“The most transformative thing that you and I and everybody else in the world can do for our brain health is exercise. It ignites all the key neurotransmitters in our brain. These neurotransmitters are related to our depression, to our sense of accomplishment, to our concentration, to our focus.” – Maria Hortsmann
60% of women with PCOS have some mood-related disorder. Maria Hortsmann has your magic pill – exercise. Before you roll your eyes and move on, listen as she explains the neurological connection between your movement and neurological activity. She offers straight forward advice about getting and staying motivated, and how to ignite the power of your hormones and neurotransmitters to combat depression, anxiety, and more.
- Why you resist exercise and how to overcome it
- Exercise to mood/ mental health connection
- Best activities to kind of achieve mental health benefit
- Best use of anti-depressants
- Overcoming gym anxiety (and whether you need a gym at all)
Mentioned in this podcast:
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Amy: Today we’re going to talk about something that affects so many women with PCOS. If you didn’t know, this really kind of crazy statistic that 60% of women with PCOS have some mood-related disorder. I think a lot of us are often looking for a magic pill to make some of these symptoms of PCOS go away.
Today I brought in a really fun, energetic expert. I’ve met her on several occasions. She’s a PCOS advocate and she’s very active in the PCOS community. She’s going to be talking to us about one of these magic pills to help with PCOS symptoms. We’re gonna be especially talking about mental health. Her name is Maria Horstmann, and she is the founder of Be Fab-Be You.
Welcome to the PCOS Diva podcast, Maria.
Maria: Hello, how are you? It’s a pleasure being here. I’m so glad that we’re talking about this amazing topic.
Amy: Yeah, I’ve been wanting to have you on the podcast for a while now, and I’m just so glad that we were able to connect. You’re a personal trainer, you’re a corporate wellness consultant. You focus on health and insulin resistance. You just bring so much energy to the PCOS challenge events every year, and you lead us in warmups before the 5K walk/run. You’re sessions, I’ve attended several of them and they’re just so information-packed. I’m hoping that you can share some of your knowledge with us today as we talk more about the magic pill. Why don’t you share with us what that is?
Maria: Yes. I love doing this because the magic pill that I’m talking about is actually free, which is even better, right? It’s about exercise. It’s about physical activity. Some people are rolling their eyes, “Oh my God, oh my God,” because the reality is, I think it’s just about a third of the population, Americans who are actually getting the what is considered the prescription of exercise of 150 minutes of moderate exercise intensity a week.
This, for some reason, is a barrier that I notice is so challenging for people to get over and to continue. What I’m here to talk today is, you know, as you introduced is the importance of this built into our lives, not only for PCOS, but as an individual. As a whole to one is to restore health, but also to maintain health and longevity. I like to look at exercise from a perspective of mental health. Mental health, specifically, obviously we’re talking about the brain, right?
It is the magic pill because it is, the studies are very, very clear today. That is the most transformative thing that you and I and everybody else in the world can do for our brain health. It ignites many, well, basically all the key neurotransmitters in our brain. These neurotransmitters are related to our depression, to our sense of accomplishment, to actually our concentration, to our focus.
This free pill, you know, not only helps us with our brain, but also helps with the insulin sensitivity, which is … The statistics vary in the women with PCOS, but it can go as high as 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance. That’s one of the topics that I talk a lot. Today is not the focus over here, but obviously helps with Type II Diabetes prevention and maintenance, muscle and bone strength, which is for women, is indispensable. You know, we have lower levels of testosterone, so it’s harder to get, to maintain that bone health and muscle strength as we get older. Strength training is very important.
You know, it’s important for metabolic syndrome, which actually PCOS is included in there. Blood pressure, cardiovascular, gut motility, people don’t think about that but exercise is excellent for gut motility, as well. Going to that bathroom keeping our pipes clean. You know, from osteoporosis, cancer, inflammation, which a lot of the degenerative diseases in the brain there is inflammation in the brain, right? The brain cells. Immune system, weight management, God knows, it’s really the best free pill yet.
Yes, it is free we all can do it. Can you get started with a coach and a trainer? Absolutely, and sometimes that’s what I see that people need the most. I will dive into the neurotransmitters over here when we get to that conversation. Do you see this a lot, Amy, with the people, with the women with PCOS that exercise can sometimes be a struggle for them to start and continue?
