Mental Health + Exercise

Alkalign Studios Barre Fitness for Mental HealthFeeling down? Stressed out? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Get into class!

 

My husband should probably be the one writing this post. He’s seen first hand the benefit of exercise on mental health. MY mental health. Five and a half years ago, after the birth of our first son, the post-partum depression and anxiety I entered into was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I wasn’t a stranger to depression and worry but this was different. Treatment took on several forms, including exercise— specifically getting back into the studio for classes!

 

Exercise can benefit mental health in many ways. For me, taking an hour for myself, focusing on something other than my worries, and interacting with people outside of my normal circles was refreshing. Not to mention things like endorphins, improved blood flow, feeling stronger, looking better, and often thinking more clearly!

 

While I was pregnant with my second son and on modified bed rest, I wasn’t allowed to exercise. One day we drove past the studio and I immediately felt more calm—it was startling! Just the thought of exercising made me feel better.

 

If you’re feeling on edge, tapped out, unmotivated, disinterested in things, get into class! Here are a few ideas for making it happen:

 

Schedule it. I know, when you feel mentally drained or pushed to your limits emotionally, creating time for one more thing may seem unthinkable. Put it on your calendar. Sign up online or using the Alkalign app. If it’s on your schedule you’re much more likely to get there. Set an achievable goal and work your way up to making it part of your routine.

 

Find a workout buddy. Of course this isn’t necessary, but it does help. If someone is waiting for you, it’s harder not to show up. Find someone to take class with: a friend, family member, or someone you meet at the studio. Or, let an instructor know you’re coming—we’ll look for you to be there! I’ll take a class with you sometime. Up for checking out a cardio class?  It’s like a reset button for me some days!

 

Embrace the challenge! It’s exercise. Have fun.  Be happy about the things you can do.  Don’t fret over what you wish you were better at doing. Keep coming—focus and you’ll see changes!

 

Can’t make it to class?  Do something. Take 5-10 minutes and get your heart rate up or do a few stretches. Walk around the block. Do a plank. It doesn’t have to be much.  It will most likely make you feel better than five more minutes at your desk, laying on the couch, or staring at your phone!

Confronting (or fighting!) The Inner Critic

Reform Your Inner Critic Mean Girl via Alkalign Studios Today is the day that I FINALLY sit down and begin to write about my experience  with  “the inner critic”.  I have promised myself to begin this process for weeks (ok it’s been months!). What has held me back you ask? That nagging voice in my head that repeats “Who do you think you are?” “What makes you an expert on this topic?”  “Really? Now you are a blogger?”

 

We know that words have power. Power to build us up or to tear us down. Negative words lead us to doubt our value, our ability, our worth. When someone praises us for a job well done, we stand a little taller and feel a little better about ourselves. In contrast, if  someone criticizes us or says something hurtful to us (or about us) it stings. It sticks with us!

 

But what happens when we have negative beliefs or thoughts about ourselves? What happens when the inner critic chimes in and tells us that we are just not enough? We should do better, look better or be better. Science has shown that those thoughts actually create neural pathways in our brain which act like a recording set on repeat. Heard often enough and these thoughts may become our “reality”. These thoughts hold us back. We begin to believe that inner critic.

 

Before sitting down to write this piece, I googled “the inner critic”.  It’s amazing how much information is out there. This is clearly a popular topic. Probably because we can all relate! Most of us hold ourselves to insanely high standards. How many of us can say that we only say nice things to ourselves when we look in the mirror in the morning? How many of us can say that we only affirm our abilities as a mother, wife, friend and employee? If you can and you do, please hunt me down and tell me your secret!

