“5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing” with Lisa Yee of LisaFIT
Exercise your face muscles and Smile — the effort of smiling and holding that smile has been proven to change mentality and adjusts peoples’ perspective. It takes muscles to hold it so the fact that you are training your face to smile more allows it to become “muscle memory”. Not a bad natural flex to keep.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Yee. Lisa is the owner of LisaFIT located in San Diego, CA. She is a life coach, personal trainer and yoga instructor. She has been in the fitness and wellness industry for 30 years. Her goal is to support clients on their path to being happy in their body and healthy with their choices.
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 started working at Holiday Health Spas in Southern California as a Jazzercise Instructor back in 1989. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to train people on how to teach aerobics. The gym was my second home and I was addicted to the energy of so many strangers in one space working on being healthier. It felt natural being a leader in the community of exercise and an obvioius evolution into health and wellness.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I had taken time off to raise three children. When I returned to the world outside of being a mother I didn’t know how to exist. I found myself questioning my ability and not knowing how to be an advocate for myself. The first time someone asked me how I was doing, I began to cry. “How are you Lisa?”, four words that sparked something in me that I never wanted to lose again and caused an emotional release. “How are you?”, these words are so simple but we forget that there are individuals out there that don’t get asked that. There are people walking amongst us — lost. I hold onto that moment remembering that each person who I come into contact with has a story. Each person that I meet needs to be asked, sincerely and geniunely, “How are you?”.
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?
This is a more “humbling” than humorous mistake — I was teaching jazzercise and had the same group of people taking my class. As an instructor you get famliar with people always showing up, standing in front and smiling at you. For a few months I didn’t see this one lady who was very energetic, slightly heavy and super happy. When I finally saw her again, she was very slim — almost to the point that I didn’t recognize her. I thought, “WOW — she must be doing something right that she lost all that weight.” I told her she looked great and congratulated her on losing so much weight. She kindly and softly responded, “I was diagnosed with leukemia.” I was only 17 years old at the time and had no idea how to graciously accept my stupidity besides just smiling and walking away. From that day on I have NEVER made the assumption that skinnier was better or congratulated anyone on changing their body. If I say anything it is, “I see that you have made some changes in your body — was that intentional?”
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 a well versed background, teaching group exercise, training one on one, leading corporate wellness classes and offering life coaching specializing in health and wellness. My education in Eastern Medicine and Holistic Health is always utilized in helping people overcome challenges, whether it be physical or mental. I offer a unique approach to being fit and well. It is all about making sure every aspect of the person is balanced: the physical — the mental — the emotional — the spirit — the soul. Everything gets “trained, exercised, challenged and stretched” when you come to me.
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?
I am grateful for my grandparents work ethics and their story continuously helps me as a business owner. They arrived on a boat under false names. They both worked long hours raising eight children as owners of a laundry mat. Their legacy included owning an entire block of commercial and residential land in Los Angeles, CA. My grandmother was always engaged in a project and thinking ahead, planning for everything and everyone. Her energy and tenacity is my inspiration. Can you share a story about that?
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?
- The need to compare ourselves to others and to what we used to be: There is growth everywhere and no one living being stays the same. Come to terms that we can only be the best version of ourselves today.
- The compulsive judging that goes on internally and externally: No one has the right to decide who is better or worse. We are all just different and that makes us interesting.
- Fear — there are only two reasons why we do what we do, Love or Fear. If you are afraid to look at yourself in the mirror, then think you can use that as motivation, you are sadly wrong. You must be able to not only look BUT love what you see in the mirror. We invest in what we love not what we fear.
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.)
- Drink a 16oz glass of water before getting out of bed. Place a bottle water next to your bed and write on it, “Drink Me”. Make sure you lay in bed and drink it, hydrating your body and filing up yourself with fluid before dehydrating it with coffee or exercise.
- Buy an alarm clock, keep your phone out of bedroom. Maintain a peaceful and slow environment in the area you want to rest and restore. The phone, computer, television are not slow peaceful items. Keep them out and go old school with an alarm clock.
