Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Zumba Obsession!


I fought it for years – I made excuses about why it wasn’t for me…..friends I was wrong. I am IN LOVE with Zumba! It took finding the right teacher and the right location but I am now one of those crazy people who counts down the hours to cardio class!! (I so wish I was joking). 🙂

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First, what is Zumba? It’s a Latin-inspired dance cardio class that draws from salsa, hip-hop, bellydance and uses music from everywhere. If you try only one new fitness adventure, make it Zumba. There are people of all ages, ethnicities, sizes and shapes SHAKING it. You can be a fabulous dancer or you can have two left feet and still get an amazing workout. Plus the music is so much fun the time literally flies. When’s the last time you thought an hour of sweating went by quickly?! Exactly!

Sidenote on the music: if you’ve seen “Rio” every, single song in it reminds me of Zumba. Especially the part where Blu says every song sounds like “Taco, taco, yah, yah, yah” (sooooo funny and so true!).

How did I become so obsessed? I recently gave up my gym membership in exchange for a YMCA membership…at first I thought the idea was crazy (gym = $25, YMCA = $50 a month)….but then I really did the math. YMCA includes unlimited classes (yoga, Pilates, TRX and ZUMBA!) plus a gym plus a pool. If I was to pay for 4 Zumba classes a week it’d be $30-40/week. So I get all that plus a gym with brand new equipment and no meatheads?! Yup, no brainer! The YMCA offers classes 4 times a week: Sunday and Monday classes are with the fabulous Stef Sweeney whom I just adore (more about her in a second)! Tuesdays are with Danielle and she is awesome and uses a disco ball in class! Disco Tuesday Zumba? You know you’re jealous! Wednesdays are with Kerri, the salsa queen and she is equally as fantastic. I’m so fortunate to have THREE fabulous teachers at my disposal! 🙂 2013-09-30 00.04.44

So what makes Stef so fabulous? She is one of my favorite barre teachers (her signature lean & tone is beyond kickass) and hosts one of my favorite blogs (Simply Fit) with advice worth hearing, excellent tips for staying active and motivation. So when my friend Layne conned me into coming to Zumba a while back she used Stef as the bait -smart girl! Not only is Stef one of the most fun and encouraging teachers I’ve ever met but she’s just a great person too. She cares about your progress, she goes out of her way to make sure you feel welcome and she extends that to you whole family. Yup, this past Sunday I convinced Derek to join me for Zumba!! Apparently the planets aligned, it was a full moon or maybe he was just sick of my relentless nagging (what good are sisters if not to nag?!) – either way he joined me. He died a little bit he sweat his butt off and he discovered why I’m so obsessed (it’s exhausting, you can be awful and still burn a ton of calories and no one is judging you!). He also remarked how fantastic Stefanie is. She makes you feel like part of the Zumba family, she’s 100% in it with you (I’ve never seen someone get so excited about Zumba before!) and she *never stops* – she’s like the energizer bunny! I’m psyched he joined me and looking forward to some sibling progress pictures soon! The Simply Fit lifestyle is extending to the family – love it!

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I really believe people are put into your path at the exact right time to change things up – Zumba and Stef came just as my work travel quieted down, my gym membership expired and my desire to amp up my cardio finally kicked in. I’m thankful for that perfect timing and thankful to have such wonderful, motivating people in my court. Thanks Stef!

So I’ve got a new schedule and it’s working quite nicely:  Zumba Sun – Weds,  circuits Thurs-Sat with one rest day sprinkled in for good measure. Hooray! After a monthish I’m already seeing changes in my body and my stamina – I can actually keep up without stopping in class! I’m sleeping better and noticing slimming in my stomach and my thighs. I can’t wait for October measurements/weigh in! If you’re in my area and up for a challenge come to a Zumba class with me, I promise you won’t regret it!

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Steppin’ It Up!!


