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Athlete Spotlight: OCR Athlete Shan Khan

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Name: Shan Khan

Age: 26

Hails From: Queens, New York

Sport: Obstacle Course Racer “OCR”

Occupation: Business Development Specialist at Ford Motor Company

Fun Facts:

  1. Favorite Food =
  2. Spirit Animal =
  3. If he were running down a beach in slow-mo what song would be playing = “Let’s do Good Life” – G-Eazy

Shan began his journey in OCR a short 2.5 years ago and has made HUGE progress ever since. His dedication and determination to better himself in every way as both an athlete and person is something special. Over the last 2 years Shan has explore many distance obstacle races and discovered that the longer distance is where he shines. His race accomplishments include multiple top 10 age group finishes, 2nd place overall  in the Bone Frog 6hr race, and most recently placing 34th overall in the world at the Tough Mudder 24hr Championships. He does all this while holding down a full-time job and going to school for his MBA! We recently recorded a podcast with Shan re-capping his experience at WTM. Go to the “podcast” tab on the Link Endurance homepage to check it out!

Athlete Spotlight!! OCR Athlete Brandon Null

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Name: Brandon Null

Age: 32

Hails From: Duncan, Oklahoma

Sport: Obstacle Course Racer “OCR”

Occupation: High School Teacher & Gym Owner “Timeout Fitness”

Fun Facts:

  1. Favorite Food = Mexican
  2. Spirit Animal = Deer
  3. If he were running down a beach in slow-mo what song would be playing = “The Champ” by Nelly

Brandon joined Team Link just over 2 years ago after surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Since then he has done nothing but get stronger and faster! Not only is B a full-time teacher, he also owns a gym where he leads group training for fitness and for OCR. Brandon recently represented the U.S.A. at the Obstacle Course World Championships in London, England where he competed in the 3k & 15k race distances. Not only did he finish very highly amongst the best in the world in his age, he had 100% obstacle completion on the 3k and only had to retry two obstacles out of 99 the next day in the 15k. This is a HUGE testament to how his grip and grit have grown!! Congrats on a great season Brandon!!!

Foods to Eat/Foods to Avoid

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At LINK Endurance we coach holistic nutrition… This means that we advise a client on what they should eat AFTER we have considered their work-life, home-life, athlete-life, training-level, stress level, relationship with food, etc.

Hence: “LINK” Endurance – we believe strongly that a person is only as strong as their weakest link. We don’t ever want to give a plan to a client that might seem like an “ideal” plan but one that the client cannot realize due to a link in their chain being too weak to see it through. At this point, an “ideal” plan becomes a “bad” plan for this person. This isn’t a bad thing, by the way. We ALL have weak links… Yes, even Mo and I – though we know some of you might beg to differ. Come move in for a day. You’ll see that we’re humans too. 🙂

One of the links we come across most often that people need help with is the food they keep in their home. It is important to realize that if you don’t buy something, you can’t eat it and vice versa of course.

So I’ve put together a list of foods that we encourage clients to eat 80-90% of the time in any way, shape or form! These are the foods that you want to keep in your home… That you eat day in and day out, week after week.

On the flip side – there is a list we’ve put together that we encourage clients to eat only 10% of the time. These would be “Foods to Avoid.” These are the foods that we strongly encourage clients not to buy and bring into their homes. More often than not, if a food is available to you in your home, you will eat it eventually.

From what we’ve heard, most people we come into contact with think that Mo and I have some form of “superhero” cape on at all times and we never have temptations or, if we do, we don’t give in. Let me clear this up: this is FAR from the truth. We DO have certain foods that tempt us and we’ve both learned that when we make those foods part of our daily or weekly lives, we really don’t feel good for doing so. Namely, tortilla chips and salsa for Alix and Snickers bars for Mo. So, we don’t buy these things. We don’t keep these things in our home. But, we go out for Tex-Mex every now and then and enjoy ourselves! Or, one of Mo’s favorite treats is a Snickers the day before or after a race! But 90% of the time, we eat the foods listed in the “Foods to Eat” list below.

Let’s do a little math, shall we?

