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315: How to Make Exercise Easier (with Beth Sandlin)

Vibrant Happy Women with Dr. Jen Riday | How to Make Exercise Easier (with Beth Sandlin)

Exercise. We know we need to do it, and we all have different reasons for doing it. But a lot of women think they need to get up, work out for at least an hour and do this 5 times a week or it doesn’t count. We build up so much pressure and the thought of the perfect workout is so overwhelming and intimidating that, often, we don’t bother starting at all.

My guest this week is Beth Sandlin, and she is on the cutting edge of where exercise is going. Beth is a mom and lives a busy life, and has found a way to make exercise part of it. She joins me this week to share some tips, advice, and mindset shifts to help you think differently about exercise, and why finding the joy in it will make exercise feel easier for you.

Tune in this week as we discuss how to exercise in ways that are gentle, respectful to our nervous systems and that doesn’t make us want to quit. We’re detaching from the belief that workouts have to be set and rigid, and helping you rewrite the stories you currently hold about exercise. If you are a busy woman or mom struggling to incorporate exercise into your life, don’t miss this episode.

If you want support working towards your goals from myself and other like-minded women, you have to join us inside the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s only $47 per month, but if you buy the annual membership you get two months free!

What You’ll Learn:

  • The benefits of having a consistent exercise routine.
  • Beth’s advice to anybody looking to get started with Pilates.
  • Why deep breathing is so beneficial when it comes to pelvic floor strength.
  • Some of the reasons we might exercise.
  • My hot tip for building motivation for exercise.
  • Why 10 minutes of exercise done consistently is better than longer done inconsistently.
  • How to build exercise into your schedule
  • Why having a consistent workout routine gives you energy to thrive in your life.


Listen to the Full Episode:


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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast. I’m Dr. Jen Riday and on this episode we’re talking about exercise, specifically little tweaks and mindset shifts that make it so much easier. Stay tuned.

Hi, I'm Jen Riday. This podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.

Hey, my friends, so, exercise, we know we want to do it. We need to do it. We all have different reasons for doing it. Perhaps you do it to have a hot bod. Maybe you do it like me for mental health reasons or you just want to feel good. Maybe you do it to provide an example for your kids. Maybe it’s for social reasons. All of these are fine reasons. But there are tweaks that we can make to make it easier, to make it consistent which I think could be a challenge for all of us, especially after enduring a pandemic.

Well, my guest today is Beth Sandlin and I love her. She is, I believe, on the cutting edge of where exercise is going, more flexible, more personalized, being able to do it in shorter bursts. Did you know that three 10 minute bursts is just as beneficial as one 30 minute burst? So, we all have these ideas that you need to do a heavy duty 30 minute or 60 minute workout or it doesn’t count. And it has to be five times a week. And you need to do your strength training and we create and build up so much pressure that sometimes it’s hard to start at all.

So, in this episode Beth and I share what works for us, especially as busy women, and moms. I share some of my exercise journey, the things I have loved in the past and how that’s changing the things I’m loving now. We talk about pelvic floor strength. Hate to tell you ladies but that’s something we need to think about and so much more. I loved talking with Beth and I know you will, too, so let’s dive in.

Jen: Hi, my friends. I am here with Beth Sandlin who will introduce herself in just a moment. And we’re going to be talking about how to exercise in ways that are gentle, respectful of our nervous systems and where we’re at especially during a pandemic, and how to do it in a way that doesn’t make us just quit two weeks later. So, I’m super excited for this topic. Beth herself is a mom, she understands a busy life and has found a way to make exercise and fitness a part of it. So, she’s going to share her tips with us today. But first, Beth, go ahead and introduce yourself.

Beth: Yes. Thank you so much for having me on the podcast today. I really appreciate it. My name is Beth Sandlin. I live in Colorado with my husband, my two kids and our dog, Ria, as well. We really enjoy hanging out at home and also camping and just getting out and spending quality family time together. And I’m a firm believer that when we have a consistent workout routine, that’s going to give us energy to thrive in our life and feel good.

