5 Reasons to Take Your Exercise Routine Outdoors

beach 2Sick of the gym and the same exercise routine you’ve been doing all winter? Spring is here, and summer is finally right around the corner. As the weather continues to warm up and sun stays out longer, now is the perfect time to take your exercise routine outdoors!

We all love the newness and a fresh start with the change in the seasons including a change in your workout and exercise routine. Take out the staleness, monotony, and amp it up with some new inspiration.

Here’s 5 reasons to take your workout outside.

  1. Brave the Elements:

The elements of your environment can increase the intensity of your workout, take in your atmosphere and add some obstacles like wind, snow, and heat to give you a challenge.  Bike during a heavy rain or paddle board when the winds are high and the water is choppy. Got a humid day? Run in the afternoon when the temperatures are even hotter. Why not try swimming laps in the ocean with a big swell!

  1. Vitamin D and Fresh Air:

After being stuck inside all winter, a little Vitamin D, sunshine, and fresh air can always do everyone some good.  Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and muscles and it can also help reduce illnesses and infections. Think about how much better you feel when you step outside on a warm sunny morning? We tend to have better moods and improved well-being, more energy and motivation, and feel a lot better about ourselves and our body image.

  1. Challenge Yourself:

Take it to the extremes, change it up, skip the same boring exercise routine. Challenge yourself! Live near the mountains? Use them for intensity, altitude, and temperature changes. Live near the beach? Use the sand, sun, and surf to up your game. Grab a friend for a little competition and extra push, race the clock or decrease your resting time. Give yourself a deadline, visualize your goals, extend the finish line, even changing your mindset can add more challenges to your work outs.

  1. Skip the Germs:

Getting outside for your workout can greatly reduce the exposure to all the germs that you’ve been befriending in the gym all winter. Think about all those coughing, sneezing, sweating people you’ve been sharing treadmills, mats, and equipment with for all those dark, cold months. Trade up for the fresh air, sunshine, and a lot less people in a confined space. Getting outside more can help you avoid everything from the stomach bug to ringworm and from Staph infections to Ecoli. (Ewww!)

  1. Try Something New:

Step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Look for something you wouldn’t normally do for exercise. Grab your tutu and sign up for a color run, meditate ocean side, go old school and dust of the old roller skates or rollerblades, or sign up for those group surf lessons you’ve been dying to try. Take a Pilates class on the beach or boot camp in a park. Go the sports route and jump into a basketball or volleyball game. Want to go more extreme? Try kite surfing or rock climbing, or how about checking out the new trapeze workouts.

So skip the gym and the germs, and hit the streets, beach, or mountains for some extra challenges and soak up some sunshine and fresh air. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new this season, you may possibly find the exercise can’t live with out.






National Pilates Day

DSC_8740National Pilates Day is this Saturday, May 2nd. If you’ve never done Pilates before, today is the perfect day to get out and try it! Grab a friend and check out the studio in your area. Most studios will have special events or promotions for Saturday! Some may even be holding classes in a park, on the beach, on a SUP board, or even check what time the class is at your local gym.

Pilates has been a part of my life for over 13 years as a student and 9 years as an instructor. I got into Pilates after a bad car accident left me with serious neck injuries. So much I could barely get out of bed some days. Pilates was the only thing that relieved the pain and tension and didn’t leave me still in bed in tears every morning. Flash forward to now, I’m training people with knee and hip replacements, chronic illness, scoliosis, osteoporosis, athletes, men, and women. After some health issues of my own for the past year,  (which by the way is the most frustrating thing for a healthy and mindful person to have health concerns out of their control.) I learned Monday of my diagnosis and the specialist eased my mind that I have been rehabilitating and healing myself for over 10 years now. To think what I could be like today, if Pilates was not already apart of my life!

So if there is some reluctancy or you’re nervous to go a class alone, grab a friend, talk to the instructor before class about your concerns, may be Pilates will be your answer to healing and it could possibly change your life forever.

