What change means.

This year has revolved around a whole heck of a lot of change for me — and most of that change was by design. After proclaiming 2012 as my ‘year of no limits’, I’ve intentionally looked for change. Seeking out opportunities to try new things, get out of comfort zones, break down boundaries. Get uncomfortable, stay there, even if I was afraid of it.

And it’s that mentality that has paid off in spades for me this year. Worth. It.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a LOT about what change means…and after recent reading got my wheels turning even more on the change front, I thought it was time to blog about it here.

What change means…perception. What tends to be the hardest part about change? Not the physical act of the change on your day-to-day life, but the perception change that often takes far longer to happen.

I’ll give you two examples.

Example #1: It’s no secret that I’ve shed a few pounds and inches this past year thanks to my focus on barre n9ne, and it’s changed my body in some pretty awesome ways. I’m very proud to say that today (and no, I don’t believe it’s vain to feel proud of hard work like that). Yet, I still sometimes find myself struggling with self-perception. I sometimes look in the mirror and “see” imperfections that truly aren’t there. I sometimes sit and fear that I’ll suddenly revert to the “old” me from a year ago who was unhappy, frustrated, sad. To me, that’s a sign that my brain hasn’t fully caught up to who I am, what I’ve become, and where I’m going…yet. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just one of those “things” that comes with change — the need to accept and embrace new perceptions as a result of whatever change is going on in your life.

Example #2: At work, I used to find myself happily set in my ways, head down, working away, not often making time to socialize around the office or whatever. Now, in this (sorta new) job of mine? I recognize that the ‘heads-down’ mentality isn’t always the right approach. I’ve always been a work-horse on the job, proud of myself for being able to juggle a lot, and plow through to-do items like a fiend. But sometimes? It’s not about ticking items off a list, spending your days like you’ve always spent them.  Sometimes, it’s about the communications and socialization aspect of my job that matters more. Sometimes its about doing things, seeing things, approaching things…differently. It’s something I’m constantly pushing myself towards — it’s an uncomfortable area for me, for sure, but it’s good, needed change. But again, it’s a perception thing (and a habit thing for sure) for me…it’s time to shift it.

What change means…facing fears.  Fear is a hard emotion to face, and even harder to overcome. Fear of the unknown. Fear of heading into un-charted waters that you maybe have yet to face at all in your 20-30-40+ years on this earth. But what I’ve learned this past year? The more you face fears, the more you seek change, the more you LIKE change and want more of it. I’ve found it to be crazy liberating to finally be at a point where I can enjoy change vs. run from it.

Heather’s post that I linked to above struck such a chord with me yesterday when I first read it. Her words from the Lululemon retreat she just went on:

When you stand in nothing*, you open doors to possibility.

Let those words settle in for a sec.
…unreal, right??

When you let nothing get in your way (preconceived notions, perceptions, fears),the sky is truly the limit. Change becomes the gateway to those “doors of possibility.”

…the more I think about it, the more I’m digging these “doors of possibility.” Where’s the doorknob? 😉


Seeking motivation mojo?

Last night, I was trying to amp myself up for a run with my husband. By now, you all know how much I love our rundates…I just tend to love them MORE when they happen in the morning before excuses have a chance to settle in.

So what did I do?

I turned to twitter for a little motivation mojo

Jess Sutera
JessFit654 Jess Sutera
T-minus 30 minutes until my run. Must. Wake. Up. Someone tell me to run like the wind tonight! I need to get excited about this! #runchat
And you, my friends, responded with just the right words, as usual!  
Melissa Burton
@JessFit654 Run like the wind! Run for me (since I can’t right now)
Roz Griffiths
@JessFit654 Run like the wind! Run like you stole it! Run for the hills! Run!! 🙂
Jessica Bold
@JessFit654: run like the wind! You’ll wake up once you get out there. 🙂
Stephanie Greenough
@JessFit654 Take that light, fit little body of yours and have a successful fun run before dinner with Scott!!

Now really – how could I *not* be amped up to get my run on after such motivating tweets??

And amped up is exactly how I’d describe our run last night. Holy speedy legs! Even my husband – who is most definitely a fast runner (but runs my pace so we can run together, what a guy…) – proclaimed our run was a fast one last night.

