Ballet 101

Exercise Monday: Ballet 101

Hello People!

A few weeks ago I admitted to changing my normal vigorous interval training routines to ballet due to the effects it has on the body aesthetically.  I want that long muscle definition that ballet workouts can give as opposed to the short, almost stocky, puffed muscle definition others workouts develop muscularly.  At least, that was what I was starting to see develop on me and I want to look more Ginger Rogers than Zuzana Light.images  To each his/her own, of course!

Muscle definition is great, and however one gets it is A+.  However, I also don’t like the pounding and high impact nature typical modern interval training workouts are.  Dance is much more fluid and stretches the body.  It is also an interval training type of workout, but not as jarring to the joints and bones. This is good for middle aged people like myself.  As I ageimages my muscles are getting tighter and tighter.  Lengthening and stretching as well and building muscle is definitely the way I want to go.  Ballet isn’t Yoga though; not in the slightest.  It is physically hard work and makes me break out in a sweat every much as other workouts, depending on how vigorous the dance routine I do and how long the routine is.

Usually, 1. I start out with some gentle warm-up dance;  2. then a full body stretch routine;  3. then some barre work which builds muscle definition and trains the body to hold itself in a “turn-out” position;  4.  then some floor work (a simple dance routine, this is the cardio part);  5. then some abs and/or legs-butt toning;  6. then a final yoga stretch.  I have made private playlists on Unknown-2YouTube for me to do and I have been doing this for 5 weeks successfully.  Since I started ballet at a young age (age 4), my body is better at acclimating to these types of workouts than someone who has never done them.  However, that doesn’t mean one can’t do them if not done before.  It will just take more time to become coordinated and understand how the body must move in ballet in order to fully do the workouts with ease.

Here I will share with you a good beginner workout if you are interested in trying it out. The instructor is so articulate and all of her dancers are adults, some better than others.  I would suggest watching the video first, then trying to do the exercises.  I use this as my beginning stretch, barre work and floor routine part of my workout. Don’t worry if you don’t have a proper barre, just use the top edge of a chair that you can swap back and forth to change sides.  This video is in two parts as well.  The first part is a Beginner Workout (called Level One), then halfway through the class begins again with a similar routine but it is more of an Intermediate Workout (called Level Two).  I choose one or the other on different days. Try it!


I’m Back….!

Hello People!

So sorry it took forever to get back here. Uhhh! Too much was happening, but that is over now.  My computer is fixed and I am back from a stressful 2-week trip back east (Jersey Shore/Cape May area) singing.

So I weighed myself yesterday thinking that, due to my stress on the trip, I would have gained a ton of weight due to some not so amazing food choices I made a few times.  Well, I did ok, and for that I can be proud.  I am down 5 pounds from my initial weight and have 21 more to go.  I also re-measured myself and wrote down those numbers on a chart that I keep in a binder.  Everyday I am reading an “Agreement of Resolution” that I wrote to myself making myself promise, on a daily basis, that I stick to my goals.  I have my goals clearly written in it and it is signed and dated.  Here is a pix of it:


I borrowed/used this idea from Brenda Leigh Turner’s online book that I bought directly from her on her website  I encourage anyone who needs a major kick in the pants for a re-boot on losing weight to buy it (it’s only $27.00).  There is valuable info in there.  It was my reward that I promised myself that I would buy when I returned from my trip.  I love her ideas, especially drinking a gallon of water a day…that’s right!  It helps with cravings like nothing else.

I hope you are on your weight-loss/healthy lifestyle way and not letting anything stop you.  Keep going, and when the going gets tough: pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!

The Marathon Effect: Extra

Hi there!

I have been searching day and night since I posted the article about The Marathon Effect.  I wanted to give you all a reference for where I got my information. Leaving it open-ended seemed a bit unfinished.  So after hunting down the radio interview (this took hours on end to find) with JJ Virgin, I have a viable source you can decipher for yourself about what I stated.

