Blogs > Simply Fit

Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Actress Sheila Kelley Puts the Female Factor into Fitness

Sheila Kelley is credited with creating the pole dance fitness craze. Photo courtesy of S Factor fitness.

Fitness can be sensual. It can be seductive. It can be sexy. It can be liberating. It can be empowering. It is found in the natural. It is found in the organic. It lies within. It encompasses all. For women, it is what actress Shelia Kelley (Gossip Girl, Lost, L.A. Law)  defines as the S Factor -- "the deep, rich 'dark chocolate' of a woman's bodily movement, her S curve."

"Women move differently than men," Kelley stated during our phone interview earlier this week. "Men move in a linear way. Women have a curvier range of motion," she explained. It is this "S" shaped motion that first captivated Kelley when she was learning how to striptease and pole dance for her role as "Stormy" in the film Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000). It inspired her to develop a fitness program designed specifically for women which infuses striptease and pole dancing with ballet, Yoga and Pilates.

In preparation for her role as "Stormy," Kelley visited strip clubs in L.A. "I learned the curvy, organic, hyper-exaggerated movements [of erotic dance]," she noted. The mental, physical and emotional results of performing these motions are what hooked Kelley. "I became taughter and leaner quicker than I have from any other movement I have done in my life," explained Kelley, who was a dance major at New York University's Tisch School of Arts and who was a classically trained dancer with the Westmoreland Ballet Company at the age of 15 years. "I have always done movement...I love body loves to move, but nothing gave me the peace and confidence that I had in myself at the age of 36 years as did these organic movements. I learned to walk within the movement of the integrity of the feminine body. My husband (actor Richard Schiff of The West Wing) dropped his jaw, because he was so turned on by how tuned-in I was with my body," Kelley elaborated. Her demeanor and life changed so much from her experience that she wanted to share her journey with other women, so she created S Factor fitness and, as a result, has become credited with founding the pole dance fitness craze.

"The S Factor is about moving your body into its organic movement. You are curving your motion where your body naturally curves and pushing in where your body naturally goes in and pushing out where your body naturally pushes out," Kelley described. "It's about stretching out to the edge of your body's potential for movement. This is how you will become long, lean and curvy," she explained.
S Factor fitness allows a woman to get in touch with the movement of her own body. Photo courtesy of S Factor fitness.

S Factor fitness is about the experience of movement. "Runners like to see themselves get from here to there, but S Factor puts you into the movement. It is all about the journey of movement rather than the destination," stated Kelley. "Pushing your body into its curves heightens your sexuality," she noted. This is empowering for women and this confidence carries over into everyday life.

Humans are sexual beings and women should be free to embrace their sexuality. To embrace it doesn't mean you are exploiting it. To be sexy is to be healthy, it is inherent to your being. S Factor creates a wholesome sexuality because you are visiting the organic you. Research findings published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (2008) revealed that a woman's gait is naturally altered based on what stage of her menstrual cycle she is in, to which men are attuned to these changes in her walking pattern.
To be sexy is to be healthy. Photo courtesy of S Factor fitness.

Kelley's S Factor fitness workout is a copyrighted sequence of movements that are taught in studios located in Los Angeles, Encino, Costa Mesa in Orange County, San Francisco, New York, Houston and Chicago. The studios are dimly lit and contain no mirrors to ensure women can explore their "S" uninhibited. She also currently has six DVDs for sale for home use. Her original series includes feminine movements designed to accentuate a woman's S Curve and to awaken what Kelley calls the "Erotic Creature." Her "Soulfully Sexy" DVD series expands on this concept and introduces new routines of varying intensities. Coming out this March is a new S Factor workout program called "Fluid Feminine Movement" which Kelley describes as a strenuous program that uses a woman's own body weight to push her body past the boundaries. This latter series does not introduce the striptease and pole dance aspect, but concentrates more on learning about the female body and how it is built to move.

Kelley's advice to women who may be leery about embracing their wholesome sexuality is this: "Every and any woman can find her "S." It is the voice of her body and it is a crime to not awaken it. You are the definition of your own beauty. If you choose to ignore it, it will be ignored. If you choose to acknowledge and explore it, it will blossom. You cannot go through life without letting your body live to its fullest potential of movement, because within that movement is joy."

To learn more about Sheila Kelley's S Factor fitness, register for a class or retreat, or to purchase her DVDs and books, visit her website at

Phone Interview: Sheila Kelley, December 19, 2011.

Arch Sex Behav (2008) 37:598-604.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fitness Tips for the Holidays

You've got the list, but when you check it twice this holiday season, make sure your name is on it too. Regardless of whether you have been naughty or nice, fitness is one gift you can give to yourself that serves the dual purpose of whipping you into shape while rewarding your mind and body with good health. Fortunately, fitting exercise into a busy holiday schedule can be done when you plan ahead and have the right mindset, according to David Krainiak, owner of Michigan's Adventure Boot Camp.

