Monthly 10 Minute Flows

by Megan Goddard, NCPT

Hi Friends,

I am doing some new and fun things that I wanted to invite you to! This year I started releasing my own workout format of everything I love and have learned about exercise. I named it Shakedown Movement which is a blend of Pilates, Barre, and Dance. It is a low impact yet challenging workout. It is also a project that I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into.

I started doing pop ups for Shakedown Movement in January to give it a test run. I took a break from these pop ups to put my focus into studying for another certification which I’m happy to announce that I passed! I am now a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher if you’re wondering what certification I’ve been working hard for.

I am thrilled and so humbled that more people are interested in joining Shakedown Movement. Thus, I wanted to bring something very special to you each month. I will be releasing free 10 minute flows with tips and cues included. To access these workouts, please sign up for March’s newsletter as these videos will only be accessible via email.

The first video I have planned is a 10 minute “Intro to Pilates” flow. If you have never done Pilates, this is right up your alley! If you have done Pilates, this will still be an awesome core workout that you can do from the comfort of your own home. I cannot wait to share my passion for movement by helping you connect the body to mind with these challenges. So what are you waiting for? Go sign up for the Shakedown Movement newsletter right now!

If you have any questions, let’s stay connected on Instagram and follow the Shakedown Movement Facebook page. We’ll talk soon!

With love,

Megan

Why I’d Rather be at the Barre than in a Bar

Oh the obsessive behaviors of my 20s and how it led me to the place I am in now. If I could turn back time (cue Cher), my only wish would be to have done the inner work sooner to focus on self love and self care. Could I have made things less complicated? Definitely. Did I think I was going to make it to where I am today? No, not at all. I was drowning in many areas of my life! I felt so lost just like many other young adults. Growing up very shy took a big turn in my road as an adult. When I felt like I had no control over myself, I tried to control other areas of my life even harder than what they ever needed to be.

Today, I’m sharing more of my story regarding my experience with partying in my 20s. Parts and pieces have been mentioned before on Instagram so I’m picking up those pieces in hopes to inspire because we are never alone as many times as we may sit there and think that we are. None of the things you are about to read are worth risking your life for. EVER. I’m tearing up as I type that sentence.

FOREWORD

This isn’t an attack on drinking. This isn’t to say I dislike people who drink. I also do not hate the people who I used to party with even if we may not see each other anymore because that is not true either. I’m simply sharing my own experiences. I’ll start by saying that what I think drinking really comes down to is your mindset. Some people are ok and do it for fun while other people have different stories.

I welcome you to my story if you need help learning about yours. I’ve been asked many times to share this especially from the younger generation of girls, so I’m leaning into a braver side today because I know of many people who are trying to break themselves out of a similar cycle as well. Also, this isn’t to say I’m completely sober today. I encourage you to keep reading on if you’re struggling right now. There is hope if you keep pushing through.

BACKGROUND

In high school I was just like any other teenager wanting to go to the fun parties. Maybe even throwing a few of the parties… All things which felt pretty normal at the time. I suppose drinking began because everyone else was doing it. All pretty common teenager stuff especially in my hometown.

Then, college came around and I started to drink a hell of a lot more. Like way too much for my own body to handle and staying up until the sun came up many nights. Sounds pretty typical as well, right? I was lost like any other young adult. I didn’t know who I was because it felt like I was given a new chance to be me! These are all common things that I know others have experienced as well. However, writing up messages about not wanting to live was NOT normal especially at such a young age.

One day I felt really unwell, but I couldn’t describe what was wrong. Nobody knew about these messages at the time because I used to bottle up my feelings a lot back then. In fact, nobody, not even myself, really knew what was wrong until I walked into the doctor’s office for a check-up. In this session, more tears than words came out as I tried to put sentences together. And so, the doctor diagnosed me with depression.

At the time, I didn’t take it seriously which was very silly of me. Being young and naive, it was incredibly hard for me to believe that I had depression. I thought maybe I was just having a really bad day because I didn’t exactly look like a sad person on the outside. Time went on as I continued to maneuver through life ignoring it and thinking that I was ok. Thus, things started to get worse.

