Cheryl Spriggs » wellness warrior. badass mother. connoisseur of life.

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Anne Havens | Cancer Warrior

Anne opens the door with a gentle smile and a glow that I wouldn’t expect from a person battling cancer. Her radiant skin and eyes show no signs of illness or struggle. Hope permeates through her home. Alters and plants invoke a sense of peace and contentment.

It is mid-morning, so she is making her typical cancer-fighting smoothie. I enjoy green smoothies myself, but I cringe when she adds raw red onion. Anne says this is her medicine. The taste is not a concern. She pours a little for me to taste…not too terrible actually.
Right now, a good part of her day is consumed with preparing meals and eating. She takes care of herself like it’s her job.

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When Anne was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, she became a warrior, ready to endure the battle. She armed herself with an arsenal of health care providers ranging from acupuncturists to traditional oncologists and considered everything from food to environmental toxins and even the flow of energy in her body.

To some extent, the idea of a holistic approach to beat cancer was sparked by her oncologist’s mention of meditation, but as a spiritual being, Anne was likely to go that route anyway. She sought out anyone who could help and read books like Radical Remission and Crazy Sexy Diet. She surrounded herself with an amazing group of friends (you know…like the kind of friends who get matching tattoos and enjoy solstice celebrations).

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I can’t possibly sum up Anne’s whole story in this short blog- but here are the methods she is using to kick cancer’s ass!

Nutrition
Anne nourishes her body with an array of vegetables, greens, warm lemon water with cayenne, green tea, smoothies, apricot seed kernels and other whole food. She leaves out anything processed and treats herself to dates and fruit when she wants something sweet. She follows the Ayurvedic practice of eating warm foods in the winter and cooler foods in the summer.

Physical practices
Her routine includes healing practices such as meditation, yoga, Qigong, rebounding and acupuncture. I’m impressed by Anne’s dedication. Each night and morning Anne has a one hour practice that includes central channel breath work, deep quantum meditation, visualization, blessing each cell in her body and then concludes with a prayer and affirmation. Rather than being dragged down by cancer, she is raising her vibration. I’m amazed by her positive attitude. She says, “If you want to change you life, you have to do something different.” Amen, sista!

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On top of her intentional lifestyle choices, she recently opted for support from pharmaceuticals and cannabis too. Anne carries the BRCA gene mutation, making her more susceptible to breast cancer, so she is holding nothing back.

Limit Toxins
Carriers of the BRCA gene mutation, like Anne, tend to be more susceptible to environmental toxins. Toxins are a constant threat and there are many we cannot avoid. Anne’s wellness plan includes scrutinizing labels and avoiding any and every toxin possible. She is letting her hair become more natural as she phases out hair dye from her life. She is mindful about her choices in soap, shampoo, and household products.

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Fasting
Anne started this journey with a regimen of intermittent fasting. Fasting has been proven to shrink tumors and destroy cancer cells. Fasting stimulates autophagy and apoptosis. Both are normal processes in the body, and are enhanced when fasting. During autophagy, worn out or dysfunctional cell parts are “eaten up” by the body and new parts are created. After a certain number of divisions, our cells are programmed to die. It’s a healthy process called apoptosis. Both of these processes are critical to human health…especially when you are fighting cancer. Anne plans to resume fasting in the Spring, but needs more nourishment this winter…especially after recent weight loss.

In addition to her own radical self-care routine, Anne teaches and practices holistic skin care and wellness. Learn about her Full Moon Facial here.

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If you are inspired by Anne’s story, spread hope and share it with a pal.

 

This is not intended to be medical advice, talk to your doc.

Badass Mother | Andrea de la Garza

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Meet Andrea, inspiring personal trainer, Barre babe and badass mother. When she isn’t at the gym, she is enjoying the outdoors with her sweet boy. Andrea exemplifies what it is to be a nurturing, engaging and supportive mother while somehow rocking the fitness world too. I love keeping up with her mother-son adventures on Instagram. She is truly an inspiration!

Scroll down for some wise words from Andrea.

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Cheryl: What is your favorite way to sweat?

