Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Turning to Kettlebells to Ease Back Pain

Hey pals! I'm in the middle of a paper writing frenzy, but I wanted to share with you this awesome article my
trainer, Ellen Stein, forwarded me today, about my beloved kettlebells! Check it out! :)

January 26, 2012, 12:01 AM

Turning to Kettlebells to Ease Back Pain

Can kettle bells ease back pain?Stephanie Diani for The New York TimesA kettlebell workout may be just the thing to ease back, neck or shoulder pain.
Kettlebells, cast-iron weights that have been used for centuries to train Russian soldiers and athletes, appear to be a promising therapy for back and neck pain, new research shows.
Although many people with backaches and other pains shy away from weight lifting for fear of hurting themselves, studies show that strength training can reduce pain  and prevent reinjury. While most research has used traditional weight training exercises, researchers in Denmark set out to study whether a kettlebell workout offered therapeutic benefits to back pain sufferers.
The weights, named for their resemblance to a tea kettle with a looped handle, began showing up in American gyms about 15 years ago and have gained a popular following among exercise buffs looking for a quick full-body workout. Unlike traditional weight training, which typically focuses on lifting exercises, a kettlebell workout requires both swinging and lifting of the weights, which for beginners can be awkward and difficult to control.
In a study published last year , the Danish researchers recruited 40 pharmaceutical workers, mostly middle-aged women with back, shoulder and neck pain, who were randomly assigned to either a regular kettlebell workout or a control group that was simply encouraged to exercise. The first group trained with kettlebells in 20-minute sessions two to three times a week for eight weeks, according to the report, published in The Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health.
At the end of the study, the kettlebell exercisers reported less pain as well as improved strength in the trunk and core muscles, compared with the control group. Over all, working out with kettlebells reduced lower back pain by 57 percent and cut neck and shoulder pain by 46 percent.
The study’s senior author, Lars L. Andersen, a government researcher in Denmark, noted that workers who spend much of the day sitting are particularly vulnerable to back, shoulder and neck pain because they develop tightness and weak spots along the posterior muscle chain, which includes the muscles running from the lower back down to the glutes, hamstrings and calves. Kettlebell workouts strengthen the posterior muscle chain, and the increased blood flow to the back and leg muscles also may lessen pain by reducing the buildup of lactic acid, the authors wrote.
While isolation exercises like curls and presses have their benefits, kettlebell movements recruit multiple muscles and teach the body “to move as one unit,” said J.J. Blea, a certified kettlebell instructor and an owner of Firebellz in Albuquerque, one of the top kettlebell gyms in the country.
Because kettlebells can be difficult to control, it’s important to learn proper form from a certified instructor or a kettlebell class at a gym. The cornerstone of the kettlebell workout requires the exerciser to swing the kettlebell between the legs. In the Danish study, women started with a 17.5-pound kettlebell and men with a 26.5-pound kettlebell.
“When you’re doing a swing, you squeeze your quads, you squeeze your glutes, and you squeeze your abs,” said Mr. Blea. “By squeezing these muscles, you protect your back. It creates power, and it increases strength.”
Kettlebell training is also surprisingly aerobic. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that a 20-minute kettlebell workout burns about 21 calories a minute , the equivalent of running at a six-minute-mile pace.

And Now, Back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming


Ahh... now I feel better. :)

Today is the first day of my second semester of grad school. I cannot believe at the end of this semester I'll be halfway through my graduate degree! Ayayayayya!

I thought I'd catch you up on the past week, as I've been preoccupied with recaps from Hawaii and the NYC Blogger Playdate!

GROCERIES. I know. They excite me too!

Joe and I haven't bought meat in almost six months. Neither of us are vegetarians in theory, though our diets usually flop between vegetarian and vegan when we prepare food for ourselves at home. Joe made an announcement a few months back that he didn't want to buy any meat unless it was hormone free and cage-free/ humanely raised. I complied, but this meant that the meat we were  allowed to buy was usually a lot more than I was willing to pay, so we came home without meat week after week. I really didn't miss it, but when these cage-free, hormone-free, vegetarian cuts went on sale, we stocked up and popped them in the freezer. We eat meat so infrequently now that they'll probably last us the entire semester, but I'm ok with that.

I baked some drumsticks, glazing them with some TJ's Fig Butter and served with sweet potatoes and broccoli. A much needed detox after our delicious but RICH week of Hawaiian fare.  

Continuing on with the clean eats, Joe whipped up some bangin' chocolate oatmeal protein pancakes. I need to force him to write out the recipe. I'm pretty sure it's simple, and these babies were sooooo gooood. 

Most of this week has been spent locked in my house, doing homework and prepping for the first week of school. 

