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    What Your Workout Wear Says About You!

    Zumba Power by Thomas Gierke on 500px

    Whether you are rocking neon and spandex or just happy the tank you threw on was clean, what you wear to workout says a lot about you! Lets explore...

    Head to Toe Workout Branded Gear

    Estrada Flys by Brian Sullivan on 500px

    You take Zumba or Crossfit and you sure ass hell lift! You know how I know? It says it on your leggings, your tank, and most likely every gym accessory you own! You found your one true workout love and you don't care who knows it. You may not have been big on fitness before you met your ideal workout, but now that you have you can be found at the gym every chance you get. Your free time is spent following all the biggest fitness stars on instagram and twitter. You've got a one track mind and when you decide to achieve something you won't rest till get it! You are known for your determination, loyalty, and enthusiasm. No one could ever accuse you of being a Debbie Downer! You can often be found spreading your fitness gospel and encouraging your friends and family to join you in your workout lifestyle.

    Matchy Matchy

    You lay out your workout gear the night before, making sure your on-trend sport bra perfectly matches your figure flattering capris. You take pride in finding complementary accessories, like sneakers or your gym bag. If we were to open your dresser, we'd find your workout wear laid out in rainbow order. You may not be an athlete, but you'll make damn sure you look like one! You have a classic Type-A personality. You always dress for success and know how to make a lasting first impression. You love to plan ahead and have your day scheduled to last minute. When you aren't busy in your high-stress job you can be found relaxing with a glass of white wine making your latest Pinterest board. Even when you are relaxing, you are planning ahead!

    Neon, Prints, and Oversized Crop Tops

    .

    Your closet is filled with aztec print legging and perfectly slouchy crop tops that allow for your neon sport bra to peek through. Your workout wear often doubles for regular street clothes and you look fab in both settings. You've got an eye for fashion and can mix prints like no one else! You most likely get your sweat on in fusion dance classes, but you'll try anything once as long as the music has got a good beat. You are irreverent, cheerful, and the life of the party. When you aren't busy learning to twerk you can be found pursuing a myriad of creative endeavors. And while you aren't afraid to stand out in a crowd, you prefer to surround yourself with like-minded friends and achieve your goals together.

    Latest in Workout Tech Gear

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    If you are going to workout, you are going to do it right! Every workout wear purchase you make has been heavily research and vetted. You believe in function over form and if your gear isn't working for you then it has no place in your life. You wouldn't be caught dead running without your Fitbit tracking your every step and calorie burned. And while your Iphone is filled with tons of fitness apps you are easily distracted by the newest, shiniest toy on the block. You are tech-savvy and love to multitask! While taking on the elliptical, you'll be listening to your favorite podcast and answering emails. You prefer to take on projects by yourself since few people can live up to your high standards. You are smart, driven, and always ready to take on a challenge!

    The "I Just Rolled Out of Bed" Look

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    Most days you are just thankful to have found a clean outfit before you had to run to gym, so you sure as hell don't have time to care what it looks like. You might double a swimsuit top as a sports bra or rock your faded band camp tee, but you are putting in the effort to be healthy and that should be commended. See you've got kids, or school, or an all consuming work schedule and no time to care what others think. You are caring, supportive, and always willing to help out a friend. That might be why you have often got a million things on your plate, but you wouldn't have it any other way. Working out is your ""me time"", it is one of the only times in the day where it is all about you and your body. So while it might be hard to get your booty to class you love every minute you are there!

    I happen to rock the "I just rolled out of bed" look when I am spinning around the pole, what about you? Share what your workout look is and lets us know if we got it right!

    Jillian is an avid pole dance student, accessories and costume designer, rhinestone aficionado, and a PDBloggers Executive Commitee Member. She also writes at PoleGeek.blogspot.com.

    Sexy Superfoods For An Amazing Date Night

    Sexy Superfoods For An Amazing Date Night

    "When I think about sexy foods, my mind goes straight to the land of indulgence. Chocolate covered strawberries, whipped cream, a slow drizzle of honey ... you know what I'm talking about. It's all about rich, luxurious flavors, but it doesn't have to be unhealthy. Many aphrodisiacs are also super foods, meaning they are nutrient-rich and considered beneficial for your health and well-being. While few aphrodisiacs have scientifically proven effects, I think the mental effect is just as important. Put together this meal for your next date night in with your partner, open up a good bottle of red wine, casually mention that the meal is filled with aphrodisiacs, and let nature take care of the rest.

