Tips to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

It’s that time again … New Year’s Resolutions. Gyms are about to be packed to the breaking point. Healthy eating will be more of a focus than it is throughtout the rest of the year. Everyone is going to be a better version of themselves in the coming year. Which brings me to this illustration:

Self-Care-Infographic-MSWatUSC1

So, those statistics aside, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Resolutions may be the “it” thing to do, but I don’t believe in them; I personally haven’t made a resolution in years, simply because I feel that if I want to make a change in my life, it should be whenever the desire to change is strong enough … not because the calenar tells me to.

That said … as you set out on your goals for the new year, if commitment to a healthy lifestyle is one of your resolutions, take a good look at two words: “commitment” and “lifestyle.” Because these two words are the ones that will help you to be successful not only in January, but well into the months and years to come. You have to want it, and you have to live it.

Happy 2013!

Interested in finding out more about the USC School of Social Work? You can access their website here.

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XSport Group X January Schedules Start Tuesday!

Happy almost 2013 everyone! It’s that time once again – new XSport Fitness group exercise schedules start on Tuesday, January 1. The impossible has happened yet again – my schedule remains vitually unchanged (with the exception of one slight time shift … but I requested that one). So, starting Wednesday, here’s when you can catch me at the Alexandria location:

Wednesdays
6 p.m. Piloxing – Studio 2
7:15 p.m. Pilates – Studio 1

Thursdays
5:45 p.m. Cycling – Studio 3

Sundays
9:30 a.m. Piloxing – Studio 2
10:45 a.m. Pilates – Studio 1 (**note we will start 15 minutes later … so I won’t be rushing in like a crazy person anymore)

Hope to see you in a class in the new year. If you’re interested in checking out any of the other classes (you should!), you can take a peek at the XSport Alexandria group fitness schedule here.

Some Days, You’re Stronger than You Think

Sometimes we all have those days. Those “this is going to be ugly” thoughts. Those “please just let me make it through this today” moments. That’s where I was as I stepped on the treadmill this morning.

Perhaps I should back up a little. I’ve been running really well the last several months, after having to go through another slow rebuild following the injury of 2012 (stress reaction in my foot in February. I’d never heard of it, but apparently I was about as close as I could have gotten to breaking it without actually breaking it). I’ve shed a few seconds, added a few miles, and seen my heart rate start to drop a couple beats throughout the last several months. I was finally back where I really wanted to be. Running felt great.

And then I went home for Christmas. Full disclosure: I made it to the treadmill twice and the gym once in the span of a week. Granted, I typically only have the time to run twice a week, so this shouldn’t have been a big deal from a running standpoint … except that those two runs SUCKED. We’re talking thought running 5k straight was going to kill me.

So naturally, as I stepped onto the treadmill following my weights this morning, I fully expected to see that I had digressed during the holiday season. I told myself, just make it to 5k. That’s all you have to do, and we’ll do some intervals or something to make up for it. I made it that 5k, feeling pretty strong still, heart rate wasn’t too high, breathing was good.

Okay, let’s bump it up to 5 miles (I should note that this is the way my brain progresses while running. 5k, 5 miles, 10k, 7 miles … and it’s been about four years since I’ve found it necessary to venture longer than 7 … mostly because that’s about where the treadmill hits the hour mark and stops on me). Five miles down, still feeling pretty good. Let’s make it to 10k. Once I hit about 5.75, I knew I was going to have to accept that this was, despite my not expecting it, a 7 mile day.

And it really wasn’t until I hit about 6.6 or so that I started to get a little bit of an ache in my hip (Can I blame it on running longer distances than I did in my 20s, rather than saying it’s because my body doesn’t like what I put it through as much in my 30s? Yes, we’re going with that.) Before I knew it, I had 7 miles behind me. Just under 61:30. Felt pretty good. And it was absolutely the last thing I was expecting to happen this morning.

What did I learn today? Some days, regardless of how much you think you’re going to have to talk yourself up, the body can override the brain in a good way … even on the days that you don’t expect it.

Cast of Gym Characters … They’re Coming!

With only a few more days remaining in 2012, it’s about the begin: the dreaded January gym season.

(Resolutioners! The horror!)

