Friday, October 21, 2016

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, October 2016

Raise your hand if you can't believe we are staring down November. I can handle October, but when November hits, I feel like the year is over and the Holiday shenanigans are hitting me full-speed ahead. But yes, it's still October. So I thought I'd pop in with a few things I am loving this month. In no particular order:

1) Do Everything Cuffed Pant from Lucy Activewear

active wear, workout pants, athleisure, fashion, style
Literally obsessed with these pants. They are lightweight and super comfortable. AND...super cute. Lucy came out to my gym for a trunk show a few weeks ago and, once I spotted these on the rack, I knew immediately that I'd get my money's worth within days. Literally, they are the best. The epitome of athleisure.

2) Open-Back Shirts with Pretty Sports Bras

fitness, fashion, fitness fashion, fitgear, fit fashion, workout clothes, style
I have the hardest time finding bras that fit. I blame my children (she says with a smile). So I basically said "screw it" and decided to spend some money on cute sports bras that I can wear outside of the gym, too. Cue up the Lululemon Free to Be Bra (Wild). It's literally the most adorable sports bra I've ever worn. Also, the most expensive. Even with the fitness pro discount. But I'm wearing it all over the place, for almost all of the workouts I've done, and it is really proving itself to be quite good. And cute, as seen through the back of this cut out fashion tee from Target.

3) Dahlia Flowers

You guys. I am the absolute worst gardener in the world. My thumbs are not green and I absolutely hate maintaining the plantlife in my yard. So these dahlias are my pride and joy right now. They are blooming like mad! I have done nothing—NOTHING!—to them all Summer. Word is they'll keep blooming until it frosts. Thankfully, we are experiencing an usually warm Fall right now. Keep it up, Mother Nature! Another picture, because you can't just have one picture of pretty flowers:

flowers, garden, favorite things
4) Running Without a Purpose

I spent all of Spring and Summer training for a half marathon. I love running long, but I get lost in the pressure of fitting in training runs. And my body always feels heavier when I get higher in miles. Now that the Chicago Half Marathon is behind me, I'm running without a purpose again. Or, without pressure. And it feels really good. My only goal is to get at least 15 miles per week. But, there's a Thanksgiving Day run on the horizon, and I'd love a PR. So I might take on some speed work to decrease my 5K time. Compared to half marathon training, speed work just sounds like fun.

5) Healthy, Prepackaged Foodie Finds

little potato company, vega, kodiak cakes, food, healthy food,
These three items are quickly becoming staples in my grocery cart. I am a fan of eating fresh and homemade, but there are days and times during the week where healthy, prepackaged foods really help me out. For example, I buy the potatoes when I'm making a meat-based meal that calls for a side dish (and I'd rather spend more time on the meat than the side). I buy the Minute Muffins for Monday mornings when I have to be at the gym by 4:30AM. And the Vega bars, well...I always have a Vega snack bar in my gym bag.

6) School Work

I mean, who wouldn't love a wall covered in artwork from your kid?

Question: What is one thing you are loving right now?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

60-Minute Playlist for Any Workout

Music can make or break a workout. If you are listening to the wrong playlist or station, it can distract you. Bad music can deplete your motivation. My taste in music varies greatly and depends largely on what I am doing. Lately, I've been relying on Pandora to make me music happy.

music, exercise music,workout music, group fitness playlist, playlist
But I can't use Pandora when I am teaching my group fitness classes. I'll admit—a good playlist is hard to put together, and the availability of literally everything on Pandora is appealing. But a group fitness playlist needs to compliment the workout AND please the attendees (and be 100% appropriate for the audience). This is hard to achieve with Pandora, at least from my perspective.

I currently teach Barre Fit, TRX, HIIT, Spinning and PiYO Live. I create a new Spinning playlist every week, songs for which are chosen based on their ability to dictate RPM. PiYO Live comes with it's own music, so I'm off the hook there. But the other three formats...I have the freedom to pick songs that literally just make people move (and hopefully smile, too).

We are currently jamming to a variety of new and old(ish) songs.
You might call this party music, and I'm OK with that:

I'd say this 60-minute playlist can motivate you through a wide variety of workouts. It ends with two slower songs, which will remind you to finish your workout with a cooldown and some stretching.

So far, no complaints from any of my students. If you're looking for new music for exercising, maybe this list will help you build your perfect playlist.

Question: What song is at the top of your workout playlist? Are there any songs that always, without fail, motivate you to move?


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