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M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Kinect with Your Body and Dance!

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M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Kinect with Your Body and Dance!

Kinect with your new dance instructors… in your living room.

January is such a motivating time of year.  Some folks set goals for eating cleaner, while others focus on connecting with their body by exercising more.  Fresh resolutions usually drive a pack of January gym rats to the treadmills each year, turning your usual workout routine into a waiting game.  Skip the crowds at the gym and instead, bring the workout, and the party, to your living room by hooking up the Xbox 360 Kinect system.  There’s no need for a controller with Kinect, because YOU are the controller, which means you’ll definitely get your body moving.  While all of the games provide a fun and active experience, the one that really makes me sweat is Dance Central.

There was a time when my main form of exercise was getting my dance on.  My girls and I would look all cute for a night at the club, but we secretly knew that we just wanted to bust a move and break a sweat. Now, with Dance Central, I don’t even need to deal with grumpy security guards because I can just tear up my living room dance floor.

Even though Kinect and Dance Central came out a few years ago, each time I turn it on I’m amazed at the technology.  This is coming from an OG 8-bit Nintendo gamer.  Kinect really can sense your movements, giving you points for how on point you are.  To make it even more fun, you can throw a Dance Central party and battle your friends.  There’s nothing like a little friendly competition.

Dance Central has 3 versions to date, each with a different set of songs and routines.  This game can literally teach you how to Dougie and show you how to Jerk (not like that’s how I learned).  You can even boogie down with Kool & the Gang, or 1, 2 step to Ciara.  But don’t expect all the dances to be familiar, because there are hundreds of moves that you can add to your arsenal.  You can’t mess with my Swag Drop and Talk to the Hand.  But no matter the song, when the moves are put all together, you’ll need a water break.  The songs range in difficulty levels, but I personally like to perform at a medium to ensure that it will be a good workout.  That won’t stop me from practicing the hard songs, because ever since I first played Dance Central, I secretly wished I memorized the funkiest of the routines so I could bust it out on the dance floor.  So if you see me and my girls getting down to Salt-N-Pepa and pushin’ it real good, then you know where we got our moves from. But you won’t be seeing me in the gym anytime soon, because the Dance Central is at home!

Anyone else dance off to Dance Central?  What’s your go-to song?

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Your Second Sexiest Feature…


While some say the brain is the sexiest feature one can have (yours truly agrees with this), I believe the second sexiest feature are your lungs. Now this isn’t a PSA about how smoking kills your lungs, I am not here to judge (yours truly also struggled with smoking). I found the importance of deep breathing to help my yoga practice, ease my anxiety and helps me relax so much that I feel so beautiful while walking out of a class on a Sunday morning in my yoga pants, no make up and a messy ponytail.

I have been practicing for the past ten years, off and on, this activity that dates back to 3rd century BC. The word Yoga in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism means “spiritual discipline”.  The earliest signs of yoga traces back to ancient Shamanism. Yoga original focus was to comprehend the world but then it has manifested to self focus. Self-enlightenment has become the ultimate goal. And one I am still struggling with. Poses and meditation were introduced in sixth century BC by the Buddhists, the blueprint for today’s Modern yoga.

There are many popular forms such as Hatha – slower flow and stronger focus on meditation, Ashtanga – sequential sets based on constant change of poses while maintaining a regular breathing pattern; this is a more intense practice and another popular type of yoga is Bikram or hot yogaHatha yoga practiced in a 100 degree room. The heated room promotes deeper stretching, injury prevention while reaching deeper relaxation. Ashtanga is what I normally practiced. It was also this class that taught me to breath properly in class – through my nose only.

As awful as this sounds but I am, at times, a open mouth breather – especially during running or any other intense physically activity. I’m also asthmatic so I tend to get paranoid that I won’t get the proper amount of air if my mouth isn’t open – my nose usually gets stuffed easily since I have year round allergies. It wasn’t till I began Ashtanga yoga classes at my gym, Equinox.  I wasn’t just asked to close my mouth while taking part in breathing exercises, my instructor demanded it. I also wasn’t use to being told repeatedly to breathe through my nose, I hated my teacher…at first. By the end of class, JD, my instructor challenged me in poses because he believed that I could do it when I thought I couldn’t. He is still my favorite instructor and I’m so sad that he no longer teaches at my gym.

Because I would take JD’s classes on my lunch break, I would have to leave early. Before leaving he would urge me to take a few minutes to observer, Shavasana. In this pose, you lie on your back with your arms and legs spread at about forty-five degrees. You close your eyes and melt into the floor. I use to just fall asleep but slowly I am learning that this is the time to remain aware of your surroundings while surrendering to the moment.

It’s harder than it sounds but I am getting better with each practice. There are some days, I can’t let go of my work stress or I make a mental inventory of what needs to get done when I get home from work. With each deep breath, my stress begins to fade away. I can’t spend as much time as I’d like during a week day class so sometimes I feel cheated in this pose. Sunday classes are the best times when I walk out of class uplifted and elated.

