Sweat With Love: Three Ways to Rejuvenate Your Workout

By Guest Blogger   |  50Comments|

God, do I love to dance.

I love the way music feels in my body. It’s like the boom, boom ka of a drumbeat calls my cells to celebrate, which call to my bones, which call to my muscles, and before you know it, I am movin’ and groovin’ with pure abandonment.

I loved to dance so much that, in 4th grade, I decided that was it. Move over Jennifer Beals: There’s a new flash dancer on the way. The boom boom ka and I were going to be wed forever.

I spent countless hours in dance studios, pointing, stretching, turning, and jumping. However, at around 16 years old, the magical rhythm of the music that once soothed my soul turned into the ringing of Pavlov’s bell. It became the signal that I needed to work harder, turn faster, be thinner, jump higher, and plie my way to perfection.

I spent several years moving my body with one intention. Do better.

Even getting hired to tour with a renowned dance company didn’t quiet the, “This isn’t good enough” voice that joined me every time I slipped into my dance shoes.

But in 1996, while I was battling it out with myself in dance class, my mom was presented with her own battle. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

She took on the challenge like a warrior goddess presented with the task of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Determined. While she did what her doctors told her, being a child of the 60’s, peace love and everything in between, my mom employed her family as part of her healing team.

We went to meditation and tai chi classes, changed our diet, and found a way to love each other on a deeper level.

My mom was certain that the way to heal her body was through a whole lotta love and tenderness.

So, strange that at the same time, I was certain that the only way to get my body to what I wanted it to do was to beat it into submission. If I didn’t crack the whip on myself, wouldn’t my lazy butt end up on the couch, eating ice cream and watching hours of television?

My mom’s approach was the opposite. She allowed herself to have days of “Well, this really sucks” that were always followed by days where she would paint on her eyebrows and proudly walk out the door. When asked how she was doing, she said, “Gettin’ better every day.” And she meant it.

My mom’s healthy vibrant cells won out over ovarian cancer.(They won out again over breast cancer six years later! A miracle indeed. ) I learned that she did not win because she beat, prodded, forced, or made herself do anything.

She was kind to herself, every step of the way.

When I finally took on this approach in my own life, not only did my body change, but my whole life changed. The extra pounds I hung onto melted away. The self-criticism that spilled into other areas of my life was transformed to a sweet, steady voice reminding that I am doing pretty damn good.

If you’re looking to make radical changes with your body, whether it’s to heal, lose weight or even train for a marathon, it starts with radical kindness and compassion.

Here are a few radical ways to move your body:

1. Get on the love train: We choose our thoughts. You can’t get to destination I love my body by riding the I can’t stand my ______ (insert body part) train. That train ride will only lead to one place: where it is dark and murky and the sun rarely shines.

It starts with love and absolute appreciation for what you are able to do today.

Do whatever it takes to make appreciation for what you can do your primary thoughts. You might have to slow down to access these thoughts, or you might need to ramp it up, but be determined to catch that love train.

2. Set your intention: Instead of jumping on the treadmill or into your favorite exercise class with the intention that you have to burn off the calories you ate the day before, try something different.

Try sweating with the intention that you are going access your power. Intend that you are going to open your heart. You are going to heal. You are going to shine. You are going to become more of who you are meant to be.

This philosophy can be applied to any kind of physical activity you’re doing.

The more you sweat with love, the easier it becomes to be loving even when you are not exercising. This new behavior changes your brain chemistry, which, without doubt, spills into all areas of your life.

3. Add affirmations: I created a playlist and recorded spoken affirmations over it so that when I go for a walk, a run, or even dance around my apartment, I am moving with specific intentions.

I started sharing the playlist with my clients and friends, who love to incorporate it into their workouts.

It’s one thing to think affirmations. It takes it to a whole other level when you are moving and saying them to the rhythm of music. The affirmations become a part of your muscle memory, and they get embedded into your cells. This is where the real change happens.

Bottom line: Decide today that you are moving to celebrate your life. Let the boom boom ka fill you with joy as you move to any rhythm, cherishing the body you’re in and all that it does to support you. It’s has taken you this far. What a blessing.

Money-back guarantee that your body will change, your life will change, and moving will feel more like the final scene in Flash Dance … What a feeling!

Erin Stutland is a life coach, personal trainer and fitness instructor. She is the creator of SHRINK SESSION: 30 Days To Tighten Your Body + Rewire Your Mind and Air In Sculpt. She is one of four Premiere Intensati Leaders in the world.

