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?

Weekending: Local Date Night, Wicked Wine Fest, Homemade Fish Tacos & Sunday Funday

I loved every part of this past weekend! I took Friday off from work so I could attend MANIA. The day, although long, was amazing! I was able to take so many awesome classes and meet some really great fitness professionals. I’ll do a full recap on that soon.

By the time I got home and showered, I was starvingggg, so RM and I headed to Jeveli’s, which is a local favorite of ours. The prices are cheap, service is good (and funny) and the food is absolutely delicious. It’s a no-frills type of place, but we love sitting at the bar and chatting with the locals. I always get the meatballs because they are so good, and after 4 hours of physical activity, a big bowl of carb-y, meat-y deliciousness was just what I needed!



After class on Saturday, my sister, Kate and I headed to the South End for a wine tasting at Cyclorama. I went in March and loved it, so jumped on the chance to go to the one this past weekend. Some of my SMC friends were also there and we had a blast walking around, trying various wines… and taking silly pics 😉

wicked wine fest 4 IMG_9281 IMG_9280

Post wine fest, we made the short walk over to Stephi’s on Tremont for lunch. We were lucky and had a whole room just to ourselves… but, the more I think about it, maybe the rest of the restaurant was lucky we had a whole room to ourselves. You try being reasonably quiet with 8 girls after a 2 hour wine tasting…


I ended up getting a burger because I was still craving red meat- must have been all the working out!


Once we finished up, I headed back to East Boston to hang out with RM. We had plans to make fish tacos and they did NOT disappoint! The best part was they were super easy- I’m going to share our “recipe” later the week. They were unbelievable, though!


My movie snack was a half of a paleo pumpkin banana bread muffin that I made last week. Topped with crunchy almond butter and cinnamon, courtesy of RM, it hit the spot!


Sunday morning started with some cleaning, some breakfast and then some serious shopping. RM made some zucchini fritters… topped with an over easy egg and it made for a delicious breakfast.


He’s also taking a stab at making his own yogurt, so we worked on that a little.


To shop, we headed to Assembly Row since we wanted to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond and figured we could have lunch at Legal on the Mystic. I was getting hangry, so a beer and fish sandwich did the trick to fill me up! I regretted the fried food later that day, though, as it gave me a bad stomach ache 😦 Could’ve also been due to the fact I ate a lot more junk this past weekend than I normally do, including greasy, fried food.

IMG_9298 IMG_9299
After we finished up, we shopped around a few more stores before calling it a day. I food shopped then had fun being in the kitchen with my sister. She made a pasta bake and I made an amped up Shepherd’s pie. Both were delicious!


And that’s about it… before I knew it, I was hopping into bed, utterly exhausted! I love weekends like this, I just wish they could last longer 😦

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Have you been to a wine tasting before?

This Week: Workouts, Preparing for the Spartan Fenway Race & Things I’m Looking Forward To

Good morning and happy Monday! I’m so happy that by the time this post goes up, my workout will be done. Last week was a big week of workouts and between Boston MANIA on Friday and teaching on Saturday, I’ve been REALLY sore and physically exhausted. It will be nice to have tonight off and I may even end up resting tomorrow, too, pending on how I feel. MANIA was so awesome- I can’t wait to recap it for you!

Want to know what’s not-so-awesome, though? The fact that we got our start time for the Fenway Spartan Sprint and we got placed in the 12:10 heat even though everyone on our team signed up for the 9:30am heat. Normally I wouldn’t be that upset about it, but RM had already invited me to go to a Bruins game with him and his co-workers and the game is at 1 so clearly I cannot do both. We’ve emailed to try and get into an earlier heat, but they said they are totally sold out. I really don’t want to skip the race all together because I paid around $120 for the ticket, so I’m planning on just going earlier- by myself- to race. I mean, they can’t deny me a spot if I’ve paid and they have to be able to squeeze me into an earlier heat…right?! A girl can hope….

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I did 15 minutes of cardio before subbing the cardio kickboxing class at the Watertown BSC.
  • Tuesday- I went to my second New Balance Girls Night Out event at the Westin Copley. This time, we had a choice to do a bootcamp or go for a run, and since my run in the dark the last time didn’t end so well, I opted for the bootcamp. It wasn’t the type of bootcamp you traditionally think of (no cardio), but I was very sore for the next few days since it was mostly glute/leg focused.


