Weekly Workouts: Travel Edition

Hey there! How was your weekend?? Mine was a whirlwind of a weekend, but an absolute blast! I can’t wait to recap because it was such a fun little mini vacation. Before I get to that, though, let’s talk workouts! After a slightly more indulgent long weekend, I’m always super motivated to get back on track starting on Monday morning. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do for a workout tonight, but it will surely be something to make me sweat and feel like I kicked my own butt ūüėČ

Even though I traveled and was surrounded by family the whole time, and was tempted to skip a workout to have wine and snacks I still made it a point to sneak in workouts when I could, and at times when I knew I wouldn’t be missing out on anything fun! Did I really feel like getting up to run the morning after my parents and I drank incredible amounts a few glasses of wine? Nah, not really, but I knew it would make me feel SO MUCH BETTER, so I got up and did it before I really even fully woke up. I was so glad I did because once we got to the hotel in Michigan, the last thing I wanted to do was workout!

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- Since I ran 4 miles on Sunday, which was supposed to be my weights only day, I made Monday my weights only day. I headed to the East Boston YMCA after work (which, with my new commute, I’m walking almost 3 miles on any given day, which is awesome!) to complete an upper body tabata workout. I had worked my lower body a lot the week before (hello, Booty Burner workouts!), so I decided it was time to give my upper body a little attention. I asked Athena¬†for a good upper body workout and she told me she had recently posted an upper body tabata¬†workout. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to check it out, but when I compared what I came up with to what she had come up with earlier, they were pretty close…. we think more alike than we both realize! Anyway, it was awesome and I was sore for a few days- haven’t had that in a while!
  • Tuesday- I had dinner plans with my girlfriends after work, so I dragged myself out of bed and went running in 45 degree weather… I can’t say it was fun, but I was glad I did it! New songs on my playlist also helped get me up and running!!

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  • Wednesday- Since I had to get subs for my Thursday double, when Kate asked me to sub her sports conditioning class, I jumped at the offer! I taught a tabata¬†themed workout that looked like this: upper body tabata, lower body tabata, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs. Holy moly. I always forget how hard tabata¬†workouts are (if you do them correctly) until I am on the 7th set! Between that and an awesome UXF¬†Burn class right after, I woke up Thursday REALLY sore. My glutes¬†literally screamed at me for 2 days… that kind of scream where it hurts to sit on the toilet (TMI?). I loved it!
  • Thursday- I originally thought I would get up and workout before my parents picked me up, but I decided that since I hadn’t rested in way too long and since I was really sore, I would foam roll instead. Good choice! I did instruct my mom through a 30 minute water aerobics workout at the hotel pool. I may have had a wine glass in hand, but I actually had a blast teaching her! I think it’s better to teach water aerobics from the pool deck, so I kicked off my sandals and got into instructor mode. So much fun. I think I want to start teaching H2O aerobics! Mom said she got a great workout.

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  • Friday- I didn’t sleep well (shockingly enough. Wine usually puts me to sleep) so I was up and ready for a hotel treadmill workout at 7am. I hadn’t run on a treadmill in so long and I forgot how much “easier” it is to run on a treadmill vs. outside. When I run outside, my pace is usually between 6.85-7.5 the whole time, so when I hopped on the treadmill and started at my normal 6.4, I quickly realized that speed isn’t appropriate anymore! I ended up running a 5K in about 26 minutes and felt like I could’ve run 5 miles. Love days like that!

