Your arms can move in so many different ways to help you perform many important functions throughout your daily life, so you need to take care of them!
Arm-strengthening workouts increase your range of motion and make these everyday movements more easy and effective.
Not only will they make your arms stronger and look more toned, but arm-strengthening workouts have some other surprising benefits.
Improves Heart Health
Anything that gets your heart pumping like exercise will benefit your heart health, but studies have shown that targeted strength exercises like lifting weights can be just as effective in preventing heart disease. ¹
The American Heart Association specifically mentions arm raises, tricep extensions, and bicep curls as heart-strengthening movements. ²
A recent study in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology focused on the neuromechanical link between the head and arms that brings together the brain, central nervous system, and muscles to propel movement and muscular contraction during running.
The linkage indicates that running efficiency does not solely rely on strength of your lower body, but on your upper body, specifically your arms. The greater efficiency in your movement also means the less energy your body needs to expend–improving your endurance and preventing fatigue. ³
Builds Bone Density
Like muscle, bone is living tissue that can become stronger through exercise. Weightlifting places a reasonable amount of stress on your bones helping to build bone density and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Weightlifting and strength training not only helps strengthen your bones and muscles, but also your joints. It can even help ease joint pain and stiffness.
However, incorrect form often indicated by pain during a workout can cause long-term joint problems so make sure to take care when engaging in these exercises.
May Help You Live Longer
A meta-analysis published in 2022 which looked at the results of sixteen different studies found that people who perform strength-training/resistance exercises are less likely to die prematurely, even if their routine did not involve aerobic activities.⁴
Planning a get-together to celebrate mom next weekend?
We’ve got some healthy, seasonal recipes for your Mother’s Day Brunch that will show the mothers in your life how much you love them.
Vegetarian Spring Egg Casserole
This easy egg casserole combines Spring greens like spinach and asparagus with whole grain bread and cheese. It’s a savory meal that you can prepare ahead of time to simplify your Mother’s Day celebrations. Serves: 8
1 (12 ounce) bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add spinach; cook, stirring often, until starting to wilt, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Whisk milk and cream cheese in a large bowl until combined. Stir in eggs, mozzarella and salt. Stir in bread cubes and asparagus until well coated. Stir in spinach mixture. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover with foil; chill for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the casserole, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover; continue baking until the top is browned and the custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes more.
To make ahead: Prepare through Step 2; cover and refrigerate overnight.
Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries
Baked Oatmeal is perfect for a hungry crowd because you can easily assemble it ahead of time and you can make it in a variety of different ways. This fruit and protein-packed recipe from Love and Lemons provides a vegan and gluten-free option so you can serve it to everyone regardless of dietary needs. Serves: 8
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 6 tablespoons warm water
2 cups whole rolled oats
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup hemp seeds
⅔ cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup almond milk, at room temp
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 banana, chopped
1 cup strawberries, sliced
½ cup blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray an 8x8-inch (or similar) baking dish with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and warm water and set aside to thicken for about 5 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the almonds, hemp seeds and coconut flakes and set aside. In a large bowl combine the oats, the remaining almonds, hemp seeds and coconut flakes, and the baking powder, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt.
In a medium bowl, combine the almond milk, maple syrup and coconut oil and whisk to combine. Stir in the flaxseed mixture and blend until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine. Layer the bananas and strawberries in the baking dish and spread the oat mixture on top. Sprinkle with the blueberries and the reserved almonds, hemp seeds and coconut flakes.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is crisp and the middle is set. I find it easiest to wedge a knife in and make sure the middle has thickened nicely. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
If you'd like to reduce the sugar in this recipe, omit the brown sugar and use 1/3 cup maple syrup.
Artichoke & Goat Cheese Breakfast Bake
Looking for a simple and delicious breakfast dish to feed all of your loved ones? This Make-Ahead Artichoke and Goat Cheese Breakfast Bake is for you. Turkey sausage, artichoke hearts, and sourdough bread come together in a cheesy, flavorful meal that will satisfy all of your guests. Serves: 8 Find the full recipe on Life is But a Dish.
