Finding Your Rhythm With A Routine

The sun is setting on summer, and there’s something looming over your head – you need to get back on track with your health commitments (womp womp). While some of us are SO ready to get back to feeling and looking better, others are a little….underwhelmed. The longer your ‘break’ may have been, the more difficult it may be to get back to the groove you were in pre-summer break. The struggle is real, ya’ll.

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But have no fear, we’re here to help give you that swift kick in the seat (that you’ve been missing right!?) to get your fall rolling, beginning N-O-W.

  1. Grade Your Current Lifestyle. Are you taking a dynamic approach? There is nothing like feeling well in your mind and body to improve your focus, sleep and energy levels. This includes your habits, exercise and diet. Yes physical activity matters, but are you also paying attention to what you’re eating, and how you’re spending your time otherwise to really feel your best? You likely don’t need to do a complete re-haul here, so don’t stress before you even get started, but remember exercise is only one piece of the puzzle. And no amount of calories burned or classes taken will ultimately mend a calorie deficit, or poor life habits that cause you to skip your workout or eat junk food the next day.
  2. Make A Plan. For your diet, clear out all the crap in your pantry that starts whispering your name when you turn on Netflix. Set a cut-off time where the kitchen is closed and communicate this with ALL of your family members. Consider eating earlier, by making your biggest meals early in the day. This will prevent you from pigging out at night and helps your metabolism burn those calories before hitting the hay. Aim for exercise daily. Of course there will be days where you miss it, but if you aim for it every day and put it on your calendar, you will at least end up with a solid 4 or 5 days of movement.Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 3.06.45 PM
  3. Get Organized. Prepare everything the night before. Lay out your workout gear and pack your gym bag. Plan your meals the night before and if possible, have them prepped and waiting for you. We think this grocery staple list from Theeverygirl.com for your weekly shopping is a great way to start with meal prepping next week.
  4. Hold Yourself Accountable. Start making yourself aware of all your fitness and dietary habits by tracking them. A few great internet options are MyFitnessPal.com or Lose It! App for smart phones. They are both thorough and quick, and eye-opening as well as addictive! Also research has proven again and again that people who track their eating are the biggest losers, literally.Girls chatting cubbies
  5. Stay Psyched. Find a workout buddy. Whether it’s your child, your dog, or ideally a fellow #barrebabe*, commit to finding someone who is waiting for you at a preplanned time. (*We bet you’d be pleasantly surprised if you leaned over next class and asked your neighbor if she wanted an accountability partner. Simply swap numbers and text each other to stay accountable and excited about class. BONUS, you just made another new friend, Miss Congeniality.) If you find yourself losing interest in staying on track, reward yourself with a massage or a new pair of leggings (not food or alcohol!).
  6. Have A Plan B. Nothing will ever 100 percent work according to plan, because life. There will be good days, and bad days. Give yourself a break, and start over again the next day (not next Monday, the very next day). Plan some quick fixes to get your spirits back up, and your body already working towards recovery. Ate a big (late) meal? Take a quick 10 – 15 minute walk afterwards to help your food digest and feel better. Skipped your workout? It’s ok because you’ve planned them daily (riiight?), so you’re 100% attending the next one tomorrow. Skipped the grocery store this weekend? Look into a healthy meal delivery service that you know you can fall back on for those weeks you’re too busy to prep.

Lastly, remember to focus on the outcome, not the action. How does eating, sleeping and exercising better make you feel? Keep your goals dynamic (a number on a scale should not be your measure for success), keep it simple and approachable, be gentle on yourself when you stumble, make adjustments along the way, and always, always keep going. You’ve got this!!!

What Really Happens When You Skip Out On Stretching

We know we know, you’ve got lots of places to go, and lots and lots of things to do. But is skipping out on that final five minutes of stretching after class costing you precious workout results, and potential pain later?

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This may seem like a no-brainer, but without stretching, your muscles begin to contract and tighten after a long workout. Sometimes, achy knees or painful hips are caused by muscular contractions surrounding the joint. Stretching loosens the muscle, which aids in a quick recovery and the prevention of pain.

Similar to the initial effect, the contracted muscles will remain in their shortened state if not sufficiently stretched. Certain movements within workouts keep specific muscles in a contracted state while others are kept in a lengthened position which, over time, can result in muscle imbalances. This tightness increases the wear and tear on your joints and decreases your range of motion due to the reduced extensibility, making future injuries more likely.

When you skip a stretch after your workout the tissue remains in the position in which you left it, which can also add density, or bulk, which is why we always find time for a quick stretch in-between exercises during class to lengthen your muscle back out.

Taking time for your cool down can also increase your flexibility and mobility over time, which is thought to help avoid muscle tears, back pain, and joint issues. The 30 minutes directly after your workout are prime time to get the most out of your stretch, and ultimately see the most progress. So although skipping a stretch here and there won’t offset your entire workout, investing a little more time to loosen hard-working muscles, will set you up to be a better, pain-free barre babe over time.

If you absolutely must duck out of class early (hey at least you came right!!), here’s our top five, dynamic stretches you should perform at home. Think about holding each stretch for 30 seconds, or perform the reps listed, then repeat the entire sequence on the other side.

Low Lunge:

  1. Lunge forward with left leg until thigh is parallel to floor, and place hands on floor on either side of left foot, or on the left knee.
  2. Raise right arm straight up toward ceiling as you rotate left shoulder back. Lower hand to starting position.

Down-Dog Extension:

  1. Start in a tabletop position with shoulders under wrists and knees under hips. Press into both hands and lift your knees off the floor.
  2. Push hips up as you extend left leg behind you and press right heel down.
  3. Pull left knee in toward chest and lower into a lunge again to complete 1 rep. Do 8 reps of the entire sequence.

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Active Pigeon:

  1. Start in a straight arm plank. Pull left knee in toward outside of your left wrist, then lower left leg to floor so foot is near your right hip.
  2. Lower hips as you push through hands, lifting head and chest.
  3. Option to lower chest and forward fold for a deeper stretch. Alternately you may use a prop such as an exercise ball or pillow under your left glue for more support.

Butterfly Pose:

  1. Sit up tall with the soles of your feet pressed together and your knees dropped to the sides as far as they will comfortably go.

  2. Pull your abdominals gently inward and lean forward from your hips, being careful  not to round down from your shoulders.

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Seated Head Roll:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position and clasp your hands behind your back. Lower your chin toward your chest slowly.
  2. Rotate your head to the right so that your ear is directly over your right shoulder. Hold the position for five seconds.
  3. Roll your head back down toward your chest and then to the left. Bend your neck so your head is over your left shoulder. Hold the position for five seconds. Repeat for up to 8 reps.