“I don’t know if I can, but I’ll try”

“I’ll try”… two words that are music to a fitness instructors’ ears! As a fitness instructor, it’s not only my job to lead a safe, challenging workout, but it’s also my job to try and get people out of their comfort zone, to teach them new things and to give them encouragement to try something new. Something that they may not think they can do.

But, there’s a fine line with being motivating and helpful and encouraging and with pushing people too far and making them feel UN-comfortable. So, I’ve always got this in the back of my mind when I go over to help correct someone’s form or ask them to try it a different way or to increase their weights. Some people take really well to this, but some get offended, which is always a tough situation. When I correct someone’s form, I NEVER intend on offending them; merely, I’m doing it to help them do things the correct way to avoid a potential injury.

In my class on Wednesday, I had a few new people. I like to ask if anyone is new at the beginning of class so that I can make sure to keep an extra eye out for them throughout the class to make sure they are using correct form and are doing ok (pushing themselves hard enough, taking it down a notch if necessary, etc.). I was having them do Goblet squats with the focus on squat depth, ie: feet a little wider than hip width, kness and toes at a 45* angle, dropping deep and keeping the chest up. One new participant was doing more of a plie squat, which is fine… if we were doing plie squats ;) Since we were doing a Goblet squat, I went over, moved my mic away from my face and talked her through form correction for the Goblet squat, which is when she said “I don’t know if I can do that, but I’ll try”.

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My 30th Birthday Celebrations

Well, it’s official: I have the best friends, family and boyfriend around! Everyone made my entire birthday week SO special- I wish there was a better way to show my gratitude, but hopefully this post will help.

As I mentioned last week, my birthday celebrations started the weekend before my birthday with the Wine Fest. From there, my birthday was an amazing day from start to finish! Finally getting a chance to check out SoulCycle was such a fun thing, and doing it beside my sister and Jess was even better :)

After our workout, we walked over to Seasons 52 for lunch. Have you guys ever been there or heard of it? I’m not one for big box chain restaurants, but since this one was so close and since I had heard such great things about it, we decided to check it out. I’m so glad we did because it was awesome! Everything was so light and fresh. We talked to the waitress and although everything on the menu is currently under 475 calories, they are shifting towards  removing the calorie count since they are starting to incorporate more super foods that generally have higher calorie counts. Think: avocados, nuts, etc. I think this is awesome because it’s true- just basing your meal on calories isn’t going to be the healthiest option (but that’s another post for another time!). Anyway- I got the fish tacos (surprise, surprise) and a glass of rose and my sister got a flatbread which came with a wine flight AND a glass of wine for $15- amazing deal.

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Later in the evening, I got dressed up and met RM in the city and we grabbed a drink at Rumba (the bar in the Intercontinental) before heading to dinner.

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He took me to Cinquecento, which is an Italian restaurant in the South End. We were supposed to go there for Valentine’s Day, but due to the weather, we ended up staying local, so it was a nice surprise that he chose that restaurant for my birthday. I sipped on the most delicious glass of bubbly rose and then enjoyed my Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. RM got his favorite dish, the Branzino con Scarola Brasata e Funghi, which was also delicious. I was SO impressed with both dishes- I’m suddenly hungry as I start thinking back to the meal!

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Lastly, RM surprised me with a molten chocolate lava cake and ice cream which was to die for!

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And… now for the party recap! I told RM that I didn’t care about a surprise party, I just didn’t want to be the one to plan it. With that said, he reached out to my sister and my friends in various groups in my life and planned one hell of a party. I had no idea where we were going or who would be there or what to expect, so I did what any other 30 year old would do: wear pleather pants, new heels and my reddest lipstick ;)

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Celebrating my 30th with my first SoulCycle experience

You guys. To say I was spoiled for my 30th is an understatement. I’ll do a full recap later, but today I want to share my first SoulCyle experience with you. I have been invited to a few blogger events there, but for one reason or another was never able to make it. For my birthday, my sister suggested taking 1/2 days and going to a class somewhere of my choice followed by lunch (our favorite sister date activities!). I looked around at some of my favorite indoor cycling studios (for more reviews of studios I’ve been to, check here: Reviews: Boston Fitness Studios) but none seemed to have classes around lunch time. Then it hit me: I hadn’t tried SoulCycle yet! And when I looked at their class times, they had a 12:30 which was perfect!

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While they offer a discounted first class (and free shoe rental for your first time), when I spoke with them and they learned it was my birthday and that I was a fitness blogger, they provided the class free of charge for my sister and me. How sweet was that?! I was so thankful for that gesture. I think it says a lot about a company when they do things like this! Anyway…. we went to Charolette’s 12:30pm class and it was amazing. Her energy, the vibe she created in the room, the music, her words of motivation. If it sounds like a I have a girl crush on her, I think it’s because I kinda do ;) As an instructor, I can be overly critical of other instructors, but I literally only have good things to say about Charolette’s class.

