Tag Archive | fitness

#ABXDVD Was not For Me

As per the FTC’s “Clear and Conspicuous Requirement” I received a copy of this DVD per a blogging review site. I was not compensated in any way other than the free DVD for this review.

I have been in the fitness industry for over a decade, run a successful Chicago area fitness studio and have been a paid presenter in the fitness industry. During this time I have blogged about fitness, health and wellness, reviewed DVDs and other fitness items, always honestly and without abash. I have read some of the reviews that were in the 1-2 star range for this product and was dismayed to see that the company took a negative stance against people honestly giving their feedback about a product; growth comes from honest critique not glowing praise even if your company’s philosophy is self-acceptance – probably more so because you shouldn’t need bloggers to affirm you.

Having put off this review so long that I keep receiving contact from the company I can no longer shirk the duty. The short and sweet, so as to not get into a debate with anyone representing ABX is, I personally did not like the DVD. I personally did not connect to the video. I personally did not like the routine. I personally did not like the video staging including the personalities. I would not personally recommend the DVD to any client I can think of; however, I personally believe that the DVD might have an appeal, as another reviewer on Amazon aptly pointed out, to males for viewing pleasure.

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Emily Can B Fit: Deed Develops into Habit

Last night was a rough one: between my children being waking sick and myself being blue about the journey ahead of me to get back to where I once was, I couldn’t sleep. My partner arrived home early from his nightshift and immediately set about building me a fort-nest.
The fort-nest is my way to find peace and sanctuary when a hug isn’t enough. It takes the kitchen table, several blankets (with a chair atop the whole mess for support) and every available pillow to construct – which my husband did without being asked. Crawling inside fort-nest is like crawling back into the womb. There is something quiet and calming, even within my own noisy city apartment. Of course, it is not a complete fortress of solitude and soon my peaceful retreat was pierced by the meek noises of an ill three year old, but I find fort-nest is made better by nursing, the release of oxytocin helps magnify the calming effect.
After three hours of sleep I was awoken by my another child who preferred I walk him to camp, a regular feeling of his and actually a blessing in disguise. His personal desire for my presence on the morning walk forces me to get up for a morning walk (this could be made more manageable if the other ones let me sleep – this morning he shouted “wake up mom!” while we were crossing the street, I can’t be sure that I wasn’t dozing while walking).  Deeds become habits and the same thing kept me feeling healthy while I was completing my M.ed, I walked two and a half miles to and from campus daily in the sweltering Baltimore heat.

Blue Lotus Chai

Blue Lotus Chai

Arriving home I decided to make my Super Quick Vegan Dal for breakfast and eat half of a gluten-free ginger coconut muffin. I am trying to eat fitter by eating half of what I normally do, with the knowledge that if I want more I can have.  After years of battling eating disorders I have found that my sense of satiation as well as hunger is not reliable. Half a muffin was actually enough and I finished it all off with my new favorite local made, chai tea – it’s good plain (which is what is healthiest) but it is fantastic with rock sugar and vanilla flax milk.

Next were basic chores around the apartment and making salt dough for the little tyke.  This is the children’s favorite and keeps them creatively occupied for hours.  I even took a nap.  Awaking feeling…well, rested somewhat, I made a Super Quick Vegan Mock Ham Salad and scooped it atop two pieces of my favorite local gluten-free bread, open faced. Open-faced is my trick for eating slower and visually being more full – it looks like more sandwich.

The day started to wind down as we headed to pick E up from camp and drop the little one off for a gym class. Another great chance to walk with the family.  I love living in Portland, everything is easily accessible via walking or biking – it was one of the reasons I moved here and I am finally taking advantage of this.

My nightcap? A 7 pm yoga class only 700 feet from my front door at the local health club. Looks like my fitness is on the right track!

