All about barre-style workouts, what inspires me and tips on healthy eating for life


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Staying ‘focused on fit’ for summer: amp.it.up.

You know the drill…the unofficial start to summer – Memorial Day weekend. Food abounds, cookouts aplenty and oh, the drinks, let’s not forget those. Wine, beer, sangria, the works! Summer is one of those times that really tests willpower and this lifestyle, in a sense, because there are so many more ‘triggers’ to fall off track, more social activity, more vacations and time off away from routine and suddenly, that fit lifestyle slides out the window.

But rather than allow yourself to slide, why not use this unofficial start to summer to amp it up? Re-focus, or focus even more keenly on this fit lifestyle you’ve created for yourself, steps, steps, steps, (and/or runs!), logging your eats and getting those sweatastic classes in.

I remember kicking off my 60 day challenge just about two years ago and thinking Memorial Day weekend would be my first big ‘test’ to whether I could be in a setting filled with temptations, and drinks, and walk away from it successful.

And was I successful? You better believe I was – I had my eye on the prize, inches and pounds lost, and that was not going to change for a cookout, or many cookouts throughout the course of the summer. I found my happy medium of eating foods that would fuel me (lean proteins, veggies, and fruit) and planning for, and allowing myself, the glasses of wine that I wanted far MORE than the potato salad, pasta salad, and chips and dip. I knew those things would taste good in the moment but later? I’d be feeling empty and hungry, even, and not as satisfied, had I stuck with my food plan.

So, as you head into the holiday weekend, and summer, generally, why not use this as a chance to challenge yourself to stick with it – because this is a lifestyle, not a short term ‘diet’ – and even step it up – pun intended – add more steps to your day, tweak your workout schedule, and get creative with the fabulous summer fruits and veggies coming into bloom?

Whether you are officially doing our 60 day challenge, or not, here are some ways to renew your focus on being FIT for summer, because let’s face it, it’s hard to stay motivated, slide 49ff730f6516b366c9d807c295de629ea6f0f1c67b637eac13b28803fea3d6c3into comfort zones or old habits and it feels easier to just stick with the status quo…but instead, why not challenge it head on?

Here are our tips to stay FOCUSED ON FIT for spring!

  • Commit to your number, no if’s and’s or but’s. Even if you aren’t doing the challenge officially, but have in the past, why not follow along ‘virtually?’ Renew your focus on your number, plan ahead, and stick to that number! Don’t ‘count as you go’ and find yourself over your calories, or the reverse, have TOO MANY calories at the end of the day – plan plan plan. That’s truly the key to success – plan ahead, eat when you’re hungry, not out of habit, and keep your body fueled!
  •  Focus on your trouble spots with a little ‘at home’ b9 action. Commit to an extra round of situps, tricep dips on the edge of the couch or on a mat, stretching to loosen and lengthen tight muscles, back dancing to tone that tush…you can do all of these things while you watch TV! Who wants to watch commercials, anyway? 😉
  • Drink more water, stay hydrated! It is amazing what a little extra water can do to keep you more awake, less hungry, staving off the ‘hungry horrors’ and, as we all love to hate them…PMS cravings!
  • Choose. Yes, choose. What do you want more? Wine? Cake? Appetizer? When it comes to cookouts or parties or just a date night out, do your best to choose between everything and pick ONE, and enjoy it to the fullest. I guarantee you’ll feel better and enjoy it more than if you chose all three – the wine, the cake and the appetizer.
  • Amp up your cardio. If you’re a runner, tack on an extra 10 mins to one run a week, if you’re a walker, bump up your steps to 15K, if you’re a swimmer, swim a few extra laps. The key is – stay moving and bump it up! 
  • Switch up the classes you are taking, or take an extra one every other week. Surprise your body with something new! Long & Lean Legs if you usually take Cardio, Cardio if you usually take Fusion! Keep your body guessing and it will keep changing and transforming!

