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I’ve been teaching Group Exercise classes for quite a while now and I have to say—the thing that irks me the most—is when the same people find excuse after excuse not to try your class when they actually really want to. I know people that for over three years now have used the “I have to get in shape before I come to your class” excuse. Or there’s the ever-popular “your class is too far away”…(I teach all over the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex), or “I’m busy that day”…(I teach 10 classes a week, you can’t honestly tell me you cannot make any of those), the list goes on and on.

Three years ago, these people were overweight, out of shape, unhealthy and unhappy. Their plan was to “get in shape”, and then come to my class. Again, that was three years ago. If they had just come to classes regardless of being “in shape” or not, I can guarantee you that they would not be in the same physical and mental condition that they are today—stuck.

I think sometimes the classes and instructors are taken for granted. Not in a bad way, just that it is assumed that certain classes will always be on the schedule and these instructors will forever teach classes at that particular club. Nothing is ever certain. Lives change, people change, the needs of the gym change, the only thing that is not changing—is you.

Yesterday you said tomorrow nike

If you live your life saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”, you’ll have to accept the possibility that there might not be a chance tomorrow, for whatever reason. I urge you to do it today. No more excuses, no more waiting. It’s funny—it wasn’t that long ago that I considered myself quite the procrastinator when it came to silly day-to-day duties. Call the plumber, return so-and-so’s phone call, pay this bill, return an email. I would hit ignore on the phone because I was too busy to deal with whatever phone call was incoming. But the truth is, that only created MORE stress in my life. Now not only did I need to return that email, but I needed to remember to return the email, put it on my to-do list so I wouldn’t forget, but then I would forget to put it on the list, so it would get missed entirely! Today, I’m much better about handing things as they come. It’s easier to get them crossed off the list before they even make it to the list!

Nike says it best…”Yesterday You Said Tomorrow.”

A quick reminder of my current group exercise class schedule, which may soon change…who knows! 🙂 Please inquire for personal training schedule. (Revised 12/31/12)

Peace, love and action,

Melissa

For up-to-the-minute updates on classes, follow Live Whole Be Free on Facebook!

It’s week 8 of the Biggest Achiever Program, and for the most part the challenges so far have revolved around food, and what we do or don’t put into our bodies. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body. Also necessary, however, is exercise. Unless you are involved in some sort of rigorous/two-a-day training program, it’s probably safe to say that you could use a little more exercise in your life. So this week’s challenge will be to take your exercise up a notch.*

*There are many different ways to “take your exercise up a notch.” I would say “increase the amount of exercise you currently do”, but some of you will be at your max for the days of week that you train. For some the increase will come by increasing the amount of days per week and for others, it will be the duration or intensity of the exercise itself. There are many other acute variables that can be adjusted as well, including volume, load, rest periods, etc. If you are currently solely doing cardiorespiratory training, adding strength training into your routine is another great way to shake things up.  Since this challenge is so individualized, feel free to email me with questions on how you should safely take this to the next level. 

This challenge will obviously vary based on your current exercise regimen. Below are a few quick examples of what you can do to switch up your routine. As a Group Fitness Instructor, I highly recommend you try a Group Fitness (Group Exercise/GroupX) class. They can be intimidating at first, I understand that. I was intimidated as well. But just remember that everyone has had their first class, everyone has felt those same feelings. Take a risk, you may find that you really enjoy it. Worst case scenario is that it’s not your thing. If so, no big deal. If we all liked the same things, the world would be a terrible place to live. So embrace it, and try something else.

SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: So let’s say you are currently doing nothing for your body in terms of exercise and/or are currently under a doctor’s care. If this is the case, you will need to start VERY slowly. In fact, I recommend you get your doctor’s approval to engage in exercise. An easy way for someone living a sedentary lifestyle to start exercising is to simply go for a short walk. Any way you can move a little bit more during the day will go a long way for you.

