TRX Moves to Improve Your Handstands!

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I haven’t talked much about it here, (as opposed to my Facebook and Instagram accounts) but I’m on a serious handstand mission. I’ve never in my life been able to hold a handstand, but I’ve also never put any focus and work into it. I started about a month ago trying to understand what needs to happen in my body to be able to hold that ish for more than half a second. I’ve enlisted the help of several of my yogi/gymnast buds to give me some drills and tips and while those have certainly helped a ton, I’m also realizing that a big part of my problem is not having the shoulder strength and mobility necessary to stay up there. I’ve needed some “handstand cross-training” so I’ve been using my TRX Suspension Trainer to work on it. Check out the video of the exercises, then check out the rationale, volume suggestions, and notes for your own workout below: [Read more…]

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Healthy Living Blog Tour of Cleveland: Day 1

Fitness + Travel… this is essentially my life.

IMG_2274It took me about 12 attempts to get this hotel window selfie… I hope you appreciate it.

I travel frequently all over the country for work, and probably go to Ohio every other month. I’d only been to Cleveland once before, but hadn’t really experienced much of the city. I was really excited when Positively Cleveland, the city’s visitor bureau, invited me up for a Healthy Living Tour, hosted by Cleveland health blogger, Alicia H., of Poise in Parma. It’s awesome that Positively Cleveland has a website that not only lists museums, restaurants, and the usual city guide info, but also lists its upcoming running and cycling race schedule, trail maps and national park information. They’re not just trying to “entertain” you while you’re in town. They’re trying to introduce you to all the ways the city can keep you active and outdoors, two things that are truly my jam.

Traveling all over has it’s obvious advantages, but one of the hardest things about being on the road frequently is keeping up healthy habits. When you’re out of town and off your normal routine, workouts tend to get pushed to the back burner and finding restaurants that offer healthy options can be hard to come by if you aren’t familiar with the area. There’s so much listed, it actually seemed like a daunting task to narrow it down. I’m so grateful Alicia put together such a kickass weekend for the two of us. Here’s what went down:

When I pulled into town last Friday night, I checked into my room at Aloft Cleveland Downtown. I’ve spent my fair share of nights in hotels all over the world and the things I love most, simplicity, comfort, and productive design, were all included in this stay. I had an awesome bed, a great view while working at the desk (complete with all the outlets I needed for my various electronics), and a great group fitness schedule in the hotel’s gym. While my schedule was too packed to take advantage of any classes there, I love any hotel that provides their visitors with several options to keep consistent with their workouts! Taking advantage of group classes is a great way to get your workout in without having to think about what you’re going to do, wonder if you’re doing it correctly, or being tempted to stop too early.

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After freshening up in my room, I headed about 15 minutes southeast of downtown to meet up with Alicia and take her Friday evening Vinyasa yoga class at Evolution Yoga. After the 5 hour drive, my body was ready to loosen up and it felt great to keep things mellow in mood, but challenging, physically. Alicia taught a great flow and the hour flew by. We even got to rock out some fun inversions. I suck at inversions, but I’m trying to hold a handstand for more than .5 seconds so any practice helps…

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Next on the schedule was dinner, as we were both ravenous by this point in the evening. The restaurant was located in Eton Chagrin, a boutique shopping center not far away that includes Apple, The North Face, Anthropologie, and Lululemon. Danger! I was able to keep myself out of Anthro, but we did make a quick pit stop at lululemon, because some things just can’t be helped…

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Alicia raved about the gloriousness that was Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar, and so that was our destination for the evening. After having a delicious guacamole appetizer with chips of tortilla, yucca, plantain, and malanga, I ordered the Blackened Fish Tacos with a cilantro adobo sauce that made me completely thankful for my sense of taste. Overall it was a fabulous meal to share with a new friend. It was wonderful to share such an amazing meal and chat up another blogger, dog-lover, and fitness instructor. We could have sat there for far longer, but had a busy day lined up for Saturday… so we clinked our margarita and mojito glasses in toast to a great weekend kickoff and called it a night.

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IMG_0748Me, taking a photo of Alicia (and our drinks), taking a photo of me and our drinks. #shitbloggersdo

If you’d like to check out any other part of our tour, search the hashtag #ThisIsCLE and you’ll see our other posts from the weekend on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram… if you didn’t already see us blowing up your feeds. Day 2 is coming soon!

