Tag Archives: pilates

Anchor Bay Fitness DVD Review and Giveaway!

You may recall that when I last reviewed two DVDs from Anchor Bay Fitness‘s Element Yoga collection, I did a giveaway for two new releases:

Anchor Bay was nice enough to also send me a copy of each of these two DVDs to try out and review. I have been working on doing decreasing the amount of high-intensity workouts in my week, and having a variety of workout videos has certainly helped me on that journey. My recent GI issues have also called for more low-intensity workouts. Heavy weights and cardio don’t feel great to my body when I’m feeling nauseous.

Yoga expert Tamal Dodge teaches both 30-minute workouts. As you can probably guess, one is for energy and includes poses that strengthen, tone, and stretch. The other relaxes the body through simple poses like downward dog, spinal twist, and crocodile (one of the easiest poses in yoga). I tried this DVD while I was feeling nauseous and it was nice and relaxing, though my stomach couldn’t handle poses that incorporated back bends, like camel or cobra. If you plan to do both programs, I recommend doing the energy first and the relax second. This is what I did and if I had flip-flopped, I think I would have been ready to take a nap or just meditate after the relax video and never would have made it to the energy! Tamal’s instructions are calming and the video would even be one I’d recommend to a beginning yogi. I can certainly see myself using this DVD again when I am craving some movement but not feeling 100%.

The talented and beautiful Lisa Hubbard (who sometimes likes my Instagram pics…I die) leads both workouts on this DVD – the 30-minute total body and 10-minute abs. The pink resistance band shown on the cover is indeed included inside and functions very well, although it does stick to itself (like tape) a bit! To be honest with you, I don’t know if I would call this an “accelerated” pilates routine. I was expecting something more advanced, but found the total body work to be not particularly challenging. The abs were a bit harder – a straight 10 minutes of abs usually is! But the video overall is still a good mix of total body moves that kept me interested thanks to all the variety and the use of the band, something I’m still inexperienced with. I have to admit that it pissed me off a few times when it came “unlooped” from around my foot, but I don’t think it’s anything practice won’t fix! I don’t want those not super-experienced with pilates to be discouraged by the classification of the DVD as “accelerated” because I really think a lot of folks can do this DVD and get in an enjoyable workout!

Dance Workout DVD Giveaway

I love dance workouts like Group Groove and Zumba. They’re both heart-pumping and brain-occupying, which makes the time fly! Anchor Bay has two dance workout DVDs to give away to one lucky Cait Plus Ate reader:

  • Dance Off the Inches Latin Cardio Dance Party: Three dance routines (samba, reggaeton, cumbia) broken down into steps, then combinations, to help you learn the routines! The workouts total 65 minutes, so each is about 20 minutes of cardio fun.
  • 10 Minute Solution Cardio Hip Hop: Five 10-minute dance routines – so easy to customize your cardio workout’s length! Even if you just have ten minutes, there’s a routine on here for you. And if you have almost an hour, do all five in a row!

Giveaway is open to continental US only and ends at 11:59PM EST on Sunday 11/4/12. To enter, you can do the following – and leave a separate comment for each:

  1. Comment on this post (mandatory) and tell me which you prefer – yoga or pilates?
  2. Follow @CaitPlusAte on Twitter, and comment with your Twitter handle saying you did.
  3. Follow @AnchorBayEntFit on Twitter, and comment with your Twitter handle saying you did.
  4. Tweet “I’m entered to win two @AnchorBayEntFit dance workout DVDs from @CaitPlusAte! #fitfluential http://wp.me/p1SfTW-1CH” and comment here with the link to the tweet.
  5. Repin something from Element on Pinterest and comment with the link to the repin.
  6. Follow CaitPlusAte on Pinterest and comment with your Pinterest name saying you did.

Though it’s not an option for giveaway entry, you can also like Anchor Bay Entertainment’s Fitness page on Facebook! 

General Giveaway Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the continental United States. The email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner and will never be given out to anyone nor sold. The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted via email. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. Please make sure you check your junk mail folder.

Good luck to all who enter! I received both of these DVDs from Anchor Bay to review free of charge. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Element Yoga DVDs: Review and Giveaway!

Thank you for your kind, supportive words about my honesty at the end of yesterday’s post. Each time I open up on this blog about the “other side” of my feelings about food and drinks, I am rewarded by your comments and tweets…and just any form of encouragement I receive. It helps more than anyone knows!

