Yoga Tuesday!

It didn’t take too long for me to come down from the vacation-relaxed high. I’ve only been back from the beach for about 10 days, but my stress level has already creeped back up to the normal 10 or so. So tonight, I decided to do something a little different – and something I know I don’t do enough of. Yoga time.

My Mondays and Tuesdays are somewhat interchangeable, depending on what kind of workout I am looking to start my week out with. Last night, I ran 10k and did shoulders, so tonight, I was thinking easy(ish) cardio and weights – but since I’d stuck around after class on Sunday to get my arm workout of the way while the gym was pretty empty, today was somewhat up for grabs. I got to the gym in time to get about 40 minutes in on the ArcTrainer, then down to the studios I went.

The thing about yoga classes and me is that it can be hard for me to find one that I actually like. I’m not into the whole let’s sit and “om” or the let’s just stretch for an hour thing. So I was pretty happy to discover that tonight’s class was a power yoga class. Jen did not disappoint! The pace was brisk, the variety was good, and I’m thinking I may wake up feeling all those vinyasas in my chest tomorrow (YAY!)

Most of all, it gave me an opportunity to do something I desperately needed to do today – turn my brain off for a bit. I’ve kind of been in one of those “something has to give” periods as of late, so to take an hour for me, where I’m not looking rushing around, fighting for space, fretting about keeping my heart rate in the right zone … let’s say was exactly what I needed.

On another note … it’s kind of funny to take a class at the same club in which you are an instructor (and have been for a really long time). I think three different people – including the instructor teaching the class before me – asked if I was subbing tonight. Yes, we instructors take classes from others, too!

Top 10 Running Fashion Faux Pas | Runner’s World

I came across this amusing little slideshow fro Runner’s World the other day: Top 10 Running Fashion Faux Pas | Runner’s World. I was thinking about it as I was running a little treadmill 10 k tonight, and it got me to thinking … what crazy fashion faux pas do you see as you go about your workouts?

Having spent about six days a week in a gym for the last decade – not to mention the 30 or so miles a week I eventually built myself up to my junior and senior year of college (yes, sadly, that is BEFORE the start of the gym decade … sigh … oh, 30s, how did you come so fast?) – I’ve definitely seen some interesting fashion choices. I’ve still yet to understand the appeal of those toe shoes, though people claim they are life-changing. In all honesty, if it means they have replaced the Sketchers Shape-Ups (and the like), I’ll take them. Heck, I teach four classes a week barefoot, I should probably invest in them. And so should the gym I once saw – no joke – running BAREFOOT on the TREADMILL in the GYM. How an employee didn’t call him out and politely ask him to be a little more hygienic about his workout, I will never know.

And I’ve made no secrets about the fact that while I am a hot mess within 20 minutes of setting foot in the gym, my gym outfits do have a tendency to at least look put together. But sometimes I wonder, when did it become acceptable to roll out of bed and go to the gym. I realize that this is actually a technique people use to force themselves to go to the gym – this is not what I’m referring to. We’re talking more along the lines of holes. Stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day since the 90s. I’ll admit to occasionally – okay, more than occasionally – sleeping in an old, ripped up Gamma Phi shirt from 2000 or so. But there’s no way in hell I’m planning on being seen in public, and the last time I wore a t-shirt to the gym when I was still of an acceptable age to still pass for a sorority girl (I still look young, but not that young).

Bottom line – just be aware of when you look ridiculous. If you have to question? Well, then, you probably have your answer. Now get rid of those toe socks and get out there and run.

Spinning Playlist – July 25, 2013

Happy Thursday, everyone! Though I was still sitting in my beach chair this time last week, and I’d live at the beach if I could, it’s nice to be home to my classes. It was too short of a trip (they always are), but a nice break, to say the least!

