Positivities- Be Gentle

So often I feel as though we are in a world that is all about PUSHing yourself to YOUR ultimate limit!… “Go BIG or go HOME”, “RUN until you drop”, “If it’s not hurting it’s not hard enough”.

While I do believe in consistently progressing your life forward, challenging your old habits, and striving for your goals it is also very important to do so in a healthy way. Maxing out, overtraining, or jumping onto some fad juice only diet is only going to lead to injury, burn out and a very unhappy body.

Health is an everyday process not a three month summertime bikini shape up.

Be Gentle

In this life we are gifted one body to care for. We only get this one body, this one temple.

How will you care for yours?

 

Christy’s PowerPilates- The History of Pilates

”I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises, they’d be happier. ”

- Joseph Pilates, in 1965, age 86

Joseph Pilates

 

History of Pilates

The Making of a Movement Genius-

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. His father was a gymnast, his mother a naturopath. She believed in stimulating the body to heal itself without drugs or surgery. His parents’ professions greatly influenced his ideas on therapeutic exercise.

Growing up Joe suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. He dedicated his life to improving his health. He exercised outside in his shorts and cured his rickets, which is caused by a vitamin D deficiency, and focused on breathing techniques to help his asthma.

At 14 he was fit enough to pose for anatomical charts. He studied bodybuilding, yoga, and gymnastics. You can recognize the influence of these activities in Pilates.

In 1912 Joe moved to England as a professional boxer and circus performer. In WW1 British authorities contained him along with German citizens, in a British Enemy Citizens camp. Joe insisted everyone in his cell block participate in daily exercise routines which he devised to help maintain their physical and mental well being.

The Birth of Pilates-

A few years later he was transferred to another camp where he became a hospital orderly to many bedridden patients. Joe removed the bed springs and connected them to the headboard and footboards of the iron bed frames, turning them into equipment that could create resistance to the exercises. These beds would eventually be known as the Reformer and Cadillac.

After the war he returned back to Germany and collaborated with dance and physical exercise experts.

He eventually left Germany and came to California. On route he met his wife Clara, she was a nurse.

Pilates

The Movement that Would Be Embraced by Many-

Together, they opened a studio in New York and taught their students well into the 1960’s.

Pilates originally was called ”contrology”. Encouraging the mind to control the muscles. It focused on core postural muscles, awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, as well as strengthening deep torso and abdominal muscles. His studio was surrounded by a number of dance studios which led to his ”discovery”. Many athletes, dancers and famous New Yorkers relied on Pilates for the strength and grace it developed as well as for its rehabilitation effects.

Joe passed away in 1967 at the age of 83. He maintained his fit physique throughout his life. He smoked cigars, liked to party and wore his exercise briefs wherever he wanted. Until exercise science caught up with the Pilates Method in the 1980’s it was mainly dancers and athletes who utilized the technique. It’s widely recognized for its health benefits and mental discipline.

 Pilates is great for all types of people, no matter their shape, size, gender or age. 

Health Secrets Revealed~ 10 Reasons to add Lemon Water to UR AMs!

Starting my day with warm lemon water is one of my top beauty and health secrets!

Lemon Water

And yes on vacations I actually bring lemons with me so I don’t miss a day! I must admit I feel completely off when I skip my morning ritual.

What’s all they hype with this fancy water? Is it something you should consider adding into your morning routine? You be the judge!

Here’s 10 REASONS why~

  1. Balances your body’s pH
  2. Rich in Vitamin C- immune booster
  3. Aids in digestion
  4. Flushes toxins- natural detox
  5. Great source of potassium
  6. Promotes beautiful skin
  7. Reduces inflammation
  8. Pectin Fiber in lemons= natural antibacterial
  9. Relieves indigestion and excess gas= de-bloat
  10. Breaks down mucus= helpful for allergy season or flu season!

What to do?

First thing in the AM! Before breakfast ;)

  1. Warm 1 c of water in the microwave (1 minute) or 1 c of water in a tea kettle.
  2. Squeeze juice of 1/2 large lemon or juice of 1 small lemon.
  3. Drink up!

Check out these great sources for more healthy lemon facts~

 

Christy’s PowerPilates- Pilates Principle #2 BREATHING

Pilates is focused around moving with the breath.