I was feeling particular good – perhaps because I was taking those fancy schmancy new sneakers of mine to the road vs. the ‘mill for the first time. Or perhaps because the weather was awesome for a rundate last night – a little warmer than usual, a slight breeze, a bit of sunshine left at the tail end of the day. We ran a good pace, caught up on our day and were feeling really good. Especially towards the end of our run, when we saw Scott’s best friend Justin drive by us. In true Justin form, he yelled out the window “RUN!!!” So I used that as my cue to run extra hard that final half mile. Which resulted in a nice sweaty runner’s glow…as you can see here:

(my husband doubles as my personal photographer…he indulges me, we’ll say that, haha) 

So, the moral of this story? In similar fashion to twitter accountability for early morning workout motivation, twitter for motivation mojo works wonders, as exhibited by last night’s fabulously sweaty 6.5 miler.

Give it a try sometime – twitter for accountability, or for motivation mojo – I promise it’ll never let you down. 🙂

On practicing what I preach

Soooo…apparently I’m *really* good at doling out advice and chatting up words of wisdom with ya’ll but the real question is:

Do I practice what I preach??

I give myself a “hell yeah!” on that one, and here’s why…

…last week I talked about my love/hate relationship with the dreadmill. You all offered up some awesome advice — and made me feel much better about not being the only one who has a hard time staying on the treadmill longer than a couple of miles.

So guess what I did the very next morning? I faced that dreadmill vs. going for a run outdoors (which I totally could have done that morning, too). And I managed 6.4 miles in just about an hour. On the dreadmill.

Amazing, right? Wellll…kinda.

Two things that worked for me and got me over that 6.0 mile hump:
– I tweeted out my intentions the night prior. Holy motivation and accountability! Whenever I wanted to hop off the treadmill early the next morning, I thought back to that tweet and soldiered on. Call it pride. Call it stubborness. Call it accountability. Whatever. It totally kept me moving, no matter how much I wanted to call it quits early.

– I found a TV show on-demand that I hadn’t watched in awhile and figured it would keep me good and preoccupied for the hour. Totally worked. I got caught up in the storyline and it was enough distraction to keep me chugging along (that and once I got over the 3 mile hump, it somehow felt less painful as the miles started to tick by, oddly enough).  And believe it or not, the longer I stuck to the miles, the quicker my pace – by the end of that hour, I was running in the 7.0- 7.5 range, with a final kick of 8.5!

…I mentioned staying “there” in the final mile or two of each run, focusing on pushing hard, staying in the moment versus letting my mind wander. On Sunday, I put that one to the test as well. My legs were kind of unhappy with me after Saturday’s 8-miler so we went with an old familiar 4.5 mile loop of ours. It was a gorgeous Sunday morning, nice fall feel to the air, ideal for running. My legs got me through the first 4 miles and I was about ready to phone it in for that last .5 mile. But I thought of that post, and my husband’s advice to stay ‘there” and I focused as hard as I could that final half mile. ANd I pushed it. Wicked hahd. Kinda felt like I wanted to puke near the end. Mission: accomplished. 

So yeah…I ‘spose I do practice what I preach, huh? Who knew?! 😉

And on that note, cheers to what I’m hoping will be a fantastic week, filled with awesome running weather, lots of barre n9ne and maybe, just maybe, a surprise visit to Core Fusion (more on this later).  A fun, fitness filled week…I’ll throw that on my “to enjoy” list for the week. How ’bout you? 

barre n9ne –what’s working (for me)

<warning – uber long post, sorry!>

Well, a lotapparently. 😉

But seriously – I figure a lot of this barre n9ne challenge feels a bit like a mystery to all of you so I thought I’d break it down a little bit more for you. Especially the “what’s working” piece.

I’ve already talked a little bit about what makes a barre-style workout so awesome, but I thought I’d dig a layer deeper and talk about why this particular style of workout works so well – not just the barre classes, but the non-barre work, too. And as usual, this is coming from me, the non-fitness professional – just a diehard wannabe fitness professional. 😉

The barre n9ne challenge – what’s working for me:

The food log – this is at the top of the list for a reason. Admittedly, the food log scared the pants off of me at first. And it scared me for a reason, clearly. I needed it. In a big way. In a MUCH bigger way than I realized going into this challenge. I was so afraid I’d feel utterly chained down and restricted and that I’d hate every second of the log. Instead, it’s turned into an amazing tool, and a giant eye-opener. Not that I was eating bad – I wasn’t. I was just eating a lot more calories than I needed – albeit healthy foods made up most of that list, but like I said, it was too many calories for what my body needed. The whole “calories in/calories out” rule totally applies. Now, I eat the same amount of calories regardless of it being a Tuesday or a Saturday. I might be having wine on Saturday vs. on Tuesday but I’ve learned to plan for those indulgences. Instead of eating all that I want AND having a couple of glasses of wine, I’m eating a little bit less (or going for foods that are less calorically dense) so that I can afford to have a glass of wine (or chocolate brownie or whatever) on a Saturday night. Before this, I used to routinely have a cheat weekend day where nothing was off limits. Calories didn’t matter. Oy. Not anymore. And surprisingly, I’ve adjusted to the “planning” aspect of the weekends ridiculously well. I’m personally shocked that it’s not been nearly as painful as I thought. Um, wow. I’ve been jabbering on about this food log here, I guess I should’ve written a whole post just on that, who knew!?

Moving on…

Lotsa reps and teensy tiny movements – I sort of covered this in my last post on what makes these workouts so awesomely effective, but I wanted to make the distinction between the barre work and the none-barre workouts that make up the barre n9ne challenge. As I’ve said, those barre workouts are incredible with their tiny up/down movements that leave lasting “damage” effects on those legs and that butt. It’s the isolation of each body part combined with a ridiculously long set of those tiny moves per body part this is killer. The light weights used for each exercise (either bodyweight – at the barre, during planks and pushups – or very light 1-3 lb dumbells) is also pretty critical here. Light weights/high reps is an endurance style of weight training – it’s meant for increasing your overall endurance and typically produces leaner muscles than heavier weight training routines do (that focus on power vs. endurance). And this is why I love it. For the first time, I’m seeing more defined muscles. They look “pretty” versus “jacked” – if that distinction makes any sense! And NOT that “jacked” isn’t a hot look – because it totally can be – but for me, I’m digging the “pretty” defined/lean look my body is starting to take on. I credit the balance between the barre work and the non-barre work for that. I’d call the non-barre work a more focused concentration on core and upper body strength with barre work focused more on lower body conditioning (though, there is PLENTY of lower body conditioning happening during the leg work in Tanya’s long & lean legs class, lemme tell ya!).

Cardio – Although barre n9ne classes are a major focus of this challenge, cardio is an important component as you’ve no doubt seen by now. Especially since I so-very-smartly decided to sign up for another half marathon in the midst of the barre n9ne challenge! So, mixed in with barre n9ne classes, as most of you have seen, I’ve been running 4 (sometimes 5) days a week. I definitely put this in the “what’s working” for me category of the challenge. Personally, my body responds best when I’m doing a good amount of cardio so I knew I couldn’t nix it from my routine during the challenge. I made sure Tanya knew this going into things – my one caveat was “I can’t stop running” to which she happily obliged. Thank god! 😉

I guess what I’m trying to say here is this – at it’s very basic, the barre n9ne challenge has been about three things:

Healthy eating;
total body conditioning;
and cardio.

Essentially – a very well balanced and focused wellness program – but one that absolutely requires 100% 24/7 dedication. But it’s a wellness program that works. Like 6 inches gone, “works.” It’s stunningly effective and I *almost* want to hit fast-forward to see where we land in 30 more days. But then, the challenge would be over and well, I’m just not ready for that yet. 😉

I hope this rambly, wicked long post explains some of the “why it works” for all of you. If not, I promise you’ll see a post from Tanya soon that goes into more detail (since she *is* a fitness professional, hehe). <–and oddly enough? As I was drafting this post up tonight? I noticed that Tanya posted a little bit more on why this program is working on her blog, check it out (so weird, we have ESP or something?!)

On workout “cycles…”

So last night I hit up Group Kick – a class I not only love, love, love, but am also certified to teach, as you know. My sis and I reacted the exact same way to the class last night. Which totally inspired this very blog post.

Our reaction? 

In a word: “Meh.”

It was just ok. And at first I wasn’t sure why.
I thought well – maybe I was tired (truth). Or, I don’t love the new release as much as previous releases (truth). Or, maybe it was simply just an “off” workout for me (maybe?). They aren’t all going to be rockstar, right?

