Pure Barre: The Inside Scoop for Beginners

Kicking off 2016 with a new guest post, my friend Nicole Cleary gives us the scoop on getting started at Pure Barre!

Hello fit friends! My name is Nicole and Iʼm a Pure Barre instructor at Pure Barre in Bronxville, New York. I am also the Studio Coordinator. Iʼm here today to share the inside scoop on Pure Barre for beginners!

Moving to a new area?  Looking to try a new gym? Iʼm sure a lot of us can relate to these situations. I found Pure Barre when I moved to Eastchester, New York in August of 2014, right before my wedding. I wanted something different and searched for low impact activity because I had hurt my knee in the spring. Pure Barre was just opening in Bronxville (which was a few minutes away) so I bought the New Client Special. After that first class I was left with a million different thoughts and feelings– Beginning with, “Wow, why was that so hard?!” I was a dancer all my life and fitness enthusiast after all! Well, let me tell you none of that matters at your first Pure Barre class. Whether you have prior experience or none at all, you will still start as a beginner, and thatʼs okay! I can guarantee you, youʼve never tried a workout like Pure Barre before. Listen to that little voice and step out of your comfort zone. Give Pure Barre a try with these helpful hints!

1. The beginning: Set a goal–The class is challenging. You begin on the floor doing Pilates inspired moves, there is a 90 second plank and weight work. The weights may be light (2, 3 and 5 lb.) but the moves will exhaust your muscles. Maybe your goal will be to get your form perfect in tricep extension before choosing to pick up weights. The next time you come your goal may be to hold your plank 5 seconds longer than you did last time. Eventually, making it the whole 90 seconds on your toes! Think about smaller goals overall so the whole class doesnʼt seem like a long, tiring 55 minutes. It can be fun with small goals!

ImproperTricep

Improper Tricep Extension

ProperTricep

Proper Tricep Extension

ImproperPlank

Improper Plank Form

Proper Plank Form

Proper Plank Form

2. The middle: Find your working zone–Three thigh sprints come after warm-up. These will engage the top of your thigh, as well as the inner and outer thigh. You want to find the point where your muscle shakes. Thatʼs when the change happens! Beautifully sculpted, lean thighs are in reach my friends. It may be difficult to feel the thighs engaged if you are not in correct form. As an instructor, we come over to adjust and help you find your deepest working zone but you should be able to feel it on your own after coming to a few classes! Here is the thigh position called “Chair.”

ImproperChair

Improper Chair

ProperChair

Proper Chair

3. The climax: Contract your seat muscles–During seat work in Pure Barre, you are in two positions. One of them is a “turned out” position, which works your side seat and outer hip. The other is “parallel” where your hips are squared off and you are working the base of your seat. We like to call that your “Pure Barre Ledge.” Sounds prettier than butt, right? 🙂 It is hard to sometimes find the working zone and contract these muscles around the seat. Always look in the mirror to see your form and make sure your hips are tucked under. When you work against your tucked hips, you can get deeper into the muscle contractions. The more you come, the more you will continue to push yourself and find your best form.

Improper Ledge

Improper Position for Ledge

ProperLedge

Proper Position for Ledge

 

 

 

4. The end: Rounding through your abs–You made it! Almost at the end! Arenʼt you sad? Well, we still have some work to go ladies! Underneath the barre, you work your abs in two different sections. Again, this is not your typical ab work so it can sometimes feel like the work is coming from your legs or arms. First, you create a “C” curve with the spine and there are slow movements in the abs here with a relaxing song playing. You want to continuously keep your abs in tight and pressing down toward the mat. Second, there is an upbeat song playing and your black is completely flat against the wall. You may not be rounding your abs here, but you still want to contract the abs against the wall so you feel this work. There is an abs series at the end as well in the center of the room, where once again we will remind you to round your waistband down toward the mat. Beginnerʼs tip: Using a ball behind your back can help relieve tension as you work!

Remember, Pure Barre is fun! Even though it is challenging, your teacher is there to support and encourage you. We want you to modify exercises if you donʼt feel ready to try them, that is why we are always walking around and checking out everyoneʼs form (and ledges! :)) Now that you have a nice understanding of how the class is laid out, you should come and try it! Scaling back workouts is all apart of the learning process so donʼt feel frustrated at first if you didnʼt stay in every move for all the counts. Our community of women (and a few men!) is so strong and inspiring, you can just feel the energy in the room. That is one of the main reasons I would encourage you to try Pure Barre. It is a place to come where you can challenge yourself for 55 minutes and forget everything going on in the outside world. Sometimes, itʼs just what you need to do for yourself.

