Xero Shoes Jessie Sandal Review

What’s pop’n? You might know by now that I’m about 8 months pregnant. For the last few months, I’ve suffered from swollen ankles and my feet have been feeling super sensitive. It’s been uncomfortable for me to walk around in most shoes. Unfortunately, these symptoms are to be expected at this stage in my pregnancy. Luckily, I got the opportunity to try the new Jessie sandal from Xero Shoes and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for in footwear!

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The Jessie sandals are super comfortable right out of the box and offer just enough support without being too heavy or cumbersome.  They’re perfect for walking, working out or whatever else I need to do. The heel strap really does a great job keeping them in place so my foot stays secure during exercises like lunges, jogging and climbing stairs.

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The minimalist design is also perfect for the hot summer weather – plus they look super cute with almost any outfit! I also love that these sandals are Vegan-friendly and are not made with latex. Priced at just $44.99, these shoes are a lot of bang for your buck!

 

Whether you’re pregnant and looking for comfortable footwear or just interested in trying out minimalist shoes, I recommend you check out the new Jessie Sandal from Xero Shoes!

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Prenatal Workout Series: EQ Bars Routine

What’s pop’n, ninjas? Today’s workout was a bodyweight routine using the Equalizer Bars. Being the minimalist that I am, I prefer workouts that require little to no equipment which is why I love training with these bars. They are super lightweight and versatile and if you’re creative you can do a ton of exercises on them!

If you’ve watched any of my previous bodyweight workout videos, you’ll notice that I draw a lot of my inspiration from the Convict Conditioning template: Push, Pull, Squat, and Bridge. It’s a great format for hitting all the major muscle groups and getting a great total body workout!

Check it out:

Circuit: 3-5 sets of

Bulgarian Split Squats 5-10 reps per leg

Parallel Bar Dips 5-10 reps

Aussie Pull-ups 10 reps

Elevated Unilateral Bridges 5-10 per leg

Rest 30-60s between sets and repeat

Some expecting women may find this routine to be challenging but there are several ways you can modify it to your level. You can substitute the full parallel bar dips for tricep dips instead with the feet staying on the floor as an assist. The Aussies are surprisingly challenging which is why I performed them with my knees bent. If 10 reps is too much, do 5 or your max instead. And if they are too easy, feel free to attempt these with your legs fully extended for an added challenge. You can also do 3 sets instead of 5. If you need any more ideas for modifications, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or your  question below!

Have fun! Til next time…..peace, ❤ and ninja kicks!

Prenatal Workout Series: Kettlebell & Calisthenics Double Circuit

What’s pop’n, ninjas? I wanted to share today’s workout with you! I’ve dubbed it a prenatal workout, but this is a great double circuit for strength and conditioning using  a mix of bodyweight exercises and kettlebells. I’ve also sprinkled in two mobility exercises that you can do in between circuits or at the end of the workout if you prefer.

For this workout, I used a #10kg (22lb) kettlebell for the one-arm swings, but feel free to go heavier if you like. I also modified my push-ups to incline push-ups which again can be substituted for standard push-ups, decline push-ups, or any other variation you are working on. Last but not least, I did Aussie pull-ups today and these can be subbed for full pull-ups instead. As for my warm-up, I did a 2000m row on the rowing machine.

Ch-ch-check it out…..

Circuit #1:

10 Aussie Pull-ups

10 One-Arm Swings per arm

10 Cat/Cows or Pelvic Rocks

Rest 60s and repeat for 5 total sets

Mobility:

2 sets of:

Deep Squat Hold 60s (feel free to do an assisted squat by holding onto an object or suspension strap)

Standing Pigeon Pose 30s per side (Can be done with leg on a tall box or desk

Circuit #2:

20 Incline or Wall Push-ups

10 Goblet Squats

10 Table Top Bridges

Rest 60s and repeat for 3 total sets

Thanks for tuning in! Let me know your thoughts and for those expecting moms, I’d be happy to answer any questions in regards to modifications you may need if you try this sequence.

Til next time, peace, ❤ & ninja kicks!

Baby Ninja On The Way!

What’s pop’n, ninjas? It’s been a long time since my last post but I’m excited to be back! If the subject line didn’t give it away, Al and I are expecting our first baby! ❤

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Part of the reason for my absence was my first trimester was nothing short of hell. You’ve heard of women getting “morning sickness” in the beginning of their pregnancy, well mine was pretty much “all-day sickness” instead. For the first 3 months I was left bed-ridden, unable to workout or train my client. At one point it got so bad after I couldn’t hold down any food or fluids for 72 hours, I had to check myself into an Emergency Room for the night. I lost several pounds and was prescribed anti-emetics to control the nausea/vomiting. I am grateful to my husband for taking care of me and being super supportive of me during that brutal period.

