A Lovely Body: By the Numbers…

FitnessSocial_logo_transparentThis week marks the 1st goal date of my fitness and weight loss journey with FitnessSocial. I can definitely say it’s been a journey. My daily routine has changed with scheduled workouts. This has helped make them a priority so I get a full workout instead of just trying to squeeze one in. Pre-registering for classes really holds you accountable! I think more about what I’m eating and how it makes me feel, not compulsively, but enough so that I’m aware. FS_props by Kelsey Here’s the first half in numbers:

  • 5 days a week of work outs.
  • 6 weeks of working out at FitnessSocial.
  • 27 45-60 minute classes taken.
  • Increase from 5/10 lb to 15/20 lb kettlebells for overhead & 2 hand swings.
  • 5 weeks of working with my personalized nutrition plan.
  • 15 1/2” total inches lost (not including this week).

Week 5: FS_one arm swings{pic from week 1}

Last Friday, I took Melissa’s Cardio Circuit with Kettlebells class. I felt stronger and more comfortable doing a lot of the exercises, like overhead swings and rotating lunges. Even Melissa noticed the difference! I’m able to use heavier kettlebells, increasing from a 10 lb to a 15 or 20 lb bell for overhead swings – a pretty big improvement for me. When I first started I was very careful not to do any swings above my chest since I’ve had shoulder issues before. My firmer abs have helped as engaging your core is involved in basically every exercise we do. fs3_KB, glider for core{a core-engaging exercise}

That night, the signs of a cold started to creep up on me and by the weekend I was full-blown sick with the cold. After taking Saturday off, I went for a walk outside on Sunday because the weather was so beautiful and I feel like light movement is usually always a good idea. I obviously didn’t expect to be sick the days leading up to the goal date. It was a bummer since I would have loved to be able to get in a few more good workouts, BUT it was a lesson. Instead of “powering through”, I knew I needed to put the brakes on and practice self love + self care by getting rest. With my trip coming up the end of the week, I wanted to get better fastlemon_next to water{great way to detox: drink warm water with lemon + honey}

I took Monday off from working out, stayed home for most of the day, got extra sleep (9-10 hours) and drank lots of liquids – warm water with lemon & honey, ginger tea, water, orange juice and nourishing foods like oatmeal and salad with sweet potatoes for dinner. I felt good enough Tuesday to take Melissa’s class, but made sure to take it easy and make modifications as needed. Before leaving town on Wednesday I got in an early 6 AM workout. I’m not an early morning workout person. I’ll avoid them as much as possible, but I knew I’d feel good afterwards.

How I Feel:

Leaving for my trip I felt more toned. I see a difference in my body – more sculpted and lean in a lot of areas. I don’t know if it’s very visible to others, but one of my close friends noticed the difference. How you feel is so important, but it’s nice to receive validation from other’s.

What’s Next:

In the first sentence I say this is my 1st goal date because I want to continue to get in better shape and fine-tune my diet. To do this, I’m going to continue to work out at FitnessSocial, ideally, keeping the same schedule of the past 5 weeks and follow the nutrition plan.

Please continue to follow my journey!

I’d love to know – what have you enjoyed and what would you like to see more of in this A Lovely Body series?

Photos by Kelsey Burton Photography for A Lovely Life.

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A Lovely You: Plant Seeds of Intention for Spring

Spring_cherry blossomsI had the pleasure of meeting Lisa McCardle a few months ago in Monterey, California. Anytime I travel and am going to be somewhere for more than a few days, I ask around for recommendations (or google) for go-to health & wellness-focused places – yoga studios, healers, juice bars, restaurants, etc. I heard about Lisa, a colon hydrotherapist & energy balancing practitioner, through the Detox The World website. Lisa McCardle{the lovely Lisa McCardle}

Lisa was a massage therapist for more than a decade at the renowned Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, CA. That speaks for itself. Post Ranch is all about impeccable quality, so you know Lisa is really good. Upon moving to Monterey, she realized her dream of opening her own center with a focus on deep therapeutic healing. This became Flowing Waters Wellness Center. To assist her clients in deep mind & body healing, she expanded her repertoire by becoming certified in Colon Hydrotherapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Reiki, Reflexology, Prenatal Massage, Guided Imagery, Feng Shui and Energy Balancing.

