Mental Health Awareness Month: 7 Ways To Care For Your Mind & Spirit

mental health meditation

Our mission at Physique 57 is to not only sculpt and strengthen your beautiful body, but also to nurture your incredible mind and spirit! In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we’re sharing 7 simple steps you can take every day to care for yourself from the inside out. 

Move your body

A Physique 57 sweat sesh not only tones your body — it also fuels and nourishes your mind. You’ll finish your workout feeling less stressed and more energized, confident, and empowered! Years of research has proven the mental health perks of exercise. A study from Harvard University showed that exercise can reduce the risk of depression by 26% ¹. Another study found that people who exercised regularly reported a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to those who didn’t work out ². 

Exercise helps the brain build new neural pathways that bring on feelings of calm and happiness. It also releases endorphins, powerful brain chemicals that give you a boost of bliss ³. You know when you leave class feeling so accomplished and on top of the world? That’s what we’re talking about!

Join us for a workout On Demand or in the studio!

Deepen (or start) your meditation practice 

A regular meditation practice quiets the mind, brings your attention to the present moment, and gives you a deep sense of centeredness, balance, and peace. Multiple studies have shown that mindfulness relieves stress ⁴ ⁵. Meditation helps lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while releasing mood-boosting hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin ⁶. 

If you’re new to meditation, ease into it. Start with just 5 minutes a day and work your way up to longer. You can do guided meditations or simply listen to soothing music and focus on your breathing. If your mind starts to race or thoughts come up, don’t judge yourself — this happens to everyone and you’re not doing it “wrong.” Simply take notice of the thoughts and feelings that come up for you without judgement and gently release them in your mind. Your meditation practice will start to feel more natural as you, well, practice it! 

Nourish yourself 

You’ll feel happier and more energized when you nourish your body with healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. Certain foods have also been shown to have mood-boosting benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts are linked to lower levels of depression ⁷. Foods high in vitamin B6 (think: bananas, salmon, and sweet potatoes) help synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin ⁸. And dark chocolate releases several mood-boosting compounds such as theobromine and N-acylethanolamine ⁹ — just in case you needed another reason to eat chocolate!

Have your moment in the sun

Soak in the sunshine! Research shows that sunlight can boost serotonin production, which brightens your mood ¹⁰. Plus, the sun synthesizes vitamin D (aka the “sunshine vitamin”), and vitamin D has been linked to lower levels of depression ¹¹. 

Take a break from your workday to get outside and stroll around your neighborhood. Remember to wear SPF to protect your beautiful skin! Also, watch out for artificial blue light from computer and phone screens, which can increase cortisol levels and zap your energy. There are lots of options for cute and affordable blue light blocking glasses. 

See how  Physique 57 trainer, Christine Mirzayan, makes mental health part of her morning routine.

Grab your journal 

Journaling is a powerful outlet to express your emotions, reflect on your experiences, practice positive self-talk, and release thoughts or feelings that aren’t serving you. Research consistently shows that journaling has a positive impact on mental health ¹². 

You can journal in whatever way feels healing to you — there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do it. Some practices we love: 

  • Free writing: Write whatever comes to mind without editing or judging your thoughts. You can also free draw if that feels more intuitive for you. 
  • Gratitude journaling: Write down 3 specific things you’re grateful for each day and why you’re grateful for them.

Disconnect to connect 

So many of us are on our phones and computers all day long. Give yourself permission to disconnect from your devices in order to reconnect with yourself. Unplugging from technology helps you be more mindful in the present moment, deepen your connection with those around you, and become more in tune with your own feelings and instincts. 

Take a digital detox day or weekend where you turn your phone off and enjoy other activities you love — go on a hike or long walk, be present in nature, read, take a bubble bath, and spend time with loved ones with no distractions. You’ll feel so refreshed after!

Dance it out

Whether it’s pulsing in a Physique workout class or having a dance party in your living room, dancing is amazing for your mind and soul! Research shows that dance can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and keep your mind sharp ¹³. 

Come join us for a fun, empowering, and mood-boosting dance cardio class On Demand!

Sources

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2720689
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100222161848.htm
  3. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24395196/
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889159112004758
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4769029/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27472373/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16763894/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24117885/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779905/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269/
  12. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1745691617707315
  13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0197455613001676

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How To Get Back Into Your Workout Routine

girl holding dumbells

We know your wellness and workout routines have probably looked a lot different over the past year during the pandemic. We have all adjusted and pivoted together, and we’re so proud of how you persevered and rocked your fitness goals from home!

We are beyond excited to start opening up our studios again — feeling your energy in our NYC Spring Street fitness studio brings the biggest smiles to our faces (behind our masks of course!) 😍

As fitness studios and other parts of our lives begin to re-open, it may feel overwhelming to readjust and get back into the swing of things. 

Here are our best tips for restoring and refreshing your workout routine so you can come back feeling stronger than ever!

Book your workouts in advance

If you’re planning to come back to the barre studio, remember that class sizes are smaller (30% capacity) so make sure to book your classes in advance here. This will ensure you get a spot and also help you plan your week and hold yourself accountable. 

We suggest setting aside time on Sundays to set an intention for the week. For optimal results (mind and body) aim for 3-4 endorphin sessions a week online or in-person.

Then, book all your workouts at once for the week ahead. You’ll feel so accomplished before the week even starts! 

Block out your calendar 

Once you book your workout classes, block out this time on your calendar, phone, and planner. Put it on your work and family calendars too, so everyone knows it’s your time. Schedule your workouts like you would a work meeting or an appointment for your kids. You would never miss that, and your health is just as important. 

Treat your wellness and self-care as a priority — because it is! 

Lay out your workout clothes

When you work out at home, it’s easier to throw something on at the last minute. Now, remember you need to factor in time to commute so every minute counts!

You can shave a few minutes off your morning by laying out your workout clothes the night before. Put your favorite workout leggings, tank, and sports bra somewhere front and center in your closet so you can’t miss them. 

Don’t forget your socks and mask of course — they are both required for class. Also lay out other workout essentials like a reusable water bottle so you can grab and go on your way out the door. 

Connect with yourself before your technology

This is always a non-negotiable, but it’s even more essential as you get back into a new routine! First thing in the morning when you wake up, before you look at your phone, check your email, or scroll Instagram, take time to connect with yourself. 

This could be doing a guided meditation, journaling five things you are grateful for, listening to soothing music, reading an inspiring book, or simply placing your hands over your heart and breathing deeply. 

This doesn’t have to take long — you only need 5 minutes — but it will allow you to feel grounded and balanced before you let in other distractions. 

That positive and calm energy will radiate out into everything you do for the rest of your day, including your workouts!

Ease back into it 

Remember that this past year has been challenging and looked different for everyone. Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re finding it tough to get back into your usual workout routine. 

Have grace and patience with yourself. You’re doing amazing!

We can’t wait to see you back in the studio! We are open for classes Monday – Sunday at our Spring Street location. You can book class here


And you can always take barre and fitness classes On Demand anytime, anywhere, or at our Virtual Studio if you’re craving real-time connection from home.

How To: Post-Workout Self-Care Routine

Woman doing self-care routine of sitting in a bathtub with a glass of wine while looking out windows.

Once your workout is done, you might be ready to dash out the studio door so you can hit the next item on your to-do list. But taking the time to prioritize post-workout self-care is key to optimal recovery — and recovery is integral to getting the killer results you want most.

Giving Your Body The Love It Needs

While it’s true that practicing self-care during and after your workouts can help boost the effects of exercise, self-care is also a powerful way to learn to treat yourself better overall — throughout various areas of your life.

When you approach your fitness plan from a place of self-compassion, you’re more likely to embrace the process with less perfectionism, and greater acceptance of yourself as you are now. Though it may seem counterintuitive, by pushing yourself less and caring for yourself more, you can actually get way more done. Burnout can be the cost of ignoring your need for self-care — and getting burned out can sabotage your fitness goals like nothing else.

Self-Care And Optimal Results

But what about when it comes to getting results, and why is self-care so important post-workout?

Essentially, getting amazing results from your barre classes, or any workout, is a two-part process — there’s showing up and challenging yourself in class, and then, there’s recovery.

Recovery is where the muscle-sculpting magic happens. Optimizing muscle recovery means that you get more definition and strength — and the most in terms of payoff for all your hard work in class.

The Inner Workings Appreciate Recovery

When you work out, tiny, microscopic tears in the muscle fibers happen as you challenge your body to master new moves or additional reps — and this is a good thing.

