Artfit Blog

Easy Grain Free Spaghetti Dinner

By | Recipes | No Comments

Grain Free and organic eating plans are becoming more popular as Americans are looking for a better way to fuel their bodies. Choosing to use organic vegetables and baked goods made with almond or coconut flour instead of traditional grains can reduce the occurrence hunger, help with weight loss, and keeps insulin levels low.

We, also, encourage you to use grass-fed, organic ground beef in this recipe as well. It can be purchased at many grocery and specialty stores. It is only a dollar or two more than the regular ground beef but without the added hormones and antibiotics. Grass fed beef has less fat than regular beef and usually fewer calories because of it. The big difference, however, lies in the levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Grass feed beef has as much as 5 times the amount of Omega-3 than other ground beef. This is important because Omega-3’s are an important part of a healthy diet. They reduce inflammation in the body, lower the risk factors for heart disease, and reduce blood pressure levels. Some studies have shown that Omega-3’s can reduce the symptoms of ADHD and Alzheimer’s. Regular beef has an unbalance ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3. An imbalance of a higher rate of Omega-6’s can increase inflammation instead of counter it.

This dinner made with spiraled zucchini used as noodles has been a huge hit at our house. It is quick and easy to make. It is a familiar dish for those who are trying to switch to grain free eating because it uses regular spaghetti sauce and ground hamburger meat like traditional spaghetti.

The recipe does require the use of a vegetable spiral slicer. They come in a wide range of prices, but many are available for under $15. The inexpensive ones work just fine. We found ours at Big Lots for about $15.

Ingredients

sauce1 small zucchini per person

1 pound of Grass Feed, Organic ground beef

1 jar of organic, no sugar added pasta sauce

*Read your labels. Many pasta sauces have added unwanted ingredients. Look for sauces that are as natural as possible and GMO-free.

Coconut oil

Grass fed Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, grated

Putting It Together

Grate Cheese and set aside.

parmesan

Brown the meat.

Combine with pasta sauce in a saucepan. Let this simmer on low while spiraling the zucchini.

zucchini

Lightly sauté the noodles in coconut oil. They still should have a slight crispness to them. The zucchini must be spiraled and sautéed quickly. If allowed to sit the noodle can become mushy.

cooked-zucchini

When the noodles are at the desired texture, drain and serve topped with pasta sauce and ground beef mixture and grated cheese.

Enjoy!

Awareness, Intuition, and Action:

By | Self Defense | No Comments

The Keys to Comprehensive Self-Defense

There is no time in history when violence has been nonexistent. Unfortunately, women are regularly the victims of this violence. Women are frequently targeted because their smaller size makes them an easier target, chosen as victims of rape, and many are brutalized or murdered by men they know and even love.

Statistics

The statistics on violence against women are astounding. The Huffington Post published a few statistics in 2014 on domestic violence, “The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by a current or ex male partner during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of causalities lost during war.”

The Department of Justice 2015 National crime Victimization Survey concluded that an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. Texas Tech reported nine sexual assaults on campus property alone in 2014. This sad fact leads many women to our business searching for a technique, a way to live, or relief from the barrage of aggression and even from the anxiety it causes. My intent is not to cause more anxiety but to set the stage for the world that women face so that we may learn how to protect ourselves and our children.

6488
American troops killed in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2012
11766
Women who were murdered by a current or ex male partner between 2001 and 2012
98
Every 98 Seconds an American is sexually assaulted

There is no magic technique, no one day class that will teach you to be the world’s most formidable woman, but there is a series of steps that will help you realize a threat, avoid the threat, and fight when necessary.

Awareness

Awareness is the first step. We need to be mindful that not everyone has our best interest at heart. Michale P. Ghiglieri, author of The Dark Side of Man, describes our need to be aware of others intentions,

“We live in a world in which cheaters, robbers, rapists, murders, and warmongers lurk in every human landscape. Not only are their selfish, though natural, strategies “unfair” and uncooperative, but they also cost us cooperative types dearly. So, we must be vigilant to avoid being victimized.” – Michale P. Ghiglieri

Niceness Does not Equal Goodness

Once we are aware that many types of predators cross our paths in daily life, we can start looking for tell-tale signs that “uncooperative” types are trying to decide if we will make good victims. It is of the utmost importance to be aware of your soundings and things or people that seem out of place. Do not fear leaving the house, but be aware of areas that you may want to avoid. Be leery of people who approach you unnecessarily, even if they seem to be helpful. Gavin De Becker, author of The Gift of Fear and renowned risk assessment specialist, warns,

“Niceness does not equal goodness.” He says, “Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction; it’s not a character trait. People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning.”

