My new 30 day challenge

We’re ready for our next big challenge.


These past few weeks after the hype of the Nike Women’s Marathon has ended it’s reign, I’ve been struggling with what to do. Yes, I’ve been doing lots of yoga and it feels great to see all my friends at Downtown, but I really miss running. I miss how good it felt to know I ran really far. And just the excitement of running. My Saturday mornings feel empty. I really miss the routine I had going on – waking up early to run which usually followed with yoga of some kind later in the day. That feeling of accomplishment and having the whole day to do whatever I pleased is gone. But that Cecilley… she’s been conjuring up a plan for herself post NWM this whole time. And I’ve been conned into this plan of hers too (only because I miss spending so much time with her and this is my way of making that happen). I’m ready for another lifestyle transformation and Cecilley needs me. She needs my persistence, dedication to something and my additive personality to get her through the next 30 days.

My new challenge, which I’ve chosen to accept, will be to complete the Tracy Anderson 30-Day Method.

To give you the background story, last spring/summer when the weather was much warmer, Cecilley and I would squeeze extra runs our our day with the Bullfrog Babes Buns of Steel. This running club of ours was just the thing we needed to kick start our afternoons at work. The group consisted of 5 ladies from our office (including Cecilley and myself) and the goal would be to run 3-5k on our lunch hour. This, of course, depended on a multitude of factors: was everyone up to going? was it to humid? did people have afternoon meetings? Keep in mind we do not have showers at the office, so getting really sweaty wasn’t the plan. Nor an option. But one day Cecilley decided to shake things up and introduced Tracy Anderson to us all. This changed everything.

The Tracy Anderson Method is designed to straighten those tiny muscles connected to your bones and joints and help women stay strong as they age. We often don’t think about what’s going on underneath our major muscles, which is exactly what Tracy wants you to discover. It doesn’t hurt that Tracy is a super fit girl! I trust she knows what’s she’s doing. And I’ve always been intrigued by infomercials, books, and DVD about fitness routines you should try. Do they actually work? Or is it just a scam? My bet’s on Tracy!

The few months left leading up to our race, the BF Babes were taking Tracy to the roof where we’d do the floor portion of her exercise. The Tracy Anderson 30-Day Method is divided into two parts: a cardio section and the core/arm/this is really going to hurt afterwards section, which involves the weight and toning stuff. I can see why celebrities have jumped on board the Tracy train – this stuff kills! But I really liked it, and so did my work gals.

So here we go. As of November 5th I will follow the strict rules and abide to every word Tracy says. I will also make sure Cecilley sticks to the plan as well. I’m not doing this alone! The 30 Day guide comes complete with an instructional book and dance DVD outlining everything you need to know. But The Method is not just an exercise plan for you to follow. No, no Tracy demands you cut out everything else. If you really want to best results you do only what she says. And you stick to her dietary plan. Oh boy. This will be the part I struggle with – no running or yoga makes Jill go crazy! We shall see if I survive. This is where I’m going to need Cecilley. We are a duo after all!

Running the hills in San Fran was one thing, taking on 30-Days of Tracy is another. I promise before and after photos and updates along the way.


More FitStreets

This is Jill, not Sarah. But you get the picture.


What: FitStreets
When: Mondays @ 6pm
Where: Integrative Health Institute (46 Sherbourne Street)
Who: Andie Clement


After two weeks away (cottaging and a long weekend), I got to go to FitStreets again! Yay! Even better? I convinced my friend Sarah to come with me. Double yay! After the fact, I realized it was my last FitStreets of the season (Andie has two more Monday sessions scheduled, so time to check it out is running short!). After struggling with fitness and how I felt about it the week before, I was ready for a hard workout, and Andie delivered.

Sarah and I weren’t alone: we had two fellow FitStreeters with us today. Four was a good number, not so small that anyone got left behind or singled out, but not so big that it was a struggle to stick together. We did a route I had done before (you have to admit it’s impressive it took 6 sessions before we replicated a route) but the exercises were different. We focused on legs tonight, with a healthy dose of push-up thrown in for good measure.

