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Friday Tangents and a Mixed Bag Workout

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Yesterday morning, I taught my Cardio Intervals group fitness class.  I have been teaching this class since May and have had a pretty solid little group of participants.  Most weeks, I would have a new circuit style routine featuring alternating cardio and strength exercises to get the heart rate up in quick bursts.

Because next week is the last class (this gym changes classes each semester based on a school schedule), I decided to throw a little curve ball at the class.  Yesterday, I let THEM create the workout!! It was actually really fun!

I took each of the exercises that we had completed in workouts throughout the summer and put them in two baggies.  One for Cardio (C) and one for Strength (S).  The participants then alternated and picked 4 from the C bag and 4 from the S bag.

The workout turned out to be challenging, fun, and a great workout!!  We will be picking from the bag next week too!

 

I then got home and had the best kind of mail waiting for me…..the kind where I get something free!!!!

I entered a Peanut Butter & Co. Twitter contest last week, and won a free jar of peanut butter plus a ton of other coupons for discounted PB!! 🙂

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the jar of peanut butter right there because I was pretty hungry and ready for dinner…so I got to work in the kitchen creating some salmon patties…

Dinner Kind of Flopped….

 

They tasted good, but they didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted.  The consistency was a little crumbly…so back to the drawing board for that one!  At least this flop was still edible 🙂

 

Breakfast

This morning was a morning for protein pancakes.   I wanted to make sure to eat a hearty breakfast because after work I am planning on running between 5 and 7 miles.

 

I am running a half marathon in late September and really need to kick my butt back into training gear.  I was doing pretty good (I had gotten up to 7 miles) about a month ago, but had to take a break so that I could focus on putting together group classes and learning Body Pump choreography.  Now that I am all caught up (kind of…) and the race is soon, back to training I go!!!

Have a happy Friday, and don’t forget that you can still enter my contest for a Grocery List Consultation and Evaluation simply by liking me on Facebook and commenting on yesterday’s blog post!! The winner will be picked tomorrow morning.

Super Secret Sample and Bananay Oats!

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Last night, one of the frequent travelers to one of the hotels that I work at brought in a little surprise.  He has been traveling to Indianapolis for months now working on this project and  I got to try some before it even hit the shelves!

Sorry I can’t say what it is, but it will roll out October 1 🙂  It was a fun little way to spend one of my long days at work.

Breakfast

Yesterday, I was a complete slow-poke in the morning….for absolutely no reason at all.  Today, I want to start things off right and get where I need to be on time without completely rushing around like a crazy person.  I helped myself out a bit by preparing my breakfast last night…overnight oats that taste like banana bread!

Instead of peanut butter I put a teaspoon of homemade cashew butter…so good…and I put some frozen bananas in the mix last night.  When I woke up, the bananas were all mushy, and the perfect consistency to mash around in my oat bowl.

The result was a thick, creamy, sweet, bananay bowl of goodness.

Workout

This morning I teach my cardio intervals class.  I usually change the workout, but I have been keeping the same format throughout the entire summer.  There are eight exercises that get completed for one minute each.  During that minute, I want my class (and me!) working their little hearts out to the best of each person’s ability.  We then take a quick water break, go back to the top and cut out the last exercise, so we only complete seven the second round, then six the third, five the fourth, and so on…

The class loves the format and always tells me how quickly class goes by!

Click here for a “how-to bear crawl” video 

I can’t believe that it is Thursday already!! EEK! Tonight, I am team teaching a Body Pump class then I have lots to do to prepare for the weekend…wish me luck and have a great day!

Of Possible Reading Interest

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!!

 

My First Official Launch and Zucchini Complete Breakfast

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Good morning!

I have to start by saying that last night’s launch was amazing!  We had such a great turnout for all of the classes and we all had so much fun doing it.  I have to admit that I was pretty nervous before teaching my two tracks in the new Body Pump release, but after doing it once, I wanted to get right back up there and do it again!

We are already starting to brainstorm about our next launch in October!

Breakfast

To make things even better, I started my day with a delicious breakfast as well.

I feel like I am constantly searching for a way to incorporate veggies into my breakfast since I typically go for the sweeter stuff in the morning.  This breakfast is a complete meal in that it counts as one serving of veggies, 2 servings of starch, 1 serving of good fat, and 1 serving of protein.  All that you need to do is add a little fruit on top (I think strawberries taste delicious with this little cake!) and you have all of your food groups covered.  This little breakfast cake would be perfect to prepare ahead of time and eat in those mornings when you are on the go.

