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Fire Dancing: Hoola Monsters on FOX13

We had an amazing opportunity to do some fire dancing on FOX13, to help promote our upcoming Fire Dance and Safety Workshop. Check out the awesome clip here:

Our next fire dance class takes place on March 7 at NOVA 535 from 5-7 p.m.

Register Now

Learn more about our upcoming events and workshops here.

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Kids Fitness Classes At Home

With so many children out of school right now (no PE, no play dates with friends), it’s more important than ever to keep ’em moving, playing and inspired through fun fitness. That’s why I’m so pleased to bring you Kids Fitness Classes At Home!

For those who may not know… I’m an ACE-Certified Youth Fitness Specialist. In addition to teaching kids hula hooping, I also offer circuit-style Kids Fit Classes and Kidding Around Yoga.

Just click this image to learn more and register:

kidsfitnessathome

 

I’m also a firm believer that fitness should be affordable and attainable for all. With that said, I make living as a fitness instructor (all of my classes are now cancelled) and as an event vendor and entertainer (all of my events are cancelled too).

It goes without saying that I’d greatly appreciate the $10 per class fee, but if you can’t afford it – please let me know. I don’t want financial constraints to prevent your child from exercising with me. Just send me a message, and I’ll do what I can. I’m offering a limited number of class passes to families in need.

And if you’d be so kind to SHARE THIS POST and TAG FRIENDS WITH KIDS, I’d greatly appreciate it. Let’s keep our kids healthy (both physically and mentally) during these stressful times. The little ones feel what’s happening in our world, and they need a healthy outlet too!

Also, because of the platform I’m using, you’ll need to register for classes in advance. It’s super user-friendly, so just click the link below for all the details. I can’t wait to see your little munchkin soon.

Grab your spot here: https://event.webinarjam.com/register/1/2444mum

Finally, if you’d like to take part in the Tuesday classes but don’t have a handmade hoop, my ETSY shop is still open! Kids hoops start as low as $20. Just be sure to select the lightweight option and read description to ensure you’re ordering the right size.

Sincerely,

Abby Lee
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Hula Hoop Workout with Abby Lee

BIG NEWS!

You can now experience a hula hoop workout (actually, a whole series of them) in the privacy of your own home!

It’s been a long time coming, friends! I’m SO EXCITED to announce that online Hoola-Fit classes are now available! You no longer need to be a St. Pete local to enjoy the fun fitness benefits of modern day hoop dance. Here are a few reasons to give Hoola Fitness a spin:

💫 According to the American Council on Exercise, Hoola-Fit burns an average of 420 calories an hour.
💫Fitness experts agree that if you find an activity you enjoy, you’re much more likely to stick with it.
💫 Modern day hoop dance is a mind/ body/ spirit practice that promotes coordination, balance, and cardiovascular endurance.
💫 Side effects including smiling, laughter and a joyful state of being.

I’ve been teaching hoop dance for more than a decade, and sharing this art form is one of my greatest passions in life. So, to kick things off, I’m offering a totally FREE 30-Minute Intro Class

Registration is NOW OPEN for my 4-part Hoola-Fit Foundations class hula hoop workout class series!

Fun Fact: All of these beautiful hoopers are first-time Hoola-Fitters. If they can do it, you can too! And, you’ll definitely need a handcrafted hoop to get started: You can read this article for info. on how to choose a handmade hoop for optimal success


About the Author: Abby Joan Lee
 Abby is the founder of both Hoola-Fit and Hoola Monsters – Florida’s first full service hoop dance company, which specializes in handmade fitness hoops, hoop dance classes and performances. A play professional and fitness pro for more than a decade, Abby is an ACE-Certified Youth Fitness Specialist and ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor who also holds certifications in Les Mills Body Combat and Cardio Kickboxing. A hoop dance educator since 2007, Abby has taught the art form to thousands of people of all ages. She’s also spent years developing, testing and implementing her training programs. Her mission is to inspire and empower hoop dancers worldwide.

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Hula Hooping Workout: It’s Not Just Child’s Play

That’s right friends. As we like to say, “It’s a revolution”. Here are 5 legit benefits of modern day hoop dance:

Burns Fat
Tones Body
Increases Cardiovascular Endurance
Improves Coordination & Balance
Improves Flexibility of the Spine

We should also mention that hula hooping improves the mood, and according to the American Council on Exercise, you burn an average of 420 calories an hour hooping. So, are you ready to give Hoola Fitness a spin?

Click here to gain access to a FREE 30-Minute Class Demo.

You can also check out Hoola-Fit for online classes and handmade hoops.

