Friday, December 16, 2011

Your 100%

As I sat this evening finishing up Hard Core Part 4, I decided to take a small detour and focus a little on something that's on my mind. You know the old saying, "You gotta crawl before you walk." Well wiser words were never spoken.

This morning I had the pleasure of spending a little one on one Cardio Core time with one of my favorite peeps. She and I have been working together for about seven months now and her fitness level has improved considerably from when we first met. I love her determined spirit. It's that spirit that has led her to do great things. It's also what is holding her back.

"Never despise small beginnings, and don't belittle your own accomplishments. Remember them and use them as inspiration as you go on to the next thing. When you venture outside your comfort zone, wherever the starting point may be, it's kind of a big deal."
- Chris Guillebeau

Kind of a big deal? ABSOLUTELY! The mere thought of making changes and leaving your comfort zone can be intimidating. Even worse, when we leave our comfort zone and things don't go as planned, it can be devastating.

It can also be empowering. You make the choice.

Recognizing that you have a weakness is actually a beautiful step in the right direction. It's in that moment that you can really hone in on the change that your body needs. Each body is different and, for that reason, everybody will begin their journey in a different place and progress at different speeds. Only you can determine what you need and the speed at which you fulfill those needs. Come into each day with your game face on and, most importantly, IDENTIFY YOUR 100%. Don't benchmark yourself against someone else because they, most likely, are not in the same position as you. Doing this will only discourage you and derail your progression. The key to turning devastation into empowerment is to celebrate the small victories.

I’ve come to think of high performance as showing off. Showing off isn’t about bragging or arrogance. Showing off simply means bringing your best to everything that you do. It’s about being focused and working with the intention of creating results that benefit you in any given situation. Showing off means creating value through accomplishment and finding your "TA-DA" moment.

Take a minute after every workout to focus on what you DID accomplish, not what you didn't. Celebrate the victory that you did five full push-ups before dropping to your knees (2 more than last week)! Then, knowing that you CAN be successful, button down, get outside of your comfort zone, and get ready for next week's celebration. 

Ride on!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm Just Sayin....

So check this out.....I got the coolest email today from one of my peeps sharing with me a complement she got from one of her co-workers.

We started working together about 5 months ago. I had always invited her to come to one of my Psycle Indoor Cycle classes and, while she said she would, she never did. I figured I would ask one last time and finally, somewhat apprehensively, she took her first IC class on Labor Day (Sept 5) - 6 weeks ago. After class she said it was "ok" but that she would return.

She has come to 19 Indoor Cycle classes since that time. She rides heavy, she rides fast. She rides like she means it. She never walks out wondering if she gave enough. She rides the kind of ride that will sometimes push you to tears because you have virtually NOTHING LEFT but those tears. That is something everyone should experience (thanks RTB). She doesn't compromise her workouts. Not ever. To her it's not just a class, it means something.

She has since lost eight inches. EIGHT INCHES!

To all of you haters - stop hating. My friend is 54 years old with tight hamstrings and she has earned every single one of those inches! I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of her. She is a strong athlete who doesn't just attend the class - she shows up determined to ride like a champion. She takes control of every one of those 3600 seconds in that hour and makes them work for her.

I guess my point is.....if you want something bad enough, you'll make the effort. How badly do you want it? Bad enough to get really, really uncomfortable? Bad enough to say NO to the stuff you know is sabotaging you reaching your goal?

It is totally your call. Stop wondering and start living!

I'm just sayin.......

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Living Memory of......

I finished up my latest post a couple of days ago with all intention of uploading it tonight before I laid my head down to sleep. I fired up the laptop and logged on to Blogger. That's when I decided to take 15 minutes to read and watch Steve Jobs' 2005 Commencement address at Stanford University. I'd watched it a while back but reading it today, at this time in my life, something was different. With tears in my eyes, all of a sudden everything I wrote was a blur and seemed completely inadequate.

I'm going to sign off and encourage all of you to take 15 minutes, click on the above link "In Living Memory of", and read or watch.

Treat yourself and those you meet daily with respect and love. Your actions and how you live do make a difference.
"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."
                        ~ Steve Jobs

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Snooze or Cruise?

Yeah yeah I know, we've all been there. You set the alarm before heading off to bed with every intention of rising early and getting in that "killer" workout. You're excited as you drift off to sleep and look forward to the early morning wake-up.

Then it happens...the alarm starts buzzing and as you reach over to silence it, you begin to reason with yourself as to why you should stay in bed. It's way too early. It's way too cold. You're way too tired. You find that glorious little snooze button, and press it down hard. Silence returns to your bedroom and as you close your eyes and feel that comfortable sleep come over you again, you tell yourself "five more minutes".

After a few minutes, the alarm sounds and again you hit snooze. You repeat this a couple more times until finally you give in and turn it off all together. It's too late to get up and exercise now but there's always tomorrow.

