May 7, 2013
I had the pleasure of shooting with B-House photography for the cover of the September 2012 Fitness X Magazine. What a pleasure and terrific experience it was. It was also my first cover shoot since having my son just seven months earlier, so needless to say, I still had a few of my own insecurities, but those were quickly put to rest with B-House’s professionalism and his techniques he used to “get the shot”.
Nonetheless, we were able to capture not only a winning cover shot but also several shots used throughout my articles featured in the magazine. There was an article I wrote on post natal training with your baby as well as an article that highlighted my accomplishments as a professional athlete, fitness expert, and my greatest chapter, being a new mom.
Here are some questions that I asked B-House so you can get to know him as well.
1. How long and what got you interested in photography?
2. How would you classify your style and uniqueness as a photographer?
If I had to choose one word it would be tasteful. Whether I’m shooting landscapes, sports, military, vintage, portrait, or fitness I always want to show respect to my subject(s) and the audience who will view my images in a way that is tasteful and respectful manner to both. This is especially important when working with female models. Secondarily, when the opportunity allows, I enjoy creativity.
3. What areas are your specialty?
My enjoyment of photography and life and pulled me in many different fields. I started in landscape and always enjoy it though now that I’m living again in the big city I don’t do as much. My favorites to shoot are: military, sports (especially college football), health and fitness, as well as vintage (early 1940′s styles). I actually also shoot weddings, theatre, concert, and dance (mostly swing) plus I love photographing my wife and our four kids.
4. Have you have a favorite location shoot?
As for location, it depends on the genre. For sports – the Coliseum, for landscapes – the Yosemite Valley, for vintage – the Cicada Club in LA, and for health and fitness – Newport Beach.
5. What would you like to see happen in the next 5 years with your photography business?
8. Where can people find out more about you? Websites, social media, etc?
9. What thoughts would you like to leave our readers with?
Like all art, photography is very subjective. My suggestion is to find someone whose style you really like and try to shoot with them if possible or someone with a similar style. Also, some photos can open doors and while closing others. Know which doors you want to go through and model accordingly. Last, remember that once shots are on the internet and downloadable, they’ll always be there somewhere so choose wisely what you post or allow your photographer to post and which magazines you allow to publish your photos.
**For more training routines you can check out my fitness and inspiration book, “Fast and Fierce Fitness Made Fabulously FUN!” This is a twelve week program, complete with exercise descriptions, photos of each movement, motivational guidelines, tracking system, progressions for each level of fitness, weekly upgrades on fitness programs, and most of all, FUN creative workouts that leave you more energized, looking great, and feeling fantastic!!! Or if you would like a more specialized program to specifically meet your NUTRITION needs and goals be sure to check out my online nutrition.
August 31, 2012
Written by Laura Mak, MS, Pregnancy Fitness Specialist
Yoga is a highly recommended and a widely used type of exercise for moms-to-be to. It can be easily incorporated into their weekly fitness routines. Its benefits include a stronger body, increased flexibility, improved stamina and more importantly a heightened breath awareness. These are all useful tools to have when you are preparing to give birth.
Still, as wonderful as these tangible benefits are, the real power of the practice lies in its more subtle results. Yoga not only works on the physical level, but also works on the mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual levels, too.
The second trimester should be more of a joyous trimester than the first. Typically the energy has increased, the nausea is slowing down or stopped, and body has made significant changes as the baby has grown. This trimester is really the favorite according to most women. Many women say they are able to accomplish more during this period in both day to day activities as well as in their workout practice. Because your focus with exercise can harnesses the energy, that feeling of empowerment is what often characterizes the second trimester.
I have chosen the top 5 yoga stretches to share with you. These are the ones that I like to empower my clients with. These are perfect for a morning “pick me up”, or gently practiced in the evening as you wind down before bedtime. You can select one or all of these stretches to incorporate on a daily basis.
- Side Stretch and Balance. Begin sitting on your heels, (if this is uncomfortable, then you can place a block between your feet and set your bottom on it). On an inhale lift your right arm up and over to the side above your head. Simultaneously, extend your right leg out to the side. Feel the stretch all along the right side of your body as you reach your hand far away from the body and the toes are pointing just as hard in the opposite direction. Pause and hold for three to four deep breaths. On an exhale release your arm and leg and return to the start position. Repeat on the other side. More advanced: After reaching to the side position, lift your right arm up towards the ceiling, and lift the right leg out to horizontal. Once you find your balance, look your eyes up towards your fingers. Hold this pose for four to five breaths, then lower, and return to the start position.
