All Structures Are Unstable: Breathing in Brownsville

Hi!

I've been in a very exciting personal space lately, reading... thinking... listening... noticing... breathing... processing... Holy smokes! There is a lot going on! Isn't there always? ;-)

In lieu of writing my own words today, I want to share a few of Eckhart Tolle's thoughts, thoughts that have touched my soul. I stumbled upon these words yesterday, and shortly thereafter, I found myself on a walk in the woods on the STAB trails (shameless plug) in Brownsville, VT. As I processed, I felt inspired to share my walk with you. If you have 3 minutes to spare, I hope you can join me in "Breathing in Brownsville."

Sit. Stay. Heal.

In October, this website will be deleted when The Edge Fitness Center transitions into "The Climb," and when Bristol Fitness (The Edge) and The Climb are ready to launch their own, independent websites. This may be an opportunity for me to start my own blog, not connected to work (perhaps shared), which sounds exciting to me. If you are not a member or follower of our soon-to-be wellness center, "The Climb," but follow my blog, please email me at: erinmontkersh@gmail.com so that I can send you directions on where to find me! 

For more Eckhart Tolle, I would invite you to start with two of his books, "A New Earth, and "The Power of Now."

Thank you for your support! Erin

"Breathing in Brownsville"



Bodhicitta Training: Unleash Your Inner Warrior

Bodhicitta Training

 A Free 30-Day Mind/Body Online Program To Unleash Your Inner Warrior


Ready to tap into your “bodhicitta” power and unleash your inner warrior, to find the strongest and most compassionate version of yourself? During this 30-day free online program, you will receive 2 emails from me (in video or blog form) per week, and will be asked to carry out 10-minute tasks that involve:

·       Gratitude for yourself and others
·       Compassion for yourself and others
·       
Navigating fear and vulnerability
·       Developing tools for simplifying your life
·       Cultivating a loving relationship with your body
·       Developing a kinder heart and a gentler mind
·       Enhancing your self confidence

I know what you are thinking. "This all sounds good and dandy, but what is the cost?!"

Believe it or not, there is no monetary fee for this e-program. However, by registering, I am asking you to please make 2 simple commitments and to stick to them:

1.     Give yourself just 10 minutes, 2x per week, for 30 days, to participate in the program to its entirety. This is a commitment to yourself, the most important person of all. 

2.     Share/re-post every blog or video that I send you:

        a. Facebook
        b. Intstagram/Twitter

        c.     
Your website
        d.     
To a friend, family member, or co-worker(s)

By sharing my 15 blogs and videos, it will help me reach others who will benefit from this life changing information, and it will also help me build my following as a wellness coach.

How am I going to track that everyone is following their commitments? I can’t.  I am honored that you trust me enough to seek my help to become the strongest and most compassionate version of yourself. Registering for this program shows m that you trust and respect me. So, in turn, I am placing trust and good faith in you to carry out your commitments. Actually, registering for this program is your first challenge, choosing to make these 2 simple commitments and fulfilling these commitments to their entirety.

It is my hope that you make the decision TODAY, right this moment, to give yourself the gift of 10 minutes, 2x per week, for 30 days, to unleash your inner warrior.

Make the commitment. Hop on the bodhicitta train. Change your life. Right now.

Register NOW by emailing me the word "Warrior" at erink@edgevt.com.
You will receive your first email on Tuesday, September 1. 

Xo

Erin Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-EP
Fitness Director and Wellness Coach
The Edge Fitness Center at the Ascutney Mountain Resort 


“Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.”

Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know

You are the sky, everything else is just the weather.

The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.

  - Pema Chodron

Total Body Trail Blaze!

The days spending hours upon hours combining steady-state cardio with monotonous strength workouts (ie: Leg Day: 4 sets x 15 reps of 10 sub-par exercises) are over!

This is what happens to me nowadays if my workouts take too long

This is what happens to me nowadays if my workouts take too long

At least this training method is over to a solid list of gnarly athletes from the Upper Valley that are among the top contenders of some of the TOUGHEST endurance races in the Northeast this year!

Conor Rowan racing on Attitash Mountain

Conor Rowan racing on Attitash Mountain

Here is what a few of our top-ranked local endurance athletes had to say when I asked them what their secret(s) to success are:

  • "I don't let muscles atrophy (shrink/weaken) because I incorporate regular strength training into my programming"
  •  "I finally figured out that - more is not better, better is better"
  • "It's true that I compete in endurance-based competitions, but my new secret to my explosive power on the bike is lifting weights... heavy and hard. The best part? A lot of the guys doing it the old school way don't believe me"
  • "My secret? That's easy, I constantly stay out of my comfort zone. I am a competitive mtn. biker so I make myself train in ways that I would have never thought of a while back.. I run, I hike, and I lift heavy weights till I am out of gas but screaming for more"
  • "The locals came in first at (blank event) 2 weeks ago. I feel a little badly, us locals train here (STAB trail) and the guys from Mass and Conn. train on city streets. Eh, I guess I don't feel that bad.. the trail systems in the Upper Valley are rugged, I wouldn't train anywhere else but here"
  • "I combine strength training, specifically body-weight calisthenics, with my endurance training.. it pushes my body AND my mind to the max and keeps things fun and interesting, for sure. I just don't have enough time to train my endurance and my strength separately, so I combo it into one session"

Without further adieu, here is a Total Body Trail Workout for all of my endurance friends; including trail runners, hikers, those crazy obstacle folks, and of course, mountain bikers! 

