Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Matchbook Questionnaire

October is coming to a close, and I'm ready for November and for this half-shiteous year to be OVER!

#bye @ 2014 (soon).

I've had little to no motivation/inspiration the last few days, but got a much-needed boost from teaching a "packed" (5 of 5 bikes full at my apartment spin gig last night) class last night.

I've had lots of days in the past few months where I could barely muster the energy to get out of bed and go to work, so I took quite a few mental health days just to get rest and get my head screwed back on tight. I'm still not firing on all cylinders, but hopefully will soon.

I need to stop scheduling 6A workouts on days where I know the previous night of working out/teaching will wear me out. It's a costly $10 mistake per cancellation (at City Surf), and I just need to get a grip.

I need to prioritize sleep as much, if not more, than I prioritize my workouts. It's all about balance, and man oh man does it feel like I'm juggling way too much! My body has been fighting back in the form of broken calves after logging way too many steps one weekend, and just general tiredness/sleeping in and skipping workouts.

On to lighter and happier things.

I read TEDDI, SET GO! (my original SPinspiration, thanks to her posts about SoulCycle and how it changed her life and body) on the regular, and today, she posted her responses to a questionnaire featured in Matchbook Mag.

Here are my answers:

Both. Before and/or after teaching or taking 6A workouts, I either make hot or iced coffee with a touch of half and half, or splurge ($-wise) and get an Iced Venti No Room Americano from Starbucks.

If I feel like I need something in the afternoon or evening, I go for iced tea. Since I'm trying to get more sleep, I try and avoid highly caffeinated varieties, so I'll go for an Iced Venti Unsweetened Black (low caf) or Passion Tea (decaf), or if IDGAF, I go for an Iced Venti Unsweetened Green Tea. Some great restaurants in town offer decaf varieties (herbal, or just straight up marked "decaf," like at Cafe Express or Village Burger Bar), so I go for those every time.

Any and all write-ups on Daniel Radcliffe, Zooey Deschanel, Daniel Craig, and often, Emma Watson. I've got quite the coffee table magazine display right now.

USA: San Francisco and New York City (and Dallas, my home)
Europe: Paris, hands down. March 2015 can't come soon enough!

Fall, for sure.

I know nothin' about nothin' about flowers. If I had to pick, I'd say hydrangeas.

Zooey Deschanel

Hmm...not really on my radar, but I'm sure it would be something Kate Spade or Crate and Barrel. I've got all Crate and Barrel in my cabinets now, as a single lady, and they suit me just fine.

The new Fitbit models. I love mine to death, and have only had it since June, so I will likely stick with what I have. Thankfully, the new model I'm looking at only comes in Black and Slate, and I prefer colors with a bit more personality. 

Man, that's a tough one. I love the David Yurman ring I got for my birthday this year, and wear it daily, unless I'm lazy and leave it in my gym bag.

Other than that, I have a beautiful gold bracelet with tiny different colored gems on it that my late French grandmother gave me years and years ago. I found it in my jewelry box when I was hurriedly packing for a last-minute trip to France after we heard she had suddenly fallen ill, and unfortunately, she passed away while we were in the air over the Atlantic. 

I wear it when I need a bit of luck, and wore it the day I had to give my suit school presentation. Last month, it got caught on a shirt I was wearing and a piece of it broke off, so it's sitting on my nightstand, waiting to be repaired.

Zooey Deschanel

Runners up: Daniel Craig, Ben McKenzie, Jake Gyllenhaal, and the new actor on New Girl who plays Geauxinue <3

I teach spin classes, both Saturday and Sunday mornings. On Saturday, I RUN from teaching at the gym about .4 miles to City Surf to take the 10A circuits class. The circuits class is one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life, and I absolutely love it. After class, I walk back to my car, drive home, and prepare a #macros-compliant lunch. I typically fuck around for a few hours and catch up on "Gotham" on AppleTV before finally showering, changing, and getting things accomplished. 