We put importance on preparing our home for spring (a.k.a. spring cleaning), so I asked Lisa how we can prepare ourselves for spring – physically, mentally + emotionally and spiritually. She was kind enough to break it down for us.

This is what Lisa says:

The theme for April is expect the unexpected, affirming that anything and everything is possible. Let’s divide this into 3 categories, beginning with: actionrunningshot_NewheartPhysically

Let’s clean house. Spring is an excellent time for a full body cleanse to rejuvenate, refresh and renew from the inside out. There are many options when diving into cleansing, My favorites are food-based cleanses. I would recommend 21-28 days. Start with eliminating the foods that are not serving you. Some favorites are Caffeine, Alcohol, Sugar, Dairy, Grains and ALL processed foods. If you’re going to keep meat and eggs in your diet, then please make sure they are hormone-free and organic. Increase your veggies and fruits (but keep in mind that fruits can be very high in sugar, so eat them consciously), lean healthy proteins, plenty of good fiber, fermented veggies and probiotics. I’m also a huge fan of bone broths.

You could add an herbal cleanse to the elimination diet to support your cleansing desires or do a juice cleanse. I would recommend adding a 1-3 day juice cleanse into the middle of your elimination diet. There are many ways to enhance the results of the cleanse:

  1. Drink a minimum of 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water per day.
  2. Dry skin brushing.
  3. Colon hydrotherapy.
  4. Lymphatic massage, Chryotherapy and Infrared saunas.
  5. Daily exercise.
  6. Proper amount of sleep, about 7-8 hrs.

MeMeditatingpose2heartMentally + Emotionally

Ok, it’s time to take the deep dive into the truth of yourself and your life. Carve out some time to sit and get honest.  Use this time to do a life inventory, perhaps sit and meditate upon this, write it down so you can get really clear. Begin with “What is working fabulously in my life?” So often, when we do stop to look around, we focus on what isn’t working instead of celebrating our victories. Find 1-5 things you can stand up and say a big YES to. Celebrate these wins in your life and take full responsibility that YOU are the creator of these wins!

Now, settle back in, clear the slate, and get down and dirty with the truth. “What could be working better in my world?” “What needs to change?” and “What is holding me back?” Make a promise to yourself to be an open truth-telling book on this one. The first steps to change are to fully acknowledge that change is needed! Then ask yourself. “What would it take to blank?” Insert: Change jobs, recreate or leave a current relationship, get right in relationship with your body, lose the weight, cut the addictions, spend more time with family. Fill in whatever your truth may be. In the asking, you’re opening up all availability to receiving the answer. Reach out for support from a friend, a counselor, a mentor, or a life coach. You don’t have to do any of this alone! Get real, get honest about what is working, what is not, make a plan, get support and take action! The seeds of intention that you plantheartSpiritually

I inspire you to dream bigger then you’ve ever allowed yourself to dream before. Never in the history of time has there been a more profound time to align yourself with your vision and to magnetize that which is your greatest desire.The Universal law, The Law of Attraction, states: That which is like unto itself, is drawn. So, be clear in both your vision and your intention. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to live ALL that I am thinking at any given moment?” The power of your thought is so grand and undiscerning that you must be a clear, concise and conscious creator, and your thoughts are your magical wand.

This brings us to the challenge of our limiting belief systems.  We all have them and mostly we acquired them. The unfortunate truth is that often we are groomed into belief systems that our family of origin hold and also were given, the offering usually goes back many generations. These belief systems are often around money, self-esteem, self-worth, self-value and limitations as to what is or what is not perceived as possible. The truth is that part of your birthright is that ALL you desire is available to you; the trick is YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IT!! Often when manifesting, having it all, creating what you desire is opposed to what you think you’re allowed to have.

In the name of spring, planting new seeds and creating fertile soil for manifestation, I invite you to begin looking at people who have the things you most desire, not just material things, but a way of being in the world that you admire. Perhaps they are confident, social, seem to “have it all”, whatever it is that speaks to you, I invite you to observe them, spend time with them, ask them how they do it.  We tend to shy away from people who have what it is we desire, maybe even judge them.  The truth is moving towards that which you desire allows you to fall into vibrational alignment with it and therefor magnetize it to you. Be gentle with yourselves, these can be deep seated and generationally strong belief systems. But, you have the power, the grace and most importantly, the right to plant new seeds and reap the harvest of new possibilities!

