Better late than never

I just started reading the Hunger Games.  Yeah, I know, totally late to the party.

Last week however, I saw the movie.  I rarely see a movie before reading the book, but it just happened.  I really liked the movie so I’m excited to read the book.

A friend let me borrow her copy and I got it last night.  I had wanted to start it last night but that plan got foiled.

Given my pseudo-employment, I have the flexibility of going to the gym at odd times.  Today I hit the gym around 3p.  I started my workout with 30 minutes on the treadmill at 3.0 and an incline of 1.0 and I read…the entire time.  I read 3 chapters (which makes me think the chapters are pretty long since I know I’m a fast reader).  It was perfect, aside from being totally dizzy when I finished.

Once that was done, I put the book in my locker (is it weird that I feel like someone would try to steal it?), and did the rest of my workout.

Are you a Hunger Games fan?  Book?  Movie?


Tabata talk

My teaching schedule is presently down to 2 classes/week.  One class is on Thursday night and the other is on Saturday morning.  That means that the beginning of each week is rather spin-free.

It’s weird to go most of the week without spin.  Although it’s kind of nice since it’s now allowed me to take other instructor’s classes as well as mix up my cardio a bit.  Although in all honesty, there hasn’t been much mixing up lately.  But I have taken some other classes…kind of. 🙂

By Thursday night I’m usually pretty excited to teach.  As I’ve mentioned before though, the Thursday night class is just odd.  First, I never know how many people are going to show.  Second, while they come and work hard, there’s zero energy flowing. I’ve said this before because it’s just odd.  How can a class of 20+ people not give me energy?  Oh well, I suppose there’s nothing I can do about it besides continue to be my energetic self and hope for the best.

Class last night was good though.  I used a ride with a couple of Tabata songs.  While my loyal followers now know what Tabata is, many still do not.  I figured I’d take a few minutes to explain it a bit.

A little history first… Tabata was founded in Japan by Izumi Tabata. He conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training.

The results were that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system. The athletes who did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.

Tabata is essentially high impact interval training.

Now the concept…
Any exercise can be incorporated into the Tabata training. However the basic outline of the Tabata training method is as follows:
4 minutes long (whole Tabata Session) •     20 seconds of intense training •     10 seconds of rest •     Total of 8 sessions or rounds

For spin purposes, I usually break Tabata down in to sprints or climbs.  Last night I had two songs with Tabata sprints.  With enough resistance to feel in control, we sprint all out for 20 seconds, recover for 10, and then do it again for a total of 8 times.  I have a timer on my phone and I use that to make sure we’re not going for longer or shorter.  When I do Tabata on hills, the 20 seconds is an out of the saddle climb, faster than is comfortable.  The 10 seconds of recovery are up to the rider, either slower on the same hill, in the saddle on the same hill, or in the saddle on a flat.  Since 10 seconds is pretty short, the time to transition is something to consider.

For my music I usually choose upbeat instrumentals that are about 4:20-5:00 long.  This extra time allows me to explain what we’re doing and gives the riders a little time to motivate and get pumped.  When 4 minutes are remaining, we’re off!

Last night I used…Quixote – Bond – 4:44 and Martyr – Rusted Root – 4:27.  I highly recommend these songs for this purpose.

On my to-do list is some classification of songs, so when I get to that, I will put together a list for Tabata intervals.

I’ll be back later with a non-spin related post.  Happy Friday!!

Yum-mus (aka hummus)

Good morning!

Ever eat something that’s so tasty that you actually feel the need to share it with others?

First, some background info.  I first jumped on the hummus bandwagon when I was in college.  Being a vegetarian was pretty popular, as was trying different types of foods (specifically meditteranean).  Hummus was cool.  However it was basic.  Over the years I grew bored with traditional hummus and moved on to the flavored hummus…roasted red pepper and spinach artichoke were in the rotation for a few years.  Then Sabra appeared and everyone was all over that.  I liked it at first but then realized I just wasn’t a huge fan of the taste.

On a solo shopping trip DJ picked up a new kind of hummus.  He tried it before me and told me it was good.  OK, whatever.

This is what he brought home:

Eat Well Enjoy Life – Spicy Red Lentil Chipotle Hummus

Amazing!  I’m a sucker for hummus with a kick and this delivers.  In the Sabra-style, EWEL has the pool of oil and goodies in the center.  This variety has spices, pimentos, poblano peppers, and corn.  So good!  The flavor and consistency are spot-on.

I can’t wait to try some of the other flavors.  I’m thinking the Sweet and Spicy Black Bean Hummus is next on the list.

Supposedly they’re sold at Costco but I can’t say I’ve seen them there.  I get them at Stew Leonard’s.  If interested, head over to their website and you can see where they’re sold.

Why I’m disappointed with SHAPE magazine

Simple and to the point, right?  The March issue pissed me off twice.

