Monday, 30 June 2014

Bamboo: Green Is The New Black

I was watching a story on Catalyst (ABC Australia) focusing on the use of bamboo as an eco friendly fabric source for fashion. It is strong, durable and requires very little water. Turns out, bamboo has been used in medicine, construction and architecture. It's anti-bacterial and UV blocking. Perfect for wearing against your skin and definitely the ideal fabric for gymwear!
For the first time, I am wearing bamboo leggings ($24.95)! I am also now wearing Boody undies and socks. Super, super soft. Perfect for yoga, pilates and Ballet Sculpt.
If you watch the segment, you'll see that there is concern over the way bamboo is sourced and used in Australian products. Boody uses organic and plantation-grown bamboo. Their packaging uses recycled cardboard and vegetable-based ink. KNOW where your products come from! Follow Boody on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Don't Make Excuses

As I was standing in Pump yesterday, a girl went to tie her lovely long hair into a ponytail, only for the band to snap and go flying a couple of metres towards the barbell rack. Luckily, nobody lost an eye and she had another one looped around her water bottle.
RESOURCEFULNESS!
I was deeply impressed. I always have one looped around my water bottle and another around my gloves.
Don't give yourself any reason to skip 
a) your workout
b) the intensity or duration of the workout you planned

Here's my tips to be prepared.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Get a Glute Lift

There are all sorts of fancy moves I could throw at you, but the time-honoured basics are going to work if you stick with them. That means doing them twice a week, with challenging weights and making sure your alignment and range of movement is both SAFE and effective.
I highly recommend getting a trainer to help you with weight selection, then observing the way you carry out the moves to ensure you are getting the most out of your time.
Deadlifts. Heels are just outside your hips, shoulders back and chest open. Holding the bar just outside your thighs, take your hips back as the bar slides down your legs as far as you can without shrugging the shoulders forward. Squeeze through your glutes and press your heels into the floor as you come back up.
Knee raise. No equipment required! Knees are positioned under each hip and palms under the shoulders. Keep your head and neck in a straight line with your spine. Raise the knee, maintaining a 90 degree bend and focusing on using your glute rather than kicking the heel up. Repeat 15 - 20 times, swap sides and repeat twice more!
Stretch. This picture is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure you sit up really tall, like your spine is a steel rod! Hold for 1 - 2 minutes.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Bak Balls for easing out the creaky bits

I've previously enthused about the knobbly massage balls you can get from the physio and I still love and recommend them. The Bak Balls are a new discovery for me and I am using mine post-class and also just before bed.
Not just for my back - though placing it against a wall and rolling up and down has worked out some awful tension! Though it IS awkward, I can position myself over the ball on the mat and work it into my hip flexor to alleviate some of the arthritis-associated pain. I can also sit, angled to the side on it, and work into piriformis and glute medius (side of the butt!)

The original is more firm and comes in black. I have the softer version, which comes in red.

Get yours from Bad Backs

Friday, 20 June 2014

Zen-sational - inner peace, outer beauty

It's cold and miserable outside in Melbourne, so I've found the perfect way to spend my evenings. I am lighting a candle and curling up with an inspiring book and a cup of tea.
I am a big fan of be genki candles and tea. They have ranges specific to your mood and intention. I adore the Serene candle and tea. The candle contains essential oils of Palmarosa, Rosewood, Patchouli, Neroli and Rose Otto. All Be Genki products are natural, organic, GM-free, vegan and cruelty-free.
Be Genki Serene herbal tea is a blend of organic Chamomillia, Passion Flower, Alfalfa, Lemongrass, Echinacea, Rose Hips, Siberian Ginseng,Liquorice and Ginger. Not only does it taste DIVINE, it's going to make your insides happy and your skin glow. I also love their Vitality tea with Rosemary, Yarrow, Peppermint and Gingko. Happy tummy!
And what am I reading? The fabulous Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful by Lee Holmes. Lee is an award-winning blogger who lives for health and beauty. The book has over 100 recipes with mouth-watering photos and easy-to-follow recipes. Even if you don't make anything, the book looks beautiful on your coffee table! 
Recipes range from super smoothies and health drinks to delectable breakfast treats such as Quirky quinoa muffins and Almond and apple pancakes. Lunch and dinner are covered, too, with frittatas, pizzas, pasta dishes, stir-fries and curries.
Visit her blog at http://www.superchargedfood.com

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Pattern Princess

Yes, my addiction knows no bounds. Sally has suggested taking me along to Leggings Anonymous.
My first thought is, I wonder if they can recommend even MORE amazing places for yoga and gym wear that rocks?
Here are my favourite activewear pieces - it's cold outside, time to brighten up.
Onzie 'skulls' tights, G-loves Pink Camo gloves, Mika Yogawear 'Mia' capris, Under Armour 'Fly-By' capris, Cotton On Body 'leopard' capris.