To try a Pure Barre class at a location near you, please visit www.purebarre.com.

To try a class at Pure Barre Bronxville with Nicole or any of the other outstanding teachers please visit http://purebarre.com/ny-bronxville/.

Pure Barre Bronxville is offers a “New Client” special where you can take unlimited classes for an entire month for just $99 as well as a “Extended New Client” for 9 weeks of classes for $199 (valid through January). 

Using Instagram to get fit!

I get it. Social media isn’t for everyone. However, in today’s tech driven world, social media can be so much more than reading about celebrity news, new apps, or looking at pictures of someone’s new puppy or baby (guilty of this on about 1000 levels). Have you considered using Instagram to help you get healthy and improve your fitness?

If you are getting to that place where you’ve hit a wall and you know it’s time to make a change in your life with regards to your health, I strongly encourage you to explore the health and wellness space that’s incredibly abundant on Instagram. Especially, but not only, if you are on a weight loss journey. Now, just like with anything you read or see on TV, you’ll need to be a smart consumer, take things with a grain of salt, and be critical of what you see and read. There are many people out there from trainers to nutritionists that are wonderfully qualified. There are doctors, TV hosts, instructors, bloggers, health coaches, and a whole heck of a lot of fitness and health loving people on Instagram. Being critical here only means thinking carefully about how advice, workouts, or products recommended may fit into your life. Of course, a smart consumer, particularly someone with a medical condition or who takes medication regularly, should ALWAYS check with their medical doctor before implementing something new into their life.

instafit1

So, what exactly am I saying here?

I’m saying this — There are some insanely amazing accounts out there for you to follow that will provide you inspiration, motivation, and education. You can use Instagram in your journey to getting healthier, stronger, smarter, and feeling positive about yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Create your own account (if you don’t have one already). You can create an additional account solely focused on your goals or use your current one.
  2.  Start following health, fitness, nutrition and wellness related accounts. You’ll find there are a ton of fabulous accounts by well-known trainers, chefs, and gurus galore. Try searching different hashtags such as #fitfam, #fitspo, #eatclean.
  3. Track your progress. Be bold and confident– take selfies!
  4. Gain support & make friends. I love this about Instagram. There are so many positive people out there giving kudos and love to each other for their hard work. If someone negative comments—block ‘em! There’s no room for that in the #fitfam !
  5. Learn! Your journey will only get more enhanced by the information you get from the accounts you follow. You may find a great recipe or workout tip that fits easily into your life.

Lastly, please join me on my Instagram account if you aren’t already a follower.
instafit3I am often connecting with other great accounts and you can easily link to them from many of my postings! I’m always looking to educate, inspire, and motivate my followers. I’m always real which means you get the real deal ;0)

If you are looking for more one-on-one support, personalized health and wellness coaching may be perfect for you. I occasionally offer free consultations so make sure you look out for those. Otherwise, you can always contact me to schedule a consult in person (NY/NYC/CT area) or online through FaceTime!

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Letting go of your “gym class” past

 

Maybe you were picked last for capture the flag.  Maybe you hated changing into your dreaded gym uniform. Maybe it was performing pull-ups while the ENTIRE class watched. Or, perhaps it was that one kid –a bully — who launched a foam dodgeball at your face when you were tying your laces. Sadly, we can all most certainly remember a moment from our Physical Education experience that wasn’t pleasant. **I promise to share my thoughts in a future post on how the world of physical education pedagogy is changing (thanks goodness!). For now, I’m wondering if some of you are struggling to take a group fitness class, join a recreational team, or simply start working out because you are holding on to a fear of embarassement or bad memory from your early years?

If the answer is “yes”, then let’s take a few minutes to talk about why you simply need to let go and how to do just that.

