Healthy Swaps Day 2

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Over in OktoberFIT this week we are talking about making “Healthy Swaps”. You know replacing the garbage we tend to eat with healthier versions. Yesterday we talked about how most commercial salad dressings are loaded in sugar. You think you are making a healthier decision to have a salad, but then load it up with basically PURE SUGAR! Kind of defeats the purpose of the salad, yes? I l swap out salad dressings with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Better yet, make your own healthy dressings. There are tons of recipes online that are so quick and easy to do.

Today is Day 2 of “Healthy Swaps” and we are discussing one of the biggest culprits in a unhealthy diet/lifestyle: Diet Soda! I’ll be honest and admit that years ago I was a Diet Coke addict. I would drink a two liter a day or more. I didn’t drink coffee…I would wake up and grab a diet coke first thing. Once I learned how sodas of any kind wreak havoc on the body, and the dangers of aspartame (check out the inforgraphic), I gave them up completely. Its hard to give up sodas though, am I right?! Why is that? Because you are ADDICTED! Your body responds to sodas like it does to drugs…you crave it.

And a “Diet” Coke with no calories doesn’t mean its healthy just because it has the word “diet”. Healthy swaps to replace soda are water, but plain water can be boring, so I like flavored sparkling waters from Poland. They have all sorts of flavors with no added sugars, etc. I actually heard from a Poland person that they use essential oils and natural flavorings to make the flavored waters. It’s not an artificial flavoring or chemical from a lab.  Make sure any flavored waters you get are all natural, with no added sugars or chemicals. Or better yet…make your own Healthy Sangria!!

Add slices of lemons, limes, and frozen or fresh fruits to a sparkling water. My favorite is mint leaves and slices of lemons. You can do so many different flavors of water this way. I have a big jug with a spout that I make my waters in, having a big batch to last me all week. I just fill up my water bottle on the go, and feel great that I have pure clean water, flavored with natural fruit flavorings straight from Mother Earth.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

pumpkin-patch-1Fall is my favorite time of the year. Especially the month of October with Halloween and all. Not just because the weather starts to change and we get a cool crispness in the air. Not just because the leaves start to change colors, and the landscape looks like a beautiful painting.  Not just because of all the great Fall Festivals that take place. I’ll be honest and admit it’s really because of all the foods that come out at this time of the year: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie muffins and cakes, pumpkin beers, pumpkin flavored anything really. Don’t even get me started on Halloween candy.

When I decided to launch OktoberFIT again this year, I was a little sad about missing out on all of these Fall favorites. But OktoberFIT is all about making smarter and healthier choices, it’s not about missing out! You have to be careful about the swaps you make though. Some people will think any type of smoothie will be a good choice. We think “Oh I’ll just grab a smoothie from this place on this corner. It’s a smoothie, so it can’t be bad right?” WRONG!! Just for an instance, A large Jamba Juice Mango-A-Go-GO smoothie has MORE sugar than an ENTIRE Mrs. Smith’s Classic Cherry Pie!! SAY WHAT?!

I wanted to satisfy my cravings for something pumpkin flavored. So I decided to switch my regular Peanut Butter and Jelly breakfast smoothie out for this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. Below is the recipe I will be using for my breakfast smoothie for the month of OktoberFIT. Give it a try and let me know.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/2 frozen banana
4- 6 ice cubes
1 cup almond milk
1/2 – 1 cup canned pumpkin (just pure pumpkin, not the pie filling. Make sure there is no added sugar or other crap)
1-2 tsp maple syrup, honey or agave to sweeten (optional)
dash of pumpkin pie spice
dash of cinnamon (cinnamon is a great blood sugar regulator, so I recommend adding it to all smoothies)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend together until smooth.

OktoberFIT Workout Challenge

OktoberFIT kicked off today, and below is the workout part of the challenge that we will be following. Join us over in the Facebook Group for OktoberFIT and let us know how Day 1 went for you!

Daily Workout Challenge

Monday

  • 20 sec jog in place
  • 10 squats
  • 5 lunges each side
  • 30 sec burpees
  • 20 sec plank
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)

 

Tuesday

  • 20 Sec high knees
  • 20 Sec wall sit
  • 10 pushups
  • 20 sec jump rope in place
  • 25 crunches
  • 10 Pilates Criss Cross (see video)
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)

 

Wednesday

  • 30 sec burpees
  • 20 squats
  • 10 lunges each side
  • 3 rounds of Sun Salutations (see video)
  • 30 sec plank
  • 30 crunches
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)

 

Thursday

  • 20 sec jog in place with 10 sec rest (do 3 sets)
  • 25 squats
  • 15 lunges each side
  • 20 sec jump rope in place with 10 sec rest (do 3 sets)
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)
  • 10 Pilates Criss Cross (see video)