A lifestyle change takes time, but once you really commit to it, and treat it as just that – a lifestyle – it won’t feel like ‘work’ but natural. We encourage you to look at this way, because that is truly what it is, a lifestyle that is achievable, maintainable and natural. And we challenge YOU to stay focused on fit as we head into summer. What do you have to lose but inches, right? See you at the barre!

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Creative ways to stay active and avoid temptation when snowed in!

While most of us are snowed in by Blizzard Nemo, it becomes extremely challenging to not only stay active, but to avoid the temptation to hunker down and eat ‘out of the ordinary,’ so we thought we’d share some fabulous tips and motivation to stay on track when snowed in (and the beauty of these tips is that they transcend beyond just being snowed in, too!). Some of our fabulous 60 day challengers have also been coming up with unique ways to get some steps in, stay active, and avoid temptation!

  1. Walk and read. Now is a great time to get to that book you have been wanting to read but never have time to. There’s no time like the present to cozy up to your book…and walk around your house or apartment! Alternate between cozying up under a blanket on the couch and walking around your living room reading your book. You’d be amazed at how many steps you’ll get in!
  2. Tap into your cable’s on-demand feature. There are a number of walking workouts on demand, and you’ll knock off a few thousand steps while you’re at it. There are also tons of cardio dance style workouts on there as well!
  3. Walk the halls. If you live in an apartment and don’t have stairs or longer hallways? Try the hallways outside of your apartment. Genius, right?
  4. Put laundry away…one piece at a time. No, seriously. You tidy up and get those legs moving all at once! Many of our challengers do this all the time!
  5. Have a step-off with a friend. Many of our challengers are doing this all the time! But even if you aren’t currently doing one of our 60 day challenges, you don’t have to! Challenge a friend, a family member or your significant other to a step off. A little healthy competition always helps you go the extra mile (pun intended!)
  6. Have a treadmill? Walk and watch TV. Or, if you are a runner, run a few miles and you’ll knock off some steps that way too, of course.
  7. Say it out loud and you’ll reach your goal. Accountability is huge. Commit to a total step amount, say it out loud, to a friend, on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll feel motivated to reach that goal even more, and may even surprise yourself with how many steps you end up getting in!
  8. Be a kid! Who said adults can’t play in the snow?! If you have children, bundle up, get outside and chase them around. If you don’t have children it is totally acceptable to run/play around in the snow too 🙂 You are bound to work up a sweat and get your steps in at the same time- not to mention a killer thigh workout!
  9. Random acts of kindness. Clear off some neighbors cars, help someone shovel their driveway or walkway. Start shoveling at the opposite end of the driveway/walkway and walk the snow (on the shovel of course!) all the way to the pile you start, then walk back to where you began. Obviously bundle up 🙂 and be careful of slippery ice!

In addition to avoiding the temptation of laying around all day (we do want you to relax, though, so please DO rest up and rejuvinate, too!), it’s also easy to slide into old habits…junk food, extra snacks, drinks etc. The one tip we have here is to treat this day as any other day – be normal, stay on track, and just plan for that treat you know you’ll want, and you won’t feel deprived- you also won’t feel the ‘regret hangover’ the next day after overindulging!

We hope you stay warm and safe as the storm winds down, and we applaud each and every one of you for staying active, focused and determined to live a happy, healthy and fit lifestyle! See you {soon} at the barre!


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Tips for staying within your number, out of your routine

This time of year brings upon travel, lack of routine, and stress. Jolene can relate, which is why we decided to have her guest post today on our blog on this topic. Her full time job requires travel- and not just to CT or NY where the time zone is the same, but to LA, Texas and the like. So not only does traveling in general throw a curve ball to someone who is trying to eat healthy and plan ahead, but the time change doesn’t help much either. Read below for some tips on how to stay turn to your health and fitness goals, even on the road.

