Learning to Chill Out & Playlist

One of the things I struggle with most is learning to say no. Most often I will say yes to something I don’t want to do, sometimes even things I can’t do. Then I tell myself I will figure it out. However, what is worse than not saying no is the stress that results from saying yes. It leads to me scrambling to get things “figured out” and I end up feeling stressed out. No matter what, by choice or not, you will always end up in situations that leave you needing to chill out. My focus the last few weeks has been to learn what helps to make me feel relaxed. Some days it is easier than others, sometimes I do 5 things in an effort that at least 1 will help me feel better.

Some of my favorite ways to “chill out”:

  • Workout (nothing like a good run to lower your stress and sweat those feelings out)
  • Drink tea (since we have come back from Greece I have been loving black tea all day but always love a green tea)
  • Play with Emma (really her face alone makes me feel better)
  • Bubble baths (my new favorite nighttime ritual because it also helps sore muscles feel better)
  • Listen to music (my “Chill Out” playlist is where it is at)

Chill Out Playlist

My favorite thing to do when I am stressed out – listen to music. I live for music. In fact I was very upset when I got to my 5K last weekend only to realize I forgot headphones! I had a very hard time running without some tunes because my life is filled with music from work to working out to driving. My ears are always filled with it either making playlists or using it to feel better in a stressful situation. Over the past few weeks, I made and have continued to add to a “Chill Out” playlist that I go to when I am feeling a time crunch at work or needing to take a break from the fast paced workout songs I listen to. It is a mix of soft tunes from multiple genres and artists.


Tell me: What is your favorite thing to do when you are stressed out and need to relax?

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!

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!

Rock It Out Playlist & Coupon Code

Another month means another crazy month end. I wanted to stop in quickly today and share a few things.

First, something everyone loves – saving money. The price went up for the OC Marathon last week. But if you missed it and want to sign up, use coupon code “SAMANTHA10OFF” for $10 bucks off the current price for the half or full marathon. Under the Ambassador drop down, choose my name “Samantha Bruce.” I will be checking in tomorrow with my latest training week and sharing some of my latest thoughts on running.

Speaking of running, I have my eyes on the next half marathon I want to run, the Revel Canyon City Marathon. The whole course is downhill and runs through the Angeles National Forest. I am even toying with finally conquering my fears and signing up for the full marathon. I feel like if I am finally going to stop thinking about it and actually do it, a downhill course might be better. However, I suffer from on and off shin splints so downhill might not be the way to go. I’ll have to do some more research before deciding. Anyone run the course before? Thoughts?

Lastly, I wanted to share a rock playlist I used in cycle class yesterday that people really enjoyed. A lot of these songs have a very high BPM which makes the playlist great for any cardio workout. It also helped to keep the class aiming for an increased pace while we climbed (a lot). And let me tell you, with these heavy beats, there was a lot of climbing.

Rock It Out Playlist

The new gym I teach at is a fairly decent mix of women and men of all ages which makes creating playlists even harder. EDM is always a great go-to, with less lyrics and more sounds, it is easier to please everyone. This playlist has some great covers of older songs but artists that a younger generation would know. Enjoy!

Tell me: Would you rather a race all downhill or all uphill?

Check out more playlists on the Fitness page. 

EDM Cycle Playlist

I mentioned on Friday that over the past few months I have been really into EDM (electronic dance music). It has slowly been added to my playlists for cycle as well as running. When I found out that the new gym I teach at enjoyed EDM, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to teach a full EDM cycle class. The playlist went over very well not only at the new gym but my current gym as well. EDM is all about heavy beats which is extremely helpful as an instructor to give a beat for students to try and keep. It is also very motivating with it’s fast pace which always motivates when I am running. Needless to say these songs have been on repeat this past week and I look forward to working on incorporating EDM into more of my classes. Looking for a playlist to use for your own cycling? Check out the playlist below.

EDM Playlist Planks and Planes

EDM Cycle Playlist & Workout

Warm-up     Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris     Starting on a flat road, stretching and increasing resistance up to a full turn

Climb   That Build – Jake Sgarlato     Slow steady climb in the saddle, adding resistance every 30 seconds for a total of 4 turns

Jumps   Jump & Sweat – Garmiani      Jumps, up/down out of the saddle, counts of 8, 4 and 2 for 3 sets

Sprints   Turn Up The Speakers – Afrojack     Sprinting as fast as you can in the saddle, 15 sec sprints, 15 sec recovery, steady resistance

Climb   Greyhound – Swedish House Mafia     Longest climb, steady increase standing, alternating between hand position 2 and 3, adding resistance every 60 seconds for a total of 6 turns

Run   Waiting All Night – Rudimental      Starting seated in the saddle, running out of the saddle / hand position 3 on the chorus, optional add with each chorus

Isolations   Never Forget You – Zara Larsson     Taking out the bounce, slowly the pace, isolating the lower half to do all the work, 25-30 second isolations on the chorus

Climb/Run   We Found Love – Calvin Harris     Back to flat road, standing at hand position 2 out to hand position 3 on chorus, picking up the pace, adding resistance every 30 seconds for a total of 4 turns

Sprints   Hystereo – Armin Van Buuren     Sprinting as fast as you can out of the saddle / hand position 3, 3 sprints at 30 seconds

Jumps   Five More Hours – Deorro    Jumps, up/hover across the saddle, counts of 4 for 3 sets, optional add with each set of jumps

Climb   Cream – Tujamo    Hovering across the saddle / hand position 3 on the chorus, optional add with each chorus

Sprints   Everybody in this Place – Hardwell      Sprinting as fast as you can in the saddle, 15 sec sprints, 15 sec recovery, adding resistance after each sprint

Reverse Climb   Levels – Avicii     Adding another 2 turns, slowly decreasing the resistance, picking up the pace with each reduction, back to flat road

Cool-down   Hollow – Tori Kelly    Back to flat road as you cool down, decrease the speed and stretch it out

Enjoy the playlist! See you back tomorrow with the recap of our final day in Thailand!

