Cycle Class Continued

Following up on my breakdown of Cycle certifications, let’s talk about group Cycle classes. Every time I teach a Cycle class and set up a new student, I always tell them two things. One, make sure you take the class at your pace and two, take a second class. The first of course is due to the fact that I have seen many students start too fast out of the gate and are struggling half way through the class. Make sure to pace yourself. Secondly, always make sure you return to a class a second time. I have mentioned before that not all teachers will be the same. The first class is getting a feel for the class structure and the second class is always easier as you know what to expected.

As I mentioned last week, students often have many questions before taking their first group cycle class. Here are five of the most common questions students ask before cycle classes.

1) I’ve never taken a cycle class before. What should I expect?  Expect that all classes are different. Most should follow the format of a warm up, 30-40 minutes of drills on the bike and a 10 minute cool down. Drills will include sprinting as fast as you can, jumps out of the saddle and climbing with added resistance simulating a hill. Most teachers will use a mix of the drills, advise what your goal will be for the class and where you should be on your resistance/gear when cycling.

2) Do the bikes need to be adjusted to my exact height, weight and skill level?  YES! This is the most important factor before starting a class. All teachers are trained to set up a new student on a bike so make sure you ask for help. Having a bike set up incorrectly can lead to injury so make sure you get set up.

3) Do I need special shoes? What type of gear do I need to participate in a Spinning class?  While you do need comfortable, preferably moisture wicking clothing, you do not need to buy SPD cleats for your first class. Just wear cross trainer shoes with a stiff midsole that you would wear for any other group fitness class. Remember to bring plenty of water and a towel. If you enjoy cycling, you can purchase padded biking shorts to make the class more comfortable.

4) How many calories will I burn in a Spinning class?  Of course, the number depends on different factors such as a weight, level of intensity, height, etc. However, the average student burn 400-600 calories in a 45 minute class.

5) Is a group cycle class safe for an elderly or pregnant student?  Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Cycling is low impact though, easy on the joints and often recommended for those with injuries.

Taking a new group fitness class is always intimidating. Remember everyone has been there, including the instructor. You have to get your first class out of the way. Who knows? Maybe your favorite class is waiting around the corner.

Tell me: Have you taken a cycle class before? Have any tips you would recommend to first time students? 

Trying a Group Fitness Class Again (after the first time sucked)

Half way through the week- thankfully a short week for me! During one of my classes this week I had a student let me know that they do not like my music. They proceeded to tell me that when they cycle they want music with no lyrics, beats only. Inside I was dying because I would be bored out of my mind if I was to not have songs to distract me. As not just an instructor but a student myself, I prefer to have upbeat, music I can sing or hum along to.

In cases like these, I will kindly suggest them to try other classes at the gym. While of course I want everyone to like my class, I know that the reality is not everyone will. People have different tastes and when it comes to fitness classes you are not going to like them all. If there is one thing I have learned as an instructor, you cannot everybody. Those who like it will come back and those who don’t will hopefully find an instructor they love. It is one thing for those who try various group fitness classes and instructors but the worst is if someone goes to the first boot camp, cycle, aqua, yoga, etc. class but does not like the class. The majority of the time, the first impression is the lasting one.

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard “I hated my first fill-in-the-blank class” I would be sitting on a warm beach in Jamaica right now. Every time I hear that someone hates a class I beg them to try it again. I think for any fitness class, the first class usually sucks. You are new to the moves, format, music, instructor and maybe even gym. Some classes will expose you to muscles you never knew you had. I remember walking like a penguin for days after my first Body Works class.

Would you take a fitness class again if it sucked the first time

This got me thinking: Would you go back to a class format you hated the first time? My personal motto as a student and instructor is to try every class at least twice. Every class that I set a new student up on a bike or explain the structure of boot camp, I always finish with plea for them to try the class a second time. Why?

You may not like the first instructor – Plain and simple, I realize not everyone likes me as an instructor. Some have even felt so inclined to inform me of this but regardless an instructor might just not be your style. I understand that another instructor might just be a better fit for your fitness.

Furthermore to not liking the instructor, you might not like their choice of music/ cues/ format – Some students like rap when  they workout while others like pop. Some like the lights on with loud beats while others want a dark room with minimal talking. Again, everyone is just different.

You will usually be sore the next day – Doing any new workout  will usually result in being sore as you use muscles you have not before. Sometimes it can take your muscles a few classes to not be sore after  which means consistency is the key.

You will workout with different students – My classes from day to day after very different in regards to students. I have a lot of groups that are very camaraderie driven which makes new students want to go back. If your first class is one without warm welcoming students, you are less inclined to return.

