Sparked The Fire | Courtney Ustrzycki

Sparked The Fire | Courtney Ustrzycki

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SWEAT by SlimClip Case yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7 Sparked The Fire | Courtney Ustrzycki workout women fitness
“For years I had been resistance training and what I deemed to be ‘eating clean’ yet wasn’t really seeing much changes in my body. I always felt a little soft and was missing desired muscle definition that I knew I should have had. When I went for my very first session in the Bod Pod (which is an air displacement measurement system) I was extremely shocked to know that my body was 30% fat (and that’s a lot for my body!) That was by no means acceptable for myself, and that was Day 1 of change.” -Courtney Ustrzycki

A wake up call sparked a little fire in Courtney and the flame hasn’t dimed ever since. Her approach to fitness is simple, yet very effective. It has helped her to achieve her desired results and maintain it over time.

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Training

Courtney’s approach to fitness shows that you don’t have to kill yourself in the gym to achieve results. Fitness is more so about learning your body and finding what is effective for you. “I find my training methods to be simple: stick to the movements that are effective and build up weak areas. I don’t partake in those “new and improved” fitness scams or booty-builder leg press pyramids. Squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull ups; those are the guts of my training programming and I build from there,” Courtney says.

However don’t get me wrong, Courtney can definitely turn up the heat if she wants. While the core is always simplistic, there are many variations that can provide you with more of a challenge if that’s what you are looking for. “As a powerlifter, I focus on squat, bench press and deadlift as my primary movements. To improve those three lifts I will incorporate variations of those exercises in order to compliment and crank up the intensity. But ultimately I stick to the foundation. As I always say, K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid),” Courtney explains.

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Mind

Working out isn’t the only element in Courtney’s fitness routine. Keeping a strong mindset is also very important. “Mindset is everything. Mindset is what can make or break a person, whether it’s in the gym, in the kitchen, or in the office. Your body can push through anything; your mind will give up before your body does. It’s so easy to talk ourselves out of anything that we really don’t want to do. But we need to remember WHY we chose to do this. WHY we need to lose weight or improve our nutrition. There’s always an underlying factor that forces us to make this ultimate decision to start. It takes time to build up the motivation and the dedication, that’s not going to show up at your door every morning. You need to develop that on your own. It starts in your mind,” Courtney declares.

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Advice

Courtney has had much success on her own and she seeks to inspire others as well. I think we all could learn something from Courtney, so I had to ask if she could give me or anyone else looking to make some healthy changes to their life. And of course, she delivered. “To someone just starting to improve their overall quality of life through nutrition and exercise, I would always recommend to start small. Start with small changes over time, because those are the ones that are going to be most impactful and you can adhere to. Going all-out on Day 1 is usually grounds for an overload and usually a crash and burn, and we never want that. For example, when I begin guided programming with clients, we take their current nutrition plan (or what they usually eat on a regular basis) and make small modifications to a few different things. Keeping it simple and sticking to things that the beginner likes will make the changes much more appealing and likely to stick to in the long term. I always say that nutrition is going to trump training when it comes to starting and trying to make a change. The workouts are the easy part, it’s the nutrition that’s crucial for any success. What we put into our bodies is what we can expect to get out of it. To me, it’s not 80% nutrition and 20% training; it’s 100% of each. You need to commit your entirety into your nutrition and training. So even if you only go for a 10 minute walk at the end of the day, don’t only do 9 minutes. Do the whole 10, do the 100%. Commit and follow through,” Courtney advises.

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In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?

In my opinion, the most overrated exercise is the burpee. How many people actually benefit from it? The burpee was originally created as a testing method and was only to be performed about 4 times in total. So when I see people being programmed to do 20, 50, 100, at once, I just shake my head. Why does someone who has a desk job need to do burpees? How will that improve their quality of life? I always consider my own programming and programming for my clients with the best intentions; I will create based on their needs and goals, not just how much I can make them sweat or feel like they’re dying. I think the most underrated exercise is the deadlift, and I think that’s because most people do it wrong (hurt their back), which deters people from performing it. It’s one of the most fundamentally sound exercises that requires your entire body to output energy. And in my opinion, it’s one of the most empowering yet humbling for women. Because who wouldn’t want to be able to lift three times their body weight?