Andrea: My favorite way to sweat is a Barre workout! I love Dance, gymnastics and yoga! Barre incorporates movements from those three activities.

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What keeps you motivated to stay fit?

I’m inspired to stay fit for my job, to motivate my clients and fellow women and to feel amazing!

I struggled with an eating disorder for 18 years and now I love that I am healthy and thriving; I love and appreciate my body! I have become so strong and done things I never thought I could do. I hope to inspire women in that way! We have control of our bodies and our minds. Also, my family has a lot obesity within and my father raised us to aspire to a healthy way of life.

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Let’s talk about self care.

Being a mother of a kid with Down syndrome and a single mom to boot, self care can be a challenge. I get as much sleep as possible. I eat really healthy and I remind myself that it is ok to take breaks. I love to sneak in acupuncture when I can!

Amen sister, take those breaks!

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How did you create a career in fitness?

I have been in fitness since 2009. I started as a spin instructor, then expanded to Barre, weightlifting and cardio, group fitness administration then became a personal trainer in 2017. I grew up a dancer, a gymnast and a runner. Movement has always been a passion of mine. I also have an orthopedic exercise certification and I am a licensed CNA.

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Do you have a favorite indulgence?

My favorite indulgence is chocolate and wine! I can never get enough!

 

Badass Mother | Heather Lorince Harrington

One day, I dropped in to take a Yoga Sculpt class at the club, not knowing who this Heather chick was… but 15 minutes into class I had developed a love-hate relationship with her. I love a fitness instructor who you think of the next day when all those little muscles are aching that you didn’t know existed. You know what I mean?!

Let’s get straight to the point- this woman is an inspiration! There’s something in the way she guides you through the hardest workout of your life with a sense of humor and that innocent look on her face…like it’s no big deal.

My first impression was that she just spent like 8 hours a day working out and spent the rest of her time munching on kale. Come to find out she balances her love of fitness with motherhood, a real estate gig, and margaritas!

Here are some words of wisdom from this amazing fitness guru:

CS: Why is fitness important to you?
HLH: Fitness has always been a huge part of my life.  Growing up on a farm, living 10 miles from the nearest town…I did a lot of running on dirt roads.  I also had nothing else to do but play sports.  And volleyball paid my way through college and still pays me – as I play on the beach volleyball circuit competitively.  I found yoga after I was done playing collegiate sports and that paved the way to learn and teach lots of other fun styles and modalities.  I love to move and I love to connect with other people…fitness has allowed me to do both.  I also have a 2 year old I have to keep up with…so I have to be in shape because she’s crazy.

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How do you stay inspired?
I stay inspired by always being a student and always learning.  I’m inspired by other teachers, I’m inspired by my students and their fitness journeys and I’m inspired by my family.  My daughter and husband make me always want to do better and be better, as do the people I teach on the daily.
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Do you have any advice for busy moms?! How do you stay so strong and healthy?
My best piece of advice is always make time for you…whether it’s a workout at home or finding an hour to go take a class even when it doesn’t make sense in your schedule.  You can’t take care of others on an empty tank so you have to fill yourself up and create joy for yourself…and a workout class can be just what the doctor ordered even when you’re exhausted.
I stay healthy by doing everything in moderation and I don’t freak out on the scale.  I know what my body craves and I listen to it.  I don’t deprive myself and I don’t over exercise.  I keep my brain as active as my body and I have a great group of friends who love to workout together.

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What’s your favorite way to sweat? 

I love a variety of workouts…I love heavy weights one day, sand volleyball doubles the next, a body weight pilates or yoga class, mixed in with a boxing class or cardio class.  I have workout ADD and I can’t just do one style.  Which is why I’m opening a studio called Compass Fitness — where you can  take a variety of fun classes throughout the week and find your direction.

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Do you have a self-care routine?
Self care…yes!!  I love to take baths…it’s normally with a 2 year old, but whatever.  It’s still nice at the end of the day.  I also get regular massage and facials.  And pedicures.  And blow-outs.  And anything I can do to not feel disgusting after teaching 20 classes a week.  I also like to buy myself flowers.  Because – why not?

