Fxck the Scale

When people begin their weight loss journey or their new approach to a healthier lifestyle they usually begin by weighing themselves. That isn’t a bad thing, I often weigh my Rebells as part of their assessments, as well as body fat percentage and measurements. This is just to get an idea as to where they are starting at before they start training with me. After our first initial weigh in we don’t talk about the number on the scale, we focus more on how we are feeling and what’s changing in our lives.

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The reason I say fuck the scale is because of how little it tells you. The scale shows you a number, it doesn’t take into consideration your fat free mass aka your muscle, bones, organs, etc. it just shows a number. We get so heavily consumed by what this measurement is showing us that we forget what we’ve accomplished. Let’s say you weigh 200lbs and you start training, three weeks later you are now 197lbs, you’ve made progress and you are still not happy, why? The scale didn’t take into consideration the hard work you put in, it didn’t measure the early mornings, the self-discipline you taught yourself, how more energetic you are, and it sure as hell doesn’t measure the strength you’ve gained. All of these great accomplishments are taken away by taking a step on the scale and seeing a number that you were anticipating, but didn’t see. Some benefits that the scale isn’t able to measure is how you can fit into those old pair of jeans again, shirts begin to fit loosely, you gain more confidence in your appearance, and so much more!

There are a number of reasons why we should lose weight and maintain a healthy body composition, but the public is sadly misinformed about weight loss, and believes that it only happens with high intensity workouts and tons of cardio. Weight loss is achievable with strength training, which is often a misunderstood form of training to lose weight. Another popular myth about weight loss is that you need to do fasted cardio to target fat loss. Those concepts hold some truth, but I would like to explain a few things about weight loss. Weight loss happens with strength training, wait what? Weights get a bad rep because people believe that it will make them bulky and huge, and that is a big LIE. It takes years of serious strength training and a big emphasis on your nutrition to get “Big & Bulky”.

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Free weights are a far more efficient way of making weight loss happen. You strengthen the bones, joints, muscles and much more when you begin to use weight-bearing exercises, this also allows for you to build muscle, and the more muscle you have the more calories you burn because your body will be using more energy to move. Incorporating strength training will also help you with increasing your metabolism, your muscles become denser and require more energy to fuel them. As you increase your caloric intake to fuel these sweet new gains, your metabolism will be working harder as well, which means your body will be burning calories faster.

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Using cardio for fat loss is achievable, but to get quicker results you should start moving some weights around. When people think of cardio and fat loss, they believe that fasted cardio is the best way to go. The reason fasted cardio isn’t a good idea is because your body needs fuel to function and move. When the body is depleted of fuel it goes straight to the muscles for that energy. The body takes away from what it thinks it doesn’t need, as much as we wish we could tell our body to use our fat as fuel, it uses the muscles. The body will take away from the muscles because it requires more energy (calories) to have, so it’ll store fat because it’s easy to store and it holds energy. Do your best to avoid fasted cardio to maintain your muscle mass.

Where should our focus be when we want to lose weight, and start our journey to a healthier life? We should focus on what our goals will be, but the most important thing to do is change our mindset in a different direction, rather than being an “ideal weight” or “ideal size”, let’s focus on being the best person we can be for ourselves. YOU ARE MORE THAN A NUMBER!!! No matter what that number says on the scale, it doesn’t determine who you are as a person, again fuck the scale! Your mentality should be on your health, both physical and mental aspects of health. This will allow for you to have a clear mind of what exercise can do for you, it’s not about beating your body up because you want to look this way, it should be about loving yourself enough to make your life better.

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Focus on the journey, look at the small strides of where you started to where you will be in a month, six months, a year, etc. An example of thriving on small strides could be walking up a flight of stairs that used to be taxing and embarrassing because of your lack of breath, but now you have the energy and strength to conquer them with pride! Another example is having more energy to play with your kids, you no longer have to watch from a distance, you get to actually join them! Weight loss will happen when you start strength training, don’t let this amazing journey of self-care and love be consumed by what the scale said, you are more than that. Training should make you feel strong, beautiful, confident, proud, empowered, and so many other great things! When you let go of the idea of this ideal weight, you see what training can really do for you.