Tell me: Would you go back to a class format you hated the first time?

Wednesday Workout & Playlist

Yesterday afternoon I had my (hopefully) last back procedure in an effort to control my pain. I am very hopeful that running and I will get back together very shortly. Unfortunately after the procedure, I still had my Tuesday night Bootcamp class. I needed to have a workout that would require me to simply monitor the exercises, not participate. I used a student as my model for exercises and was able to still attend. Shhh… don’t tell but I think we know who my favorite class is. 😉

Dec of Cards Workout

I love workouts that make working out seem fun and not so tedious. Working out in the form of a game, makes it a bit more fun as the time passes much faster. Last night’s workout is great because you can do in a group fitness class but you can also complete it by yourself. All you need is a deck of cards, a set of weights and a mat. The # of reps = the # of your card + 10. (J,Q,K and A are 10) The max reps you would do is 20 reps. Complete each round once. Last night we did 10 mins of each round for a total of 30 minutes. Here are the exercises for each round:

Round 1:

Spades :  Burpees  Clubs :  Push-ups
Hearts :  Crunches  Diamonds :  Bicep Curl- Shoulder Press

Round 2:

Spades :  Mountain Climbers  Clubs :  Squats
Hearts :  Side Crunches  Diamonds :  Bent Row w/ Kickback

Round 3:

Spades :  Plank Jacks  Clubs : Walking Lunges
Hearts :  Reverse Crunches  Diamonds :  Throw w/ Chest Fly

Workout Playlist

I have mentioned before that my ideal playlist is a mix of oldies and current songs you hear on the radio. On Monday I used a playlist at Cycle that went over very well as students commented that they liked the mix of music. When a playlist includes pop, country, 80’s and more, everyone is bound to like a song or two. Although I used this for Cycle, it is a great playlist for your workout. Listen to it while you complete the Deck of Cards workout!

Spin Playlist

Tell me: Do you like your workouts to be fun? Or are you all about being serious and  straight forward?

Breaking Out of my Fitness Comfort Zone

Last night I taught my weekly Bootcamp class. Before our class, there is a Yoga class in the group exercise room. As we often wait for the class to end, many of my students joke how Yoga and Bootcamp are the opposite classes of the gym. My students know I teach two of the more fast paced, high intensity classes at our gym- Cycle and Bootcamp. I definitely prefer a sweaty, intense session over a slower paced class but I chalk it up to my more intense personality. 😉

Recently after my doctor recommended yoga for my back problems, I have taken various yoga and mat pilates classes. Who would have known that I would actually enjoy an hour of a challenging but relaxing class with stretching. It has been a great hour to unwind (if only I could unwind the hour before and the hour after but that is a work in progress). In the midst of enjoying the new classes I have been thinking about what getting another certification. In perfect timing, my gym opened up sign-ups for the certification for Body Works Plus Abs. The class is a lightweight dumbbell workout that aims to Improve muscle tone, posture, balance and strength. I am so excited about this opportunity as I feel it is a way to use some of the experience and certification I have now but in a different structure. As my mind is constantly thinking about the next step, especially with fitness, I am always researching new fitness classes, gyms and workouts. Over the past few months, I cannot tell you how many times I have said “I want to try that” in regards to fitness. Well in the spirit of trying new things and finishing off the second half of the year strong, I have decided it is time to break out of my fitness comfort zone.

Cycle

One of my main goals this summer, is to take as many new fitness classes as I can. Exposing myself to new classes and instructors will allow me to not only improve as an instructor but also find new exercises, workouts and classes to improve my fitness overall. Plus, taking classes will help to cross off some items on my Fitness Life List  

So what are some of the classes I am planning to take this summer? First, I want to try some of those classes that I have not been able to stop thinking about. This usually results in me going all stalker-ex status as I scan the internet for recaps, Instagram pictures and the company’s website to learn all I can before starting. In an effort to be just a little less creepy with my stalking, I want to knock out the following classes first: Soul CycleOrangeTheory, Barre classes (there is a studio next to my apartment complex- whats my excuse) Reformers Pilates, Crossfit and Zumba. In addition to this list I want to try to get to as many of these classes as I can throughout the summer: Barry’s Bootcamp, TRX, Bikram Yoga, Pop Physique and Surf Set. Of course I know I will stumble across more classes throughout the next few months and take more classes at the gyms I teach at.

I plan to write recaps of each class I take so if you are interested in any of the classes, there will be more information for you coming soon. If you have any recommendations on classes let me know as well as I am always interested to try a new class.

