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Discovering the Power of Fitness as Therapy: Insights and Strategies for Sustainable Health

In this episode of the Palm Harbor Local Podcast, “Discovering the Power of Fitness as Therapy: Insights and Strategies for Sustainable Health,” we explore the evolution of fitness over 15 years, emphasizing holistic, low-impact exercises for all ages and levels. We discuss the role of fitness as therapy, the challenges of maintaining discipline in a tech-driven world, and the importance of starting with simple exercises like walking. The episode also highlights the balance of work-life commitments with fitness goals, and the significance of setting realistic, achievable targets for long-term health and wellness.

Listen to the podcast episode here!

On this episode, my guest is Heidi Templeton and she is back for her second episode. Heidi is a fitness enthusiast with over 13 years of experience teaching various types of fitness for all different ages. She is currently teaching classes for Embody, an online fitness and wellness platform for all ages and fitness levels.

In this episode, we talked about how to get started with your fitness journey, why you shouldn’t set a New Year’s resolution, and why most people struggle with their fitness. Let’s jump into it. So I was looking back at our previous episode, Heidi, and it was over two years ago now.

That’s crazy to think we’ve evolved so much. So speaking of evolving, let’s talk about that. What’s changed since September of 2021? 

I feel that was such a lifetime ago. What? A lot, a lot.  , kids are older now they’re in school and kind of have a little bit more of that freedom from eight to three. That’s nice.  , well, to kind of, follow my passion and things that I want to do. So that’s been fun. Over those last years, my career certainly has evolved in this ever-changing and growing and expanding, and just really enjoying that ride. I think the last time we left we met we spoke I was with I stroll. And I was bringing mommy classes to local parks. And such an inspiring community.

Over the last two years that has slowly evolved, as I’ve aged, and my kids have aged, I have gone back to teaching more of that group fitness aspect that is for everyone. So not just pre or postpartum. But, the person who’s looking for a quick 20-minute workout who travels a lot for work, or the mom who is trying to balance it all has, their career, their kids, home all the things to take care of. So with that being said, I’m back on our online now-on embody, which is a fitness platform, more of a holistic fitness approach. So low impact, nothing too draining, nothing too high energy.  , our goal with Embody is to make fitness feel good.

So I’m super passionate about that, especially as I grow older, I’m in my late 30s Now, so my approach to fitness is always changing. I started teaching, 15 years ago, and that has certainly evolved as I’ve gotten older, and, just some things that aren’t agreeing with my body anymore. So being able to have a platform that I can, bring that knowledge and experience and just that realness to has been a lot of fun. 

That’s pretty cool. I think that’s, you mentioned,  evolving. And I think that’s important for people to kind of understand, with fitness or just with life are different,   we’re always evolving and changing too,? So being okay, and accepting that your fitness, you’re not going to do the same things you were doing 10-15 years ago.

So for those that haven’t listened to your first episode that we recorded, I guess, talking about your, why are you so passionate about fitness?


I mean, it’s been a lifelong passion of mine, I was a competitive gymnast and suffered quite a few energy injuries from that. So I basically how to rehab myself after, things just wasn’t working. And the traditional methods of, recovering from injuries weren’t working for me. I got very passionate about yoga because it felt good to my body. And then just as I grew older, and just with my fitness background, it just, it was important to me. I  think fitness is a beautiful thing when people use it as a form of health care. I mean, certain people take it to, extremes. My husband’s a marathon runner, it’s a little extreme. But he loves it. But I think, I think we’re getting to a place where fitness is becoming a form of healthcare, and I think people are starting to realize that.

So as I’ve evolved over those 15 years, of teaching, and I’ve evolved in and just growing older and having kids and, and wanting to teach them and give them the tools they need to make choices to take care of their body and you got one you got one body you got to take care of it for a long time. So that’s where my passion stems from just using it as a form of therapy as a form of medicine as all the things to to just make you feel good. That’s really where my passion is. 

I love that. Why do you think fitness? Or why do you think fitness is so difficult for a lot of people? A lot of Americans?

I honestly think it’s a lack of discipline, to be honest. I think we’re in a culture where everything is just handed to you and everything is in. And the idea of having to, not to be harsh, but kind of, get up and do something for yourself.

It’s hard for people. It’s easier to, Netflix and chill these days, then to and then to take a walk. I think we’ve honestly, I think we’ve become so disconnected as much as I love being online and being with a platform where I have a bigger reach.

I think just our technology and our social and all that has consumed so much that I think it’s, it’s hard for people to separate and get away from that these days. And there’s so much with your fitness course, being online. There’s so much information out there for people. It’s never, it’s probably never been easier for people to be physically active

And I think that was the beautiful thing that came out of 2020 I think a lot of these, a lot of things did go online. So there is no reason even if you do work from home, and you only have these, short windows where you can get activity and it’s, there’s so much out there.

