Soul Cycle

Nina Rutsch's Soul Cycle Gym Bag

Love Life and Lollipops- Nina Rutsch

I know I gush and ahh over my friends, but I have to say, I pick them carefully.  They're pretty awesome people!  Moving is stressful.  Nina and her class make me happy.  Nuff said.

I told you guys about Nina a while back.  She's not only a rockstar Soul Cycle teacher, but also one of the most stylish gals I know.  She was gracious enough to show me up on the "what's in my gym bag" post, so here she is, showing us what's what in the world of looking good while we're working to feel good:

IN MY BAG:
  • Deepa Gurnani decorative headbands- a quick fashionista look to cover up frizz & fly-aways- a great way to "dress up" sweaty hair
  •  Trader Joes- individual packs of raw almonds, the perfect snack on the go: protien, energy, filling and easy to keep in the pocket of my lululemon tote
  • lululemon "OM" tote bag- It has a computer protective bag pocket.  I use the front pocket for my spin shoes so they can air out, inside divider pockets are perfect for phone, almonds, metro card everything at arms reach complete with full zip to keep my stuff safe on the subway as I was pickpocketed days after returning to NYC after being "LA- "om"ed out and not paying attention on the train !!!!!!
  • NARS  larger than life lipgloss this stays on for hours and does not feel sticky and stays on through class
  • Emergen-C packs- These are my godsend I will throw one in my SmartWater at SoulCycle and it gives me a quick boost during class and I like to think the vitamin C wards off any germs
  • COCONUT WATER- ANY KIND that's natural.  I drink at least 2 a day.... It is my CURE ALL, is my "windex" (referencing MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING movie joke) ......LOLimage via http://www.google.com/imgres?q=coconut+water&start=97&hl=en&client=safari&sa=X&tbo=d&rls=en&biw=1101&bih=579&tbm=isch&tbnid=HArqjD3DKInizM:&imgrefurl=http://www.drinkkarmalife.com/coconut-water-benefits/&docid=TV2pao18j-znpM&imgurl=http://www.drinkkarmalife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/coconut.jpg&w=331&h=312&ei=AOG4UKzCJ_C80QGQ4oCIDQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=576&vpy=250&dur=812&hovh=218&hovw=231&tx=98&ty=201&sig=109351221432321471561&page=5&tbnh=127&tbnw=135&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:100,i:4
  • Altoids
  • SOULCYCLE  bandanas!!! cannot.teach.without.
  • Cabots cocoa butter- I use this for everything! It works great as a hand/body lotion also comes in a lip balm its all natural cheap and smells amazing
  • lucky charms :) ... no not the cereal ( NO SUGAR CEREAL!! )- I carry my zen amulet necklace given to my by my "spin family before I left LA" designed by Suzanne Wilson and numerous lucky pennies found on the street and a heart shaped crystal given to me by my nephew :), and other notes and sentimental items as mini- every day reminders to be grateful to those around me.  Can you tell I am superstitious?
  •  yes to cucumber towelettes- for a quick face wash on the go
  • soulcycle bathrooms are well equipped with bobby pins and black hair elastics so its quite easy to put together quick hair fix in a rush!
  • MAC studio fix undereye concealer ... enough said
  • WESC headphones ... always "music-ing" thats what we do

Nina Rutsch is so damn cute and one of my new favorite people

Love Life and Lollipops

I thought I was in love after I did two days in a row, over a weekend, of Nina Rutsch's Soul Cycle class, but after a night of drinks and noodles with her, I'm pretty damn sure it's true love.  She's cute and sassy and dresses almost perfectly.  We chatted for hours and became fast friends.  Her class rocks the house and her cool and relatable attitude are the icing on the cake.

