Everyone needs a little me (workout) time

I hear this a lot — both from clients at the studio, from family and from friends who just don’t think they deserve, need or are ‘allowed’ to have ‘me’ time. Particularly when that ‘me’ time is of the workout variety. It’s seen by some as a frivolous activity, a nice-to-have versus a need-to-have or it’s a selfish thing to want or need that ‘me workout’ time.

But truly? Everyone needs a little me (workout) time. 
Everyone.

Yes, even I need it. 

You see, I’ve been working on a little experiment these past few weeks. Instead of looking at my me-workouts as nice-to-have activity in between all the teaching that I do each week, I’ve been looking at it as need-to-have time. Obviously within reason, balancing it out with the working out that invariably happens while I’m teaching class. But yes, I’ve been making my me workout time more of a priority. Even if it means shifting my focus a little bit — instead of wishing for or yearning for x amount of miles, I get excited about running a quick 30 mins after class or slotting in a fitdate with a bestie mid-week when schedules allow.  And yes, I #makeitcount.

So I have been committing to my ‘me time’ of the workout variety more these past few weeks and I’ve noticed something. Yup, you guessed it — I’m happier.

It’s not rocket science people, putting yourself first and chasing those endorphins produces, yup — happy, joyful energy. 

Sure, I still love, love, love all the hours I spend teaching, watching clients transform right before my eyes. LOVE. But I also love that me time either at the barre or on the mat where I have time to focus on my own muscle strength and endurance. Or the time I spend in my favorite sneakers, running 3 miles or 7, or somewhere in between, those miles don’t matter distance-wise — all that matters is that they are my miles. Miles I fought for particularly hard for on Sunday in the chilly, windy air. But it was worth it. SO, SO, worth it. Especially because it meant a #teamsutera reunion. <3

photo (46)

So here’s my thinking — I will continue to make my ‘me workouts’ a priority. Within reason, of course, and while still respecting the rest time my body needs. But clearly, based on just the past two or three weeks alone, my mood is just happier, less stressy, more centered. I KNOW part of that has to do with the #presence2013 project. But I also believe it has something to do with the me-workout thing. It’s just needed. 

And please, I hope you all will take that time to remember that you are just important to make a priority as everyone and everything else in your life that is important and that you love. You also love yourself, right? So watch that (self) love blossom, and respect the me (workout) time as much as you can. It’ll only make you a happier, healthier, more content wife, sister, friend, mother, auntie, and daughter (ditto this for the boys who may be reading this post!). It’s important, truly.

You know you’re a (die-hard) fitness instructor when…

You know you’re a (die-hard) fitness instructor when…

You literally fall asleep with a constant 8-count scrolling through your brain.
(hold for 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, annnnnd 1…now pulse 8, 7…)

…this is a much more serious problem on Sunday nights when you have a double to teach in the morning.
(and your biggest fear is oversleeping despite multiple alarm clocks being set…pulse it 8, 7, 6, 5, 4…)

On your drive to or from your day job any new song you hear on the radio that sounds even remotely like good playlist material, you immediately shazam for download later.

…and then spend the rest of the car ride trying to figure out where that song would fit into your playlist for your next class.
(hmm could Muse’s “Madness” be a good ab series song? Perhaps for arms & abs tomorrow night??)

You get WAY too excited about new workout gear — particularly of the Lululemon variety — and have to immediately instagram as many selfies as you can before your early-am classes start (hence no audience to see you making funny faces in the mirror at 5:30 in the morning…). Case in point:

Image (6)

On your lunch break, you routinely review your class plan for the night ahead and wonder if you could do anything to make the class more interesting, unique, surprising or more intense…y’know, to keep those clients on their toes (literally, ha!). ;-P

And you totally geek out over all the fun instagram pics you spy as part of the barre n9ne studio #b9poseadaychallenge  contest that we (as in me and my sis Jo, marketing pro’s for the studio!) kicked off earlier in the week. So much so that you just HAVE to get in on the action yourself:

photo (35)

(this shot was taken just prior to me kicking my sister’s cute bum during barre fusion on Sunday night, hehe..but um, wtf is up with my expression here??)