- Cat Cow Stretch. Begin with the hands shoulder width apart fingers spread out wide. Shoulders should be directly above the wrists. Knees should be about hips distance apart. Hips should be directly above the knees. The spine is straight. On an inhale, tilt the hips up as you arch through the back and look your head up toward the ceiling. Pause and hold for two to three seconds. On the exhale, round the spine. The head should look down towards the chest, the hips should tuck under. The spine should look rounded like a scared cat. Pause and hold this position for two to three seconds. Repeat this series in a slow and fluid fashion for eight times.
- Opposite Arm/Leg Extension. Begin on hands and knees, like in the cat/cow stretch. On the inhale extend the right arm forward and the left leg straight back, both creating a horizontal line. Feel an extension pulling in opposite directions, the fingers continuing to reach forward, as the toes continuing to stretch back behind you. On an inhale, reach both the hand and foot up a little higher on a stretch. On the exhale, bring the right elbow in to meet the left knee while rounding the spine. Pause and hold this pose for two to three seconds. On the next inhale extend both the arm and leg straight out and hold for two to three seconds. Let the breath lead the movement. Repeat five times on each side. More advanced: After doing five extensions and contractions, come back to the start position with the arm and leg extended front and back. Reach your right had behind the body. Grab the bend of the ankle of the left foot. On an inhale press the foot into the hand and lift the upper body and head to look up. Pause and hold this position for two to five seconds. Exhale and return to horizontal. Repeat five times, then change sides.
- Hip Flexor and Runner’s stretch. Begin upright balanced on both knees, extend the left foot forward. On an inhale, lift the arms up and bend the left knee. The hips should stay facing toward the front of the room (as opposed to turning out to the side). The right knee in the back will have a slight bend. The bend in the left knee is a deep stretch, so be sure to keep the knee above the ankle, if it moves in front of the ankle, gently walk the foot forward to correct the position. Pause and hold this position for five breaths. Next, place your hands on the floor for balance and curl the back toes under. Press out of the legs and stand into a Runner’s Stretch. The front leg should be bent 90 degrees and the back leg should be straight. Keep both hips even and facing towards the front of the room. On an inhale lift the arm above the head. Hold for five breaths. Repeat both stretches on the other side.
- Hamstring Stretch. Begin upright balanced on both knees, extend the left foot forward. With a straight spine, place the hands on the floor outside the left leg. On an inhale, feel an extension through the spine and lean forward. (If this is difficult or the hands are not comfortably touching the ground, you can place a block under each hand. It is more important to keep the spine straight than it is to have the hands flat to the floor.) The belly may have to shift slightly toward the inside of the left leg if the breath feels at all constricted. If this feels comfortable and you would like more stretch, flex the toes up towards the ceiling, creating more lengthening through the calf and hamstring. More Advanced: Slide your left foot forward allowing yourself to go into a split. Remember not to force this pose, your ligaments are definitely more “stretchy” in this phase, so comfortably slide forward. If you are not flat to the floor, you can place a block under your left leg. This will give you support allow your muscles to relax and stretch.
These stretches can be done all together or just a few at a time. For expectant women in the second trimester focus is much more easily found. This is the time to concentrate on connecting the breath with the movement, and really feeling the muscles, gently, so they can lengthen and strengthen. Use this phase of empowerment during your pregnancy to allow yourself time to grow and enjoy your baby.
If you would like more information about my training programs or nutrition programs you can go to my website at www.LauraMak.com. In addition, you can check out my fitness and inspiration book, “Fast and Fierce Fitness Made Fabulously FUN!” This is a perfect post natal twelve week program, complete with exercise descriptions, photos of each movement, motivational guidelines, tracking system, progressions for each level of fitness, weekly upgrades on fitness programs, and most of all, FUN creative workouts that leave you more energized, looking great, and feeling fantastic!!!
June 7, 2012
No matter what trimester you are in in your pregnancy, stretching can always be done. This is something that can be done moderately to help increase blood flow, increase energy and breathing, and improve overall mood.