Tanya

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As my job requires a fair amount of travel, and I also love to travel in my spare time (and feel so grateful to have the opportunity TO travel quite a bit!), I wanted to share some tips I’ve mentally collected as I travel, for business, and for pleasure. As I was going through the inaugural 60 day challenge, one of my biggest fears was how on earth I was going to stay in my number, fitting in workouts and steps, and focused on continuing the lifestyle I was cultivating for myself. (I started my job about 6 months before the challenge began) But as I’ve continued in this lifestyle for the past year and a half, I’m always amazed at how much easier and more ingrained it becomes, especially when I travel.  Because let’s face it, when you have all of the tools (hello barre n9ne® classes!), the access to the right foods and control over your schedule and meals, it’s relatively easy to stay on track…especially when you then compare that to traveling, where all of that routine is stripped away bare.

So here are my tips for staying in your number when you’re traveling,  or otherwise out of your (controllable!) routine (a lot of these tips also apply to when you’re out to dinner with coworkers etc, where you have less ability to control your food).

Restaurants should be a luxury, not an ‘everyday’ thing. But when restaurants become an everyday thing because you are traveling and have zero access to homecooked meals…look at restaurants and dining out as a ‘necessary evil’ and as I’ve said in a prior post, ‘be normal.’ It may be tempting to look at the menu, and going into it, having every intention of bypassing the bread, the appetizers and the sauce-laden entrees, but then, once amid the social atmosphere of your coworkers, you decide to choose a heavier than planned for entree.  Instead, switch your focus and think of this meal as a necessity. You aren’t going out to dinner because of your choice to do so (where, when I go out to dinner, I go rarely, and take that occasion to pick one of my favorite restaurants, and really enjoy it, for the experience and atmosphere, combined with a good, real-food meal), you are doing it because you have to. So, if you were at home and making dinner for yourself, would you make the sauce-laden curried rice and beef dish or would you go for the piece of grilled chicken or steak with light vegetables and a salad, maybe a baked potato? You’d probably go for the latter, or at least I would, so switch your focus and choose smartly. And save that perhaps heavier meal for a time when you truly want to, and plan ahead for it.

Be prepared. When flying (or driving or any sort of travel where you’re hours away from your destination, with at least one meal to contend with), be prepared. It sounds ‘no-duh’ but it truly goes hand in hand with the above tip, if you plan ahead and ‘be normal’ – would you really go somewhere where you know you’ll be away from your own food options without packing something sensible? Probably not. So do the same here. Pack fruit (apples, bananas, pears are good options with lots of fiber), 90 calorie peanut butter packets, 100 calorie nuts, even packets of oatmeal that you can make easily with hot water. Pack Healthy Bites (if you’re me!) for a quick 50-calorie pick me up that will surprise you with how long it sticks with you. You’ll more easily bypass the snack tray on your flight, filled with empty calories – Fritos, chips and cookies – and be more satisfied, longer, with your own options. This is one of the only times I also suggest an energy bar as a meal replacement, if you’re traveling through a meal. Choose one that has real ingredients listed first (or the only things listed!), that has anywhere from 170-230 cals and 10-15 grams of protein for the most staying power. Kind, Simply Bar, Larabar (these have less protein, however, more fiber!), and some of the Zone Perfect bars (natural varieties) are some of the options I go for most. When you get to the airport, scope out a snack stand that has yogurt, and choose an all natural, organic, or Greek yogurt style. These pack protein, fiber and calcium that will also sustain you longer. And soon enough you’ll realize you just endured a long flight without a) blowing your calories on empty snacks or b) being forced to choose higher calorie breakfast or lunch options at the airport or drive through because you have no other option (other than starve…and who wants to do that?!).

