Comment

Choose Your Own Adventure (Peloton)

IMG_2078.JPG

Anyone who is into home workouts has known about the Peloton Bike for years. All of my friends who have one, have been raving about them and their level of excitement when they talk about the bike is impressive. I remember when Peloton First released their bikes, I would ask my friends who had one a hundred questions, “But is it really a good workout? I mean does it challenge you and push you?” “Don’t you get lonely riding on a bike by yourself in the basement?” “Do you really sweat?”

To be fair, the bike was released around the same time that I discovered and fell in love with group fitness classes. It was a time in my fitness journey where I was fueled and motivated by the energy in the room and the instructor. I could not imagine sitting in a room by myself, listening to an instructor on the screen and getting the same experience.

But it’s been years and I’ve always been curious…. so when we looked at a Staycation for Mid Winter break, I thought, why not check out a hotel that has a Peloton? So we landed at the amazing Westin in Downton Seattle. If you did not know, the Westin and Peloton have partnered up to have bikes in Westin gyms across major cities in the country and the world.

In the Downtown Seattle Westin, they actually had a separate room that housed four Peloton bikes and two other stationary bikes. The room was smaller and separate from the full (more traditional hotel) gym. I went to check it out around 7:30 AM and I was able to grab the last bike. Just in time because three people came in after me and left once they realized there were no bikes available.

Because these are hotel bikes, they are set up with the cage so that everyone can ride them with their sneakers. This worked since I didn’t have my cycling shoes with me.

At first glance, the screen is overwhelming. There are a lot of decisions to make. What kind of workout do you want? What kind of music? How long do you want it to be? Who do you want as an instructor? It’s ultimately all laid out as a scrolling menu that you can look through or search (if you know what you are looking for) but I was not expecting it so I was overwhelmed. It felt like a “Choose Your Own Adventure'“ book where regardless of what I choose, I would want to go back and try all the others. Some of them I knew I didn’t want but there were a bunch that I wanted to try because the workouts seemed like ones I would love (HIIT, Hill rides, Arms and Ride) I decided to pick a 45 minute bike ride to Hip Hop music (because how do you say No to Hip Hop???).

The screen is the perfect size and easy to see the instructor. It really is comparable to a true, live cycling class in the sense that the instructor is interacting with you, cuing you and coaching you as the music plays in the background. What I was most impressed with was the fact that the instructor was consistently providing good form tips. I did not expect this and you guys know how much I love form tips. This was a huge plus with me.

The music was great, definitely the kind of Hip Hop I like and it was a relatively good workout. I wouldn’t say that I felt as motivated as I do in my traditional cycling class at the Gym. There is no energy to feed off of so I would not say that I pushed myself as hard as I could have and the level of intensity doesn’t feel the same. I can see how this would be a great option for someone who has a tight schedule and can only get in a quick workout here and there or parents with kids so they don’t have to worry about finding a gym with childcare. But as someone who works from home, the last thing I need is another reason to stay at home!

If you’re curious about the experience and the workout, you can schedule a free 20 minute session (on either the bike or treadmill) at your local Peloton showroom.

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 2/5

Core: 1/5

Legs: 1/5

Arms: 1/5

IMG_2080+3.jpg

Comment

Comment

Grit and Sweat Above the Rest (Accelerate Seattle)

IMG_1247.jpg

I have mixed feelings about social media, but there is one thing I cannot deny. It is a game changer for me and my fitness journey. You can easily find millions of videos for workouts to do at home, at the gym or with a partner. But best of all, it introduces you to new gyms that you might not normally know about.

This was the case for me and Accelerate Seattle. I discovered them on Instagram and was hooked. If you've watched their stories, you know that their classes exude a level of intensity that cannot be matched. The workouts are intimidating just to watch.

After several months of trying to find time to go, the Fit Fam and I found a week where it worked with all of our schedules. We were originally signed up for a Wednesday 5:00 AM class but the class description made me dizzy. 'Max Output Training’ means so many things to me. None of which I was ready for. So we chose to attend the Friday 5:00 AM class which is described as more of their 'classic' workout. Plus, anytime I visit a gym for the first time, I like to try their classic workouts or a workout they are known for so I can get a sense of their coaching style and what makes them unique. I was so glad we did this with Accelerate!

Accelerate is located on 1st Ave, just behind Key Arena. Parking at 4:45 AM was easy as pie - all 4 of us got parking right in front of the gym. The space is still new, so there are no signs outside (yet). When you walk in there are cubbies on the left and one open room that houses bikes, weights, SkiErgs and even a sled. Brandon greeted me as soon as I got there with a friendly smile and took the time to give me a quick overview of the type of classes they have there. He was sure to let me know that Wednesdays and Saturdays are the Max Output classes which are not for the weak. If I didn’t say it already, I was so glad we chose to come on Friday morning and not Wednesday morning! He also went out of his way to show us the other half of their space which is still under construction. It will ultimately double the size of their gym and include a huge black turf with their logo (scheduled to be ready in February 2019).

When 5:00 rolled around, Brandon had us lineup and begin warm-ups. Warm-ups consisted of lunges, butt kickers and toe reaches across the length of the room and back. Then, Brandon had us break out into teams of three. There was a board on the side of the room that listed the workouts across the six different stations. Each station consisted of two to three workouts. We would go for 5 minutes followed by a 90 second rest. However during the 90 second ‘rest’ we would be doing six burpees and ten wall ball throws. Just based on that, I knew I was in for a ride!

My team started at the SkiErg station which included burning 10 calories on the SkiErg and then doing 10 kettle bell floor taps followed by a high front raise. All the stations sound feasible, in theory, until you realize that five minutes is not easy if you’re going full out. I was intimidated by the SkiErg, only because it’s a new machine to me and I’ve never really used it, but in the end it was completely doable.

Station number two was one of the harder stations for me. It involved sprinting back-and-forth with the sled and then rowing 250 meters. I rarely work with the sled, only because my usual workouts do not include it. Brandon had been nice enough to add 100 pounds worth of weights plates onto the sled itself. In my head this seemed totally reasonable to push down the length of the room and back, but by the third round, I was completely exhausted. And I was moving at a slow jog, at best, to begin with. The only thing keeping me going was Brandon next to me saying,” don’t let me beat you to the end.” For someone who does not like the rowing machine, I was looking forward to the rowing machine because it would be a much needed break from pushing that sled.

The next round was a core station that incorporated the ab roller, doing a boat hold and bicycles. You know it’s a tough workout when someone who has a weak core considers this station the ‘easier’ station!

The next few stations involved using the barbells and medicine balls for deadlifts, squat jumps and lunges. The hardest station for me, by far, was the bikes. I have a history with these bikes - I dread them. I've used them twice at NW Fitness and that was 2 more times than I ever needed. They are the bikes where you feel like you are sprinting your butt off and you're really only at 250 watts. It's mentally defeating. The bike station was a timed station, it was based on 1 min on, 1 min off, 30 second on, 30 sec off, 1 min on, 1 min off. In any other situation, the same amount of rest and work time seems like overkill. You rarely need that much rest but in this case, I knew I would need it and that it would not be enough.

As soon as we started on the bikes, I knew I was in trouble. The first 20 seconds I felt strong but I could quickly feel myself slowing down and the numbers dropping. By the second round, the 30 second push felt like I was sprinting a mile. I could barely lift my head up to keep an eye on my numbers. Needless to say, the last round was brutal. For this Tabata loving gal, a full minute all out feels like an eternity. And when you're exhausted and on your last station, it feels like torture. Grit and sweat are the only things I had left to give.

Needless to say, the workout was tough, probably the toughest, full body, conditioning workout I've done in a long time. I can't remember the last time I felt that spent halfway through a workout. The workout was designed with every element in mind - legs, arms, core, cardio, endurance. I LOVED it. There is something to be said for a workout when you feel 100% spent and are completely satisfied knowing you got in a good strength and cardio workout. What I found surprisingly hard was the 90 second 'breaks'. If you think about it, six burpees and ten wall balls sound like nothing. They feel like things you would do as a light warm up. But I quickly realized that when your body is dying for a break and you have to do burpees and wall balls, it feels impossible. Those simple exercises, although small in quantity, were probably so effective in improving my conditioning because I was fully exhausted by then. The other thing I realized very quickly is that 90 seconds becomes 30 - 45 seconds when you have to do those additional workouts and 30-45 seconds rest isn't even close to enough when you've gone full out for 5+ minutes.

Brandon as an instructor and trainer embodies everything I need to stay focused and motivated. He has a calm, collective and quiet demeanor that sets the tone for the workout. You immediately know that he means business and he is here to push you. I was impressed with his ability to work from station to station and give very detailed and pointed form tips (You know I love that!). All while holding his 4 month old baby. And you know how I feel about dogs and babies at a gym! Nothing makes me happier than seeing a true family atmosphere in a gym, without sacrificing any focus or hard work.

I LOVED Accelerate. LOVED it more than I ever thought I would. I will for sure be back to workout with Brandon and his team. In fact, one of my 2019 goals is to work my way up to their Max Output Training.

Kudos to Brandon and the Entire Accelerate team for creating a much needed conditioning gym full of endless options and no shortage of sweat.

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 4/5

Core: 4/5

Legs: 4/5

Arms: 4/5

IMG_1244.jpg

Comment

Comment

Synchonized Swimming (Carillon Wellness Resort, Miami)

IMG_0560.jpg

I have to say, when I first started this blog, I never thought I would be writing about a water aerobics class. Let’s be honest, I didn’t think I would ever be in a situation where that was an option. But when you go on a Girls Weekend with five of your favorite friends, things happen.

Between the six of us, we span the full range of fitness levels. Some of us workout religiously, some of us work out when it’s possible and some of us only see the gym once a year - during the Girls Weekend. But regardless of how they feel about working out, all of them are always willing to get out of bed at 8:00 AM, on a kid free weekend, to try a class with me. And I love them for it. So when one of them was excited to hear that water aerobics was an option, I had to go and show my support.

Every year, the girls and I pick a location for our annual trip. Over the past few years, the requirements have been the same - some place warm, some place with a pool and some place with a full range of workout classes. This year, our friend, Ronit hit the jackpot with the Carillon Wellness Resort in Miami. They offer 200 classes/week and it was clear that their focus was on fitness. The classes ranged from pilates, yoga, cycle, Zumba, the Gauntlet (blog post to follow on this one) and of course water aerobics. They even had a climbing wall and the coolest hydrotherapy circuit spa I have ever experienced.

We started our Saturday with a Boot Camp class (which was the best way to kick start the day) and then went straight to water aerobics. The class was held on a roof top pool which was heated and felt almost as warm as a relaxing bubble bath. It was amazing and perfect for the the 75 degree weather.

Right out of the gates, I knew we were in for a treat. I had never met an instructor like ours. She was full Cuban flair - so much energy, talked a mile a minute and loved to dance like no one I’ve ever met. I don’t think she stopped talking or moving her hips for the entire 45 minutes. It was amazing.

She started off by handing out a pair of large, thick gloves that were open at the finger tips. They created additional drag in the water so it definitely added to the workout. The class started off with a bang - it was more of choreographed dance routine than a warm up. Which for someone like me, is normally torture, but between the instructor’s energy and being with my friends, I had more fun than I would have expected. The warm up focused mostly on arm movements and then moved into some leg movements. The class then moved into a series of underwater arm, leg and core movements. This included everything from keeping your arms under water and doing lateral arm raises, moving through some underwater kicking activities and crunches. The hardest part of these exercises were the crunches. I kept floating around and trying to avoid swimming into the people next to me or banging into the wall of the pool was a workout in itself.

We then moved into a short swimming workout where she had us swim the full length of the pool. She had us swim freestyle and then the breast stroke. For someone like me, who rarely swims, it brought me back to being a kid.