Benefits of Pilates:

  • injury and prevention
  • strong core
  • long lean muscles
  • resistance and assistance training
  • weight loss
  • rehabilitation
  • increased flexibility
  • coordination and balance improves
  • mind-body connection
  • learn coastal breathing or lateral breath
  • low impact
  • great for anyone
  • can be done anywhere
  • pain management

The list continues on and on. So this Saturday celebrate National Pilates Day whether you’re a newbie or a veteran! If you take class, message me and let me know how it goes!

Pilates for a New You & a New Body!

2014-09-16 05.53.30So it’s February! How are you doing with your fitness and weight-loss goals? Over 80% of people who set New Years goals to lose weight or to get back in the gym have already given up or completely frustrated and bored with the gym. Muscles have memory and when you do the same exercises over and over without challenging them, they reach a plateau. Finding other ways to change the way your body moves, balances, gains flexibility, and more fluidity is just a few ways to challenge the body and the muscles to work differently than they normally would.

You don’t have to become a gym rat to be healthy and strong. Changing up your workout also makes your mind have to work as well. As with Pilates, Yoga, and Chi Gong, the mind becomes part of the practice and exercise. You challenge the mind to work the muscles, in the mean time you build body-awareness and a mind-body connection.

Joseph Pilates, founder and inventor of Pilates said, “in 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a completely different body.” As a Pilates instructor for over 9 years now, I’ve seen my body change and heal as well as hundreds of my clients that can attest to how incorporating Pilates into their everyday or weekly workouts have changed their posture, balance, flexibility, muscle tone, core strength, and decreased their pain levels from injuries and chronic illness. Want that long lean body, with a slender waistline and great muscle tone? Pilates is how you can attain it!Best thing about  Pilates is, it can be done anywhere, in a studio, a gym, a hotel, in your own home,or even on the beach.

I teach on the beaches of Maryland and Delaware during the summer months. There’s nothing like taking a class first thing in the mornings, with your toes in the sand, as the sun has just begun to rise, and listening to the waves crash on the beach. You get the movement with the serenity all in one package! I’ve had a lot of my clients ask me how they can get “me” back to the city with them or they wish I could travel to be closer to them during the winter months. If only it was that easy, right? So this fall we decided to bring the beach to everyone that can’t be near one, whether it’s because you live in the middle of the country, you’re back in the city till summer returns, or maybe you’re stuck in “Snowmageddon” every winter! 😦

dvd2We’ve released our first Beach Pilates Pilates Mat Workout DVD so now you can work out on the beach right in the comfort of your own home! So exciting right?! Class is for beginner to intermediate levels. Modifications have been added to decrease or intensify your workout. You can do the entire class, or if you only have 15-20 minutes and want to get some movement in, the warm up series will get you warmed up and the blood pumping. Want to find out more information about it? Check out one of our sites Farm Foodie Fitness  or Beach Pilates and Wellness. You can also grab one there too! Here’s to a year of health and happiness. I hope everyone’s ambitions and future goals are well on their way to being accomplished!!

The Best Regimen For College Fitness

This is perfect for all you young ones headed to college in the next few weeks!! Such an exciting time in life to be headed off to college. I remember leaving for Clemson like it was yesterday! I could not wait to get out of my hometown and get as far south as my big feet could carry me. As healthy as I have always been, believe me once I stepped foot on that southern campus- I was in freshman hog heaven! Late night pizza runs, Chic-fil-A, (this was way before they were up north!) heavy dinners in the cafeteria, Clemson football tailgates, lake parties, you name it I was eating and sure enough, I put on the freshmen 15 in 6 months!

And exercise? As active as I was I barely made it to the gym most weeks because it was too easy to get caught up in all the fun. So when I was asked if I would allow a guest post for all those new freshman and young adults headed back to college to help them live a healthier lifestyle I jumped at the opportunity and remembered the fun and carefree days I had not too long ago 😉 So all you crazy college kids headed back to school or starting off somewhere new this year, enjoy your time away and growing stronger and wiser. And to all those parents sending away their babies and worried that they’ll take care of themselves, here’s a little guide to help you stay healthy and live your life to the fullest.

