Guest Post: CycleBar GC’s Newest Instructor

Let’s be real. Riding a bike like your life depends on it at 6am is rough. Add in the 5:15am wake up and 24 degree weather and it’s down right desperate. But when you step out of the shower at 7:05am–it feels fantastic.
This morning I took Pasqua’s 6am Cycle Bar class and loved it (in retrospect, of course.) We started sprinting from the get go and it only got more intense from there. There were two or three times during the class when I expected to catch a break; my hand hovering over the resistance knob ready to turn it down, but Pasqua’s count down to freedom ended with “now raise that resistance!” Damn it.
Pasqua’s class is hard, but she is upbeat and encouraging. She makes you want to raise that resistance and push that pace even when you don’t think you can–but that’s the thing. You can.
Sarah
@sarahmccay

Are Blue Lights Causing Your Bedtime Battles?

five bulb lights

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Ever since I went to the ACSM Annual Meeting back in May – I have been very intrigued with sleep. What is sleep? What factors affect sleep? What are the effects of sleep deprivation? And the presentation that started it all – a talk I went to on the role of blue light on our sleep – that soft blue glow that illuminates the room from these devices.

In 2018 – we are constantly exposed to blue lights – in particular from our phones, laptops, and other electronic devices. While blue light has been shown to boot attention, reaction times, and mood – it is disruptive to our sleep cycle. Blue light not only suppresses melatonin secretion (the key regulator to the timing of sleep) – it also shifts our circadian rhythm (our internal clock).

How does this occur? We have always known that we have rods in our eyes for vision in low light levels and cones for color vision in more bright settings – but we also have ipRCGs. These are intrinsically photosensitive retinol ganglion cells (in case you were curious 😉 ) that are not responsible for forming images, instead they communicate to our internal clock to release melatonin.

What can you do to reduce the effect of blue lights on our sleep?

  1. Avoid looking at bright screens 2-3 hours before bed
  2. Consider wearing blue light blocking glasses if you work night shift or use electronic devices (I love my Felix Grays )
  3. Utilize the blue light filter on your phone to turn on around 7pm every night
  4. Get outside! Expose yourself to bright lights during the day to help boost your ability to sleep

Sleep deprivation is a significant epidemic that we face in today’s society so any small adjustment we make can reap significant benefits .

Are you interested in learning more about my research and sleep? Leave a comment below and I’ll write future blog posts about it.

Xo, Pam

 

References:

American Sleep Association. What is Sleep? Why is it needed? Retrieved from http://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/what-is-sleep/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017) Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html

Tosini, G., Ferguson, I., & Tsubota, K. (2016). Effects of blue light on the circadian system and eye physiology. Molecular vision, 22, 61-72.

Walker, M. (2017).Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. New York, NY: Scribner.

 

Workout: TRX on the Beach

Total Body Resistance Exercise

This is a favorite piece of exercise equipment (and I’m not just biased because I’m a TRX instructor) because anyone can use it and you can take it anywhere! Make sure it’s securely mounted and you have some space to work up a sweat 💪🏼

We put together some basic TRX exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home or hanging off the Long Beach boardwalk as I like to do! The most important piece of each exercise is to maintain your plank- keep your core tight and squeeze those glutes 🍑

Perform each exercise for 45 seconds each and do 2-3 rounds!

TRX Low Row

  • Adjustment: Fully Shortened
  • Face the anchor point
  • How-to: Elbows under shoulders, angle in, while maintaining your plank extend the arms then squeeze your shoulder blades together and return to start

TRX Chest Press

  • Adjustment: Fully Lengthened
  • Face away from the anchor point
  • How-to: Arms straight in front, angle back and stick your plank, bend the elbows and bring your chest to your hands. Press into the handles and return to startTRX Sprinter’s Start
  • Adjustment: Fully Lengthened
  • Face away from the anchor point
  • How-to: Being the straps under your arms and pin to your chest. Keeping your weight in your arms, angles back on the balls of the feet. Drop one leg straight back as you bend the other so you’re in a straight line. Drive the straight leg up to balance and repeat. Do both sides.

