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Jennifer Czepiel

Jenn is a writer and bellydance instructor in Phoenix, Arizona. Her passion and creativity have given her the unique opportunity to help women of all ages discover how fitness can be fun and words can be powerful.

Embody Your Workout

Finding your fitness passion!

Is your workout routine embodying or just going through the motions?

When we stop to consider why we work out, why we beat ourselves up through self deprecating practices and body judgement, it is no small wonder that we have little interest in going to the gym. If your fitness practice is not an experience you look forward to, how much is it really helping you?

One of the many reasons I have fallen in love with belly dance, and really many dance forms, is because this is a wonderful means of exercising the body that the heart and the mind are equally moved by.

I was, as many of you likely were, not the first one geared up and ready to go in physical education classes in school. The idea of putting on that boring school gym uniform, or those ratty workout clothes was in no way the highlight of my day.

But, when I discovered belly dance, I saw a way to have fun and forget that I was working out. Not to mention the clothing options are so much more fun! In only a few weeks of regular dance classes I found my body changing. I was toning up and trimming down, all without a thought to how much work my body was doing. It was too much fun to be exercise!

Maybe bellydance doesn’t really move you, but there are many other forms of dance that are just as fun. Okay, I am bias, belly dance is the most fun. Find what calls to you. It is not just the dance itself that keeps the body in shape, it is the motivation to dance better.

As a dancer and instructor, it is important to keep my body in good working condition. No matter what your physical passion is there will come a time that the dance itself is not enough to be a workout anymore. It is at this point that the passion becomes the motivation to do more.

A good dancer practices often and well, a great dancer finds new ways to stretch the limits of the instrument of his or her art. Learning new stretching techniques, discovering unique ways to drill body movements, and creating a healthier diet, will not only make you greater at whatever activity moves you, it is also the tricky way our passions convince us to stick to that fitness routine.

So, what is your dance? How will you use that to motivate you into a healthier and happier lifestyle?

Holiday Workout Motivation

Stay Focused on Your Workout During the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching many of us are looking for something to help us burn those anticipated extra calories that come with Thanksgiving and winter holiday dinners. Colder weather also only encourages us to eat more, and heartier. While snuggling up in a blanket on the couch to read a good book or catch up on our favorite holiday movies might be the most tempting thing after a filling winter meal, it is not the best for keeping a fit body.

To help you keep motivated through the cooler months, rather than urging you to work harder and start something new, here are three reasons why you should stick to your current workout schedule.

Number One: Healthy Equals Happy

The holiday season can bring stress as much as joy, and being around family can be as draining as it is fulfilling. Working out and staying active helps the body boost those great endorphins that keep us happy! This is the season of giving, but we can only give of ourselves if we give to ourselves. Consider that happy glow that your workout will give you when you are thinking about curling up with a hot cocoa and warm pie. That sugary high is not as lasting as the rush that getting your heart pumping offers.

Number Two: Combat That Cold

All that holiday hugging and hand shaking conspire to spread joy as well as the common cold bugs that gather in the winter months. Keeping the body moving and active keeps those nasty germs from taking hold. Physical activity also causes our bodies to crave more water. In the cooler months, when we are not obviously dehydrating, we tend to drink less clear water. Drinking lots of water is key to helping the fluids in our bodies stay free of germs and fight infections.

Number Three: Work Out For Warmth

Working up a sweat is better in so many ways than curling up in a sweater. When we move our bodies we heat from the inside out, making us feel less lethargic. Movement is also better for joint health and circulation. When you are planning your workout in the winter season though remember that key of warming up. When muscles and joints are cold they do not work the same. Take a little extra time to stretch and include an extended warm up in your routine. You will be glad you did!

Maybe the biggest reason to keep your routine on track during the holidays is to alleviate that guilt over the huge Thanksgiving feast! Keep moving!