Physical Education: Music = fitness motivation

imageWhenever I need a little extra fitness motivation, I always buy some new music for my IPod. Music motivates me to get out and walk or jog.  You can lose yourself in the music and sometimes you end up exercising for a longer period of time then you intended. When I was a runner, I had multiple playlists to suit my moods and the length of my runs. I had 30 minute, 45 minute, and 1 hour playlists and then I had fun, serious, hardcore, etc lists. Before a race I would make a special playlist. I had a tendency to start off races too fast, so I would start a race playlist with a couple of slower songs to remind me to pace myself. I was a solid 10 minute mile runner, so I could estimate where I would be at the end of each song. I remember the last time I ran the La Jolla Half Marathon, I timed it perfectly so that “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” would start to play at the base of the Torrey Pines hill. It’s a killer, mile long hill, and I knew that song would put a smile on my face and give me an extra pick me up.

My spin studio, Full Psycle, uses music to create theme classes that are super fun. I will never forget that one night before Christmas, I had attended 2 boot camp classes before heading to spin and I was exhausted. I announced to the class that I was tired and going to take it easy. Well, it was an old-school, hip-hop themed class and the music was so good that I got completely caught up in the fun and without even realizing, I got my highest power number of all time. The music was the key!

I have found a ton of great workout playlists on Pinterest. I have pinned about 20 different lists to my Fitness Motivation Pinterest board. If you want to check them out, click here

Homework: What is your all-time favorite workout song?

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Physical Education: Train fun!

imageI mentioned in past blog posts that I work out several times a week. For me, it’s a part of my lifestyle and I enjoy the social aspect of the friendships I have formed at the gyms I belong to. My former trainer, Joshua, used a “train fun” tag line on his emails and blogs, and it’s a mantra I have adopted. Joshua made workouts fun by having us play Frisbee golf, creating friendly competitions during the WODs, or assigning exercises to letters of the alphabet and then naming the workouts. I specifically remember a “Vegas, baby” workout that he created before a weekend Vegas trip. It was killer, but I definitely needed the extra push before leaving for a vacation.
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It was through Joshua that I realized if you are not having fun when you are training, you need to move on and find something that you enjoy. Over the years, I have tried a lot of different classes and gyms. When Joshua moved away, my workout buddies, Kathy, Patti, Vicky, Louise, and I found the Cross Training Club. Rod, the owner/trainer, is constantly mixing up the workouts to challenge us. He always tries to kick things up a notch for me. The other day he had everyone in the class flipping the battle ropes over a medicine ball. Since I am freakishly strong, he sat on the medicine ball and I had to flip the battle ropes over him. Nothing like a little added pressure! I only hit him on the shoulder one time!
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I also love Fitness Evolution. My Saturday morning boot camp class with Michael is always super fun and he pushes me to the limit. We end the class with a two minute plank and he likes to add weights to the backs of the veteran boot campers. This week I had a 45 pound plate on my back. A two minute plank is challenging, and the extra weight makes it really tough. I love that I am wearing pink, pearls, and a smile at the end of this tough workout!

My spin studio, Full Psycle, keeps things fresh by offering different theme classes each week. I love Monday hip-hop classes and Thursday’s TBT (throwback Thursdays) classes. Spin is all about the instructor and the music. One night I was exhausted and had already taken two boot camp classes before spin. I announced to the small class that I was going to take it easy, but it was old school hip hop night with Kris and I got so caught up in the music that I ended up getting my highest number of all time. I was singing along and totally enjoyed myself! A few weeks ago, Paul taught a Madonna themed class. When he played “Borderline” at my request, I used one of my dumb bells as a microphone and belted it out. So much fun!

imageOh, and it’s also important to look cute while working out. Treat yourself to colorful, form-fitting gym clothes and cute shoes. You will feel better, look better, and maybe workout a bit harder!

Homework: How do you train fun?

