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



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

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.