  • If you eat 3 Meals per Day + 1 Snack per Day, that = 28 times per week that you eat – give or take…
  • So, if we’re shooting for 80-90% of those meals to be made up entirely of “Foods to Eat” then that means that approx. 24-26 of those meals/snacks are within that list.
  • Conversely, 2-4 of those meals/snacks could be made up of “Foods to Avoid” in some capacity.

I hope this shifts your perspective a bit about your nutrition and how it doesn’t have to be a grind day in and day out. We’ve found that when we take the decision-making at every meal out of the equation, people eat much cleaner, much more often. But when you don’t really have a path to stick to and every meal creates a point of decision-making, it’s much easier to give into temptation. I like to call this behavior: “Pre-Made Decision Making.” If you stick to the list of “Foods to Eat” when you grocery shop, cook meals, eat out, etc. it takes a huge amount of the decision-making process out of the equation and allows you to use that brain energy for other good and you’ll also feel a hell of a lot better!

Side note: if you’re trying to lose weight, we encourage sticking to the “Foods to Eat” list 90-95% of the time (or 1-2 meals/snacks per week). If you’re trying to maintain weight, we suggest sticking to the “Foods to Eat” list 80-90% of the time (or 2-4 meals/snacks per week).

We really like to break it up this way (see below) – and this takes the guess work out of it for us and creates pre-made decision making week in and week out + consistency, which is KEY for a healthy lifestyle:

  • Monday – Thursday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are “Foods to Eat”
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Breakfast and Lunch are “Foods to Eat”
  • One Day of the Weekend (Friday, Saturday or Sunday): Dinner is “Foods to Eat”
  • Two Days of the Weekend (Friday, Saturday or Sunday): Dinner involves some form of “Foods to Avoid” – i.e. Sweet Potato Fries or Tortilla Chips or we might have dessert, etc.
  • But please note: when we choose to eat “Foods to Avoid” we eat them in moderation – meaning, we do not (or we try our best not to) over-eat – we keep portions under wraps and push back from the table satisfied vs overly full.

The list of Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid is below or you can click the link below to download the list and print for your daily use! Please note that the columns for each list are side by side – so the Foods to Avod

Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

 

FOODS TO EAT

(i.e. you keep your kitchen stocked with these foods – 98% of your intake comes from these foods…):

  • Vegetables: 1-3 “handfuls” at every meal…
    • Any color, any kind – especially dark leafy greens…
    • Organic when possible*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Fats: 1-2 servings approx. the size of your thumb finger (“thumb-sized”) at every meal…
    • Unsweetened Coconut
    • Avocados
    • Nuts* (any kind except peanuts)
    • Seeds*
    • Olives
    • Hummus
    • Ground Chia Seeds
    • Ground Flax Seeds
    • Avocado Oil
    • Olive Oil
    • Coconut Oil
    • Grass Fed Better
    • Ghee (Clarified) Butter
    • Avocado Oil Cooking Spray
    • Coconut Oil Cooking Spray
  • High Quality Proteins: 1-2 “palm-sized’ portions at every meal…
    • Grass Fed/Finished Beef
    • Grass Fed/Finished Bison
    • Wild Caught Fish
    • Cage Free Eggs
    • Free Range Chicken
    • Pastured Pork/Bacon
    • “House Roasted” Deli Meats or Diestal/Applegate Organics brands only…
  • High Quality Carbohydrates: 1 “fistful” at 2 meals per day…
    • Potatoes (any kind, any color)
    • Fruit (no more than 1-2 pieces per day…)
    • Siete Almond/Coconut Flour Tortillas
    • Beans of any kind
    • Lentils
    • Jasmine or Basmati White Rice*
    • Wild Rice*
    • Quinoa*
    • Millet*
    • Teff*
    • Fruit (no more than 1-2 pieces per day…)
    • Ezekiel/Food for Life Sprouted Bread/Tortillas
  • High Quality Dairy: Milk/Yogurt – approx. 1 cup, 2-3x per week; Cheese – 1 “thumb-sized” serving at 1 meal per day…
    • Raw/Unpasteurized Cheese*
    • Low Pasteurized/Low Homogenized Milk
    • Organic and Grass Fed at the least…
    • 2% or Higher in Fat
    • Organic Goat or Feta Cheese
  • Alternative Flours and Sweeteners: use in moderation – no more than 1-2 tsp of the sweeteners per day…
    • Almond Flour
    • Coconut Flour
    • Cassava Flour
    • Tapioca Starch
    • Raw/Local Honey
    • Molasses
    • Coconut Sugar
    • Monk Fruit Sweetener
    • Stevia/Truvia
  • Alternative Milks:
    • Canned Coconut Milk (light or full fat)
    • Any Nut Milk in a carton that does NOT contain carrageenan or Vitamin D2
  • Condiments: use as needed – please note that the Avocado Oil Mayo and Dressings do also count as an “anti-inflammatory fat” – so 1-2 thumb-sized portions at each meal…
    • Red Duck brand BBQ Sauces (any flavor)
    • Annie’s brand Ketchup
    • Annie’s brand Mustards – any kind: Yellow, Dijon, Grain, etc.
    • Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil brand Mayo
    • Primal Kitchen brand Bottled Dressings
    • Homemade Dressing:
    • Mix of Olive Oil, Avocado Oil or Primal Kitchen Mayo + Vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, white wine, red wine, rice vinegar, etc.) + Sea Salt and Pepper + pinch of Cayenne Pepper + pinch of any dried herbs you like…
  • Notes:
    • Whether buying organic or non-organic vegetables, always wash well with a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and filtered water…
    • Try to find “sprouted” nuts and seeds as often as possible…
    • When cooking any type of grain (rice, quinoa, etc.) that has not been “sprouted” or “germinated” always rinse well before cooking – and if possible soak in water for 30 minutes, up to overnight and rinse well, prior to cooking…
    • When buying cheese/dairy, it will denote on the label if it is raw/unpasteurized…