 

Recently, I arrived at the studio to teach the 6:00 am class. As I walked into the room to turn the lights and music on, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. “Holy cow!  Look at the bags under your eyes! And why on earth did you pick that tight fitting top today? Look at that belly pooch!”. Oh hello, inner critic! I refer to her as that witch (with a B) in my head!As I listened to those words I had to stop for a moment and ask myself “Would you EVER say something like that to your friend, your spouse or worst of all your child?” Obviously, the answer is no! Honestly, if I heard anyone talk to my child this way, I would take them down. So why do I take it from my inner critic? Well, I’m ready to confront this chick in my head.

 

Authors Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo describe this voice as “the inner mean girl” in the book titled Reform Your Inner Mean Girl:  7 Steps to Stop Bullying Yourself and Start Loving Yourself. I immediately ordered the book. I’ve started reading the book. Good start right? The authors encourage the reader to start to listen to our “inner wisdom” instead of allowing the inner mean girl to run the show. There is even a quiz to help you identify your type of inner mean girl. Mine is the “good girl”.  Then they offer an Inner Wisdom Kit that is available online to help you reform the inner mean girl.  So far I have found the book to be relatable, useful and best of all funny.

 

So the next time I hear that mean girl’s voice, I will stop her and let her know that she no longer runs the show! Hit the road mean girl!  I will show myself empathy, compassion and love. Let’s DO THIS!

Lightening the Bowling Ball in my Belly: Alkalign + Pregnancy

Alkalign Studios Pregnancy Barre Fitness Workout #FitPregnancyCurious about my recent Alkalign attendance, a few days ago I counted up the classes noted on my calendar, and discovered that I took 32 in June—when I was 7-8 months pregnant. I’ve been a devotee of barre for quite a few years now, but pregnancy has just ratcheted up my game.

 

As other forms of exercise—for me, running, a little cycling, and hiking – have gradually fallen away or become less enjoyable (hiking is still doable, but only if I can be on a trail where I loop back to a bathroom every 20 minutes or so), Alkalign has remained the steadfast, singular form of exercise that I can not only do, but that leaves me feeling 100x better than when I walked in the studio door.

 

Though I have had friends who have suffered from typical pregnancy aches (sore backs, tender hips, swollen feet, throbbing legs), I have yet to experience these symptoms. I probably should chalk up at least some of my good fortune to luck or good genetics, but I’m also convinced that Alkalign has played a significant role here as well. The focus on form has allowed me to maintain good posture even as my belly has grown, and though my abs have certainly receded, I still feel their remnants helping to hold my belly in. According to Sutter Health’s website, “One of the most important contributions to a healthy pregnancy is good posture. Proper alignment can decrease low back and neck pain and fatigue.” The Alkalign exercises, though modified at this point in my pregnancy, leave me feeling strong and light on my feet; when I leave class, I almost forget that I have a bowling ball in my belly.

 

A key reason why I have also continued to do Alkalign as my pregnancy has progressed is the masterful instructors who have taught me how to modify exercises so that I stay injury-free. Alkalign is the only exercise outfit where I have received such individualized attention and been schooled so carefully on form. I recently explained to my husband that the instructors don’t use the time they are teaching to get their own workout in, and he was shocked; in both of our experiences, it is rare that teachers use class time to provide focused feedback, and pregnancy is a period in my life when I have particularly benefitted from the extra help. I have never been made to feel a wuss for having to modify; in fact, I seem to be getting extra encouragement these days. It’s pretty fabulous to get shout-outs in class for doing a plank on my knees or a Cardio Align move at half the pace of the rest of the class. Where else do you get kudos for choosing the least-tough (but healthiest) move?

 

In addition to maintaining my physical well-being, the Alkalign community has sustained me emotionally as well. The instructors and fellow clients have become my friends, cheering me on throughout pregnancy and providing all kinds of knowledge about what is to come. With my due date quickly approaching, I have frequently walked into the studio with anxiety about any number of things—such as finding a daycare for when I return to work and anticipating lonely days at home—only to walk out of the studio feeling restored by the wisdom of the women in the community.

 

With my baby scheduled to arrive in one week, I aim to be at Alkalign every day (sometimes twice a day), and I’m already counting the days until I can return after he is born.