Sunday, after class, if I'm livin' right, I get my ass to Trader Joe's and buy everything I need for the week. If I'm living in the light, I actually prep a few things, like overnight oats, some vegetables, or just get a game plan together for what breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks will look like every day. Again, that's what I strive for, but it doesn't always happen.

Here's to hoping I find the light in November. I can't believe this year is almost over, and I can't wait for it to end. I'm a few months away from my 28th birthday, which is depressing and awful, but I'll get over it. I have to say, getting older is better than the alternative, but that's just another lie I tell myself.

We're coming up on one year since my grandma had her massive stroke, which is unbelievable. We'll be visiting her in Atlanta in December for her 88th birthday. It won't be a fun trip, but I haven't seen her since December, and hope I can bring her some joy and fun in the few days we get to spend with her.

To health, happiness, and joy,

<3, STEL

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gotta get down on Friday: jams for your earholes

Recently, I gave in and bit the bullet and signed up for Spotify unlimited.


I was sick of constantly searching for and buying new music on iTunes, spending God knows how much money on a regular basis, and figured Spotify was a cost-effective way to help keep my playlists fresh, and my runs and workday more fun.

I apparently had a lemon iPhone 5: it NEVER ever connected to my Wifi at home, so I was constantly paying AT&T for data overages.

Enough was enough, and I'm now rocking an iPhone 6 on the TMobile network. It always connects to Wifi without a second thought, leaving me plenty of data to run to Spotify unlimited for however long I want. Money saved. Workouts improved.

Here are 10 things blasting through my earholes now:
1) Clapslap - Original Mix (Rampue)
2) Problem (Natalia Kills)
3) Blame (Calvin Harris, John Newman)
4) Break The Rules (Charli XCX)
5) Left Hand Free (alt-J)
6) Canyon Moon (Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness)
7) Go (Grimes, Blood Diamonds)
8) Stolen Dance (Milky Chance)
9) Feelings (Maroon 5)
10) Five Hours (Don't Hold Me Back) - Radio Edit (Deorro, DyCy)

Want to follow my favorite playlists on Spotify? Click on the links below, and enjoy.

6A before class (I constantly update this one because I get really sick of what I put together for my pre-class jams)

Cooldown (good songs for stretching or general relaxing)

Happy Friday! May your weekend be full of sick tunes and good times.


Thursday, October 16, 2014


BEYOND500 is officially open for business! 

BEYOND studios has revolutionized the fitness scene in Dallas over the last few years with BEYOND PilatesBEYOND Pedaling, and now, BEYOND500. I've taken classes at all three, and I think BEYOND500 might just be my favorite.

Two of my all-time favorite City Surf instructors, Mitch and Catherine, have been training for the studio opening for the past few months and posting snaps of the gorgeous and innovative studio on Instagram, so I couldn't wait to try it out opening week!

I took advantage of this week's FREE class offer, and rocked it out last night under Elissa's tutelage.

According to their website, BEYOND500 is broken down into three components:
01 RUN

The "RUN" part is where it really gets interesting here. An ordinary treadmill wouldn't do, so BEYOND500 brings you the Woodway Curve treadmill, which is human-powered, and thus, said to be 30% more effective than the standard treadmill

Image c/o WOODWAY website
The 500 in the name signifies that in a 50-minute session, you'll be burning at least 500 calories. SOLD! 

Here's my take on my first class at BEYOND500:

The workout
HIIT (High-intensity interval training) is almost old-hat these days in the fitness industry, but it's what you should be doing to get the most out of your workouts.

To take this a step further, BEYOND500 brings us the "PHIT" principle: Pilates Hybrid Interval Training. According to their website, this method "combines three disciplines to create the most efficient and balanced workout system: Pilates-inspired functional movements, cardio intervals, and strength exercises."

At the start of class, Elissa instructed us to form a half circle and counted off the 20 of us into three groups. I was in group three (03 ROCK), so I would be starting with kettlebells. Group one started with the Woodway (01 RUN), and group two started with the "hot seat" Pilates chair (02 REFORM).

