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. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

July 2017 Pole Dancing and Fitness Challenges

Updated 7/1/2017😊

Starts this weekend! ・・・ Lotus Fitness Studio July Pole Move of the Day Social Media Challenge starts today! RULES: πŸ’œ1- Follow Lotus Fitness Studio on Instagram or Like us on Facebook πŸ’œ2-Like the picture/video of the day πŸ’œ3- Post picture/video of move of the day to FaceBook and/or Instagram and tag or mention Lotus Fitness Studio (using @lotusfitnessstudio #lotusfitnessstudio and #lotusjulychallenge) We will be tracking posts and tags daily and at the end of the month randomly select 3 winners. Multiple entries allowed, the more times you enter the higher your chances of winning. Winners will be notified through social media Winners picture/videos will be reposted on Lotus Fitness Studio Social Media Pages. 3 WINNERS/PRIZES: πŸ’œ1- Local Non-Member will win a Day Pass to the Studio πŸ’œ1- Local Member will win one Pole private Lesson πŸ’œ1- Non-Local winner will win a Lotus Tank Top (shipped within the U.S. only) We will be posting pics/video examples each day of the listed moves. Have fun and good luck! #lotusfitnessstudio #lotusjulychallenge #polechallenge #julypolechallenge #instagramjulychallenge #instargrampolechallenge #unitedbypole #poledance #poledancing #polelove #poledancersofig #poledancersofinstagram #playtowin #orlandopole

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#repost πŸ˜ƒ Give me all the challenges! Lol • Announcing #YogisWhoBalance 01-10. of July Join us for 10 days of balancing joy! We will bring you new beautiful and challengeg poses that you can try and have fun! To participate and be eligible for one of the amazing prizes from our sponsors- 1. Follow and tag all hosts: @yogininheels @elisheva_yoga @bentley.likethecar and @shiziks 2. Follow and tag our amazing sponsors: @Aloyoga @youphoriayoga @anapoenergy 3. Repost this poster along with hashtag #YogisWhoBalance and tag 3 friends to help us spread the word! Be sure your profile is set to public, post daily, and tag all hosts! @yogi.maggie @healthyhappyellen #yoga #yogachallenge #igyoga #yogainspiration #yogaeveryday #yogalove

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Join us a we focus on building up our core for the month of June!!! You can use this as a template and change it up to fit your lifestyle! Training for 2 pack nation baby! Follow my business page @aydholistic to stay up to date with AYD! Here are the instructions for the challenge: Introducing our monthly challenges! (Yayyy fitness). So you may not be able to attend yoga, group runs or other commitments, but ANYONE can take on this challenge! Starting July 1st I will be doing 100 Squats PLUS 10- 30 second planks. Why not join me with something you can do anytime anywhere! My plan is to do 10 Squats (active time) 1- :30 sec plank between (active rest) and alternate until complete! To join, add our business page @aydholistic and repost this flyer. Also, don't forget to tag us along with #AYDHolistic #AYDHsummerchallenge. So, what do you recieve besides a nice butt and core you may ask? Well, tagging us and performing daily will make you eligible for an Asase Ye Duru Holistic gift bag!! Hosted by @butterflytypelife #blackgirlsworkout #fitnesschallenge #summerbody #buttngut #coreworkout #glutesworkout #AYDHOLISTIC #fitness #blackmagick #blackvegan #blackfitness #Louisiana #louisiannavegan #community #blackcommunity #nola #batonrouge #layfayette

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Achieving 10k or more steps a day should be a consistent goal every month. Join me this month for a #fitbitchallenge

