Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Archive for November, 2009

Nia and Tae Kwon Do

Posted by terrepruitt on November 28, 2009

As you might now be aware Nia includes elements from three disciplines from three different arts. From the martial arts, we borrow from Tae Kwon Do. Not just “moves” from Tae Kwon Do but also some of the other elements of it. With its kicks, punches, blocks, and stances it helps allow Nia to be a great leg workout and provide a stable base for some of our other moves.  Tae Kwon Do can also contribute to one’s confidence by providing exercises that allow one to become strong and stable.  These are the things Nia gains from Tae Kwon Do.

Nia calls Tae Kwon Do the Dance of Precision.*  So when delivering a punch, block, kick, etc. with the energy of Tae Kwon Do, it is done with precision and intent.  However, Nia likes to play so at times even though we might not be executing a punch or a kick, but we might choose to energize our movement with “Tae Kwon Do” like energy, and be forceful and aggressive even adding sound to our movement.

Adding the energy of one form to the moves of another is one of the things that make Nia fun and keeps is challenging.  It takes different muscles to skip with force and authority than to skip like a child without a care in the world.  That is an example of how Nia incorporates different moves with different energies.

In Nia we don’t “DO” Tae Kwon Do, things have been gleaned from it and brought into Nia and mixed in with aspects of  Tai Chi, Aikido, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance, Yoga, the Alexander Technique and the teachings from Feldenkrais, and the combination from each form is Nia.  A lot of Nia routines include moves and concepts from each discipline, but not always.  In an effort to keep each workout fresh, fun, and joyful teachers often mix things up.

If you are near San Jose, come to one of my Nia classes.  If not, I hope that you will find a Nia class near you and give Nia try.

*Both the Nia Technique Book and The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual state this. Both books are by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas. **V3 of The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Giving Thanks

Posted by terrepruitt on November 26, 2009

I am not a big fan of Thanksgiving. I don’t care for any of the traditional fare; sweet potatoes (especially with marshmallows, what is up with that?), stuffing, dressing, turkey, gravy, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. I don’t get excited for the big dinner. I do, however, like the idea of having a day where we give thanks.

It looks like the United States and Canada are the countries that do the Thanksgiving celebrating. But according to Wiki Grenada and the Netherlands do some celebrating to. The time of celebration was about the harvest, but now, as with a lot of Holidays it has morphed into something else.

I have been blessed with so many things to be thankful for, I make it a point to say thanks everyday. But with a day designated for giving thanks I get to gather with my family near my home in San Jose. Sometimes we get to be with both families, but this year it didn’t work out that way and we are staying local. I am thankful for all my blessings.  Including you.

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Push Workout – Sample

Posted by terrepruitt on November 24, 2009

–Push Ups (So many versions, pick one)
–Squats on BOSU (standing on the rounded side)

–Chest press with dumbbells lying on stability ball
–Wall Squats with stability ball

–Flyes lying on stability ball
–Air bench (“sitting” back against wall)

–Triceps Dip
–Side Step Drill using BOSU

–Triceps Kickbacks using bench
–Calf raises on BOSU (standing on the rounded side)

This is just a generic sample of a push workout.  There are so many ways to do push ups you should do them however you safely are able and however best fits your goals. 

Squats on the BOSU can also be done standing on the flat side, which would be more of a challenge.

With the chest press and the flyes on the stability ball you are keeping your upper back supported by the ball, but to get a bit of lower body in there and some stability practice your hips are off the ball and level with the floor.

Wall squats can be done with one leg.

The side step drill can be timed.

This was initially created for the exercises to be done in pairs as listed; one set of push-ups, one set of squats, then back to push ups, then squats, then on to the next pairing. But just like the Pull Workout, the weight used, the reps done, the speed in which do it and how many times you do it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

Try squeezing a workout in between all the Holiday Happenings and New Moon risings, even if you have to do it during the twilight hours.

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Pull Workout – Sample

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2009

–Lat pull down while squatting (on Machine)
–Bicep dumbbell curls with walking lunges

–One arm dumbbell row (on bench alternating sides)
–Hamstring curls using stability ball

–Kettlebell swing
–Stability Ball Hand/Foot Pass Sit-up

–Back extension on stability ball
–Straight leg deadlift with Kettlebell alternating legs

–Wide grip row on Machine
–Single Leg Squat using bench

As you can see the first two exercises prove that the generalization of push muscles being on the front and pull muscles being on the back is not great, but for some it is helpful although not entirely accurate. You use your back muscles and your biceps to pull. With most movements more than one muscle or more than one muscle group is being used, but usually we say the exercise works which ever muscles it works the most. As with the Lat pull down, it is called a Lat pull down because the Latissimus dorsi is responsible for most of the effort, however in most cases your biceps are assisting. There are other muscles in your back that are putting in some effort too and it depends on which kind of lat pull down you are doing. Yes, there are different kind.

