Heat, Humidity and How to Deal

1341339466645_3598161Virginia is hot.  Virginia is humid.  I wait all year for summer only to remember how brutal workouts can be in this climate.  So many of us struggle through our our workouts during summer months, but do you know what exactly makes heat such a stress on the body? Let me shed some light.

  • As a cooling mechanism, your body sends more blood to circulate through the body.  The blood moves away from your hot core to cool down your system.  That flush you quickly experience during hot workouts is the appearance of blood being pumped to the surface of the body.  This leaves less blood available to your muscles.
  • The excess blood being pumped throughout your body increases your heart rate.
  • Since the blood is being circulated to cool the body, the heart and lungs are forced to work harder in hot conditions to deliver oxygen to the muscles.
  • Sweat evaporates at a slower rate in humid weather.  The extra coat of moisture on your skin raises your body temperature even higher.

When your body is not adapted to hot conditions, the weather can cause enough stress to make your average run a brutal one.  We have all experienced this.  I remember the torture of summer lacrosse camp like it was yesterday. Ninety plus degree weather on turf fields  would leave me feeling like a slug. Luckily, the human body can and will adapt well if you are physically fit.  In less than two weeks of dealing with hot humid weather you will begin to exercise with a bit more ease:

  • Your body’s cooling system will kick in faster, meaning you will begin to sweat earlier in your workout
  • Your body will begin to make more blood, which will put less stress on your heart and lungs
  • Your overall heart rate will slow down when exercising in heat due to the extra blood being produced
  • The body will begin to work more efficiently, needing less energy to do the same amount of work

This doesn’t mean you can go run 6 miles at the height of the day on a sunny street. That would be plain stupid. Don’t be stupid.  Work around the heat!

  • Try two a days: do 30 minutes  in the morning and 30 minutes in the late afternoon or evening–the down side is two showers.
  • Get up with the sun: it’s the coolest part of the day in the summer
  • Seek shade: make an extra effort to find a shaded trail or street while running.
  • Replace what you lose in sweat: weigh yourself before your outdoor workout and again after.  For every pound you lose, drink 16 ounces of water.  Be sure to drink that amount before your next outdoor workout as a preventative measure.
  • Wear sunscreen: sunburn is an added stress on your body that will affect your performance
  • Dress for the heat: wear lightweight and light colored clothing. In reality, wear minimal clothing. You will never see me running with a shirt on in weather above 75 degrees.
  • Don’t go overboard: especially when first adapting to heat.  Take breaks when you are feeling over heated. There is nothing worse or more scary than heat exhaustion!

Now go get acclimated!

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Yoga Review: Yogadownload.com

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If you fall into any of the below categories, you will LOVE YOGA DOWNLOAD

  • A yogi with a busy schedule
  • A yogi on a budget
  • A yogi who travels
  • A yogi without a worthwhile studio nearby
  • Love to sweat
  • Need a deep stretch
  • A runner
  • A beginner
  • Enjoy Pilates

I discovered Yoga Download through Groupon a little over one month ago and have been practicing through the site 2-4 days/week ever since.  The site is stocked with hundreds of yoga classes and even Pilates, cycling, kick boxing, dance and running classes.  They even have yoga with weights!  My Groupon gave me the “Yearly Elite” package which allows me to stream and download unlimited videos for one year.  The regular price for this pass is $90 annually.  While this sounds steep, it is going to cost you $7.50/month if you break it down.  That is the cost of one [cheap] brunch cocktail per week.  You can also chose to pay for 1, 3 or 6 months at a time, click here.

It’s easy to find the type of class that will serve you on any particular day.  You can search through classes via your objective (detox, sweat, weight loss, recover, etc); focus (yoga for athletes, morning yoga, yoga for seniors, etc); body part; pose type (arm balances, twists, sun salutations, back bends, etc); featured channels and through studios/brand.  You can also locate classes by scrolling through the various yoga styles as well.

Each video comes equip with a description, preview and reviews you can study before deciding to stream/download.  I love having the ability to read customer reviews.  There is nothing worse than getting half way through a class and realizing it is not challenging enough or too advanced for your practice.

The ability to download a class to your own device means you can practice yoga anywhere (with or without WiFi)  as you travel for work or leisure. 

