December 2017

How-to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Tips from Exhale Spa’s Nutrition Intuition

In the health and wellness world, March is the month dedicated to nutrition awareness and at exhale we decided to celebrate with a day of awareness entitled NUTRITION INTUITION.

I was joined by two of exhale’s healers: Laura Benge, our National Spa Director and Rachel Lustgarten, R.D. nutritionist, Keri Glassman, nationally recognized nutrition expert, Katie Lee, Cookbook author and lifestyle expert, and Jeremy Bearman, Executive Michelin- starred Chef of Rouge Tomate NYC for a panel discussion on how to incorporate good nutrition, simple cooking and tasty food  into your life on a daily basis.

We spoke on the difficulties of maintaining a healthy lifestyle day to day and some takeaways on solving those challenges; tips like how to cook a nutritious meal in less time than ordering delivery! Prepare raw foods as soon as you bring them home from the market: clean the greens, wash the lettuce, chop the vegetables and store them in containers to be used during the week as dedicated meals or reliable sides for chicken or fish.

Keri made the point that a holistic lifestyle is key to a lean, sexy, happy body. And that it’s not just the food that you eat but your sleep, stress reduction techniques and peacefulness of your home space will all factor in to maximizing health and wellness. According to Keri, a spritz of lavender in the bedroom is a great start to a sleep worthy space! Katie suggested to start your week with a good nutrition plan and if you cheat a little on the weekend, you can start again on Monday. She also shared that preparing foods in advance, like boiling a pot of rice, quinoa or lentils, or steaming a bunch of broccoli and refrigerating are easy ways to stay on track.

Is Your Exercise Routine Serving You Well?
5 Ways to Avoid the Exercise Plateau

By Fred DeVito

Fred DeVito gives us a preview of Core Fusion’s new Boot Camp exercises. Purchase the Core Fusion Boot Camp DVD here.

OK, so you are sticking with your New Year’s plan of watching calories and exercising 3 times a week. It’s been a few months now, you’ve dropped some pounds, and you’re feeling more energetic . . . but have you hit a plateau?

This could be a defining moment in your quest to making healthy eating and regular exercise a lifestyle, instead of a burden.

With all the fitness options out there . . . a gym membership, personal training, core-barre classes, yoga, spinning, running, and more . . . you can easily get confused about making the right choices for your personal needs and goals.

Here are 5 reasons why you may have hit that plateau, and what you can do to get beyond it.

1) The cardio myth: People are conditioned to think that they need to do cardio in order to lose weight. The fact is that although you can burn up to 600 calories in an intense 1-hour cardio session, you are not doing much to stoke your metabolism and resting heart rate for the remainder of the day. This means that over a 24-hour period, your calorie expenditure is not as great as someone who is incorporating strength training into a cardio workout. So while all that time and sweat will get you dehydrated, your workout may not give you the body that you wanted.

2) The unbalanced workout syndrome: In a quest for the tightest butt and flattest abs, people will overdo repetitions and avoid stretching because it’s a “waste of time.” Too much strengthening exercise without the proper balance of stretching does not leave you toned, it leaves you tight. And when you get too tight, you become bulky and injury-prone. Choose a program that properly balances the cardio, strength, and flexibility components of fitness.

3) Choosing exercises you like are not the ones you need: What you need is not always what you like. If your body is too tight, you may tend to shy away from exercise that requires flexibility. That’s a reason some men are not comfortable with Pilates, yoga, or core-barre classes. The key point here is that if an exercise requires flexibility, then over time, it will increase your flexibility. It just requiresconsistency and patience. Working on the exercises that you need as well as the exercises that you like will improve your fitness level and move you beyond your plateau.

4) We want results . . . now: We live in a society where money is no object, and if we punch in our credit card number we can have anything delivered to our doorstep. You can’t get strong abdominals that way. You can hire the most expensive trainer, or buy the latest and greatest abdominal machine, but unless you spend time working on areas of weakness, you won’t see results. Abdominal bracing, strength in stillness, and proper form will help you rise above your plateau . . . not 100 crunches. I see the proof of this every day in the Core Fusion classes I lead at Exhale Spa!

5) The weekend warrior dilemma: If you have a busy work week, you probably use your weekends to exercise and let off steam. So you wake up Saturday, you play tennis or go for a round of golf, and then you end up on the couch Sunday with a hamstring pull or rotator cuff strain. When I ask my Core Fusion students what exercise they do, they usually mention activities like these. And I say, “No, that’s your sport. What do you do for exercise?” Exercise prepares you for weekend sports. Exercise should not be viewed as a competitive sport. Exercise needs to be viewed as personal, not comparative. It’s not about the person next to you. It’s only about you.

