All things physical. From stretching, resistance exercise, injury prevention and post rehabilitative care. This is the source for musicians physical care through the science of movement.

There’s this weird stigma in the health and wellness community that meditation and mindfulness requires complete darkness, burning incense and a kumbaya approach to solitude and stillness. If you think this way I would encourage you to dismiss that.

Hang tight…

There. I just had to meditate.

See?

Easy.

A simple way of defining how to be mindful is to consciously engage in a little self-love. Take a few moments, could be minutes, could be just a few seconds just to think about how you feel. Staying present is key.

The difference between being mindful and actually meditating is to plan mentally. With intent, the exercises of mindfulness are a form of meditation. That said, you could be walking, doing yoga, or even sitting at your desk while meditating. You don’t need chants. You don’t need utter silence. You need only to put it to practice to be present with yourself.

In my training as a CHEK Holistic Kifestyle Coach, we call these “Peace Points”. Events that take place throughout the day that allow you to realign and be present with your mind, body and soul. Let’s put it to practice.

Mind-Body Scan

1. If you’re working at a desk for the majority of your shift. At work every hour on the hour, stand up and shake your body out. Then, close your eyes and continuous to breathe normally. Just pay attention to how your breath moves, notice any areas of tension or stiffness and any other spots that stand out. Just notice and name these things. Then breathe in 3 times slowly through your nose. Over the course of the day note what changes occur.

2. If you’re driving in to work (or for work) do all of this but try it out when you’re at a stoplight. Just a couple seconds to breathe and focus on you. Again, notice how your body holds tension after trying this out throughout the day.

3. Before bed. Do the Mind-Body Scan while you’re laying in bed. Notice how your breathe feels and how you manage it after a few nights…

Try it out. See what works for you. Honestly, you can achieve mindfulness on a run, you can get there in the pursuit of art like music or painting. Active meditation exists, you just need to put the intent out there.

For my Toronto friends, I’m hosting a workshop at St. Clair GoodLife Fitness this Thursday at 6:07. We will discuss Peace Points and a couple other strategies to help down-regulate your body and relieve stress through movement.

If you’re interested, please email me at Michael.Schwartz@goodlifefitness.com

Hope this helps point you back to peace.

Much love

M

Xo

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Sure, we all want to lose 10 pounds yesterday… but how we are pushed towards the ability to do that isn’t realistic, is it?

“Lose 12 pounds in 12 days!”

“Drop a dress size over the weekend!”

“New radical diet that burns 3lbs of fat in a week!”

None of these are sustainable, even if they do work.

Sustainable coaching comes with trades. As a coach that prides himself in helping my athletes through “the grind”, the tough plateaus, the unmotivated morning of training after a wild weekend of partying and misbehaviour… I prefer to coach on the foundation of sustainability.

I like changing a person’s entire lifestyle: the way they move, the way their relationships improve, the way they feel when they get up each day, stay happy and engaged at work and then return in the evening with energy to play with their kids. I like that. I get more satisfaction from hearing: “my husband and I now enjoy taking the grandkids out to the playground or out hiking with the dogs on the weekend. We never thought that would happen at this age… thank you.”

Over:

“my six pack was looking better than last summer at the cabin…”

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with aesthetic goals or short term programming, but I’m in the business of changing lives. And that is just a tough gig when you throw crash diets, quick exercise programs and the next fab “service” out there. Of course the people will get results. They’re highly motivated for 4 weeks. But what happens after that? When the eat kale, drink more smoothies and less beer realities kick in?

Think about it this way:

You’re super Mario. Bopping around, jumping over turtles and trying to save the princess. What I do as your coach isn’t just give you the flowers, the stars or any of the other power ups – no, no. They’ll always be there. I teach you how to harness those super powers so you fly through life feeling invincible.

That’s sustainability.

I coach you to be sustainable.

Xo

It’s hard to afford to take care of ourselves.  There are a lot of obstacles. I get it. It’s more expensive to eat organic food, it’s expensive to hire a personal trainer, hell – we can’t even get a gym membership without spending money. I hear to tell you that there is another way.

Here are my best three recommendations to inspire a little more activity in your life, on a budget of course:

  1. Get outside and walk around in nature. It’s therapeutic, it’s free and you might even learn something or meet another human that’s outside in the big wonderful world too. Crazy, thought. But seriously, get up right now and go for a walk around the block.
  2. YouTube Yoga videos. Sure, a classroom costs $20 to drop in and that’s rich for 45-90 minutes of movement, and as great as it is for you… it’s not sustainable for most of us. You know what is? YouTube – check out some videos. Here’s a favourite to get you started —> https://youtu.be/u-gzRwDbDSg
  3. Wake up and commit to performing 100 squats that day. Start with ten right then… Then just keep track of the rest through out the day. Easy peasy.

