How to Embrace Your Inner Winter Olympian in New Orleans

The 2018 Winter Olympics are in full swing. Which means athletes of all ages and abilities watching from home are getting inspired to turn their dreams of competing for gold into a reality. Or, at the very least, upping their game and testing their athletic prowess.

Even though New Orleans is better suited for Summer Olympic sports, it doesn't mean you can't still train like a Winter Olympian. Well, maybe not just like these elite athletes, but you can attempt to master these sports, or try fun alternatives, either in Louisiana or on your travels.

Skating Sports

Even though there isn't much (any?) ice to speak of in New Orleans, these events are probably the easiest to participate in at home. But you still have to travel a little bit for an actual ice rink to try your hand at figure skating, speed skating or ice hockey. Leo's Iceland in Baton Rouge offers ice skating lessons and hockey leagues, while Planet Ice Rink in Lafayette hosts hockey leagues, pickup games, Power Skating lessons and Stick & Puck sessions. The latter's figure skating options include Learn to Skate and Freestyle.

Alternatives: If you only want to travel as far as Metairie, you can trade in your sharp blades for wheels. Considering that inline and roller derby skater Erin Jackson made the U.S. Olympic speed skating team after only four months of practice on the ice, training with Big Easy Rollergirls could be a good place to start your Olympic dreams. The New Orleans roller derby team hosts open workouts and rec leagues throughout the year at their nearby facility. There's also Skater's Paradise in Slidell where you can take beginner and advanced roller skating lessons, as well as learn to roller speed skate.  

Travel: If you still don't quite understand what curling is all about, it looks like you'll have to travel outside of the state to learn how to throw stones. The closest cities with curling clubs to New Orleans are Memphis, TN and Houston, TX, but you can find other curling club across the U.S.  that you can drop in on while planning your next trip. 

YouTube video credit: Team USA

Snow Sports

You're not going to find much snow in New Orleans, so if you want to hit the slopes you're going to have to visit your cold weather town of choice, but that doesn't mean you still can't train at home.

Alternatives: Though they're not exactly the same thing, water skiing can be a good replacement for snow skiing. For expert tips on the water, head to Bennett's Water Ski & Wakeboard School in Baton Rogue or Cajon X Cable in Lafayette. 

You can also practice your snow skiing skills right in your living room with SkiA Ski Trainers or replicate cross-country skiing on dry land with roller skis. To practice the balancing aspect of Olympic winter sports like snowboarding, change things up a bit and take a class at City Surf Fitness or go flyboarding.

YouTube video credit: NBC Sports

Travel: There are a multitude of slopes to hit up across the U.S., but if you aren't a fan of snow seeping into your cold weather outerwear, try sandboarding instead. The sand might still get into places you don't want, but at least it'll be warm. Test out your boarding skills at destinations like Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in Mosca, CO or Sand Master Park in Florence, OR.

Sliding Sports

The best you can probably do to simulate any of the Olympic sliding sports – luge, skeleton, bobsled -  in Louisiana is to head to a waterpark and pretend you're gliding down ice instead of water. But you do have other options.

In the gym: You might not find a bobsled in New Orleans, but most Crossfit gyms incorporate pushing sleds, or Prowlers, into their workouts, which is probably the closest you'll get. While there, you can also get in some Olympic lifting, which is part of most sliding athletes workout regimens. In fact, skeleton athlete Katie Uhlaender compliments her Olympic training by competing internationally in weightlifting, not to mention track cycling. Running sprints is also a key workout for athletes like Uhlaender, as Ghana's first skeleton athlete Akwasi Frimpong, as well as all members of the Nigerian women's bobsled team started as sprinters.

YouTube video credit: USA Today

Travel: There are several cold weather destinations where you can learn how to bobsled or luge, including Whiteface Mountain and Muskegon Winter Sports Complex. However, they are also open in the warmer months for those who want to try their hand at Winter Olympic sports, just not during the winter.

What are your favorite ways to train like a Winter Olympian? Head over to Facebook and Instagram to share your favorite workouts and sports. 

- Lori Wilson

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Five Yoga Poses For Lower Back Pain That Benefit the Whole Body


Back pain can be an issue for runners, everyday athletes or something that just comes with age. Luckily there are a few yoga poses that can help alleviate some of that pressure. 