 

FOODS TO AVOID

(i.e. you do not keep them in your house or have them more than 1x every 1-2 weeks…):

  • Refined Carbohydrates/Sugar:
    • Granulated Sugar
    • High Fructose Corn Syrup
    • Corn Syrup
    • White/Wheat Flour
    • Bread, Cookies, Cakes, Crackers, Snack Bars, etc. made with White/Wheat Flour
    • Boxed Cereals
    • Corn Chips*
    • Pasta*
  • Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils:
    • Canola Oil
    • Vegetable Oil
    • Soybean Oil
    • Safflower Oil
    • Margarine
    • Low Calorie Butter Sprays
  • Artificial Sweeteners:
    • Aspartame
    • Phenylalanine
    • Splenda (otherwise called Sucralose)
    • Equal
    • Sweet-n-Low
    • Nutrisweet
    • Diet Drinks
  • Poor Quality Animal Protein:
    • Grain/Corn Fed Beef
    • Farm Raised Fish
    • Caged Chicken
  • MSG: (monosodiumglutamate)
    • Seasonings
    • Marinades
    • Bottled Dressings
    • Chips
  • GMO’s: (genetically modified)
    • All foods containing corn, unless noted on the package: “Non-GMO Verified”
  • Alcohol and Mixers: (women, no more than 2 drinks per week… men, no more than 4 drinks per week, if trying to lose weight…)
    • Beer of any kind
    • Rum
    • Tonic
    • Juice of any kind, except fresh squeezed lemon or lime…
  • Notes:
    • Great/Foods to Eat Substitutes for Chips are the following brands:
      • The Raw Coconut
      • Siete
      • Jackson’s Honest
      • Beanitos
      • Way Better
      • Any chip that is made with coconut oil or avocado oil, non-gmo corn, sprouted grains or potatoes and salt are good in our book!
    • Our favorite substitute for pasta is Vegetable Noodles of any kind. Or, try to find a quinoa pasta or spinach-based pasta…

 

 

 

How to Build a Bombproof Back

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Nothing can stop you dead in your tracks like back pain, and in my 23 years of training I’ve had plenty of athletes come to me with what they thought to be bad backs.  The reality is, they were simply imbalanced in key muscle groups and their back was taking the brunt of the imbalances.  The imbalanced muscles I am referring to are the core complex and the glutes.

 

To bombproof your back you need to build a strong foundation, and by “foundation” I mean core. The muscles of your core include the abdominals, obliques, transverse abdominus “TVA”, pelvic floor muscles, and several others. They each serve a common purpose, and that purpose is to support and stabilize your spine.  The most effective way to build strength in this “core” group of muscles, that I have found, is by incorporating 3 basic movements, or rather anti-movements.

