Category Archives: review

BODYPUMP 93 {review}

So, as you all know, I am a Les Mills BODYPUMP instructor and I teach a few times a week at different fitness clubs in Eau Claire.

If you aren’t familiar with BODYPUMP, check out my “what is BODYPUMP? post.” And find a class near you.

IMG_5235

Every quarter, Les Mills puts together new moves and music for the latest release.I think that it almost always takes me a few times of doing a new release before I really love it. Now, there is usually a song or two that just aren’t my favorite for whatever reason. . . but overall, I really have enjoyed all the releases so far.

I took my training on BODYPUMP 84. Since then, I have learned the releases since then – 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91 and now 92. (Other reviews here) I also have learned 80, 82 and 83, since some other instructors at the YMCA had those training DVDs.
IMG_4903
So, here are my thoughts on the very latest release. . .
#1: Warm up – “Break Free”

Good warm up song. I love when we use plates to warm up the shoulders too. Really gets you ready to get your pump on!

#2: Squats – “Booyah

I actually really like this song and the movement. However, I feel like this squat track is a bit easier than normal – use that as a reason to increase your weight to the next level! I like the combo with an extra hold at the bottom and top. If you concentrate on really pushing through the heels and driving up from the floor, you can feel the burn in the quads.

#3: Chest – “Kings and Queens”  

This track is a big change from the standard chest track. They slowed the pace down and changed the movement to a chest fly with plates. And man, if you take the plates to the full range of motion, you will feel your pecs by the end of the song. Those pulses are killer good. I’m not in love with the song. But I think it is a great switch up to challenge the chest.

#4: Back – “Here Tonight”

Back to basics with this back track. Dead rows, dead lifts, clean and presses and power press. Three sets that are identical. I think it is a great song to go up on weight and work out keeping that form on point.

IMG_4678

#5: Triceps – “Bang Bang”

Favorite track of the release. Great song. Great combination of moves. Triceps overhead presses, pushups, and kickbacks. This track has quick transitions so the triceps are burning by the end! Total winner.

#6: Biceps – “Centuries

I love using plates for biceps, so this one is a winner for me. It goes by pretty quick – which is key when those muscles are on fire. Love the song – perfect for getting into the bicep curl groove. And I always joke that during this one you can see your guns getting bigger. Winking smile 

#7:  Lunges – “1941”

So, I’m totally on the fence about this song. Sometimes, I like it, sometimes, I don’t. .. I know, I know. I’m a little cray cray. But what I do love is the non-stop lunges. There are NO breaks, which means the burn is real and intense!

#8: Shoulders – “Twisted (Eptic Remix)”

Whoa. Like Whoa. This track is the hardest shoulder track I have ever done. And I love it. It’s probably my least favorite song, but the killer workout makes up for it! And I love pushups – and since they start and end this track, I am a happy camper!

IMG_0684

#9: Core – “All About That Bass”

Super fun song. Not super challenging. I like working the posterior chain with hip bridge but I think hovers are much more challenging.

#10: Cool down – “What Are You Waiting For”

Love love love love love love love this song. Perfect to stretch it out and think about the lyrics – because really – what are you waiting for??

IMG_5257

Overall I thought this was a really strong release. The music is overall good – with some great ones in there. And this workout will kick your bootay.

And if you want more 93 reviews, check outAnnette’s, Ashley’s and Ashley’s!!

Have you done BP93??? What did you think?

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!

8 Comments

Filed under body pump, Recap, review

It Starts With Food {book review}

Wow.

IMG_4301

This book has changed my life.

Seriously.

From the book cover. . .

It Starts With Food outlines a clear, balanced, sustainable plan to change the way you eat forever—and transform your life in profound and unexpected ways. Your success story begins with the Whole30®, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s powerful 30-day nutritional reset.
Since 2009, their underground Whole30 program has quietly led tens of thousands of people to weight loss, enhanced quality of life, and a healthier relationship with food—accompanied by stunning improvements in sleep, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. More significant, many people have reported the “magical” elimination of a variety of symptoms, diseases, and conditions in just 30 days.

Now, Dallas and Melissa detail not just the “how” of the Whole30, but also the “why,” summarizing the science in a simple, accessible manner. It Starts With Food reveals how specific foods may be having negative effects on how you look, feel, and live—in ways that you’d never associate with your diet. More important, they outline their lifelong strategy for eating Good Food in one clear and detailed action plan designed to help you create a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation, and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food.