Move Ya Brass' fitness instructor Shanda Domango shared her favorite yoga poses for back pain, noting, "They help you stretch out other parts of your body too. Even though they're predominantly working the lower back, you're also getting a benefit of working other areas of your body that might be tight. Other areas that might be compromised when you're running, as far as dealing with impact. Especially the hips."

The next time you're feeling soreness in your lower back, try these Shanda recommended stretches:



Get on your hands and knees in a tabletop position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Take a deep inhale and round your back as you draw your belly button to your spine. Then, as you exhale, press your belly button towards the floor, slightly arching your back. Repeat this sequence a few times matching your breath to your movement.


Shanda likes Cat-Cow because "it helps pretty much release any pressure that might be sitting on your lower back."

The Spinal Twist

Lie down on your back. Bring your knees to your chest and let both of your legs fall to one side, one stacked on top of the other. Stretch both arms out in a T position with both shoulders touching the ground. Turn your head in the opposite direction of your knees. Repeat on opposite side.


Shanda recommends this pose because it "helps alleviate any pressure, as well as stretch out any knots that you may be feeling in your lower back."

Happy Baby

Lie on your back and bring your legs up in the air. Bend your knees and grab your big toe or the bottoms of your feet. Bring your knees down towards the ground, or as far as they can go, and just hang there.


"You can give yourself a little bit of a rock back and forth, if that's something that you want to do," Shanda suggested. "But that stretch within itself creates a really good lower back stretch and it also gives a good stretch in your hip flexors, especially like with running and how that can be really tight."


"Even though it does help with lower back pain, [Pigeon is] another stretch that is good for hips, as well as good for your quads," Shanda said.


It's often helpful to start in Plank or Downward Dog position and then flow your right knee to the ground close to your right wrist. Your right foot should be near your left hip or towards your left hand, whatever is comfortable for you. Keep your left leg on the floor stretched out behind you. Lift your chest up with both hands touching the ground, stretch forward onto your forearms, or walk your hands out in front of you. Repeat on opposite side. 

It doesn't matter how far you bring your upper body down, because as Shanda said, it's all about your own flexibility. "It's not one of those things where you have to feel like, 'Oh, I'm not that flexible,'" she assured. "It's a stretch you can progress into."

Child's Pose

"One of my go-tos, and I think everybody can appreciate this, is Child's Pose," Shanda said.

To get into the pose, sit on your heels with your toes touching and knees facing out. Lean your chest forward towards the floor and reach your arms out in front of you, as you stretch your hips back to the wall.


"Even though you feel it a lot in the upper back," Shanda explained, "there's a deeper stretch happening there if you pay attention and focus on what you're stretching."

If you've ever been in a yoga class and had an instructor press down on your hips while you're in Child's Pose, you know how good that extra pressure feels. Therefore, Shanda agreed that, "There's something about having a partner stretch you that I feel is way more effective and way more powerful."

What is your favorite way to relieve pressure on your lower back? Share your tips with us on Facebook or Instagram

- Lori Wilson

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Keep Your New Year's Resolutions With These Fun, Free Workouts


Saving money and getting in shape are two of the most common New Year's resolutions. They're also two of the most commonly broken ones.

Changing up your workouts can keep you interested in fitness, while free workouts can help save you money while doing so. My favorite ways to do both include sprinting, running stairs and jumping rope, all of which can also come in handy if you just want to be a stronger, faster runner.

In addition to being free (except for the purchase of an inexpensive jump rope), these cardio routines can also be done anywhere. Which is perfect if you're traveling for the holidays and want to stay on your fitness path or want a head start on your resolutions. And since many fitness trainers and websites post free workouts on social media, such as Men's Health Top Trainer Gideon Akande and aSweatLife (a site I contribute to), you can incorporate body weight exercises into your new routines as well.


Jumping Rope

Muscle & Fitness says, "Anyone that competes in a sport that involves coordination, footwork, quickness, hand speed, agility, rhythm, and even power – whether competitively or recreationally – will definitely benefit from training with a jump rope." It's essentially a full body, calorie burning workout. And it's fun!

There are several workouts online you can follow, that include just jumping intervals or alternating jumping with body weight exercises. Tips on form and skill can be found in videos at Punk Rope, who holds jump rope classes on the East Coast. I have also enjoyed workouts from Huffington Post and Men's Fitness, which I've done at a nearby track or park.