It’s funny how FitStreets (and work-outs in general) is like that. The last two times I went, I thoroughly got my ass kicked. But this time, I felt good, strong. Sure, I was exhausted by the end, but it wasn’t a heaving, red-in-the-face, wanting to cry exhaustion. So much of how successful your workouts are depends so much on everything you do leading up to it: how much you’ve worked out before, what you ate, how much you slept even how your work day went. While I’ve always understood this, experiencing it — and making decisions around it — is quickly becoming a priority for me.

I think I need to get a fancy GPS watch. What do you recommend?



FitStreets Round #4

No pictures this time, so you’ll have to handle seeing this one again!


Well, what goes around comes around. With my last FitStreets post, I was getting cocky. So I was well overdue for an ass-kicking work-out.

I missed FitStreets last week, thanks to the long weekend and a sport I’d like to call extreme Olympic watching. So I was ready to roll when August 13 came around. And it hurt from beginning to end. Steve (hi Steve!) made me look like an out-of-shape slowpoke this week. It certainly helped put things into perspective.

The night started off with a longer run to UnderPass Park. (If you haven’t been yet, you should go. It’s fascinating and fun!). There we conquered by biggest fitness weakness: my upper chest. I’ve tricked myself into thinking I have decent upper body strength. I can do push-ups and planks, see? But oh no. That’s a lie. Tonight, I could barely do the swing tricep dips, I couldn’t do the pull-ups, I couldn’t lift myself off the ground. I could do the box jumps, which saved any last shred of dignity I had.

After that, we ran to Trinity Church. By this time, I was feeling it in my legs. Our pace felt significantly slower than it has in the past and I am totally to blame. I’m not sure what it is. Thanks to lunch time yoga, I’ve significantly increased the number of workouts I do in these past couple weeks. And Jill and I did an epic bike ride to the Junction and back to check out the Junction Flea Market the day before. I think it was a combination of both these things. Regardless: my legs were tired. So when Andie told us we were going to do 3 sets of “6 burpees and a sprint,” I thought I was going to puke.

I didn’t, but it was close.

After Trinity, we ran to Sherbourne Common. I have never been so excited for ab work in my life. Stand-up push-ups were followed by leg lifts, crunches and butterfly crunches. Then we did a short running loop, ending with a sprint from Jarvis to Sherbourne. Well, Andie and Steve sprinted. I tried to.

In the end, we did 5k in 27:33. And I woke up with a sore chest and upper back. Good times.

I sound whiny, but I’m grateful. Too often I get into a run/yoga/run work-out routine and this keeps things fresh — and keeps me aware of how many other things there are too work on.

A Barreworks Review

What: Barreworks Mixed Level
When: Sunday @ 10am
Where: Barre Works (625 Queen Street West, 3rd Floor)
Who: Paulina Witkowski

I did take a picture of the studio!

Remember my friend Tiffany? Yes, the crazy yin obsessed yogi (just like me) who convinced me to do my first 30 day challenge? Well, it just so happens she hasn’t been around the studio much these days. But nor have. I’ve become a regular at Kula for the month of July. More on that later! JK will be so proud of me and the positive things I have to say.

But Tiffany hasn’t been to Kula. Where could she have run off to? Well I got to the bottom of this and figured out where in the world Tiffany Astle went.

I’ve come to discover, Tiffany hasn’t been practicing yoga at all. Nope, Tiffany my friends, been cheating on Moksha Downtown with Barreworks! What? Oh my! But after my first introduction to the ballet style work out at the Extension Room, I honestly can’t blame her.

Even though the Extension Method class I went to was clearly not my most graceful of work out experiences for me. Let me tell you it was still a tough workout, despite the coordination needed to fluidly dance around. This type of work out requires your total body, every muscle in your arms, legs, butt and face. You lift your arms, kick your legs and point your toes and you’re told to do this while smiling. Ugh? Believe it or not smiling is a work out for your face. Go figure, no wonder dancers look so happy all the time. You can only imagine how intrigued I was by this Barreworks Tiffany spoke of. I assumed it would be of similar style and require the same amount of coordination that Jennifer demanded of me. But that Tiffany, she wouldn’t give up. She was so persistent on having me tag along for a class. And she promised there would be no dancing. Okay, maybe the occasional hop-step-hop-step sequence, but I could handle that much, at least I hoped so. For weeks, I had yet to go. Can you blame me, every time is saw Tiffany she would complain about how much she hurt or how badly the teacher kicked her ass that day. This doesn’t help with the convincing aspect, Tiffany.

