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.  :)

Avocado Smoothie Recipe

Hello! Just a quick post to share my yummy green smoothie recipe with you. Please don’t be turned off by drinking something green! Trust me, it tastes good! Toss some spinach, a half or whole banana, half of a Haas avocado, and some water (also add ice if you want it super cold) in the food processor of blender, and blend until smooth. Stir in a scoop of Chia seeds before serving. Enjoy! Cheers to good health!

Lately…On My Plate

1/2 medium cucumber, grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese, 1/2 Haas avocado, black pepper, dill

Hi peeps! I’ve been obsessed with this simple, nutrient-rich salad lately. That, and I may have a little avocado addiction (avocados = nature’s butter). It doesn’t take much preparation, just the ability to use a knife and spoon, which is ideal for me because I have the culinary skills of a 9-year-old. At least I can make it look pretty on the plate. I probably don’t need to tell you about the health benefits of avocados, but in case you were wondering, click here. Bon appetit!

Kale Chip Recipe

I’m probably the last blogger on Earth to post about kale chips, but just in case you happened to miss this trending recipe, here it is! I like to add my own little twist, by making them salt and vinegar flavored, but you can keep them plain or make up your own medley of spices. They have a delicious light crunch sure to appease any monstrous potato chip craving.

1 bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed, and dried (or purchase precut, ready-to-eat in bag)
1 tbsp. olive oil
Sprinkle of salt and pepper

1 tbsp. vinegar if you like them salt & vinegary
Parmesan cheese if you like them cheesy
Mesquite seasoning if you like them BBQ-y
Ketchup or steak sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear big leaves into smaller pieces. Spread leaves in an even layer on cookie sheet. Toss in olive oil and seasonings of choice. Bake until edges are slightly brown, about 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind that the leaves will shrink down quite a bit. Thin, crispy, and addicting!

Eat it: Going Greek Does A Body Good

1 cup PLAIN nonfat Greek yogurt with assorted berries and organic honey

This is my snacking obsession: PLAIN nonfat Greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and a drizzle of organic honey. Plain nonfat Greek yogurt has been a staple food in our home for the past three years. We buy it in bulk (big tubs of it at a time) because it can get expensive if you regularly purchase the little single serving cups sold in the grocery store. Greek yogurt is extensively strained, removing much of the liquid whey, sugar, and lactose, giving it a thicker consistency. Not only is it tangier, thicker, and creamier than regular yogurt, but one cup provides 24g of protein, 25% DV of calcium, much less sugar, and those healthy bacterial cultures that we need to stay healthy. Going totally plain and nonfat can be a little difficult, especially if you are used to overly and/or artificially sweetened yogurt, but adding in delicious berries and a touch of organic honey can fix that problem. Enjoy!

DIY: Mineral Veil Face Powder

I used to be obsessed with Bare Minerals makeup products for years, especially their mineral veil face powder. Three years ago, I glanced at the ingredients, and I was surprised. It was basically cornstarch with parabens (eek!) and iron oxides for color. Since then, I’ve been refilling the same powder container with my own mineral veil concoction, and it works EXACTLY the same (if not better) as the brand name powder. I still love Bare Minerals products, and they have now taken out the parabens, but I will stick with my own mineral veil, thank you. THE RECIPE:  In an old powder container, shake together one tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon baby powder. You can add a sprinkle of powder foundation or cocoa powder for color, but this is optional. Congratulations, you just saved yourself $20.HEALTH TIP:  As with all powder makeup products, please do not inhale your makeup! Those tiny particles could enter the lungs, possibly leading to inflammation, scarring, and disease. When I use any kind of loose face powder, I hold my breath while tapping the excess powder off the brush and during application. Tap the brush away from you, and use only in a well-ventilated area. Try to keep it tidy – don’t let it fly all over the place. Because the more you know… (cue shooting star with rainbow).


Green Smoothies

Sometimes it’s just easier to drink your vegetables. Here is the recipe for my homemade veggie and fruit smoothie.  Drink one of these everyday, and you’ll feel like a million bucks.



Kale, spinach, carrots, apples, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, a splash of coconut water (I don’t measure anything.)


Put the ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend. Duh!



Drink it up. It’s so yummy! You can’t even taste the greens. You can put any mix of vegetables and fruits that you want in here- these are just the ingredients that I had in the fridge. Take it to-go in the morning and drink it in the car. It is very filling, and you know that it’s super healthy for you!




Kale FYI: One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K (skip the kale and spinach if you are taking anticoagulants). It is also a good source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Avoid eating calcium sources at the same time as kale because it contains oxalates, which interfere with calcium absorption.

UPDATE (12/20/11): So I’ve been experimenting with different fruit-vegetable combos, and I have to say that spinach, banana, and lemon go deliciously well together! I tried this combination after I heard Simon Cowell drinks this smoothie every morning. I also started adding alfalfa sprouts to my main recipe. Hope you are enjoying drinking your veggies!

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.