What it is like Working at a Gym on the Eve of Resolutions!

I have worked New Year’s Eve at my gym for 8 years now. Every year is almost exactly the same. 

Nearly every face is recognizable, all the regulars come in even if that might be their regular day off. The gym closes early, so all the night regulars join the morning and afternoon crew. The usuals gather around the coffee machine for what might be the last time for a few weeks as they will soon be crowded out by the new folk. 

There is a smattering of holiday guests still coming in with family members or parents bringing elementary school children to the pool to exhaust the children’s excess energy, but for the most part I know every face because I have worked here for 8 years. I often see friends from high school, families I used to babysit for, and long time family friends. In the coming days I will be surrounded by a sea of new faces. 

Some of the new faces come in today to buy a membership for tomorrow. 

Every class was full this morning, with a wait list a mile long. People who usually do their own workout are off of work today and get the chance to take classes again – this causes a commotion behind the front desk. I enjoy avoiding this fiasco because I am a “housekeeper” today. The people who don’t make it into their class may be annoyed today but they will always come back; they are regulars and know this is an exception to the rule. Next week the new crowd will not come back when 1 thing goes wrong because they don’t know any better – they will find another “better” gym they say (I always doubt this). 

This afternoon there are dozens of children running around, parents leaving it up to employees to chase around the children who are still damp from their post pool time shower. The parents will not supervise them at all times, despite what we ask of them.

Tomorrow will be like this – but 10x worse – it will be insane. I will not work tomorrow. I will go on a run to the gym, witness the insanity while I sip my water, and then run home. It will be glorious. 

Mileage – 3 miles

QOD – Success is often achieved by those who don’t know failure is inevitable.

 

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Surfin’ Snowman 2 Mile Race Recap!

On Saturday afternoon I ran the Surfin’ Snowman 2 mile race in Bethany Beach with my dad and my brother! The weather was wonderful. The event also had a 5 mile race (which was a loop course) and it was the first year the race has happened! The best part about the race may have been that the money raised went to Justin’s House (which is a house where child cancer patients and their families can stay on vacation) and the Bethany Volunteer Fire Company.

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My dad, brother, and I all won our age groups. My brother came in 3rd in the race; my dad and I finished 16 and 15 overall – my dad always lets me beat him, even if he was ahead of me during the race haha. My dad placed 3rd in the Men’s Masters and I finished 5th for the Women. The race was very well attended, especially for a first year. There were around 250 finishers in the 2 mile and another 400 or so running the 5 mile. Dad, Pete, and I will be doing the 5 miler next year and mom says she will be doing the 2 miler. 

The view from the pre-race meeting place:
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My Thoughts
– I liked the race course for the most part, but the end was actually not at 2 miles and that caused some confusion. 
– Registration shouldn’t be allowed on race day OR make the pick time longer, the race started over 15 minutes late. 
– The post race food was AMAZING and it was really great having the DJ at the start and finish. 
– The course was very well marked and their were tons of volunteers! 

Overall it was a great race and supports great causes and we can’t wait to do it again next year! 

Bethany at sunset
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Today I got a good workout it at the gym after I worked at 6am-10am shift and it was a good way to relieve stress from a rough work shift. 

Mileage  – Bench press, kettle bells, elliptical 

QOD – Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops. 

 

Resolution-ers – How to Support and Survive Them

On some of my favorite sites, such as FitSugar, Pintrest, and even 9gag, people are posting about their resolutions – or the resolutioners who will be coming to “crowd our gyms” or “ruin our classes.” And I’ll be honest: 

I have a love/hate relationship with health and fitness New Year’s Resolution-ers. 

The love comes from the opportunity of a clean slate. I haven’t been a fitness junkie my whole life so there was a time in my life when I made a resolution to change, it just wasn’t during the start of a new year. I think it’s amazing that people want to get healthier, that fellow Americans want to change their fitness and eating habits to improve their lifestyles, and that some of these people maintain these changes and create a better life for themselves. I enjoy teaching someone how to use a new piece of equipment or recommending a class to the women who aren’t sure of their workout style yet, but that requires them to ask. 

The hate comes from being a longtime gym employee. I have worked at a gym for almost 8 years and I’ve seen so many people come and go – I know the gym regulars, newbies, and resolution-ers, even now when I only work there about 4 months out of the year, because the regulars are there in every season. The frustration I have with the newbies and resolution-ers is that they often disregard rules, neglect to learn gym courtesy, and sometimes think they run the place when they have hardly been there a few days. I am sorry I don’t know your name, lady-who-is-running-late-to-class-and-didn’t-sign-up, but if you didn’t sign up I am going to give the last pass to Jackie who did follow the rules and sign up. I don’t appreciate being yelled at when I ask to take your picture for our front desk check-in, because “it wasn’t required when you used to work out here occasionally 11 years ago,” – it is now so I’m just doing my job! 

For those of us who do go to the gym year round, how can we help these people maintain their new lifestyle? How can we adapt to the swollen numbers in our gyms? 