Here's the twist, trail blazers! I challenge you to do whatever you DON'T normally do, when you try this workout. Runners, it works GREAT with a mountain bike, especially if you are a beginner like me!. I tortured.. I mean.. I tried it myself! :)

Mtn. Bike/strength intervals up Mile Long Field with my training buddies Brandi and Deeks

Mtn. Bike/strength intervals up Mile Long Field with my training buddies Brandi and Deeks

Side Note: I hear a few of you saying, but strength training is not specific to my sport (ie. mtn biking, cycling, trail running, hiking). Oy! So not true! In short, regular strength training will:

  1. Prevent muscle atrophy
  2. Build lean muscle mass
  3. Decrease body fat 
  4. Stimulate your CNS and PNS (BRAIN POWER!!!)
  5. Help prevent injury
  6. Increase your power, speed, strength AND agility (if programmed and performed correctly)
  7. Allow your body to work more efficiently in sport

Okay, I'll stop preaching... but this list could go on and on indefinitely. 

WHAT YOU NEED:
- body (weighted vest/sandbag optional)
- mtn bike (optional)
- watch with a timer
- Mile Long Field: begin at Mountainside Drive (or any other trail, preferably with a long hill)

TOTAL BODY BLAZE on MILE LONG FIELD:

1. Park at Mountainside Dr. parking lot (insert other trail here)

2. Start your clock and begin running (insert other movement here ex: mtn biking, power hiking)

3. Make your way onto the trail Hayride (which weaves up Mile Long Field)

4. Run/Hike/Bike for 7 minutes. Every 7 minutes, stop and perform the following strength circuit:
      - 20 Squats (arms behind head, butt sits back and low, chest up, shoulders back, push up through the heels)
      - 20 Burpees (insert lower impact exsc. if this is too taxing on the knees/shoulders)
      - 20 Push Ups (option to do 10 eccentric-only push up if you cannot complete a full push up...YOUTUBE Eccentric-Only Push Up)
      - 20 Sit-ups
      - 20 Walking Lunges in an up-hill direction (20 total, as in 10/side)

5. IMPORTANT: When you get to the top of Mile Long Field, you will find a bench! Congratulations on making it to the top!

However, the bench is NOT to rest on.  :) Ideally, it will be just about time to perform another strength circuit. Using the bench, swap out the 1. ground push ups and the 2. walking lunges and insert:
  - push ups to the bench (standing, chest focus)
  - Step Ups on the bench (20 total; 10 leading with the right leg, 10 leading with the left leg)

6. Repeat the same sequence of 7 minutes of endurance training and strength circuit, making your way back down Hay Ride (trail racers, it is just as important to train on the down hill). If desired and you are feeling extra spunky, make your way back up Hay Ride for another round of endurance/strength intervals!

Check back this Friday afternoon for a blog on how to make your own DIY (this is the cool way to say "do it yourself") weighted sandbag!

I will also have a SUPER EXCITING opportunity for all of you that I can't wait to share! 

Stay well and DO YOU!

Erin Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-EP
Fitness Director, The Edge Fitness Center at the Ascutney Mountain Resort
erink@edgevt.com

 

 

Flatulence Free Hardboiled Eggs!

THIS recipe, my friends, is a GAME CHANGER for anyone that loves hardboiled eggs but can clear a room after eating them!!

For people that have food intolerances, IBD, IBS, healing from a leaky gut, etc...the journey to figuring out how to make and eat a) delicious and b) simple food, can be wicked challenging... exhausting... embarrassing...  (keep trying! keep researching! don't give up!!!)

Check out the hardboiled egg:

YUMMMMMM! EASY! And not to mention....an excellent source of healthy fats and protein!

This is what happens when I eat a hardboiled egg:

Until now!!!!!!! Try this recipe for fart-free hardboiled eggs!!!!!

- Preheat oven to 325 degrees

- Put eggs in a dry muffin tin (it has to be dry... I found this out the smelly way)

- Bake for 30 minutes

- Place eggs in a bowl of ice cold water to stop the residual cooking process

I got this great idea from Dani Shugart, editor at TNATION.COM

WAALAAA!

Enjoy a yummy on-the-go protein-packed snack without anyone knowing! 

Have anything you would love to eat but have become intolerant to? Have a recipe that you'd love to try or attempt with alternatives that feel good to you?
 Email Erin at ErinK@edgevt.com and she will experiment for you! Because life should be delicious and fun, not boring and smelly. 

Erin Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-EP
Fitness Director,
The Edge Fitness Center at the Ascutney Mountain Resort

Shake and Vibrate

Today I am bringing you an awesome bioenergetic exercise called the "SHAKE AND VIBRATE." I first came across this exercise when studying the work of Strength and Conditioning Coach, Elliot Hulse...

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Erin's Yoga Plex

Check out my version of the Yoga Plex, an AWESOME mobility exercise, inspired by Coach Nick Tumminello, CSCS. This movement is best described as a "fast yoga sequence," and I have been using it a TON this summer for multiple activities...

Read More

Little Steps to Wellness

I’m so proud of my client that I had to share her story! Let’s call her Jane.

Jane is 53 and a former athlete; skier, biker, hiker, aqua aerobics teacher and more! So she’s not foreign to working out and working hard. But, life (especially work) got in the way. Then, injuries side-lined her even more. Her weight was up, her BMI was up and she just didn’t feel strong anymore. She finally decided, “Enough!”

But, the one thing that really changed Jane’s focus to move forward was hearing the company sponsored Health Coach tell her; “Just 5 minutes a day will help you move forward.” So, she started carving out 5-10 minutes at home to walk or do a few core exercises. 5-10 minutes then turned into 15-20 minutes. And then she approached me to do a personal training package. We met for 10 half hour sessions (2 per week), plus she added other workout times to her week. Now, she is exercising at least 4-5 times per week. She’s also gotten her husband to join her and get him active again.

We finished Jane’s 10 session package and I still see her in classes and working out on her own. She came to me 1 month after we finished the package to follow up on her measurements. She has lost 10 pounds, dropped almost 2% body fat, lost 2 ¼ inches from her waist, 3 inches from her hips and 2 inches from her chest. This is a goal step for her! She’s so happy and feels great. She knows that the next 10 pounds will be harder, but she has the routine in place to help her.