  • Wednesday- I ran a 5K on the treadmill before teaching UXF Burn. We had a BIG crowd, including SIX guys- it was so fun!


  • Thursday- Thursday’s have turned into my rest days and I’ve been enjoying having a day during the week where I don’t have to pack my gym bag and know I’m just going home after work. This past Thursday I was especially lazy- Danielle and I sat on the couch, watched tv and ordered pizza. it was awesome!
  • Friday- I did about 4 hours of working out at MANIA. I can’t wait to recap it for you guys- I learned SO MUCH and I got to workout with Chris Fretag, which was pretty cool.


I had a sweat mark in the shape of a heart!

  • Saturday- Even though I was super sore, I was able to make it through my kickboxing class at the YMCA. We had a big crowd!
  • Sunday- Nothing! I was super sore when I got up so I was very happy it was a rest day. I did clean and RM and I went shopping, which was good because it helped release some lactic acid and alleviate some soreness.

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I will have taught my Muscle Work class and have done some cardio after by the time this goes up.
  • Tuesday- I’m not sure what I’m going to do for a workout. It likely depends on how sore I am. Maybe a bootcamp, maybe some light cardio, maybe some yoga?
  • Wednesday- Probably a run before teaching UXF Burn.
  • Thursday & Friday- I’m not what I’m going to do these days. I don’t think I’ll workout on Friday since I have the Spartan race (hopefully, anyway) on Saturday and want to have fresh legs for it. I’ll probably try to get to the gym during lunch on Thursday.
  • Saturday- HOPEFULLY running the Spartan race. I will be so upset if I can’t run it 😦
  • Sunday- Rest day!

Things I’m Looking Forward To

This is a fun week for me- my dad is coming down on Tuesday to pick my mom up at the airport so he asked if he could come visit me at work since it’s on the way. I’m excited to show him around and get to hang out for a bit- it’ll be a nice change from my usual lunch break 🙂 I’m also excited to go to the Bruins game on Saturday… I haven’t been yet this year!

Questions for you: What was your best workout last week? Have you run a Spartan Race? Do you think I’ll be able to sneak my way into an earlier heat? What are you looking forward to this week?


This Week: Workouts, Fitness Events & Things I’m Looking Forward To

Good morning! How’s your Monday treating you so far? I’m gearing up for, yet another, big week. Lots of fitness events and teaching are going to keep me fairly busy, but you know what? There could be worse things 😉

Tuesday night, I’m able to participate in another New Balance Girls Night Out event, which I’m SO excited about. This time, there are 2 workout opportunities: a run and a bootcamp. Seeing as though it will be dark out and I don’t have great luck running in the dark, I think I’m going to opt for the bootcamp. Can’t wait to see some of my Boston blogging friends 🙂

The other fitness event I’m contemplating attending is MANIA. I went to 2 days last year and loved it, but considering I just got in an accident and will have some extra expenses based on that, I’m not sure it’s the best way to spend my money. I can only go on Friday, so I’m going to look at the schedule to see if there are courses that would interest and benefit me. I learned so much last year, so I have a feeling I’ll end up going. Any other instructors planning on going at all?

Last Week’s Workouts

I had some great workouts last week. I taught 4 classes, went to a class, ran outside for the first time in a LONG time (holy quads the day after) and generally felt pretty strong and excited to workout. The only day where I felt like I should have skipped the workout was Tuesday. By the end of the day I started feeling kind of crummy… stuffing, eyes hurt, super tired. Yes, I realize those are all signs that should have lead me to skip my workout, but it was a class I love going to and I figured I could just push through it. I did the class, but I could tell my energy levels weren’t there. Lesson learned! I’ve been much better about resting and listening to my body, but I’m clearly not entirely there yet- some day!

  • Monday- I taught my 6am Muscle Work class and then did 10 minutes of the stair stepper after. The class was a good mix of strength, cardio and core so I didn’t feel like I had to do much after… I really did those 10 minutes to catch up on my social media 😉
  • Tuesday- I went to my favorite instructor’s bootcamp at the Wellington BSC. Unfortunately, I didn’t think the class was anything special, but it was still nice to do a workout I wasn’t teaching!


  • Wednesday- I ran a 5K before teaching UXF Burn. I incorporated some Halloween moves and it was a fun class!


