Author

Jacqui Somen

Jacqui Somen

Jacqui Somen is a health & wellness writer, NASM certified personal trainer, and certified pre and postnatal fitness specialist. Follow her at @vivamafit.

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COVID-19 Restrictions Inspire Florida Dance Companies to Create Beyond the Stage

When cities across Florida initially went into lockdown due to COVID-19, many artists assumed that they would need to cancel a performance, maybe two. Seven months later, some performing arts organizations have missed much of their season and are unsure about when they will be able to head back into the theater to do what they live for - perform in front of a theater audience.

You may think that COVID-19 closures have left the local arts community feeling hopeless, but conversations with some of Florida’s directors and dancers prove otherwise. In response to regulations and concerns surrounding the pandemic, Florida artists are creatively pivoting their repertoire to maintain their ability to delight their audiences. These artists are also being reminded of how crucial the arts are to helping people stay positive and connected during difficult times.  

“People are really craving an emotional distraction right now. Ballet offers beauty amidst the chaos, it gives people hope,” says Jennifer Kronenberg, Co-Artistic Director of Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami. 

"The Nutcracker" is a holiday institution. It is one of the largest productions in a year for many companies; a show that is beloved amongst longtime ballet patrons and first-time audiences alike. This year, for the second consecutive year, Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami joined Ballet Vero Beach for their rendition of the festive ballet, “Nutcracker on the Indian River.”

“Nutcracker on the Indian River” is a unique telling of the original ballet. The storyline and score follow the show you may have seen as a child, but its magical backdrop has been re-envisioned in the brownstones of New York City and Clara’s holiday travels to Vero Beach in 1919. The second act, usually a trip through a multicultural candy land, features the lush flora and fauna of Florida’s Indian River Lagoon and includes performances by land crabs, cranes, manatees, river otters, and bougainvillea. “Nutcracker on the Indian River” was created in partnership with The Indian River Land Trust, an organization that preserves, conserves, and improves the area’s natural resources.

Adam Schnell, Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Vero Beach, knew that performing their beloved “Nutcracker on the Indian River” in the theater this year would be nearly impossible. With the sizable cast and crew required to perform “The Nutcracker," COVID-19 regulations surrounding performance venues, and student cast members, the risk would just be too high. Ballet Vero Beach has always incorporated film into their performances to help bridge the gap between an old-world art and a new world audience and for this year’s “Nutcracker on the Indian River” it came to the forefront.

When considering their options for the 2020 performance, Schnell decided to move the action outdoors. The concept for making a portion of the production a magical on-screen journey was born. Interior scenes were filmed at the Hallstrom House, built in 1918 to resemble a New England mansion. Exterior scenes were filmed exclusively on Indian River Land Trust properties, including a stage built on the banks of The Indian River, where the second act of the production is purportedly set. Filming “Nutcracker on the Indian River” and placing it at these unique and historical settings has added an entirely new, whimsical dimension to their seasonal gem.

Even though the dancers have been back in the studio rehearsing for “Nutcracker” and their respective upcoming digital seasons, things are not business as usual. The dancers are rehearsing in smaller groups, with masks, and are getting tested for COVID-19 regularly. For the filming of “Nutcracker on the Indian River,” the student performers were separated from the professional dancers and they filmed outside, a unique benefit of being in Florida this time of year. 

Pivoting is nothing new to Kronenburg or Schnell. In order to run a thriving ballet company, it is essential to create works that speak to your audience and the local community. Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami prides itself on being representative of the unique energy of Miami. They hire local artists, partner with local musicians, and perform works that embody the vibrant culture of Miami. Schnell has been incorporating film into Ballet Vero Beach’s performances since the company’s inception and talks about using this time as inspiration to find the “crackle between the performers and the audience” in the digital space.

The 2020 film, “Nutcracker on The Indian River,” is a traditional ballet performance in an unusual setting, with a multimedia digital component, extra safety precautions, and an audience and donor base that extends beyond the local community. These circumstances exemplify how arts organizations all over the world are pivoting to meet the unpredictable, ever-shifting demands brought about by COVID-19. 

“We’ve been pushed to be more creative than we’ve ever been,” says Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami Company Member Chloe Freytag. “It has been an opportunity for growth; how can we take the circumstances we are given and still deliver a high-quality, artistic production that supports joy in our community?”  

While most artists are itching to get back into the theater, many see a silver lining in that COVID-19 closures have brought the opportunity to get in front of a larger, more national audience. “We want to bring art to as many people as possible, that’s what keeps me going,” says Schnell.

“The Nutcracker on The Indian River” will be available to the public for free from December 23 - January 6 on https://balletverobeach.org/.

If you are interested in supporting your local artists during this challenging time, please consider making a donation to Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami and Ballet Vero Beach.

Photos by Joe Semkow.

South Florida dancers are pivoting their repertoire to maintain the ability to delight audiences and help people stay positive during difficult times.

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Miami Shores Mom Runs 150 Miles Through South Florida to Raise Money for Childhood Cancer Research

While the rest of the city was relaxing at home over the 4th of July weekend, Miami Shores resident Caryn Lubetsky was commencing a 150-mile run throughout South Florida to raise money for The Childhood Cancer Project, an organization that supports childhood cancer research.

Lubetsky was supposed to be competing in the Badwater ultramarathon, widely considered one of the world’s most challenging races, but the 135-mile race that treks through Death Valley in the height of summer was canceled due to concerns around COVID-19. Lubetsky decided to keep running and fundraising anyway. In the time it would take her to complete the Badwater 135, 150 children would be diagnosed with cancer; therefore, she charted a 150-mile course through South Florida in their honor

“The race may have been cancelled,” Lubetsky said, “but childhood cancer isn’t. I have to push forward for these kids.”

Lubetsky's running career began when she was 40 and she simply wanted to try a marathon. Since then, Lubetsky has competed in at least fifty marathons, two ultra-marathons of 125 miles or more, six 100-mile races, three 50K races, two 12-hour races, three 6-hour races, and one 3 days, 300-mile triathlon, finishing in the overall podium in most races. 

In 2013, just after Lubetsky crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon the bombs went off. The experience changed her and her family forever and she realized that there must be a greater purpose to her running. After her experience in Boston, Lubetsky began running with Kerry Gruson, a paraplegic endurance athlete. The team has completed countless races including a 3-day 300-mile triathlon, two full Ironmans, 3 half Ironmans, and several marathons and shorter races. Together, Lubetsky and Gruson have set two Guinness World Records: one for "the fastest marathon run by a woman while pushing a wheelchair", and "most triathlons hauling another person in a month".

By the time her good friend’s young son was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare type of childhood cancer, in 2015, Lubetsky had already run several 100-mile races. In those difficult moments, Lubetsky realized that she could use her extreme racing competitions as a platform to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer.

“Cancer came and knocked at her door, but we all answered,” says Lubetsky. Since 2015 almost all of her runs have been dedicated to The Childhood Cancer Project - an organization that raises funds for childhood cancer research. 

Lubetsky's recent 150-mile run that took her from Miami Shores, to South Pointe, to Key Biscayne, and up to the Palm Beach County Line and back - through two sunrises and two sweltering South Florida days - raised $13,000 for sarcoma research at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. She completed the run in 38 hours and 3 minutes.

What comes next for someone with such an extraordinary list of athletic achievements and purpose? Lubetsky is looking forward to getting back into the races to continue raising money for the estimated 15,300 children who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. She’ll run for the children no matter what, but nothing compares to the energy, positivity, and support that she finds within the ultrarunning racing community. 

To donate to The Childhood Cancer Project text DEVELOP to 44321.

Miami Shores resident Caryn Lubetsky ran 150 miles through South Florida to raise money for The Childhood Cancer Project.

City of Miami Parks Begin to Reopen on May 20

The City of Miami is beginning Phase One of its phased reactivation plan to reopen the community this week. Starting on Wednesday, May 20, several City of Miami parks, listed below, will reopen to residents from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.

While you are likely brimming with excitement to head back to your neighborhood park, it’s not going to be business as usual. The city has put many new regulations in place designed to protect our community from further COVID-19 transmission.  

Please note that these reopening dates, times and regulations are only for the City of Miami, many municipalities have their own sets of regulations, which you can find by searching your municipality’s website.

New rules for visiting the parks are as follows:

  • Parkgoers may visit parks either individually or with members of their household only.
  • Facemasks required at all times, unless under age 2 or doing vigorous exercise like running.
  • Social distancing required at all times, except for household groups visiting the park together.
  • Parks are open for passive and leisure use only: walking, jogging, cycling, roller skating, singles tennis, and solo racquetball.
  • Organized sports, pickup games, and training sessions are strictly prohibited.
  • Birthday parties, barbeques, picnics, and gatherings of any other kind are strictly prohibited.
  • Playgrounds, fitness zones, dog parks, pools, picnic shelters, basketball and volleyball courts, and sports fields remain CLOSED.