Jen: So, so true. So, you’re coming to us as the expert. And I’ve noticed some psychology from myself. I will put people that are really good at exercise into a camp like they’re fit. They exercise. They work out. Those are those people. And I always was psychologically putting myself into a different camp like I walk, or I do yoga. But we don’t really need these camps I’m guessing. And so, talk to us about how you got yourself into the exerciser camp and how you look at these different views like I’m sharing with that.

Beth: Well, I can totally relate because one of my stories goes back to middle school PE class. The only thing I was good at was a sit and reach. Everything else I just felt I was not good at. And it was quite an embarrassing experience. I told my friends, “I’m never going to own a pair of workout shoes”, whatever those were back in the day. And here I am now in this field trying to spread that we can find joy movement, it just may be individual to us. And so, we do sometimes have a very small box of what fitness is, or exercise is.

And like you said, you walk, you do yoga, check and check. That’s physical activity. And we can expand that to getting outside and playing, and engaging with our children. It can be Pilates like my emphasis is. It can be step. It can be kickboxing. There’s so many options and sometimes what happens is – I always say give things a few tries. The first time I tried Pilates I didn’t like it and now I’m teaching Pilates and have been for 20 years.

The first time I tried yoga, I tried that for a longer length of time in college. I didn’t like it so much. I didn’t go back to it for 10 years. Not realizing, well, maybe it was just where I was in my life. Or it could have been that particular teacher as well. So, I say give it a chance, give it a chance again and if you still don’t like it, move on to something else.

Jen: That’s great advice. So, I found for me during the pandemic when I was so focused on mental health and my nervous system was hyped up a lot of the time. And then sometimes not just hyped up like anxiety in the beginning but other times really maybe hypo aroused, low arousal where I just didn’t want to move it all. And I was streaming too much Netflix. Where is a good place to start that would match up with where we’re at with our nervous systems?

Beth: I fully agree that we need to think about what is our intention with workouts and then as well follow our intuition. And following the intuition as a mom or as a working mom, a busy mom through the pandemic. Whatever circumstances we’re going through collectively and individually that needs to help guide us. And so, what I’ve really been playing with is tapping into that more. And that actually can lead to a more consistent workout program that feels good and that you look forward to.

So as an example, it was right after, or getting ready for the holidays actually. And there was a lot of extenuating circumstances where it just felt really heavy. And my intention was to do a very challenging workout that day. And I knew that that was not what I needed. What I needed was a more slow flow restorative class. And I left the experience feeling better in my body and mind. There is a mind body connection when we work out, especially when we match it with energy levels. And it was a way to continue a consistent practice.

Now, there’s other times where maybe it feels very similar with a lot going on. But the energy state may be in a different place. And you may want that more challenging push hard workout, kind of to work through what’s going on in your nervous system. So, there’s not one right or wrong answer. And I will say this, sometimes I’ll think this is what’s going to be the class that’s good for me. And I get into it and it’s like, oh, no, this is not it. And so, I’ll stop and just transition onto something else and that’s okay too.

Jen: So, you listen in the moment and know what to do. What happens if you’re the teacher at your Pilates membership, well, this is the class, take it or leave it, right?

Beth: Yeah. Teaching live classes, the nice thing about that when I have the opportunity to do that is I can get a sense for where the overall energy level is. But that’s where I really have people tap into what they need. And I always say the classes I teach are just suggestions. And with any exercise we do we can make it more challenging. We can do a variation to make it ‘easier’, or I consider it more optimal for our body at that time. Or we can completely opt out.

So just because if I am a participant in a class and for instance, yoga teachers teaching down dog. There have been so many times, child’s pose. And I’m fully confident with that. Or if we go triangle pose, and we’re like, get your arm up to the ceiling, my arms aren’t going up to the ceiling today because that’s not what serves me. And those are just simple shifts to customize the experience. And I will say if we are newer to exercise it’s just going to take time to figure out what are our go to options for that customization?

