Since most of us are stuck at home, and especially if you're in this rain in southern California, you are still going to need to move your bodies!! I am offering FaceTime private one hour sessions during this crisis. Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org for rates and times. All sessions will be charged through Venmo. PLEASE also pass this on to anyone you think might be interested. If you have space in your place, even if it seems small, I can work with you. And you don't need any props unless you have them. Here is a preview of the different types of training I do... Please forward and stay sane.
Move well eat well be well,
Hello and happy Thursday!
I work with several clients who have recently been asking me for more balance exercises. You see, as you get older, the risk of falling increases, so it is of the utmost importance to find BALANCE. Really no matter how fit or how old you are, ALL OF US NEED BALANCE. My husband loves to practice balance standing in line at the bank or market, or wherever.
I have created a video with just a couple of exercises to practice and add in to your repertoire... AND I've included progressions for those who are more agile and/or advanced! SEE ABOVE AND CLICK ON THE LINK...
ALSO, I found a nifty reminder balance exercise, Making Coffee Lunge/Lift/Balance in MY BOOK: GINGER'S 15 MINUTE MINDFULLY ALIGNED MORNING WORKOUT available still on Amazon.. This exercise is for EVERYONE, and the book is short and sweet with a morning routine and smoothie recipes at the end....CLICK THIS LINK FOR THAT!
Move Well Eat Well Be Well,
Do you ever feel like all year you are struggling to either lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, only to find that come the end of November it becomes nearly impossible because of all of the festivities? Well, you are not alone. I have clients who complain about these issues daily, so I thought I would suggest some slightly better alternatives to those delicious snacks and beverages we love during the holidays. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions, and if you indulge on certain foods, but then use the below substitutions for a couple of items, you are already ahead of the curve!
1. Hot Chocolate
Ok, so we all love to drink something warm and tasty by the fire in the winter, and unless you're allergic (I'M SO SORRY), who doesn't love chocolate?! Here is a better version of a Hot Chocolate, and I swear it tastes amazing...
Get a dark chocolate with an above 70 percent cacao in it. Anything milk chocolate or below 70 does not have the healthful benefits of chocolate that people like Dr. Oz rave about. I buy a Belgian version. Next, get a milk alternative. Yes, I know you think that is a horrible idea because almond milk is not the same as a rich cow's milk, BUT if you get a milk that is half coconut and half almond, it WILL be delicious. Coconut milk gives the creamy thickness that you'll need for consistency, and the almond milk cuts some of the healthful coconut fat. Finally, none of this has a lot of sugar SO....I add honey. Honey is a natural sweetener that is higher in fructose than glucose which means that you DON'T NEED AS MUCH OF IT AS YOU DO WITH SUGAR. Also, it has antimicrobial properties that can help kill off germs. Combine 2 tablespoons of chocolate, 1 1/2 cups of coconut/almond milk, and 2 teaspoons of honey and voila! HEALTHY HOT CHOCOLATE.
2. Instead of mashed potatoes and gravy, bring butternut squash and yams with pomegranates to the party
So most people have a potato on their holiday table, but you can get the same feeling with more healthful benefits if you make a festive squash and yam combo instead. First off, most mashed potatoes have cream and butter, and don't get me started on the gravy! SO, begin with a baking dish and sliced yams. Next cube a bit of butternut squash and lay all of this out in the dish. Next take diced shallots and garlic and cover the vegetables. Add olive oil to just cover the veggies and a small amount of salt and black pepper. Bake at 450 degrees in the oven, turning the veggies over once at about 15 minutes, AND add pomegranates. Bake for 5-10 more minutes, depending on your oven, and you're done! Butternut squash has vitamins C and E as well as folate. Yams have potassium and manganese. Pomegranates have antioxidants that help combat a variety of diseases. Shallots help reduce cholesterol, garlic has very few calories and combats sickness, and olive oil protects against heart disease and has healthful fats. By the way, this tastes amazing!
