Fall Fitness on Instagram

This fall has been a roller coaster ride in terms of my fitness goals. Here are some of my instagram yoga pics from this season. September and the first half of October was a challenge for me because I had a lumbar sprain (happened during Zumba class, probably while chest pumping or twerking) that led to further complications – sacro-iliac joint dysfunction and sciatica. I had to ease off my teaching, and working as a nurse was no fun either with a permanent ice pack strapped to my butt. I continued my at-home yoga practice, sticking to the easy poses, laying off backbends. Slowly but surely, the back healed, and I am back at it, full force, picking up where I left off and making progress. I’m sure you can tell that I enjoy being part of the IG yoga community. Not only has it opened my eyes to learning new things, but I have become closer to accepting and appreciating my body. When I first started taking these pics, I was so picky about the way my body looked, not posting some of them because I thought I looked too short, too stubby, too big, too small, too muscular, too soft, blah, blah, blah. I compared myself to other yoga girls and guys who looked long and lean in their poses. I didn’t want to show my arms or my legs in particular angles- ridiculous thoughts! Now I no longer base my fitness goals on how I look. It is all about my ability and what I can do, and I am much more at ease with myself. I encourage everyone to start a personal yoga practice, no matter what level you are on. It may take a while for you to like it though- it took me a lonnnngggg time to not have to force myself to do it. I still have to give myself a pep talk before doing some poses, but I am always grateful afterwards. Namaste peeps. You can follow my yoga journey on IG: @reesekistel

Summer-fit on Instagram

Hi! I thought I would share some of my fitness-related Instagram photos with you today. I started using Instagram at the start of the summer, and it has quickly become my favorite social media outlet. Now I don’t post these yoga exhibitionist pics to be a narcissistic show-off. These photos are an integral part of my fitness journey, like a journal, so I can see my strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments. I’ve been so inspired by other Instagram fitness selfies, that I figure if I can inspire or motivate just one person, that would be enough for me to post a picture. It also allows me to indulge my creative side, which is what attracted me to yoga in the first place (it’s like “body art”). Hope you like my little handstand collage. Come find me on Instagram: @reesekistel.

Sunday Yoga

“Have only love in your heart for others. The more you see the good in them, the more you will establish good in yourself.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Sometimes you just have to view the world upside-down to fully clear your mind. I typically do my self practice in my living room, but today I decided to take it outside in the fresh, cool spring air. I’ve been feeling a little bogged down lately, just trying to handle the responsibilities of being an adult, combined with all the tragedies that are going on in our world right now. This past week left me drained and overwhelmed. What do I do when I’m overwhelmed? I stop and stand on my head. Works wonders every time.  :)

DIY: The Statement Pillow

I had a few people asking me about the 20 X 20 “Go To The Gym” felt pillow on my bed in the sausage ponytail tutorial video, and I am proud to say that it was made by yours truly! I saw a similar pillow on Etsy that was $100, and I was determined to copy it. My broken sewing machine has been stuffed away in a closet somewhere for years, so I stitched the whole darn thing by hand. It was actually easier that I thought, only taking a couple hours. I ended up making the “let’s make out” pillow the next day with the leftover felt.

To follow the same basic pillow tutorial that I used, click here. To make the letters, I cut them out of paper first, then I placed the paper letters wrong-side-up on the felt and traced around them with a sharpie. That way when you cut them out, the marker will be on the underside of the felt letter. I hand sewed the letters onto the pillow, but you could easily just glue them on with fabric adhesive. If you have an old throw pillow that you no longer use, you could just cover it, or take the filling out to stuff your new cool pillow. Have fun!

OOTD: The Rainbow Runner

Okay, so not exactly an outfit, but my New Balance 890s deserve their own post. These are the shoes Rainbow Brite would wear if she were a runner…or a real person. Without fail, people always stop and ask about them. They might be a little too flashy for some, but I love them. I can run faster and jump higher, too.

What do you think?

Kick Your Old Cardio Routine to the Curb

Are you one of those cardio-obsessed people who spend hours on the treadmill or elliptical, thinking that the longer you spend on the machine, the more you will see results (weight loss or better body)? This is a boring waste of your time, and this outdated method of exercising is highly overrated and may not give you the results you are expecting. Think about who you would like to model your body after. If it is a professional athlete, fitness model, an actor, or Karina Smirnoff, do you think this is what he or she does all day? Nope. Some fitness experts now believe that for some, the body adapts to excessive long sessions of steady aerobic exercise by storing MORE fat.

Don’t get me wrong, you are burning calories, and yes, cardio (aerobic exercise) in appropriate amounts is important for heart health and blood glucose control, but long, isolated cardio sessions are NOT the superior method to burning fat. The myth that strength training only builds muscle and cardio only burns fat is simply not true. Mindless steady state cardio (especially if you watch TV or read while doing it) leads to a body-mind disconnection resulting in poor results. The ability to do anaerobic exercises—lifting heavy things, running fast, jumping, climbing, fighting—was vital to the survival of our species (primal movement patterns). Being able to jog for an hour at a specified percentage of your maximum heart rate wasn’t vital for our survival. Strength training is essential to build muscle. Muscles are your body’s fat-busters. Muscle will burn calories all day long, not just when you are exercising. The more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate, and the more fat you will burn.

