Blog

IF YOU CAN’T SING…DANCE.

Nicole
When you’re a kid you’re told to recognize your talents and expand upon them. At least that’s what I heard growing up. My family members, primarily my cousins, have amazing voices. To this day I’m pretty envious of what they can create because I am lacking in all vocal skills. 

However, I can dance. I did dance professionally for years and I feel blessed to have this expression in my back pocket.  

As a dancer, I hear music on a visceral level and although I can move to rhythm and feel it, EVERY PART OF MY SOUL wants to sing. I see music as a second language that can transcend ages and experience, lifestyles and struggles. I know this is the case because I see it everyday in my cycling classes! 

I’m not sure if the whole world hears music the way I do so I can only speak on how I am affected by melody and rhythm. There are songs that will literally hurdle me off my tush or ease me through a rough patch of emotions and I am forever in awe of the artists and musicians that create such magic. Here are a few that are on “repeat”  for me.

Take a look below and see if they move you…

Cycling/Cardio/Barre:

  • Pink Floyd remix by Pretty Lights
  • Hula Hoop by Brenmar Feat. Uniique3
  • Live and Let Go by Hilltop Hoods
  • Literally I Can’t feat. Red-foo and Lil Jon by Play-n-Skillz
  • Flashed Junk Mind (filous remix) by Milky Chance
  • Gangsta by Kat Dahlia

Yoga Flow:

  • Heavenly Father by Bon Iver
  • Artifice by SOHN
  • Let it Go (Bearson remix) by James Bay
  • Human by Aquilo
  • I’m There Too by Michelle Featherstone
  • Staying by Koda
Spring Into Gear Review: Trigger Point Quadballer

trigball1 As a professional ballet dancer, I am constantly on the lookout for new “toys” for rolling out my muscles, sustaining strength and suppleness and “treating” my body for the hard work I ask of it each day. One of my favorite fitness products is my Trigger Point Therapy QuadBaller. Initially designed to relieve runners of lactic acid build up and muscle tightness, this handy device is small enough to throw into my dance bag, to travel with, and to bring back and forth between my daily rehearsals. Similar to a foam roller that athletes might be more familiar with, this device is hard-core and effective. It targets major muscle groups including your quadriceps, IT Bands, Glutes and even Calf muscles. Among many other wonderful products designed by Trigger Point, the QuadBaller is certainly a talented tool for every athlete!

(Bonus – Trigger Point’s Website provides How-To videos on different ways to use and maximize the benefits of their products!)

 

 

Thursday Inspiration: Who is your inspiration?


Who has inspired you? Who has motivated you when you felt you couldn’t do it? Who pushed you outside your comfort zone and made you stronger? Who do you like to train with, work with, or learn from? Who has helped you achieve your  fitness goals? How has that person changed your life?

Now ask yourself this…. Have you thought about being THAT PERSON?  What is it that you love to do? What are you passionate about?  Have you ever thought about sharing that love and passion for what you do with others?

Ten years ago when I told my Pilates teacher after class how much I loved the work, she  suggested I get certified to teach Pilates. “Share your love of the work with others”, she told me. Admittedly, I was excited and scared, but I stepped outside of my comfort zone, got certified and started teaching 2 classes a week.  Now, nearly a decade later, I am a teacher trainer.

Maybe you love Pilates, or yoga, or Barre, or Zumba. Maybe it’s spinning, aerial, kettle-ball, or your personal training sessions. Now, imagine sharing your love of that class with others. Consider becoming a teacher. Lead. Inspire. Motivate. Share your passion.

Have a happy week!

Cathy

These are a few of my favorite things! – Part 2

Here it is! Part 2 of my favorite foam rolling exercises. Check them out and let me know what you think!

3. Foot Massager – depending on how durable your foam roller is (and how good you can balance…), you can use this as a wonderful foot massager! Unless you are in the circus, you’ll want to find either the back of a tall chair or a wall to help balance you while you stand on the roller. For less pressure, you can play around with just having one foot on the roller, while the other foot remains on the ground. Try to roll the insides and outsides of each foot on the roller. Once you’re standing on the roller, keep your core engaged and carefully roll forwards and back on your feet. There’s really no right or wrong way to do this, unless you face plant, so find what feels “best” for you. If you’re really going for it, once you’ve been standing on the roller for a bit, try lifting one foot completely off, so all the weight goes into one foot. This can be pretty intense, so listen to your body and try not to face plant…

4. Supported Core Work – for those of us blessed with tight hips, lordosis, and tight hamstrings, ab exercises that include being on one’s back with legs up in the air and waving around can be quite difficult, uncomfortable, and sometimes harmful to our bodies. If we are tight or weak in certain areas (such as the low back, hamstrings, or hips), we may have a hard time engaging our cores and instead, start to tense in our necks, low-mid backs, and hip flexors just to get through some leg lifts. Using the roller as support will not only help release our upper backs and necks, but it will also enable us to better engage the core muscles we were originally trying to target! Lie on your back, with knees bent in, and roller nearby. Use either your arms or core to float your bottom off of the floor and slide the roller underneath, so your sacrum is supported on top of the roller. Keep your knees bent in until you’ve found a good spot for your hips. To test, when you point your knees toward the ceiling, your low abs should fire and your spine should feel long and straight. You do NOT want your butt to feel like it’s falling off the edge of the roller, or like you’re sticking your butt out – this will create MORE tension in the back. From here, there are plenty of options! You can do all sorts of core exercises, including double leg lower/lift movements, scissors with bent or straight legs, tick-tocks (legs up toward ceiling and tip side to side to engage obliques – you’ll also get a hip massage), or you can just lay there and breathe. DO make sure you are aware of your upper back and shoulders, if you tip your legs far enough away, they will still tense. This is not a foolproof position with the roller, but it definitely helps one to relax the upper and lower back while moving your legs around.

For more ideas, poke around online and/or check out one of the many books now available about foam rolling – fellow FitPro Elite, Jessica Diaz, suggests this one: http://www.splits59.com/blog/?p=5513

Happy rolling!
Xoxo
Elana

Monday Meals: English Pea and Shrimp Risotto

peashrimprisotto

Cooking seasonally is the only way to go in my opinion. Fruits and vegetables are their tastiest and most packed with nutrients when they are harvest when nature intended. Since we live in Southern California, sometimes produce comes a little sooner like these beautiful English peas I recently found at the farmer’s market. I decided to use them in a risotto with shrimp, roasted fennel, leeks, and monchego curado. Typically a lot of butter is added at the end of making risotto to make it very creamy. I decided to opt out of that and instead I made sure to use a fair amount of olive oil as I was cooking the veg and continuously stirred the rice as it was cooking to coax out as much starch as I could.