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Win these prizes!

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Win these prizes!

 

GET SWEATY = WIN PRESENTS!!

Just by entering in this *live* round of the Fast Track to Fit & Flexible you'll be entered to win a gift.

(A little friendly bribery never hurt anyone, right? ;)

It’s in the name of accountability and keeping you healthy you'll be entered to win these amazing give-a-ways from my favorite health & wellness pro's!!

 
Samples of all-natural, Brooklyn made deodorant from  Lymph Candy ! 

Samples of all-natural, Brooklyn made deodorant from Lymph Candy

A copy of Rebekah Borucki's new book   You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life  !

A copy of Rebekah Borucki's new book You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life!

Sweet Talk Tats from  The Taste Exchange .

Sweet Talk Tats from The Taste Exchange.

A night of DIY home facials with friends, PLUS skincare + nutrition goodies from Arbonne with  Katie Bland

A night of DIY home facials with friends, PLUS skincare + nutrition goodies from Arbonne with Katie Bland

A YEAR membership to the  Sparkes Wellness Workout Library  with Elyse Sparkes   

A YEAR membership to the Sparkes Wellness Workout Library with Elyse Sparkes
 

A Recipe and Meal Planning Strategy Session with  Ali Fitzpatrick    

A Recipe and Meal Planning Strategy Session with Ali Fitzpatrick
 

A spot in Brittany Kriger's  Fed Up Fellowship!

A spot in Brittany Kriger's Fed Up Fellowship!

1-hour coaching session with Life and Business Coach,   Elani Nicole

1-hour coaching session with Life and Business Coach, Elani Nicole

More Than Mom  online course from Kelsey Fox Bennett. 

More Than Mom online course from Kelsey Fox Bennett. 

 

Here's how you play:  

1. Enter your name + email here.

2. Use hashtag #FT2FFchallenge on Facebook + Instagram + in our community throughout the 14 days. 

3. You'll be entered to win a gift! 

 

We start on Tuesday, so join in with us NOW!

Can't wait to get fit & flexible with you, 

XOXO ELYSE

 

PS - Are we meeting for the first time? Let me introduce myself...

Hiya, I'm Elyse! 

I'm a fitness coach, personal trainer, and yoga teacher. 

Back in the days of my professional dance career I was stuck in a never-ending under-eating → over-exercising → binging cycle. And worse, I was beating myself up about it every second of the day. 

Then I started studying mindfulness and yoga, and I became determined to approach my body and staying fit with balance, ease, and kindness. Now I work 1:1 with clients and develop online video programs to help other people blend fitness + mindfulness to live in their most joyful, confident bodies!

You can read more about my personal story here

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Upper Body Stretch Sequence to De-Stress from Sitting

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Upper Body Stretch Sequence to De-Stress from Sitting

Shoulders feeling stiff from the winter cold? 

A long travel weekend?

Sitting all day at your desk?

This kind of tension usually creates elevated shoulders, a rounded forward chest, and a 'holding' in your upper back. De-stress (from any/all of the above) with me in this #stretchbreakwithelyse - you can do in a train, plane, or office chair. :)

Follow along with me in this 4 min video.

 

 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 upper body stretching, 

XOXO ELYSE

PS - I'll be back at the airport tomorrow doing this too! Latin Lover and I are going on a delayed honeymoon and we're starting it off with a 10+ hour flight, soooo yeah, I'll definitely be doing this at the airport. Want to see some of our adventures? Follow along with us on instagram

PPS - What are your favorite ways to stay fit while you travel? I'm going to be writing more about this coming up, so I'd love to incorporate your tips! Post them in the comments below! 


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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holiday body grogginess

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holiday body grogginess

Holidays + parties + house guests + overflowing amounts of food/drink + long car travels + out of the daily routine + plenty of movies to be watched =

A whole lot of body grogginess. 

[Raise your hand if you're feeling it] 

I am! 

I can feel my mind tipping toward what I like to call 'calculation mode': 

  • "Starting tomorrow only salads until New Year's Eve!" 
  • "January 2nd I'll start with a clean slate."
  • "If I do 5 hardcore workouts this week, it'll make up for the past two weeks!"
  • "There's 3 weeks until my honeymoon on the beach, can I get in shape in that amount of time!?!" 

But after years of thinking like that (especially around New Year's!) I know now what that does for me in the long run.

