Get Summer Ready with My Killer Ab Workout

Here's the rundown. Bookmark, print, or add this blog post to your favorites, this is my quick and easy way to get ready for summertime.

45 minutes

1. Ab hi chair

  • Lifting legs over pilon
  • Four sets of 10
  • Five in each direction


2. Lying down on the bench with weight overhead extending legs extending arms and bringing knees and elbows in together

  • Using 15 pound weight
  • Four sets of 10


3. Lifting from the hips three sets of 10

4. Seated rotation 15 pound weight working obliques

5. Roman chair both directions

  • 3 sets of 12

6 .Pull-ins with weighted cables

  • Row with leg extension

7. Landmine 25 pound weights

  • Two sets of 10

8. Seated row with oblique twist

9. Lifting legs

Banish Your Workout Rut with My 35 Minute Express Workout

35 minute express workout

Start with LEGS

1.Leg press hundred pounds combined with  calf raises
Four sets of 12 reps each

  1. Reverse squat machine 10 pounds on the rack for sets 10 to 12 reps each

Move to ARMS

  1. Seated rows 40 and 50 pounds
    Four sets 12 reps each
  2. Seated side rows three sets 12 reps each

Move to ABS

  1. Abductor 100 pounds four sets 12 to 15 reps

Jump to BICEPS

  1. Bicep curls 15 pound dumbbells with shoulder press four sets of 10 reps
  2. Bicep curls 20 pounds one set of 8 reps

Finish with more ABS

  1. Ab lifts  two sets 10 each 

Your Guide to a Cortisol Reducing Workout - and Why This Matters

I have been working out since age 15.  Exercise is truly my medicine, my boost, my grounding place, my energy source and my mental health tool. This being said - I also have been a bit of an extremist when it comes to exercise ( for the reasons stated ) It used to be that  If I could not go to the gym for at least one hour workout , I would feel that it was pointless. 

After I had blood work I had done last Summer, my doctor shared with me that I may be overtraining. She told me that I had the lowest body fat of anyone in her practice, and while on a certain level I found this flattering – I was also exhausted and depleted and my AC 1 levels were strangely high.  Being an addict of any kind means you subscribe to the philosophy – “ more is more”

So when I had a trainer who refused to train me for more than 45 minutes, sharing that workouts longer than that increase cortisol, I started to do research in a variety of ways.

First I had another round of blood work done, my cortisol levels were very high. Although I workout, have a regular meditation practice and do yoga, I am also living mostly in NYC ( a high stress city)  travel constantly, and am involved in a fair amount of stressful business situations.  In the first three months of 2017 I will have been to four countries and taken thirteen flights.

Part of my research was also to find out if I could “ cheat the system “

* Could I do two 30 minute work outs in one day ?

* Would stretching and yoga count as part of the 45 minutes ?

* should I stop my timer every time I was between machines and exercises ?

Ironic as it is – exercises increases stress, but will negate the effects of cortisol in the long term. The key is to not overtrain and to do just enough to adequately stimulate the system being training (muscular or aerobic). Cardio sessions should be kept at between 30 and 45 minutes and weight sessions should be no longer than 45 minutes.

The endorphin release from these two types of exercise should offset any release in cortisol. Exercise will, during and straight afterward, place the body in a catabolic state but provided the sessions are not to long and nutritional needs are met a relaxed state will ultimately be achieved, and cortisol release will be controlled. Weight training also increases growth hormone which offsets cortisone release.

I have cut my workouts down, added some supplements, mixed up my workouts  and am still actively involved in research as well as LISTENING to my body.

Check this article out to learn more about HIIT workouts that are proven to be anti-aging: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/hiit-anti-aging-high-intensity-interval-training/

Your Introduction to a Weighted Blanket: What it is and why you need one now.

Your Introduction to a Weighted Blanket: What it is and why you need one now.