You all have heard me talk about the 60 Day Challenge (here and here) at my beloved barre n9ne. Well, I have a confession. I’ve been half-assing it. There are 4 pieces to the challenge and I’ve only been doing 3 consistently. Eating your number (check, sooo doable!), drinking 64 ounces of water a day (cake!), taking 4 barre classes a week (pie! I live at b9 – just ask my family, they’re rerouting my mail as we speak!), and lastly getting 10,000 steps a day. FAIL. Oh sweet EPIC fail of all fails. Most days I average 4,000 at work and an additional 2,000 outside of work. Some days it’s less if work is meetings X 100. Sometimes it’s more if I run around a lot. Either way I have not been meeting my goal of 10,000. <insert sad face>

That is, until 2 weeks ago. I finally adopted the “put up or shut up” mentality in my head. This means JUST DOING IT every day. Or as my pal Rach says: It’s Not Optional!

Then I saw this on Facebook and I felt like it was no coincidence that STEP was the theme:

If I want to eventually complete a 5K I need to start somewhere. That somewhere is in getting my 10,000 steps a day. Hell even Jessica Simpson does it! Just like when I wanted to get healthy I had to take baby steps away from my bad habits. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t pretty. But ya know what? It’s been really worth it and suddenly things I never thought I could do seem totally within reason.

Oh you might be thinking “But Samantha – what happened to your walking club at work? Weren’t you doing your steps then?!“. Welllll I was – sorta. So the group that sponsors this challenge counted aerobic exercise as 200 steps a minute and pilates as 100 steps a minute. Therefore my barre classes counted anywhere from 11,4000 steps to 5,700. Cheating, total cheating! Especially since I have been wearing my Fitbit to class (I like seeing how many calories I burn!) and I am only averaging 500 steps in class. Eleven thousand my ass.

So as of last Monday I am officially committed to getting my steps in come hell or high water. This might mean walking in circles around the house – or literally pacing in my living room late at night – but I don’t care. I am sleeping better, my legs literally look thinner (maybe it’s in my head…but that’s OK) and I FEEL better. That alone is enough motivation to keep pushing me. 10,000 a day or bust! (Tanya I can see you shaking your head emphatically and saying YES – sorry I didn’t do this sooner!). I was telling my friend Amanda this yesterday in legs class and she agreed – it’s not always easy  but it just feels so good getting it done! BTW look for a post about Amanda soon – that girl is a serious inspiration to me!

Funny story – the other night I accidentally set my Fitbit to some stupid egg timer mode and it stopped counting steps. I knew the last time I had looked I was at 4400 so I busted out my old school pedometer and walked another 5500. BAM! I also started snapping a picture on my phone as proof to myself I did it. I won’t bore you with 14 pictures – but here’s a sample! 😉

Oh and peep my cute new shoes – love me some New Balance! Right now they are indoor only so I can save them cardio class @ b9!

Speaking of I am really excited to take a cardio class- but I keep getting derailed! Last Sunday? Pager. This Wednesday? Dentist. Next Wednesday? Chicago trip. The following Wednesday? NY trip! Boo. I promise, I will get there. Hopefully Sunday August 6th….unless I end up in LA. LOL!

If you’re looking to get healthy take my advice, grab a 10$ pedometer and track your steps. You might be amazed to see how little (or how much!) you walk. My BFF lives in NYC and she cane get 10,000 a day just at her job and nearly another 10,000 walking to and from work!

So, I challenge you dear readers – step it up and join me! Happy Friday!

 

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Self-Reflection Sunday


I can’t believe I went a week in between posts! I had been doing good about queuing up 3-4 things I could publish during the week. Sorry. 🙂

Things you may have missed: I joined a walking club at work with some of my fabulous co-workers (Greg, Kate, Christine, Tyler, Steve, Pat, Jason and Sonia) – our team name is All Your Steps Are Belong To Us….#AYSABTU. Look for it trending all over Twitter. Haha. Also I had my half way mark weigh-in/measurements with Tanya this week. Guess what? In 30 days I am down 13 inches over – THIRTEEN!!! Eff yeah. I also lost 6 pounds. Honestly, I’m more excited about the inches. Pounds will come with time. Can’t wait to see how the end of challenge looks! I’m addicted. 🙂

After my last post on losing focus and not living in the moment….I spent the weekend busy with work/plans and missed 3 – yes THREE barre n9ne workouts. Insert super sad face here. Sometimes life just gets in the way. Sunday night I got in a funk – and thought about Jess’s post on self-reflection. I decided to read through the  manifesto and seriously consider where I used to be and where I want to be.