Why we roll (Wanna be a baller)

Alkalign Studios Myfascial Release Recharge
According to the American Council on Exercise, your friend who can run a marathon but can’t touch her toes is not considered fit. There are three components to fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility.  As our modern, hectic lives require us to spend more time sitting, flexibility work is even more important but often neglected. Sitting for sustained periods creates muscle imbalances in the body. The position shortens your hip flexors and quadriceps, causes your spine to flex and shoulders to roll forward and shortens your pectoral muscles. All of this can result in poor posture, musculoskeletal pain, muscle adhesions, and increased risk of injuries.

 

While our Barre Align classes bring attention to correct posture, strengthen the underused muscles and stretch the overused ones, there are limitations to what stretching can do to improve flexibility.

 

Muscle adhesions or “knots” develop from overuse, tissue trauma, stress, and a variety of other causes. These adhesions reduce the elasticity of muscles, reduce joint range of motion and can cause pain for some people. Think of these adhesions as a knot in a rubber band. When you stretch the rubber band, the knot tightens but does not go away. That is where Myofascial Release (MR) can help.

 

MR uses tools to find your adhesions and eliminate them through rolling, sustained pressure and other release techniques. The result is restored muscle function, improved joint mobility, decreased musculoskeletal pain, reduced muscle imbalances, and less stress.

 

At Alkalign we are currently developing a class format called ‘Recharge’ that incorporates therapeutic stretching and Myofascial Release to complement the strengthening and cardiovascular exercise you are getting and offset the affects of daily wear and tear on our bodies. The full 60-min Recharge class will start in August. In the meantime, we are offering weekly workshops on Myofascial Release with local Myofascial Release Therapist Wendy Figone beginning 7.12.15 at our Menlo Park studio from 2-3:30 pm. Space is limited to sign up here.

 

You can also get a preview of our Recharge class after select Cardio Align and Barre Express classes taught by Master Instructors Michelle, Lizzie, Erin and Vanessa. If you’d like to learn more about Recharge, please email us: info@alkalignstudios.com

 

We look forward to rolling with you!

Becoming Alkalign

Alkalign ApprenticeAt Alkalign we believe in the importance of growth and evolution for each individual and also for our community as a whole. Each individual in our community adds to the strength and vibrancy that makes Alkalign the best studio ever!

 

You may have noticed a few friendly faces constantly around the studio the last couple of months. Observing classes, guiding clients into deeper engagement, or taking notes in the corner of the studio. What better way to add to our community than with a group of new instructors?! At Alkalign we take your alignment and health just as seriously as who we choose to educate you. Our “apprentices” enter into a rigorous 8-week training program in which they learn the skills to provide you with a safe effective workout. Three women have been working their “seats” off to learn all things Alkalign and earn their Alkalign Certification. They are motivated, inspiring and fun! Each woman is unique, real, and awesome—truly embodying the spirit of Alkalign. They all have families, careers, and lives outside the studio. We are lucky enough that they choose to spend some of their time with us at the studio.  Meet Danielle, Erin G., and Kasey:

 

Danielle is a long time client who, for the past several months, has been working at the front desk. She creates a warm and welcoming environment as she acknowledges everyone who walks through the door with a smile. We are so excited that she has taken on the role of instructor as well.  I asked Danielle what her biggest challenge was during the training process. She said learning to verbally cue and explain how movement is performed and executed. Another challenge was making the time to fit in class observations while balancing her family life and meeting her own fitness needs. Danielle’s favorite part of training was feeling supported by her training team, instructors and clients.

 

Erin G.’s love for Alkalign is apparent as she quickly made the transition from experienced client to instructor. Now she will continue her practice as she further enhances the community’s practice. She also blogs about wine—how cool is that? #Alkawine anyone? What Erin has found most challenging is learning proper adjustments. Learning about different body types, abilities, and injuries takes a lot of skill and practice. This is why our instructors go through an intensive training process to keep your body safe and in alignment. Erin has really enjoyed how all the instructors have been encouraging and give her helpful feedback.

