Guess what…we’re lunging right thru March and stepping into spring! Here’s how to lunge: Stand up tall. Keeping your upper body straight, take a big step forward with one foot. Lower hips and bend front knee to a 90-degree angle. Repeat on the other side. Lunges work the entire leg and core, especially the glutes, hamstrings, and abdominals. Focus on these muscles when executing each lunge to maximize benefits. Some people like to place their hands on their hips and others like to hold them in front of them for balance. Commit today and print or pin the calendar below. Complete each set on BOTH legs (so, when it says 3 lunges, that’s three lunges each side for six total!)
So, the past few weeks have been pretty tough. Bitter without the sweet. Long,
cold frozen, windy, sniffly, snowy, slippery, and overall, pretty darn miz. Mother Nature just won’t budge. Don’t get me wrong, I really do love the Hamptons year round, but it’s about that time when I can totally understand how others migrate south for some sun, warmth, and beauty. Luckily, I totally got my fix of all of the above this weekend, right in our own backyard thanks to lululemon athletica East Hampton, three of the best lululemon ambassador yogis on Long Island, and Gurney’s Montauk.
The drive out to Montauk (sans traffic!) was decompressing in itself, but knowing that a weekend of yoga bliss lay ahead was even better. As we unrolled our mats in the Great Room, with the sun shining through the windows and waves crashing down at the beach, I quickly began to defrost and fill with warmth and gratitude.
The first of three classes on Saturday morning was taught by Lana Russo, lululemon ambassador at the Manhasset store. The class was pretty much exactly what I personally seek when signing up for a yoga class: a combination of feel-good stretching, challenging poses to push outside of the comfort zone, and a relaxing meditation. Lana does it all with a seamless flow, a warm heart, and some non-traditional yoga music. We’re talking a yoga-remix of Katy Perry’s “Roar” and such – what’s more fun than that?! Lana makes yoga more accessible to all levels as she breaks down advanced poses into manageable steps. Here’s Lana below, being the yogi rockstar that she is:
The second class, rounding out Saturday morning’s practice, was taught by Evelyn O’Doherty, local yoga teacher, SUP racer/instructor, lululemon EH ambassador, and friendly face we all know and love (if you don’t know Evelyn, you should.) It’s impossible not to get stronger during Evelyn’s class; her light-hearted style benefits all walks of life and all types of athletes. She has this amazing ability to make anyone smile, even when instructing challenging poses, burning abdominal exercises, and “hanging out” in plank. Evelyn’s smile always reminds us, that no matter what, it’s all going to be A ok. Here’s Evelyn practicing a playful, yet perfect, inversion:
After two and a half hours of Vinyasa Flow, Saturday afternoon was free for our choosing. I followed the crowd to the Seawater Spa and fell even deeper into ‘vacation mode as I sat by the Seawater Pool in my bikini, robe, and flip-flops. While it took some imagination, Montauk in February quickly became my own personal island retreat. I soaked up the goodness and sailed away into Shavasana…for the third time that day.
Saturday evening wrapped up with a Yin Yoga class taught by Angela Williams-Jones, owner of Flower Power Yoga and lululemon Ambassador at the Walt Whitman store. Lucky for me, Angela’s mat was next to mine during the morning classes, so I knew that whatever came next, there would be laughter and love. Yin is a restorative practice full of therapeutic poses to cleanse, balance, and regulate the body. Poses are held for at least a few minutes to increase circulation, enhance immunity, improve flexibility, maintain focus, and deconstruct emotion. Typically, Vinyasa produces discomfort the longer we’re in the pose; however, I found that Yin was just the opposite. At first, the poses were awkward and uncomfortable, but the longer we settled in, the better it got, especially knowing we were cleansing all of our major organs and systems of the body. Although I was exhausted, mentally and physically, after Saturday’s three classes, I couldn’t wait to get back to the mat the next day for more adventure with these amazing people.
Sunday morning’s class confirmed that Angela is so not your typical yoga teacher and this class was definitely not your typical yoga class. The Yoga Fusion Flow class took us through a series of songs, poses, emotions, stages, transitions, and experiences, some recognizably familiar and others new and different. That’s life, right? Just when we think we’ve mastered it, just when we become accustomed to the journey, just when we’ve settled in or fallen head over heels, we’re reminded that life is an ever-changing journey. Good or bad, things shift, we react, we sway, we readjust, shake it off, and keep going, hopefully with a big smile, a full heart, and possibly our yoga mat. Click here to see a quick clip of Angela’s heart-warming class!
