We recently had the opportunity to partner with Joyce Shulman to learn more about her impressive leadership skills as Pack Leader of 99 Walks and her inspirational words in her book, Walk Your Way to Better. Read along through our Q&A below and be on your way to a healthier you in the new year.
Q: What exactly is 99 Walks?
At its heart, 99 Walks offers monthly walking challenges for women.
Our members are free to set their own monthly walking goals and we provide all the tools and support they need to crush them — including an awesome walk tracking app, daily walking classes, walking meditations, and motivating content.
One of the favorite hashtags of the community is #willwalkforbling because, at the end of every month, we send every member who crushed her goal what we call wearable inspiration — a cuff bracelet engraved with the theme of the month.
But truly the heart and soul of what we are is a community of incredibly supportive women who are walking their way to better and supporting one another along the way.
Walking delivers unbelievable benefits for your mood, mind and body. Oodles of research shows that a regular walking practice can help people combat loneliness, fuel creativity and increase problem-solving skills, and when we do it while connecting with others, all of those benefits are enhanced.
There are also a ton of health benefits from walking daily, plus there is the added bonus that it’s fun and interesting depending upon where you’re walking and who you’re talking to.
Q: Wow, that’s a lot! Let’s dig in a little, how does it help your mood?
Walking really can help you chase away the blues as it encourages the brain to release endorphins, which can lift your mood and help you feel less lonely.
Several studies have shown that walking briskly for as little as one hour a week on a consistent basis can stave off or lift depression by more than 25%. That’s a lot of return when you think about the fact that all you have to do is lace up your sneakers and go outside, walk around the house, or hop on the treadmill.
Q:And for your mind?
Walking encourages our brains to work at their very best. There is so much research that confirms that walking can increase a person’s clarity, energy, decision-making process, problem-solving and creative thinking abilities. It also supports that when we walk, we process things differently. And I believe It’s because when half the brain is engaged in the mechanics of putting one foot in front of the other, the other half becomes free to roam, dream and find solutions to nagging problems.
A great walk is like giving the brain a blast of fresh air to clear out the cobwebs, invite in ideas and connect with others and ourselves.
Q:And last but not least, body?
Of course walking is great for weight loss and toning, but it also fuels your energy and improves agility and balance. The more you walk, the more you’ll be able to walk.
Walking also has a powerful effect on the immune system. If you walk for at least 20 minutes a day every weekday, you’re likely to experience 43% fewer sick days a year, according to one study. That’s good to know during flu season.
Q: How does 99 Walks help to motivate its members to take care of themselves?
Connection is the key and motivation is at our core. Our entire platform is about encouraging women to take control of their own walking experience by helping set and reach their own goals. And we help motivate our pack members with a powerful community and an extensive array of education and programming including daily inspirations, informative blog posts, motivating coaches, a weekly podcast and a variety of classes.
Q:What inspired you to create 99 Walks?
I’ve always known walking is transformative. From early experiences as a teenager, then college student, and then mother, I discovered the mental and physical changes walking could realize. I made the connection that all of my greatest business and personal ideas have come to me while on a walk. It was not only a way to gain clarity, but also a way to foster connection. To combat the feeling of loneliness that we all face. Yes, walking is magic. So I created 99 Walks because I am on a mission to get a million women walking. To empower them with the tools to help them improve their health and lives. And to help to make the world just a little better for all.
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We recently had the opportunity to partner with the Founder of Body Conceptions, Mahri Relin, whose dedication and hard work is helping women through her dance-inspired cardio workouts. Learn more about her technique and journey through our Q&A below.
Q: What inspired you to create Body Conceptions?
A: I was a dancer and performer for many years in NYC before I discovered dance fitness. I had never seriously considered fitness as a career before then, but the combination of dance and fitness together felt incredible to me. And it made me a stronger dancer than ever before!