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How I Lost 35 Pounds and Kept it Off at Age 39

 

Real Talk: I’ve had body image issues for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Florida, pool parties were the norm. I remember, as a kid, I was always so embarrassed to be seen in my swimsuit. And my biggest insecurity was my belly. I’ve never been one of those girls with a tiny waist and well defined curves. Then, as time went on, so did my weight battle. The scale was constantly fluctuating, and I tried every diet under the sun. I gained; I lost, and this viscous cycle continued for more than a couple decades.

In fact, this time last year, I was only 2 months into my weight loss journey when I realized that I finally found something that worked for me. The 2-month mark was pivotal because that’s when I allowed myself to step on the scale (I refused to weigh myself for the first two months of my journey because I didn’t want to obsess over it)… And after my first “weigh-in,” it became clear that the pounds were literally melting off.

If you would have told me that I’d be posting a shirtless pic on my website a year later, I would’ve said you were crazy. And yet – here I am: 5 pounds under my original goal weight, and 35 lbs down total. I never thought I’d be in the best shape of my life at age 39, either. But I’m here to tell you (and show you) that anything is possible.

Here are my biggest takeaways from my weight loss journey, along with some steps to success that I hope you’ll find helpful:

Step 1: Make the Commitment to Change. The power of your mental state is everything! Get clear on your goals and what you want to accomplish. And don’t go crazy. Start small. Consider hiding the scale in the beginning too. Focus on how you FEEL instead of how you look.

Step 2: Create a Plan that’s Sustainable and that Works for You. Different things work for different people. Take my younger sis for example. She’s big on calorie counting, and she writes down everything she eats. She lost 60 pounds, and that’s what works for her (but I fell flat on my face with her method).

As for me, I practice a clean ketogenic lifestyle. What does that mean, you might ask? I eat low carb, high fat, and foods that are nutrient-rich (meaning loads of leafy greens, organic low carb veggies, sustainable seafood, eggs, nuts and berries). I also practice intuitive eating, which is just a fancy way of saying that I only eat when I’m hungry and if I want to do a carb-up because I feel low energy, I’ll do it. Intermittent fasting also works really well for me. And bulletproof coffee gives me life. It’s just a tablespoon of grassfed butter, a tablespoon of MCT oil, almond milk, coffee (and cinnamon if you want) in a blender. That will keep you full all morning, and it promotes mental clarity.

Side Note: I know this may be a lot to digest (pun intended) – so you can pop into my Keto Fit Tribe Facebook Group to learn more. We’ve got some great free resources in there, and it’s just a good, old-fashioned community-based group intended to support one another. Good vibes only!

Prior to starting the Keto Diet, I tried everything and I constantly felt like I was failing. Plus, as a group fitness instructor and performance artist, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be fit for my job and I was beyond frustrated.

The reason Keto was a game-changer for me is because, by being fat fueled, I stayed full longer. I was no longer munching and anticipating my next meal. I’ve also never felt deprived. Case in point: I eat chocolate every day. It just has to be 90% cacao or higher. Or it has to be Lily’s – my favorite sugar-free chocolate brand – (and no, I’m not endorsed by them but I totally want to be so they’ll send me free chocolate ;).

So… here’s my recommendation: Do some research on different diet plans to determine what will work best for you, your lifestyle, and your body.

Step 3: Move Your Body! Fitness experts agree that you’re much more likely to stick with an activity that you enjoy! In other words, you don’t need to do workouts that you hate in order to get the results that you want. Trust me… if someone told me that I was only allowed to run, for example, instead of doing the exercises that I love (like hula hooping and kickboxing), I’d be feeling frustrated all over again. But when you find an activity that excites you… you’re going to want to keep doing it! Did you know that, according to the American Council on Exercise, hooping burns an average of 420 calories an hour?!? Yep! And you get to smile the whole time you’re doing it. I’ve even got some free tutorials to get you started, and here’s where you can purchase a great priced beginner hoop.

 

Step 4: Meal Prep. Regardless of what plan you choose to follow, be sure to plan out your meals so you aren’t in a situation where you’ve got “nothing to eat,” in which case you might opt for food that’s not on your plan. That can put you into a downward spiral so super fast. You don’t need to be an award-winning chef to prep healthy food either. There are plenty of quick and easy recipes that you can find on Pinterest. I always keep a variety of raw nuts, string cheese and seaweed snacks on hand for quick grab-and-go situations, too. But take the time to plan out your meals and portion them so you don’t have to worry about it.

