Wedding Season

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Ladies. It’s officially Spring, which means the start of WEDDING SEASON!!! A season that motivates you to look and feel your best as a bride, bridesmaid, or guest. Why? Because Wedding Season includes LOTS of pictures where you are immortalized on camera for years to come.

Perhaps your bridal gown is strapless. Maybe your bridesmaid dress is sleeveless. Or it could be that all of the wedding guest dresses in your closet are form-fitting and you want to tighten and tone. Regardless of your motivation during Wedding Season, I have some must-do moves for you!

mom arms

My background as a dancer, track jumper and runner, and fitness coach taught me that the biggest results come full-body exercises. When you engage your core (pull your belly-button into spine!) and focus on your posture, you activate so much more than just the working muscles.

These must-do-moves target multiple muscle groups with each exercise – so not only will your arms feel tight, toned, and sleek, but your core, legs, and booty will thank you too!

We Can Work It Out

Complete each exercise 10 times, rest, repeat for 3 sets.

  • Dumbbell Squat into Bicep Curl with Overhead Press

 

  • Dumbbell Stick Breakers

 

  • Dumbbell Bent-Over Tricep Kick-Backs

 

  • Dip Push-Ups

 

  • Bird-Dog Planks (10 total, 5 each side)

 

  • Up-Downs (10 total, 5 each side)

 

  • Side Plank with Hip-Dip (10 each side)
    • Progressions Included in Video

 

  • Bridge Hold with Dumbbell Reverse Fly

 

  • Weighted Sit-Ups

 

  • Burpees
    • We love to hate them, but they are SO good – start out slow, focus on your form

 

Practice this circuit once or twice a week and you will be raising those arms with such confidence!

trolley arms

Cheers to you as you celebrate lots of love throughout this wonderful season!!!

xo,

Ariana

*All wedding photographs by the wonderful POPography!

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Something New: Get FHIT Part 2

“Here We Go Again”…

…a continuation of trying new classes, pushing myself through new physical challenges, and exploring more of the insane fitness world that the island of Manhattan has to offer.

Recently, my go-to-fitness partner Lauren and I had off the same holiday and decided to try a studio that we passed on our way to the previous month’s SoulCycle adventure: Fhitting Room.

Fhitting Room from the outside looked cool and green and why the heck not give it a go? We reserved our lucky spots on the outer edge of the room and literally had no idea what to expect….

WHOA!

High. Intensity. Interval. Training. From the minute class started we were on the clock. Warm-up circuit: 60 seconds on, 30 seconds rest, repeat 3 times. Circuit change up: 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest, switch spots with your teammate, repeat 4 times. Against yourself: various weighted exercises, complete set, rest, repeat every minute on the minute for 8 minutes. Partner challenge: complete kettlebell swings, goblet squats, and burpees while your partner is in a v-sit hold, switch, repeat, switch, repeat, switch, repeat!

We were non-stop until the cool down. It was glorious!!!

What I Learned

The trainers were EXCELLENT. I enjoyed how they team-taught and worked off of each other’s energy and personality. They were super knowledgable and demonstrated each and every exercise before starting the clock. While we were working, they walked around to make safety corrections, modifications, progressions (hellooooo heavier weights), and personally motivated each client.

Will I Try Again?

HECK YES!!! After class, I felt incredibly strong (and tight)! The studio was another clean and fantastic place to work-out. Lauren and I planned and DID take a second class – which was a different format within the HIIT philosophy. Just as challenging and results were just as satisfying.

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Thank you Fhitting Room Flatiron! You rock and I can’t wait to get my butt back to another class!!!

Comment below if you have tried HIIT studios, classes, trainings or if you want to join my next Fhitting Session!

xx,

Ari

Something Borrowed: Always Learning Part 1

Jumping at New Opportunities!

Here we go! In an effort to motivate others to try new experiences on the road toward wellness, I am chronicling my conscious journey of trying new things and how I felt before, during, and after the experience.

About a month ago, a friend of mine suggested taking a SoulCycle class in Manhattan. I jumped at the chance to workout with a friend! I was so excited to check out this fitness class that Lea Michele and other celebrities are obsessed with, even if spinning isn’t my favorite…

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

I love a fitness challenge. I love changing up workout routines and being pushed mentally and physically. Throughout the years, I have tried and failed to get into the phenomenon that is spinning…it was a tough workout, I sweat like crazy, but for some reason, it was not my cup of tea.

I tried to love spinning. It has GREAT music, a cult following, is high in calorie-burning and leg-shaping, why couldn’t I get into it? I will gladly ride my bicycle outside, through Manhattan, over the Brooklyn Bridge, up and down every boardwalk and shore town, but spin rooms…meh, no thanks.

I would avoid spinning like the plague…then, in one weekend, my sister-in-law put together a spin team for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Spin-In and this SoulCycle class was on the table. After years of avoidance, I couldn’t dance myself away from a spin bike anymore.

