The COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives. Just a few months ago, we had no idea our 'world' would be confined to our homes and social distancing would be a think.
This crisis is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is - and how much we need human connection!
While fear and anxiety of the uncertain future is normal and warranted, remember that you are not alone and we are all impacted in one way or another.
So, it's important to remember:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. Viktor E. Frankl
This is the challenge each of us must rise to! If we're going to be stuck at home, we may as well make the most of it.
1) Explore your Life Vision
Rather than watching endless news streams, you can choose to focus on a bigger picture - your future. What do you want from the rest of your life? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision yourself in 10 years?
Having a clear vision of how you want your life to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action and make change. Soon, we'll all be super-busy again - and a vision might be just what you need stay focused!
Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper:
TIP: Remember to think possibility not probability! Don't limit yourself and your ideas because you don't believe something is likely. Instead believe it's possible - and even if you don't get all the way there, you may get close - or even find something better along the way!
In health coaching, one of the first things we do is create a vision for how you’d like to live your best life. It can be a very powerful moment and is profoundly motivating. If you’ve ever thought about what it might be like to have a health coach, reach out and let’s set up a free “discovery session”.
2) Start a Journal
If you've always wanted to journal, now is a good time to start. More than just keeping a record of your day, a journal can help you explore and sift through your feelings and experiences and learn from them. It's a great way to get to know you and to record some of the emotions you are experiencing throughout this challenging time.
It's great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started. Here are some prompts to get started with:
You may find this How to Journal article from the IAJW (International Association for Journal Writing) helpful to get you started.
Some people prefer to journal with a daily prompt. You might like The 5 Minute Journal to help you out. It’s like “guided journaling”!
3) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Level or Flexibility
Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting! Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health, but feeling more physically powerful actually helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too. And don’t we all want to be sturdier humans?
Add some physical activity into your schedule - as little as 15 minutes daily.
There are many options to boost your physical strength and health. Here are some ideas:
REMEMBER: BEing stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness.
3) Learn with Non-Fiction Books
Use this time at home to educate yourself with non-fiction books. There is so much to be gained - like self-confidence, negotiation skills, health (sleep, nutrition), how to have difficult conversations and much more.
What keeps you up at night? There's probably a book about that! What do you wish you were better at? There's probably a book about that too!
Here are some book ideas to get you thinking:
4) Gain a New Skill with Online Learning
There are so many opportunities online to gain a new skill and they're growing by the day!
Grow your personal or creative skills or choose a new skill to learn and take back to work with online training providers like Coursera, Udemy or Creative Live.
If there's a skill you always wanted to learn, search for it. But be sure to read the course descriptions thoroughly, check reviews if there are any - and check money-back guarantees as you need to!
And with so many learning options at a number of different price points, there will be something out there just perfect for you. And there’s always YouTube!
I am loving some online cooking classes via America’s Test Kitchen. Now’s the time to hone those cooking skills to make good quality food that nurtures us physically, mentally and emotionally.
5) Begin a Meditation Practice
Meditation is a practice that has been proven scientifically to manage stress, give us peace, help us be more creative and be happier (for starters). It's extremely beneficial and allows us to be just as we are, in the present moment, without judgement.
There is a lot to learn about meditation - and it's called a Meditation Practice for a reason. But it's also not as hard as it sounds. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day - and it's good to build a routine, so you meditate at the same time every day. Get a book on "Meditation for Beginners" or go to Youtube or Google and search for "How to Meditate". Another good place to start is "Metta" or "Loving Kindness" meditation. Again, search online and you'll have lots of options to choose from.
I love using a guided meditation and my favorite app is called Ten Percent Happier. Before each guided meditation, they offer a brief 2-3 minute learning session that helps in understanding a concept. You learn as you go!
They are also offering 3 free months in light of all the uncertainty and anxiety around the coronavirus. Use this link for the promo code: 3 Months free with 10% Happier
I also love everything Nick Wignall puts out and he has a great article on mindfulness. Check it out here.
6) Send "Real" Snail Mail Letters or Cards
Go old-fashioned. Who doesn't love to receive a lovely card or handwritten letter in the post box! Rediscover the lost art of letter-writing and make someone's day.