Here's a little bit straight from her: 1. So you're new to Soul?? And already superfabulous! Tell me a bit about your journey to becoming an instructor. I was living in NYC for years acting on stage with several theatre companys and working regularly on One Life to Live and As The World Turns. On the many "off" hours as an actress I worked in a clothing boutique LIANA on the upper west side where I developed a side business of personal shopping and wardrobe organizing.I walked by SOULCYCLE everyday, but never tried it because of the old wives tale  that cycling bulks up your legs (FALSE!!!) I have not been this size since I was 14 years old...being the girl with the booty my entire life, I did not want to add anything more into my jeans...I was WRONG! A friend of mine was moving to L.A. and I had always wanted to live there, I knew I could pursue acting and styling there in the sun!  so I jumped at the chance and off we went! I love Los Angeles, it is the community of people who are a jack of all trades. I was a runner and had recently completed the NYC marathon, but going to the gym was a drag, I decided to try yoga and was "scared" into trying a spin class, I was immediately hooked... I left class and was clear headed, I pushed myself further than imaginable and I became hooked, my anxiety was gone, my a.d.d. was gone, I had never felt so confident. In my first year I took over 400 cycling classes... yep doubles daily. The girl who wouldnt leave the house without hair blown out heels and makeup or miss a party was now showing up to work in flip flops and wet hair from the gym, and staying in on friday nights to make sure to get my bike bright and early on saturday... I decided to become spin certified and started teaching right away. I would teach once a day for my students and when my class was finished I would GO to class for ME. Every time I went to visit family in NYC I would take class at SC and it felt like home. I knew that were coming to LA and I applied to work at lululemon so I could practice yoga daily and cycle. I auditioned for Soul in LA and in the interim I was back in NYC near the holidays and was offered to do my training and teach in NYC, so I jumped at the chance. I knew it would take a dream man or dream job to get me to move back to NYC...and dream job came first ;) 2. Your class is honestly, perfect for me (everyone has their own preferences and styles of course).  It's the perfect combination of speed and resistance (read: not sooo much resistance that I can't get through it, but enough that my buns are burning after taking two of your classes this past weekend;)).  How do you come up with your class plan?  What inspires you? I love analogy's ... so I like to look at a soul cycle class like a recipe... it's always a delicious meal with your major food groups represented, but the ingredients and flavors change. Other teachers classes inspire me, everyone has their own "flavor"...thats what I love about SC you can switch it up depending on what you are in the mood for that day!... no excuse to miss class! My class plan/ playlist is usually inspired by how I wake up in the morning, a mood, rock , hip hop, dance...a song stuck in my head from something on t.v. like alex claire's song too close from the microsoft commercial , the weather: annie lennox: here comes the rain again is my favorite opener on a rainy day, current events: this summer it was fun to pull songs that were used during the olympic ceremony's, 3. Each teacher has their style (fierce, funny, intense, sexy, bitchy even) and you are supercute up there!  I love how you get the job done without yelling at anyone or threatening.  That said, I pushed myself really hard in your class, do you find killing it with kindness works better?  How do your riders respond to your different energies? To me cycling is a killer workout, if you are really working and not "posing" on the bike, dont just go through the motions...get deep...you will control how far you go and what kind of workout you get. I like to get into your mind and encourage you to turn it up by believing in yourself and building the urge to go further every class. Form is key, if you have your form right and your resistance right, it will be challenging, threatening does not work for me, encouragement and support works for me, so I put out what I want to get back. For me its the challenge of changing mind, going further each day... the body just follows. I find my riders appreciate seeing me work with them on the bike, so it tends to keep them working hard to reach the finish line together 4. I know (and love) that you love to talk Soul!  So...what advice do you have for new Soul riders (/addicts;))?  Any advice for advanced riders?? I am seriously ALWAYS talking...but yes mostly about soul :) advice for new riders is how I got through being a newbie my teacher used to say "just show up" ... LISTEN to your instructor cue your form and follow their legs get the cadence, get on the beat... the rest will fall into place. Advice for advanced riders would be to listen to your own body, don't get comfortable... set challenges for yourself, do a double, turn it up ahead of time add a turn of resistance to challenge yourself before class begins!, try heavier weights, move your seat setting back one notch to get into your core, move your handle bars down a notch to get a full extension in those push ups...WERK!!!

Happy Friday! Bits and pieces of our week and musings...

