Why Your Fitness Instructor Isn’t Doing The Workout…

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{TRX Rip Trainer photo via ACE}

If you’re taking a pre-choreographed class or some sort of all cardio-based class, like cycling, step, Zumba, Turbokick, cardio dance, etc. your fitness instructor is most likely right there doing the whole workout with you. But have you ever taken a fitness class where the instructor wasn’t doing the workout with you? Ever wondered why? It’s not because they’re lazy. It’s not because they don’t want to sweat… wait for it…  [Read more…]

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Do It All: Bootcamp

You want a fit, rockin’ bod that can do anything? Then Do It All. Try everything. Go to yoga, run, jump, skip, lift weights, swing kettlebells, suspend your feet in a TRX, take bootcamp.

Bootcamp! If there’s ever a time to push yourself, it’s during a bootcamp class. Your body can handle way more than you think you can so find a local bootcamp class and sign up. Even if you can’t do the whole bootcamp session (most are 4-8 weeks long) call and see what a drop-in price is and go take a class. Trust me! Bootcamps can be super intimidating so here are some tips to help you get the most out of it… and not die. You’re welcome.
1. Find the right bootcamp for you and recruit a friend!
All bootcamps are different so try a few if you don’t like the first one. Some people prefer to be screamed at like in the military (think An Officer and a Gentleman) but some people don’t. I like to be pushed, definitely, but if you scream in my face, I’ll likely punch you. Or just not come back. Make sure you know what you want and like the motivational level of your instructor. Talking a friend into doing it with you will help too. It’ll keep you both accountable and will serve as built-in hang out time with your buddy. Two birds with one stone!
2. Pick a time of day that you’ll actually attend.
Most bootcamps happen in the morning, before work… and before 6:30am. If you aren’t a morning person, find an after-work bootcamp. If you hate getting up early to go sit at a desk, do you really think you’ll get up earlier to go run around and do pushups? Maybe. Maybe not. So find one you’ll stick to. If you pay for it and miss half your sessions, you’ll be more bummed than you were before. Can’t make it happen during the work week? Find a weekend camp.
3. Go early.
I know I just said to go later if you’re not a morning person. That’s true. BUT if you can suck it up enough to attend the early morning sessions, you’ll be better off. It’ll get it out of the way, you’ll be more energized throughout your day, and you’ll still be burning calories while you work! Multi-tasking is the ish.
4. Recruit help.
Can’t go because you have to take kids to school? Whatev. Get the hubs to take them, find a carpool, ask a family member to help you out. It’s only a couple days a week so bribe them if you have to, but try to find a way to make it work! Remember you have to make yourself a priority too! Don’t let your other responsibilities take ALL your time. If you want to get in better shape, talk to your loved ones and make a plan that will work for everybody.
