Happy Monday! I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing like kickin’ off the week with a fantastic workout.
That’s exactly what I did this morning when I trekked down to Union Square for an 8 a.m. spin class at SoulCycle.
I met up with my friend Jenna bright and early to get our sweat on. She loves SoulCycle and I enjoyed it when I went for a class last summer, so I figured I’d pair up with her for my next few sessions. I got some gift certificates for the studio, so I’m putting them to good use! Plus, I need to get as many free workouts as I can…I simply can’t afford a gym membership right now.
Anyway, it felt great to do something other than running! I’ve always loved spinning, but haven’t been able to take a class since I graduated from college back in May. I love that SoulCycle turns off the lights and the whole class is lighted only by candle light. My instructor, Clare, had the perfect amount of intensity, encouragement and mental grit pulsating through the room and I really pushed myself to the limit.
Everything about this class was great. The upper body exercises we incorporated into a few songs, the music itself, the energy in the room and the level to which I pushed myself. It was all phenomenal. I felt like I was letting go of all of the stress I had been dealing with and just focused on the burn in my muscles, the sweat dripping down my face and the force of my legs pushing the wheel round and round. It was cathartic.
Whoever thinks spinning is just a workout is crazy.
Or maybe I am. I’m not sure which one is right, but I’m going to say the former.
Regardless, I felt amazing after the workout. I forgot to take a picture, but I’ll be sure to include some sweaty goodness for you tomorrow.
However, I did remember to take a picture after I was dressed for work. I get ready so much faster when I don’t have my computer distracting me.
This is new dress numero uno! I’m in love with it and got it at H&M for only $34.95!
How was your Monday? How do you feel about spinning?
Sometimes exercising is just plain tough.
See, I’ll admit it. While I love the feeling of a fantastic workout, sometimes it’s really hard to get into it mentally. Often, the hardest part for me is actually getting to the gym. Once I’m changed into my gym clothes, I’m set to go, but there’s usually a lot of procrastination that occurs before the clothes-changing.
One thing I rely on to get me moving, and keep me moving, is a mantra. Actually, I use a ton of them. I repeat them over and over again to remind myself how great I’m going to feel after the workout is over.
Here are some of my favorite mantras from all over the place to get my butt into the gym, pool, on the bike or road. Maybe one will help you stay motivated, too.
- You’ll never regret a workout.
- Don’t exercise because you have to. Do it because you can.
- There are 168 hours in a week. I’m only asking for 7 of them.
- You’re just one workout away from a good mood.
- Just go. If you really hate it, you can stop after 15 minutes.
- If you train hard, you’ll be hard to beat.
- Nobody else is going to do it for you.
- If you work your body, it will work for you.
- You get back what you put in.
- Either do it or don’t. There is no try.
When I’m in the middle of my workout, here are some of my favorite go-to quotes:
- No pain, no gain!
- You’re stronger than you think you are.
- Work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger (Kanye West lyrics to “Stronger”).
- That don’t kill me can only make me stronger (Also from “Stronger.” Yes, I sing it every time).
- This is not the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
- You can do anything for one minute.
- Pain is temporary.
- This is 10 percent luck, 20 percent skill, 15 percent concentrated power of will. Five percent pleasure, 50 percent pain and a hundred percent reason to remember the name (Rapped lyrics from Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name).
- Keep on keepin’ on.
- Just keep running, just keep running (Spin off of Dory from Finding Nemo).
And my all-time favorite quote that I turn to when running:
- When your legs are tired, run with your heart.
Here are some other great motivational quotes, in case they happen to strike your fancy. What are some of your favorite mantras?
Day two of half-marathon training was a success! Today required cross-training, or anything other than running, that wouldn’t put a lot of pounding on my knees. So I scoped out the group exercise classes offered through my gym and decided on the brand-new H.I.T.S. (High Intensity Training Session) class that has been getting a ton of hype.
The class was one hour and took you through a warm-up, four circuits of exercises and two stretch periods. In the beginning, I was optimistic about the class and ready to work up a good sweat. I made sure to stretch my calves really well because all of my co-workers who took the class said their calves were killing them for days.
Each circuit included four exercises and we did each exercise for 30 seconds. After a one-minute break to grab water, you repeat the circuit before moving on to the next one. From high knees and butt kicks to ab work and basketball jumps, the circuits definitely made me feel the burn.
Stretching is vital to this workout and I’m glad we took two periods to stretch our entire bodies within the class. I’m definitely going to stretch before I go to sleep tonight because I can already tell I’m going to feel this workout tomorrow!
