Category Archives: Fitness

Childhood Favorite Brings You Fitness Fast FXP Hula Hoop

261888_10151278243135962_103699219_nI recently received a FXP Hula Hoop Fitness Set for review, I was not compensated in any way and my opinions are freely expressed.

That’s me top left in the fuchsia shirt with hoodie, right after completing my second hooping certification.  I am an average hooper – I can keep my hoop up for a prolonged time, can do fitness moves, travel, etc. I am far from hoop dancing on a stage, but I enjoy the workout and that was why I jumped at the chance to review a new fitness system that involved hooping.

Niece’s video has a high production quality and the travel hoop is the best I have experienced.  My former travel hoop has tiny screws that were constantly coming loose after use making assembly and disassembly a nightmare without a screwdriver.  The FXP hoop pieces are solid molded plastic and have no hitches. The weight of the hoop is nice too, better than my former travel hoop. Its only downfall is the very bland appearance which honestly travels through to the workout video as well.

To be fair, the workout itself is fast paced, but it really misses the fun and whimsy that drew me to hooping.  I know hooping can be over the top, hoopers are up there with bellydancers for pageantry, costumes, etc.  I wasn’t expecting that but it would have been nice to have some more uplifting music or a more interesting set.  The feel was middle aged pilates class.  Before you say “hey now!”, that is my personal demographic too, but I don’t want to feel like I’ve come to a geriatric fitness class – I want a bit of fun. With hooping I want a little over the top, it doesn’t have to be over the edge, just make me feel alive and relevant.

Personal feel aside, the only other problem I had with the video is that there was never reverse hooping, and important skill and necessity to keep the body in balance.  The legs were switched periodically but in my training there were horror stories of hoopers who never switched directions and caused them selves some pelvic and muscular issues.

My kit came with a hoop, carry bag, DVD, and quick exercise poster.  It also included a small piece of matting that was labeled “non slip hoop surface” but beats me how it would help, being approximately a 4 x 4 inch square – literally my toes fit on it. FXP offers an array of Hula Hoop Kits – These specially designed kits come equipped with everything needed to help women reach their specific goals.  Choose from five kits including: FXP Starter Kit, FXP Cardio Sculpt, Total Body Makeover, Total Body Makeover Plus, and Create Your Own. Each kit comes with retractable hoop, carry bag, DVDs, guides and more! Kits start at an affordable $49.94.

Other ways to connect to fitness through FXP include:

Hula Hoop Level 1 Teacher Training – Designed for trainers by trainers, it’s the first step in teaching FXP Fitness classes. Trainers receive the highest level of individual support in the industry, from business tools and webinars to lesson plans and troubleshooting support. Training is $250 with discounts for groups and military.. More Info here.

Hula Hoop Life Diet Nutrition Program – Provides access to expert nutritionists, meal planning guides, recipes, support, and more.

Mobile App – The perfect way to access FXP programs while away from home. Provides free workout guides and optional premium content. Available on iOS and Android devices.

FXP Fitness was programmed by internationally respected fitness leader, Niece Pecenka, to help users shed pounds, lose inches from their waistlines, and sculpt their bodies all while having fun!

For more information, please visit

I leave you with an explantation of the fitness system’s development “FXP Fitness was born from the idea that fitness should be an enjoyable, accessible experience that yields great results. It is a low to no impact program inspired by proven methods such as pilates, barre, and yoga, and combines them into a high intensity interval training system…all while using the specially designed fitness hula hoop. Perfect for toning arms, strengthening legs, and slimming middles, FXP is designed for ”all ages and all stages” and is backed by a recent metabolic study on the effectiveness of the FXP hula hoop and workout DCDs. Plus, its curriculum is easily modifiable to fit tight schedules, tight spaces, and lifestyles continuously on-the-go.”

Remember, any fitness program can work if you stick with it!