 

Better Body Workouts For Women

image Dean Hodgkin and Caroline Pearce team up to bring Better Body Workouts for Women to the market.  This book is chock full of material and that is quite honestly its downfall.  As a fitness professional even I found it hard to read, it was laid out almost like a text book though the charts and text did give way to photos and descriptions of exercises, but you would have to jump around a lot to build a workout plan.  From my experience the average fitness consumer would prefer something boxed and packaged, ready for use.  There is great information in here, but more than the average individual needs to be successful, however; if you are within the fitness profession, grabbing a copy of this book could not hurt.  It is written as well, if not better than a lot of those produced by certifying agencies.

In line with the review of this book I have been provided a great little article from another source, hopefully it steers readers down the right course:

Five Exercises to Avoid

From professional athletes to green gym goers, thousands of people find themselves injured each year when exercising.  To maximize your workout both safely and effectively, Dan Geraci M.S., Head Strength Coach at Hard Pressed, debunks the myths surrounding injury-prone practices.

“Incorrect form when lifting weights is one of the top contributors to sports-related injuries,” says Geraci.  “To prevent pulled muscles and other ailments, it is important to take age and fitness level into account as well as any neck, back or spinal issues you may have.”

Below are five exercises to avoid as well as alternative methods for a safer workout:

  1. Box Jumps:  A compound movement that works the musculature of the hip and knee joints, this method also places excessive pressure on the Achilles Tendon which can lead to a rupture or tear.  Missing the box with an uncoordinated misstep can result in a twisted ankle or scraped shins while the repeated jumps on a hard surface can cause knee pain.
    •  Alternative:  The leg press works these same muscle groups but can create stronger muscles without the negative impact of box jumps.  “The leg press targets the muscles around these joints as well,” says Geraci.  “This produces more explosive and higher jumps, often the reason many turn to box jumps in the first place.”

  1. Dumbbell Chest Fly:  Without a spotter or when using heavier weights, dumbbells can be difficult to control properly which can potentially lead to catastrophic muscle tears.  Furthermore, most individuals use a shortened range of motion (ROM) for chest flys, which misses the mark for the most effective portion of the exercise.
    •  Alternative:  Machine Chest Fly and cables can be much more effective and safe as these alternatives place you in the proper positioning to utilize a full ROM without leaving your muscles and joints vulnerable to free weight errors.

  1. Walking Lunges:  Improper form is the main problem with walking lunges as the majority of people perform them incorrectly.  “Bad form leads to increased stress on the knee and places it in a vulnerable position,” says Geraci.  “Putting excessive force on structural components of the knee such as the Patella Tendon and the Meniscus can lead to injury.”
    • Alternative:  Doing stationary lunges (and having a spotter) will keep the knee in the proper position and allow you to maintain proper form while reaping all the benefits of lunges.

  1. Upright Rows:  This exercise puts the rotator cuff muscles in an extremely pinched space (referred to as the sub-acromial space).  In many individuals the Acromion Muscle is hooked or slightly hooked which leads to increased impingement.
    • Alternative:  To work your traps in a similar method, use the Shrug and Pull technique.  This allows you to target the same muscles while moving the joint in a much more natural way, thus decreasing the chance of injury.

  1. BOSU/ Stability Balls:  The extremely instable platform these balls provide can lead to a myriad of injuries.  They put you in a vulnerable state while performing movements that often times lead to injury when in completely stable environments.  Contrary to popular belief, doing exercises on these balls has no functional purpose outside of training the body to better perform these exercises while on a stability ball.
    •  Alternative:  Perform the exercises in a stable environment rather than on the ball.  You will better target the primary muscles (i.e. chest for chest press) while not leaving your joints, muscles and tendons susceptible to injury.  Then, exercise your core muscles and abdominals separately.  “Working your chest with a chest press movement on a stability ball is a poor attempt at a two-for-one type of deal,” says Geraci.  “While killing two birds with one stone sounds good in theory, if it leads to injury you are worse off than when you started.”