Infused with the Hartwigs’ signature wit, tough love, and common sense, It Starts With Food is based on the latest scientific research and real-life experience, and includes testimonials, a detailed shopping guide, a meal-planning template, a Meal Map with creative, delicious recipes, and much more.

The book starts with a statement, that really made me stop and think.

The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.

Whoa. #truth

The book goes through all food groups and how each of them affect us. Through emotions, nutrients, in our body and how they might be making us feel. They have the science to back up the information and they also share personal stories and experiences.

But, the kicker is . . .

they (Dallas and Melissa Hartwig) say – don’t take our word for it.

In this book, they give you the skills and tools to try a Whole30 for yourself and to figure out once and for all how different foods affect YOU. Because that’s all that truly matters, right?

They claim that “after implementing our program, you won’t have to wonder whether the foods you are eating are healthy for you. You’ll be able to make educated, informed food choices for the rest of your life. And you’ll know how to enjoy treats, sweets, and other “less healthy” foods in a way that is always moving you towards better health, fitness, and quality of life.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounded pretty amazing to me.

IMG_4265

And as a doctor, I really liked reading about all the science to back up their thoughts on how specific food groups can cause inflammation that can lead to a bunch of different diseases, symptoms and feelings. The book is also nicely summarized at the end of each chapter, so if you’re not interested in the science-y stuff, you can just skip it and read the highlights.

I’m not going to recap the whole book. .. but I would highly recommend reading it!

So, what is the Whole30?

Basically, it is 30 days of “a short term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive track, calm systemic inflammation, and put an end to unhealthy sugar cravings, habits, and relationships with food.”

They go on to state that “certain food groups (like sugar, dairy and legumes) are probably having a negative impact on your health and fitness level without you even knowing it.”

During the 30 days:

Eat: Foods that make you healthier – meat, seafood, eggs, lots of vegetables, some fruit and plenty of healthy fats.

Don’t eat: sugar (real or artificial), alcohol, grains (not even whole grains!), legumes, dairy and white potatoes.

Fairly straightforward and simple, right? In the book, they give you lots of information about the 30 days with tips and tricks for success and meal plans/ideas.

Literally, after reading this book, I made changes to how I eat, shop and prepare meals.

I haven’t done a Whole30. well, not yet. Winking smile

But over the past few weeks, I have swapped my morning smoothie, which I thought was a pretty healthy way to start my day, but after reading this book, maybe isn’t the best for me. Fruit has a ton of natural sugar, right? Well, even that natural stuff can be hard for the brain and body to interpret. And it was not doing me any favors with dealing with my sugar cravings later in the day. So, I swapped it out for eggs with veggies. Now, I am fuller for longer in the morning and my sugar cravings seem to have calmed down a bit.

IMG_4302

I also changed my lunch to their recommended balance of protein + veggies + high quality fat and seasonings. I don’t think I was getting enough healthy fats into my lunches, which then lead to hunger and fatigue in the afternoons. So, I made my own mayo (healthy fats!) and whipped up some chicken salads – chicken + diced carrot + grapes + mayo + pecans = delicious and filling lunch. Usually paired with an orange too. And I haven’t had that mid-afternoon slump or had to go digging in my desk drawer for a snack. Amazing. Finally, I’ve gone back to the clean eating guidelines that I’ve followed with AdvoCare (btw – this Whole30 stuff lines up perfectly with AdvoCare!) and given them the Whole30 twist – no grains or legumes and really made sure that we are getting some high quality fat in our dinners.

IMG_4313

And you know what? We have been sleeping better. Yup – even Scott has noticed the changes!

And honestly, after just a few weeks of making some small changes, I feel SO much better. I’m happier (I was feeling a little down there because of my eating habits, low energy, and all the stress of the upcoming move), I have more energy, I am sleeping better, and even though I can’t see or feel it – I know I am healthier. And that’s awesome.

Ok, but let’s not get crazy – I am still drinking  my latte and having dessert – mostly on the weekends. Smile

Anyway, long story short. I am going to do a full Whole30 (probably in February) because I think I deserve it to myself and my body to find my perfect health.

And I love this book. Please read it. It might just change your life.

