Because health and fitness is about so much more than doing push ups, running sprints and dieting, our bootcamps feature mindfulness coaching sessions to help make the changes in participants’ lifestyle stick.
When our owner Elizabeth created Monterey Bay Moves, she had a clear vision in mind and it wasn’t your typical gym or boutique fitness studio experience you see a lot of these days :
Upon moving to Marina, I knew I wanted to start my own fitness business. I wanted to lead group trainings and do one-on-one sessions, but I also wanted to create something different from everything I had seen so far. With the years, I’ve been to multiple gyms, studios and parks to find the right training solution for me. In parallel, I also found myself registering to mindfulness, yoga and meditation practices in separate studios because most of the time, fitness and mindfulness are not available under one roof.
For Elizabeth, it was obvious mental and emotional health had to be somewhat part of her offer with the new business:
Growing up, I always had this sense that I was on edge. Like many North Americans, I have dealt with mental health issues and only recently found sustainable solutions to my ups and downs and depressive episodes. Meditation as well as a well-established healthy routine have been key components in reducing my anxiety.
Her transformative weight-loss in 2012 made her realize that her mindset and the state of her body were closely connected:
I was starting to understand the intersection of mind and body health… I was becoming a different, more positive and joyful version of myself, but my habits were so engrained in my neurological pathways. For that reason, I struggled to maintain my new healthy weight. In the first years, I managed to maintain myself by going to the gym or running ALL the time. It worked! I had a healthy weight, my doctor was happy, but I knew for a fact I couldn’t sustain that rhythm. I had to find something else…
About four years ago, she discovered meditation classes. The wind was slowly turning, taking her in the direction of mind-body awareness. She noticed she didn’t have to go on completing extreme exercise sessions to counter the amount of food she was eating. She found pleasure in cooking plant-based meals and savored fully them instead of shoving them in her mouth as fast as she could.
As her mindfulness practice expanded, Elizabeth started noticing her thoughts and the habits that followed them :
“I’ve had a good run today. I deserve this cupcake.”
“I already ruined my day with a bowl of sugary cereal this morning. Might as well call it quits for today, finish the box of cookies and start over tomorrow…”
“I’ll eat all the chocolates now so I won’t have them around all week”
Elizabeth realized health was as much about exercising than it was about taking care of her internal well-being. That’s why she decided to embrace the benefits of a regular mindfulness practice and brought in a coach to her bootcamps to help others.
Sensing an opportunity to combine two healthy habits she had been cultivating, Elizabeth decided to incorporate mindfulness sessions into her bootcamps as well as pre- and post- workout mindfulness moments.
For this task, Elizabeth thought of inviting her good friend and mindfulness coach Oscar Flores, who has been practicing mindfulness meditation for over 6 years.
Mindfulness in a Fitness Environment
Oscar completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) 8-Week Fundamental training (taught by Bob Stahl, PhD) and the Practice Teaching Intensive (taught by Bob Stahl, PhD, Christiane Wolf, MD, Carolyn West PhD, and Lone Overby). Furthermore, he is a CFM Qualified MBSR Teacher on top of being a member of the American Mindfulness Research Association and the Center for Mindful Eating.
Among other things, Oscar teaches bootcamp participants how to not rely solely on external factors for shifts in eating and fitness habits, but on internal indicators, such as being aware of negative and unhelpful thoughts around and during the times that people exercise and eat.
I joined the group as I resonated with Elizabeth’s deep understanding of the connection between mental and physical health. Giver her personal health transformation and her deep knowledge in the area of physical fitness, I could not pass on the opportunity to partner with her and Monterey Bay Moves to offer their students a truly unique blend of mindfulness meditation and group workouts. I think Elizabeth is innovative, and her ability to see the connection between mindfulness practices and physical health is cutting edge, and it shows how responsive she is to the needs of her clients.
As a matter of fact, the benefits of the bootcamp go far beyond the physical conditioning. CSUMB Admin at the Department of Social Work, Vanessa Gonzales, started noticing the changes in her mind and body early on:
My body is becoming conditioned! Most importantly my spirits are lifted & stress levels have been reduced. All thanks to this bootcamp and our coaches!
Mindfulness Mini-sessions will be included in this Spring’s Bootcamp schedule as well as optional monthly Mindfulness Workshops, all directed by Oscar:
I am excited to build on the mindfulness meditation practices that resonated most with clients. I will also be creating unique materials for students to reference to throughout the Bootcamp series.
Registrations for this Spring’s Bootcamp are now open.
In order to maintain a standard in quality and safety, we limit registrations, each class has a limited number of open spots. Our instructors regularly correct participants’ form and modify exercises to their level. This type of small group experience allows for better performance, reduced risks in injury and increased enjoyment. Hurry before all the spots go!