Is Your New Fitness Culture Killing You? Five Exercises to Avoid

I recently read a wonderful article entitled, CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret, a 7 minute read that is well worth your while and honestly brings forth many of the questions that others in the fitness industry have been asking about the knowledge of the staff, background, role and safety provided to members. As with any industry, yoga included, when there is little regulation and a lot of opportunity for cash flow, people come out of the wood work with new systems and overnight trainings that really jeopardize the well being of the average person looking to get in shape. Not swayed? Well, take a look at these suggestions for what to cut out from those intense and extreme workouts….

Five Exercises to Avoid

Hard Pressed Strength Coach Emphasizes the Importance of Working Out Safely

From professional athletes to green gym goers, thousands of people find themselves injured each year when exercising.  To maximize your workout both safely and effectively, Dan Geraci M.S., Head Strength Coach at Hard Pressed, debunks the myths surrounding injury-prone practices.

“Incorrect form when lifting weights is one of the top contributors to sports-related injuries,” says Geraci.  “To prevent pulled muscles and other ailments, it is important to take age and fitness level into account as well as any neck, back or spinal issues you may have.”

Below are five exercises to avoid as well as alternative methods for a safer workout:

  1. Box Jumps:  A compound movement that works the musculature of the hip and knee joints, this method also places excessive pressure on the Achilles Tendon which can lead to a rupture or tear.  Missing the box with an uncoordinated misstep can result in a twisted ankle or scraped shins while the repeated jumps on a hard surface can cause knee pain.

o Alternative:  The leg press works these same muscle groups but can create stronger muscles without the negative impact of box jumps.  “The leg press targets the muscles around these joints as well,” says Geraci.  “This produces more explosive and higher jumps, often the reason many turn to box jumps in the first place.”

  1. Dumbbell Chest Fly:  Without a spotter or when using heavier weights, dumbbells can be difficult to control properly which can potentially lead to catastrophic muscle tears.  Furthermore, most individuals use a shortened range of motion (ROM) for chest flys, which misses the mark for the most effective portion of the exercise.

o Alternative:  Machine Chest Fly and cables can be much more effective and safe as these alternatives place you in the proper positioning to utilize a full ROM without leaving your muscles and joints vulnerable to free weight errors.

  1. Walking Lunges:  Improper form is the main problem with walking lunges as the majority of people perform them incorrectly.  “Bad form leads to increased stress on the knee and places it in a vulnerable position,” says Geraci.  “Putting excessive force on structural components of the knee such as the Patella Tendon and the Meniscus can lead to injury.”

o Alternative:  Doing stationary lunges (and having a spotter) will keep the knee in the proper position and allow you to maintain proper form while reaping all the benefits of lunges.

  1. Upright Rows:  This exercise puts the rotator cuff muscles in an extremely pinched space (referred to as the sub-acromial space).  In many individuals the Acromion Muscle is hooked or slightly hooked which leads to increased impingement.

o Alternative:  To work your traps in a similar method, use the Shrug and Pull technique.  This allows you to target the same muscles while moving the joint in a much more natural way, thus decreasing the chance of injury.

  1. BOSU/ Stability Balls:  The extremely instable platform these balls provide can lead to a myriad of injuries.  They put you in a vulnerable state while performing movements that often times lead to injury when in completely stable environments.  Contrary to popular belief, doing exercises on these balls has no functional purpose outside of training the body to better perform these exercises while on a stability ball.

o Alternative:  Perform the exercises in a stable environment rather than on the ball.  You will better target the primary muscles (i.e. chest for chest press) while not leaving your joints, muscles and tendons susceptible to injury.  Then, exercise your core muscles and abdominals separately.  “Working your chest with a chest press movement on a stability ball is a poor attempt at a two-for-one type of deal,” says Geraci.  “While killing two birds with one stone sounds good in theory, if it leads to injury you are worse off than when you started.”

