Plié Workout (beginner ballet workout)

Ballet is really challenging, which is why, if you’re a beginner, it’s hard to find ballet classes that don’t frustrate or trip you. In this beginner ballet workout, we focus on plies, and then add some arm movements at the end. It’s easy to follow, fun, and will still get your heart pumping and those legs and arms moving.

Below is a list of the exercises in this 15-minute beginner plie ballet workout, in order:

  • prances (warm-up)
  • hip rotations, also called hip cleaners or figure-eight’s (warm-up)
  • leg swings (warm-up)
  • 1st position plie squats, heels together, toes out. Two-sets of eight reps.
  • 2nd position plie squats (see video for form)
  • grand plie squat (don’t go too low and hold onto a chair, ballet barre or counter)
  • 1st position plie with calf raises
  • 2nd position plie, moving side to side
  • grand plie. 4 reps
  • 1st position plie with arms moving to the side, overhead, and back in front (like a front raise)
  • 2nd position with swan arms
  • grand plie. 8 reps

Stretches: calf stretch, quad stretch, figure-4 stretch, hamstring stretch

Press play to start the video from YouTube below:

Do your squats suck? (Why your legs & butt are not strong)

Do your squats suck? Is your butt high in the air when you squat? If so, you are pulling on your lower back, and may end up with back pain. You are not strengthening your legs or your glutes, if your butt is not down.

(to skip right to the video, scroll to the bottom of this post)

Do you have a flat butt? You need to squat, but not ass-to-grass. You want your butt to be around 90 degrees, in line with your knees.

To get your glutes stronger, start with easier squat exercises, like:

  1. TRX squats. These allow you to lean back without fear of falling backwards
  2. Goblet squats. You can do these with or without a kettlebell. Try to get your elbows to touch your legs (the quads).
  3. Elevated squats. Do you have back pain when your squat? Elevate your heels when you squat.
  4. Box squat. If you don’t have a box, use a chair. Put your arms in front of you as a counterbalance.

Are your knees caving in when you squat? Then you need to strengthen your side butt (the medial glutes) by doing lateral exercises, by moving your legs to the side, like:

  1. Lateral band walks. Start with a light resistance band, and then move up to a fabric band as you get stronger
  2. Bent-leg lifts, or hip lifts
  3. Leg lifts with controlled eccentrics, which means to lower your leg with control.

My 15-minute side-butt workout will strengthen your hips and medial glutes, and my 3-minute butt-burning workout will target all areas of your glutes. I’ve attached both of those videos at the end.

Why aren’t I losing weight on a vegan diet?

If you aren’t losing weight on a vegan diet, you’re not doing these five things:

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Not drinking enough water. Within about 30 minutes after waking up, I want to eat right away, and I start feeling sick and lose energy if I don’t consume some food, but what my body wants is hydration, not food. Once I drink 16 ounces of water, I don’t feel hungry for an hour or two later. We frequently confuse hunger with thirst. If you’re drinking enough water, your cravings should subside, and you’ll probably eat less.

(you can watch the video at the end of this post, instead of reading this, if you prefer)

Drink, at a minimum, your weight in ounces. If you weigh 125 pounds, you should drink 125+ ounces of water per day. To figure out how much that is visually, get a scale and put an empty glass pitcher on a scale. Clear the number on the scale to zero and change it to ounces. Next, fill the pitcher with drinking water and put the pitcher back on the scale. That will give you an idea how much to drink, which is most likely more than 1 ¼ pitchers of water each day.

Photo by Ponyo Sakana on Pexels.com

Not eating enough plants. If you’re eating processed vegan “foods” like vegan pizza with vegan cheese, vegan ice cream, or vegan sausage, those vegan substitutes are high in fat and salt, contain chemicals, flour, sugar, and/or oils. Processed vegan foods are typically highly glycemic, have lots of calories, and not enough fiber and nutrients, and won’t fill you up, make you eat more, will derail weight loss, and usually lead to weight gain.

The grains you want to eat are whole grains, like quinoa, millet, sorghum and oat groats. Bread and whole wheat pasta are processed products because the grains are not intact. Once you crush a grain, it becomes processed, more glycemic, and more problematic to our health.

The other foods you want to eat are fruit (especially berries), beans, peas, lentils, cooked mushrooms, raw and cooked onions and garlic, all vegetables, seeds, a variety of greens, and sprouts.

If you have a fruit smoothie with ground flax seeds, a large salad with beans and sprouts; and a vegetable soup with peas, lentils, mushrooms, onions, garlic and grains, you’re covered.

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

Not reducing your fat intake. If you’re eating too much fat, either from oils, avocado and/or nuts, that could be the reason you cannot lose weight. Unlike protein which converts into amino acids, or carbohydrates which turn into glucose, fat just stays as fat (fatty acids).