Love Life and Lollipops- Me and some sister-in-laws

I'm oh so glad it's Friday.  Feels like this week has taken forever!  In one week we bid on a house, lost a house, thought we were going to be homeless, bid on another, and started the process of going into contract on the house of Richie's dreams, planned Bar's birthday shenanigans, did four Soul classes, had a doctor's appointment, had Avi home from school for two days, cooked four dinners, some muffins, ahhhhhhh... Here are some things that went through my head yesterday:

  1. A year ago this time I was huge, miserable, and impatient (read: 40 weeks pregnant).  It's amazing how different our lives are year to year!  It makes me so grateful for how good I have it.
  2. Montclair is this strange place where everyone who lives there or ever lived there loves it.  Everyone is so nice and friendly and it creeps me out.  I want to be one of those people!  Lucky for me, we're moving there!
  3. At the same time I'm going to miss the city.  I'm coming around to being okay with that though.
  4. Home cooked meals are one hundred million times better than delivery.  Except for vegan Chinese food on Sunday nights, something about it...
  5. Soulcycle saves my life almost every day.
  6. It makes me sad that my bestie Ali won't live down the block from me when I'm a Montclair lover.  She'll have to move!  Got that Zablozk?!?

Ok on that note, here are some pics from our week:

 

 

May I introduce you...Charlee Atkins @SoulCycle

Love Life and Lollipops- Charlee Atkins

When Jolie was on maternity leave and I was devastated at not having her class to depend on for the stress reduction I so desperately needed with two little kiddies driving me mad, I fell into Charlee's class and fell in love.  Her class is superdifficult and totally sexy and wildly addictive.  She agreed to give us a glimpse into her life and psyche and I have to say after reading her interview I was floored.  Not only is she an amazing instructor, woking out of a perfect body, and popular on top of all that, she's smart and analytical and deep.  LOVE HER!! So with no further adieu:

charleecharlee

I know you've moved around a bit in your life (Hawaii, Seattle, LA to name a few).  What made you plop down in NYC? And did Soul have anything to do with it? Have you taught spin anywhere else? I was teaching spin for about a year at a small studio in LA when I was invited to a private ride taught by Soul Master Instructor Janet Fitzgerald.  At the time, I had heard of SoulCycle as a fitness studio, but I honestly had no idea about the community.  I went to the ride with my two best friends in LA -- Pixie and Angela (who are also instructors in WeHo now!) , and I literally took the best, most life-changing ride of my life. The following day, SoulCycle was holding auditions for the upcoming WeHo location, so me and my girls auditioned.  I remember driving to the studio, being nervous, wondering what music to play, and half-way there decided to just wing-it because all the spin classes I had taught previously had been practice for that moment. Immediately following my audition, Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler (founds of SoulCycle) followed me out of the spin room and said, "Where can we find you?  Have you ever thought about moving to NYC?"  Ha!  At the time, I had only been in LA for about a year so the thought of moving again was not an option, but Julie had planted the seed.  A month later I was at dinner with Janet Fitzgerald, Kaili Stevens, and Clare Walsh asking about NYC because I had somewhat entertained the idea in the last month.  My best friend, Angela, drove me home that night and was like, "Girl, you gotta jump!"  And jump I did.  Here I am! How long have you been teaching at Soul?  And what was the incubus to get you started as an instructor? My first day in NYC was December 1st, 2011 and I taught my first SoulCycle class December 12th at 6:30 pm in Union Square (so...9 months at Soul?) Like most instructors, the catalyst to me becoming an instructor was actually taking my first class.  After graduating college, I was living in Albuqueque, New Mexico (where my family currently lives) and I decided to take a spin class.  I, too, had a first class and it was super challenging (I definitely was not tap-backing or push-upping!).  The instructor yelled at me because I kept resting my elbows on the handlebars (big no-no!). The drive home that morning felt like it was suspended in time.  New Mexico is called The Land of Enchantment, and the sunrises and sunsets are the best I've seen in this lifetime.  Albuquerque sits at the base of the Sandia Mountains, with "sandia" translating to watermelon.  I was driving up, the sun was rising, the mountains were pink, I felt defeated, yet energized.  Looking back it was in that moment I decided that I wanted to be a motivator, instructor, coach, or life-changer of some sort. Side note, I thought my music selection would be pretty amazing too! When I moved from New Mexico (to Hawaii) I had no intention of returning to NM but something magical happened while I lived there, so I wanted to document that change.  I got the Zia sun symbol (the "symbol" of NM) tattooed on my sternum, aka heart center.