I’m referring to the section where I said: exercising/endurance training in the fat burning zone for long distances will make your body store more fat when you are done to replace what it has burned.  You literally become a fat storer professional.  You will lose muscle also in the process compounding the problem of screwing up your metabolism. And…you release tons of stress hormones like cortisol that will also help you to store fat like a boss.  This is cardio for hours on end that I am talking about- not working out in the weight room for 3 hours.  That is different.


JJ Virgin has a resume as long as my body.  She was a health advocate on the Dr. Phil show and has done numerous appearances on T.V., written tons of magazine articles and her own army of books, and has appeared and spoken at tons of health conferences.  She has every credential in the book and is a huge believer in “Burst Training” or what I call HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  Please listen to this incredible interview with her on Blog Talk Radio hosted by Underground Wellness.  The marathon discussion happens around 31 minutes.

5 Things

Think It Through Thursday: 5 Things

Hello People!

It has been a few months….6, to be exact, that I have been a blogger.  My weight hasn’t really gone down a whole lot during this process, but I have been discussing the reasons why here periodically.  Particularly, I think most of my issues relate to blood sugar problems, and I’m currently working those out.

So I wanted to do a post that was upbeat and positive today because there isn’t enough positivity in the world, in my opinion.  Therefore, I want to discuss 5 things I have learned during these 6 months of blogging that I will continue to implement for the rest of my life regardless of weight-loss or not.  They are healthy habits that I wish to pass on to you, dear reader.

5 Things

1. What You Eat Matters


This means that it doesn’t matter if a “calorie is a calorie.” The quality of the food is utmost important.  Forget the counting calories bit.  Look to the nutrition of the food/meal/snack first.  Calories matter too, no doubt about it, but there is a hell of a big difference between the nutritional makeup of two foods with the same amount of calories: a snickers bar vs. a  a few pieces of fruit.  Those nutritional qualities differ in that one of those items your body will store most of it’s calories as fat because of the high sugar content, and the other will be used by the body for re-building, supporting, digesting, etc.  Now which one do you want?

2. Vegetables & Fruit Are Your FRIENDS!!!


You’re hungry?  You want to binge out? Have a tangerine.  Still hungry? Have a cucumber.  Still hungry? Have a bowl of cherry tomatoes.  Still hungry? No?…..Well even if you were, the calories in these foods are so small in comparison to junk foods that even if you binged on them, the worst case scenario would give you gas and bloating.  Junk Foods? You will be seen wearing them on your thighs the next day for sure.

3.  All Exercise is Not Created Equal


The older you get, the more muscle you lose (up to a pound a year!!!).  This is key to understanding why your treadmill antics ain’t working like they were at 20.  Don’t do tons of cardio.  Do tons of weights/strength training/bodybuilding workouts.  Then do some cardio – but no more than 20 minutes (HIIT would be optimal).  You can start burning your muscles right off if it’s any more than that.  EEEKK!

4.  The G-Free Life is For Me


Gluten was giving me blood sugar spikes. Why? Mostly the gluten was in the form of bread which has flour.  Flour, in any form, 100% whole wheat or otherwise, digests fast.  Gluten was also coating the villi in my intestine causing me to have skin irritation problems.  Going gluten free is not easy, but it is doable and I am not starving like I feared I would be.  It definitely has cut down on the carb consumption in my life.  I am not a no-carb preacher, but I would advocate low-carb (220 grams or less a day) eating. I am eating approximately 120 – 100 grams a day now.

5. Plan Meals For the Week


Not planning what to eat is planning to FAIL! If it is 12:00 noon and you don’t know what you are eating for lunch…you are doomed friend.  Your hunger will override any will you had to stick to a calorie regime.  Don’t fool around, designate 1 day a week to prepare, cook, and portion out your meals for the week.  No second guessing, no last minute drive-thru runs, no excuses. (Video on this subject to come!)

Pay It Forward

Inspirational Sunday: Pay It Forward

Hello People!

