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..

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“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

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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!

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Job Requirements: Top Knot

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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

Fighting the Headache Battle With Neighborhood Barre

hallie 2 With Summer allergies rearing their ugly head, it’s not uncommon to be feeling a little more achy this time of year. For those of you who suffer from headaches, this one’s for you. Resident instructor Hallie Wallen shares how exercise has helped her to better cope and manage chronic migraines via NEIGHBORHOOD barre classes and their combination of:

  • getting my heart rate up in the always stellar warmups
  • forward folds and downward movements to increase blood flow
  • the unique workout that, in general, lowered my blood pressure through the constricting/contracting of my blood vessels

Read more about Hallie’s story here: “Living in East Tennessee you are likely to either suffer from migraines or know someone who does. East Tennessee ranks as one of the highest concentration of migraine sufferers in the country. I myself have been diagnosed with chronic migraines….. BUT I discovered Neighborhood barre and it has helped tremendously with my migraine “hygiene”. Low impact exercises (you should avoid jarring exercises such as running) that still maintain a cardio element are proven to reduce migraines. When I started coming to NB I noticed a significant decrease in my number of migraine days. Even on days when I had a migraine I still pushed myself to go to help reduce the pain. It works!hallie blog 2 I have tried other low-impact exercises and barre-based classes, but I did not get the same benefit due to the imbalance of cardio vs. strength training. Neighborhood Barre classes seem to balance this perfectly to maximize the benefits of both. Still doubtful? When I began NB I was taking more than a handful of medicine everyday, referred to as prophylactics. Exercise stimulates your body to release natural pain controlling chemicals called endorphins and natural anti-depressant chemicals called enkephalins. NB allowed me to embark on a well planned exercise program that enabled me to reduce my drug intake, particularly those drugs taken daily to prevent migraines (prophylactic medicine). Now I take only ONE pill a day! I encourage you to come try the health benefits of NB for yourself.” -Hallie

Meet Your Bikini’s Newest Friend: Beyonc-Aid

Post-Fourth cookout (pig-out), we felt it appropriate to introduce you to our favorite summer vice, Beyonc-aid. The name is, of course, an ode to the Master Cleanse Diet Queen, Bey, who used this method to drop over 20lbs for Dreamgirls. However, instead of completely cutting solid foods out of the equation, we choose to be mindful of our choices throughout the day and use the drink to keep our appetite at bay.

Why we love it? It’s tasty, refreshing, and a natural diuretic to keep you from bloating in your swimmie. It also suppresses the appetite and boots the metabolism, which makes it extra useful as a morning juice. Try to drink a full serving before eating breakfast, then sip on it throughout the day to keep the puffiness away.

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What you need: Lemons, a lemon press, stevia in the raw, cayenne pepper

For one Bkr bottle:

Press 2 Lemons, add 1-2 packs of Stevia, and a pinch of cayenne pepper (don’t be shy, the spicier the better).

For a full 1/2 gallon pitcher (pictured):

7 lemons, 6-7 packs of Stevia, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Mix, chill, and enjoy 🙂

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

The Bounce Back After The Binge.

Are you a weekend binge-eater? A late-night-pig-outer? Or a fall-off-the-wagon-all-week kind of person? With Spring Break upon us and summer looming in the near future, we decided to round up a few of our favorite tips and tricks from the NB team so you’ll be reaching for your bikini instead of that baggy white tee.

Hallie: “Drink as much water as you can handle! Divide your weight in half and you should be drinking that number in ounces a day. Also, add lemon to your water. Lemon breaks down the lactic acid in your muscles. I’ve found that not adding ice to my water allows for me to drink much more.”

Madison: “Chia seeds are my vice, I add them to my breakfast and lunch. They really keep me feeling satisfied. Also, I love using pasta substitutes like spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles using my Veggetti

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Ann Holland: “Drink lots of water. Limit sugars, grains, and dairy. Eat lots of fruits, veggies, and protein.”

Julia: “I love walking my dog first thing in the morning, well after 6 am barre of course ;), it’s become part of my daily routine and getting fresh air every day makes me feel so happy and healthy. I need a lot of protein in the morning to keep full after a hard morning workout at Nb, so I like to make smoothies – greek yogurt, a banana, peanut butter, and lots of spinach is my favorite. I think having a big protein filled breakfast and smaller meals throughout the day makes me feel my best!”

Katy: “Brags apple cider vinegar – good for skin, lowers blood sugar, and is a natural diuretic. Take a shot or mix with water. Anytime I’ve overindulged on the weekend, my ACV makes me feel so much better and gets me back on track.”

