Monday, 18 August 2014

Osteoarthritis and Dancing, Being a Yogi and a Fitness Instructor

I'm finding that a lot of professionals are giving me material, both written and via phone, that is clearly designed for older patients! "Don't bend over 90 degrees for the first few days when you're putting your slippers on!" MY SLIPPERS?

I'm going to be able to dance and hold tree pose, leap, run and hip swivel in a few months. That's exciting. I want to speak to people who appreciate what that means to me.

If you know someone, or you ARE someone with osteoarthritis and you are also an athlete (or a weekend warrior), a dancer, a fitness instructor or just very active, please get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.

I think we need to organise a site that is dedicated to encouraging people - sharing lifestyle stories that can benefit. For me, strength training (wisely!) consistently has been a major reason I don't get much pain at all.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Make It Work: Where You Workout

I made no apologies for loving the gym. There's a whole treasure chest of machines, tools and open space, bars and cords and ropes that most of us don't have access to without shelling out for membership to the local recreation centre.
There are definitely some heavy downsides though - the likelihood that as soon as a woman steps into the weights area, the grunting will increase 200%. Some people, men and women, are unfamiliar with deodorant, and some gym staff get a little chilly while standing around and switch all the fans off.
However, since you're going to be the one who walks out with amazing triceps and pain-blitzing adrenalin rush 45 minutes later, this isn't so horrible.

In my class environment though, I love it to be light, clean, well-ventilated and designed to look and feel welcoming. To that end, I can't paint floral patterns or big geometric shapes all over the walls of the studios I teach in, but I can give them a little spritz of room spray and encourage mat cleaning! It's a small gesture. But it counts. I am LOVING Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater Room Spray while I'm going from place to place. At home, I use the diffuser because it looks gorgeous. Find a store in Victoria or New South Wales.

I tote around Dr.Bronner's organic hand sanitizer spray. Gorgeous lavender scent and it's ideal for both gym AND outside the gym! It beats gloopy sanitizing ointment because you can spray surfaces, including the gym mats hundreds have used before you!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Yes Indeed to Perfect Skin

My name is Cat and I'm a Skincare Junkie. It has to be amazing and effective (FAST) or I'll move on. Same deal with makeup. If it's a colour mismatch or it makes my skin dry out or break out, the relationship is over.

After a recommendation from beauty vlogger extraordinaire, Jessica Ann (Taken By Surprise), I have been using indeed laboratories' range of skincare. Totally recommend you get your hands on this if you are 20s to 60s. It's available at Priceline as of recently!

I have raved about retinol before because it is VITAL for skin renewal. As a spotty teenager, I depended on it to clear my skin and now, I rely on it to soften and plump any wrinkle-prone areas. Every third night, I've been using retinol reface. Considering some retinol products are over the $100 mark, this is a total bargain and I've noticed the difference. For around $35, you only need a tiny amount so it should last you a couple of months at least.

Jessica Ann claimed the Hydraluron moisturising jelly worked like a charm for dry skin that needs a bit more than just the usual cream formula. It can also be worn under makeup (or BB/CC cream as I am addicted to!) Press a button to release a controlled amount - so high tech! This one will be at Priceline soon. In case you like a serve of science with my recommendation, here's the lowdown from indeed labs:   Clinical trials with hyaluronic acid, applied twice a day for 8 weeks showed an increase of skin's elasticity by 27% and a reduction of skin roughness by 10%.

My beauty loves for August are pictured here. Included are L'Oreal Glam Bronze Mono in Blonde Sun (light for paler skin tone!), the OPI Nordic Collection (hello Suzy Has A Swede Tooth and How Great Is Your Dane?), abeeco Bee Venom Lip Plumper (love the tingly feeling - it must be working) and ModelCo Lip Couture in Emily. Built in mirror with your lipstick? Genius.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Meet Grace McClure, Ironwoman, Mum and Ballet Sculpter

I meet lots of amazing people through teaching Ballet Sculpt and last week I was very fortunate to have Grace McClure in on of my Ballet Sculpt classes. Grace has had to modify her training due to a shoulder injury so she is foraying into the world of pilates, yoga and core-strength based workouts.
As an IronMan triathlete and ambassador for Liv Giant and Can Too, Grace is super busy and extraordinarily fit. I mean this in both the physical and mental sense as endurance sports are just as mentally challenging as they are physical. Hours upon hours of training, whatever the weather, takes a level of determination and desire that appeals only to a minority of athletes.

Grace has worked in modelling and television presenting, both of which have strict expectations of a lean and 'made to sell product' physique. Endurance sports also favour an extraordinarily lean physique. Both of these factors made me very hesitant in promoting Grace as an inspiration to my blog readers, but to her endless credit, Grace and I discussed my concerns and she was very honest in having dealt with body image concerns in the past. She is also very aware of balancing her training to ensure adequate recovery and allowing her motivational speaking and ambassadorial work to take priority along with her athletic achievements.

