5 Foolproof Ways to Fight the Pre-Wedding Blues

 Health And Wellness, Wellness  Comments Off on 5 Foolproof Ways to Fight the Pre-Wedding Blues
Feb 142016
 
how-to-fight-the-pre-wedding-blues.jpg

Photo: Getty Images

Your wedding is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, so why are you feeling so down in the dumps in the months and days leading up to your big day? Blame it on the drama, stress and all the nitty-gritty details and endless decision-making that go into creating your dream wedding. If the pressure of planning is starting to mess with your mind and mood, here are five foolproof ways to fight back and nip those pre-wedding blues in the bud so you can actually enjoy the process.

1. Visualize the perfect day.
According to Hypnotherapy Coach Danna Pycher, who specializes in depression, creatively visualizing the perfect day will not only create excitement for the wedding, but it'll also alleviate the stress surrounding the details. Why? "When we dream about an upcoming event, we can actually picture the details that we want and then work backwards from there," she explains. "This eases stress because we can already see the wedding happening in our mind flawlessly and take action as to what would in reality be included."

2. Focus on the sensation of the depression itself.
Look inward, and ask yourself where it's actually coming from, physically speaking, suggests Pycher. Is it in your chest, your stomach or your throat? "All of these places hold tension and there are methods to relieve it by fully removing the emotion linked to that tension," she says. For example, focus your awareness on the feeling you may have in your chest and give that sensation a color, a shape and a name (anything that comes up is fine)." Instead of concentrating on the heaviness of the depression you've now created new ways for your mind to connect to the feeling. Keep focusing on it until you literally feel it move up and off your chest, she advises. This may be a quick or slow process. "After you've 'moved' the feeling then imagine putting the sensation in a colored balloon and watching it float away."

3. Delegate items on your to-do list.
We're looking at you perfectionists! While planning a wedding may be super stressful, remember that you don't have to do it all by yourself. Take some of the pressure off by delegating items on your to-do list to your wedding planner, groom, trusted family members or friends in the bridal party, recommends Erika Martinez, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist in Miami, FL. "Tell them exactly what they need to do, ask, confirm or look for, then let them help you."

See More: 4 Acupressure Points to Beat Wedding Planning Stress

4. Build in some much-needed breaks.
If you need a break, by all means take it, says Long Island-based licensed marriage and family therapist Meredith Silversmith, MA, LMFT. There's a lot to get done in a set amount of time, but if you're feeling overwhelmed, it's best to step back and designate a "no wedding zone". "This can be an hour, a day or even a week, depending on the circumstances."

5. Say yes to pre-marital counseling.
This will give you and your partner the opportunity to talk about the common big issues in a relationship before they happen, tells Martinez. "Laying the groundwork for an adaptive overall plan for the marriage can soothe pre-wedding blues. Unfortunately, many couples don't know how to have these conversations or keep their head out of the sand because there's already conflict," she notes. If the stress of planning is dragging you down and you're lashing out at your partner or fighting a lot, pre-marital counseling can provide you with the proper tools to communicate and get what you want without letting anger or depression get the best of you.

Shine Bright! 5 Foods for Gorgeous Wedding Hair

 Hair & Beauty, Health And Wellness, Wedding Hair, Wellness  Comments Off on Shine Bright! 5 Foods for Gorgeous Wedding Hair
Jan 282016
 
wedding-hair-foods.jpg

Photo: Getty Images

Hair game strong! There's only so much your stylist can do to make your mane look and feel its best on the big day so put your strands on a strict diet starting now to whip those locks into shape. Here are 5 foods to consume for wedding hair that's so healthy it shines.

1. Eggs
They're the breakfast of champions (and brides too)! Why? Well, because eggs are a great source of Biotin, which is an important B vitamin essential for hair growth, notes Annie Lawless, Co-Founder of Suja Juice and creator of lifestyle blog BLAWNDE. But don't skip out on the yolks, she warns. "Your egg white omelet habit could be robbing you of all the nutritional goodness eggs contain since the white is little more than protein." All of the nutrition is in the yolk, so get them in your belly.

2. Salmon
Dry hair, do care? Inject some life back into lackluster strands by filling up on salmon. Chocked full of omega 3 fatty acids, Lawless says a couple servings per week will help hair stay glossy, hydrated, and nourished, exactly the way it should be for your big day.