Intentions

If you need help, you are statistically more likely to find someone safe by asking a random person than to wait until someone approaches you. This way you are controlling who you are contacting, not waiting for someone to stop that might not truly be a Good Samaritan. These predatory people may show you attention, challenge you or your beliefs in some way, or pretend to be helpful to begin a conversation or interaction, but be aware that their intentions may not always be what they seem. How do we decide what their intentions are? Intuition.

Intuition

Intuition has a connotation of the metaphysical, a wives tale. Most modern Americans are raised to listen to logic. They are laughed at when they say they just “had a feeling.” Intuition, however, is more than that. Violence does not come out of nowhere. It is predictable. De Becker’s life work of predicting violence leads him to the conclusion that,

“ The truth is that every thought is preceded by a perception, every impulse is preceded by a thought, every action is preceded by an impulse, and a man is not so private a being that his behavior is unseen, his patterns undetectable.” – Dr. Becker

Intuition is Just Listening

Intuition is tiny bits of logic that we haven’t put together yet. We intuitively know something is wrong by the data our brain is receiving. De Becker states, “Intuition is just listening”, and a far better indicator that something is wrong than logic. On many occasions, De Becker has seen a victim be able to piece together indications of a coming attack after the attack occurred. Often, the victim intuitively knew something was wrong, but did not trust that intuition.

What Should we be listening for?

What should we be listening for? De Becker has a list of ways that intuition tries to speak,

“Nagging feelings, persistent thoughts, humor, wonder, anxiety, curiosity, hunches, gut feeling, doubt, hesitation, suspicion, apprehension, fear.”

Listen to these feelings. Your brain may have recognized body language, or inappropriate words or context, that you may not be able to rationalize in the moment, which is an indicator that something is wrong. Your intuition may not always be an accurate predictor of danger, but you lose nothing by listening. If it is right, you could lose something great by choosing to ignore it. Once the threat is recognized, it is time to act.

De Beckers List

  • Nagging Feelings
  • Persistent Thoughts
  • Humor
  • Wonder
  • Anxiety
  • Curiosity
  • Hunches
  • Gut Feeling
  • Doubt
  • Hesitation
  • Suspicion
  • Apprehension
  • Fear

Speak Out

Speaking out with assertiveness could change the outcome of events. This seems like an easy and obvious thing to do, but for many women, it is extremely hard. Our culture has set the stage for women who speak out, to be shunned for doing so. As women, we also tend to feel bad about potentially hurting someone’s feelings or being insensitive. This is only a cultural ideal that does not serve women in any way. In the Gift of Fear, De Becker writes,

“I encourage women to explicitly rebuff unwanted approaches, but I know it is difficult to do.”

Be Assertive and Non-Negotiable

I heard someone say one time that, “When a man says no, it is the end of the conversation. When a woman says no, is the start of a negotiation.” No must be assertive and non-negotiable. Trying to negotiate after being told “no”, is a tactic that gives a predator time to gain information, get closer, or make a move. This is not the time to make excuses or worry about anyone’s feelings. Any reasonable person will understand the delicateness of the situation.

Negotiating Prolongs the Incident

The idea of “no negotiation” also goes for situations where a person knows their attacker. Negotiating with someone who you have rejected only prolongs the incident. When speaking of stalking and ending personal relationships, De Becker says, “Almost any contact after that rejection will be seen as a negotiation.” This is a pivotal time in both types of situations. It shows a predator that you will not be a victim. It shows that you are strong and will fight. In many cases, a person looking for easy prey will move on to someone who will give them less conflict. If the idea of speaking with assertiveness seems tough, then even more important to come to terms with the next step.

