GUEST POST: When Your Nest Moves…

IMG_0358While I crave experiencing new places or relaxing changes in scenery, all the planes, trains and automobiles can be a total drag. When I was packing for a recent trip, I wondered, “What do other people pack to take care of themselves when they go all Road Warrior?”

So, I thought I’d share. Here’s what I take with me when I head out of town:

  • A backpack – While my idea of camping is an outdoor fireplace at a spa, I bring along my little old backpack. I love its comfy, padded straps. especially when there is going to be a lot of walking or standing. Why un-do all that fabulous Pilates work that you’ve doing all year?
  • A 32 oz. water bottle – Staying hydrated while in transit can be a challenge, but it’s SO important. With this size bottle, it helps me keep track of how much water I’ve been drinking (or, sadly, sometimes not) drinking. I shoot for emptying this bottle twice each day.
  • Probiotics – Each of our guts plays hotel to trillions of microbial cells. Some are friendly; some are not so much. Probiotic foods (or supplements) can help those friendly microbes crowd out the pesty ones. The result: we have smoother digestion and better immune response. Both are totally important when you’re traveling and likely encountering lots of new germs and bacteria. While I pack a probiotic supplement, I also try to enjoy some of my favorite probiotic foods like miso, tempeh, kombucha, coconut kefir, kimchi and other fermented pickles & veggies. Mmmmm!
  • A stash of herbal teas & healthy snacks –Gas stations and airports are getting somewhat better, but healthy choices are usually limited. However, you can always get hot water. Having a cup of tea just feels like home to me, so I always carry an herbal assortment with me. Depending on my mode of transportation, I usually have some fruit, dried fruit and nuts with me. Montmorency cherries, for example, can even help with jetlag. It does require a little planning, but it’s way better than stressing to find something that won’t make you feel gross when you’re already starving. (My husband would probably add “and a pain in the @$$” to the end of the last sentence.) All natural meal replacement bars have also saved me when I’m off my normal meal schedule. Just read the ingredients first. If you can’t speak or spell them, please don’t eat them.
  • A can-do Pilates attitude – One of the first things that I fell in love with is how damn portable the method is. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve done a challenging mat workout with nothing more than a towel on a carpeted floor. Let your teacher know that you’ll be traveling. Ask what exercises you can take with you and about their favorite resources. Like a DVD or an audio classHint, hint.
  • A yoga strap – I love to walk, especially when I’m touring some new place. My hamstrings quiver with joy (or resistance) when I pack my yoga strap. Lying on my back, I hook the strap around my heel and gently open up the back of my legs and do a couple of hip stretches. I also can also use it to bind my legs and settle into a constructive rest position to unwind after a long day. The strap is light and rolls up into a fist-sized ball for ease of packing.
  • A hot water bottle – My hot water bottle is bright red, so I’ve named it Ruby. Before you think I’m about 150 years old, I challenge you to try it. Remember all the walking that I mentioned? Well, it’s great for applying heat to soothing sore, tired muscles. (Use cold water/ice for bumps and bruises.) I tend to get cold when I’m tired, so I’ll rest it on my center when I first settle into bed. It’s so relaxing.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a little lady who loves lots of options. These are just a few that work for me personally. Like I tell my clients, play and experiment with these; or create some new options that work even better for you. Just remember: You CAN get out of town without feeling run-down. Safe and happy travels!

Be (s)well.








027_130425_MARTINSYNDER-(ZF-3036-76899-1-001)Kara Martin Snyder, CHHC is the Owner & Chief Coach over at vital corps, a health and wellness studio located at the intersection of strategic action and self-care. Kara’s not your run of the mill, woo-woo wellness coach, though. Sure, she’s got the classroom and professional creds that many health coaches have but she’s also got an arsenal of bad-assery stemming from her boardroom, kitchen, and street savvy. Devotedly serving whipsmart, Type A, professional women, Kara deconstructs the broken processes in her clients’ lives and together they co-create actionable, manageable steps to creating healthy, more fulfilling lives slathered with joy. Forget frazzled and famished, it’s time to get focused and downright fierce… without starvation, deprivation, or tribulation. Visit Kara’s little slice of digital Shangri-La at and scoop up your free copy of Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness today.


Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!


The Truth About Your Sunscreen

 Post by Lauren Gralton


When it comes to pricey purchases, like a TV or refrigerator, I always do my research prior to buying anything, but with sunscreen I’ll admit to letting my wallet decide. Little did I know, that many claims of protection displayed on the bottle were as baseless as the substance inside. 

Upon reading the almighty Consumer Reports’ sunscreen stats, I was relieved to find out that “the least effective sunscreens were among the priciest.” It turns out that the top three, actually include two generic brands. Said rankings placed Equate from Walmart in first, then Up & Up from Target, and Coppertone took the bronze (no pun intended).

 Can’t find any of the above options? Here’s a couple tips on how to choose your shield from the hot, glowing star-

– Always purchase sunscreen with a broad-spectrum label. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends this because, “SPF ratings found on sunscreen packages apply mainly to UVB rays [so] many sunscreen manufacturers include ingredients that protect the skin from some UVA rays as well.”

-When it comes to SPF, any number lower than 30 is providing less than 96% protection. Please note, the Environmental Working Group states that “higher SPF products require a greater concentration of chemicals but fail to reduce skin damage.” In my opinion, it is better to use SPF 30 or SPF 40 and be more conscious of application.

So, how often do you really need to apply? 

The EPA advises to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going out into the sun that way it has time to absorb into your skin.

Amid my researching, I found that many websites give a formula to figure out how long the SPF will last on your individual skin type. They said to take the number of minutes it would take for your skin to burn without any protection, then multiply that number by the SPF number. This means that if my pasty coloring starts to fry after 10 minutes, then a SPF of 30 would keep me safe for 5 hours. A recent experience in Orlando gives me more than permission to say, “I beg to differ.” Granted swimming, inevitable perspiration, and any contact with clothing will cause the sunscreen to rub off sooner. I’ll side with the experts that encourage application every 1-2 hours, depending on your natural skin coloring.

 Protect and Educate your Children 

If you are a parent or in charge of any little ones, make sure to slather that sunscreen on. According to SunWise, a program created by the EPA to educate kids about sun safety, between the ages of 0-18 is when sunscreen is the most vital. Skin damage and sunburns earlier in life can have dangerous long-term effects. They note that it is important to educate children at a young age about taking care of their skin. What better way to do this than by playing a game. Test your sun safety knowledge here.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a few random facts that I learned: 

  • Hippos naturally secrete an oily, pink sunscreen (tweet this!)
  • The black rings around a meerkat’s eyes act like built-in sunglasses!
  • UV rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm

So, whether you plan to be outside for 30 minutes or 3 hours, make sure to cover yourself and your loved ones in sunscreen first. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 and apply liberally. Now go soak up some rays!

If you liked this article, there’s more where that came from! sign up for our newsletter. I promise you’ll be happy you did!

3 Reasons Your Dream Vacation Should Include Pilates

61327_482971375079564_2055079243_nFor some of us, the ideal vacation is one that includes binging on nachos and sipping drinks that have umbrellas in them. We dream about lying around trying to become the darkest shade of ourselves and throwing the threat of skin cancer to the wind. We MIGHT lift a finger to flip the page of our book or summon the waiter for another round, but we scoff at the site of the hotel gym and tennis courts. Vacations are for vegging out, right? Well, kinda.

