Thursday, March 9, 2017

11:45 AM 1

Five on Friday: Spring Goals

Hey there, Friday! We're officially 10 days away from Spring! It's something about the start of Spring that gets me motivated, focused, and ambitious. Maybe it's the warmer weather and the flowers blooming. There's a lot I want to accomplish in the next few weeks and months both for myself and well to keep our house running smoothly. Hello Spring Cleaning.

Here's what I'm going to work on in the next few weeks:

O N E//
Organize, Box-up, and/or Donate Clothing.
This one makes me shutter. I know sorting through my clothing and the kids' clothing needs to be done, but it's really the last thing that I want to do. I know it would help with having more space in our closets and dressers to put laundry away. I still have a few maternity pieces in my dresser, which I don't need right now, so it's long overdue to box them up. Speaking of which, I'm 9 months postpartum today...I just can't believe my baby is 9 months old already! Oh and don't even get me started on the number of mix-matched socks in my sock drawer. Why are socks so hard to keep up with?

The baby's dresser could also use some serious reorganization. Like I'm talking there's still some 6 month clothing in his dresser and he's out growing his 12 month clothing. I just want to know how that happened!

A very ambitious, not fun goal for me. And I'm just gone to be realistic and say that this is one is going to take me some time!

T W O//
Fold and Put Away the Laundry.
I always start a load of laundry in the mornings, but I hate to admit it- that laundry doesn't always get folded. Half the time it ends up in our extra bedroom and then I have to fold a massive mountain of laundry at once, which is miserable. It would be much easier if I just washed, folded, and put away one load of laundry a day.

T H R E E//
Read More.
This has nothing to do with Spring cleaning, but I haven't been reading lately. It's really something I enjoy doing, so it's time to make it happen! I want to read at least one book before March is over.

F O U R//
Sleep More.
I'm lucky to have to two kids that sleep through the night, so there's no real good reason why I shouldn't be getting enough sleep. I've felt really exhausted lately, so I know I need to get more rest. Basically, I just need to prioritize getting in bed earlier...simple enough, right?

F I V E//
Work with the Magic Circle.
This goal is totally Pilates specific, but I want to bring the Magic Circle back into my matwork. Never heard of the Magic Circle? It basically is a great tool for helping your work deeper to engage the powerhouse and inner thighs for example. Below I'm using the Magic Circle between my calve muscles for Open Leg Rocker, which is a rolling exercise in the matwork. You can even use the Magic Circle for some arm work as well.

And If you need some ideas for some core work- check out my post earlier from this week here about The Series of 5 aka The Abdominal Series. I'm off to a Pilates Mat Workshop today and I'm really excited! Have a great weekend! And Spring, I'm ready for you! 

For this post, I'm linking up with April from Smidge of This and Christina from Carolina Charm for 5 on Friday and Amanda from Meet at the Barre for another round of Friday Favorites. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

12:17 PM 0

Workout Wednesday: The Series of 5

Happy Wednesday! It's been awhile since I've done a Workout Wednesday post... So I thought to go along celebrating March MATness this week, I'd share the Pilates Mat Series of Five.

I often get hear from clients "I don't have a lot of time to workout at home. What are some quick exercises I can do?" or "I really want a stronger core. What exercises should I be doing everyday?"

I always come back to The Series of Five.
The Series of Five is a group of 5 exercises (hence the name), that targets the core while stretching the body. Now, truly all of Pilates focuses on the strength of the powerhouse. In Pilates, you never work muscle groups in isolation. All Pilates exercises begin with moving from the center of your body. But if you ever do The Series of Five, I'm certain you'll feel your core fired up. You might also hear The Series of Five called The Stomach Series or The Abdominal Series.

I have a love/hate relationship with The Series of Five haha. As in- I find it always challenges me, makes me work hard, and definitely helps me strengthen my core, but sometimes when I get to it in my matwork series I'm like "I'm not ready for this...." But then I remind myself of the treat following the Stomach Series- Spine Stretch Forward (which I'm sharing on Instagram today.)

I took my first mat class back in 2011, so after working with the The Series of Five for awhile now, here's some tips I have for these exercises:

1. Try to find the flow between each of the exercises in the series. It helps to think of keeping your body setup the same for each exercise.
2. The setup for each exercise is: lift your torso off of the mat to the tips of your shoulder blades, keep the torso solid and still, scoop your belly, and press the back of your rib cage and spine into the mat.
3. If you feel tension in your neck and head, keep the head down.
4. Use your breath! Make sure to take full inhales and exhales.
5. Work towards doing 8-10 repetitions of each exercise.