 

Friday

  • 20 sec high knees with 10 sec rest (do 3 sets)
  • 30 sec wall sit
  • 30 sec side plank each side
  • 60 sec plank (center)
  • 60 sec burpees
  • 20 pushups
  • 30 crunches
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)

 

Saturday

  • Rest

 

Sunday

  • Rest

 

 

 

 

Pilates Teaser 1 with Modifications and Variations

I know this is really over due, but here is a new video continuing the discussion on the Pilates Teaser that we started with the previous Pilates Teaser Prep video. Teaser is the gold star exercise in any Mat Pilates workout. This exercise works on strengthening the full body, and incorporates many muscles including all of the abdominal muscles, the spinal extensors and the hip flexors. In fact, the Teaser is much more effective than traditional crunches at targeting your external obliques and rectus abdominis. In this video, I show you a few different ways to achieve this amazing Pilates exercise, including some modifications. We will continue this with another video to come soon with some more Teaser variations.

OktoberFIT

Lederhosen-Dirndl-Run-in-Atlanta-in-October-2013-Photo-courtesy-of-GACF-I’ve decided to bring back OktoberFIT this year! This time it will be even bigger and better. OktoberFIT will be a month long health and fitness challenge during the month of October. The goal is to learn new healthy habits and provide you with tools to make it through the Holiday season. The months from October to January are full of temptations at every turn, from Halloween candy to Christmas cookies and cakes. OktoberFIT will help you end the year feeling and looking your best.

OktoberFIT will take place across social media as way to share with and inspire each other. You can join the OktoberFIT Facebook group where most of the action will be taking place, and also share your journey with others. If you share anything related to OktoberFIT on your own social media outlets be sure to use the hashtag #OktoberFIT so we can find each other.

I will posting a clean eating plan here and in the FB group before October 1st, as well as a fitness challenge calendar similar to last year’s challenge. Each day you find little tidbits of inspiration to benefit your health and well being. I will also be sharing new Pilates and Yoga videos for you to use along the way.

I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone who joins and shares in OktoberFIT!

7 Yoga Poses for Runners and Cyclists #6 Pigeon

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In my opinion PIgeon or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana is one Yoga pose that everyone should practice. It is one of my favorite poses, and I always do some variation of this pose in all the classes I teach. Pigeon is also a pose that I do after every run or bike ride. This pose helps to stretch a difficult area for most people, the IT Band, as well as allow some space and openness to be created in the hips. As a society today we spend so much time sitting, that practically everyone has some tightness in the hips. Now add all the exercise we do and our poor hips are just screaming for release. Pigeon allows that release.

Emotionally speaking, in Yoga we say that the hips are our emotional junk drawer. It’s where we hide away all those feelings we don’t want to deal with at the moment. So Pigeon allows not only a physical release but an emotional one as well. I’ve seen people begin to really let go in Pigeon in more ways than one, and some people have even cried in this pose, as they allow themselves to let go everything they are holding in.

One more note on Pigeon: you will either love or hate this pose. Some people, like me, really love the feeling of this pose. For some people it’s too much, and they can not sit still enough to allow that release. Just stay in the pose, focus on your breath, and begin to just let go both physically and emotionally. You will eventually come to love this pose as much as I do.

Yoga Pose #6 Pigeon/Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Benefits:

  • stretches inner and outer thighs
  • eases tightness in the groin and hips
  • stretches and releases psoas
  • opens shoulders and chest
  • stretches and lengthens spine

How To:

  • You can come into Pigeon from a few ways, I’m going to walk you through coming into it from all fours/tabletop.
  • Come into a tabletop position.
  • Step your right foot between your hands.
  • Walk you right foot over to the left side of the mat, and drop your right knee towards your right wrist.
  • You want your front leg laying flat on the mat, and your shin parallel to the front of your mat.
  • If you are super tight you can tuck the right/front foot more towards your left hip, basically do not force the leg to be as straight or as parallel to the front of the mat.
  • Square your hips off towards the front of your mat.
  • Extend the left leg long behind you, keeping the foot in line with the hip, and not letting the hips or the back leg roll out to one side.
  • Bring your hands in front of the front leg, and lengthen the spine on the inhale.
  • Exhale and fold over the front leg, walking your hands out in front of you.
  • You can rest your head on your hands or a block, and if needed, you can slide a block under the right hip.
  • Stay here for about 10-20 breaths (I like to hold Pigeon for a long time, so I usually hold for 20 breaths).
  • Slowly walk your upper body back up and step back into tabletop.
  • Now take Pigeon on the other side.