Thursday, June 10, 2021

"Over The Rainbow..."


 watching one of the hundreds of fast-food commercials on TV, it dawned on me that the most colorful element of most of these foods seems to be the box!

Honestly, the combination of tan chicken fingers, pale brown burgers, beige French fries and white potatoes is about as dull and unappealing as the carbohydrate/preservative coma that eating these foods puts you in!

For me, eating is about not only about taste and smell, but sight as well. A more colorful plate is more appetizing, and as studies show, significantly more nutritious!! And the best foods to get your “colors’ from naturally are fruits and vegetables. 

The pigments responsible for plant color belong to a class of chemicals known as antioxidants, and plants make antioxidants to protect themselves from the sun's ultraviolet light. (ultraviolet light causes free radicals to form within plant cells which can begin to destroy parts of the plant). Antioxidants stop free radicals in their tracks, shielding cells from harm. And typically, an intensely colored plant has more of these protective chemicals than a paler one does.

According to ADA spokesperson Karen Ansel, “Adding a splash of colorful seasonal foods to your plate makes for more than just a festive meal. A rainbow of foods creates a palette of nutrients…”.

Green produce gives you all-day energy and may help promote healthy vision and reduce cancer risks. Fruits like avocado, apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi and lime,and vegetables like artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as spinach are great choices.

Orange and deep yellow fruits, such as apricot, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, papaya, peach and pineapple, and vegetables like carrots, yellow pepper, yellow corn and sweet potatoes, can detoxify your body and help generate power. They contain nutrients that promote healthy vision and immunity, and reduce the risk of some cancers.

Purple and blue options, including blackberries, blueberries, plums, and raisins, along with eggplant, purple cabbage, and purple-fleshed potatoes, can improve your circulation and may have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits and help with memory, urinary tract health and reduced cancer risks.

Red produce, like cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grape fruit, red grapes and watermelon, and beets, red onions, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes, are a great source of protein and can help vision and immunity and may reduce cancer risks and maintain a healthy heart.

Even black foods, because of their intense “color”, have nutritional benefits. Black sesame seeds are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, proteins and fatty acids; The acetic acid in black vinegar reduces hypertension, LDL cholesterol and improves blood circulation; black soy is rich in proteins, fiber and anthocyanins; and Vitamin B, Niacin, Vitamin E, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc are found in much higher levels in black rice compared with white rice.

Eating is a multi-sensory experience, and what you see in front of you prepares you for what you are about to smell and taste! Soo do yourself a favor and add some color to your plate. Doing so will add more years to your life!
For more info, check out

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Virtual Insanity

It's week 5000 of the quarantine and we are all wondering when the hell this is going to end.
The lack of any consistency or normalcy has put us all on edge.

I think one thing we can all agree on is that life is very different. We are missing so many everyday interactions that we took for granted, and wanting to connect in ways that are somewhat familiar.

But, what amazes me is how some businesses are adapting to the new normal. In a way, they have created safe ways to keep their businesses going and are able to survive (and some even thrive) by pivoting to an alternative way to reach people.

Restaurants offering curbside pickup or delivery, stores doing online product showings, singalongs, cooking tutorials, and Zoom talk shows all help us maintain a sense of what we had before. I'm grateful for those, but for me, it's the online workout classes.

I don't have the stress of working from home, nor do I have the responsibility of home-schooling my kids. However, I do feel anxious and working out has always helped me cope. When I was a working mom and my kids were little, my one workout video saved me when I couldn't make it to a class.

The explosion of online workouts, and the caring and concern from the the instructors has been a gift through all of the uncertainty. I've tried classes from my gym that I might never have done, been able to do workouts from clubs and instructors from all over the country, and felt more empowered, because I can do the workouts on my own time. (Even though I have ALL the time now).

 It's my home, my equipment, and I know that no one has been near anything so it's safe.
   The gym I belong to was amazing from the start. The trainers did live Instagram workouts and uploaded them onto their YouTube channel. They have since added live Zoom classes for members, with a drop-in fee for non-members.

  I've found workouts from places I've wanted to try in other cities, and workouts posted by instructors I used to love, but haven't seen in a while. Honestly, I love the variety and the opportunity to try something new.

 I know not all workouts lend themselves to the home video format. If you don't have a spin bike or treadmill at home, cycle studio and machine workouts wouldn't work. But if you're open to a new way to sweat, give an online class a try.