What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?

My go-to snacks on the run are either Canadian Protein sample protein packs or Bounce Balls! Both so very healthy, nutrient-packed and satisfying!

What’s your beliefs on performance diet like?    Do you prescribe to a particular philosophy on diet (example: Paleo, Gluten free, etc…)?

I believe that everyone is individual in terms of nutrition. There’s no one best way that I would ever recommend. I follow a flexible dieting approach where I can really eat what I want while achieving specific macronutrient ranges on a daily basis. I fuel my body for performance and my workouts. I don’t put foods off limits because having that ‘good food versus bad food’ mindset I find to be very unhealthy. I do avoid foods that I have been tested to be sensitive too (cow’s milk, wheat, peanuts, almonds), but other than that, I think it’s all about a healthy balance that works for each unique person. When I work with clients, I customize their nutritional goals based on both their past and current lifestyle, nutritional needs, goals, any limiting factors like digestion issues, and habits. The single most important bit of advice I can give for the ‘best’ diet is: whatever truly makes the person feel good.

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Yoga Revamped| Dean Pohlman

Yoga Revamped| Dean Pohlman

A new take on the yoga movement.
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“My first time was completely on accident,” says Dean Pohlman, founder of ‘Body by Yoga,’. Dean was referring to his first time trying yoga. Imagine. One minute you’re walking down the street looking for a tailor; the next you’re drenched in sweat from the hardest workout of your life. That’s saying alot coming from a former lacrosse player. “Like most people, I was skeptical of yoga [at first]. I had always been interested, but had never taken a yoga class before that day. Two hours later, drenched in sweat from head to toe, feeling like I had just exited the pool, and utterly exhausted……. I had just completed my first yoga class. From that point on, I was sold.”

Yoga Revival

Dean’s first adventure with yoga lead him to an unexpected change in career path. He along with his partner, Paul Bolotovsky, set out to give yoga a little revival and give a new spin to it. “I saw a total void in yoga. Nobody was teaching yoga as a form of fitness; everyone was doing it as a lifestyle,” Dean says. More specifically, they set out to create a form of yoga tailored to men. Dean and Paul show us that yoga doesn’t have to be a big lifestyle change with spiritual connections. Yoga can be strictly for the benefit of your health and body. “We talk about yoga in terms that people interested in their fitness would want to hear. This is a workout that will make you better at anything you do. Whether you’re into functional fitness, lifting, or a runner, yoga will help with that. We break down the anatomy of every exercise to help you understand why it’s good for you. Our program helps you understand how it can help you achieve your fitness goals.”

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Beyond that, the two dropped some of the more uncomfortable yoga positions that men may find in local mixed gender yoga classes. “Men and women have traditionally focused on different aspects of fitness. We also have different anatomies. This creates a situation in which some of the poses men encounter in class can be intimidating, if not outright dangerous. We provide explanations and modifications so that men can experience the intended benefit out of every pose.”

The Message

Dean and Paul use their yoga workout program to send the message that; Yes, yoga can be a workout and a highly beneficial one at that. “We created Body by Yoga because nobody was making yoga accessible to people who wanted the workout without the frills.” And that’s exactly what Dean and Paul has provided. In comparison to other workouts, yoga can be far more challenging. Not only that but it can further extend the results of any other workout you put it in combination with. “Most forms of fitness emphasize strength and faster movements. Yoga actually slows you down so you can work on the other stuff and pay attention to what you’re doing, instead of rushing through the movement.” This leaves you really feeling the burn.

