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Listen to Your Body Podcast 355 -24 Ways to Move More w_ Nicole Tsong

24 Ways to Move More w/ Nicole Tsong

How likely are you to try something completely new when it comes to movement? Trying something new can be scary, but the benefits you get from incorporating movement into your daily routine and trying new things may surprise you.

Listen to Your Body Podcast 355 -24 Ways to Move More w_ Nicole Tsong

 

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Key Takeaways

If You Are Ready To Start Moving More, You Should:

  1. Look around you to see what new movement practices you could try
  2. Build resilience and confidence by trying new things at least twice
  3. Create movement rituals to become more connected to your body

Finding Your Purpose Through Movement

Nicole Tsong, bestselling author of 24 Ways to Move More and America’s Work-LIfe Balance coach, helps high-achievers use movement to connect to themselves and their purpose. The founder of Nicole Tsong Coaching, she reached hundreds of thousands of readers as the former Fit for Life columnist for The Seattle Times. She is the creator of the Clear Calling Method, which helps women create true work/life balance to discover their calling.

She is an award-winning journalist and, for three years, taught yoga at the White House Easter Egg Roll during the Obama administration. She has been featured on New Day NW on KING-5 TV in Seattle, in The Seattle Times, and reached thousands of people as a speaker with the Seattle Public Library, Elliott Bay Bookstore, and King County Library System. Today she is here to tell us about the 300+ activities that she has tried and explore why we should all be trying new things when it comes to movement.

Becoming Okay With Being Bad

Nicole has had many different careers that brought her to the place she is in today. From journalist to yoga instructor to coach, Nicole uses movement to help herself and others understand their purpose. Your body was designed to move, but we live in a culture that tells us it is hard and needs to be forced. While Nicole has always loved movement, her assignment to try a new movement activity resulted in trying over 300+ practices, showing her how strong she is both physically and mentally.

The Power Waits Outside Your Comfort Zone

From tap dancing to climbing trees, the resilience Nicole found through movement brings a unique perspective to the world of fitness. Trying new things can help you connect to your body and give you the confidence to try new things. 

Nicole is a testament to the energy and creativity that comes from putting yourself out of your comfort zone and integrating movement into your life, not just your time at the gym. Don’t be afraid to try something new, even if you may be bad at it. The second time around, you will already be better.

Are you ready to step outside your comfort zone and experience new forms of movement? Share what activity you have always wanted to try but were too scared to, with me in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • Addressing the fears and uncertainty that come with making big changes in your life (4:21)
  • Explore what it is like to write about health and fitness professionally (11:42)
  • How to start trying new things, even if you might be bad or uncomfortable with them at first (17:17)
  • Some of Nicole’s favorite activities that she was most surprised by (24:02)
  • Why strength training and Olympic weight lifting has stuck in Nicole’s routine (28:43)

Quotes

“I also knew that if I didn’t do it, there would be an even greater cost.” (6:40)

“We came up with the idea of trying new things every week. And I thought, ‘how am I going to get through a year? This is a lot.’. And I ended up doing it for six years and trying 300+ activities by the end of the column.” (12:22)

“That’s really what the book is about, 24 Ways To Move More, is really to inspire people to see movement as a joyful and fun thing versus a weight or a burden or something you have to do.” (14:09)

“You can ask for help. And help is actually really important, but we are trained to not ask for help.” (22:15)

“Movement helps you get out of that mental space and back into grounding so that you can then feel like yourself again. And then you can actually talk about clarity and purpose and really doing the kind of work you are passionate about in your life, serving your family in a bigger way, and reconnecting inward as best as you can.” (33:00)

Featured on the Show

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24 Ways to Move More: Monthly Inspiration for Health and Movement by Nicole Tsong

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24 Ways to Move More w/ Nicole Tsong FULL TRANSCRIPT

Steph Gaudreau

When it comes to movement, how likely are you to try something that’s completely new, outside your wheelhouse and you might actually be stuck at the beginning? Well, my guest today on this podcast is sharing her experience with doing just that. Her book 24 ways to move more details what it’s like to try new things with movement, and the surprising benefits that movement brings to your life. The Listen To Your Body podcast is all about helping women who lift weights, get stronger, fuel themselves without counting every bite of food, perform better in and out of the gym, and take up space. I’m a strength coach, nutritional therapy practitioner, and certified intuitive eating counselor, Steph Gaudreau. This weekly show brings you discussion about building strength, without obsessing about food and exercise, lifting weights, food, psychology, and more. You’ll learn how to eat, train, recover, listen to your body, and step into your strength. Hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And let’s dive in.

