Cycle Instructor Recertification / Updates

One of my goals for 2016 was to complete my cycle re-certification. I needed a lot of the units so I opted for Maddogg’s full re-certification course. The course from Spinning gives you an Instructor Essentials Manual and covers all the CEC’s needed to be certified for another 2 years. For a second I thought about taking the test and seeing if I could pass without reading the manual but when I saw that the manual included updates, I thought better of it. I am glad I read the entire manual because not only was there new information, there were some great reminders about teaching a cycle class.


The new updates included:

  1. New hand position –  Since I have taken my instructor certification, a new hand position has been added. Hand Position 2.5 offers an additional option for comfort with grip during a class. It is particularly beneficial to students who require a longer reach but I find that a large number of students normally gravitated towards this position before it was officially added.
  2. Update on spinning energy zones – The energy zones were updated to include that the upper limit for Race Day and Interval energy zones is “maximal effort” rather than the previous 92%. The reason for the change was due to the additional update to the age predicted heart rate formula.
  3. Maximum HR calculation – 208 – (0.7 x age) = age predicted HR

In addition, there were other things I noticed about the manual especially the emphasis on the kinesiology of cycling. There was a much larger portion on specific muscles and body parts. However, for myself a lot of it followed my ACE Group Fitness studying so it was a good refresher. There was also a strong focus on heart rate monitoring. Only one of the gyms that I teach cycle at focuses on HR and I find it makes a large improvement for students. Therefore, the focus on how to calculate HR as well as the benefits of monitoring while exercising such as preventing overtraining, provides an indicator of exercise exertion and improves fitness level.

Once I read the manual, I took the test online and passed  on the first try. Just like the first test, you require a minimum of 80% to pass the test. If you were able to pass the first instructor certification exam, the second should be fairly easy. The format is the same with a total of 50 questions on the exam. Overall, the re-certification manual provided the necessary updates as well as usual reminders to teaching cycling. The re-certification was worth two more years of teaching cycle!

Looking for cycle playlists? Check out the fitness page.


Mix It Up Playlist

It may seem like an obvious statement but music is one of the most unique things in the world. You would never be able to grab two people’s music library and have the exact same music. Music is unique to each and every person. Different songs have different meanings. Different artists offer unique motivation. Different songs drive emotions. As an instructor I have learned I will never create a playlist that every student likes which is why I try as much as possible to create those that mix it up constantly whether it be genre, artist and the decade the song was popular. Even then my instructor music is different from my personal workout music. While I love me some Eminem, there are maybe two songs that you can find a clean version of. While this can create a small challenge at times, it also allows me to mix it up and expand my horizons when it comes to music.

Mix It Up Playlist

Sometimes I make a playlist for a class and think it will be one that students enjoy. Other times, I write a playlist that becomes the list I am obsessed with for weeks. Today I wanted to share my latest obession. It has what I love so much about playlists – a little bit of everything – 80’s, rock, pop and EDM. I originally used the playlist for a cycle strength day with two heavy, 5 min hills but found myself  using the same playlist with running and it really motivated me!

Mix It Up Playlist

Be sure to check out the fitness page for more playlists!

I’ve Been Seeing Orange

Life seems to just be flying by. I was definitely not planning a 2 week break from blogging but hey life happens. There have been some exciting things going on in my life all of which are worth the insane weeks I have been having. However, I am looking forward to it getting a little less hectic (hopefully sooner rather than later) in the weeks to come. Plus, I need to work on finishing recapping my honeymoon before I start forgetting some of the details. Since it has been a while, a little catch up of what has been going on in my side of the world before I get back to a regular posting.

1. Although I do need to get to the optometrist, I am not seeing orange from vision problems but rather because I have been training to be an Orangetheory Coach!! The past few weeks have been consumed by training but I could not be more excited. The training will last through this weekend before starting to teaching practice classes. It still feels like a dream that fitness has continued to take me in some different directions in my life. If you told me just a few years ago that I would be here teaching at multiple gyms, multiple formats and LOVING it, I would have probably laughed. Life is just so exciting and unpredictable!