Yoga Class Pet Peeves and Why They Should Matter to Teachers

Having been a practitioner for many years now, and a studio owner/teacher for 10 years, I find I can rarely go to class without assessing the quality of the instruction.  Recently I attended a class at my new gym, which I love.  The instructor seemed like a really nice woman too, but probably not the most professional and that really did affect my external experience. Here are some of my pet peeves (from this class and others) and why they should matter as a teacher, or a student.

1. Entering class noisily and without decorum. When you enter your class it should be peaceful, not in a loud boisterous way, talking with one of your “friends”/students about how wasted everyone was, how you washed his pajama bottoms for him, how stoned you were, etc. just isn’t serene, doesn’t set a nice mood and honestly is too personal to be professional.

2. Hollering – and I mean loudly – at everyone who enters the class (especially when late) to “check” they are actually there (eg: “OMG – is that YOU Holly?!?!”).   Everyone likes to be acknowledged in class, quietly walking up to students to greet them is great for building rapport – ignoring new students – not so much.  My all time pet peeve? Accusingly asking students, “Did you pay for class and sign in up front? I checked the list before I got here and I didn’t SEE any new names,” without introducing yourself, yeah – you probably won’t see too many more new names.

3. Starting class with some long winded discussion about the new moon, how you’re a hippy, and other things that have nothing to do with yoga and are more about yourself and your own life.  Especially annoying when you start forcing your feelings on everyone else by making broad sweeping generalizations and statements.  Not everyone feels the same way you do, get over it, yoga isn’t about proselytizing and you need to meet your students where they are at, not where you think everyone should be.

4. Never looking up from your mat, or even better, never opening your eyes during class.  Personally I’m at the point in my practice where I don’t need someone to correct me, my proprioceptors work pretty well, however; when half your class has a quizzical look on their faces and you haven’t noticed it or more than half have their elbows way too wide for headstand – you may want to get off your own head and check around, do your job, teach a class – try NOT to need your insurance.  Again, professionalism and safety of others – I don’t care if you can do a handstand in the middle of the floor, I’d prefer not to hear people breaking their toes as they kick themselves wildly into the wall to try it too.

5. Mentioning how hung over you are in class.  Do I need to discuss this one? I am quite forgiving of teachers who haven’t mastered all of the poses – I surely haven’t – but I never fall over in a pose or have poor balance because I am hung over and I don’t think I should win a prize for that – its just professionalism rearing its head again.

6. CHakra. Pronounce it correctly. Especially when you seem to be able to use other Sanskrit words like CHaturanga and ardha CHandrasana. In fact, take a class on Sanskrit or pick up a book, it’s an important part of yoga…don’t know why? You should get your money back from your teacher training.

7. Have some idea of how your class is going to go. I never taught from a lesson plan but always knew what I planned on doing and had some contingencies – or at least props near by.  You lose credibility as a teacher and trust when you start to get into a pose and then blurt out “maybe I should have thought this out, we may need props, oh well we are all at different levels – just try it and see.” In the same vain you have to be flexible enough to know when a class isn’t ready for what you thought you would offer and be able to change it up.

8. Music, no music, doesn’t bother me either way.  My teacher trainers never used music and they had solid reasons – but my students always like music so I used it.  Either way I shouldn’t have to strain to hear your instructions, AFAA and ACE both have guidelines for safe listening volumes – yeah that’s right you may want to check out a group fitness training certificate if you plan on teaching in a gym – it makes you more marketable and knowledgeable.

9. Pushing any student to go farther.  Yes, we are here to instruct, to correct, to modify and create healthy poses –  but challenging a student is really their own deal.  I’m not omnipotent so I am guessing neither are other teachers – and I’m not in my students’ bodies so how could I ever dare to verbally assault or physically assault a student into going past their comfort zone? Professional liability wise it should never be done (that’s a talk with your insurance provider), but yogic wise – as in ethically – it definitely isn’t anyone’s place to push a student past their point – the whole ahimsa thing on so many levels comes up – not to mention Patanjali’s thing about “removing the root cause of suffering a pain”… yoga is to REMOVE pain people – not create it.  Any class or teacher that says otherwise…RUN! If you are that teacher and 1).you didn’t know or weren’t told then now you know and yoga is about growth 2). if you believe otherwise do us all a favor and quit teaching.

