BONUS! Spinning Playlist – January 12, 2013

Bonus playlist this week! I filled in for Rachel this morning, and it felt great to get an extra class in this week. Here’s what today’s ride sounded like:

Warm-up (Flat Road; Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
Mr. Brightside – The Killers

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8+)
Wild Ones – Flo Rida ft. Sia
Firework – Katy Perry
Come to Me – Diddy ft. Nicole Scherzinger
The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 9)
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch
Toxic – Britney Spears
Numb – Usher
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Pink
Dirrty – Christina Aguilera ft. Redman

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8+)
Dirty Dirty Dancer – Enrique Iglasias ft. Usher
Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia
It’s Time – Imagine Dragons

Wide Awake – Katy Perry
Wanted – Hunter Hayes

Now I’m off to teach a Piloxing demo class – busy day in my workout world! Have a great rest of your weekend – hopefully you are seeing some unseasonably warm temperatures this weekend like we are here in Northern Virginia (sorry to the folks in the Midwest getting hit by the storm … stay warm and stay off the roads). See you on Thursday!

Spinning Playlist: January 10, 2013

Happy Thursday, everyone! How are we dealing with the gym crowds this January? Hopefully you are doing your best to show up early for your classes … the gym has been packed!

Warm-up (Flat Road; Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
50 Ways to Say Goodbye – Train
Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8+)
Part of Me – Katy Perry
Rest of My Life – Ludacris ft. Usher and David Guetta
Keeps Getting Better – Christina Aguilera
Blackout – Breathe Carolina
Meet Me Halfway – Black Eyed Peas

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 8+)
Scream – Usher
Let’s Go – Calvin Harris ft. Ne-Yo
Telephone – Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce
My Hero – Foo Fighters

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 7+)
Everybody Talks – Neon Trees
Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon
Animal – Ke$ha
Scream and Shout – ft. Britney Spears
Desert Rose – Sting

Wanted – Hunter Hayes
Careful – Guster

For my Alexandria XSport cyclists, you have one more opportunity to catch me this week! I will be covering for Rachel on Saturday morning at 9:45 – hope to see you there!

And finally, good news for all the Clemson fans out there, if you haven’t heard yet, QB Tahj Boyd announced yesterday that he will be back for one more year in Tiger Town … so here’s to another great Clemson football season to come!

Need a Little Perspective? Get Out of Your Head and Get Running.

I’m a big believer that our worst days have a funny way of fueling our best workouts. It’s the days that I’m overwhelmed, or confused, or angry or upset that usually lead to the runs that simply fly by in what seems like a matter of minutes, rather than the six or seven miles of pavement (okay, treadmill … it’s January, give me a break) they actually are.

Last night, I was lucky to have one of those “wow, that was quick” kind of runs. I wasn’t sure what my workout plan would be, given than the January rush has started to make it a little more difficult than usual to plan my workout for the day without actually taking a lay of the land, if you will. I figured since there were a couple treadmills open – and I was wearing running-appropriate pants (it’s all about the waistband) – it would be a good opportunity to get one of my two runs for the week in while I still could.  And it just felt like one of those days that if I could run – turn my head off for a while, get lost in the music and the rhythm of my breathing – I’d be better off.

Perhaps I should back up a bit. I have a tendency toward overthinking what should be little things (assuming they are anything at all) and letting them affect me.  Admittedly, I’ve been in my head a little too much the last few days. Focusing a little too much on the unknown, the don’t haves, the where did I go off track and why can’t I fix its. It’s one of my flaws – I blame it at least in part on my perfectionism complex (and our always-on, look at me, social media culture to an extent, as well … and maybe the fact that the big 3-2 is two weeks away). It was a good night to try to clear up some of the gunk overtaking my brain. And I knew that the less I had to fight to do what I needed to do, the better I would feel once I finally walked out the door.

As I always tell my Pilates classes, you have to tune into your body  and do what it wants you to do on any given day. Some days you feel strong, like you can take on the world. Some days you find yourself begging the minutes to pass so you can be put out of your misery (yes, I, too, have these days every once in a while – heck, I had a couple “this is torture” days just two weeks ago). Luckily, I’ve found that the whole “worst days equal best workouts” thing tends to ring true. A cluttered brain is like extra energy, and nothing feels better than the feeling that comes from sweating out those shards of stress, step by step, mile by mile.