Willingness to Fight

Your willingness to fight will dictate your ability to stop an attacker. In The Dark Side of Man, Michael P. Ghiglieri does not sugar coat any situation,

“Deterrence depends on utterly communicating one’s willingness to retaliate massively, no matter what the cost, if the other side strikes first.”

That sounds very dramatic, but his point is that if you intend to defend yourself, you must do it wholeheartedly and without hesitation. When discussing the crime of rape, Ghiglieri assesses the willingness to fight back and its effect on the outcome of the situation,

“Even more telling is the fact that although most rapists rely on force to rape, their willingness to use violence is so limited that women who fight back often win.”

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Be Willing to Fight and Fight Hard

So much so, one study concluded that of the women who were the victims of a rapist attack and fought back, 73 percent were successful in fending off the attacker. The earnestness in which a woman fights will dictate the outcome. Ghiglier references Stopping Rape: Successful Survival Strategies,

“Women faced with a rapist who succeeded in raping them were primarily concerned with not being killed or injured. In contrast, the main concern of women who were confronted with a rapist but avoided being raped was not being raped.”

This data shows that women can have a successful outcome in a violent situation if we are willing to fight and fight hard. For many women this can seem like a concept so far from what they are comfortable with, they can’t even imagine inflicting violence on someone else, even a predator. This is where training becomes important.

Training

It is safe to say that any self-defense training is better than no training at all, however, regular and realistic training increases confidence, reaction time, and reduces fear of failure. Many of the women that confide in me, as a martial arts instructor and as a woman, tell me that they fear their inability to even strike someone. If women fear physical contact, they will never be confident in their ability to defend themselves. Training builds the confidence many women need in order to fight back or even to rebuff approaches with confidence. Walt Bushey, a law enforcement officer, defensive tactics instructor, and self-defense instructor explains how training builds confidence,

“Recreating a physical confrontation again and again during training reduces fear of that scenario by improving the confidence in one’s ability to deal with that situation successfully.” He also emphasis, “Physical Training prepares muscle memory for physical use without having to think about it first. This greatly speeds up reaction time.” – Walt Bushey

Train Realistically

It is also important, however, to train realistically. Training scenarios should be as close to reality as possible in order to instill confidence in the participant’s response. Bushey says, “Attacks should be done with force and aggression, simulating a real attack” to best serve the needs of women in the real world. Training should also focus on three steps; Escape, defensive evasion, and distance from the threat. It should not be expected for a victim to stay and fight or try to submit their attacker. Bushey also reminds us,

“The attacker does not have a pre-existing knowledge of what you are going to do and no pre-conceived defense to your technique. No matter what you do, it will be a surprise to your attacker.”

In many cases, women who have fought back and were successful did not have any training, just the willingness to fight. You do not have to be a champion MMA fighter to defend yourself, but training gives you an increased opportunity to do so with assurance.

Protect Yourself

There is no end to violence against women in the near future. It is a multi-faceted problem that will take a long time for society to resolve. In the meantime, we must protect ourselves and our daughters. We must make it not worth the fight for predators. We must be vigilant, listen to and trust our intuition, learn to speak out firmly and arm ourselves with some form of self-defense training. Ideally, with all of these things in place, we will never become victims and potentially curb some of the violence against us by meeting force with intuition, confidence, and strength.

(I encourage every woman to read Gavin De Becker’s book The Gift of Fear. It covers domestic violence, workplace violence, stalking, and violence by a stranger in depth, with step by step indicators of future violence.)

Healthier Pumpkin Spice Muffins for the Holiday Season

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Healthier Pumpkin Spice Muffins for the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is all about the food. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we eat more sugar and carbohydrates than our bodies can manage. We end up with weight gain, upset stomach, bloating, and a lack of energy.