Avoid oils, as they are 100% fat and are not healthy. Olives are fine in moderation if you don’t have high blood pressure, a salt sensitivity, or if you’re diabetic. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats but keep the amount you eat lower if you need to lose weight. Nuts like walnuts contain omega 3s and fiber but are extremely caloric so don’t exceed one ounce of nuts per day.

You’re not fasting. The 16/8 fasting method is the easiest to do every day, will help you lose weight quickly, and will allow your body more time to repair itself. You eat within an eight-hour window and fast for 16 hours. This fasting method reduces the window for consumption and reduces the likelihood of overeating at night. I try to eat my last meal at 5:00pm and my breakfast at 9:00am, which gives my body a 16-hour break from digestion.

Not exercising enough. You lose bodyfat through heat and respiration. Exercise increases body temperature and heart rate. With challenging exercises that contract our muscles, we strengthen and lose extra pounds. Those stronger muscles burn calories, even when you’re not exercising.

Exercise alone is usually not enough to lose enough weight, so incorporate all five steps into your daily regime to improve your health and minimize your waistline.

Watch the video below so you can see how I measure my water intake, what I’m referring to when I say “plants” and vegan junk food, what some high fat foods are, and several intermittent fasting options:

Steps and Strength (walk and strengthen lower body)

This low-impact cardiovascular walking-strength workout includes marching for 30 seconds in between strengthening lower body sets. You will get your heartrate up, without jumping or putting too much pressure on your joints, and making your muscles work, in one 25-minute workout.

I’ve coined this exercise session a steps and strength workout. It’s cardio with walking and bodyweight muscle-building exercises, that targets the lower body.

Below are the exercises, in order:

  • Warm up by marching in place
  • Leg to the side, arms wide, leg back, arms front
  • Lateral walks. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Bridge, walk feet back to a supine plank, walk it back. Walk in place for 30 seconds.
  • Plie left to right. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Walk laterally on toes. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Walk forward on toes. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Plie squat, alternating heels lifts, lift both heels, hands behind low back for balance assistance. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Side step
  • Pendulum lunges. March in place
  • Cool down stretch

healthy vegan, breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes

What is healthy food, and what’s unhealthy food, varies depending on who you listen to and based on what you read, but the science is clear, a diet that is low in fat, that limits or eliminates dairy, oils, alcohol, processed foods, sugar, flours, fish, meat, and chicken, is what will benefit and heal your body, keep you slim, and protect you from diseases and illness.

So, now you know what not to eat, you may ask, what should I eat? Below are 14 low-fat, plant-based, vegan meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Watch the video below to learn why I don’t use oil, how to sauté foods without oil, which foods are better than others, and why. Then print out the recipes and meal ideas below.

Breakfast options:

  1. Tofu scrambled eggs with onions, red bell pepper slices, cilantro, hot sauce served with a side of baked potatoes. Omit the oil in this recipe: https://realdiethelp.com/2019/11/07/tofu-scramble-with-roasted-potatoes/
  2. Fruit smoothie with unsweetened almond milk and one or more frozen bananas https://realdiethelp.com/2020/08/11/iron-rich-green-tropical-smoothie/
  3. Oat groats soaked overnight and cooked the following day in water. After the oats are cooked and ready to eat, add 1 cup of cooked oat groats, 1 cup of frozen blueberries, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, and a splash of fresh lemon juice. Stir with spoon.
  4. Fruit salad with mixed greens, apple, nectarine, sliced red bell pepper, beans, topped with 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and some chopped walnuts

Lunch options:

  1. Buddha bowl with quinoa, salad greens, baked diced sweet potato, chickpeas, avocado. Drizzle tahini dressing on top.
  2. Southwest salad with black beans, corn, rice, red onions, cilantro, sliced red peppers, hot sauce and a dollop of guacamole.
  3. Black bean soup with red onions, black beans, green chilies, hot sauce, cilantro
  4. Vegetable soup. Use any combination of beans, cabbage, spinach, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, corn, peas, tomatoes, herbs, spices, peppers.

Snack options:

  1. Sugar snap peas alone or with homemade hummus (garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, herbs)
  2. Celery with nut butter

Dinner options:

  1. Spaghetti zoodles with tomato sauce: Zucchini noodles with marinara sauce
  2. Spaghetti sauce puttanesca. Omit the oil and use coconut aminos instead of sugar. Recipe: https://www.sandiegomagazine.com/the-power-of-a-plant-based-diet/article_1f6badc1-3914-5faa-b60b-b1379130b071.html#spaghetti
  3. Tofu and broccoli stir fry with green onions, slivered yellow onions, sugar snap peas, bok choy, napa cabbage, with coconut aminos
  4. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Baked sweet potatoes filled with black beans, red onions. Top with cilantro, hot sauce, sliced red bell peppers, guacamole

