Pounded.

Yup, the ladies of barre n9ne got Pounded on Saturday.
(hehe)

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It was a long, long, long overdue training session with the women behind the Pound – Rockout Workout phenomenon. You see, this training session was rescheduled once due to a blizzard that smacked us hard this winter, and then it was rescheduled again after the Boston Marathon bombings.

So by Saturday, we were all ITCHING to see what Pound was really all about. While I had the chance to try out the class once last fall, not everyone in our training group had even tried the workout yet (my sister, included!). I went into things knowing enough about the workout to brace myself for a total ass kicking. And lemme tell ya, an ass kicking is definitely what I got out of the day.

Welp, basically everything hurts today — inner thighs, abs, shoulders and my ‘seat’ muscles hurt. A lot.

And now that I’ve officially been ‘Pounded’ I can firmly say that this is a workout that should NOT be the hidden gem that it is right now. While the workout is totally picking up steam quickly (especially on the west coast), it’s a workout that I WISH I knew about sooner.

Lemme break it down for you quickly since I’m sure many of you have no idea what I’m talking about right now, ha! Basically, Pound is a 45 minute full body workout that incorporates pilates-inspired strength and conditioning moves with cardio/interval work to keep the blood pumping. And it involves a mat and a pair of slightly weighted ripstix (they look like drumsticks, dubbed ‘ripstix’ because they help you get ripped, get it? hehe). Oh – and killer music that no matter who you are, will bring out the inner rockstar in you, like whoa.

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While I was totally skeptical at how I’d do in this training or if I’d be able to ‘let go’ enough to go into rockstar mode during some of the tracks, by the middle and end of the training, I was all about those ripstix. I don’t know what it is but it felt damn empowering to pound the sh*t out of the mat, to ignore everyone around me and just go for it. And that’s exactly the ‘place’ we, as instructors, need to get our clients to go to with this workout. To their own place where they give themselves permission to rockout, with abandon, without fear and with as much energy and emotion as possible.

And I think that’s what I dig most about it — it’s the mind/body connection thing all over again, but in rockout mode this time. I’m always talking about the mind/body’connection when it comes to the barre, and learning to trust your body to do the work that your mind is telling you its just not capable of. Same thing with Pound — it’s about letting your mind go, and just going for it. In true badass style.

SO — you better believe I cannot wait to start teaching this class at the studio. It’s going to be an INCREDIBLE addition to our current class lineup, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to whip me into shape too. I hurt in places I never thought possible today. And that’s how I know it’s effective — it’s working muscles in a new way, shocking the system in a hurts-so-good kinda way. I dig it.

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(as you can see from this pic of me, Jo and Steph — we’re basically exhausted, soaked in sweat but oddly giddy that we made it through the entire training without dying lol)

And I kinda love that I can now officially call myself a Pound Pro, proudly joining the ranks of the #poundposse. ;-)

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<<Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to limp over to the couch to watch the Bruins in the playoffs, nursing my battle wounds from yesterday’s training. And yup, an alcoholic beverage or two *may* be involved. ;-) >>

#b9forboston — the #bostonstrong OneFund event

On Saturday — my usual pre-barre n9ne class routine was a little bit different.

I got up around 7 and took a shower, and instead of just randomly picking some Lululemon gear to wear, I chose a little bit more carefully:

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Blue and yellow, in honor of the Boston Marathon — and the heart-breaking tragedy our city faced just a few mere weeks ago. A day that changed our city and the Boston Marathon forever.

You can see a sense of sadness in this pic — wearing my favorite barre n9ne tank, in yellow of course — I got to thinking about the victims of the bombings, but also all of the marathoners who worked so hard to accomplish something very few in this lifetime ever will.

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I grabbed my ‘B strong’ hat and my Chicago Marathon pullover — it was raining and I wasn’t sure what I’d need heading into the run portion of the day’s activities at the studio — and I wanted to both honor Boston but also honor my own marathon memories, too.

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I grabbed my iPhone with my Boston-themed playlist — and off I went.