Being strong is something everyone should feel; this is possible with a health mindset of knowing that the scale is not determining who you are. You should notice how day to day tasks are getting easier, carrying groceries is not as hard, you can put a shirt on pain free, tying your shoes without having to prop your foot up for support, these are the key winners here! Training is caring enough about yourself to take care of your health, not being a certain size. I am not against weight loss, I am all for it, but only if it is done safely and with more intent on improving the quality of your life.

Rebell Spotlight

MADISON LUTGEN 

 

Madison was the original Rebell!! She was the one who actually helped me come up with the name. I met Madison two years ago online and had offered to help her with her training, we met on a very snowy day in a beat down gym. This was a half way point from where we both lived, we knew nothing about each other and just trusted that we would meet and train. This would only be the beginning of an amazing friendship.

 

We spent a good two and a half to three hours at the gym going over warm ups, mobility, regressions and progressions, understanding the importance of proper training, and so much more. I can specifically recall how nervous she was with a barbell squat, after a few modifications she was confidently squatting. Since then we meet about every four months or so to go over techniques, new exercises, and to hang out. Madison has been such a good friend to me since, and it’s been an amazing experience watching her progress from a shy quite girl to the proud confident woman she is today. Here is her story about her transformation!

 

Your Background- I wasn’t that much of an active child growing up, I didn’t enjoy sports (as an adult, that hasn’t changed one bit) or being active. I didn’t spark an interest into training until I took an aerobics level 2 class in high school, I occasionally worked out but nothing serious. Then years later, I got in touch with Will and my passion for an active lifestyle and fitness really took off my junior year of college. I found powerlifting and made a comfortable transition from the machine side of the gym to the free weight side all while gaining knowledge in natural movements that Will coached me in. Now, almost two years later, I’m lifting a minimum of 4 days a week and taking a variety of group fitness classes ranging from spin to CrossFit, a venture I wouldn’t be able to do without gaining a background in fitness.

 

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“I spent a good amount of time hiking on both trips to Colorado, no slips, trips, or breaks needed. My time in the gym immensely helped my life outside of the gym!”

Thoughts about strength training before & after- I was terrified of the free weight side before training with Will. I knew sooooo little about building muscle and nutrition and how what you do inside the gym should be able to benefit you outside the gym. I worked out but never mindfully. Once I started with Will, I learned how to track my progress by taking notes and writing down my lifts, as well as seeing improvements outside the gym (carrying more weight at work and increased stamina).

 

Now, I’m incredibly comfortable with free weights and challenging myself to push heavier weights and testing my boundaries. Will encourages me to try new movements and that nobody is a master at anything their first time. He’s wonderful to work with as he’s patient and understanding (My life is usually flooding with school and work, and when I told him I shifted from a 5-day spilt to a 4-day split, he was supportive and understood where I was coming from.) The biggest take away from training with Will is my new-found confidence to branch out and try new things. Now I’m excited to try new workouts and go outside of my comfort zone, if you would have told me I’d be doing CrossFit three years ago I would’ve said you were crazy.

Challenging barriers you overcame- The biggest barrier I had to overcome while training was to let go of the awkwardness of trying something new. I used to be scared doing something new and I’d be anxious if somebody saw me do something that I wasn’t a pro at. Now I love coming out and saying I’ve never done something before and I’m eager to learn from people and ask for tips. It’s been a life changing experience, learning to leave my ego at the door and be open to learning new things.

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“One of the first times I started to notice the muscle I’ve gained in my tricep. Incredibly proud as my arms are the most difficult part to gain muscle of me”.

Greatest achievement- My greatest achievement has been my change to an active lifestyle. For a majority of my life, I hated working out and didn’t see the point to eating well. I was just over 20 when I finally had an epiphany that we only get one body and we should treat it like that. Living life by taking drugs and feeing crappy is not a life I want to live. Training with Will exposed me to a life of balance and a love for training not only because it’s fun but because it’s what my body needs. Living an active life and putting thought into my nutrition is beneficial now and in the future. I’m excited to see what my future holds from the work I put in today. That by far, has been my greatest achievement since training with Will (pulling a 225 deadlift was pretty sick too).

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“Core transformation between my first cycle of bulking and cutting!”