Have you read it? Any books lately that have changed your life?

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!

21 Comments

Filed under Recap, review

BODYPUMP 92 {review}

IMG_0684

So, as you all know, I am a Les Mills BODYPUMP instructor and I teach at least twice per week at the local Mankato YMCA. If you aren’t familiar with BODYPUMP, check out my “what is bodypump? post.” And find a class near you.

IMG_8341

Every quarter, Les Mills puts together new moves and music for the latest release.I think that it almost always takes me a few times of doing a new release before I really love it. Now, there is usually a song or two that just aren’t my favorite for whatever reason. . . but overall, I really have enjoyed all the releases so far.

IMG_4520

I took my training on BODYPUMP 84. Since then, I have learned the releases since then – 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91 and now 92. (Other reviews here) I also have learned 80, 82 and 83, since some other instructors at the YMCA had those training DVDs.
So, here are my thoughts on the very latest release. . .
IMG_4241

#1: Warm up  – “All We Need Is Love”

Standard warm up song. I think it has a good beat and sets the tone for a great class. I love doing the slow clean and presses and then speeding it up – helps to cue and work on form right from the beginning. And #truth – all we need it love. Smile

#2: Squats – “Go!”

I really like this one. It has a great beat for banging out the combos. Working from the bottom is always a good quad burner. And I really like keeping the whole focus in the mid stance. That really helps to build up the muscle tension so by the last slow ones, you are shaking!

# 3: Chest – “The Phoenix”

Ahhh back to the bar for the whole song. Love it. And same combo from the squat track with singles + holds. And again, working from the bottom = amazing results. I also love this song and unfortunately for my class, I like to sign along. Winking smile

#4: Back – “Dream and Dance” – Alternate

I sub out the alternate track for this one. I just didn’t love the song or timing of “Letting Go.” But the alternate is amazing. Tons of power presses, which really pumps up the heart rate and works the upper back.

#5: Triceps – “Problem”

This one is awesome. Make sure you go heavy on your bar to really feel the burn. I love that the timing is bit slower with the song to really feel the movements and triceps isolation. And then the kicker at the end with extensions. Love it!

#6: Biceps – “Come with me now

You can’t help but rock out along with this song. All while getting bigger guns = win win. I LOVE this one. The pulses with a hold + no breaks = awesome.

#7: Lunges – “NRG”

Ok, so this one is a bit boring. It’s a lot of the same thing over and over again. BUT I use that to my advantage teaching it. Lots of time for cueing and challenging to take it to the next level by getting lower and really aiming for that front thigh to be parallel to the floor. And it’s a fun song. Smile

#8: Shoulders – “Ping Pong”

Whoa. Pushups are killer. like seriously killer. But it makes this track totally awesome. Just make sure you do them on your toes!

#9: Core – “Love Runs Out” – alternate

I subbed in the alternate for this song too. I just wasn’t a fan of “Fancy”. But this one has the same moves – leg extensions and hovers. It isn’t the best core track ever, but it gets the job done.

#10: Cool down – “Chandelier”

I don’t love this song but by this time of the workout, I am just happy to be done and to have a chance to stretch out and check in with my class. I use this time to remind them about hydrating, taking care of their bodies, and thinking about prepping for next class and how to take BP to the next level.

IMG_1663

Overall, I really like this release. Every time I teach it, it kicks my butt. I have been sore in some new places – thank you power presses and pushups. Smile But, like any BODYPUMP enthusiast, I am already anxiously awaiting for 93! Winking smile

IMG_4220

Have you done BP92? What did YOU think??

Linking up with Becky for TYT!

23 Comments

Filed under body pump, review

Earth Day–It’s all about Balance

Happy Earth Day!!

To celebrate Earth Day, the wonderful people from Balance Bar and JR Watkins natural cleaning products company, sent me a wonderful “Spring Cleaning Kit.”- to clean up both diet and home.

IMG_9967

While people traditionally consider Spring Cleaning to mean window washing, shower scrubbing and more, BALANCE BAR is celebrating the change in season by setting the refresh button and “cleaning up” some of our bad eating habits and introducing some healthier habits – including healthy snacking! –> totally what I am doing with my Advocare challenge!

This was perfect for me to go through the pantry/fridge/freezer with these tips before moving! Cleaned out pantry = less stuff to move = happy husband.

