Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Aerial Silks Teaching Technique: The Mid-Class Warmup?

Hamstring injuries in aerial are becoming a common theme lately.  Most people acquire some form of hamstring injury either from activities not related to aerial that exacerbate when adding aerial fitness to their routine or during aerial training when key muscle groups are not properly warmed up or have had the opportunity to cool down.  I have developed a theory I would like to implement into my teaching strategy that incorporates the concept of post warm up cooling phase training.  The cooling phase is when those nice and warm muscles go cold during an aerial class. 

It's been my experience that during classes we tend to repetitively focus on particular skills and muscle groups that pertain to distinct movement of the class agenda.  When we want to add some "flavor" to the skill we're newly mastering by combining it with our bank of moves we've already become proficient in, there runs the risk of tapping into skills that use muscle groups that have not been worked over the course of the previous 30-40 minute instructional class time.  A classic example of this would be to drop a split during a double foot lock when you just spent the last 30 minutes focusing on foot locking and not engaging the muscles that should be warm when going into a split. 

This idea has got me thinking about approaching teaching my classes a bit differently.  Instead of the 20 minute start of the class warm up, would it be possible to stagger the warm up throughout my 60 minute classes?  To utilize aerial skills in conjunction with a foundational buildup of creating a consistency for maintaining a warmer body?  How would a class like this flow?  I would have to re-write my entire teaching curriculum to meet the requirements of touching base with each muscle group thoroughly before engaging those areas in the desired aerial skills.  Or would it work just as well to shorten the 20 minute warm up and then integrate those missed elements with a class wide off the silks instructor lead range of motion check in when everyone goes through a series of body rolls and movements similar to the more intense pre-workout warm up?  This ROM check in can include more intense static stretching that precedes the upcoming high risk injury moves. 

Implementation Practices
I decided to try to implement this into my class last night. While I had good intentions, I ended up moving right into the class curriculum and forgetting to have a mid-class warm up EVEN after I told my students what I had planned.  I think implementing this new process will take some careful planning on my part.  Some ideas I will play around with include using timers on my phone to set specific intervals throughout class where we need to stop everything we're working on and re-engage and focus with a range of motion check in.  I'm also going to take some time over the next few weeks to re-write up my class curriculum to include specific stretches to compliment the skills being taught in class.  I think this is a good starting point and will definitely keep you all posted on the results of my progress for this project.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

#FortheLoveofPole February 2018 Challenge Report Card

This past month I decided to host my own version of a pole challenge on my Instagram.  Since February was a short month, I figured it would be easy to tackle a challenge and commit to daily pole workouts.  My challenge rules were to pole dance for a minimum of 15 minutes every day.  From the start, I knew I was going to be unable to participate for 4 days as I was going to be on a ski trip.  So to recap my motivation and efforts, I averaged 13/24 days of participation or 54%.  If this were the standard letter grading scale, I'd have an F on my report card. 

I think what matters most is how I am coming away from this challenge and how I feel.  I feel like the ski trip really killed my motivation.  I started out strong and then slacked off.  Despite this month being fairly busy, I think my participation was decent.  There were a few nights where I opted to be lazy as opposed to doing the challenge.

What I'm taking away from this challenge:
  • I got back into poling after having been on an unintentional hiatus since July of 2017.  (Way too long to not touch the pole!)
  • I was able to explore some dance techniques and movement to step outside of my traditional go to dance moves.
  • I had fun.
  • This challenge left me feeling good about my dancing.
  • I got in some great cardio!
Overall, I think what matters most about doing these online challenges is that you are able to do them at your own pace and do them as a fun way to stay in touch with your pole.  It's easy to get bored and flake out on your fitness. I never intended to go so long without dancing on the pole.  As I'm entering  a new month, my fitness goals will be on hiatus due to some necessary medical treatments.  I'm hoping to take this next month for recovery, self-love, and healing.  Thank you to everyone who participated with me in my February #FortheLoveofPole challenge. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March 2018 Pole & Fitness Challenges