3. Lean Protein
Did you know that your hair is actually made of protein? According to Carla Rivas, hairstylist and co-founder of Hair La Vie, it's true. "If your diet is lacking in protein, your body will start rationing what's left, leading to hair loss," she explains. As an added bonus, consuming lean protein, like grilled chicken, will also give you the iron you need for healthier, beautiful locks. "Stick with grass fed, organic meats to keep toxins, hormones, and antibiotics out of your body," advises Lawless.

See More: What Your Bridesmaids Really Want to Eat on Your Wedding Day

4. Tomatoes
A healthy scalp means happy, healthy hair, and tomatoes, whether added to a salad or mixed into your favorite dish for a pop of color and tons of fresh flavor, are loaded with antioxidants that aid in scalp circulation, informs Rivas.

5. Bell Peppers
For brides that like a little spice in their life, take a bite out of bell peppers. They're a fabulous source of Vitamin C, even higher than oranges, and Vitamin C prevents hair from having a brittle texture and breaking, points out Lawless. "Vitamin C is also critical for iron absorption, so putting peppers or another vitamin C rich food on your plate with your steak is a double win."

How to Nail Your Healthiest Pre-Wedding Diet

 Health And Wellness, Wellness  Comments Off on How to Nail Your Healthiest Pre-Wedding Diet
Jan 182016
 
Healthy Wedding Diet Tips

Photo: Getty Images

Many brides may consider going to extremes to look good on their wedding day. But how can women get in good nutritional shape in time for "I do" without starving themselves or engaging in other unhealthy habits? We chatted with New York City-based dietitian Megan Madden, MS, RD, for answers, along with tips on how to eat in the weeks and months leading up to cutting that gorgeous tiered cake.

How much time does a bride need to get her diet on the right track?
"Making healthier food choices can boost your mood and enhance immunity in a matter of weeks. [But] if you're looking to slim down or firm up, you'll realistically need 4-6 months. Hit the gym for a mix of cardio and strength training about 4 days a week and support your fitness routine with a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid overly processed, packaged foods and select lean cuts of meat or chicken, egg whites, beans, low fat dairy, whole grains, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Include sources of unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, mackerel, and tuna."

What are some foods to avoid?
"Eliminating entire food groups can leave you feeling deprived and trigger cravings. Crash diets and liquid cleanses can zap your energy, make you cranky, and slow down your metabolism. Focus on smaller, more sustainable diet changes. Set one new specific goal every week and build on previous accomplishments. Maybe you want to start off by reducing sugar, so you cut your juice or soda intake in half. The next week, start including two pieces of fresh fruit every day. To reduce bloating and puffiness, steer clear of alcohol and salt the week before the wedding. Avoid frozen dinners, canned soup, jarred tomato sauce, cottage cheese, deli meats, and bottled salad dressings and sauces. These items usually contain loads of sodium."

So what are some good meal options?
"For breakfast, try a spinach, tomato, and 2 egg white omelet with a slice of whole grain toast and melon on the side, or plain oatmeal prepared with low-fat milk, topped with cinnamon, sliced banana, and 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts. For lunch, mixed greens with extra veggies tossed in olive oil and lemon juice, plus a cup of lentil soup. For dinner, grilled chicken, quinoa, and roasted asparagus. Then, enjoy some plain Greek yogurt, topped with a squirt of honey and fresh berries for dessert."

See More: 25 Boutique Fitness Studios for Your Wedding Workout

What about smart snacking?
"Wedding planning is stressful enough, so ward off mood swings and irritability by choosing complex carbs. The fiber in whole grain crackers, brown rice, and the skin of a potato slows the absorption of sugar into your blood stream, sustaining your energy levels and mood."

And for the immune system?
"Boost your defenses with probiotic-packed yogurt, topped with a vitamin C-rich fruit like strawberries, pineapple, or mango. Use fresh or frozen fruit if blending a smoothie. Or, make your own trail mix with almonds, cashews, walnuts, banana chips, and dark chocolate morsels. This combo provides the powerhouse antioxidant vitamin E, immune-boosting zinc, plenty of energizing B vitamins, and even some anti-inflammatory omega-3s."

The Top 5 Things to Avoid for Good Wedding Skin

 Hair & Beauty, Health And Wellness, Wedding Beauty, Wellness  Comments Off on The Top 5 Things to Avoid for Good Wedding Skin
Jan 132016
 
worst-foods-for-wedding-skin.jpg

Photo: Getty Images

Oh the temptation! Try as you might, eating right is never easy. But if you want wedding skin that's so fresh and so clean on your big day (and what bride doesn't?), you've got to get with the program stat and start cleaning up your diet now by cutting back on these 5 things.

