Fabulously on the Move: Learning to Love Spin

Continuing with my series “Fabulously on the Move”… I’ve got a treat for you guys today.

FOTM Coffee Cake and Cardio | No Thanks to Cake

I met Ashley way back at Fitbloggin 2012 in Maryland, and we were instant friends.  She’s so incredibly relatable, insanely motivating, and determine to achieve any goal she sets… I knew that I wanted her to be part of this series.

Ashley’s taking over NTTC today, sharing about how she fell in love with spin.

Learning to Love Spin Coffee Cake and Cardio | No Thanks to Cake

Ashley’s blog Coffee Cake and Cardio has been one that I’ve read from the beginning.  I’ve read about her wedding to Neal, followed along with her adventures with the DC Divas, and witnessed her becoming a mother to sweet Magnolia.  Her journey is one that inspires me, and her blog helps me keep up with my dear friend.

Without further ado, here’s Ashley’s story…

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Hey y’all! My name is Ashley and I blog over at Coffee Cake and Cardio! I’m really thankful that Kelly asked me to share a little of my story with y’all today. As Kelly often shares, the journey is never ending, but I thought I’d take y’all back to my fitness rock bottom today.

In 2006 I was at my highest adult weight (261 pounds) and despite having just ended my collegiate discus and hammer throwing career, I was incredibly out of shape. Weight lifting was my passion and I thrived at it, but when it came to cardio I really struggled. Aside from hoping on the elliptical, most workouts scared me. I hated running, fitness classes scared me, and my hope to find a workout I’d love was non-existent despite my desire to lose weight and get in shape.

Overweight Teenager

In the fall of 2006, my roommate invited me to attend a spin class with her. I was so incredibly nervous to take a spin class. All I could think about was the scene from Fever Pitch when the girls were taking the class. I had it in my head that I’d hate it and to be honest, I did. I struggled throughout the entire class and even made up an excuse to leave class early. That was truly my fitness rock bottom!

Fever Pitch Spin Class

That day, as I was pushed outside of my comfort zone, I realize just how out of shape I was. Although I was a college athlete and confident in the weight room, my cardiovascular health was extremely poor and I was unhealthy! I needed to change my habits and I needed to get into shape. It was scary and though I never wanted to take spin again, I knew it couldn’t get any worse!

I started taking spin classes regularly and have never looked back. What I didn’t realize that day is that I had stumbled upon a workout I’d become passionate about. A workout that I would become passionate about. A workout that I’d hate to miss. In 2006 I couldn’t have even imagined finding a workout that I’d hate to miss, but I did. I learned to love spin and how amazing the workouts were.

Exercising While on a Cruise

Spin helped me to lose 50 pounds back in 2006, to get into the best shape of my life in my 20’s, and to have a happy and healthy pregnancy this past year! One of my goals for 30 is to become a spin instructor and to help others fall in love with the workout that has helped me to reach my goals.

The hardest spin class you’ll ever take is your first one, in my opinion, but I’ve got some great tips for y’all! The key is returning for a second class. Even if you hate spin after that first class, promise me you’ll go back for a second class! Don’t let your first class be your only impression of spin! It gets better! As you learn more about spin, and as your booty gets used to the seat, you’ll figure out what works best for you. You’ll find instructors you love, songs that make you work harder, and you’ll be so motivated by your calorie burn!

I want to challenge y’all to do one thing, try a workout this next year that scares you… and then do it again! Whether it’s spin, running, yoga, or BodyPump, do what scares you! It might just be the workout that changes you life! Spin was mine!

What workout scares you? What’s keeping you from trying it out?

Want to follow Ashley and learn more about her inspiring story?  Heres’s a few ways that you can keep up with her:  Coffee Cake and Cardio Blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Fabulously on the Move: Yoga for Beginners {Guest Post}

It’s been a LONG TIME since I hosted a guest post here on NTTC.  After going through the blogtastic survey process a few weeks ago, I realized how many of you wanted to hear more about exercise.  With this new knowledge (thanks again!!), I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce you to some of my favorite bloggers who are amazing, many of whom I’ve met in person, and most of all… folks who inspire me!!

Fabulously on the Move Racing to Zen Jess | No Thanks to Cake

First up is the lovely Jess.  I met Jess this year at Fitbloggin, and we were quick friends!  Her warm personality, her bouncy curls, and that welcoming smile… I’m so glad to have met her, and I love her story!  A super busy mom, she just took a professional leap… leaving her traditional job, in favor of following her dream.  I love it when that happens!!

Today on NTTC, she shares her suggestions on getting started with yoga.  With a few simple poses that she demonstrates below, you too could be on your way to be practicing yoga regularly.  Thanks, Jess, for sharing your passion with us!

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I’m Jess from Racing to Zen and am thrilled to be guest blogging for Kelly! I recently completed my yoga teacher training and am excited to share with you what has become the foundation of my yoga practice – the classical sun salutation.