Psychiatric, trauma, geriatric, and pediatric hospital units are using weighted blankets to calm patient’s anxiety and promote deep, restful sleep. I was curious and I am ALWAYS looking for sleep solutions and am obsessed with natural ways to increase serotonin. After researching that sleeping with weighted blankets be a solution to stress, anxiety, OCD and insomnia – I decided to order one, four weeks later my dark grey chenille 18 pound blanket arrived.  I travel often and live between cities so I am not always with my blanket but have found it to be an excellent tool for meditation and it has provided me restful nights sleeps –

Why I use a Weighted Blanket

When I use my weighted blanket I wake up feeling more rested and refreshed. Weighted blankets are typically “weighted” with plastic poly pellets that are sewn into compartments throughout the blanket to keep the weight properly distributed. A weighted blanket molds to your body like a warm hug, helping relax the nervous system. 

The weight of the blanket acts as deep touch therapy and acts on deep pressure touch receptors located all over your body. When these receptors are stimulated, the body relaxes and feels more grounded and safe, and clinical studies suggest that when deep pressure points are triggered they actually cause the brain to increase serotonin production.

Depression, anxiety, aggression, OCD, PTSD, and bipolar disorder have all been linked to low serotonin levels in the brain, which weighted blankets are reported to assist with. In addition, people battling with depression, mania, anxiety, trauma, and paranoia have been helped with the use of weighted blankets.The blanket mimics Deep pressure touch stimulation a type of therapy that is similar to getting a massage, pressure exerted over the body has physical and psychological advantages. According to Temple Grandin, PHD, “Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling.  Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming.” 

Typical Usage of a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets are used as part of occupational therapy for children experiencing sensory disorders, anxiety, stress or issues related to autism.

The weight of the blanket depends on your size and personal preference, typical weight for adults is around 15 to 30 pounds.

 Experts recommend seeking the guidance of a doctor or occupational therapist if you have a medical condition. Warning Do not use weighted blankets if you are currently suffering from a respiratory, circulatory, or temperature regulation problem, or are recuperating post surgery.

One unfortunate point, these are single use blankets and only come in a size for one person- so if you are sharing your bed-  order one for your partner or be prepared to hear some complaints.

Get your weighted blanket from Magicweightedblanket.com at 10% off with code YogaFit

 

Spring Cleaning to Welcome the Change of Season

Hello Friends – Spring is upon us and a Spring cleaning may be in order to welcome the change of season with a fresh start.  In my book YogaLean, an entire chapter is dedicated to cleaning the clutter out of your life- body, mind and the space around you.  I travel constantly and one of the best things for me in living out of a suitcase is that it reduces the clutter. For me, clutter is a huge distraction.

If we look at physical clutter - What is really getting in the way of your best self ?  Sometimes having too much stuff around us energetically blocks us and creates barriers to success. By literally removing the clutter from your life, you can remove the clutter from your body. Often times too many possessions and a “hoarding” mindset leave us with too many things and also unwanted pounds.

Space! You need, I need it, your family needs it.  We need space in our schedules to exercise, practice yoga, prepare healthy food and meditate.  We need space to move around and not feel trapped.  We need space to breathe and step away from the hustle of our day-to-day.

Yoga gives us both physical and mental space, and guess what, our environment is also in need of this space.

Here are some tips to declutter :

Visualize and Make a Reasonable Plan

Your home may never look like a pictorial from Better Homes & Gardens, but it should function.  Make a plan for each room. For the purpose of YogaLean, I will guide you through your kitchen in hopes that your new clear space will open the doors to other rooms, closets, or even your car trunk.

Perhaps your kitchen needs a complete renovation from cabinets to counters to paint or perhaps you simply need to purchase functional cooking supplies that inspire you to cook.  Your broken pans and dull knife aren’t going to motivate you to whip up something great for dinner.  But what will? 

Devise a plan and/or list that show you what you need or want to make your kitchen brighter and more functional.  Figure out a shift that works for you and know that dramatic shifts, like a kitchen makeover, do not have to be costly.  

