Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Pure Barre Experience

I decided to finally try out a Pure Barre class as part of my post-op back to aerial fitness recovery plan.  My local Pure Barre studio offers new clients a first week of free classes and since I haven't been teaching, I figured now was the perfect time to get in there and see what their technique is all about. 

My first class was a lot of trying to figure out the technique and lingo that everyone was accustomed to.  The class runs with a quick pace from one exercise to the next. It started with a warm up that focused on the arms using weights.  Beginners are encouraged to use the lightest weights available, which are 2 pounds.  After my first two classes, I still think the 2 pounders are a bit much for me and I may actually need 1 pound weights.  If the weights become too much, you can also opt to not use them or take a break from the weights and continue with just the arm movements.  I have yet to perform the entire arm warm up using the weights the entire time. Future goals.  The warm up then progresses from arms to cover both core and legs.

After the warm up, the particular areas of focus each class works on are core, thighs, and seat.  The class runs through a similar routine with slight changes based on who the instructor is that is running the class.  The main equipment used during class are the weights for the warm up, resistance band, mini stability ball, mat, and the barre.  It is also recommended to wear socks and Pure Barre offers sticky socks in their retail area of the lounge.  I ended up purchasing a pair of small sticky socks and since I forgot to bring a hair tie, I got these really cool spiral hair ties that resemble key chain chords called teleties.

To get the most out of each exercise, the instructors prompt participants in form cues that engage particular areas of focus for that exercise.  By engaging these areas, the participant will feel a huge difference in working the targeted muscle group.  Pure Barre's slogan is "Lift. Tone. Burn."  From my experience, I can vouch there is a lot of burn.  And shaking.  When you're doing the exercises correctly, you will experience muscle burning and shaking.  THIS is good.  This is what you want because it's working the muscles and conditioning them for the desired toning and strengthening effect.  The whole reason you're doing the work out in the first place, right?  Although it may not feel like what you signed up for and you're pretty certain the class is trying to kill you, just keep with it.  It gets better.  My second class felt a lot better than my first.  I'm told it takes at least three classes for things to really click. 

By the end of this week, I will have participated in four classes.  I have decided to alternate my Pure Barre classes with some yoga classes at my local YMCA.  After my first Pure Barre class, my hips and glutes were really tight and sore.  I did a 47 minute DoYogawithMe.com Deep Release for the Hips, Hamstrings, and Lower Back online class and that helped A LOT and prepared my body for my second Pure Barre class.  So this week's schedule for me looks like this:

✔Friday (1st Pure Barre class) 4:30p-5:20p
✔Saturday DoYogawithMe.com online class
✔Sunday (2nd Pure Barre class) 9a-9:50a
✔Monday Yoga 5:30p-6:30p
Tuesday Pure Barre 4:30p-5:20p
Thursday Yoga 7:15p-8:15p
Friday Pure Barre 4:30p-5:20p

Throughout the week, I will also be using my DeskCycle stationary bicycle to achieve my 10k+ steps.  Next week, I plan on integrating some Cirque open gym time to work on the aerial silks.  I need to go in to the aerial gym with a plan next week and as this week progresses, I will have a better idea of what my curriculum will look like.  So stay tuned for my next week blog where I recap my progress and my plan moving forward as I get back in the air. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Fitness After Surgery

I'm officially one month post-op and I have been having a few set backs.  While the majority of my incisions are healed, I have been having issues with one area that keeps having drainage.  I had to return to my doctor for an unplanned follow up appointment because all of a sudden I started having a lot of drainage requiring an immediate site assessment and change in the plan of care.  I'm now having to conduct daily dressing changes. As of a week ago I was changing the dressing up to three times a day.  Drainage has finally started to slow down and I am now changing my dressing once or twice a day. 

