Archive | October, 2016

Keep Your Fitness Goals Alive this Halloween!

31 Oct

It’s here!  Halloween Day – and all of the treats and sugar that goes with it.  You don’t have to let these scary calories kill your diet.  Armed with some knowledge and a little self-control, you and your healthy lifestyle can survive the wicked onslaught!   c9152d6e4702028bd2fe4758252d9e63

Pre-Halloween Preparation

Have some fun and get active with a Halloween-Themed circuit!  If you can’t make it to the Studio (or even if you can and just want a little bit extra goodness), try this:

  • Warm up with a “black cat” (cat cow) stretch.  Take your time and do as many as you need to get ready for the next exercise!
  • SPIDER-man push ups; do two sets of 10 reps – engage the whole body and get your heart pumping!
  • The Bug!  Do two sets of 10 reps and work both the front and back of your body – including your core.
  • Mummy Kicks” with extended arms – do your kicks for 30 seconds, take a 10-second break, and repeat three more times for a total of two minutes.
  • Cool down with a “corpse pose” – lay flat on your mat (or floor) in a relaxed position, arms and legs outstretched, and just breathe.  Take as much time as you need to cool down.

Treating Time

  • Drink a bottle (OF WATER): Staying well hydrated can help you control your sweet cravings and keep you full so you aren’t hunting for another treat.  This also has the added benefit of rinsing down the sugar and protecting your teeth.
  • Eat (CHOCOLATE DOESN’T COUNT):  Fill up on a healthy, balanced meal made with veggies, lean protein, and whole grains. The protein and fiber in your meal will make you more satisfied and less likely to sneak treats. If you’re going to a grown-up Halloween party, eating before you start drinking is key to not overindulging.
  • Have healthy snacks ready to go:  Instead of sugary candy, you can easily munch on trail mix, cheese crackers, individual fruit cups, or animal crackers.  You don’t have to skip the snacks, just make sure they have nutritional value!
  • Choose Wisely:  You don’t have to completely forgo the treats – after all, this is a holiday.  Just make sure that when you do indulge, you make it worth it.  If your favorite is the tiny Snickers, grab 2 – 3 and skip on the rest of the stash – those calories add up quickly.

Post- Treating Movie Time

You’ve tricked.  You’ve treated.  Now it’s time to enjoy your favorite scary movie!  But wait, this is a party – we have to make this exciting.  How about a drinking game?  “Sounds great, but what about all that you just said about being healthy, Dayna?”  Oh, I’m not talking about shots – I’m talking about SQUATS!

I present to you the Scary Movie Fitness Challenge!   <- (Click on the link to print)

  1. The car doesn’t start: 10 bicycles
  2. Someone can’t make a phone call: 15 jumping jacks
  3. Someone runs away: Run in place, 30 seconds
  4. Someone falls down while running: Run in place, 60 seconds (don’t fall down)
  5. There’s a loud noise, but nothing bad happens: 1 tuck jump
  6. There’s a loud noise, and something bad DOES happen: 10 sit ups
  7. Someone does something unquestionably stupid: 10 burpees
  8. Someone misses a clear opportunity to be rescued/save the day/escape: Hold a 45 second plank
  9. Ghost, zombie, monster, or mythological creature appears: Hold a 15 second plank
  10. A group of people splits up: 10 reverse lunges
  11. Someone screams: 10 russian twists
  12. Someone is attacked: 5 push-ups
  13. Gory scene: 20 lunges
  14. Someone dies: 20 squats
  15. Someone you thought died is actually the killer: 10 squats per death
  16. The killer/villain dies: Victory dance
  17. The ending hints at a sequel or has a cliffhanger: 15 mountain climbers

With a little planning, preparation, and perseverance – you’ll slay Halloween and crush your fitness goals at the same time!   Have a happy, safe, and healthy holiday!  

~Dayna
PX Studio

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Get Fit in Fall!

24 Oct

 

fall_fitness_graphic1There are so many reasons to love fall:  the food, the foliage, the weather – and on top of that, fall happens to be the single best season for getting FIT.   Not only are you creating great habits for the upcoming deluge of holidays and winter months, but much like setting your clocks back, you too get to take a step back to re-evaluate your routine and set new goals.  So gather your energy, find your motivation, and prepare for the challenges ahead!  It’s time to renew yourself!

