Family Size Hot Logic Video Review

Disclosure: I am a brand ambassador for Hot Logic, but I am not paid to put video reviews together. This is my unbiased review of the new Family Size Hot Logic. I truly do use the Hot Logic products and honestly think they are amazing.

9×13 Family Size Hot Logic

Use my discount code STACEYNAITO at checkout for 20% off your order!

Why I Love Lyra (Aerial Hoop)

Crucifix on the of my favorite moves

Crucifix on the lyra…one of my favorite moves

I fell in love with the lyra, also known as the aerial hoop, from the moment I first mounted one. I remember not being quite sure if I would enjoy lyra, since I had spent several months experimenting with different aerial disciplines, and was still finding my way among them. Here is a summary of the different aerial arts which I had tried, and my impressions of each one.

Pole – I took two pole classes several years ago, and though I was sore in places I didn’t think I would ever be sore in (mostly groin and lower back), I really didn’t enjoy the movements. In addition, the connotation of pole dancing is indelible in my brain, and I just couldn’t get past the feeling that I was a dirty girl for even taking a couple of classes. Both instructors I got were incredibly self-absorbed, and I found them irritating to no end. I also found it humorous that the students were encouraged to explore their sexual energy in the class, because at no point did I feel sexy. If anything, I felt completely foolish and awkward, and basically counted the minutes until class would be over. Yes, it was that bad for me.

Flying Trapeze – Last summer I signed up for a Groupon deal for a flying trapeze class at TSNY-LA on the Santa Monica Boardwalk, and moments after I did so, I had a split second of panic. I remember thinking, oh crap, what have I gotten myself into? Then I took that class in August 2015, and found the experience exhilarating. Once I was on the trapeze, I truly enjoyed swinging and challenging my body to move in new ways. It was the compromise I was looking for, since I had been unable to find adult gymnastics classes to accommodate my desire to return to the gymnastics moves I had learned as a child. I signed up for two more classes at Richie Gaona’s school because I wanted to gain more experience on the trapeze. Unfortunately, my nerves always got rattled whenever I was up on the board, on deck to fly, because that board was so narrow and so high off the ground. I just couldn’t get over being 20 feet up on the air, leaning far forward into the trapeze, while trusting someone to hold me and keep me from slipping off the board. It began to overshadow the joy of flying, so I gave it up.

Silks – I took one class at Aerial Physique, a nice facility in Brentwood which focuses on silks for its aerial offerings. The instructor was a sweetheart, and the class was fun, but my poor ankles did not enjoy the sensation of being wrapped in fabric as my body weight sank upon them for the foot locks I performed. My elbows and hands screamed in agony over the torsion which occurred when I set up for a trick which required me to grip the massive swaths of fabric. Though I enjoyed the beauty of the apparatus, I didn’t like what the fabric was doing to my poor joints, and I also couldn’t remember the complicated trick sequence the instructor wanted the other student and me to learn. This was the first experience I had with instructors who just assumed that you would pick up all the specific vocabulary for all the tricks you were learning, and it irked me. Why on earth would I know these terms if it was my first time taking silks? Grrrrr.

Static Trapeze – I took a class in static trapeze after falling in love with the lyra, so I expected that I would enjoy the experience. What I discovered was that for as much as I loved being on the lyra, I absolutely hated the static trapeze. The ropes were extremely rough and painful to negotiate during some of the tricks we learned, yet they were flexible enough to make me feel quite unstable while up in the apparatus. I did not enjoy the experience of twisting the rope around my thighs and risking significant rope burn and bruising, and my grip strength was definitely challenged by the gauge of the ropes. I didn’t click with the instructor at all either, so I scratched this apparatus off my list very quickly.

Aerial Cube – Now THIS is a fun apparatus, and I definitely intend to take more classes using this. Imagine an open cube, consisting of bars around which you can wrap your body and hang from. It was like being on the monkey bars at the park, and incredibly fun. The only caveat is that since there is a lot of metal, you are basically in a suspended cage, and if you don’t time certain moves properly, body parts like shins can collide with those bars and leave nasty reminders of your time on the cube.

Aerial Cube:

Lyra – Love at first knee hang. Truly. There is something about the simplicity and symbolism of the perfect circle which has a strong appeal for me. The lyra also seems to be incredibly accommodating to many different body types and sizes, because I have seen people of all shapes and heights manage to wrap their bodies around this sturdy apparatus with more ease than some of the other aerial equipment. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that performing on a lyra is easy! In order to properly mount a lyra (or any other aerial apparatus, for that matter), you must have strong abdominal muscles and decent upper body strength. It took me three classes before I was able to properly do a straddle mount without cheating!

straddle mount

I took my first lyra class at the beginning of May at Aeriform Arts in Hollywood, and am still taking classes, though I have switched for the time being to a facility near my home. I have in fact lost count of how many classes I have taken so far, but it’s been more than a dozen now. Once or twice a week, you will find me swinging from a suspended hoop, enjoying the challenge and not minding the calluses which have taken up permanent residence on the palms of my hands. My back is wider and has more detail as a result of lyra, and my shoulders are also more developed. I don’t mind the fact that my elbows scream from the tendinitis which flares up more often now, nor do I mind the deep ache from my lats which asserts itself if I resume lyra practice full force after a few days of rest. It’s also incredibly empowering to find a new form of creative expression at the half century mark of my life, one which most people my age would be terrified of. I have learned many new tricks, including the Russian splits and Yoga Cat pictured below (no, that isn’t me, but I have performed these moves successfully a number of times).

