Weekly Challenges

This weeks challenge will focus on adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet.   The recommended amount is 5-9 servings a day.  Some of us have no problem eating fruits daily. but we may find it more difficult adding leafy greens to our daily diet and vice versa.

Here are a  few ways we can add more of  natures medicine into our daily diet:

letfoodbethymedicine

Make a fruit and vegetable smoothie for breakfast.

This is my favorite breakfast smoothie recipe: 1 cup almond milk, 2 handfuls spinach, 1 handful kale, 1 frozen banana, 1 tbs nut butter,  1 frozen peach, 1/2c plain greek yogurt, blend and enjoy.

IMG_1971

Make vegetable omelette and serve with a side of fruit.

Have a huge salad for lunch and or for dinner, just make sure you add healthy fats and lean protein.

This is one of my favorite salads:  romaine lettuce, red bell pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, strawberries and slivered almonds.

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It helps to think  of  vegetables as the main part of your evening meal and lean protein as a side.

As always I will be doing this with you.

What are your favorite ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet?

Extras:

10 Pictures of your daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Challenges

 

This weeks challenge not only builds strength but it adds a slight cardio burst to your routine.  At the end of your reps be sure to stretch.

Monkey push up

Strengthens: Arms and shoulders, abdominals, back

Get into the “up” part of push-up position with hands directly below shoulders and body in a straight line from head to heels. Keeping core tight, push through toes and hop forward, landing gently with feet on the outside of hands. Hop back to starting position. Bend elbows (keeping them close to body) to lower body toward floor, then push back up; that’s 1 rep. Do 10–12 reps.

 

MONKEY PUSHUP

Have a great week !

 

 

Weekly Challenges

inspire-wallpaper_1440x900

 

This week I would like you to  have positive thoughts. Think  positively and with appreciation for all your body has done for you.  I am not stopping there I would like you  to think about all you have accomplished in your life. One positive thought a day.

We all need to be reminded to do this. Stop being so hard on your self.   See you here next week for an exercise challenge.

I hope to inspire and motivate you. Have a great week.

 

photo

Feel free to comment and to share.

 

Weekly Challenges

Disconnect to take a Breath.

Breathe

This weeks Challenge is for you  to take a few minutes out of your day to disconnect. What I mean by that is, take a breath, step away from social media, go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Play some mellow tunes or just close your eyes and “rest” for a few minutes.  We get so caught up with work, checking Facebook etc  that we have forgotten to just enjoy the little things. I am guilty of this as well.  We need to make it a habit of taking thoughtful action on giving our own well-being our full attention.

Serene

Serene

I will be doing this with you as well. I don’t know about you but the pictures above already puts me in a mellow mood.

What will you do this week for your personal well-being?  Share your ideas in the comment section below.

Make it a great week!!

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Challenges

We will be focusing on 2 exercises this week:

Balancing Star Plank 

Balancing Star Plank

Balancing Star Plank

Get into the side plank position. So if you start on your left side, your right arm should be extended to the ceiling, now here is the twist, instead of raising your right leg, you will keep the right leg firmly planted on the floor and swing your left leg forward. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat on the other side. 3 reps each side.

 

High V  ( this is a classic move used in Barre classes)

High V

High V

Source 

Stand next to your support, feet in a narrow V. Rise onto the balls of your feet, keeping your heels glued together; bend your knees, bringing your butt down toward knee level. Slowly move down and up by an inch for 30 seconds. Repeat, smaller and faster, for another 30 seconds.

Keep your abs engaged, shoulders away from your ears, neutral spine and breathe!!

 

 

 

 

 

Pilates Breathing

 

 

There are 7 Pilates principles but I will be featuring the first one and that is “Breathing“.  Not only can proper breathing be used to decrease stress, lower our blood pressure  it can also help to facilitate movement and increase out mobility in exercises.

I always teach the following the breathing exercises to my Pilates clients:  Belly Breathing, One lung Breathing, Lateral Breathing and Sniffing Breath.  I will briefly  explain each one and share a few exercises that we use them in. I have also included the purpose/objective of each exercise for those of you that like to know why we perform each one.

Belly Breathing:

Place you hands on to your stomach and take a deep inhale so your belly expands like a balloon, on the exhale draw the abdomen in towards the spine expelling all the air. This type of breathing is used while performing Footwork on the Reformer.  The footwork is a fundamental move used following the warmup exercises before transitioning to the other exercises in the sequence.

Objective of the Footwork:  to strengthen the hip extensors, knees extensors, the feet, to align the foot and leg and to develop pelvic lumbar stabilization.

Footwork

Footwork

Lateral  (intercostal )Breathing:

This is when you breathe into the back and sides of your ribs, without allowing your abdomen to expand.  This type of breathing often used in the Pilates Hundred exercise.

Objective of the Hundred: to strengthen the abdominal muscles and for pelvic lumbar stabilization.

Hundred

Hundred

One Lung Breathing:

This type of breathing is as it sounds, breathing into one one side of your lungs at a time. This  type of breathing is used while performing the Mermaid.

