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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

 

 

 

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Exercise Your Stress Away!

22 Aug

breakupWith our busy lives, long commutes, and urgent work emails and phone calls just one button push away, it’s no wonder most people walk around in a state of chronic stress.  For parents, school is now underway which includes a whole other level of stressors on top of it.

Symptoms of this stress can include aches and pains, tension headaches, stomach problems, irritability and an all-around melancholy. Sound familiar?  Thankfully, we have an easy antidote to our daily stress – it’s effective, cost efficient, you can find a place to do it pretty much anywhere and it’s completely natural.   You guessed it – we’re talking about EXERCISE.  It’s one of the best universal remedies out there, and if it’s not a part of your daily life, you’re missing out.

The physical benefits of exercise—improving physical condition and fighting disease—have long been established, and physicians always encourage staying physically active. Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.

What does exercise do for you and your body? 

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.
  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.  So what types of exercise are the best?  Let’s break it down:

Cardio (High Energy Activities)

The benefits of aerobic exercise — like running, dancing, spinning, circuit training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) — include an increased heart rate. When your heart rate is accelerated, your body releases endorphins, natural opiates that make you feel good with no side effects. High-energy activities help you feel better physically and mentally. Just be sure to check with your doctor before starting any high-intensity workouts.

Yoga

Yoga, an excellent stress-relief exercise, involves a series of moving and stationary poses, or postures, combined with deep breathing. A mind-body exercise, yoga can strengthen your body’s natural relaxation response and bring you into a healthy balance. For stress relief, do gentle yoga or yoga for beginners — popular “power yoga” classes may be too intense if your main goal is to ease stress.

Pilates

Pilates, a series of controlled movements and mat exercises named after their creator, Joseph Pilates, is designed to build your strength, flexibility, and endurance — all of which make practicing Pilates, an anaerobic (as opposed to aerobic) exercise, a great stress reliever. Pilates also tones your body, which in turn helps you look good and feel better.

Kickboxing

Kickboxing is a powerful means of reducing stress. It involves controlled punching and kicking movements carried out with discipline. You can get quite a rigorous workout in a kickboxing class, and that’s only one of its excellent benefits. Kickboxing regularly will help improve your balance, flexibility, and coordination. It’s also a great way to work out frustration — having an outlet to release energy and anger can relieve stress.

Outdoor Routines (Take It on the Road)

Long-distance running, biking, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor activities provide a change of scenery and a dose of fresh air, both of which can help clear your mind.  Also, outdoor settings such as mountains, a biking trail, or a neighborhood park are pleasant places to spend time in. Beautiful settings can lift your mood and shake up your workout routine.

Stress will always be a part of our lives, but we don’t have to let it control us!

~Dayna
PX Front Desk

Article Sources
-Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com)
-Everyday Health (www.everydayhealth.com)
-Anxiety and Depression Association of America (www.adaa.org)

Everyday Calorie Burn Made Easy!

15 Aug

keepcalmandburncaloriesHere we are already – middle of August.  Kids are going back to school and we’re getting back to our routines… right?   It’s a common thought that when school starts, parents have more free time.  While that may be the case some of the time, we know the reality of this can be a little more difficult.   Transportation, after school activities, homework, meals, and conferences (to name just a few things) can hamper a steady workout routine.

You do the best you can – and knowing how awesome you are, you probably still make it to the Studio at least 2-3 times a week.  But what about that in between time?   Here are just a few little ways to exercise and burn more calories without taking up any more time to actually workout!  

Work while you prepare for your day.
Brushing your teeth or your hair? Putting makeup on? It’s so easy to turn these daily rituals into low-key workouts. Stand on one leg while you do them! If you’re feeling adventurous, maybe even try some squats. Two minutes of teeth brushing + two minutes of squats = an estimated 11 calories burned.

Power walk everywhere.
Pick up the pace while walking can do a lot. Five minutes at a slow pace will burn about 13 calories, while the same amount of time at a brisk pace will burn 20 calories. Bonus: It’ll make you look super important.

