The Way of the Iceman

What’s pop’n, ninjas?

I was born and raised in Miami, then lived in Cali for almost a decade. In both places the weather is warm year round so there is pretty much no such thing as winter.

Then I moved to NYC, and adjusting to the winter cold has been absolutely brutal!  So I was thrilled to find out that Dragondoor recently signed a new author, Wim Hof, a.k.a. The Iceman!

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If you don’t know the Iceman, he is quite a superhuman. He’s run marathons in the Artic Circle and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro bare-chested and in shorts several times! He swims in the freezing canals of Amsterdam during the winter and he attributes it all to mastery of breathing techniques. He’s also a dedicated yoga and calisthenics practitioner!

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So I was excited about diving into his latest book, “The Way of the Iceman” to learn his breathing techniques, with the hopes of eventually embracing the cold weather.

The Way of the Iceman gives you a bit of backstory on how Wim became the Iceman and then goes on to instruct you in his method. I’ve always been a big advocate for breathing exercises in yoga so I knew this book would be right up my alley. Ever since reading his book, Al & I have actually been taking cold showers as part of the “cold training” pretty much every day!

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Cold training, according to The Way of the Iceman, is not only good for adjusting to freezing temperatures, but also for improving your immunity, metabolism, and even weight loss. There is a lot of personal anecdotes in the book from some of his students who’ve climbed Mt Kilimanjaro also bare-chested with him as well as the science explained behind his method. I highly recommend you check this book out! It’s a quick read with methods that are easy to understand and apply instantly.

It’s been helping me have a new appreciation for winter this year. Taking cold showers is tough at first, but can be invigorating and energizing the more you practice. Lately when I step outside into the cold, I have more awareness of my breathing and practice the exercises he describes as I walk around the city. This year I’m finally ready for winter!

Check it out, ninjas and enjoy the holidays!

Peace,

31-Day Handbalancing Challenge

What’s pop’n ninjas? With a new year on the horizon, it’s about that time when everyone begins to set goals and resolutions. If one of your resolutions is to get better at handbalancing skills, then you may want to get in on my 31-Day Handbalancing Challenge that starts on January 1st! 

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Learning handbalancing is more than just about impressing your friends with your new tricks. It’s about facing your fears and moving beyond them to achieve amazing feats of strength with your own body. Practicing handbalancing can add an element of fun and skill to your regular training regimen that will keep you excited about exercise for years to come!

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Each day in January, I will post a photo/video of a new skill with some tips on how to achieve it. Then you can attempt the move, video or photograph it, post it on your social media page and tag me in it: #DieselGrace. I will post the best photos and videos on my social media daily. Not only will this be a great way for you to learn new skills, but also to inspire others to do the same!

At the end of the month, I will choose 3 winners, the picture with the most likes and comments, the ninja who consistently participated during the month and my personal favorite photo of the month! The winners will receive a signed copy of one of Al’s books, “Pushing the Limits,” Stretching Your Boundaries,” or “Raising the Bar.”

Looking forward to seeing some of your ninja moves! Til next time, peace,

The Bodyweight Master Pull-up Bar

What’s pop’n ninjas? I’m stoked that we recently got our new free-standing pull-up bar for the apartment! The Bodyweight Master is Dragondoor‘s latest piece of fitness equipment and it’s better than just your traditional pull-up bar.

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This bar is really sturdy and has several attachments that can convert it so you can practice Australian pull-ups, all types of dips, leg raises, and even train the human flag! Check it out:

We are over-the-moon that we will be able to train all these bar calisthenics moves in the comfort of our apartment during the winter months! Beats going to the park on snow days! 😉

For more information about the Bodyweight Master, check out Dragondoor, and order yours NOW! The holidays are right around the corner, so don’t forget to gift one to your fellow ninja friends and family! ❤

Til next time, peace ❤ & ninja kicks!

 

Diesel Discourse with Krista Stryker

What’s pop’n ninjas? This week I had the honor of chatting with another of my female calisthenics inspirations, Krista Stryker. Krista is a blogger and the founder of 12-Minute Athlete, the popular fitness app and website for all your HIIT workout needs!

