Spinning Playlist – February 28, 2013

How is it already the last day of February? The studio certainly didn’t look like it again – with the exception of two days after Christmas and Valentine’s Day, we’ve been full well before the start of class since mid-October (and those two that weren’t full were still surprisingly close). That gets me pretty excited – and hopefully for those of you who join me, you’re having just as much fun as I am.

Now, without further delay … tonight’s Spinning playlist, straight off the saddle:

Warm-up (Flat Road; Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
Need You Now (Remix) – Lady Antebellum

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8-9)
Starstrukk – 3oh!3 ft. Katy Perry
Forever – Chris Brown
Come to Me – Diddy ft. Nicole Scherzinger
Misery – Maroon 5

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 9)
Tonight – Enrique Iglasias
According to You – Orianthi
We Found Love – Rihanna
Maneater – Nelly Furtado
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up) – Fall Out Boy

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8-9)
Hold it Against Me – Britney Spears
Rest of My Life – Ludacris ft. David Guetta and Usher
If We Ever Meet Again – Timbaland ft. Katy Perry
Burn It Down – Linkin Park

Miss Me – Andy Grammer
Ho Hey – The Lumineers

As always, feel free to leave your suggestions as to what you’d like to see on the list – I’ll see what I can do! You know my number two priority (as number one is bringing you a tough class) is to keep playing the music that you want to hear.

Have a great weekend everyone! See you all next week!

A Pilates Primer


I came across this great quick reference chart of Pilates exercises, and wanted to share it, because, as always – I’m a firm believer that a strong core is the first step to a strong body, and Pilates is a GREAT way to get there.

Check out the exercises below, and don’t be afraid to try a few based on your level (you’ll see that the chart is color-coded to denote beginning, intermediate, and advanced). Always start with the lowest level or modification, and work into the harder exercises and levels as you get stronger. And be careful with your form: shoulders tucked down and back, open chest when you’re upright, and pelvis tilted, low back down and grounded when you’re on the floor. And always let your muscles drive you through each exercise, never your momentum!



SHH… The Entire Gym Does Not Need to Know Your Life Story (a.k.a. Keep Your Voice Down!)

I know I’ve addressed this topic in the past, but I was reminded of why it’s so important yet again tonight. Let’s talk about noise in the gym. Now, I’m not talking about breathing hard or grunting (unless you’re super loud about it, then I just don’t understand) – I’m talking about those people who find it necessary to make sure the entire gym can hear their conversations. Sometimes even – cringe – their phone conversations.

I’m  not even going to touch the phone part, because, quite honestly, if you are able to talk on the phone while you’re working out, clearly you aren’t working hard enough. I don’t even take my phone into the gym (a girl has to get away from technology for at least a couple hours a day).

That said: the entire gym does not have to hear your entire conversation. There are a couple habitual offenders in my gym, and lucky me always seems to end up nearby them (one used to be a trainer and now has – seriously – muttonchops, and the other is about the same height as me … and I’m fairly confident weighs less). Is there really reason for you to be so loud? Do you think that I need to hear your life story? Or are you just too rude to realize that those around you find you irritating?

The truth is, the gym is my happy place. My safe haven. My escape from the noise and stress of my everyday life. The one place I truly feel like my best self. Relaxed. At peace.

So when you’re yelling about your troubles? Yeah, that takes away my concentration. It takes away my peace. And more often than not, it takes away the weights that I’m looking to use (because you’re talking instead of lifting).

Moral of the story?  Common courtesy goes a long way. Be polite – and keep your voice down! Being social is one thing … being annoying is quite another.


Happy Birthday, Strong-Fit-Beautiful!


I can’t believe it has already been a year since my first post here at Strong-Fit-Beautiful. At the time, I had no idea that, one, people would actually read what I was writing, two, the blog community would be so embracing, engaging, and thought-provoking, and three, that I would end up loving this creative outlet as much as I do.

For me, starting a blog should have been something I would have done a long time ago. Blending my love for fitness with my background as a writer and editor really is such a natural fit.  I know I’ve mentioned her a few times here and there, but this little blog wouldn’t have existed without the person who initially pushed me to start writing it: my girl Helen. She’s seen me through a lot of good times – and a lot of bad times – and in the 3+ years we have known each other, she’s become a close friend, a sounding board, and often times, my sanity (you’ll get that when you spend 40+ hours a week sitting quite literally four feet away from someone). So to Helen: THANK YOU! Strong-Fit-Beautiful would have never existed without you.

For those of you who join me in class, I appreciate you taking a little time to check in with me in the blog world as well as in the studio. You were also part of why I’ve continued to write – your questions often inspire me to do a little research, share answers to often asked questions, and give you the opportunity to re-live the torture you endured in a Spinning class through the weekly playlist (you know I love all you badasses for making it through it – and coming back for more week after week). You make me a better instructor and a better communicator. I know I’ve said it a million times, but you are all truly the reason I continue to learn, teach, and wish I had more hours in my week to commit to leading classes for you. If fitness is my heart, you all are what feeds my soul. I truly feel as if the person I am when I step in front of a class is the best version of myself, and it means the world that you allow me to share her with you.

And to you, my readers. We are all in different parts of the world, yet the love of fitness and this incredible blog community brings us together. From many of you, I have gotten ideas I may have never come up with on my own, and I look forward to reading your reactions to my thoughts. You have inspired me, you’ve made me think, helped me look at an exercise or an idea differently, and often – even if you don’t realize it – you’ve cheered me up when I was feeling down.