Zucchini Breakfast Cake

Yield:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of zucchini
  • 2 cups of oats or oat flour
  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 6-8 packets of stevia (you can do this to taste, it really depends on how sweet you like things)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In food processor or blender place zucchini, egg whites, and almond milk.  Combine the zucchini mixture with all of the other ingredients and mix until combined.  Place in large muffin tins, or in an 8×8 baking pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Store in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!!!

Nutrition:

Calories:  324.9  Fat:  11.6g  Carbs:  60.6g  Protein:  19.7g

Have a great Tuesday!

Koru: Representation of Strength

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First things first…breakfast!

I started out my morning with a batch of protein pancakes topped with homemade almond butter, strawberries, and a side of Greek yogurt.  So good! Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day.

I needed to start out the day with good fuel in my tummy, because today is a very exciting day for me.

The gym that I teach Body Pump at launches the new release of Body Pump today…and I am teaching two of the tracks!

If you are new to the blog, I recently completed the initial training module for Body Pump, and I am loving every step of this new fitness journey.  I worked hard to create a great video tape of a class that I taught, sent it in and I am anxiously awaiting the video assessment results.  In the mean time,  I have been subbing classes and I also started teaching my very own class once a week.

Secret Package

On Thursday, I got a notice in the mail that I had a package waiting for me at the post office.  I had just ordered a Les Mills Body Pump workout tank top, so I thought that is what my package was.  Because I head into work before the post office opens, I had Brian pick up the mystery package.

Once he picked up the package, he called me sounding pretty confused.  I thought for sure that the package was my new workout top, but Brian explained that the package was very small…too small for a tank top, and from Indonesia.  What could it be???

When he opened it up and explained to me that it was a bone carved necklace, I knew exactly what it was!

When I started attending Body Pump and other Les Mills classes, I noticed similar necklaces on the instructors’ necks.  When I was in training, the trainers and some of the participants had necklaces on too.  I didn’t know what the necklaces were, but I suspected  that they were a symbol Les Mills used to represent strength.

My mom, being the sneak that she is, secretly asked her Body Pump instructor about the necklace that she wore and where she could purchase one for me to help me in my new fitness journey.

The necklace is a New Zealand koru, symbolizing growth, new life, strength, and peace.  Because Les Mills originated in New Zealand, several Les Mills instructors wear these necklaces to provide them with personal, mental, and physical strength while teaching.

I received my necklace just in time to teach my first official class and right before the new launch.  It is the perfect symbol of strength and personal growth, and I can’t wait to wear it at each class and see where my new Les Mills and Body Pump fitness road takes me.

Wish me luck at the launch tonight!

Do you have anything that you wear or keep with you to help symbolize strength???

My New-To-Me Favorite Exercise Move!

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Yesterday was a much needed day of rest and relaxation.  After practicing body pump for a couple of hours, I was ready to join my friends down at the pool.  While they enjoyed alcoholic beverages, I thought that with the heat (it was 100 degrees!!), the fact that I ran 6 miles in this blazing heat, and my extreme exhaustion, I thought that hydrating would be better for my body than dehydrating…so I sipped on VitaCoco coconut water out of a red cup so that I looked like I was part of the crowd 🙂

Since Brian and I knew that we were going to be away from the house all day long, I made sure to pack my 6 meals so that I wasn’t starving or in a situation without food.  Dinner, was a simple baked piece of cod, roasted broccoli, and an unpictured rice cake.  Nice and easy, I was so thankful to have packed my bag of meals the night before.

Workout

Another reason I had to take it easy yesterday was so I could teach my Cardio Intervals class this morning.  I am absolutely LOVING teaching this class because it is fun, guaranteed to work up a sweat, and the group of regulars I have coming to my class is great!  They always tell me how shocked they are when class is over because the hour goes by so fast.  Time flies when you are having fun…

This week’s workout included one of my new-to-me favorite moves…Suitcase Crunches.

Caterpillars:

Begin with your body in a plank position, making sure to keep that booty in line with the rest of your body.

Walk your feet in to your hands, placing your body in a pike position.  Keep that belly button pulled into the spine!

Walk your hands away from your feet back into plank position, and repeat by walking your feet into the pike position.

Suitcase Crunches (this is one of my favorites!):

Begin holding a weight with your arms extended above your head and your legs straight and flat on the ground.

Pull the weight down toward your feet and bring your right leg into your chest, peeling your shoulder blades off the ground.

Repeat on the second side


Link to how to perform the carrioca.  Enjoy the workout!

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Bachelorette Party and Weekend Recap!

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*Warning:  some of these photos are extremely blurry…

Yesterday, we celebrated Erin’s upcoming wedding with her bachelorette party.  The day was FULL of activities and I felt so special to be included in all of it!

