What’s Beautiful?

The most subjective question known to man: What’s Beautiful? In order to redefine what society has forced down our throats as the stereotypical idea of what it means to be feminine, Under Armour has once again launched a campaign encouraging women to create their own definition of the female athlete.  The What’s Beautiful 3.0 campaign gives women a platform to establish personal fitness goals and hold themselves, and eachother, accountable for achieving them.  I have been a feminist since I can remember, and as a lover of fitness, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get involved.

Under Armour

I like to push myself to my limit.  Notice, I said MY limit.  Although I look to others for inspiration, I try not to compare myself because we all have different strengths and goals.  So for me, I decided to push myself to achieve something I’ve never done before.  My goal is two-fold: first, I want to be able to do a split.  Sounds juvenile, but it’s been something that I’ve NEVER been able to do.  I have the tightest hamstrings in the world, and I worry that my inflexibility might lead to injuries (like when I pulled a hammie a few weeks back).  My second goal: to get down to 14% body fat.  This one obviously goes hand in hand with doing bikini competitions.

So how do you define beauty?  And are you ready to join me and Under Armour to set new fitness goals? Let’s do this!


Treating a Strained Hamstring

I don’t know where it happened.  Could’ve been at the gym, stretching during ballet or at the track, but I’ve managed to strain my left hamstring.  I vote the track – sprinting is brutal! I consulted with a trainer after feeling sharp pains at the insertion point of my hammie (that would be the point where the muscles meet the glutes) every time I’d stretch, and feeling a dull pain pretty much at all other times.  I’m not known for resting, taking it easy is not my ‘thing’ in any aspect of life, but I have to listen to my body . . . I suppose.  So I took today off from training, but will be back at it with some modifications.  A bit of light reading led to my discovering that stretching a strained hammie too soon is counterproductive; well don’t I feel sheepish, I’ve been stretching that bad boy out thinking that it was just tighter than normal!

most common hamstring injury locations. Biceps demoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus

I decided to do more research and this is what else I’ve learned regarding strained AKA pulled hamstrings:


Hot 8 Yoga

The holiday season is here, which means a lot of over-indulgence, holiday parties and crunch time at work (hurray for burning through filming budgets at the end of the year!). Although it doesn’t happen often, I do like it when I have the opportunity to mix business with pleasure . . . who am I kidding, it happens quite often in my line of work!  One of the most recent events I went to was the grand opening of Hot 8 Yoga in Beverly Hills; I discovered them at their original location in Santa Monica where I took my first ever hot ballet barre class. It was killer. I loved it.

The grand opening event featured a ribbon cutting ceremony by the mayor of Beverly Hills and was done in conjuction with their holiday party;  that meant an open bar and arts and crafts in the form of ornament making! Included on the guest list was a tarot card reader who had less than stellar things to say about my non-existant love life -_-

hot 8 yoga barre

You might be wondering what the benefits of doing yoga or sculpting in a heated room are, well, here ya go:

  • Increased cardiovascular activity which helps burn fat and up your metabolism.
  • Flush toxins out of your body.
  • Superficial soft tissue structures, including the fascia, ligaments, muscles and tendons will warm up quickly and allow you to move further, more comfortably and more safely in all directions than while exercising in a cooler environment.
  • Improved spinal integrity and nervous system function.
  • The heat thins down the blood and allows it to perfuse deeply into body tissues and organs to facilitate healing.

I’m accustomed to lifting heavy weights, so imagine my surprise after feeling completely exhausted by the use of 2 lb weights! I definitely plan on going back for more.

Side note: Hot 8 is offering a $45 for 1 month of classes special. Check them out if you’re in the area!


Plyometric Basics

I’ve mentioned plyos before, among other things, so I figured I would start a series of little workout videos demonstrating some of my favorite moves.  Fortunately for me, I got to team up with fitness superstar Toneka Pires for giggles and a how-to on some exercises. I met Toneka years ago when we both trained with Cathy Savage, so it’s always a fun time when we reunite!

Plyometrics are a type of exercise designed to produce fast and powerful movements; they use explosive, fast-acting movements to develop muscular power and to improve overall speed.

Before you get started watching the video, just know that there are a bunch more plyometric exercises that can be done. We decided to demo these four as they seem to be the ones we do most often and can be done at home, at a gym or outside.

I don’t know why the video came out squished and widened, but whatever

Toneka and I both do our plyos on a day separate from all other workouts, say, on a Sunday.  The reason being is that they really wear you out – I’m usually useless for the rest of the day after a hard core plyo session!

Get cleared by your physician before you do any exercise routine :-)


Foam Rolling

I was feeling good after the TRX and Kettlebell class that I took last night; Real good.  Today? Not so much.  I find certain workouts to be so much fun that I don’t acknowledge just how hard I’m actually pushing myself.  Usually I’ll come home and do some stretching on my own and hop on my foam roller to get deep into those muscles, but last night I was feeling okay and didn’t do it.  Today, my traps are tight, my left hip flexor is acting up and I’m marinating in a cloud of fatigue.
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