    Honey & Walnut Crusted Salmon with Salad

    INGREDIENTS
    For Salmon:
    • 1/2 cup raw unsalted walnuts
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 salmon fillets with skin on, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
    For Salad:
    • Leafy greens
    • Peppers
    • 1 avocado
    • 1 small handful of pine nuts
    Finely chop the walnuts, by hand or in food processor, and spread them on a plate. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking dish that is big enough for the salmon fillets to not touch. Whisk honey, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then brush the fillets with the mixture. (Don't be afraid of adding too much!) Press each fillet into the walnuts to coat the top and sides, then place in baking dish with the skin side down. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the salmon easily flakes apart with a fork. Move the salmon up in the oven and place under broiler for a minute or two to make the walnuts crispy; but keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn. While the salmon is baking, mix up a quick salad of leafy greens, avocado slices, and pine nuts, and top with your choice of salad dressing. (Onions might not be the best idea before a sexy evening, but my husband will not eat salad without it, so keeping him happy was worth the bad breath;)

    WHY IT WORKS

    Walnuts are natural anti-depressants, contain zinc which regulates the level of testosterone in the blood, and are full of essential fatty acids which helps simulate good heart health, which again translates to blood flow to the organs. Walnuts were even used as a fertility drug in ancient Rome! Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote glandular development and lead to increased response to arousal, and honey increases the level of nitric oxide, the chemical released in the blood during arousal.
    Raw Strawberry Chocolates with Maca

    INGREDIENTS:
    • 3 large strawberries, hulled
    • 65g raw cacao butter (in solid form)
    • 3-4 tbsp cacao powder
    • 4 tsp maca powder
    • pinch of sea salt
    Set the oven to its lowest setting. Cut the strawberries into thin slices and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Dehydrate in the oven for two hours. When completed, puree the strawberries. Use a grater to shave cacao butter into a stainless steel bowl that will fit over the top of a saucepan. Boil a little water in the saucepan and remove from heat, then place the bowl with cacao butter over the top and let melt, stirring gently a few times. Add in strawberry puree, sift in the cacao and maca powders, and add sea salt, then stir to combine. Pour the chocolate into moulds and allow to set at room temperature for around 2 hours, or in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove the chocolates from the moulds and store in an air-tight container in the pantry or fridge.

    WHY IT WORKS

    Maca is said to boost libido for both men and women, and increases immunity, energy, vitality, and fertility, while cacao stimulates the reproductive organ of women. It also supplies phenylethylamine, a chemical compound that releases feel-good hormones in your body! If you try one or both of the recipes let me know how it goes, and if you have other suggestions for aphrodisiac super foods I would to hear them! Nina is a studio manager and pole dance instructor at Vertical Fusion, was a founding #PDBloggers board member, runs the Colorado Pole Championship and works as a photographer for all things aerial and/or sensual. Nina also writes at ninareed.com.

    Diet Tips for Performance Days

    Diet Tips for Performance Days

    I love food. And I don't discriminate; I love my healthy spinach smoothies and indulgent chocolate ice-cream equally. But before I started pole dancing, I never really paid attention to how certain foods made me feel. The day of my first solo performance I was so nervous that I couldn't eat all day, then crashed and wolfed down a McDonalds cheeseburger half an hour before going on stage. Bad idea. Two years and many shows later, I have my performance-day diet down to a tee, and today I want to share some of the tips and tricks I have learned with you. 

    Drink tons of water

    This should be a no-brainer, even on days when you're not performing, but it still needs to be said. Carry a water bottle everywhere you go, and set a reminder on your phone to go off every hour so that you don't forget to drink. If you're dehydrated by as little as 2.5%, your ability to perform high-intensity exercise like pole is reduced by up to 45%. If you are 130lbs, that means that a 3.25lbs drop in body weight from not drinking enough water can make or break that deadlift!

    Take your time

    While performance days can be stressful, between getting hair and makeup done, making sure that your costume is ready to go, and quietly freaking out about dancing in front of an audience, it is important to slow down when eating. Allow yourself 30 minutes for each meal, and avoid eating on the go. Taking the time to enjoy each meal not only reduces bloating, it also forces you to stop stressing about remembering your choreography!

    No carbonated drinks or caffeine

    I'm sure there are coffee-lovers who are shaking their head right about now, but hear me out. Carbonated drinks, including diet soda and sparkling water, can cause gas, which means you end up looking and feeling bloated. In addition, soda, coffee, tea, and even most energy drinks, work as diuretics in the body. A diuretic is basically any substance that promotes the production of urine, which means you will have a higher risk of dehydration, so stay away from these on performance days! If you can't make yourself drink plain water, add slices of lemon, strawberries, or cucumber to your water for a bit of flavor.

    Avoid sodium and starches

    The worst foods I can eat before a performance is anything high in carbs and sodium, which is why that cheeseburger was such a bad idea. Sodium retains body fluids, leading to a bloated stomach, while starches like bread, potatoes, and pasta are hard to digest. Still your body needs carbohydrates as it's the biggest energy source for your muscles, so try to include complex carbs in the form of whole wheat toast, bagel, or cereal with your breakfast.