We started the day bright and early heading out to the lake where we rented a boat.  With a slide on the back!  We literally spent the entire day in the sun…it was glorious!

We then showered and got ready as fast as we could so that we could get back in time for dinner, presents, and the CHICKEN LIMO!

We tried to all fit in the lovely chicken limo…but unfortunately it literally started dragging and squeeking on the bottom…so we had to have the limo driver take two trips…oops!

That would be the chicken limo behind us

The bachelorette herself!

It was a great day and night, everything was perfect and memorable!

Today

Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday.  He spent the day in Fort Wayne celebrating with mom, but this morning, my sister and I took him out for breakfast at a little restaurant called Biscuits.

This restaurant is a little hole in the wall place that serves breakfast and Mexican all day.  Two random things to put together?  Not at this joint!  And their specialty?  Biscuits and gravy of course! It is located between 5 and 10 minutes from where I went to college, and I remember many a hung over morning heading to this eatery for some delicious biscuits and gravy.

Even though the memories from the past are from those glorious morning after moments, my sister and I agreed that the food served seemed like the perfect “Dad” food.

I enjoyed an egg white omelette with veggies…honestly, I was kind of surprised that they could do egg whites!  It was pretty tasty 😉

It was great to see Dad and my sister Brenna this morning, what a great way to start the day!

Body Pump

Today marked a pretty big milestone in my group fitness and Les Mills career…I taught my very first Body Pump class completely solo.  That’s right, no video taping, no other instructors around…just me.

Did I make a couple of mistakes….yes, but did I keep going, have fun, and finish on time…YES!  It was a great feeling.  The band-aid has been ripped off, and now I can’t wait to do it again.

Sunday Errands

After Body Pump, I drove to the grocery store and on the way I snacked on a Lemon Zest Luna Bar….so yummy!

I love little bars like this because I wasn’t starving because I had only eaten breakfast a couple of hours before, but I knew that I needed to eat something so that I didn’t want to buy everything at the grocery store.  They are so small and easy to throw in your bag and have on hand all the time…it’s my “emergency food.”

I headed to the store, filled up my cart with lots of goodies, then headed back to the house to fix up my meals and snacks for the week.

I love that on Sundays I “have” to do the things that I love….shop and cook!

Now, I’m off to prepare a workout for a class that I am teaching tomorrow morning featuring…

the Bosu Ball…post including the workout coming soon!!

I hope you all had an amazing weekend, and are getting ready to start the work week off on the right food tomorrow!

7 Layer Webinar

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Last night, I mentioned that I had a little time zone mix up with a webinar I was scheduled to attend.  Luckily, it was in my favor and I had an extra hour of time before the webinar actually started.

Once 8pm hit the clock, I was ready!  I was completely prepared with water to drink and pen and paper for notes.

The Seven Layer Cake

The webinar was the introduction to a 7-8 part webinar series that will actually take us all the way into October.  Cameron Chinatti, the Director of Education at Stages Indoor Cycling will be presenting almost every other week, educating us on how to effectively communicate with our indoor cycling classes.

Some of the challenges that we face as instructors (and if you attend group fitness I am sure you know!) are how to effectively communicate what to feel, figuring out how to say the same thing in many different “languages”, teaching a class that is effective for the intermediates in the room but uses enough coaching for the newbies.

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Cameron said that we will be addressing all of those issues.  She is going to show us how to think about things in the group fitness atmosphere much like a personal trainer does by setting goals for the class so that as a team we can have measurable results.  I like the sounds of that!

Over the course of the 7 or 8 webinars we will be covering everything that takes place in an indoor cycling class from the introduction at the start of class, how to bring awareness to the participants of what they are actually doing, all the way down to the music that we choose (or the icing on the cake as Cameron likes to say!).

I think we have all been in a situation where we have had an amazing instructor that really pushes us to the limits, but also keeps everything safe and integrates his or her knowledge of the body seamlessly into the workout.  On the other hand, we have all been in the class where we either felt completely over worked, or we felt like we had to do another workout afterward.

When I teach my group classes, I don’t want to be in either of those scenarios.  I am very excited for this education.  So many people communicate in so many different ways, and as an instructor we have to tap into all of those methods.  I am excited to be able to use measurable goals with my classes, and overall better my coaching ability.

If you are interested in joining, you can still register for the next segment “Layer 1:  Introductions” which is on Wednesday June 27 at 8pm Eastern time.

Question of the Morning:

What has been your best or worst group fitness experience?  What could have made it better?

Share some stories!

I Found My Inspiration

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Last night after Body Pump, I was parched, but I could not find my water bottle anywhere…luckily I have a backup.  When I got in the car to head to the gym to teach this morning, I figured out where I left my bottle…

I would rather be safe than sorry, thank goodness for double water bottles.

