All the Hotties Do Pilates (and drink carrot juice)

Image

Spring is here and like most I am more than happy to say goodbye to a really rude winter.  It definitely stayed beyond its welcome.  As I pack up my parka and pull out the flip-flops I’ve started examining the condition of my hibernating body.  I took a leave of absence from CrossFit and confined my running to a HIIT workout once a week on the treadmill. The bulk of my exercise the last few months came from a combination of yoga and Pilates.

While I’ve maintained a steady yoga practice for over a year now, Pilates is a new venture for me.  I’ve always incorporated Pilates exercises when working with my clients.  Exercises  like the hundred, and the double leg stretch were fixtures in core work.  However, until this year, I had not had any experience on a reformer. My client turned workout partner, Jan, has wanted to take a stab at reformer Pilates for a while but I was less than enthused. My (limited) thinking: I would be trading my intense WODS for a bunch of stretching.  (I know… I should be ashamed to tell you that. right?) After a few lengthy discussions with Emily (my instructor) I agreed to give it a month. But just a month.

I am pretty sure Emily saw my attitude in the beginning as challenge. Not sure if her plan was to win me over or teach me a lesson but she succeeded in doing both.  It took a solid month for me to ‘get it’ because uhhh… it is HARD.  There were many times that I considered that the waiver I signed was not just a formality.

 

So what about my results?

Well…

It’s been right at 2 months and I have noticed three major improvements:

1) I am better at yoga.

Many Pilates moves are similar to yoga. The difference is that there is very little instruction in yoga. The instructor leads you from one pose to another with guidance but the focus is on listening to your body on any given day. There is no wrong or right way in yoga. There definitely is in Pilates. When I do something wrong, Emily not only tells me, she will come over and physically shift my body until I am in the correct position. I have never had this level of attention to detail when exercising. Read that again and remember that I am a trained professional!  Now when I go to yoga, I move more effortlessly from one pose to the next without worrying that I am not getting the most out of my practice physically.  I am genuinely out of my head and listening to body completely.

2)My running has improved.

I recently started running 10 miles a week again. I ran my first in a year race yesterday: The Atlanta Women’s 5k.  I feel like my stride is more consistent. Even though my endurance has suffered from a lack of cardio, my core strength has improved tremendously.  Emily told me this is common with the runners she works with.

3)My  muscles are more defined.

Particularly my obliques; a tough area to strengthen.   My shoulders are also looking good; the highly coveted ‘teardrop’ is breaking through…yessssss!!!  Just in time for tank tops.  Happiness.

 

On to the carrot juice.  I was talking this morning to Jamie when I came across a sale at Publix on Bolt House Farms juices (BOGO). While I don’t typically buy it, She suggested I grab some carrot juice to mix with cocoa. Although it sounded disgusting (she promised it taste like chocolate milk), I decided to give it a shot.  I am not a huge carrot fan but I was dragging today and needed an energy boost. A cup of carrot juice gives you more than one-fourth of your daily requirement for vitamin C. It also gives you half the vitamin E you need daily, 2,256 micrograms of vitamin A (more than three times your recommended daily intake for that important antioxidant). It also packs a powerful punch of  those crucial B vitamins (39 percent of your recommended daily intake for vitamin B-6, 20 percent for thiamine and 12 percent for riboflavin), and vitamin K (good for proper blood clotting).

Minerals are also plentiful in carrot juice. Each cup of carrot juice contains about one-seventh of the potassium and phosphorus you should get daily, benefiting your nervous system and bone health. It also has one-tenth of your recommended daily intake for magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in muscle contraction, and 6 percent of the bone-strengthening calcium you need each day.

As for cocoa studies indicate that it provides it own lists of benefits. However, let’s not kid ourselves here. Chocolate just makes things taste better. Period. 🙂

 

Here is how I made it:

8 ounces of carrot juice (I lazily used Bolt House Farms but juicing organic carrots would be worlds better all the way around)

1 heaping tablespoon of unsweetened organic, fair trade cocoa. (Made by Lake Champlain; I can only find it consistently on Amazon)

Mixed in my blender bottle.

Total yumminess.  Surprised? Me too.