I was VERY ready for a night out on Sunday.

My upstairs neighbor, Nicole, invited us to sushi, and I couldn't refuse! We went to Chikurin to grab a few rolls. 

On our way home, we grabbed some boba tea! :) Mmmm.

After begging and begging and begging, Joe finally brought me Wafels & Dinges' special wafel of the month- mascarpone cheese with strawberries and crumbled biscoff cookies! :)

I particularly love it when he stops at the farmer's market on his way home. Blue potatoes, goat cheese and rosemary on a focaccia? Yes, please. 

On the fitness front, I've been doing some Daily Burn workouts, throwing around the kettlebells and going for a few short, easy runs. My back has been a bit tight, and I've been away from training, so I'm trying to ease myself back into things. 

AND NOW- off to school! I have a meeting this afternoon followed by a Speech class! Wahoo! :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Sparkle Time! Sparkly Soul Review and GIVEAWAY!

I think a little sparkle goes a long way, and a lot of sparkle goes an even longer way! :)

I spent several years with a near-permanent rhinestone fixture on my head as Miss Brooklyn and Miss Greater NYC, but those days have passed. Recognize the hottie with me in this pic from my recent Hawaii posts? It's my pal Inga, who currently lives in Honolulu. She likes sparkles, too. 

I've traded my crowns for some new head bling!

As a FitFluential Ambassador, I was recently offered the opportunity to try out two Sparkly Soul Headbands. I selected a thin band in black, and a wide band in silver. 

I've been extremely pleased with both! 

My thin, black Sparkly Soul band got me through this insane kettlebell workout without budging an inch!

I took the silver one on a test run, and matched it with some sparkly leopard print leggings! 

Sparkles and animal print? G-L-A-M-O-R-OUS.

 Watch the video to see how it did on my run through Manhattan Beach! 


Sparkly Soul will send one lucky reader TWO headbands (one thin, one wide) in the colors of their choice! 

To Enter (leave a separate comment for each entry with a valid email- up to 3 entries per person): 

-Leave me a comment telling me which color(s) headbands you'd pick!

-Tweet@keeliesheridan is giving away @sparklysoulinc headbands on Sweat = Success! http://bit.ly/zg498X

- Leave me a comment using the word "Sparkle" on my Facebook page!

I'll announce the winner on Monday, February 6th!

Happy Sparkling! :)

*I received this product as a free sample from Sparkly Soul. I was not otherwise compensated for this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.*

Tagged by Tenecia!

Awww snap- Tenecia from Boobs, Barbells and Broccoli shouted me out on her 12 Questions Survey. Thanks, T! How'd you know I was looking for a distraction from my homework? :) P.S. If you don't already follow Tenecia's blog, you're missing out- Girlfriend is shredded and sassy!

If I got an email with these questions, I'd delete it immediately, but I get GIDDY with delight when I'm tagged for these things in blog land. 

1) You must post the rules.
2) Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3) Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4) Tag 12 (or so) people and link them in your post.
5) Let them know you've tagged them!

12 Facts About Me

1) I hate mayonnaise. I've mentioned it a lot recently, but it can't hurt to say it again.
2) I'm an iced coffee addict. If you know me at all, you know that. 
3) I love training legs!
4) I have a list of things to learn that is approximately one trillion miles long. Currently, it includes: breakdancing, chess, Gaelic, parkour, sewing, piano, html, butterfly stroke, tea making, pottery, burlesque performance and using my DSLR well.
5) I have two sisters and four stepsisters. That's 7 girls. My poor dad. 
6) I am happiest when I'm in the water. River, lake, ocean, pool, bathtub... I'm a fish!
7) I love being a student. I would be a professional student for ever and ever if that was an actual job title.
8) I am a procrastinator, but I always end up doing my best work under a tight deadline.
9) I'm VERY SLOWLY working my way through the ACE personal training manual- I hope to get certified once I'm out of school!
10) I didn't change my last name when I got married. 
11) I love spicy food.
12) I grind my teeth a lot. It's bad. I wake up with headaches. Oyyy.

Tenecia's Questions

1) How do you like your eggs? Any way you'll make 'em. EXCEPT raw. Or in mayonnaise. See above.

2) Favorite movie quote- "Don't dream it, be it." -Dr. Frank, Rocky Horror Picture Show

3) Last book you read- "The Need for Words" by Patsy Rodenburg

4) If you had $500 to spend on whatever you wanted, what would you buy? Fitness gear, theatre tickets, books, and a few train tickets home!

5) What's your "go to" recipe? Oatmeal, eggs or a smoothie!

6) What concert(s) will you be going to this year? None planned yet, I should get on that!

