Review Wednesday: Spotify

A little more than a month ago I took the SPINNING® teacher training. Soon after that I took the test (and passed), which made me a certified SPINNING® teacher.

One of my indoor cycling teachers has been my mentor and personal cheerleader through me becoming a yoga teacher and now an indoor cycling teacher.

One of the things he recommended was Spotify for my music for classes.

I have a good and varied selection of music in my iTunes library. But as a teacher of any sort of exercise class you need to keep it new and fresh. Buying songs regularly can get quite pricey.

I had heard of Spotify but had never used it. (It is now on my iPhone, iPad mini and laptop.)

You can use Spotify for free. But there are ads and you can’t play your music offline (meaning, if you aren’t on wifi you can’t play the music). Neither of those work for teaching an exercise class.

If you want to play your music offline, you have to hit the available offline button on each device for each playlist, including your song library.

Spotify gives you a free week of premium (no ads and you can play … Continue reading

My epic teaching day

Sunday was an epic teaching day for me.

I taught my first official indoor cycling class.

Wikipedia defines indoor cycling as an organized activity, a form of exercise with classes focusing on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity (race days) and recovery, and involves using a special stationary exercise bicycle with a weighted flywheel in a classroom setting.

Wikipedia also mentions that indoor cycling is commonly called spinning. This is true. But SPINNING® is a trademarked term and must be used correctly. I plan to write a post later on explaining this.

I had taught three impromptu classes when there was confusion about the class schedule around Thanksgiving and another time when the regular teacher had to cancel class. I just played my music and we went with it.

Sunday my playlist of music was planned out and how we rode to each song with hills, sprints, endurance, seated, standing, running, etc.

I had a pretty full class with about 12 students. (The most you can have at my gym is 16 if all bikes are in the room and in working order.)

I had many friends there to support me and another cycling teacher who has been my mentor and … Continue reading

Seeing results with healthy choices

I know that there are so many things challenging about the holidays. There is stress, overeating, over drinking … etc.

But we can overcome a lot of that and stay on a healthy track.

When I quit my job a little more than two months ago I thought the weight would fall off and I would easily fall back to my goal weight rather quickly.

Well, that didn’t happen and then I went on vacation.

Once back from vacation I got back on the healthy eating and regular exercise routine with indoor cycling and yoga (both public classes and my own home practice). I was also able to control my stress levels much more at that point.

I have been at it for about six weeks and am pleased with my results.

Yes, it can be difficult to maintain healthy living during the holidays. But it is possible.

When I first started on my weight loss track eight years ago I lost weight over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So far this year I lost weight over Thanksgiving. I made sure to get my exercise in last week while still enjoying food and wine, all in moderation.

I stuck to my plan of … Continue reading

I sweated a lot in a Bikram yoga class

Let me say that I realize this post may cause dislike, disagreement, possibly anger … But this is my opinion and my feelings on hot yoga. And you are allowed to disagree.

I don’t believe Bikram yoga (hot yoga) is real yoga.

After experiencing it I will say it is some form of exercise? … yoga poses where you are in a super hot room and sweat like crazy.

If you like doing it I am not saying you shouldn’t do it. I’m just saying … it ain’t real yoga.

Over the past year or so I believe I have become a self-proclaimed yoga snob. In terms of the type of yoga classes I take, the teachers I study under and even the way I am trying to develop my skills as a teacher.

When I first started taking yoga in 2007 it was solely for exercise. And there is nothing wrong with that.

About four years ago I started taking yoga at a yoga studio. I found different styles of yoga and different teachers I enjoyed studying under. And I found styles of yoga and teachers I didn’t enjoy.

My normal practice consisted of Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga.

Once I … Continue reading

Pursuing happiness

You want to know the real reason I quit my job?

I wasn’t happy.

I was also becoming a person I didn’t like.

And that definitely needed to change.

When I started my yoga teacher training about a year ago (can’t believe that was a year ago) it wasn’t my intention to quit my job and solely be a yoga teacher.

I planned to teach on the side and maybe eventually move more full time into health and wellness, which would include being a yoga teacher and blogger (and maybe a few other things I have up my sleeve), but like everything in life, things changed.

I have many things to do on my to do list. But the No. 1 item is to be happy.

I can’t be the best me if I am not happy and good to myself.

A few friends have asked me: Are you teaching full time? Where are you teaching?

No to the first question. Keep reading for an answer to the second question.

First, yoga teachers can’t possibly work 40 hours a week as a yoga teacher. Most teachers have to travel to multiple studios (or gyms) for classes, teaching can be emotionally and physically … Continue reading

Celebrate Stoptober & be aware this month

I seriously had no ideas for an October Monthly Challenge. I was just not going to do one.