Really must emphasise how much I'm loving the G-Loves gloves. "Lift and Love"! It's entirely psychological of course, but I find a manicure and a kick-ass outfit can go a long way to making you work 100% harder. There are some 80s and neon lovin' girls I know. I totally recommend the Rad Collection.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Timetable!

Not a moment too soon! The weekly timetable for Ballet Sculpt as of now and ongoing. There are mats provided but you are always welcome to bring your own. I recommend comfortable workout clothes - you need to be able to stretch and sweat in whatever you wear. A water bottle is also a good idea, but again, not essential.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Ballet Sculpt Trademarked

Because I design and choreograph my class according to my own knowledge, skill and as a professional exercise, I trademarked this name some time ago.

For any clubs or individuals seeking further information, Trademark Number 1584168.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

My Cleanser Is Black! And other stories...

That's right - charcoal is the hip new ingredient to know when it comes to cleansers. I've used charcoal for drawing and in tablet form for digestive cleansing, but it has never occurred to me that it would make a fabulous skin purifier.
As a beauty product fanatic, I considered it my duty to unearth the best affordable and widely available cleansers for sensitive skin. Especially considering that it's now winter in Melbourne and skin is already copping an environmental whack. My two picks for the best brands on a budget are Biore and Neutrogena. There is a product in both brand ranges for every skin concern, from dryness through to oily and acne-prone skin.
For a thorough pore-excavation, go for the self-heating one-minute mask with charcoal.
The Neutrogena Naturals range is skin and eco-friendly. Great for young skin and anyone with sensitive and redness-prone skin. I would recommend using the purifying facial cleanser daily and saving the purifying pore scrub for once every three to four days. Though it's not particularly harsh, the skin doesn't need to be exfoliated daily and this can lead to excess oil production as the skin tries to restore its natural balance. For the scent alone, I would recommend the Pink Grapefruit range. Zesty fresh and makes your skin feel tingly clean too.

You can find Biore and Neutrogena at Priceline, Coles, Woolworths and other major retailers.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Mika Yoga Wear

My obsession for amazing activewear means you don't need to do any explorations of your own. I'm going to make it really easy for you. I wear it to death, I kick and squat and stretch, roll and climb and press in it and if it still looks good even after all that battering, it's a keeper.

Let's face it. If you wear the same old leggings to the gym that you wear to bed or vacuuming all morning on Sunday, how motivated do you feel?
I need a flattering cut of legging and some concealer before I'm ready to take on the cardio machines post-coffee in the morning. I especially like wearing something I know I won't see 10 other people wearing in class. So don't tell anyone else, but Mika Yoga Wear is the bomb.

My favourite is the Linda top (US$45) - it has a ribbon tie-back that looks ballet-inspired. Nothing like a super feminine top when you're deadlifting like a beast! I love it in black, but it also comes in a beautiful dark purple, 'Blackberry' or 'Mustard'.
I also have the Kaya Legging  (US$56) in Lorelei print. Great for pilates, yoga and Ballet Sculpt. The waist sits just below my navel, which is really flattering. Bending over in low-waisted leggings? Not so practical. The print is gorgeous too!

Follow Mika on Facebook and Twitter


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Rockin' Arms - in 10 minutes

If you've done my classes or trained with me, you know I have a 'thing' about working the triceps. It's fun, there's so many ways to target them, and when you can brave Melbourne weather and wear arm-revealing tops, a bit of arm muscle looks hot.
Not to mention that strong arms and shoulders give you

  • better posture, 
  • upper-body strength in proportion to your lower body, and 
  • assist in all sorts of functional things like carrying, gripping, reaching, pulling and pushing.
This is a 10 minute arm blitz that I've done and totally recommend. The instructor has overdosed on the bath salts and comes across as EXTREMELY BUBBLY, but grit your teeth and hang on, it's only 10 minutes. What doesn't kill you gives you awesome triceps!

