PUMPKIN POWER

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As we reluctantly put away our clever costumes for another year (truth be told, I had to really force myself to retire my tiara), one thing we needn’t get rid of quite yet are our pumpkins!!! It makes me sad to see all those harsh, sunken, orange faces piled up on the sides of the road. So I got to thinking: what other uses do pumpkins have? Turns out this seasonal vegetable is super rich in antioxidants and vitamins, and much fewer in calories than many others. It contains no saturated fats and is highly recommended in many weight loss programs!!! So…now that we know pumpkins are truly amazing, what do we do with them?

If you still have your seeds lingering around, now’s the time to use them. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and great for your heart and brain. They are also packed with protein and minerals so they make a fantastic snack! Who knew?

Basic pumpkin seed recipe: 1.5 cups

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of raw pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons of butter

pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.

To make use of the rest of the pumpkin, here’s another recipe that is both delicious and low fat.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

3 cups pumpkin puree made from fresh pumpkin

1 14-oz can Eagle Brand fat free sweetened condensed milk

4 large eggs

1.5 t cinnamon

1 t cloves

1 t allspice

1/2 t ginger

Directions:

Bake pie crust shell as directed on package. Mix together all liquid ingredients and spices. Pour into baked pie shell. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then lower temp to 150 and bake for another 45-60 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Number of Servings: 8

Who knew Mr. Jack-O-Lantern was festive, fun and nutritious? Well, now I do. And so do you!

FALL INTO PLANK PLAYLIST

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Now that the weather is officially turning towards the lower temps, it’s especially important to keep our spirits UP!!

This playlist was specially designed for Plank members to keep them inspired, upbeat and bopping their way through classes and the changing season…

Happy Fall to Y’all!

The Heat- Jungle
Honor and Harmony-  G. Love & Special Sauce
Breaking Down-  Florence and The Machine
Feel You- Cedric Zeyenne Feel You
Strange Overtones- David Byrne & Brian Eno
She Moves (Far Away) [feat. Graham Candy]- Alle Farben
Hollywood (feat. Penguin Prison) [Felix da Housecat Remix]-  RAC Gildas & Jerry Kitsuné Soleil
Hold On (feat. Sampha)- SBTRKT
Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Urban Mix)- Tears for Fears
Sweet Emotion- The Kooks
Ghostwriter- RJD2
Ezra- Flume
Sweet Jane- Cowboy Junkies
Thunder Clatter- Wild Cub Youth

PLANK AT HOME

with Katy Kantner

Sometimes it’s hard to get into the studio: travel, work, travel, life…
you get the picture.
So once a month we will be showcasing one of our planktastic instructors demonstrating a fantastic exercise you can do anywhere!
Over the next few months, watch out for these helpful little clips so you can keep up you practice wherever you go..

In this month’s PLANK AT HOME, Katy is demonstrating a basic bridge exercise with a variation. This exercise is great for your spine and gluts.

Laying on your back. Feet flat. Legs inner hip distance or together. Tuck the lower back into the map and lift your hips up into a bridge. Starting at the top of the spine (middle back) and then rolling down through each vertebra until your tail bone touches and releases. Repeat 2/3 times and take and your time!!!

Variation: once hips are lifted in the bring. Bend right knee into the chest and extend the leg up to the ceiling keeping hips lifted!!! And even. Flex through the right ankle when lowering to the knee and then point and lift. Same on other side. Repeat each side three times.

****Katy teaches advanced tower at 1 pm on Saturdays and then tower at 2 pm. She is also available for private instruction.

THE PLANK PROFILES

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With Emily Beasley

Top five things people should know about you

1. I’m Australian
Born in Melbourne, I moved to NYC over a year ago to study fashion marketing at Parsons. I’m also working in the beauty section of Harper’s Bazaar but am hoping to follow a path towards a multi brand retailer like Sephora, or Intermix, in beauty or fashion.