3. Parsnip and celery root latkes instead of potatoes and sautéed broccolini instead of green bean casserole
My husband is Jewish and I was raised Christian, so growing up he had potato latkes while I had green bean casserole. Latkes are fried, and green bean casserole traditionally has butter and sometimes bacon and cheese. Healthy alternatives to the high starch pf a potato latke would be to use parsnips and celery root instead, AND to sauté broccolini in a pan with lemon, garlic, and olive oil instead of that whole casserole thing. You could use green beans if you like, but broccolini adds a heartiness to the dish in its consistency and fibrous quality that will make you feel full. Parsnips and potatoes are similar in health benefits, BUT parsnips have way fewer calories than potatoes. Broccolini is high in calcium, so it's good for those at the table that might have developing osteoporosis.
There you have it! A few SUGGESTIONS to make you feel a bit better about eating and enjoying your food this season. Remember, the thing is to ENJOY...if you indulge a bit, so what. It is the holidays after all. You can always revisit my blog last week to get your body moving if you had too many cookies at the office party the other night!
Happy Eating, Happy Living
IF YOU LIKED THIS BLOG, PERHAPS YOU SHOULD GET A COPY OF MY MOVE WELL EAT WELL BE WELL BOOK I WROTE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON...IT MAKES A GREAT STOCKING STUFFER.
It’s December, a month for celebration, nostalgia, and cultural traditions...which means a lot of delicious food and drink! Naturally it is important to maintain some health conscious effort as much as possible. The best way is to let yourself indulge and enjoy but also GET YOUR WORKOUT ON. Even if it’s just a quickie! :-) The above video illustrates my version of just that! It gets the whole body moving and though it says here it’s two minutes and one second, it’s really about 15 to 20 minutes :-) I sped up the video to keep you motivated. Here is also a list of the exercises I’m doing with some tips: REMEMBER, use caution when attempting new movement, do what you can, and get inspired. Happy Holidays!
1. Energy breathing squat variation on yoga salutation
- use your breath to guide the motion… Inhale and reach the arms out to the side and up above your head, gathering up all of the positive energy in the room as you open your hips and squat down. Then exhale as your hands come together above your head and press good energy down through to your center. Next bring your feet together and circle the arms above your head with a little backbend arch looking up at your hands as you inhale, and as you exhale drawl your palms together down to your heart center. Repeat this four times. Note, it is important to begin any work out by getting in touch with your breathing. Your breath helps to generate the fire that warms your body inside and out.
2. Hip stabilizing lunge balances
- using opposing arms to legs, take your right ball of your foot back into a lunge while bending the front left knee keeping the hip bones square to the front, take a breath here, and then lift the back leg up through your center to Touch opposite elbow to knee as you exhale. Repeat this eight times and then switch to the other side. If you have trouble lifting the leg up through the middle without falling over, tap the foot in next to the other foot instead until you can maintain more stabilization through your center. This exercise is especially good to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings while lengthening the quads.
3. Side to side cardio inducing punches
- using a “chasse “ movement, or step together step, move first to your right step together step then stay wide as you twist and punch left then right. Repeat to the other side punching right then left so that you are always alternating sides. One revolution is to the right and to the left. So do 4 to 5 revolutions total. Note, if you pull your abdominals in while executing this movement especially the twisting, your abs will be feeling it. Also twist all the way from your back just above the waist for a smaller trimmer waist. This quick burst of movement helps get your heart rate pumping. Inhale as you step together step, exhale as you punch twice.
4. Twisting pull ins
- reach up to the right diagonal with both arms and pull your left knee up as you twist your elbows to meet your knee and back out. Repeat this five times than switch sides. This is taking the side to side cardio inducing punches and increasing your heart rate a bit more with just the twisting part. We are still working the abs and the core muscles around the back as well.
5. Jog up and back drops
- still utilizing your cardiovascular muscles, jog four steps backwards and touch the floor in a mini lunge, then jog four steps forward and lift a knee twisting your torso towards the knee. Remember to keep breathing and repeat this about four times back and four times forward.