We could talk for a long time about each exercise in The Series of Five, but to keep it simple, here's a glimpse of each exercise.












Follow me along on Instagram here for a better look at these exercises and more March MATness. Yesterday, I shared my take on Single Leg Stretch and Double Leg Stretch on Instagram.

The Series of Five are great exercises to do if you want to squeeze in a few minutes of abdominal work each day. Even if you don't do much Pilates, you could even do The Series of Five as a core warmup before a run for example. The Series of Five is a great group of exercises for anyone. Enjoy!

Friday, March 3, 2017

5:07 AM 2

Five on Friday- Headstands & March MATness

I can't believe it's Friday again AND that we're in the month of March, which means only 20 days until it's officially Spring! Although it has felt like Spring for like a month now. Here's my favorites for this week...


Workout Partner
My oldest has definitely been my workout partner lately.  She loves to hop on the Pilates Tower with me and lay out her mat down beside me if I'm doing some matwork. I shared more here on how I get a workout in with kids.

Anyway, this week I was working on some Roll-Ups. Read here about how to do this exercise. When doing Roll-Ups, you want to keep your heels pressed down into the floor. So what better way to work on the integrity of this exercise than by having your kid hold your heels down?! And don't mind how bad my toenails need to be repainted...


Headstands and Inversions
Last weekend, I went to an amazing Yoga Inversion workshop. Headstands and going upside down require core strength, but for me I think I've also tended to avoid them out of fear. This workshop was super helpful for me to learn ways to safely get into headstands and work up to a full handstand. 
So this week, I've been playing around with headstands this week- using the wall and a little on the Reformer...

Workout Inspiration
"The body is a sacred garment. It's your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor." - Martha Graham

"Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live." -Jim Rohn

It think Martha Graham and Jim Rohn said it best. It's so important for us to take care of our bodies both physically and mentally, which is why regular exercise is so good for us- even when we don't want or don't feel that we have the time. I shared yesterday a little about what helped me when I felt like I was in a funk working out. Read that here.

Oh laundry...
I just can't seem to keep up with laundry! I recently started throwing a load of laundry in every morning when I get up, but the problem is- I never get that load of laundry folded and put away haha. Maybe my goal this month should be to work on that.

Anyway, hubby recently ordered this drying rack from Amazon and I love it! I air dry most of my clothes and this drying rack hold lots of clothes and has wheels.

March MATness
I probably won't be filling out a College basketball bracket this month, but I will be doing some March MATness. I'm a newbie to the Pilates March MATness fun (and 3 days late, but if you know me- I'm really good at being late haha)...But I'm going to join along with the MATness fun over on Instagram. Read about the March MATness Campaign here.

To kick off my March MATness journey, here's the first 2 exercises in the Pilates Mat Series: 
The Hundred and The Roll-Up.                                                      

I'll be sharing the third exercise- The Roll-Over on Instagram today. Have a great weekend!

For this post, I'm linking up with April from Smidge of This and Christina from Carolina Charm for 5 on Friday and Amanda from Meet at the Barre for another round of Friday Favorites. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

12:13 PM 0

Fighting the Workout Funk

Yes, I've been there. Not wanting to work out. Yes, I'm a certified Pilates teacher, but I've definitely gone through spells where I've had to fight off the I don't want to work out funk.
About six weeks out from having my second baby, I was super motivated to get back to Pilates and tighten my core back up. But I quickly lost that focus and motivation as the busyness of having two littles set in. I'd come up with really good, creative excuses why I didn't have the time to workout... I need to catch up on the laundry and the dishes....or I just want to lay on the couch and catch up on my shows while everyone naps...

I was looking through some old pictures from the newborn days recently and found this picture. And this is how I feel about working out sometimes... All jokes aside, I should probably note that I removed the hat right after sister did this haha...

And I could go on, but let's jump to what worked for me to get back on track.

Set a focus and a goal.
I think your goal can be as specific or as detail-oriented as you want it to be. Maybe you have just one goal or more than one focus. Whatever works for you. Personally, I like to make my goals attainable at first- then bump it up a notch. That way, I have a starting place that makes me not overwhelmed and I can feel accomplished, which helps me stay motivated.

For example, my initial postpartum goal was to get in five workouts each week. I didn't focus on the length or what kind of workout- whether it be Pilates Mat, Reformer or simply walking. Then, once I got pretty settled with this goal, I modified my goal to make it fit my progress.