Once I got more immersed in this form of exercise, my early experiences in studios watching women struggle with fitness in the times that mattered the most were incredibly impactful to me. Pregnant women in classes around me had no idea how to modify their workouts appropriately. And frankly, many of us working in studios had no idea how to really help them. I felt lots of empathy for women in this position in addition to great responsibility to help them, so I decided to get myself certified in pre and postnatal fitness. I developed my own business because I wanted the freedom to pursue my passion to help women in my own way. And I made pre/postnatal support a big part of our company mission. This has expanded to fertility support, and I am also interested in finding out as much as possible about the changes that occur for women during perimenopause so that we can support aging as well.
I am proud to say that the Body Conceptions method has proven to be a very safe but also challenging and effective method for women with a broad range of goals, not just pregnancy. I am constantly exploring the science behind fitness for women and also seeking the best way to keep our clients engaged and challenged while they train with us — which can be many, many years! We have created a method that combines cardio with full-body sculpting in a format that has constantly changing exercises and music to keep our clients on their toes. I am proud about the results we have seen, and I also love what it has done for my body. And most importantly, our work has connected us with the most wonderful community of clients and wellness practitioners with whom we collaborate. I am so grateful that I chose to follow this career path after dance.
Q: What does the dance-inspired fitness routine provide over the more traditional workouts (machines, weights, etc.)?
A: That’s a great question. Dance can mean lots of different things for different people. For me, it symbolizes freedom and a deep artistic connection to my body. That comes from music in a very big way for me, which is why I take so much time (and pleasure!) creating my playlists. When I’m working with clients, I’m paying so much attention to them and what their bodies need, but I’m simultaneously responding to the music in a way that connects our physical energy with the music’s energy. It’s amazing how much more intensity you can put into workouts when you feel like the music takes you there!
I definitely want to acknowledge that there’s a lot of fear around the word, “dance.” So many people back away when I say that word and tell me with their fingers wagging that they don’t have rhythm and aren’t coordinated. I tell them immediately not to be afraid! We have specifically designed the “dance” components to be simple (think jumping jacks to a beat), and we use dance principles in our approach to the movement — but we won’t be asking people to do crazy or complicated things if they don’t move that way. Dance-based workouts like ours help our clients connect better with their core, coordinate their whole body more effectively, and achieve the longer and leaner physique of a dancer. I want to add that if you ARE a dancer, we’ve got you covered as well. We have plenty of fun, complicated dances we can use for the cardio to get your brain working and your heart pumping!
Q: Motivation is a key factor in getting to the gym. How do you motivate women to join and power through a session?
A: As I mentioned earlier, music is a huge factor for me in helping my clients connect deeply with their exercise experience. I like to ask my clients to give me songs or artists they love so that I can incorporate their favorite music into the workout. I also spend several hours finding the best new music each week that works for exercise. If the music is good, people don’t even realize they’re working so hard!
In addition to music, we also place a big emphasis on identifying our clients’ goals and acknowledging that these goals can change through time. I personally get a huge amount of joy from these workouts, and I see joy in my clients as well. We don’t focus as a company on the unrealistic goal of getting a perfect “beach body.” Instead, we want to give our clients an opportunity to improve their strength and coordination, get their mind off stress, strengthen during their pregnancy or heal from labor, and connect with their bodies in a new way – all of which helps them achieve the best physical version of themselves as a byproduct. These are motivating and joyful goals that keep people coming back each week and working with us for many years.
Q: How do you adapt your sessions towards people’s individual fitness goals and busy schedules?
A: Personalization is actually one of the most important elements of our workouts. Our workout has improvisation built into it, which allows us to change our direction easily and respond in the moment to the needs of our clients. It’s definitely structured as a specific method, but the flexibility empowers our instructors to make a wide range of choices depending on what’s needed in the moment. I think all personal training should be highly personalized, but the stakes become even higher when we we work with prenatal or postpartum women who require deep attention and sometimes a sudden change in direction during their sessions. And this isn’t just a pregnancy issue. Once, I showed up to train a client and only learned in that moment that she had fallen down her stairs. We had to avoid any jumping, protect her ribs that had been bruised, and could only move her shoulder in one direction. I managed to get her through the session gently and without pain, and she felt so much less stressed after getting her blood flowing – I was grateful that she had chosen to work out despite her accident!