With exercise and nutrition, lasting change requires that you stay open to possibilities, explore new movement patterns, and become educated beyond what movie stars are doing or magazines are saying. Take a fresh look at the options and be open to new activities. The choices you make today about nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction will have a lasting effect on your lifestyle for years to come.

Fred DeVito, Health & Fitness Contributing Editor
For over 30 years, Fred DeVito has taught New Yorkers to live healthier, leading fitness classes at the acclaimed Lotte Berk Method Studios, and more recently, at Exhale Spa, where he serves as Executive Vice President of Mind Body Training. With his wife and partner, Elisabeth Halfpapp . . . Read more about Fred DeVito

The Benefits of A Yoga Practice

When you think about why people exercise, a major reason is to reduce stress and to improve their overall health.  It is the mindful breathing and single minded focus that takes you into a “flow mentality”.  You create an opportunity to escape from your thoughts which will shift your energy and changes your perspective on your life and problems.  It’s not that problems go away, you just change the way you look at them.  As a dear friend once said to me, “When you move a muscle, you change a thought”.

In yoga, the physical poses are called asanas and these poses can be done in a progression so that even the most inflexible “tin man” can find his way by using various props and modifications.  For me, the experience was quite challenging and in some cases helped me to learn how to over come my fears.  I remember my first hand stand (at the wall) like it was yesterday!

Practicing yoga will help you to evolve yourself so that other areas of your life will benefit.  When you work on your physical challenges be it flexibility, strength or balance, other areas of your life will improve.  But, this means checking your ego at the door because you will probably be working on things that you are not very good at initially.  Like a chain, you are only as good as your weakest link so your challenges may be more about patience, perseverance and consistency when you start your journey then it will be about how many push ups you can perform in 60 seconds.

Yoga is for life.  It is a lifestyle movement program.  When you practice yoga, you start to feel movements from the inside out; you don’t “think” about movements, you “feel “them.  You stop competing with others in class, you no longer need to see yourself in a mirror and the superficial aspect of exercise becomes less important when compared to the sacredness of your practice and your experience.  You will begin to nourish yourself with food more mindfully and you will be more aware of how to incorporate your learning off the mat as well as when you are on your mat.  If you can’t make it to a class, try using DVD’s for a home practice.  Our Core Fusion Yoga DVD (Buy Now, $9.99) is popular because it is broken down into 10 minute sections, if you have time constraints.

Regardless of your degree of commitment to yoga, be it once a week at home with DVD’s or at our studios practicing with a trained teacher, your benefits will include:

  • Stress Reduction
  • Mindful Awareness
  • Increased Flexibility
  • Improved Strength
  • Improved Suppleness in your spine
  • Better Sex Life
  • Better Energy
  • Improved overall health and well being

It’s National Yoga Month…Exhale Spa and PageDaily are teaming up to offer you a complimentary yoga class at any Exhale Spa for the rest of September (first-timers only). Mention PageDaily when you make your reservation! Enjoy!

Fred DeVito, Health & Fitness Contributing Editor
For over 30 years, Fred DeVito has taught New Yorkers to live healthier, leading fitness classes at the acclaimed Lotte Berk Method Studios, and more recently, at Exhale Spa, where he serves as Executive Vice President of Mind Body Training. With his wife and partner, Elisabeth Halfpapp . . . Read more about Fred DeVito

Beth Ostrosky Stern Supports Animal Rights with a Workout Fundraiser at Exhale Spa, Bridgehampton

Saturday, August 6th – Beth Ostrosky Stern and other animal-loving friends, including Katie Lee, hosted a fundraising workout event at Exhale Spa in Bridgehampton to benefit the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons. Supporting attendees experienced one of Beth’s favorite workouts (and mine), Core Fusion, taught by Exhale co-founders Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito. The Wildlife Rescue Center is a not-for-profit corporation that operates a full-time professional wildlife hospital staffed by licensed rehabilitators, biologists, animal behaviorists, and volunteers.