This weekend was just that for me – a reminder that life is ever-changing, growing, supporting, experiencing, and full of love and opportunity. Not only did Gurney’s provide a rejuvenating escape, but I found that my personal yoga practice grew more in these two days than ever before. Stepping outside of my comfort zone on the mat came easily thanks to the three amazing ambassador yogis supporting us, teaching us, and making it all fun and playful. Thanks to lululemon athletica East Hampton, yogis Evelyn, Lana, and Angela, and Gurney’s Montauk for providing exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. Namaste!
You’ve heard it a hundred times: 8 hours of sleep a night! Let’s face it – for most of us, that’s almost
impossible really, really, really hard….
…but now that these adorable puppies got your attention, let’s talk about why sleep is SO important! It’s not just about feeling rested (although isn’t that such a great feeling?!) Sleep, along with hydration and nutrition, make our bodies efficient, from the inside out to our very top layer of skin cells. Lets uncover all of the benefits of sleep, including, yes, you guessed it: weight loss.
Sleep literally creates energy, so we function efficiently in all walks of life, at all stages of life, from the classroom to the gym, at the office, with our families, and beyond. Healthy sleep aids brain functioning, memory, creativity, and focus to ensure we’re on our A game. With a big exam or job interview approaching, the smart thing is to spend those wee hours sleeping instead of cramming.
The immune system is most efficient at prevent illness and disease with ample sleep. Sleep also controls inflammation and balances hormones linked to mood, stress, weight, and appetite. The likelihood of losing weight and keeping it off long-term is far increased by good quality sleep.
With ample sleep, we’re able to efficiently metabolize food, absorb nutrients, cleanse toxins, rebuild muscles, strengthen bones, and control our appetite. That’s right, the difference between a poor night’s sleep and a good night’s sleep can be the difference between choosing healthy foods and…not. Hormones that cue hunger and fullness are thrown off by lack of sleep, as are cortisol levels, causing unnecessary stress, which also adds to weight gain, and the vicious cycle repeats.
Along with healthy eating, regular exercise, and emotional balance, we can become better versions of ourselves with the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Like recharging a battery or filling up a car with gas, sleep is the ammunition that fuels our bodies, a huge factor in mental, physical, and emotional health. If we ALL got enough sleep, imagine the possibilities…!
One Healthy Breakdown: Do your body right – get your eight hours tonight!
Let’s admit it. The cold, ice, snow, wind, boots, layers, and forecast are really starting to get old. The bad news is that it’s not going anywhere fast. Wish it wasn’t so, but, unfortunately, spring is not right around the corner. In fact, we can’t even see the corner. So, what’s the good news? The good news is that we will survive. And we will do so in good health. Here’s how to keep your head up and beat the winter blues:
- Do whatever makes you feel warm and cozy inside. Whether that’s a hot shower or sitting by the fire with a glass of wine, do that! (No, not everyday, but some days…and then enjoy tea the other days.) If it’s watching your favorite movie with your favorite blanket in your favorite pj’s, do that. Whatever makes you appreciate more and hate less, make the time to do that. It’s the only way we’re going to make it to the other side.
- Nourish your soul, not just your body. Try a new recipe. Try a few new ones. Eating with the season is crucial to keeping your immune system strong and indulging mindfully is crucial to keeping your happiness strong. Hot chocolate, anyone?!
- Get out of bed. When you’re in bed, it literally seems like the end of the world having to get out. Then, when you get out and start your day, it’s actually not that bad.
- Stay in bed. Yes, this is an absolute contradiction of the above. And that’s intentional. The healthy, motivated you would get out of bed and tackle their to-do’s, of course, but if you’re sick, have nothing on the weekend agenda, or cannot function in the outside world before sunrise once in a long while, go ahead and press snooze. Just think, you want to be well rested for when spring finally does make its grand appearance.
- Get some Vitamin D – through sunshine and food.
