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So You Want To Teach Group Fitness

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Yesterday, when I got to work and unloaded the cupcake torches, I had a little disaster on my hands that looked something like this…

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Unfortunately, I didn’t have my phone or camera to capture a shot of the real thing.  I ended up leaving a note for the rest of the staff to enjoy a little Tuesday Treat.

At that point, I had pretty much given up and was going to toss the rest of the ice cream cone cupcakes I had sitting in the garage.  As the day went on, I continued to think about my little cupcake mishap and how I could have avoided it…surely I was not the first person to try to transport ice cream cone cupcakes!

So, I googled it, and I found a brilliant idea!

 

 

I took cereal boxes and cut little holes in them for the ice cream cone cupcakes to rest.  Perfect!  Another change I made was making my own icing because I knew that it would go through the piping bag better and hold up better on the cupcakes while they sat in my car during my morning gym session.

Yes, that is 110 servings of oatmeal…thank you Sam’s Club

 

Brian’s dad then had the brilliant idea to put the cupcakes in coolers to protect them and try to keep them cool.  Another perfect idea!

 

Let’s cross our fingers that we don’t have another disaster upon delivery this morning….

Breakfast

This morning, my sweet tooth was just as awake as I was, and a strawberry smoothie bowl was just what I needed to tame it.

The smoothie mix contained:

  • 1/4 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup banana
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder
  • 1 splash of vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • a little water to get things movin’!

I blended everything all together and then topped it with part of a homemade luna bar.  The strawberry, peanut buttery, and chocolaty combo quickly satisfied my sweet craving 🙂

So You Want to Teach Group Fitness?

Recently, I had a request to write a post about how to get involved in the group fitness community and how to break your way into the industry.

I still consider myself very new in the industry, and I am learning new things all the time.  Here are some important tips that I have compiled throughout my experience to help you get more comfortable teaching in front of others, to help you truly get the most out of the group fitness program that you are working in, and to ultimately land your own class slot. I have found that earning your own class slot on the schedule is like gold, and when it’s yours it is yours to do whatever you want with…so don’t take advantage of it and let things fall to the wayside!! Give it everything you got 🙂

1.  Get Certified

Whether it is ACE, AFAA, ACSM, or specific to the type of class you are teaching pick the one that works best with your learning style, time schedule, and will teach you the information that you want to know.  The fact of the matter is, that no matter what you want to teach…you gotta be certified!

2.  Find a Mentor

I was lucky to start teaching group fitness while in college at my school’s gym where we had a huge educational component and a group fitness coordinator that understood what it was like to be a new instructor with many questions and concerns.  Another good thing to do is to find a facility (maybe the gym that you already belong to) that will allow you to sit in on some group fitness classes as a spectator and take some notes.  If you have a friend that is already an instructor, you may be able to sit in on his or her class.  While you may have taken many group fitness classes as a participant, there many aspects to the class that you probably never noticed as a participant that are essential to making it run smoothly.  So, find a mentor, sit in on a class, and take lots of notes.

3.  Treat it Just Like a Job Interview

Because it is a job interview!  I have a separate fitness resume that I have neatly typed up to bring with me when applying for a group fitness position.  Your resume should include:

  • certifications (including CPR, Blood Borne Pathogen, First Aid, etc.)
  • formats you are comfortable teaching
  • leadership experience
  • fitness experience (if you have previously had large fitness accomplishments like placing 3rd in the all-city women’s marathon)

The big question I had was, what do I wear to the interview, or to drop off my resume?  The answer…fitness clothes!  Now, this doesn’t mean the cut-off t-shirt and bleach stained shorts you have had forever, but it does mean to have light makeup on  (if you are a girl!), your hair neatly done, and a nice fitting, matching fitness outfit.