I’ll give you some of the answers I gave myself to the questions above….I’d love to hear yours if you’re so inclined to share!

Where are you living right now – the past, the present or the future? Oh it depends on the day, LOL. I’d say mostly the present…but I do harp a lot on the past (in my head) and I worry a lot about the future. Are the choices I make today setting me up for success in the future? I hope so!

Are you putting parts of your life on hold?  Yes. I didn’t even have to think about that one. I’m not dating – or putting myself out there. Part of me wants to and part of me just isn’t ready for rejection based on my size. I was telling a friend just last night all the active things I can’t do – hiking, biking, canoeing….he told me I was making excuses ~ but truthfully I’m just not in shape to do physical activities with my friends. I hope I will be able to do some this summer.I hate that I can’t live the life I want because of poor decisions I made in the past. I wish it was easy to lose weight and hard to gain – instead of the reverse!

What are the biggest things you’ve learned in life to date? One of my favorite quotes is “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” That it does. With or without you….life goes on. I think as I turned 30 I realized there was no such thing as perfect and not everything in life was fair. I also hold firm to the belief that everything happens for a reason….even if you can’t see that reason at the time.

What would you do if you cannot fail, if there are absolutely no limitations in money, resources, time or networks? I love this question, because I think about it before I go to bed all the time. What would I do? First and foremost I would buy the company I work for – and clean house. Bring in people who make a difference- promote people who are already doing this and get the whole company aligned for awesomeness. That takes care of career. Onto family – I’d pay off all my debt and my loved ones debt (school loans, car loans, credit cards, mortgages) – BAM, fresh starts all around. Then I would travel. See every place in the world I’d ever wanted to go – with friends and family in tow. Paris with Mom and Christine D. (because she speaks French!), Italy girls trip with Jewels, Ash, Kate + company (good wine, good food, good friends), Australia (with my friend O who has been a few times), Spain, Morocco, Bora Bora, Brazil (with my brother), Drive cross country (with Layne!) and see every place and anyplace I could. I would truly become a world-traveler. I would meeting new people ~ explore cultures unlike my own and try things I’ve never tried. But, before I did that I would literally spend 6 months getting myself int0 the most amazing shape I can. Barre classes, Barre luxe sessions, Cardio sweat fests – I’d hire Tanya, Julianna, Jess and Jo as my personal army of trainers! (Ladies, you would be my dream team!).  Man I love dreaming about this!

Now, how can I do that within the restraints of my own budget/time/life? I can go to Paris with Mom – I just have to plan it. I can drive partway cross country at some point and I can try new things. Every day. Like today at Whole Foods when I bought Cojita Cheese and Mahi Mahi – just to try!

What is your ideal life? Career? Diet? Self? Look? Life Partner? What are you doing to achieve them? Life? Healthy, happy, successful and fulfilled. Career – honestly as cheesy as it sounds I feel like this vein of work I’m in now is my perfect career. I manage customers, I still have lots of human interaction but I’m still technical and I get to travel but not too much. Diet? One with less “treats” then have currently snuck into my diet! Back to healthy fruits, veggies, leans proteins and only the occasional treat. Look? My current cute face – with a super sexy, sleek bob (dying for this cut once I hit a milestone of 199), wearing funky yet stylish clothes and accessories purchased anywhere but the “plus size section”! (Side rant: why do we call it “Plus”? It’s not something better. Like “Juice PLUS Antioxidants”….I hate the word Plus). Life Partner? Ah, something else I fantasize about a lot. I don’t have a “look” – but I do have things I’m attracted to (light eyes, taller than me, smart as hell, witty, funny, conversational, good hugger) and I would like this person to be health-minded and career driven. I know where I’m going – you’re going to need to get with this if you want to stay! Now for the tough part- what am I doing to achieve those things? Focusing on me – eating my number, getting barre classes in and getting my steps in. Spending my time more wisely – choosing to see/talk to a friend rather than watch TV. Spending time with people I love more. As for what I’m doing to find my life partner…..honestly? Nothing. I need to work on that – when I’m ready. 🙂

I loved this activity. Next Sunday I might need to chose different questions and see where I’m at.Read through it – I’d love to hear how you felt about certain questions. Oh and if you’re in the mood for a novel this summer that’s a light read, pick up “Coffee and Kung Fu” by Karen Brichoux. One of my favorite books of all times. I will leave you with my favorite quote, one that has stuck with me for nine years.