But really, motivation is the hardest part for most of us. Sometimes if we don’t have a date with the barbell or the treadmill, we just don’t get there. If that sounds like your excuse, no matter what your definition of fitness is, I can help you get moving. And I can get you moving for less money than a cup of coffee. Now, imagine that…

I’ve listed some of the ways I’ve made my services more accessible for everyone to afford to get fit. Whether it’s in your own home, the park, the gym, learning a new sport like weightlifting speed skating or hockey, I’ve got you covered. Awesome.

And you can still afford a home. Double awesome.

Become a Patron: Perks!

  • Workout Inspired Mixtape Playlist – I’ve got an inside lane on some great new music being in the role I am in the industry, so I build playlists showcasing these talents.
  • Exercise Program – tailored to your ability, health goals and schedule. Online support and tracking and progress  Monthly reassessment via Skype.
  • Nutrition Program – eat right for your body, no diets, no hocus pocus, daily lessons and habits to slowly change your behaviours. Change the way you feel, the way you look and the way you perform with my professional nutrition coaching and learn what foods your body really wants.
  • Lifestyle Package – Without the proper fuel, the fire won’t burn. So ensure you’re getting the right food and movement for what your life calls for. I’ll build you a customized and easy to use exercise program complete with videos and everything.

 

I have a Patreon Page I’ve set up with some neat options like these ones so you can easily and affordably get fit while supporting this movement. Every patron helps to educate one more musician on mental and physical wellbeing and if we keep it up, we’ll extend the careers of millions. Let’s keep building this thing! Check it out!

Please support my cause here patreon.com/musicfit

 

Thanks for sharing!

Stay fit, whatever that means to you.

xo

I am trying to hear you, but your actions are deafening

 

 

 

I’ve been asked countless times, “Mike, I’m eating well, I just can’t seem to lose the weight… what am I doing wrong?”

I’m usually quick to ask “What’s eating well look like to you?” As part of my coaching, I like to believe the best in everyone, but honestly, seeing is believing so I generally follow that question up with “Can you show me what each meal has been exactly in the past three days?”

Most often, that person cannot.

More often they say something to the effect of

“Well, it’s just really tough when the boys want to go out for wings and beer after the game… when my wife wants to do pizza and wine night on Friday and the kids are always on the go for band recital, soccer practice and other extra curricular events… I just don’t wanna be that guy, you know?”

I do. However, own it. You get to make that choice to get wings and beer, enjoy the pizza or choose to eat fast food from the drive thru en route to the kids practice… only you get that choice. And to piggyback on this, it’s not only to do with nutrition. If you find yourself in any less than ideal situation, maybe you just lost your job, maybe you’re considering starting your own business, maybe you want to pursue a passion – whatever it is, if you don’t have the social support, the likelihood of you achieving that dream significantly decreases.

It’s amazing how much we are influenced by the social circles that we are in. I found a very interesting article that explain the power of social support very clearly, from my friends and fellow coaches at Precision Nutrition. Take a read if you think you might know someone that’s got the right intentions but the wrong friends. Might be time to cut the line…. [Read the full article here]

Ciao, babes!

Xo

M

 

Featured Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Whether it’s coming in and bossing out on the olympic platform, running a sprint for 3 minutes, or maxing out her previous record dead lift, my athlete of the month goes to Karen.

 

It’s crazy to think that this rock star has dropped about 40lbs in a year, started Olympic Lifting and setting Powerlift records nearly every time she touches the bar and – what I think is the most important change – has truly integrated a healthy lifestyle into the daily routine. Day in, day out.

I’m here to write about my experience of working with Karen. I can’t begin to tell you how much I feel as though she has helped me grow as a coach. Not just because I can basically toss any exercise at her and she’ll fine a way to get it done, but because how ridiculously determined she is. This is what it takes to make positive change in your life.

Let’s start with her dedication to getting comfortable in being uncomfortable.

Comfortable

She had never tried Olympic Lifting, let alone even really know what exactly it was one year ago.

I showed her how to throw a barbell over her head… the rest is history.

Just to put it in perspective she clean and jerked 105lbs (that’s shown in the video up there…)

She deadlifts, she runs, she squats, she makes everyone around her happier and she absolutely kills it at work. Sure she might dislike doing the exercise at times, but she puts her head down and goes.

Things sound pretty good, eh? It wasn’t an easy road. Combine daily (sometimes painstaking) lessons and habits to help refocus her relationship with food and her nutrition, overcoming scheduling bumps, vacations, sickness – all the typical excuses… with life’s general random “curveballs” and you’ve still got an individual that never missed a session. A date with herself. A date with change. A date with progress, over perfection.

I’m honoured to get to work with Karen towards her craziest goals. Together with her attitude and what skills I can pass along I really see the sky as the limit. it’s amazing what the power of the mind can do.

Thank you, Karen. Stoked to see what’s next and keep this going.

Stay sweet.

M

 

Yep. Let’s kick off the shoes and relax the socks. We are gonna get into why your posture, performance and overall quality of life will significantly improve with the simple task of taking care of your feet.

