Bodypump 91 Review

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It has been a loooooong time since I wrote a Bodypump Review, and I vowed to get back into doing so with the latest Bodypump release. Even though my gym launched Bodypump 91 almost four weeks ago, I know that most other clubs are just now getting around to launching. (My group ex manager decided to do it on the first day of fall to get into the “Fall into Fitness” thing.)

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Believe it or not, this is the first launch I’ve done since Bodypump 84- which was over a year and a half ago! There’s not nearly as much opportunity for Bodypump instructors here in Boulder and I was just subbing classes for the first year that I lived there. I’ve taught every release since I moved- but just haven’t been there for the actual launch day. It wasn’t until last April that I finally got my own class- and then was out for two months for knee surgery right after. So, because of the timing, this past launch was the first that I’ve gotten to do since moving- and it felt GOOD to be back!

Because of the early launch at my gym, I had to learn the choreography for Bodypump 91 FAST. In fact, I learned the whole thing while I was in Maryland last month for work- most of it in my hotel room at 6:00 am each morning before having to put in a full day Expo East! It was stressful and exhausting- but totally worth it in the end.

If you’re not familiar with Bodypump, here’s a quick description of the class from the Les Mills website:

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How I Choose my Spinning Tunes

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Last month marked my fifth anniversary as a Spinning instructor. In some ways it feels like I’ve been teaching much longer, because I can’t really even remember my life before teaching group exercise! Over the last five years I’ve learned quite a few things about group exercise in general- from how to best relate to the participants in my classes, what (most) people like and don’t like and how to become a better, more confident instructor.

I remember those first few months of teaching indoor cycling quite well. I spent so much time planning out every single moment of every single ride, because I wanted everything to be perfect. As time went on, I got more comfortable, more confident and grew to have a great relationship with the “regulars” that would come to my classes. I’ve also learned how to communicate (i.e. speak at a loud volume) while I’m at 75-80% MHR – which is a must for a group exercise instructor. One thing you learn from teaching indoor cycling is how to hold a conversation when your heart feels like it’s beating right out of your chest. I’ve never been able to “cheat” when I teach (meaning that I’d have the resistance way down low and “pretend” I’m working hard). In fact, I burn a lot more calories and work a lot harder when I’m teaching a class (rather than taking a class).

One comment that I get more often than anything else from people that take my classes is that my music selection rocks. Hearing this means a lot to me, because I actually do put a lot of time and effort into choosing music to play in my classes. I like to have a wide range of genres- anything from 90s rock to current top 40 pop, and anything in between. Basically I think “what would I like to listen to when I’m doing a cardio workout? What music gets me pumped?” I also can’t get away from that “instructor mindset” and am constantly thinking “that song would be great for class” when hearing music on the radio (or anywhere else). My iPhone is actually loaded with photos like this:

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That’s to remind me to download the song for class when I get home. :)

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Silk Helps Me Bloom!

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Growing up, I never (in a million years) would have thought that I’d become a group exercise instructor one day. Fitness and healthy eating were not a big priority in my life during my childhood and teenage years. It wasn’t until after I graduated college that I started to take control of my own health and change some bad habits that had led to me being overweight and out of shape. I started eating less junk and more fruits and vegetables and joined a gym. And then something crazy happened- I started to lose weight and loving exercise! For so long I was the girl who pretended to be sick when we had to “run the mile” in gym class, and all of the sudden I was voluntarily signing up for half marathons.

After a few years of establishing a regular gym routine and finding some classes that I loved taking, I was ready for the next step. I got my Spinning instructor certification and then Les Mills Bodypump a few years later. I figured that if I was already in those classes multiple times each week, I may as well start getting paid for it! Plus, I’ve always been a “born leader” and teaching was in my blood. After five years, I love teaching classes and inspiring others to change their view of exercise from something that they have to do to something that they want to do.

One thing that’s really important on days that I teach is getting the proper nutrition beforehand. I can burn out pretty quickly if I don’t have an adequate amount of fuel in my system- especially when I have to teach two classes back-to-back. Over the years, I’ve experimented with what’s best for me to consume before teaching classes (or even just doing a workout on my own) and I think I’ve finally found the magic formula: a proper balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats that sustains me through my entire workout. That combination comes to form in my pre-workout smoothie that I like to call The Crusher.

I can’t remember exactly when I discovered Silk Unsweetened Almondmilk – but I’m so glad that I did (and I’ve never looked back since!). At only 30 calories per serving, I can enjoy it without worrying about a calorie bomb going off. It’s an excellent source of calcium and Vitamin E, healthy fat and has zero sugar.

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Armour39 Performance Monitor

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The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Under Armour.

I recently had the opportunity to review Under Armour’s new Armour39 performance monitor via my ambassadorship with Fitfluential. I’ve used heart rate monitors during workouts for years and find them to be an effective tool when tracking various exercise statistics. Armour39 is much more than a heart rate monitor because it tracks everything you want to know: workout duration, heart rate, calories burned, real-time intensity, and WILLpower™.

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I’ve had other heart rate monitors track workout duration, heart rate and calories burned, but real-time intensity and WILLpower are totally new concepts to me! Real-time intensity is a percentage indicating how hard your body is working at that very second. You will also be given a WILLpower score during your workout, which is a number (on a scale of 0.0 – 10.0) associated with how hard your body is working during a training session. The overall score is an average from the entire length of your workout, which takes a number of factors into account: the length of your work out, body position, user profile, and key heart rate information like your maximum heart rate, ventilatory threshold, recovery rate, activity level, and dynamic changes in your heart rate. This allows you to objectively measure a hard day versus a light day (so you can compare how hard your work during your workouts).

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Paying Attention to Protein [with Designer Whey!]

