I have worked in the fitness industry for over 30 years as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, spinning instructor, yoga teacher and wellness coach, fitness club manager, franchise fitness director, studio owner, now entrepreneur and this is what I know about going from burned out to balanced.

A short recount of one of my life chapters...


My First Steps in the Fitness Industry

I will always have an inner fire that burns brightly. I love my work and am passionate about serving my community to be well and to be happier from the inside out.

After graduating university with a degree in fitness and exercise science, I landed my dream job working as a fitness director. I worked seven days a week. For years I took on all projects I was offered, all clients, all classes, attended all professional development conferences and was happy with the promotions to management positions I received. I even took up regional leadership roles. Amid all these, I said ‘yes’ to outside work and accepted teaching contracts and speaking engagements, too. When I wasn’t working, I was working out, caring for my beloved grandmother and helped other family members. I maintained this lifestyle for a decade. I had an inner fire that burned so brightly that it literally ‘burned’ me out.

I felt a sense of urgency to get things done, which led to feeling speedy in my mind and frenetic in my energy. I had high expectation of myself and others which were not always realistic. I was frustrated when things did not go fast enough. Little did I know at the time that exercising as much as I did in my twenties and thirties while maintaining an overly busy lifestyle, I was doing more harm than good.

Find Your Personal Rhythm

I trained most days of the week; cardio, weight training and taught several spinning classes per week with little time dedicated to recovery work-ins, rest and relaxation to let my body restore its natural balance. I was sore and tired most of the time yet this is how the people and culture around me rolled and I wanted to keep up. Now I flow to a different rhythm!

Bender Ball assisted squat performed by Laura Warf

Bender Ball assisted squat performed by Laura Warf in the School of Happiness Studio

Top Fitness and Wellness Tips

Learn to Listen to Your Body's Signals

It may sound obvious, but many of us do not pay close attention or do not have the "language" to understand what their body is telling them.

Signals such as back pain, anxiety, an underactive thyroid and digestive issues were whispering and warning me of imbalance long before I finally crumpled into tears at my desk. My mind and body finally said STOP so that I could start my healing journey back to a healthier, happier me. It was through my life experience that I was prompted to seek out the teachings which gave me the wisdom to overcome my health challenges. I gave myself permission to finally face the feelings of impatience and frustration that surfaced all too quickly due to an accumulation of stress over the years. I had used exercise as a way to manage stress yet too much activity tipped the balance scales.

For someone who could usually do so much, on that day in my late twenties, all I could do was read my to-do list over and over with a sense of fragility until my emotions spilled over. Any request or demand left me feeling overwhelmed. I was impatient with others and frustrated with myself for not being able to do more. On the outside I had it together and looked physically fit, yet on the inside I was shaky, tearful, and felt mentally paralyzed and unclear of what to do next.

Burn-Out is Often Right Around the Corner

It all started with feeling Yanged Out! The perpetual cycle of being in action all the time led to burn-out.

Decades later, my self care is at the top of my list. I know when my inner flame needs to be fueled or subdued. At that period of my life I needed more work-ins, less workouts, more stillness, less action, less work, more joy and more feminine qualities the Yin teachings had to offer.

Now at almost fifty years old, I have learned to trust the process of life and allow my projects to unfold naturally by being consistent. I learned there are better ways to work and work-out that conserves my energy while still keeping me fit so that I can apply my energy correctly to feel well both on the inside and the outside. I learned how valuable self awareness is and that ‘work-ins’ are just as important as ‘work-outs’.

My story is not unique. I am one of many strivers who understands the struggle of the juggle all too well. Looking back on that phase of my life, I can see how a balanced lifestyle, and the use of the life tools I share in my upcoming book “The 12-inch Journey Home; 9 Gateways to Freedom and Fulfillment” could have saved me from so much discomfort. I have now learned to accomplish everything I need from a state of Being instead of perpetual Doing. As a result, I have more energy and better health than ever before.

Lunge exercise performed by Laura Warf

Lunge exercise performed by Laura Warf

Our Bodies are designed to Move

For optimal health, we should include some form of exercise each day dedicated to our cardio-vascular health, metabolic health, hormonal health, mental and emotional health. General physical activity recommendations to maintain good health is 30 minutes per day.

Studies show that even just 15 minutes of rhythmic activity per day is like taking an anti-depressant and NOT moving is like taking a depressant. However, over doing it leads to imbalance as well. Use the Goldilocks principle of finding your "just right” regardless of your health or fitness goals.

Losing 3% to 5% of Muscle Mass

For many people the goal is to gain, not lose muscle. Yet, Research suggests inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30.

According to Dr. Len Kravitz, an exercise science professor and researcher from the University of New Mexico, “muscles don’t know age, they know use or disuse.” Hence the saying “use it or lose it”. An elevated muscle mass comes with the benefit of an increased metabolism. Each pound of muscle helps burn an extra 50-100 calories at rest. We can get our bodies working for us to give us the boost we are looking for. This doesn’t mean we need to spend hours in the gym either. And for muscles to grow, they need to be stimulated with the right type of exercise and then allowed adequate time for rest and repair.

How Mindfulness Can Help You

Mindfulness is a state of actively giving attention to the present moment. Moving your body mindfully means you pay deliberate attention to the sensations in your body, moment to moment.

By executing exercises, postures, and movements with greater awareness, you’ll manage intensity levels more effectively and feel stronger and more energized while reducing the risk of injury. Mindful movement also helps move energy and emotions through us more quickly leaving us feeling more clear and connected.

Moving Mindfully is the best Medication

We can do any activity mindfully or mindlessly. Many injuries occur either because we are not paying attention or because we do too much too soon by overexerting the body. By being attentive and mindful, you’ll discover what your body needs from moment to moment to keep you healthy, balanced, fit and injury-free. Mindful movements expand your level of awareness.

How to Adopt a Winning Mindset About Exercise

Celebrate your body!

Physical activity should NEVER be a punishment. It should be a celebration for what our bodies do for us each day! So move your body with joy and gratitude today. Circulate your energy by moving your body in a way that feels good and come Home to being a more supple, strong, and energized YOU.

Join us LIVE at the RESET & Recharge One Day Retreat

Need a Reset and some more mindfulness in your life? Join us for a one-day retreat September 25th in the Laurentians, Quebec. Move your body, calm your mind and soothe your soul. More info here.

Single leg floor reach exercise performed by Laura Warf

Single leg woodchop exercise performed by Laura Warf


* Enjoy a complete mind-body-spirit RESET to recharge and restore your energy, lightness and joy.
* Take time out temporarily from your intellect and the busy-ness of our minds and life.
* Move your body, calm your mind and soothe your soul.

Let’s do this together to start our days fine tuned. Try the School of Happiness online on-demand and live classes today!

About the Author


Laura Warf is the founder of the School of Happiness holistic wellness center whose methods are based on tools from ancient teachings to today’s current research to inspire others to take charge of their complete well-being by following her 8 essential elements to health and happiness. She is a healthy living advocate, passionate wellness educator and mind-body specialist offering services in corporate wellness, yoga, meditation, energetic balancing, and fitness conditioning. Laura is also co-founder of the Mend My Back at MendMyBackProgram.com
For more about Laura visit: LauraWarf.com

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