Freedom February Challenge

It's "winter" here in the United States. Some of you live in the warmer climates and won't be affected and therefore have no excuse NOT to get outside everyday! But for some of us, who live in the colder climates, areas hard hit by the recent Jonas blizzard, and regions that experience harsh winters...it can be easy to stay inside, by the warm pellet stove or fireplace.

January is almost over, and February is fast approaching. This February, I'd like to invite you to a challenge. The challenge is called Freedom February. And this is why...

Adventuring outside, exploring nature, exploring your town on foot, bicycling the beach, hiking the parks, beach yoga, park yoga, paddleboarding the nearby canals & marshes, hiking a scenic mountain trail, participating in your community's 5k....that's what freedom is all about!

A daily habit of exercising is healthy, but each workout should have meaning. Planned exercise should be meditative for mental health & clarity in addition to improving your physical fitness. The first Freedom February goal is to re-program your brain and the emotions that are attached to exercise. When you exercise, you should feel like you are exercising your freedom.

There is nothing wrong with monotonous treadmill running, mindless weight lifting, or torturous fitness classes…or wait, is there? Yes.

For example, when yoga (asana) practice is performed daily with the right intention, it is what I like to call, a form of "holistic fitness" that frees your mind & body.

But what is "right intention"? It’s when the focus is on the journey, when you are truly in the moment, in the NOW. "Wrong intention" is when the focus of your exercise practice is to achieve a posture, while "right intention" would focus on getting into a posture as a means to meditate and be at peace and feel that connection with divinity, that freedom from everything in life that pulls you down. For any type of planned exercise activity, your motivations should not involve the craving of 'worldly things'; such as impressing others, getting 6 pack abs, competition with your fellow fitness partners, doing it just because its part of a training plan, or to be ‘skinny’… come on! That’s not living…that's not freedom. You're not alone, we're all "guilty" of this. 

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THE FIRST GOAL of the Freedom February challenge is to change this mentality. Here is a list of some "right intentions" or motivations to get you started (feel free to add your own!)

"My Planned Exercise Activity will":

  • Help me feel good
  • Make me feel alive
  • Help me feel energized again
  • Help me feel healthy & rejuvenated
  • Make me feel like I'm a part of nature, the community, the universe
  • And above all, help me feel a connection with my higher power

Yoga, like many other fitness activities, strengthens & tones your muscles and improves your cardiovascular ability so that you can get outside and enjoy life to its fullest. It’s meditative so you can approach each day with clarity, eagerness and unconditional love for yourself & others. It’s an amazing stress reliever. And, if you’re practicing yoga with the right intentions, you will feel that connection with a higher power. During yoga practice there is a time for reflection; reflection of self, the world, and being at peace... oh, and FREEDOM too.

YOUR SECOND GOAL for Freedom February is to find yourself a planned exercise activity that you will practice with the "right intentions". You can choose more than one activity. For example, I focus on yoga primarily, but each day my preference can vary slightly or drastically. Some days I have an overwhelming desire to breathe in the fresh ocean air so I take my yoga to the beach and other days I have this surge of energy where I just feel freedom sprinting along the beach (and I bring my dog too, she loves those days). Other days, taking  a long exhilarating bike ride or meditative stand-up paddleboard session are in the books for me or sometimes just having a fun jump roper session...again, all outdoor activities, all activities creating that sense of freedom within, and all activities that I'm doing with the "right intention".

And finally, YOUR THIRD GOAL for Freedom February is to spend at least 15 minutes outside everyday doing a planned exercise activity (taking a walk, bike ride, or doing sun salutations on your porch for example). Free yourself from the confines of your home or office space and venture out into the unknown. Do something you never do, like play tennis or hoops at the school around the corner. Just do something that you REALLY enjoy doing outside. Go rollerblading, play fetch with your dog or build a snowman with your daughter.

To sum things up..... if your experience is similar to mine...your Pinterest feed is most likely full of pins about 'how to' get flat stomachs or a toned booty...all because Pinterest noticed that you showed an interest in health & fitness. Social media (or really any media) brainwashes us into thinking happiness lies just around the corner of getting six pack abs, the thigh gap (come on really?) and a toned butt. Consciously or subconsciously. Hence the reason your motivations to workout are focused around the physique...