TRX Squat

  • Adjustment: Mid Length
  • Facing the anchor point
  • How-to: Stand with elbows under the shoulders and feet shoulder width apart. Sit back and down keeping the weight in the heels. Keeping a loose grip, use your legs to drive back up and return to start

TRX Biceps Curl

  • Adjustment: Mid Length
  • Facing the anchor point
  • How-to: Palms up, bring your fists to your temples and keep your elbows up high. Extend the elbows, maintaining your plank. Pull yourself back up to start while keeping the elbows lifted.

TRX Triceps Press

  • Adjustment: Mid Length
  • Facing away from the anchor point
  • How-to: Stand up with arms straight in front of you, bend the elbows and bring your fists to your temples while keeping that plank. Press straight into the handles and return to start.

TRX Step Back Lunge

  • Adjustment: Mid Length
  • Facing the anchor point
  • How-to: With elbows under the shoulders, line one leg up with the anchor point, and balance the other in front. Step back into a lunge so both knees bend to 90*. Drive off the heel of the front door and return to start.

What’s your favorite move on the TRX?? Where do you set it up? Share in the comments!

Xo, Louise

Holding Yourself Accountable

Accountability

noun: the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.

Let’s talk about our goals; short term or long term, personal or career focused.

There are the ones already in progress and those we haven’t yet started to tackle. Focusing on the latter, take a moment to think about the “why.” Why haven’t you started? What road blocks are in the way? Which of those did you put in your own way?

When it comes to your job, you are held accountable to perform certain tasks whether it be a team project, working with a client, or attending a meeting. This is your responsibility and your boss and coworkers rely on you to make sure these tasks get done.

But who is responsible for making sure you achieve your own goals…?

Holding yourself accountable is often the biggest road block when it comes to achieving our goals. Using fitness as an example, let’s say you’re training for a race. It’s easy so snooze through an alarm for a morning run or prioritize other things on your to-do list above a workout. Is an external source of accountability the answer? Knowing your running partner is waiting for you at 6am or signing up for a class at a specific time? How can we find that intrinsic source of accountability?

Think about what motivates you. Visualize the finish line- literally of your race or that end goal. We never want to look back thinking “I should have done it this way” or “what if I really prioritized myself?” No one else is going to get you there; if you want to achieve it you’re going to have to work for it. That’s your responsibility to yourself. This is you holding yourself accountable.

You want it, you work for it.

Event Recap: NY Fit Fest

Long Beach, New York was home again to the 2nd Annual New York Fit Fest. This event combines beach days with fitness fun – sounds amazing! Workout classes on the beach are exactly our style, so this event was marked on our calendars. All day long there were dozens of classes held right on the beach front by local fitness instructors. There was something for every fitness lover from yoga to spin and pole dancing to boot camps.

An all day pass for this event cost $75. Attendees were able to pre-register for classes which were running all day long, plus you could take as many as you like! Spin classes were held on top of the Allegria Hotel, TRX classes in the sand, and boot-camps trudging through the ocean. The vendor village was set up on the beach with everything from local studios to clothing companies to health food brands. I spent the afternoon hanging out with my BeachFIT Training family where we were hosting atomic push-up challenges alongside our tent neighbors, AMP Training, who had squat and bench press contests going all day long.

