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Heather Leon’s Fitness & Beauty Secrets

Do Pilates at least 3x per week!

Resistance training, especially Pilates and/or Gyrotonic, helps increase lean muscle mass and elongates your shape at the same time! Adding lean muscle increases your resting metabolic rate, so you burn more calories and lose weight. Pilates and/or Gyrotonic lengthens, tones, and increases flexibility without adding bulk. You will feel great too!

Get Your Beauty Sleep!

Most of us require 7-9 hours of sleep on a daily basis for optimum health. Hormones are released during sleep that control appetite and metabolic functioning, while growth hormones aid proper tissue repair and healing. Healthy sleep patterns promote an increased life expectancy, a strong cardiovascular system and better complexion. Lack of proper rest increases the likelihood of simple sugar cravings and weight gain.

Drink Lots of Water!

Drinking a generous amount of water throughout the day consistently flushes your body and helps eliminate toxins. The hydration process fuels your metabolism to improve fat burning and helps your skin maintain a more youthful and healthy glow.

Our body is comprised of 60-70% water and needs good hydration for all organ systems to function optimally. You may even feel relief from your usual aches and pains as water helps lubricate joints and all soft tissues in your body. The standard formula for determining the right amount of water to consume is as follows:

Take your weight in pounds, divide in half and this number will be the amount of ounces you should drink daily. For example, a man weighing 160 pounds, divides his weight in half, 160/2 = 80. If you divide 80 ounces/8, he determines that he needs to drink 10, 8 ounce glasses of water per day. Keep in mind that extra hydration is necessary to replenish fluid loss during and after exercise.

Do Aerobic Exercise at Least 3 days per Week.

Aerobic exercise is essential for weight loss and very effective for weight management. My number one choice, especially for women who want to maintain a long, lean, and sleek body is “power walking.” And yes, power walking can be as effective as running.

The key with power walking is duration and frequency! A consistent power walking program, a minimum of 3 days a week, 45-60 minutes per workout can deliver big dividends. The repetitive nature of this linear movement will help to slim and tone your hips, thighs and buttocks, especially if you add in hills! To intensify the upper body workout, try holding 1-2 lbs weights. In addition to fueling your metabolism, a good power walking program helps boost your immune system, can elevate your mood and is low impact.

Alcohol in Moderation!

Most people enjoy a glass of wine or indulging in a cocktail on occasion. Just beware that overconsumption of alcoholic beverages hampers your fat burning ability and can lead to weight gain. Additionally, alcohol can be very damaging and drying to your hair and skin. Premature aging, spotting and dark circles are possible side-effects of prolonged, excessive alcoholic consumption. So if you want to indulge every now and then, make sure you chase your drinks with plenty of water!

Don’t Smoke!

All of us are aware of the serious health risks of cancer and heart disease associated with smoking nicotine, but fewer of us are aware of the many other side effects of smoking that usurp beauty and vitality. The effect of nicotine on the body causes the narrowing of the blood vessels which results in reduced blood flow to the skin. This deficit of oxygen to the cells can result in premature aging, wrinkling and an overall grayish hue to the complexion. Nicotine also may cause hair loss, graying and a loss of luster and shine. Teeth may become discolored and lips darkened from cigarettes. This is one habit that has no redeeming qualities for overall health, wellness and appearances.

A Few Easy Diet and Nutrition Tips.

Try not to skip breakfast. Eat smaller and more frequent meals. Your last meal of the day should be the least caloric and finished at least 3 hours before you go to sleep. Eat more protein and less carbohydrates to lean out. Instead of counting calories, monitor the quality of your calories. Eat more whole foods and fewer processed foods.

Smile and Take Time Each Day to Break from Stress!

Life is pretty stressful. Taking at least 15-20 minutes daily to go for a walk, breathe deeply, close your eyes and meditate, or to practice energy balancing work like tai chi, chi gong or reiki is important for maintaining overall wellness. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine! Smiling sends neurosignals to all the cells in your body, promoting a greater sense of well-being whereas chronic stress may lead to health problems and premature aging.



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About the Author

Heather Leon

Heather Leon is a master of the Traditional Pilates Method with over 40 years combined experience in various movement disciplines including ballet, jazz, modern, ballroom dance, Pilates, Gyrotonics, yoga and martial arts. She is highly sought after for her ability to utilize both the Traditional Pilates Method and Gyrotonic Expansion System for rehabilitative benefits and for achieving the long, lean and supple "Pilates body."     Full Bio | Contact Heather | See Class Schedule