  • Thursday- Thursday was my rest day- I walked for 20 minutes during lunch and then walked to and from the T later that night to meet my friend, Liz, in the city for drink.
  • Friday- I worked from home on Friday since I had a dentist appointment in the morning so I was able to go for a run around my neighborhood. I ran 3 speedy (for me) miles and finished with a whole bunch of core, upper and lower body exercises. I was sore on Saturday from the run, oddly enough.


  • Saturday- I subbed for the other instructor, Missy, since it was her birthday on Friday. There was a great crowd, including some of my “front row” and we worked super hard!
  • Sunday- Another rest day. I was actually pretty sore from Saturday!

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I’m subbing the 6:30pm Cardio Kickboxing class at the Watertown BSC- if you’re in the area, come sweat with me.
  • Tuesday- I’ll do a bootcamp workout for the New Balance GNO event- can’t wait!
  • Wednesday- Probably a treadmill run before teaching UXF Burn.
  • Thursday- Rest day
  • Friday- Probably going to MANIA, which means I’ll be doing about 3 hours of working out… maybe more… I’m not mad about it!
  • Saturday- It’s my regularly scheduled Saturday to teach at the Oak Square YMCA… I’m going to a wine fest later that day, so if you plan on coming, be prepared to help me earn all those wines 😉
  • Sunday- Rest day #2

Things I’m Looking Forward To

This is another fun week for sure- between subbing, the NBGNO event, MANIA and teaching my cardio kickboxing class, I get to be surrounded by other fitness loving people and that makes me really happy 🙂 I’m also excited for the wine fest on Saturday with a bunch of my girlfriends. We went in March and had a blast, so I’m sure this year will be no different. We have reservations at Stephi’s on Tremont after which is another thing I’m looking forward to. Lastly, I’m excited about a quiet Sunday with RM- we have a million recipes we want to try, including homemade yogurt, nut milk and nut butters, so hopefully we can tackle one of those!

Questions for you: What was your best workout from last week? What are you looking forward to this week?

SCW- Boston MANIA 2013 Recap {PT 1}

As I’ve mentioned quite a few times at this point, I attended the Boston MANIA event held in Danvers last weekend. Since I was running the Fenway Spartan Sprint on Saturday, I could only attend the event on Friday and Sunday, but even with limited time there, I learned SO MUCH. As I was writing up my UXF Burn and SHRED workouts this week, I really struggled to figure out what I wanted to teach based on all of the new formats and exercises that I learned. I had to keep reminding myself that I didn’t have to include everything I learned in my classes this week… as long as I have them written down, I can always look back and quickly be reminded of everything new!


When I arrived at the hotel bright and early on Friday morning (literally early… 7am type of early), I breezed through check in and quickly bumped into Athena and Lauren. Athena and I did not talk to each other before signing up for our courses, yet we managed to sign up for all of the same courses… I guess we are really alike!


Sessions started at 7:30 and ended at 5:30. I can’t go into every detail from every class, but I give you a brief overview of my thoughts of them!

Kettle Weight Drenched

I’m always very intrigued by Kettlebells and KB workouts, so I figured it was a good time to get a better understanding of what KB’s are all about. The class wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, but I did get a couple of moves from it (coincidentally, none of them involved using a KB… whoops!). One thing that I took away from the class was that only 19% of the American population works out, but, when you think about how hard working out can/should be, it’s not really surprising. We joked about how we are the crazy people who think everyone loves to work out, but that’s only because we usually surround ourselves with other crazy people who love to work out 😉 We did get to do a 45 minute KB focused workout (Tabata themed) and my plans of keeping my workouts lighter and low-impact for the day (since I was doing the Spartan race the next day and wanted fresh legs) went right out the window 2 minutes into the workout. What can I say? As soon as I start working out, I always want to give it my all… no wonder why I’ve been so sore this week!


R.I.P.P.E.D.: The One Stop Body Shock

I actually really liked this session. The instructors were SO energetic and got us up and moving really quickly. R.I.P.P.E.D stands for: Resistance (biceps, triceps, shoulders), Intervals (ramped up recovery), Power (Metabolic- chest, back, squats, legs- lots of compound movements), Endurance (Cardio- mostly kickboxing/martial arts related) and Diet and the class is set up to move from one to the next (except for the Diet part- you can access that online). Athena and I talked about how it was a little weird to start out with upper body exercises instead of legs (usually workouts start out with the bigger muscles: legs), but I actually didn’t mind it (I later found out that you don’t have to teach the class in that order… you can mix it up however you want). The class is choreographed to songs for each part of the workout, which has pros and cons: I could see myself getting bored when teaching it because you teach the same type of routines each week, but I can see how members would love it since they generally like consistency and like to know what’s coming next. I got lots of good moves from this class and had a blast jumping around. I think I would like to get a certification in R.I.P.P.E.D., but not to necessarily teach it every week because I think I’d get burned out, but to have it as another option/format to teach.