And you get ridiculously giddy at the thought of training to teach a new style of workout at the studio — a training that is coming up FAST in February. A training I cannot WAIT to get through — and a class I cannot WAIT to rock at the studio…quite literally ‘rock’ it too. The workout? It’s called POUND – rockout workout. And OMG it looks like a BLAST. <–much more on this later, I promise! 

You  know you’re a (die-hard) fitness instructor when…you ADORE teaching, no matter how tired you are, no matter how long of a day you’ve had, no matter how early you have to wake up to get to the studio…none of that matters.

All that matters is that you love it, that clients love it…and that maybe, just maybe, you’re making a teeny tiny difference in the world.
…all while doing something that you love. 

What I’m loving lately – the barre n9ne edition

Remember how I talked about the ‘cycles’ my workouts tend to take?
(wow, this post on workout cycles was a long time ago…back when Group Kick was still in my life. That ‘life’ feels like a lifetime ago given where I am today. Interesting note.)

Well – you guessed it, I’m about to enter a new cycle.

Funny how just a few days ago, I was talking about simplifying, not jumping into anything (race-wise) now that the marathon is over, etc., and here I am already seeing the outline of this next cycle taking shape right before my eyes.  So interesting that our paths in life truly are right there if we just learn to settle back and have some faith. Noted.

Anyway – that new ‘cycle’ of mine? It revolves around something I am loving so much right now, more than ever – yup, you  guessed it: barre n9ne.

I mentioned fairly recently that the studio was expanding again. I am PSYCHED about this. We now have two locations – one near my sister and one near me (fitting, right??). In a couple of weeks the studio near me (the original location) is expanding to two separate studio rooms so that location can now hold two classes at (or around) the same time of day or night. This is HUGE from a growth perspective – there are so many clients who want to take classes that simply can’t get into some of the more popular time slots (particularly at night). I am so, so, so excited to see this happen – Tanya (the owner) is incredible. She has worked her butt off to make this dream of hers a reality. It’s seriously amazing just how much growth the studio has seen since my sis and I joined the studio last May. To think that it’ll basically be triple the size as it was then is just awesome. Talk about hard work paying off, huh?

The studio expansion obviously holds a special place in my heart since it’s been such a life-changing ‘home’ for me (and my sis) since we kicked off the 60-day challenge and fell deeply in love with all things barre. We are both so in love with teaching in the style that we adore, it’s ridiculous the amount of gushing we do – to anyone who will listen (and even if they don’t want to listen, we still babble on as you’ve no doubt seen on Facebook, Instagram, twitter…lol). Most of all – teaching and participating in the barre n9ne ‘family’ is all about paying it forward for both of us. It has changed our lives in ways that neither of us ever saw coming back then. <3

 But back to that ‘cycle’ thing I was talking about.
(sorry, I digress a LOT lately when I write…such a spaz)

Now that the studio is thisclose to expanding, I’ll be teaching even more than I have been already. This excites me so very much. I love, love, love seeing clients ‘embrace the shake’ at the barre, hold on through a difficult arm series and to walk away from class feeling utterly ‘worked.’ Seriously nothing like it. Every single time a new 60-day challenge program kicks off, the energy of the room automatically kicks up a notch or two with both old and new challengers uber-motivated to give it their all. Love. It.

So more classes to teach, more opportunity to pay it forward? All awesome, awesome things in my book.

However, it *does* mean that I’ll need to step back a teeny bit from running. But in a very good way, IMHO. Going back to the run #simply mentality – my running will wind up being a LOT less structured given I’ll have limited windows of time to run now (at most 3 opportunities per week). And I’m surprisingly really, really ok with this cycle shift. I LOVE to run. Don’t get me wrong. But I’m already looking forward to less structure, and more running joyful moments. Where I just get out there to sweat, move, breathe, and feel alive.

And in between that? I’ll be living and breathing the barre n9ne lifestyle in all that I do. As I’ve done faithfully since last May.