6. Plank pull ins with pushups
- beginning in a plank pose with your wrists directly under your shoulders, pull your shoulder blades down your back and pull your belly button up and in. make sure you are flat, tail bone in line with your head, and pull the right leg knee towards your right elbow five times. Then either stay in full plank or drop to a knee plank as I have done in the video above, and execute 10 push-ups. Then pop back up into the plank and pull the left leg in five times and repeat 10 push-ups. You do not have to do this very quickly. It is more important to execute the movement as technically correct as possible. Be careful that you do not collapse your torso as you perform the pull ins. Be careful that you keep your core engaged as you execute the push-ups.
7. Plank to downward dog spinal stretch
- wherever you finished the previous exercise, press into a plank pose again and take a big breath. As you exhale slowly move your body into a downward facing dog, initiating with your core and lifting your sit bones up to the ceiling. If you can, drop the heels on the floor to stretch through the back of the legs. Inhale and initiate again from the core but also with the sternum as you stretch your spine back through into a plank. Repeat this 4 to 5 times. Be sure you are not jamming into your wrists by keeping a slight bend in the elbows and your shoulder blades drawing down your back. It’s Really important to keep the belly button engaged the whole time and remember to let go of the head as you stretch into the downward facing dog looking at your feet.
8. Back extension stretches
- lie on your stomach and relax the tops of your feet to the floor. Pull your thumbs in line with your breastbone and your elbows in toward your rib cage. Pull your shoulder blades down your back and lift your chest pulling your abdominals in and keeping your hips on the floor. Only come up as high as you can maintain without pinching your lower back. Repeat this five times. Note, back extensions are very important to maintaining a healthy core. It is very important to stretch The front of the body as well as the back.
- this is a mat Pilates exercise that I find to be very effective as swimming gets the whole body working as one unit. Reaching your arms out in front of you, palms facing down, inhale and lift the heart as you pump the arms and legs in a swimming motion, then exhale and keep pumping. The idea is to inhale for five counts, then exhale for five counts. As you inhale, be sure to lift as high as you can through your sternum off of the floor and as you exhale, think of lengthening out through your limbs in both directions as far as you can. Repeat this for about five breath cycles, one cycle is both a five count inhale and a five count exhale.
10. Finish in child’s pose
- it is very important to end any back extension exercise with child’s pose in order to let go of any tension that might’ve gotten stirred up in the lower back. As you relax in this pose, think of stretching your arms out in front of you, dropping your forehead to the floor, and letting the weight of your hips drop towards your feet so that your lower back is nice and long. Take a big breath in through your nose, and as you exhale, sigh it out. Do this three times.
Wow Los Angeles! It is cold outside! It was 37 degrees at our house this morning! And the rest of the country?? I know NYC is cold too! AND the rain is coming TONIGHT!
I don't know about you, but staying in that cozy bed longer and maybe skipping the workout sure feels good! Wait, did I just actually say that?? Ok, time to get your body moving in spite of the weather!
The best way to motivate is to start with a couple of simple exercises just as you get up. And as you'll see in the picture above, if you have furry friends to help you, even better!
Now I wrote a whole book on this...
BUT here is yet another way to get moving, especially for those of you that feel cold in your joints...AND are having difficulties not becoming a total winter couch potato!
You can do this at any time in front of the tv or at your desk too!
First, you are going to sit on the edge of your bed and put your feet flat on the ground, toes pointing forward at a hips distance apart. Inhale and pull your belly button in and lengthen up through the crown of your head so that your spine is long. Now, exhale and curl your chin to your chest, rolling your torso all the way down to touch your finger tips to the floor. Inhale and pull your chest forward into a flat back while gazing out in front of you, exhale and round your spine back in. Then roll up. Sound familiar? This is what you do standing in a yoga class. Repeat this about 5 times, paying attention to coordinating the length of your breath to time out with your movement. Spinal mobility and flexibility is vital to keeping your body healthy and strong.
