Are you a Yoga Girl?

I love when friends send me videos or links that relate to the things I love most: fitness and health. Clearly, I’ve made known what’s important to me! This is a video of a song titled Yoga Girl. It’s absolutely hilarious and entirely too true. I’m proud to be a Yoga Girl, aren’t you?

The Secret to a faster Metabolism: High Intensity Interval Training

Lately, I’ve gotten addicted to running. Any well rounded exercise program MUST INCLUDE CARDIO. Yet there’s plenty of noise about how running is bad for your joints and knees and hips. BUT unless you have an injury OR run marathons regularly, running a few times a week can be a great (and safe) way to get you closer to your weight loss and fitness goals. It really is an excellent way to burn the hell out of some calories. AND you don’t have to run a zillion miles to see results.

The best and fastest way to see weight loss results through running is High Intensity Interval (HIT) training. This utilizes both the anaerobic (quick bursts of energy) and aerobic systems (sustained use of energy over time) in the body. The best part is that in just 20-minutes you can get metabolic rewards that last for up to 24-hours!  

For several weeks now I’ve been running at 5.0 for up to 45 minutes, 2 to 3 times per week. My goal was to get comfortable with running again after a long hiatus (barre workouts are THAT addicting). Now that I’m conditioned, it’s time to integrate some HIT into my training.

Check out this amazing infographic on the different HIT methods out there. Be sure to listen to your body and choose one that’s appropriate for your fitness level.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


The Complete Guide to Interval Training

More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.

Sugar: The Enemy of Skinny!

Chucknorris

You mean that fruit flavored yogurt isn’t good for me? What about that Gatorade? Or that granola bar? Or that cinnamon flavored oatmeal packet? Foods often billed as “healthy” can pack a major sugar rush. Unfortunately, there’s no daily requirement for sugar in the human diet. We just DO NOT NEED IT to survive. In fact, it’s a healthy diet saboteur for sure. While some carbohydrates are necessary to fuel the body you can get all the carbs you need from from fruits and veggies. Next time you have a sweet tooth, skip the lemon meringue yogurt and reach for an apple. 

Dailey Intervals: Why you shouldn’t miss it

Found of the Dailey Method, Jill Dailey

Found of the Dailey Method, Jill Dailey

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a special Dailey Method class taught by the founder, Jill Dailey. This new class is called Dailey Intervals and takes the traditional Dailey Method principle of alignment and combines it in a simplified, faster paced class for 45-minutes of calorie torching awesomeness.

Not only did I get to partake in this new and killer workout, but I got to meet Jill Dailey herself! She’s a fit and petite woman, but don’t let her size fool you. Muscles rippled her arms and every other part of her, but like all of Dailey Method Venice’s lovely teachers, she retains a feminine and graceful quality. Also, check out how totally FLAT her tummy is in the picture above. Inspiring!

When I asked another member of the Dailey Method team about what sets Dailey Intervals apart she explained:

“Dailey Interval combines the toning and strength benefits of a mixed class with the addition of cardiovascular and endurance training. It was created to achieve the body’s optimum calorie burning rate in a 45-minute period with the long term benefit of cardiovascular strength and health. Students wanting an increased caloric burn will benefit from both the alignment and form principles but in a faster paced class.”

Me & Jill Dailey

Me & Jill Dailey

And after just one class, I was feeling that faster pace. There was more sweat and there was less time to think, but I left knowing that I had pushed my body a little harder, but had been kind to it all the same. While anyone can do Dailey Intervals, it’s recommended that you take several regular Dailey sessions first to familiarize yourself with the alignment principles.

For more information and class times visit The Dailey Method Venice’s website.

Workout Wednesdays: Fitness Fashion Show!

Starting now, I’m calling Wednesday, Workout Wednesdays! What better way to celebrate Workout Wednesday (other than actually working out, of course) then with some photos from last week’s Digital LA: Startup Fashion Show. For years, I’ve had the idea that fitness fashion needs to be edgier. I’m happy to see that two Los Angeles fitness fashion houses have stepped up so I don’t have to (not yet at least!). Check out the slideshow below, the first shots are from Ellie. I’ll be getting a sample outfit to review in the coming weeks and can’t wait to see how their gear fits! The second set of photos are from the unbelievably stylish Carbon38. Their goal is to “elevate fitness to the level of high fashion.” I’m certainly ready to take my workout wear a little bit higher, aren’t you? See more from the event here.

