Check in time!
Being back in 6FIT mode was a bit of a reality check for me. I’d been feeling pretty proud of myself for being fit and eating healthy enough – or so I thought. But by Week 2 I realized a few things including that I do not exercise as much as I think I do. Many of my days go like this: I get sleepy by 8pm but stay up late doing prep for the next day and mindlessly surfing the web unless my next book club meeting is coming up. Then I cannot fall asleep when I finally get into bed. I wake up at 5am no matter what but fall back to sleep right before 6am for a half hour or so. I bail on a totally awesome Virtual class because I have to get breakfast on the table and the kids ready for school. I finally get to work feeling tired so I rely on coffee (and not enough water) to get me through the work day. If I cannot leave early to take my favorite spin class, I go home and do the mom thing - feed the kids, hang with them, bathe them, and put them to bed - and I am tired again by 8pm. It's a bad cycle.
(Disclaimer: My husband is amazing and totally an awesome partner in life but this isn't about him. It's about me and setting my own boundaries and priorities for myself.)
When I do exercise regularly I tend to sleep longer and more soundly. I eat healthier food and drink more water. Eventually I have more energy to reduce my reliance on coffee and I am way more fun around the kids and nicer to my husband (see attached pic!). So I started jotting down notes to motivate me next time I feel like bailing on a morning Virtual class and I ended up with a long list.
Here are my "Top Ten" reasons for putting my excuses aside once 6FIT is over and taking a Virtual class:
10. Convenience - It's convenient! I can wear my exercise clothes to sleep in and roll out of bed by 5:55am, pop in my contacts, and log on to class by 6am.
9. Variety - Barre, cardio, strength training, Piloxing...there are so many different classes that you cannot get bored of the same workout. You think your arm muscles adapted to the weighted punching and the next day your legs on fire.
8. Privacy - #realtalk
Labor and delivery with my first born was tough. (If you don't have kids, cover your ears.) Recovery was harder. It took weeks before I was be able to sit or walk comfortably. There were things happening with my body that no one warned me about. While I wanted to exercise, I was afraid of doing it in public with all the, um, aftermath that comes with birthing a 9 pound human. Virtual classes are taken in the privacy of your own home so no one sees you, smells you, or hears you. Cast your insecurities aside and just do it.
7. Flexibility - If you're recovering from an injury, are pregnant/postpartum, or need to take it easy for whatever reason, the DanceFIT instructors can provide you with modifications or alternatives so you can fully participate like everyone else in class. Your classmates probably don't even notice - see #8 above.
6. Fun - Who doesn't love wacky jacks and punching and pretending to be a strong, graceful ballerina?
5. Forgiving - Whether it's your dog or the kids or an unsuspecting spouse/roommate walking around half-dressed, DanceFIT Virtual welcomes you and anyone else who may be joining your Virtual class. No judgement. Assuming anyone even notices because, again, #8.
4. Economical - Follow the studio on social media and sign up for monthly newsletters. There is always a special that makes it very reasonable to buy a class package. Or buy an unlimited monthly and take all the classes! One class is probably cheaper than the breakfast and/or lunch you have to buy if you didn't meal prep on Sunday.
3. Easy - Okay, the classes themselves are not easy but it is easy to set up a space in your home, sign up for Zoom, and log on. I live in a small apartment and have taken classes in a 3 by 6 foot hallway in the dark and on mute whenever we have family visiting and sleeping in our living room. I once used my iPhone to take a Stretch class at my office on a snow day. A few years ago I used liquor bottles as weights to take a class at my parents' house during the holidays (they have more liquor in the house than water bottles or canned goods). Improvise!
2. Inspiring - These are some of the women I've taken classes with: Mom of five carrying an infant while she breaks a sweat like no one is watching. Smart women with cool careers who also work for professional sports team in their free time. Mom of four with a deployed military spouse who always greets you with a smile. Single mom who travels frequently but still works out at her hotel while finding healthy meal options at an airport. Students. Professionals. Caretakers. All amazing women who manage to fit a class into their busy lives. No excuses!
And the number one reason to take a Virtual fitness class at DanceFIT...
“See” y’all soon in class!
I started working out to lose the baby weight after having my second daughter, Ruth. My moderate-to-severe asthma disappeared after having babies (the doctors chalk it up to hormones) and I was, for the first time in my life, able to exercise without having asthma issues. So, of course, I started exercising like I had never exercised before! I found DanceFit and started working on strength and cardio (and stretching! My first DanceFit class ever was Deep Stretch).