Until one day, Tiffany and I finally scheduled an actual date outside of yoga, (see we really are friends) and this date would include a Barreworks class. Hey, where your first class is only $10, you really have no reason to not try it at least once, so I sucked it up and signed up for the Barreworks Mixed Level class. The bran new studio still smelled and shined of newness. It was even more beautiful when I actually entered the studio. It’s spacious, friendly, and the owner (a too cute older gentleman) couldn’t do enough for you. To my surprise, I felt right at home.

Barreworks as limited classes, four different types to be exact, but I guarantee each time you take the same class it will be different. Paulina was our teacher on that Sunday. No wonder it was called Mix Level because we covered everything. Every possible Barrwork exercise and we used all the different props at least a zillion times. This was another total body explosion! But not in a hard, “there is no possible way I can get through this” kind of way. I felt strong, silly and got a good sweat on that morning. And what I really liked, we were constantly moving. But there were breaks for water so don’t stress to badly. It’s meant to be fun remember. Yes, there is a serious component if you want to make it so, but for me, when I can see myself and see how ridiculous I look when I try to plie I cannot take myself seriously. Maybe one day with a little practice. Or a lot of practice. But until then, I would recommend Barreworks as a substitute to the gym. Go with a bunch of your girlfriends (sorry guys there were zero males in my class of 25-30) not to say that boys are not allowed at Barreworks, as I’m sure they are. I see Barreworks as the perfect fit recommendation for those people I see in yoga classes all antsy and disappointed because yoga wasn’t a hard enough workout. There are restful elements, like yoga, but you have work for that reward. You will sweat enough to work your whole body real good no matter your dancing skill or fitness level. Barreworks is designed for everyone – another major plus – I felt this about the space as soon as I arrived and I really appreciate that. You too, will have fun dancing and sculpting your body, that I can promise. Maybe go to a class that Tiffany is at. She will make it that much more fun. Trust me.

Take this class if: You’re on the hunt for a total body workout, you won’t dread going to.

Sister Act: FitStreets




What: FitStreets
When: Monday @ 6:30
Where: On the street! (But actually at the Integrative Health Institute at 46 Sherbroune Street)
Who: Andie

Erin’s story:

I don’t remember how I found out about FitStreets. Twitter? Andie’s blog? (Which you should all read, by the way. It’s great!). But as soon as I learned the first time was FREE, I was in. (Fit Girls tip: the amount of free and cheap classes in this city is insane, if you are looking for them.) Jill and I signed up for the 6:30pm Monday class because it was close to my house and the 6:30 start time was more manageable than most post-work classes. (How people can hit up 6pm classes right after a 9-5 shift, I will never know.) Jill and I met at my house and walked over. We probably should have ran, but we didn’t know what we were in for and needed to conserve energy. And we were still feeling the effects of our Muay Thai class the week before. Andie met us inside and was really welcoming and friendly. We signed a bunch of paperwork, and were off. There was one other student in the class (??) with us, a FitStreets regular.

We ran (fast!) down the Esplanade to a small park for our first top. Kicks and stretches. Then we ran (fast!) to the Distillery for some lunges and tricep dips. Then we ran (fast!) to Sherbourne Common to jump on things and to do push-ups. Then we ran (fast!) to another park for ab work. I think you’re getting the idea. At every red light, we did squats. Each running segment was between 2 and 10 minutes, at about a 5:30 pace, sometimes faster. Andie and Jill were off and running, chatting the whole way. I could keep up, but this class taught me two things: 1)I’ve been a lay runner since the Goodlife Half Marathon and that needs to change and 2) I need to turn these speed dreams into reality.


This is a tricep dip. I do not look very happy demonstrating it.


