what’s in my gym bag and a boo update

After last week’s craziness, I am more than happy to report that the Boo is back in action. ¬†Sure, she’s on a ton of drugs and doing some really funny things (ie. wedging herself in between furniture to sleep, sneaking in to her food and getting her head stuck in the bag), but I’d much rather have her home and this way than in the hospital and ill 100 times over.


little Boo with a frog on her head and an IV in her arm ūüė¶

So, we’re back to semi-normalcy over here and I couldn’t be happier about it. ¬†It was especially scary when we took Boo to her regular vet to get her blood work done as a precaution following her hospital stay and have the doctor look at her chart and tell us how high her numbers actually were. ¬†Very happy to have my nugget back in good spirits even if the medicine she’s on makes me take her out three separate times throughout the night. ¬†The things I do for the love of this pooch.


Anyway, in other areas of my life I’m slowly but surely getting back into my running and I’m elated. ¬†I did 7 miles on Saturday and I have a lovely little blood blister on my foot to prove it. ¬†Ah, running, you glamorous little activity, you. ¬†I’m actually straight up shocked that my fitness is where it is right now. ¬†I haven’t run consistently since April and to be back at it with a 7 mile run and really feeling good is something I’m pretty proud of. ¬†Sure, my speed is about 15-30 seconds slower than I would like, but I’ll get back there. ¬†Right now, it’s all about slowly increasing mileage to prevent injury and to get back in fighting shape.

running watch



But all of that fun recap business isn’t the main purpose of this post. ¬†The other day, one of my Insta-friends reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to join a group of other bloggers for a “What’s in my gym bag” post! ¬†I had to say yes for two reasons 1) I love reading other people’s blogs and supporting like-minded women 2) I’m genuinely curious what other people bring with them to the gym haha! ¬†I’ve teamed up with Taylor Cartee, TeachersGoneStrong, Samantha Rose Fitness, and Running with Strength. ¬†If you haven’t given these girl’s blogs a read, you’re honestly missing out. ¬†They are genuinely some of the most informative, interesting blogs I’ve read in a long time. ¬†Plus, on top of being so knowledgable, they are all kick-ass athletes that I am just in awe of.

So without further ado, welcome to my lovely little gym bag.

I tend to only bring a bag with me when I am doing an activity that requires me to switch shoes, which is happening more and more often now with Spinning.

I keep everything I bring to the gym in this silly drawstring I got at the admitted students weekend before I enrolled in college at Rice University. ¬†Yep, that’s right, this thing is 7 years old. ¬†It serves its purpose and always has, so I can’t complain.

In my gym bag, I also keep a protein snack of some sort. ¬†I usually am a little hungry before my workouts, so I’ll break off a piece of a Quest Bar and eat it on the way to the gym and then have some more to refuel after.

I also keep a towel in my bag at all times because I am a sweaty monster and I never want to be caught at the gym without one. ¬†I swear just walking into the gym signals my body to start sweating. ¬†Praise the lord that sweat towels are a thing that exist because I would be a very sad sight without one. ¬†I also use it to cover up the timer on any cardio machine I’m using unless I’m doing specific intervals. ¬†This allows me to not obsess about numbers and just go on feel and I think it makes my runs/ellipticals/bikes a million times more enjoyable.

I am obsessed with my Bluetooth headphones and these are the best pair I have ever owned and I have owned a lot. ¬†I tend to lose headphones pretty often, so I don’t like to spend a lot of money on them. ¬†After losing or breaking 5 pairs in the last couple of months, I got these and I’m never looking back. ¬†Sound quality: on point. ¬†Ease of use: 100%. ¬†Cool color: A+.

Then there are my spin shoes. ¬†I love these and got them on Zappos for about $100, which is cheaper than most pairs. ¬†They honestly make such a difference. ¬†Not only do they allow me to bring more power into my spinning, they allow for better, more efficient form. ¬†Fun fact: the cages that are on most bikes are meant for Men’s Size 11 shoes, which means your toes should not touch the end of cage. ¬†Instead, the ball of your foot should be on the pedal with the majority of your foot off of it. ¬†I guarantee this is not the positioning you’re used to, but the more you know.

When I practice my spin classes, I always carry a little notebook with me. ¬†It takes a beating, that’s for sure, but it’s a great place for me to jot down notes when I’m making a spin class or to write down a workout I come up with when my mind is wandering. ¬†When I’m making a class, I usually start out with a couple songs that I know I want on the playlist and then listen to the beat and pick when moves I think compliment that song best. ¬†I then kind of just go exploring through spotify and end up with a list that I feel confident about. ¬†Then, when I get home later, I’ll reference my notes and rearrange the songs to be in a more cohesive, challenging workout pattern. ¬†It’s honestly a whole lot of fun, I’m not going to lie.

The last thing I keep in my gym bag is my actual gym shoes. ¬†Well my running shoes in this case. ¬†If I’m doing plyo or leg work, I wear a pair of flatter nikes, but for runs I’m all about my Brooks Ghost right now. ¬†Also, I have exceptionally high arches, so I like to wear custom inserts in my shoes to make them a little more comfortable. ¬†I wear these shoes to death, so I’m willing to splurge a little bit for extra comfort.