1. Dairy
You'll definitely want to ditch all the dairy if you suffer from bad breakouts. Why? Because milk is loaded with growth hormones that remain active even after the pasteurization process, notes Tara Roscioli, founder of Highway 2 Well and Meals 2 Glo. "Growth hormones make their way into the blood stream increasing inflammation and oil production." To avoid looking like a prepubescent teen on your wedding day, she suggests sticking to organic milk, which contains only naturally occurring hormones, although even these may cause some blemishes. "Greek yogurt is also a great alternative, as it's loaded with probiotics for good gut health."

2. Sugar
Sorry brides, you knew this one was coming. According to Annie Lawless, co-founder of Suja Juice and creator of lifestyle blog BLAWNDE, consuming sugar (yep, we're looking right at you candy!) is one of the absolute worst things you can do for your skin. "It degrades collagen and elastin, which keeps skin young and supple, allowing wrinkles to develop prematurely. Sugar also causes a spike in hormone levels, including insulin, instigating sebum production." For a healthier option, Roscioli recommends skipping the Swedish fish (tear) and snacking on a small handful of frozen raisins or dried cranberries. "Better yet, raise a glass of water, as sugar cravings are often the result of dehydration so make sure you drink up!"

3. Anything White
Think white breads, pastas, rice and pastries. As Roscioli points out, these high glycemic foods rapidly convert to sugar in your system, wreaking havoc on your skin, as noted above. Unfortunately, most wheat breads aren't much better. "Instead, stick to complex grains like brown rice and quinoa, a quinoa pasta or even Ezekiel products like English muffins or bread."

See More: Guests Dish on the Best Thing They Ever Ate at a Wedding

4. Fried Foods
So good, but oh so bad for skin! Don't eat them, warns Roscioli. "There are healthy fats and then there are the fats used to fry the shrimp at your local watering hole. These fats are saturated and raise your insulin, causing skin to become puffy, inflamed and damaged." Order your shrimp, chicken and everything else for that matter, grilled for a scrumptious option that's significantly lower in fat.

5. Booze
If there's one thing college should have taught you, it's that alcohol is severely dehydrating, leaving skin looking, parched, flaky and dull, says Lawless. "It can also aggravate rosacea and redness." While it's fine to have a drink or two in moderation, she urges brides to sip on plenty of water in between and stop before you hit the blackout zone, obviously.

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Fitness Junkie Bride

 Favors & Gifts, Health And Wellness, Holidays, Wellness  Comments Off on Holiday Gift Ideas for the Fitness Junkie Bride
Dec 162015
 
holiday gift picks for the fit bride

Photo: Getty Images

Whether she's been a long-time marathoner or is just starting a pre-wedding work out routine, every fit bride will love some great exercise gear. From the clothes to the tech, these gifts will get them shaped up in no time— and make their gym time more fun.

Fit Bride Gifts Beats Solo

Photo: Courtesy of Beats by Dre

In a gorgeous rose gold hue, Solo2 Wireless Headphones are a stylish way to tune into her pump-up playlist. With Bluetooth capability, she can take these noise-cancelling Beats anywhere she goes, without worrying about tangled wires. ($299.95, Beats by Dre)
Fit Bride Gifts VS Gym Bag

Photo: Courtesy of Victoria's Secret

This Sport Essential Gym Bag is so cute, she can bring it to work and leave the purse behind. Designed with a separate shoe compartment and five interior pockets, she can safely store all her gear while she hits the treadmill. ($89.50, Victoria's Secret)

Fit Bride Gifts Boom Bottle

Photo: Courtesy of Scosche

If your bride is the type that would rather train outside than in a gym, gift her this Scosche BoomBottle+. The waterproof, wireless speaker provides stereo-quality sound within a compact package that fits into the water bottle holder on her bike. ($179.99, Scosche)

Fit Bride Gifts Tori Burch Fitbit

Photo: Courtesy of Tory Burch

These bracelets were made for walking! As pretty as any piece of jewelry she owns— except for that ring, of course!— the Tory Burch Double-Wrap Bracelet for her FitBit makes counting steps a pretty task. ($175, Tory Burch)

See More: Holiday Gift Ideas for Everyone in Your Life

Fit Bride Gifts Heart Bottle

Photo: Courtesy of Daytrip Society

The adorably sweet glass Pout Heart Bkr Bottle is an eco-friendly way to hydrate, and heartfelt reminder of your love. Talk about work out motivation! ($35, Daytrip Society)

Fit Bride Gifts Lululemon Hoodie

Photo: Courtesy of Lululemon

A running bride doesn't stop for cold weather. Keep her warm on winter jogs with a Rest Less Hoodie, made to be both super comfy and lock in heat. Also available in violet. ($98, Lululemon)
Fit Bride Cosmetic Case

Photo: Courtesy of Rifle Paper Co.