Don't get me wrong. I really miss the camaraderie and energy of the people in class, and the motivation from the instructors, so when it's safe, I'd like to do both.

   But in the meantime, if you can swing it , try to continue paying your memberships to keep the studios going, and send your instructors a little extra love ( cards, gifts, Venmo a thank you tip, encouraging posts on their pages) to help them through all of this too. Unfortunately, some of the best studios have had to close their doors permanently because of the pandemic.

Check out some of my current favorites on Instagram, IGTV, You Tube and Facebook.
Add some of your favorites in the comments or email me with your pick.

TruFusion-stl                                           CTF Chicago
Barrys at home                                        Peleton App (they have more than just spin)
DoYouRumble-Boxing HIIT                  Club B
ARC Body Solutions (Facebook)           Zumba Strong
Quarantine Bod with Karyn (Facebook) HIIT314                                      
Lifetime Fitness                                      Linsanely Fit

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

"Be True (Fusion) To Your Gym..."

Bags and Kettlebells in Boxing Class

If you've read any of my previous posts, you know I'm always up for trying a new workout. I'm pretty consistent with my strength training, and since the advent of "boutique fitness" studios, I've had a lot of fun trying out everything from HIIT studios to Cycle studios to boxing classes. And as much as I wanted to work in yoga, barre, and pilates, memberships to a bunch of studios gets really pricey!

 I started seeing Instagram posts about a place offering a variety of classes; yoga, cycling, Pilates, kettlebell, barre, bootcamp, boxing, battleropes, and TRX.  But I was most intrigued by the positivity of the posts. In reading about TruFusion's philosophy: "like-minded individuals...feeding off of each other, but in a positive way... not..who can lift more or who looks more fit", I wanted to see for myself.

And it's amazing! There's a vast diversity of classes that offer a combined variety of  fitness styles. You can take a boxing class with bags and battleropes that adds yoga moves in the warm up and cool down, a hot pilates class with high intensity cardio bursts, a circuit class with kettlebells , TRX, sandbags, ropes and bodyweight exercises, all levels of hot yoga and barre, and,oh yeah, spinning classes too.
One of our awesome boxing instructors, Nicky

I love every class I've taken and I've definitely gone outside of my comfort zone. I'm pretty sure that I'm one of the more seasoned members (aka OLDER), but I have felt welcomed from the start. People are friendly, but no nonsense. We are there to workout and I've gotten some of the best workouts of my life since joining.

Very sweaty after a hot pilates class

And have yet to have an instructor in any of the classes who didn't kick my butt. I used to build my workout schedule around when certain instructors were teaching, but it's not like that at TruFusion. Everyone who teaches there knows their stuff, and they all make a tough workout something I really can't wait to do.

They have studios in Nevada, Texas, California, Washington, Arizona, and right here in St. Louis.
The monthly membership is so reasonable considering all of the classes and times offered, and if you are at all considering checking it out, they have an amazing New Year's offer.

Don't mess with Lori !

It's called PAY THE DATE, and that's exactly what it means. Starting January 1st, you can join for 30 days for $1, on the 2nd, $2, 3rd, $3, andso on for the entire month of January.
Honestly, it's even better than ClassPass. 
And more than likely,you'll be hooked after 1 month!

Check them out at and click on your city and the class schedule. See you in class!

TruFusion Clayton

7447 Forsyth Blvd. 
St. Louis, MO 63105

Below are clips of one of the fabulous classes with boxing and battleropes taken by Bea Kuhn
She is putting together a video of all of the amazing classes and instructors and I will add the link when it is available.
Check her out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @beatrixlinphoto

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Big Wheel Keeps on Turning

I’ve taken my share of spin classes at the many gyms I’ve belonged to. From waiting in line to get in to the studio, to angering someone because I dared to put my
towel and water bottle on their bike, I was already in a bad mood before class even started.

Sitting in a dark room with the instructor barking out commands like a bulldog, and nothing to look at besides the clock didn’t help improve the experience either. 

So, when my daughter and husband took me to a class at Steel Wheels, an indoor cycling studio in the Central West End, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

And guess what, they’ve basically re-invented indoor cycling!

Ready to ride?
Starting with a huge 16’ x 9’ HD projection screen, you are literally immersed in a ride through streets and terrain from all over the world. Pair that with music that fits the ride and scenery, the 45 minute class flies by. Riding through the streets of London and the backroads of the English countryside with Beatles music playing was amazing motivation to keep going! 

