30 days in…

Wow. Today marks the 30-days in mark towards the 60-day barre n9ne challenge my sister and I are neck deep in at the moment.

<Editor’s note: I realize my post today will sound eerily similar to my sister’s guest post from earlier in the week, but bear with me – sometimes I gotta blog it out, even if my words sound alike to that of my sister’s -what can I say, we *are* related afterall!>

Honestly? Tanya was so right to call this a 60-days a “transformation” because that is indeed what it’s become for my sister and I.

…I’ve re-learned how to listen to my body.

…To eat when hungry versus eating because it’s “time” to eat, or because I’m bored and feeling munchy vs. true hunger. <—very hard for this self-professed foodie, I love, love, LOVE to eat. 

…To work hard, harder than I admittedly ever have in any other challenge I’ve committed to before.

…To let my mind go, watching my body change before my very eyes.

…Running harder and more consistently than ever and enjoying every moment of those runs (which bodes well given we’re also three weeks into half marathon training, too!)

…And feeling damn proud. Of me and my sister (who looked damn fine at the wedding she went to this weekend lemme tell ya – she looked HOT. Maybe she’ll let me post the pic here if you all beg and plead…hehe).

…For the first time, all of the effort I’ve put into my workouts and healthy eating is finally showing.

Probably most notably? I stand taller – something my husband noted just this weekend, in fact. I stand taller because I am more confident. Overflowing with pride.

…Because I’ve done this. Something that truthfully scared me when we first started out – the changes I needed to make seemed a little daunting and unnatural to me. But 30 days in and it doesn’t feel scary anymore. It’s become my new normal. 

And we’ve still got 30 more days of this challenge to go. I honestly cannot fathom what that will feel like/look like, but I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be transformative.

30 days in…

Schedule for the week (inquiring minds wanna know, right?? Plus this keeps me honest, kinda like Jess from Fit Chick in the City’s “say it do it” – works wonders!):

Sunday – rest day (legs were feeling all 7 of those rainy miles from Saturday!)
Monday – 5 miler in the AM; barre  n9ne signature method
Tuesday – speedy 5k in the AM; barre n9ne lean & tone
Wednesday – 5.5 miler in the AM (seeking bunnies along the way!)
Thursday – “run-date” with the sister in the AM – 6ish miles; barre n9ne long & lean legs (dimly lit??) and barre n9ne fusion
Friday – possible second rest day (likely!)
Saturday – long run, 7.5 or so planned plus barre n9ne TFFR at the park (toned firm fit and ready at the park)


Observations (on barre, running, and randoms)

My facebook status last night after back-to-back barre n9ne classes on top of an early-morning “run date” with my sis?

For real – totally and utterly embracing today’s rest day. This was an awesome week for workouts, but a girl’s gotta rest after all that, right?? And for once, I’m not whining about it. 😉

So anyway, a couple of observations sprang to mind on my commute in this morning:

  • Since starting the barre n9ne challenge just about three weeks ago, we’ve already taken 15 classes! 15! Insanely awesome!! Officially addicted (thank you, Tanya!!), loving every minute.
  • This week, fittingly enough given national runner’s day and all, marks the first week of half marathon training and I’m loving it, especially since my old friend “running mojo” seems to have returned. So far, there have been four runs in the 4.5-5.5 range. Saturday will be my first “long” run of 6.5 miles. I’m psyched!
  • Another observation? No lie – my jeans fit better today. As in, I don’t feel crammed into them. Progress, yay! Major “high” going on over here – runner’s high? Barre n9ne high? All of the above?
  • Another reason to be riding high today? This weekend is my 7 year wedding anniversary – can you believe it?? A post will be coming along on Sunday to celebrate, so keep an eye out for it. Otherwise, I’ll be disconnecting pretty completely this weekend. I’m sure you understand. 😉

So I guess you can put this blog post in the “when long commutes work in my favor” column. Lots of thoughts and observations and things running around in my brain this morning – hence the random nature of today’s post.

I guess if I could sum up this week? I’d call it a “riding high” kind of week, complete with a celebration of me (and you!) thrown in for good measure. Not too shabby. 😉 Happy, happy weekend, friends!

So what exactly *is* a barre-style workout, anyway?

With all this talk about Barre N9NE, I thought it probably made a lot of sense to describe what these classes are really like.

But before I do that, I just have to say – I LOVED reading about Core Fusion and other barre-style workouts in the New York Times this week. If you haven’t read it yet, please do – it gives a great history of where this whole “barre” craze originated from and what the high-level benefits are of such a workout.  This might be my favorite quote out of the whole story:

Which doesn’t mean barre classes aren’t as hard. Most of the moves, like squats in a grand plié position with raised heels, are so intense that they will make your muscles shake and burn within minutes. “Some of these exercises are lethal,” said Fred DeVito, a founder of Core Fusion.

“Lethal” is a great way to describe all those rounds and rounds of reps. Legs shaking. Body rocking. Love.

But I digress. So what are these classes all about?

I’ll use Barre N9NE signature class – which was, most certainly, “lethal” last night. Juliana kicked our a$$es. Royally.