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What is your favorite indulgence?
Margaritas and chips and salsa…and more margaritas.

Amen.

Tell us about your new fitness venture.
We are opening June 2nd…Compass Fitness is on Broadway and Evans and we will be offering a variety of fun class to challenge your body in ALL the ways you want to be challenged.  We want you to find a new direction and know that there are so many fun ways you can take your fitness journey.  We will partner with other studios throughout Denver and offer events with all of these great teachers – because we can.  We have 7000 square feet to work with and we love our fitness friends!  And we love teaching.  We will offer boxing, HIIT, pilates/yoga based classes, cardio dance classes, heavy lifting classes, upper/lower/and full body focused classes as well as offering childcare in our space!  It’s a win win!

You can find out more at: www.compassfitnessdenver.com

Badass Mother | Jamaica Cooke

Meet Jamaica Cooke, entrepreneur, badass mother and super fit chick! Jamaica used to juggle a corporate desk job with a side of fitness classes, but soon realized that she was much happier when leading a group through a music-driven sweat session rather than twirling around in her office chair. So…she left the desk and never looked back. Now, a few years & two kids later…she is ready to bring Denver the newest in kickboxing technology.

So how did I meet Jamaica? Well, I’m glad you asked. After trekking through the sweltering Costa Rican jungle with 3 kids on the humid July day, the pool was calling my name. I swam up to the bar to order a few fruity frozen drinks just as another family arrived. Our kids starting splashing around together and become instant BFF’s! After the usual small talk, we discovered that we live approximately 8 minutes from each other back in Denver. What are the odds?! We had just one day left in paradise…so we vowed to reconnect back in Denver. The rest is history…

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Here are some inspiring words from my interview with Jamaica:

What inspires you to stay fit?
My kids and my family! I want to be active with them. As a family, we run 5k’s, we jump on the trampoline and we don’t watch much TV or use electronics. I make it a priority to be fit and healthy for my kids.

Any advice for busy moms?
If you take that one hour for yourself, you are a better mother for the day. You might feel like you are being selfish, but you’ll have better energy to share with your kids.

What is your favorite way to sweat?
Kickboxing. It’s been a prime way to stay fit and reduce stress. I get lost in the music…it’s always been my preferred method of exercise. The class never gets dull or easy because my technique gets better. I can push harder and go faster. I love the variation.

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Tell me more about how you ended up here
I moved to California to help a family member open a restaurant, then I worked a corporate desk job. I realized my part-time gig as a kickboxing instructor could be a satisfying full time job. I’ve wanted to open a studio for a long time, but we were moving often for my husband’s military job. Now that we are settled in Denver, I’m creating exactly the type of place I love to workout.

I started teaching 17 years ago and I see the difference in can make in peoples lives. I have worked with people who are professional athletes and some with disabilities like cerebral palsy…to see how they can all benefit is inspiring.

So, how do you stay fit as s business owner with young children?
We intentionally built a small studio because I want to oversee the whole group. When I teach, I workout with them. It’s motivating. We work hard together.

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I imagine you and your family do a lot of physical activities together, what are your favorites?
We take bike rides, have races around the block, we all jump on the trampoline together. I don’t like to sit and watch while my kids do activities, we do them together. The kids think it’s hilarious when I get on the trampoline and do toe touches. That gives me the greatest joy, doing activities with them that they love.

Tell us a little more about the new studio.
Kickboxing and technology collide for an intense workout with heavy bags. It’s great for all levels because the workout intensity is controlled by you. You can compete with yourself, set goals for the day, week and month. Classes are set to upbeat music, we have fun…so that hour goes quickly. We include core work and add variety to the class with medicine balls and gliders. My background as a personal trainer has given me the expertise to help everyone get results.

Get more information about FLY here: flykickbox.com

6 reasons to consider fasting

Well folks, it’s been exactly one month since I began a 5 day water-only fast. I waited to tell you about this experience so I can also include post-fast details…or maybe just because it is soccer season. Anyway, who cares?! Here it is.