The owner, Bob Koplar, tells me the process to create this feeling didn’t happen easily. He got into cycling because it’s a great workout, but was bored with most classes. Living in New York, he also tried Soul Cycle and other “party” classes, but felt they were too “dancy” and jumpy for the true indoor cycling experience he wanted. 

He started by using online clips of scenery that he set to music, but the random short clips didn’t work. So, he set out to film the rides himself, grabbing as much footage of the beautiful roads and cities he travelled. His friends offered to do the same on their rides and travels and it became a mutual passion project.

With pro cycling coach, Brita Siegel, he adds the music after creating the workouts so it will flow with hills, sprints, and climbs; believing that the mix of strength and endurance within the workout is most important. They match the BPM of the songs with the approximate cadence and feel of the song. 
Pro cycling coach, Brita Siegel

A motto for all classes is “don’t hide the ride”. In other words, riders need to know what’s coming up so they can rehydrate and regroup, pushing past their comfort zone to get stronger. Recovery is built in to the intervals to prevent overuse too.They use Stages SC Series bike. The smooth ride, SprintShift function, quick position adjustments and the accurate data from the Stages Power meter appeals to hard core cycling enthusiasts, and opens up a whole new world to non-cyclists .

The stat system, called Fitmetrix, allows riders to see how well they did and how much effort they put in to the class and see how far they’ve come from previous classes. Seeing your numbers increase and seeing how you’re improving is a great motivator. You can see where you are against other riders in your class, but in the end, it’s you and the bike and the system is a very true measure of your fitness and improvements.
Laur with her contest swag!

After each ride, you’re able to log on to your stats and see calories burned, miles ridden, watts, mph, rpms, and your rank against others in the class. However, the workout is great for all fitness levels. They have a variety of special challenges from time to time with prizes and special recognition to reward rider improvement and effort.

On their website they explain it’s for “Couch potatoes” who do not follow any kind of regimented fitness program and are starting from zero, They recommend approaching each class with the goal of finishing the program and having fun along the way. For “Weekend Warriors” who work out 2-4 times per week, are able to run 4-5 miles without exhaustion and have a moderate aerobic base. And for  “Olympians” who work out 4 or more times per week and have a strong aerobic base, and are able to run more than 6 miles without too much difficulty. 
Eric and Jack after a great ride!

Based on what I’ve seen from my daughter and my husband, it works. The improvement in their strength and endurance is measurable and they can see how far they’ve come. 

But the work you do is coupled with the fun of the music. Rides like Backstreet Boys vs N’Sync, Beyonce, Pink vs Lady Gaga, Bowie vs Prince, Pop Princesses, and tours of Provence, Africa, SoCal, Northern Cal, and even an EDM ride, make the hard work fun. 

It’s not an intimidating workout place either. Steel Wheels partners with many neighborhood businesses for special days of Steel Wheels ride paired with yoga or PLNK megaformer classes. Thirsty Thursdays bring in local brewery, Urban Chestnut after class as well as nearby restaurants. They also vailidate for garage parking in the building garage during class!

As Bob says, they are building community and creating a sense of welcoming for everyone. 

Steel Wheels is located at 229 North Euclid in the Central West End. Contact them at or call (314) 356-2233.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

"Roll With It..."

Anyone who works out on a regular basis probably has experience with muscle soreness. And, no matter how young or old we are, or how careful we are about form and movement, there will be times when we pull, strain, sprain or just plain overuse certain muscles.

Ice, hot tubs, and aspirin usually work to soothe, or at least, ease, minor aches and pains. But when you’re in that, “It’s not a major injury, but it’s more than aspirin will solve” stage, muscle massage seems to work best.  And even though people seem to really enjoy getting a massage after a hard workout, I worry that the therapist will push too hard and hurt me even more while trying to unknot a muscle. 

Of course, a professional massage every week might be ideal for some, but  few of us have the money or time for that. But, there is a convenient and inexpensive way to self massage. For quite a while now, most gyms have had foam rollers available; pieces of equipment that resemble the pool noodles that kids use to float. These foam rollers come in a variety of colors and densities and the trainers use them to “massage” the client’s tight areas after a workout. This technique, called SMR, or self myofasial release, is a flexibility technique that relaxes muscles and allows them to work more efficiently. 