Another Low-carb diet benefit: Better eggs

More protein for better eggs?

More protein for better eggs?

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) seems to think that a lower carbohydrate, higher protein diet can improve a woman’s egg quality. This certainly bodes well for the gluten-free, higher protein lifestyle that I’ve adopted as of late. Want to read more from the ASRM and why I’m trying to limit my carb consumption to 40% of my diet? Click here. Note that I’ve decided to move all posts about  my personal journey with fertility to that link, my personal author site

 

What does it REALLY take to become a Pure Barre Instructor?

Marni Chaikin 186

If you’re like me, you’ve pondered this question as a svelte, strong, and sexy woman ala Marni Chaikin, a Pure Barre instructor and franchise owner in Los Angeles, California, has led you through an intense, butt kicking class. You’ve wondered, do I have the stuff gorgeous Pure Barre instructors are made of? Could I really leave my desk booty behind and lead others, just like me, through 55-minutes of lifting, toning, and burning? The short answer, yes you can! For the longer answer, Marni was nice enough to share what she looks for in future instructors and how many classes she recommends for those hoping to turn their Pure Barre dreams into a reality.

Pure Barre Ball

Do you have to be a dancer to be a Pure Barre instructor?

“Not at all! ;-) We have teachers from all fitness backgrounds. Yes, some are dancers but many did cheer, ran track, taught aerobics, pilates or spin and many are simply  workout-a-holics who were initially Pure Barre clients, fell in love with it and realized that they needed to share their Pure Barre love with the world.  Our best teachers are the ones that truly believe in the technique as they have watched it change their own bodies.”

 What is the procedure for selecting new instructors?

“Most studios (like the brentwood one) hold auditions quarterly. We usually announce the date and time that we’ll be holding our upcoming auditions through our newsletter and on our Facebook fan page. if you’d like to know about our next audition you can send us your headshot, resume and an email to brentwoodca@purebarre.com.

We give a portion of the class to our prospective trainees, hold an interview and then have each prospective get on the mic to take us through some exercises so we can see their presence in front of a larger group.”

 What are some of the the things PB looks for in a good instructor?

“The ability to connect with clients, a deep love of the technique and interest in sharing your love of the technique with others. We look for people who like to work hard, are team players, and of course it doesn’t hurt to have great musicality! Since Pure Barre is a musically driven class it is an important aspect as well.”

 How many classes should one typically attend before trying to become an instructor?

“Before attending training at our corporate headquarters, all prospective Pure Barre teachers must have completed a minimum of 50 pure barre classes!”

Imagine yourself teaching this class! And then make it happen.

Imagine yourself teaching this class!

 

Are you a barre beginner? Wisdom from a Dailey Method teacher.

 

Co-owner of TDM Venice shows us how it's done.

Co-owner of TDM Venice shows us how it’s done.

If you’ve visited this blog before you’ll know that I am a barre addict. I have seen isometric barre based exercises transform my body and help me to master the one thing I never thought possible, a man style push-up! All while maintaining a feminine and lean physique. One of my favorite variations of this challenging, but effective workout is The Dailey Method (TDM).

I’ll be the first to admit that the strength and flexibility of barre teachers and fellow students can be intimidating. You might think you’ll never look as good or be as strong as they are, but you’re wrong! You CAN have the booty and belly of your dreams. To inspire you, I spoke with Tenaya Figueira, the co-owner of TDM in beautiful Venice, California to find out more about what TDM can do for you, what to remember when you’re first starting out, and what to do if there’s no TDM studio in your area.

What is your advice for someone who’s new to The Dailey Method? That first class can be so scary!

“Come in to have fun – with that attitude you can’t go wrong. I went to my first barre class with a  girlfriend and we were giggling the entire time because we couldn’t do anything. And, while we didn’t get the full benefit of the workout in that first class, we had a great time and came back that same week. 6 years later here I am!!”

