Sparkes Wellness is now at!

CLICK HERE for the Sparkes Wellness website and all updated information.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yummy Root Veggies

Roasted root vegetables are easy to prepare, packed with nutrients, and definitely my favorite healthy dish in the fall and winter.

Here's a straightforward recipe to try.

Feel free to experiment with your own combinations of root veggies and flavorings.

Choose a few different root veggies:
Sweet Potato
Fennel bulb

Choose your seasoning:
Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 F
2. Wash veggies & chop into small chunks
3. Mix veggies with seasonings & evenly distribute on oiled baking dish
4. Bake covered for 30min, uncovered for an additional 15min (times may vary for your oven)

Allow to cool and enjoy with some steamed greens and healthy protein.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Art of Self Care & Healing Massage Workshop

I'm teaming up once again with lululemon athletica (my all time favorite exercise clothes store) to present a new workshop The Art of Self Care & Healing Massage. This time in partnership with Zoe Levine, personal trainer extraordinaire and MELT method instructor.

@ lululemon athletica

472 Bergen St. @ Flatbush Ave in Park Slope (2/3 to Bergen)

Wednesday, November 4th, 7-8:30pm

It's FREE!!!

In this workshop, body practitioners Zoe Levine and Elyse Sparkes will share techniques on self-care and healing others through the MELT method and Thai yoga massage. Learn easy ways to make your body feel great on your own and with the help of a partner. Awaken and energize your hands and feet with MELT methods, and then use your increased sensitivity in full body assisted stretches and Thai massage. You'll leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

The M.E.L.T. Method® (MELT) is a self-treatment technique that helps prevent pain, heal injury, and erase the negative effects of aging and active living. In this workshop MELT instructor Zoe Levine ( will guide you through simple yet powerful self-treatment techniques that reduce pain and tension in your whole body by treating just your hands and feet. Regular treatment can provide relief from neck and low back pain, arthritis, bunions, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

These quick self-treatments can be done anywhere – home, work, or travel.

Thai yoga massage is a modality that combines stretching, reflexology, energy line work, yoga poses, and massage. Learn to be both the giver and the receiver in this workshop, which will focus on increasing flexibility and improving circulation for your whole body. Your instructor Elyse Sparkes,, will show you ways to reduce stress and feel completely relaxed.

Bring a friend so you'll be able to practice these new healing techniques at home!

Workshop attendees practicing Thai massage & Assisted Stretching

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Park Slope Parents

I was recently added to the Park Slope Parents website as a recommended personal trainer!

"Elyse is a great personal trainer with a lot of energy, skill, and knowledge. She's patient, but pushes you to be your best."

Park Slope Parents is an online resource for raising children in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Want to write a review? Add your entry HERE.

Thanks parents of Park Slope!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Climbing the Knife Edge @57

My dad recently celebrated his 57th birthday by taking a 10 hour hike up 5000 feet to Mount Katahdin and across its most dangerous and narrow ridge: The Knife Edge.

(Can't imagine traversing loose rock piles only 3 feet wide on the very top of a mountain? Watch this short video and you'll get the point pretty quickly).

I've always known my dad to be active and adventurous, and upon thinking about this impressive feat I realized how much physical endurance, dedication, and passion for life he has in order to accomplish this. He is absolutely a role model for me in my health and the ultimate inspiration for fitness and longevity.

I'm always curious about what motivates people to keep a continuous healthy lifestyle. How can I make sure I'm fit enough to climb a mountain on MY 57th birthday?!? Well, I asked the man who did it himself....

ELYSE: How long have you been hiking?

DAD: Since I went to the International Ranger Camp in Leysin, Switzerland, in 1962. I was 10 years old and hooked by seeing the Alps.

ELYSE: What was hiking the Knife Edge like?

DAD: Totally exhilarating...beautiful...wicked good! We were up 5000 feet traveling a narrow ridge about a mile from Baxter peak. There are several old codgers like myself up there, but mostly 20, 30, and 40 somethings.

ELYSE: How did you train for this hike?

DAD: I trained this summer with yoga classes, daily lake swimming, kayaking, biking, and 3 preliminary lower elevation mountain hikes. I was in good shape by early September.

ELYSE: How did exercise become part of your lifestyle?

DAD: My father and mother started yoga, stretching, and walking when they were in their 50's. They are now 94 and have a personal trainer for strength training and physical therapy for rehabilitation. My father still goes to the gym on his own to do leg presses. They are inspirational to me at their age, so I made exercise a priority in my lifestyle as well.

ELYSE: Do you think hiking/fitness/exercise keeps you feeling young?

DAD: Yes! Keeping the blood flowing like that is good for the body, mind, and spirit, which creates agelessness!!

ELYSE: Any advice you have for those of us who also want to climb a mountain at age 57?

DAD: The only thing between you and staying fit are the barriers you put up to exercise. I am not the most graceful or athletic person (they used to call me Mr. Peabody). I've had numerous injuries throughout my life, but I committed to the idea of starting to go for body toning & endurance, and stick to a meal plan geared to obtain my goals. I got a personal trainer and followed a program. There have been highs and lows, but I know now that I can do it. Truly, fitness is the key for alignment with self, energy, and longevity. It's a blast!

ELYSE: Wow, how true!
"Fitness is the key for alignment with self, energy, and longevity. "
You are such an inspiration.

Happy birthday and many many many more!!
Mount Everest at 75 years old perhaps?!?


Thursday, October 8, 2009

STRETCH class in Prospect Park

Back by popular demand :)

Meet @ Grand Army Plaza entrance to Prospect Park
Thursday, Oct. 15th, 6pm

*** ONLY $10 ***

Take advantage of the autumn weather in the beautiful Prospect Park. You'll be able to breathe in fresh air as you lengthen your muscles and relax your mind. Bring a towel, yoga mat, and/or clothes you don't mind getting dirty.

We'll meet at Grand Army Plaza entrance @6pm and settle on the Great Lawn.

Rain Date TBA.

Bring your friends!

***All attendees will receive a coupon for a $50 Thai Massage with me (normally $80/hr)***

Monday, October 5, 2009

...5k fun in the mud...

30'x90' mud pit right before the finish line of the RunAmuck 5k race

What exactly IS RunAmuck?? Watch this VIDEO.

There were lots of obstacles before we even got to the race!...Our team went from 4 to 2 members, it was cold & rainy, and we feared we hadn't trained well enough.

Well, I'm sure glad we persevered because it was a BLAST!!

The first mile of the race was the most difficult for me. It was trail running with a lot of steep hills. I had expected the obstacle course challenges to be interspersed in the 5k (to give my non-runner legs a rest), but no, all the extras were at the very end. The pace slowed down a bit when the trail turned into a true hiking path, navigating around rocks and tree trunks and (most of all) mud puddles. Of course, after you're fully exhausted -and muddy, muddy, muddy- the course goes straight through a lake. I had the not-so-brilliant idea to try to swim because running wasn't really an option anymore. Ha! I quickly found out that it is impossible to swim in mud filled sneakers. So now, completely soaked and freezing with numb legs, we had to do high knee jumps over ropes, hurdles, and army crawls under nets. Right before the finish line there was the 30' x 90' mud pit to dive in, splash in, and get just a little bit more muddy. We did the whole shebang in 44minutes, not too shabby!! ;)

final muddy jump at finish line

I highly recommend RunAmuck for a super fun way to exercise, meet other folks with healthy lifestyles, and laugh a lot!

Oh yeah, and did I mention that you get really muddy?!?!?