Today I'm interviewing Caroline Ofenstein. Sometimes, with spirituality, it can get really ethereal and I love that in this episode, Caroline takes some of these ethereal feelings and actually grounds them into practice. As the episode progresses, we talk about intuition and how to listen and trust in yourself. If this is something you could learn from (I think we all could do better with self-trust), then let's dive into the interview with Caroline.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/247
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- Masculine versus feminine energy (11:38, 18:08)
- Defining spirituality (19:55)
- Add the woo-woo to the weight room (21:39)
- Figuring out that there's a middle ground (24:37)
- The differences between health, fitness, and wellness (28:06)
- Tangible tips that you can implement shifts (30:02)
- How do I start to listen to my intuition? (35:47)
- Check in with yourself and then start to trust that inner-knowing (38:43)
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 247.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Amber B 0:47
Hey, hey, hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps after Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke. And today, I'm interviewing Caroline Ofenstein. And we are talking about the topic of spirituality and fitness. And you may be saying, “Hold on a second, this doesn't make any sense. Why are we talking about this topic? What relevance does it have to health and fitness?” One of the things that we talk about during the podcast, and it's something I talk about a lot, is this idea that many of us as women have been raised to believe that all of the answers lay outside of us. That we need to go to other people to find information. I think this is why diets are really popular with women because we feel like if someone's just going to tell us what to do, then we will finally be successful, or we just follow the rules, then we'll finally be successful. And we're even raised in a permission-based society where we have to as children, we have to raise our hand to go to the bathroom, right? Someone else to give us permission to be able to do that. And so towards the end of the episode, we really start talking about this idea of intuition and being able to listen to yourself and trust yourself. And I think a lot of us are really terrible at this. Because for many reasons of ways that we are raised.
Amber B 2:11
And so this idea of spirituality, we define what we mean by spirituality during the episode. But this idea of this inner-knowing that you have, this intuition that you have, and paying more attention to it, I think is a groundbreaking one for so many women. And asking yourself right now how often are you listening? Are you checking in with yourself? Or are you always just looking externally for what I'm supposed to be doing next? Caroline gives you a fantastic tip at the end of the podcast episode. I asked her for a really tangible tip that you can use to start to practice this now. And she gives a fantastic example of how you can make this into a game and make it fun. But if you're someone who feels like you have a hard time knowing what you want, you have a hard time listening to your intuition, this is going to be definitely a podcast episode for you. As Caroline likes to say we're going to take the woo-woo and bring it to the weight room. And I think this is such a fun concept and one that you may be surprised to have more relevance to your journey than you may think even if you're like, “Hey, I'm not super into spirituality.” This may have more relevance than you think. So without further ado, let's dive into the interview with Caroline.
Amber B 3:30
I am so excited to be able to introduce Caroline to the podcast squad. Caroline, thanks for being on here today. I'm really excited about the topic we're gonna cover today.
Caroline O 3:39
Hello, hello. Thank you so much for having me.
Amber B 3:42
Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so let's start with just an introduction to everybody who's listening to the podcast. Tell us a little bit about yourself, tell us a little bit about what you do, and a little about how you see the world.
Caroline O 3:52
Yeah, so I have been in the fitness and nutrition space in some way shape, or form since 2014-2015. So it has been quite a while and I have been through so many different phases there. My background kind of coming into health and fitness was through CrossFit. Went super, high-intensity maxed out in that realm, then kind of transitioned into bodybuilding. When my pro card became an IFBB Bikini Pro, felt I maxed out and kind of hit my extremes there. Obviously, this is a recurring pattern.
Amber B 4:33
And I was gonna say is that something that you've kind of noticed about yourself?
Caroline O 4:37
Yes, yes. And so then after kind of– so it basically burnt me out. That's a better way of saying it and CrossFit and then kind of in bodybuilding and that was 2020ish. And at that point, so for about the last two years, I've really kind of switched my approach to my own health and wellness and fitness and nutrition. And also, how I coach others to be much more mind-body focused, holistic focused, however, you kind of want to think of that. And I call myself more of an intuitive and mind-body, health coach these days.