Jane’s routine started with carving out just 5 minutes for exercise! Just those little steps helped her get started. Then, she started feeling great, seeing results, and realized that she could squeeze out a little more time. And now she knows that this time makes her feel better and more productive at work and home.

Can’t you find 5 minutes in your day? I think you CAN!

 - Wendy Hildebrand
Corporate Wellness Director

How to Perform a Band Assisted Pull Up

You know what's super cool? Having the strength to pull your own body weight up over a bar! Ever see those people in the gym crushing in on pull-ups or chin-ups, but think to yourself, 
"I could never build enough strength to do something like that."  I'll go off on a little tangent here and first say, THERE IS VIRTUALLY NO GLASS CEILING TO WHAT THE HUMAN BODY CAN DO.  Second, make a vow to screw negative words like "can't" and "never" and focus on WHAT YOU WANT and WHAT YOU ARE. If you omit negative frequencies into the universe, the universe will enhance more negativity into your life. Make sense? Focus on phrases like: I CAN, I WILL, I AM, I WANT... and watch your dreams turn into realities.

Flashback 7 years ago. I was a frail and exhausted marathoner who's idea of strength training was doing 50 biceps curls on a bosu ball (and there aint nothing wrong with that, if that is your thing and you feel GOOD). But I felt AWFUL. In fact, my body was falling apart. 

I made a vow to myself to get wicked strong... packed on 30lbs of muscle (well, mostly muscle... a little wine and chocolate there) in 7 years, and I am the strongest and fastest I have ever been.

Note: This is not a blog for me to boast about myself but to show you that we all have a story, and it is NEVER too late to push out that glass ceiling that you have created for yourself and jump on the road to FEELING and PERFORMING BETTER!

Without further adieu, here are my tips for how to perform a band assisted pull-up or chin-up. Using a band assist will help you reach your goal of being able to do a body weight pull-up. And with resilience, practice, and consistency, you CAN achieve this goal. Trust me ;-)

TIPS:

  • Start from the bottom hang position with your foot, feet, knee, or knees in band. You may use a box if you cannot reach the bar.
  • Keep your shoulders down to start. Avoid bringing them up by your ears.
  • Pull yourself up to the bar, maintaining steady and solid form. Avoid swinging or "kipping" yourself up to the bar. Contrary to popular belief, "kipping" or using momentum is, well.. lazy and stupid (in my opinion, anyway).
  • When you lower yourself down (eccentric phase of the movement), lower down slowly 2-4 seconds. Super important for engagement and increased load on the muscles. 
  • Pause at the bottom (while shoulders are down) and let yourself hang for 1-2 seconds before repeating the motion for the number of prescribed reps. 

Here's a video for you:

Erin Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-HFS
Fitness Director, The Edge Fitness Center at the Ascutney Mountain Resort
ErinK@edgevt.com

Plant a Garden for Fitness and Wellness!

 

For those of you new to gardening (guess what?)…it’s a great workout! I grew up gardening, so I really don’t think about the workout. To me, it is just a great way to relax and grow your own food! There’s nothing like digging in the dirt and being able to put the veges on your own table (or maybe for someone you love)!

The old rule of thumb (in Vermont anyway), is not to plant until Memorial Day (except for the little plants that might be ok in the slightly cooler early spring weather, like spinach and peas).

But to backtrack just a bit…March is the fun month when you can purchase your seeds. So many choices! This is the time to plan what you want to grow. I like to add something new every summer just to see how it grows. Once you know your location and soil you will be better at choosing your array of veges/fruits that you plant.

You may want to plant your own seeds from scratch. These should be planted in early March so they have time to grow strong enough to move outside. You will need to “harden” the plants. As the weather gets warmer, you can place them on your porch or deck for a few hours at a time. Or if you have more time, you can build mini greenhouses! As you get closer to the end of May, you will be able to move the plants outside. Just watch for those pesky pop-up frosts that we sometimes get in Vermont!

May is the time to select a nice sunny spot and get to work on your location. The ground should be warm enough to move and dig into. You can be very meticulous and remove all the grass by hand. (I was lucky enough to have an established spot in my yard!) Or you can find someone who can rototill the soil for you (maybe your friendly neighbor!), or you can work the soil over yourself. Now THAT’S a workout! Make sure to take your time if you do this yourself, and stretch your back and hamstrings.

If you don’t have a lot of space, then you may want to consider raised beds. You can build them yourself, or you can purchase a frame at the local store. Then you just need to add the soil.

Whichever way you decide, you can then have your soil tested (UVM Extension Service offers this service for a nominal fee) to make sure you have the proper nutrients in the soil for your vegetables. You can also pick up test kits at some of the lawn and garden stores. All of these tests will tell you what to add to your soil to make it ideal for whatever you are growing (fruits, veges or flowers). Once you’ve worked all these nutrients into the soil, plant!

Now the fun part! How do you want to organize your garden? It’s really up to you!  You can pick up some great gardening books or better yet, check websites to get ideas. Just keep in mind that every year you should rotate the location of your vegetables in your garden. Each plant uses different nutrients so they deplete the soil in that area. Moving the plants (and adding nutrients every season) helps to replenish these.

Next comes the maintenance (weeding and bug control). You will now need to keep a daily or every other daily eye on the plants to see if they need some help with a bit of fertilizer or bug removal. Or, maybe some of the bigger plants may need some stakes or cages to hold them up. Just a quick stroll through your garden every evening is a good way to take inventory and a nice way to end your day. And, you may be able to bring in a bit of produce! This brings me to the best part; EATING the rewards! Enjoy this part. You should be able to have veges for your meals and maybe even enough to freeze or can for the winter.