10. No savasana.  I just hate dislike you now. If you are the student who never stays for this challenging last pose I am sorry that its importance was never truly expressed to you, but if you are the teacher withholding this from class you need to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you teach at all. I love me some savasana – it’s the whole reason I deal with all of the aforementioned crap and don’t walk out the moment you try to recollect some book you read this weekend and how you think the metaphor applies to your life (I was a literature major and an English teacher so this one is a big pet peeve, see #3) please don’t snatch the last bit of redemption away from these 90 minutes.


Well, that is my Top 10 List of Yoga Class Pet Peeves.  I hope you found it both humorous and informative as I find most of my opinions to be – since they’re mine.

For all of the sour right before the New Year, here’s a little sweetness from the last kids’ yoga class I taught before I moved from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest.


Increasing the Production of hGH with Amino Acids

I was recently contacted to review SeroVital-hGH, I did not receive any compensation and the opinions expressed are given freely. Human growth hormone has been lauded as a way to decrease wrinkles and body fat while increasing your energy and fitness to help give you that rockin’ swimsuit bod and youthful glow! SeroVital-hGH consists of a blend of amino acids to naturally increase your body’s own production of growth hormones.  Higher HGH levels are associated with youthful skin integrity, lean musculature, an increased sex drive and elevated energy production.

While HGH production supposedly can be boosted by foods such as yams, SeroVital-hGH should keep you from having to stock up on pounds of potatoes. At $99 a bottle it isn’t a small investment.  I would have loved to try this myself but I am still breastfeeding and didn’t want to potentially have any side effects for my little ones, not to mention my husband jumped at the chance to be my tester.  He is always looking for a way to trim fat, gain muscle and of course have more energy.

He took the pills every day with breakfast and did seem to be a little trimmer at the end of the supply.  We just moved to Portland OR from Chicago IL area and sadly our routine of working out has hit a wall with three kids and no caregivers.  I wish we could have seen the effects if we were working out daily. As for wrinkles, who knows, we aren’t really worried about wrinkles because we take care of ourselves – no smoking, no drinking, eating well and hydrating.  My husband does suffer from rosacea though and during the time of his trial with SeroVital-hGH his face was noticeably less inflamed.

I’m not quite sold on the product myself, I think some trials that included blood draws that monitored hGH elevation levels would definitely put me in the believer camp. The website does list a study


The use of amino acid supplements to provoke growth hormone (GH) secretion in athletes and entertainers now extends to the general public. Not only do they have a goal of building lean tissue and reducing fat, but also in improving skin quality and other rejuvenating qualities that they believe GH can provide. Despite increasing mainstream use, evidence for whether oral amino acids stimulate GH is not clear.

This was a cross-over, placebo-controlled randomized study. 16 (12 males; 32±14 years; 26.4±5.0 kg/m2) healthy subjects had serum GH measured at baseline and 15, 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after taking a single low dose proprietary amino acid supplement blend (SeroVital™) or placebo.

After 120 minutes, GH levels had increased 8-fold from baseline (0.17 to 1.33ng/ml) and were significantly higher than placebo (P=0.01). In addition, a significantly higher mean AUC was observed after taking the supplement [20.4 (95% CI: 19.9-21.0ng/ml) vs. 19.7 (95% CI: 18.7-20.6ng/ml); P=0.04].

Our results show that a single oral dose of these amino acids can significantly increase GH Levels after 120 minutes in healthy men and women. Whether these GH changes persist over a longer duration or have other positive effects is being further examined.

But again, they are basing this on the ingestion of amino acid supplements and amino acids are found in the foods we eat, they have just been concentrated down into pill form – which has its pros and cons. The study does suggest that levels of hGH are raised but whether or not that will have the intended effect of reducing wrinkles I think would take a longer study period and measurement of wrinkle depth.

