Trainer Blog

Taking Time to Breathe

I wanted to take this quiet Friday afternoon after a busy week and morning with clients and before Pam’s and my next Intuitive Movement workshop tomorrow morning to get some work done on some upcoming blog posts about weight set-point theory, about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, and about sleep/stress/metabolism. Alas, life does not always work out as planned, and sometimes the message you think you’re supposed to be giving in a certain moment, ends up being something completely different.

So instead, I would like to share something I posted in my Instagram stories today about taking time for rest and breaks to avoid burnout in the hopes that this message I am personally feeling right now might resonate with you:

can enjoy and have fun being in their bodies, that I would share some of my Instagram posts from over the last couple weeks from some chilly hikes. Hiking is something I have grown up with as a part of my life in one capacity or another, whether it was long walks on the farm I grew up on, running 5ks through the woods when I did cross country in high school, or hitting the trails in Shenandoah or along the Parkway as often as I can recently. Currently, I’m working towards letting go of that voice in my head that says a hike has to be ~intense~ to “count” as cardio and learning to appreciate that I absolutely loveee walking in any and every capacity, whether it’s a strenuous all-day hike with lots of elevation change, wandering around to explore the streets in a new city for the day, or my 5-30 minutes at the beginning of every workout where I stroll on the treadmill (usually at a fairly casual pace and with minimal incline) and clear out all the notifications on my phone and then listen to music or a podcast to clear my head for the task ahead.

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Labels (Food and Otherwise): How I Identify My Approach to Wellness

Hello all,

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post about some of my personal experiences and my own journey with health and wellness. So here’s what’s been banging around in my head lately.

I’ve written before on here about my past (and to some degree, they will always be current) issues with eating and body image, but the ways in which I am talking about them and identifying with them have changed over time. I’ve also written on here about my tendency towards plant-based eating, but again, the ways in which I am talking about and identifying with this have shifted recently and are still in flux.

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The Breadth of Intuitive Eating, the Holidays, Referrals, and Specialties

Sometimes eating is -sacred- you savor every bite, pay attention to the eating experience, and are grateful for your food.

Sometimes eating is -utilitarian- you shovel down whatever is available to satiate hunger now or overdue hunger/skipped meals due to busyness OR to prepare for hunger and a lack of availability of food in the future; it doesn’t matter if you’re multitasking or calling 3 different kinds of chips a meal; the goal is simply to get some fuel in your body to keep going because eating is the last thing on your mind in your busy life at this moment.

And sometimes eating is -fun- maybe there isn’t even hunger or responsibility involved, but you just want to eat a lot or a little of something fun and carefree just because.

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Upcoming Events & Resources

I wanted to make you aware of a handful of things!

  1. First, my fellow personal trainer, health coach, and co-leader of our Intuitive Eating and Intuitive Movement workshops, Pam Finney has started a blog including her own personal experiences with intuitively diving into her health and her journey over the years. I highly recommend you read and follow along, as her story is a fantastic one. You can find her first blog post here.
  2. Second, we just finished up the October session of our Intuitive Eating workshop over the weekend, the second of our IE workshops, and it went amazingly! We are excited to keep building and introducing more information, as well as building a solid foundation for those new to our workshops and these concepts at our upcoming workshop events. Here are the upcoming dates, so please shoot myself or Pam an email if you would like to join our community of other awesome participants!
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Intuitive Movement and Intuitive Eating Workshop Series

Pam and I are incredibly excited for this series of workshops we will be offering over the coming months, as we feel they are the most true and accessible version of the message we both want everyone to have about eating and exercise, which is that: All bodies are good. No foods are bad foods. And we all need to find ways to make movement and eating about nurturing and listening to our bodies instead of punishing them with rules and restrictions. (At least this is the very short version of what we believe and teach; there is both a longer version of this as well as a long journey as an individual to get to this place in your health journey, and we would like to help be a part of getting you on your way!)

Below is the link to the days and times for our next three workshops, the next of which is on Intuitive Movement, this coming Saturday the 28th from 9am-12 noon in the acac Albemarle Square conference room.

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Intuitive Eating Workshop & Now Offering Online Exercise Programming

I’m very excited to announce a new one-day workshop I have coming up with Pam Finney on Intuitive Eating, next Saturday, August 17th. This is the continuation of where we have been putting our energy into BeYOUtiful You and Live Your BeYOUtiful. See all the info below for more details, and feel free to shoot me an email if you have questions or would like to sign up to attend!

I’m also excited to announce a new way you can work with me through Personal Training and Health Coaching: online exercise programming. Meet with me initially to talk about your goals and physical limitations, and then together we can determine what’s the best plan moving forward. I will program a weekly schedule of workouts fine-tuned to your needs, injury history, and preferences (because the best workout plan is one you enjoy and can therefore stick to), and we can even add in a monthly online or in person meeting to discuss nutrition or other lifestyle habits that may be holding you back from reaching your goals and being your healthiest. Shoot me an email if you’re interested.

And finally, here is a bit of wisdom about meditation for your enjoyment if you’ve stuck with this post so far!

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Posterior & Anterior Chain Focused Complexes & Other Updates

Just here to do a round-up post to give you some new workout ideas and hopefully some inspiration (building off of my last post including my recent IGTV videos about my fitness bucket list) for setting goals that really matter, are sustainable, and bring joy.

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What movement brings you joy? What are you really working out FOR?

While this video is very focused on me/my goals, the point of it is to inspire you to get thinking about what really motivates you to move more and eat to fuel your body on a day-to-day basis other than just overall better lifelong health and quality of life as you age

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Revisiting Expansion vs. Contraction & Some Workout Resources

On the same lines as my last post, this will also be an amalgamation of resources (except this time my own resources), as I’ve been trying to post more workout content on my Instagram page as well as start using Instagram TV more often again to put out video explanations of concepts and such for people that learn better in that format.

Here is the IGTV video I created and posted this morning revisiting the concepts of Expansion vs. Contraction as well as some resources of past times I’ve discussed these same concepts in different formats. Choose whatever strikes your fancy!

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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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Preventing Injury: Shoulder Stretches for Lots of Time at a Desk

Try out these three moves to help prevent shoulder injury and stretch out the chest from tightness caused by lots of time at a desk, on a computer, driving, or on your phone!

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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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Somewhere between Au Naturel and Body Mods

This post is going to be a little different from some of my others, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while.

I have felt for a long time that there is a very complicated set of pressures facing womxn, femmes, and people of all genders in our fitness and beauty industry but also within feminism and the anti-diet-culture movements. On one hand there is this pressure to look “perfect,” to look this specific way, muscular but not too muscular, thin but not too thin, natural but not too natural, done up but not too done up, etc. But there is also this pressure to finally listen to our bodies, to do what feels good and natural and stop fighting our instincts so much and to fight cultural norms all at the same time.

This all goes to say, that no matter what decisions you make, you may very well feel some sort of body anxiety about them at some point. You may feel that that you are too much or too little in some way, shape, or form, or someone may make you feel less than for the way you have chosen to take care of and present your body. This is all okay. It’s okay to feel confused about trying to live comfortably in your body after years of not accepting it in our toxic culture full of competing pressures. The main point is just to continually check in with yourself and ask these simple questions: Is this way that I am caring for my body for me? Does this way that I am caring for my body make me feel happy and fulfilled?

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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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About Ellen

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