Per the City's website, here are the parks set to reopen in Miami on May 20:

  1. Albert Pallot Park
  2. Armbrister Park
  3. Athalie Range Park
  4. Bay of Pigs Memorial Park
  5. Baywood Park
  6. Bryan Park
  7. Curtis Park
  8. Douglas Park
  9. Gibson Park
  10. Grapeland Heights Park
  11. Henderson Park
  12. Jose Marti Park
  13. Juan Pablo Duarte Park
  14. Kennedy Park
  15. Kinloch Park
  16. Little Haiti Soccer Park
  17. Margaret Pace Park
  18. Moore Park
  19. Miami Circle Park
  20. Morningside Park
  21. Kenneth Myers Park
  22. Peacock Park
  23. Regatta Park & City Hall
  24. Robert King High Park
  25. Shenandoah Park
  26. Southside Park
  27. West End Park

For more information on park openings in the City of Miami, please visit the City of Miami’s website

Starting on Wednesday, May 20, several City of Miami parks, listed below, will reopen to residents from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.

3 South Florida Gym Owners Share Life During the Quarantine

The gym industry was one of the hardest hit when South Florida cities began to announce business closures in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. One thing we’re learning as this situation unravels is that gyms are not just a place to lift weights, they are a source of connection, community and escape from daily stressors. Gym owners all across the state are working to move their offerings online and continue to cultivate the kind of community that their clients crave.

I got to catch up with three South Florida gym owners to find out how quarantine has affected them and what is keeping them sane. My conversations with these owners were overwhelmingly positive, with underlying themes to the effect of, we’ll get through this, we’ve got to keep moving, we’ve got to keep connecting.

Troy Valls of Move. Lift. Live (@move.lift.live)

Move. Lift. Live is currently offering several free classes per day.

How are things going for you in quarantine?

Oddly, pretty good. We’re in ‘take it day by day’ mode and at the moment we’re good. Time will tell. We took a decision early on to start sunsetting the gym business. We felt like ‘this is going to happen anyway, so let’s just rip the bandaid off now’ and we jumped on it. We started asking questions like: How can we be proactive? How do we adapt? How do we exist? What does this virtual world look like?

What are you up to now?

Before we closed, we opened up the doors for our members to sign out equipment. We are offering a full schedule of workouts 3 times a day, including yoga, mobility, and a discussion group. The discussions include about 10 people, we pick a topic and dig into it. We recognized that people are still feeling really anxious and we feel that for the most part, the antidote is people being able to connect with each other.

How is your community?

Our community has been amazing. Everyone is asking ‘what can we do? ‘They’ve also been expressing worry that their connection will go away. We’re really pushing to maintain a sense of community. When you boil it down fitness is really about healing. People look to fitness and health as remedies, to help them feel better. Fitness increases longevity, mental clarity, strength, courage, and mental resilience. Now we’re just trying to create that in a virtual space.

How was the shift into digital for you?

The shift into digital was pretty seamless for us because we were ahead of it. We recognize that physical connection is irreplaceable, so we’re going above and beyond with our digital offerings making sure people still feel that they have human connection in a meaningful way.

How are you feeling?

Everybody knows that when you step out of your comfort zone that is where you truly find growth and magic. Right now we’re being forced into things we’re not comfortable with. As the community pulls together, the more we support each other, the more we can help people find their true gifts so that they can prevail and come through this.

And what about the business?

As long as we’re still standing, we’re asking ‘what is the most we can do to help?'

Jamie Maitland of The Office (@theoffice954)

The Office is offering free classes at @theoffice954

What are you up to these days?

We have been streaming live mini-workouts outs along with some spin classes. I want our community to feel like they are still able to connect with us on a personal level, so all of the workouts have been real, not perfect, just the way it is.

How is your community doing?

My community is super inspiring, everyone is coming together, even the studios are coming together. People do miss their outing to the gym, though. The workout community is an escape and I love being that for people, but things always change and we just have to move forward.

How are you personally handling the situation?

I’m ready to take on anything that you throw at me on a deeper level. I’m still waking up every day and able to do what I love to do every day, so I’m grateful for that. Perspective and mindset will get us through this. I’m trying not to overthink and am doing my best, it’s one of the four agreements. You have to learn to surf and flow. Things ebb and flow, that’s life, it’s a jungle.

What’s your favorite home workout rn?

Butchering my accessory muscles. Short workouts, but killer. Like doing 1,000 donkey kicks.

Kamps - Ari and Sam Karl (@kampsfit)

Kamps is offering free daily classes through Kamps Live

What are you up to these days?

We’re live-streaming classes on Zoom for free. We’re also raising money for Feeding America, which helps fund food banks across the country. These organizations are feeding the children who are usually fed in public school, it’s so important right now.

How was the shift to digital?

We have been extra cautious watching this materialize, so we closed early on. We didn’t want to be part of the problem. Because we closed early, we had some time to prepare and took an organized approach.

We’ve never done digital, so we face challenges every day. We’re still working on sound and image quality, and interaction. It’s been constantly evolving since we’ve been online, but our digital community is growing - we now have people tuning in to our workouts from all over the globe, it’s inspiring to see.

How is your community doing?

We have a good base of clientele that we see every day and we’re still feeling a sense of community through our free classes. Everyone seems to be doing okay, and we are doing our best to keep everyone in good physical and mental shape throughout this crisis.

What is your favorite workout rn?

All of our trainers bring an exciting and unique aspect to the workout. Elena’s boxing classes are incredible!

If you’re looking for ways to support your favorite gym or trainer right now, check out these 9 Ways to Support your Local Gym and Trainer.

I got to catch up with three South Florida gym owners to find out how quarantine has affected them and what is keeping them sane.

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What It Takes to Win the Miami Marathon. The Winners Tell All

This year’s Life Time Miami Marathon was a sold-out event with 18,493 registered runners. Something of a local rite of passage, over 8,000 of these runners were South Florida residents. While people of many abilities, ages, genders, and nationalities ran the races, it takes something special to be the first man or woman over the finish line. 

We connected with a few of the elite winners from the full and half marathons to find out what it took to come in first and what, in their mind, makes the Miami Marathon a special international race. 

Full Marathon 1st Place Female  - Aydee Loayza Huaman, age 25, of Lima, Peru

Time: 2:46:54

Aydee Loayza Huaman is an established world-class trail runner and the first female athlete from South America to complete the 44K Trail Running World Championship race (she finished 9th in 2019). She also finished 4th in the 2019 Lima Half Marathon.

Q: What was the number one thing that helped you cross the finish line?

A: The strength, courage and faith in myself. I was also focused in [sic] my family and what this will mean for them too. I also thought about all of the Peruvians who trusted me and supported me to get to Miami: the Peru Runner's team and their ONG Chaki Wayra. I thought about my training and all of the effort I put into each of those training days…  and the passion I feel for running.

Q: What makes the Miami Marathon special?

A: The amount of people who participate, run for love, passion and for fun. I loved that I could run next to so many beautiful locations, next to the sea; with a bright sun on top of my head and happiness everywhere I went. I also think it is very important to highlight the races [sic] hydration system, everything they did was very good and organized, since [sic] the time I arrived in the morning to the time I got back to my recovery massages and had a nice meal.  

Half Marathon 1st Place Male Dominic Korir, age 26, of Kericho Kenya

Time: 1:03:52

Dominic Korir entered the 2020 Miami Half Marathon as the defending runner-up. After his 2nd place finish in Miami last year, Dominic went on to place 3rd in the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K and 4th in the B.A.A. Boston Half Marathon – among other races he ran in 2019.

Q: What was the number one thing that helped you cross the finish line?

A: Knowing the course. I ran it last year and this year was going to be mine. I owned it and came out as the winner.

Q: What makes the Miami Marathon special?

A: The organizers, the local community, the runners  and the energy that Miami brings out from everyone. I will be back again next year. 

Half Marathon 1st Place Female Beatie Deutsch, age 30, of Jerusalem, Israel

Time: 1:16:4 

Beatie is well known as the ‘Marathon Mother.‘ Less than three years after she started competitively running, Beatie Deutsch won the 2019 Tiberias Marathon, the 2019 Riga Half Marathon, the 2019 Tel Aviv Half Marathon and the Israeli Half Marathon Championships.

Q: What was the number one thing that helped you cross the finish line?

I was really motivated to win for my country, Israel and the Jewish community. Miami is a race that attracts a lot of Jews from all over and there are several big Jewish charities that have teams that run there. It was really important for me to be able to proudly represent Israel and what it means to be an Orthodox Jewish woman on the podium. It was my first time racing in the States and I felt a certain sense of responsibility to my community. 