5. Get competitive.
Keep in mind I didn’t say comparative. There will be all different levels of peeps in your class, but try to pit yourself against others in there! I’m not sayin’ throw down and start talking smack or anything, but push yourself to do as many or more reps, or complete a set faster than the people around you. It’ll make you better and you’ll feel really good about it later when you’re thinkin’ “I’m a beast too, suckas!” But only in your head… not out loud. Don’t be that person at bootcamp.
6. Stay hydrated.
Drink plenty of water the day before and bring water with you. Remember: take your body weight, divide it by 2. That’s the number of ounces of water you should be drinking a day. If you’re cramping up a lot in bootcamp, most likely you’re dehydrated. Don’t sabotage your body!
7. Know your energy levels and what you need!
To eat or not to eat… Some people can’t eat early before bootcamp, but I don’t last 15 minutes in class on an empty stomach so I have to have something. Your car doesn’t run without gasoline, your body won’t run without fuel. Eat a banana or half of a protein bar right when you wake up. Passing out in bootcamp is not the ish. If you can’t eat before a morning workout, make sure your dinner was a good one, the night before. Protein! If you’re class is after work, eat a snack an hour or two beforehand. Don’t stop at Starbucks or Mickey D’s on the way to your class. Puking in bootcamp is also not the ish.
8. Don’t stop. (get it, get it.)
You may be fatigued, you may think you can’t go on. But you can. Promise. If something is too hard, slow down, do 1 arm/leg at a time, or reduce your weight/resistance, but KEEP GOING! Stopping before you’re done with a set is a horrible habit to get into. If you don’t push yourself to get two more reps in, or run a little farther, you won’t get better (think if you never did anything harder in math than basic addition, you’d never get smarter). If you don’t know how to keep going, ask. Your instructor will help you out.
9. Listen to your body.
Like my hot-yoga post, if you feel faint, it’s because your body is forcing you to stop because it can’t handle what you’re doing. If you keep going when you feel bad, your body will make the decision to stop for you. The same goes for feeling nauseated. Know the difference between stopping because you’re muscularly fatigued, or stopping because you may pass out. The 2nd one is serious. The first one means you’re being a wuss. ; ) Kidding! Kind of. But seriously, folks: Drink water, eat a snack (banana, almonds) and chill for a moment if you feel bad. You can always start back up after a few minutes. Your instructors really don’t want to perform CPR if they don’t have to.
10. Have FUN!
Yes it’s bootcamp, yes it’ll be hard, but you should like your instructor, like the workouts, and like yourself afterward. Be on time and do what you’re told, but have fun with it! It’s not the military, so don’t get too crazy. Just do it for you. Do it for your body. Do it for your significant other so they’ll want to jump on you even more when you get home with your sexy self. ; )
Be A BEAST!
Questions? Ask away: fitwithflash@gmail.com
Info on my TRX Bootcamp here