2. The most exciting thing in the past two weeks? We got our first home! Our condo is being built just a few blocks from where we currently live and will be completed in November. I have been going crazy on Pinterest with travel themed decorating. The way this year has been going, November will be here before you know it. Christmas in our first home together is the best thing I could ask for. We have been signing a mountain of documents and get to go to the design center this week to pick our electrical and cabinets.

3. Another item was crossed off the fitness list and 2016 goals by getting my Spinning Re-certification. I have a draft post to share the process which was fairly easy and allows me to teach cycle for another 2 years! I am still working on studying for my ACE Group Fitness Certification but with the increase in training for Orangetheory, studying has been tossed to the side.

See you back tomorrow for a Travel Thursday post!

Fitbit Alta Review

For (Dog) Mother’s Day, I got a Fitbit Alta because my Fitbit Charge was getting a little worn down. Although my Charge was still working, I had my eyes on the Alta since it was announced. Especially as my Charge started getting worn down, I started doing more research on the Alta and liked what I saw. The two things that peaked my strong interest in the fitness tracker: the slim design and the reminder to move. Now that I have have had the Alta for over a month using it during a half marathon, a few cycle classes and vacation, I wanted to share my review of the Fitbit Alta.


Let’s get straight to it – I LOVE the Fitbit Alta and would recommend over the Fitbit Charge! While I loved my Charge and had very few complaints about it, all of those complaints were taken care of with the Alta. Here are the things I like better about the Alta over the Charge:

Additional Accessory Bands – One of the first things I noticed when the Alta was announced was the ability to change the bands. However, the difference between the Flex and the Alta is the slimmed down style. My main complaint on the Charge was the thick style made it look like a fitness tracker. The Alta offers a sleek look with the chrome display that makes it look more like a bracelet than a tracker. In addition to the color the band is purchased, you can purchase additional bands that include various colors and material such as leather and metal.

Reminder to Move (every hour) – To be fair, the new hourly step goal is a feature that came with the new updated dashboard for all Fitbits. The reminder however was not on the Charge. The goal is to be active of 250 minimum steps per hour. If you have not reached the goal, within the hour, you will receive a notification on your tracker to get up and move. If you have completed some steps, it will tell you how many

Smart Track – The Alta automatically recognizes and records exercises for you. This allows you to keep track of workouts without having to record them in the app. I love this feature because I would often forget to log workouts in the app. Then I would have to backtrack and remember two weeks of workouts at a time. The smart track automatically registers the workouts I complete including walking which was great when we were traveling.

My main complaint about the Alta? It took me almost 2 weeks to be able to get the clasp together on my own. Otherwise, I would have to make sure that the husband was around to help me put it on.

Overall, the switch to the Fitbit Alta has been an extremely easy one due to the improvements from the Charge. In addition, some of the new updates are also included on the Fitbit updates for other devices!

What I Have Gained As A Group Fitness Instructor

Last week, I shared a picture on Instagram of my empty, post cycle class. The picture was taken after a particularly rough month-end week which meant long, late hours which makes every day a challenge to leave the office to get to class. On Thursday, I had a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” (it wasn’t that bad, I just loved that book growing up). I left work in a frenzy, raced home to change and grab myself all while yelling at myself for not having brought my bag to work. By the time I drove road-raged my way through traffic and a full parking lot, I made it to class with a few minutes to spare. I settled into “teaching mode” and left everything going on in my life at the door.

Over the past week weeks, with my 8-5 job providing a lot of stress, teaching has provided a few of it’s own headaches. Working at a new gym trying to create those connections, I have been reminded how hard it can to start somewhere new with people who have their opinions of what a class should or shouldn’t be. The stress of trying to expand as an instructor as well as figuring out how to balance teaching with my personal life has really provided good growing pains. All of those growing pains however were accepted and appreciated on Thursday after class with one interaction with a student. After the cool down portion of class I walked to the back of the class to say goodbye and have a good night to students. The last student to walk out of the class, I got exactly what I needed. A terminally sick student who goes to class as much as possible responded back with “I did have a great night thanks to this class.” Just like that, I was reminded of exactly how much I get from being a Group Fitness Instructor. 


Group Fitness Instructors (GFIs) provide students a safe, effective and fun workout routine in all types of formats. Plain and simple – I love being an instructor and teaching. Being an instructor has nothing to do with money (sadly the money is not there to make it about money) and doing it because you enjoy it. Although the job is about giving to students, I actually get so many rewards from being a GFI.