Create a vision board of what your ideal kitchen would look like and what utensils and spices you need to cook seamlessly.  In Part II of this book, I dive into clean eating and foods that will aid your body and mind, make a list of those foods so that you can fill your pantry, fridge, and freezer with them.

Make a list of the foods that make your feel groggy or that you know are bad for you- your secret candy stash, the junk food that you find yourself aimlessly gnawing on in moments of despair, of indulgent Dove bars.  With each item, think about the good of your body and take a note of it.

Clear the decks

In order to get and stay lean, we must be able to continuously let go of things that are not working in every and any way.  Remember that YogaLean is a combination of changing your body and your life.  If you live in a distressed, unclean environment, your body will soon reflect that.  Set an example for yourself. Sentimentality will keep you stuck in the past. To be lean is to let go- again and again- and to stay in the present moment. 

Commit yourself to this project by blocking off a Saturday or Sunday or even take a day off of work and if you’re open to it, grab a friend or two to help out.

Start clearing the decks. If you’re open to it, grab a friend or two and take everything out of your kitchen – and I do mean everything.  Get three large cardboard boxes and label them “Toss,” “Donate,” and “Keep.”  Then clear out all the cabinets, counters, refrigerator and shelves.

This is an important step toward developing Lean Consciousness and is part of the letting go process. Things look different when they are clear. Once everything is out of the space, reassess what you need and what is important to your kitchen.

Toss anything that is old, broken, expired or that you have not used in the past year and/or no longer serves a purpose (i.e. your old Fry Daddy).  Go through your kitchen cabinets, fridge and freezer - toss or donate any food that is composed of white flour, sugar, hydrogenated corn syrup or contains transfat. Throw out any sauces, spices, dressings or condiments that are expired or more than six months old.  FRESH is everything.

Donate what you cannot bear to throw out or canned foods, remembering there is someone less fortunate who may benefit from your donations.  Get rid of anything that is not helping you move in the right direction. You are either moving toward your goals or away from them. Know which direction you are moving in at all times. 

Keep items, tools, gadgets, whole grains, and other goods that will help you on your YogaLean mission to live a healthier better you!

I wish you the best in your space clearing efforts !

Namaste

Immune Health For Yogis

Immune Health For Yogis

With fears of Ebola on the rise and people as a whole getting more germaphobic, taking a yoga class can be scary for some.  Working out with large groups of people, dehydration and erratic eating schedules can also cause a compromised immune system.  A weakened immune system leaves the body vulnerable to virtually every type of illness and disease, especially during seasonal shifts when new generation of viruses cause coughs and colds.  Although the immune system can recognize viral strains it has encountered and beaten off before, it will not recognize a virus that has mutated.  Even the smallest genetic change will trick it into thinking a brand new species, for which it has no antibodies, has landed - and while a strong immune system will cope with this attack, one that has been weakened by poor nutrition and too much stress will struggle to get you back to good health.

Fatigue, lethargy, repeated infections, slow wound healing, allergies, thrush, yeast infections,  colds and flu are all signs that the body’s immune system is functioning below par. A healthy adult, for example, should suffer no more than two colds a year - so if you do succumb more to every passing infection, you definitely need to start supporting your immune system.

As yogis it is crucial that we take care of ourselves.  Taking care of yourself on the go starts with taking care of yourself at home: getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, avoiding excess alcohol or caffeine & stimulants, exercising, and practicing meditaion and introspection.  All will help you maintain health.   

Here are some practical tips to help you stay healthy.

Stay Hydrated & Eat at Regular Intervals – I always have a bar of some sort with me. Hitting the grocery store for carrots, organic apples, or tuna in a bag should always be a priority. Staying away from airplane food is always a big help.  I find that I feel sick and have a headache after airplane food.  I always bring some apples, turkey, and veggies packed in small plastic bags on the flight.

Meditate:  Studies have shows that meditation boosts the immune system.  People who meditate are much happier and healthier, and they have greatly extended life spans, too.  As a matter of fact, there have been numerous studies showing that meditation dramatically reduces, and even reverses disease of all types.

