Tucking For Two: Barre With Baby

Who better to to ask for mommy and mommy-to-be tips than NB Nashville’s Kelly Phillips? See her thoughts on tucking for two below..

Parallel Side

“Barre is one of the best methods of exercise during pregnancy. You can exercise safely right up until delivery (seriously)! It is low-impact and easy on the joints and the class can still be taken ‘in-full’ with a few minor modifications to ensure both you and your baby’s comfort and safety. Plus you’re using your own body weight primarily to create resistance so you can control the intensity of each exercise.

Listen to your body and remind yourself to slow down and take the modifications in class. Always talk to your instructor pre/post class about exercise modifications. Most any exercise that is done at the barre can be done on the mat and vice-versa. Try it both ways and see where you’re most comfortable as your body grows.

Eat a small snack before exercising, such as a banana or chia bar so you’re not exercising on an empty stomach, this will also aid in reducing light-headedness and potential nausea. And make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!

Barre exercise will keep you toned, healthy and fit pre-and-post pregnancy, as well as benefit labor and delivery. You’re strengthening not only your core and pelvic floor, but also increasing endurance, flexibility and even breath control in class.

We offer complimentary child care when you are cleared to return to exercise post-baby! Exercising releases necessary endorphins and provides that much needed energy boost when you’re exhausted and overwhelmed with a newborn. You need to take a little time for yourself daily and barre class is a perfect way to get some ‘me’ time in while also rebuilding your strength and toning your body post-baby. Plus there’s plenty of mama’s who have been there in class and it’s nice to have reassurance and advice from other clients and instructors who become fast friends at the barre!”

-Kelly Phillips

Head Barre-2

Modified Abs Twist Green Band-2

Questions on tucking for two? Post below or email to info@neighborhoodbarre.com

Don’t forget that we offer specials on packages for new moms and those who are expecting. We also provide pregnancy modifications in our DVD workouts!

The Skinny on Snacking

Keeping your diet on track during the colder winter months can be a daunting task. A cold salad isn’t quite as tempting in 20 degree temps as it is on a summer afternoon, BUT one of the best tricks to keep you from derailing and grabbing Chick-fil-a is…snacking! It is so important to keep your blood sugar levels constant in order to keep you from getting too hungry and rationalizing a not-so-healthy food option because you are quote-on-quote ‘starving’ or ‘hangry’. Through trial and error (and multiple last minute Fresh Market runs) we have found quick, on the go snack options that are satisfying and flavorful. See below to get the skinny on snacking….

RAU_1071

-Bars: Admittedly, it can be really tricky to find a bar that is actually good for you. Sugars can be disguised as ‘sugar alcohols’ and many bars have a not so desirable calorie and fat content. Our favs are the Chia Warrior bars (only 110 calories), because these bars are super easy to throw in your purse or gym bag and eat on the run. We feel the same about Lara Bars..undoubtedly the most desirable ingredients of any bar. The sugar content is higher then some, but its derived from dates so its all natural and easier for your body to digest. Plus, with all of the yummy flavors they offer you really can never get bored. Personal Fav: coconut cream pie!RAU_1045

-La Croix: Pretty sure our obsession with these drinks are obvious, but you really can’t beat a zero calorie carbonated beverage. We realize chugging water all day can be boring and sometimes you just want a little fizz. These are a great soda fix and they actually hydrate you, double bonus.RAU_1050

-Nut Butters: While there is nothing wrong with peanut butter, we are partial to almond butter. We LOVE Justin’s brand because not only do they taste great, but they come in size portioned packages that help you not get out of control, but are also convenient to throw in a bag.RAU_1065

-Other mentionables include: apples (a great pairing for the almond butter), clementines, raw nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds are SO good for you), eggs (think protein), guac (pre-portioned packages are the best), green tea, avocado (cut in half,add salsa, sprinkle sunflower seeds,drizzle balsamic, viola!)

RAU_1078.jpg

Happy snacking barre-bies!

Comment below with your favorite healthful snacks!

Job Requirements: Top Knot

IMG_1007

Just in time for Monday Bunday, we bring you…. the 10 second top knot. Do you ever see the girls with the ‘effortless buns’ that you know good and damn well took them 1/2 an hour to create?! Us too, and let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for that. Truth be told, the perfect top knot is one that is quick, easy, and STAYS PUT while you work out.

Here we go…

Workout’s newest trend, The Half Bun. You either love it, or think it resembles your six-year old self, but here it is. (By the way, we love it and often wear it beyond the studio).

