Blue? Manage Mood-Swings With Exercise

We’ve heard it over and over again about how exercise produces endorphins, those “feel-good” chemicals our body unleashes when we’re working out and releasing stored toxins in our muscles. We know that exercise improves our mood and in some cases even counteracts clinical depression, as well as improving a number of related health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.

But how exactly does exercise help us to feel happier and more alive?

Aside from producing endorphins, neurotransmitters, and endocannabinoids – chemicals known to decrease anxiety, depression, sadness and negative thought patterns – exercise also boosts the immune system, producing a general physical well-being, and raises body temperature which has been known to calm stress.

Other benefits of regular exercise include:

  1. Increased confidence in one’s physical appearance and physical abilities.
  2. Increased range of motion and flexibility, allowing for pain-free enjoyment of a wide range of physical activities.
  3. Increased control over weight-gain and muscle tone, improved appearance and relief from minor aches and pains in the joints.
  4. Increased interest in healthy eating as a natural result of getting more in touch with our bodies, which in turn will decrease the amount of toxins in the system that feed negative emotions
  5. Increased social interaction can have positive effects on one’s mood and disposition if one chooses to work out with a group, take a class, or join a gym

Generally, the more you exercise the more these benefits are pronounced in your body and life, and the less you’ll find yourself combating depressive episodes and negative mood swings in life.

Overall, if you wake up with the Blues, consider going for a brisk walk, or maybe jumping some rope. You will instantly note that your body is helping you improve your mood by producing feel-good substances and reinforcing the spirit of energy over lethargy, health over illness, and cheerful agility over emotional and physical stagnation. That little emotional perk that you need may be as easy as mustering up the willingness to go out for a brief walk, do some stretching in your office chair, or hit the gym after work.

Weak in the Knees? You CAN Fix That!

As we get older, many of us complain of weakness in the knees and chronic knee pain. Many of us see this weakness as part of the normal run-of-the-mill process of aging, and basically an inevitable malady of getting older. But boy is that ever Wrong! Strength and flexibility in the knees and legs are essential to maintaining our balance, coordination and health as we age, and yes, there ARE things you can do to strengthen your knees and legs so that they can carry you solidly and firmly throughout your entire lifetime.

One thing we must remember is that the knees are only one set of joints in a system of joints that support our entire bodies. So, for example, an injury to the hips or ankles will affect the strength and condition of the knees, because the system of joints in the body is all connected. Posture is critical to the health and strength of our knees, hips and ankles, and so is muscle tone around the ligaments that keep our joints functioning optimally. In order to keep our legs and knees healthy and strong, our entire bodies must be strong and tone, and our posture must be optimal.

At Morphe, our regular Gravity Training routine includes plenty of movements and exercises that strengthen the knees, hips and ankles as well as improving overall balance and posture. Here is a list of some of the basic exercises that help to maintain optimal flexibility and strength in the knees and legs:

  1. Squats ~ these strengthen and tone hips, legs, buttocks, knees and ankles and are an essential staple in any fitness routine. Using Morphe’s Gravity Training System to do your squats on the board also allows for variations such as single-leg squats with legs crossed over knees, or ski squats which help to strengthen knees, calves and ankles and encourage improve coordination. Start with sets of 25.
  1. Jump rope: three minutes of jump rope daily not only provides cardio and fat burning but also strengthen the hips, legs, ankles and knees, encouraging flexibility and strength in these joints. Variations on jump-rope techniques strengthen different leg muscles while also aiding balance and posture, all of which help to maintain better leg and knee health throughout life.
  1. Lunges: variations on this exercise help to open the hip flexors which in turn support mobility and flexibility in the knees. Again, doing these using the glide-board that’s part of our Gravity Training System allows for many variations that strengthen and tone the calves and buttocks, supporting the legs and knees. Start with 20 on each side.
  1. Step-ups: this exercise not only builds strength and flexibility in the knees, but also enhances balance and coordination, strengthening our posture and indirectly supporting leg and knee function as we walk and go about daily activities. Using a low surface approximately 2 feet off the ground, start with 15 forward step-ups with each leg. Variations on this exercise might include extending the raised leg either in front, to the rear or to the side while stepping up.
  1. Walking: This should already be a part of everyone’s daily routine, but it won’t hurt to remind you: walk at least 30 minutes daily and if possible 1 hour daily. Try to walk on different types of terrain including concrete, grass, sand and indoor flooring to strengthen your feet, ankles, legs, knees, buttocks and hips. There is no greater exercise for building strength, balance and posture than daily walking, and your knees and legs will thank you as you grow older.

