5 Ways To Lower Your Cortisol Levels (And Why You Should!)

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Dear Readers:

Most of us know this to be the fight or flight stress chemical that floods our bodies when we are faced with danger, real or perceived, and it can cause a wide-range of alarming issues from belly fat and inflammation to fertility issues and cardiovascular disease. Lowering stress levels is the best way to keep it under control, but unfortunately, the way many of us do this can increase the amount of it in our system. That extra cup of coffee in the morning (which is when our levels are the highest) or evening cocktails both increase secretion of the hormone. That sugary fix with the trans fats? You guessed it. Staying out late to “let loose” often leads to less sleep which will also work against you.
Today, I want to share a few ways to lower your stress levels and get the hormone under control.

1. Drink your coffee after 10:00AM. Studies have shown that the early AM is the worst time to have coffee as you wake up with the highest levels of cortisol in your system. Try having a glass of warm water with lemon first thing to fend off dehydration and flush your system, or if you really need the boost, move to black tea which lowers the hormone.

2. Meditate. Taking 10-20 minutes to breathe is one of the best things you can do for yourself in terms of lowering stress (and blood pressure), reducing anxiety and getting in tune with your body. It’s also a great way to set the tone for your day.

3. Listen to your favorite music. Music is a scientifically-proven mood enhancer and has been shown to cut cortisol levels almost in half.

4. Exercise or get a massage. Both release feel good chemicals (endorphin and serotonin, respectively).

5. Go to bed earlier. It’s not always easy, but crawling in bed 30 minutes early (without an electronic screen) can do wonders for your wind-down and help you sleep better and longer.

How high are your stress levels normally? Have you noticed any changes in your body as a result?

Much Love,

Jo

The Power In Stillness

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Dear Readers:

There is so much talk about success in relation to movement and so very little value placed on the achievement that comes in stillness. In a world that’s constantly pushing you to “go” and speak, it takes courage to be still and silent, and not only because of the misguided peer pressure. In silence, we must acknowledge the way the “noise” in our heads bullies us. We are forced to stand up to the dozens of (often fear-based) thoughts that swarm into our heads and taunt, tease and threaten us. The good news is that taking time each day to observe and face what is happening inside of you will not only build confidence, it will lower cortisol and bring about clarity.

Today, I want to encourage you all up find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and just “be” in the world. Pay attention to how you feel before, during and after.  Do you embrace it or fight it? Do you find it silly or soothing? Be sure not to judge your feelings, just to make a note. You’ll likely get to know a different side of yourself.

Much Love,

Jo

Your Body Is Not Just An Ornament, It’s Your Instrument.

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Dear Readers:

There is not a one among us who isn’t insecure about something. As confident as we may be in one area is as shaky as we can feel in another. This week, I want to encourage you not only to work to give your confidence a boost, but also respect the fact that a lack thereof isn’t weak, but human. If there is one thing I have learned as an instructor it is that no one is madly in love with their bodies, but the more you work with it, the more you can be mesmerised by it.

Seeing what your body can do is an amazing way to look past the size of your thighs (or dimples in them) and embrace the way your abdomen changes after the miracle of birth. Instead of being fearful of aging, we can work now to ensure we are strong well past mid age and by watching our body language, we can gain valuable information about how we really feel about ourselves and those around us.

Today, I want to really encourage all of you to pay close attention to your bodies in a new way. Look past the small “imperfections” and take in the bigger picture. Your body is not just an ornament, it’s your instrument. How do you treat it? How do you use it? How much do you respect it?

Much Love,

Jo

 

Fit Fashion: My Current Studio Fav’s

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Everyone has their own studio style. True to form for me, I tend to stick to the basic colours for most of my attire, then jazz it up a little with a flare here and there. Today, I want to share share some of of my favourites.

LuLu Lemon- High times studio pants.

These are my favourite pants of the moment.

  • Lulu are my go-to for studio pants.
  • The cut is always flattering, the high waist band is supportive and flattering.
  • They are the perfect length for my little legs.

 

Stella McCartney for Adidas

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  • Run Climastorm jacket.
  • My favourite jackets are stella jackets.
  • Waterproof, reflective panel on the back for evenings.

The Upside

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  • Spice Temple Ballet Crop.
  • The upside make the most comfortable bra-lets. They are not the most supportive, but perfect for Pilates, and everyday wear.
  • The perfect bit of flare for your ensemble.

Lulu White tank

lulu white top

  • Cool racerback.
  • I always love an inbuilt bra.
  • Classic racer back style.
  • Long length, to move with freedom.

Mybkr drink bottles

 

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Quiz Time: How “Healthy” Is Your Approach To Your Health?