During recovery, the body repairs those muscle fibers, leaving them stronger, more sculpted, and better defined than they were before.

Basically, by resting and pampering yourself a bit post-workout, you boost the effects of your efforts in class. Rest means better results — which is a total win-win.

Treat Yourself – Don’t Cheat Yourself

So, what to do when you’re juggling how to prioritize your downtime?

Don’t overcomplicate the process, but do as much as you can. Detox salt baths like Pursoma, infrared saunas, and massage therapy can be amazing additions to your self-care routine.

But also, simple actions like starting a meditation practice, brewing some hot tea, soaking in a hot bath, taking naps whenever possible, and getting enough rest at night can form the foundation of your self-care practice — and help you feel better in myriad ways. It feels good to show yourself some love.

Additionally, it’s so important that you don’t skip taking the time to stretch your muscles, and warm up and cool down when you exercise. A simple stretching routine can make all the difference in your flexibility long-term, and also helps reduce the risk of injuries.

Winding Down…

Once you’ve hit your workout for the day, make sure to dedicate some time to relax — and don’t skip rest days.

Stretch those muscles out, grab a nutritious snack, hydrate, and then hydrate some more.

Also, don’t skimp on sleep — chronic sleep deprivation can undermine your training efforts by messing with your hormones. Some studies suggest that losing zzz’s can lead to increased stress hormone levels, and lowered human growth hormone — which is essential for muscle repair. And it’s no secret that feeling wiped out means you can’t bring your best game to barre class.

When you realize how essential self-care is post-workout for getting your best results ever, it’s so much easier to prioritize that time — so get to it.

Working Out After An Injury

A close-up of a doctor in a white coat putting a brace on a patient's wrist.

Coming back from an injury can feel like you’re starting from scratch. Your body is stiff from disuse, and you may feel like all your hard-earned, pre-injury fitness was for nothing. We love answering questions from our Physique 57 Facebook users, and recently, someone reached out with this comment — “I had foot surgery and have not exercised for almost two months. So, I would love advice and info on ‘starting from scratch!'”

If you’re recovering from an injury and want to get back into the swing of it, you are not alone. You may be raring to go, but the most important thing is to listen to your body. Pain is your body telling you that you’ve gone too far, and overdoing it could only aggravate your injury and lead to further damage.

No matter what kind of injury you’ve suffered, whether it’s surgery, a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle, here are some tips on getting back into your fitness routine:

1. Stretch in the Meantime

While you’re recovering from your injury, you may require complete immobilization. Unfortunately, this can lead to static muscles that become stiff. Rather than allowing your muscles to completely break down, ask your doctor about including some stretching exercises into your recovery process. Stretching will allow your injured muscles to remain fit and can even ease you into becoming active again once your recovery is complete.

2. Take It Easy

When you’re ready to get moving again, a good rule of thumb is to do 20 percent less than you feel like you’re able to do. If you’ve been out of commission for a long time, you may even want to do less than that. You need to face the facts that even if you could run five miles before the injury, your body is not where it used to be. You need to take your time and ease into it.

3. Don’t Do Nothing

Doing nothing isn’t a great idea, either. You need to find a happy medium — active recovery. A gentle walk is one of the best ways to get started and ease back into activity. Swimming is another great option because it offers buoyancy and takes a lot of pressure off injured tissue and sore muscles. You can even do some strength training with very light weights. Whatever you do, listen to your body and take lots of breaks. Pain means stop immediately. Over time, you’ll see growth and be able to do the activities you once loved.

4. Ice and Heat

Depending on what your doctor recommends, ice and heat will be your two best friends. Icing helps prevent muscle soreness after working out and can also reduce swelling and ease pain. Heat can be more beneficial for older injuries, depending on what they are. Just keep your doctor in the loop and ask their advice.

5. Talk to Your Trainer

Working with a trainer after an injury can be a great way to get back into the swing of things, but be honest about the extent of your injury. They will help you take your time and not overexert yourself. A trainer can also help you keep motivated as you slowly but surely work your way back to your previous level of activity.

Find out More About Physique 57

Once you’re ready to dive in fully, the expert instructors at Physique 57 offer classes that will both excite and push you. However, they understand the limits an injury can place on your body, so this instruction will be provided with your ultimate safety in mind. Plan a visit to one of our studios today.

8 Reasons Why Barre Is the Perfect Cross-Training for Runners

woman running

barre as cross training for runners

Runners understand the urge to break free from the everyday grind and take off. During and after a good run, endorphins surge, mood improves and life is sunny. Runners not only experience a boost in happiness from running, but they also do their physical health and well-being a favor.

Although running has many great benefits — like torching calories and building self-esteem — it also has risks. Running is a high-impact activity which puts a lot of wear and tear on joints and muscles, increasing the chance of injury. For this reason, runners make a smart move when they incorporate cross-training into their routine.

Cross-training is when you train in more than one sport to improve performance in your main sport. If you love to run, it’s a great idea to include variety in your workouts so that you exercise parts of your body you normally don’t use. You’ll gain strength, improve endurance and run faster.

cross training

Although you may not want to devote time to anything other than running, trust us — it’s worth it. Once you see and feel the results, you’ll agree.

Why Choose Barre as Cross-Training With Running?

There are tons of ways to cross-train, so how do you know which to choose?

First, because running is high-impact, it’s best to complement running with a low-impact workout. It’s important not to overtrain or push yourself to the point of injury. Barre is a low-impact workout that is the perfect cross-training for runners because of this complementary isometric focus.

Isometric exercises focus on strengthening a specific muscle group while the rest of the body stays still. This puts a lot less stress on your joints while still strengthening important muscles. With isometric exercises, you immediately get the right muscles working without furthering pressuring your joints.

Barre, inspired by ballet and taking cues from pilates and yoga, combines strength-building exercises and stretching resulting in a lean physique, better posture, more flexibility and a stronger core.

A barre workout targets muscles that runners often neglect, like the ones close to your bones that support your body and help with stability. Barre involves smaller, specific muscle contractions for results you may not have thought possible. A barre workout is great for mental endurance too, as it builds a strong mind-body connection.

There are tons of reasons women and men love their barre workouts as an excellent cross-training option for runners. Still not convinced? Here are eight key reasons to head to a barre class and feel empowered with grace, like a ballerina warming up for the stage.

1. You’ll Get a Full-Body Workout

Whether you’re cross-training or looking for ways to complement your weight-loss plan, you can benefit from the full-body workout that barre provides. There’s no need to have experience, either. All fitness levels are welcome to improve their health, strength and physique through barre exercises.

Runners from all backgrounds might forget how important their other muscles are when they run. For example, runners use their arm muscles to dash past the finish line. A barre workout exercises all the muscles in your body, from head to toe.

During a barre workout, you’ll focus on exercising easy-to-forget small muscles as well as large muscle groups. Small muscles help protect your hips and knees from injury during or after a run, and should be considered in cross-training. With a barre workout, you’ll also strengthen your core muscles. A strong core is essential in helping you keep balance while running and powering your run.

Depending on the studio you go to, you may or may not incorporate free weights into the routine. Though barre is more about using your own body weight as resistance and building endurance through reps and is less about lifting heavy weights, it’s another way to max out a full-body impact. Combining barre and running means you can usually expedite weight loss.

2. It’s Low-Impact

As a runner, it’s important to give your joints a much-needed rest from time to time and focus on core-strengthening and muscle-toning with low-impact moves instead. Because barre focuses on small muscle movements while keeping the rest of the body still, it’s a nice change from pounding against the pavement. Plus, the more variety you incorporate into your workout routine, the better for your overall health.

Running is one of the most high-impact sports there is, which means it puts a lot of wear on your joints, such as your knee and hip joints. If you don’t give your body a rest, your chances of injury are much higher.

Barre helps you build strength, endurance and blast calories without the extra wear and tear. But don’t let the word “low” fool you! Just because barre is low-impact doesn’t mean it’s easy. You’ll still feel the burn, break a sweat and benefit greatly from the challenges of a barre workout.

3. You’ll Build Foot Strength

Runners often overlook the importance of strong feet. You might say that many of us take our feet for granted. However, a strong pair of feet is far more important for runners than they might realize because feet help keep you balanced, improve your stability and reduce your risk of injury.

Your feet and ankles get you where you’re going, and as such deserve love, care and attention. Weak feet and ankles will cause you to put stress on other areas of your body, which could lead to back pain and muscle tightness.

strengthen feet and ankles

A barre workout is perfect for runners because it exercises your feet and ankles. Other workouts may not pay much attention to this important part of the body. During a barre workout, you’ll need to maintain balance with different barre exercises and stretches. You’ll quickly find yourself using those often overlooked yet vitally important foot and ankle muscles.

