Let’s Get It On! Tips for the Bride Getting Into Her Dress

wedding dresses

 

It’s May y’all! I know that this is the beginning of wedding season and while some brides already have a leg up on their fitness regimen for their big day, I know that there can never be too much advice on looking for best for one of the most exciting, stress inducing and joyous days of your life!

  1. Start your day with a good breakfast. Yeah, I know, you’ve heard it a million times but it is essential! Have a smoothie with greek yogurt and fruit (add protein powder if you like) or have one of my favorites: steel cut oatmeal.
  2. Have goals. Write them down-the earlier the better! Do you want to lose weight or sculpt what you are working with already? Do you need to pay attention to your diet or do you need to..
  3. Hit the weights! Most people go to the old stand-by (or at least what they believe) of weight loss exercising-cardio. Now I love cardio, but the keys to maintaining a healthy weight lie in 1. A clean diet 2. Strength training 3. Cardio. In that order.
  4.  Visualize how you want to look in your dress. Of course you have a picture of your dress in your desk, purse and gym bag. But also know the silhouette of the dress. Is it backless? Its it a short dress? Does it show off your waist? Tailor your workouts to accentuate what you have naturally as well as what you develop while training. You also want to increase your endurance levels! Wedding planning is no joke-lots of running around, making decisions, and late nights. You are going to need energy for that so again, a good diet, appropriate rest and a good cardio regimen will help out with that. Plus dontcha wanna dance all night at the reception?
  5. Meditatation. Yoga. Long (or short) Walks.  Whatever that can help you stay in the present space and not looking toward the future with that naturally occurring bridal anxiety.  Taking some quiet time-even 15 minutes a day will help you stay ready for your wedding day.

Stay tuned for more bridal tips! Got questions? Just ask!

Advertisements

The EnLIGHTenment of Yoga: A Black Female Yogi’s Perspective

attachment-1659905079

Namaste, y’all.  Not sure if you are aware but I am a yoga instructor. I love yoga. I took yoga occasionally throughout the years and then really started practicing through some tough times in my life and it helped tremendously. I was focused, felt strong and flexible and I fell in love with it. And since I am not a selfish lovah, I wished to share this with others. I am not (yet) a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) but have been certified in Yoga Fit and will continue on until I become a RYT.

But today, something caught my eye. A piece written in XO Jane (see it here if you are interested in reading), by a self proclaimed “skinny white girl”, stating how a fellow student, new to yoga made her quite aware of her “whiteness” and made her cry or something. The new yogi happened to be a “heavyset black woman”.  Now, I get it, the author doesn’t see a lot of black people in yoga class. The new yogi was heavyset. She couldn’t the poses. It made the skinny white girl cry (Girl… BYE!). The author’s account of her ordeal, her hardship through downward dog and other extraness offended a lot of people (see here and…here) including me. And while I found it offensive and need her to have several seats, it wasn’t for the reasons people may think.

First off, yoga is about inclusiveness. So, if you see a fellow, especially new,  student struggling near you, HELP. THEM. Share your experience instead of running to a corner to cry. Show them Child’s Pose. Pull you mat next to them. Do something!

Second, who said that yoga cannot accommodate someones body type? Anybody can do yoga. Anybody. You might not do Scorpion, or Crow or stuff like that, but uh,I have a question: Do you like to sit in silence? Yoga has a pose for that. Can you lay on your back and do nothing (one of my favorites!) ? Yoga has a pose for that. See? Everyone can do yoga.

But most important, her essay highlights a fact. Black women are minimized in the world of fitness. I think the author makes a great point. Yoga, the world of fitness in general is displayed as being very white. I mean, of course she was hyper-aware because every, single fitness publication she, and everyone sees, has a plethora of “skinny white girls”, and swole white men and a few black men. I get equipment catalogues all the time and very rarely see a black female inside of them. If that is all I see and I am actually LOOKING for black women, what does she see?

Yoga and fitness has been there for me through difficult times, made good days better and provided an plethora of challenges for me to enhance my overall wellbeing. It is a gift and I love to share it with any and everyone who wants it. I know many dedicated, fit, black women, I am a part of some awesome Facebook fitness and motivational groups that highlight black female accomplishments in fitness, even if it is a slow mile or a healthy breakfast (I’m looking at you Fit Girlz Clique and Black Girl Run!). Black women do work out! We do exist!

But I digress. To the yogi who wrote that essay, I say think about why you love yoga and practice it so much. Think of those you can help and share this gift with, no matter the perceived ability, weight or race of the person. Remember that it takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new and its nice to have support when doing it in a judgement free zone. So practice some deep, cleansing breaths, do a few sun salutations and know that the spirit of yoga, self love and overall wellness is capable to be within all of us.

Namaste.