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Dear Readers:
So many of us equate health with physical activity, and that’s a part of it, but there is so much more to wellness than making your class a few times per week. Today, I want to challenge you all to take some time to do a little health assessment. Sit down and be honest. Where do you fall?
What is your definition of “healthy”?
What are three things you do every single day to maintain your health?
On a scale of 1-10, how much do you focus on mental health, physical health and spiritual health?
When did you feel the healthiest?
 
When did you feel the unhealthiest?
 
Between the two, where are you right now?
 
When was the last time you had a proper physical?
 
How often do you get angry?
 
How often do you laugh?
 
How many hugs have you given this week?
 
What is the thing that brings you the most joy and how often do you experience it?
 
How often to do you stretch?
 
How often to do listen to music you really love?
 
Do you meditate?
 
How much water do you drink each day?
 
How many hours, on average, do you sleep per week?
 
What do you do to connect with yourself on a daily basis?

 
What are the most toxic things you say to yourself each day?
 
What are the most encouraging and supportive?
How do you feel after answering these questions? Do you think it’s time for a re-boot?
Much Love,
Jo

5 Reasons To Get Your Booty To The Barre

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Dear Readers:

By now, nearly everyone reading this has heard of Barre classes. No, you are not required to wear ballet shoes or a leotard (but if you want to, go girl). Personally, I have been addicted to barre since my first day of training with BootyBarre three years ago. In the short time between then and now, there has been a worldwide explosion on the barre scene (not the one with cocktails).

If you’re interested in trying out a new class, but are feeling a bit intimidated, read on. Here are 5 surprising bonus of taking your booty to the barre.

1kg weights will make you shake. When I hand my clients their hot pink 1kg weights for the first time, there is often a look of smugness / relief on their face. 1kg is no problem, right? Wrong. After the first arm sequence (one of four) there is often a sideways glance between friends. Those pink weights really weigh up. The reality is that weights don’t need to be excessively heavy to work you out. Its all about small, isolated, controlled specified muscle contractions. We want long lean ballet inspired limbs instead of huge biceps.

You don’t need to be a dancer, yogi, or even co-ordinated.  Trust me on this fact. I have every kind of human being in my barre classes. From mums. dads and electricians to dancers and business owners. Everyone gets by just fine. All you really need is to be able to laugh at yourself. At least one member of the class almost always topples over, steps right instead of left, walks forward instead of back. Just take a breath and have a good laugh. Everyone is too busy concentrating on their own coordination efforts to notice your little miss steps.

You will sweat. I sweat in every one of the five classes I teach per week. Fifteen minutes into class, there are beads of sweat forming on everyones top lip. This is one mustache you can be proud of. Think of BootyBarre as detoxifying and purifying your body. Sweat is good baby;just shake it off.

Your core is always engaged. Your core is activated though out the entire class. As a Pilates principle, every movement is stabilised by activating the core. When you have your body moving to the beat, weights in hands, balls in-between knees, and thera-bands around your feet, you will feel the strength of your core supporting you. You might be thinking about it (and feeling it) throughout the next day as well.

Barre is low impact on your body. BootyBarre is developed to be a safe, functional, low impact form of exercise. Each class will have a slightly different focus; weights, flexibility/weights, cardio. As the routine is constantly changing, so is the focus. This allows for different challenges on the body to take charge for that session, then we move onto the next. Making it low impact, and ready for your every day challenge, if you dare.

Have you taken one of my Barre classes? What did you think?

Much love,

Jo

Carving Out The “Perfect” Day

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I was recently asked what my idea of a productive day was and I responded that it would be one that was finely balanced. I then realized that “balanced” means different things to different people, so today I thought I might share my idea of what it might look like.

 

A morning pause

On a perfect morning, I would wake up refreshed, enjoy a morning stretch and be able to sit in my back garden and take in a few rays and the smells and sounds of nature whilst enjoying my green juice or smoothie bowl. No cell phone, no emails, no conversation. Just a moment to relax and set my intentions for the day. If I am having a heavenly day, I’ll add a swim in the ocean here.

A power shower

For me, there is nothing better than a hot shower with a great oil burning. Aromatherapy in the morning feels like a spa-worthy luxury and the right smell (grapefruit or eucalyptus) can really brighten up your day.

A great workout outfit

Something fashionable, flexible and comfortable always makes me feel a little more confident in class.

A dedicated class

Is there anything better than showing up ready to give your best and have a blast? Yes. When you’re showing up for a class there to do the same.

A few moments outside

Can you tell I love the outdoors and sunshine? Though the days are cooler now, there is nothing better than an afternoon re-set with the warm rays of the sun on your face.