The moment isn’t a piece of time; it’s a question. The moment comes when you look up and see your life stretching out for seventy more years. And there, in front of you, like a giant roadblock, is the question: Is this life good enough for the next seventy years? But maybe that’s the easy question. The next logical question–Can I live like this?–is the killer. Because it isn’t a yes or no kind of question. It’s a do or die kind of question.”

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Think About Why You’re Here….


I have a serious problem with my mind wandering lately. I’m always either thinking about what needs to get done, thinking about how I could have done things differently in the past or thinking about random nonsense that clogs up my brain. I cannot seem to find mental clarity – especially when I’m exercising.

Thursday night barre I was a wandering fool. I could not stay focused and I joked that the barre owned me. Saturday morning was the same. I was in overdrive. Here’s a snippet of the noise:  “Is that girl looking at me? She probably thinks it’s insane someone so fat is doing this. She might be right….I am twice the size of anyone in this class! GAH. Why can’t I ever stay on my toes during chair? What’s wrong with me? Why are my legs so funny shaped? Stupid cankles….”

The whole hour was pretty much a repeat of that. I left feeling really defeated. I hate that I can’t focus on myself and the moment. I hate that I am always worrying about and hypothesizing over other people. Every time I think I’ve conquered that part of me….it comes back and kicks me in the ass. I wish I could take a class without mirrors. I really feel like they get me into my head and spinning out like a top.

Thank you Buddha, easier said than done!!

How do you clear your mind and refocus?  Do you think it’s possible to ever get to a state of zen and stay there?

Before Sunday’s class I said to myself “Focus on you, stay in the moment and don’t let your mind wander“. My plan was to grab Stasia and snag a spot in the back row. My favorite place! Alas I was foiled…I saw Steph and got to chatting – by the time we got in the room the only 2 spots next to each other were up front. YAYYYY ! I wasn’t thrilled. But, it helped. I thought about why I was there ~ I looked at myself in the mirror and focused on muscles – not fat. I didn’t stare at my chubby biceps – I stared at my emerging collar bones. In my head I heard Jo saying “Think about why you’re here”.

After class I got to spend some time with Stasia (it’s nice having fit dates with friends!). We both agreed this summer we are going to find fit activities to do together – hiking, canoeing etc. Thinking about how much farther I will be in 2-3 months really motivates me to find fun activities and try them! That said, I need to find a way to conquer my inner doubt.

Any suggestions? How do I get out of my own head and out of my own way??

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Monday Mornin’ Ramblings!


I’m sitting here thinking about last week – the craziness, the PAIN (more on that in a second) and how GOOD I feel today.It’s amazing. I feel like I’m finally “getting my groove back” as they say. 🙂

So, why was the week so nuts?Hectic work week (every week is hectic – but last week felt EXTRA crazy!). It’s still Lent….and I went out to eat TWICE. I wanted dessert SO.BAD. Especially when I saw the first place had crème brûlée. You guys KNOW that is my most favorite dessert of all times right? It pained me to decline. But, in retrospect I feel stronger. I made a goal and I stuck to it – despite temptation! I’ve mentioned a million times before how I feel like I should be rewarded for good behavior with food. I don’t know why I have that attachment – my parents were never in the habit of giving out cookies for quietness etc. This is definitely an adult thing. I guess it ties into “eating your emotions”. Food is a reward, food is a comfort, food is WAS my friend! Until I saw this on the book of faces, and I nearly fell off my chair:

HA! Could that be more perfect? I think not.