4.  Be Available to Sub

When you finally make it to the gym in your nice fitness outfit ready to turn in your resume, ask to speak with the group fitness instructor.  He or she may be busy and need to schedule an appointment time for you to come back, but he or she may be ready to speak with you right there!  All they will want to do is get to know you, what you love to teach, a little bit about your fitness background, and anything special about you there is to know.  The biggest piece of advice is right here:  be available to sub and let the group fitness coordinator know.  Everyone always needs a sub, and while some gyms have a list of 50 people to call, some gyms have none.  This will help you get your foot in the door, and will allow people to see what you can do on the fitness floor.

5.  Meet People

Once you are on the sub list, the next thing to do is attend as many classes as you can in the formats that you are comfortable teaching.  At the beginning or end of the class, make sure to introduce yourself to the instructor and let them know that you are available to sub.  This will keep you top of mind, and I can almost guarantee that they will call you at some point or another to fill in.  Also, use this opportunity to learn from his or her teaching style and pay attention to the way the class reacts to certain things.

6.  Send an E-mail

Again, once you are on the sub list, send an e-mail to the list of instructors letting them know who you are, what you teach, a little bit about yourself, and of course your availability.

7.  Get Involved

If your gym has special group fitness events, or launches…get involved!  Volunteer your time, attend the event, use it as a chance to meet people, have fun, get a great workout in, and promote group fitness.

There is so much more that could go into how to really make your way in your local fitness community, but these are some of the key tips that have really helped me out in my path.  I hope this helps, and feel free to reach out to me with any other questions you may have!!

 

Torch Cupcakes and a Cafe Misto

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Last night, after being extremely tired and getting home kind of late due to an evening Body Pump class…I remembered that I had committed myself to make cupcake torches for an evening reception at one of the hotels that I work at.  The reception is Olympic themed…and me being the theme-lover that I am thought it would be a GREAT idea to make these cute cupcake torches that I saw on Pinterest…

They look a lot better than I thought they were going to turn out.

 

They are just cupcakes made in ice cream cones and topped with orange and yellow swirled icing.

 

The difficult part…transporting them.  I finally got them in the box, but now I am worried about getting them out for the event tonight!

 

They look good, although I was tired and not really in the mood to frost a ton of cupcakes last night.  The process, however, was a tad bit messy…

 

All in a day’s work!

Breakfast

Last night I prepped a bowl of overnight oats with some raw cacao (chocolate) action along with almond butter.  I recently made a batch of chocolate almond butter that tasted just like brownie batter…that is the flavor I was going for this morning.  It didn’t quite taste like brownie batter…but they did taste pretty darn good!

 

I then taught my usual Tuesday morning spin class, and got ready super fast afterward so that I could head to Starbucks and publish this post!

I decided to treat myself with a tall Cafe Misto with a side of banana bread sample.  The misto was a great decision, the banana bread was good…but mine is better 😉

This was my first time trying a Cafe Misto, and I am so glad that I did.  They are a great swap for a latte because they are about $0.50 cheaper and have slightly less calories.  I got mine plain, but you can add a syrup pump if plain is too boring for you.

 

Now, I’m off to work!

Have a great day!!

 

P.S.  Thank you so much for the kind comments and support from yesterday’s post.  It means more to me than you know!!

 

First Summer Festival of the Year

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Last night officially felt like summer.  After spending the day running, going to the farmer’s market, and then laying by the pool.  Brian and I joined two other couples for a dinner on the grill.

It was full of veggies and completely delicious.  We skewered brussel sprouts to cook on the grill after Erin (one of our friends) marinated them in a mixture of garlic, olive oil mustard, and some other spices that made a delicious combination.  I am going to have to get the recipe from her!

Our sides included fresh, tossed salad, brussel sprouts, green beans, and fruit salad.  Yum!

We ended the night by hanging out around the bon fire.  I can’t believe that summer is already here, but I am so glad that it is.

Breakfast Today

Brian and I ended up leaving a little early last night from the bon fire because I had a headache.  Unfortunately, it was a pretty bad one and it stayed all the way until the morning.