  1. You MUST have the proper supplies. Lucky for you the only item that is slightly pricey, but also the MOST IMPORTANT is the hairspray. Aveda Air Control is by far the best light-hold spray – it adds texture, isn’t sticky, and smells delicious. As a hairspray connoisseur, I have tried too many to count, and always go back to this one. Tip for thick hair: Double up on pony tail holders on both the 1/2 and full bun so that your pony tail stays tight!
  2. Create the 1/2 pony. You want the side parts of the 1/2 pony to hit at about the 1/2 way point of your eyebrows to prevent from grabbing too much, or too little hair. When in doubt, less is more.

3. Back-comb the pony to create texture. Split the pony in 1/2, SLOWLY back comb to create texture. This is what helps prevent the little spriggly wiggly hair from sticking out and also helps keep the bun secure.

4. Wrap and pin.  The wrap might take a hot minute to master, but the key is to not wrap too tightly. Press your left hand down on the bun as you wrap with the right, simply secure with a bobby pin or two in the back, then place one pin in the very front to keep the bun flat to your head and secure.

5. SPRAY with your Aveda Air Control and voila! For added volume hold out the hair around the part and add a few sprays so that it’s not flat to your head.

And now for the main event…. THE TOP KNOT.

Don’t worry, we actually saved the easiest for last. Keys to ensuring a perfect top knot – double up the pony tail holders and make sure that your pony tail placement is on point.

  1. Once securing the ponytail, when looking straight into the mirror, you should be able to see the pony tail holder and approximately 1 inch of volume.
  2. Back comb the pony starting on the inside. Split the pony into two sections, SLOWLY back comb the inside of the pony, then repeat with the other half
  3. Wrap slowly, pressing down on the hair with your opposite hand, being careful not to wrap too tightly.

  4. Place one to two pins in the back (do not cross the pins), and wrap the tail end around placing one to two pins in the front.
  5. SPRAY with your Aveda Air Control, and bam. You’re ready to hit the barre.

How’d you do?! Tag @neighborhood_barre and #mondaybunday to show us your effortless barre style!

 

photos by Sarah Rau, Social Media Specialist

Long & Strong: Stretching Makes A Difference

Instructor: “… finish strong! last, 3, 2, and 1… great job, face the barre, let’s get a stretch…” You: “uhhh. owwww…. omg hurry up… whew oh thank God, I think I got a snap chat…” {immediately grabs phone}. If this … Continue reading

All Hail Hallie’s Gym Bag

hallies gym bag

 

As we all know, Hallie Wallen is THE queen of all things fitness so naturally we were dying to see what she keeps stashed in her gym bag. The water, tennies, keys and cough drops came as no surprise, but there were a few items in particular that caught our eye….

1. Lilly Pulitzer planner: this is essential in helping Hallie plan her busy day and keep her classes straight. Besides the fact that the cover is super chic, Lilly planners have the best stickers for tracking important dates and great by-day and week tabs to help keep even the busiest girl organized. Want one? Go visit our one of our Nb staples, Deedee, at Palm Village Knoxville to get yours!

2. Karen Walker sunnies: Not only are these super stylish, but the updated wayfarer gives Hallie the ability to take her shades from barre class to brunch and we are all about the ease in which we transition workout wear to the streets.

3. Alo sports bra: Its no secret we are crazy about Alo at NB.  We love both the support and trendy mesh detail this bra offers..and isn’t everything better in black?! We think so. #allblackeverything (available at Neighborhood barre studios for only $48).

4. Evian Facial Spray and Ibuprofen: Super affordable and super essential when it comes to feeling refreshed after or in-between classes. As a headache sufferer, it’s important for Hallie to always be prepared to feel her best and both of these products help her to stay ahead of her symptoms.

5. Tiger Balm heat rub: Hallie soothes her soreness with this amazing topical pain reliever. Have you ever stood next Hallie and secretly thought to yourself  “what in the world is that SMELL!??” well, folks here it is.

 

What’s in your gym bag? Comment below with your essentials gear suggestions!

How I Lost One Inch In One Week

Image

My basic formula for a quick change goes a little something like this….

Water + Sleep – Gluten = Change

Now, I am not saying this formula is going to work for everyone, or that you will all of the sudden shed inches from your waist like some miracle concoction; but I am saying that for me, making these dietary and lifestyle changes produces faster and more noticeable results than exercise and ‘eating right’ do on their own.

Miss Parks says it best with her “water, water, water” chant after every class. She’s right. Increasing your water intake does so much for your body from reducing soreness after a workout, to giving you more energy, and even reducing belly bloat – resulting in a flatter stomach. I bet you thought the belly bloat was going to relate to the less gluten portion of the equation didn’t you? Not so for me. Drinking more water aids digestion and actually causes you to retain less (water retention can have a visible effect on your midsection). I’ve upped my water intake to at least a 1/2 gallon (a.k.a. 4 Bkr’s) with my goal being to consume twice that on a daily basis.