And while that was about four years ago, the meaning of that tattoo has manifested itself into my life:
(from Wikipedia...)
"...The Zia Indians of New Mexico regard the Sun as a sacred symbol.  Their symbol, a red circle with groups of rays pointing in four directions, is painted on ceremonial vases, drawn on the ground around campfires, and used to introduce newborns to the Sun.  Four is sacred number of the Zia and can be found repeated in the four points radiating from the circle.  The number four is embodied in:
  • the four points of the compass (north, south, east, and west);
  • the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter);
  • the four periods of each day (morning, noon, evening, and night);
  • the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle years, and old age); and
  • the four sacred obligations one must develop (a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and devotion the welfare of others), according to the Zia's belief...."

Your class is addictive and your energy is intoxicating!  How do you keep it fresh each class and maintain your cool while killing it on the bike?
Well, it wasn't always like that, so I'd like to say it took a lot of practice.  :)  A lot of spin classes.  When you're put in a situation where you are acting from impulse and have to be in the flow of the Universe, I believe our true selves come out.  You are acting from pure action and reaction, similar to any pro-ball player who only has seconds left on the clock and has to decide whether to take the shot, or pass.  So, to relate that to teaching, I believe your true colors come out up there.  That, my friends, is the truest form of life coming through me!  To relate it to riding, when you're put in a stressful situation (i.e., last song in class, and instructor is asking you to push-it!) and the choice you make to keep pushing or to pull back, is a reflection of how you act outside of the room.  But the beauty of it, is that you choose.
As far as keeping it fresh, that's what progression is all about.  As a rider, and as a instructor, each class should be your best class....otherwise why keep coming back?
Where do you find your music and do you listen to the same stuff on your off time that you play in class?
A lot of music research goes into the SoulCycle instructor lifestyle!  I've always called it "music-ing" and I believe the term has since caught on!
I find most of music online through the website Hype Machine.  (http://hypem.com/popular).  I looooove me some remixes, so I'll hear a song that I like and then search for the remix and I purchase most music from beatport.  Also, a lot of riders also send me music, and I tend the venture out for music search from there.  I music share with instructors a lot.  Marvin and Janet are the best music share-ers!
I listen to the music I play in class, because there is an element of knowing the song.  However, when I'm not in music-land I tend to listen to trance-y, chill-like stuff.  Currently I'm listening to the Moby station on Pandora, and it is so relaxing, yet energizing at the same time.
Where did "Yes or Yes" come from?  I love love it.
I'm big on "inner-cising" as well as exercising.  Inner-cising is keeping the mental component of life fine-tuned.  I only read motivational, success, and business-like books.  This particular saying comes from one of the best books I've read Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker.  Driving around a lot in LA, I used to get audio books to listen to while spending hours (literally, hours) in the car.  Eker was one of the speakers on the audiobook "The Secret: Teachers Recorded Live" (http://www.amazon.com/The-Secret-Teachers-Recorded-Live/dp/B000Y8ZIM8) and I really resonated with his speaking style and how he delivered the message.  If you listen to his part, I'd like to think you would say he and I are similar.  Ha!  His speech definitely influenced me!
Do you workout outside of Soul?  Your abs are uh-mazing!  What's your favorite way to break a sweat?
Working out to me is a lifestyle choice and I do it because I enjoy it.  Much like some people enjoy watching movies, or dining out, or traveling.  Working out is what I do.  :)
I workout in and out of Soul.  Most people know my obsession with SoulCycle instructor Danny Kopel, and if they don't, I certainly make sure to give him credit because it is most certainly due.  I try to take as many DK classes as possible, because his class is art, his class is beauty, his class in fun, his class is soul.  He is fabulous!  Other than #dannyce-ing with DK, I take yoga at Moksha Yoga in the West Village and kundalini yoga at Golden Bridge in Little Italy.  And as of late, I've been obsessed with taking the group fitness classes at Equinox.  I love the MetCon3 class as well as the 30/60/90 classes.
We chatted once about you eating vegetarian (yay!).  What lead you down that path?  And is it something you'll stick with??
While living in LA, I came into the land of organic vegan and vegetarian restaurants.  I started going because I thought the food was phenomenal, so much that I starting seeking out vegan/vegetarian spots and they just became my go-to restaurants: (Cafe Gratitude, Real Food Daily, Cru, M Cafe, The Newsroom, Urth Cafe, Veggie Grill).  I was still eating some meat (mainly at Chipotle!) however, I started to notice an energy level increase when I stuck to just the veggie diet.  About the same time I discovered kundalini yoga, and then Forks Over Knives was released, and I just made a conscious decision to eliminate meat (including fish) completely.  A few months later, I tried eating meat again at dinner, and it just didn't taste the same.  In fact, I find since going veggie that the flavors profiles of the food start to become much more noticeable.  It definitely makes eating that much more enjoyable.  I don't typically drink wine, however since going veggie, I even find drinks to have more robust flavors.  People find it hard to believe that an athlete can be vegetarian/vegan, but plain and simple, for me, I don't need meat to survive.  :)
What advice do you have for new Soul riders (/addicts;))?  Any advice for advanced riders??
New Souls -- show up early!!!!
  • Give yourself time to get situated, that way you're not rushed into the room and onto the bike.
  • Have no expectations.  And trust the process.  If your first class is easy, then you're not giving yourself room for growth and improvement.  :)
Old Souls -- show up early!!! :)
  • Give yourself time to breath, when you rush into class you lose the essence of being in the flow.
  • Have no expectations and trust the process.  If it was easy, you wouldn't have showed up.