If you have the money to spend, it can’t hurt to attempt to reduce your wrinkles and melt fat.

This Summer’s Perfect Pounding 5 K Electric Run

Sweating it out to the blasting music at Coachella or the other hot music festivals this summer have you halfway there, but why not add a little spring to your step?

Electric Run is the perfect way to tackle your first summer 5K — with hot music, breathtaking light displays and an energized crowd of thousands, it will feel less like a run and more like a moving party. Electric Run has already attracted crowds of over 10,000 and are taking place across over 30 cities this year.


With the hottest musical acts, miles of neon lit track and participants decked out in Day-Glo, face paint and bright outfits, Electric Run is sweeping the nation. Electric Run will be coming to over 30 locations throughout the United States this year, so everyone can get in on the fun.

If you want to learn more or talk to founder Dan Hill (also founder of the Ragnar Relay) about this new race craze, please feel free to contact me. Happy to tell you more!




  • Electric Run brings the hottest DJs, giant light installation art from some of the most talented artists at DreamWorks, Disney, Coachella and Vegas.
  • The races have attracted celebrity participants from Carmen Electra to Seth Rogan.
  • Each race donates a major portion of the proceeds to a local charity.
  • Participants of all ages and walks of life take part – decked out in their neon best. Crazy neon running shoes were made for this.

Watch this video to see more.

@Electric Run

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This is a press release provided to me.

4 Health Conscious Natural Products For Your Gym Bag and Mother’s Day

Being a mom means having a whole pharmacy in your bag at any time.  I lug around everything from bandages to booger wipes and items I don’t even remember throwing in my bag.  I haven’t been to the gyms in ages it seems. Before I was a working mother of three I owned a sleek, sophisticated gym bag with pockets for all kinds of wonderful self-care products.  I would spend extra time in the steam room (yes, a steam room, not the bathroom full of steam to loosen up a small child’s mucous) breathing in aromatherapy oils,  in the sauna spritzing myself with scented water, or even on the luxurious locker-room benches lathering on lotions.

Although those days of leisure time have passed, I still know what I would keep in my gym bag if I ever had the chance to think about my own health and well being for a New York minute. The one thing being a parent has made me more cognoscente of is natural health products. Every day products I would usually use have now gone to the wayside each passing year as I become more of a crunchy mama.

Here are my top picks for your gym bag:

image 1.Zim’s Max-Freeze® and Zim’s® Maximum Heat™.  These are two over the counter pain relief products. Zim’s Max-Freeze® delivers temporary relief to aching muscles and joints. Zim’s Max-imageFreeze is formulated with naturally-based ingredients including aloe, arnica, Vitamin E and tea tree oil. Zim’s® Maximum Heat is a heat-based pain relief product with capsaicin for arthritis, stiffness, backache, strains and sprains. It is formulated with naturally-based ingredients including aloe, arnica, Vitamin E and tea tree oil. No Parabens, No Sulfates and No Animal Testing.  The Max-Freeze is said to have a vanishing scent, but mine did not vanish that quickly and it had the consistency of aloe gel – it was a little sloppy to apply.  The Max Heat has a great roll on feature which instantly gives you the heat without the mess. I put each on a different side of my neck and could notice the difference in feeling state, one side was cool feeling like peppermint oil, the other was a deep warming feeling like a hot compress. Working out can leave you with some aches and pains, or maybe you are moving more to fend of arthritis.  Instead of reaching for pills, roll on some relief.

2. Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal. Made of 100% natural ingredients,  with no harmful aluminums or parabens, and  containing pharmaceutical grade mineral salts.  Comes in a spray and a roll on.  Both work wonderfully and are oddly fragrance free. Mainstream deodorants give me cysts on my underarms so I long ago moved to natural products.  Many contain essential oils that can be overbearing.  I was surprised that these products had no scent, and at the end of the day after dancing and walking in the sun – neither did I! You don’t want to be person in the gym keeping everyone else out of the free weight room.  Be sure to pack some deodorant.