Amy: Yeah, actually you read my mind. I was just going to say I think that there’s a lot of resistance around exercise. I think especially when you’re feeling very low. I can speak to my own experience. I suffer with seasonal effective disorder (SAD). We’re recording kind of just coming off winter here up in New Hampshire and I had a tough winter. I know that when I’m feeling my worst is when I’m not really motivated to exercise. Although I know it’s going to make me feel better, there’s so much resistance there. It’s usually my husband shoving me out the door to go for a walk, or I love Pure Barre. Go to Pure Barre.
Why is that? Why is there so much resistance? What are some resistance busters to kind of get us taking advantage of this wonderful remedy, which is exercise?
Maria: Yes, look, I am a personal trainer, right? I’ve been exercising for a long time. Now before I became a personal trainer I was active here in the US. I’m originally from Brazil, but I’ve been kind of active playing volleyball and all that kind of stuff since ’98, specifically when I started back here in the US.
As a trainer, sometimes it can be hard because I’m a normal person, as well. First of all, we have to recognize that the brain is very powerful. The brain wants the safety, right? The safety is doing nothing over here. When we’re kind of laid back, and we’re doing nothing oh, this is really good. Idle is not really what the brain wants, at the end of the day, what the body wants. It’s looking for that safety.
Like you were saying, you know, okay, the winter, it’s challenge in the winter, right? I’m in Atlanta so it’s not, it doesn’t get as cold as you guys up north. Bless your hearts. It’s still challenging. I don’t go for walks outside in the winter. I’m not doing that. I have my own gym over here. It’s a private studio, and it can get tough.
What we need to do is to first of all recognize. Recognize that we are kind of down, right? That we are not feeling our best. We’re not motivated. Okay, what can I do? Oh, I’ve got to move. Oh, I know that movement is important, but okay, I don’t want to do that. Bingo, right there. You know there is that sluggish part of your brain saying, “No, no, no, no. You are okay over here.”
I want you to get to that point that you’re having conversations. You know, one side of your brain is saying, “Go ahead, you need this thing. Get all pumped up. You’re going to feel so good after that, Amy.” Right? The other says, “No. Why do you want to do that? Are you crazy?” Look, I have gone through these conversations thousands of times. All my clients do, okay? Most people do. What can we do?
From the awareness to saying what can I do right now? You know what? One freaking minute. Let me tell you, I mean, there are categories of exercises. Right, yeah, there is low intensity, moderate, and intense levels of exercise, right? They’re always specific for longevity and for fat burning, and the moderate and extensive and so on. More cardiovascular. Today we’re talking about mental health. We’re going to dive into those.
Burst exercises which is something that I do normally, the sessions in PCOS challenge, is they’re like 30-60 seconds all out. All out for you, Amy, is different than for me, right? Because we’re all different in our cardiovascular, in our condition, in our beginning level. Whatever that level we are today, that’s the beginning of today for tomorrow. That’s what I call it.
These are actually proven. A few sessions, two or three of this burst sessions of exercises increase growth hormone more than 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. This is powerful. Why is this important? Because growth hormone, the activation of that actually induces fat burning. Lean mass, right? Look, not only with women of PCOS can benefit, but all of us. I don’t care what state you are in your life and your age.
Why not say you know what? Today, I’m going to start with this burst. Then I’m going to do it as soon as I wake up. Then when you’re feeling down, because our cortisol hormones go down in the day, right, about 2:00 or 3:00 we feel sluggish. Unless we really pay attention to our body, we go through the caffeine, we go through the sugar, we go whatever if we cannot take a nap, right? Then we notice our productivity going down.
Amy: I wanted to say that a lot of women with PCOS have that inverted cortisol curve. Their cortisol is really low in the morning or even flat line during the day. That is, I kind of go through cycles where that happens to me if I’m just too stressed or too busy. Kind of that adrenal fatigue. What helps me is that burst exercise in the morning because it does raise my cortisol. It almost like shocks my rhythm back into a normal pattern if I do it consistently.