At the time, hitting the snooze sure feels like a good idea. After all there are some mornings where all you need is just another 30 minutes of sleep. But I'm going to urge you to start to look at your snooze button differently. Think about it this way - every time you hit "snooze", you delay action. You stay in the same place, in the same moment and make the statement that you're not ready to move forward. All good intentions and good planning are wiped away with one sweep of the hand and press of that little button.

Dramatic? OK - maybe a little.

Take a second and write down one thing that you would do if you knew that you could not fail. Now look at what you wrote and imagine how quickly you'd get there if you hit snooze every time you started on your journey. Any successful person will tell you that there is one constant in realizing success and that is ACTION. When we force ourselves to take action, especially in those instances when we really just don't feel like it, we call on ourselves at a higher level and THAT is where great things start to happen. Just think about the massive initial push that it takes to get a stalled car moving again. Once the wheels are put into motion, the pushing gets a lot easier.

I challenge you to commit to find YOUR power through action. Tomorrow morning, as the alarm rings loud to wake you out of your slumber, throw back the cover, put your feet fast to the floor, stand up and take charge of the day. Don't give yourself a second to think about it. Silence the voice that is begging you for just five more minutes and just make it happen. Don't wait until you "feel like it" to take action - that time may never come. Attack the day with a warriors heart. It is with that heart, my friends, that you will discover how great you can really be.

Catch you in the cycle room!
Ride on!

Visit to register for your next Indoor Cycle Class. I mean who wouldn't want to burn 500 - 800 calories before breakfast?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Labor Day Weekend is Here!

OK - I know you guys have all been DYING to check out Psycle Fitness! Well, you're in luck - we will finally be having our grand opening on September 16 & 17, BUT that's not the reason for this post. I wanted to give you a heads up to a special Labor Day ride.
Monday, September 5
9:45 - 10:45 am
Psycle Fitness - 16087 Perry Highway, Warrendale <---where you can sign up

Here's the deal, there are 26 bikes (really really nice smooth bikes). I would just LOVE to get them all filled and get a wait list going. It's a great facility and I would love it if you guys could join me. I will also be doing a couple of raffles and numerous give-aways so don't miss out! You get a raffle ticket for just showing up - if you can coax someone into signing up with get another ticket!

Class sign-up is open. Visit and click on "Register for Classes". Go to 09/05/2011 and click the "Sign Up Now" link. If you've never been there before it will ask you to create a log-in. It's very simple and will take about 3 minutes from start to finish. The best part get to hang with me in the coolest Cycle Studio in Western PA and your first class is free!

By registering, you are reserving a bike so PLEASE don't register unless you plan on coming. If you do plan on coming - PLEASE don't forget to register!! As long as you are on the list, you will have a bike for sure!!

OK - that's all for now.
See you in the Cycle Room!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Michelle Parolini "Likes" This

Take a minute to stop and think about your last workout. It does not matter what it was, when it was or where it was. What matters is HOW it was. Did you barely hit the mark or did you blow it away? Was it the kind of workout that you would post on Facebook allowing all of your friends to hit the "like" button? Nobody is looking and nobody knows what you're thinking so be honest with yourself. I would venture the guess that there's a good bit of us would try it a little differently if we could hit rewind.

We don't usually get second chances....but today is your lucky day.

Make the decision right now to change the way you determine how good you really are. What would you do at this moment in your life, if you knew that you could not fail? Would you complete a marathon, cycle a century, compete in an endurance challenge or complete your first Spinning class? Would you do something so outrageous that your Facebook page would literally blow up with "likes" after you posted your status along with the photos?

Take the challenge and don't let your mind stop your body from making it happen.

  • New Schedule at Psycle starting July 1:
    • Monday - Friday 6:00 - 7:00 am class will now be 5:30 - 6:30 am
    • Monday - Friday 5:30 - 6:30 pm class will now be 6:00 - 7:00 pm
  • Shower rooms are up and running and looking great! Join us before you head to work! Shower towels are available for $1.
  • July 4  TWO great one hour rides - 8:30 am with Tom and 9:45 am with Michelle. Don't miss out burning off a few calories before we celebrate our independence!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kind of A Big Deal

So Friday morning we said goodbye to another one of our Boot Camp family members heading (back) to Philly for work. This blog post is dedicated to her. I'm proud of the progress she experienced throughout the course of her time here in Pittsburgh. I'm also excited that Emily has decided to step outside of her comfort zone and start down a new road. Good luck in all that you do Emily and we will miss you at 6:00 am!
Chris Guillebeau said, "Never despise small beginnings, and don't belittle your own accomplishments. Remember them and use them as inspiration as you go on to the next thing. When you venture outside your comfort zone, wherever the starting point may be, it's kind of a big deal."
Kind of a big deal? ABSOLUTELY! The mere thought of making changes and leaving your comfort zone can be intimidating. However, it is the commitment to those changes when the REAL fear factor enters in! I hear from a lot of people how they wish they could be more fit. Regardless of the physical differences of each individual, the myraid of excuses they put forth does not vary much from one person to the next.
"I'm just so tired."
"I just don't have the time."
"I don't know how or where to start."