I want to offer you freedom from this detrimental mentality. There is too much emphasis on the physical, don’t fall prey to the monotonous treadmill routine and weight lifting program in which your end goal intention is to be thinner, build bigger muscles, impress others, or to get a "bikini body". Please, for your own sake, take a more spiritual approach to fitness and your eyes will be opened to a whole new world. You will look forward to exercise as a time to zone out and reflect on the day, your inner self, your thoughts, your morals & your higher power so that you can live a more present, valuable & inspirational life. Exercise should be calming not agitating. Exhilarating, not forced (consciously or subconsciously). When you're exercising, ask yourself, "Do I feel alive?" "Am I just 'getting through' this workout so that I can get on with the rest of the errands and fun things I want to do today?". You should be smiling while you're exercising, laughing, & enjoying it... and hoping it won't end anytime soon. I know that is hard to contemplate, but just work through the three goals of this challenge this month and you will get closer to "enlightened exercise".

Remember, in the end it will not matter how you looked in that bikini, will it? Nope! What will matter is how you lived, with love for others and yourself. How you have left behind a dynamic legacy that will somehow help future generations in a positive way. THAT, my friends, is what will matter. So approach your physical fitness activities with love and you will see how truly uplifting & moving a workout can be!

If you want to join us in our challenge, you can follow us on Instagram @thebraveangels where we will be posting our daily outdoor activities as well as following our fellow Freedom February Challenge participants on their journey for a healthier & more joyful approach to exercise! You can also participate by posting a pic or video of your outdoor activities on Instagram and also tagging @thebraveangels in your post and adding hashtag #FreedomFebruary. At the end of the month we will choose (at random) a participant as a winner. The winner will get to choose one free tank top from our Brave Angel Shop OR a doggie tank top from our Redemption Dog Shop (winner's choice)!

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March 21 Day Fitness Challenge

Starting March 16th, I'm participating in a fitness challenge group and I wanted to share this opportunity to join our fitness challenge group with my readers!

The fitness challenge will be 21 days. One ~30 minute workout per day. We're also going to follow a results-driven nutrition plan, because diet is 80% of the equation to achieving your weight loss goals!

You can do any 30 minute workout, or you can follow the 21 Day Fix Extreme workout program that I will be doing with my fitness challenge group (there is also a less "extreme" workout program that you can do with us, called 21 Day Fix). Since I live a Paleo & Bulletproof diet & lifestyle, I have tweaked the 21 Day Fix Nutrition plan for my specific diet preferences. I have put together a 7 Day Meal Planner for Week #1 just to give you an idea of what the Paleo or Bulletproof version would be like. Download the free PDF example >HERE<. And the free excel version (so that you can input your own calories and change the meals and macronutrient percentages) >HERE<.

If you aren't eating a Paleo or Bulletproof diet, then you can just follow the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan as it is!

Here's the game plan:

21 Workouts: Do either the 21 Day Fix Extreme or 21 Day Fix workout program {or choose any ~30 minute workout that really pushes your limits and gets you sweatin'}! You can find a plethora of at-home and/or gym workouts on my site.

Nutrition: EAT CLEAN. Abs are made in the kitchen, so this is a vital part of the 21 day challenge. No alcohol, it slows down your metabolism, adds calories to your daily caloric intake, and spikes your blood sugar levels which isn't going to help you achieve your weight loss goals! Follow my meal planner or follow the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan that comes with the workout program. I would suggest the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, especially if you're just starting out with a wholefoods, clean eating approach to nutrition. It will get you on the right path!

That's it, keepin' it simple because I know you're busy! This fitness challenge is the perfect jump start to what I like to call "Spring Training". What's "Spring Training"? Winter is coming to an end, it's been REALLY cold and dismal and has put a lot of people into "hermit crab - couch potato" mode...so when the sun and warmth come back into the picture this Spring, we're going to kick into high gear with getting fit this year...THIS is "Spring Training". Not only will Spring Training get you in bikini body shape, but it will also boost your serotonin and endorphin levels to improve that mood and get you out of the winter blues. Let's just say, Spring Traning is SUPER ENERGIZING!

So this 21 Day Fitness Challenge is the perfect prelude to what's to come, Spring Training! It will kick your butt into gear and smack a smile back on that winter blues face of yours! Not to mention tighten and tone up that bod for bikini season woot woot!

Okay, enough chitta chatta, comment below if you want to join the 21 Day Fitness Challenge group!

If you need some Workout Gear, don't forget to pop on over to Brave Angel Shop for some Athleisure: Women's Motivational Workout Apparel for Everyday Use!

Any recommendations made by Natalie Krul, Brave Angel, guest bloggers, or on our website www.BraveAngel.com about weight training, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle should be discussed between you and your doctor because working out involves risks. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website or from our products or services.  Never rely on information on our website, from our products or services, in place of seeking professional medical advice.