 

{This post was sponsored by Positively Cleveland. All thoughts/opinions are my own!}

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Road-side Yoga

When road tripping, you usually have at least one looooong-ass day where you’re in the car just trying to charge it. Monday was that day for us. We did 12 hours! After a while your ass hurts, your back gets stiff, and you get a little achy all over. We pulled over somewhere in Nebraska for a quick yoga session to get loosened up. Jenn led us through a little yoga flow (’cause besides being the ish, she’s also yoga instructor) and then we did a couple stretches.

A little piriformis stretch
to stretch the hips: 
A little forward fold action for
hamstring/spine lengthening
(which you can do with straight or bent knees):
And just like that, 
we’re back on the road
and feeling refreshed
; ) 

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Tango Friday

Tango is working on his shavasana this morning.
Namaste, bitches!
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and happy Friday!
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Salutation Nation!

I’m completely and utterly excited that a Lululemon is going to be opening in the Ville soon! Yesssss. Not only do they have amazingly flattering fitness clothing, but they do a ton in the community as well. The company hosts a variety of complimentary classes throughout the year, but they also do Salutation Nation, a once yearly, country-wide yoga class that happens on Saturday, at 9am. So people are gettin’ their down dogs on all over the place, simultaneously. I don’t mean that in the dirty way it sounded… or maybe I do…

This was us at 9am today!
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Namaste, bitches!
Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend. I’m off to a wedding tonight so I’ll be gettin’ my dance on. All night. Yeah.
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Do It All: Hot Yoga

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I’m going to start a new series of posts, I’ve decided, called “Do It All.” Why? Because I always get asked “what’s the BEST thing to do, or “I don’t have a lot of time, just tell me one thing I can do all the time that will work.” Usually I’m getting asked this in a grocery store or in line somewhere where people see me in fitness clothes, ask if I’m a trainer, and then proceed to get as much advice as they can out of me in those mere moments. My response: “Do it all.”
They don’t usually like this. They think our convo alone will help them lose ten pounds, but it doesn’t. So I say, “Do all of it. Go run, do TRX, swing kettlebells, take yoga, take kickboxing, go skip around, lift weights, do Pilates, jump, swim, kayak, play kickball, etc. The more different ways you move your body, the better off you’ll be.” So to start this series, I’m gonna give a few tips for one thing, then you go try it. It’ll be fantastic. Promise.
I’ll start with Hot Yoga, because I’m gonna go take a class later and it’s on my mind. Remember, there’s a difference between Bikram yoga and hot yoga. Bikram is a set series, it’s an hour and a half, and it’s typically 110 degrees. Most hot yoga places are a little less hot (100 degrees +/-) and offer lots of different class durations. I go to a hot yoga place because Bikram just isn’t my jam, I’ve found. Here ya go:
Hot Yoga Tips:
1. Hydrate the day before.
If you’re thirsty going in, you’re already de-hydrated and asking for trouble. Bring water with you to class, and put a couple ice cubes in it so it doesn’t get warm while you’re in the heat. The ice will melt and you’ll have nice, moderate temp water.
2. Don’t eat too soon before!
Everybody’s different, but most people need about an hour and a half to digest their meal. Just ate? Take a later class. Haven’t eaten in several hours? Grab something small and light, like a banana, a handful of nuts, or a protein bar an hour before. If you puke up your Starbucks latte, you’ll be bummed. And they might kick you out.
3. Arrive ten minutes early.
This gives you time to fill out necessary paperwork and to inform the instructor if you’ve never taken yoga/hot yoga before. And if you have any injuries. They need to know these things. It’ll make class better for you.
4. Bring your own mat and a towel. And a water.
You can usually rent/buy these items, but who wants to pay for that? And don’t think that you won’t need a towel. You will. And you’ll love it when you can’t open your eyes because there’s sweat in them. Not.
5. Pick the right class level.
So many people jump right into the 1.5 hour Bikram class that’s 110 degrees (when they’ve never done anything like that before) then they puke, then they hate hot yoga forever. Check out the class schedule online first. There’s usually a beginner class or ones that are shorter (1 hour) and a little cooler (85-90 degrees). START WITH THESE.
6. Listen to your body!
Your body has certain responses for a reason. If you’re about to pass out or puke, it’s because you’re doing too much for your body and it’s doing that to make you STOP. So if you feel a little weak/queasy, sit/lay down for a moment. Take a drink of water. When you feel ok, jump back into it. Most yoga places (most) want you to take it at your own pace and they won’t degrade you for taking a small break. If they do, they’re assholes. Go find another place and don’t give them your business. Anybody can do yoga, you just have to go at your own pace.
7. If something hurts, don’t do it!
You know the difference between something being hard to do, and something actually hurting you. If it hurts, wave down the instructor and they’ll give you a modification. Promise. We don’t want you to get hurt. Then you won’t come back : (
8. Don’t stretch too far!
The heat makes your muscles reeeeeally stretchy. This is good. However, if you stretch too far, you’re going to be reeeeally sore for a few days and may injure yourself. That being said: if you can touch your ankles usually but now you can touch your toes, that’s ok. You’ll be able to get a little closer in hot yoga, that’s good. If you can only touch your knees usually and now you can touch your toes, scale it back a little, buddy. You’re going too far and you’ll pay for it the next day (or week).
9. Keep going.
If you feel weird/awkward at first, duh! It’s your first time. Nobody’s great their first time at anything. So try it again. You’ll get better as you go. Promise. And you’ll see the benefits if you go a couple times a week.
10. Don’t wear cotton.
If you wear a huge, cotton t-shirt, you’ll probably regret it 10 minutes into class. You’re going to be hot, you’re going to be sweaty. The less clothes you wear, the better, but if you’re not comfortable only in a sports bra and shorts, make sure the top/bottoms you’re wearing are made of light, breathable fabrics. Your body sweats to release heat, so if you wear clothes that don’t allow that to happen easily, you’ll feel hotter than you should. I’m not just trying to get you naked, I’m serious.
Benefits of hot yoga:
Improved posture
Improved flexibility
Better balance
Sculpted muscles
Time to yourself!
You have time to breathe and chill… and what’s better than that?
Questions? Ask away: fitwithflash@gmail.com
*that photo of me is NOT what I look like taking hot yoga. it was for a shoot with this guy. I usually have a red, sweaty face, with hair in a messy, sweaty bun, looking a HOT mess. : )
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Yoga FAIL.