Steph Gaudreau
Welcome back to the podcast Hello. And thank you for joining me today. If you are new here, or you haven’t yet hit the subscribe button on your podcast app, please do that. It not only will give you the new downloads of this podcast when they become available, but it also sends a signal to the podcast app that you love this show. So other people might as well. Today on the show, I am so pleased to welcome my guest, Nicole Tsong. Nicole is a former journalist, turned yoga teacher turned coach, an entrepreneur who is passionate about movement. And she has some really interesting experiences in her professional life, and personal life with movement. And all of the different ways she’s experimented, you’re going to have to listen because I don’t want to give too much away. But Nicole has experimented with many different kinds of movement. And she’s written a book about that. She also has a very unique perspective on how movement provides benefits in our lives, certainly physically, but way beyond that. One of the ways that she explained this is unique to anyone else I’ve ever had had on this show. So today’s show is really interesting. And I know that you’re going to get a lot of perspective out of it. Before we dive in a reminder that if you want to get help with your nutrition, particularly if you’re lifting weights, you want to get stronger, you want to build muscle, have more energy and perform better in and out of the gym, then go ahead and make sure you jump on the waitlist for strength nutrition unlocked. Whenever there’s a new round a new group opening up, I will let you know. And you can do that at Steph gaudreau.com slash link. Alright, without further ado, let’s jump in to this episode on 24 ways to move more with Nicole Tsong. Hey, Nicole, welcome to the podcast.

Nicole Tsong
Hey Steph, I’m so excited to be here with you.

Steph Gaudreau
I’m excited to have you here. You know, recently, we’ve connected on Instagram. And we always talk about this on the show that social media is wonderful and it has its dark sides at the same time. But I always appreciate when I get to connect with people that I otherwise wouldn’t have known literally and i think that that’s the amazing part about how social media can bring us together. So I’m excited to dig into movement with you and your perspective on movement and your experiments that you’ve done with movement, and how it’s really impacted your life. But first, I have a question I’d love to ask you about your sort of your career because you made a big career move, you made a big shift in your life. And I’d love if you can share with our listeners, this progression of how you made this big switch, you made this big move, and what were some of the fears that you had when you did it.

Nicole Tsong
Yeah, I love talking about this. Glad you started with it. And I feel like I’ve made a couple of them. But the one that is the biggest is I used to be a journalist. And I was very much in that world. And when especially at the time in the early 2000s. Being a journalist was an era where you were journalists for life. And so I definitely entered that career thinking I was going to spend 30 years in there, which is so funny thinking that you would make a decision like that at 22. But I did think that at the time. And then I was in there and it’s a really intense job high pressure, a lot of deadlines. And then during that period, I had some pretty intense experiences around covering I was covering Catholic sex abuse that was very intense. I had a source commit suicide. And so there was a lot going on very early in my life where I was like, is this actually the right place for me to be. And what I tried to do is navigate around journalism to see if I can find a better place within it, where I would enjoy it a little bit more. And I made my way over to features and I moved to the Seattle Times, and that helps me feel like okay, I can handle this. And then the newspapers started to go through layoffs. And all of these things were happening. So I just didn’t feel really in control of my career anymore. And so during that time, I actually was starting to do a lot of yoga. And in that practice, I was starting to connect to myself in a totally different way.

Nicole Tsong
And I was feeling just calmer, yoga practice made me feel calmer and more connected. And during that time, when I was going through all this turmoil in my career, I was kind of like, what do I want to do? Like, where do I want to be? Do I really want to be a journalist anymore? I would like was really passionate about talking to people and connecting and writing stories. But beyond that, like everything else around the culture was really difficult for me. And so in that area, I was like, I can’t go be a yoga teacher, like, that sounds kind of crazy. Like, why would I do that. And then slowly, I just kept feeling deep down, like in that gut level, like, you need to leave the paper, I need to go teach yoga. And so in terms of fears, oh my gosh, every fear you can imagine came up. I had so many fears around security, and money, and not that journalism paid well, but it was a very steady paycheck. And then it also was my health care and my retirement and everything I had ever been taught as a kid around security and finances were related to my job. So that was a really big leap because I had to go work for myself essentially, as a yoga teacher. And they also knew that if I didn’t do it, there would be an even greater cost. And so that was really that moment where I was like, Okay, I’m doing it, I got my friend call, they get all your ducks lined up in a row. And I had to, like, manage all these things for myself. And then I made the leap, and I left the newspaper. So that was kind of like my first big transition, was going to teach yoga.