Guest post attributed to The Best Colleges. Make sure to check out their site too!

The Best Regimen for College Fitness

Pilates for Weight Loss

DSC_8746People don’t always consider Pilates as a weight loss program, but I always say those are the ones that have never tried it! 😉 Pilates is an exercise system that focuses on building strength and flexibility. It elongates the body to create long lean muscles, improves posture and balance, prevents injuries, and is used for rehabilitation for surgeries, chronic illness, and pain.

Committing to Pilates will help you lose significant weight and inches, give you a trimmer appearance, burn calories, and helps build muscles without bulking. Doing Pilates while changing your diet to incorporate more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and lean proteins allow you to see quicker and more effective results.

Pilates builds core strength focusing on the abdominals or “powerhouse.” When the abdominals are strengthened, they improve your posture to help you stand up straighter and pull your belly in. Straightening your posture allows you to elongate the body, giving the illusion of being slimmer and actually taller, by emphasizing length and good alignment. Just by standing up straight and pulling your belly in alone, can give the illusion of losing 5-10 pounds! Our continual bad posture from long days in cars and many hours of sitting at a computer cause our shoulders to round forward, our bellies to protrude, giving the effect that we are actually heavier than we truly are.  By learning to pull your “belly button to your spine” (this is what you will hear a lot in Pilates class) and by deepening the abdominals, this in turn helps them to become stronger more quickly.

Pilates promotes lateral breathing, focusing on breathing through the lungs and rib cage instead of the diaphragm, strengthens the abdominal wall, engages the core, and flattens the belly.

Although Pilates is not aerobic exercise, most people incorporate cardio work to maximize weight-loss. Pilates is a building exercise, starting at a beginner level, as you begin to learn the correct positions and flow, you increase the intensity of the workout to intermediate and advanced positions. Adding small equipment can also help build muscle and burn more calories. There is also large equipment; reformers, Wunda chairs, cadillacs, and ladder barrels all increase the intensity of a Pilates workout to increase the results of your workout.

Here’s the catch for Pilates though, by decreasing resistance you actually have to work harder to maintain control and balance, focusing more on the core! Pilates is also great because it can be done anywhere, home, studio, hotel room, and parks, even on the beach! And it’s perfect for men and women, young and old, people with Parkinson’s, MS, hip replacements, pregnant women, even athletes. Just be sure to do your research first and find a certified instructor that specializes in what you plan to focus on.

Pilates Exercise:  Chest lifts

  • Start by lying on your back. Legs hip width apart, heels in-line with your sits bones. There should be a small hand space between your lower back and the mat. So it should feel like you’re balancing on the knotty bones of your hips. (this is called neutral pelvis) You don’t want your lower back smashed into the mat, this causes the abs to turn off and the glutes to engage and take over.
  • Interlace your fingers and place them behind the knotty part of your neck and head are going to rest in your hands. Elbows are out wide.
  • Take an inhale to prepare and deepen your abs. (sink your belly button to your spine)
  • Exhale as you lift your head and chest up into flexion. Remember to stay in DSC_8758neutral pelvis, engaging your abs is going to give you the strength to lift yourself into the position. Remember to keep elbows out wide so not to pull on your neck.
  • Now take an inhale and flatten your belly again. Exhale as you slowly roll back to the starting position again. Focusing on your breath will deepen your core and close down your rib cage. Causing your abdominals to fully engage. Go slow and at your own pace. Slower with resistance (against gravity) shows more results. Small range of motion and focus is where you see results. Repeat for up to 10 repetitions.

Find more information about Pilates and my classes at www.balancedlivinghealthandwellness.com or www.pilatesonthebeachocmd.com.

