Is celebrity culture stealing FitPros’ Thunder?

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Do you know who Jennifer Selter is? She of the curvaceous caboose on an unlikely frame whose instagram popularity is insane based on said backside? Yes, this Jen Selter who has also received editorial space in news-papers  based on her derriere. Can’t blame the girl for having an almost impossible silhouette and enjoying the attention that comes with it.

However, what I can take issue with is Ms. Selter giving fitness advice based solely on being 20 years young with a bubble butt that defies gravity (as it should when one is 20) and some squatting prowess. Kind of like how I don’t take diet & beauty advice from dewy, toweringly tall models barely through puberty OR from coddled celebs who have access to what I don’t.

My point is: how does idolizing anyone who has no experience with your body type and particular issues help YOU? How does merely mimicking what they do for themselves teach you anything in the long term? Finally, how does it even make sense to listen to advice from someone who doesn’t even look like the rest of the population? Take a moment to let this sink in as you flip through profiles of genetically, pharmaceutically and cosmetically boosted bodies online or elsewhere. If you’re just looking for a visual thrill, then go for it – look all you want. However, if you’re looking for real help with your fitness and health you would be better off sticking with an experienced and educated professional.

Changes have been a-foot in the quality of fitness leadership for quite some time and according to some, these changes echo those seen in the entertainment industry.  Gone are the days when personality+ Looks + education + due diligence + connections were the path to professional success in fitness coaching. Fame in modern fitness now mostly requires the first 2,  half of the 3rd with connections being replaced by: a huge social media following.

Is this new formula for fitness fame merely a sign of the times and should current fit pros simply get over it and adapt? Maybe stepping up the game in branding  would help, yes. Still, how does a reputable fitness professional compete with “genetically blessed” models and  enhanced instagram stars touting supposed secrets to their “natural” bodies. I know how: we DON’T. Instead, we stand out by being who we already are: Fitness Professionals, not merely folks simply experienced at exercising.

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Class Wars: the fight for exclusivity in modern gym culture.

How the gym industry is fighting for exclusivity.
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How the gym industry is fighting for exclusivity.

How the gym industry is fighting for exclusivity.

A lay-person  waltzing into a gym class,  has no idea of the back room  wars being waged to earn their attendance. Think the world of fitness is only about making people feel better?  think again! There is a bucket of money being made from each euphoric sweat session and some of the industry’s biggest players are getting ferocious in making sure their golden buckets stay full. But is it worth if the end result is that fitness becomes less inclusive for both staff and member? Let’s see what is at stake. History Joseph Pilates (1883- 1967) : Joe Pilates was first in line to popularize a specific method of fitness in NYC during the early 1900s through the 1960s.  After Pilates and his wife opened their studio, the Contrology method became beloved by dancers and therefore exclusive in its limited access. Once wealthy NYC socialites learned about its benefits, the exclusivity factor rose and they flocked to Pilates for help. The current recognition of the Pilates name is based not just on the effectiveness of his core-centric method but also on his efforts to  preserve his method via instructor training many years ago. Jack Lalanne (1914-2011)A fitness story cannot be told without first mentioning the “GodFather of Fitness” . Back in his heyday, Jack was one of the first proponents of good nutrition and exercise as well as one of the 1st gym owners in the mid 1930s. Although his target market was female, he was also well-respected by men in the body building sphere and so his gyms were egalitarian. It would seem that Jack was more interested in educating and helping the masses to turn their lives around through healthy lifestyle choices as he did. Lotte Berk (1913-2003)Lotte Berk was a contemporary of Lalanne’s and like Joe Pilates, developed her own dance based, core focused method of exercise that shared her name. Berk licensed her method and a Lotte Berk studio opened in NY’s Upper East Side in 1970. The studio closed its doors in 2005 after competition increased namely by CoreFusion, Berk based method and studio opened after an epic “falling out” between Berk and former Lotte Berk students, Fred DeVito and Elizabeth Halfpapp. Fast forward to present day, 11 years in the future since CoreFusion & Exhale Spas began their sprawl, and we now have over 400 different types of boutique gyms in the NY area alone.