Flexibility of scheduling is also a big factor in personal training. We address this by working with a range of trainers who have flexibility in their schedules when they begin working with us. We do get very busy and have more difficulty at times accommodating everyone’s schedule requests, but we try to hire trainers at a rate that accommodates our demands. We take lots of time finding the right people and training them as thoroughly as possible, so I have to admit that this can all be a tricky dance. But we do our best!!
Q: Tell us about some of the special offerings at Body Conceptions (i.e., pre & post natal training, special occasions, private training). What can women expect to takeaway from these offerings?
A: As specialists in pre and postnatal exercise, we are prepared to work with clients during and after their pregnancies. We are highly connected with practitioners and services in the area who can help our clients if anything comes up that we don’t address or that falls outside of our expertise. A pregnant client working with us can expect that we know the primary principles of prenatal exercise while having lots of experience working with a wide range of pregnancies. Every pregnancy is different, so we are highly attentive to the daily/weekly needs of each person and adjust accordingly.
In addition to pre and postnatal fitness, we have worked hard to understand as much as we can about the fertility process. We work with fertility centers in the area to understand how they view exercise so that we can be as consistent as possible in our approach if our clients are seeking fertility treatments. (And we are always trying to learn as much as we can about current research on fertility and exercise as possible!)
In the same way we coordinate with fertility doctors, we also coordinate with PT’s who might be seeing clients of ours who have injuries (or perhaps any pelvic floor concerns connected with pregnancy/postpartum). We like to make sure our clients feel comfortable with us and know that we are aware of the direction their PT’s are going so that we can help them heal more effectively.
Outside of pregnancy, we have lots of other really fun, special offerings! Clients can get groups of friends together for special, private events like bridal parties, bachelorettes, and birthdays. We’ll help rent out spaces and create as special an experience as possible. Our venues have ranged from dance studios in the city to beaches or lawns in the Hamptons. We love working with these special groups, and we are specially excited to design a playlist full of our clients’ favorite tunes!
I am excited to say that we’ve helped our clients through a full range of transitions and events, from their weddings through pregnancies and the births of several children to awards ceremonies and college reunions. What makes all of these times special is that we help them achieve their goals while preparing for the things that mean the most to them, all while having fun! Being part of these big moments is what makes this work so meaningful to my trainers and to me. I didn’t imagine how fulfilling this career would become for me and feel so grateful to be here.
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It’s nearing the end of February, which means you’ve made it almost two months without breaking your New Year’s resolution of losing weight… right?
Let’s get real, if you’ve made it this far you deserve a round of applause, because you’ve probably lasted longer than most. But if you find yourself inching towards old habits and need an extra motivation boost, that’s exactly what this featured blog post provides. In a recent post from Allison Arden Besunder, she presents “6 Tips for Wellness in the New Year,” all of which are noteworthy and serve as great motivators.
Tip 1:The New York Times 30-day Wellness Challenge – Short, daily challenges you can easily incorporate and start now!
Tip 2: Drink water – 64 ounces a day is the goal, and try one glass in the morning and one at night with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in it.
Tip 3: Use an activity tracker – It inspires you to get your steps in if you haven’t hit the mark, and it reminds you to move every hour if you haven’t gotten up—an important key in wellness.
Tip 4: Log you habits – You may be surprised at how much and what you ingest, and when you’re mindful about what you’re eating, you’re liable to make healthier choices.
Tip 5: Eat – Eat small meals throughout the day with unlimited vegetables. And, revelation of revelations, begin your day with breakfast.
Tip 6: Be kind to yourself – It’s just day by day, improving small habits one by one, and over time you will feel better and see results.
We all know the cold and dreary winter days will soon be upon us, and finding motivation to get out the door gets more and more challenging. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right activity to give you that extra push, and for me, that activity is yoga.
Meet Allegra McBane-Sanchez, a certified yoga teacher in the Greenwich, CT area who specializes in prenatal, postpartum and mommy and me yoga, as well as vinyasa and gentle practices for moms and non-moms alike. She teaches group and private sessions at various local studios, and partnered with us to share her yoga-knowledge through the Q&A below. Q: Yoga is a great resource for moms and soon-to-be moms to stay healthy throughout their pregnancy. What are some benefits of prenatal yoga for soon-to-be moms?
