Posts tagged ‘exercise’

September 30, 2013



Hi, my name is Marzia and I have currently been diagnosed with barre hopping. No, no that kind of bar with drinking (although I like to do that on occasion too), I am talking about the exercise barre.


As a fitness professional, I love to try new things. I don’t discriminate. I feel like that variety is great for the body. You need to work little and large muscle groups to get maximum results for a balanced body.


I fell in love with barre about 6 months ago. I have seen it on ads, media, FB, and groupon over the past few years. It intrigued me. I decided to purchase a groupon to see if it was worth it. Well, to my surprise, it was! I loved it. It was such a hard workout with no weights, I was shaking my first day and sore as hell! I was sold. The longer I did it, the more I researched it, I craved more. There are different types of Barre offered. So I signed up via groupon at a few different Barre places in my city. I actually loved the different Barre styles my city had to offer.


I love a challenge, so I decided to educate myself on barre and get certified. I found a great barre certifitcation here in Dallas called Vbarre created by a former ballet dancer named Veronica Combs. Her style of barre is ballet, pilates, strength and cardio fused together. It was a great blend that kept me sore for days. I learned 51 exercises and her method. I am looking forward to taking her next barre certification class. I don’t want to be “just good” at it, I want to be excellent!


Now that I got certified, I am so excited to teach it to my clients. Also, stay tuned for videos on our FB page.


Soon to be a barre expert,



July 29, 2013

The Joy of Exercise

I choose joy

Happy Monday! It’s Brooke here. Have you ever thought about exercise as a joy? What about when you were a kid, before physical activity became Something You Had to Do? Do you remember how carefree you felt running around with the wind in your hair and the grass beneath your toes, even if your knees were skinned? Gosh, I miss that feeling!

The Good Old Days

When I was little and time stretched beyond infinity, I rejoiced in playing in the yard, swimming, and biking around my neighborhood at every opportunity. For a few preteen years, I also played soccer, mainly because I loved being with my friends on the team. But as a shy, once-timid girl, the thought of meeting a ball coming at me full throttle and me battling with another person for possession was mortifying for me. I can hear my dad (our coach)’s voice yelling “Hustle, Brooke, hustle!” to no avail. The other fly in the ointment was my being made to run a lot in the blazing Texas sun, so I’m pretty much done with running, thanks.


For many years, I had no perception of how important physical activity was, outside of the requisite school-mandated P.E. classes. Fortunately for those around me, I was sprung from these classes before people could truly appreciate how uncoordinated I was. In 6th grade, we were required to choose our path going forward for the next year—band, choir, or athletics. The totality of our future experience would spin out in different ways according to what we chose. Even friendships would flourish or diminish by the simple fact of sharing (or not sharing) the same physical space with a population of kids every day for the next 6 years. So, for that span of time, my exercise was no more strenuous than trying to dance/twirl or march/stand at attention as a majorette in the marching band.

Time to Play

When I arrived at college, I had to choose (again) mandatory P.E. classes. So, I decided to take all the “sports” I’d always wanted to try. I blissfully took several semesters of ballet, feeling like a graceful swan and a thrilled little girl at the same time. I even signed up for fencing—very challenging. Apparently, coordination is important there as well. But I liked the metal bra cups that the girls had to wear inside their uniform (instant curves!). Then I found archery. . .  True love!

archery target

This makes my heart skip a beat . . . look at all those 10’s!

Archery was the start of everything wonderful for me at school. I found my adored friend, Suzy, in this class. And I stumbled upon my joy when Suzy and I joined the archery team. This group became my family at A&M—that tends to happen when you see each other day in and day out for hours. Not only is archery a beautiful sport of precision and focus, but the gear is really neat too! I’ll share more shooting adventures in a future post, but my point here is that I found something that made me happy. And you should too!

Exercise is joyful when you find an activity that feels like play instead of dread. You don’t have to do 100 sit-ups or lock yourself in a gym to exercise. It’s a big world out there! If you feel confined in your life or so stressed out that you can’t breathe, go run until you forget all that stuff. Feel the need to punch something? There’s always kickboxing, karate, or MMA. Have you always wanted to try burlesque dance? Then go for it! Think of an activity involving some bodily movement that would make you feel carefree and energized. No judging, no recitals (please!), and it’s totally ok if you mess up. Just find your joy!

XO, Brooke

Joy in action!

Joy in action!