Try doing intervals- just 20 minutes of interval fitness training is as effective as 40 minutes of a cardio routine. Interval training combines short, high intensity bursts of speed, with slow, recovery phases, repeated during one exercise session. Decreasing your empty cardio, increasing your intensity, and adding strength training will give you your best body. You will have more energy, more free time, and you’ll be leaner and stronger. Change up your workout routine every six weeks because your body will adapt to whatever routine you put it through. For workout ideas, check out Zuzana from BodyRockTV. This girl gets it. I’ll post one of her videos below.

Sweat Science

Let’s get one thing straight: everyone sweats, or everyone SHOULD sweat. When I teach my classes or when I am working out on my own, you better believe that I look like a hot mess afterwards. My one exercise rule for myself has always been the following: Break a sweat everyday (and not by using the sauna). I still see people walking around aimlessly in the gym, barely moving, with no intention of working hard. I see it in bootcamp class (BOOTCAMP class!!!!!) – people cheating themselves by not taking advantage of the resources available to them and by not pushing to their potential. These are the same people that complain that the class isn’t challenging enough. This is mostly an issue with women, more so than men, because there is this stigma that we have to look cute and presentable at every moment, and there is a misconception that training hard or lifting heavy will make us look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

THE SCIENCE: People who are physically fit sweat more readily than those who are not fit. Research has shown that inactive women had the lowest sweat rate of all. Physically fit people begin to sweat at a lower core body temperature. Since sweating is our body’s way of cooling off (and keeping from overheating), this allows us to perform longer. Make sure you are exercising within your target heart rate, and ask yourself if you are exerting enough energy during your workout. If you can hold a conversation while you are exercising, you are probably not doing much. YOU are in control of your workout intensity. If you are certain that you are training hard, but you are not sweating, this is a serious medical condition called anhidrosis, which should be addressed immediately.

coo-coo for coco

Dehydrated? Coconut water to the rescue! When I hit the gym to workout, I sweat more than any man, so much that I can ring-out my pony tail like a wet wash cloth afterwords. While good old fashioned H2O is usually my drink of choice, I’ve also been sipping coconut water to combat electrolyte imbalances before and/or after a mean date with the spin bike.  I’ve read so many reviews and articles on this stuff, I thought I’d sum up all of its potential benefits for you:

- All natural, sterile isotonic beverage with naturally occurring electrolytes – the ultimate rehydrating machine.  Apparently, it is used as IV fluid in third world countries and was used for emergency plasma transfusions during the Pacific War. Today it is consumed by college students worldwide to combat hangovers.  It also has the potassium of two bananas.

- Boosts your metabolism, promotes weight loss, and aids digestion.  It contains natural anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties.

- Low in carbs, low in calories, low in fat, and low in naturally occurring sugar.

- Promotes healthy skin and hair.

- Promotes healthy thyroid function.  It is also used as an aid for kidney stones, gallbladder disease, and yeast infections.

Now i’ve read conflicting reports, many singing the praise of coconuts, but some are remaining skeptical.  Some reports state that coconut water is not the best drink after strenuous exercise because it does not replenish enough sodium, which we know is lost when you sweat.  Going off of how I feel, however, I would say that coconut water has really helped me feel better and energized after exercise.  If you are really worried about the sodium, you can munch on some salty pretzels while you drink your coconuts.  As for the taste, I am a fan (wouldn’t describe the taste as “sock-like”). It is a little sweet with a little tartness somewhere in there, and yay, you get to drink out of a box.

get your ॐ on in style

Your yoga mat is your “magic carpet” to Savasana. These mats are both functional and colorful to help you stay inspired and in-posture during your practice.

1. Bolder cat-cow yoga mat – $49
2. Yogarat superOm Eco yoga mat – $39.99
3. J Fit leopard print mat – $19
4. Night Streaker yoga mat – $32.95
5. Gaiam zen garden yoga mat – $21.98
6. Gaiam damask yoga mat – $21.98
7. Bolder origami cranes yoga mat – $49

You’ll feel even more confident in your downward dog when you look like a yogi pro in stylish yoga pants. These bottoms smooth out your shape and give the appearance of longer, leaner legs. They are just so comfortable and cute, you’ll want to wear them outside of class too!

1. Adidas climalite harmony – $39.98
2. Bebe Sport striped capri – $54
3. Express leopard fold over – $39.90
4. Old Navy boot cut – $12.99
5. Victoria’s Secret Pink legging – $34.50
6. Lululemon Athletica groove pant – $98
7. A & F yoga classic – $33.60
8. Hollister Co. yoga leggings – $30


Namaste everyone!


get on the pole

So I’ve been taking pole fitness classes for a while now, and let me just get the message out there: Pole fitness is no joke, people! Now I’m not talking about learning how to be a stripper. This is an athletic performing art that requires INSANE muscular strength and flexibility. I love it so much, and I am tired of being hesitant to tell people what I’ve been doing due to the widespread ignorance on this form of exercise. It is fun, flirty, and captivating to watch (see Jenyne Butterfly walk on air [2:20] in the video below), and yes, I am obsessed.

Wasn’t that amazing? And not at all trashy, right?