Miami Inspiration & Tips on Performing in Public

I recently had to take a last minute trip out to Miami for an event, while we were there, we checked out one of the many art districts that Miami is known for. One of my favorite spots was the Wynwood Walls area, which is known for their amazing murals that cover almost every wall, of every building in the area...and I'm even exaggerating! I don't think any artist could walk around that place and not be inspired. So on our last day in Miami, we made sure to go back to Wynwood and filmed an artsy dance video without any real planning.

I've performed on stages and in crowds with thousands of people watching, so dancing in front of random pedestrians in the street should be easy, right? WRONG, it's a completely different feeling when you are dancing out in the open where people aren't expecting a show... Oh and I was dancing alone, with headphones on, so they couldn't even hear my music.  People walking by would see me...dancing in silence...while my camera lady filmed.  If you haven't already been in this type of situation, I can tell you, it can be very awkward and anyone who's done it knows what I'm talking about. So here are 2 tips for getting over that awkward feeling.

Always Have an Audience

Dance in front of people more often!  Dance in front of your friends, family, strangers, people in class, while standing in line at the grocery store.... Dance Everywhere.  If you take dance classes, go to parties, or dance sessions, there are always other opportunities to get out there and show what you got.  Take advantage of those times.  The more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you will be with yourself.

Embrace the Stares

You have to understand that people are always watching regardless of what you doing.  You can walk across the street in a slightly busy area and I can guarantee at least three people glanced at you crossing the street.  So you can imagine that a dancer performing in public is going to get a few looks, if not a small crowd at times.  

We tend to think the worst and assume people are looking at us weird, but mostly people are watching simply out of curiosity, and you have caught their attention enough to stick around. If they are digging your moves, you might even be able to feed off of that positive energy and dance even better! 

There will also be people who will look and just keep walking.....because they really don't care what your doing. You should be like those people.  It's great if others are impressed, but if they aren't, or even hate your dancing, why does that matter?  You will probably never even see those same people again.  Random stares DO NOT matter.  What does matter is what you set out to do, whether it is filming a project or street performing.  Get in your zone, don't take yourself or others too seriously and have fun!

Just utilize these two tips and you will notice the awkwardness will start to go away.


While filming in Wynwood we hit a lot of different locations to showcase some of my favorite pieces.  Shout out to all the amazing artist that have pieces there. You can check out their website for more info, and I suggest taking a trip out there to see if yourself. It won't disappoint. 

This project is definitely the most colorful video we have done so far. I used the song " One Dance " by Drake because the grooviness of the song matched the Miami vibe I was feeling at the time.  I want to give a big shout out to the beautiful and talented Alexandria Creative for filming and editing the project. Make sure you check it out once it drops and I hope you dig it!

Perfect Grip And NO Calluses

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When you are doing any type of exercise that requires you to hold on to a metal bar, weather it's lifting weights or doing some kind of pull up variation, the main issue that occurs is the loss of grip.  Even if you are able to hold on for the duration of the workout, you still end up with irritating blisters.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm all in for toughing it out and I don't mind a few calluses, but not everyone is interested in that and towards the end of my workout, I just want to focus on the actual workout and the "pump" rather than my grip.  I believe I have found a pretty handy fix to this problem and it's not the average "cut off workout gloves".

If you are lifting heavy or yourself (bodyweight), your grip usually gives out before your muscles do, so what's the answer?....(drum roll)......  PIPE GLOVES!

Seriously, I don't use regular workout gloves anymore.  The standard "cut off workout gloves" don't cover your whole hand, so I would still get huge blisters and the material of the gloves break down in a few months.  The pipe gloves or mechanic gloves I've been using seem to last forever!  Most "workout gloves" are just made to add a little padding to your hands and a little grip and rip up in NO time (waste of $), but mechanic gloves are specifically made to grip metal pipes and are built super strong for heathy duty.  You can pretty much find them anywhere that sells tools, like Wal Mart, Home Depot, Lows or any local car or plumping store.  With these gloves, holding on to the bars or weights are no longer a problem and you can focus and get more out of your workout.

I hope this little tip helps you out.  If you have any feed back or anything fitness related you would like me to talk about please leave a comment below.  I hope you enjoy your next workout and remember to work smarter AND harder!

Best Cardio For Weight Loss

Everyone knows that cardio is king when it comes to losing body fat.  The 1st thing people think about is running.  Running is great, but If you are looking for some great fat burning exercises to mix up your cardio, here are my favorite cardio based exercises that burn the most fat.

Burpees

Burpees are probably number 1 when it comes to effective cardio exercises.  This exercise uses your entire body which leads to a pretty intense fat burning workout.  The best part is it requires no equipment and you can do it anywhere! 