Whenever I get headaches like that, my body seems to crave carbohydrates…the starchy kind, so I started this morning with a bowl of egg white oats with some peaches and strawberries mixed in.  It was tasty and made me feel better.  Thankfully my headache went away.

I then spent the morning baking batches and batches of cookies for Brian to take on his camping trip.  I made Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chippers, Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips, Peanut Butter Cookies, and Morning Glory Muffins (recipe for these to come soon!)

We were then surprised when Brian’s aunt and Grandma stopped by to visit for a minute this morning and dropped off a little housewarming gift…almonds and little baggies so that we can pre-portion!  What a yummy snack!

After baking away the first half of the day and helping Brian make a playlist for his van full of high schoolers, it was time for a midday date!

Tomorrow is Brian and my 3 year anniversary, and since he is leaving tomorrow and I work all day I wanted to spend the day with him doing something special.  We packed up our bikes and headed downtown so that we could ride to the Talbot Street Art Fair.

It was perfect because they had a great bike parking area where they ticketed our bikes and gave us a matching wrist band so that nobody’s bikes got lost or stolen.  They had a great system!

Brian and I had never been to the art fair before and were extremely impressed by all of the little trinkets and beautiful pieces of art work.  There were a ton of people around and the weather was beautiful…a little hot, but we aren’t complaining 😉

While growing up, my family would always take advantage of the summer festivals in my hometown, and I still love these types of festivities.  I love the atmosphere, being around of a lot of people, and the different dynamic that each event brings to the city.  This was the first official summer festival of the year that Brian and I have attended, and I hope we have a chance to go to a few more!

After browsing around for a while, we were pretty hungry.  We decided to rest our feet and enjoy some gyros.  I got mine with just veggies and feta and Brian enjoyed a chicken gyro.  I had never had a gyro before, and it was really tasty!  I loved that the insides were super cold against the warm pita, especially since Brian and I were very hot!

After stopping at all of the booths in the art fair, Brian and I headed across the street to a cute little cupcake shop, 111 Cakery. After speaking with the owners husband and trying a delicious sample of their chocolate chip cookies, Brian and I caved and split a strawberry shortcake cupcake.  The cake itself tasted like a regular strawberry cupcake, but the best part was the little surprise of real strawberry filling inside.  Very tasty!

All in all, it was a great way to spend the afternoon.  I love day time dates!

We then came home, and while I prepared my meals for the week Brian’s dad made a delicious dinner of tossed salad, grilled veggies and scallops.

Just one summery thing after another!  I love the warm months and can’t wait to take advantage of all they have to offer.

I hope you all had an amazing weekend.  Now, it’s time to relax and watch a little Food Network Star, I love Sunday night traditions…almost as much as I love summer 😉

 

Just a Minute Abs…and Chocolate Cake

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Tonight, I am super excited because I will be teaching a 30 minute core class.  I love teaching classes like this because they are super quick, and when I workout on my rarely do I spend 30 minutes just focusing on my abs.  I usually just tag some planks and crunches on the end of a workout or run and call it good to go.

This is one of my favorite circuits, because it really allows you to challenge yourself.  There isn’t a certain number of repetitions required, so it challenges you to give it your all, do the most that you can, and have good form all within one minute.

Now, that we have done all of those crunches, let’s talk cake…chocolate cake…with wine.  While thinking up recipes for Easley Winery’s Cooking Made Easley page, I was completely inspired by the idea that I could substitute wine for the oil when making a boxed cake mix.  First, I made the Reggae Blush Strawberry Cake Balls…but I couldn’t stop there, I made Reggae Red Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcakes too!

The Reggae Red wine is easily (get it!) one of my favorites.  When it comes to wine, I am a sweet girl.  I can enjoy a couple of sips of a cabernet sauvignon or a merlot, but I can rarely finish a glass.  This Reggae Red wine is sweet, delicious, and to be honest, kind of tastes like juice!