7) Favorite candy- Candy Corn/ Candy Pumpkins.

8) What is the best piece of advice you've received? Define yourself by the work you do, not the circumstances you find yourself in.

9) What was the first job you ever had? Babysitting!

10) Do you untie your shoes before you take them off? Not unless I absolutely have to.

11) What is your best feature/body part/characteristic? My eyes/ my smile!

12) If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Everything. See above. 

My Questions

1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
2. What do you want to be when you grow up?
3. What's your least favorite food/ beverage?
4. If you could only do one physical activity for the rest of your life, what would it be?
5. If you were reincarnated as a dinosaur, what kind would you be?
6. What is your favorite dish/ meal to make?
7. Name your favorite childhood memory involving food!
8. Who inspires you?
9. Who is your favorite artist (musician, painter, actor, poet, sculptor... any medium)?
10. If you had $10,000,000 to give to charity, which charity(ies) would you give it to?
11. What is your idea of a perfect day?
12. What's your favorite inspirational quote?

I tag:

Katelyn at Chef Katelyn

Ashley at Freckles and Spice

Nancy at Living the Dream

Laura at Joyful Shimmy

Juliette at Finish Your Broccoli

Meredith at Dare You to Blog

Jen at Mom's Gotta Run

Genevieve at Caffeine and Procrastination

Stephanie at Ms. Composure

MUAHAHAHA- I've given you the blog version of a chain email, and if you don't repost, you'll have six trillion years of bad luck and the person you have a crush on will marry your best friend in one week. Or not. No pressure. :)

Sorry!  But not really.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

NYC Blogger Playdate- January 2012- Kettlebell Kickboxing and Buddha Bodai

I feel like I've been run over by a truck, in the best way possible. My EVERYTHING is sore. And happy.

Kettlebell Kickboxing very graciously offered the NYC Bloggers a free, private class to experience owner Dasha Libin's exciting and comprehensive new fitness fusion. 

From their website:

Kettlebell Kickboxing™ is a one-of-a-kind FEMALE only method developed by fitness & martial art expert Dasha Libin, MS,NASM-PES, NASE. Kettlebell Kickboxing™ redefines the body by combining the sleek and deadly motions of Muay Thai with the power and strength of Russian kettlebell training, creating a NON-impact 60 minute total body scorching class. Burn 1,000 calories – getting Long & Lean at the same time.

This high intensity workout combines classic kettlebell moves with kickboxing, martial arts and self-defense movements, broken up by plyometric bursts and a KILLER floor series that focuses on the core. 

Kettlebell work focuses on complex movements involving large groups of big and small muscles, challenging stability, balance, strength and cardiovascular endurance. The addition of kickboxing gives more dynamic and explosive options, keeping your body guessing and constantly engaged!

I have a history with kettlebells, so most of the moves felt pretty natural for me. Our instructors were very good at giving specific and easy-to-follow direction to help those without KB experience. We were all happy pools of sweat on the floor at the end! :) This workout leaves no muscle untouched!

Our gorgeous, strong and sexy group! 

@freckleandspice - Freckles And Spice
@RebeRoad - REBEats
@Sproutandpea- Sprout & Pea
@bkforkandspoon- Brooklyn Fork & Spoon
@AubrieF- Drunk on Opportunity
@_ErikaLeigh- Shoes, Shirts and Other Sh!t
@fitnessnyc- Fitness NYC
@dareyoutoblog- Dare You to Blog
@lschwech- Laura from Greatist.com
@kellyannefitz- Kelly from Greatist.com
@tonee78- Running, Loving, Living
@finishurbroc- Finish Your Broccoli

Thank you so much, Dasha, for having us! I will DEFINITELY be back for more! :)

Kettlebell Kickboxing has a DVD coming out soon- join their mailing list for updates!

By sheer coincidence, I had planned the January Blogger Playdate in Chinatown during Chinese New Year. 

The streets were full of revelers!

Trudging through the throngs of people to get to our restaurant was a workout in itself!

It's the year of the dragon!

I would NOT want to be the person who has to clean all of this up...

Our party of 7 settled in to a table at Buddha Bodai immediately- they very graciously accommodated us, even though we didn't have a reservation.

This vegetarian restaurant has a trillion options! Their menu is huge and everything looks delicious!

I got the steamed veggie dumplings (I'm a dumpling freak)!

I also ordered a bowl of Curried Vegetable Noodle Soup.

From L to R: Myself, Toni, Ashley, Aubrie, Colleen, Meredith and Erika.

(Fun Fact- there are four Fitfluential Ambassadors in this picture including myself, and three of us are wearing our awesome Sparkly Soul headbands- giveaway coming soon!)