Amber B 5:17
So awesome. And I feel that's really common. I've seen this in multiple people's journeys, where it's almost like we have to find these extremes to then settle somewhere into the middle into that moderation. And I've seen it over and over again, especially I feel with bodybuilders is you really do have to go to an extreme to do a competition and to be a bodybuilder and there are things that you can learn from that. Obviously, I'm not ragging on bodybuilders in the slightest, but it is an extreme and I have seen so many bodybuilders go from that extreme and find that maybe that is way too far one side and be able to settle a little bit more into the happy medium after that, after knowing where those boundaries are. You said you started with CrossFit and then kind of got into bodybuilding. But take us back even a little bit further. When did you start getting interested in health and fitness? What was that entry point for you?
Caroline O 6:11
Yeah, so I always played sports growing up, but I wasn't super intense about it. Probably the sport I played the most was actually rugby. I had a high school, a women's rugby club, believe it or not, and then I played one year in college as well. But rugby is very, especially women's rugby, it's very, I hate to say it this way, but no one really cares about it, especially in the US. We're so behind.
Amber B 6:42
And so my sister was a collegiate rugby player. She was an all-American rugby player. So yeah, I know what you're saying.
Caroline O 6:49
Yeah, and there was a huge party atmosphere tied to that as well, especially in-
Amber B 6:54
So much and so much drinking. Yeah.
Caroline O 6:57
So I don't know if that counts. But I always loved moving. I went to UW Madison, so big campus, I was always active in college but never into fitness, how I think of myself now. So it really wasn't until I found CrossFit in 2014 that I, oh my God, was hooked up to an IV of the Kool-Aid. I was just so in it. And along with the training, that's really when CrossFit was super, super tightly linked with paleo, which in hindsight, and everything I know now, makes zero sense. Like, “Let's cut out all carbs for high intensity.”
Amber B 7:43
Caroline O 7:45
Are you kidding me? But that was what was kind of– that's what you were told at the time. So I did, oh my God, I did so many, whole 30 challenges and stuff like that. And to be totally honest, I'm not a fan of many, if any 30-day challenges but especially ones like that, that are so restrictive, unless you're doing a quick, gut cleanse to kind of reset or something that might be helpful. But for me, it started a binge-and-restrict cycle for me. I didn't really, again, know that at the time or notice it at the time either. But after doing that a couple of times and also trying to get better at CrossFit, I was like, “Something is not working.” And that's when I started actually studying nutrition and doing nutrition courses and certifications and learning about macros. And so then I got really into macros for a period of time. And I was coaching CrossFit after a couple of years as well. And then started to add macros and a more flexible dieting approach. So that's then where things really where I felt I finally had a foundation that wasn't just leading me off the deep end over and over.
Amber B 8:59
That's awesome. And then you kind of made this foray into spirituality as well. So what did that process look like for you? How did that kind of become something that you became a little bit more interested in?
Caroline O 9:14
So that for me started a couple of years later. Probably more like 2018. So obviously, you can note the extremism of my background, which I feel I've really worked on bringing more intuition and more of that kind of feminine energy that flows into my nutrition and fitness over recent years. But my morning routines, I used to be one of those people who was like, “Okay, you do five minutes of gratitude journaling, and then you do five minutes and mobility and ticking all the boxes.” And so I did have some sort of mindfulness practice, but it was, like I said, more to tick a box than to actually take that mindful time for myself. But around 2018, when I was starting to get into bodybuilding as you mentioned, people that have competed to, you do have to go to that extreme place. And I noticed as I was getting more challenged, I needed something specific and a mindset practice to help me. And that's when I discovered manifestation. Or some people think of it as the law of attraction or really just this idea of creating a mindset and exuding the energy of what you want to attract into your life. And so, I started doing manifestation courses and all these practices while I was prepping for a competition. A lot of visualization work along with that as well, a lot of affirmation practices. And I do think– I mean, I only did a handful of shows and won my pro card so, so quickly. And I think part of that short timeline led to me burning out quickly. But also, I think part of that short timeline was thanks to me having such a strong mindset. My head was 100% in the game in those days.