2. I studied photography at a college in Melbourne
I did it for two years but studying killed the joy of it for me. It helped me get on course for what I really want to do now. See above.

3. Beaches and farms were the backdrop of most of my life
So the move to NYC was a bit of a culture shock. I’m used to having somewhere to go that is an hour away where I can be in nature (especially the beach!) but there’s nowhere else in the world like NYC. And I wouldn’t change a thing! The weirdest thing is being far from my family.

4. I listen to really lame 90’s music
The other day my friends overheard what I was listening to on spotify and I was horrified. I’m a real sucker for Celine Dion. She’s a bit of a thing for me and my family. PDT. Seriously.

5. I love cooking for people
Entertaining and looking after people gives me a ton of pleasure. I get it from my grandmother who plays the “mother hen” role in my family. Bringing heaps of people together is always a recipe for a fun (and delightfully random) evening.

What brought you to Pilates?
I’m a bit on and off with it. When I first moved here (onto Rivington) I went a few times but quickly switched over to yoga. I ended up hurting my back, and my mother pushed me towards getting back to Pilates for many reasons including: superior resistance training, a focus on back health and general flexibility. I’ve been going two to three times a week in the last few months and have noticed significant changes in my body and strength.

Why Plank Pilates?
I love the small class sizes: for the price it’s super worthwhile. It’s the next best thing to doing private sessions. The instructors are attentive and really guide you. They are amazing…and I’d like to mention Kristen in particular. She’s tough but pushes you to do your best in the safest way.

Top Tips for staying slim
If you find out, let me know.
I feel like consistency is key. When I was younger I would go the extremes of starving and binging but now I practice being sesnisble: portion control and eating what I like but with moderation. Eating in season and unprocessed is a great way to start.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
It’s definitely food related, I’m a foodie but to be honest…it’s peanut butter. Anything with peanut butter, cups, with a spoon, ice cream, whatever. I’m absolutely crazy for it.
Also. Skincare. I love trying out products especially face masks. The glam glow face masks exfoliate and make your skin look radiant.

Emily has been a member at Plank Pilates since 2013.

UP PLANK AND PERSONAL

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with Mariusz Kujawski
Mariusz is an instructor at Plank Pilates

Top five things we should know about you?

1. I was born in Poland
I then moved to Iceland at 14 with parents to pursue Ballroom dancing. After that, I moved to the US for college at UWSP for dance and international studies.

2. Italy is my favorite place on earth
It was also my most memorable vacation. The weather was amazing, I was with my closest friends, and loved swimming in the sea every day. It was a perfect holiday.

3. I love cooking
Especially for my girlfriend. She loves the way I cook and it’s lucky that she is especially fond of my best and favorite dish…crepes.

4. I’m a member of the French Academy of Ballet
Where I will be performing in the Nutcracker this December. It’s my first time being a part of that particular ballet. We haven’t been cast yet but I’m really excited to be part of the production.

5. My favorite band is Sigur Ros
They make up their own musical language and I find them incredibly creative in the way they choose to communicate their craft artistically. I also find unique ways of expressing myself creatively and relate to their process profoundly,

How long have you been practicing/teaching Pilates?

I have been practicing Pilates for the past six years and have been teaching for two. I did it in conjunction with my ballet training at school.

What brought you to Pilates?

The idea that it is more than just a set of exercises, it’s actually a way of living. Pilates brought a greater understanding of my body, especially outside of the studio. I find myself constantly striving for perfect alignment, even while executing simple at home tasks. I started Pilates in college, as a class I took before ballet each day and not much more than that. Soon I fell in love with the process and technique and wanted to explore how dance and Pilates could not only improve my personal technique but also how I could help others in the process.

What do you always have in your refrigerator?

I always have capers!!! I am a big experimenter when it comes to food. Also spinach. It’s a great source of protein and greens and it is delicious cooked or raw (especially with capers!!!)