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  • Saturday- Danielle and I were in bed by 10:30 on Friday night and slept straight through until 8:30, which is almost unheard of! After breakfast, I caught up on a little blogging and then hit up the hotel gym once everything had digested. Though the gym wasn’t big, they had some pretty sweet treadmills. I didn’t want to run a lot since I had run on Friday, but I hopped on one and chose to do a 3 mile route (pre-programmed in the treadmill). It said the highest % grade would be 12.5, and I figured that would be after a bit. Umm, no. I literally climbed up to that 12.5% grade in less than 5 minutes and was dyingggg. I ended up walking/jogging a mile of that route and then switched to manual for the rest. I just wasn’t up for pushing myself since my main focus of the workout was going to be strength training. I ended up doing 30 minutes of walking & running and then used the machine to do 12 reps and¬†3 rounds of bicep curls, tricep extensions, standing row, oblique twist… and something else? Although I prefer free weights, it was nice to get out of my normal routine and use a machine. I ended with lots of abs! Nice start to a Saturday. I also danced a lot at the wedding… that counts as extra ūüėČ

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Strong is the new sexy. Own it.

  • Sunday- Nothing! I could’ve gotten up to workout before my flight, but decided a rest day wasn’t a bad idea. Plus, I always walk a lot in airports (always take the stairs).

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- As I mentioned, I’m not sure what I am going to do for a workout today. Probably something with cardio and weights as a way to get back into total body workouts for the week.
  • Tuesday- I would like to get up and run before work so that I can have the evening off. I’m having a party on Saturday and could use some extra time during the week to shop and get ready for that.
  • Wednesday- Something on my own before teaching UXF Burn.
  • Thursday- SHRED followed by Kickboxing. I missed these classes last week!! I think I’ll do the same tabata workout I taught last Wednesday in my SHRED class. I want everyone to experience that class, haha
  • Friday- Rest day! Since I’m teaching on Saturday morning, I need to make sure my apartment is ready for the party before that, so Friday night will be spent running around doing errands, setting my apartment up, cleaning, etc.
  • Saturday- Teaching kickboxing at the Y! ūüôā
  • Sunday- Probably another rest day, unless I feel up for a walk/jog around my neighborhood.

Questions for you: When you travel, do you try to get your workouts done in the morning? or skip them all together? Are you a fan of Tabata workouts? What’s your favorite workout song right now?? I need more updates on my playlist!!

So, you want to become a fitness intructor?

TGIF! While I’m on day 2 of my road trip to Michigan with my parents, I thought I would re-post a guest post¬†that I did for Kendall last week. I know I tend to glaze over guest post links and since I’ve had a couple of people ask me what the process is to become a fitness instructor, I thought it was a blog post worth posting again right on Burpees to Bubbly! This is mostly specific to the general group exercise certification, but if you want to learn more about my kickboxing certification, please let me know!

After college, I spent many hours at the Oak Square YMCA, where I met some awesome instructors and friends (Liz, Kim, Athena, Jen, and Ashley, just to name a few). I took Zumba classes, Kickboxing classes, Total Body Conditioning classes, Build and Burn classes… you get the idea. The gym became one of my favorite places to go because I had such a great network of people to socialize with… ones who shared my passion for all things health and fitness. It was at this time that I started thinking about getting my certification to become an instructor.

Why AFAA?

If you’ve ever looked into getting your group exercise certificate, you’ve probably noticed that there are a number of different programs (AFAA, ACE, ACSM) to choose from. AFAA and ACE are, in my opinion, the most popular programs to¬†take as they are widely accepted across most gyms. After doing some research and talking to some other instructors, I decided that the AFAA Primary Group Exercise¬†certification was a better choice for me. I liked the fact that they held the course on-site and put a lot of emphasis on the practical aspect of the exam. Granted, it’s good to know the information in the book, but I think even more than that, it’s important to be able to instruct well, safely, accurately and appropriately, and I think AFAA did this very well.¬† In addition,¬†I realized that they¬†have a February APEX¬†deal where they run certifications for $99 instead of the $299 that the normal AFAA program runs for!¬†It seemed¬†like a no¬†brainer to me to wait a few months and¬†sign up for this instead of paying¬†$400+ for the course, manuals/study guides and CPR training.

What preparation work is needed prior to the exam?

You have the option to buy the texts books, study guides and video, so in typical Monique fashion, I bought all of them so that I had everything I needed in order to be fully prepared. I literally read through everything and highlighted and made notes.