Workout Wear, etc.

Love Life and Lollipops- Lulu Lemon's Power Y Tank

I've been going to spin at Soul more and more these days and I find myself in the predicament of not only living in my workout clothing, but lugging around so much in my bag all day every day. I've been figuring out the right products and gear slowly, but surely, but so far, here are a few of my favorite things to keep me comfortable and light on spin days:

I've been wearing:

Here's what I need in my bag (aside from my spin shoes of course):

All that "said", all the hubbub, and it's still all worth it!  I love love my spin days.  I feel one hundred million times better each time I step out of that studio.  Soon I'll have it all figured out, get it down to a science, meanwhile I'm happy to try new things and find my groove:)

Fitness Update: Soul, Soul, and more Soul

Image via http://www.soul-cycle.com/about.cfm As some of you may know, I've developed a deep love for my new found Soul Cycle workouts!  I've moved from once a week to twice to three times and I'm fully addicted.  I could go five times a week (if I could find the time and money;)).

The funny thing is that I was never a sweaty workout kinda gal.  I loved a good yoga or even maybe a pilates or abs workout, but never a run or dance class or certainly not a spin.  Now I feel like if I go too many days without a good sweat, I'm sluggish, slow, bloated.

And the faster and harder the class, the more energized I am.  It's changed my perspective on exercise and on life.  On a bad day, a Soul class knocks me out of my funk.  On a good day it enhances my high.

I love love LOVE my Soul classes and love that I go with my sister-in-law, Rachel, and that I've convinced my friend Ali to join us (she's hooked too now of course), and my friend Romney also started joining us!  I've dragged my friend Erika and Maddie and have been pushing my friend Erica (a different Erica...you know who you are) to come too!  I love to share the Soul, so if any of you are ever interested at joining, holler!

For those of you wanting to go try a class on your own, here are my top 3 have teachers:

  1. Jolie Walsh- my first love
  2. Charlee Atkins- my newest Soul-crush (since Jolie left for maternity leave I needed to find my fix)
  3. Marvin Foster- unfortunately he doesn't often teach at times I can get to at Union Square, my home base Soul, but I've taken his class a couple times and they were uh-mazing.  Serious!

