Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Favorite Home Gym Equipment

I've collected quite a bit of fun fitness gadgets over the years.  I love having the ability to change up my fitness routine to keep myself from getting bored.  Aside from the expensive fitness toys like a dance pole, I do have some more affordable favorites that I wanted to share with my readers.  Check out my list below of my go to affordable home fitness essentials.

1. Mini Stability Ball: I took a Ballet Barre series class at my local YMCA a few months ago and many of the exercises in the class focused around this miniature stability ball.  I immediately fell in love with the use of this little ball as it focused on muscles that I hadn't been able to target with my regular workouts.  You can purchase one of these balls from Amazon.com.  I ordered mine from Pure Barre's website.  I also believe if you have a local Pure Barre studio, you can purchase one from their on site studio boutique. 

2. Resistance Bands: This shouldn't come as any surprise considering I'm currently hosting a Pinterest Fitness Series of 4 weeks of resistance band routines for all my followers. If you've been following my blog and social media posts then you will have noticed all the posts for this month have focused on this particular piece of equipment.  Resistant bands are a staple for any home gym.  They are convenient for travel and versatile in their many uses.  You can get a total body workout that you will be feeling the next day with just a resistance band. An amazing piece of equipment for strength and toning work.

3.  Workout Labs Exercise Cards: Not necessarily a piece of equipment but an essential workout tool nonetheless.  All you need is an exercise mat or a small carpeted space where you can perform any number of the exercises you choose within the deck.  I love these cards for implementing ideas for conditioning with my students in my aerial silks classes.  These are also amazing for travel or when you want to get in a quick workout without having to mess with a DVD or online video access. 

4. Foam Roller: Such an important piece of equipment for flexibility and injury prevention.  When you workout a lot your muscles can get achy and tight. It's important to factor in a self care routine so as not to over stress your muscles and cause injury.  A foam roller can be a great tool for working on areas of the body that are over worked and tense.  With regular use of the foam roller, you will experience less post workout soreness related to muscle tension. I will often use my foam roller before and after a workout as both a warm up and cool down approach. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer of Self Exploration

This summer has been a rollercoaster of emotions and changes.  My sweet little Boston Terrier has had issues on and off with pain in the neck region for several years.  In the first week of June he started having pain and was unable to walk.  He was paralyzed in both his front and back left legs.  After being told by a neurologist he may have a brain tumor and we were expecting the worse, he underwent a MRI and was diagnosed with a herniated disc at cervical vertebrae number 3 and 4 with a large amount of bruising and compression on the spinal cord.  He also was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease at C5 & C6.  Treatment was recommended as an aggressive medication approach and if that did not work, then surgery.  Little guy was on bedrest for several weeks and pain meds every six hours.  It was an intense month of June but after three weeks, he started to walk again and regain voluntary control of his legs.  A month later he was weaned off pain medications and I started to wean him from his steroids.  He also began a physical therapy regimen where I began increasing his leash time around the neighborhood.  We have stuck to a strict no jumping up and down from furniture and no stairs policy in our home.  It has been very challenging and I have been extremely grateful for having opted years ago to work as a school nurse and have the ability to have my summers off.  I really wish we would have done the MRI a year prior when he was taken to the vet for a severe pain episode and they diagnosed him with a pinched nerve.  If we knew what we were dealing with, we could have made lifestyle changes to prevent this bad episode from happening.  I guess you can't really go back or have regrets but just be grateful that everything is better now and we know what we need to know now.  He has always lived a very active lifestyle and I want to maintain as much of his activity as possible.  We've gotten creative with how we're incorporating getting him out and about and the jogging stroller I purchased for him has become more of his means of travel nowadays than a luxury for when he gets tired walking.

In the midst of dealing with my ailing pup, I started to work on studying tarot.  I've always wanted to learn what the cards mean so I wouldn't have to rely on looking up meanings for every card in books.  It has been such a fun and interesting experience of study this summer.  I have learned a lot about myself in the process.  I look at tarot cards more in a holistic approach and a form of brain mapping.  A tool that helps you to organize your thoughts regarding situations or just daily happenings.  I don't believe in tarot cards as a means to foretell the future, unless you count self fulfilling prophecy from a reading but even then its not technically a means of "telling the future."