"During this time of year, our lives can get very hectic, so workout routines can get disrupted or ignored," says Krainiak. "It's easy to say, a few weeks without exercise won't harm me or, I'll catch up after the New Year's. However, it will be more difficult to re-start exercising later, when you might have a few post-holiday pounds to lose," he explains. Krainiak offers these tips for staying in shape over the holidays:
  • Visualize: Envision your future self. Have you become overweight? Have you developed a chronic disease, such as diabetes? How much stamina will you have to do the things that you love? "Often, when you think of the consequences of your actions ahead of time, that will be all of the motivation you'll need to keep exercising," he notes.
  • Make it Manageable: If you cannot fit in a long exercise session, Kraniak suggests that you break it up into two or three, 10 to 15 minute sessions performed throughout the day. You can still reap the health benefits without a huge schedule commitment at any one time.
  • Schedule it Early: You are more likely to exercise if you get it done and out of the way for the rest of the day. Krainiak points out that early morning exercise can help you to become more energized for all other activities. If you are not a morning person, Krainiak suggests that you include a mini-workout while you are on your lunch break.
  • Make it Count: "Use HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which is shorter in duration, but extremely effective at burning fat and keeping you in shape," recommends Krainiak.
  • Don't Say "I Can't": Often we waste more time coming up with excuses as to why we can't exercise than we would if we just exercised in the first place. Mindset is key. Krainiak says to tell yourself that "You can and will."
  • Make it Social: Grab a friend or family member and get moving together. "Statistics show that people who exercise with a friend or in a group are more successful at exercising consistently, states Krainiak. "Make a pact with friends to encourage each other should one of you feel like slacking off," he suggests.
Additionally, be creative. Think outside the box when it comes to finding ways to stay fit this season. For instance, host the office holiday party at an ice skating rink or a banquet hall with a dance floor where you and other party guests can get up and moving throughout the celebration. Or, consider a new holiday tradition that gets you active, such as cutting down your own Christmas tree.

For more information about David Krainiak and his services, visit or call toll free at (866) 861-5423.

About Michigan's Adventure Boot Camp for Women: A former personal trainer, Krainiak launched Michigan's Adventure Boot Camp for Women in October of 2007 and has added 6 other locations since. Krainiak is known as the "Go-to-Guy" in the fitness industry specializing in weight loss for women and fitness jumpstarts. Schedules and client testimonials are available at Krainiak, with over 15 years in the fitness industry, has an impressive resume listing over a dozen certifications, and has appeared or been mentioned numerous times on TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, books and various media. He has been "Voted Best Male Trainer in Hour Magazine 2010, 2011."

Press Release: DKE David K Enterprises, Inc.: November 21, 2011.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Dasha Astafieva, a Woman with a Beautiful Soul

Dasha Astafieva was Playboy's 55th Anniversary Playmate and she is a Spokeswoman for

I learned the true meaning of beauty this week from my phone conversation with Dasha Astafieva, who was Playboy's 55th Anniversary Playmate and the Playmate of the Month for January 2009. Astafieva, a Ukrainian who was born from humble beginnings, has achieved success as a model, a singer for the Ukrainian pop group NikitA, and as a Spokeswoman for,* the world's largest international online dating community with approximately 80 million members. The driving force behind her success goes beyond her outward appearance. Her beauty runs deeper -- it is within the depths of her soul.

Astafieva's inner beauty is expressed through her healthy outlook on life. Her goal is happiness for all. "As a little girl I dreamed to be happy and to see people be happy around me," she explained. She wants to make a difference in the lives of others and to make the world a better place. Here is what she had to say during our interview:

Simply Fit: Who has inspired you to become successful?
Astafieva: "I admire people with history. Hugh Hefner is interesting, kind, a gentleman and he is very talented. He has dreams for the world. He is a great example. [He taught me] that I need to be more free and to dream like him.....Marilyn Monroe had imagination. She is an idol. She was womanly, very kind and talented. And, [she was] so beautiful -- not like candy, only on the outside -- she had a beautiful soul."

Simply Fit: How has becoming a Playboy Playmate changed you?
Astafieva: "Years ago, I was like a child. I always was a bit scared with my dreams. When I met Hef, he tried to make me more sure with myself. He helped me to stay more womanly and to be more self-confident. [Being a Playboy Playmate has helped me to] be more useful and to do something good for people around me. I don't want to be just a beautiful woman, I want to be useful."

Simply Fit: Why were you interested in becoming involved with
Astafieva: "I have always felt that I am a real woman with a real life. I am not just a popular girl. I have a real life behind the stage and dream to find a man to my heart and soul. I travel a lot and I don't have a lot of time. is a very good chance [for me] to try to communicate with gentlemen and great men who are trying to find a woman."

Simply Fit: As a model and singer, you have to keep your body in great shape. What are your secrets and tips for keeping your figure?
Astafieva: "I eat healthy, do not smoke, do not drink, and try to sleep in healthy [amounts of] time..... My favorite exercise is Yoga.....In my free time I try to do Yoga. It is not only for your body, it is exercise for your soul and mind. I start with Yoga everyday with my teacher. He is a very smart man and a great example and a strong teacher.....I try to be happy and to be happy with work hobbies. I try to speak with interesting persons to try to learn good information."
Yoga, Astafieva's favorite exercise, is exercise for the mind, body and soul.

Simply Fit: How do you manage to keep balance in your life when you have so many demands placed on you?
Astafieva: Yoga helps me to concentrate. It is good for me because I travel a lot and it can be done anywhere and whenever. It can be done in the morning or in the evening."
Yoga helps Astafieva to concentrate.

Simply Fit: What advice do you have for other women who want to be successful like you?
Astafieva: "Run like me! Run with soul and heart! Be more natural and remember where you were born and who your parents are. It is not about yourself, but about others around you. Live for friends and people around you. Every woman needs to know they are born to be beautiful, brilliant, and shining to make people around them more happy."

*About Anastasia International is the world's largest international dating service with portals for Russia and the CIS, Asia, South America and Africa, and has helped thousands of men from the U.S., Canada and Western Europe find the women of their dreams.

Phone Interview: December 7, 2011; Dasha Astafieva; Kiev, Ukraine.

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