Dance

My all time favorite source of cardio comes from dancing!  I have been dancing for years and it seems to never get old.  This can be done almost anywhere (I know from personal experience... I pretty much dance everywhere I go).  You can throw on some up beat jams or put on an instructional video, but I really encourage you to be adventurous and find a dance class!  I know it seems scary, but it's going to be the best and most fun decision you make.  There are so many types to choose from, but for the best cardio I would go for hip hop, jazz, African or dance aerobics.  Always start off with a beginners class to see where you stand.  If you are ever in the Atlanta area you can even take my beginners hip hop class!  It's called "Q it Up", it's every Monday at 7pm at Dance 101.

Jumping Rope

Jumping rope was such a fun thing to do as a child, so why stop?  This exercise actually incorporates more muscles than running.  If you haven't used a jump rope in a while, then I suggest starting off slow and don't be discouraged if you mess up a few times.  Take it as a challenge, a skill to improve on and learn new tricks (or re-learn old tricks).  That way it's not just cardio, but a fun activity or hobbie.  

Stairs/Stair Master

If you have stairs at home, a park or the stair master at the gym, it all works great!  I didn't think it was that big a deal until I tried it myself.  You can walk or run, skip a few stairs going up for wider stretch ( much like a lunge).  You can speed up for intensity or slow down for muscle contraction. Do this for about 15-20 mins and you're golden.

Sprint Drills

Rather than just jogging for an hour or so, try kicking up the intensity with a sprint drill.  All you need is a stretch of place and some good running shoes.  A basic drill can be as simple as finding something to mark your starting point and end point or just setting a starting point and set a timer for anywhere from 10 to 30 sec.  You can also find sprint drill routines that others have made online or even make your own.  When executing a sprint drill, YES you have to actually SPRINT!  Run like something is chasing you (minus the terror and bad form).  Make sure you warm up and get a good stretch before hand and get ready to sweat.

Up Hill/Incline Treadmill 

Running or walking a fairly steep hill/incline probably sounds dreadful, but its not!  It's actually an awesome way to target and activate more muscles in your legs. Taking an incline will also burn more calories and you will be less likely to get shin splits (just be careful on the way down).

I hope these ideas can help you mix up your routine and take your training to another level.  Enjoy  your fitness journey and if you have any questions or comments, just leave them below.  Make sure you check out Jill Conyers page! She has so much awesome info on fitness and over all wellness!

 

3 Tools To Get FIT

So I'm sure you have noticed the "Fitness" trend that is taking over lately.  Its like the 80's all over again... minus the leg warmers, headbands and men doing dance aerobics...  Well some men still do aerobics, but its not common.  Anyway, as much as I make fun of the "get fit" trend, I still think it's great because it helps introduce people to fitness and helps spread health awareness wellness...

But the big question is how does one "get fit'? There are so many ways that work for different body types, and then there are the "gimmicks" that just waste your time and money.  Well I'm going to break down the simple truth for you. There are 3 main things you need to build the body you want. 

1. A Driving Mentality

The most powerful and influential thing you own is your mind.  Before we act on anything we think about the pros and cons.  If you truly want to get fit, here is the simple truth, THERE ARE NO CONS!  To keep the "DRIVE" strong, it is best to stay positive towards every workout and clean meal.  Negative thoughts will only bring you down mentally and physically, making it almost impossible to reach your fitness goals.  No matter what you do in life, if you want to get anything done, you MUST make up your mind and stick to it!  A halfway commitment can end up with half results or even no results at all, so go all in!  When your body is telling you you're tired or not in the "mood",  that DRIVING MENTALITY has to kick in and say "get that booty up and do what needs to be done, because I've already made up my mind".  It sounds corny, but you really do have to believe in yourself and know you can do it...  Because you can! 

Here is a video of Someone I follow and look up to, Mike Rashid (dont be discouraged my his appearance, He's a super nice guy and very intelligent) is talking about the "power of the mind and human will"... You dont have to watch the whole thing.  The main message is from 1:52 to about 3:30 and if you want to watch the whole thing then go ahead... I did!

2. Smart Food

The scariest word that comes up when people talk about getting in shape is "diet".  Thats only because of the stigma that comes along with it.  When people think of dieting, they assume they have to eat like rabbits, eating plain veggies and water, but that's not the case at all.  It simply means you have to actually pay attention to what you eat.  There are so many AWESOME and healthy food choices out there, you just have to look.  Most fast food places are not taking your health into consideration at all, so you might want to stay away.  There are a few places that I call "fast enough food" restaurants that are very health conscious like Zoes Kitchen and Panera Bread.  For the most part, you just need to pay attention to the amount of fatty foods you eat like breads, pastas and sugars.  If the meal is ever deep fried, covered in grease or sugar, more than likely it's not a good idea for a regular meal.

