Tried and true tips for beginner meditation.
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Autumn’s inviting blue skies, crisp cold air and mesmerising colours of greens, reds, and browns can be enough of a prompt for anyone to get outside and get active. However, it can also be the start of a season-long fight against the temptation of comfort foods, festive meals, and sweets. Before your willpower gets tossed away in a pile of chocolate wrappers on Halloween, know that you can still enjoy some sweet treats and be healthy, too!
We’ve teamed up with Innermost Protein to help you stay on the wellness path this season, even when friends and colleagues come bearing bite-size sugar that haunt your best intentions.
Stock up on healthy snacks, like whole nuts, dates and rice cakes, as well as fresh produce. Put these nibbles within reach to make them easily accessible and the only option to ward off hunger or temptations to dive into something stickier and sweeter.
Pro tip: Mix sweet and savoury for a multi-craving buster. Also, plan a quick and healthy dinner—if you fill up on protein, veggies, and whole grains you’re less likely to reach for rubbish.
Fit in a workout. It could be a busier day than usual if you’re expecting a conveyor belt of trick-or-treaters, but nothing will make you feel more accomplished or program you to stay on track like a good sweat! Search for a class in the MINDBODY app by your location and time preference to make squeezing in a workout more achievable.
When it comes to the main event, try these Halloween-themed recipes by Innermost to keep all the fun of trick or treating in, but the nasties out.
- 1/4 cup of any Innermost chocolate protein powder
- Splash of water
- 1/8 cup ground almonds
- 1/8 cup peanut butter
- 40g melted chocolate – dark, milk or white for outer layer of cups
- Mix protein powder, water, almonds, and peanut butter together in a medium-size bowl until a dough forms. Add more almonds if dough is too wet or water if dough is too dry.
- Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute in the microwave on medium heat. Stir and return to microwave for 15-20 second intervals until evenly melted and smooth.
- Pour melted chocolate into your Halloween moulds or paper-lined miniature muffin cups and add a small spoonful of dough. Cover each mould or muffin cup with melted chocolate.
- Set in the fridge for an hour or the freezer for 15-20 minutes and enjoy!
- 200ml of almond milk
- 6 ice cubes
- 1/2 green apple
- 1/8 avocado
- 1 large frozen spinach ball
- 30g of any of Innermost’s vanilla protein powders
- 5g of Innermost’s The Health Plus supergreen protein powder
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend of medium speed for 45 seconds or until the mixture is clear. Add more ice for a thicker consistency or more almond milk for a thinner consistency.
- Pour smoothie into a cup and garnish with fruit or vegetable of your choice.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup dates
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 400g cottage cheese
- 100g of 0% Fat Greek Yogurt
- 2 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons agave syrup
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- Orange zest from 1 orange
- 1/2 fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 40g of any of Innermost’s vanilla protein powders
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 big pots of 0% Fat Greek Yoghurt
- 1 cup of any of Innermost’s vanilla protein powders
- 4 tablespoons of coconut flour
- Bar of dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F).
- Place all ingredients for the base in a food processor and process until the mixture becomes crumbly.
- Press into the bottom of a small 6-8 inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven to cool.
- In a large bowl, blend all cheesecake filling ingredients with a mixer until smooth. Pour onto the chilled base.
- Bake cheesecake for about 40 minutes or until it cooks through but is still a bit soft in the centre. Cool overnight in the refrigerator.
- Mix frosting ingredients together in a large bowl with a mixer. Remove cheesecake from refrigerator and top with frosting.
- To create a spider web on the cheesecake, melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute in the microwave on medium heat. Stir and return to microwave for 15-20 second intervals until evenly melted and smooth.
- Use a spoon or spatula to drizzle melted chocolate onto the frosting to create a spider web, drizzling chocolate lines from the middle outward. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect!
- Let the dark chocolate web cool before serving.
Remember to stick with your healthy routine. You may have given in to temptation at some point (you’re human after all!), but you’re still a success. Autumn does not have to signal upcoming bouts of diet and fitness abandon, so get your fitness back on track and enjoy everything that this season has to offer.
Have you ever come across a fitness class on Instagram and thought, that looks so fun, only to scroll on by knowing you’d never in a million years actually sign up for it? Because, same.
For me, it’s always been dance. Pole dancing, twerking, salsa, ballet, Zumba... I don’t even think twice about booking. There is no way in hell I’m heading into a studio with a bunch of strangers and attempting to follow along to some moves I’ve never tried before.
...and then there was COVID.
When studios everywhere started to shut down, virtual fitness started to blow up—and all of the sudden, I had the opportunity to try basically anything without leaving my house (or feeling at all embarrassed). It was a silver lining and a kick in the ass all wrapped into one.
I started small, doing the classes I was most comfortable with. Once I had perfected my online yoga routine, I needed a little more oomph, so, I stepped it up to HIIT. I was proud of myself for getting back into the swing of things after a long the-world-is-ending-so-I-don't-need-to-work-out break. But still, I hadn’t fully gotten out of my comfort zone. I had taken in-person yoga and HIIT classes before, so even though I had tried out some new studios online, I had a general idea of what to expect.
Then, my coworkers told me about Rachel Vickhouse and MVP Dance Fit. Rachel and some other badass, beautiful ladies coined the phrase “Lift Your Booty, Love Your Body ™,” and that’s what MVP Dance Fit is all about. They told me this studio offered twerk fitness classes, and that right now, they’re not only offering virtual, but they’re giving one free class to all newbies, too.