Now I’m about 21 weeks pregnant, and feeling super blessed that the second trimester has been a lot less challenging. I’m off the medications, back to training and work and even felt well enough to take a “Baby Moon” with Al to my hometown, Miami!

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It was wonderful getting to visit my family, spend some time getting sun, swimming in the beach and eating a ton of delicious Cuban food! Al and I even spent some time training at one of our favorite outdoor workout parks, Lummus Park.

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As far as workouts go, I’ve definitely modified my training to accommodate and compliment my pregnancy. Unfortunately I’ve had to stop practicing most advanced inversions like handstands and abdominal exercises like leg raises and L-Sits, too. Instead I’ve been focusing on doing more squats and deep squat holds to prepare my lower body for the big delivery day! I’ve also been doing more hip openers and exercises to relieve the symptoms of sciatica and lower back pain I’ve been experiencing. Here’s an example of a sequence I came up with while at work:

As per the advice of my midwife, I’ve also started adding in more cardio into my routine in the form of high-rep, low-weight kettlebell swings and rowing.

Overall it feels good to be eating heartily and moving again! I’m looking forward to sharing more of my experiences with training and pregnancy during the next few months with you!

Thanks for tuning in! Peace, ❤ & ninja kicks!

Client Spotlight: Ellen

What’s pop’n, ninjas? Today I wanted to spotlight one of my DIESEL clients, Ellen!

Ellen began training at Momentum Fitness after sustaining an injury to her Achilles tendon. After intense physical therapy for several months she began doing personal training to correct imbalances caused by her injury and improve overall strength.

Ellen also had very fitness-specific goals like learning to do an L-sit, and other yoga arm-balances. She also wanted to achieve her first pull-up and learn to do a V-Sit. Right off the bat I was extremely impressed by her intensity and drive to want to achieve such advanced moves and knew right away we were going to have a lot of fun training together! 🙂

At 63 years old, Ellen is in the best shape of her life!

Read on to learn a little bit more about Ellen…

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What was your prime modality of training before Calisthenics?

One way or the other I’ve been active all my life. When I was 5 and my brother was 3, we used to careen around our suburban neighborhood on bikes or roller skates. My grandfather taught me to swim in the ocean–which is not for the faint of heart. By six, I started dance. A year of tap commenced many years of ballet and then I found expression & athleticism in modern dance. By the time my kids came along, I had taken it to the gym. I engaged in all manner of high impact aerobics thru fad after fad.

If you were to convince other women in your age group about trying calisthenics, what would you say to them?

As I grow older, I thought I should be more cognizant of what’s best for my body to keep me going physically & mentally. I started thinking of yoga as more than just a good stretch class and embarked on weight training which was specific to someone my age-height-weight in order to be injury-free. I still like to spin and kick-box, but don’t feel it’s a daily necessity.

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Why do you think women should practice Calisthenics? What benefits have you noticed?

The biggest seller for women training calisthenics is that it gives one more energy and the ability to do all kinds of activities afterward. I usually start my day by exercising, and can still run and play w/ my three grandchildren without tiring quickly.

 

Which moves are the most challenging for you?

I don’t think I’ve ever had upper arm strength, so pull-ups are difficult for me. However, sometimes I’ll manage one rep without a band-assist. I also find Dips to be particularly challenging, too.

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What are your favorite exercises to practice?

This probably will not come as a surprise to you, but I actually like and thrive on all those exercises which present a challenge to me. I love practicing handstands, skin-the-cat, finding the “floats” in yoga jumps from downward dog and back to forward fold.

Do you have any final words of encouragement or a motivational quote for my readers?

Why stand still when there is still so much to learn and do no matter what your age?

One of the most rewarding things about being a personal trainer is getting to witness my clients performing some awesome feats of strength! Check out my client Ellen (@ellenwkl )who is super DIESEL!! Yesterday we worked on a few new moves to help challenge her core stability like the Bent Arm Stand on P-bars, Hanging Leg Raises and the Zombie Press to Headstand and she nailed them all!!#nyctrainer #fitnesstrainer #momentumfitness #strongwomenrule #dieselgrace #clientspotlight #progressivecalisthenics #coreworkout #corestability #personaltrainers #womenwithmuscle #bentarmstand #zombiepressheadstand #hanginglegraises #bodyweightninja #bodyweightworkout #bodyweighttraining #bodyweightexercises #calisthenicsworkout #calisthenicswomen #parallettes #inversions

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Battle Ropes Training

What’s pop’n? As many of you may already know, I’m a total minimalist when it comes to training. The less equipment I have to use, the better! Recently they built a new fitness park in our neighborhood and they installed a set of Battle Ropes. If you’ve never used them before, they are a great way to not only build strength but improve your conditioning, too. The latter being the most appealing to someone like myself that gets bored easily of doing traditional cardio like endurance running.