So currently, this is what my fitness goals look like:
1.  Work in 6 to 7 (minimum 1 hour workouts) a week.
2.  Out of my weekly workouts, I like to do 2 to 3 Yoga Classes, 2 to 3 Advanced Reformer Workouts, and at least one Pilates Mat. I also like to visit the Pilates Tower and Wunda Chair at least once during the week. I'm flexible with my 7th workout of the week (typically Saturdays.)
3. I'm currently focusing on headstands, flexibility in the quadriceps and psoas muscles, and arm strength. So no matter what I do for my workout, I'll spend a few minutes practicing headstands, stretching, or using light weights pretty much daily.

Go to a Group Class. 
If just don't feel like you have the motivation to work out, I'd definitely suggest trying out any kind of group class. There's nothing like being in a room full of people to get you motivated. It's also nice to be told what to do instead of planning out your own workout. Group classes also give you new ideas for you to do at home. Signing up for a group class also gets a workout penciled into your busy schedule and makes you committed to exercising.

I had a client in one of my Pilates Reformer classes tell me me recently that he loves group classes for the camaraderie...even if it is a class with all women...

Besides enjoying Yoga and wanting to learn more, these are all the reasons why I go to Yoga classes each week as well.

Try setting some goals and going to a few group classes...and I'm sure you'll be well on your way to getting over your workout funk. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

5:30 AM 8

Five on Friday- Spine Corrector, Healthy Muffins & Baby Snuggles

It's been a quiet week around here. And I took a little blogging hiatus this week. Ever feel like you can't keep up with all you want to accomplish? Totally was me this week. But it's finally Friday and there's always the weekend to get everything in on my agenda. Or maybe I can find a way to add more hours to a day...that would be amazing. But let's get to it.

The Pilates Spine Corrector
It's been awhile since I've played around with the Spine Corrector, but before and after teaching a few of my lessons this week, I decided to give it a go. I feel like I often forget about this piece of equipment- but it is so great to use to support your back and spine. It's a perfect place to work on keeping the pelvis lifted and build strength for back bends.
Here I am working on the Leg Series. I love to do Leg Circles on the Spine Corrector. You get a great opening along the front of the hip and thigh with the Spine Corrector. And it always feels good to finish your Spine Corrector work with some constructive rest (simply just allowing the legs to rest over the crest of the Spine Corrector.)

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins
So it's not secret that I love to bake and I love muffins. Seriously. I think I make at least one batch of muffins a week. Last week, I made Apple Cinnamon Muffins. Check them out here. This week I made two batches of muffins- Banana Bread Muffins and Lemon-Raspberry Muffins. I love all baked goods-breads, cookies, scones, muffins, and you name it- I'll eat it. Muffins make the perfect side for breakfast as well as an easy snack or healthy dessert option. So you can find me devouring up muffins everyday haha. 
I've been working my way through Lisa Leake's recipes in her book 100 Days of Real Food (she also has great recipes on her website.) So I baked the Lemon-Raspberry Muffins yesterday- and they did not disappoint. You can find the recipe here. So yummy! I froze half of the batch in a freezer bag for later. (You can just pull one out at a time and warm them up in the microwave.) Maybe next week I should try making some scones. 

Yoga Socks
So I'm not going to lie- I've always thought that Yoga Socks or grip socks were kind of silly. I'd rather just work out barefoot. Just my own personal preference. I have a few clients that swear by the Yoga Socks and won't come to class without them. I've never used them, but I did pick up a pair this week. 
Hubby got me some Barre Method classes for Valentine's Day and for Barre Classes, you are suppose to wear grip socks. So while in Target this week, I picked up a pair. Here's the catch though- I'm absolutely terrible with keeping up with socks and I often mismatch my socks, so here's to hoping I can keep up with both socks haha. I haven't tried them out yet, but I plan on trying them out on the Pilates equipment as well.

Searching for New Workout Tops
I'm on the hunt for some new workout tops, but I'm kind of picky in what I like. I'm not a big fan of workout tanks with cheesy sayings on the front. I also prefer form-fitting tops. Nothing drives me more crazy than when I'm working out and my top slides up. But I broke my rule and picked up this workout tank from Target this week. 
It's loose fitting, but I loved the color. The tank is coral with a maroon colored built-in sports bra. I'm still trying to decide whether or not I'll keep it. Even though I love the color, it will drive me crazy to workout with this top on and deal with it falling down in my face as I mentioned. I've also been eyeballing some tanks from the GapFit Breathe line. I had a maternity version of the GapFit Breathe Tank that I loved while I was pregnant, so maybe I'll return the tank I just got and scoop these tanks up from Gap instead. 