 

The Plank:

Holding yourself in the plank position with your shoulders over your elbows, glutes, shoulders, and head all at the same level, and breathing through your diaphragm is hands down the best movement you can do to build a strong core to support your back during any activity.  This movement can be done daily.  I recommend starting with 3 sets of as long as you can hold without beginning to shake or feel any discomfort in your back. Feeling any discomfort in the muscles of your low back while planking is your body signaling you that your abdominal core complex can no longer support you in that position.  That is your signal to stop the set.

Pro Tip:

Focus on keeping a relaxed diaphragmatic breath during the plank and by no means hold your breath. You don’t hold your breath while performing your sport so don’t do it here. Also, engage or “squeeze” your glutes for 5 seconds on, 5 seconds off during each set.

 

Side Plank:

Same concept as the plank with the exception that you are on your side with feet stacked on top of one another.  You will notice after the first time doing this movement that one side may be harder than the other.  That is very common, as we tend to favor our dominant side, right hand/left hand, during sport, therefore creating an otherwise unseen imbalance.

Pro Tip:

Start each side plank on the weaker/non-dominant side. It will take more energy to hold the weaker side in the proper position, so use your energy for that side first.

 

Anti-Rotation “Pot Stir”:

Sport requires movement of the body while maintaining integrity throughout your core to stabilize/protect your back.  The Pot Stir movement can be done with a resistance band, or cable, and can be performed at multiple angles to challenge and build a strong core. Standing perpendicular to the resistance with feet no wider than shoulder width apart, move the band/cable in a circular motion, as if you were stirring a large pot.  Stay with your relaxed diaphragmatic breathing just as with the plank and side plank. I recommend 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions per side.

Pro Tip:

Challenge your core by bringing your feet closer together. The closer they are, the harder your core works to stabilize.  Also, be sure to squeeze the glutes tight during each “stir” rotation.

 

Build your butt… When your glute complex (Glute Maximus, Minimus, Medius) are not functioning properly, and you squat, lunge, step, etc. the muscles of your back take on that responsibility and can cause significant discomfort and pain.  Use this movement to build strength in your glutes that will take the stress off of your back.

 

Glute Bridge:

Lying on your back with our palms by your sides facing up, tuck the heels of your feet closely to your glutes. Engage or “squeeze” your glutes and drive through your heels. This will elevate your hips into the air into a “bridge” position. Hold for 2-3 seconds at the top and then slowly lower your hips back to the ground.  As soon as your glutes make contact with the ground re-engage and repeat for 10-12 repetitions.  Do 3 sets of this movement.

Pro Tip:

Once you can easily complete 3 sets of 12 repetitions, advance to a single leg glute bridge by extending one knee and bridging with a single side at a time for 10-12 reps. If you feel any discomfort in your back with bridging, simply lower your hips until the discomfort goes away.  That discomfort means you are bridging too high at the moment,therefore using your back muscles and you don’t want that J.

 

Each of the above movements should be performed daily, or at a minimum 4 times a week, as part of your active warm-up prior to training or during active recovery days. Make these movements a part of your daily activity, just as you put your pants on before leaving the house, hopefully, and you are well on your way to building a solid foundation for a bombproof back.

5 Must’s to Improve Your Recovery Time

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5 Must’s to Improve Your Recovery Time

Whether you’re a hard charging athlete, outdoor adventurer or a full time working parent, the last thing you want is to be sidelined from being too sore or injured from training, a race, an expedition or simply doing life.  When we train hard or race we create tiny micro tears in our muscle tissue. These tears produce a slight inflammatory response, which starts a process of healing and repair. This is how we grow bigger, stronger, faster, etc. However, too much intense training, or after a long/hard race our bodies are riddled with inflammation which require adequate recovery. Without proper recovery, the inflammation in our bodies begins to cause negative affects like excessive soreness, muscular weakness, tight/stiff muscles and joints, and more.  Inflammation left unattended will likely result in reduced performance and injury. What I have compiled for you below are my guidelines that I give to every athlete/client of mine to help reduce inflammation and speed recovery.  This protocol has helped my Ironman, Ultra-marathon, and Obstacle Course clients recover in record time.