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Krista and I officially met while she was in NYC a few months ago and we got to finally train together at good ol’ Tompkins Square Park. We worked on everything from handstands, to flags, to elbow levers and even some partner exercises, too! She impressed me with her down-to-earth attitude and high-level hand-balancing skills!

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On this episode of Diesel Discourse, we discuss:

  • How Krista broke into the fitness industry and became a trainer
  • How she was inspired to start 12-Minute Athlete
  • Drills she practices to help her achieve a solid handstand
  • Calisthenics skills she is currently working on
  • How she fuels her ninja activities on a vegetarian diet
  • Krista’s favorite places to train around the world
  • Advice for anyone who needs help staying motivated with their training

Check it out:

For more information about Krista Stryker, check out:

  1.  Krista’s Website
  2. Krista’s Facebook
  3. Krista’s Instagram

Thanks for tuning in, ninjas! Til next time, Peace, ❤ & Ninja Kicks!

Why Calisthenics?

What’s pop’n, ninjas? I’ve learned so much about myself since embarking on my calisthenics journey –from unlocking new skills, to meeting awesome people in the community, including my hubby, Al Kavadlo! When you embrace bodyweight training as a way of life, you never have any excuses not to train because the world can be your gym!

If there was ever an awesome commercial promoting calisthenics training, it would be this video right here! Ch-check it out:

What inspires you to train calisthenics? If it’s the accessibility of being able to train anytime and any place, then you may need to look into getting this awesome pull-up bar from Dragondoor.com! Behold the Bodyweight Master, Dragondoor’s first ever free-standing pull-up bar!

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Click me! 

Al & I are super stoked to be getting ours shipped soon! It can be kinda brutal to train outdoors during the winters here in NYC, but luckily with our at-home pull-up bar, we can still get some reps in! This pull-up bar station is super sturdy, and has some cool features, including attachments to do dips as well as Aussie pull-ups, too!  Click the link above to get yours now and be on the lookout for our official review coming up soon!

Til next time, Peace, ❤ & Ninja Kicks!

 

Yoga Arm Balances

What’s pop’n? Yoga and calisthenics are both beautiful expressions of all the wondrous ways humans are meant to move! I’ve been practicing yoga for over 10 years now, and I’ve learned many different types of arm balances along the way. Arm balances are more than just a “party trick.” They are fantastic exercises for strengthening your entire body, including your upper body, wrists, and arms as well as a legit way to strengthen your powers of concentration.

Here are a few different poses you can try:

How many of these different shapes can you ninjas make? I encourage you to be brave and give em a go!

Til next time, peace, ❤ & ninja kicks!

 

 

3 Single-Leg Squats You NEED to Know!

What’s pop’n? A lot of ninjas ask me when is it necessary to add resistance to squats in order to make them more challenging or effective? My answer is always the same, with progressive bodyweight training, you NEVER have to add external load in order to get the booty or body of your dreams!

If you are looking for some inspiration for your “Leg Day,” then check out my latest article for Bodybuilding.com

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Til next time, peace, ❤ & Ninja Kicks!

Traveling Drills

What’s pop’n? A lot of ninjas ask about the length of my workouts and my answer usually varies. Some days I can train anywhere from 1-2 hours and others if I’m pressed for time, only 20 mins.

The following video includes 5 of my favourite traveling drills that are great as a warm-up or can each be performed for several rounds as a quick total-body workout if you are in a pinch without any equipment. Check it out:

Toy Soldiers are a great way to warm-up your hamstrings and legs for exercises like squats. Begin standing tall and using a bit of momentum kick one leg towards the opposite hand. As you kick, rotate your torso towards your leg to get a nice stretch throughout the sides of your body. Try your best to keep your legs as straight as possible, but if you have limited mobility you can practice with a slight bend in your knee.

Skips are a happy medium between jogging and jumping and can be a great way to elevate your heart rate! I like to practice them coordinating opposing limbs in order to tap into my vestibular system and get in the zone to train. Jump as high as you can as you bring your opposing elbow in towards one knee and then repeat on the opposite side. The fun thing about skipping is it’s difficult to perform without a huge smile on your face! 🙂

Walking Lunges are always a classic in the realm of bootcamp drills. When practiced correctly, they not only warm-up your legs, but also your abs and upper body, too.