But on to the important stuff … here’s tonight’s Spinning playlist, straight off the bike:

Warm-up (Flat Road; Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
If I Lose Myself – One Republic

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5; Build to 8+)
Don’t Wake Me Up – Chris Brown
Glowing – Nikki Williams
Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia
Come to Me – Diddy ft. Nicole Scherzinger

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5; Build to 9+)
Scream – Usher
Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton
Animal – Ke$ha
Safe and Sound – Capital Cities
Find Your Love – Drake

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8-9)
Everybody Talks – Neon Trees
Forever Now – Ne-Yo
If We Ever Meet Again – Timbaland/Katy Perry
Domino – Jessie J
Don’t Cha – Pussycat Dolls ft. Busta Rhymes

Cooldown
Wanted – Hunter Hayes
Ho Hey – The Lumineers

Have a great weekend everyone – I’ll see you next week!

Don’t Be Lazy (Though these People Did, and it’s Funny)

I came across this great slideshow on MSN this morning, featuring pictures that pretty much define gym laziness at its best. Napping on yoga mats, food remains, standing around doing nothing, a chair(!) on treadmill … there truly are some lethargic gems among these folks.

Which leads me to ask: if you’re going to go to the gym and be lazy, why bother going to the gym?

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I love both teaching classes and working out on my own at XSport. The club is huge, the members are awesome, you can’t beat 24/7, and I really don’t think I could survive a gym without towel service (as I’ve discovered in the handful of times they’ve been out of clean towels at the start of a workout). There are, however, two things I absolutely cannot stand about the club: the escalators in Alexandria (because people stand, instead of walking down them … which wastes time), and “member appreciation days” during the last week of the month (because they bring in a bunch of food, which usually makes the gym smell terrible … and do you really need to be eating tacos and pizza in a GYM??) If you clicked on the link above, you’ll see both of these – escalators and unhealthy food – on the slideshow. Yikes.

But back to gym laziness. It comes in many forms, and as a person who admits to probably spending too much time in the gym, I like to make the most of every second I spend there. If I’m not sweating, I’m not working hard enough (okay, full disclosure: my body has two temperatures – frozen or sweating – and it takes me, on average, about two minutes of movement to start sweating). So it makes me absolutely crazy to see people standing around talking, hanging for dear life on to machines or resting for far longer than necessary (here’s a tip: you don’t need 5 minutes to recover from one set. Superset, add a cardio burst, work a different body part … you’ll get a lot more done in a lot less time).

That said, my dear gym-goers, I beg of you … if you are going to make the effort to get yourself to the gym, take advantage of the time you spend there. On average, I spend around 12 hours a week in the gym – and have for the better part of the last decade. Throughout those years, I’ve found what works for me, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms, hanging out and doing everything in your power to avoid sweating isn’t gonna cut it. While I do admit to having a handful of people I do talk to regularly – and sometimes at length (Rebecca, Nour, RJ and D, I’m looking at you) – they are people who have the same mindset as me (as in we chat between sets or classes, during cardio or on our way out the door).

Perhaps even more so, be aware of your form. You could work out for hours, but if it is with bad form, you will likely not see the results you are looking to see – and potentially even end up with an injury. Stand up straight, take full breaths and maintain control of your movement at all times. As my Pilates classes are, undoubtedly, sick of hearing – use your muscle, not your momentum!

BONUS! Spinning Playlist – July 23, 2013

I’m back … and you get me a couple days early this week, too! Gotta work off those vacation treats, right? Anyway, here is tonight’s bonus Spinning playlist, straight off the bike:

Warm-up (Flat Road; Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
Best I Ever Had – Gavin DeGraw

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 9)
Closer – Tegan and Sara
Forever Now – Ne-Yo
(Blow Me) One Last Kiss – Pink
Burn it Down – Linkin Park

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 9)
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch
Glowing – Nikki Williams
Part of Me – Katy Perry
Wild – Jessie J ft. Big Sean
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up) – Fall Out Boy

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 7)
Endorphins – Sub Focus ft. Alex Clare
Clarity – Zedd ft. Foxes
Repeat – David Guetta ft. Jessie J
Desert Rose – Sting

Cooldown
Bittersweet Symphony – SMASH Cast ft. Megan Hilty
Love Soon – John Mayer

See you all back at my regularly scheduled time in Thursday night! Hope to see you then!