 What are some of the changes TDM clients can expect to see in their bodies?

“Oh wow, everything. Right away you’ll notice your arms, abdominals and butt getting more toned. We have a client that’s lost 2 inches on her thighs and waist in just 1 month. The total body transformation happens somewhere around 6 months….everything will get tighter and the seat lifts. You’ll lose fat and replace it with lean muscle. I also see people’s posture improving significantly. Our focus on neutral spine helps develop muscles that naturally draw the shoulder blades down the back and open the chest. And posture is everything!!”

Do you think TDM can help a person lose weight?

“Absolutely. The method increases the metabolic rate by targeting the large muscle groups. It also fatigues most of the smaller muscle groups which help to tone the body after you burn off the fat.”

How many classes a week does it take to see real results?

“3 but 4 is better.”

What advice would you give to someone who wants to try TDM or other barre DVDs at home? Until TDM studios take over the world, DVDs are the only barre access for some.

DVDs are great if you don’t have access to take a class. Turn off your phone or at least silence it. Try to pretend you’re actually in class and push yourself!

For home, is there a special barre height recommended for those who ditch the back of chair in favor of a portable barre?

It should be around your navel but a few inches higher or lower is fine

Any parting wisdom you’d like to share about TDM, health and wellness, or life in general?

I always tell people to do what they love. Your workout should be an enjoyable part of your day! If you enjoy TDM give it a few months – ideally 6. I promise you’ll see results you like.

Now, you’ve heard it from the barre expert’s mouth! Get yourself to the nearest TDM studio or order their DVD now (featured below).

 

The Brighton Method: The Secret to Having an Extraordinary Child

Do you know what it takes to have an extraordinary baby in a toxic world?

Do you know what it takes to have an extraordinary baby in a toxic world?

Is there a secret to having a healthy, happy child, free from autism, birth defects, and other problems? Is there a way to optimize your body and mind for ultimate fertility?

The Brighton Method, developed by Dr. Roy Dittman, claims to have these answers and more. He’s combined years of research and experience in the new book Brighton Baby: A Revolutionary Organic Approach to Having an Extraordinary Child – The Complete Guide to Preconception & Conception.

As a woman who struggles with endometriosis and is always looking for ways to improve my health and enhance my fertility, I was lucky enough speak to Dr. Dittman about his expertise and fascinating new book Brighton Baby.

Who is Dr. Dittman?

Since earning his doctorate in Oriental Medicine and his masters in Herbology, Dr. Dittmann served as Official Team Doctor in the Olympics, and was featured in a “Doctor to the Stars” article in Vogue magazine in 1997. As early as the late-1980s, Dr. Dittmann forewarned health professionals and the public that our existing diet and lifestyle trends would lead to an exponential rise in autism, ADD, birth defects, and infertility. He is committed to educating couples on how to protect their future children’s destiny.

What was the inspiration for The Brighton Method? Tell how your background let you to developing it?

Dr. Dittmann explained that the inspiration to pursue a career helping women and families achieve better pre and postnatal health occurred when he was a child. Around age ten, he accompanied his father to protest conditions for agricultural farm workers in California. While doing so they came across a shack that housed various people and children who were grossly deformed, very possibly due to their exposure to pesticides. This had a deep emotional impact on him and in that moment he decided to pursue a career in the perinatal arts and sciences. I asked him what perinatal means and he explained that it’s the period of life from one year prior to conception and several years after. He eloquently elaborated, “We can call it science all we want, but it’s just as much an art and a gift.” Furthermore, he said that science, including all of the studies and research we now have access to because of the internet, can be very abstract, so Dr. Dittmann has made it his life’s work to hone that research into practical science.

“There’s a disconnect with the public because the mass media spins the information in a way that isn’t accurate and most studies are on mice in sterile environments studying one isolated ingredient. The majority of the studies being cited in articles about health are not realistically applicable to our situation as human beings.”

