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Shauna Harrison’s Rule-Breaking Wellness Habits For Optimal Energy & Happiness

March 17, 2016
Ph.D. & Movement Advocate
By Shauna Harrison, Ph.D.
Ph.D. & Movement Advocate
Shauna Harrison, Ph.D., is the creator of Muscle + Flow, Adjunct Associate at Jonhs Hopkins, and fitness teacher. A graduate of Stanford, UCLA and Johns Hopkins, she simultaneously pursued academics and fitness obtaining her Ph.D. in Public Health and teaching fitness classes across the country.
Photo by Leila Seppa Photography
March 17, 2016

I have never been good with rules, coloring inside the lines, or cookie-cutter anything—except for actual cookies! This is partially because I think confinement thwarts creativity, partially because I celebrate individuality, and mostly because I know that what works for some doesn’t necessarily work for others.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in my lifestyle—from my career to my way of movement to my philosophy on food. I have a Ph.D. and I am a sponsored athlete. I teach yoga to hip-hop music. I put Pilates in my boot camp classes. I eat kale and carbs and quinoa and Kashi and cupcakes. I like to think of it as taking norms and throwing them into a blender to make my own amazing life smoothie. It might seem like a random concoction to others, but I find a way to make them #GOTOGETHER for me.

How I Train

Let’s take my own training, for example. I run. I do yoga. I lift weights. I do Pilates, calisthenics, plyometrics, and HIIT. Sometimes all within one workout. I’m all over the board—on purpose. I love movement in its many forms and I like to play around with applying things I learn from one modality to movement patterns in another modality. It’s mentally stimulating, physically challenging, and often emotionally humbling.

Burpees in yoga, handstands in the middle of a run, do they #GOTOGETHER? In my world, they always do to become more than the sum of their parts.

My Food Philosophy

I apply the same thing when it comes to my diet, both in concept and in actual foods. I hesitate to use the term “diet” because it’s one of my least favorite words. I refuse to put strict rules on my food behavior, especially in the name of appearance.

Wait, so you just eat whatever you want? Yes. How could that possibly be healthy? Because I listen to my body. And my mind. And my emotions. I know I need to feed my body so that I can sustain my daily demands, but more than that so I can thrive while doing them. I know I also need to enjoy food for all of its deliciousness. I don’t have to pick. I can eat to feel good to nourish, to sustain, and to enjoy because they, too, can all #GOTOGETHER.

Photo: Leila Seppa Photography

What I Eat to Fuel My Fitness

So what does that actually look like in terms of the foods I choose? Probably as all over the board as you would expect given what I’ve already told you. I am full of quirks and random choices, and I embrace every single one.

Let’s take breakfast. I could eat breakfast foods for any meal of the day (especially eggs for dinner and Kashi GOLEAN cereal as a late-night snack), but don’t even think about giving me anything other than breakfast foods for my first meal of the day.

Sometimes it’s a protein-based bar (I love the new Kashi GOLEAN Dark Chocolate Cashew Chia flavor—chia seeds for protein, chocolate for sweetness), and a banana; sometimes it’s Kashi GOLEAN Clusters Vanilla Pepita cereal with almond milk or even coconut water (yes, they really do #GOTOGETHER); maybe it’s soft-boiled eggs with avocado and sweet potato and; no matter what, there better be some green tea in the mix!

There’s something about the morning ritual that's equal parts physical and emotional energy boost. Physical energy and mental energy truly work together in my world, and this is most important to me first thing in the morning because it sets the tone for the rest of my day.

How My Diet and Lifestyle #GOTOGETHER

Knowing what the first part of my day has in store is comforting, especially knowing that the rest of my day and meals may be chaotic. It’s for this reason that I function best when there is some sort of movement before I go about my day.

In my world, mornings and ritual, breakfast and movement, and routine and chaos all amount to more than the sum of their individual parts. The result is something greater that fuels my needs and my choices. And this could work for you, too.

The key is to pay attention and attend to your needs so that you can figure out the life ingredients that #GOTOGETHER for you.

My Energy-Boosting A.M. Workout (Try It for Yourself!)

If you’re looking for an anytime energy pick-me-up, try one of the following (because burpees just #GOTOGETHER with everything!):

  • Burpee Salute: Start with 1 burpee, 1 sun salutation A (mountain pose, forward fold, half forward fold, chaturanga, upward-facing dog, downward facing-dog), then 2 burpees, 1 sun salutation A, then 3 burpees, 1 sun salutation A, etc.
  • Boxing Burpee: 4 punches, 1 burpee. Repeat.
  • Jump-Rope Burpee: Jump rope ~10 turns of the rope and drop into a burpee. Instead of jumping up when you come out of the burpee, go right back into the jump rope for another ~10 turns.

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