The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women to be Self-Love in Action


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Take Your Personal Fitness Goals Up a Notch With These Workouts (Video)

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It is spring, and summer is just around the corner! It is time to get those bodies moving. The benefits of physical activity are boundless and the impact is long-term. If you haven’t exercised in years or even never – this is the time to start! And if you are a veteran, it is always good to change up your activities to keep those muscles guessing.

Exercise controls weight, combats diseases, improves mental mood, boosts energy, improves sex life (YEP!), and it can be fun (seriously!). I have made great friends through fitness groups. Exercise comes in all forms and intensity levels; finding the right fit for you will ensure success.

Interval Training

I use interval training with all of my clients and in my group classes. I prefer this method because twenty seconds looks different for everyone and it is the best way to burn calories, build muscle, improve endurance, and meet your personal fitness goals.

You can turn anything into interval training! For example, during your morning run, for twenty seconds, sprint; rest for ten seconds, and repeat eight times. Or instead of regular pushups, perform pushups for twenty seconds, rest for ten seconds, and repeat six to eight times. Pushing your body out of its comfort zone coupled with the short rest, pushes your body into the anaerobic zone where most of the good results are seen.

The other great thing about interval training is that when you are done, your body enters Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). After all of the intervals, your body is in a state of restlessness but wants to get back to rest. While in EPOC your body is adapting to the previous exercise, restoring oxygen, repairing cells, and continuing to burn calories.

Interval training and EPOC improves your body’s ability to use oxygen, which means better endurance and more energy.

Try a few of these interval training workouts below:

 

In Health, Fitness, and Love!

Megan

For additional fitness coaching, contact Megan HERE.

And, of course, check out Megan’s other health + wellness tips and advice, HERE.

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Megan_Weidner[PRC Health Contributor]Megan Weidner is the Health + Wellness contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective; she is a fitness coach and environmentalist in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. She manages a global sustainability and corporate responsibility program for a large multinational company; her areas include environmental compliance, social equity, community engagement and health and wellness. Megan is also devoted to Rock. It. Fitness., her fitness and natural skincare business. She is committed to making the world a better, more environmentally friendly and healthier place through motivation and education. She is certified through AFAA and Tabata Bootcamp.  She has a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science (University of Missouri), a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Policy (University of Denver) and an M.P.A (University of Missouri).  She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three kids.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Tanu

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of our Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority. This week’s motivated and courageous Phoenix is Tanu:

 

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“I read books on spirituality from around the world, attend weekly seminars, and meditate. I indulge in creative activities; I paint and sketch because it’s like meditation.”

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

Loving myself first means that I pay attention to my needs and ensure my progress, growth, and experiences as an individual.

I love myself first by taking care of my health: mental, spiritual, and physical. It also means to respect my time by focusing my energy on fulfilling and nurturing relationships. I surround myself with people who respect me and friends whom I can count upon.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)

To take care of my mental health, I push myself out of mundane and repetitive tasks and put myself in new and challenging environments. I play puzzles and games and maintain a healthy social life.

To cater to my spiritual needs, I follow the teachings of a live Spiritual Master.  I read books on spirituality from around the world, attend weekly seminars, and meditate. I indulge in creative activities; I paint and sketch because it’s like meditation.

I stretch twice a day. I love the outdoors: biking, walking, and hiking. I am a vegetarian by choice, and I don’t have a sweet tooth. I eat home-cooked food with fruits and vegetables, and I have a nutritionist in the family who is always available for sound advice about food products and the nutrients in them.

Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led you to a deeper love for who you are?

Spending a year being bed ridden and then bouncing back to life made me empathetic. It also made me respect my time, energy, and every moment spent without being in pain. I understand the real meaning of living every moment.

I suffered immense pain for six long years with a deteriorating back and hip joints mobility until I was finally diagnosed and given the right treatment for arthritis which had destroyed both my hip joints; by then I had been completely immobile. This was the time when a few things happened to me: One, the realization that a disabled person’s life is really hard. A lot of people don’t seem to give it a thought. I used to be one of them. Two, emotional pain, that of my parents. I saw in their eyes the look of helplessness as they watched me suffer. They were more miserable than I was. This made me look for solutions even more aggressively. Three, realizing that we are all fighting or have fought silent battles, and some struggles are not visible to the naked eye. We should always make an effort to be kind. While I look very normal from the outside – no bruises, no cuts, no bandages – within it’s not the same. Never judge.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self love is one of the most empowering facets of my life. If I love me, I can then take care of my surroundings and people who surround me.  It gives me confidence and immense inner peace. This helps me take on challenges in life, and also make balanced and courageous decisions.