Present

Specific methodologies abound among cycling, interval training, dance based classes, and body/sports conditioning just to name a few! To some, this is the simple nature of fitness: an ever evolving beast built upon the imperfections of all who came before it. To others, especially those with the most dollars invested, this rise in competition is a call to batten down the hatches and protect what is theirs. This begs the question: what is “theirs” really? Doesn’t fitness belong to everyone and is it possible to harness its inherently volatile nature of change? That question becomes even more interesting when you consider that all modern fitness styles are derivative of the ones that preceded them or other modes of movement (dance). The human body does have a finite ability for movement and improvement, after all. So if you can’t control the public’s rampant need for change in fitness, their obvious need for a sense of  community or make them bionic through their workouts then what can you change? Well, you can (try to) control  access and your “people”  meaning your public and your staff…maybe. At the time of this post, SoulCycle, Equinox Gyms (SoulCycle’s owner), FlyWheel, and Barry’s Boot Camp have been the leaders in exclusivity marketing. Each cater to the same class of clients:  mostly white, well-heeled, well-connected, energetic and affluent – in short, the type that can afford and have come to expect access.  Since each offers complementary approaches to similar modalities,  it would seem that there would be room for all in the current market. Not all would agree, as the fight to retain the client and mystique of “specialness”  has heated up with this recent exchange proves. It has also become normal practice to expect reciprocal devotion from the instructors that these members are devoted to via non compete clauses.

So, is the answer to keep creating extremely specific workouts that target the fit and affluent few or to become more accessible to everyone else? Well, it depends on the end marketing goal. Community marketing by definition allows expansion and inclusion for all who see themselves reflected in said community. Built on a sense of belonging, it encourages loyalty from all included even through changes. Cults, however, are hyper-focused communities built on the premise that no one is special outside of that community and so emphasize exclusion of the “unspecial”. The danger in cult marketing is not that it happens, this is business after all and it does yield dollars. No, the real danger in cult marketing is its limitations for growth because, well,  if you continue to tell others they aren’t worthy and that you have all of the answers they will resent you.

Lastly, although client retention is the gold standard in the fitness club business so is client conversion, staff satisfaction and the rarely mentioned: word of mouth referral marketing. As such and in a predominantly service based industry like exercise delivery, public perception trumps current client perception. Why? because fitness is both aspirational and inspirational. The potential client becomes the real client based on their current socio-economic identity AND who they want to become; they want a tribe they are proud of and  can refer their loved ones to. In short: they want to belong and feel good about it. Change is inevitable especially now that pristine environments, skilled and beautiful staff, and the buzz of specialness are par for the course in fitness. Since the rate of change is becoming faster and more unpredictable it might be smarter for gyms to go back to the root of the thing, the effectiveness and feeling that fitness inspires. Aren’t those the 2 things that every member and  potential member chases?

Making people feel capable can be far more valuable in the long term than fleeting exclusivity. Love it or hate it, one brand that has done this well is CrossFit whose credo seems to be “yeah, but can you do it?”. CrossFit itself is a perfect example of an amalgamation of training with an open door policy AND cult marketing genius. There is a groundswell coming and I think it will be back to the basics of the overall fitness consumer very soon. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel” ` Maya Angelou

References

  1. NYObserver.com  “Lotte Berk in last stretch; http://observer.com/2005/04/lotte-berk-in-last-stretch/; 2005
  2. WellandGoodNyc.com ” SoulCycle bans fitness instructors from its classes”; http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2014/05/02/soulcycle-bans-fitness-instructors-from-its-cycling-classes/; 2014

How does Yolanda Sangweni stay healthy? (Interview)

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ImageLast week’s launch of New York African Restaurant Week yielded more than great food, sounds and smiles. It also allowed me to sit down and chat with Yolanda Sangweni, Senior Entertainment Editor for the Essence Magazine and Owner/Editor in Chief of  the online magazine AfriPOP!. Yolanda is every bit of fiercely fabulous in person as she is in the photo but one of the first things I noticed was how kindly calm she was while being patient with her time. After all, she was MCing the launch of  NYARW  and was  undoubtedly being pulled in many directions. When she mentioned being on day 2 of a 3 day juice cleanse I was even more impressed by her serenity as I’m not one to do well with food deprivation. Since we were surrounded by deliciously savory African food, I wondered how she was faring with so much temptation around her. Her cheerful  answer of “fine” led me to investigate further (clearly she was as super as her outfit suggested!)