A bride who starts her day at the gym needs a quick way to freshen up before work. With all her makeup tucked into a Lesportsac Rectangular Cosmetic bag on her side, she can go from spinning to business in no time. ($25, Rifle Paper Co.)

4 Tricks to Boost Your Energy Before The Big Day

 Fitness and Health, Health And Wellness, Wellness  Comments Off on 4 Tricks to Boost Your Energy Before The Big Day
Dec 042015
 
Pre Wedding Energy Boosting Tricks

Photo: Getty Images

Wedding planning starting to wear you down? Turn up! Because, trust us, you'll need all the energy you can muster for those moments leading up to the big day. You'll be running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to tie up all the loose ends, not to mention dealing with the inevitable family drama and last-minute seating chart changes. To make sure you can keep going and going energizer bunny style, here are 4 quick and natural tips to energize you pre-wedding.

1. Breathe in a ratio of 1-4-2
You've heard of meditating or practicing yoga to boost energy and vitality, right? Well, it's all about the breathing. By learning to breathe 'better', you can actually increase your energy levels exponentially, notes New York City certified nutritionist, personal trainer and exercise physiologist Franci Cohen. The week before the wedding, morning and night, try breathing in a ratio of 1-4-2 (inhale for 1 second, hold for 4 seconds and exhale for 2 seconds). "Not only will it help alleviate the pre-wedding anxiety and jitters, but it'll increase your overall mood and energy as well."

2. Drink a whole lot of water
Aim for 8-10 glasses per day, advises registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When you're dehydrated, you feel sluggish and are more headache prone. Avoid drinking alcohol too, which causes water loss, and skip the sugary drinks and refined carbs. "These will make your blood sugar levels spike and crash, in turn, leaving you feeling tired and totally depleted."

See More: 6 Tricks to Improve Your Posture Before the Wedding

3. Step up the cardio
Did you know that the word aerobic literally means with oxygen? When your blood, organs, brain and body are infused with greater amounts of oxygen, your energy levels soar, says Cohen. "Hence, the creation of all those trendy new oxygen bars promising to give you an energy 'pick-me-up' during your busy workday. Train daily in the mid to high end of your aerobic zone for 45 minutes to an hour, she recommends, and you'll be chock full of energy before the big day.

4. But remember to get some rest
Find a sweet spot between exercise and rest. "Too many brides take up intense workout routines to get into perfect shape pre-wedding, which can actually harm your adrenals in the long run and eventually lead to lethargy and exhaustion," warns Simona Goldin, founder of NYC-based Glow30. Try circuit training and low impact exercises with plenty of rest, she suggests. And yes, 8 hours of sleep is still highly encouraged.

3 Tips for a Healthy Pre-Wedding Holiday

 Health And Wellness, Holidays, Wellness  Comments Off on 3 Tips for a Healthy Pre-Wedding Holiday
Nov 232015
 
how to eat healthy during holidays

Photo: Getty Images

Resisting comfort food during the holidays is no easy feat. From office parties to family festivities avoiding creamy mashed potatoes or your grandma's mac and cheese is nearly impossible. Add the stress of wedding planning to the mix and before you know it you're on a downward slide into carb fest. We get it. So before you drown your sorrows in eggnog here is an easy guide to eating, drinking and being merry without gaining a muffin top.

Make a Plan
Short of hiding out until January 2nd there is no way to completely avoid the endless trays of fatty foods you will encounter. So we say, beat them to the punch and offer to supply a healthier version of your holiday weaknesses. If you make it yourself, you have control of the ingredients. "The key to enjoying yourself starts with striking a balance between enjoying seasonal treats and making smart choices," says Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Brianna Diorio. Here are Diorio's food swaps to try.

Mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.
Steam your veggie, and then mash it with a little olive oil and sea salt. If you want to make it a little creamier, add coconut milk.

Roasted sweet potatoes instead of candied yams with marshmallows.
Wash and slice your yams in half. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30-45 minutes.