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Join the Collective. Share your self-love story with us. Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and we’ll send you follow-up info. Sweet. Short. Simple!

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Erin

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of our Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s inspiring Phoenix is Erin:

Erin’s journey to better physical health and wellness is definitely inspirational, and we know her transformation will motivate and empower many women!

Two years ago Erin weighed almost 280 pounds and was a type-2 diabetic taking two types of insulin. After losing her job (and facing the possibility of losing her health insurance), she spiraled into depression. “I didn’t like or even begin to understand what it meant to love myself. I felt like I had no control over my life and at the age of 25 that did not give me much hope for my future.”

With a very strong determination to take control of her life and actively work toward more health conscious decisions, Erin prayed to God for purpose, strength, and guidance. “I decided I was tired of paying $200 a month for medicine I did not need to be dependent on. I decided I was tired of fearing being judged on my appearance before going into job interviews or my own self-consciousness holding me back. I decided that if I was unhappy with something, I DID have the control to change it.”

She stopped breaking promises to herself, started counting calories, and began using her gym membership (that previously collected dust). The pounds gradually dropped! Erin found the clarity she yearned for (and more self-confidence too). She recognized that her commitment to positive change led to more experiences she wanted to have, and with each determined step to get healthy, Erin lost more and more weight. In the process she steered her life in a new direction, found a love that she (for the first time) believed she deserved, and pursued a career that landed her the dream job she wanted. That’s not all. Because of her dedication to health and wellness, she was also taken off her diabetic medicine.

Erin passionately continues her health journey with strengthened faith, and today she is 155 lbs (so you do the math). “I was a woman on my knees praying to God for clarity, for reassurance that I was going to get through the storm though in my heart I was doubtful. I am now a woman who still prays for strength to weather my storms but never doubts that I will get through them because my past has shown me that once I do, the future is so much brighter.”

 

How inspirational is this Phoenix? Kudos, Erin! We applaud your courage and we’re so happy you shared your self-love story with us.

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If you’d like to share your self-love story with The Collective contact us here.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Diverse women tell stories of triumph, share personal affirmations, and declare love for their lives! The series is meant to inspire and empower women to fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self-esteem.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.


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The Take 3 Method: Eating the Right Amount of Good Food at the Right Time

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I like fitness, but I also like to eat.  I would assume the latter part of that sentence is true for most people. I mean, seriously, food is good and we need it to survive. That is why I am not a big fan of diets. Instead, I believe in eating the right amount of good food at the right time.

As part of my Tabata Bootcamp program, I talk to my clients about nutrition.  Nutrition is an extremely important part of your life and fitness program.  Bad nutrition can completely sabotage a great workout.

Every time you sit down to eat ask yourself three simple questions:

  1. Am I hungry?
  2. Is it a good choice?
  3. How much do I need?

 

Many times we eat out of boredom: While we’re sitting at the computer, watching a movie, or reading a book. Or we eat because it is convenient: At a party, “food day” at work, or meals sent over by relatives. Before you eat, ask yourself if you are really hungry. If your answer is “no”, stop there! Also, try drinking a glass of water then waiting. Our stomach sends the same signal to our brains for thirst as it does for hunger. You may think you are hungry and really you may just be thirsty.

If you truly are ready for a meal or a snack, the next question should be, “is it a good choice?”.  Yes, you may be hungry, but a Snickers bar from the vending machine is not a good choice. Instead, pack carrot sticks, cucumber slices, almonds, low-fat cheese, pistachios, or fruit.  If you are at dinner, go for the whole grains and lean meat such as fish or baked chicken instead of fried foods or red meat.

PhotoGrid_1428275789533-1The last important question is about portion. I grew up in an Italian family where you were expected to eat the full portion and usually a second helping as well.  However, despite your family’s expectations or what society tells us, we do not need to finish everything on our plates.  In fact, most restaurants give us way TOO MUCH food!  Eat slow and drink lots of water.  When you are full…stop! If you are at a restaurant, immediately ask for a to-go box and box up half of your meal before you even take a bite. This will remove the temptation to eat it all. This last question is also important if you allow yourself to have dessert: Take a few bites, but you do not need to eat the whole piece (or whole bag of cookies)!