We all need our down time. Especially as hyper-active New Yorkers, we need to slow our roll and be still (literally and figuratively). While occasionally it can be in our best interest to be debauch and sloth-like, sometimes we come home needing a vacation from our vacation, still hungover from Pina Colada #251. There’s a new kind of vacation coming on the scene. One that rejuvenates instead of depletes; hydrates instead of de-hydrating. It aims to make you feel like the best version of yourself, ready to face the world with a smile when you step off the plane at home. This spa-centric vacation can be just the thing you need to light your fire and set you right. Here are my 3 reasons that vacations should most definitely include Pilates:

  1. In Pilates, there is no stress. Pilates is one of THE most gentle forms of exercise out there. Your 80-year-old grandma could do it, injured bodies use it for rehab, virtually anyone can do it without stress on their joints or muscles. Choosing to do Pilates with a good teacher (not someone who got their certification in a drive-thru) will prevent a sprained ankle from rock climbing or a getting stitches for the gash you received while scuba diving.
  2.  Pilates is meditation for those who need to be tricked into meditating. Classically, we do Pilates without music in a quiet focused environment. Attention is on the precision, the breath, the flow. You don’t have time to think about your dog sitter back in the city or the work piling up on your desk while you’re away. Even if your mind does wander, your instructor will gently guide you back to the moment. This mindfulness will have you asking, “where the heck did that hour go?” You were doing a moving meditation….gotcha!
  3.  Pilates feels good. Coming from the muscle-ripping, joint-cracking life of a professional dancer, Pilates was my happy place. Quite simply, it just feels SO good. You’re stretching, strengthening, moving bits you never even knew you could move. All the while breathing deeply. Pilates will open you up where you are tight, strengthen what you’re lacking, relax and de-stress you with oxygen filled breath. You’ll sleep great, get relief from any aches and pains, and also look damn good in your bikini.

Are you convinced yet? I’ll be taking these two amazing vacations next year and adding Pilates. Yes, there will be some sweat and some hard work on the mat, but there will also be some good down time, great company, and even a few drinks with umbrellas in them.

Get your personalized travel session by visiting our studio. By learning the technique of Pilates in a private, bespoke environment you will be able to maintain your FORM anywhere you go. Let us show you how!

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!



How To Stay Healthy While Traveling

My New York Pilates studio is filled with amazingly successful clients. So amazing and successful that they are traveling for work all the time! Vacations are one thing- but traveling for work can be an exhausting, depleting task. Hours on a dehydrating airplane, lugging luggage the size of boulders, and eating fast food can leave you feeling completely trashed. By the time you get back home you’re “free” time is spent just recuperating until your next world tour. Luckily, I’ve compiled advice from some of the savviest travel mavens just for this occasion. It goes something like this:

  • Never Leave Home Without Eating Like Mama always told you- breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Turns out she was right about something- leaving your house for an am flight without filling your belly, is one of THE worst things you can do. Not only will you be more tempted to have a crappy airport danish and giant cup of java, you’ll be cranky and irritable during your flight. Stash some healthy snacks in your carry on like organic apples, granola/protein bars. They won’t perish easily and you’ll stay ahead of the hunger curve.
  • Pack Light.  Do you really need that extra pair of shoes? Five pairs of pants for five days? You may be glad your outfit matches perfectly, but your back will hate you for lugging your two ton luggage. Style expert, Leslie Gilbert suggests that you pick a items that can be dressed up or down like a maxi skirt or dress. Pick fabrics that are wrinkle free (scrunch them in your hand to test), and fill your boots and shoes with small items like socks or undies to maximize space.
  • DRINK- but only non-alcoholic and decaf beverages. Flying is drying (I’m a poet and I know it!) and while you may be tempted to throw one back before a particularly stressful flight you aren’t going to feel so great afterwards. Drink lots of water and herbal tea, to help you stay afloat and fight any jet lag.
  • Eat Your Veggies or at least drink them… Green vegetables are the holy grail in terms of vitamins and antioxidants, but when you’re left miles from a Whole Foods what’s a girl to do? Pack ‘em. Get a quality mulit-vitamin and a powdered green drink to add to your H2O. This will keep your immune system top-notch and battle against what’s lurking in that recycled air.
  • Take a Chill Pill. Health and lifestyle coach Kara Martin recommends battling travel stress and the upset tummy that can come along with it with a two pronged approach. Pack a probiotic so you can help balance intestinal flora that can get screwy in a new location. Stress is also a big issue with our gut. Martin suggests taking your “chill pill” aka a deep breath when you hit that traffic jam or your flight gets delayed.
  • Plan Ahead. Travel can also derail your workout prowess. Collect a couple short and easy exercise routines (something you could do in your jammies) for morning and evenings right in your hotel room. You won’t have to pack extra workout gear, heavy sneakers, and if you already have your 15min wake up and slow down routines you can just go on autopilot. Here’s to see my 10 min travel routine:

How do you stay healthy while traveling? I challenge you to find at least one way to have a healthier trip. Post your insights below and share with someone who is a road warrior just like you!

Get your personalized travel session by visiting our studio. By learning the technique of Pilates in a private, bespoke environment you will be able to maintain your FORM anywhere you go. Let us show you how!

[do action=”blue-optin-box” text=”Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!”]If you like this article, there’s more where that came from. Sign up for our newsletter and get more health and lifestyle tips every month! It’s free![/do]

Airplane Pilates

Long flights can make your body tight and your sour your disposition. Do these simple exercises anywhere, even in coach.

TV Stretches

Begin seated, feet flat on the floor, knees tracking right over your toes.
Tilt your head to the right bringing your right ear towards your right shoulder. Switch sides twice. Hold the last time each side and give yourself a gentle stretch with your hand. Now, turn your head to the Right then to the Left. Repeat twice. Hold the last time, curling your chin into your ampit and possibly using your had on the back of your head to increase the stretch.

Finally, interlace your fingers behind your head. Curl your chin to your chest and gently stretch.

The Hundred Breathing

Seated tall, inhale for a count of 5 then exhale for a count of 5. Do ten sets of this breathing concentrating on keeping the powerhouse pulled in and up and breathing into your lower back and sides.

Cat and Cow

As you inhale, arch your back opening your collar bone and tilting your tailbone towards the back of your head.
Exhale round your spine trying to bring the crown of your head towards your tailbone. Keep the connection to the powerhouse throughout

Knee Stirs

Sitting tall pull your right knee into your chest.
Without moving anything but your arms circle the knee in the hip joint three times in each direction.
Think of using your powerhouse to move your knee not just your hands.

Knee Holds

After the last knee stir hold each knee into your chest with your powerhouse for the count of five.

Side Bend

Sit tall and cross your arms across your chest.
Pull your powerhouse in and up and bend right then left just moving your upper body not your hips.


Stay in the same position and now twist the upper body to the right then the left, avoiding moving your hips.

Roll Down

Inhale sit up tall. As you exhale curl your chin to your chest rounding your spine forwards your knees. Keep your tailbone and sits bones pointing straight down towards the floor and avoid “tucking” the pelvis under.

Then roll up sequentially through your spine until you are sitting up tall once again.
Repeat this three times. On the last rep reach down and grab onto your ankles to get a deeper stretch.

Hamstring Stretch

While standing, open your feet hip width apart. Place your hands on something hip height and bend your knees a lot. Arch your back and try to keep your tailbone sloped upwards as you attempt to extend your legs slowly.


After your stretch stand in a small Pilates stance (heels together feet no wider than a fists width apart) Place one had on a seat back or wall.
Bend your knees keeping your heels on the floor. Lift just your heels glued together. Then extend your legs, finally lower your heels to the floor.

Repeat by starting with straight legs, lifting your heels, bending your knees, lowering your heels, straightening your legs. Keeping the powerhouse engaged and your heels superglued together the whole time.

Take this workout on the road and let us know if it makes you feel like a million bucks! Share it with other road warriors and leave your comments below. If you want more info on how to take Pilates with us and stay out of travel pain click here.

Like what you see? Sign up for updates… It’s FREE!