The Power of Support

In 2008 I felt alone. Weird considering I had 3 babies, was in graduate school full-time, had a husband who adored me, and a group of "mommy" friends that I saw on a fairly regular basis.

But I was alone. I was depressed.

In the mid 1990's I was active. I did Jazzercise. That was my first taste of group fitness. I loved it. I joined alone, convinced my younger sister to go a few times, then she stopped, but by that time I had made fitness friendships with a core group of older women. I was only 24-27 years old at this time, and unless my sister was with me, I was the youngest one there.

Age didn't matter.

We were all there to improve our health. And not just our physical health, but our mental health, too. Working out in a group makes me happy.

Working out in a group gives you the confidence and support you need to unleash yourself – to enjoy your experience so it becomes addictive! Group exercise, including CrossFit suits all fitness levels, no matter how fit you are. You’ll gain strength from exercising with others and you’ll motivate each other to work harder, and push yourself just a little more.

But in addition to group support through exercise, I have group support through my weekly Weight Watchers meetings. I haven't been going since Christmas, and I need to go. I thought I was going to go this week, but I decided I wasn't ready, and need one more week to wrap my brain around some things. I love my meetings. At meetings you’ll find first-timers sitting next to both new and long-time Weight Watchers members. Along with a weekly discussion topic and guidance from the Leader, you’ll also hear about the struggles and triumphs of these fellow members. You don’t have to participate in the discussion, but you’re bound to hear helpful strategies and motivating advice that helps you through the week. And you'll earn trinkets. Stickers, key chains, bookmarks, and more!  And I know Weight Watchers works if you work it. I'm just trying to wrap my head around #NSNG and counting points. I'll get it. Eventually.

And then I have the support of my online communities. Facebook, Twitter, and some of the private groups I belong to. FitFluential is a huge source of support for me. I've met so many amazing people through them. And Sweat Pink, too. I hope that one day I can meet them in person! Perhaps at an upcoming FitBloggin' conference Wink I've also recently connected with Mamavation and they are a fantastic group who offer so much support in a lot of important areas! And my Polar peers. Such an amazing and inspiring group of fitness and health advocates. Love them so much!  And then of course the amazing friends that I have met through my MetamorFit facebook page. We have built up such an amazing community of people, and I'm so proud of what I've been able to do to help others!

If you are struggling with your current routine give group support a try! You never know, it might the missing piece to your puzzle!


Do you do any group activities?

Workout Wednesday

I'm in the midst of changing up my workout schedule...again. It's fun to try new things and after running in to my former coach, Holly at the Gasparilla Expo, I decided to take her up on her offer of trying out the classes offered at Cheval Athletic Club.

Cheval is a beautiful gated community in Tampa and last year they re-vamped their club and opened it to the public. They offer a wide variety of group fitness classes; Spinning, Pilates, Yoga and Strength Classes like TRX. But in my opinion what really sets them apart is their triathlon training. They offer a Master's swim class, a running group and even brick practice!

Yesterday I went and took Holly's "Pure Strength" class. I've taken her classes hundreds of times, and I'd describe them as Pilates based mixed with HiiT. After running a 1/2 Marathon on Sunday, the class was tough during the lunge and squat tracks. Oh and the weight behind the knee and lifting up and out, that was pretty grueling, too. Had I not been sore in my quads, I would have pushed myself harder, but I wanted to do a recovery workout and I accomplished that.


Holly is an amazing coach, so when she recommended that I come back and take Monika's TRX class, I didn't even think twice. I had only a vague idea of what TRX was, but I'm up for almost any sort of fitness these days. The schedule said that there was a 15 minute intro class before the actual class started so I made sure to arrive in time for that. It was just me and one other lady for the intro. Monika had us do some basic work without the TRX bands so she could check our form. We did squats, lunges, planks and pushups and I'm proud to report that she said I had PREFECT form and was very strong. That made my day. Laughing

There were 6 TRX bands total, 3 on each side of the room and by the time class started there were 10 of us, but it was not an issue. Monika had us alternating between HiiT activities on the floor with weights, burpees, mountain climbers, etc., though for the most part I didn't have to share my TRX, but I still did the HiiT to keep my heart rate up.

Monika was an awesome instructor. One of the great things about Cheval is that it is small. You get more assistance from the instructor, so it was like a small group personal training session. We did pushups, tricep dips, mountain climbers, pikes and planks with the TRX. We did more, but that's all I can remember for now. And you guys know me, I am a planking fool. Planks on the TRX are no joke! Monika came and checked my core and I think she was surprised. She squeezed my oblique and said "whoa, you are strong." I loved to hear that. Smile

By the time class was all over, I had a fairly decent burn. I took low options on some of the HiiT moves, and certainly I did on the TRX because it was just my first time, so my overall calorie burn was lower than it will be if I continue with TRX. There is certainly a learning curve!