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or any kind of milk)
¼ cup olive oil
8 cups 1-inch cubed sourdough bread
1 ½ cups half and half
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
10–12 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (crumbled)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ teaspoons herbes de Provence
12 ounces precooked chicken and turkey sausage (sliced and lightly browned)
2 – 12 ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts (drained, and roughly chopped (about 2 ½ cups))
1 cup packed grated Fontina cheese
1 ½ cups packed grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the milk and oil. Stir in the bread and let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. In a separate large bowl, whisk the half and half, eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the goat cheese and stir to combine. Mix the herbs de provence and the thyme in a small bowl and set aside. Place half of the bread mixture in the prepared dish. Top with half of the sausage, artichoke hearts, herbs, and cheeses. Pour half of the cream mixture over. Repeat layering with remaining bread, sausage, artichoke hearts, herbs, cheeses, and cream mixture. If making this dish ahead of time, you can cover it at this point and put it in the fridge until ready to bake. Bake uncovered until firm in center and brown around edges, about 50-60 minutes.
Even though the sausage is precooked, it is nice to slice it and brown it in a pan over medium heat with a drop of olive oil until the edges are crispy. Adapted from Tiny Oranges.
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (or goat cheese or feta)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
half a small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup avocado oil (or olive oil)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Make the dressing. Whisk all ingredients together vigorously in a small bowl (or shake in a covered jar) until emulsified. Taste and season with a pinch of salt and a few twists of pepper, as needed.
Toss the salad. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle evenly with the dressing then gently toss until combined. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Lemon Zucchini Bread
Baked goods are a staple of any brunch. This recipe from iFoodReal makes a super moist zucchini bread with a bright lemon flavor that would pair well with an after brunch cup of tea. It’s packed with wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients that isn’t overly sweet but balances out the more savory foods at your Mother’s Day celebration, without making you feel weighed down. Servings: 10 Slices
3 eggs large
1 large lemon zest and juice of
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded zucchini not squeezed
3 1/3 cups almond flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line 9 x 5 loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, lemon zest and juice (zest first before squeezing juice), maple syrup, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk until combined. Mixture will be foamy.
Add zucchini and almond flour (don’t forget to skim the top of measuring cup with a knife) . Mix gently with spatula to combine. Pour batter into previously prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove bread from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off for 10 minutes. Holding onto the flaps of parchment paper remove bread from a loaf pan and let it cool off completely before slicing with sharp serrated knife.
Store: Store covered in a cool dry place for up to 5 days. Freeze: In an airtight container for up to 3 months. Almond flour does not contain gluten like wheat. Nor is it thirsty like coconut flour. All flours differ. You have to use almond flour in this recipe. Feel free to add 1/2 cup blueberries or 1 tbsp of poppy seeds to the batter. And about the baking dish. This bread will not stick and should slide right out of your baking dish if you spray it with cooking spray. You do not have to use parchment paper but I included that recommendation just in case.
Of course, every brunch needs a signature drink to enjoy. This Basil Lemonade makes a refreshing beverage for your Mother’s Day brunch. Sweetened with a touch of honey, this drink also contains antioxidants and nutrients that will help keep your family happy and healthy. 6 Servings
1 ¼ cups fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons), plus lemon slices for garnish
½ cup honey or agave syrup
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
3 cups cold water
Place lemon juice, honey (or agave) and basil in a blender and blend until very smooth. Pass through a strainer into a pitcher or large jar. Add water and chill until ready to serve.
Serve over ice, garnished with lemon slices and basil leaves.
To make ahead: Prepare through Step 1 and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Although you may not think about it too much, you need good balance to do almost all of your daily activities–-walking, standing, getting out of bed, tying your shoes, going upstairs, picking up a child, dancing, and other meaningful movements.
Maintaining your balance is a crucial part of every move you make but it’s not something you can take for granted.
As you age, your ability to balance declines so you need to intentionally practice and work to improve your balance.
Balance is your body’s ability to maintain a controlled body position, whether you are sitting at a desk or taking a hike.
To function effectively in your daily life–facing different environments or performing a variety of tasks–you need to be able to maintain controlled positions during both static (stationary) and dynamic (moving) activities.
Balance is about more than having strong legs; it’s a skill that involves your brain, various muscles throughout your body, and parts of your inner ear.
Without the regular practice of balance, coordination between these parts can deteriorate over time. Intentionally focusing on workouts to maintain or improve your balance is critical to your body’s function and health.
Benefits of Balance Training
Strengthens your Muscles
By practicing balance, the body engages more muscle fibers increasing power and endurance, as well as your agility and speed.