Celebrate the Holidays Mind, Body & Soul

Celebrate the holidays mind, body, and soul! It’s that time of year again!! It’s actually only days away! At this point we’re all frantic! Getting the rest of the cards out, baking, gift wrapping, still shopping because we keep forgetting someone, and of course eating… A LOT!

With all the hustle bustle make time for yourself to actually enjoy them and your loved ones. Time seems to fly by faster the older we get so here is a little mini guide of ideas on how to slow down, enjoy this time of year, soak up your family and friends, sop up the giggles and memories, and slurp up every bit of the delicious foods, spirits, and beautiful atmosphere. And don’t forget to treasure every second of it!

Mind- We tend to go a little coo-coo this time of year, because there is never enough time to ever get it all done. We drive ourselves into a dizzy trying to beat the clock and make the holidays perfect and we all know if never works out that way. So give your
mind a rest this holiday by reading a book by the fire, meditate by candle light or even by the lit tree, turn on your favorite holiday music with a warm cup of cacao, watch classic holiday movies-like “Miracle on 34th Street” or “It’s a Wonderful Life,” even put your mind to rest with a 30 minute nap on the couch curled up under your favorite blanket.

Body- Boy do our bodies take a beating over the holiday season. We celebrate big! All the added sugar, alcohol, heavy dips, sauces, and desserts-pack on the pounds, make us low on energy, and left feeling weighed down. Not to mention there’s not much time for a workout and we’re completely sleep deprived! So give your body a break. Cook something healthy and nurturing. Make homemade soups or good for you comfort foods. Take a Pilates or Yoga class. Got a little more energy? Jump into a spinning class or take that kickboxing class you’ve always wanted to. It’ll help relieve tension and tired muscles and you’re guaranteed instant energy as soon as you begin moving. Turn off the tv and give your body the rest it needs. Shoot for 7 or more hours! You definitely deserve it!


Soul-This is a great time of year to start searching you soul. New Years is right around the corner! We all get a clean slate and a fresh start for the year so really dig deep this year and listen to your heart and soul for what you really want for 2013. What do you want to accomplish? What are your goals or aspirations? Give into your passions. Chase your dreams. Spend more time with your family. Relax. Take care of yourself and your health. But remember to make some resolutions you can actually achieve. And always nurture you soul!

Happy Holidays Everyone! I hope you receive gifts of love, laughter, hope, joy, and smiles this year! I’m spending some extra time with my little ones who are so excited for Santa-which makes it even more fun for me! Thank you for all your support and following my posts this year! Hoping 2013 brings lots of new opportunities for us all!

Get Moving and Get Outside!

With the last weeks of summer winding down, now is the time to take advantage of the final dog days of summer and get outside. We spend so much time inside for work, on computers, and watching tv (especially lately with the Olympics, which I totally love!) Enjoy these last weeks of heat and get ready to jump into the gorgeous fall weather that is lurking around the corner! Now is the best time to learn something new, take a stand-up paddleboard lesson or enjoy a fitness class. Check your local area, my small town offers everything from aerial yoga, boot camp in the park, pole dancing, bikes on the boardwalk, surf lessons, golf, beach volleyball, even yoga and Pilates on the beach.

Getting outside can also include taking the dog for walk, gardening, make it a day at the pool with the kids, cut the grass, cook on the grill, find a farm and pick your own produce, the list is endless. The health benefits from exercise, fresh air, sunshine, and your daily dose of vitamin D make it priceless. Sunshine boots your mood and helps you absorb your Vitamin D. Fresh air will keep your feeling motivated and your energy levels up. And exercise always makes you feel that much better! So, here’s a little beak down of how many calories you burn an hour when you get outside and get moving. You’ll be surprised what actually burns the most!

The numbers will vary a little depending on your weight and if you’re male or female. This chart is based on a male or female weighing 145-165 pound range: The more you weight the more you burn and men tend to burn more calories faster. (Of course they would!) 🙂

Continue reading

Pilates Anywhere, Anytime!