Dean and Paul also sends the message that yoga is no longer just for the spiritual person who has turned over a new life. A regular yoga practice can be such a useful aid for so many different types of people, fitness levels, and goals.” Thus so, Dean and Paul created ‘Body by Yoga’ to be for a variety of people. The athlete that wants to be nimble and quick will find benefits in yoga. So will the dancer that wants to increase flexibility and the body builder that wants to increase definition in their muscles. Most importantly, the average person that wants to increase their health will also find great benefit in the ‘Body by Yoga’ fitness plan. “We try to explain the anatomy and purpose for every exercise and explain how it can benefit the rest of your fitness goals.”

Where do you see yourself & your brand in 10 years?

Body by Yoga is going to be the way that most people get started with fitness-centric yoga. We will have instructors trained in body by yoga, lots of diverse workouts to cater to many audiences, and a strong commitment to doing what we started out doing – yoga for fitness.

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What’s the next frontier in building your tribe?

Releasing our DVDs. 🙂 From there, establishing ourselves as the non-weird yoga that most people won’t be afraid of trying.

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What’s next? & why?

After Guyoga, we’re releasing more difficult and more specific workout programs. Guyoga is all about teaching people the basics. After that, we are releasing DVDs focused on yoga for athletes, yoga for back care, and yoga extreme workouts.

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Aim High, Jump High | Donald Scott

Aim High, Jump High | Donald Scott

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Track and field star Donald Scott is the epitome of inspiration and motivation. Growing up Donald’s father was not in the picture and his mother struggled. Donald found himself with a very troubled childhood. He and his sisters were placed under foster care until his mother’s brother and wife came along. Blessed with family members that went on to move him and his sisters into a better environment, Donald has come a long way from where he used to be. “The most rewarding part of my journey has been the fact that I am blessed to do what God has planned for me. I believe that’s the best reward anyone can have. Yes its fun to compete, travel, win money and meet new people but at the end of the day doing what God has blessed me to do will forever be the best reward I will ever be thankful for.”

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The Beginning

Donald started running track his freshman year in high school. “The only events I knew of were just the running events and hurdles. I didn’t know there were field events until the first day of practice. I was mainly a sprinter/hurdler when I started. Shawn Proffitt, who is a great father figure in my life right now, he was my coach at the time and he basically forced me to do the triple jump,” Donald says. Donald initially wasn’t even interested in it. However, Shawn coached Donald with the knowledge that he knew about it. From there Donald went on to excel in the event even though he later found he was not using the proper technique during high school. He still managed to become a top 3 competitor in the state of Florida.

Coming out of high school, football was Donald’s passion. He wasn’t in love with the triple jump at the time. He ended up a dual sport athlete throughout college. As his college years went by, Donald knew that he could become a great triple jumper. This was especially clear when he started competing, winning and placing at the big college meets. He ended his college career with 9 conference titles, a Jr. national championship, Jr. Pan American games finalist, and Indoor NCAA Championship runner-up. He was also a 3x All-American in the triple jump.

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Motivation

For Donald, the first step to success was to establish a main goal. The next step was to follow the process in order to achieve that goal. “You have to have a great mindset that motivates you to keep pushing through all the adversity you will come upon during the season. You always have to think about why you are doing something and is it really worth the ups and downs you will come upon. Patience is the key to success,” Donald says.

“Things I believe that help me become good at what I do is staying on top of my priorities. Working out, maintaining a good clean diet, and staying positive about every situation in my life. Working out is the number one thing I must do in order to stay fit and to also get better at what I do. Getting stronger and faster is a major key when it comes to the triple jump. A good diet is a good thing to have when it comes to your body functioning the way it should. The body needs the right energy in order to perform well. In order to do that, you have to eat right the right things. Staying positive will always keep your head in the right place it needs to be. Staying on track and not letting your let downs take over and tear you down. You have to take the bad and let it motivate you to continue to do better.