Amber B 11:10
Will you speak a little bit? In case people aren't familiar with this idea of masculine versus feminine energy because I think people oftentimes hear those words and they think of male-female, which is masculine or feminine energy isn't necessarily male-female. So can you kind of just describe a little bit about that, cuz I feel as you do, people will start to hear themselves in that and realize that they may have a tendency to lean more towards masculine energy or feminine energy. And I think it's always helpful to kind of have that awareness.
Caroline O 11:38
Such a good point. Yeah. So like you said, it's not male and female. Everyone has masculine and feminine energy. Another way to think of it is the yin and the yang energy. So when we are most in harmony, these energies are equalized or close to equal. Someone's always gonna probably lean a little one way or the other. But when I think of masculine energy, I think of competitive, logical, and really like doing energy. So taking that action, doing the thing, when I think of feminine energy, I think of using your intuition to make decisions, being more in your creative energy, being more in a flow state, slower, more of being energy, right? You're not focused on getting a task done. You're focused more on listening, and then responding. So you can probably already pick this up from a lot of my stories. I lived most of my life. I grew up very much in an achievement-oriented household. So it was all about getting good grades, getting into a good school, then getting a good job. I spent a lot of my life just trying to do what was expected of me and achieve and push myself to achieve. And obviously, that translated into fitness for me as well. And then when I started learning more about spirituality, and manifestation and doing these mindful practices, it felt scary but also really, really good to allow myself to slow down a little bit more. To start asking myself, “Well, what actually feels good for me? Not what is expected of me, or what does someone else think I should do? But what feels it calling to me? What feels right.” We all have those moments in our life where we're like, “Ooh, this feels so good. I gotta do this.” I started tapping into that more, which has helped me start to bring a little bit of balance back. I still personally definitely lean towards my masculine energy, but having more awareness and having this be like a personal goal of mine to harmonize those sides of me a little bit more has been really, really helpful in health and fitness. And just like overall happiness, too.
Amber B 13:58
Yeah, I think in our culture, masculine energy is definitely rewarded in a lot of ways, right? It's like achievement-oriented, goals/doing. That is really looked at as the highest thing that you can be doing as an individual is creating a business, creating a product like Tesla or Apple. That's achievement-oriented. And so I wonder– I think one of the things that tend to hold people or shift people towards that more masculine energy is that it's rewarded and that we kind of feel like “Well if I go into the bean and the mindfulness and the allowing in that more flow state and what's my intuition saying that I'm gonna lose some of the achievement that comes from the masculine?” And so I'm wondering what your experience is, especially since you noted winning your pro card. For those of you guys who don't know, it's a thing in the bodybuilding world. It's not easy and not everybody wins their pro card by any shot. It is the elite few that are able to win their pro card. And so was there any– I guess, what I'm trying to ask is, was there any resistance in yourself of being like, “If I go more into this feminine, and if I allow more of this to go that way more mindfulness, am I going to not achieve as much as I would have in that masculine state?”
Caroline O 15:20
Amber B 15:22
I'm talking about that.
Caroline O 15:24
That was so present for me. I'm trying to think of good, specific examples. When you have a goal like that, if you are competing in bodybuilding, and you just want to compete in a show, maybe your first show, at some point, you have to, in my opinion, silence that part of yourself a little bit. The silence is that intuitive part. Just like if you're doing a diet, right? As if you have– let's say you really need to lose those 10 pounds to be healthier. Maybe need isn't even the right word. But maybe it's a doctor's advice, right? It's a super high priority for you. At some point, you do have to turn down the volume knob on some cues from your body like hunger cues, right? Some people in intuitive eating my world might say you're tearing down those cues.