4. A Barre Workout Loves Stretching

You’ll go through a lot of stretching in a barre class, which is imperative for flexibility. Runners need their hamstrings and hip joints to be rested after an intense run. Stretching improves flexibility, which in turn has a ton of benefits like:

  • Reduces stress in the muscles you use.
  • Helps release the tension you build during a workout.
  • Helps reduce the risk of injury because muscles will bend more easily.
  • Improves overall performance.

Muscles do not permanently strengthen or lengthen, so flexibility is something that requires maintenance. As a runner, it’s important to stretch and strengthen your running muscles like quadriceps and hamstrings on days you do not run. Stretching right before running could lead to an injury, especially if you didn’t warm up your muscles first. A barre workout on your off days is the perfect opportunity to improve your flexibility.

What’s more, stretching helps relieve tightness in muscles, which as a runner you likely know too well. When you run long distance, you build muscles, resulting in muscle tightness. Stretching exercises prepare you for your next run to help you feel great.

5. You’ll Improve Your Balance

Good balance is extremely important for runners. Runners may not think of it this way, but when you run you never have two feet on the ground at the same time. Balance and stability are what prevent you from falling every time your foot hits the pavement.

Stability refers to your muscles’ ability to keep you upright after your foot lands. Balance is your body’s ability to adjust and re-align to stay upright. Balance develops from the power to predict and react to obstacles. Without good balance, you waste more energy than you realize as your body prevents you from falling. That energy you waste could have been used to run longer and faster instead.

Barre workouts improve balance because you are required to hold different positions while working your muscles. For example, it takes focus and the ability to maintain balance across 20 leg-lift reps. Barre involves muscle-toning exercises and repetitions that require equilibrium and a degree of mental relaxation. As a result, you’ll notice improved balance while you run.

Also, a barre workout strengthens your core muscles which help your body stay aligned and maintain balance. You’ll be a far more efficient runner with a strong core, as you won’t have to put so much energy into staying upright. Your muscles will work more evenly too, keeping you running longer and feeling more energized.

6. You’ll do Plenty of Hip-Opening Exercises

Hips help us keep balance. If there is something wrong with your hips, you’ll need to put a lot more effort into standing up straight. As a runner, malfunctioning hips will slow you down and make you tired quicker. Plus, sore hips will cause you to put extra strain on other parts of your body.

Running makes hip flexor muscles tight. Hip flexor muscles are attached to the hip joint and are responsible for pulling knees up and down when you walk or run, moving the legs from side to side, keeping the pelvis stable and allowing you to bend at the waist. Tight hips make it harder to run and can lead to overuse-related injuries like knee pain or iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.

hip-opening exercises

Hip-opening exercises are a big part of a barre routine and will help loosen tight hip muscles, prevent injury and improve posture. Exercises like squats, lunges and stretches open the hips.

7. It’s Great for Injury Prevention

Barre workouts improve muscle strength, flexibility and balance which all greatly reduce injury risk. Runners are particularly at risk for injury because of the high-impact nature of their exercise routines. In fact, around 65 percent of all runners will be injured at ay time according to the University of South Florida. For every 100 hours of running, the average runner will suffer one injury.

Many running-related injuries are caused by improper training. Common injuries include:

  • Runner’s knee or anterior knee pain
  • IT band syndrome
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis

As a runner, you use the same joints and muscles repetitively. This can lead to tight muscles and muscle weakness, which might result in injury. A barre workout strengthens muscles all over the body so stress is more evenly distributed and well-worked muscles aren’t left to overcompensate for weaker ones. Also, inflexibility is a common cause of injury for runners. As we mentioned above, barre incorporates lots of stretching, which helps negate this.

It’s also a good idea to take a break from a high-impact sport like running to prevent injury. Barre helps your body recover while still providing the workout you need and crave.

8. You’ll Gain Mental Strength

Although barre is low-impact, it requires mental endurance, as during a barre class you’ll certainly feel your muscles burn. During a barre workout, you’ll learn to work through the discomfort, and you’ll be encouraged by your instructor and other class members to keep going. Barre trains you to be strong — just what you need to race past the finish line.

During a barre workout, you need to be fully present. It isn’t easy doing barre reps with a wandering mind. You’ll feel the sting of strength-building, and it will make you uncomfortable, but that’s how you know you’ll see the results you want. Barre exercises will empower you to overcome challenges as a runner and as a person. Ultimately, you’ll become more comfortable feeling uncomfortable because you’ll have developed a stronger mind-body connection and transcended the need for constant comfort.

How to Incorporate Barre Workouts Into Your Running Routine

A barre workout is mainly about toning your muscles and is a great complement to the high-impact cardio of running. You know what’s best for you, but to get real cross-training results started, try adding a barre class on your days off. For example, if you take three barre classes a week, try running one or two times a week on your days off from barre. It depends what works for you, but it’s always good to start out slow.

barre as a compliment to cardio

You might find that you prefer to fit your workouts in the same day, like running before or after barre class depending on how you feel or what your schedule allows. Running on days off from barre class might create the perfect balance, but if you decide to use a run as a warm-up for class, do so 20 to 30 minutes ahead of time, or give yourself a short break after barre before a run. Either way, make sure there’s plenty of time between exercises so you don’t overtrain.

Get Results at Physique 57

Barre is the perfect way to tone muscles for a lean physique and to complement your running routine. You’ll have better flexibility, more endurance and greater running performances as a result of barre classes. Plus, a barre workout relieves stress with low-impact reps that work. With barre, it does not take long to see the results you want, and it can easily fit into busy schedules and other workout routines.

Whether you’re a runner looking to cross-train and improve performance, or a beginner hoping to get toned and shed pounds, mixing barre class and running routines can bring you great results.

At Physique 57, we believe in the power of self-love and self-investment. You are worth the time and energy it takes to treat your body well, and every body has the potential to be strong, beautiful and extraordinary. Perfection is a myth — but treating yourself well isn’t. You’re worth the effort it takes to become your best.

Are you ready to build your best body ever? Visit a Physique 57 studio today or stream one of our on-demand workout videos you can do anytime, anywhere.

Guest Post: 5 Reasons Why Biking Boosts Weight Loss

bicycle cornering

Luke S. Mitchell is an MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism and manager of Exercise Bikes Expert. He is interested not only in the mind-body relationship and how motivation shapes our bodies but also in how we draw energy just from one simple yet powerful thought.

It’s no secret that most people first and foremost aspire to lose weight when it comes to mapping out fitness goals. Gyms offer many classes in this direction to suit people of all genders, ages, shapes, and sizes, and there are plenty of other exercises you can do on your own as well. But by far one of the most suitable options is cycling, both indoors and outdoors.

The Reasons

People have loved biking ever since the very first bicycle was invented in Germany in 1817. And a big reason for that has to do with the fact that it keeps you in shape. There are many reasons why cycling is one of the best exercises to promote weight loss and maintain it as well. Here are the five most important ones.

1. Biking Can Be Done Anywhere

Cycling is perhaps the most versatile physical activity there is, at least as far as location is concerned. First, you have urban riders which use their trusty two-wheelers in lieu of polluting cars. Choosing to travel to work or to the shops during the weekend in this way not only helps save the environment, but it can also keep you in shape.

Furthermore, you can also take your trusty bike out on the trails for an extra boost of exercise to help you shed off those pesky extra pounds once and for all. Depending on the terrain of the area, you can enjoy several degrees of difficulty, which means that you will exert various levels of perceived effort.

And when the weather goes bad or you just don’t feel like going outside, you have the option to perform an equally engaging spinning workout. You can do this by either joining a class at your local gym or simply going out and buying your very own stationary bike. You might lose fewer calories at first, but once you get into the right pace, you will be able to sustain your goals.

2. It’s an Easy Way to Pursue HIIT

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, basically consists of cardio sessions with bouts of hard work sprinkled throughout. If this sounds like exactly the sort of thing you can do while on a bicycle, that’s because it really is. Burpees aren’t the only exercise that can be done in order to employ HIIT.

Cycling on a bit of an incline is the best way to go about this. Start off at a moderate pace, then suddenly increase intensity, then slow down again. Repeat this for about eight times during a total time of ten minutes and allow your body some time to recover for five minutes afterward. Then get back on it and do another set.

HIIT not only stimulates metabolism and increases your physical fitness, but it also promotes the human growth hormone. The combination of all these factors ultimately leads to burning more fat as an outcome of your routine.