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(btw – Boston Strong — gorgeous song but man did I have to hold back tears when I started listening to the words while teaching…so touching)

The energy at the studio was simply amazing. Everyone was dressed in bright colors — mostly blues and yellows or anything bright that clients could get their hands on — and I had to stop myself from getting a little teary when my playlist started. Both classes had such energy and pride floating through the (sweaty) air. It was just the coolest.

And then the run — some of us walked, some of us ran — but we all did it for one reason: to remember and honor Boston. To show our #bostonstrong pride and to celebrate the community all around us.

On Saturday — barre n9ne proved to me, yet again, that this is the most beautiful, the most incredible, the most supportive, and selfless community I have ever seen or had the honor to be a member of. In just over one week since we announced the #b9forboston OneFund event, the studio raised an incredible $6,300 for the OneFund — $3, 300 from clients and a matched donation of $3,00 by barre n9ne. Just unreal.

It’s honestly a day I will never forget. I am proud. I am amazed. I am grateful
#b9forboston #b9lovesboston #b94lyf #bostonstrong

(for more on the #b9forboston event — check out the barre n9ne blog post here (with more pics!)

*That* moment.

*That* moment. 

The one with life altering, life changing, transformative implications.
…it’s rare that you can actually pinpoint *that* moment. 

But when you do pinpoint a moment like that, it’s kind of amazing. 

This morning, on my way back from the studio after teaching a super sweaty toned, firm, fit and ready class, I glanced at my email and saw this message waiting for me:

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*That* moment — two years ago today, that I took my very first barre n9ne class. I knew, after taking that first class — with the one and only Tanya Croteau! (<3) — that I had to go back. There was something there, something I needed more of. Little did I know just how life altering that day would be two years ago. I know I say this often, but I seriously could not be more grateful for the home barre n9ne studio has in my heart, for the continued opportunity to teach, to pay my own experiences forward, and to see clients transform on their own, right before my eyes. *That* moment. <3

After thinking about the whole ‘moment’ concept, the second life changing moment that came to mind? This one:

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That would be Scott and I (aka #teamsutera!), after our longest Chicago Marathon training run: 22 miles. It was one week after our WORST long run of our lives (this 20 miler...to jog your memory), and we both desperately needed a redemption run, one that would prove to both of us that we could haul ass for all 26.2 miles on race day. It was *that* moment captured in the picture above, where you can see the pain in my eyes and  in my scrunchy lines on my forehead that I knew: we would cross that finish line on race day. And yup, we totally did. *That* moment was life altering, too.

(and you better believe that our marathon experience is VERY much on my mind lately after last week’s Boston tragedy. I can’t say whether or not #teamsutera has another marathon in us or not…but it is weighing heavy on my mind, and on my heart, for sure).

*That* momentwhen everything falls into place, everything fits, and transformations begin. 

Things that make me feel good.

Things that make me feel good: 

 #1: Fun notes next to the various alarms I have set up on my iPhone. Sure this involves a fair amount of early wake-ups each week but just these little notes next to each one make me just a little bit more excited about the dark-thirty wake-ups.

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For example, the ‘b9 6am class’ alarm goes off on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, while the “Tues AM run” is set for Tuesdays (obvs, lol) and then “b9 fitdate/rundate with Steph” goes off each Wednesday. So yup, pretty much every day of the work week involves a 5:xx alarm. And somehow, I’m totally ok with that. <– will be even MORE ok with that when it’s bright and sunny out well before my alarm goes off #hurryupspring

(and yes, I realize that these are all pretty random alarm times I’ve set here. I can’t ever choose a normal time like 5:00 or 5:30, it has to be random. Am I weird or do you guys have these random alarm rules too?)

#2: Accountability by way of new fit gear. Yup, accountability comes in many shapes and sizes folks. Not just from shouting it out loud and proud on Facebook for all to see and hear, but sometimes just the sheer thought of rocking out some new fit gear can get my butt shifted into #ampitup mode.