Burn Baby Burn! 7 Tips to Heat up Your Metabolism

Wondering how to get the most out of your workouts – how to get your burning speed from 0 to 100 in a matter of minutes? Here are some general lifestyle tips that will keep your metabolism burning optimally so you’ll really see those results quickly this summer!

  1. Eat Breakfast! This is a simple fact: everything that burns needs fuel. If you want your metabolism to start off the day in Burn-mode, give it something to burn! Be it fresh fruit, whole grains, eggs, bacon or dairy products, breakfast is the meal that clenches your burning agreement at the start of the day.
  1. Stretch! People who stretch in the morning and throughout the day enjoy increased range of motion and always seem to look great. This may be due to the increased supply of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs that is produced by regular stretching of the body, which also coincidentally leads to a faster metabolism.
  1. Hydrate! Most people have no idea how quickly a human body becomes dehydrated. It is said that by the time your mouth feels dry and you feel thirsty, advanced dehydration is already underway at the cellular level. Needless to say, your body cannot efficiently burn calories for fuel under this debilitating condition. The average human body should consume at least 6-8 glasses of water daily for optimum health and function. This will help to maintain a healthy metabolism as well as digestive regularity.
  1. Snack! In order to keep the metabolism burning, the body requires constant supplies of proper fuel. Essentially, some foods truly nourish the body and encourage increased metabolic activity. These foods include all varieties of raw fruits and veggies, particularly berries, lemons, limes, apples, beets, carrots and all green vegetables; nuts such as pecans and almonds, or nuts in the form of nut-butters; and low-fat animal proteins such as yogurt and cheese, fish, chicken or turkey. Avoid refined sugar and wheat products, fried and processed snacks and things filled with chemicals like High Fructose Corn Syrup. By eating several small snacks throughout the day and remaining active, your metabolism maintains optimal burning levels all day long as it receives small offerings of nutrients it can convert into fuel.
  1. Juice! Drinking raw juices containing such fruits and veggies as pineapples, papaya, cucumber, celery, kale, berries, mango, apples, kiwis and bananas—particularly early in the day—kickstart and fuel your metabolism while also providing hydration in the form of liquid nutrients. Although juicing does not take the place of drinking sufficient water, a juicing regimen in addition to regular daily hydration means your body will be functioning at a standard above average, and your metabolism will have the support it needs to burn fat and calories at its maximum capacity.
  1. Exercise! It can’t be said enough times: exercise is essentially what causes your body to burn fat. Without it, there is no burning, there is no conversion of stored nutrients into fuel for energy: In fact, there is No Energy and we become swollen, sloth-like, lethargic and, very often, depressed. A simple routine of 25 jumping jacks, 25 squats, and 25 push-ups daily is enough to heat up your metabolism to ensure a day of healthy metabolic activity and prevent weight-gain while strengthening the body’s muscular system, improving posture and training your body to burn!
  1. Sleep! Not getting enough sleep is one of the chief contributors to a chronically sluggish metabolism and its consequential complications that include inflammation, compromised immunity, and weight gain. A minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a night is required by most adults to provide sufficient rest for all of the metabolic functions of the body. Like any other organism, a tired metabolism cannot work as hard as it should. Rest your body properly and feel the difference in increased vigor, strength and energy in the morning.

Morphing As a Way of Life

A lot of what motivates clients to return to Morphe again and again and stay committed for years is the transformation that the Morphe philosophy encourages in each participant. Over the years, I’ve watched my clients transform their bodies, lives and outlooks through consistent discipline fueled by positive thinking.