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50 responses to Sweat With Love: Three Ways to Rejuvenate Your Workout
  1. Just yesterday I blared Set Fire To the Rain by Adele, tied the strings of my heart to the end of each limb, extended my limbs with all the life left in them, and allowed the music to play me like a puppet on my living room dance floor. I told my body to cry and only my feet could express themselves as tears. It was the day after a heart swelling break up. I felt more powerful and resourceful after letting my body feel the intensity of sadness, disappointment, and pain. I suggest this method to anyone looking to get over a break up. Big Hugs. Rachael J.

  2. Thanks for the great reminder Erin. I am inspired to listen to your workout mp3 again!

  3. I think this reminder is so important, to have love and compassion for yourself and your body. As a professional dancer, sometimes I forget it’s supposed to be FUN, especially in an audition, and especially as I get older and feel my body changing. We are all on this roller coaster ride called LIFE, and we are blessed to have healthy bodies that move and groove, sista! THANK YOU for the beautiful reminder.

  4. I love everything about this post because it has the 4Hs: Hilarious, Helpful, Hopeful, and Happy!

    The whole idea of getting off the “I hate my ____” train really resonates because I had myself a first class ticket on that ride for a long time. It’s only after learning from people like you, Erin, and Kris, that I could toss that ticket and get new wheels. I now ride the “I LOVE myself, therefore I ____” and my life is 100000 times better.

    What an amazing gift you received from your Mom’s illness- warriors, both of you!

    Will be thinking about these tips today- thank you!
    xo Olivia

  5. Erin, thank you for us that love really does the trick in every way. Your Mom sounds amazing.And I love that i can go into 2012 with this inspiring reminder. Namaste

  6. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Erin’s insightful & beautiful words gave me another option besides the “all or nothing” mentality that I often fall prey to and results in disappointment. This reminder to be kind to oneself and it will bring the ultimate reward, is the most important practice. And I have to say how much I appreciate her story, along the steps she leaves so I can help myself get there as well. Thanks for posting this, especially on a Monday so I can start my week off in the right way! I’m inspired!

  7. I love the idea of changing and healing through kindness and love towards ourselves. This is a refreshing concept. Thanks so much! love your post.

  8. Thank you so much for taking this platform to share your story. I am so blessed to be part of your community and so excited that the CSL world has access to your message and methods now too! I personally love how the blog was written out into little chunks instead of big paragraphs. I think the little nuggets have such a great impact on their own as bullet points and will stay with me even longer.

    And Rachael J. Avery, your Adele/puppet image inspired my own healing heart so very much. Thank you!

  9. Thank you for your honesty, courage and inspiring story. You make me want to sweat it out in a way that is kind and loving towards myself. What a powerful message. Can’t wait to read more from you!

  10. Thank you for this reminder that change happens when we are most loving to our bodies and ourselves, not when we are spewing negative energy in every direction. What a great way to start my day :)

  11. What a perfect article for me to read on this Monday morning. after years of working out, I am starting to look for more when I move… The timing of this could not be better. Thank you for this Erin.

  12. Sweating with love & affirmations actually sounds fun & soooo motivating. Dancing with pure abandonment is something I need to do more often. Over the Thanksgiving holidays my girls taught my sis and I how to do ” the Wobble”…we made a video and put it on facebook (laughing at ourselves!)…it took a bit of time for me to loosen up and just go with the music. Now, I’m thinking it’s time for another video. (Only it’s not going on my facebook page, lol, I’ll let my sis show off our dance skills to her friends!!!)

  13. I think this is a great reminder that sometimes wanting to change your body can come from a self judging place. But turning those tables around and wanting that change to come from a place of love really does make a difference. At the end of the day you feel better and prouder that you’re doing it because you love yourself. Now excuse me while I go dance in my room!

  14. Good article for a Monday morning, it inspires me

  15. This is so true, and something I should remind myself of more often. I recently sprained my ankle and was hoping for a speedy recovery to get back into my workouts ASAP. This recovery is anything BUT speedy. The other day, I tried to run and could only take 2 steps before the pain shot through my leg. It’s frustrating, but focusing more on really taking care and coming from a place of healing, loving thoughts instead of trying to PUSH my body into recovery may just make all the difference. Thanks for this, Erin!

  16. Thank you Erin! You and your mom’s example provides no better lesson about how vitally important this is for us in EVERY aspect of our life. Yet, so easy to forget. Thanks for lighting the path with your boom boom ka!