Couple exercising outdoors

MODERATE EXERCISER: Let’s say your current workout regimen is a run or some sort of moderate exercise 2-3 times a week. I would encourage you to add strength training to that, twice a week, and possibly one more day of cardio. If you are a runner, try adding one day of exercise on the elliptical machine, which will provide you with some cardio exercise with less of a stress on your body. Maybe you don’t want to strength train. I could go on and on about the benefits of strength training, regardless if you want to change your muscles/body or not, but I’ll save that for another post. If you prefer not to lift weights, I would recommend you try some body weight exercises, like planks, push ups, bridges, etc. As a moderate exerciser, you are shooting for 4-5 days of exercise, up from 2-3.

WORKOUT-A-HOLIC: Maybe you work out quite a bit, say… 4-6 times a week. I would encourage you to switch up what you are doing for the week. Try interval training for example? Tabata is a great way to torch calories fast, lose weight, retain lean muscle mass, and rev up that metabolism! Or if you always do interval training, try to go for a long walk or a run. Get some strength training in and try some new exercises. Or maybe you always work out in the evenings, try morning workouts this week. This is for the person who is in their groove as far as their workouts go. You never want to get too comfortable. Also, ensure you take at least one day off a week to rest and let your body recover. Hard workouts tear the body down, and you will need to let it recuperate, otherwise your body will being breaking down muscle, which of course is no good.

One week is not nearly enough time to see a difference in switching up your workout routine, but it will be good to introduce yourself to new things. It takes 21 days to make/break a habit, so I highly recommend trying to switch it up for the next 21 days. You’ll truly be amazed at what comes out of it. Contact me for me current teaching schedule! If you are not a member at 24 Hour Fitness or Equinox, please let me know, and I will get you in on a guest pass!

By now you’ve probably either heard of, or been to one of the coolest Group Exercise classes I’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching or taking, Nike Training Club (NTC). This class was developed by Nike with the help of seven world-class athletes including Allyson Felix, Hope Solo, Li Na, Laura Enever, Sofia Boutella, Maria Sharapova and Perri Shakes-Drayton.

The NTC GroupX class contains a mixture of strength and cardiovascular exercises, with the use of minimal to no equipment. The exercises were developed by Nike and I can honestly say that they have really helped me break through barriers I didn’t even know existed. I recently even found some new muscles in my legs! Your heart rate is raised in true high-intensity interval training (HIIT) fashion, and the use of minimal equipment makes it easy to do anywhere outside of the gym. There is also a FREE app available to help guide you through the workouts! It includes videos of the exercises and it even offers rewards when specific goals are accomplished. Nike really has it all figured out!

The intervals in NTC are anywhere from 30 seconds – 2 minutes in length, and there is pretty much zero rest in between intervals and the next exercise. The “rest” that you do get is in the form of active recovery, so while the instructor is explaining the next exercise, the participant will need to keep their body moving, in a step-tap or shuffle motion. This keeps the body in “ready mode.” Keeping yourself warm and active while you catch your breath is important for many health and performance-related reasons, it’s not because we are mean and cruel instructors that don’t want to give you a break. Okay, maybe that’s part of it… but still, there are medical benefits involved!

 

Dallas/Ft. Worth was lucky enough to be elected as a test market for Nike Training Club! It started in February 2011, and at that time we were the only city in the U.S. to offer this class. I believe it is now offered in a few select places in New York and California, but we are still the only city within thousands of miles to have this amazing format. So have you heard enough? Ready to check it out? Good!

I teach NTC every Wednesday at 24 Hour Fitness’ Valley Ranch location, 7:30–8:30pm and at the Nike store at NorthPark Mall every Saturday from 9-10am. If for some crazy reason you can’t make it to class, you can use the app to guide you through the workout. It’s amazing, please do check it out!