As I was working with the BeachFIT team for the event, I was able to explore within the vendor village, but did not sign up for the all day pass. I asked a long time friend of B&B, Stacy Player (@splayer11), to share about her day taking classes and soaking up the fun. Stacy signed up for CycleBar, Hot Pilates Secret, and more! Read on to learn about the Fit Fest experience.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend the NY Fit Festival in Long Beach with three friends, combining two of my favorite things, fitness and the beach.  The morning began with a cycling class on the roof of the Allegria Hotel, taught by a bubbly instructor named Gabby from CycleBar Garden City.  As soon as I walked out onto the rooftop pool deck, I felt like I was at a party, having been greeted by enthusiastic staff members and upbeat music. Before the class started, I couldn’t help but walk over to the ledge of the roof and take in the panoramic views of the ocean.  It was the perfect way to start the day.  After getting settled onto the bike, Gabby introduced herself and the DJ who would be spinning for the class. Once we got pedaling, my glutes and legs started to burn from the sprints, jumps, and hills; but Gabby’s contagious energy and the DJ’s motivating playlist made it easier to push through the burn. Having a DJ right there in class with us was an added bonus, since he was able to manipulate the beat and tempo based on Gabby’s instructions. When the class was over, we headed over to the braid station to get our hair braided by stylists from Red Door Spa. It was a fun break in between classes, where we had the opportunity to relax and walk around to different vendors.

After getting our hair braided, we walked over to set up for our next class, Yoga Pilates. We laid down our mats and sat in the sunshine waiting for the class to begin.  Kaley Young, the instructor, began by introducing herself to the group. Kaley is the owner and instructor at Hot Pilates Secret, which was started by her mother in 2005. In 2012, she lost her mother to breast cancer.  Five days later, Kaley taught her mom’s class and decided, with the support of her father, to continue the journey that her mother began. This past year, Kaley lost her father to 9/11 related illness. Her inspiring story set the tone for a peaceful and self-reflecting experience that Kaley began taking us through. The first half of the class was yoga-inspired, with classic poses, stretching, and breathing exercises. Kaley then transitioned into leading us through pilates-based exercises, with movements such as the double leg stretch, plank leg lift, and the teaser. These exercises engaged our core and helped develop our flexibility and strength. Meditation-style exercises were also infused throughout the class, which helped connect the mind, body and soul. The beach was the perfect backdrop to class, with the ocean air and waves crashing around us.

My third and final class of the day I ended up taking unexpectedly after I was persuaded by one of the instructors. Soccer Shape is a soccer-inspired fitness class developed by professional athletes that have played around the world. It’s essentially a “bootcamp with a soccer twist.” I was intrigued by the concept of the class because I have played sports my entire life, including college, and spent my adolescence at practices doing similar drills to those done during the class. As soon as I saw the agility ladder, cones, and soccer balls, I knew I would be hooked.

We participated in various high paced drills and fun challenges, which incorporated fast feet ladder runs, cone weaves, sprints with soccer balls, and plyometric stations. The dynamic movements and fast pace of the class pushed me to my limits in a good way. We also partnered with a buddy for resistance band exercises.  One particular fun and challenging exercise required us to loop a resistance band around your partner’s chest and hold both ends in either hand. Our partner sprinted across the beach while we held the band and pulled back on it, making it challenging for our partners to run. I happened to be partnered with a very strong guy, who pulled me across the beach so quick, it felt like I was walking a large energetic puppy. When it was my turn to run with the resistance band, the resistance was so strong that I felt as if I was running in slow motion. I jokingly told him that I should get extra points for pulling him across the beach! Doing the exercises in the sand created an extra challenge, as it targeted muscles that I don’t typically use on conventional surfaces.

We ended the class like most team practices do, with a group huddle and a cheer. It caused some of us to say “good job” and high five each other at the end, solidifying a team atmosphere. Soccer Shape was by far the most fun class of the day, as the coaches’ energy and sports-related fitness activities had everyone laughing and cheering each other on throughout the class. I felt like I was back at lacrosse practice, being part of a team again. I also felt like I was on an episode of MTV’s “The Challenge.” (In. My. Dreams) – Stacy Player

Who else attended NY Fit Fest this year?! We would love to hear about your experience! Share in the comments below 🙂

Xo, Louise

Greetings from Vancouver

Greetings from Vancouver!!!!

img_1879

It’s been a wild month. From the long LDW in Vermont with my friends, to a girls trip to Lake Placid, a birthday celebration in the vineyards in the North Fork, and now here across the continent in Vancouver for SeaWheeze. This month has been non stop and I am so grateful for each and every opportunity (however exhausting it is at times).