This is a class that I’ll be attending often throughout my training. Two days down, 68 more to go.
How are your fitness goals coming along?
Winter season is quickly approaching and many are preparing to amp up the volume on holiday preparation and send their workout into hibernation. Don’t! I understand winter can be cold and it’s difficult to work up the motivation to go out for a run, especially when there are so many other things going on. But try to remember that you are important too, and working out is a daily present your body wants. From outer gear to mindset tactics, I have some running tips to help you plow through the season.
Bring a friend. Recruit a running buddy as often as possible. When someone else is relying on you to show up, you’re less likely to bail. Having a partner by your side will also keep you motivated when the cold air is pushing you to stop.
Be prepared. Make sure you’re wearing the right clothes when you hit the road for a workout. In the winter, layers are key. Try layering a long-sleeved Under Armour shirt under a T-shirt, and then layer a fleece over it. You want to choose a fleece sweatshirt over cotton because cotton pulls your body heat away and retains moisture — a big no-no if you get wet. Runner’s World also suggests a hat to keep your ears toasty and a scarf to block your face from stinging winds.
Prep your hands and feet. Up to 30 percent of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet, so bundling them up when you’re exercising in low temperatures is key. Swap out your traditional socks for wool ones, and wear running gloves to keep moisture off your hands. As the months get colder, consider switching to mittens. Make sure your sneakers are waterproof and if there’s room, slip a heat packet under your gloves.
Don some shades. You always remember to wear sunglasses in the summer, but what about winter? The sun’s UV rays are still strong during the colder months, so don’t forget to wear a pair of shades. The sun can also reflect off snow and potentially cause blindness — another good reason to protect your eyes.
If it gets too cold, such as the temp dropping below zero, then don’t be afraid to stay indoors. The treadmill can be tedious, but it’s better to be safe and bored than risking pneumonia.
Do you like to workout indoors or outside during the winter?
“I can’t wait to get started on my workout tomorrow! I’m going to get up before work so I have time to fit everything in!”
We’ve all been there before — we have a lot of motivation late at night to start our fitness regime bright and early the next morning. But once morning rolls around, something seriously derails our efforts. Especially as college students, we often find ourselves wondering how we’re supposed to fit it into our schedules. The average college student doesn’t just go to class anymore. There’s four or five classes on the docket, one or two part-time jobs, and clubs and organizations. When it’s boiled down to what can be fit into a day’s work, physical fitness is usually the first to be crossed off the list.
Believe me though, you want to make time now that we’re moving fast into those winter months. Studies have shown that those who exercise regularly suffer less from severe colds. Don’t have time to be sick? Avoid these three habits and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you.
1. Hitting the snooze button.
After all, what’s an extra five minutes going to do for you? It isn’t enough time for your body to fall back into an effective sleep stage, and you’re submitting yourself to unnecessary side effects because you’re interrupting sleep patterns. Those who constantly hit the snooze button can suffer from tiredness (obviously), headaches, mood swings and agitation.
Oversleeping can also mess with your metabolism. According to Health Watch Center, reaching for that small little button can lead to weight increase because you’re altering your sleep patterns, thus throwing your metabolism out of whack. So wouldn’t it be more beneficial to just hop out of bed and drag your butt to the gym? You’ll feel better later, and be glad you went. After all, how many people actually regret going to the gym?
2. Waiting until tomorrow.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” After all, doesn’t tomorrow never come? If you keep postponing your workout session, you’re going to end up kicking yourself. Remember, working out releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that help you de-stress and unwind. Not to mention you can snag some alone time away from all of the technological devices that consume today’s society.
Working out today will also keep you healthy — Mayo Clinic says “aerobic activity activates your immune system,” leaving you stronger and less susceptible to illness. So stop waiting and hit the ground running!
3. Skipping meals.
Skipping meals, particularly breakfast, is never a smart idea. However, most of us bolt out the door without putting anything in our stomachs, or with just a measly granola bar. Don’t get me wrong, a granola bar would be sufficient if you ate shortly after, but how many of us wait four to five hours before eating again? I know I fall victim to that sometimes.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that skipping meals also contributes to obesity.The longer you wait to eat, the more your metabolism slows down. Signals are sent to the brain, essentially stating “I’m starving, hang onto everything you can because I don’t know when I’m being fed again.” What’s the first thing the body hangs on to? Fat. So try waking up a few minutes earlier (not hitting that snooze button!) so you can fit in a healthy breakfast to kick-start your day and get your body running right.
What are some of your fitness pitfalls?