- Lay with one hand on heart and one hand on lower belly / pelvis — take 10 deep breathes before sleep. Hand on the heart connects us to what and who we love, our family, friends, pets, etc. The hand on pelvis connects us to what we are passionate about. What gets you excited. What makes you — YOU. It is important to balance ourselves from being in our “Head” all day.
- Exercise your face muscles and Smile — the effort of smiling and holding that smile has been proven to change mentality and adjusts peoples’ perspective. It takes muscles to hold it so the fact that you are training your face to smile more allows it to become “muscle memory”. Not a bad natural flex to keep.
- Walk barefoot outside in grass, dirt, sand, something organic — we need to stay connected to earth. It is what grounds us, feeds up and supports us. Being one with nature has a simplistic effect on people. It slows things down and inherently gets us back to what is truly important.
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?
- Stress Reduction — physical labor allows you to get out of your mind and into your body. A yoga practice gives you the chance to be quiet and okay with stillness. Doing cardiovascular movement can create a beautiful moving meditation with breath that becomes rhythmic and releasing.
- Taking time for yourself — without giving back to the self that works, plays, loves, creates, etc — there would be no self left. It is important to understand the value of pure selfish time that relies on no one but yourself. There is reason why the flight attendant says, “Please put the mask on yourself before others”.
- Mood Changes — it is the idea of being super angry then hitting a punching bag and feeling better or feeling stuck at work and going for a long run then feeling better. Exercise helps change your mood. No one ever said, “I regret that workout — I feel worse.”
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
- Plank — Horizontal body instead of vertical is important. Even weight in feet and hands is important to be able to distribute body weight. A firm torso and engaged back which combats traditional sitting at a desk lifestyle. These are all important in keeping the entire body strong.
- Balance one leg: Tree Pose — Being able to stand on one foot is a challenge for many because it requires the mind to be quiet and the torso to be engaged, everything from the collar bones to the pelvis is the torso. Gradually work up to closing the eyes. Eliminate the need to see where you are and focus on your internal guidance.
- Bridge — Laying on your back, lift hips up and keep weight in heels. This alows the pelvis to be higher than the heart, heart higher than the head. Reverse flow of energy. Plus you need to activate your butt muscles and the center back line of your body, areas that don’t get much activity.
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?
Stretch during sport playing or between heavy exercise sets. Self massage and Foam Rolling before and after. Take a cold shower to reduce inflammation then soak in a warm espom salt bath to initiate circulation. Drink a lot of water.
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?
Simple, eat single ingredient items. Stop eating at sunset. Start eating after you start moving our body. Write everything down if you really want to figure out why you are succeeding or failing at your diet.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Meditations from the Mat by Rolfe Gates. It is a book that I can open to any page, read it and apply it to my life. I can learn from the same excerpt reading it over and over. I first heard a reading from it during Savasanah in a yoga class. It made me cry. If someone’s words being read by another being, while I am in a room with several people can effect me that profoundly then there was a need for me to get that book.
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. :-)
People have the power to choose happiness. Exercise your strength in gaining happiness, fight for happiness and challenge others to be happy.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon
I was bullied from the age 7 to 13, second grade through eighth grade. I was told to “figure it out” because my parents weren’t going to do anything about it and the school wasn’t doing anything about it. I realized I had to do something about it. I wanted to be happy no matter what. I made it my super power that no matter what happened — I could control my happiness. So I made happy places in my mind and in my world, which allowed me to choose what I wanted to be. I refused to be a victim and let those years negatively effect me. When I entered high school I ran for freshman president and won. Since then, I have chosen to be happy and allowed those years to positively effect me.
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 :-)
Ellen DeGeneres because of her constant positive influence in the world and spreading the power of being kind, “Be kind to one another” and the joy of dancing. I would just want to thank her for being a part of the world that does things out of love and not fear.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!