Sept. 14, 2023

Strengthening Your Gratitude Muscle with Sharon Saraga-Walters

Strengthening Your Gratitude Muscle with Sharon Saraga-Walters

In this podcast episode, Dr. Fitness is joined by health and wellness professional, Sharon Saraga-Walters, to discuss how combining gratitude and exercise will truly offer you amazing, life-changing results. Listen in as Sharon explains why exercising gratitude benefits our emotional, mental and physical health… and how you can strengthen your body, mind and your gratitude muscle.

Sharon Saraga-Walters has over 35 years of experience operating and promoting her own businesses in health and wellness. She has a passion for exercise and Gratitude, and that passion inspired her mission - changing the world with Gratitude, by making Gratitude an action, not a re-action.

• [5:59] Sharon explains: “ Gratitude and exercise go hand in hand.” Exercise was the perfect combination for her. She blended the two to help strengthen her gratitude muscle.
• [10:25] Dr. Fitness and Sharon discuss how to integrate gratitude into your life.
• [14:10] “It was the gratitude work. It slowed me down…I had to slow down to start appreciating things.”
• [20:11] “That's one of the things in gratitude… When you get more into a gratitude space, you start saying nice things for yourself, you start celebrating yourself.”

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Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  0:04  
Hello, and welcome to Your Health Moment podcast. I'm your host Max Sturdivant better known as Dr. Fitness. On this podcast, I want to give you the tools to start, continue and never give up on your journey towards health. Now, whether you struggle with your weight, eating the right food, hydration, exercise, or even time management, you're in the right place, and I'm here for you. Now let's dive right into this episode. 

Hello, and welcome to the next episode of Your Health Moment. And I'm your host, Dr. Fitness. I'm really excited about this podcast. I love doing this podcast because what I get to do is introduce you to really great people that are inspirational. They're going to help you to think about life a little bit different. They're going to help you to you know, maybe think about what you're doing with exercise and what you're doing with nutrition a little bit better. And so without further ado, I'm going to introduce you to Sharon, Saraga-Walters, Winters, Waters. I get it right. Walters. Walters, thank you. So apologize for the mess up on Waters, Waters, Waters, WALTERS  watch Walters. It's about my pronoun teach. It's about my ability to speak at this point. That's all that is. Well, let me tell you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Sharon?

Sharon Saraga-Walters  1:44  
Well, thank you. Um, so I've spent, actually most of my life working in personal growth. But I had a real love for fitness and exercise most of my life. And as I was telling Max, I want to just go right into this and say this, but it's always telling Max, I've been into gratitude for the, actually my whole life, but I've written books and so forth over the past 10 years ago, I started writing books on gratitude. And my fitness background, I graduated in health promotions, I was a fitness trainer for eight years in Jacksonville, before fitness was even it was this was in the 80s, late 80s. And so I combined 10 years ago, my two I call my superpowers, and that is gratitude and exercise. And I have been doing this work of sharing it, but never to the fitness wellness community. That's the first time. And I'm so excited about that.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  2:51  
And I'm thrilled that you're doing it. And in full disclosure, I consider Sharon to be a really dear friend. And we met in Jacksonville, we did a seminar for personal growth together. So we were involved in a seminars, system for personal growth. But one of the cool things about it is I was personal training at the time. And when Sharon was moving away from personal training at the time, I was kind of moving in. And it was neat, where some of the clients I picked up were previous clients of yours, and they had nothing but wonderful things to say about you. So that was my influence of how you were as a training professional. And then everyone raved about you as a massage therapist. So there was time you were doing body work as well. And those two also pair really well together. So I always felt like I'm following in Karen's footsteps as we're moving along. And, and, and I've loved the fitness space. And then I moved into wellness and Sharon, you've moved into really building a gratitude kind of empire there in Denver. So besides books here, are you doing groups and lecturing and