About Hard Pressed:

Hard Pressed is Chicago’s premier Strength Training facility with a focus on full-body strength training.  Inspired by the collegiate-style weight rooms Head Strength Coaches Dan Geraci M.S. (University of Michigan) and Ron Israel (University of Florida) experienced at their respective NCAA athletic programs, Hard Pressed offers a streamlined workout that is effective and efficient.  The 30 minute workout is coaching intensive, consisting of a strength training regimen that combines a mix of free weights and state-of-the-art weight machines for maximum intensity and effectiveness.  With a strong concentration on training safely, the program offers a high-intensity workout that maximizes results in a safe and effective manner.  Hard Pressed is located at 219 W. Chicago Suite 600, Chicago IL 60654.  For more information, please visit us at http://hardpressed.me/ or like us on Facebook at “Hard Pressed High Intensity Workouts.”

New Collection Release Functional and Fashionable Fitness Apparel

ZUMBA® Fitness, the workout that has helped melt the pounds and inches off 12 million fitness enthusiasts, has an exciting new spring/summer collection that transitions easily from sweating it out in the gym to strolling the streets thanks to the vibrant colors and exciting silhouettes that have become a signature of the brand.

Dubbed the “Universe” collection, the pieces combine the vibrancy of the workout which it mirrors with light weight materials and free flowing designs to keep you moving through any warm weather routine.

ZUMBA® Wear’s spring/summer collection features galactic prints, cropped silhouettes and asymmetrical cuts designed using licensed ZUMBA®   instructors as its models to represent the brand’s diverse and expressive community.  Motivated by the energy and passion of these ZUMBA® instructors from more than 185 countries across the globe, the “Universe” collection is an eclectic cultural mix of design inspiration and passion people feel when they experience ZUMBA® Fitness. I have to say after almost 10 years in the Zumba community I am impressed that they have started adding variety to their models as far as size and shape. 

5-z1t00429-whte They have also added variety to their clothing line.  This has to be one of the largest lines released to date that Zumba has offered and they have revamped their shopping experience as well, made it easier, aesthetically pleasing and streamlined – just like their clothing.  No longer is Zumbawear just for sporting to Zumba class, pieces can be worn outside of the gym too!

For example, the Solar Burst Top in white (Shine Bright in New Gear with the White Story) is a soft lightweight cotton blend that can b1-z1b00142-blcke worn high on the waist or low on the hip thanks to the contrasting color waistband. Think comfy boyfriend top made a little more feminine and a lot more sexy, with kangaroo pockets and an off the shoulder wide boat neck. This shirt is so versatile I can wear it out with the kids and still breastfeed – that is a feat for fashionable clothing. Now you could pair this top with your favorite slim jeans or you could go full Zumbawear all the way and snag a pair of Hubble Hubble Leggings and show your Zumba Love all the way.

Don’t forget that Zumba has a full line of clothing and accessories, including iPhone cases, jewelry and even socks.  From experience I can say that their socks can’t be beat with their velvety nylon microfiber material they are my go to pair of socks – in or out of a Zumba class. My kids actually steal my Zumba socks to wear for themselves and I always get questions about where I get my colorful comfy socks from when I pad around the studio in them.

Zumba really has hit the mark not just on fun fitness classes but on creating versatile clothing that is functional as dancewear and fashionable on the streets.  Cost is also a big factor and before you look at the price tags and think they are a little more than you want to spend consider the cost of some of the top athletic apparel companies out there – Zumba is in line with, if not less expensive than, many well known athletic wear brands with the bonus of being Zumbawear offered from one of the hottest companies for dance classes, music and now clothing. Zumba has been around for over a decade and they are only getting bigger so shop the collection at zumba.com/shop to be a part of the party.

I received the Solar Burst Top and one pair of Zumba socks for review.  I was not compensated in any way for my review, the opinions expressed are given freely. I have been a ZIN member and Zumba Instructor since 2007.

Ditch the Joint Stress, Workout With Ease Giveaway CONTEST ENDED

Up until October 2012 I owned a fitness studio and taught full time, a full schedule of fitness, dance, and yoga classes. Through two pregnancies, up until the day each was born, and back to work two weeks post partum.  It is not something I recommend but in order to keep income coming in I had to work.  Small business owners seldom get a day off from their daily grind.