Six reasons why you should experience the magic of a supervised water-only fast:

1. The post-detox glow
Really, it’s much more than a glow. It’s a sensational feeling. Fasting cleans out the whole system. It revitalizes and rejuvenates. It also removes you from the daily grind. Normally, I’m caught up in the chaos of family life…so the lack of schedule felt amazing. Meditation and journaling filled my days. Between lectures and cooking demos, I bathed in the California sunshine. After 5 days of fasting I felt pure, refreshed, relaxed…and SO ready to eat! Have I told you how much I love to eat?!

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See…after five days of fasting and three days of glorious food, here I am all glowing and stuff! 

2. Discover what you body can do
Shortly after paying my deposit to visit TrueNorth, my excitement turned to, “What the heck did I just sign up for?” As I scavenged through the pantry between meals, I wondered how I’d make it through five whole days with NO FOOD! I reassured myself by reading studies and articles about the benefits of fasting. I read about tumors shrinking, diabetes disappearing and high blood pressure dropping. I learned about autophagy- where your body starts to consume dysfunctional or diseased cells…yes please! Who doesn’t want their body to repair and clean itself? During the fast, I spoke with people with health problems who were fasting much longer than my measly 5 days. So I sucked it up and made a commitment to my health.

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I came across this instagram post (above, center) while I was fasting…just what I needed to read while surrounded by only water.

 

3. Reset and Cleanse
Doing a “cleanse” seems to be what all my health-conscious peers rave about…and for good reason. Interrupting your normal routine to focus on clearing out the junk is always a good idea. I’ve done a couple variations of this. Sometimes it means downing green smoothies twice a day. Often it includes avoiding dairy, wheat, sugar and caffeine. In the case of fasting, nothing goes down the drain except clean water, so those pipes will be shiny and clean! And afterward, you get all these beautiful juices to restart your system!

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4. Health immersion
Several days at TrueNorth will help you reprogram your brain and taste buds. You become educated and empowered to make better choices! Bad nutrition information is everywhere…eat this, not that. But it’s hard to know what is fact and what is crap. So much of our “food” comes from big businesses who market the “health benefits” so they can sell us junk we don’t need. At TrueNorth, each day you have access to doctors, interns and cooking gurus who can answer your questions plus twice daily lectures on various health topics (posture, sleep, nutrition, oh my!). I found myself overwhelmed with ideas; luckily I brought my trusty journal to jot it all down. 

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5. Take aways
Absolutely the best reason to visit TrueNorth Health is for the life-changing tools, education and inspiration you take home. My whole family is benefiting from what I learned…mostly because I’m responsible for groceries and cooking. Also because I talk about what I learned. And I’m offering them all the nutrient-dense foods from my new cookbooks (I’m sure they’ll thank me later when they have strong, healthy bodies and glowing skin)!

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Post-fast adaptations: 
First, there was the coffee. I didn’t drink it for 9 days while at TrueNorth and I felt great. So why would I reintroduce it?!

Then the food. It hasn’t changed much, but I pay more attention to nutrition information and I have cut out some crap.

Next went the late night snacking…right out the window. Poof! Well, it wasn’t that easy. But I learned the benefits of extending the time between dinner and breakfast. So each evening when I get bored and feel the urge to snack, I just remember the healing that will take place when I give my body a chance to rest. And I know I will sleep better if I limit evening consumption.

Next went the alcohol. Now, I’m not saying I’ll never have a drink again…but I haven’t had the desire to drink alcohol since leaving TrueNorth. Kind of like the coffee…do I really need it?! Not sure yet. Check in with me later.

Last, and most important. I pay more attention. I pay attention to how I treat my body. I pay attention to my sleep schedule and how it makes me feel. I am mindful about creating a self-care routine. I take long baths. I read books that make me laugh. I blast feel-good music in the car with the windows down. I pay attention to myself so I can be a better mom, so I can be responsive and not reactive. I am here, in the present, taking it one breath at a time. Living the best life that I can.

I’m not looking to add years to my life, but I will add life to my years.