Second, you are going to sit up tall and without shifting back or sideways, and without collapsing your spine, straighten one leg out in front of you with a flexed foot and hold the leg there for 4 full breath cycles. YOU MUST ENGAGE YOUR CORE muscles to execute this movement. Pull your pelvic floor muscles in and up, zip your belly button in and up, and do not elevate your shoulders. Keep reaching down towards the floor with your fingers. Lift the leg as high as you can without changing your posture. Switch legs and repeat this two times.
Finally, with a straight spine, reach your arms overhead and shrug your shoulders up to your ears and back down, inhaling up, exhaling on the way down one time, then reach your arms out to both sides with the palms facing forward inhaling, and then as you exhale, curve your arms in so that your fingers touch each other without changing your spine and pull your belly button in tight as you exhale. Repeat 5 times.
Now read my book from the above link. :) It's short and direct...it really helps you to begin your day. I realize now it is not just a 15 minute workout with these new additions, BUT maybe this short spinal wakeup/core engagement stretch will get you motivated!
AND for those of you who want MORE... Check this out:
AND for those who have not tried my 20 minute workout, clink the link below:
REMEMBER: Honor yourself. If something does not feel right, whether it is a relationship (love or friendship), a job, or a living situation do not be afraid to make changes that will help you to honor YOU. Is it scary? Hell yes...but it IS worth it. I left my husband without anything but my cats in hand. Now I have created the life I have always wanted. We may only get one shot at this life so let's make it count.
Move Your Body, Love Your Soul,
HELLO AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
The most important thing about moving your body is being in the correct alignment. So often there is relatively no attention to this detail that adds 10 times more to the benefit of your workout. What do I mean? Well, if you are performing a squat without the proper alignment of your bones, your muscles will be working incorrectly and you will not benefit as much, if it all from the exercise. Your whole workout will be for no good reason. Now no one wants that. When you execute a properly aligned lunge, you want to be aware of EACH AND EVERY body part. That means when you step back into the lunge, your hip bones are facing forward with the lunge leg aligned from hip to toes. Your back toes should be parallel and the heel should be lifted unless you are doing a yoga posed warrior position. Your supporting front leg should be aligned from your hip all the way down to your ankle. Your knee should bend over your ankle, and align with your middle toes. You should NOT bend the knee out front past the ankle. I could go on and on. EVERY EXERCISE HAS A CORRECT ALIGNMENT PATTERN. Learning this is key to a better workout, maintaining healthy bones, and strengthening and lengthening your muscles. Guess what else? Learning this helps you to inhabit your body. A good idea, for sure. IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE CONCEPTS AND GET A VISUAL, GO TO THE LINK BELOW AND BUY MY BOOK ON AMAZON...
I realize it has been a long while since I've blogged, but I've been busy! I have a new book out on Amazon, and another one being released from Kindle to include paperback as well, but let's talk about our CARDIO workouts, for the moment, RUNNING...
Over the weekend I was running with my boyfriend on the canyon trails, and it felt good to run for the first time in a long time. Why? Well, I injured myself a few months ago due to overuse and compensations in my body. You see, the way MY body is put together is that I have naturally flexible hamstrings, and very strong and tight quadriceps muscles. When I run distance, my quads take over after a period of time and particularly my gluteus muscles stop working for me. This causes problems, and for me, resulted in a gluteus medius pull. Not fun. Now I know what to do for these issues, but it is difficult to take the time for myself to slow down, properly stretch and release my myofascial tissue on my quads and the other attachment muscles on the front of my body, while isolating glute and hamstring exercises for the back of my body to gain strength. It's hard for me to slow down in general, what with dancing, boxing, and doing all the activities I love, but it is vital to also apply self care. In addition I have to accept that my boyfriend has tight hamstrings and longer quadriceps, so his distance running is very different from mine. I have been trying to run at an average lap pace that is too fast for my 5'0" petite frame because of the longer stride I had to execute in order to run at this pace. Changing my stride so that my step is not so long, helped me to concentrate on squeezing my glute muscles with my smaller steps so that I am now working the back of my legs more than the front. It bothered me for quite some time that I cannot yet maintain the quicker lap pace, but to not have pain when I run is worth its weight in gold, let me tell you. Also NOT EVERYONE IS SUPPOSED TO RUN AN 8 1/2 MIN AVG LAP PACE. Just because you don't, does not make you less of a runner. Running at YOUR speed for YOUR body will make you the strong, confident runner you want to be.
