A little Burn with that Stretch

These days have been packed with a lot of studying (like A LOT)! Qualifying exams are NO JOKE! So I have found myself needing to sneak in workouts here and there just to keep sane. While I cannot always get to the studio early for some me time, it is a nice luxury when I can...but you do not need a barre to get a great barre workout at home. Grab a chair, countertop, or a wall an let's get to it! 

Extension & Strength

4 rounds through:

20 plies in 1st (heels together)

Hold at the bottom (knees bent) and 20 bent knee releves (lift your heels)

With the heels high deepen your plie 20 times

Straighten the legs, lower the heels, and step one foot back into a curtsy - 20 curtsy lunges

From your curtsy lunge - lift to a passe (back toe taps the opposite knee) and back to the floor 20x

Repeat on opposite side  

 

Back to studying! later! 

Work Life Balance!

As I am sitting here I am struggling with this, ha. I have told myself that I want to take a spin class that begins at 6pm and here it is...5:30pm and I am just starting to put the "pen to the page" so to speak. Sound familiar?! I am a PhD student, Clinical Adjunct Professor, and studio fitness instructor...even though I always say that they all seamlessly flow together because my brain doesn't have to switch gears (it's all Exercise Science) but they all scream for the spotlight sometimes. Take a really deep breath in, hooooolllllddd it, and let it all go!

(don't worry the studio is only a few blocks away...5:33pm)

To cover the seams in your life scheduling is KING! Being sure that not only to write things down and plan, but be really honest with the demands on your time. This is something that I have a really hard time with. I am a forever optimist...and that goes with "hm, that should only take me 5 minutes right?!" (5:35pm)

Throwing your hands up and surrendering to your plan B sometimes needs to happen (I'm vowing to myself that it won't happen right now though ha). Always having a few accessories to help you in your home workouts can totally help you out if you get creative with time and space. 

In my little corner of our apartment I have an old deck sitting bench from our old condo, a mat, Pilates ring, some thera-bands, two yoga blocks, and a set of adjustable weights....let's do this! (5:40pm...ouch this might need a pause button)

Density workouts are my FAV: let's get this done in 20 mins, hit the buzzer and go! How many rounds can you get through?!

2 min warm-up - my fav is ball rolling! Start with the feet and work on up calves --> hammies --> glutes/piriformis. Then breathe and bust out a plank and you are ready to rock. 

Segment one: 10 mins

Step Ups (10x on each side) - Tricep dips (15 reps) - Single Leg bench squats (10 reps on each side, every other round jump squat 'em) - Push Ups (15 reps) - 30 sec Plank

Step it Up girl

Step it Up girl

Added difficulty one legged

Added difficulty one legged

Segment two: 10 mins

Wide Band Squats (10 reps) - Barre Style pulses (15 reps) - Weighted (optional) Single Leg Deadlifts (15 reps each side) - Mountain Climbers (30 secs) - Forearm Plank (30 secs)

Barefoot for connection, awareness and balance. Tapping into you proprioception is so crucial for closed chain activities. 

Barefoot for connection, awareness and balance. Tapping into you proprioception is so crucial for closed chain activities. 

So how did you do?! Best part about workouts like this...it is so easy to go back to them a month later and compare your performance. Its all about progression, not perfection. 

Cheers and happy sweating!

 

Banning of Instructors

Wow, the fitness industry is an explosion right now....and not of the good kind. I get all jazzed up when a fellow instructor, whether they work at that particular studio or not, comes to my class. It inspires me to watch their movements, but it is also an awesome opportunity for personal growth. "What did you think of class? What was good about it & what would be a tip that you could give to allow me to improve?" Yes I always invite the regulars of my classes to do the same, but there is something special about getting the information from a peer. Look at the popularity of sites like Rate Your Burn

I had a student come up to me after lecture today and asked me if I had heard that the owner of Barry's Bootcamp, Joey Gonzalez, had received a phone call from Soul Cycle lawyers that he, or any instructors from outside boutique gyms, are not welcome to take classes at their facility. Wow! Then this popped into my inbox from my fav fitness newsletter Well + Good NYC. Its a hot topic and getting a lot of attention. The underbelly of the fitness world exposed that some instructors may not be welcome with open arms at other facilities...yet going so far as to involve lawyers and banning a large population of people from your facilities may be a bit much in the quest to be the best facility available. I love Flywheel's reaction with stating that everyone is welcome there! 

I have had many influential mentors in my time in the fitness industry: my mum, Ellen Barrett, South Boston Yoga founders David Vendetti & Todd Skoglund, and Ame Wren...some very common themes emerge:

                   First, you are a better instructor when you take other people's classes (even outside your own discipline). Not only is it time to chill out and de-stress, it is a time to pick up new "tricks." I'm not saying teaching a copy cat class, I'm saying that you can pick up on some subtleties of the art of teaching. "Oh I liked how they cued that" or "I have never thought to use that style of song for a climb" or "I like how they approached that pose" or "hm they gave a similar cue that I give but I noticed confusion in the room, how can I avoid that," etc.    

