Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Health & Fitness Apps

Health & Fitness Apps

It's pretty amazing what kind of technology and information are available to us so readily today!  Even three years ago when I was preparing for my certification exam in Pilates, I didn't have access to the great anatomy apps that I have today!  I thought I'd share with you some of the apps I've been liking lately, and hope that you will all share some of your favorites, too!

Muscle & Bone Anatomy 3D by Real Bodywork

I love this app for reviewing and learning anatomy.  It's great because you can view the muscle not only in 3D, but also in their layers from deepest to most superficial.  You can view the entire body from head toe in one part, or break it down by arm, leg, torso, etc.  After viewing the muscles, you can also watch their actions, and then you can take quizzes on identifying the muscles, figuring out their actions, the spelling, and more!


Easy 10K with Jeff Galloway

I just downloaded this app a couple weeks ago and I am loving it!  I haven't been running much this year (and I have never been much of a runner to begin with).  Part of my problem is that I get very bored with running, and part of my problem is that I never seem to get to that "Zen"-like state--trust me, I've tried!  I've run 6, 8, 10 miles on multiple occasions and just never seem to feel those endorphins.  So, back to the app, I love it because Jeff Galloway's approach is to run one minute and walk one minute.  It surprised me how much I love that format--I run faster when I'm running cause I know it's only for 1 minute, but then I enjoy the whole workout a lot more because my body feels great!  The workouts are set up 3 times per week to prepare you for a 10K in 13 weeks.  I'm not really preparing for a race, but it's a great format to get me running again.  I also love that I can upload my own iPod music (or choose from the app's music), and then the BPMs are calculated to match my running and walking.  You can also turn on/off prompts from Jeff Galloway telling you when to run/walk and things to think about to improve your technique and experience.


My Net Diary (Pro)

This is a great app for tracking your meals and calorie intake.  What I love about it is the ability to scan the barcode on food that has it, then you just confirm the information that comes up and enter your serving consumed.  It also stores your commonly eaten foods, and you can put together recipes you cook with multiple ingredients for easier tracking when you eat the same recipe again.  You can also track your exercise, water consumed, measurements, and more!

All Recipes

I love this app when I need a new idea for a meal.  It's so easy to search for a recipe based on what ingredients you have at hand, or based on reviews, or even by special dietary needs (no gluten, vegan, etc.).


This is a great app for people who need new ideas for a workout at home or at the gym.  You can decide which part of your body you want to strengthen, and the app will give you examples of exercises--you can see pictures, watch a video of how to perform the exercise, and also read a description of the exercise.  Then you can track your workout and save it to repeat at a future date!

Do you use any of these apps?  If you have any other suggestions of apps you've fallen in love with please share them with us!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No Bake Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Energy Bites

This is my new favorite snack to throw together!  Thanks to our client Kelly Hall in Las Vegas for sharing the recipe and making some for me while I was teaching a certification course at The Green Room Pilates in Henderson, NV.  The best part about these (besides their deliciousness) is how easy it is to customize them to fit your preferences and needs.  I have made them using almond butter or peanut butter, agave syrup, dark chocolate chips,  pumpkin flax cereal, and I love to throw in a raw fiber mix from 'The Garden of Life' to get some extra fiber.  You can add protein powder, dried fruits, coconut, carob powder or cocoa powder, and anything else you can think of!  Just store them in the fridge and grab one or a few on the go.  So easy!

Yields about 40 pieces, depending on how big you make them

2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup brown rice cereal 
1 1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup flax seed meal 
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon dark chocolate powder, optional, I did not use this on this batch but I will on the next

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Roll into balls about 1-2 inch in diameter. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1-2 weeks.

Adapted from gimme some oven

Kelly shared the recipe from the blog 'Eat Good 4 Life'.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mastering your Pilates cues

Scoop out your abdominals!  Make that 'C' curve with your spine!  Feel like you're tightening up a belt!  Imagine a fire under your belly and you have to pull your abs away from it!

Do you ever struggle to find a cue that resonates with your client?  I think we have all discovered that a cue that makes perfect sense to one client means nothing to another, or even seems confusing or ridiculous!  Imagery is extremely effective for many people in finding the right connection in their body, but how do we find the right cue for the right person?  I actually had one student in a course ask if there were any books completely made up of cues for different exercises in Pilates.  I did some research on the internet and found some great articles and even an online group where we can share our favorite cues with each other to try out on our clients or in group classes.

I also suggest making note of what cues work really well with your private clients.  I always try to keep a record when a client says something like, "Wow, that really helped when you said that", or if they suggest something on their own that they like to think about during a particular exercise.  If you're teaching a group class, think about writing down specific cues that you'd like to try out with certain exercises.  Consider asking your group class clients if that/those cue(s) helped them or made sense to them.