He used the example of a study of lead toxicity and exposure to heavy metals on mice. Expose 100 rats to one type of heavy metal in the study and only one mouse out of 100 might die. Expose the same group of 100 rats  to two or more heavy metals, and all 100 mice die. These heavy metals create a compounding effect. As a result, birth defects, both obvious and subtle, are increasing. But yet, it took years for the U.S. government to crack down on lead sources. Luckily, lead toxicity has improved because of improved manufacturing methods and stringent regulations, but it and other heavy metals are still cause for concern.

Dr. Dittmann explained that the majority of the human brain and character is formed during conception and gestation, and then by a child’s first birthday almost 90 percent is complete. In today’s toxic world, there are too many opportunities for the brain’s delicate development to be disrupted. “We are exposed to lots of toxins due to industrialization and these toxins and heavy metals and radiation are ending up in our food supply. They are much worse for a developing embryo or fetus than they are for adults.” It’s his goal through Brighton Baby to educate parents to be how they can combat these environmental stressors, while also addressing genetic propensities.  He emphasized that he expects women to be most receptive to the information in his book, but that it’s equally important for the male partner to take proactive steps to protect his sperm from damage. As a result, he hopes that by educating women they’ll share this information with others, most importantly their future child’s father, so that both people work together as partners in health.

I read that you had a son with autism, but that you were able to eliminate or improve his symptoms. Can you elaborate?

Dr. Dittmann explained that his son is now 20 years old. When his wife was pregnant, Dr. Dittmann had just learned about the devastating effects of heavy metals. He tested his wife when she was 8 months pregnant.. The test revealed high levels of aluminum and other heavy metals. This really made an impact on him. He believes that because he caught this heavy metal toxicity early and had most of the metals out of his wife and son’s system early on, he may have prevented his son from developing full blown autism. Instead, his son was diagnosed with Asperger’s and sensory integration disorder. Sensory integration “is the neurological process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and the environment, thus making it possible to use the body effectively within the environment.”  Even as a perinatal specialist, this discovery opened up Dr. Dittmann’s eyes to the powerful effect of toxins on the developing fetus.

What are some of the factors that negatively impact a woman’s reproductive health and her chances of conceiving a healthy child?

As mentioned above, Dr. Dittmann feels strongly that parents be screened for heavy metals. Even if you’re not ready to have a baby, it’s good to know now if you have heavy metal toxicity so that you can begin taking steps to cleanse your system. The program in Brighton Baby can help you do so. So, how does one get tested for heavy metal toxicity? The most effective and economical method Dr. Dittmann recommends is hair mineral analysis. He emphasized the need to utilize a trained clinician to interpret the results. Additionally, Dr. Dittmann works with couples who want him to develop the ultimate plan for them according to their unique profile. After 30 years of work in the perinatal field, his patient’s (when they strictly follow his program) do not have morning sickness, caesarians, preeclampsia and many of the other conditions that accompany gestation and child birth. If people follow his program before and during conception, he believes that together they can greatly minimize overt and subtle birth defects. Following The Brighton Method, the method set forth in Brighton Baby, provides couples with a roadmap to having an extraordinary child. For couples that want to take the method to the next level, Dr. Dittmann is teaching a 7-week webinar series and training health professionals in The Brighton Method.  It has been his experience that almost every child born today has some kind of birth defect, whether it’s a learning delay or allergies. Optimizing perinatal health can make all the difference.

 You mention that improving sperm health is of the utmost importance to healthy conception, what’s one way couples can do that?

Dr. Dittmann said that there’s a way of clearing the prostate of infection, inflammation and congestion  using herbs and a special prostate health diet. He also recommends reproductive massage. Various helpful foods and herbs are recommended in his book. Additionally, he recommends increasing consumption of DHA and liposomal glutathione through high quality supplements. With its anti-inflammatory properties, glutathione is considered a “key antioxidant” in the functioning of cells and protects the sperm cells from damage.  DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of sperm. Since our diet has become deficient in DHA, sperm counts have been dropping. Dr. Dittmann also emphasized the importance of eliminating heavy metals, which is of course covered in Brighton Baby.

 What are the top lifestyle changes you recommend for women hoping to get pregnant in the next year?