I’ll be honest: last night’s run felt GREAT. It allowed my mind to wander, gave me time to focus on my breath, my body and little else (and by “little else” I mean the National Championship pre-show on ESPN). To an extent, I almost feel like it grounded me. It was a reminder of why running, for me, truly is the best medicine – you can’t necessarily run away from your problems or your stressors, but you can run to forget about them for a while, and maybe even to gain a little perspective. 

In my mind, it’s an opportunity for me to do something for me. And there’s nothing better than being able to take a little time out of your busy day to forget about the things you can’t control, and remember who really needs a little love and attention, first and foremost: YOU.

In the Market for New Home Fitness Equipment?

January is underway, and it seems like everyone is in the market to invest in their health in one way or another. So … what are the hottest fitness items out there? Read on to find out … and make a commitment to be a part of the 33% who make good use of their gym memberships throughout the year!


Tips for Trying Your First (or a New) Group Fitness Class

January is here, and along with it comes the slew of new people to the gym. As a group fitness instructor, it’s great to have all the new faces come through the studio – hopefully many of which we’ll continue to see in the months to come!

It may seem intimidating to walk into that studio for the first time, but there is no need to be! Group fitness classes are about having fun and getting fit together – regardless of your age or athletic ability. My classes tend to be filled  with novices and old pros each and every week, regardless of the time of year.

So, how can you make the most of your first (or a new to you) group fitness class?

  • Show up early and talk to the instructor. This is key for any class, but especially one that involves any kind of equipment, such as a sculpt, boot camp, or Spinning class. Let the instructor know you’re new, and ask questions about what you will need, and how to get yourself properly set up.
  • Don’t be intimidated! There will always be those couple people who make it look easy … but they’re most likely the “regulars” who have been taking the class for years. Make friends with them, and ask for tips – I still laugh about two ladies I used to take TurboKick with five or six years ago, who told me I had to be in class every week … because they watched me instead of the instructor. (Fun fact: one of these ladies is now an instructor herself!)
  • Have fun! Nobody is judging you – they’re usually more interested in their own form and what they’re doing, not criticizing you if you miss a step (same with the people outside of the studio … I promise, they are not watching you). I joke with my classes that the only time I will ever call you out in front of the class is if you’re totally rocking it – and I hope you are!
  • Ask questions. I always end my classes by inviting participants to bring any questions they might have to me. It could be about your form, your breathing – heck, go ahead and ask me where I got my top if you want. But never be afraid to ask, because you’re only going to get better and stronger more quickly if you address your concerns early.
  • Get to know your instructor. The more time you take to talk with your instructor before and after class, you start to build a relationship with them – I have several people in my classes who have been with me for years, and whom I truly consider friends at this point. We may be able to talk, move and breathe all at once, but we’re still human!

Health clubs really do recognize the strength in numbers and great benefits that come with participating in group fitness classes – that’s why they hold so many of them (seriously – take a look at XSport Alexandria’s schedule – we have classes starting from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the week). With so many new people coming through the door this time of year, there is no better time to check out a class and try something new. You could end up finding the key to helping you keep your New Year’s resolution!

Spinning Playlist – January 3, 2013

Happy New Year everybody! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season and your 2013 is off to a great start. My Tigers won the Chick-fil-a Bowl about 45 minutes before the clock struck midnight on Monday (and I spent the evening in good – and yes, admittedly … kinda cute – company…) so it’s been a good one so far!

But back onto the saddle we go! Here’s our first playlist of 2013:

Warm-up (Start Flat Road, Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
I Will Wait – Mumford and Sons

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8+)
Turn Me On – David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj
Don’t Wake Me Up – Chris Brown
Feel So Close – Calvin Harris
It’s Time – Imagine Dragons
Don’t Cha – Pussycat Dolls

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 8)
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welsh
Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
What the Hell – Avril Lavigne
Funhouse – Pink
ET – Katy Perry
Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 9)
Animal – Neon Trees
Touch Me – Smash Cast ft. Katherine McPhee
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
Uprising – Muse

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

There it is – first one of the year in the books! Remember, the crowds are only going to get worse in the next two weeks or so, so get there early if you want to get a bike. Alexandria folks, I almost always have the studio open by 5:30 for our 5:45 p.m. class – I’ve been completely full almost every week since the middle of October, so make sure you don’t get left out! Have a great weekend and enjoy these last couple college football bowl games coming your way … who will you be cheering for next Monday, Notre Dame or Alabama?