Warm-up: 5 minutes of dynamic stretching to get the heart rate going and to loosen those muscles before they’re worked.

Upper body work with light (very light, 2-3 lbs, max) handweights: Not gonna lie, the first time I saw the size of these weights, I was like “pshhht. This will be a piece of CAKE!” Um yeah, maybe if we were lifting those weights for 10-12 reps. But nope, you’re lifting and lowering for at least three rounds of roughly (and I’ve never counted) 25 reps per round.  Add that up and we’re talking 75 reps per exercise. And this class takes you through shoulders, back, triceps and biceps – oh and chest (hello, push-ups!). Oy.

Lower body work, ballet barre-style:  Now this is where the word “lethal” really comes into play. If your legs aren’t shaking during/after this section of the workout, you have not worked hard enough. Legit. Most of this work involves very, very tiny up/down movements with legs in various positions:

…Facing the mirror/barre, toes lifted (as if in high heeled shoes), knees bent – up/down/up/down for a bajillion reps.

…Repeat that with feet pointed out, toes lifted (to work inner thighs).

…Repeat that with legs in a wide plie to work thighs, glutes, everything.

…And so on and so forth.

All while keeping your hips tucked under, core tight, tight, tight. This takes a lot of thinking…at least it does for me…to keep proper form. So if you saw me in class, you’d see a pretty serious expression (that would be my “thinking” face) mixed with eyes squeezed shut, trying not to stop the up/down movement until the series ends.


Core work/stretch: Who would have ever thought that five minutes of core work would hurt so much, would WORK so much?  I guess it feels far more impactful after having kept that core so very tight for the entire upper body and lower body series – you’re working your core the entire class. So having a dedicated section for core work is icing on the cake (at least for me!). No wonder it hurts so good. 😉 Depending on the type of barre class you take, this section of the workout will vary pretty dramatically. Last night’s class included a variety of core work that worked all aspects of the core. I don’t know what it is, but this just works. I think I sweat the most in this part of the series, I swear!

So yeah – for me, these workouts are body rocking, through and through. If you’ve never ever considered a class like this, I would reconsider…I’d seriously  bend over backwards to get to one if I were you. I promise, it will absolutely be worth it. <— Wow, I kinda feel like I’m talking about a cult, geez, could I be even more in love with these workouts??

With that – I’m off to Barre N9NE tonight for a lean  & tone class.  I took this one last week and loved it – it’s not “barre” so much as a really, really good toning (lots of lengthening with strengthening) class. A great companion to the barre work we’ll do the rest of this week (and throughout this challenge).

Happy Tuesday, ya’ll!

Barre N9NE 60-day challenge – let’s get ‘er done!

I am ready…

…to embrace change.

…to reinvent myself.

…to surrender.

Barre N9NE 60-day challenge: I will kill it.

Just got back from meeting with Tanya at Barre N9NE and wow, the thoughts are swirling through my head like crazy. I’m not really even sure where to begin, I just know I am so ready to get started.

But, as promised, I wanted to give ya’ll the details on what this 60-day challenge will look like. In a nutshell – this is how the next 60 days will pan out (with variation week-to-week depending on schedules and such):

Monday: 7:00pm Barre N9ne method and possible AM run
Tuesday: 7:00pm lean & tone and possible AM run
Wednesday: 6:30pm B9 Barre Fusion
Thursday: 5:30pm long & lean legs; 6:30pm barre fusion OR 7:30pm barre n9ne method express <—we will likely always do two workouts on Thursday, either with a break in between to have a check-in with Tanya or back to back, skipping the 7:30 session
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Run and either 11am B9 at the park (this is an outdoor version of their signature class); or 1:1 session with Tanya
Sunday: Run

So, if you’re counting along with me – that’s an average of 5-6 Barre N9NE workouts each week. Bring. It. On.

You’ll also notice something- which I fully anticipated – but there are no other weight workouts in here, nor does Kick or Ride appear on the schedule. This is by design (partially my own). My two goals are to KNOCK this 60-day challenge out of the park and to focus on my running. Which means buh-bye to anything that will interfere with that focus. And I dig that, so much.

Something else new to the regime (and this is a biggie): I will be keeping a food log.
For the first time in at least four or five years.

And that scares me a lot less than I anticipated. I now know how to avoid letting numbers mess with my head. I am stronger, mentally, so I feel prepared to re-introduce a food log into my daily routine. And honestly? I think I could use a little more accountability. I am pretty sure I have been giving in a little bit too easily on the weekends than I should lately. At least if I want to see better/bigger results, anyway.

And right now? That’s right for me. The food log, that is. I don’t think I’ll use it/need it forever. In fact, I know I won’t. But it fits with my goals for this challenge. And I’m ready to surrender to it. Even if that means finding a way to work in my beloved glass or two of wine here and there, because let’s be honest – I could never give that up for good. 😉

Ahhh! So much to think about!! And so much more to share. In due time.
For now — May 12th is our official start date (Thurs) and we end on July 12th…but somehow I doubt that will be the “end” but truly the beginning of an awesome new phase in my life. And I cannot wait.