Health & Fitness: Autumn Renewal

by Editorial

Get back into the swing of things as leaves start to fall.

By Pari Bradlee


Photo by Dmitry Chertousov via Flickr

As summer draws to an end, we are inundated with the last water-bucket challenges and Labor Day getaway photos with the ubiquitous hashtag, “Summertime sadness.”

It’s true. Things are starting to decay and darken. But why be sad? Each season has its own unique allure. Summer is viscerally alive and typically the one people feel most wistful to see vanish. We say so long to the lazy work schedule, languorous weather, the year’s longest days and perhaps even a summer fling.

Yet there is something grounding in the tawny beauty and brisk back-to-school mode of September. We return with sharper minds, new resolutions and the anticipation of being home and pulling out our plaids.

There is safety in routine and a deep sense of purpose as we return to our work, whatever that may be. In August, 80 percent of my clients are on vacation. I enjoy the emptier, sleepier capital and hanging with the other D.C. denizens who toil through the heat.

Even though nearly all my income shrivels away in August, I like the free time to read, nap and hang out with loved ones. In the fitness industry, August is the least profitable month. So I long ago replaced any summertime sadness with the happy realization that it doesn’t take much money to experience the fullness of life.

This summer, I discovered intermittent fasting. I’ve always done juice fasts and eaten 75 percent raw. But intermittent fasting not only gives the body a break from digestion (its most exhausting function), it saves a good chunk of money. More to buy a new red plaid shirt or skirt! (Check out for all the info.)

I will be suggesting this for my clients after vacations filled with too much sugar, alcohol and carbs. Autumn is a chance to turn inward and slow down after the indefatigable energy of summer.

As we approach the Autumn Equinox, the day and night become more balanced. Spring Equinox is the only other time when day and night are equal. In the Jewish religion, September marks the new year. I see this as a chance for everyone to begin anew. I start my annual eight-week exercise/clean-eating challenge and keep it up — with a chocolate and candy corn break on Halloween — until Thanksgiving Day, when the overindulgence hits a happy peak.

Every year I do this with my clients. I encourage you to do the same and incorporate some intermittent fasting. Monday through Friday are “school days.” Be strict with eating and exercise. Then, on the weekends, relax and treat yourself. Starting 10 days before Thanksgiving, you get no cheat days at all.

The payoff is the four-day feast, Thursday through Sunday, celebrating an alert, awake mind, a healthy, toned body and — most importantly — an exalted, soaring spirit, all at a time of family conviviality — no doubt with a little cayenne dash of conflict.

So instead of brooding over Lana Del Ray’s splendidly blue “Summertime Sadness,” crank up her new stuff while savoring a violet sunset in September’s Indian Summer. And those under my tutelage will also be hearing a lot of Beyonce’s red-hot “Woke Up Like Dis.” Happy Autumn!

Pari Bradlee has been in the fitness industry for 18 years. She was a body builder and a hip hop dancer for BET in her teens and early 20s. She is a personal trainer and yoga teacher who has worked with everyone from cab drivers to A-List Hollywood actors. She takes a very healing and intuitive approach to teaching as she comes from a family of healers. Her grandfather who recently died at 103 was a medicine man in the mountains of Iran and she grew up with the healing of more than just medicine but music, poetry, herbs, oils. Every class is different. Every client has their own unique experience based on their personalities, emotional and physical needs. More than just a class, Pari likes to give a real experience with music, aromatherapy and fresh air and is known in the yoga world for the best assists/touch, readings and playlists. She is currently writing two books and can be found teaching clients all around town on rooftops and gardens.

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