Sharon Saraga-Walters  4:12  
you know, that's I actually what I've been doing a lot of is I've been on a lot of podcasts I've been doing a lot of speaking and sharing the work with with the gratitude and exercise and and it's just begun because I really the whole work of gratitude and that I call it I call it gratifies it really I know this is my legacy that I really will be leaving with the world and it's so interesting it's it's interesting because I thank you so much for your compliment about when you met me and and how I was and and my clients how they felt that as well received. I appreciate that, you know, and I think but but you know, here's something I wanted to share with you. I don't want to forget about this because when when I knew I was talking with you today. You know, looking back in my fitness days, and even massage, but particularly fitness days, you know, from our personal growth, background and what we were doing in the personal growth world, when I remember back then was it was so much around positive thinking, and mostly positive thinking, that's what comes to mind for me, which was a beautiful, wonderful thing. But what I realized is there was still more that I had that I wanted, there was something still more that I wanted. And that's when the gratitude piece came. Because the reason I even wrote books and it got into gratitude is because of how much I was taking for granted that I wasn't in a deeper place appreciating things. And that's how this whole thing started. It just came to me today, preparing myself for the few seconds before we came on. So that really was something that was really amazing for me to come to

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  5:59  
see, that's really fantastic. And I always liked the way you paired, you know, gratitude with exercise, you do. So what was the foundation? I know you have the background and exercise? Was it because of the background in exercise? Or did you see gratitude as more as something you need to practice as, as you would exercise, something that you need to continue to do to get better at?

Sharon Saraga-Walters  6:23  
Well, you know, I think it was once I found the gratitude piece again in my life and how important it was the same impact that exercise had, for me, those two exercise when it came into my world just changed it completely. For as for myself as a person, of how it made me feel and what it did for me, gratitude did the same thing. And I've been involved with the exercise world for so long that it was almost, it was the perfect combination for me, too. I had I couldn't leave fitness behind. So what I did is I just blended and combined the two. And I came up with different exercises to help strengthen your gratitude muscle. And everything I do gratifies work is I put gratitude, it's putting gratitude into action. So it's all action oriented. And even in my my latest book, I use all the fitness terms, you know, like, I use the why the war, the wake up, the warm up the cooldown, the workout in the cooldown, those are all in my book. So they go hand in hand.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  7:28  
Yes. It's funny when I'm doing an exercise, because now I'm wellness coaching. So I'm helping people to put together exercise plans, nutrition plans. As you're speaking, I'm realizing a gratitude plan would go really nice with this.

Sharon Saraga-Walters  7:48  
I could totally agree. And that's what's exciting about doing this today, because I've really always want I wanted to get this into the fitness community. And I don't think I had written my book, my latest book maximum, we when we last spoke, and this this last book, really, it's called gratifies 365. And I think it's a book that could really be a wonderful guide to help create another part of the program. Because it's four steps to exercising gratitude daily, is the title, although in the book.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  8:26  
Oh, that's fantastic. I think another thing I did that I haven't shared was, I completed a spiritual direction course it was a three year program developed by an organization in the Orlando area. And I wanted to do it as a trainer and a wellness coach, not for any spiritual aspect to preach to people. It wasn't about that. But it was about being a better listener, and being able to be present. So it's like if someone is sharing and you know, people tend to open up when you're working with them and an exercise in situation, particularly when it's one on one, you know, exercise can bring out things that people are feeling, and they feel safe about sharing it. And I wanted to make sure that I was I was able to be present and to really be present and handle it well. You know what I mean to not put my stuff and to their stuff and just give them a really wonderful space to be able to share that. And so that's why I did the course and it's really been helpful and I created a program based on the course called Spirit fit. And it's about helping people to understand that there are going to be times that it's okay to be present. So if sort of the trainer aspect it helps trainers to actually be Present to clients when they want to speak. And when they have things that they want to speak without hijacking the conversation, you know, which sometimes we do, because if someone says something that's uncomfortable, we want to like, go in and cut it off. But then it comes from the program that we did, as well, the live stream program, about not doing that as well. So it's a lot, a lot of all these lessons have come together. And I definitely see what you're doing with gratitude, it just feels like it's right in that same space of providing space, but also providing really interesting tools.

