Breathing and meditation, deep breathing is calming while shallow breathing can cause extra stress and put our bodies into fight or flight mode. Being able to quiet the mind and sit with our own thoughts through meditation helps to relieve stress, eliminate or reduce negative thoughts and worry, and encourages positive thoughts and happiness.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Heather Heberling. Heather has a passion for physical fitness, it is her love of running that led her to a more healthful lifestyle, strengthening her physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has influenced her to branch out and embrace yoga, strength training, and mindful nutrition to further her goals. It was along this journey when Heather decided she wanted to offer her knowledge to help others achieve improved health and fitness.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
I have been an avid runner since high school. When I decided that I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon is when things got serious. I knew I had to step up my game in order for this to happen. I started doing yoga, strength training, and eating better. All of this along with many miles and plenty of sweat got me to Boston. It was the best feeling and I wanted to help others improve their fitness and reach their personal goals.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
My client had cancer last year and needed to have radiation for 6 weeks. He wanted to increase his training from 3 days to 5 days immediately following his radiation therapy. Watching his drive to keep exercising through this was very inspiring to me to say the least!
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Early in my career I was asked 5 minutes before a yoga class to substitute for the instructor. At this point I did not have my yoga teacher certification, however I did practice yoga frequently. I wanted to make a good impression on the fitness manager so I agreed. Let’s just say it didn’t go very well. Lesson learned, practicing yoga does not necessarily mean you can teach it!
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I have trained many people over the years ranging from age 16–89. Each one comes with varying fitness levels, personalities, and fitness goals. In working with such a wide range of people it has improved my knowledge base as a trainer to better understand what each of them needs. My contribution to wellness is helping each individual be better every day, what ever that looks like for them. It might be balance, getting up and down from the floor, lifting heavy, running a PR race, or keeping them accountable with a food log. My clients say that I have a gift for meeting them at their current level and helping them progress from there.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Actually, I can’t pinpoint one individual. I love my clients and they have been very good to me!! Many have helped me in in various ways; creating new classes, referrals, filming a fitness video, writing projects, the list goes on and on. A large part of my success is having the support of my clients over the years!
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
Changing habits, managing stress, lack of support.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
1.Daily moderate exercise, it is proven to releases feel good endorphins, which improve mood.
2.Breathing and meditation, deep breathing is calming while shallow breathing can cause extra stress and put our bodies into fight or flight mode. Being able to quiet the mind and sit with our own thoughts through meditation helps to relieve stress, eliminate or reduce negative thoughts and worry, and encourages positive thoughts and happiness.
3.Activities that increase the Vagus nerve tone such as singing/humming, cold showers, laughter, yoga, breathing, and massage.
4.Social connections, when we feel connected to others, we often feel calmer. Ever feel better after a good talk with a friend?
5.Sleep, it regenerates our energy level and helps reduce stress. Lack of sleep can make it more difficult to focus, manage stress, and make healthy choices.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
First, daily exercise includes endless health benefits including reduced risk for heart disease, cuts down the risk of diabeties, and improves bone density. If the health benefits alone are not enough, daily exercise improves mood, it makes you happy too by releasing feel good chemicals in the brain. Have you ever felt worse after a workout? And if you need yet another reason to exercise, does increased energy appeal to you? Exercise is energizing, if you’re feeling sluggish just start moving and notice your enhanced energy level.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
It’s not specific exercises, it’s different types of exercise, including strength work, mobility and flexibility, and some conditioning. A combination of these will ensure that your body gets what it needs to get stronger, stay mobile, and get the heart pumping.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
Workload should be increased at a reasonable rate and rest days are important for your body to recover. A good mix of light, moderate, and challenging training days should be included. Sleep and good nutrition is essential to staying healthy while training.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
I’m a fan of Whole 30 and Paleo, although they are not the best choice for everyone. I encourage my clients to choose the plan that works best for them and they will be able to make into a lifestyle rather than a diet.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
The Key, by Joe Vitale. I read this on the way to my Kettlebell certification and I’m sure it was the last push I needed to be able to complete the certification. I have read it three times and I’m sure I’ll be reading it again soon!!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Getting sedentary people to start moving! If I could just get though to those who are resistant to get moving, many people would be feeling better, moving better, and living longer!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.
This has got me through many marathons, certifications, starting a business, and various other personal goals.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Oprah! She has helped so many people in her career and I admire her for that. A successful business woman, which I aspire to be. She has dealt with her own struggles over the years and sharing her story has motivated others.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Facebook @heather ann heberling
Instagram @heather heberling
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!