A: Pre-natal yoga can be a highly beneficial part of pregnancy. The physical benefits of practicing poses that offer a supported way to open up, to stretch, and also to strengthen can help your body more comfortably grow for your developing baby. The mental benefits of connecting deeply to your body and to your breath can help you to more peacefully navigate pregnancy, birth and new motherhood. In prenatal yoga, we focus a lot of awareness on breath work as a tool for expectant mothers to stay present in their bodies throughout their pregnancy and as an integral tool in the labor and birth experience. Q: Why is it important to continue to practice yoga post-birth?
A: A postpartum yoga practice can help reconnect new moms to the changes they have experienced in their bodies through pregnancy and birth. A thoughtful postpartum yoga practice can help moms regain strength in their cores, pelvic floors, and throughout their bodies; it can reconnect them to their breath and to their own innate strength; and, it is also an opportunity for a new mom to check in with her body, mind and breath as she adjusts to the demands of new motherhood. Q: How does mommy and me yoga help bond mom and new baby?
A: Mommy and me yoga is one of the most rewarding classes to teach. Offering a space for moms to be with their little ones while also caring for themselves is a very beautiful thing to witness. Babies enjoy the touch of their moms as they gently massage and stretch the babies, and moms enjoy incorporating their babies into movement and poses that benefit their physical and mental health. The babies respond positively to calm breath and gentle movements – it brings them a sense of calm as well. It’s also a really nice opportunity to meet other new moms and find a community while doing something good for yourself and your baby. Q: What are some things you’ve learned from practicing yoga?
A: This is hard to answer because, really, yoga has changed my life. It has changed the way I view my own body, my own relationship to my child and the way I interact with others. I have had a yoga practice for nearly 20 years but it was only after I gave birth to my son, that yoga became something more than a chance to stretch and strengthen. The challenges that many new mothers face: hormonal changes that impact our mental health, physical changes that impact our ability to do what we previously did, and the profound shift when we become responsible for another person’s life, can take its toll. I turned to yoga as I navigated the transition to new motherhood and not only did it provide me with more physical strength and flexibility than I have ever had before, but the focus on breath work and the practice of being present in my body in the moment that I am experiencing has taught me how to be a more engaged and conscious parent and has taught me how to view my life through a lens of gratitude and patience. Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell
It can be easy to overlook, but keeping your brain healthy and active is an important part of maintaining your best self.
We partnered up with Mari Miyoshi, Occupational Therapist and licensed Consultant/Teacher at Brain Gym, to learn more about the importance of keeping your mind active. Read through our Q&A below, and then checkout their website to learn more! Q: A focus on what you do is through the original 26 Brain Gym movements (“The 26”). What are these activities and how do they improve or focus on mental health?
A: Actually, the 26 movements are only a small part of the larger Brain Gym/Educational Kinesiology program. The movements draw from many other fields, such as developmental optometry, Feldenkreis, Alexander technique, sensory integration, athletics, and more to create simple movements that reorganize the way the brain works. As powerful as the movements are, they are only like the tip of the iceberg.
Each of the 26 movements can be used a la carte to address a myriad of challenges from difficulty writing, reading, focusing, and learning. But the larger field of Brain Gym or Educational Kinesiology consists of brain balancing processes during which the client sets a particular goal around a challenging task and the practitioner looks at the way the client moves, works, holds tension in the body, or has habitual movement and thought patterns and then uses brain gym and reflex integration in order to re-organize the brain. You will often see kids make incredible changes in one or two sessions that they may take six months of a regular therapy program to achieve. Q: What can new comers expect to learn in your courses? And how do they sign up to join Brain Gym?