I use the site to sweat, stretch, detox, meditate and wake up.  I have been able to find classes for all my yoga objectives and I have not had the need to repeat a class with so many options to chose from.  With a busy schedule, I am often squeezing classes in between clients and the ability to just open my lap top and step onto my mat allows me to flow much more often.

Yoga studios can be intimidating to beginners, I think this site is great for people who want to try yoga without committing to the prices of a studio they may not even like.  In addition, a site like Yoga Download allows you to hand pick your classes to fit your instructor and style preference.  I absolutely love the experience of visiting my local yoga studio, but I am usually with clients the during the time slots I enjoy.  In addition, studios are expensive. One year of yoga download would not cover the cost of a monthly membership at your average yoga studio.  So if you practice regularly, you cannot go wrong purchasing this service.

In addition to personally using the site, I have had clients and friends purchase the service in the past month after my recommendation.  The site is a value and worth every penny.

Product Review: DOD Fitness

The fitness industry is booming, and with that we are seeing all kinds of new products come to market.  It’s hard to stay up to date on what is out there.  Luckily, I have a really great contact at 411 Video Info to keep me in the loop!  Today I am going to be reviewing a fairly new product line from DOD Fitness.  The goal of these products is to make exercise easy and comfortable for everyone.  Currently there are three product types that help eliminate pain many people experience in everyday exercises.

First I want to talk about the wrist wedges.  These are designed for people who experience wrist pain while performing body weight exercises on the hands.  I have seen this issue first hand in yoga class.  Not everyone has the wrist strength to remain in poses that require the wrist to bed back 90 degrees, and holding a pose past your threshold could result in a strain.  I personally have no use for this product, but I know that there is a large demographic who does.  I would say about 50% of my peers in yoga class could benefit from this product while flowing through a standard sun salutation (poses like Downward Facing Dog, Upward Facing dog, Chaturanga, and Plank Pose).   This product has the potential to increase the effectiveness of a beginner’s yoga practice by reducing the wrist strain during basic flow or long holds.

The knee donuts are what I found to be the most useful product for me.  I had Osgood-Schlatter in my knees as an adolescent and still have a knobby area of bone growth that can be painful when combining pressure with hard surfaces.  It is not shooting, just unpleasant.  I used the knee donuts while performing Modified Kettlebell Pushups on one knee  (an Amy Dixon move).   The knee donuts allowed me to perform a max amount of reps in one minute because it eliminated my normal pain by cushioning my knees.  I am also currently getting over an injury to my meniscus and the donuts not only eliminated any pain, but also the anxiety that I may tweak the same injury again.   The knee donuts are great for any exercises that require you to be in a tabletop position as well, which could benefit anyone who practices Pilates with knee pain.  I could even see myself using the donuts while cleaning my bathrooms or gardening, since I tend to be kneeling for long periods of time.

Last we have the neck circle.  This product I personally found little use for.  The intention is good, the circle keeps your head in a neutral position while performing exercises on your back, thus reducing tension.   I feel the demographics for this product would be physical therapists, senior citizens and individuals with a muscular imbalance that causes neck strain.  I do believe I will come across a client who will need this product, but not nearly as often as the wrist wedges and knee donuts.  I am constantly hearing gripes of knee pain and wrist strain getting in the way of exercises, but neck pain is often linked to a postural issue or muscular imbalance I would look to correct as a personal trainer.

If you are interested in learning more about DOD Fitness or purchasing their products, visit there website here.

 

Review: Cindy Whitmarsh UFIT Series

On Monday I received Cindy Whitmarsh’s UFIT series from 411 Video Information to blaze through and review.  The series consists of three separate videos: The Ultra Lean, The Ultra Tight and The Ultra Burn.  Each DVD is 4o minutes long, with two 20 minute interval training workouts.  These workouts are based on the principals of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and are designed to blast calories and tone in a minimal amount of time.  There are three exercises per circuit; 1 minute of cardio and two minutes of strength/toning exercises.  Each circuit is performed only once, with no repetition of exercises.  If you want the short version of this review, scroll to the bottom and read my “Takeaway”. 

Cindy WhitmarshTuesday I started with Ultra Lean.  This DVD consisted of two 20 minutes interval training workouts.  The first segment focuses on the upper body: working biceps, triceps and shoulders. There is one minute of cardio exercise  for every two minutes of strength training.  Cindy uses a number of traditional strength exercises and drills that are easy to catch on to if you are new to strength training or just a little rusty.  The upper body segment requires dumbbells, I used a set of 8lbs.  While 8 lbs worked well for most the exercises, I could definitely have used a set of 10-12 lbs for some of the shoulder and bicep work.  I would recommend having a range of weights handy depending on your ability.