Jumping rope can take a few tries to get into a rhythm, but once you do, it is an effective and entertaining deviation from your normal workout routine.


Speed Work/Sprints

I like sprints because the short, fast bursts make me feel athletic, whereas I often just feel like I'm plodding along during long distances. While sprints can done as individual workouts, like I enjoy, speed work can be incorporated into longer runs, for those looking to improve their racing pace. Whichever way you're doing it, the benefits of speed work, as told to Runner's World by exercise physiologist Marius Maianu, include weight loss, strength building, faster feet, increased stamina, running stronger and longer, and prolonged enjoyment of running.

These workouts can, but don't necessarily have to be done on a track. The distance markers and straightaways vs turns are often utilized, but you can also go to a park, on a hiking trail or around your neighborhood and gauge distance using landmarks, like the lampposts at Audubon Park.

Just don't forget to warm up and work on proper form. Then, check out Runner's World 's tips on speed training or try the sprints I enjoy, given to me by my track runner/coach father, that I wrote about for aSweatLife.



One of my favorite things about when I lived in Los Angeles was its proximity to the mountains. I could just walk down the street and get in a strenuous hill workout, resulting in relatively quick weight loss and a feeling of overall fitness. I've mostly lived in flat cities since then, but I've found that adding stair workouts to my runs, or more accurately, walks, is a great way to replace strenuous hills.

Shape magazine says, "Stair workouts not only kick your butt, they also firm it like nothing else." And running coach/marathoner Brad Hudson told Runner's World, "There's nothing better for developing speed and muscle power," than running uphill.

If you don't have access to hills at home or on the road, look for stairs at a local high school or college stadium, a park or anywhere that has a set of stairs you can freely run/walk up and down. If you're in New Orleans, Crescent Park has two sets of stairs that are perfect to climb and the straightaway in between them can be used to cool down with a walk, jog or body weight exercises.

Check out Runner's World's tips on hill running, as well as Shape and Prevention for more workout ideas. 

Have you incorporated any of these workouts into your fitness routine? Interested in trying them out? Head over to Move Ya Brass's Instagram and tell us your thoughts on these or other free workouts to keep you on your fitness path. 

- Lori Wilson

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Self-Care Activities to Help You Through the Holidays

Wild Lotus Yoga

Wild Lotus Yoga

The holiday season is upon us. A time meant for family, friends, love and good cheer. But with all the added social and family obligations, travel arrangements and gift buying, on top of our everyday life commitments, things can get a bit stressful.

For some, it can even be a time wished away, instead of a time relished. In order to feel more of the latter and less of the former, it's important to take care of ourselves during the holiday rush. Therefore, I've come up with a few self-care activities to help keep stress at bay and to hopefully find more joy during the holiday season.

Just keep in mind the advice on self-care I received from Swan River Yoga's certified yoga teacher Claire Privat (who is also a doctoral student in clinical psychology): "If it feels like a chore or another thing looming on your to do list, you won't get as much from it." Instead, she says to remember, "it's all about giving yourself permission to just do it and enjoy it while you're doing it without expectations."


Pamper Yourself

I love a good spa day. Turning off my cell phone, stepping away from my laptop and letting someone cater to me? Yes, please. In addition to their rejuvenating services, Belladonna Day Spa on Magazine St. invites their guests to lounge with a mimosa on their outdoor patio or relax in their sauna beforehand. If there's no time for the leisurely extras, Shine Day Spa in Mid-City is a tranquil option that transforms from a bright storefront to a dimly lit, quiet sanctuary by just turning a corner. Whatever service or spa chosen from the multitude of options in New Orleans, give yourself permission to tune out and let go of any tension.

Restorative Yoga

As I heard a Wild Lotus Yoga instructor put it, restorative yoga is a time to allow ourselves to do nothing. Many people have a hard time doing that, especially considering how electronically connected we all are. However, with guided instruction on how best to support yourself in various reclining poses for several minutes at a time, while listening to calming music and the lull of the instructor's voice, it's easy to give in to it. Even if your mind wanders to your to do list, sometimes in this state of relaxation, our stresses can become more focused and manageable. In addition to Wild Lotus, I highly recommend taking one of Privat's classes at Swan River Yoga – both studios also offer discounted class options - or, if making it to a class isn't feasible, try these poses at home.


