Spinning Playlist – February 27, 2014

And so the longest winter of all time continues… Good thing we have a good class to keep us warm, right? (But seriously … it’s almost March. What’s with the way below average temps?)

Here’s tonight’s playlist, straight out of the studio:

Warm-up (Start Flat Road; Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
Love Don’t Die – The Fray

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8+)
Hot ‘n Cold – Katy Perry
Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia
Come to Me – Diddy ft. Nicole Scherzinger
Funhouse – Pink

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 9)
Best I Ever Had – Gavin DeGraw
Wild Ones – Flo Rida ft. Sia
Let’s Go – Calvin Harris ft. Ne-Yo
Domino – Jessie J
Dirrty – Christina Aguilera ft. Redman

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 9)
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch
Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Rosa Parks – Outkast

Cooldown
XO – Beyonce
All of Me – John Legend

Have a great weekend everyone – can you believe it’s almost March already??

Strong-Fit-Beautiful Turns 2!

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Today is an exciting day here at Strong-Fit-Beautiful … we are turning 2! I would have never imagined that, when I took my girl Helen’s advice and started writing about what I love, it would have turned into something so incredible. I’ve been blessed that, as a result, I’ve had a lot of great opportunities – and been able to share a lot of great stories and advice – along the way. I’ve “met” some great people from around the world who are here for the same reason I am – because health and fitness are my passion, my love, the one thing that I can always get excited to talk about.

One thing that a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m not naturally as outgoing and enthusiastic as I am when fitness is involved. While there is no greater feeling than stepping in front of a class, and chatting with those who have, truly, become my friends week in and week out, I can be pretty shy. I have a hard time letting people in a lot of the time. Which is why I think that I love teaching – I have the opportunity to be someone else. To be the me I wish I was. To feel like, even if only for a short time, I’m not being criticized or judged. In a lot of ways, I get the same feeling when I’m sharing my posts and communicating with all of you – it’s incredibly rewarding. Makes me feel as if I’m making a difference. Having an impact. And at the end of the day, that is the one thing I want out of my life – to know that I have made someone’s life better.

When I first started Strong-Fit-Beautiful, I was in kind of a sad place. I’d recently  had my heart broken – again – and I often found myself wondering if I had wasted many of my “good” years, too focused on the things that didn’t mean as much to me, and not enough on the ones that really did. I felt like I’d done a lot of work, lived a lot of life, and maybe didn’t have too much to show for it. But the truth is, I have realized that it’s the lows that make the highs that much sweeter. And there really is something better just around the corner – and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when we feel we’ve been given all we can handle, the prize for surviving is within our reach (I can honestly say that in the last six months, I’ve had a lot more highs than lows … and everything kind of all hit at once … and yes, I wasn’t sure I could get any lower before that trend started a rapid climb upward). There have been many ups and downs since then, and though I don’t make a practice of sharing too much personal stuff too often, I’m glad to say that while life isn’t perfect right now, it is looking pretty good. I know that I have a lot of great people around me, supporting me, loving me and standing by me through those ups and downs. And I’m fortunate enough to do what I love part-time … even if it is only a few hours a week, teaching classes is truly the best food my soul could ever hunger for.

But enough of the sappy stuff, right? I’ve had a really great time writing Strong-Fit-Beautiful these last two years, and I’ve had some amazing opportunities come out of it. I’ve been fortunate to connect with some other incredible bloggers, both here in the U.S. and across the world. I’ve met a few of my readers here in the local area, and I’ve even enjoyed my five minutes of fame when one of my classes was featured on the morning local ABC news. I’ve had some great laughs from some of your comments (trust me, it makes me feel much more normal knowing that some of the same weird crap I see in my gym is not exclusive to my area … there are weirdos all over). More than anything, I’ve had FUN doing something I love (writing), and even more fun getting to discuss one of my favorite topics (fitness) on the regular.

So, to all of you who have helped Strong-Fit-Beautiful become what it is today … THANK YOU! You’re the best. As long as you’ll keep reading, I’ll keep sharing. I  know I haven’t been as good as of late about keeping up as I have in the past, but life has been crazy, so I’m trying my best (as my mom says, it’s tiring having a life, isn’t it? It’s something that’s kind of new to me). Here’s to another year of fun and fitness!