"I can't do it because I'm so out of shape." (one of my personal favorites)
So how do you get from point A to point B and do it successfully? YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PLAN.

Riddle me this. You've always wanted to visit Italy. How do you get there? (Humor me) I would imagine that you would take a few steps that are pretty blatantly obvious but below is how I'd go about it.
  • Get the brochure. At the beginning of every experience, you need a mental picture of the end point. What is it that you would ultimately like to accomplish? Where is it that you would ultimately like to be? There are a lot of cities to visit. Identify which ones are most important right now and focus solely on them.
  • Buy the ticket and commit. You have got to understand that unless you really want it, it will not hold enough importance to you. If you want something bad enough, you'll pay the freight and make it happen.
  • Plan your trip. Setting goals is an integral component of success. Would you seriously fly to another country without a plan? The key to progressing from one goal to the next is to stay focused. Know the plan for any given day and stick to it!
  • Find a travel buddy. Share your goals with someone. Writing them down is the first step but it's not until the spoken word comes out of your mouth that you actually put yourself in a position to be held accountable. Sometimes all it takes is a little accountability!
Now with all of that being said (or written in this case), take it and put it to work for you in the health and fitness field. You've already got the starting point covered. That is where you are today. Now take the time to map out your success route.
  • Only YOU can determine what it is that YOU want.
  • Find a good personal trainer that can work with you to outline specific and reasonable goals. If you do not know of any, let me know and I can offer a little direction to find one.
  • Who gets to be your travel buddy? If you're in need - I'm always up for the task! Feel free to share your goals with me. I promise you that we will celebrate every accomplishment!
Just writing it down and uttering the words don't make the commitment happen. You have to come into each day with your game face on and Identify YOUR 100%. I’ve come to think of high performance as showing off. Showing off isn’t about bragging or arrogance. Showing off simply means bringing your best to everything that you do. It’s about being focused and working with the intention of creating results that benefit you in any given situation. Showing off means creating value through accomplishment and finding your "TA-DA" moment.

Can you remember the last thing you did that was wildly outside your comfort zone? Now is the time! Never underestimate yourself!!

Stay tuned! What's in store for May:
  • Follow my training for the Rachel Carson Challenge
  • HIIT training - what can it do for you?
  • New Clean Eating recipes (Posted the second Sunday of each month!)
  • Core move of the month (Posted the third Sunday of each month!)
Thanks for hanging in there with me.
Follow me on Twitter @misfitspin

Friday, April 8, 2011

When I Grow Up.....

So it's been a while since my last post. Sorry guys. I'm in the depths of working through my Level 1 Pilates reformer certification and I have Level 2 training coming up at the end of April (can't wait). BUT - I haven't forgotten about you - it's just been a while.

While I'm getting my next post ready, I just want to leave you with a thought:

Our health effects everything and everyone. Our friends, our family and our co-workers. I've heard some of you say that you are lacking motivation. Why not be motivated by the vision of being the one who pushes and inspires others to take care of their own bodies?

Lead by example.

You don't think anyone is watching....think again. Those of you that know me know that I'm as sensitive as they come. Okay okay - stop laughing.....believe it or not, there really are two things in this world that turn me to mush. The yearly arrival of my Pens season tickets and my nephews.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with my two youngest nephews at their home in Martinsburg, West Virginia. They are three and five years old and every time we're together we always do something, at their request, that involves physical activity. I leave wondering how I can bottle their energy and sell it. This visit was no different. When I arrived late Sunday night, Aiden, the 5 year old, decided that his activity of choice that night was simply just to "exercise." And why not right? I just sat in the car for three hours - what better way to work out the kinks than with a nice, homemade circuit.
  • Station 1 consisted of me carrying Aiden on my back while doing walking lunges. Nothing propels you to move faster or complete more laps than having a 50 pound five year old giggling in your ear.
  • Station 2 was what I like to call Matthew squats (or squatting with a 3 year old hanging off your back). Front squats, side squats, a few squat jumps. His mother tells me he's only 31 pounds but my legs were telling me different!
  • Station 3 was extra adventurous. They both piled on and I attempted push-ups. Got six out, on my toes thank you very much, before all three of us finally collapsed to the floor in a mound of belly laughs.
But what really floored me happened the next morning when my nephew Aiden, out of nowhere said, "Aunt Chelle, when I grow up, I want to be athletic and fit just like you." It totally blew my mind. I never looked at myself as athletic. I have no coordination, I don't play a sport and I hate to run. I'm just a chick who loves her bike and the gym. Aiden sees me as something more and that makes me want to be something more. He thinks I'm athletic and that is so cool. That is what I'll be thinking about now each time I jump on my bike. That is what I'll be thinking about each time I don't think I can go any further.