BB-Tips-Collage

Now, I am not eating the Balance bars while I am doing the challenge because they aren’t challenge friendly (processed and they have dairy).  .. but before (and for sure after),  I love Balance bars for a quick breakfast on my way to work. Best enjoyed with a caramel skim latte (IMHO).  They are gluten free, an excellent source of antioxidants (Vitamins A, C, E), certified kosher dairy and feature 13 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving.

IMG_7203

From Balance Bars –> “As with all Balance Bar products, the new Dark line follows the 40-30-30 nutrition principle – a proven formula developed by scientists to help stabilize blood sugar levels that represents the caloric ratio the body needs to enjoy lasting balanced energy and satisfy hunger for longer; 40% of total calories from carbs, 30% from quality protein and 30% from dietary fat.”

IMG_9508

And, of course, with the new house, cleaning supplies are much needed. Have you guys ever tried this stuff? Amazing!

IMG_0135

I love the white tea and bamboo scent. clean and fresh.

IMG_0140

The all purpose cleaner is perfect for the kitchen. .. I love using it on my counters.

IMG_0138

And with all natural ingredients, I don’t have to worry about chemical exposure to Luke. It cleans appliances, fixtures, counter tops, floors, tile, woodwork, sinks and walls. You wouldn’t normally think that you would need a cleaner that is appropriate for walls, but once you have a 2 year old. . . it is a necessity! Winking smile 

And now, are you ready for a great giveaway???

Balance Bar and JR Watkins have offered to give one lucky R4C reader (sorry United States only) the same box of goodies that I was sent – balance bars and cleaning products!

Awesome, right?

There are 4 ways to enter. Please make sure to leave a separate comment below for each entry.

1 –> leave a comment below telling me what you would be most excited about in the box when it showed up on your doorstep!

2 –> Follow Balance Bar and Running4Cupcakes on Twitter.

3 –> Follow Balance Bar and Running4Cupcakes on Facebook.

4 –> Tweet the following with a link back to this post:
I want to win a box of @BalanceBar from @runs4cupcakes *insert link*

The contest closes at midnight on April 30th and I’ll announce the winner shortly after. If I don’t hear from the winner within 48 hours, I’ll pick someone new.

Good luck!

**I was provided with Balance Bars and JR Watkins products for free, but the opinions in this post at 100% my own. And always will be!

34 Comments

Filed under giveaway, products, review

MN Food Predictions for 2014

Hey! Happy Monday. Man, what a weekend! We have been painting non-stop. I will hopefully have time tonight to put together a weekend recap with some pics for a post tomorrow! I’m excited to share the progress and colors with you all!

But for today, I have a fun post filled with things that I don’t normally ever think about. . .

Did you know that there are people who make food predictions? Specifically predictions for the “food scene” in Minnesota?

Isn’t that crazy? Mark that as one of the jobs I didn’t know existed. .. however, if any of them are hiring for taste –testers and happen to be reading this blog, please email me! Smile 

Cub Foods recently polled Minnesota-based chefs, culinary experts, food critics, bloggers (but not me!), and food enthusiasts for key food trend predications for 2014. And, as you can imagine, grocery stores pay quite a bit of attention to the new food predictions and make sure their stores reflect what the consumers need. And Cub Foods is no different. They want to make sure that their stores are doing everything they can to meet the needs of their customers. Cub Foods recently contacted me to see if I was willing to review some of the new food trends for 2014 and make sure that their stores are keeping up.

What? You want me to go grocery shopping at Cub Foods <– of my favorite grocery stores in town?Ummmm, ok!

Luke was on board too. *as long as there are snacks. Smile 

IMG_6919

Here are a few of the trends that I am most excited about for 2014:

Handheld and Healthy. Handheld, transportable meals and snacks will take new shape as people will seek healthier items with quality ingredients that they can tote along with them. From portable breakfast foods to lunchbox-sized items to fun and nutritious snacks for the whole family, on-the-go is the way to go.

Some of my favorite portable snacks are:

IMG_9009IMG_9011

And did you know that Cub sells single serving (well, ok there are 2 servings in that container, but I would totally eat it by myself) Panera soups?

IMG_9012

And The Laughing Cow Cheese  spreads – yum!