 

Spinning Playlist – February 20, 2014

Well, it looks like everyone survived the snow last week … when I went away for a few days, I didn’t expect to later discover I wasn’t missing class after all! Hopefully that’s the last of that … though I have to admit, my timing was pretty impeccible, landing in Honolulu about the time the snow started falling last Wednesday.

But on to what you really care about … what we rode to tonight! I was ready to go and the energy was awesome tonight. Here’s this week’s Spinning playlist:

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+)
Take Me Home – Cash Cash
Numb – Usher
Up in the Air – 30 Seconds to Mars
Burn it Down – Linkin Park

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 9+)
Lucky Strike – Maroon 5
Touch Me – SMASH Cast ft. Katherine McPhee
Neon Lights – Demi Lovato
How I Feel – Flo Rida
Miss Jackson – Panic at the Disco ft. Lolo

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 4, Build to 8+)
Scream – Usher
Everybody Talks – Neon Trees
I Need Your Love – Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding
Glowing – Nikki Williams
Uprising – Muse

Cooldown
Not a Bad Thing – Justin Timberlake

It was great to get back to you guys – and it looks like I may have brought some of the warmer weather back with me? Have a great weekend, and try to get outside and enjoy it if you can!

Back from My Hawaiian Adventure (Part 2)!

Let me first apologize for omitting one major point in Part 1 of my Hawaii recap … we definitely saw sea turtles while we were surfing on the North Shore. How I missed this, I’m not quite sure, because I was pretty excited about it (thanks to the boy for, 1. noticing that I missed one of the highlights of my surfing experience, and 2. reading my blog). They were pretty cool.

So, while yesterday was about surfing, today is about some of the other ways we kept ourselves active in paradise. We were fortunate in that we stayed at a resort with both running trails and a pretty nice (definitely above hotel standard) gym. We took advantage of both once in the three days we were in the North Shore.

As I mentioned yesterday, the weather was warm the entire trip, but overcast and rainy for all but the first two days (and the few hours we were out surfing with instructor Mike). We woke up on Saturday to overcast skies and drizzle, and figured it was a good time to check out one of the trails along the resort. It was pretty cool to run through the forest, next to the ocean. I wouldn’t say we were exactly pushing ourselves – enough to raise our heart rates and get a little sweaty (not a surprise, based on the temperature and humidity) – but there were so many beautiful things to see along the trail that we had to stop a few times just to take it all in. There was something between a drizzle and a light rain falling during most of the run, but it was actually really nice. I’m the type who is sweating within about three seconds, and is easily drained once the temperature gets above 70 degrees, so the additional cool from the rain was welcome. I will say, though, being accustomed to running on a treadmill … running trails is TOUGH! We had to maneuver around trees, fallen coconuts, and yes, even horse “presents,” as we trekked through the sand. The instability of the ground definitely made it a lot harder, and my lower legs were feeling it a little the next day (or maybe it was just because at one point I slightly twisted my ankle on a rock).

One ugly afternoon we decided to hit the gym. It was one of our less active days – we drove a bit farther up north to check out the scenery and some of the local shops (and discovered an amazing Mexican restaurant) and took a nap, but little else – so we figured we had better do a little something. It was getting close to the end of the trip, and I think we both were at the point that we were starting to miss our regular workout routines. And maybe feeling a little guilty?

Other than the surfing, running and gymming, we also did a ton of walking. Between walking to dinner or shopping in Waikiki, walking around the sites at Pearl Harbor (there was actually a lot more to see than I had realized – ships, submarines, planes, and museums explaining all of them…), and walking around to see some of the local sites, we definitely logged several miles each day.

Overall, the trip was amazing – and proved that just because you are on vacation (in paradise, when the snow is falling at home) doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be inactive and eat or drink whatever you want (though, admittedly, we did have some great food and drinks … probably why we put some form of physical activity on our list of priorities). But, just like it’s always great to get away, it’s always great to get back to routine, too. Back to home sweet home and the normal grind!

