My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

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Thankfully, I have kept to my goal from my last post to attend Dailey Method classes 5 days a week!  However, I definitely did a lot of overindulging the week of and weekend after my birthday.  It is what it is, and, while I’m not happy I did it, it made me realize how far I have come.  Even though I overdid it, I was easily able to get back into the groove of things the following week.  Before, I would have just given up or found another sweet substitute for the sweets I really wanted.  So, that’s that!  I’m back into the Whole30 groove with an occasional indulgence 🙂

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at The Dailey Method about taking your practice to the next level.  It was taught by Natalia, who I remember from when I took my first classes back in 2010.  She has been teaching these classes for three years, and she is great!  She always has a big smile on her face and gives great detailed instruction.  Here is some of her background, taken from The Dailey Method site:

Originally from Puerto Rico, Natalia began training in ballet at age 4. She continued her training throughout high school and into college at the University of Illinois, where she discovered modern dance. She currently lives in Chicago where she dances with the Leopold Group modern dance company and works as a dance teacher, in addition to her work as a fitness instructor. She teaches modern dance at the North Suburban School of Dance, and is a teaching artist for the Joffrey Ballet’s Community Engagement Program. Natalia began taking classes at the Dailey Method in December 2008, and began teaching in March 2009. She is very excited to be a part of the Dailey Method family, and to be doing what she loves!

It was challenging to take pictures from my phone and take notes while trying to participate in the workshop, but I tried my best!  I definitely learned a lot which has helped me this week during classes.  The running “theme” throughout the workshop was the importance of form, especially for the back muscles.  During class, I always hear teachers talking about engaging the rhomboids and serratus anterior muscles in the back…I knew they were muscles in the back, but I didn’t realize how important it is to strengthen them. These muscles pull the shoulder blades/scapula down and back, which helps with opening the chest and gives us better posture. Here’s a great diagram:

Source

I am definitely a sloucher…when I stand, while I sit (I just corrected myself while typing now, hehe), and also sometimes when at The Dailey Method! I thought I always had my shoulder blades back and down like I am always instructed, but there were a few positions I wasn’t doing so. One of those positions is the plank!  I didn’t realize how much I “slouched” and brought my shoulders forward instead of back with planking.  Natalia talked about how important it is to engaged the back muscles because this works the back instead of being rigid and going into the neck.  When the strain is no longer in the neck, the abdominals work harder as well!  Everything is connected 🙂 Here’s a pictures of Natalia teaching while someone demonstrates a doing a plank with the shoulders in the correct position:

Here is Natalia demonstrating downward dog incorrectly (top) and correctly (bottom).  Here, it is easy to see the difference in the shoulder placement.

Not only does this work the serratus anterior to strengthen your back, but it also strengthens the Achilles, stretches your calves and hamstrings.  Natalia gave a great visual to help make sure your shoulders are in the correct position: Pretend you are opening two jars with your hands without moving them.  It might sound silly, but it worked for me!

I also learned my Low C Curve position can be so hard for me as opposed to High C Curve.  I have a very short torso, so it’s hard for me to reach my thighs without straining my neck when I’m so low to the ground.  I’m really glad I learned this because I was beginning to think something was wrong with me!  I was happy to learn that I am A-OK 🙂

High C Curve (I don’t have a pictures of Low C Curve, but it is where your back is lower, but your shoulder blades are still off the ground. Basically your arms are stretched out more.)

One thing Natalia kept emphasizing throughout the workshop was that all of our bodies are different in terms of shape, flexibility, muscle tightness, etc.  Some positions are easier and harder for some of us than others.  We need to find what works best for us as individuals!  This was a key takeaway for me.  The instructors always say this in class as well.  However, even though I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, it’s hard not to while I see others class do complicated movements while they are holding a plank.  However, when I focus on myself, my form is better, I become stronger, and I get better!

Overall, the workshop was very clarifying and reinforced why I go to The Dailey Method!  Great instruction, impeccable form, and an amazing workout. Period.