IMG_9013

And of course Wild Harvest Animal Crackers. <—seriously, have you had these? You must buy them ASAP. so good. And just a tip: hide them from your husband and kids. You’re welcome. Winking smile 

IMG_6020

And I would love if Cub would start to stock these:

how cute and perfect, right?

Purple Pride Veggies. Several experts cited increasing interest and demand for purple vegetables such as purple green beans and purple carrots. Perhaps a fresh start for the Minnesota Vikings this year is driving the increased interest in purple veggies? <—so I think you know what I think about this – GREEN all the way. GO PACK GO. BUT, I would love to try purple green beans, carrots, potatoes, etc. I looked at my local store and didn’t see any purple veggies right now. . . maybe this summer?

Superfoods. Ancient grains, kale, and greens will appear in more dishes. So, I think that Healthy Living Bloggers are way ahead of MN food trends. And I am all about incorporating more of these foods into my daily intake.

IMG_9005IMG_9006

And I think I am going to start with using more quinoa and trying out this recipe and this one and this one for kale in green juice.

Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Cups. Addicting, but healthy!

Self-preservation. The home also becomes a food factory as more people experiment with emerging preparation techniques such as quick pickling, canning and smoking. <—I have never done any pickling but would LOVE to try it. Who wants to come over this summer and pickle with me??

And don’t forget to enter my Cub Foods gift card giveaway! Ends Feb 12th!!

What do you think about 2014 MN food trends? What do you think is going to be a big food trend for this year?

13 Comments

Filed under Recap, review

Cub Foods Bloomin’ Garlic Cheese Bread + {giveaway}

So, I have professed my love for Cub Foods before, right?

IMG_4618

It is the main grocery store that I do my shopping at and it helps that they send awesome coupons in the mail.
IMG_4099
I don’t think I would have conquered my grocery challenge, if I didn’t shop at Cub Foods.
I don’t think I have ever talked about how awesome their store brand – Essential Everyday – is. ..  I tend to buy the store brand when I can, because it is usually quite a bit cheaper. I was shopping at Cub on Saturday and bought oats (to make some chia peanut butter power bars) and Essential Everyday oats were $1 cheaper than the other brands.  I don’t know about you, but that is a BIG deal for my grocery budget.
And so, when Cub Foods contacted me to do a recipe review for Superbowl Sunday and host a giveaway. .. I couldn’t respond fast enough.
And you guys, this recipe is awesome. And easy. And delicious. And cheesy.

IMG_8962

So awesome, in fact, that I took it to a Super bowl party AND made it again the next night to go with leftover chili.

IMG_8964

Now, there is nothing too healthy about this recipe –> but it’s all about moderation. . . yup, I know, moderation does not mean eat 2 days in a row. .. but at the Super bowl party, I had to share. Winking smile 

IMG_8966

One more fun fact about Cub Foods, kids get a free cookie. . . it’s a win-win. . . a cookie buys me about 1/2 the store of shopping silence and makes the grocery store a much more enjoyable experience for both of us!

IMG_8939IMG_8940

Cub Foods Bloomin’ Garlic Cheese Bread

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 (16 ounce) unsliced loaf sourdough bread (I used Rosemary and Olive Oil bread)
  • 1/2 cup Essential Everyday Butter , melted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (8 ounce) package Essential Everyday Fancy Shredded Cheddar Melt Blend Cheese
DIRECTIONS
  • Cut loaf of bread lengthwise and then widthwise without cutting through to the bottom crust, creating 1-inch squares. Place bread on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • In small bowl, combine melted butter, parsley and garlic; salt and pepper to taste. Generously brush butter mixture all over inside and outside of bread. Insert cheese between cuts in bread.
  • Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350°F oven 15 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.

IMG_8943IMG_8945IMG_8946IMG_8948IMG_8949IMG_8953

Looks amazing, right?

IMG_8956

Ok, now that you are drooling all over your keyboard, are you excited for an awesome giveaway?

Cub Foods (AKA the most awesome grocery store ever) has offered to give 2 (two!) lucky R4C readers $20 in Cub Foods gift cards!! Amazing, right?

**Gift cards are good at: Albertsons, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shoppers, Shop’n Save, Cub, Shaws Star, Farm Fresh and Acme**

There are 2 ways to enter. Please make sure to leave a separate comment below for each entry.

–> leave a comment below telling me what you would spend your money on at Cub Foods.  

