Healthy Travel Tips

Hello All!

I wanted to share some of my favorite tips for maintaining healthy habits while traveling!

First of all, you can find healthy snacks in airports, but they are always overpriced, and often don’t taste as fresh as I would like. I love to pack a bag of mixed nuts and dried fruits to get me through a flight. I usually toss an apple or orange in my carry-on as well. 🙂

Second, drink lots of water! I know that it can be tempting to have a cocktail on the flight, but the air is already so dry on the airplane. Drink water! I always travel with a large water bottle as well.

Third, airplane seat pockets, arm rests, and tray tables are super dirty! I always travel with antibacterial wipes and wipe down my space when I sit down. I may look a little kooky, but that’s better than getting sick! 🙂

Next, throw a theraband in your bag for hotel workouts! A theraband takes very little space in your bag and can be used for lots or arm, booty, and hip exercises. You can also watch TORCH videos on our YouTube page for quick Pilates/HIIT workouts that don’t require any equipment! Perfect for the hotel room!

Bring an eye mask (or large pashmina scarf) and ear plugs so that you can sleep on your flight. I have forgotten my scarf before and super regretted it!

If you are on a long flight, make sure that you stand up and walk around regularly. I will also stretch during the flight. This helps with circulation and prevents blood clots from forming in your legs.

Until next time!

xo Lara

PS: I would love to connect on Instagram! @torchpilates

Breaking Down The Classics: Knee Folds

Hello All!

I wanted to break down a classic Pilates exercise, knee folds! This is a great exercise to help you establish great form and a super-strong transversus abdominis (the deepest layer of your core that wraps around your torso attaching to your spine). Enjoy!!

Start lying on your back with your legs in a table-top position. Bring your hands to your pelvis and check that your pelvis is square ie: Your hip points and pubic bone are in an even plane. Imagine that you could balance a bowl of water on your pelvis and it wouldn’t spill towards your belly button, or down towards your toes. If your tailbone is tucked under, or your back is flattened into the mat, you are in a posterior tuck. Be cautious of this position if you have a disk herniation–particularly in your lumbar spine. You want to maintain a tunnel under the small of your back. Engage the muscles of your pelvic floor, and draw your navel to your spine to engage your core and maintain stability. Some commonly used images to help with this are “tightening up your corset” or “Zipping up a pair of jeans that are a size too small.” Then you’re ready to start the exercise!

Exhale to prepare. On your inhalation, dip your right toes down towards the ground as though you were dipping your toes in a pool of water. On your exhale, draw the belly button back to your spine, lift through your pelvic floor and draw the leg back into table top. Repeat to the left. 10 reps each side.

Once you are comfortable with single-leg toe dips, you can continue on with double-leg toe dips. The main concern with this version is also pelvic stability. As you increase the lever-load away from the torso, the core (pelvic floor, abdominal, and back muscles) will need to find a deeper engagement to stabilize the pelvis and spine. Also, you should not feel this in your hip flexors. If you do feel your hip flexors kicking, think of a deeper lift through your pelvic floor, and maybe drop your heels down towards your gluts to reduce the lever load of your legs.

Exhale to prepare. On your inhalation, dip both toes down towards the mat again as if you were dipping your toes into a pool of water. Be cautious that you do not arch your back as you lower the legs towards the mat. As you exhale, draw the navel deeper towards the spine and lift through the pelvic floor to lift the legs back up to table top. Repeat the double-leg version up to 10 times as well.

Give this exercise a go at home! Let me know what you think, and if there are any other exercises that you would like to have broken down for proper form. Until next time!

xo Lara

What is Pilates?

Hello and welcome!!!

I wanted to take a quick second and share what my definition of Pilates is, as well as share one of my favorite exercises to get you started with a Pilates practice at home!

I like to define Pilates as a series of movement modalities used to create musculoskeletal balance in the body. Whether you are in great shape, or if you struggle with chronic pain, I like to tailor each session to the needs of the individual client. Pilates can be hugely helpful in managing lower back pain, disk herniations, fibromyalgia or scoliosis. It can also be used to safely strengthen and balance the muscles surrounding your joints.

My classes and sessions are choreographed to focus on the individual needs of my clients with a constant eye on safe and proper alignment. My joy is in pushing my clients to expand their own body awareness and individual expectations. My clients run the gamut ranging from age 6-85, from those who are dealing with chronic pain, to those who just want to make sure that their bodies remain strong and agile. Everybody and Every Body are welcome!