New chant for you, “sleep, sleep, sleep.” Think about it. What do you do when you’re sleepy and trying to stay awake? Eat, maybe? I do, and I don’t always make the best choices, because I crave either sugar or ‘comfort food.’ Being well rested helps your body crave the types of food you need, not the types of food that are quick and easy. Like Chick-fil-a. And pizza. And Coke Zero. Anyway….

That being said, I am not an advocate for completely cutting something out of your diet unless there is a necessary purpose, like allergies or intolerance. However, I have found that significantly reducing the amount of gluten I eat directly results in less ‘fluff’ around my midsection. Why is this? It makes me think about everything I eat. For some, the consumption of processed wheat, rye, or barley can cause bloat due to a food allergy or intolerance to gluten. However, for the majority of the public, who do not have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten (me), it simply means you are consuming fewer empty calories, and rather, replacing snacks and side dishes with well thought out choices like fruits and vegetables. Things to remember? Less gluten does not mean less calories. In fact, often times foods that are labeled ‘gluten free’ are higher in calories than those that are not. Be mindful of snacks containing more sugar and fat as a result of less gluten.

Snack of choice these days? Larabar Roasted Nut Roll (which has less sugar than some other gluten free snacks) and one whole Bkr.

Image

Final tip… Don’t concentrate on the numbers on the scale. They can be deceiving. I weigh the same now as I did a week ago, but I look better in a bikini 🙂

Modify. It Doesn’t Hurt To Take A Lower Option In Barre Class.

Hot shaky muscles are a staple in our Neighborhood Barre classes, but actual pain can be another issue going beyond the barre burn to another level. While we do offer modifications throughout the workout, some pain issues require you to rework a position entirely in order to avoid discomfort in class. Common issues relate to knees, lower back strain, and strain to the neck and shoulders. While most of these issues will dissipate over time – as you build strength in class – it is important to use modifications to avoid unnecessary strain on your body. Here we will outline and demonstrate our most common modification needs.

Plank – During plank you want to think about pulling your belly button to your spine, allowing your core to do the work, and keeping a straight line down your body. We often see swayed backs and distended necks like this:  DSC00129

If you feel the sway, use this modification – drop to your knees and then pull your belly button back to your spine to shift the work into your core. If holding this position is still too much, then take little breaks by pressing back into Child’s Pose.

DSC00134

DiamondThe most common complaint here is knee or hip pain. Often this type of pain can be caused by your knee to hip alignment, not anything you are actually doing in the pose. Here we demonstrate a typical diamond pose: DSC00146

To readjust, move your feet into a more narrow V taking pressure off the knees and putting more work in your thighs. You can also eliminate the ‘knee press’ portion of the exercise, choosing to hold a still position instead.

DSC00141

Chair – Lower back strain can be an issue in chair. Core strength and proper alignment play a big role here. Make sure that your shoulders are stacked over your hips, your hips are tucked under, and that your knees are stacked over your ankles. We often see swayed backs, hunched shoulders, or improper alignment as demonstrated below:

DSC00137

If you feel the back strain, walk your feet under the barre and use the baseboard for support. Pull your upper body closer and think about pressing your feet into the floor. This will properly align the body and put the work back into your thighs.

DSC00139

Ab Work – Neck and shoulder strain and lower back pain can often be associated with Pilates-style ab work. Luckily there are MANY modifications for abs, but here are a few basics that work in most positions to alleviate strain.

There is always an option to use 2 balls. This works great for a pre/post natal modification, or for anyone who has a sensitive lower back, by allowing support to the spine throughout the portion of abs where we work high.

DSC00149

The twist – our favorite modification on our twisting oblique work is to keep the ‘floating leg’ bent, thereby pressing the foot into the floor. You will feel your lower back press into the mat. This will shift the work back to your core and allow you to relax your neck and shoulders, as this is often where we feel the strain in this exercise.

DSC00151

The pump is another exercise that can cause the shoulder and neck pain that we so often feel during Pilates.  Rather than setting your head down, try lowering your feet from table-top to the ground. Like the previous example, this will allow you to reengage your core rather than straining through your neck.

DSC00152

Keep in mind that a lot of the pain – especially lower back, neck, and shoulder strain – will subside as you get stronger, as we often compensate for lack of core strength with other muscle groups. ALWAYS take the lower options if you feel pain. It is better to have proper form while performing a more simple exercise, than to strain your body towards an advanced position. By listening to our bodies, we will know when the time is right to take it to the next level. Start slow. It is always OK to perform part of a set in an advanced position and then move to your modification. The more you push yourself, the longer you will be able to hold the advanced poses, using the modifications less and less!