🌼💐✨ March Pole and Core Challenge ✨💐🌼March pole and core challenge with @dredee1983 starts this week! This month's challenge focuses on core strength and is designed to help all levels progress with core strengthening needed for pole moves. This challenge can also be done if you don’t have a pole (so feel free to tag non-pole friends too!) To play, follow the steps below: 1. Repost the flyer and tag two friends to play. 2. Follow the host and tag in all your entries! Example videos will be posted 2-3 days before each day. Some of these exercises may not have names and there will also be a couple different options for each day so for this challenge you should check @dredee1983’s videos before each day to see that particular exercise and pole move. 3. Post a video of your pole moves and exercises for each odd numbered day of the month. Use the hashtag #marchcorechallenge, and don't forget to tag the host in all your entries! I am not awarding prizes for this challenge but will still be choosing winners for anyone who completes all the exercises and/or pole moves!✨🌼💐🌼✨

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Reusable Menstrual Pads and Pantyliners

I decided to take the plunge and try out some more reusable menstrual products.  I have been a long time Diva Cup user (see former blog here) and decided that I wanted to shift my eco-friendly lifestyle ambitions to eliminating all disposable menstrual products.  With a little online research, I discovered several very appealing products that I felt would be a perfect fit for my lifestyle. 

Product List
  1. Lunapads Performa 5 pack pantyliners $59.95
  2. Hesta Organic Cotton 5 pack pantyliners $34.99
  3. Love My® Antibacterial Bamboo Fiber 6 pack pantyliners $14.95
Product Reviews Research

All the products are well received by their respective reviewers.  The products seem to do the job they are intended for.  Some of the particular considerations I paid attention to in the reviews that helped me solidify my decision were the following:
  • Price
  • Pad movement during basic activities such as walking
  • Quality of product - did it fall apart immediately or have issues after washes?
  • Leakage - did anyone complain of leaks in their reviews?
  • Temperature complaints
  • Ease of use
  • Bulky bunching product- does it create a visible panty line through clothing?
My intent for the product use was to replace disposable pantyliners used for spotting or light days in my menstrual cycle.  I currently use the Diva Cup menstrual cup as an alternative to disposable products for my menstrual flow days so my research was restricted to the thinner pantyliner options.  After a lot of back and forth between option 1 and 2, I ended up purchasing the Hesta Organic Cotton 5 pack pantyliners from Amazon.

Product First Impressions 
The pads are soft, thin, and easily usable.  They snap together around the underwear using buttons.  My first month using them I experienced some pad movement.  On my second month of use, I remedied this issue by doubling up on underwear or wearing a pair of boy short style underwear over my underwear that contained the pad.  For cleaning purposes, I have been using the wet pail method of soaking the used pads in a bucket of cold water then hand washing with mild detergent and hang drying.  I picked up a PRESSA 16 clip hanging octopus dryer from IKEA to use for my drying method. So far after two months of use, I am really enjoying using the reusable pads and am a point of considering purchasing an additional set of five pads.  I'm also experimenting with cleaning methods.  I prefer the hand washing wet pail method and will try different detergents and recommended cleaning products with future use.  Overall, I am feeling very good about my continued progress towards a greener menstrual cycle. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fitness Tracker Change Up

My Fitbit Flex was working fine for the last 23 months- until it wasn't.  It stopped syncing to the app and was determined to be officially dead.  I did a little research on the current fitness trackers on the market offered through Fitbit so I could take advantage of the 25% off discount code they sent me. However, none of the trackers were very appealing to me for both features and price.  I'd been a previous Jawbone Up Move user and I decided to return to using my all time favorite tracker once again.  I ordered an Up Move tracker from Amazon.  In the meantime, to stay on track with my Employee Wellness Program goals of 10k+ steps per day, I downloaded a free pedometer app to my phone.  All I really need in a tracker is to be able to keep track of my step count.  An additional bonus to using a tracker for me is the sleep tracking feature and exercise log.  I really enjoyed the user friendly device that Jawbone offers.  I am hoping my new tracker will live up to the quality of my previous tracker's experience. 