Q: What makes the Miami Marathon special?

Miami was special for me because of the beautiful scenery, the large percentage of Jewish runners (I loved hearing Jewish music on the course), and the incredible atmosphere and organization!

We congratulate all of the winners of the 2020 Miami Marathon and Half Marathon as well as all of the participants who crushed their own personal goals. 

STAY FIT 305 connected with a few of the elite winners from the full and half Miami marathons to find out what it took to come in first place.

Tierra Santa Spa

The Faena Miami Beach Spa Made for the Best Rest Day

If you’re an athlete of any caliber, you know rest days are crucial to progression. Is there a better way to spend your day off than getting pampered at one of Miami’s best spas? I booked a massage that a friend gifted me at Tierra Santa Healing House and proceeded to have the best. day. ever.

Located in a spacious sanctuary on the second floor of the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach, Tierra Santa Healing House feels as though the spa at a 5-star hotel and your favorite Tulum beach resort had a baby. Considered one of Miami’s best spas, Tierra Santa Healing House blends “shaman-developed body-healing rituals” with the luxuries of a traditional spa, resulting in an authentic and enjoyable healing experience.

I arrived 30 minutes early for my massage to enjoy all that the spa has to offer. After a first-class greeting and check-in process, I was led to the fabulous wet spa. To be honest, I find hammams to be the highlight of any spa experience, so I spent the entirety of my steam room, hammam, sauna, cold shower rotation completely elated. In hindsight, I would have given myself more time here. My only complaint about literally the entire day was that the cold cycles didn’t feel quite cold enough.

After my hammam session, I enjoyed a cup of warm herbal tea and was escorted to the back for my massage. To prepare for the session, I chose my own chakra balancing essential oil scent (I chose palo santo), the lighting, and temperature.

My 80-minute Swedish massage at Tierra Santa Healing House was quite honestly one of the best massages I’ve ever received. In the past, I have found some of my luxury hotel spa massages to lack depth, but this was not that kind of experience. The pressure was perfect, my masseuse was obviously very skilled, and the entire experience flowed like magic. I topped off my massage with a 15-minute chakra harmonization. By the end, I was so relaxed I could barely stand. But, the hammam was calling me back.

After a couple more cycles in the wet spa, I headed out. The locker room is a lovely sanctuary in itself, but rather than primp for the day, I went straight to my beach chair (included with an 80+ minute session) to alternate between ocean dips and soaking in the perfect winter sun.

If you are interested in alternative healing but don’t want to give up the luxury of a five-star spa, Tierra Santa Healing House is without a doubt one of the best options in Miami.

Rest days are important and we visited the Tierra Santa Healing House at Faena Hotel on Miami Beach for the best rest day ever.

Fitbox Method

Is Edgewater Miami's Next Great Fitness Neighborhood?

Margaret Pace Park has long been downtown Miami’s go-to for tennis, basketball, beach volleyball and running. Now, more and more health-minded businesses are starting to open their doors in this energized bayside neighborhood. Edgewater is becoming a dense, walkable jungle of all things wellness, giving other fitness-minded Miami neighborhoods a run for their money.

Here are some of the top Edgewater gyms, services, and eateries to put on your must-try list.

Places to Sweat

  • Fitbox - a high octane boxing class that will get you pumped for the day or night ahead.
  • Red Bike - Miami’s favorite cycling studio recently opened its doors in Edgewater.
  • Miami Strong - Edgewater’s newest gym brings effective fat-burning, muscle-building workouts.
  • The Barre Code - this studio offers total body barre classes right on the bay.
  • Legacy Fit - this popular partner interval training gym is an Edgewater mainstay.
  • Budokon - Cameron Shayne, the master of Mixed Movement Arts, brought his unique and challenging program to the neighborhood.
  • Elev8tion - with weight lifting, HIIT, cycling, and cardio boxing there’s something for everyone at this Edgewater gym.
  • Fight Club - work up a sweat at Miami’s OG boxing gym.
  • Sacred Space - a national leader for high vibe yoga and healing events.

Places to Recover

Healthy Eateries

  • Pura Vida - Edgewater residents rejoiced when this popular Miami Beach eatery opened its doors bayside this year.
  • Green G - this juice bar serves up some of Miami’s top smoothies and bowls.
  • The Hideout Cafe - get your daily Shroom coffee fix or pick up a yummy smoothie or avocado toast at this new Edgewater cafe.
  • Vice City Bean - fuel up on some of the best coffee in Miami post-Budokon or Elev8tion.

Here are some of the top Edgewater Miami's gyms, services, and eateries to put on your must-try list.

Miami Mamas|Miami Mamas

Getting Your Fitness Groove Back - A Guide For Miami Mamas

When I first had my baby, it was striking how difficult it was to get in a workout. Not only has your whole life flipped upside down, but your body has just gone through nine-ish months of metamorphosis and your are so.darn.tired.If you want to go to a fitness class, you need to have childcare, and even if you do, your baby might not be interested in spending time with anyone but their mama.Here are a few ways to make sure you don’t get out of your fitness groove once you become a new mama. If you do find time to get out of the house sans baby, make sure to hit up one of these top Miami gyms.In the beginning (once you have your doctor’s green light to exercise) *make sure to check in with your doctor before starting any exercise program*TA squeezes - a common complaint amongst new (and not new) mamas is that their abs are loose. When you have a baby, a lot of things get moved around, including your abdominal muscles. In the beginning, it is super important to forgo the usual crunches and focus in on working a lesser known muscle, the transverse abdominus. The transverse abdominus runs horizontally and works much like a corset to tighten your abdomen on a deeper level.How to do the TA squeeze:Lay down on your back with your knees bent or get on your hands and knees.

  1. Take a deep breath in.
  2. Exhale deeply envisioning your inner abdominal muscles squeezing in like a corset.
  3. Hold your breath for 8-10 seconds
  4. Hold everything in and take another regular inhale and exhale.
  5. Inhale, release and repeat.

Other gentle exercises you can do at home: marches (on your back), heel slides, bridges, kegels.1). Go for a walk - we’re lucky to have good weather almost all year here in Miami, so take advantage of it! If you can, head to the waterfront or park. Heading into nature for a walk will not only get your blood flowing, but is also good for your mental health. One study conducted by researchers at Stanford showed that spending time in nature may decrease negative thoughts and depression.2). Do a gentle yoga flow - if you are able to get out of the house, head to Tropical Vinyasa or Dharma Yoga for a wonderful, gentle mommy & me flow class. If not, check out YogaGlo - they have great gentle and restorative options and everything is online.As you get stronger (check with your doctor before starting any new program)3). HIIT - Much of the research on HIIT has concluded that High Intensity Interval Training is at least equal to (some say better than) longer form training. The major benefit of HIIT for moms is that you don’t need a lot of time for it to be effective and you can do it anywhere and while watching your babe.Here is my favorite HIIT workout du jour:

Miami Mamas

4). Strength training - buy a pair of weights (start with 5lbs and work your way up) and do an at home strength circuit

20 minute workout for arms

Plank - 60 seconds

20 Push ups

5 push ups with elbows in

10 pushup rows

10 pilates arm circles

10 bicep curls

20 tricep dips

(repeat this circuit 3-5 times)

5). Head out for a mommy & me class - Miami has several great ones! I also regularly teach a Mama & Me Bootcamp.6). Keep doing those TA squeezes - it is really common for moms to feel insecure about their midsection for years after having a baby. Make sure to keep working your transverse abdominus for years to come.

Here are a few ways to make sure you don’t get out of your fitness groove once you become a new mama. If you do find time to get out of the house sans baby, make sure to hit up one of these top Miami gyms.

Mommy & Me Fitness Classes in Miami

7 Mommy & Me Fitness Classes in Miami For the Active Family

When you have a baby, it may seem like you’ll never be able to get a good studio workout ever again, but it’s just not true. You don’t have to give up your fit life just because you have a family. There are several wonderful fitness classes in Miami that are designed specifically to keep mamas moving.Body Belly Baby Postnatal Pilates with Baby - Body Belly Baby founder Valerie Massoni teaches a pilates class that will help you gently re-tone the right muscles post-babe. The class is light-hearted, yet challenging. Ahana Yoga Mommy + Me Music Monday - Ahana is one of my favorite yoga studios, so it is a pleasure to get to take my babe to join in the community. Their mommy & me music class is a great way to introduce your little ones to music, movement and community. Not so much a workout for mom as a way to bond with your babe over some singing and music making.Dharma Yoga Baby & Me - Mommy and Me yoga at Dharma Yoga in Coconut Grove is a good excuse to get out of the house with your babe and soak up some super zen vibes. This class got my body moving and helped me to release a lot of tension.Zumbini - Ashlee Cramer’s Zumbini class is so much fun. It is a vibrant mix of song and dance that the babes seem to love. Again, this class is much more enrichment for babe than Zumba for mama. Meetup groups - Check out Meetup for Mommy and Me walks or workouts in the park.Equinox Kids Club - want to take a class without your babe? Select Equinox locations (Coral Gables, Aventura, Brickell Heights) offer Kids Clubs where your kids age 3-months to 7-years can hang while you workout for up to 2-hours for an additional (very reasonable) cost. I left my four month old daughter in the Brickell Heights Kids Club while I took Jil Deviscour’s Best Butt Ever, and we both had a great time. Baby Swap - on the weekends my husband and I will sign up for back-to-back classes at Flywheel or Barry’s Bootcamp in Sunset Harbor and switch off on baby watching duties.