Throughout the last decade I have taught a variety of formats; Zumba, Pilozing, Yoga, Ballet Bootcamp, you name it and even with all of my credentials I still make a wrong move, twist the wrong way, or forget to bring my dance shoes to class.  Now, with Dancesocks you don’t have to worry about buying the “right type” of shoe for class.  Several instructors that worked at my studio used slip-on sock products to teach on a variety of surfaces – from carpets that allow no slide to wood floors that can get tacky.

Why would you need Dancesocks? The average sneaker most people buy is a running shoe, turned up at the end with a high amount of grips on the bottom – these shoes are made for forward movement, not lateral movement, spinning or twisting.  Now, you could purchase a pair of shoes for each exercise endeavor you take on, and there are cheerleading/dance shoes with pivot points for dancing, but; you could just as easily get a pair of Dancesocks for $10 and save yourself the cost of a new pair of $100 shoes that you will only wear in class.  Dancesocks are economical and make sense, you can transition any pair of sneakers into aerobic dance shoes.

My Dancesocks arrived from http://www.cocoscloset.com/ , a website that invites you to shop in “your coolest friend’s closet” and offers a wide range of clothing, gift and accessories. I have a hard time finding cute tops and always seem to run into people who find the most comfortable looking trendy tees that I would want to teach yoga in.  Cocoscloset definitely has few adorable tee shirts I wouldn’t mind owning.  In fact, there are a lot of great items for trendy moms available in Cocoscloset.  Here are my top three picks for mom (hint, hint, wink to my family!)

1. I happen to know another owl crazed mom so “ode to you my bellydance friend” it is the

Vegan Leather Phone Wristlets – Owl (Pink)

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2. For moms on the run and on the go, yes I miss the fanny pack it is

Spibelt – Small Personal Item Belt – Turquoise Pouch with Black Zipper

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3. Let me end my list by saying:

“NAMASTE” T-shirt

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Armed with a few great ideas for mom this Mother’s Day go out into the world and shop, or click the Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win you or you mom Dancesocks from CocosCloset!

I received a pair of DanceSocks for review, I was not compensated in any way and all opinions expressed are my own and given freely. Winner will receive a pair of Dancesocks from CocosCloset, FamilyCanBFit is not responsible for prize fulfillment

.

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Congrats to our Winner Rose!

Your Family Can Be Fit

With this generation of children being the first expected to not outlive their parents due to the obesity epidemic it becomes every parents’ priority to keep their children fit and healthy.

How parents go about doing this can have a large effect on outcomes and children. Fun should always be at the heart of every interaction with children, especially those around health and wellness.

Three main areas to address are Environment, Eating and Activity.

Environment

Are you aware of the dangers in the areas your children sleep, play, eat and wash?  Although some parents roll their eyes at crazed friends who are constantly looking out for invisible “toxins”, they may want to take note of the ramblings every once in a while to keep their own children safe. BPA, bleach, and plastic water bottles have all come under fire recently for being less than healthy and have made it on the “toxin” list.

Eating

Family of four or family of one, eating healthy is sometimes less than fun.  So how can a busy parent provide nutritious options at every meal? It isn’t as hard as it sounds when you practice substitution.  Side step the salad lettuce and use spinach instead in many places. Or give your palate a new taste to contend with, try a delicious raw kale salad next time you are thinking about greens.  Get the kids involved with the chopping, tossing and then eating!

Activity

Armed with a healthy environment and full of energy boosting food it should be easy to get those little ones moving but that’s not always the case.  Today’s youth are growing up addicted to hand held devices and fantasy environments, something that can change the overall structure of their brain and how it responds to stimuli.  Start at an early age combating this leading cause of lethargy with fun activities.  An easy and quick one that kids will love to help out with is hula hooping. Build your own hoops, put on some tunes, and viola! instant party.  Be sure to join your kids in the fun and model good healthy fitness.

Be sure to keep anything you choose fun and the mood light.  There are enough harsh words in the world for children who are different and there is no need for them to come from parents.  The focus of getting and keeping kids healthy should always be fun and lifelong love for health.

You can connect with FamilyCanBFit on twitter and facebook.