Get on a (revised) schedule. For me, when I travel, it’s typically cross-country and across three time zones. Where suddenly, I’m thrown into a limbo of hunger at the ‘wrong’ times – immediately when I wake up (because my body things it is breakfast, which I typically eat around 9 am), yet it is only 6 am, to lunchtime cravings at all of 9 am Pacific time (when it feels like noon!). And suddenly, you’re faced with figuring out how to quell your hunger cues, while balancing the fact that you have three extra hours in your day to contend with, and your meals are all thrown off. The best advice I can give is to try and ‘get on schedule’ with whatever time zone you are in, as fast as possible. For me, that means spacing our my breakfast as slowly as possible so I am not starving by the time lunchtime rolls around (feeling like 3 pm in my brain!), while also balancing out my calories so I’m not ‘out’ of calories by mid-afternoon. Instead of one ‘bigger’ breakfast of my go-to oatmeal that I enjoy at home, I’ll instead eat a two-step smaller breakfast, essentially half my calories for breakfast at around 7 am Pacific time, and the other half around 9 am Pacific time, so I quell my hunger but also ‘get on schedule’ with the time zone I am in. This usually means a yogurt or nuts or a banana and peanut butter around 7, and an energy bar or packet of 100 calorie unsweetened oatmeal with peanut butter (about half the calories of my typical oatmeal goodness made at home).

When traveling or out of your routine, and out of your control, don’t let that become your excuse for not eating ‘normally’empower yourself by being prepared and choosing wisely, and staying within your number when traveling or out to dinner with coworkers etc., won’t be nearly as difficult as you may think.


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What focus does.

Today we bring you a guest post by Jessica Sutera, one of our awesome instructors at barre n9ne®. If you haven’t taken a class with Jess yet, well what the heck are you waiting for 🙂 I think it should be your personal mission to get to a class with Jess, and on that note, to try a class with each and every instructor at least once, even if the time(s) they teach at don’t typically work for your schedule. One client told me during her 60 day challenge she made it a point to take each class at least once and to try out every instructor. I think that is a fabulous idea! 

We are always trying to make your workouts that much more effective and I think Jess has pretty much summed it all up here 🙂 Enjoy!

A few months ago, I read this FitSugar article on the most often-made mistakes at the barre. We circulated it around the studio a bit and we pretty much all came to the same conclusion: Focus is the name of the game. 

What focus does: 

  • It keeps you centered: on your movements, your muscles, your shaking. Not your barre-neighbors movements, muscles and shaking. Feeling centered helps me to push harder, longer and farther into a set, it allows me to get to that all important shake at the barre. I’d never get that shot if I was too busy looking around the room, or worse — staring off into space, ‘phoning in’ the workout entirely.
  • It helps you work that muscle to utter fatigue. Literally, just thinking about the muscle you’re working makes a world of a difference. Try it next time you’re working on that last set of tricep lifts and, as you notice your arm start to falter, your elbow start to bend: focus. Bring that arm out to straight, lift it a little bit higher above your hip and *think* about that muscle running along the backside of your arm. Somehow just making that mind/body connection makes an incredible difference.
  • It can be very cleansing. Speaking of that mind/body connection — one of the main reasons I adore barre classes is that it gives me one hour where I can focus on me. On what my muscles are doing (screaming at me, most likely), on how strong I’m becoming and, quite simply — it gives me an excuse to focus on me for that hour. Such a refreshing and oftentimes cleansing feeling in what is often a very rushed, chaotic, jam-packed day. That hour in the studio though? It’s mine. So to do anything less than give it my utmost attention would be doing myself a serious disservice.

You’ll often hear us at the studio talk about focus, always, but also intention — a word, which to me, holds such deep meaning. It’s about moving with intention while in class, never going through the motions and always working a little bit harder each time you set foot in the studio. Working with intention, when paired with the types of classes we are proud to offer at barre n9ne®, means you will always be working to your full potential in class. Working to your full potential means never hitting that wall or plateau. Goodbye plateau — hello results. I like the sounds of that.

So next time you hear me or any of the other instructors at the studio talk about focusing on that muscle, lifting that weight with intention and purpose, give it a second thought. And then give it a try. Because that is what focus does.