Now I've described to you specifically what I need to work on, so it got me thinking about the fact that every BODY is different, and problem areas are going to be unique unto themselves for each individual. Look, my boyfriend has different issues that arise in his body because of how he is put together too.
The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember or learn is that taking the time to stretch and strengthen specific leg muscles will give your distance run or your spin cycle class longevity. Lets talk about spinning for a moment. Chances are that if you spin you are really tightening your hip flexors over time, especially if you already have tightness in your hips or quads. If you are built like my boyfriend and you run distance, chances are your knees and/or feet bother you because of the tightness in your hamstrings. Everyone has different issues, so how are we all supposed to either take a class together or do the activities/sports we love to do? Well, get to know YOUR body specifically. Pay attention to how you feel when you do these activities. It should burn like sore muscles, but not feel like horrible pain. Then once you know which part of you is strong and tight, and which part is long and flexible, do opposite things for those muscles to counter balance yourself. What if you can't figure this out? It IS important to both stretch and strengthen your entire body, and the best way to achieve this is a combo of interval training exercises that utilize a few different movement mediums that you can find in my book, Move Well Eat Well Be Well. Here are TWO wonderful lengthening exercises that are good for EVERY BODY, as well as a movement pattern to strengthen EVERY BODY. These exercises are found in 2 different chapters in my book, so I hope after seeing the following video you will get inspired to want to learn more! Here is your serious freebie for the day...
Move Well Eat Well Be Well
I've been getting asked a lot of questions about smoothies this week from clients, and I wanted to address the subject to everyone. Are smoothies bad for you? Well, the answer is fairly simple: They CAN add too much sugar, fat, or calories depending on what you put into them. When you are preparing a smoothie you need to remember these 3 things:
ARE YOU GOING TO USE THE SMOOTHIE AS A MEAL REPLACEMENT OR AS A PICK ME UP?
MEASURE THE AMOUNT OF INGREDIENTS.
ADD AS MANY OR MORE GREENS THAN FRUIT
What do I mean by all of this? First off, I typically make a hearty smoothie in the morning for my boyfriend and myself to split, so I include a lot of nutrients that would equal out to be a meal replacement. I DO include bananas and dates and sometimes apples or oranges or other fruits together because this is our breakfast. It is a good idea to add a protein powder that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and has zero to few sugars because no matter the reason of your consumption, small or large, you will get your carbs and sugars in your other ingredients. Second, when you are adding in your ingredients think about the amount of food you are adding. You would not want to eat 3 tablespoons of nut butter, almond milk with added sugar, 4 bananas, an avocado, coconut water, and half a coconut because that would be way too much sugar and carbohydrates and fat if you were just simply eating those things, right? So, think about your sugar and calorie intake as you add these ingredients. Make smart choices, such as adding almond milk that is unsweetened. If you add a nut butter, only add 1 tablespoon of one nut butter. By the way, if you buy my E Book, you will see 3 smoothie recipes that illustrate proper ingredient amounts for meal replacements. Finally, and this is especially if the smoothie you are making is just a snack or a pick me up, add a LITTLE fruit, but mostly add in greens like kale, spinach, celery, or cucumber. These greens are nutritious and have the water, vitamins, and minerals you need to actually help give you the energy that you think you would only find in a piece of fruit. This is also a great way to consume greens if you do not really like to eat them otherwise.
So there you have it! Are smoothies bad for you? NO. However, just like anything else, it's a good idea to moderate, and if you MOVE a lot, you can feed your body even more healthful, tasty foods. What a concept!