Immerse Yourself in Nature

Nature has a calming effect on our moods and stress levels. Research proves it. If time is an issue, this might be the best way to add self-care to your busy schedule. Take a lunch or coffee break in a green space without a phone or laptop. The Sculpture Garden at City Park is my favorite place to do that, but It could simply mean just heading outside the office for fresh air. You can also combine cardio with nature by biking/walking/running the tree-lined paths of Audubon Park or along the Mississippi River at Crescent Park. Just make sure to stop and appreciate your natural surroundings. If there's time, go all in by getting out of the city and hike at one of these nearby trails.

Try Something New

Learning an activity completely foreign to you increases the likelihood there won't be enough space in your brain to also worry about holiday/work/life stress. I mean, who's going to obsess over their holiday shopping list while trying to figure out how to hang upside down from a silks hammock without falling to the ground at Fly Circus Space? You could also just let your mind be free of any worry and jump around like a kid, or ninja warrior if you prefer, at a trampoline park. Whatever new activity you attempt, you might just get in a surprisingly good workout, feel a sense of accomplishment and most importantly, have some fun.

Fly Circus Space

Fly Circus Space

Don't Over Extend

This might be the most important activity to partake in: Learn to say no. Show up for the people and activities that are important to you and politely decline the ones that immediately invoke stress. You'll save yourself a lot of aggravation. And, whether it's a financial issue or you're tired of frantically searching for something to buy at the last minute for people who have everything they want or need, maybe say no to gift giving. (Not for your kids obviously) Instead, find a way to spend time with those people, which can be far more meaningful anyway. You could also donate the money not spent on gifts to a favorite charity or find somewhere your group can volunteer together. (Stay tuned for opportunities to do that with Move Ya Brass this holiday season.)

What are your favorite ways during the holidays to achieve more this:

And a lot less this:

Head over to Instagram and share your best holiday self-care activities.

- Lori Wilson

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What to Know About Running and Nutrition

Photo credit: Tomas Orihuela

Photo credit: Tomas Orihuela

Knowing what to eat before, during and after a run is a tricky thing, so we reached out to Move Ya Brass Krewe member and Registered Dietician Lisa Littrell for advice.

Lisa serves as the current Health and Nutrition Coordinator at Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans Head Start Program. She's also a lifelong athlete who found running in 2015. She ran her first 5K that year at The Crescent City Fall Classic and continued training so she could participate in this year's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and an ultra 50K at the Croom Fools Run in Florida.  

Here's what she told us about fueling as a runner.

Before a Run

"I would advise [eating] something that's low in fiber," Lisa said. "If it's a long run [anything longer than 90 minutes], you should have a little bit of protein in there also. Toast with peanut butter or an egg in a tortilla, [or] fruit and yogurt. Something also that is low in fiber and that you have already experimented with prior to a race, because everybody's stomach reacts differently to things. So, it takes a little bit of trial and error."

For a shorter run, like a 5K, she suggested something small, like a piece of toast or a banana at least 30 minutes before.

During a Run

"If you're going beyond 90 minutes you definitely need to have nutrition during the run and be paying close attention to your electrolytes," Lisa stated.

Due to her stomach sensitivity issues, Lisa skips products from popular brands like Gatorade and NUUN, preferring instead Hüma gels because they contain more natural ingredients. She's also been experimenting with chewable salt tabs and products from Tailwind because they have a low FODMAP mix, which makes it easier to digest.

Actual food is an option as well, as she pointed out, "People will put peanut butter sandwiches in their packs or a boiled potato with salt, because that's your potassium and salt and your carbohydrates."

After a Run

Lisa advised eating something 15 to 30 minutes post run. "It doesn't have to be a full meal, but you should definitely have a little bit of carbohydrates and a little bit of protein directly after because of the hormonal effect. If you wait longer, you'll probably end up over eating later on because of the hormone reaction to a run … And then, you know, have your big meal later on, but there should definitely be some rehydration and refueling immediately after."

Forget About Carb Loading

Runners often hear about this, but, per Lisa, a consistently healthy diet is a better option. "I think that more important than what happens the day before a race is your routine," she said. "So as long as you're having a healthy diet on a day-to-day basis and you're hydrated on a regular basis then carb loading doesn't really affect your run. Because things like hydration and nutrition are based off of multiple days, not just the day before."