It takes me out of the current moment and backfires with bingeing/starving and over/under exercising cycles. All while increasing my anxiety with a constant feeling of chasing after something I can never achieve.

And it's not particularly motivating. 

Can you relate? 

I still have these thoughts, sometimes on the daily! 

Here's the difference: 

Instead of convincing myself to follow through with those things when the thoughts come up, now it clues me in to say to myself:

"Woooooooah, SLOW DOWN there sista!

How about we back up, take a deep breath, and ask the question that really wants to be answered:

What does my body truly need right NOW?"

Not on January 1st.

Or tomorrow.

Or the tomorrow after tomorrow.

Not the master complex plan.

What do I need right here, right now? 

For me, after I taken a long(ish) period of rest, my body is asking for movement.

Easing into it usually feels like the right thing to do.

Some simple moves that connect me to my breath and move my spine.

If that's you too, here are some sequences that can help: 

If your body came up with a different answer, I'm curious... what did it say?

Can you gift yourself that today?

Comment below and tell me what your body is asking for and what you're going to do to give it that today!

With love and bringing your attention to the now, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - I'm looking for 8 more people to become founding members of the *brand new* Sparkes Wellness Library!

Is that you?!

The Library is great for you if you:

  • want to focus on getting fit in 2017 in a way that feels holistic, balanced, and full of support
  • have a tight schedule and want to find a way that you can get a good quality workout in at home
  • want to have personal trainer-style training, but hiring a private trainer isn't in your budget this year
  • want to be surrounded by a fabulous group of people who understand that losing weight is not the ONLY reason to exercise and are focused on overall health & wellness 

You'll get: 

  • access to a full library of my workout videos, ranging from 30 min full body workouts to 5-15 min sequences focusing on balance, strength, flexibility, meditation, and more. 
  • brand new videos every month so you always stay interested and add variation into your workouts
  • new calendars each month so you don't have to waste time wondering what to do next (you can print calendar's out OR fill them in online)
  • a monthly video chat where our intimate group gets together to share and encourage each other on

 If you're interested, click here to contact me and say "I'm interested!"


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!

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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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!

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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To lose weight (or NOT) before your wedding

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To lose weight (or NOT) before your wedding

I'm the bride in this scenario.

Yup, for real - I got married 3 months ago!

To my surprise, one of the most challenging parts of the whole wedding planning process was finding THE ONE.

Not the life partner.

THE DRESS.

I wasn't expecting that this would be a struggle.  I didn't grow up fantasizing about this day and I'm pretty low key fashion-wise (read: stretchy yoga pants on the daily). 

Who knew that finding a dress that:

  1. looks good and feels like “me”,

  2. is comfortable for a full day of wedding fun,

  3. is NOT a million (okay, thousands) of dollars,

...would be so challenging.

Not just that, but every single bridal shop employee assumed that I was going to lose weight before the wedding.

One even asked -albeit tactfully- if it’s probable that I’ll be gaining weight.

If I had had this experience a few years ago my body shame and insecurities would have skyrocketed with so many people commenting and having opinions about my weight.

Plus, with dissecting every curve of my own body in the mirror… having my girlfriends, mom, and sis watching me change… and poking and prodding at the places to “highlight” and the areas to strategically “hide”...

I would have fallen into a swirl of stress about my body.

And then I would’ve buckled down:

  • “For the next 4 months I’ll go to the gym every day and double my treadmill time!”

  • “No more sugar!”

  • “Take measurements and lose 3” around my waist!”

Inevitably going about it in this way would always lead to counterproductive bingeing and bleary eyed exhaustion.

Not only that, but I would struggle silently and feel isolated and alone in this “lose weight and get in shape for this special event” race.

And then at the event, even after going to extremes, I’d still try to strategically hide my stomach or my arms when the camera came around.

But here’s the thing: on my wedding day I knew all eyes were going to be on me and naturally, I WANTED TO LOOK + FEEL MY BEST!

Yes, of course, I want to rock toned arms in my strapless gown!

Yes, of course, I want to look healthy, vibrant, and bright in my wedding photos!

Yes, of course, I want to stand up in front of my closest family and friends and say sweet things and make commitments to my partner.

...and holding in my stomach is the last thing I want to be thinking about during those moments.

 

Have you ever experienced something like this?

This isn’t really about wedding prep or dresses.

This is about anytime you have a special event, a beach vacation, or tank top season on the horizon and you start to freak out about our body.