Food Journaling:

I also recommend finding an accountability partner.  Together keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat during the day and then at the end of the week share you journal with your partner.  If you know someone is checking your progress, you are less likely to eat the bacon cheeseburger and fries.

There are great apps available as well to help you track your food intake, such as MyFitnessPal.

Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. If you are committed to living a healthy lifestyle, don’t forget the importance of healthy food choices.  Step away from the diet and choose to use the Take Three Method.

In health, fitness, and love!

Megan

 

Want more details on The Take Three Method? Well, take a look at the Tabata Bootcamp Nutrition Guide.  For additional fitness coaching, contact Megan here.

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About the Contributing Writer:

Megan_Weidner[PRC Health Contributor]Megan Weidner is the Health + Wellness contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective; she is a fitness coach and environmentalist in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. She manages a global sustainability and corporate responsibility program for a large multinational company; her areas include environmental compliance, social equity, community engagement and health and wellness. Megan is also devoted to Rock. It. Fitness., her fitness and natural skincare business. She is committed to making the world a better, more environmentally friendly and healthier place through motivation and education. She is certified through AFAA and Tabata Bootcamp.  She has a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science (University of Missouri), a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Policy (University of Denver) and an M.P.A (University of Missouri).  She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three kids.


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AFFIRMATION OF THE DAY: Notice Great Things!

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Believe it, Phoenix! Great things DO happen to you everyday – big and small. You can recognize them by choosing to live in the moment.

Practice mindfulness. Take a few deep breaths and just be present.

In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Practice sharing the fullness of your being, your best self, your enthusiasm, your vitality, your spirit, your trust, your openness, above all, your presence. Share it with yourself, with your family, with the world.”  (Book: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life)

Tip: As a way to express gratitude for and assist you in the practice of recognizing those great things (big and small) that happen in your day, journal about them or share the experiences with someone who will appreciate and support what you’re doing, the new, positive habit you’re creating. Notice how these simple, yet very impactful, exercises shift your perspective and overall mood.

Mindfulness is integral to your commitment to be self-love in action. Practice!

 


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A 6-Minute Workout: Never Underestimate Yourself and What Your Body Can Do (Video)

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A few weeks ago, I held my first “beginner” class at a studio in Green, Ohio. The participants were shy and nervous, but they ROCKED it! So many of the women in my class had not exercised in years; some had injuries, most were not happy with their current weight, but all were motivated to make a change. Because of that motivation, they ventured out in a particularly cold and snowy northeast Ohio night to let some stranger work them out. The most exciting thing about this whole experience is that these ladies were NOT beginners! My classes are not easy; even when the title of the class says “beginner”, it is a tough workout. Too often, the first step is to believe in ourselves; to know that we simply…can.

My point to all of this? Do not underestimate yourself and what you can do. If you haven’t exercised in months, years, or never in your life – start now! Now is your time. Start slow and find something that you enjoy. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a gym membership or a trainer; most things you can do in the comfort of your home. A trainer or fitness coach is great for motivation and for showing you how to do new exercises, but again, don’t underestimate you.

Below are a couple of example workouts to get you started and for additional motivation!

Consult a physician before engaging in any type of workout. Warm up and cool down adequately.

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Lunge Demonstration – Megan Weidner, The PRC Health + Wellness Contributor

Workout #1 – Lunges

High knees (step or jog) 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds

Side lunges alternating sides 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds

Repeat both

Jumping jacks (step to the side or jump) 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds

Step back lunges alternating legs 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds

Repeat both

Push-ups (from floor or wall; you can drop your knees on the floor and push up) 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds

Plank 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds

Workout #2 – Burpees

Tabata: Burpees – 20 seconds; and 10 second rest (Repeat 8 times)

[Also, click here to learn more about Tabata]

Jump or step side to side 20 seconds, 10 second rest

Squat walk (squat position, take two steps forward and two steps back, repeat) 20 seconds, 10 second rest

Repeat

Here’s How to Do a Burpee:

Start by adding a simple 6-minute workout each day. Most of my clients find that getting the short exercises completed in the morning is best for energy levels and for their schedules.

