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Fit Friday: Transition to Fall with Twists

As a New Yorker and lover of the outdoors, I’m mourning the end of summer, but there are some simple ways I cope with the seasonal change. Summer is notoriously a time of indulgences, from frozen margaritas, to ice cream, to fried dough on the beach boardwalk. While I make a point to never deprive myself, come Fall, my body starts to feel the strain of all those treats. Yoga is a practice of cleaning the slate. Twisting poses are great for stimulating the digestive system, helping eliminate waste from the body. Try these 3 twisting poses to and jump start your fall detox.

Seated Twist:
Begin sitting up tall with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring the sole of your right foot to the ground outside of your left hip. Bend your left knee and bring your left heel outside of your right hip. Place your right hand onto the floor behind you as close to your sacrum as possible. Inhale deeply and lift your left arm straight up. Exhale and cross your left elbow over your outer right knee or thigh. Sitting tall with shoulders relaxed, take 4 more deep breaths, lengthening your spine with each inhale, and gently increasing the twist with each exhale. Be mindful to twist from your navel, rather from your neck, so you rotate your spine in one unit. After 5 rounds of breath, release the twist and counter twist your torso to the left. Straighten your legs out in front of you, then switch sides and begin again.

Chair Twist:
Stand with your feet together. Bend knees and sit your hips back as if you were sitting back into a chair. Tuck your tailbone under to take any excessive arching out of your lower back. Shift the weight out of the toes, distributing it into the midfoot and heels. Look down and make sure your toes are not being hidden by your knees. Join your hands together at center of chest, shoulders relaxed. Inhale deeply to lengthen through spine, and as you exhale, twist to the right, hooking your left elbow outside of your right knee or thigh. Stay in the twist for 4 more rounds of breath, working to move your thumbs away from your right armpit, closer to your sternum with every exhale. Switch sides and being again.

Supine Twist:
Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest, gently pressing your tailbone down towards the ground. Relax. Extend your arms onto the ground into a “T” shape in line with your shoulders, palms facing upwards to allow the shoulders to soften down the back. Breathe in, and as you breathe out, allow your knees to fall to the right side, being mindful to keep them in line with your navel, or slightly higher. You can keep your neck neutral or, if it feels good, look over your left shoulder. Stay here for at least 5 deep breaths, then switch sides and begin again.

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Inspiration to Move All Day

As you’re reading this, you’re probably sitting down. And if you’re like most Americans, you spend an average of 9.3 hours a day in this position. We sit at our computers, we sit at meetings, we sit in coffee shops, and we sit in the car. In fact, most people sit more than they sleep in a typical day.

That’s bad news for your body: Extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism and can cause your blood sugar to stay elevated, putting you at a greater risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. It also increases fatigue, causes your joints to stiffen, puts you at a higher risk for injury, and wreaks havoc on your posture. When you stand, your mid-back muscles (specifically your rhomboids, mid traps, and lats), abdominals, and glute muscles keep you upright. But when you slump in a chair, they go unused and weaken. As a result, your body loses functional strength, flexibility decreases, and you’re more likely to experience chronic pain in your neck, lower-back, and hips.

So what’s the solution? Exercise is a great start, but unfortunately, it can’t undo all the damage caused by long hours of sitting. The trick is to get up and move, and to do it often. Health experts recommend getting up once an hour from your desk, even if it’s just to walk around briefly or go to the bathroom. You might also consider raising your desk to standing level or turning your next coffee meeting into a walking meeting.

One way to fill your day with movement and break up sitting time is to take advantage of the 10-minute online and Mobile App workouts I created at barre3.com. Studies show that these mini workouts can decrease your appetite, help you focus, and melt stress. They also fuel weight loss. During a typical workout, your metabolism increases during exercise, burning more fat and calories as your heart rate elevates and your muscles work. This elevated metabolic boost doesn’t drop off immediately after exercise. It decreases over the next several hours. So while you may burn the same amount of calories in a 30-minute workout as you would during three 10-minute workouts, you burn calories all day long when you choose to do three shorter workouts. In the long run, you could easily zap more calories after three short sessions than one long one.

Now, we realize that everyone has to sit sometimes. In fact, I’m sitting down as I write this blog. But as soon as I finish, you can bet I’ll be popping up for a quick stretch and a stroll around the block. I hope I’ve inspired you to get up and move too!

