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?

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A Day in the Life of…

What does a day in the life of an analyst and fitness instructor look like? It is always busy and rather boring. Monday’s tend to be my most laid back down in terms of group exercise with one evening class while work is busy catching up from the weekend. There is consistency day to day especially when it comes to coaxing Emma out of bed EVERY. Single. Morning. So here is a Day in the Life of.. for a typical Monday.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF... 6:30am – Alarm goes off, hit snooze, husband wakes up for work

6:34am –  2nd Alarm goes off, hit snooze

6:50am – My husband says his good morning and good bye as I roll over for 10 more minutes (why do I actually think this helps with my tiredness?)

7:00am – Wake up. My husband hates that I even set my alarms when I rarely wake up at that time.  I call it wishful thinking..

6:50-7:10 – Get dressed, brush my teeth, and gather items for work

7:10-7:15 – Feed and take out Emma after 5 mins of prying her out of bed with treats

A Day in the life of Emma

7:15am – Tell Emma bye and head to work

7:30am – Arrive at work and catch up on work emails

8:30am – Sales meeting

9:30am – Catch up on work from the weekend, unfortunately work still goes on during the weekend and holidays (my desk is usually much cleaner but when I get workin, the papers start piling up)

Day in the life of

12:00-1:00pm  – Break for lunch which today is one of my go-to lunch spots: Subway. I stop at the bank after grabbing my lunch before heading back to the office

1:00pm – Back to the office where I work, work, work

4:30pm – Head home, change for the gym, take care of Emma, have a snack and catch up on computer work

6:00pm – Head to the gym for my Monday evening class

6:30pm – Bike set up and teach cycle class

Day in the life of cycle

8:00pm – Head home for dinner

8:30pm – Shower, dinner and of course forcing Emma to love me

9:30-10:30pm – Watch an episode of True Detective (seriously this show is crayyyyyyy)

Day in the life of true detective

10:45pm – Finally call it a night after scrolling through Instagram and Twitter

Tell me: Do you set one alarm or multiple alarms? Do you hit snooze or wake up right away?

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

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?

Bootcamp & BodyWorks + Abs Certification

Here we are back at another Monday! Today is one of those days I am walking like a penguin, using as little muscles as I can. Usually, my own strength training is broken up into legs, arms and abs. I prefer to have just one body part sore at one time. However, that is not the case today as I took 3 group fitness classes yesterday which worked every muscle in my body!

I started my Sunday morning teaching cycle class at my all women’s gym! I love the energy of the women in the classes I teach. No matter how tired I am, they make so happy to be there every weekend. After class, I headed out to Los Angeles for the Bootcamp & BodyWorks + Abs Training/ Certification.

Bootcamp & Body Works CertificationYesterday was the first step to being able to teach these classes at my gym. Some instructors may be teaching these formats already because they have their group fitness certifications. The training classes are meant for them as well as others who want to add these formats to their list of classes. I am in the first category in regards to Bootcamp since i am already teaching but in the second when it comes to BodyWorks + Abs.

First up was BodyWorks + Abs. The training started with the teaching portion which included the breakdown of class format, instructor guidelines and exercise instruction. The student in me was so happy with this portion as I love to learn. As my next step in regards to fitness training is getting certified as a personal trainer, I was excited to learn more about proper form and alignment. BodyWorks excites me because it is still high intensity to match my intense personality but the main goal is to do higher reps with lower weights. After the teaching portion came a BodyWorks class for the instructors. It was a very fun hour of doing a different class structure (hey I am counting it as trying a new class) and getting to experience another instructor. Plus, having 50+ fitness instructors from So Cal in one room together makes for an energetic and loud class! I finished the class drenched in sweat and very excited for the chance to add BodyWorks to my class schedule.

However, this certification takes more than just learning and taking a class. Many of the exercises are ones that I use in Bootcamp which makes it seem less intimidating. The intimidating part is that I must now learn/memorize the warm-ups and modules for BodyWorks. This is a very new concept to me since Bootcamp & Cycle are open to interpretation. Memorizing a flow of workouts is a new challenge but I am up for it. Once I learn the structure, I have to demonstrate my knowledge and ability to our regional director. If she approves my one hour class demonstration, I will get be able to teach BodyWorks + Abs.

After the BodyWorks training/certification came the easier (for me) certification which is Bootcamp. Since I already am a certified teacher for Bootcamp, I was simply getting the version for LA Fitness. I would not need to demonstrate my ability again, just simply take the class. Since I knew this, I felt like the pressure was off which made it easier to enjoy the training. The format was the same starting with the learning portion followed by the class format. The Bootcamp focuses on HIIT by hosting different stations to target the entire body. There is a heavy cardio involved and heavier weights are encouraged. Our class format for instructors had 6 stations with tricep dips, line touches, push ups or abs, bicep curls, walking lunges and step-ups. After each station, we completed a cardio round with jump rope, jumping jacks, sprints and football shuffle. Needless to say I finished drenched in sweat! I was excited to get some new ideas for Bootcamp though to start incorporating.