I have some really bad stories from there as I slipped away into more partying. I truly did not know how serious it was at the time which is why I’m sharing this story. I’m also choosing to spare all of the details as they are triggering. Many of my life lessons have come from this entire process. Once I started to really turn inward and find help, I found out that my reasons for drinking were led by past trauma, eating disorders, depression, social anxiety, and overall, lack of self-control and not knowing who I really was for too long in my life. I constantly went with the grain of all things in life and I never questioned the reasons for my actions. This all led me to some good times, but also some not so best of times.

Many of the stories I have were prior to crossing paths with Braden. I’m not kidding when I say Braden has saved me in many ways. I strongly remember this one night when I stormed off trying to drive home very drunk (as unfortunately I had done many times in the past). Braden, who was sober that night, jumped onto the front of my car like Spider Man (No kidding) to try and stop me from driving off. As he banged on my windshield yelling at me to get out of the car, his ring accidentally shattered my front windshield. In a complete shock of realization, I stopped the car and got out. That night was a big wake up call.

At the end of this whole partying battle, I wasn’t pleasant. I became too brave. I felt invincible. I had an alter ego, and honestly, it was a very mean alter ego. I was a miserable person on the inside when I was sober, so I can see why things were the way they were back then. The hardest part was the gossip that got back to me with people talking about how much I had changed as if I was a better person before. Sure, I may have been out and about socializing in what people might assume are the normal ways but deep down, I was very sad doing it in those ways. Alcohol really became my crutch for socializing as I pushed through my social anxiety and those were some of my saddest days despite my big happy drunk smile.

WHEN TO GET HELP

Here’s the thing: If you think it’s a problem, most likely it is a problem. I kept jumping back and forth in my mind, “Well everyone is like doing it. This is normal.” I get it! You probably want to do the normal things, but there’s a bigger question you really have to ask yourself : What draws the line between what is normal in society vs what is normal for YOU? Define your own norm.

Look into your family history when it comes to alcoholism. If it’s in your family history, you have to be extra cautious and aware of what’s going on because it really depends on YOU. If you’re struggling with your mental health, not everyone knows what’s going on inside your mind 24/7 especially if you don’t speak up. You are the only person who really knows. I rarely saw my parents pick up a drink my entire life and for that, I’m grateful. However, it can still get passed down in your family line.

WHAT DID I DO?

I don’t know why it always seems to happen this way, but sometimes it takes a terrible thing to happen to know that something is no longer right for you. I had hit enough lows to realize it was certainly a problem, especially the meaner I became. So right then, I knew I had to stop and I did. I quit alcohol cold turkey after a big scare. I started trading after work beers for long runs at the beach cliffs which eventually turned into taking Pilates classes. It opened up an entire new gateway that I needed at the time.

For the first time in my life, I fell in love with the way exercise made me FEEL! When I started to increase my exercise routine, my drinking began to decrease. You know why? Because I was replacing going out with late night workouts. I continue to see exercise as a gift to myself and now a gift that I have the privilege of sharing with others as a teacher. I learned that I really just needed to just sober up to get curious about my real self and relieve stress through exercise instead.

As I continued to put each foot forward, day by day, it led me to my favorite practices — Pilates and Barre. I continue to release those endorphins through barre, pilates, dance, walking, hiking, and beach cruising. You can apply that to your favorite exercise or hobby! The key is just putting in a little more effort baby steps at a time!

Exercise has helped me tremendously. Is exercise the answer to everyone’s and even all of my own problems? No. However, it opened up my door to self care and made me realize that I had a problem. I stopped obsessing over body image because I was focusing on the challenges of exercise and the way my body could move. I stopped worrying about the past as much because mentally it helped me move forward and grow as I got stronger not only in my body, but in my mind as well. And when I became a fitness instructor, it helped me overcome social anxiety more than anything ever has because it pushed me to step up and use my voice to be a positive leader for those trying to learn. Again, I’m not perfect and I still have to put in the work every single day just like many of us do!