 It's not always what you eat, but when and how much you eat.  Most people these days have backwards eating habits.  People are eating small or no breakfast at all and then they have a medium lunch and finally a huge dinner!  The meals are getting bigger when they should actually be getting smaller.  Breakfast should be the biggest meal to fuel your body and jump start your metabolism for the day and as the day goes by the meals should get smaller as you wind down for bed.  Now I'll go ahead and tell you now that eating cleaner is normally a little more expensive to eat out, so I personally prefer spending my money on the actual ingredients and cook my meals at home.  I can make my own healthy burgers, homemade fries... almost everything I would get "eating out" minus the high blood pleasure and I get to save my money.  Eating heathy has it's costs, but it's worth it... I mean it's only your HEALTH and LIFE we're talking about.

 3. "PROPER" Exercise

When you decide what your fitness goals are, it's best to have an ideal "LOOK" you want to go for or just some general idea.  That way you or your trainer can mold your body to your liking and you can track your PROGRESS.  If you want to be ripped, don't spend all your time doing yoga.  Not saying yogas bad, I love it! Just make sure the workout matches your goals, so you are not wasting your time and energy.  If you want to trim fat, lots of cardio and HIIT training (high intensity interval training).  If you want stronger muscles, you half to lift proper weights.  If you want to be more flexible then yoga and pilates it is!  Not every type of training program fits everyones body type and goals.  You have to find what formula fits you best, and I dont mean find the easiest workout plan that seems to good to be true. If it seems too easy and too good to be true, then it is... Im sorry...  Find the proper training plan, put in some serious work, sweat and build the body you've always wanted.  It's completely in your hands.

With that said, I urge you to stay CONSISTENT! The body that you have been unintentionally building your entire life isn't going to completely change in a month, but it will change.  If you stay constant, little by little you will start to feel better, stronger and see your body change before your eyes.  Just stay consistent and the results WILL come.  If you have any specific questions just leave a commit and I'll be sure to answer best I can.

 

A Dancers Career and a Fitness Lifestyle

Hey whats up!

My name is Q Harper and I want to personally welcome you to my blog (figuratively speaking).  If you would like to know what the life of a dancer is like or looking for some fitness inspiration and tips, then you have come to the right place.  I just want to share the experiences and knowledge I've gathered along the way... 

I guess I'll start off by telling you a little about myself and what this blog is about.  I am a professional choreographer/dancer and fitness enthusiast from Atlanta GA.  I've always had a passion for dance, even before I decided it would be my career.  Over time I met up with some good friends with the same passion and together we formed our own dance crew called Royal Flush.  We started just doing local gigs and started spreading around the south east and I guess you can say we caught our 1st "big break" after we made it to the finals on Americas Best Dance Crew and was one of the 1st crews from Atlanta to even make it that far.  Granted the show was in Los Angels California and everyone roots for their home team.  So we didn't win the show, but the world wide exposure did open a lot of doors for us and the rest is pretty much history and is still in the making as we speak.

Now what did any of that have to do with fitness...?  Absolutely nothing lol, but here it comes!  In between touring and doing dance gigs, I started to experiment with other forms of work in the entertainment business, such as modeling.  After doing a few gigs and fashion shows I learned a lot.  One of the most important things I learned about being a model is that your "look" is everything.  Either you fit a particular category or you look so different that you create a category all your own... and the companies have to like that look.

One day I was called in for an audition for a fashion show... I already knew that 99% of male fashion models are required to be at least 6ft tall... I'm only 5'9, but some how I was passing because I was considered "urban and exotic"... you be the judge...  So I go to this audition and I go before a panel of 4 judges. They all judge my walk, my "look" etc. Everyone seems to like what they see and gave me positive feedback, except for one judge. This snooty fashion designer they flew in from NY stops in front of everyone and bluntly says, "Your not a model".  Everyone in the room went quiet. Nobody could believe how blunt and rude this guy was.  The other judges apologized and asked everyone to step out of the room.  Eventually they had the "snooty Fashion designer" apologize to me, but I didn't really care about that.  I was more concerned with knowing the motivation behind his words, so I asked him.  He looked at me and said,"your just too small. Not only are you short, but your muscular frame is too small".  Not too long after that I ran into a similar situation were I was "too small".  At that point I made up my mind that I wasn't going to let this stand in my way and I began my journey for gains.  I started doing research on fitness and health, I hired a trainer and I fully dedicated myself to reach my particular goals.  Like most people, I didn't realize how long it was going to take.  As of now it has been 4, almost 5 years of training and somewhere along the line I fell in love with this fitness stuff.  So much that now I'm here sharing that love with you and hopefully helping to inspire you to reach your personal goals. 

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Here is a "transformation tuesday" post from my Instagram page qharper1.

So that's pretty much it as far as the intro goes.  I hope you enjoy my other posts and feel free to comment.  If there is anything you want to know about regarding "dance life" or fitness please ask!