What will propel you forward?

We always tend to hold back right before we jump into the unknown. The unknown is extremely uncomfortable and maybe just a little scary. Its the wall that separates us from being good and being great.

Here is my challenge to you. Pick one day every week and challenge yourself to take that jump. Its in those moments we find that "just a little more" that you hear about. You may actually surprise yourself.

Who is watching you? Nobody? Are you sure?

Stay tuned - I'll be posting again soon. What's in store for May:
  • Follow my training for the Rachel Carson Challenge
  • HIIT training - what can it do for you?
  • New Clean Eating recipes (this will be a monthly treat!)
  • Core move of the month (this will be a monthly addition also)
Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Follow me on Twitter @misfitspin

Thursday, March 3, 2011

If That Cheesesteak is the Heaviest Thing You Lift All Week.......

To all of my vegan friends.....sorry :)
So is it strange for two fitness "professionals" (and I use that word loosely) to make Jim's Steaks on South Street their first stop en route to a 4-day PhillyMania Fitness Convention? Guess it all depends on your definition of strange.

What? Fuggedaboutit.

Fitness is about celebrating a healthy way of life and that includes making your belly happy. This is my third year at Mania and, for once, I was well prepared for what was to come over the next 96 hours. I knew that, even with a calorie count of approximately 600, that delicious cheese steak would be toast within the first hour.

Day 1 (Thursday) was filled with fun anticipation of the weekend to come. We checked in, got settled and then hit registration. After getting our badges we were like two little kids running around a candy store. We poked our heads into all of the pre-convention classes like we belonged there. Waving at the presenters as if they were long lost friends who were super happy to see us and giving the obligatory "thumbs up" to the people already knee deep into the convention. (Who, by the way, already looked tired.)

We then geared up for our first class - 4 hours of Outdoor Boot Camp. Can you dig it? We learned new ways to plyo, push-up, punch, pull-up, med ball, and basically beat our bodies into submission. It was outstanding. We received the beating we were looking for and, at 9:45 pm, walked out charged up and ready to go for Day 2.

Our BOSU Playground - 8 BOSUs per team of 6 people.
What a blast.
Day 2 (Friday) started bright and early at 6:00 AM. Our first class was 7:30 - 9:00 AM and had us throwing, bouncing, and lifting a medicine ball in ways that I didn't really think were possible. It left me wondering when we adults moved away from having fun with our workouts. When did we decide it all had to feel like WORK. I mean who doesn't love a good game of knee tag right? 

Does someone smell smoke?
Meg and I moved seamlessley through the remainder of the morning. We hit up the BOSU Playground (which was incredibly fun and difficult all at the same time) and a HIIT It Cycle class (High Intensity Interval Training).

Our afternoon was incredible and started with personal favorite of the weekend for a number of reasons (google Josh Crosby - sigh). Our only break in the afternoon was an impromptu Fire Drill in the middle of the BOSU Athletic High Intensity Class. You know you're in the right place when the fire alarms screams and you continue to workout. I think it went something like this: "Wait? Is that the fire alarm? Well can someone look and see if there's a fire or smoke because if not, we can just keep going." Yesssssssss! After finally being forced out of our room, we rolled down the escalator to safety....or something like that.
Hey guys - whatcha talking about?

Nope - you're all clean

We took the break time to have a little fun and meet some new friends. It's amazing the number of stomach muscles you engage when you laugh uncontrollably.

Once the determination was made that fire would not be an issue, we all returned to our workouts. Meg and I went our seperate ways for 90 minutes - Meg to an RPM Cycle class and me to a S.W.A.T. Team Workout. I had my ass handed to me by a little spitfire of a woman name Leslie Grosshauser. She's a competitive body builder and she does this workout every week with the Kane County S.W.A.T. Team in Illinois. I swear to God I didn't know if I would make it to the end of the class! You know my friends, the funny thing about doubt is how overwhelming it can be. The minute it creeps in, if you don't smack it away with everything you will determine your boundaries for you. So in my mind's eye, I grabbed the closest thing I could, wound up and hit it out of the park. After class we ditched our previous dinner plans and opted for more elegant

TGFP - Thank God For Pizza
Day 3 (Saturday) started with a bang....or was that a whimper? We hadn't made the determination that coming here was a mistake yet so I guess that was a step in the right direction! The good thing about Day 3 is we got to start on the bike. Home sweet home. With three spin classes on the schedule today, two of which consisted of a Race Day and a Time Trial, it was looking like it was going to be a good day.