Practicing balance requires your entire body to work together, giving you better control over your limbs and core. This improved coordination during your workout will also make you more coordinated in your other daily activities
Poor posture is an especially common occurrence today that can affect your appearance and confidence, as well as your overall health. However, exercises that focus on balance can help counteract the problems caused by poor posture like neck, back, and shoulder pain, difficulty taking deep breaths, and low energy.
Balance exercises improves your body awareness (proprioception), your reaction time, and can also help improve the stability of your joints all of which can help prevent falls and injuries.
Improves Cognitive Function
Practicing balance can benefit not only your body, but your brain as well.
One 2012 study found that the cognitive function of women suffering from memory problems and confusion improved significantly by including balance training in their fitness routine. On the other hand, a more recent study showed that balance training can also improve memory and spatial cognition in healthy adults.¹
Exercises to Practice and Improve Balance
While all of our Pietra Fitness classes work the entire body, we also offer classes that specifically focus on improving balance through static and dynamic balance exercises.
Here are 8 of our best balance-improving workouts (Please note: you must be a member and login to view the classes.):
Each class also includes a unique meditation on an important topic in living the Christian life, so not only will you improve your physical balance through these workouts but you will also find your soul reordered and more focused with God at your center.
The stories of so many saints intertwine with the Story of Salvation during the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord. As we enter into Holy Week, let us learn from these holy men and women and invite them to walk with us on our own journey with Christ.
St. Peter plays a prominent but inglorious role in the story of Holy Week. While with our Lord during the Last Supper and in the Garden, Peter’s passion gets the better of him–professing his willingness to die for Christ and cutting off the ear of a servant during Jesus’ arrest.
Yet, as Christ was led away, Peter only “followed at a distance” and denied knowing Christ three times. He was not there for his friend during the Passion.
However, this was not the end of Peter’s story. He wept bitterly at the denial and later ran to the tomb without hesitation to see proof of the Resurrection.
Peter’s response to the Lord during the drama of the Passion is relatable in many ways; we so often fail to live up to our duties as disciples of Jesus. We can learn from Peter’s contrite heart how to repent from our sins and continually turn back to Christ.
Saint John the Apostle
Not only did St. John the Beloved sit close enough to Christ during the Last Supper to rest his head on the Lord’s breast, but he also prayed alongside him during the Agony in the Garden and was the only one of the Twelve who stood by Jesus during His passion.
Most importantly, in His final moments, Jesus entrusted his Blessed Mother to Saint John, and him to her. Through His words spoken to John, Christ speaks to every member of the Church throughout time: “Behold your Mother.”
We should seek to emulate Saint John’s faithfulness and devotion both to Jesus and His Immaculate Mother.
As Jesus carried his cross, a woman named Veronica pushed past the crowd and soldiers to wipe the sweat and blood from Christ’s face with her veil. An image of Jesus’ face remained on the cloth–a treasured relic housed in the Vatican.
Before and after her brief entrance into the Passion Narrative, St. Veronica’s life remains a mystery. One legend says that Veronica took the relic away from the Holy Land, and used it to cure the Emperor Tiberius of illness.
Her act of charity is commemorated in the Stations of the Cross; take time to reflect on St. Veronica’s courage and compassion, and see how God might be calling you to follow her example.
Saint Simon of Cyrene
Three out of the four Gospels mention St. Simon of Cyrene, who was compelled by the Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry His cross for a bit of arduous walk to Golgotha.
The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Mark identifies Simon as "the father of Alexander and Rufus." Tradition states that they became missionaries and very possibly among the leaders of the Early Christian community in Rome.
Whether or not Simon’s actions during the Via Dolorosa were rooted in charity or in fear of retaliation remains unclear from the text, but tradition generally holds that Simon’s heart–at first begrudging the task at hand–is softened on his journey with Christ.
Saint Mary Magdalene
St. Mary Magdalene appears many times during the story of Holy Week; her steadfastness and her love shining among the darkness.
Traditionally, the Western Church conflates Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany who broke an alabaster flask of ointment and anointed the feet of the Lord before the Passover–symbolic of his forthcoming burial.
Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of Christ’s cross alongside the Blessed Mother, St. John, and the other women as Jesus died. She also goes to the tomb early on the third day to anoint His body, proving that not even death could stop her love of the Savior.