Re-energize and combat the negative effects of sitting with a free 15-day trial to barre3 Online. Get access to hundreds of online workouts that combine the best of ballet barre work, the wisdom yoga, and functional strength of Pilates, delicious, seasonal recipes, and more. To get started, enter the promo code barre3Splits59 at www.barre3.com/redeem.

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Weekend Wisdom: Stay healthy this Fall

Fall is in the air! With the cool crisp air comes colds, the flu, and here in Texas -allergies. Here are some tips to keep you healthy – and working out – this fall:

1) Wash your hands! I know you hear this a million times, but it is so true. Wash your hands before and after you work out. Think of all the things your hands touch during a workout – free weights, weight machines, treadmills, mats, balls, barres, etc. These have been touched by many people before you and probably have not been thoroughly cleaned after each use.

2) Bring your own mat to class. Some gyms and studios offer mats to use for class. Many places also have a cleanser to use on the mats after you finish class, but I see so many people rush out of class and forget to clean them. If you have to borrow a mat, put a towel down on top of it. This way you can keep yourself from coming face-to-face with other people’s sweat.

3) Stay home if you are sick. No one wants to work out next to someone who is coughing, sneezing, and wiping their nose all the time. Give yourself a few days to rest and get your energy back. Chances are, you will enjoy the class a lot more when you are feeling better!

Have a happy and healthy fall!

Cathy T.

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a body that moves is a body that grooves…

Movement is everything, it is our breath, our connection to others. It is the dance we have with ourselves on a consistent basis. Movement grounds us, lifts us, brings people together and draws people apart. Movement heals and brings greater awareness to one’s life.

Movement has proven to help reverse or delay some of the age related changes that happen to the body. In order to live a happy, healthy life and to age gracefully daily movement needs to be incorporated into your everyday routine. Unfortunately, play and active movement is often associated with the young yet, people of all ages need to move and be active to juice the joints and maintain a balanced body.

Movement facilitates the development of increased blood vessels that carry learning-essential water, oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Movement is essential to learning. It integrates and anchors new information into our neural networks. Every time we move in an organized fashion, full brain activation and integration occurs, and the door to learning opens. When the mind gets clear through breathing exercises than there is more room for the body to expand into new horizons.

Sharing my gift of movement with people is such a blessing. To watch people grow, gain strength, release stuck patterns, challenge themselves in new ways and open up their perspectives inspires me fully. To move is a gift, a gift to be recognized, honored and exercised. A little bit of movement goes a long way. Every action makes a difference. Attitude is everything. Choose to free your body and your mind with the dance of your breath and the rhythm of your heart.

sweat. align. define.

give love. spread love. be love.

love is the movement.

give thanks.

be the change you wish to see.

-mahatma gandhi

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How to Detox Correctly

Have you ever done a “detox” or juice diet? Did you feel worse or more toxic? Most people love the idea of “cleaning out the system” but don’t know the proper way to get all the benefits and are actually hindering their health progress.

During a detox the liver goes through 2 phases:#1 all fat-soluble vitamins turn into water-soluble, once they are water soluble they float around the body actually making you MORE toxic until they are expelled. In order to expel said toxins you must enter phase #2, which is adding Amino acids (ie complete protein). Complete proteins come from meat (not part of the detox), quinoa, spirulina, clean protein powder, etc. So you can see why a fruit and veggie cleanse isn’t going to work unless you want to actually become MORE toxic.

So here’s the plan to, you can do it for a day or up to a week, as long as you aren’t working out too hard and have enough time to relax.

Unlimited fruits and veggies in the form of:

FRESH JUICES (make your own or hit up an organic juice bar, NOT jamba juice)

FRUIT SMOOTHIES (coconut water, fruit, spinach, and a protein powder, either Teras whey, Hemp, Rice, Pea, VEGA, Egg White).

SOUPS (lots of veggie broth and cut up organic, don’t want more chemicals, vegetables).

STIR-FRIES, steamed, baked, grilled veggies.

FRESH FRUIT from the garden.

ADD UNLIMITED: garlic, onion, kale, seaweed (kelp salt), vinegar, spices, andherbs.

DO NOT EAT: Meat, dairy (except whey), nuts, oil, sugar, grains (quinoa is the only option)

Supplements and other drinks: 1 cup hot lemon water or green tea in the morning and at 11am. 1 how cup CALM magnesium drink before bed (start by following the directions and add more each day if you need to). Magnesium helps you sleep and stimulates bowel movements in the morning.

Happy Cleansing!