This Week: Workouts, Happy, Healthy, Fit Challenge & Things I’m Looking Forward To

Good morning! How are you doing today? I’ve got a busy week, so let’s get to the fun stuff!

Happy, Healthy, Fit Challenge

I know there are all sorts of holiday fitness challenges out there and I know I’m a little late to the game, but better late than never, right? What I’m excited about most with this challenge is that it’s very attainable, even with crazy busy holiday season schedules. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t generally have a lot of “free time” at this time of year. Long gone are my hour long gym trips (unless I’m teaching), Sunday night “meal prep” is an ancient memory and I’m often feeling quite overwhelmed with the task of trying to get my shopping in and finding time to attend various gatherings. Can you relate? Throughout this challenge, there’s a task/challenge for the 24 days of December leading up to Christmas. They range from fitness challenges or short workouts to little ways to stay more active to giving to others and to giving to yourself. Everything in this challenge is something I always say to myself “I want to do this sometime. I should really start doing more of that.”, etc. RM was a big contributor to a lot of these ideas, so I have to thank him for that!


So, what do you think?! does this sound like something you’d want to participate in? I got some good responses on Facebook, but if you didn’t get a chance to see that, let me know in the comments below or email me at if you’re interested. I’d like to have a tentative list of people who want to participate and maybe even keep a google doc to track everyone’s participation (similar to what Athena has done for her challenges). I’m going to have a few prizes at the end, too! I’ll have the full calendar and more challenge details for you on Friday!

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday– I did another at-home workout during my lunch break. It was similar to this workout, except I worked out for about 45 minutes.
  • Tuesday- I went to Cara’s Tabata Treadmill class at Beantown Bootcamp and it was awesome! I definitely plan on going back!


  • Wednesday- I did 15 minutes on the elliptical before teaching UXF Burn. I was feeling kind of lightheaded so I took it easy.
  • Thursday- I had all intentions of going to my favorite cardio kickboxing class after work, but realized I forgot my shirt. I ended up swinging through Lulu and grabbed a cute shirt on sale. Perfect. I get to the gym, get changed and realize I don’t have my sneakers. #epicfail Since I physically and mentally REALLY wanted to workout, I headed home and ended up doing an hour long cardio kickboxing workout in my living room. If I had been feeling worn down or sore or just “meh” about working out, I would’ve used it as a sign to skip the workout, but everything in me was all about working out, so I made it happen!


  • Friday- Rest day 🙂
  • Saturday- I taught my cardio kickboxing class at the Oak Square YMCA. There was a big crowd and we worked super hard!
  • Sunday- Rest day again.

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- Today is a big day of workouts as I taught my 6am Muscle Work class (last one as that gym is closing 😦 ) and am subbing the 6:30pm Cardio Kickboxing class at the Watertown BSC tonight.
  • Tuesday- Not sure- Maybe bootcamp after work, maybe my own workout.
  • Wednesday- Likely a rest day as I have to work in the morning and then I’m heading straight to Maine after my half day.
  • Thursday- I have a fun Thanksgiving workout for you later this week, so I’ll do that 🙂
  • Friday- I’ll probably go to a class in the morning at the YMCA near my parent’s house.
  • Saturday- My sister and I had talked about maybe going to a class at Exhale Spa when we get back to the city.
  • Sunday- Rest day

Things I’m Looking Forward To

I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and spending it with friends and family. I’ve got so much to be thankful for this year! I’m also excited to finish the prep work on my challenge and introduce it to you guys. Hope you’ll love it!

Questions for you: What was the best workout you had last week? What are you looking forward to this week? Do you think you’ll be interested in my challenge?

A Day In the Life

I always love when bloggers share what an average day might look like. As bloggers, we get to be picky and choosy about what we post and share with our readers, so some of our lives still remain a mystery, right? Or, you may wonder what the heck we do on a day to day basis that doesn’t make the blog cut. I’ve got a full day of events for you today. It was on a day I teach, which is a fairly standard day for me (used to be way more standard, but thankfully I’ve cut back on teaching so it’s made my weeks a little lighter). Enjoy!


6:25am- Alarm goes off. Re-set for 6:35 for extra cuddle time and a slower wake-up/get out of bed time. I find that the rest of my day is literally pretty go-go-go, so if I can take 10 minutes to just rest in bed and slowly wake up, it makes for a much more enjoyable start to the day. Try it!

6:35- Get up, get dressed, do my make-up and run water through my hair to liven up the curls.


7:00- Leave and head to Wakefield for work.

7:30- Get to work and have breakfast. Lately I’ve been having gluten free muesli and a half a banana. I also usually have some type of bread/muffin- I LOVE pastries and treats, but since they are not-so-healthy, I’ve been finding paleo recipes where they use almond meal and/or coconut flour instead of regular flour and the sweetener is usually honey or maple syrup. Little steps!