 

If you have little ones you may have heard them talking about how cool Kasey is.  She has been providing our Alkalign kiddos with a fun learning experience in the childcare room while the mamas get personal time to exercise.  Now it’s her turn to provide you with a fun learning experience in the studio! The most difficult part of the training process for Kasey was learning that it’s ok to make mistakes and to not be her own worst critic. Her favorite part was pushing past her comfort zone to take more classes from different instructors and getting to know other instructors and clients in the process. She loves the feeling of becoming part of a team and we couldn’t be happier to have her.

 

We are thrilled to have these three women join Alkalign and want you to get to know them as well!!!

School’s out for Alkalign! The Case for Teen Barre Practice

Alkalign Studios Menlo Park Los Altos #barre #fitnessIf you’re an Alkalign enthusiast, you already know the benefits of a dedicated alignment-focused barre practice. You are physically and mentally stronger, your posture has improved, you’re more resilient and to top it off you just feel better. Imagine if you had tapped into this as an adolescent. What a head start!

 

Summer is a great time for teens to reset physically, mentally and emotionally. Alkalign’s focus on alignment, engagement and dynamic balance provides teens with opportunities to develop in class what will stay with them for a lifetime.

 

As a high school English teacher and a cross country coach, I am well acquainted with the very overscheduled and overstressed lives of adolescents, particularly in the Bay Area. Helping teens bring about their own wellness and cultivate healthy responses to stress should be a priority for parents and educators.

 

Teens who no longer play youth sports or have dedicated P.E. classes still need to exercise. Physical fitness serves as outlet both for mind and body, but traditional avenues for children’s fitness often winnow for teenagers. Without that club team or scheduled class, where do they go? And what will their fitness choices look like when they eventually move out or head to college? Practicing at Alkalign allows them create healthy habits now and can increase their personal ownership in lifestyle choices.

 

For competitive adolescent athletes, hyper focus on one sport (specialization) often leads to repetitive use injuries, psychological stress and burnout [1]. Broadening training with the addition of a barre practice can counter that. Alkalign’s whole body approach allows us all to develop muscle groups that we might not be targeting in our other pursuits, thereby helping us prevent injury. Similarly, think of how mentally engaged you’ve become as you learn about your own body’s abilities and try to perfect your C curve. That kind of new understanding of alignment and function enhances athletic performance as well so that what is learned in the studio translates onto the field, court or track.

 

Beyond all of this, developing a barre practice can help teenagers cope and cultivate inner strength in a similar way that it does for all of us. More attuned body awareness and an interest in how the body works let us, and teens alike, move with more intention and confidence. That attention and intention, the mind-body connection, improve cognition as well and can reduce stress. Athlete or not, it is a gift to be present in your own body and to be grounded in your own strength.

 

So what’s on tap for your teenager this summer? I hope some personal time beyond SAT prep and a spot in class! After all students get a 20% discount on regularly priced class packages and Core Members can add a family member for just $100/month!

 

 

[1] Jayanthi, Neeru et al. “Sports Specialization in Young Athletes: Evidence-Based Recommendations.” Sports Health 5.3 (2013): 251–257. PMC. Web. 25 May 2015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3658407/

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Alkalign Studios Menlo Park + Los Altos | Barre Fitness | Cardio Align

You may have noticed that we have added mirrors on the bottom half of the back and side walls in each studio. Why you ask? No, it’s not to surround you in reflective material to make you feel self-conscious about yourself. It’s to help you with your alkalignment!