All that hard work for tasty returns! And you didn’t realize that you improved your strength and flexibility in the process! Wasn’t it worth it? Go ahead and find a spot to plant…it’s not too late yet!

Wendy Hildebrand, Corporate Fitness Director 

When "Selfies" Get Destructive and What I Do About It!

Over the past 5 years, the “selfie craze” has taken social media, our smart phones, and our email, by storm. Most of us (including me) are guilty of this silly ego-based activity... taking a picture that we think is attractive of ourselves and sending it out into social media land via Facebook profile or Instagram. In moderation and in recognition that we are grasping (to some extent) for the approval and attention of others, I don’t see it as a huge stinkin’ deal. 

However, with respect to body image, taking pictures of our bodies can be super destructive. “Body selfies” we will call them, can fall under the broader category of an obsessive and self-destructive behavior called "body checking."

Nooo! Not THAT kind of body checking! More like this:

According to NEDA, the National Eating Disorders Association, body checking refers to an obsessive compulsive behavior or thought regarding physical appearance. Body checking can come in many forms:
-    Frequent checking in mirrors and anything reflective
-    Pinching the body in various areas
-    Asking others for reassurance often “Do I look fat in this?” “Do I look like I gained weight?”
-    Weighing yourself excessively to "check-in" 
-    Taking pictures of body and posting for reassurance and acceptance  

Anonymous person with a broken leg. Hmmmm? This was a "progress pic" sent to my coach. Until I decided that progress pics aren't for me!

Anonymous person with a broken leg. Hmmmm? This was a "progress pic" sent to my coach. Until I decided that progress pics aren't for me!

One of the most misleading things about having body-checking behaviors and struggles with body image is that quite often, the people around you may misinterpret your self-destructive behaviors for vanity. While this may be true for some selfie-ers, this is SO not the case for a lot of us. Yes… I said “US.” I have struggled with body checking for many years. 

Story Time.
This past year, I was “checking” myself in a glass picture frame, when my housemate totally caught me. Oy! He jokingly poked fun at me, saying, “Stop checking yourself out all of the time, you look fine. Jeeze!” I was so confused at his statement (and mortified)! He thought I was being vain by looking at myself often, all the while, I was having anxiety about my appearance and obsessively “checking” to see if I was “ok.”

This has been a struggle for me for about 10 years… For me, it’s mirrors. I used to have the constant urge to “check” if I looked “acceptable." I then saw unacceptable, which then turned into anxiety and guilt, like a run-away train. You may know EXACTLY what I am talking about. Posing in the mirror in different angles, poking, pulling, pinching, etc. Not a super kind thing to do to yourself, eh? Yuck. Talk about crapping all over yourself. 

Although I don’t SEND “selfies,” you can see that there are many forms of this potentially self-destructive behavior. If you are totally confident and are looking in the mirror 50 times a day and taking selfies of yourself because you think you ROCK and want to share it with the world, well, go on with your bad self. Just don’t be annoying about it and recognize that ultimately, you are seeking attention from others. It’s fine, we’re human. But OWN THAT.  
Chances are, though, that you may be able to relate to the body checking behaviors listed above, in some shape or form. ☺ 

TOOLS! I like to give you tools! So here we go. 

I recently moved into a new house. Everything about it is INCREDIBLE, except one thing. Yes! You got it… there are TONS of huge mirrors. Side Note: Working and exercising in a gym can be triggering at times for some people, so please be kind to yourself while you are movin’ and shakin’! 

Mirrors trigger me, but mirrors are a fact of life and so that is why we pull tools out of our toolbox to continue to be the strongest versions of ourselves. Right?

This is what I do to my mirrors. Yes, I live alone. But I have guests over, frequently, and they sure do use my bathroom. I used to scramble to take my "tools” down before my company showed up, but the past few times I have forgotten. To my surprise, everyone that has seen my signs has told me that they felt empowered by them (which made the scarlet in my cheeks and nausea, disappear). So now, I leave them up. We all have things we are working on. And to be honest, I am getting to the point (and I can’t believe I can actually say this), where I really don’t care what anyone thinks?! Don't get me wrong, I am constantly striving to be a better person and I appreciate honesty and healthful opinions of my loved ones, but I'M ME. 

My new mantra: OWN IT. OWN EVERYTHING. OWN YOUR PAST. OWN YOUR PRESENT. OWN YOUR FUTURE. OWN YOUR ACTIONS. OWN YOUR THOUGHTS.

TOOL TIME:

  • I write funny messages to myself, like this… and then laugh when I catch myself trying to sneak a body-check:

 

 

  • I write NICE messages to myself like this… and then I strive to believe it.  

 

  • I write a list of things about myself that I AM, and I say it out loud to myself EVERY MORNING when I am brushing my teeth, IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR. ☺ And I add onto this list, all of the time. “What you think, you believe.”

 

 

  • If I take a picture of myself for whatever (Ex. Facebook picture), #1, I OWN that I am posting a “selfie” on social media for, well, attention… right? And then, I take a really silly photo of myself to remind myself to keep things LIGHT, FLUID, IMPERMEABLE and LOVING.

Just a few ideas to keep kindness and love coming your way. Try it!
There is NO HARM in saying nice things to yourself. 


Be kind to yourself, YOU ARE IRREPLACEABLE. 


Xo,

Erin Kershaw
Fitness Director, Edge Fitness Center at the Ascutney Mtn. Resort


For more information on Wellness and Mindfulness Coaching, please contact Erin Kershaw at erink@edgevt.com or 802-484-3511.

Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself: The Power of NOW

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” Pema Chodron

This past year has been a personal and professional transformational period for me. To glimpse a little further into my story, click here: http://www.edgevtwellness.com/edge-wellness-blog/2015/1/9/short-shorts-and-new-year-resolutions

I’ve made giant strides in many areas, but one thing I still do is this…

I “SHOULD” all over myself.