For fun, here is an introductory movement that you can try at home to increase pelvic and spine stability: Knee Folds

Start lying on your back with your legs in a table-top position. Bring your hands to your pelvis and check that your pelvis is square ie: Your hip points and pubic bone are in an even plane. Imagine that you could balance a bowl of water on your pelvis and it wouldn’t spill towards your belly button, or down towards your toes. If your tailbone is tucked under, or your back is flattened into the mat, you are in a posterior tuck. Be cautious of this position if you have a disk herniation–particularly in your lumbar spine. You want to maintain a tunnel under the small of your back. Engage the muscles of your pelvic floor, and draw your navel to your spine to engage your core and maintain stability. Some commonly used images to help with this are “tightening up your corset” or “Zipping up a pair of jeans that are a size too small.” Then you’re ready to start the exercise!

Exhale to prepare. On your inhalation, dip your right toes down towards the ground as though you were dipping your toes in a pool of water. On your exhale, draw the belly button back to your spine, lift through your pelvic floor and draw the leg back into table top. Repeat to the left. 10 reps each side.

Once you are comfortable with single-leg toe dips, you can continue on with double-leg toe dips. The main concern with this version is also pelvic stability. As you increase the lever-load away from the torso, the core (pelvic floor, abdominal, and back muscles) will need to find a deeper engagement to stabilize the pelvis and spine.

Exhale to prepare. On your inhalation, dip both toes down towards the mat again as if you were dipping your toes into a pool of water. Be cautious that you do not arch your back as you lower the legs towards the mat. As you exhale, draw the navel deeper towards the spine and lift through the pelvic floor to lift the legs back up to table top. Repeat the double-leg version up to 10 times as well. Enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by! I’d love to hear your feedback about which exercises you may want to see or if there are any specific health-related topics that you’d like for me to cover!

Until next time!
xo Lara

Voted Most Moving Instructor by ClassPass!

Hi Guys!

I am so excited to announce that I was voted “Most Moving Instructor of 2015” in Denver! Woo Hoo!!! Thank you ClassPass!

Moving Instructorshttp://blog.classpass.com/2016/01/06/meet-the-most-moving-instructors-of-2015-in-your-city/

I love what I do. I love to motivate women to look and feel their best through fitness and pilates! I can’t wait for 2016 and continuing to spread the message that fitness is about pushing towards our each own personal best. It isn’t about trying to achieve perfection (whatever that is), but it’s about stretching our individual expectations and pushing towards our own personal best. Now that gets me excited…Yay health! Yay fitness! Yay Pilates!

Thank you so much for coming to class! In 2016, I hope to see you in the studio, and online! Expect to see lots of YouTube videos with new Torch workouts as well as Pilates technique videos. 🙂

I wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2016!

xo Lara

Excited Moving Instructor!

 

New Year’s Fitness Resolution Tricks!

Hello Beauties!

Happy New Year!!! I’m sure that many of you are in full swing of your new years resolution. Let’s be frank…it can be tricky to keep up these perfect resolutions as real life starts to get in the way. You know what I’m talking about! Here are a couple of tricks and tips to stay on track! 🙂

1) Aim for a “a little better” instead of “perfect”
It is so easy to fall into the trap of…well if I can’t eat perfectly today, then I’ll just count this as a “cheat” day and start tomorrow. (BTW…I HATE the term cheat day! If you set up your mindset as cheating vs not cheating, you are set up for failure. Rant complete. ;))

2) Eat breakfast with protein
Every nutritionist is going to tell you to eat breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day! It is completely true! If I don’t start the day with a protein rich breakfast, I am inevitably starving by 10:30am and ready to run towards a quick energy lifter which is almost always something carb-heavy because your brain is ready for a serotonin bump which is easily and quickly delivered by taking in carbohydrates or sugars. Eat breakfast! Oatmeal with almond butter, apples, and cinnamon 🙂

3) Exercise whenever and wherever possible!
I completely planned to get up early to get in an extra run this morning…but the snooze button seduced me! We’ve all been there. When you miss your workout, don’t beat yourself up or say that you’ll just get back on track later. Instead, take the stairs a couple of extra times today. Need to use the restroom and you work on the 5th floor? Don’t use the restroom down the hall, go down to the first floor and take the stairs back up! Need to fit in a little ab work? Focus on tightening your abdominals in the car on the way home. At stop lights, put the car in park and use the abdominal muscles to lift your knees. Park in the back of the lot at the grocery store to get in a few extra steps. No excuses. 🙂

Come Get TORCHED!!!