The 20 minute lower body portion of the Ultra Lean DVD followed a similar sequence working in cardio and strength training.  Again, most of the exercises are ones you have likely seen/done in the past, making it easy to catch on.  I wish I had  heavy weights on hand for the dead-lift intervals because I did not feel challenged.  Most of her lower body strength exercises focus on the butt.  At the end of the video she burns out your tush with a lot of glute work.

Wednesday Morning I jumped right into another DVD from Cindy’s Series.  I went with Ultra Tight to start my day.  You can see a trailer above.  Hard Body is the first of the two workouts included in Ultra Tight.  This was a total body workout that focused on multi-joint functional movements all while keeping your heart rate up with cardio intervals.  The Hard Body segment  kept my heart rate medium/high for the full 20 minutes.  6-Pack Abs is the second workout in the Ultra Tight DVD.  It includes both standing and mat work with one minute of cardio for every two minutes of toning.  I liked the fact that the cardio moves worked the core, allowing you to really burn out your middle for the full 20 minutes.

Tip: If you own a kettlebell or a dumbbell 12+ lbs, I recommend having it handy for the swings performed in Hard Body (if you are familiar with kettlebell swings).  A 8-10 lb dumbbell was too light for me in that movement.  If you are new to weights, an 8lb dumbbell will work fine.

I really enjoyed the Hard Body workout because you are working your upper body, lower body, core and cardiovascular system simultaneously for the full 20 minutes.  I also appreciate that Cindy implements cardio into the abdominal routines for the 6-Pack Ab workout.  I often find that abdominal workouts get a little slow and relaxed, but that was not the case with this routine.  The Ultra Tight cardio moves were a little more advanced than the Ultra Lean DVD, which made it my favorite of the two strength focused DVDs.  Overall, I enjoyed this workout and I would definitely continue to make it part of my fitness regimen.

Thursday I woke up sore, tired and groggy so before I began my UFIT series I did a short yoga practice to wake up.  The last DVD in the series is called Ultra Burn.  This DVD consists of a cardio workout and a workout called Sculpt and Stretch.  I sweat my butt off during the cardio.  It consisted of  athletic moves like jump squats, lunges and kicks.  I made a few modifications to increase the intensity; adding weights and by making exercises pylometric.  Sculpt and Stretch was an active recovery.  It was a mixture of exercises to lengthen muscles and tone.  Cindy used a lot of modified yoga postures and added pulses and movements to make the stretches more athletic and dynamic.  The stretches were paired with strength exercises to tone and improve balance.  I would recommend doing the cardio portion right before the Sculpt and Stretch because your muscles are really warm and it makes for a good recovery sequence.

Takeaway

After several weeks of this workout series you would need to up your weights and add dumbbells to body weight moves to continue to challenge your body.  For me, 40 minutes is just a little bit too short.  But keep in mind, this does not include a warm up or cool down.  I did like how the workout was broken up into two segments.  It is great for people with a time pinch who cannot dedicate an hour each day to a fitness routine or for those who are not physically ready for an hour long interval training workout.  It also allows you to mix and match workouts, depending on your day or cardiovascular exercise regimen. The series is $40 and includes a meal plan and exercise schedule which unfortunately I do not have access to.  I think beginners could start with one 20 minute workout in addition to their running/walking/biking routine and progress to completing 2-3 workouts at a time.  If I were advising clients, I would recommend they start with the Ultra Lean, move onto the Ultra Tight and finish with the Ultra Burn series.

I was afraid that the series would not be high enough impact for me, but I experienced muscle soreness from the first DVD on Wednesday and I am still sore today (Thursday).  I think this series is effective because of it’s pace.  There is not time for rest or too much instruction between exercises.  In addition, the exercises are athletic and uncomplicated so you can easily modify them to increase or decrease the intensity level if you need to.  This is a great DVD to break out when you are crunched for time as well.  It is a relatively flexible series and could meet the needs of a wide range of fitness levels and lifestyles.  Since it appeals to a large audience,  I could see myself recommending this to my clients as a routine for their off days.

