Where are the Body-Positive Workout Videos?

I’m calling for some body-positive workout videos. If I google “body-positive workout videos” the third result is a “fat blasting” workout. And that’s just not cool.

After long days at school or work, when I don’t get home until its already getting dark, I rarely want to go on a run or head to the gym. I’m craving movement, but I want it on my own terms, in the comfort of my own room. So when I discovered the wealth of workout-class style videos available online, I was thrilled.

But I’ve been noticing a big problem with many of the workout videos I come across: the emphasis on weight loss. I don’t want a workout that “torches calories” or “sizzles fat.” I am so appreciative of the fat that graces my body. It helps keep me warm, produces estrogen, and serves countless other necessary functions. I am in no way a nutrition/exercise expert, but even I know that no part of my body needs to be torched or sizzled. In fact, that sounds downright painful.

I think workout videos are a great way to make boutique-style workout classes accessible to a broader audience, but I’m calling for a change in the language used to promote these videos. Anyone who creates or publishes material that teaches anyone how to do anything- whether its knitting, cooking, or pilates- takes a role as an authority figure. And as such, these fitness instructors have the responsibility to present movement and fitness in a positive, healthy, nurturing manner.

body-positive workout videos

Instead of promoting workouts by talking about how many calories they burn (which is ridiculous because it varies so much by person) I want these instructors/bloggers/businesses to tell me how their workout will make me FEEL. Is it an energizing pilates class? A relaxing yoga flow? A powerful cross-fit routine? Because that’s whats really important.

I see the wellness world moving towards emphasizing true health- mental health, feeling good, etc.- over how our bodies look, and that makes me incredibly happy. But workout videos are one area that I see room for improvement. So I’m asking everyone who creates and shares this type of content to re-evaluate the language you use.

Playing into a person’s fears and ingrained beliefs about weight-loss, tummy-flattening, or blasting their “problem areas” isn’t good marketing. It’s lazy and cowardly. We, the consumers, as people trying to take care of our bodies and minds, deserve better than that. We deserve to be reminded how beautiful we are, how worthy we are whether we exercise or not, and what a blessing it is to be in the unique, wonderful bodies that we have.

Right now, my go-to body-positive workout videos are those by Yoga with Adriene. Her entire approach to yoga and movement is just so gentle and positive, my body and soul feel amazing every time I use one of her videos to guide my practice.

Do you ever struggle with the lack of body- positivity in some parts of the fitness world? Do you have a favorite body-positive workout video or class? I’d love to get the conversation going, so let me know what you think in the comments here or on Instagram.

Best Wellness Podcasts

“Best Wellness Podcasts” may be a big claim, but when I get into something, I get into it big-time. After discovering podcasts a few months ago, I have completely fallen in love. I like how listening to podcasts can make mundane tasks, such as taking the bus or doing laundry, something to look forwards to.
Best wellness podcasts
Because I listen to podcasts so often- while running, on walks, on the way home from school, while doing chores, etc. – I’ve cultivated a list of the best wellness podcasts to choose from depending on my mood. All of these podcasts, and the people who host them, are truly wonderful, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
In this list, I’ve divided my favorite podcasts up by type, and added the one word I would use to describe their vibe. If you also think these are the best wellness podcasts, want more information on any of them, or have another podcast to recommend, leave a comment here or on Instagram!

Matcha Green Smoothie

If you’re like me, then the idea of facing all your responsibilities again after a (hopefully) lovely period of relaxation gets your stomach twisted up in knots. Whether yours are severe, sailor type knots or more like loose bows, your feelings are absolutely valid and deserve to be addressed.

For me, addressing these feelings of anxiety means reminding myself that even as my life gets busier I’m still allowed to practice self care and spend time with people I love. This really should be a given- of course I’m allowed to make some tea, put on a face mask, and call my best friend whenever the heck I want- but I think when I get stressed I begin to see self care as a waste of time.

This is most definitely FALSE because loving and caring for yourself is one of the most important investments you will ever make. At the same time, I completely understand the panic of being pressed for time and feeling like you can’t take a moment to combat the pressure/anxiety/fear you’re feeling.