After receiving an Anchor Bay Fitness AM & PM Yoga DVD by Element in my Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet swag bag (you can read a great review of that DVD on Meredith’s blog, Dare You To…, here!), I contacted one of their reps to find out if they had any power yoga DVDs for me to check out. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile then you already know this, but on days I have class or an event after work, I like to do a yoga DVD or online video in the morning since I can’t make it to the gym. Well…I suppose I could. But doing a gym workout just isn’t what I want to be doing at 6:15am – so I do yoga instead 🙂

My at-home yoga “studio” – complete with TJ Maxx mat!

It turns out Element has many yoga DVDs to choose from! I was sent the Yoga for Weight Loss and Power Yoga DVDs to review. I want to note that though I am reviewing the Yoga for Weight Loss DVD, I am NOT reviewing it from the perspective of someone trying to lose weight. If anything, I am working on being OK with gaining back some healthy weight, and I look at yoga as an aid in that journey because it helps me find peace in doing a less-intense form of workout.

The Element Yoga for Weight Loss DVD with Ashley Turner actually turned out to be extremely fitting to that purpose because it really was a nice balance of power yoga and the more relaxed, stretch-focused types of yoga. According to Ashley herself, the practice is meant to combine vinsaya yoga with poses that can foster “self-acceptance, focus, forgiveness, and gratitude – reducing stress and creating happiness from the inside out…so you will want to treat [your body] respectfully and maintain a lifestyle that is good for your health”. I appreciate the recognition that weight loss is a journey consisting of so much more than simply burning calories.

I definitely felt accomplished and at peace after completing this DVD. The low music, serene Pacific-Ocean-view setting, and calm manner with which Ashley delivered her instructions effectively combined to create what I felt was a judgment-free zone that a beginning yogi would find helpful while attempting new poses. I don’t think someone completely new to yoga would have an easy time understanding the poses (so they can be attempted) during an initial viewing, but after a couple of runs through the DVD, the routine wouldn’t be to hard to get a grasp on.

I always have my mason jar of water handy while I’m practicing!

The Element Power Yoga DVD certainly focused much more on the physical challenge – a true lower body, and at times cardio, workout! Ashley Turner once again teaches in the same serene setting, with the same low music and patient-sounding voice. However, the instructions she delivered were for more challenging poses with quick flows and longer isometric holds! At one point during this DVD, when my left leg had been in a right angle for what seemed like years, I literally yelled, “SHIT!” as I fought through the burn. Yes my friends, this Power Yoga DVD enduces cursing, so if you have little ones you better make sure they’re out of earshot before beginning. 😛

Don’t worry, she doesn’t ask you to do this! Source

I don’t want to scare anyone though! I clearly felt challenged, but also accomplished and strong after the DVD’s conclusion. I enjoyed the pattern of poses – those emphasizing the core were scattered throughout, and a nice backbend sequence wound down the practice. It’s usually very difficult for me to fight the urge to just shut my yoga videos off as they enter the savasana portion, but in this case I felt pretty pooped and the rest period was most welcome! I wanted to just chill out in corpse pose before I had to get ready for work.

Anchor Bay Fitness has two new Element DVDs coming out 9/25: Yoga for Energy & Relaxation and Accelerated Pilates with Resistance Band. The former features yoga expert Tamal Dodge and consists of a 30-minute energizing practice and 40-minute relaxation practice. I love that the DVD “categorizes” both series of poses so that if one does not have time to do both, or is just looking for an energy boost or a relaxing stretch, the viewer can easily choose which portion of the workout to complete.

I hope to get the chance to try out the latter DVD, Accelerated Pilates with Resistance Band, for endless reasons! Firstly it’s just a 30-minute total body workout and 10-minute ab routine, which fit perfectly with my yoga/pilates attention span. 😀 Ssecondly, I was a HUGE fan of the resistance band’s uses in Physique 57 and would love to see how trainer Lisa Hubbard incorporates the (PINK!) band into this practice. The fact that the DVD calls this pilates “accelerated” also jumps out at me because though I don’t do pilates often now, I did it a few times a week during my senior year of college after I had just entered recovery and was in great need of a form of workout far less intense than what I’d been doing. For that reason, I have always felt a special bond with pilates because of the way it kept me “sane” when I was forbidden from higher-intensity workouts. Any chance to try out a new routine is welcome to me because every instructor does pilates so differently!