My legs were already calling out to me to play nice.

The bikes we had in the classes were the new Schwinn AC Performance with an MPower Console that measures speed, distance, wattage, RPM and has readings for heart rate, calories, laps and split times. The bike uses aluminum wheels and magnets for resistance. They are perfectly weighted and even the smallest micro adjustment on the dial is instantly felt. Gotta be honest with you, I was in heaven.

THIS is how one can make the transition from exercising (not measurable) to training (fully measurable). If you think that you're exercising at the right intensity, I encourage you to track down a place that offers way to actually measure the wattage of the power you are generating with your legs. That power is created by resistance AND cadence. I know I sound like a broken record but try it once and you'll never go back. Most people think that they're working a lot harder than they actually are.

OK - moving on. Competition is a great motivator and Meg and I had very little problem where that was concerned. With the power meters on our bikes, we were armed for war! Every time we felt like pulling back to recover, we had to make the or lose. I know that I say this all the time but learning how to recover is so important for your body. Teach your body how to do it and your down time gets less and less.

We pushed through the Race Day with no problem and after hitting up the rest of our classes on Saturday, we ended the day the way it began - on the bike. We had two more tough rides to finish off our day. The first of the two was all about team work. Meg and I make a good team. We're like peanut butter and jelly or mac and cheese so it was only right that we were a team. Although we didn't win MVP for the ride, I'm positive that we beat all the other slackers in the room. How did I know? My distance meter told me so. Regardless - with our team ride out of the way, we were geared up and ready for our time trial. This would be the last ride of the day and take us into our Saturday night.

The setting of the "spin room" was the rooftop ballroom at the Sheraton. The room had 3/4 view windows on the front and back wall. We watched the sun set during our team ride and now, with the lights dimmed low, we were looking out over the lights of the City of Philadelphia. Off in the distance I could see the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the immortal Rocky Steps leading the way to the front door. Yeah - that's what I'm taking about.


I closed my eyes and completely lost myself in the ride. Our instructor, Gregg Cook, was by far the most motivational coach I have ever ridden with. It was almost like you wanted to go just a little further merely because he asked. No questions, no whining, no hesitation - just get it done. Forty-five minutes later, my legs were screaming and I was beaming. What an amazing way to spend Saturday night. The thought of bringing that ride home to my peeps made me pretty happy. You guys are going to love it. Sunday, March 27 and Tuesday, March 30 - we will ride.

Day 4 (Final day - Sunday) started slow until we both realized that we had another ride with Gregg on deck! Just enough motivation to get us moving! We jumped up, rushed through breakfast and headed to the spin room. Half asleep and super tired from the three prior days, we both had full intention of "riding easy" through this class. Then the music started playing and our legs started moving. We had three intervals ahead and heading into the first, we figured "ok...just this one." As painful as it was, we made it through with flying colors and it was at that point, we both decided that maybe we'll just do intervals one and three.

With interval one behind us and two on the way, we lightened the load a little and set in for cruising pace. That lasted for about 15 seconds. Reaching down and slowly adding resistance little by little, we both found ourselves at that race pace again. Ah - what the hell - bring on interval two. By the end of interval two any feeling I had in my legs was replaced by the most intense burn I'd ever felt. Thank God he gave us a two minute recovery - it was just enough time to wrap my head around what the heck it was that I was doing.

Heading into interval three, Meg and I were faced with a tough decision. We could go left and back down or go right and finish. We both smiled through the sweat and pain, gave each other a little high five and reached down for our resistance knobs. "To the right, to the right."

The decision was made, my eyes were closed, the music was blaring, and my bike was geared up. I was ready and more than willing to finish this ride and do it right. After the first sprint, I wasn't sure if we made the right decision. I looked over at Meg and we both grimaced a little and then nodded and went all in. Gregg asked just a little more from us and we both delivered in spades. Now would not be the time to back down. We had a good 5.5 hour drive home ahead of us and we needed to make sure that we left nothing behind. Today would be OUR day to feel the euphoria of giving every ounce of effort we had. Thanks Gregg for an amazing class.

You may be asking yourself - what does one do after a class like that? Well that's easy - you find the closest pile of BOSUs and collapse. Ha. Ha.

