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MOVE of the Month

3 moves to strengthen your core while sitting

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3 moves to strengthen your core while sitting

When you aren't able to move as much as you want to, even a tiny bit of connection to your breath and movement can keep your body feeling stronger and less stiff.

Maybe you're: 

  • traveling
  • at your desk all day
  • unable to get up and down from the floor
  • just need a quick break

Use these 3 moves to strengthen your core, bring your attention to your breath, and practice moving your spine in flexion/extension, side bending, and rotation.

You don't even have to leave your chair! 

*Case in point: I filmed this in an (empty!) airport during a layover on Thanksgiving Day. We almost missed our connection because we were so focused on filming, but we got the shot! ;) 

Try these moves out and let me know how they go! 

Want even more moves you can do while sitting or at your desk? Get the whole series here. 

With love and core strengthening even while you sit, 

xoxo elyse


Hiya, I'm elyse! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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shaken to your core

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shaken to your core

Many people have told me they’re feeling shaken to the core.

Unsteady and distraught.

Extremely anxious.

Full of “what’s next?”.

This could be true for you no matter which way you voted in the election or where you live in the world.

This could be your experience just from scrolling your Facebook feed!

This could be true for you if you strongly disagree with your family, friends, or colleagues, and you have/will find yourself in intense conversations (Oh hey there Thanksgiving dinner).

This could be true if you don’t understand the “other” side.

This could be true if you feel helpless in any area of your life right now.

I’ve posted comments + videos in the past two weeks, usually leading with “I don’t have the right words. I don’t know what to do.”

But that’s not entirely true.

Here’s what I know:

This week a woman in one of my private group classes said to me, 

Thank you for guiding us last week. You knew just what to do and it was extremely helpful.

This was in reference to the class we had the week prior, on Nov. 9th, when in the beginning of class 6 women were shaken to the core - talking non-stop, not understanding, unable to focus, taking quick shallow breaths.

Instead of our usual moves focused on building strength and stability, we switched to a focus on BREATH, locating sensations in our bodies, foam rolling, and relaxation.

They left feeling more clear, more calm, more settled.

I know that the wonderful group of people I’m leading through my 21 Day program, many of whom have felt emotionally drained this week, have told me that moving their bodies at home with the videos has given them some structure, helped them process, and/or that they’ve really appreciated having our intimate community centered around kindness + compassion.

[Doing the workouts] helped me accept things as they are, right now.
— 21 Day participant

This post isn’t about testimonials though, it’s the deeper connection.

Here’s what I know:

YOUR BODY IS WISE.

Pay attention to

...that uneasy feeling in your gut

...stifling sadness in your chest

...overwhelming tightness in your throat

...the holding of your breath

and sit with it for a moment.

Feel it.

Let yourself REALLY feel it.

Shake.

Cry.

Get hot.

Get cold.

Notice what your body is telling you.

ASK your body what it’s telling you.

For real. Ask your body,

  1. “What are you telling me?”
  2. “What’s important about this?”
  3. “What do you (I) need right now?”
  4. “How can I give that to you (me)?”

Here’s what I know:

When you quiet and tune in to your body, you can sift the outside noise.

Eventually the shaking/crying/heat/cold will shift and your solid, sturdy center will remain.

Your center of KNOWING will be revealed.

To KNOW what you believe in.

To KNOW you matter.

To KNOW your body is wise and here to help you.

To KNOW what your very next step will be.

Practice strengthening that place.

Here's a sequence to get this concept out of your head and into your body. 

It's 6 min of core and stability work. It will strengthen your center, and you might just end up shaking your in core from all that strength building. ;) 

*I'm doing this with a 6lb ball for extra challenge, but that's optional. You can also do these same moves without equipment. 

Extra credit: 

Strengthen your centering of KNOW-ing by listing the things that you know to be true in the current moment while you're doing this workout. 

Say them out loud or silently to yourself.  

Over to you... 

In the comments I'd love to hear what you know to be true when you sincerely LISTEN to your body and ask what it needs. 

What comes up for you? 

With love and connecting to your center, 

xoxo elyse


HIYA, I'M ELYSE!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

My wrists hurt in plank, what can I do?

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My wrists hurt in plank, what can I do?

Constant texting, computer time, plus tons of planks, push-ups, and chaturanga's can make your wrists kinda cranky.