SG:  So how long have you been a fan of juicing?

YS: The last 2 years, I started with a 3 day cleanse and have been doing them since then.

SG: I have tried juice cleanses but can only last 2-3 days?

YS: Yah, 3 days is my ideal too.

SG: So what do you do to stay healthy?

YS: I walk a LOT with the MapMyWalk app but want be more active.  As far as diet goes, I try to stick to a mostly raw diet, about 70% raw along with occasional juicing &  I make a drink made of ginger beer with anise and boiled lemon.

SG: Just make sure you drink a lot of water with all that raw food to prevent stomach upset! Have you had any struggle with nutrition?

YS: Well, I am just so busy that I find that the busier I get the worse I eat and I will just eat whatever is available!

SG: You’re not alone! Thats one of the number one complaint I hear from busy working women!

So there  you have it: Yolanda is just like all of us which clearly makes her even cooler, no?

How to stay fit when injured

What to do when your body is hurt.
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What to do when your body is hurt.

What to do when your body is hurt.

Sedentary living is one of the biggest culprits for unwanted weight gain and declining fitness levels, aside from overeating and related lifestyle issues. What causes you unexpected sedentary behavior? well, injuries and  surgeries are a couple of things that can do it. Even formerly fit people complain that the weeks spent recovering from injury or surgery is often catastrophic to their waistlines. Here are some strategies to minimize the damage.

 Planned Surgery or sudden Injury

It is best to begin improving your fitness level before the date of your planned surgery. If your limbs are functional and you’re mobile, focus on building/keeping your lean muscle with more resistance training. That way, you can use the first week to two weeks of your healing period as planned rest without too much muscle loss. If your injury is sudden, then focus on the functioning muscles and joints surrounding your injury. For example, if your ankle or knee has been injured you can do seated leg lifts using just your boot or cast as weight. Aim for a couple sets of 10 repetitions and work up from there.

Low impact activities like swimming and Pilates  are good choices for folks with injured joints and biking indoors or outdoors is a good cardio option for injured knees. Biking strengthens the small muscles surrounding the knees without much of the shock associated with running. Use both the recumbent and upright bike and aim for a moderate mount of knee flexion and resistance.

Mental Health Check: Being in chronic pain is debilitating regardless of the reason and feeling like your body is malfunctioning only makes it worse. Sure, depression might seep in and that is natural, don’t despair. Try refocusing on what your body CAN do now.

Focus on your food choices

Since you will be less mobile while you heal, it is smart to take control of you eating habits at this time. Aim to eat mostly wholesome foods found in nature instead of snack foods and be aware of portion sizes. As your body tries to comfort itself it might want to turn to food. Understandable but dangerous. Depending on your injury, boost your fitness with short walks or bike rides, yoga, Pilates and swimming – activities which have been proven to boost both fitness AND mood.

14 Ideas for your #Change1Thing Checklist

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Sometimes the smallest tweaks yield the biggest results which is what the Change1Thing Campaign is all about. Instead of doing  major overhaul on your body and life, it is probably more manageable to take small steps towards your goal. As innocent as that sounds, it can be overwhelming so enter moi with this handy list for you to try out.

  1. Add sprints to your running routine
  2. Take your run outside
  3. Change the weights in your lifting routine
  4. Try a new class
  5. Try a sport you’ve never tried before
  6. Walk more than you drive & take the stairs more than the elevator.
  7. Train for a race (5K run/walk or obstacle race, anyone?)
  8. Eat one salad per day for either lunch or dinner
  9. Drink at least 24 oz of water each day
  10. Have a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner
  11. Bring your own lunch
  12. Cook most meals yourself
  13. Quit your soda and chips habit!
  14. Get more sleep during the week

How to help your Gen X man live longer

What to watch for as GenX age.
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What to watch for as GenX  men age.