You see, we are constantly growing, learning, discovering… With time, experience, and “MISTAKES,” we develop. It’s like the bud of a flower. Little by little, with constant nurturing, that bud, it starts to blossom. And if you have ever witnessed this happening in either yourself or someone else, well, it’s breathtakingly beautiful to watch unfold. But SOMETIMES, during these periods of self-discovery, we reflect on the past. Particularly, on the experiences that haunt us. And we “should-have” all ourselves. Check it out, can you relate to any of mine?

-       Why wasn’t I Iike this, then?
-       I wish this had happened sooner?
-     Why didn’t I understand at that time?
-     If only I had done (insert whatever) at (insert whenever)
-     What if I was like this (time when you were not)
-       I wish I had told him/her…
-       I should have realized these things before (insert: shi*t hit the fan)
-       I wish I had overcome that before ______
-       I wish I knew what I know now

Prefer lighter fare?
-       I shouldn’t have posted that on Facebook, I look stupid 
-       I shouldn’t have taken that day off to go skiing because now I am so far behind with work
-       I should have gotten up 2 hours earlier and gone to the gym instead of laying in bed with my husband 
-       I should have had the grilled chicken salad instead of the steak and potatoes
-       I should have thought about that more thoroughly before I talked about it in the meeting
-       I should have pushed through that workout instead of doing corrective work or hitting the sauna (Today for me! And it was a glorious morning for an impromptu sauna-sesh)

Okay, now I am going to ask you to get a little uncomfortable. I want you to think about something that you have been should-having all over yourself about lately. We are human… and being human means experiencing things falling apart, to come together, to fall apart…. (thanks, Pema). If you are like me, there might be more than a few. But think of the one that stands out the most. Perhaps it’s a monumental experience that occurred in your lifetime. You know, the one that knocked the wind out of your sails. That gut-wrenching yet numb pain that still seems to linger, despite the passing time. The one that left you… well, never quite the same.  Or perhaps you would prefer to start with something a bit lighter, like “I shouldn’t have taken the day off to go skiing because now I am bogged down in work.”

968844_388514897923854_655601085_n.jpg

Got yours?  Okay, me too.

First, grab a piece of paper and a pen.

Now, I want you to close your eyes. Envision this experience. Take yourself back. Let yourself feel.

You now have 2 minutes to “shoulda, woulda, coulda” all over yourself.

Ready, set, go.

Whew! Bet that stirred up a lot of emotions for you, eh?

I took a day off of work last week to go skiing. You see, in January I broke my leg. This was a GYNORMOUS bummer to me. This was my first winter living in VT, I had just gotten FAT new skis, got myself a season pass, and was super pumped for ski season. 10 days later I broke my tibia. Long story short, last week I had gotten the "ok" to tackle some “tame groomers.” I accomplished everything and then some at work, and then jumped off the grid for a long awaited day on the slopes.

It was an EPIC day.

just kidding :) 

pretty cool view from the top of Okemo, eh? Look at our Ascutney standing so tall!

 

I came back to work the next day feeling refreshed and ready to go! But I stepped into a giant MESS! A flooded email inbox, issue after issue, etc. BAH! Instant guilt for taking the day off the day prior, ensued.

My "Shoulding" Exercise:

-       I should have gotten farther ahead of my to do list
-       I should have prepped for this meeting ahead of time
-       I should have checked email when I got home last night
-       I should have kept my phone with me yesterday so I could be available to those who needed help
-       I should work a half day tomorrow or take work home just to get ahead, even though it’s a Saturday and I don’t work on Saturday
-       I should be working harder, I am slacking. I need to dial it in.

 

There is a REASON why I decided to treat myself to a ski day. There was a reason I felt that I needed to get off the grid. 

If I can give you ONE SINGLE piece of advice, it is to OWN YOUR DECISIONS AND EXPERIENCES. Own them. All of them. Whatever it is. OWN IT. Even if it is not the decision or choice you would have made again,
OWN IT.

LEARN FROM IT.

FORGIVE YOURSELF.

LET IT GO.

MOVE FORWARD.

NO GUILT.

NO SHAME.

YOU ARE RIGHT HERE NOW, IN THIS PRESENT MOMENT.

 

Life’s greatest gift? I think it is that you ALWAYS have the power of choice. And the really, super, awesome thing about life, is that you can make a new choice, create a new path, take a new chance, try a new thing... every single second. There are 86,400 seconds in a day. That means you get 86,400 chances to make a choice! Did the choice you made not work out? Good to know! Try something new! 86,400 seconds in a day also means that you are going to screw up, a HELL of a lot in your lifetime. Get used to it! Embrace it. Learn. Let go. Live NOW. Obsessing about what you could have done differently in the past will not change the past. It will prevent you from living abundantly in this current moment. 

You develop, you learn, you grow…on the universe’s time. Not when it is convenient for you. I will say again… things fall apart, and they come together, and they fall apart again. It is a constant flow. Don’t fight the flow. You won’t win. Instead, relax into it. The timing of these waves may not be ideal for you. But it is ideal to the universe, and you must just trust the process. We may never know why things happen the way they do. We may die unenlightened.  But perhaps, there is a small chance that one day, when you are 95…. sitting in a rocking chair….sipping a glass of lemonade on your wrap-around-porch…gazing out at that Vermont sunset…next to the person you love the most,  you may chuckle to yourself and think, “Ahh!, Yes, I suppose I see now :)

 

Okay, if I could give you another HUGE piece of advice:

Put what you want, out there into the universe. Ask for what you want. Imagine it happening. See it. Think it. We become our thoughts. It is the law of attraction. You will most certainly become and attract what you think about most.