Here are 12 different exercises you can try next time you get a chance to train with Battle Ropes:

  1. Alternating Waves
  2. Slams
  3. Deep Squat Alternating Waves
  4. Plank Single Arm Waves
  5. Russian Twist Waves
  6. Alternating Reverse Lunge Waves
  7. Deep Squat In-n-Out Waves
  8. Kneeling Alternating Waves
  9. Kneeling to Standing Alternating Waves
  10. Cossack Alternating Waves
  11. Straddle Waves
  12. Alternating Stage Coach

Do all 12 movements consecutively for 30s work and 30s rest for 3 rounds!

Have fun! Til next time, Peace ❤ & Ninja Kicks!

 

Training with 12-Minute Athlete, Krista Stryker!

What’s pop’n, ninjas? Ever since I began practicing calisthenics, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and train with lots of different ninjas from all over the world! I meet folks from Instagram, at the parks, and of course, at the Progressive Calisthenics Workshops.

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One of these awesome peeps is my girl, Krista Stryker, of 12-Minute Athlete. I began following Krista on social media pretty early on when I started getting serious about bodyweight training and was searching for other women that were doing it, too.  Krista is the founder of the 12-Minute Athlete app and blog and an amazing calisthenics practitioner! Anytime I’m in LA or she’s in NYC, we always have a blast eating Vegan food and training together. Here is a video of our workout from her last visit:

It’s always a blast kicking it with the ladies of the Street Workout/Calisthenics movement! It’s important to train with other women because our bodies are different than dudes and you can exchange a lot of cues and advice specific to females only. There’s also no ego either, it’s not about competing with each other, but about encouraging and lifting each other up! 🙂

So ladies, find your best gal-pal and get some reps in!

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Til next time, peace, ❤ & ninja kicks!

Learn to do the Human Flag!

What’s pop’n, ninjas? Today I’m going to show you some progressions towards the human flag.

First up, find a sturdy, vertical pole that you can get a good grip on. I like to grab with the bottom hand facing toward me thumbs down and the top hand twisted all the way around facing toward me thumbs up. This grip tends to work well for women and it’s the one you tend to see in pole dancing. If you don’t have the flexibility for this, you can grab with a standard overhand or underhand grip.

From here you’ll need to generate power from your hips and legs to jump yourself into a tucked flag position. Aim to get your hips high in the air with both legs bent and your arms fully extended. This position allows you to get a feel for the move with the best possible leverage.

It will take some trial and error to get the timing right and learn to generate enough force to get your body to stay in the air. It can help to think about turning your hips upwards as you kick to generate more power. Also think about pushing with your bottom arm and pulling with your top arm. Remember we are aiming for straight arms – try not to bend at the elbows. The pull and push should happen from your shoulders and lats more than your biceps and triceps.

After you get a feel for this tucked position with your hips up, you can try to extend one leg and slowly begin to lower your body down toward a horizontal position.

Make sure to keep your whole body tense. Take a few minutes of rest between efforts as this move can be very intense on your joints.

The human flag is an advanced calisthenics skills and can take time to learn. Be patient and most importantly have fun!

If you want to train for the human flag and learn other calisthenics skills/exercises in person then come to one of our Progressive Calisthenics workshops. We’ve got several events coming up. Click the link below to learn more and hope to see you ninjas at a future PCC!

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Til next time…peace love and ninja kicks!

Calisthenics Cardio

Yo ninjas! Grace here. I’ve received several emails asking me what I do for Cardio. I’m not really a fan of traditional cardio like running or cycling so I just practice calisthenics….FASTER!

Check out my latest video:

Workout: Do 30 seconds of each exercise (Cossacks, Pikes, Burpees, Glider Push-ups, and Handstand push-ups) and then rest 1-3 mins between sets. Repeat for 3-5 sets!

This workout should definitely increase your heart rate, make you break a sweat and challenge even the toughest of ninjas!

Let me know how it goes!

Peace ❤ & ninja kicks!

Homemade Muscle Interview

What’s pop’n, ninjas?

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and train with Anthony Arvanitakis, of HomeMade Muscle! Anthony’s mission is similar to Al and mine — to spread the word about the benefits of calisthenics and to show you how to get DIESEL without going to the gym!

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We did some pull-ups, handstands, and more at Tompkins Park and discussed some tips and advice for women interested in getting started with calisthenics training!

Check it out and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE for more!

Hope you enjoyed that interview! Til next time, peace ❤ & ninja kicks!