Four 14ers in One Day

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After Greg and I got married, we thought it would be a really cool tradition to summit a 14er each year on our anniversary. We started out strong and actually conquered two on our first anniversary. I remember the hike to Gray’s and Torrey’s being tough, but we also lived at sea level at the time and had just flown out the day before (I would like to do that hike again and see if it feels any easier, now that we’ve lived at 5300′ for a few years). On our second wedding anniversary, we did my favorite 14er to date, Mt. Bierstadt. That hike seemed much easier (and “easy” is a relative term, because any 14er is challenging) and I absolutely loved it. We also conquered Quandary Peak before the end of the season that year.

For the next two years, our plans got kind of screwed up. I had ACL surgery in late May of 2014, so I wasn’t quite ready for such a big hike by July. We drove up to Mt. Evans instead, so we could technically still summit a 14er on July 17th. In 2015, I had some bad luck again and broke my pelvis right before the start of summer. I was still on crutches on our anniversary, so obviously hiking was out of the question. Luckily there was still another 14er (Pike’s Peak) that we could summit by car, so we did just that. I was in decent enough shape to climb Mt. Evans by the very end of the summer, which was fun (but parts were a little scary).

I still have some lasting injuries from the car wreck I was in last year (which will be fixed at a later date), but I was actually well enough to continue our anniversary tradition this year (and SO grateful for that!). Greg and I have wanted to hike the Democrat-Cameron-Lincoln-Bross loop for awhile now, since you can knock out all four on the same hike. We did some research beforehand and decided that this was our plan for our fifth anniversary (which was on July 17, 2016). We thought about camping overnight (and in retrospect, we should have), but decided to head out to Breckenridge the day before and stay at a hotel there (since it’s only about 45 minutes from the trailhead). We went out to dinner the night before and tried to go to bed early, but I was so anxious that I probably ended up getting around 3 hours of sleep total.

The alarm went off at 4:30 am and we quickly checked ourselves out of the hotel and headed to the Kite Lake trailhead. Once we got there, we had to park about a mile and a half away (due to some jackass telling us that there wasn’t any available parking near the trailhead), so we had a nice warm-up before actually starting the hike. The sun was just coming up, and it was beautiful!

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After waiting in a long bathroom line, we were finally off to start our big hike (around 7:30 am). We decided to do the traditional clockwise route and started with Mt. Democrat as our first summit. The trail started off pretty easy, which is a relative term because just breathing at 12,000′ is a bit challenging.

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Bodypump 92 Review

Hey friends! How’s 2015 going for you so far? It started out well for me… until I got the plague. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. I caught some awful bug that’s been going around that had me out of commission for a week (and I’m still not totally 100% back to normal yet- maybe about 95%!). The last time I was sick was three years ago- and let me tell you- I’m NOT a very good patient. Like most other people, I have a hard time resting up and taking it easy for more than a day.

I started feeling icky on a Saturday and it just got worse from there. By the following Tuesday, I was starting to feel better so I went into the office, went to the gym and was basically on my feet all day. Big mistake- that made things much worse. The whole point of this “sick” story is that I had to miss the launch of Bodypump 92 last Thursday- which bummed me out big time. But, I followed doctor’s orders and took a week off from the gym, focused on getting rest, drink my body weight in water and started feeling human again by the weekend. And- I finally got to go back to teaching my classes this week- including Bodypump 92 (for the first time) today!

I’ve been teaching Bodypump since the release of 79- and I think that the choreography for this release was probably the easiest to learn. That being said, it’s probably one of the toughest to execute! There’s a few tracks that I love, love, love and others that I… love less. I’ll go into more detail below. :)

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: 5 Months [or 22 Weeks] Post-Op (!!)

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It’s October 20th- which means that it’s been exactly five months since I had ACL Reconstruction Surgery (and tomorrow will mark exactly 22 weeks). Honestly, that’s pretty hard for me to wrap my head around! I know that I say this in every post, but time has FLOWN! When I look back on that horrible day (of surgery) five months ago, I get chills. Man, it sucked… and I hope that none of you ever have to go through it! But- if you do- just have faith that time will pass quickly and you will get better.