We will see how my schedule shapes up for classes and adding BodyWorks but I am excited to have the chance in the future. I think taking these classes whether to improve your craft or add a certification is beneficial to being a better group fitness instructor.

Tell me: If you could get a certification for any class what would it be? 

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?

Confessions of a Group Fitness Instructor

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Besides teaching two great cycle classes, I was able to spend time at the pool, packing and getting plenty of errands done. Although it will be another busy week, I am ready to tackle the week head on. Before I take on the week, I wanted to share a little incident that happened last week before one of my classes.

Last week I got out of work late which resulted in me racing home to take care of Emma, changing my clothes and speeding way above the limit to get to the gym. I hit some horrible traffic that resulted in me muttering many curse words and calling my gym to tell them I would definitely be 10 minutes late. When I finally made it to the gym, I walked into class with a huge smile, apologized to the class and let them know I would make up the 10 minutes at the end of class. After class I realized not a single one of my students knew how the drive over was for me because I went in to “instructor mode” the second I walked in that room. So I thought I would share some of the other thoughts I have had as a group fitness instructor that may or may not surprise you.

Confessions of a Group Fitness Instructor

1. I HATE Burpees– No matter how many times I talk up their calorie burning potential and/or put them in workouts, I despise them. I think they are the worst exercise to do yet I know they are the best to add into bootcamp. So sadly for my students they are here to stay.

2. I worry someone will actually take me up on my offer to add their favorite song to a playlist– I worry more about someone asking for a song that I cannot make work in a class or a song that I hate. I have only had 2 students ever ask for a song request and luckily they just asked for a specific artist. I am very open when it comes to music but I am sorry, you just cannot spin to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.

3. I love getting to boss people around– My husband and mother would not be shocked by this confession at all. Bossy should be my middle name and getting paid to boss people around with fitness? Even better.

4. I have favorites– Although I make sure to never play on my feelings, I definitely have favorite classes and favorite people in classes. Usually it is with students who  regularly attend classes. If I see a student attend a class at least two times I will start mentally remembering the weight they are lifting/speed they are performing at/what exercises they struggle with so I can help them improve as much as possible.

5. Although I have favorites, I have only ever had one person in my class I did not like– This person was rude, made obnoxious comments to me and yelled at other students during class. I tried for weeks to try to ignore the student’s behavior. Then I reminded myself for teaching 5 classes a week, not liking one student can slide.

6. I love when people holler, yell, sing along to the music, cheer or react to class– Especially when I ask a question to the class. As an instructor it pains me when I ask questions to my students and hear crickets. It makes me thinks that my students are either dead or hate the class. I would rather a grunt to know you are out there and working hard then get no reaction. I tell my classes they can roll their eyes at me or talk back.. it is better than no reaction!

7. I pride myself on being a tough instructor- I would rather have students say the class was too hard then too easy. I always give modifications to make an exercise easier and harder. My philosophy is “It is a called a workout which means there is work involved.” If I see students are not breaking a sweat within the first 15 minutes of class, I will add extra resistance to every exercise planned for class. This does go the opposite way in that I will tone down the resistance if I see students really struggling in the start of class.

8. When I receive positive feedback for a class, new move or playlist, my day is made– When a student or my boss give me praise, I smile and say thank you. Inside I am beaming and run home to tell my husband. Yep. Every single time. (poor guy) If you liked a class or an instructor, make sure you tell them on your way out. I am sure you will make their day.

9. I have only attended a handful of group fitness classes since I started teaching- I got certified to be a group fitness instructor because I loved the classes and instructors I took myself. Since I have started teaching, I find my own workouts being on my own. Maybe it is because I am in the group fitness room 5 days a week or maybe it is because my gym time is with my husband now. Whatever the reason, it is definitely something I want to improve on.

10. Sometimes I am just not in the mood– Just like everyone, I have days where I am not in the mood, had a bad day, work sucked or am just plain tired. I do know that if I am feeling this way before a class I need to get my endorphins going. My go to method is to run a few laps around the gym with one of Power Songs. This allows works to get my heart rate up and ready to do the same for my students.

Of course, everything I mention here are just my thoughts and opinions. I love what I do and am very lucky I get to share my love of fitness with some amazing students. As an instructor all I want is for my students to excel as I truly care about their success in fitness. This week remember to thank an instructor whose class you have enjoyed or helped you in some way. It will be very appreciated by the group fitness instructor. At least give them a holler back in class 😉

Tell me in the comments: Do you usually tell an instructor if you liked or did not like their class?