All the feels {why i fight}

I am still feeling all the feels after the event/class I lead at the New Balance Global Flagship store in Brighton through my connection with MoveWith. If you remember, I wrote all about my first MoveWith experience here. Since then, I’ve taught two more, including the one last week.

Going into this event, I knew I wanted it to be just that: an event. Not just a workout, but rather an event where I could offer more than just a sweaty 45 minute session. When I spoke with the manager at the beautiful new New Balance Global Flagship store in Brighton, I knew that I would be able to achieve my “event” idea if I hosted the class there. It’s a big store so there would plenty of room for a big crowd, a DJ and product samples. I was hoping for 25-30 people, so I was totally blown away with the fact that 39 (!!!) signed up.

As the day got closer, I had a mix of of nerves and excitement because everything was really coming together. But, as soon as people started showing up, my nerves went away and all I felt was excitement. The fact that so many people showed up was so amazing. Some people I knew, but many I didn’t. Some people were friends from college, friends of friends, friends from the gym, friends from my office and friends/contacts I’ve made through blogging, and many from New Balance. But, what was so amazing was that everyone showed up smiling and ready to work.  I couldn’t help but smile because of this- heck, even as we were halfway through the kickboxing aspect, people were STILL smiling!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- the fitness community in and around Boston is really wonderful. So many people make fitness a priority in their day to day and this shows by how many people an event like what I did last week can bring to it. These people- ranging in age, fitness levels, gender, likes and dislikes- all came together for a 45 minute fitness class, many of them likely not really knowing what to expect besides my short write-up in the event page on MoveWith.

And, while this can be a bit intimidating for instructors because we, also, have no idea what to expect in terms of what levels people will be at, it’s also something that gives me so much drive, energy and passion. It puts my teaching abilities to the test, gets me out of my comfort zone and really reminds me why I love to teach. As for many of us fitness instructors, we teach the same classes week to week and similarly, the same base group of members come to our classes week after week, so it gets to be familiar. It gets to be comfortable. Which is great, but it also doesn’t challenge us the way new classes and new groups of class participants do. I always feel like I leave these types of classes with a new perspective on teaching, and a new pep in my step.

So, I thank MoveWith, New Balance and everyone who came out last week for giving me so much happiness from the 45 minutes we were sweating together. Also, a huge thank you to DJ Sprino, who is THE BEST DJ in Boston, especially for fitness events, Purity Organics, DRINKmaple and Larabar. I’m already working on my next event there, and rumor has it, we’ll take Burpees to Bubbly quite literally 😉 Save the date for May 10th- more information, including a signup page, will be blasted soon!


“Do heavyset women take those classes?”

Considering my teaching schedule this week, I figured it was a good time to address a question I received last week during one of the classes I subbed. When I finished promoting the Seaport Sweat classes for November and December, one female came up to me after class for additional details. After I finished giving her the information, she asked me the following question “Do heavyset women take those classes?”, which, I’ll admit, kind of threw me off guard. And made me feel a little sad.

If she’s asking me a questions like this, it made me wonder how many others might have similar feelings or question, yet are not in a situation where they can ask the question, or worse, are too afraid to ask the question. How many others are avoiding group exercise classes- or even the gym all together- because they’re afraid of what others are going to think about them? Or the looks they may get. Or because they don’t know where anything is. Or because they don’t know what they’re doing or what to expect.

And the thing is, I get it! I get that the gym can be a scary place- whether it’s because you don’t know where things are, don’t know what to expect, or don’t know where to start once you do get there. Even as a fitness instructor, a former avid class goer and someone who goes to the gym all the time, when I’m placed in a new environment I, too, get those feelings. I don’t like not knowing where the equipment is or where the locker room is or what to expect out of the other members. But, sometimes you just have to give it a try because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that no one else is looking at you as much as you think they might be. They don’t care about your size or how much you can lift or whether or not you know how to work a machine. They’re usually too busy checking themselves out  😉

So, my response to this girl wasn’t “of course they are!”, because that would suggest that I was agreeing with the label she gave herself. Instead, I told her that everyone is welcomed and encouraged to come to the classes and that no matter your shape, size, age, fitness ability, etc., you can make the class work for you and leave the class feeling proud of all you’ve done. No jumping? No worries- we can take the plyometric piece of the exercise out. Lunges hurt your knees? We can do glute bridges or something else that doesn’t hurt you. Afraid of using a step (this used to be me!), ditch it- just do the exercises without it. There are always ways around things that don’t work or feel good for you and as fitness instructors, it’s our job to show you this. To make you feel comfortable, included and proud of yourself for all you accomplish, rather than worried about your size.

I hope next time you find yourself making up excuses for why you “can’t” do something or “can’t” attend a class, I urge you to think about why you’re feeling this way. And once you do that, try and think of a few things you can do to make yourself feel better and like you CAN do something or CAN go to a class. Here are some of my suggestions for this:

  1. Talk to a friend who goes to the gym or classes often and ask them for tips on what to expect, where to find the equipment you’ll need, where the locker room is, etc.
  2. Buy a new workout top or pants- this always helps make me feel better!
  3. Find something that really interests YOU, rather than something that you think you should do. In other words, if you hate spinning, don’t go to a spin class! If you don’t like cardio, maybe pick a weights-focused class instead of a cardio-focused class. If cross-fit intimidates you, choose something else! You get the idea….
  4. Go to the gym and peek in on a class that you’d like to try so you can see what it looks like.
  5. Talk to the instructor, explain that you’re new and let him or her know about your current fitness abilities so they know when to offer variations for you.

If you want to read more tips on how what to expect for your first group exercise class, I suggest checking out this post I wrote a few years ago: 10 tips for your first group exercise class. And more than anything- know that you should never let your shape, size, age, fitness abilities, etc. deter you from trying out something that sounds interesting to you!