I’m going to be posting as much as I can over the weekend to share the experience with everyone – while also staying present in the moment. I figured I would kick off the weekend by sharing some pictures from my run around the sea wall yesterday to some first observations since taking off from LGA.

img_1886

 

My First Impressions of Vancouver

1.Everyone seems really happy. No one is yelling at their cellphones, taming their crazy child, or beeping their horn because the light turned green .1 seconds ago.

2. Speaking of cellphones – I have seen almost zero people walking while looking at their phones – which is currently the #1 hazard in NYC. I wonder if this will change once all the runners arrive!

3. This weather is fall – and no one is prepared. I went for a run yesterday in a tank and capris and stopped by lululemon/Sephora at the end. Multiple people both in the stores and on the streets were concerned by my lack of clothing and shared their concerns with me. I went out at night in a sweatshirt and everyone had scarves and hats. Now don’t get me wrong – I am underprepared thanks to NYC being 95* the past couple months – but I don’t think it’s wintertime either.

4. The exchange rate is making me want buy all of the lululemon items – but I’m trying to resist due to that big W word happening next July. Whenever I get the urge – I’ll open my wedding spreadsheet as a reminder.

5. These people have it all. Mountains, beaches, city lights – watch out Al – I may have fallen in love 🙂

Keep an eye out for more to come!

It wasn’t you…it was me.

pam30

Hello B&B family – Pam here!

This is an odd note to write – I didn’t know this would happen. As you may have noticed – I haven’t been around since late spring. It was never my intention to take a break but it’s something I had to do. It’s funny because I pride Louise and myself on making it for two years – I know plenty of blogs that started and never made it past three months. But I reached a point where I was forcing myself to write, I wasn’t connecting with the posts, and I wasn’t enjoying it. It was in conjunction with the heat of wedding planning, the opportunity for a promotion at work, and a time of growth in my relationship. To be completely transparent – I should have been more open with Louise with what was going on. I can never thank her enough for holding the fort together while I sorted my way through life challenges. There was a reason we ended up on this journey together. It’s so easy to make it look like you have things together online – but it’s what is happening behind that scenes that really defines a person.

I don’t want you to think it didn’t weigh on me – it definitely did. I apologized to Louise continuously but I just didn’t have it in me. I was up until the wee hours while giving presentations on the importance of sleep. I was skipping workouts while speaking to others about the importance of finding a routine. I realized I had put myself last and I had to shift.

So it’s funny – I’ve been leading up to my 30thbirthday and not sure how I felt. I was both excited and sad. I know it’s not a big deal – but for me it was this weird transition period. My early 20s were not easy – actually I would say they were the ones that built the woman I am today. I’ve been pretty open on here about my struggles – my abusive ex, my drug use, and the skeletons from my childhood. It has taken a lot of hard work and introspection but I have worked hard to shift the dialogue in my head to appreciate the past – but focus on the future.

I am so freaking excited for what is to come. As I continue to grow personally and professionally – I’m so happy to share it with all of you. I AM BACK. I needed a little time, a little reflection, a little work but I am ready. Louise and I spent the weekend together and we have spent the time to enjoy each other and also plan for our future.

So this is my apology letter to all of you – and asking you to have me back. I cannot wait for all the adventures that are to come in 2018 and 2019.  Thank you for supporting us through the good times – and those that are a little harder.

Xo, Pam

Run the Beach to Beacon Like a Pro

Last week, I adventured up to Portland, Maine for my 5th year in a row to celebrate Beach to Beacon weekend! Runner’s World Magazine has previously named Beach2Beacon on their Top 20 bucket list races [that aren’t marathons]. This is only my 4th year running the race (I am practically a legacy runner at this point- HA!) because my first registration was not fast enough. It sells out immediately so be sure to make your calendars for that important Friday morning in mid March. The registration process changed this year from a first come, first serve basis to one where you were put into a virtual “line” which in my opinion sucked a lot. Mostly because nothing was loading on my computer or phone and I ended up in the lottery. If you can’t type your credit card number fast enough, you don’t want to get in that bad! I digress…