Yes, you could send an email appreciating someone, and that's great. But imagine your recipient's face as they pick up that hand-written card in the mailbox.
Wondering what to say? Write from the heart! Here are some ideas to get started:
These are just a few ideas for you to try. What ideas do you have?
While we are certainly being challenged by the current situation, we also have a unique opportunity to find the good in this moment.
When we look back at the time spent in our homes juggling jobs, home-schooling, parenting, close quarters, isolation, boredom or fear about the future what do we want to see?
What can we say we did? How did we choose to be? There is opportunity all around us. Are we open to seeing it? Can we move through this time with strength, optimism and hope?
We are stronger and more creative than we even know. Trust in yourself to see the light and then shine on to help others see the way!
The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us feeling uncertain.
This can feel like different things for different people. You may feel scared, overwhelmed, confused or worried, and you may be wanting more control. At the same time, you would like to feel hopeful, productive and connected. You are ready to be calm amidst the storm.
Health Coaches Without Borders was designed to help you adapt to this changing new reality with grace and ease.
Many of my ADAPT- Certified Functional Health Coach colleagues along with myself are offering free individual and group coaching sessions. I am personally volunteering to coach 4 individuals on a first come first served basis. If you would like health coaching at this time, please email me at Leenyhoff@gmail.com to secure your spot. Once I get your email, I will set up a 20 minute call to see if we are a good fit and to give you an overview of the program. If you'd rather have group coaching, head over to the Health Coaches Without Borders website to sign up. We are here for you!
In this four-week free coaching program, you will have the opportunity to:
For more information on our free health coaching services visit www.healthcoacheswithoutborders.org
DATE: Paleo Nutrition Seminar August 17th
PLACE: CrossFit Xtra Mile in Fenton
Challenge dates: Monday Aug. 19 to Wednesday August 18
Limited to 15 participants.
Contact Leeny at Leenyhoff@gmail.com or 314-960-0696 to reserve your spot.
Payment options: Venmo, PayPal or Zelle
I'm excited to announce that I will be leading a 30-day Paleo nutrition and lifestyle challenge to set the "reset" button as we transition into fall. This challenge is an opportunity for enhanced learning and understanding of the things that positively affect health with the support and accountability of a group.
With a 30 day paleo reset, you will come to understand how you are unique in your response to different foods. The aim is to set a new "baseline of health" by focusing on whole, unprocessed foods and taking out foods that are known gut irritants, cause systemic inflammation and disrupt proper hormone signaling. We will enjoy nature's bounty of fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and quality proteins. We will also be leaving out sugar and alcohol for the duration of the challenge because we know that things don't always end well with those in the mix!
In addition to nutrition, we will also have a weekly focus on other important lifestyle factors such as:
Exercise and Recovery
Stress management practices including meditation, gratitude and deep breathing practices
Environmental factors that may be getting in the way of your best health
As a group, we will "design our space" and create a supportive yet challenging atmosphere needed for growth. A private facebook page will also be created to share recipes, discuss roadblocks and obstacles, answer questions and to cheer one another on.
What sets this challenge apart from past challenges is that we will also incorporate weekly group coaching sessions as well as individual 1:1 health coaching sessions to get your goals crystal clear and address any obstacles that get in your way. This added feature will add a unique 1:1 experience, so helpful in creating lasting behavior change.
CrossFit Level 1 certified since 2009
Precision Nutrition certified Level 1
ADAPT Functional Health Coach
MA - Clinical Psychology
BA - Biology
I am passionate about all things health and wellness. I've been coaching CrossFit classes since 2009 and have recently completed Kresser Institute's year long ADAPT functional health coaching program. I am armed with information to help you achieve your vision of health and wellness. Through experiential learning, personal experiments, goal setting and accountability, we will work together to create your roadmap to optimal health. And we will have fun doing it!
If you have any questions or to reserve your spot, please email me at Leenyhoff@gmail.com
(Repost from CrossFit St. Louis blog 2-6-14)
I often walk into the gym to get the rowers set up for my class, only to find that many of the dampers are set all the way up to 10. This always amazes me because I know what a slog rowing at a 10 can be. I understand that people don't always know better and often treat a damper setting like resistance. They think, "If I set this thing at a 10, it will make me work harder and I'll get a tougher workout, and that will make me a badass." You will have a tough workout, and quite possibly a miserable experience and a backache to boot. Understanding what the damper actually does for you will allow you to row more efficiently and create a more "enjoyable" experience on the erg.
