Blog Series #3: Cross training – Barre

….and My Story Runs On….

I remember when I was 6 or 7 years old, my Mom signed me up for Ballet class. ….and it lasted about 1 day.  I HATED it!  Not sure why, maybe it felt too girle for me (I’ve always been a bit of a tom boy…I blame my male cousins for that). I enjoyed swimming, gymnastics and ice skating as a kid but ballet was not on my list.  Thankfully, she didn’t force me to take it and I never went back.

Fast forward to 2015, I’m dealing with my injury and finding ways to cross train.  I always recommend changing up your fitness routine…not just for a mental shift to try some new stuff but your body gets used to doing the same thing and you need a change.

I joined Flip’n Fit last month and have been enjoying some fun new fitness experiences.  I also like to push myself out of my comfort zone and this has worked well so far…

Yesterday I finally decided to sign up for a Barre class at Ten Pointe5 Tempe.  This is the description on their website:

“TenPoint5 is based on the philosophy that the human mind is the strongest “muscle” in the body—and that peak physique is achieved only by the belief that true transformation happens after fatigue.TenPoint5 incorporates classic ballet, core, pilates and yoga strengthening techniques.
The class blends resistance training with stretching exercises to achieve long lean muscles—and is set to choreography that strategically accelerates muscle conditioning and sculpting.”

I admit I was a bit nervous to go…also because I went alone. There were only 2 other people in the class.  Here was my set up:

Barre Set Up

Let me tell you, the warm up kicked my butt.  I can’t describe to you everything that happened but I can tell you right now that muscles I did not know existed are talking to me today!  Krista, the co-owner and instructor, was very attentive to me knowing that it was my first time and I really appreciate that in a fitness professional.  I have to say, I liked it more than I thought. Great cross training for runners!

First of all, I had to be very mindful because the movements were small but very effective.  I wanted to make sure I was working the right muscles. Krista did a great job of cueing us on where to feel it.  Another great thing I appreciate from a fitness professional.  There was quite a bit of glute and core work.  Both of these muscle groups are crucial for runners.   I also loved the focus on posture.

My body was already a bit sore from the strength training workout I did the night before but I can tell what muscles I worked yesterday!

All in all, it was a great experience and I would go check it out again!  I’d recommend anyone to try it at least once ;)

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

2014 Major Celebrations: Mind, Body & Spirit

….and My Story Runs On….

It’s been a few years that I’ve decided not to make New Year Resolutions anymore. There are all sorts of statistics about the % of people who make them and who keep them.

I do believe that this is a great time to reflect on last year and set new intentions for the upcoming year.  I’m combining this all together over 3 blogs posts. My hope is to inspire you to do the same. Today I’m reflecting on my major accomplishments in 2014.  My word of the year was Celebration and my song for this year is Pitbull/Cristina Aguilera’s Feel This Moment (see more in Vision Board section below) When I look back, I like to focus on what I accomplished…maybe a better word is what I CELEBRATED. In the next few days, I’ll write about my major lessons learned in 2014.  I’ll focus on my intentions after taking my next Vision Board class with Sacred Harts.

“If you nurture your mind, body, and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”
Brian Koslow

2014 Accomplishments

  • Completed my Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). This was huge for me because I’ve been working on it for the last 10 years.  I know people that have completed it in 2 years but that’s one of things I love about Toastmasters is that you can move at your own pace. I can’t say enough about this organization.  I’ve been meaning to write a blog about the similarities of Toastmasters and running ;)  coming soon….
  • Completed my Corrective Exercise certification.  I didn’t need to do my CEUs for my fitness training certification yet so I was happy to get ahead of the game.  This was a challenge for me as it’s been awhile since I’ve immersed myself back into studying anatomy.
  • Completed 23 blogs posts. This has been a tough one for me but I’ll be working more on this in 2015.


  • Completed marathons #4 and #5 and my first 50k (31 miles).  Not only am I addicted to running now but I realize I really love distance running and especially trails. I also had a personal record at marathon #5 finally finishing under 5 hours.  I wrote several blogs about these experiences:  My Slowest Marathon Ever, Execution Plan for Marathon #5,  How I Shaved 13 min off my Marathon Time,  Prepping for my 1st 50K-4 days to go and You had me at pumpkin pie….and Coke (1st 50K recap).
  • Completed my first Ragnar Trail along with 15 of my friends (first for all of us). This really got all of us out of our comfort zone.  Some people had to start learning to run on trails and we all had to learn how to run trails at night time.  Blogged about that experience too: We placed last at Ragnar!!
  • Tried Dahn Yoga and RealRyder Spin classes for the first time.  (see below for an amazing deal to try these classes and some of mine too!)
  • Won $5000 through the KrowdFit program!  This program gamifies the weight loss process.  You get sweepstakes entries for: sleeping 8 hours a night, logging your food, # of steps you take and the amount of vigorous activity you do.  One of my entries got me $5000!  You can join my team if you want too.  Half of my team members have won between $125 to $5000 (me).  I blogged about it here  I won $5,000! You can too…. and did a video.