Steph Gaudreau
I love that I want to ask you about that kind of selfishly, but also for the listeners, because I can relate a lot to your, to your story, not in the sense of the exact career or the exact challenges, but that feeling that there was potentially another place for you. And then the fears. Yes, absolutely. I completely relate to those of, you know, growing up and being having that narrative or having that sense that, you know, this is the way you’re that you get security, you have a nice steady paycheck, I was a teacher. So you know, I can totally relate when you were saying that those are all the fears that you’ve had. And at the same time, I know there’s lots of people in the audience listening right now who may have a situation where they’re thinking about potentially making a move or making a change and, and just the normalization of the fact that you can do a skit you can make a scary decision. And you don’t have to be fearless. I guess in order to make that decision, you still may have fears.

Nicole Tsong
I think that’s one of the big things. So I work with a lot of women on transition sometimes is leaving a corporate job. Sometimes it’s saying hey, it’s just not this anymore, I need to see what’s next. And really getting into a place of understanding what their purpose is on the planet. And feeling a little bit overwhelmed and scared by the idea that there they have one and then be actually following it. Because following it is actually the biggest scary piece to for people of all my gosh, because it feels very risky. And I have made a few more transitions like that. And I have never felt like it isn’t scary. It is always scary, because when you haven’t done it before, it’s totally scary. Like I launched my coaching business three years ago. And it was kind of weird because I was in a place where I had been working for myself and teaching yoga and I was writing my fitness column for the Seattle Times at the time. And it still felt really terrifying on a different level of like putting myself out there in the world in a totally different way. And then really making that shift for myself and then trying to earn income from a totally new place of coaching. And so yeah, I don’t feel like it ever gets less scary. And often to me, that fear means I’m like, Okay, I’m headed in a direction that feels really scary. And it’s indicating to me, I am pushing myself, I’m challenging myself. And that’s actually a good thing.

Steph Gaudreau
I love that. So you, you alluded to making some other career changes, and what were those.

Nicole Tsong
So really, it was, so I will, gosh, there’s so much stuff there is writing my first books, I felt like that. So I actually managed to get my yoga career to this place where I was working for a yoga company, the Seattle Times came back to me after I left and offered me Fit for Life, which was my fitness column I wrote for many years. And then I also was teaching 10 to 12 yoga classes per week. So as you can imagine, I was really busy and feeling really full. And then actually I had the call then to write my first book. And so the only way for me to do that is I had to again leave one of my jobs which was the yoga company which again came with the paycheck and the health care and the security and was half my income every month. I also knew I didn’t have any capacity to write a book. Like I didn’t have an I was working 60 hours a week. So the only way for me to do it was actually to leave that job, ramp up the yoga and then trust, which is the huge, scary part I had to trust that I was going to somehow figure out how to write a book. And I had no agent, I had no proposal, I didn’t even really have a book idea. I just knew that I wanted to write a book. And so I left that yoga company job started teaching more, and floundered around the internet being like, how do you write a book? How do you get an agent? How do you do any of these things. So that was a big, interesting period because I was taking a memoir writing class, and I was challenging myself to just be more diligent and write every week for this book. And then I actually three months after I left that job, I got an email from my publisher, and they had said, Hey, Nicole, like, we’re looking for a yoga writer. And we’re interested in talking to you about writing a series of books on yoga. And it was funny stuff because I was like, I’m not gonna write yoga books. I was taking memoir writing, I had this whole idea I was gonna tell my life story. And then I was like, Oh, wait, you wanted to write a book. And these people are offering you a book. So maybe you should take it. So then I did. And I wrote my first two books, yoga for hikers, and yoga for climbers. I love that.

Steph Gaudreau
I love that. I love that keyword that you said trust it, you know, we talk about these things. And those of us who are coaches, or we’ve, you know, we’ve gone through life transitions, and we talked about, okay, well, you just have to trust it, or you know, you lean into trust, and it’s hard. It’s so hard. So I appreciate your your honesty and your candor about that. Talk to me about you said that when you work for the times you were writing Fit for Life, how did you fall into that? writing that column? And sort of what what, what experiences Did you have writing that?

Nicole Tsong
Sure. Well, this was really funny, because when I worked for the paper, I never wrote about fitness. I wrote about the suburbs when I left. And so when I left, I was writing about the suburbs and City Council’s and public transit. And then I left and then a year after I left, they came back to me, the Sunday magazine, and they said, Hey, we have this idea. We need a fitness columnist, and we think you’d be a great fit. I didn’t think I’d be a great fit, because I was like, I’m a yoga teacher, I’m not a fitness person. But if you think that’s a credential, cool, so we did it. And then really, we came up with the idea of trying new things every week. And I thought, how am I going to get through a year like, this is a lot and I ended up doing it for six years, trying and I tried 300 plus activities by the end of the column over.