Basically, tissue that is repeatedly exposed to excessive strain (lifting, pushing, pulling, running) can become dense, knotted or otherwise stuck together. This cumulative injury cycle follows a path of inflammation, muscle spasms, and development of soft tissue adhesions that reduce the elasticity of the soft tissues and change the soft tissue structure (resulting in “knots” or “trigger points” of pain). These adhesions can cause your muscles to lose independent movement, dragging their “neighbors” along with them for every movement.

SMR focuses on alleviating the adhesions to restore optimal muscle motion and function. 
-In SMR , the pressure of the body against a foam roller or other tool is sustained on top of the “trigger point” (muscle receptors, also called the pain site or “knot”) . 
-As you “roll” against the trigger, the sensory receptors (called GTOs or Gogli tendon organs) “turn off” the contraction or tightness, allowing the muscle to stretch. 

Using the foam roller with your body weight can bring about improvements:
-in flexibility, muscle recovery, and movement efficiency 
-along with pain reduction and additional benefits like:

-Breaking down muscle adhesions
-Relaxing muscles
-Improving joint range of motion
-Improving neuromuscular activity
-Improving tissue recovery and repair (reduced soreness)
-Suppressing trigger point sensitivity and pain
-Correcting muscle imbalances

-Relieving muscle soreness and joint stress

Although these techniques originated in the rehabilitative setting, SMR has gained a lot of popularity with fitness professionals over the last decade. In most gyms and clubs, foam rollers and massage balls are as common as treadmills and free weights.

They're inexpensive, easy to use, and readily accessible (Even Target and Wal-mart sell them). The typical roller is about a six-inch-round, foam-celled cylinder. To use it, simply put the roller on the ground and allow the weight of your body to press into the surface of the roller.

You should roll at a slow pace, building up a deliberate wave of pressure over tender areas until they become less sensitive. The pressure from the roller will produce a deep local stretch, pushing apart the gnarled tissue and relaxing over-stimulated fibers. 
It’s best to begin rolling muscles at their proximal (closest to the body) attachments, then work distally (away from the center) to accommodate changes in muscular tension
Even slightly changing positions or angles can target different areas.

SLOWLY roll the area until you find the most tender spot and hold it while relaxing the targeted area until discomfort is reduced (between 30 and 90 seconds).

After foam rolling, you should feel better -- not worse. The truth is, the more discomfort you feel when massaging your muscles with the foam roller, the more those muscles actually need to be massaged -- the discomfort is telling you where you need to focus your efforts. 

You can try some of these basic ways to utilize the foam roller:

Back-Cross arms to the opposite shoulder. Keep your abdominals drawn-in, and raise your hips until unsupported. Also stabilize the head in "neutral." Roll the mid-back area on the foam.

Quadriceps-Position your body prone with the quadriceps on foam roller. Maintain proper core control (with your abdominals drawn-In and glutes tight) to prevent low back pain. Roll from the pelvic bone to the knee, emphasizing the thigh.

Hamstring-Place hamstrings on the roll with hips unsupported. Cross your feet to increase leverage. Roll from your knee toward the back of your hip while keeping quadriceps tightened.

Foot-place the arch of the foot on the curve of the foam roller and roll back and forth across the bottom of the foot. You can put more pressure on the roller with your body weight, but be sure to have something to hold onto for balance as you roll your foot over the foa

When you choose a foam roller, product density is very important:

-If the foam is too soft, less than adequate tissue massage is applied. 
-On the other hand, if the foam is too hard, bruising and more advanced soft-tissue trauma    may occur. 
-Usually rollers in blue/white/red are softer and those in black are firmer.
-Foam rollers with grids and rumble rollers have knobs that work into the muscle more  deeply. 
I've even used tennis balls and less pliable balls to roll on my foot for the same benefits as the rollers. Over time, the foam can break down, so buying a higher quality roller is worth the investment. 

Foam rolling has been a lifesaver as I get older. It's shortened my recovery time from a grueling workout, and increased my flexibility.

I’ve found that I’ll feel the pain after rolling for a day or so, but the affected area heals much more quickly when I release the knotted muscle with SMR. So, if you just can’t seem to shake that tense area in your back or hamstrings or if you're just trying to relax a “charley horse” in your calf, give SMR a try. You’ll feel better. I promise!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Life In The 'Fast' Lane..."