My Big Brother!

I know broaching the subject of health for the 30, 40 something year old man means my male friends and relatives will think I’m talking directly to them. That’s okay because I am…via their women-folk (myself included). To put this plainly: some Gen X males still think they are invincible when it comes to their lifestyle habits. Newsflash, Everyone: bad health is cumulative meaning it adds up over time! Chronic illnesses by definition rarely blast you away out of the blue without warning. Instead, tiny fissures  that begin in the good health of youth widen into massive and sometimes fatal cracks based on genetics and lifestyle habits as we age. According to the CDC, the top 5 killers of 35-44 year old men are Unintentional Injuries, Heart Disase, Cancer, Suicide, Homicide…in that order.  Let’s go through this list and the accompanying strategies to keep our men healthy, shall we? Unintentional Deaths:  That prolonged invincibility of youth can mean that your man Is not wearing his seatbelt: 52% of men die in fatal crashes due to not wearing seat belts compared to 40% of women. Is drinking and driving: Men are twice as likely than women to drive drunk and people aged 35-44 years old are the third group most likely to be involved in fatal crashes (21-24 and 24-35 year olds precede them. Read the statistics here) *Moral: Remind him that he has more to lose and a lot to live for now as an adult. Drunk driving and not wearing a seatbelt are not smart and deaths related to them are 100% preventable. Heart Disease: See that ruddy complexion and breathlessness that happens as some men age? all could be signs of heart disease. People with a family history of heart disease need to be especially careful as plaque build-up in the arteries begins in childhood. Stroke and heart attack risk ( men have a higher risk for them than women)  fall under the umbrella of “heart disease” and both are closely related to lifestyle habits, namely Poor Diet and lack of exercise : A sedentary lifestyle and diet high in salt and refined foods increases the risk for high blood pressure and obesity, both of which affect the heart immensely. Alcohol intake:  A high alcohol intake ( more than 2 per day for men, 1 for women) increases the risk for stroke, obesity and blood pressure. Click here for more info on the subject. Smoking: Smoking, aside from causing respiratory issues and cancer, causes heart disease for similar reasons as the above like elevated blood pressure and a lack of oxygen to the heart caused by smoke damaged arteries. Weight: They call it middle aged spread for a reason!  The semi sedentary office life coupled with football season /weekend beers and eating habits reminiscent of the dorm years = the dreaded beer gut and double chin. Find an activity as simple as walking or as complicated as learning something new and do it together as a family. Love him as is but vocally encourage his progress. *Moral: Keep an eye on ruddy skin in White people,  fatigue and bloat  for all people because they are symptoms of both alcoholism and and congestive heart failure. Encourage your man to leave the couch to play the sports he loves
(yelling at the TV is not the same as playing) and remind him that eating like a teenager doesn’t mean he is one: limit/eliminate fried foods & increase vegetable and fruit intake. Again, he has much to live for these days and just 10 mins of activity per day can combat health problems! ** Black people are 2.5 times as likely to have fatal strokes so should be extra attentive to alcohol intake, smoking habits, diet and exercise. The DASH Diet  is an excellent eating plan to manage high good pressure. 
Cancer: Cancer is one of those catch-all diseases that is spawned by all of the above and made doubly likely if it runs in the family.  Still, inherited cancers only make up about 5% of cancers and that 5% includes colon, ovarian, prostate, breast and childhood cancers.  Men (and women, too) who have a parent or sibling who have had these inherited cancers can learn  their risk with genetic testing. American men have higher rates of melanoma and the risk for developing it is higher in people of fair complexion, who have moles and have already had an incidence of it. *Use sunscreen and check those moles! *Moral: Enough can’t be said about diet and activity  for prevention since they are usually encouraged after diagnosis to improve outcome. Improve them now BEFORE a diagnosis! Suicide/Homicide: America’s dirty little secret is the state of the country’s mental health profile. According to WHO, depression affects 10-15% of the world population but that is merely the people who admit it and have been diagnosed. Although women are more likely to be depressed than men, men are more likely to die from suicide.  Stress caused by Economic/ job(lessness) pressure and relationship problems are 2 of the main catalysts for suicide but it can be said that a lack of diagnosis for mental health issues compounds all. Homicides:  Good news! married people had the lowest rates of homicide BUT sadly, 25% of women have experienced domestic violence; 21% of the violent acts women experience are committed by an intimate partner and many of them end in homicide. *Moral: Parents, pay attention in the mental health state of your children including boys. Teach them how to safely express their anger and frustration so it doesn’t turn inward and then violently outward. No one wants to admit their loved one s suffering or could become dangerous but there are always signs for strange behavior.Lovers, encourage each other to vent productively and to use the help of licensed professionals. Never, expose your kids to a violent partner as this is how violence breeds and grows.