image via Barry’sBootcamp

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Do It All: Hot Yoga

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I’m going to start a new series of posts, I’ve decided, called “Do It All.” Why? Because I always get asked “what’s the BEST thing to do, or “I don’t have a lot of time, just tell me one thing I can do all the time that will work.” Usually I’m getting asked this in a grocery store or in line somewhere where people see me in fitness clothes, ask if I’m a trainer, and then proceed to get as much advice as they can out of me in those mere moments. My response: “Do it all.”
They don’t usually like this. They think our convo alone will help them lose ten pounds, but it doesn’t. So I say, “Do all of it. Go run, do TRX, swing kettlebells, take yoga, take kickboxing, go skip around, lift weights, do Pilates, jump, swim, kayak, play kickball, etc. The more different ways you move your body, the better off you’ll be.” So to start this series, I’m gonna give a few tips for one thing, then you go try it. It’ll be fantastic. Promise.
I’ll start with Hot Yoga, because I’m gonna go take a class later and it’s on my mind. Remember, there’s a difference between Bikram yoga and hot yoga. Bikram is a set series, it’s an hour and a half, and it’s typically 110 degrees. Most hot yoga places are a little less hot (100 degrees +/-) and offer lots of different class durations. I go to a hot yoga place because Bikram just isn’t my jam, I’ve found. Here ya go:
Hot Yoga Tips:
1. Hydrate the day before.
If you’re thirsty going in, you’re already de-hydrated and asking for trouble. Bring water with you to class, and put a couple ice cubes in it so it doesn’t get warm while you’re in the heat. The ice will melt and you’ll have nice, moderate temp water.
2. Don’t eat too soon before!
Everybody’s different, but most people need about an hour and a half to digest their meal. Just ate? Take a later class. Haven’t eaten in several hours? Grab something small and light, like a banana, a handful of nuts, or a protein bar an hour before. If you puke up your Starbucks latte, you’ll be bummed. And they might kick you out.
3. Arrive ten minutes early.
This gives you time to fill out necessary paperwork and to inform the instructor if you’ve never taken yoga/hot yoga before. And if you have any injuries. They need to know these things. It’ll make class better for you.
4. Bring your own mat and a towel. And a water.
You can usually rent/buy these items, but who wants to pay for that? And don’t think that you won’t need a towel. You will. And you’ll love it when you can’t open your eyes because there’s sweat in them. Not.
5. Pick the right class level.
So many people jump right into the 1.5 hour Bikram class that’s 110 degrees (when they’ve never done anything like that before) then they puke, then they hate hot yoga forever. Check out the class schedule online first. There’s usually a beginner class or ones that are shorter (1 hour) and a little cooler (85-90 degrees). START WITH THESE.
6. Listen to your body!
Your body has certain responses for a reason. If you’re about to pass out or puke, it’s because you’re doing too much for your body and it’s doing that to make you STOP. So if you feel a little weak/queasy, sit/lay down for a moment. Take a drink of water. When you feel ok, jump back into it. Most yoga places (most) want you to take it at your own pace and they won’t degrade you for taking a small break. If they do, they’re assholes. Go find another place and don’t give them your business. Anybody can do yoga, you just have to go at your own pace.
7. If something hurts, don’t do it!
You know the difference between something being hard to do, and something actually hurting you. If it hurts, wave down the instructor and they’ll give you a modification. Promise. We don’t want you to get hurt. Then you won’t come back : (
8. Don’t stretch too far!
The heat makes your muscles reeeeeally stretchy. This is good. However, if you stretch too far, you’re going to be reeeeally sore for a few days and may injure yourself. That being said: if you can touch your ankles usually but now you can touch your toes, that’s ok. You’ll be able to get a little closer in hot yoga, that’s good. If you can only touch your knees usually and now you can touch your toes, scale it back a little, buddy. You’re going too far and you’ll pay for it the next day (or week).
9. Keep going.
If you feel weird/awkward at first, duh! It’s your first time. Nobody’s great their first time at anything. So try it again. You’ll get better as you go. Promise. And you’ll see the benefits if you go a couple times a week.
10. Don’t wear cotton.
If you wear a huge, cotton t-shirt, you’ll probably regret it 10 minutes into class. You’re going to be hot, you’re going to be sweaty. The less clothes you wear, the better, but if you’re not comfortable only in a sports bra and shorts, make sure the top/bottoms you’re wearing are made of light, breathable fabrics. Your body sweats to release heat, so if you wear clothes that don’t allow that to happen easily, you’ll feel hotter than you should. I’m not just trying to get you naked, I’m serious.
Benefits of hot yoga:
Improved posture
Improved flexibility
Better balance
Sculpted muscles
Time to yourself!
You have time to breathe and chill… and what’s better than that?
Questions? Ask away: fitwithflash@gmail.com
*that photo of me is NOT what I look like taking hot yoga. it was for a shoot with this guy. I usually have a red, sweaty face, with hair in a messy, sweaty bun, looking a HOT mess. : )
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Fitness Class Etiquette

Inspired by my sometimes rather unfortunate experiences over the past decade as a Professional Fitness Instructor, I’ve compiled my list of top 10 Fitness Class Etiquette rules for participants, so you don’t wind up ruining the class experience for the other participants… and also so your instructor doesn’t despise you.