After TRX was a 30 minute stretch class, also taught by Monika. I stayed and stretched. It was wonderful. And then after class Monika and I chatted and got to know each other a little better and I learned that she teaches a Kettlebell course at a YMCA in Tampa. I have NEVER taken a Kettlebell class. Can you guess what I am doing tomorrow? Wink


Have you ever taken a TRX class? What did you think? What about Kettlebells?

Take your group fitness HIGHER!

I had an amazing opportunity to try out a new type of group fitness class. Jess, from Cuban Running Crisis arranged for a group of the Tampa Bay Bloggers to  try out AIRobics at AirHeads, an indoor trampoline arena in the Tampa Bay area. I thought I knew all about AirHeads because my children have been begging me to take them there for at least 18 months because "all the kids go there mom, and it's so much fun." We have an indoor trampoline "arena" near our house that I've taken the children, and it has NOT been fun. It's small (compared to AirHeads), the kids fight, they only get a certain amount of time on the trampoline, and frankly IT STRESSES ME OUT, so I have been a bad mama and have not taken them to Airheads. But all that is about to change!!

AirHeads stated on their website that their AIRobics class, trampoLEAN could "burn up to 1,000 calories an hour" and you all know me and my wonderful Polar HRM tracking my HR and calorie burn, and the challenge was ON! 1,000 calories per hour?? I have NEVER taken a group fitness class and burned that much. I think the closest I came was an RPM+ class and that was 904. And I did puke at the end of that class. Fair warning though, the instructor told me that was her goal. Wink

We were all pretty excited to begin the class! We came prepared and ready to work!

We were warmly welcomed by both the Founder and CEO of the company and they had a wonderful continental breakfast set up for us! I did not have anything to eat before our workout, only the cup of coffee I drank in the car on the way over. That was a good thing, and you'll learn why in a bit.

We started with a quick warm-up. My heart rate got up and stayed up nearly the entire time we were ON the trampoline. We basically did a HiiT (high intensity interval training) workout that included:

 Jumping Jacks

 Lunges. Check out my 90 degree angle. Pretty good lunge form, I think. 

 Mountain Climbers

 Burpees. Burpees are hard for me no matter what. But on a trampoline. O.M.G. 

 And my favorite exercise....the PLANK!!

We worked out for about 15 minutes, and then took a break. And then would come back and workout some more. And we did that 3 or 4 times. On our first break (or maybe second...I can't remember) the manager came up to us with a wonderful surprise!! CHILLED TOWELS!! And they were the perfect degree of was fantastic!

And what would working out on a trampoline be without getting some air??

It was a lot of fun!! My favorite thing we did, which was also the most difficult for me, was the sprint relay. We divided ourselves in to groups of 3 or 4 people per square, and then we sprinted down and back 3 times in a row. Running on a trampoline is HARD work. Very hard. And I tried to run as fast as I could! At the end of my third lap, I seriously thought I was going to puke. My heart rate was 180, which is very close to my max anaerobic threshold. Had I eaten any of that wonderful breakfast, I would have thrown up. It's been a LONG time since I've worked out so hard that I felt like that.

Oh, and did I mention that Gayle from News Channel 8 was there filming it all?? Really glad that I didn't throw up.

I have been doing group fitness for over 4 years, and this class was the most fun I've had working out in a VERY long time. Maybe it was the company (Denise, Caroline, Heather &  Jess) or our instructors, Kim and Frankie (in pic below), or maybe it was the trampoline. I don't know, but it was a blast!

Now here is the ever elusive question....did I burn 1,000 calories in the one hour class? The answer is no.


Am I disappointed? Heck NO!! Do I think it's possible? For my body, maybe...but that would mean NO "real" breaks between sets, keeping the heart-rate up near anaerobic the entire class, and full out going for it. And ya know what, it's not worth it to me. I'd rather have fun with my girlfriends, laugh at myself a little bit, cool off with a chilled towel, and ENJOY group fitness. Because really that's what working out should be all about! Finding activities that you LOVE to do, and just keep doing them over and over and over.

Thanks to Rich Heruska, founder of AirHeads for hosting us and treating us so wonderfully. We had a great time, and I know I'll be back.

Rich was nice enough to give us each passes to offer away to our readers!! I have four passes here to give away to 2 lucky winners. Each winner will get 2 passes. Each pass is good for a whole session of OPEN BOUNCING, or one group fitness class. Your first group fitness class is FREE, so you could technically get 3 group fitness classes from the two passes. Or bring a friend. Or bring me! I'd go again! Wink You can use the passes at any AirHeads location; Tampa, Largo, or Orlando. Passes expire April 30, 2013.

What do you have to do to win?? Easy. Tell me:

1) what you'd use the pass for: open gym or group fitness

2) who you would bring

3) which location you would visit

That's it! I'll pick two winners on Monday and get these in the mail to you ASAP!!


And yes, I'll be taking my kids to AirHeads as soon as our schedule allows. They will LOVE it!!

**Where noted, photos by Caroline Calcote**