Canyon Ranch workout at home

Have you longed for a week at a fabulous spa to sculpt and tone your body? Well darlings, for more than 30 years, people have flocked to the Canyon Ranch in Arizona to renew and reduce. Now you can bring the spa into your home with the new DVD Canyon Ranch Strong and Sculpted. It is a 70-minute DVD taught by the spa experts. The three segments of yoga, Pilates, and core workouts are designed to work together. You will need hand weights and mat. Then settle in to enjoy the desert scenes and a deceptively strenuous workout.


The instructors are calm and serene. The DVD also includes a bonus booklet with recipes from the renowned chefs of Canyon Ranch.


Remember, you have nothing to lose but your thighs! $16.99 from


It is a 70-minute DVD taught by the spa experts. The three segments of yoga, Pilates, and core workouts are designed to work together. You will need hand weights and mat. Then settle in to enjoy the desert scenes and a deceptively strenuous workout.

The instructors are calm and serene. The DVD also includes a bonus booklet with recipes from the renowned chefs of Canyon Ranch.
Remember, you have nothing to lose but your thighs! $16.99 from

Fancy feet

Soft, clean PuretoesWorking out is an essential and enjoyable part of my life. It helps to keep my weight in check, my body flexible, my mind clear, and my blood pressure low. I love vigorous yoga, and lately I spend an hour a day, five days a week at the barre – doing Core Fusion at Exhale.

Core Fusion requires sticky socks. It has been hard for me to find a pair that fits my very small feet. Recently, during a recent interview, I heard about Puretoes, a new foot cover that leave your toes free, but protects your feet from the floor. The sole is sticky, so it helps you grip better.
They sounded ideal — if they were small enough to fit me. Puretoes’s size small are actually … small! They fit my size 4 1/3 to 5 foot. Tina, a Pilates teacher, created them to be “better than barefoot” — her trademark slogan. She told me she had worked hard to get to the design and sizing right. As a teacher she knows what students need. I think she got it right!
The fabric is very soft. That makes getting used to having a strap between your toes easier, if like me you are not used to thongs or socks. The patterns are fun too. I have “cheetah feet” and they are super cute! Even in yoga there are always people who for some reason are not comfortable barefoot, even in the most spotless studios; Puretoes is the perfect solution for them. If you do Pilates, yoga, barre, or any barefoot or sock-foot workout, you may want to try Puretoes!
Puretoes are $20 a pair. 1.813.310.0996

Fabulous – fast and forever

Green tea --the beauty brew --that can help to keep you youngDo you look and feel fabulous? Well darlings, you should. Life is too short to go around feeling less than your best, less than other women, less than fabulous. And it isn’t necessary.