As much as I love the challenge of JD’s class, my Sunday Vinyasa class (intense pose sequences) really sets the tone for a relaxing Sunday. My instructor, Alley is wonderful in the nurturing yoga teacher way. The first time I did a Shavasana pose in her class, she adjusted me by stretching my shoulders out, pulling my legs a little further apart and giving me a mini scalp massage. I swear the feeling this gave me was equivalent to a 60 minute massage that I would pay $100 for – she is awesome.

Regardless of type of class or instructor, I am really aware of my breath. If I am in a very challenging pose, I focus on the pattern of my breath. The challenge lies in timing my breath with each pose. Again, because of my paranoia of not getting enough oxygen would cause me to rush through my poses. I’m getting better trusting my lung capacity. Breathing through you nose really forces you to relax and find trust in yourself. With this, I am finding a deeper stretch and I’m getting stronger. Weekday classes erases the stress from work and Sunday’s classes gets me ready to enjoy the end of the weekend while easing anxiety I experience when I know Monday is just less than 24 hours away. With the busy holiday season beginning this week, I’ll really rely on my classes. I do tend to get a little grumpy when I’m too busy to attend just one class.

Each time I walk out of class I feel stronger, I’m relaxed, I have better posture and I feel naturally beautiful. If you do decide to check out yoga for the very first time, please let your instructor know and take your time. Do not try to compete with everyone in class – most are at different levels. The goal is to reach relaxation, please go at your own pace and remember relax, smile and breathe…

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CoreBody Reformer Challenge: Week 5 and Waist Trimmer Belt Review

empower fitness waist trimmer belt

Last week was week 5 of my six-week CoreBody Reformer challenge and I’ve been making good progress. At this stage of the workout the sessions are about hour with one full body workout and then an ab workout or stretch session tacked on. I definitely feel more strength in my arms, legs and glutes and exercises that were difficult are getting easier for me. What’s great about the CBR is that once something starts getting easy, you can add more resistance which I will probably do this week.

I thought I’d talk about the Empower Waist Trimmer Belt that I was sent to review because I’ve been wearing them with all of my workouts – running and with the CoreBody Reformer. The waist trimmer is made from neoprene and is designed to preserve body heat, promote water loss, and provide extra back support during exercise.

When I take my belt off it’s soaking wet each time. Yes, the water loss is temporary so don’t think that you’re belly will be gone just by wearing the belt. What I find most helpful is the support it gives me. I feel like the belt helps me keep my core aligned so that I can do my workouts properly. I used to have great posture (and a flat tummy) before the baby but with the pregnancy and carrying the tiny dancer I tend to hunch more than I would like. The belt helps me keep my back straight and it also helps me keep my tummy pulled in and I don’t feel so jiggly.

Ok, one more week to go – wish me luck!

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CoreBody Reformer Challenge: Week 4

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CoreBody Reformer Challenge: Week 4

corebody reformer review

If you’ve been following my review of the CoreBody Reformer then you may have noticed that last week – what was supposed to be week 4 of my challenge – I was silent. I have a good reason though. No, I haven’t given up. I was out of town for work and I simply couldn’t bring the CBR with me to work out. During the trip my little girl was sick and she was very clingy so I ended up carrying her a lot. I was planning on running while I was away but carrying the Tiny Dancer aggravated my hip bursitis so I was stuck with no workouts. On top of that I was in NY visiting family and eating my favorite NY treats – ah! I’m happy to say I managed not to gain any weight and remained steady so it was not all for nothing.

This week I’m picking up where I left off and getting back to my normal routine. Today I start week 4 and this week marks the beginning of the longest series of workouts which I’ll be doing for the next 3 weeks. If the next 3 weeks don’t give me results, I’m not sure what will! I have definitely started to notice some changes in my body. At the end of week three I noticed a bit more definition in my arms and my butt definitely looked higher (which my husband confirmed) :) So, I’m happy to say that the CBR is working. I’m a little bummed I had a week of non-activity in the middle but at least I didn’t do any damage and managed to maintain the status quo. Until next week… wishing you sweaty workouts!

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CoreBody Reformer Challenge: Week 3

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CoreBody Reformer Challenge: Week 3

corebody reformer review
Today I began week three of my six-week CoreBody Reformer challenge. I’m following the workout schedule that came with the CBR and this week the workouts are getting a bit more intense. The first week consisted of shorter workouts and week three introduces a longer workout with more circuits. I like the way the workout plan is laid out because as soon as you start becoming a bit comfortable with the workout it gets tough all over again.

I feel like I’m getting stronger but I’m trying not to stare at my body everyday looking for more tone because I know it doesn’t come quickly. I want to at least cross the halfway mark before I start doing that. In the mean time, I’ll be doing my workouts on the CBR. Until next week…

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