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The Future

Donald certainly doesn’t plan to continue on forever. In the next ten years he plans to have his own business. For the moment, Donald is still building a name for himself in the world of track and field. He continues to work his way up on the ranking charts each season. “I just have to stay the course, perform well, and let everything else take its place,” Donald says.
Donald offers advices to others that find inspiration in his story. “The best advice I can give a young person is that if you believe that you can do something, there is nothing or no one in this world that can stop you from achieving what you want to do. You have to have faith within yourself. You have to stay motivated even when you’re having a bad day. Always keep God first because he is allowing you to chase your dreams and he will forever be your number one supporter. The main thing is patience is the key. Great things come to those who wait.”

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What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

I think everyone should either have a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike to do some cardio. Cardio is great for the body and the heart. For everyone who knows how to do squats and Olympic style lifting, they should have a bar and Olympic weights so they can do their explosion style lifts.

In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?

The most overrated exercise for me would be bench. As a jumper you don’t really need to do bench. I would rather do something like overhead push press which works on explosion while doing the push motion as bench. I think underrated exercise would be hip lifts. Many people don’t do hip lifts but I find it very beneficial to strengthen the hip flexors.

What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?

My go to snack is a fruit cup, yogurt, and/or trail mix or some kind of energy/protein bar.

What’s your beliefs on performance diet like? Do you prescribe to a particular philosophy on diet?

I would say my diet would be lean meats, fruits, and veggies. I am not the type to cut out bread or anything. Bread is full of the carbs and energy I need to get through the typical workout day. I have times where I do eat my share of candy. Although I don’t need it, I just love sweets from time to time.

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Overcome Your Hurdles | Kristi Castlin

Overcome Your Hurdles | Kristi Castlin

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Kristi Castlin is a professional track and field athlete, 100 meter hurdler, and a 2016 Olympic medalist. I spoke with Kristi shortly after she returned from Rio, Brazil where she finished 3rd in the 100 meter hurdles finals.

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Childhood

Kristi was always involved in athletics and physical activities in some way. As a child she says she enjoyed PE, field day, and even cheered.  It wasn’t until she was 14yo that she started running track though. She was a freshman in high school. When running track for the first time, she had a lot of success from the start.  Once she was able to dedicate herself to track, she was almost unstoppable. She won 4 state championships breaking a state record at her High School.

When choosing the events she wanted to take part in, Kristi dared to be different. ” I gravitated towards hurdle because I wanted to be different. It was something a lot of other girls weren’t doing,” Kristi says.

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Transition from College to Pro

Kristi went to college at Virginia Tech. When choosing a college, she had over 10 different scholarship offers. She was the first child of her mother’s children to go to college. She envisioned herself creating a legacy of her own.  She chose her univeristy with this in mind rather than following in the footsteps of legends at programs that had a long established legacy of champions.    She felt Virginia tech would be the perfect place to do just that. Indeed she picked a great school to do so. She broke records and won championships. She later went on to become the first medalist in track and field for Virginia Tech.

Transitioning from college to the pros wasn’t easy. Kristi says she struggled from a sponsorship stand point. She first received a small sponsorship from Adidas right after college. Track, like tennis for example, is a bit different than team sports where you sign with a team and agree to terms of payment.  With individual sports, you rely on sponsorships to support your training and travel so you can give your training the attention you need and travel to events to earn purses (monetary winnings).    She couldn’t find another significant sponsor to support her training.  She went on to have an amazing year in track and field in 2012 while training at Clemson. This sparked interest from other companies to pursue sponsorships with her.

Unfortunately, she suffered a minor injury just before the 2012 Olympics. This injury halted her progress for that moment. Going through the injury only made Kristi stronger in the end.

“I had to learn patience and independence as well.”

After the injury Kristi moved from Clemson, SC to Los Angeles to be with her coach. Later she decided to make another change and left to train in Atlanta at Georgia Tech.  “My coach (when I was at Georgia Tech training) helped me to learn a lot about myself.” He helped her to mature, she says. She then returned back to her previous coach back in Los Angeles.

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Mindset

“Track and field is primarily an individual sport. You have to have a strong mindset. It can be difficult to make mistakes because you have no one else to blame.”

“There is little room for error,” Kristi explains.