The benefits of Pilates are endless! From injury prevention and weight loss to core strength and rehabilitation, Pilates is the one exercise that everyone should be incorporating into their lives and exercise regimes. I know… “it’s too hard, too easy, not for me, only in shape people can do it, you see a pose and say there’s no way you can get your body to do that!” I’ve heard them all, believe me!

Pilates is a low impact exercise that can be done anywhere. In your home using a DVD, at the gym taking a class, in a Pilates studio taking a private session, on the road when you’re traveling, even in a park or on the beach!

Everyone from pregnant women and new mothers to professional athletes, dancers, and celebrities are taking advantage of the life changing results and health benefits of Pilates. And Pilates is for anyone and everyone, kids, teenagers, adults, and the elderly can all do it!

Pilates is perfect if you’re short on time, too busy to go to the gym, or always traveling. You can see results with just 15 minutes a day! Pilates can relieve chronic pain, boost your energy and mood, stretch tired and strained muscles, build core strength, tone muscles, and gain flexibility. The benefits are endless and you can be a beginner to advanced depending on your fitness level!

So with the warm, long days of summer just around the corner now is the perfect time to get out there and get some exercise. Why not give Pilates a try? You’ve got nothing to lose!

Want to get outside while you get your workout in?? Well now you can! If you live near Ocean City, Maryland or headed that way for vacation this summer come try “Pilates on the Beach!” Take personally instructed Pilates mat classes while you soak up the sun, sand, and salt air! Come check us out at www.pilatesonthebeachocmd.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BeachPilates. Hope to see you out there!

6 Ways to Stay On Your Diet!

With bathing suit season right around the corner, we’re all trying to tone up and lose those last extra pounds, but with the warming weather comes cookouts and happy hours filled with yummy cocktails bound to derail your will power and hard work. Here are 6 ways to make sure you stay on your diet and keep you focused on your goals.

  1. The 90-10 Diet- It means 90% of your diet is full of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts, seeds, legumes, and dairy. While the other 10% is everyone’s favorite, the “moderation” part. These are the foods you love, the desserts, alcohol, and comfort foods! The old saying “everything in moderation” is the way to go. If you cut everything out of your diet that you love it’s bound to fail so just enjoy your favorites some times. You’ll probably enjoy them even more!
  2. Drink lots of water- The more water you put into your body the fuller and healthier you will be and feel. Shoot for 8-10 glasses a day. It seems like a lot especially if you don’t normally drink water but it’s guaranteed to curb your appetite and your less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Try cucumber, lemons, mint, or fresh berries to flavor your water if you need that little bit of extra incentive and taste.
  3. Keep Active- The more you stay active the less you”ll feel you need to eat. Exercising boosts your endorphins, energy level, and your self-confidence. You’ll think twice about grabbing that hamburger from the fast food joint and reach for the salad topped with grilled chicken. You’ve done all the hard work why wipe it out on some thing that’s NOT going give you any nutritional value or benefit.
  4. Crowd Out- Start crowding out the not so good foods. If you’re a heavy soda drinker, and drinking multiple sodas a day, strive for 1 a day and slowly ween yourself off of them. Crowd out heavy fatty meats, fatty and sugary snacks, and processed foods.
  5. Add In- Adding in goes hand in hand with crowding out. As you crowd out the unhealthy foods, add in the good stuff, like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and cheeses and whole grains. Try new foods like Quinoa, Wheat berries, Tempeh, and Smoked Salmon. You’re bound to like some thing new, you never know you might love them all!
  6. Snack More- Snack more often but with healthier options. Eat every 2-3 hours, snacking more keeps your metabolism boosted, helps you stay fuller so you’ll be less likely to binge because you’re famished. Snack on dried fruits, seeds and nuts, humus and vegetables, fruit, and roasted seaweed.

Hope these ideas keep you focused and on track to the new you!