This summer has allowed me to have a lot of self reflection and put into perspective situations I have had to go through. I hadn't really had the desire to sit down and write.  With everything going on with my dog and some other things I haven't discussed that went on at the same time as everything with my dog, this summer has been highly emotionally draining that has taken it's toll mentally and physically. I've just recently returned to being able to teach my aerial classes after having been put on bedrest myself for a few weeks.  The tarot studies were a welcomed distraction.  I'm hoping to get back on track with blogging and my fitness journey.  I'm exploring new things with recipes so I plan on sharing those experiences here and how they relate to both pole dancing and aerial.  I also moved my home pole to another area in my home which will allow me more space. I'm hoping to gain some inspiration to get back on the pole and look forward to diving back in with pole related content very soon. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 2017 Pole Challenges

It's a new month and I'm ready to get motivated and back on track with fitness after having the summer off.  I'll be incorporating my very own Pinterest Fitness Series utilizing the resistance bands this month in addition to some pole workouts and circus physio.  Check out the fun fitness August challenges below!

Who here has stubbornly TIGHT shoulders πŸ™‹πŸ»πŸ™‹πŸ» Well, you’re in LUCK- @physioflexSF, @catie.brier.contortion, and @Cirque_physio are hosting a week-long SHOULDER FLEXIBILITY CHALLENGE, which has been tailor-made to safely coax those stubborn shoulders into gaining more mobility! Throughout the week, you’ll be given exercises, stretches, and end-range strengthening drills that will not only improve your active and passive shoulder flexibility, but also help decrease your risk of injury πŸ’ͺ πŸ†PRIZES πŸ†(because lets be real, we all love free stuff!!) πŸ₯‡ FIRST PLACE will receive the @cirque_physio active flexibility program for shoulders and upper back, along with a 30 minute Skype consult with @catie.brier.contortion, so they can maximize gains made during this challenge! πŸ₯ˆSECOND PLACE will receive the @cirque_physio active flexibility program for shoulders and upper back πŸ₯‰ THIRD PLACE will receive the @PhysioflexSF tank of their choosing (link in bio!!) ✨TO ENTER✨: Here’s what you have to do to officially enter the #PhysioFlexShoulderChallenge: 1️⃣ Follow hosts and sponsors: @cirque_physio, @catie.brier.contortion, and @physioflexSF 2️⃣ Repost this photo along with what you want to get out of the challenge, be sure to tag hosts and sponsors, with the #PhysioFlexShoulderChallenge hashtag! 3️⃣In your entry post, tag THREE friends to join you in the #PhysioFlexShoulderChallenge! πŸ’ͺThe challenge starts NEXT MONDAY, July 31st, so stay tuned for more instructions πŸ’ͺ

A post shared by Dr. Jen Crane PT, DPT, OCS,ATC (@cirque_physio) on

Calling all the women of Instagram ! πŸŒ™ We, as women, are powerful together ❤ From 1st to 10th of August, we are bringing you #WomenYogaTribe to embrace the beauty of our community and what makes us unique ! 🌟 For ten days, we will celebrate our divine feminine energy. We will inspire and lift each other up thanks to our daily asana. . To participate and be eligible for prizes : 1) Repost this flyer & tag 3 friends who would be interested in joining us. . 2) Follow and tag all 4 hosts AND all 11 sponsors in your posts. Your dear hosts 🌈 : @stardivakhushi @mylittleyogi @carolineanne92 @carreyia Our super generous sponsors 🌈 : @dharmabumsactive @mayanyogatribe @bunniesandzen_yoga_accessories @bohemian_island @yoga_democracy @gypsyarts @heal_meow @malamalamajewelry @liforme @yogapaws @yogisurprise . 3) Post a new picture everyday using #WomenYogaTribe . 4) Make sure your profile is public so we can see your posts in our challenge gallery. . We can't wait to share this adventure with you. #WomenYogaTribe will connect us all ! πŸ‘­πŸ‘­πŸ‘­

A post shared by Gaby (@mylittleyogi) on

My beautiful pole mates ❤️ ✨✨New Pole Challenge for August!✨✨We hope this will be a fun way to challenge you to learn new things, and to link moves together into combos. This challenge is open to ANY skill level, and moves can be modified or done from the floor if needed. The most important thing is to do your best and have fun! Hosts will post examples of the moves the day prior. If you have questions about a particular move, don't be afraid to ask! To participate, follow the steps below... 1. Follow @kristen.bethanie and @forthelove_ofpole on Instagram 2. Repost this post and tag 2 friends to join us 3. We have made this an "every other day" challenge, to allow time for resting and catching up. All entries must be received by September 3, 2017. 4. Winners will be announced September 6, 2017. 5. Remember to use the hashtag #augustcombochallenge in all your posts, as well as tagging @kristen.bethanie and @forthelove_ofpole so we can be sure to see your entries! 6. Prizes: 1st place winner will receive a $50.00 giftcard to @Vekkerla, 2nd place will receive new legwarmers, and 3rd place will receive one bottle of Dry Hands πŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„