Mary Magdalene is one of the first (and in some accounts the first witness) of the Resurrection and is often called “the Apostle to the Apostles” as she became the first to proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ triumph over sin and death.
Saints Mary and Salome
St. Mary, wife of Clopas, stood beside the Blessed Mother alongside the others during the Crucifiction. St. Salome is also included in the Gospel of Mark as a witness of the Crucifiction. Tradition identifies her as the wife of Zebeedee and the mother of James and John.
Both women are believed to have gone to the tomb to anoint Christ’s body, becoming some of the first witnesses of the Resurrection.
Not much else is known for certain about these holy women, but their devotion and care of both Jesus and his mother can serve as a model for the Church on how to love and serve God in others.
The Gospel of Luke contains an account of the penitent thief who died next to Jesus.
On Good Friday, two thieves were crucified next to Jesus. One of the thieves taunted Jesus, demanding that Jesus prove his power by saving them all. The other–who tradition tells us was named Dismas–rebuked the thief and said to Christ: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus responded: “This day you will be with me in paradise.”
Having been the first receiver of Jesus’ forgiveness and salvation during the hour of Mercy, the Church remembers St. Dismas as an example of a sincere and penitent heart.
After Jesus’s death, a soldier unnamed in the Gospel but in tradition called Longinus or Cassius, pierced the side of Christ from which blood and water poured forth.
Legend holds that he had been going blind but miraculously regained his eyesight when Jesus’ blood and water splashed on to him causing him to cry out: “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
After his conversion, it is said that he left the army, was instructed in the faith by the apostles, and became a monk. He later died a martyr.
Saint Joseph of Arimathea
In all four Gospels, we hear about St. Joseph of Arimathea and his role in the story of Holy Week.
Joseph was "a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God…” The Gospel of Luke adds that although he was a member of the Sandhedrin, Joseph “...had not agreed to their plan and action.”
After Jesus’ death, Joseph approached Pilate for permission to take the body and then helped lay the body of Christ in Joseph’s own tomb.
Similarly, St. Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin and a secret follower of Jesus. He often visited with Jesus at night so that the other members would not see him.
After a failed attempt to arrest Jesus, Nicodemus reminded the other Pharisees about Jesus’ right to a fair trial.
Nicodemus is also mentioned alongside Joseph of Arimathea to help bury Jesus. Scripture says that Nicodemus brought “...a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds” to prepare the body of Jesus for burial.
Our Lady of Sorrows
Throughout Jesus’ life, Mary shared in both His joys and sorrows and Holy Week is no different. During the Passion, Mary stays by Jesus’ side and she cradles His body when He is taken down from the cross.
Although she trusted God in His plan for the Salvation of the world, she suffered with her son for our sins.
The Church honors the Blessed Mother with the titles of Our Lady of Sorrows and the Mater Dolorosa, both of which have been depicted in religious art throughout the centuries.
Bring your heart and sorrow to Our Lady who has felt your pain. Ask her to be with you in times of difficulty and to help show you the Lord’s light even in the darkest moments.
Becoming the cathedral God created you to be begins with a solid foundation. By combining stretching and strengthening exercises with Christian prayer and meditation, Pietra Fitness workouts enrich your body, mind, and soul so you can glorify God with your entire being.
"God created mankind in his image." - Gen 1:27
As living cathedrals, we invite you to take part in our Pietra Fitness community as we unite for the glory of God’s kingdom. Let us rebuild the City of God, beginning with the Cathedral of YouTM.
Become a Certified Pietra Fitness Instructor
Your P-FIT 2024 Kickoff Kit includes: + 24-hour access to our online studio classes through the end of 2024 + A full set of In Conversation with God books, ideal for daily meditation + Small Binder – Explains what Catholic meditation is and how to do it. Also a list and pictures of our poses so you can start learning the names. + A Pietra Fitness T-shirt
It was such a blessing to participate in the Pietra Fitness Instructor Training. It impacted me physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is obvious that an incredible amount of attention went into putting the program together. It is designed to help you succeed at every step and enter into the role of PF instructor with confidence. I consider Pietra Fitness to be a great gift from God as an important component of balanced whole-person health, and I am excited to share this gift with others!--- Clare S.
