Run Forest Run!

I just spent the last 30 minutes with 6 children ages 6 to 12. They are at the club for a week long summer camp. The trainers were asked to volunteer for a 30 minute “session.” Let’s just say that if you ever need to entertain children and they are expecting physical activities choose things where they can run. Don’t get all creative and make them be zoo animals (which is what I wanted to do). They’ll just ask if they can play a game and you’ll end up playing freeze tag and getting your butt kicked by kids who are as tall as your leg. It will be a humbling experience.


Vacation Challenge

Since my wonderful clients will be on their own during my upcoming vacation I don’t want them to feel neglected¬† -or slack off – so I thought I should put together a “Vacation Challenge” for them and anyone who feels like participating. There may be prizes. There will definitely be glory and gold stars!Gold stars

The Vacation Challenge (MY vacation, YOUR challenge) is as follows:

Over the week I am gone,

  • Come into the gym, or do an hour-long workout outside, at least as many times as we normally meet – 1, 2 or 3 times. (5 points per time)
  • Come into the gym, or workout elsewhere, extra times (10 points each)
  • Try a class you don’t usually take (10 points each – and yes, if you come in an extra day AND take a new class that’s 20 points. Points are cumulative.)
  • If you already take classes, give yourself 5 points for taking the ones you usually go to.
  • Complete a total of 10 miles on the Expresso bikes, or on a real bike outside, over the week (10 points for each 10 miles)
  • Complete a total of 3.2 miles (5K) on the treadmill or outside (10 points for each 5k)
  • Try something new in the gym or elsewhere (the pool, the climbing wall, walking or biking to work or doing errands, belly dancing, whatever… 10 points each)

If you want to come in to workout but don’t know what to do try these circuits:


  • Rowing machine (5 min)
  • AMT (5 min)
  • Wave (5 min)
  • Stairs (5 times up and down)
  • Treadmill (uphill 5 min)
  • Repeat a second time – that should be about an hour


Either choose 5-10 of the Cybex Eagle machines and go through that circuit 2-3 times or do the following

  • Walking Lunges with overhead extension (hold a ball or bar)
  • Bicep curls and overhead tricep presses on the Bosu
  • Functional Trainer (FT) (the one with the arms in the corner) 1 arm row (facing machine) then 1 arm punch (facing away from machine)
  • FT core twist – either straight across, top to bottom, or bottom to top or all three
  • Sumo squats (wide stance, feet pointing out) holding a kettle bell
  • Pick your own favorite cardio and do it for 5 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times

Keep track of what you do and we’ll tally the points when I return.¬† Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and get sweaty. Don’t worry that you haven’t “targeted your core” or worked your arms. Just keep moving.¬† And don’t forget that you can totally steal other people’s exercises. If you observe something interesting while you’re on the treadmill, go ahead and try it. You don’t think I come up with all these tortures on my own do you?


Toot toot and a “doh!”

Remember how I said I’d be tooting my own horn here? Well, it’s time.

I ran the Skip Matthews Memorial Run today. I did the 4 miles in 33:57 which translates to a pace of 8:30 a mile. That’s the fastest I’ve ever run which is pretty freakin’ awesome since I really didn’t train for it. I didn’t even decide to run it until Wednesday. And, in my age group, I came in 9 out of 30! Seriously, in every other race I’ve run I’ve been last or second to last in my age group so this is quite an achievement.

Side ego-checking note: I, uh, actually left my house to do the run on Saturday but that didn’t work out so well since it wasn’t scheduled until Sunday. I’m SO good at cross referencing brochures and calendars.


Addendum to last post

As someone in a profession wherein I am somewhat responsible for a person’s health and wellbeing I feel it is my duty to provide this public service announcement:

Always wear sunscreen.

I did not do so yesterday so in addition to a new friend or two I have a lovely scarlet back and some serious “tan” lines that will now render it difficult to wear the lovely new dresses I recently purchased for a wedding and rehearsal dinner next week. Go me.