Physical Education: Think Thin bars

imageI discovered Think Thin bars several years ago when I was working with a nutritionist. I met up with her midway through my weight loss journey when I had lost 60 pounds and hit a major plateau. She developed a great plan for me that encouraged clean eating. She recommended these delicious bars as a meal replacement option if I was too busy to eat a proper meal. She liked that Think Thin bars have the proper protein/carb/fat ratio. I like that they taste good and they are filling. I almost always have a Think Thin bar near by in my desk or purse. They are great when I am in a rush in the morning because they are easy to eat the car as I’m driving to work. If I’m stuck in a meeting, I can grab a bar on the go for lunch. I don’t like to complete rely on these bars, because I prefer whole foods, but I need to be realistic and it’s better to eat a protein bar than grab fast food or go without eating. I used to buy these bars individually at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts, but I recently discovered that you can buy a box of 5 at Target or Walmart and you save almost $3. More money to spend on fun clothes or accessories!

Homework: What is your favorite protein bar?

Physical Education: Do you FitBit?

imageI am completely obsessed with my FitBit activity tracker. It keeps tracks of my steps throughout the day when I’m working or working out. I can track my steps via my phone or IPad and no one knows I’m wearing it. My personal goal is to accumulate 15,000 steps per day. I usually log in between 5,000 – 10,000 steps at school. An average boot camp class gets about 3,000 steps and a 45 minute spin class class earns 5,000. Sometimes if I haven’t met my goal at the end of the day, I go out and walk around my neighborhood or jog in place while watching tv.

Here are the details for the FitBit Zip:
Tracks steps, distance and calories burned
Syncs automatically to your computer or select bluetooth 4.0 smartphones or tablets
Set goals, view progress and earn badges
Share and compete with friends throughout the day
Free iphone and android application

Since I love my FitBit so much, I thought it would be a great gift for my mom for Mother’s Day (pink) and an early Father’s Day (grey) gift for my dad. I bought them from Amazon.com and they were $49 each.  I spent part of Mother’s Day getting them set up on my parents’ IPads. They are going to see how many steps they take on an average day and then we will set up their goals. If you like data and seeing your daily progress, you will love the FitBit. All my friends have them and it’s fun to compare our steps and goals.
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This is what I see on my phone at the end of each day. I love the feeling of meeting my daily goal!

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imageToday was a great day! Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mothers I know! My mom is awesome and she deserved some fun treats. In addition to her FitBit, I bought her a cute black, white, and pink clutch/IPad case from C. Wonder. In our family, our teddy bears buy gifts for us, so my bears gave Nance Bear some cute foam stickers that she can add to the cards she makes. We had a fun dinner together as a family and we took a long overdue family photo. Our family teddy bear, Christopher Bear gave me a Nordstrom gift card because he didn’t want me to feel left on on Mother’s Day! He’s a very thoughtful bear!

Physical Education: my weight loss journey…

imageIt’s hard to look at these pictures, but it’s important to look at where we have been in order to continue moving forward. The picture on the left was taken in September 2006 and the picture on the right was taken in September 2008, after a 115 pound weight loss. Six years and three knee surgeries later, I am within 7 pounds of my goal weight. I learned a lot through through my journey. Here is what I know…

1) You can’t lose weight for anyone but yourself. If you are not ready, it won’t work! Figure out why you want to lose weight or why you keep eating when you’re full. You need those answers in order to be ready.

2) You can’t out exercise a bad diet… believe me, I have tried! I think it’s 80% food and 20% exercise. Working out helps, but it really comes down to what you eat. Oh, and you can’t eat like a runner if you are not running 😦

3) Track what you eat. It holds you accountable and makes you think about what you are eating. I will never forget the day I found out that my favorite Del Taco chicken burrito was more Weight Watcher points than I was allowed in a day. My Fitness Pal or Weight Watchers online have both worked for me.

4) Find a program/group that works for you. I’ve found success with Weight Watchers, I have worked with a nutritionist, I have joined Biggest Loser type competitions, and have competed in challenges. I’m currently in a Facebook motivation group. I lost my first sixty pounds on Weight Watchers and recently rejoined and dropped some post surgery pounds. Sometimes you need to mix things up to keep things interesting! Right now, I’m drinking a Shakeology shake everyday. I love that I don’t have to think about one meal a day. The shake keeps me full and I enjoy it.

5) Surround yourself with good people who motivate you. I am very particular about the gyms/studios where I belong. I need qualified trainers and fun people to workout with to stay motivated. Right now, I spin at Full Psycle in Costa Mesa five times a week. I don’t know if the owners fully understand what a special place they have created. There are so many wonderful people who flock there for the competition and the friendships. My Full Psycle group of friends keep me coming back each week. I attend boot camp classes three times a week at Fitness Evolution in Laguna Hills. I train with a mother/son team, Angel and Michael Cipolla. They make the workouts fun and always change things up so you are never bored. My third gym is called the Cross Training Club in Laguna Niguel. Rod, the owner/trainer, is super funny and entertaining and always kicks things up for me so I feel challenged. My gym buddies, Kathy, Patti, Vicky, and Louise make CTC even better! Staying fit and healthy is so important!