F I V E 
Baby Snuggles
So I'll close out with this sweet moment nursing my little one yesterday, who is constantly on the go now and often too curious to sit and cuddle nowadays. So yesterday when he snuggled up in my arms nursing, I totally soaked it in. Babies don't keep as we all know, so I'm going to savor every moment because he'll be a toddler before I know it. And those chunky thighs...don't even get me started on those...

Have a great weekend!

For this post, I'm linking up with April from Smidge of This and Christina from Carolina Charm for 5 on Friday and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites, and Amanda from Meet at the Barre for another round of Friday Favorites. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

5:55 AM 2

Five on Friday- Fitness Progress, Valentine's and More

Y'all, I'm exhausted! Not sure what is about this week, but I'm worn out. I've been crashing hard after getting the kids to bed. I like to catch up on my favorite TV shows after the kids go to bed, but this week it hasn't happened. Like I'm talking it has taken me three times to get all the way through Jane the Virgin because I can't stay awake...Side note- anyone else watch Jane? I'm really bitter that they killed Michael off of the show. I could rant on, but it's Friday, so I'll move right along.

Patience, Commitment, And Progress
I'd say the past four months, I've really committed myself to getting back on a routine workout schedule and increased my workouts to five to six times a week. I'm definitely starting to to see and feel the results. My arms, thighs, and abdominals are toner and stronger. I'm paying more attention to my posture. I feel better...Pilates will do that to you. I've been combining Yoga into my routine as well...this past week I've made it to three Yoga classes. Yoga has really helped with my flexibility (which has helped with my Pilates practice). I'm feeling a difference when I do exercises such as Tree in Pilates (pictured below). I think the key here is I've noticed so much progress lately from being patient with myself and committing to prioritizing my workouts. Just in case you missed it, I blogged earlier this week about being patient both in fitness and life- read it here and here.

Spring Fever
We've had a lot of warm weather the past few weeks with highs in the 60s and 70s for part of the week. I feel like it has been a few days of spring mixed with really mild winter weather. Next week, the weather forecast looks just about the same. I'm not really complaining and we did get to enjoy one snow this year.
That being said...With all the late winter warm weather, as I was mentioning yesterday, I've noticed a lot of trees and flowers budding and blooming. I took these pictures yesterday while we were playing outside. Now, here's to hoping if cold weather decides to return, that these blooms make it! I'm definitely ready for warm weather to stick around for good. 


T H R E E 
bareMinerals Foundation Primer
I blogged earlier this week about my favorite skin-care products, especially for dry skin types- check that out here. But I have a new favorite to add to that list- bareMinerals Prep Step. I stopped by Sephora earlier this week because I was out of makeup primer and foundation. I usually buy the Prime Time Foundation Primer by bareMinerals, but I decided to give the Prep Step a try because it has SPF 50. I have fair skin, so this is important to me and one of the reasons why I love bareMinerals. Anyway, I LOVE the Prep Step. It's light and moisturizes my skin without making it oily. I also think it helps blend my makeup on my skin. Here's a full day of wearing the Prep Step with foundation (I like the Original Broad Spectrum).

F O U R 
Essential Oils of the Bible
A few months a go, a friend recommended this book to me- Essential Oils of the Bible. I use essential oils regularly, especially to fight sickness (read here and here), but I'm interested in learning more in general about essential oils and ways to incorporate oils. I just picked this book up from the library, so I really haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'm looking forward to flipping through it. I thought I'd check it out from the library before I decided to buy it.

Valentine's Day Dinner and Treats
I did a lot of cooking and baking for Valentine's Day. I really enjoy baking from scratch, knowing and controlling what goes in our food, and using Organic ingredients as much as possible.

Hubby loves and requested Apple Cinnamon muffins, so I made those- loosely following this recipe. The main difference is I used Organic Unsalted Butter instead of Coconut Oil (his request) and I dipped the muffins in melted butter and cinnamon after pulling them out of the oven.

For Valentine's Dinner, we had: Grilled Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, Brown Rice, and Heart-shaped Biscuits with Honey. Here's the recipe for the biscuits.

For dessert, I made Sugar Cookies with Strawberry Glazed Icing with my little assistant. Yes, we did use Sugar, but we used Organic ingredients and no food coloring. Side note- I just really hate the thought of adding food coloring into what I cook. The icing was delicious and the strawberries gave it the perfect color and flavor. I found the recipe for the icing here. The recipe calls for fresh strawberries and lemon zest, but we used frozen strawberries and lime zest (since that's what I had on hand). The cookies are just about gone- if that tells you anything!

Have a great weekend!

For this post, I'm linking up with April from Smidge of This and Christina from Carolina Charm for 5 on Friday and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites, and Amanda from Meet at the Barre for another round of Friday Favorites. 


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