To help you, here is a clearing for limiting belief systems. Say this to out loud to yourself as often as you’d like:

I release all thoughts, all beliefs and all emotions that are no longer serving my higher good. I release all limiting belief systems, all judgements and all fears, that are holding me back from living the life of my dreams. I release familial and generational agreements that I or my family may be holding that is limiting our potential to thrive in the manner of which we desire. I forgive any and all experiences, belief systems or agreements that may have occurred with anyone in my life so we may both be free to move forward, with love, light and joy. I release the past in its entirety and all of the experiences of the past that hold me to a belief that is no longer true.  I set myself, my family, and my lineage free. I open completely to that which IS possible. I plant my seeds of manifestation with clear intention, with optimism and with trust in the perfection of ALL that is. I see myself and my pathway forward in the light of the divine and in absolute perfection. I open to receive fully, completely and unconditionally. In honor and gratitude..so it is..and so it shall be!

I hope this helps you as you go forward into Spring! Thank you Lisa!

To book an appointment with Lisa, call 831.333.0409| flowingwaterswellness.com

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A Lovely Body: Slow + Steady Results

FS_weight for wide leg + rotationIt’s now been 24 days that I’ve been on my fitness, diet and weight loss journey with FitnessSocial. For much of that time, I haven’t had any obligations out of town. Staying local has been helpful in keeping me very consistent with the work outs and maintaining a fairly clean diet. This past weekend we went on a short getaway to Vegas. As you all know, Vegas is no wellness retreat. It’s not a pristine, natural environment with clean air and lots of positive vibes. The truth is you’re in a massive hotel & casino with pumped in air, surrounded by smoke and (more likely than not) intoxicated people. I’d be shocked to be served a green juice instead of a vodka soda! It’s not the best place to be while on a weight loss journey, but it’s totally okay. It’s important to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle wherever you go AND to go with the flow.

The Diet:

I’ve been on a pretty good roll with following the nutrition plan and losing inches, so I didn’t want the trip to sabotage my weight loss progress. I talked to Dina about it and she helped me put together a game plan. After all, Vegas doesn’t HAVE to be ‘Sin’ City. 😉

heartThese are some of her tips:

Drink: she recommends either vodka tonics or wine. Only 2 glasses a day and always make sure to drink a glass of water in between. Also, if you’re going to drink alcohol, skip fruit for the day.

Eat: Try to stick with mostly protein and veggies. If you’re going to have something off plan, have one serving and savor it.

Overall, I thought I did pretty well. I did cardio in the hotel gym and detoxed in the spa’s steam room. (Note: a lot of people do actually use the gyms there!)  I was also more aware of what I was eating. I did slightly indulge with small bites of food not on the nutrition plan, for example, a bite of a buttery roll from Craftsteak.

Back at home this week, I’ll admit I haven’t had the cleanest diet. A few nights I had a glass of wine and a slice of pizza at a happy hour with friends. This isn’t the best way to make my body more lean, but it’s progress because I’ve slowly incorporated the plan and improved my diet. For now, taking it slow and steady will help me not feel too regimented and prevent me from getting burnt out, especially as I’m seeing changes!

The Workouts: FS_balance pose, step 1 final{standing balance pose, step 1}

Getting back into my work out routine on Monday was a little tough. I felt fatigued and was just tired for most of the day. I’m sure my body was recovering from flights, being out of town, the Easter holiday and I was about to start my menstrual cycle. I took Robyn’s class. She tends to focus a lot on using your own body weight to increase your heart rate. We did cardio, like mountain climbers, plie jump squats, as well as this standing balance pose. FS_balance pose with foldover, step 2{standing balance pose, step 2}

Proof that a day can make a difference, on Tuesday in Dina’s TRX, Kettlebell & Barre class, my energy level was much higher and I felt “in the zone”. I focused on engaging my core and sculpting my arms.  FS_wide leg squat with rotation final {wide leg squat with rotation} FS_high pull, step 1 final{High pull with 5 lb kettlebell, step 1} FS_high pull, step 2 final{High pull, step 2}

The Results:

With a weekend trip to Vegas, involving cocktails + eating out (higher sodium intake), and my menstrual cycle, I didn’t lose inches in certain areas, but the positive is that I didn’t go up either! For the most part, I maintained my progress from last week AND lost an inch. Dina said that with those two factors and 1-2 less days of working out, “losing an inch is BIG! Most would be up in inches or stay the same.”