 

Although we have always had mirrors on one wall, now we have the ability to face different directions in class and get different perspectives on our bodies. I love being able to see your feet and knees during squats so you can watch your knees track forward over your toes without being tempted to look forward at your face in the mirror, which causes misalignment in the cervical spine. Looking forward and slightly down during a squat vs straight forward is much better for preserving neck alignment. Having additional mirrors in the studios also helps to check your form during low-C curve, round back on the floor and seated neutral spine abdominal exercises. You’ll find that it helps with a lot of the exercises we do!

 

Position and alignment are important to successfully move through exercises and life without getting injured. Many injuries are the result of repetitive movement in improper alignment. This could be due to the way you stand, walk, run or swing a golf club. Think about it: the more you do something, the more important it is that you do it correctly. Hence our obsession with proper alignment in the classes we teach. Our goal is to help you establish better habits in class that you will take with you into the world when you leave the studio.

Alkalign Next Gen

Alkalign Studios Childcare Los Altos Menlo ParkAlkalign<3’s kids! Yes, we do! We are a community at Alkalign and that includes our kiddos. Our childcare staff creates a community within the Alkalign community just for little ones. By providing childcare in both the studios we hope to make it a little easier to find and maintain balance in life and make time for you!

 

Here are five reasons why Alkalign babies + kids make moms happy!

  • It’s affordable! Just $6 per child, per session, and the New Mom Package now includes  3 months of unlimited childcare for your newest addition.
  • You get a workout and your kids get to have fun. Win win! Our instructors aim to engage you and your body while our childcare staff’s goal is to engage and interact with your kiddos.
  • Projects! We will be rolling out new projects in childcare starting with our very own Alkalign coloring pages. We want to see what Alkalign means to everyone, kids included!
  • It’s convenient! We offer childcare during many of our classes (including mornings, afternoons and weekends) at both studios. When you sign up online or on the app you can also sign up your child as well.
  • It’s fun! The number one goal  is to make sure every child is having fun and is enjoying the time as much as you enjoy your workout. We play games, have dance parties, create masterpieces on the chalk wall, dress up, and so much more.

 

So next time you sign up for a class, sign your little ones up too!

 

Barre Express

Alkalign Studios Menlo Park + Los Altos | Barre Fitness | Cardio Align

As a Barre Express Instructor, I am often asked about the Express class and the question I most commonly hear is “Will I still get a quality workout in?”.  The answer is YES!

 

Barre Express is 45 solid minutes of strength building exercises, stretching to enhance flexibility and postural alignment. In Express you will achieve a total body workout in under an hour. Wouldn’t it be nice to shorten other activities and still get the same results? In our Express class you can have your cake and eat it too thigh work and seat work too. You can have your abdominal and upper body work as well.

 

The Barre Express class follows the same format as our traditional Barre Align class. However, Express offers faster-paced transitions and speedier set ups so you can get into position quicker and stay there longer. It is especially important to stay focused and engaged in Barre Express so you can maximize each minute of class. Our instructors are there to guide you, support you, and keep your body in a healthy position, but only you can stay present and push yourself forward.
Our Barre Express classes are conveniently scheduled in the early morning, during the lunch hour and in the evenings. Grab one of our healthy food options on the way out and in less than an hour you have strengthened + nourished your mind, body and soul.

Alkalign Starts Here

Alkalign Studios Menlo Park + Los Altos | Barre Fitness | Cardio Align

Alkalign is more than the name on the front door. It’s more than the products and services we offer or the science that is the foundation for our ever-evolving classes and Nourish program. Alkalign extends beyond what is tangible and measurable. At Alkalign, we embrace what is real, raw and human. We infuse principles of strength, alignment, and nourishment to surface our ultimate selves.


 

In creating Alkalign, I was fortunate enough to work with the extremely talented and inspiring team at Personify. They took my vision for the brand and ran with it.

 

We believe that balance is dynamic and doesn’t always mean staying in the middle.

