So after four weeks, 21 DanceFit classes, 6 sessions of circuit training, 84 mindful meals with lots of fruits and veggies, and more than 1,792 ounces of water, what have I learned to take with me beyond this month? A lot, actually!
Stay Focused, Stay Hydrated
Back in my magazine editing days, when we were close to going to press and working ‘til midnight was a thing I did every 7 weeks for a week, a fellow editor and I used to joke, “Stay focused, stay hydrated!” Her drink of choice was Diet Coke and mine was, boringly, water. (This is indicative of how I was the straight edge of the office. I am almost positive vodka was being chugged by those who will remain nameless. But I digress.) So I like water. But over the years, when raising small kids sometimes made me think, do I want to eat or sleep right now…(always sleep, haha!), I lost my way on the hydration thing. But now, I’m back! It was a little bit of adjusting week 1, but I have some strategies now. I have my favorite pint glass and I measured it out, it is a true pint, so four of those a day is 64 ounces. I used to live on seltzer, but plain water is a lot easier to chug, so now I probably only drink one pint of seltzer every two days and it’s totally fine. I keep a small post-it around and make four tick marks as the day goes on so I remember. And I take a water bottle with me when I’m going somewhere for a few hours. I fill water bottles for my kids every day, both for school and sports, so why not for myself? (This concept of self-care becomes a theme as well.)
Please Don’t Stop the Music
Music, for me, literally makes every workout awesome. Conversely, if there is no music, I am going to have a rough go of it. So it’s funny, the first few times I took Piloxing I was tinkering around with my settings and couldn’t hear Megs’ playlist, so I was dogging it. I was thinking, oh man, how am I going to make it? I really love this class but can’t seem to feel strong enough. My arms were like lead and I was ready for my nap...15 minutes in! Then it came to me: Rocky playlist, blasting. I need this. I grew up with two brothers and so I know every Rocky, Rambo, Van Damme and other fighting movie out there from the 80s and 90s, but Rocky/Stallone, my love for him is deep. So I built a “training” playlist heavy on the Rocky IV (Drago!!!! Sorry, I had to.) and boom, next Saturday I had a doable Piloxing class! I’m not going to say it’s easy, because that would be a hilarious lie, but I can do it! I just think of Rocky running through wintry Russia, or the Philly Italian Market, or up the museum steps! Sometimes you just need a little help in the mind over matter department, and for me, it’s music over matter all the way. (By the way, I can hear your playlists now Megs, and I love them!) So from this challenge I learned, let the music push you and inspire you. Take new songs or old faves you haven’t heard in a while from your instructors’ playlists and plug them right into your own Spotify or Amazon Music or whatever you use and let them make you smile and get excited for your next workout.
I love thinking of food as what you should include in your day, not exclude. What a concept. Don’t focus on not having this or that, just have lots of fruits and veggies with your smaller amount of this and that. Then have some water. And if you get to the end of the day and you’re still hungry, that’s ok, you can have something! Some rules of thumb for me to get in a good amount of fruits and veggies each day are: Make sure you do actually eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was a huge breakfast skipper, then over-eater at lunch, and then I didn’t feel so great. Now I make sure to have a breakfast when I get hungry. It’s not always first thing, sometimes it waits a couple of hours until say 10, but I feel much more in control of my hunger at lunch time and have a more reasonable one. Second, include one or two servings of fruit or vegetables in each meal, as opposed to trying to get them all in during one or two meals. Third, salads and soups with lots of veggies are your friends. Fourth, leftovers make it all possible, so I treasure my stockpile of pint and quart containers and love having everything from lunch portions to cut-up fruit ready to go. It takes almost no extra time to double a recipe and pack up half of it if you’re the kind of person happy with leftovers like I am. Fifth, there are some things in life that are designed to sabotage healthy eating, among them brunch and birthday parties. So I hosted brunch recently for my family, and I made the usual eggs, sausage and we had bagels, but I also did a huge veggie hash with all the colors of bell peppers and red onions; I roasted baby potatoes ‘til nice and crisp; and I made a huge fruit platter with everything from berries to pineapple. And my family loved it and these things are going to be the new normal at brunch! One more silly thing as an aside, through logging my meals I realized I pretty much live on black beans and avocados. ☺ I could have those every day.
Virtual Aids My Reality
I had heard wonderful things about the virtual classes since day one of coming into the DanceFit studio, but I’m not always the first person to adopt something that requires technology. However, I knew that once winter came and the snow days started racking up, I would love the option of working out at home, and I am so thrilled I gave it a chance. Virtual classes are now an integral part of my workout routine and my life. Whether it’s first thing in the morning before I even have to pack lunches for the kids, or last thing after Stella is in bed and the guys are reading Harry Potter, there is a class waiting for me right on my tablet. I get to say hi and see other women just like me getting their workouts in, and none of us have to brave the elements…unless you count the kids trying to sneak in, but it’s ok! I know the other moms will feel me on this point too: You’re still there if they really need you, but you get to, as Megs and Gina always soothingly say, “Take a quiet moment for yourself.” Hell yes!
Challenge the Children
Funny how I used to think that leaving the kids for any length of time to exercise or do anything for myself was somehow cheating them. Turns out, my kids love that I love my workouts. They see me come home happy and proud of myself, and they try out my Pilates moves and want to hear the latest songs we crank in Zumba. Our Spanish is improving…just kidding. It should though, my 2-year-old sings along to most Zumba songs somehow! They saw my Post-It with my 14-minute workout listed and they did it with Mike watching them and doing the counting and the timing—and he was laughing hysterically because they insisted on doing 5-minute wall sits, not 1-minute. And they were yelling, “This is so haaaaard!” the whole time, while laughing. My boys aren’t really too into competitive sports, but it makes me smile that they still definitely want to be in shape. Turns out, they love Pilates, boxing, weight lifting, and tumbling. I can’t ask for more really. And my little girl, well she said to me during my latest 14-minute workout, “Mama, I need a tank top. I just have a sweatshirt on!” I said, “Baby, you can exercise in whatever is comfortable for you.” She said, “Oh, ok. I do my tumble now.” Yeah, no regrets here on taking a moment for myself. It’s good for all of us.
The Perfect DanceFit for Me
This challenge solidified what I already knew about myself and DanceFit: I’m home! I’m so lucky to have found such a positive community of women who want to challenge themselves and have fun in the process. After my last dance class (of 7 years for me—more than 35 for my instructor!) came to an end, I wasn’t sure if I could ever capture that feeling of fun and community with my exercise again. I tried some other classes here and there and I tried doing it all on my own, but it wasn’t the same. But now, as my husband said just the other day, “Out of all the ways you can exercise, DanceFit is perfect for you. You make friends, you crank the music, it’s a community. It’s nothing like just going to the gym.” Exactly. And so to the rest of the year and the years ahead I say, let’s do this. Turn up the music.
Mom of 3, wife, business owner, ballet teacher and fitness instructor. Trying hard to raise healthy, happy and grateful children while running the studio of my dreams. Trying to stay FIT, flexible, stylish and take care of myself in the process!