Coffee Time & Body Talk

During these times, some of the happiest hours (or 1/2 hour- 45 minutes) of my life have been when I am moving my body on purpose (yeah, exercise).

I remember I can do hard things.

I get to be with people I love.

I am outside, and I get to sweat.

I have fun.

I know for sure that exercise helps me not sink into an almost-but not-really depressed state (with a side of agitation) that I’ve sometimes danced with year .

It truly makes every single thing in my life better.

Fitness for me in March was spent on my bedroom floor doing only the four simple physical therapy exercises I was prescribed because my body had shut down right before the shutdown.

I was a fireball of inflammation due to overuse in the gym, along with a job I had at the time where I was constantly on my feet.

I learned it doesn’t matter if you keep telling your mind that what has become pain is “just sore muscles” … all of the time.

Ultimately, your body will always tell you the truth, and things will stop.

This spring, the world shut down, and I kind of did, too.

During those months, I started reconfiguring what my body needed when it came to movement, recovery, food, fun and sleep. I had time.

When I was injured, I got up-close-and-personal with myself in a different way and got some wisdom I didn’t ask for, but I needed.

I was lonely and frustrated, along with some grief and loss because I had to change and adapt. It was a real mind f*%k sometimes.

It was also a miracle.

Your body is your home — it’s your constant during this 2020 search for the elusive “new normal.”

If you’re looking for a miracle, but you’re skeptical or don’t even know where to begin (and how to keep going), surround yourself with people and ideas that will lift your spirits and open your mind.

Most importantly, be willing to participate in the creation of your miracles.

I hope you’ll find inspiration when you watch the video I’ve included this week; it’s a conversation about all of those things.

In 2014, I was a new fitness instructor at a small studio in my neighborhood. and I was on the schedule to teach two nights a week.

The person who taught the hour before me had a voice and a spirit that took up every inch of space in that studio. It unnerved me and made me curious at the same time.

The people who came out of his classes were an absolute mess — like they’d been through a torrential rainstorm and a war.

But … they were happy. They were always smiling. After awhile, I realized they seemed proud (and relieved).

I watched those classes through the window for over a month and wondered if I could do what I saw those students doing, and why I even wanted to try.

What would that mean for me and my body? At that time, I was mostly a dancer when it came to fitness.

did end in that room doing all of those things instead of spending more time watching. Fast forward six years, and that “voice” taking up all of that space was a person who ultimately became my best friend, Jeff Howard.

Having Jeff changed my life; and along the way, we changed my body.

That best part is that those physical changes were grounded in growth versus loss: more strength, flexibility, endurance and power.

What Jeff and I do in our work is different, but the same.

We both believe the human body is a miracle, and that fitness fuels both our physical and mental well-being.

We also know that group exercise is one of life’s greatest opportunities to experience the optimal health and joy that comes from the genuine connection that can happen when other people move with us (that’s why those of us drinking that Kool-Aid  🙂 call our group-ex friends “fitness families” — and we mean it).

I hope you enjoy and learn from this conversation about your mind, your body, and your life with my dear friend, international fitness presenter and master group fitness instructor, Jeff Howard, and (y’all know me around here, but …) “therapist, life coach & group exercise instructor, Laura Wagner.”

** Are you one of those people who wants to scrub through the video to get to the “good parts” (they’re all good parts, by the way : )?

See the “highlight reel” minute-to-minute summary below. **

It’s nice that I did that, right?




  • Why do we stop or drift away from exercise and how can we be consistent?


  • How giving your body 1% of YOUR DAY can change your life.
  • What’s your “why?”
  • How to score some dopamine and inhibit muscle loss (not sold in stores or as-seen-on-TV).


  • Why we let go of the commitments we make to ourselves  and how to change that.


  • Strength = both power and vulnerability.
  • Mind + body = cross training for life.


  • Mental and physical fitness
  • Your body and your journey with it are not “mistakes.”


Lose your way?

  • “Be a scientist in your life.”
  • Stop sliding. Start deciding.
  • Pay attention to your intention.

If you want to come into Jeff’s world and experience fitness in a way that I’d be willing to bet you never have before, you are right on time.

From now on, we will be in a  live-streaming world, along with being physically present with one another in the safest ways possible.

You can make that happen by joining Jeff’s online membership community. You’ll have unlimited access to his workouts in every format you can imagine, and some you’ve never seen (this is good!).

He’s always adding more content from people like me that rounds out what it really means to be well and live a long, happy and healthy life.

And, I can promise you that he “translates” flawlessly when it comes to an instructor you will feel connected with on a screen.

I’ve known him for six years, and I swear I felt like he was there on my back deck, standing over me while I was doing butterfly sit-ups back in April.

More often than not, I found myself talking back to the screen and looking to give him some side-eye when things were particularly challenging.

You too can experience this for less than $1 a day when you sign up for his membership: Jeff Howard Fitness Athletes.

Click HERE and get moving.

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