I kept making myself goals for my fitness; run two miles without stopping, go to the gym twice a week, take two DanceFit classes a week, try RunFit, etc. But none of these goals seemed super fun to me, they were just things I should to do for my personal health.
I signed Jane, my oldest, up for Tippy-Toes as soon as she was able and joined a gym (with in-house child care) to work more on my cardio. Then an interesting symbiotic relationship occurred between me and my kids: Jane immediately loved ballet and since she was in Tippy Toes and I was dancing with her, I loved it too! I took ballet as a kid, then jazz, tap, danced throughout elementary school but never excelled or loved it the way that Jane immediately did.
I don’t know when it all clicked (maybe it was more of a slow progression) but at some point along my fitness journey I realized that dance was “exercise class” for my kids. They looked forward to it all week so I thought maybe I should view fitness in the same way. It’s fun, it is social, and if it’s not fun, then why would I feel the need to spend my time on it?
Spring came, I started running outside with Ruth in a stroller, and I started truly looking forward to each workout. Running in the fresh air with friends felt amazing and I felt like a great role model for Ruth! The late night workouts at DanceFit were mental breaks for me, self care to see friends and sweat with them. I started taking Zumba, Pound, more musically driven dance-y classes. Then Ruth started taking ballet.
Last summer I trained for and ran a half marathon with Gina (cause workouts are better when they’re social, and especially when they’re 10 mile long runs that end in a downpour) and started truly looking forward to my workouts. This entire time my kids watched me prioritize fitness and myself, and came with me in the double stroller while I did practice runs or stayed with their Dad or a sitter while I did longer runs or classes. They wandered into the screen for Virtual DanceFit classes and danced along (still do!), they cheered me on at the finish line of the half marathon and I cried my eyes out.
Recently I signed up for an adult beginner ballet class at Boston Ballet. Now all three of us practice ballet together! I bought us a barre for Chanukah: Jane helps me with ballet technique, and Ruth helps me with stretching (she is so flexible!). We started doing bedtime yoga together. Jane and I started going for short morning runs together. They inspire me to exercise, stay fit, but most importantly to love doing it, and, at least so far, they are inspired by me the same way.
One of my most important New Year’s Resolutions is to work on my flexibility, for real.
In November my husband Alex and I came up with some goals to get us through the holidays without gorging on pie and sitting around all day (like we often do over the holidays…). Alex has a push-up goal, while my biggest goal involves visual improvement in my flexibility by Valentine’s Day (that way we can celebrate with a Date Night!).
Having a fitness friend and/or community is imperative to working out and stretching regularly. Range of motion has always been tough for me and I feel like it is inhibiting me from fully achieving my exercise goals. Big shout out to Gina though: she pushes me to (occasionally) wake up for a 6am hot pilates class and trains with me for races (and it TOTALLY helps to have a ballet teacher friend who can tell you exactly how to do the splits…) Thanks Gina! Because of her and the super-supportive DanceFit community I’ve been able to prioritize stretching in many of my workouts since I’ve set my goal, and have added the goal of going to a yoga class once a week.
After New Years we were driving back and forth to Maine with relatives, my youngest started at a new preschool, and both my girls are in the same ballet class for the first time! So while this was a bit of a tough week for me to start healthy eating and exercising again, I’m so thankful that 6fit started NOW because otherwise I’d be taking out all my stress on a giant bowl of mac and cheese (which I may or may not have done the night before 6fit started…)
Towards the end of last week I got super exhausted and all I wanted to do was cancel workouts and skip food prep so I pulled out a few ideas to trick myself into doing the healthy things. Firstly, I tried out a new workout class with a friend on Sunday. I love trying new things, especially in fitness, and this spin class is something I keep hearing about a lot so I went with a friend (telling myself it’s social, not fitness)… I also signed up for a virtual PiYO class on Sunday because I LOVE PiYO (I took the instructor training, and another goal of mine is to teach a class!) so that made me excited to work out. Does anybody else buy fitness clothes when they’re trying to workout more? Cause at least that way I’m excited to get dressed to workout!
And FYI I did grocery delivery and am delaying food prep because I just can’t. Birthday party in the morning, two workouts in the afternoon, sounds like enough to me! Still got to surf some favorite cookbooks (I love cookbooks) and come up with some ideas for the week.