  17. Love this!! I have been feeling sort of off track with my intentions to take care of myself and its SO easy to get into “beat yourself up” mode. These 3 simple steps are an easy and loving place to begin for me and a great way to start my week off from a place of love!! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  18. Thank you Erin, this was just what I needed to hear. Your mom is truly an example of how loving ourselves can truly heal our life. It’s love not fear that really is the magic elixir.

    Thank you for the reminder that we have to let go beating ourselves up because really it doesn’t work and its actually hurting ourselves more. It’s the daily work of bringing love, setting the intention, reframing our thoughts and beliefs that is the key to living a life that is Happy, crazy, sexy, lovable life

  19. Yes, yes, and lets get started! There is so much good stuff here and i too love some of these comments as well as the post!

    Rachel J, you are literal poetry in motion!! I would have liked to be a fly on your wall.

    What I needed most from this wealth of insight was to remember do it for the LOVE, to feel my power, to utilize the body i have been blessed with, NOT to burn the 350 calories I ate for dessert the previous night. Right?! For me the compassion came after I got started on my journey and thankfully there are people like Erin to help pull us up and keep us motivated.

  20. LOVE this post erin.. what a wonderful story about you and your mom spending time together in such a healing way. i have been there with beating myself up to look the way i want, and now i feel lucky to be where you are: in a place that i exercise to feel healthy. it’s not easy to stay away from those old patterns, it’s a constant work in progress, but you are putting such great energy and motivation out there to your students, it’s inspiring!

  21. this is fantastic! such a good reminder that getting ourselves to our best is largely a matter of choice… what great news! thanks, Erin. “What a Feeling” just became today’s soundrack…

  22. Erin, thank you for sharing this incredible story. It’s so inspirational and gives me a new way to view exercise and treat my body.

    Your mom sounds like a wise, beautiful woman.

  23. Erin this is a beautiful post and such an inspiring story. Now I know where you get it from – your mom sounds like an amazing woman. I especially love the “get on the love train” tip — when I exercise because I want to “fix” something, it’s never enjoyable. I’m much more likely to move my body when I focus on the way it makes me feel. Thank you!

  24. What an incredible, powerful story, Erin! Thanks so much for sharing the wisdom that your mother taught you and what you’ve learned and experienced in your own life.

    My favorite part from above is “Try sweating with the intention that you are going access your power. Intend that you are going to open your heart. You are going to heal. You are going to shine. You are going to become more of who you are meant to be.”

    That really resonates for me. When I run I don’t think about calories burned (though I used to!). I think of it as “me time.” But taking it to another level and thinking about it as an opportunity to access my power… that’s amazing. Thanks for that.

  25. What a great outline to follow, thanks for the wisdom :) xo

  26. This is such a beautiful reminder and a lovely way to start off a Monday morning. I really relate to the “beat your body into submission” mentality from years of dancing. It has actually kept me out of dance classes for a few years now. That negative voice seems to pipe up every time I move even if its just working out. But I can definitely feel the voice soften and quiet down the more that I come from a place of love. Not to mention the results are better and its so much more joyful which then radiates into other parts of my life. You are always such an inspiration Erin and I love this article!

  27. What a wonderful string of inspiring comments. Starting with that amazing image of Rachel dancing soulfully with every cell.

    Sounds like the the I Love My Body train is ready to leave the station! All on this thread are aboard. Let’s remember it’s a choice to buy that ticket everyday. Thanks for all the wonderful feedback:) I’m ready for a second workout today!

  28. ERIN!!! i love this so much, i can’t stand it! one of the reasons i’ve never enjoyed working out is because it always thought of it as painful & something i wasn’t ‘good’ at.
    i love the perspective of viewing it as a way of accessing your power!
    you’re amazing!

  29. Great post Erin! As always, you are a complete inspiration.

    Lately, as I have been going through the motions, I think I’ve been completely stuck on the results, and not emphasizing the time spent in the gym, with my intentions, and with myself. I’m happy to take it to the next level and go back to that tredmill with a deeper meaning, intention, and goal.

    Here’s hoping CSL has more posts by Erin! Inspirational.

  30. wonderful Air In! love it. and so happy to know more of your story. AND… i get to see you in 40min for my personal session!!! gettin on that love train. thank you xxo

  31. Erin…great post! I totally believe this, but I’m just curious if you can explain why this works – especially in regards to the last few stubborn pounds scenario? Thx.

  32. Thank you, ERIN! Inspiring as always! I am going to download the playlist TONIGHT. Looking forward to many more years of crazy, sexy fun with you and SHRINK SESSION. All good things!