Choose Sweeteners Wisely

It is possible to have seasonal and holiday treats that won’t make you feel worse. Choose recipes that are grain free, and use natural sugars. This recipe is sweetened with maple syrup. Sweeteners like honey and maple syrup are lower on the glycemic index than most sugars that are in our pre-made foods today. For example, Maltodextrin has a glycemic rating of 110, honey is 50, and Maple syrup is 54. The lower the number on the glycemic index, the less it effects blood sugar and body fat. It is also important to choose quality products. Look for 100% maple syrup that is organic. You don’t want pancake syrup that has a lot of additives and more sugar. Organic maple syrup and honey also offer the benefit of containing other vitamins and minerals that contribute to your body in a positive way. In contrast, refined sugar does not contain any beneficial nutrients. If you are having to watch your sugar intake for health reason, these should still be eaten in moderation, but are a great alternative to the holiday sugar-fest.

ingredients

Grain-free Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

½ cup of coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cloves

¼ teaspoon of allspice

Pinch of salt

4 eggs

2/3 cup of pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup coconut oil melted

6 tablespoons maple syrup

¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

pumpkin-spice-muffins-bake

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease or line a muffin pan

2. In a medium bowl whisk together coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. In a large bowl whisk together remaining wet ingredients (except for nuts) until smooth.

3. Add the flour mix to the wet mixture and stir until all lumps are gone

4. Divide batter into 12 muffin cavities and top each with chopped nuts.

5. Bake for 23-25 minutes

For Those Who Are Counting Carbs, Sugars, and Proteins

Carbohydrates: 11.3g

Sugar: 7g

Protein: 3.2

We are not professional chefs or bakers. We did not create these recipes. We are just sharing the recipes we love. This recipe was originally taken from leelalicious.com

Why your Workout may be Wearing You Out

By | Dance, Exercise, Fitness | No Comments

Exercise for many people is more than just a weekly ordeal that they have to endure. Like our students at ArtFit, many find activities that they love. We live, eat, and sleep our preferred activity. This love of sport or dance pushes us forward, excites us, and is supposed to keep us healthy. Many people, however, suffer from over training and don’t even realize it. We must be aware of this exercise issue if we want to continue to train in a healthy and happy way.

Over Training

Over training expresses itself in many ways. Some of the most obvious signs are chronic injuries, fatigue, pain, weight gain, decreased performance, chronic soreness that doesn’t seem to be equivalent to the task performed, and a feeling of “burn out.” This can be hard to recognize because many of these symptoms can be attributed to many other issues as well. Always, rule out any other health issues by visiting your doctor. Then, take a look at your training, recovery, and nutritional program.

Over training can be seen in athletes that train in a cardiovascular activity chronically. According to Mark Sisson, world class athlete and author of the Primal Blue Print, “Chronic cardio increases the production of cortisol (in all but the most genetically gifted athletes), which breaks down the muscle tissue and suppresses the production of key anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and human growth hormone.” This leads to a variety of the symptoms of over-training as well as many you may not be aware of including loss of bone density, systematic inflammation, and free radical production. It is possible to keep in shape, participate in an athletic activity, and even be competitive while balancing cardiovascular training. Analyze your response to cardio. Are you getting the desired result? If not, take a break and begin to add it back into your routine slowly. Then, reassess the results. This will help you decide if you are over training in this way.

Recovery Time

Recovery time is as important as training time. Many people do not realize that muscle and strength are not built during training but during the recovery phase. When you exercise, you are breaking down muscle. For it to becoming bigger and stronger, it must repair. Over-training can occur when an athlete does not allow time for repairing between sessions. This also includes rest and sleep. Let your body recover from physical and daily stressors. Again assess your results? If you are training daily or even every other day but are not gaining the amount of strength and muscle that you should be from your training, train less. I know it sounds counterproductive, but your body may need a break to repair itself.

workout-bagIn my facility, I see many ladies trying to build strength and muscle. They are working hard but not seeing the results that they would like. After speaking with them, I realized that they were training hard but not eating appropriately. What we eat also affects muscle recovery. It is possible to be taking in too few calories to maintain a high level of training. This can result in weight gain, not necessarily in weight loss, by putting your body into starvation mode.

Diet & Body Mass

They type of foods you are consuming can also lead to the body being overstressed by activity. A lack of protein will also keep the body from repairing itself. Protein and the amino acids in protein repair muscle. Without that, you will end up with chronic muscle soreness, weakness, and injury. The body needs 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass per day depending on how active you are. This is much more than the average American diet because we fill our stomachs with carbs, not vegetables, fats, and proteins. Mark Sission lays out the formula in an easy to figure a way. Body weight x body fat percentage= amount of body fat. Then, subtract the amount of body fat from your total body weight. This number will give you your lean body mass. Your lean body mass will help you figure out how much protein you need. If you are more sedentary you will opt for 0 .5 grams per pound of lean body mass. If you are more active, you may choose 0.8 grams or 1 gram if you are very active. If you need help figuring your body fat percentage ask at your gym. We can help you with that at Artfit as well. Just request a time before you work out to have your body fat percentage taken.