I want to advise you to warm up and cool down. There is no warm up in any of the workouts so please take about five minutes to heat up your body before you  begin.  I did a short 10 minute yoga flow before beginning since I roll out of bed and workout in the mornings. Below I have posted a good 4.5 minute warm up from Fitness Blender. You can do this prior to any of the UFIT workouts if yoga is not your thing.  In addition, you need to be cooling down.  Cindy gives you a 1-2 minute stretch and no cool down.  Chose an easy exercise that keeps your body moving and brings your heart rate down before you static stretch.  Don’t skip stretching, your muscles will pay for it the next day.

Recommended Warm Up:

Video Review: Sweat Unlimited with Sara Haley

Yesterday I received 11 videos from 411 Video Information   to complete and review.  I pretty much ran to my leasing office after work so I could pick up the package and get started.  I was predictable and started with the video that looked the most difficult, SWEAT UNLIMITED with Sara Haley.  The DVD contained 5 different workouts:

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  1. Sweat Extreme 5: This was a 5 minute video containing Sara Haley’s “Favorite Moves”.  In my opinion, 5 minutes is too short to have separate from the longer routines.  I would have preferred this tacked onto Sweat Strength 15.  There was a fantastic “Surfer Burpee” exercise in this segment that I will definitely revisit in designing my own workouts!
  2. Sweat Strength 15: This was a sculpting segment.  I would describe it’s intensity level to be low for someone with an intermediate-advanced fitness level.  However, for most women, I think it has some great sculpting moves.
  3. Sweat Cardio 30:  This cardio workout is actually 35 minutes long and consist of dance inspired exercise moves.  I would describe it as a fusion of dance and traditional sculpting exercises.  She uses lunges, squats, and some kickboxing to up the intensity.  Again, this video was not high intensity for my fitness level, so I modified the workout by adding on jump squats, burpees, and other plyometric movements.  I was definitely squirting sweat by the time I finished.  For women with a more general fitness level, I think this video would bring the heart rate up and keep it there to provide a good cardiovascular challenge.
  4. Sweat Box 45:  Tabata inspired kickboxing, now this was fun! I love kickboxing and I love tabata, so Sara won me over with this one.  Her tabata consisted of four rounds of two exercises with 20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest.  She included a good amount of core work on top of the kickboxing and I feel it in my upper abdominals today.  I personally would have preferred to have the tabatas be at least 30 seconds long and ideally closer to 40-45 seconds. I was naughty and I worked through the rest interval.  I don’t recommend skipping the rest unless you 1) regularly partake in intermediate-advanced  HIIT or Tabata workouts or 2) are doing the modified movements.
  5. Sweat Stretch 5: Five minutes of stretching after the dynamic workout you just completed is not enough! I would have liked to see a yoga style stretch or something with more emphasis on the legs.

I did the Sweat Box 45 last night after I got off work then completed the Cardio 30, Strength 15, Extreme 5 and Stretch 5 before heading to work this morning.  My workout this morning came to exactly one hour which worked out perfectly.  I am happy to report that my back is sore from all the jabs, uppercuts and hooks from last night.

This DVD is dynamic, it has a little bit of everything which is great for anyone with a short attention span or those who get bored easily.  Sara has some creative exercise moves, especially in the Sweat Cardio 30 and Sweat Box 45 workouts.  While the DVD advertises that there are a total of five workouts, three of the segments are under 16 minutes and two of them last only five minutes, one being a stretch.  I think you could easily create two complete workouts with this DVD, but I don’t think it would be overkill to knock out the whole series in one day.

I am not usually into dancing or dance workouts.  Anyone who knows me, is aware that I am a terrible terrible dancer.  My coordination is fine as long as I have a dumbbell, jump rope or kettlebell in my hand. As soon as there is some hip swaying involved I look like a fool. I lack finesse for sure, but I am trying to go outside of my fitness bubble to test workouts that could benefit my clients.  I will be recommending SWEAT UNLIMITED to clients who enjoy dancing, zumba or kickboxing.  Another great thing about this DVD is that it is equipment free, making it a great travel companion!

Another bonus that came from this experience was finding Sara Haley’s Blog!   I love finding reputable fitness industry professionals to follow via social media.  Go ahead and like her Facebook page too for recipes and fitness tips.