As soon as I mentioned it to my sis, she agreed, 100%. <—shocking, right? 

SO, in talking about all the reasons why we felt so “meh” afterwards, we came to an interesting conclusion. My sis mentioned the whole concept of workout “cycles.”

YES! That’s it exactly: whether we know it or not, we all go through workout “cycles.” Cycles where we love a particular workout, cannot get enough of it. And months later – we’ve moved onto something else.

For me, this has happened much more often for me than I realized (until I started writing this post, even)

…it’s happened with weight training. (and came flooding back, as you’ve seen here)

…it’s happened a million times with core work. (thank you Core Fusion, and now, Barre N9NE!)

…it’s happened with cardio, even. (until a particularly killer Ride class lures me back in).

…it’s happened with running.(thank you running mojo for slowly coming back!)

But one workout that never seemed to be impacted was Kick.
Until now.

I mean, sure – after the high of getting certified kind of “wore off,” I was maybe slightly less kick-crazy, but I still loved it. I still love it even though I don’t teach anymore. And until last night, I still loved getting to class at least once per week for a nice ass-kicking workout.

But apparently, it’s time for me to push Kick aside for a bit. A little time away may do me some good – and let’s be honest, timing couldn’t be more perfect. With the Barre N9NE challenge starting next week, I surely will not have time for a workout I’m not even digging all that much lately. So, I’m ready to say “goodbye” (for now) to Kick, in favor of new challenges. I’m pretty sure Kick will be back in my life in some shape or form soon, but for now, I’m at peace with it.

Does this whole concept of workout “cycles” make sense and/or resonate with you? Or am I one of few that tends to cycle through workout loves now and then? I sure hope I’m not in the minority on this one – especially since I firmly believe that switching it up is the best way to continually see results, and to stick to workouts consistently. But I’m anxious to hear what you think? Discuss, please. 🙂

What I worked Wednesday


That was quite the workout this morning. Now that I’m fully refueled (thanks to the hubs who has perfected the scrambled egg, I swear…and this from the guy who doesn’t even like eggs to begin with!), I thought I’d check in before my day goes into overdrive at the office (though I’m working from home today so I guess I should say “at my dining room table.”)

This morning started with a 6am Ride class – as usual, with my favorite instructor. She killed us – love it. But I noticed something. I seriously was sweating WAY more than I normally do in that class. Legit sweat pouring into my eyes. Reminded me of those longer half marathon training runs this past summer when it was 80 degrees at 7am. Oh how I miss those days…and cannot wait to get back to fierce running form again. I’m getting there. And I’ll take it (this is a reminder for you too, sis. We got this). 

When I got back, I decided to get my back/chest workout done.
Here’s how it looked:

Superset #1:

push-ups (wide)

Superset #2:
one-arm rows
bench press

Superset #3:
Y’s with the resistance band
Flat-bench flyes
3×15 (or 20 depending on how I felt)

Quick and dirty – love those supersets!

This was the very workout I told ya’ll on twitter last night that I was foregoing in favor of being present. Was just what we needed – we watched (ok, sorta watched if you’re me) the Bruins playoff game while playing rummy on the couch together. Yep, we’re dorky that way. We actually have a bet going – which makes this much more fun, I’m so competitive!

Here are the details:  First one who wins 25 hands of rummy gets to pick the other person’s “losing prize.” If I win, Scott has to come with me to get a mani/pedi (seriously, that boy’s cuticles are in dire need…and c’mon, it would just be funny to see him in a pedi chair). If I lose? Scott takes me to Foxwoods or Mohegan where I have to actually play a table game (if we ever go to a place like that, I usually just watch, it makes me nervous, the whole betting thing). So yeah…I digress. But this is how we Sutera’s roll. A little dorkiness never hurt anyone, right?  😉

So yeah, long story short – I’m in a rambly, kinda goofy mood today. I blame it on the endorphin rush from today’s workout. Left me feeling super-duper alive. I dig it. Feeling good.  How ya’ll doing with your good/great week??

A flashback, Ride-style

So, I kept good on my word and hit up the 6am Group Ride class this morning at my gym.