From my measurements to date, I’m down -15 1/2 inches, down 1 inch from the end of last week.

It’s happening slowly but surely!

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Monday Mantra: Life is All About Balance

warrior3Part of living a lovely life is living a balanced life. What makes for a balanced life? When we spend an equal or close to an equal amount of time engaging in all parts of our lives. It usually consists of family, friends, work, play (free time), self-love + self-care, and education. People who live a “balanced” life tend to be more happy, healthy and fulfilled.

I know about not living a balanced life too well. For years in my 20’s, I struggled with it. And I think we all do at some point. Even then, I knew I needed more balance in my life. I was focusing too much on work and not enough on what really mattered to me and would keep me grounded – friends, family and self-care. Thankfully, I’ve now learned lots of tips on how to have a more balanced life.

A friend recently recommended the book,  Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, about the art of living. I stumbled upon the (below) text in it and found it really eye-opening. It’s a great reminder to do your best work, then take a step back:

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.

Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.

Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.

Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.

I’d love to know – how do you stay balanced in your life?

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A Lovely Body: A Core Connection

FitnessSocial_logo_transparentIt’s been almost a month now (20 days) that I’ve been working out exclusively at FitnessSocial. I take classes 5 days a week, sometimes 6 with yoga, and follow the personalized nutrition plan. It feels really good to have made this commitment and stick with it because I want (and am excited) to see results!

Week 1, I was focused on doing the correct form by watching the instructors. Now that I feel more confident with the exercises, I’ve noticed myself concentrating on specific parts of my body. The #1 area I’ve been thinking about is CORE. It’s a mind-body connection that if I imagine my core toning and tightening it will actually happen. It helps that the instructors say reminders like “focus on your core”, “work deep into your lower abs”, etc. Along the lines of:

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha

heartThis is how I’ve been putting the core connection into practice: fs3_glider forward{half circles with kettlebell overhead, step 1}

In Dina’s Kettlebell, TRX & Barre class, we did exercises with Gliders (love/hate relationship with them) – backward lunges and half circles with a kettlebell overhead. The half circles are especially great for the core, so I really focused on stabilizing it while staying balanced!fs3_KB, glider for core {half circles with kettlebell overhead, step 2}

When we moved over to TRX, Dina said it’s a total body workout. That it’s up to you what part of your body to work. For example, to work your arms in squat & rows, pull up with your biceps. To work your lower body, push up through the balls of your feet. Both ways, engage your abs when pulling up. It clicked that this is an opportunity to again direct my attention to my core or anywhere else I want to focus on.FS_squats with TRX{TRX squat & row}

Another mind-body challenge has been increasing from a 10 to 15 lb. weight for some kettlebell exercises, as well as knowing when to make modifications. It’s a reminder to take it at my own pace for where I am now. fs3_crunches w: trx straps{crunches with TRX straps, working deep into the lower abs, step 1} fs3_crunches w: trx straps step 2{step 2}

Ballet Bodies with Robyn is another supportive class for connecting with your body. Just small instructions like pointing your toes and flexing your entire leg while working the inner thighs really makes you think.

A new workout regimen is a mental and physical investment. You want it to pay off. That’s one of the reasons why they take weekly, sometimes daily, measurements at FitnessSocial. Dina says,”We can ask about workouts and eating habits giving us the body results we are looking for, but measurements help give us a guideline. You could say “well, I can see it in the mirror or notice it in my clothes”, but unfortunately most people do not notice the little changes that add up to keep them motivated. Also, additional changes could be made to workouts or eating habits so they see even more results in areas they want to focus on. Measurements should only be positive…it is just information. Measurements are used to motivate us to change something or do more of something.” I, personally, like being measured because it’s confirmation that results are happening, even though I may not necessarily see them right away. I also like knowing the areas where I’ve lost/gained inches.