Well guess what? This model of transformation, growth, expansion, satisfaction, and success that the Morphe Method encourages in our clients doesn’t only apply to our bodies, minds, and spirits; it also applies to the business and career sector of life. As a matter of fact, the energy generated by the Morphe Method of transformation is so powerful that even Morphe itself as a business is now undergoing an explosion of growth and transformation!

That’s right: As a consequence of 10 years of dedication, discipline, goal-setting, and positive thoughts, Morphe will be moving in March 2015 to a permanent new location! We will also be expanding our offerings to include special fitness programs for youth and greater visibility and engagement in our community. Our Gravity Training and Combination Rock Climbing and TRX Anti-Gravity Training will be expanded as will our wellness therapies and spa treatments including Massage, Acupuncture, Ultracavitation, Infrared Body Wrap and Therapeutic Ultrasound.

I am extremely optimistic, excited and thrilled to be at the threshold of a change like this with Morphe at this moment, and want to thank all of my dedicated clients for their dedication, discipline and loyalty, and especially for using the Morphe Method of personal transformation to transform your own lives and, by extension, the life of Morphe itself!

With my deepest gratitude,

—Roberto

 

 

The Morphe Method for Total Fitness: Happy Mind, Healthy Body & Strong Soul

The Morphe Method incorporates every aspect of wellness into a series of classes and treatment options that address physical, mental, and spiritual conditioning: building strength, balance, endurance, and inner peace.  Let’s select which Method components are right for you and get you on the road to total, holistic self-renewal!

Roberto Santamarina, CSCS, is a Master Trainer dedicated to health, fitness and life coaching. Morphe Studios is Roberto’s Gift to his beloved Miami – a boutique fitness studio devoted to unleashing your hidden potential for growth and life transformation through physical activity, spiritual awareness and positive habits that help you achieve all of your personal goals.

The Morphe Method, rooted in Roberto’s philosophy of unifying mind, body and soul, along with his caring approach of focused personal attention to each client, guarantees that your experience at Morphe will be specifically tailored to satisfy your individual needs. Roberto has assembled a team of masters in health, wellness, fitness and spa treatments to ensure your results will encompass every area of your life to guide you toward the total transformation that you dream of!

“The Key to achieving a true metamorphosis is to think positive, take action and develop a well-balanced you.”
—Roberto Santamarina

Stretch, Breathe & Relax

Beginning in October 2013, Wednesday evenings at Morphe will be the place to be to get your regenerative groove on.  Stretch, Breathe & Relax is the newest of our class offerings, focusing on the regeneration and rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul by combining total-body stretching with profound breathing techniques, visualization, and deep relaxation.

Rooted in such ancient practices as Yoga, the practice of uniting breath and motion to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit is not new.  What many don’t realize, however, is that stretching exercises often cause a slew of injuries: in fact, it is in the act of stretching that human muscles are most easily injured.  Stretching exercises must be done in a proper sequence, with the breath used as an instrument to support the intensity and variety of different movements.  This workshop will guide you through a series of physical movements that allow your entire body to stretch and release physical as well as emotional tension by using the breath in harmony with the body to achieve maximum results.

It is important to warm up and cool down the body at the beginning and end of any stretching routine.  It is also extremely important to utilize breathing techniques to allow for greater extension and increased physical flexibility.  The combination of deep breathing, visualization, and physical movement working in deliberate harmony allows for a far deeper experience of stretching, elongating muscles, promoting balance and proper posture, and releasing psychological, emotional and physical stress.

The act of stretching, done properly in conjunction with deep breathing, relieves muscle tension and pain, increases suppleness and elasticity in the joints, and promotes blood circulation to the entire body, including the internal organs. It also strengthens the core, tones the entire body, quiets the mind, and builds physical, emotional, and spiritual strength, endurance, balance and flexibility: the path to holistic rejuvenation.

Maintaining Proper Posture and Balance

Your sense of balance functions through a dynamic process in which your brain and body assimilate and respond to physical information using your eyes, muscles and nervous system as a means of relating physically to the world.