I struggle to get there as often with my commute being what it is, but I made it happen today. It’s important enough to me that I’d rather battle traffic and/or scramble to get out the door at my usual time if it means an awesome sweaty workout was had in advance. And to be honest, I need Ride in my life as cross-training. And, not gonna lie – I love it. Especially when it’s taught by my favorite instructor. 😉 Annnd I’m joined by my sis and Scott. All the better.

What struck me this morning was that the release that we rode today was from Group Ride Fall ’08 which, as I sat there riding the first track, I realized was the first release I ever rode, Group Ride-style. Talk about flashback city!

Back in 2008, my sis and I had just joined our gym together and were excited to finally share the same gym again and to be able to workout side-by-side again. We were both SUPER intrigued by spinning, but also slightly intimidated by it. So we pinky-swore that the first time we took the class, we’d do it together. Coincidentally, this was also our first experience with any BTS classes – and man, it left a lasting impression. To this day, I contend that no other group fitness class compares to the style of BTS classes, they are intense, they keep you motivated, and they have incredible music and technique. (and no, BTS did not pay me to say this, I just firmly believe in their program!).

But back to our first Group Ride class. It went something like this:

…Oy. This is a dark room. I’m kind of intimidated. I don’t even know how to work these bikes…<enter spin instructor who promptly showed us both how to get our bikes calibrated>

…This is just the warm-up?? I’m dying. How am I gonna make it through the whole hour?

…My legs are on fire right now, she wants me to turn up the resistance again? Whoa, everyone around me is doing it like it’s no big deal, why am I dying right now?

…Whew. Are we done? Finally, my legs are so wobbly. <—this was during the track right before the climb…I stupidly thought the class was wrapping up, boy was I mistaken, we had the climb track left, the steepest one!

…What is this?? There’s more? I don’t think I can push any harder, holy sh*t.

Fast-forward to today’s class. The very same release that I rode back in 2008.
…I rode with passion.
…I rode like my life depended on it.
…I was sweating buckets.
…I embraced the interval track and pushed it, knowing it was a short-term pain/long-term gain kind of track.
…I looked forward to that climb track at the end and climbed as hard as I could.
…I was not afraid.
…I did not doubt that I could do it.
…I loved it.



It’s amazing what a flashback will do for you, mentally. I feel grateful for what the past few years of spinning has done for me and really dig how far I’ve come with spinning. It’s major cardio killer, which has totally improved my endurance and ability (mentally) to push myself beyond my limits. It’s been awesome to share it with my sis, and now with Scott and my “Kick friends” (those friends I met while training to be a Group Kick instructor) who regularly join this class on Wednesdays. There’s something to be said about workout friends, wouldn’t you agree?

So now I challenge you – flashback to the first time you tried a particular workout. Think about how you felt then. How different/out of your element it made you feel. And then flash forward to the most recent time you took that class, or did that workout, or whatever. How does it compare? Kind of a cool feeling, right?


Legs, lungs, and other goals for the week

Y’know how they say it takes time to get your “sea legs?”

Well, after this morning’s run, it’s clear that I need to get my running legs (and lungs) back.


Not that I’d qualify this morning’s run as “bad,” it was just eye-opening. I haven’t focused as much on my running in the past couple of months for one reason or another and it’s clear that my running endurance has taken a little bit of a hit. Though, instead of letting frustration get in the way of me rediscovering my running groove, I’m going to embrace this morning’s run for what it was – a learning experience.

And of course, I now have a plan (don’t I always??). This week is all about getting my running legs and lungs back. Come Saturday, I want to experience runner’s high again, allowing my body to go, my mind to freely wander, taking in the sights and sounds around me. Just me. Running.

Here’s how I hope this week will look (as always, if life happens, this plan may change and I’m cool with that…):

Sunday – run (today was about 4.5 miles or so)
Monday – Core Fusion Pilates Abs (just two segments of the workout to get my core warmed up); followed by an early-AM run with Scott (really excited avout this, supposed to hit 80 tomorrow so I’m anticipating the morning to be fairly mild – and I’m hoping that running while the world wakes up will re-inspire me…there’s something so calming and centering about running in the dark, as the sun rises, with the birds chirping, my best friend by my side…)
Tuesday – chest/back workout and Core Fusion Body Sculpt – abs section only (Haven’t decided if this workout will look exactly the same as last week’s yet, I may opt for drop-sets vs. supersets. We shall see.)
Wednesday – Ride in the AM; weights in the PM – biceps/triceps (in case you’re wondering – the goal in adding Ride to the mix? Cardio improvement, and the benefits of cross-training)
Thursday – Run date with my sis and Steph in the AM; weights in the PM – legs/shoulders
Friday – rest (this may involved some very, very light yoga  – I promise – to stretch out what I anticipate to be very sore legs by this point in the week)
Saturday – Run with Scott – runner’s high, please?