“Dust Yourself Off and Try Again”

The entire lead up to this SoulCycle class was great: the employees took really excellent care of first-time riders, helped me figure out the science behind getting onto the bike, and the studio was so clean! The instructor shouted out her friend’s birthday ride, another rider’s 500th class, and me – the lone first-time rider (tucked away in my favorite place, the back corner).

And we were off. The lights went out, the music blared, the other riders in this PACKED 10:30 AM class were hooting and hollering and I was overwhelmed with this place. My friend who had taken a class as part of a wedding weekend (fantastic idea, brides-to-be!) turned to me smiling, loving the sense of community of this program. Our instructor was great! She was vocally motivating each rider to keep moving and her music selection totally swept me away.

What I Learned

Like in all great programs, you control your resistance, speed, and output. When I needed to back out of some of the thousands of hill sprints, I could (jk, but really). When I needed to pump out push-ups on the handles, I did so with the rhythm of the music. When my mind drifted to start thinking of funny Instagram posts to create, I was able to laugh to myself at the ridiculousness of my brain. When we were instructed to grab the hand weights from the back of the bike, I loved it for the change up. When my favorite Ed Sheeran song came on as a final push, I relished in the beat, the lyrics, and the physical challenge that I was on.

I left that class totally humbled. I thought I was “so fit”! I see why so many people take lunchtime classes and make this 45-minute spin adventure a priority. Post-class, my muscles weren’t sore like they are after a high-intensity-interval-training session or dance class or run, but they were exhausted. I felt a deep tired in my legs and arms that I haven’t felt in a long time and I was empowered knowing this was hard-earned!

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My “funny” picture that I was mentally planning and laughing about during class

Will I Try It Again?

YES.

The music and the sense of community – everyone riding on their own journey, yet simultaneously pumping together – got the dancer in me so excited to peddle to the beat. I was super excited to ride again a month later and had too much fun spinning with my team during the CHOP Spin-In.

Thank you to Lauren, Jera, SoulCycle 19th Street. Now, I don’t have an intense aversion to spinning like I did in the past!

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Comment below if you’ve taken spin classes: SoulCycle, FlyWheel, boutique studio. Also, let me know if this post inspired you to TRY a spin class if you have never gotten into the saddle.

“Take your journey. Change your body. Find your Soul” -SoulCycle motto…I’m working on it 😉

xx,

Ari

“Where words fail, music speaks” -Hans Christian Andersen

The mind is powerful. It’s incredible how strong a movement, a scent, a look, a sunset, a photo, a movie, a dream, or a song can elicit memories from your past, contemplations of your present, and worries or excitements towards your future.

Music – like Luke and The Force – is strong with this one. I feel closest to Divine messages and my angels when I hear music and, at times, I SWEAR He is speaking to me! Like the day I was officially moving out of my parents house – I was afraid and sad and anxious – but right at my exit to my new home, my wedding song comes on the radio…HOW IS THAT NOT A SIGN?!

Music is such a gift to each of us if we allow it to be. It has the power to transform us physically, emotionally, and socially.

music quote

Music can charge that extra drive during a workout, powering us even further when we thought we had hit the wall. One more set? Okay!

Music can transport us back to our childhoods and reminisce over our simpler times. For obvious reasons 🙂

Music can reignite that fire and remind us why we fell in love with our partners. SWOON.

Music can bring loved ones that we lost back to life for those brief minutes. BRB – sobbing.

Music can relax us. ::zen-mode::

Music can help us cry ugly, happy tears at every wedding. Cue the Flower Girl!

Music can attract new friends and forge unbreakable bonds. “T-10!”

Music can take you away to exotic places, wondrous vacations, happy memories, and excitable future getaways.

In a second, music can change our entire day from melancholy to appreciative to focused to sassy to totally blissed out.

All you have to do is…

Listen.

 

 

xoxo,

Ariana

 

Comment below and share your favorite pieces of music for all occasions!!

My Never-ending Story

Here’s a fun fact: I love learning. I love learning about new ideas, stories, people, recipes, practices, routines, places, and myself…. This life is full of wonder and I hope and pray that I will keep my eyes and my mind open to all that I have yet to learn.

I thoroughly enjoy being a student! I want to learn and to be challenged and to grow. I become angsty and frustrated when I perceive a short window of my time spent learning, trying, and having new experiences.

As educators, we strive to instill a passion of life-long learning in our students. Well, to my teachers, my parents, my coaches, my peers, THANK YOU. Throughout my life, you have ignited a fire within! A fire which becomes restless with the status quo; a woman that constantly wants to try and learn and fail or succeed, but TRY.

Recently, I have been incredibly active in trying new things: fitness classes, holistic healing practices, eating habits. That fire that yearns to learn more about my health: physically, emotionally, and socially.

I have been trying all of these new things out of fear that I will become jaded by the same routine. I am curious about the world around me with the seemingly never-ending sights, sounds, scents and ways that this life can shape the body.