Steph Gaudreau
Yep, that’s amazing. Wow, what were what were some of that? Well, let’s, let’s talk about the book because I think that that’ll be a place where you can ask a lot of these questions and not give away too much. But at what point? You said, You wrote yoga for climbers and yoga for hikers? At what point? Did you have the idea? Or did it come to you to then take your experiences with the column and write more about that in a book?

Nicole Tsong
Well, I will say, after writing those first two books, I didn’t want to write a book again. Ready to go a book also includes launching the book, and that is so much effort and work. And when I so it took me I took like a little time off after putting those books out. And then I was talking to my publisher about book ideas. And then she’s like, Oh, you want to do this again, huh? And I said, I think so. And so I hit the column ad actually ended by that time. And in that period, I was kind of like, looking back at what I had done. And what did I want to do with that? Because it’s a big body of work to write for six years straight. And so one of my friends said, Hey, like, why don’t you write a book compiling what’s going on with your column, and then I talked to my publisher, and they were interested in it because it’s pretty unique. I don’t know that there’s anybody else who’s tried probably that many types of movements, and how it changed to, I mean, really, it changed me like doing the column totally changed me, how I felt about my body, how I looked at movement, what my experience was, and my ability also, just to try new things really changed during that era. So that’s really what the book is about. 24 ways to move more is really starting to inspire people to see movements is a joyful, fun thing, versus away a burden, something you have to do like that exercise mentality, and very much about getting people out of that place. because your body is fully designed to move. We simply live in a culture that tells us that it’s hard and difficult, and you have to do it. And it’s also very sedentary, which I know you’ve addressed on this podcast. And so really, for me, what I did is I ultimately had a job that forced me to move more. And then it actually made me love it in a totally different way.

Steph Gaudreau
When you started, I guess the experiment of doing these trying so many different activities for the column. What was your mindset going into that? Did you have a master plan or was it more kind of week by week? Or do you just started to go out and try new things? Like, what was the genesis of that?

Nicole Tsong
I love You’re giving us so much credit for a master plan. No master There’s no master plan. Well, we’ve mapped it out. So I had a lot of leeway with this, my editors and I, it was a Sunday magazine is very, they’re very planned. So we would come up with, you know, 12 ideas at a time and kind of map that out. And then I would just go do things. And I would really at the beginning, it was sort of easy because there was like so many things I had never tried. So I would simply look around the city see what was going on. And I luckily live in a really big city with a lot of options. And so I just started to try things. Like I remember one of my first pre-first ideas was hula hooping. I also did capoeira, like I was doing hip hop dance, I just was taking classes. And it was really funny, the cool thing was that, I realized that yoga strength was enough to get me through a lot of stuff. So that was really fun. At the beginning, it was really scary to to go to all these classes, because I was like, I don’t think I don’t know how to do any of this stuff. And especially dance for me has always been a challenge. And there’s a lot of dance classes you could take.

Nicole Tsong
So I had to just start to get, I had to start getting over myself to be frank the first year to be able to like drive, and they always knew I was coming from the paper. So of course, there’s a tension on me. And I’m like, Oh, God, that girl is so. But then over time, that actually created a lot of what I talked about in the book, which was this really good resilience around being a newcomer, and trying things that were new and being okay at being bad at things, which I think as an adult is very challenging. For many of us, we think that we have to be good at things where I only I’m going to start something, if I already know I can do it a little bit. And what I found is, the more you try new things, and you really are okay with it, and being bad at it, it actually builds a lot of resilience. And I would say that that was really helpful for me personally, like during the pandemic, just being able to adjust really quickly. And it’s something I really work with my clients on a lot like how can you build that resilience internally to be able to handle new things and change that you’re actually choosing to try new things versus letting all that new stuff just kind of dump on you? How do you navigate it yourself?