Wherever you drive to, park far away.
Make sure you aren’t running late by planning ahead of time. And remember, an extra 10 minutes of quick walking can burn around 41 calories.

Take the stairs, NOT the elevator.
If you have regular access to stairs, this trick is simple and extremely effective. Just five minutes of stair climbing will help you burn around 48 calories.  Climbing stairs is also a great workout for your legs and glutes!

Only make phone calls when you’re in motion.
Is that your mom calling? Best friend?  Take it outside and go for a walk while chatting or consider pacing around your apartment. A 20-minute call while walking at a moderate pace will burn about 71 calories.

While grocery shopping, use a basket instead of a cart.
This trick is especially useful if you’re on a heavy duty grocery shopping trip. The more you have in your basket, the more of a subtle workout you’ll get. Carrying a heavy basket of food for 20 minutes will burn about 64 calories – just make sure you switch arms to get an equal workout on both sides.

Wash your dishes by hand.
Seriously!  Some of us don’t have a choice, but if you’re going to be doing this chore anyways, it’s nice to know you’re getting an extra benefit from all of that elbow grease—10 minutes of general cleaning will burn about 32 calories.

Stand Up.
Much attention has been paid recently to the detrimental effects of sitting for long periods of time. While many of us work wholly sedentary jobs, we can usually find excuses to stand and walk around more often.  A lot of workplaces will even accommodate a standing workstation!   Make sure to leave for lunch (even if it’s just for a few minutes) to stand up and walk around a bit.   Power walk if you can!   The simple act of standing instead of sitting may help you burn 20 – 50 more calories per hour, depending on your size.

Own your day!

~Dayna
PX Studio

Article sources: 
http://www.livestrong.com
http://www.myfitnesspal.com

 

Rehydration Smoothie – Green Style!

8 Aug

If you haven’t noticed – it’s summer!  And it’s HOT.  Of course, that isn’t enough to keep us from the Studio, but the combination of the hot weather, outside activities, and keeping up your exercise routine can leave your body dehydrated and tired.   Here is a great recipe for keeping your body hydrated and healthy while on-the-go!  I prefer to drink one of these after my workout AND if you’re using it as a meal replacement, go ahead and add about 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats for a boost of fiber, thickness, and energy sustainment. Cheers!

GREEN-STYLE HYDRATION SMOOTHIEgreensmoothie

-1 celery stalk
-1 small frozen banana (if you don’t want the sugar, substitute a handful of berries)
-half of a small avocado
-1 large handful baby spinach or kale
-1 tbsp. plant-based protein powder (I prefer hemp protein powder for texture)
-1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
-1 cup coconut water (you could also use almond milk, soy milk, or just plain water here)
-juice of half a lime
-a few mint leaves, optional

In a high-powered blender, blend all ingredients until completely smooth. Chill if desired. This smoothie is best enjoyed the day it is made!  I like splitting it into two portions and enjoying one in the morning and one in the afternoon for a boost!

Serves 1-2

Remember:  You only have one body – treat it that way!  🙂 

~Dayna
PX Studio

 

 

 

Fitness At Any Age!

1 Aug

o-FITNESS-FORECAST-facebook

An active lifestyle is important at any age – helping boost energy and immunity, manage symptoms of illness, pain and stress, as well as helping your memory, mind and mood. Exercise is key to healthy aging, but what do you need to focus on during the different stages of your life?  Follow this guide and be consistent!

During Your 20’s
Create your fitness foundation!  As we get older, we naturally lose muscle mass and bone density.  Starting a strength-training routine (such as pilates) now will help your body cope with the losses later on in life.   Keep it up 2-3 times a week.  Add a few cardio workouts in between and you’ll reap additional benefits – keeping your heart healthy and keeping extra weight off!