    My go-to performance day meals:

    I like starting with the biggest meal of my day, and usually eat a homemade breakfast of scrambled eggs with spinach, chorizo, onions and peppers. It's a simple recipe where I throw frozen spinach in a pan with some coconut oil and fry over medium high heat, add chorizo, onions, and peppers, and when everything is almost done, crack two eggs in the pan and stir it all together. If you don't mind the extra fat, throw some shredded cheddar on top! Eat it with a slice of whole wheat toast, and the combination of carbs and protein will keep your energy levels high without giving you a spike in blood sugar. For lunch I love a giant smoothie, where I throw in a handful of spinach, a whole banana, pineapple, cucumber, frozen raspberries, a cup of water, and shred some ginger on top. If you want something even more filling, make the smoothie with milk or greek yoghurt instead of the water, or add a scoop of protein powder. Throughout the day I like snacking on fruits, especially melon and bananas, unsalted nuts, or my go-to snack of single packets of almond butter. Make sure you keep that water bottle close by as well! I only eat a dinner before performing if I am going on stage after 10pm, so most of the time I will just skip it. If you do need dinner, eat something light and filling like baked salmon with a salad; again avoiding prepackaged meals or fast food. The best part of my performance day diet is my post-performance indulgence. The venue I usually perform at serves a 4-cheese pasta dish with bacon and chicken that completely blows my mind. The high carb to protein ratio (you're going for 4:1!) is optimal for recovery, especially when eaten within 40 minutes of getting off stage. And after seeing months of training and choreographing culminate in your performance, you deserve a big meal!

    What do you eat on performance days? And more importantly, what's your favorite post-show indulgence?


    Nina is a pole dance instructor at Vertical Fusion, a #PDBloggers board member, and works as a photographer for all things aerial and/or sensual. Nina also writes at ninareed.com.

    Granny Panties and Lace Bras

    I wouldn't say the women had on granny panties, but during my first few months of pole and sensual movement class, I saw a lot of plain jane nude colored underwear sets in the locker room. This only lasted for a moment though because there was a buzz in the room. The women had rushed to the dance studio after work to ensure that they made the six o'clock class in time. Shirts and shoes flew as the women changed for class. What should be noted is that it happened in an unsuspecting way.


    Photo Credit: Sheena LaShay

    Transforming in the Locker Room

    I noticed the women taking off their suits, uniforms and sensible pearl studs. Next they took off their skin tone seamless panties and discreet bras. THEN magic happened. The women swapped the discreet and tame bras for expensive lace lingerie. They pulled out exquisite panties made of silks and other fabrics and joyfully adorned their bodies. They took off the black pumps and replaced them with gorgeous heels. Heels that were seven inches. Stilettos with labels on them that I had never seen up close and personal!


    They put on accessories and jewelry. They took down their prudent buns and let their hair cascade down their face. They transformed from your "everyday working woman" to sensual models and vivacious bombshells in the most gorgeous lingerie I had ever seen. Some had deep blues and purples and reds. Others were mysterious and smoky in their blacks. Some had pastels. They were all vibrant, bright and full of life.

    I was baffled at first. I had never seen women change out of their sensible underwear into jaw dropping lingerie for a dance and movement class. As a beginner, I wore yoga shorts and a plain t-shirt. That behavior of mine didn't last for long. I changed my dance wardrobe. I had figured out the why!

    The Body Language of Fashion

    The "why" is that fashion influences movement. Our dance classes at this particular studio centered on sensuality, emotionality and presence. Instructors encouraged us to freestyle dance based off how we felt. Were we sassy? Angry? Joyful? Flirtatious? Whatever our mood, we were encouraged to find not only music and movement that expressed those emotions but also to find costumes and lingerie that expressed those feelings. For women still exploring what emotions their sensual sides embodied, we were occasionally given assignments. Just as a writer is given a prompt to freestyle write too, we as dance students were given body prompts with enticing themes to move to. We were encouraged to also find clothing that explored that theme as well.

    Whether a dancer had a dark or light personality, hopeful, joyful or dominating personality... I could see that each women loved to feel and look sexy in their clothing choice. "Sexy" meant different things for each woman. For a lot of women it meant their most luxurious, glamorous and most beautiful lingerie. Their bodies moved differently in class while wearing the lingerie than it had when they initially walked into the studio fully clothed in their street attire or work attire. The difference was even more pronounced over time as I got to know the ladies personally. Sometimes we would go out for dinner after class. So I saw the reverse happen. I saw them take off the magnificent lingerie and re-dress into their everyday clothes. While the women were still confident and beautiful, their body language changed.

