Strength Training

Dear Runner Friend,

Awesome job logging all those miles! I’m so impressed with your consistency, getting out there running everyday. How do you avoid injury??

We all know someone who can run/bike/exercise endlessly and never get injured. Does this person just have ‘the right body’ for the sport? Well, maybe. But maybe it’s the behind the scenes work that person puts in to keep their body strong. 

I’m a physical therapist. I know the importance of muscle strength. I tell people all the time to strengthen muscles to decrease pain and move better. But I didn’t really live it. I hated strength training. I was in and out of physical therapy myself for years battling a chronic IT band injury. I’d do my exercises, get stronger, and the pain would go away. Then gradually I’d stop doing my exercise and run without pain for awhile, but it always came back. I hated lifting weights. I knew what to do, I just didn’t do it.

Well, about a year ago, a running friend of mine said, “Do you want to check out this strength-cardio class at the gym?” (in addition to not liking to lift weights, I was NOT a class person). I agreed to just try it out.  And you guessed it, I got hooked! There was something empowering about being in a gym full of people throwing weights around with an instructor yelling at me to do more. Now I know this is not everyone’s thing, but it worked for me. 

I noticed myself getting stronger, running a little bit faster, and having more muscle definition. (Secretly, I really like to have nice looking shoulders when I look at myself in the mirror while drying my hair). But the best part is, a year later, I haven’t had to go back to physical therapy for my injured right leg! 

I know you feel like it’s not a workout unless you get your heart rate up, so I challenge you to find a strength training routine that makes you sweat. It doesn’t have to be an hour long class at the gym. You don’t even need to lift weights; body weight strength exercises can do wonders. Put your mind to and build some muscle!

Where are you at with strength training? Do you dread it? Love it?

“The body achieves what the mind believes.”



Create a Calming Ritual

Dear Busy Mom Friend,

I hear what you are saying: the hours of 4:30-6:30pm are the WORST each day. I’m tired and hungry, my kids are tired and hungry, and I want to be done with All. The. Things. But sitting down with my feet up is not an option. Instead, I light a candle, grab a bubbly water, take a few deep breaths, and carry on. For some reason, the simple act of lighting a candle allows me to let the yelling and complaining just roll off. 


Now that I realize the impact of this 30 second ritual on my mood, I’ve tried to weave it into other stressful times of my day. I guess it’s not realistic to say to my coworkers, “can we pause for a minute so I can light my calming candle?”, so I use my ritual during parenting times. And it actually helps!


What actions do you take to find calm in the chaos? Closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths is a great way to recenter your mind. Or playing your favorite playlist to change the mood. I would recommend staying away from picking up your phone and scrolling. Scrolling may be calming in the short term, but it doesn’t help regulate your emotions to calmly approach the present stressful moment. 


Why have a calming ritual? Because when you are calm, others around you will calm.  Yes, for real, kids included. Maybe you already do something automatically to calm down- name it! Recognize that the space around you is a circus, and then take control of yourself with your calming ritual. 


After listening to a great podcast (Live Free Creative Podcast episode 126) about routines and rituals, I started naming my routines and rituals. This task of naming what is calming has empowered me to take control of my emotions during the circus that is 4:30-6:30pm. 


Now is the time to share…what is your calming ritual?



Physical Fitness and Wellness

Dear Friend, 

I heard you’re stuck in a rut with your exercise routine. It is a global pandemic after all, and everything is canceled/closed/changed. Limited capacity at the gym, if it’s even open, fewer in-person fitness classes, and just nothing the same.  I hear you! Just because I’m really into wellness doesn’t mean I avoid the struggle to exercise. 

Why is physical fitness so important? According to the CDC, “regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.” 

I never imagined I’d be one to workout at home; exercise videos were NOT my thing. Enter global pandemic. All of a sudden I no longer had my twice a week strength training class. No more pool for swimming laps and no more treadmill for rainy days. Without my routine, I was out of sorts; I had a harder time being patient with my kids, I wasn’t sleeping as well, and I felt like a blob who just couldn’t get moving. 

I was accustomed to my designated time and space to exercise, then it vanished.  All the kids were home all the time, my job became immediately chaotic as it went virtual, and I struggled to find large chunks of time for working out. 

“Challenge yourself to change yourself”

Chris Freytag

Slowly I realized that if I was going to exercise, I had to make a mindset shift. 10-15 minute spaces of time became just enough to do some arm or leg strengthening exercises. I didn’t need to break a sweat or make a big ordeal about getting a workout it. Over time, these intervals became longer as we figured out pandemic life. But I still rely on short bursts in my day to fit in exercise. 


Ten to 20 minute intervals are perfect for the mom who is cooking, cleaning, and exercising during nap time. Ten to 20 minutes is enough to exercise before you start your busy work day. Eventually, these 10-20 minute intervals will become longer as you begin to see the rewards of consistent exercise and make more space in your day. 


CHALLENGE: Three days this week, find a 10 minute interval to exercise! Comment below and let me know how it went!

Exercise Favorites

Free full-length workout videos: Nourish Move Love


Paid subscription for quality workout videos (save $ and follow Nourish Move Love and Chris Freytag on Instagram; they often post coupon codes!): Get Healthy U TV


Free yoga: Yoga with Adriene

Paid Yoga App: Down Dog


Instagram accounts with short workouts: 

Mr and Mrs Muscle

Alexa Pleikoizik