Girl Crush: Jolie Walsh (my Soul Cycle instructor)

Love Life and Lollipops- Jolie Walsh

As you all already know (because I go on and on), I'm newly obsessed with Soul Cycle.  A handful of weeks ago my sister-in-law Rachel convinced me to join her for a class.  It was so far astray from the type of activity that I usually participate in, but I agreed to do it (reluctantly).  Half way through my first class, dying, I knew I was hooked.  Jolie (my instructor) was supercute, amazingly energetic (considering she was 7 months pregnant), and totally inspiring.  I loved her, Soul Cycle, spin, and the crazy sweat I just had.

Since I've been to a bunch of classes (I get to as many as I can, though there is no Brooklyn location- hint hint Soul Cycle peeps).  I'm still not so great, but getting better each time.  Every once in a while Jolie calls me out over her mic, probably to shame me into spinning faster, and it works!  Probably not though...she's way too nice for that;)

Soooo...I asked her if she'd be willing to do an interview for us and she was happy to!  Here's how that went down:

2. How'd you get started in this crazy world of spinning? Give me a bit of background…

I started spinning back in Puerto Rico when I went home for the summer after my Freshman Year in College. It was love at first sight. I got to be in a dark room, get a great workout and all while spinning to latin music. Back at home, they didn't quite choreograph things to music, but there was definitely the connection of feeling the beat of the music and spinning to it. I've been singing and performing almost my entire life. I have a bachelor and masters degree in Music, so music you could say is my first language. I can really let go, forget about everything else that's going on in my life and get such an adrenaline rush from it. Whenever I feel stressed in my life or going through something difficult, exercising, such as spinning or running, have been the way I've deal with all of that. There is no better drug or therapy for me, than exercise.

2. Your class is crazy popular, which speaks directly to your infectious energy. Were your classes a hit from the beginning or did your following grow as you taught more? What do you think draws so many people to your classes?

First of all, thank you so much, that is so sweet of you. I think it's been a bit of both. Thankfully, I have been very lucky to have been able to create a following from the very beginning. When you first start teaching you must show the company that no matter what time of the day you teach, you can grow a class from 0- to full in a matter of months. This can be a little bit of a challenge when the times you first get are not as popular or when nobody really knows who you are.  I found that no matter how small the class was when I first started, I'd put as much effort, love and passion toward creating that playlist as if I would if it were packed and my boss would be coming to take class. I find that the more you care about anything you do in life, the better you do. I absolutely LOVE teaching. Everyday I look forward to creating not just an incredible playlist and ride, but an incredible experience. I want it to feel like it was the best time you have ever had in your life. Every group you teach is unique and I try to create a ride that would make those specific riders feel the high, feel like they just had the best experience while working out.

To your other question, I think that the reason people want to come back to my class is because first of all they know they will be getting a challenging workout, I try to change what we do from class to class, so that every time you come back, you get challenged physically. Because I love to ride myself, I try to design the class the way I'd like the class to be for myself. I also think riders know I will make every single class to be a completely new experience. So no matter how many times you come take my class a week, you will find that I don't like to repeat my music or what we do in the class. I also think, you can sense my love and passion for what I do. I think you can truly sense when a teacher really cares about you, and you can feel that the teacher doesn't want to be anywhere else in the world but there with you in that moment. I teach this way every single class.

3. You have a fantastic, characteristic uuuugh (sp?) grunt that you chant out throughout your class that has a energizing effect which makes me smile every time (and pedal faster), was that cultivated or a natural product of your class teachings?

Haha! You made me smile when I read this question. The funny thing is that I had NO idea I was doing this until very recently, when one rider told me how much he loved this "grunt" sound I make. I don't really know when it started happening. I do feel the music so deeply that I think sometimes I don't find the right words to describe my passion for the music or for what I want to say, so I just start making sounds to make the point across.  I really try to make it as organic and as clear as possible so that everyone can relate to what I'm trying to convey. This "grunt" has definitely been a natural product of my teaching and not at all planned.

4. How do you come up with your playlists? What is your favorite song for sprinting? For  isolating? For cool down?

Oh my goodness, I don't think I can pick favorite songs, this is a really hard question!! I have so many I absolutely love. Of course everyone knows my love affair with Eminem and Pitbull but truly, I just love so many different styles of music, it's hard to pick a favorite. I love hip hop, I love rap, I love alternative, I love jazz, I love good music, really good music.