This is about anytime you’ve said, “I have one month to lose 10 pounds!” and started a strict diet + workout plan, only to stop at day #3 and beat yourself up about it.

You don’t have to beat yourself up to get in shape and your life doesn’t have to revolve around calories in/calories out.

When I started studying mindfulness and yoga, I became determined to find a BALANCED approach to fitness.

I began to create a system with workouts and mindfulness practices that would build strength and flexibility, release body anxiety, and feel manageable for a busy schedule.

This system became the 21 day program and it's supported over hundreds of people from all over the world find EASE + KINDNESS in their fitness lives.

People who have been through the program say things like:
 

I’m actually DOING this thing. A year ago, I had my 3rd baby and zero time for myself. Now he’s one… and here I am, in probably the best shape of my adult life making ‘me time’ happen. I’ve got lots of KG/lbs’s to shed but it’s not even about that anymore.
— Jody
Your exercise videos have a PROFOUND effect on my happiness and well-being. Because of both the artful way you put them together, and your warm, encouraging voiceovers, I feel motivated and excited to do them. I feel so good about my body - not because of how it looks but because of how it feels and what it is capable of. You are a HUGE part of that.
— Marsha
It’s definitely more than exercise - you provide something much more holistic. It’s fantastic.
— Anna

Latin Lover (my now husband) and I did the 21 day program with everyone last Spring so we could kickstart our "wedding fitness" and feel our best (and most sane) ;) at our nuptials this summer.

My husband and I, fairly excited about this whole wedding day thing.   Wedding Photography:  Lexi Lowell Photography   The DRESS:  ARIA Los Angeles   Shoes:  Chelsea Crew   LL's suit:  Zara

My husband and I, fairly excited about this whole wedding day thing. 

Wedding Photography: Lexi Lowell Photography

The DRESS: ARIA Los Angeles

Shoes: Chelsea Crew

LL's suit: Zara

It was a blessing!

Want to join in with us to build your strength + confidence (and to leave the body anxiety behind)?

Sign up here by Sunday, October 30th (cart closes at 6pm ET) to start day #1 with us on Monday.

 

To proud, confident, strong, flexible bodies! ;)

xoxo elyse

 

 

PS - tl;dr...

The quickie version: In the end, I did find a great wedding gown and I wasn't stressed about losing/gaining weight because I practice what I preach in the 21 Day program.

I'm inviting you to do this program along with me, so you can get stronger and more fit in way that is manageable in your schedule and puts an end to this 'beating yourself up' cycle.

I'll be doing it along with you starting this Monday!

Join in with us here!


Hiya, I'm elyse!

Lexi Lowell Photography

Lexi Lowell Photography

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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How Do I Stay Consistent With Exercise!?

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How Do I Stay Consistent With Exercise!?

Every few minutes I glanced up to the upper right corner of my screen.

(4:44pm) I’ll put on my sneakers at 5pm.

(4:59pm) I’ll close my inbox + head out the door at 5:15pm.

(5:25pm) Can still make it to the 5:30 class if I run! But… I don’t want to rush, I don’t want to walk in late. Uggh.

I could feel my eyes starting to well up with tears. I had been sitting behind my desk for hours, and hadn’t worked out in days. My knees were aching and my shoulders were tight.

I was this close to saying, "Forget it! It’s not going to happen today. I’ll start tomorrow!" But I knew that the only way I was going to get out of this body funk and mental fogginess was to get on my mat.

So I took myself outside and started with these two grounding moves:

Sounds like a good place to end this story, but after I did these two moves I got attacked by mosquitos in my backyard. Oy vey!

Sometimes it feels like the odds are just not in your favor, and shouting FINE, I'LL START TOMORROW! is the only option.

This time with determination (read: frustration), I packed my mat up again and came inside. I was down to a final 20 minutes before I had to leave home to meet a friend and I KNEW I had to move.

I turned on a video from my Fast Track to Fit & Flexible mini-course so that I could get a quick effective workout in without wasting any more time on what to do and where and how to do it.

This happens to all of us from time to time, right?

Like when you planned to go to a class, but you forgot to bring your yoga pants to work [face palm].

Or you say you’re going to start tomorrow, and then a dinner with friends comes up and you’ll say OK, I’ll start the tomorrow after tomorrow!

If that ever happens to you here are some tips to help you take the stress out of the who/what/where/how of staying consistent with your fitness routine.