Maria: That’s absolutely correct. Again, comes from the awareness, right? I also went through … I don’t have PCOS. I have clients with PCOS and I work with them, and I really feel, I have my heart for them because it’s really a struggle. Every step that we take will help us. I’m telling you, this one that we’re talking today is an important step. We have to understand where we are.
With my adrenal fatigue that I had about two years ago, right, exhaustion level three. That was stress driven, by the way. It was not my nutrition. I also was doing myself a disfavor with really high intensity exercises in the late afternoon. That’s actually when my cortisol was higher. I knew that because I eventually did the test and I put protocol for my clients. I said, “Time out, Maria. I got to do that for myself because something is not right.”
My cortisol was so low to the dumps in the morning, right? We have to understand where we’re at. If you have PCOS and you’re one of those, because I had clients with PCOS that not like you they’re also exhausted so everything is low, right? Okay, what can we do? We can say one minute, one minute, I can do one minute. Get the accountability. Get the accountability to do it. It’s your friend, it’s your husband, it’s your kid. Put the kid to work if you have one, you know?
Again, comes with the awareness of our well-being and how our body is working and knowing that that side of the brain, the lazy one is going to say, no, stay right here. The other says you know you’re going to feel better. I’m glad that you experienced this and you move your fanny, I call it. You know?
Amy: I love, I think you’re absolutely right on about just kind of making a pact with yourself that you’re going to do it for one minute. I give myself five minutes because I probably will quit after a minute. I think you start seeing those positive effects and the neurotransmitters, that I want you to tell us more about, within a short period of time. The other thing you said is accountability. I had mentioned Pure Barre.
One of the things that really holds me accountable is they have this app and in the beginning of the week I go on and look at my calendar and I put the dates that I want to take class in. If I cancel within eight hours, after eight hours, I’m charged $15. That really holds me accountable. I get my fanny there, like you said. I don’t want to pay.
Exactly, and you know what? Let me tell you that one of the main reasons that people end up hiring a personal trainer, and I highly recommend, because when I was in corporate. My background is in corporate and I’ve been, you know, I left corporate in the end of 2014 to start my company because the passion outgrew, you know, the passion for health and wellness outgrew the passion in finance.
I used to have personal trainers back in the day because I was a workaholic, and I’m still a workaholic. I said you know what? First, I felt like okay, I got to show up. This person is waiting for me so, there is a kind of accountability because I’ve got to go because that. Two, is the money. I was not going to lose $60 bucks or so per session because of that. My trainers never, I mean never gave me money back. Whatever excuse I gave, it was 24 hours and that’s it. You know what? I do that to my clients. There are exceptions, you know, sick and whatever, whatever. I do make exceptions, I’m not like those trainers.
I try to understand, especially with women with certain conditions. I have clients with Type II Diabetes, Type I, which is very conditional and PCOS, so I understand those things so I adjust. It is important, you know, to get that accountability. Paying somebody to get us to feel comfortable in our skin. To understand the form because we don’t want to get injured. We want to use exercise to all these benefits that we’re talking about. To get us motivated, to get us inspired, to get us to feel the goodness there is behind exercise. Do it, you know?
Go to classes. There is meet-up classes, there is a lot of other sources that are less expensive that get you going. Set your timer, your calendar and stay true to it. That is number one. Put rewards to yourself. I would be glad to give this to folks. I created what is called a fun fitness calendar, and I use it. I mark it, I laminate it and I put that on my fridge. It’s kind of a fun little thing, right? It’s a monthly calendar because laminated it can erase. I just started April and right there I see it, the days that I exercise.
I put little pictures of me sometimes, if strength training, I put me like holding a bar strong, whatever. Put smiley faces on the fridge. I have a bunch of those smiley face magnets that I put in there. Make it fun and this can be great for a family, you know, to do it. I use all kinds of tools to help myself. I make myself accountable putting this exercise that I do on Facebook, as well. Just pictures, so at least I know well, if people seeing that I’m not exercising they’ll say what kind of trainer are you? That kind of stuff.
Whatever it is that’s going to help you hold accountable. Think about those, make a list that says how do I feel accountable to myself and to others? I want to inspire other people to do the same thing. If I can do it, you know, maybe my friend, Mary, can do it, as well. Let me help her. That’s one way is helping others beyond ourselves.
