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I don’t think being an athlete is unfeminine.
I think of it as a kind of grace.

 
 –  Jackie Joyner-Kersee, American track and field athlete, six-time Olympic medalist
 WELCOME

In the newsletter this week, we’ve got a 90s dance trend that just won’t quit, a simple device that releases muscle knots, and an intermittent fasting explainer. Read on...

Does the word “Zumba” make you think of a gimmicky, infomercial-based workout that’s too easy to challenge you? Zumba peaked a decade ago, but unlike velour tracksuits, this 90s trend still has fans.

Zumba was invented by Beto Perez, a Columbian dance instructor who moved to Miami and started teaching aerobics classes using Latin dance moves. Perez hooked up with an infomercial producer, and soon Zumba became a global household name. 

Thanks to YouTube, traditionalists can check out an original Zumba workout with Beto—no 800 number required. For a modern version, check out this playlist by Mark Kramer Pastrana, the top Zumba instructor on YouTube with more than a million followers. He and his TML Crew host thousands of fans at events in his native Philippines; workout intensity for his videos ranges from brisk walk, to full-on cardio dance.
 
Here’s to zumba-ing through the rest of our work week! 
Talk to you soon, Katherine & Linda

 
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 WORKOUT OF THE WEEK
Bodyfit by Amy
 
After gaining more than 30 pounds in college from processed food and lack of consistent exercise, Amy Kiser Schemper was motivated to change her life. She got fit, and got motivated to share her knowledge with others. Today she’s a Los Angeles-based certified personal trainer and fitness instructor who has posted more than 200 videos on her YouTube channel.

Kiser Schemper says what makes teaching fitness worthwhile are the “small daily victories”—when a personal-training client reaches a strength goal, or she gets a message of thanks from a YouTube subscriber. 

Try this: The Bodyfit by Amy workouts are grounded in exercise-physiology know-how, and provide a solid challenge while offering modifications for all fitness levels. Try the 28-minute Full Body Dumbbell HIIT Sculpt Workout—equipment required is two dumbbells or a kettlebell—or the 26-minute no-equipment Standing Cardio Core Workout.
No equipment needed. 
 FITNESS
How foam rolling can make you more flexible and eliminate pain

Maybe you’ve seen people at the gym rolling around the floor on foam cylinders. What the heck are they doing? Silly as it may look, foam rolling is an effective way to restore your muscles in just a few minutes.

Technically known as self-myofascial release, foam rolling reduces muscle soreness by increasing tension on the muscle fibres, signalling sensory receptors to allow the muscle spindles and fibers to lengthen. Using foam rollers reduces the risk of developing tissue adhesions (which can lead to painful knots) and increases range of motion for better overall movement performance.

For a how-to, check out this 9-minute Critical Bench video that demonstrates techniques to foamroll your entire body.

Dedicated runner? Check out this video by Nike trainer Jesse Lindsey on how runners can use foam rolling for both warmup and recovery.
 NUTRITION
Can intermittent fasting help you lean out and get healthier?
 
The practice of fasting has been used to improve physical and mental health for thousands of years. Recently, books such as Dr. Jason Fung’s The Obesity Code and Mosley & Spencer’s The Fast Diet have promoted benefits of intermittent fasting (IF) like weight loss, better appetite control, and lower insulin levels.

Some popular IF methods are:
  • The 16/8 method, a.k.a. circadian rhythm fasting: skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours 
     
  • The Eat-Stop-Eat method: fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week
     
  • The 5:2 method: consuming only 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eating normally the other five days
The goal of IF is not to eat fewer calories, but to eat the same amount of food in a restricted eating window. Why does it work? Fasting triggers cellular functions that improve metabolism, lower blood sugar, lessen inflammation, and help clear out toxins and damaged cells.

Registered dietician Maya Bach recommends in this interview with Woman’s Day that during the non-fasting window, you choose meals that are “as nutrient-dense as possible,” for example leafy greens such as spinach and kale, and whole grains like quinoa and barley.

People who have success with IF say it’s freeing to not have to think so much about food. That said, IF does have risks: in this interview with MindBodyGreen, Dr. Amy Shah explains when and how fasting can cause negative hormonal impacts.

Being open to experimentation while practicing self-compassion is the best approach to eating habits in general. If you decide to try IF, start with a short fasting window, avoid high-intensity exercise on fasting days, and listen to your body.
 WHAT WE'RE READING

 Fitness vlogger Katie Dunlop of Love Sweat Fitness lost 45 pounds in 2018 and has kept it off ever since; she shares five things she stopped doing to help her overhaul her health (YouTube)

 Do you have limiting beliefs about fitness, like perfectionism, or expecting it to be easy? Explore some strategies for overcoming them (Nerd Fitness) 

 To build a better butt, trainers say “activate your glutes”, but what does that mean exactly? Useful tips for how to turn on those glute muscles (The Prehab Guys)

 Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation—or, how to get moving when you don’t feel like it. Hint: self-compassion works better than negativity (Mark’s Daily Apple)

 Four deltoid exercises with dumbbells to build your shoulders & create a V-shaped torso (Oxygen Magazine)

 Yet more motivation to work out for life: intensive physical exercise improves memory by enhancing brain plasticity (Science Daily)
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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