Those of us who are at risk for over-training are the ones who will want to be active for many years to come. To achieve this, it is important to remember that athletic endeavors, whether they are for fun, competition, or physical appearance, require more than just your time at the gym. You must continue that training into the recovery process to keep your body improving and not over training.

Healthy Recipes

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Health, Fitness & Wellness

Most of you who attend classes at Artfit or follow our social media and blog, are somewhere on the continuum between mildly interested in health and fitness to completely obsessed, because of this we want to share well-rounded information about health and wellness. It is important to realize that physical activity is only a small portion of being fit and healthy. In fact 80% of maintaining a lower body fat percentage is what you eat.

Recipe Blog

This is why we are introducing a recipe blog.  We will give you food related information explaining the why’s of what we recommend along with recipes. This way you can learn how to make the best choices for yourself and test out some great new recipes.

Eliminate Grain

The first thing that we recommend is eliminating grain from your diet. This sounds extreme, but we plan to show you how to eat full meals, enjoy baked goods, and not be hungry without eating grains.

Why shouldn’t you eat grain? All carbs control insulin and insulin controls fat storage. Unused carbohydrates will turn to fat in the body. Most people consume too many carbohydrates on a daily basis to be burned off.  Grain also increases insulin production. Over the course of time, high insulin levels can make our cells become insulin resistant. This leads to more weight gain and many health problems down the road. Try to limit your carbohydrate intake to 50 to 100 grams per day for weight loss or 100-150 grams a day to maintain current weight.  Remember this includes your veggies and fruit so they need to come first!

Grain Replacements

There are many options to use in place of grain. Almond flour and coconut flour are two of the most popular grain subsites.  You can bake with them. They will not affect your blood sugar and insulin levels like grains will and will be better used by the body.

Grain Free Flat Bread

Here is one of our favorite recipes. This is a flat bread that we use for pizza crust and tacos. It does not take long to make, and I will share with you my short cuts.

Ingredients:

2 cups of almond flour

2 eggs

1 tsp. Coconut oil

½ tsp. sea salt

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350

Combine all of the ingredients except the coconut oil in a bowl. (When using coconut oil be aware that when combined with cold eggs it will harden. To avoid this, make sure it is warm enough to be liquid before you add it in.)

Drizzle in the coconut oil on top then mix it in. (Adding the oil after everything is mixed also helps to eliminate the problem of it hardening.)

Separate evenly and roll in to balls. Smaller balls can make up to 6 personal pizza or tortilla size crusts.

dough-balls

Place wax paper on a baking tray.

Place the balls on the wax paper.

Use a rolling pin to roll them to desired thickness

rolled-dough

Cook 6-8 minutes. I always check the bottom of the dough, because it will brown quicker.

For Pizza:

After it is fully cooked, top with pizza sauce, your choice of toppings, and cheese.

Place it back in the oven until the toppings are warm and the cheese melts

pizza

For Tacos:

Top with meat, vegetables, and cheese

flat-bread-tacos

We recommend an organic pizza sauce with no added sugar. We also recommend cheese that is organic and from grass fed cows.

organic-cheese-and-vegan-cheese organic-pizza-sauce

Training, Skill, and the Belt Rank System

By | Martial Arts | No Comments

The concept of belt rank has a long and distinguished history. It has served many purposes from holding the gi top closed to signifying rank. When used properly it can be a source of pride and encouragement. Unfortunately, it can also be the means in which dojos acquire additional income from extra testing fees that are not always in the best interest of the student.