Exercising while trying to connect the body to mind is a big deal in my opinion. Moving my body has been a form of therapy my entire life starting with dance classes as a toddler. I gave it up during some harder times in my life without knowing that it’s just a part of who I am. It may have taken me a long time to see a clearer path because I didn’t feel deserving of so many things, but it led me here. For that, I’m grateful.

Along the way I’ve also learned that constantly seeking validation from others is dangerous so remember that YOU are worth it. YOU DESERVE IT. You are deserving of anything you set your mind and heart to. Try not to listen to any negative thoughts or noise that surround you. Shame on those who try to dim your light or make you feel guilty for wanting to chase after the things that make your heart beat in all the good ways. Only YOU know the deeper reasons for where you need to go next in life.

HOW I MANAGE TODAY

Truth is I’d rather be at the Barre than being in a bar. Overall, I don’t care to drink much anymore, but I will drink occasionally with friends and family. That’s also not to say that when I get with friends I drink every time. I’ve made friends along the way who are on a similar path/are supportive of this, which has helped me stay on track.

After a lot of inner work and consideration, I have chosen to drink in moderation again because I’m in a way better mindset after learning about myself during a sober process. I understand my limits much better and I know what’s best for me at this point in my life. I’m a human and still slip sometimes, but it’s always going to be ok! I try not to beat myself up about it anymore and just move forward.

LITTLE THINGS THAT HAVE HELPED ME MANAGE

    Learning how to get over FOMO (=fear of missing out). Phew! That was a big one at first.
    Revisiting old hobbies as well as finding new hobbies.
    Making cute mocktails.
    Holding something in my hand at an event, even if it’s just water.
    Hitting up the snacks and appetizers at gatherings. Yes, I might steal all of your snacks!
    It goes without saying, always eating a meal beforehand.
    Just listening to music and dancing.
    Going for a lower % alcohol.
    Overall, surrounding myself with those who understand the type of support I need.

MOVING FORWARD

This process has not been an easy one, but every hard aspect has been incredibly worth it. I wake up everyday asking myself, “How can I make it a good day not only for myself, but for those around me as well?” I strongly encourage you to get help if you find yourself struggling. I hope you know how amazing you truly are and how many people really do love you whom are willing to listen even when you are in the darkest of places. Realizing that you have a problem (whatever it may be) is the biggest step and half of the work! Talk to somebody. Once you let it out, you will most likely begin to feel better from there and learn where you need to go next.

Your vulnerability is a superpower. Don’t forget it and keep making brave moves because it will only make you stronger. I’m always open your questions, so don’t be afraid to reach out. Let’s stay connected ❤️

Pilates Breakdown: Applying Alignment in the Kitchen

Does your back ever ache after spending hours in the kitchen? I know mine does especially after doing the dishes. Yikes! The holidays are coming up and sometimes that means spending more time in the kitchen. It had me thinking — There has to be better ways for us to move in the kitchen! After all, I know of many people who spend much of their time in the kitchen, so I wanted to make sure I had all of my loved one’s back (pun intended) with this breakdown.

By Megan Goddard, Pilates Instructor

OVERVIEW

Lifting from the back with a round spine isn’t always the best idea. Doing so can lead to over stretched ligaments. It can also cause the muscles involved to lose control over the spine. With a round spine, comes a lot of compression in front of the vertebrae which can lead to disc bulges and muscle strain overtime.

Osteoporosis is a common condition where the bone becomes weak and brittle. As we age, we lose bone density, but the good news is that we have the ability to prevent fractures! When we learn how to move with our bones in proper alignment, the rest of the body will thank us. The Pilates method gently pulls on the bones so osteoblasts can go inside to build stronger bones. I’ve gathered tips from the National Osteoporosis Foundation to bring you a mini series of how we move better in the kitchen for prevention!

BAKING AND ROASTING

Naturally when we bend down to take our food in and out of the oven, we tend to round our back. Sometimes our legs are straight and without realizing it, some may stand with locked knees.