You need two dumbbells or plates - between 3 - 6kg depending on your strength and endurance. How often can you do this workout? Every 3rd day.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

My article for A Beauty Feature: Vitamin C

I love contributing to A Beauty Feature. Here's my latest hard hitting investigation into Vitamin C for Collagen boosting. I'm getting my daily boost with the serums and powders mentioned - skin is loving it. Vitamin C For Collagen Boosting

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Juice! Melbourne's Masters

I love juice. If it's a bright colour and you can plonk it in a juicer or a food processor, I'm there. If someone else is going to do it for you and hand it to you in a glass/jar/bottle, well, even better! I've been doing the research - someone has to do the tough jobs - and I can fully recommend the following juice pushers.
Schinny Maninny: I did their one-day juice detox and their Schkinny Leap Frog (cucumber, kiwi, spinach, parsley, apple) is my favourite! While I don't advocate a juice-only diet AT ALL, a one-day cleanse if you've really been hitting the junk food and liquor like a fiend is sometimes the kick-start you need. A sustainable, nutritionally balanced approach to eating and exercise is the only way. A green juice every morning is an awesome reminder to your body of how much it loves greens - totally recommend you get it delivered to the office! JUST THE JUICE CLEANSE

Nutrition Bar: In Swan Street, Richmond, right opposite the old Dimmey's. The range of juices and food is mouth-wateringly good! Well priced too. On the day Jess and I went in, there were fit-looking people traipsing in and out with juices and yummy salads/sweet things in hand. It's a SUPER SMALL space so if you plan on sitting around and having a yak, you might find yourself elbow-to-elbow with a whole bunch of people waiting for their order and laughing into their mobiles. There's a few outdoor tables, which is where we planted ourselves, but this isn't ideal in Melbourne's wintery weather right now. Come summer, this is going to be heaven!

Green Press: Quickly winning over the yoga and fitness folk in Melbourne's CBD, Green Press is hooking up with several studios and healthy living businesses and individuals to really show that healthy living and nourishing the body takes more than a juice a day. It's a holistic thing. But you knew that. Right now, I'm in talks with Green Press to visit my inner Melbourne classes. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Ballet Flats for Ballet Sculpters - WIN a pair!


This is one for my fashion-friendly Ballet Sculptors.
As much as I wish I could still float around in Jiffy slippers like I did as a 5-year-old, they're just not made for walking on anything other than the floorboards of a ballet studio!
I've found the adult option - chic, ballet flats from Cocorose London, who have collaborated with Britain's Royal Ballet on a collection - bonus points for authenticity! My gorgeous wear-anywhere flats are grey. You might be more a red-goes-faster type!

Cocorose London have offered one of my readers a pair of Cocorose ballet flats of YOUR choice! All you need to do is visit the Cocorose London website then answer the following question:
What year was Cocorose London founded?
Go to Facebook to answer!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Natural Looking Tan and Rockin' Bright Nails

Nail obsession? Guilty. Desire to be tanned year-round? Guilty! If you understand, you'll be very grateful for my latest discoveries.
I have tried almost every tanner under the sun - streaks, bizarre oompa-loompa shade, sticky, smelly....so when I find something that is actually really flattering, natural-looking and has no lingering scent, I get excited. Jennifer Hawkins created J bronze with a range of face and body tanning products. I have been using the Face Flawless Tan and Dark Tanning Mousse. Applied the night before, I wake up looking like I just got back from yachting in the Carribean. Get it here.
Also available at Priceline.
My advice? Apply to clean, dry skin before dressing in loose, black clothing. Looks perfectly natural - you'll love it.

ELES is a mineral makeup brand that is formulated to nourish skin, without nasty fragrances, talc, oil or dyes. Perfect if you have sensitive skin, acne or rosacea. I am a sucker for the Micro Bubble lipstick.

Their latest range of nail colours is inspired by the seaside huts on Brighton Beach. I LOVE Brighton Berry Smoothie. The whole collection can be seen here!

Nourish - Two Superfood Salads to Love

From my new cookbook of choice, Nourish by Amber Locke (published by Mitchell Beazley, $24.99), two recipes that you can add to your lunc...