Resolution Schmesolution… Make It Your LIFE.

Image

The average New Year’s Resolution lasts for 17 days, with the number one resolution being to lose weight (statisticbrain.com). Unfortunately many of the pounds that are lost (if any) are very soon put back on due to lack of commitment, workout and diet burnout, or giving up because you’re not seeing the results fast enough.

There’s a saying that we try to live by here at Neighborhood Barre: “make what you love into what you do.” This saying can apply in a lot different capacities, but let’s try this. What do YOU love? …I love feeling good. I love feeling healthy, being comfortable in my skin, and not sweating the small stuff. How do I live it? I watch what I eat and I exercise almost daily. It’s what I do, so I can live the way I love to live.  Neighborhood Barre gets me there. I get a full-body workout in 55 minutes, it clears my mind of small-life stresses, it give me the ability to feel comfortable in my skin, and I leave feeling strong and healthy.  This year don’t make a resolution. Make a new life. Turn what you love into what you do.

See below for inspiring stories of real clients who have made Neighborhood Barre a part of their life. Living and chasing the shake for over a year! No resolutions here, only happy, healthful lifestyles.

Image

As someone who has tried every workout in the book, I can honestly say that I have never felt stronger since I began taking Neighborhood Barre classes. It has been a year now, and I am STILL seeing changes in my body!

Image

Since becoming pregnant, barre has been helping me maintain steady weight gain. I’ve had a big increase in my appetite and I don’t make the “right” choices every time I need a snack. Even though I’ve had to modify some of the work outs, Neighborhood Barre is still kicking my butt and definitely keeping me fit!

Image

The first time I noticed a change in my body was when my mom and I were moving a mattress up a hill. My mom lifts weights and always brags about how strong she is (and she really is pretty strong) but this time, I was the stronger one and I kept on going when my mom needed to take a break. After that, I noticed that my normal jog around Lakeshore didn’t take as long!! I was feeling better during my runs and so I was running much quicker! My muscles and core are much stronger!!! All this strength and NO BULK!!!

Image

I had sustained a low back injury from work and had been going to physical therapy for several months prior to coming to Neighborhood Barre. I also had my third flare up of plantar fasciitis that steroid injections and sleeping a rigid boot had not cured. My foot is 100% and my back is 90% better from the overall strengthening of my core. Both things I am thrilled about, but I have to admit my biggest testimonial is that in the past year I have gone down almost two full sizes in my jeans.

Image

My exercise goals are focused on getting in shape and toning my body; Nb has done that and more for me. It truly is an entire body work-out, and I can tell a difference in the way my clothing fits now. I can see new toned definition in my arms, abs/waist and legs that I didn’t have before. I overall feel much stronger and healthier, and going to the morning classes make me feel more energized to take on the rest of the day!

Image

After more than a decade of my childhood spent at the gymnastics studio, my body quickly gains muscle mass in the form of bulk. Nb is the first workout that allowed my body to regain its strength and flexibility without the bulk. After only a few weeks, my arms and legs were visibly leaner. I recently took a brief hiatus due to second-pregnancy exhaustion. It only took two classes before the tone returned. The workouts also greatly increase my energy level.

Image

I have truly enjoyed being a client of Nb over the last year. Not only have I experienced changes to my body, I have had a blast doing it! From my arms to my seat and calves it is like a total body transformation. I really like all of the instructors who push me to feel the burn and shake each and every time I take class. It definitely never gets any easier!

I love how every class is just as challenging as the first. I love how after every class my muscles are fatigued (sometimes still shaking) and I'm relaxed, but energized all at the same time - it's the perfect combo! And of course, RESULTS! I am amazed by the changes I have achieved over the past year. My muscles are longer, leaner, and stronger than ever before. I am a much stronger runner because of the strength I have built at Nb. I love it!

I love how every class is just as challenging as the first. I love how after every class my muscles are fatigued (sometimes still shaking) and I’m relaxed, but energized all at the same time – it’s the perfect combo! And of course, RESULTS! I am amazed by the changes I have achieved over the past year. My muscles are longer, leaner, and stronger than ever before. I am a much stronger runner because of the strength I have built at Nb. I love it!

 

Homemade Granola & Greek Yogurt by Gussie Gayle

We’ve all heard about the Greek Yogurt craze by now, but what you don’t always hear about is how sugar-filled a lot of store brands can be (not to mention the preservatives). Here, our resident ‘house mom,’ Gussie Gayle, lets us in on one of her most popular recipes – greek yogurt and homemade granola. YUM-O! Perfect for any breakfast or mid-day snack! Here’s a sneak peek of the finished product:

Breakfast anyone?