7:30-11ish- Work. I have my morning snack around 11, which is the other half of my morning banana, almonds and a rice cake with almond butter (usually).

1ish- Lunch. I used to eat a salad and yogurt, but over the past 6 months or so I’ve switched and started eating more paleo based lunches, high in protein to keep me full and fuel me for the afternoon. I forgot to take a picture of my lunch on Wednesday, but here’s an example of what some might look like.


(meal prep!)

2pm- I went for a walk after lunch. I try to do this daily, but unfortunately it doesn’t always happen, so it makes for a long day when that’s the case!


The rest of my lunch break was spent making my workout for my class that night.


4:30- Leave work and head to Cambridge since I have to teach at 6:30.

5:30ish- Start my own workout. I usually run outside or on the treadmill before I teach. Since I don’t do the whole class, I like to get my workout done beforehand.


6:30- Teach UXF Burn. These members bring it every week and they are always ready for whatever crazy things I throw at them.


7:45- Finally head home! The only thing on my mind is: get home, eat, shower and go to bed.

8-8:15- Get home, eat (thanks to Sunday night meal prep, I can easily reheat a healthy and nutritious meal), shower, pack my lunch and pack my bags for the next day.


9-9:15ish- Finally sit down to relax! I usually catch up on some emails and social media/blog comments, but try to shut down all electronics by 9:30. I’ll watch whatever is on TV just to zone out and unwind.


10- Bed time! As you can see, my days are fairly long, so if I don’t get to bed early, I’m screwed!

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And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed seeing a little more of a glance into my day-to-day.

Questions for you: Tell me about your day! When do you get up, leave for work, get home, go to bed, etc.?


Wednesday Workout: 15 Minute Step 360 HIIT Workout

Hi there! I know you’re probably sick of me talking about the Step 360, but I’m kind of obsessed with it and not ready to stop talking about it 🙂 As I’ve mentioned, I was lucky enough to win it at MANIA this year and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’ve always wanted to add a BOSU ball to my workout equipment collection, but I have to say that I think adding the Step 360 was a better piece to add.

What I love is that you are still working and challenging your balance, but your form doesn’t get compromised as a result since there is a flat surface to stand on (versus the non-flat surface of a BOSU). I find that I’m able to work my balance, yet still work on range of motion and strength training with much better and stronger form because of the flat surface. When I’m on a BOSU, I’m typically wobbling all over the place! I also learned in one of my sessions that you should never stand/squat/lunge/etc. on a BOSU because it causes poor alignment due to the fact your feet cannot support you in the way they should (like they do on the ground or a flat surface). I pretended like I had never done that, but inside I was cringing as I thought back to all the times I’ve stood on the BOSU for squats and lunges and just to add an extra balance challenge during bicep curls and things like that. Needless to say, I won’t be doing that anymore 😉

I also like that with the Step 360 you can inflate one or both chambers, depending on your fitness level. Only inflating one makes it a little easier since there’s less instability and since you’re closer to the ground. I’ve been working out with it having both inflated and I’m continuously surprised by how much added intensity and difficulty the Step 360 gives me!

I have a workout for you today that I did on the Step 360 last week, but you can totally use a step if you don’t have a Step 360- I took this workout and amended it to teach in my UXF Burn class.

15 minute Step 360 HIIT workout

I had some fun taking videos and pictures for some of the moves to give you a better idea of what it looks like to be active on the Step.

Goblet Squat:


Squat Hold w/Leg Touch Downs

Burpee/Push-Up Step Jump

I’ve already used the step for 3 workouts, so don’t be surprised if you see more workouts on here that use it!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite piece of at-home workout equipment? If you could have anything to add to your at-home workout collection, what would it be?

SWC MANIA 2014 Recap

Hi there! A little late for my MANIA review, but better late than never, right? Although I was only able to go one day this year, my one day was amazing. I was able to go to 4 different physical class sessions and 1 lecture. By the end, I was physically exhausted, mentally drowning (happily) in new information and super motivated to get out there and be a better instructor, not just for me, but for my members, their growth and their safety. There’s just something so invigorating about spending the day immersed amongst fitness professionals!

I wanted to share some of what I learned with you guys in case you were not able to attend the event or are looking for something new to try. Here’s the summary of the classes I took, as well as some take-aways. Enjoy!

Jump on it! for Chicks & Battle it Out! Ropes for Chicks

Ok, probably the coolest thing about MANIA this year was getting to take two classes with Chris Freytag.