Proper posture is an integral part of human balance. The way in which you hold up your body actually makes a huge difference in your ability to maintain proper balance. By improving your posture and thus your sense of balance, you improve your physical stability and increase your overall mobility, as well as preventing many injuries and pain in the back, neck and joints.  Overall, proper posture and a healthy sense of balance can mean the difference between feeling the years creeping up on you and maintaining your youthful energy and vigor.

Your sense of balance begins to deteriorate at around age 40. Poor posture and lack of balance is often associated with an increase in falls and injuries, such as wrist and hip fractures, even in younger adults.  To prevent this deterioration, it is important to practice proper posture and perform simple balancing exercises every day.

How can you improve your posture?

  1. Book it. Walk around for five minutes each day with a book balanced on your head.
  2. Sit Up. Make sure that your computer monitor and chair are ergonomically arranged so that your back remains straight and relaxed, with elbows comfortably bent at a 45° angle and feet planted firmly on the ground while you are working on your computer.
  3. Stretch.  Remember to take frequent breaks during which you stretch your back and shoulders by gently bending from side to side with one arm extended over your head.
  4. Step in Line.  When walking, always shift your body weight from heel to toe, using the entire foot to support your weight.  Place one foot in front of the other and direct your body weight in a straight line.

How can you maintain your sense of balance?

  1. Stand on one leg.  Try this at first for 10 seconds, then close your eyes and continue for an additional 5 seconds.  Repeat with the alternate leg.  Practice this exercise at least once daily.  You may need to hold on to a table or wall for the first 3-4 seconds before letting go.  As you become accustomed to doing this exercise every day, your balance will improve drastically and you will be able to hold the position for longer periods.
  2. Balance Beam. Try walking on top of a straight and narrow surface, such as the curb of the sidewalk, a wall or a real balance beam.  This exercise strengthens the coordination between your eyes, muscles and nervous system, and will greatly improve your balance when practiced regularly.
  3. Walk backwards. Walk backwards for a stretch of 10-15 feet using a wall to guide yourself. Try not to turn around and look behind you, and maintain an even distance from the wall while walking.
  4. Get out in Nature. Nature is strategically designed to help humans improve all of our physical and psychological capabilities.  While walking along a dirt road or trail, your sense of balance naturally kicks in to keep you from stumbling over obstacles on the uneven ground, and from bumping into trees and branches in your path.  A weekly nature walk goes a long way toward improving your navigation skills in the physical world, and your sense of balance will be among the first to reap the benefits!

Morphe’s Simple Formula for Success

 

The difference between people who are living their dream life and those who are stuck in a rut waiting for change to just happen is very simple:  successful people set goals – and furthermore, they achieve them!

Why does this work out so well for some of us and not for others?  Do successful people know some kind of secret that helps them fulfill their life goals?  How can the rest of us get in on this act?

The secret lies in a simple formula:

PASSION + DISCIPLINE = RESULTS

Let’s look at the first variable in this equation:  Passion.  What exactly is passion?  We usually think of passion as that powerful, mysterious and magnetic force that makes people fall in love with other people.  But isn’t it also true that this same force can make people fall in love with things, places, projects, dreams and goals as well?

Passion is the force that propels everything in life, and that is why it’s so important to recognize your true Passion and use it as the seed from which to grow your dream life.  If you set goals that respond to your personal Passion and desires, your goals will inspire you to move forward.  If you set goals based on what you think others expect of you, it will become very difficult for you to muster up the Discipline required to achieve the goal.

What exactly is Discipline?  Dictionary.com defines Discipline as: activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training. So how do you remain motivated enough to stick to this activity or regimen long enough to successfully achieve your goal?

What’s really going to keep you disciplined is the Passion, or desire, to achieve your goal, but this Passion needs to be rekindled every so often, in order for you to really feel the excitement, energy and motivation to stick to the Discipline.  The secret to keeping this Passion alive is to constantly remind yourself of why you want to achieve this particular goal.

For example, let’s say your goal is to quit smoking.  It’s not enough to want to do it just because it will make you feel healthier.  You can fuel the Passion for quitting by taking the time to write down all the reasons why you want to quit, and posting them around your home or office as gentle reminders.  You may write:  Smoking makes my breath smell bad; I don’t want to support evil Tobacco companies; I don’t want my clothes to smell bad; Smoking makes my skin more wrinkled, etc.