I have never been that person who forgets to eat or skips a meal because I’m too busy. My bag is always stocked with protein bars, dried fruit and nuts, “just in case” ! 
Even at work, my managers know to schedule an eating break for me at least three hours in to avoid a blood sugar crash. 
So I never even remotely considered trying intermittent fasting when I first read about it.
Even the word “fasting” conjured up all kinds of negative thoughts, from having to prep for a medical test, to fasting religious holiday headaches and grumpiness from lack of food. 
But the more I read about the process of intermittent fasting, the more intrigued I became. I love to eat and I hate to diet. I’m one of those people who will never go on a no carb, no fat, keto, Whole 30, or any other eating plan that eliminates an entire food group. 

Intermittent fasting is not a food plan, it is a pattern of eating. You don’t change what you eat, but the time in which you are eating it. You can make the most of your meals without counting calories or going crazy on a diet. Intermittent fasting allows you to eat bigger meals actually, but within a shorter time frame.

In intermittent fasting, what essentially takes place in the body is that one source of energy — which can facilitate the accumulation of body fat — is switched for another

You can keep muscle mass on your body and get lean because intermittent fasting allows your body to shake off the bad belly weight. Since it requires no change to your diet, intermittent fasting is considered a simple technique, but meaningful enough to make a difference.

Your body goes through stages to get to this point starting with 

1) THE FED STATE- When you are digesting and absorbing food, your body is in the FED state. This starts when you eat a meal and lasts for three to five hours throughout digestion. During the fed state, your insulin levels are high, which makes it difficult for your body to burn fat. 

2) THE POST-ABSORPATIVE STATE- This lasts for 10 to 12 hours after your last meal. During this time frame, your body is not processing any food. After the post-absorptive state, you enter the fasted state. It’s all related to intermittent fasting and how to schedule when you eat.

3) THE FASTED STATE- This is when your insulin levels are low again, about 12 hours since the last time you ate. Fasting puts your body into a fat-burning condition. 

There are a number of different ways to fast intermittently. I found that starting with the 12 hour fast and 12 hour eating works best at the beginning.

-The 12:12 method— a way of eating where the body uses fat as an energy source instead of glucose. Instead of eating whenever you want throughout the day, you're limited to consuming your daily caloric intake within a 12-hour window, and then fast for the other 12 hours. This means that if you eat dinner at 8 p.m., you won't have breakfast until 8 a.m. the next day.

-The 16:8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eatingperiod to 8-10 hours, such as 11–8 p.m. Then you fastfor 14-16 hours in between. You can drink water, coffee or other no-calorie drinks during the fast period.
-The 5:2 diet: using this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days. 
-Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week; Like not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
Intermittent fasting can be used to either maintain your current weight or reduce your calorie intake to lose weight.  (But that doesn’t give you license to over-indulge during the eating periods)
Fasting can also help you burn additional calories during your workout. Because I work out early in the morning, I was really worried that the fast period would limit my strength and endurance after 10-12 hours without food.  But this pattern — known as a fasted workout or fasted cardio — has never hindered my workout, and may actually be beneficial.
When insulin levels are low, your body has no choice but to burn fat. Naturally this happens faster when you haven't eaten, Your body uses fat stores for energy rather than the glucose in your system, which is what happens if you eat prior to the workout session.
In order to be in a truly fasted state, you'll have to go without food for at least 10 hours, which is why morning workouts are so effective.

Research has shown many benefits to intermittent fasting:
·       Boosts weight loss
·       Increases energy
·       Promotes cellular repair and autophagy (when your body consumes defective tissue in order to produce new parts)
·       Reduces insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes
·       Lowers bad cholesterol
·       Promotes longevity
·       Protects against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
·       Improves memory and boosts brain function
·       Makes cells more resilient

 I started with the 12:12 method and have worked my way up to the 16:8 fast (Ok sometimes 14:10) I find that drinking lemon water, coffee or tea during the fast period is helpful. Many people find the 12:12 method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to for weight maintenance, but get better results for weight loss with the 16:8 method. 

I’ve been consistent for over four months now and have seen some weight loss. But, more importantly, I have seen a visible increase in my muscle mass, and a significant decrease in the bloat and belly fat I was putting on. I find that the scale drops a few pounds when I’m more vigilant about a longer fast.

It's been an easy way to kind of rev up my metabolism without too much sacrifice and I'd definitely recommend trying it. It would be a great way to finish out the holiday season and avoid packing on weight !!