Changes your family/friends noticed- The biggest change my friends and family have noticed is my attitude. Prior to getting into lifting and nutrition, I wasn’t a positive person and had a negative outlook on many aspects of life. I get told often that my positivity and excitement is contagious and I seem more excited about life than I was ever before.

 

What do you tell people about our training- I’m constantly referring and talking about Will to friends, coworkers and people at my gym. My favorite thing about him is that he doesn’t bullshit you. If you’re training without reason, he’ll put you in your place because he cares about you and your progress. Will was quick to check me when he found out I was overtraining and I couldn’t thank him enough for that- rest days are crucial!

 

What do you enjoy about working together- The best part about working with Will is that it isn’t only a coach/client relationship, we’ve become great friends over the course of nearly 2 years together. He isn’t the type of coach that is so focused on fitness that he negates every other aspect of your life, Will’s congratulated me on promotions, classes and tells me how derpy my dog is (who doesn’t love that?). He builds a personal connection with you that makes training and asking for help/advice so natural and easy, it’s one of my favorite things about him!

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Me and Shelby- “I LOVE HER!”

3 benefits you’ve noticed

  1. I’ve gained an immense amount of knowledge about training and fitness. Knowing proper form and how movements should be done as well as why we do them has been incredibly beneficial for me. The strength I’ve gained inside the gym has benefited my ability to do my job, I can carry more boxes and more tubs of ice than I could prior to training. Being at work and knowing how to lift with my legs instead of my back is something I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t worked with Will.

 

  1. People frequently ask me about my journey and how I stay dedicated and consistent with working out, and I always tell them it’s Will and the fact that I truly love training. Will makes training fun for me, switching up movements and incorporating new movements fuels my love for training.

 

  1. Additionally, when Will asks about my goals, we plan out steps to reach them, and when I accomplish my goals it’s fulfilling and rewarding. Through training with Will, I’ve learned so much about goal-setting and taking the necessary steps to achieve my goals. Also, figuring out my goals and what I want has been a refreshing and humbling take away from Will. Assessing my life and identifying what I want, inside the gym and outside, whether it’s hitting a 225 back squat or buying a new car, Will has granted me with the skills necessary to properly goal set and plan.

 

What makes the difference- What separates Will from other trainers and fitness plans is that you gain experience and strength within the gym that benefits you outside of the gym. So many fitness plans and trainers promoting all these weird fads and movements that you wouldn’t ever be doing if a machine wasn’t invented to do so, and it’s counteractive to go hard in the gym to these programs and have no benefit to your daily life. Training is a passion and hobby of mine, but it isn’t my whole life and Will accepts that and understands. The work Will has me do is beneficial outside of the gym, it makes kicking my ass in the gym easy cause I know I’m not just training for the gym, I’m training for my life- to make moving boxes at work easier, randomly doing crossfit with coworkers fun and chasing my dog around easy and not a daunting, difficult task. 

 

Additional words- There’s no denying that Will has completely changed my life. I have no idea where I’d be if I didn’t meet up with him during a winter storm at a small snap fitness. He’s a truly fantastic trainer and friend, I trust him and I know he would never misguide me or not have my best intention at heart.

 

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Recent- “It’s small, but when I saw this picture I loved how I looked- happy, healthy, and strong. Being able to look at a photo of yourself without picking it apart is a wonderful feeling! Strength gains and mental gains.”

Madison is the original Rebell, the amount of hard work that she has put forth towards her goals has been admirable. Her sense of humor fills the room with laughter and her courageous efforts to break the stereotypes of women is contagious. Madison is one of a kind, she excels in crushing PR’s and boy’s insecurities. She is a great friend and hard working woman; I’m honored to know such an amazing person!

 

 

 

Kettlebells: The Swiss Army Knife of Fitness.

Kettlebells are one of the most universal tools that build strength, endurance, mobility, power, rehab injuries, and anything else you can possibly think of. Not only are these tools universal for training, but they are easy to use anywhere. These cast iron bells have made a huge impact in the fitness industry. Being able to utilize a single tool with so many different purposes has given it the name Swiss Army Knife of Fitness.