A genuinely loving, generous and conscientious woman, I am already a big fan and look forward to following Grace's blog and all her achievements, whether in Ironman or as a mother and author. Please check out her website and follow her on Twitter. She is also Director of Rural Organics, a business that consults and provides accreditation for organic products and education in organic and bio dynamic farming techniques.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Methodology X

Nothing beats reading health and fitness magazines while on the elliptical trainer. This is how I discovered Dan Roberts, master trainer and founder of Methodology X

"sculpt your model body in a healthy, athletic, and holistic way. All you need is a gym ball and a base level of fitness." - Dan Roberts

Even though Dan works with many models, this is not a magic-pill style workout promising to make you look like Gisele Bundchen. This is a brilliant workout system for building core strength, balance and including a whole range of really different moves.

Dan understands the benefits of training with body weight resistance and awareness of intensity and length of training sessions. What I love is that he keeps the workouts short, progressively more challenging, and very much about strength and body awareness.

You download the book and as you progress through the chapters, you can watch video guides for each workout. It's easy to follow and at any point, I can go back and revisit earlier workouts when I need to dial back the difficulty level.

My favourite moves are the Spiralizer and Diamond Push-Ups. Do it, and share your progress with the MethodologyX crew on Twitter and Facebook!

Other lovers of Methodology X?


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Diana Vishneva & Discipline

Diana Vishneva, the Russian born ballerina, is internationally acknowledged as a star of contemporary and classical dance. With a glossy, dark mane that is enviably thick and lustrous, she is the perfect ambassador for Kerastase’s new Discipline range.
As part of the campaign for the range, which promises to tame unruly and unmanageable hair, Vishneva is captured on film in a piece choreographed by Carolyn Carlson. 
We all know my devotion to Kerastase to save my poor hair from constant dyeing and straightening! Here's where you can find it:
In addition, keep these tips in mind to avoid damage:

  • Use Microfibre towels. They cause less tension and frizz when drying hair – this is especially noticeable with thinning and easily-breakable hair
  • Avoid sulfates. They are damaging to hair that has been chemically treated, dyed, straightened or curled on a regular basis
  • Wash your hair with lukewarm water rather than hot – just like the skin, extreme temperatures are damaging and so easily avoidable!
  • Eat and sleep well. There’s no great mystery about this one – the better your health in general, the more radiant, strong and healthy your skin, hair and nails.  You’ll also find you have the energy to dance

Monday, 21 July 2014

Deodorant Vending Machine

Am I the most brilliant person on earth or has this already been invented somewhere? A deodorant vending machine! Every gym and confined office space needs one. Am I wrong?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Ballet Sculpt - after class stretch for the feet

Any time you take on a new exercise, your body will be under pressure to adjust. This puts it in a vulnerable position so be patient with it. It's common to get cramps if you're new to pilates or barre training where the focus is on isolated movements and isometric holds and pulses.
Balancing your entire weight with your heels raised is also a big ask of your body!

If you experience cramping through the soles of your feet regularly, it is definitely worth asking your GP about.

After Ballet Sculpt, try these moves to relax and comfort the muscles in the feet. I also find it helps with my circulation, which is naturally pretty crap. Great on these cold nights!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Funkita - Cat Goes Primal Predator

As you all know, unless it's bright and amazing, I probably don't love it. So, I discovered Funkita while reading a fitness magazine on the iPad (brilliant way to pass time on the cross trainer!) and almost fell off I was so excited. 
Injury By Fashion?
Anyway, Funkita does swimwear, t-shirts and underwear. And much respect to them for doing a range for women who aren't size 6 - 12 or who have an enviably ample chest! It's called Funkita Form. There's also a range for men & boys: Funky Trunks!

It was hard to pick just one print from the sports crop/brief range, but I couldn't resist Primal Predator. At $42.95 for chlorine-resistant, high-quality Australian made sportswear, I think we should all support the economy one stylish piece at a time!
If you're a swimmer, get yourself a Primal Predator swimming cap!
Check out Funkita on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter

Friday, 11 July 2014

SoulCycle - What is it?