Limiting fat is essential to weight loss, heart health, and blood sugar control, which is one of the many reasons why I no longer eat fish, oil, meat, chicken, and processed foods. When people also give up dairy, they lose excess weight, have better digestion, their skin clears up, and their autoimmune diseases go away. If you would like to learn more, and transition to a low-fat, plant-based diet, order The High-Five Diet book by clicking on the image below:

Reverse lupus, autoimmune conditions: diabetes 1.5, EM, Raynaud’s, Long-COVID

Diseases and autoimmune conditions can often be reversed by changing one’s lifestyle, like exercising, being a healthy weight, reducing stress and eating a diet of primarily plant-based foods.

Doctors are taught very little about nutrition in school, so they either give no nutrition counseling, or incorrect nutrition information to their patients, which makes their patents sicker. That’s what happened to me.

After being diagnosed as a Type-1.5 diabetic in my 30’s, I followed the insulin and diet protocol my doctor gave me. I was eating skinless chicken breasts and fish. I reduced my carbohydrate intake from fruits and grains. I ate more fats, like avocado, and nuts, which made me more insulin resistant; and I ended up with two additional autoimmune conditions: erythromelalgia and Raynaud’s.

I decided to do the unthinkable, I decided to do the exact opposite of what my doctor recommended. I started eating more fruit, potatoes, and grains. I stopped eating chicken, pork, beef and fish. I reduced the total amount of protein I ate every day. I added more cardio and I stopped taking insulin to see if my remaining working beta cells would use the limited amount of insulin I was producing, efficiently.

To my surprise, my insulin sensitivity improved. The painful burning symptoms of erythromelalgia went away. The swelling in my fingers and toes from Raynaud’s went away completely. My stomach bloating was no longer a daily occurrence, and I lost the excess bodyfat I had struggled to lose for 20 years.

If you stop eating inflammatory foods like animal foods, and dairy, and replace them with alkalizing foods like greens, beans, fruit and vegetables, your body becomes more efficient at burning fat, managing blood sugars, and gets to work at healing you. By revamping your diet, it’s possible to reverse conditions, such as cancer, Type-1.5 diabetes, lupus, EM, Raynaud’s, Long-haul COVID, acne and other skin conditions, multiple sclerosis, and many others.

This weight loss and wellness system eliminates dairy, limits processed foods, with a focus on plants and nutrients. I’ve combined my training background, my clients successes, along with the best plant-based diet programs, into one book, so you have everything you need to lose bodyfat and regain your health.

Order your copy of the High-Five Diet to read my story, try my recipes, and starting using nutrition as a preventative measure, and to reverse the medical conditions that impair your life.

Can autoimmune conditions be reversed or cured with dietary changes? Most diseases and autoimmune conditions can be reversed by eliminating foods that make us sick, like dairy, meat, chicken, eggs and fish, which are highly acidic, full of hormones, saturated fat and bacteria. Can Cancer be cured with diet? Yes, you can reverse cancer, by avoiding all animal foods, which trigger cancer, and eating vegetables, fruits, and greens. Can diabetes be cured with diet? You can reverse Type-2 diabetes and obesity, and possibly even Type 1.5 diabetes which dietary changes, by reducing excess protein and fat. Can long COVID be cured with diet? You can get rid of long-COVID by avoiding foods, like dairy which contain pus, estrogens and too much calcium, that prevent your body from healing. Can lupus be reversed? You can reverse lupus by going vegan, by adding omega 3 seeds like chia and ground flax, upping your water intake, and eating raw greens and raw vegetables. Most medical conditions can be reversed, or, at least lessened, by getting rid of the toxic “foods,” like alcohol, animal flesh, dairy, and eating an abundance of plants instead.

Steps & Strength cardio workout (walking + leg workout)

If you want to meet your goal of getting in a certain number of steps per day, and want to get your legs and glutes (the butt muscles) stronger, but don’t have the time to do both, this exercise routine tackles both goals.

Below is a low-impact cardiovascular walking-strength workout. We are getting our steps in, by marching for 30 seconds in between strengthening lower body sets. I enjoy walking, getting my heartrate up, without jumping or putting too much pressure on my joints, and making my muscles work, so I combined these elements into one 25-minute workout.

I’ve coined this exercise session a steps and strength workout. It’s cardio with walking and bodyweight muscle-building exercises, that targets the lower body.