Many clients don't like to hear all the technical jargon involved in the exercises, which is why having a cache of cues is so helpful and important.  Then, practice using them!  Try these articles for more ideas about how to cue and why it is so important.  If you have any cues that you have found particularly effective, be sure to leave them for us in the comments.





Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Energy is contagious

Night Watchers
I recently finished reading Keith Richard's Autobiography 'Life' (a pretty fascinating read, if you haven't read it).  I'm not a huge Rolling Stones fan, but I was interested because as I've gotten older I've grown to appreciate biographies and autobiographies more and more.  It's comforting and always amazing to me to read about how a life completely different from mine can still radiate the commonalities of the human experience.

One passage in particular resonated with me.  In speaking about his experiences being on stage:  "When you go on the road on these grueling tours you become a machine; your whole routine is geared to the gig.  From the moment you wake up, you're preparing for the show; your whole mind's on it all day, even if you think you know what you're going to do.  Afterwards you have a few hours free if you want, if you're not knackered...It's a hard drill sometimes.  But once I hit the stage, all of that miraculously goes away.  The grind is never the stage performance.  I can play the same song again and again, year after year.  When "Jumpin' Jack Flash" comes up again it's never a repetition, always a variation.  Always.  I would never play a song again once I thought it was dead.  We couldn't just churn it out.  The real release is getting on stage.  Once we're up there doing it, it's sheer fun and joy.  Some long-distance stamina, of course, is needed.  And the only way I can sustain the impetus over the long tours we do is by feeding off the energy that we get back from an audience.  That's my fuel.  All I've got is this burning energy, especially when I've got a guitar in my hands.  I get an incredible raging glee when they get out of their seats.  Yeah, come on, let it go.  Give me some energy and I'll give you back double.  It's almost like some enormous dynamo or generator.  it's indescribable.   I start to rely on it; I use their energy to keep myself going.  If the place was empty, I wouldn't be able to do it...We couldn't do that without their energy, we just wouldn't even dream of it.  And they make us want to give our best."

I grew up as a dancer and have been lucky to do it professionally for a while as well.  In the above passage, Keith Richards summed up the whole reason I love performing.  It is truly an amazing feeling when you get that exchange of energy going between yourself, your fellow performers, and your audience.  As he says, "it's indescribable".  I've had those moments before I get on stage when I think to myself, "I'm unbelievably exhausted, I don't know how I'm going to do this", but once you get going and you feel that energy coming back to you from the audience you want to give them everything.  

The Olympics have contributed to me wondering lately if it's the same experience for athletes.  For marathoners, do you get that extra burst of energy from those on the sidelines cheering you on?  Or does it come from your fellow marathoners as well?  What about those athletes whose audience must be silent?  Do they draw from the expectations of the audience and wait for the exultation after a great performance (golfers, gymnasts, etc)?  What about in your training when you DON'T have an audience or anyone cheering you on?  From where do you draw strength?  What keeps you going?

If you have any experiences to share or mantras that keep you going please share them with us!  And let's share our energy with each other so we can all experience things we never thought possible...

Friday, July 6, 2012

I loved this blog from Adam Bornstein at livestrong.com.  He's encouraging us all to take inventory on our goals as the year is half over already.  Like, to REALLY reassess, and try writing down an actual plan to get us there rather than keeping it vague and hoping it all works out.  I think it's a great idea.  I struggle to be patient with myself on the path to achieving goals, but by actually writing out a plan, it will help keep me focused on the every day achievements that will get me to the bigger goal.  These small steps will keep me feeling like I've accomplished something rather than beating myself up for not having reached the 'ultimate' just yet.  I'm happy with some of the goals I've achieved so far in 2012, but I'm taking 'The Health Challenge'!  Will you?