As for what to incorporate into your daily diet, Lisa detailed that thee meals plus snacks, or six small meals should do it. Before breakfast, keep it small and low in fiber, but after, switch to high fiber with protein.

"Yogurt and chia seeds, or oatmeal and a banana, or oatmeal and an egg, or something like that," she recommended. "In general, lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and complex carbohydrates for your meals which are high fiber carbohydrates, but like I said, if it's right before a run, if it's a snack to fuel your run, it has to be low carbohydrate because it's easier to digest and absorb."

Skip the Cheat Meals as Well

"My issue with cheat meals is people tend to go overboard on that day because they're waiting all week for this particular day," she explained.

Instead, Lisa prefers to stick to the 80/20 rule: healthy choices 80 percent of the time and choices based off of desire and craving 20 percent of the time.

"I think in terms of calorie content and mental health, it's better to just have a moderate diet every day of the week rather than have something restrictive six days of the week and then a cheat day on Sunday or something like that. But, I do definitely think post run you should eat whatever your heart desires," she laughed. "Because you worked hard."

As for Lisa's post run desire? A burger and fries.

- Lori Wilson

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Lululemon Elevation

In today's society, we have a lot social issues going on about race and equality. One of the main things I took from my experience with last week's Lululemon Elevation is that if you find a common ground with people, we can get along and put our differences aside. My trail sister, Megan Conner, wrote this beautiful blog about how her, myself, and others were brought together by using a common ground of our passion for running and our faith. One of the other things I also took from the trip is that if the world was full of runners, the world would be a better place.

MYB 2016 Jazz Half Marathon Training Program

We have a nice size Krewe participating in the 2016 Jazz Half Marathon and I felt it was beneficial to publish a self paced program to prepare for this half marathon.  As with any training program, you should always consult with your physician to assess the current state of your health and that you are healthy enough to go through this 10 week training program

For our intermediate runners, on Tuesdays, I would like to recommend track days at the City Park Practice Track for Track Tuesdays and Bucktown Marina for Tempo Run Day Tuesdays.  Times TBA as we identify who wants to participate in the program.  #ElCapitan

Helping Louisianians Affected by the Flood

Starting this evening (8/15), Move Ya Brass will be collecting items critically needed for our neighbors who were affected by the flooding over the last few days at each of our events. We particularly like to help two of our own Krewe members who were directly impacted by the flood. Donations can be dropped off during the following events:

Mondays: 6PM - 7PM: Shakeout Run,
in front of New Orleans Museum of Art, 1 Collins Diboll Circle, NOLA
Tuesdays: 5:45 - 6:45PM: Hip Hop Ya Brass, Crescent Park, 2300 N. Peters, NOLA
Thursday (8/18): 7:30 - 8:45PM: Light Up the Levee,
Bucktown Marina, 325 Metairie-Hammond Highway, Metairie

The following items will be collected and distributed to these Krewe members as well as to Second Harvester's Food Bank and to the United Way/Red Cross stationed shelters throughout Louisiana:

Gift Cards to Home Improvement & Supercenter Stores (Home Depot, Lowe's, Wal-Mart or Target)


  •      Toothbrushes
  •      Toothpaste
  •      Hand Sanitizer
  •      Travel Size Shampoo & Conditioner
  •      First Aid Supplies
  •      Cleaning Supplies
  •      Towels (wash cloths, bath towels, hand towels, etc.)
  •      Body Wash
  •      Bar Soap
  •      Hand Soap
  •      Depends (Pull Up disposable adult diapers)

Personal Items

  •      Pillows
  •      Blankets
  •      New Socks (all sizes)
  •      New Undergarments (adults & children)
  •      Clothes (all sizes)
  •      Sleeping Bags
  •      Cots/Mats

Personal Hygiene for Infants

  •      Diapers (all sizes)
  •      Baby Wipes
  •      Baby Powder
  •      Sippy Cups
  •      Baby Clothes (onesies, etc.)
  •      Baby Socks
  •      Baby Food (Infamil, powder formula, Neosure formula)


  •      Pet Kennels
  •      Leashes / Collars
  •      Pet Food