3. It Can Be a Rewarding Passion

People quit exercising for all kinds of reasons: going to the gym is too expensive, they don’t have enough time for it or they want to pursue different activities. But by far the most disheartening one is the lack of motivation. Even though many of us still plan to work out more frequently at the beginning of each new year, we seldom stick to these promises.

But why is that? The answer is simpler than you could ever imagine: because we haven’t found the best routine for us. Not liking what you do can turn the whole thing into a drag, which makes you less likely to want to pursue it long-term. But because biking can also be a passion or a hobby, not just a sport, you will be far more likely to keep at it.

4. It Can Be a Social Activity

Although going out on a remote trail by yourself can be truly cathartic sometimes, this activity is a truly social one at its core. Riders usually gather in groups and set out together towards similar goals. Not only is this a great opportunity for bonding over shared interests and making interesting conversation, but it’s also a good way to stay focused.

According to Dian Griesel, Ph.D., working out in a group promotes consistency, enhances duration and boosts motivation at the same time. This is why gym classes are usually a lot more successful in keeping people on track. And in the case of cycling, don’t forget that you can do it there as well. This sport gives you opportunities, you just need to know how to reap them.

5. It’s Good for Your Heart

It’s no secret that pedaling is great for cardio. This type of exercise accelerates your heart rate just enough so that you burn off calories faster while strengthening your blood-pumping muscle at the same time. But did you know that, for this very same reason, it can go as far as to lower the risk of heart disease?

Although the rates of illness among men have decreased tremendously over the course of the last decade, heart attacks are still the number one cause of death among American women. Statistics published in 2015 by the American Heart Association reveal that they affect 34% of the white population and as much as 50% of the African-American demographic.

It goes without saying that you need a healthy heart to be able to pursue weight loss. The stronger yours is, the better you will build endurance and be able to withstand even the highest intensity. And it all starts with cycling.

Conclusion

To conclude, cycling is a great activity that promotes and sustains more than weight loss. It also builds endurance, strengthens your heart and increases the quality of your social bonds. And to top it all off, it makes for an amazing and enthralling pastime that can easily turn into a full-blown passion if you give it the chance.

Guest Post: How to Combine Meditation with Workouts for Better Health

meditating woman in sun

Dwayne Austin is a multi-faceted author, blogger & fitness instructor from Indiana, US, and associate with Consumer Health Digest and Performance Insiders. He encourages people to live a healthy lifestyle. Connect with Dwayne via Facebook and Twitter.

Mens sana in corpore sano. The Latin phrase teaches us that healthy mind and healthy body go together hand in hand. In order to improve our health and make wiser lifestyle choices, many of us decide to exercise regularly, but it’s possible to gain even more benefits by combining physical activity with meditation. How do they work together? Scroll down to see why a combined approach of exercise and meditation is the best thing you can do for your overall health right now.

Meditation and Exercise

A combination of meditation and physical activity gives you the best of both worlds. Meditation is an ancient practice wherein an individual focuses his/her mind on a particular object, activity, or thought to reach a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Most people find it easier to focus on their breaths while meditating. Meditation balances your body’s needs and maximizes physical stamina to get as much as possible from your workouts.

Regular exercise is vital for good health and wellbeing. Our body has to move in order to stay healthy. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to obesity, joint pain, and many other health problems. Introducing more exercise into your life is a great way to improve your mood, boost confidence, get more energy, and protect your body from negative health outcomes.

As you can see, both meditation and exercise have a lot to offer; and combining them is a great way to get even more benefits.

More Stamina

When you start working out, you want to do as much as possible without getting tired too fast. The goal is to get  the most out of your workout, but to achieve it your stamina has to improve. Meditation is one of the best natural ways to increase stamina. Why? The ancient practice allows the mind to go deep into an altered state of consciousness to create a necessary environment for mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

Depression Relief

Millions of people in the US and worldwide suffer from depression indicated by a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, and other mental and physical symptoms. A combined approach of exercise and meditation can help you overcome depression, which is yet another reason to include both in your lifestyle.

Meditation promotes mindfulness and healthy lifestyle choices, and it’s useful to make it an inevitable part of your lifestyle. Remember, you don’t have to meditate for hours. For beginners, even 10 minutes of meditation is enough to relax their mind. As you’re getting used to the idea of meditation, you can try to do it for up to 30 minutes. It all comes down to your needs.

Prostate Health

As men age, they are more susceptible to prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis or inflammation of the gland, and many other problems. Both exercise and meditation support prostate health, thus improving your quality of life.

Studies show that mindfulness alleviates stress and anxiety. This is important because stress negatively affects the prostate gland. For men who already have BPH, stress worsens symptoms such as painful urination, the urgency to urinate, the frequency of urination, and others. In men who don’t have BPH, stress can deplete levels of zinc and contribute to enlargement of the gland.

Furthermore, a growing body of evidence confirms that men who are physically active have a lower risk of developing BPH. A combination of mindfulness meditation and exercise can be a wonderful strategy to support prostate health and avoid problems that affect men as they age.

Muscle Building

Combining exercise and meditation can improve muscle building. Toned, perfectly defined, and bigger muscles are the goal most people want to achieve through workouts, but you’ve never thought adding meditation to the mix could be beneficial.

How does meditation help? Well, it lowers stress, improves stamina, and balances your hormones including GH (growth hormone) necessary for muscle building. In one study, men who meditated produced more growth hormone than their counterparts who practiced other relaxation techniques. Combine two approaches to define muscles faster than you thought.

Recovery

After every workout, regardless of its intensity, the body needs to recover. Meditation can help with that and, thereby, reduce the risk of injury. This ancient practice allows you to stay calm and improves the ability to ignore distractions while exhibiting positive effects on the nervous system. All these factors are important for recovery.

Meditation allows you to train your mind just like physical activity trains your body. It has a number of health benefits that improve your quality of life. Also, meditation helps you recover from injury by changing the perception of the circumstances of trauma or event and it allows the mind to deal with pain more effectively. It teaches you not to focus on pain and reduces its intensity. For every active individual, proper recovery is vital for better results.

Should I Meditate Before or After a Workout?

Combining meditation and exercise is easy; you can either meditate prior to or after your training. There is no “one size fits all” rule here, you can choose the approach that you find more convenient.

Meditating prior to workout allows you to relax and stretch your muscles. At the same time, you can improve focus and control that are much-needed when working out. On the other hand, meditating after a workout reduces cortisol levels which tend to elevate when you’re exercising. Also, post-workout meditation improves recovery and reduces pain.

A study whose findings were published in the Translational Psychiatry revealed that participants who meditated for 30 minutes and trained cardio for 30 minutes reported significantly less depressive symptoms and ruminative thoughts. Those who combined meditation and exercise twice a week for eight weeks experienced a 40% reduction in depressive symptoms, truly impressive.

Conclusion

A combined approach of meditation and exercise supports your health and maximizes results from daily workouts. Stress management, muscle building, better mood, prostate health are just some of many benefits you can expect when meditating prior to or after a workout.

Guest Post: 10 Benefits Cycling Can Offer Women

woman cycling road

Sophie Elise is a passionate cyclist, author and blogger. She is very passionate about writing on different types of women’s bikes, accessories, health, fitness and more and regularly writes on women’s health blogs. Being fit and maintaining an active lifestyle has been an important aspect of my life since childhood. Growing up, my passion was playing soccer. (It was at a time when the majority of girl’s teams would travel to compete against other teams because the sport’s popularity was still growing and girl’s teams were limited.)

Today, I work in a bicycle shop and, thusly, still in an environment that’s mostly dominated by men. As I work, I’m able to speak with other women about the benefits cycling can have on our health. As a female athlete and mechanic, here are my ten reasons why including cycling in your workout can be beneficial:

1 – Good For Your Heart

Riding a bike is an excellent way to strengthen your heart. The fact of the matter is that heart disease is the number one killer of women; In 2015, The American Heart Association concluded that “every minute in the United States, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). More than one in three women is living with CVD, including nearly half of all African-American women and 34 percent of white women. Although heart disease death rates among men have declined steadily over the last 25 years, rates among women have fallen at a slower rate.”  Structured cycling as part of a formal workout routine is known to guard against cardiovascular illness.

2 – Can Protect Against Breast Cancer

The National Cancer Institute reports that “many studies show that physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than inactive women; in a 2013 meta-analysis of 31 prospective studies, the average breast cancer risk reduction associated with physical activity was 12%. Physical activity has been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women; however, the evidence for an association is stronger for postmenopausal breast cancer. Women who increase their physical activity after menopause may also have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who do not.”