Step 5: Lay off the booze. Seriously. If you want to see real results real quick, ditch the alcohol. If you do decide to indulge, opt for low sugar drinks (like vodka/ soda) or a glass of French Bordeaux. Notice how I said glass and not bottle?!? 😉

Step 6: Don’t Give Up! Even if you fall of track, pick yourself back up and start fresh again the next day. And with the holidays just a couple short weeks away, my suggestion is to START NOW.
Honestly, I think starting a diet plan before the holidays will set you up for success in a massive way. You will feel UNSTOPPABLE after refraining from temptation during the most indulgent time of the year. I cut out sugar the week before Halloween, and I was so proud of myself for doing that. It helped me keep the momentum up! So, get your head right. And if you can make it through the holidays and stay on track, you’ll have a huge jump on things in the New Year! Again, whatever you do… don’t give up!

I hope you found this helpful, and I’m sending you so much love and positive vibes. You got this!
XOXO,
Abby

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Learn to Teach Hoop Dance

Abby here! I’ll admit… I was scared to death the first time I stepped into the studio to teach hoop dance.

 

It was more than 10 years ago, and I’d never taught group fitness before. I literally taped my notes to the mirror, and I worried that I wouldn’t do the art form justice.

Hooping had transformed my life in the best ways possible, and I felt as though it was my duty to share it with others (even if it scared me). Hoop dance caused me to become more physically fit; I also attribute this powerful movement meditation practice as my main healing mechanism from depression.

Still, I had my reservations…
What if I’m not good enough to teach?
What if people don’t take hooping seriously?
How do I teach flow (the transcendent state of being where one loses sight of space and time, becoming one with the moment)?
What will keep my students engaged and coming back?
What will I do if an advanced hooper walks into my class of beginners?

These were some of the thoughts that consumed my newbie hoop dance teacher mind. Now, here we are: a decade later and I’ve turned my passion for hooping into a full-time career. In doing so, I’ve since it made it my personal mission to inspire, motivate and spread joy to others through this powerful art form.

It’s my vision to bring hoop dance to more gyms, dance studios, fitness centers and schools nationwide, and I now do this by helping people step into their power as hoop dance educators. There’s no reason to go through the same growing pains that I did.

Simply click here to join me for the free master class.

 

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My 35 Pound Keto Weight Loss

keto weight loss

Before: July 2017 After: May 2018

I’d love to tell you that hula hooping was the primary factor for my weight loss. My ETSY Shop would be sold out if that were the case! But, unfortunately, I can’t make that claim. (Side Note: If you want to talk about someone who does credit an even greater weight loss to hula hooping, you can read Heather’s story here).

Don’t get me wrong… being active is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and I guarantee that I would have had much more weight to lose had it not been for my fitness regime (which includes hoop dancing, kickboxing, teaching kids’ fitness, and daily walks).

The thing is… I’ve been an athlete my whole life. I even played college tennis, and I’m a certified group fitness instructor. And as a performance artist, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to look a certain way. But for the last 10 years or so, I’ve been struggling with weight gain. I started to pack on the pounds and couldn’t figure out why. I was hitting the gym, and I was “eating right” (or so I thought). Still, I gained.

Then, in August of 2017, I went shopping for my wedding dress. With my mom, sisters, and best friend bridesmaids surrounding me, we had the teary-eyed “this is the one!” moment. But there were two problems: 1) The gorgeous Hayley Paige dress was out of budget and 2) It was about 4 sizes too small and didn’t zip up.

So, a week later, when the very same dress was marked down exponentially during a trunk sale, I had a big decision to make: Do I let the dream dress get away or Do I purchase it with the understanding that I’d either need to add a corset back or lose a shit ton of weight? I took a chance and chose the latter. This dress was my weight loss motivation:

 

The amount of weight that I’d need to lose seemed like a huge hurdle, but I began to log my food in a diary, meticulously count calories, and amp up my already-strenuous workouts – even though none of these things had worked for me in the past. Then, in divine timing, a friend asked if I’d ever heard of the Ketogenic Diet. “It’s a high fat, low carbohydrate way of eating that turns the body into a fat-burning machine vs. the traditional glucosamine burning system that most Americans run on.” I was intrigued but had my reservations. I’d tried the Atkins Diet years ago, and I didn’t think living off of cheese and bacon was the way to go. Plus, I’m Pescatarian – meaning that the only meat I eat is sustainable seafood. I’ve eaten this way for more than a decade, and without meat, I thought it was going to be so hard to make the Keto lifestyle work for me. But here’s the thing… it wasn’t! I love to cook, and being a vendor at the Farmers Market made it super easy to pick up organic, fresh veggies on a weekly basis. So, I gave it a shot… and the pounds literally started to fall off!