Steph Gaudreau
Hmm. I love that, you know, I think one of the biggest obstacles that people have told me about listeners to this show, people in the community clients and things like that have said, Hey, I just don’t feel like I know enough to do this thing. Or that I belong in this space. What was your experience of that if, if any, throughout your time with the column and with the book,

Nicole Tsong
well, one of the things I found is literally 99% of every, every kind of movement you can do, they always have a beginner class. And I think a lot of us are like, I don’t want to take the beginner class. But the beginner class is awesome, because you learn a movement. And even me, like I’m such a movement person. And I don’t know how to do movements, the way that they want us to do it. So I have to really learn it. And it’s really fun to do it that way. So that is really helpful. And then also the beginner classes do help you feel like you belong, I think really a lot more, because they’re introducing you to things and they’re always kind, they’re always like, Hey, this is like share your name, that kind of stuff. So I think that’s a big part of it. And I feel like for me in terms of belonging, that’s always like an interesting question. Like, what is belonging, like in gym communities or communities in general. And I feel like this is where movement is really important to me is that movement helps me really give myself a connection to myself. And that connection in Word is really important. Because when I can feel like I’m connected to myself, and I belong in my body, I’m good with being in communities where I don’t know people like I can feel a sense of belonging through my physical body, rather than needing it to always be coming from other people. And then that helps me develop the community, communication and community that I’m really looking for wherever I go. Does that make sense?

Steph Gaudreau
It does. And I’m currently searching my mental Rolodex. And I don’t think there’s ever been anyone on this show, who has expressed that in quite that way. And has made that connection. So I think that’s really beautiful.

Nicole Tsong
Thank you. Yeah, it’s really important. I feel like you know, with my clients, we talk a lot about creating movement rituals for yourself. Because if you don’t feel connected to your body, you’re not going to feel connected to yourself. It’s just it’s just how it works. Right? It doesn’t have to be like you and I’m an Olympic lifter to like, it doesn’t have to be crazy squats and all the stuff like I love that. I don’t care what people do. I just want you to feel that connection in Word. And if you’re having fun and you’re enjoying it, like that’s more important to me than anything else.

Steph Gaudreau
What’s your thoughts on being able to do things that are hard in the moment but still, in potentially uncomfortable, right movement can be uncomfortable, we might breathe hard, or we are out of breath or we’re just trying something that’s we’re not quite as smooth, I guess in the movement. What’s your thought on that because I think some people experience that movement can be hard or challenging while they’re doing it, but it is immensely gratifying. And then there are other kinds of movements that are hard, and there’s nothing about it for that person that’s enjoyable. What are your thoughts on that situation?

Nicole Tsong
Yeah, I think that’s a great question. For me, I always see like, how, what’s the outcome of it. And so if it is hard, and we’ve all been there, it’s like hard, and when you challenge yourself. And on the other end, it feels really good. That helps you inspire you to keep going back. So I was looking at people, like, if you’re doing something for the first time, I feel super tough. And I actually put this in the book to try it twice. Try it twice, because there’s a lot of muscle memory that has to come into play, there’s so much like, give yourself go into that discomfort enough that you can get to the other side. And this, I take a tap class, and I’m terrible at tap. But I love taking tap, and everyone in the class has already taken tap from childhood, and I’m always struggling. And I actually very early on took a tap class, and I didn’t know this, but in two months from the day started, they were putting on a show and everybody performs and I was like, I am an adult, I do not need to get on stage and like tap in front of 500 people, but that was kind of the expectation of the class. And I had to really push myself on that because that was like the kind of discomfort where nothing was gonna happen if I did it, except that I would try through the discomfort of being performed, right?

Nicole Tsong
So there’s that kind of discomfort. And then of course, there’s like the physical pain, discomfort. And that’s where it’s really important to tune in to body and say, okay, is this just uncomfortable? And where’s that mental space and read it? Am I just uncomfortable? Or is this like physical pain that I have to address. And this is something to I don’t want to go too wide-ranging on this, but I’m always talking to people about your need to go-to experts on the body when something’s going on on your body to understand it, and even me, like I’ve been teaching yoga for a decade, I’m like, Don’t talk to me, go to an acupuncturist, go to a chiropractor, go to a massage therapist, like that’s where you can really start to understand and learn your body, as well as moving at. So anyway, it’s kind of wide-ranging, but I feel like there’s so much people have to learn about ourselves in a cool way. And to enlist people who know things are like nutrition, like I learned so much from you. And so how do we just start to tap into people who have an expertise out there? One of the things I’m always reminding women in particular, because I focus on women, is that you can ask for help. And help is actually really important. And we are totally trained to not ask for help. And I feel like doing a lot of movements and working with a lot of expert coaches and then moving I did a lot of recovery sort of later in the in the column. And understanding that there’s so much help available, and that we often think that we shouldn’t ask for help. But there’s help with the body. There’s mental-emotional health, spiritual health, like there’s all these pieces of help, and to not sit back on it. But if you’re like, well, I really want to learn like go find someone who can teach you.