3 – Gives You Vitamin D

Okay so getting Vitamin D into your system is not a direct result of bike riding, but bike riding outside can be! To elaborate on this point, let’s talk about Vitamin D. Healthline.com says that “perhaps the most vital [functions of Vitamin D] are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.”

4 – Low Stress On Your Joints

Are you recovering from an injury? Are you timid about getting hurt in the first place? Trusted Natural Health reported that Andy Clarke, the president of the League of American Bicyclists says, “Whether you’re recovering from an injury, looking for a cross-training option or hoping to preserve your knees to run the New York Marathon when you are 85, cycling gets your legs moving and your heart pumping without pounding your joints.” In other words, bicycling offers the best of both worlds: you can exercise your body without, subsequently, punishing it.

5 – Cycling Builds Endurance

After traveling to work and back home on her bike for rehearsals and (later) performances of a three hour play in Central Park, Kevin Kline finally asked her why she was getting on a bike after such a long and exhausting day. Meryl Streep replied, “I have to build up my stamina.” Like most other exercises, bicycling has sport specific endurance requirements. The lovely part of this point is you gain endurance without needing to train like an Olympic athlete. Sometimes, moving the bike is enough for you to increase your lung power. Additionally, you can take this machine and be more deliberate in your workout (if a high level of endurance is what you seek); Selene Yeager of bicycling.com writes a great, intentional workout to use if you’re training to increase your endurance:
https://www.bicycling.com/training/the-fastest-way-to-build-cycling-endurance

6 – Strengthens Your Muscles

As you ride, you will be using nearly all the muscles in your body. The two most obvious muscles are your heart and your thighs. Other muscles include calves, core, shoulders, forearms, neck, and back (not to mention hamstrings).

7 – Can Help You Sleep Better

Keeping track of bills, giving your time and energy to your office and your personal life, fixing problems that arise in all of these areas is why there are so many avenues for women to find ways to give themselves a break. The staff at oopsmark.com reports that “Stanford University School of Medicine researchers found that cycling for 20-30 minutes daily helped people with sedentary insomnia fall asleep twice as fast, and increase their sleeping by nearly an hour”.

8 – Can Boost Self-Confidence

As children, my friends and I would ride our bicycles miles from home to the local drugstore where we would purchase travel board games and bubble gum. It was our accomplishment. Today, as you ride, you will encounter a few hazards: hills, potholes, pine straw, ice, debris, stray animals, and maybe stray children (I’m being facetious on this last point). But bike riding can be painful. When your thighs are feeling sore, you’ll feel comforted afterward knowing you’ve achieved something difficult.

9 – Great for Your Immunity

The physical benefits for women riding bikes are many. One of them is the increase in her body’s ability to stave off germs. Did you know that, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells (the body’s immune system cells that fight disease)? Well, during and after exercise, there is a brief rise in body temperature, which may prevent bad bacteria from growing. Riding a bike and getting sweaty will help fight infection more effectively.

10 – Fun

Often, those who ride describe the sensation of riding to flying. Bike riding is not just a versatile exercise, it’s fun. Among us, some riders prefer the rugged terrain of mountains to newly paved roads and do so on some of the best women’s mountain bikes money can buy.  The Federal Highway Administration conducted a survey in 2009 which showed that women comprised of only 24% of bicycle trips taken in the U.S. that year. Meanwhile, in America, women are doing most of the shopping. Bicycle companies know this and want more women to shop in their stores. The availability of women’s bike products will increase and allow you to have an enjoyable time riding.

9 Ways to Be Your Healthiest, Happiest Self by Physique 57 Recipe Creator, Healthy with Nedi

happiness

Food and fitness are crucial tools in becoming healthy and happy, but they are not the only activities that matter for overall wellness. Your thoughts and how you interact with others are also super-important in the journey towards the BEST.YOU.EVER

Below, I’ve listed the top nine activities and commitments that keep me happy — don’t worry, they still include delicious food and lots of Physique 57. Try incorporating these simple practices into your life, and you’ll be surprised by how much happier you feel!

Start Each Day With a Grateful Heart

When you’re always chasing that next big goal, it can be easy to forget all the great people and things you have in your life. Stop for a moment each day to count your blessings.

Count Your Blessings

It’s a simple thing to do, but being consciously grateful can have a tremendous effect on your mental health. Science has shown taking time to reflect upon things you are thankful for can improve many aspects of your life, including:

  • Physical health — Making a conscious effort to be grateful can help boost your immune system, improve your heart health and lower your blood pressure.
  • Mental health — Stress can a take a serious toll on your mental health. Actively feeling gratitude can help ease the symptoms of depression and improve your levels of happiness.
  • Your relationships — Gratitude helps us take stock of the relationships that really matter in our lives. If you act on your gratitude, you are showing the people you care about just how much they mean. Your relationships are more likely to flourish when you maintain them. Gratitude can even help you change your daily attitude and form new relationships.
  • Sleep — Sleep is a huge factor in health and happiness. If you aren’t getting enough sleep or quality sleep, you are going to struggle throughout your waking hours. Gratitude helps get a deeper, more restful sleep. Sleep also helps you be more receptive to positivity. A study of sleep-deprived college students found the subjects remembered 81 percent of negative words, but just 31 percent of positive words.
  • Self-esteem — If you are grateful for what you have, you can eliminate a lot of time spent comparing yourself to others. When you are satisfied with your own life, you tend to have healthier levels of self-esteem.

Consume Foods and Drinks That Nourish the Body and Soul

When you are wondering how to be the healthiest person you can be, what you eat is a great place to start. It’s really important to nourish your body from the inside out. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to be happy. Eating healthy is one of the key components to a healthy lifestyle, which translates into more energy and a lower risk of health problems like obesity or heart disease. A recent study even found adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can even make you happier.

nourish your body

Committing to a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to take the joy out of eating. Keep in mind a few tips for eating healthy without sacrificing everything you love about food and drink.

  • Manage your portions.
  • Eat a wide range of different food types.
  • Always remember to eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit your intake of trans fats and added sugar.
  • Enjoy indulgences like sweets and alcohol in moderation.
  • Drink lots of water!

Once you start focusing on healthy eating and drinking, you will be surprised how much room you have to experiment and find dishes you love. Some of my favorite recipes are sweet potato and white bean soup, zoodles with lentil Bolognese, warming apple cider and my special super immune-boosting soup.

Learn to Love Your Skin

Your skin deserves some daily care and pampering. First things first, always remember to protect your skin from the sun. Wear hats, and always use sunscreen. Too much sun can damage and prematurely age your skin, and put you at greater risk for skin cancer. Healthy lifestyle choices like sticking to a healthy diet, not smoking and managing your stress levels are also great ways to help keep your skin looking great.

Skin Looking Great

While you can make those healthy choices every day, you can show your skin a little extra love. Try a refreshing face mask. Pick out an indulgent body lotion. Choose a product — one without harsh chemicals or abrasive materials — that will help you feel more beautiful in your own luminous skin.

I swear by a special skin routine, and I’m going to let you in on my secret. Every morning before I get in the shower, I dry-brush my skin, starting on my hands and feet and brushing toward my heart. Dry-brushing has been practiced by ancient civilizations all over the world and benefits your lymphatic system, increases blood flow and makes your skin look beautiful by exfoliating and reducing cellulite. Remember to use a soft-bristle brush, so you don’t irritate your skin.

Think Positive Thoughts

It turns out the eternal optimist has a lot of advantages in life. Positive thinking helps you take on life’s challenges with a smile on your face, and it can help you stay healthier in the long run. One study found optimistic women have a significantly lower risk for several different leading causes of death, such as:

  • Infection — 52 percent lower risk
  • Stroke — 39 percent lower risk
  • Heart disease — 38 percent lower risk
  • Respiratory disease — 38 percent lower risk
  • Cancer — 16 percent lower risk

Positive thoughts may or may not come naturally to you, but they can be a learned habit. Start each day with one positive thought. Each time you feel a wave of negative thoughts crowd in, stop. Take a moment to think of one positive thought to counterbalance those. The more you work on positivity, the more it becomes a part of the fabric of your everyday life and outlook.

The mind is a very powerful tool. Create positive visions for your life, partner and work. Then, watch your dreams be drawn to you.

Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You Higher

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said you are a collection of your five closest friends, and I believe it! A strong circle of friends who bring out the best in you is crucial to being the best you and loving yourself for it.