Russian Splits:

russian splits on lyra

Yoga Cat On Top Strop:

Yoga cat top strop

There is a good reason why the time spent on aerial equipment is referred to as flying, because I really do feel like I am flying when I am in class, free as a bird. I intend to continue this love affair for quite a while!

Could You Be Undernourished?

Bodybuilder-FoodOriginally written for and published by

If you are a fitness fanatic or competitor, you may assume that you are adequately nourished because you practice clean eating. However, that might not necessarily be the case. Shockingly, many people who are in the fitness world suffer from under-nutrition as a result of consuming limited types and amounts of foods in an effort to reach a super lean state. Think about it: if you are limiting caloric intake during a contest prep phase, have eliminated foods which become demonized during prep such as fruits and peanut butter, and aren’t supplementing your body with the nutrients it needs, then you are probably undernourished. Such nutrient deficits can have a serious negative impact on your health if practiced for an extended period of time.

Under-nutrition is a nutrient or energy deficiency, while malnutrition can represent either a deficiency or an excess of nutrients. Some individuals (especially women) in the fitness world continually follow meal plans which are unbalanced and extremely low in calories and are thus chronically undernourished. Such a state of deficit can be amplified if certain medical conditions such as leaky gut are present, because whatever nutrients are supplied to the body might not be absorbed properly.

Mild cases of under-nutrition are often symptom-free, while more severe cases are usually symptomatic. Some deficiencies can cause permanent damage to the body, for example, blindness with severe vitamin A deficiency. Typical symptoms of under-nutrition vary based on the specific deficiency, but can include:

Joint and bone pain
Ringing in the ears
Difficulty breathing
Poor night vision
Sores at the corners of the mouth
Muscle weakness
Impaired immunity
Delayed wound healing
Dry skin and hair
Bleeding gums
Skin rashes
Easy bruising
Digestive problems
Irregular or halted menstrual periods

It can be difficult to determine whether a symptom is reflective of a nutrient deficiency or some other cause, but if your diet is restrictive, there’s a decent chance that a nutrient deficiency is to blame. The following nutrients are being highlighted here because they are most likely to be lacking in a fitness person’s diet.

Vitamin D3: The majority of the U.S. population is deficient in this vitamin, which is not only important for bone health but also reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many types of cancer. Here’s the challenge: very few foods contain vitamin D3 (egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon), and the skin only makes vitamin D3 in response to exposure to sunlight. Common symptoms of vitamin D3 deficiency are muscle aches and joint pain, both of which could mistakenly be brushed off by bodybuilders as the consequence of heavy lifts at the gym. If you want to supplement with vitamin D3, take 5,000 mg per day.

Calcium: Have you ever gotten a mad craving, especially in the middle of contest prep, for fatty foods or soda? Both cravings can be a sign of calcium deficiency. Calcium is essential for formation of healthy bone tissue and plays a vital role in nerve impulse conduction. Because the typical fitness meal plan excludes dairy sources, a calcium deficiency can sneak up on fitness people. Take 500 milligrams twice daily.

Iodine: This element is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. Main dietary sources of iodine include table salt, eggs, seafood, and dairy products. However, table salt is avoided by most fitness people, as are dairy products, increasing the risk of developing an iodine deficiency. Ironically, though sea salt provides many of the minerals which are missing in table salt (such as magnesium and potassium), it also potentially creates iodine deficiency since it is not fortified with iodine.

It may be difficult to tell if an iodine deficiency exists in the early stages because symptoms don’t surface until the thyroid gland reacts to the lower iodine levels. By that time, the symptoms of hypothyroidism have usually kicked in, such as fatigue, constipation, dry skin, depression and weight gain. The good news is that iodine supplements are available. Iodine deficiency can also be remedied by consuming seafood, kelp and meat products.

Magnesium: Have you ever noticed that your cravings for chocolate are intensified as you get closer to a contest date, or right before you ladies hit “that time of the month”? Chocolate cravings are a common signal that the body is deficient in magnesium. Deficiencies of this important mineral are quite common among regular folk and bodybuilders. Magnesium is important for hundreds of bodily functions, has a calming effect, and keeps the digestive tract moving optimally. It also has a protective effect against high blood pressure. If you prefer to supplement magnesium with a tablet, take 400 mg at night. If you prefer food sources of magnesium, almonds are an excellent source, providing 80 milligrams per ounce. Spinach, legumes, seeds, unrefined whole grains, and cashews are also good sources of magnesium.

Potassium: Lack of this mineral can wreak havoc on contest prep since it is excreted during the diuresis phase of most contest prep regimens. Potassium is present in every cell of the body, is essential for energy production, guards against high blood pressure, and maintains fluid balance. Daily needs range about 5,000 milligrams daily, and can be obtained from fit-friendly foods like spinach, sweet potatoes and broccoli, but during final week prep, the loss of potassium during the water-shedding phase must be compensated for in order to avoid cramping, weakness, tingling, numbness, nausea, vomiting or palpitations. Severe potassium deficiency can be life threatening and must be corrected quickly.

Zinc: Some women have intense food cravings right before their periods which can be a sign of zinc deficiency. Zinc plays a vital role in cell division, DNA synthesis, immune system function, and protein synthesis. A deficiency of zinc can result in hair loss, skin rashes, frequent colds and other infections, insomnia, loss of taste or smell and decreased libido. If you prefer to obtain zinc from food sources, turn to red meat, wheat, oats, eggs, nuts, peas, and leafy green vegetables. Otherwise, a 50 milligram daily supplement will suffice for most individuals.