Demonstrating how we tend to bend over. Ouch!

Doing so can cause an achy back and overstretched tissues. There are round back variations in Pilates, but one without intention can cause wear and tear to the vertebral column overtime. Side note: Someone with Osteoporosis should never work in a round spine! Instead, try working in the kitchen with a flat back. A flat back has a three point focus on the spine — head, mid back, and sacrum. The goal is to get all three points lined up.

This is more gentle on the vertebral column.

Try This:

  1. Start by rolling your shoulders down and back. You can hold this position better by pinching in between the shoulder blades.
  2. Keep the elbows close by your sides.
  3. Bend your knees.
  4. Hinge forward from the hips with a flat back and pull the belly button towards the spine. Squeeze the core to stabilize!
  5. Get as close as you can to the oven (without getting burnt of course!)
  6. Extend your arms forward to place your goodies in the oven.

* When returning back to pull the goodies out of the oven, get close to your dish pan first and then pull it towards you. Try not to hold your breath and take an exhale as you lift. Don’t forget about your long spine! 🙂

HAND WASHING DISHES

Another time we’re found rounding the spine is when we’re hand washing dishes. Naturally, we want to look down and over into the sink to see what we’re doing; however, doing so puts strain on the neck because the head is being pulled forward while putting pressure on the spine yet again.

Try This:

Now maybe you have a bigger kitchen than my little bungalow, so you can get even closer to do this over the sink better. Many sinks have cabinets below, so just open one door. You’ll want to stand tall and rest one foot down inside. Once you’re halfway through the dishes, switch the feet and shift your weight to the other side.

Be prepared for a bicep and shoulder workout! Dishes always require a little more upper body strength and holding them higher will help keep your head up so you aren’t straining your neck. I call this a 2-for-1 Pilates special!

SITTING AT THE TABLE

Sometimes we have more time to kill while we’re waiting for our food to be ready. Grab a book! Exercise the mind. The brain is certainly an important muscle. Here’s what we tend to do:

Ugh, I know. The book was just getting good! Have you ever seen Joseph Pilates do Contrology at 60 years old?!

Instead, try this:

Better! In a perfect world, my head would be pulled back and over the shoulders more. However, I’m trying to keep it a little more realistic.

I hope you found my kitchen posture series helpful! Now, I don’t expect you to have proper posture in the kitchen all of the time unless of course you have been advised by a professional. Let’s be real, many of us wouldn’t think to practice good posture in the kitchen! This blog post is simply intended to bring awareness and to help those who may be wondering why they are experiencing back pain. To learn more this week, find me on Instagram.

Happy cooking foodies!

A Real Lesson Learned in Wellness

My mindset used to be narrow in many ways as a young adult especially around the time when it came to making my own food choices. As many know via Instagram, my relationship with food hasn’t always been the healthiest starting at the age of 18. This was around the time I begin to explore the health and wellness industry. I was going to school for nutrition and during that time I started to search for the “perfect” diet which took me too far into restriction. I’ve experienced the nasty cycle of bingeing and purging while being trapped in the depths of body image negativity.

HOLD UP…

Did I just come off too strong? Welcome. This isn’t anything new as sharing parts of my story has helped others and even myself over the past few years. I’m just a real human being who shows up online with an intention. I’m open to questions, so say hello!

Learning about health and wellness can be fun and exciting! However, what happens when we take it too far? What happens when passion becomes obsession and the next thing you know, all of your meals are being modified whether it’s at home or while ordering out? Now, I’m not here to hate whatsoever, but rather I’m trying to express a different opinion in the scrolling world of health and wellness. Let’s be honest, not all of the real wellness stuff is making it to the scroll.

Nutrition can be confusing because it is a very controversial topic as new research continues to pop up. For those with chronic illness and disease who cannot eat specific foods, I respect and support the decisions you need to make because I also believe in fueling ourselves for longevity. Most of all, I believe that we are all entitled to making our own choices and while food has a powerful impact in health, it doesn’t make up our entire wellbeing.