We’re not going to know it right away and that’s why we really want to think of this as a journey and evolution, and trial and error. And support ourselves as much as we support our children in that process. I liken this to when our children are learning to walk. It’s not like they try once and we’re like, “No, you’re just done, you cannot walk.” We support them in that process. We’re like, “Yes, you fell, you tried.” And then they get up again. And sometimes they get frustrated, and we help them through that process.

If we can turn to ourselves with that same caring and compassion, think about how helpful that would be for us and also a beautiful example for those around us.

Jen: That’s great. I love that analogy. So, a lot of women, men, maybe humans think they need to get up and work out right away in the morning. It needs to be 30 minutes. It needs to make them sweat. And the thought of that perfect workout is so intimidating that we don’t even bother. So, I’m sure you can speak to the adjustments we can make, like length, intensity, when we schedule it. How do we build it into our schedule? How do we flex with our schedule?

Because I think that perfectionism with working out ends up being the enemy for me. So, speak to that, yeah.

Beth: It really does. This is where we want to tap into our energy of the present and what our energy naturally tunes to. So let me give a specific example. I am naturally a night owl. So, for people who are like, “You must work out in the morning.” That’s maybe I’ll do it one time and then I’ll just go off that. Now, I am actually in the process of slowly transitioning that story. But we’re also trying to pair this with getting into exercise, that’s not where I would begin.

So, once I went back to work full-time and I was trying to get back into workouts consistently I tried to do longer length workouts. It was too long for the energy that I had. It was crashing my system. And it also wasn’t sustainable. I can maybe do that once a week, but I couldn’t do it more consistently. So, I decided I’m a night owl. I’m going to put my kids to bed just about 30 minutes earlier, when they were younger. And I’m going to spend 10 minutes to begin working out. And then just have that a consistent practice.

And see how my energy is feeling during the workout and after. That’s checked off. Okay, well, maybe can then go up to 15, can I go up to 20? What is that good timeframe? And I still incorporate this today. I was just hosting a group call for my membership this week and there was other business things that I was doing that day. And I got on my Pilates mat, it was 10 minutes right before my call and that’s what I could do for that day. And I felt good about moving my body in a way that made sense for that day and not stressing about it.

Jen: So, a lot of people listening might say, “10 minutes, but that’s nothing. What’s that going to do?” What do you respond for that statement?

Beth: It is that 10 minutes done consistently is far better than one hour or even 30 minutes done inconsistently. And for many people, 10 minutes, maybe that lead in, that you stay there for a month or two months. You build a sense of trust that you’re going to show up for yourself for 10 minutes, or maybe you shorten it to five sometimes. And then that can expand. You start creating a routine around the workout, whether it’s first thing in the morning if you’re an early bird, maybe it’s your midday break or evening practice.

And especially for those people who are moms, or working moms, or have some sort of combination of a whole bunch of other responsibilities, like I feel most of us do at this point. Breaking it up into shorter segments, if you wanted to do two of those in the day, it’s a 20 minute workout. So, if during work instead of for lunch you took your full hour lunch, you spent 10 minutes for a maybe slightly faster walk and then had your lunch. And after you came home from work you did another short 10 minute routine. Well, that’s a total of 20 minutes.

Now, that combined 10 and 10 is something I would suggest after someone has already incorporated a more consistent 10 minute routine. And it really gets into what works for you. So, if someone is like, “Well, I already have my 20 minutes consistently or 30 minutes.” Well, that’s the time that works for them and that’s amazing. So, start where you are with the time that you have.

Jen: That’s good. And does this work even if you have young kids? A baby for example, a new baby, they need you at any moment. How do you incorporate it in a situation like that?

Beth: Well, I remember when I had, you know, it was a transition once I had one child and then I figured out my optimal workout routine. And it keeps changing because the kids’ nap schedule keeps changing. Or you think you got it down and they wake up unexpectedly. Or they just are having an off day and then we’re having an off day. And then you have two kids. Oh, my goodness, and I don’t have the experience with three. But there is all these different ways that we fit it in, and we want to just be mindful of where we are now.