Have a very wonderful Wednesday!

Tell me: Have you taken any of these classes? Are there any you want to try yourself?

Workout Wednesday: Lunge Your Legs

After the request for an all abs workout from bootcamp, another request came for an all legs workout. A lot of people in the class said they wanted an all legs workout to focus on before the start of short & swimsuit season. This is a great workout that focuses on lunges and cardio. All of these target your legs and will leave those legs feeling like jello! Enjoy!

Lunge Your Legs Workout

Here are the exercises for the workout. After a warm up, complete 25 sets of each exercise. Finish with a cardio cool-down.

Side Lunges
Squats
Lunges
Jump Squats
Plie Squats
Mountain Climbers
Bridges
Step-Ups

Tell me: What is your favorite to workout- abs, legs or arms?

 

Abs, Abs and Abs

Happy Wednesday which means time for a workout! Most people have one body part they love to work out and one they wish they could avoid. I despise legs. I hate my legs feeling like jell-o and the soreness trying to squat on the toilet after leg days. Abs on the other hand I could do all day, every day. There was a good year where I did an ab routine everyday. I love core exercises and love when I push myself even to be sore from an ab workout. Unfortunately, abs are not just about crunches but a mix of core exercises with high intensity cardio. A request from bootcamp last week was to do a more focused class on abs. So here is your Abs, Abs and Abs workout.

Abs

Complete 20 reps of each exercise. After you have done one set move to the next set. Once you have done each circle, repeat the rounds. Here are the exercises listed out for your reference:

Round One: Side Planks, Windshield Wipers, Bicycle Crunches, Jump Ropes

Round Two: Planks, Ice Skaters, Russian Twists, Jumping Jacks

Round Three: Reverse Crunches, Burpees, V-Ups, Mountain Climbers

Enjoy your Workout Wednesday! Tell me in the comments- what is your favorite body part to work out or your favorite exercise?

Power Songs and a Power Playlist

One of the many reasons I wanted to become a cycle instructor was because I love music. I don’t mean just love- my love of music means:

  • 90% of the songs I would listen to before I got certified would result in me making a note in my phone of what it could be used for in a cycle class
  • Now 100% of the songs I listen to get the “How could I use this in cycle” question
  • One time I added up my month purchases on Itunes in a month which added up to how much I pay for my electric bill
  • I have turned an hour workout into a two workout because I got to the gym without music so I went home, got the music and returned (thank goodness this was before the Iphone)

Music fuels me, music excites me and music pushes me through my workouts. I have never done a race without music even in a triathlon where music was not allowed. Yep, I am a rule breaker but I couldn’t even fathom running without music. I just love it all. My collection has everything from The Biebs to Disney soundtracks up to Eminem and Dr. Dre. To sum it up I need music in my life which makes creating playlists for my classes one of my favorite activities. I think a good playlist is a mix of upbeat music with a few throwback songs. There is nothing better as an instructor when someone is singing along to the music or shouts “I love this song.”

Over the years I have had some tried and true “power songs” that I make sure to put in the middle of my playlist when I need that extra push. These songs have a way of motivating me to run a little faster, cycle a little longer or finish just one more rep. Most people have at least one song that does it for them. Here are a few of my go-to:

  • Lose Yourself- Eminem
  • Eye of the Tiger- Survivor
  • Geronimo- Sheppard
  • I Lived- One Republic
  • Another One Bites the Dust- Queen
  • I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)- The Proclaimers

Due to my love of music, I usually have a power song of the week or month that I over play, over use and over sing until a new song pops on my radar. This week my “power song” is Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon. It definitely gets me going and is the perfect song to do jumps to. Here’s my Monday night spin playlist and workout. This song will be on the playlist for the next few weeks until I overplay it to death! :)

SPIN PLAYLIST 5.9

WARMUP:   Girls Just Wanna Have Fun- Miley Cyrus
CLIMB (SEATED):   Love Runs Out- One Republic
SPRINTS (STANDING) 15 SEC SPRINTS/ 15 SEC RECOVERY:   Sandstorm- Darude
JUMPS (UP/DOWN) COUNTS OF 4:   Shut Up and Dance- Walk the Moon
CLIMB (YOUR CHOICE):   Hall of Fame- The Script
ISOLATIONS:   Right Round- Flo Rida
CLIMB (SEATED TO STANDING):   Lose My Breath- Destiny’s Child
REVERSE CLIMB (STANDING TO SEATED):   Take on Me- A-ha
SPRINTS (SEATED) HEAVY RESISTANCE 10 SEC SPRINTS/ 20 SEC RECOVERY:   International Love- Pitbull
JUMPS (UP/ HOVER) COUNTS OF 8:   Give Me Everything- Pitbull
CLIMB (STANDING):   Animals- Maroon 5
SPRINTS (SEATED) MODERATE RESISTANCE, BACK TO 15/15:   Club Can’t Handle Me- Flo Rida
JUMPS (UP/DOWN/HOVER) COUNTS OF 4:   I Do Not Hook Up- Kelly Clarkson
COOLDOWN:   Stand By Me- Ben King
STRETCH:   Lego House- Ed Sheeran

Your turn: Tell me, do you have one power song you go to when you need that extra push or is it always changing depending on what is popular at the moment?

