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7-10-2014 8-39-24 PM

Going Holistic: Getting in Shape for the New Year

 Some roll their eyes at the concept of New Year’s resolutions, but who doesn’t love the prospect of starting a new year with a clean slate?

For a lot of us, resolutions involve losing weight or getting buff. Life-changing and meaningful goals, right?

But if they’re so important, why do we often fail? Is our focus wrong? The focus with these goals is usually always on the outside—being skinny, buff, sexy, etc. Anytime one focuses solely on the outside, the results will always be short-lived.

While wading knee-deep through the swamp of web-based info on diet and exercise, it’s easy to give up. Living in a foreign country without access to health and fitness professionals that speak your native tongue makes it even easier.

This year, try rethinking your goal: most people go on a diet to lose weight, but lose steam after a while. Others obsessively exercise at the gym or run every day, but they lose motivation.

What I suggest is a holistic approach to wellness, rather than a lose weight fast scheme. Holistic simply means taking everything into consideration, looking at the whole. Your diet, your activity level, the amount of sleep you get, the amount of stress you endure and even your mindset all contribute to how your body looks and functions.

Here are a few simple and effective ways to incorporate holistic living in your life that your body will reward you for.

ONE: Eat as close to nature as possible. The less your food has been touched (read: processed), the more your body likes it. Things full of color and water are full of the nutrients your body needs. When you eat a large pizza and are still hungry, it’s not because you haven’t eaten enough food—you haven’t taken in enough nutrients.

TWO: Move. My students do yoga and practically run laps all day long, but they don’t see it as exercise; they see it as fun and natural. Find a fun way to move: dance with your friends, or alone in front of the mirror; skip around your parking garage; get some audiobooks and walk around your neighborhood.

THREE: Rest. Take some time out for yourself. Resting on the couch watching Parks and Recreation doesn’t count. Unplug from the electronic world and plug in to yourself. Meditate, pray, think, plan, hope, dream—slow down and breathe deeply. Your stress will melt away.

FOUR: Sleep. Sleeping is one of the most important things we can do for our health. During sleep, all of our hormones are charged and refilled. These hormones are responsible for everything from weight loss to mental performance to sex drive. A good night’s sleep should never be underrated.

FIVE: Find a community. Having a group of people to work out with, share recipes with and even lean on for moral support is priceless. There are lots of gyms in Korea that have communities of like-minded individuals. Find one.

A Great Starting Place

One gym here in Busan really gets the holistic wellness award from yours truly. Kaizen Wellness Workroom in Millak really is a full-service health and wellness facility. They have fitness classes seven days a week. This isn’t running on a treadmill while watching TV or watching yourself doing curls in the mirror; this is real exercise that is active, challenging and, dare I say, fun. Where else can you freely do seal flops, Hindu push-ups and alligator crawls and not look silly?

They also have monthly clean cooking classes, weekend retreats for detoxing, yoga or intensive exercise, one-on-one diet coaching and personal training, and are even offering healthy (and delicious) dinners twice a week to both members and non-members alike.

You can find out more about them on the web at

Photos courtesy of the Kaizen Wellness Workroom.




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