And it’s and you can pick and choose and do what feels good to you. It doesn’t have to be, just just one thing, just black and white. It can be several different things. Which is, which is cool, and we’ve never had that before it’s been, you have a membership to a gym or a studio and that was the one workout you did. But now there’s just so much you can do which is great.  ,

Speaking of Netflix I watched part of I don’t think I finished it. But there’s a Netflix on I think it’s called Blue Zones. where the healthiest people, the people that have lived the longest where they live, and whatever. And the big takeaway from that was, it wasn’t necessarily they were doing any extra physical fitness activities or anything. It was just their lifestyle was physically demanding. up and down moving core strength,   developing all that. 

So it doesn’t seem kind of what you do, where it’s low impact,   it doesn’t have to be at the gym, lifting heavy weights or anything like that. 

Fortunately, I think our knowledge has evolved as trainers, science has evolved, and I think we’re starting to realize that different things work for different people. I mean, strength training is amazing at any age, too. And I think that’s something that needs to be done every no matter how much you’re lifting. I think it’s such a great thing.

But as far as high-impact workouts, some people that doesn’t work for some people, that doesn’t feel good either, but some people love it. And that’s their therapy, and that’s a great thing. So again, I think it’s just kind of working through what feels good to you.

But, what’s the phrase it’s there’s freedom and discipline there’s freedom and there’s freedom and I think if you just find your flow it can just it can help your lifestyle so much it just trickles down into everything because then you sleep better you are more aware of what time you’re going to bed you’re more aware of, what you’re eating and going out and doing these things. It just trickles down and it helps you evolve as a person. 

What are some advice you have for someone, we have the New Year’s resolution coming up. People are going to set their goals and whatnot what is some advice for someone who’s looking to get started maybe they haven’t been physically active or they don’t have that discipline whether it’s in the morning or the evening. What are some tips that you have for them?

The thing in the whole world if you do not work out at all just take a walk outside and take a walk it doesn’t have to be far you can start with a quarter mile and then work your way a half mile and then a full mile and then you’re walking the four miles on the causeway which we all have that. I think I think that is the place to start. Just take a walk. It’s just there’s so much research done behind just walking. How good it is for your body your mind, and your spirit.

I would just love to see more people just go for a walk. So speaking of that,  when I find myself,   not wanting to get up in the mornings or I get out of that routine of running first thing in the morning or exercising in the morning.

I did that recently this year when I was, I just needed to get up and I go for a walk. And I, I tried to remain disciplined to do that for I think a week or two,   just to build that habit of doing something simple. First thing in the morning, I would just go walk for a mile or two

That’s great. And I know some people love to do, just quiet walks. But again, there’s there’s meditations, you can do walking meditations you can do, there are podcasts you can listen to, and there’s nothing that can still keep you engaged. I know people who will take conference calls on a walk. I mean, there’s just, just to keep your body moving.

But I think that’s the first thing that people will come up with, well, I can’t do this, because I, XYZ and just take a walk start with walking, let’s just start with with with a block. And we’ll go from there. Get a dog. Keep it simple.

Discovering the Power of Fitness as Therapy: Insights and Strategies for Sustainable Health

What are three positive impacts on your fitness?  How does it affect you?

I mean, so I think the biggest thing is, it’s, it’s a huge stress reliever, both my husband and I, we really, we do put it pretty close to the top of the list. Just because it does, it does reduce so much stress in your body, I think sleep is another priority of mine.

And then just being able to be active with my kids. They’re nine and seven now. And they truck along for four-mile bike rides,   they’re, they’re super active kids and, and that’s my goal is just to at the end of the day, it’s not aesthetics, it’s not how I look, it’s all about how I feel.

And I just want to keep my energy up with them and be able to, to build have them build that relationship to with being active. I think, our generation was brought up a lot with competitive sports. And, you’re kind of grinding at that, I think we’re starting to evolve a little bit away from that.

I know, with my girls, they do highland dancing, and they do horseback riding and it’s not necessarily these you’re in the gym, or you’re on the baseball field or your basketball field. 

Just there’s, I think the cool thing about us is that our kids are, are open to more when it comes to being physically active. And I think that’s a cool thing to see. And that’s, that’s my biggest, biggest reason for being active.

I think that’s a big part of it to anybody with kids, how physically demanding they are.  And if you’re not feeling well, it just puts you in a bad mood.  And I think just getting older too, there is a bracket where I don’t try to try to put it into words. They were taught that it’s got to be heavy, it’s got to be hard. It’s got to, and I think a lot of them are dealing with, with the hormonal issues that are back lashing from that, and, and just the physical injuries and, they’re getting knees done, and shoulders done and all of that.