While I still stand by the fact that I want a re-do of summer and am not at all ready for winter to come, the weather has (thankfully) been awesome here and perfect for playing outside (including lots of hiking with this guy!).

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One of the ski resorts out here has already opened and others will start following soon. I have still have very mixed feelings about skiing. On one hand, the thought of skiing again makes me terrified and furious. The other part of me wants to take what I learned from recovery and face my fears and be a badass on the slopes… within reason. I think that I will just wait until I’m ready, take it slow and play it safe all season. My surgeon advised me to wait until the end of December, always wear my knee brace, to stay away from crappy snow (ice) and to take it easy. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Now for the formal progress update:

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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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[Simple] Wellness “Life Hacks”

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Whether I’d like to admit it or not, I can’t help but ignore the fact that I’ve let some of my “healthy habits” slide in the last two years. Back in my former life as a high school teacher, it was so easy to be pretty structured and organized when it came to dieting- because my whole life was so structured and organized! When I ended my teaching career and found myself at home much more often, my bad habits of mindlessly snacking and eating too much kicked in and the pounds started to pile on. Two years later, I can’t ignore it. I’ve got at least 20 extra pounds that I’d like to get rid of and need to buckle down and FOCUS.

On paper, weight loss seems so easy! You eat less, move more and slowly but surely those pounds of unwanted fat come off. The truth is, it’s not easy at all! Improving your health, whether it means losing a few pounds, getting in better shape or simply wanting to feel better overall takes hard work, dedication and staying power.

I often find that I have the most motivation to make positive changes to my diet after returning home from vacation (which I just did this week!). Something about days full of eating out for every meal, drinking more than usual, staying up late and being off of my routine seems to make me crave a healthy lifestyle. To get back on track, I refer to a simple list of “wellness hacks.” The ideas on this list are nothing new or revolutionary, but sometimes we just need a reminder of how simple it can be to make positive, healthy changes.

1. Plan ahead (even if it’s just one day- or one meal!).

As hard as I’ve tried, I am just not the type of person who can plan out a week’s worth of meals in advance. I feel pressured and I almost always end up changing everything throughout the week. For me, planning out ONE day in advance is the most realistic. I like to eat about six times throughout the day and have a guideline for what I’m going to be eating throughout the day helps me stick to a healthier diet.

Sometimes I’ll write out a “daily diet plan” the night before, and sometimes it’s the same morning. Either way, it makes me far less likely to “boredom snack” while thinking about what to make for my next meal.

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Currently: July

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Hello! Dang… I am in a good mood today and just feel this sense of happiness that I haven’t had in months. I taught my first Bodypump class (at 6:00am!) this morning since surgery! The last class that I taught was May 15th… that’s a long break! I was excited (and a little nervous) to go back, but I had no idea just how much I missed teaching until today. It was great to see everyone and be welcomed back and I’m happy to say that I survived the entire hour of teaching. I had just about forgotten about the feeling I get from teaching a class until this morning. It’s just one of the best feelings in the world- a combination of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment- I’m so glad to have it back in my life.

Okay, enough gushing about Bodypump. (Except one more thing- the latest release, Bodypump 90, ROCKS.) Here’s what’s going on in my world, currently:

Currently: July

Current books: I’m about to pick up a copy of my friend Kelly’s second novel, which was just released this past Tuesday!

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She’s had two books published in less than a year (here’s the first)- I’m so proud!! If you’re into Young Adult Fiction, check this book out!

Current music: Bodypump 90 ALL THE TIME. I was cramming to learn the choreography this past week!

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Les Mills Presents The Project: Immersive Fitness

There are many, many things that I love about Les Mills programs. I became a certified Bodypump instructor in 2011 after falling in love with the format and classes. Les Mills offers a multitude of different exercise programs and there’s literally something for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. Trends in fitness are constantly changing and Les Mills has no problem staying up to date on the latest ideas and concepts.