Staying on Track During The Holidays

Hello Lovelies!

Ok, this is a super popular blog topic, but I had to throw in my two cents. I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve read and they all say the same thing. Eat a snack before you go to your holiday parties so that you don’t arrive ravenous. Drink a glass of water between cocktails. Don’t get me wrong, these are great ideas and completely applicable, but lets address a few more.

We have all been to a holiday party and have overindulged. The next morning can be a struggle. After a night out, I am not motivated to get up, get in my morning workout and meditation when all I want to do is get an extra hour of sleep. Here are a couple of tricks and tips to combat that…

1) Drink a tall glass of water before bed.
2) When the alarm goes off in the morning. Don’t fight your bodies need to wake up slowly! Budget the time to set your snooze (Just once!) and lie in bed setting your mindset and plan for the day. Envision your glowing skin after your workout. Envision yourself relaxed and at ease during your drive to work because you’ve completed your meditation and time to center yourself.
3) Only ask yourself for a 10-minute workout. You may decide that you’d like to keep going at the end of 10 minutes, but you set yourself up for failure if you tell yourself that you have to workout for a full hour. It feels daunting, like staring up at a tall hill at the beginning of your workout. Once you get going though, I bet you’ll find that you want to continue to push a little harder. 🙂
4) Get up and drink another tall glass of water…not coffee. Water. Hydrate your skin and gently get your system going. I love to squeeze a little lemon in the glass as well. This is a great trick for starting your day in an alkaline state.
5) Don’t skimp on your meditation. Try the same technique that you used with your workout. Only ask yourself for a 5-minute breathing session. You may feel centered after 5 minutes, or you may want to continue and complete 10-20 minutes.

Have a wonderful holiday season! Enjoy your friends and family, treat your body with kindness, and remind yourself that you can create stillness in the midst of holiday chaos. 🙂
Til next time!

xo Lara

Baby it's cold outside

How Many Workouts Per Week?

TORCH Pilates Workout

Hello Beauties!

This is actually a bit of a tough topic because the definition of a ‘workout’ is completely subjective. A Pilates class could be an intense workout for one person, or complete relaxation for another. Also, what are the goals of your workout? Are you trying to lose weight, or are you trying to gain muscle mass?

If you are trying to lose weight, it is a little tricky because high-intensity workouts may trigger you to feel more hungry…that is a totally separate can of worms that we can examine at another time. If you are trying to build muscle mass, it is a good idea to alternate your workout days. For example, Monday is legs day, so Tuesday should be arms/abs. No need to double your leg days back-to-back. This gives your muscles a chance to heal all of the little micro tears that you create during your workout. Again…another can of worms that we will explore at another time.

I will say that it is crucial to take off one day per week. Your body needs a day to recoup regardless of how intense your workout is. Also, if feel that you are a bit under the weather, listen to your body! Cultivate your intuition and connection to your body. That will be your most important resource.

I have always been a big fan of Pilates as a workout (obviously), but over the past few years I have felt the need to kick up the intensity which is how the TORCH Pilates workout was born. I do this workout 6 days/week and have felt a massive difference in my muscle tone and definition since making that commitment to myself. This workout can be done in as little as 10 mins, or can be repeated for up to an hour. TORCH combines High Intensity Intervals along with classic Pilates movement, and other targeted muscle work for a full-body burn that will keep your metabolism pumping for hours. OK–Shameless plug complete! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’d love to hear about your preferred workouts as well! Share below!

Until next time,

xo Lara

Halloween Health Hacks

candyHello Beauties!

It’s Halloween…the time for lots and lots of treats! It can be super tough to stay on track with such delicious treats. How to keep your cool with all of those delicious temptations around? Here are a couple of my favorite hacks!

1st, Caramel apples are a staple on Halloween. Here is a simple hack to cut down those calories…Start with a Granny Smith apple, which has a great tart flavor. Slice the apple into 8 pieces. Then, melt 3 caramels in the microwave and dip the apple slices in the melted caramels. The caramel is just an accent, and the apples are packed with healthy fiber. Yummy!

2nd, Popcorn Balls are super popular on Halloween. What is my healthy hack for this? Pop your own popcorn in an air popper (You can find these on Amazon). Then you can control that you add to it. Most often, popcorn balls contain high fructose corn syrup. Not healthy at all, but we do need a sticky binding agent of some sort. I recommend warmed honey. Just pop the jar of honey in the microwave for a few seconds, then mix the honey into the air-popped popcorn. I like to add a bit of sea salt for a sweet and salty twist. You could also add a bit of cinnamon, or cardamom for. Delicious!