“It is what it is.” The past is over. You can’t go back. It happened the way it happened for reasons you may not ever understand. Don’t waste your precious time reliving these experiences. It is not going to get you to where you desire to be. Move forward and don’t look back. You are not going that way. Change what you cannot accept and accept what you cannot change.

WHEN you decide that you have power and control over your mind, WHEN stop focusing on what you DON’T want and start focusing on what you DO want…well that, my friends, is when the magic happens.

Remember that loss or that issue that has been nagging at your side? This is what you are going to do now. Instead of shoulding all over yourself, jot down all of the blessings that have come from that one experience. You will be PERPLEXED by how many you find!

Here is mine. I'm a really private person about a lot of things, but I am getting person right now to show you that THIS MINDSET WORKS!  

I lost the man I love:
-       I rescued my dog Deeks, who is now my world
-     I started doing all of these super cool, awesome things, BY MYSELF.
-     I read many inspirational books
-     I realized I’m pretty dang special
-       I hiked and snow shoed all over New England
-       I moved to Brownsville, VT. And I have never felt more happy or at home in my entire life.
-       I started to fall in love with my job. Wow, what an incredible opportunity. Such creative freedom. No glass ceiling!
-       I found how I love to move my body, and ditched what no longer worked for me
-       I began to write
-    I made an incredible group of friends, stretching from 18 years old to 88!
-    I rented my first house, and I have my first wrap around porch. My dream since I was a little girl
-       My backyard is LITERALLY Mt Ascutney!
-       I fell in love, all over again, and border line unhealthily, with skiing. Can you blame me?
-       I became a bit of a free spirit
-       I got outside of myself, stopped feeling like a victim, and learned to give back to others (I still have A LOT of work to do on this…trust me)! I feel like I can give to others now because I am no longer an empty vessel, I feel SO FULL!

The power is in the NOW. Today. You are you. People may give up on you, but DO NOT EVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF! Don’t ever forget where you came from, the transformations and the progress that you have made. Understand that you are on the universe’s time for a reason, and that it may have a different plan for you. The timing of life’s events and experiences may not always be ideal for YOU.  But I fully believe that as long as we keep our hearts full and our eyes open… this life with all of it’s twists and turns, ups and downs, it all comes together. 

Ascutney and Stratton from Okemo at Sunset :)

xo

 

Erin Kershaw, M.S, ACSM-HFS
Wellness Director, The Edge Fitness Center at the Ascutney Mountain Resort



How to Safely Get Up After Falling

It is winter in New England right now, which means freezing temperatures, ice, snow, and unfortunately, INCREASE IN FALLS among ALL populations.

We live in a rural area, and if you are like me (God help you) and stubbornly independent, you do a lot of activities by yourself. Knowing how to safely get up off the ground after falling is a really important tool to carry with you, for yourself and in order to help/educate others.   

Steps:

1.    Catch your breath and make sure you feel well-oriented after your fall before moving

2.    Carefully roll over and bring yourself up onto your elbows

3.    Move onto your hands and knees so that you are in an “all-fours” position

4.    Crawl to a firm surface, such as a chair, steps, rock, pole, etc.

5.    Place both hands on the surface if you are able, and bring one leg up.

6.    Peel the toe of the other leg under and push yourself up into a standing position

7.    Turn gently to sit on firm surface, or stand holding onto the firm surface, preferably with both hands

Please check out this video. A little blurry after editing, sorry!


I encourage you to print out this handy chart and perhaps place it on the refrigerator, as a reminder to yourself and to your loved ones. To print, just right click on the picture and safe to your computer. :)

Erin Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-HFS
Fitness Director, The Edge at the Ascutney Mountain Resort 

 

SLOW DOWN! Focus on the Eccentric Contraction for GAINS

One of the many neat things about weight lifting is that it never gets dull, as there are so many variables to manipulate.  Time under tension is an excellent variable for building muscle mass (Smith, 2015). Today we are going to utilize the lat pulldown exercise as an example.

Tips for using the time under tension variable to increase the effectiveness of your lifts:

1.    Use an adequate amount of load, while maintaining form

Here’s a mistake I see a lot, and I’ve done it myself… adding more weight and losing proper form. Example) Adding weight to your lat pulldown before you are ready and muscling it down, which usually produces a jerking motion with the upper body and torso.  If you can’t maintain proper form when adding weight (shoulders back and pinned, chest is up, isolate the back, no jerking with the torso), then I strongly encourage you to keep the current weight that you have, and manipulate the time under tension variable, instead.

Remember, there is NO glass ceiling to weight lifting, you can always improve…don’t rush. Slow and steady wins the race.

 2.    Control the tempo of the entire movement, particularly focusing on the eccentric, or lowering phase of the movement.

Lat Pulldown Example:

1.    Hold the bar with a shoulder width grip, or slightly wider if there are no shoulder injuries.

2.    Pull the bar down in a controlled manner, down to your upper chest, just below your neck. Your shoulder should be pinned back, your chest should be up, and you should not utilizing your torso to “muscle down” the bar. Think of almost pulling your elbows down to your side, which will increase engagement in the lats (Smith, 2015).

3.    Here is the ECCENTRIC phase of the movement. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position, taking about 3-5 seconds to complete the phase. Aim to make the eccentric phase (lowering phase), 2x as long as the concentric phase (pulling phase). Research shows that you increase microtrauma when you focus on controlling the eccentric phase of the movement, thus increasing levels of hypertrophy (muscle mass) (Smith, 2015).

Check out this video to see it all put together!

Erin Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-HFS
Fitness Director, The Edge Fitness Center at the Ascutney Mountain Resort


Short Shorts and New Year Resolutions

I love my legs. I know that sounds terribly conceited, but it’s true! I really like their physical appearance, but more importantly, I love all that they do for me. I love that they have taken me to so many incredible places, that they allow me to hike up peaks and ski down slopes, and that I can run and bike through our beautiful mountain trails. Here is another super embarrassing secret. I love my legs so much that at an ungodly hour when none of you are around, I lift really heavy weights in crazy colored short shorts.