The last part of class was exactly what I think of when I think of water aerobics. The instructor handed everyone a noodle and had us do various arm workouts and core workouts while holding onto the noodle. All of it was fairly straight forward and not too difficult. The end of class was exactly what I think of when I think of water aerobics. It was synchronized swimming at its best. The instructor had us come together in a circle, while holding onto our noodles and work through various movements. If you have ever done a Mommy and Me class at the Little Gym, it was reminiscent of all the things you do with the parachute, except with a swimming noodle. And with the music, you feel the need to be coordinated and graceful while doing it. Things that generally are not possible for me but somehow, in that moment, I felt like it was all coming together. This was hands down, one of the most memorable ‘workouts’ I’ve ever done. Grateful that my girlfriends motivated me to try something so different!

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 1/5

Core: 2/5

Legs: 3/5

Arms: 3/5

Comment

Comment

Triple Sweat (Studio 3)

IMG_2127 2.JPG

Back in the Spring, I started following Studio 3 on Instagram (@stuido3.fit). I was immediately intrigued. Who doesn't love a studio where everyone appears to be best friends (not just co-workers) and looks genuinely happy to be there, even at 5:00 AM?!? Not to mention they have a studio mascot who is literally one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen.

Studio 3's philosophy is pure genius - create a space where your members can get any combination of workouts and truly sweat it out while they do. The space has three studios that cover yoga, power/strength and cycle. Depending on the day and what your body needs, you can choose from a range of different workouts and in the case of a lot of their members, you can double up to get a full body workout. The studio runs a bit warmer on purpose with the intent to allow you to truly sweat it out. 

The studio is located in Queen Anne behind the Seattle Center where parking was not an issue on Sunday morning or early mornings on the weekdays. As soon as you walk through the door, a set of steps leads you down to the check in desk, locker area and sitting area. Unlike a lot of the other studios I have visited, the area is spacious and designed with a much more homey feel. There is plenty of space for two couches, a table and a TV in the sitting area. And I'm not kidding, the place was decorated so beautifully with a modern, chic feel that I asked them who helped decorate the space. I wanted to hire the person to do my living room. Believe it or not, they did not hire a decorator but Kyle (who is one of the owners) did it himself. Note to Self: Call Kyle for decorating tips!

One of the things I appreciate about Studio 3 is regardless of what time of day you walk in and what is going on at the studio, every single person working the front desk stops what they are doing, looks up and greets you with a huge smile and a friendly 'Hello!'. They know all the regulars by name and when you are leaving, they give you the same type of friendly send off. No one leaves without a "See you later!" or "Have a good day!". If you know me, you KNOW, I love this. It's all about the small things and I think in a world full of emails, texts and DMs, we forget the importance of eye contact and a friendly "Hello". Kudos to the Studios 3 Team for recognizing that the little things make a huge difference!

The three studios are laid out so:

  • The Cycling Studio (aka The Dome) is located directly across from the Front Desk. There are 3-4 rows of bikes set up in your standard stadium seating style. 
  • The Strength Studio is down a long (magical) hallway on your right and is set up with risers, rowers, TRXs and weights. (I'm not kidding about the hallway. The lighting is amazing and the lights changes colors.)
  • The Flow/Yoga studio is down the same hallway but to your left. This is by far my favorite space. It is beautiful, warm and serene. 

I've been lucky enough to take 3 different classes with 4 different instructors:

IMG_5839.JPG
  • 30 Minute Cycle with Rachel
    • Studio 3 has a 30 minute, all out cycle class. Perfect way to kickoff your morning. So Lindsay and I signed up for a 5:30 AM class and headed in. Rachel greeted us in the doorway of the studio and made sure we were comfortable setting up our own bikes. When I found my bike, I immediately noticed that there are no computers. You guys know I'm a numbers girl so this immediately stressed me out. But I had to remind myself that classes like these are a good opportunity for me to listen to my body and ride based on feel. 

One thing I noticed as soon as I got on my bike was the mirrors. There are three big mirrors on the stage behind Rachel but they are angled in towards the center of the stage (think wedding dress shopping mirrors) so you cannot see your leg strokes in the mirror. Not a big deal, just something small to note. 

Right out of the gates, I knew it was going to be a full energy class. I am telling you, if you have never met Rachel, you have to find a reason to meet her!! She is the real life Energizer Bunny. She is AMAZING. She is all energy, all smiles and all speed. You literally cannot help but smile when you are around her. 

The class is a mix of full out fast peddling, with speed intervals and some resistance rides. Rachel is full on energy so you'll move quickly through and there are not slower hill rides or Connect Songs (if you are a CylceBar rider). You have to be ready to give it your all for the full 30 minutes.

One thing to note about the Dome (and really all the studios) is they run warmer so bring a towel. You will sweat A LOT during this ride. I was only there for 30 minutes and I was dripping by the end. 

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 4/5

Core: 2/5

Legs: 3/5

Arms: 0/5

IMG_0916.JPG
  • S3 Strength with Zack
    • The Strength class at Studio 3 can be any combo of TRX, risers, rowers, cardio and body weight exercises. Each week Studio 3 publishes the strength workout for each day. I got lucky and happened to sign up for a day where it was full body workout (which you know I love!!). 

The Strength studio is set up so the TRXs are in the front of the room by the mirrors and the rowers are at the back of the room. The workout that day did not incorporate the rowers but instead we had risers set up in front of the rowers. When you sign up for the class, you'll sign up for a number that either correlates to a TRX or a rower. There are two TVs in the room - one on each end, which show you the workout for the day. 

We were the first ones there so had a chance to chat with Zack one on one. He and Lindsay know each other from work so he was excited to have her in class. Zack has a kind, sweet demeanor to him but I also got the sense that he had a no nonsense side to him. He was going to make us work!

The class starts off with an overview of the workout. That day, for the TRX station, it was a combination of TRX rows, pull ups and high shoulder rows. We would then move into a ab series which included plank hip dips and plank jacks. The riser station would incorporate 5 different workouts - hop overs, decline mountain climbers, decline push ups, one leg squats, one leg Bavarian squat jumps.

Zack started us with a warm up of squat jumps, jumping jacks, high knees and push ups. Then moved us into the workout. The workout itself breaks down into 13 minute sets. So we would start at the TRX or risers and work through the workout for 13 minutes before taking a break for a minute and switching stations. Lindsay and I started at the TRX station and while it seemed like a good idea, my muscles were definitely tired at the 10 minute mark. The format allows you to take breaks when needed but the Tabata lover in me never takes breaks until I'm told to take a break (I know, it's awful). When time was up, we moved to our risers, at which point the 13 minute starts all over. We ended up going through 2 rounds on the TRX and 2 rounds on the risers. Zack then had us end with a 3 minute ab workout. Which, at that point, felt like a 30 minute ab workout. 

It was a GOOD full body workout. I am not sure if I would love a focused (for example, legs only) workout as much but I LOVED this workout. You worked hard and it was the right mix of strength, core and bits of cardio. I could have gone for a bit more cardio but let's be honest, it's a Strength class and I am a cardio junkie so I always want more cardio!

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 3/5

Core: 4/5

Legs: 3/5

Arms: 4/5

  • Shred with Kelsie

When I first walked into Ma'ono and had their fried chicken sandwich, I had a moment where I realized my life was finally complete now that I had discovered the most amazing fried chicken sandwich ever. That is how I feel about Shred. I NEVER knew something was missing from my workout routine until I experienced Shred. That is how much I love the class.

The Shred studio is by far my favorite studio of the three. The first time I turned the corner and walked into the doorway, it nearly stopped me in my tracks. The dimly lit room with candles spread across the floor immediately has this warm, calm and incredibly serene aura to it. I LOVE It. The space makes me so happy. 

The candles have a number on them which corresponds to the spot you reserved when you signed up for the class. You'll need a mat for the class (you can rent one at the front desk if you don't have one or forget yours). Kelsie introduced herself to us and asked that we grab some weighted balls, dumbbells and a band. 

The room is heated so you'll feel warm as soon as you walk in. Kelsie started the class with a nice warm up of squats, butt kickers, high knees and some push ups. I knew as soon as Kelsie started that she was a Mom. She has a kind and easy manner to her but you know she's there to get the job done. She's efficient in her descriptions and movements throughout the class. The class is meant to truly burn out the muscles (think hot pilates or hot barre). Kelsie started out with a leg workout incorporating the band (so think lots hamstrings, quads and gluts), moved us into a core series on our back and then moved us into a arm series utilizing the dumbbells. 

Then came the unexpected kicker and the reason why I LOVE this class - a TABATA set!! I Have to admit, it was so hot in the room that I could not do more than one full/true Tabata round in that heat. Fortunately, we only did seven 20 second sets with a 10 second break in between each set. Kelsie incorporated squat jumps and burpees to get our heart rate up. Then went back to burning out our muscles with the same target areas - legs, core and arms. We ended with a core series on the ground. It was SO. This class is the reason why I ended up signing up for a class pack. I loved it SO MUCH.  

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 2/5

Core: 3/5

Legs: 4/5

Arms: 3/5

IMG_8089.JPG
  • Shred with Moses

I loved Shred so much, I went back for a second time the following week with Moses. I always think it's good to try different instructors. Everyone finds motivation in different ways and for me, a big part of motivating myself and pushing myself comes from the instructor's energy. 

Moses has a genuinely kind and thoughtful manner about him. It's clear that he is a Studio 3 Fan Favorites (it took me 3 weeks to get into one of his classes due to the waitlists) and he knows all the regulars by name. 

We started with a warm up incorporating squats, lunges and push ups. Out of the gates, I knew we were in for a treat. Moses was NOT messing around. We started with a leg series incorporating the band and weights. The core series was no joke - have you ever tried to draw circles with your upper body while keeping your shoulder blades off the ground?! But the arm series was where he hit the jackpot. The shoulder burnout was probably a 2 minute series but it felt like 20 looonnng minutes. There was definitely a moment where I had to go to my happy place t avoid crying out in pain. Thank God for Moses' consistent motivation and words of encouragement. I had to hone in on his words to get me through to the end. It was SO GOOD! 

The golden moment - the Tabata series was hands down, the most memorable. You guys know how much I love 'new' or creative moves. Moses had us do high knees WHILE HOLDING A DUMBELL OUT IN FRONT OF YOU WITH ONE ARM!! Yes, I am yelling because it was THAT GOOD. I remember thinking my arm was dying from holding the weight out. Then I looked down. My arm was not straight out in front to me, not even close. In fact my arm was completely bent and resting against my body. You know I'll be practicing that move again until I'm strong enough to perfect it!

The class ended with another round of legs (combo of side lunges and curtsey lunges), core (supermans and a crunch series) and wrapped up with a plank. 

It was my favorite class to date at Studio 3. SO GOOD. If you only try one class at Studio 3 you HAVE to try Shred!

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 3/5

Core: 4/5

Legs: 4/5

Arms: 4/5

Few notes on Studio 3, the schedule changes each week. They publish their strength workouts in advance so you can plan which classes you want to attend but instructors and class types appear to change weekly. So you'll always have a Wed 6:00 AM class but it may be a different instructor from the week before. They publish their schedule on Friday and I would recommend setting yourself a reminder so you can reserve your classes that day. The morning classes (5:30 AM - 7:00 AM) fill up FAST. I was hoping to go to Shred or Strength this week but all of the morning classes had waitlists by the time I logged in on Sunday.

Don't forget to bring a towel. You are guaranteed to sweat and they do not provide towels. You can buy one for $5 if needed. 

Tell the Instructor if you have injuries. None of the instructors asked in advance if anyone was nursing an injury so if you are, make sure to arrive 10 minutes before class so you have a chance to grab them and let them know. 

If it wasn't clear, Studio 3 is MAGICAL. I love this place and will be back. J.Lo may be a Triple Threat in the Entertainment Industry but Studio 3 is the Triple Sweat of the Fitness World. You MUST check it out. It is a game changer!!