You can purchase all Anchor Bay Fitness DVDs in stores or on Amazon.com!

I’m partnering with Anchor Bay Fitness to give TWO lucky Cait Plus Ate readers the chance to try BOTH of these DVDs! Two readers will each win a copy of both new Element DVDs, Accelerated Pilates with Resistance Band and Yoga for Energy & Relaxation! The giveaway is open to US readers only. Entries will close Saturday 9/8 at 11:59PM EST!

To enter, you can do the following – and leave a separate comment for each:

  1. Comment on this post (mandatory) and tell me which of the four DVDs mentioned in this post you’d most want to try!
  2. Follow @CaitPlusAte on Twitter, and comment with your Twitter handle saying you did.
  3. Follow @AnchorBayEntFit on Twitter, and comment with your Twitter handle saying you did.
  4. Tweet “I’m entered to win two @AnchorBayEntFit #yoga #pilates DVDs from @CaitPlusAte! #fitfluential http://wp.me/p1SfTW-1rd” and comment here with the link to the tweet.
  5. Repin something from Element on Pinterest and comment with the link to the repin.
  6. Follow CaitPlusAte on Pinterest and comment with your Pinterest name saying you did.

Though it’s not an option for giveaway entry, you can also like Anchor Bay Entertainment’s Fitness page on Facebook! Good luck to all who enter!

I received free copies of the Element Power Yoga and Yoga for Weight Loss DVDs to review. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review/giveaway.

YogaWorks and Chobani SoHo

In case you missed it, check out my first recap of my BlogHer 2012 weekend in NYC, published yesterday – Physique 57 and girl time with some Fitfluential Ambassadors at Agave NYC!

Another workout-and-food pairing to share with you all today from this past weekend’s trip to NYC for the BlogHer conference! And really, what two things go together better than moving and eating? NYC resident and fellow Fitfluential Ambassador Meredith of Dare You To… (her blog has a great concept, check it out) tweeted me about meeting up while I was in town at literally the EXACT same moment I was going to tweet her about the same. Talk about being on the same blend wavelength! We made plans to spend Sunday morning together before I headed back home to CT.

Photo courtesy of Meredith, because I looked beyond awkward in my pic of us.

I proposed using the free class cards to YogaWorks that we’d received at #fitblognyc. They were recently expired, but the manager of the YogaWorks Westside studio, Laura Henry, was kind enough to let Meredith and I come in to use anyway! I selected Pilates Fusion 1 with instructor Lindsay Ashmun, partially because I enjoy pilates and partially because it was the earliest class offered on a Sunday morning (9am start time) and I am a grandma who likes being up early.

Of course Meredith and I showed up (I was late…I apparently think that 65th Street reads 56th Street) in the same Sweaty Bands headband from our Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet swag. I wore my Reebok crops for the second day in a row #sorrynotsorry and was totally envious of Meredith’s ADORABLE Zella workout top. After seeing hers and the top Heather got at the Zella Day of Movement at Nordstrom, I think I need to head to my local Nordstrom Rack ASAP so I can get in on the Zella action.

It’s probably just me being a tourist, but I was super in-awe of the digital lockers in the locker room! I just set up a code, put my belongings inside, and used it again to get them out after our class. I felt like I was in some sort of Charlie’s Angels movie, entering a secret passcode to access whatever top-level secure item I might have been in search of. Yes I am a nerd.

I’ve never taken a pilates class that utilized equipment other than a mat, and was intrigued when we used the same blue bands we used in Physique 57, the above pictured foam rollers, a contraption I’m going to call a thigh ring, and a couple of yoga blocks.

Showing off the band and thigh ring…did I mention I’m a nerd?

The class itself was a bit disappointing. I felt bored during some of it because though I have not done a lot of pilates recently, I did do a great deal of it during my senior year at Uconn and I think my accumulated experience kept me from feeling challenged. That being said, there were a couple points during the class that definitely felt like tests of strength (especially the back work on the floor – swimmers NEVER get easier for me). The class may have been a bit too easy for me, but everyone is different. Lindsay’s class was a level one and I definitely think that she kept it there – an instructor who teaches a beginner’s class at a level above beginner is not thinking of her clients, who likely are showing up expecting a basic level workout. YogaWorks offered a level one Pilates Fusion class, and they delivered! Next time, I will make sure to select a class more fitting to my level.

