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
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.
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.
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
- Single Leg Bridge- 10 per leg; 3 sets. For a full explanation and video CLICK HERE
- Airbench- hold 1-2 minutes. CLICK HERE for a full explanation and video.
- Planks Around the World- 30 sec hold in each position. For a more detailed explanation and variations CLICK HERE.
Strength- **repeat these 3 exercises for 3-4 sets**
- Multi-directional lunges- 10 each direction: forward lunge, lateral lunge, reverse lunge, & rotational lunge. For more details CLICK HERE.
- 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.
- Neutral Squats- 20 reps. CLICK HERE for more on the neutral squats.
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.
- Jump Squats- 30 secs. For more details CLICK HERE.
- Rest 10-30 seconds
- Jumping Jacks 30 seconds
- Rest 10-30 seconds
- Side Hip Dips-20 reps per side; 3 sets. CLICK HERE for more details!
Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3
- Airbench- 1-2 minutes
Need a quick breakfast?… An easy on the go snack?… A boost after working out?
Try this delicious Summertime Smoothie!
1 cup coconut water
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 tbsp bee pollen
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup yogurt
Dash of cinnamon
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp protein
Honey (add to your liking)
Add ingredients in blender and enjoy!!
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 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!
- 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
- Place all ingredients in food processor (or Vitamix)
- Allow the ingredients to sit 5min (this helps the bananas soften just enough)
- Blend until smooth, add additional almond milk if ingredients are not creaming together
- Enjoy and place leftovers (if you have any) into individual mini Tupperware containers
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!
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
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
- 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
I stumbled across this quote this week on Pinterest and I just had to share it!
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?
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!
- 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
- Add all ingredients in a Tupperware and mix well.
- 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).
Summertime legs anyone :). Strong toned legs aren’t only sexy but allow you the freedom to enjoy the fun activities of SUMMER! Beach volleyball anyone, hike up in the mountains to see a beautiful waterfall, or a family soccer game?? Give yourself the gift of strong legs so that you can truly enjoy summer to it’s fullest without being forced to “sit out” the fun!
If you missed out on the Part 1 of this DO ANYWHERE leg series check it out here:
SeXy STRONG Legs Part 1
The SeXy STRONG Leg series Part 1 focused on the breakdown of the mechanics of a proper lunge; this week we make the lunges dynamic! This will put more demand on your balance… SeXy STRONG core anyone?
Follow along with this simple DO-ANYWHERE video~
Or these PHOTOS~
- Walking Lunges
- Walking Lunges with Overhead Reach
- Walking Lunges with Knee Pull In
- Walking Lunges with Rotation
- Lateral Dynamic Lunges
Summer Sexy Strong Legs can be yours!! Repeat this series 3-4 times/week followed by 30 minutes of cardio.
This Pilates move is a great way to warm up the body, practice breathing techniques, start circulation flow, and best of all a great way to work the core!
There are 3 position options for this move.
- Hook lying (beginner) knees bent, feet planted on the mat.
- Table top (intermediate) knees up and together, inlined with the hips.
- Straight leg (advanced) legs out a 45 degree angle
Inhale to prepare, exhale curl head and chest up to the bottom of your shoulder blades. Fold forward from upper torso, not your neck! Chin is tucked, looking at your belly button, arms at sides hovering 2” off the mat, fingertips are reaching past your hips. Pulling the navel into the spine, begin pumping the arms up and down in a small range of motion with rapid pace. Inhale 5 breaths while pumping the arms, exhale the breath for 5 while pumping the arms. Complete 20 sets of these (hence 100)
- Pull shoulder blades down and back, away from your ears
- Pull abs up and in. Don’t allow lower abs to ”pooch” out
- Keep neck long. Reach long out of the back of your neck
Things to remember:
- Squeeze knees/inner thighs together
- Visualize pressing a ball under water for arm resistance
- Keep small range of motion on pumping action
- If there is too much pain to keep the head lifted, leave the head down until core is stronger
“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?” The old cliche that I have personally said to myself during many rough times in life.
There is so much truth to this. Life can be so so challenging at times but overcoming these challenging times shows us just how strong we really are.
What obstacles have you recently overcome? How did they help you realize your true strength?