  • Happiness – Getting to have a positive impact on someone’s day makes me genuinely happy. As the example above showed you, my students have a great way of giving me perspective they did not even know they were giving me. A simple thank you can turn my day around while interactions with students constantly remind me how lucky I am that teaching has worked out for me.
  • Friends – I have actually made some amazing friends from teaching. There were people I really connected with during class that when I left the gym I taught them at, we still kept in touch. I have gotten to know more of my family’s friends, student’s friends and family and coworkers from classes. This is probably the one reward I constantly receive from class to class.
  • Confidence – In my sophomore English class, I actually took an F for a speech because I was so terrified that failing was better than having to get up in front of the class. 10 years later, I stand in front of hundreds of people a month teaching classes. I have gained a confidence in myself that I never knew I had in me. Being confident has not only been helpful to me personally, it has really carried into my teaching. I am more willing to take risks, to try new things and be more relaxed in class because I am confident in who I am as in an instructor.
  • A thicker skin – Let me tell you, teaching a class can be brutal. As mentioned in my GFI confessions, I have been yelled at, dealt with really opinionated students and had to smile while teaching a student who told me 3 mins before class they hated the format of my class. Thankfully, this has also helped me in the professional world when dealing with people. I do not let comments get to me and try to take stuff less personally. In addition, I have learned to be strong in my beliefs, knowledge and opinions in class and outside.
  • Appreciation – I have gained an appreciation for an endless amount of things from teaching: an appreciation for what my body can handle, my health, fitness professionals in the industry, friends and family, my supportive husband and most importantly my students. Especially on the weekends, I find myself driving home smiling, appreciative that 2 years later I still get to do what I love week after week.

Tell me: Have you gained friends from fitness? 


Half Marathon Playlist

Another weekend over but this weekend was an exciting, productive one because it was the last weekend before we leave for our honeymoon. There was plenty of computer work and studying in preparation for our trip. (for 17 days!!!) I have been trying to pre-write as many posts as possible and complete my studying for the ACE before I leave. Most of Saturday was filled with packing and getting ready for our trip as much as possible. Sunday was spent with teaching a cycle class, an Orangetheory class and celebrating Mother’s Day.

Half Marathon Playlist

I am stopping in today for a quick post to share my latest playlist. I have shared before how much music is a part of daily life for me. Therefore, when running a race, making a perfect playlist is important. Having music that will help motivate you is essential to help push you along to the finish line. I wanted to share my half marathon playlist I used for the OC Half.

Half Marathon Playlist Planks and Planes

Rockstar – Miley Cyrus
Stitches – Shawn Mendes
Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
Gold Digger – Kanye West
Black Magic – Little Mix
Never Forget You – Zara Larsson
I Know What You Did Last Summer – Shawn Mendes
Girls Chase Boys – Ingrid Michelson
I’ll Make a Man Out of You – Donny Osmond
The Night Is Still Young – Nicki Minaj
Drunk on Your Love – Brett Eldridge
I Lived – OneRepublic
Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya
Lose Yourself – Eminem
Yeah 3x – Chris Brown
Sugar – Maroon 5
Hollow – Tori Kelley
Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers
Hell No – Ingrid Michelson
Without You (ft. Usher) – David Guetta
Nights on Fire – David Nail
Ride Wit Me – Nelly
Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal

Check out more playlists on the Fitness Page!

Friday Favorites : Running Gear

Most runners have a story about when they first started that ended up in blisters or chaffing. These stories have helped runners to learn the importance of a good pair of running shoes and/or moisture wicking clothes. While running is simply just about starting, as you continue to run you will value good quality items that help support your training and/or potentially racing. Over the years of running for fun or enduring the training for race, there are a few tried and true things that I have come to NEED while running. Today for Friday Favorites, I am sharing my Favorite Running Gear. Linking up with Heather (whose new move to NY is making me so excited for our trip to the Big Apple next week) and Katie. Share your Friday Favorites in the comments!