Friendships can be hard to maintain when you are a busy adult, but that doesn’t mean those relationships become any less important. Friends are the people who laugh with you and help pick you up when you are down. You might see some friends multiple times a week, or you might have to rely on long-distance video chats. If you want that person in your life, you can always find the time to maintain the relationship.

Do not be afraid to make new friends. Talk to your coworkers. Start a hobby that exposes you to new people. When you find people who fit into your social life and help lift you higher, you will wonder why you were ever afraid to go out and find that kind of friendship.

Let Go of All Toxic Relationships

Up to 89 percent of people have some kind of toxic relationship in their lives. That figure may seem shockingly high, but remember, a toxic relationship does not have to be a romantic one. The toxic relationship in your life can be with a friend, a coworker or even a family member.

First, take a step back and try to identify any toxic relationships in your life. Some of the key signs of this kind of unhealthy connection include:

  • Discomfort or fear — Do you find yourself worrying about the next time you will see someone? Do you feel like you have to be careful not to upset this person? If you feel like someone in your life has controlling or upsetting behavior that constantly puts you on edge, your relationship with this person is likely toxic.
  • Constant arguments — Disagreements in any relationship — romantic or otherwise — are inevitable, but arguing should never be the primary interaction with someone you consider an important part of your life. If you are constantly fighting with someone, consider if there is a way to change the relationship, or simply tell yourself it is alright to let this person go.
  • Lack of communication — Do you feel like you can’t talk to someone in your life? Communication is a core part of any relationship. When you can’t share your thoughts with someone, or they refuse to share with you, the relationship is going to struggle.
  • Resentment — Resentment is a powerful emotion that can sour any relationship. If you feel that emotion building up and directed at someone in particular, consider changing that relationship or letting it go entirely. Likewise, if someone constantly resents you, consider moving on from that relationship.

Negativity will only weigh you down. Once you let go of the toxicity in your life, you will notice how much better you will start to feel. Remember, you deserve the best.

feel better

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Social media can be so much fun, but it can also be a trap for comparing yourself to others. Everyone is posting pictures of their latest vacation, their perfect significant other and wild nights out with their friends. Remind yourself those pictures never tell the whole story. People might have had to work long hours for months to go on that vacation. No one has a perfect significant other. That night out with friends might be the first one someone has had in months.

Whether you find yourself making comparisons to the people you see on social media or people you regularly see in person, stop. Making those comparisons is unproductive and can be downright unhealthy. No two people are alike. When you compare yourself to someone else, the playing field is extremely uneven. The two of you are living in different circumstances with different strengths and weaknesses.

Instead of measuring your success against someone else’s, set personal goals and work to achieve them. When we stop comparing ourselves to others, we are more open to being grateful for what we have and proud of what we have achieved.

We are our own harshest critic, but you have the power to do something about that. Focus on your strengths and embrace your imperfections. There is no one else on this planet exactly like you — you are one of a kind!

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is the place you feel the safest and the most at ease, but it’s also a place where you can get stuck. If you never step outside that zone, you shut yourself away from new experiences and challenges. When you push yourself to try something new, you can surprise yourself with just how capable you are.

surprised how capable you are

Start small. Try a new type of food. Push yourself to try a new type of exercise. As you regularly work small steps outside of your comfort zone, you can build toward something bigger. Maybe you can take that solo trip you have always dreamed about, but were too afraid to take. Maybe you will run a marathon. The more you try, the more you find you can do.

Of course, pushing yourself too hard can be a bad thing. Find the right balance that helps expose you to new things in a way that builds your confidence and expands the boundaries of your comfort zone. When you accomplish something you never thought you could do, it gives you more confidence in all areas of your life. Try doing four days in a row of Physique 57. Notice how it makes you feel like you can take on the world.

Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness is easier said than done, especially when it comes to ourselves. We make mistakes and spend countless hours berating ourselves for them. This habit does little to help us become happy, but it is a hard one to break. Here are few ways you can try to make forgiving yourself a little easier.

  • Leave the past in the past — Regrets are a part of life, but it dwelling on what has happened in the past does not help us in the present. Acknowledge that you made a mistake, and then start looking forward instead of backward.
  • Realize mistakes are inevitable — When we make mistakes, we replay everything leading up to it over and over in our heads. How could we have avoided that error? We probably have a lot of different answers to that question, but the real answer? Not all mistakes can be avoided. No matter how careful we are, we will slip up. Know mistakes happen, acknowledge them and move on with your life.
  • Learn from your mistakes — Instead of obsessing about a mistake, treat it as a learning experience. Even though you made a mistake, you learned something from it. You know how to avoid that same mistake in the future. When you learn something, a mistake is worth making.

It’s important not to be too hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s OK. Just make sure to learn from your missteps and apply the lessons later on.

Healthy life choices and happiness go hand in hand. Try out these tips to see what works for you. Remember, you are responsible for your own happiness!

Eat. Pulse. Love.

india-camel

In January 2017, our CEO and Co-Founder Jennifer Maanavi along with Master Trainers Holly Hendricks and Ashlea Potts traveled many hours and many miles to kick off the opening of our new studio in Mumbai, India. They’ve recapped their whirlwind visit in which they met new lifelong friends, auditioned talented teachers and of course, enjoyed the culinary delicacies of India.

EAT
By Ashlea Potts, Physique 57 Master Trainer

Had you asked me a year ago where my life would take me in the next 365 days, I would never have predicted, “I’ll be a Physique 57 instructor traveling to Mumbai to help audition new instructors and teach Master classes.”  Well, flash forward to today, and I have done all of those things.

At the end of last year, I learned I had the amazing opportunity to journey to India. I’m studious so I immediately researched traveling to Mumbai and what the city had to offer. I was a little apprehensive about changing my routines for the 10 days I was traveling, but I was pleasantly surprised by all of my food options!

Mallika, the licensee for Physique57 Mumbai, introduced us to an India that caught me by surprise. After every morning class, we (and the clients too!) were greeted with a carrot and beetroot juice or green juice—complete with ginger, cucumbers, spinach, and pineapple. (It was so delicious; I think we all teared up after the first sip.) There was coconut water, served in actual coconuts; nothing but the fruit and a straw. Dinners consisted of kale, kale, and more kale! I know, right? I felt like I was tempting fate a bit by eating raw veggies, but it was all so delicious and cleansing that I couldn’t resist. (We all couldn’t resist.) One of the big highlights was lunch at a picture-perfect spot called Sequel, where we all shared an organic burrata salad and avocado toast. This was not the diet I had expected. I wanted to make my hipster foodie friends proud and Instagram my toast with some clever hashtag before devouring it, but my avocado was soon a distant memory. To top it off, we got smoothies to go, chockfull of chia seeds, almond milk, and Acai berries.  It was the perfect way to energize us through the rest of the day!

Now, don’t think I didn’t experience the spicy food culture. After our long week teaching and auditioning instructors, we took a short beach holiday to Goa. There we relaxed with poolside drinks and seafood dinners.  (The spiciness in most of the dishes was toned down for us, but it was still a bit too fiery for some palates. I’m looking at you, Jennifer and Holly!) We feasted on seafood platters, curry, palak paneer, and naan galore! The food was not only delicious, but it also physically and mentally fueled us to get through a busy week! Mumbai is not a place I will forget.

PULSE
By Holly Hendricks, Physique 57 Master Trainer and Manager of Talent

Traveling halfway around the world to teach an exercise method in a totally new area felt like a feat in itself, but traveling to said far-off destination looking for the talent to ultimately teach this method was a whole other “barre-game.”

We started our week-long adventure in Mumbai visiting the space of our pop-up Physique 57 master classes, a studio within a residential building in a bustling part of town. Walking in that first day, we immediately felt it: the buzz of something exciting on the horizon. Mallika welcomed us with literal open arms and the excitement was palpable. The Mumbai studio staff displayed signage, building maintenance installed custom barres, a sound engineer set up our sound board, and balls were blown up and tested for the Physique perfect squeezability. We had our studio—now to just fill it!

The next day we got straight to the auditions, 4 rounds to be exact. We had close to 30 applicants, dancers from all over India who were eager, motivated, and inspired by the opportunity to partake in this great fitness movement—even if they knew very little about it. (Some flew in that very day!) Jennifer, Ashlea, and I walked into the room with guarded enthusiasm, not quite knowing what to expect. What transpired over the next day and a half was nothing short of thrilling! These amazing individuals were bringing Physique 57 Mumbai to life. We picked our top five. Now we had our team!