As we all know, holding onto things, especially traumatic events, never does anyone any good. Eventually, the issue will resurface and rear it’s ugly head in some way. Time and time again that fear can hold us back from participating in social and health-focused events, even fundraisers or charity events that we’d like to be a part of simply because we don’t feel “ready” or fit enough to participate. Now, as gently as I can say this —  If you truly desire to become a more active, healthy, and fit human being, you’re going to have to get over it. I mean that in the nicest way possible. It’s time to take a deep breath, let it out, and give yourself new start. Leave the memory or fear behind you — start fresh!

Here are some thoughts to help you get started.

  1. It’s ok to be a beginner. We all must start somewhere. IMG_6218There will only be one time in a fitness class that is your FIRST time. No one, especially a good instructor, will expect you to know what you are doing. The best thing you can do is tell your instructor that you are new to the class. Most instructors really appreciate knowing this and they will be better able to assist you.
  2. Find a place that’s comfortable. Try out a few gyms, studios, or trainers and see where you feel comfortable. Look for an environment that supports “newbies”. If you are not sure where to look in your area, contact me for a consult.
  3. Surround yourself with supportive people. friends
    Hang out with people who support your desire for self-improvement. These people should be positive influences and positive people. It’s great if you can find a friend or co-worker to buddy up with on a fitness journey.
  4. Think positively. You have no time for negative vibes if you are looking to become a CONFIDENT health-focused person. While it’s completely normal to have bad days, you mustn’t let negative moments or pessimistic people distract your from your goals. Getting a journal can help you to work out any frustrations that crop up and many are filled with positive quotes to help you along the way. You can try barnesandnoble.com for these. If you are interested specifically in running, my friends at Gone for Run make great journals!
  5. Keep track of your progress. Piggy backing off of the previous comment. Journaling is a nice way to keep track of your progress. Specific to weight loss and increasing fitness levels, many people find motivation by taking selfies along their journey (* you do not need to post selfies online for the world to see but some do and this helps them. Different strokes for different folks!). Photo-journaling allows one to see the physical changes as they are happening over time. This may not be for everyone but I do feel that combing these methods (personal journaling and pictures) over time does give people the ressaureance and confidence that they’re working towards.
  6. BONUS: Get involved! I’ve added this last one because it simply cannot be left out. There are an enormous number of incredible charitable and philanthropic fitness related events that are nothing short of AMAZING. By signing up and participating in these events, you are helping others improve their health while also working on your own goals. image1I have participated for many years in Cycle for Survival, an indoor cycling and fundraising event sponsored by Equinox that donates to cancer research for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This October, I am over the moon to be participating in an incredible event through Movemeant Foundation called Dare to Bare. I will be cycling with some incredible Soul Cycle instructors in the middle of Union Square in New York City. IMG_5852Movemeant Foundation helps young women feel confident about their bodies by empowering them with the tools they need to be active through “positive mentorship, engaging content about health, nutrition and well-being, and grants that make fitness and physical movement a reality.” To learn more about this event and/or sign up, click here.

So now that we’ve talked a little bit about letting go, what will you do to move forward?

 

Need assistance getting started? Contact me for a consultation or email me directly at mindbodybespoke@gmail.com. Personalized wellness coaching may be exactly what you need to get started !

MBB New Cover

 

 

Value Your Health

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am to have my health. It seems that we’re constantly being told upsetting news about people we know and care about in regards to their health. Of course our primary reaction is to do whatever we can to help that person, and we should. Yet, we should also consider the message that is being sent. We shouldn’t take our health for granted and so we must ask ourselves, “What I can do better?” I’m posting this raw and open video of myself discussing this very topic. I would love to hear back from you. Perhaps you have a story or something to share with me and the other Mind Body Bespoke followers.

Just a heads up, this video is roughly 5 minutes long ;0)

 

 

My Healthy “High” Trifecta

Feeling a bit lethargic or in a rut? Perhaps you need to hit the reset button.  If you’ve been following my instagram account, you’re sure to see some “summery” posts but let’s chat a bit further about how to utilize this time of year to your benefit.

