The Pumpkin Twist is a great move to target all of your core muscles! Sit on the ground holding your pumpkin at your chest and lean slightly back until you feel your abs engage. Lift your legs into table top (forming a V shape with your body) and balance your butt. Slowly start to rotate your core, twisting from side to side allowing your hands / the pumpkin to follow and try and keep your legs still in the air. Feel free to rest your feet on the ground if it hurts your lower back or hip flexors. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps per side, depending on the weight of your pumpkin.
Pumpkin Pie Pull Throughs
Start in a high plank position with a pumpkin on on the ground outside your left rib cage. While keeping your core tight, reach your right hand under your torso to grab the pumpkin and gently drag or carry it to your right side. Put your right hand down, re-engage the core, and repeat on the left side. Try not to dip you chips and keep a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. To make it more challenging, have someone place another pumpkin on your back and don't let it fall off while you perform the exercise! Aim for 3 sets of 8 pulls per side.
This is a great exercise to work on core stabilization and balance! Sit down in a similar position as you did for the Pumpkin Twist above. This time, instead of holding your pumpkin, put it on the floor in front of you, approximately where your ankles would be if your legs were out in front of you. Keeping your back straight and core engaged, lift your legs and slowly raise them up and over the pumpkin, side to side. If your back feels this too much, you can lay down and do the same movement with your hands underneath your butt. Do 3 sets of 10 reps per side.
Featured Favorite Fall Recipe: Apple Pie Tacos
This Taco Tuesday, try something a little different! We recently partnered up with Supernola on a Ketanga Fitness Retreat to fuel our guests with clean, healthy snacks between their workouts and activities. And then we came across an amazing recipe to turn our already-favorite snacking clusters into the perfect treat for breakfast, snack or even dessert. These apple pie tacos are extremely simple to make and they will check the boxes for sweet, seasonal and nutritious!
Fall Snack Recipe: Sweet Potato Cinnamon Sticks
This snack couldn't be easier, and it's almost cheating to call it a recipe. Earlier in the year (pre-pandemic), one of the Ketanga Coaches, Britney Byfield, came over for dinner, and she showed me her super simple secret (not so secret) recipe. Sweet potato as dessert? YUP! It's delicious hot, tasty cold, and perfect for anytime snacking!
Fall Snack Recipe: Adult Candy Apples
One snack that always brings me back to childhood (with memories of sticky cheeks and sugar-covered teeth) is the candied apple. It's fruit, so it's healthy, right? A few years ago, I made DIY candy apple skewers for a party that allowed guests to dip apple slices into the healthier-than-pure-sugar coating of their choice (honey, almond butter or caramel--maybe not quite as healthy!) and then do a final dip into the preferred topping of crushed nuts, coconut shavings, finely diced strawberries, or mini chocolate chips. Crowd pleaser!! Now, I have found a Delish recipe to 'adultify' this recipe even more—with booze!
Fall Snack Recipe: Pumpkin Protein Muffins
When you want something sweet, this is the perfect snack to have on hand that will not only satisfy your craving, it will also give you over seven grams of protein with no added sugar! Plus, they are great to pop in the freezer so you can make one batch in advance to enjoy over the week(s). I've tried a few different recipes, and this one from Eat the Gains is my favorite for its flavor and simplicity.
Let us know if you try one of these recipes in the comments below! And don't forget, you can stock up on delicious Supernola flavors with a 35% discount by clicking here.
Exercise 1: Single Leg Deadlift to Lateral Lunge
Start by finding balance on one leg. Continue by sitting the support leg hip back, and driving the elevated heel back for a single leg deadlift. From there, return to standing (keep leg elevated OR tap your foot to the ground for balance). Then, step that leg out to a lateral lunge, making sure the knee follows the toe. Push off the foot and quad and return to standing. Repeat 5-8 repetitions and then switch sides. Do 2-3 sets.
Exercise 2: Shuffle Step Jumping Lunge
Starting with feet hips-width apart, complete two quick shuffle steps, then drop into a lunge on the third shuffle. Repeat and lunge on the other side. That is 1 rep. When lowering into lunge, think about the angle of the knees— you want two 90-degree angles. Keep your weight over the lead quad for control. Complete 5-8 repetitions for 2-3 sets.
Did you try this workout? Let us know how it went in the comments below! And be sure to check out the Hudson Valley Adventure Retreat October 2-4, where you can work out with Coach Kate and other Ketanga Coaches!
Ketanga: We have all heard that warmups are important, but are they really?
Kate: Yes! The number one reason why I recommend warmups is for longevity. Priming the body for movement, if done correctly, reduces the risk of injury.
I've taken your class and I'm sweating by the end of the warmup— so is it really a warmup?
They are! In addition to injury prevention, my favorite mobility exercises do what any effective warm up should do: gradually raise body temperature and increase blood flow to muscles.
What do YOU love about mobility and why do you make it a point to include in your own workouts?
I love that so many issues can be addressed in a warmup and set me up for a successful training session. I center my warmup around what I am going to be training and my own specific imbalances or muscles that need extra activation. Then I'm raising my heart rate, doing the work to maintain proper movement patterns, and getting mentally ready for my training session.