“The Alkalign mark is the perfect visual definition of forward movement and balance. To us, that is dynamic balance which we define as Alkalign. In creating the logo for Alkalign, we explored many different ‘A’ shapes. We knew we wanted a shape that would easily translate to signage, retail and stand up well as a one-color mark. Knowing Erin’s business goals and big picture thinking to create a place that is so much more than an exercise studio, our creation focused on marks that were bold and could stand the test of time. We presented about seven different logos and the ones that stood out most were ones that showed the A with energy but also encompassed in a circle shape. The A is aligned and perfectly straight while the diagonal lines on either side shows movement all the while enclosed within a balanced circle of grace and stability.” – Krista Skehan, Personify

Alkalign Studios Menlo Park + Los Altos | Barre Fitness | Cardio Align 

We are a team of individuals, a family of originals.

As soon as I saw the logo presentation, I knew this was the one. The combination of the lines and circle are symbolic. For me, the circle also represents the Alkalign community. I am constantly impressed by all the amazing people I meet at the studios. I want us to all learn from and inspire each other. My hope is that Alkalign becomes as much of a second home for you as it is for me. I invite you to participate in whatever capacity you feel comfortable. Take class. Swing by to grab lunch. Share a testimonial or a suggestion. We believe in collaboration and appreciate the wealth of talent + knowledge our clients have.

 

We dare to step outside of our comfort zones because we have a foundation of strength to return to. I may have kick-started Alkalign but I want you to be a part of the evolution going forward. Alkalign is our home base, a place where you are always welcome, a place where you can push your limits knowing there is no such thing as failure. Together we are Team Alkalign.

 

We are grounded. We are charged.

“The secondary marks (+/- and water droplet) start to visually help grow the brand and give even more meaning to the name Alkalign. The plus/minus pattern carries a few different meanings. Sometimes our bodies or minds are more acidic or toxic and sometimes they are more base or balanced. They also stand for the charge we get when we nourish our bodies and minds by exercising and eating well. The water-drip logo that you will be seeing more of speaks to Nourish. It is on the fridges in the studios and will be a part of the Nourish program. Water is fluid, water is always in motion. The work that Alkalign provides for your body, mind and spirit allows you to ebb and flow in your life by seeking your own personal balance through strength, alignment and nourishment,” explains Krista.

 

We practice what is proven but believe forward motion brings stability.


At Alkalign we are committed to offer you the safest and most effective way to be fit. We go beyond the barre and are constantly evolving and innovating.

 

Live present. Be forward. Alkalign.

A fabulous workout and so much more

Alkalign Studios Menlo Park + Los Altos | Barre Fitness | Cardio Align

In 2010, I was introduced to barre class by a friend. To say this was “life changing” may seem dramatic but it is the honest truth! My friend, Eileen, had been taking classes for a few months and I noticed a difference in her body. She looked taller, leaner, more confident. I had to know the secret! I’d recently completed a marathon and was injured (that dreaded IT band!) and needed something to fulfill my exercise requirements and to develop some flexibility so I would be able to get back out there and RUN! So I signed up for a class. Looking back, I recall feeling totally clueless as the class got underway. Thank goodness I had my friend for moral support and an amazing instructor who seemed to sense my cluelessness and was quick with a smile and an encouraging word. I came for a workout but five years later, I have so much more.

 

Fitness has always been important to me. I feel better on the days that I work out. I sleep better,  I have more pep in my step. I get more done. My family will tell you, I am just nicer to be around when I get a workout! But the biggest draw for me is the need to be around others who have a similar relationship with exercise. I found this at Alkalign. I started as the front desk worker on Monday afternoons. I got to know the instructors. I took class more often. I fell deeper in love with the barre format as I noticed a difference in my posture, my strength and my flexibility. The studio became a second home for me. Why did I continue to come back to class? Why did I take the leap to train to become an instructor? Was it simply because I felt better and noticed a difference in how my clothes fit? That I truly saw results? All those things are true and SO much more. I came for a great workout and found a home. I have made so many wonderful friends, both instructors and clients. I am forever changed, forever grateful.