IMG_2080.JPG
IMG_0609 2.JPG
IMG_5517.JPG
IMG_5589.JPG

Comment

Comment

Slow Your Flow (Flight Room)

IMG_8433.JPG

It's always hard to say goodbye to a member of the Gym Squad but even harder when they have become a good friend. The end of the summer meant it was time to see Angela off as she headed out to Montana to move closer to family. But we couldn't let her go without one last workout.

Given it would be our last workout together in Seattle, we wanted to go Big! Why not try something completely different? Something we would never do and had never done before? The Flight Room caught our eye given they have aerial yoga classes. If you know me, you know that this is WAY out of my comfort zone. I am not a yoga person and I am definitely not graceful. So the thought of me being in an aerial yoga class is laughable but I was ready to make a fool of myself at the expense of celebrating Angela! 

The Flight Room is located in the Central District on a small street that has brand new condo buildings and a cute coffee shop. When you walk into the studio, it is one open, breezy room with beautiful blue fabric hanging from the ceilings. The check in/waiting area is right by the door so we were greeted by someone right away and she gave us a quick overview of what to expect. They provide warm towels to clean your feet before you walk to your hammock. There are storage cubes and restroom at the back of the studio and they recommend you store everything there except your water bottle so nothing is on the floor and in the way during class.

IMG_8430.JPG

When we were ready, the instructor came over to introduce herself and help adjust the hammocks as needed based on our height. Adjusting the hammocks, means she has to climb up on a ladder and make adjustments up above. She was VERY efficient at doing this for everyone, especially given the number of us that were there for the beginner class. So if you do go, keep in mind you should arrive 10-15 minutes early given you may need your hammock adjusted. 

The class filled up pretty quickly - there are 3 rows of hammocks (about enough for 25-30 people). At first I was nervous that we would hit each other or step into my neighbor's space but this was not an issue. The hammocks are spaced out with enough room in front, behind and next to you. The instructor also did a great job of making sure we were coordinated so we were all moving in the same direction at the same time.

If you do go to the Flight Room, I highly recommend you start with the beginner class like we did. The instructor did such a good job of describing the movements, then showing us while reiterating the movement and then having us walk through it together. It helped you connect all the movements together before trying it. This was especially helpful when we started incorporating the hammocks and the little details around how you folded the fabric, how you held it and where you placed it made a huge difference in your ability to successfully get into a position.

The class itself started with a few stretches and classic yoga moves (think cat and cow) on the floor. This was a good way to get your body ready, help you relax and also, in my case, build some confidence before incorporating the fabric. What I loved about the class is the middle portion was focused on moves where you could incorporate the fabric if you were ready/felt comfortable but you could also do the same move without the fabric. For example, there was a leg series where you could go through the exercises with your leg in the air behind you or you could hook it into the fabric and test your balance. I also loved the plank series where you could choose to go through the movements on the floor or hook both legs into the hammock. 

The pacing of the class was perfect. Most of the time, when it comes to movements like this, I am rushing to get in and out of the swing/trx/hammock that I end up tripping or falling because I rush. Because the instructor did such a good job of explaining the movements to us before we transitioned and then talked us through it as we transitioned, it helped me move in and out of the hammock without tripping or feeling rushed.

The last part of the class was definitely the most exciting and what I imagine to be more of a taste of the intermediate classes. We had an opportunity to sit and flip over in the hammock so that we were hanging upside down. It was much easier to get into this position than I thought but I think that is because, once again, the instructor did such a good job of walking us through the movements. I will say, they warn you about motion sickness in the class and as someone who is prone to it, I did get hit with it when we hung upside down the second time. Fortunately, the class is staffed with someone, aside from the instructor, who walks through the class to jump in and help anyone who might be struggling. She immediately came over when she saw me get out of the position and had me sit down on the floor and sip some water. It took me a few minutes to recover but if this does happen, sitting on the floor and grabbing some water is definitely the best way to work through the dizziness and nausea. 

IMG_8423.JPG

The last move was the most advanced and I was not feeling up for it in fear that I would loose my breakfast if I did. They had you essentially somersault into the hammock and end up laying in a cocoon. The shavasana portion of the class is intended to be the relaxing, close out to the class. I'm still disappointed that I wasn't able to try it but I think we'll be back! 

It was definitely a memorable workout. The class was engaging and not too challenging for me as an inexperienced yogi. It was a great opportunity to get in some good stretching and trying something completely new.

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 0/5

Core: 2/5

Legs: 2/5

Arms: 0/5

IMG_8422.JPG

Comment

Comment

Hump Day Happiness (The November Project)

IMG_8367.JPG

I have a small secret, I spend way too much time on Instagram stalking gyms and workout communities. At least 4-5 nights a week, I am in bed, lights out, trolling through Instagram and adding gyms or workouts to my list of places/things I have to try. Then, one night, I hit the jackpot. It was early winter and the weather was already starting to get to me. So in my attempt to keep hope alive, I started looking for outdoor workouts in Seattle for the Spring. I was curious to know if there are communities of people that meet on a regular basis, outdoors to get in a good workout. I know there are plenty of running clubs but I was thinking more Boot Camp style. That's how I came across the November Project Seattle and their Instagram. YOU GUYS!! It was like finding the Mecca of outdoor workouts. 

The November Project is a grassroots, workout community started in Boston by two athletes who wanted to find ways to stay motivated to workout throughout the cold New England winters. Having lived many years in Boston, I find it admirable that anyone would even think about going outside to workout in the winter, let alone wanting to do it on a regular basis. That was only the first thing that blew my mind. The second thing is if you go to their website, the Locations Menu drop down says "Asia, Europe, North America". They are INTERNATIONAL. Literally, their sense of community and their passion for motivating each other is so influential that it has become an international community. 

So I will admit it, I never really understood the concept of 'FOMO'. (I actually think it's a ridiculous concept.) But for the first time ever, trolling through the @novemberprojectseattle on Instagram gave me a bit of FOMO. Everyone looked SO happy, I mean genuinely happy. I love to workout and I never look that happy when I'm working out! So I HAD to go try one of their workouts. In Seattle, the group meets every Wednesday and Friday at 6:29 AM (that's right, you can get a sense of how fun these guys are just based on their start time). On Wednesdays they meet at Gasworks Park and the Friday location changes each month (check their website for details). 

You guys know I never workout alone. Fortunately Angela had been following them on Instagram and was wanting to go too. And Lindsay is always up for trying something new so the three of us planned to go together. Between Angela having her first baby and Lindsay and my work and travel schedules, it was July before we made it to a Wednesday workout with the group. As soon as you walk into Gasworks on Wednesday morning, you know you're in for some fun. The November Project Seattle community is STRONG. There were probably 50-60 people there that morning. You could not miss them and the music playing was also a key giveaway. That day, the group met at the large open grass area near the entrance of  Gasworks so they were easy to find. When we got there, we joked that there are probably 15 people there in the winter, but one of the other (clearly more dedicated members) said that even in the winter, you would find about two thirds of this group at the workout. Impressive.

This workout starts like none other. It kicks off with a huddle where they ask if anyone is new. Everyone who is new gets a personalized welcome from the entire group. Then they move straight into a group chant while jumping. That day, it was 'NP! NP!' the following week it was 'I believe that we will win!' Although the words may vary by workout, the message is the same - we are one, we are strong. Then the close out the welcome with hugs for everyone (ideally someone you don't know as an opportunity to meet someone new).

We then warmed up with a run to the bench near the hill and back. Probably the trickiest part of the workout for me given the wet grass and the hill! The workout that day was a serious game of 'Would you Rather'. Everyone partnered up (ideally with someone you did not know) and had to pick a paper from a large bucket in the middle of the circle. Each slip of paper would list two exercises. Each partner took turns picking which workout they preferred. Their partner would then have to do the other exercise on the paper. Once you were done, you'd come back and pick out another slip of paper. 

The exercises varied:

> 20 sit ups or squat hold until your partner finished

> 20 lunge jumps or 40 walking lunges

> 20 burpees or 25 push ups

> Run out to the bench by the water and do 10 box jumps or hold a plank

> Run up to the hill or run the tree path

This went on for about 30 minutes. Fortunately, I had an amazing partner, Jackie who was a November Project regular and was full of nothing but positive encouragement, smiles and high fives. 

Even though I loved the workout and my partner, the best part came at the end. As we finished the partner workout, they brought out two huge buckets and had each of us grab a water balloon. Of course, in my head, I'm thinking, we're going to have to do a water balloon toss and if we drop it, they're going to make us do X push ups or X burpees. WRONG. They had us form two lines facing our partners with a bit of distance between us. It was a full on water balloon fight aimed right at your partner. It was exactly the cool down we needed after a hot, sweaty summer morning workout. 

There are so many reasons why I love this city and why the concept of a fit squad resonates with me. The November Project Seattle has somehow managed to encompass all of it. It is an incredible group of eclectic individuals who come together to support, motivate, inspire and welcome everyone to come workout. They have managed to create a tangible sense of happiness and community. This sense that you can accomplish anything; that you can work hard and have fun; that you are not alone in any challenge.

Admit it,  you have a bit of FOMO now too! 

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 3/5

Core: 2/5

Legs: 2/5

Arms: 1/5

 

 

Comment

Comment

Rough, Tough and Dirty (Mailbox Peak)

IMG_8333.JPG

'Outdoorsy' is not a word anyone would use to describe me. But post Peru, I'm feeling a bit more brave and craving a bit of the great outdoors. And let's be honest, when you live in the Pacific Northwest, your options for getting outside are endless. So when Rosalie and Kenzie suggested we go for a hike together, I was so excited. You guys know I rarely try something new by myself so when the Fit Squad says 'Let's do this!' I never say 'No'. Plus July in Seattle means you have to find reasons to be active outside!

Because they are both far more experienced with the hiking trails, I trusted them and went with the flow. They both recommended Mailbox Peak because of the view at the end. To be fair, they were honest about what I was about to get into. I was slightly intimidated given the description but I knew if I was going to do it, they were the ones I wanted to be with. Plus if you follow any outdoorsy person on Instagram, you've seen the spectacular pictures of Mailbox Peak. I had to do it!!

Mailbox Peak has two options - the 'old' trail which is a straight up 2.5 mile incline or the 'new' trail which is a 4 mile trail that is full of switchbacks to get you up the mountain. The three of us were in agreement that the old trail was the way to go - we all like to just get it done. 

There are a few parking lots, that day there was even a shuttle running from a large lot a few miles from the trailhead. Fortunately, we got there around 8:30 AM so there were still a few spots available at the lot directly below the trailhead. 

The trail starts with a sign that essentially says, "Don't do this unless you're really, really sure that you can handle it." This should have been my first clue but of course I laughed it off and moved on. Someday I'll learn to actually listen!

IMG_8311.JPG

The trail starts off innocently enough in a beautifully shaded area but very quickly turned into the steep incline that warrants the sign at the beginning. It was no joke. What makes this trail so hard is that it is relentless. The steep incline goes on for the full 2.5 miles. There are very few moments where the path levels off which means you do not ever really get a chance to relax and catch your breath. The path is a dirt path for the first 2 miles or so. I was grateful for all the tree roots and overgrown branches because they were ultimately the main reason I survived the uphill climb. I think between mile 1 and mile 2, I was literally pulling myself up whenever there was an opportunity to hold onto a tree. I could not find my hiking boots that morning so being in sneakers was a bit of a disadvantage for this trail. There was minimal traction and a plethora of opportunities to turn my ankle. Fortunately the first few miles are shaded so that helped protect us from the heat of the 85 degree day.