                  The more movement options are out there the better the fitness community is as a whole. We talk a lot about business competition: well that studio is better than that studio, or oh my goodness they are opening up another location not far from here that's so rude or maybe we should make our instructors sign a "non-compete agreement" so they are only allowed to teach at our location. More options should inject a stronger community. South Boston Yoga is huge with plugging studios and instructor's in the area and I love that. I know that my regulars are not going to flood to another class and leave me in the dust because I recommended another instructor that they might like. I have faith in what I provide in all the classes that I teach whether it is spin, yoga, or Pilates; if anything it broadens and improves their overall experience. If I am not confident in what I'm teaching then yeah, I am going to be really nervous when another instructor takes my class and I am never going to send my hard core regular off to another instructor for fear that they will not come back...banning certain people or banning a whole group of individuals, or trying to limit the growth of the fitness community as a whole is a scary thing. What are they hiding? What are they afraid of? We will have to see how this drama unfolds. 

Speaking of sharing content and promoting places...the Spring edition of Asana Boston is out! Take a look and let me know what you think :) (I have a lil something on page 20!)

With that, I am off my soap box. I want to welcome everyone to my classes :) 

Have a very happy & healthy Monday!

Thank you and farewell XYBer's from Nicole!

Hello everyone!  As my semester is winding down and my undergraduate career is finally coming to an end, I would like to take this time to say how grateful and thankful I am to have had this opportunity to intern with Meg and XYB over the past two semesters.  I have had wonderful opportunities, experiences, and memories throughout this time that I will never forget.  Thank you to everyone who read my blog posts and stuck by to support the transition and shaping of the new exerciseyourbeauty.com, it may have taken a little longer than expected but we got there!  Finally a thank you to Meg.  She has not only been my teacher and mentor over the past year, but a good friend as well.  She has given me endless support and advice for my own goals and aspirations that I have for myself.  While this chapter of my life is ending, another one is opening.  I will begin pursuing my goal of becoming a physical therapist this summer as I start grad school.  I look forward to this new chapter and cannot wait to see what is in store. Thank you all again, especially Meg for this unforgettable experience.

Hitting the Beat

So a ton of cycle instructors have started to say it "hit the beat," "stay with the beat," "keep up." Yeah I do it to, but I have a purpose behind it. Best compliment ever? One of my Pilates faithful checked out my spin class tonight...and told me that it was the first time that riding to the beat made sense! Yes! Rock on! 

Try to chose your music that will challenge you! I grew up in Vermont, yeah we are a wicked hilly state (you should try it sometime) and I love to push people up those hills in my spin classes. I use the beat of the songs to really push my spinners beyond the comfortable joy ride, to the power training ride (#NoGimmicksJustSweat). I like to say keep up with the beat of the song like it was a metronome for your workout. It will tell you when you start to slack off. 

These are two of my fav songs by one of my fav Djs (Kill_mr_DJ) plug it in & try to keep up with the song at a heavy resistance. With both these tunes I have people crank up the resistance 3 times (2 seated and 1 standing). Try it out & let me know what you think!

Sun is Shining

Today marks one of the first days that the sun is shining and it feels like Spring, finally! As my husband and I were going through Davis Square, it was so great to see the world come out of hibernation and start to move around. Biking, running, walking around...amazing! I have been going over the art of "people watching" with my UMass students, looking at posture as well as looking at people's feet: pronated, supinated, what shoes do they prefer on work days/weekends. I say it time and again...the human body is so cool! 

Take care of your tootsies! Especially great convo for a Sunday, my barefoot recovery routine includes rolling my feet with a lacrosse ball (why lax? pretty much because I come from a big lax family and have loads of balls around) but I do not stop at my feet...the calves are just as important! Take the ball and get into the center of the calf, the soleus, 5 ankle circles one direction and repeat in the opposite. Then repeat on the outter (lateral) gastroc and the inner (medial). Certainly the best way to start feeling as good as it's beginning to look outside! 

Labor of Love

Okay, so this has taken much longer to get done than I had originally anticipated. It has certainly been a labor of love and I am so excited that it will soon be live and ready to view! Down to the basics and science behind the movement :) yay

Healthy Halloween Treats!

With Halloween right around the corner and your costume finally picked out, it’s time to start preparing for the party!  Here’s some ideas on healthy snacks to keep everyone satisfied while feeling good too! Fruit and Veggie Platter:  Take your favorite fruits and vegetables and arrange them into your favorite Halloween icons like a Jack O’ Lantern or a skeleton.