Amy: Yeah. All great resistance busters. I want to get back to the exercise mood connection, the mental health connection. I firmly believe that knowledge is power. I think that’s another resistance buster when we know that exercise helps us more than just kind of that old paradigm of calories in/calories out. You’re not going to the gym to burn off the milkshake that you just had at lunch, or whatever. That’s not really how it works.
The benefits go far beyond calorie burning. Tell us what it does to our mental health. Then, I’d love to know what you think are the best activities to kind of achieve that benefit.
Maria: Yes. Look, I want the audience, and you, as well, to imagine a tree, right? Imagine a Magnolia tree. One of those trees that is very common here in the South, you know? They’re a resistance, basically. Their leaves, they don’t lose leaves. The Southern Magnolia tree is like bright green colors, right? Their root system, let’s start from the root, they don’t go deep. They actually spread to the side.
I want you to imagine that tree. It’s almost like a Christmas tree, right? The roots, they spread along sideways. Eventually, they interconnect with others, you know? Then you have the trunk and then you have the tree, the blooms, the flowers. The Magnolia tree is beautiful, as well, because it blooms in the spring and the summer. It’s kind of a perfect tree in that sense.
What it is really that I want you to understand is that the power of exercise is I’m going to quote here what John Ridley, an MD, wrote in one of his books because it really inspired me to actually design this tree and to focus a lot more on exercise and brain health. He says this, which is fantastic. “The neurons in the brain connect to one another through leaves on the tree like branches. Exercise causes those branches to grow and bloom in the new buds. Thus enhancing brain function at a functional level.”
I mean, I have the chills just
Amy: I know, what a beautiful, I don’t know, is that a metaphor or an analogy?
Maria: No, yeah, no, but that quote I’m reading to you because I still haven’t put it entirely on my brain, right? I’m reading because it comes straight from his book. When I read this I remember exactly, Amy, my brain went nuts because his book is amazing. I started drawing this tree and then I went into research mode, right?
What the roots of this tree, you know, these are the exercise, the physical activities that we do. We’re talking about going and answering what kind of physical activities over here that I’m going to in the end show what really brings the most effective impact for the brain. These are things that involve some cardiovascular.
Aerobic exercise, right? In this we can think about Zumba, jogging, running, CrossFit, something that I do. Weight training that kind of has some cardio in it either from the weightlifting that is heavy or the intensity. You know, boxing, kickboxing, hockey, hiking, right? Hiking can be if you put some pounds over here, if you’re going to go up a hill, right? Basketball, soccer, dancing. All those things. Volleyball, which is one of my passions, as well. Burst exercises and you can use burst to put that between your sets in your exercise, right?
Even fencing, soccer, you get it? All these exercise they have a component of aerobic in there, right? This is, you know, one thing it says people think about exercise as I got to go to the gym. I say no. No. You don’t have to go to the gym. You actually can do is think about the things that you love to do, right? Because we cannot start, you know, a routine of anything that we know that is going to benefit us the most already on the downhill, oh shoot, I don’t like this. Why do I want to put myself into that?
Again, that side of the brain saying I don’t like this. Lazy brain, I don’t want to do this. Put that barrier away and say what do I like to do, instead? Think about the positive aspects of it. Well, I do like to go for walks. Okay, great. How can I add more cardiovascular? Maybe I can some bursts in the middle. I tell my clients to stop right there for 30 seconds do jumping jacks.
Amy: Or add some hills.
Yes, exactly. Add some hills, right? I mean, if you can jog, if you don’t have any knee problems and things like that. For 30 seconds go a little faster, do a little light jog in that walk, right? You can do that. I like to swim, okay great. Add some burst of swimming into that. For 30 seconds, I’m going to do as fast as I can on that lap.
Think about the things that you love to do and start that way. It does not necessarily have to be in the gym. You’re going to start, you know, inspire, igniting those neurotransmitters for the brain. What are those neurotransmitters that I’m talking about? Now we’re thinking about, so this exercise, they’re the root, right? The foundation. That’s what I like to say. If that root is not working well, boy, we have a problem.
If we’re not in the quality of the soil, if we’re not putting water, think about it. Our body is the same. Our body is the same. We need to have the water. We need to put quality soil. What is that? It fertilizes the food that we eat. We can talk about exercise all day, but you know what? Nutrition is indispensable for the progress and for the maintenance and for the repair of our body.