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Are you ready?!? The July IG challenge will be full of tips for splits and I'm calling it #readyforspready! I'm very excited about this months super cute and inspirational sponsor @ponypoisonmemes! YOU DON'T NEED TO BE ABLE TO DO THE SPLITS for this challenge and you could win a custom digital art piece by @ponypoisonmemes! Here's how it works... Follow along with this challenge and you'll see 30 different training ideas to help you improve your splits or work towards them! Don't forget if you need more help you can find full length lessons on either my website studioveena.com or pole dance app (pole dance lessons by Veena) for most daily posts. Want even more help? Check out my 30 days to flexy program found on my website and app. This is a fully guided program with warm ups and all! Last, remember flexibility takes time....always start with a FULL WARM UP then stretch, stay dedicated and you'll see results! Here's how to play: πŸ¦„1. Share this post πŸ¦„2. Tag some friends πŸ¦„3. Follow and Tag both myself and @ponypoisonmemes each time you share so we can cheer you on! πŸ¦„4. Post as often as you can for a chance to win at the end of the month! Have funπŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„ #studioveena #veena #challenge #julychallenge #polersofig #flexibility #yoga #flexy #spready #pole #beginner #polechallenge #poledanceapp #polefitness #exoticpole #splitschallenge #splits #splitstraining.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Repost Blog: This blog was originally posted October 17, 2013.  Lately I've been forced into resting.  I've had to attend to a medical complication for my beloved little dog and at the same time, I experienced some medical issues of my own.  For the past few weeks I haven't been able to put together blogs like I have wanted to. I felt like it was the perfect time to revisit an important topic I have previously touched base on.  Rest.  Being the summer time, it's a good reminder while we are all out in the heat, traveling, or stressing out over our crazy changed up routines, that resting is welcomed and always good to embrace- even if we don't think our body needs it. 

While reading the book Vertical Athlete: Fundamentals in Training for Pole Fitness and Dance, I noticed a common theme throughout the reading that I felt was of particular importance.  The concept of rest.

Rest? It's almost unheard of in today's fast paced high tech society.  We're always on the go, doing something, multitasking, thinking two steps ahead, ready for what's next.  Now a days, many people would laugh and ask the rhetorical question- what is rest?

Well, I decided to go ahead and ask my Bing search engine this exact question and lo and behold, it did not let me down:

Definition of rest (n)

Bing Dictionary

rest [ rest ] 1.stopping of work or activity: a state or period of refreshing freedom from exertion

2.sleep: the repose of sleep that is refreshing to body and mind and is marked by a reduction in metabolic activity

3.absence of movement: the cessation of movement or action

The CDC has conducted recent studies indicating the United States has a problem with insufficient sleep and warns it is a public health problem.  Anyone not living in a cave is probably already well aware lack of sleep in today's society is a problem.  But how does this concept relate to your workout?  More specifically,  pole dancing? 
Freel (2013) depicts the relation of rest to pole dancing as being integral to the body's overall performance.  Without an adequate rest phase, the body is unable to recover and subjected to an increased risk for injury.  This makes sense when it's spelled out, however to actually engage yourself in rest is easier said than done.  Over the years, I've done a lot of self learning and seeking out additional information. Early on in my pole journey, I found a network of supportive fellow pole dancing enthusiasts.  One of the earliest concepts I learned was integrating a "Rest Day" into my pole workouts.  Initially this was a day full of doing nothing fitness related.  As I've progressed in my own pole progress and education, I have learned that many consider their "Rest Day" to actually be a day of low-impact activity such as walking and or light stretching.  Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle, therefore continuing your activity on your "Rest Day" and keeping it to a 30 minute walk with some stretching is adequate for your overall health.  To honor the true meaning of "Rest Day", it is also important that you make it a point to get enough sleep.  Take that extra 30 minutes to an hour you would have spent working out and add it on to your bedtime by reading a book or any other type of winding down relaxing activity.  Your body will thank you and your progress will continue to evolve within your pole journey.  Feel free to comment below and add your suggestions for what you do with your "Rest Day" and winding down to sleep activities. 