Clementine Jack o’ Lanterns:  Peel enough clementines for your guests and then stick a small piece of celery into the top to act as the stem.  They look just like pumpkins!

Carrot Fingers:  Peel enough carrots for your guests and cut them in half.  Using whatever  dip you have chosen for the party, place a small amount at the top to stick either a pumpkin seed or sliced almond to look like a finger nail.

Banana Ghosts:  After peeling the bananas cut them in half.  Using cheerios or chocolate chips and peanut butter as a glue, stick them on the banana to make a spooky face!

Apple Mouths:  Once cutting enough red apples into slices, place 4-5 mini marshmallows between the two slices to look like teeth.  Fasten the two slices together using a tooth pick.

These healthy snacks will be just as big of a hit as your party will be!  Your guests won’t be able to keep their hands off of them!

Challenge of the Week: One Song Workout!

Start out by finding your favorite 3.5-4 minute song to jam out to while working out.  Then all you have to do is try to finish these exercises before the song finishes!

  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 15 squats
  • 50 bicycles
  • 20 crunches
  • 10 push ups
  • 15 standing calf raises
  • 5 burpees
  • 30 jumping jacks

If you can’t complete the exercises before the song finishes don’t worry!  Try taking a few exercises out and incorporating them back in when you feel ready.  Or try coming up with your own set of moves that you feel comfortable with.  Add more or less, its all about what makes you feel good.

This is a great workout to do on those days that you can’t seem to find time to make it all the way to the gym.  Have fun and experiment with different songs and combination of exercises to get your heart pumping!

No more excuses! Reasons why we don’t work out (whether you want to admit it or not)

Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of coming up with an excuse or making believe we have a real reason not to work out when we’re probably just being lazy.  But the hard truth is there is a solution to anything we can come up with no matter how hard we try. “There’s always tomorrow”  Ahh.. procrastination at its finest but seriously… Just do it!

“I don’t know where to start”  A common problem among newbies.  Set small goals for yourself so you don’t get  to overwhelmed.

“I don’t have money to join a gym”  Thank god for Youtube.  Look up some tutorials on different exercises you can do at home or outside.

“I don’t have any time”  Take the stairs instead of the elevator because as much as we like to think that that one flight of stairs will kill us, it won’t.

“I don’t know what I’m doing”  Don’t be embarrassed! There’s no shame in asking for help.

We're all beautiful so feel good, spread the love, and last but not least have fun!

Top fitness trends to change up your workout!

People across the US are changing up their work out regimens with new fitness trends like mud runs, Crossfit, spinning, and dance fusion. Between the mud, obstacles, and the fact that it’s completely badass, mud runs like Tough Mudder challenge even the most fit athletes.  Besides being physically challenging mud runs test you mentally as well, allowing you to push yourself farther than you thought possible.

At only seven years old Crossfit has become a nationwide phenomenon.  Heavy lifting is not only limited too or associated with body builders anymore!  Crossfit gives you the ability to master weight lifting skill sets that you can do at the gym or at home by yourself.

Although spinning has long been around in the fitness community the industry has revamped its image producing new types of spinning like soul cycle and fly wheel.  Although no soul cycle or fly wheel studios have opened in Boston, we do have The Handle Bar, which is one of Boston’s top cycling hot spots.  The Handle Bar offers classes for all levels and incorporates weighted bars for a full body work out.  Get ready to sweat and have fun during this intense and exciting class!

Sick of Zumba? Then try Doonya or Groov3.  These California native dance classes give a whole new meaning to dance fusion and quickly spreading across the United States.  Doonya is a Bollywood inspired fitness class that uses traditional dance moves to get your heart up!  And there’s nothing like a live DJ to keep you motivated with great music and intense moves when you visit a Groov3 class.

A Lot of Stuff!!

So exciting...I have been formally asked to teach at the graduate level at Northeastern University!! What class? Physical Activity and Exercise: Effects on Musculoskeletal Health and Disease

Right up my alley! I am very excited to set out on this new adventure at my graduate Alma Mater...let the planning begin!!

 

Oh for spin tonight...I am featuring these guys. They ROCK! [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/91195558" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

With a Twist!

When I first moved back to Boston I was bar-tending (okay I was a waitress who occasionally tended bar haha). One night my roommates came in and everything they order came "with a twist!" I do not know what made me remember this the other day...but I figured why stop with cocktails...let's twist up your push-ups!!

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Start in plank, draw opposite knee to opposite elbow, extend the leg (this is intense & totally feel free to stick with just this) with the leg extended add your push up and return to the starting plank position. I like to alternate sides each rep.

Rock it & tone your abs & arms at the same time!!