On the fitness end of things, I have started to do some online yoga classes with www.DoYogaWithMe.com.  I also successfully took a yoga class on Friday with my local YMCA. Saturday morning I did a quick at home circuit training routine that focused strongly on glutes and legs. I am also continuing to use my Desk Cycle throughout the work day while I sit at my desk. While my incisional healing has been a slow progress, I have been working towards increasing my endurance with around the house activities.  I couldn't believe how wiped out the surgery left me.  The first three weeks post-op were frustrating because mentally I was ready to get moving while physically I was not.  I've been itching to get back in the air but have been cautious as to not jump back on any apparatuses while having drainage. 

I think the most frustrating thing is that while most of the incisional area is well healed, there is one area that is being stubborn. The reason for this is because of a previous hernia repair that resulted in my surgeon having to make a cut in a secondary location. Obviously the secondary location is not a preferred area and after experiencing the slower recuperation, I completely understand the reasoning why.

While I have not gone into complete details about my surgery and why I had it, I can say that I am feeling so much better than I have in the last 12+ years.  I'm able to tolerate eating certain things better than I was.  I have noticed a difference so I would say my surgery was quite successful.  I think the one thing I keep trying to remind myself is that I need to respect the fact that I just had a major surgery a month ago.  In the big picture, a month is really not all that long ago.  It may seem like an eternity at times but in reality, sometimes our bodies need time for recovery and pushing ourselves too much too soon can have the opposite effect of our intentions.  So I'm hanging in there and continuing to work on my short term goals and hopefully I will be back at it before long.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April 2018 Pole & Aerial Fitness Challenges

It's April! Come on Spring! I'm ready for some warmer weather- even though I am probably one of the few people to ever admit that I do love the snow.  I just celebrated another birthday at the end of March and once my birthday has come and gone, in my mind it is time for flowers! I just recently splurged on some cute birthday floral print items to set the season.... (H&M floral cardigan jacket and Agenda 52 Floral A5 planner). As the weather changes, so does the mood.  I feel more energized in Spring weather and I'm ready to kick this post op recovery into high gear (read my previous blog for insight into my post-op fitness hiatus).  So without further a do, here is a list of the current pole, aerial, and yoga fitness challenges for April 2018.