You have to capitalize on every opportunity. There is a lot of pressure.  Track and field also takes a great amount of accountability.” You train and manage your body, paying attention to every little detail for weeks and months on end.  All of this training and management boils down to a 12 second race that will set you off in one direction or the other.  “You need to  have a strong mental capacity to deal with the results of a race.” It takes a lot of stress management.

Kristi deals with the pressure through prayer and faith. She also works to keep a disciplined schedule. It’s important to make time for things that make you happy, but you must also stay focused and organized.

“Be flexible but always have a plan.”

Routine

A typical day for Kristi is a long one. “From the time I wake up until I finish is about a 12 hr day.”  In the morning, Kristi wakes up and goes to training. She trains about 6 hours a day. Her training includes everything from running, jumping, hurdles, drills and plyometrics, and more. She take about a 15 min break for lunch then heads to weight training for about 2 hours. After a long day of training, she will frequently see her massage therapist. She also makes time to stretch and have an ice bath to soothe her body and prepare for the next day.”

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Kristi Castlin

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PURSUIT of Happiness| Dr. Laura Miranda

PURSUIT of Happiness| Dr. Laura Miranda

A dose of fitness is just what the doctor prescribed.
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Making healthy choices and staying fit are some of the keys to living a long life. Better yet, its one of the keys to being able to actively enjoy your long life.

Dr. Laura Miranda has spent the last 17 years building a business that helps with just that. She runs a variety of programs. Laura tailors her programs so that even the busiest of women can incorporate her program into their schedule. Her leading programs are “StrongHealthyWomen” and “PURSUIT.” She also does exclusive in home training and physical therapy for those that need it. Laura gives being a doctor a new definition. She works to not only bring people back to health, but also to maintain it through fitness. Dr. Laura Miranda’s mission is to empower people in the pursuit of becoming the best possible version of themselves. She does this through a mind and body fitness approach.

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PURSUIT

Pursuit- Being regularly engaged in a quest of mind, body, and/or nature to achieve the “next level.”

Dr. Miranda describes the PURSUIT training program as an “on-the-go, hybrid conditioning workout that utilizes every aspect of the cityscape.” The PURSUIT program includes team-based training. It takes you throughout the city while focusing on adaptation and innovation. You get to play with the idea of the reinvention of just about every obstacle that crosses our path. “PURSUIT challenges the fitness status quo by unhinging the idea that “fitness” has to take place in a gym, or even just in a park for that matter. Your City + Your Body = Your Gym,” Dr. Miranda says.

But PURSUIT is more than just a local program. Dr. Miranda has spent the last year making it so that fitness instructors all over can put in place this kind of training in their city. “I have spent the last year compiling my entire 17 years of experience to turn PURSUIT into a certification and licensed business model. Fitness professionals can run their own PURSUIT outdoor fitness business in their cities around the world. Based on the success of my decade long outdoor programs in NYC, one of the most competitive fitness markets in the world, I have packaged every aspect of the business so fit pros can just plug it in,” Dr. Miranda says. Branching out allows fitness professionals a new path they can take to achieve success in the fitness industry. It also provides a new way for people to get fit!

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“It took me exactly 365 days to write, film, and compile all my experience and systems to create a deliverable product that was ready for the world to see. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I have created my manifesto,” Dr. Miranda describes. Over the years she has work with thousands of clients. She combined that with her experience in clinical rehabilitation. Lastly, she has all her education to use as well. She has bachelor’s degree in exercise science. She also has a master’s and doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.

Laura put everything together to create a proprietary training system. It fosters a sustainable expression of movement and relentless performance enhancement.
Partnering with NESTA (National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association), Dr. Miranda was able to get the PURSUIT launched in July of this year. The program is already seeing success. There are coaches in Australia, the UK, and about 30 states in the US. “To see my vision come alive in this way and to be so successful so quickly, is a dream come true,” Dr. Miranda explains.