Bikini Ready Tips from 7 of NY’s hottest female FitPros

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Jen Romanelli, Delida Torres, Lindsay Centonze, Amber Hirsch, Dorian Cervantes, Amira Lamb, Mary Onyango

Jen Romanelli, Delida Torres, Lindsay Centonze, Amber Hirsch, Dorian Cervantes, Amira Lamb, Mary Onyango

What time is it? Spring time! That time when in between being addled with  allergies and taking Spring Break with the kids, you’re either (a) panicking because you fell of the resolution wagon (b) frustrated because you’ve plateaued or (c) have been consistent and happy withy your results but know you can do better.

Stacey Grant, MS Certified PT

It’s Me!

Just for you, I turned to Gotham City Elites  to find some of the NY area’s (Jersey’s repped too!) most dedicated & experienced female FitPros to learn their top Bikini Body secrets. As with most subjects, I have plenty to say &  I recently posted my own 3 tips in this post .  Check out what my fellow FitPros are saying about getting Bikini Ready in a jiffy.

Lindsay  Farrington Centoze,  Maddogg Certified Cycle Instructor & NPC Competitor and Cross Country Coach.

I met Lindsay Farrington-Centonze n Fall of 2013 when we both worked with another company.  Not only is she gorgeous but she’s a sweetheart, smart ( she went to NYU too!)  and pretty well accomplished in fitness at her young age. Lindsay has competed in and won 3 National Physique Committee (NPC)  bikini competitions already! Not only that, she is a beloved cycling and group fitness instructor in upstate NY too. In short, she rocks! Listen when she says:

  1. Try switching up your cardio to more high intense intervals. I typically do little to no cardio or some steady-state at the least (long runs, etc). If I’m getting bikini ready I’ll add 1-2 extra cardio sessions to my fitness routine.
  2. Start to focus on quality over quantity when lifting. When getting bikini ready I increase my weight and make a point to focus on form. While my weight increases I do less repetitions but make sure each one has perfect form. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Unsure of proper form? Ask someone!  A good place to start is t figure out which muscle group you should be focusing on and recruiting those muscles to do the job. As always, be careful with your lower back, knees and shoulders.
  3. Simply spend MORE time being active!!! Make a point to park your car in a further spot than usual, take stairs when you can, walk to the gym/grocery store/etc (basically anywhere within walking distance that you typically drive to). Walk more, drive less.

Mayy Onyango,  Certified  Zumba Instructor,  AFAA & Schwinn Certified Group Fitness Instructor

Mary Onyango and I go way back and I admire her deeply. If you know or work with her then you will know what I am talking about. She is thoughtful, compassionate and that physique speaks for itself! Here is what it is saying :

  1. A better bikini body starts with a good diet. If you can eat well at least 70% of the time i.e; lots of water, vegetables, lean meats, protein and healthy carbs (sorry guys this means limit the alcohol too), then you will be halfway to a flatter midsection (what everyone sees FIRST when you’re in a bikini!!)
  2. Incorporate different variations of planks into every routine. Some include modified (on the knees), single leg and single arm, pulses and even push ups. Push ups, my second favorite exercise, really target the triceps/biceps, chest, back (upper/lower), and surprise! even your thighs. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Watch that your lower body doesn’t sag and stays parallel  to the floor even if you’re on your knees.
  3. I love lunges. Try Around the World lunges, an exercise that combines front lunges, side lunges, and reverse lunges one after another for a set of 10-20 reps all done on the right leg and then repeat on the other. Lunges are great because they build the muscles without building size. They also lift and tighten the derriere for lasting results. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Watch that your knee doesn’t go past your toes when you lunge and that you keep your heels on the ground.