A: One of the most important parts of brain gym is a process called noticing. It is in alignment with the principles of mindfulness that often is part of yoga and meditation. Basically when a person tunes into the present moment, they are activating the part of the brain that is responsible for decision making and executive functioning. Executive functioning is a part of the brain that thinks and makes new choices and allows an individual to exercise these skills which are uniquely human. New comers can expect to learn how to notice in more specific ways than one usually does in daily life. There will be movements that are taught as a way to see how the brain is communicating inside itself and in doing so, you can learn to see what is going on in your own brain when you are experiencing stress. The participants will also learn the 26 movements and with these new noticing skills start to learn how to apply the movements to help their own brain communicate better inside itself. I think most people want to understand why they think, move, and do the things they do, especially if they are not productive, and want to have something that is effective and easy to change it. The thing that is lovely about brain gym is that it is not a cookie cutter and prescriptive way of working with a person’s brain and behavior. By learning to move and notice in this specific way, the person can learn exactly what their own unique brain and body need and start to do that to change their own lives.
People who are interested can sign up through the eventbrite link on the events page of the website or by emailing me to ask for a hard copy of a registration form. Q: Tell us about the different types of sessions/classes you offer. Are these classes for people of all ages?
A: The sessions are for all ages. Due to the level of focus and attention that is available, younger children who need to be accompanied by an adult usually takes a one hour session. These sessions will consist of both working hands on with the child and also educating and modeling the movements for the parents (or caregiver) so that it can be carried over into their daily life. The teen/young adult sessions are an hour and a half, and also include hands on work as well as education around their goal and specific movements that help unlock their brain. The goal is to make a movement menu that is specifically helpful to each individual that they grow over time.
All sessions can consist of many things, and can look different each time. There can be talking and education around brain development and where the challenge that they are working on is causing a “breakdown” in the brain. There can also be coaching, hands on work that help facilitate brain development. I also have training in other modalities such as reiki and craniosacral therapy, and I bring those aspects into the session if the client’s body tests that it needs that kind of work. In all cases the sessions are lead by the client’s brain and body and exactly what is needed in the moment.
At this time, classes are usually for professionals who work with clients of all ages as well as parents and educators who want to help their kids. Adults who are also looking to reduce stress in their own brain and body and want to use brain gym to learn a new skill (such as learning a new language, dance, martial art, meeting deadlines, stress management, etc.) are also encouraged to attend. No experience with brain gym is necessary and I offer many formats for exposure to brain gym. There can be a two hour mini intro, one day intro as well as the official three day workshop. Q: What motivated or inspired you to start Brain Gym?
A: I learned about brain gym from one of my therapy supervisors who suggested I start using it with my caseload of kids to help them relax and get the most out of the sessions. I started using it as a warm up for all my sessions and noticed that the kids were calmer and more focused. Also, because I did the movements with my kids, I noticed that I was more calm and organized. Then I started to use these movements with my caseload of kids I had in the public schools. I did not know any theory but I could see a change and it felt good. After about a year, I tested one of my kids’ visual skills and he had jumped in ability from below average to the high end of average! That was a 40 point increase in a standardized test for visual skills. When I checked my therapy notes from the previous year to this current year, the only difference in the activities was the five minutes of brain gym I was doing at the start of this particular student’s session ONCE A WEEK! After I saw the change in this particular 4th grader, I decided to go take a class and asked my teacher about this result and she told me these kinds of things happened all the time. On a side note (but very much related) during this whole time I was doing brain gym myself with the kids, not for myself but so that the kids feel supported when they were doing the movements, so I was doing brain gym 6-7 times a day with each new child I had for a session. I started to leave work 1-1.5 hours earlier than usual and my paperwork and time management skills improved. I didn’t initially put it together but I realized after I saw this child improve that it may be the movements that I was doing everyday!
So I took the class and learned more and started doing it a lot and have seen amazing changes both in myself and in clients of all ages. I started learning this process in 2002 and became an instructor in 2004. I have been teaching classes and working with students and using brain gym in some form, either for myself or someone else (often both) everyday!
It is like the gift that keeps giving and getting more interesting with each passing day and each new unique brain and body sessions that I get to be a part of. Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell
We recently had the opportunity to partner with Roma van der Walt, Owner of Chitta Wellness, a personal and group training program that provides transformative tools to achieve your ideal body. Read our Q&A below to learn about her impressive journey, and how you can be on your way to living your healthiest lifestyle.
Q: What has your experience been in fitness and wellness, and what inspired you to start Chitta Wellness?