Ashwagandha – This amazing ayervedic herb boosts the immune system and helps strengthen your immune system. It also provides for a better night's sleep and balances hormones.

Vitamin C  Powder – I start my day with two packages mixed with 6 oz of water . A great source of Vitamin C and easily absorbed in liquid form. 

ProBiotics - Crucial for maintaining good intestinal health. When the digestive system is working properly, germs have less of a chance to grab hold.  I take 4 Primal Defence tablets daily with my Emergen-C . These are best taken on an empty stomach.  Garden Of Life makes great quality formulas.

Echinacea -  Almost everyone has now heard of this best-selling herbal remedy, which is prescribed in Germany by doctors and pharmacists to help fight colds and flu.  It is effective, as long as you don’t overuse it.

Goldenseal - First discovered by the Aborigine healers in Australia, it will not only help prevent an infection if you are feeling low, but can reduce the inflammation of mucous membranes once you have a cough or cold.

Plain old Vitamin C - Most people will also reach for the vitamin C tablets at the first sign of a splutter.  Many of the symptoms of a cold have nothing to do with the cold virus itself, but are caused by the body’s own immune response to that alien invader.  It is this secondary problem that vitamin C can help counter.  One of the nutrients most commonly associated with preventing colds is vitamin C, which has a widespread reputation as an immune system booster.  Don't underestimate the importance of consuming good food sources of this vitamin. Endurance athletes can consume over three servings of fresh fruit daily and up to two cups of cooked vegetables daily for ample amounts of dietary vitamin C.  Most research measuring the effects of high doses of vitamin C through supplementation have not shown additional protection to the immune system, though many athletes swear by their vitamin C supplements. What we do know is that a daily dose of 250 mg is adequate to saturate your body with vitamin C. Excellent sources of vitamin C include sweet peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, cantaloupe, kiwi fruit and broccoli.

VitaminE:  This antioxidant & nutrient helps to slow down the symptoms of aging and strengthen body cells that fight infection. People who eat foods rich in vitamin E or take supplements have an added weapon against bacteria and viruses.  Vitamin E also helps in the fight against heart disease and cancer. Good food sources of Vitamin E are whole grain foods and vegetable oils. Supplements are recommended to reach the daily requirement of this vitamin. Check with your doctor on the dose.

What happens is that during a cold, the mucous membranes that line the nose become charged with the white blood cells that release large amounts of chemicals designed to destroy the virus. Unfortunately, these substances also attack the cells of the mucous membranes themselves, causing a runny nose and other disturbances. So the idea behind taking antioxidants such as vitamins C, A, and E to tackle a cold is two-fold.  Firstly, these nutrients have now been shown to support the immune system, but, just as importantly, they weaken the immune attack on the body’s own tissues.

Zinc, Iron, B Vitamins: Other nutrients essential for a strong immune system include adequate intakes of zinc, iron, and vitamins B6 and B12. A good daily multivitamin and mineral supplement providing 100-percent of the Daily Values ensures adequate intake of these nutrients on top of a well-balanced diet. Megadosing with vitamins and minerals can often compromise the immune system, especially with excessive intakes of iron.  This is not advised as it could impair immune function and increase susceptibility to infection.  While iron is an important mineral, iron supplements should be taken as required with regular monitoring or iron status.  Excess iron can increase inflammation in the body.  Research on zinc supplementation and the common cold is split down the middle in regards to effectiveness.  While there is limited evidence that zinc supplementation can reduce the severity or duration of a cold, it appears that zinc must be taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms to provide any benefit.

Nutrition: sticking with a high intake of fruits and vegetables should pay off immune wise.  They contain hundreds of phytochemicals that provide many preventative health benefits, and are also excellent sources of carotenoids that boost the activity of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Beta-carotene can also be converted to vitamin A in your body, an important nutrient for the immune system. Organic fruits & vegetables are always a wise choice.