With this kind of daily motivation, it’s much easier for you to stay focused on the Passion and in turn, to muster up daily Discipline.   Also, one slip doesn’t mean that your entire Passion is gone and that the goal is totally out of your reach.  Simple motivational messages will help you get back on track by reconnecting your thoughts with the original Passion that made you set your goal in the first place.

Positive Thinking for Positive Results

I have a sign in my office that says:  “Your thoughts lead to your actions, your actions become your habits, and your habits become your character.”  This is why your thoughts, and the commitment to continuous positive thinking are so important. If you want to change what you’re attracting, change the way you think!  If you focus on what you don’t want, that’s exactly what you will get, because that is how the Law of Attraction works.  Your thoughts are controlling every detail of your life, so use them to get positive results!

Thoughts are kind of like the weather.  They are there whether you pay attention to them or not.  And in fact, the ones that you don’t pay attention to, which are happening on a sub-conscious level, are the ones that are affecting you the most.

Your thoughts attract and create your external reality, so they must always reflect the life you are aiming to have.  Make a commitment to turn every negative thought into a positive one, and remember that everything in life happens for a good reason. Instead of thinking “I am stuck here in this dead-end job forever,” replace the thought with “I am here preparing myself for my dream career.” Focus on what you DO want, and know that it’s coming!

Listen carefully and consciously to your inner thoughts.  Are you putting yourself down, expressing fear or insecurity, harboring resentment, laying blame, or being just plain pessimistic?  The first step to improving your thinking patterns is to listen to your inner thoughts and discover exactly which of your repetitive thought patterns are attracting the negative energy in your life.

Make a list of all of the negative thoughts that plague you on a regular basis (and believe me, unless you are living the life you’ve always dreamed of, you have these!) and write down a positive affirmation to replace each one.  Print the list out and carry it in your wallet.  Whenever a negative thought strikes, use your list of positive affirmations to beat down the negative energy!

After only a few days of practicing this, you will notice that your life is heading in a much more positive direction, that you feel healthier and happier, and that suddenly your goals seem within reach.  The more you practice the Power of Positive Thinking, the more you will see Positive Results!  This is the beginning of getting everything you want in life.

Five Essentials for Transforming Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Welcome to Morphe. I’m Roberto Santamarina, CSCS. Through my rigorous training as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, I am qualified to design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs, and to provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention for my clients who come in all shapes and sizes.

In my current professional practice as a Lifestyle Coach, Strength Coach and Personal Trainer at Morphe, I am passionate about educating my clients on my philosophy of transforming the mind, body and spirit in order to achieve the life they dream of.

My five essential recommendations for people who seek a true metamorphosis in their mind, body and spirit are these:

  1. Positive Thinking: Everything originates in the mind, so this is the first thing you have to work on. Thoughts produce the spiritual energy that manifests everything in your life, so it is important to practice this at all times.
  2. Goals: Don’t be afraid to dream big, and don’t shortchange yourself by settling for less than what you really aspire to. Things may take time, but the clearer your personal goals are, and the more you realize why you want them, the closer you are to achieving them!
  3. Discipline: Discipline is an amazing skill that you acquire by facing your own self-sabotaging resistance and making a firm commitment to conquer it. Discipline means that you honor yourself enough to go after what you really want.
  4. Listen to Your Body: The human body is a perfect instrument, and we are all capable of enjoying absolute fitness and health. All serious exercise training should be supported by the guidance of a well-trained, intuitive professional, but achieving perfect health and fitness requires a total focus on YOU, and your own physical energy.
  5. Meditation and Energy Work: Therapeutic energy practices such as Pranic Healing and Meditation take your health and fitness program, as well as your entire life, to another level. This is where the deepest transformation really takes place. Learn to use breathing techniques as a tool to energize as well as relax and heal your body. At Morphe we are proud to offer Pranic Healing Therapy to support your total life transformation.

In my upcoming posts, I will offer detailed tips to help you strengthen each of these five areas. Keep visiting my blog to learn more about these essential recommendations and how to put them into practice in your life!