3 Ways to Support 
1) If someone asks for help, help them! Don’t just leave them embarrassed, looking like an idiot – people often cite intimidation as one of the main reasons they avoid gyms. We shouldn’t make out gym environment intimidating, it should be welcoming. 
2) If someone cuts your turn in line for a machine or tosses your towel aside to take your bike, treat them with kindness and respect while correcting them. Tension only makes these situations worse. 
3) When friends or loved ones are changing eating habits or picking a new workout to try offer to do it with them! Even if it is just a bi-weekly Zumba class or getting vegetarian dishes together on your Thursday lunch dates having someone on their side will help them maintain these new habits! 

3 Ways to Survive
1) Some bitch not-very-nice lady has jacked your spot in 9:30 kickboxing on Mondays. Two options: 1) move to the opposite side or 2) station yourself next to another regular – as regulars you may not be “friends” but you can team up as familiar faces. Plus, she may have been ousted from her old spot last year and willing to welcome you to her space until you can reclaim yours if the witch drops out in February. 
2) Find an outdoor activity like running – COLD RUNNING IS AWESOME SERIOUSLY – or use a Groupon/Living Social deal for a new gym that may be less crowded than your establishment. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from your gym a few days a week and exercising elsewhere. 
3) Take classes with your kids. There are a lot of gyms that offer parent/child workout classes that are often significantly less crowded than the usual Thursday am Zumba class. This gives you a chance to inspire your children, have quality time, and get in your workout. My mom and I used to take a kickboxing class together when I was in elementary school and I absolutely loved it. 

So today’s Zumba class was great – and by great I mean rough – after yesterday’s deadlifts and squats I was seriously hurting during the squats today in the class. It is pretty adorable (and a little funny) to watch all the older ladies who don’t have a great range of motion just enjoy themselves and do their own dance moves in the same general direction. Props to them for still working out at that age in life – I hope I’m like them someday! It was only my 4th time doing Zumba but I think it’s clear that the instructor makes or breaks the class. I need high intensity and this teacher down here has it, if you really go all out like she does it is brutal! 

Mileage – Zumba! 

QOD – “Who knew that shaking your ass could be considered exercise? That’s why I do Zumba!”

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Post Christmas Work-Out

I love coming to the beach during the off-season because the gym is pretty quiet and I can do whatever I want for a workout and I don’t have to fight anyone for equipment. Today I did a little bit of everything! Tomorrow Mama and I are doing Zumba with our favorite teacher and on Saturday Pete, Dad, and I are running the Surfin’ Snowman 2-miler (Dad claims he wouldn’t survive the 5 miler, I disagree). The beach is our family’s “happy place” – not that home isn’t a happy place, but it is a great place to unwind and spend quality time together in our small place and forget the stress of work and home and everything else. 

My workout today looked like this: 

Deadlifts 
50% of 1RM – 2 sets of 5
60% – 2 sets of 4 
70% – 2 sets of 3 
80% – 2 sets of 2
85% – 2 sets of 1 
90% – 1 rep 

Wallball Throws 
5 sets of 10 @ 8 lbs (It is the heaviest weight they have there) 

Handstands 
15 second hold 
30 second hold 
45 second hold 
30 second hold
15 second hold 
(I’m getting ever closer to my first handstand push-up HOORAY) 

And I finished off with some planks! 

Being home for the holidays has been amazing! I’ll post more tomorrow! 

Mileage – Lifting

QOD – Don’t stop believin’

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Finals Friday! (with 2 recipes!)

I know I promised a delicious recipe last week…and now I have TWO for you guys. Both are healthy and pretty dang delicious. The first one that I originally promised is – Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. 

 Yes you read that right.  Alfredo sauce MADE OUT OF CAULIFLOWER.  My mother will tell anyone about my bizarre childhood (and somewhat to this day) dislike of tomato sauce. I didn’t like spaghetti, I have and never will like lasagna, and even red pizza sauce isn’t my jam. So when I discovered Alfredo – it was love at first taste. However it’s one of the worst foods on the planet for you made with massive amounts of oil, heavy cream, and butter. I found this way healthier recipe on Pintrest and waited ages to try it. I tried it last Friday and it was a hit. It was filling, delicious, and made almost too many leftovers. 
 
HERE is the recipe for the sauce. 
 
I topped my Fettucine Alfredo with some Italian seasoned chicken breast chunks and it was perfect. I did have a few issues which I will mention:
  1. Do not burn the garlic or brown the butter too much, it will discolor the sauce. 
  2. I had no idea how to chop cauliflower (I’d never worked with it before)  
  3. It didn’t all fit in my blender in one go. 
  4. My kitchen smelled like cauliflower for a week. 

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Recipe number 2 is CROCKPOT CHICKEN FAJITAS! 
This recipe is right up my alley. I love crockpot meals – especially ones with so few ingredients. 
 