For when I was a brand new momma, it was okay, I’m going to want to prioritize sleep at times. Because we know if we’re stressed out because of our sleep, and that actually does stress our system out when we have lack of sleep. We’re not going to be able to feel good when we move. Now, there’s things that we can do to incorporate our children, going on a walk, playing with them at the park. And it was once I had two kiddos I got a running stroller. And I was like, “Okay, I’m going to start running.” Running’s not my jam, I kind of go into and go out.

And I’m like, “We’re going running, kids.” And I’m running, what I consider running like, “Mom, when are you going to start running?” I’m like, “I’m running.” So, it is just do what you can. And getting out there and playing with your kids, if they’re a little older, that toddler age and they really want that engagement like a lot of toddlers do. That’s part of physical activity. I think also detaching from that workouts always have to be set, and rigid, and just on our own, or going to a class. It’s the physical movement which we can do with our children as well.

Jen: Absolutely. It’s so funny, this conversation is kind of my brain is looking back at the different ways I’ve worked out. In high school it was easy, I did sports. Or my mom taught me to walk, in college I walked. Then I decided to join basketball and I did that. And somewhere along the line I realized when I didn’t walk my mental health was blah. So, I started to walk more for my mental health, for my happiness and energy than my body. But somewhere, somewhere in my 40s I realized my core is really no good.

I had some incontinence, so you teach Pilates. Speak to the reasons we might exercise. And about this age now where I’m at, everyone says, “You really need some strength training, some toning.” And I’m believing that now. I really do need not just to look hot and beautiful, that’s not my goal. But I want some stomach muscles so in 20 more years I can get off the ground. And I don’t have to pee my pants when I cough or yeah, TMI but I think a lot of people out there have the same thing.

Beth: It’s the reality of the aging process especially if we’ve had children. And so, I think normalizing that is beautiful. So, people feel, okay, it’s normal experience and change is possible. So, so many people who I know and myself included we work out exactly like you’re saying, not for the better body but because we feel better and it’s for our mental health. We can also, another way we can say that is for emotional regulation. I realized when I have a more consistent routine I am a better human being which mean I’m a better partner, I’m a better mom. So, a better person overall.

And a lot of people, once they get away from working out for this muscular gain and if that works for someone that’s great. But that can be very short term when they start tapping into the essence and energy that’s more optimal. Now, the next aspect is we’re aging. I’m in my mid 40s as well. And I always say today is the youngest we’re ever going to be and there’s changes that occur as we age. There’s changes that occur because of the pregnancies that we have had if someone has been pregnant.

So, balance, yes, muscle mass generally decreases. And it is a matter of I want to feel good getting up off the floor, in and out of that chair and not feel I have to use my arms too much. So that’s where that strength training component comes in. And it doesn’t have to be, again, really long. So, beginning with two times a week, focusing on what you enjoy. And so, for me I teach the Pilates method. Now, we can take all our Pilates workout to make it more strength, incorporate some sort of resistance, whether it’s with resistance bands or weights even.

Or if someone, if they don’t like Pilates it could be standard more traditional weightlifting that they may do either in the gym or at the home, bar classes, CrossFit, there’s so many options now. And that’s the beautiful aspect and also where it gets overwhelming because it is, well, what should I do? And I always say, “Center yourself and your practice. What do you enjoy doing? Because that’s what you’re going to be most consistent with.” And at the same time, we have to rewrite that story. So, I had to rewrite my story that I couldn’t do push-ups.

That was my story as a child. I can’t do push-ups. My younger sister can, I’m just weak, I can’t. And now I can. And there’s been points in my life in my adult life where I wasn’t able to. But it’s through tapping back into challenges in the way that’s right for you right now that you’re going to get stronger. So, start small and just small areas that build.

Jen: That’s great, yeah. So, speaking of Pilates which is there are exercises that use weights and then there’s body weight, or just using your body to strengthen your body. I guess, speak a little to that. Some people think you do need to lift weights, is that true? What does the science tell us? And then also tie it into pelvic floor strength which is a huge theme for our age group and beyond.