Call this ego clinging all you want (because, it sort of is), but the truth is that it makes me feel so confident to work on difficult lifts in my bright short shorts while singing Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs. It’s my routine, my thing. I have struggled with confidence and body image for most of my life, so doing silly little things like this on a regular basis, embracing and celebrating my body, really makes me feel great! 

I haven’t weighed myself in a year. I have spent way too many years and have wasted so much precious time allowing numbers to dictate my life and my relationship with myself. I refer to myself as a “reformed numbers gal.” Numbers just don’t work for me. I don’t take measurements, I don’t calculate calories, I don’t add up macro nutrient grams…it just doesn’t work for me. Well, actually, it works too well for me. You see, I have this chronic disease called perfectionism. This disease has roared its ugly head in various ways throughout my life, whether it was enrolling in every advanced placement course I could squeeze into my schedule in high school, to being the president of every club in college, to a nasty bout with disordered eating and a negative relationship with myself in my twenties. Heck, I have even exhausted myself while trying to build us the perfect little fitness center! I have finally gotten to a point in my life where I am able to shut down my perfectionist voice 85% of the time, but every now and then, Erin #2 (this is my evil twin that comes out when I am unkind to myself) tries to surface when I am feeling vulnerable. Erin #2 is weaker than she has ever been, thanks to tons of self-love, kindness, hard work, and of course, lots of VT time!

Back to the story. I haven’t weighed myself in a year because I don’t like numbers to dictate my self worth. But for medical reasons, I had to calculate my BMR (basil metabolic rate) recently. Your BMR is basically what your metabolism is at rest, and it helps to calculate the amount of nutrients your body needs to optimally function. To figure out this calculation, you must factor in your body weight. Yikes, this made me nervous. It’s funny, I thought I had really disassociated myself from numbers, until I actually had to do face them again. That’s when the panicky feelings started to creep on in. You see, my life has changed A LOT in the past year, and my body has changed too!  So, right before I weighed myself, I did some positive self-talk.

-       You are a powerhouse! You are so strong!
-       You are doing things you never thought you could do!
-       You are a scientist who knows how irrelevant and inconsistent this number can be (this is totally true, I’ll blog about this soon)
-       You are falling in love with your body, as it is, without knowing any numbers

I marched on up to the scale all confident and ready to embrace whatever it spit back to me. And, whoa! I was certainly surprised by what I saw (I am not going to tell you, because it doesn’t MATTER)! A shaky day followed, but not a terrible day… I just felt a bit uncomfortable. However, I was sure to maintain loving kindness towards myself at all times and exercised and nourished myself healthfully and as I normally would, despite Erin #2 talking in my ear.

So, the next morning when I was getting dressed for my workout, I emerged out of my room looking like the little brother Randy from the “Christmas Story.” You know what I’m talking about, the little dude with the huge parka.

Definitely a change from my crazy colored short shorts. Even my dog looked at me with a puzzled face as I was dressed for us to go snowshoeing, but it was 5:30am! I looked back at my dog, looked in the mirror, and laughed. Wow, I guess I still have some more breaking-up to do with numbers, as they obviously still hold some power over me!

Let’s break this down a little bit. Since I have not weighed myself in a year, I have no idea what I weighed yesterday or a month before. And it is safe to say that this number had not magically become what it was, overnight. However, I HAVE been rocking out in my short shorts and embracing my body for many months, without knowing numbers. But, as you can tell, even though I have come incredibly far on my self-love journey, I STILL have an association with numbers.

So, what happened after my chuckle at my irrational thinking? I pulled out my craziest pair of shorts out and slapped them on. I was all ready to march out the door because “quite frankly, my dear, I don’t give a dang,” and then Erin #2 started up again. I began doing, what I like to call, “body checking.” This is when we stand in front of a mirror and critique ourselves, usually in a negative manner. Here enters in Erin #2. She started to creep on in. She was gaining power and momentum as I was allowing her to do this unkind body checking. Then, she started talking… “Have you let yourself relax a little bit too much?” “Should you up the intensity of your workouts?” “Should you dial your nutrition in a little more?” “Should you make time to start running longer distances again?” “Are you out of control?” Yeah, she’s a REAL PIECE OF WORK, that Erin #2!

It took about 40 seconds of listening to Erin #2 for me to look at myself, look at my dog again (who all the time was looking at me like I was crazy for making ridiculous poses in the mirror while talking to myself), and say “HECK NO, Erin #2! You lose, again. I win. You don’t control me, numbers don’t rule my world anymore, and trying to be perfect doesn’t work for me. You never loved me, Erin #2. You have taken so much from me, and I despise you for that. You have made me waste so much precious time and I have exhausted so much energy trying to please you. GOODBYE!"

Feeling SUPER empowered at winning yet another battle with myself, I said “CYA” to the mirror and marched my tush, which was in my craziest pair of short shorts, right up to the squat rack. And what happened then? I had the best lift I have ever had.

Why am I sharing this with you, and why now? Because we all struggle with something. Each and every one of us. We struggle with not being enough, with not believing in ourselves, with being unkind to ourselves, with not meeting the sometimes unhealthy expectations that we set for ourselves. And New Year resolutions, although they can be great if utilized in moderation and with loving kindness, usually set us up for a negative experience with ourselves. Many of us set really high expectations for ourselves this time of year, with the goal of self-improvement. However, what if this year, your 2015 resolution is to simply, “just stick with yourself, as you are?” What if there is nothing "wrong" with you? What if you are great, just as you are, at this very moment? No self-improvements needed. Just stick with yourself.  Just a thought...

xo

Erin Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-HFS
Fitness Director,The Edge Fitness Center at the Ascutney Mountain Resort 

"YES WE CAN" Kickstart Your 2015!