It’s Official … I’m Adding a New Gym :)

Back before I left for my vacation, I hinted that there was something exciting on the horizon, but it wasn’t completely official yet. Well, now that the paperwork is completed, I’m happy to announce that those of you in the DC area may have another opportunity to join me for a class someday! I’m joining the group exercise team over at the Sport&Health location at Crystal Park – as a sub to start, but we’ll see how it goes, and maybe something will open up for me to earn a permanent spot, too. 🙂

I discovered that I lived across the street (literally … I can walk there in two minutes) from this newly renovated club not too long ago, and decided why not add another location, since it’s so close? I got a call just before July 4, and it turned out that, in the definition of “small world,” the group fitness director over there was a Clemson grad … and a Gamma Phi Beta! She graduated the December before I started classes and joined the sisterhood, but seriously, what is the likelihood? And you know us Clemson folks stick together … and sisters are sisters forever, right?

It’s kind of strange for me, actually branching out and joining a different gym. XSport is where I got my start, and it will always hold a special place in my heart (stop freaking out. I’m still there three days a week, and I don’t plan on that changing unless it’s someone else’s decision). I think it means something, though, that I feel strong enough to take on classes at other clubs – there’s something to be said for getting out of your comfort zone. I’ve been at the same gym I got my start at way back in 2007, and it’s nice to feel like I’m not just teaching there because that’s where I’ve always been and I’ve built a following throughout the years – but that I’m actually good enough at teaching a class that people want to take it.

Now, my long-time XSport followers … don’t worry. When I said my schedule wasn’t changing, I meant it – I’m not going anywhere. That said … I’m subbing for Alissa at 6 p.m. tomorrow, so if you missed me while I was on vacation, you don’t have to wait until Thursday to take a cycle class with me, because I’m on the bike tomorrow. Hope to see you there!

Back From Paradise …

Yesterday was one of my least favorite days of the year … the end of vacation. After eight amazing days of sun, sand and fun with the family, I made the seven hour drive back to reality.

It was so nice to see the family and have the time to catch up with everyone. We have been going to South Carolina with my dad’s brother and his family for 19 years now (crazy to think it’s been so long!), and it has never gotten old (though we have). Though my brothers opted out of the trip for the second year in a row, we did still have a couple extra faces this year – my cousin’s wife’s parents decided to join the party! We had a great time, the weather was almost perfect, and my cousin Julia and I continually discussed how we’d be able to find jobs as beach bums (if only such a thing existed. If you know of a way to make this happen, please let us know. Because we’re in.)

I had a lot of time to think during the trip, which, if you know anything about me, is both a good and bad thing. If you read Monday’s post, you know that I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. I’m not where I want to be in my life – in just about every facet – and I’m working through several difficult conflicts, so it was nice to have the opportunity to watch the waves, feel the sand beneath my feet, and be with my thoughts. There is something about the smells and sounds of the ocean … I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders the second I saw and heard the waves. There really is nothing more relaxing and comforting to me.

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I also had the opportunity to play my first 18 holes of golf with my dad, uncle and cousin Bryant. It was … interesting. While I have to say that I did better than I expected, I also have to admit that I played almost every single shot with a 7 iron. It was the club that I used in my lessons, and clearly I need a little practice with the other clubs. But after I tried to use the driver the first hole (and dug up half of the tee area), I figured I needed to stick with what I knew. Seriously, other than the putter, nothing came out of that bag. But at least I didn’t have the ranger yelling at me to stay on the cart path every other hole (that was my dad) and I didn’t almost lose my club in the woods when it went flying along with the ball on a shot (that was my uncle). I have to admit, seeing how bad the other three were, too, made me feel a little better about my remedial golf skills. But check it out … at least I looked the part!

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But now it’s back to reality. Taught my first two classes post-vacation this morning, and surprisingly they felt pretty good (and, also surprisingly, the scale was not my enemy this morning … not sure how that happened but I’m NOT going to argue that one). I’m planning on enjoying the rest of what is technically the last day of my vacation. Until next year…