Fitness & Health
Care to add a little fun and pizazz to your yoga or pilates practice? Check out Plank, a Boston-based company specializing in fun yet functional yoga mats and accessories. Plank’s yoga mats are not only eco-friendly, made from 90% natural rubber and 10% recycled rubber, but are printed with “whimsical, lighthearted digital images” ensuring you’ll have the most unique yoga mat in class! I was recently gifted with the Plank version of their photo series, with a strategically placed half-eaten muffin pictured in the corner of my mat, symbolizing you don’t have to give up carbs and other indulgences to lead a healthy lifestyle- a motto which I personally live by! The thickness, cushion, and sticky feel is far superior than any mat I have as of late. Plank offers other versions of their yoga mats, as well as additional yoga accessories. As a Bostonian with a passion for a health and fitness, I’m thrilled to be able to support a local company that supports my personal interests which yoga, pilates and a green-friendly lifestyle.
Plank mats retail for $95 and can be found on their website and various yoga and lifestyle stores nationwide.
Maybe you are like me, and have been hearing for months the buzz about Tracy Anderson, the trainer responsible for Madonna’s sinewy arms and Gwyneth’s incredible legs. I’ve read her coverage on GOOP, I’ve done the videos from when she was featured on Daily Candy, but I haven’t bought a home work out video (yet). Despite the positive media coverage, I’ve been honestly a little skeptical about whether it was ever possible for a non-celebrity to get the red-carpet worthy results that she promises using her methods, since they seem a little renegade and different from others. For example, she’s mentioned before that she doesn’t believe in a few things (“Running–it will give you a bad butt!”) and spinning (purported to give a girl a man’s thighs) that have made me raise an eyebrow of disbelief and almost swear off the treadmill and exercise bikes for life.
This W magazine article, which I found through the Lancome Blog, seems like the best real, non-celebrity endorsement of her services so far. W magazine editor, Jamie Rosen, worked out with the celebrity trainer for 6 weeks, and showcases her experience, the diet, the exercises, and most importantly, the results! As to be expected, when you are working out 6 days a week for 6 weeks at a time and following the ideal healthy diet, you will see results and Jamie did. But the interesting thing is that although Jamie didn’t lose much weight (about 4 lbs), she lost a lot of mass over her whole body (a total of 40 inches, with 4 inches alone just from her hips!)
Jamie Rosen has a similar body type to me (petite and curvy) so the before and after photos/measurements were incredible and particularly inspirational. Since a membership to the Tracy Anderson Studio is about $900 a month, I probably won’t be venturing there on my own anytime soon but the article is an interesting read nonetheless for summer work out motivation. Also check out Tracy’s recommended workout playlist!
In attempt to immerse myself in as much of “Portland life” as possible during my most recent visit to the City of Roses, I attended a class at barre3, an exercise studio in Portland’s Pearl District. Through a combination of ballet, pilates, and yoga, barre3 focuses on improving physical balance, strength, and flexibility during intimate 60-minute training sessions utilizing the ballet barre as well as pilates belts and balls. I am not a dancer by nature, nor do I typically practice pilates and yoga, but after reading about barre3 in various Portland publications, I was intrigued!
I soon learned that barre3 is much more intense practice of yoga or pilates than I’ve ever taken. The integration of balance, flexibility, and tiny movements made my muscles ache more than any form of exercise I’ve participated in in a while. What was great is that the class attendance is limited, so everyone’s form was corrected, ensuring an optimal workout. I’d also never practiced yoga with music before, but really enjoyed the musical aspect of the lesson. By the end of the class, I was sweaty, incredibly limber, and within ten minutes, super sore.
I encourage all Portlandites who are interested in yoga, pilates, dance, or just staying fit to give barre3 a try. They offer single session passes, as well as a variety of packages, from single session to monthly unlimited. There are two locations, one in the Pearl District, another in Portland Southeast.
While I’m a big fan of The Sports Club/LA and the luxuries and amenities that come with such a great (expensive!) gym membership, there’s something to be said for small, independent studios that large chain gyms don’t offer. Continuing my attempt to combine pilates and yoga in my existing exercise routine, I was presented the opportunity to visit OMBE Integrative Health Center in Boston’s Back Bay. OMBE (One-Mind-Body-Earth) offers a full range of integrated services catered towards creating a “better you”, including yoga, pilates, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, and massage. Since I’ve also taken a more recent interest in running, I thought it would be fitting to check out OMBE’s Yoga for Runners class! (more…)
March is National Nutrition Month and for those of us that are (or want to be) health conscious, now is the best time to start paying attention to your lifestyle. Recently I got my hands on a copy of The O2 Diet, designed by my go-to nutritionist, Keri Glassman, which focuses on harnessing the powers of antioxidants (fresh and natural foods) to help you feel and look your best. I’ve been a longtime fan of Glassman and have even gone in for her nutritional counseling services. I’ve always found her to be incredibly positive and empowering, giving me tips and solutions that actually help me feel like I am in control of my wellness and that have actually helped me change my eating habits and attitude in many ways.