We cannot just say that exercise is the best for repair. Yes, it is very important as we talked about, but nutrition is indispensable to this. You know, it’s a couple right there, right? Obviously, there is sleep and management of stress, which exercise does. Now to the trunk of this trees imagine now we have the neurotransmitters. What kind of neurotransmitters I’m talking about? I’m talking about Dopamine.
Dopamine is like think about is the learning, is the reward when we feel like yippy, right? We’ve got this thing going. Attention, movement, that’s what Dopamine does. It’s that kind of little Prozac that we have. Then, Serotonin. That is where the depression comes in, right? We need both. In depression we need to be uplifted, but the Serotonin, when it’s down whoa boy, that’s our mood is down. Impulsiveness, anger, aggressiveness. Boy I went through all that. I went through all that. I went through a very deep depression in my life, as well. You know, I used everything that I could in my power to kind of get out of that.
Amy: I’ve often seen that women in studies that women with PCOS tend to have low levels of Serotonin.
Maria: That’s correct. That is correct. Hence, one more important, one more reason for us to move our fannies. We start with the bursts, or including bursts and then moving up on the length of the exercise. Dopamine, Serotonin, Norepinephrine. What is that? That is attention, again, perception, motivation, arousal. Right? These, again, think about how we feel when we’re down, you know? We feel depressed, we feel low energy, we feel like we don’t want to do anything, we feel like we don’t want to talk to anybody.
Sometimes we actually put ourselves aside from everybody else, which is really not what the body needs. There is another hormone called Oxytocin. Oxytocin is an anti-stress hormone, anti-inflammatory that is actually when we hug, when we touch, it actually lifts us up. It’s anti-depression. Think about this, when you’re feeling down that’s when you need the connection. That’s when you need the connection. Maybe going to a class, like you said, is one.
You know, make an effort. Today, I’m going to go, I’m going to get out of here. I’m going to go and I’m going to make sure that I’m going to talk to somebody today. Just talking to somebody and giving and have that communication is good. It’s an anti-depressant. Now you’re going to move. Add the movement and then we’re really in good terms, right? Other things, and more specifically that I want to talk about, is a Neurotrophin, which a lot of times people don’t talk is BDNF.
What is that? BDNF actually is so important. Think about, you know, in the brain we have neurons, right? The importance of these neuron is we … In the past, we thought that medicine and Science thought that our brain was wired and that was it. We have that one brain, we’re born with that brain and all the wires that we had that was it. Well, Science has evolved and discovered that’s not the case, right?
We continue to evolve. These neurons, the synapsis is like the connection of the neurons, right? They’re enhanced with exercise. There is drugs, as well. Anti-depressants, okay, which I’m not promoting anti-depressants but sometimes they are needed. They are needed to get our fanny out of that chair, or that couch, or that bed. Especially when we’re talking about anxiety control and depression.
Anti-depressants have proven to actually increase BDNF, which is that fertilizer, that synaptic plasticity. The plasticity in the brain, what is that? It’s actually the growth of the brain. That synapsis, that connection happens with this BDNF and with exercise. The more empowering, the more we do to grow this BDNF the more power we’re going to have to actually change habits. For us to learn a new language, for us to actually stay on with that exercise routine that we’re trying so hard over here to get started, right? But we have to get started.
Knowing that exercise is going to help my synapsis right here in the brain to connect, build new habits and stay more positive, lower that stress in the brain, because it does, increase our reward center, our mood. Hold on. Why am I not doing this? Why am I not doing this? This is a question that is like I think sometimes is a snowball, right? We get into that snowball effect and we can sit here and say, “Okay, why am I not doing this, Amy? Why? Why? Why?” You hit yourself against the wall.
I want you to stop. Time out. Enough of the why, why, why. Action is necessary. Knowledge is power, right? Not really. Knowledge is the beginning of the powerful process. The word action and the actual doing, which is the action, is what’s going to really become powerful. I don’t think we are in lack of knowledge. Everybody knows exercise is good. Maybe they don’t know to this extent that we’re talking about, and there is a lot more into the brain. There is now is the beginning.