Even a gorgeous diamond ring starts to look tacky and dull if no one cleans it. And we all know what happens to a fine antique left uncared for – cracks develop. But, if you clean the ring and buff up the antique, voila – magic happens! Well darlings, we are much the same as those precious objects.
Looking and feeling fabulous begins with the right attitude, a good diet, and sound sleep. Exercise is vital too. Research has shown we can change our DNA and extend our lives with exercise. If, like me, you are not a jock or do not have hours to work out, do not despair. You can break up exercise into manageable blocks of 10 and 20 minutes, and it still counts. You can slip in a 10-minute DVD workout in the morning, a 20-minute walk at lunch, and another 10 to 15 minutes of yoga before bed. Before you know it, you’ll have 40 minutes of beauty-making exercise. Get to a class or two a week, and you will soon have a new body.  
Here are a few of the latest scientifically-proven ways to look fabulous fast and forever. Try one or two of them – or try them all.
Try Pilates to trim
Pilates has long been a favourite of dancers, models, and actresses because it can reshape and trim bodies without developing bulging muscles. Pilates devotees have strong and shapely bodies.
Now, June Kloubec, a professor at BastyrUniversity in the state of Washington, has published a study showing the clear benefits of Pilates. Kloubec is a core faculty member in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science, and her work appeared in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
25 subjects participated in the study, in a one-hour Pilates class twice a week for 12 weeks. When they began, the active middle-aged participants were able to do an average of 24 push-ups on their knees. By the end of the 12 weeks of Pilates, they were able to do an average of 35 push-ups. A similar 25-person control group in the study could do only an average of 20.5 push-ups at the start of the study. At the end of the study they were able to average only 21 push-ups each. The study also showed that the Pilates group had a significant improvement abdominal strength and lower-body flexibility. 
Pilates was once almost prohibitively-expensive. Now, many studios in most major cities offer classes in mat and small-group instruction on equipment at more affordable prices of about $25 per class.  In addition, there are scores of good DVDs. I recently began Pilates classes. I noticed a difference in both my strength and silhouette after only a few weeks. Proper form is vital to Pilates, so try to take least a few classes. 
Don’t underestimate any effort you make as long as you are committed. DVDs work, if you find the right “virtual teacher”. A friend of mine just clicked with a trainer on fit TV. She told me Gilad, the tough Israeli trainer, can get her to do those last few killer reps. I am currently hooked on Body by Bethenny. I’m also thinking abut a Pilates Stick by
Eat breakfast
Experts agree that breakfast is important for both weight loss and energy. Numerous studies show that women who eat breakfast are thinner and have less trouble losing weight. Hate breakfast food? So do I, but there are many other good things to eat in the morning. Eat a piece of whole wheat toast and some fresh fruit with an egg or low-fat cottage cheese.
Breakfast is the time to eat a healthy carb that is filling, such as whole grain bread or oatmeal. Top oatmeal with sweet and healthful berries. Have a low-cal smoothie made with fresh or frozen berries, no fat yogurt or skim milk, and a sweetener of your choice. Try low or no-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit or salsa. Hard-boiled eggs or egg white omelets are fast and easy. Try them with low-calorie tomatoes. Eat breakfast. Martha Stewart sometime eats like the Japanese and has a piece of salmon. I also like this treat from time to time.
Be fabulous and exotic at breakfast, but eat and exercise to start your day.
Blueberries are beauty berries
Blue berries are full of anti-oxidants that are so good for you that some doctors call them brain-berries. I call them beauty-berries. Anti-oxidants are important for longevity and aging well. Oxidative damage to our bodies is not unlike rust on a car; it wears down our vital organs. It occurs as we use oxygen and is made worse by stress, sun exposure, smoking, and other environmental factors. Anti-oxidants help defend the body, reverse the damage, and slow the aging process.
My favourite way to eat them is frozen, alone, or in plain yogurt. I think freezing them makes them taste sorbet-like. And it is easy to take a small bowl of pre-washed frozen berries from my freezer for snacks or to flavour plain yogurt. Never buy fruit yogurt. It has too much sugar/sweeteners, and too little fruit. Buy bags of frozen berries and add to your own low or no-fat yogurt.  
Get your Omega 3
Omega 3 oils help keep skin looking youthful and firm. Chances are your family doctor already told you how important Omega 3 oils are for your heart and brain. They help to keep you young and beautiful inside and out! Omega 3 oils can even help prevent serious sun damage such as precancerous skin lesions, according to a recent Australian study.
The results of that study have some doctors calling salmon a natural sunscreen because of its high Omega 3 oil content.
All types of salmon are excellent sources of Omega 3. You will want to watch the amount of tasty smoked salmon you consume because of its high salt content. Tinned salmon has undeserved bad reputation. It is very healthful and usually made from high-quality wild salmon, a good source of Omega 3 and calcium. It is delicious in salad with lemon and chopped fresh vegetables. If you like shellfish, it too is rich in the healthful Omega 3. And don’t worry if you have heard it is high in cholesterol; it is not a problem, unless your doctor has told you not to eat it. Experiment with small fish such as herring, trout, and black cod – they are good sources of Omega 3.  Walnuts, almonds, and flaxseed are also excellent sources of Omega, if you dislike fish. Experts recommend at least three servings of Omega-rich foods a week. Sushi and sashimi are good, but use low-sodium soy sauce or Ponzu in small amounts. Also eating too much of certain large fish, such as tuna can pose a risk of mercury poisoning, so enjoy but limit your consumption.
Brew a beauty booster
If you would like to lose weight, have beautiful skin, and stay young and healthy, drink green tea. It has so many beauty benefits; it should be called the beauty brew.
Green tea can help to boost your metabolism and give you a little lift. So try some hot or iced tea to conquer late afternoon munchies or fatigue.
Green tea contains catechins, a compound of potent anti-oxidant. According to the latest scientific studies, green tea may even be able rejuvenate dying skin cells! It can also help protect skin against UV damage from sun exposure.
Studies in The Journal of Nutrition show that green tea, when combined with exercise and diet can help to burn belly fat.
I drink at least a liter of green tea a day. Because it benefits skin when applied topically, I take a few seconds to place cooled used tea bags on my face before I toss them out.
Suck a lemon
Collagen is what holds you face up and help your joints work smoothly. After age 35, we start to lose collagen. After age 60, collagen levels plummet. Vitamin C is essential for good healing, but it is also is necessary for the natural production of collagen. Your body can’t store Vitamin C, so it is important to replenish your supply of it daily. If you drink, smoke, are under stress, or party too much, you will need even more Vitamin C to undo damage to your cells.
To keep your face firm and your body moving smoothly, think C! You can take a supplement, but experts say natural is best. My solution is to squeeze low-cal and delicious lemon on everything.
Topical Vitamin C creams are also very effective, but lemon juice is too harsh to apply directly to your face.
Not sleeping enough can make you fat, old, tired, careless, and crabby. Darlings, get to bed and go to sleep! Enough excuses; do it. If you can’t sleep, see a doctor; they can help with new behavior modification techniques, natural sleep medication, and a host of effective solutions.