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While most of the information was really interesting, there were definitely some boring chapters and/or chapters that wouldn’t likely pertain to the kind of teaching I planned on doing, but since we were tested on everything, I read and studied everything.

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Studying with wine helps ūüėČ But, let’s be honest, wine helps most things!

In addition to reading the book, I made photo copies of the study guide so that I could fill it out multiple times (I retain information best when I write it down, so the more times I write it down, the better I remember it!). This ended up being a great decision and was something I did when I got my AFAA Kickboxing certification, too (also done in February to save money!).

What happens on test day?

Both certifications I took were held at local BSCs. We spent the whole day going through the study guide, an accepted warm up, every basic exercise and doing various demos and practical exams. It was really nice to spend the majority of the day going through everything we needed to know for the exam, as well as have time to practice doing the approved moves and demo’s.

Once the afternoon rolled around, it was test time! The practical exam was first and we had to do the following demonstrations:

  • Proper warm up & cardio training (8 minutes as a group)

  • Strength & flexibility demonstrations (15 minutes as a group): chest & back, shoulders & abs, hips & buttocks, legs: front & back, core: front & back

  • Solo presentations- demo 1 move, showing all 3 different levels of intensity

This was actually a little scary! We all got lined up with numbers and while we performed the different demonstrations, judges walked around and gave us scores. I decided to do jumping jacks for my solo presentation, showing a beginner level, intermediate level and advanced level.

Once the practical part of the exam was complete, we finished out the day with the 100 question multiple choice exam. The day was long and physically and mentally exhausting and I have to say that when I left there and called my mom to tell her how it went, I was in tears, convinced that I showed the wrong stretch for the biceps and therefore, failed the entire exam (so dramatic, I know!). But, I’m happy to report that I passed both the written and practical aspects of the exams with flying colors!

When do you find out if you passed?

The hardest part about taking exams like this is the wait period after the exam until you find out your score, right?! It took about 4-6 weeks to get the scores as we were scored both on the written exam and practical exam. The written exam was easy to score as it was all multiple choice, but the practical exam was much more complicated to score. There were multiple judges in the room and they needed to compare their scores with each other in order to determine the final score. If you got low scores from 2 or more judges on any particular aspect of the exam, you were in danger of not passing that part of the exam. If this were to happen, ¬†you could merely retake the exam that you didn’t pass (either written or practical).

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kickboxing cert

How do you start teaching?

So, you take your exam, you pass your exam, you’re ready to teach… but where?! And how do you go about applying for jobs? Lucky for me, I befriended an instructor at the Wellington BSC and she definitely helped me out. She emailed the group exercise coordinators with my information so that I could be put on the next audition list. {If you’re interested in teaching at a particular gym, talk to the instructors and ask them to send the coordinator your name and email address as it helps to be kept in the loop and possibly even get an audition.} After some back and forth, the new audition date was released: April 14th- my birthday. Perfect, right?! Not necessarily, but I wanted to start teaching ASAP so I took 3 hours out of my day and headed to the auditions. I was more nervous than most because I wasn’t just applying for another job at a new-to-me gym, I was applying for my FIRST job at my FIRST gym. Yikes! Thankfully, my mentor instructor had prepped me well and I did great! About a month later, I was offered my first class: Friday nights at 5:30. Certainly not ideal, but as a new instructor trying to break into the industry, I couldn’t really be picky or choosy, so I took it… and ended up loving it!!!

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What to teach?

With the AFAA group exercise certification, you are certified to teach most forms of group exercise classes, but if you want to teach specialized classes like Zumba, BodyPump, yoga, etc., you need additional certifications. I went into my audition ready to demonstrate cardio kickboxing and total body conditioning. I have been an avid cardio kickboxing goer for years and I have a bit of a dancers background, so learning routines and combinations and keeping beat comes very naturally to me, hence why I wanted to teach cardio kickboxing! The first class I started teaching was a Total Body Conditioning class, which changed to a UXF Burn class just a few months later.