Here’s how I’m organizing the food I want to prep for the week:
week 1: granola
week 2: chocolate chip oat muffins
week 1: cabbage soup, greek salad
week 2: pepper cheese casserole, chicken goat cheese salads
week 1: date chocolate dip with apples
week 2: date chocolate dip with apples
veggie for the week:
week 1: kale and onions sautéed
week 2: broccoli and cauliflower roasted
week 2: kale chips?
New goals, new resolutions, new me! The clock had yet to strike midnight when my Facebook feed was filled with everyone's updates highlighting the chance of a fresh new start in 2019. I admit it - I rolled my eyes a little.
Years ago I would have had posted the same thing. In fact, I used to have a motto for every year - Debt Free '03, Survive '05. And those mottos really helped me get through the year and achieve my goals. (Coincidentally, 2004 was my first year of law school so you can see where I was going with those mottos!) My whole life has been about achieving goals and planning for the next stage. But this year I just want to be. No big goals. No new life plans. No particularly difficult effort towards anything notable.
By now you're probably thinking - this is a 6FIT spokesperson!?!?! For the New Years session? Womp, womp. But hear me out.
Sometime around the time I hit 37 and had my second child, I set a big goal: Fabulous at 40. I wanted a new career, a new personal style, and a renewed commitment to being incredibly fit. Like "is she 30 or 40? fit".
Then 2017 happened. My beloved grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and I lost her in 14 days. My perfect little baby had brain surgery and was diagnosed with a second rare genetic disorder. Work got bananas and I was promoted to a high level position. Yet, I was grieving, exhausted, and stressed out. I ended up in a walk-in clinic with high blood pressure, started losing my formerly fabulous hair, and gained more weight than I ever had before (pregnancy aside). I looked and felt 5 years older in a span of 5 months. So much for being Fabulous at 40!
Then a "new year" comes along and I declare 2018 will "better". Of course, my husband then receives a once in a lifetime job offer that would allow us to move close to my hometown and extended family. So he accepts the job with the caveat that we will not move until my retirement pension vests...in 2020....when I turn 41. So here I am. At the same job. For two more years. But I am supposed to find a new career at 40! The year felt like it dragged on.
Why did I feel this way? Why do we feel the need to make changes at a certain age? Why do we feel the need to turn a new leaf when the year "begins"? And why do we feel disappointed when things don't work out as planned? Life happens when it happens. Death comes when we do not expect it. New opportunities do not wait for the "perfect" time.
Look, I am not discouraging anyone from setting goals or using the "new" year to make big changes. You do you. But I am saying that if you don't actually make those changes or you end up somewhere you never imagined you would be, it is okay. Maybe you bail on 6FIT halfway through like I had to when my daughter had surgery. Maybe you win the whole damn thing because you're on fire right now. Whatever you do, the 6FIT community is here to support you.
So take this 6FIT as a time to focus on you but if it all gets derailed, it's fine. There will be another 6FIT later this year. A new month is just around the corner. A new day is a few hours away. Every moment is a chance to be a new, better you - just like every moment is a chance to just keep being the amazing person you are right now.
Andrea’s Week 1: Times are A-Changing!
The Summary: This week I worked out 6 of the 7 days, ate at least 6 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, drank 64 oz of water per day, and only ate sweets once. My workouts ranged from Pilates and BalletFit to circuit training with free weights and Piloxing (part boxing, part Pilates).
-Working from a place of what you should eat (mostly vegetables and fruits) and drink (lots of water!) versus what you shouldn’t really works for me. I learned quickly that to fit in 6 servings of veggies and fruit per day, I really should incorporate some into every meal. It’s nice to cut up all the fruit for my kids and actually prioritize eating some myself. I joke that all I usually do is cut up fruit and I never get any!
-My skin looks better! Is it the water? The extra sweating and exercise? My skin is more even-toned and less dry, and it’s freakin cold out! Whatever it is, I will take it.
-I am not just going to drink 64 oz of water without making a conscious effort. I need to track that and remind myself throughout the day. Maybe this will become more second-nature as I keep at it. Previously it’s been convenient to never need bathroom breaks as a stay-at-home mom, but perhaps not the healthiest!
-I like to have a late-evening snack while watching TV. We eat dinner really early with the kids (5:30-6 latest), so by the time we’re watching our shows in the 9’s or 10’s I would like a little something. I cut it out for several days, but it makes me sad. So I need to figure out what I’m going to allow myself before bed. Popcorn, nuts, whatever the ideas are, they should probably be salty because that’s what I always want. Is this ok or is this going to be my Achilles heel?