I received my tracker quickly after purchasing from Amazon.  Everything worked wonderfully fresh out of the box.  Last week I was browsing fitness trackers online and it occurred to me that not many people use the Jawbone trackers anymore since their peak in popularity just three years ago.  It was then that I discovered news articles from mid-2017 stating that Jawbone had gone out of business.  While the tracker I have is still working, I wonder how long the app will continue to function and the tracker will continue doing what I need it to do? So for now, I am going to continue to enjoy using my tracker until I am no longer able to.  It's such a shame because I really like the product.  It just appears that for whatever reason, Jawbone couldn't keep up with the competitive demands of the fitness tracker market.  So far, the tracker lives up to the quality I had previously experienced as a Jawbone user.  I will continue to keep my eyes open in the meantime for a similar simplistic device that does not require me to wear on my wrist for my inevitable future tracker purchase.  So if you're in the market for a cheap short term fitness tracker, then it appears the Jawbone Up Move tracker may be just for you. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#FortheLoveofPole February Challenge

I'm hosting a pole challenge on my Instagram for February.  I was tired of being a in a pole rut- I had not touched the pole since July. 😲 I couldn't believe it'd been so long.  The challenge is quite simple. Pole every day in the month of February for at least 15 minutes.  Going into this challenge, I foresaw most of my entries being quick freestyle warm up type dances.  Which was fine by me.  I wasn't trying to impress anyone, I just wanted to get back into dancing with my pole.  I also didn't have any expectations of how many people would participate.  Like I said, this was more about doing something I'd been wanting to do for quite awhile now which is also one of the goals I touched base on in my 2018 Fitness Goals blog post..  It was an overdue process of getting reacquainted with my pole.  Just three years ago when I was a studio owner, I did pole EVERY day.  I felt like my body was in a lot better shape then so it only made sense that if I could do one thing to get back into better physical shape that it would be to bring pole back into my life. 

How I'm doing the challenge.

Day 1 was a lot of awkward freestyle movement.  I turned on my Pandora Radio app and tuned into to the Amy Winehouse channel.  I set up my camera to record some of my progress for sharing purposes and set a timer for 15 minutes.  Then I just danced. I danced around the pole clockwise and counterclockwise, did body rolls, forward bends, danced through the Pandora commercials, and even played a game of fetch with my dog that kept bringing me a stuffed toy- ALL while I danced.  It felt good to spin and move.  A lot of muscle memory still exists but the movements felt rough around the edges. Surprisingly, 15 minutes felt like an awful long time for continuous movement.  I event checked the time with 4 minutes to go thinking the timer had failed me and I'd been dancing for 30 minutes.  I'm looking forward to continuing this challenge throughout the month and will hopefully come away with putting pole back into my regular fitness rotation.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My Fitness Goals for 2018

I have a lot of ambitious goals for my fitness journey in 2018! I'm really excited to lay these plans out and start working on these goals for the new year.  By sharing my goals with my readers, I'm creating accountability. So here are the list of goals I'm looking forward to for 2018.

  • Complete 14 day online Do Yoga With Me challenge.
  • Progress in my Trapeze skills. Be able to create a routine.
  • Perform in an aerial showcase.
  • Complete an Instagram challenge for pole fitness.
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking - visit Cascade Falls, Jug Rock, and other local hiking trails/parks
  • 10K steps/day
  • Employee Wellness Program activities
  • Sailing lessons
  • Ride my bicycle more within the city and less driving the car/take bicycle grocery shopping

What are your fitness goals for 2018?  Let me know in the comments or share with my on my Instagram or Facebook!