A: My own experience in fitness has been as an athlete from a very young age. I started with horseback riding and track and field before I went to elementary school, by the end of fourth grade, I was competing and by 6th grade I took up the Modern Pentathlon. Modern Pentathlon is a beautiful sport because it combines some very technical sports like fencing, shooting and show jumping (horses) with very linear sports like swimming and running. I think being a multi-sport athlete is what I still use in my work with Chitta Wellness to make sure people don’t get bored in their training. You would be surprised how many non runners I was able to start running a bit and now they love it and send me photos from their holiday running trails. Just as one example.
I started Chitta Wellness because after almost a decade of sitting at a desk, I realized that it wasn’t for me and it was actually making me sicker. I developed anxiety and back issues. Now that I make my own schedule and work with people, I’m much happier and much more efficient when I do work on the computer.
I want to help people be happy and healthy and make wellness and fitness an integral part of their life, especially parents because children learn from experience from a very young age.
Q: Talk about the “three Ps” Chitta Wellness focuses on. What do each of these mean and what can someone expect to learn in each of these focus areas?
A: The three p’s are pre-conception, prenatal and postpartum fitness. Each of these phases is a special one in a woman’s and in a couple’s life. When a couple decides to conceive, there’s often a moment of “OH!”, our life is about to change. Parents strive to be healthier whether it’s the woman carrying the child or her partner. During pregnancy, the general advice from the medical field is limited to not doing too much but women aren’t sick, they are “just” pregnant and working out has proven to be very beneficial to both the mother and the baby. I think my son really liked it when I ran with him in utero. Postpartum is usually when parents run into a whole new set of problems. Personal time and fitness are a rare commodity and have to be juggled with childcare, so offering them workouts 1:1 and in groups that are at convenient times or where they can bring their children has always been something that I offer. Babies and children are welcome in my workouts and you would be surprised how well it works out (pun intended).
Q: Some people thrive with 1:1 training and others in group training. Does Chitta offer both? What kind of atmosphere is best for beginners?
A: Chitta Wellness offers both. Beginners are usually most comfortable 1:1 I have found, especially if they are pregnant or postpartum and then eventually they merge in to a group setting or they choose to work out with their partners. I love working with couples. It’s almost like therapy, just more fun. In my groups, I don’t discourage talking. I try to bop in and out of the workout and partner exercises without interrupting the flow of conversation too much. It’s cathartic, people want to exchange themselves and I have learned a LOT about child rearing, body issues during and post pregnancy and there’s alway a point in every workout where someone either cries or laughs and then gets uplifted by their peers. There’s nothing more beautiful for me than to see people come together that way!
Q: What are some key takeaways you hope to leave your customers with after a class or session?
A: Inclusivity, fun and wanting to come back. I don’t tolerate unfriendly behavior of participants towards each other. We are all busy and stressed and rather than taking that out on someone else (or me) I expect people to discuss it and maybe we can all help find a solution. I also hope to see all genders, ages, colors and denominations in my workouts because again, it teaches me and everyone else a ton to hear diverse viewpoints and it gives so much food for thought. Inclusivity in an age of social media and often upsetting global news day-to-day, that discourse is something we don’t get in too many areas of our lives. Or we simply don’t meet people outside of our immediate circle. In a workout we’re all exposed and have to face some insecurities so it’s very real. Ultimately what I have noticed and people in my workouts, is that most of us really strive for the same values in life for ourselves and our families. So for me, that’s incredibly reassuring to see.
To learn more about Chitta Wellness, visit their website!
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell
It’s always a good time to focus on the wonderful you, and a great way to do that is through one of our favorite wellness and health groups, Just Like Om.
We recently teamed up with Christina Cervantes, Studio Manager and Pilates & Yoga Instructor, to learn more about the great things offered by the Just Like Om team.
Q: What kinds of services to you offer in your space? Are there classes available for both beginners and those who are more advanced?
A: Just Like Om offers Pilates, Yoga and Wellness classes, workshops and private sessions. We have classes for all levels, each group class is defined by a level from 1-3 from absolute beginner to advanced. Our teachers are able to accommodate for a range of levels in each class. We also offer specialty classes including Parent(s) and me, Baby-wearing, Pre- and Post-natal, as well as Acro-yoga. Just Like Om has monthly workshops – some of our upcoming workshops include Introduction to Inversions, Sound healing and Childbirth education.