And if I can avoid all of that, I think then what I’m doing now will pay off then.  How much of something I’ve been trying to focus on more is stretching or doing yoga or whatever it is. How important is that?

And especially for runners, I think that’s I think runners are, we need to we need to push them a little bit harder on the stretching on the myofascial release foam rolling,  , you have so much of that lactic acid buildup legs up the wall, super important to get that flush. But again, it’s just all about longevity, you want you want everything to stay open and lengthen, and we hold so much emotional storage in different parts of our body, and being able to release that through stretching just helps us as people and helps us keep going.

So going back into your business a little bit and then that transition period. When it was time to transition or what was that? What was that for you mentally? Was it difficult? Or were you know, this is what I wanted to do?

I think we all have these moments in our lives where we kind of have to take inventory of things things don’t feel. They feel off and unfortunately, we lost one of our young dogs and that was that was a really hard thing for me.

And I think it helped me kind of put everything back in focus. So it helped me kind of pivot a little bit and work up the courage to be, Okay, I know, I was feeling the burnout and I think it’s took an event that to be, things have to be reprioritized things have to be put back in, in line and things have to work for me and my family.

So I knew at that point that things have just kind of run their course. And I try not to be afraid of pivoting. But, there’s always that, I don’t know. So that was my, Aha moment. I spoke with Danielle, who started the Embody platform back in April.

And so it was just kind of a slow trickle that was always in the back of my head. Then in August, we kind of decided to make the move, and it took a while to process everything and get the ball rolling. And my biggest thing is, and I know, for a lot of women out there is, you, you’re the modern woman, so you kind of have to balance it all now.

And so my, my biggest thing is, I want to be able to follow my passion and follow and make a career for myself and, be able to be within this community and be able to work out and be able to teach others and all that.

But at 3 pm when my kids are out of school, I want to be done.  I’m gonna be home, I want to be with them. So, we were saying, I have these hours from eight to three. And I think a lot of women are that these days, where they’re working.

They’re also the homemaker. They’re also the caretaker, and they have 20 minutes, so they have 20 minutes, they can move their body, they have 20 minutes, they can make you feel good. So that was the part that felt to me, taking an hour of workout these days just seems to be impossible, almost, unfortunately. But being able to work out for 20 minutes, and then take a nice walk with a family that that seems more tangible. And that seems, it just, works out for everyone. 

I think that’s a good point, too. Whatever your time slot is, just be okay with that. That’s something I’ve struggled with before too. No, I have to work out or I have to do a 30-minute workout or an hour workout, or I have to run this distance. But maybe that data is and allows for that.  And just being okay with that which is hard. 

And it’s I think it’s that, we’ve had that mentality for so long, that it seems impossible that   20 minutes is all you need.? Sometimes it is. Why do we do that seven days a week or five days a week? Does it add up? It’s more than that. Hey, I can’t fit it in for three days in a row, and that just again trickles down on a lot of things that it take its mental toll after a while.

What do you think goes back to, why it’s important?   if you can’t do anything, just go for a walk. Just start somewhere. Get your body moving. And that’ll transition into the next phase after that. What is your ideal, fitness day or ideal day look for you when you’re taking care of yourself, your body, and your mind and all that stuff?  What are some habits for you?

I mean, so today every day is not ideal. Today, I woke up early and did a 40-minute Pilates strength. workout I journaled. That’s when I have my bone broth and my coffee and then I always get myself up early before my kids so I have that time to myself, get them running, get them off to school, and then my ideal day would be being able to teach being able to take the time to do my workout which would be online.

Sometimes it is fun popping into studios especially. It’s just because I’ve been in the industry and been in the area for so long. So I only see familiar faces and that’s all that makes you feel good. So that would be my morning I’d love to come home nourish myself, reset my house before my kids come home, and then unplug and disconnect and not have to think about it, did I get this done today?

Did I do enough today? What were my calories? What did I put in my body?  , I just don’t want to stress about that stuff anymore

I think that’s that’s a good point.  I’ve tried to do that to where it’s, and I’ve had a conversation with other business owners on that on before to where it’s you got to when you get home you gotta be home you have to be present at the time and so putting the phone away and but just being okay with, Okay, I did everything I could today. And then now the day is over I’m spending time with my family.

I tried to turn my phone on airplane mode for the first hour the girls were home because we were doing homework and all of that and then at 7 pm. My phone officially went away for the night. And that’s nice. That’s a nice disconnect and, and a reset and just To be able to stand out kind of.

So I want to talk about New Year’s resolutions. We’re coming up on the new year. I got some stats. And I want to get your thoughts on that. So 95% of the New Year’s resolutions that are set are fitness related, which is pretty, I guess that makes sense,? Of those 95% 10%, only 10% of them think it will last. And then 9% complete them.