You may have noticed that I didn’t mention a single beauty product in this list of tips. I adore fabulous lotions and potions! We review the best every week. But so much of how you look and feel comes from how you feel about you.
Stress ages you. It steals your youth. Life can be trying, but often we stress about things we can’t control and don’t really matter in the long run.
Learn to shut off the noise. Turn-off emails, texts, and facebook after an hour. Get out and see people or a movie. Or, stay home and read a book. Relax! Get rid of the toxic people in your life. My favourite diet is the one when you lose a hundred pounds or more instantly by dropping a poison person from your life. Darlings, if someone makes you tense, angry or upset, ask yourself why this person is in your life? If they’re not your boss, parent, spouse or child – get away from them. You’ll look and feel better instantly. 
You deserve to look and feel fabulous, and you can! Your beauty is a precious gift –nurture it. Then my darlings, go out and enjoy it. 

A no-gym summer shape-up

Pilates in actionSummer is the time to tone-up. It is never too late to get in shape. If you have been putting off starting an exercise program because you don’t like traditional gyms and workouts, you may want to try Pilates and Gyrotronics. Both are popular with celebrities because they build strength and flexibility without adding bulk.  

Pilates and Gyrotronics are taught in serene studios, not gyms that may turn you off if you are fitness-phobic, or have an aversion to the “meat-market atmosphere” in many mass-market gyms.
Since Joseph Pilates first invented Pilates in the 1920s, many different styles have evolved. Choose carefully to find the best one for you. With a good teacher you should progress quickly.
Both Pilates and Gyrotronics will rejuvenate your mind while reshaping your body. I have become addicted to my Pilates class. Both methods have a reputation for being pricey, but small, group classes make it affordable.
Curious? Then read on, as expert instructors Shelly Ruggiano and Jolayne Berg from Core Atlanta Pilates and Gyrotronics Studio give us the 411 on these fabulous ways to get into shape.
Shelly Ruggiano is an instructor at Core Atlanta Pilates and Gyrotronics Studio.
DD: Can anyone do Pilates?
SR:  Absolutely yes! Pilates accomplishes complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. According to Joseph Pilates through practice, "you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities."  
DD: What is a reformer and what is its purpose?
SR:  A reformer is a long piece of equipment that you can lay, sit, or stand on, with a base for your body, and a foot bar for your hands and feet.  It has a moving "carriage" base and is spring loaded.  The spring settings change with the exercise.  The purpose of a reformer is basically the same as the purpose for practicing the Pilates method. 
DD:  What are the tower and the chair in Pilates?
SR: They are pieces of equipment designed by Joseph Pilates and used in the studio. The Tower is used for mat work; there are springs plus resistance bars attached to two upright poles that are anchored into the wall.  There are hundreds of exercises available to be performed on the tower. The Wunda Chair is a small spring-loaded "chair” designed by Joseph Pilates. He patterned it after a training apparatus used by the Chinese to train their gymnasts. He designed it so it would fit into a small New York apartment. It also offers resistance while performing much exercise.
DD: Does the practice of Pilates always require equipment? What is a “mat class”?
SR:  No, actually the original form of Pilates is mat work, it was originally called "Contrology". A mat class is a series of exercises, all with names, that flow from one to the other and in a particular order.  The spine is flexed, extended and twisted and the "powerhouse” or “core’ is actively engaged and challenged.  
DD: What makes Pilates different from other forms of exercise?
SR: Pilates focuses on the mind-body connection.  We start from the inside-out, beginning mainly with pelvic stability.  Emphasis is placed on centering and stabilization, control, concentration, flow of movement, breath, and precision. The results from Pilates are incredible; you’ll increase strength, stamina, coordination and range of motion. You’ll be rejuvenated due to the deep breathing and continual motion. You’ll improve your posture and overall mental and physical state.
DD: How long does it take to see results if you are trying to reshape your body?
SR: There’s a famous quote from Joseph Pilates that states, "In 10 sessions you’ll feel a difference, in 20 you’ll see a difference, in 30 you’ll have a whole new body." Consistency and frequency, as in any exercise method, are key to reaping the numerous benefits of Pilates!
Joylane Berg is Gryrotronic instructor at Core Atlanta Pilates and Gyrotronics studio.