Damper 101 First of all, damper setting is NOT resistance. The damper setting creates a drag (allows more or less air into the flywheel). It gives you the feel of a heavier boat or a lighter boat. To move both types of boats quickly, you have to put more energy into the system. If you want to move a lighter boat quickly, you must row faster or harder. However, if you just paddle along, even a light boat will go slower. It all depends on how much energy you put into the oars. Imagine a sleek, one person racing boat. The faster you move the oars through the water, the faster you will go. The same principle applies to the erg. At a lower damper setting (1-3), you will move quickly on the slide, and it is easier to row at higher stroke ratings. Rowing at a low damper means that the flywheel is more closed and less air is able to come in and slow it down. This also means that the flywheel doesn't decelerate as quickly so at the catch, you can continue to move quickly into the next drive without taxing the leg muscles too much. Once again, your pace will be determined by how much pressure you put into your footplate and handle. At a lower damper, you can move faster and rowing at faster stroke rates tends to be more cardiovascularly taxing.
On the flip side, rowing a heavier boat requires more pressure into the oar to move the boat through the water. As with a lighter boat, to move a big boat faster,
you have to row harder. On the erg, rowing at damper settings between 8-10 can feel like
a big, heavy boat. The damper opens up the flywheel allowing more air to circulate, thereby requiring more energy to keep it moving. The flywheel also decelerates quicker, requiring more muscular energy at the catch to get it moving again. This typically
means a slower stroke rate. Rowing at a high damper setting can be more muscularly taxing.
Which one do I do? Damper setting is a very personal preference. You need to row at different dampers to find out where YOU are most efficient. Some questions to ask yourself... Do you like to move faster like a sprinter? Do you like to move slower but pull a heavier load? What type of build do you have? What type of piece are you rowing? In general, smaller people with petite builds seem to have good luck at the lower damper settings. Bigger, taller, more muscular people can often handle a higher damper. I find that rowing somewhere between 4-5 works well for me for all purpose rowing.
For very short pieces or when looking for max power or calories, you may consider bumping
up the damper a notch. It's always good to practice and see where you feel the most
powerful. Try a watt test...row at damper 2 for 30 seconds at heavy pressure and see what
watt output is. (Bodyweight plus is a good thing to shoot for). Rest 30 seconds and try
again at damper 4. Feel any different? Continue up the flyhweel until you get to an 8 or 9.
As you go to a higher damper number, when do your returns begin to diminish? Play around
with it and you will find a damper that seems to give you what you want.
For a great article and more info on damper setting and drag, visit the Concept2 website here:
This article is fantastic and I borrowed heavily from it.
For other great videos on Damper setting, check out Shane Farmer's Dark Horse Rowing. He has two videos on damper setting...Part 1 and Part 2.
Here is another great video from UCanRow2 featuring the late, great Terry Smythe on choosing a damper setting. She makes the point that the better you can learn to make a good connection at the catch, the more efficient you can be with your stroke working less hard and with less air flow.
There is a common flaw among indoor rowers to go hard on the drive and in their effort to recover slowly, inadvertently stop the handle and rest it on the legs, or even pause or stop during the recovery en route to the catch. While this may allow you to catch your breath, it’s not helping you be efficient and it effs up the consistency of your technique and stroke on the recovery. Below is a video of what I’m talking about. When I see people do this, Lil Jon shouts in my head, “Turn down for what?”. Why are you slowing down the flywheel and basically stopping mid stroke?
In the video above I am rowing about a 16 stroke rate, driving hard, and catching my breath on the recovery. The problem is, in rowing, your hands should always be moving. You can still come in nice and slow to the catch, but don’t stop. Glide to the catch slower. At the finish of your drive, redirect the hands back to the flywheel, follow with the body, and then slowly layer in the bend of the knees to get you to the next stroke. By half slide coming back in, you should have shoulders in front of hips so you are ready to go for the next stroke at the catch and not trying to get into position at the last minute. See video below:
This video shows slower stroke rate rowing with hands constantly moving.
