Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Favourites: Core Exercises

It's Friday and not a moment too soon!

I am looking forward to a fun filled weekend, including a visit to the Yoga Show. :) I have been doing a lot of yoga lately and it feels great. ;)

I have also found myself focusing more on my core this week as I am trying to find more creative ways to sneak my workouts in as my ankle heals.

Here are just a few of the core exercises I am loving:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Healthy Makeover: Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Oh, how I missed baking.  I am back and with a healthy makeover, no less. :)

I actually came across these bars while searching for a recipe to use up the copious amounts for strawberries I have in my freezer.

They are very similar to the lemon bars I made, but this time I wanted to try to make them everything free (i.e. egg free, dairy free, gluten free, vegan.)

So, what did I change?

  • Reduced the sugar by approx. 75% and replaced with maple syrup
  • Eliminated the eggs and replaced with flax
  • Eliminated the butter, replaced with margarine and reduced by approx. 50%
  • Eliminated the all-purpose flour and replaced with oat flour

They turned out rather well considering this was a first attempt.  These bars are not overly sweet and very tangy from the strawberry/lemon juice combo.  They didn't quite gel together as much as they would by using eggs, but overall I am happy with the results.

Next time I may try increasing the amount of filling by about a third so the bars are a bit thicker.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

5 Ways to Prevent Exercise Injuries

I mentioned last week that I had twisted my ankle.  It was a pretty minor injury, no bruising or pain, so I P.R.I.C.E'd it and slightly modified my workouts.

Well, I realized that I didn't quite modify enough , as I woke up on Monday to a very stiff and swollen ankle.

So for the next few weeks I will be cycling, swimming and giving my ankle a rest. I will continue to teach classes, but will modify when needed.

Lesson learned:  Always give the body time to heal.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yoga Games for Kids

What can I say?  I have yoga on the brain this week. :)

 I have talked before about the benefits of yoga for children and about my experience at a yoga kids workshop.   Today, I thought I would share a few more ideas for yoga-based activities that you can try.  

I am going to be teaching a Yoga/Pilates class for kids again starting tomorrow and am so looking forward to it.  I am not sure the ages/level of the group yet, so I have a few different options in my back of tricks.

Whether you are a teacher looking for fun ideas to bring to the classroom or a busy mom wanting to get her kids more active, I hope you will find these games fun and inspiring.

Have you ever done yoga games with your children/students?  How did they like it?

Stay Healthy,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Passport to Prana: Yoga Tree Thornhill

On such a beautiful weekend, it was time to pull out my Passport to Prana for a little Sunday afternoon yoga.

I decided to take a 90 minute Reduced Heat Level 2 class at Yoga Tree in Thornhill.

Yoga Tree has 4 locations in the GTA  I have heard many people sing its praises and decided it was high time I tried it out for myself.

Like many of the other studios I have seen, the decor is beige/wood, with yoga inspired accents.  The change rooms were a good size and the whole place was super clean (a big plus in my books).

I walked into the studio and was happy to hear music playing softly in the background.  ( I am a yoga + music kind of girl, as you know).  I grabbed a yoga block, strap and nabbed a spot near the front of class.


The instructor, Kim, introduced herself and asked if there was anyone new to yoga.  All hands stayed down so she told us to remember to work at our own pace and make modifications as needed.

The class was a true vinyasa flow, with emphasis on strength and twists.  It finished with a stretch and guided relaxation.

Here are my thoughts:

What I Liked 
  • Kim.  Her instruction was clear and encouraging.  She gave lots of modifications to each exercise and came over to correct posture.
  • I loved, loved, loved the way this class flowed.  The movements, postures and breath blending beautifully.  This is the way I like to do yoga.
  • The inclusion of twists and balancing poses.  They were very challenging, which I really liked.  It also reminded me that I need to incorporate them into my own classes when teaching.
  • The stretch and guided relaxation was just lovely.

What I Would Have Liked
  • The room to be a bit hotter.  This class was meant to be a bit cooler, but it made me realize that I like hotter better.
  • More seated postures.  This is just a personal preference of mine.  I have actually noticed that many of the classes I have been to are lacking in this area.
  • More follow up after class.  I was asked if I enjoyed the class, but no one offered to give me any information about their programs or invited me to come back again.

Overall, I really liked this class. I am definitely going to use my passport to check out a different class at one of their other locations.

What new classes/studios have you tried lately?  Anyone going to the Yoga Conference in Toronto this weekend?
This was the first new class I have tried in a while and am itching to do more.  I plan on heading to the conference this weekend, but just to the trade show.  If you are interested in meeting up, I would love to hear from you!

Stay Healthy,

P.S. This was also my first class trying out my new yoga towel and I have to say I was pretty impressed.  I slip and slide everywhere in hot yoga and this towel really help me stay put.  I also noticed that the wetter the towel, the better the grip.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Favourites: Spring (Diet) Cleaning

Spring has sprung this week and for many of us that means it is time to clean.

Our house, our offices and perhaps our diets.  Yes friends, it is the time of year where many of us embark on a cleanse.

I have talked about detoxing quite a few times on this little blog of mine, so today I thought I would do a round-up for those of you who are thinking about doing a cleanse or would just like more information about the topic.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Starting a Career in Fitness, Part 1

I have been in the fitness industry for over 12 years.