” [My husband] Howard and I love the Hamptons so much and the most beautiful part for us is the wildlife that surrounds us. I feel that it is our responsibility to help animals that are sick or hurt. We’ve pretty much taken over their natural habitats, so that’s the least we can do. I have been calling the wildlife rescue of the Hamptons for years when we’ve witnessed animals in distress. Their center is in Hampton Bays and the work they do there is just phenomenal.  When an animal is in need of help, I ask that everyone call the Wildlife Rescue Center immediately. They arrange for transport for the animal to come back to the center for evaluation and medical assistance, and when the animal is better, they will release him into the environment in which he was found,” Beth said at the event.

Scott Cohen, Bruno, Beth Stern and Melissa Meyers

Scott Cohen, Bruno, Beth Stern and Melissa Meyers

I was so touched by Beth’s story…

“Last summer we found a deer in our lawn.  She was obviously a Mama Deer because she was lactating.  It looked like she had been hit by a car and found her way to our lawn. I called wildlife rescue immediately and they came to our home and transported her back to their facility.  She was lying comfortably in a secluded area at the center. There was a fawn who came into the center a week prior and was emaciated and would not accept milk from a bottle. This fawn was in the same area as my Mama Deer and overnight something magical happened. The baby was feeding off of my deer! The baby continued to feed off of her until she was strong and healthy. The sad part of the story is that the momma deer didn’t make it, but the fawn ended up getting released into her natural habitat shortly after, due to the Mama Deer feeding her. Nature amazes me!  So, whether you see a turtle run over by a lawn mower, a hurt or sick bird on the beach, an opossum by the side of the road, a deer stuck in a fence, or a squirrel or a fox in trouble, etc., please call The Wildlife Rescue Center at 631-728-4200. Let’s save some animals!”

For more information or to make a donation, visit wildliferescuecenter.org

The annual Wildlife Rescue Center cocktail event is August 20th in Southampton. Check the website for more details.

Top photo: Beth Stern, Elisabeth Halfpapp, Fred DeVito and Katie Lee

 

There is More to Exercise Than Just Cardio!

As an exercise professional in the fitness industry for almost 30 years, I have seen a lot of fads, trends, and crazes regarding classes, programs, and equipment.  From high-impact to low-impact to step to spin; the constant focus on “cardio” has been and still is a very important component in the movement plan of many people. What’s easier than throwing on a pair of sneakers and going for a jog or a brisk walk?  The gratification of cardio exercise is almost instant as you work your heart and lungs, challenge your breathing, endurance, break a sweat, and build detoxifying heat. Plus, the activity helps you to reduce your stress and relax.

If you are one who craves a group class rather than the lonely road there are the ever-popular spin classes where you ride a bike with a small group of other determined spinners to see who can go the fastest, ride the hardest, breathe the heaviest, sweat the most, and do it in a club-type setting with great music and atmosphere. Plus, even the most uncoordinated, tight-hamstring, slightly soft male can get on a bike and compete. The ladies are happy because now they can get their guys to accompany them to an event both social and physical: A spin class.

As a teacher who has worked with thousands of students who are on a mission to change their bodies and lives, I can honestly tell you that there is more to fitness than cardio workouts.

Almost like the media scares us into thinking we need flu shots, the public is also greatly misinformed when it comes to types and styles of exercise.

Is there any real need to work our heart muscles to an extreme over a 45-minute period?  Does the heart muscle get stronger with such challenge? What are the systemic benefits of regular heart-muscle and cardio challenges like this? Am I healthier? Leaner? More fit? More flexible? Will I have a better chance of living longer because I do regular cardio exercise?

In most cases, the answer to all of these questions is either no, or not necessarily so.

Let’s take a look at what cardio exercise means:

Cardio is short for cardiovascular, which refers to the heart. Cardiovascular exercise, or “aerobics” as it was referred to in the ‘70s, is exercise that raises your heart rate and keeps it elevated for a period of time. The kinds of exercises that are associated with cardiovascular workouts are things like jogging, fast walking, spinning, and swimming, where there is no break in the routine. Exercises that emphasize stretch and strength, like pilates or yoga, are generally not considered cardio exercises, although both of these exercise systems can be performed with a “cardio effect” with the right pace and flow, and can certainly be combined with cardio workouts to great effect. There are more and more hybrid-style classes these days. At Exhale we teach our award-winning Core Fusion Cardio and Core Fusion Boot Camp classes, which combine cardio-type pace and flow with light weights and strengthening moves.