Jennifer Romanelli, RN NASM Certified PT & AFAA Certified Group Ex Instructr

I finally met Jen Romanelli, a.k.a. Trooper JRo at a Trooper boot camp where she showed us her high intensity  prowess. Until then, I had only heard about her through her colleagues, students and partner in crime but let me tell you that it was all true: Registered Nurse+ badass boot camp instructor = yowza, my musclllleeeees!! ( at least she’s qualified to revive you after making your body cry uncle). With those qualifications and a body like THAT, listen when she says:

  1. Pull-ups: single most effective body weight exercise. Great for upper body and strong core! Practice with bands. Stacey’s Training tip: Use the assisted machine or ask someone to help you if you’re inexperienced.  “Diversity: we all hear about the dreaded plateau but make an effort to switch things up. Your body is a powerful machine and adjusts to whatever challenges you bring it so keep your body guessing”
  2. Squats with the bar bell: gets those legs firing from top to bottom with bar bell squats. This move helps to build a lean physique by engaging almost every muscle in the body.  “Do more squats! Drop it like its hot to drop those lbs;  practice with body weight or using the barbell for back/front squats.” Stacey’s Safety Tip: Perfect the squat with your bodyweight before adding external weight and then upgrade to a body bar, then bar bell. 
  3. Kettlebell swings are one of my favorite exercise to do with clients as they are the greatest total body killer. With proper technique you burn out your core, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, glutes and back! That’s a lot of bang for your buck! Pick things up and put things down. “Tip: Ramp up your lifting game. Why aren’t women seeing the results they want? They are missing the key component in every athlete’s training program and that is strength conditioning and power”. Stacey’s Training Tip: AGREED. Lift heavier, FabFans!”

Amira Lamb, IFBB Bikini Pro Athlete NASM CPT & Certified Nutrition & Holistic Lifestyle Coach (CHEK Institute) AFAA Certified Group Exercise

Amira Lamb aka the Holistic Hottie is an impressive human being and professional. I like to call her the Tiny Dynamo because she is who helped me mold my body for my first (and only) bikini body building competition in April 2013. She has so many bikini body strategies in her arsenal that we should call her Michelangela. Along with every woman on this list, I trust her implicitly when she says:

  1.  Single Leg Dead Lifts combined with a bicep curl after returning to standing position. – You have to keep the core pulled in and up while working the entire backside of the body. Adding the bicep curls at the end will help to increase muscle mass in the arms which will help them seem more “toned” in appearance.
  2. Plyometrics are fantastic for burning a high amount of calories within a short time. Star Jumps can ramp up your metabolism while working every muscle in the lower body. This is a great exercise to mix into a series of lower impact exercises to maintain an elevated heart rate throughout a workout without doing traditional cardio on a machine.
  3. A basic push up is great. It works the entire body – primarily upper and including the abdominals when you exhale forcefully. As a variation try a Star Jack Push Ups –begin with your feet wide then jump the feet together and then apart. Next, bend only the elbows and then press away from the floor. Continue the Jack to Push Up sequence for as many reps as you can do flawlessly

Amber Hirsch, Barre Certified Group Ex Instructor, Maddog Cycle Instructor

Amber Hirsch is also petite in stature but big in energy and presence. Like with Mary, I cannot believe a child came out of her flat belly but after taking her Barre class at LocalBarre in Hoboken, NJ ( & seeing those quads in action), I will listen when she says,

  1. Don’t Wait Until the last minute! We always have some warning when the summer is coming or when we are planning a vacation. If you have a specific goal, make plans to make sure that you will achieve it! Give yourself time to build a consistent routine which will ideally keep you fit and lean all year.
  2. But if you don’t have a lot of time, hit the barre not the bar! Barre classes are a great way to lengthen and define your muscles and will most importantly target the core. You will walk out of just one class feeling stronger, longer, with improved posture and ready to rock that bikini!
  3. Push it baby! Push Ups are really a woman’s secret weapon to killer arms, tight abs and generally staying lean. You need to recruit almost all the muscles of you body to do them and they get you results. Start where you are comfortable but challenge yourself and upgrade to harder versions as you progress.