In that time, I have gone through many changes, both personally and professionally.  Despite these changes (or perhaps because of them), I have come to realize that my passion will always be with helping people look and feel their very best.

I am sure many of you share that passion and are thinking about starting a career in fitness.  Weather you are interested in CrossFit or kickboxing, there are tons of opportunities for you to shine.

Well, you've got the spirit, you've got the drive, but you are not sure where to start.  I know that making a career change can be overwhelming, so here are a few tips to help you jump into the world of fitness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Move of the Month: Curl and Press

I hope the weather where ever you are is as beautiful as it is in Southern Ontario.

I was clever enough to twist my ankle on Friday afternoon, so I have been trying to take it easy for a few days. However, I couldn't resist heading outside today for a walk.  It was glorious.

If you are thinking about taking your workout outdoors today, you have come to the right place.  This month's move is the curl and press.  It is a compound exercise, which involves multi-joint, multi-muscle movements.

Performing compound exercises has many benefits such as:
  • Allows for a shorter workout time
  • Improves joint stability and balance
  • More muscles used = more calories burned
  • Allows you to keep your heart rate elevated

As always, check with your Doc before you start any exercise program and always listen to your body and modify as needed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recipe Repeat: Rosemary Almond Crisps

Some thing are worth repeating.

A day at the spa, an inspirational quote, watching old Hollywood musicals, and this recipe.

These crisps are addictive and perfectly portable.  Bring them to a party or eat them all yourself (I won't tell). 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Favourites: Cupcake Recipes

I had mentioned last week that it has been far to long since I have experimented in the kitchen with cake decorating and cupcake making. 

Life is about balance and as much as I enjoy giving recipes a healthy touch, sometimes I just want something decedent.  Guilt free.

I never did get to bake last weekend, but I am going to make up for it over the next few days and have been scouring the blog world for inspiration.  It didn't disappoint.

Here are a few favourites that have made it straight to the top of my "to make" list.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Not to Wear (to the Gym)

Fitness and fashion.  They go together like peas and carrots.

Okay, maybe not, but I often get asked if it really matters what you wear when you are working out.

My answer is yes and no.  Let me explain.

When you are exercising, what matters most is how you feel.  Some people will feel their best in an old pair of track pants and a t-shirt, while others would rather sport the trendiest shorts and a high performance tank. 

However, you also can consider that there are technical fabrics and designs that lend themselves to different activities.  For example, if you sweat a lot during your workout, you may want to invest in gear with anti-odour properties.  If you are runner, you may find it is easier to move in a running skirt. etc.

I don't think you need to break the bank buying fitness clothing.  There are many fantastic brands in all price ranges that will get the job done.

For some people always being fashionable is very important.  For others, not so much.  It really comes down to personal choice and what works for your body and budget.

If you are still on the fence about what to wear, here are a few tips.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Product Review: Chobani Greek Yogurt

I felt like I was the only health blogger left who had not tried the goodness that is Chobani.

I have tried other Greek yogurts, but Chobani is the kind I have been hearing rave reviews about and I couldn't wait to try it.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when they wanted to send me four of their flavours to try.

Monday, March 12, 2012

45 Minute Workout: Full Body Bootcamp

It was a truly lovely weekend and it is only supposed to get warmer this week.  I can hear kids everywhere jumping for joy to have fantastic weather for their March Break.

I am playing catch up this week (I have been grossly neglecting my inbox - over 5000 unread messages), but I am going to make sure I get out there and enjoy the weather.

Perhaps I will go for another run (I managed to get out today and it was glorious) or maybe I will try this bootcamp workout on for size. ;)

If you are looking for an intense, full body workout, you have come to the right place today.  Go through this circuit 2-3 times for the full 45 minute workout or do it once if you are short on time.

This is my first time including the workout as a jpg file (for easy pinning) and I would love your feedback (too big, too small, needs more info etc.).

Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday Favourites: Offline Activities

The week has been a busy one and my online time has been pretty limited.  I have to admit that the break was kind of nice.

Don't get my wrong, I love social media, but sometimes it is very nice to (semi) unplug.  I was only on the computer for a total of 30 minutes each day this past week, compared to the 4+ hours/day I usually spend.

I used my free time to catch up on some offline activities that have fallen off my radar.  Here are a few of my faves.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Winter Mood Boosters

Some say it is the winter that never was.

While we have not had very much snow in Southern Ontario, it has been very dark and gloomy. However, the past few days we have been blessed with some sunshine and I couldn't be happier.

I am a total believer in light therapy. I can instantly feel my mood boost when the sun hits my face.

Looking for some other ways to lift your spirits? Give one or all of these a try!  

Friday, March 02, 2012

Friday Favourites: Yoga/Pilates Accessories

I am gearing up for a busy and fun filled weekend, how about you?

I have been wanting to use my Passport to Prana again to try out another hot yoga class, but there has been one thing stopping me.  My mats.

I say "mats" because I actually have 3 yoga mats and they have all proven to be terrible for hot yoga.  I slip and slide everywhere, making my practice less than enjoyable.

Here is what I got to solve the problem.


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