Whether you are rowing a 16 or a 30, your hands should always be moving and your recovery sequence of “arms, body and legs” should look the same. The slower your stroke rate, the longer it takes you to get back to the catch. The faster you are stroking, obviously, the less time you have to recover. But nothing else changes technique wise. For more info on how to recover on your rowing stroke, see this article.
So keep that handle moving and breathe on your way in. You’ll be set up early for success on your next stroke. And Lil Jon won’t be screaming at you.
(This article is a repost from October 2014 when I originally posted it on the CrossFit St. Louis blog.)
I have some funny ass friends. And when you have funny ass friends, you often get their unique, unfiltered world view. I was reminded of this the other day when I ran into an old friend on a walk. (Old as in we go back a long way and old as in we are both in our 50's). We were talking about how much harder it is to fight the midlife middle when you hit your 50's and how we wish we looked like we did 10 years ago when we wanted to lose 10 pounds.
She said her husband told her he was going to have "DSM" inscribed on her tombstone...Diet Starts Monday. With that attitude to start the weekend, she went on, you can enjoy all life has to offer knowing that you will reel it in on Monday and get serious. I told her that in my house, we call it "going out with a bang". We laughed about our rationalizations but it got me to thinking about how pervasive this rationalization is. Turns out, the hope and excitement that come with committing to a healthier way of living can be fleeting as the harsh reality of behavior change hits you square between the eyes. By Wednesday or Thursday, if you make it that long, your resolve starts to wear thin and when Friday hits, it's back to "DSM". Wash, rinse, repeat.
Making diet and lifestyle changes is hard, especially if you have years of the "I'll do it tomorrow" attitude. Not only do we need some powerful motivation, but we also need the confidence it takes to make it happen. If one or two of those is off, real behavior change is doomed.
So how do we move those two markers of success in a positive direction? First, we need to find out what truly motivates us to make changes. Ask yourself, "Why is this important? What are my reasons for wanting to make this change? What might happen if I don't make this change?" Finding out your true reasons for making the change is a key start. But what do you do next to make lasting change?
This is where a health coach can be immensely helpful. From the Coaching Psychology Manual by Moore, Jackson and Tschannen-Moran, coaching is described as "a growth-promoting relationship that elicits autonomous motivation, increases the capacity to change, and facilitates a change process through visioning, goal setting, and accountability, which at its best leads to sustainable change for the good."
Below are five ways a health coach can help you realize the vision of health you create for yourself.
1. A HEALTH COACH IS A BEHAVIOR CHANGE SPECIALIST
A health coach specializes in behavior change and collaborates with you to lend support and empathy without judgement as you find your own strategies and motivation for change. Your coach will encourage you to mobilize your own insight, strengths, support and resources to help you make positive, sustainable changes for a higher level of well-being and performance in your life and work.
2. A COACH CELEBRATES THE EXPERT IN YOU
The coaching relationship is a partnership where creativity and thought provoking inquiry will inspire and support you to maximize your potential. The coach is not the expert in the relationship, rather they work alongside you to empower and encourage, so you can make the right choices for yourself. No one is more of an expert on your life than YOU! Have you ever had someone tell you what to do and suddenly you feel a bit resistant? When you come up with your own strategies that work within your circumstance, you are more likely to have success with that change.
3. A COACH HELPS FACILITATE YOUR VISION OF WELLNESS
At some point, you and your health coach will explore your "vision of wellness". If life is as good as it gets, what might that look like? How might your life be different if you were able to successfully make the changes you've been wanting? What do you value? What is important to you? You will explore all the beautiful experiences and qualities that make you unique, and create a vision of health and wellness that motivates and excites you.
4. COACHES CAN HELP KEEP YOU FOCUSED AS YOU PLAN OUT YOUR GOALS
Your health coach will listen attentively and carefully as you create 3-6 month goals for yourself that will ultimately get you closer to your wellness vision. With this roadmap in place, together you will break down your goals into smaller pieces and focus on each piece week by week. Through this process, you will explore your motivations and your resources. You'll leverage strengths and past successes as you commit to the changes you want to make. You'll get in touch with your values and beliefs and honor those as you create your plan. Your health coach will help you connect the dots between who you are and who you want to be.
