Dance Footwear Fit for Your Workout

Last January your sole focus was hot yoga. The year prior was marathon running. The year before that you had a basic gym membership that barely got swiped. Your last three workout resolutions, for a lack of a better word, failed miserably — not because you didn’t try, but because you simply chose the wrong one for you.

This year, try an unconventional exercise that’s fun, motivating and will test your limits when it comes to body and mind strength. Without a doubt, you’ve got to try barre and Pilates. 

 

 

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Barre workouts are all the rage. Drive anywhere within a six mile radius and you’re bound to stumble across a studio or two that promises to sculpt your core and tone your rear. Unlike other exercise classes (yes, I’m looking at you CrossFit), you won’t be required to use a dozen different types of equipment. In fact, all you’ll use here is, you guessed it, a ballet bar.

Barre’s short yet impactful history is credited back to 1959 when Lotte Berk, a German ballerina who injured her back, came up with the idea to combine her dance conditioning routine with rehabilitative therapy. Berk’s understudy, Lydia Bach, brought the workout to the U.S. in 1971, and its influence has expanded ever since.    

As opposed to other trendy workouts, barre’s core-focused movements are performed and held in tiny, one-inch increments. Similar to a dancer, you’ll oftentimes find yourself leaning and holding posture on your toes and heels. Although some studios are OK with you going barefoot, sticky grip shoes are definitely encouraged, such as the ones featured below.

 

 

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Bloch footwear is an industry leader in the realm of dance and athletic footwear. For three generations, the brand has received high praise for its dependability, innovation and style. 

 

 

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Take the Bloch Contour Barre, for example. Designed with optimal performance and stability, its patented Dynamic Resistance Technology® provides reinforced support and shock absorption that you can feel between movements. And with its no-slip sole, you’ll be able to focus more on the workout at hand while achieving better results.

Similar in design to the Contour Barre is the Bloch Balance Pilates. Both shoes are made of a hardwearing, long-lasting fabric upper that won’t deteriorate after months of practice. However, despite both having similar construction and a sleek profile, the most notable difference between the two is its toe-less look for added airflow. 

 

 

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Unlike barre, Pilates is a mix ‘n’ match hybrid of several exercise programs, integrating key components to help increase flexibility, core strength, posture and more. With that being said, between the sweat dripping off of you and the dude to your right, the Balance Pilates is a worthwhile investment for the sake of maximizing grip and cleanliness.

So this year, take a chance on a new form of exercise. And who knows, maybe barre or Pilates is what you were looking for all along.

 

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Juicers 101: A Healthy Start to Your New Year

You’ve probably heard of all the great benefits of juicing as a way of consuming fresh, raw foods in your daily diet. Sounds simple enough, right? Extract all the nutrients inside fruits and vegetables, drink them and reap the health benefits. But selecting the right kind of juicer can be a bit tricky for the juicing novice.

We’ve broken down three of the most common types of juicers on the market to find the one that works best for you:

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1. Breville Juice Fountain Compact, 2. Omega Nutrition Center Heavy-Duty Juicer, 3. Krups Silver Art Citrus Press

Centrifugal Juicers: This is generally the most affordable kind of juicer and therefore the most popular type on the market. They’re great for juicing most fruits and vegetables quickly and efficiently. However, they’re not as effective at yielding high volumes of juice from grassy and leafy plants such as wheatgrass, spinach, lettuce and other greens.

Centrifugal juicers usually have large feeding chutes allowing you to take the whole or half the fruit without the need for cutting them into smaller pieces.

The juice from these types of juicers typically has a very short shelf life and should be consumed right away to get the most nutritional value.

Masticating Juicers: Also known as single-gear juicer, this breaks up the plant cells resulting in more fiber, enzymes and trace mineral yields. These are generally more efficient than Centrifugal juicers in extracting more juice (i.e. the pulp comes out drier), and are great at juicing greens/leafy vegetables. However, they are more expensive than centrifugal juicers.

These operate at lower RPMs (rotations per minute), meaning there’s less foam and heat conducted, increasing the shelf life and nutrition yield per serving. Masticating juicers are also more versatile since they can homogenize foods to make sauces, baby food, ice cream, sorbets, nut butters, etc.

Citrus Presses: An electric citrus press works similarly to manual ones but more quickly and yields more juice per fruit. Some of the benefits of fresh-squeezed citrus juice versus the store-bought kind are: a fresher taste, fewer or no additives and preservatives, and more nutrient integrity. Remember, as soon as the juice hits the air, oxygenation begins to degrade the nutrient content. That’s why treating yourself to fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice every day with a balanced breakfast is by far the healthier option!

Drink up for a healthier you in 2013!

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Shopping Guide: Workout Resolutions

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1. Moving Comfort Vixen Sports Bra A/B, 2. Shock Absorber Max Sports Bra, 3. Natori Sport Underwire Bra, 4. Lucy Power Yoga Halter, 5. Lolë Shining Top, 6. Prana Mackenzie Capri, 7. Brooks Ghost 4, 8. Camelbak Better Bottle, 9. Prana Revolution Sticky Mat

Now that the dust has settled, those hearty holiday meals have been put away, and all those gingerbread cookies have been consumed, it’s time to get back on track with healthy habits for the New Year. 

Treating yourself to brand new workout gear is a great way to kick off those fitness resolutions. It’s a fresh new year and we all get a fresh new start. Whether it's getting back into yoga, walking the dog daily, or finally trying out that new Barre class your girlfriends have been raving about, make 2012 the year to get back on track with your fitness goals!