5 tips to stay consistent with your workout routine

1. Pre-schedule

Take a look at your calendar right now. What are the days + times you can carve out the space to move? Can you go online and pre-book a class at a studio? Can you schedule with your personal trainer? Can you put an alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time to work out at home? When it's already booked and scheduled, you know you have to show up and you'll create the time to get there. 

2. Have a plan B

If that plan does happen to fall through, what will your back up be? It might turn out that it IS starting fresh tomorrow and that’s okay. But maybe you can also add some bedtime stretches in tonight? Or squeeze in a 6min workout right now?

3. Get your buddies involved

When you have accountability to someone beyond yourself you are much more likely to follow through! Call a friend and schedule a time to go for a walk together, turn your kiddos play date into a parent/baby workout, or post in your favorite online community for encouragement (join in our Fit & Flexible community here). Now other people will help you stick to your word!

4. Have an at-home option on board

For rainy days or last minute meetings or anytime unexpected chaos comes up, have a go-to system for creating effective at-home workouts. In my FT2FF mini-course I teach people how to break down the essential elements of creating a well-rounded workout with minimal equipment, so that you always have an option to do at home!

5. Be nice to yourself, even when it all goes to sh*^!

Know that life will always throw curve balls your way. Be KIND to yourself if things don’t go as planned. It’s almost a guarantee that at some point your plans will foil! If you miss a day it’s NOT the end of the word, it’s a chance to learn from what happened and use that information to prep yourself going forward. Self-kindness always wins in my book. :)

What about you?

What do you do to take the scheduling guessing game out of the equation?

Have any tips or ideas? I’d love to hear about them.

Leave a comment below!

With love and consistent self-kindness, 

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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ask yourself this when you're not feeling up to an intense workout

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ask yourself this when you're not feeling up to an intense workout

Are you feeling that sticky, end-o-summer feeling?

Because of the heat, maybe. But also just the transition of seasons and that "back to school" energy right around the corner?

*Even if you live in a place where you're in a cool season, you might feel this transitional energy!

It's made me feel irritable, fatigued and for weeks kept me from doing any intense workouts.

Which of course, just made me feel more irritable and more lethargic. 

BUT.

I know that when I force myself to do strenuous workouts when my body realllllllly doesn't want to (which is different from never challenging myself at all) I start to avoid working out altogether and it creates an even more vicious cycle.

Instead of beating myself up or shaming myself into lifting heavy weights, I paused and asked myself what kind of movement would feel good right now?

What came to me was: 

Flow

Ease

Cool

Simple

So for a few weeks I've been doing gentle yoga, mixing it up with slow strength moves, and going swimming.

And low and behold, after weeks of more restful movement, yesterday I went to a group weight lifting class AND did a 32 miles bike ride!!

This is what I looked like by the end of the day, more on that another time! ;)

This is what I looked like by the end of the day, more on that another time! ;)

Over to you.

When you just can't get yourself to go for an intense workout, close your eyes, ask yourself this question:

What kind of movement would feel really good right now?

...and then wait to see what comes up.

If you truly need/want to challenge yourself, lift up those heavy weights! 

If it's more on the flow, ease, cool, simple side of things, I've got a few things for you to try: 

Wherever you're at, LISTEN to what your body is telling you. You might need to speed up, you might need to slow down, you might need a mix of both and that's ALL okay.

Be gentle, be kind, and practice what you need.

I'm always curious to hear where you're at, so leave a comment below to tell me how you feel like moving this week!

With love and listening to your body, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - I'm creating brand new videos with yoga-inspired workouts. Is there anything specific you'd like to see included in that? Hit reply to let me know! 


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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On Being fit + Zoe Levine

On Being fit + Zoe Levine

When I first walked into Zoe's personal training studio over 10 years ago, we clicked immediately over our shared love of dance. She offered me my first job as a personal trainer, and she's been a mentor, friend, and inspiring colleague ever since.

Her eyes sparkle with her passion for life, the human body, and helping people feel better.  She's an ACE certified personal trainer, a MELT instructor, and specializes in pre/postnatal fitness and longevity. Zoe works with people that aren't just looking to lose weight, but who want to understand their bodies better, get out of pain, reconnect to their bodies, and get moving better than ever. Zoe's a pro at working with new moms, and helping people learn how to manage and heal a variety of chronic pain issues with the MELT Method.