1) Energy / Gu Fuel – For the first race that I ran, it was definitely amateur hour. Refueling never crossed my mind and half way through the light went off in my head. There is a reason that runners have their go to race fuel, never straying without thoroughly testing out a new fuel before committing. Gu Fuel Gel is my go-to for energy during a race. I take one before the start of a race and at least one, sometimes two during. I have tried the chomps and I just cannot get over the texture and having to chew while running. My favorite flavors are salted caramel and salted watermelon!!

2) Bic Bands – I have spent tons of money when first running on headbands that no slip or sports headbands for the active girl. NONE of them have worked. Then at my first race expo, I walked past the Bic Bands booth, enticed by the glitter headbands and I have been hooked ever since. These bad boys are the real deal. I have worn them through hours of classes, running and work without having to even adjust once. These are a staple in my workout and real life wardrobe. I hate having hair in my face and these beauties keep my hair in place forever!! I cannot recommend them enough (that’s coming from someone who might have upwards of 20 glitter colors!)


3) KT Tape – This is the newest addition to my favorite running gear. KT Tape is used on muscles, ligaments, and tendons and provides lightweight, external support. When my knee was giving me problems, I finally broke down, bought a roll and it looks like this weekend I will already need to get more. This has helped my knee immensely before, during and after the half marathon. I have worn it for days on end and noticed a huge improvement in my recovery. I have been sharing it with others that at the family’s birthday celebration last week I ended up taping my brother and dad. When I texted my brother this week, he said his shoulder has already felt better.


4) Compression SocksPro Compression socks are the best! I have been rotating my socks out each day. Compression socks help speed recovery as well as increase blood flow so they are the perfect addition during training and after a race. Every single race I immediately change into compression socks and don’t take them off for 24 hours. With my IT band problems, compression socks have been my go to when sleeping. Plus compression socks are great beyond workouts. A pair is making its way into my suitcase for our long flight to Greece!

5) Running Watch / Garmin Forerunner 220 – I started my running on a treadmill but by the time fall rolled around I wanted to start running outside. I got my first Garmin as a gift and have never looked back. I love the ease of using it and have really learned to pace my runs using a watch. I think a running watch has helped me really fine tune my running. I love that the watch syncs with the app to have comparisons of my runs on my phone. While running naked (like I was forced to when I packed my watch away and couldn’t find it) can be freeing, I was thrilled to have my watch back during my half training.


Tell me: What is your favorite running gear?

Missed past Friday Favorites? Check our the lifestyle page for more!

OC Half Marathon 2016 Recap

Where do I begin? First and foremost, the OC Half Marathon is truly one of the prettiest courses. When I figured out that I wasn’t going to get a PR, I sent a txt to my mom saying I would at least enjoy a scenic run. Scenic it was. I love every single part of the race from the start at Fashion Island to crossing that finish line at the Costa Mesa Fairgrounds. As mentioned on Monday, the expo was great. The expo got me even more excited for race weekend. The expo is like a first day of school to me. I get little butterflies, just want to lay my outfit out and hurry to bed to get to the morning.


The first two miles went by quickly. I enjoyed hitting Pacific Coast Highway and running along side the beach after mile 2. I ran the first 5K with the hubby who was just kicking butt and I felt my knee already tightening up. I told him to go on without me and kept my pace until the 10K. I love running through the residential and commercial areas of Newport Beach that the first 6 miles went by quick. Even slowing down a bit, I was still on track for a PR until mile 8. It went downhill (and definitely not literally) from that point. At mile 8, I felt like I was in slow motion as my knee gave out. Thank goodness, I didn’t fall hard as I got myself up and hobbled off to the side. From that point, I still thought I could meet my race goal. I walked to the next aid station, drank a lot of water and started jogging. A few minutes of jogging became a consistent half mile walk with a half mile jog. At this time, I hit the Newport Beach Bay which provides views of the bay, boats and beautiful homes. I took some pictures in my walking breaks and by mile 9, I knew my PR was gone, I expected positive splits and decided to enjoy the rest of the race. Especially knowing that hill in mile 11 was coming, I knew it wasn’t worth it to push myself. At mile 11, luckily there is a large aid station to help distract from the large hill coming. Unfortunately, last year my legs were ready for any hills thanks to Ragnar. This year, that hill was a beast. I jogged up the entire hill and slowed down once I reached the top but I did it! The last two miles went quickly as there were more supporters leading up to the finish line.