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Erin: “Replace one meal a day with a green smoothie (almond milk, spinach or kale and frozen fruit)!”

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Krista replaces unhealthy snacks with healthful homemade treats! Check out her recipe for Oatmeal Energy Bites (they are delicious).

Meanwhile in Mexico….. Kelly advises us to “steer clear of all-inclusive vacations”….

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Barre Skinny ™

So you’ve started barre and now your body is changing… for the better? Often times the changes you will see in your body after starting a highly regimented barre program aren’t what you would expect. It isn’t uncommon for your jeans to feel tighter and the number on the scale to rise… Why? Because you are changing from the inside out. 

An athletic barre program will result in the gain of muscle – not bulking of the legs and seat – but long lean muscle mass, which is still adding muscle. Since muscle weighs more than fat, it is not uncommon for the number on the scale to rise or stay relatively the same once you begin your barre program. Don’t judge yourself by the number, let your eyes and those of others be the judge. Our NEIGHBORHOOD barre program refers to this phenomenon as Barre Skinny ™.  Why would you want to be skinny, when you could be Barre Skinny ™? Our barre-bies have muscles, not the bulky body-building muscles, but lean beautiful muscles that define the shape of the arms, back, abs, hips, glutes, thighs, calfs… did I miss anything? Just check out these changes: Image 

So why do your clothes feel tighter than before? Think of a marshmallow vs. an almond.  When your thighs consist of more fat (marshmallow) than muscle (almond) they are going to stuff nicely into your tightest jeans, thus molding themselves to the shape of the pants. Once you have replaced that fat with muscle (almond), the pants have to form to your shape instead. The answer? Give it time. Although we see results quickly in a classical or athletic barre studio, there are layers of change that need to happen in order to reach your ultimate goal. Keep working! The muscles often start to form before the fat has melted away, which is why you think you are ‘bulking’ or getting bigger. You will get smaller. We promise. Keep pulsing, drink LOTS of water, and don’t stop just because it burns 🙂

If you have any other questions about weight gain/loss in barre, post them below. Questions about burning calories? Visit our Facebook page and see the burn.

What The Tuck?

While perusing the social media world last week I saw someone answer the question “What is barre?” like this… “Barre is combination of yoga and pilates with a ballet barre that you use for balance…”. Ummmm, what?

Because barre fitness is still a relatively new phenomenon in the Southeast, we often hear the above-mentioned question “what is barre”? While many see it as a combination of workouts – pilates, yoga, dance – in a classical barre studio, this is not the case. Barre is its own workout, its own moves, its own identity.

So what is it? Barre is a full body workout that incorporate ELEMENTS of dance, pilates, and yoga with isometric movements to carve and shape key muscle groups in the arms, legs, abs, and glutes. It is not a fusion workout. At least not at our studio. Classical barre is based off of its own method – the Lotte Berk Method – which was created by a woman named Lydia Bach. It has been around for MANY years and is just now gaining popularity nationwide. The techniques differ from studio to studio and brand to brand, but a true barre workout (the classical style) is based from Lotte Berk and not a fusion or combination of anything. No warriors or balancing trees here, only tucking, lifting, pulsing, and holding.

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Another key component to a classical studio is the hip tuck. I said ‘tuck’, not ‘thrust’. Tucking of the hips is a classic dance posture that aligns the spine and engages the core. While some might say that the hip tuck is unsafe and outdated, we are confident from our research with local chiropractors, physicians, and physical therapists, that the hip tuck is safe and effective. Think of pressing your tail bone towards the floor. It keeps your body stacked in a position that is safer for the lower back and allows more muscle groups to be engaged during the workout, thus burning more calories and providing an overall strength benefit. 

What’s more comfortable to you? Standing like this..

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Or like this…

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While no studio is really right or wrong, it is up to you to find the workout that is right for your body and strength level and delivers the results you want and need. If a fusion studio that calls itself a ‘combination of yoga and pilates’ is your thing, then go for it; but if you want barre, then make sure you find  a classical studio that uses only elements of other methods, rather than fusing different workouts together. Barre fitness can provide amazing results if done consistently and correctly. At NEIGHBORHOOD barre we make it our goal to ensure that our clients get the best experience possible, with proper coaching to ensure safety and effectiveness during class. If you ever have any questions about a move or a posture, then ask! As we all know, barre can often get harder before it gets easier because we learn the technique over time. Stick to it and keep tucking! Don’t forget, your first class at NEIGHBORHOOD barre is FREE! Come see the difference.

How I Lost One Inch In One Week

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!