Zoe's words are a MUST read for anyone balancing parenthood, career, and self-care!

Meet Zoe Levine:

How do you help people stay healthy?

I help people feel better, stronger, and more connected in their body, and heal after injury or childbirth so they can do what they love to do best.

 

What is the #1 thing someone could do TODAY to feel better in their body?

Move. Listen to your body and MOVE. Generally, no one moves enough any more. Even many teenagers I see these days already have the aches and dysfunctional pattern of a 50 year old. We don't move nearly enough. Use it or lose it.

 

What's your advice to someone who's having trouble getting started with that?

Ask for help. If you already know how you like to move... schedule it!

 

What does a typical day look like for you and how do you fit movement into it?

Typical day starts at 5:30am so I can get in a quick movement practice without my two young children climbing all over me. I see clients 7-2pm which involves a decent amount of walking or biking. After 2pm I'm in full mommy mode and try to spend much of the after school time playing outside, pretending I'm a monster, hanging from the monkey bars, or relaxing on the side. By 8pm kids are asleep and it's time to prep for the next day, get a few other things off the to do list, do a little relaxing MELT work, and get to bed. With a crazy working mom schedule, I depend on at least one anchor class in my week that I LOVE and will not change for anyone. My current favorite is Brooklyn Body Burn in Cobble Hill.

 

What other practices keep you healthy? In body and/or in mind?

I love MELT, meditation, and acupuncture. I'm not always great about it, but finding time for myself away from kids and business work, is very important.

 

What is your JOYworkout?

*Elyse calls a "JOYworkout" a form of movement that is something more than a workout for workout's sake. It's exercise and it's ALSO something that: a) you just plain LOVE to do, b) builds your community, c) teaches you a new skill, d) enhances your spiritual life, e) helps you give back, f) gets you outdoors + is adventurous.

DANCE!

 

If you "fall off the wagon" with your health + wellness, how do get back into it?

I schedule it in. Usually if I've fallen off track, it just means I've allowed other things to get in the way. To get out of that cycle, I go to my calendar and schedule some movement time for myself or choose a class to go to.

 

Where are you getting your motivation from right now?

I'm pretty sure I'm just addicted to moving. I can't not move. I feel horrible, disconnected, and dysfunctional when I don't. I'm also just constantly in awe of the human body. Life itself inspires me to move.  

 

What is a motto or quote that you live by?

When I first became a trainer 12 years ago, each trainer at the gym that I was working had a picture, bio, and quote up on the wall. My quote was from a Mary Chapin Carpenter song "Why walk when you can fly?". It's the first quote I thought of and it still feels right.

 

 

Thanks So Much For Sharing With Us Zoe! 

Zoe has two exciting workshop series coming up, join her at:

Want to connect with Zoe even more? Find her + The Thriving Body on Facebook + Instagram, and at her website www.thethrivingbody.com.

 

who's elyse? 

esparkes@gmail.com

Elyse gets people moving with in-person training and her signature 21-day at-home workout program. She helps make movement a joyful part of one's day, and inspires confidence with her kindness and personalized approach. When she's not doing squats + sun salutations, she's dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives.

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

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6 min arm BURN challenge

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6 min arm BURN challenge

Up for a challenge? :)

Hold your arms up in a T shape at shoulder height for 6 min. 

I guarantee your arms are going to BURN. (In the good way). 

You won't need any equipment or sneakers, and for that matter you don't even need to leave your desk or put on yoga pants!

And more importantly, if you follow along with me in this video you'll get added variations for your deltoids, rhomboids, traps, and lats.

*Translation: these small moves help reverse your computer posture, exercise the range of motion in your shoulder joint, and increase your upper body endurance.

Do each exercise for 10 reps. If you need more of a challenge, hold weights, water bottles, or soup cans in your hands.

Warm UP:

  • Shoulder Circles + Arm Circles (both directions)

Arm BURN moves:

  • High V Raises
  • Pinkie Rhomboid Squeeze
  • Palm Rhomboid Squeeze
  • Screw the Lightbulb
  • Jane Fonda Move
  • Side Punches
  • Side Punch Pulses
  • Row + Pull
  • Wall Press

Stretches: 

  • Delt stretch w/Head Tilt
  • Arm Swings

Now I want to know.. how'd you do?

Leave me a comment and tell me if you kept your arms up for the entire video! 

Know someone who might like this? Share this post with them!

With love and arm burnin', 

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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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!