3rd, how do you just avoid the candy in general? Keep a plate of healthy fruits and nuts out on the table instead. If you are craving the sugar, try to have a few nuts and drink a glass of water to fill you up! If you are still craving the sugar after that, have a candy! After the water and protein/fat from the nuts have hit your stomach, you will be far more likely to have one candy rather than many candies. 🙂

Happy Halloween!!!

For The Love Of Teasers!

Teaser is one of my all-time favorite exercises! It is a fantastic way to strengthen and tone all layers of the abdominal wall as well as the pelvic floor and back.

Pilates Teaser Love!

Pictured above is Teaser 1, a classic Pilates exercise. Start lying on your back with your legs in tabletop and your arms extended towards the ceiling. Take an inhale to prepare. On your exhale, nod your chin and curl your head, neck and shoulders up off the mat. Continue reaching your fingers forward as you curl up one vertebrae at a time until your are seated on your sacrum with your legs extended. Think of slightly tucking your tailbone under to round your low back (lumbar spine). At the same time, you will lift your heart up slightly extending through your mid-upper back (thoracic spine). Curl back down to your starting position articulating through your spine and feeling one vertebrae at a time touch the mat, like you are laying a string of pearls down on the ground. Love it!
If this is a bit much, or you are new to Pilates. You can practice working up to the full exercise by starting in a seated position with your feet planted on the ground, scooping your tailbone under to round your lower back, lift your heart extending through your mid-upper back. Hold on behind your knees and slowly lift one leg and then the other up into a table top position, being careful not to change the shape of your spine. Let go of your legs and extend your arms and legs on a 45 degree angle just like in the picture above. Stay and balance in this position, drawing the belly button back to the spine and narrowing the waist. Try to hold for 30 seconds and then release your feet back down to the ground. Repeat until you feel that you are ready for the full teaser.
I’d love to hear how this goes at home! Post your comments below!
xo Lara

My Top Healthy Skin Tips

flower

These are my top 5 tips for healthy, glowing skin!

  1. We’ve heard it over and over, but it’s my top tip because it’s true. Drink more water! Ideally, you should be drinking 1/2 of your body weight, measured in lbs, in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you would drink 75 oz of water in a day. It is important to drink water throughout the day, not all in one sitting. I would also go one step further and say that if you are working out and sweating a lot, add an extra glass of water after your workout.
  2. Skip the toner! When toners were created, the goal was to balance the pH of your skin. I completely understand this. However, the problem with most toners is that they dry you out! We want to have a natural glow and encourage our skin to produce enough oil to be hydrated without overproducing and giving us oily skin and clogged pores. If you are using products that over-dry your skin, your body’s natural response is to create more oil, or sebum, to hydrate itself. If you aren’t over drying your skin, your body will adjust and reduce it’s oil production to balance the skin.
  3. Have a quick shower after your workout. If you allow all of the salt and bacteria to sit on your skin after your workout, the pores become clogged, causing the dreaded acne and back-ne (not a word, but you know what I’m talking about. 😉
  4. The other tip that we’ve heard 1,000,000 times…sunscreen! In your 20s, it may not seem that important, but soon you will start to notice little sunspots and freckles on your skin if you don’t remember to screen up daily. Often facial moisturizers include a sunscreen, but I would go one step further and layer on a separate sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. My #1 fav product is made by colorscience. It is a mineral based sunscreen with zero additives. It is a powder sunscreen (crazy, right?) containing only 2 minerals to block those sun rays (both UVA and UVB), titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. I keep these little tubes in the car, in my purse, and in the studio so I can always reapply. Plus, it freshens your makeup! Double bonus. 🙂 Check it out at www.colorscience.comcolorscience
  5. Eat nutrient dense foods! You will always notice a difference in your skin tone after even a day of eating heavy, fatty foods. Your skin just doesn’t glow like you know it can and should! After a night with a couple extra cocktails, your skin is screaming for a little hydration and nutrition. Eating healthy, nutrient dense foods is great for your body, your mind, your hair, and your skin. Plus you feel more energized and prepared to take on the world! If I feel like I have had a week of lazy diet choices, I love to kick start the system with LOTS of greens, fruits, and raw veggies. I’m loving sugar snap peas, watermelon, and peaches right now. Yum!!!