I remember doing her videos On Demand when I first moved to Boston, so meeting her & doing her workouts in person was so cool! What I loved the most about her classes was her emphasis on making the workout a team event. We worked the following connections:

  • Coach/Athlete Connection
  • Coach: Motivator, educator & guide (we, as instructors, do the same thing in our classes- we guide people by giving them an overview of the class, we educate people by cueing and giving direction and explaining form and we motivate people by being there, by giving positive feedback and encouragement to keep going)
  • Athlete: Challenged, empowered & focused (this is their job when they come to class- we want them to feel engaged and proud of themselves. We also need to remind them that they are not giving up if they’re modifying)

Another thing I liked about her teaching/classes was the different ways you can run the class, again, keeping the team/coach aspect in mind.

  • Coach/team- You, as the instructor, are the coach and your members/class participants are the team. This is the traditional way that group exercise classes are run.
  • Coach (participant)/Athlete- This is where you have a member coach another member. We did this and it was so fun! While one person worked, the other coached and encouraged them, which was their “rest”.
  • Athlete/Athlete- Two members are both working at the same time. Not necessarily doing the same thing, but both working.

The Jump on It class was fun as we used the SPRI boxes and did all sorts of workouts on them: step ups, plank jacks, decline push-ups, box jumps, elevated reverse lunges, etc. We worked for 30 seconds at a time. I was so sweaty and beat after this class- it was awesome!


I think the most challenging class for me was the battle ropes class. The good thing was that the ropes were smaller than those huge ones they have at the gym that, lets face it, are just not meant for women. They are so thick it’s hard to even get a good grip! These were the perfect size and I learned so many new ways to use them- prone snake whips, squat walk with alternating waves, star jacks, isometric squat hold with arm circles, kneeling power slams, lateral shuffle with alternating waves, v-sit and whip, side plank with outside circles, burpee push-up… you get the idea. I can’t wait to do a workout like this on my own. I was SO SORE from this the next day- holy lats!


Chris Freytag was so encouraging and positive and made you feel like a star player. I was honored when she gave me the team leader award, and especially stoked when I realized my prize was a SPRI Step 360. This piece of equipment is amazing- so versatile an better for your form since it has a flat top. My workout for you tomorrow shows you all sorts of exercises you can do on it.



Kettlebell Training


Another class I took was Kettlebell Training with Kelly Roberts. I’ll admit that KB’s generally intimidate me. I never know if I’m thrusting and moving and swinging correctly, so it was nice to break things down and learn how to do some basic moves. I never realized that KB’s had so many benefits:

  • Improves total body coordinated strength
  • Improves posture
  • Time efficient because you’re working multiple components are once
  • Weight bearing and functional
  • Enhances exercise efficiency
  • Increased bone mineral density

I also liked learning about the different techniques:

  • Grind- slow & controlled (lifts, squats, etc.)
  • Ballistic- using momentum, the KB projects away from you body
  • Curvilinear- lifting out to the sides
  • Rectilinear- lifting up and down

We worked through all sorts of different moves in an hour long workout. The format was set up in a way where we did a grind move, a ballistic move and then a core movement. I learned some great moves and love that some of them can be used in my classes with dumbbells.


The last class that I took was Piloxing. I didn’t necessarily take the class to get new moves for my classes, but rather, I took it to find out what it was all about! Piloxing is a type of workout that incorporates standing pilates, boxing and dance and while I thought it was a good workout, it wasn’t as great as I was expecting. The instructor kind of annoyed me because she literally yelled the entire time… like yelled AT us, which I didn’t take well to. The moves were fairly basic so it was easy to follow along, but I think it was hard to get a great workout if you didn’t have rhythm and didn’t add in extra flare. I’d like to try it again, but I definitely don’t think it’s the type of class I would like teaching- it just wasn’t my style!


Women & Weight Lifting

To break up the day, I decided to take a lecture instead of a movement class. This lecture was SO interesting- I think it’s amazing how much our bodies work in a connected manner. You’d never know something about the way you stand could affect the rest of your body so much. I will say, though, that I thought we were going to be learning more about how to lift and ways we should be lifting and while we didn’t get into that specific type of detail that I wanted, I still learned so much about movement and lifting in general. Here are some things I learned:

  • The average woman sits for 13 hours a day
  • If you stand for even just 2 hours a day while working, you’ll lose 11.2 pounds a year
  • Only 20% of women strength train twice a week
  • Because of our wide hips & short legs (generally), the Q angle increases and creates weakness in the knees. We need to increase our knee stability, which starts with ankle mobility. From there you work knee stability and then hips mobility.
  • Women have less Type II fibers (anaerobic) and have less glycogen therefore we are not made to work out as long as guys are. I thought this was crazy, but after he explained more about why this is true, it made more sense. I never knew why guys and girls had different standards, but seeing scientific facts behind it made sense.
  • We can gain Type II fibers by lifting heavier or by doing explosive moves.
  • Working in 4 sets with 6-12 reps is ideal
  • Women are better designed for low to moderate, longer duration, sub-maximal exercise and continuous steady state exercise. Shorter intervals, but shorter rest.
  • We can preserve muscle mass by resistance training

The instructor for this course (Fabio Comana) was SO knowledgeable. I learned better squat and lunge techniques and have really started to bring those slight changes into my classes. I wanted this class to be longer because I still had so many questions! I wanted him to watch me do various exercises so he could critique my format. Such a valuable course!

