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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stretch of the Month: The Wall Twist

We're at the wall again this month for a standing pose, The Wall Twist. This stretch is way more than just a stretch! February's Wall Twist requires strength, balance, coordination, and abdominal work (all the stuff that's amazing for your full body fitness)! Make sure you've done at least a few minutes of warming up before trying it. Need a reminder of good stretching techniques? Check out the info at January's Stretch of the Month The Wall Lunge.

-Approximate the length of your leg and stand at that distance, facing a wall.
-Keep your left foot parallel and rooted down into the floor, step your right foot onto the wall. Your right leg and your back should be as straight as possible.
-Inhale and lift your arms overhead. Exhale and twist your body to the right.
-Let your left hand touch your right leg wherever it reaches (could be the thigh, calf, or foot). Stretch your right arm directly behind you (ideally your right hand will be in line with your right foot).
-Keep both legs engaged by pressing the left sole of the foot down into the floor and the right foot into the wall.
-Let your gaze follow the right arm so you're looking over the right shoulder.
-Inhale lengthen, exhale and twist even more. Stay here for 3 deep breaths and do the other side!

Modifications: "What if....?"

"My back is rounded..." Move a little bit closer to the wall and bend your top leg. It is more important to maintain a neutral spine than to have a straight top leg.

"I can't stay balanced..." Take the entire position down to the floor. You will be lying in a spinal twist with the top leg extended to a straight position, just as if you were standing. *AND set up personal training sessions with me to improve your balance!!!!!

"I need more of a challenge..." If you can hold your top foot and keep good form in this pose with ease, then try the pose standing in the center of the room.

*Let me help you make sure you've got superb form in The Wall Twist, and achieve your best strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and corework!!! Call 201-240-4288 or email for sessions.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Surviving the Winter Slump

It's halfway through February and technically there are only about 4 more weeks of winter. The spring equinox (March 20th!) is approaching, but nevertheless this time of year can seem endless. Goals and intentions set during the beginning of the year may fade away and hibernation mode might prevail for the rest of the winter. Here are some ruts that you may be stuck in and suggestions for surviving the rest of the winter in good health :)

THE COMMON COLD: This one is a doozy because a simple head cold can interrupt your regular schedule, affecting your exercise, work, family, and social life. This, however, is an important interruption because it's clueing your body in to some essential information. Your body is telling you that you need to rest. As difficult as it is, try to honor that and get extra sleep, eat quality whole foods, and SLOW down your schedule!
Getting back into your fitness routine post-cold can be a challenge because your body is still weak. Be patient with yourself. *Keep your body moving and start off with something less vigorous like a fast paced walk or a restorative yoga class. Once your muscles have regained strength you can sweat the rest of the cold out of your system with an intense personal training session.

STALE ROUTINE: You're following through with your goals (getting to the gym 3 times a week, eating healthy portion sizes, etc.), but you're starting to feel like you're stuck in a rut. To avoid feeling bored or burned out with your routine try to mix things up a bit. **Try a new class to challenge your muscles or an active social event to get extra cardio. ***Buy an unfamiliar vegetable and experiment with ways to create a healthy meal.

LOSING SIGHT OF RESOLUTIONS: Goal setting is a great tool to reach your desired level of health & fitness. If these goals came in the form of New Year's resolutions, by this time something else may have taken precedence over the lifestyle changes that you need to make in order to reach your goals. This is an opportunity to go back and reevaluate those goals. Are they realistic? What steps do you need to take to see them through? Reread them, rewrite them, and most importantly start NOW. It's never too late to create a goal or make lifestyle changes. You can start at this very moment. ****

I've personally experienced ALL of these issues this month! Here are some ways I'm getting myself through...
*I tried to go for a run after I felt better from a cold, but my body just wasn't ready yet. Instead I took a fast paced walk in the park, stopped at every other park bench for 20 step ups, 15 push ups, and 15 dips.
**To spice up my fitness routine I've been taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (a detailed post on this coming soon!), kickboxing, and lindy hop swing classes. I'm sore in all new places!
***Blend all these ingredients for a delicious and healthy salad dressing or dip: 1 large carrot (peeled & chopped), 1 large shallot (peeled & chopped), 2 TB chopped fresh ginger, 1 TB sweet white miso, 2 TB rice wine vinegar, 1 TB roasted sesame oil, 1/4 c grapeseed oil, 2 TB water
****Reread January's post, "Are you ready to shine in 2009"

*****Contact me for more suggestions and to set up personal training sessions!!*****