And that, my friends, is where this smoothie comes in. Breakfast and magic anti-stress elixir all in one! What could be better than that?

Ok, for real though. While I can’t actually promise this will cure your anxiety, it does have some legitimate brain boosting benefits. Spinach is rich in magnesium, which acts as a “natural ‘chill pill'” according to MindBodyGreen. Bananas supply potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, while turmeric contains mood boosting antioxidants. Matcha, however, is really the star of the show. While matcha contains caffeine (meaning this smoothie will help you ditch your coffee addiction), it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which promotes relaxation. Most matcha can be a little pricey, but you can find my favorite affordable brand here.

When I was growing up, my dad would say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” So if you’re feeling a little stressed, get going to the kitchen and make this smoothie!

Matcha Green Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Serves: Serves 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen spinach
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¾ cup brewed matcha tea
Instructions
  1. Peel ginger.
  2. Add all ingredients to blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Drink and feel your stress melt away.

 

All nutrition information comes from this article and this article from MindBodyGreen.

Top 10 products for a Healthy 2017

As we prepare for a new year, many people take the time to recommit to their wellness goals. As I’ve said on Instagram, I think cleanses and crash diets are total B.S. However, I totally understand the desire to switch up your routine and try something new, so I’ve put together a list of my favorite products that have helped me feel my best this past year.

Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes

10 minutes after I received this book I had already bookmarked at least 15 recipes that I absolutely NEEDED to make immediately. I already knew Dana (Minimalist Baker) is incredibly talented from reading her blog, but this book takes inventive, mouth-watering recipes and amazing photography to a whole new level. At the same time, all the recipes seem completely doable for people like me who maybe don’t have many clean dishes and need to get back to watching Grey’s Anatomy ASAP.



Spiralizer 5-Blade Vegetable Slicer

So I am officially an old woman, considering my favorite Christmas gift this year was a kitchen appliance. But to be fair, I’m pretty sure spiralizers are the sexiest kitchen appliance out there. What could be better than a machine that turns veggies into noodles? Not to mention turning the handle definitely counts as your arm workout for the day. Delicious veggies + a quick workout sounds like the perfect way to kick off the new year.


Rishi Tea Organic Matcha Tea Bags

Ever since I enjoyed my first matcha latte at Peet’s over the summer (while reading a trendy book and feeling very sophisticated) I’ve been searching high and low for an affordable, high quality brand. I finally found Rishi, and I’m so glad I did! I’ve been loving it with lemon and in DIY lattes. Unlike coffee, drinking matcha in the mornings makes me feel refreshed, energized, and calm.


Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar

I’m seriously addicted to these bars. It’s hard to believe that three simple ingredients (dates, peanuts, sea salt) can come together to create such a delicious, nutrient packed snack, but Larabar proves it can be done! After spending waayy to much on these bars at the grocery store, I finally started buying them in bulk on Amazon. It’s a great snack AND a great deal, so it pretty much ticks all the boxes.


Swell Insulated Water Bottle

For years I’ve resolved to drink more water, but time and time again I’ve failed. Even  though I knew staying hydrated would improve my skin, reduce headaches, and give me more energy, drinking water was such a chore. In the past, I’d tried apps such as Plant Nanny, but I just forgot to drink water, my plants died, and I felt terrible for killing an imaginary plant. This year, however, thanks to my Swell Water Bottle, I finally met my goal. These water bottles are so pretty, they honestly make drinking water feel incredibly fun and chic.

Lavender Essential Oil

I’m usually so excited (and a little anxious) about my life/school work/projects that I have some trouble falling asleep. Overtime I’ve developed strategies to fall asleep more easily but I’m always looking for new methods, so when I discovered this Lavender Essential Oil I was thrilled! I sprinkled a couple drops on my pillow and was fast asleep within minutes. While some of it may have been a placebo effect, they oil smelled amazing and undoubtedly helped me relax.


