Jun 22, 2016

Should I Stretch Before or After I Workout?

Stretching can be a tricky thing when it comes to exercising. We never want to stretch out when our muscles aren't warm and yet, we want to make sure to stretch before we workout so that we don't pull anything. Sounds like a catch 22. When it comes to stretching we should be stretching before and after our workouts. However, we need to pay attention to what kind of stretches we are performing.

We should use dynamic stretching when warming up for a workout. A dynamic stretch is a stretch done with controlled movement. This type of stretch enables our muscles to warm up without overly stretching the muscle. Arm swings, leg swings or arm walks (reaching for the floor and walking your arms out) are all great stretches to do before you workout.

Once our muscles have warmed up, we use static stretches to work on flexibility and prevent soreness after a workout. During this type of stretch we hold the position as we elongate the muscle. Static stretches are a great way to cool down post workout, but again, don't get too cool or you may risk a pulled muscle. Some of my favorite static stretches include pigeon pose, seated straddle and spinal twist.

It is so important to incorporate stretching into our workouts. We should use dynamic stretching (controlled movement) before our workout and static stretching (holding the stretch) during or immediately after we exercise. Flexibility is just as important as strength and endurance so stretch it out babes! x

May 18, 2016

Healthy Birthday Cake (For Toddlers!)

This weekend we celebrated my son's second birthday. I have no problem admitting that I'm the "crazy mom" who doesn't let her son eat any sugar, dairy, or gluten. Yes, I'm that mom. Say what you will, my son hasn't been truly sick a day in his life soooo there's that.

With that being said, his first birthday cake was a failed attempt at making something delicious and healthy. Let's just say that turmeric icing wasn't the tastiest. Well, I'm happy to report we totally nailed it for the second birthday. I found the most amazing recipe for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting from The Healthy Chef. Absolutely everyone enjoyed it (including the adults!).

You can find the recipe to the cake here.

And the frosting here.

Highly Recommend!

May 1, 2016

Beach Barre

Hi Babes! Get ready for a great exercise that will help to lengthen and strengthen your thighs. This should take you about 4 minutes (or your favorite song) to complete. Your legs will feel the burn!  When we get into our cardio interval we will also be working the booty and waistline. Love it. 

Leg Lifts
  • Set Up: Engaging the core, float your right leg up as high as you can. Keep your leg straight, starting with your toe pointed. Shoulders stay stacked over your hips. Remember to keep your abdominals engaged the whole time to make sure you don't lean back and to keep this movement out of the hips.  
  • Lifts: With a pointed toe, lift the leg 20 times - this should be a small movement and your range of motion should only be about an inch. With each lift try to get your leg one inch higher and lengthen one inch longer. 
  • Presses: With a flexed foot bend and extend your leg 20 times - again, this is a tiny little bend. Inhale as you soften the knee and exhale, engaging your abs as you press all the way through the heel.
  • Toe Taps: Point your toe and inhale as you slowly lower the leg. Gently tap the floor and exhale as you flex your foot and raise it all the way back up. Point and lower, flex and lift 10 times. 
  • Finishing Move: On your last toe tap, hold your leg at the top for 10 seconds. Finish off with 10 more lifts!!
  • Stretch: Grab your right ankle and bring your heel to your booty. Drop your tailbone under and enjoy the thigh stretch all the way into the hip. You can do this standing, on the floor, or holding onto a chair or wall. 
Modifications & Advancements: To modify, hold onto a chair or wall to help you balance.  If you're more advanced you can work on your balance with arms extended over head or in front of your body. For a little stability, you can use a ball as pictured below. The more advanced you are, the higher you'll be able to lift your leg. But it doesn't matter how high your leg is as long as it's straight you will feel this. Remember, never compromise your form for height!

Squat, Crunch Interval:
  • Set Up: We start with feet shoulder width apart, toes facing forward. Our weight is in the heels as we bend the knees and shoot the booty out behind us. Make sure that the knees are tracking over the toes and we keep the core engaged. Pelvis should remain in neutral.
  • Squat: 20 Times pressing through the heels and squeezing the booty at the top. 
  • Crunch: Continue squatting but at the top bring your right knee to your elbow and engage your abdominals. Squat again and bring your left knee to the elbow. Keep your arms over head as you squat and crunch as you draw your elbow and knee together. Alternate your knees between each squat for a total of 10 on each side. 

 When you're finished with squats, it's time to do Leg Lifts on the Left! 

The tops of your thighs should be burning during leg lifts.... The more they burn, the more your body is changing! During squats, try to go to the beat of your favorite workout song to keep a steady, fast pace. Get your heart rate up to burn some extra calories! Enjoy, babes :)

Apr 13, 2016

How do you take your Coffee?

For Mother's Day I received a hand milk frother (sounds fancy, I know but it was like $5 from Ikea) and it's completely changed my coffee game. I've always liked (more like needed) a little dash of cream or milk, but I've since discovered the "Bulletproof" recipe. Lemme tell ya, I'm obsessed. If you haven't yet tried "Bulletproof" coffee, here's my version:

Teaspoon Coconut Oil
Teaspoon Ghee (or organic grass-fed butter)
Dash of Cinnamon 
Splash of Pure Vanilla Extract

Add all ingredients to coffee cup. Leaving at least 2 inches from top of cup, pour hot coffee over the ingredients. Using hand frother, froth coffee for at least 60 seconds or until you've gotten the right amount of froth. 

Voila! You're left with a creamy cup of hot coffee that's loaded with healthy fats. These fats not only promote a healthy brain and cholesterol levels but can help with weight loss as your body uses fat for energy as opposed to sugar and proteins. 

Side Note: What about sickie pesticides? I think that's one item no one likes in their cup of jo. I realized the other day that I'm adamant about my fruits, veggies and pretty much everything else to be organic and yet, I've completely over looked my  morning coffee. A little research has made me realize the error of my ways. Conventional coffee is not only one of the most highly doused plants with tons of pesticides and herbicides, but those beans also get a good chemical rinse before being packaged. That's why it's so important to buy organic coffee. Especially since most of us drink it every day. 

Mar 15, 2016

Tennis Ball Massage

In a perfect world I would get a massage every week. I lie, maybe more like two or three times a week... what can I say? I love a good massage! I feel relaxed, rejuvenated and with all the classes I teach, my body deserves a little extra attention (at least that's what I tell myself). Truthfully, massage promotes circulation, detoxifies the body, relieves pain, and helps to prevent injury. My sweet husband will occasionally give me a foot massage while we are watching TV or sometimes before bed... but for those days when I need a little extra TLC on a particular area, I love myself a good ol' tennis ball massage. Following the same principals as I explained in this video, you can relieve tension without breaking the bank. All you need is a tennis ball!

  • Lay on the floor or lean up against a wall and place the tennis ball on whatever muscle you want to release. (avoid placing the ball on a bone or your spine)
  • Roll up and down the muscle as you put pressure onto the ball.
  • When you feel a knot or tight spot hold it -- breathing into the tightness until you feel the release.

Again, this can be done on the floor, against a wall, or even sitting in a chair. My favorite spots include my upper back (in between my shoulder blades), my booty and hips, and my feet. I'm not gonna lie, it's not entirely unusual for me to have a tennis ball in my handbag. So, treat yo self and sneak in a little reflexology at work. You know you deserve it :)
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