I was curious.
Without really looking into it much further, I trusted my coworkers and signed up for the signature “Swerk” class (Sweat, Work, Twerk) to take after work one day.
Or so I thought...
My first mistake was not checking the time zone before booking. I thought I was signing up for a class at 5:30 PM, but turns out, the studio is in Ohio. Seeing that I live in California, my timing was all off. Luckily, I realized my mistake when I received the link to join the class in my inbox, and I had time to get ready to twerk in the middle of my workday (whoops).
I usually exercise out on my deck, but there was no way I was going to give my neighbors a free show (although I’m sure it would’ve spiced up their Monday). So, there I was—at 2:30 PM on a Monday afternoon, dragging my coffee table to the side, shutting my blinds and curtains, filling up my water bottle, and getting ready to dance like no one was watching.
When I logged on, I saw lots of faces on the screen. One woman was dancing while doing her laundry, another was rocking to the beat in her living room, and another had a prime weight room setup I was pretty jealous of. About half of the participants had their cameras turned on and were starting to warm up (AKA dance around) to the Drake song that was playing, while the other half kept their videos off. Because these women looked like seasoned pros, and I was a total newbie, I opted to keep mine off. (Yes, this is 100% an excuse. I know you see right through me.)
Then, Rachel herself appeared onscreen with French braids and bright pink lipstick. I’ve never seen someone with more energy—I swear, I think she was drinking Diet Coke out of her tumbler, but I can’t be sure. She let everyone know there were a bunch of first-timers in class, and they’d all have to show us how it’s done (no pressure). She asked if anyone had any song requests, and the chat started popping off.
After that, there was no messing around. The first song started playing, and she got right to it. Right about now, I was so glad I had my camera off because I must’ve looked ridiculous. She was moving so fast, and I was stumbling trying to keep up.
She went from sliding left to right, to dropping low, to lifting a leg and landing in a squat, to hands-on-the-floor-ass-in-the-air, all in the span of a song.
But after just a few minutes, I started getting the hang of it. The choreography repeated, with different moves for different parts of the song, and once I figured them out, I was able to keep up.
As soon as I got the hang of song #1, we were onto the next. And I love a challenge, so I was ready. Throughout class, we switched from more cardio-intensive songs to leg-focused dances involving squats and lunges. Halfway through, I was sweating. I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having, while also getting such a good workout at the same time.
At the end, I was so proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone, and I definitely felt the high of a great workout on a day when I was feeling some serious Monday energy (or lack of energy) beforehand. I’m so thankful virtual was an option, because, without it, I don’t know if I ever would’ve tried a class like this.
During class, I knew I’d end up being sore, and over the next few days, I proved myself right. The next morning, I stood up out of bed and I felt it in my quads and glutes. Thinking I’d be good by the weekend, I planned an eight-mile hike for Saturday morning with some friends. I was so sore I thought they were going to have to leave me on the mountain. Thanks, Rachel.
1. Check the time zone.
Luckily, I figured it out just in time, but if I didn’t check my email, I easily could’ve missed my class. The beauty of online fitness classes is you can book them at studios all over the world. But, with that, comes time differences. Whenever you’re booking a virtual class, make sure you check the time zone and figure out where the studio is located, so you don’t have to ditch your afternoon meetings. (Unless that’s what you’re going for. Then, more power to you.)
2. Wear shoes.
This might seem obvious, but to me, it wasn’t. When I was getting ready to start class, I wasn’t sure if I needed to wear shoes or if I should have a yoga mat, towel, or weights ready. I wasn’t really sure of anything, to be honest. So, after I made some space in my living room, I looked up MVP Dance Fit on Instagram to see if I could find some answers. From the looks of it, no equipment was necessary, and shoes were probably a good idea. So, if you’re reading this, I hope I saved you some trouble. All you need is some shoes and a little bit of space.
3. Know that no one’s watching you.
Camera or not, no one can really see what you’re doing. And no one cares. I started off the class in gallery mode so I could see everyone, but to follow along with Rachel’s movements, I had to have her on full screen, and I couldn’t pay attention to anyone else in class. Having the camera on just gives everyone the sense that you’re in class together, just like you would be in person. So, maybe next time, I’ll toughen up and leave it on.
4. Maybe have some caffeine.
Should I be encouraging that? I don’t know. But man, that girl had a lot of energy. And dancing takes a lot out of you. About halfway through, when I started getting tired, I wished I’d had something caffeinated before to get me through. But maybe that’s just me. The good music and Rachel’s encouragement definitely got me going, and I had a lot of fun with it.
5. Try it with friends.
Distracting or helpful? I’m not sure. But I do know it would’ve been so fun to have seen all my friends dancing around in little boxes on the screen from their respective houses. And since the first class is free, it probably wouldn’t have been too hard to convince them. So, if you’re planning on trying it out, get some friends to join! I’m sure it’ll be fun to talk about after.
I’d recommend this class to anyone who likes hip-hop and wants to spice up their routine. If you’ve thought about trying a twerk fitness class, just do it already. There are literally no more excuses (coming from someone who would literally never set foot in a dance studio for real).
Maybe pole dancing is more up your alley, or maybe you’ve never tried a HIIT class before. Whatever it is, just know that it's the perfect time to get over your exercise embarrassment and try something new.