The last half mile is spectacular. You come out of the woods into an opening, look up and literally see a mountain of rocks. It is stunning. What was great about this part of the trail was that, although it was still steep, there were a lot of rock steps. This helped with the traction and helped me feel better grounded in the uphill trek. But this is also when the mental game kicked in BIG time for me. It's a bit of a tease when you see the opening - you think you should just have to make it to the top of the rock hill. Nope, you get to the top and it leads into another step dirt mountain. You keep going and each time you come around a corner, there's nothing but climbing left to do. It went on like this for a good 30 minutes. There was a point when I literally told myself to just take 10 steps. I would count 10 steps, take a 10 second break and start all over again. The focus was just getting to 10. I couldn't look past 10 because my legs, my mind and my body were toast. 

IMG_8316.JPG

But let me tell you, when you get to the top, the view is breathtaking. You have a 360 degree view of nothing but mountains and water. Just seeing Rainier covered in snow made it worth the trek. There were a lot of bugs near the mailbox so we found a corner to perch on and took a much needed break. Fortunately, Rosalie wisely predicted that we would need mimosas at the top so she started pouring our drinks while we re-fuled with some protein bars, fruit and sweet potato cookies. My advice is bring a friend like Rosalie who's willing and able to carry all the extra weight for the mimosas!! I have NO idea how she managed to do that. Snacks are a must. Pack fruit, protein bars, sandwiches, nuts, etc. you are going to need it when you finally make it to the top. 

We sat for a bit, snacked, caught our breath and relaxed before we headed back down. This is actually the part where I wanted to be excited (because I knew it would be easier) but in fact, I knew better. Going downhill can be tough in a different way, especially if you're like me. I'm not the most coordinated person, I'm not the most graceful person and I get distracted very easily. Combine that with the fact that I was not wearing hiking boots on and I knew I was in trouble. We counted and I slipped 8 times on the way down, but only 2 of them were complete, flat on my backside type falls so I consider that a win!! 

It was hands down the hardest climb/workout I've ever done. But this is one of the main reasons I LOVE my Fit Squad and love trying different workouts. Endurance workouts and inclines just aren't my jam. And no matter how much I workout, I'll always find these two things challenging. It's also why I'm grateful for friends like Rosalie and Kenzie who'll encourage me to try something different, step outside my comfort zone and test my limits. It would not have been half as fun without their stories, their smiles and their incredible energy. 

IMG_8322.jpg

Comment

Comment

Electrifyingly Shocked (Katalyst- University Village)

IMG_7931.JPG

The benefit of living 2 miles from University Village is that you can easily spend a lot of time there. Back in May, I noticed that Teavana had moved out and there were signs for 'Katalyst Fitness Coming Soon'. You know I stopped in my tracks and immediately Googled it. To say I was excited when I read about 'more efficient' workouts and '20 minutes' with 'Electronic Muscle Stimulation' would be an understatement. The only thing I was upset about was that to I could not check out classes immediately and didn't know when they were scheduled to open. Fortunately I am at UVillage 2-3 times a week so it was easy for me to pop over to see if they were open.

So I was excited when I noticed they had opened their doors and even more excited to hear the first session is free. It took me awhile to find time in the schedule to make it work so I had already heard from a few friends who had tried it. I asked them if they liked it and what it was like. Strangely enough, everyone kept saying the same thing, "You have to just try it. I can't really explain it." I was curious and intrigued that everyone kept saying these same two things. Now that I've experienced a session, I fully understand why everyone kept saying that. 

You know I don't workout without a friend or a member of the Fit Squad so I asked Rosalie and Kenzie to try out Katalyst with me. Fortunately, they are always up for anything and were happy to try something different. When I walked down the sidewalk towards the studio, I was greeted by two friendly team members who were standing outside. Once I let them know I had an appointment, they had me check in at the desk which was staffed with 3 team members who were ready to help us out. 

Lacey, who is a certified trainer and fitness coach, was my coach for the session. She was friendly and immediately engaging. The session starts with a sit down question and answer period. It gives the coach an opportunity to ask questions about your fitness routine and your goals and then gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. 

We spent about 10-15 minutes chatting and then moved onto the 'weigh in' as I call it. It's not really a weigh in, but more of a baseline measurement of all the key metrics that Katalyst uses to track progress. They use the InBody Scope machine which looks like the scale at the doctor's office but comes with handle bars that you hold. Once you input your age and height, The machine pulls all your metrics - weight, BMI and skeletal muscle mass. It even pulls how much water and muscle weight you have and measures the muscle mass and weight in your right arm vs. your left arm; right leg vs. left leg. Pretty cool and also interesting to see that in some cases, you really are stronger on one side than the other. This is also how Katalyst tracks progress. Ideally you would check in every 4-6 weeks and see progress in those numbers. Their focus is on your 'Skeletal Muscle Mass' and seeing that number improve over time. 

Then comes the next part - the suit up. Lacey had the suit laid out on the counter and one of the other team members was spraying it down with water. Lacey explained how the suit was set up (think bullet proof vest with legs, with lots of Velcro and some wires). She also explained that the muscle mechanics work better when the suit is wet which is why they spray it down right before you put it on. Then came the part I was NOT prepared for. She handed me small package which is the body suit. It's ultimately a short sleeved t-shirt and shorts that are made out of a thin fiber-y fabric. It reminded me of a lighter version of long underwear. But they ask you to put on JUST the body suit. Nothing underneath it. And when I say nothing they mean NOTHING. No sports bra, no underwear, nothing. I think the three of us asked 4 or 5 times if they really meant nothing. I was not prepared for this and not sure. 

They led us to the back dressing room which is a nice area with cubbies, 3 dressing rooms and a restroom. We changed into our body suits and spent a good 5 minutes laughing at ourselves before we felt comfortable walking out to meet our coaches.  That's when the team suits you up. The idea is to get the suit on as tight as possible so they adjust all the straps before they clip the top and bottom onto you. It was a bit of a shock when the suit first comes on - it's wet and cold but then the process of strapping you isn't too bad. Lacey adjusted as needed and made sure it was tight enough but not too tight. Then there are two bicep bands that she straps on and clips to the vest. It was not as uncomfortable as you would think. 

We then walk over to one of the stations. The studio is set up with three stations so Kenzie, Rosalie and I were able to work out at the same time in our individual stations. Each station is set up with a computer, wooden bar and a small table holding a bunch of rolled up towels. These towels would serve as "weights" and not for wiping the sweat off as I originally thought. 

The computer is set up with a bunch of knobs at the bottom of the screen. These knobs control the amount of muscle stimulation in each area - back, abs, hamstrings, gluts and arms. Throughout the workout, Lacey would watch me and adjust as needed. The first thing Lacey did was explain the workout to me. It is a full 20 minute session - 4 seconds off, 4 seconds on. It only took the first 3 rounds for me to realize that I was naive to think, "4 seconds!? How can this be a workout?!" She starts you off in the base/starting position which is ultimately a squat with a bicep curl. She had me try out this position and then started by stimulating my hamstrings, adding my gluts, adding my core, etc. until all areas were 'on'. I cannot explain the sensation. It's almost a cross between a shock, a major vibration and tickling throughout your entire body. But it got even more interesting.

Lacey worked me through a series of exercises. None of them were new - think squats, lunges, tricep kick backs, bicep curls. But they felt SO strange. The idea was to be in position as the 4 second work period started. Once the muscle stimulation started, you had to work through the exercise for 4 seconds. Depending on the strength of the stimulation and the workout, it was hard in a way I cannot explain. The most interesting part of the workout is not being able to reconcile how it feels with the concept that you're not holding any weights or nothing is pushing against you to cause the unexpected resistance. The punches were the hardest for me. The idea was to literally just do 4 seconds of quick punches. But because of the muscles that are being stimulated, the simple concept of punching was nearly impossible. For most of the rounds, my left arm (which is clearly weaker than my right) could not punch out straight. Whenever I tried, it would lock up into this weird C position. It was a little scary to know your brain was telling your body to do something and it was doing something entirely different. 

Unlike other workouts, it didn't actually feel like a workout during the session. For the majority of the workout, I could not stop laughing because it was so hard to get over the strange sensation of the stimulation and how ridiculous some of the simple exercises felt. After the 20 minute session, Lacey had me change into my regular clothes and go through a post session analysis where she asks a few questions about the experience. She also reminded me that I should drink a lot of water and keep moving. Although it's a 20 minute session, leave yourself about an hour.

The most memorable part of this workout actually had nothing to do with the workout but what happened afterwards.

Day 1 Post Workout - The morning after, the text messages started early. Rosalie, Kenzie and I were already feeling it in ways that we had never felt. As Kenzie put it 'I've never felt this before!!' and we all work hard, play hard so you know this means something. For me, it started with my biceps and triceps. I literally could not lift up the phone to text without groaning. And throughout the day, it became more and more noticeable. I took a cycling class that morning and at the time, it seemed like the best workout given my arms were so tender but I'm not sure this was the right call.

Day 2 Post Workout - How is it even possible? The pain was worse on Day 2. By A LOT. My gluts  and hamstrings were SO SORE. It's hard to know if it was just the Katalyst workout or the combo of cycling and Katalyst. But my muscles were so sore that when I went to get a massage that night, my muscles were tender to the touch. It HURT and not in the satisfied, I worked hard, sore kind of way. It hurt in a way where I wondered if I had done something wrong or maybe seriously injured myself in some way. I was actually pretty concerned that I would be in pain for awhile. So I put in some extra time foam rolling and planned to have a rest day the next day.

Day 3 Post Workout - Day 3 was the worst. I was in so much pain that the minute I woke up, I knew I was in trouble. Rolling over to get out of bed was not comfortable or easy. I spent most of the day walking awkwardly (yes, it hurt to walk!!) and sitting down meant lost of wincing, cringing and groaning. It HURT to sit. I essentially spent my Rest Day standing because even laying down was challenging. I tried to foam roll and everything about it was so uncomfortable I gave up. 

But somehow, on Day 4, I was much better. It was almost like someone had flipped a switch. I was feeling better by the night of Day 3 but by Day 4, I was feeling 75% - 80% better. I'm still in a bit of shock over how it all happened. I have never been in that much pain for that long post workout. My guess is that it was such a different workout and my muscles had been stimulated in such a new way that they were in 'shock' themselves. 

All in all, I don't know that EMS is the workout for me. While the post workout pain was memorable, the workout itself doesn't provide the same adrenaline rush you get from riding to the beat in a cycling class or sweating through your shirt in a Tabata class. It doesn't provide the same level of satisfaction you get from shaking through a pilates class either. And because the session is based on a one on one coaching model, it doesn't allow for the sense of community or energy you get from working out in a room full of people. And you guys know how much I love my Fit Squad.

While it may have not filled all the requirements for me, t I can see how this workout is perfect for someone who needs an efficient workout, does not have a lot of time and is cautious of their joints and long term health. I can also see how it can become a bit like therapy as you develop a relationship with your coach. I wanted to pull up a chair and open up a bottle of wine with Lacey and that was only after knowing her for an hour!

 

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 0/5

Core: 3/5

Legs: 2/5

Arms: 4/5

IMG_7930.JPG
IMG_7922.JPG

Comment

Comment

A New Kind of Fly (FLYFit SLU)

IMG_7757.JPG

I love when someone reaches out and says, "Let's go try a new gym/workout." So when Jessie suggested we try a new class @ Flywheel, I was super excited. We all know Flywheel as the cycling studio that rocks it with the stadium seating, incredible energy and one of my favorite Boss Babe instructors, Norah. I also know that they host barre classes (although I have never tried one). So I was excited to hear that they are branching out into my beloved HIIT workouts and introducing a FLYFit class. 

The only time that worked with the busy end of school year schedule, Peru trip and work was a lunchtime sweat in the middle of the week. It was a good idea in theory until I tried to head down to South Lake Union. Don't make the same mistake we did unless you are within walking distance of the studio. I highly recommend taking an early morning or late evening class if you need to drive to Flywheel. Between traffic, construction and lunchtime foot traffic, we were both late to the 12:00 PM class. Not to mention parking is nearly impossible that time of day. 