Next up were the Master classes for Physique 57 Mumbai family and friends. The women and men who walked into the studio came with a little trepidation, only trusting Mallika’s passion for this unfamiliar-to-them method. As Ashlea and I made our way around the room meeting and greeting, asking for injuries, offering up some tips on how to handle the burn, we were met with kind pleasantries and questions “What exactly is Physique 57?” “What is a barre class?” “I haven’t worked out in months, can I do this?” We told the clients they were going to shake and burn, in all the right places, but that we were there to keep them motivated and hopefully have some fun too.

And wow, did they shake…and burn…and laugh and yell and whoop! Any hesitations or communication barriers fell after that first set of thighs and for those 57 minutes it didn’t feel like we were halfway around the world. And it didn’t feel like we were teaching a barre class to a group of strangers, 10.5 hours in the future. It was the same incredible feeling we get when we see any of our clients stepping up to the plate, powering through the intensity and getting stronger because of it. It was that same feeling we’ve had from the very first pulse—the burn unifies us all!

LOVE
By Jennifer Maanavi, Physique 57 CEO and Co-Founder

The adrenaline started pumping as soon as I landed at Mumbai airport at 3 a.m. I could feel the energy and mystery of the megapolis as I headed to my hotel in the wee hours of the morning. Throughout the drive, I was pinching myself—I can’t believe Physique 57 has made its way to Mumbai! What was in store for the Physique 57 team and the long list of men and women signed up for our Master Class?

I’ve traveled to many countries to introduce Physique 57 to new groups, and we’ve always fallen in love with our newest clients’ energy and warmth—and they fall in love with our method’s life-altering powers. I wondered if we could recreate that magic in this city, home to 12 million people (only a few of which who’d ever heard of a barre class). Our goal was to get the love-fest going!

At Physique 57, we talk often about being in love with clients instead of simply loving clients. The difference may seem subtle but the outcome of one feeling versus the other is considerable. Being “in love” keeps the relationship fresh and exciting and creates a long-term bond. What do I mean when I say falling “IN love” with your clients? Your happiness and fulfillment literally depend on their happiness and fulfillment; you want them to make you a big part of their lives and you want to see them walk through your doors all the time. You want to be with them as much as possible and get to know them better each day. You want to build a greater, more serious relationship, and of course, you miss each other when you’re not together. I’m happy to say, after a jam-packed, intense time abroad, the love has spread to Mumbai!

One class into the week’s schedule I was convinced of a new love match. A smiling and sweaty Master Class participant told me she’d never experienced a fitness class this exhilarating. She asked me if we could offer Physique 57 classes “every hour, everyday.” Our bond was instant. I knew were making lifelong connections.

We’ve been honored to experience requited love with thousands of clients, many of whom have walked through our doors for more than a decade. It’s been happening in the U.S. for over a decade and has already spread to Dubai and Bangkok. We’re so happy to welcome Mumbai to the Physique 57 community. We are in love with you and we cannot wait to help you unleash your personal potential.

Barre Basics

morgan and taylor at the barre

Looking for a great barre that has everything on tap and can serve you your best body yet?

Get ready for a full-body workout that will sculpt, tone, and make you stronger than ever. What makes Physique 57 different than other barre classes? Our technique covers all the bases by combining cardio, strength training, and stretching, designed to maximize your results in less time. By using weights, your own body weight as resistance and the ballet barre, you’ll improve your core, flexibility, strength, posture, and bone density. Plus, low-impact reps go easy on your joints and bones so you can focus on getting results as safely and comfortably as possible. All this in just 57 minutes.

How does that sound?

Great! Let’s go. Here are some tips to get the most out of your Physique 57 experience.

We recommend starting with a beginner-level sculpt class, even if you’re a total pro at other workouts, barre or otherwise.

Here you’ll get familiar with all the positions, techniques, movements and form specific to Physique 57 while pulsing and sculpting to a killer soundtrack of heart-pumping tunes. Even though it’s an introduction, you’ll definitely be challenged—and it’s fun. Once you’ve got our lingo and moves down we encourage you to check out all of our other one-of-a-kind formats designed to mix up your workouts and keep you from plateauing. You’ll never get bored. And have no fear if Beginner does not work with your schedule – you can start with our Signature class. Just let the instructor know it’s your first class so you get extra-special attention.

You don’t have to have any ballet or dance experience to enjoy the benefits of Physique 57.

While you’ll spend a lot of class at the ballet barre for support and balance, you won’t be doing any pirouettes. All we ask is that you come ready to have a good time and challenge yourself.

It’s all about the core.

There’s a lot of talk out there about your core.  But, what does that even mean? Your core isn’t just your abs and it’s not just about having a six-pack (although the majority of our exercises will slim down and define your mid-line). The core is 360° of muscle that corsets your mid-section and is responsible for providing support for your spine and making you feel strong and confident in all your daily activities. Our method is unique in that we give TLC to all angles of your core throughout the entire class leaving you feeling balanced and aligned to stand tall throughout the rest of your day.

Grab your grippy socks.

Grippy socks (socks with a lightly padded bottom) or slippers complement your workout by, well, gripping onto the floor and stabilizing you as you transition between moves at the barre and moves on the floor. Full-coverage footwear, required for all Physique 57 classes, keeps you comfortable and our studios clean. Don’t worry if you don’t own any grippy socks, we have lots of fun options to choose from in our boutiques.

Free weights are your friends.

We often hear concerns from new clients that strength training will bulk them up. Great news: It’s not true! Barre classes will instead tone, giving you a longer, leaner appearance, and rev up your metabolism. When it comes to choosing weights appropriate for you, no worries, you can just ask one of our instructors, they will be happy to assist you!

Want to get started? Check out or new client offers in NYC .

 Don’t live near a studio? Try our online workouts for free. 

5 Tips for Bringing your Bump to the Barre — Barre Workouts During Pregnancy

pregnant woman

barre during pregnancy

Looking for a way to keep your body strong and fit as your bump grows? Barre is the perfect fit. Because it’s low-impact, controlled and focused, Physique 57 is perfectly suited to pregnancy. It’s easily adaptable to work with your growing bump. Our program is safe and effective, and it prepares you both mentally and physically for labor and delivery.

Follow our bump-friendly tips for barre workouts during pregnancy so that you can get the most out of your classes. You’ll gain an extra boost of strength and confidence to carry you through your pregnancy.

Listen to Your Body

You know your body better than anyone, but when you’re pregnant, what feels normal can change — even from one day to the next. That’s why it’s so important to listen to the signs your body gives you, whether you’re at barre class or going about your normal daily routine.

In barre class, you want to be careful not to overdo anything. Physique 57 classes are non-competitive, so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with anyone else. We encourage you to do what feels good for your body on any given day. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you’re pregnant. If you were already taking barre classes before your pregnancy, it’s still a good idea to touch base with your doctor to check for any restrictions.

hydration during barre workout

While exercising, always move with control and care to keep your body safe. Focus on your breathing to help you stay on track and get plenty of oxygen into your body. Hydration is also important.

  • Pacing is an important part of listening to your body. Some days, you may feel like you can push yourself as you did in your pre-bump days. On those days, let yourself go, and enjoy the surge of strength and power. Other times, you may feel like everything you do takes more energy.
  • Give yourself permission to slow down, make more modifications and do what’s right for your body. Even if you don’t finish every set or do a certain version of a move, you’re still showing up and working to make your baby bump — and the rest of your body — strong and fit.
  • Focus on your pacing one day at a time. Don’t worry about what you did yesterday or last week. Your energy level will likely change throughout your pregnancy. Many expectant moms feel extreme exhaustion during the first trimester due to the hormonal changes going on in their bodies.
  • As you near the second trimester, you might feel your energy coming back. Your bump isn’t huge yet, so you can still move around easily. The closer you get to your due date, the more you might notice yourself slowing down again. Your growing bump might require you to make modifications or slow your pace.
  • Keeping your heart rate at a reasonable level is crucial. If you exercised before your pregnancy and don’t have any complications associated with your pregnancy, you shouldn’t need to limit your heart rate to a certain number of beats per minute. Check your pacing by trying to carry on a conversation. If you can have a conversation with someone, your pace is fine. If you’re pushing yourself so hard that you can’t speak, it’s probably time to slow it down a little.

Another aspect of listening to your body is knowing when something doesn’t feel right. You know the normal burn you feel from a good barre workout. That’s different than a twinge or even a more intense pain that tells you something’s not right. If you notice any unusual symptoms or pains, don’t ignore them. You might need to slow down your pace or end your workout early. Always talk to your doctor if you experience anything unusual or concerning.

