Resource roundup: books, podcasts, education, products, beauty, and clothing
Recommendations are everything. I often get asked how I developed such a unique philosophy on exercise. I wanted to round up some resources that were given to me in my first job after PT school (shoutout to BioFit KC!), trainings I’ve taken, and podcasts I draw inspiration from. I also listed some of my favorite products and things I love right now. Nothing made the cut that I didn’t feel like I could 100% get behind. I hope you enjoy!
This is the book that changed my physical therapy practice, and what has guided my philosophy about intertwining exercise and neurology. It explains the concept of neuroplasticity and applies it to stories of patients with chronic illnesses healing themselves. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to form new connections that didn’t once exist, which is vital for healing. This book inspired me to examine how different neural inputs and practices can optimize our bodies and lives. It inspired me to continue to explore the capability of our neuroplastic brains through movement, rather than just accepting what “just is.”
This is the sequel to The Brain That Changes Itself and is just as inspiring. This book talks about a patient with Parkinsonism who healed his symptoms, how a blind man taught himself to see, and more “medically impossible” healing stories. This is also one of my favorite books.
This book breaks down exercise all the way down to the molecular level. I changed my view on cardio after reading this book.
This book is written by a bodybuilder, Doug Brignole, who explains in detail how to apply biomechanics to exercise. Each chapter details a different muscle group and the most optimal ways to challenge that muscle group. I refer to this book often.
There’s a TON of behind the scenes to an online business. This podcast helped my confidence in marketing, encouraged me to post regular/valuable content, and has given me easy-to-follow marketing tools for starting and marketing Levo.
I can’t say enough about this podcast. I was already in love with learning how the brain operates, and this podcast was right up my alley. Kara was a Harvard Law School graduate and pivoted from her prestigious law career to become a life coach.
She teaches you how to use what she calls “the model.” This model implies that your thoughts create everything in your life. Your thoughts drive your feelings (not the other way around!). Your feelings drive your actions. Your actions drive your results. Your results accumulate to create your environment and your life. MEANING, you can create the life you want by what Kara calls “managing your mind.” She provides tools to be in charge of what’s inside your brain.
This podcast has allowed me to “clear the crap” that was holding me back. I wouldn’t have been able to start a business without this podcast. The old Shannon would be way too caught up in what everyone might think of me. I would be too paralyzed by fear and perfectionism ever to take action.
This podcast is similar, and the host is Kara’s coach. They both teach the same philosophy, called “the model.” I use this model every day in my journaling activities to check in with my mind and decide if my thoughts are driving me towards the results I want in my life. Your brain is like a toddler that has to be constantly managed. If left alone to its own devices, you’ll turn around to see it screaming, crayon on the walls, with two teeth knocked out.
I’m an MAT specialist and went through their full-body online program. I practiced MAT in my cash-pay practice, and it allowed me to quickly accelerate to a wait-listed practice within three months of moving to NC. It’s an extremely effective and marketable technique. If you’re a physical therapist who is looking to differentiate yourself and possibly start a cash-pay practice, I would HIGHLY recommend looking into this training. It’s also what prompted me to question the effectiveness of stretching.
I plan to take a Z-health training this year. My mentor from Kansas City was trained in Z-Health, and I absorbed many of the philosophies. Z Health is all about incorporating neurology into exercise. They dive into the brain’s function and how to optimize the brain’s health to optimize our bodies.
I often get asked what my preferences are for exercise equipment. A gym with machines and pulleys isn’t in the cards right now, so we have to make due. Click here for my free PDF with my favorite exercises by muscle group.
I’m a big proponent of lifting heavy weights in the most stable ways possible. In my classes, we do very specific muscle training with heavy weights, which helps avoid injury and compensations.
- Good old fashion kitchen chair
In my Levo classes, we use a chair often. You can use it for low-impact cardio (quick sit-to-stands) and as a tool to stabilize. If you have knee issues, holding on to a chair or wall is a great way to stabilize your knee in lunges or single-leg activities. Hold a weight in your opposite hand to load the glutes even more.
I FINALLY found the foundation I’ll use forever now. Their CC cream has SPF 50 (which is good for my Irish skin). I also have super dry skin, and foundation tends to look cakey on me. This is the only foundation I’ve found that looks smooth but has great coverage.
I’ve been using this lash serum for about a year, and my lashes have gotten very long. A bottle lasts me about eight months. I wore it every night for a couple of weeks, and now apply at night about three times/week. It WORKS.
I try to stay out of the sun, as my skin doesn’t tan in the sun. So sunless tanning has been a part of my weekly routine for about ten years now. I use the tanning drops on my face at night with Egyptian Magic, below. I also love their tanning bronzer, and they have the best tanning mit. I’ve tried ALL the tanning products and company this is the best I’ve found.
If you have dry skin, you need this. I’ve heard that when the first ingredient in a moisturizer is water, it pulls water out of your skin (this is out of my wheelhouse, so I’m unsure if that’s true). Regardless, this has clean ingredients and has been my holy grail of moisturizer for my face and body.
I have two pairs of these, and the fit is so good, they are comfortable, and I get compliments all the time. I’d get them in every color if money wasn’t a thing.
These pants came in this week, and they are MUCH brighter than the picture. But I LOVE the neon pink color. The pants fit excellent, and are very flattering.
Talk about the most compressive pants ever. These are no bargain, but I keep my eyes peeled for sales and get any pattern if they are below $100. Check Bloomingdales; they usually have good sales on this brand.
I just got these last week, and Kenneth is making fun of me because I’ve worn them every day. The fabric is so comfortable, and of course, I love pink color. They are a little baggy, so you could probably afford to size down. I love how sweat pants are acceptable (and even trendy) in public now, so that’s an added plus. And they are less than $25. They’ve already paid for themselves.