I said okay, what can I do? Stop the what can I do to actually putting the steps ahead. This BDNF is the linking, it links between the thoughts, the emotions, the movement and is really a fertilizer. We need this. Exercise is so powerful to increase this. Dr. John in his book mentions that they’ve done studies with people of depression. They put into depression medication, so a group of depression medication only, and then with exercise only. They both achieved very similar results, right?
Now, the thing is when they stop the medication, they went downhill again. The medication I like to call is a patch. We all need that patch, that band aid sometimes at least to not allow the creatures to come in and eat our lives. It’s not healing, it’s not healing. The healing depends on us taking action, especially from a holistic perspective to actually heal the body. From the mind to the body and the spiritual side of it, right?
Amy: I think that’s why it is a magic pill because it is true healing. I mean, it’s like the same idea as using the birth control pill for women with PCOS. Yes, it really can be a band aid and it can kind of help you feel better in the short term and it might be just what you need. But, it really isn’t, it’s a patch and it’s not getting to the true healing.
Amy: That’s a holistic approach, yeah.
Maria: Exactly, and that’s what you teach. That’s what I do the same. In that same experiment, so then they put folks to okay, now you’re exercising and you’re having the anti-depressant. It was rapid growth and improvement. When the people start feeling better, they were able to do what? Titrate down that anti-depressants and eventually get rid of the anti-depressants but continue the exercise and that was it.
Yes, there are ways. The blooming part, the leaves and the buds of this tree, you know, we’re talking about the emotions and the feelings from removing stress. Relieving stress. We cannot remove stress, we don’t want to actually remove stress entirely because it’s a very powerful thing. Stress actually gives us that ignite, it gives us that jump to do things. That little heart rate over here.
Amy: I sort of see anxiety as that, too. I tend to have a lot of anxiety. I’ve tried to reframe it as the anxiety is sort of my inner self calling me to action. That there might be some resistance around that action, and that might be what’s causing the anxiety.
Maria: Yes, and the exercise is going to help, obviously, with the anxiety. Again, all those the neurotransmitters, you know. Gava, glucomade and others that we didn’t speak over here for the lack of time. We just want to focus on the ones that are especially most related to that, you know, that people are most aware. From the Dopamine and Serotonin. I also want to bring the BDNF. That is so powerful.
We’re talking about having more vigor, more energy. Having more vitality, having more self-control, right? From diseases from ADHD it helps. From prevention of Alzheimer’s. We cannot actually eradicate, Alzheimer’s, right? But what exercise does, especially with BDNF that is also proven in rats, right? I think there are some studies in people, as well, is extend the life of these neurons of our brain. Okay, instead of getting what is becoming normal now, 50 something for Alzheimer’s to extend that. If we live along life, which is the expectancy, now, what is the quality of life that we’re going to have? That’s the beauty of exercise is extending the quality of life.
From the memory, from aggressiveness, to the confidence, decision making process in our prefrontal cortex. Right here where exercise bingo. Resilience. Folks, why are we saying no to this?
Amy: I have an obstacle that I want to get your opinion on that I fear in one, it’s framed one way or another with many women with PCOS. I think that we are perfectionists. I think that’s part of maybe that high androgen state that’s kind of driven, anyway, I’ve talked about this on other podcasts. I think that we’re perfectionists, and I think that we have this image that we’re going to be, everybody’s going to be focused on us if we’re not perfect.
I wrote this story in my book about a client who loved to swim. We kind of got to the place where we realize that swimming would be a great exercise for her because she loved doing it and it would be sustainable, but she was so afraid to be seen in a bathing suit at her local Y because she felt like everybody would be looking at her and her imperfections and that she’s not perfect. I think whether it’s at the Y in your bathing suit or at the gym in your workout tights or what have you, I think that there’s some level of overcoming this perfectionist tendency around exercise.
What do you think? How can we break free from that?
Maria: Yes. I know what I’m going to say over here might not come right for some people, but I will tell you this. You’re not that important. I’m not that important. People are very busy, folks. What exactly is going to happen here is let’s say that you have a little extra pounds over there or even more than little extra pounds, you have many. What’s going to happen when somebody sees you at the gym? They’re going to look at you and say, “Wow, she might be a little big,” and they’re going to go on. They’re going to go on doing their thing.
