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 (and Mon, and Tues, and…)

What a week it’s been so far! I had the best of intentions to write a post today about my favorite workout of the week but guess what? It was too hard to pick just one so I figured I’d dedicate today’s post toWhat I worked Wednesday (and then some).”  I hope you don’t mind. 😉

Sunday – leg day! Had to make up for last week’s skipped leg workout so I made sure it was a doozy.  Four sets of supersets done 3×20 style. Included lunges, squats (with and without weight), deadlifts, plie squats (still feeling those!), calf raises and side-slide and slide-back lunges. Finished off with a bit of Core Fusion abs (from my growing collection of Core Fusion DVDs of course). Love!

Mondaypuke-worthy run with Scott.

TuesdayBarre N9NE class which I LOVED so much. It was a fusion style class and kicked my behind, like whoa! I just LOVE how I feel both during a barre-style class and right afterwards. The only way to describe it is body-shaking and totally detoxifying.

Today – sweatfest of a Ride class. It was a new release today that was killer…plus the room was super warm for some reason today which left me dripping (good day to forget my towel, oy). I swear, I’m still sweating now!

Whew! Great workout week so far! Sometimes that’s all it takes to make my week that much better (in between that thing called work, right??). And there’s more to come, woohoo! So – my question to you: can you pick out your favorite workout(s) of the week? How did it make you feel? What made it your favorite?

In all honesty, I love every single workout I fit in for one main reason: I’m able and I totally appreciate that. Whoa-ly. 

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?


Something new

As I alluded to in my post on letting it go, I’ve been thinking long and hard about my workouts lately. About what they mean for me. About my motivation. About my new focus and mindset that is far less about the numbers and structure, and far more about getting back to basics.

As part of all this thinking and mulling, I’ve decided it’s time for something new.
Call it another case of antsy pants.
Call it an insatiable desire to challenge and shock the system with new approaches to working out.
Call it me being me. 😉

This “something new” entails a new approach to weight training. You see – for nearly as long as I’ve been seriously lifting weights, I”ve either always taken a group fitness class, worked with my husband on a weight workout at the gym (rarely), or followed a structured weight lifting program like STS, done at home with the always awesome Cathe Friedrich by my side.  But I’ve never created my own lifting program.

And I have no idea why.

I have all the tools at my fingertips in my home gym. And, I know plenty about weight lifting after all these years to create a program of my own. So why haven’t I ever gone this route before?

I talked it over with Scott on a long walk today – and mentioned this concept to him.  And,  by the end of our walk (and talk), a new 4-week workout was born. I may not be a personal trainer by any stretch, but dammit – I know enough to be dangerous and I might as well start appreciating that fact, right??

So here goes.  The next four weeks will look something like this – with running, spinning or kickboxing for cardio and Core Fusion for core/flexibility training for a good, well-rounded cross-training routine.

Monday – Back/Chest: four exercises per body part, with 30 second rests between each set of 15-20 reps (I’ll go into the types of exercises I’ll do throughout the week in future blog posts, don’t worry); and Core Fusion Yoga or Pilates Abs
Tuesday – Biceps/Triceps (same format as above)
Wednesday – Ride
Thursday – Core Fusion Yoga or Pilates Abs; Kick
Friday –  Legs/shoulders (same format as above) and just the abs section from Core Fusion Body Sculpt (10 mins)
Saturday – Run

So you’ll see – I’m trying to balance the weight work without forgetting to work abs (something I ALWAYS did pre-Core Fusion) and including some sort of flexibility work in the mix, another area I’ve always pushed aside in the past. I’m thinking of doing this for the next four weeks, upping the weights each week, letting my body tell me when to go heavier.

I’m not sure how I”ll approach each week, yet. I figure I’ll go with the flow a little bit in terms of the format – it could involve trisets (my fave), or supersets. But, it’ll mainly be endurance based, to build up my endurance (duh) but also build lean and toned muscles, something I’ve been favoring more and more lately. I credit Core Fusion with that in large part, because it has lengthened and toned my muscles, leaning them out a little bit which I’m digging, interestingly enough.