Ingredients 
1 sweet onion (chopped)
2 green peppers (sliced) 
1-2lbs chicken breasts or breast tenders 
3/4 cup salsa (I used spicy tomatillo) 
2 TBS butter 
1 packet fajita seasoning 
 
I layered 1 TBS of butter and the onion on the bottom, then the 2nd TBS of butter and the green peppers – which looked like this: 
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Then I put the chicken on top and covered it with the fajita seasoning and salsa – which looked like this: 
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I cooked it on high for about 4-5 hours and then shredded the chicken with a fork and BOOM chicken fajita deliciousnesssss. 
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Just throw the chicken, veggies, extra salsa, and whatever toppings you would like in a tortilla and you’re ready to go. The meat would taste amazing on a salad too. 
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Yesterday night Ben and I went for a run and he noticed at one point while he was behind me (which is almost never) that when I’m running slower, I move my torso and it probably wastes energy. So now I have a new form concept to work on while I’m running! 
 
Also while Ben and I were running we got behind a gaggle of girls jogging together (2 of them were clearly runners, 2 were not) and we watched a girl run into a sign. I’m not going to lie it was pretty hilarious. 
 
Today I turned my Power Clean 1 rep max into a 2 rep max! Alas I couldn’t quite get to a new 1 RM in the allotted time, but I was close… I’ll get it next time. 
 
1 final tonight, 1 final Monday and then I will be officially halfway done my Master’s degrees. Uhm what? 
 
Mileage – CrossFit, foam roll 
 
QOD – Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. 
 
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Run and Roll: The Why and How of Using a Foam Roller

Today I went for my first run since the injury hiatus and it felt pretty good. I did an easy 3.3 miles at a 9:40 pace and neither of my knees nor my toe hurt. VICTORY! 

HOWEVER….

….my quads were sore killing me after 2 days of CrossFit in a row (my first time ever doing that) and after my run this morning I was pretty concerned about how I was actually going to make it biking or walking to campus. They were so tight I felt like I had rocks in my legs, it was rough. So after I showered and ate some breakfast I took to my yoga mat and foam roller for some serious stretching and loosening work. I realized while thinking up my blog post for today that I often list foam rolling as one of my exercises and I talk about it a lot, but I’ve never actually elaborated on what foam rolling is/does for you and how to do it. I’ve also been shocked to learn many runners DON’T use one! 

Allow me to Vanna White my foam roller! I bought mine with a Living Social deal for an online yoga store. You can get them in a variety of sizes and with or without the extra bumps – although I think the bumps add to the massage for me. 
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Foam rolling is basically a form of self massage. There are tons of websites and guides online on various exercises to do. I mainly just plop down my hips, quads, butt, hamstrings, etc on the foam roller and use my upper body to roll back and forth putting a lot of weight into the roller. I usually do a round before stretching or yoga and then another round after. Here are some great sites with foam rolling information: 

Runner’s World 

BodyBuilding.com

Prevention Magazine

Foam rolling is meant to speed recovery, increase flexibility, improve joint mobility, and prevent stiffness that may result in pulls or tears. I think, along with yoga, it is the best way for a runner to stretch and recover. 

I am making a super exciting recipe I found on pintrest on Friday so be on the lookout for the link and my review! 

Mileage – 3.3 miles, yoga, foam roll

QOD – One thing about racing is that it hurts. You better accept that from the beginning or you’re not going anywhere.

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RER’s 25 Days of Fitness and a Plank Challenge!!

For the next 25 days I will be doing Run, Eat, Repeat’s 25 Days of Fitness Challenge! And lucky enough for me day 1 lines up with day 1 of my 30 day plank challenge. Everyone knows the holidays are when people tend to put on a little extra weight, spend too much time “being merry”, eat a few dozens of Christmas cookies, and after a night of hitting the nog hard you wake up with a headache bad enough to cancel that Saturday morning workout. The great thing about a plank challenge and a lot of these fitness challenges are that you can do them in your living room while watching ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas!!! I mean, it doesn’t get better than that right? 

Of course I’ll be doing this on top of CrossFit and running because I can’t say no to my mama’s cookies. Here is the plank challenge I’ll be following: 
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I can’t believe Thanksgiving break is already over…bummer… but I will be back home again in 17 days!!! The next 9 days are my big push for papers and my performance jury, and then I just have to work, practice, and study for finals. I’m looking forward to lots of things over the next few weeks but to keep my sanity I will also need to work out hard, I have a feeling I will have quite a few late nights this week finishing up my semester long paper. 

On my plane ride back to Texas I’ll be meal planning for the next 2 weeks, making up my grocery list for tonight, and working hard on my paper. Hopefully I can knock a lot of that out tonight while I’m trapped in a confined space with no internet, because I’ve got a 6:45am wake-up for CrossFit tomorrow am! 

Mileage – Plank challenge, foam rolling 

QOD – May your stuffing be tasty and your turkey be plump. May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump. May your yams be delicious and your pies take the prize. May your holiday dinners stay off your thighs.

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