Use the weather to your advantage | Say goodbye to summer and embrace the new cooler, crisper air – perfect for getting outside!   Run, walk, hike, bike, go to the park!  All of those things that you gave up because it was just too hot – time to integrate them back into the routine.   If you get started now, by the time that summer season rolls around again, you’ll be in shape!

Embrace the darkness |  No, not like for Halloween, but for your health!  Just because it’s still dark when you get up and gets dark earlier doesn’t mean you can’t workout.  If you want to continue your outdoor activities, just make sure to wear reflective gear and take a flashlight.  And it’s still perfectly light inside the Studio, so continuing to take your Pilates and Cardio classes definitely isn’t an issue.

Get those vitamins |  Fall harvest is exactly that – an amazing array of colorful fruits and vegetables are at your fingertips!

“Squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, beans, avocados, broccoli, and cauliflower are all great antioxidant-rich vegetables, packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.  Antioxidants help the body to combat free radicals in the body which we unfortunately absorb through everything from pollution in the environment to internal stress.”

Remember that 30-day rule | It takes roughly four weeks for the body to adapt to any lifestyle changes, which is why people who give up on their fitness programs tend to do so within the first 30 days.  Try to stick with your fit routine for at least a month – after that, your healthy habits will become integrated into your lifestyle and it won’t be nearly as challenging to stick with it.

LIVE THE 3C’s |  Commitment, Convenience, Consistency – having all three is the ultimate key to a successful fitness program.

  1.  Commitment:  Plan your exercise.  Yes, you are busy – that’s life.  Like with anything else, put exercise on your calendar.   If you don’t do it now, then “later” will turn into “never”.
  2. Convenience:  Pick a studio or gym location that is close to you!   If you can’t do that, pick exercises that you can do in your home uninterrupted.
  3. Consistency:   Stay on track.  Pick your days and times and keep going – strive for at least 3 days a week and add-on from there.   It will get easier.

Are you ready to get fit for fall?  See you at the Studio!

~Dayna
PX Studio

Sources
WebMD (http://www.webmd.com)
Prevention (http://www.prevention.com/)

 

The Power of Proper Breathing

17 Oct

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In Pilates classes, you often hear phrases like “remember to use your breathing” or “pilates breath”.  We know it, we do it – but… why?   What is so important about proper breathing techniques?  Turns out, research shows that how we breathe can not only change the effectiveness of our workouts, but also how we feel in day to day situations.  If you have the time, I highly suggest reading through this study.   Just stop and think about it – in stressful or anxious situations, our breathing becomes short and rapid (sometimes we call it “hyperventilating”).  When those intense situations are over we “breathe a sigh of relief”.   What is actually happening in our bodies is this:

“Internally, each time you inhale, you activate the sympathetic nervous system — our “fight or flight” response. And each time you exhale, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system — our “rest and digest” response.”

By extending and controlling those breaths, we can manage our psychological and emotional states.   That’s amazing power to have for our daily lives, but what about when we’re exercising?    A good breathing pattern ensures that your working muscles will continue to receive the oxygen they need to keep contracting – and thus, keep your workout going without you having to stop to catch your breath.

Curious to try some breathing techniques out?  Here are a few exercises to get your started:

Boost Your Mood 
Start by inhaling a tiny stream of breath through your mouth and gradually accelerate and intensify that inhale, then immediately exhale through your mouth without the slightest pause. That acceleration and intensification will give you a natural high.

Manage Stress
Inhale for four counts. Hold that breath for four counts. Exhale for four counts. Hold for another four counts. Keep repeating this pattern – it’s referred to as “box breathing”. You can do this through your nose if you’re already calm, in through your nose and out your mouth to regulate energy, or all through your mouth to channel the energy of the stress.

Calm Down
Inhale through your nose for two counts, and exhale through your mouth for four counts. Keep doing this until you start to feel more relaxed. Then increase the length of both breaths – inhale for three counts and exhale for six counts. When ready, move to inhaling for four counts and exhale for eight counts.

Energize
For more energy, you want to focus on your inhale. Your aim is to double the capacity of the air you normally take in.  Breathe through your mouth, inhale, then immediately inhale again without stopping (the double-inhale should be one smooth action). Then exhale.

Remember:  When in doubt, just breathe.  See you at the Studio!  