There are several wonderful fitness classes in Miami that are designed specifically to keep mamas moving.

|Cameron Shayne

Budokon is Delivering an Unmatched Physical and Mental Experience in Miami

For some reason when I signed up for Budokon’s Mobility and Agility class, I thought I was in for just another Yoga class. Boy, was I wrong.The description of the class listed on the Budokon website reads: “This class explores hip, spine and shoulder mobility through a variety of yogic transitions, animal locomotion and martial arts techniques that will change the way you move.”Indeed, this one-hour class challenged my body in ways that I didn’t know were possible.The class I took was taught by Jose who introduced the class with “get rid of what you expected - this is not a yoga class,” he made clear.Throughout the next hour, we moved our bodies in natural, but challenging, undulating movements. I spent a lot of my time observing the teacher and who I assumed were regular students - all absolutely gorgeous movers.I mostly felt a bit awkward, but this was no fault of the teacher. Jose was incredibly helpful and gave each student focused individual attention to help them understand the movements. He made me feel welcome and confident in the movements despite my own perceived shortcomings.“Everyone’s body is unique,” he stressed, “and we should move as such.”Melayne Shayne, who is the Global Brand Director of Budokon University and wife of founder Cameron Shayne walked in mid-way through our warm-up and greeted everyone with a warm hug and kiss.Everyone who works here gives off the energy that they were designed to move - their warmth and welcome emanate naturally. The entire class seemed to flow.Towards the end, students started trickling in for the next session (sparring). Some would join us on the mat and others would ebb out into the day.

Cameron Shayne

And then Cameron Shayne, owner and “Father of Mixed Movement Arts,” stepped in to take over. The energy in the room shifted to a level of razor-sharp focus as more people flowed off the street and onto the mat.Cameron is a fascinating persona; he is both intense and philosophical, with over 30 years of martial arts experience. Its all he has ever known.Son to a notorious street fighter, Cameron found martial arts at the age of twelve. He went on to achieve a 4th degree black belt in Olympic Style Taekwondo under the Harmon brothers, a 3rd degree black belt in Yoshukai Karate under kick boxing world champion Gerry Blank, a brown belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with Rickson Gracie, and a 4th degree black belt with Gui Arashiro.He has been practicing – mostly self guided - yoga for over 20 years. He once worked as Charlie Sheen’s Bodyguard. In recent years, he has focused on researching and teaching animal locomotion to create the Budokon system. (read more about Cameron).Animal locomotion is Cameron’s signature philosophy and I was lucky enough to experience his instruction in the last minutes of class. We started moving like gorillas and then shifting into the movements of a panther and a lizard (Cameron and Jose did this effortlessly – me, not so much).“Humans are weak and animals are strong,” Shayne explains. “By changing the surface or number of limbs you use to locomotive, you can change your anatomy.”I left after the first class (I’m pregnant, so wasn’t up for sparring), but would highly recommend staying through the evening. The evening classes shift seamlessly from mobility & agility into striking (described as: a combination of striking techniques from boxing, karate, and taekwondo to help build a solid foundation of skill, stamina, and practical self defense), and finally onto grappling (described as: this class combines wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to help build a solid foundation of ground combat for self defense).If you are looking for a workout that will completely shift the way you think about your body, you must give Budokon a try.For more information visit, http://www.budokon.com/.

Budokon is a place to not just train, but to learn. Become a master of physical and mental fitness with the "Father of Mixed Movement Arts," Cameron Shayne.

Myk Likhov, Founder of Modern ŌM and The 7

Quick 10 with the Founder of Modern ŌM and The 7, Myk Likhov

In 2007, Myk Likhov founded Miami’s Green Monkey Yoga because he wanted to make yoga accessible to the Miami mainstream. Last year, he launched Modern ŌM, which has a mission of doing the same for meditation through their underground meditation community The 7.I had the opportunity to sit for a guided meditation in the Modern ŌM loft after our chat and was blown away. Sitting for 15 minutes in my own home feels like an eternity. Sitting for 45 minutes surrounded by members of my community, guided by an awesome teacher went by quickly, and seemed much more impactful.Adding to the experience, Myk offered us all a post-sit tea and we had the opportunity to stick around and talk about our experiences of both the wonders and challenges of meditation.

  1. You have a background in economics and business. How did you come to start a meditation-focused business?

My lifelong passion is personal development. My whole life I’ve been reading books on both eastern and western spirituality, and the reading led to my yoga and meditation practices.My foray into the business of spirituality began right before I entered Wharton. My mom sent me to a 3-day session with two karmic astrologers in Vermont. I went to humor her, but I had some pretty profound spiritual experiences there. At the end, they kind of gave me the idea to go into the spirituality business.

  1. How long have you been practicing yoga?

I’ve been practicing yoga 2-3 times a week since I was 20. I completed two teacher trainings: one with with Paul Toliuszis, now of Tropical Vinyasa, and one with Rossella Rossi to deepen my practice and to connect with the Green Monkey Yoga teachers. I also subbed a few classes in the early days of Green Monkey.

  1. How did Green Monkey impact Miami’s yoga community?

Green Monkey Yoga helped bring yoga to the mainstream. We made yoga really accessible and community-driven. It helped to shine a light on that aspect of wellness and making it non-threatening.

*Read: Miami's Best Yoga Studios - Where to Practice in 2017*

Green Monkey allowed people who were interested in yoga, but maybe hadn’t tried it, to be suddenly very open to the practice.

  1. What is Modern ŌM?

The mission of Modern ŌM is to make mindfulness accessible through product, practice, and community. It’s exciting because we are on the cutting edge of mindfulness not only in Miami, but also nationally and globally. Making these practices palatable and relatable is a really big deal, because we can help a lot of people.

  1. Aren’t yoga and mindfulness the same thing?

Mindfulness is a set of practices and attitudes that are not dissimilar to yoga, but broader than yoga. Mindfulness can be applied to many areas of life —you can eat mindfully, exercise mindfully, speak mindfully, work mindfully… people can incorporate this set of practices into so many things that they do.

  1. What is the Modern ŌM community like?

Modern ŌM started with the launch of the products and then I realized that people really need to experience the practices, so I started an underground meditation community. I’ve always sort of been the ringleader in life, the party was always at my house. The party is still at my house, only this time it’s a meditation.

  1. What do the colors behind the Modern ŌM products mean?

The product line represents intentionality. Modern OM products have 7 intentions (such as Vitality, Compassion, Connection…) that correlate to the body’s chakras (energy centers). Because the chakra system can be a bit esoteric and complex, we made them more accessible by reconsidering the chakras as intentions and colors and bringing them into everyday objects that remind people of who they want to be and how they want to live.

  1. Tell me about your own meditation practice?

I meditate at least once a day for at least 12 minutes at a time. I also attend all of the bi-weekly sits of The 7. Meditation can be really powerful when practiced in a group, there is almost a tribal element to a community setting that allows people to connect in a more meaningful way.

  1. Can everyone benefit from meditation?

Yes. Meditation is hugely beneficial in this world that we live in because we’re always so stressed, anxious and over stimulated. It can help people find a deeper understanding of who they are, which helps them choose to release thoughts and emotions that aren’t serving them. Meditation becomes a tool that is useful in all areas of life and the longer you spend with the practice, the more accessible the tool will be.

  1. What are you excited about right now?

I’m really excited about our upcoming Mass Meditation at Brickell City Center that will take place on Earth Day. My friends and teachers Luchi Estevez and Jennifer Grace will be leading the meditation. There will be 1,000 people there – the largest event of its kind. And it’s free! Get tickets.

Last year, Myk Likhov launched Modern ŌM, with the mission of making meditation mainstream through their underground community, The 7.

Tropical Vinyasa

It's Positive Vibes Only at This New Addition to Miami's Yoga Scene

While the Tropical Vinyasa studio just opened in September, founder Amy Dannheim and teacher Paul Toliuszis have been favorites amongst Miami yogis for some time. It's no wonder that this studio is getting so much buzz.I had the opportunity to join Jake Ferree (who recently joined the crew from Los Angeles) for their signature one-hour Pineapple Express class one Friday afternoon at 12pm (other top classes include ‘Tropical Flow’ and the weekly ‘Yoga Church’).