OC Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Last Sunday was one of my proudest moments. Last October I set out to do my first half marathon in Long Beach, CA. I found out that if you run all 3 Southern California half-marathons consecutively, you can get the Beach Cities Challenge medal. Of course, who doesn’t want an extra 1 pound medal? I made up my mind I was going to get that medal and convince the husband to do it with me. We completed the Long Beach Half in October and Surf City Half in February with the OC Half being the last one to get that medal. Due to the unfortunate back pain I had leading up to the race and it being in the middle of waiting for MRI results, I told myself simply to just finish the race.

On Friday we attended the expo to pick up at our bibs at the OC Fairgrounds. The expo was very easy to get in, get our bibs and get out. We visited a few booths and of course I picked up a new Bic Band headband to sport the day off. It’s all about matching in those race pictures!

OC1

Bright and early Sunday morning we drove down to Fashion Island where the race started. This is the first and only race I have done where the start and finish were at different places. The great part about that was we parked and were at the start line within 10 minutes. We knew we would have to figure out getting back but thought we to ask a friend who was at the race or get a shuttle back. The weather was cool and overcast, the perfect racing weather. Average temps stayed in the mid 60s- welcome to joys of racing in California! The race started at 6:15am and our coral got running by 6:30. Again, this was the fastest start we have ever participated in. I hope all races are like this. From the time it took to park and start the race was approximately 25 minutes. Any racer knows it doesn’t get better than that.

The course was one of my personal favorites. Starting at Fashion Island, the course went to Corona Del Mar beach and through residential areas in Newport Beach. I loved getting a real estate tour imagining how often I would visit the beach if I lived in one of those beach mansions.  The entire course was heavily supported with aid stations every 1.5 – 2 miles. The only part of the course I did not like was when the half marathoners and marathoners split off miles 7, there was a very narrow trail that slowed most people down. Once you got past the 1/4 of a miles trail, you were back to open running space. The course consisted of small rolling hills until miles 11 with the largest hill through the race. Leading up to the race I was very intimidated by the hill but after Ragnar, it seemed like a piece of cake. The race finished at the OC Fairgrounds in Newport Beach.

This was my 2nd best time for a half marathon. I paced myself through the race without stopping. Crossing that finish line left me with a smile on my face for not only doing better than I thought I would do but finally completing that challenge. After the finish, we walked through the line, got our snacks and caught our breath. Getting back to our car at the start line required an Uber and a lot of patience to get around the traffic jam of everyone trying to leave.

OC6
OC3

All in all, we were happy with the very easy start to the race and the great course. The medal was beautiful and the t-shirt was one of my favorites which just added to an already great race! So was the 1 pound medal worth it? Hell yes! At this point, I am definitely considering doing it again next year. Needless to say though I am ready for “summer break”. 4 half marathons, 1 relay race and a handful of 5Ks in 8 months is why running and I need a little separation.

OC5
OC4

Bootcamp Workout

Happy Friday! We made it through another week, time to enjoy the weekend. It is going to be another busy weekend around here as I am teaching two cycle classes, attending a wedding, celebrating Mothers Day and starting to pack.

Before we get into the weekend, I want to share a boot camp workout with you to try this weekend. All you need is a set of weights, a mat and enough space around you.

Bootcamp

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds in Round 1. After you complete Round 1, finish with 30 seconds of jumping jacks. Continue 30 seconds for Rounds 2 and 3, following each round with 30 seconds of jumping jacks. Here is the breakdown with examples for each exercise:

Round 1
Pushups
Shoulder Press
Burpees
Squats

CARDIO-   Jumping Jacks

Round 2 
Bicep Curls
Planks
Mountain Climbers
Lunges

CARDIO–    Jumping Jacks

Round 3
Diamond Pushups
Tricep Dips
Bicycle Crunches
Planks Jacks

Enjoy the workout and your weekend!