Caroline O 16:27
So I do think there are times in your life when it can be beneficial to lean into that part of yourself, for example, like that masculine energy, and just go for it and get it done. But there are also probably going to be times in your life when it is most beneficial to lean in towards the feminine. Like, right now, I'm expecting my first baby. And I have been thinking about this a lot lately as far as this is gonna be a really good time for me to slow down. And my body can tell my mind, even the past couple of months, I've been like, “I don't really feel like doing a whole lot.” And this is the least “ambitious” I've ever felt in my life. And I think that's a very natural response to just where I am right now. But as far as the fear, I mean, specifically, when I decided to take a step back from bodybuilding in 2020, I was really scared of when I even lose clients, right? Like, “Would my business suffer if I'm not going balls to the wall in fitness? Or what's gonna happen to my body? Right? Am I going to start gaining weight?” If I start listening to my hunger cues and eating based on that, or just deciding what I want to eat randomly instead of pre-tracking it or things like that? Those were all things I thought of and tried to act on proactively. So this was when I started. That's actually when I started doing some pole dance fitness as well because I thought that would be really helpful for body image, for example. And I really tried to realize some of those fears I had and meet them head on and be like, “Okay, I'm scared of this. How can I prepare myself because I know that's gonna come.”
Amber B 18:08
Yeah, and I love what you had said earlier about it is not that you are either in masculine energy or feminine. We have both and it's a balance between the two. And life doesn't really work if you're always living in the feminine energy. And it doesn't work if you're always living in the masculine. And I think it's helpful sometimes to remember that it's there are seasons, kind of like you talked about. It's a season where you are more in that doing, growing achieving stage. But if you don't ever pair it with the relaxed, slow down, take a deep breath, recover phase, it's just like anything. We talked about progressive overload. The whole idea of progressive overload is you stress, and then you have to have that rest and recovery. If you continue to stress, stress, stress, stress, stress, your body actually breaks down. You don't build muscle. And so I think that's such a beautiful example of stress in our lives is, yeah, there are times when we push, and then if you don't pair that with the rest and recovery, like the slowing down periods of time that you're talking about, you're gonna burn out, and you aren't going to be able to achieve the things that you want to. And that's been something I've had to remind myself of because I tend towards the masculine energy for sure of like, go go and achieve. And I love the quote the rest– the rest is the work. For me, that is very true. It's not hard for me to go. But that rest is required if you want to do it long-term and you want to be able to keep going. So that was a beautiful answer. Let's make sure we define a word because I think a lot of times, we use words, and we don't always mean the same thing when we say them. And so this word spirituality becomes quite this buzzword. And I think people throw it around. And they don't really– people mean different things when they say spirituality. So when you talk about spirituality, what what are you referring to? What does that mean?
Caroline O 19:55
That is such a good question. And I do think it's one of the words that can be used in a lot of different ways, almost like the word health, right? Everyone has their own definition of what healthy is to them. How I think of spirituality. The first helpful defining word that comes to mind is connection. So to me, I think of a connection to myself, my body, my soul, and my heart. Kind of however you want to think of that inner-knowing. I think of a connection deeper with myself. But then I also think of the connection with nature. And like you mentioned, the analogy of seasons. And how humans can also– we can also go through seasons. And acknowledging that and maybe even respecting and working with nature a little bit more. And then also a connection with everyone around you. I don't want to get too into my personal beliefs, but one of them is that we are all connected in some way, shape, or form. Maybe we all come from the same stuff however you want to think of that. Or I love the quote, Everyone you meet is either a friend or a teacher. In that way, I think we are also all connected. So when I think of spirituality, I think of my spiritual practices, I think of cultivating these deeper connections with myself and my surroundings as kind of a broad definition.
Caroline O 20:08
I love that. It's beautiful. One of the things that you say is that you add the woo-woo to the weight room. What does that mean? And how has that shifted your experience?