What did I learn this past weekend? Some things were blaring and others were subtle. Both gave me a better foundation to be a better friend, coach, and athlete. They are:
  1. Meg is awesome. Those of you who know me know that I'm a pretty intense Type A personality. I expect greatness from everyone especially myself. Meg brings a different and very welcome ingredient to my life. She allows me to be chill and appreciate that sometimes its laughter rather than anger that gets you back into the game after you fail. I'm grateful for her.
  2. 100% is all relative. We are all at different levels in our fitness journey. Some are just beginning and some are all out fitness buffs but one thing remains constant - "100% is 100%". If you give YOUR 100% every time, you can never be ashamed. Rather you can run, walk or crawl out of that training session with your head held high.
  3. Nothing replaces experience. Each class I ask my peeps to give me all they have and leave nothing behind. Sometimes it's easy to forget how hard that can be. Trust me when I tell you that I know the feeling of wanting to stop. I know the feeling of that muscle burning so badly that it may never calm. I know the feeling of being so breathless that your not sure if you're going to make it. I also know the feeling of recovery and the feeling of looking back at my training session with a smile and a "hell yes". It's something I cannot describe but when you experience it - you'll know.
  4. Stop is a verb. A verb is an action and an action takes effort. If you're going to put forth the effort - why not choose GO rather than STOP. Just sayin.
That does it for me. Take a personal inventory of where you are in your journey and where you see yourself two months from now. Small manageable steps will get you there. Feel free to drop me a line or two and we'll work on it together. Remember that only you can put boundaries on your greatness.

Ride on!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Crucible Vets (and instructors)
Nice job guys!

Niki & Lauren
These are some of the coolest people I know.... and this group photo was taken AFTER four hours of Indoor Cycle, Boot Camp and Hard Core.

The journey started at 8:00 am sharp. Everyone was on time and signed in upstairs at the PT desk (Hey Rich...don't ask...just do it...fuggedaboutit). Our charming instructors Niki and Lauren were there to greet them with their group assignment and give them a little extra inspiration before all headed down to the Spin Room for the first 60 minutes....An Endurance and Interval Ride with Lauren, Niki and Marty (who you'll see in photos later). 

Two Priceless Jules!
While Chris, Megan D, and I waited patiently for the first spin ride to finish so we could ramp up the Boot Camp portion, everyone downstairs had a smile and some even gave the thumbs up. Little did they know how much "fun" we had in store for them. Four hours of fun to be exact. MWAHAHAHAHA! Ok I'm not really that scary (don't believe everything you hear).

Anyway, the first ride went well and everyone enjoyed themselves. With Marty's disco, Niki's club music and Lauren's edgier mixes, how could they not?

Chris - Prison Style Pushups

Lauren - Jump Rope/Pushups

At 9:00, after a quick demonstration by our awesome instructors, the Crucible participants are ready to head in for Round 2 (affectionately refered to as "Done in 3,2,1").

Round 2 consisted of six stations made up of a mixture of cardio, core, and body weight upper and lower body exercises. There's not much else to say but the participants rocked it out and in 40 minutes they were ready for Round 3 (six different Crucible Stations).

Jules giving us the
"thumbs up" at the start
of Race Day.

Boot Camp/Core ended after close to 90 minutes of 3,2,1 fun and our Crucible peeps were ready for Round 4....a 60 minute Race Day Ride with Megan D and Michelle. (Insert smiley face here).

I mean come on...who wouldn't
love to hang with us?

After a quick rally at the top of the steps, we all ran back to the Spin Room to take a bite out of this morning! There were no mixed feelings heading into Race Day. Each and every participant approached the ride like a champion pushing for the finish line. To this day I'm not sure if it was the excitement of being so close to the end or the excitement of knowing they get to hang with Meg and me for the next 60 minutes. Probably a little of both.

Anyway, everyone finished up like champs and the last and final round took us back upstairs for 15 minutes of standing strength, cool down and stretching with Lauren (aka Superstar). After the most amazing stretching, we drew names and handed out some great prizes. Last but not least, we all geared up for our After Party fun!!

Fun? YES - fun. I mean c'mon - after burning over 3300 calories.....don't you think you deserve a little of this.......

Thanks Marios!

Lauren, Julia Goolia, & Marty
We hit up Mario's in the Southside and everyone had an opportunity to play some tunes, eat some great food, drink some refreshing drinks and spend a little time getting to know the people they just spent the last four hours with!

Chicken Thumbs (aka Megs),
Michelle & Meg D

Its a small but distinguished group, these Crucible Vets. Every single one took on the event with no fear. Every single one finished like a champ. Every single one is proud of their accomplishments and can't wait for what's next.

I know that I speak for all of the instructors who participated (Marty, Lauren, Niki, Chris, Megan D and me) when I say that we can't wait for Crucible's Revenge. There's nothing better than hanging out with a bunch of cool people who love to challenge themselves. What a great Saturday! 

Emily & Kristen

Courtney, Myra, Emily, Isaac
Big shout out to Myra the photographer. Thanks!

Stay healthy!