But I decided to post on the Monthly Challenge Facebook page asking friends if they had any suggestions. And I got two almost immediately. Thanks, Rosie and Jen!

My friend Rosie is from the UK and this month is Stoptober, which means being sober and smoke-free for the month. Read more about it here.

If you’re a smoker, this might be a great time to think about quitting. It may not happen this month. But think about how much healthier (and nicer smelling) you will be if you quit.

I told Rosie that this is my birthday month and there is no way I am gonna give up drinking even with the supposed gold pass of one time to cheat this month. I mean, I am going to Tahiti next week and plan on having a lot of fuu-fuu drinks!

But hey, it’s always a good idea to limit alcohol. So maybe keep your drinking to only the weekends. Or cut your usual alcohol intake in half. Or if you really want to get crazy, try not drinking for the whole … Continue reading

Cooking and blending my way to healthy eating

During this time I am taking off from working full time I want to get back to healthy: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and in any other way I can.

I have started eating better, drinking even more water than I was before and I am even cooking a bit. (I’ve also started back with my regular home yoga practice, regularly attending public yoga classes and getting some cardio in at my gym.)

Let’s get back to that cooking thing I mentioned above …

Even though I have two parents who are amazing cooks, I don’t like cooking. When I was a kid and my brother and I were old enough we were given the task to cook one night a week to help our mom, who was a single parent.

I absolutely hated it. I begged my mom for any other chore. So I had to vacuum the house. And to the day I still don’t mind vacuuming.

I have many goals in mind during my break. One of them is not to become a housewife–this is no offense to housewives, it is just not me.

One of my goals (besides tackling that atrocious unorganized pantry, cleaning up my e-mail inbox, … Continue reading

Being a gym yoga teacher sub

At the end of October I will be taking over yoga classes at a gym in Alameda where the regular teacher will be going on maternity leave.

She recently went on vacation, which gave me an opportunity to be the yoga sub for four classes at Alameda Athletic Club.

I taught a Thursday evening, a Sunday late morning, a Tuesday evening and another Thursday evening while the regular teacher was on vacation.

My first class I felt a little unprepared for things that were out of my control. But I reminded myself to breathe and it would be OK. I felt the class went well and the students were responsive.

Sunday late morning I had about 10 students. I had time to chat with a few of them before class and after class as well.

Two students who were there for my first class came back on Sunday. My Sunday students were very receptive and complimented me. Many told me that they really enjoyed the class. Some told me they planned to tell the front desk and general manager about me.

Someone else said I was one of the best teachers they have ever had. I’m flattered. They were impressed with … Continue reading

Say no to processed foods, yes to glutes

OK, it’s Labor Day and the first day of September, which means it is time for a new Monthly Challenge.

August’s Monthly Challenge was about slowing down. How did that go? I think it a great practice to continue in life moving forward.

OK, onto September’s challenges …

Nutrition: We all know that processed foods, which typically come in a can or box, aren’t great for you. They have lots of ingredients we can’t pronounce.

We are all busy in life and know that sometimes opening a can or box and throwing dinner in the microwave is easy.

We all probably can’t commit to completely eliminating processed foods for the whole month. So maybe for one meal a day, or once a week or just once this month. Try to replace it with something fresh, like fruits and or vegetables.

Exercise: The other day in a yoga class I taught we did some exercises for the glutes.  So I decided to make that the exercise challenge for this month. When you exercise try to dedicate some time to your glutes every time.

If you need more direction then just me telling you to do some exercises, how about each … Continue reading

Review Wednesday: Make-A-Bolster

When I travel I usually pack exercise clothes and tennis shoes to make sure I keep up with my regular exercise routine. Sometimes hitting the gym at the hotel is successful and other times not at all.

Once I started my teacher training last year I developed a home yoga practice. The more I did it the easier it got.

I have a travel yoga mat, which makes practicing at a hotel a lot easier and easy to shove into a suitcase or even a carry on. Towels and blankets can help with other needed props.

In one of my last classes of my teacher training we had a class on props. We all presented different ways to use various props, some typical you would find in a studio or possibly a gym. A few presented props that were quite unique.

One of my fellow teachers in training brought in her Make-A-Bolster.

According to the website, Make-A-Bolster is portable, compact, and flat. A blanket from your hotel room or home is folded to approximate the bolster width, tightly rolled incorporating a sleep pillow, placed in the center and zipped to form the round bolster.

What a brilliant idea! I ordered … Continue reading