Get Moving! – Self Care Matters

I was on a long road trip this past weekend and delved into a few podcasts, all but one related to fitness as it pertains to the health, development, and symptomatology (physical manifestations, presentations in the academic setting, social interactions, problem behaviors etc.) of various disabilities (including autism, down syndrome, and ADHD.) What I heard, however, was relevant to all human beings as a species – much of it covered material I have always taken as “common sense” (likely a product of an athletic upbringing), but some of it was also a little bit alarming.

According to studies, a wholly sedentary life can be more detrimental to our health long-term than smoking. Uh…YIKES. As I am neither a clinician nor a doctor, I’ll leave the research review of studies and articles (such as this one) to you. One way or the other, though, inactivity is bad news.

While I know some people who’d argue a few minutes out of a lifetime isn’t a big deal, I’m willing to bet there have been moments in all of our lives during which we’d have done anything to gain more time. It can be a frightening prospect when put into that kind of perspective – we are (like it or not) a fragile and fleeting species.

The discussions in the podcasts revolved around how we can engage those that have deficits in joint attention, physical challenges, and slower cognitive processes, as well as those who aren’t particularly interested in the activities to begin with. Again, the concepts were ones we all would do well to live by, particularly that last one.

We have one body this go around and it’s important that we take care of it as if it was as sacred to us as whatever else in our lives we cherish (YES, you DO deserve that kind of love and care from yourself.)

This photo crossed my path the other day and I found it, too, to be both jarring and sad.

I was recently chatting with a 93 year-old friend about aging well – meaning mind, body, and spirit. We were out on the ice – both of us skating – and were nodding our heads that many people resign themselves to a false fate. What do I mean by that? I mean that some people think “active” and “healthy” are reserved for 20-somethings or younger.

B U L L S H I T ! Here’s my buddy George proving everyone wrong by zooming around the ice with me…

As we get older, some change is inevitable – we might need longer recovery, we might need an extra rest day, we might need to tweak our nutrition to suit what our body and minds need with each passing year…but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay healthy overall. 

I always believed in maintenance because a spiral that has delved into the depths is harder to come back from – that goes for every aspect of our being (emotional, spiritual, physical, you name it!)

Goals don’t have to be unrealistic (nor should they be!) – we DON’T have to compete with anyone, let alone a professional athlete, a model, a celebrity, a Roman statue, a meme…! 

There’s also no need to set ourselves up for failure by trying to attain what doesn’t make sense. Not everyone wants to be overly muscular, or necessarily “thin”… It’s about striving for a healthy, fit, and / or active life, which is – YES – more than achievable. Remember, our “healthy” may look differently than our neighbor…but we always know, deep down, if we have attained that. Or not.

When we try to take steps each day to love the one vessel we have been given, we are able to stay in control of what we CAN do…rather than deal with what we can’t because we decided we were too much effort. 

You ARE worth the effort, 1,000%. 

And…you can do anything you put your mind to. Beyond that, treating ourselves with the respect we deserve in order to live and enjoy a healthy life means we may buy ourselves some precious moments that one day we will thank the stars we have to spend.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift

So I’m sure there are a plethora of skeptics out there.  I was one myself. . .before my Clarisonic cleansing brush.  I still just use my hands to wash my face sometimes but I ALWAYS see a difference when I use my – rather expensive – brush device.  So yes…it’s worth it. 

A new advancement has come to light, however, in the Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift ($349). The 2-in-1 cleansing and micro-firming device not only cleanses the skin, but purportedly targets 15 signs of aging (per Clarisonic.com):

Smart Profile Uplift targets 15 signs of aging on face, neck, and décolleté.

  • Provides next-level micro-firming massage.
  • Delivers skin-changing sonic cleansing.
  • Minimizes the look of pores.
  • Boosts the absorption of your daily skincare products.
  • See visible, cumulative results.

screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-7-36-45-am

I know sounds too good to be true, but home devices (the right ones) are an amazing way to keep up with results from dermatologic procedures, and to make the products you have at home work their best. Think of it as an investment.

It’s a new product so there aren’t many reviews (which I always invest in reading for pricier items), but I’d keep your eyes open because as with anything that promises these kinds of results…it’s SURE to catch on.  Especially from this brand, with known “cult” brushes (and cult for great reason – they WORK!)

No Treadmill, No Problem, by Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CSCS

Sharing this post (by Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CSCS) because it’s a great little workout when you feel like you need cardio, and you don’t have (or want!) a machine! 

And yes…there is plenty you CAN do without having to be indoors, feeling like an oversized hamster. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a great way to get your heart rate up, and the metabolism burning. I’d personally take running with a log over the treadmill myself!