How much do you think that you’re that important to that person that you do not know anything about? Zero. I want you to take this thing for yourself. I know that it’s still kind of easy to say this, right? The focus over here is on you and why you are doing it. I know, Amy, that you speak a lot about this, as well. Why are we on this journey? Why am I embarking into this new exercise routine? Why am I doing those things? This is important.
This is about you, it’s about your health, it’s about your stamina, it’s about your Dopamine, your Serotonin, you getting the next step in your life and health.
Amy: You deserve it. I think that’s a message that has to come across.
Maria: Not only that, let me tell you, I have a client and she’s got PCOS and she’s big, you know? She, oh my God, I love her because she basically goes to the gym. She takes pictures, she’s speaks on it, she does not care about that. You know one of the reasons she continues to do this she says? Because she knows she’s inspiring people. She’s a mother, a single mom of a daughter, right? She wants that daughter to have the best. I know a lot of women don’t have PCOS or women listening to this don’t have kids yet, but you know what? It doesn’t have to be yours.
The fact that you might be a little bigger or do not know much about exercise and what to do, that’s an even better reason for you to get started to prove that you can do it. Again, that’s one of the reasons that I started doing online personal training is because a lot of people feel like “I don’t like the gym”. I don’t like the gym, I feel like I’m being looked at, yada, yada. You know what? You have to go nowhere. Right here from your living, from your bedroom, whatever it is you put the camera and we get the job done.
Until they start lifting their confidence and energy, because I do want them to exercise multiple times a week. If the home becomes, okay well, whatever. The outdoor becomes and they need more strength, more this because they’re getting better, okay, let’s get you to that confidence level that you can sign up for that gym, all right? But now you know what to do, you’re feeling good about yourself. Again, it’s getting what are the barriers? Let’s knock it.
The reality is there are many solutions and sometimes what is missing is the inspiration, or, the motivation comes first, the inspiration comes next, right, and all this is not going to work well unless you have accountability. Knowing what to do, obviously.
Amy: Well, I would love for you to tell us more about your online programs. I mean, I think women listening that, you know, feel like they need some inspiration and motivation after talking to you. Tell us more about Be Fab – Be You and what services you offer.
Maria: Well, Be Fab – Be You stands for Be Fit and Healthy, Age Beautifully, Be You. That’s the FAB, what it means, which is a fabulous thing, too. My goal with what I do is to really inspire people to make different choices in their lives. From a very holistic approach. Yes, I’m a personal trainer, but I also work on the body from a nutritional endocrinology perspective which is not only nutrition, but other lifestyles from sleep, stress, mindset, you know, and detoxification of the body. We want to allow us to actually ignite the power of these hormones and neurotransmitters, right?
Everything we do regarding to these pillars of health, you know, I help individuals to get. It’s about actually enhancing, seeing the systems in the body who are maybe not working well. These lifestyle areas, you know, that are putting programs depending on what the women want. Men, as well. I work with men, as well, but my clients are mostly women. It’s like where are you at and where do you want to go?
Sometimes it’s their digestive system that’s not working well. Again, we start with lifestyle and protocols, right? Is there blood sugar? Is there insulin sensitivity? It could be adrenal fatigue, it could be thyroid. In the end of the day, it becomes a cascade, but all this starts with foundations so, I evaluate what people are in need what they’re looking for and we go into this partnership.
This partnership can be as short as a month, to very long. It really depends on what people need. I do this in person here in Atlanta, and I do this online, as well. The personal training is the same thing. I took the personal training online a little over- it’s been a year and a half or so. It has been fantastic. I love it. I really love that most of my clients now are online. I feel that I can make a difference to these women who are time constrained because they don’t have the time to go to the gym. They can show up just with a t-shirt and shorts, whatever, we’re good to go, right?
They don’t feel good going to the gym. They don’t know what to do and you feel them blooming. You see them blooming, getting confidence and seeing their strength. It’s just great and I’m able because I’m beyond a trainer, I’m a coach in other aspects. I’m able to kind of integrate that into the discussion, as well, how are you feeling? How is your sleep? Then give tools, also, you know, in case people just want me to be their trainer and not their coach.