So this is me, looking forward to rocking lots of barre n9ne ‘high’s much like the one I rocked yesterday morning after an especially sweaty, energetic 6am class.  #b94lyf

 

On recommitting to the barre

Ok, let’s be honest — the title of this post is a wee bit misleading, ya’ll know by now how absolutely in love with the barre I am these days. Even in the midst of marathon training.

BUT — this weekend was an awesome reminder of why I am so damn in love with barre n9ne.

A couple of things lead up to this whole concept of ‘recommitting’ to the barre:

I taught a lot last week — including an awesome double session on Saturday (was subbing for one of the other instructors who was away). And every single time I set foot in the studio, I just smiled. Sure, it’s work and it’s a job to be there, creating killer classes and making sure I keep it lively. But I LOVE it. So it never, ever feels like work. It just feels right. <3

I helped Tanya (barre n9ne studio owner) kick off the next 60-day challenge in the Danvers studio on Saturday. Right after teaching that double, I stuck around to welcome the new challengers, helping to get their ‘before’ pictures, weight and measurements done. I spent a lot of time walking around the room, talking to the new and returning challengers — answering questions, allaying their fears, sharing my own story and experience since joining the studio last May. I even heard from one challenger who decided to commit to the challenge after reading my story on this little blog ‘o mine. Imagine?! That was the coolest. The energy in the room was so apparent — every single woman in the room was there because they were ready. Ready to commit – to themselves, to the barre, to a new beginning. Awesome.

After the challenge kick-off ended, I finally took my ‘after’ measurements — something I had meant to do at the one-year mark since we kicked off the challenge last May. We never got around to it this past May and after sitting in that room feeling so inspired? I wanted to see just how far I’d come, in numbers, since my own challenge. Not so much because I needed the reassurance or that the numbers would tell me just how successful I was, but because I wanted to have metrics to share with other challengers — to show them that that this challenge is truly just the beginning. There is no end, it becomes a totally sustainable lifestyle. A lifestyle I happen to love very much.

I wasn’t going to share these numbers on the blog but honestly? I’m freakin’ damn proud of myself. Over a year later and I’m still working towards refinement, continuing to hone my own practice while working my bum off to motivate every client that takes my class.

So here goes…

Since joining barre n9ne last May as the first challenger (with my sis!), I’ve lost almost 25 inches and 18 pounds

Are you kidding me?? The numbers I saw as Tanya took my measurements were unreal. It was like that other person, those ‘before’ numbers, weren’t really me, I just feel like an entirely new person today. Not just physically but ridiculously more so mentally. It’s incredible.

I stand in awe, truly.
…and recommitted to the barre all over again <3

On rules: revisions and refinements

The other day, I mentioned that I sort of broke my own self-imposed “rule” — that I don’t run more than two days in a row if I can help it. Yet, last weekend I wound up running Friday, Saturday and Sunday and felt pretty great and very strong when all was said and done.

Heather left me an insightful comment (as she usually does) and it got me thinking:

Heather Iacobacci (@hriacobacci)
Submitted on 2012/06/12 at 8:40 am

Yes – strong IS beautiful. So glad you were feeling strong with your running this weekend. Sometimes I think it’s ok to just go with it even if you don’t normally run 3 or 4 days in a row. You’re listening to your body and that’s smart.

Hmm.

Have I been imposing my own set of rules a little bit too strongly in some cases? 
Is that why I have been sort of “off” feeling about marathon training? 
Why I’ve felt sort of antsy of late and unsure of why? 

I’m kind of thinking that’s been the problem. I’m letting my own rules get in the way. Instead of relying so heavily on my rules, why am I not spending more time listening to my body and recognizing when it’s telling me to “GO” vs. “STOP.”  We know I’ve learned to become great at listening to it when it tells me to stop, but am I losing my knack for “hearing” it when it’s telling me to go for it?

…I think so. 

I mean, I’ve been talking about this being my year of “no limits,” of pushing past boundaries, of breaking through (self-imposed or not) barriers. Yet, I sometimes have a hard time revising or refining my own set of rules or guidelines.