Caroline O 21:39
I think of it as adding this missing piece to the puzzle, right? Because a lot of us, I feel like so many people I talk to have a similar background as me. They've gone into fitness and whether it's macros or a different nutrition protocol, maybe it's keto or vegan or something and they go 110% in. And that is pure masculine energy, right? That is pure. I'm reading the research studies, and I'm doing the logical thing. And this is what the program told me to do. And I'm doing it, right? 75 heart is a great example. I'm just gonna do it. You just go for it. And again, there's nothing inherently wrong with that but it is a very one-track, mind approach is kind of how I think of it. And so when I say stuff like, “Add the woo-woo to the weight room,” you're kind of adding this other element of checking in with yourself, basically. If your program calls for an extra hit session, let's say, but you slept crap, and maybe you went out for pizza last night, and that wasn't the best fuel, your body didn't respond really well to it, and you're feeling depleted, is adding that HIT session actually useful? Or are you just ticking that box because you feel like you have to or someone told you to or it's the “logical thing to do?” I think in a lot of cases, what's going to serve you more is maybe focusing on really nourishing your body that day, and really focusing on your nutrition, and your hydration, and getting to bed early. And so that's kind of what I think of adding some of this, this balance, and this harmony back into your fitness, and health routine can look like, right? You can follow right now. I'm following a training program. But today, for example, I was really tight on time this morning. And they did have, I think I skipped a whole superset is what I ended up skipping. Because I was like, “I just don't have time today. And if I can add in that superset tomorrow workout tomorrow, I will.” But that was the best decision for me. And it's not a big deal. Oh my gosh, for me, these days, oh my God, I don't really care. I'm just gonna make this decision and move forward. But it's also, even though it's a small decision, I feel that's really honoring my schedule and taking stress off me today, making my life easier today, making me feel maybe a little bit happier today. And like I said, I could easily make up that superset on a different day if I want to. So it's how are we adding back in an element using all the science and all this incredible information on fitness and nutrition that we have access to today? But how can we also incorporate listening to your body and being able to understand the cues from your body and weave them all together.
Amber B 24:37
Yeah, I think this is such a good conversation. Because I think as you're listening to Caroline, you might be identifying that there's kind of a continuum. And you may find yourself on one end or the other of the continuum. So there are some people who are listening who are really resonating with Caroline, and they're like, “Yeah, I find myself going to those extremes. And it's always if it's harder, it's been better. And I have to work out six days a week. And if I don't, then that's gonna be a problem.” And bringing some of that more rest and recovery energy and intuition of like, “Hey, does this feel good for my body today?” Is probably really important for you. And then some people who are listening to this tend to give themselves way too much grace, and they sit on the other end. And every time they want to go to the gym, they talk themselves out of it, right? They're way too far on the other end of the spectrum where they always let themselves off the hook, they never hold themselves accountable, and they never make it to the gym because they don't want to do the hard thing. And you can see that on either side of those spectrums. Like, “We're trying to move towards the middle for both extremes.” Yes, you may need to do some things that you don't want to do at the moment. You may need to do something that's a little hard, you may need to get yourself to the gym. For some of you, that's the hard thing. And for some of us, the hard thing is like, “No, you actually need to skip leg day today because you're not recovered from last time.” And that's the hard thing to do. And I think the beautiful thing is figuring out that there's a middle ground. There's a balance between those two. And that's where we're trying to move towards.
Caroline O 26:07
Yeah, that's such a good reminder. And that's one of those. Sometimes people will ask me if you're talking about listening to your body's cues, or intuitive eating, and all you want to eat is chips. If you don't eat chips, are you not eating intuitively? And to that I say– or honoring cravings, right? is maybe a better way to think of it. And I would say that I Quit Craving at the moment. And you can choose to eat that. Or you can ask yourself, “But what's actually going to make me feel good, right? What is my body really asking for?” For me, this summer, I've definitely been craving chips. And I realized I don't think I'm getting enough electrolytes. I don't think I'm getting enough salt in my diet with the sweat and the heat and things like that. So that was something my body– yes, was craving chips. But the action I took was adding electrolytes. So it's one of those things just like you said, if you're really struggling with getting to the gym, maybe ask yourself why right? And what is my body– Is that your ego kind of talking? And there's some inner critic that's driving the steering wheel? Or is your body actually asking for maybe a different type of movement, and you can go for a long walk that day? But that does require a lot of honesty. And a lot of this slowing down and reflection we've been talking about too.