Dr. Dittmann recommends the following exercises to prepare the woman’s body for pregnancy:

  1. Strengthen the core and pelvic floor to bring circulation into the reproductive area. Kegel exercises that you can do on your own, coupled with Ashtanga yoga and Pilates (including my beloved barre classes!) are excellent options.
  2. Strengthen leg muscles using trampolines, squats, and weighted exercises.
  3. Focus on maintaining a well-rounded fitness program that includes both cardio and strength training.

In addition to this fitness advice, Brighton Baby includes information about herbs, acupuncture, and manipulation strategies to improve a woman’s cycle and prepare her body for pregnancy. Dr. Dittmann further emphasizes the importance of probiotics to strengthen the immune system and includes a detailed plan in the book.

 March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. As you know, this condition can cause subfertility which is something that I and many have struggled with. What are some things you can recommend for people struggling with this condition?

Dr. Dittmann covers endometriosis in Brighton Baby as it is one of the many conditions that can interfere with conception and a healthy pregnancy. Endometriosis, he says, is often caused by chronic inflammation triggered by hidden irritants from both the diet and environment. He goes into great detail about feminine hygiene and keeping the vaginal flora healthy and free from pathogens. He asks that even if women don’t have these problems that they be proactive in preventing them. The use of suppositories, such as micellized vitamin A, can help deliver special nutrition to the cervix. In Brighton Baby he also discusses the need for prebiotics to feed your vaginal and gut probiotics so as to further empower the immune system thereby improving diseases like endometriosis. He also strongly recommends an organic diet, as pesticides are estrogenic and therefore exacerbate estrogen dependent disorders like endometriosis.

What types of things can couples hope to gain by reading your book Brighton Baby?

Dr. Dittmann has so much confidence in The Brighton Method that he asserts that if both mother and father do The Brighton Method together for at one least year prior to conception that their child will be free from birth defects, unless there is an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed separately. Not only that, but they will have an extraordinarily healthy child. Doctors, nurses, and other professionals have seen the difference in babies born from this method.

In the coming weeks, I will read and review Brighton Baby. To purchase your own copy or to sign up for a free webinar with Dr. Dittmann click here.

 

 

MIxx Yoga & An Interview with founder Dr. Mitra Hooshmand

Me and the MIxx yoga team

Me and the MIxx yoga team

A few weeks ago I was invited to try MIxx Yoga at a CrossFit Crown City. MIxx Yoga incorporates bursts of cardio throughout a series of traditional yoga poses and pilates movements. The combination creates a calorie torching workout.

I’ll admit that my experience at MIxx yoga was challenging! Having not practiced yoga in quite some time, I felt the burn in poses like Warrior 1 and 2. But it was the burst of cardio in the middle of class that got me. I worked up a healthy sweat and was sore in my thighs from the frog jumps. The interval cardio component is CRUCIAL to getting the most out of any workout and I’m thrilled to see that MIxx embraces it. To learn more about the scientific impetus behind this new breed of yoga I’ve asked founder of MIxx and ScientiFIT, Mitra Hooshmand PhD  to share the story. This interview is packed with awesome advice for anyone who wants to make the most of their workout while learning about what’s soon to be a huge fitness trend, MIxx Yoga!

Mitra Hooshmand PhD, the founder of Scientifit and MIxx Yoga.

Mitra Hooshmand PhD, the founder of ScientiFIT and MIxx Yoga.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

My background is diverse and highly unorthodox. A neuroscientist by day and a passionate health enthusiast by night, I am a wild fusion between the seemingly paradoxical worlds of science and fitness.

Though I completed my PhD in Neurobiology several years ago, my thirst for health dates back to the age of 4 when my competitive swimming career began. A few years after my days in the pool ended and my undergraduate career gave proof to the phrase “freshman 15”, my training as a scientist in the lab convinced me to relinquish my unhealthy and dangerous choices of anorexia and exercise bulimia. My answer lied at the axis of a healthy lifestyle founded on principles of science and based on evidence.

Around the same time (around 10 years ago), I also turned to yoga, in the hopes of relieving knee pain that my personal research attributed to tight quads. Not surprisingly, within 2 months of starting my yoga practice, the pain was gone, never to return. This pain brought me to yoga and I have not stopped practicing since.