June 17, 2013

The Simple Life


Hi, Friends! Do you ever have those moments where everything is working really well in your life? When events are spinning themselves out so smoothly that you swear (sassily and a bit smugly) that you really can do it all? I feel this way one day maybe every other week, if I’m lucky! Mostly I feel like the pieces of my world are like errant socks on laundry day—I reach down to grab a pile of dirty clothes to take to the washer, trying to gather all the whites, say, at one time. It’s a weird, OCD-ish game I play with myself, but if I manage to grab all the clothes at once without dropping any bits on the journey across the house, I win! Usually I end up dropping a sock or two, so then I lean down to grab the escaping footwear and more socks (unmatched, of course) jump out, along with a few panties. Aaaaack!

normal washing

We live in a busy, fast-moving world, and we are juggling a ton of things. Our days are filled to bursting, and sometimes just glancing at my calendar the night before makes me so anxious and panicked that I just wait until I’m back at the starting block the next morning, when I’m more mentally stable and armed with caffeine. Then the day starts, and GO, GO, GO! Things are moving along nicely, and then you remember you were supposed to call so-and-so. Then you make the call, and forget to allow for construction on your way to work. You miss your turn, and now you’re about to be late for a meeting. Lunch comes along and you haven’t packed a good lunch because you meant to go to the grocery store last night after leaving the gym and you just forgot. And so it goes. Before long, your equilibrium is off kilter and things snowball from there. If I find myself in a cluster like this late at night or for several days in a row, I quickly reach the end of my rope—tearful and exhausted, unable to cope with the smallest setbacks.

busy mind

In trying to help myself find my way back to sanity during these times, I’ve come up with a little TLC checklist—I call it my Love List. I use it to quickly check to see if I’ve taken care of myself well enough and to figure out where I’ve veered off course.

Love List

1. Nutrition: Have I eaten well enough today? Have I had healthy meals at the appropriate times? Did I get my snacks in? How do I feel right now? Have I eaten enough healthy food to get me through all my activities?

2. Exercise: Have I moved enough today? Have I enjoyed living in my body today? How does it feel? Have I challenged it enough? Does it need rest and care instead of unrelenting activity? Do I feel strong?

3. Sleep: Did I get enough sleep last night? How did I feel this morning? Did I feel rested or was I dragging? Am I feeling good now, or am I in a fog?

4. Water: How much water have I had so far? What’s my goal? How do I feel? Would having more water help me feel better right now?

5. Care of the Soul: Have I prayed today? Have I had enough uninterrupted time to think or dream? Have I done at least one thing that has nurtured my soul? What do I long to do? What would make me happy?


The answers to these questions provide clues to what’s out of whack in my life. They also give me a structure to do one thing at a time to heal my crazy ways. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t go step by step, I soon get lost in the rat’s nest of mental and psychological chatter in my mind. By reviewing my Love List, I can breathe easier and get my grip back. Maybe this list (or your own special creation) will come in handy when you find yourself adrift.

Have a wonderful and simple week,


June 17, 2013


How do you deal with stress? We all have it, just at different levels and we all have different ways that we deal with it. Some better, than others. There is no such thing as a perfect life, and there certainly is no such thing as stress free living. However, our ability to cope with stress is what separates those who crack under pressure from those who thrive. Whether its work , relationship, family, financial or whatever kind of stress life throws your way, there are different coping mechanisms to help you power through. 


1. YOGA-breathing, relaxation, stretching, and getting in tune with one’s body are all great ways to alleviate stress. Even if yoga is not something you already practice, starting now might be good for your stress level. 

2. Running-put those headphones in and hit the pavement. A long run can often clear the mind and allow you to find peace. 

3. Exercise-any form of exercise is going to help you release endorphins and get out some of that negative energy and tension. 

4. Music-there is a definite healing power to music. Whether its upbeat or slow jamz, you know what kind of music will alter your mood. 

5. Talk it out-whether its a friend, a clergyman, or a mental health professional, the power of words has a great impact on stress. 

6. Rest-just with anything else, when we are sleep deprived our bodies don’t have time to assimilate to its surroundings therefore making our stress level rise. 