Reggae Red Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcakes

What you Will Need:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 3.9 oz box of instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup Easley Reggae Red Wine
  • ½ cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk*

Instructions:

Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Mix at a medium speed for 2-3 minutes until the batter in smooth and thoroughly combined.

With an ice cream scoop, scoop batter evenly into cupcake liners.

Bake in the oven for 18 minutes, or until a clean knife inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for about a minute to soften.  Alternately, add in the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients.

*Only add the milk until the frosting is of the desired consistency.  You may need a little more, or a little less.

**Be careful licking the batter on these!!! The alcohol may get to you!! Don’t worry though, it all gets baked out while cooking 🙂

 

 

Tori and Kegan are Married!

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Yesterday started off nice and early with a breakfast date with Brian’s mom.  We headed to a little breakfast restaurant called Le Peep.  It is a simply little restaurant with a happy team of waiters giving the restaurant a very welcoming feel.

To start my day, I ordered a yogurt and fruit parfait with some egg whites on the side for extra protein.  I had to teach a spinning class afterwards and knew that I needed the extra energy boost.

After breakfast, spinning, and doing a little shopping, it was time to get ready for the big event of the evening…Tori and Kegan’s wedding!

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  It was beautifully sunny, and very warm so no jacket was needed for me!

The ceremony was held at the state house.  I had never been to the state house, but I knew that they had a lot of rules in regard to decorating for events, so I wasn’t quite sure what Tori and Kegan were going to do for their ceremony.

Everything was absolutely beautiful.  There were rose petals lining the aisle, and the beauty of the building was enough decoration on it’s own.

Because the state house was downtown and the reception was downtown most people walked from one location to the next.  We made a sign so that everyone attending the wedding could follow us as we led the way through downtown Indy to get to the reception.  We called it the Boover Bash (because of Tori’s request).  Boover combines Bertsch (Tori’s last name) and Hoover (Kegan’s last name).  How clever!

Before heading out to the reception, we waited outside the state house to send Tori and Kegan away in a horse drawn carriage.  So romantic.

Once we arrived at the reception venue, it was time for cocktail hour to begin.  The tables were not available for seating yet, but of course I had to take a peak at the decorations 😉

Little appetizers were served, and I think the bruschetta was the best.  The toast was very crisp, and the bruschetta was cold.  The flavors and textures blended together perfectly.

Tori and Kegan provided sunglasses with their names and wedding date as party favors.

And in the women’s bathroom there were flip-flops, so all of the girls could kick off their heels and hit the dance floor.  You better believe I took advantage of that!

Instead of having a full cake, they had a ton of little cupcakes from a local cupcake bakery called the Flying Cupcake.  There is a Flying Cupcake located right by Butler, so we were all familiar with their decadent, famous Red Velvet Elvis cupcake.

The wedding party sporting their shades

Dinner was served and was absolutely delicious.  We began the meal with a salad.

But the main course is where the real action happened.  I opted for the vegetarian meal and was completely happy with that decision.  The eggplant parmesan was delicious and filling.

After dinner it was time to cut the cake, Tori and Kegan were kind and didn’t make a big cake mess on the other’s face.

 Since we were seated right by the cupcakes, our entire table had been eyeing them since we walked in the door and couldn’t wait to have our share.

I snagged a mini red velvet and a regular “What’s Up Doc” (carrot cake) to share with Brian.  Delish!

 Tori and Kegan had their first dance to “Crazy Love” sung by their amazing wedding band.

 And the rest of the night was spent dancing on the dance floor.  The music was a live band the entire night called My Yellow Rickshaw and they were so great!  They all had great personalities and speaking voices as well as a great repertoire of popular current music.  It was such a fun night.  The head of the band played the fiddle and ended the night with a personal favorite of mine….The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

It was perfect in every single way.  I am so happy for Tori and Kegan to finally start their lives together as husband and wife!

If It’s Free…Sign Me Up!