(C) Cartoonstock

(C) Cartoonstock / Guy & Rodd

 

Change of Pace…

The point of this post…

My main passions (beyond the Love of my Life and my family!) are Martial Arts, and living a happy, healthy Life (with animals around! 🙂 )  I care about taking good care of myself as I get older – internally and externally.  

Fashion was my career for over a decade, and I LOVED it.  By the age of 23 I was managing over 200 people in Cosmetics and Fragrances in a massive NYC department store – serious fun, and serious education!  By 24 I had forayed into ladies footwear, where I’d stay and grow for many more years – here and overseas.

But while I know those worlds intimately, and cherished that time, I feel like those topics are wildly saturated these days.  When you do Fashion Trend Analysis, the concept of “fast fashion” and obsolescence isn’t novel…  But I have so much “new” to share on here that I can’t seem to disseminate it quickly enough!  

So I’m shifting my focus a bit, and hope that’s okay – I know that “newness” will be covered in spades by some AMAZING bloggers out there.  I’m so grateful to all of you who read and enjoy – I love connecting with the larger Universe, and appreciate the kind support. ❤

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.32.56 AM

__________________________________________________________________________________________

I feel like in many ways I am a dichotomy – a proverbial oxymoron, as it were.  I blame my zodiac most of the time…  Scarcely a disservice to other Gemini – we all know just how multi-faceted we can be!  

Because of my, er, celestial classification I have a habit of taking on seemingly highly opposing activities (boredom is a kiss of doom for us!):

  • Figure Skating —> Takekwondo
  • Classical Ballet —> Hapkido
  • Ballroom Dancing —> Ninjutsu 
  • Hip Hop —> JiuJitsu
  • Aerial Yoga —> Kumdo

In my own mind, of course, EVERYTHING is a dance.

EVERYTHING.

Still…not all of my sports are focused on grooming the way many of my childhood ones entailed – Martial Arts?  Looking pretty is the last thing on my mind!  I didn’t grow up to be a glamorous girl – I admire those who are, absolutely – but glam won’t work for me on a daily basis.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.33.10 AM

I am far too active to maintain a quotidian routine of lipstick and updos.  I strive for “natural.”  I want to enhance, not hide.  I want to look the same when I wash my face at Night (lest my other half wonder what happened!) 😉 

Having been trained to perform most of my Life, I was bombarded with notions of grace, beauty, polish, and sophistication very early on.  There are worlds revolving around skincare, makeup artistry, hair design – if you haven’t been exposed to it, you’d be wowed! Those things mattered enormously in the sports in which I was predominantly trained in growing up.  You wouldn’t dare take the ice without your “war paint,” or the stage without the proper bun and shimmer!

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.33.53 AM

As a result, I know a TON about those arenas – makeup artistry was essentially required for my sports.  I was drawn to it as a child because it was openly creative and there really wasn’t a “wrong way” to do it.  It also took a lot of skill to pull oneself together and, most importantly…

Grooming boiled down to taking your performing sport and competition seriously (not to mention the judges taking YOU seriously at the same time.)  

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.33.26 AM

At the root of all that, skincare was therefore a big deal – my mother always told me that the canvas matters the most (painting over a blemished surface is much more of a challenge, and means you forego “natural” in pursuit of a hard-to-obtain perfection.)  So, I also know TONS about skincare too, and am often asked about my own regimen.  Having good habits starting early will make a big difference down the road and I’m incredibly thankful I don’t appear to be 37.

As an athlete, taking care of our skin is vital – we are often covered in sweat, rolling on mats, or using communal equipment at a gym / school / dojo etc… So unless cleanliness doesn’t matter, we have to be a bit more mindful. 

I also L ❤ VE being a woman, and I care about aging as gracefully as I am able (I probably own every product known to man! 😉 )  I will never run about in complete shambles, and when I am going out somewhere, I will pull it together! I love Fashion and I loved working in the field – I can’t say I don’t miss it!  And I love womanly things – gowns, pencil dresses, lace, stockings, glitter…  So while “badass” and “edgy” work…so do sexy and beautiful.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.35.30 AM

When I’m training, though, I’m probably going to be a ruffled mess…so I always felt like “If you can’t handle me like [this], then I’m not for you!”  I mean… I used to live in a town where people would say, “you should wear your hair down when you workout!  You look so different!  It’s much prettier!”  

“Uh…Excuse me?!”

For me personally, the gym is for working out, staying fit, pushing my limits – not impressing anyone with looks…or anything else!  Superficial doesn’t fit in my scheme of things – I’m there to work, and to do something kind for myself.  There is always room to get dolled up later.  