Wednesday morning was one of those occasions. (aka “b9 fitdate/rundate with Steph”)

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I finally got a chance to test out my new Ellie gear and I am IN LOVE with both pieces. The top is suuuper flattering – looove the neckline and the thumbholes. Perfect for a post-class run or a pre-class layer to keep me warm and cozy before teaching or taking a class at the studio.

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And the bottoms are lightweight, also very flattering and fit just right, totally true to size (top was also true to size, btw).
But best of all? I felt GREAT in my new gear. Energized and excited for class and then a quick run today, just the ‘me workout’ I needed mid-week. #accountabilityrocks

(If you want to try out Ellie, I’m an ambassador for them and so far have really appreciated the new gear so much. If you want to snag 20% off, you can click this link.)

#3: New food finds! Oatmeal lover up in here finally tried a new (to me) way of prepping my oatmeal. Baked!! I am in LOVE with this style, especially during the week when I’m at work and reheating my oatmeal vs. cooking it fresh on the stovetop.

Before:

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After:

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(I practically licked the bowl clean!)

Perhaps this requires a ‘foodie Friday’ post to dig a little deeper into some of the recent new foodie finds I’ve discovered lately. It’s been awhile, hmm?

So there’s that – my “what makes me feel good” list for the week. Fitting seeing as its winesday and I’m off to enjoy a much needed date night in with the hubs.
And yup, wine *will* be served. Cheers! ;-)

#FitFriday ruminations

#FitFriday ruminations…

Accountability is awesome.

(this would be me both pre-class and contemplating a post-class run and then me after class and after crushing my first solo run in a long time!)

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I talk about accountability a lot, I know. But truly — sometimes it just takes the simplest of actions to truly commit to your intentions — workout related or otherwise. I have to give mad props — yet again — to the barre n9ne community, this group of ladies is nothing short of inspiring and hard working and SO SO committed. Not just to their barre-volutions (you should *see* their transformations — a post for another day…but seriously unreal) but also to their cardio health, too. We have a fun little group of barre n9ne-rs who are part of the ‘barre to 5k’ group Jolene and I launched with Tanya last year. The group started as a way to help clients who wanted to go from walking to running but needed a little support to get there. Today, this group has evolved into one giant cheering squad. Constant words of encouragement and virtual high fives are the norm in this group. And a biggie — the accountability thing. We’ll routinely schedule #b9virtualrundates — reporting back with our progress, post-run. And do you know how hard it is to skip a workout if you’ve *just* told a bunch of ladies that you’d be ‘out there virtually’ at xx time, the next morning? You better damn well believe I’d never miss that run after all that. And the same is true for anyone in this group — you shout it loud and proud, you commit, and you get ‘er done. And then be prepared for an onslaught of “nice job!’ and “way to go’ and “rock on!’ that will come your way, post-run. LOVE. <3

Compliments, while simple in theory, can leave a lasting impact. Case in point:

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That would be a love note my husband left for me on my container of almond milk in the fridge for me to find this morning. I literally laughed out loud when I read what he wrote. (I may have also blushed.) But really? It reminded me that a simple compliment can mean the world. In this case, it reminded me that my husband happens to love me very much and finds me to be pretty cute. How lucky am I?? It also reminds me that I need to be more diligent of complimenting him — as I’ve said before, I have a hard time accepting compliments, especially from my husband. BUT — I’ve been working on it. By not accepting his compliments gracefully, I’m sort of throwing his words back at him in a way, pushing him away instead of pulling him in. So I’ve gotten better at it with time — and I’ve been focusing more on paying *him* compliments back. Especially now that he’s so into Crossfit, my husband is a hottie. ;-)

And finally – paying it forward is by far the most gratifying feeling in the world:

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I came to the studio on Thursday morning to teach my usual 6am toned, firm, fit and ready class and found not one, not two, but three gifts waiting for me at the studio. From clients who have been working their bums off to get fit and healthy for life. And they wanted to thank me and barre n9ne for helping them get there. Wow. Just wow. The sheer fact that I have an impact on anyone to get more fit and healthy (and happy!) is a beautiful thing. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to use my own barre journey as a means of helping others chase their own fit dreams — teaching is my way of paying it forward and I can’t say it enough: I teach with gratitude. Every single day.