Surprisingly, I’m really excited about this – it might seem simple to some of you fitness friends to build your own workout program vs. relying on a workout class or DVD to get you through, but this is kind of new for me. To train myself, trusting myself to lead the way. And I’m really looking forward to seeing how it goes. See? I am a personal trainer afterall – a personal trainer of ME! 😉

Intervals, love to hate ’em

Yes, I just admitted that I’m a new-found Interval lovin’ fool. (yes, Heather – you get some credit for this!)

But here’s why I’ve grown to love interval-style workouts.

  • They go by fastduh.
  • They leave me huffing and puffing and damn proud of myself when I’m done.
  • They make other interval-ish workouts *slightly* less challenging (though after today’s SUPER intense Ride class, I’m not sure this is true all the time, haha)
  • They force me to get out of my comfort zone. No more plodding along at 6.5 mph on the treadmill. Funny enough, since starting these speed workouts on the treadmill, that “normal” 6.5 mph is starting to feel a little slow! How funny, right??
  • They are fun. Yep, fun. The dreadmill is fun?! Huh?? (forget about steady state on the dreadmill, those are still ridic, firmly landing in the “not fun” category).

So – I dare you this week to give an interval workout (running on the treadmill, running outside, or doing a spinning workout which I’d qualify as interval style given the variations in intensity, especially if it’s a Ride class…).

If you’re looking for ideas…borrow some from me (that I borrowed – with credit – from these fab ladies, Becky and Melissa!). Check ’em out here and here. Oh – and also check out one I tried yesterday, courtesy of Naomi, with a few modifications here:

0-3 min: Warm-up (I walk at 3.5)
3-10 min: Jog at 5.5 <—I made this 6.0 mph
10-11 min: Sprint at 7.0-8.0
11-13 min: Recover at 3.5-4.0 <—-these recovery rounds I upped to 6.0, I was feeling speedy on Saturday, oddly enough!
13-14 min: Sprint at 7.0-8.0
14-16 min: Recover at 3.5-4.0
16-17 min: Sprint at 7.0-8.0
17-19 min: Recover at 3.5-4.0
19-20 min: Sprint at 7.0-8.0
20-22 min: Recover at 3.0-4.0 (so basically its 5 sprints and 5 recovers)
22-30 min: The workout says to jog at 5.5, but during this time, I’ll run at 7.0 for 1 min, then slow down by .5 each minute until I’m back at 5.0.
5 min cool down: Walk at 3.5
I added a couple of extra intervals/recovery rounds at the end to make this a 45 minute workout. This is an awesome workout to be able to modify how you see fit…yet another reason to love intervals! Make ’em yours!


Uh, remember the anti-cardio funk?

Well, it’s officially GONE.

After tonight’s Ride class – courtesy of my favorite Ride instructor (let’s see if she’s paying attention and reading this post *ahem*). She damn near killed me!

And I LOVED every sweaty second.

I mean, you know it’s gonna be a ridic class when you’re already out of breath on the first track after the warm-up. Um hi, near heart failure by the time we rolled into the Climb track at the end.

Dripping with sweat, beet red face, and a huge smile (where this very blog post sprang to mind, in fact!). Not a bad way to spend a Monday night. <—especially when Monday is a holiday and you spend the entire first part of the day with little Ms. Isabel, the cutest, most snuggly niece of all time.

The point of all of this?

That you CAN get cardio-‘d out if you aren’t careful.<—this also applies to weight workouts, btw.

Remember the whole yogurt-ed out issue? Case in point.

Well I definitely spent my fare share of time in the Ride studio this fall/winter, mostly because it was the only cardio I could really do that didn’t bug my knees after the half marathon. And it didn’t even strike me that this could be the root cause of my anti-cardio bout a couple of weeks ago. That is, until tonight’s ridic Ride workout snapped me right out of it. Who knew I’d only need to get away from Ride for a few weeks for that fire to return?

I should know better though, it’s the same thing that can happen with any workout really. The more you do it – without varying the intensity and style and type of workout – the more accustomed to it your body becomes. And before long, you can easily end up not challenging yourself, and getting into that workout rut we all know and fear.

