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Let go of the thoughts that don’t make you strong.

—  Karen Salmansohn
In the newsletter this week, we’ve got ancient wisdom, 90s pop music, and a guide to rock-solid boundaries. Read on...

Life today is much safer (and cleaner!) for us, than it was for our great-great grandparents. But maybe despite progress, we’ve lost something. Has abandoning ancestral traditions weakened our physical health?

Maybe, going by research on the Tsimane indigenous people in Bolivia. They live in isolated villages and have a lifestyle based on hunting, gathering, fishing, and farming. 

Scientists found their decrease of brain volume with age was 70% slower than that seen in Western populations. And, they have the lowest levels of coronary artery disease ever recorded in a human population, despite a relatively high average BMI.

Researchers believe the diet and activity level of the Tsimane’s daily lives is what provides the advantage. The Tsimane spend four to six hours of their day in physical activity. They get two-thirds of their calories from complex carbohydrates like rice and plantain; the rest, mostly from fish and wild game.

The impressive health outcomes of the Tsimane lifestyle are a reminder that more physical activity and less processed food are the two major keys to optimizing health. And that’s true for all humans—whether we live in a remote village in Bolivia, or a bustling North American metropolis.
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We now have hundreds of Fit Girls Society members receiving this email newsletter and we’re so thrilled to have you with us. Our goal is 1,000 subscribers by the end of 2021! 

Would you please forward this newsletter to a friend and tell them how much you enjoy it? It would mean the world to us. Thank you!
Justina Ercole
Justina Ercole is a choreographer, NASM certified personal trainer, and fitness instructor in New York City. Her main work is as a musical theatre performer. With a degree in theatre and background in dance, she brings her performance skills to how she teaches fitness.

Her YouTube channel features not just workouts, but lots of content about being a fitness instructor, with her perspectives on how to teach group fitness online and how to get stronger at home; her reviews of fitness programs (like her take on the best at-home workouts to do while gyms are closed) are super educational and backed by her legit fitness chops.

Try this: Ercole is an expert barre teacher; in this 30-minute Total Body Barre Workout, the goal is exhausting your muscles to shape your physique. If you like a 90s pop throwback party while you sweat, try her 30-minute Boy Band Themed Core Workout with strength-building calisthenics for glutes, abs, and back.
Setting boundaries
Do you ever think “I’m too nice”, or have people urge you to stand up for yourself more? If you find yourself having trouble saying “no'' to requests, boundary setting could be an area for you to develop.

A boundary can be defined as “a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends.” Setting boundaries begins with fully accepting that you have the right to ask for what you need, say no to requests or demands, change your mind, and determine your own priorities. We fear being disliked, but sometimes you have to feel the fear and set the boundary anyway, for your own self-care.

Psychotherapist Katherine Schafler provides a few examples of how you can verbally set a boundary using simple, direct language—for example: “You may not yell at me. If you continue, I’ll have to leave the room.” She warns you may get pushback, and recommends having support in place before and after each boundary conversation.

For more, check out this Boundary Setting Kit by psychologist Christina Bell. As a self-examination exercise, it asks you to read through common boundary violations and identify which have impacted you. Bell provides a list of signs you may need to set a boundary, such as feeling like a victim, constant complaining, and resentment.
 A perfect weeknight meal, this keto turkey soup with spinach is ready in under 30 minutes and can be prepped ahead of time (Forget Sugar Friday)

 Throw yourself into getting-things-done mode by reading these 40 one-sentence productivity tips (Josh Spector)

 How antioxidants like vitamin C and beta carotene can defend your body against free radicals and reduce disease risk (Greatist)

 Including more vegetables in your diet provides essential micronutrients. Plan for more veg by bookmarking these 29 vegetarian recipes—think peanut slaw with soba noodles, lentil baked ziti, and sweet potato enchiladas (Cookie and Kate)

 Yet more motivation to add that extra weekly workout: research shows the most active people have the lowest cardiovascular disease risk (Science Daily)
Thanks for reading, Fit Girls! We’ll return to your inbox next week with more inspiration and knowledge. Got a tip for us or opinion to share? Email us—we love your feedback. Enjoyed this issue? Please forward to a friend—your referrals help us grow!
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