*Read: Miami's Best Yoga Studios - Where to Practice in 2017*

Despite the class being held during the middle of the day, the room was completely packed with focused students, which speaks volumes about both teacher and studio. Jake's class was a perfect blend of challenging asana, a little bit of sweat, upbeat music and teacher-generated zeal.

*Read: 10 Miami Gyms You Need to Try in 2017*

The airy atmosphere at Tropical Vinyasa adds to the experience. A stroll down an artsy Sunset Harbor alley (with a Juice Lab next door!) led me to this beautiful studio, which lends itself to uplifting flow and beats. The space itself is light and minimalist with a hint of sunny cheerfulness that happens to match the teacher's energy to a T.Practice at Tropical Vinyasa is a must for locals and visitors alike. They also offer workshops and a 200 hr. yoga teacher training for the yogi looking to deepen their practice. Find out more and view their schedule at: http://www.tropicalvinyasa.com/.

While the Tropical Vinyasa studio just opened in September, founder Amy Dannheim and teacher Paul Toliuszis have been favorites amongst Miami yogis for some time.

Miami’s Best Yoga Studios|Tropical Vinyasa|Miami’s Best Yoga Studios

Miami’s Best Yoga Studios - Where to Practice in 2017

Cutting edge yoga studios are on the rise all over the world and Miami is no exception. In fact, some of the country’s most sought after instructors teach along our fair beaches. Over the past couple of years Miami’s yoga scene has experienced a major growth spurt and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2017. Here are the top studios to lay down your mat this year.Green MonkeyGreen Monkey is Miami’s quintessential yoga studio. With locations in Miami Beach and Coral Gables, Green Monkey is a go-to for Miamians who want to practice vinyasa flow or power yoga in a sleek studio setting.Miami Life CenterMiami Life Center is a first-rate Ashtanga studio located in the heart of Miami Beach. Co-founder Kino McGregor’s vibrant smile and bendy poses showcased on her Instagram feed have helped bring this studio into the national spotlight. Keep in mind that Ashtanga is a vigorous tradition that doesn’t tickle everyone’s fancy.[caption id="attachment_1472" align="alignnone" width="1000"]

Miami’s Best Yoga Studios

Tropical Vinyasa Miami Beach[/caption]Tropical VinyasaMiami Beach’s newest yoga studio founded by Amy Dannheim and legendary Miami Beach Yoga instructor, Paul Toliuszis, is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Between their beautiful space in Sunset Harbor, leading local teachers and light hearted events, Tropical Vinyasa is not to be missed.Om MovementLocal favorite and Lululemon ambassador Pablo Lucero recently opened up this studio in Coconut Grove. Pablo’s unique Alignment Based Power Yoga style and charismatic presence will keep you coming back for more.Yoga at The FreehandBeachfront asana is a must when living in / visiting beautiful Miami. Super hip restaurant / bar / hotel The Freehand offers yoga on the beach each Saturday to guests and non-guests alike.Love Life WellnessMore than just a yoga studio, this Wynwood favorite is a wellness center that serves up some of the city’s best yoga alongside delicious café selections, compelling workshops, massage treatments and more.Standard SpaEscape to this island haven for sunrise or SUP yoga. Post-class indulge in a massage or spa treatment or day at the hamam at The Standard Spa.[caption id="attachment_1473" align="alignnone" width="2048"]

Miami’s Best Yoga Studios

Inhale Miami[/caption]Inhale MiamiOne of Miami’s newer yoga studios, Inhale offers an atmosphere of serenity and reprieve combined with a vibrant lineup of classes that range from Kundalini to Soulmix – a lively practice alongside a live DJ.TRIOLocals gush about the top-notch teachers at this Edgewater studio. Book a simple flow class or spice things up by trying a Kirtan Vinyasa, Jivamukti or AcroYoga class.AyamaFounder Mano (Mariano) Ardissone is North Miami’s yoga darling. Mano has background in Chinese Medical QiGong, is a Reiki master and has trained with some of the world’s most highly regarded yogis. His classes tend to offer a more in-depth yoga experience.BudokonCameron Shayne’s Budokon blends the movements of yoga with the those of traditional martial arts. The resulting mixed movement arts class will push your limits – both mentally and physically.

Miami’s yoga scene has experienced a major growth spurt and shows no signs of slowing down in 2017. Here are the top studios to lay down your mat this year.

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Aila Will Boost Your Workout, Naturally

I didn’t think that I energized before a workout, until I met Aila

A few weeks ago, Katie Webb, the founder of Aila reached out asking if I’d like to review her natural pre-workout energy supplement designed specifically for women. I told her that I don’t usually energize before I exercise, but that I have been looking for something to replace the jitters from my morning (and afternoon) coffee. I was impressed by the natural ingredients on the nutrition label, so decided to give it a shot.

I received several single-serve Aila packets in the mail and simply mixed one in with a large glass of water. I drank my glass of Aila water, which tasted a lot like a mellow cup of matcha, in place of my morning coffee, and sat down to write.

I started typing and found myself so energized (though not jittery) that I literally had to move my body. Thankfully, I’m able to split my days between being physical and sitting at my desk, so I got up, did a high-intensity workout, and felt great.

Later that day, I was still feeling energized. Where I might usually drink 2-3 cups of coffee throughout the day, I felt that one packet of Aila gave me the energy to power through a full day of writing and training. 

Why did it make me feel so magical? Here’s a break down of the natural ingredients that first attracted me to Aila:

  • Matcha Green Tea: Matcha is a natural source of caffeine. Essentially, it’s green tea on steroids. It has many proven health benefits, namely that it contains a ton of antioxidants that protect your body from damaging free radicals. In fact, one study found that matcha contains 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG, a potent antioxidant, than green tea. 
  • Bee Pollen: Research has shown that bee pollen has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  
  • Beet Root Powder: Beet root powder helps your body create nitric oxide, which is a really cool molecule that helps to expand your blood vessels and increase circulation. Eating beet root has been shown to increase some types of athletic performance and also lower blood pressure. 
  • Spirulina: Some argue that spirulina is the most nutrient dense food on the planet. It contains proteins, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and more. Studies have shown that it may also increase exercise performance. 
  • Stevia Extract: A plant-derived sweetener which the Center for Science in the Public Interest has called safe. 
  • PurCaf®:  PurCaf® is an organic, non-GMO caffeine source derived from green coffee beans that is GRAS (generally recognized as safe) certified.

If you’re thinking that Aila was formulated with a lot of care, you’re right.

"I created Aila after a frustrating search for a pre-workout that worked for me,” says founder Katie Webb. “Most products I tried were high in stimulants and messed with my stomach, or gave me that awful itchy feeling. They also looked really masculine and intense. Our formula is completely unique and was created with women's health and nutrition in mind."

Bottom line: I loved trying Aila and while I may not swap out my morning coffee, I have been convinced that energizing with a high-quality natural supplement pre-workout might be worth my while. 

Disclosure: I received Alia in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Katie Webb developed Aila as a natural, pre-workout energy supplement designed specifically for women.

Lucette Talamas|Lucette Talamas

5 Things to Know About Your Post-Workout Meals

We recently spoke with Lucette Talamas, a Registered Dietitian (RD) at Baptist Health South Florida about how to properly fuel your workouts.

*RELATED The Best Foods to Eat Before and During a Workout

You probably learned a lot about whole foods, carbs, hydration,and what not to eat.

But what about post-workout meals? We caught up with Lucette toget the science-backed scoop on what to eat for proper recovery.

Post-Workout

  • Timing is important - The post-workout refuel is really important. Lucette says to eat as soon as possible after a vigorous workout for proper recovery. In the window up to 30 to 90 minutes after your workout is the most effective time for glycogen replenishment and muscle recovery. As Lucette puts it, during this time, “your engine is revved up and in high repair mode.”
  • Eat a Mix of Carbs and Protein - Lucette suggests refueling with a meal that is an appropriate blend of carbohydrates and protein to optimally repair muscle and replenish glycogen stores. She says to think about a ratio of 3 carbs to 1 gram of protein (3:1) as this mixture is synergistic, meaning the nutrients will work together to be the most effective for recovery. Interestingly, a serving of chocolate milk has the perfect sports recovery ratio.
  • Opt for Whole Foods - Lucette has a “food first” philosophy stating a meal of whole foods that are balanced of carbs, proteins and vegetables are best. This could simply be your dinner or a hot breakfast after a morning workout. Chicken and brown rice and vegetables would be a standard example. Regardless of what people tell you, protein powder is not a magic bullet. It is a convenient option if you aren’t able to get to a meal right away, but don’t forget you’ll also need a source of carbs to properly refuel your muscles.
  • Hydrate - Hydration is also incredibly important post-workout. Electrolyte replacements have become fairly ubiquitous, but should again only be necessary if you exercise for over 60 minutes vigorously. Though Lucette does admit the unique hot and humid climate in Florida, it may indicate that you need to replenish a bit sooner. Again, she takes the food first approach saying to replenish the key electrolytes, sodium, and potassium, with whole foods. The standard American person eats plenty of salty foods, so you shouldn’t overthink this one. Potassium can be found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Some examples of high potassium foods include bananas, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and dairy products.
  • You probably don’t need supplements - Supplements often promise a big return, but really it is a largely unregulated market, meaning you can’t know for sure about the product’s purity, safety, and effectiveness. Lucette thinks most supplements are unnecessary for the general athletic population if you’re sticking to a balanced nutrition plan.