via

1. Don’t come in more than 5 mintues late.
  • It’s rude and it’s distracting (for the instructor and the participants) to watch you stumble around the room and get your equipment while everybody else is working out.
  • It’s unsafe. We’re not just being mean or intolerant. You can pull/strain muscles, and could possibly pass out if you jump into a workout without properly warming up. If you’re already warm and can get the instructor’s attention, ask if it’s ok to jump in if you’re late! We’ll likely be ok with it if you respect the rules and are warm first!
2. Silence the cell phones and NEVER answer it during class! Especially during quiet classes like Yoga, Pilates, and Meditation. (This goes for answering emails too!)
  • Again, it’s rude and there’s nothing worse than being in the zone and having it interrupted by an obnoxious ringtone.
  • If you are on call for work or waiting for an important call, put your phone on vibrate, keep it close, and let your instructor know before class gets underway. If class has already begun, wave them down and let them know!
  • If you HAVE to take a phone call during class, just leave the room before you start talking.
3. Don’t come to a high intensity class on an empty stomach.
  • We really don’t want to have to revive you if you pass out. We will, but we don’t want to.
4. Don’t come to a high intensity class after you’re JUST eaten a big meal/drank a huge cappucino.
  • Please eat at least an hour before these types of classes to give your body time to digest the food. Your blood needs to be going to your muscles during your workout, not your digestive organs. Puking in class is gross and also counterproductive to your own workout. Plus, you’ll be “that guy/girl” from now on…
5. If you’re injured, let the instructor know! We will give you other options.
  • We can’t read minds. Come tell us about your injury or condition before class starts. You can also flag us down toward the beginning of class if we’ve already started.
  • We can and will give you alternative options. Certain exercises are contraindicated for certain joint issues: i.e. jumping lunges are BAD for people with knee issues. We can give you something completely different so you’re not risking further injury or just standing around.
6. Don’t complain that class is too easy until you’ve taken the harder options.
  • If I give the class a harder option and nobody takes it, I’m going to make the assumption that you’re not ready for a harder level. I had a girl come to me and say my class was too easy once. She was in her mid 20s and really fit. She was also using 3 lb weights and ignoring all the advanced options I was giving. I gave her the benefit of the doubt (maybe she had a lot on her mind that day), but I was still annoyed.
  • Pay attention: Good instructors always give easier and harder options for exercises. You might have just been in the zone and missed the cue to add a jump, or switch weights to create more of a challenge.
  • If you don’t know how to make things harder, or you missed that cue, please ASK for more. Instructors want you to be challenged, but you have to communicate.
  • That being said, the same goes for a class that’s too hard. Pick lighter weights or a more beginner level class that’s more suited to your needs until you’ve gotten to a higher level.
7. Group class is not the coffee shop, save the conversation for after.
  • Most instructors don’t mind a little chatter, BUT the class doesn’t want to hear your hour-long discussion with your BFF. And some of you are incapable of whispering…
  • If you’re gonna chat a little, stay in the back, keep it down, and at least pay attention and keep up with the class. I’ll call you out if we’ve moved on and you’re still on the previous exercise…
8. Don’t crowd in!
  • Did you see my post yesterday? If a class is already packed, go hop on the treadmill and wait for the next one. EVERYBODY hates it when people (especially late ones) try to squeeze in. You leave no room for others to workout or yourself. Come earlier to get a spot next time.
  • Hit up the gym floor staff for a couple of exercise ideas if you need help. Chances are, if they aren’t with a client, they’re bored anyway, and every trainer loves to give out challenges.
9. If there’s a sub teacher, don’t leave immediately. Give them a chance, you may love them!
  • You may love your regular instructor, but you’re not being loyal by refusing to take anybody else’s class, you’re being a punk; somebody who is afraid of change and can’t be bothered by another instructor. Try something new, and you never know… you may end up finding some new, fun exercises, or another great instructor!
10. If you really don’t like the class, don’t come.
  • I had a guy come to my class for two YEARS and he complained about something almost every time he came in – the music, the exercises, the time of day, etc.
  • Nobody is forcing you to come to my class. My ego isn’t so big that I’ll be in tears if I don’t see you again. Not everybody loves me (most people do, but not everybody) so quit complaining and go do something else!
Having said all these things, please don’t think instructors hate you. We don’t. We LOVE that people want to come take our class instead of working out alone. We love all the regulars that keep coming back each week and offer so much fun and energy. We live for our participants and you make our jobs completely worthwhile! Most people rarely do the things above but there’s always somebody…
Any questions? Ask away! fitwithflash@gmail.com
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