I have tons of stories as a fitness instructor. Most are funny and involve gross ladies who don’t shave their pits, hearing somebody fart during ab work, or seeing fellas’ junk when their shorts are just atad too short. This week’s story, however, came from my participation in a fitness class, not from a teacher’s point of view, and not super amusing.


So I’m taking hot yoga the other day… I’m actually in the process of taking class because it has ALREADY STARTED. A few minutes go by and in walks this lady who I’ll refer to as Rudezilla. Rudy takes a look around the very crowded room to find a space for herself. Instead of taking the only OPEN space in the front of the classroom, right next to the door, she proceeds to walk all around the room looking for a space. A space big enough for her mat. A space that, when you come into hot yoga late, does not exist. Then she comes back over to where she walked in and starts eyeing the space between me and the wall. The three foot space where she’s imagining prying herself into so that she doesn’t have to be in the front row. I immediately cut off her train of thought and point to the HUGE open space in the front row. After she makes the ‘I don’t wanna go there‘ face, she gives in and heads up there. However, she stops short and unfolds her mat. Six INCHES caddy corner, away from mine (do you say caddy-corner or kitty corner?)!!! So not really between me and the side wall, but not in the front row either. She’s practically beside/in front of me. I stared, dumbfounded, for a moment, trying to figure out if she was serious and maybe playing a funny yoga joke on me (yoga people can be funny, right?). Maybe she’s unfolded her mat but hasn’t quite decided on where she wants it to go just yet? Either way, she did nothing else but lay down her 3 towels (3 towels?!), prop her water next to her, and hop into her sun salutations. Are you kidding me?! But I was there to mellow out, so I did my best to ignore her… except for when she almost kicked me during her 3 Legged Down Dog… twice. Whatev.

Note to everybody: don’t crowd in class, especially one where you’re gross, sweaty, and have to do a lot of moving around. It’ll piss people off…

And if you’re friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you would know that I wanted to punch her in her face. I didn’t though, because that wouldn’t have been very zen of me. I’m over it now but thought I’d write about in case you’ve been that person. I’ll also be writing a gym/studio class etiquette post…
Hope you guys are having a spacious and lovely day. Enjoy the snow if you’re getting it like we are!
cheers
image via
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Doritos and Yoga?!

My friend, Steven Clark was brought on to shoot a Doritos commercial for their annual Super Bowl commercial contest. I helped him out! See the commercial at this link! It’s super funny!

This doesn’t mean I condone eating Doritos… at least not more than a couple… every other year. ; )
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