The Truth About “Toning” Shoes

Buyer beware … read on before you waste your money! Botitom line – they aren’t going to help you get any more fit than wearing any other pair or shoes – and the instability in the oversized base can cause injuries. Don’t buy into the marketing – instead grab your regular shoes and go get in a good workout!



Spinning Playlist – November 29, 2012

I’m baaaack! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed some time and good food with family and friends. Felt good to get back onto the bike tonight (you know I missed you guys last Thursday …)!

But let’s get to tonight’s playlist, shall we?

Warm-up (Flat Road; Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
Nothing Really Matters – David Guetta ft.

Building Block 1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8+)
Wild Ones – Flo Rida ft. Sia
Where Have You Been – Rihanna
Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Pink
E.T. – Katy Perry

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 9)
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welsh
Feel So Close – Calvin Harris
Numb – Usher
Domino – Jessie J
Burn It Down – Linkin Park

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8+)
Everybody Talks – Neon Trees
Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself) – Ne-Yo
Uprising – Muse

Never Let Me Go – Florence + The Machine
Catch My Breath – Kelly Clarkson

Have a great weekend – and enjoy your conference playoff games on Saturday (my team, unfortunately, is not making a repeat trip … because, of course, the only conference loss on our season was to the team who will be playing in the championship. Against a team from the other division … who we destroyed. Guess that’s what happens when the ACC’s a big ol’ mess?) That said … some interesting stuff happened in the world of college football, huh? I’m an ACC fan, so to see Maryland leave and Louisville join? 2014 could get interesting.

Have a great  night, y’all!

Thanksgiving is Over … Get Back to Your Routine (and the Treadmill?)

The first Monday after Thanksgiving. Ugh. You know what that means … everyone is trying to make up for the long weekend full of indiscretions (I may be guilty of consuming four pieces of pie in a span of two days…). I always think it’s funny how people suddenly resurface after a food-heavy holiday.

And it also makes me start to think that we are a mere six weeks away from several months of insanity. The New Year’s rush is just around the corner … and yes, just knowing that it’s coming has me anxious already.

That said …  don’t use the holiday season, now in full swing, as an excuse to undo all the good you have done for yourself throughout the rest of the year. If you haven’t made it back into your workout schedule after the long holiday weekend, there is no better time than now. What can you do in addition to adding a few minutes onto your cardio? Here are a few ideas:

  • Drink more water. It’ll flush any of the bad stuff still floating around in your system, and keep your full (remember, sometimes “hunger” is actually dehydration). And make it ice cold – it forces your body to work just a little harder to warm it up to body temperature.
  • Get back on your healthy eating plan! Vegetables, fruits, lean protein – all great options to help your body get back to normal after an overindulgence or two during the holiday weekend.
  • Hit the gym. Sweat out the extra calories you took in over the last few days – it’ll do double duty, helping you get past any stress that too much family and travel may have bogged you down with, too.

As a final note … I’m convinced I’m not a normal person. I stepped on the scale yesterday morning, to find myself a full three pounds lighter than I was before I headed to the grandparents’ house on Thursday. Not that I’m complaining – if eating pie can, in fact, lead to quick weight loss, I’ll gladly pick up my fork!

Four Tricks for the Perfect Spin Bike Fit

A good Spinning class relies on a number of things: an energetic instructor, a great playlist, and perhaps most importantly, a comfortable bike fit.

I hear it all the time: “I’d take a cycling class, but I’m afraid that it will make my butt hurt.” To this, I always have two responses:

1.  If your bike is fit correctly, you should be pretty comfortable.

2. Come take a class with me. We don’t sit much.

The best advice I can give to would-be cyclists is to show up early to class, and ask the instructor to help you set your bike for your body. It only takes a few minutes, and once you know where your setting should be, you should be good to go in the future. Until then, check out this great video from Fitbie, which takes you through the steps to find the perfect fit for you: Video: 4 Tricks for the Perfect Spin Bike Fit.

And remember, this is the time of year that classes start getting packed early, so make sure you get to class early (my classes have been full before the start of class since the last week of October). Happy riding!

Choosing the Best Running Shoes for You

Thanksgiving is now behind us … as are the Black Friday sales (no, thanks, I’ll stay in bed) … meaning that the holiday season is now in full swing. We’re about six weeks away from what I call the “resolutioners” crowding the local gyms – which makes NOW the best time to get a great deal on a gym membership or exercise equipment before the New Year.