  33. super excited (and proud) to have discovered your post totally by accident. love your thoughts. keep dancing your ass off…xo

  34. Thank you so much Erin, this is an amazing article!!

    My favorite quote is this: “…cherishing the body you’re in and all that it does to support you…” I think this is so important… I think we’re all so hard on ourselves that sometimes that we forget to love even the sometimes “unlovable” parts; a few extra holiday pounds, smile lines, even callouses on our hands/feet from hard work…. These are the parts that should be cherished and loved the most! They make us imperfectly charming and beautiful.

    You inspire me, per usual:) xoxoxoox

  35. I love this article!! I have only just begun to realize that no one responds to a bully, so why am I bullying myself about so many things, movement being one of them? I too have that very loud internal voice that harangues me to move to “become worthy” or to “look better”, “I’m not good enough until I’m this weight or look like THAT.” But just because it is the loudest voice does not make it the truest or most real voice. Like other posters, I too truly love the idea of moving with the intention of finding my power, moving towards and joyfully celebrating my highest self. It makes so much sense and yet it has taken me a lifetime to begin to “get” that. And thank you for including some real actions to take: I am so glad to have these wonderful tips and tools and reminders to love my way through this world, joyfully “gettin’ down” on the love train. Otherwise, I’d probably read this article and then bully my self about having a bully voice, and then bully my self for bullying my self for having the bully voice….Aggghhh! It stops now (with loving firmness)! All aboard! You are a total inspirtaion and so is your rockin’ Mom! Thank you!

  36. Love this post Erin!! I definitely think there’s a place for pushing yourself but more so a place for listening to your body. I love moving my body – whether running (most likely lol!) walking or dancing i think we NEED the physical change of pace and space just to be sane. Totally agree it’s not about being good at anything – it’s just whatever feels natural!

    Cathy xox

  37. This article is exactly what has made the difference in my own life regarding my health, fitness, and lifestyle. Approaching food and exercise from a place of love is the cure! Erin is a life-changing teacher and coach. I’ve been learning from her for 2 years now and it’s made such a huge difference in my life. Thanks Erin!

  38. Erin, you yet again manage to inspire, enlighten, challenge, heal, invigorate and set lives in motion.
    I am in utter awe and this blog is PERFECTION.

  39. When Erin Stutland speaks, my inner radio dial immediately finds its Inspiration Station.
    I am printing out this post and taping to the wall above my computer. Thank you so much for this beautiful story. It is amazing how often sickness comes into our lives and teaches us how to be healthy.

  40. I started my day with this blog post and I want to revisit it as I wind down my day. I am so grateful for leaders like you, Erin, that have found their voice to inspire the world to be a better place.

  41. LOVE THIS! Thanks, Erin. You (and your mom!) are warriors!

  42. I think remembering to show love and tenderness to myself is one of the hardest things for me sometimes. I’m not mean, but I’m definitely not gentle enough. Sometimes when I’m frustrated, I close my eyes and picture myself having a conversation with myself. There are two of me. One is the angry me and the other a calm, loving me. I view the mad me as a friend who needs my help and support. And I am the loving, gentle friend helping a friend in need. When I look at myself as a friend in need, it’s so easy to be gentle with myself. And I talk to the frustrated me. I give myself a hug. I emit love to the mad me. And that image of showing myself kindness, completely calms me down. Thought I’d share my technique for surrounding myself with love when I’m frustrated. I loved this post!

  43. Ahh! More gems from Erin! This post has so many beautiful gems, but the most powerful for me was intention setting for exercise. I set intentions for other parts of my life – why not for exercise?! Love this concept that I can use to make any form of exercise a powerful journey. Thanks again, Erin!

  44. Erin, this is an amazing post on self-love. I’m totally gettin’ on that love train. My body loves me. She pumps blood without me know, keeping me alive, allowing me to enjoy this beautiful life. Really cherishing my body does wonders. And shakin’ my booty, too. You and your mom rock! xo

  45. I love this post ERIN! You are so right, as per usual! PERFECTION!


  46. I’m catching the love train right now, Erin. Thank you for bringing me to the depot. Your mom is phenomenal.

  47. Great article Erin! I love your writing, and am inspired by your mom!
    This is my favorite line:
    “Try sweating with the intention that you are going access your power.” Now THAT gets me motivated.

  48. Great advice, Erin. And to anyone reading this comment – she is the real deal! I take her Shrink Session classes and am ever inspired by this little fire-cracker! xo

  49. A belated response, Erin, this is such a beautiful post! I love Crazy Sexy Life and I love you and Shrink session and all the magical things you do. You posting on this site is such a lovely perfect pairing! A perfect reminder to get on the love train in 2012~ great great post! :)