3. MoistStic Natural Lip Protection. Made with ingredients that make the difference, Tea Tree Oil, Vitamin E, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, and Peppermint Oil. I really thought I would experience  burning lips based on these ingredients but the product goes on smooth and keeps your lips soft.  A must have in gyms bags.  Too many people forget about hydrating their lips when they are exercising and getting thirsty – lip licking makes your lips more dry because the bacteria from your mouth in your saliva dry out the lips. Pop MoistStic in your purse too! You spend so much time working on a hot bod, you want smooth and healthy lips to kiss. Preserve healthy skin with MoistStic and create a protective layer from the drying effects of the sun, altitude and cold weather.

Food Flask 4. Hydro Flask®, This flask’s double-wall vacuum insulation keeps drinks icy cold up to 24 hours (even in the blazing sun!).  BPA and aluminum free bottles ensure no leaching of chemicals, plastic or aluminum, into beverages with non-toxic food grade powder coated exterior and soy-based ink logos. Made with 100 percent, 18/8 stainless steel; resistant to bacteria and odors; backed by an unconditional lifetime warranty. The bottles come in a variety of shapes and styles including standard wide-mouth and narrow, as well as food flasks (great for picnics and school lunches), beverage flasks, tea/travel flasks with Hydro Flip lids and growlers. That’s right, becoming a crunchy mama means no more plastic bottles, and absolutely no BPA.  Reusable bottles like those from Hydro Flask make refilling water and drinks fashionable and fun.  You definitely don’t want to give up the prime real estate that is the elliptical closest to the TV to go get water, but you also don’t want to be the dullard mindlessly filling landfills with plastic bottles.  Great for all seasons, you literally can put a hot tea on your nightstand and wake up in the morning with hot tea on your nightstand! Pick up a Hydro Flask and never suffer plastic bottle guilt again.

Mother’s Day is around the corner, literally down the block at the end of this week! There is still time to create a great gift basket with any or all of these products for moms who make it to the gym.  Don’t miss out on the message of natural health this season.

Samples of items were provided for review purposes. I was not compensated in any way and all opinions expressed are completely my own and given freely.

Are You A Coach Potato You Could Be Genetically Lazy Study Finds

Couch Potatoes May Be Genetically Predisposed to Being Lazy, MU Study Finds
Genetics could be a reason some people are motivated to exercise more than others

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Studies show 97 percent of American adults get less than 30 minutes of exercise a day, which is the minimum recommended amount based on federal guidelines. New research from the University of Missouri suggests certain genetic traits may predispose people to being more or less motivated to exercise and remain active. Frank Booth, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, along with his post-doctoral fellow Michael Roberts, were able to selectively breed rats that exhibited traits of either extreme activity or extreme laziness. They say these rats indicate that genetics could play a role in exercise motivation, even in humans.

“We have shown that it is possible to be genetically predisposed to being lazy,” Booth said. “This could be an important step in identifying additional causes for obesity in humans, especially considering dramatic increases in childhood obesity in the United States. It would be very useful to know if a person is genetically predisposed to having a lack of motivation to exercise, because that could potentially make them more likely to grow obese.”

In their study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology on April 3, 2013, Roberts and Booth put rats in cages with running wheels and measured how much each rat willingly ran on their wheels during a six-day period. They then bred the top 26 runners with each other and bred the 26 rats that ran the least with each other. They repeated this process through 10 generations and found that the line of running rats chose to run 10 times more than the line of “lazy” rats.

Once the researchers created their “super runner” and “couch potato” rats, they studied the levels of mitochondria in muscle cells, compared body composition and conducted thorough genetic evaluations through RNA deep sequencing of each rat.