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Today was our last day watching Bella 😦  We were sad to leave, but it will be good to clean up our apartment and get back into that “normal” schedule again.

Workout

I started off the day with a 5 mile run as part of my half marathon training program.  It was a great run and didn’t feel too fatigued afterward.  The worst part was that it was soo dang hot and humid this morning that I had to run into Starbucks and ask them for a free water…thankfully they gave it to me.

5 miles down! 8 more to go!

Breakfast

I had a delicious banana honey smoothie this morning.  It was nice and refreshing, which is just what I needed after that hot and sweaty run.

Banana Smoothie:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Xanthum Gum
  • Ice and Water

I made Brian pancakes for our last breakfast together in Bella’s house.

When we arrived home I had a nice surprise waiting for me…my ACE Personal Trainer Certification!!! Now, I really feel like it’s official 😉 I even get a nifty card to carry with me in my wallet.

I then made myself a quick and light lunch.  Brenna and I went to a bridal show and I wasn’t sure if there would be food there or not.

The Bridal Show was so much fun!  Brenna and I both went in not really knowing what to expect.  Right off the bat they handed me a bag full of goodies and a boa to designate me as the bride-to-be.  There were feathers everywhere in the expo hall because of the boas…but it was still a cute idea!

There were sample table settings, candy bars, floral arrangements…basically you name it, they had it.

They were also constantly giving out free stuff (which Bren and I looove!)  I think that we got it from our Mom, but seriously, whenever there is something free, even if we don’t need it, Mom, Brenna, and I will go nuts over it.  We also get slightly competitive when necessary.  I won $100 off of a photo package at one booth…so exciting!

There were cake samples GALORE…my favorite were the blueberry cupcakes from The Cakehole.  Usually, I am not very impressed with wedding cake because the frosting is too thick for my taste and the cake is too dry, but this cake was soft and moist with the most delicious blueberry flavor, and the frosting was light and fluffy with just the right sweetness!  To die for 🙂

There was a wheel for all of the brides to spin…when I spun I won $25 worth of thank you notes from Your Style Invitations.

The Cakehole then started to giveaway their mini cupcakes…so I grabbed myself a box!

It was a great afternoon spent with my sister and maid-of-honor.  Now, it’s time to clean the apartment and get ready for the week.

Cauldron Cakes

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Last night was fun and late and I have lots to update you with, but for now I will leave you with this…

Cauldron Cakes (adapted from Cook Like a Champion)

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

  • 8 tablespoons margarine, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Preparation:

Place oven rack in lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour a 12 cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl, combine butter, chocolate and cocoa. Set over a small saucepan with simmering water and heat until melted. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk eggs. Add sugar, vanilla and salt and mix on medium-low speed until combined. Add cooled chocolate mixture and continue mixing until chocolate is incorporated. Sift in one-third of the flour mixture and continue mixing, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Mix in sour cream, then sift in remaining flour mixture. Continue mixing and scraping the bowl until everything is combined. The batter will be thick. Divide batter evenly into muffin pan cups and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Chocolate Mousse Filling

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons hot water
  • 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preparation:

In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and water; set aside. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Set over a small saucepan with simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip cream, sugar and salt at medium speed until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue whipping until soft peaks form. Whisk the cocoa mixture into the chocolate until smooth. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Using a rubber spatula, fold in remaining cream until combined and no white streaks remain.

Cupcake Assembly:

Place a sheet of wax paper on a small cutting board or flat plate. Set aside. Remove centers of cupcakes using the cone method. Melt about 6 ounces of chocolate in a shallow bowl in microwave. Dip the tops of the cupcakes and set aside. Place remaining chocolate in a plastic bag or use the edge of a spoon. Pipe/shape cauldron handles onto wax paper and place in freezer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pipe or spoon mousse into cupcakes. Once the chocolate handles are cooled completely, remove from wax paper and place on top of each cupcake.