Many people are unsure of how to begin a home yoga practice, but when your budget is tight or you’re just looking for a simple way to unwind at home each night, sun salutations are a wonderful way to bring yoga to your living room. Sun salutations have a wealth of health benefits – improved circulation, regulation of your digestive system and calming your central nervous system. Adding yoga to your existing exercise routine is also a great way to improve your overall endurance. Learning and mastering a sequence can be a great confidence booster too – sun salutations can travel with you anywhere. And, let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love an exercise routine that ends with laying on the ground in corpse pose?

Yoga for Beginners Racing to Zen | No Thanks to Cake

You can follow along in the two photo collages. I’ll give you the English & Sanskrit words for each pose.

Yoga for Beginners from Racing to Zen | No Thanks to Cake

  • Begin in mountain (tadasana) or prayer pose – Feet hips width distance apart, knees unlocked, shoulders back and down, spine long. Take a moment to close your eyes and breathe in and out through your nose, centering yourself before you begin.
  • Upward raise (hasta utthanasana) – lift the hands skyward, getting length from your toes to finger tips. Turn the gaze up and slightly backward if you like.
  • Forward fold (utthanasana) – fold forward from the hips, bringing the head towards the ground and chest towards the knees. Let the head be heavy and put a deep bend in the knees to bring the chest closer to the legs.
  • Lunge (anjaneyasana) – from forward fold, lift your left foot and send it to the back of your mat, drop your knee and lift your chest to come in to a forward lunge.

Yoga for Beginners from Racing to Zen | No Thanks to Cake

  • Downward Facing Dog (adho mukha svanasana) – from lunge, curl your back toes under and lift and send the front foot to the back. Spread the fingers wide and imagine pushing your chest back towards your legs.
  • 8 Pointed Star (ashtanga namaskar) – from downward dog, drop your knees, shift your weight forward and drop your chest between your hands. The sit bones stay up and the “8 stars” on the ground are your two hands, your chin, your chest, your two knees and your two feet.
  • Cobra (bhujangasana) – slither forward like a snake, keeping the neck long and allowing the belly to drop to the floor. Remember that snakes don’t have butts, so don’t squeeze your glutes! Lift from your lower back only.
  • Downward Facing Dog – from cobra, push down into the ground with your hands and lift your sit bones back to the sky for one more downward dog.
  • Forward Fold – step the feet one at a time to meet the hands and fold forward.
  • From forward fold, you can roll back up to standing and start the same practice again, sending the right foot back in to lunge instead. Completing one round includes lunging with both legs.

After your sun salutations, enjoy savasana or corpse pose. If you have any worries about falling asleep, just set a timer on your phone, giving yourself 5-10 minutes of quiet, restorative time.

Thanks again to Kelly for giving me a chance to share with all of you! Enjoy your home yoga practice and Namaste to you all!

Heres’s a few ways that you can follow Jess:  Racing to Zen Blog, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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My Favorite Headbands + {GIVEAWAY}

It’s not often that I make the decision to affiliate with a brand… for an entire year.  When Bic Bands reached out earlier in the year, I knew they were a brand I wanted to work with.  And, it’s been such a year of stylish fun!!

Bic Bands Logo

To start with, I love what Bic Bands stand for.  They are the Because I Can Bands – – Get it?? BIC Bands?  Not only do they empower women with the most amazing flyaway control for any physical activity you can imagine, but they also DO NOT MOVE while you do! And, the company’s founder Sandy also gives back to charity every month via their BIC Giving program.  It’s nice to know that important causes are benefiting from my purchases!

Bic GIving

Here’s some of the great causes that have benefited from Bic Band purchases year-to-date:

Donations Bic Bands | No Thanks to Cake

As though all of that greatness weren’t enough… I also have to mention, they’re ADORABLE!  I consider myself to be a bit of an accessory junkie.. and I love these so much!

They come in just about every color and pattern you can imagine…

Patterned Bic Bands | No Thanks to Cake

They can be sparkly…

Sparkly BIC Bands | No Thanks to Cake

So many designs to choose from… and I always find myself BIC’ed out!

Wearing BICs | No Thanks to Cake

Now it’s your turn!!

And… I have TWO special offers for you to enjoy as you try BIC BANDS for yourself.

BIC Bands Promo | No Thanks to Cake

and… I’m hosting my first BIC BANDS giveaway!!!

NTTC Bic Band Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll announce a winner via the NTTC Facebook Page and Twitter on Friday, October 10th!  Good Luck, Folks!

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How to Be a Good Friend to Your Friend on a Diet

I’ve been “on a diet” most of my adult life.  Heck, I remember when my mom put me on what I remember to be my first diet when I was maybe 8 years old, suggesting that “we” were on a diet… and “we” weren’t going to be eating the frozen brownie ice cream treats in the freezer.

As a result of being on so many programs for 30+ years, I’ve had a lot of folks try to give me outside advice on how I could be doing what I’m doing better/smarter/faster/with different ingredients/etc.  I’ve had great suggestions, great support, and well… I’ve had the other as well.

Inspired by this little life of mine and my lovely friends who supported me so well along the way, I’m going to share a few suggestions on how to offer great support to a friend/family member/co-worker who is watching their food intake.