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.32.42 AM

The great news? Most of my friends are furiously hardworking – whether in their career, Martial Arts, extreme sports (rock climbing, for one, blows me away!), lifting, or seriously skill-perfecting  sports like shooting, I am always in awe, and ever-encouraged to learn more.   

I’m blessed and thankful to be surrounded by supportive people who could care LESS if my hair is a mess, and I’m purple-cheeked and sweating.  Even if we are doing different activities, there is always respect and support.

I need to make a point to also say that the support of my other half is huge. He inspires me every day with his work ethic, talents, eagerness to learn, and his phenomenal heart, among many other things. ❤  

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.34.36 AM

The point is…going forward, my posts will reflect more of this aspect of my Life (a huge part of it!) than they have in the past.  As much as I am asked about my skin, and the “outward”…I am also asked on a regular basis about what I do for sports, what my routine looks like, what my nutrition consists of etc…  I feel like I can be most helpful in this way.

I love to inspire, I LOOOOVE to encourage, and I find that there is strong community in sharing… So that’s my plan for now. 🙂

As always, many thanks – I love the wonderful comments, and I appreciate the time all of you take out of your day to spend a moment with me. 

XX ❤ X

*Pascal*

 

 

Music Makes A Difference

With some of the training I do, listening to music is impossible – in a dojo or dojang, it isn’t even something I would entertain – you just DON’T.  But…with all of my other sports and activities, it is a MUST HAVE.

Must.

HAVE.

M U S I C !

When people talk about the various musical instruments they can play, I’ll smile…knowing perfectly well that my gifts are in other areas (I tried the oboe and piano, failing quite miserably!)  My man can recite what I would say before I do… The other day he heard a riff and said “I used to play that!”  I smiled and said “I wish I could!”  He then finished my sentence…“my body is my instrument.”

IMG_8031

My body IS my instrument.

My strength has never been in reading notes, or creating beautiful sound through the complexities of pairing up with a physical object.  Rather, it is in reading the sound, and using my body to “play” the notes.

IMG_1099

As a figure skater, ballerina, and ballroom dancer, that skill was required – you have to know how to move with the subtle nuances of the music…just as a musician must know how to create and evolve with what they play.  

But it isn’t only within the creative Performing Sports that music matters – it is as much a part of my weight lifting and cardio routine, as it was for practice and performance on the ice, in the ballroom, on stage… Music speaks to my body, telling me what I need to be doing.  

IMG_0229

It encourages me to pick up the pace when I am starting to get lackadaisical and plateau.  

It reminds me to slow down at certain intervals, to recoup when I may have kept charging instead.  

It makes a HUGE difference, not only in the physical output, but also in the mental sphere.

IMG_1098

One of the things I hear often about “working out” is that people get bored.  Oh my, SO DO I!  I am not a fan of cardio that I am aware I am doing, rest assured!  But the music makes it go by faster – it keeps the activity interesting, fun, and engaging.

IMG_0234

I have to note here that sometimes it’s also worth listening to something you may not otherwise – you may find unlikely motivation from new beats and new sounds – it never hurts to check out other genres to keep your routines from getting stale!

My hunnie also bought a Sonos that we use when we spin at home – I honestly had no idea what it was (embarrassing, I know!) but I am completely hooked.  With it I can stream Pandora and get a random onslaught of jams to keep me pushing!  

When I’m not in the luxury of my home, it’s all about the iPod.  Unless I’m in a really specific mood, I’ll put songs on Shuffle – it keeps things interesting, and again, helps me to dictate how I want to run my session.  Changing up your plan is important for continuous growth – whether through reps, intensity, or speed.  You want to give your muscles something new, and on days you are dragging, the music can help you to do that!

Natural Sugar

Sometimes after a workout…and sometimes before…I need a jolt of sugar.  I don’t do well with sugar in general – too much fruit is as much a problem for me as processed foods depending on the quantity!  But when I do need something sweet, I reach for fresh fruit as much as possible.  Red grapes are a favorite, as is pineapple – when they are ripe, the sweetness can completely override the need to have something far less healthy!

IMG_0766

That said, I often crave salt after lifting or working out. Well, let’s be honest, I crave it ALL the time!  I tend towards low blood pressure, not uncommon with really active females, so salt can be a good thing in my case.  But the other day all I wanted was sweet, and this bowl of grapes did the trick!   

I find that my body will let me know what I need – my cravings are an indication (typically) that something is in lower supply. Not only did my natural, grape-ity bonbons satisfy my sweet tooth, they helped in the recovery process, as well as with my energy level – happy muscles = happy me! 🙂

IMG_0930

Listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to have some fresh fruit around the house – the natural sweetness, fiber and water content can help you stay on track with your nutritional needs and goals, as well as give your body a boost when it needs it!  (Not to mention healthy natural enzymes and nutrients!)