The benefits of cardio workouts

There is a hefty list of health benefits associated with doing cardio exercise. Here are some top reasons to include cardio in your workout routine:

  • It strengthens the heart
  • It strengthens the lungs and increases lung capacity
  • It boosts the metabolism for the hour and helps you burns calories and lose weight
  • It helps reduce stress
  • It increases energy
  • It promotes restful sleep

A true cardio workout is when you are working at around 60 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate for a minimum of 20 minutes. Simply stated, you should be able to talk while you are working out.  If you are too winded to speak comfortably, your heart rate is probably too high and you need to slow down. The fat-burning cycle needs a very specific heart-rate zone, otherwise you won’t burn fat calories and will switch to an anaerobic energy cycle, which is more intramuscular energy supply and results in a different effect.

For the average American, walking is the exercise of choice, and if the walk is brisk and purposeful over time, a person can get the required cardio benefits needed to maximize his or her health. The need to push to extremes with intense cardio does not necessarily give you proportionately greater cardiovascular results in the end.  It is the spirit of fun and competition that drives the hard-core runner, spinner, cardio junkie. They love the cardio high from exploring and challenging their limits, but in the end, their net results are no greater than the purposeful power walker who is choosing an activity that is much less stressful on the joints than running or jogging. Eventually, the knee, hip, and ankle joints of the runner could suffer from the pounding effect of the activity. Other forms of cardio exercise, like swimming, begin to make more sense.

What’s important to remember when choosing a movement plan is that the single most important component in fitness to maximize results and create life-enhancing changes is strength training.  With a resistance-training program, such as weight lifting, pilates, some forms of yoga, our Core Fusion® classes at Exhale, and other techniques, a person has the potential to increase lean muscle mass. As one ages, the three deficits that grow annually are muscle density, bone density, and muscle elasticity, which reduce our range of motion.

A program that incorporates resistance training will increase muscle density, lean muscle mass, and, most importantly, it will raise your resting metabolic rate, or RMR. This is the rate at which you burn calories round the clock, 24/7, not just the one hour that you are on the bike or going for a run.

By having a body with a high percentage of lean muscle mass, all of your other exercise choices including cardio will be more effective and safer. Muscles support joints, so if muscles are stronger, the joints have more integrity. By incorporating flexibility exercises into your strengthening work, you are promoting suppleness in the body, which is especially important for the muscles that line the spine. As Joseph Pilates once said, “A supple spine is a youthful body,” and in the end, isn’t that why we exercise, to stay youthful, energetic, and vibrant?

You would be wise to make exercise choices that will enhance your lifestyle and make these exercises a part of your lifestyle. Do the exercises that you need to do that will pay off a year from now and should be looked at as an investment. I am talking about the exercises that you know that you need, not necessarily the exercises that you look good doing.

I have trouble getting the competitive male to sometimes take Core Fusion® classes simply because he cannot get into the positions. Hamstrings are too tight, stomach a little too soft, back too tight, but the biggest problem is usually the ego being too big. If there is a will, and humility, a person can start building a physical foundation that simply improves over time. There is not much instant gratification sometimes, but with patience, perseverance, and consistency, it is possible to be in better shape in your 50s than you were in your 20s.

Lifestyle exercise that reduces stress, shapes your muscles, and builds strength and flexibility, all while simultaneously giving you the needed cardio benefits, will go a long way in enhancing your life.

Fred DeVito, Health & Fitness Contributing Editor
For over 30 years, Fred DeVito has taught New Yorkers to live healthier, leading fitness classes at the acclaimed Lotte Berk Method Studios, and more recently, at Exhale Spa, where he serves as Executive Vice President of Mind Body Training. With his wife and partner, Elisabeth Halfpapp . . . Read more about Fred DeVito

Bikini Blaster Plan with Core Fusion Boot Camp Moves

By Fred DeVito

It’s that time of the year: you shed your winter layers and suddenly notice your muscles again – or rather, the lack thereof!  The tee shirts and shorts aren’t looking quite as you’d like (and forget about that swimsuit).  No need to panic – there’s still time to get in shape for summer…but you need to start now!

Single Leg Pulse

No more procrastinating.  From this moment forward, every morsel of food that you consume counts as calories going in – and every step that you consciously take (forgoing the escalator for the stairs) counts as calories going out.  At the end of the day, it’s simple math: over consume and you gain weight. Over exert and you lose weight.