What is a tip to keep in mind when planning a warmup for an at-home workout?
If you look at warmups like a chore or like a hurdle before you even start working out, you're less likely to do them and more likely to get injured. Make the warm up PART of your workout. A dynamic warm up should raise your heart rate, prime all of the joints and muscles for movement (or at least the ones you'll be working on), and reinforce correct movement patterns. See my videos below for some of these exercises :)
Try This Full-Body Warm Up: 2-3 sets
Exercise 1: Squat-Walkout-Pushup-Superman Compound Movement
Exercise 2: Standing I T Y W
Pair this mobility warm-up with Coach Kate's at-home strength workout and learn more about the Hudson Valley Adventure Weekend!
1) Making Some (even if just a little) Money: Macra-Made You Look!
Early on, I was feeling claustrophobic in my NYC apartment and really missing the fresh air and greenery of the great outdoors. I thought about getting some plants, but I have minimal light and not many places to put a pot. So I had an idea to make some kind of plant holder that I can hang on the wall next to the window to get light and feel like I have some nature indoors with me. I did some Googling and found macrame knotting... ordered some supplies and started creating. I had no idea what I was doing, but soon enough I made my first plant holder. And it was actually pretty cute!
I made a few more, started to get different techniques down and decided to put them on a website to display some of my pieces in case anyone was interested in buying my little arts & crafts. I decided to name it Macra-Made You Look! and have expanded to making shelves and yoga mat carriers! Bottom line: if I can create these beautiful pieces from literally nothing, just an idea in my head and something I find enjoyable, you can seriously do anything!
2) Being More Active: Solo Tennis
When I was a kid I would spend a week each summer at tennis camp. We were on the court in the scorching heat for hours and hours each day - and I loved it! I didn't play during the year or even think much about it, but when summer came along, I always looked forward to playing. During quarantine, I was trying to think of activities I could do outdoors while staying safe, and I found a little park near my apartment that has handball courts - basically giant concrete walls. I ordered a few tennis balls off of Amazon, dusted off my racquet, and started playing solo tennis against the wall!
It's not easy, folks. Or maybe I'm just not all that good at tennis! But who cares! I have been enjoying it as well as appreciating a new reason to get out of the house and move around. Update: I have been dabbling in real tennis -- for any New Yorkers out there, the Central Park courts are open and free for socially-distanced fun :)
3) Being More Creative: Paint (& Sip)
Paint Night classes have become very popular in recent years. A group of people sign up to paint a specific design, and the instructor paints it alongside you, giving you instructions and pointers along the way. Plus, there is usually wine or a cocktail involved for extra fun! Over the past few months, these types of classes have moved online to sites like Yaymaker. They are great because you can pick your class by the painting you will create and you can ask questions and show your canvas in real time if you'd like, as if you were there in person.
I signed up for a horse painting class early on and really loved it! There is something relaxing and calming about painting, especially when you are guided through the process so you can't really mess up. Check out my horse and emu above. When else would I ever do something like that? I recommend signing up and giving it a try!
4) Building Healthier Habits: New Skincare Routine
Let's talk about mask breakouts! As if having to wear a mask in the humid, hot summer is challenging enough, taking it off to reveal a breakout is the icing on the cake that fell on the floor! (At least we can hide the breakouts with the mask!). I have never been diligent about a skincare routine and have been known to go to bed or wake up without a thorough wash at times. But with this new mask situation and with time to actually research and learn about different products, I decided it was the perfect time to try a new routine.
What works for me could be very different from what works for you, but I'm happy to share! I use a gentle cleanser twice per day - usually in the shower after a morning workout and before I go to bed. In the mornings I'll follow with a Vitamin C serum and moisturizer with SPF and in the evenings I'll rotate between a retinol or simple toner followed by moisturizing cream. The best part is you really only need a tiny dot of product for your whole face, so the products will last! My face feels fresh, has seen fewer breakouts, and it feels good to have a routine when so much of life is up in the air right now!
5) Bettering Mental Health: Journaling
Writing things down has always been a great way for me to get things off my chest, work through challenges or display everything on my mind. During tough times in particular, I have found solace in being able to clear my mind by getting my thoughts out and into a notebook (yes, I like to use pen and paper vs. a computer or phone!). I appreciate knowing my thoughts are written down in case I want to refer back to them, so that I can clear the space these thoughts are taking up in my mind and move on to more productive things!
In an effort to work on my self care and mental health, I have started writing 3 pages each morning (a tactic I've learned from The Artist's Way - check it out!), so I am able to clear out my mind and start the day fresh. Even if I don't have anything to write, I force myself to complete those pages, comment on the weather, recount a conversation with a friend, etc. It's grounding and similar to the skincare routine above, it is helpful to have as part of a routine. Plus, you can get different color pens and make it pretty if you're weird like me!
I'd love to hear from you! What new hobbies, skills or habits have you picked up over the past few months? And how has it changed your outlook? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.