Eat anti-inflammatory foods:

The foods you eat have a profound impact on your ability to recover from hard training sessions, adventures or races. Eating highly acidic foods, such as processed refined grains, poor quality grain-fed meats, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, and excess sugar (anything over 7g/serving) can actually increase inflammation and impede recovery time.  Instead of reaching for one or more of the aforementioned foods, choose foods that will reduce acidity in your body, reduce inflammation and speed recovery. My “go to” anti-inflammatory foods are:

  • Coconut Oil.  This super food has many health benefits, one being fighting inflammation.  Use it to sauté vegetables, as a substitute for butter as a spread or you can even put it on your skin as a “lotion.”
  • Green Vegetables. I have a saying, “If it’s green and it grows from the ground it’s good for you.” Not only are green vegetables a great source of vitamins and nutrients, the nutrients in greens help mitigate inflammation and lower our body’s ph level (Read: makes us less acidic). Sauté them in a little coconut oil and you’ve got a double whammy of goodness to help you heal quickly.  The most nutrient dense greens are collards, kale, and spinach.  The darker the green, the more nutrient dense. If you are one that really doesn’t like to eat vegetables you can supplement with GreenVibrance and get the nutrients and anti-inflammatory benefits you need.
  • Wild Caught Fish and Grass-Fed/Finished Meats. The amino acids you get from eating meat is incomparable, in my opinion, and critical to rebuilding damaged muscles. Wild caught fish like salmon are very high in omega-3 fatty acids and therefore not only give you the protein you need to repair, but the omega’s to fight inflammation. Grass-fed meats, although a bit more acidic, have a much higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Too many omega-6 fats are very inflammatory.  If eaten with greens sautéed in coconut oil, you see what I’m doing here 🙂  — you minimize the acidity and increase recovery benefits.

Breathe:

Diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, has been used for many years to calm our bodies down from the sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system and engage our parasympathetic “calm relaxed” nervous system state.  Mindful relaxed breathing has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress/anxiety, and if done daily, before or after a stressful situation, with the proper mindset can actually aid in reducing inflammation and speeding recovery. If you can calm your breath and calm your mind, you will calm your body.

Move:

A common misconception, especially when we are really sore from a workout or race, is that we should rest and not move at all.  Allow our bodies to rest and recover, not unlike the old R.I.C.E. Rest Ice Compression Elevation protocol after an injury.  What if I told you that following those theories actually lengthens the recovery process and can create stiffness and tightness in your connective tissue and joints? Even after racing a full Ironman distance triathlon I, and my clients, will go through an easy recovery movement protocol the following day. The more you sit still the less circulation, blood flow, and therefore nutrients used to heal your tissue, get to sore muscles. Incorporating non-impact movements i.e. an easy swim, an easy spin on a bike, or MOGA for 15-20 minutes a day can greatly improve recovery time.

To begin incorporating MOGA into your recovery protocol – follow us on Instagram for weekly movement posts – @themogamovement

Cold contrast shower:

The benefits of cold therapy are well documented in aiding in reduction of inflammation, improving immune function, and hormonal balance to name a few.  For the purpose of this article, when combined with heat, hot/warm water, it can greatly improve your recovery time.  When you are in a cold shower your blood vessels & muscles constrict and blood is shunted to your core/vital organs, then when warm/hot water is introduced, your blood vessels open up and fresh blood & oxygen are re-introduced.  In the latter process you are delivering nutrients and oxygen to damaged tissue that help to reduce recovery time.  A typical protocol is to take a shower as normal.  At the end of your shower go through the following protocol 10 times: 20 seconds of cold water followed by 10 seconds of warm water.  Be sure to end on cold water.  This again, is something I prescribe to all of my athletes with great success.

Supplementation:

There seems to be a bazillion supplements on the market that tout recovery benefits, and there are some legitimate ones out there, but to avoid any confusion and to keep your bank account from busting by buying multiple products here are my top 3:

  1. Omega-3 fish oil in the form of  Krill Oil
  2. Bioastin 12mg
  3. Solgar Curcumin

These 3 supplements have been tested and proven to help reduce inflammation and aid significantly with recovery from hard training sessions, races, injury, and more.