Amber B 27:28
Yeah, a lot. Lots of honesty. And I feel a lot of us don't take the time to even investigate those kinds of things. We don't like being honest with ourselves. We don't want to look under the hood. I don't want to ask ourselves the hard questions. Back on this definition train, I always think it's so interesting to make sure that we're creating definitions before we talk about things, but we throw these terms. You even referenced the term health. What does health even mean? It's such a very term. But these terms of health, fitness, and wellness, and if you had to say what is the difference between those three things? What are some of the defining characteristics?
Caroline O 28:06
Such a good question. I think health really is the hardest one for me because I really do think it's different for everyone in every season. But some key things that I think about are feeling your best every day. To me, that comes a lot down to health. But I do think it's super season-dependent. Right now, with me being pregnant, I'm like, “My health goals are purely focused on the health of the baby and the pregnancy.” But that's not going to apply to everyone. So it's what maybe a great simple definition is just out what is going to make me feel good when I wake up every day. Fitness I think of that more in terms of your physical body, like how do you move? Can you activate certain muscles? Can you stand on one leg for 10-20 seconds? I think is a great test of a super simple fitness test. Things like that, right? How are your joints moving? How is your body physically moving through space? And then wellness, kind of like we were talking about with bringing the woo into the weight room I think of wellness as more mind-body or some people say mind, body, and soul, that type of connection and wellness like are you emotionally healthy? Are you energetically healthy? Are you physically healthy? All of these different pieces, I think come together under the umbrella of wellness. All these aspects of being. Does that make sense?
Amber B 29:47
Yeah, I love it. Do you have one simple shift that people could implement if they are saying, “Hey, I want to improve my health or my wellness?“ An idea of what are the things that they could implement that could start to shift that for them.
Caroline O 30:02
I have so many ideas for little simple practices. And actually, I created a seven-day program on my website called Goddess Gains. And the whole idea was to give people new kinds of mindfulness practices seven days a week in a row. And along with that, some glute and shoulder finishers to make it, get the fitness in there, get the mindfulness in there. So there are a lot of good practices out there if you want to check that out. But one simple one that I've been doing lately that I really like is bringing quiet and stillness to your morning beverage. So whether you're a coffee drinker or a tea drinker, or maybe you've gotten on the cacao train that is popular these days of drinking like the very unprocessed Ross form of cocoa beans, basically, that people call cacao. And you can do a whole ceremony with it. It's really fun. But even if you're just drinking your coffee, how can you completely unplug and give yourself stillness in that at that moment? So maybe that means going to a space in your house where you're alone. And you can just sit with your beverage, and use all of your senses, right? Smell it before you drink it. Feel the warmth in your hands as you hold it. Feel that first sip on your tongue and then feel it travel down to your belly. And I think this is a great time, obviously, to check in with your senses and kind of activate those pieces of you but to also check in with your body. And just ask yourself, “What is present for me today? Or what is one way I could honor my body today? Or what is my body asking for today?” Doing just a really simple check-in like that because I know meditation. I still personally, oh my gosh, I've been meditating on and off for years. And it can still be really hard for me. But this type of mindful moment in the morning is its own form of meditation, right? You don't have to sit in silence for 20 minutes and try to clear your mind. You can just really bring conscious, intense presence to your moment and who doesn't love enjoying their coffee or tea in the morning a little bit more too?
Amber B 32:16
Oh, that's a great one to shift into. This has been fantastic. I'm curious. I know you're in a season right now where you're pregnant with your first. Congrats on that. What are some of the health and fitness goals that you currently have? What are your focuses right now?
Caroline O 32:34
Yeah, so I'm in my second trimester and in the first trimester, I was just trying to survive. Yeah, that was my main goal. So now we've transitioned past that, I think. And I'm back to lifting four days a week and one day of cardio. So I want to keep that going as much as I can. I'm really focusing on core work, pelvic core work, balance, and stability. So that's kind of my fitness focus right now. And more nutrition focus has been really just on, oh my gosh, I have not been doing a great job on protein. I had a strong food aversion –
Amber B 33:17
I say protein is hard for a lot of women during the first trimester.