Guilty pleasure

I know it’s better to cook at home, (and I happen to be a great one) but…NYC is filled with amazing restaurants and I can’t help but indulge in trying many of them. Brooklyn seems to be a place that’s filled with unique and interesting places to try. One of my favorite’s is Roberta’s (if you want to have a little carb indulgence!)

Be sure to check out Mariusz’s classes on Tuesday at 9, 12, and 1 pm. His disciplined coaching coupled with cheeky sense of humor makes the class a delightful blend of Eastern European flare and tough workout!!!! Mariusz is also available for private sessions upon request.)

BACK ON (THE) TRACK

Alright…I have a little something to admit: despite the best of intentions to start the fall by hitting the ground running (literally), life seemed to have got in my way.

Just after my running article was posted (SEE previous article FALL INTO RUNNING,) I went into intense rehearsals and then performances for a play, managed to get a bladder infection, started dating someone and basically lost any semblance of discipline or routine. Needless to say, my 5k training fell by the side of the road (literally, again.)

Inspired by a visit home to Toronto, I woke up this morning and decided to get back on the path to training for a 5K. As my workout approached, even putting my running shoes on was a challenge (at least mentally!!!) I realized that there is a lot of shame and discouragement in not reaching ones goals and, this morning, I was feeling it, big time. But, with the deadline to this article pending, and the encouragement of my friends (thank you, Kristen) I laced up and off I went.

For the first few minutes I felt unsteady: I’m not used to interval training and the running spurts shocked my system in a way I wasn’t sure I liked. (The workout was 1.30 mins walking followed by 1 min walking alternating for 20 mins total with a five minute walking warm up and cool down.) But after the second sprint, I was in! Each time I started my next minute run, I was shocked at how light and energized I felt. I actually looked forward to it each time it came around!

After the run, I was feeling relaxed, warm and proud of myself. I had taken many steps forward.

So here’s the lesson: even if you’ve gone off course, hop back on and give it all you’ve got. I am newly inspired, energized and ready to treat myself to a cute new running outfit after I complete week 2 of my training. (7 more sessions to go.)

I am running…full speed ahead. Just try and stop me!

The pic is of my running route this weekend in Toronto.

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SEASON’S EATINGS

With a few days off this week, I decided to head upstate to the Catskills. I had just finished an exhausting project and my body was begging for some much needed rest. On our first day, I challenged myself to eat purely from things we had picked at the farm (or had been made that day i.e. the most delicious mozzarella I’ve ever tasted.) We picked: cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, cabbage, raspberries and eggplant (seasonal offerings from the field.)

By the end of the day, I felt the lightest I had felt in a long time.

All this got me thinking not only about the changing of the season but whether there is something to be said for adjusting our eating habits accordingly.

After speaking with a nutritionist and consulting several health journals, there seemed to be only one consistent consensus: cold weather tends to bring on carbo loading and the decrease of water consumption.

It’s not surprising that with our days getting shorter and colder, we would need a little pick me up. Carbohydrates tend to not only boost our energy (with a sudden spike in sugar) but also boost our mood (with a good shot of tryptophan) but…beware. We also tend to decrease our amount of physical activity so that extra amounts of carbs end up sitting in our system, and potentially, becoming fat deposits

(cue not being able to fit in your favorite holiday party outfit.)

Also, as the temperatures drop, we tend to feel thirsty less but our need for hydration remains the same. To avoid nasty headaches and fatigue, be sure to keep on top of drinking at least eight glasses of water per day.

The last helpful hint was to monitor your intake of vitamin D. With less sunlight, our systems can feel sluggish and some even experience mild doses of depression. Eating foods rich in Vitamin D (such as salmon, cheese, eggs, almonds, check out: http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/high-vitamin-D-foods.php) can seriously decrease your risk of falling into the changing blues.

So, for falling into fall, find new activities to keep you inspired, happy, healthy and trim (and keep that water bottle with you.)

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