Jamie told me she was inspired to make this after having it at Arden’s Garden, a local juice bar here in Atlanta. Guess what? They ship!  In the future, I will probably juice a bunch of carrots at a time and have it on hand for a few days. But it’s good to know they have it in case I get lazy again. Which is likely. 🙂

 

6a00e552f1583b883300e553e981a28833-800wi

I heart this. Veggie love at its best.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Greater Is He that Is In Me

Standard

It has been a little over a year since I committed to a 2/week yoga practice. Coming from marathon training and a steady CrossFit schedule, the transition was less than graceful. Thankfully my yoga instructor, Hope, was patient and loving every step of the way.

Physically, I am stronger on a much deeper level. True core strength is very hard to achieve and the ability to balance is a good indication of that strength. While I’ve been more muscular, I’ve never been this strong. My flexibility has also improved dramatically. I’ve never been particularly flexible but running has done a number on my hamstrings. When I started, touching my toes without bending my knees was not  an option. Now, I can wrap my fingers under my toes. There is a reason flexibility is considered one of the foundations of fitness. As we age that reason becomes much more clear.

Yoga is a gift from God. A year of hearing Hope remind me that no two days in yoga are the same (meaning some days I will be able balance on one leg while other days not so much) has been a gentle reminder to cut myself some slack. Living with a chronic illness means that life is even less predictable as it relates to the function of my body. This used to really make me angry. I would respond by pushing harder and then crashing big time. I’m moving away from that mindset. Now I desire to let my body simply BE. I am so grateful for the days when I feel like I can bend like a pretzel or kill a HIIT session. But I also honor the days my body says: “Not today.” Those days (I’ve decided) are days I should listen to what God is saying to me. I try to be more quiet in general and receive.

I know that there are those who stay away from yoga because of the spiritual connection. I have spoken to people who are uncomfortable with the fact that the origins of yoga are in Eastern philosophy and tradition.

I have not had that internal conflict. I was raised Pentecostal Holiness. As a child, I struggled with not being Baptist, Methodist or Episcopalian like my friends.  While I do not consider myself to be religious, I am eternally grateful that my family’s chosen structure of  Faith laid a firm foundation for my relationship with Christ. While many things have put my Faith to the test, I have never wavered in my trust in God. Not once.

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1John 4:4

Yoga is an extension of my walk with Christ.

Additional scriptures that serve as a reminder of the nature of my relationship with God.

Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Matthew 6:33 Seek first the Kingdom of God.

Luke 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.

Mark13:37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch (Stay Alert)!

I do not debate matters of the spirit. I go where God leads me and I suggest others do the same.

Below is a pic of me and my good friend Gailde after yoga. What a blessing to grow in spirit with a friend.

Me and my good friend Gailde after yoga. What a blessing to grow in spirit with a friend.

Another thing: I’ve been pretty good about sharing a recipe a week. This one was suggested by my friend Sybil.  She got it from Stupid Easy Paleo.  Their exact recipe is below.  Not only was it stupid easy, it was crazy delicious. Lick the bowl yumminess.

Creamy Leek Soup (Dairy-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of leeks, dark green ends removed, roughly chopped (~2 large leeks)
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower, chopped (4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup onion (~1 medium)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut ghee
  • 1-2 Tablespoons ghee(clarified butter), optional
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Wash the leeks well. I usually cut off the root end then slice it down the middle lengthwise. Hold under running water and separate the leaves, rinsing well (especially the outermost leaves). Sandy soup is not delicious. I usually cut off the top 1/3 of the leek and save that for making stock. Chop the leeks roughly. Add to a large soup pot. Cut the tough, dark green leaves off (save for stock). Add to a large soup pot.
  • Cut the core out of the cauliflower and trim off any leaves. Roughly chop it. Add that to the pot.
  • Add the onions, chicken broth, coconut milk and ghee to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the veggies are tender.
  • Allow to cool, then puree until smooth using a blender (be careful…you may need to do two or more batches so the blender doesn’t overflow).
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

P.S. I finally got a chance to hold the drawing! I used randompicker.com this time.  Tearing little sheets of paper and having my daughter pull out of a bag was stressful! lol Here are the winners according to their random picker:

Prize ID Public Info Private Info Random Sorting ID Weight
1: t shirt Robin 157C7626-2456-4ACA-A53B-31732E3BCFAC 1
2: t shirt Veletta 3488072F-BA65-4B9D-8BF8-14CD60D48173 1

Yay!!! Email me your addresses and I will get them right out to you guys!