I can say that for the first time in a race, I stopped at every single aid station. Besides my knee, my body felt great. Usually negative self talk will creep in when I see my goal is not obtainable but I knew I would finish. I was proud of everything my body had gotten through even if my time was a little slower than planned. It wasn’t my worst race, it wasn’t my best race. I finished 10 minutes past my half marathon last year but I crossed that finish line smiling with a fist pump!

 After crossing the finish line, I saw the hubby who had PR’d by over 15 minutes! I was so proud of him, it made the finish line even better. I got my amazing medal, took a few pictures and headed to the VIP tent with the OC Marathon to rest my knee.

A special thank you to the OC Marathon supporters – the Ambassador team, the police officers, all of the support aid and those who signed up for the race through me! I look forward to this amazing race against next year. 


Race Weekend

Race weekend came and went just like that! We spent Saturday at the expo for the OC Marathon before enjoying the beautiful weather! The packet pickup is so simple for the race that you can get in and get out quick if you wanted. I appreciate a race that is very organized. At the expo I stocked up on more of my favorite headbands – Bic Bands! I’m determines to get one in every glitter color they have.. I might almost be there! We walked around the expo to get Gu and look for tape for my knee. We enjoyed some of the vendors before leaving in the early afternoon.

When we left for the expo, the weather at home was overcast and drizzling but by the time we drove to the beach, it was perfect. A light breeze, blue skies which makes for great race weather. So after the expo, we enjoyed the beautiful weather with a walk along the beach and a delicious lunch at my favorite restaurant in Newport Beach. Crab Cooker, always has been and always be one of the best meals I can have! Fresh fish, coleslaw and potatoes are a pre-race meal I would eat every single time!

Our evening was much more low key as we got ready for the race, setting our stuff out for a 4:30am wake up call. One of the things I was excited to add to my race outfit- my new Fitbit Alta!! I got an early (Dog) Mothers Day present from Emma and the hubby. My Fitbit Charge was getting a little worn and since they released the Alta, I have been lusting over it! Even better I got to see how I liked it through a 2 hour race! Another thing I added to my flat runner was KT tape and I am so glad we did! It really helped support my knee throughout the race!

I will post my full race recap this week & my Fitbit Alta review soon but for now I am going to eat whatever I want, live in compression socks and ice the crap out of my knee. See you tomorrow!

A Runner’s Nightmare: Injury

As I’ve been getting more and more excited for the OC Half Marathon, I’ve really been hitting my stride in my work. Then two weeks before the race, the thing that all runner’s dread… an injury.

I taught my usual cycle class on Saturday morning and spent the rest of the day doing errands and relaxing. On Saturday night, we started out on a sunset run but a few miles in, I felt that pull in my knee that made me worry. I was so worried, I stopped and stretched my legs out. I knew better than to keep pushing it so I slowed my pace down significantly as well as stopping to stretch every half mile. When I finished, I felt better and chalked it up to the double workout. When I got home, I iced my knee, threw on the compression socks and rolled it out before bed.


When I woke up on Sunday morning, I woke up to the runner’s nightmare, despite being awake. My knee seemed to be more than just sore muscles but an injury. I taught cycle class at an easier pace than usual and made sure to stretch that night but the pain kept coming back. After googling my symptoms like crazy, I am fairly certain the problem is my IT band. Thank goodness, the middle of this week was supposed to start tapering off my mileage. I will just have to take it easier than planned. I think as an athlete and runner, it is hard to accept an injury. Even harder is having to actually rest in the RICE method. Icing, compression and elevation is easy but the R should stand for rough because resting is the hardest part. I know that in the long run, this is necessary and prevents the injury from getting even worse. Looks like a lot of yoga and swimming will be filling my next two weeks.

Weekly Workouts: Half Training

Before the injury, my workouts were filled with the start of reducing my mileage, increasing strength training and rest. Although next’s week workouts will look a lot different, this is a great lead up to the half marathon and I am happy with the training I did leading up to the race.


Thursday – 4 miles

Wednesday – 5 miles

Thursday – 30 mins elliptical & arm/ab workout

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 1 hour cycle class in the morning, 6 miles

Sunday – 1 hour cycle class & leg workout

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 1 hour cycle class

Here’s to an easy rest week before the half marathon!