Let me cut to the point, when there’s a full-time focus on your diet, it’s too much. When your diet stops you from living and going about your daily life, it’s too much. When it becomes a distraction, it’s too much. When it makes you feel bad about yourself, it’s too much. When you feel like you’re resisting from just wanting to be you, it’s too much. Most of all, when you start hiding from friends and loved ones, it’s too much. 

A constant search for wellness will not lead you to wellness. We’re human. We need breaks. Balance is hard to maintain, but we especially need that too.

What we need most to survive is real food. I’ve mentioned so much of this time after time again, so take it as a serious reminder for those currently struggling: Basic wholesome foods is enough. It’s one base to health. How we choose to consume and form relationships with food is also another base of health.

I like to think back and act in simpler times. You know, the older eras I can only dream of before the noise came along with diet culture. No weighing or measuring of food. No food rules. Just intuitive eating. Actually sitting there with your food and enjoying it. Sometimes I’ll even eat in silence. Is that strange to admit? These days, I also thoroughly enjoy helping myself to seconds without question and I don’t feel ashamed for what I order while out with my friends.

I’m aware that we live in the millennium, so many of us don’t always have time to slow down before rushing out of the door! What I understand more than anything else is that not everyone can afford what’s being displayed in wellness. I gave up many “trendy” products late last year as I transitioned into a new path of my career. With that being said, I made sacrifices to readjust my focus. During that time, I was reminded that they are not a necessity to my health because look at me. I’m alive and well! Some days, groceries weren’t affordable and I just had to eat to survive. No fancy 10 ingredient meals. Some days were 2 ingredient meals. Although this was a temporary state, it brought me to many realizations.

To take this further more, many things I have seen over the years has put off the wrong idea of wellness. Privilege plays a huge role and I’m certainly guilty for the things I’ve done in the past too. It almost has an adverse effect on people’s health because it makes wellness look unattainable. It seems impossible for those just trying to make a living. It also has many people questioning what’s going onto their plate these days.

And if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that it makes people feel bad because they don’t have access. Reflecting back, I feel like an ass for partaking in so much nonsense, but I can only blame myself. I was also finishing up a very long healing journey and felt a lot of confusion. However, this isn’t a sob story. It’s just my truth.

Earlier this year, I began to question the person I really want to be. I realized how exclusive I was being with all of the products I have shared in the past leading to many reasons why I backed away. My mind got sucked into the wellness blogger world and things began shifting in a way I thought they had to be in order to keep going. To continue to be a role model in the health industry, I thought I needed to uphold a specific image. An image that didn’t exactly feel true to me, but made me feel like I could possibly be accepted into the scene.

I also have to say that much of this came from a place of creativity and genuinely wanting to help others, but damn! When all of my plates began to look like an Instagram post and more importantly, when I wasn’t enjoying it anymore, I really began to question my health. Does this really make me happy? Or was I just trying to please others? I also started to question who I was trying to impress.

I still enjoy learning about health and wellness! I still love scrolling and feeling inspired by delicious dishes made by chefs! You’ll still catch me drinking a green juice because I actually love the taste, but maybe not 7 days a week. You’ll still catch me enjoying tacos and chocolatey baked goods. I enjoy all kinds of foods in moderation!

What you won’t catch me doing is sharing every single meal I’m eating because sharing every detail of my day does not bring me pleasure and I don’t believe it’s good for the health of those who come into this space either. I used to feel a pressure that I needed to constantly prove myself all hours of the day in order to be seen and heard. I’ve finally accepted that I don’t have do that and I actually get to show up in this space however I choose. 

I’m in a happier place since stepping away from creating all of the food content that I was. I’ve also decided that foodie things will still pop up here and there because food is a fun way to connect with others! I find cooking meditative again now that’s it’s not an obsession because there’s a major difference in obsession and passion. They don’t always work well together, so if there’s anything you’re going to take away from here today, carefully evaluate your defining line of wellness.

Love, Megan