So that’s that — my #FitFriday ruminations. I’m in a very happy place today and really hope you all are too. :-)

Powerful and spring-y

I’m titling this post ‘Powerful and spring-y’ which might sound kind of like an oxymoron, but I promise it’ll all make sense by the end. Hopefully. ;-)

So first up — the powerful part of the equation.

As in a powerful run. Powerful on many levels.

powerful in how it reconnected Scott and I (aka long-lost #teamsutera). Even though we barely spoke a word.

powerful in how present I felt during the run. Present in each and every step I took, present in taking in my surroundings, present in listening to Scott’s even breathing next to me, silently pushing us both along. #presence2013 is a beautiful thing. (more of an update on this project of ours in a future post…)

powerful in how my legs felt pushing up and down the hills on our *favorite* 7-miler rundate route.

powerful in the rush of memories that came flooding back during that 7-mile route we circled. It’s the same route we doubled and tripled and nearly quadrupled during Chicago marathon training. Memories. <3

powerful in the incredible HIGH it gave us both. The rush of the cool, fresh air breezing past our faces. The strength we both felt in our legs, and in our speed. And the incredible DOMS we both felt the next day (and are sure to feel even more tomorrow…I’m a two-day-later kind of girl).

powerful in the JOY it brought us both when all was said and done. As evidenced by our GIANT (albeit sweaty) smiles. <3

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Now, for the spring-y part.

spring-y as in the antsy pants I now have for spring to actually arrive. We went from blizzard conditions on Friday to sunshine and 50 degrees on Monday. Kinda makes me crazy, for SPRING. I love it so. <3

spring-y as in the joy I already feel for the mere opportunity for many more of those powerful runs like I described from Sunday. Those reconnecting, rejuvinating and energizing runs. Trying so very hard to be patient…patience pants don’t suit me so well. ;-)

spring-y and the absolute geeked-out high I get from trying out new fitgear at the studio during three-fer Monday that put a big ‘ol spring in my step as I set foot into the studio I love so very much. You see, sometimes *all* it takes to get me going on an early-start Monday (especially after the daylight savings time change the night before!), is a new outfit. Yup, I’m easy to please. And yup, I’m a giant #luluhoarder. But I won’t apologize for that part. I am who I am. Take me or leave me. ;-P

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Soooooo, that’s all I got after a very long start to my week — but doing what I love most of all, and with that extra spring in my step totally helped matters. So is the glass of wine I’m savoring the heck out of as I type this. (note: blogging with wine is something I need to do more often. #noted.). Happppy (powerful and spring-y) Monday, friends! 

Of teaching with gratitude (one year later)

Today marks one year since I taught my very first class at barre n9ne studio and I’m honestly sitting here at a loss for words at how to best capture what this year has meant to me.

The one word that keeps swirling in my mind is gratitude.

I know I gush about barre n9ne for about a million reasons but the main reason I’m so in love with barre n9ne is that it occupies such a beautiful, joyful and grateful space in my heart.

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It’s where I met the most amazing studio owner Tanya, who I am honored to call a friend, a mentor, and the best boss around.

It’s where my sister and I bonded over our own ‘challenge’ journey as the original barre n9ne challengers (awesome post here by Tanya on what that challenge journey has evolved into for so many women at the studio since then…almost 2 years ago!)

It’s where I have the honor of paying that challenge experience forward by supporting in any way that I can each challenger that commits to changing her life for the better, into a fit, happy and healthy forever lifestyle. (and ensuring that every class I teach is as challenging and fun as I can make it)

It’s where I learned how to love my body for all that it is and all that it promises to become.

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It’s where I go and know that #everytime I set foot through the front door of the studio, whatever stress or frustration may be swirling in my mind, immediately dissipates as I step forward as instructor, a badge I wear with such joy and honor.

And it’s where I know that no matter what, I’ll always get the most killer workout of my life. Nothing else compares. Nothing.

But ultimately? barre n9ne studio is my happy place. I love it dearly. I love every single client that shakes their bum off at the barre, and I love that this is truly just the beginning. I’m expecting greatness to come at barre n9ne studio in 2013 and for many, many more years.