Origin of Colored Belts

The concept of colored belts as a level of rank originated with the founder of Judo in 1888. Jigaro Kano popularized the practice by awarding different colors of “obi”, or belt to distinguish between beginner, intermediate, and advanced practitioners. Shotokan Karate founder Gichin Funakoshi picked up on the practice when the two founders shared Kanos dojo for a time. Prior to that, students had one white belt that matched their white training “Gi”, or uniform, that held their gi top closed. Over time the uniform would be washed but not the belt. The belt would get darker and darker with sweat staining and more worn indicating someone who had trained for a long time. Through this process, the “black” belt became a representation of a high level of skill. Today, belt rank still symbolizes the progression of a student’s ability with each color representing the next step in the growth of the student. Japanese, Okinawan, and Korean based forms of martial arts utilize the belt rank method of progression with anywhere from 4 to 10 different colors of belt up to the Black Belt level.

Colored Belts Validate Progress

belt rank2This tradition encourages and awards students. Through this practice, the student can visually see his or her progression. The belt ranking system also functions as a tool to encourage and reward students. Those who work hard, train, and continue to learn will take a test, and upon passing will receive a new belt or a stripe on their belt. A properly earn belt is a validation of the effort put forth in class.

Americanized Belt System

While seeing your progression through successive colored belts is a good thing, it has been abused by many schools and instructors. It can be used as a tool for some to justify additional test fees adding to the overall tuition cost while providing nothing tangible to the student. The concept of breaking down the time required and skills learned for a specific belt onto smaller units, shown by taped stripes on the belt, has proven to be popular in America but has not been adopted as much outside the United States. Some Americanized dojos have two or three stripes for beginner white belt before promoting to the first colored belt level with another two or three stripe levels for each colored belt as well. This usually serves as a reason to charge extra testing fees and gives the students an unrealistic sense of accomplishment instead of a true and well-earned sense of what they have attained. Most traditional dojos with ties close to their original discipline tend to use a solid color belt for all ranks below Brown or Red belt and breaking down these advanced blocks of instruction into two or three levels due to the time and complexity of these advanced skill sets.

Belt Rank Meanings can Vary

This practice preys on the student in need of validation or the family who pushes the student to acquire physical symbols of worthiness. Most people that are new to martial arts don’t realize that belt rank only has meaning in that dojo or organization that issued it and is not a guarantee that another dojo or style will equate the rank with the same color belt. The skill required for each belt level can vary dramatically from dojo to dojo even in a similar style. Green belts in one style may surpass Black Belts of another style in skill and knowledge.

Mastering the Martial Arts Skillset

In our modern times, many people put too much emphasis on the color belt and not the skill set being mastered. Everyone learns at a different rate and the amount of time needed to make proper physical habits to build reactions on before jumping to the next level varies from person to person. All too often kids are being passed for a new belt without even really knowing what they are doing or why. Having a Black Belt in Karate but no practical skill is a waste of time and effort for an accomplishment that cannot serve its intended purpose. It’s better to be a white belt with 3 techniques that you can actually use without thinking, than a Black Belt with 300 techniques you have to think about before using.

Why Can’t I Learn That Move Today?

By | Aerial, Longevity, Pole | No Comments

Pole and aerial classes have become the new fad of the fitness industry. I love these activities, so I am excited that more people are looking into these unique classes for fitness purposes. I have realized, unfortunately, that many students are focused on learning tricks quickly and “collecting” as many tricks as possible in a short period of time instead of focusing on the art as a whole. I call this “quick trick training” and many studios cater to this kind of instruction. The trend of instructors accommodating this mind set is dangerous to the student’s health and safety. It opens the door for injury, loss of the true art form, and can truly be risky.

Longevity

Students and teachers alike need to be dedicated to prolonging the athlete’s ability to participate in the activity for decades by preventing injury and promoting the proper training methods.   Longevity based training  is not just focused on how many moves you can learn quickly, but training focused on being able to do a sport or activity for a life time. To do a sport or an extremely physical activity long term, one must focus on strength, muscle balance, flexibility, injury prevention, and in the case of activities such as pole or aerial silks, it should include the ability to put combinations together in an artistic way to create a true art form as well as learning “cool tricks”.

The difference in these two teaching concepts is night and day. The “quick trick” curriculum caters to the student who does not understand the danger of injury or the need for the technique, strength, and flexibility necessary to perform each move. This curriculum style is the facility’s way of keeping the students happy and paying. In the end, however, the student is at greater risk of injury.

