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The thing that is really hard, and really amazing,
is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.

— Anna Quindlen
In the newsletter this week, we’ve got a ballerina’s wisdom, African dance-along rhythms, and a plea to stop sitting! Read on... 

With more and more of us vaccinated, we’ll be heading back to our boutique fitness classes. One instructor whose classes Pilates fans will soon be filling is Erika Bloom. She’s a former ballerina and current pilates instructor who runs six studios in New York City, The Hamptons, and other luxe locations, plus a school that trains pilates instructors.

After using Pilates to heal from injuries during her career in  professional dance, Bloom got certified and started teaching. This was twenty years ago—way before boutique fitness studios popped up in big cities and made this fitness style well-known.

Of her philosophy on nutrition, Bloom said (in an interview with Coveteur): “My eating philosophy is formed around two pillars… One, to be in tune with my body and listen to what it needs on any given day. And two, to eat whole, real foods that are grown thoughtfully and minimally processed.”

She recommends eating food that is both nourishing and pleasurable, and listening to your body: “Exhaustion is not always a sign we need to eat, but rather our bodies telling us to slow down, take a moment, or sleep more.”

Thanking you for slowing down to take a moment with Fit Girls, Katherine & Linda
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Helio Faria

In traditional African cultures, dance was used in rituals, rites of passage, and communal ceremonies. African dance moves every part of the body, from scuffing, stamping, and hopping steps to fluid movements.

Helio Faria is a professional dance and fitness instructor, originally from Brazil, who has travelled to 50 countries teaching workshops. His style fuses Afrobeats with modern dances to create workouts bursting with joy and vitality.

Try this: To experience his style, check out this 27-minute workout that combines Afrobeats and Dancehall, or this 30-minute workout that integrates Afrobeats, Dancehall, and Afrohouse.
If you want more of these fun Afrobeats workouts, Helio offers free live streaming dance workouts on his YouTube channel.
Is sitting the new smoking

Dr. Kelly Starrett is an expert in mobility and ergonomics, and he’s on a one-man mission against poor sitting posture. His book Deskbound has a single central idea: “Sitting is death!” 

Well, “death” it may be but most of us can’t avoid it, so here are his tips for sitting better. Starrett recommends sitting on the edge of your chair so your spinal column can be stacked. You can also perch with both feet on your chair, like a gargoyle. (If you’re working from home and no coworkers can see you, why not try it?) 

More tips: Stand up often, and change your position. Switch back and forth between sitting and standing through the day. And do hip-opening stretches, like the couch stretch, to counteract the muscle-shortening effects of long seated periods.
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Gone flat: the decline of soda

Water consumption is going up and soda consumption is declining. The New York Times reports that sales of full-calorie soda in the US shot up from the 1960s to the 1990s, but since then have plummeted by a quarter. Soda consumption is now at a 30-year lwo, and for the first time in history, the diet of an average American contains more bottled water than soda.

More schools are banning sugary drinks, and some cities are even running radio and TV ads to encourage parents not to serve Coca-Cola to their kids.

The soda industry is striking back, and has spent millions on pressuring legislators and PR promotions to position sugar water as fitting into a “healthy diet”. The soda giants have doled out grants to the American Diabetes Association and other health organizations. A beverage industry lobby group even funded Michelle Obama’s Move More campaign against childhood obesity.

Could it be that corporations who sell soda want to promote the idea that obesity and overweight are caused by inactivity, and diet has nothing to do with it? Well, here’s what the World Health Organization has to say: “Current evidence suggests that increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with overweight and obesity in children. Therefore, reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages would also reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity.”

You’ll never see a commercial for it, but the most eco-friendly and nutritious beverage you can drink is old-fashioned tap water out of a reusable container.
 This gluten-free, vegan recipe for spanish rice and beans is a one-pot wonder, ready in 40 minutes for a quick weeknight supper dish (Choosing Chia)

 Lower back bugging you? A physical therapist demonstrates step-by-step how to stretch tight hip flexors to relieve lower back pain (Kai Simon, YouTube)

 Amazing recipe for garlic parm wings that skips the breading, instead using grated parmesan for a low-carb version (Little Pine Kitchen)

 Four squat-jump variations to add to your lower-body routine (Oxygen)

 From a swelling achilles tendon to an aching iliotibial band: the most common running injuries and how to prevent and treat them (Greatist)
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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