In the future, Dr. Miranda wants to see PURSUIT as a house hold name. She wants it to be synonymous with “smart outdoor bodyweight training.” Similar in the manner as Pilates is to “core training” or as Yoga is to “flexibility.” “PURSUIT is already a successful, competitive, and easily implemented business model for trainers. I am proud and honored to provide fellow fit pros the exact tools, systems and inspiration to make an impact on the world in a way that they never would have imagined,” Dr. Miranda says.

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Rewards

Having your dreams come true is always a huge reward, yet Dr. Miranda finds another aspect of her success to be even more rewarding. “Whether I am helping NYC women change the bodies and their lives through fitness. Or if I’m equipping fitness professionals with the systems and strategies to build a lasting PURSUIT business. The reward for me is always the same. I get to empower people in their pursuit towards becoming the best possible version of themselves,” Dr. Miranda exclaims. She measures her success in the success that each client achieves. And she looks forward to exponential growth of the PURSUIT program.

“There is no “one path” to achieve success in this industry, and “success” means something different to everyone. The greatest danger lies in staying complacent in one phase of your career for too long. Being a ‘fitness rebel’ often requires you to often go against what your colleagues in the mainstream are doing,” Dr. Miranda says. So, to find the greatest success, you have to listen to your heart and be willing to take a risk.

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Another rewarding aspect of Dr. Miranda’s success is that she gets to help her clients feel empowered and strong. The term “strong” is subjective. It can mean something different to everyone. Dr. Miranda says, “The key is to identify how “getting stronger” would make them feel. The establish what that feeling would mean to them. A lot of the work that I do with new clients is just digging down to a level that helps bring out what the “feeling and the meaning” of what they are after . With lots of digging, we get to the fact that strength to them would mean that they are: empowered, driven, and confident. They are able to authentically show up for themselves. It would mean that they have the necessary fuel to keep pushing forward, no matter what adversity comes their way.”

“Being strong is not defined by a set of attributes that you have or don’t have. It’s an attitude. It is a collection of choices that you make day to day, and sometimes, minute to minute. Being STRONG isn’t something you are or aren’t. It is a mindset, and a practice, and MUST be repeated, daily.”

Motivation

To keep her clients motivated, Dr. Miranda uses a variety of techniques. The first starts with sending the right message. Women all over the world are told how they should look from a very young age. This type of messaging comes from family members, the media, and the constructs of gender roles and gender politics in our society. Society gives us the idea that our bodies correlates with our value as a person. This is not true! “I’m SO over this talk, for so many reasons. This type of language does nothing to advance the idea that we can just decide for ourselves what WE want to be. Also the way we want to express ourselves to the world. So, you know what? Here’s to a new mantra ‘STRONG is the new strong.’ How about that. The end,” Dr. Miranda strongly states.

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She also keeps her clients motivate through a 5 step process that she incorporates in the PURSUIT program…

Step one – always honing in on “why” we are choosing to make better behavioral decisions in the first place. Often they will say “I want to lose 10 lbs.” The follow up to that is to dig deeper and to get them to reveal more, a lot more. I do this by asking “why is that important to you?” about 5 more times. Finally, as we get deeper, we start to uncover the real, visceral, gut wrenching reason why they want to be change. Without having this as the driving force, falling back into old patterns becomes that much easier once the initial excitement and newness of wanting to change wears off.

Step two – Future Pacing. I have them visualize what life will be like in 3 years from today if I could just instantly make all of their dreams come true. During this process, I have them act as if success or failure didn’t even exist in the equation. Giving people the freedom to remove limitations and explore what that looks like, helps create a pathway for the unlimited possibilities.

Step three – Exploration. We then go into a process of tapping into the last time in their life when they were making consistent changes, and getting ‘ish done. We look at the feelings and emotions they felt at that time. We look at what their mindset was at the time. I have them describe the language they used to describe themselves and what they were doing. I remind them that they must start living like that now, talking like that now, acting like the person who deserves those results…now.