I printed it and stuck it at my desk. A good reminder for moments when I feel weak. 🙂

So, I resisted desserts. Awesome. What else did I do? I got 5 servings of fruits and at least 2 veggies every day (sometimes more!). I drank 100 oz. of water every day (more on days when I had barre!) and I only had coffee twice all week. I feel AMAZING. Legit, amazing. I feel strong and alert – I’m not in a haze (like I sometimes am when I opt for a junky breakfast and a Venti coffee). I’ve had juice/smoothies every morning for breakfast (just fruits frozen or fresh- no sugar, no yogurt, no filler). It’s amazing to me how much better your day starts when you’re not eating junk.

Why am I in crazy amounts of pain? Barre n9ne and the gym of course! My schedule last week looks like this:

Monday: barre n9ne

Tuesday / Weds: bouts of cardio when possible

Thursday: barre n9ne

Friday: barre n9ne

Saturday: rest!

Sunday: barre n9ne AND cardio at the gym!

I can feel every muscle in my arms….my legs….my abs….every single tiny muscle! Do you know how many small muscles you have? I don’t…but it feels like 9 million!

I feel so funny saying this but the secret to weight-loss really is eat less, move more. It’s not a magic pill or a quick fix. You have to be committed every day. If you fall off you have to get back on and it’s not always easy.

One of my favorite quotes of all times:

“No one said it was going to be easy ~ they just said it would be worth it”.

It hasn’t been easy to be so “good” and not fall victim to junk – but it will be worth it in the long run. I have to remind myself everyday that little changes yield big results. This week I am focusing on fresh and natural ingredients. Nothing in a box, nothing with preservatives and no coffee. I’m not sure I can do no coffee….but I’m going to try my damnedest. I also have 3 barre classes and 3 gym dates. Go hard or go home right?

I figure I’ve been carrying this same fat around with me for so long – enough is enough! Like I said last post- put up or shut up!

Happy week to all – hope you’re pushing towards a goal, or finding a way to get yourself realigned if you’ve fallen off track.

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March Madness!


OMG it’s March 1st! And its snowing…boooo! I’m supposed to head out to Detroit at 5pm today for a weekend install (and a family visit!)  but I suspect my flight will be delayed/canceled thanks to this snow. Fingers crosses I still get to Detroit Rock City!

So, what am I referencing with this March Madness title? Surely it’s not NCAA basketball ~ baseball is the only sport I care about (and that might even be jeopardized now that Tito has left the Sox!). Nope, not a sports reference, “March Madness” is the nickname for my month which includes the following:

 

4 cities: Detroit Rock City, NY, Tampa + Boston (I’m counting Beantown because I live in the suburbs and will be spending time onsite in Boston!).

 

2 trainings at work: one where I have to present! GULP!! I get *so* nervous talking in front of people…I turn into “The Micro Machine Guy” circa 1988!

 

10 amazing barre classes: No lie! I have signed up for 10 live barre n9ne classes in the month of March!! Classes with my the adorable Julianna, twin bloggy friends and teachers-in-training Jess and Jo and their fellow teacher in training, Alison. Tanya – not one is with you! So sad about this. Next month! Promise! 🙂

 

I’m committed to making March a month of growth and opportunity. I want to be able to look back and say “hell yeah March – you ruled!” on April 1st.  I’m making investments in myself that will pay off in the future. This comes with less time for socializing (unless my friends want to join me at the barre!). But, I think I’m at a point where I need to be a little selfish and concentrate on improvement in both mind and body. I have goals I have not been meeting and it’s time for shit to get real!

 

What are you focusing on in March? Are you at a point where something has to give in order for you to move forward? I think I’ve been at this juncture before – but I chose to ignore it and keep chugging along without making changes. No good comes of that friends, trust me!

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Living in the Moment


I had a nice, relaxing three-day weekend. Rest, trashy TV, girly lunches, pedicures – divine! I decided to relish in my “non-schedule” and sign up for Monday’s barre method class w/ Julianna. I’ve mentioned a bajillion times how much I love classes with her and Tanya ~ but sadly I don’t get to the studio very often!

