Category Archives: FitSuite

Paris, je t’aime

 

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Paris, the City of Light, is the only city I have visited more times than I can count and the city I have also called my home for 2 years. It is a place where I can be brought to tears by the pure beauty of the city. The food, the art, the culture, the streets, the people, the markets, the wine; it always excites me.

One of my favorite times in Paris is in the early morning. When I lived and worked there, I would take the Vélib to teach my first pilates client of the day. Riding to work in the mornings, I am virtually alone on the streets except for the street sweepers. Who, by the way, still open valves of water to clean the gutters with brooms! As I ride my bike, I am immersed by the smell of baking bread and the quiet expectation of a new day. I feel like the city is mine. My daily commute would take me along Canal Saint Martin past République, the Pompidou, Notre Dame and across the Seine to the 7th arrondissement. Definitely beats sitting in LA traffic.

 

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Paris always inspires me to take a moment to reflect on life and how one should be living it. The time spent with friends enjoying an apèro after work or visiting a new exhibition reminds you to live in the moment. There is also the joy of preparing for a summer holiday where people can actually take 3 weeks away. And the joy of having a 3 hour dinner where no one is on their phones or the hostess is not asking you to leave because they need to turn the table for the next reservation.

The French hold a special place in my heart – with all the good and the challenging. Believe me there were many days in Paris when I would have to suck in the tears or the frustration when dealing with them and not knowing the language. But I truly think those are the moments when you become more connected to a city and what it means to be a foreigner. A lesson many of us could use these days.

 

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Each time I visit I always want to explore something new. Paris is changing quite a bit right now and there is much to see. But rest assured I always stop by my favorite boulangerie – Du Pains et des Idées or the most amazing chocolatier – Jacques Genin. This past trip I tried several new restaurants that were superb. For a more rustic, off the beaten path, I tried Vivant Cave in the rejuvenated 10th arrondissement. It is an intimate space with just the chef, Pierre Touitou behind the bar and two servers offering delicious organic wine and “bar” food that blew me away. As we left the restaurant Pierre handed us some dark chocolate out of his pocket to take for the road. And just so you know, it was delicious!

The other notable meal was at Restaurant David Toutain. This young chef is unreal! He was awarded a Michelin star last fall and I have to agree the lunch was exquisite. The space is modern and clean and the service is unparalleled. The creativity of the food and the attention to detail without being fussy was perfect.

 

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For my trip to Paris this July, I was the travel concierge for two of my dear clients from NYC. They asked me to meet them in Paris and create an itinerary including lunch and dinner reservations, museum exhibitions and walks throughout the different neighborhoods. I took great pleasure in showing my Paris to them. It was a blast! They got to explore the city in a way that they never would have on their own.

 

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As you know, travel and discovering a new city gives me the greatest joy. With my fitness concierge service Jette Sette, I can not only provide you with all of your fitness needs, but I can also curate a trip full of adventure just for you. Reach out with any questions you have!

Challenge me to create the best trip for you!

à bientôt

 

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Pain Free…what does that even mean?

 

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This is a question I ponder often. Pain can be searing, sharp, intense, debilitating, numbing, electric, vomit inducing. This is your body’s way of yelling at you to stop. It is amazing how hard this response is for most of us to recognize. It can be difficult to understand what this means: is it actual pain or simply muscle fatigue? Or is it just good hard work? I often ask this question of my clients. You should be clear what sensation you are experiencing. You may have injuries or you may not. You might sprint into the pain or you might hold back not wanting to feel any sensation. The idea of pain and fear intrigue me. Each of us has our own life experiences that create the pattern we fall into during exercise and honestly, life.

For me, this idea of living pain free has eluded me for my entire career. Having been a professional dancer for most of my life, the idea of existing without pain is laughable. I have had numerous injuries (some debilitating!) along with the normal aches and pains that come with pushing my body every day.

 

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As a young ballet dancer, I spent hours after school jamming my bloody toes into pointe shoes (and enjoying every minute of it!). As my body grew and my focus shifted to jazz and musical theatre, I suffered a stress fracture in my lumbar spine at age 15. I spent my entire sophomore year in high school wearing a hard plastic back brace and doing Physical Therapy in a pool 3x a week. No dancing for me. It was the first moment that I realized my vulnerability as a dancer and human.

Luckily, I rehabbed well and went on to dance at college and in NYC. Immersed in the NY life, teaching pilates full time, auditioning, commuting insane hours a day and carrying my life on my back; I tore the fascia in my foot. But like any injury I have suffered I kept pushing thinking it would resolve itself. By the way, it never does. Finally now into my 30’s I believe I am beginning to accept this truth. It is a bit insane that it has only taken me 20 years to figure this out.

With that severe foot injury I was unable to dance (or basically walk) for almost 3 years. I was devastated. I did everything imaginable to heal my body: physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, cortisone injections, night splints, walking boot, several weeks non weight bearing. I was losing my mind and my sense of self and my life’s purpose. It was an intense time and all I felt was that I was wasting my prime dancing years. It still makes me upset thinking about it. Even now when I get injured I have a visceral response to the pain and it triggers extreme emotional reactions.

 

 

Pilates has always been there for me, but as an extra level of training not as exercise or rehabilitation. Even as I worked my way back to dancing professionally again, I was doing pilates as a bonus workout. I never allowed myself to believe that fitness could be about feeling better. Yes, I felt amazing after a kickass workout or pilates session, but I couldn’t let go of the idea that suffering needed to be involved. Even today this is something I work on.

For the athletes I train this concept is a HUGE challenge. Especially with our American mentality of working harder than the person next to you and believing it only matters if you are killing yourself. I believe testing one’s limits is never a bad thing, but now I see the line getting blurred between hard work and pain. The effects show up in the numerous injuries and muscular imbalances that I see in my clients’ bodies.