Steph Gaudreau
100% Yeah, I get it, and to be someone who’s a strength coach, I’m sure, like, we have some parallels there. Because I will get a lot of questions about you know, this thing is hurting me and giving me pain. And my answer is always you know, go talk to the mobility experts or go you know, seek out their resources or go work with someone who can help you work on those, you know, whether it’s imbalances or movement patterns, or tough tissue work or, you know, whatever it is, at some point, there’s a limitation or there’s a cap to what I can teach you. And from my perspective, right I can, I can sort of teaching you the mechanics of a good squat. But I’m, I’m not going to be the one who can help with that stuff. So I think that’s really important. And I will also echo what you said there about asking for help as not a sign of weakness. It’s so so important. And yes, we’re oftentimes, though we’ve learned we’ve been conditioned to believe that asking for help is weak or it means that we’re not independent or capable enough and so I definitely would echo everything that you said on that. When you Okay, so I have a couple of questions and these are kind of off the cuff but when you did your 300 something activities, what was what were some of your favorites? I won’t make you pick like a favorite because I think that’s probably pretty impossible, but what were some of the standouts for you maybe that surprised you the most that going in? You’re like I’m not gonna like this. But coming out of it you thought okay, wow, that was really surprising. I enjoyed it.

Nicole Tsong
I mean, I felt like that a lot like it says like, this is scary. This is one where I like to talk about this one, even though it’s not really accessible to most people, but it was a really big one for me. There’s these people who do climbing 150-foot trees up in deception pass on Whidbey Island in Washington State, and so they use climbing gear to basically get you up the tree that you get to sit up there so it sort of did all these there was strength right to get up because they can help you with the guys like you’ve seen fine and trying to get me up this tree. And then I’ll show some fear of heights to be 150 feet in the air. And then it was also epic because it’s like to be eye level with the eagles and looking out over the water and it was just it was such a cool day like I just everything about it to be able to move, to be in nature to be able to connect, and then to also deal with this fear of heights and then be out there, it was really, really powerful. So that was just one of my most memorable experiences in general. I would say anything related to like natural stuff, and confronting any kind of fear for myself was really fascinating and challenging. The one that’s kind of like the long-term thing, I think, is also just starting to enjoy weightlifting, I hadn’t really done it before I started there.

Nicole Tsong
And then I joined CrossFit at the time. And I wrote about it for the column, and then it kind of checked in a year later, and I started eight years ago. And then now I just saw a big lift, but it pushed me into this direction of strength, which I have really loved actually ever since. And so that to me is sort of like a long term impact of what I found in the column. And I also really love dance classes, even though I’m really not a natural dancer, am I really good mimic and so I can mimic like the first class. And then if they want me to remember choreography afterward, I’d never remember it. But I really enjoyed the challenge of the mental stimulation, it’s a totally different mental stimulation from lifting, to have to remember steps and moving your hands and your feet, and then smiling and like all these things, like it’s really, oh, it’s a brain twister. And so I really enjoy it. Even though at the moment I often AM, like, a little bit miserable. and wondering why I took a dance class. I still really like it ultimately. And so I still take my tap class even though I’m often at the end of my tap.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, having done tap for several years growing up I can relate. I can also relate to the sense of trying things that require like total body coordination study, Brazilian jujitsu. And I came into that as something I had never even seen. And I went to a class I wrote about this in 2017, I was brand new, and I walked in and I thought what am I doing here? And it was such a different it continues to be such a different type of movement from lifting which I also still do so I can definitely relate to you on that. says I don’t smile while I’m doing it. But having to control my breathing and the presence in my body and move all the move your whole body at the same it’s it’s really fun. Did you ever try that?

Nicole Tsong
I did. And it was interesting when you talk about martial arts are hard for me because of the closeness to people. Yes, yeah, that really I found very challenging. Whenever I tried any of the martial arts I’m like, this person is like on top of me. Yeah, and then having to breathe and like know that you’re just practicing techniques around it. Because it can feel well especially because of those there’s often like big dudes in there right? being okay with that was really that was always challenging. For me, every style of movement I found had different kinds of challenges and I found in martial arts like the movement was always hard. And that proximity anything boxing was hard for me when getting punched, like that kind of stuff to any physical contact always kind of freaked me out. And I’d have to just be like, okay, breathe, like you can handle because they’re always it’s light. Like they’re not being harsh, but there’s always this intensity around contact with people, which I actually think is really missing in American culture in particular, like we don’t spend a lot of time with like that wrestling engagement unless you do those kinds of martial arts.