Move Well, Eat Well, Be Well
What is a burpee, you may be asking yourself? Well, a burpee is a great way to activate a lot of large muscle groups in your body at once, and get your heart rate up pretty fast. It is usually a dynamic, explosive movement where in which you jump down and out into a push up plank position, jump back into a squat position, and then burst into a jump up with the arms shooting up much like a starfish shape. Sadly, this movement is very often performed incorrectly, in fact, I have had many clients tell me that their "other trainer" had them doing burpees, and they hurt their back. SO, I decided to teach ALL OF YOU the correct way to execute such a powerful movement because it is indeed a good one to include into your repertoire if you do it right.
FIRST OFF, you need to step it first. What do I mean by that? Well, get the movement down by stepping instead of jumping...I have executed this stepping myself in the video below. You want to carefully plant your hands, fingers facing forward, right in line with your feet. As you step back one foot at a time into a push up plank pose, you want to keep your shoulders over your wrists and engage your core. NOW, your core includes your abdominals, your lower back muscles, your hips...so try to engage your pelvic floor too by squeezing your kegal wall like you are holding your pee. As you step back in toward your hands, step your feet right behind your wrists and find a squat position. A squat should have your toes facing forward, heels on the ground, your knees over your ankles, but not in front of them, and you should first feel your glutes engage before you stand up. As you stand, reach your arms up over your head, squeezing your butt, but don't jump yet. Now you've got the form! This may be enough for you in the beginning, by the way. The movement is still dynamic because it is getting your heart rate up already. REMEMBER, if you're going to jump the movement, you MUST keep all of those form elements working throughout your body in order to create the most beneficial and effective burpee for yourself. NOW WHAT ABOUT BREATHING?? You want to exhale as you step out into the plank, and exhale as you reach up over your head. Take a breath as you go down, exhale as you step out, inhale as you step back in, and exhale as you reach up. Breathing is important. Your exhale will help you to engage your core even more.
Move Well, Eat Well, Be Well (Trademark)
I decided to write about movements derived in tap dance and drumming today because I have been working with a client who is recovering from a stroke. He is loving the fact that I have been implementing these movement patterns with him. Now, he does not have total control of the right side of his body, yet he's tapping and drumming!!! You should be totally inspired.
SO, I thought, why not teach everyone a little tap and a little drums, right? It is truly a wonderful thing for the brain to dance and to create rhythms. Music is felt throughout the entire being, and when you are really moving succinctly in a rhythmic pattern, the body can become abundantly joyful.
An old dance called the shim sham is a tap dance from the 20s that has been passed down through generations. I've learned several versions of it from my vast array of tap teachers over the years. I'm going to teach a pattern from that dance that is actually very aerobic that I learned while I was attending Stephens College from a Chicagoan named Lane Alexander. The music you'll hear on the video I made in the attachment below is by the Dorsey Brothers. It was recorded I think in the 30s on this track, and it is called The Shim Sham Shimmy. You can hear how the drums lay down to create a similar pattern that the dance creates. I am also going to teach you a piece of the drum pattern without sticks and I'll be banging on a can, just so you know you can drum on anything. Oh, and no tap shoes required. Remember, you can also dance anywhere you like. All you need is a little space. I chose this piece because it is timeless and routed historically for dancers and drummers alike.
YOU DON'T NEED TO BE EXCEPTIONALLY COORDINATED EITHER. Try it, you'll be surprised. You also will have this video to refer to as often as you like so you can really get it. To my dancers and drummers who may think this is too easy, pshaw. You'll be reminded about how much fun it is and you can embellish as much as you like. My boyfriend told me recently that what I have to say and teach is actually more valuable than I know, which is why I've been charging you to view SOME things. However, I decided that since this is based in dance and drums, and not what you're all accustomed to trying, this is FREE. Click the second video below, if you care to learn something new. The first video is what it looks like with music and all...the drums are my electronic kit, so the sound is not what you'd expect, but you get the idea. I've even included a little Bill Robinson and Shirley Temple for you, performing another version of the shim sham....enjoy. I hope you get inspired....you know who you are.
Move Well, Eat Well, Be Well (TM)