 

Strength- Kettlebells have been known for the “What the Hell Effect” which is phrase used after using kettlebells for some time and seeing the carry over to other exercises. The strength that can be built with using kettlebells can carry over to barbell lifts, bodyweight exercises, strongman lifts, and sandbag exercises. For example, I have taken away all barbell exercises for 10 months now and have just focused on kettlebells and natural movement, to retest some strength I went and did 315lbs for 10 repetitions on a back squat (https://www.instagram.com/p/BLhWRf7FHbl/?taken-by=restoredstrength ). Kettlebells may not seem sexy like a barbell with 10 plates, but they build the same amount of strength.

 

Endurance- Swings, that’s all you need to know about endurance training with kettlebells, well there are other awesome exercises, but mainly the swing is the trick here. Being able to produce high volume swings with minimum rest is the bread and butter of endurance training with kettlebells. A popular method used when training endurance work with kettlebells is the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) method, this allows for high intensity work with a short amount of recovery. Kettlebells have proven themselves worthy overtime as to how swinging the cast iron can improve your endurance by cutting seconds to minutes off run times.

 

Mobility- “If you are tight you are weak” is a statement made by Pavel Tsatsouline, this statement holds true to the idea that restricted ranges of motion prevent optimal use of strength. Kettlebells have this unique way of helping us fight this ugly disease of immobility and tight muscles. One of my favorite exercises is the halo that assists with thoracic mobility, but then also using the side bent sit position with a kettlebell to open up the hips. Mobility work and kettlebells go hand in hand by providing the user with a tool of strength with new found ranges of motion.

 

Power- The ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements is defined as power. Using exercises like the swing or the snatch, kettlebells have the ability to build a large amount of power. The amount of tension, speed, and force needed to complete a swing or a snatch is very high, thus carrying over into the production of power. Kettlebell exercises have been known to carry over in aiding athletes to improve their performance in their sports by increasing their power output.

 

Rehab- Seriously what can’t these things do? If you were to look up “Kettlebells and back pain” you be flooded with information on google, this is because kettlebells when used correctly can fix lower back pain. The kettlebell arm bar has been shown to improve strength and stability in the rotator cuff which is a commonly injured muscle, using this exercise can be used as injury prevention. Lastly kettlebells have been proven to fix glute amnesia which is the inability to activate your glutes, which can lead to lower back pain.

 

Putting Your Swiss Army Knife to Use- Now that you have a better understanding as to how many different ways you can use your kettlebell, it’s time to put it to use. Each category can be used to your advantage when training. It’s simply up to you as to where you want to put each category and how it will fit into your goals. I have provided a sample program of implementing each category into a sample day-one program. This is just an example as to how you can use kettlebells. The first colored box is to have the exercises paired together, and repeating with each paired set. Hopefully this can help you to start using more kettlebell exercises in your training!

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Day One 

 

 

The Curse of Knowledge

 

Beware of the curse of knowledge that haunts new and experienced coaches. Though this isn’t as severe as the Avada Kedavra curse in Harry Potter, it can have some negative consequences. How is being smart a bad thing? How can knowing a lot about something you’re very passionate about hurt business? Allow me to explain this to you from a firsthand experience with the dark lord himself (I’m not done referencing Harry Potter, so hang in there).

 

As new coaches we are so excited to share with the world how smart we are and how hard we have worked to learn these skills. We learn fun super science terms, muscles, exercises, corrections, the list goes on and on. Once we get our first client or group, we get into a routine of wanting to “WOW” these people with our new learned skills. Though this is a proud moment for us as coaches to have earned whatever education it is that we are teaching, we must pump the brakes before we start to lose people.

 

A prime example of the curse of knowledge is over coaching. I’m as guilty as Harry when he used magic outside of school, for being one to have over coached a client. Over coaching a client can be something we may not be aware of, but might be doing. A fine example of over coaching a client is giving them too much to think about when learning a new exercise. So remember how I said being super smart can be bad thing, here is how.

 

We know and understand how an exercise should look like and be instructed. We sometimes get so caught up in how to get a perfect squat or hinge, we end up giving the client far too many cues and end up confusing them. This not only frustrates you as a coach, but frustrates the client and ends up making them feel insecure about learning. So rather than trying to use every single cue you have so they can have a “perfect” squat, fix one thing at a time. This can range from set to set or even week to week or having them do a different variation of the exercise.