-I loved my fitness classes and exercising, I feel myself getting stronger and increasing my endurance. I see a lot of people doing “double-headers” where they take back-to-back classes, and I am still skeptical that I can (or want to) do those. I feel like I give every class everything I’ve got and I leave pretty spent. I’m interested to see how this may change as time goes on.
-Oh, and my husband hit his goal weight this week, hahaha! One week of my challenge and he’s down like 10 pounds. Men!
Thanks Andrea! Andrea is one our New YearsFIT spokeswomen!
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I have always appreciated Michael Pollans simple food rules. I try and practice his rules when shopping the supermarket and putting food on the table for my family.
This summer with our busy schedules, teaching dance workshops every day & my son's baseball schedule in the evenings, I am sad to say our plates have not been as colorful as Michael Pollan would have liked. A colorful plate is always more beautiful & aesthetically pleasing, but it also means access to a wider array of nutrients to benefit your health. With 3 active kids we can't keep enough fruit & vegetables in our house.
It is rare that I have a Saturday off of teaching, but today was a quiet & special family day. It was gorgeous out and we started with a walk around Lexington & Concord and had a delicious outdoor lunch at Main Street Cafe. My salad was delicious!
In the afternoon, my sister in law and I put the wagon in the car and headed into Boston to Haymarket. We parked on Milk Street (metered parking) and walked about 10 minutes to the market so we didn't have to pay for full day parking.
As one of America's oldest open air markets, Boston's Haymarket is a cultural cornerstone of the city. It is minutes from the North End and a bustling hub for fresh fruits & vegetables. It is open YEAR ROUND, although I hear the winter months are mostly fish.
The best part - the PRICES. The first sign we saw was for grapes....
$1 a bag! WHAT! I paid more than $6 at Wegmans last week!
$2 for a HUGE watermelon
$1 for 4 pints of blackberries
$1 for 4 cucumbers
$1 for 7 gala apples
$1 for 4 mangos (I 💕 mangoes, but they are usually SO expensive)
$1 for 2 pineapples
$1 for organic strawberries
We had spent $9 and our wagon was full, but we kept shopping. My niece was covered in fruits & veggies.
Why is it so cheap? Haymarket is the last chance to sell, which is why prices go down throughout the day. It's cheap because it's unsold food bought from markets and distributors. There's nothing wrong with it, but if you bought 10 boxes of strawberries because they were cheap, you better make a lot of smoothies the day you buy them!
When we couldn't fit anymore we headed back to the car very proud of our purchases. Round trip with our walk & shopping took less than 2 hours and we came home with a lot fresh produce. We ended the day eating huge salads outside. The kids loved the giant fruit salad we made.
Michael Pollan would be proud.
I have seen a lot of fitness professionals try the Yoga Club subscription box and receive adorable high end fitness apparel, so I thought I would give it a try! Subscription boxes have become the new rage. There is literally a box for every single want, like or need. As a dancer & fitness instructor I live in yoga pants, so I thought this would be fun!
Yoga Club is a subscription service that delivers on trend, brand name fitness apparel for a discounted rate. I subscribed to the $79/ month box for 3 items which you can cancel anytime. There is also another membership of receiving a box every 3 months for $89.
Here is what mine looked like for July:
Loved it! The sports bra was from a The Free Yoga (A $60 value),
The top was Kenneth Cole and the fit was all wrong on me so I exchanged it for another top. When I went through the exchange process it was really easy and gave me 6 options to choose from when exchanging. I picked this fun cotton yoga tank from L.A. Soul which will come in my next box.
The yoga pants were black (with a retail value of $68) which weren't too exciting, but if you know me I love anything and everything black so they will get worn often. They are from the brand MPGSPORT.com which I have never worn before, but they were great for a barre & pilates workout last night.
Everything was well made & comfortable. I like the brands they chose, but I hope they switch it up and give me some more exciting things next box :) My box had a $109 savings if I bought these items full price. I will keep you posted on my next box.
DISCOUNTS: No one asked me to write this blog, but I thought our fitness clients would love to hear about it. The opinions are all my own, but if you do sign up with my link YOU will get 25% coupon and my next box will be discounted. Please use my referral link here and let me know if you have any questions. If you subscribe, I would love to see what you get in your first box.
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!