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Step out of the history that is holding you back.
Step into the new story you are willing to create.

— Oprah Winfrey
In the newsletter this week, we’ve got a fitness device for busy people, barre workouts that melt tension, and three steps to instant calm. Read on...

Mirror is ingenious: a home fitness device that requires less floor space than a stationary bike but provides thousands of on-demand classes. Founder Brynn Putnam describes it as “the third screen in people’s homes.” Lululemon obviously agrees: the yoga brand acquired Mirror for $500 million in June 2020. 

A Harvard-educated former ballet dancer, Putnam had a background in fitness, and thought up Mirror as a solution for busy people looking for a workout that was social yet convenient. With more people embracing home workouts, the device could be a big seller in the 2020s.

Reflecting on her founder journey, Putnam says: “I really believe in planning. I sit down every few months and think about my goals and each step needed to achieve them. And when you hack away the stuff that’s inessential, you can focus on the things that matter.”

Wishing you the time and space to plan for the future this week, Katherine & Linda
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Marnie Alton, M BODY

Originally from Alberta, Marnie Alton graduated from performing arts school and soon moved to LA, where she built a fitness career focused on the discipline of barre. She spent a decade training celebrities and athletes, then opened her own flagship studio on iconic La Brea Boulevard in 2014.

Describing her path in fitness, Alton told LA Confidential magazine in an interview: “I know the misery of trying to force myself into something that I don’t actually want to be or do. I focus on staying in wellness, I focus on gratitude, I focus on taking on time to do simple things. It’s really important to me.” 

Alton designs bodyweight workouts using no equipment that incorporate dance references and a continuous flow. Follow Alton’s Instagram for perspective, motivation, and live workouts. 

Try this: Alton’s 30-minute Full Body Barre Workout is designed to “wake you up from the inside out”. She uses a barre, but at home you can use a couch or counter. If you want to try a mat-only workout, this 26-minute Cardio + Barre Workout requires no equipment and can be done either barefoot or in shoes.
This cardio barre workout puts a focus on releasing your body and letting tension melt away.
Controlling stress with flow

Tight shoulders, tension headaches, grumpiness… the classic symptoms of stress. It’s an adaptation inbred to help us, but too much stress can definitely do damage. 

Acute stress is your “fight or flight” response to an immediate threat, which protects you from danger. Chronic stress, by contrast, is the ongoing daily stress that causes irritability, anxiety, and depression. Chronic stress can contribute to inflammation and wear-and-tear on the body, via continuous activation of the nervous system.

Tactics to counteract chronic stress:
1) Recognize the negative feelings and remind yourself that they will pass.
2) Shift your focus using visualization.
3) Maintain a healthy social support network, such as by reaching out to a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while. 

What about acute stress that puts you in a state of panic? A neurosurgery journal recommends following these steps to calm down: 
Step 1: Close your eyes, take a deep breath in through the nose, hold on to the breath and exhale out through the mouth.
Step 2: Acknowledge the negative and anxiety-provoking thoughts. Do not attempt to suppress your thoughts. See them and let them go. 
Step 3: Repeat the breathing exercise as you achieve calm.

And finally (but you knew this one): get regular physical exercise and adequate sleep to boost your resilience to both chronic and acute stress.
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Are you getting enough Omega-3s?

Bro science says lifting weights builds mass and cardio trims fat. To examine the real science of this question, let’s start with a couple of quick definitions. 

Aerobic activity requires oxygen and is done at a pace you can sustain for an extended period of time. Anaerobic activity doesn’t require oxygen, and is done at a level you can’t sustain for an extended period of time. Low Intensity Steady State Cardio is aerobic, while High Intensity Interval Training is anaerobic.

You don’t need to do cardio to lose fat. You can lose fat by consuming fewer calories than you expend, even with no exercise. But aerobic activity can help by contributing to a caloric deficit. Plus, recent research has shown HIIT exercise causes the body to target fat stores for energy. In fact, when LISS and HIIT were stacked up head-to-head, fat loss in the HIIT group was up to nine times greater than in the LISS group.

So, intermittent intense exercise is your friend if you want to lean out. For inspiration, check out this tough Tabata-style interval workout on  (including a video illustrating the moves) for a step-by-step example of an effective interval workout.
 An essay on diet culture by Jessi Kneeland: “Diet culture is a fascinating, complex, and highly effective hoax. But it is a hoax.” (Jesse Kneeland)

 Healthy snacks to pep up your 3 PM slump—we love the DIY trail mix ideas (Greatist)

 Struggling to get up when your alarm goes off? A health coach explains exactly how to set yourself up for success with goals you can stick to (Mark’s Daily Apple)

 Up for a baking challenge that uses whole foods? Try these sweet potato cookies which add honey, cinnamon, and raisins for sweetness (Well+Good)

 Squats are a top exercise to build hamstrings, quads, and glutes, but easy to screw up on form—learn the five most common mistakes to fix your squat (Nerd Fitness)
Thanks for reading, Fit Girls! We’ll return to your inbox next week with more inspiration and knowledge. Got a tip for us or opinion to share? Email us—we love your feedback. Enjoyed this issue? Please forward to a friend—your referrals help us grow!
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