Beth: Yeah. I’m going to reverse it if that’s okay and begin with pelvic floor. Because one aspect is we want to work from the inside out and establish that strong foundation. And so, a strong foundation is pelvic floor, internal core support muscles. So, what we know is if someone is experiencing incontinence, or we hear this a lot from moms who when they laugh they leak, or there’s this urge that they always have to go. Now, we probably want to work on that before we get to more of the traditional strength training.

And I suggest if available start with a physiotherapist who has a specialty in this because I think we were trained, or lots of us know, I just need to do Kegel exercises. Well, that may actually not be the truth. And that’s not something that I as a Pilates teacher can evaluate. This is where a specialist can help. What generally can help if maybe someone just senses it's maybe minor, is actually deep breathing.

This is why it’s embedded in yoga and Pilates. It’s focusing on alignment which is why both Pilates and yoga can help with pelvic floor and for moving in a way that has some awareness of over-posture, what I mean posture, I don’t mean that it has to be perfect. It’s just that we’re trying to find a more natural.

Jen: Sit up, Jen.

Beth: Exactly. It’s the complete opposite. Posture is free and flowing. And I slouch throughout the day and that’s okay. However, I can be aware of, can I find ease and maybe sit up a little bit taller to align the body. And so, it’s through alignment. And then if needed, some very specific exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor. I would say both in Pilates and yoga, there are some movements contraindicated and also strength training if someone is currently experiencing some sort of pelvic floor for lack of a better word, dysfunction.

However generally most of the exercises will be really safe. So, once we have that pelvic floor and it’s healthy and supporting us internally, with body weight, with actual weights both are good. Is there a right or wrong? No. I do both. And this is where it gets like, but I just want to do the one thing and at the same time some variety in there is really helpful. So, I suggest if you’re interested in Pilates to begin maybe without the weights, understand the concepts. And then we can incorporate weights into that routine. If maybe Pilates isn’t your jam then starting with a weight class.

And I always suggest, our body and mind is beautiful and cruel at the same time. I remember when in college I was able to lift that heavy weight, or remember when I went to the gym and to that group fit class. And we did an hour long circuit training class and I rocked it. And that’s maybe not where we’re starting right now.

Jen: No, not at the end of the pandemic or wherever we are in the pandemic.

Beth: So, it’s that shorter segment. It’s giving yourself time. And I suggest starting lighter in the weights that you think. And then if you’re feeling good the next day we can go up a little bit during the next workout.

Jen: That’s great advice. Yeah, the idea that we need this hour long class can be so defeating for some of us. I’ll just share my best tip, I swear, just standing up and saying, “I’m going to move to one song.” Inevitably becomes four, five or more songs. So just turn on some music and move and it will become something, worst case scenario. So that’s my hot tip for the class. I’m sure you have many, many more though for motivation.

Beth: No. But I think what that example highlighted was finding joy, enjoying it, and saying, “I’m going to do one and then we can add on.” And this is actually what happens as well for my shorter workouts on YouTube or within the membership is sometimes people say, “I’m just going to start with that 10, 15 minute class.”

And if they’re not bound by extra constraints of getting the kids somewhere or making dinner, sometimes they tag on that next 10 or 15 minute workout. And then all of a sudden it is a longer class but it’s starting small and finding enjoyment in it. And then that’s the catalyst for change.

Jen: It’s so true. Start with five minutes, my friends, you can do that. Just imagine me with my music. And there are apps that teach you to start with the seven minute workout, seven minutes of strength training. It always becomes something more. By the end of my song, I start cleaning the house and all this other stuff. And I’ll look at my Fitbit and it will tell me I had all these zone minutes just because I turned on the song. So, I’m with you on that for sure.

Beth: And do you know you bring up a really good point about cleaning the house. That we dismiss that as overall physical activity. And there was this study, and I’m sorry, I cannot cite who did this study. But it was a study of people who worked in hotels and did clean the rooms. And one group of people they said, “When you do this, you actually burn a lot of calories”, which that’s for me, that’s not why I work out. But it’s actually really good for your physical health. And the other group they did not tell this to.