Hi There!

We hope you had a lovely winter holiday and you are in an upswing with the fresh start of a new year! Without further adieu, here is a message from our fitness team, on WHY WE KNOW WE CAN KICKSTART YOUR 2015!

At the risk of sounding boastful, Fitness Director Erin Kershaw will tell you that she has THE BEST group fitness team in the WORLD. Want to know why? Each team member is unique, incredibly dedicated, educated, and PASSIONATE about giving you an exceptional and individualized exercise experience, every time you enter our door!  It saddens us deeply to see that most of the fitness centers in our area are now asking you to pay an additional fee to take group fitness classes. Here at the Edge, we have over 15 classes that are relatively small in size and are ALWAYS catered to each participant. The best part? These classes are INCLUDED in your membership package! 

Seriously, just check out our new group fitness schedule! HOLY SMOKES!

Not quite interested in exercising in a team-based environment but need a jump start? Our personal training packages are endless and affordable!

We currently offer:
- 1 hour and 30minute-express options
- private, partner, and SMALL GROUP (4-8 participants)

But just to help you kickstart 2015, we are offering an UNBEATABLE special, 3 sessions for just $99! 

Oh, and did we mention.. if you are a first time member, you receive a complimentary personal training session!?

Here is a little bit about your personal trainer, Erin Kershaw (although she detests talking about herself..)! 

Erin is an exercise physiologist and outdoor NUT that loves all things Vermont! She received her M.S. in Exercise Physiology in 2012, where she specialized in Strength and Conditioning, as well as special populations. Although she has a strong passion for training athletes (which is why you sometimes hear screams coming from the weight room), she has the same burning desire for helping ALL populations to achieve health and happiness through movement and life-coaching! 

The coolest part about Erin's job? She has had incredible opportunities to work with all types of people, ages, injuries, goals, interests, and even illnesses, throughout the years! This makes her DYNAMIC, FLUID, and FLEXIBLE. Which is exactly what your exercise regime should look like! 

As an American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Specialist, it prides Erin to say that she has dedicated her life towards helping individuals in her community to move functionally and FEEL BETTER! Which results in better performance; whether that be on the field, on the ski slopes, or perhaps playing with your grand children, pain free! 

Please utilize our TEAM as tool to put in your wellness/happiness toolbox for 2015! We are always here to help you live your life abundantly, as you should!

PS. Teaser Alert!! Please keep your eyes peeled for our next blog post, "SHORT SHORTS & NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS, coming out later this week!

Yours in Health, 

Erin Kershaw and the Edge at Ascutney Fitness Team

Got Glutes? RFESS (Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat)

The Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (I call them RFESS since it's quite a mouthful!) is an excellent and challenging single leg exercise. This advanced exercise is also known as a Bulgarian Split Squat, and FIRES UP (and believe me, that's what it feels like) the glutes and quads. The stabilizer muscles working are the hamstrings and calves.

Check out this quick video and, if appropriate for you, work this into your exercise regime to gain awesome glute and quad strength (think: powder days on the slope or snow shoeing up Ascutney)!

Not sure what exercises to implement into your program? Need help creating a plan to start the New Year off with a BANG? Stay tuned for our Try-A-Trainer week the first week of January and sign up to meet with me for a complimentary 30 minute session so that I can help you in any way I can (pick my brain)! Ready to dive into training? 3 sessions are just $99 to ring in 2015!

Fire up those legs!

Erin Kershaw, M.S., ACSM-HFS
Fitness Director, The Edge at Ascutney
802-484-3511
erinmontgomerykershaw@gmail.com

 

Got Glutes? RFESS (Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats)

Uploaded by Erin Montgomery on 2014-12-16.



Eat The Frog

“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing this is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.” –Unknown

Don’t worry this is not a new diet fad or exercise requirement! The basic idea is pretty simple (based on “Eat that Frog!” by Brian Tracy) – your frog is your most important, highest impact and sometimes the most difficult task of your day. It is the task you are most likely to “put off”. For some of you, that means your frog is EXERCISE! I have taken some of the concepts from Brian Tracy’s book and applied them to helping you make exercise an important part of your day.

1.     Most importantly, make it a habit.

Any behavior can be learned through practice and repetition. Habits take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The time varies depending on how complex the behavior is, how difficult it is, and how important the habit change is to YOU. The more motivated you are, the more quickly the habit is likely to feel automatic. And when exercise does become automatic (a habit), you will feel great about yourself!

2.     Plan your exercise time in advance.
If you know your day is busy, set a time aside that is dedicated just to your workout. It still counts, even if you have to shorten the time. 10 minutes, 3 times a day is just as successful as 30 minutes straight.

3.     Be action oriented.
Don’t wait to get started. Commit to yourself! Get everything you need; clothes, shoes, watch, etc., then set a date and go!

4.     Know what to work on.
Have a workout plan ready to go, whether its strength training, walking, running or swimming. Planning in advance will help get you organized; you’ll know what you need to pack, where you need to go and what time.

5.     Use your time wisely.
If you’re not sure what time of the day works best for you, try different times of the day to see when you have the most energy. Once you know, set that time aside and make an appointment with yourself.

6.     Understand your constraints.
Things will come up and interrupt your schedule. Don’t beat yourself up. You may have to miss one day, but continue with your routine the next day. Don’t give up because of one bump in the road (or wart on the frog?). Use that day as a recovery day and then you’ll be rested for the next workout.

You are important! And that frog will be your best friend (or pet) when you’ve become a stronger, healthier and happier person for incorporating exercise into your day!

- Wendy Hildebrand
Corporate Wellness Manager, UTC