SoulCycle is huge in America. Huge! There are waiting lists for months. Why? It's taken a sweat-your-heart-out spin class and injected some zen affirmations and soul-nurturing stretches and mindfulness ideas.
We all know I love Kym Perfetto from KymNonStop (working out in high heels, anyone?) and she is a kickass SoulCycle instructor. Not only are all the instructors extremely gorgeous, they are all super fit and glowing with health. See the profiles here
Karyn (left) has recently been blasting some Depeche Mode and Owl Vision (listen to Holy S**t! here)
What I love about SoulCycle is that it isn't the competitive, beat the person next to you style spin class we're all used to. This is about a group effort! I'm hoping to find out more about bringing SoulCycle to Australia. Who'd be keen?
At SoulCycle we believe that fitness can be joyful. We climb, we jog, we sprint, we dance, we set our intention, and we break through boundaries. The best part? We do it together, as a community.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Nail (Love) Trail

I think we all know my nail obsession is bordering on the maniacal. Here's my favourite ideas. Just got a new delivery of Orly lacquer, and we all know I adore OPI.
Use Orly Royal Navy and Prisma to get this look (from Globe & Nail):
I'm also having an ongoing love affair with OPI Anti Bleak.
While I definitely need some practice, I'm inspired by all the nail art on Instagram to try polka dots and stripes. This will help! BeautyPRO Nail It Long Striper Nail Art Brush 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

How I treat muscle and osteoarthritis pain - NO drugs!

I am not going to pretend this will work for everyone, but it works for me and if it inspires you to try a new method that helps, I hope it works for you too.
I have osteoarthritis through my left hip, which has eroded the joint to the extent that my only real option is to have a hip replacement (September, YES!)
While I used to run endurance-style (racking up 16 - 20km daily) as a teenager, thankfully I stopped that and turned to weight-training in my early 20s. Consistently training with challenging weights, ensuring proper technique and balancing front/back, pushing and pulling, upper and lower body has resulted in NO muscle wastage. According to my surgeon, this is extremely rare in cases of osteoarthritis and he has recommended I stick with my weight-training and low-impact cardio training. My left leg and hip are particularly vulnerable to post-training tightness and soreness that can keep me up in the middle of the night sometimes, but I have an arsenal of tools for when this happens. They are also great for back and neck tension/soreness, calf and plantar fascitis pain.

I massage my upper back and neck by placing the bakball against a wall and pressing into it with my body weight. By squatting down and keeping my back close to the wall, I can manipulate the tool to run up and down my spine. I use the softer red version. If I need to target right into a sore spot, I use a knobbly massage ball. I bought mine from a trainer at the gym for $10 (thanks Aaron!) but they are available through physios and online.

Lying prone and extended on the foam roller, I use my arms to help me to roll forwards and back, pressing my quadricep (upper, front thigh) into the foam roller from the front and outer angles. I also make sure to target the iliolotal band (fibres that run from hip to knee) because it tightens and pulls on both the hip and knee, causing an achy soreness that can easily be "rolled" out!

Mentholatum Ice Gel is available in supermarkets for under $5. It is insanely good. I apply it to the back of my neck and shoulders as well as to my hip and just above my knee. I also just had a nasty 48-hour killer sore throat and swollen glands. Ice gel applied around the glands in my neck gave me major relief! Considering cost per use, this is a MUST HAVE.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

7 Day Challenge

I've had some Ballet Sculpt class participants raving about 30-day challenges. The 30-day squat challenge got the best review for being motivation to explore different squat options, increasing endurance and literally, dropping an inch around the posterior. Now, that is not a focus for all of us and be warned, if you're new to squats, there's every chance you'll ADD an inch when you build muscle. Fortunately, it looks fantastic, gives you great posture and definition, and allows you to keep squatting like a professional.
I know signing up for 30 days is like a lifetime for most of us, so I'm giving you a challenge that's a bit more intense, but requires less commitment (can't wait for a psychologist to analyse this...)
Every day you will do this for 6 minutes. That is ALL.
2a is a modification - any one-leg balance is a great option

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Bamboo: Green Is The New Black

I was watching a story on Catalyst (ABC Australia) focusing on the use of bamboo as an eco friendly fabric source for fashion. It is strong, durable and requires very little water. Turns out, bamboo has been used in medicine, construction and architecture. It's anti-bacterial and UV blocking. Perfect for wearing against your skin and definitely the ideal fabric for gymwear!
For the first time, I am wearing bamboo leggings ($24.95)! I am also now wearing Boody undies and socks. Super, super soft. Perfect for yoga, pilates and Ballet Sculpt.
If you watch the segment, you'll see that there is concern over the way bamboo is sourced and used in Australian products. Boody uses organic and plantation-grown bamboo. Their packaging uses recycled cardboard and vegetable-based ink. KNOW where your products come from! Follow Boody on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Don't Make Excuses

As I was standing in Pump yesterday, a girl went to tie her lovely long hair into a ponytail, only for the band to snap and go flying a couple of metres towards the barbell rack. Luckily, nobody lost an eye and she had another one looped around her water bottle.
I was deeply impressed. I always have one looped around my water bottle and another around my gloves.
Don't give yourself any reason to skip 
a) your workout
b) the intensity or duration of the workout you planned

Here's my tips to be prepared.

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