There is a good chance that you’vereceived a lot of misinformation about what to eat pre and post-workout.Lucette’s guidelines, aside from being approachable and delicious, highlightthe fact that sticking to evidence-based information from licensedprofessionals is the smart way to go!

Follow Lucette @miamidietitian and @baptisthealthsf for more healthy eating tips.

Hear from Lucette Talamas, a Registered Dietitian (RD) at Baptist Health South Florida, about how to properly fuel your body after a workout.

best foods to eat before and during a workout

The Best Foods to Eat Before and During a Workout

Does fueling for a workout leave your head spinning? It does mine. There is a lot of information out there and a lot of it is contradictory.

I was excited to catch up with Lucette Talamas, a Registered Dietitian (RD) at Baptist Health South Florida, about what science says we should eat before and during a workout.

*RELATED 10 Hydrating Foods You Need in Your Diet

RDs are great resources for nutrition tips because their recommendations are based on evidence-based practice.

Here are some of the best foods to eat before and during a workout.

Before a Workout

  • Eat carbs - Lucette recommends that you eat a meal containing carbohydrates two to four hours before you work out. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is the main fuel for exercise. Eating a piece of fruit 30 to 60 minutes before is a practical way to get in a pre-workout boost. If you can stomach more, you could also combine a carbohydrate with protein and munch on something like a piece of avocado or nut butter toast.
  • Caffeine - There is some research that says caffeine is an ergogenic aid, a substance that can enhance performance, so it could be helpful for your workout to drink a small coffee (equivalent 8 oz of American coffee or a shot of colada). However, caffeine may cause feelings of anxiety, irritability, and insomnia in some people. If this sounds familiar, it would be best to avoid it pre-workout. The real energy for a workout comes from your glycogen stores anyway.
  • There are some foods to avoid - Lucette recommends to listen to your body, if any foods give you gas or stomach discomfort, it would be advisable not to eat these before your workouts. Foods with high-fat content, like a burger and fries or pizza, could fall into this category because the excess fat can slow down digestion. Eating too much fiber would also have a detrimental impact on your stomach pre-workout, but most people don’t eat enough fiber for this to be an issue.

*RELATED 3 Pre and Post-Workout CBD Recipes You Need to Try

During a Workout

  • Water - Hydration is an absolute necessity during your workouts. The goal is to drink enough water during your workout to replace what is being lost in sweat.
  • You don’t need protein shakes - According to Lucette, and science, it’s not necessary to slurp on a protein shake while you’re working out. Unless you are training for an endurance event, like a marathon or triathlon, where you will be exercising vigorously for 60 minutes or more, you don’t need to consume anything except water while working out.
  • You might not need sports drinks either – If you are in the gym or taking a class that is no more than an hour, all you need is water. If you are training for an endurance event, you can consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates for every hour of vigorous movement. This is the ideal situation for consuming sports drinks, in fact they were formulated specifically for this purpose. Liquid carbohydrates, like sports drinks, deliver simple carbs that will boost your energy as well as provide hydration and electrolytes. The best approach is to try out some different products, like sports drinks, gels, or gummies during your training so you’ll know what works best for you on the day of your event.
  • Energy drinks + working out = No Bueno - According to Lucette, there is absolutely no reason to drink an energy drink while working out. They can be dangerous, especially if you have an underlying heart issue. Everyone’s body would react differently to the combined effect of caffeine and stimulants.

Importantly, pre-workout nutrition doesn’t have to becomplicated. It is actually quite approachable. Simply eat whole foods,including carbs, within 2 hours before your workout and make sure you hydratewith water, especially in the Florida heat.

Follow Lucette @miamidietitian and @baptisthealthsf for more healthy eating tips.

Lucette Talamas, a Registered Dietitian at Baptist Health South Florida, shares what science says you should eat before and during a workout.

La Croix

6 South Florida Companies Making Waves in the Natural Foods Industry

I recently attended Natural Products Expo East, an annual industry trade show that showcases all of the movers and shakers in the natural products industry. I was on the hunt for South Florida companies that are making waves in the naturals space and man, did I find some great ones. Here’s what I found:

  1. Shanti Bar Founded by Lauren Feingold and Ashanty Williams, who met while working at M Cycle in South Miami (now closed), Shanti Bar makes high-in-protein raw food and superfood bars. Each bar contains 10-17g of plant protein, healthy ingredients like spirulina, coconut, maca, turmeric and more and contains no refined sugars or preservatives. The best news? They truly taste great. You can find Shanti Bar on their website or at local Whole Foods.
  2. The Spice Lab Based in Pompano beach, The Spice Lab is a woman-owned and family-run business that sells an array of gourmet gifts such as peppers, spices, seasonings, rubs, loose teas and more. Particularly of interest to the active-minded consumer are their new Spices Plus blends of herbs, such as Turmeric that include Probiotics (as of posting date, not yet available on their) and their 100% pure salt bath soaks. Their products can be purchased on their website.
  3. Powerful Foods Created with athletes in mind, this Miami Beach based company makes yogurts, oatmeals, smoothies, drinks and more packed with 21-25 grams of whey protein per serving. Their yogurt is so delicious that it won “Best Yogurt” at the 2013 World Dairy Congress in Switzerland. You can purchase their products on their website or locally at Walmart.
  4. 24 Hour Health This company’s CEO, Nathan Rich, told me at the show that he lost a significant amount of weight thanks in part to liquid vitamins. According to their site, “Multivitamin pills, capsules, gummy bears, tablets, and anything of the like, are near-useless placebos because the absorbability is only between 3%-20%...liquid vitamins are formulated with soluble ingredients that are absorbed up to 98%.” 24 Hour Health’s liquid vitamin blend is non-gmo, vegan, made in the USA, sugar and artificial sweetener free. You can purchase the liquid vitamin blends on their website.
  5. La Croix Did you know that La Croix’s parent company, National Beverage is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale? Arguably the best (at the very least, most popular) sparkling water on the market right now, La Croix takes South Florida based brands to the next level.
  6. PARA’KITO this Fort Lauderdale based company makes a wearable DEET-free blend of essential oils that is slow released and can withstand sweat and dips in the ocean.They have several sleek designs, including a sports band designed with the athlete in mind.

I recently attended Natural Products Expo East, an annual industry trade show that showcases all of the movers and shakers in the natural products industry. I was on the hunt for South Florida companies that are making waves in the naturals space and man, did I find some great ones.

Miami Dietitian Shares Tips To Boost Your Immune System Through Your Diet

As COVID-19 spreads across the nation, many of us are searching for what we can do to protect ourselves from the virus, right now. With no evidence-based treatment or cure available as of the publishing of this article, this desire might be leaving some of us feeling a bit powerless when it comes to our health. 

To make things more confusing, there seems to be an onslaught of messages and advertisements about all sorts of immune-boosting supplements and tinctures with promises to keep us safe.

*RELATED 9 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

How are we to know what is true and what is nonsense? We caught up with Miami-based dietician Lucette Talamas MS, RDN, LDN (@MiamiDietitian) to help us navigate home-based health during this unprecedented time. 

Is there anything that we can do at home, on top of social distancing, wearing a mask, and diligently washing our hands, to protect ourselves from COVID-19?

Lucette: There is no known evidenced-based treatment to prevent or cure COVID-19 yet, but there have been products and supplements claiming to do so. As we anticipate advancement in FDA approved treatments and a vaccine, we have to take precaution to avoid supplements and products that are not backed by science and may actually cause harm to your health.  

What we do know, however, is that a healthy diet can provide essential nutrients to help strengthen a person’s immune response to fight off pathogens.

So, certain foods can help us boost our immune system?

Lucette: Our immune system is always running and fighting off viruses and bacteria. The idea behind a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle is to help your immune system run at its best so it will be ready to fight off any infection caused by a virus or bacteria. 

Foods rich in vitamin A (or beta-carotene), vitamin C, vitamin E, and other nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and zinc help keep your immune system functioning optimally. (you see, it’s not just about Vitamin C!)