So the difference in this week’s workout plan versus last week? There’s a big focus on running. Four planned runs, in fact. My hope is that by recommitting to running again, by week’s end, this running “slump” I felt this morning will have all but passed. And I’m really looking forward to getting those running legs (and lungs) back again.

PS. A favor, please. My sis has had an incredibly hard time getting her running groove back. She is doubting her abilities (which is ridiculous, she’s very fit) and is seriously wondering if she’ll ever get her running endurance back. I’ve tried everything to get her to believe in herself and to let the mental piece of running go, to stop doubting herself, to stop letting her fears manifest themselves into physical reactions (like panicked breathing). But she won’t listen to me, at least not fully. So I’m calling all hands on deck – can you please throw some advice her way for me? Tips on letting your mind go, on rediscvoering your running groove, etc? Maybe she’ll listen to you vs. listening to her sister.  😉 Thanks friends!

3 weeks later, the verdict

Well, after three full weeks of absolutely no cardio due to sickies x2, I finally got my run on this morning. Run-date style no less! (with my fab friend Steph who ran the half with us last fall)

The verdict?

I can still run.

Seems simple enough right? But seriously, after being out of the cardio game for so long, I was legit nervous while I waited for Steph to arrive for our run date. I was worried that I’d suddenly lost major cardio endurance. And worse, that this would be a “bad” run for me today.

But as soon as we started running, the nerves subsided, those new sneaks felt nice and cushy and supportive, and we were off! We ran about 5 or 5.5 miles and talked the entire time. I’ve missed her and our run dates!

I will say though, that damn – I cannot wait to be running longer and longer distances again. We were reminiscing about our half marathon training runs last spring/summer and how crazy it was that 5 or 6 miles was a “short” run in our book. And banging out a good 9 or 10 mile training run was no biggie.

I so miss that. Not the mileage per se, but the accomplishment of seeing your body acclimate, adjust and perform to longer and longer distances. <Guess it’s time I revisit my race calendar, huh?>

It makes you feel just a little bit more alive.

And honestly – that’s the key for me, really. Working out makes me feel alive. Having major DOMS from my two upper body workouts this week has been such a welcome feeling. Not because I’m a glutton for punishment (well, I kinda am), but because that feeling reminds me that my body will not fail me. That it’s built strong and is willing to endure a lot for me.

And I dig that. So much.

In other news, today is the last weight training workout for the week for me. On tap? Legs and shoulders. I’m planning to get those done before dinner (fingers crossed) so I’ll post my planned workout today and give ya’ll an update tomorrow. Fair enough?

Shoulders and Legs – endurance-style (high reps, low weights)

Legs set #1: Lunges, body-weight only. 3 sets @25 reps per leg. 30-45 sec rest between sets (I find that going with body weight only in an endurance style workout helps me keep proper form and I can truly get my legs into that 90 degree angle that’s required of a proper lunge. If you’re looking for form pointers beyond my rambles, check out Heather’s post  over at Mile26andMore on this very topic today. Great tips, girl!)

Legs set #2: Squats with a barbell. 3 sets @ 20-25 reps per set, 25lbs. 30-45 sec rest between sets

Legs set #3: Plie squats with one weight. 3 sets @ 25 reps per set, 30 lbs. 30-45 sec rest between sets

Legs set #4: Calf raises with two weights. 3 sets @25 reps per set, 15 lbs in each hand. 30-45 sec rest between sets.

After legs, I’m switching to supersets for shoulders. It’s efficient and gets the job done a wee bit faster. 😉

Shoulders superset #1: Front raises (12.5 lbs) followed by overhead press with the barbell (20 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.

Shoulders superset #2: Overhead presses with dumbells (12.5 lbs), arms rotated forward followed by rear delt flyes (10 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.

Shoulders superset #3: Side lateral raises (10 lbs) followed by upright row with the barbell (20 lbs); 3 sets @15-20 reps, 30 sec rest between sets.

