working out and the mental game. plus, a killer climbing spin workout.

spin class climb

This week has been all over the place.  I feel like everything is slowly falling into place while simultaneously falling apart and it is a very unsettling feeling.  It’s been a time full of successes in terms of recovery for my injury and full of just straight up sadness.  We’ll start with a flashback over the past couple of days.

On Saturday, my boyfriend’s parents came into town to spend some time with us and it was a lot of fun.  We ate and ate and ate some more and then got a little bowling action in which was wicked fun.  While we were out and about, my pup, Boo, who I so very often feature on this lovely blog got into some prescription medication, which was no bueno. Long story short, we ended up taking her to the 24 hour animal hospital because she was acting very strange and had thrown up.  It turns out that the medication had a whole ton of Vitamin D and Calcium in it, which was causing issues with her kidneys.  They let us know that this could go one of two ways a) she could get better with treatment over the next couple of days and that would be that b) or she could get worse.  I had to sign some forms I really did not want to sign before we left her overnight to be monitored.  I visited her again today and she’s doing much better and the doctor said she’s on the up and up so yay!  But things can still change.  The doctor did say she was cautiously optimistic, so here’s to hoping.

All this to say, my workout yesterday was a little…scattered.

Working out is my stress reliever.  It is my calming agent.  It is my way of letting it all out.  So, when I’m met with situations like this, I turn to the gym.  I woke up this morning in a bit of a daze.  I got up, got out of bed, threw on my workout clothes, and drove mindlessly to the gym.  I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but running felt like the best option.  Yes, I am coming off of injury and I ran 6 miles on Saturday, but running is the best way for me to get my feelings out through motion.  I plugged in my headphones and turned on anything that would take my mind away from Boo and get me moving.  I ended up running 2 and a half miles and then stopped.  I just stood there and decided that I wasn’t just going to throw away this day.  I was going to test myself.  My ankle felt good, my lungs felt good, and I wanted to play with speed.

So, I ran.  I ran and I ran and I ran.  I finished the mile in 6:47, which is something I haven’t done since the very beginning of my half marathon training.  I didn’t really focus on speed like I used to and now I’m excited to get back at it.  Being able to push myself like that made me realize how mental of a game working out is.  I had no time to think about anything else that was plaguing my brain when I was narrowing in on keeping my breathing steady, watching my foot turnover, and just focusing on moving.  Paying attention to my body and what it can do took over and didn’t leave any room for worry.  It was cathartic and just what I needed.

After I left, I felt level headed and much more present than I had in the morning.  The day was still hard with out my little buddy around, don’t get me wrong, but I was in a much better space than when I had woken up.  It offered me the same sensation I get when I get stressed at work and go and take a walk.  I can unplug my mind and just go.

I get the same unplugged feeling when I’m teaching spin.  I’m so focused on paying attention to the students and giving a good class that I just black out and black back in at the end.  I am a naturally high-strung person, so any opportunity I get to just dial it down, I’ll take it and then some.

This week, I’m focusing on working climbs with my spin group.  I like to start each class with a mindset for everyone to think through over 45 minutes.  This class is “I Didn’t Come This Far Only To Come This Far”.   That quote has gotten me thorough a lot these past couple of days.  I didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn and get to the gym at 5:30 am just to phone it in.  No, no I did not.  That’s why I pushed myself for that speedy mile.  That’s why I didn’t skip today.  That’s why I show up and I put in effort every time.

spin class climb



get educated. why knowledge is more powerful than how much you can bench press.

It’s chill, guys, I’ve only had the most epic weekend ever.  Honestly, what an awesome time all around.  On Saturday, I got to teach my first Spinning® Class and it was everything.  It felt completely natural up there on the bike and I had a great time rocking out with the class.  The energy was great, the ride was challenging, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  I got a lot of positive feedback following as well, which really was awesome to hear because being a sub ain’t easy.  I’ve got three more classes coming up in the next two weeks, so if you’re in the Central Jersey area, let me know and I’ll hook ya up!

On Sunday, after getting to spend an amazing Saturday night in Philly with some of my BBG girlfriends, it was up and at em for the BBG Philly Meet-up.  The BBG Philly Meet-up happens once a month and it’s epic.  This month was especially amazing for me because I got a chance to lead the workout alongside some of the best ladies.  The workout was difficult for sure and the 90 degree heat added a little extra struggle, but there were smiles on every single persons face through the pain and it made it fly by.  I wouldn’t have traded Sunday for the world.

Planning the workout for Sunday was a bit of a challenge.  I knew that I wanted to do something that was tough, but modify-able to suit all fitness levels.  I also knew that in meet-ups past, the workouts had been a little more haphazard and I wanted to keep it true to what I know makes for an effective workout.  I think education is extremely important in fitness and often overlooked.

These days, image is everything.  We are inundated with pictures on Facebook, Instagram and the like with some fitness-celeb-want-to-be hocking the workout they just did promising you’ll get their results too if you just follow what they’re doing.  They are spewing information left and right, but they’ve got no substance to back it up.  Just because someone looks the part does not mean you should take their word as gospel.

There’s a reason I became a NASM certified personal trainer and I went out and got my Spinning® certification before I taught a class, I never wanted to give someone an answer to a question without knowing with confidence that I was correct.  I studied hard for both of those exams and passed them easily my first time through because learning is important to me.  You can tell the difference between people who know what they’re talking about and those who don’t.  That’s why I get irritated when people teach classes or create workout plans when they don’t have the certifications to back it up.

You wouldn’t hire a doctor without an MD or a lawyer without a JD, but you’ll willingly go to someone’s class who you’ve only seen pictures of on the Internet because they have a lot of followers?  That’s silly.  Chances are, they’re just doing what they think is good and it very well might be, but they could be missing out on crucial aspects that could prevent you from maximizing your workout or could lead to injury.

Take for instance a very prominent Soul Cycle trainer that’s often touted as a semi-god on Instagram.  Well, I attended one of his classes a couple of weeks ago and was shocked to see how uneducated he was.  He had us doing extremely risky moves on the bike like one armed push-ups while standing, which is a hugeee nono if you’re a good instructor.  One false move and you’ve got a liability lawsuit on your hands.  He also went around and upped people’s resistance, another huge no.  Too much resistance at a fast pace can easily blow out your knees and you never know anyone’s limits.

Don’t get me wrong, there are Instagram famous fitness celebs that are certified and you can tell.  Kayla Itsines, Lauren Gliesberg, and others have the knowledge to create quality plans and lead workouts based on science.  You can read the NASM textbook and compare it to either one of their guides and they fit to a T.  The same cannot be said for others.  There is a lot of information on the internet that makes people think that because they’ve read a series of articles, they have the qualifications to make recommendations to others.

I don’t think everyone has to get certified to educate themselves, but if you are truly interested in leading others and giving your opinion, you should have the credentials to back it up.  If you are just someone who enjoys working out and going to classes, there’s no need to dole out the cash for a certification, just make sure you are getting reliable information from credible sources when you need questions asked.  If you in anyway want to teach a class or offer personal training services, you best believe a certification should be in your future, I don’t care how many followers you have.