And it was very interesting that the group they told this to, after a few weeks in time they actually saw some weight loss, some significant change and they changed nothing else. They did their daily activities, their job. It was the mindset that what I’m doing is good for me. And so that’s why I think when I clean or do these other activities this is good for my body. This is movement.

Jen: And I have noticed with that when I have moved there’s a little shift and my eating will change that day too because I moved. I am more fit so therefore my eating must follow this new identity of what I did this morning. So, I think you’re right, it has a huge effect. That’s a crazy study though. Wow.

Beth: I know, it was so powerful. And as much as we know about, know more now about health, and wellness, and fitness, and physical activity, and sleep, and nutrition, and there’s so much more to be explored. And that’s what’s really exciting. And we’re starting to lean into personalizing this more rather than just these are our standards, this is what you must do. It really is getting into the personalization even in medical care and treatment.

And that’s what’s exciting because that’s what’s going to make it more motivating and accessible for people. That drive like, you mean that me walking my kids and playing at the park, that counts? It does.

Jen: It does, yeah. I wonder why we all think it has to be so intense, we need to be runners, we need to be jazzercizers. I don’t even know what the cool fitness things are. But yeah, the ideal seems so far that why would you start? So, I think that’s smart that they’re changing it.

Beth: I think it goes into clever marketing, honestly, from the fitness industry for years. And if we think about why do we have this concept that it needs to be an hour long workout? And I was just talking about this the other day on a live that I did. It’s because that’s what works for the gym model for group fit classes. If you think about paying an instructor, it’s not going to be worth their time to come in and teach a 10 minute class. It needs to be that full class.

Or if the gym is 10, 15 minutes away from you, why would you want to go do a 10 minute class? The drive there and back would be longer. And that’s the benefit of home workouts is that you can be more consistent. Now, there are some gyms who are shrinking that time, the shortest amount of time I have seen is 25 minutes. But again, if someone lives further away they’re like, “I don’t want to drive to the gym”, if you even care at this point, for a short class. However, we have taken that into it needs to be a long workout to be effective.

And this was research done when I was in college, so this was a long time ago because I graduated in 2004, showing that 10 minute workouts especially if you wanted to do 10, 10 and 10, break it up throughout the day are just as effective as smushing them all together. And something that helped me was, it was when I went back to work or when I went to working full-time. I tried to do the longer workouts and I had like, can you work out four days a week for hour long? And I failed, and I failed, and I failed, I got frustrated and I just wasn’t making progress.

I wasn’t feeling good, or if I was making progress the kids would get sick. And then I would have to miss a workout, or we’d have a meeting. I mean all these individual circumstances. So, I said, “I’m going to work out every single day for shorter lengths of time.” But this is what I knew. I would at least miss one day even if I didn’t feel like working out that day. And it kind of lessened the guilt that I missed a workout or even two. I was still working out more consistently than when I said, “I’m only going to work out four days a week for an hour long”, because that felt such a big takeaway.

And if we think about how do we incorporate an hour somewhere else into the week, that can be really challenging. So, if that works for someone, that mindset of I’m going to try every day really short and if I miss a day or two, no big deal, wonderful. I know it works for some people and I know it doesn’t work for everyone.

Jen: Yeah, for sure. An hour sounds huge, yeah. So, I recently started playing pickleball last September. And I’ve become totally obsessed. It’s a sport my gym teacher in high school was ahead of his time and taught it to us. And I can still play, and I was competitive. And now I’m taking lessons and I don’t know. Why I’m sharing this is, is it has awoken something or awakened, I don’t know what the proper word is. It has awakened something in me I forgot was there. This fierce side of me, this person I kind of locked away in the high school or college who wants to compete and dominate. And it’s cracking me up. I didn’t even think that was in my personality anymore. So, I guess it’s bringing, yeah, mental health benefits but an element of youthfulness that I thought I had lost. So, speak to kind of what you’ve seen in your clients in terms of personality shifts and big life changes just as a result of adding an exercise that they love and can stick with.

Beth: Well, I love that you’re getting into pickleball. My husband has recently got into that over the years. He’s like, “Okay, they have one in our community, you need to get into that.” And my story is, I don’t do group sports because even at elementary school I didn’t feel good. But your story has motivated me now to really go out there and try.