1. This one has already begun but it's never too late to add your entries!

Are you ready??? I'm happy to announce this challenge with @boomkats_polewear πŸ’“ Here is the list of tricks which I'll be posting the night before, so you can see it and film it the day after, but remember: πŸ‘‰ always respect your body's practice πŸ‘‰ take rest days πŸ‘‰ it is allowed to catch up with the challenge or to pre-record πŸ‘‰ you can post a photo or a video πŸ‘‰ you can always choose an easier version of the trick - everything counts! πŸ‘‰ follow @leslielili_pole and @boomkats_polewear πŸ‘‰ always tag @leslielili_pole and @boomkats_polewear, so we can see your post πŸ‘‰ hashtag #favpoletrickchallenge and #boomkats_polewear There will be three winners announced on April 9th. First place gets to spend 60€ in @boomkats_polewear store and second and third place get to spend 10€. Good luck everyone! πŸ’› #favpoletrickchallenge #pole #poledance #poledancer #polechallenge #outfit #dance #dancer #poletrick #flexibility #unitedbypole #poledancenation
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‼️Announcing the #handSTANDforBEAUTY challenge that starts on Monday April 2nd. ‼️In this 7-day handstand challenge we will explore the variety of bendy pole handstands. Don’t have a pole? Use a wall, pillar, tree or anything you want you can lean on! To enter the challenge follow the rules below and participate each day to win a pair of ‘Aztec’ sticky pole leggings by @paradise_chick_ or jump in whenever you can to practice your #pdhandstand πŸ¦‹April 2-8th πŸ¦‹ ‼️Rules and Guidelines ‼️ ✅ Follow @vlada_polefitdubai and @paradise_chick_ ✅ Like this post ✅ Repost this photo and invite two or more friends to join the fun ✅ Post a photo/video of each pole handstand or make your own variation, make sure to use the challenge hashtag #handSTANDforBEAUTY, tag @vlada_polefitdubai and @paradise_chick_ so we can see your posts ✅ Enjoy and have fun! .................................................. I will be posting a video everyday demonstrating the move of the day (see the list below) πŸ¦‹ Day 1 - Forearm handstand πŸ¦‹ Day 2 - Hollowback (hips) πŸ¦‹ Day 3 - Hollowback (bridge) πŸ¦‹ Day 4 - Holloback (chest) πŸ¦‹ Day 5 - Split handstand πŸ¦‹ Day 6 - Chiropractor 1 πŸ¦‹ Day 7 - Chiropractor 2 . . . . #poledancenation #poledancing #poledance #unitedbypole #polespin #spinningpole #staticpole #staticpolecombo #polerina #poleart #polelife #polelove #poledance #poledancer #poledancersofinstagram #passionforpoledance #polepose #poletrick #polemove #polepassion #aerialistsofig #polefitness #polecombo #poleflow #poletricks #poletrickoftheday
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JUST A FEW DAYS TILL WE START THE CHALLENGEEEEEEEE πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ #ApplyTheFlow CHALLENGE TIME!!!! To launch my new website and blog; www.anjavalkyrie.com I'm hosting a 4 week long challenge in April! I'm so excited to announce that I've teamed up with lovely @bandurskadesign to offer a great prize for one diligent pole dancer at the end of April! 2 months online training (focused on your pole goals) with me and a beautiful set from Bandurska which the winner chooses from their amazing collection πŸ’• The challenge will have four combos to complete in April. I will post them on my feed each monday morning (GMT 00:00) and you have a week to repeat it on video, post the video on your wall and tag @anjavalkyrie and #ApplyTheFlow to make sure I can see it! Winner will be chosen at random from the ones who complete the challenge. Now, we all learn to do all these cool tricks, but often we have no idea how to connect them. This month we'll focus on the flow from one trick to the next! When you do each combo, I want your main focus to be on climbing beautifully, straightening your legs completely, making nice movements with your head, body, hands and hair. Take your moment. Live in it. Don't worry if you can't repeat the combo completely the same. It's the main movements and above all, the feeling in the movement that matters most. RULES: 1.Follow @anjavalkyrie and @bandurskadesign 2.Repost this photo on your feed and in your story πŸ’œ 3.Tag 2 pole friends and have them join the fun πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰ 4.video yourself doing the combo of the week and upload on your feed, tag me and #ApplyTheFlow πŸ™… 5.APPLY THE FLOOOOOW πŸ’œπŸ’šπŸ’™❤
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7. DoYogawithMe.com: I'm setting a personal challenge for myself as part of my post-op recovery by participating in the 8 week DYWM Beginner Program.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fitness Hiatus

I have been on a fitness and blogging hiatus the last 3 weeks due to surgery. For the past 12 years, I have been having a lot of pain that has gradually increased. I always knew something was wrong. I'm not quite at a point where I feel ready to go into great detail about everything, I've just been letting the reality of it all sink in. I'm still at a point in my personal life where I am trying to figure out how to approach this and how to talk about it and how I perceive these answers to my long sought questions. It has been quite a journey and I am trying hard to slow down and take my time by listening to my body in my recovery process. After 3 weeks, I returned to work yesterday. I am trying to incorporate using my desk cycle for activity. I brought my desk cycle home with me and fully anticipated using it during my recovery however, I was only able to use it once. The first time I tried using it was too painful and I decided it was best to rest. I also had high hopes of returning to teaching my aerial classes next week but after the last few days of trying to get back to a somewhat normal existence, my body let me know that dream is just too soon. So I am taking it easy and gradually building back up my activity and tolerance. I think the biggest hurdle of all is how tired I have been getting. So far I have done yoga once last week and used my desk cycle (consecutively now for 2 days!). Tonight I plan on doing some at home conditioning exercises using resistance bands, mini stability ball, and maybe a little pole dance warm up. I just wanted to put something out there for my followers to let you all know I am still here- just taking it easy right now.

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

πŸŒΌπŸ’✨ March Pole and Core Challenge ✨πŸ’πŸŒΌMarch 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!✨πŸŒΌπŸ’πŸŒΌ✨

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