Usually when the exercise being done is with free weights there is less muscle isolation. Some machines do a great job of muscle isolation. Sometimes an exercise can be considered both or neither and it is add to a workout to work a “popular muscle”. The sit ups were added because most of the time people want to work the abs. I think of the single leg squat as either a push or a pull because sometimes I really feel it in the glutes and sometimes I swear it is all quads.

This is just a sample of what a “pull workout” could look like. The weight used, the reps done, the speed in which do it and how many times you do it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. This can be done different ways. It could be done all in a row as listed or done in sets. Depends on what you want.

The picture is of the Cable Cross Machine at least Freemotion calls it that. I call “the Machine”.  It lives at the gym in San Jose.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out, Hamstrings | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Little Bit of Aya

Posted by terrepruitt on November 19, 2009

As a Nia teacher there are prescribed steps we are to take to learn a routine. It is easy to skip steps in the interest of time. We all learn in different ways and as humans we tend to follow the easiest path. No matter what we are doing our tendency is to do it the easiest way possible. So some of the steps might be skipped.

I recently attended a FAB*, it was short workshop that covered some of those steps. Being in a workshop with everyone focusing on the same thing made it a lot easier to learn. At home, when I set about working on learning a routine, I get very distracted by things. So being in a room where there was no cat, no computer, no dirty dishes, no laundry, and no cleaning that needed to be done was awesome. It really enabled me to focus.

The routine that we were working on is called Aya (one of Carlos AyaRosas, FKA Carlos Rosas). It is very Latin based–it has both Latin music and Latin moves allowing for a lot of hip swaying and sexy moves. One of the songs that we reviewed was not in English and someone translated it for us. I have to say that sometimes when you know the words of the song it can make the movements different.

This workshop was a shortened version of another workshop that was recently held in Concord. That was a two day workshop where they reviewed the entire routine. The one I attended in Nevada City was only four hours. We reviewed two songs. I will be honest and tell you that I could not do the songs without seeing them again. But I am confident that once I purchase the routine and set out to learn it, these two songs will be a snap.

I also returned to San Jose with a renewed sense of knowledge. I might KNOW something, but it always helps to review and to look at it from different angles. I enjoy hearing how information filters into people differently.

Nia is so wonderful because it is so many things. It is a workout, it is a practice, it is exercise, it is something that brings people together, it can be the basis of a workshop, it is just fabulous.

*FAB = For all belts. Nia White Belts, Blue Belts, Brown Belts, and Black Belts.

NOTE: The pictures are actually from the little birthday acknowlegement we had for the owner of the studio.

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Push-Pull Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on November 17, 2009

Recently I was listening to a discussion about Push Workouts and Pull Workouts.   One person wasn’t understanding the Push/Pull phrase because technically (as the other person pointed out) all muscles pull on bone to move it.  We move because a muscle contracts and pulls the bone in the direction of the contraction so the Push/Pull workout wasn’t registering for this person.

What the Push/Pull Workout phrase means is that the muscles USED to push or pull are being worked.  So a push workout would primarily work the muscles in the front of the body and a pull workout would work the muscles in the back.  That is just a generalization for some people it helps and some people it doesn’t because it is not entirely accurate.  As you know for some muscle groups and for some exercises it is not possible to JUST use one muscle group or one side of the body

A pull workout works “primarily” the lats, back, biceps, glutes, and hamstrings.  Where a push workout includes exercises that “primarily” work the chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, and calves.  It would typically be done on alternating days. 

This type of workout could be seen as a functional type workout since when you think about it we do a lot of pushing and pulling.  Think of grocery shopping, who has not had to yank a cart out of a row of carts, then pull the groceries out of the cart once they are bagged, then push them into the back of the SUV, then pull them out again.  Pull, push, pull, push . . . . Its a very functional workout.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Hamstrings

Posted by terrepruitt on November 14, 2009

Not the string you use to tie up a pig or a ham, but the muscle group.  There are three muscles that make up the Hamstrings; the Semimembranosus, the Semitendinosus, and the Biceps Femoris.