Check out more playlists on the Fitness page! 

Current Running Playlist

Only 2 months until the OC Half Marathon! Did you miss signing up for the OC Full or Half marathon before the price increase? No problem! Use the code “SAMANTHA10OFF” and reference my name (Samantha Bruce) to get $10 off! Sign up today and start running!

I have been so happy with the perfect weather we have been having in California. Although we have a little rain in the forecast, overall the weather has been ideal for running. My training has had some great and not so great days but hey, they can’t all be perfect. With the wedding and family obligations in the past, my main focus right now is my fitness. Of course I want to hit my “A” goal of finishing but I am really training to accomplish my “B” goal of getting a half marathon PR. My back issues have crept back but I am trying to stay on top of my pain management with visits to the chiropractor and acupuncturist. Luckily, (as always) music has helped me get through my workouts lately!

I have mentioned this many times before but if you looked at any of my playlists, I think the best word to describe them would be eclectic. My running playlist the last week has been no different. I like hitting shuffle and knowing that every song that comes on will pump me up! This playlist is a mix of today’s hits and a few throwbacks thrown in!
Running Playlist Planks and Planes
Tell me: What is one word you would use to describe your playlists?
Check out my other playlists on the Fitness page! 

Workout Wednesday Playlist 

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a new playlist despite creating spin playlists at least 3x a week. I rarely use an old playlist in classes since most of my cycle students only go to cycle. I couldn’t get away with using the same playlists for more than a couple of weeks. Plus keeping it fresh helps me to push harder as well which in turn pushes my students.

Favorite Songs of the Month

You can always tell my favorite song of the week because it makes it onto every playlist for a few weeks. I feel bad for any of students how hate the song I am obsessed with at the time. This past month I’ve had a few songs I’m obsessed with that keep popping up on my Spotify list and workout playlists:

Cheyenne” by Jason Derulo (I love pretty much anything he does)

What Do You Mean” by Justin Bieber (Don’t hate.. I am a Bieliber and think his latest songs have been great!)

Girls Chase Boys” by Ingrid Michaelson (it’s just so catchy)

Wind It Up” by Gwen Stefan (a definite throwback but it’s perfect for spin-  climbing and jumps)



Running Playlist

Last night I had a brick workout : run and swim on the training plan. As I warmed up on the elliptical I threw together a playlist with some of my high bass, fast pace songs for a 5K run. It was a great mix and helped me to push hard through my run.

Running Playlist

I really love Spotify for both personal workout playlists and class playlists because their playlists are great for stumbling across songs I have forgotten about. I compile 95% of my playlists on the app and create my own before working out. In addition, I have found the playlists they have for workouts to be pretty diverse. I have also used their running app which picks up your running pace and creates a playlist with BPM’s to match your step.

Have a wonderful workout Wednesday, catch you tomorrow for Travel Thursday.

Tell me: what is your favorite song to work out to right now? 

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

I think when I was creating last night’s Bootcamp workout, I was wishing I was in Vegas. The last time I was there when in November for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon which in my book is too long! Anyways, different subject for a different day. Last night’s goal during class was plain and simple – get as many points as possible, however you can within each round. For each round, I put 10 minutes on the clock and let the students go at it. I was a very proud instructor when almost every student started with burpees! Competition definitely creeped in with my students (I can’t blame them as that’s one of my worst traits) but they all commented how much they liked tonight’s game after class. This will definitely make an appearance again soon.

Winner Winner Workout

The other day I used this playlist in cycle class which resulted in many people saying “I love this song” during class. Just as I like compliments on my classes, I love compliments on my playlists. It helps me to know what goes over well in classes and what doesn’t. This one has a good mix of songs on the radio now and some hits from months, even years ago!

Mix It Up Playlist

Here are the songs from the playlist:

Go Big or Go Home – American Authors
Somebody – Natalie La Rose
Magic – B.O.B
Dance, Dance – Fall Out Boy
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris / Florence Welsh
Weight of Living, Pt. 11 – Bastille
Evacuate The Dancefloor – Cascada
Somebody Told Me  – The Killers
Fun – Pitbull / Chris Brown
Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
Sandstorm – Darude
All Night – Icona Pop
Marchin On – One Republic
Bright – Echosmith
Landslide – Dixie Chicks

Tell me: Do you like group or individual workouts?

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?

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! :)


WARMUP:   Girls Just Wanna Have Fun- Miley Cyrus
CLIMB (SEATED):   Love Runs Out- One Republic
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
JUMPS (UP/ HOVER) COUNTS OF 8:   Give Me Everything- Pitbull
CLIMB (STANDING):   Animals- Maroon 5
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?