Wherever you are on your journey, find what motivates you and make it happen!

Homework: What motivates you to exercise and make healthy food choices?

Physical Education: Weight Loss Jars

imageOn New Year’s Eve, my friend, Stephanie, and I decided to stay in, drink champagne, and focus on setting intentions for the new year! We made vision boards by cutting out pictures from magazines and Mod Podging them to art canvases that I bought at Hobby Lobby.  I made a style vision board and a fitness motivation board that I have hanging in my office. We also made weight loss jars to help us meet our goals. The jars and marbles were purchased at Michael’s and I found the chalkboard labels in the dollar section at Target. I put 30 marbles in my “pounds to lose” back on January 1. As of today, I have moved 20 marbles to the “pounds destroyed” jar. There is something very satisfying about moving marbles each week after I weigh in. I’m a very visual person, so having these jars on my book case are a constant reminder of my goal. The last 10 pounds will be difficult to lose, but these jars will help me along the way.

Homework: How do you motivate yourself when you have a few pounds to lose?

Physical Education: ACCOUNTABILITY… The Make or Break of a Weight Loss Program

imageToday’s substitute teacher (aka guest blogger) is Angel Cipolla, my friend and trainer. I’m currently participating in Angel’s 30 day Amp It Up challenge and I am experiencing great success! Here are Angels’s thoughts on accountability:

I’ve been a fitness trainer for almost 10 years now and I’ve seen weight loss programs and contests come and go. Believe me I’ve seen it ALL! Why is it some of us can do incredibly well and then when the program ends, fall back into our old ways and gain the weight back? It’s accountability. Sounds simple right? But it really is that simple. I have been running weight loss accountability groups, I call “challenges,” that range from 3-30 days, and I’m here to tell you that if you’re engaged in the group and know that you are responsible for checking in, you’ll actually hit the goal you set for yourself. There’s also that feeling of being part of a team. Even if you’ve got different weight loss goals, it doesn’t matter because the feeling of letting the team down, pushes you to do the right thing. This idea of accountability isn’t a new one, but the social media aspect of it is. I love to use Facebook, create a group, upload all the nutritional and exercise guidelines/information my participants need for the duration and then they’re off and running. Posting is mandatory! I want to see your meal pics, calories on your HR monitors or cardio equipment, and hear from you on how you’re feeling. We do weigh-ins to check for progress and work on what needs to improve. I am your biggest cheerleader because if I can get you to your goal, I am doing my job and then you’ll share the wealth with all your friends who need that same push! Accountability is key! Now go out there and find an accountability group or jump in mine! Just be ready to roll!

Angel is a trainer at Fitness Evolution in Laguna Hills, California.

Physical Education: Eat, sleep, race, repeat at Full Psycle

imageSince a major knee surgery in July of 2012, I haven’t been able to run much or do any type of impact activity. I was in a huge funk until I discovered Full Psycle, a full body workout, spin studio in Costa Mesa, California. About a year ago, one of my college sorority sisters posted on Facebook about how she attended a spin class where she raced against other spinners in the class. My immediate response was, “Where is this magical place?” Chris, my long-lost Alpha Phi sister, and I planned to meet up at the Costa Mesa studio the next week. From day one, I was hooked. At first I thought I would go once or twice a week, but it turned out to be more like five to six times a week. I didn’t realize how much I missed being competitive. I love that I get to race against others and it really pushes me to always give my best effort because the big board in the front of the room tells the story of your workout. In addition to getting a great workout at Full Psycle, I have made some lovely friends. Everyone is supportive and fun! We race each other AND encourage one another. The three owners, Shelly, Paul, and Kris, teach a ton of classes and they are awesome. They come up with creative themes and know when to push you to your limit. This weekend they opened a second studio in Huntington Beach, at Bella Terra. They were giving away swag bags, so I had to check it out. If you are looking for a new workout, give Full Psycle a try. Your first class is free! Full Psycle