These muscles flex the knee bringing your foot toward your buttocks, extend the thigh, and rotate the hip/leg.

I have been thinking about my hamstrings A LOT the past few days because of a recent workout where I did a few exercises that really worked my hamstrings.  There are a lot of gyms in San Jose but where my friend and I were is a tiny gym that does not have a lot of machines, but you don’t need machines to really work the back of the legs.

We did some deadlifts, hamstring curls, and worked with a kettlebell, not to mention our warm up lunges.  So, yes, I have been thinking about my hamstrings a bit.

I wanted to point out that the hamstrings are three different muscles and remind you of that.

Posted in Hamstrings, Muscles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

List Of Ten Favorites (Exercises)

Posted by terrepruitt on November 12, 2009

Today is “whatever” Thursday, I wanted to find some pictures to post, but nothing really struck me.  I have thought about it all day and I couldn’t come up with anything.  Then I thought of lists.  People are always posting lists.  In fact, my last post was somewhat of a list; a list of benefits of resistance training.  On my short drive after class from Santa Clara to San Jose, I decided to post ten of my favorite exercise in no particular order:

1)  Dumbbell Chest Press (especially on a stability ball)
2)  Upright Row (on one Pilates DVD I have she calls this the “Zip Up”)
3)  Lat Pull Down with Alternating Backward Lunge
4)  Tricep Kickback (with a dumbbell)
5)  Standing Tricep Pushdown
6)  Heel Raises
7)  Wood Chops
8)  Bent-Over Row
9)  Bicep Curl
10) Sit-ups (on the BOSU) (she did NOT just say that, oh yeah, I did)

Of course, I love Nia for my aerobic (cardio) workout and with that I get a lot of these same motions as some of my favorite exercise, but this is just a list of some of my favorite exercises I like to do with equipment and/or weights.

Comments?  Questions?  What are your favorite exercises?  What do you like to include in your workout?

Share your list.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Resistance Training Benefits

Posted by terrepruitt on November 10, 2009

Resistance Training has many benefits.  I say resistance training because the resistance may be any force the body has to overcome.  It does not have to be weights, it can be bands, springs, or even your own body weight.  In addition to doing something that you like you want to train according to your goals.

Some of the benefits of resistance training:

  • Increase in strength, power, and endurance in the muscles
  • Increase in size of the muscle
  • Increase in lean mass (or maintained lean mass)
  • Increase in the tone of the muscles
  • Increase in metabolism
  • Increase in bone density
  • Increase in energy
  • Improvement in the body’s muscle to fat ratio
  • Improvement in mood
  • Improvement in Insulin Sensitivity

and

  • can assist in lower your resting blood pressure
  • can assist in preventing sarcopenia
  • can assist in lowering your resting heart rate

I met up with a friend today in San Jose at the gym we had a nice workout.  We played with some of the equipment and managed to get a great set of exercises in.  It is nice to be reminded of why resistance training is important.

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Nia In Many Forms

Posted by terrepruitt on November 7, 2009

There is always something Nia going on. Often times visting instructors will host a workshop or two. When they are in an area doing a workshop they often tack on a class or two so that even if you are not going to partake in the workshop you still can do Nia with them. It is a great way to other teachers from all over. This weekend there is a workshop that I am able to attend but I was able to go to the Nia class that was held the night before the workshop.

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It was an hour and a half class. Due to the huge amount of commute traffic from San Jose to Concord we missed the first 20 minutes, but we were able to jump right in and get a great workout in the time we had.

The visiting instructor was Winalee Zeeb. She has been doing Nia since 1991. She is a first degree Nia Black Belt, a Nia White Belt Trainer, and she has her own studio in Michigan called Heartdance.

The event is being held at The Big C Athletic Club. The class I went to was also at that location.  I had a great time moving on carpeted thick padded floor. We moved fast and slow, and experienced fire and soul. It was a great workout. Always amazing me because it never feels like exercise. I am always amazed when the class ends. It was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting Winalee. She said we did a bit of Aya and a bit of Velvet. I am not sure what other routines were in there, but it was a great time.

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I often post events on my site so if you are interested in attending Nia workshops and events in my area check my site.

I was still trying to get in the swing of things when I decided to snap a few photos.  I was planning on taking more, but since we had missed a few minutes already I didn’t want to take time standing around taking the pictures, but I snapped it and a couple more just to give you an idea.

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