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Designer Whey.

Right now, in that weirdly wonderful week between Christmas and New Year’s I’m feeling a bit…unhealthy. I don’t necessarily regret the extra calories I’ve consumed in the form of sugar, alcohol, butter and more sugar over the last week, but my body certainly feels and performs very differently when I’m not feeding it with respect. Up until the beginning of this past week, I had actually done a pretty good job of eating a balanced diet and eating foods that provide proper nourishment (and not just empty calories!). I gave myself permission to just “eat a bunch of crap” for a few meals and not feel bad about it. I definitely enjoyed every cookie and cocktail that passed over my lips- but am definitely ready to get back to eating an adequate balance of carbs, healthy fats and protein. Getting the proper amount of protein in my diet is definitely something that I’m going to focus on in the new year!

One of the things that has really helped me eat better lately is paying attention to how my macronutrients are broken down. I only just started paying attention to macros this past month, but am definitely going have that play a big role in the way I eat in 2014 (I’ll write much more on this in a post next week!). I really didn’t realize how carb-dominant my diet was! (And just so you know – I’m a big fan of carbs and know how important they are for functioning properly and provided energy- but you have to have balance!).

I started looking at a specific balance of macronutrients when planning out my meals and noticed one little problem: getting enough protein. Often I would fall short of my protein requirements for a meal and struggle to think of what I could easily add in to hit my goal. And then I found a very simple solution:

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WIAW 62: DETOX.

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If you ask any number of people what they consider a “detox” to be, you’ll get a number of different answers. For some, it’s a cleanse (whether it’s juicing, drinking water mixed cayenne pepper and lemon or taking a number of supplements). For others, it could simply mean no alcohol or sugar. For me it means a few specific things: water, veggies, fiber, fresh air and more WATER.

After a day of standing on my feet for nearly 12 hours, drinking beer, eating too many KIND bars and having pizza for dinner at 10:00 at night, I woke up Sunday feeling not so hot. I immediately chugged down two of these:

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Isn’t Jackson the cutest photo-bomber ever? :)

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WIAW 55: Hiking to 14,265′

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Happy hump day, friends! If you haven’t already – go check out this COOL giveaway from a GoodPop!

Last weekend I hiked my fourth 14er- Quandary Peak!

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Hiking at 14er is a whole different ballgame than going on a day hike around Boulder. The elevation here is around 5,300′ which seems low in comparison to the 14,000+ feet at the summit of these very tall peaks. Most of the hikes start above 10,000′ and there is a considerable difference in the oxygen at that elevation. There’s also a big difference in how much energy it takes to just walk up the street! I like to wear my heart rate monitor when I hike 14ers to see just how much harder my body has to work (and how much energy it’s using). Just take a look at my stats from my hike to Quandary Peak:

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I can’t remember a time that I’ve ever burned over 4,000 calories in less than seven hours. That’s just crazy!

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Fitness & Fun with FlapJacked [Giveaway!!]

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Hey friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and (as always) that your week is off to a great start. I’ve got a fun little story about my weekend to share with you today and it ends with a delicious giveaway!

Let’s rewind to one year ago for a second. Last July (when Greg and I were still living in Maryland), we had taken a trip out to Colorado to celebrate our one year anniversary. During that week we attended this awesome event put on by the Denver Parks & Rec. Department called Fitness on the Rocks. I had so much fun that morning and knew that I definitely wanted to come to the event the following year! The event was this past Saturday and I was able to attend again.

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This year was a lot different than last. Instead of going as a participant, I worked at the event representing one of my favorite new companies: FlapJacked!

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PB Banana Oat Energy Balls

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I’m very particular about the time of day that I like to exercise. There are some people that like to wake up early and do it first thing in the morning, and there are others that prefer to go at night.

And then of course, there’s people who prefer not to exercise at all…

I’m definitely a morning exerciser. I will get up as early as I need to in order to fit my workout in and have it done and overwith before I have to do anything else in my day. For me, exercising in the morning sets the tone for the whole day. It gives me energy to get through the whatever is on my plate for the day and I don’t it looming over my head to do in the afternoon. Back when I was living in Maryland, I taught classes as early as 5:15 am. Call me crazy, but that was definitely my time to shine! There’s something great about having a great workout already done by 7:00 am – and having to only shower once a day is an added bonus.

Now I teach a few classes at 7:00 am during the week, but I’m usually at the gym around that time anyway. I definitely need some sort of fuel before working out, but can’t stomach a whole lot that early in the morning. My go-to was usually a half of a banana, but lately I’ve been enjoying these little guys. I’ve shown them on the blog before, but finally buckled down and wrote out the recipe!

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Get Your Protein On [With Designer Whey]

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You’re probably well aware that I’m a big fan of drinking smoothies. I drink them all year long- even in the dead of winter when they leave me freezing for hours… it’s worth it. I was thrilled to be able to review some products from Designer Whey through my ambassadorship through Fitfluential.

I’ll be completely honest here. I’ve noticed Designer Whey brand protein powder in the store before, and I’ve passed it by. It’s generally considerably less expensive than other brands, and I guess that I just figured maybe it wasn’t as good. Boy was I wrong! Not only is it just as delicious as other brands- it’s even better! As in, it’s the tastiest whey protein powder I’ve tried!

I was stoked when my products arrived, because I didn’t really know that I’d be getting anything other than protein powder.

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The package contained two different flavors of protein powder, 3 different flavors of bars, 3 different flavors of Protein 2GO Recovery Drink Mix and two different flavors of protein shakes.

I was so excited to try the White Chocolate flavored Protein Powder, and make a smoothie with it after my workout the next morning using 1 scoop of powder, 1/2 of a frozen banana, water and lots of ice.

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