We then had an amazingly sweaty workout session.  Seriously, this workout was hard, but it felt good.  It was the kind of hard where you have to talk yourself into finishing, and at the end you are so glad you did.  Literally, I was drenched by the end.

Here is what we did in our second round of Cardio Intervals:

Running Inspiration

As soon as I got home, I switched my top (yeah, I was that sweaty), and headed out for my 7 mile run.  Yes it was the first time this week that I went for a run, but I was feeling good.

The run started out pretty slow.  I decided to go downtown and run through the city, so there was a lot of stopping at stop lights, going up and down streets trying to avoid stop lights, and basically I wasn’t really pushing myself.  At the beginning of the run, I honestly thought to myself

“Just log the miles…”

Then I saw her.  My running inspiration.  She didn’t look over the top fit, she didn’t have amazingly long legs, but she was taking long strides, she looked confidant and like she was enjoying every step that she took.

In that instant, I changed my mindset of “trying to log the miles” into “I want to challenge myself, and enjoy this run!”  My short, quick steps turned into (what felt like) long, luxurious strides.  I sang along with my ipod, looked around the people walking through the city, and the next thing I knew, my run was finished.  I felt great, accomplished, even more sweaty than when I started, and satisfied.

Sometimes it is easy to forget why we do what we do.  No one MADE me go on that run at 8:30 this morning, I wanted to go, so why shouldn’t I enjoy every second of it?  I am so glad that I found my inspiration.

Today’s run:  7 miles with an 8:53 pace.  16 seconds per minute quicker than last time.

After stretching, I then made myself a delicious Pineapple Banana Smoothie, and I drank it as Brian and I layed by the pool 😉

Pineapple Banana Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup Almond Breeze unsweetened almond coconut milk
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Chobani plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet of stevia
  • ice cubes and water to desired consistency

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into your favorite cup and enjoy!

Nutrition:

Calories:   246.3  Fat:   2.9g  Carbs:   38.6g  Protein:   20.6g

The protein powder and the Greek yogurt give this smoothie a protein punch to aid in muscle recovery after a hard workout.

Brian and I relaxing in the morning sun

I hope you all have a great Thursday in preparation for the long weekend, and basically the first weekend of summer!

Question of the Morning:

  • What was your workout today?

Freestyle vs. Choreographed

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Good afternoon friends!

Today’s lunch used up some sweet potato that was on it’s last leg.  I couldn’t let it go to waste, but it was super simple to cook up.

Baked Sweet Potato

  1. First rinse off the sweet potato and cut it into whatever shapes you want.  I opted for rounds, but you do sticks, or a mixture of both!
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Place the sweet potato on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle the sweet potato with your desired seasoning (seasoned salt, salt and pepper, garlic salt, cinnamon, etc)
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping them over at the halfway point.
  6. Once they are done, you can enjoy them immediately as “sweet potato fries” and dip them in your favorite dip (honey mustard, ketchup, ranch…) you can also enjoy them warm in your salad (like I did today) or you can even store them in the fridge for a snack or for  meal at a later date.

I enjoyed my baked sweet potato on top of a bed of greens with tomato, onion, celery, bell pepper, baked tofu, and balsamic vinegar.  Tasty if you ask me!

Planning My Workout Class

I spent the majority of my morning planning out a new-to-me class that I am teaching tomorrow called Yoga Sculpt.  This is a vinyasa based yoga class that incorporates strength training into traditional yoga poses to improve mind-body balance, body composition, and overall fitness.  I was given an outline to follow as far as what needs to be included in the class, but then it was my job to fill in the blanks.

I typed up my lesson plan, but unfortunately there isn’t a library of stick men in yoga poses, so I had to draw those little guys out.  That task is a lot harder than you think…how would you draw a stickman doing bicep curls in tree pose?

It was fun planning this class out for me, but it definitely took me a little bit to get into the mode.  I feel like I have been Body Pumping it out so much lately along with teaching the spinning classes that I used on the cruise ship that I haven’t really had to think up a group fitness class.  After I got into the groove, though, it was just like riding a bike and the exercise ideas began to flow like water.

There are two basic formats of group fitness:  Pre-Choreographed (like Les Mills and Zumba) and Freestyle (which are things like boot camp, core classes, circuit training, etc).  I can honestly say that I truly enjoy both formats.  I feel like there is definitely a time and a place for each option and, for me, it is good to keep both formats in my repertoire.

Question of the Afternoon:

  • If you attend group fitness classes, do you prefer pre-choreographed or freestyle?  Did you even know there was a difference?