The easiest answer to that problem? Shock it, baby! Keep your body guessing no matter what…

  • Vary the intensity of your running (hello speed intervals mixed with steady state workouts).
  • Try a new workout entirely – maybe get to that weight training class at your gym that you’ve been dying to try but unsure of whether or not you’ll like it (on my list? Trying TRX in the very near future)
  • Or, give yourself a break from your tried and true workouts – whether it be spinning, running, weight lifting, swimming or something else – it never hurts to ease up on your go-to in favor of something new and shocking 😉

I’ll have more on ways I plan to keep my body guessing in the next few days…as I wrap up my STS rotation, I have some ideas on what I’ll do next to shock it good.

Until then, I urge you all to shock it now and then, you just never know what you might end up loving…or revisiting and falling in love with all over again!

Mini-core (fusion) update and some (hopefully) good news

Alright, so I’m now well into my own Core Fusion challenge and the verdict?

I’m in love.

I FINALLY like – dare I say love – to work my core…FINALLY!

I’ve always battled with sticking to a core workout that I actually enjoyed doing and one that works.

Well my friends – I think (((Core Fusion))) is it.

(Thank you Exhale – especially for all the twitter love you’ve given to me today, love that you’re all following my little challenge this week!)

Today I did another round of Core Fusion: Body Sculpt – the same workout I did yesterday and owwwww, my glutes and abs were hating me by the end. But you know me and my love of DOMS? They’re baaaack. AND – that ab curl is slowly, slowly, slowly getting a smidge easier to maintain…just a smidge, but hey – that’s progress, right?

So anyway, as an update on my schedule for this week – tomorrow I’m taking a day off from Core Fusion to get my Ride on and then Thursday and Friday I’ll get back to the Core Fusion challenge.

And then Saturday – well, what do you think is on the agenda that day?

Well – that brings me to my (hopefully) good news…

My knees feel SO much better that I think I’ll finally be able to get back to running this weekend! You have NO idea how happy this makes me…wellll – you probably do since I’ve been whining blogging about it for weeks now, huh?

This is my certainly my #TheLittleThings for today – happ(ier) knees at last! Fingers crossed that it keeps up by this weekend. Or trust me, you’ll be hearing it from me. 😉

Confessions of a fitness blogger

I confess.

Not only do I not know how to swim, but…

I hate working my abs.

I hate stretching or anything to do with yoga-like moves.

I get bored and have no patience (which probably has a lot do with my go, go, go mentality and my severe lack of flexibility, ha!).

But – one of my goals this year was to build a stronger core.

So far, I’m doing ok, but not great at meeting that goal.

Plus – I just finished the first mesocycle of STS and the program calls for an “active recovery” week which means no weight training, mainly stretching, cardio, and, well – rest. (let’s not even get me going on how much I hate to take rest days *gasp*).

So what’s a girl to do, when:

  • Cardio options are limited given bum knee issues
  • I can’t weight train this week (or shouldn’t for maximium results with the next phase of STS which is all about building muscle definition – hypertrophy)
  • And, I need to focus on my core, desperately.

Well, it’s time for a self-imposed Core Fusion challenge. This week coming up I am going to do mostly just Core Fusion workouts at home mixed with a couple of Ride classes and a Kick class.

And that’s it.

I envision my schedule looking something like this:

Sunday – likely a rest day or Core Fusion

Monday – Core Fusion (Body Sculpt)

Tuesday – Core Fusion (Pilates Abs)

Wednesday – Ride

Thursday – Core Fusion (Body Sculpt) and Kick after work

Friday – Core Fusion (Pilates Abs)

Saturday – cardio TBD (seriously hoping I can run by then)

Sounds pretty good, right? I’m trying to tell myself that it’ll be fantastic but I know (based on this morning’s Core Fusion workout) that I will have bouts of frustration because I can’t hold the ab curl moves long enough or because I seriously miss runner’s high (and STS for that matter). But, I’m sticking to my guns and seeing how this pans out.

Who knows? Maybe next week I’ll confess that I now love to work my abs.

Hey, it could happen. 😉


#TheLittleThings – today, I am thrilled to see the sun shining and to hear that the weather forecast for this weekend includes milder weather. We’ve had a bout of dreary, dark, cold weather this past week so the sheer thought of sunshine on my face makes me smile. Truly a little thing, but makes a world of a difference on my mood. (remind me again why I live in New England??)