How to Be a Good Friend to Your Friend on a Diet | No Thanks to Cake

Understand that this is a BIG Lifestyle Shift

Your friend/sister/brother/wife is embarking upon one of the most difficult feats!  Consider this:  If weight loss were easy, obesity wouldn’t be the epidemic that it is in America!  Your loved one is in the process of trying to navigate this brand-new lifestyle that they have committed to and they likely have a range of emotions brewing about it.  They may be nervous, afraid, eager, and impatient.

Change Friends | No Thanks to Cake

Change is not always as simple as flipping a switch.  Be patient and compassionate.  Know that they may implement trial-and-error along the way to create the best possible program for themselves, and that they may stumble 150 times along the way.  Be supportive of the change… and mostly of your loved one.  They’ll need it!

Do Not Play Diet Patrol

“Is that on your program?”

“Um… I thought you were eating healthy now?”

Danny Devito Friends | No Thanks to Cake

As someone on a journey to getting healthy, I’ll tell you right now… I don’t always do it right.  There are times that I want to eat everything in sight.  There are times when I just can’t resist driving through Chick-Fil-A (and getting the real-deal fried chicken sandwich.)  I don’t perfectly all the time… and, I even have the nerve to call myself a “healthy living / weight loss blogger.” :)

But… those decisions are mine.  I have to face My Fitness Pal at the end of the day to track my eats.  I have to look in the mirror and face the music… I’ll deal with me.  You deal with you.  Sound good?

Avoid the Urge to Fix Things

How many times in my life have I said this: I don’t want to get off the couch and go to the gym.  Um, many many times… my friends can attest to this.  Often times, I just don’t want to go and sometimes, I need to share that.  I don’t always need a rah-rah-ree, kick ‘em in the knee kind of response… sometimes, I just want a friend to listen.

Rachel Friends | No Thanks to Cake

My friend Natalie is one of the best when it comes to offering support… I really don’t know how she does it, but she always says just the right thing.  Lots of “Get it, girl” text messages… or, “Maybe you need a break.  Go tomorrow!”  Regardless… she walks the line perfectly for me.  She listens to all my shenanigans… and offers support.  This is all I need…a sounding board to my thoughts.  I’m so lucky to have her!  Now, if only she lived closer… 

Consider Hosting Healthy Food Events

Eating out when you’re watching what you are eating can be a HUGE challenges.  Even visiting a friend’s house for dinner can be a challenge!

Thanksgiving Friends | No Thanks to Cake

My friend Deb does an amazing job at making sure that we’re all going to have a blast when we get together while taking into account everyone’s eating preferences.  For example:  Deb likes to make healthy choices too, so when I was in the beginning of my process.  She sensed my nervousness about gatherings, and always called me separately to assure me that she would have healthy options on hand that she wanted to enjoy too!  I never felt like I was putting everyone else by “needing” healthy options… and I always appreciated (and still do!) her kind approach to making sure I could stay on track.

Join in on the Fun

Early on in the process and when things were getting a little bit tough for me, my sister-in-law Beth jumped on board with Jenny Craig and signed up for the program.  This was amazing support for me.  I finally had someone to talk about the food with, to talk about the process, and someone who was participating with me.

Door Friends | No Thanks to Cake

Beth, while miles and miles away, was on board and also had some success with Jenny.  It made the process that much more fun!

Not Everything Has to Be Food-Related

Before I started on my healthy eating journey almost 4 years ago, everything we ever did was food related.  Wine night, dinners out, game night with snacks… with no regard to the calories we would be eating.

In the beginning, I just stopped joining my friends…. but over time, we’ve found other ways to have fun that include healthy activities!  We go on lots of walks… Denver has SO MANY beautiful spots to walk and hike that this has become a common outing.  My friend Tiffany and I do this quite often…

Friends Phoebe Running | No Thanks to Cake

Instead of meeting for lunch, maybe we meet for coffee instead.  My friend Kristin and I have worked this into our regular “catch-up” routine, and I love it!

Please Talk to Me about Other Topics

Just because I’ve committed to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean I want to spend all my time talking about the do’s and don’ts of the latest fad diet on the market, what I had for breakfast, or how I’m spending my time at the gym.

Turkey Friends | No Thanks to Cake

I’m still your friend.  That fun-loving, shoe-shopping, wacky story-telling friend.  Let’s talk about all of those things… I love that you take an interest in my weight loss process… but even I need a break from it from time to time, and I get together with you to take that break.

Celebrate Success with Me

When the celebrations come… I’m going to want you to be there with me.

Cheesecake Friends | No Thanks to Cake

It could be to celebrate that I didn’t eat the free pizza at work… or that I hit my 10K steps for the day… or it could be that I reach my weight loss goal.  Let’s celebrate together, ok?  I love to share my life’s high points with you.

Ultimately, I’m going to win no matter what, I’m going to learn, and I’m going to change… but I’d like you there beside me along the way as my friend.  Thanks in advance for all your support, love, and encouragement.  xoxo

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AWP-DO