A post shared by De Anne (@forthelove_ofpole) on

Do you have ballerina dreams? Join our #elegantbodyballetchallenge with The Pole Ballerina @elegantjacqueline of @elegantbodypilates. Improve your grace and elegance and get entered to win some amazing prizes in the process! How do you enter? 1. Repost this image. 2. Follow your challenge sponsors @elegantjacqueline @elegantbodypilates @artistaapparel @mighty_grip @xpoleus @123poling.com_pole_tutorials 3. Post your challenge videos daily. There will be 14 moves total. Prizes: @artistaapparel- Ballet Top & Ballet Leggings (shown) @mighty_grip - A surprise goodie bag of your #1 leading grip products @xpoleus - A premium goodie bag with Xpole branded merchandise, DVDs, and more! @123poling.com_pole_tutorials - A FREE one month subscription The challenge begins Monday, August 7th, so get ready! Winners will be announced Monday, August 21.

A post shared by Artista Apparel (@artistaapparel) on

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pinterest Fitness Series: Resistance Band 4 Week Routine

Welcome back for another round of my Pinterest Fitness four week routines.  In this blog series I've taken all those pinned fitness ideas that I've been collecting to do "some day" and compiled them into a monthly challenge style routine where I've designated an entire routine for a specific day to be performed twice a week for the duration of four weeks. Each month's routine will involve the same theme or piece of exercise equipment. 

To get started, I recommend choosing two days during the week where you can remain consistent for the course of the four weeks.  You may also want to consider two days that allow you to have a rest day in between such as Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. These routines will be performed for four weeks consecutively.

This month's routine will be all about the resistance band. A simple and inexpensive piece of equipment that has many varieties of use for a total body workout. If you're also a fellow pole dancer, you can make great use of your pole with some of these exercises by wrapping the band around your pole to optimize the resistance. Check out the list below for the designated workout for each day. If you click the link to the corresponding workout, you will be redirected to the pin on Pinterest where you can pin it to your own Fitness Board. 

Week 1
Day 1
Sexy Summer Arms
Day 2
Beginner Band Workout
Week 2
Day 1
Upper Body
Day 2
Week 3
Day 1
Shoulders, Chest, & Triceps
Day 2
Booty Work
Week 4
Day 1
Lower Body
Day 2
500 Rep Back & Core

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Low Carb Diet and My Adventures with the Butternut Squash

I've recently decided to ditch the 95% bread, tortillas, and pasta diet I've grown up enjoying for a low carb diet/lifestyle.  There have been multiple studies out there in the mainstream media that have caught my attention and assisted in wavering my decision on this matter.  I never thought I'd give up my beloved bread but I wanted to try this low carb living to see if it made a different in how my body feels. 

It all started with buying a butternut squash.  I'd heard of spaghetti squash and went to the market to purchase one.  I wasn't able to find this particular squash and instead picked up a butternut squash.  Thanks to Pinterest, I was able to quickly research recipes prior to checking out my groceries to assure this idea of butternut squash noodles was in fact possible.  I did end up having to do some additional research and discovered that I could make perfect noodles out of the butternut squash if I had a fancy noodle making device.  I logged on to Amazon.com and purchased a Spiralizer.  It was listed as one of the best sellers so I was easily swayed into purchasing.  My Spiralizer arrived the next day. The first meal to make with my new Spiralizer was spaghetti.  I used the 6mm blade and while the noodles turned out really good, my husband and I both agreed that the noodles turned out too thick for our preference and will opt for a small blade on our next attempt.  I used some YouTube videos to learn how to properly cook the butternut squash noodles.