What inspired you to found ScientiFIT?

Science and fitness! I needed to bring the two defining parts of my life together. I searched the internet for months and did not find a single resource that provided legitimate evidence-based information about health in a language that was simple to understand. I found a disconnect between my two worlds, and I had to join them.

After visiting your website, I noticed you have two content sections: Scientifit and Scientifood. Can you explain a little bit about each?

Although the name of the site is ScientiFIT, we target all aspects of health in an evidence-based manner. Given the importance of correct eating habits on overall health, we have dedicated the site to discussing easy-to-understand, short summaries of scientific discoveries in 2 areas: fitness and nutrition.

I’ve tried MiXX Yoga, and loved it, but as the founder, how would you explain it?

MIxxYoga is based on three key principles:

1)  It’s a mix of exercises: A fusion of Vinyasa flow yoga, Pilates, and high intensity interval training (HIIT), it targets flexibility, core strength, static strength, and cardiovascular fitness.

2)  No two classes are ever the same! Sequences are constantly mixed and changed, as is the music, which ranges from pop, rock, and alternative, to techno, persian, spanish, and relaxing genres.

3)  The “xx” in MIxx is where you place your initials and the practice becomes yours! The MIxxYoga philosophy is one of personal competition and the understanding that no two bodies are ever the same. While we motivate you and try to inspire you, we will never push you beyond your limits and encourage you to stop when you reach your edge.

What are your thoughts on the Hot yoga craze?

I have no personal thoughts on Bikram or hot yoga but my extensive scientific research has provided me with little to no evidence for the beneficial effects of this type of practice. In comparison to the hundreds, if not thousands, of scientific papers supporting beneficial effects of other types of yoga (e.g. Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga, etc.), to date, there are only 2 rather weak evidences for Bikram yoga promoting better sleep and enhancing balance. In addition, there is a case study suggesting an association between Bikram yoga and hallucinations. Since my approach to health is based on scientific evidence, in the case of Bikram or hot yoga, I simply cannot recommend it.

How is MiXX Yoga different than other more traditional forms of yoga?

MIxxYoga is targeted for individuals who are relatively healthy and are seeking a challenge. The class is fast-paced; it will burn calories; it will make you sweat like no other non-Bikram/hot yoga class does; it will get your heart rate and endrophins up like a bootcamp would!

While there is a general focus on the mental aspect of the practice, our philosophy is that “meditations” should be practiced in each individual’s personal time on the mat, which is during the final relaxation pose. MIxxYoga has no chants and no meditations, but it is both physically and mentally challenging.

When I came to MiXX Yoga it was at a Cross Fit location. Why is MiXX Yoga a great complement to Cross Fit?  

After I developed MIxxYoga, I realized that the routine is perfect for CrossFitters for two primary reasons:

1)  CrossFitters are generally a healthy population that embraces the idea of getting challenged; Healthy but willing to go to the next level and open mind: these were the two fundamental principles on which I created MIxxYoga!

2)  CrossFitters do exorbitant amounts of heavy lifting and squatting, but rarely do they pay attention to stretching their muscles. At the same time, because of all their lifting and squatting, they are too tight to hold a stretch for too long! Additionally, some of the CrossFit WODs (Workout of the Day) could be significantly enhanced if only the CrossFitter had more flexibility; as an example, during a clean and press, lack of flexibility in wrists, shoulders, and arms can result in loose grip on the bar and poor performance. Finally, CrossFitters enjoy a good workout! MIxxYoga is the perfect package that provides them with the tools necessary to enhance their WODs.

Do you have any top health and fitness tips for anyone trying to be at their best? 

As far as tips go, I feel most comfortable sharing something that I personally practice. When it comes to health, I live my life based on three key ideas:

1)  Health is a lifestyle, not a temporary way to get in shape, lose weight, or fit into my favorite bikini.

2)  Healthy habits should be selected based on how sustainable they are.

3)  When it comes to health, the new diet or video fad, “he said, she said”, TV and magazine one-liners should all be ignored. When it comes to health, trust no one but science and always ask for the evidence!