There you have it – my five, must-do, go-to’s for faster recovery! I am certain there are other methods you can implement, and/or may have implemented in your own recovery plan that have worked. If so, keep doing it! If not, give my suggestions a try and let me know how it works for you.  If you have any questions or need help creating a custom recovery protocol for your needs please contact me at mo@linkendurance.com.  Until then, train hard & recover smart my friends.

 

Mindset & Meditation: Make a Mind Shift

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“What blocks us is clear. I am too short, too old, too scared, too poor, too stressed, no access, no backers, no confidence. How skilled we are at cataloging what holds us back” – The Obstacle is the Way

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you fail by default” – J.K. Rowling (taken from the book Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

When presented with a challenge be it physical, work related or personal, are the first thoughts that cross your mind “I can’t do that”, or “that’s impossible at my age”, or “I wish I could do XYZ”? Never undermine your success or ability in the gym, in sport, or in life. Most people I speak to about Ironman triathlon, ultra-marathon, or long-distance obstacle racing all have the same response. “I could NEVER do that”.. They have already defeated themselves mentally, however when they see someone their same age, weight, disability, etc complete one of these events, their mind begins to shift from “I could never” to “I think I could do this”. Regardless of how fast or slow your finish time may be at a race, or even if you had a “bad day” at the gym or in a race, someone out in the world watching, thinks you have just accomplished the impossible. Be proud of everything you do and learn from every day, race, adventure, and trial. Celebrate the small stuff.

In setting and achieving small goals you slowly begin to build your confidence. As you do this, begin to change your self-talk from, I wish, I want, If I could only, to I am, I can, I will. Once you make that mental shift what you thought was impossible becomes a challenge that you will stop at nothing to achieve. Set small goals, but at the same time don’t be afraid to reach for the stars and set a large goal for yourself. If it scares the hell out of you… GOOD! Everyone feels fear, from the most elite Extreme Sport Athlete to the baddest UFC fighters on the planet. They are all afraid. It’s what they do with that fear that makes them special and it can do the same for you. Fear will not kill you but it will contain you. Take your fear and shift your mind from letting it hold you back, to having it motivate you to conquer it and achieve the goal.

In creating a mind-shift think about it in one more way. What if you tried to accomplish a goal for the next 20 years. Something that you thought and maybe Dr’s or “experts” said was impossible for you to do. At the end of 20 years you don’t achieve that goal. It will be so much better for you to realize and say to yourelf “I gave it my all and tried every avenue to get there”, than to never have tried at all. You will NEVER say “what if” and I guarantee you will have learned a TON about yourself in the process. That, is a victory.

Mindset and Meditation: Gratitude

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Gratitude…

 

Have you ever heard the expression, “ A little kindness goes a long way”? Think about that. If I display kindness; a kind remark, gesture, or act towards you, you feel happy, and you may not realize it, but you feel gratitude/grateful for being treated kindly. That same feeling you get when you receive a kind act, gratitude, can be felt when you practice gratitude yourself. Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be an outward display of kindness, rather, simply being grateful for people, opportunities, and experiences in your life. No one needs to know or hear what you are grateful for. You simply speak it to yourself while practicing relaxed diaphragmatic breathing and receive the benefits.

 

The act of practicing gratitude, has shown in multiple studies to alter the way our brains process information, handle stress, and more. In this article, practicing gratitude, along with compassion, was shown to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. The physical and mental/emotional benefits of gratitude have been proven. Now it is time for you to implement this practice, along with relaxed diaphragmatic breathing, into your daily routine. Here is how I suggest you start your day with gratitude and how you can use it throughout the day to keep a calm mind and body during stressful situations, and as a reminder “check in” throughout the day.

