate your body’s abilities and you learn that it shouldn’t be taken for granted and you shouldn’t do more, more, more, even if your body feels good, because that’s harder and not smarter.

Let’s face it, for example, one really strong run, no matter what distance, pays off far more than a few ‘meh’ runs where you feel like your body doesn’t want to move because your legs are tight, sore, or overworked. One – it’s not nearly as enjoyable as that ‘happy’ and strong run, and two – you aren’t doing yourself any favors in your strength or endurance. What are you accomplishing? Checking a box. That’s it. I’d much rather have one really strong run than three crappy runs. Quality, not quantity.

This is what rest does, and what rest has taught me (especially as I sit here teetering on a cold brewing, but determined not to succumb so soon after the FLU last week!). It is about honoring the rest day, honoring your body’s abilities by resting, renewing and restoring. As I like to say, one day, you won’t turn into a pumpkin. Quite possibly, the reverse. Your body becomes more efficient, more able to recover and well, happier. And who doesn’t want that?!


Jess’s perspective:

So I’ve been a non-blogger now for almost a year and this is one of the first times that I found myself itching to write. You see, I was down for the count with this funky laryngitis thing that had me sidelined for a week. From everything. The day job – done from my home. In solitude. My beloved barre classes? I had to sub them out. Pained me. My ‘me’ workouts. Gone. I had a lot of time to think. And question.

…how could I possibly be sick after two weeks off from work *and* a quick surprise getaway to Healdsburg (aka ‘my mecca’) with my husband over the holidays? I was uber relaxed. Not worn out in the slightest.

…why was I sick? Besides the obvious – duh I picked up some icky germs somewhere along the way – but truly why. Why now?

And the more I sat and thought about it, sipping on cup after cup of tea with honey (swapping in the occasional hot toddy thanks to a certain Tony, aka Sarena’s husband!) – it struck me.

I hadn’t been valuing rest as much as I proclaimed to value it. My sis and I had this pact at the end of the year, it went something like this:

Stop embracing go-go-go-how-much-can-I-fit-into-my-day mentality and return to the smarter, not harder mentality. A mentality that, admittedly, neither of us had been embracing as much as we’d care to admit. 

Yet, as soon as I got back from wine country, I was ready to go balls to the wall again. Um hi, where did that pact go that we so smartly made right before the new year???

Yup, out the window.

And bam – laryngitis swooped in. Down.for.the.count.

My, my, God has *quite* the sense of humor, I do believe.

As the days went by, and the rest, rest, rest, mentality settled in, I started to really SEE, for the first time, the true value of rest. Every second I spent cuddled under a blanket, not running around doing a million things, not working out or teaching or any of that, not doing much of anything…except for rest…and it amazed me to see my body respond.

I actually wasn’t feeling nearly as sick as I sounded (or didn’t sound, haha), and I think that’s because I rested. My body was working hard to avoid a full-blown case of bronchitis or something far worse and I allowed the rest to seep in.

And I sat there laughing at myself after awhile. Thinking about all those mornings where I sat in a funk, mad at my rest day, not wanting to take the rest, feeling like a superhero and wanting to do it all, be it all. Silly, short-sighted thoughts to say the least.

So now, I sit here recovered and rested and ready to REALLY do what I say and say what I mean.

Embrace rest.

Seems simple. But clearly, I wasn’t really doing that before, nor was I even admitting that to myself. So I was taught (well WE were taught (how ironic that we both got sick nearly at the same exact time…) a very important lesson this past week, whether I (we) wanted that lesson or not, a certain Someone wanted to show me (us) the way.

On intuition.

Lately I’ve been struck by my sense of intuition on some things. Some of which I won’t share in detail (such a tease, I know…), but a few that I think are just more ongoing ‘a-ha’ moments for me as I grow as a barre n9ne instructor and student and as a mindful, intuitive eater.

Intuition lately has been telling me to not rush things.

Not try to ‘can’t wait’ past the very present. The moments that matter.

The in-between moments that will otherwise be lost, forgotten or not even noticed to begin with.