The NYC Blogger Playdates keep getting bigger and more exciting! I'm so grateful to everyone who helps make them a success! Email or Tweet me for details on our next event!

Check out our past events:

September 2011- Hot Yoga
October 2011- Yoga Vida
November 2011- Five Points Academy Kickboxing

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Just a quick post this AM, pals! I'm off for today's NYC Blogger Playdate with Kettlebell Kickboxing, followed by lunch at Buddha Bodai! We have an awesome group of some of NYC's best fitness, lifestyle and healthy living bloggers attending today's event!

If you'd like to join us for a future meetup, or if your business is interested in hosting the NYC Bloggers, check the page for contact details!

Recap comin' atcha tonight!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hawaii Day 6: Loco Mocos, Lanikai Beach, Nu'uanu Pali Lookout and Korean BBQ!

We went light on dinner the night before, so when we woke up on day 6, we were HUNGRY BEASTS. 

Fortunately, help was (literally) just around the corner. 

Good to Grill serves up some serious breakfast fare at pretty reasonable prices.

The Kalua Pig Breakfast Tacos were absolute perfection- crispy potatoes, soft, fluffy eggs and the most savory, tender pork you'll ever bite into on a grilled flour tortilla. 

This behemoth is called a Loco Moco, and it's a truly formidable breakfast opponent, even for the hungriest diner. Fried rice topped with an egg, two char-grilled hamburger patties and gravy. I didn't care for the gravy, but everything else in this dish was spot on. Joe and I split the breakfast tacos and ate 1/2 of this beast before wrapping it up to bring home. 

The hubs had been feeling under the weather, so Inga and I deposited him at her apartment and headed out for some thrifting!

I'm sure you're not surprised, but if you're ever looking for a TRILLION used Hawaiian shirts, thrift stores in Hawaii are where it's at! 

Hawaiian shirts, sun dresses, sandals, flip flops and a fur lined coat. ...wait a second... One of these things is not like the others...

Matt picked Inga and I up after our shopping trip (I didn't end up getting anything) and we grabbed Joe and headed to the gorgeous Lanikai beach

The waves are gentle, the sand is white and powder soft, and because it was a bit overcast when we went, the water was pretty empty. Neither Joe nor Matt nor Inga were up for a swim, so I went in alone! :)

PSA: No matter HOW certain you are that your quadruple-lined white swimsuit will NOT be transparent when wet, test it in your shower before you leave home. Seriously. I discovered my bottoms were see-through while in the water, alone, out of shouting distance of my friends. I had to flag Joe down to bring a towel to the water, and since he wasn't swimming, he lent me his trunks!

Crisis averted!

And back into the water I went!

Swim trunks are fun, ya'll! And comfy. WHY do women wear bikinis, again?

Though they refused to go swimming with my, my enthusiastic cheering section fully supported my water-frolicking (ignore Inga's expression- I swear she was having fun). 

Poor Joe- such a trooper. He put on his game face, but he was feeling pretty icky. You could probably tell that from the double-sided nasal tampon he fashioned for himself out of a tissue to keep his nose from leaking all over his face. I wish I could say this was the first time he's done this. Or the second. Or the tenth. 

Even on a windy, overcast day, this beach was a pleasure to visit!

On our way home, we stopped at the STUNNING Nu'uanu Pali Lookout

Breathtaking, literally. In 1795, Kamehameha I's army conquered the island of Oahu by driving 400 of Kalanikupule's soldiers off the edge of this 1000ft cliff, uniting the Hawaiian islands under his rule.

It's really quite enjoyable, when you're not being pushed over the edge. 

We spotted these crazy roosters as we left the lookout. The seemed to be looking for a fight, so we drove away...

Every cloud has a silver lining, and every overcast day in paradise has it's rainbow!

We showered up, made ourselves presentable and headed to dinner. 

Forgive the phone pictures- I left my memory card in the card reader. 

Sidorak is a Korean BBQ known for their $19.99 all-you-can-eat BBQ special. 

I take the "all-you-can-eat" offering as a personal challenge. That's probably not the healthiest way of looking at it, but there you go.

All of the banchan were bangin'. Fresh and tasty.

The meat was the main event, though. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality across the board. We tried EVERYTHING. Literally. Short rib, ribeye, seasoned short rib, tripe, brisket, tongue, bulgogi and BBQ chicken. I'm pretty sure we ordered seconds of almost everything. Joe tagged out first, followed shortly by Inga. Matt and I ran in the last leg together, finishing almost an entire round by ourselves. 

Team big kids, FTW. 

My clothes STILL smell like BBQ, but it was so, so worth it.