It’s going to be crowded – there’s no denying that. But let’s keep things positive: it also means that all the crazy characters are out on full display. So, what should you be on the lookout for in the coming weeks? Perhaps everyone in this slideshow: 20 Most Obnoxious People in the Gym.

The descriptions absolutely do them justice – and you know you’ve seen these people before. A couple of my favorites from the list (and yes, I think I see them all at least once a week…)?

#3: The 80s Couple
#5: Way Too Sweaty Guy
#8: The Hairy Guy
#10: The Wimp
#14: The Euro Dude
#15: The Couger
#17: The Lurker
#18: The Grunter

Spinning Playlist – December 27, 2012

I’m back in town and ready for the final Thursday of 2012! Flew in this afternoon, and I’m so ready to get on the bike and back to work! Meaning here’s what we rode to tonight:

Warm-up (Flat Road; Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)                                
Locked Out Of Heaven – Bruno Mars

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8+)
Hot and Cold – Katy Perry
Numb – Usher
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Pink
Come to Me – Diddy ft. Nicole Scherzinger

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 9)
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welsh
Scream and Shout – will.i.am ft. Britney Spears
Misery – Maroon 5
The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 7+)
Scream – Usher
Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
Repeat – David Guetta ft. Jessie J
Desert Rose – Sting

Cooldown
Wanted – Hunter Hayes
Miss Me – Andy Grammer

Have a great New Year’s Eve and Day … can you believe our next class will be in 2013? For those of you in Alexandria, the new group fitness schedules will start on Tuesday (slightly modified for New Year’s Day). You’ll still be able to catch me every Thursday at 5:45 p.m. – as well as on Wednesday and Sundays for Piloxing and Pilates. Look forward to continuing to ride with you in the new year!

Christmas is Over. Get Back to Your Workout Routine.

We’ve made it through Christmas, and with only New Year’s Eve and Day standing between us and the start of the January gym rush, now is the time to start burning off those inevitable pounds burned during the holiday season. The beauty of working out this week? A lot of people still consider themselves to be on the “free pass” that is the holiday season. But why put off until tomorrow what you can start (or resume) today?

The jury is out on how much weight people typically gain over the holiday season – I’ve seen anywhere from 5-10 lbs., to as little as 1-2. Personally, I’m weird, as I historically lose a couple between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (though in full-disclosure, I may have been down 2 lbs. before I headed home for the holidays, but the verdict won’t actually be in until after I get back to Virginia tomorrow afternoon and on the scale on Friday morning … and yes, I am kind of dreading what I’ll see … though I’d like to believe the scale in my parents’ bathroom, which claimed that I had lost somewhere between 18-20 lbs. in a span of three days. That would have taken me significantly below my “goal weight” – if only!!)

Why get started (or get back to it, even if you only took Christmas Day off) today?

  • It’s easier to lose 2 lbs. than 20. Let’s be honest. We tend to give ourselves a little pass on the healthy eating during Christmas (Yes, I did have prime rib two nights in a row. It was the first time I’ve eaten red meat in … I don’t even know how long. A long time). One day off and one day of less than stellar eating won’t kill you. But giving up – and putting it off – will only bring you farther from your goals.
  • The New Years rush starts next week. Throughout the years I’ve found that the January rush doesn’t typically start January 1 – but come mid-January, the gym is a zoo. For those of us who are as likely to be in the gym in September as we are in January, this is irritating. So get into your  groove now, and enjoy the fact that you won’t have to wait for an elliptical or stalk the weight floor for a bench for another week or so.
  • You’ll feel better. Too much family time and travel woes got you down? There is no better mental therapy than a good workout. Zone out to some good tunes, get your sweat on, and forget than Aunt Margie asked you when you’re getting married for the 45th time (thankfully, my family has just stopped asking this question … I’ll get there when I get there, it’s not from lack of trying!)

Hope you all had a great Christmas! Now is a great time to start re-evaluating your goals and setting a plan to achieve them in 2013. It’s almost here – so get ready to make it your best year yet!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you are enjoying the holiday with family and friends.