My birthday is soon approaching, and it’s making me think about where I really want to be in my life right now in terms of my physical health.  I feel that in the past 6 months, I have made great improvements to my life including being aware and ACCEPTING my eating behaviors (sugar obsession and overeating), working out at The Dailey Method pretty regularly, and transitioning to a Paleo/Whole30 eating lifestyle.

However, in the aftermath of my first Whole30, I have gained a couple pounds back, and I have also started to reduce my workout frequency from 4 days a week minimum to 3 days a week.  Soooo back to where I want to be in my life….I really want to lose some more inches.  Working out 3 days a week, is definitely maintenance mode in my head.  Therefore, I am planning to increase the frequency of my workouts to 5 days a week.  Given my schedule, I think this is a fair and feasible schedule change.  While I don’t plan on being super strict for Whole30, I do plan on following the guidelines for the most part with the occasional indulgence.

I once read that in terms of health, food > sleep > exercise (I think it was on the Whole9 Facebook page).  I feel that sometimes I wasn’t exercising because I wasn’t sleeping as much.  So, I am going to put a change to that!  I plan to be in bed every night by 10:30pm, so I can get up and workout feeling rested.  I really think I’ll notice a difference with this subtle change.  I did a quick Google search about workout frequency (I’m so scientific!), and I came upon this site.  The picture I first saw (below) scared the crap out of me, but I liked the idea of the article.  (No, I don’t want to look like him…not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Source

Basically, it talks about the frequency of strength training you need to make different types of changes in your body.  It also emphasizes the importance of muscle recovery.  I love that The Dailey Method has a combination of isometric strength training and low-intensity cardio!  I really feel like I’m getting it all in one class 🙂

Speaking of The Dailey Method, I’m excited to announce that I will be attending a Dailey Method workshop next weekend about taking my practice to the next level!  This should be really great, and I’m looking forward to blogging about it.  Also, I have been struggling with preparing Whole30 meals ahead of time with my work and personal schedules…so I started looking into Pre-Made Paleo meals that I can heat up and eat.  I’m excited to announce that I am going to be receiving some of their meals to review on this blog!  I’m super excited about these upcoming posts, and I hope you are too 🙂

Here are a few questions for you all:

1. Have any of you noticed any changes to your body by increasing the frequency of your workouts?

2. How/when do you manage to make meals ahead of time for yourself and/or your family?

3. Do you believe in or practice “food > sleep > exercise”  in terms of order of importance?  Why or why not?


In the revered words of LMFAO…I do work out!  For the first time in my life, I am exercising regularly just because.  Growing up, I was definitely not athletic.  BUT, I was really good at Red Rover 🙂  Seriously though, I was lucky if I ran faster than an 11 minute mile.  I did try to challenge this statistic by running the 2006 Chicago Marathon.  While I was grateful to cross that off my bucket list and that I did not slip, I didn’t necessary beat any specific time.  I was OK with this, and I have accepted that I am definitely not a runner.  Also, the evening of the race I had a shooting pain originating from my right heel that still fires up every now and then.  In addition to this, having flat feet, and a bone that occasionally decides to pop out of place in my foot, cardio exercise like running, kickboxing, Zumba, etc are a little too much for my feet to handle.  I have gotten it checked out by a bunch of docs, and the verdict is that my feet just kinda stink (they smell too, I’m sure).  I have orthotics, but they’re not magic, so I have to be careful.  I loved using my feet as an excuse to NOT exercise, but I am ambulatory, so I knew there had to be other options.

I tried swimming, but showering then swimming then showering and washing my hair, etc was just too time consuming and inconvenient for me.  Pilates was great, but I still wanted something a little more intense.  Also, when I was trying all these different options, I had no discipline to be consistent.  One day, I remembered some awesome classes I had taken at The Dailey Method in 2010.  It was actually the first Groupon I ever bought!  I remembered loving the classes, but at that time, I still didn’t have the self-discipline or right attitude to keep it up.  So, what happened this time around?   Well…I’ll make you sweat (pun intended) until the next post to find out 🙂  What motivates you to work out on a regular basis?

Here’s a video describing The Dailey Method to pique your curiosity:



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