I come up with playlists the same day I will go teach the class. I am constantly listening to new music and new mixes and mashups, so that by the time I start to make a playlist I already have a few songs I know I would like to use. I make playlists according to the day, the weather, the way I feel, the time of the class, the riders that are coming to take the class. It's really about creating a unique experience for that particular class, every single time.

5. So you're 7 months pregnant! And you put me to shame on that bike! How has pregnancy effected your workouts? Energy? Moods?

You are too sweet. I'm actually 8 1/2 months pregnant now, which I can't even believe! I really just feel great. The first trimester wasn't the easiest, because not only did I have a lot of nausea, I fell really badly and ended up having a third degree sprain. I was on crutches for 3 weeks and could barely walk for about 2 1/2 months. So that was really challenging. I still came to teach, on crutches, and taught off the bike for a while but I was really missing spinning and exercising. That was the most challenging part of my pregnancy so far- and it was basically because I couldn't do what I wanted to do.  Now I just feel so grateful to be able to exercise and spin that I'm just excited to be able to do it again. I am really one of those people that needs to do some sort of exercise every single day. Even on my days off, I need to do something and feel like I'm getting a sweat or I don't feel like myself. I feel so happy every time I go teach, that the energy I get is better than anything else I could do for myself. I have been really blessed throughout this pregnancy, because not only has the doctor given me the two thumbs up to keep doing what I'm doing until I go into labor, but I also have the most supportive riders in the world. I feel like this baby is already so loved by so many people because every time I come teach I feel so much love from all the riders. Everyone seems so excited for me to have this baby. I feel very blessed I get to be surrounded by such incredible people and such a loving community of riders.  Soul cycle is a very special community.

6. As i'm sure you can see when I come to class,Ii'm entirely incapable of coordination on the bike.  I can't seem to get my legs to move fast enough and on the beat (though I don't doubt I'm burning 4 million calories from the amount I sweat). That said, what advice do you have for novices like myself who wanna do it better and spin their hearts out?!?

Practice and time will make all the difference in the world. The more you do anything in life, the better you get at it. The most important thing you can do is be patient and kind with yourself. Life is too short to be stressed or worried about being perfect at something you just started doing. This is supposed to be fun, this is meant to help you release stress and burn some calories. You don't want to take away the joy out of something that can be so powerful and incredible for you. Sometimes it takes a little time to get used to it and to get really good at it but it's like anything else you want to do in life that you've never done before. I promise you that the more you keep coming, the more you practice, the faster your legs will go and the stronger you will get. I have no doubt about it. I've seen you in class and you ride with so much passion and commitment and that's all you need to get good at anything in life.

Love Love her!  I actually just got home from a class and apparently Lulu Lemon loves her too cause they surprised her in class last week and named her their newest ambassador!  Woot woot!  Congrats Jolie I'm so uberhappy for you!  xoxo

PS- I entirely attribute Jolie's class for kicking my body back into shape.  I'm down to 2 lbs to go!  Check me out:

You can follow up with what's cooking with Jolie on her Facebook or Twitter or join me for a class at Union Square one day!!!

6 Months Postpartum: the half way point

Love Life and Lollipops- 6 Months Postpartum

Postpartum recovery is truly a full year.  Flushing your body of all those crazy hormones, shrinking your pelvis back to size (well as far back as it will go...often your shape postpartum is different from preconception), losing all those lbs, replacing your nutrient stores (assuming you're working toward this...it takes major discipline) from which you pulled to pull a rabbit out of a hat (read: build a baby from scratch), meanwhile keeping the rest of your life and family in some sort of order takes major time and commitment.

For me, this round has been even more challenging than the first (with Avi of course I mean), yet even more rewarding.  There is twice as much to keep up with and even less sleep to have, but having done it once before, I have a confidence and set of skills I did not previously have.  It allows me to enjoy it a bit more and take absolutely nothing for granted.  As some of these days feel so long and challenging after coming off of only a few hours of sleep, there is a constant reminder that these days are fleeting and I should love and cherish every second of them.