From there, I took on many more (probably too many more) classes, but have scaled back over the past 6 months or so and have a schedule that I love!

  • Wednesdays- 6:30 pm UXF Burn at the Central Square BSC

  • Thursdays- 5:30 pm SHRED followed by 6:30pm Cardio Kickboxing at the Central Square BSC

  • Every other Saturday- 10am Cardio kickboxing at the Oak Square YMCA

What’s Next?

If you’re anything like me, the more you learn about fitness, the more you get invested in it. Now that I teach a fairly wide range of classes, I want to learn how to teach even more! Ultimately, getting my personal training certificate should be next on my list, but in all honesty, I love the class setting. I feed off of the members energy and LOVE the feeling of instructing a big group! With that said, I would like to get a Dynamax training and possibly a Tabata training under my belt… and then I’ll look into getting my personal training certificate ūüėČ

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I have been trained to teach UXF Burn and UXF Core through the BSC

With that said, with AFAA you are required to have 15 continuing education credits (CEU’s) every 2 years, which I think is good because it forces us to stay up to date with the latest trends and certifications. My two years will be up in February (I can’t believe it’s almost been 2 years!!), and I have about half of the credits. To get the rest, I think I am going to go to MANIA in November. Athena went last year and I was so jealous, so I’ll definitely be going this year!!

I think that about covers it, but if I missed anything, please let me know ūüôā

Questions for you: Have you ever thought of becoming a fitness instructor? If you are an instructor, what’s your favorite class to teach?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back with regular blogging {hopefully} on Monday ūüôā

A busy weekend in the kitchen!

Hey there! I find that when I’m around on the weekend with some extra time, I tend to spend it in the kitchen. I wouldn’t say that I’m a great cook or baker, but I love doing both and have¬†turned out some pretty delicious meals and baked goods, so I think that’s enough to keep me happy and motivated to keep trying new things.

This past weekend, I had a blast baking festive treats and a Mexican dinner that was super quick and easy to put together. I think it’s probably the cooler fall weather that makes it so comforting to be in the kitchen with the stove going. Whatever it is, I’ll take it, because I love having fun treats in the apartment!

First up, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. Sunday morning I woke up and decided I wanted to bake pumpkin bread. I went online and did a quick Google search for “healthy pumpkin bread” and stumbled upon a bunch of delicious looking Cooking Light¬†pumpkin bread recipes. I decided to try the Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread, substituting the pecans for chocolate chips. MMMM. A pumpkin bread smelling apartment is a great way to start the day;)

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Next up, apple crisp. I told Jessi that I would bring apple crisp to her dinner party since I had a bunch of apples from Saturday’s apple picking. I found a great looking Martha Stewart apple crisp recipe and decided to use it! I can’t say I really like¬†to peel apples, but, there was something very soothing and relaxing about peeling and chopping on Sunday, which made for a much more enjoyable process. Could’ve been the glass of wine I was drinking while I peeled and chopped ūüėČ

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If I thought the smell of pumpkin bread was delicious, the smell of apple crisp was unbelievable! I absolutely love all apple desserts, but apple crisp is probably my favorite. I made a few different size dishes so I could keep some, and share more.

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Lastly, I made a taco¬†salad for dinner! I didn’t want to make anything big this week since I wouldn’t be around on Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday, so using up some frozen chicken and leftover veggies, adding in beans and taco seasoning was the perfect quick and easy dinner!

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I had been craving Mexican for a while, so this totally hit the spot. The only thing missing was cheese. I bought Mexican cheese and everything… can’t believe I forgot to add it ūüė¶ Oh well. Once I slathered everything in salsa I couldn’t even tell the difference ūüėČ

Questions for you: What’s your favorite apple recipe? What’s your favorite quick bread recipe? What’s the best thing you ate last weekend?

Wednesday Workout: Booty Burner (including a video!)