Now that I think about it, I notice this popping up in other areas of life. Of not being able to “go with the flow” more like my husband would like me to. Learning to be more un-planned, more spontaneous, less structured or rigid. Hello Type-A much? I think I need to tone it down juuuuust a wee bit.

And before you all think I’m just trying to justify working out MORE or something silly like that, I promise you this is not the case. I’m a huge fan of working smarter, not harder. HUGE. I’m also a huge fan of rest days. All I’m saying is that I could stand to loosen my grip on my own rules now and then, with workouts — sure, but with other areas of my life too.

This will certainly play into how I approach my marathon training plan as well. For instance — I told you that I had planned on three solid runs per week (one long, two mid-range) to get my endurance up where it needs to be for the marathon. And that is still very much the plan. However, there is that little thing called the run-barre-rundate that I happen to ADORE. I’ve been doing it for the past few Tuesdays with my friend Steph and I LOVE it. I don’t want to give it up just because it doesn’t fit so neatly into my marathon training guidelines. So I’m not going to. At least for now. If I need to cut it out later, I’ll do it. But for now? I LOVE how badass that workout makes me feel. I LOVE how accomplished I feel when all is said and done. And I LOVE the “fit date” time with Steph. We have some of the best chats on Tuesdays because of it. (she’s the best!)

The bottom line here is that the old adage “rules are meant to be broken” is definitely one that I could stand to lean on a little bit now and then. Not all the time, no. But sometimes…it’s ok to revise, refine, or all-out break a rule.

(The sky will not come crashing down around you, I promise (note to self…).)

Source: glossfixation.tumblr.com via Jess on Pinterest

NOTE: I’d revise this to say: First Learn the Rules. Then break them (smartly)

Rainy run-barre-rundate: #PROOF!

First of all – WOW am I blown away by all of your tweets, FB comments and blog comments on yesterday’s big reveal blog post. Seriously – you know how to make this girl blush like crazy!! You have no idea (or maybe you do!) how much guts it took me to finally decide to post the before/after shots all over the Internet for the world to see. I really battled whether or not I could do it / wanted to do it.

 But the bottom line for me? I wanted to show actual PROOF that hard work, lots of intention, and commitment to YOU can pay off in about five million ways.

So again, thank you for such support and love. You guys rock. <3

While we’re on the topic of #PROOF – I couldn’t help but post about yesterday’s totally badass run-barre-rundate with bestie, Steph. It was seriously so fitting that we chose yesterday to conquer the run-barre-rundate workout on the same day that I’d recap what an incredible year at the barre I’ve had. I thought about it the entire time we were running, barre-ing and running again.

So – for those of you wondering what exactly a run-barre-rundate looks like? This is what a rainy one looks like, I’ll tell you that (kind of hard to tell where the sweat stops and the drenching from the rain starts, not gonna lie…):

This is the workout scheme we concocted last year as a way to get some running in while conquering a sweat sesh at the barre all rolled into one. I figured out that I live exactly 2.6 miles from the studio and thought it would be genius (and environmentally conscious!) to start running to the studio, taking class, and running home – when schedules (and weather) permitted.

I’ve done this run-barre-run solo but it’s way better with friends (and sisters! Miss you Jo!). And what way better than a run-barre-rundate with friends than a RAINY one, huh? Not gonna lie, it kinda felt badass. I was riding a serious barre-run high the entire day (a high that spiked every single time I read another comment from you on my post yesterday!).

Moral of this story? Even if it’s raining, get ‘er done. You’ll feel wicked badass (and WORKED) afterwards. And the post-workout shower will feel like heaven. Trust me on this one.

(Steph, really glad we did this even though we both thought about chickening out for about .32 seconds when we saw the “on-its-just-sprinkling-lets-do-this-no-wait-its-legit-raining” rain, hehe)

#PROOF @the barre

This is what a back-to-back sweat sesh @the barre looks like (plus a super sweatastic morning class I taught earlier that day…):

(granted, we look waayyy too chipper for just getting our asses handed to us, but still – work with me here, mmk?)