Q: Do you always need to a book a class in advance, or are walk-ins welcome? And how does someone sign up for a class?
A: We encourage clients to book ahead as we can’t guarantee a spot for walk-ins. Our classes are limited in size which allows the client and teacher to have more efficient and focused class. Our schedule can be viewed on our website and through MindBody app. You can book through the MindBody app, however you are welcome to call the studio or send us an email at [email protected]. Our Instagram (@JustLikeOM) is a place to see what’s new at the studio, meet our instructors, and see what specials we are running.
Q: Tell us about your space: Where are you located? What can people expect to see when inside?
A: We are located in the heart of Chelsea at 147 W. 25th between 6th and 7th. A half a block away from Buy Buy Baby, for all those parents out there. When you look down 25th, look for the purple awning.
When a client walks through our door they may notice the beautiful natural light. We want each person to feel comfortable. We want our studio to feel like home, a place where you can focus on yourself and your wellness. We intentionally have small, intimate classes and knowledgeable, focused instructors that love what they do. We provide your mat and props. We also have complimentary filtered water and unique boutique with locally designed clothing and handmade products from a local farm.
Q: Why is it so important for moms to take a break and focus on their health/wellness?
A: We think it is so important for Moms to take some time to focus on their health and well-being because it is so easy to get caught up in the daily business of being a mom you forget that you also need to take care of yourself.
I am a Mom of a 16 month old who has endless amounts of energy, and I feel like I get a workout everyday from chasing after her. However, at the end of the day I start to feel stiff, and know that my body was accommodating a small child. It is very important to take some time, stretch and strengthen the areas of your body that may be getting compressed or overly used. In addition to creating a healthy body, we also teach parents how to move more efficiently and utilize your intrinsic muscles in a way that supports everyday activity. Then, hopefully you can run around with your great-grandchildren. Yoga and Pilates also offer a Mom some time to focus on her breath and calm her mind.
To learn more about Just Like Om, visit their website!
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell
F.I.T. 4 All is a nonprofit organization that works to create access to healthy living. They do this through free or low cost fitness classes and personal training, as well as, education for eating healthy food affordably. They don’t believe in counting calories and dieting but rather creating lifestyle changes that make you feel like the best you. For more information on fitness events, partnering with their organization, or affordable fuel recipes, visit their website.
As a treat, F.I.T. 4 All has included a recipe written by one of their team members, Isabel Miranda. But before we get to the actual recipe, let’s take a look at the benefits of meal prepping:
Why Bring Your Own Lunch?
• Cost – A delicious and satisfying homemade lunch can easily cost less than $5. Now think, on average how much do you spend eating lunch out? I know when I lived in New York City it was at least $10 a meal. • Portion sizes– This is a great way to work on weight change and lifestyle change goals. • Ingredients – You get to control what goes into the food, which means you can better track the calories and added sugar.
Three Ways to Meal Prep
Making the food over the weekend and storing in the fridge or freezer
Preparing the night before by making extra dinner, then either use the leftovers, or make a second meal while preparing dinner
Making in the morning before you leave to work, possibly while making breakfast
Ways to Motivate Yourself
• Have Obtainable Goals – Ask yourself what you are already doing and make small changes to that. Bringing your lunch one more time a week is an amazing first step and you can always make a new goal when you complete the old one. • Make a Lunch Club – Have a day when everyone in the office brings in their lunch together. This is also a great time to share recipes and learn new cool things to pack for lunch. • Have Incentives – When you are successful in your goals treat yourself, with non edible items. Things like a new pretty lunchbox or kitchen gadgets are a great way to motivate yourself.
Recipe: Zucchini Rolls
2 Large Zucchini
½ Cup of Ground Turkey (or protein of your choice)
½ Cup of Brown Rice
¼ Cup Quinoa
1 Cup of Sliced Carrots
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Black Pepper
*Onion powder or oregano if you want
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Add the brown rice and 1 ¼ cups of water to a pan. Bring the water to boil on medium high heat then reduce to low heat and cook for 30-40 minutes
Rinse the quinoa with water and in another pan, add the quinoa and 1 cup of water. Again, bring to a boil and then reduce to low heat and cook for 20 minutes.