Objective of the Mermaid:  Teaches spinal movement to the side, scapula stabilization, spinal mobility and stretches the quadratus lumborum, internal and external obliques.

Mermaid

Mermaid

Sniffing Breath:

This is when you take really small breaths through your nose and you exhale through pursed lips. This type of breathing is used while performing the Side Leg Series.

Objective of the Side Leg Series:  To learn and develop disassociation at the hips and  to stabilize pelvic lumbar area.

 

Side Leg Series

Side Leg Series

 

Remember to Breathe!

Have a fabulous Friday.

 

 

 

 

It’s Ok To Not Be Perfect!

Swan on Ladder Barrel

Swan on Ladder Barrel

“Remember, too, that ‘Rome was not built in a day,’ and that PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” -Joseph Pilates

 In our journey to self love and improving our health with both food and exercise please remember  it’s ok to not be perfect!!

In our journey of improving our health through diet and exercise and self love we unknowingly set ourselves up for failure by striving to be perfect in how we eat and or exercise. That is exhausting!! By that I mean do you feel guilty for eating a piece of chocolate? Do you beat yourself up for skipping a workout? How do you speak to yourself for a less than perfect day/meal?  Why should we put our mind and body through that stress or turmoil?

Mind Body

Mind Body

Believe me I understand all these feelings but as Mr Pilates has reminded us in  the above quote “Rome was not built in a day”. We need to be patient with ourselves and most of all not to give up!

Be happy with yourself for all the positive changes you make on daily basis, yes why not  congratulate yourself, give yourself a “pat on the back”. Changing/working on our health is a continuous process, we are all trying to do our best.

Keep making healthy choices, move your body daily, it can be running, dancing, Pilates, walking whatever you enjoy, whether it is 10 minutes, 30 minutes an hour.

Personally, the more I focus on nourishing my body with good clean food,  honoring  and listening to my body when it needs rest, being kind and gentle with myself the easier this journey becomes.

Let’s stay positive in our thoughts and thank our bodies for all it has accomplished.  And BE HAPPY!!

Happy

Happy

Feel free to leave a comment to keep this discussion going.

 

 

Link Love And An App

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Here are a few interesting articles I have been reading, hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Heard of Fascia? Learn more about it here to keep your body healthy.

If you are trying to green here are a few tips from Martha Stewart.

The Gut Brain Connection. This article states that the brain has a direct effect on the gut.  Read more about it here.

 

We have all heard of journaling you meals for the day/week. In the past we would have a notebook where we would write out what we we ate and drank or snacked on through out the day.  Then came the era of apps! First one that comes to mind is MyFitnessPal, which is a calorie counting app among many others. There is nothing wrong with either formats of food journaling.

But I would like to share with you another app that I use as well as my clients. It is called TwoGrand.   This app allows you to take photos of your meals, ( and really who does not like to pictures of their food), separating them by breakfast,lunch and dinner as well as by snack and drinks.  You can even post your exercise/workout for the day if you so desire.  There is no calorie counting involved but you are given a “play by play” of how you are eating/drinking for the day/week.  This is a great way to see where you may need to improve on. As the saying goes a “picture is worth a thousand words”.   You can also follow people and see how they eat and get some really good recipes in the process. The app has a section where you are asked a series of questions regarding your food choices etc and by answering these questions you are able to personalize the list of people to follow with similar goals or  food choices like you.

You can read more about the app here.  I really like there Nutrition Philosophy. This resonated with me because this is how I feel as well, there is no one size fits all “diet”. What may work for me food wise may not work for everyone else.

Have you read any interesting articles? Have you used a food tracking app before? 

Up on the blog tomorrow: Featuring a Pilates Principle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Challenges

This weeks challenge is two fold. I am including an exercise as well as a nutrition goal, as you know nutrition and exercise goes hand in hand.

Pilates Spine Twist:

Spine Twist

Spine Twist

The Spine Twist increases spinal rotation and it strengthens the core.

Setup: Sit up with your legs straight ( bend the knees slightly if you have tight hamstrings),inner thighs zipped together. Reach your arms to shoulder height, inhale and rotate your torso to the right, pulsing twice with a sniffing breath.  your inner thighs should remained zipped and your flexed feet should not move during the exercise.   A great way to practice this move is sit facing a wall and keep your glued to the wall as you rotate.

Exhale return to the starting position and rotate to the left.

Perform this exercise 8-10 times.

Nutrition challenge:

Instead of your usual lettuce, kale or spinach rotation, why not try a new vegetable powerhouse. Venture out of your comfort zone and maybe add one, two or more of the following to your diet.  I have included links to recipes on how to prepare each if you need some ideas.

Escarole

Bok Choy

Endive

Watercress

Swiss Chard

Collard Greens

Turnip Greens

Radicchio

If you have a favorite way to prepare your vegetables please share.

Feel free to share and comment. Have a great week.

Something extra:

Here is a free E-book for a limited time only written by Dr Graham Cox and Nell Mead.