Before I tackle spirit, let me tell you what this means to me. I’ve probably had my biggest growth happen in the last year in this area. This picture sums it up:

We all have a purpose in this world.  When I have experiences that bring me true happiness, I know I'm getting closer to my true self and soul.

We all have a purpose in this world. When I have experiences that bring me true happiness, I know I’m getting closer to my true self and soul.

  • Completed three 21-Day Meditation series from Deepak Chopra. These are free and I love them.  I started doing these in May of 2012 and this probably the #1 thing that has changed my life in so many ways. I have 67 pages of journaling from this process. This year I completed the following series: Find Your Flow, Expanding Your Happiness and Energy of Attraction. I can’t recommend these enough.  Find out more on their website and facebook page.
  • Completed my first Vision Board in January 2014.  I’ve always wanted to do these but never got around to it.  I can’t say enough about the workshop I took with Lisa Hecke from Sacred Harts (as a matter of fact, I’m signed up for her next one on 1/11).  I’m a big believer in setting intentions because I’ve manifested amazing things in my life through this process….so I’m interested in anything that will deepen it.  Here is a picture of 2014 Vision Board.  I have this hanging right in front of my computer so I see it every single day.  I even took a picture of it on my phone so I had it handy when I wanted to focus on it.  There were mornings that I would get in my car, look at the photo and blast my song.  As I was doing this, I really stayed present and focused on my vision board intentions.  When I look at all my celebrations for this year, a lot of it was right here in my vision board.  Here is a picture of it:


    Left half is my personal life and right half is my business life

  • Niched my business from general fitness (Easy Fitness Solutions) to The Running University.  I realized that my passion was to see people cross finish lines and accomplish goals they never thought possible whether walking or running. This included a new website, my free ebook 15 Simple Steps for the Beginner Beginner™ Runner, new facebook, twitter and You Tube page.  Running has changed my life in ways I can’t list here right now and I know it can do the same for others (I know all my friends that were non runners would say the same exact thing)
  • Became a ChiRunning/ChiWalking Master Instructor.  I remember when I first became certified to teach and NEVER thought that I would want to or could be one.  I assisted/stalked Danny Dreyer, the founder of ChiRunning by assisting him with several classes in the last few years. I was/am a sponge and who better to learn from than the guru himself. I say that running has changed my life but it’s really ChiRunning.  There are the obvious benefits of decreased chance of injury and learning to make running effortless but it’s really about a lifestyle choice of living intentionally and mindfully.

I’ve been working on this post for 3 hours!  I’m not saying you have to take this long (although it’s leaving me with a great feeling of accomplishment to look back) but maybe take a few moments and look back at 2014.  You can categorize them this same way (Mind, Body Spirit) or however your heart desires.  Whatever way you do it, write it down so you can see just how much you accomplished and celebrated this year!

PLEASE share any of your accomplishments or celebrations in the comments!

P.S. This deal is only good through 12/31.  I recently discovered Flip’n Fit.  Basically you pay a monthly membership fee and have access to 35 different studios from RealRyder Spinning to Pilates to Yoga and now to some of my group classes! They are offering a special deal to my peeps…you need a facebook account though ;)  Pay for one month ($99) and get the next month FREE.  $50 for each month with access to up to 200 classes a day!  Here is the deal:

1) Share this post about Flip’n Fit on your page
2) Like their Facebook page
3) Purchase on or before 12/31 to get your second month FREE! (membership is $99)

I’ve been using them for the last month and love it…I’m now doing RealRyder spin classes 2-3x a week and tried Dahn Yoga which I’d never done before…excited about Barre and Pilates in January too!

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Blog Series: #2 Cross training – Real Ryder Spin Class

….and My Story Runs On….

What happens when you eat the same amount of food as you were when you were running 30-40 miles a week?  You know it…the pounds start creeping back up….add a little depression and self-pity because you can’t run and at some point you have to snap out of it and get with the program.

After stepping on the scale, I knew I had to figure out a way to get more cardio in since I’m not not running and I need to stay off my feet as much as possible.  One of the things I love about Flip’N Fit is that you get to sample a variety of classes at different studios.

I used to love to spin a long time ago but haven’t done it in a few years.  I had heard about these Real Ryder spin bikes but never been on one. Real Ryder bikes are unique because they tilt and lean, almost like a real bike. It engages more muscles groups including your upper body and core.

You can't see it's tilt functionality here but trust me on it ;)

You can’t see it’s tilt functionality here but trust me on it ;)

So, I got the courage a few weeks ago to sign up for my first Real Ryder class at My Fitness Studio.

As always, I’m a bit intimidated to go somewhere new by myself but I sucked it up and went for it.

What a great experience!  I’ve been to 5 more classes since my first time.