AVEDA Rehydrating Lip Glaze Coral Peach

AVEDA is an phenomenal natural beauty brand. I love their commitment to sustainability, good for you ingredients, charity, and animal welfare. I actually bought this gloss as a gift for a friend, so I haven’t tried it, but the staff at my local store was so helpful and brand is wonderful. I’m certainly going to stock up on AVEDA products this year as I focus on clearing the junk out of  my makeup stash and filling it up with quality products.


TRX GO Suspension Training Kit

I’ve been using TRX ropes at the gym for a couple months and they’re so much fun! Using them makes me feel like I’m a little kid at the playground. Unfortunately, it seems many other people feel the same way and the TRX stations at the gym are usually occupied. TRX Go ropes are the perfect solution, as they are unobtrusive and easy to set up at home. You can get in a workout without leaving the house (read: brushing your hair/showering) and you’ll never have to wait in line!


Hoka One One Running Shoes

These are by far the best running shoes I’ve ever owned. I received them nearly a year ago and wear them often, but they are still in perfect condition. I wish it was socially acceptable to wear sneakers everywhere because they really are that comfortable. I do wear them every chance I get, from running to weightlifting to hiking, and the bright colors never fail to improve my mood.


Yoga Mat

Over the past few weeks, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Yoga with Adrienne. The flows feel amazing and she brings so much joy and positivity to her videos. They’re so easy to do at home and don’t require any fancy equipment, but having a yoga mat really does make the experience so much better. When I started out, my only options were to do yoga on my bed or my hardwood floor- not ideal situations for balance and relaxation. This extra fluffy yoga mat is absolutely wonderful, the only problem is it’s so comfy you may just fall asleep in child’s pose.

I hope these products help you get your new year off to a wonderful start!

Simple Sweat: 30 minute workout

So far, my summer has been full of so much great movement. I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with exercise in the past, but recently moving my body has brought me so much joy. Hiking, dancing, tv workouts, and old fashioned gym trips have all been part of my repertoire, but I worry I won’t have time for any of these activities when school starts up again.

Therefore, I have consolidated some of my favorite movements into a 30 minute session you can fit into the busiest of days. To ensure this workout takes the same amount of time for everyone, I measure activities in minutes instead of reps. I would suggest setting a timer for 30 minutes at the beginning of the workout, then watching the clock so you know when to switch activities.

These simple exercises require little to no special equipment and can be done in your living room, basement, backyard, or just out on the sidewalk if needed. If you do happen to have some light weights on hand, I’d highly recommend using them to do curls during lunges and wall sits, and possibly to add an extra challenge to punching.

Though I love this sequence, I am always looking for new ways to mix up my workout routine, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

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Warm up: 5 minutes LIGHT cardio. When I have access to an elliptical I’ll use that, but at home I most often jump rope or run around the block a few times. It is essential, however, that you do not over-exert yourself during this section or you may not have enough energy left for the rest of the workout (trust me, I know from experience).

 

5 minutes dynamic stretching

  • High-knees
  • Grapevine
  • Bootykickers
  • Moving lunges
  • Walking toe-touches
  • High kicks

Workout: Now that you’ve got your heart rate up it’s time for 20 minutes of strengthening exercises.

  1. Wall-sit (1 minute)
  2. Sit ups (1 minute)
  3. Cherry pickers/Russian twists (1 minute)
  4. Push ups (1 minute)
  5. Lunges (1 minute)
  6. Interval Cardio- this is intended to be more intense than the warm-up cardio, so perhaps alternate 1 minute of sprinting with 30 seconds of jogging or 1 minute of fast jump-roping with 30 seconds of slower jumping. (5 minutes)
  7. Jumping Jack Squats (1 minute)
  8. Plank (2 minute)
  9. Side Plank (1 minute, alternate after 30 seconds)
  10. Punch it out- in the air, on a punching bag, on a pillow (1 minute)

Cool down: 5 minutes stretches of your choice. Personally, I love these moves by Popsugar.

If you try this, share all your #fitspo photos with me (cause sweaty selfies are what working out is really all about, right?) using #16worksout. Have fun!