If you're dealing with overuse, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, or plain 'ol achy wrist syndrome, you don't have to give up on exercise all together.

Here are 4 variations to put less pressure on your wrists while you're working out:

1. The Mat Roll

  • Roll the front edge of your mat so it's about 2 inches thick
  • Place the edge of your palms on the roll and let your knuckles and fingers touch the floor
  • Press down evenly through your entire hand, just like you were doing this on the floor

PRO: This reduces the amount of extension in your wrist and will help to reduce achy-ness.

CON: Your mat may unroll during a yoga class if you're also doing standing poses, etc.

*Recommended for: Working on your hands for a longer period of time in plank, quadruped, push-up's, etc

2. On your Spider-Tips

  • Spread your fingers so that your hands look like spiders
  • Put just your fingertips on the mat
  • Keep lifting up through the center of your palms so that you're fingertips feel very light on the mat

PRO: This variation is very light, almost no pressure on your wrists, and increases the challenge for your legs.

CON: It's extremely difficult to give your entire body weight to your hands in this position.

*Recommended for: Flowing through high or low lunge, temporary support in transitions (and not recommended for holding up your body weight).

3. The Fist Bump

  • Make fists and place them down on your mat
  • Keep the back of your hand in line with the outside of your forearm
  • Do not bend your wrists

PRO: There's no bend in your wrist

CON: This is a challenging variation! It has the potential to hurt your knuckles and you if you're wearing rings you'll need to take them off or turn them to face your palm.

*Recommended for: Short amounts of time in plank + push-ups. 

4. The weight grab

  • Put dumbbells down on your mat, shoulder width apart
  • Wrap your hands around the center of your weights

PRO: It's less intense than the Fist Bump (variation #3), and still has minimal bend in your wrist.

CON: You might need larger weights to be able to fit your fingers underneath the weights. The weights can be wobbly! Make sure the weights are firmly grounded.

*Recommend for: Planks, push-ups, plank variations (like adding rows to planks), side plank variations, burpee's etc.

give these modifications a whirl!

Have any questions? Send me a note. I read and respond to each + every one.

Know someone who might like this? Send it to them!

With love and feel-good wrists, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Still having some aches? Make sure you try the 1st video in my FREE stretch break series - it's all about wrist stretches and strengthening! 


HI, I'M ELYSE!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

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Travel leg workout you can do without any equipment

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Travel leg workout you can do without any equipment

Conditions aren't always ideal...

When I was traveling in Argentina for 3 1/2 weeks, it was COLD. We had a tiny amount of space, our stuff was everywhere, and we couldn't get internet connection.

Arrrgh, all of these things interfered with my workout plan! I let it get to me and didn't move my body the first few days we were there.

The achey-ness, stiffness, and crankiness set in after just a few days, I knew I HAD to find a way to get moving again to be able to fully enjoy this trip.

So I gave myself a dose of my own medicine and remembered that in order to not let the chaos of life turn my entire fitness plan upside down, I need to be able to adapt, be creative, and commit to adding movement into my life - even when the conditions aren't ideal.

I moved our bags out of the way to make space for my yoga mat, remembered that I had videos from my 21-day at-home workout downloaded, bundled up in layers, and began to move.

And sure enough after some sun salutations, squats, and push-ups I felt so much better in my body and I felt proud of myself for getting started.

Why am I sharing?

Because conditions aren't always ideal. And you can still find a way that works for you. 

My wish for you is that even if you're traveling this weekend (or for the upcoming holidays), even if you feel like your belly is too full of holiday feast to get moving, or you have any type of life 'stuff' that comes up to throw you off your course, you can still find ways to take care of YOUrself as your number one priority. 

By our last day in Argentina the weather warmed up and I was able to take my workout outside.

This is the exact lower body set I did before I got on a plane back to the US, and oh man, my legs were feeling it during that 10 hour flight!!! 

Do it with me right now and your legs will love you for it - it's 6 minutes and you don't need any equipment. 

*And even this isn't perfect - you'll see Louie the cat realllllly wanted to be in this workout video with me. ;)

After you try it out, leave me a comment to tell me which move was your favorite. :)

I'm here to help you get moving (even if things feel cluttered around you!).

With love and keeping it real,

xoxo elyse


HI, I'M ELYSE!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!