To cook, I placed my noodles into a skillet with olive oil until the noodles appeared to be tender and not as hard.  You can also bake the noodles on a baking sheet in the oven after mixing with olive oil.  For the bulbous seed end of the squash, I scraped out the seeds and cut up the squash as best as I could into thin strips.  I used the thin strips the following day for making baked french fries.  I put olive oil on the baking sheet and brushed over each french fry.  I then seasoned with garlic powder, pepper, salt, cayenne, and cumin.  Baked on 425* for 30 minutes then broiled on high for 5 minutes. I think I'll just broil on low for 10-12 minutes next time which was recommended by a Pinterest recipe I camce across.  The fries turned out delicious.  All in all, the butternut squash as a high carb noodle and french fry alternative was a huge success.  I'm looking forward to trying out zucchini noodles next for pasta dishes. I have also incorporated a lot of cauliflower and will be making cauliflower pizza crust tonight for a homemade pizza. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Common Body Position Mistakes in Pole and Aerial

As I'm working on getting back into the groove of teaching aerial silks again, I've been spending a lot of time getting re-acquainted with skills and my old bag of tricks and tips I used to religiously preach to my students in class.  During some of my movement studies these past few days, I have noticed that knack for picking out particular body alignment issues has reached a heightened sensitivity once again. I've greatly attributed my ability to pick out particular movement issues to having to learn everything myself from the self taught pole dancer YouTube generation before there was the existence of pole studios and pole instructors as well as my assessment skills I was trained to develop from being a nurse. 

Some of the classic movement mistakes I see students make can easily be corrected.  I wanted to share a few of the common mistakes with my readers so they too can focus on incorporating these tips into their practice. 

1. Sunken chest. I see this a lot in floor work. The shoulders are rounded and the upper back muscles are not engaged.  While this is a natural state to want to round the shoulders, it is not an aesthetically pleasing posture and leads to you missing out on working those abdominal muscles in the movement to achieve your desired affect.  While pole work can be fun, it's also a workout and you want to reap the benefits of each and every single movement. 

2. Flexed feet in the climb.  The points of contact in the basic pole climb include the knees and ankles.  Most people will default to strong arming their climbs and neglect the use of their legs which results in over and unnecessary use of the tops of the feet.  I have always taught the climb as being 90% legs and 10% arms.  When the leg contact points aren't properly engaged, it leads to using the top of the foot, particularly the foot behind the pole, which creates a flexed foot.  The flexed foot is bearing weight.  In a proper climb, the knees and ankles are taking the weight which allows both feet to point for  clean line approach to the climb. 

3. Micro knee bends in straight leg inverts.  The micro bends in the knees during inversions are the body's way of telling you that your abdominal muscles are not quite strong enough or are not properly engaged when performing this skill.  Focus on engaging the abdominal muscles prior to inverting or working on ground abdominal conditioning exercises to better prep your muscles for completing this skill. 

4. Locking shoulders back and down.  This can cause a lot of pain in the neck and traps muscles if you are pulling the shoulders back and down and locking them out during aerial activities.  We often hear that cue of "shoulder back and down" from both pole and aerial instructors.  While beginner level students may actually need these types of cues for proper shoulder engagement, most students will develop the necessary upper back muscles and shoulder strength that when pulling the shoulders back and down can cause unnecessary stress to the delicate structure of the shoulder joint.  Many aerialists and instructors are changing their tunes when it comes to this concept of shoulder engagement as a result of seeing an influx in chronic pain associated with improper alignment that was once thought to be the holy grail of shoulders.  Check out this amazing blog for a more in depth analysis of this corrective cue and how you should be properly engaging your shoulders: http://www.cirquephysio.com/blog/rethinking-shoulder-position-in-circus-arts

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Cleo the Hurricane's Liquid Heroine Vinyl Leggings Review

I recently purchased a pair of Cleo the Hurricane's Heroine Liquid Vinyl Leggings in black. I purchased these leggings in order to workout on the pole during the colder months when poles are typically slicker.  Anyone that has poled for a long time knows the pole is temperamental with the weather.  A slick pole usually results in a poor and frustrating workout.

The order process went relatively smooth.  My leggings arrived within a week of placing my order.  They arrived in a well packaged packing envelope with a clear wrapped cellophane containing the leggings.

The first time I used the leggings, I didn't feel like they fit well.  They are very tight and require you to pull them up all the way to get the best fit.  When ordering, you may also want to order a size larger than you typically order. I followed the recommended sizing chart when placing my order. The second time I wore them they fit a lot better as I made sure to pull them up higher up my legs.  The leggings definitely add the desired stickiness to the pole and made for an easier and warmer workout.  One downfall was that the leggings caused me to sweat a lot.  They practically had to be peeled off and my legs felt wet when I was done.  

Overall, I really like the leggings.  It was a nice change to be able to pole with pants on.  It took a little getting used to but after some pole play I was really enjoying using them during my workout.  If you're looking for some sticky leggings to wear during your pole workout, I highly recommend the Heroine Liquid Vinyl Leggings.