Fitness Adventures: 6 Reasons Why Pole Fitness Is Awesome

Pole Fitness

 

I am a part of a wonderful Facebook group called The Fit Girlz Clique. If you don’t know about it, go  to Facebook and getchu some! It is a wonderful community of women who encourage and motivate either through pictures, words or both.  The page always has great challenges and fitness events that are always changing and seem fun.  For my first event with this group, I decided to join a Pole Fitness class.  It was held at 8 am on a Saturday at Good Gyrrl Studios in the Bridgeport Arts Center on the South Side of Chicago.  The instructor, Coach Robin of Alpha To Omega Wholistic Therapeutic Services is fantastic and I want to tell you why this pole fitness class was awesome.

1. This class was located in the Bridgeport Arts Center which is a huge warehouse/loft style building on the South Side of Chicago near US Cellular Field/The Cell/Comiskey Park. It mostly houses artist lofts, but also hosts another gym and a poetry lounge to name a few.  The outside has a really nice courtyard area with a mosaic lined walkway and a big silver horse which goes along with the courtyard. I’m not gonna lie, me and a few others got a little turned around finding the actual studio but when we got there, we found the Good Gyrrl Studio to be cute, not too girly and sensually decorated with leopard print, velvet covered seats and four poles in the middle of the room for the pole fitness class.  I also saw some hula hoops and weights so I am sure that other interesting courses are taught there and since a few of us (yes, me too) forgot our mats, there were several mats available for our use.

2. Some of us were a little late, but once we got there, we found Coach Robin ready to go. She got us warmed up, was detailed and informative in her instruction and made the workout accessible for everyone. On another note, girlfriend has some serious pole skills. I was in awe and quite impressed. i learned quite a bit in that one class, such as the use of a product called “tack” that you can rub on your hands and in my case, on my inner thighs to keep from slipping on the pole.

3. I love a challenge which is why I chose this class.  The challenge of pole fitness is first a test of your body weight strength. We worked our core, upper body, inner thighs..outer thighs..every.thing. No weights, only using the pole for support. We learned a few basic spins, one was called The Cradle, as well as how to a Handstand. This workout was fun and no joke!

4. The ladies that participated in this class were wonderful, open minded and even though I had never met any of them before, were some of the friendliest women I have ever met.  We all had varying levels of fitness ability, but we all were there to exercise and experience something new.  Because of the different things taught in this class, some people found some new found ability, others found flexibility and we all caught a little sexy cuz, well, frankly we all were to begin with.

5. I loved the music!  I am a huge Prince friend and one of the warmup songs was “Sexy Dancer”. From the first few bars of that song, I was all in for the rest of the class.  We also took a musical interlude break when Sugar Hill Gangs Apache (Jump On It) came on.  If you know that song, you know the dance that Will and Carlton from the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” did. Yes we did it. And it was glorious.

6. The pole is your friend.  If you take a class like this, you must remember that. It is there to support you and help you do fun, amazing spins that you did not think you could do. And don’t think that because you are not your ideal weight that this is out of reach for you.  If you want to do it, go for it.  You might find something that you didn’t know was there.

There you have it. Despite some light inner thigh chafing and some soreness the next day, I am totally and completely in love with Pole Fitness and will enthusiastically do this again.

Feel fitty!

XO,  Amber

The Warmup: Motivational Music Mondays-Keep On Moving

I have been out of the game for good reason, but time to get back to work! This song is mostly appropriate for cooldowns-but um..And? So What? Its motivating!  It is also a appropriate for a preview for tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned!  Happy Monday! Stay motivated and Feel Fitty!

XO, Amber

Fitness Adventures: Yoga In Mississippi

YogaMiss

I am freshly back from my fabulous road trip visit to the Big Easy-Nawlins, Louisiana. Me and four other ladies checked out the Essence Music Festival.  I came back refreshed, inspired and proud that I stayed active and ate well and had a fantastic time!  Now, as I mentioned, I went with four girlfriends. Four women. With all the laughing, bonding, side eyes and..cramping. Yes cramping. I had the pleasure of sitting in the middle seat of a lovely Ford Fusion for a significant portion of our 14 hour drive. My legs, back and butt were not happy with me by the time we took a break to stretch out legs. So what did I do in 90 degree heat in the middle of a Mississippi? What else? Yoga.

Some of my favorite poses were:

  • Downward Facing Dog-Stretches the back and the hamstrings
  • Camel-Stretches lower back and opens up the hips
  • Upward Facing Dog-Expands the chest, lower back and opens the hips
  • Dancer’s Pose-Because it is my favorite balancing poses and it opens the hips

I also did some Sun Salutations,  yoga sequence numero uno to warm up the body and get yo stretch on.

All in all-it was a great trip. It was truly beautiful to see all kinds of women come together, hear some great music (I went to see TGT, Janelle Monet and the King/Queen herself, Beyonce) and see the beauty of New Orleans, which is officially in the top 5 of cities I love.

Stay tuned for more on my Fitness Adventures in New Orleans (One includes track great Jackie Joyner- Kersey and Black Girls Run!)