In health, fitness, and love,

Megan

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Megan_Weidner[PRC Health Contributor]Megan Weidner is the Health + Wellness contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective; she is a fitness coach and environmentalist in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. She manages a global sustainability and corporate responsibility program for a large multinational company; her areas include environmental compliance, social equity, community engagement and health and wellness. Megan is also devoted to Rock. It. Fitness., her fitness and natural skincare business. She is committed to making the world a better, more environmentally friendly and healthier place through motivation and education. She is certified through AFAA and Tabata Bootcamp.  She has a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science (University of Missouri), a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Policy (University of Denver) and an M.P.A (University of Missouri).  She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three kids.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Lizzie

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of our Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s inspiring Phoenix is Lizzie:

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

Loving myself first has been a work in progress because my kids are still very young and it seems natural for mothers to put their family’s needs before themselves. However, as I grow older, I have realized that it’s important to reserve some daily down-time for me. I make time to practice yoga often and try to incorporate meditation. I am a highly goal-oriented person who loves to live at a fast past; therefore, my yoga practice helps me to focus and quiet my soul.  I have discovered that when I begin my day with yoga and meditation, my day seems so much calmer, and it feels like I have been kind to my spirit, so the act of loving myself first is quieting my spirit and taking time to just listen to what God wants me to hear for the day.

I also like to reward myself with “spa days.” I enjoy just getting away for the day to be pampered – leaving all the kid-chauffeuring to my husband.

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Lizzie’s first half marathon: “Running is spiritual for me and that is why I don’t even listen to any music while I run.”

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)

I truly believe in the connection of mind, body, and spirit. Before kids, I used to run daily, and I went to the gym twice a day (in the morning before work and back again after work) in order to make it back home just in time to have dinner with my husband. Yes, exercise and good health were my life before kids. After all, I lived on the East coast and that was the thing to do.  Just last year, I decided to rekindle my old hobby of running and completed my first Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio. This was probably one of my most exciting days that gave me such a sense of accomplishment (as seen on my photo wearing my medal). Running is spiritual for me and that is why I don’t even listen to any music while I run. It’s a Zen moment where I just want to feel the wind and hear all the natural sounds.

I love to set goals, and my quest to achieve them fuels me, and I feel good about myself.  I also love to travel and see the world. My most sacred place is anywhere near the ocean. The ocean’s power and serenity reminds of the glory of God. My most memorable vacations are in locations where I can hear the relaxing sound of the ocean. I cannot think of anything more calming.

Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led you to a deeper love for who you are?

Three years ago, I had to make an emergency trip to South Africa because my mother had encountered a serious cardiac illness. After returning from that visit in January, I was so thankful that God had graciously spared her life and wanted to focus more on gratitude. I then made a conscious effort to give up meat during the month of January. I chose January because I do not believe in setting resolutions; instead, I set goals. Consequently, January has become my month of thanksgiving, fasting, and focusing more on what goes into my body. I use this time to slow down and focus more on loving my body and appreciating my life.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love raises my awareness of how important it is to remember to take care of myself. Because I am an extrovert, I have to constantly remind myself that I do not always have to engage in external activities. Literally, I feel like my being craves stillness each day. I am very comfortable with being alone in stillness or immersed in a good book. Consequently, my next goal for this year is to begin to take at least one annual mini vacation by myself just to relax and pamper myself. I am calling these trips a “mommy hiatus.”

Lizzie’s LYFF Collage:

We asked Lizzie to also submit photos demonstrating self-love in action or even photos that radiate the feeling of loving who she is. We created a collage (shown above) of the awesome images she wanted to share.

Lizzie selected these images because “the first one (top right) represents my love of the ocean. This was on vacation in Jamaica, a place that I love! My second photo (bottom left) is of my yoga practice – warrior pose! And the last one (bottom right) is my first half marathon day in Columbus, Ohio with my medal.”

Below is also a quote that she loves and shared with us; it describes her love and comfortability with being alone.

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Thank you for sharing your self-love story, Lizzie! You are definitely a Phoenix Rising.

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If you’d like to share your self-love story with The Collective contact us here.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Beautiful, diverse women tell stories of triumph, share personal affirmations, and declare love for their lives! The series is meant to inspire and empower women to fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self-esteem.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.

