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.
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!
Since I recently touched on my sprint workout and sprinting biomechanics, I thought it’d be a good time to elaborate on exactly what it is I do when I hit the track and WHY.
Sprinting helps in burning body fat while maintaining and even building muscle. Being that it is a high impact exercise, sprinting also helps build bone density and strength. And of course, it builds endurance, so even if you’re a distance runner you can benefit from adding some sprint sessions to your training as it will help increase your speed and and allow you to go further during those long bouts of cardio.
So if you’re looking to challenge yourself and mix up your training, try this out to start. And be warned, this is a full body workout – you can expect to feel soreness in everything from your chest, upper back, abs, quads and hammies. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at a sprinter’s physique and tell me that they’re not using every single muscle of their body to work!
It’s Tuesday! That means it’s sprinting day. I have a love hate relationship with the track; it’s no secret that I hate cardio, but sprinting is A-okay (albeit physically draining) in my book since you can see results quickly with regular practice.
In anticipation of hitting the track I thought I’d share what a sprint day is comprised of. Before any knee driving takes place, I do a series of dynamic warm-ups. Warming up is a workout in and of itself and takes at least 20 solid minutes. This video does a good job of explaining what dynamic warm-ups are and includes demonstratons of a lot of the exercises I do:
This Saturday I’ll be participating in my first mud run ever! It should be . . . interesting . . . and fun. I have never done an obstacle course, nor do I regularly run 3 miles (in mud or otherwise). But I’m really looking forward to getting dirty with my friend Carmen of Latino Fit Club, my training buddy Toneka of EmbraceU and my surfing partener Zums! The best part is that it’s for a good cause: to raise funds for lukemia and lymphoma patients.
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!
I decided to do more research and this is what else I’ve learned regarding strained AKA pulled hamstrings:
I’ve heard people say that ‘no one likes to work out’. That’s not true. I for one, like many others I know, love putting in work at the gym (less doing cardio, blech!). On my quest to test out new methods to reach my fitness goals, I decided to take up ballet. Yep, you read it right, I’m adding ballet to my current routine of lifting, sprinting and occassional plyos.
I’ve been fascinated by ballet my whole life. The artistry is breathtaking and the quads on those ballerinos make them my favorite male athletes to admire I can lift and press more than my own body weight in quite a few exercises, but I’ve always struggled with body weight work. So that coupled with my need to increase both my flexibility and gracefulness is what led me to Ballet Bodies in West Hollywood. I’m still waiting to try out their pilates reformer classes; owner Andie Hecker has her own method of doing things and it’s won her a legion of celebrity clients that keep coming back for more. In the meantime, it’s strictly tendu, plie, and sosou for me.
There are some real benefits to doing ballet (besides the fact that going to class genuinely makes me happy – I know, HAPPY). Doing ballet helps with your posture and with musculo-skeletal problems and helps strengthen muscles. The latter should be pretty obvious, but I’d like to stress the fact that ballet is a REAL workout – my muscles get as sore as if I had done a lifting session at the gym, and it just creeps up on you because you’re having so much fun you don’t notice the work you’re putting in! And of course these days that I’m so busy, ballet has offered me a great mental outlet to destress. Yes folks, I think I’m in love.
I’m missing it! For the first time in 4 years I won’t be attending the L.A. Fit Expo and I’m totally bummed about it. My absentmindedness coupled with a weekend jam packed with activities left little time for me to swing by the L.A. Convention Center to scope out the action. This morning I had my first ballet lesson (which was AMAZING!!) and if I may: it’s never too late to pursue something that you’ve always been interested in That was immediately followed by a film audition. Tomorrow, I’ll be filming a webseries during the day and attending a much-anticipated dinner party in the evening. Sorry expo, career comes first, and there’s aways next year.
If you’re in L.A., today (Sunday) is the last day to attend! It’s a great learning experience and if anything, go for the people watching and the freebies!
Yes, you read that right. I’m forging an experiment with my hula hoop! I bought one just for fun upon moving into my new place, and as I twirled my hips, I couldn’t help but think ‘this has to be doing something for my wasteline and core stability’ particularly after my abs felt sore the next day. And lo’ and behold, I was onto something! Granted, any real benefits are garnered if you have a weighted hoola hoop, but research shows that hooping can help tighten your core by targeting your abdominals, glutes and thighs. It burns about 4 calories per minute, so about as many as walking briskly. Plus it forces you to activate your core, and who doesn’t need help with that?!
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 -_-
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!
A few weeks ago I discovered that my body was not alkaline. For some reason, my body’s pH balance was off and the acidity levels in my blood had gone up. A wonky pH balance like mine, known as acidosis, is very common in our society and could lead to a variety of problems if left unchecked; problems such as bladder and kidney conditions, weight gain, chronic fatigue, immune dificiency and premature againg. None of that is ok with me so I talked to both a nutritionist and a friend (who is also a nutritionist and former figure competitor) and they both suggested a simple solution: adding magnesium supplements and lemon or apple cider vinegar to my diet. Although it might seem that citrus fruits would have an acidifying effect on the body, the citric acid they contain actually has an alkalinizing effect in the system.