So you want to be in pictures?  Join us for THE CRUCIBLE'S REVENGE.
Saturday, June 4 from 8:00 am - 12:30 p.m.
Put it on your calendars now and watch the member board for more information.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Definition of Proud - The Crucible Reloaded

proud (praʊd)

      —adj (foll by of, an infinitive, or a clause)
  1. pleased or satisfied, as with oneself, one's possessions, achievements, etc, or with another person, his or her achievements, qualities, etc
  2. feeling honoured or gratified by or as if by some distinction
  3. characterized by or proceeding from a sense of pride: a proud moment 
  4. bold or fearless
Now why did I just give you the definition of the word "proud" as provided by Mr. Webster? Well - today, the day after the Gold's Gym Market Square Crucible event, that's the one word that is on my mind.

The Crucible is a four-hour endurance event held quarterly at my gym. Five amazing instructors (including one of our awesome trainers) and me work hard to guide 20 super motivated individuals through a guantlet of events. The days activities include Indoor Cycle (both endurance and race days), Boot Camp drills, and Hard Core. The mere thought of it makes me smile (if you know me, you'll understand). But what really brings a smile to my face is the amazing group of troopers who underwent this test.

Let me break it down for you...proud mama style:
  1. "pleased or satisfied, as with oneself, one's possessions, achievements, etc, or with another person, his or her achievements, qualities, etc" Spending the morning with the 18 awesome folks who made it in for the event was truly an honor. They pushed so hard, working themselves through a number of physical and mental obstacles and never giving up. To see their gleaming faces at the end gave me such a sense of pride in them and the effort they put forth, I can't even describe it.
  2. "feeling honoured or gratified" This one always amazes me. All I have to do is ask. "Brody, just one more push-up"....he gives me that push-up. "Lisa and Susie, you have 30 seconds to get back to where you started, can you make it happen?"....they make it happen. "Isaac, take this sprint and make it your best one"....he finds that perfect resistance and the last bit of speed he was holding back. Its an honor to know that they trust me enough to know that I believe in them enough to ask. Another proud moment for me.
  3. "characterized by or proceeding from a sense of pride: a proud moment" I have no words to describe how I feel when I watch one of my peeps dig deep to find that last hidden bit of strength. Its in those moments that they smile through the hard effort and decide that TODAY is the day that they dare to challenge the boundaries of comfort and be extraordinary. They're proud of who they're finding and I love that. It's an amazing moment for them, and selfishly speaking, for me also.
  4. "bold or fearless" - well this is pretty self explanatory. There's no chance that you take the commitment of a four-hour endurance event without having a little "badass" in you! To all of my B.A.s - thank you for being so BOLD AND FEARLESS.
Special shout out to Susie, Lisa, Brody, Julia, Melissa, Chicken Thumbs (aka Megs), Smiley (aka Kristen), Emily, our photographer Myra, Courtney, Isaac, Emily, Colleen, Coach Rich, Pam, Julie, Alison and Jess. You guys are my Crucible vets! Great work yesterday - you should ALL be proud.

Thanks to all of my peeps for making me feel like I have the best job in the world. Spending time with you all and watching you succeed are notably some of the greatest days for me. I love you all - thanks for a great morning! The pics will be posted as soon as I get them.

Be happy! Be healthy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Afraid of the Spin Room?

The year was 19something (don't think I'm giving away my age) and I was in the gym working the same circuit that I always worked. I knew what I knew and I liked it that way. If you know what to expect, there are no surprises (psst…your body figures that out too). That's the way it was for me at the gym and it was good.

At least, that's what I thought until I shook it up a little. MAN OH MAN - I NEVER REALIZED WHAT I WAS MISSING!

I would always walk by the group fitness class and shake my head. To me, they were crazy people trying crazy things. I mean c’mon – a grapevine is something that you find in a vineyard (check out the Chubby Vegan’s blog) NOT a group fitness class. OK – it’s out there now. Those of you who know me well know that I am NOT the most coordinated person in the world. Scratch that - I actually have no coordination to speak of. The reason I shook my head was not because I thought they were crazy, it was because I was afraid I might embarrass myself in a group fitness class. This held me back from taking my fitness to the next level. Then one day....I looked into the window of the Spin Room.

The room was dimly lit and there were about 25 people riding furiously to nowhere. One guy looked as though he was channeling Lance Armstrong! (Go Lance Go). I thought to myself, "huh – I could hide in the back of that room and nobody would see me." I stuck around long enough to see the door open after the class ended. Along with the steam and smell, the participants poured out with smiles on their faces looking like they had just jumped into the pool with their clothes on! Now I was curious. How could they be that sweaty and be so happy?

I left the gym that day anxious to find out more about this "Spinning" thing. What I read....I liked. I was really excited to find out that every participant controls his or her own intensity more than they do in any other aerobics class. And the best part takes very little coordination because there's no crazy choreography!! HOLLA! This whole spin thing might work out for me after all. Figured it was about time to step up my game.