What are some healthy diet and lifestyle tips that will help support a healthy immune system?

Lucette: 

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This includes eating the right amount of calories to support a healthy weight. A low-calorie diet (i.e. less than 1200 calories per day) will not help you meet your macronutrient and micronutrient (vitamin and minerals) needs that will help your immune system run efficiently. 
  • Food first approach – eat your nutrients. Unless your healthcare provider has ordered for you to take a certain dietary supplement, you can obtain all the nutrients from a healthy diet. Dietary supplements carry risks such as unproven efficacy, untested and undeclared ingredients, and possibilities to exceed recommended upper limits of certain nutrients. Avoid the risks, and practice a food first approach. While all-natural, unprocessed foods provide nutritional value, these food below are particularly high in the following immune-supporting nutrients: 
  • Vitamin A rich foods: carrots, sweet potato, red bell peppers, green leafy vegetable like spinach, broccoli 
  • Vitamin C rich foods: citrus (oranges, lemon, limes), red bell pepper, tomatoes, melon, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli 
  • Vitamin E rich foods: almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts (or their nut butters), vegetable oils, wheat germ oil (*these are also high in healthy fats, so practice proper portions when enjoying) 
  • Vitamin B6: chickpeas, tuna, salmon, chicken breast, turkey, potatoes, whole grains, beans 
  • Zinc: Beef, seafood, poultry, beans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, & cashews, dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt 
  • Iron: beef, white beans, lentils, tofu, kidney beans, chickpeas, spinach 
  • Probiotics (health bacteria that live in your gut): Fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, non-dairy sources that contain live cultures
  • Prebiotics (they help nourish the probiotics): whole grains, artichokes, onion, garlic bananas 
  • Other healthy lifestyle recommendations to support a healthy immune system include: 
  • Regular exercise
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Minimizing stress

Now that we may have more time on our hands, it’s a good opportunity (and distraction) to get back into the kitchen and practice cooking skills with your family. Challenge yourselves to include some of the foods listed above in your dishes! 

We are grateful to Lucette for sharing this invaluable information. While it might be tempting to find a “miracle cure” in your kitchen cabinet, the truth is that until we find a vaccine and/or cure, our best defense against COVID-19 just may be staying home, washing our hands, wearing facemasks, following government advisories, and doing our best to maintain a healthy lifestyle while sheltering at home.

We caught up with Miami-based dietician Lucette Talamas MS, RDN, LDN to help us navigate home-based health during this unprecedented time.

7 Tips for Getting in Your Workouts While Sheltering at Home with Kids

Sheltering at home with your children while also working, homeschooling, parenting, trying to squeeze in self-care, and keeping up with your fitness routine is a unique and trying challenge. If you’re a parent, you might have previously had the luxury of taking some time to yourself on a regular basis to head to the gym and focus on your workouts. However, with everyone home from school, the office moved into the house, and all of the gyms closed, it might feel nearly impossible to keep up with your fitness regimen. 

I have been a personal trainer for new mothers and a work-from-home mom for years. Through the journey, I have discovered several strategies that can help you stay on track with your fitness routine while your whole family is home 24/7.

1. Make it a priority.

In my opinion, this is hands down the most important step to making sure you get in a workout. Make your daily workouts a must. This means you are committed to getting in your workouts no matter what. You may have to do your workout under less than perfect circumstances or sacrifice another part of your schedule in order to get them in.   

2. Ask a partner to dedicate time to child care during your workouts.

While not always possible, this is a great way to make sure you are still getting in some ‘me-time,’ even while everyone is sheltered under one roof. Create a schedule with your partner to identify which times are yours to spend alone working out and find a quiet space where you can exercise sans family. 

3. Get in workouts during nap times or school times.

Depending on the age of your children, you might be able to schedule in a dedicated workout time during their regular scheduled nap or digital school activities. Again, this may mean sacrificing some other activities that you need quiet time for. Children’s schedules tend to fluctuate a lot in the early years, so be open to changing things around every so often.

4. Restructure your workouts.

You may not be able to find time these days to get in a full hour of working out alone, but I bet you can find 20 minutes, or even two 10 minute periods. Consider doing shorter, higher intensity workouts to make sure you get them in.

5. Get your kids involved in your workout.

If you can’t find time to workout alone, make it a group activity! When my daughter was a baby, she loved being a part of my exercise routine. Now that she’s older, she’ll join me for my workouts by basically using me as her own personal jungle gym or following along with what I’m doing. 

6. Compromise.

If you are trying to work out with your child in tow and they don’t seem to want to let you get creative. Last night, I ate lego “pizzas” in-between weight lifting sets. It took quite a bit longer than usual, but I was still able to get in my full workout while playing with my daughter. 

7. Find an accountability buddy.

Digital accountability buddies work too! Committing to working out with one of your local trainers or teaming up with a friend to do an online workout can help you stay committed to showing up for your workout, no matter what.

This is undoubtedly a tough time for trying to keep up with everything in your life. While everyone’s situation is different, I would argue that self-care through fitness is especially important during difficult times. Though it may be challenging, doing what you can to keep up with your workouts may be more important now than ever. 

Here are seven strategies that can help you stay on track with your fitness routine while your entire family is home 24/7.

Decrease Risk of COVID-19 Transmission by Avoiding Slipstreams While Walking, Biking, and Running

With gyms closed and walking outside amongst the only activities still allowed during our Shelter-in-Place order, it seems as though more South Florida residents are heading outside to get in their daily walks and workouts. Getting outside in the beautiful weather can undoubtedly be beneficial to our mental and physical health, but a recent white paper released by researchers at KU Leuven and Eindhoven University of Technology encourages us to be cautious with our social distancing by avoiding other people’s slipstreams while walking, running, and cycling.

Please note that this research has come under scrutiny from the scientific community because it has not yet been peer-reviewed, was not conducted by virologists, and does not consider viral load. 

The Belgian and Dutch researchers found that while staying 6 feet apart is “very effective for people who stand still indoors or outdoors in calm weather,” when you are walking, running, or cycling outdoors, you risk entering into a cloud of microdroplets from another person’s slipstream, which is what researcher Bert Blocken, professor of civil engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology and KU Leuven, defines as “the zone that arises right behind a person when they are walking or cycling, and which pulls the air a bit along with this moving person." 

The research was conducted by simulating the release of saliva particles from people walking and running in different configurations e.g. two people side by side, diagonally behind and right behind each other. 

The researchers found that:

  • The risk of contamination is greatest when people walk or run closely behind each other and therefore in each other's slipstream.
  • Social distancing plays less of a role for two people who walk or run side by side in calm weather. The drops then end up behind the duo. 
  • Those who move in a staggered arrangement are also less likely to catch saliva droplets from the predecessor, at least when there is no substantial cross‐wind. 

Their findings have been visualized in this simulation video tweeted by Professor Blocken. Based on the results of this simulation, the researchers offer the following advice:

  • Keep a distance of at least ~13ft 1.5 inches to ~16 feet, 5 inches (4 to 5 meters) while walking behind someone in their slipstream.
  • Keep a distance of at least ~32 feet, 10 inches (10 meters) while running or cycling behind someone in their slipstream.
  • Keep a distance of at least ~65 feet, 7.5 inches (20 meters) when cycling fast behind someone in their slipstream.
  • If you want to overtake someone while cycling, start staggering from a long distance of ~65 feet, 7.5 inches (20 meters).

Along with the criticism, many people have used this white paper to question the safety of running, walking and biking outside altogether. An April 8 tweet by researcher @bertblocken attests that: “Cycling & running are not big risks for #COVID19 spread. But moving closely in slipstream is. This holds everywhere, also when walking in supermarkets, shops, etc. No need at all to ban running or cycling. #COVID #coronavirus.”

As of now, nothing has changed in the national recommendations for social distancing, even while heading outside to stay active. This research might make you consider being extra conscientious of your social distancing, by avoiding other people’s slipstreams, while getting in your outdoor workout. 

Read the full white paper here.

A ecent white paper encourages us to be cautious with our social distancing by avoiding other people’s slipstreams while walking, running, and cycling.

Ease Anxiety

5 Miami Meditation Experts Share Tips on How to Ease Anxiety

The spread of the COVID-19 virus has not only brought sickness it has also brought rapid change, uncertainty and all of the emotions that come along with experiencing these types of major transitions. People in Miami and beyond are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious, and that is okay. We want to continue to deliver tools to help you navigate this unprecedented time, so we reached out to five of Miami’s top meditation teachers to share their favorite mindfulness tools for easing stress and anxiety. 