I really liked breaking up the running with strength training. I don’t get a lot of strength training in my fitness routine, beyond random bursts of “I will do sit-ups and planks EVERYDAY!” that last two weeks before I abandon them. And the frequent breaks meant I could work on running fast for short periods of time — something else I’m not used to and need to do more of.

We finished the class in just under an hour. Total run time: 24.11. Total distance covered: 4.5k. A solid first FitStreets effort, I’d say.

As soon as the class was over, Jill and I were talking about how we needed to turn our weekday runs into FitStreets runs. No more breaks! More planks and things! I hope it lasts.

Jill’s story:


FitStreets was so great! Who would have thought the idea of working out during a run, on the street, with no equipment or props would be so brilliant? You tell yourself now this sounds simple enough, but will you actually do it? Probably not. I sure didn’t, but I would try to convince myself I should do other activities before or after a run. But now I actually will. Or at least I’ll think more about what these other activities can be, since Erin and my FitStreets meet-up with Andie.

Andie was also super great! From the moment we arrived for our meet up, I knew it was going to be fun. The atmosphere, the vibe and Andie’s friendly personality made everything feel okay. I bet this girl can get away with murder. Imagine a friendly, sweet girl as your trainer. She’d tell you to drop and do a million push ups and you would becasue she’d be smiling at you the whole time. At least I would anyway. Andie made me feel safe, comfortable and excited. She was also so nice to chat with! Thanks for listening to me for pretty much the whole way, Andie. I hope I didn’t talk your ear off too badly!

I was so ready to get fit on the street! Ditching the gym is exactly what I’ve done since my half marathon training began. This was not by choice, however. It’s really hard to run, work out, and do yoga all the time. FitStreets taught me doing all these things is indeed possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if the JCC sent out a Missing Person ad for me. But that’s okay because I will be found on the street! Does anyone else think of Step Up 2: The Streets whenever you heard the word street? No? Maybe it’s just me.

I’m demonstrating the twisted lunge we did! Much more fun than tricep dips!


I kept struggling with the idea of what to do about my membership because I am someone who needs variety in my work out routine. If not, I get bored. Andie knew exactly how I felt and knew exactly how to carter to my short attention span. One reason I hate doing short runs is I can’t justify running 3 or 4k for 20 minutes and that’s my work out. No way, a work out that doesn’t last at least an hour seems dumb to me. And an hour plus work out in this heat? You’ve got to be kidding me! But, again, Andie knew what she was doing by including various body workouts into our run, not only did the hour fly by but the run was actually enjoyable. It’s genius!

After walking away from FitStreets that Monday evening, as Erin mentioned, our new running plan is to be just like Andie. She’s upbeat and lovely, but also made us work. I took to every instruction of hers like an excited little puppy. I just wanted to do it all and more.

Andie the Fit Geek was fast (if that wasn’t made clear by Erin) and the ideal trainer. We ran at a much faster pace than I probably would have done on my own, but again that’s where hitting the streets with a group and a trainer comes in handy. You will actually do all the things you say you will, and you will actually push yourself a little more knowing there is someone telling you what to do next. The route we ran was the perfect distance to complete all the park exercises — all those jump squats, the core work and leg lifts was tough — but not to the point of exhaustion. It was challenging, but in a way that left you wanting more. Maybe that’s Andie clever methodology?

Erin and I are not only making new friends (thanks Andie!) while being fit, we’re discovering there is so much you can do, in terms of keeping fit, in this city while on a budget. And you don’t need fancy things to do it. FitStreets is one of the best examples we’ve come across so far. I highly recommend it! FitStreets works for all and any fitness level, so there is no excuse not to try it at least once. And you’re first meet up is free! Okay, now there are zero excuses. Trust me, Andie will take care of you, and it will be fun. I promise!

Extension moves like Jennifer


What: Allegro Ballet Boot Camp
When: Tuesday @ 6:30
Where: The Extension Room (30 Eastern Avenue)
Who: Jennifer Nichols

I’m putting it out there – I always wanted to be a dancer growing up. Always. I just can’t help myself with movies like Save the Last Dance, Center Stage, and Step Up (I had to throw in a Channing Tatum reference!). Not to mention, I idolized Stephanie Tanner as a kid. Her fun aerobic routines that would get Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey sweating up a storm just to keep up. Stephanie was clearly my favorite, she could totally relate to my middle child symdrom.