Target the Right Muscle Groups

It’s always a good idea to work out your entire body, but pregnancy puts more emphasis on certain muscle groups. Specifically, you want to target your glutes, inner thighs, hamstrings, abdominals, pelvic floor and upper and lower back. Why? Focusing on those areas helps you lengthen and strengthen the muscles that best help you accommodate your growing bump — you’re making room for your growing baby. It can also help you feel stronger in your ever-changing body.

Certain muscles play a specific role in the process as well. Glutes support your hips and help protect your lower back. Weak glutes can cause other muscles to compensate, which can lead to lower back pain. Strong abs support your growing belly and help you push more effectively when you’re in labor. Back muscles are critical to support your growing tummy and the shifting center of gravity. When you keep your back muscles strong, you can stand up straight and tall instead of slumping as your bump grows.

Do the Right Kind of Ab Work and Keep Up With Your Kegels

Core strength is so important during your pregnancy. It helps your body adapt to the constant postural changes during pregnancy, so it’s important to continue your ab work. It’s all about finding the right balance. You want a flexible belly that grows with your baby, but it also needs to be strong enough to support that growth. The good news? Your abdominals get a workout through most of your Physique 57 workout, from deep abdominal stabilization to focused exercises.

barre kegel exercises

Kegels are a must to develop the deep core strength necessary for labor and delivery, so be sure to include them both in and out of class. Kegel exercises focus on the muscles that support your bladder, bowels and uterus. Those muscles come in handy during labor and delivery. Kegels also help speed up your recovery after delivery, including increasing your urinary control.

Not sure how to do Kegels? Pretend like you want to stop the flow of urine. Squeeze those same muscles, and you’re doing Kegels. If you do them correctly, no one will know you’re doing them because your legs, abs and glutes shouldn’t move.

Learn Barre Modifications for Pregnancy

In the early stages of your pregnancy, you probably won’t need any modifications. You may need to slow down a bit because of the exhaustion, but your body will likely still do all the things it normally does. By around 20 weeks, you’ll probably need to start modifying. That’s when changes to your body can begin affecting exercise.

Your uterus becomes larger and heavier, which can put more strain on other parts of your body. Standing without moving for long periods or lying on your back for longer than a few minutes can be dangerous. They can slow down the return of blood to your heart, which can cause a temporary decrease in blood pressure.

Supporting your back or working in a more upright position can relieve that pressure and let you exercise safely. Lying on your stomach is another position that isn’t recommended for pregnancy. It puts too much pressure on your uterus, and it becomes quite difficult as your belly grows. Working on all fours for exercises that normally take place while lying on your stomach is an alternative.

Some other physical changes that can push you toward making modifications include:

  • Stretching and relaxation of the ligaments that support your joints, which can increase the risk of injury with high-impact or jerky movements
  • Increased need for oxygen and energy, which can make you short of breath faster
  • Pressure on your diaphragm from your growing uterus, which can make you short of breath
  • Changing center of gravity that changes your balance and decreases your stability

Keeping those factors in mind in barre class can help you self-monitor your intensity and make small adjustments. You should also be aware of specific modifications based on physical changes. Your barre instructor can give you personalized instruction on how to modify different moves to ensure you and your baby stay safe and healthy.

The following modifications for barre classes while pregnant give you an idea of what to expect.

1. Stretches

The relaxing ligaments in your joints may make stretching feel a little easier. It can make you seem a little more flexible than normal. Just be careful not to push your stretching too far — you don’t want to hurt yourself by stretching beyond a safe and normal range of motion.

Certain types of stretches are also best left for your pre-bump and early pregnancy days. Once you reach 20 weeks, it’s best to avoid any stretches that have you twist from the waist. If you make twisting moves, make them small rather than deep twists.

2. Seat Exercises

Your growing uterus becomes heavier and puts more weight on your body over time. That change can mean more strain on your back that causes discomfort. When working on your glutes, it’s a good idea to modify to make sure your back stays upright or on a diagonal to ease any strain and discomfort on the back. It can also make your glute workout more effective while keeping your back safe.

barre glute exercises

Notice how your back feels as you do your seat work. If you feel too much strain on your lower back, keep your chest up. You can stand at the bar while doing this, keeping with the same choreography, just with your chest up.

Using a smaller range of motion may also be necessary during seat work. Doing so helps you avoid injury with your looser joints. You can also widen your knees as your bump grows to make room for it during different seat work exercises.

3. Risers for Back Support

Risers positioned under your regular mat during round back and abdominal work provide support for your back. They also help tilt your pelvis forward to maintain good blood flow. If you don’t use the risers, your uterus can press down on your vena cava and slow your blood flow significantly. You may also notice cramping in your uterus and calves without the proper support from risers.

4. Abdominal Exercises

It may seem like you should avoid working your abs during pregnancy, but it’s actually more important than ever to strengthen those muscles. Strong abdominal muscles support your growing uterus and help you during childbirth and recovery. Pay special attention to your positioning, keeping your feet down and ensuring your pelvis stays tilted properly. Like with any other move, it’s important to listen to your body to make sure you don’t overdo your ab workout.

You might find that instead of moving, you need to simply hold the position. Don’t worry so much about choreography for your legs. Your obliques should go in and down while your lower abs go up and in. This movement helps strengthen the muscles in the way you’ll use them for labor. You’re still strengthening your abs and working on your breathing, so you’re getting the workout you need on your terms. Holding on behind your legs when working on your abs can also help.

In round back, you may need to adjust your height to get an ideal position, depending on where your baby is within your abdomen. A little adjustment can improve how well you can squeeze and feel your abs during this exercise. You may also want to keep a foot planted during this exercise, with your hand lightly gripping the leg that’s working. Lowering your leg a little bit helps accommodate your growing tummy.

5. Keep Your Head Above Your Heart

A good rule of thumb throughout pregnancy, not just in barre class, is to keep your head above your heart. Your blood volume increases by up to 50 percent during pregnancy. That extra blood means your heart has to work harder to keep it pumping.

blood volume during pregnancy

Keeping your head above your heart improves circulation and makes less work for your heart, so it beats at a reasonable rate. You can enjoy your workout without making your heart beat faster than is necessary or safe. Prenatal wedges for all back and side-lying exercises help you keep this ideal pregnancy position. The wedges give you support and make you more comfortable as you do each move.

Have Fun and Reap the Benefits

Your growing bump comes with a growing list of things to worry about and plan. Barre class is your chance to disconnect and do something for yourself. It’s just a small part of your day when you can focus on yourself, but the rewards you reap are plentiful — mentally, physically and emotionally. Take this time to focus on your breath and prepare mentally for the changes coming into your life.

Pregnant women often hear what they shouldn’t do. Well-meaning people tell you to take it easy, stop working out and focus only on the baby. You rarely hear what you should do. Barre class is your chance to silence the “shouldn’t do’s” in favor of more positive sentiments. It’s refreshing to focus on the positive and know that it’s okay and important to enjoy yourself while doing it. After all, pregnancy can be an extremely busy time, so dedicating even an hour to your health, fitness and well-being is already something to celebrate.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Our expectant clients experience a variety of benefits from our classes, including improved posture, decreased lower back pain, increased pelvic stability and even better sleep. Not to mention that sexy, sculpted muscles are the perfect accessory to go along with radiantly glowing skin, luxurious hair and that baby bump you’re rocking. It turns out, exercise offers many benefits for pregnant women. As long as you get your doctor’s approval, exercise is something you definitely want to incorporate into your daily routine.

The benefits of exercising during pregnancy include:

  • Smaller weight gain to help you stay within the healthy recommended range
  • As much as a 27 percent decrease in risk for gestational diabetes
  • Decreased back pain
  • Increased stamina and strength for labor and delivery
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improvement in your mood
  • Better posture
  • Improved sleep
  • Lower risk of constipation, which is common due to increased progesterone levels and your growing uterus
  • Enhanced view of your pregnant body and increased confidence
  • Greater relaxation and lower stress levels
  • Decreased leg swelling
  • Faster recovery after delivery
  • Continued exercise routine instead of falling out of the habit of being active

When you come to barre class to reap those benefits, you get the bonus of having a built-in community where you’re truly part of something special. You may even meet other expectant moms in barre class, so you can share your experiences and build a friendship that lasts even after you give birth.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you bring your bump to the barre. Join one of our studio classes that offer modifications for our prenatal clients at our New York City location. If you’re not in the area, don’t worry — try our online workouts especially our pre/postnatal workout collection!