Happy Easter Eve if you celebrate it.  I was thinking of posting a few thoughts I have on why I started this blog.  You see, it all started with a certain 16-year-old that I’ve never met before, and probably never will.

I really love to watch YouTube if you haven’t noticed.  I am a real junkie and don’t even watch T.V. anymore because of it and Netflix.  Anyways, I was on YouTube looking for dance workouts, specifically ballet, and came across a channel that featured the workouts designed by the people who trained Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Those were rigorous training circuits she went through to achieve a “dancer’s body” in such a short period of time. I knew that one could buy the program, but it is super expensive.  Then, lo and behold, there it was on a certain YouTube channel, uploaded by a sweet unassuming teenager. (If you know anything about uploading to YouTube, you are strictly forbidden to upload anything that you did not create yourself 100%).  She got away with it mostly because the workouts are awesome and she was demonstrating them herself; actually doing them in real time.  The workouts were brutal, but just what I wanted.

In the description box she had listed her blog link.  Now I had been reading a few blogs at this time.  Mostly they centered around fashion and makeup, but I wanted to check out her blog to see what else she had up her sleeve in regards to exercise and nutrition. I clicked on it and immediately was taken to a site that flashed high-def pictures of super models, one right after the other at the top of the blog page.  All of the pictures were of the same body types -very tall, and THIN-THIN-THIN! No muscle tone or workout gear involved.  Just a bunch of thin twigs standing around (no faces, interestingly).

As I read through her description page and started reading her posts, I realized that she was after the model-thin physique and would do anything to get it.  She talked about models she obsessed over, models she had zillions of pictures of, and models that had her “ideal body shape.” She also addressed the critics and said that this was her goal and if you don’t like it, you can take your comments elsewhere.  She herself was not an overweight person. She was average build, average height (taller than me), and pretty “thin” for my standards.  To think that she wanted to thin down even more made me a bit queazy.  I also noticed in her tag lines, the words “thinspo, thinspiration, pro-ana, and anorexia” appeared, despite many posts written insisting that her hopes were to inspire girls her age to eat healthfully and exercise appropriately. Her mantra was to get thin the healthy way not resorting to “extreme diets or anorexia.”  She posted pictures of food she ate, and it looked well balanced and healthy, just like she was pro-porting.  Her exercise routines, however, were rigorous at least, grueling at worst, again at least by my standards. Her tone was upbeat and extremely positive.  You should have seen her responses to her subs.  Always so supportive and encouraging. She had hundreds of subscribers, all very vocal and grateful.  They told her that she was their inspiration and how happy she was there to post almost everyday to keep them on track.

When I stumbled upon this blog, it was about late October of last year (2012). I had noticed that she posted a flurry of posts, sometimes 4 in day in  June and July, when it started; almost everyday in August, and only about 5 in Sept.  Then, nothing.  Also, her YouTube videos suddenly vanished with that irritating unhappy face looking at you when you want to watch a video and it has been yanked off the airwaves.  Who knows what happened. I kept checking her channel and her blog everyday to see if she had updated about anything and it was a complete void. A bit disappointing, I must say since I had just discovered it and they were both in some odd way inspirational to me too, but also intriguing.

It got me thinking, how desperate people are for inspiration to keep their goals going (specifically me).  I started looking around for other blogs like hers or in-the-vein-of, but wasn’t really coming up with anything I liked.  Most of the blogs I read were of people who had already accomplished their goals 3 years ago and were just hanging on continuing to write because of their 50,000 subs paying their bills for the rest of their life. (Not bitter, no, not me.) Or the blogs were pathetic and ridiculously un-inspirational. So, what does one do when you can’t find what you are looking for? You make it yourself and you do the best job you know how to do.  That was my intention and it will continue to be so.  Wherever 16seekingskinny is, I hope she is well and not doing anything damaging to herself; because despite her short stint on the blog scene, she did inspire at least one person to keep going and giving back to also help others just like her.