June Challenges (#RWRunStreak Alternative)

Life always likes to get in the way of my monthly challenges. See: College graduations, job interviews, and a back muscle strain/pull. But, here I am again, trying to plan one for June. Unlike the other challenges I’ve planned, this one is just going to include my personal goals for developing my overall fitness.

I’m finding myself desperately wishing I could handle Runner World’s #RWRunStreak, where the goal is to run at least a mile a day between Memorial Day and Fourth of July. No matter how badly I want to do it, I know I shouldn’t attempt it because of how injury-prone I am. So instead, my #RWRunStreak alternative is:

  • Have a decent run at least three days a week (by setting a goal of at least 30 minutes a day, instead of a distance goal, so I don’t push myself too hard)
  • Complete 3 days worth of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred a week
  • Attend at least 2 ballet classes a week (there are 3 offered at my studio)
  • Stretch everyday for at least 10 minutes (baby steps, since previous goals have just led me to give up).
  • Have a dedicated rest day.

I’ve planned my goals at like this so I can try to get in better general shape and fit in some sort of cross-training in now that I’m gym-less (not that I really ever did much at the gym either). I might try to squeeze in some swimming as well, since I (probably) still have access to the school’s pool.

What are your June goals? Are you attempting #RWRunStreak?

Catching up on the Stretch, Plank and Squat Challenges!

King Pigeon Pose

My favorite yoga pose (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

Good news is, while I’ve missed a few days of my squat and plank challenge–I’m completely caught up. While my boyfriend and I have a few days–we’ve caught up on the challenge’s days off. I’ve even managed to pull off a 1:30 plank, and I’ve been thinking about incorporating side planks and straight-arm planks.

Stretching has not been going quite as well. I was getting slightly sick of doing videos, so I basically ended up skipping stretching this weekend after a two-hour long ballet class and a super stressful Sunday (my 5k did not happen because of my shin splints). So I’ve been working on getting that back on track and Monday and Tuesday I just did some of the yoga poses and stretches I had worked on. Hopefully these will help me get closer to my splits in the end. Maybe I’ll get brave enough to put up some split photos when we reach the halfway point of our April challenge.

I’ve added another element of fitness to my daily routine to try to strengthen my calves for running and for pointe work (eventually–I’m taking baby steps in getting back to pointe work!). I’ve just been incorporating 3 sets of 12 calf raises and 3 sets of 12 single calf raises.

Now I just need to work more theraband stretching into my routine.

How have you been challenging yourself this April?

Beginner Ballet Tips: Using Pilates to Strengthen Your Core for Ballet

Pilates Exercise Video class

P\ (Photo credit: myyogaonline)

After reading this post about Adult Beginner’s Piyo (Pilates and yoga) class, I decided to try out some Pilates. I’d been itching to do some sort of working out beyond the stretching and yoga I’ve been working into my routine, so I decided to try one of my mom’s old Pilates DVDs, Pilates Weightloss for Dummies (yes it’s ancient and isn’t really available anymore).

Like Adult Beginner, I didn’t really “get” Pilates before I started ballet. Now it makes sense. In the standing portions of the DVD, there are series of plies, balances, and stretches which relate to ballet perfectly. Several of the exercises are done in a turned out first, second or fifth position as well, all with pointed (versus flexed) feet.

This article (Pilates for Ballet Dancers: How Pilates Can Improve Your Technique) states that “pilates is a body conditioning method that is focused on developing a strong “core.” The term “core” refers to the entire abdominal region as well as the lower and mid-back.” Core strength is ESSENTIAL for ballet. The article also states that if dancers don’t develop a strong core, it could lead to weaknesses which lead to poor alignment which leads to poor technique.

To me, Pilates sounds like an awesome supplement to ballet, and I quite enjoyed the short 35 minute workout. I’m going to test out another DVD we have, Hilary Burnett’s Pilates Intermediate, which is just mat work.  This should be a more intense workout than just Pilates for Weightloss for Dummies, however, I plan on incorporating the standing work from it to get some plies into my workout.

Lastly, if your in the Philly area, Philly Dance Fitness‘s Pilates Class will be on Sundays at 12 at Major Moment Studios. I’m so excited to be able to attend this class because previously it conflicted with a ballet class. I can’t wait to try it out, it’ll be my first Pilates in a studio.

Have you ever tried Pilates? What do you do to strengthen your core?

Beginner Ballet Tips: Two Week Stretch Challenge

twoweekstretchchallengeLast Friday I updated a page on the blog entitled the Two-Week Stretch Challenge. It has a 14 day plan to help encourage you to stretch everyday as well as vary the stretches you do each day. Each day has a different set of stretches from various fitness websites. Like the other stretch challenges I’ve (and some of my fellow adult ballerinas) have attempted, I recommend that you do some additional stretching so that you’ve stretched for a total of 30 minutes in a day (which can be broken down into 10 or 15 minute segments).

Although some of the stretches are specifically for running, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try them since a lot of running stretches are good for tight legs and hips.

Like the page says, this is a  total work-in-progress, and I would love your advice on how the stretches went for you. If you have any stretches you’d like to see worked in, that’d be great too! I’m hoping to eventually build on this to make a complete, 30 day challenge. I’m working on testing each day (I’m on Day 3) and I’ll have an update once I’ve completed it on which stretch routines I liked best.

Here’s what the challenge is right now:

Day 1: How to do Splits  From About.com

Day 2: 15 Minute Beginner’s Yoga Routine

Day 3: Fat Burning Yoga

Day 4: Post-Run Stretches from Back On Pointe, A Dancer

Day 5: Yoga Poses for Headaches

Day 6: How to Do Splits From FitSugar

Day 7: Yoga Poses to Get Rid of Back Fat

Day 8: Essential Stretches for Tight Hips

Day 9: Stretches You Can Do in Bed

Day 10: Good Morning Yoga Sequence

Day 11: Pick your favorite set from Days 1-10

Day 12: Runner Stretches (Good for Tight Hamstrings)

Day 13: Stretches that Help You Sleep

Day 14: Stretches for Splits–Barre Stretches (Don’t have a barre or these look tough challenging? Pick your favorite individual stretches to create your own stretch routine today!)

 

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