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Head Over Wheels: Spinning 101

I’ve always known that maintaining an exercise routine is important but until the start of this year I had never fully committed to it and kept putting it off. Now 11 months later, I’m here looking to motivate anyone who feels these familiar sentiments.

How did I motivate myself? A part of keeping myself motivated came with discovering different types of exercise routines. It started with using the elliptical that I have at home (definitely no excuses there, the gym couldn’t get any closer!). I then started getting a little restless and realized I needed some variety so over the months I added some Jillian Michaels dvds, outdoor cycling, treadmill and weight training in the mix. (image source)

So fast forward to now, I recently discovered a gilt city deal for spinning classes and decided try it out. As it got nearer to my first class I started to hear people telling me how hard it was and how they thought they were going to die and that your body just hurts so bad after! I thought to myself what the hell have I gotten myself into!

So my first class was on a thursday night at 7pm right after work, I had all my gear ready (check out the mini list below of some essentials I suggest taking). I hopped on the bike, the lights were turned down low and then the music started blasting. Our instructor explained a few simple positions and we were a go. Let me just say not only was it hard but it was actually fun! All the months of exercising had paid off, I managed to keep up for the most part and was proud of myself for getting through the hell that most people had described.

The whole point of this post? To tell you if I can do it then so can you! I’ve put together some quick points of why Spinning can be a beneficial addition to your work out routine. I haven’t been doing spinning for very long at all but I find it really fun and I feel great once I’m done so I wanted to share my thoughts and what I’ve discovered since I began.

If you are like me and need to stay motivated then keep reading and please don’t be shy! Feel free to share your experiences with spinning or any advice you may have in general.

What is Spinning?
Spinning is a studio cycling workout on a stationary bike that allows the rider to tailor the workout to their ability by adjusting the tension. At Sweat & Soul Yoga, I attend classes that use the RealRyder bike which is not only a stationary bike but it also allows the rider to engage the entire body with a range of motion as it allows you to steer left and right which emulates the feel of a road bike. So with this type of bike you are actually working your upper body, lower body, core muscles resulting in a great cardio workout.

Burn Baby Burn
Yes I’m talking about calories! Have you ever been on a treadmill at the gym and just felt that it was dragging on forever and you had barely any calorie burn to show for it? With spinning that is not the case, you work hard and you see the results. Typically a workout of 45 minutes burns around 450-550 calories which depends on the intensity of the workout.

Taking My Sweet Time
The stationary bike has the ability to adjust the level of intensity it takes to pedal. Your instructor will typically have a lesson planned and he or she will indicate when to adjust or alternatively you can adjust accordingly to help build your stamina and achieve your fitness goals.

Please Don’t Stop the Music
Not only do you have an instructor but music is also played which should help keep you focused on the task and not on the tension you may be feeling. Sweat & Soul Yoga in Allston, MA where I go has some great classes that offer themed classes such as Pop Princesses, Hip Hop, 90’s, 2000’s where they only play music from those eras or themes.

Baby Its Could Outside
If you are like me, then you probably hate the cold. I’m most happy when its nice and hot so having the option to throw on regular exercise gear and skip buying hardcore winter gear (costly!)  is a huge plus. So Spinning can be performed at any time of the year.

Be My Motivation
Feeling a little deflated? Just getting yourself to the class is enough, its a huge commitment to show up, the rest will come naturally. All classes are held by an instructor who will motivate you throughout your workout and not to mention you are not alone! Seeing other riders push themselves allows you to feed off of their energy and keep going so its a win win.

How Low Can You Go?
Not very low! A great benefit of spinning is the fact that it is a low impact exercise which means it keeps the pressure of your knees and joints (they will thank you!).

I Heart You
Spinning is great for boosting your cardiovascular health and lung capacity, with time it begins to build endurance and you are able to better control your breath.

*QUICK TIP*
I suggest purchasing a heart rate monitor, I got myself this Polar HRM from Amazon earlier this year and its great for monitoring your pace, calorie burn and most importantly it sets an indicator that lets you know if you are over doing it.

Killer Legs
Another perk to Spinning is that as you are using large muscle groups in your legs (thighs, hamstrings & calves) you’ll begin to see some definition and start feeling stronger.

I Can’t Get No…. Satisfaction
So not true! You’ll have good and bad days just like you have with any other part of your life. Rest assured that you are doing something that is going to be good for you, your body and your mental strength in the long run. No matter how hard it is as I said before the fact that you showed up for the class is what matters.

I promised I’d share my work out necessities:

  • Water bottle – Replenish your body as you sweat it out.
  • Towel – To wipe away the tears! No just kidding, its for sweat 😉
  • Tank Top – It will get hot so I suggest something thin and sleevless.
  • Support Bra – the girls need some support!
  • Capris/Leggings -no loose trousers because it can get tangled in the bike, always choose something thats fitted close to the body
  • Protein Bar/ Energy Bar – I typically eat a cliff bar or odwalla bar before or within 20 minutes of my workout, it helps rebuild those muscles you just broke down.
  • Polar HRM – to monitor my progress throughout my workout
  • Fun socks – why not? I have some great bright coloured ones, just adds a bit of fun 😉
  • Comfy Trainers – Or sneakers as they are called in the states 😉
  • Additional Top – After I workout I hate going home all sweaty so I quickly change into a long sleeved fresh top until i get home to shower.
  • Hoodie/Light Jacket – Because sports gear is generally thin, I prefer to have another layer under my winter coat (told you i hate the cold!)

Now for the fashionable side of working out 🙂 It should be no surprise to you that I was going to add some key essentials that can help make exercising more comfy and no I’m not suggesting extremely expensive work out gear, don’t buy into that.