Caroline O 33:21
Yeah, and even still now, I'm getting better. But I think that my main nutrition goal right now is really focused on protein, which is hilarious for me because in hindsight, oh my God, I could eat 150 grams, no problem. Now, I really gotta get up past 100. It's been humbling. And then actually, what's so funny is my spiritual practices, my own mindfulness practices, all these things I like to do, they've been harder for me since getting pregnant too. I don't know if it was just the fatigue and getting out of routine. So I'm really trying to get back to giving myself freedom in the morning. Having at least a half hour for myself but having no rules there. So allowing myself to journal if I want, to do a tea practice if I want, to listen to a guided meditation if I want, to do yoga if I want but really committing to that 30 minutes in the morning, for me, whatever I need that to look like on that day.
Amber B 34:23
This question just came to me. I feel like there are probably some people who are listening but have never really listened to themselves or their intuition. And I find this a lot. I talked about this concept like dieting. I think dieting is the same thing where you follow this rule, and this is the way you're supposed to do it. And you lose all of your intuition because it's just like, “Well, no, this is the rule. So we just do it that way.” And I think women in a lot of ways are trained to just do what everybody tells them to do. And we kind of miss that checking in with ourselves and so it can even feel hard. I know I've talked to some clients about this where it's like, “What do you think? Or what do you want?” And those questions make them freeze because they never ask themselves those questions. So the reason I'm asking this is that you said I love that you create this space. And you're like, “This is my me time.” And then I assume, you can tell me if I'm wrong, but I assume you kind of ask yourself like, “What do I need?” And some days, it's like journaling. On some days, it's meditation. On some days, it's a tea ritual, right? It's a little different. But for someone who like that can feel really intimidating to like, “I just asked myself, and then–“ I don't know, listen. Do you have any ideas about how to babysit that practice of learning to listen to your intuition? Because those are fun words to say, “Oh, well, let's see my new intuition.” But what the heck does that mean? For someone who's like, “I don't even know if that means. Caroline, just help me. How do I start to listen to my intuition?“
Caroline O 35:47
Such a good point. And I love that you kind of brought up people pleasing, too, because I do think that's part of this what you were saying before our society really rewards masculine energy, right? You listen, you do. So this is such a good point for I think all women to be aware of just like, “Where in my life am I just following through instead of really checking in with myself? So maybe this is in itself an invitation for that practice?” No one's gonna like this answer. But the first thing I want to say is patience because like I mentioned before, a lot of times, especially with intense fitness and nutrition goals, or maybe just you've had a really intense career path, and you're used to just doing what's expected of you. We do turn down those volume knobs. So it's like your radio has been turned down for a long time. And you're like, “Okay, well, now I really want to listen to this new jam.” But maybe you can't turn it up to 20 right away. Maybe it only goes to five for a little while. And you're like, “I don't really know. Can I hear something? Can I not hear something?” So give yourself a little time for your radio to get back into tune and start turning up that volume.
Caroline O 37:03
So that's why I mentioned some of those simple questions with your morning cup of coffee or a cup of tea practice. Start with something so simple, which maybe even a better idea than that is when you are going to make your breakfast, let's say, and you love oatmeal with fruit, get two kinds of fruit, like blueberries and bananas, and ask yourself, “Do blueberry sound better with this? Or do bananas sound better?” Or if you're really into your macros right now, get to macro-friendly options, basically. And just ask yourself, “Okay, both of these are gonna fit into my day easily. Which sounds better to me?” And I also switch up my morning beverage a lot. So maybe your coffee and a tea-drinker same thing. If I want coffee today, or do I want tea today? What sounds better? So sometimes, starting with just those two, simple choices can help you start to know. Let's say you said you really want bananas on your oatmeal. Take a second. And just notice what that feels like. To know that you want bananas. I'm laughing because it sounds silly. But that's how you start to know like, “Okay, it felt a light sensation.” And I was like, “Oh, yeah, bananas, definitely. It felt really solid in my body maybe, or it felt like it came from my gut.” However you feel that answer, that's your inner-knowing. That is your intuition coming out. And you can practice that throughout the day, right? Like, “Do I want to walk my dogs to the left or to the right?” And just practice exploring this other part of you that you haven't really chatted with in a while.