Sport Conditioning Goes Group!-

Sadly, I was not very impressed with this session. The instructor made it seem like we would be up and moving around a lot, but that didn’t prove to be the case. He showed us a video of the classes he has designed and I was hoping to learn more about that so I could take bits and pieces to add to my classes. We did do a few good core exercises (standing on a BOSU, hold a stability ball and have a partner push the stability ball around, thus causing you to tighten up your core in order to stay on the BOSU… and a neat stability ball roll out combination), but other than that I didn’t get many “take aways”.

Best of Boot Camp 2013-

This class was taught by Mindy Mylrea and after Athena told me how awesome Mindy was, I couldn’t wait for the session to begin. As soon as we walked in and Mindy got her mic on, I knew Athena was right- I was going to love Mindy. She was this little, petite lady with enough energy to fill the entire {big} room. I learned a lot about how boot camps should be set up (circuit style- no more than 60 seconds at each station, use numbers to identify the stations, use picture signs so people know what they should do and don’t have to ask you a million times) AND I was pretty much obsessed with each station that she had us do. In between stations, she had us work with partners for all sorts of various body weight exercises. I cannot wait (side note- when I re-read this post, I realized I wrote out “weight” instead of “wait”. #fitnessinstructorproblems) to do the same exact stations in my SHRED class in the next few weeks…if people thought I was crazy before, they haven’t seen anything yet 😉


Myofascial Compression Techniques: Trigger Point Performance Therapy

I originally signed up for Cardiopump Fusion, but by 4pm, after having taught Wednesday and a double Thursday and working out in all the other classes, I was absolutely beat and decided it was better to skip out on more cardio. There was a lot of scientific/muscle type of talk that mostly went over my head, but I thought the class was really interesting (and I kind of developed a crush on the instructor… whoops!). A few summers ago I had to go to physical therapy for a knee injury and I remember finding the whole background behind why injuries happen and what affects what to be SO interesting. Here are some of the most interesting points I took away:

  • It’s important to stay hydrated: when you’re dehydrated, your body starts to grow together (internally… I think he dumbed the process down for us when explaining it…) and adhesions start. Hence why we tend to be “achy” and sore when we first wake up. Ever notice that before? And then do you notice how everything loosens up once you start moving and drinking water? That’s because you’re getting hydrated again!
  • Most of our stress lies in our shoulders, but the tension lies in our legs/Achilles. Removing tension there will help relax your shoulders.
  • You should always foam roll before you workout: it acts like a warm up in that it helps to get the blood flowing
  • Hamstrings are stabilizers and in order to loosen up tight hamstrings, you need to release the quad.
  • Fascia is connected tissue throughout the body and it wraps around everything. Muscle is inseparable from fascia. Fascia responds to everything and adapts to help us do what we want to do (running, lifting, squatting, etc.). When we are seated or sedentary for a long time, our fascia adapts to that, so when we start to workout (after not doing it for a while), we are generally not prepared (because we are used to being sedentary) and therefore get injured.

Phew! How’s that?? We used these fun toys and worked through our entire right side of the body and wow could I feel a difference between my left and right side after that. It was incredible! If only I had someone to walk me through that painful, painful process every day… I’d feel amazing!


I was going to recap Sunday’s classes in this post, too, but this post is getting quite lengthy so I’ll save those for next week as part of my “This Week” post.

I think you can tell, though, that MANIA was quite the awesome event… especially for fitness enthusiasts like myself! I was in heaven being surrounded by so many passionate instructors- it really made me want to be a better instructor and I felt myself using a lot of what I learned this week. And not just with the new exercises I taught, but HOW I taught them. I have a long way to go to be the instructor I know I can and want to be, but I am getting there! Already looking forward to next year 🙂

Questions for you: Instructor friends- have you ever been to a fitness conference like MANIA before? Anyone ever been to a R.I.P.P.E.D. class?