And there you have it.  My gym bag in all of its glory.  Sure, there are days when I pack way more or way less, but this is pretty much what it is and it works for me.  What do you keep in your gym bag?



i’m a Certified Spinning Instructor!!! and my review of the Spinning Certification

spinning and shoes

Surprise!!!! ¬†While I’ve been coping with my injury, I have spent a lot more time on the bike than I ever had before. ¬†I started getting bored of the regular stationary bikes at my gym and noticed that no one was in the spin studio in the mornings, so I would sneak in and start pedaling away holding my own classes for myself. ¬†As the weeks passed, I grew to love it more and more until I finally decided I wanted to get certified.

spinning and shoes
just a girl and her manual.

While I’ve been sidelined I really wanted to focus on keeping my cardio endurance up because we all know that getting back to running after you haven’t done it for awhile is TOUGH STUFF. ¬†I had read an article awhile back comparing different exercises indoors vs. outdoors like running, cycling, swimming etc. ¬†While running is usually more difficult outdoors, it turns out that cycling and spinning indoors can be just as difficult if not more so than biking outdoors. ¬†So, I was all for it. ¬†Bring on the cardiovascular goodness.

I looked around for awhile trying to figure out what kind of a certification I wanted to get.  Like when I was looking for my Personal Trainer certification, I wanted something that was credible and very well respected.  Because of this, I went with Spinning.  There are plenty of other indoor cycling programs (Schwinn, Cycling Fusion etc.) but Spinning was the first and is, in my opinion, the best.  Why is it the best?  A class cannot technically be called a Spin Class unless it uses Spinning brands bikes and the instructor is Spinning certified.  That being said, Spinning instructors can teach other indoor cycling classes, so it made the most sense to me.

What does getting certified entail?

The million dollar question haha!  Getting certified involves an online exam of 50 questions that cover materials in a textbook they provide and attending a 9hr intensive course.  You have two chances to complete the exam and must score above an 80%.

What is the 9hr course like?

The 9hr course started right at 9 am and was taught by one of Mad Dogg Athletics Master Instructors. ¬†Now, I feel like at face value a one day intensive class doesn’t feel like it would set you up to be that great of an instructor, but I disagree after attending that session. ¬†My Master Instructor, Lynn, was OUT OF THIS WORLD knowledgable about not only all things Spinning, but all things cycling in general. ¬†Honestly, I was blown away by all she had to offer us.

We started the day off by learning a little bit of background about the organization and what Spinning really is. ¬†After that is was on to fitting students for a bike. ¬†We learned all about proper seat height, fore and aft placement, and everything in between. ¬†We even got a chance to practice on one another so our Instructor could verify that we weren’t just nodding our heads and saying “sure, sounds good”. ¬†Best news is that I passed with flying colors, so if you’re looking to get yourself properly seated anytime soon, I’m your go to gal.

From there, we headed back to the classroom to learn about the different movements that make up a Spinning class.  This includes things like Seated Flat, Standing Climb, Jumps, and everything and anything in between.  We moved our butts back from the classroom to the (perfectly tailored) bikes for a class that was no music, just moving through moves.  We worked on listening to cadences, counting, and really getting the feel for the bike. Our Instructor also took us through some ideas for cueing as well and after about 45 minutes, I was one sweaty girl.

healthy cookies
you best believe I ate a ton of these cookies when I got home.

We took a break for lunch and to guzzle down a million water bottles before getting back at it. ¬†We talked about heart rate training, which I’m a firm believer in and will blog about soon, but I was already pretty familiar with this because of running and personal training. ¬†Next we spent a good portion of time working on formatting and planning out an actual class. ¬†I found this part to be super interesting. ¬†We did a couple exercises and the Instructor shared personal experiences about what does and does not work in a class. ¬†One of the main reasons I want to be an instructor is that I have been to my fair share of classes where the teacher is just not good and it ruins the experience. ¬†I am going to strive to be the instructor I would want to take a class from.

At one point, we went around and had to discuss what qualities we thought made up a good coach and I said that they are “present”. ¬†This means they don’t phone it in, they invest in their students and they open up their eyes to see how everyone is doing and learn when it’s okay to push and when it’s better to back off.

After going through some more drills, we hopped in the saddle for our final ride. ¬†When I say this was the toughest Spin sesh of my life, I’m not even remotely kidding. ¬†It was a test of endurance, strength, and mental toughness all in one. ¬†And I loved every minute of it. ¬†My heart rate was the highest I think I’ve ever seen it at one point. ¬†We worked on sprints, climbs, more sprints, longer endurance up a hill, and while it seemed endless in the moment, by the time the class was over it felt like I had only blinked. ¬†I loved it. ¬†The high and rush of endorphins I get after can’t be beat. ¬†Only running and spinning have ever gotten me to that place and it’s like a drug, I swear.

Overall, I would recommend the Spinning Trainer Certification to anyone. ¬†If you enjoy Spinning and indoor cycling classes, this certification is a great one and focuses so greatly on the importance of safety and really emulating what it’s like to ride a bike outside. ¬†As always, if you have any questions, hit me up at loveandlunge@gmail.com

I’ll leave you with this picture of Boo from doggy day care. ¬†The girl just can’t take a photograph to save her life.

happy camper at doggy daycare or mug shot? you decide.