–> Tweet the following with a link back to this post: I want to win an @cubfoods gift card from @runs4cupcakes *insert link*

The contest closes at midnight on February 12th and I’ll announce the winners shortly after. If I don’t hear from the winners within 48 hours, I’ll pick someone new.

Good luck!!!

49 Comments

Filed under review, Running

BODYPUMP 88 {review}

So, you already know how much I LOVE bodypump, right?

IMG_8206

Well, the love-fest continues with the latest release – 88.

I’ll be honest, it took me a bit to love it. When I first listened to the music, I actually thought it was horrible. I only recognized 2 of the songs and they just sounded not quite right for a bodypump release. I complained to Chris about it. ..  and she said she felt the same way, but once she started putting the choreography to it and did it a few times, it got way better. And she was totally right.

IMG_5690

I think that it almost always takes me a few times of doing a new release before I really love it. Now, there is usually a song or two that just aren’t my favorite for whatever reason. . . but overall, I really have enjoyed all the releases so far.

I took my training on BODYPUMP 84. Since then, I have learned the releases since then – 85, 86, 87 and now 88. I also have learned 82 and 83, since some other instructors at the YMCA had those training DVDs.

IMG_4520

I guess what my rambling is supposed to tell you is that if you go to a bodypump class and don’t love it, give it a few more classes before you make up your mind!

So, now onto my review of the latest BP release – 88. . .

IMG_8431

#1: Warmup –“Tonight”

This track gets you warmed up and ready for the rest of the class. You spend a few moves on each part of the body. Lightest weight of the class. I don’t love the quick transitions too much, but it is a nice variation for this release.

#2: Squats – “Killer (Crush Remix)”

At first I really hated this song, but once you start squatting to it, that changes. It is a great squat song (I guess those BODYPUMP guys know what they are doing?!). It does get a bit repetitive at the end, with 3 sets of work that are all the same. So, by the time we get to the end, I am done. I like that there is a squat combo that we do 2 singles and then 1 x 1/1/2. . . and we see that repeated in the chest track and shoulder track.

# 3: Chest – “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Go)”

Great track, good moves, awesome music!! You start with the bar for the 1st half (go heavy!) and then you switch to hand weights (or plates) for an A-press. Super good isolation for the chest!

# 4: Back – “Somebody (Cc. K Remix)”

Nice combo of hang cleans, clean & press and power press. This track makes me feel strong with some great combos. I like the little bit of active recovery with the wide deadlifts at the end of each set.

# 5: Triceps – “Can’t Hold Us”

LOVE this track!! It is face paced and the burn keeps going right from the beginning. I really do love that it is basically a song of overhead extensions with killer triceps pushups – 16 in a row!! Good song for this track too.

# 6: Biceps – “Up In The Air

Good variation with this one – you start with the barbell and then finish with hand weights (or plates). Good match of moves to the beat of the song too.

# 7: Lunges – “Play Hard”

Love this song! It’s a challenging track, not quite as challenging as 87 but the burn is still there. Still back to basics with wide squat to start and standard lunges to finish. I love the work hard/play hard words in the song. I say work hard, and then I have the class say play hard. Always nice to get the class involved in the song, definitely makes us all work harder during the track.

# 8: Shoulders – “Raving (G! Remix)”

Ok, so this track is INSANE!!! But I LOVE it. It is a super challenging track and they mix it up from the standard shoulder moves. I think my favorite is the very end when it finishes with standing overhead presses (instead of the normal push presses), this forces you to continue to isolate the shoulders (and make them BURN!) to the end of the track!

# 9: Core – “Only You”

I think overall, this is a bit easier than other core tracks, however, the pulse crunches – especially 32 in a row, really bring on the burn!

# 10: Cooldown – “Give Me Love”

Ahhhh cool down. Per usual, always a good full body stretch that is much needed at the end of class. A good time to reflect on how your body feels after going through another awesome BP class.

IMG_8341

Overall, I really love this release. I think it is challenging in all the right ways. I feel totally worked out after I finish teaching this release. . . and that’s the goal, right?

Interested in reading another review? Check out Annette’s post about BP88.

Have you done the latest release? What did you think??

10 Comments

Filed under body pump, Recap, review

TYT #5 {My 1st yoga class}

Happy Tuesday!! Today, I am linking up with Becky for some Treat Yourself Tuesday action. I treated myself to my 1st yoga class last week and I thought I would share my thoughts on it. . .