Like all my other visits to Flywheel, I was greeted by a smiling team member with an iPad in hand, ready to check me in. He had me head upstairs to the second level/landing area. I had never been up there so I was excited to see the space. 

Once you climb up the stairs, there is an open area that houses cubbies, a bench, towels and a huge range of weights. Always a good sign. The studio itself is small, it fits about 18-20 mats and felt tight when I snuck into a mat in the middle of the room. Fortunately, everyone was great about making it work and the instructor was good about reminding us to stagger when needed.

I walked in 5 minutes late so the warm up was well under way. The second I met Amanda, the instructor, I knew she had to be a Mom. She walked over to me, greeted me with a kind smile, shared a few brief instructions and showed me to an empty mat, all without missing a beat in leading the class through their warm ups. She did the same thing when Jessie walked in shortly after me. You know anyone that can multitask, while smiling and not breaking a sweat has to be a Super Mom! I immediately liked her and her style.

The class incorporated a mat, bands which were already hung from the bar on the wall and a variety of weights. The format was set up to rotate through 3 exercises, 45 seconds each for 2 rounds before taking a quick break. The variety of the routine was perfect. Each set included 2 levels of strength (arms, core, legs) and usually a round of cardio (mountain climbers, jump squats).

What I always admire about good instructors who meet you for the first time or are teaching a group of new clients, is their ability to quickly gauge the room's ability and determine how/when to motivate and push each person. As soon as we started our chest presses, Amanda quickly noticed that quite a few of us needed heavier weights. She encouraged us to go heavier and even ran out of the room to grab them for us. I'm glad she did this because 1.) During a 45 second set, I had no intention of stopping to get more weights and losing a chance to workout 2.) The weights I had were doing nothing for me and I really did need to go heavier to challenge myself. 

The workout was exactly what I needed. It incorporated a lot of core and strength workouts that I normally don't get to do - chest flies and band workouts such as superman pulls, tricep pulls and lunge jumps with a row. And just when I was craving a bit more cardio, Amanda kicked it up with an intense cardio finisher. We wrapped up the workout with a full round of cardio that included a jump squat, high knees and burpees finisher. You KNOW this made me so SO happy!

I definitely recommend this class. It's a little more strength than cardio so it's perfect for someone like me who's weekly schedule has been heavy on the cardio, light on the strength. The space is actually perfect for the workout. It appears small but it created an intense and intimate space without making it feel tight. I didn't ever feel like I was sweating on someone or about to step on someone.  I also love that it's set in a dark room so you can let it get UGLY and not worry about having people see you!! 

But most importantly, I was a HUGE fan of Amanda. The routine that she taught flowed really well and I felt as though I was getting a good variety. It felt like a complete workout, especially with the cardio finish at the end. I also like that it was a 45 seconds per exercise so that I had to learn to pace and push myself a bit differently than I would during a normal 20 second Tabata set. 

I also appreciated her ability to motivate us throughout the entire workout. When she wasn't walking around the room yelling words of encouragement and giving us form tips, she was right there in the middle of it all working out with us. I love an instructor that can give form tips during a group workout but at the same time, isn't afraid to get down and sweat with us! Amanda also teachers Barre classes so go see her if you can.

All FLYFit classes are FREE through the end of June!! Check them out a FlyWheel SLU. 

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 3/5

Core: 2/5

Legs: 2/5

Arms: 4/5

 

Comment

Comment

Bucket List Workout (Machu Picchu, Peru)

IMG_7562.JPG

Living in the Pacific Northwest, you would think I would take advantage of all the gorgeous trails and mountains in the area and be 'outdoorsy'. But, I'm not. I don't mind the occasional hike on the weekends with the boys but we rarely log in more than 4 miles on these hikes. They're short and sweet.

So, when the college girlfriends wanted to commemorate our 40th birthdays with a special trip, the list started with the usual beachy/resort type options - The Greek Isles, Lake Como, Bali, etc. Then, my friend, Jen (who is far more adventurous than I am) suggested we go big with a bucket list item and take on Machu Picchu. When you're sitting in the comfort of a Four Seasons Resort, drinking wine and thinking about it, It sounds like a brilliant and fun idea. I won't make that mistake again. 

Thanks to my friends Rosalie and Kenzie, who had just gone there, we were given a lot of good tips and ended up booking the trip through the same tour company they used. We had a hard time choosing the right itinerary but given the Inca trail was sold out (they only allow 500 passes/day) we ended up choosing the Lares trail which allowed for some hiking, a little camping and opportunities to visit some local villages. 

Going into the trip, I don't think I realized what I was really getting into. I was more focused on making sure the boys and everything at home would be fine since I would literally be off the grid and they would be unable to get a hold of me. This combined with the excitement of spending an entire week with my two best friends didn't leave me much time to think about the details of what we were really about to do.

We took the advice of Rosalie and Kenzie and spent the first day in Cusco. If you end up going, I highly recommend you do the same. The altitude of 11,000 feet is quite an adjustment even on the altitude medication. That combined with the jet lag meant we were feeling a little tired and liked having a day to just bum around the city. We got in a good night sleep and kicked off our adventure at 4:00 AM on Tuesday.

Day 1 started with an early morning bus ride up to the top of the mountain near Cusco and ended up in a hot spring. Right out of the gates, the drive up the mountain was gorgeous. The views really are breathtaking and we saw a lot more snow than I expected! Normally the trek starts at 6 AM but due to some strikes in the area and concerns around our safely, we got an early start to the day and left our hotel around 4:15 - 4:30 AM. By the time we got to the hot springs, it was only 7:30 so we had the whole place to ourselves. 

The hot springs are nothing like I've ever experienced. There were 6 or 7 different pools, all differing in temperature. We tried the first one and it was WAY too hot, so we choose a different one that was more reminiscent of a hot tub. The water is almost a dark brown color so that was a bit unexpected but once we were in, it felt SO good. And it was probably the best thing we could have done for ourselves leading into the few days. 

After a few hours, we changed and got ready for breakfast. Anyone who takes these tours will tell you, the meals, are noteworthy in so many ways. The Chef is responsible for setting everything up - the tent, the tables, chairs, cooking area and prepping all the food. Generally this happens over a small two burner portable gas grill but you would never know it. The meals are full course meals that are SO yummy. I think I ate better on this trip than I do at home. Breakfast was a combination of traditional bread, pancakes, oatmeal and yogurt. Meals are always served with hot tea and coffee. 

After the meal, we packed up our day packs and got ready to hike. The afternoon hike was exactly what I expected. It was serene and peaceful in ways we had never experienced. The beauty of the Lares trail (opposed to the Inca trail) is that we literally were the only ones on the trail. We had the entire trail and mountain to ourselves. We would occasionally run into locals as we walked past small villages or corn fields but aside from that, we truly were the only ones out there. 

The trail was not as treacherous as some of the other trails (based on what we've heard). Although it was steep at times, the trail was wide enough where there was no concern about slipping and falling. We hiked for about 4 hours and ended up in a very small village. What constantly amazed me was the Chef and his assistant. The two of them had stayed to clean up after us at breakfast and pack up all the tables, chairs, cooking gear and our big backpacks. The two of them, along with 3 horses, probably left 30-45 minutes after us but still beat us to the lunch spot, had everything set up. By the time we got there, they were well under way with lunch prep. They were incredible. I still do not know how they did this every day.

Lunch was served inside a small home in the local village. The home was literally made of dirt floors, rock walls and a straw roof. Even in the middle of the day, It was freezing in there. So we were so excited when lunch started with soup. It was probably one of the best soups I have ever had. It was made with corn and vegetables and I could have eaten it for every meal if it was an option. 

After lunch, a local boy, Edison, who was 5 years old, guided us to the camp site where we would spend the night. When they told us he would be walking with us, the girls and I assumed it would be a 10 minute hike. But it was actually a 45-50 minute trek. It was fairly even and flat but there were parts that were definitely a bit of a climb and he left us in the dust. His little legs had no problem moving ahead and no matter how hard I tried, I could not keep up with him. 

When we finally arrived at the camp site, it was actually Edison's home - we would be camping in his front yard. The views were breathtaking. His home was situated right on the river which is their main source of water given the home had no running water or electricity. What was so impressive was how quickly the Chef and his assistant had our tents set up. As soon as they set up the 4 tents (3 sleeping tents and one eating tent), they were cooking up Happy Hour and Dinner for us. 

That night was a game changer for me. We learned that Edison was so familiar with the hike because the local village where we had lunch was where his school was located. He walked 45-50 minutes each way, every day to get to school and get back home. All by himself. We were in shock. Our children are literally chauffeured in their warm cars from their homes to school each day. And, in the case of my boys, the commute is 8 minutes, 10 minutes with traffic. 

Because there is no electricity, everyone goes down with the sun and rises with the sun. Which means we went to bed around 7:30 PM and were up by 5:00 AM. When we got up, Edison was already hard at work. He had collected a bunch of crops for his family and was helping his dad prepare our breakfast. Once we were eating, he moved on to break down our tents before he headed off to school. Did I mention Edison is 5 years old??!!? It was a real eye opener in terms of how excessive our lives in the US can be and how truly comfortable we all are. I have been lucky enough to travel to different parts of the world, but I have never seen a child with such an incredible work ethic. Edison was hands down, the highlight of my trip.

Day 2 - After we said good bye to Edison and finished our breakfast, we prepared for Day 2. Day 2 is the reason why I wrote this blog and why I consider this trip the workout of a lifetime. We knew going in that this would be tough but I had no idea how hard this was going to be. We started the day at 11,000 ft altitude and the plan was to climb a mountain and be at 14,700 ft by lunchtime. We were climbing 3,700 feet in 3 hours. When our guide told us this, it didn't really register. They were just a bunch of numbers to me that didn't really represent anything. But then, we started hiking. It was HARD. Harder than anything I can remember doing. Within the first 20 minutes, the three of us were huffing and puffing. Catching our breathe seemed to be an impossible feat. Walking longer than 5 minutes without taking a break became a goal. 

I cannot even express how challenging it was. Small inclines felt like mountains and even having a small day pack on our backs felt like we were carrying another 100 lbs. It was physically taxing and mentally defeating. I spent the first hour questioning whether I was really fit enough for this hike and why I chose to do this instead of renting a Villa in Lake Como. I wondered if I had been fooling myself with all my workouts back home. Had I really been pushing myself? Was I even in good shape? Is this what it means to be 40? Every doubt, every negative thought, passed through my thoughts. But then, I had to remind myself where I was - I was in a country I had never visited, I was with two of my favorite people in the world. I am healthy enough to get outside and hike. I am fortunate enough to afford to travel around the world. I am blessed with a partner and family that let's me leave for a week and not worry about a thing. 

That's the moment it changed for me. It may have felt impossible but in that moment, being with Karen and Jen and seeing the breathtaking views reminded me that this is why we were here. It wasn't  about making it to the top in record time. It wasn't about having an 'easy' vacation. It was about the journey. It was about getting through the challenge together. It was the perfect analogy for our lives. 

I think we often spend so much time worrying about what we are going to accomplish, how we are going to accomplish it, how quickly we can make it happen, etc. that we forget about living in the moment and appreciating the opportunity. The path we take to get to the end, is a big part of what makes life so interesting. The path I have taken to date has helped me realize I am often stronger than I know and more importantly, it has helped me realize the value of the people in my life. Many of them have joined me on my path and pulled me up mountains when I did not think I could make it to the top. 

When we finally arrived at Machu Picchu, there was an incredible sense of satisfaction. I can't say whether it was because of the challenge we faced on Day 2 or if it was simply because I was reminded how lucky I am. This life we live should not be taken for granted. I was dealt a winning hand in life but that does not mean I should take it for granted. The friends I have, the family I was born into and the health I was given are all the luck of the draw. I didn't 'earn' these things but that doesn't mean I shouldn't count them in my daily moments of gratitude. This trip was the trip of a lifetime. It helped me test my limits and realize that we cannot take anything for granted.