Steph Gaudreau
So interesting. Why, why did strength training you said you kind of entered it through CrossFit and then transitioned into Olympic weightlifting, which is a really common thing. Also, another thing I haven’t probably with you, what, what about it? What about strength training really sort of stuck out to you? It seems like something you’ve continued on and found a way to weave together to what you’re currently do? What is it about that that has stuck with you?

Nicole Tsong
What I love about Olympic weightlifting in particular is the focus and the technique. And for me, I feel like that connection to myself, like in that moment, right, the lift itself is so quick, there’s just, it’s done. And I always laugh, I’ve done a couple of competitions, and we’re like, guys, so many lifts, for six, right? All you get at the competition is six lifts, like all that training. And when I watch you know, the high level lifters and like they make it look like that Not that much is going on. But so much is going on. And I just there’s something about that part of anything. It’s part of me that loves yoga, too. That’s really into the detail of sensation and being really present in the moment. And lifting really provides that for me. And for me, again, moving is so much about keeping myself on track. And so there’s certain kinds will all movement helps me stay more focused. And there are all kinds of studies around that too, right? Move for 30 minutes, and you can get up to two hours of focus after so I always have like a midday movement break.

Nicole Tsong
And so that’s part of it. Like for me, it’s focus, it’s staying connected to the big things I’m out to achieve in the world. And that that micro-focus just does something to my brain. We’re in such distraction like you and I met on social media like there are all these things that are going on that are just really pushing us in all these different directions. But I can’t be distracted when I lift or it just doesn’t work. So that’s what I love about it like, it makes me focus it makes me hone in. And then by the end, I feel really refreshed and energized. And then that helps me also stay really centered. Because I’m doing so many things. I’m also an entrepreneur, like there are so many pieces moving in my life, that it helps me stay on track with what I’m here to do, and to work with my clients, and to be able to support them, requires me to really be in a good place.

Steph Gaudreau
I love that. For people who maybe aren’t entrepreneurial, and they’re sort of looking to incorporate movement into their life. You’ve touched on this idea that movement can help you really stay aligned and focused on your purpose. When you work your clients, you know, how does that play out for them? How to how do you help them start really making those connections? You mentioned earlier between exercise, which for a lot of people has a really negative connotation to something that is more purpose purposeful, that helps them explore their life in greater vibrancy. What does that look like?

Nicole Tsong
For me, it’s about how do you just start to build the habit of moving regularly? And for a lot of people like they’re a little bit inconsistent? And it depends, right? I know a lot of people in your audience probably are strength-oriented, and they may be really good about it. Sometimes what I find it can be either nothing at all or too intense. So how do you find a little bit more of a happy medium. And so for a lot of my clients, we’re working on building and like a 15-minute walk during the day, or first thing in the morning to clear their head. So I’m always really wanting them to start like their day with some kind of ritual that is really around themselves. And it could be 10 minutes of, you know, me yoga mat stretching, before they start their day. I also want them to start to build in some midday movement to move like to walk is great like, and I think, again, too, we can get into this idea, it has to only be intense, or it only takes two hours, how can you start to see movement beyond just like your time at the gym, and the strength, that it’s an all-day kind of an experience.

Nicole Tsong
And the more you start to let it be little chunks, this is the thing, I know this, I’m an all or nothing person to like, give me something I’m going to go all in and fully. And then at the end of 30 days, I’m like, see I’m out. And so I want people to start to build a habit of movement where 15 minutes is possible. And then they can just take a walk. And if that’s all they do that day, awesome. And the more they do it, and the more they just find 15 minutes is available, people just search and naturally build into 30 minutes, 45 minutes, I have known people who have started hiking, and then that inspired them to take up the guitar, the ukulele like that. It generates energy and it generates creative spirit. And for me, a lot of people are coming to me because they’re tapped out like they don’t have any energy left. They’re being really hard on themselves. perfectionism is a huge part of the work I’m doing with people and movement helps you just get out of that mental mental space back into grounding, so that you can then start to be like, okay, hey, I feel like myself again. Okay, now we can actually talk about clarity and purpose. And really doing the kind of work you’re passionate about in your life, serving your family in a bigger way, definitely have a lot of moms as well. And so how can you really reconnect in word as best you can. And if we can take exercise out of the equation, then just allowing yourself a lot more room and space to have movement be part of your life.