I was really excited to find that Glassman conveys the same positive messaging in her new book. I’m generally wary of “diets” since I find them so gimmicky, but Glassman doesn’t focus on dieting as much as on finding wholesome, nutritious, and natural foods. In addition, she encourages readers to consume foods high in antioxidants which protect the body from damage by free radicals. Antioxidants have been touted to have health benefits from slowing the aging process to preventing cancers. But even more importantly, eating foods high in antioxidants make you feel good, and feeling good prevents you from going back to consuming unhealthy processed foods. (more…)
There is nothing I like more than getting pampered. If I was a millionaire, I’d be one of those people with a standing appointment at the most luxurious spa around on a monthly (oh, who are we kidding, weekly) basis. But let’s face it, even if most of us did have a bank account that ended with a long string of zeros, finding the time to get yourself to a spa to enjoy a service isn’t always easy. There’s the drive to get there, the time spent changing in the locker room, waiting in line to pay, etc… (Not to mention the fact that in L.A., the second you get back on the road and find yourself in bumper to bumper traffic, any relaxing effects from your treatment are instantly wiped away). So when I heard about Yada Yada Yoga, a company that offers a mobile approach to both fitness and relaxation services, I jumped at the chance to have an experienced technician come to my home and pamper me. (more…)
Sometimes the littlest things in life make me so happy. Things as little as a new pair of socks! After buying a fantastic new pair of running shoes at Marathon Sports, the salesperson suggested I try out a pair of Balega running socks. Located in South Africa, Balega means “to move with speed” in Zulu, which seems appropriate for a company that only manufactures running socks! Sure, I’ve always worn athletic socks when running, but I honestly had no idea socks specific to running even existed!
What I initially noticed about my Lady Ventilator‘s was the softness and flexibility of the fabric, yet were able to give my arches the extra support they need. I absolutely hate when my sock “fall down” by the heel, but these have an extra-deep heel that prevents sock slippage. Finally, and the best part, is that my socks weren’t drenched after a seven mile run. Particularly on longer runs, wet socks are no fun, but the “dynamic moisture management” system in combination with the mesh fabric allowed my feet to breath! Honestly, my new Balega’s, in combination with a new pair of Nike Air Max Moto+ (appropriate for my diagnosed wide, flat, and flexible feet) have allowed me to have the most comfortable and longest runs of my life!
New gym clothes, shoes, or even socks are always a great motivator for me to get to the gym and continue living a (semi) healthy lifestyle! If you’re a runner, I urge you to give these socks a try. And if you live in Boston, head to Marathon Sports for all your running needs. These people know feet and will prescribe you with the best sneakers, socks, and running gear to get the best out of your workouts!
As frequent readers of this blog know, I am no stranger to cleanses whether they’re home juiced, purchased, made from powder or simply made up. The truth is, as an um “juice junkie” I’ve tried almost everything on the market and in my year of going a few days without food every other month I’ve come to learn quite a bit about these cleanses. I’ve become a little suspicious that juicing has put me on an addictive cycle- and not in a good way.
Let me explain. I used to do a cleanse, get off and almost immediately fall back into my old eating habits. Eat crap for a few weeks, feel bad, crave juice, and get back on another cleanse only to have the vicious cycle start all over again. This turned out to be very ineffective for both my wallet and my body.
Nonetheless, when I learned that iZO Cleanze, a popular cleansing company based out of LA, was starting nationwide delivery, I was the first to jump on the bandwagon. I signed up for a 5 day juice feast expecting another few days of yummy tasting fruit and vegetable juices. The juices are flown in fresh from LA every morning and delievered to you before 10:30 am, anywhere in the US. Like many other juicing companies, the anchor of the program are their green juices, followed by a red juice, a Master Cleanse type lemonade juice, and a heartier “nut” juice. But this is where I found the similarities ended. The iZo Cleanze also comes with four teas, a few nutritional supplements and half a jar of “hyper-mineralized oxygenated alkaline water.” What it should also come with is a warning label- “For serious cleansers only!” (more…)
One of Chicago’s best events every year is the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, coming up this Sunday on October 11th. Whether you’re running it yourself, or cheering on a friend, it’s a fantastic way to get to know the city a little better. The Marathon route goes through many of Chicago’s distinct neighborhoods, and the new Chicago Marathon Collection from Nike celebrates that. Nike invited me to visit their showroom and see for myself. As a relatively new Chicagoan, I loved seeing how the different pieces in this collection highlighted the diversity and uniqueness of the city. Take the Nike Poster Women’s T-Shirt ($28), above. The front of the shirt features a design of the Chicago flag, and the back? Look closely: (more…)