Steps & lower body strength exercises, in order:

  • Warm up by marching in place
  • Squat with a calf raise, squat, sidestep, repeat. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Lateral walks. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Bridge plus two marches. Walk in place for 30 seconds.
  • Double-leg deadlift, step, repeat. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Static lunches with a toe tap. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Side-step with a bent knee leg lift. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Plie squat with raising one foot to the opposite calf. March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Cool down stretch

Play the YouTube video to start this workout:

Dr. Fuhrman’s protein powder review

Review of: Dr. Fuhrman Pro-Boost Superfood Powder Dietary Supplement

Dr. Fuhrman sells a certified organic, vegan protein powder with exceptional ingredients from mushrooms, fruit and vegetables. The protein comes from peas, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds and pumpkin. The name of Dr. Fuhrman’s protein powder is Pro-Boost Superfood Powder Dietary Supplement.

His protein powder is low in calories at 1.5 grams of fat, with just two grams of net carbohydrates. The price is good at $57.99 for 60 servings, which ends up being about 97 cents per serving. The downside it that a serving only contains 10 grams of protein. Most protein powders contain 15-20 grams of protein per serving. If you want to consume 20 grams of this protein powder per day, the cost is on the steeper end at almost $2 per serving.

Because of the unique flavors of this protein powder, possibly due to the mushrooms, it doesn’t go well with chocolate, and many types of fruits. The only fruit that seems to pair well with this protein powder is a banana if you’re making a traditional fruit smoothie. If you’re making a green smoothie, then it goes well with banana and one of the following fruits: pineapple, apple, and green grapes (I’ll be sharing my green smoothie recipes for nutrition repair soon).

Although the protein powder thickens up well after blending, the grassy and musty flavors come through, if you’re using water as your liquid. You definitely want to use a vegan milk, like almond milk, when using this protein powder.

It’s also not a protein powder you want to drink without fruit, because the result is a thin and chalky beverage. While it’s not a delicious protein powder, it’s not terrible, and it’s delightful with two bananas, one cup of almond milk, and one serving of Dr. Fuhrman Pro-Boost Superfood Powder Dietary Supplement. If I double up the protein powder to get 20 grams of powdered protein, the smoothie has an odd flavor to it, and then I’d have to add two more bananas and more almond milk, the fat content would be a bit high, and with four bananas, that would be excessive.

RECIPE

If you purchase Dr. Fuhrman’s protein powder, use the recipe below for a delicious tasting smoothie:

  • 2 large frozen bananas, broken into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup refrigerated almond milk, unsweetened
  • 2 scoops protein powder (one serving size)

Place bananas, vegan milk, and one serving of protein powder (2 small scoops) in a small blender cup and blend until incorporated. Mix with either 2 tsp hemp seeds or 1 T whole chia seeds. I put the seeds in at the end because I don’t want to blend them, which muddies the taste of the smoothie. The addition of the seeds after the smoothie is blended, gives it a slight crunch. You can sip it or, slurp it off a large spoon, like I do.

Recipe nutritional information:

401 calories, 16 grams protein, 59 grams net carbohydrates, 9 grams fat (includes 1 T chia seeds)

To order to this protein powder, go to

https://shop.drfuhrman.com/pro-boost-superfood-powder/

Frog Pump Workout (strengthen & lift the butt)

Do you have a saggy butt? Do you want to lift, tone, and strengthen your butt? This quick glute workout targets the upper and lower glutes (the butt) with one exercise: the frog pump.

The warm-up is getting into a bridge position, onto your back. Press your heels together and let your knees go out to the sides. Bring your feet close to your butt and bridge up and down with just bodyweight.

In the video, I show if I bring my feet too close to my butt, I cannot go as high in my bridge. If I bring push my feet too far backwards, my hamstrings, the back of the legs, do most of the work. Try different foot positions to see what feels most comfortable for you and where you feel your glutes (the butt), working the most.

Grab one or two heavier weights for the second set and perform the frog pump exercise for one minute, or if you’re new to this exercise, skip the weights. I’m using a 35-pound weight for the second round.

For the third set, I’m using a 67-pound weight and we perform the frog pump for another minute. I’ve been weightlifting for over ten years so don’t feel like you have to copy me. Go at your level. Stop at the first sign of strain or pain.

The workout ends with a figure-four glute stretch, and an inner thigh butterfly stretch.

Let me know what you thought of this exercise. Do you like it? Do you hate it?

P.S. My butt muscles were a little sore the next day so it’s an effective exercise because my glutes are rarely sore.

Click the play button below on this YouTube video to start this quick workout:

Ballerina Arms Workout (slender ballet arms exercises)

This 9-minute ballerina arms workout strengthens the arms, back and shoulders with specific bodyweight exercises. No weights are needed and the whole routine is performed standing. Ballet dancers have lean strong arms; these exercises tone (add lean muscle) the upper body without adding bulk.

Below is a partial list of the exercises:

arm sway (warm up)

swan arms with plie squats

finger flicks

standing chest press

lateral shoulder raises

front raises with plie squats

snake arms

shrugs and shoulder rotations

Click the link to begin the workout

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