Trainer Blog

Checking In, Upcoming Events, & Resources

This post is just a quick one to share some resources I have been enjoying lately and to tell you that if you’re interested in one day workshops on creating space for women to discuss issues surrounding goal setting, motivation, barriers to success, mental and emotional health, nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, spirituality, holistic health, and body image, reserve the dates Saturday, July 27th and August 17th in your calendars now! More info to come as specific plans and details fall into place.

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Revisiting a Low-Waste/Zero-Waste/Plastic-Free Lifestyle

I am a firm believer that environmental health is an incredibly important part of both physical and mental/emotional health. Whether that means the environmental health of caring for our planet (we only have one !!! and the effects of environmental degradation disproportionately affects those living in low income neighborhoods who often already have to deal with decreased safety and comfort of their home and neighborhood environments) or the environmental health of the places we spend a majority of our time: how comfortable and safe is our home, how comfortable are we in our workplace, how much are we able to get outside and enjoy nature, how safe is our neighborhood?

Having positive and safe environments for a majority of our time is a HUGE privilege. As is having the time and energy to think about how to care for our planet. So today I wanted to revisit ideas from some past posts I’ve done about environmental health as a reminder to myself and a call to action for you!

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SLEEP, recovery, and your overall health

As some of you may have noticed, I am a big fan of the mind-body connection as well as recovery. You simply cannot ignore the mental and emotional components of health, just go-go-go all the time with work, family, exercise, constant new diets, and stress and expect to meet your fitness goals (or truly enjoy life, in my humble opinion).

I often talk about journaling to begin to delve into the mental and emotional components of health AND/OR meditation, breathing exercises, stretching, and myofascial release (foam rolling, working on trigger points with a lacrosse ball or thera-cane, or massage) to work from both ends of the spectrum when it comes to recovery, mental and physical.

And I’m also a big proponent of using gentle nutrition to aid in the recovery process as well as overall improvements in health, whether that means eating beans and rice with kale after a big workout to replenish stores of carbs within the muscles, liver, and bloodstream, some protein for muscle building and recovery, and leafy greens packed with antioxidants to aid in recovery from metabolic stress, or whether that means eating a big donut (or two) when your body and heart are calling out for some pure enjoyment.

But far too often, in our discussions of health as well as in our own lives (myself included!) we forget to focus on sleep. I could go on a long rant about why sleep is so so important, but instead I’ll just leave this link here to a podcast and YouTube video of an interview with Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science.

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Writing Love Letters To Our Bodies

By now, if you’ve been following along, you all know I love journaling. Today, I have a bit of a writing prompt for you; I want you to write a letter to your body. It can be a love letter, an apology, or it can be a gratitude letter. Just remember to be kind to yourself!

Below is mine:

Dear body,

You are my sacred place. You are my temple.
I vow to continually work towards better understanding your innate wisdom for healing yourself.
I will try to better listen to your asking for nourishment and fuel, your requests for gentle or strenuous movement, your pleas for rest, recovery, and quiet time for meditation, your requests to stretch gently or sleep a bit longer.
I will work towards leaving my ego and societal ideas about what health should look like at the door and more carefully listening to your deep and boundless knowledge…

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Live Your BeYOUtiful: Round 2, Starting April 22nd

Join us for an 8-week program of health coaching and training for women. The group is designed to foster a supportive community environment of like-minded ladies to help motivate you towards your goals. We will work together towards achieving health goals found to be unsuccessful in the past by delving into fear, vulnerability, mindset, language, and accountability in the coaching sessions. The physical activity training sessions will put these discussions into action in fun team workouts.

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Moving Towards Body Positivity and Body Neutrality Through "Acting As If" We Already Love Our Bodies

A little more in depth on what I mean by “Act As If” thinking because, as I discussed recently in one of the sessions for Pam Finney’s and my Live Your BeYOUtiful Health Coaching Small Group (more information on a new round starting in April and including more physical activity as a group to build community and confidence in working towards goals VERY SOON), this was 100% the way I overcame a lot of my issues with eating, exercise, and my body. It started off small by unfollowing everything on social media that made me feel bad. Then it moved to making myself take some time off exercise because I knew I was doing it for the wrong reasons aka to change how my body looked not feel/health reasons (only allowing walking around campus and yoga in my apartment for stress relief; NO GYM or running) and shifted towards eating foods that scared me to eat (gluten, dessert, etc.) for no particular reason other than I was afraid these foods would make me gain weight. And more recently it has involved actively allowing my body to gain weight, buying bigger pants with enthusiasm instead of putting it off indefinitely, avoiding wearing tight pants, and just hoping something would happen to make me lose weight and fit back in my pants (even though I was very upset about the new size internally), and, after all that work to get to loving and fully accepting my temporarily bigger body, THEN accepting the changes in my body as I recently lost some weight unintentionally due to stress not-eating.