I recently learned about the latest innovation in Les Mills fitness and couldn’t be more excited to try it out! Les Mills has partnered up with Reebok to create a revolutionary fitness experience called The Project: Immersive Fitness.

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Immersive Fitness takes the typical group exercise class beyond the next level. It creates an experience that engages the body and mind in ways that I never thought possible!

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Four Ways to Stay in Shape at Home

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Why, hello! With my new work schedule, I’m predicting that you’re going to be seeing a little less of me (less frequently anyway)- but don’t fret- I’m not going away altogether. :)

Working from home certainly takes adjustment and lots of discipline. I pretty much get to set my own schedule- which has it’s good and bad points. The good is, I can take some time during the week to go ski, hike, teach late morning Spinning classes or just to run errands in the middle of the afternoon. The bad is- that time still needs to made up somewhere else during the week, which usually ends up being during a weekend or evening hours. I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon and have a good schedule for myself- and definitely look forward to be in more of a routine!

One thing that really does save some time is when I do my workouts at home. Traveling to and from the gym takes time (and I usually lose track of time when I’m there!). It’s so nice to be able to just roll out of bed, put some exercise clothing on and head downstairs to bust out a workout. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a free gym membership for over five years, since it’s one of the perks of being an instructor. However, I still appreciate that you don’t have to pay a monthly gym membership to stay in shape. If you pick up just a few pieces of equipment, you can easily get fit in the comfort of your own home.

Here are four ideas of great ways to get a killer workout without joining a gym:

1. Pick up a few pieces of equipment that are inexpensive and versatile

I have been building up my home gym for several years now, and it contains a mix of equipment that I’ve either bought or inherited for free (and some I’ve even gotten as gifts!). Amongst other things, I have a Spinning bike, a TRX, steps with risers and BOSU trainer.

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Those items are great- but not necessary. If you pick up a resistance band (and if you want to splurge- a few dumbbells or kettlebell) you’re totally set. If you know how to do basic strength training exercises for different muscle groups, you can use your own body weight, resistance bands and dumbbells for almost anything you need to do. The internet is also crawling with videos and images that demonstrate various exercises (just make sure you find a reputable source)- I love the exercise library from ACE Fitness.

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Paige’s Birthday Bootcamp GIVEAWAY

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Hello! Today’s post is going to be short and sweet- but I’d like to start out by saying Happy Birthday to one of the nicest, best, most wonderful friends I know- Paige!

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Should I also mention that she’s an extremely talented personal trainer with YEARS of experience?

Paige is actually one of the most talented trainers I know- so talented in fact that I’d even enlist her to train me (and that’s a pretty strong statement coming from a personal trainer!). She’s been offering online training programs for a while now- and let me tell you- you definitely get your money’s worth when you sign up! Paige puts so much thought and effort into executing programs – and is now branching out to offer an online boot camp for an extremely affordable price.

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Here’s what it includes:

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Maximize Your Life [An Evening with Jillian Michaels]

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A few nights ago, I had the pleasure of spending the evening with one of my heroes, Jillian Michaels. Jillian is currently traveling across the country with her Maximize Your Life Tour and her very first stop was in Denver! My dear friend Kelly emailed me a few months ago when tickets went on sale and asked me if I’d like to go- and without hesitation I said yes! The Maximize Your Life Tour is described as this: Jillian shows how to harness your potential, kick-start your goals and live an exceptional life – sharing her keys to health, success and happiness. No hype, no false promises: Just results.

It was basically an intimate evening with Jillian where she shared her own thoughts and advice on how to become a better you- through better eating, fitness and better mental health. She also ended the night with a Q&A session where members of the audience could step up to a microphone and ask her anything.

Kelly had scored us some pretty great seats, and we were so excited when Jillian walked out on the stage.

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We all know that Jillian is beautiful- but (as cliché as it sounds) she’s even more gorgeous in person. And even though she wasn’t wearing gym clothes, it was super easy to notice how damn buff she is- talk about muscular legs and booty!

Jillian started off the night by giving us an overview of what to expect over the next two hours. She planned to break up her presentation into three segments:

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