By Charlotte Blake -
As we have already established, it is almost summer. Immediately we all think sun, margaritas, ocean, beach, vacation….swimsuit?!? The reaction to having to prepare for that swimsuit tends to unfold in five stages:
2. Begin “kick butt regime” of near starvation and insane cardio.
3. Quit “kick butt regime” because working out like crazy sucks.
4. Indulge in all the food and drink you deprived yourself of and gladly embrace sedentary lifestyle.
5. Panic!!! (And repeat.)
Does this vicious cycle sound familiar?
How about we make spring/summer 2011 a new cycle. Sign up for that class you have your eye on, call that personal trainer, or contact that friend you have talked to about teaming up to get in shape.
My main advice:
Stick with the good stuff.
You hate running? Try spinning! You hate spinning? Try a challenging yoga class! Feeling lost in large groups? Schedule some one-on-ones or duet sessions! Feeling lost about diet? Find a support group or a nutritionist!
You might have to ask for help.
If you do not want to ask for help from someone else, ask for help from yourself.
Sit down (which requires finding time for just you) and think about what will really fulfill you, make you excited to be in better shape, and guide you toward your summer goal.
Possible pace-worthy mantras:
“When we are patient with ourselves and our bodies, we see the most substantial results.”
None of us have to be unhappy with our bodies this summer. I see amazing results every day from my clients. I am inspired by them and constantly in awe. We all have so much power to change our bodies, increase our energy, and just feel better. And if you are feeling good about your body and your fitness level, it is still always helpful to remind ourselves to keep that steady pace of nourishing movement and healthy nutrition going.
The month is a new one and this season is one of rebirth.
Enjoy Spring’s full potential!
By Charlotte Blake -
I have always loved teaching Spin classes, along with being a Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor. Cycling is an amazing way to really get your heart rate up while building strength in your core and legs.
I haven’t been teaching Spin lately and I miss it! I miss the 45 minutes of getting lost in the music, leading a class of hard working students through climbs, sprints, and races. I also miss getting creative with my music playlists. I love receiving emails from students and clients with suggestions of new cycling songs. Since I haven’t been able to apply these new suggestions to a class, I want to share them with all of you.
Before hopping on your bike:
* Wear sneakers or spin shoes for the spin bike. Keep in mind spin
shoes are not necessary and sneakers are just fine!
* When standing next to your spin bike, make sure the seat is set at
the height of your hip bone. Adjust the seat closer to the handle bars or
further away. Adjust the handlebars to a height comfortable for you. Keep
in mind you should be leaning forward slightly while cycling for fitness.
* Keep your spine nice and long, navel reaching toward your spine so
your abdominals are working and stabilizing.
* Keep your chest open, shoulders and neck relaxed, breath
moving, hands gripping very lightly on handlebars.
* While cycling, your legs move in full circles. Along with pressing
down, there is also sense of pulling up to complete one cycle. Use your
quads (thigh muscles) but also connect with your glutes, hamstrings, and
inner thighs to work your entire leg.
Playlist and Guide
1. Bryn – Vampire Weekend
Warm-up! Set your intention and your goal for your ride, get comfortable on your
bike, get excited for your ride.
2. Street Fighting Man – The Rolling Stones
Add 2-3 small turns of resistance by turning your resistance knob to the right. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the hardest) you are working at about a level 3. Pick up your pace as the song carries on and begin to feel your body heating up.
3. Your Love Is My Drug – Ke$ha
Add a final touch of resistance and move out of your warm-up into more heart pumping cycling! Rise out of your seat during the chorus to feel the challenge of cycling out of the saddle. When out of the saddle, keep your hips and butt over the saddle and spine nice and long. Back in the saddle, keep up your pace.
Pick up your pace back up each chorus.
4. Paper Planes – M.I.A.
Add a small turn of resistance about every 30 seconds or 5 times during this song to get into your first climb. Pace yourself–stay in the saddle the entire time and feel your legs burning toward completion of your climb.
5. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Sprints! You’ve made it through your first climb, so return your resistance to flat road (make sure you are moving the pedals, the pedals aren’t moving you.) Every chorus, pick up your pace to move your legs as fast as you can. Challenge yourself for these 3 sprints, really go for it! Your choice if you stay in the saddle or rise out for sprints.
6. Wake Up – Arcade Fire
Your heart is pumping but you’re taking the challenge of this climb. See the top of your climb and make a big turn of your resistance to the right. You are already working at about a level 5 or 6 within the first 30 seconds of this song. About 2 minutes in, take the challenge, rise out of the saddle, and add even more resistance. Work at a level 7 or 8. Stay with it until you reach the top.
7. Dakota – Stereophonics
After that climb, acknowledge your kick-ass work climbing that hill and turn your resistance all the way down to coast and catch your breath. About 2 minutes in, bring your bike back to flat road and pick up your pace. Get a little lost in the music, get back into your ride, see rolling hills up ahead, and pick up your pace so you are racing on flat road until the end of the song.
8. Whatya Want From Me – Adam Lambert
Rolling hills! Every chorus you will be loading on your resistance for rolling hills.
Rise out of the saddle for 3 really intense and challenging climbs. They are only about 30 seconds, so you are able to really amp up the resistance.
9. Where The Streets Have No Name – U2
You are probably feeling tired, but the best is yet to come. Place your resistance on flat road. Add a small turn of resistance about every 30 seconds or 5 times during this song to get into your last climb. Pace yourself. You have your final climb up ahead.