I adore the company’s green and purple color scheme (the Barney lover in me?) and the lamps in this waiting area felt so calming and zen.

I did enjoy using the blue band – such a great way to switch up resistance training, and so easy to modify to fit each class participant’s level. I was not a fan of the foam roller at all though. I felt like it hindered my movements when we were using it during the ab and back work on the floor. Maybe I wasn’t using it correctly?! Since I am not a runner and do not have any injuries that tend to flare up on me (knock on wood), I’ve never found a need for the foam roller and am not experienced with it. I know that many bloggers out there are in love with them and would probably have appreciated using it in the class more than I did!

Despite the fact that I selected the wrong class to try, I have to say that the YogaWorks studio was gorgeous and the instructor, Lindsay, was incredibly skilled and taught an appropriate level of class to her clients. Thank you Laura and YogaWorks for hosting Meredith and I!

I made it! MECCA!!! 😛

Once I heard Chobani was opening a store in SoHo, I vowed to make a stop there while I was in town for BlogHer. Goal accomplished! Meredith and I took the subway downtown and decided to turn our visit into a sampling lunch of four Chobani signature creations. You guys know I’m all about sampler platters and trying as many different varieties of food/drink as possible at all times, so this was the perfect plan for our visit! And you know what made it even more perfect? Coupon Caitlin got to use coupons for both Meredith and I to get two free signature creations – thanks Chobani for handing them out at the Physique 57 event! I have more to use for next time I’m in town too!

Bloggers love Chobani!

I loved the Dark Chocolate + Pistachio creation I’d tried Friday at the WellAndGoodNYC Physique 57 event so much that I opted to get it again. Yup, that’s how you KNOW I love something – if I pass up something new to have it again! It’s pictured at top in the photo below, and the other three creations we tried, in a clockwise direction, are:

  • Fig + Walnut: dried Turkish figs, clover honey, walnuts
  • Plain + Cucumber: cucumber, sea salt, mint, EVOO, served with pita chips
  • Toasted Coconut + Pineapple: pineapple, toasted coconut, Turkish hazelnuts, light agave nectar

HOLY CRAP. They were all SO GOOD. This was an amazing lunch and the best part is that all of these combos can be re-created at home! The Fig + Walnut was just too fabulous, I loooove figs and Meredith has been “obsessed” with them (her words not mine) lately too. I informed her she needs to find a restaurant that serves figs on a pizza ASAP…preferably with gorgonzola cheese involved. My favorite by far was the Plain + Cucumber, not a surprise since I’m such a savory/salty food addict. I’m pretty sure I ate all the pita chips, oops! The mixture reminded me of my beloved Greek specialty, tzatziki sauce. The EVOO really added an extra special richness to the mixture. Finally, the Toasted Coconut + Pineapple was enjoyed by Meredith and I more than we both had anticipated. She and I agreed that the coconut being toasted (and not just shaved in its “snowy” form) enhanced the creation and gave that satisfying crunch that makes any yogurt mess better.

Photo courtesy of Meredith. Each signature creation looks like this when it’s served, and the little glass bowls are either re-used by Chobani in the store or are yours to take home!

Lucky Meredith even got to go to an event the very next day (AKA last night) at Chobani SoHo to sample any of the creations she hadn’t tried yet. Definitely jealous of her status as a New Yorker and her access to a never-ending list of restaurants! I had such a wonderful time hanging out with her – of course we never ran out of topics to chat about. I even found myself having to reel myself in off of tangents (that I’d wandered to 10-15 minutes before) to get back to original points I was (trying) to make. It’s OK, we covered a lot more that way 😉

My workout and lunch with Meredith on Sunday were the perfect way to end my trip to NYC. After I got back to my hotel and grabbed my bags ($14 to hold them downstairs for me, seriously Hilton?), I hightailed it to the train station, where I arrived at the perfect moment to catch the train to New Haven.

But I’m going out of order here. My next post will recap ALL conference-related activities from the entire weekend (Thursday-Saturday). Get ready!!!

Have you ever taken a fitness class that ended up being at a level that was too low for you? How did it turn out? 

Are there any restaurants on your must-visit list that are at a place you’d need to travel far to get to? Have you ever gotten to visit one of those? Another for me was Pure Food & Wine!

Tell me YOUR own Chobani signature creation that you make at home…or any yogurt mess!