A happy connection

Perhaps it’s meeting up with a friend for a coffee or my partner for dinner and wine, but the best way to close down a productive day is meeting to share it with someone you love.

A relaxing close

Yes, there is TV, but what about a long bath with a glass of tea or wine and a good book followed by your most comfortable jammies in a cosy blanket.
Much Love,
Jo

A Recipe For Oats So Good They Will Make You A Morning Person

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Dear Readers:

I am what you may call a “morning person”. I love waking up with the sunshine, feeling that crisp morning air on my skin and getting on with my day.

That said, my pace is not what I would call quick in the morning. I pretty much shower, dress and walk out the door in about 30 minutes. This does not leave much (or any) time to eat breakfast which we all know is  the most important meal of the day. So, for me, it all comes down to prep work. My quick overnight oats have been a real hit as of late and I thought I might share the recipe that sets me up on the right note to get on with my day.

 

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Note: You will need a small jar or container.

1/2 cup of quick oats
(dietary fiber)

2 finely sliced strawberries
(vitamin c)

10 raspberries
(low glycemic and full of vitamin c)

1 tablespoon of cinnamon
(loaded with antioxidants)

1 tablespoon of shaved coconut
(great source of iron)

10 almonds
(vitamin e  and B+)

1  tablespoon cocao nibs
(magnesium)

1  teaspoon of honey
(antibacterial)

Once you have layered the ingredients the way that you like, pour in your coconut milk (or any milk) until all of he contents are just covered.
Overnight the oats will absorb the liquid. Just a tip: I like to pour in a teaspoon of honey at the end, and let it drip to the bottom of the jar. It is a delicious breakfast, healthy, nutritious and perfect for on the go.

Enjoy!

Much Love,

Jo

Accountability Time! How Did We Do On Our March Goals?

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Dear Readers:

Is it just me or is the year flying by?

I’m loving having these little goals to use as check in’s and to make sure I am not just passing moments, but actually making the most of them. So, here are the check-in’s.

Coffee. My intention was to have less and I most definitely did–until I went to my partner’s parents place. There were lot’s of raw chocolate mochas being made over the long Easter weekend and they were delicious!

More me time. This one was a must. I had been powering through this year without a moment to breath. I am lucky enough to have a coastal hideaway to escape to, and Idid just that. It was a lovely weekend of sleeping in, beach walks and home cooked meals.

Adventure day. I didn’t manage to take myself on an adventure day. But I did go away for the long weekend, so perhaps it worked out better! I also booked an adventure weekend which will take me to the blue mountains. Lots of hikes and exploring, so more things to kick off the list.

Now for this month’s goals:

Self Mastery. As I work as a soul trader, sometimes it is easy to get in a solo mental groove. I, along with some amazing Pilates instructors I have known a long time have created a little collective. We get together to share ideas, ask questions and expand our craft. My brain is ready for some Pilates inspiration!

Hydrate. I find myself drinking tons of water whilst at work, but once I’m home, I completely forget to hydrate. I have started making mint and cucumber water and love it! I personally need to experiment on other combinations to keep my taste buds interested.

Ride my bike. I know I have had this one on my list already, but it is a task I neglected due to Sydney’s heat wave. That wave is sadly over which means that it is time to get back on the bike.

Tell me about your goals and check-in’s. How are you doing?

Much Love,

Jo

5 Ways To Stay Productive During Autumn

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Dear Readers,
As the weather begins to cool and we begin spending more time indoors, it’s quite likely that we will find ourselves enjoying escapist indulgences. More texting, TV, alcohol and comfort food tend to be the standard way of passing time inside, and all can be delightful as longas there is balance. Today, I want to lay out 5 ideas I have for keeping things under control in the colder months.
 
1. Turn off all electronics one hour before bedtime and spend that hour winding down. Take a bath, read a book, give your partner a massage or meditate. Studies have shown that electronic screens can disrupt your ability to produce melatonin which can impact your quality of sleep.
 
2. Do not drink alcohol indoors two nights in a row. Swap them out and enjoy freshly grated ginger and/or lemon in hot water, a nice cup of herbal tea or a yummy green juice coconut “milk shake” instead.
 
3. Play board games instead of sitting mindlessly in front of the TV or staring at your iPhones. It’s nice to actually laugh and connect with the other people in the room.
 
4. Use the time indoors wisely. Tackle those home projects that you have been meaning to get to. Clean out your closet one weekend and work on a vision board on a chilly weeknight.
 
5. Indulge a hobby. Why not pick up a set of paints or build your photography skills? I personally love the summer months, but being “forced” to stay inside takes away the FOMO stress that often keeps us from staying in, unwinding and focusing on more serene and simple things.
 
What are some of your autumn/winter ideas?
 
Much love,
 
Jo