Turn a third burner on to medium heat and in a large, flat pan, add ground turkey. Season with salt and pepper, as well as any other spices you want.
While everything is cooking, prepare the zucchini by using a peeler and slicing down vertically to create ribbons. Peel until you start to see the seeds of the zucchini and then put in a tupperware to use another time.
Add the carrots, cooked rice and quinoa to the pan with the ground turkey. Mix together.
Lay out 3 to 4 of the zucchini ribbons on a cutting board and begin filling with the turkey and rice mixture.
Only place enough in the middle that you can roll the zucchini around it
Once you have filled all the ribbons move place in tupperware containers
To make the sauce add Dijon mustard, olive oil and pepper flakes to a bowl and whisk together with a fork
Put the sauce directly on the rolls or in a small container, so that you can add it to the rolls at work
It is also an option to freeze the rolls and heat them up when you bring them to work, so that you can make more servings and have less days of meal prep. If you decide to do this, blanch the zucchini by putting it in boiling water for a minute and then moving it straight to ice water. Also wait to add the sauce and keep it in a separate container in the fridge.
We recently teamed up with KidPass to learn more about the thousands of activities they offer to kids throughout the New York area. Read our Q&A below to see how one pass can unlock a new world of fun for your little one(s). A special discount offer for Bell Family may even be in store, too! Q: What are some examples of the variety of activities offered by KidPass? Are the activities for children of all ages?
A: Have you ever found yourself with a restless child and lots of time to fill? KidPass to the rescue! KidPass can get your child into 5,000 places to play in New York City like Kidville, Gymboree, NY Kids Club, 92Y, lots of swimming pools, all kinds of classes, and tons of open play spaces throughout NYC. If you can dream it, KidPass can take your kids there, and we have activities for newborns, toddlers, and kids up to age 17. Q: What are the different plans you offer those looking to join, and how do the plans work?
A: Most of our parents choose the KidPass Basic Plan. For $49 a month, you get 10 credits to use on activities of your choice. Search by date and neighborhood, find an activity you like, and book it on our site. Your spot will be waiting for you when you arrive. If you ever want more credits, we’ve got a Family plan and a Power plan too. Q: Many families have busy schedules and require flexibility. How flexible are the memberships and class schedules? Is there a fee for cancellations?
A: Oh we know how it is! We are all parents at KidPass and we know that plans can change quickly. If you make a reservation with KidPass and need to cancel it, your safest bet is to cancel it 24 hours in advance. And if you ever want to cancel your KidPass membership, there are no penalties for pausing or cancelling your account. Q: How does a family or childcare provider get started?
A: We’re inviting all our friends from Bell Family to try KidPass for free for one month! Use this link and the discount will be applied at checkout. Come play with us soon! Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell
Lauren Kruk, Bell Family’s Nanny Services Manager, has accomplished something most people have not. She has successfully trained and completed in an IRONMAN competition, proving that the Bell Family team is one strong bunch.
Read below to hear directly from Lauren, and her experience from earlier this summer.
On Sunday July 23rd, I completed in IRONMAN Lake Placid. IRONMAN consists of a 2.4 mile swim in open water, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run (in that order). Being a part of a triathlon club and starting with small races in 2014, it was always a dream of mine to complete the largest triathlon distance, and as Lake Placid is the longest running IRONMAN event in North America (and also beautiful!), it was an easy choice to achieve my dream there. I started training before the new year, and in a matter of 6 months I had racked up 523 running miles, 1,675 miles on the bike, and 50 miles in water. It was challenging, exhausting, but exhilarating and emotional. An IRONMAN has a 17 hour cutoff; all disciplines are timed (with transitions between each timed too). I finished in 14:43 and I’ll never forget the feeling of crossing that finish line. It’s true what they say, anything is possible!
On behalf of all your teammates at Bell Family, CONGRATS LAUREN! We’re so proud of you!