What’s the best place to start? Making sure you have the most important part of equipment: good shoes. There are a lot of different kinds of shoes out there – running, walking, training, basketball, sports-specific – but most casual exercisers (and especially runners) are going to be best suited with running shoes. Finding a good shoe is kind of like finding the right significant other: you may have to go through a couple options before you find the right ones (on a personal note: I found my “solemates” almost three years ago in a Mizuno Wave Inspire shoe. I’ve since gone through seven pairs. Soulmate? Yet to be found, but heck, I went through 12 pairs before I found the right shoes, so I’m keeping hope that he’s out there somewhere. Though I’d appreciate it if he’d hurry up …).

Here’s what to look for when you’re in the market for new running shoes:

Finally, I’m a huge advocate of seeeking out a running store and getting fitted for shoes (even if you have done it in the past and maybe it’s been a while). It can make a HUGE difference – I’m a great example of a person who never realized until someone in the know helped me find the right shoes just how much of an impact the right shoes can have on your entire body – not just your feet. The right shoes can make your run feel better, which makes you more likely to want to keep running!

Happy Thanksgiving!

A couple things to remember as you sit down to enjoy your Thanksgiving feasts with your families today …

 And take a look at what you put on your plate (and remember that just because it makes it onto your plate does NOT mean it has to make it into your mouth)! Do yourself a favor … don’t eat an entire day’s worth of calories in one sitting.

What Distraction Makes You Push Yourself Harder?

I came across this graphic earlier today, and it got me thinking (you know, these things are EVERYWHERE now … and I think there are at least a few addressing any topic you could possibly think of). What weird things keep you going during your workout?

A few months back, I came across a blog post on Women’s Health dealing with “Treadmill Racing”: purposely competing with the person next to you, if they are aware of it or not. I’ll admit, I’m an avid “treadmill racer” – and I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that, yes, I do judge the people who are moving slower than me. And those who are going faster? I’m either motivated to speed up to try to match them, or, depending on just how fast they’re going, I may just be super impressed (girl who was doing intervals at 10 mph a few weeks back, I’m looking at you. BADASS).

But I know this isn’t something that is left just for the treadmill. I’m sure it happens everywhere. Hardcore cyclist next to you in a Spinning class? Yup, I’m going to be pushing harder or adding extra weight. Super-flexible yogi? Yup, I want to be them (I actually took a yoga class a few months back, and come away from it with a few thoughts: 1. There are some super strong 50-year-olds, 2. I really need to do more yoga, because I think running has lessened my flexibility, and 3.  I really wish that the people who normally take my classes would stop looking at me, because yes, it has been years since I’ve done yoga, so I’m not nearly as good at it as I was, say, five years ago). The skinny girl who can lift some seriously heavy weights? Makes me wonder if I should go a little heavier today. That girl who looks like she should be Beyonce’s back-up dancer, while you look like a flailing, injured animal in your dance class? Maybe some day…

I think of it this way, though: these are the awesome people that inspire me. The ones who make me want to push harder, or focus more, or, as the picture above suggests, go farther. Sometimes it’s the little distraction – the one that the person doing the distracting isn’t even aware is one – that motivates us to be greater, stronger, faster … to do more. To be more. To become a greater version of the person we are today.

Why NOW is the Best Time to Invest in a Gym Membership

The holiday season is now in full swing … which makes now a great time to invest in a gym membership. Wait … what?

Regardless of the time of year, I’d advocate that the best time of the year to start getting into shape is now. Though it may seem counterintuitive, there are actually a lot of great reasons to get started on an exercise routine now. So, why is holiday season a great time to find your perfect gym?

  • Save money before the New Year rush. It’s all about supply and demand: in January, everyone wants to get into the best shape of their life (fact: for most people, this enthusiasm lasts 6-10 weeks). Join now, and you could get a great discount on the normal rates – at my gym, they are currently running a personal training special about 25% off of the normal rate (and you know that will disappear come late December).
  • Avoid holiday weight gain. Family get-togethers. Company parties. Cookie exchanges. There are sweets and drinks everywhere. Don’t feel guilty if you indulge in moderation – a workout can help you combat the extra holiday calories.
  • Maintain your sanity. The holiday season is full of stress: family, parties, extra spending … they can take a toll on your mental health. As little as 20 minutes of exercise a day can help reduce stress (and those endorphins feel pretty good, too).
  • Get into your routine before the newbies take over in January. Afraid to be that person with the confused look on your face come January? Get started now. You’ll have the time to get comfortable with the equipment and figure out the time that works best for your schedule – and the busy times in the day to avoid.

Looking for a great holiday gift that keeps on giving? Share the gift of wellness as a gift (note: men, unless you know your lady is actively looking for a new gym, you may want to pick something else. Just watching out for you …) There are so many reasons to start taking care of your health and fitness now – why wait for tomorrow what you can start today?