Back from My Hawaiian Adventure! (Part 1)

Hello again friends … long time no … uh, post? The last several weeks have been nothing short of insanity, and luckily, I was able to unplug, unwind, and take some time to just relax throughout the last week. But that certainly doesn’t mean that I spent my week in Hawaii sitting on my butt (although, truth be told, that is typically a big part of my beach vacations).

Last week, the boy headed to Honolulu for work for a few days, and with Valentines’ Day being last Friday and the Presidents’ Day holiday this past Monday, he invited me to join him out there for a little sand, surf and relaxation. We had both been working ourselves ragged lately, and it was a good excuse to get away from the winter that will never end (lucky for me, I flew out of D.C. about 12 hours before last Wednesday’s dumping of snow started falling).

One thing you have to know about both of us is that we are typically pretty active. I joke with him that his garage looks like a miniature REI. He’s an outdoor sports type. I’m more of a gym type, but I’ll try just about anything once. So needless to say, between the beaches, sites and fancy tropical drinks (in moderation, of course), we managed to stay pretty active. I tried a few new things. Saw some beautiful sites. Spent some time on former movie sites (we’ll get to that). And got a black eye.

So here’s Part 1 of the story:

I was informed going in that I would be learning to surf during our trip. Now, I’m typically a only as deep as my ankles kind of girl, so I was a little nervous as to how this would turn out. I was afraid I’d drown. Or get eaten by a shark. Or knock out my teeth. But I promised the boy I’d try. So I did … twice. Let’s say that while one instructor was not so great and left me unscathed (physically – emotionally may be a different story), the other was fantastic … and I came away with a story to tell.

We spent a few days in Waikiki, and apparently the gentle waves are perfect for new surfers. The boy claimed the waves were super-gentle (in fact, I think he was a little bored with them). Thus he hired pro #1 to show me what to do.

I was a little terrified of “Uncle Gil” from the start. He was this tiny man who I’m fairly sure was missing a few teeth, and kept talking about how he’d been surfing for 50 years (oh, and that he’d been in Vietnam). I’m usually the type who has to try something a few times before I get it down … and Uncle Gil took that as me not listening to him (because of course it wasn’t that he wasn’t explaining what he wanted me to do). Long story short, he yelled at me a lot, but I was able to get up a few times. I walked away thinking I was much better suited for beach sitting. And that Uncle Gil was terrifying. Desire to become a surfer? Zero.

But the boy was persistent, and once we made our way up to the North Shore a couple days later, surfing lessons were once again on my agenda. I will admit – and he knows this – I was less than thrilled with the prospect. If the waves outside of our hotel were any indication, I may be risking death. But Mike, the instructor (who was about 40 years younger than Uncle Gil – and a WHOLE lot nicer) assured us we were in good hands. So we loaded up into a van and drove to another beach not too far away to get started.

I’ll admit to being a little cranky-pants on the trip over there. I’ll also admit to perking up considerably when the girl who took us over to the site informed us that we’d be surfing on the beach that Hunger Games: Catching Fire was filmed (yes, I got a little fan girl. So what). It was a long swim out to the waves – definitely longer out than I think I’ve ever been in the ocean before – but, thankfully, the area was relatively shallow thanks to a reef (though the reef brought additional challenges: Would I break something? Would something try to eat me? Were there jellyfish?). Mike took his time finding what he called the “perfect wave” before he pushed us out – taking the time to explain what we were looking for, why it was important, and really just putting us at ease before we were thrust out into the wave. Needless to say, I started to get a little more of the why behind the how – and for me, that made a big difference. I still don’t know that I’d say I have much surfing in my future, but yes, I can see how it could be fun when you know what you’re doing. The boy claimed Mike told him I had great form, so maybe it is just a matter of practice makes perfect?

However, I did walk away from the lesson with a memory that will take a few days to go away… yeah, I got hit in the eye with the surfboard. Talk about one heck of a souvenir…
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More on my adventures coming tomorrow … now this girl’s gotta get to bed in the hopes of lessening the chances of severe jet lag…

One Hour is Not Too Long to Disconnect.

Every once in a while, I’ll see something during class that makes me wonder exactly what people are thinking. Last night was one of those nights.