From my measurements to date, I’ve lost inches in these areas:

  • Arms: -3/4″
  • Chest: -1 1/4″
  • Waist: -1 3’4″
  • High hips: -2″
  • Low hips: -3 1/4″
  • Bottom: -2 1/4″
  • Upper thigh: -1 1/4″
  • Lower thigh: -1″
  • Calf: -1″

Total: -14 1/2″

Since Easter is this weekend with social gatherings that include food, I asked Dina and Melissa for tips on how to make healthy eating choices. Especially with my goal date coming up soon, I don’t want to sabotage my efforts.

heartTheir tips:

  1. Scope out healthy options like protein, vegetables and fruits. Eat these options first.
  2. Pay attention to if you’re actually hungry or if you’re only eating because food is around you. Ask yourself, “Am I being unconscious about eating because I’m feeling happy, socializing, stressed, overwhelmed, etc.?”  Then, allow yourself one thing you really want…that’s anything you want, but only a serving size and SAVOR!

For a fun + healthy way to eat your hard-boiled (Easter) eggs, try this avocado deviled eggs recipe!

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Purple Day Every Day

purple day by STYLIGHT logoWe all have causes that are close to our heart. I’m happy to hear that STYLIGHT, a fashion e-commerce site, joined forces with Purple Day to raise awareness and money for epilepsy. They’re doing so with an online auction of curated designer items from tastemakers like DJ, Chelsea Leyland, designer Dries Van Noten and more.

A young girl with epilepsy, Cassidy Megan, created Purple Day (March 26th) and it’s very informative site, purpleday.org, in 2008. Since then, it’s become an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. Cassidy’s goal along with STYLIGHT is to get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone. PurpleDay.com logoI’m so grateful for their efforts because it seems like people don’t know much about epilepsy: what it is,what a seizure is (there are many different types), how to help someone who is having a seizure and what it’s like to live with epilepsy. Note: it’s totally possible to live a healthy, happy and normal life. Unfortunately, I’ve heard lots of jokes made about them and they’re often portrayed on TV as being overly dramatic, psychotic events. That’s why it’s important to dispel the myths.

heartThe Facts about Epilepsy: 

  • Epilepsy is a brain disorder that manifests itself in the form of seizures. These attacks are the result of sudden intense electrical bursts of activity in the brain which cause a temporary malfunction and disrupts how the brain works.
  • There is currently no ‘cure’ for epilepsy, however some sufferers can alleviate their symptoms with medication.
  • An estimated 3 million Americans & 65 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy.
  • 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.
  • In two-thirds of patients diagnosed with epilepsy, the cause is unknown.

Please be involved in raising awareness and bid with us! In the U.S., donations go to The Anita Kaufmann Foundation. They provide some beneficial free services like seizure first aid training.

Take action now – the auction ends April 2nd at 5am PST.  Purple Day by STYLIGHT

I’d love to know – do you think there has been enough education on epilepsy?

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A Lovely Body: Eat to Succeed

FS_props by KelseyMy focus last week was getting into the “swing” of the workouts and beginning to improve my diet. Based on my goal to become more lean, toned and lose weight, Dina put together a nutrition plan for me. I’ve always questioned what is more important – diet or exercise? They go hand in hand, but hundreds of studies have shown that “weight loss is generally 75% diet and 25% exercise. People see the biggest results when they eat smart.”*

It’s not that I wasn’t eating healthy because the majority of the time I do. Many people have told me I’m the healthiest eater they know. I mean, green juices, kale, roasted veggies and fish are my friends! But, I don’t think I was eating a proper diet for weight loss.

My game plan for this week has been to follow the nutrition plan, in addition to my workout schedule. Dina asked me to keep a food journal, so that her and I could review it, and if necessary, make modifications. With parties over the weekend, my diet wasn’t ideal, but when I ate something off the plan, it was in moderation. Just enough to enjoy the taste. Overall, I’m totally okay with it. I did have one question for her – about chocolate! I love chocolate and like to have a small amount daily. She gave her blessing and said one serving of good quality dark chocolate 1x a day is perfectly fine. fit365To set you up to succeed and give you a healthy option, FitnessSocial’s favorite shake, the Fit365, is part of the nutrition plan and is sold at the FitnessSocial studio. They love this gluten and soy-free product because it contains only all natural, organic ingredients with no artificial flavors or sweeteners – and it’s safe for kiddos too! It’s a complete low-calorie meal with over 20g of protein, 4g of fat-burning coconut oil, and live probiotics & enzymes to improve your digestive and immune system. 

heart2 favorite ways to make a Fit365 shake: 

fit365_ingredientsIn blender cup (Melissa’s favorite “quick, healthy & filling” breakfast on-the-go): fit365_making in shaker

  • 2 scoops Fit365 Vanilla Bean or Gourmet Chocolate. (I used Vanilla Bean).
  • 4 to 6 oz. of water, milk, almond milk or other non-dairy beverage. (I used Califia Farms Vanilla Almondmilk). Use less liquid for a thicker shake or more for a thinner shake.

fit365_in shakerJust shake + go!