Well hello there, B2B readers! I have a fun workout for you today. As I mentioned on Monday, I included a booty burner workout into a few of my classes last week, per a member’s request ūüėČ This is a great, quick lower body workout that will surely leave your glutes burning (and maybe even screaming a little??). I challenge you to do this 3 times between now and next Wednesday; it only takes a few minutes each side, so you can easily do it right when you wake up, before bed, or at the end of your workout at the gym. There are really no excuses! If you do it, let me know! Use #B2Bbootyburner on Twitter or Instagram.

Booty Burner

Also, since a bunch of you liked my burpee videos I posted a few weeks back, I thought it would be fun and beneficial to do a quick demo video for this workout. What do you guys think? Videos- yay or nay? I think they are fun, but want to make sure you like them, otherwise I won’t do them ūüôā

So, there you go! Remember, if you try this, let me know through comments, twitter or instagram (#B2Bbootyburner). And! Try to do this 3 times within the next week- I promise I will ūüôā

Questions for you: Do you like these short, demo videos? What would you like to see more of in my Wednesday workout posts? Shorter workouts, no equipment workouts, running workouts, demos of favorite moves? I want to hear from you!

Apple Picking and Enjoying the Weather

Monday is over-¬†woohoo! I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy the weather this past weekend because it was beautiful! Still a little warmer than I would like (I am ready for fall!), but I really shouldn’t complain since it’s nice to have great weather.

By the time Friday rolled around, I was so bored! I didn’t have any plans after work or teaching last week and worked from home on Friday, so by that point, I was really ready to get out of the house and hang out with people! My sister was flying out the next morning, so I headed to Somerville and we grabbed dinner and drinks at Orleans¬†in Davis Square. We shared the Brie, Mushroom, Caramalized¬†Onions and Spinach burger which, unfortunately, sounded better than it tasted. We had been going back and forth between nachos and that, and totally should’ve gotten the nachos!

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Saturday, I got up and taught kickboxing (seriously my favorite way to start a Saturday. Nothing like getting a crazy sweaty cardio class first thing!) and then went to Market Basket to do my small weekly grocery shopping. Boy was that a mistake! It was a million times busier on Saturday than it is on Sundays. Yuck.

My college girlfriends and I had tentatively planned to go apple picking on Saturday and when I sent a text to see if anyone was still interested in going, I had three takers! We were going to go to a place in Stow, MA, but Jessi needed to get something at her parent’s house in Hampton, NH, so¬†Lauren, Jess, Jessi and I ended up going to Apple Crest in Hampton Falls.

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Thanks for the photo, Lauren!

I think it’s safe to say that you can’t go apple picking without getting a cider donut, right?! I don’t even like donuts (I know, crazy. I’m a sucker for muffins.), but this thing was absolutely delicious!! Paired with a hot apple cider? Perfect afternoon snack!

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After we finished our treats, we hopped on the hay ride that took us to the area of the farm where picking was happening.

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So fun! We spent a bit picking and chatting and laughing.

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Before picking, though, we got a whole speech about how to pick an apple, with the emphasis on “twisting and pulling” the apple from the tree, not just yanking it off. Thank goodness the apple police wasn’t around when this happened

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We all died laughing!

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What a fun afternoon! So glad we were able to coordinate schedules ūüôā After we finished picking, we headed to Jessi’s parent’s house and had a glass of wine with her dad before heading back to Boston. Lauren and I had planned to go bowling with Jessi and her boyfriend, but by the time we got back and ate, both Lauren and I lost steam and ended up not going out. Whoops. Sorry Jessi!

Waking up Sunday morning feeling great was well worth being lame and not going out on Saturday night! I made some Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, cleaned, went to Wal Mart, went for a run, did laundry, cooked dinner. All around, a very productive day! I hope to have a few recipes for you later this week!

Questions for you: Where is your favorite apple orchard? What did you do to enjoy the weather this weekend?