Why? Well, your feet hold a kazillion interconnected little muscles that serve to keep the rest of your body, most notably you posterior chain all in line.

That’s right. If you’re suffering from a sore back, it very well could be rooted in your plantar. The spiral of your hip starts at the hip and winds it’s way down through the knee and into the ankle. So oftentimes, Problems that exist in one joint transfers up into the other joints on the spiral. It’s generally the result of a compensation pattern that develops when something isn’t working as efficiently as it should be. Ie: your feet.

Now, don’t get me wrong – compensation patterns aren’t the problem. They’re okay. The body is intended to survive in its environment without a medical team on call. However, it becomes a problem when that compensation pattern wears the body down to the point of mechanical break down.

Here are my top three pro tips to take care of them footsies!

1. Golf ball in the shower technique

Keep a golf ball in your shower and roll your feet on it each time you’re in there. Part of the biggest problem is we only tend to ourselves when there’s an issue like plantar fasciitis – so this acts as a preemptive strike against poor foot health.

2. Streeeeeeeetch yo feet!

Seriously, your feet will appreciate it. And if upon starting your feet start to cramp, you should do this more.

Step 1: Kneel down, toes curled under your feet so that you stretch the sole of your feet as you slowly try to get your butt back to your heels.

Step 2: Try not to cry. You got this.

Step 3: Take a breather and relax. Then repeat.

3. Book a foot massage

Treat yo self!

Go get some spa treatment. Massaging that fascial tissue is super important to help alleviate future problems. Here are a couple of fun facts about massage for your reading pleasure: Fun facts about massage

K. Sweet. Take care of your feet, yo.

Alleviate all those other problems. Got to the root. Get to the soul – rather sole, of it all.

Boom.

Stay sweet!

M

Okay, we have all been here before. Late at night, pull out the guitar…and … nothing.

What?!

“But this what I do.”

Nothing. No spark.

You can’t help but wonder what it is, pulling at every strand of self-doubt. Did I sleep funny? Maybe that pulled pork sandwich (or tempeh wrap for our plant based friends) had some funk to it… whatever the case may be. You’re just not feeling it.

Well, that does happen from time to time. However, for professional artists, that could mean sacrificing a paycheque or two. Not cool. Let’s discuss three effective remedies to kick that brain fog and get our performance back up to snuff so we can focus on doing what we do really well, creating music.

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    1. Reduce the screen time!
      We spend far too much time in front of time-wasters like Facebook,Instagram,
      Reddit and the like. If we took half the time we spent searching news feeds or watching cute cat videos as we did reading, painting, getting outside… imagine how much more effective our time on earth would be. The dopamine hits from hitting the like button and constantly being concerned about who is liking your posts and how many followers you have is an unhealthy way to live. I would encourage you to set a daily time limit and stick to it. No more than a couple hours. And shut ‘er down by 8 pm so you don’t screw up your sleep cycle. The anxious feeling we get from self-worth is heightened when we follow the social norm of online gratification, so remove yourself from that world and you’ll start to inspire creativity simply because you have more time to do so! Check my recent post about last weekend’s social detox I did here. Follow up post is in the works…images

 

  1. Move!
    • Seems simple, but activity has proven to excite the brain in areas related to creativity independent of mood. You can read the study here. According to the research, the study’s result show that exercise helped to improve mood in participants and also creativity independently. This is good news for folks who want to get out of “creative blocks”. My suggestion? Get up and walk around when you’re feeling a block on the creative flow. I’m actually hosting a clinic specifically designed to address inspiring artistic creativity through movement in Calgary. If you’re in town, check it out here! If not, that’s cool. Here’s the best warm up for getting some creative flow! Unknown-1
  2. Journal!

    Oftentimes I feel like garbage at the end of the day. I feel as though I haven’t done anything at all. Have you even been there? There is a really easy way to track how productive you have been. Keep a journal and just close the day down with some thoughts and points of the things you did. Over time you’ll start to see how (un) productive you were… that way, you can manage it. For most people, we don’t track things so while we think we’re doing productive things, we really aren’t. If you see this trend, you can work towards improving upon it. We can’t manage what we’re not tracking, right? So give yourself a chance. I also found it amazing how easy things came to me when I wrote them down as goals and took behaviours that’d be intentional toward accomplishing them. I compiled it all into a workbook journal to help others get their shit together. I am officially releasing it this May in Toronto at Canadian Music Week. If you’d like an advance copy, just let me know.  mike@mikeschwartz.ca

There you have it. Three cool little tricks of the trade for you to keep up the creative flow. For those of you that are into reading, my favourite book ever for crushing the creative roadblocks is called “The War of Art”Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Get it.

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Ok my friends. I’m out of here for now. I’m going to keep up the post per day to see what topics and time stick for the remainder of this week. I’m working through some things and have some exciting news to post about in due time, but until then… I hope your day or night is great.

Ciao,

M