So I guess I think that was 9% off, the total number of people that set a New Year’s resolution, So if I look at this and it’s, okay, if you think you’re gonna accomplish this, or you think it’ll last, your chances are pretty good. 90% 

I mean, I think it’s just the whole mindset conversation, you go, with a good mindset and a positive mindset. I think, then you’re, then you’re set, you’re gonna, you’re gonna not push yourself, but you’re gonna make that promise to yourself.

And I think that’s an important thing. I think people, I always, I tried to put practices that I would to do for the new year, I start them   December 1, so they’re already kind of a routine when the new year comes, I do I, I don’t personally set resolutions for myself, but I do love refreshes. And, whether it’s my routine, my workout, what I’m doing, if I noticed, if I noticed foods over, the holiday season that I’m working for me, and I’m, Okay, I’ll take those out for a month, just kind of recalibrate, I guess, for the New Years. But I think those stats just go all about art and go back to all about being all about mindset.

Do you have a typical cadence where you’re, every couple of months, every quarter, you’re, revisiting your fitness goals, or fitness or health and wellness do?

I feel now I’m in a pretty good flow. This week, especially, it hasn’t been I’ve been doing 20 to 40 minutes. And it’s, it’s, it’s getting up pretty early, just because it’s been one of those weeks where it’s less chaotic. We’re coming up on the holidays, and, we have all the things but I tried to so, over the summer, I was probably doing a lot more weightlifting.

And then I came back from a pretty long camping trip where I wasn’t weightlifting and I noticed that a lot of inflammation had gone down in my body and things that. So that’s when I started bringing in more of the low-impact options and training a little bit, but low-impact more. I’m never going to say that I won’t go, into a CrossFit class and go enjoy that.

Or, I won’t ever say I won’t ever close the door on any kind of fitness option. But it’s nice to have a lot of those options and to be able to change when your body changes because it’s constantly evolving. You’re constantly evolving. And your hormones are constantly shifting, and it just it’s the nature of the beast to figure out what works best for you.

What do you do when you’re thinking about changing? What are the signs that you’re looking for? Is it you’re just not motivated to do that exercise or that type of fitness anymore?

I think you hit the nail on the head with I think when you’re just burned out from it it’s just time I think and your body shows you signs to you. Are inflamed joints hurting and you’re just not you just don’t want to do it. Sometimes it’s just as simple as that my body’s done. burned out

So any last-minute tips for anybody that’s who’s looking to maybe start their year off this December with fitness and trying to get that back into life?

Keep your goals tangible and make them work for you.   Don’t set these lofty goals that you’re gonna set yourself up not to accomplish. Again just start small start with that walk start with meeting a friend for a yoga class, start with it don’t sign any big commitments don’t sign, if you don’t if you don’t think it’s gonna work or if your schedule is tight or just don’t sign up for any big commitments just yet.

Keep it small, keep it simple. I think the best thing is to have your home gym and not anything crazy but a pair of weights and a mat and a resistance band that can take you a long way and just have a little space for it.  , keep a yoga mat rolled up in the living room.

So when you are watching TV and you do want to take that stretch. Do just make fitness work for you move work for you. Don’t just don’t shut the door on it, oh, I don’t have time. So, again, just keep it, keep it, keep it in sync with your life.

And I think that’s, that’s the path to least resistance you won’t, you won’t run into any roadblocks if you’re just if you’re working at it, and I think I think people set out for the New Year’s for these huge lofty goals, and then, life gets in the way, and then they quit, and they are back to square one.

And, unfortunately, I think that’s become a big thing in our society. We have record obesity, numbers, and diabetes. And, I think because, because, as Americans, we set the bar so high for ourselves. And then we have 20 Other things on our plate, and we’re exhausted, if we just start small, then it will go a long way.

That’s huge. I read a book that recently reminded me of setting goals, your New Year’s Resolution, and then, this stat about the New Year’s resolution, but it’s called the 12, the 12 week, year. And the idea is, that 12 setting a goal for 12 months or giving yourself 12 months to accomplish that goal is too long, it doesn’t create that sense of urgency, because you can fall off track and then get back on track and still accomplish that goal.

So set your goals in 12 weeks, or quarter every quarter.  , and creates that keeps that urgency there. Maybe it keeps it simple, So it’s an easier goal to accomplish than looking at 12 months so then my mindset was, okay, I can do this

I think that’s the way to do it. I think just break it down into small steps.  Just don’t over-commit. I think that’s the biggest thing I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to over-commit to these lofty goals and that’s for every area of our life not just not just health and wellness and fitness.



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We Love Local
December 18, 2023
Categories: Podcast