#Grateful

a57f51fa-7231-4d8d-a9c2-e67f6ce6cdc5.JPG
IMG_7259.JPG
IMG_7481.JPG
IMG_6975.JPG

Comment

Comment

Behind the Fight Club (MCW Health and Fitness)

In the busiest area of Greenlake, there is a little hidden gem. You would never know it. Getting there is similar to trying to find your way into a secret underground club. It's located in a building that hosts a Martial Arts Academy. You climb down a flight of stairs at the back of the building and let yourself into a small waiting area for the Academy. Only the chosen ones know that if you walk across the practice area and the mats, down a short hallway, there is a small space in the back set up with kettlebells, TRXs, Ropes, medicine balls and weights. It seems simple, almost basic, when you first enter the room. It has a bit of a rough basement feel and You'll ask yourself why you thought it was a good idea to visit a gym in the basement behind a martial arts academy filled with men. But then class will start and you'll realize, you may have just discovered the best secret in town.

The Instructor, Rafael, comes across as somewhat quiet and reserved but then he smiles and you see a playful, boyish side to him that stays present throughout the entire workout. Rafael started the class with a "warmup". There's a reason I put quotes around that word. My friend Kate, who came with me, will tell you, that this was hands down the hardest part of the class for us. It was a warm up unlike any other and for 'Coordination Corner' as Kate called us, it was the most challenging warm up I have ever experienced. 

Rafael placed a ladder on the ground and had us 'warm up' through various exercises. I know what you're thinking. "A ladder? I do skips, one legged jumps, hops, etc through them at my gym. It's not that hard." NO, it was HARD. Everything from lateral moves to jumps to one legged hops were harder because it wasn't just going through the opening in the ladders, he had us moving in different directions, into and out of the openings. It was the concept of making us go through a motion but having to think about moving in different directions but making those adjustment quickly. For someone as uncoordinated as me, the only objective was not to stay on my feet and NOT trip and fall. I don't think I've ever worked so hard during a warm up. 

Fortunately that only lasted about 8 minuets (although it felt like 8 hours). Then he set us up for the workout. What always impresses me is how well some instructors are able to utilize space. Although it was a small room, he set up 5 different stations for the 12 of us that were there. There were 2 different TRX stations, a core station, a medicine ball station and a kettlebell station. He had us go through the stations twice, the first round was 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off as you moved to the next station and then the second round was 40/10.

What I loved about this workout was the moves themselves were not new. They were moves you would be familiar with - medicine ball slams, kettlebell swings, core work with bands, but Rafael always added a twist that made it so challenging. For example, he had us to laterally moving planks on the ground with bands around our forearms. However, rather than opening and closing your arms and legs at the same time, he had us open our arms while closing our legs and vice versa. Such a small tweak but so much more challenging mentally and balance-wise. I loved it. I love workouts like that where the moves are familiar but  you realize that a small addition can really challenge you in a different way and test your limits.

The second round was similar with the added benefit of a ropes station. If you know me, you KNOW I love the ropes!!! The added challenge with this station was there was one rope that was tied around the pole. So although there were two ends to hold, you had to work in coordination with your partner to make sure you didn't go flying or they didn't go flying. Kate and I had a little too much fun with this one!

Although none of the stations were a true cardio workout, this didn't bother me because I had done an OrangeTheory class that morning but also because it was such a satisfying core and strength workout. There were also opportunities to increase your cardio push if you wanted to (e.g. Ropes, mountain climbers on the TRX station).

I loved this gym and Rafael. It has a true Fight Club feel to it in not only the underground location but in how hard you work. They also do outdoor Boot Camps at Greenlake so I'll be checking that out too!

 MCW Health and Fitness is on Class Pass to make it a bit easier to visit. Don't forget to bring your own towel and water bottle (there wasn't a water station that was easily accessible in the facility itself).

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 2/5

Core: 2/5

Legs: 3/5

Arms: 3/5

 

Comment

Comment

Breaking Into the Zone (OrangeTheory)

IMG_6478.JPG

A few years ago, I did a review on OrangeTheory after my first visit. I was lukewarm about the experience regardless of all the hype and excitement around it. I have not been back since but over the past 6 months, whether it's at the boys' School, on the soccer field, even at my own gym, over and over again, I'll hear people talking about OTF and how much they love it. Even my amazing hair stylist started going there and talks about it.

So last November, I decided I was going to try and go back for a visit. It's May and I was finally able to make it happen. I have to be honest, it was partially my schedule because I only like 6 AM classes on the weekdays and my weekend sessions with Tricia are sacred and would never think of doing another workout, but it is nearly impossible to get into a class at the UDistrict location. Over the course of the 5 months, there were probably 5-7 direct calls into the studio, several text messages and endless visits to the website to try and get into a class. I literally think every class between 5 AM - 6 AM was booked for the next year. I had to end up taking a mid morning break from work and sign up for a 10 AM class on a Monday. Even then, there was a waitlist but I was lucky enough to get off of it a few days before the class. So fair warning, if you like popular times and want to visit the UDistrict location, be ready for a bit of a wait.

I walked into the studio and immediately noticed the class going on in the side room. You can see the energy and literally feel the sweat coming through the glass doors. It definitely feels like a class I should love. But already, I was dreading the treadmills and the rowers. Just looking at them made me want to turn around and go back home. But I had already told my Mom friends I would be there so I knew I could not bail.

The woman at the Front Desk went through the usual paperwork with me and gave me a quick overview of the heart monitor. They now have ones that you can wear on your forearm (which was new to me) and I figured I would give it a try. She walked me through the check in process which ultimately has you check your name off a sign in sheet and pick up a number for either the treads or the rowers. She had me start on rowers (greeeaaatt!).

She then walked me into the studio to introduce me to Heather, the instructor. Heather is exactly what you would expect from an OTF instructor - she's super fit, friendly and ready to talk you through the workout. One of the first things she asked me was whether I had used a rowing machine before. I told her my fears and my level of discomfort with one and she was great about talking me through form and how to use the computer. What I liked is that she gave me small details that made me feel more comfortable - how to fit your shoes into the foot holder (no one has EVER told me how to make sure you're in correctly!!) and then made sure to walk me through the 60-20-20 form check. 

After that, we walked out to the lobby where she greeted everyone and gave us a rundown of the workout. I am not going to lie, I was still filling a bit apprehensive about the workout. We headed into the studio with high fives from Heather and got going right away. My friend, Pamela, was on the rower next to me so that definitely helped me going. It was a Power day which meant the following:

  • Alternate between rowing 300 m and 15 medicine ball jumping jacks for 6 minutes
  • Move to the Weight Room to alternate between Squat Jump/tap backs on the bench and sit ups
  • Move to The Treadmill for :
    • 1 Minute Warm Up/Base (for me, that was speed 6.0, with a 1% incline)
    • 2 Minute Push (for me, that was speed 8.0 for the first minute, 8.5 for the second minute, with a 1% incline)
    • 1 Minute Base (back to 6.0 with 1% incline)
    • 30 second Burst (for me, that was speed 10.5-11.0, with a 1% incline)
  • Move back to Weight Room for weighted lunches with heavy weights, 12 speed skaters and 8 leg lifts on each leg using the bench
  • Back to The Treadmill for :
    • 1 Minute Warm Up/Base (speed 6.0, with a 1% incline)
    • 2 Minute Push (speed 8.0 for the first minute, 8.5 for the second minute, with a 1% incline)
    • 1 Minute Base (back to 6.0 with 1% incline)
    • 1 MinuteBurst ( speed 10.5-11.0, with a 1% incline)
  • Back to the rowing machine for 300 m and 15 medicine ball jumping jacks for 6 minutes
  • Back to the Weight Room for squat jumps using the bench and Russian Twis
  • Wrap up on the Treadmill for :
    • 1 Minute Warm Up/Base ( speed 6.0, with a 1% incline)
    • 2 Minute Push ( speed 8.0 for the first minute, 8.5 for the second minute, with a 1% incline)
    • 1 Minute Base (back to 6.0 with 1% incline)
    • 30 second Burst (speed 12.0 with a 1% incline)

When I wrapped up my final burst on the treadmill, my Apple Watch had my heart rate at 200 BPMs! CRAZY!! Even during Tabata, the highest I have ever been is 181. There was something incredible satisfying about knowing I had an personal best, even if it was for a split second. It was the moment were I finally felt as though I had burst into 'the zone' and could understand why people love this workout so much.  

For the longest time, I've never felt the need to go to OTF because I think the Tabata workouts I do (especially a Tricia Tabata) are harder and more satisfying. While that statement still holds for me, I can understand why this may be a more effective workout. There's something about running on a treadmill that forces you to keep pace and truly push yourself. While you may take breaks or slow down if you want in other areas, there's no messing around on the Mill.

Heather was the perfect Coach for the workout. She was the perfect mix of positive energy and motivation. But what I appreciated most about her was her ability to connect with people throughout the workout. In the 1 hour class, she probably checked in with me 4-5 times and even provided form checks. Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE tips on form. Because I am not a professional or a certified instructor, I find these types of tips invaluable. Heather did a great job of calling out a few things, providing adjustments and then going a step further to explain why the adjustments were important. As a group instructor with a room full of people, music blaring and a timer running, I cannot imagine its easy to watch everyone and provide feedback. So when an instructor goes out of their way to do this, I know its because they care. 

All in all, it was a successful visit to OrangeTheory. I definitely had a break through moment around the workout and even liked it enough to buy a 10 class pack. I'll be back to workout with the Mom crew and see Heather!

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 4/5

Core: 2/5

Legs: 3/5

Arms: 1/5

Comment

Comment

Monday Motivation (CorePower)

IMG_6152.JPG

If you know me, you know that I am not a yoga person. Ironically, I am probably the one person that needs it the most. Ever since I turned 40, my body has been vocal, much more vocal, about the little things. It reminds me on a daily basis that I have been beating it with all the jumping, running, sprinting, etc. Over the past few months, I've noticed that it can take me days to recover from a workout. It took me a full week to recover from a lifting session with the Boss. I was so sore from that lifting session that I had to take extra days off! That's how bad it was.

So when my friend, Kolena, asked if I wanted to go to CoreYoga for a Monday night class, I said, 'Why not?'. I've been to CoreYoga before and written reviews on their classes so this wasn't my first time taking a class. I liked the workout but didn't LOVE it. Once again, because of the yoga piece. So I cannot say that I was excited about going, it was more of a good opportunity to see Kolena and stretch out my body. 

We decided to go to the CorePower in UDistrict. I'd never been to this location and was surprised when I pulled up. It's tucked away next to a Residence Inn in a newer building. We had signed up for an 8:00 PM class on Monday so parking was not a problem and we were both able to get spots right in front of the building without having to pay. 

The studio has the same fresh, new, open space feel that the Ballard and Capitol Hill locations have. When you first walk in, the storage lockers and cubbies are on the left and a small set of stairs will take you down to the check in desk. The team working the desk was friendly and welcoming, even at 8:00 PM on a Monday! To the left of the front desk is access to the locker rooms, a retail space and then a door that leads into the studio. 

The class we were taking that night was their C1 class taught by Kate. I immediately liked Kate. She had a calm and friendly demeanor. Like a lot of the good instructors, she started the class with a note about how this is for 'you' and no one else. She reminded us to listen to our bodies and only do things that felt right.

C1 is CorePower's Beginner Level class. It's the first class they recommend you take to get familiar with the movements and build a strong base for their other classes. This class is also unheated and does not have any added humidity. It allows you to become familiar with the movements and is really taught in a way that builds upon fundamental moves and then repeats the flow until you are fully comfortable with your movement, your breath and the flow. I honestly loved it. 