- Cut yo’self some slack. While spring is a time to step it up for summer, it’s alright to take advantage of some rest and rejuvenation over these next few weeks (hopefully it won’t last months.) On the other hand, we are not creatures of hibernation and do not need to sleep or eat until we have grown a second ‘layer’ if you catch my drift. Reminding yourself that “summer bodies are made in the winter” may be the push you need.
- Commit to a monthly challenge. Maybe you try one new vegetable a week or maybe you choose a fitness challenge to work a new muscle group. (Pinterest is great for this!)
- Enjoy winter sports. Try skating, skiing, or snow shoeing or try a new indoor fitness class. Anything from hot yoga to spin, you’re sure to get hot and sweaty. If you absolutely despise the treadmill, join the club! There is no need to go near one because there’s so many other options! Grab a friend, get new sneakers, or make a chart to motivate you to stick with it.
- If you don’t despise the treadmill, sign up for a race this spring and start your training now! Buddy up for accountability and get running.
- Put your workout clothes near the heat so they’re toasty warm when you change into them.
- Set an alarm clock that doesn’t make you miserable. Choose a fun song to put you in a good mood or something soft to ensure you wake up calmly. Try a gratitude exercise to start the day.
- Get to know YouTube. It is a world of workout videos…FREE! There is seriously anything and everything you can imagine for exactly how long you have to workout. No equipment necessary.
- Use your time inside smart. Start your “spring cleaning” early and you’ll feel super accomplished, uncluttered, and organized in no time.
One Healthy Breakdown: turn those winter blues into winter wins!
Remember when snow days used to be fun? The best snow day memories arguably boil down to one thing: hot chocolate. Well, move over Swiss Miss, because hot chocolate is now delicious AND nutritious. No joke, this one’s full of essential minerals and a trip down snowy memory lane. Healthy hot chocolate:
Mix 1/2 cup hot water with 1/2 cup warm almond milk, (or milk of choice) 2 teaspoons cacao powder, (raw, organic is best) 1 tablespoon ground coffee, (optional for caffeine boost or mocha flavor) a drop of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon stevia (or honey, maple syrup, or sweetener of choice.) Top with frothed milk and cinnamon or dark chocolate chips if you’re going all out. Stir, sip, and smile!
One Healthy Breakdown: you’re welcome.
It’s chilly out there, people! The best way to warm up in here is some hot and hearty chili that happens to be loaded with protein, fiber, and flavor. It’s light enough to eat for days, tasty enough to share with friends, hearty enough to satisfy, and easy enough to make on a whim! This just may be the perfect snow day meal. Get ready, it’s
chilly chili time.
Ingredients: (makes 6 servings)
- 1 package lean ground turkey (usually ~1.5lbs – can substitute ground beef or chicken as well)
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- dash of salt
- dash of black pepper
- dash of red pepper flakes
- dash of cayenne pepper
Cook turkey on medium heat in pan with olive oil and onions. Cook until barely pink (do not overcook.) Add turkey and all other ingredients to a large pot. Bring to a boil and stir. Cover pot and lower heat to low/simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve in a pretty bowl and enjoy! Eat plain or feel free to top with sliced avocado, a dallop of plain Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of cheese, or nutritional yeast.
One Healthy Breakdown: what’s better than hot, hearty, and healthy?!
I can’t be the only one around here with a serious sweet tooth. Move over salty snacks, it’s sweetness I’m craving 99% of the time. Since (added) sugar contains nothing good for the body, here are some healthier ways to satisfy that sweet tooth, sans the sugar high or slump!
- Fruit (“nature’s candy!” eat fruit fresh, frozen, dried, or even dipped in dark chocolate)
- Sip on tea with honey
- Go for a latte or coffee
- Combine seltzer, fresh fruit, and a dash of stevia for a sparkling sweet drink
- Make a healthy smoothie or some yummy banana froyo
- Mix plain Greek yogurt with a little cinnamon, vanilla extract, and stevia
- Try trail mix or homemade granola
One Healthy Breakdown: tame your sweet tooth without damaging your teeth or your waistline!
It’s coming…lots and lots and lots of SNOW! Don’t panic, we got you covered.
- First aid kit
- Windshield scraper
- Charged cell phone
- Full tank of gas in car
- Warm clothing
- At-home workouts
- Board games
- Lots of snacks
- Carrot, scarf, and coal for snowman building
One Healthy Breakdown: stay safe, warm, and cozy!