Check out stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Old Navy, H&M & Aeropostale for some basic, inexpensive tank tops and pants. As for my UK people check out Matalan and George by Asdas, they also have good quality gear at low prices.

Here are a few picks of mine:
Absolutely Brilliant Racerback Yoga Tank – $11.25 *SALE*
Solid Basic Cami – $6.60 *SALE*
Solid Ribbed Tank – $4.95 *SALE*
Women’s Active GoDRY Tanks – $8.00 *SALE*

Women’s Active Control Max Capris (19″) – $24.97 *SALE*
Women’s Active Compression Leggings – $26.94

Women’s Active GoDRY Tees – $8.00 *SALE*
Active 3/4 Length Legging – £10.00

Performance Vest – £10.00

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Size 6 Now Considered “Plus Size” in Fashion Industry

Plus Model Magazine has published a provocative issue sparking controversy which has shed insight into the disparity between real life women and models.

Although apparent for quite some time, it is clear that in order to model in the fashion world models must meet the standard criteria. The typical runway show comprises of models ranging between a size 0-4, (typically the latter of course) strutting what little meat remain on their bones in a bid to sell fashion. Does this vision of a dangerously waif like size echo the reality of women in today’s society?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the same question that Plus Model Magazine daringly raises. The heavy topic (so to speak) is featured in an 8 page editoral, featuring Russian plus size model Katya Zharkova along side a “straight size” model in the nude. The thought provoking photography displays the stark contrast paired alongside controversial headlines that voice staggering statistics discussing body sizes and stating how a size 6 is now considered plus size.


The magazine makes an attempt to add food for thought regarding the issue and had this to say:

The answer to the question is this, there is nothing wrong with our bodies. We are bombarded with weight-loss ads every single day, multiple times a day because it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that preys on the fear of being fat. Not everyone is meant to be skinny, our bodies are beautiful and we are not talking about health here because not every skinny person is healthy.

What we desire is equality to shop and have fashion options just like smaller women. Small women cannot be marketed to with pictures of plus-size women, why are we expected to respond to pictures of small size 6 and 8 women? We don’t! When the plus size modeling industry began, the models ranged in size from 14 to 18/20, and as customers we long for those days when we identify with the models and feel happy about shopping.

Statistics Printed With Photography:

  • Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.
  • Ten years ago plus-size models averaged between size 12 and 18. Today the need for size diversity within the plus-size modeling industry continues to be questioned.
  • The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and 14, while the customers continue to express their dissatisfaction.
  • Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia.
  • 50% of women wear a size 14 or larger, but most standard clothing outlets cater to sizes 14 or smaller.

Overall I appreciate what the editors are trying to accomplish, the notion of embracing oneself and accepting your body type as well as ultimately being comfortable in your own skin is a positive message that requires encouragement and reinforcement. I do however find it repulsive to discover that a size 6 is now considered plus size within the fashion industry. There is no secret on my stance on plus size, we all come in different shapes and sizes, fashion is intended for everyone and it makes little sense to solely display one certain type of image that is not accurately representative of everyday women in society. Evidently a size 6 is now deemed plus size, which raises the question of what are women at sizes 14 and above considered? Ultra Plus Size?

What are your thoughts on this controversial issue?

Spruce Up Your Skin

Dry brushing your skin promotes the stimulation of the skin’s renewal process and is a preventative measure against dry skin and acts as an exfoliation that produces smooth, glowing skin as well as other additional benefits. Lately I have been reading about this popular method that is said to rejuvenate, invigorate and support the skin as well as the lymphatic system. Years ago I engaged in dry brushing but never really dedicated myself to a regime, this time and with the encouragement of what I have been reading I decided to put this to the test (for real this time) for the following reasons:

1. Smoother, softer skin.
2. Simple, inexpensive and a time efficient approach to healthier skin.
3. Stated to stimulates the lymphatic system.
4. It combats ingrown hairs.
5. It sloughs off dead skin.
6. Its a rewarding sensation.

How to get started on Dry Brushing!

1. Purchase a natural, NOT a synthetic, bristle brush. (vegetable bristle). I purchased one from Amazon that came highly recommended and the best part was that it was extremely inexpensive and beyond reasonable! It also comes with a long handle which allows you to reach all areas with no difficulty whatsoever.

2. Brush your skin daily, first thing in the morning is recommended as it seems to “wake up” your skin also keep in mind like any new regime it will take about 30 days to see and experience results.

3. Skin brushing should be performed prior to your bath/shower on your entire body ensuring that your skin is dry to begin with, do not wet your skin or the brush.

4. Begin brushing with long sweeping strokes beginning from the bottom of your feet moving in an upward direction towards your upper body. Always remember to brush towards the heart because the lymphatic fluid that circulates through the body outside of the blood’s circulatory system flows in one direction towards the heart.

5. Avoid sensitive areas of the skin where you may have rashes, wounds, cuts, infections or poison ivy.

6. After brushing your skin, rinse off in the shower, and alternate temperatures from warm to cool water, this will further boost and stimulate blood circulation.

7. Finish off by lightly patting the skin with a towel and massage nourishing and moisturizing oils that absorb quickly into the skin such as almond, jojoba, emu or rose moscata oil or any good body lotion that contains no parraffins. I recommend using African Royale Hot Six Hair Oil its actually six oils in one and can be used on your scalp, hair, body and nails not to mention you can pick it up at your local drugstore.

8. Remember to clean your dry brush using soap and water once a week and hang dry to prevent mildew.

Let the brushing begin!

Have you tried dry brushing? Let me know your thoughts below!