Real cranberry sauce instead of canned cranberry jelly.
Combine one bag of frozen or fresh cranberries with cinnamon, nutmeg and 3/4 cup pineapple juice in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Once it thickens reduce to a simmer and add the juice of a fresh orange. Allow the mixture to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat and chill in the fridge for four hours.

See More: Tips to Help You Slim Down Like a Celeb

Don't Guzzle
While a drink or two won't ruin your figure, alcohol can really pack on the pounds, says Suzanne Bowen fitness guru and creator of BarreAmped. "Brut Champagne is my favorite drink on earth and it's lower in calories than other spirits," she says. If bubbly isn't your thing but you still want to indulge, "make it a point to order a seltzer water with lime between each cocktail," says Jackie Newgent, RDN, culinary nutritionist and author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook. "It helps to keep you hydrated [and is filling], which can stop you from overindulging." she says. Her other suggestion: sip it slowly and sexily. You can also try this under 80 calorie festive mocktail, a fave of Teri Joy, creator of POISE Fitness Technique, which is a combination of martial arts, ballet, pilates and body sculpting.

Cranberry Non-Daiquiri
Serves 6
Blend three cups of frozen unsweetened cranberries in until almost smooth. Add ice, one cup of orange juice, its zest and 3/4 cup of maple syrup. Blend again.

Keep it Moving
Unfortunately, there is no substitute for exercise if you want to melt away unwanted fat. Plus, physical activity is your body's best friend for reducing the effects of stress. The fastest ways to see results in minimum time is by combining resistance training and cardio, says New York Health & Racquet Club Master Barre instructor, Celeste Garcia. "Using resistance tools like long bands, and jumping rope works wonders," she says. Here are her favorite easy moves that you can do anywhere.

Plank/mountain climbers, pilates bridge with a ball between your inner thighs, jumping rope, c-curve abs with long band around your feet to add resistance. Do each exercise for one minute, 4 times each.

You’re Not Ready for Children Now, But Should You Freeze Your Eggs?

 Health And Wellness, Kids, Married Life, Moms, Planning Tips, Relationships, Wellness  Comments Off on You’re Not Ready for Children Now, But Should You Freeze Your Eggs?
Nov 192015
 
should you freeze your eggs

Photo: Getty Images

In recent years, the topic of egg freezing has been brought to the forefront when discussing fertility and pregnancy for those longing to be moms. With the option available, all the buzz may have you wondering if you should freeze your eggs in favor of postponing pregnancy, until the time is personally right for you.

But before you freeze your eggs for later use, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine, would caution you consider just how new egg freezing is. "It's basically just six years old," Minkin says, "and we cannot say it's very likely to succeed. So it's fine to try, but it's not an absolute insurance policy." The American Society For Reproductive Medicine states "Even in younger women the chance that one frozen egg will yield a baby in the future is around 2-12%. Understanding that cryopreserved eggs are not a guarantee of a future baby, a woman should start trying to conceive as soon as she feels "ready" and able."

See More: Can You Afford to Have a Baby?

An older, more successful procedure for committed couples is freezing embryos, Minkin says. However, if you're set on freezing just your eggs, the next question you're likely asking is when you should do it. Your eggs, Minkin says, will still be in "pretty terrific" shape at about 30 years old. As you age, their quality will continue to deteriorate.

If you decide to freeze your eggs, your doctor will provide you with medications that will stimulate your ovaries and help them produce eggs. In an office setting, your doctor will lightly sedate you and retrieve your eggs, then freeze them until you're ready to use them. Freezing your eggs is expensive — think: about $10,000 upfront and hundreds of dollars each year to maintain them — and not all insurance policies cover the costs. So check with your insurance provider for an accurate assessment of what the procedure and subsequent storage might cost.

5 Tips to Help You Slim Down Like a Celeb for Your Wedding

 Brides Magazine December 2015 - January 2016, Health And Wellness, Wellness  Comments Off on 5 Tips to Help You Slim Down Like a Celeb for Your Wedding
Nov 172015
 
How to Lose Weight for Wedding

Photo: Arthur Belebeau

Want a red-carpet-ready bod for your big day? Who doesn't! But while we all want to look amazing when we walk down the aisle, it's also important to maintain a healthy and rational perspective on our workout and eating routines. (In other words, no starving yourself and working out for six hours a day.) To give you some sane pieces of slim down advice, we tapped Hollywood's top nutritionists for their genius (and scientific!) tips and tricks.