Thus, making it easier to move with a natural rhythm, allowing the mind and body to fully connect to each other. Using an exhale breath on the trickiest part of the exercise gives the CORE the power it needs to execute the movement. All Pilates moves start with the breath and move through the CORE, then finally focusing on the muscles at hand. Pilates movements follow a code. Inhale on rotation and extension, exhale on flexion. Moving the spine with the breath ensures the inner workings of the body are receiving a full workout as well.

How to breath
Pilates style

Inhale:
Place your hands on your rib cage, inhale the ribs into your hands, allowing them to open away from the spine. This ensures the breath is coming from the ribs and not the belly.Breathing

Exhale:
Began to exhale the breath as if you were to fog a mirror in front of you. This is known as the ”Haaaa” breath. Keeping your hands on your rib cage, you want to fully exhale the breath until you’ve exhausted every bit of stale air remaining in the lungs. Doing so allows fresh air to rush in and occupy the lungs. Joseph Pilates called this the ”internal shower”. Practicing the ” Haaa” breath on the exhale automatically forces the CORE to contract, pulling the navel to the spine and closing the upper ribs together. Once the CORE is in this position inhale through the nose expanding through the ribs once again, this time keeping the CORE engaged.

 

Your Total Body July Workout!

July is full blown summer!  Summer usually also means travel season.  It can be hard to workout in a hotel gym and even more difficult to lug around gym equipment on these fun trips!  What you need is a workout that can be done anywhere, anytime, and more important not take up too much of your beach lounging time ;).

This workout is set in 5 sections:

  • Warm up- this section focuses on posture and stabilizing the hips, glutes, and core
  • Strength session- this section focuses purely on gaining muscular tone and proper muscular engagement
  • Cardio- this section focuses on increasing the heart rate with short sprints and shorter rest periods
  • Core- yep focus on that tummy
  • Reset- this section corrects any postural imbalances (compensations) created during the workout

Warm Up-

  1. Single Leg Bridge- 10 per leg; 3 sets.  For a full explanation and video  CLICK HERESingle Leg Bridge Single Leg Bridge
  2. Airbench- hold 1-2 minutes.  CLICK HERE for a full explanation and video.Airbench
  3. Planks Around the World- 30 sec hold in each position. For a more detailed explanation and variations CLICK HERE.Planks Around the World

Strength- **repeat these 3 exercises for 3-4 sets**

  1. Multi-directional lunges- 10 each direction: forward lunge, lateral lunge, reverse lunge, & rotational lunge.  For more details CLICK HERE.Lunges
  2. Push Ups- 10 reps!  If push ups are too challenging for your current fitness level hold a plank for 30 seconds!  Stay tuned for future posts for a total push up breakdown.
  3. Neutral Squats- 20 reps.  CLICK HERE for more on the neutral squats.Neutral Squat Neutral Squat

Cardio- repeat this cardio series 3 times through with only 10-30 seconds of rest between each exercise!  These are done as quickly as possible.

  1. Jump Squats- 30 secs.  For more details CLICK HERE.Squat Jump Squat Jump
  2. Rest 10-30 seconds
  3. Jumping Jacks 30 seconds
  4. Rest 10-30 seconds

Core-

  1. Side Hip Dips-20 reps per side; 3 sets. CLICK HERE for more details!

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

Reset-

  1. Airbench- 1-2 minutes

Ice Cream Anyone? 5 Simple Ingredients EVERY home Has!

Summer is an interesting time where we are all trying to “get into bikini shape” but all this heat is leaving us craving a delicious cold ice cream cone from childhood.

Growing up I spent most of my summer days with my cousins.  Many of those days were spent leaving the sticky San Fernando Valley and finding solace at the cool beach.  After a long day of boogie boarding, building sandcastles, playing Frisbee and covering each other in sand Grandma would take us to this delicious ice cream shop.  Nothing tastes better after a day soaking up the sun then a tasty sweet ice cream cone (vanilla with sprinkles was always my go to).

This was a fabulous tradition as a child but it has left me with this deep craving for ice cream every time I leave the beach.  After going gluten and dairy free, ice cream became less accessible.  There were many times I would break my healthy fast and gorge on ice cream and then feel like “death” 20 minutes later.  Luckily with dairy and gluten allergies becoming more apparent many companies have created their own “everything free” versions of ice cream.  Unfortunately I have found (1) they can be super $$, (2) they are sometimes full of ingredients that make absolutely no sense in my kitchen, & (3) do not always taste the best.