The local studio has $5 drop in classes on Friday nights and offers either a “Happy Hour Hatha” or “Power Hour”. I met my friend Jamie, who does yoga regularly, to take a class together. Since it was my first time, we did the hatha class.

IMG_8563

Overall, I thought it was boring. but, after we were finished, I was surprised that it was an hour class. . . it seemed like we were only in there for 30-45 minutes. So, maybe I wasn’t as bored as I thought? I wasn’t counting down the time but, I think that the entire class felt like the warm up of a regular aerobics class, so I spent the whole time wondering when we were going to the actual class.

I didn’t feel as stretched out as I thought. I have neck and shoulder pain which I think is from posture and working style. I was hoping that yoga might help with that. .  and maybe over time it would?

I was happy that I wore layers because it was chilly. For some reason, I expected it to be warm?

IMG_8560

It was super nice to meet a friend for a class. I need to do that more often!

I don’t think it helped that I though the instructor was annoying.  She kept saying, “we breathe deep” <—said super fast and in a bored tone. How am I supposed to relax with that intonation?

I think I need to try some different classes: FIT, Power, Vinyasa, or Ashtanga?

It totally wasn’t a workout, which I wasn’t expecting, so that was fine, but still I thought that it would be good for something?

I do really enjoy downward dogs.

I wasn’t as lost as I thought I would be. I understood and knew how to do pretty much every pose. I think that is just from being in the fitness industry. There is definitely crossover between regular aerobics and yoga.

I was extremely concerned about my lack of flexibility and that the instructor would have to come over a bazillion times to help me and give me those modification blocks. Nope, didn’t happen. This was truly a basic yoga class, so there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. . . but the instructor was pretty good about giving variations and modifications that you could do if “it felt right to you.”

IMG_8561

Again, this is just my opinions after one class. I totally need to try different classes and different instructors before I come to a decision on whether yoga is for me.

Do you do yoga? What class do I need to try next?

26 Comments

Filed under review

2013: year in review

Wow – how is it 2014?

Craziness, I tell you!!

I thought it would be fun to do a 2013 recap (like I did for 2012 – check it out here). . . 

January

I ran the winter carnival half marathon

047

I took the BODYPUMP instructor training

IMG_3122

Taco pasta bake

IMG_0006

February

We went to Marco Island

Marco Island_2013_day4 004

Valentine’s Day Baby Craft

006

I celebrated my 2nd blog anniversary

Turtle ice cream cake!!

087_1

March

I completed the crockpot challenge 

Crockpot Pot Roast

Easter bunny craft

009 (2)069

I shared my running favorites

IMG_5153

Road trip to Wyoming

IMG_3756

Luke’s 1st Easter

Easter_2013 021

April

Fruit quinoa salad

fruit_quinoa_salad

BODYPUMP update

IMG_6738

Luke turned 1!!

067

May

Quesadilla casserole

014_1

I shared my making baby food tips

IMG_1671

My sisters and I went to The Melting Pot

IMG_4251

I celebrated my 31st birthday in Chicago

IMG_4316

One of my all time favorite posts –> Things my Dad has taught me about running

IMG_5607

June

Scott and I celebrated our 5th anniversary –> and I shared our “love” story

IMG_6497

I professed my love for the treadmill

IMG_7878

I made my chia peanut butter power bars

035

Laura and  I went to Country Fest

IMG_4833

July

BODYPUMP perks

IMG_7771

We made a DIY Toddler Toy

031

Luke turned 15 months old

056

August

Finished my 3 month Grocery Challenge 

Special K Bars

008009010011 

MN State Fair

IMG_5444

September

I  made Fro Yo Breakfast Bars

106

I made fruit pizza 

fruit_pizza

I went to HLS 

IMG_5981

Laura and I went to Las Vegas

IMG_6219

October

I made this awesome fall craft

IMG_6313

Pumpkin bars

IMG_6403

Abby turned 9 years old

IMG_5824

Scott and I ran the Des Moines Half Marathon

IMG_6705

November

I professed my love for Jamberry nails 

IMG_6866

I reviewed some great perks from my grocery challenge

IMG_4882

I wrote an “it’s ok” blogger post

December

We went to Cocoa Beach, Florida

IMG_7644

I made RPSs

IMG_2073_1

I made these cute Holiday gifts for Luke’s daycare

IMG_7764

Cinnamon Roll French Toast

IMG_7847

And we celebrated Christmas

Christmas_2013 016

Oh man, what an awesome year! I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!!