10. Half Light II (No Celebration) – Arcade Fire
Alright, you have 3 more turns of resistance. Turn your resistance about every 1.5
minutes. Get lost in the music, remember your intention, and push to the
top of your climb!
11. England – The National
Turn the resistance all the way down and catch your breath. When you are ready, get off your bike and stretch your quads, hamstrings, chest, and anything else you feel needs stretching.
12. I’m On Fire – Bruce Springsteen
Just because. Hey, we can’t have a spin mix without some Bruce Springsteen!
Remember to pace yourself during this workout. Have little sips of water throughout the workout and have a towel you can use when you need to.
Whenever you are losing inspiration, remember the intention you set at the beginning of the class. Remember your personal fitness goals and let your motivation come from your desire to see positive changes in your body, mind, and spirit. Commitment will bring that change.
Take the challenge and ENJOY!
Everything in life takes work. Relationships, careers, keeping a comfortable home, having a fit and healthy body, raising children, and eating healthy, just to name a few. What if the work we are required to do in life was effortless? I am often reminding my clients to release tension while executing exercises. Effortless work requires a sense of letting go, which inspires the simple act of being in the present moment.
Are you looking for a more balanced and in-the-moment workout? Try to connect with the idea of working effortlessly next time you walk into your fitness class, personal training session, or gym, by remembering these 5 tips:
1. Find Your Perfect Match
Who can think twice about attending something they love? Being passionate and joyful about movement is the key for effortlessly working up a sweat, feeling your heart beating, and journeying into a stronger body. If you’ve found your ideal class, personal trainer, workout partner, or gym, then cherish it. If you are feeling uninspired by your workout choices, think about searching around to find your perfect movement match.
2. Set Your Intention
Take a moment to connect in with the reason you are working out. Is there a particular goal you are trying to achieve? Let that goal and that intention carry you through your workout.
3. Talk To Yourself
Maybe not out loud but connect into what exactly you are doing. Are you standing and doing a bicep curl? Before initiating the exercise, connect your mind and body by drafting out what exactly is going on.
- Feet are rooted into the ground.
- Shoulders are directly over hips.
- Navel is reaching toward your spine for core stabilization.
- Bending at the elbow, hands are bringing your weight to your shoulder.
- Arms then extend completely.
- Shoulders remain dropped, head and neck relaxed.
- Breath is moving.
The body wants to work efficiently. This dialogue will help clear any extra tension or unnecessary movement.
4. Open Your Heart
In this world, we are all hunched over at our desks, commuting to work, caring for children, etc. During your workout, focus on keeping your heart literally and physically open. This will help broaden the chest, which inspires correct posture; for example, instead of running on the treadmill with your head leading the way, lead with your heart. Feel the difference in your posture, stride, and energy.
This also may bring up some emotions. Leading with the heart opens up the heart chakra, making us more vulnerable than we may be comfortable with. If you find yourself asking what you are opening your heart to besides better posture, remember the intention you set for yourself at the beginning of your workout.
5. Let Go
Do you find you are forcing your body into a particular exercise, pose, or even meditation? Instead of using brute force and willpower, remain mindful and try trusting your body. Let go of expectations to allow your movements to energize and revive you as opposed to depleting and draining you.
Challenge yourself however; simply be fully present in your own body. You may find your body is stronger than you think it is!
While breastfeeding, while your baby naps, or perhaps while bathing your baby, take five long and deep breaths. Inhale through your nose for 5 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 5 seconds. Each time, inhale a little deeper and exhale more freely. Don’t be afraid to make sounds while exhaling or try fluttering your lips. It’ll feel good!
Stretching releases stress and rejuvenates the body. Here are three stretch options:
* When sitting with your baby on the floor, straddle your legs and take a moment to reach one arm overhead toward the opposite leg or simply fold your upper body forward toward the floor.
* While standing, rest your right arm on a table or counter with your right hip a few inches away from the table. Reach your left arm overhead and lean to the right. Try to focus on lengthening both sides of your body, focusing on stretching the left side. Repeat on the opposite side.
* Downward facing dog. You know you love it and new moms NEED it. Start on hands and knees, plant your hands and feet into the floor and send your hips up toward the sky. Feel your back body stretching out and releasing tension. If this hurts your wrists too much, be gentle. The hormone, Relaxin is still apparent in a new mom’s body and may still be affecting joints. (New Mom Yogi/Pilates Bonus! End your down-dog with a child’s pose.)
3. Be a lady who lunches
Find a new mom group in your neighborhood so you can be social with other women in your community while indulging in a healthy luncheon out! Not sure how to find a new mom group? Search for the Yahoo Group that caters to new moms in your neighborhood.
4. Nap when your baby naps
Truly allow yourself to do this. If available to you, hire someone to help clean your apartment or house one to three times a week, just for the first few months. With this service, you can focus on getting the sleep YOU need.
5. Go for a walk
We’ve had some lovely blue sky days this winter. Bundle yourself and your sweet baby and venture out! It can be daunting to pack the stroller and diaper bag BUT, we encourage you to take that walk and honor the hour or two you are giving yourself to be in nature and fresh air.
By giving yourself a “New Mom Me Moment” you will be a happier mother and, as a result, your baby will be a happier baby. We hope you incorporate these tips into your life for a more balanced YOU.
Find your fitness related “new mom ‘me’ moment” by joining Charlotte in our Mama Moves class!