I think it’s a village. It takes a village, okay? From your physicians to specialty doctors, to your coaches, to your trainers, to your friends, to your family. Health takes a village. I love to be part of that village and I will be part of that village to the extent that the person wants me to do and to be. That is what I do.
Before we go, I really want to address one thing about this imperfect action. I really want you guys to get out of this talk today and think about what kind of activities you really enjoy to do. Being the perfect type, let me tell you this. I’m also, I have to learn how to take imperfect action with my business. I’ve always been a Type A, you know, perfect, perfect, and I learned the hard way, folks, in a very hard way that that leads to nothing but stress.
We have to, actually when we fail is when we grow the most. I’m not saying promoting failure, what I’m promoting is growth. Growth happens when we allow ourselves to experience different stuff, right? We do not grow being in our comfort zone. We don’t. Period. Those synapsis that we’re talking over here in the brain to get us all pumped up and all growing, that requires us to keep moving, keep pushing. That’s the same thing with exercise, right?
Think about the activities that you enjoy. Think of where I’m at and really have a come to Jesus conversation. Where are you at? I’m at here. I suck here. Do great here. Good, good, good, not so good? Okay, great. Then set some goals. Then get what? What do I need to succeed in these goals? Setting goals is easy. Now, it’s starting to get them to accomplish them that’s a very different story. That’s where it’s what do I need to succeed to achieve these goals. What is in my way? Is it my excuses, that lazy brain talking? Is it oh, you know what? My shoulder hurts, my calf hurts, my hips. I’m sorry, these are all excuses.
Right now, I have shoulder issue and I have calf, okay, and I’m still exercising. There is that patient to everything. Have a clear conversation. What is in your way? Sometimes it’s ourselves that’s in our way. Get a plan ahead, you know? That’s the only, that plan, think about your village. Who do I need? Budget some times is part of the conversation. Put that in. Or the budget, okay, what kind of adjustments do I have to make at least to get started if I need a help, extra help.
That imperfect action is key over here. Exercise, it’s not about once a week. That’s not going to do anything. Just because you’re learning a language you have to practice, practice. The same thing, that’s what’s going to build the synapsis. Maybe you start with that one minute, then you increase to five minutes, then you increase to 10 minutes, right? Also, okay, one minute every three days, okay great. That’s a beginning and then continue to grow in there. Assess where you’re at and put a plan ahead and get the accountability that you need.
You will benefit from all these powerful things that we’re talking about when you have exercise consistently. Get on it because that is the free pill that all the doctors should be talking more about and they’re simply not making their clients and patients to do it or accountable for.
Amy: Well, you’ve certainly motivated me to go out for a walk today rather than spending the time, extra time, on my computer writing another blog article. I’m going to go out there and move and do some bursts, too. Come back feeling better. I really appreciate all of your advice around the resistance because I think a lot, it’s going to help a lot of women listening. You know, why don’t you put out a challenge. What do you want everybody listening to do this week?
Maria: I want them to start with out of bed, I want them to actually three sets of 30 seconds of bursts out of bed. Basically do 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds or a minute, or as long to get your heart rate down a little bit, then do another one of 30 seconds to a minute. Rest a little bit. This whole thing is not going to be more than five minutes, right? Do that out of bed.
You’re going to see the lift in your energy. That is the challenge. You guys are welcome to reach me at Be Fab – Be You.com. That is B-e F-a-b – B-e Y-o-u.com. I post all my exercises on my Facebook page and when you go to my website you can see on the top the icons to link with me. You can call me, or text me, really. I’m very good at that. My number is 770-835-5490. I would love to offer a session, a complimentary session to the audience so we can discuss how I can assist even if it is in a more comprehensive way or just exercise. I do offer also group online sessions, too, so maybe you should get a group. We can do that. It’s a lower rate.
Again, there is many ways that we can get started, but just reach out, and I’ll be glad to be your accountability system.
Amy: Oh, well thank you. That’s really generous. Thank you so much for taking all this time to come and talk about this really important subject. Everyone, take advantage of that challenge this week, and I hope to hear that it made you feel more energized during the day.
Amy: We’ve been talking a lot about energy, building energy, and that’s definitely one way to do it. Thanks, Maria. Thanks to everyone listening. I look forward to being with you again very soon. Bye, bye.