Clients do not have the body awareness that we do, they did not spend hours and hours learning what we know. Give them credit, encourage their progress to learning, and make it fun. Don’t be a Dolores Umbridge when you are coaching a client and expect them to have perfect technique and not make it fun. Instead be more like professor McGonagall, someone who expects hard work, but knows that they do not need to master the craft from the very start.

 

The curse of knowledge continues when you are not diverse with your coaching. New clients may find it challenging or difficult to move in new patterns that they aren’t use to, but there is a difference between not knowing how to do an exercise and being completely lost. When a client has no understanding of what you are asking them to do, then you are over coaching or not using the right cues. Not everyone is going to pick up on the same cue you use for each exercise. As coach you are a teacher of movement, as a teacher you need to understand that there are many ways people learn.

 

Teaching the squat may vary from telling someone how to squat, to showing them how to squat, or actually getting them into a position (if given permission) of a squat. This is your auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. Be able to adapt your cueing from each of these learning types, this does take time when learning your craft. I advise taking your time watching other coaches coach, this will help with picking up on different ways they teach exercises you use.

 

Watching or learning from other coaches is completely underrated as a new coach or a coach with experience. Continuing to learn is what makes someone successful in any field. Once you get into a mindset of “Oh now I have this certification or this college degree, I am done with learning for good” you have just set yourself up for failure. One thing that I have taken away from every professional I have met is that they all continue to learn. Learn how to coach diversely and be like the bag that Hermione used the Extension Charm on (it’s a bag full of a bunch of stuff, like SO MUCH STUFF) to coach.

 

The curse of knowledge shows up when you try to use terminology used amongst other fitness professionals with your clients. For example, if I approach Ron on his squat and tell him “Ron that was a great squat, but during the eccentric phase of the lift you had some valgus knee going on and also some lumbar flexion, on your next set I want you to focus on externally rotating as you are coming up while maintaining an erect spine”. Terms like this should be used amongst those who know these terms, you know, like other fitness professionals, not clients. Instead say something more of the line of “Ron, that was a good squat, but I want to make it a little bit better. On your next set let’s think about turning your knees out as you are coming up and keeping the chest up to the ceiling.”

 

Talking with large terminology can be a surefire way of losing a client’s interest. Showing them that you know each muscle group and what muscle is causing what action with every exercise will be redundant. As a coach it is good to know these things, and occasionally sharing this information when it is necessary or when they ask you. Most times clients don’t even care, they just want to feel better or look better. Once you start using terms they do not know, they will be disengaged and feel inferior because they don’t know what you are saying. Avoid using terms that your clients won’t know, but from time to time sneak it in as a conversation starter for something.

 

Some clients may actually find the terminology interesting and would like to know exactly what muscle is doing what and why they are doing an exercise, in that case share with them your knowledge. 90% of the time when you work with clients, it won’t be about using cool terms you know or your understanding of the body, it’ll be about how their day has been, how their family is doing, what they are having for supper, etc. Your clients will always come first, do not talk down to them with your knowledge of your practice, instead learn about their life and their interests and talk about that. They are the reason we are here, share with them when necessary and educate properly.

 

In summary, it is great to be smart, but it can come at a cost if we do not know how to properly use this knowledge we have. Don’t over coach a client, not everyone is going to learn the same way, and client’s do not care how many cool words you know. Do not demand perfection, always continue to learn, and always listen rather than “WOW” a client with your cool terms. As you continue to coach and learn more with time, remember that too much information may come with a cost.

 

Five steps to a healthier life

Today we are fighting a constant battle of having a healthier life. With the rise of diabetes and obesity it’s up to us take care of our own health. There is so much information related to health and fitness that it is overwhelming at times. What I have provided is five simple steps you can take to better your health.