If that’s not #PROOF, I don’t know what is. ;-)

But seriously — what’s the point of my post today? It’s a really good reminder (and note to self!) that a killer workout comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to be a ridiculous cardio-fest like running or spinning or something. A strength training session or strength-based studio class (or two of them, hell why not?) is just as much — if not more — of a sweatastically awesome workout.

Just because you didn’t sweat the same way you did after <insert cardio ‘poison’ of choice here> doesn’t mean that the workout wasn’t effective.  Last night’s workout was reminder #4,000 to me that strength training (of the barre variety or otherwise — I promise I’m not *that* biased towards the barre ok maybe I am) is incredibly important, needed, and ridiculously awesome (and sweaty too!).

And really? Strong is beautiful.
…and it’s pretty badass, not gonna lie.

This from the chick who pretty much rode a barre-high all day long. The class I taught in the morning was especially energetic and sweaty and FUN (and I got to meet Melissa finally — hooray!! And I do believe she’ll be back — yay for that, I didn’t scare her off!). That plus the barre-date with fit bestie Steph and my day ended on a wicked strong high note.

Strength training makes me feel strong and confident and fit — and it’s soooo important to fit it into your life, in some shape or form. Pretty please, if you don’t already – do it, and embrace every single strength-filled second.

<<steps off soap box>>

And as you’re reading this now, we should be off on our rundate to end the week on a high note. If you follow me on Instagram, you can expect to see another #PROOF pic of our rundate sweatiness — because who can get sick of seeing sweaty, glee-filled faces up in here. Am I right?? 

Happy #PROOF-tastic Friday, friends! <–make it a sweaty one  (TWSS??) ;-)

Reason #4,567 why I heart barre n9ne

I know, I know, *another* post about my ongoing love affair with barre n9ne. Can you even stand me anymore??

But seriously, I just can’t help myself today. Way too much awesome stuff going on for me not to share on this fine, fine Friday morning.

The studio is expandingwith a second location about 25 minutes away from the original location (which is 35 seconds from my house, practically) — and what I love the *most* about that? It just means more and more people can experience the incredible transformation that I’ve personally undergone since joining the studio almost a year ago to the day (May 12 is my one year barre-versary…the one year mark since I kicked off the infamous 60-day challenge. The challenge that ultimately changed my life forever, no lie). <–expect a full recap of the grand opening party next week, the big event is on Saturday, my sis and I have been scheming for the last couple of weeks, snagging some really cool sponsors and things. Can’t wait to share!

I love to teach. Really, really, really love to teach. This was all more than solidified for me when I taught those three classes I told you I felt so honored to have the priviledge to teach yesterday. I loved seeing all the shaking at the barre – not once, not twice, but three times…and in two different studios! Everyone continues to work so, so, so hard during class — I love to see that look of satisfaction on their face when they walk out of that studio afterwards. It’s ridiculously rewarding.

I am still not afraid of the scale. This is a big one, friends. Yesterday, before teaching the second class of the day, I saw the scale sitting underneath the reception desk in the studio. And literally without a second thought, I turned it on and hopped on. I haven’t weighed myself since November — my 6 month mark of the challenge. It was that day, 6 months ago, where I proclaimed I was no longer afraid of the scale. And yesterday was no different. I stepped on that scale and was not afraid. At. All. And wouldn’t you know — when I looked down? That number literally stunned me into silence. It was a brand-spankin’ new number, a lower one, and one I have not seen in I can’t even tell you how many years.

Now. I have not intentionally been trying to lose weight since I hit my goal weight in November. I’ve been working hard, yes. Training hard, yes. But weight loss has been far from my mind. Maintenance has been my game plan. Numbers, scales, etc. are seriously not my “thing” as you all know very well, by now.  But to see a lower number was such a surprise. And you know what? I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you guys it felt frickin’ incredible. I am damn proud of myself. Particularly because this lifestyle of mine (that yes, still includes a food log), is truly a lifestyle. One that I believe in so strongly. Because it works. Becaues it’s not about deprivation. It’s not about a diet. It’s not about fits and starts. It’s about consistencyIt’s about loving food — real, wholesome, nutritious (damn tasty) food. And ultimately, it’s about making peace with food. Which I’m proud to say I’ve done (‘cept for an occasional case of OATT  here and there…hey, I never claimed to be perfect!).