Steph Gaudreau
That’s beautiful. We spend that all that time, like appear in our head, right? And so to bring it back down into the body, just so impactful, what was the most surprising thing, I guess that came out of writing your book 24 ways to move more,

Nicole Tsong
I think the most surprising thing was actually reflecting on my own movement journey. And I think especially for myself, as well, like seeing where I’m Chinese American, and were sort of Asian culture came into play for me around movement and how I had to kind of bust through that myself and start to see that I felt sometimes very challenged, being in the fitness world because it’s not common like there’s not a ton of, you know, people who are really prominent, who are Asian in that world. And so it happened with yoga first, because Yoga is also that kind of world where there’s not as many people of color, and then reflecting on my journey, because when I was young, I was an ice skating and ballet. So kind of like the girl sports, right? And then I transitioned into tennis in high school. And then I really didn’t move at all like that much through college and my 20s it was like, I started to hike, but it wasn’t doing it really consistently.

Nicole Tsong
So it was actually realizing and reflecting on my own journey around being a mover because I would say I would not have I didn’t identify that way until I really wrote my column. Being a mover understanding my own experience with it, and then how that has helped me break down like breaking down any ideas I had about myself because I think I always had this idea that I wasn’t that strong, physically, and maybe even mentally, emotionally. And that the more I started to move my body I really started to experience myself as strong. And so the it was cool to write about it. Because it’s I realized how ingrained It was like how much movement really helped me see how strong I was physically and that that physical strength helped me realize how much inner strength is provided for me and that resilience and how important that is because it’s sort of funny because I feel like movement and strength are so intertwined. And then All of a sudden realizing one day like I am really strong, was cool.

Steph Gaudreau
I love it. I think that’s a beautiful way to tie it all together. And some of the things that you’ve brought here are so interesting and completely unique to the conversations that we’ve had on this podcast. And there have been so many. This we’ve had over 350 episodes. So I just I’m continually surprised and delighted by meeting people like you out in the world who have unique perspectives, you have so many interesting things that people can learn from you. And I’m just so grateful that you’re able to spend some time with us today and share your perspectives.

Nicole Tsong
I’m so grateful for you, Steph, I’m a huge fan I’ve known you from back in the days where I was like getting recipes from you to see where you are now. And it’s like, just super, it’s super cool.

Steph Gaudreau
Where can people connect with you more? Where can they pick up your book and follow along with you?

Nicole Tsong
So my book is 24 ways to move more, it’s available in all the places you can find books, and I’d love for you to check it out and get inspired in some of your movements. And then you can find me on Instagram at Nicole Tsong. And then I also have a download three ways movement helps you discover your calling. And it really goes through my methodology clear calling method around how does movements are to help you get into that connected space. And especially if you’re feeling that shift of like, and this has happened a lot during the pandemic for people like am I doing the thing I really want to be doing in my life. And so if that resonates for you, that’s really a place, get that download to start to go down that pathway.

Steph Gaudreau
Wonderful, thank you for offering that we’re going to put that in the show notes. So if folks want to go and grab that, they can head over or certainly find it through your your website and your social media. Nicole, this has just been such a pleasure to have you. I really, really appreciate it. I hope we can continue to keep track of each other’s work. And you know, I’d love to have you back on the show at some point and, and share this other deeper thing that you’re doing with movement, which is really helping people to connect to their calling. I just think it’s it’s amazing. It’s very beautiful.

Nicole Tsong
Thank you, Steph, it’s been such a joy to be with you.

Steph Gaudreau
Thanks. All right, that’s a wrap on this episode with a wonderful Nicole Tsong. As Nicole was sharing her experiences and talking about her experiences with movement, I just couldn’t help but see so much of myself reflected in her. And yet, she brought so much unique perspective on movement that I had never heard expressed in that particular way. Things that go really really deep and are really impactful about how we can incorporate movement into our lives and the benefits of doing so. A few calls to action and things that you can do first is to get the show notes for this episode on my website, StephGaudreau.com. It also includes a full transcript. So if that’s useful for you, or anyone that you know, please let them know about the show notes. Second thing, please share this episode out on social media tag both Nicole and myself, we would love to see your thoughts on this episode, and also amplify your voice back into the world. And last but not least, please hit subscribe on your podcast app. If you use iTunes or Apple Podcasts. We would love to hear your rating and review of this show as well. So please go leave your thoughts. It means a lot that you take a little bit of time out of your day to do that. And I am so so grateful that you continue to tune in to the Listen To Your Body podcast. Until then, next week, we’ll be back with another incredible episode. Have a great week and stay strong.

 

 

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.

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