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Coming Back Home into Our Bodies with Gentle Nutrition After Emotional Trauma

For me, that meant doing something that is deemed culturally “bad” like eating out for every meal when really this is something that brings me joy and ease when interspersed randomly throughout my week. My point here is that cultural notions of health really rarely serve us as individuals. You won’t see any cleanses or massive lifestyle overhauls to “get back on track” here. Just gentle nutrition. Listening to my body. Trying to hear that intuitive wisdom that our society shuts us down to. Coming back home into my body. Infinite love and striving towards body acceptance.

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Body Image and Gentle Nutrition Interview with Hannah Lowe of ROCKET Magazine

As promised, I have included the interview transcript where Hannah Lowe of The College of William & Mary’s ROCKET Magazine asked me about body image, body positivity and its roots in the fat positive movement, gentle nutrition, my experiences with my own body as a college student, my experiences becoming a personal trainer, mental health,…
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2019 Word of Intention vs. New Years Resolutions

Now, I’ve always been a goal oriented person and a perfectionist. These things have gotten me far in life, but they have also built up years of stress and anxiety that I am now in the process of recovering from and finding balance with. I can very clearly see the benefits of a goal over an intention. It seems so much more practical to implement, and it has a clear end goal and timeframe. These things are appealing to most people, but are they realistic with the ways in which we live our lives? Do goals surrounding health behaviors cause more stress and therefore physiological damage than they are worth?

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Live Your BeYOUtiful

I’m super excited to announce the group I will be starting with Pam Finney in January!!

This group is essentially the intensive version of the free BeYOUtiful You group we have been running every month for 2 years now. We will discuss health, fitness, and wellness from a MENTALLY and EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY perspective and work on a physical activity goal as a community. This group will meet every other week for 90 minutes over a three month period; each week the discussion and exercise portion will build on the last. We will cover topics like self love, body image, and self care. We want to make you fitter on the outside starting with the inside —mindset.

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Self Love and Self Care for the Holidays

I wanted to make you aware of a free Facebook group I will be running for a month during the holidays, starting next Monday (the 19th) to help you focus in on expanding the good and releasing the bad this holiday season.

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Some thoughts on Moderation and Body Diversity

‘The idea of “moderation” might seem great on the surface, but it’s become a sneaky way for diet culture and patriarchy to tell us to shrink ourselves: “It’s OK to eat a little bit, but not ‘too much.’” “It’s OK to listen to your cravings, but only if they’re the ‘right’ cravings.” “It’s OK to take up some space with your body, but only up to a certain point.” “It’s OK to speak up, but also keep your voice down.” “It’s OK to think outside the box, but don’t make anyone uncomfortable.”’

“We are sold the idea that our bodies are all meant to look a certain way – thanks, diet-culture. After examining the fossils of our early human ancestors, archaeological researchers found that body diversity, specifically larger body size, is *not* a new phenomena.”

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life is too short to hate your body

What it comes down to is:
Life is too short to hate your body. Life is also too short to not enjoy foods you love.

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Talking about Health through the Lens of Expansion (as opposed to contraction/restriction)

Hello all, The difference between Expansion and Contraction when it comes to health is a concept I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about lately, and since I’m giving a talk on the subject on November 3rd, I thought it was time I wrote a more in depth post about this. Coming from a background…
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Accessibility, Privilege, and the Wellness Community

I’ve been thinking a lot the last couple days about privilege, accessibility, and the wellness community.

I think there are two very valid and real sides to this story, and I think the first step to greater understanding is more discussion and openness so that both sides can see the validity of the other side, do what they can to help the other side, and also so we can see each other as HUMAN.

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Breathing Exercises

One of the best ways to get into meditation if you’re new to it! We’ve all heard someone tell us to count to 10 before we make a brash decision out of anger, and these two exercises are just the grown up and mindful version of that advice.

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About Ellen

Every body is a good body, and my goal is to help you feel your best!