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Fight the Flu & Cold with these 4 Natural Home Remedies

It's time to check-in and give you a couple tips and tricks to help you succeed at the January Fitness New Year New You Challenge.

This past week, you followed the January Fitness Challenge Workout Program and you hit the gym (or home gym) to work on toning and building a foundation by doing compound exercise movements, such as the Deadlift and Barbell Squats. You are probably a little sore, so please make sure to utilize the active rest day and give yourself a physical and mental break so that you can #gohardorgohome for week #2.

If you don't let those muscles rest, you will just keep yourself from making any progress (such as strength and endurance gains). So get that rest! What's a good active rest activity? Shopping at the mall! Reward yourself with a new workout outfit!

What's one of the top 10 reasons a person stops working out? They get sick! And once they take a week off, because they got the flu, they have a really hard time getting back into the habit of working out regularly. So what is a good solution to this problem? Do everything you can to ensure you don't get sick.

Easier said than done, right? The key here is your immune system. You need to keep that immune system functioning at its highest capacity during flu season. How? Consistently consuming a healthful diet (little-to-no alcohol, no smoking, avoid processed food, low sugar intake, LOTS of dark green leafy vegetables, lean proteins, LOTS OF WATER). Eating as "clean" as possible is the key.

But let me share a few immune system boosting tips, including a little natural home remedy secret concoction that I take daily during cold and flu season (or even when I'm traveling in "high risk" areas like airports/planes/buses).

#1 - Taking a Probiotic and taking Magnesium for optimum digestive health [yes your digestive system health directly affects your immune system]

#2 - Taking Vitamin D3 and Zinc

#3 - Taking Bee Pollen before going on a trip where I will be in "high risk" areas, like airports/airplanes/buses/trains or if you're starting to feel a cold coming on taking bee pollen can help keep the cold at bay.

#3 - My Secret Concoction - drinking 8 ounces of filtered water with 3-4 drops of 100% Pure Oregano Oil stirred in - this not only helps improve your digestive health but it seriously helps fight off the cold and flu (even if you've already contracted a cold, it can help your body fight it off faster) [please make sure to dilute oregano oil, take it according to directions on bottle]. I take it every night, right before going to bed.

That's it, quite simple, but it REALLY works to boost my immune system so that I can stick with my workout regimen and keep hitting it hard at the gym!

Rock on and stay strong this week during week #2 of the January Fitness New Year New You Challenge!

I am not a doctor.  Any recommendations I make about weight training, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle should be discussed between you and your doctor because working out involves risks. The information provided on BraveAngel.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website or from our products or services.  Never rely on information on our website, from our products or services, in place of seeking professional medical advice.

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January Fitness Challenge

January New Year New You Fitness Challenge

Here is the lowdown for this 20 day challenge:

I have posted the workout breakdown below. Print this out and put on your refrigerator or somewhere you view daily so it's there as a reminder of the workout you are supposed to do that day. Each day, from now until the 31st, you will do a workout. We will have "active rest" days, which means you won't have a structured workout for that day, but you still need to do something active. If you aren't sure what or how to do an exercise move on the prescribed workout sheet, just comment on this blog post and I'll help you out. You can also look up these exercise moves on youtube.com!

The workouts are pretty straight forward. There are about 8-9 exercise moves per workout, and you will do those 8-9 exercise moves as a circuit (do one exercise move, then move onto the next exercise move until you have completed all moves in the circuit which equals one round of the circuit). The last cell of each workout tells you how many rounds to do. For example: "4 Rounds 45s/10s". This means 4 Rounds of the 8-9 exercise moves and that you will do each move for 45 seconds of effort with only 10 seconds of rest between exercise moves. Use an interval timer or stop watch to stay on track! It is very important to have only the prescribed amount of rest between exercise moves because these are "High Intensity Interval Training" workouts.

If you can't do one of the exercise moves (because you don't have the right equipment or because of an injury), just substitute it out for an exercise that works similar muscle groups. For example, if you can't do chin ups than do inverted rows or bent over bar bell rows or lateral pull downs or tricep dips.

Click below link to download the PDF document for all the workouts!

Click below link to download the PDF document for all the workouts!

Click Here to Download the free 20 Day Workout Program!

Again, if you have any other questions, comment on this post and I'll help you out! Also we can chat on the Brave Angel Facebook page or on Brave Angel's Twitter page.

Rock on and comment below to let me know how the challenge is going for you!

 

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