Whew. If I get through all of this today, it’ll be a minor miracle. Hehe. 😉

Guest Post: Diary of a Spin Class

God I’ve missed cardio. That intense high after a particularly good, sweaty cardio workout. Gimme runner’s high. Spinner’s high. Kickers (?) high. Gimme any of it.

I’ve missed it so much since being sidelined not once, but twice due to illness. But, I’ve learned to embrace the “stillness” (borrowing the perfect word from Lindsay!) along the way. A lot more than I thought I’d be able to. And I’ve let it go.

But let’s be honest, I’m still me. 😉 Which means I am seriously craving cardio, and really wishing I could take these patience pants off. I had hoped to get to Ride this morning but my lungs just aren’t there yet. Plus, I find that the later in the day is better for me, less coughing and wheezing. So hopefully I can get some form of cardio in tonight. Fingers crossed on that one. I’m having major cardio withdrawal!!

But that’s not really the point of my post, sort of a segue into an awesome post from my sis, who many of you follow already (which I love!). <Note, not linking to her blog for privacy reasons, if you’re wondering why no link love>

However, her post was inspired by a total sweatfest she had last night while in Cali for work. It’s nothing short of inspiring (and I’m totally jealous, btw). If you’ve never tried a spin class, you must. I equate it to the high you get from running, but on a bike instead. 🙂 It’s also incredibly detoxifying, as my sis describes below.

Diary of a Spin Class…

I rush into class. Late. Grab my spin shoes (as my bra – yes my bra – comes flying out attached to the velcro – hellllo mortifying! Quick save, throw it back in my bag).

Hoping class is much better than the last non-Group Ride class I took while out here in Cali at 24 Hour Fitness.

Damn, was I in for a surprise. A complete and utter drenchfest.

Enter intervals. The entire hour-long workout.

Mindset during warm-up: excited. adrenalin pumping. this is what I have been waiting for. ramp up my warm up, first song ends, enter second song. Bruno Mars (love his stuff, as teeny boppper as it is). Wail on the second song…only to realize, it’s *still* the warm-up.

Eek, Guess I should have toned back that second song, wailing on the bike like there’s no tomorrow. Noted.

On to intervals. Starts with a 1:1 (one minute speedy but heavy-ish, 75-85 RPMs). Ramps up to 2:2 (a little faster, close to 90-100 RPMs)

Sweating. Breathing heavy, almost breathless.

The instructor is amazing. I tried to sear into memory her words:

“Go one step before breathless….”
“You have iron legs right now. Look down at those legs and just go!”
Visualize the reward. It’s at your doorstep, what is it? You’re almost there, one minute and you can have that reward.”
“Push. Are you at a 1 or 2? can you talk? Go faster. Be at a 3 or a 4, where you can’t speak.”
“Close your mouth. Can you still breathe? If so, add more intensity, because that shouldn’t have felt good at all [trying to breathe with your mouth shut]”

Next interval is a 3:3 but this time we can choose to ramp it up seated, and then standing, and then seated. I like this. The variation reminds me more of Group Ride.

…but wow, standing up makes trying to breathe even harder. Starting to struggle. Sweat pouring off me. Towel drenched.

….next and final interval is a 4:4 and at this point, I am pretty close to a 4, nearly breathless. I start to panic a little. My chest feels tight. The feeling i’ve been getting during my runs (which makes me wonder if I have exercise induced asthma).

I tone it back a notch. And then she says it again…”one step before breathless.”

And I just go. I don’t think. I let my legs work as she says “your body knows what to do, it’s always your mind that will stop you. Trust your body.”

We’re almost there and then it’s the last few minutes and she has girls vs. boys for the last 30 second intervals. Girls first. As fast and hard as you can go. Not about speed as much as it is about being heavy in the legs and speed.

30 seconds…men on deck at 5 second mark…we rest for 30, slowing down, I can’t believe how much sweat is pouring off me..

‘women on deck!”

we’re up….and I fly, I know I only have one more interval after this.


“final interval, I add more intensity and go…one notch shy of breathless.

And I’m done.

What did I picture for my ‘rewards’ at minute 2 and 3 of 4?

And the ability to run another half marathon.

I pictured them both. I felt it.

And I can’t wait to go back to class and do it all over again.

That was an experience.