Living in the gap

In a perfect world everyone would always be happy, content, and never have a bad hair day. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world (and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a good hair day). We live in a world where things happen. Your tire goes flat. Your child fails a class. They run out of your favorite flavor at Ben and Jerry’s. How we choose to respond to the things that happen to or around us is the real test. I used the word “choose” in the last sentence deliberately. If you’ve ever read the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” you’ve heard about “living in the gap.” What that means is that there is a gap between something happening and how we chose to respond to it. If we “live in the gap” we take a couple moments to think about how to react, not just have a knee jerk reaction. I’d venture to guess that if the Dalai Lama, Tom Cruise and I each got cut off by some jerk on the highway we’d have completely different responses. I for one would likely swear, call the other driver bad names (although not so they could read my lips), and then sit there stewing in a new found bad mood. The Dalai Lama would probably smile, say a prayer for the other driver’s safety and continue on as calm and content as usual. I’m afraid to think what Tom Cruise might do. I’ll let you use your imagination. I’m thinking something along the lines of jumping up and down on the hood.

I’ve had several experiences with people who’s “gap” is about a millisecond long and their response is always stress and negativity. On a stress scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being lying on your favorite beach and 10 being the death of a loved one, a person shouldn’t always be living at level 9. It’s just not healthy. The thing is, the reason the Dalai Lama, Tom Cruise and I all respond differently isn’t a matter of biology, it’s a matter of training.

One of the things that stresses me out is my To Do list. It never ends and only gets longer. It’s my own fault. I’ll start new projects, sign up for activities, and generally fill my schedule to the breaking point. In order to “live in the gap” when I start to get bogged down and freaked out by all the things I need to get done and the lack of time to do them, I’ve started looking at my list and thinking, which of these things cannot wait until tomorrow? Turns out, very few things I think I have to do actually have a must do now deadline. In fact, when I started looking at my list objectively I realized that half the things I think I need to do NEVER need to be done. Much to my chagrin, the world will not end if I don’t write a blog post every day. Or if I don’t respond to every email within seconds of receiving it. Or I don’t move all my pictures over to Snapfish. Or I don’t get in 5 workouts this week. And yet I spend way more mental energy than necessary trying to figure out when I’m going to find the time. It also makes me not able to relax during down time. Instead of enjoying the moment, I’m constantly thinking how I “really should be doing something.” Sound familiar?

I think I had a “Living in the Gap” breakthrough today. I spent 2 hours just sitting by the pool at the gym. I could have been “working out” or doing some sort of paperwork but instead I slowed down, took a few deep breaths and had a remarkably relaxing afternoon. I even made some new friends in the process. If that’s not more important than whatever else I could have been doing I don’t know what is.


Q & A with the Accidental Trainer

Q: Amy, you must workout all the time. What do you do to stay fit?

A: Sadly, now that fitness is my job I feel like I workout much less than I did when I worked behind a desk. I teach classes but because I have to make it through the whole thing I don’t use as much weight or energy as I would if I was a participant. Also, the last thing I want to do when I’ve just spent 10 hours at the gym with clients is spend another couple hours there. What I have gotten much better at doing is squeezing in short, intense workouts in the hour or so I may have between clients. I have to be very flexible and “just do it” when I have the opportunity such as when a client cancels. For instance, I got up this morning to go to work and had a voice mail from my first client saying she wasn’t coming in. I could have gone back to bed but since I was half way through my breakfast already I decided to go for a run.

As for what I do when I workout, that depends – on time, on what I have in my locker clothes or equipmentwise, and what I feel like doing. I didn’t get to be in the shape I’m in by torturing myself through workouts I hate. Sure there were times when I didn’t want to do something but I either muscled through it or chose to do something else. There are days where the thought of getting on a treadmill makes me want to curl into the fetal position so instead I’ll get on a bike, go swimming, take a class, lift weights, or even run outside instead. For me it’s all about variety. That’s why the first thing I trained for was a triathlon. I could choose my workouts based on three different sports.

The best tip I can give a person who wants to start working out but doesn’t know where to start is to just start moving. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something. Getting up out of your chair is the hardest part of the whole workout.


Ma’am, put down the brownie and step away from your vehicle

I’m sorry, I can’t be held responsible for my actions re: chocolate (over)consumption. According to researchers quoted in Shape magazine chocolate has addictive properties. Well duh! You didn’t need a test tube and a lab coat to tell me that. However, it is nice to know that my evening fixation on getting something chocolate into my person is just that, a “fix”ation.

  • “Eating [chocolate] can boost levels of seratonin and dopamine, two chemicals responsible for regulating mood and behavior.”
  • “…chocolate contains the same alkaloid compounds linked to alcoholism.”
  • “[chocolate] contains theobromine, a stimulant used in place of codeine in cough syrup.”
  • “…scientists connected some of the chemicals in chocolate to mood elevators found in marijuana.”

Thank goodness and Our Lady of Mocha for 70 calorie fudgcicles.