 

 

Video Review: Amy Dixon’s Raise Some Bell

Lately I have been in a rut with my workout DVDs.  After a while the same workout on a regular basis gets repetitive and dull.  So I have become consumed in creating new and creative circuit style workouts for myself almost everyday.  I do start to miss being instructed, and since I have been lacking a workout buddy the past couple of weeks, the gym is getting a little lonely.  So last night I had the company of Amy Dixon, a 15 lb kettlebell and my puppy Petey during my sweat session.

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Raise some Bell is a kettlebell routine, which I am sure you could have guessed.  The workout is a total body routine that lasts 40 minutes including warm up, cool down and a stretch.  There is also a 7 minute “Ultimate Kettle bell Core Workout” on the DVD.

The warm up was great.  I loved how Amy warmed up our  wrists.  It is not your first thought to prepare your wrists, but I pulled my right wrist during kettlebell workouts in the past so I can appreciate the attention to detail.  We dynamically moved through stretches and exercises that prepared us for the powerful moves to come while bringing our heart rate up.  I can definitely see this warmup working in more than just a kettlebell routine.

The Workout consisted of powerful ballistic moves such as swings as well as exercises you would typically do with your basic dumbbell.  The way Amy creates a combination flows well and I enjoyed putting together the exercises.  It allowed me to get a feel for each more before adding on.  My favorite exercise from the workout was the “Rainbow”, It’s a swing with a 180 degree continually pivot on one leg, I felt it over my entire body.  I am a sucker for anything ballistic.  I used a 15 lb kettlebell for the entire workout, but I wish I had a 10 or 12 lb bell for both the hammer curl and the jerk.  I found myself struggling to balance the bell by the horn during the curl.  15 lbs was not to heavy for my right arm during the jerk, but I struggled a bit on my left arm.  I should probably invest in a lighter bell not only for my clients, but for myself as well!

Some of the moves were a little complex, and it took me a few reps to get them down, surely my second time completing this video will be more beneficial than the first.   The moves were powerful and challenging, I felt like superwoman while I was jerking out my reps.  Kettlebell training definitely gives me a high that is different than running and plyometrics and I cannot get enough of it.  I will say, I am pretty sore today.  I need to make a commitment to break out my bell more often after experiencing my body’s reaction to the workout the next morning.

The workout takes a lot of thought and coordination to safely complete the exercises, so the time flew by quickly.  I did not believe Amy when she said we were on our last move of the day.  I do wish the workout was a little longer. I prefer my workouts to be about an hour.

The ab workout is separate on the DVD menu so I completed the 7 minute routine after I cooled down.  I would have liked to tackle abs before the cool down.  The exercises were functional and an all over core workout rather than targeting the superficial muscles, which I liked.

All in all, I give this Kettlebell routine 4 out of 5 stars.  I really loved the exercises and combinations but it was just a little too short and I wish the ab routine came before the cool down.  I will definitely be doing this workout again though.  It is great for when you need a solid workout and you have less than an hour to fit it all in!

What To Eat Pre-Workout

One of my clients recently asked me what and when she should been eating before our sessions to keep her from feeling exhausted and/or nauseous. So hear I am, singing the praise of carbs carbs and more carbs.  You cannot efficiently burn fat and build muscle without adequate carbohydrate intake.

One of my favorite quotes actually came from my NASM text book.  I memorized it when studying but find myself using it as a reminder in my own nutrition choices.  It goes like this: “Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame”

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Basically, maximal fat will not be utilized without enough carbohydrate.  Carbohydrates serve as our most vital source of energy for all bodily functions and muscular endurance.  This is because our bodies depend on muscle glycogen during exercise.  But enough with the scientific blabber, what you need to know is that without sufficient glycogen stores available, you may hit a wall during your workout, burn less fat and build less muscle.  As an athlete, you want to save your protein for building muscle, rather than use it for energy.

2-4 hours prior to working out, you want to consume a carbohydrate rich meal with some protein as well.  A common carbohydrate to protein ratio is 2:1 when exercising for an hour or less.  If you are an endurance athlete you can up your carbohydrates to a 3:1 ratio.  If you workout in the mornings, just get something in your system that will cause little distress on your belly and will digest easily.  Read this short article highlighting the importance of pre and post workout nutrition  from Equinox’s blog.

In order to recover and replenish those glycogen stores after a workout you need to eat at minimum a small snack within 30 minutes of completion.  If you are able to consume a full meal within 30 minutes of working out, you can do so with a carbohydrate and protein rich meal.