Step four – NOW we can get to the good stuff. I have them choose 2-3 small, daily, measurable, behavioral goals around food and exercise. We make a checklist; they follow those behaviors each day and check off if they either did or didn’t do them. This is what we use as the measure of success in this system. We do not use the black or white number of the weight on a scale.

Step five – rinse, and repeat. This is a flow chart, not a check list. We have to FREQUENTLY start back at step one because LIFE and everything else just gets in the way, man.

Keeping a person motivated starts with keeping them in a positive mindset. “Mindset, is everything. Life, business, fitness, nutrition… it is all pretty much only 20% skillset, and 80% mindset,” Dr. Miranda says. When everything in your mind flows, everything is clear. It makes you feel like you are unstoppable. The secret to maintaining a positive mindset it to create a practice that not only helps you maintain a positive and aligned mindset. You must also work equally as hard on dealing with the times when you are experiencing the disconnected or misaligned mindset. On the journey to fitness, the disconnect often happens when people have a relapsing moment. Dr. Miranda advises. “Just let people know that failure and missteps ARE actually part of the process. They contain the greatest feedback along their journey. Using this technique is a powerful tool for “motivation” and long term adherence to the program.”

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In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?

Overrated – “cardio machines.” I get it, they are easy, mindless, and allow you to shut off. But, I mean, should this really be something that we are working towards in life? An even further disconnection from our environment, from each other, and worse, from ourselves? (Let the record show that up until the mid 2000’s I was still a closeted “cardio queen.” So I know how hard it is to break the hamster-wheel-habit. But LET’S FACE IT, you don’t really even like it anyway! You can admit it; it’s ok. )

Underrated – bodyweight specific training that requires execution with precision and coordination and skill. This kind of movement hits on a level of childlike exploration and play that is unmatched by many other training methodologies. You are forced to stay focused, connected, and in tune with the present moment. Can you just FEEL the difference in yourself while reading this paragraph as compared to the last? I know, right! But in all seriousness, have you tried crawling on the ground? On just your hands and toes, slowly and gracefully, for 2 minutes straight? I guarantee you have never experienced a burn in your entire body quite like this! You’re welcome.

What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?

I don’t take the subway. I ride my bicycle all over the city, hitting about 16-20 miles a day. What I teach my clients and what I practice myself is “automation.” It’s all about planning once, setting up your environment for success (in my case, my backpack), and removing as many last minute “will power” based decisions as possible. This is what you will find on me at all times:

Fresh Fruit – this is NYC so it’s really hard to NOT have accessible food at your fingertips. But, that really is part of the problem isn’t it. So I hit the fruit stand guy and pick up a few pieces every few days.

Trader Joes Raw Trail Mix – individually packaged serving sizes which always helps for travel (and my nut-obsession), and they don’t go bad! I usually keep a stash of 5 or so on me so I don’t have to think about it or plan it each day.

Previnex Nourify vegan protein powder – Protein from plants, good fats from sesame, no chemicals, no fake sugar. I keep 3-5 servings in my bag at all times.

Do you have any tips for helping people to increase their water intake?

A behavior modification technique that my clients have really found successful is pairing the water consumption with an activity. For most of my clients who sit at a desk all day, I have them choose 1 task that they do multiple times a day, and each time it occurs, they must drink at least 12 oz. For many of them, meetings are something they repeat throughout the day. Randomly saying you will “just drink more water,” never works. We are creatures of habit and most of these habits are running under our conscious brain function. This allows us to sort through the monotony so we can focus on higher level tasks. Ever walk or drive all the way to work and realize you don’t really remember the trip? Same concept. So, in order to make a change that will last, we must disrupt the system in a meaningful way, and do it long enough to interject the new behavior into existing habits!

Another fun technique is to get a liter of water, and from the top down draw a line every 2 or so inches. Code each line starting at 9am up top, ending at 1pm at the bottom. Flip it around and draw 2pm, down to 6pm. What you have is a fun little indicator of where your consumption should be at for each corresponding hour of the day!

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Dr. Laura Miranda

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