Health and Wellbeing

A longevity based program understands that students are excited to learn new skills, but channels that excitement towards a focus on their health and wellbeing. There are many components to long term athletic performance, especially in more extreme activities such as aerial arts and pole sport. There are many levels of technique, strength, and flexibility needed to complete certain skills. Conditioning and stretching (safely) as part of the regular curriculum is essential in creating competent athletes.  Allowing students to work on skills before they have the strength or flexibility to do so, however, is setting the student up for an injury. It may not happen every time but it will happen eventually. It could be a minor muscle pull, but in these activities, it could mean a major life changing injury to the head, neck or spinal cord. Injuries happen even in the best of training environments, but the idea is to keep them to a minimum so that the student can continue to grow as an artist for years to come.

Aesthetic

The second reason for longevity based training is aesthetic. Weak artists create weak lines and skills. It is always more pleasing to perform something less difficult but to do it properly with beautiful lines. It is also valuable to be able to create and execute combinations and choreography with grace. If students are just learning trick after trick, they will not understand how to put these skills together in a way that is pleasing to the audience, learn the inherent art of musicality, or stage presence. All of this, waters down the art. Makes it less appealing and entertaining.  With that, its popularity begins to wane.

I understand the new student’s excitement and desire to learn everything there is to learn, RIGHT NOW!  I, also, recognize that they are inundated with gratuitous amounts of tricks and skills every day on social media sites.  This creates a desire for learning. That is not a bad thing.  It is the instructor’s job, however, to insure the health and safety of the student first and foremost. We must say, “I understand your excitement, but I am resolute in protecting your wellness.” As students, you must realise that many skills may require physical elements that you have not achieved yet. You must be resolute in protecting your own safety as well.

Your Whole Health

By | Exercise | No Comments

Whole Health

Modern culture has deemed being busy and stressed as being productive.  This attitude is having a devastating effect on our health. As more people are becoming aware of the situation, the terms whole health and integrated medicine are no longer know to only a few. Many people are familiar with these terms, but few practice them. It is important to realize that stress, food, exercise, and modern medication can unite in the fight against disease and in improved wellness.

Stress

Many people wear their stress like a badge of honor.  Unfortunately, stress is a major component in our overall health. This mindset is affecting our mental and physical wellbeing. Stress can directly affect heart issues, blood pressure, and inflammation, among a host of other problems. It is time we took a step back and relax. Actually, relax.

Yoga or meditation may not be your thing, but at least take time to let the pressure of the day to day go, take a deep breath, and appreciate the quiet. Set aside time daily or weekly to recover. It is not a luxury. It is important to your health.

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Food

Our busy lives also affect how we eat. There is a fast food restaurant on every corner. As a society, we have forgotten the importance of nutrition. We don’t even question whether or not the food that we put in our bodies will fuel it throughout the day, if it can really be considered food at all. Fast, processed food lacks nutritional value and is often full of synthetic or genetically altered substances. In our search to be “productive” we have created a diet with a substantial lack of nutrition that not only keeps us from being well but is making us sick.

Wallpaper-2069 It is hard to sort through all of the food and nutrition information out there, but it is safe to say that fast food is not the way to go. Not everyone has to be an organic only vegan. It is responsible, however, to eat organic as much as possible, eliminate foods that do not serve a purpose in fueling your body, and avoid processed foods. Making minor adjustments can improve overall health and to contribute to enhanced wellness.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Wallpaper-8900Desk jobs, video games, and access to automobiles have contributed to a lack of physical exercise. We don’t move as much during the day as we did even 20 years ago. If we are not getting physical activity in our daily lives, we have to find ways to create movement for our bodies. Many people still tell themselves that exercise is just for those who want to lose weight or have defined abs, but exercise plays a big part in total health. Proper exercise can directly affect many of the chronic problems plaguing us today.

Exercise

Exercise reduces stress, the risk of heart disease, and osteoporosis. Back pain and arthritis are not excuses to not exercise, because it actually helps these problems as well. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to receive the benefits of exercise. A simple change in life style will do. Find a dance class or go for a walk. Sedentary lifestyles are a plague that can easily be fixed if we are serious about taking control of our health.