#b94lyf <3

Connections.

I recently started teaching an arms & abs class at barre n9ne (taking it over for one of the other instructors who is pregnant – and super cute, I might add!) and it’s been a fun, very different class to teach versus the usual classes I teach that are all full body workouts.

What I’ve noticed since I started teaching the class though, is just how connected everything is. Since that class focuses SO MUCH on core work and engaging those muscles throughout the workout (not just during the sections that are ab-specific), I’ve noticed some things.

– For one – hello abs, where have you been all my life? You hurt like hell after that class, but I kind of love that.

– Also? It’s all connected. As in, a strong core ties into SO MANY other parts of your body…your entire body, actually.

I noticed that this morning while taking a fusion class at the studio (same class I took last week with my bestie right upfront!) – since my abs were already sore, I was much more aware of how my abs played into every single exercise we did.

– My posture was taller while we sat and worked our shoulders with those love-to-hate silver balls.

– My back was flatter while we were working our glutes on all fours.

– And everything – EVERYTHING – felt a lot more difficult than if I didn’t have such ‘worked’ core muscles this morning.

Which lead me to this very simple conclusion: it’s ALL connected.

And the more I can personally focus on that connection to my core and to all of my muscles really, the more I’ll get out of my workouts, but also the more I’ll help clients get more out of their workouts too.

While teaching arms & abs especially, I’ve been trying to remind clients to make sure they are engaging their core while doing ALL of the exercises I run through in that class. So while standing and working our biceps with the gray band, really think about pulling your belly button to your spine, engaging your core muscles and holding them firm throughout the bicep pulls. So even if we’re not doing a so-called ‘core’ exercise in that class (or any of the other classes), your core should always be working, always engaged, always firm and strong. Because that’s the key – making that connection to your core, to your muscles, and working them as hard as they can and should be worked. Trusting that you can work a little harder, dig a little deeper, engage your muscles even more.

And yes, that’s exactly what I thought about throughout my ‘me’ workout this morning in fusion.  Connecting with my body, making sure to stay in the zone and enjoying the heck out of every last minute of that class (even though it hurt…a lot, ha).

So that’s my mini pep talk ‘o the day – think about those connections, all of them. And put it to practice during your next workout. I’m thinking you might be surprised at how different the workout feels both during and in the days after that workout (think: DOMS).  Juuuuust a hunch. ;-)

Of three-peats and trying new things (Ellie!)

So I talk about barre n9ne often.
Ok, I talk about barre n9ne A LOT.

…but it’s only because I love, love, love everything about it — the workouts, the clients, the community we’ve built and yes — what I love most of all is being able to teach. It’s an honor, truly.

What I haven’t really talked about all that much here is how often I teach or what my schedule looks like. And well, I’m not necessarily here to blab on about THAT per se, I am here today to talk about what I’m loving about the barre n9ne ‘three-peat’ I teach every single Monday.

You might sometimes see me refer to it as the ‘three-peat’ or sometimes the ‘3-fer’ on instagram if I opt to post on instagram a post-class sweaty-faced pic at the studio, or a post-class glass of pic of the glass of wine I routinely pour after the last class of the day is over with for me. (case in point below)

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But what IS this ‘three-peat’ all about? It started with me starting up the 6am Monday morning class. A class that admittedly was slow to pickup steam at first — I mean, 6am on a MONDAY is rough. Who wants to roll out of bed that early on a Monday anyway?? Well hi, I do. ;-)

And I slowly convinced clients that it was the most EXCELLENT idea ever to kickoff the work week with a barre n9ne sweatfest.