I think for the majority of yogis, this class would be far too boring/slow/unchallenging, but for me it was perfect. Kate did such a good job of breaking down the poses in baby steps and then helping us put them all together that by the end of each flow, I felt like a veteran. I also liked that she was always offering up more challenging options to build onto your existing flow, should you choose. I definitely took advantage of this as I became more comfortable and confident in what I was doing. 

This was the first yoga class I have ever taken where I didn't feel bored or lost. It flowed at the right speed for me and kept me engaged throughout the hour (which is unheard of for me when it comes to a yoga class). Best of all, I felt refreshed and my body felt more relaxed. I never thought I would say this, but I think I've officially overcome my fear of Yoga!

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 1/5

Core: 3/5

Legs: 3/5

Arms: 3/5

Comment

Comment

Friday Night FitClub

You know I always look to my Fitness Hero and Queen of Fitness, Tricia, for the latest and greatest workouts. She had been talking for a few weeks about a new innovative workout involving headphones. Her good friend, Stacey, was flying in from Colorado to teach a class at Community Fitness that incorporated the headphones so of course I had to go. 

Stacey is the creator of the willPower method. The method focuses on 'foot fitness' and intentional workouts focused on movement with bare feet. My interpretation of it is yoga meets meditation and movement. 

When we walked into the room on Friday, the first thing we noticed was that the room was warm (which it rarely is at Community Fitness. And when it is, we make sure they turn on the air!). I loved that Stacey went out of her way to introduce herself to all of us and set us up with our headphones. We got settled into our mats and chit chatted for a bit but when class started, it immediately threw me off. Tricia was talking into the mic to introduce Stacey but you could only hear her if you put on the headphones. Very interesting and unexpected. So I put my headphones on and tried to get comfortable. 

It took me a few minutes to get comfortable - I'm not a big headphone person (I only use them when I'm traveling on an airplane or out for a run) and I never use the big headphones. It also took me a few minutes to adjust the volume and focus on what was being said. But once I was able to get over the little distractions, it was a completely different and unique experience.

The headphones are set up in a way where you hear the music come through one ear and Stacey's voice through the other ear. I spent the first few minutes wondering how this was any different than hearing the music and instructor come through the big speakers in a studio. But 10 minutes in, I knew exactly why. There's something about the sound and the headphones that allows you to get lost in the workout. I was able to easily close myself off from everyone else in the room and focus on myself. 

The class itself is similar to a fast flowing yoga class. I loved the movements Stacey led us through. They were easy to follow and her descriptions of them were clear so a novice like me was able to move through them. I will say, sometimes I got so lost in my own little world (thanks to the headphones) that I forgot to look up to see how she was moving through the poses. This was HUGE for me. I am a very visual person and need to see instructors demonstrate poses or movements to truly understand what I need to do. But that's what I appreciated this class. I didn't need to watch her every move. She did just a great job of describing the movements and moving through them in a consistent order that it was easy to get lost in the moment and just connect with yourself.

If you have a chance to check out one of Stacey's classes, you should. It is the perfect mix of movement and mental and emotional connection. 

Check out The willpower Method

Comment

Comment

Train Like an Athlete (Athletic Form)

IMG_5385.JPG

Months ago the ULA girls told me about this great place in SODO. They had been going to Boot Camp classes there and loved it. Five months later, I finally made time to visit Athletic Form. 

Athletic Form is located in an unassuming part of SODO on 6th Ave S. Parking is easy to come by and I was lucky enough to get a spot right up front. When you first walk in, there is a front desk with a sitting area to the left. What I did not expect was the batting cages that stretched from the back of the front desk area to the far end of the building. I loved seeing all the kids in there, early on a Saturday morning, swinging their bats and running through drills. (What I would later find out is Athletic Form is more than a gym with group fitness classes and training sessions. This is a full fledge training facility for athletes, including student athletes).

To the left of the front desk waiting area, is what appears to be a small cardio area. There are rows of cardio machines and TVs set up. On a Saturday morning, there were a few people working out on the machines. What I didn't expect was once I walked over to the 'small' cardio area and turned to my right, I realized just how big the facility was. It stretches so far back my first thought was 'I hope we don't have to do sprints". I've never seen anything like it.  Most of the area is covered in turf (one of my favorite features in a facility!) and the space had me jazzed thinking about all the potential workouts we could do.

I had specifically chosen this class because Robel was the instructor and the ULA girls raved about his workouts. Robel personally greeted each of the members with a hug and came over to introduce himself to me. He seemed genuinely excited to have someone new come check out his class.

We started right off with a set of stretches. He had us spread out across the turf and work the length of about 10 yards back and forth. I liked it since it was a bit non-traditional for me and they were the right types of stretches for me. 

The Class itself was set up with 4 stations:

  • Station 1 - Weights
  • Station 2 - TRX
  • Station 3 - Body Weight
  • Station 4 - Ropes

I can tell you, even before we started the workout, I knew I was going to LOVE this class. It was a full body, strength and cardio workout that I knew would make me sore for days. We would move in groups of 3-4 and spend 6 minutes in a station. I will tell you, as someone who is used to Tabata (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 4 minutes) and 1-2 minute sets during Boot Camp, 6 minutes sounds like an eternity. And I was about to find out how painful 6 minutes could be.

At each session, Robel had set up a little sign with the 4 different exercises we would work through and the counts. Depending on the stations, we would do anywhere from 10 - 25 sets of the exercise. 

For weights, everything was counts of 10 - 10 bicep curls, 10 chest presses, 10 shoulder presses, 10 Arnold presses. It sounds so simple and so easy. Even writing this, I feel like 10 sounds so easy and way too short. But let me tell you, if you choose the right weights, getting through 10 of anything can be SO HARD. I would say by the last 2 minutes of the set, I was shaking and having a hard time getting past #8. 

The TRX was similar, the counts were low (5 counts or 10 counts) but the exercises were challenging - squat jumps, push ups, Ys Is and Vs. Let me tell you, getting through one set of 10 push ups using the TRX nearly did me in. The second time around, I'm certain it too me a full minute to get through 10 push ups. My arms were SHAKING.

On the Body weight station, we worked through 25 push ups, 25 V Ups and 25 mountain climbers. This station was a good reminder that even the simplest exercises are HARD when they are combined with other activities. Have you ever tried to do 25 push ups for 3 rounds? Well I had not until this class and I don't know if I ever will again!! I had to go to my knees by the second round and let me tell you, that did NOT help my case. It was still just as hard. 

My favorite station was by far the ropes (no surprise there!). Anyone who knows me knows I rarely get to work with ropes so I LOVE them. Whatever the exercise may be, it's always new to me and a good challenge. Well, Robel did not disappoint in this department, he had us doing everything from burpees to whips to jacks. I was DYING. It was one of those moments where I felt as though I was pushing so hard and moving so fast but the reality was, I looked as though I was barely moving. It was that hard. And the looks on the kids in the batting cages said it all. I'm 99% certain they had a pool going on when I would pass out.

Robel was fun, light hearted but consistent and encouraging throughout the workout. He knows how to make the workout hard and challenging but knows that a big part of working out is making it fun. He  danced his way from station to station and in between breaks found time to check in with each of the members asking them about their kids, their recent work trips, their birthday celebration. It was obvious that he has a strong personal connection with everyone and believes in investing in those relationships. He was quick to identify when someone needed a form check or a pro tip. He was kind and encouraging in how he shared these tips. You can tell he has the ability to train, coach, motivate and push people. 

I LOVED this facility and I LOVED this class. It was unlike any I had taken in so many ways. The vibe and the energy is so unique. There is a quiet intensity that motivates you in ways that are hard to describe. Everyone around you is working 120% and laser focused. It truly made me feel as though I was training with a group of elite athletes. Not necessarily because they looked like athletes or moved like athletes but because of their focus, their drive and their commitment to their workout. The workout was hard, it was intense, it hurt but there was a moment when I realized, I can do this and I could feel myself craving more. I like to believe it was the inner athlete in me, the moment when you realize you can and you will. 

In a city where there are so many studios and gyms to choose from, I'm grateful for a place like Athletic Form. Robel's commitment and dedication to bringing out the athlete in all of us is inspiring. Athletic Form is a MUST visit.  But go knowing you will WORK. In fact, I would not recommend working out the day before! Give you body a chance to rest up. 

Thank you to the incredible ULA girls for their awesome recommendation!! You guys never disappoint!! 

 

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 3/5

Core: 4/5

Legs: 4/5

Arms: 5/5

IMG_5381.JPG

Comment

Comment

Holy SHAKES! (Inspire Seattle - Ballard)

IMG_4944 2.JPG

It's been awhile since I visited a new studio in Seattle so I jumped at the chance when my friend, Lindsay asked me if I wanted to join her for a pilates session at Inspire Seattle. I happen to follow them on Instagram and have been dying to visit them so I was excited to give it a try. (Note: They are available on Class Pass)

We took our usual 7:00 AM Cycle class with Heather and then headed over to Ballard for an 8:50 AM class with Rebekah. Inspire is located right on NW Market at Market and 17th. Parking was super easy since it was fairly early on a Saturday (but we did have to pay to park). You wouldn't necessarily know that there is a pilates studio there unless you were looking for it, which I kind of liked. It was discreet enough and you can only see the lobby from the street.

When you walk into the studio itself, there is a reasonably sized sitting area with a check in desk and a little bar that serves kombucha. The space is open and modern with a nice, fresh feel to it. The studio itself is in an area behind the front desk that is separated by a wall allowing for the class in progress to have a lot of privacy. I was grateful for the separate space since we were about 20 minutes early. It allowed us to hang out and chat without disturbing the class or feel as though we were staring at them.

The waiting area quickly started to fill up and as the previous class wrapped up, the instructor came out to greet us. The first thing I noticed about Rebekah was she has a sense of focus and determination. Things I don't usually pick up on right away with instructors until I have had a chance to experience their class. This, in itself, should have been a warning for me!! She greeted everyone she knew by name and given the 10 minute turn around between classes, was ready to get us moving.

She greeted Lindsay and I when she heard we were new and asked us a few questions. She asked if we had taken a Lagree class before and if we were familiar with the mega former. Fortunately we were familiar with both but if you are new to either (or both), I'd recommend you try to take the first class of the day or the first class in the afternoon. Asking an instructor to give you the run down in less than 5 minutes can be tough. 

When you walk into the studio itself, the space is stunning. One wall hosts cubbies and some art work while the opposite wall hosts floor to ceiling mirrors. The restrooms are located in the back and the room itself fits 10 reformers. The decor and the lighting give the room a fresh, open feel which immediately made me feel happy.

Rebekah kicked off the class by having us start on the back of the platform doing some core work. Right out of the gates, I knew this was going to be different. We used the same types of springs that I have used in the past, but we spent a lot of time at the back of the machine (opposed to the front). I don't know if it was that or the fact that I had just finished an hour of Cycling, but everything was MUCH harder than I remember. Simple things like bear crawls, plank to pike and lunges had me shaking like crazy.

We started out spending about 5 minutes on core and then moved to legs. This is usually an area that is easier for me (core and arms are MUCH harder for me). I definitely shake along the way but not until the end of the workout. With Rebekah, I was shaking within the first five minutes of our leg exercises. And when I say shaking, I mean my entire leg was shaking for the ENTIRE time we did our leg exercises. It was BRUTAL. It was tough pushing through it physically but even harder mentally. I literally wanted to sit down and get off the reformer and we were only 10 minutes into the class. Fortunately, Rebekah is a seasoned instructor and it shows.