Sharon Saraga-Walters  10:42  
And I love what you just shared that you're what you're doing. And my goodness, I had, I've been a trainer that much longer, I would have been needing that course so much, but you were talking about because it's so true, it's, it's so important, it's so important that you're able to share that with other trainers. And yes, I would love to, for you or others to share this with other trainers, that what I'm doing, because it just it it just gives it gives another area to take action to to create good, good, good, good routine, good good habits into your life, and you get to choose them yourself. I give all kinds of choices. And, and so it's not as specific because I give us a space for people to really have to choose from different ways that they come to, as far as you know, really bring the quality of their life. I mean, it's just been amazing. That what it's done for me, and I've been doing this from the book, I mean, I'm doing this daily, and it's just, it's blowing me away of just seeing the, the way in which my life works and how I show up, you know, if I show up in a way, it's going to make a huge difference to my clients and everybody else.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  11:54  
Oh, that's like, amazing. So when we're talking about this, I can it's funny being it's wonderful, being able to speak to you about it from a trainers, you know, vantage point. And when you I'm sure you've had drained or clients that have been a little more challenging than others, and having a hard time getting to that place where they're owning it. And they have you until they do see what you're doing now, what grad grad decides to do you see a place now to maybe start with Greg Assize either before someone starts with a full fledged program, or DC how to integrate it with maybe a client that's struggling.

Sharon Saraga-Walters  12:42  
Oh, thank you for I love these questions. You know, I would say that, integrate it from the beginning, you know, and just even pose the suggestion of it, because let me just share one thing about so for me, I was thinking back when I was a trainer, you know, the things that I'm doing now, I never did before. I my first step on that book is about the wakeup being intentional seeing how, how do I wake up? When I was a trainer, I look back when I was a trainer. And I'll never forget this. I love what I do. I loved it. But I just jumped out of bed. I didn't think about anything about my day about me a check in nothing about that. That was the wake up and that went till that went until four years ago. I'm gonna say because I never woke up. had any intention around that. How do you wake up? You know, it, where's the where's the thank you, I'm grateful to be alive. But I didn't have that. You know. So that's like, just like an example of what just this one step that never was implemented. I also didn't make the time to have I call it a gratitude morning routine. But you could have just a morning routine. All those years as a trainer, I didn't have that. I just jumped out of bed got dressed out with my clients didn't give any thoughts to it.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  14:02  
Sure. What was the thing that helped you to integrate that or realize, you know what, I need this time to just check in for myself? Oh, it was it was

Sharon Saraga-Walters  14:10  
it was the gratitude work. And it's slowed me down, you know, again, about the appreciation, you know, I had to slow down to start appreciating things. And it took until I actually took to this third book. To really see something was something that I said, because I wrote the third book because of things that were it was going deeper, deeper for me of gratitude. And I said still something's missing here. And that's when I realized that I had to look at these steps. How I woke up how I plan my morning, throughout the day until I go to bed. You know and I that's what's created from me. I practice for myself seeing what's missing. And that was that was the missing pieces there.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  14:59  
So I'm gonna repeat that back because it was it was good. It was a lot, right. So what I believe I heard you saying was when you did the third book, the first and second, there wasn't enough hands on action steps included, you felt is that when I heard you say, okay, so you third, you said I've really need to integrate action steps to really melt, bring it home and to embrace it better.

Sharon Saraga-Walters  15:28  
And the action steps covering the entire day, not not just in the morning, not just as I wake up, it needed a full, I needed a full day to really implement that. And it's easy, it's not, there's not a lot of things you have to do. But to make it a full day.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  15:48  
I love this, can you give me some examples, like I would think I'm just guessing I unfortunately, will be getting the third book soon. But and I'd love to have you back too after. But I get being, you know, great gratitude in the morning. But being able to do that throughout the day, does it look like meditation throughout the day.

Sharon Saraga-Walters  16:16  
And again, this is my my version, but people could do whatever they do. So to me, the meditation like so in the wake up for me is like taking a breath, you know, and again, about that Greg just feeling grateful to be alive, to be able to breathe, to open my eyes, those kinds of things. And then and then also in that moment to or in my morning routine, I'll visualize my day, oh my goodness, how I used to never do that, just really look at my day ahead. And I also throw in there about seeing it the way I want it to go the way I want it to look and say thank you for that. And that's, you know, that can be the start. For me for the work, I call it the workout. So during the day, because I realized that's when it kind of slipped off. And and by the way, also the morning routine is also around ready gratitudes singing out loud, writing down whatever that is for you. But so during the day, I was realizing I wasn't really thinking about gratitude and what I could be grateful for. So I call them they'll get this, you're gonna love this. So I call them Greta reps.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  17:20  
And I love it.