Sooo why not make my own??  Thus was born the Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Ice CreamVegan Ice Cream

If any of you have ever made homemade traditional ice cream before you know how challenging the stuff can be to make.  Mix the ingredients together, boil on the stove, allow for cooling (usually overnight), then into an ice cream maker… or worse a hand crank machine.  This VEGAN chocolate chip peanut butter ice cream is sooo much easier!

Ingredients:

  • 5 frozen bananas
  • 2 tablespoons of all natural peanut butter (I like the crunchy)
  • 1/3 c vegan chocolate chips
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp almond milk

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor (or Vitamix)
  2. Allow the ingredients to sit 5min (this helps the bananas soften just enough)
  3. Blend until smooth, add additional almond milk if ingredients are not creaming togetherMini Ice Creams
  4. Enjoy and place leftovers (if you have any) into individual mini Tupperware containersIceCream ToGo

I love having these in the fridge because they are a perfect snack for guests (esp kiddos) and a quick and easy end of the night treat for me to enjoy!

 

Christy’s PowerCore Pilates- The Roll Up

This Pilates exercise is a great way to start or end your work out. Executing the roll up properly works the core and hip flexors, while stretching the hamstrings as well as focusing on spinal articulation. The key to this exercise is moving with the breath.

 

There is both a beginner set up and intermediate set up:

  • Beginner: If your core is weak bend the knees and plant the feet on the mat. Use the backs of the knees to help get you up. Once up straighten the legs in order to get the full stretch.
  • Intermediate: Legs are extended on the mat squeezing knees and ankles together, feet flexed and parallel. Press through the heels to help get your upper body up

Pilates Roll UpPilates Roll Up

How To:

Lying supine (on back) arms are reaching overhead, inhale the breath to prepare, exhale tuck the chin to the chest and raise the arms in line with ears. Curl up as if you were peeling your spine off the mat, continue forward and reach over your toes, creating a ”C” shape with your spine. Inhale hold the breath. Find the opposition in this moment, legs and finger tips reach towards the toes as the abs pull back into the spine. Exhale pull the navel to spine, roll back articulating the spine back to the floor. Engage glutes and control the decent using the CORE while reaching your arms forward. Once the shoulder blades reach the mat the arms float overhead. Repeat 10x

 

Monitor:

  • Keep pulling the shoulders down and away from the ears
  • Keep your ribs closed, as if wearing a corset. Don’t let them splay open
  • If feet are lifting off the ground, try the beginner level or try placing a ball between the ankles and giving it a little squeeze. Pressing out through the heels will also help

Positivities- How do people remember you?

I stumbled across this quote this week on Pinterest and I just had to share it! MayaAngelou

Have you ever found yourself in a new group of people or when meeting a new person thinking, “what if I don’t say the right thing?  what if I don’t do the right thing?”  I know I have many times.  I am by nature shy and somewhat hard on myself.  If you relate to me on this and found yourself in similar situations, have you ever stopped to think, “How am I making this person feel right now?”

In your personal experiences, how do you remember those that you have met?  Take an old friend for example… do you remember what they said the first time you met (okay it may have been super funny and you may remember but in most cases you don’t)…do you remember what they did (again unless they did a double back flip or unfortunately fell off their bike… you most likely don’t)… but I am sure you do remember how they made you feel.

This measure of “feeling“, whether good or bad had an effect on you.  Good feelings made you most likely want to keep this new found pal on your journey of life… and well bad, yeah you get what I’m saying.

So for this second week of July I am going to place my focus, not so much on what I am doing or saying, but how I am making the other person FEEL.

Who else would like to join me in this challenge?  How will you go about this?  What cues will you pick up from the other person?  What questions will you ask?

Christy’s Meatless Corner- Summer Oatmeal

Tired of the same ol’ things for breakfast? Try this new twist on an old favorite, no cook cold oatmeal! It takes less than 5 minutes to make and will be ready to help you jump start your day. There’s no stove involved, just the ingredients, a bowl and a refrigerator is all you will need!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (I use gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon roasted coconut chips
  • 1 tablespoon honey roasted almonds
  • A pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients in a Tupperware and mix well.
  2. Leave in the refrigerator overnight (It will look watery but once it sits overnight the chia seeds will soak up the yogurt and milk and become thicker).
  3. Enjoy!

oatmeal