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Modern Medicine

Modern medicine has its place in health care, but its primary focus has always been the treatment of disease. This is an important focus. There are many health problem that need medical attention, but it is important to take control of personal health care before problems arise that require the need for medication. Total health is a twofold process.  Disease prevention and improved wellness are not the responsibility of the doctors, they are the responsibility of the patient.

We must realize that our health needs to be a priority. It is imperative that we adjust our lifestyles to make room for stress reduction, good nutrition, and exercise. We can no longer afford to make excuses about being “too busy”. Too busy is not good. It is not healthy. It is time to take control.

 

An Ordinary Object Could Save Your Life

By | Martial Arts, Self Defense | No Comments

Self-Defense using Daily Objects

Many objects that are carried by people daily can be used effectively for self-defense. With a little forethought and minimal training, everyday items can be an armory of improvised weapons. Keys are carried by virtually all people as well as cell phones, pens and sunglasses. All of these items can be used for effective self-defense as force multiplying object, an object smaller and harder than the hand used to multiply the force of a strike.

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Keys

Almost everyone carries house or car keys. Keys can be an effective force multiplier. Many of us were taught at a young age to prepare to defend ourselves by carrying our keys sticking out between the fingers while the rest of the keychain is gripped in the fist. This is highly effective and makes a thrust toward the face very incapacitating. Thank your mother for that one. She was right.

Cell Phones

A cell phone is another object that most people carry with them today and can be a useful tool in preventing crime. Taking pictures or video of suspicious surroundings or people is a great deterrent to anyone wanting to do something illegal. Using the camera feature to look around dark or dubious corners before exposing yourself is also an excellent tactic.  Cell phones can also be used as weapons. Many cell phone cases are impact resistant. This allows the corners of the cell phone to be used as great force multipliers for striking.

Pens

Pen as weapon
Many people have pens easily accessible, and they are convenient to put in your purse or pocket.  Pens are an immense force multiplier. Striking with a pen causes pain and can cause serious wounds to soft tissue areas which will aid in identifying a suspect. Regular pens will work, but tactical pens are available that are made of hard military grade aluminum and are shaped and gripped for striking effectiveness while still being a working pen.

Sunglasses

The arms of sunglasses are long and slender and are made of mild metal or hard plastic. This material is capable of stabbing in the eyes or neck if gripped like the keys. They will probably break during impact leaving a jagged tip should you need to stab again.

With a little training, these objects can be the difference between victim and victor. These items paired with basic techniques, and a little tactics will make anyone capable of thwarting a potential attacker.

Sweat Can Be Addicting

By | Bellydance, Dance, Fitness, Martial Arts | No Comments

Quick Fixes Don’t Last

We live in a fast paced society that makes it hard to remember that some things are still earned through hard work and sweat. On every television and radio station, website, or grocery isle is an advertisement for products that promise amazing results with no work. These products primarily appeal to our vanity. They tend to focus on wrinkles, cellulite, weight loss, and just about every industry manufactured “problem” that pertains to our bodies. Unfortunately, this is a marketing contrived misconception. They are quick fixes that do not last, and can be harmful, if they even work at all.

Put in the Effort

The good news is that there are truly ways to curtail these “problems” if you are inclined to do so. The bad news is that it may take getting a little sweaty, a bit of self-control, and even a little discomfort. Weight control and health can be attained, but forget the easy stuff. Resign yourself to putting in the effort as distressing as it sounds.

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Sweat Earned Accomplishment

At ArtFit, we specialize in sweat earned accomplishment, so I have learned a few things about it over the years. Without trying to sound like a motivational poster, accomplishments are so much more meaningful when they are earned. We have become so accustomed to not being uncomfortable that we have forgotten the exhilaration of accomplishing something through hard work and effort.

Set Goals

Find something that you enjoy doing, and set goals to accomplish activities, not inches around your waist. Focus on what your body can do, not what it looks like. Fuel your body with food that is good for you, not just easy to find. You will find this makes the work so much more enjoyable, and the goals more achievable.

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Achieve

You can win a title fight! You can achieve that crazy pole dance move! You can lose 75 pounds! In the midst of the struggle it seems like you will never get there. You may feel like you can’t even make the next five minutes, but you can. You can achieve these goals. When you do, you will never forget how good it felt. You will want to do it again. Set another goal, work hard, and achieve it.
Be careful. It might even become addicting.