Okay so step one you got in the race! Now, it’s cold outside in New England in March so it seems like a good idea… remember that when race day rolls around on the first Saturday in August… remember all the snow on the ground when you registered- it will help cool you off. They offer two days of race bib pick up helps with the volume of runners cramming into Cape Elizabeth High School (over 7,000 runners and then some). Fun fact: you will always get an L.L. Bean gift card. It’s the most coveted swag bag prize for any New England runner lol. The race shirts have also been blue (not white- Alleluia!) for the last two years- after talking with several other runners we are so hopeful that this stays the trend. Bib number, shirt, car magnet, L.L. Bean, check!! Okay, time to head home or to your hotel, eat some pasta and get some sleep! You have to be on those shuttle buses bright and early!

Race morning comes along and you basically have two options: runner parking at the start or hopping on the shuttle bus from Cape Eizabeth HS. We have always hopped on the shuttle bus without a hassle of parking or worrying about time. Maybe try to use the restroom before leaving the house to decrease the chances of having to pee in the woods. There are a ton of porta-potties, but there are way more runners than stalls. Enjoy the time in the start corral knowing you’re about the conquer the same course as many great, professional runners: Joan Benoit-Samuelson, MEB, Molly Huddle, Ben True, and the list goes on.

Course strategy: Do not send it in Mile 1 even though it’s flat. Save a little for the end because Miles 4.5-6 are very up and down. Smile for the cameraman on the left at Mile 4.6. And do not miss the bacon at Mile 5.

Post race knowledge is a bit limited… I have no idea how people get shuttled back to their cars. Since this is a point to point race (not a loop), the start and finish lines are 6.2 miles apart. I have been fortunate enough to run with my bestie whose parents house stares directly at the Portland Head Light aka the finish line. We can literally walk from the finish line back to their house where donuts, snacks, and a cold showers await our crew of hungry runners. If you run with us, it’s like being VIP 😉

Have you run the Beach to Beacon 10k? How many times? Share your best race advice in the comments below!

Xo, Louise

 

For more information on this race, you can read my 2016 Race Recap here!

Listening to Your Body During Summer Runs

What comes to mind when you think of summer running? Sweat, awkward tan lines, early wake up calls? Agreed. Summer runs can be brutal between finding a cool time to go for a run and trying not to chafe in shorts. While it seems silly to talk about, there comes a point where listening to your body is of the utmost importance!

Heat safety is a huge factor for summer sports- your body has cooling mechanisms, such as sweating, to help dissipate heat. With summer runs, it may seem inevitable that you’ll end up having to head outside on a day with high humidity or when the sun is strongest. Especially when that day is race day.

Twice in the last year I can recall having some degree of heat exhaustion- it’s not pretty. The most recent being this past week at Beach 2 Beacon where the 100% humidity forced me to pull back my pace and save my goal time for the next race. I listened to my body, chugged waters mid and post race, and even still woke up that night with chills and nausea. Water. Rest Repeat.

Chicago Finish Line 2017

The worse case was last year at the Chicago Marathon (and I know I have never talked about that heartbreak on here- so this is a piece of my story). Unfavorable running weather for October- high 70s, 80 something percent humidity, and not a cloud in the sky- a runner’s nightmare. It was all going well up to mile 17 until I got tunnel vision and an unquenchable thirst. Mile 20.5 was when my friend found me from the sideline, hugged me, and said I felt cold despite how sweaty I was. Um what??? I kept moving… barely forward and still in my “tunnel.” This should have been a “listen to your body” moment, but the thought of not crossing the finish line broke my heart.

My point here is that heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very real and very scary. Be sure to take precautions to keep yourself safe during these last hot weeks of summer.

  • Try running early before the sun is too strong
  • Avoid days with high humidity or heat index
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after- recover with electrolytes
  • Know the signs/symptoms of both heat exhaustion and stroke.
  • Listen to your body!!

Xo, Louise

Aka the girl who breaks her own rules