Poor nutrition is a common cause of a weakened immune response. Foods that are good natural sources of the immune-boosting antioxidants include kiwi fruit, which contain more vitamin C than oranges; chinese cabbage, which is an excellent source of vitamin A; avocado, known as nature’s own super-food because it provides the optimum healthy ratio of fat, carbohydrate, protein and vitamin E.  Foods that are rich in vitamin B6, which boosts the production of antibodies to fight infection, will also help.  These include bananas, carrots, lentils, tuna, salmon, wholegrain flour, and sunflower seeds. You also need to step up your intake of dietary zinc by eating more seafood, eggs, turkey, pumpkin seeds, and crabmeat.

Dieting?  Rapid weight loss of greater than 2 pounds per week (an amount often recommended by many diet programs) can have negative immune effects.  Consuming adequate calories is, of course, also beneficial for an athlete's recovery and energy levels.  Poorly planned and low calorie diets can also be low in protein, which also compromises your immune system.  Diets too low in energy can also result in inadequate intake of immune boosting vitamins and minerals.  Having the proper balance of fat in your diet, and choosing good fats can also give your immune system a boost.  While a very high fat diet can compromise immune function, a very low fat diet does not provide adequate amounts of essential fatty acids.  Polyunsaturated oils that provide omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are good for the immune system.  However, most North Americans consume enough of the omega-6 fats (if not an excess) and need to increase intake of the omega-3s.  Walnuts, fatty fish, flax, soy, and canola oils are good sources of this healthy fat.

Nutritional Strategies for Training & Working Out:

Periods of heavy training are also associated with a depressed immune function, and compromised immune function can be further aggravated by inadequate nutrition. The body's susceptibility to a respiratory infection can be elevated for 24 hours after a tough workout, and a demanding race can impair your immune function for one to two weeks.  Combining training withwork can overtax an endurance athlete's resources, stress your body, and compromise your ability to fight infection.

Because increased oxygen utilization during exercise can increase the production of free radicals (unstable molecules that can cause tissue damage at the cellular level), increased food intake and supplementation with antioxidants may enhance immune-system performance. 

Consume a healthy diet and supplement wisely:  Here are specific nutrition strategies that are also beneficial. When your immune system is compromised from training, this effect is related to elevated concentrations of stress hormones. Nutritional strategies to boost the immune system around training sessions should focus on yoga to reduce the stress hormone response.  Consuming carbohydrates before, during, and after training is also a familiar practice for endurance athletes.  Consuming carbohydrates seems to diminish some of the immunosuppressive effects of intense training.  Carbohydrate intake before, during, and after training results in lower cortisol levels, fewer changes in blood immune cell counts, lower oxidative activity, and a diminished inflammatory response.

So, training with optimal stores of carbohydrate not only provide fuel for your workouts, but supports a strong immune system. Endurance athletes who train in the carbohydrate depleted state experience greater increases in the stress hormones that increase during exercise.  There is a window of at least several hours of depressed immune function after hard exercise. Try to stay away from individuals who have colds after hard training.

In conclusion - managing life stress, eating clean and healthy foods, doing yoga, resting, sleeping, and meditaion go a long way to support a healthy immune system.

Fat Burning Full-Body Workout

Follow this workout below to burn off a high protein meal

45 Minutes of intense weight training, and a Non-Stop Total Body Workout :

LEGS  & GLUTES :

Leg Press 4 set of 10-12 reps

Alternate sets with 10-12 reps of Calfs

CHEST AND ABS :

Chest Press on bench  4 sets of 10-12 reps 

Alternate with ab lifts on bench 15 each set

BICEPTS & SHOULDERS :

Free weight Dumbell curls with short squat  4 sets - 10–12 reps 

Alternate with overheard chest press   4 sets 10-12 reps

TRICEPTS & HAMSTRINGS :

DeadLifts with free weights 4 sets 1-12 reps 

Alternate with Tricept extensions free weights  4 sets 10-12 reps

5 minute stretch :

Standing Chest expansion with backbend

Rear delt cross over stretch standing 

Lateral Flexion standing

Lying down

Knees to chest

Lower back twist each side

Bridge

Upside down pidgieon