P-FIT 2024 Early Registration ends May 31, 2023. Spots are limited, and they will fill up fast! The cost for the P-FIT 2024 Kickoff Kit is $600.00. This deposit is non-refundable but counts toward the total cost of the training which is $1800.00, due in early September.
P-FIT training offers monthly meetings beginning in January 2024. Pietra Fitness also now offers an accelerated training option that will begin meeting weekly in February 2024.
What will you learn?
Go here to learn more about our comprehensive P-FIT curriculum and fill out the form below to connect with a member of the Pietra Fitness team to inquire.
Pietra Fitness Instructor Training was above and beyond what I expected! The initial package was impressive with all the materials that were included - all materials that I will use for a lifetime! The monthly trainings were well thought out and planned with attention to detail, with each month built on the month prior. I enjoyed the reading materials and appreciated the theological background in addition to the exercises. It was so special to belong to the community of people in training and I look forward to the upcoming community with all Pietra Fitness instructors! --- Lori K.
Not only does the Church honor Saint Joseph with special devotion every Wednesday but it also dedicates the entire month of March to him, leading up to the Solemnity of St. Joseph in March. The Solemnity is usually celebrated on March 19; however, this year the feast has been transferred to March 20 since the Lenten Sunday liturgy takes precedence.
People all around the world–from Italy and Spain all the way to New Orleans– celebrate St. Joseph’s Day with special feasts and elaborate traditions.
You can celebrate the earthly father of Jesus and spouse of the Virgin Mary by incorporating one or more of these suggestions in your Domestic Church:
The Litany of St. Joseph calls upon this holy man using his many titles including Terror of Demons and Protector of the Holy Church; praying it not only glorifies God in recognizing the great works done through Joseph but also invites us to gain a deeper understanding and love of this saint.
Meditate on the life of St. Joseph
While we don’t see (or hear) too much of St. Joseph in the Bible, he plays a powerful role in the Story of Salvation. Spend some time reflecting on his life and learning from his example of humility and trust.
The tradition of a St. Joseph Altar began in Sicily. The people of Sicily asked for the prayers of their patron St. Joseph for the end to a drought that had ravished their crops and brought famine.
When the rain finally came and they could harvest food once more, they set up a little altar of food to offer their gratitude to St. Joseph. This long-standing tradition still exists today and centers on the feast of St. Joseph.
While this feast day always takes place during Lent, its status as a Solemnity overrides the obligation of fasting and abstinence, so you can enjoy a special meal or treat traditionally associated with St. Joseph’s Day such as artisan breads, pasta, fava beans, and zeppole.
Make a Pilgrimage
Many people think you need to go somewhere internationally to take a pilgrimage, but you don’t have to go far to get that spiritually-edifying experience. Consider making a local pilgrimage in honor of St. Joseph.
You can go to a Cathedral named for St. Joseph or even to the St. Joseph statue your home parish for mass and prayer.
Consecrate Yourself to St. Joseph
Similar to Total Consecration to Our Lady, you can also consecrate yourself to St. Joseph. This act of consecration means you entrust yourself to the paternal care of Joseph so that he can help you grow in virtue and lead you closer to God.
This Sunday is Laetare Sunday! This is the Fourth Sunday of Lent and signifies we are more than halfway through Lent. "Laetare" means to Rejoice! This Sunday gets its name from the introit at the beginning of Mass :"Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult and be filled from the breasts of your consolation." The priests are permitted to wear a rose colored vestment to signify the day. There may also be more music and flowers on the altar in contrast to other Masses during Lent. While at Mass this weekend we encourage you to thank God for all He has done for you during this Lenten season so far and focus on the Resurrection that is to come!
Find some ideas below to celebrate this day!
1. Wear Pink to Mass.
The priests will be in rose colored vestments so pull out your pink and wear liturgical colors.
2. Review your Lenten resolutions
Laetare Sunday signifies we are halfway through Lent. Come back to your resolutions and see which have been neglected, if any. If you are feeling on top of your resolutions. is there anything else God is calling you to? What about another resolution for Holy Week? Begin to pray about this.
3. Listen to music and Rejoice!
Sundays are not included in the 40 days of Lent. Especially on Laetare Sunday, let’s be joy filled and rejoice!
4. Spring is coming. Enjoy a nice walk outside or plan to enjoy a Pietra Fitness class outside this
We are praying for you as we round out this Lenten season!