She circles her way around the room so you won't go more than 4 or 5 minutes without seeing her and she is a woman on a mission! Her cues are clear and she does a good job of transitioning you from one move to the next. The thing I love the most was that she was very hands on. She would come over and make adjustments to help ensure your form was right. I appreciate an instructor who does this because I cannot always see myself in the mirror and sometimes you think you have the right angle or have your hips lifted but you don't know until the instructor comes over and tweaks you a bit. When she isn't walking you through an exercise or providing form tips, she's encouraging and positive - calling everyone by name. She also had several modifications for a few of the Moms to be in the room - always a good thing. 

We wrapped up the class with arms. One part included triceps pulls that progressed through three different levels. I will never forget looking down at one point and seeing drops of sweat falling from my face onto the reformer. I don't think I have ever sweat so much in a pilates class!! It was SO HARD. So hard that 10 minutes after class, I went to take a picture with Rebekah and my arms were shaking so hard I could barely smile!!

This class is a MUST! If you're new to pilates, just be prepared. You may want to start easy but it is so worth it. I definitely plan to go back... although I think I need a month to recover from the first class with Rebekah!!

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 1/5

Core: 3/5

Legs: 4/5

Arms: 4/5

 

IMG_1781.JPG
IMG_4659.JPG

Comment

Comment

12 Days of Christmas

Every year around the Holidays, Tricia does one of my FAVORITE workouts at the end of a Tabata class. I call it Tricia's version of the 12 Days of Christmas. It is, hands down, the BEST workout! It is so fun, you work HARD and you don't even realize how hard it is until you're done!

Tricia goes around the room and picks a member to pick an exercise. The entire class does that exercise once. Then, Tricia will pick another member to pick a different exercise. The class will then do the first exercise once and then the second exercise twice. Then, we pick another exercise and we do the first exercise once, the second exercise twice and the third exercise three times. This goes on until you hit 12. It is about 10 minutes of intense working out and depending on the exercises the group picks, it can be a cardio killer!!!!

I'm always impressed at the number of cardio activities we pick (we're all cardio junkies!!). The video above is from this year's workout. You can tell we were all tired by the end as the exercises became less cardio focused!

I love doing this workout with the kids or on vacation. It literally is one of the most fun things we do as a group and I love how you can find a way to include everyone's favorite workout!

2017's workout:

  1. One set of Split Lunge Jumps
  2. Two Jump Squats
  3. Three Star Jumps
  4. Four Knee Tucks
  5. Five Skaters
  6. Six High Knees
  7. Seven Froggers
  8. Eight Push Ups 
  9. Nine Plank Jacks
  10. Ten Sit Ups
  11. Eleven Fast Feet
  12. Twelve Bicep Curls

Comment

Comment

Shake It till you Make It (Studio 45 - Fremont)

IMG_3577.jpg

I might have been a little, just a little, excited about Studio 45's new studio opening in Fremont. If you follow me on Instagram or read the blog, you KNOW I love, love LOVE Studio 45. So when I found out that they were opening a new location in Fremont, I could not wait! I texted my two Fremont workout buddies (Lindsay and Angela) and got them to come with me.

The new Fremont location is located on Stone Way N in the lobby of one of the new buildings. The space is gorgeous - bright, open and very airy with high ceilings. The studio is about the same size as the original location near University Village. There is a small retail section near the front door and front desk, two rows of mega formers and a small area in the back for cubbies and the restroom.

The new Fremont location is also equipped with the new mega formers - the cadillac of reformers. They are fairly similar to the version in University Village Studio 45 location with a few additional bells and whistles. There are additional curvy handles near the handles at the front and my favorite feature is the springs are so much easier to add and remove. They are accessed through the back of the carriage rather than underneath the front of the reformer. This makes it so much easier to move the springs to switch things around. 

I often get requests for Instructor recommendations and feedback. Fortunately, I was able to try three different instructors at the new Fremont Studio so I thought I would give a glimpse into each of their teaching styles and what I liked about each of them. 

My first class was with Emma. I loved her from the start. She is so sweet, so sincere and has the cutest smile ever! She made sure to walk up to everyone, introduce herself and ask if they were new to pilates. If they were not, she made sure she asked if they were familiar with the new mega reformers. Since they were new to me, she as nice enough to give me a quick overview of the differences between the new ones and old ones. Definitely a good way to start class.

Out of the gates I knew I would like Emma. She did a great job of both verbally describing the movements and visually showing them (something that can be difficult when there are no free reformers available to use). But the thing I loved most about her was her pace and her transition. Sometimes, teachers can fly through things - whether it is the coaching of the form, the timing of the exercise or the forewarning of what's coming next. Emma was perfect. She was consistent in how she coached through the exercises and consistent in prepping you for the next move and counting you down in order to prepare you for the transition. The exercises themselves were great. The transitions were seamless and felt appropriate for working the muscles but ensuring it was an easy transition to get to the next move. This can be a tricky thing when teaching pilates.  She also had us giggling through most of the class with her tips and comments. Love that she has such a great sense of humor!

I was a HUGE fan of Emma's and was shocked to hear it was her first time teaching. She's never taught group fitness or pilates for that matter but you would NEVER know it. I highly recommend you try her class. Especially if you've never tried pilates.

The second class I tried was taught by Lily. I follow Lily on Instagram and know that she is an amazingly talented dancer with a smile that literally could light up a room. When I finally met her in person, her personality matched her smile - she was bright, bubbly and super friendly.

Lily's class is the perfect mix of a lot of pep, a lot of encouragement and a killer workout. She's the instructor that gives you the biggest smile ever, looks you in the eyes and says, "I know you can go down another inch," or "I know you can hold it for another 20 seconds." And of course you have to do as she says because you cannot say No to that smile!!

Lily's class had a great mix of arms, legs and core. I think of all three classes, Lily's class was the one where my legs shook for the second half of every leg exercise. Literally. 

The last class I took was taught by Hanna. Everyone has a different teaching style and Hanna's style was slightly different from what I liked. She was very methodical and from the beginning, it felt rushed. It may have to do with the fact that she had a handful of new folks and class ran a bit late as she tried to get them settled in but she never introduced herself or asked the others who joined later if they were new. Her approach to describing the exercises were difficult for me to interpret. Even though I was familiar with 80% of the exercises, rather than saying the name of it first (for example, plank to pike), she would describe it in a way that was unfamiliar to me and then say the name. It just made for a difficult transition into each exercise as I tried to determine what we should be doing. My guess is she was doing this as there were quite a few new people in the class and may not have been familiar with names of exercises. 

The transitions were tough for me. They felt a little unnatural from one movement to another and I definitely lost some time as I tried to interpret her instructions. Just a little different than what I was used to!

To say this least, I LOVE this studio. The space is gorgeous but leave yourself time for parking. For 2 of the 3 classes I took, I spent about 5-10 minutes driving around the block looking for parking. 

IMG_3576.jpg
IMG_3706.JPG
IMG_3585.JPG

Comment

Comment

HOT in the Desert (Sumits Yoga - Scottsdale)

IMG_3467.JPG

November hosts the annual Girls Weekend with my college girlfriends. These are a group of women who work hard and constantly give, give, give. They are all Moms (one of them is a mom of 4!) and they are all hardworking professionals. I love this group of women more than I can express and a weekend with them always means lots of good wine, relaxation and LOTS of laughter. Fortunately, they are also all troopers and know how much I love to workout. So our weekends always include a morning working.

On Saturday, the girls and I were excited to try a new gym/workout together. We cover the gamet of workout phanatics who like to workout every day to some who workout when they can. A few of my friends have been dying to try pilates so I was excited to find a studio called Body Lab where the first class is free. We signed up online and headed over to the location. Unfortunately, they had moved and had not updated their address on the website. We tried calling a few times but could not get anyone to answer. I was starting to feel frustrated that I might lose an opportunity to workout when the yoga studio next door asked us to come in and check out a class for free. 

They were very friendly and welcoming. It was a 75 minute hot yoga class so I was hesitant but figured it was a sign since we all know I do need to incorporate more yoga into my routine. I finally caved in and walked into the studio. Now, remember, we were in Arizona where it was about 75 degrees that morning, so walking into the HOT (102 degree) studio was NOT fun. It took me a few minutes to adjust to the temperature and I could tell right away that there was additional humidity on top of the high temperatures. 

The class itself was a standard yoga class with poses that I was familiar with and opportunities to make them more challenging. The teacher, Michelle, was very sweet but if you take one of her classes, ask around to see who is a regular and stand where you can see them. Michelle walked around the room providing tips and adjusting form but she did not do any of the poses. So if you are new to yoga and not familiar with the names of the poses, you will need someone close by who you can watch when you get lost. 

Also, the acoustics in the studio are not good so it was hard to hear Michelle unless she was standing within 5-8 feet of me. I would recommend trying to find an area away from the speakers or once again, find a friend and just follow them. The first half of the class was without music and even then, it was hard to hear Michelle if she was on the other side of the studio.

What was interesting about the class was there were official 'breaks' or intermissions. There were 2 of them in the 75 minute class where you're encouraged to catch your breath, get up and get some weather or just lay on your back for awhile. I used both breaks to hydrate. I cannot remember the last time I sweat that much. 

I have taken three other hot yoga classes before and only one other with added humidity. This was definitely the most uncomfortable I had been. Fortunately, the room it set up with double doors on each side of the studio to allow for the cross breeze. Michelle frequently opened and closed the doors to help us cool down. This was actually my favorite part of class, feeling the cool breeze come in. However, if you are trying to use the class to quiet your mind and relax, the opening and closing of the doors can be a bit distracting. I would recommend trying to find a space away from the doors as not to let it impact your workout.

All in all, it was a good class considering I am not a yoga lover and I consider hot yoga a form of torture. My body needed to sweat out all the toxins (and tequila from the night before) and it was a good opportunity to stretch out the muscles.

One important note, the floor in the studio has a finish on it that makes it incredible slippery when it is wet. Given it was a hot and humid class, the floors were covered in sweat. I saw three different people slip as they got up to clean their mats or exit the studio. So be extra careful as you wrap up class and head out of the studio. 

The lobby also hosts a small selection of adorable leggings, tank tops and sports bra. They had some pretty amazing leggings including a pink pair with 'Love' printed all over them. I am still upset that they did not have my size!!

 

Comment

Comment

30 Minute Tabata Workout with my Bestie

IMG_0403.PNG

I'm going to be honest, I am one of those annoying group fitness lovers who is very particular about instructors. I know if you read the blog, this is no surprise, but I will openly admit it. So when the Boss told me he was having a sub teach his class, I decided to stay at home and do an early morning Tabata workout at home.

I love to workout but doing a Tabata set at home by myself is not something that gets me excited. So what else would I do but drag my bestie out of bed with me! Fortunately Jen is a trooper and willing to do almost anything with me. (I know, I definitely hit the jackpot in the Friends department in life). So she and I planned to FaceTime with each other at 6:30 AM and do a quick, 30 minute, 5 set Tabata workout together. 

As soon as Jen called, I wondered why we didn't do this more often. Seeing her smiling face first thing in the morning made me SO HAPPY. Literally wanted to reach through the phone and give her a big hug. 

I had written out a 5 set workout the night before and had my Tabata timer ready. All we need was a set of towels or gliders and we got started. I had trained with the Boss the day before so I was taking it easy on strength and focused on cardio and core strength. Here's how we broke down the 5 rounds:

  1. Jump squats and Burpees with a push up and tuck jump
  2. Knee tucks and circles on a smooth surface with towels or gliders
  3. Spider man push up and one handed planks
  4. Star jumps and 180 jumps
  5. Boat hold and V ups

We literally cranked it out in 30 minutes and was off making breakfast and lunches for the kids by 7:00 AM. If you have a good friend who likes to workout but does not live close by, I highly recommend a virtual workout session like this one. It was so much fun and a great opportunity of us to check in with each other. And of course hold us accountable! :)

Workout Scale:

Cardio: 3/5

Core: 3/5

Legs: 2/5

Arms: 1/5

Comment