 

You may have noticed that the studio has gone through some changes! Thank you all for being patient throughout the process. What you probably notice is that the space has been reconfigured to provide room to gather and get to know each other. Grab a juice, salad or snack from the new fridge after class and hang out with a friend. Check out the current retail. Once you drag yourself away from the studio, visit our new website. ‘Like’ us on Facebook. Let us know if there are things you’d like to see us add that may foster an even greater sense of community. We are here for you. We want the studio to feel like your home—a place that is welcoming and friendly and that you want to come back to frequently!

Workout Tips

Alkalign Studios Menlo Park + Los Altos | Barre Fitness | Cardio Align

By making regular physical activity part of your routine, you are in the top 48% of Americans that get the CDC-recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. Now that you have experienced the mental and physical benefits that Alkalign’s programming offers, you may have wondered how you can take your practice to the next level. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of your workout:

  • Be prepared: The Boy Scouts are right, showing up to class prepared is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you get the most out of your workout. Drink 8-12 oz. of water before class or bring a water bottle into the studio so that you can sip between sets. Carry a pair of grippy socks in your bag. If you plan on coming during a busy time, reserve your spot so that you can show up, sign in, and grab your spot in the room.
  • Unplug: Leave your phone, work, family, and “to-do” list(s) outside the studio door.  This is your time to focus on you, what the instructor saying, get lost in the music, and find your inner balance. Clinical studies have found that intentionally focusing attention on the muscles you’re working leads to increased muscle contraction, and thus better results. [1]
  • Take the options: Today might be the day that you can do plank on your toes or take the arm release during High-C and stay engaged. But how do you know if you don’t try? According to the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, you must fatigue your muscles in order to get stronger. In every exercise, make sure that you are reaching the point of fatigue.
  • Breathe: Not only will effective breathing feed much-needed oxygen to your muscles allowing you to work harder, but it can deepen muscular engagement during abdominal exercises. Exhale sharply to help engage your transversus abdominis during flatback and c-curve to get more benefit from those exercises.
  • Ask questions: Your instructors go through a rigorous training process to ensure that they are experts in each exercise. If you are not sure if you are doing something right, please ask!
  • Stay: You made it to class, you shook through thigh work, and you burned through seatwork. Why miss the reward of the final stretch? Not only is final stretch a great time to reflect on the time spent, but it helps improve flexibility and joint range of motion. It also increases blood flow to muscles which may help decrease soreness, according to Mayo Clinic.
[1] D. Marchant, M. Grieg, C. Scott. Attentional Focusing Strategies Influence Muscle Activity During Isokinetic Biceps Curls. Athletic Insight [online journal].
The Power of Practice

Alkalign Studios Menlo Park + Los Altos | Barre Fitness

We all know that in order to get really good at something you need to practice. It could be a skill you are trying to master or your favorite sport. My son is super humanly good at hula hooping, and let me tell you, he did not get it from his momma. He is good because he practices. My husband is very well practiced at concocting the most delicious mojitos. I was a prodigy pianist growing up. How did I get so skilled? Practice.

Think of some things you are good at… speaking another language, cooking, healthy eating, singing, photography, drawing, texting, complaining, telling yourself you aren’t good enough, disliking your reflection in the mirror, constantly putting your needs last, believing your excuses. How did you get so good at all those things? Uh huh, practice! Not everything we practice is beneficial. In fact, some things we excel at can be downright damaging. I mean, who wants to be good at complaining?! It is time to stop letting ourselves get so good at behaviors that do not uplift or strengthen us. Many of us, including me, have practiced for years the belief that we are not strong enough, smart enough, or important enough.

 

Those negative thoughts begin to affect all aspects of life and can be a detriment to your overall wellness. Not feeling well leads to a lack of motivation, stress, and depression. It is time to change your practice and reset the negative process. Nourish your mind with positive thoughts!