I arrived last night ready for a good ass-kicking….and I got so much more! The workout was amazing (as always) and I am crazy sore today (sore biceps, triceps, abs, glutes….ouch all around!) – but I also got a lesson in living in the moment. I am notoriously someone who “lives in their head” – I’m always playing out crazy scenarios or thinking about my monstrous to-do list or comparing myself to every person with in a 50 mile radius. Last night? Clear head – strong muscles. I was so focused on Julianna’s words and on executing each move properly that I couldn’t believe the hour was up so quickly! I didn’t stare at myself in the mirror and pick apart my every flaw. I didn’t watch the girl in front of me with envy. I focused on my muscles, on pushing myself to do 1 more rep and on truly enjoying every minute of a class I normally don’t get to come to!

Coming home I was on a high like no other and decided this class needs to become my Monday habit, pronto! Ladies who hear me yap about barre and live locally, wanna join me? It will be fun! :0)  You will be sweaty and feel crazy strong afterwards!

 

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Life is a roller coaster!


Life is a complete roller coaster lately. I’m on an “up” in how I feel physically….but I am on a “down” when it comes to the scale.

I have only lost ONE POUND since my last weigh-in….

but I’m 14.75 inches smaller. Like, WHAT!??!

So, I weighed in Monday and MAN was I disappointed – 298. What the heck?!?! I wasn’t busting my ass, I’ll be honest – but I was going to 2 virtual barre n9ne classes a week (and doing mini-workouts in between because I love the format so much!). I was walking everywhere inside work (AC!) and I was watching what I ate. But I was eating dessert….a lot. Oy. Dessert is like my long-lost BFF. I know she’s terrible for me….but I love her! Haha.

I spent a few days wallowing in my 298 and it coincided with my week to teach a class at work. I love teaching, but it’s exhausting! You are ON all the time. I noticed I wasn’t snacking AT ALL during the day (no time!) but I was drinking a lot of water. Hmmm – this is GOOD. Busy work day = no snacks. I was also packing my meals so I could get some work done while I ate, also good! I only had coffee once a day (morning) and I got 7-8 hours sleep every night (I swear, classes wear me out!).

I woke up this morning for virtual barre and decided I should take measurements. It’s been a while, let’s see how I’m doing. Guess what ya’ll? I have lost 14.75 inches since I last measured (5 weeks ago).

WHAT?!?!?! Crazy right?

Neck – 1 inch smaller (WEIRD….like….who has neck fat?! Me apparently!)
Chest – 1.5 inches smaller
Waist – THREE INCHES SMALLER!!!!!!! Holy mackerel!!!
Bicep – 1.75 inches smaller
Hips – 2.5 inches smaller
Thighs – 2 inches smaller (HELLO barre!)
Calf -2 inches smaller
Ankle – 1 inch smaller

How does someone lose 1 pound….and 14.75 inches?! It boggles my mind too.

My clothes are fitting better (the waist of most of my pants is too big, so I keep tugging them up, haha!). But, I still honestly don’t FEEL any smaller. I keep waiting to wake up and feel lighter….maybe soon? 🙂

I’m hoping to get more barre n9ne classes into my life – yay! I’m also going to try keeping my new momentum up. Busy workday = no crap snacks and lots of water and TONS of walking.When I stay busy I find fewer opportunities for mindless eating, which is always a struggle.

Do you guys feel like the high’s and low’s of life reflect in your weight? Do you have trouble focusing on the high’s when you hit a low (like a disappointing weigh-in).I need to work on keeping a balance and being OK when things aren’t perfect (thanks Jess!).