“While we found minor differences in the body composition and levels of mitochondria in muscle cells of the rats, the most important thing we identified were the genetic differences between the two lines of rats,” Roberts said. “Out of more than 17,000 different genes in one part of the brain, we identified 36 genes that may play a role in predisposition to physical activity motivation.”

Now that the researchers have identified these specific genes, they plan on continuing their research to explore the effects each gene has on motivation to exercise.

Frank Booth also is a professor in the Department of Physiology in the MU School of Medicine as well as a research investigator in the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center at MU. This research also featured Kevin Wells, an assistant professor of genetics in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Division of Animal Sciences.

As a result of years of excellence in providing systematic, periodic examinations of scholarly research and provoking discussion leading to new research activity, Frank Booth will be awarded the American Physiological Society (APS) 2013 Annual Reviews Award for Scientific Reviewing. The award recognizes an APS member who has written scientific reviews that have helped provide an enhanced understanding of the area of physiology reviewed.

View this news release on the Web at:
For more news, visit:

Win a FREE Race Entry to Allstate Life Insurance Chicago 13.1 Marathon Enter Now @skyyogastudio .com

Experience Chicago’s beautiful half-marathon course along the lakefront! and the Allstate Life Insurance Marathon would like to offer you the chance to win 1 free registration to experience the Allstate Life Insurance? Chicago 13.1 Marathon® on Saturday, June 8th.

Thousands of runners at the Allstate Life Insurance? Chicago 13.1 Marathon® will enjoy the sounds of over 10 party stations while they run. At the finish line runners will enjoy festivities with friends and family including live entertainment, food and refreshments.

Register to be one of the first to start and finish the Allstate Life Insurance? Chicago 13.1 Marathon® benefiting the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. For more information and to register, please visit:

7 a.m., Saturday, June 8

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60649

Use the RAFFLECOPTER Form for a chance to win complimentary registration for the Allstate Life Insurance? Chicago 13.1 Marathon®

Allstate Life InsuranceSM 13.1 Marathon® is the series of half marathons serving some of America’s top running communities with a stand-alone half marathon for locals to embrace and visitors to experience. The 2013 series kicked off on the West Coast in January with the Allstate Life Insurance? Los Angeles 13.1 Marathon® (Jan. 13, 2013) and will be followed by events in Miami Beach (March 9, 2013), New York (March 23, 2013), Chicago (June 8, 2013), Atlanta (Oct. 6, 2013), Dallas (Oct. 26, 2013) and Ft. Lauderdale (Nov. 10, 2013). For more information, please visit or call (800) 596-5990.

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Mark Your Calendar Chicago 32nd Annual Bastille Day 5K & 8K Run/Walk & Block Party

The 32nd Annual Bastille Day 5K & 8K Run/Walk & Block Party Returns to Chicago

Celebrate France’s Independence Day

WHAT:                 Oh là là…the legendary French inspired Bastille Day 5K & 8K Run/Walk & Block Party returns to Lincoln Park! The popular mid-summer Chicago event will be a celebration of all things French, including Bastille Day (officially July 14th). Enjoy a refreshing evening run on Lake Michigan’s lakefront trail, followed by a Merveilleux block party to celebrate the holiday accordingly! All participants receive a “Très Bien” tech shirt. Register at to attend this highly anticipated event.

WHEN:                                 Thursday, July 11, 2013

TIME:                    8K begins at 7:15 p.m. / 5K begins at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:               Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Cannon Dr. & Fullerton, Chicago, IL

COST:                    5K: $27, 8K: $32

WHO:                   US Road Sports & Entertainment Group, the event organizer, is a health and wellness company dedicated to the production of world-class endurance events. The mission of US Road Sports is to offer an unparalleled participant sports experience that showcases host communities and endures as a deeply valued local asset through events that are a part of the city’s culture, identity and brand.  For each participant, US Road Sports strives to offer events that allow participants of all skill levels the opportunity to improve their physical and mental health and accomplish life-altering goals while having fun.  US Road Sports provides sponsors and municipalities highly effective exposure to help maximize their presence and message in the community.