 

 

Becoming mindful and being honest about how your body feels is the key. It is scary to look inward and ask yourself is the pain good or bad. Sometimes pain is all we know and the only way we think we are working. Or it can be the opposite, where there is a fear of pain that holds us back from connecting deeper.

After teaching pilates for 16 years and seeing the results of this amazing technique, I can begin to understand the power of honoring one’s body (and not trying to destroy it!). I spend my days asking my clients to listen to their own body and experience the sensation of their muscles working correctly. My goal with each lesson is to have the client walk away taller, stronger and breathing easier with a sense of empowerment and knowledge.

 

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The benefits of pilates are huge! I see how much my clients’ bodies change from the journey of building strength from the inside out. Not only do they feel better, but they look amazing! I feel passionately that consistency is key. I created Jette Sette, my fitness concierge service, for this reason. With Jette Sette, you have a fitness team that supports you no matter where you are in the world. There is no excuse for your body to be in pain or suffering from travel fatigue and weight gain. The trainers have your up to date routine and create a program to keep you stronger while you travel. If you are curious to learn more about how Jette Sette can help you, please reach out.  Even if you just have questions about your injuries and want some advice I would LOVE to chat.

I made a decision in 2016 to become pain free. (And I am not one for resolutions!) I made the decision to really connect with my body. Not the body I had in my 20s while dancing professionally, but the body I have right now, in this moment. The body that feels like a pilates workout is enough for one day. The body that knows that feeling good at the end of the workout is the point. It is a daily battle for me and I am just beginning to learn so much about myself in the process. This discussion about pain free living is an important one so let’s keep it going. I will keep you up to date on my journey as well.

 

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3 Exercises To Do on a Deserted Island

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Okay, so that title may be a little dramatic but it was in my thoughts as I traveled to Seattle and Vashon Island for a dear friend’s wedding. I grew up in the Northwest and the idea of exercising outside is ingrained in us. Rain or shine. No one cancels a hiking trip or sea kayaking because of a little rain! Now that I live in LA I miss the beauty and the wildness of the NW and every time I visit I take advantage in any way I can.

I was thrilled when we planned a hike with friends at Mount Si near North Bend, WA. Hiking is a workout in itself, especially when your friends tell you it’s an easy hike and the first 15 minutes are straight uphill! This is the moment when you realize you don’t live in the NW anymore and you’ve become a city girl. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how many times I climb the Santa Monica Stairs it is not the same!

 

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If you can find the time to exercise while traveling that is a huge success. I always tell me clients that even a short workout is better than nothing. Taking the time to fit in a couple of exercises and stretches only makes your mind and your body feel better.  If this feels like an impossible feat then check out my new luxury fitness concierge service Jette Sette where we take all that stress away and make exercising effortless (almost!).

Here are 3 exercises that I love to do while traveling (or on a deserted island!):

 

#1 The Pilates Stomach Series

The cool thing is that the Series of 5 can be done anywhere! On the floor in your hotel room or outside on a bench during your run, walk or hike. It gives your core an intense workout and also lengthens and opens the spine.

** Here I am demonstrating Scissors. Extend both legs to the sky, curl your upper body forward and stretch the spine. Place both hands behind one ankle and lower the opposite leg away from you. Focusing on your core and elongating the back of both legs, double pulse the top leg in towards you. Repeat 10x on each side.

** Not only do you work your core but you get an amazing stretch through the hamstrings and back of the body!

#2 Down Dog / Up Dog

I love extension and think the front of our bodies need to open and that we need to strengthen our backs (and BUTT!) as much possible. After climbing to the top of this peak the front of my body was desperate to open up. Because I was outdoors I chose to do downward facing dog into and up dog stretch.

No matter if you have just hiked a mountain or you have flown across the country the front of your body is tight and wants desperately to open up.

** Begin with your hands underneath your shoulders and walk your feet back to elongate your spine into a downward facing dog, reaching your hips to the sky. Imagine you have equal weight between your hands and your feet and extend your heels towards the ground. Hold and breathe.

 

** Gracefully shift your hips forward through a plank position and begin to arch your upper spine forward and up while rotating your shoulders back. Carefully open the front of the body into Upward Facing Dog but don’t let yourself sink into your lower back. If this feels too intense for your body lower onto your hands and knees and begin to round and arch the spine using the support of the ground. Repeat 5x.

#3 Plank

When in doubt add a plank! It is a great stabilizing movement that gets the whole body powered up. Not only do you need to fire up your shoulder girdle but your core better be working to
support your spine and prevent you from sagging to the ground. The legs should be engaged and reaching long to create even more power and balance through the whole posture.

** Starting on hands and knees, making sure your hands are directly underneath your shoulders, extend one leg straight back putting weight onto the ball of your feet. Extend the 2nd leg to join the first and squeeze the inner thighs together.

** Hold the position with your core lifting up towards your spine. Make sure you don’t sink in the shoulders or low back. Hold the position for 10-30 seconds depending on your strength and form. Repeat 3x. Remember to BREATHE!

 

Now the reality is that actually doing these exercises while traveling may feel impossible for you which is EXACTLY why I created Jette Sette. I wanted to provide my clients with the support they needed to keep up with their fitness goals while they travel anywhere in the world.

I hear all the time how frustrated my clients are that they have gained weight or suffer from their reoccurring injuries while on the road. Jette Sette is your solution. If you are looking for someone to help find you an elite level trainer while you travel for work or pleasure send me a message. Booking with Jette Sette will give you access to my elite instructors around the world!

Obviously if you ARE on a deserted island exercising might not be the first choice you make but if you are traveling to an inhabited location give these 3 exercises a try! Enjoy!

 

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