As you step forward, think about bending your back knee to keep your chin vertical in the front leg. Do your best to roll your tail bone under to keep your pelvis in a neutral position and your abs engaged at the bottom position. Step your feet together again and continue traveling forward, changing your lead leg each time. You can have your hands on your hips or in front of your body depending on personal preference.

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Inch Worms are a great way to warm-up not only your legs, but also your abs and upper body, too.

Begin by reaching your arms up lengthening your torso and then pushing your hips back behind you as you fold your body forward. Place your hands on the ground and walk yourself out to a plank. Do your best to avoid letting your hips sag in the plank position before walking your feet in towards your hands and returning to a forward fold.

Ideally, you want to attempt to keep your legs as straight as possible during the entire exercise. However, if you have limited mobility in your hamstrings, it can be helpful to bend your knees as you fold forward and reach for the ground and again while walking your feet in towards your hands.

Bear Crawls are the final drill in this series and definitely one of my favourite of these exercises. This deceptively simple looking drill is by far one of the best exercises for not only tapping into your vestibular system but also strengthening your arms, abs, hips, legs, wrists, and ankles!

Begin in a table-top position with your hips aligned over your knees and your toes curled under. Your back should be flat and your shoulders should be positioned directly over your elbows and wrists with your palms flat on the floor. Your knees should be lifted about an inch off the ground with your shins parallel to the earth. Pick up your right hand and left foot off the ground and begin traveling forward doing your best to keep your back flat and your abs engaged. Take small steps to ensure your shins remain parallel to the ground. These can also be done traveling backwards as well.

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Don’t worry about whether it’s 20 mins or 2 hours, just move more & have fun! 😉

Thanks for joining me today, ninjas! Til next time, peace, ❤ & ninja kicks!

Breathing Exercises for Strength & Relaxation

What’s pop’n? One of the most important skills I learned from my yoga training was pranayama, or breathing exercises. Learning how to breathe using your diaphragm can make you better at strength training, improve your digestion, and help manage stress.

In this tutorial, my hubby, Al Kavadlo and I show you three different techniques that you can practice daily! Ch-check it out:

Here are the recommended sets/repetitions for each breathing technique:

Bhastrika, “Bellows Breath” = can be practiced any time of day except before bed for it’s energizing effects as well as a way to bring awareness to your breathing.

  • Do 1 set of 10 breaths, 2nd set of 20 breaths and 3rd set of 30 breaths. Rest 10-30s between efforts.

Kapalabhati, “Skull Shining Breath” = can be practiced during the day, especially in the morning upon waking and before your workout for it’s energizing, decongesting  and detoxifying effects.

  • Do 3 sets of 15-30 breaths. Rest 10-30s between efforts. 

Nadi Shodhana, “Alternate Nostril Breathing” = can be practiced anytime of day including before bed for it’s calming effects.

  • Do 5-10 full cycles

Thank you so much for watching! If you have any ideas for future tutorials, feel free to leave a comment below! I look forward to your inspiration for new content!

Til next time, peace, ❤ & ninja kicks!

Diesel Discourse with Beth Andrews

What’s pop’n? This week I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with a fellow PCC Team Leader, Beth Andrews. Beth is the owner of Train Strong Gym in Cartersville, GA, a Senior RKC, and an Iron Maiden.

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In this episode we discuss:

  • How Beth first got started in the fitness industry and became a successful trainer and gym owner
  • How she began training with kettlebells
  • Beth’s awesome experience at the first ever Progressive Calisthenics Certification
  • Beth’s many feats of strength and the one she is most proud of
  • Beth’s future fitness goals
  • How she motivated her son and daughter to begin training
  • Upcoming workshops at her gym in Cartersville, GA
  • One of her most memorable experiences with her personal training clients

Check it out:

If you would like to know more about Beth, then check out:

  1. Beth’s Website
  2. Instagram
  3. Facebook 

Thanks for joining me for another edition of Diesel Discourse! Til next time, Peace ❤ & Ninja Kicks!