 

Start to become more aware of negative thoughts and edit them to be positive ones. For example, if you happen to catch a glance of yourself in the mirror your first thought may be “my thighs are out of control” or “my arms are flabby” stop! Think “my quadriceps are so strong” or “wow, that abdominal work is paying off”. Practice being nice to yourself. Practice loving yourself. The more you practice the less those negative thoughts will sneak into your mind.

 

To all the parents out there: Stop practicing guilt! So many parents have mentioned to me that they feel guilty for working, taking the time to exercise or simply taking time to relax. Being good at feeling guilty does not service anyone. Instead tell yourself “I am working to provide for my family and to accomplish my personal career goals”. How about “I am a better parent because I am strengthening my mind and body” or even better “I deserve an hour a day for me time”. Commit to redirecting negativity, guilt and self depreciation.

 

While editing your thoughts in a positive way is so important, the ultimate goal is to pursue happiness, contentment, and balance. Practice joy, laughter, and confidence—you will get really good at it. Take the time to practice mindfulness and listen to your true thoughts—you will get really good at it. Practice accepting your flaws and forgiving yourself for negative thoughts. Lastly, do not practice perfection. Strive for the most authentic raw version of yourself.

Practice you!

Not all cardio is created equal: Why Interval training is better

Alkalign Studios Menlo Park + Los Altos | Barre Fitness | Cardio Align

If you have taken Cardio Align, you have probably seen that little orange timer that your instructor clings to like a precious gem. There is a good reason for that; our cardiovascular interval sequencing is specifically designed to ensure that you get the most effective workout during your 45-minute sweat session. Why is interval training better than traditional endurance cardiovascular training?

Interval training is more efficient than traditional cardiovascular training. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that a small group of both fit and sedentary men and women doubled their cardiovascular endurance after only two weeks of interval training. The control group saw no improvement. It gets better… This study also showed that after interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of moderate cardiovascular exercise increased by 36% and the heart and lungs’ ability to provide oxygen to the body increased by 13%. The interval training design used in our Cardio Align class will help maximize the physiological benefits of your workout.

 

You burn more calories and boost your metabolism. This is due to a physiological phenomenon called Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC. When you work at a high intensity, your body uses more oxygen than it can take in and that creates an oxygen deficit. That means that your body is burning extra calories (6 – 15% more according to the American College of Sports Medicine) to replenish its oxygen reserves while you are sipping your Peets latte after class. The EPOC window is usually about two hours long, but can continue for up to 48 hours after class!

 

Interval training keeps your mind active. Anyone who has spent time on a treadmill knows how excruciatingly boring cardiovascular workouts can be. At Alkalign, we want to make sure that both your body and mind are active in every class. Interval training not only challenges body, but the quick transitions and exercise variety in our Cardio Align format are designed to keep you engaged and focused and to make the 45 minutes fly by.

 


 

Sources:

Jaret. P. A Healthy Mix of Rest and Motion, New York Times, May 3, 2007
HIIT Workout: What It Is And Why It Works
American College of Sports Medicine High Intensity Interval Training

Nourish

Alkalign Nourish Clean Healthy Eating

Reshape the way you think about food. Learn this and more with Alkalign Nourish, a new, innovative nutrition program developed exclusively for our studios with one goal in mind, the individual. Nourish began with Erin and Alene’s mutual passion for healthful food and a belief that what you put into your body is as important as the output.

 

Nourish is an integral part of the Alkalign philosophy and culture. In the past, a variety of programs have been offered but none as individualized as this one. Nourish will offer the ability to work with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist one-on-one, in a group setting, virtually or all of the above. It will have a community component where you will be able to share your journey, recipes, activity and recommendations for those who choose to participate.

 

Alkalign Nourish is launching in May! We are also offering a Grab-and-Go Fridge with healthy meals, snacks and beverages available in studios now! Stay tuned for more and Nourish yourself to a better you.