Again, life will never be stress free, but knowing some tools for working around it will make you better able to survive the tough times in your life! Image

February 19, 2013

Snack Time!

hummus and veggies

Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. Let’s talk about something fun . . . snacks! Now, before we go too far, let’s demystify something. Food and nutrition can be loaded topics—some people have a great relationship with food, while others may think of eating as a confusing, guilt-ridden, boring, or necessary evil. Then we throw in snacks, and craziness breaks out! Snacks are often given a bad rap, mainly because many people choose munchies that are WAAAAY too full of calories, sugar, unhealthy fats, and sodium. Think of those tasty treats in vending machines and gas stations (not to mention your local grocery store, Aisle 17). We’ve all been there. I’m not proud of how much I love the taste of a kosher dill potato chip, but hey, I’m human. I avoid the siren song of this devilish dill delight because I know better—and my body deserves better, as does yours. Snacks will save your rear, in more ways than one.

apple hearts

Healthy gals and guys know one of the most important ways to reach their fitness goals is to eat 5-6 small meals a day, including snacks. Your body is an amazing machine, and it needs to burn quality fuel regularly throughout the day to keep you going strong. If you start thinking of food as fuel instead of something you have to deal with just to survive, your world will be rocked and you’ll become your body’s most powerful ally. Think of your nutrition schedule like this:

Meal 1: Breakfast

Meal 2: Mid-morning snack

Meal 3: Lunch

Meal 4: Mid-afternoon snack (or pre-workout snack)

Meal 5: Dinner (or post-workout snack)

Meal 6: Snack (or dinner)

Notice how you can incorporate pre- and post-workout snacks into your daily plan. You can also shift this structure to the morning if you like your workouts early. To keep your fire burning bright, eat every 2.5-3 hours. For your snacks, try to shoot for at least 10 grams of protein and 25-35 grams of carbohydrates by including 1 or 2 complex carbs (whole grains, veggies, most fruits, beans, brown rice, or oatmeal) and a little healthy fat (nuts, seeds, almond butter, low-fat dairy, or avocado). High-quality protein, carbs, and fats are going to keep you feeling satisfied and give you energy.

Nutritious Nibbles

  • 1 c. raspberries with ½ c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 small apple with 1 Tbsp almond or peanut butter
  • ½ c. cottage cheese with ½ c. mixed berries
  • 1 or 2 eggs (hard-boiled) with 2 whole-grain flatbreads
  • 2 Tbsp almond or peanut butter spread on 2-4 celery sticks
  • 6 carrot sticks with 1 low-fat mozzarella string cheese
  • 4 natural whole-wheat honey graham crackers with 10 red or green grapes
  • 1 c. low-fat milk (or almond milk) with 1 scoop chocolate (or other flavor) protein powder (can be whey or plant-based protein powder), along with a banana
  • Quick Basic Smoothie: 1 c. low-fat milk (or almond milk) with ¼ c. frozen or fresh berries with ½ fresh or frozen banana (Hint: Frozen fruit makes the smoothie thick and icy!)
  • 3 c. air-popped (or unsalted and unbuttered!) popcorn drizzled with 2 tsp flaxseed oil, 1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese, and dash of cayenne pepper, along with 1 apple
  • 6-10 veggie pieces: celery, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, or yellow squash dipped in 2 Tbsp hummus or low-fat vinaigrette dressing
  • Homemade Trail Mix: 2 Tbsp dried fruit, 1 Tbsp sunflower kernels or pumpkin seeds, 1 Tbsp unsalted nuts, and a pinch of unsweetened coconut flakes

If you need a basic snack, an apple and some nuts or maybe even a protein shake and a banana are great options. However, if you are headed to the gym, be sure to grab something rich in slow-burning carbs and lean protein (like oatmeal and scrambled egg whites) to fuel your efforts. Here’s one of my favorite recipes that I love to fix before working out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!



Banana Blueberry Power Snack

  • 1 whole-wheat English muffin
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • ½ banana
  • Small handful of blueberries
  • ½-1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • Small drizzle of honey

Toast both halves of the English muffin. Spread 1 Tbsp almond butter on each half of the muffin. Slice the banana into small slices, and then arrange the slices flat on each half. Place the blueberries around and in between banana slices (the berries tend to roll off—trust me!). Sprinkle ground flaxseed across each muffin half, and then drizzle each half with a little honey. Yum!!


Keep fueling that beautiful body of yours, and have a super week!


January 21, 2013

Chasing Those Winter Blues Away, Part II

Love this kitty!

Love this kitty!

Hi! It’s Brooke again, with some tips to help you enjoy the winter months, even if you don’t love being wrapped in 3 layers before venturing outside. In my last blog, I mentioned seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and some of its possible causes. However, you don’t have to be officially diagnosed with SAD to get down in the dumps and bored during this time of year. Our days are shorter, nights are longer and colder, and activities are driven indoors and away from the happy, if watery, shine of the winter sun. I noticed this recently when my husband and I went to the mall to see a movie—apparently all of the DFW Metroplex decided to join us at the theater. Talk about cramping our style!

