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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Ten Things to ponder for Tuesday


My friend Lauren posted this to Facebook yesterday and it just struck a chord with me. At one point in my life (not too long ago) I was doing all of these things. Now I would say my biggest problems are #1, #2 and #4. I have been making progress with  #1 thanks to the “Nice Girls Finish Fat” book – but it’s been tougher than I imagined!

What do you need to give up in order to move forward in life? Maybe it’s someone, maybe it’s something, maybe it’s the image of how things were supposed to be. One of my favorite song lines is from Matt Kearney’s “Annie” : “Maybe the hardest things are the dreams that we’ve been given”.  I love the line, but I can’t relate personally. My parents didn’t give me dreams – they pushed me to create my own. Now, I need to push myself to execute those dreams. I have been big time procrastinating lately, and it needs to stop.

My pal Jess blogged about not being able to relax – yeaaaa I have the opposite problem. I made a 12-point to do list this weekend and accomplished 1 thing. No lie. ONE! Insane. I need to get my butt in gear! Today is November 13th. I have 48 days until New Years and 78 days until I turn 31!  Time is slipping through my hands, while I sit on the couch relaxing. HELLO? Earth to Samantha? Let’s go!

So, in hopes of keeping myself accountable I have made a schedule for the next 3 weeks. Did I mention I have crazy (fun) travel coming up? I am in LA from Dec 3rd until Dec 15th for work visits and an upgrade. I’m excited because I have lots of LA friends to visit, lots of healthy food choices and a barre at my hotel gym! I’m nervous because I know myself and the temptation to drink every night and have dessert will be high. I need to keep up my gusto….which means I need to get my gusto going before I go. Capisce? 🙂

Here’s the plan from now until I leave. Color-coded (red = Danvers barre n9ne, purple = Andover bare n9ne, black = Zumba DVD). It might sound crazy but I am supposed to get 10,000 steps a day and Zumba accounts for 6,000. In my average day I get about 4,000 so I do hit my number, just not in the traditional fashion.

Now the challenge of “Can I stick to this?” sets in. I hope so! I do have pager, I do have friends in town but I can’t use those as excuses to fail! Write it down, make it happen!

Oh and Saturday if you’re looking for something fun to do come to Zumbathon hosted by my pal Stefanie Sweeney! She is the only Zumba instructor I like, and teaches one of my favorite barre classes (lean and tone). 🙂

You don’t have to be coordinated to have a good time (trust me)!

There we have my new mantras (let go, get moving, stop comparing) and my hopeful schedule. Please help me stick to it will ya? 🙂

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July?! (Already??)


Holy mackerel! It’s July 1st!! I don’t know how this month snuck up on me when I wasn’t looking. (Sidenote: I hate that the past tense of sneak is sneaked. It sounds stupid. I’m saying snuck – kindly stop correcting me Firefox).

I always like to come into a new month and think about what I can conquer. In June I vowed to do the following:

Foodie Penpals? CHECK! So much fun.
Cardio kick-up? FAIL. I sucked at this. More on this later.
New barrre classes? CHECK CHECK CHECK! In June I tried TFFR a bunch of times (so in love!), Long, Lean Legs (holy killer). Lean and Tone w/ the lovely Stefanie Sweeney AND Arms and Abs. The only one I didn’t love was A+A. I love doing lower body moves. I found my glutes twitching to work out. LOL.

Overall I’d give myself a B in June. I did not conquer cardio – but I do go outside my comfort zone!

Now what will July bring?

Incorporate fruits or veggies into every meal. It’s summer ~ there is NO reason not to. Snack? Fresh salsa. Dinner? Grilled zucchini w/chicken. Dessert? Throw some berries in that bowl!

Get 10,000 steps in EVERY DAY. Not 8,000, not 6500 and 2 classes – 10,000. I’m slacking on this and I know I can do better. I have done better!

Try barre n9ne cardio. OMG I might die. This class petrifies me. Maybe because Tanya teaches it? Maybe because people come out dripping in sweat? Either way ~ just thinking about it has me shaking in my flip-flops. LOL.

OK those are the challenges this month. Hopefully I’m able to rock them. I also have my weigh-in/measurements coming soon for 60 day challenge. I hope I’m proud of my results. I find July and August better for eating (no one wants big meals and everyone is drinking water by the ton!) but I find i tougher for exercise. So hard to go outside when it’s a bajillion degrees ~ even if you are going to an air-conditioned classroom!

How do you modify your routines in the heat? Runners – do you come indoors or tough out the humidity?

Happy Fourth of July! Happy Birthday America! Celebrate responsibly and please remember why we’re celebrating. 🙂

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Empty the Gas Tank!


I read something last week (and I swear when I remember where it was I will credit my source!) about emptying your gas tank. Giving your workout EVERYTHING ~ rather than holding out and bringing some energy home with you. What are you saving it for? You’re there to work out – GIVE IT YOUR ALL!

So, I come into barre n9ne last night with this mentality. It was my first “lean and tone” class and my first class with Stefanie. Well, it was a kickass amazingly experience. Stef is sweet, funny and very TOUGH! I was sweating, I was shaking and I was NOT giving up. I left completed depleted – in a good way. It was 7pm, what did I need to save energy for?!

This morning I got up at 5am (begrudgingly) and headed to meet Stasia for b9 fusion – one of my favorite classes ever. It’s all ball/band/mat based and usually it’s tough but not deadly. Today, Julianna was deadly. We did jumping jacks, we did planks of doom, we did 42 arms moves until I thought my limbs would fall off! I stopped a lot, but I still felt SUPER sore when I left.

Side note: Anyone else feel like during plank?

OK good, I’m not alone. 🙂

So I “emptied my gas tank” this morning too. I didn’t hold back, I didn’t “go easy” on myself. I stopped when I needed to – and I pushed harder when I could.

It’s going to be hot as Hades here in Boston today and tomorrow. I don’t plan on being outside unless I absolutely have to – so that means I will be getting all my steps in during walks around work / visits to the dreadmill.

How are you guys getting your workouts in when the weather is off the charts? Are you giving 100% every time you go to the gym/class? If not – think about what you’re saving energy for!

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