This class and these exercises are challenging, yes, but that’s what makes it worth it, and that is what gets you the results. If you left class thinking it was easy, what would be the point? You wouldn’t break through any barriers, overcome any plateaus, see new muscles or feel that incredible sense of accomplishment. So when you’re completely out of breath and feel like your legs may indeed fall off of your body, remember that nothing worth working for comes easy, and keep going. It’s easy to work out when you’re full of energy. It’s when you’re tired that you start to enter the results zone. When you start to get tired, you can give up, or push on. I urge you to make that decision before you get tired. Don’t let your mind take over, it’s very controlling and extremely stubborn.

“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.” – Vincent Lombardi

Peace, love and NTC!

Melissa

 

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of these GroupX (Group Exercise/Group Fitness) classes, as they are all the rage! And there’s a reason for that. Maybe you’ve tried one of these classes before, maybe you’re a die-hard GroupX-er (yes, I made that word up), or maybe you’re too intimidated to try a class just yet. Don’t worry, I was too. I watched quite a few boxing boot camps through the windows while I did my time on the elliptical machine, because I was too intimidated to try the class all by myself. Yes, you heard that right. I was scared! But one day, I finally mustered up the courage to ask the instructor what everyone was wrapping their hands for, and what that class was all about. You can read more about that story here. But really, all it took was one 60 minute class, and the rest is history!

So why should you try a GroupX class? There are plenty of reasons. Maybe you need a change to your current workout regimen? Maybe you’ve plateaued, and can’t seem to get as much out of your workouts as you used to. Maybe you want to push yourself a little harder, and it’s hard to do on your own, or maybe you want to make some new friends. The energy in these classes is intoxicating and quite addicting, you will leave with a smile on your face and anxious to attend the next one!

It’s also important to note that GroupX classes can vary quite vastly. Each instructor will have his/her own style of teaching, and it does not mean that one instructor is better than another. In reality, it’s great to have some many wonderful instructor options for members to choose from. Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to working out, so it’s great to know that members have so many options to choose from. There is a perfect match out there for all members! I encourage you to try different classes and different instructors. And most importantly, definitely don’t judge an instructor or class after only one class. These classes, their formats, etc. are very organic in the sense that they are constantly evolving. Instructors will (and should) change up the exercises and possibly even the formats from time to time in order to keep it challenging for the participants, and to avoid any plateauing. I can say that even classes with the same format, taught by myself, can vary from location to location as well depending on the audience.

So in short, get out there and try some classes. You may find you love it, you may find you’re not sure about it, or it may not be for you. But regardless, give it a try, it’s a great way to shake up your routine! I’ve converted many “tough guys” into religious Group X members of mine, and I can’t help but think that you’ll most likely love it too! See you in class!

My current teaching schedule can be found on the About page, please scroll down.

I got a big “Congratulations” from the girl at the front desk at the Mockingbird/Greenville 24 Hour Fitness. I didn’t realize this until she said it, but it’s my 2 year anniversary as a GroupX Instructor with 24 Hour Fitness. It made me smile.

It sure feels like a lot longer than 2 years, I guess that’s what happens when you teach 6 classes a week, but I am so happy to be a part of such a wonderful company. 24 Hour really strives to make fitness something that everyone can do, and I love that. I remember getting my first class, Wednesday night class at Valley Ranch. It was called Athletic Training back then, and I started with about 5 people that didn’t know what jumping jacks were. I wondered what I had gotten myself into. It’s been a struggle, don’t get me wrong. There have been several unforeseen challenges, challenges that not only was I not prepared to face, but I never even saw coming. But, with each challenge, I have become a better person, not just a better instructor. Now on Wednesday nights, there are anywhere from about 50-80 hardworking, fun, energetic members of all shapes, sizes and fitness backgrounds, that come in and work their tails off. And I love them to pieces.