Jen: Well, okay, I have to say I have a friend who moved to where you live, and she said there are courts where you live. So, you can meet up with her and play. I will connect you.

Beth: Awesome. And I will not be good. I can guarantee you that.

Jen: That’s okay, yeah.

Beth: But I will learn. And if we think about pickleball before getting into how exercise can be transformative for personally or for in general, that, the shifting and stopping that you have to do in that kind of sport is actually really, really beneficial for everyone especially as we’re aging. It helps work that balance. And so, incorporating that is amazing.

As far as shifts that I have seen from just beyond my personal shifts. It’s made me a happier person, a better person. But for people who I work with they recognize the same aspects. As they lose, they come in like, “I have to do the rollover just like you Beth. It has to look like yours.” And then they shift to, “No, this is how I feel. I feel stronger. It’s a possibility now, I have more energy to go hiking. I have more energy to garden. I’m not tired at the end of the day.” And that’s only because they’re tapping into the classes and routines of what’s optimal for them because a lot of people I’ve worked with, they have had that kind of yoyo of exercise.

I have experience as well where they try to push too hard, follow someone else’s plan to a tee and it can’t deviate. And then all of a sudden they’re burnt out. And rather than mood boosting it’s energy depleting. And it’s more frustrating. And so, carving that time out of our day just for us is very valuable. And that’s something that I think as moms we need to be able to do a little bit more. And I’m always experimenting. But I was really experimenting with how do I fit workouts in with two kids, young kids who are no longer napping?

And it wasn’t an option anymore to be like, “You know what? Go in your room for a little bit for quiet time.” We had kind of transitioned out of that phase. And so, I thought, I go to the park. I’m going to do park workouts like I see. And my youngest said to me, “Mom, why can’t you just play with us?” And it was this light bulb moment. One, I need to engage with them. And then set aside time for them. And physical activity with them is still movement. So, there was that unpacking.

Another thing was when I tell them, “I’m going down for 10 minutes, for 20 minutes to work out.” It allows me to have more quality time with them later in the day. And another aspect here that I was thinking about as I dropped my kids off for physical activity years ago was so many parents will drop their kids off to physical activity and just sit there and wait. And I would get out of the car and walk, and do something during that time.

We cart our kids around to explore different physical activities that they enjoy, dance, soccer, volleyball, baseball, football, whatever it may be. And then we just sit and wait. And if we want movement to be part of their life we have to show that it's for us too. And what’s beautiful now is a lot of things are online. But even at rec centers there were adult dancing classes. And I never participated because of my time commitments, always being at home.

But there’s a lot of different opportunities to go to a rec center and try something different, a gym, working out at home makes a lot of sense for me as a mom. But I know some people like to go and get away. And we go and get away because it’s good for our mental health, our physical health, it is energy lifting. So, there’s a shift in the spirit. And then we bring that positive energy back into the people who we engage with. And that’s what a lot of people have seen. That’s what keeps them dedicated or committed. It’s not because we’re being good or because we have to. It’s because we feel better along the way.

Jen: I love that. You’re talking about how you feel and how you’re showing up, and there’s no mention of the scale and the calories which there’s nothing more depressing than exercising to lose weight. Who even knows? You might retain water. You might be building muscle. I just love that it’s about how great you feel. And you have a zest for life. And I want to have balance in my older age. You mentioned that. By the way the older people I play pickleball with are fantastic and dominate me most of the time because they’ve played so much longer. I can see the benefits in all of the people I’m playing against. Some are in their 80s who are better than me. It’s so cool.

Beth: Yeah. And that’s why age really is just a number and not an indicator of health. And it’s interesting because I don’t have a scale. When I go to the doctor and they weigh me, I’m like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And let me give a very real example that I went to the doctor recently and I had gained weight. And I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting. Whatever. The next time I go will it be a different number? Possibly. But I have been sitting at home more in my old job working.”