    A Sexy Exercise

    My assignment to you. Pick a song you love. Perhaps a short one for this experiment. Dance to the song in yoga shorts and a t-shirt. Next, try dancing to the song in lace panties and your favorite, glamorous bra. Maybe try a thong and some heels. Even if you don't have a pole, you can still freestyle dance. Do hip circles, if need be. Does a hip circle feel differently in yoga shorts than in lace boy shorts? Is it different in silk panties? What if you add a garter belt? Does color affect you? Maybe try black lace and then white lace? Maybe try a corset? Or that extra fancy lingerie set you've been saving for something important? Well, you are important and moving your body is important and adorning yourself in luxurious and sensual fabrics is important. So pull that nightie or baby-doll negligee out and dance. Notice how your body feels.

    It's rare these days that I'll wear yoga shorts to a freestyle sensual movement class. Perhaps maybe a practice season or training class. But<strong> if the point is to tap into my sensuality, my emotionality and my personal expression as I dance my heart out, I need to ensure the fabrics that touch me provoke me and inspire me and delight me.</strong>

    Try my experiment and tell me what you think!

    Sheena LaShay is a Wild Magical Woman, Boudoir Photographer, Videographer, Writer and most importantly a Pole Dancer. She writes for SheenaLaShay.com, Owning Pink, Verizon Wireless and is the Co-President & Editor-in-Chief of the #PDBloggers.

    Intern Life: Photoshoot Day

    Intern Life: Photoshoot Day

    All I have to say is "wow" This was my first professional editorial shoot, and I got so much out of it, as with just about every aspect of this internship thus far. Thanks to reality TV, you have a pretty good idea what goes on during a shoot, but seeing one unfold live is another story. The energy and positive vibe during the day only enhanced the awesomeness that was seeing Bodybinds showcased at its best. The adventure first started on a short trip on the 7 (RIP 5Pointz) to Studios LIC. Thank goodness the studio was only a few blocks away from the train because that Wednesday was THE coldest day, at least up until that point. Amusingly enough, I arrived just as Jackie was parking her car. Then at the door I met my photographer counterpart, Matt's assistant/friend Mitch. Later on, I would meet the other assistant, Jay. One by one, the rest of the players showed up--Britt (hair & makeup super artist), Flore (the unicorn/model), Jess (stylist extraordinaire/our raison d'etre), and Matt (awesome photographer, heavy on the awe). Although this was my first shoot, I had a good idea what was supposed to take place. Since I was only really responsible for hanging the Bodybinds and arranging our version of craft services, I decided to take in the whole scene.

    I've seen models all the time around here, especially in the garment district (if you see a ridiculously tall and lithe girl in NYC, she's probably a model), but I'd never been right next to one. Mythical creature she is, and rather easy on the eyes regardless of her makeup status. No jealousy here, just simple appreciation that all of us come in a a variety of packages we can all appreciate. Watching Britt transform Flore into our avant-garde vamp was fascinating, since it wasn't bridal or everyday makeup that she was applying. As cliched as this sounds, it really was like watching an artist paint on a canvas.

    Then there was the photographer's side. The last time I'd seen any type of photography done on an artistic level, that photographer was using contact sheets. It was impressive that Matt hauled around a 20"" iMac in its original box whenever he worked. (Later on, I'd be even more impressed that he fit all his equipment into the car he had.) Throughout the day, I probably harassed him the most, as his world was the least I knew about. Luckily he's generous with his knowledge and passionate about his work!

    Of course, my favorite part of prep was Jess' arrival with her stunning apparel. One of the many cool things about Jess is that she strives to use up and coming designers when she styles shoots, which is how Bodybinds' relationship with her came about, through an editorial shoot for Oribe haircare. This time she brought a collection of faux and real fur coats, one of which was from Brooklyn designer Nathalie Kraynina, and swimwear from Mirame. Once Jess put Flore into her first outfit with the Bodybinds, you could already tell we had something very special in front of us, even without one picture being snapped.

    As you can imagine, the day went by like this: set up, shoot, check, change, repeat. Since I'd never seen tethering in relation to photography before (seen it on movie sets), I was amused to watch the picture transfer from the camera to the computer in a matter of seconds. I can't remember which image it was, but during the time the model was laying on the ground, Matt took a shot that made all of us say "wow" in unison. I hope Jackie chose it!

    What made the experience worthwhile was observing it, and the great thing was this group of merry men and women worked extremely well together, so time flew by so fast. I felt like I was among great friends goofing off on a random Saturday afternoon, rather than being at work with colleagues in the middle of the week all day long. At one point, the shoot moved outside to the rooftop access Studios LIC had. Boy, did I feel sorry for Flore, but she shrugged it off, probably partially due to being able to wear a nice fluffy fur coat. At the end of the day, I was really surprised at how tired we all were, considering we had a lot of fun working together, and I think the images reflect that.

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