Just a reminder to take a little time off to be thankful for all we have today. At the end of the day, our health and the speciL people in our lives are the most important things. Take time for good company and good food … and worry about getting back to exercise and good food tomorrow. Everyone deserves a cookie or two on Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Hope Santa treats you well this year 🙂

Working Out Back in My Old Stomping Grounds …

And by “my old stomping grounds,” I mean my first “real” gym. I’m visiting with the family in Illinois for Christmas this week, and naturally – me being me and all – it took all of two days for me to join my brother, Eric, on a (somewhat lengthy) trip to XSport Fitness in St. Charles.

It’s awesome to be able to go back to my first XSport when I’m home. It’s almost like a kind of homecoming for me, as crazy as that seems. It’s interesting to see how things have changed in the five years since I left – and even more so in the nearly 10 years that the club has been open. Plus, it’s kinda cool to be able to compare the equipment that they have in St. Charles to the equipment we have back home in Alexandria (because, yes, there are some different things, and yes, they have definitely updated the equipment in St. Charles since I was here last Christmas).

It’s always funny to come back here, because I always recognize at least a few familiar faces, even though it has been years since I’ve lived here. They may not be people I ever really knew, but when you are a regular at the same gym for long enough, you start to “know” people, even if you never actually talk to them (which is part of why I sometimes refer to people by descriptors – I don’t really know them, I just see them every single day).

The best part, though, was probably something I didn’t anticipate at all – I ended up bringing out my teaching pants as I was doing my stretches and abs. There was an older lady (who, I found, was in town from Florida visiting for the holidays) who I got to talking to … and ended up giving her a couple suggestions for ab and back exercises on the Swiss ball. I also got to chatting with this guy who turned out to be a fellow instructor – he said he teaches the bootcamp class – which I thought was kind of cool. You know us instructors … you ask for suggestions, we’ll give them to you, and we always like to meet fellow instructors (cause we’re a special breed and all)!

It definitely feels good to keep some semblance of my routine intact throughout the holidays, because I have no desire to take it too easy while I’m home. I don’t want to be playing catch up when I get back to Virginia – especially since the New Year mad-house season is just a few short weeks away. (Boo!!) My intention is to get at least a couple good workouts in while I’m home to make up for the cookies I spent most of yesterday afternoon baking (amongst other temptations I’d never face back home, because there are definitely certain foods I keep out of my apartment on purpose). I did about 7.5 miles (5k running – just over 26 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of quarter-mile intervals, side shuffles, and a little hill walking) on the treadmill in my parents’ living room yesterday morning, then Eric and I spent about two and a half hours at XSport this afternoon (I did some arms, an hour on the elliptical, and abs).

And it felt great to get back to the club where it all began … I love (LOVE) XSport Alexandria, and especially all my awesome classes and friends there – but because it where I fell in love with fitness, and where I first became an instructor, XSport St. Charles will always have a special place in my heart.

The Upside of Running on a Treadmill

I’ll admit it: I’m one of those weird people who kind of prefers running on a treadmill. Which is why when I stumbled upon an article (The Upside of Running on a Treadmill | Runner’s World & Running Times) dealing with this very subject, I had to read it.

It wasn’t always this way (much like the author of this article).  When I first started running, I ran almost exclusively outside. But after a hot summer, a cold winter and a gym membership came into play I grew to not only be okay with running on a treadmill – but discovered that I could actually accomplish things I never knew I could by running outside.

As a mostly treadmill runner, I’ve cut my mile time back significantly. I remember the days that I thought I would never be able to make it to a 10 minute mile. After several years of playing speed games on the treadmill, I’ve gotten my pace down to about 8:45 – and I don’t know that I would have been able to do it outside. Why? Because the belt keeps you accountable. You can speed up, you can slow down, but you have to make a conscious decision to do so. Outside, you face cars that force you to stop. You get bored and slow down unintentionally. You say forget it because it’s raining, or snowing, or hot. Treadmill? No excuse (well, unless it’s January, and the treadmills are all taken, but that’s a completely different beast. We’ll get back to that subject in the next few weeks).

Which do you prefer – outside or on the treadmill? I love both, but I find that for me personally, I’m better off on the treadmill if I want to push myself, but I’m better off outside if I’m just looking for a leisurely jog. It’s a personal preference!