So, what can you do to bring a little more pep to your step? Here are just a few ideas:

sunshine over water

1. Get your walk on: Walking outside, especially in the morning, not only gets your blood pumping and muscles moving, increasing your serotonin levels, but also reunites you with that precious sunlight that will not only cheer you up but help your body produce vitamin D, usually in short supply this time of year. If the weather’s too cold even for walking, hitting a treadmill or walking the mall works in a pinch.

2. Boost your “feel-good” hormones: During the wintertime, serotonin is absorbed more quickly by the body, which causes dips in this mood-boosting hormone. Serotonin levels can be improved in several ways, but two of the easiest are ensuring that your exercise and your diet are on track.

woman with DB sexy

Add this pic to my vision board–done!

  • According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, for important health benefits, adults should perform at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week OR at least 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Remember, aerobic activity can still be beneficial to you when it’s broken down into 10- or 15-minute increments, done several times a day. Also, the guidelines recommend that adults participate in strength training, concentrating on working the large muscle groups at least 2 times each week. For more information, check out the guidelines ( They make a great resource for getting your family involved in healthy living!
  • When you exercise and really break a sweat or push yourself, your body releases a flood of hormones, including serotonin (the “happy” hormone) and endorphins (hormones that reduce the sensation of pain and make you feel giddy or euphoric). Sign me up!
  • In The Serotonin Secret, author Dr. Caroline Longmore suggests adding serotonin-rich foods to each of your meals. Her ideal sources of this hormone include bean sprouts, spinach, asparagus, turkey, pineapple, sunflower seeds, cottage cheese, tofu, and bananas. And look! These foods are also wholesome and clean.

3. Catch plenty of ZZZZs: We’ve heard this 100 times, but getting plenty of sleep is important for so many reasons. During the darker winter months, our biological clock is affected by the lack of bright light, shorter days, and longer periods of “nighttime” in which we must still function. If you haven’t already guessed, the biological clock is closely tied to proper functioning of a healthy body. So, when our clock is messed up, namely during the time changes each year, we are really thrown for a loop until our system becomes accustomed to the new routine. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleep patterns and moods, and when we have poor-quality sleep or just don’t get enough shut-eye, we cannot function at our best and are more likely to feel down and mopey. Getting at least 7-8 hours of good, deep sleep will do you a world of good (I’m still waiting to experience this—I’ll let you know what it feels like!).

4. Add some magnesium: Magnesium is an important mineral that helps in muscle contraction/relaxation, energy production and transport, protein synthesis, and enzyme production. It even helps us sleep more deeply, which is great news. You can supplement your diet with magnesium found in vitamins, but whole foods are even better. Sources of magnesium include black beans, raw broccoli, spinach, nuts, tofu, whole grains, and some fish.


5. Lighten up: In addition to getting outside for at least 15 minutes, if possible, you can improve your mood by gathering closer to windows and skylights during the day or using “daylight” bulbs (more blue than yellow light) or fluorescent lighting.

  • Some businesses even use special “skyboxes,” or light boxes installed on the ceiling in lieu of skylights. These installations brighten up office spaces with little or no natural light, and they can even be designed to simulate various weather and sky conditions across the office ceiling.
  • There are also personal light boxes, which are prescribed by physicians and used therapeutically to reduce symptoms of SAD. These boxes of powerful light bulbs come in various strengths and are used only in timed doses (anywhere from 5-30 minutes at a time). As you can imagine, this therapy can be easily abused, but you can gain similar benefit from using brighter, blue-tinged lights in your home or office.
  • Dawn simulators are helpful if your biological clock has been monkeyed around with by the changing seasons. These simulators are used as alarm clocks, with or without alarm sounds. The light, situated on your nightstand, begins to glow very dimly, gradually growing brighter over 30-45 minutes, until the light is brightest at your programmed “wake” time. This cool machine is designed to simulate the longer amount of morning sun that we enjoy in the spring and summer. Success with the simulator takes some trial and error, until you find your appropriate range of “sunrise,” but it has been proven to help those who struggle with seasonal blues as well as SAD.
Doesn't she look happy and well-rested?

Doesn’t she look happy and well-rested?

A quick Google search will yield countless tips and tricks for dealing with the winter blues. All you need is a few good ideas that work for you. I hope you enjoy each day, whether chilly and cloudy or bright and sunny. Have a lovely one!