There was a time when I was building the business of Trifecta Pilates and working a full-time job. But what that full-time job did was I took the train. I had to walk to the train station. I had to walk from the train station then to work and then back. So, I just got more steps in throughout the day. And so, it’s just like, okay, it is what it is. I think that there’s going to be change now that I’m aware of it. But I’m not hyper obsessed with it. But we leave competition to the side and what’s really challenging right now is that sometimes there are teachers who make it about the competition.

Now, if someone likes that and they like to see where they are on the leader board, great. I know for me that doesn’t work. I recently just got a spin bike because that’s what I was getting into at my old job. I’d take a little break and there was a spin class I could go to for 30 minutes. And then I could rush back from lunch and continue on with my workday.

So, my husband bought me one and it’s this program. And after the class it tells where I am. Well, in the most recent class I was number 48 of 65 people. And I was like, one, I don’t care. Two, that’s not very motivating for me because I am just getting back into this. I am working on my technique. There’s even a technique with spin. And I don’t care what other people are doing. I just wish that that actually I could opt out of them showing me where I am, or that we could in general. Because it makes it about what other people are doing and not what we’re doing.

For that other person, for everyone who was above me, it could have been because they have been spinning for two years and that’s all they do. And they don’t have maybe a more well rounded program. It could be because they were pushing so hard, they are going to just crash and burn afterwards which happens a lot in workouts. There’s all these aspects. And so, it’s not about comparing. I can look at someone who’s a professional cyclist or a runner. And that can be motivating. But at the same time, I have to realize that’s not my passion.

My passion is just to feel good and be in my life fully. And so, competition, and scales, and weight, they don’t come into play with how I teach or how I personally move with fitness.

Jen: That’s so important, yeah, competing with ourselves, not really even competing with ourselves, but improving. We all are wired to grow and improve. And yes, I could hold that pose longer. I don’t even know all the Pilates moves but I’ve heard of toe taps. If someone says, “Okay, this was motivating, I’m going to start with my core because that’s where I need all the work.” They want to do Pilates, where would they go to learn about Trifecta Pilates?

Beth: Yes. I am on YouTube @trifectapilates. You can search me up at as well. I’m on Instagram. And if you’re brand new I highly suggest getting started with the seven day Pilates for beginners series. We do get started with the core. And then we progress and kind of build and see the connection, short workouts. They’re a little bit longer meaning around 15 minutes. But most people can swing that. And if you can’t, there are even shorter workouts on the YouTube channel.

But whenever we’re getting started in a new program I really suggest if you can follow a plan, and I teach a plan with flexibility. That’s helpful because it can be really overwhelming to be like, “What should I do? Okay, do one class, what’s next?” So, the seven day program just gives people easy to follow, you can do it seven days in a row, alternate days. There is other ways that we can customize it as well, just to get in there and see how you enjoy Pilates.

Jen: Exactly. And if you don’t enjoy it then try something else next.

Beth: Exactly. Please just find movement and even though I’ve been teaching for 20 years there has been times where I’ve been like, “I’m going to try focus my energy a little bit elsewhere.” And that’s actually when I got into yoga. And seeing how they actually can complement each other. And what are those beautiful differences as well and it’s just about finding joy, not feeling, I’m a Pilates teacher so I only can do Pilates. There is a whole bunch of different movements to explore.

Jen: Yeah. There’s so much out there. I have a friend who just took belly dancing, that’s crazy and so cool. I want to try that some time just to try something new.

Beth: Belly dancing is so liberating. It’s so fun. It’s also really, it just feels grounding, and challenging too because we’re asked to move in a way where in a lot of fitness classes we aren’t asked to move that way. Maybe a little bit in a Zumba class. We may get into moving the pelvis, or some sort of other dance class. [inaudible] is another example. But yes, belly dancing is really fun too.

Jen: Cool. I’m going to try it. I’ll report back. Well, Beth, this has been so fantastic. I appreciate all the wisdom you’ve shared. And thank for you being an example for all of us. We can move. I feel inspired and capable now, which was the goal, so thank you.

Beth: Wonderful. And thank you so much for having me on.

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About jen

Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.

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