 


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A Healthy, Fit New You – Every Movement Counts

PhotoGrid_1422966824372 IT’S A NEW YEAR, and here’s to a new you! Let me introduce myself: My name is Megan Weidner; I am 34 years old, a mother of three kids, a wife, an tree-hugger environmentalist by day and a fitness junkie coach by night. I own and operate Rock. It. Fitness  – an energetic, effective, and FUN in-home, online and group fitness bootcamp.

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Megan, Health + Wellness Contributor: “In all seriousness, moving is essential and every movement counts.”

Fitness is much more than dieting and taking a few classes at the gym – it is a lifestyle, and as the health and wellness contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective, I hope to inspire you to live a healthy, happy, and prosperous life through activity and healthy eating. My disclaimer: All of my exercises are suggestions. I am not a nutritionist but through my own experiences, life choices, fitness training and reading, I believe I have the knowledge, and definitely the passion, to help you create a new you in 2015. So here we go… ACTIVITY TIP:I like to move it, move it…I like to move it, move it…I like to…MOVE” (If you’re a mom, dad, aunt, grandmother, sister, cousin, or teacher you know EXACTLY what movie this is from and you just danced in your chair). In all seriousness, moving is essential and every movement counts: Walking out to the mailbox, walking to the copier at work, playing with children, dancing, and of course, biking, running and lifting. In my classes, I use a method called TABATA; it is awesome, and with an awesome workout you get awesome results. Tabata pushes your body into the anaerobic zone; the zone where the body is forming lactate and promoting strength, speed, power, and muscle-building – basically where all of the good stuff is happening. Tabata is a form of “high intensity interval training”, but please don’t be intimidated by all of those words; you can turn anything into a “tabata”.  A tabata exercise means that you are taking your current level up a notch or two for twenty seconds, back down to normal for ten seconds, then back up for twenty seconds and repeating eight times for a total of four minutes. Try adding this to your walk around the block or on the treadmill: After warming up, increase your speed or jog for twenty seconds, then slow down or walk for ten seconds, and repeat eight times. The up-down, up-down is the basis of interval training and is going to push your body into the anaerobic zone. It will also give you noticeable results when you use it weekly. Your energy levels will increase and your endurance will improve. You’ll start to tone, lose pounds, and gain muscle. And, oh my goodness, I almost forgot to tell you one of the best things about tabata: EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This is the period after your tabata workout, up to four hours, marked by an increased rate of oxygen intake when your body is returning to its resting state; however, while it’s returning to that resting state, it is continuing to burn calories and tone! There is SO much to share, but I think starting with a little exercise tip is a good way to begin my journey with you and 2015. Please share your fitness questions in the comments section; I look forward to connecting with you. Learn more about Rock. It. Fitness.  Be well.

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About the Contributing Writer:

Megan_Weidner[PRC Health Contributor]Megan Weidner is the Health + Wellness contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective; she is a fitness coach and environmentalist in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. She manages a global sustainability and corporate responsibility program for a large multinational company; her areas include environmental compliance, social equity, community engagement and health and wellness. Megan is also devoted to Rock. It. Fitness., her fitness and natural skincare business. She is committed to making the world a better, more environmentally friendly and healthier place through motivation and education. She is certified through AFAA and Tabata Bootcamp.  She has a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science (University of Missouri), a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Policy (University of Denver) and an M.P.A (University of Missouri).  She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three kids.


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AFFIRMATION OF THE DAY: I Am Grateful For…

gratitude affirmation of the day[phoenixrisingcollective]Gratitude opens the door for so much more abundance and happiness in all aspects of your life.  And this is the season for deeper spiritual reflection and renewal, so as you contemplate and do a personal review of this year (or even this week or just today) what are you most grateful for?

Start your affirmation with four simple words: I. am. grateful. for. Let the other words that follow simply flow. Don’t put any restrictions on what comes forth for you. Allow each expression of thankfulness to fill you, and then take a deep breath and release it.

Share in the comments below. We want to hear from you!  Be self-love in action. Express your gratitude.


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SELF-LOVE TIP OF THE DAY: Dance!

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[Photo Credit: Derek Bridges; Jazz & Heritage Kumbuka African Dance & Drum Collective]


Dance! When was the last time you moved your body to release stress and anxiety? Movement is healing. You don’t need a partner. Have a dance party for one! Get up and move. Freestyle. Let it all go. Dance!

Be self-love in action.