The Health Challenge

Here at LIVESTRONG.COM we're gearing up for what will undoubtedly be a month to remember. After all, the Olympics are a prime opportunity to be swept up by the ultimate competition and feel inspired to become something better. Whether it's the underdog that captures your heart (Justin Gatlin’s shot at redemption has our attention), the competitive battles for greatness (yeah, we're looking at you Phelps and Lochte), or the inspiring stories of people who continue to defy the odds (Dara Torres career is amazing, regardless of what happened), the Olympics are the embodiment of personal achievement. But July also marks a time on the calendar that is a little more personal. Half of the year has passed. The summer is here, the warmer weather has arrived, and we have one simple question: What have you done so far? Before you answer, I’m going to issue a challenge: Take a hard look in the mirror. Now before you judge me for being shallow, narcissistic, or arrogant, this stare-down is not about your physical appearance or whether you're ready to show off a flat stomach or abs at the beach. (Although that is always an added bonus.) I want you to look in the mirror and determine if you've been true to yourself and established an optimistic outlook about what you can achieve. Have you been working harder towards becoming the person you want to be? Or have you made excuses, given in to frustration, and settled back into old habits and already considered this year a lost cause? I issued a similar challenge back January, because sometimes we need a little tough love. And I'm here to supply that once again--starting with myself. I have not been my healthiest and best self in 2012. And this isn't about physical results as much as it is about habits. I haven't been sleeping enough, I still don't spend enough time with my friends and family, and in all honesty, I could be more consistent with my exercise and diet. These goals are nothing new. I wrote them down in January and I reassess them each month. The problem isn't my execution; it's my lack of focus. Creating a shift towards becoming your best version doesn't start with tangible, concrete goals, such as dropping 10 pounds or earning a raise. This is part of the process, but success begins with building habits that are reinforced through consistent execution. Want a promotion? Focus on the steps that will get you there--such listing your weaknesses, determining your company's goals, and then setting up a plan for success. The same can be said about weight loss or improved eating. Acknowledge your behaviors that need improvement and then work on those. Step. By. Step. And remind yourself to be patient. Bad habits aren’t born overnight, and good practices can't be incarnated instantly. You must teach yourself to have as much patience towards success as you did negligence that caused your frustration. Oftentimes we lose sight of the process with "tunnel vision" that focuses only on the end goal. I spend every day focusing on trying to become a better person, and as a result sometimes I forget about the steps I need to follow to make that happen. I know my priorities and my values, and I'm very good at maintaining those. But I still struggle at improving my weaknesses because I have a tendency of reassuring myself by only looking at what I do well, instead of what needs work. Understand that supplying positive reinforcement is important for your mindset. That's how you build confidence and success; find what you do well and acknowledge those traits. And it's that confidence that will help you overcome your weaknesses in the face of doubt, anger and frustration. But only focusing on the good still leaves open the possibility to be pulled down by the bad. That's what happened to me. So let's take a step together. The year is only half done. The glass is still half full. If we can learn anything from Olympians it's that greatness lives within us all. It doesn't matter if you've been perfect this year or have fallen short of your expectations. Like any race, winning is always the goal. But achievement isn’t limited to champions; it’s a collective that is shared by all participants. Taking part in the competition and accepting the journey is part of the glory, and that’s any opportunity that you can seize at any moment. Any accomplishment is still an accomplishment. And a relentless attitude will inevitably help you persevere and reach your goals, regardless of the timeline. I'm now focused on finishing 2012 stronger than I started. And I hope that you are committed to doing the same. Whether you want to sprint to the finish line or take a marathon approach, we'll be here supporting you along whatever path you choose. So take a hard look in the mirror. What do you see? Who do you see? When I look at you and hear your requests, I see potential. I see desire. And I see greatness. Now it's time for you to bring that limitless potential to life. -Adam Bornstein Have a question for me or want more health and fitness information? Follow me on Twitter , Google+, or Facebook. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/blog/the-health-challenge#ixzz1zr7GQ4s3

Monday, June 25, 2012

Setting the Pace for Women

I found this inspiring article about Kathrine Switzer, who was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967.  She did it by entering with only her initials because women were not allowed to enter the race.  It's amazing to think about the changes that have been made in women's sports in the last 50 years.  I was born in 1978 not realizing how groundbreaking some women's accomplishments were considering recent history.  It was just in 1972 that women were finally allowed to enter the Boston Marathon.  I am so grateful to all the women before me who saw past the limits that had been put on women, and took a stand for women's rights, because I grew up believing that I could do anything I wanted to do.  I never had the impression that certain things weren't possible for me as a woman, even though this wasn't always the case.  Even today we are still dealing with disparages in equality between genders such as equal compensation in the workplace; I am so inspired by the strong women who are the catalyst for change to gender equality.  Watch this video of Kathrine Switzer--you will be amazed by someone who tried to stop her mid-race, and inspired by those who kept her going, including herself!

June 23rd marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX -- the law that made all educational programs and activities available to both genders. The law has provided countless opportunities for women and girls in sports.
One outspoken athlete, Kathrine Switzer, has paved the way for women in sports across the country. In 1967, Switzer disguised her gender by entering the all-male Boston Marathon using her initials, making her the first woman to enter the race. While some runners were excited to see Switzer participate, one race director tried to take Switzer's numbers off her chest and throw her out of the race.
It was then that Switzer came to a realization: "If I don't finish this race, then everybody's gonna believe women can't do it and that they don't deserve to be here and that they're incapable," Switzer told AOL. "I've got to finish this race."
How long did it take Switzer to complete the race that not only changed her life, but impacted sports for women across the country? Four hours and 20 minutes. Watch the above video for more of Switzer's account of the Boston Marathon.