Resources: Freel, B. (2013). Vertical Fitness: Fundamentals of Training for Pole Fitness and Dance. Anchorage, Alaska: Poler North.   CDC (2013). Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Epidemic. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsSleep/

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

June 2017 Pole Dancing & Fitness Challenges

This month I'll be participating in my own fitness challenge (see last week's blog) The Pinterest Fitness Stability Ball Challenge. Check out my blog for more details and be sure to tag @poleharmony on Instagram if you do participate! For more challenges, check out the current June pole challenges! I will try to keep adding to this list as I see the challenges posted throughout the first week of June.
3 DAYS LEFT until #ReadyforSummerPoleChallengeJune17 ☀️ 🏝 πŸ–☀️ POLE CHALLENGE ☀️⛱#ReadyforSummerPoleChallengeJune17 πŸ’– Hosted by me @melania_poledance and @polepunzelshop πŸ’› This challenge includes many pole moves with the letters of Ready for Summer! πŸ™†πŸΌ Here is a list πŸ“ of the pole tricks, but you can do any other move with the daily letter. ⛱ Everyone can join this challenge and win an amazing tank top from Polepunzel Shop! πŸ¦„ ❗️ To join in ❗️ 1. Repost this photo on instagram and tag some friends who may want to join the challenge. ✅ 2. Follow me @melania_poledance and @polepunzelshop so we can see you joined the challenge. ✅ 3. Post a photo or a video every day and tag #ReadyforSummerPoleChallengeJune17 @melania_poledance and @polepunzelshop in your post description so we can see your photos. ✅ ❤️πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œ Be sure that your profile is public or dm me πŸ’Œ to follow you. In the end of the challenge, we choose a winner πŸ…who will win a tank top from PolePunzel Shop! πŸ¦„ Can't wait to see your amazing photos! Do your best and be creative! ☀️❤️ #poledance #poledancing #poledancing #poledancer #poledancenation #polechallenge #poledancechallenge #polesport #polefitness #polefit #poleaddict #poleart #poletrick #poledancersofinstagram #poledancersofig #polelife #polelove #instagood #pdrussianlayback #pdbutterfly #pdrainbow #pdallegra #pdayesha #pdscorpio
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Sooo... On june 1st I am starting my first pole challenge ever in collaboration with @boomkats_polewear. Every trick from the list above will be posted the night before, so you can see it and film it the day after, but remember: πŸ‘‰πŸ½always respect your body's practice πŸ‘‰πŸ½ take rest days πŸ‘‰πŸ½it is allowed to catch up with the challenge or to pre-record πŸ‘‰πŸ½you can post a photo or a video, on static or spinning pole πŸ‘‰πŸ½you can always choose an easier version of the trick - everything counts! πŸ‘‰πŸ½ follow me and @boomkats_polewear πŸ‘‰πŸ½always tag me and @boomkats_polewear, so we can see your post πŸ‘‰πŸ½tag #boomkats_polechallenge and #boomkats_polewear There will be three winners announced on june 15th. First place gets to spend 50€ in @boomkats_polewear store and second and third place get a wristband of their choice. Good luck everyone!πŸ’›
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pinterest Fitness Series: Stability Ball 4 Week Routine

If you're like me, you find yourself pinning away on Pinterest various exercise pins for future fitness routines only to find yourself never really going back to those workouts and making use of them.  Since I've only ever really used my Pinterest Fitness Board for ideas of how to use equipment, I thought it would be a great idea to start a new blog series where I actually do the fitness routines by compiling them into a monthly challenge routine.  And of course sharing these new routines with all my readers! 

For the first month installment of this new blog series, I have decided to make use of the very popular and trustworthy stability ball. πŸ˜Š For this month's routine I've decided to incorporate these Pinterest Fitness routines two days a week. 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. 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
450 Rep Stability Ball Glute Workout
Day 2
Exercise Ball Ab Workout
Week 2
Day 1
Total Body Stability Ball Circuit
Day 2
Roll with it
Week 3
Day 1
Have a Ball Super Body Blast
Day 2
Tone Your Gut
Week 4
Day 1
15 Minute Full Body
Day 2
Firm Your Butt