So reason #4,567 why I heart barre n9ne?
…because it’s become my happy place. Through and through. <3

Moving with intention (another proud moment)

At the barre on Monday night, I looked in the mirror and watched as I moved with intention
…the up and down of the bicep curl, making sure to extend all the way to straight and back up, squeezing that bicep in tightly at the top.
…the tuck of my hips, the gentle bend at the knees, shoulders pressing up and down, up and down. Tiny moves. Intentional moves.
…feet in a ‘piece of pie,’ heels connected and lifted high, knees pushing down and out, hips tucked (yet again). Down and hold. Down and hold.  
…glancing over at my sister, beside me at the barre; watching her move with such focus, such strength, such intention.
…remembering how far we’ve come in this barre n9ne journey together.

Yes. These were the thoughts that flooded my brain during class on Monday (remember: brain. does.not.shut.off). It was as if I was on the outside, looking in. Watching myself from afar, almost as if in one of those retrospectives you see in the movies sometimes. Surreal almost.

But really? This entire journey has been surreal. I feel ridiculously lucky, blessed to have found my passion – a passion that has instilled such confidence in me and my sis, and a true sense of self. Finally. After 32 years I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I like who I’ve become.

In fact, I kinda love her. I love how strong she is. I love how happy she is.  And yes, I love how fit she is. But most of all? I love how “me” she is. 

And that makes me so very proud

I used to refer to this barre n9ne challenge and subsequent journey as a total transformation. But then I stopped and thought about it: a transformation almost makes it sound like I’ve become somebody else...but that’s not quite right.
…I’m still me.
…I’m even MORE me.
…Just as I was intended to be all along. 

Moving with intention (another proud moment)… 2012, bring it on, barre-style. 

A run-barre-rundate for one

Remember that fitastic workout from a few weeks ago? The genius idea of combining a rundate with a barredate into one fitastic run-barre-rundate? 

Well,  this past Saturday marked my return to the run-barre-rundate concept.
…with one slight tweak.

I ran the rundate portion all by myself. 

No big whoop for most of you runners out there, right? But this runner? She rarely runs alone. As in, practically never.

For some reason, I’ve always run outside with a running companion…usually Scott. Or my sis. Or my friend Steph.  But this Saturday I was left solo. Jo had a long run planned (which she killed btw, go sis, go!). And Steph was meeting me at barre n9ne for a double session she had planned.

So, instead of scrapping the run entirely, I went with it. I bundled up. I gave Scott a quick kiss and out the door I went.

The first sign that I made the right decision? The weather was far less chilly than I had braced myself for. Probably mid-30s, with little-to-no wind and lots of sunshine. Perfect winter running weather. 

The run itself was fairly uneventful. It’s 2.7 miles to the studio and the time went by quickly. I was psyched to be heading to the barre for one of my favorite barre n9ne classes – barre n9ne method – with Julianna teaching the class. So my mind was on getting “in the game” for what would be a killer session at the barre (for some reason, Julianna is always on fire on Saturdays and this past Saturday was no different!).

Pleased with how much of a shake I got at the barre, I left the studio riding high. I bundled back up and hit the road to head home. I got almost to the turning point that would take me home when I thought to myself how great I was feeling and that maybe I should push it just a little bit farther. So instead of the shorter loop home, I chose the longer route (by .3 miles, big whoop, hah) and rounded out the run-barre-rundate having covered just under 6 miles. Whew. 

But the best part of this run-barre-rundate for one? The giant run/barre high I was riding *and* the pride I felt in sticking to my guns and getting out there to run even though it was out of my norm, out of my running comfort zone.

…as it turns out, I kinda like running solo, too — who knew?

Note to self: Rotate in as many run-barre-rundates as you can this winter, you’ll never regret it and the high you’ll ride afterwards? Worth. It.
#asslap!