Reason #1

They have an advertorial, which is an advertisement meant to look like editorial content, in which one of the editors recommends the Blue Print cleanse.

Clearly they haven’t read this  article in Women’s Health.  Cleanses are NOT healthy and any weight loss benefit is VERY temporary.

Reason #2

Holly Madsen – NV
Each issue has success stories of people who have lost weight.  This issue, one of the stories featured Holly Madsen, former Playboy bunny.  She is a spokesperson for weight loss pill NV.  In her “story” she mentions NV at least 3 times.

Really SHAPE?  You’ve angered me so much I’m about ready to cancel my subscription.  Now off to tell them this on their FB page.

My drug of choice

Working out!

Really, what did you think I was going to say?

My mood on Sunday morning was a little off.  DJ told me that we were having people over for brunch.  My mood was definitely not conducive to guests, so it needed to change.

So I got my sh*t together and hit the gym.

An hour later…much better Jessica.

Are you the same way or would you choose a drink after a tough day?

It was brief

Yes, it was a brief hiatus.  I’ve missed blogging.

Although I did realize that just talking about spinning isn’t going to work.  Right now I’m only teaching 2 classes/week, so I have to talk about other things.  Good thing I love to talk/write.

And good or bad, my few readers will now get to read about whatever happens to be on my mind at that moment.  I am going to try to stick with the fitness theme, but if something else is on my mind, you just might read about that too.

So here’s an update…

What was it, maybe a week or so that I was away?  How is it that one week can be completely uneventful and another week can be life changing?  OK, maybe I’m being a tad dramatic.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, dealing with a lot of adjustments.  The bf moved in and we got a dog, I transitioned to working from home, my spin schedule changed a bit, and then just other random happenings that are life.

Truth be told, working from home was not working for me.  I’m a very social person and need social interaction to function at my best.  Working at home put me in a solitary lifestyle where most of my conversations were by phone or email.  Working at home was a curve ball that I wasn’t expecting but given there was no choice, I had to make the most of it.  I tried.  It was OK for a bit and then the motivation started to fade… why get dressed when no one is going to see you?  why get out of bed early when all you need to do is walk a few steps to be at “work”?  I think you get the idea.

While I loved spending time with Minnie and having the flexibility that comes with working from home, I had to admit that it really just wasnt right for me.

Early last week I decided it was time to start looking for a new job.

Late last week (Friday to be exact) I was told that my company was eliminating my position as a cost cutting action and so essentially I was being laid off.

I’m still employed for about a month, so now it’s time to do everything I can to try to find a job ASAP.

So while the hiatus is officially over, I can’t really say how consistent my posts will be in the next few weeks.  But rest assured (since I know you’re all unable to live without my ramblings), I will post when I can.

So how about that for a nice heavy back-to-blogging post?

On a side note…class on Saturday was GREAT!  My mother and my aunt came up to CT to take the class.  My aunt had never taken a spin class before and really wanted me to be her instructor.  I used my 80s ride and the class LOVED it.  For whatever reason, it’s a ride I don’t use too frequently since I think people either love the 80s or hate them.  I’m just so glad that they loved it.

There were some requests for a 70s ride.  I’m not so sure about that, so I figured I’d throw it out to you guys for suggestions.  I was thinking maybe I could find remixes.  Thoughts?

And now…back to “work” I go.


Good morning!

After much thought, I’ve decided to take a bit of a hiatus from blogging.  I still love to write and share playlists and useful information, but right now I feel as though I have too many things to worry about and blogging just becomes another thing to get done.  And honestly, it falls pretty low on the list most of the time.

I will still be around reading everyone else’s blogs, but for the time being I’m giving up on the writing.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll be back in a week when the withdrawal kicks in, but maybe not.  I will keep you posted.

Thanks for reading and being my blog-friends!  Catch ya in the comments section of other blogs.

You win some, you lose some

Good morning and hooray for Thursday.  I hope everyone had a lovely Wednesday.

Workout wise, my plan yesterday was to hit up a 6p bootcamp class.  On a sidenote, I have a wedding to go to on Saturday.  On Tuesday I tried on the dress I had planned to wear only to find that it was too big around the top.  Not a bad problem to have overall, but frustrating in that the wedding was four days away and dress shopping is very hard for me.  Tuesday night I bought a replacement dress but the bf wasn’t a fan.  Last time, Lord & Taylor had the best selection.  My gym plan for last night was based on that particular gym’s proximity to L&T.

Anyway, the plan was a 6p class.  Miss Minnie went for a bath at 3p.  I figured she’d be done by 5p.  Nope.  She was ready at exactly 6p, so there goes the class plan.  I made it to the gym by about 6:45 and had to do my own thing.  I had pulled a workout out of Self magazine that I wanted to try.  I rarely do this but was excited to give it a go.