Fitbit Charge Review

As I mentioned yesterday in my random thoughts, I am in love with my Fitbit Charge. If I am being honest, I never really knew if I would jump on the fitness tracker bandwagon. I felt like there were too  many options to choose from. I got lucky because I was able to borrow a friend’s Fitbit for a week while running Ragnar. Within two days of using the Fitbit Charge I knew I had to have my own. After using the Fitbit, I found myself taking the dog for more walks and taking stairs whenever I had the option. I already lead an active lifestyle but the Fitbit has made me move more during my daily routine, especially at work. Working an 8-5 desk job and having back issues is not a good combination but wearing the Fitbit tracker, I find myself getting up more to take breaks, walk to the copier and stand up more often. The simple concept of the Fitbit is that it makes you more aware which in turn helps to increase your movement. Although I love my Fitbit there are a couple of things I  had to look past but the pros by far weigh out the cons.

fitbit review

Pros

  1. The simplicity– I am fairly decent at figuring out new technology but the Fitbit was the easiest to start using. I didn’t read the manual until 2 weeks after having my tracker. It is that easy to get set up and ready to use. The same goes for the app- easy to download, sync and start using. No one wants to spend days just trying to figure out how to use a device.
  2. The app– the Fitbit app has become one of my most daily used apps. I love having all the information from my Fitbit at the touch of my IPhone. The app also notifies you when you are getting close to your goal. The notifications I receive help to motivate me to get more steps and stay active. Just ask my husband how many times in the past week we have taken an extra walk with Emma so I can get to my goal. The app also has a breakdown of each category that is tracked. You can see day, week and month comparisons. Overall the app helps to keep all your fitness information in one central location. This in turn helps you to find areas of improvement and recognize your strong points. I also like that the app can also act as a food, water and body weight tracker. You have the ability to add your calorie count, water intake and weight into the app. This allows you to not only track the information but use your fitness information to give you even more stats to work with.                                                fitibit
  3. Weekly stats email–  In addition to the daily you receive on the tracker and app, Every week I get an email from Fitbit with my averages. I love getting the comparison to see what areas I am lacking in as well as which days I am most active. Having this information readily available again helps to make you more accountable and aware. Plus the weekly updates are great motivation and encouragement when you see improvement from week to week or day to day. Fitibit2
  4. The sleep tracker– Beyond the fitness information, the tracker also tracks your sleep pattern each night. While I can’t speak to the accuracy of the sleep tracker, it has definitely opened my eyes to how horribly I sleep each night. While I may be in bed for 6-8 hours, I am not actually sleeping for all of it. The sleep tracker tells you how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you are restless during the night and how long you actually slept. Information like this can be eye-opening to explaining why you are tired all the time and hopefully help to make improvements.
  5. The customization– Every tracker can be set up to your preference. You can choose what categories you would like to be seen on the app. You can choose your own goals you would like to meet. Having the ability to make the dashboard and goals match what you want, is just icing on the cake.
  6. The exercise tracker– When I run I use a Garmin. However, many times I plan to start a run and find my Garmin was not charged. The Fitbit Charge offers an exercise tracker that tracks miles, time, and average pace. To start the timer, all you have to do is hold the button on the tracker down until it vibrates. This has been a great back-up for those days I do not have my Garmin. After you complete exercise it logs all information into your app.

Cons

  1. The look of the tracker– This would be my largest issue with wearing the tracker every day. I have no issues wearing the tracker with workout clothes when teaching but definitely find it unappealing with 95% of my work outfits. The black industrial band isn’t a great compliment to the bright, floral dresses you find me in at work. I loved that Tory Burch has created options to put Fitbit trackers in a fashionable piece of jewelry but the options are only available for the Fitbit Flex. I have high hopes that Tory Burch will extend their products to include other Fitbit trackers. You can bet I’ll buy one to make my Charge look just a little more fashionable.
  2. Adding friends on the app– One of the complaints other Fitbit users agree with me on is the difficulty of adding/finding friends on the app. The app allows you to challenge and compete with your friends but the only way to find and add a friend is through their email address. I have many students who wear Fitbit that  I would love to challenge. I don’t know many email addresses and therefore have not been able to add many people. I wish that the Fitbit would have additional options to finding and adding friends.

All in all, I have been extremely happy with my Fitbit Charge. The tracker retails for $129.95 but is well worth it’s cost based on all the features the tracker offers. The charge fits my lifestyle and the information I want to track. However there are other trackers that offer more or less in terms of fitness. If you want to see an extensive list of all Fitbit products, visit https://www.fitbit.com/

Do you use a fitness tracker? If so, what tracker do you use? Why?

Fitbit 3