5. A COACH CAN HELP KEEP YOU ACCOUNTABLE
In the beginning of any behavior change, accountability can be a big thing. Your health coach is there to support you as you make the changes you want. They will encourage, empower, and help keep you accountable. They will gently challenge you to venture just outside your comfort zone. They will be honest and open with you. And throughout the process, the coach will respect and honor your choices without judgement. Over time, you will find that you start finding your own ways of holding yourself accountable.
If you've been trying to make lifestyle changes but feel "stuck", maybe it's time to consider working with a health coach. You have everything you need within you to make change, but sometimes it helps to have someone unlock your superpowers, to respect you and your choices and to see you as whole, creative and resourceful. And what a powerful process this can be!
Are you looking for a beautiful, luminous look that is fast, easy and effortless? Look no further than Beautycounter's Dew Skin foundation, Illuminating Cream highlighter, and Color Pinch blusher. You will get maximum results with minimum fuss and walk away with a gorgeous, "no makeup" look that is radiant and glowing.
The cream blushers and highlighters can also be used on lips and eyelids so they are multifunctional. Because they are creams and not powders, they are easy to travel with or to toss in a bag. And you don't need any special applicators...your fingers will do!
Products I used:
Dew Skin no.2
Concealer in fair (or light)
Cream Highlighter in Rose Glow
Color pinch blusher in caramel
Brow gel in Medium
Lip Gloss in Peony
Warning: Upcoming post contains sugar and gluten. This recipe is not paleo, primal, or any other kind of healthy. BUT...it IS a good ol' fashioned decorated sugar cookie that I've been making for many years and it has been a family tradition around our house to bake and decorate these at every holiday! So sometimes, tradition trumps nutrition.
Traditions are the threads that weave family stories together. They become part of us and keep us connected to one another. My kids always look forward to our decorating sessions and even as they are grown, we still continue to make time for this!
So while eating cookies aren't necessarily part of a healthy lifestyle, creating something delicious, unique and fun for a special occasion truly makes life sweet and everyone needs that from time to time! And you will come back to this recipe time and again.
*(If you are gluten free, you can certainly sub out the regular flour for a gluten free alternative. My favorite is Cup 4 Cup which you can find on Amazon and at other specialty stores.)
Sugar Cookie Recipe
1 C. butter
1 C. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
3 cup flour
Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add egg and blend. Add vanilla and almond extracts and blend. Add baking powder and salt, and then add the flour 1 cup at a time and blend after each addition. Dough should come together in a big ball. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Place cut cookies on cookie sheet (I like the insulated, Air Bake pans) topped with parchment paper for best results. Bake at 325 about 8-10 minutes or until edges are brown. Cool on cooling racks.
Powdered Sugar Icing
4 C. powdered sugar
2-3 T. corn syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 t. almond extract (depending on how strong you like the almond flavor)
4-7 T. water or enough to make the icing the consistency you want.
Decorator food coloring
Put powdered sugar in a big bowl. Add corn syrup, vanilla and almond extracts and 4 T. water. Stir until icing starts coming together. Add water 1 T. at a time to get a thick icing that is spreadable but not runny. See videos below for tips on how to roll out the cookies with ease and how to make the icing.
How to videos for rolling out cookies and making the icing below:
Here's a nice little workout of the week! I am naming this Metabolic Magic because it hits two of the things we need to lose fat...a little bit of conditioning as well as building muscle through strength training. Depending on your experience in the weight room, you can use a barbell or dumbbells. I know my back squat numbers so I based the percentages off my one rep max. If you would rather use dumbbells, go for it!
You will start with 1000m row and go down by 100m each round. Then you will do 10 back squats at a light weight and go down by one rep each round as you build in weight. So each round starts with a row and finishes with a round of back squats both descending every round.
You can go different ways with this workout depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
For speed: Go harder on the rows and try to negative split (go faster) each time, and use lighter weights in the squats.
For strength: Go heavier with the squats and use the row as an active recovery, going about 60%.
Let me know how it goes! Tag @leenyhoff on Instagram and show me your numbers!
Thanks for stopping by! Info here will help guide you on the path to better health. I'll share my passion about health, fitness, nutrition, and finding safer personal care products as well as cooking, gardening, and raising chickens. You want it, I got it. ~ Leeny