 

  1. First thing in the morning while still lying in bed and practicing your relaxed diaphragmatic breathing, think of 1 thing that you are truly grateful for. Be very specific with your thought. Visualize it. Note if there is sound, color, smell, or taste associated with it. Become fully immersed in this item of gratitude. You can even smile slightly, physically displaying your gratitude as your breathe and visualize

 

  1. Take this with you throughout your day. Perhaps write it on a note card that you carry with you, or write it in the notes on your phone. Set an alarm to revisit this item of gratitude during the day, or, if you like you can visualize/reflect on another item/items of gratitude during the day. Your options are totally up to you J. If something happens during the day that you would normally see as bad, or a failure, or upsetting, instead try to be grateful that you experienced it, as it serves as an opportunity for you to learn and grow from the situation

 

  1. At the end of your day, as you’re lying in bed relaxing with diaphragmatic breathing, reflect back on your day and be grateful for the opportunities you had to learn and grown from. Single out 1, or more, items of gratitude and repeat the steps above. See it, feel it, be it. Be grateful, be relaxed, and fall into a restful, peaceful, grateful sleep

Mindset & Meditation: Breathe

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Breathe…

We have all heard, or been told the expression, “take a deep breath” when we need to calm down from a stressful situation. We know breathing can help reduced the anxiety or stress of the situation but most of us never think or consider physiological mechanism of how it actually settles us down.

 

During the exhale of a deep diaphragmatic breath, your vagus nerve is fired stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system. This is your calm, relaxed state of mind/being, and is the key component to mindfulness and meditation. When you are calm and breathing properly through your diaphragm your ability to think rationally, respond vs. react to situations, sleep, and digest food just to name a few is at its highest.

 

A mindfulness practice begins with the breath. A meditation practice begins with breath. EVERY action, sport, day begins with breath… However, most of us begin each day in a busy hurry as soon as the alarm goes off with short quick chest breaths, never thinking or considering to begin the day with a few minutes of deep diaphragmatic mindful breathing to start your day off a bit more calm, centered, grounded and focused. Below is how I recommend you introduce mindful breathing into your day, and how to use it throughout the day to help you reduce stress and become more mindful and present.

 

  1. As soon as you wake up, before getting out of bed, take 5 minutes to lie on your back, place your hands on your stomach to feel it rise and fall, and simply breathe…. Don’t force inhale/exhales just take full relaxing breaths

 

  1. While breathing in bed try to ONLY think about your breath… Feel the air go in your nose and notice how it feels cool, then notice how it feels warm as you exhale through your nose

 

  1. When commuting to work, sit up straight in your car seat, place your hands at 10 & 2 on the wheel and repeat the same relaxing breath pattern as you did in bed. Don’t worry about other drivers or changing lanes…. Just breathe… Do this for at least 5 minutes

 

  1. Take 1-5 minutes during the day to either stand up or sit upright in your chair, close your eyes and breathe… Again, the goal is to focus only on your breath. If/when you notice yourself beginning to think about something else, that is totally fine & normal. Simply recognize that thought, let it go, and return back to your breath. Even if this is only for 1 minute… ***NOTE you may want to set an alarm/notification on your phone or computer to remind you to breathe J

 

  1. Repeat step 2 on your way home

 

  1. End the day in bed with breathing just as you began the day.. The goal is to breathe nice and relaxed, focused only on the inhale and exhale until you fall asleep. This may take a little time to nail down but within a few days of consistency you will begin to fall asleep quicker/easier with a relaxed mind and body

Happy Thanksgiving from LINK Endurance!

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Hi! Alix and Mo here! We want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and share how thankful we are for each one of YOU! We cannot begin to express the JOY that each of you brings to us – YOU allow us to wake up and do what we love – what FEEDS us – every day! Thank you for trusting us and allowing us the opportunity to be a part of your lives in some capacity!

Our goal when we started LINK Endurance remains the same today — to empower as many people as we can reach to take pride in what you put into your body and consider yourself as a WHOLE being – mind, body and heart. When you have all of  these “links in your chain” working together – you will be your best self. Our goal is to encourage you along the way and offer as much education as we can so that you know HOW to live this best life you have inside of you!

We posted this Facebook LIVE last week – for those that missed it or need the pep-talk prior to your Thanksgiving meal/time with your family, check it out here.

We wish all of you a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving!

Stay tuned for all the best info on how to PERFORM, EAT and THINK at your optimal level!

“I am” Guided Breath Practice

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This short guided breath practice is designed to help you reduce stress and go into your day with a calm/confident mind.  As you listen to this recording follow these tips:

  • keep your eyes closed and relaxed
  • breathe at your own comfortable pace
  • exhale fully on each breath, drawing your belly in towards your spine to stimulate your calm “rest and digest” nervous system