It feels like an incredibly special time in my life right now, from my life with M, as we move forward towards uniting our lives forever, to continuing to focus on balance and prioritizing what and who matter, like my sisters, my niece, the friends that ‘get’ me most.

Intuition is telling me to keep focusing on ‘feeling the room’ when I am teaching a barre n9ne class, ease up ever so gently if there is struggle (beyond the point where it should be, where form suffers), offer words of guidance and support, help clients refocus and snap back to the present, as they too can drift off and not focus and push and break through barriers. (it also is a gentle reminder to me, when I am a student in class, to channel the very words I speak, and work and hone).

Intuition is telling me when to eat, and when to stop. It is telling me when I am hungry, and when I am bored, or stuck in a habit. It is an ongoing, lifelong process, but this intuitive eating thing…gets easier and easier the more I listen to that intuition and mindfulness. It’s about peace. Not struggle.

Intuition is also telling me when to ease up on my own workouts, on my body, and well, on myself. Stop trying to be do it all or be regimented.

Intuition is urging me to let go a little. (M is also really good at helping me practice this, just by nature of how chill he is. About everything. From getting married, to what to make for dinner!) I need to be more vicarious because the more planned I am, the more boxed in I feel and the less I enjoy any of those carefully made plans (my favorite pin lately on Pinterest? Something along the lines of, I can be spontaneous if it is carefully planned <–that is so me!).

Most importantly, intuition is guiding me in my life. Intuition of the faith variety. It helps me feel centered. It helps me realize when I am losing sight of what is important, or getting caught up in the details or the excitement of something and not looking at it realistically. (this is where the vagueness comes in…). Intuition is telling me that ‘life is never simple. But don’t fret. It will all work out as need be.’ <–wise words of Ms Lindsay yesterday as I tweeted out some frustration. Thank you friend, it was e-xactly what I needed at that very moment.

I think this year, while it has been one of the best years of my life so far, it has also taught me so very much in terms of listening to myself, my body, my intuition. Letting it guide me. Breaking past the stubbornness. And letting go just a little bit more. Living more freely, and ‘sitting down’ when I need to.

Scratching the surface.

As I was responding to all of your beautiful comments, congratulations and sentiments about our two year anniversary, it struck me.

Our relationship, our bond and partnership? It’s just scratching the surface.

Like in all things in life, we are just at the beginning, truly, in the depths of our love and journey together.

In a way? That’s extremely humbling. And in another way? It gives me a sense of peace, gratitude, and excitement.

If these have been the best years of my life, what’s ahead? What else do we have to look forward to, to conquer together, to strengthen? So. SO much.

I think the same holds true for many areas of my life. This ‘scratching the surface’ mantra.

My barre n9ne journey, for example. Including teaching, and continuing my quest for mindful and intuitive eating. I declared peace with food, but it is an everyday quest (I won’t say battle, because it’s more about cognizance than anything for me at this point). And when I look back at the one year ‘there is no end game’ post and where I was mentally and physically? I feel like I’ve already come so much farther since then. And that was just a mere four months ago. 

And finally, my life, in general. It’s just scratching the surface. From continuing to focus on balance, priorities and UNplanning, to slowing down. The Lindsay challenge that I am going to try to abide by this month and, hopefully, onward.  To looking around and realizing that this life is one that is meant to be lived, not rushing through, not trying to get to ‘the good parts’ to not hoping for things that will come in time, when they’re meant to, to realizing that this life we only get one shot at.

Enjoy it. All of it. Because we’re just scratching the surface on what’s to come.

I hope this makes sense. It’s sort of what’s flowing in my brain at the moment. And what about you? What’s just scratching the surface in your life? When you really step back and think about it? You can find it in just about every area of your life, I am willing to guess. And that’s a good thing.




On being at peace with food.

Yesterday, it hit me.

I am finally at peace with food. 

No emotional tie or ‘pull’ 24/7 towards more, more, more.

No food as happiness, but food as fuel (it can still be fun, though!)

No ‘fighting’ the log, in terms of calorie counting (yes, I still count, but I also allow for life to happen and sometimes that means loosely tracking and being mindful).

No deprivation.