Amber B 38:43
And I love that because making a game of it. Make it fun. And like, “Do I want to go to the right, do I want to the left?” Check in with yourself. And I think I love that. Because sometimes, I feel like we have so many options. It's really hard for us to pick but you're making it really simple. And you're just saying one or two and then check in with yourself and then start to trust that inner-knowing I say I wanted blueberries. How did you know that you want blueberries? And starting to identify that can start to practice and it can start to be easier. Awesome, very specific tangible advice for someone who wants to get better at listening to that inner-knowing and into that inner intuition. I'm curious about this question for you. Evolution and growth are obviously something that most of us are invested in and happen over time. And so if you could go back 10 years ago, to kind of give yourself a message you today could go back 10 years ago to you 10 years ago and give her a little piece of advice or a little bit of tip or a little bit of like help, what would you tell the younger version of yourself?
Caroline O 39:49
Hmm, I think I would tell her actually what we've talked about today. Like, “Can you listen to this podcast?” No, I'm just kidding. But maybe I would give her a simple intuitive practice like that. Because like I said, I'm 30 now. I didn't start coming back to this to my own intuition until my late 20s. And so when I was 20, I was doing what I thought I should do. That's how I made decisions based on other people's expectations. It was rare that I made a decision by first checking in with myself and being like, “What do I think is really going to fulfill me and make me happy?” I think I rarely did that, honestly. So I would love to just tell her to tune back into her body, to her heart, to her soul, and start asking herself more what feels really right for me, and make decisions based on that a little bit more than maybe based on what other people would want.
Amber B 40:51
I think that's huge. That's awesome. All right. If people want to connect with you, where can they find you?
Caroline O 40:56
Yeah, I'm probably most active on Instagram, and my handle is just my name, Caroline Ofenstein. My website is ccowellness.com. That's where you'll find self-paced programs, info about coaching, and things like that. And yeah, feel free to always shoot me a DM if something on here you were like, “What did you mean when you said this?” I love just talking about spirituality with health and other health nuts. So don't hesitate to reach out.
Amber B 41:22
That's awesome. Thanks so much for being on the podcast and for coming and sharing with my audience. I'm really grateful to you.
Caroline O 41:27
Thank you for having me.
Amber B 41:30
If you made it this far, you weren't turned off by all the woo-woo. So I'm glad that you stuck with it. And I hope that you're coming away with some really tangible takeaways, right? I think sometimes with spirituality, we can get really ethereal. And I love that Caroline was able to take some of the ethereal feeling things and actually ground them into practice. So these are some really easy things that you can get started with. I love the idea of your morning beverage creating that space and that time and that present at that moment. One of the things that James Clear teaches in the book atomic habits is combining habits with things that you're already doing, right? So if you're already drinking coffee, or tea or your morning water, whatever it is that you're drinking, you're already doing that so can we stack another habit on that? Can we create that as the anchor for the habit we want to create which is this mindfulness practice or this being practice or this allowing practice? And then I think the game– I'm always like, “Let's make things into games.” Because I don't know about you, but I love games, maybe because I love winning games. Maybe it's my masculine energy coming out. But I love this idea of creating a game with yourself or just checking in with you more often. Do I want to go right or left? Do I want to wear this outfit or this outfit? Do I want to eat that this or that? And starting just to learn how your intuition works, how you know things are right or wrong or which not even right or wrong, right? Because it's done I want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt. It's not one of those is right or wrong. But when we start to listen to our intuition, we have an inner knowing, and we can start to honor that. So turning that into a game I thought was a fantastic idea.
Amber B 43:08
If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a rating and review on iTunes or Spotify, or wherever you're listening to this. It really does help the podcast that taking the two to three minutes that it takes to leave a review really does make a difference. And I'm so grateful for those who have taken that time. That wraps up this episode of Biceps after Babies Radio. I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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