Dorian Cervantes,  Dancer & ACE Certified Group Ex Instructor, CPT

Dorian Cervantes is first a dancer…can’t you tell? As with Jen, I knew OF her via the people in her life but the more I explored, the more I realized that she certainly knows what she’s doing in fitness.

  1. Plank with gliders- I am all about the plank all day everyday. You can do it anywhere and it requires no equipment. I love to add the use of Gliders on my feet to get an intense ab workout. I begin in plank position on my elbows and slide my foot in a half circle up towards my shoulder.
  2. One legged dead-lift is another great exercise that doesn’t need equipment but adding weight can really take this exercise to the next level. I usually use a 10lb kettlebell or dumbell.
  3. Push-ups-love to alternate between a wide push press and a narrow. I do 20 push ups. The first position is wide, arms placed on the outside of shoulders and legs on the outside of hips I do 2 push ups chest all the way to the ground and back up to high plank position.
Master trainer for Jumpsport, certified group x and personal trainer.NYSC only

Master trainer for Jumpsport, certified group x and personal trainer.NYSC only

Delida Torres has been in the Rebounding game for  some time now. She recently completed her first bikini fitness competition and had this advice to share.

  1. Planks any kind with rotation especially side planks keeps the abs nice and tight.
  2. Torso Hyper-extension with weights to create the curve in lower back and eliminate love handles & muffin top. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Do these carefully without weights as this is an advanced move.
  3. Booty hip extension + leg abduction combo gives you a nice round high butt. Stacey’s Training tip: you can do these with bands, cables or ankle weights!
Mika Oakes, Licensed Vinyasa Yoga Teacher & LMT

Mika Oakes, Licensed Vinyasa Yoga Teacher & LMT

Mika Oakes  is a beloved yoga instructor with what is by far the sparsest list with just these 3 Yogic points: ( So, so ZEN!)

  1. Listen to your body.
  2. Push yourself to the edge, not beyond.
  3. Slow and steady wins the race

 

Activities that strengthen your body and relationships

Activities for your body and relationships
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Activities for your body and relationships

Activities for your body and relationships

By now you might have heard that physical activity boosts the “feel good” brain chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins kick in after you push through  the discomfort of the activity you’re doing and keeps you doing it; the endorphin effect lasts during and after exercise.

Did you know that physical activity also boosts serotonin, a chemical described by Psychology Today as the molecule of will power, of delaying gratification?  Serotonin also gives you confidence and your levels of it rise when you’re also feeling confident and socially dominant ( status = preservation of your gene pool). * Status can mean your belief in yourself OR the belief that others find you important. The first can boost you and the latter can weaken you if you depend on it*. Dips in serotonin can bring out the surly, insecure, tired, impulsive side of you so it makes sense that you want yours to rely more on how you feel about yourself than on how others feel about you.

The good news is that you  DON’T have to run to get the effect of an exercise “high” and that being active with someone can bring you closer to that person. These chemicals explain the entire “Bachelor/Bachelorette” TV  show to a T: put attractive people together, get them active and sharing experiences, fire up their reward (dopamine) and oxytocin (trust) centers and voila: the recipe for attachment and perceived joy. Here are some activities you can do with the people you want to bond with and create realistic joy.

Walking A neighborhood walk after dinner with those you care about not only benefits your body but can give you an opportunity to chat or simply enjoy each other’s company. This is a great habit to start with young families and walking meetings are also a great idea for corporate offices. The pace you set can be brisk or leisurely depending on how hard you want to work and an app like MapMyRun or Moves can help keep you on track with your steps (10, 000 per day is recommended).