Oh, and this recipe makes a LOT of granola, so if you’re not baking for a big family or group, cut it in half.

GRANOLA

Step 1: Gather all of your ingredients!

Old-Fashioned Oats, Wheat Germ, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Coconut, Buttermilk Powder, Chopped Nuts (optional), Dried Fruit (optional), Honey, Sunflower Oil

Step 2: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil and flour a cookie sheet with sides.

Step 3:

Dry Mix:  (In a large bowl)
5 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant)
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds (I prefer pumpkin seeds)
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup chopped nuts (optional, but I don’t always)

1 cup dried fruit (optional, but I don’t – I like to add fresh when I serve it)

Wet Mix:  (In a medium sized bowl)
1 cup safflower or sunflower oil
1 1/2 cup local honey

Whisk the oil and honey until they are well mixed and almost fluffy.  Then, pour the wet mix into the dry mix and combine thoroughly.

Once everything is happily groove-a-licious, spread the entire mixture evenly onto the cookie sheet.  It’s a big pile if you do the whole recipe.

Step 4: Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  I usually stir about mid way.  Watch it carefully, because it will overcook quicker than you realize.  It needs to be golden brown, and “dry” enough (after it cools and you crumble it) that it will stay loose in storage.  Store in an air-tight container.

YOGURT

Step 1: Gather ingredients!

1 Quart Milk (I use skim, but use what you want)
1/2 cup Powdered Milk

1 container (1/2 cup) plain yogurt with an active culture (like Chobani Greek Yogurt)

Step 2:

Pour milk into small saucepan and whisk in powdered milk. Place over medium heat and bring to 120 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Once milk has reached 120 degrees F, stir in yogurt, blend well, and then pour into two pint jars (or one quart jar).

Step 3:

Turn the light on in your oven and place the jars close to the bulb.  I usually make the yogurt either in the morning and remove it from the oven before bedtime, or at night and leave it overnight until set.

Voila! The yogurt will be “looser” than store-bought yogurt, because it doesn’t contain all of the additives. Resist the urge to stir it, because that will loosen it even more. SO GOOD with granola and fresh fruit!

Self Expectations – Learning To Let Go & Embrace The Shake!

Image

Many of us expect too much of ourselves in general; and when it comes to physical activity, disappointment is very common. At Neighborhood Barre we pride ourselves on being a judgment-free environment. In fact, our mission states that our goal “…is to offer all clients, whether beginner or advanced, a quick and effective way to transform their bodies. The studio will evoke a sense of comfort and encouragement in our clients’ quest for improvement, free of judgment and comparison.”  However, sometimes outside judgment is not the problem, rather it is the judgment from within that holds us back.

Classical barre is an extremely challenging workout that can often feel even more intense by week 2 or 3 than it did in week 1. This is because our bodies start to adjust and become familiar with the positions, and over time we work deeper in the pose and movements become smaller, transforming from swings to contractions.  This scenario is NORMAL and only proves that you are growing in the technique.  On the other hand, some of us feel intimated from the start. Take it from me, don’t let this stop you.

I know all too well how daunting a new type of class can be. I recently tried hot yoga for the first time. Oh.Em.Gee. You would have thought I was hydrating for a hike through the Sahara with the amount of water I consumed that day. I had thoroughly convinced myself that I was either going to throw up, pass out, or both at some point during that 60 minutes of 105 degree heat. I worked myself up to the point of being so nervous that if my friends hadn’t expected me to be there, I probably wouldn’t have gone. Mind you, this is coming from someone who is, in fact, a certified yoga instructor… yeah. Bottom line, I loved the class. No one fainted. No one threw up. And I felt silly for being so nervous on the front end. Sometimes we need to just embrace a new experience and a new type of workout, and not expect ourselves to be the best. Embrace the struggle, the nervousness, and the new challenge before you, rather than loathing the thought of being the worst or not being able to make it through the class.

So what have we learned? DON’T BE AFRAID to try something new. The fear of the unknown can prevent us from finding things in life that we truly love, even if it’s just a new way to work out. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED! Remember that the barre SHAKE is a good thing – something we never want to lose. In fact, when you stop shaking, you need to start working lower and deeper. DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH FROM YOURSELF! Go into a new situation with no expectations at all. If you need to stop, then stop. If you need water, then go get some water. If you need to sit down and rest, then sit down. No one is judging you, but you. So drop the self-judgment and the high expectations, and concentrate on what’s important – your health!