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

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The Fat Ballerina


I took dance from the time I was 4 until I was around 13. I remember loving the costumes, the sparkles and the moves my older cousin and her friends had. I wanted to be a cool kid. I wanted to be a dancer. I still have every old costume saved in the attic, and I still have fond memories of those years. I started off taking tap and jazz. I loved jazz, it was funky music I knew from listening to the radio. One year we danced to “Hot Stepper” by Ini Kamoze. Years later I would hear that song at work and bust into choreo. No lie. 😉

Here I am (being a ham) dancing to “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”. Someday when I reach my goal weight I will buy a yellow polka dot bikini and do a comparison picture!  (Please note the “Yeah, I’m awesome” face I’m making. Haha. )

I never took ballet. At the time I think you had to be 12 to start and by then I wasn’t interested. I had moved on from my dreams of being a dancer to wanting to be a doctor (but then I found out blood was involved and that dream fell by the wayside too, LOL). I’ve always held a soft-spot ballet; I’ve seen “The Nutcracker” several times and I find the art form to be one I respect and admire. However, as a 311 pound adult I didn’t think I was cut out to try a ballet workout. I was SO wrong. Being a fat ballerina is totally possible!

I found Jess and Jolene‘s blogs on a whim (I’m really not sure how I stumbled upon them, kismet I guess!). They both mentioned the barre workout at a studio called barre n9ne in Danvers. I was intrigued. I wanted to hear about their 60-day challenge with barre n9ne and was blown away by their progress in the first 30 days!  Jolene lost 8.25 inches all around and Jess lost 6! That’s over a foot of loss! Go ladies, go!

This morning I had my very first barre n9ne virtual workout. Literally it was just me, my laptop and my living room. How cool is that?! I expected to be slightly challenged, but I figured as a long-time dancer (and now bellydancer) I could handle this like a pro. I was so, so, SO wrong. I almost died. Ok ok…I didn’t almost die. But it sure felt like I might! Tanya is a *professional* – and she is in excellent shape. We did a full body workout – legs (plies, leg lifts of doom, squats lifting one heel), abs (roll-ups, plank of death etc) along with a bunch of other stuff. My brain is mush. However, I distinctly remember laying on the ground thinking “Dear god are we almost done? I cannot do one more leg lift. It’s been an hour!“. I glanced at the clock – it had been 3 mins. Well…it FELT like an hour!

I can’t wait for the next one. Honestly. I never thought I would say this, but I love getting up before the sun and getting my ass kicked! Wanna join me? All you need is a good internet connection and Skype 5.0 or higher! Sign up here! Wednesday mornings at 6:15am! 🙂

I asked Jess and Jolene about their experiences with the barre n9ne workouts and I wanted to share their feelings with you guys:

Jess: 

This 60-day challenge has changed me. Infinitely. And we’re only a little bit more than halfway through – and I am so very grateful. I’ve learned (already) to love what my body can do – that it can take on any challenge I ask it to. That I can eat healthfully and wholesomely and still have “fun” – especially on the weekends (my nemesis, or it *was* my nemesis I should say!). That I am stronger than I thought – especially mentally. Some of the movements we’re asked to do in barre n9ne require ridiculous concentration and control – and it hurts (so good). I’ve learned that by closing my eyes when the going gets tough, I can breathe through it and conquer those loonnnnnng sets of never-ending reps. But most of all? I’ve learned to love what I see in the mirror – because I did that. It is the most empowering feeling I’ve ever felt. And I’m grateful.

Jolene:
What I love: All of it. Every single minute of class. These classes are the right balance of intensity with endurance and I always feel so loose and strong and powerful by the end. And I realize that the more classes I do, the more I want to keep taking classes and make this a lifestyle change for me. No more gym. No more spinning. No more kickboxing. JUST Barre N9ne and running. I never in a million years thought I’d say that. I used to love spinning more than anything and now? I couldn’t care less. The results I’ve seen in a month have been incredible and the mix of these classes, with running and eating to ‘my number’ have been the magic combination for me.

What I’ve learned: I’ve learned that you definitely need to love your workout to stick with it. Not to totally compare this to Core Fusion, or the 30-day at-home challenge Jess and I did awhile back, but I look back at that and while I did like the DVDs (and the classes are hands-down, the best, especially with Fred DeVito co-creator, at the helm!), I didn’t love them nearly as much as these workouts. I think barre n9ne is the right mix for me. It’s always different, there are constantly new moves and tweaks to moves we’ve done before to keep my body guessing. I’ve also learned that keep tracking of calories and being held accountable (even if I know it’s just me and Tanya peeking at my journal in FitDay!) has helped me focus and even more think twice before eating something. Am I hungry? Or am I just thirsty? Or bored? Eat to fuel, don’t eat to cover up another emotion or feeling or need.