I’ve covered a lot of topics throughout the last year – some serious, some humorous, some just plain scary or out there (first one that comes to mind? That story about the nasal feeding tube for weight loss). That said, here are a few of my favorites from the last year:

The Best Way to Start Your Week: A Love Letter to My Sunday Morning Spinning Class

Tonight’s 7 Miler: An Internal Monologue (Holy ADD)

Kisses Blown, Songs Sung – Last Night’s Spinning Class Made My Week

All’s Fair in Loving Fitness (a.k.a. Why I Want to Change the World)

Body Image: What You See is What You Become?

How We Can Combat Obesity: Healthy Habits Start in Childhood!

What Your Group X Instructor Wishes You Knew

Never, Ever Give Up: Arthur’s Inspirational Transformation

Hybrid Exercising: Piloxing and Barre Ride (naturally, I have to include my fitness tv debut)

So, what have you had the most to say about? The most comments have come from Who Am I?, Don’t Go to the Gym to Look Good … Do It for the Way It Makes You Feel! and The Upside of Running on a Treadmill. And a quick thanks to Colin at Uberbeastmode … you’ve earned the honor of being my top commenter (keep ‘em coming, I love your insight!)

Now that you’ve seen what I’ve liked throughout the last year, what were some of your other favorite posts? And what do you want to see more of (or perhaps learn about me) as we start the second year of Strong-Fit-Beautiful?

Finally, a big THANK YOU to all of you for your support and comments throughout the last year – you are the best!

Spinning Playlist – February 21, 2013

I’m super excited about tonight’s new song (Fall Out Boy is back from hiatus, and this song is GOOD), so let’s get to it! Here’s tonight’s ride:

Warm-up (Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine

Building Block #Start Resistance 5, Build to 8+)
Let’s Go – Calvin Harris ft. Ne-Yo
Only Girl (In the World) – Rihanna
Walk Away – Kelly Clarkson
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up) – Fall Out Boy

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8-9)
If I Lose Myself – One Republic
Feel This Moment – Pitbull ft. Christina Aguilera
I Kissed a Girl – Katy Perry
Domino – Jessie J
Uprising – Muse

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 7+)
Scream – Usher
Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
Animal – Ke$ha
Desert Rose – Sting

Wanted – Hunter Hayes
Between the Raindrops – Lifehouse ft. Natasha Bedingfield

Have a great weekend! I have a much-needed hair appointment on Saturday, so I should be back to feeling pretty – or, as my mom says, happy – this weekend! And if you didn’t happen to catch it yesterday, you can still see my ABC 7 news debut here.

See you all next Thursday!

Hybrid exercising: Piloxing and Barre Ride | WJLA.com

Good news! The story I taped for ABC 7 here in D.C. a couple weeks ago aired this morning. As promised, you can see me in action here: Hybrid exercising: Piloxing and Barre Ride | WJLA.com.

If it peaked your interest, remember you can always join me for a class at XSport Fitness in Alexandria for Piloxing on Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. and on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. Hybrid workouts are definitely the way to go – so come have some fun and get fit with me!

My First Barre Experience: My Legs May Hate Me Tomorrow.

I had the day off of work today for Presidents’ Day, so I figured tonight was the perfect opportunity for me to finally check out one of these barre classes that are popping up all over the place (and the Living Social impulse buy for three classes at Barre Code in Del Ray, which I purchased way back in November, is due to expire in two weeks and I didn’t want it to go to waste). Being me, naturally, I decided to take the class this in the evening … having already spent a little over two hours in the gym this morning.

On that note, sidebar: yes, perhaps I should have paid more heed to the conversation I had with my friend Matt this morning at the gym, when he joked I should be saving up my strength for tonight’s class instead of fitting in another workout. Because he was right.

Here’s the thing: I pride myself on being a bit of a badass. My former trainer used to call me “The Champ.” I make a lot of my workouts borderline crazy sometimes simply because I can. And I take it out on my classes, too – I consider “you’re the hardest instructor” the best compliment. That said …

Barre is freaking hard.

I’ll admit to not totally knowing what to expect, but I went in thinking, I’m a Pilates instructor, I’m highly conditioned, I danced for years (though, yes, the last time I took a class I was a freshman in college), how tough could some ballet-inspired workout be? Turns out, pretty dang hard. I’m fairly confident that if I don’t have to roll out of bed tomorrow, sitting and standing will probably be a challenge. Cause holy butt and quads (at least I still have strong abs and all that running hasn’t completely killed my flexibility – though those splits were a little more challenging than they were in my teens and 20s…).

Most of the class was based on small, controlled movements or contractions. Some of them were similar to many other exercises I’ve seen in Pilates, with just minor adjustments. A couple of the exercises, though, got me thinking I must have spent too much time around my brothers throughout my lifetime, because after what can only be explained as a lot of pelvic thrusts, I had to remind myself to get out of the gutter and focus on what I was doing (it’s totally Eric and Ian’s faults – just ask them, almost everything I say manages to be somehow twisted around, leading to a smirk and “too easy.”)

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I love anything that challenges me, and the fact that my form could still use a lot of work definitely gives me a reason to want to give it another try. I’m sure, like any exercise, all it takes is a little time and direction to get it just right.

But we’ll see how much my body hates me tomorrow …

Turning Weakness into Strength

If you’ve turned on ESPN at any time in the last few days, you are well aware that basketball legend Michael Jordan turns 50 this weekend. So, today I bring you this great quote, in honor of MJ’s 50th birthday:


Definitely great advice! It makes me think of the one trait my mother definitely instilled in me from a young age (thanks, mom!): tell me I can’t do something, and I’m going to not just do it, but do it WELL … just to spite those who said I couldn’t.