All in all, MANIA, although I only attended 1 day, was awesome. I left there feeling so inspired to be a better instructor and to expand my class base. Unfortunately, I can’t add any more classes to my schedule, but man do I wish I could!

If you’re a fitness professional, or just someone who loves learning about fitness and trying new things, I highly suggest MANIA- it’s awesome!

Questions for you: Have you ever been to MANIA? Do you like Kettlebell training? What do you think about the differences and males and females and what we are both capable of?

This Week: Workouts, Making the Mental Shift & Things I’m Looking Forward To

Good morning! How are you doing today? I hope you had a great weekend. Some of you may have seen my Instagram post at the end of last week:


I have never experienced what I experienced last week, but I can tell you it wasn’t very fun. Looking back, it’s likely from pushing myself too hard and too far, but I struggle because if I feel ok and want to work out, how do I know that I’ve pushed it too far until something happens? In the past, I’ve struggled with rest days… more than I’d like to admit. But, over the past few months, I’ve been much better at not only TAKING 2 every week, but also ENJOYING it. I look forward to my rest days now, actually.

But last week, 4 unplanned rest days really threw me for a loop. I didn’t want to rest on Thursday. I wanted to go to a class and I wanted to rest on Friday. I wanted to race on Saturday and rest on Sunday. Unfortunately, my body had other plans for me, and even though I knew I needed to listen to my body, it was hard to not have negative thoughts about the extra rest and not being able to do anything. I hate that I still think that way when things don’t go as planned. It’s definitely my Type A personality showing throw- I hate not being in control and going off plan. But the thing is, plans don’t always work out and sometimes our bodies just have a different plan for us.

I know that I won’t lose any physical gains I’ve made by taking extra rest days, but making the mental shift to get rid of negative thoughts during unplanned rest days is hard! I’ve mastered it for the rest days I plan (I feel zero regret and I don’t miss my workouts at all), but when something throws a kink in that plan, that’s when I struggle.

I received some great feedback from some followers and every single message made me feel so much better. There’s just something so nice and comforting to hear advice from fellow friends who workout and can likely relate to how I was feeling. So, thank you, friends- your words meant so much to me!! And you know what? I really ended up enjoying the extra rest and had way fewer negative thoughts about it than I thought I would. Rather, I tried to soak it up and appreciate the slower paced life for a few days.

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Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I taught my 6am Muscle Work class and then did 10 minutes on the stair stepper.
  • Tuesday- I went home after work and did something I haven’t done in a LONG time: I did an at-home workout! When I was at MANIA, I won a Step 360 so I decided to go home and test it out. The verdict? I LOVE it! It’s probably one of my new favorite workout tools. I’ll post the workout I did because it can be adapted to using a step (like I did in UXF Burn last week) or a BOSU even if you don’t have a Step 360.


  • Wednesday- I ran a 5K before teaching UXF Burn.


  • Thursday & Friday-  Rest  days, as mentioned above.
  • Saturday- I got up and felt much better, so I did some stretching and light core work to start my day.
  • Sunday- I went for a 30 minute walk around East Boston. I had been inside for too long and realized I really needed to get some fresh air so I laced up and headed out. It was chilly, but it felt great.


This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I’m not sure my plan today. I may head to the YMCA for a workout after work.
  • Tuesday- I may try to go to Cara’s Tabata Treadmill class at Beantown Bootcamp, but if I don’t, I’ll maybe go to my favorite bootcamp at the Wellington BSC. I’ll see how I’m feeling, I guess!
  • Wednesday- I will probably do some light cardio before teaching UXF Burn. It’s our last class before the holiday so I need to make it good 😉
  • Thursday- Hopefully I’ll be able to go to the cardio kickboxing class I wasn’t able to go to last week.
  • Friday- Rest day
  • Saturday- I’m teaching cardio kickboxing at the Oak Square YMCA
  • Sunday- Rest

Things I’m Looking Forward To

I think what I’m looking forward to the most is going home to Maine this weekend with RM. We are going to head up after I teach on Saturday and will stop in Kennebunkport for lunch and some shopping before going to my parents for the night. I can’t wait to cook and drink wine and just hang out. I’ll be back home next week for Thanksgiving, but I’m never mad about extra time up there!

Questions for you: How do you feel about weeks with more rest days in them than you’re used to? What was the best workout you had last week? What are you looking forward to this week?