It also key to establishing good coping skills – shedding life’s stressors in a healthy manner with exercise instead of sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine.  These skills will make it easier in the long run to stick with your fitness routine.

During Your 30’s
Round out your exercise routine!  Cross-training is a great way to prevent imbalance and injuries.  For example, a swimmer might add cycling and running to the lineup, which will ensure a good mix of upper and lower body workouts. It’s critical that your fitness regimen also include balance and flexibility exercises to loosen tight muscles, preserve range of motion, and prevent falls—which is important now and as you age, says the National Institute on Aging.

Stretching is a simple way to maintain flexibility, and exercises such as heel-to-toe walks and standing on one foot will boost your balance. Activities like yoga, tai chi, or dancing are also good options.

During Your 40’s
Preserve muscle strength and fight the fat!  In our 40’s, both men and women start to lose muscle mass and start seeing a decline in metabolic rates  – resulting in a much slower calorie burn.  Settling into a job with extended desk time and with kids mostly grown, adults tend to decrease their amount of exercise and some stop all together, when it should be just the opposite.  A consistent exercise regimen  will help you keep fat gain, stress, and stress-eating in check.

During Your 50’s
Protect your core, protect your heart!  At this point, no matter how healthy or active your lifestyle has been, aches and pains will begin to crop up.   You will need to adapt your exercise routine to account for this.  For example, pain in your knees?  Stop running and find a pool or another exercise with less joint impact.   Our spine also begins to naturally start curving forward at this age, which can cause chronic back pain and also lead to that forward leaning hump.   Maintaining your pilates and yoga routine will help keep your core (including your back muscles) in check and your spine in alignment.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity five times per week (with mild to moderate exertion) to preserve heart health as you age. It is just as effective and you can do it every day of the week without the fear of muscle fatigue or soreness.

During your 60’s
Let’s talk about prevention!  According to the AHA, by exercising regularly, you’re less likely to die prematurely from a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease. Staying strong through your 60’s will also improve your odds of surviving a fall, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies as a high risk once you hit 65.  Also, your bones become more fragile and your tendons and ligaments become drier.

You need to be lifting weights at least once, but ideally two to three times per week for 30 minutes, alternating sessions of upper body exercises and lower body exercises. A simple resistance regimen can be enough – such as with pilates (either on a mat or on a reformer). Working in a private session with a certified trainer can help you maintain your routine and keep you from getting hurt.  Group class sessions are also recommended – the supervision from the instructor makes it safe and you may find working out with others more enjoyable!

During your 70’s and Beyond
Sustain, Sustain, Sustain!  You must continue to work on flexibility, balance, and strength. Vigorous activities are not necessary and the focus should be on simplicity and consistency.  Your routine might consist of arm raises with resistance bands and leg lifts, then some light aerobic exercises around a chair, followed by stretching.  Take it slow and always check to make sure your form is correct.

You are never too old to benefit from exercise!

Find the activities you love enough to do every day and a lifetime of exercise will seem like a gift, not a burden!  

~Dayna
PX Studio

Zero Excuses: How to Stick to Your Workout!

25 Jul

accountabilityWe all know how difficult it is to get up every morning or off of work every evening, or even just find that few minutes to yourself to complete a workout routine.   You’re tired, you had a long day, it’s too early, it’s too late… the list of excuses can go on and on.   Yet, for those that do find the motivation to get through a workout – you know how great you feel afterwards – it’s totally worth it!   Completing a workout is hardly the issue, it’s simply starting it in the first place.   Thankfully, there are a few really easy life hacks that you can use to make sure you stay fit and healthy and get that amazing workout in!   Here are some good tricks that I’ve developed that keep me motivated to get to the Studio, no matter what kinds of excuses I can muster:

  1.  FIND A BUDDY!  “Accountabilibuddies” are key to get me out of my house and into a class.  Look at all those other folks that you see in the same classes every day – they need you too!  Whether it’s one great support buddy or a class full, you need them as much as they need you.   Don’t let each other down!
  2. PUT MONEY DOWN!   Whether you’re at a private studio like Pilates X or your local gym, you’ve paid good money for the privilege to be able to go there and keep yourself fit.   Don’t waste it!
  3. SOCIALIZE YOUR GOALS!   Post it on Facebook or Instagram!  Shout it to the world!  “I’m going to cardio and pilates for 4 days this week!  Wish me luck!”   You’ll be surprised at the support you can garner  – it keeps you accountable AND you get a ton of support along the way to keep you going.
  4. SEE IT.  FEEL IT.  BE IT.  We all know this mantra – and if you don’t, commit it to memory!  The best part of exercise is that we get to SEE the results.  We get to FEEL the results.  Our bodies tell us how happy they are with us (some muscle pain here and there, a few inches off of that waistline, long and lean sculpted arms, etc). Looking in the mirror at our fit selves becomes an affirmation of our hard work and dedication, not a chore or disappointment.  BE IT.

Do you have any tricks that keep you motivated to stick to your workout routine?   Share with us in the comments!   Every bit helps!

Always remember, you’re not doing this alone.  It isn’t easy, but that’s what makes it worth doing.

~Dayna
PX Studio

Hello, Healthy Vacation!

18 Jul

HealthWatch-06_10

It’s the middle of summer and you have some amazing vacation plans ahead of you.   You’ve got your clothes, your gear, and all of your excursions planned – but do you have a plan for staying on track with your healthy lifestyle?   A lot of people think you can’t have fun AND maintain your eating/activity plan at the same time.   This is simply not true!

Here are some simple tips to avoid vacation weight gain that won’t take away from your awesome experience:

  1.  Take Advantage of your Tech | In today’s tech driven world, we have access to information about great dining options anywhere. Take advantage of Yelp or TripAdvisor to seek out healthy eats when you travel. You’ll get a unique local experience without the guilt.
  2. Keep Active |  Ask your hotel or plan ahead to have hiking or running trail maps with you.   If it’s raining, go to the local malls and walk around.  Hotel have a pool?   Go out and enjoy a few laps!   Hotel near the ocean  –  how about a brisk walk or jog on the beach?   Ask the hotel concierge if they have bicycles to rent or where the nearest place is that you can rent one; cycling is a great way to check out the sights without having to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and you’ll burn a few calories in the process.  TRAVEL IN YOUR SNEAKERS AND PACK THAT MAGIC CIRCLE!  What is this magic circle?
  3. Speaking of that Hotel, try to book one with a Kitchenette | That way you can cook some of your meals — at least breakfast — and have more control over what you eat.
  4. Keep Healthy Snacks with You | Don’t be tempted to hit the nearest street cart or fast food joint when you’re out sightseeing.  Carry protein bars, trail mix, and/or small fruits like apples or bananas so you’re never waiting too long to get your next meal.
  5. Plan Your Indulgences | There really wouldn’t be a point to vacation without a few indulgences, right?  But let’s try not to get too far off the rails.   Plan two meals each day that are healthy and on target (breakfast and lunch are much easier to control with eggs, fruit, yogurt and salads).  Then for dinner, sample that incredible local spot you saw on Yelp and enjoy a nice drink!
  6. Limit Sugary/Creamy Drinks |  You like Piña Coladas?  Well, they don’t like you.  Of course, part of kicking back on vacation is having a few libations, but an eight-ounce PC can have as much as 450 calories and 18 grams of fat. Always drink in moderation, and opt for things like light beer or liquor blended with non-sugar mixers such as soda water, instead of tonic or soft drinks.

Remember:  Vacationing is about fun, memories, seeing all the sights and enjoying the world around you;  there’s a lot more to it than just food.  If you go to Paris, for example, you’re absolutely going to want to enjoy the exquisite cuisine, but make sure meals don’t become the main attraction!

Here’s to a happy, healthy summer!

~Dayna
PX Studio