I went to my first Spinning class and, yep you guessed it, I hated it. Wait? What? Not what you were expecting right? Well...the saddle was uncomfortable, my butt hurt (for days) and I had no idea where I should be setting my resistance. I felt lost. Exactly that uncomfortable feeling I was trying to avoid. Thank God for the instructor who explained that ALL OF THAT was par for a first class. She even asked me to come back and try it a couple of times before I made my final judgment. I'm glad I did. I fell in love and that was all she wrote.

Maybe it's time for you to try an Indoor Cycling class. If you've never been to one, it just may entirely change the way you look at your workouts. Here’s a little about Indoor Cycling that you may or may not have known.

Classes typically last 60 minutes, cover 20 to 24 miles and burn about 700 calories or more while engaging the major leg muscles and the core. By adjusting the resistance knob attached to the brake at the front of the bike, you can tailor the class to your fitness level or mimic climbing hills or sprinting on flat roads. Contrary to popular belief, you will not get huge leg muscles from Spinning. So ladies if you’re looking for long, lean legs, take a look into Indoor Cycling.

I'll let you in on a little secret (only because I like you) nobody around you knows how much resistance you have loaded onto the flywheel. So if you are feeling sluggish that day, maybe a tiny turn works for you. If you are looking to burn off last night's Primanti's sandwich, load on more resistance - it's sure to do the trick.

Bottom line is there is no need to feel intimidated by Indoor Cycling. It's not just for those in tip top shape. If you've finally talked yourself into trying it, here are some tips:

BEFORE your first class:
  • Ask participants about their experiences.
  • Get to class about 15 minutes early so the instructor can set you up on the bike, explain safety cues and demonstrate good form (knees slightly bent when pedaling; back not hunched when you lean on the handlebars). Even though cycling is no impact, you can injure your knees and back if you are not fitted properly.
  • If the instructor does not give you special attention, leave and find another instructor (you really need to let them know it is your first time).
  • Bring a full water bottle, a towel and lightweight clothing.
  • Avoid wearing long pants, especially those with flared legs that could get caught in the pedal spindles.
  • Ordinary tennis shoes are fine.
  • Don't feel compelled to keep up with the instructor or other participants. Set small goals for YOU. Just pedaling the entire time through the first class is a great goal!
  • Use your first class to play around with the resistance and watch how the class is conducted.
  • Allow yourself about five classes before you pass judgment on cycling. You may find you take pleasure in walking out of class sweat-soaked after a top-notch workout.
Nothing pleases me more than watching that a'ha moment when people realize that they truly do LOVE Indoor Cycling. It's really not's a triumph over what you thought you could do and a realization of what you actually can do.

See you in the Spin Room!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Energize or exhaust? I guess it all depends on your individual fitness goals. One thing is certain, regardless of your fitness goals, there are three components that should be present in every workout schedule - Endurance and Recovery Training, Strength and Interval Training, and High Intensity Interval Training.

I heard the phrase once "Think of training like a large tree. Endurance and Recovery Training is the strong foundation - the roots and trunk of the tree. Strength and Interval Training is the upper part and branches and the High Intensity Interval Training forms the top." I think that a lot of us are planted upside down in our training! Highter, harder, faster is not always the best mantra.

With that in mind, take a moment to evaluate how you've been training over the last year. Now is a great time to essentially start over and find that level of fitness you never thought possible. If you're new to fitness, this would be a great time to set goals for yourself and figure out the best road map to get where you want to be.

On each Tuesday over the next three weeks, I'm going to highlight the three components of fitness. Check back for more information on each.

Tuesday, January 25 - Endurance and Recovery Training
Tuesday, February 1- Strength and Interval Training
Tuesday, February 8 - High Intensity Interval Training

Take it to the next level!
Ride on!

Monday, January 3, 2011


I was recently asked the question "That's like Yoga right?" by one of my Boot Camp peeps. In simple terms - yes and no! They are both considered a part of the mind/body dicipline of exercise however they do carry their own distinct characteristics.

The ultimate aim of practicing Yoga is to create a balance between the body and the mind and to attain self-enlightenment. In order to accomplish it, Yoga makes use of different movements, breathing exercises, relaxation technique and meditation. Yoga helps you become more aware of your body's posture, alignment and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in the midst of a stress stricken environment.

The emphasis of Pilates is to strengthen the abdominals, improve posture, stabilize and lengthen the spine, improve balance and overall strength. Pilates gives you a longer, leaner line. Pilates builds a strong core, increases strength and flexibility simultaneously, and improves posture, stability and alignment. It also emphasizes complete concentration on smooth, flowing movement, and proper breathing. You become acutely aware of how your body feels, where it is in space, and how best to control its movement.

Pilates is pretty incredible. Don't take my word for it, check it out yourself - Gold's Gym GGX is offering a new 30 minute Pilates session on Tuesday mornings at 6:30 am. The instructor will be yours truly. Pilates is a great complement to any exercise schedule.

See you on Tuesdays!