Happy New Year!!

What was your 2013 highlight?

12 Comments

Filed under Abby, baby, blend, blog, body pump, crafts, dessert, husband, Recap, Recipes, review, Running

Spinning with Dara Torres and Koss Headphones!!

I had a super exciting opportunity 2 weeks ago! I was invited to attend a spin class with Dara Torres (5 time Olympian and 12 time medalist!!! in swimming) and to check out her new Koss FitBuds headphones. #Fit4Life

IMG_6050

These are new headphones with the tagline “designed for women. by women.” And Dara herself had a hand in designing them!

 IMG_6107

They have smaller ear buds just for women (with 3 different cushion sizes), they are sweat resistant, durable, and lightweight. We were able to check out the headphones while taking a spin class from the Olympian herself!!

IMG_6059IMG_6073

She was so cool. like, seriously, so. cool.

IMG_6083

I was able to attend the event with my good blend, Melanie. . .

IMG_6064

We met up at the studio (CycleQuest in Eden Prairie), and we were given a gift bag with 3! shirts, a pair of headphones and a super cute note from the Koss Corporation. .  .

IMG_6084IMG_6052

photo

Do you think they saw my fruit pizza recipe or maybe Special K bars? Winking smile 

And then we headed to the locker room to change and get ready. .. and we were just hanging out and in walks Dara. She was super sweet. She introduced herself and then proceeded to take off her makeup in anticipation of sweating it out during the class. And complimented me on my workout top. Smile 

We hung out for a while, chatting and getting our bikes set up and ready to go – this was Melanie’s 1st ever spin class!!

IMG_6057IMG_6058IMG_6066IMG_6085

And then it was time to spin!! Dara said that she was there to get a good workout and she was going to go hard and challenge herself, but reminded us to go at our own pace. And then she said that she just had knee surgery 10 days ago! Crazy!!

IMG_6080

We started the class with a few leg drills, concentrating on the right leg for 60 seconds then the left leg for 60 seconds, back to the right for 45, etc, all the way down to 15 seconds. Then, the class started. We had a good mix of climbs, flats and standing runs. I was a sweaty mess by the end middle. Winking smile

Dara was super funny during class, she kept asking the sound person to turn up the music and she wouldn’t even wait for him to do it, she would reach over to the sound board herself and crank it. She also sang and danced to some of the songs that were her favs.

The ear buds suction to your ears so the sound really comes through super clear and fit really well. I have never used over the ear headphones like this before so I wasn’t sure how they would fit for me, but they stayed in place the whole time and I didn’t have to mess with them at all. The only issue was because they suction in your ear so well, you can’t hear outside noises, so when Melanie tried to talk to me or ask me a question during the class, I couldn’t hear her! I would definitely use these in the gym or on an airplane (and I did on my way to Vegas!),

IMG_6103IMG_6106

but I would be nervous about using them outside on a run because you can’t hear outside noises, like cars or people, very well.

Then, after class, Dara just hung out with us and we had a chance to chat her up.

IMG_6086

I asked her where she keeps her medals. . . She keeps them in a safe at home, she used to have them out, but her Mom was worried about someone breaking in and stealing them, so she keeps them put away now. But, she says it is funny because her Mom has one of her medals and it is totally on display on the mantle at her house. So cute. She also said that she used to take the medals with her to events with kids and show them around, but then after one event, one got dropped and dented (can you believe that!), and now she only takes them out occasionally, mainly to her kids schools.

She was just totally laid back, nice to talk to, and super ripped! Winking smile 

My 2 winners had a great time too. Katie from Katie Looking Forward was there on Tuesday with me.

 IMG_20130917_180757_020

And Sara drove all the way from Ohio with her Mom and 5 month old to attend the event!

imageimage2

It was a really fun time and a big thank you to the Koss Corporation for the invite and letting me try out these new ear buds and an extra ginormous thank you to Dara for being so awesome to hang out with and for giving a great spin class. Can’t wait to do it again sometime!! Smile

13 Comments

Filed under product, Recap, review