I called my way of eating “Clean Keto” – I upped the healthy fats (like bullet proof coffee, coconut oil and macadamia nuts) and I completely ditched the sugar and cut carbs down to 30 per day. Leafy greens, sustainable seafood and healthy fats became the backbone of my diet. The first couple of weeks were tough, but then – amazing things started to happen! Not only did the weight start to fall off, but my carb and sugar cravings decreased exponentially.

My body clearly showed me that sugar was the enemy in disguise… All this time, I thought I was fueling my body with healthy foods – eating low fat/ low calorie (and choosing things like a granola bar over an avocado, for example, due to fat content). But I was wrong! Other amazing changes began to occur also… my hunger cravings were drastically reduced; I was hardly ever sore after my workouts (no more inflammation!); I no longer had cramps each month; my skin totally cleared up, I was experiencing more mental clarity, which increased my work productivity, and my overall energy level increased. Then, it all made sense…. I realized that Fat doesn’t make us Fat! Sugar & Carbs were the culprits throwing my body out of whack (and when I say sugar, I mean the sugar that hides in things like pasta, rice & bread).

I became so passionate about my new way of life that I even started a Keto Fit Tribe of my own. Feel free to join our group for recipes, support and motivation (we aren’t selling anything – it’s just good, old-fashioned, community support). And when I showed up for my wedding dress alteration appointment two months before my wedding, I was shocked when the dress zipped right up. It fit like a glove, and I couldn’t believe it! We didn’t need to add that corset back after all.

I’m so grateful that Clean Keto changed my life! I’ve been eating this way for almost a year now, and it’s been the best thing that I’ve ever done for my health.

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10 Reasons to Teach Hoop Dance

Hey Hoopers! So, you want to teach hoop dance but have no clue how to start? Here are 10 reasons why you might want to take a look at the Hoola Fit Teacher Training:

  1. Hoola-Fit is the only hula hoop fitness program in the country Approved by the American Council on Exercise (ACE is considered “the authority on fitness” and this is what helps you get in with gyms and studios, to teach your classes)
  2. By becoming a certified instructor, you’ll be able to share your passion for hooping on a much broader scale by inspiring people to live happier, healthier lives through the art form you love so much.
  3. You’ll receive a 100+ page teacher’s manual, which includes student handouts, move breakdowns, information on sourcing class locations, tools for teaching safe and effective classes, marketing support, and SO MUCH MORE.
  4. Hoola-Fit brings more than 10 years’ teaching experience to the training. It’s the brainchild of master hoop fitness instructors and entrepreneurs – Abby from Hoola Monsters (Florida’s first hoop company) and Casandra Bambolê Tanenbaum of Flow Fests
  5. Just because you’re a badass hooper doesn’t mean you’ll be a badass teacher, without instruction and guidance. Teaching is just as much of an art form as hooping itself and there’s A LOT to learn (We’ve been at it for more than a decade and still learn from our students every day). There’s a flow to teaching – just like there’s a flow to your personal practice.
  6. You’ll get to spend an entire weekend in sunny, St. Pete Florida, along with fellow hoopers who have a desire to Inspire, Motivate and Spread Joy by teaching hoop dance.
  7. The Hoola-Fit teacher certification program honors individuality, intuition and intrinsic knowhow for building and sustaining hoop dance instruction and deepening personal practice. In other words, we provide you with the tools and you get to make the classes authentic to you.
  8.  Watching your students learn, grow and evolve as hoop dancers is one of the most rewarding experiences ever! You know that sensation of nailing a move you’ve been working on for a long time? You get to experience that over and over again with your students, each time they have a breakthrough because of YOU.
  9. The Hoola-Fit program encourages students to progress at their own pace, to foster personal growth, creativity and exploration.
  10. Just for reading this article, you can save $50 on your enrollment fee with code “Inspire”
    Learn More and Enroll Here
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Let Your Dreams Set Sail

A couple years ago, I made myself this promise:  “When inspiration strikes, take the time to honor it.”  Is it ideal timing for me to sit down at this moment and write a blog?  No.  But that’s ok, because this message is important and needs to be shared.

My boyfriend of 5.5 years is currently en route to St. John, U.S.V.I. via Soulshine, along with his first mate and business partner, Pete.  Captain Kevin (an experienced sailor who I believe is half Pirate and half Superhero) is also on board, to assist with the sail down.