DD: What is Gyrotonic? 
JB: Gyrotonic is a unique form of exercise that conditions the body in a very complete, holistic way.  It is a machine-based system that centers around movement of the spine – moving it in all possible ways. In fact, it is often described as different
than Pilates primarily because of that element – the spherical/circular movement it encourages in the body.  The movement is also "Core" based. It simultaneously strengthens and stretches the body. It has a strong focus on breath work, creates suppleness and space in the joints, and often leaves one with a feeling of mental alertness, physical readiness, and a feeling of being energized, yet calm.

DD: What is Gyrokinesis? 

JB: Gyrokinesis is basically the mat version of Gyrotonic.  It starts on a stool, and eventually goes to floor work. Rhythm and breath is used throughout the class.
Without machines, it requires the body to both work with itself and create an internal opposition, so that it can achieve more opening, length, and strength.

DD: Who can benefit from Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis? 

JB: Everyone!  If there are severe injuries or limitations, it is always recommended to take a private session, rather than a group Gyrokinesis class.

DD: What are the benefits? 

JB: Well, this is always going to vary from individual to individual, as each body is unique.  But, some of the benefits experienced by people include: increased hand/eye coordination, a deeper sense off the body awareness, strength, suppleness, increased range of motion, decreased or total recovery from pain, empowerment, balance, and increased body length.

DD: How long does it take to see results? 

JB: Again, going to vary from person to person, depending on how often it is practiced, and taking in to consideration that everyone has different starting points.  It should feel good in the first session, and often becomes quite addictive. That is definitely a plus when wanting to take on a new discipline!

DD: Are Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis often practiced with other types of fitness? 

JB: Yes, and no.  At our studio, we teach both Pilates and Gyro, and many of our clients incorporate both into their exercise regimens. While they compliment each other well, it is not necessary to combine the two.  Certainly though, whatever else you are doing physically, Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis will only enhance those things!
For more information

The quick and effective work-out guru

Carrie RezabekIf you are short of time and find you are neglecting your fitness regime, read our interview with fitness guru Carrie Rezabek. We like her attitude. According to Carrie, “health and fitness should always be a priority regardless of budget.”

Carrie Rezabek is the creator and CEO of Pure Barre. She grew up dancing, performing and choreographing events all over the U.S. Carrie has extensive training in dance, Pilates, and fitness — as well as the Lotte Berk Method, NYC. After earning a business degree from Michigan State and a law degree from Wayne State, Carrie opened her first studio in Birmingham, MI where she developed the Pure Barre Technique. We love that it that combines many effective techniques and yet is quick and easy to do.
DD: Why did you create Pure Barre?
CR: It’s a combination of my history:  dance, Pilates, soccer and group fitness.  None of the other fitness classes did what I wanted them to do in one hour.
DD: How is it different from other fitness methods?
CR: It works the muscle to fatigue and then stretches it right back out, so it is extremely effective.  There is no bouncing or impact. And it incorporates great music.
DD:  How long will it take to see results?
CR:Just 10 times.
DD: How will Pure Barre change one’s body?
CR: It will lift your seat, tone your thighs, and flatten your abs. And it also burns lots of fat.
DD: Can anyone do it?
CR: Yes!
DD:  Do you also need a separate cardio regime with Pure Barre or is a total fitness routine?
CR: Pure Barre is a total body workout, but some bodies will still need additional cardio. Walking may be enough for some and other bodies may need something more.
DD: What equipment do you need?
CR: Nothing, just your own body.
DD: Do you have any tips for those who may be using Pure Barre as part of weight loss program?
CR: Do Pure Barre three or four times a week for a month. You will be amazed at what happens.  When you combine it with healthful eating, the results are that much faster and dramatic.