No wishing I could eat this or that. Because I can eat this or that. I can eat anything I want, truly, as long as it is balanced by the rest of my eats for the day.

And that has become my magic bullet for success. Combined with the barre n9ne 60-day challenge, joining the barre n9ne family and running, I am reaching that state where I am at peace. With food. With my body. With my approach to health.

No comparisons. No numbers. No fixating

Peace. Peace. Peace.

As I wrote in my 60-day challenge retrospective, there is no end game. This. Is. My. Life. And it couldn’t feel more right, more focused, more fun and more balanced. It’s amazing what being at peace with food can bring, truly. Harnessing mindfulness in this crucial area has completely spilled over into other areas of my life and while I am still working on that mindful balancing act in overplanning etc., having a strong foundation in all things food has really been key for me.

So, if you find yourself struggling with want, want, want, and more, more,  more, take a step back, think about it and ask yourself “why?” And the more you do that, the more you listen to your body’s cues on what will fuel and satisfy you. It takes time (a LOT of time!), patience and determination, but once you reach that pinnacle, it’s like a lightbulb flicks on and it becomes intuitive.

Being at peace with food is so much more than ‘just’ food. It’s simply…peaceful.

Learning to ‘sit down.’

Today’s ‘Girlfriends in God’ passage was particularly powerful for me. I continually struggle with balancing do-it-all-let’s-go-go-go, with taking a step back and realizing that sometimes less is most definitely more.

In  my commitments. To family, friends, and last but not least, myself.

In my fitness. Sticking closer to the ‘work smarter, not harder’ mantra.

In my eating. Continuing on the log as a tool, not as a hard and fast rule. In ‘setting it and forgetting it’ (rather than letting it consume my thoughts)

In my faith. In strengthening my relationship with God. In faith in myself. In faith in my life path.

When you cram all of that together, all of those goals, all of those…things, it takes up a lot of space in my brain, in my habits, in my day.

When do I ‘sit down?’

When do I let the process happen.

Rather than poke and prod it to death?


We all struggle with balance and the inevitable battle with stress that struggle creates. When we refuse to balance the sometimes overwhelming demands of work, home, family, friends, and personal growth, stress will be the natural result. What we really need is a holy balance only God can bring. The story of Mary and Martha, two very different women, offers valuable truths about balance that we can apply to our lives today.

A balanced life is focused on right things. <-hello epiphany!! 


Choosing to sit at the feet of Jesus requires decisive planning, purposeful scheduling and a willful determination. Every day, God wants relationship building time with us, which means that time at His feet, in His presence must be our highest priority…It is amazing to me how I can squander away the best part of my day, leaving God with the leftover scraps of time and then have the audacity to complain that my life is void of power and purpose. Distractions come from every side. Some of those distractions are good and wonderful things, but they are all still wrong things if they keep us from stopping to spend time with God. We make daily choices about where we invest our time as we run errands, plan meals, deal with children, clean house, and do laundry – but fail to schedule the most important activity of all, spending time with God.

Investing my time. My time is an investment. Just as is all of our time. It is valuable and it deserve to be made a priority. Not squandered away. Not OVER-planned down to a point of stress and losing sight of that importance. (This Lindsay also makes some great points on prioritizing and simplifying – I am constantly learning from you, girl!!)

I’ve been letting my ‘smarter, not harder’ mantra get the best of me…because I’ve been reversing it. Harder, NOT smarter. For example, when I read Lindsay’s post ‘dear overexercising’ – wow, that hit home. While I think for the most part I strike a good balance with my workouts and my teaching, the lines are blurring a little. I put too much pressure on myself to cram it all in. And instead of smarter, it’s just harder. And it’s not productive.

The same goes with the other areas in my life I mentioned above. I need to prioritize. Not try to do it all because I know I can, or because I am *that* productive. Honoring the investment. Honoring the time. And instead making quality investments with my time. Back to balancing too little with too much and hitting the balance of ‘just right’ in all aspects of my life.

I’m learning to sit down. (Again) going back to basics. And I already feel more balanced and ‘free’ just thinking about it. Take a step back, look at your time ‘investments’ and when you think of them that way, they mean so much more, don’t they?