Sharon Saraga-Walters  17:25  
So it's about really looking in your day, and finding things of around gratitude things to be grateful for. Yeah. And then I have a cool that at night, it's a cooldown. So you get to, you know to yourself before you go to bed, you just start reflecting on your gratitude for the day.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  17:42  
It's beautiful. And I like the way you frame it. Because there are terms that we're really all familiar with. And I think a lot of times when we're talking about things like gratitude and mindfulness, for the average person, there are terms that can be kind of, not within our normal mental grasp. And I think when you're going okay, warm up, you're doing your workout and you cool down. It's like it simplifies it for the, the those of us who are not as sophisticated with our language on being introspective and in and doing that kind of work. So Wow. You know, was that your goal?

Sharon Saraga-Walters  18:28  
Oh, yes. I mean, absolutely, because that was my speech. That was my talk was, you know, again, the fitness had not left me. But gratitude came in and I couldn't leave either of them out. And it just had to blend and, and I call I use I say that, you know that my legacy is taking fitness to a higher level. Because it is it's, it's, it's a because of the terminology because it's action. You know, it's a little spin on it, but it comes from a French trainer, you know, a previous fitness trainer, and just, it's, it's, it's just me, you know, it's my personality, it's my everything about that. And and I couldn't think of a better world than the fitness world to bring something like this to the, to the to everyone.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  19:13  
Oh, yeah, it's really exciting. And it's so needed. You know, from my experience. You know, I think when you focus so much on the physical, I think you lose a lot when it comes to your health and your wellness than focusing on what I believe, you know, wellness and health really starts with your brain and the way you're thinking. And I think that's kind of step one. You know, getting your mind in the right place has been my journey. And so, everything that you're doing, it's, it's, you know, with gratitude to get someone when you're really grateful, it'd be easier to move into other aspects of doing things that are good for yourself that add to your self care because you started off with self care by being really grateful. And then in launching with gratitude,

Sharon Saraga-Walters  20:11  
yeah, well, you know, it's so true. And the other thing that came to mind was as a fitness trainer for me, like I never said nice things about myself. You know, that's one of the things in gratitude, when you get more into a gratitude space, you start saying nice things for yourself, you start celebrating yourself for not just, I mean, it was stunning. When I really looked back at those days. Those were things I didn't do even appreciation of my own body. I didn't even do that. Back in the day, when I was a fitness trainer, I was so into the in the mind, and the action of just doo doo doo doo doo, get people fit, get me fit. That was it. I didn't think of anything else. But that.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  20:52  
And at that point for you, because when I'm thinking Get Fit now, in the people that I tend to work with are over 45. So they're 45 to 85. And the mindset is maintaining health, but it's, but there is a an interesting shift that I think gratitude, gratitude, coaching could help because they are thinking I just want to get out of pain, or I just want to, you know, it's always in the negative as the thought and not in the positive. So we're living in that negativity. And that's the driving force, not the positivity.

Sharon Saraga-Walters  21:33  
Yeah. I mean, it's like, you know, I used to when I would exercise, it's interesting like I would, I was not such an intensive one. When I do that. I do marathons and stuff like that. But now, I go into the and I'm now in Colorado, I go to a gym, I never used to go to a gym, because if Lauren, I could be outside and do all my exercise. But when I go to a gym, I am noticing, I look at myself a compliment myself. But I'm also gentle with myself when I workout. I have this great, gentle spirit about me. When I work out now, I never used to do that. I never used it notice of it.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  22:11  
The How can I mean, I guess one? When you look at the people that you wrote gratitude 365 for in your mind when you were writing it? Can you describe them? To me? The people that I was thinking about as you were writing gratitude? 365? Who were you hoping this book would serve?

Sharon Saraga-Walters  22:33  
You know, really, everyone? I mean, truly, I really believe that because it it changed. It changed my world. So I would say everyone, you know, and of course, the fitness world, the massage world. Those are two of my worlds that I've been in for so many years. I would love to touch that world, the massage world, the fitness world, but everyone else in between that, you know, it just it really can. There's nobody that that couldn't benefit from it. And the way in which is written and just Yeah, I would say everyone.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  23:09  
Do you have any thoughts about approaches to DoS attack technical things? I'm really really willing to talk about how people can get it. Let me start there. How can how can people find you and get the material get the book? How can they buy it?