While I couldn’t find a link to the article, here’s the video of  it..

My evaluation – so so
It did work the muscles it claimed but I found that a bunch of the moves just put too much stress on the wrist, something that wasn’t good for me.  I also found the reps that they asked you to do to be inconsistent.  One exercise asked for 12 and I could barely manage 8.  Another asked for 5 and I banged out 8 without issue.  Perhaps that’s just indicative of my strengths and weaknesses, but that’s besides the point.

I did like the v-plank move, but that was about it.  I’m glad I gave it a shot even if I won’t do it again.

Plus, it was kind of fun to have a piece of paper telling me things to try instead of trying to come up with them on my own.

After the bench workout I figured I’d run a quick mile on the treadmill. Set it to 6.0 and started jogging.  Not so much.  It felt like every bone/muscle in my body was bouncing when I ran.  I had no clue I was so sore from the last run but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since I went from 0 miles for months to over 3.  Bad Jessica.

And last, my favorite pet peeve…contraindicated spin moves.
There was a 7p spin class last night which was being taught by the guy that used to head up the group exercise program at the gym.  I watched from outside as he had them standing in 2 (running) but holding on with one hand and pumping with the other.  It took all I had to not become a monkey and start banging on the glass.

I need to find the contraindicated moves article (maybe by Jennifer Sage) so that I can print it and give it to my students to let them know why they SHOULD NOT do that.  Ugh.


I know I need to post but don’t have a ton to say.  Enter the survey.


A is for age: 32

B is for breakfast today: a very small bowl of (healthy) fried rice – don’t laugh, i’ve been having stomach issues and need to watch what I eat

C is for currently craving: Baked goods – always!

D is for dinner tonight: Probably something quick and on the go

E is for favorite type of exercise: Challenging (how’s that for a vague answer?)

F is for an irrational fear: Stairs – I didn’t think this was irrational but when I recently shared it with some people they laughed, so maybe it is.  It’s not the stairs themselves, but it’s the fear or someone infront of me or behind me falling and then taking me down with them.

G is for gross food: black olives

H is for hometown: Oceanside, NY

I is for something important: My friends and family

J is for current favorite jam: Let’s laugh at the fact that my answer would have been peach, as in jam, like jelly

K is for kids: Minnie the fur-kid

L is for current location: Norwalk, CT

M is for the most recent way you spent money: on a dress for a wedding (which is going to be returned since it got shot down)

N is for something you need: Groceries and a vacation

O is for occupation: Product management for a medical device company and spin instructor

P is for pet peeve: Stupid people

Q is for a quote: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”  Henry Ford

R is for random fact about you: I’ve been skydiving in the Swiss Alps and I auditioned for College Jeopardy

S is for favorite healthy snack: fruit

T is for favorite treat: Baked goods, see C above

U is for something that makes you unique: Everything!

V is for favorite vegetable: beets or maybe butternut squash or sweet potato

W is for today’s workout: Boot camp, haven’t been in ages, should be interesting

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Kind of a weird question…teeth, left arm, knees, back/neck 

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: deck time with the neighbors

Z is for your time zone: Eastern

On the road again…

I promised myself that this week I’d get back to being good about working out.  I’m motivated to kick things up to the next level, so it’s time.

Last week I was a waste, due mainly to the Spin Odyssey hangover.  This week it’s going to be different!

So far I’m off to a good start.

The weather today was gorgeous, mid 60s I think.  I figured it would be wise (and easy) to take my workout outside.  Since I plan on hitting TRX tomorrow for some strength training, I figured today could be just cardio.  I decided that I’d go for a run.  Rather I figured I’d walk/run since I honestly can’t even remember the last time I ran.

I was excited, although honestly it was mainly due to the desire to listen to music.  I did a nice walk as a warm up.  I live in a hilly area so I let my warmup be the first few little hills.  Then I was off.

I have to say I didn’t feel so great to start.  My shins were hurting a bit and my breathing was labored, but I persevered.  I kept going, remembering something someone once said to me “the first mile is the hardest”.  I also kept saying to myself “in through the nose, out through the mouth” which is something I say in Spin (all the time).

I hit my groove and felt good.  Of course the route had a few hills and those kind of sucked, but I kept going and managed to do the whole run without stopping.  I even felt good enough that I altered my planned route and went a bit farther.  I was definitely running slow, but I was still running.  I know I’m slow, but it was nicely reinforced when some girl passed me.  Granted I had just come up a big hill and she probably hadn’t, but still. 🙂

I came home feeling good, and proud. I logged in to Map My Run because I had no clue how far I had run.  I figured about 2+ miles just based on how long I was gone for.  Well, it said 3.1 miles.  It’s not exact because I was on the iPad and couldn’t click the route exactly, but it’s a ballpark and way better than I anticipated.

So now I’m off to enjoy a well deserved glass of wine.