All this said, my next few posts are going to be reflections on learning experiences. I encourage you to join me! Try out fitness class that you’ve been itching to take. Make an appointment for that massage. Or, even better, let’s visit a boutique studio and take a class together! New restaurant in town? Let’s go! Suggestions or recommendations? I’m game.

As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life” and my goal is to write my narrative with messages of positivity, physical challenges, and a mentality to never stop trying, growing, and learning.

Who’s ready to expand upon their never-ending story?

xo,

Ariana

Ho hum.

The Doldrums.

In the dark, cold, post-holiday-bliss days of winter in not-so-sunny New Jersey, I sit and type and wonder WHY? Why do I feel so blah? So tired? Lethargic? Angsty? Irritable? And then (after warning him of my mood) my husband reminds me, “Might be those Winter Blues.”

Oh, is he right! I am a self-proclaimed Beach Bum, who thrives on sunshine, warm weather, sun-kissed skin, salty hair, and would prefer to embarrassingly sweat through every article of clothing than to be cold. So, therefore, the long, dark days of winter really bum me out. Along with 5 percent of the US population, 4 out of 5 women, and that is onset during ones 20s to 30s .

Thankfully, there are studies and lists and medical help for those who suffer from Season Affective Disorder and for those of us who experience The Blues. This Time article (originally featured in Real Simple) highlights 8 scientifically-backed options to combat the winter doldrums:

  1. Exercise!
    • SWEAT A DAY: 30 minutes a day ladies and gents
    • Break it up into small chunks of time throughout your day
    • Make it something you do with friends, colleagues, and family. The benefits of daily exercise DRASTICALLY outweigh the negatives.
  2. Eat healthily
    • Fruits, veggies and chocolate are on the scientifically-backed list = Winter WIN.
  3. Invest in a light box to brighten up your environment
  4. Invest in a dawn simulator for your AM wake-ups
    • I have a love/hate relationship with mine…something about alarm clocks in general…
  5. Play peppy music
  6. Plan a vacation
  7. Help others
    • Volunteer in your community
    • Schedule visits with family and loved ones
  8. Get outside
    • Even though it’s cold, that fresh air is sure to give you a boost of energy!
    • I still remember that blast of cold air on my lungs during winter track practices – there is no feeling quite like it, but man does it hurt so good!
    • Bundle up, warm-up, stretch, and stay safe

Finally, I hope it helps to know that you aren’t the only one experiencing these blues! Soon enough, the sun will shine, the temperature will rise, our moods will improve, and our sun-kissed skin will return!

Until then, reach out to others and to me with:

  • your best jokes – the cornier, the better
  • comedic movies or shows
  • your favorite songs of the moment
  • make plans to eat, drink, and be merry
  • walk and workout with a friend
  • enjoy the warmth of the fires
  • the scents in the air
  • cuddles under soft blankets
  • get comfortable with some hot cocoa and tea
  • hot soups – share your recipes!
  • good books
  • learn something new – knitting, dance moves, a new language, how to solve that Rubix Cube!
  • embrace the delicate blanket of freshly fallen snow
  • share your smiles, warm hearts, and beautiful souls

All my love and warmth to you, always!

xx,

Ariana

Rich Girl

This has been a year of profound realizations for me. Personally and professionally.

The holiday season always gets me verklempt and this year is no different. The lights, sounds, scents, gatherings, general feelings of positivity and love…gets me every time!

I recognized how #blessed, but earnestly, how RICH I am.

  • I have been blessed with great health: I actively work on my mental and physical every day and while some days are much better than others, I am thankful that I wake up in the morning and am able to get out of bed and “Just Live”.
  • Millennial outlier: I LIKE MY JOB! Again, some days and some years are better than others, but I ultimately love what I do – teach children how to exercise, play fairly, eat right, care for themselves, prevent the spread of diseases, share light and love. I adore my colleagues and am so appreciative for the laughs, advice, and general camaraderie we have. To quote a colleague (he says it every year at our opening day department meeting) “we have the BEST job in the world!” He’s right. We may not be rich in dollars, but we are rich in company, pedagogy, and have the awesome responsibility to enrich the lives of hundreds of children each day.
  • I am a BILLIONAIRE when it comes to my incredible support system: my husband 😍, my parents 😚, my brother and sister 😘, my in-laws 💖, my grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins ❤️, our friends 🤗… they have shown me time and time again how love and friendship are timeless, forgiving, accepting, hilarious, caring, forward-thinking, genuine. To quote my dear friend, “…I can’t complain. I love my house and my dog and my husband. Broke or not life is great”. Amen, sister.

Listening and paying attention to all of the signs this world presents to me, gratitude was found in this message and memory that my late aunt sent me as a sign the other day (thanks Facebook memories):

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Reflecting on this life and the people I have known and know, opportunities and experiences I have had, and the journey that is yet to come, I feel an overwhelming sense of grace, gratitude, positivity, and love.

My Christmas Wish for each of you is that you search and reflect and recognize how rich you are and how thankful I am to know you and have you in my life.

All my love (and all the Oxford commas in the world),

Ariana