What I’m surprised by: I’m surprised at how I view food now. I LOVE to eat, don’t get me wrong. But I no longer see food as a driver to happiness…and I think I sort of did equate it with that before. Food is fuel and sure, food makes me happy, but it shouldn’t be a big reason for that. It’s hard for me to explain, but now, when I do choose to go out to dinner (rarely!), I enjoy the company and the glass or two of wine MORE than the food, because I see the food as fuel and not as indulgence. I don’t gravitate towards the middle of the road/semi-bad, I veer towards as healthy as I can be. I look up nutritionals before I go out so I have an idea of my calorie intake and planning ahead for it. Because I view food this way, it doesn’t feel like I am deprived. And honestly, I am eating much of the same foods as I was before, but just with a lot less daily indulgence. It’s cleaner, it’s moderated and I just FEEL better.

Doesn’t it sound totally awesome? I know! 🙂

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Monday Check-in


Morning All!

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was decent. I got a fabulous workout in yesterday, I can feel the soreness in my legs today, which is nice. I decided it would be a good practice to check in on what I planned to do last week and see how I did.

Last week’s plan with comments:

Workout schedule –
Mon:  Zoe drilling DVD
Tues:  Morning circuit training  (because I have dinner plans) <– dinner plans moved, after work circuits instead.
Weds: Evening cardio
Thurs: Lunchtime circuit training (working from home has it benefits!) plus Zoe drilling DVD
Fri: Evening Cardio (hopefully outside if it’s not too hot) <— nope. Worked a 12 hour shift, no exercise whatsoever! 😦
Sat: Circuit training plus cardio session <— just cardio and a shimmy drill, no circuits
Sun: Father’s Day – cardio session with Dad (beach walk maybe?) plus Zoe DVD  <— Dad ended up working, I did a cardio/circuit mixed set at the gym

So, my plan didn’t exactly work out….but that’s life right? I didn’t plan to work until 9pm on Friday, but shit happens. It’s all about how you adjust to what life throws at you.

Here is this weeks goal workout plan:

Workout schedule –
Mon:  30 mins Cardio, Yoga/Pilates DVD
Tues:  circuit training, Zoe DVD
Weds: barre n9ne ballet workout in the AM – woo!
Thurs: Lunchtime circuit training (working from home has it benefits!) plus Zoe drilling DVD
Fri: 30 mins cardio, Zoe DVD
Sat: Circuit training plus cardio session
Sun: Yoga/Pilates DVD, Circuit training plus cardio session

Of course, it’s all subject to change. But, that’s what I’ve put in my BB calendar. Hopefully I can hit 85% of it. 🙂

As for the rest of weight-loss – emotional stuff, eating etc. I think things are going well. I’ve been channeling a lot of stuff through my paper journal. I realized that keeping stuff inside doesn’t make it go away, it makes you crazy. So I’ve gotten in the habit of writing before I go to bed. I read it the next morning and decide if the things on my mind can be tackled or need to be let go of. This morning was a lot of ‘let it go’. I have learned that if you put too much focus on something, you give it more power than it deserves.

I’m reading a new book on the history of dieting. I don’t know why I find it so fascinating, but I do. It’s called “The Hundred Year Diet: America’s Voracious Appetite for Losing Weight” by Susan Yaeger. I’m reading it on the nook I borrowed from my Mom (thanks Mom!). The best line so far (I’m only 20 pages in): “It is difficult for many Americans to recognize simple, good food anymore – let alone appreciate it. We are confused. We fly from one loopy, illogical diet to the next. We feel guilty; we binge and purge. And we’ve become just about the fattest people on earth.” SO TRUE! I really like the book so far, and will write a little review once I finish.

Do you guys read weight-loss centric books? Have a favorite?

Have any of you made a weekly plan? How’s it working out? I’m excited to try the ballet workout on Weds morning, I’ll definitely blog about it afterwards! 🙂

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