Once you shift to choosing your calories wisely, it’s time to implement a series of strengthening and toning exercises.  I want to share some of the most fun, challenging, and muscle-burning moves from our Core Fusion Boot Camp class at exhale (also found on the Core Fusion Boot Camp DVD).  This series will jump start your fitness routine and get you on the path of exerting energy through challenging movements.  Your muscles will start to become stronger and in the process become shapelier.  Lean muscle is what burns those calories.  So get started today!

Core Fusion Boot Camp Workout for Bikini Blaster Results!

You can do this Core Fusion Boot Camp Workout 2 to 3 times per week.  The classes use a Core Ball, but you can switch in any ball—volleyball, soccer ball, kickball, beach ball—that you have available.  It just needs to be able to support your bodyweight for pushups.  You’ll also need a 5-to-8 pound dumbbell for the lifting moves.

 

Single Leg Pulse
Targets: Shoulders, abs, butt, legs
Stand on right leg with left leg held out in front of you.  Hold the ball or weight with arms extended directly in front of you at chest height. Bend right leg slightly lowering your body 2-3 inches, then straighten the leg and return to standing. Do 20 pulses in this style. Switch legs and repeat.

 

Single Leg Squat and Leap

 

Single Leg Squat and Leap
Targets: Shoulders, obliques, butt, legs
Stand with your legs wider than shoulder width, toes turned out slightly. Hold the ball or weight overhead slightly in front of your forehead, elbows partially bent.  Squat down until you can touch the ball to the floor in between your feet – then spring up to the right, extending the ball over head as the left foot leaves the floor.  Return the ball to the floor between your feet and then spring up to the left, extending the ball overhead until the right foot leaves the floor.  Twist from your trunk as you leap to activate the oblique abdominal muscles. Do 10 reps.  Repeat a second set.

Uneven Pushup

Uneven Pushup
Targets: Chest, triceps, abs
Get in full pushup position with your right palm on the ground and your left palm on top of the ball.  Make sure your left elbow is directly over your left wrist – the body should form a straight line from head to heels. (Beginners can do a modified pushup position with knees on the ground.) Bend elbows and lower yourself toward the ground – then straighten arms and return to starting position.  Do 10 reps. Switch sides, repeat.

Oblique Trunk Twister with weights in the Curl Position
Targets: the full abdominal wall with emphasis on the obliques, the inner thighs.
Start by sitting on the ground with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.  Place the ball between your inner-thighs and hold there.  Holding a 2-pound weight in each hand, roll slowly down to your waist, vertebrae by vertebrae.  Bring fists together near the breast bone.  Rotate trunk from side to side to work the oblique muscles. Do 10 reps.  Repeat 2 sets.

Pretzel Position
Targets chest, biceps, abs, hips, butt
Sit on ground with left knee bent in front of your left hip, right knee bent and positioned behind your right hip. Rotate right hip forward so that the right ankle is higher than the right knee. Place ball on ground in front of your left leg to get started for the basic position.  The next, more advanced level is to press into ball with palms at chest level, shoulders down, elbows out. Lift bent right leg a few inches off ground, then press right leg back.  Be sure to keep the right ankle higher than the knee and the right knee behind the right hip.  If you can’t lift the right knee in the beginning, just slide it along the floor, working to keep the ankle higher than the knee.  Do 2 sets of push backs.  A second variation is to keep the same position and lift the right knee up just enough to clear the floor.  Do 2 sets of 20 lifts.  Switch legs in between sets.

Fred DeVito, Health & Fitness Contributing Editor
For over 30 years, Fred DeVito has taught New Yorkers to live healthier, leading fitness classes at the acclaimed Lotte Berk Method Studios, and more recently, at Exhale Spa, where he serves as Executive Vice President of Mind Body Training. With his wife and partner, Elisabeth Halfpapp . . . Read more about Fred DeVito

Fred DeVito, Health & Fitness Contributing Editor

fred-devito-bioFor over 30 years, Fred DeVito has taught New Yorkers to live healthier, leading fitness classes at the acclaimed Lotte Berk Method Studios, and more recently, at Exhale Spa, where he serves as Executive Vice President of Mind Body Training. With his wife and partner, Elisabeth Halfpapp, Fred developed the Core Fusion Program, a regimen that combines elements of Pilates, yoga, barre exercise, and cardiac conditioning. Through DVD sales and Exhale’s 18 locations, Core Fusion has helped thousands of people develop tighter abs, leaner muscles, and more athletic, toned bodies. Fred can be reached at fdevito@exhalespa.com.