What’s Beautiful pt. 2

Hear ye, hear ye: It’s my favorite time of the year! The temps are rising and life is getting busy!  I’m filming a role in a feature next week and I’m preparing to audition for a few more projects.  I’m also staying on top of my fitness goals because, HELLO, it’s beach season!  Well, it’s beach season all year round as far as I’m concerned, but ya catch my drift!  I recently jumped on board Under Armour’s What’s Beautiful campaign and it’s high time I gave you kids an update!

My goal is to be able to do a split.  Inflexible Hammies is the name of my game, so this has been exceptionally challenging for me. I’ve been rolling out and stretching and even took my split pursuing to the aisles of Toys R Us (thanks Gigi for the photo).

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My flexibility has impoved, but I have a looong way to go.  Do any of you have any tips on how to increase flexibility in my hamstrings? I’m 100% in on making this happen, so if you’re a gymnast, yogi or flexibility coach, please help your girl out by leaving a comment below!

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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!

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Track Workout

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!

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Tuesday = Sprint Day

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:

 

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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:

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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 :-)

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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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