~Dayna
PX Studio

Article Sources:
LIVESTRONG (www.livestrong.com)
Taylor & Francis Science Journal Online (www.tandfonline.com)
MyFitnessPal (www.myfitnesspal.com)

 

 

 

Pumpkin Power | Use Pumpkin to Improve Your Health!

10 Oct

turn-pumpkin-guts-into-healthy-treats

Look on the shelves, read the ads, see the patches – wherever you look, there’s PUMPKIN! While we typically think of pies, lattes, bread and other tasty treats when we see pumpkin, there are a whole host of health benefits that go along with it!   It’s finally pumpkin season and there are so many reasons to celebrate:

Immunity

Pumpkins are an essential source of Vitamin C – which can ward off colds.  One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams, or nearly 20 percent of the 60 milligrams is recommended for women need daily (men need around 75 milligrams).

Weight Loss

Pumpkin is an amazing source of fiber, and with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories.  A fiber-rich diet seems to help people eat less, and thereby shed pounds. A 2009 study found that people who ate a whole apple before lunch ate fewer calories throughout the meal than people who ate applesauce or drank apple juice.

Post-Workout Recovery

A cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium than a whole banana, with 564 milligrams to a banana’s 422.  Extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Much like turkey, pumpkin contains tryptophan, the amino acid that contributes to sleepiness.  Tryptophan is also responsible for helping the body make serotonin, neurotransmitter that helps you relax and unwind. Not only do pumpkin seeds promote better sleep, the serotonin will improve your mood!

Protect Your Skin AND Fight Off Cancer

Like the carrot, sweet potato and the butternut squash (all orange), pumpkins have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.   Those same free-radical-neutralizing powers of the carotenoids in pumpkin that may keep cancer cells at bay can also help keep the skin wrinkle-free.

Eye Sight

About that vitamin A:  A cup of cubed pumpkin contains almost twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which promotes good vision, especially in dim light. It has also been found to slow the decline of retinal function in those with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness. Bonus: Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones.  It’s an anti-aging nutrient that jump-starts your skin’s cell renewal process and increases the production of collagen for smooth, youthful-looking skin.

Heart Health

Nuts and seeds, including those of pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.  In addition, pumpkin seed oil is full of phytoestrogens, which research shows are beneficial for preventing hypertension. When researchers tested a diet supplement with the oil, they found that it helped lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in just 12 weeks.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

While I’m not suggesting that you go out and down a few venti PSLs – definitely consider adding fresh and pureed pumpkin to your recipes/meals.  It’s easy to find this time of year and the recipes are bountiful.   When you’re out picking your pumpkins to carve, pick up an extra one and make it part of your next meal!

~Dayna
PX Studio

 

Article Sources:
Health (www.health.com)
Nutrition Data (www.nutritiondata.self.com)
WebMD (www.webmd.com)
Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com)
Daily Burn (www.dailyburn.com)
National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov)
National Institute of Health (www.nih.gov)

 

Happy Healthy Halloween!

3 Oct

Can you believe it?  October is already here, and with it, all of those wonderful fall treats! Many of us wait all year to indulge in our favorite fall snacks and dishes; unfortunately, a lot of those dishes aren’t the healthiest for us.  With the inclusion of bags and bags of Halloween candy lining the store aisles, this time of the year can be challenging for us to stick with our healthy lifestyles and routines.  Never fear!   You don’t have to give up all of your seasonal favorites – with just a few tweaks, your treats can turn from scary to hauntingly healthy!

Snack O’Lanterns
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Slice off the tops of the oranges, scoop out the pulp, use a paring knife to cut out jack-o’-lantern faces, and fill with grapes and/or mixed berries.  Set the lid back on top and serve.

 

Pumpkin Dip
pumpkin-dip-400

Ingredients:
3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
24 apple slices

Place first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add syrup and cinnamon- beat until smooth. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Serve (in a small hallowed out pumpkin) with apple.


Halloween Pasta Salad
pasta-salad

Ingredients:
Pasta, carrots, broccoli, cheddar cheese and zucchini cut with spooky faces. Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower and snow peas all work well too.

Add black food coloring to the pasta water or use squid ink pasta for a spooky color. Cook the pasta, throw in the rest of the ingredients, and then toss the whole mix with some Italian dressing (to taste) and let it refrigerate for an hour or two.

 
Have a happy and healthy Halloween!   See you at the Studio!

~Dayna
PX Studio

 

Recipes Adapted From:
Cooking Light
Skinny Taste
Food Network