Let me back up a little and explain something – I never take my phone into the gym unless I absolutely have to. I spend enough of my day connected. I enjoy the two or so hours to myself, without (too many) distractions. But I realize that we live in a world where we are always “on,” so not everyone shares my need to set the phone aside during me time.

It’s not like I’ve never seen someone pull out a phone and send a text or heard a phone ring in the background of my classes. It’s at most a 30-second distraction. Do I think it’s rude? Honestly, yes. But I tolerate it.

I make a practice of not calling people out in class unless they are doing something awesome. It can be embarrassing, and really, who wants to be the one to have eyes on you because you did something wrong? Well, last night I was close. Because last night, I had a girl in my Spinning class who, in the corner of my peripheral vision, I saw texting. The ENTIRE class. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t give her any dirty looks. I kept doing my job (and pushing through without a function microphone … again).

But it made me think … do people really not realize that it’s kind of disrespectful to their instructor? Am I being a little too sensitive, or is it just rude to be so important (in your own eyes) that you can’t take one hour – ONE HOUR – of your day to disconnect, and be present and in the moment? Or at least to act like you actually want to be there?

The fact is, I spend my entire day at a job I kind of like. My classes? I love them more than anything in the world (if only it paid the bills!) – and I love the people who I see every week. Some of them have tried new classes simply to be able to take more classes with me each week (to all of you, I love you). I put my everything into my classes – heck, I taught two a couple weeks back with a pretty serious case of laryngitis (honestly, I wonder a little if I may have done some permanent damage to my vocal cords that weekend – bad, bad move) – is it so much to ask that if you are going to take the time to go to a class, you have a little respect for not only your instructor, but the people around you who came to give it their all?

Okay. Rant over. But really … am I the only one who thinks there is absolutely no reason to have your cell phone out while you’re in the gym?

Spinning Playlist – February 6, 2014

Happy Thursday everyone! It’s been a CRAZY week here, but we are going to make it to the weekend … but that’s one thing I love about teaching on Thursday nights. I get a little more excited knowing the weekend is almost here!

Lots of new tunes for you tonight – so let’s get to it, shall we? Here’s tonight’s Spinning playlist, fresh out of the studio:

Warm-up (Flat Road; Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars (yes, this is in honor of his Super Bowl performance on Sunday)

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 9)
Closer – Tegan and Sara
Neon Lights – Demi Lovato
How I Feel – Flo Rida
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ’em Up) – Fallout Boy

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 9)
Turn Me On – David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj
I Need Your Love – Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding
Stay the Night – Zedd ft. Hayley Williams
Safe and Sound – Capital Cities
Uprising – Muse

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 9)
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch
Take Me Home – Cash Cash
Glowing – Nikki Williams
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Pink
Miss Jackson – Panic at the Disco ft. Lolo

Cooldown
All of Me – John Legend
Human – Christina Perri

Just a heads’ up for next week: Jen will be subbing for me, as I’ll be likely sitting under a palm tree sipping on something tropical (the boy’s headed to Hawaii for work on Sunday … and decided I should spend several days out there with him later in the week … I think he wins some MAJOR points for that one … but don’t tell him I said that … crap, he reads this sometimes…). Have a great weekend and I’ll see you when I get back!

BONUS! Spinning Playlist – February 4, 2014

Happy Tuesday everyone! I made an appearance at Sport&Health in Crystal City tonight, which means bonus playlist this week! Remember, classes at S&H are only 40 minutes, and the bikes don’t lend well to my usual “style” so the playlist looks a little different – but we had a great time, so enjoy!

Here’s what we rode to tonight:

Love Don’t Die – The Fray
Work Work – Britney Spears
Glowing – Nikki Williams
Come to Me – Diddy ft. Nicole Scherzinger
Neon Lights – Demi Lovato
The Other Side – Jason DeRulo
Miss Jackson – Panic at the Disco ft. Lolo
Lucky Strike – Maroon 5
Take Me Home – Cash Cash
How I Feel – Flo Rida
Desert Rose – Sting

I’ll see you all back at the regularly scheduled time on Thursday at XSport – have a great night!