Michael Stasko

Meditation teacher at Ahana Yoga, Modern Ōm, Atmananda Yoga, and Dharma Yoga. Follow on Instagram: @michaelstasko108

This is a demanding time; one which requires us to surrender our plans, to remain more isolated and to face uncertainty. For many, if not all of us, these times call us to be more mindful and to learn how to cope with feelings of fear or anxiety that may arise. Here are some suggestions to do just that:

  • Check-in with your body frequently. Direct your attention inside and search for anywhere you might be holding tension—soften the muscles of the stomach, unclench the jaw, and relax the shoulders down.
  • Practice yoga, pranayama (breath-work) and meditation. Do a little bit every day. (Michael is offering free meditations on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:00 pm).
  • Stay present. Breathe. If the mind carries you away into being anxious about the future, pull the plug by bringing your attention back to the breath.  
  • Install these healthy affirmations deep in your mind, like an essential software update:
  • I know this too shall pass. It is a temporary phase, and, just like it came, it will go. 
  • I trust the universe’s timeless wisdom and process. I can accept change and grow.  
  • My nature is love itself, and I am connected to everything.  I am never alone, and nothing can ever threaten that. 

Irina Vlada

Co-owner of Innergy Meditation

Our life is ever dynamic. It unfolds in every moment. The human mind has a tendency, a need, to predict the unknown flow of life, as prediction creates an illusion of safety and security. Yet, life holds no promises. That is why every moment and every breath within the moment is a gift on its own. 

Anxiety is a tendency to worry about the future, the mind disconnects from the present moment and goes on the journey of wonder about what’s next. When we explore negative outcomes, it creates doubt, fear, frustration. 

The power to address anxiety lies within the ability to maintain your attention in the present moment. Here are a few ways to raise your awareness and strengthen your capacity to focus, to be present, to be right where you are:

  1. Breathe. Practicing conscious breathing is key. Your mind is powered by breath. When your breath moves, your mind moves as well. Practice: Inhale for 3 counts, hold your breath at the top of inhalation for 3 counts, exhale for 3 counts, hold your breath at the bottom of exhalation for 3 counts. Inhale consciously with full awareness to the breath. Hold the breath with acceptance of the present moment. Exhale with gratitude for this moment, for this breath, for life itself.  
  2. Acceptance. Negative emotions begin to arise when we resist what is. We often develop an idea that things should be different, but the faster we adopt an attitude of acceptance, the faster we can release the resistance and accept the present moment just the way it is. There can be great peace in acceptance of difficult situations, in allowing things to simply be. Practice: Observe how you use the words ‘could’ or ‘should’. Notice what you are resisting in this current situation. Acknowledge the fact that it is already occurring. We do not have the power to change the past, yet do have the power to accept the present and create the future by accepting what is. 
  3. Gratitude. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Invite your mind to find things within your reality right now to appreciate. Practice: Write down 3 things that you are grateful for today. Reflect on what showed up for you. Revisit your list every morning and continue to add new items. 

Click here for Innergy Meditations online schedule.

Ganesha Michael Shapiro

Energy Healer and Embodied Movement Teacher 

Brennan Healing Science and Kundalini Yoga Instructor at @kundaliniyogamiami 

Ganesha shares these six tips on how to calm and balance the nervous system during times of elevated stress, crisis, and/or trauma.

  • Slow everything way down and hydrate with water or herbal tea as frequently as needed.
  • Practice yoga, qi gong, tai chi, dance or other mindful movement practices daily.
  • Practice Sitali Pranayam: Inhale slowly and deeply through a curled tongue and exhale slowly through the nose.  Imagine you are sipping or drinking honey through your tongue. Repeat for 1-3 minutes several times a day.
  • Meditate, sing or chant any soothing sounds or words that vibrate your vagus nerve. 
  • Feel your emotions in your body and practice active imagination. Consciously and proactively listen and stay present with the sensations, feelings, emotions, and images that arise in your consciousness as you listen to your body’s wisdom. Dialogue with them or create art following their impulse or directions; e.g. drawing, dancing, painting, sculpting, etc. 
  • Speak to a licensed therapist, counselor, mentor, somatic experience practitioner, or qualified energy healer for guidance, support, and assistance with emotional regulation, if necessary.

Jasmyn Russell

Founding Teacher Modern Ōm 

Anxiety is a one-sided conversation within yourself. It stems from fear of the unknown. To add another side to the dialogue, we need to remember what gratitude looks like.

Here are a few of my favorite practices to bring you back to what you know: 

  1. Meditate right when you open your eyes, rather than grabbing your phone and scrolling. Either tune in to a guided meditation (Jasmyn is teaching every morning at 7:30am), or don’t grab the phone at all, and just sit up in bed and give yourself 5 minutes or more to breathe deeply, without strain, just enough to draw your attention to the present moment.
  2. Create more than you consume - Instead of mindlessly consuming comfort foods and media, take more time to cook meals from scratch, playing with easy recipes made from fresh ingredients, work on projects that you’ve been putting aside for awhile, or connect with your lost hobbies or talents. 
  3. Exercise - Take advantage of the amazing digital offerings from Miami’s trainers, turn on your computer and get your body moving. Our bodies are over 60% water, and when water becomes stagnant, it becomes murky and gathers disease.
  4. Connect with people whom you’ve been wanting to call. Call your loved ones, call people who inspire you, reach out to people you know who struggle with anxiety, health, depression, loneliness, or anything else and simply ask them “How can I support you?” 
  5. Express Gratitude - Expressing gratitude in action makes it second nature. Gratitude defeats anxiety.

Chloe Freytag

Kundalini Yoga Teacher

Keep in mind that meditation is not an act of clearing your mind of thoughts. Your meditation practice may actually be extremely difficult, emotional, and filled with anxiety, especially now and that is completely fine and normal. The point is to commit to the practice, to sit down and be present with those emotions instead of pushing them back, let them come to the surface and feel them fully. Doing this regularly can help to release built-up emotional energy over time and elicit the clarity of mind that you might be looking for. Try this kundalini yoga to release panic with Chloe or join her for a 40 day meditation challenge.

A silver lining of staying at home while we weather through this is that we now have more digital opportunities at our fingertips than ever. Try taking this time to try classes with all of the amazing teachers in Miami that you may not have been able to make during your regularly scheduled life. 

We reached out to five of Miami’s top meditation teachers to share their favorite mindfulness tips to ease stress and anxiety.

Online Training

7 Tips to Take Your Personal Training Business Online

As our community does its best to battle the spread of COVID-19, our industry has completely shifted from brick and mortar to the digital space in a matter of days. If you are a trainer or gym owner, you are probably trying to figure out how to maintain your business without your studio classes and in-person coaching. You are not alone.

Fit for Birth has been kind enough to offer our readers these ‘Start Training Online Quickly,’ tips from their online business mentorship program.

1. Decide what you are creating.  

Are you planning to do 1-on-1 or semi-private sessions? Group classes?  Or are you looking to design an automated program?

2. Choose your technology. 

Zoom is great for private and semi-private sessions.  Platforms like YouTube Live and Facebook Live are good for running group classes. If you are looking to set up an automated program or app, PT Distinction is top of our list, along with Trainerize and TrueCoach

3. Recruit clients.

Drop an email message every day to at least 10 (or pick a number you are comfortable with) people saying something along the lines of:  “Hey! In light of the current isolation many people are experiencing right now, I've decided to [train a small number of clients online, move my classes online, fast track a brand new program I’ve been working on]

I thought you might enjoy this training right now and wanted to reach out because I'm doing some really innovative stuff. Are you still interested in [getting fit, training for pregnancy, recovering after baby, reducing that pain] like we talked about?"

4. Sell to clients.

Go through an assessment to find out what your client wants and needs, then bridging the gap by effectively communicating and showing your client exactly how much your training can help them.

5. Collect money.

Companies are making this easier than ever.  Your clients can do an email money transfer, Venmo, create a PayPal link.  If you think you will want a more powerful cart that allows you more options like upsells/downsells or to link to a newsletter or email automation, ThriveCart is a great option with an affiliate platform.  

6. Get organized.

The quickest way to get started is on Google Sheets.  It’s an incredibly easy way to track your clients' sessions and record their workouts. It is easily shared directly with your client as well so they can train using your program on days they don't meet you.  It is good in the short-term; however, if you plan to grow your business in the future, it may be worth checking out schedulers specifically designed to help you with this. Some examples are Omnify, MindBody, and Wellnessliving.

7. Find a mentor.

Many companies, including Fit for Birth, offer online business mentorship programs to support you through the transition. 

Most importantly, don’t panic, we’re all in the same boat here. People will be looking for ways to fill the gap of their canceled in-person sessions and thankfully, many of us have the tools to move our business online. While it might seem overwhelming at first, in the end, you might just find a way to increase your revenue overall. 

Many of us have the tools to move our personal training business online. Using these 7 tips might help you increase your revenue overall.