When you reach the your third trimester you are finally in the last stages of your pregnancy and for some of you it may feel as if the process has flown by, and many of you may feel as if you are absolutely ready for your baby to come out and play. Wherever you are mentally, these four stretches I have selected will help you with delivery, birth, and recovery afterwards.
These movements are even considered safe if you are a high risk pregnancy or instructed on bed rest. (Be sure to consult with your physician first, but likely you will have clearance to practice these stretches.) Speaking of bed rest, there have been studies shown from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland that although bed rest can provide benefits, it can also have some overlooked side effects such as muscle atrophy, cardiovascular deconditioning, potential bone loss, and even depression. If you are prescribed bed rest, listen to your doctor, but prepare yourself for post birth. Once you are cleared for exercise, you can line yourself up with a post natal personal trainer to help deal with muscle weakness and fatigue. In addition you may consider lining up postpartum support such as help with baby care, household chores and meals are often needed. Accept the help.
In the meantime, the movements selected below will strengthen the pelvic-floor muscles. It is especially important at this phase of your pregnancy to keep your pelvis, spine and hips mobile. This will also aid in relieving discomfort and increase preparations for your labor.
STRETCHES for THIRD TRIMESTER
1. Upper Back Cross Legged Side Twist – Seated on the ground, begin by crossing your ankles in the front of your body. Breathe in and raise the chest and upper back while gently adding a simultaneous twist. Place the opposite hand on the knee giving support and a little more twist motion. Exhale and return to the start position. Repeat on the other side. Practice this stretch according to your breath alternating sides for 10 reps on each side.
2. Hip and Pelvis Opener – Straddle Stretch – Begin in a wide but comfortable straddle stretch. Take a breath in and lift the arms above the head. Repeat this a few times before going into the stretch.
- Next, lift the arms above the head on the inhale and as you exhale, place the hands on the mat in front of you, walking the hands out stretching them as far as they can comfortably reach. Hold this position for five breaths. Walk the hands back in and raise the body to the start position.
- Inhale and lift both arms up, but this time on the exhale, reach the right arm down towards the right leg, while keeping the left arm above the head extending long over the body. Hold this position for five breaths. On an exhale, lift the body up and return to the start position. Repeat this on the other side.
- Repeat all three of these movements 5-10 times on each side. Be sure the movement follows the breath. Take each one slowly so you body can sink comfortably and relax into each stretch position.
3. Butterfly Pose – Sitting cross-legged, slide the soles of your feet together. If you feel your lower back rounding, sit on the edge of a blanket. Press your feet together, tuck your tailbone under and let your knees drop open. Cup your hands around your feet; don’t pull. Press your feet together and continue to let your knees fall open; lean slightly forward to increase the stretch. Hold for 5–8 complete breaths.
4. Seated side Stretch on Fit Ball – This is a wonderful opening stretch that increases the blood flow in the body. Begin sitting on the ball with the spine straight and the feet wider that hip width. On an inhale place the left hand on the ball. Extend the right arm above the head reaching and stretching over to the right. On the exhale, lower the arm slowly back to the start position. Continue alternating sides letting your breathe lead the movement. Repeat for 8-10 breaths (stretches) on each side.
These stretches should be pleasurable to practice and leave you feeling lengthened and strengthened afterward. This routine can be performed on a daily basis when you wake up in the morning, before bed in the evening, or for an afternoon pick me up. I’m wishing you well on the rest of your pregnancy and a smooth healthy delivery.
For more training and exercise routines that you can do post natal, check out my fitness and inspiration book, “Fast and Fierce Fitness Made Fabulously FUN!” This is a twelve week program, complete with exercise descriptions, photos of each movement, motivational guidelines, tracking system, progressions for each level of fitness, weekly upgrades on fitness programs, and most of all, FUN creative workouts that leave you more energized, looking great, and feeling fantastic!!! Not only has this program helped my clients lose weight and strengthen their body, but it was the system I used to lose 55 pounds of my baby weight! It’s perfect because I could do it at home while the baby was sleeping or playing. Be sure to check it out here!!
**If you are looking for more healthy nutrition options please check out my online nutrition. I have the perfect nutrition program to meet your specific needs and all programs are customized with your goals in mind.
June 7, 2012
This new section is going to be dedicated to Pre/Post Natal topics. If you are a mother or expecting to be soon, look for exciting new information shortly!