That said...losing this weight has been the biggest challenge.  And while it sounds superficial, it's a bit more profound.  Here's why: between the conception period, two miscarriages (1 and 2), and the 10 long months of pregnancy, it's been a long time since I've felt like myself.  My body has been through so many changes (both physical and emotional) and so many restrictions, it's been hard to feel like my old, fun, wild self.  Having my body (at least resemble) what it once did, being able to fit into my old clothes reminds me that at some point, I'll be able to be me again once in a while, not just Mama 24 hours a day.

The cleaner I eat, the more yoga I do, this new interval training I'm doing, and Soul Cycling I've started, the quicker I see myself jump off that plateau I landed on and my size start to shrink back.

Between the last time I posted and now, my weight really did plateau.  I had a serious problem getting below the 128lb mark.  I was literally stuck there for the last two months.  But in the last week since I've started this new exercise regimen and really concentrated on not overeating (which is tough when nursing) and incorporating more raw foods with the arrival of this beautiful weather, I've lost another 2 lbs in the past week.  I'm pretty sure over the last few months of yoga I've gained a bit of muscle as I can feel myself significantly stronger.  So that's where I am 126lbs!  I definitely would like to shed a few more off my belly (and love handles;)), but I'm starting to feel happy about where I am!

But more importantly than that, I'm feeling great energy from my work outs, less bloated from the foods I'm eating, less cravings, and generally happier (regardless of the fact that the major lack of sleep continues!).

Soul Cycle kicked my butt! And I'm going back for more.

Love Life and Lollipops- Red faced from our Soul Cycle workout...was this red for hours!

I have to admit that exercise has never really been my thing.  I've always been part of the artsy crowd, not the athletic one.  In college I started yoga in college and fell in love.  And since then, that was my main form of exercise (that and walking like crazy of course).  Yoga feels fantastic to me.  It resonated with my  body and mind and is a staple in my life.  Since having Bar, my yoga classes have been helping me get toned and strong and remain sane.

The thing is, in so many books I've been reading (like Mark Hyman's UltraMetabolism and Andrew Weil's 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and John Douillard's The 3 Season Diet and others) these top holistic doctor are talking about interval training and how important it is to getting to your proper weight and maintaining optimum health.  For so so long I breezed through these parts of the books focusing only on the nutrition and lifestyle sections.  It was really a block for me and a laziness coming from a place of knowing that hard, heart-pumping, sweaty exercise was uncomfortable for me and I'd prefer not to do it.

But in my struggle to lose this last bit of baby weight, and hitting a major plateau, and being so tired from lack of sleep and maintaining my status quo and no more, I decided last week to start some interval training.  There's no reason I can't fit it in (it only takes 25 min) and I have a gym in my building and Baby Bar sleeps for a hour every morning (during which I was walking with her in the stroller...i.e. the bare minimum exercise I could do).  No excuses!

The interval training on the treadmill made me feel awesome.  I was sweaty and hot and I could totally get through it.  I was even using some of John Douillard's recommendations on breathing exercises (basic pranayama) while I ran and it felt great!  Ujai breathing and sprints?!?  What a fabulous combo.

Jump to this past Saturday when my sister-in-law, Rachel, convinced me to let her sign us both up for spinning class this week.  Jump to this afternoon: anxiety, nervousness, spinning shoes on my feet, and ready to go.  Our teacher Jolie was amazing!  She was 7 month pregnant and in waaaaay better shape than me!  She had amazing energy, dj skills to impress any amateur like myself, and had me sweating my face off (literally I was dripping down my face onto my shirt, though you couldn't tell cause I also drenched my shirt).  She was inspiring to say the least.

I couldn't come close to doing all the moves.  There is a lot of choreography and strength work combined and I'm far from the most coordinated as many of you know.  That said, I made it through the whole class and never stopped moving.  It incorporated abs, upper body, weights, sprints, resistance work, full full body.

Everyone said I'd be addicted.  Not sure if I'm addicted...yet...but I'm definitely up for the challenge.  Soul Cycle, here I come!  Baby weight, here you go!