Sharon Saraga-Walters  23:23  
So if they go to my website, it's on Amazon, the books but if my on my website gratifies it's gra ti c i s e 365. The numbers, if they go to that gratifies 360 All the books are there, how they can order them. There's a cool, there's a cool grad FIT test that I created also, and that's way cool. And you can take the test, it's on the website. It really is a great thing. And we've got so much information there. But that's that would be a good place.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  23:57  
Oh my god, I love this. So tell me if I take the gratitude, the gratitude five test, I said that right? Yeah, grab FIT test. It's gonna tell me my level, how does how's it scored? It's like, well, you definitely need it. Or you are in critical need of gratitude. I mean, how is it school?

Sharon Saraga-Walters  24:18  
Right, gentle. That's the thing that I realized that was giving. When I used to do this with people, they were so hard on themselves, they judge themselves and, and, and I so I've gotten a whole system of not just it's not about the numbers, it's about just every answer that they get the numbers it's a gift, because they get to see where they're at what's missing, you know, that they never knew before. So from the the lowest score, you know, it tells you Yeah, that you could use the book would be helpful. So it's an in terms that are not brutal. And for people, I just encourage them not to judge themselves when they when they do take the test.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  24:56  
So this is great. So if you're listening right now, and you're Not sure if you're doing as much gratitude, or experiencing or really using gratitude or I don't even know, can you help me?

Sharon Saraga-Walters  25:14  
When I was thinking about this today, okay, so do you exercise? And then do you? Do you practice gratitude? But do you exercise gratitude? Have you ever tell me what that would look like in your life? If you were to exercise gratitude? Because there's there holds the curiosity, do you want

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  25:36  
to let you lost me? Now? See, when I think about exercising, you know, I'm thinking about movement. But when I think about exercising gratitude, I'm thinking about being present and mindful.

Sharon Saraga-Walters  25:50  
Okay, but what about taking a gratitude walking and looking at all the beauty and the nature and the air?

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  25:57  
See, I'm not, my brain goes a whole different direction, I need the book. But I love that because these questions, if you ever asked yourself these questions, you probably need to do the grad FIT test first. So everyone should do the grad FIT test and see how you score. And at that point, I love it. I mean, it's like doing your assessment. And then at that point, you, you can, can you retake the test and see how you've improved?

Sharon Saraga-Walters  26:34  
Absolutely, yeah, I mean, and then the test, at the end of it, you know, I tell people to take the ones that there's some that you'd never do, sometimes never. And it's taken the ones that you never do. And practice those because it's a it's an eye opening. I mean, I really do mean, it's a gift, every one of them, when you see that you something that you never do. If you can be open to that, look at that and start to look at doing it. What a gift. So yeah, they can continually do it and check to see what they're what on that what they're doing. It's a great, it's a great, it's a great test. And it's it's 18 of the questions from my first book, called the 28 day gratitude workout. So there's 18 Questions from that, that are part of the gratitude fit.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  27:16  
Oh, I'm loving it. I really appreciate you taking the time to share with me, all of this amazing information, I will be getting the book, and I will be reaching out after I read it. Because I mean, it's going to be a natural fit for follow up. So I'm hoping that everyone listening will join me and get the book. And let's start a discussion about it. There was one time you did workshops, if I'm not mistaken.

Sharon Saraga-Walters  27:48  
I have done some they're still they're still there. They are coming. Okay, spending a lot of time with on the podcast, just reaching that the people but if there's people that are interested in going further with this, then workshops are very, they can be happening really quick.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  28:07  
Absolutely. That's fantastic. Yeah. Again, Sharon, I want to you know, stop prolonging that because I could stay here all day. I know you have a million things that you need to do. Sharon, thank you so much for coming in. Hey, if you missed anything, Sharon's information is going to are going to be in this contact information is going to be in the show notes. So you'll be able to get the information there. And Sharon's contact information will also be in the show notes. So you'll be able to reach out directly to Sharon with any questions, or you might share might even give you personal insight into your Greta FIT test her nose. Sharon, thanks again. Is there anything that you'd like to add to her?

Sharon Saraga-Walters  28:53  
I just Max, I can't thank you enough for this moment in time. I would call this as one of my gratitude moments to be able to talk about this to the fitness community, the wellness community. It's I thank you so much.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  29:08  
Thank you for doing this seriously, and bringing this gift of gratitude to all of us. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of Your Health Moment podcast. If you enjoyed what you've heard, you can visit our website, for past episodes, show notes, and all the resources that we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me on social media to send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes that you've been listening to. And don't be shy about requesting any other show topics that you might like to explore.

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