Jim has spent the last year and a half actively preparing for this journey and life change. Witnessing it unfold has been nothing short of amazing.  Jim is one of the most carefree, happy, likable guys on the planet (I might be a little biased, but those who know him will back me up on this truth).  Less than two years ago, he was doing what so many people do on a daily basis:  Wake up. Dress for Corporate America. Spend the day in an office. Work like a mad man. Go home. Go to bed. Repeat.  We both knew that there was something more…  Something bigger and better waiting for him around the bend.

Side note: Jim is from St. Louis, and he first learned to sail with his uncle. He was immediately hooked and always knew that sailing would be a big part of his life.  He still has a story he wrote at age 7, about a boy and his sailboat. I only had the opportunity to meet his father a couple times before he passed, but it was common knowledge that Jim’s dad always wanted him to obtain his Captain’s license.  I guess his dad (whose nickname was “Happy”) must have known that this was Jim’s calling, long before Jim did.  

In college, Jim planned his first trip down to Florida and immediately fell in love with the Sunshine State.  After graduating from Missou, he decided to relocate – and a big group of his amazing friends did the same.  This was the start of Jim’s 15 year career in Sales. During those early years as a young corporate executive, Jim would drive down to the marina after work and watch the sunset while dreaming of owning his own boat:  A 34-foot Catalina, to be exact.  He knew what he wanted and he’d stare at that boat every day… until that fateful day when he saved up enough money to purchase his dream boat.  He called it the Leesurelee, and this boat became his home for the next 7 years.  It’s also where so many beautiful memories were made (including our first date).

img_8845ll_longboat2010Fast forward to 2014, Jim knew that the time had come to obtain his Captain’s License and pursue a new career. So, he made a big move and resigned from his Corporate job.  He took a leap of faith, even though nothing was set in stone, in terms of his next steps. We just knew, in our hearts, that things would unfold the way they were meant to…

“When nothing is certain, anything is possible.” – Margaret Drabble

Shortly after obtaining his Captain’s License, Jim reconnected with an old college buddy, Pete.  The two talked about how great it would be to go into business together and sail the U.S.V.Is and B.V.I.s. Pete’s brother currently resides in St. John, and there were a few connections/ synchronycities that got their wheels turning.  Jim researched boats non-stop and set his sights on a Catamaran.  At the time, a Lagoon 440 seemed out of reach, but the seed had been planted.  The boys cranked out a business plan and decided it was going to work – one way or another.  But there were hurdles to overcome, and these hurdles were plentiful.  Even still, Jim and Pete were “all in.”  They were willing to risk it all to pursue their dream of creating a U.S.V.I based charter company.

Jim spent countless hours researching boats, and when he saw a Lagoon 440 for sale in the Bahamas, the boys booked their plane tickets right away.  They traveled down to tour what would soon be their new boat, Soulshine.  (The name is a tribute to the Allman Brothers song, Soulshine – and I personally believe it’s a metaphor for what happens when we follow our souls’ purpose in life).

soulshine

Oh there were bumps along the way, my friends.  Haul outs that didn’t go as planned.  Sleepless nights.  Personality conflicts.  Boat upgrades that took longer than expected – you name it, it probably happened.  And this is the reason why I’m writing today.  To communicate this message:  It’s all worth it.  Most people who experience success in life will tell you that there were many failed attempts, and it didn’t happen overnight.  But the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is this: Those who succeed never give up on their dreams.

Following your path in life doesn’t mean that everything will run smoothly all of the time.  I can tell you first hand, as my little company (Hoola Monsters) prepares to turn 10 in 2017…  Over the past decade, I faced many challenges also. I experienced financial hardships and even lost my house after I went full time with my biz.  I got boo’ed off stage on national television.  I was convinced that the children’s DVD we put out a few years ago would end up being in every home all over the U.S. and would be picked up as a kids’ TV series (it didn’t happen… at least not yet).

But here’s what did happen:  My business has gone from “being in the red” to “actually profiting.” I’ve put smiles on the faces of thousands of children over the years.  I’ve enabled performance artists to have their first paid gigs.  I’ve launched a jewelry line, Good Vibe Designs that is turning out to be a beautiful venture. I also co-created a hoop dance teacher training program (Hoola-Fit) that’s enabling other passionate flow arts educators to live out their own dreams. But most importantly, I didn’t give up.  And neither did Jim. This is one of the millions of reasons why I love him so much.

So, cheers to Soulshine – and cheers to everyone who is willing to take RISKS and LET THEIR DREAMS SET SAIL.  You’ve got one life, friends. Go out and LIVE IT.
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