 

  1. Love yourself.

    We are our toughest critics; this is just human nature. We are always telling ourselves we are not good enough for this or incapable of accomplishing this and that. Rather than letting ourselves talk ourselves down, work on encouraging yourself and talking yourself up every day. Begin every day with a complement towards yourself, this can range from how you did your hair or reading the first chapter of a new book you’ve been wanting to read, self-encouragement leads to self-love.Often times we are left with the stigma of being selfish is a bad thing. I actually disagree, I encourage people to be selfish to an extent. We cannot make everyone happy, it is difficult to please everyone, so we find ourselves in a constant battle of putting ourselves last to make someone else happy. I’m not discouraging you from helping other people, but it can be very overwhelming pleasing everyone. Gather the courage to politely say no once in a while, this way you don’t always feel obligated to put yourself second.


  1. Move more. 

    There is a term that you may or may not be familiar with and that is “Active Sedentary”, so you are active during your day, but only for a set amount of time. So how can we add more movement into our day without over doing it? I always encourage five to ten minutes of movement every hour. I am guilty of being only active for my training sessions and going home to lie on my couch and read books or sit at my desk for quite some time working on projects or homework. So I began to notice the negative effect it was having on my posture and mobility, so I have combated my Active Sedentary lifestyle with movement every hour.Become more creative with how you can implement more movement into your day. This can be as simple as squatting down to look at the bottom of the pantry to sitting on the floor while you watch Netflix rather than sitting on the couch. Making slight adjustments as to how you do things begin to add more benefit for your health. A prime example is the one above of watching Netflix on the floor, you will be constantly moving around to find a comfortable position and not submitting to the comfy couch of sedentary.

     

  2. Eat for health. 

    Nutrition is such a tricky thing to speak about because everyone has a different approach, different eating habits, different diets, and so much more things. We often look at eating because we are hungry, bored, at a social event, emotional, etc. A factor that we overlook is that eating can be done for our health, the benefits of having a colorful nutritional intake is such an important factor to our health. Once we are able to eat for health and reap the benefits of what dense food and leaner meats can do for us, our lives become easier by ridding ourselves of the foods that give us a gross sluggish feeling after consumption.How can you begin to improve your health with food? Eating more fruits and vegetables along with leaner meats is the right answer, but let’s skip that answer and write in our own. Begin with making baby steps, I mean imagine we are in the womb and we are just kicking, that small of a step. So rather than bombarding yourself with a large amount of healthy foods you hate, just make one meal healthy out of your day and make that a habit for a week or two or until it gets easy, then move on to a new habit. I will be discussing habit changing in another article that will cover the process of a healthier eating.

  3. Hydrate yourself. 

    I’m actually shocked by the amount of water people don’t drink. I can write a whole book as to what the benefits of water consumption can do for you, but I’ll save that for a rainy day. Drinking an adequate amount of water daily helps with weight loss and feeling better. It reduces the amount of extra calories we take in from drinking pop (soda depending where you are from) and also provides energy to the muscles once they are hydrated.If you are someone who despises the taste of water let’s get creative and find ways to introduce it more frequently. I encourage teas or MIO’s to add into your water, this will help you get rid in the water you need, but making it look sexy with a hint of strawberry watermelon. Another way to incorporate more water and keep yourself hydrated is to start your day with a glass of water, this way you wake yourself up and start your day hydrated. Water is an essential and we need to push more into our days, invest in a water bottle and make it your best friend.

     

  4. Do something you love. 

    We are so busy with work, school, family, daily chores, and everything else we can find to put our time into. With our society always being on the go and hardly finding time to ourselves we put things we love doing aside and never get to them. I strongly encourage you to being to get a planner and plan your day out, with your day being planned out find a 15 minute to 60-minute block for yourself. This time block is to be made for yourself specifically to do something you really enjoy whether it be watching a TV show, reading a book, learning a new skill, etc. do something you love for yourself.When you begin to make time for yourself you’ll rekindle old feelings of self-appreciation by doing something you really love. Once you have found a time to make for yourself really enjoy what you are doing. This is a time set aside for yourself to relax and let go of the busy world that you are surrounded in. Doing something you love is like treating yourself daily with something that is needed for essential health.

 

There are many ways to lead a healthier life, but it all begins with you. Take the initiative to be living a healthier life. Having a healthier life doesn’t always need to revolve around fitness, it can also be related to your own mental health as well. Find one of these steps you really liked and begin to incorporate it in small doses to your life.