To this day I still hold a slight resentment towards my mother for not enrolling me in dance as a child. But if my dancing skills at the Extension Room were any indication of what my early years would have been like, I should probably thank my Mom for saving me a lot of embarrassment. Thanks Mom, I guess.

First discovery I made about dancers, no wonder their bodies are completely amazing. What they do, it’s not easy! And here I thought I was flexible — to a certain degree — because of yoga. But no. If anything this Ballet Boot Camp put me to shame. I had no idea what Ballet Boot Camp was until Cecilley brought it up once. And since this day, I’ve wanted nothing more then to try it. Clearly, work out dancing would be amazing. Apparently it’s the new work out craze, and no wonder. I would love to Ballet Sculpt every chance I had – if it meant I’d be on my way like Billy Elliott. Lucky for me, Team In Training mentor Cory Pagett, was planning a cross training event for us (as a mentor it is your duty to plan a fun run or something for the group to do outside our weekly runs). Cory planned classes at the Extension Room for us. Oh boy! destiny awaits, I would Take the Lead once and for all.

Fat chance.

Walking into the studio, I wasn’t afraid. But having left, it took some of my confidence with it. I will be back for this! I should blame Cory for his strong emphasis on the fact that no classical dance experience is required. Lies! Okay, may be that’s not entirely true. If you have some dance knowledge it will help a lot. Don’t go into this particular class blindsided – though you’ll probably be better off than I was. And having a bit of rhythm wouldn’t hurt.

The Extension Room has a welcoming intimidation to it, so don’t be fooled by the niceness it portrays. It will kick your butt and sole all at the same time. But will leave you wanting more. How? I don’t really know. I think it’s Jennifer and her hypnotizing movements. If only I moved and looked the like Jennifer. God love her for putting up with me, I really felt (and I’m sure it looked like) had no idea what I was doing!

Although Jennifer was a great teacher, I could not for the life of me know what was going on, when and where to kick my legs, then point my feet, and wave our arms, then to do this all at once was very hard for a first timer like me. The jumping, squatting, and core work at the end of class, however, I could do that. I enjoyed the uptempo and high energy of the class. You literally keep moving and don’t stop till the hour is done. That I liked.

Simpler instructions would have helped me, but I may have been too fixated on Jennifer. I’m a visual learner, I need to see what it is I’m supposed to be doing. Next time I will try and listen and use the mirror for myself. And maybe not stare at Jennifer so much.

Cory thanks for your help, I needed your words of encouragement more than ever that night.

Take this class if: You are ready for the ultimate dance work out.


Bonus! For your viewing pleasure, here’s a classic Stephanie Tanner dance routine.

Getting Spun a second time


Class number 2 of my 5 class pass to Get Spun is complete. During Tuesday’s spinning class I couldn’t help stare at the other class going on outside the spinning class. This could also explain why I wasn’t completely focused on my class (a major downside to glass walls). Oops.


Another oops? Forgot to take pictures!


I quickly darted home and looked up what class was going on. It was the Ultimate Body Training Camp, that’s what. I had to do this. So Wednesday night I registered for class and came prepared to die.

For 45 minutes I got a good sweat on and Chase Lye was a great instructor. He took the friendly approach to training and didn’t yell at us. He was helpful and not scary – thanks for that Chase! I personally get angry when instructors yell at me. Yes, I want to work hard, but I don’t have to hate you even more for making me do something. But, maybe a mean trainer is what I need. Again, I felt as though I could have worked harder once the class was out, or am I being hard on myself? It is only my first week back from the holidays so I can’t jump the gun just yet. We shall see. I like feeling exhausted after a workout and this night I didn’t.

The class was the perfect size with just the right amount of equipment to go around. Our circuit training worked our whole bodies and we got to use TRX stuff. I was excited! I believe my fear of falling backwards will disappear after my TRX training. That’s up next.