In blender: fit365_ingredients in blender

  • 2 scoops Fit365 Vanilla Bean or Gourmet Chocolate. (I used 1 scoop vanilla + 1 scoop chocolate).
  • Handful organic spinach.
  • 1/2 avocado.
  • 4 to 6 oz. of water, milk, almond milk or other favorite non-dairy beverage.
  • A few ice cubes.

fit365_blender blendingThis takes less than 5 minutes. The taste is creamy, slightly sweet with a hint of green. And what better way to get your greens in than with chocolate? fit365_finalMelissa also recommends, “Add in any type of fruit, like berries or a small banana, and mix it up in a blender. I have added spinach, raw cocoa powder and flax seed. Just be mindful of the calories as you start to add in options.” fit365_kelly with green drinkTo sum up week 3: The end of last week, I had lost 6 3/4″. As of yesterday (16 days of workouts + an improved diet), I’m down 11 3/4″ overall!

I’d love to know — Do you have a favorite shake recipe?

*{source: The Huffington Post.}

Photos by Kelsey Burton Photography for A Lovely Life.

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A Lovely Body: Getting into the “Swing” of Things

FS_props by Kelsey{My equipment for Week 1}

Monday’s post announced this new series: A Lovely Body. I’m ready to get in better shape and I’ve decided to do it with the team at FitnessSocial! When I first met with Dina, one of the studio’s Founders & an Instructor, she asked me what I wanted to work on. Is there a specific part of my body I want to focus on? What is my overall goal? I’m glad she asked me these questions because it made me become more clear about my goal. I wrote it down to have as a reminder of why I am doing this and what I am working towards and sent it to both Dina and Melissa. Here it is:

My Personal Fitness Goal: To lean out, tone up, lose weight and feel lighter, more comfortable in my body.

To get me started, they put together a personalized workout schedule with a variety of classes. Instead of being limited to one specific type of workout, they created a nicely balanced schedule that not only includes Kettlebells, TRX, Barre, but also incorporates a ballet and a yoga class. Just knowing that yoga was in there instantly made me more comfortable. It’s important to me to get a yoga class in at least once a week. A new workout regimen can sometimes leave no time for that since there are only so many hours in the day. I’m very happy it’s built in for me!

I’ll give you a glimpse into week 1:

Day 1, Cardio, Barre & Bells with Robyn Sabourin: Somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t feel intimidated on my first day. It was a 45 minute class, which in my mind is a safe, doable amount of time. For right now, Dina is having me start out slow with lighter weights (see top photo of week 1 equipment) and make modifications, as needed. I’ve had shoulder issues before, so for now I’m staying away from overhead swings. In Robyn’s class, we started out by stretching (love this), then transitioned into sets of exercises at the barre, like heel lifts (photo #4), to get the heart rate up. We moved on to strength-training with kettlebells, along with some lengthening moves like Downward-Facing Dog pose with leg lifts. Post-class, I felt great and was able to keep up. FS_one arm swingsDay 2, Kettlebell, TRX & Barre class with Dina Juve: Today, soreness kicked in, but call me crazy, because I love that feeling. It means something is happening! Dina eased us into the choreographed class with warm ups at the barre. Leg work was added, like lunges with Gliding Discs. We moved over to the kettlebells for two hand swings, working the legs, core and upper body. Then, over to the TRX for overhead presses, more lunges and squats. In each squat, I tried to get a little lower towards the floor. I was definitely pushing myself with the TRX strap and my lower body as my support! FS_gliders finalDAY 3, Ballet Bodies: This class is NO joke. I’m familiar with the basic poses (releve, first and second positions), but I’ve never taken ballet, so this class was definitely a learning lesson. Having the stamina wasn’t the only challenge; it was equally about the mind, body connection. Your mind can really play tricks on you with feet placement! It was definitely worth it for posture, balance, coordination and it was fun to leap around the room. 🙂 With it being mid-week, I scheduled a therapeutic massage for later in the day. I wanted to thank my body for working hard and keep it feeling good. FS_heel raises at barreFS_dips on matDAY 4, Kettlebell, TRX & Barre class: My body is sore, mostly my hamstrings. So much so that it’s hard to bend down to sit! Mentally, I’ve felt very focused in class this week, not really thinking about my to-do list. That’s big! I’m also proud of myself because I feel like I can keep up with the class. I don’t feel as strong as I’d like to be, but I know I’ll get there again. This class started with kettlebells, then over to the barre, working the obliques. We focused on the inner thighs (always a good idea) at the TRX and ended with core and stretching. One thing that stuck with me from the class, besides the workout, was what Dina said. She repeated a few times, “Don’t compare yourself to anyone in the room, if they’re going faster or slower than you. This is YOUR workout. This is YOUR time to focus on yourself.” That reminder really helped me draw my attention inward and to know that it was okay to do that, even in a group class. FS_squats with TRXDAY 5, TRX Cardio Yoga Blend with Kellee Dohrman: It was a good Friday workout and a way to mix it up. I felt kind of clumsy in class, despite my yoga background, but it’s inspiration to improve!