Questions for you: Have you ever let something about your physical abilities stop you from trying something new? Have you ever felt nervous going to the gym or to a new class? What do you do to help make yourself try new things?

Wednesday Workout: My Favorite Cardio Kickboxing Combos {take 3}

Good morning! I’ve had “kickboxing combos part 3” on my list of blog posts for a really long time, so I’m happy to finally have this post for you today 🙂 I’ve shared some kickboxing combo’s with you before, but in case you’ve missed them, there they are:

My Favorite Cardio Kickboxing Combos {Take 1}
My Favorite Cardio Kickboxing Combo’s {Take 2}

I’ve got 5 more for you today, so let’s get right to it! If you’re not familiar with the basic punches and kicks, be sure to check out the first post linked above as that goes through all of those. If you’re good with those, then skip right ahead to the combos below!

Jog w/speed bag high & low, 2 knees right and left, squat & kick right & left, burpee

  • Jog in place & do 4 counts of speed bags up by your head and then down by your waist
  • 2 right knees & 2 left knees
  • Squat & kick right, squat & kick left
  • Burpee (or keep with the squat & kicks if burpees don’t feel right for you)

4 Jabs & 2 blocks right and left, 2 knees right & left, 4 high knees & 2 jumping jacks

  • 4 fast jabs to the front with your right arm and then 2 blocks with the right arm while doing 2 boxer hops to the right
  • 4 fast jabs to the front with your left arm and then 2 blocks with the left arm while doing 2 boxer hops to the left
  • 2 knees right and left
  • 4 high knees  and 2 jumping jacks

(PS watch my face at the end when the falling frames scared the crap out of me! You’ll see in the next videos that I am no longer phased by it haha}

4 low speed bags to the right, 4 butt kicks, 4 low speed bags to the left, 4 butt kicks, knee & kick right & left, burpee

  • 4 speed bags by the right hip + 4 butt kicks
  • 4 speed bags by the left hip + 4 butt kicks
  • Knee + kick on the right and left
  • 1 Burpee

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10 Tips For Your First Group Exercise Class

Hi there! The other day, I saw someone post a question on Athena’s Facebook page associated with her Holiday Hustle Challenge and I got so excited when I went to answer it. Her question was based around the fact that she had never been to a group exercise class and was thinking of trying one out, but she was a little nervous and wanted some tips to make her feel a little more comfortable.

First off, I get SO EXCITED to welcome new people to my classes and the general world of group exercise. Total dork status, I know.

Secondly, I realized that if she was feeling this way, there are probably others out there that are feeling the same way. Today, I’m going to share some tips/pointers/things to expect so that if you’re on the fence about going to a group exercise class, hopefully you’ll feel ready to take the plunge after you read this!

10 Tips For Your First Group Exercise Class

1. Check out the schedule ahead of time so you can read about the various classes and whether or not you need to sign up.

2. Pick out a comfortable outfit that you feel good in because when you feel good about yourself, things are just better, amiright? When I feel comfortable in my outfit, I tend to be more confident, which helps in a new setting.

3. That said, make sure what you wear is appropriate for the class. While a sports bra and flashy, baggy pants may be perfect for Zumba, you’ll probably get some head turns if you wear that to a spin class (not to mention it would be dangerous to wear anything baggy to spin!). I’d say play it safe- comfortable pair of crops that don’t ride down or annoy you and a tank or form fitting t-shirt. I tend to say stay away from super baggy clothes because it’s hard for instructors to check your form and to make sure you’re doing things correctly. Tip: don’t wear shorts to spin and try to avoid booty/loose shorts in ALL classes. No one wants to see your bum!

4. Arrive early. This is especially important because you want to make sure you have time to get everything set up without rushing and feeling late. It also gives you time to familiarize yourself with the room and other members joining the class.

5. Introduce yourself to the instructor so he/she knows that you’re new. You can also let them know your current fitness level and if you have any injuries. It’s important to let instructors know you’re new to their class (or group exercise classes in general), so that they can be sure to check out your form and provide proper explanations and modifications (if needed).

6. Don’t set up in the back corner. You don’t need to be front and center, but be in a place where you can see yourself in the mirrors (to check form!) and so that the instructor can see you and doesn’t forget about you.

7. Get a selection of weights, making sure you have some lighter ones if you haven’t been actively lifting so that you can avoid either struggling with heavy weights or trying to sneak around people to get lighter ones. Play it safe and get a variety.

8. Mind your body and pay attention to how YOU feel, not how everyone else around you appears to feel. They’ve likely been going to these classes for a while, so trying to keep up with them might end up discouraging you or sending you home with an injury. Take breaks when YOU need them, even if the class as a whole isn’t resting. Remember- everyone was new to the particular class you’re trying at some point, so focus on yourself and not everyone else.

9. Even if things feel great, try not to get TOO carried away because the moves and exercises you’re doing may be entirely new to you, which could leave you VERY sore the next day. There’s nothing worse than being all amped up about trying a new class, giving it your all (and then some) and waking up the next day unable to move.

10. HAVE FUN!! Embrace the class and what it’s offering you. Chances are, you’ll be motivated to push yourself harder than you would if you were working out on your own and I can guarantee you’ll be getting more out of those 45-60 minutes in the class than you would pedaling away on the elliptical. Change is good and change is what causes change, so if you’ve been feeling in a rut about your workouts or the fact you haven’t been working out, trying something NEW is a great way to change those things 😉


So, are you ready to try a new class or to make your way into the group exercise setting now?!

Questions for you: What was the first class you went to? What are your tips for making people feel comfortable going to their first class? I’m sure I missed some good tips, so I’d love to see what you would offer up for advice!