Well, soon after that, I picked up the 7am class too and for me, it’s been a blast to rock a barre n9ne double each Monday morning. Even if that means a mad dash and scramble to get to work after that. It’s always, always, always worth it. And THEN, once the Danvers studio expanded to two fitness rooms vs. one, I picked up a 7pm class too. Monday night is ‘bowling night’ for Scott so I readily volunteered for more studio time that day — because to me, that’s an awesome way to kick off a ‘me’ night — at my favorite home away from home. ;-)

So WHY am I telling you all of this? Not because I want to look like some crazy ass instructor rockstar or something (seriously, not the point), but because Monday’s have become an awesome day for me. Any time I wake up with the “Monday morning blues” they are almost immediately dashed away as soon as I set foot in the studio at 5:30am. Sure, it makes for a long day between teaching and my day job, but hell – let’s be honest: I’d be taking a class or running if I wasn’t teaching, right??

And this past Monday? I had an extra spring in my step. A spring in my step that could only be the result of new workout gear to wear while teaching. And *GASP* it was NOT Lululemon gear I was wearing on Monday (shocking I know, such a #luluhoarder I am!). It was something new. A new tank and leggings from a company called Ellie. Some of you might know them by ‘pv.body’ which has since morphed into Ellie — an online clothing retailer of their own brand of workout gear called “Ellie.”  For awhile the company was selling discounted name-brand gear (like lulu and others) via the pv.body name, but they’ve since changed their business model and so far, I’m totally digging it.

Let’s be honest — they make some pretty cute gear:

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(Note: the top is called ‘the vixen’ which I kind of love haha, and the bottom is called ‘love struck leggings’ — in case you’re browsing the site later looking for either item!)

And while this particular top required me to wear a second sports bra (to avoid showing off the girls during class lol), I think that was mostly because the top was a looser style and I probably should have gone a size smaller. I’m hoping I can shrink the top a bit when I wash it, maybe. Otherwise, I LOVED the top. So comfy and way cute. And the pants were equally comfy and very flattering. I could see myself running in these pants with no problem, and they were great to teach in. Totally recommend either one.

And really, it’s looking like all of their stuff will be fun, unique pieces to rock at the studio, the gym, the streets, etc. — you can check more of their stuff out here: http://www.ellie.com/ 

(you can also follow them on Twitter: @MeetEllie, Instagram, and Facebook: MeetEllie)

AND if you’re interested in giving Ellie a try, you can click this link and get 20% off your order. I know, I know, #badinfluence alert. ;-)

Buuut you’ll have to put up with me because 1) I’m here to stay (hehe) and 2) I’m now an Ellie Ambassador so in addition to my incessant #luluhoarder ways, I’m thinking I may be an #elliehoarder soon too. ;-)

The bottom line: sweat

The bottom line: sweat.

As in – I love to sweat. Love, love, love it. 

And this week I’ve been LOVING on some fitdates of the ‘me workout’ variety.

On Tuesday — I proudly crushed a 7-miler before 7am (just love the sound of that, hehe…dweeb alert) and took this picture as proof of the sweat that was dripping from my hair and onto my chest. I <3 sweat. 

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And this morning? I got up bright and early to meet one of my besties at barre n9ne for a fitdate. And not just ANY fitdate, either. For one, I wasn’t the one at the center mat (not that I don’t LOVE being there, I doooo).  My bestie was the one teaching the class. It was my FIRST class with her, a rare treat indeed. I’ve been wanting to take her class for eons but schedules just weren’t jiving. I saw the opportunity to nab a spot in class for Fusion at 6am and went for it.

…and I’m SO glad that I did. <3


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(we look far too excited to be in pretzel, especially after she had us doing the killer side leg series right before this…hehe)

And because I have the rare opportunity to be at home today for work (I usually only work from home on Friday’s now), I took the opportunity to log a few miles on the treadmill. A sweaty 30-min rundate-for-one — perfection. And sure, the reason I’m home today is kind of crapstastic — we’re one car down at the Sutera Manor today (praying it’s nothing major, we’ll find out later today) — I’m looking for that silver lining, obviously. That silver lining? The ability to embrace the sweat. Plain and simple.

The other silver lining? The killer bowl of oatmeal with chopped apples and blueberries I’m about to devour (sorry, no pic — too hungry, hehe). 

Happy WINESDAY friends!!
I’ll be sending ya’ll a virtual cheers around 6pm tonight. Join me, please. :-)