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On top of that, the welcome desk staff were so good at bike set-ups for my sister and me. Not only did they spend more than 30 seconds making sure all of the adjustments were correct, they explained WHY they were putting the handlebars/seat at certain numbers. It was very helpful!

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So… the ride! It was a 45 minute class which felt like 20 minutes, and also like a party. I couldn’t believe how fast it went by! We did a lot of songs in 3rd position which I enjoy since the seat hurts my butt (and, I sit all day anyway I don’t like to sit more in class!). We varied from slower paced with more resistance to lighter resistance and faster pace. Charolette didn’t instruct us on changing our intensity very often, but my sister and I think it’s because she was encouraging us to find our own ride- whether that was to be challenging or more laid back. I kind of liked that approach, which is surprising for a Type A, play by the rules, want to know everything type of person. I don’t often go by “feel”, so it was a nice change of pace. It wasn’t the hardest class I’ve ever taken, but it was perfect for what I wanted that day, especially because spinning is not my forte and I prefer classes where I can keep up ;)

We did do 1 arm song,which I didn’t think was terribly challenging, I think because it was a lot of bicep/tricep work which isn’t as hard as shoulder work (for me, anyway). Other than that, we did the usual booty taps and pushups and crunches on the bike- all things I love! And, the icing on the cake (literally)? A surprise from the team with a cupcake from Sweet Cupcake!

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I mean, how sweet (pun intended) was that?! I nearly cried! They made me feel so special :)

And riding next to my sister and birthday buddy, Jess, was the absolute best!

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On top of offering a fantastic class, SoulCycle has two fully stocked shower rooms- including towels, shampoo/conditioner/shower gel, razors and all the post shower hair products you could need.

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I love when studios offer this little bit of luxury. Since the classes are often pricy, it’s nice to make a full experience out of it- workout, shower, post workout meal/drinks… or, at least that’s what my sister and I do!

Thank you so much to SoulCycle for making my birthday SO special- I can’t wait to come back, and luckily for me, our friends Brad and Amanda gave me a gift card for my birthday so I’ll be back sooner than later :)

Questions for you: Have you been to SoulCycle? Where’s your favorite indoor cycling studio? What’s your ideal day?

 

Why I’m Over the Skinny Arm

The “skinny arm”. Confused by what I mean? It’s basically the arm most girls are trying to achieve when they do the hand on the hip pose in pictures.

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We do it because it’s more flattering than the arm straight down against your side because-God forbid- that could show off arm dimples or make your arm look larger than it really is. Instead, we pose so that our arm looks as skinny/toned as possible, right?! And, notice how I’m saying “we” here? It’s because I’m often guilty of this same thing, although recently I’ve been trying to do less of the skinny arm pose.

Why, you ask? Because it’s not worth it. And because I’m over it.

I don’t want a skinny arm- whether just by how I can make it look in a photo or just how it looks in real life- I don’t want it. Rather, I want a STRONG looking arm. I want arms that look like I can lift heavy things. Arms that look like I can do pull-ups and push-ups. Arms that look like I’m doing work in the gym. Strong, fit, muscular arms. Those are the arms that I want…#becauseMUSCLES (as Neghar Fonooni would say)

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Wednesday Workout: “HIIT It” Workout

Good morning! Thank you so much for all the kind birthday wishes yesterday!  I feel like it’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted a workout for you- the last one was this 25 Minute Total Body AMRAP Workout back in March! Before I get to the workout today, though, I want to remind you about Instructor Insider– have you logged in to rate your ride yet?? Don’t forget to do that because if you use the code B2B you have a 1 in 10 chance of winning a free class to an indoor cycling studio of your choice :) I went to SoulCycle yesterday and can’t wait to log in and rate my ride!

And for the workout- I’ve posted a number of UXF inspired workouts on the blog since those workouts always kick everyone’s butts! Unfortunately, I can’t really take credit for the format, although I’ve slowly adapted the format to fit my style of teaching and workout (shhh don’t tell anyone ;) ). But, that doesn’t change the fact that these workouts are TOUGH! The newest format released- HIIT It- is no different. This workout incorporates heavy lifting, lower, upper and core focused exercises in each set and a tabata cardio round to finish it off.

What I love about the workout is you are moving the whole time and if you really challenge yourself with your weight selection, you’re going to feel absolutely spent by the time each round is up. And, as I tell my class- if you’re NOT feeling like you can’t do another rep once the 60 or 90 seconds is up, it’s probably time to increase your weight selection ;)

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