With summer now in full force, and (hopefully) the unseasonably cold days behind us, it’s the perfect time to reboot your mind and body for healthy living. There’s something about this time of year that makes it so much easier to do this. Perhaps it’s our childhood memories of “summer break” that help set this mindset into motion for us. While most Americans are not getting three months off of school for summer break, the weather, the celebrations, and the opportunities to be outdoors, still make everything feel a little “lighter” around this time of year. Less clothing means moving with more ease (Hello Commando! …just kidding). Driving with your windows down brings fresh air right into your system. Take advantage of this sweet summertime! For me, exercising, enjoying healthy nutritious meals, and spending time outdoors with friends and family is the perfect equation for a fabulous day. The positivity, the endorphins, the sunshine, creates this “high” for me. On a day where I can get all three, I sleep like a baby. In fact, I see this happen right before my eyes with my 18 month old son. On days where he gets to be outside and have a lot of activity, eats well, and is social, he sleeps so much better at night.

So if you are in a bit of a lull and need some pep in your step, ask yourself how you can find ways to make the most out of summer. Perhaps you’ll start to feel the “high” I’ve referenced. Below I’ll elaborate on this healthy “high” trifecta and share a few ideas with you!

Exercise: It’s pretty simple folks. The more you move, the better you’ll feel. Commit to a routine and when you simply can’t get to your workout class or the gym, go for a walk or workout in your living room (EVEN IF YOU ONLY HAVE TEN MINUTES). The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you do it, as long as you do something. It may be hard to get going, but once you’ve gotten through it (whether you enjoyed it or not) you WILL FEEL BETTER afterwards. You will not regret the workout you did once you feel the “high” from the endorphins released into your system.

workoutregrets

In a nutshell, when we exercise our brain releases neurotransmitters called endorphins.  This release creates a positive feeling in the body and mind. Many describe this feeling as euphoric and chances are you’ve heard this from your friends who run regularly. They experience that “runner’s high”. Note, you don’t have to actually RUN to experience this. You can achieve this feeling through a variety of workouts and the truth is, it’s probably different for each individual.   In addition, endorphins can help us to have decreased feelings of pain, better appetite control, and even release sex hormones (YOWZA!). If you would like to read a bit further about endorphins check out these links: medicine net and web md.

Healthy Food: This may seems obvious as well but I simply can’t not talk about it. Eating well makes you feel alive. Stop for a second and think about how you feel AFTER a big greasy meal. Sluggish, heavy, and after a sugar crash, you may even feel slightly depressed. Again, I’m talking about AFTER. I would never say that sitting down to a meal of a juicy cheeseburger and fries is not delicious (that would be a crazy thing to say) but that is DURING the meal when your tastebuds for salt, fat, and sugar are being turned on. On the flip side, when you sit down to a fresh summer salad with avocado and some grilled chicken or wild salmon (and a green juice if you’re like me!), I guarantee that afterwards you’ll feel lighter and generally more energetic. I’ve had many conversations with clients and friends about how one meal can wreck their day due to feeing heavy and tired. The digestive process uses a lot of energy so this makes perfect sense. Eating heavy foods tend to be a total energy zap.

KaleSalasMarinated Kale Salad from Green and Tonic

Keeping things light in regards to eating means:

  • Eating lot of fresh fruits and veggies
  • Staying hydrated throughout the day
  • Having healthy snacks on hand
  • Grocery shopping regularly as to always have healthy options
  • Including fresh cold-pressed juices and/or green smoothies daily

Sunshine & Fresh Air:  To complete this trifecta, which is often overlooked, is getting your booty outdoors at some point during the day. Getting outside in the sunshine can boost your mood instantly. Grab your shades and walk to work if you have that luxury.  Take your lunch outdoors or take your office break on a near by park bench (leave the ciggies behind- YUCK). Take it all in, the birds, the way the light feels on your face, the summer sun on your skin, and the fresh air going in and out with each breath. If you are alone, sit for a 5 minute mediation and totally disconnect from your phone.

poolside

Beyond the health benefits of vitamin D, sitting outside can simply boost your mood. You may have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD),  where people can become depressed due to a change in seasons. Even if you don’t suffer from SAD, you may notice that you do get blue when the weather changes and the days are less bright. When a nice day presents itself, take advantage. As a child, you longed for sunny beach days and perfect playground whether. This doesn’t need to change for you in adulthood. Don’t miss out on a chance to get outside, especially if you are having a tough day at work. Chances are you will re-enter the workplace feeling more calm and generally happier, making you better equipped to tackle the tasks ahead.

I’d love to hear from you this summer. What workouts are giving you the healthy “high” that I’ve discussed with you? What are you eating that gives you energy? What outdoor activities totally turn your mood around?