Now this does not mean you should eat pasta for every meal.  Sometimes we forget that fruits and vegetables are also carbohydrates.  Also stick to whole grains like quinoa, brown rice or oats.

Here is what I suggest my clients consume before a heart thumping session to avoid early exhaustion:

  • Banana or apple with nut butter ( I prefer Raw Unsalted Almond Butter)
  • Steel cut oats with half a banana, some blueberries or raisins (get creative and use what you have)
  • A hard boiled egg with a piece of fruit
  • Whole wheat crackers with hummus (I love Mary’s Gone Crackers)
  • Carrots and Hummus
  • A bowl of quinoa (Ideas here: I’m dying to try the “bagel bowl”)
  • Brown rice cake(s) with avocado (I need more than one, but I have a lot of body to fuel so keep your personal needs in mind)
  • Baked Potato with salsa and a sprinkle of black beans (so good and such a great endurance carbohydrate)
  • Baked Sweet Potato with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some ghee or coconut oil

Post Workout I usually grab a banana and a handful of nuts or make a protein shake if it is not meal time. If I am running around I also really like Zone’s Perfectly Simple line.  You can find them at most large grocers and target too. They are not as pricey as some other brands on the market, and they are gluten free!

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GF oatmeal with blueberries, half a banana and half a handful of almonds

Most days I time my workouts to come before a balanced meal.  If it’s breakfast time, try an egg and vegetable hash or a bowl of breakfast quinoa with Greek yogurt (which when combined is a complete protein). If you want some egg and vegetable ideas, check out my blog post Green Lunches.  When it’s dinner time, have nutrient dense veggies, whole grains and proteins.  I am not a big meat eater, so I combine foods to create whole proteins and incorporate eggs into meals.  For example, rice and beans when combined create a whole protein and provide you with adequate carbohydrate replenishment!  Above is my post workout breakfast from this morning, this is also a great pre-workout meal, especially for those long runs during spring training.

Just keep in mind I am not a nutritionist and everyone has slightly different needs depending on their body, exercise habits and dietary restrictions.

Yoga Studio Review

logoLast night I tried a new studio in Reston, Virginia called Beloved Yoga.  It is a small studio at the bottom of a commercial office building on Sunrise Valley, but once you walk in you forget you are in commercial office space.  Inside, the decor is everything you want to see in a yoga studio, which for some reason makes the experience more enjoyable.  I was ready for 90 minutes of “me time”, so I put away my parka and purse and got right on my mat.  I looked around and saw everyone had the same blanket so I followed the crowd and grabbed one and some blocked too.

I learned in the first 10  minutes that the block and blanket would be added to our sun salutations.  One sequence involved holding the block between your thighs while you flowed.  This I had never done before.  The Blanket was used in the next flow.  We stepped off of our mats and onto our folded blanket to “slide” through the sun salutations.  I saw this as a way to fire up the core, but the instructor never vocalized her intentions (from what I can remember).  It is always fun and interesting to try new things, but I prefer my smelly mat.yoga meme

I signed up for a $8.00 new member drop in, which I thought was reasonable.  I do like when the first class is free, but who doesn’t? The Vinyasa was vigorous and fun.  We did a creative sequence I have not particularly done before.  It is always interesting to experience new teachers.  The instructor was much louder and bolder than anything I have experience, but it made the flow feel more like a workout as sweat literally rolled off my face.

There was no deep stretch towards the end of class, which I probably could have used.  My hamstrings, butt and upper back are pretty sore today, a positive of course! We did do frog for three minutes, which made me want to cry.  Like so many people, my hips are too tight from sitting at a desk most of the day.I would give the class four out of five stars. It was challenging, outside the box and relaxed my brain for 90 whole minutes!  It was nice to get our of my home studio (my bedroom floor) and really lose myself in the poses, as cheesy as it sounds.  I would love to go back and make it a regular thing.  Unfortunately, yoga is so damn expensive when practiced at a studio.  I feel frivolous when I can do it at home.  The new member fee for the first month is $75, which is reasonable.  I will have to sleep on it and see if it is something I would like to commit to for the next month.

If you are in the Reston or Great Falls area I encourage you to look into their studios.  It definitely has the aesthetic that every aspiring yogi loves.  For me, it is like a mini vacation with sweaty strangers and I absolutely enjoyed it!