Bowling Bring bowling back a s a fun family and friendship bonding activity!Laughing together and encouraging each other boosts dopamine, serotonin AND burns calories.

Dancing Okay this one is for those of us who LIKE to dance 🙂 Dancing of all forms can torch serious calories and when you’re dancing with people who want to be with you and enjoy what you’re doing then yes, you will be a dopamine and serotonin releasing fool. Why not sign up for a new class with a friend or family member?

A new and challenging activity Working through something new and unknown can foster strong bonds. It doesn’t have to be sky diving ( it could!). it could be the previously mentioned dance class (try a new one!), a strenuous form of exercise you’ve been interested in (keep it safe, people); or a race of some sort.

So there you have it: a few new ways to think outside of what you’re doing and to boost your body and your interpersonal bonds. Get closer to your goal and closer to your loved ones at the same time!

 

Do these 3 things to look tighter by May

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Stay lean with StaceytheFabulous

Stay lean with StaceytheFabulous

They say Winter is ending. Not sure if I believe ’em but for positivity’s sake  let’s just say it is. That means your extremities will be making their big reveal in the next few weeks (yes, warm states, we know you’ve been sunbathing for ages)! For many of us,  Winter means heavier, more satisfying foods and hiding out at home more. In short, Winter can mean bigger backsides from less physical activity unless you take up Winter sports and train for something. Yada, yada, yada: what do we do about it and quickly? First, stop whining, we got ourselves here and 2nd:

Reduce/limit starchy foods. The grainy goodness that you pile your comfort foods on be they whole or refined (refined =  mass processed goods. No bueno) are giving you a belly. I know, I know, whole grains and beans ARE good for you but that big pot/or many sandwiches you feed on all day likely means you’re getting more than your share of starches. Replace some daily starchy meals with non-starchy vegetables and lean protein. You will not only look leaner but feel healthier with a balanced blood sugar level too. The American Diabetes Association has a handy list which I have excerpted at the end of this post.

Lift (heavier) weights.  Ladies, just how long do you intend to use those 5 lb dumb-bells?? Hello, your body has already adapted and is bored (also see below). Bored = no changes. As you age, lean muscle becomes your goldmine for looking fit and sleek. Build yours by adding 1-2 (then eventually 2-3)days of lifting moderately heavy weights ( moderately heavy means the 2nd of 3 sets of exercises is a challenge). Been using 5s? try 7s and 8s? been using 7s and 8s? try 10s and 12s and so on. The compliments you get will tell you how much your metabolism appreciates the boost.

Change up your routine. Kudos for exercising in the first place, by the way, it’s not easy for everyone. Still, your tried and true routine probably needs some tweaking if you have been doing it for awhile. First, change up your workout schedule then add more and less intense workouts throughout. If you’re over 30, you might have realized 2 days per week doesn’t really do as much as it used to and I’ve long since realized that this body needs a minimum of 4 to make and maintain changes. Personally, I find that a good barre class in between all the cycling and lifting I do really helps to lean me out AND as mentioned above, playing with my weight and intensity load does the trick. Find what you like it: forms of dance, zumba, swimming etc and add it to your regular routine.

Combine all 3 of these elements together now and you have a winning formula for looking Fabulously Healthy by Memorial Day, if not earlier. Get cracking and see you at the beach 🙂 

The following is a list of common non-starchy vegetables (ref. http://www.diabetes.org)

Amaranth or Chinese spinach

Artichoke

Artichoke hearts

Asparagus

Baby corn

Bamboo shoots

Beans (green, wax, Italian)

Bean sprouts

Beets

Brussels sprouts

Broccoli

Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)

Carrots

Cauliflower

Celery

Chayote

Coleslaw (packaged, no dressing)

Cucumber

Daikon

Eggplant

Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)

Hearts of palm

Jicama

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Mushrooms

Okra

Onions

Pea pods

Peppers

Radishes

Rutabaga

Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)

Sprouts

Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)

Sugar snap peas

Swiss chard

Tomato

Turnips

Water chestnuts

Yard-long beans –