1. Don't use working out as an excuse to overeat.
Exercising does stimulate your metabolism and burn calories faster, says New York City nutritionist Charles Passler, who works with the Victoria's Secret models. But if your main goal is weight loss, diet trumps gym time. "I cut one client's exercise in half and reduced her calories accordingly, and she reached her goal within weeks," he says.

See more: The Downsides of Extreme Wedding Weight Loss

2. Embrace the P+V plan.
Protein plus veggies is the key, says Passler. For every meal (including breakfast!) during preshow weeks, his clients consume three to four ounces of protein (think grilled or baked fish, chicken, or turkey) plus two to three cups of raw (or one cup steamed) leafy greens drizzled with olive oil. (They also get two snacks between lunch and dinner, but don't get too excited: They're each two ounces of protein and one cup of greens.) The monotony will pay off. You can expect to drop as many as five pounds the first week and two pounds every week after that, says Passler.

3. Ditch the "C.A.D.S." (carbonated drinks, alcohol, dairy, and salt)
Even if you're not going chicken-and-veggie strict, at least cut carbonated drinks, alcohol, dairy, and salt. All can lead to major bloating, and you'll notice a difference in as little as a day, says Los Angeles nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, who works with stars like Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

4. Water really is your BFF.
"Studies have shown that people who increase their water intake decrease their food intake," says Passler. "If you think you need a snack, drink water instead. Then decide whether you were actually hungry or you just wanted to fill your stomach." How much should you drink? Aim for half your weight in ounces daily, says Snyder.

5. Sleep it off.
Get at least eight hours a night, ideally between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., which is when your body repairs itself and is primed to burn fat, says Passler. Plus, he adds, "when you're sleep deprived, you're probably drinking more caffeine, eating more sugar, and working out less, which is a perfect storm for weight gain."

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES December 2015/January 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

3 Things Your Fitness Instructor Is Secretly Thinking During Class

 Health And Wellness, Wellness  Comments Off on 3 Things Your Fitness Instructor Is Secretly Thinking During Class
Nov 092015
 
things instructor is thinking during class

Photo: Getty Images

You're standing at the barre, and you definitely look the part: long, black leggings, a bright fitted tank, grippy socks and your hair pulled into a sleek, chic topknot. But the second the instructor asks you to hold onto the barre, bend your knees, pop your heels and lean back into "waterski," you're feeling like anything but a prima ballerina.

As your quads quiver, it's tempting to want to shoot dagger eyes at that cute, perky instructor over your shoulder (ugh, if only she weren't so nice). We know what you're thinking, why are we still pulsing? But what is she thinking? We got Pure Barre director of training Katelyn DiGiorgio to dish. Whether you're a barre regular or spend your time in another studio, these lessons are universal:

1. You're stronger than you think.
"I'm always so proud when I see clients hit that fatigue and shake zone and find their inner strength and determination to stay in it," DiGiorgio says. "It's amazing to see someone push through, because that's when the magic happens and your muscles start changing." Translation: That shimmy-shake happening in your muscles isn't a bad thing and doesn't automatically single you out as a rookie. Promise.

2. An inch is really just an inch.
"Sometimes it's hard for new barre-goers to grasp the technique and the fact that our small, focused movements can challenge them enough to bring on the strengthening and toning results they desire. It's fun when they have that a-ha moment and realize how to isolate the specific muscle we're targeting through each tiny movement," DiGiorgio says.

See More: Everything You Should Know if You Want to Start Barre Classes

3. Stop looking around!
"Focus on yourself and no one else," DiGiorgio stresses. "The beauty of Pure Barre is that people of all fitness levels can take the same class and get exactly what they need out of it. Don't worry about whether your leg is lifted as high as your neighbor's. Just focus on your own movements and give it your all. These are your 55 minutes!"

Since DiGiorgio was open to spilling instructor secrets, we had to ask her about her favorite thigh-toning move. If she swears by it, it's got to be good.

The Ultimate Thigh Exercise (no barre needed!):
Standing, walk your feet out wider than your hips. Turn your toes out slightly, bend your knees and imagine you're sliding your back against a wall (no hinging back like a regular squat). Aim to have your thighs parallel to the floor. Reach both arms in front of the body and begin to pulse your legs up and down an inch for 30 seconds. Now, reach arms overhead and continue pulsing for another 30 seconds. Finally, hold at the deepest point of your plie squat and begin to lift and lower both heels at the same time for 30 seconds. Repeat this series three times•embrace the burn (and shakes)!

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