Bonus: It’s been great to establish a routine. I’m thankful to work from home and to have a flexible schedule, but I also really like having a routine. Even though the times I workout change daily, they are still in the morning. Starting the day with a workout helps me feel a connection with my body and mind. I try to treat it like a moving meditation.

To sum it up: When Dina measured me today, I’m down 6 3/4″, I feel great and I’m ready for more!

Coming up next week: Introducing a nutrition plan. 

I’d love to know – have you done TRX or Kettlebells & how were your results?

Photos 1-3, 6 by Kelsey Burton Photography for A Lovely Life.

Photos 4,5 by Ali Amendola for A Lovely Life.

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A Lovely Body: Shaping Up with FitnessSocial

actionrunningshot_NewYou know when you’ve been wanting to do something for a long time, think you’re working towards it, but don’t really have an action plan? I totally feel you because that’s been my experience with wanting to get in better shape and feel more comfortable in my body. I’ve always been active, have always ate pretty well, but I’ve learned that my body requires more to be at my “goal” size. With a girl’s trip planned mid-April, in addition to wanting to do this for awhile, I decided it was time to accept my own challenge.FitnessSocial_logo_transparent

I asked myself: how can I most effectively do this? FitnessSocial, a studio that specializes in Kettlebell & TRX training, weight loss plans and custom nutrition plans, immediately came to mind. I approached the super-fit Founders & Instructors, Dina Juve & Melissa Oberti (pictured below), about helping me tone up and lean out quickly. They, thankfully, agreed to help me with this goal! FS_Dina Juve + Melissa ObertiI’ll document this 5-week journey on the blog with weekly posts, beginning this week. My inspiration to share it is to: A) hold myself accountable; B) motivate others to take action in achieving their goals; and C) show the difference that can be made in a specific time span with dedication to workouts and in cleaning up your diet.

Please check back in Thursday to find out my personal fitness goals and all about the 1st week of workouts.

I’d love to know your thoughts and questions along the way!

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Stretch & Strengthen with The Bar Method: Part 2

The Bar Method FresnoYesterday’s post with The Bar Method was about 2 of their total body exercises. Today, we feature another fierce and effective one – Chair.

Lauren Hoekstra, the Studio Manager & Instructor of The Bar Method Fresno, takes us through it with an on point demo by Instructor, Brittany Fontes.

3. Chair: BM_Chair Step 1heartWhy Do It: Chair strengthens and elongates your lower quads. It also tones your shoulders, strengthens your back muscles and improves posture. It helps to build great stamina! BM_Chair Step 2heartHow To: This is best done in The Bar Method studio for a stable prop (bar) and for instruction on how to be in the proper form. BM_Chair Final productheartThe End Result: You’ll experience the famous “Bar Method shake”! BM_Chair Final with AdjustmentsI hope you enjoy these exercises and stop into a Bar Method class to learn them firsthand!

Added Bonus: If you’re traveling, you don’t have to give up this healthy addiction. The Bar Method locations can be found all throughout the country.

I’d love to know – have you been to The Bar Method & why do you like it?

Photos by Kelsey Burton Photography for A Lovely Life.

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