When my soccer career ended, I went into a pretty serious depression. After all, it’s what has defined me my entire life, or so I thought. But teaching has really opened my eyes. Now, instead of being selfish, and taping up my torn-up ankles just so I can get back in the game, I take much better care of myself. Now the stakes are much higher. If I were to get hurt, and wasn’t able to teach class… I would be devastated. To think that I would be letting everyone down because of my selfish desires is just silly. I played soccer for me, but when I teach, I teach for everyone else. Helping people live happier, healthier lives is so much more rewarding than scoring a goal. Having someone flex their new-found bicep muscles and say “Melissa got me these!” is an amazing feeling.

I found a blog post I wrote a VERY long time ago, August 19, 2005, to be exact. Here’s what it said:

“Good news! I found my calling! I’m serious! I made an impromptu decision last night to do this class at the gym called “Boot Camp.” (It was Boxing Boot Camp at Mockingbird/Greenville 24 Hour Fitness). Probably not something you would voluntarily do, right? Wrong. Oh my God, it was the best thing I’ve ever done. For over an hour I got to beat the sh*t out of a punching bag, kick things, the whole nine yards. How often can I do this class? Can I come twice a day? I ran and did an abs class before that (since I hadn’t planned on doing another class), and the instructor told me I would never make it through his class. Not being mean, just warning me. (I should also note that I would NEVER tell someone they couldn’t make it through a class and that this instructor is no longer employed at 24 Hour Fitness). Well, if that isn’t a call for action, I don’t know what is. Come on buddy, I’ve been through preseasons for a Collegiate Division 1 soccer team, I can handle your “Boot Camp.” And I did. Not only did I make it through, but I was the only person in that class that at the end was jumping up and down still, like “It’s over?! No! More punching, more punching!”

So, I have found my calling. I hope that this class will be my solution to my anger problem on the soccer field. (See, aren’t we all glad I no longer play?!) I dont need to punch mean boys anymore, (Don’t anyone hold this post against me, it was YEARS ago!) I’ll just wait for class and give that bag all I’ve got! I swear people in that class looked at me like, no way is that girl hitting that hard. I know this because some of the girls were like, whoa, girl, good freaking (expletive removed) job! Yes! Praise for punching! Ahhh… *sigh*… my heart is content, and I feel so freaking (expletive removed…my was I a sailor!) good today it’s amazing. Screw soccer, I want to go to this class! Wait, did I really just say that?! Have a freaaaking fantastic day!”

So, it turns out that 1. I had quite the potty mouth 6 years ago, and 2. I was really on to something! If you would have told me then that I would quit soccer and would be teaching almost every day of the week, I never would have believed you. But now, I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Thank you to all the member who come every day/week and work their tails off. Just as I challenge you, you challenge me, so thank you! Can’t wait to see you guys tomorrow! 🙂

Hello world! I’ve started this blog for many reasons, but in short, I needed a better way to share information with others like me. I meet so many wonderful people everyday through my group fitness classes who care about themselves and want to learn more and who are constantly striving to become healthier, happier and more educated when it comes to health, fitness and overall wellness.  So I’m here to share some things that have been successful for me.

Keep in mind when reading this, that everyone is different. What works for some may not work for others. Currently, I’d say 80% of my diet is raw, some days more, some less. I think raw is an excellent way to go, but it’s not for everyone. Personally, I need some fish and chicken in my life/diet. There are others that prefer the gluten-free route, or maybe you just want to watch your calorie intake or begin to make healthier food choices. Whatever your goal, there will be something in this blog for you!

Although nutrition plays an enormous role when it comes to your health and of course your weight, fitness plays a key part as well. As a Group Fitness Instructor for 24 Hour Fitness and Equinox, my passion for a healthy lifestyle has really become greater than it ever has before. Helping people live healthier lifestyles is something that truly makes me happy. Seeing other people make progress is even better than making progress myself. So I’ll also share with you some workouts and fitness tips as well.

Please feel free to drop me a comment or an email. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter, but most importantly, get off your butt and come check out some of my classes!

Peace, health, and wellness,

Melissa