Honestly, I enjoy the outdoors a lot (hate treadmills) so I wasn’t sure I was going to like being inside on a bike…but I love it.  It’s been great for me because I am working on my cardio and working my core in different ways which I know will help me with my ChiRunning.

I also really enjoy the variety of the work out: sometimes we are going uphill in harder gears, then downhill super fast, then on rolling hills, biking in simulated sand dunes, etc.

Having great music and a dark room lit up with Christmas and disco lights add to the experience as well…and last but not least, the instructor makes all the difference.

Terry, Donna & I

Terry, Donna & I

Donna (on my left in the photo) is the owner of My Fitness Studio and taught several of the classes I took.  I love her style and she says the same thing as I do: “I love kicking my own butt!”.  We started talking and I’m going to be doing one of my ChiRunning clinics there in January! Terry just started teaching there and she is a machine!  She has all kinds of certifications and was also the first woman in the US to run a USA Boxing Gym.  She is high energy and Italian!  You know I love my Italian paesani!

Our bodies become very efficient if we repeat the same workout all the time.  So go shock your body and try something totally new…like a Real Ryder Spin class ;)

Have you ever tried this class? Let me know your thoughts!

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Blog Series: #1 Cross training- Dahn Yoga

….and My Story Runs On….

As many of you know, I’ve had to take a break from running due to a heel spur.  I blogged about it a few times in  What? The ChiRunning Instructor is injured?? and  My Worst Running Tragedy so far…..  After being a big baby about this, I realized how many silver linings I’ve found for this part of My Running Story.  So I decided to blog about them. First one is: Cross Training.

Thanks so much to Flip’n Fit because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be having these experiences.  You basically pay a monthly membership but get to try out a lot of different modalities from Dahn Yoga to Spinning to Cross Fit!

Today I had an amazing experience. I signed up for what I thought was a Yoga Foundations class at Dahn Yoga.  They are 8 minutes from my apartment so I figured why not. I love trying new things and always like to see how it could improve my fitness level as well as my running.  I’m always a bit nervous to go somewhere new by myself but that’s part of the process too. If I tell people to get out of their comfort zones, I better walk the talk too!

I honestly cannot explain to you exactly what happened but it was awesome! I’m thankful to be flexible (mentally) so I went with the flow.

I walked in right before the 9:30am start time and participants were in a circle punching their stomachs. I’d heard about this from Qi Gong so I started in with them.  I think we did it 100x?  We just kept counting to 10 and starting over.

The next series of exercises included a few things that I recognized from the ChiRunning body looseners but very small movements that had big impact.  At one point we were doing some movements and trying to balance these plates in our hands while moving and twisting.

Plate balancing while twisting the intestines and stretching!

Plate balancing while twisting the intestines and stretching!

After several standing exercises we moved to the floor and did many reps of chest and belly breathing.  I’m trying to body sense as I write this and not sure if it’s my core muscles or my intestines that are sore…I think it’s both!

The last part of the class included a 10 minute Energy Meditation which I loved.

I remember being so mad at myself for letting my heel spur get to where it is but today I’m very grateful that it happened.  As cliche as it sounds, I truly believe there is a reason for everything and this is part of My Running Story.

Moral of the story:

  • Get out of your comfort zone and try something new
  • Always find the silver lining no matter how hard it seems sometimes
  • Be flexible.  Go with the flow and just allow things to happen as they are supposed to.

Anyone ever try this?  I talked to them after class and looks like on Wed they focus on Tai Chi, Thu is Back and Spine and Friday is Brain Wave Energy work. Decisions, decisions! I have Spin tomorrow too…next blog post about that!

Can’t wait to see how all these things are going to impact my ChiRunning when I’m able to get serious again about running!

There were a lot of neat posters in the room and this one caught my eye...

There were a lot of neat posters in the room and this one caught my eye…

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Take a Gratitude Walk

….and My Story Runs On….

I like to have themes for my facebook posts and try to stay consistent.  Usually on Wednesdays I’ll post about WORKOUT or WALK WEDNESDAY. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share some ideas on just taking 15-20 minutes out of your day today or tomorrow to take a Gratitude Walk.  Here are some ideas:

  • Walk alone if possible and find a peaceful location.
  • Go on a walk and contemplate a question about gratitude like:  Who do I appreciate? or What is different today than it was a year ago that I’m thankful for? (source: 17 gratitude-prompting questions for your Gratitude Journal).  You can just think of these or stop and write in a journal.
  • While you are walking, make sure to be present and pay attention Nature around you.  Pay attention to all your senses. What are you seeing? What are you smelling? hearing? feeling? Be grateful for all Mother Nature has to offer us.
  • Breathe and pause and be grateful for the air you are breathing that is also making your life possible.
  • Use affirmations:  I thank you for____________ or find some quotes and repeat these like a mantra on your walk.

There is so much research on being grateful.  Take some time out of your day daily to express gratitude!

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. One of the reasons I love ChiWalking is because it offers a variety of walks for you to take. This is from the ChiWalking book.ChiWalking Matrix

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)