Before getting into the workout, we were led through a quick 5-minute or so warmup set to bangin' tunes. It was a series of jumping rope (without rope, but jumping up and swinging your arms as if you were jumping rope to the beat), side lunges, and crab toe touches.

From there, Elissa told us the gameplan: a 3-by-3, or three workouts done three times through. The only workout that changed was what was being done at station 01 RUN, making it easy to nail the exercises throughout the night. 

You're at each station with your group for 4 minutes, and there's a 1 minute break in between stations so you can quickly towel off and hydrate.

There's a clock toward the front of the room that counts down the 4 minutes, and it's mostly to help keep the 01 RUN group moving.

01 RUN
Image from Beyond500 website (http://thebeyondstudios.com/henderson/#!)

Round 1) "Flintstones": One foot is on the side of the Curve, and you use the other foot to quickly drag the treadmill belt as you hold on to the handlebars. You do this for 30 seconds, then jog in the center for 30 seconds, and then do "Flintstones" on the other side. Repeat through the entire 4-minute period.

Round 2) "Flintstones" to the side, meaning you're facing the side instead of the front and dragging the foot laterally instead of straight. This time, your 30 second jog is BACKWARDS, which was super trippy and hard for me to nail, but you can hold on to the rails for support. Then, "Flintstones" on the other side. Repeat through the 4 minutes.

Round 3) 30 second jog at around 6/6.3 MPH, then a 20 second sprint, aiming to improve your speed by 1.2 MPH. This was tough because slowing back down to the 6/6.3 jog isn't much of a break, and you're beat by the time you get to the last round, but it was well worth it.


Image from BEYOND500 website (http://thebeyondstudios.com/henderson/#!)

Ah, the "hot seat." I have a love/hate relationship with reformers, but I really loved the chair, I must say. 

At this station, we went through 3 exercises, 10 reps each, through the 4 minutes.
1) You lie on the floor, and butterfly your legs, keeping your feet and toes touching at all times. Your feet are on top of the bar, and you're slowly lowering the bar down and up for 10 reps. 

2) You lie face-down on the chair and use your hands to push down the bar slowly for 10 reps. Controlled and slow movements are key here to maximize the effects of the resistance here.

3) This is what I like to call the "Flashdance" exercise. You sit on the chair, hands behind you, ready to reach for the bar. You start with the L hand on the bar, slowly lowering yourself down while pressing down the bar as you raise your R arm straight. Come back to the top slowly and switch sides, 10 reps total, and then you start back with 1). This one was a great side stretch.


Image c/o BEYOND500 website (http://thebeyondstudios.com/henderson/#!)

Kettlebells are hot these days, and I've gotten to know the movements through sandbell training at City Surf Fitness. I like to do some strength training on Sundays after teaching RPM, and I always head straight for these babies. They torch calories and they're just a lot more fun to use than the traditional hand weights or barbells, in my opinion.

Here's what we did:
01) Kettlebell swings, and you have your choice between a few different weights. I opted for the 18 lb kettlebell for all three rounds, which was plenty tough. 10 reps.

02) Kettlebell pushups: get in pushup position and place your R hand on top of the kettlebell, and do a pushup. Then move the kettlebell to the L, and do the same thing on the L side. Repeat until you get your 10 reps.

03) Kettlebell situps, however you want to do them. I held the kettlebell straight overhead and knocked out my 10 situps each time.

At the end of the 50 minutes, I was drenched and felt incredibly accomplished. I wasn't bored for a second, and loved getting both a correction and praise from Elissa throughout the workout. I was impressed with my performance and can't wait to go back to do it all again.

The studio and parking

The studio is located right next to The Gin Mill on Henderson Ave. They have a parking lot right in front and directly behind the studio, but all spots were taken when I got there (there was a class still going on), so I sneakily parked at Gin Mill. Henderson Ave. parking typically gives me an anxiety attack, so this might be a deterrent for me moving forward. 

I would think that parking would be easier if you do a morning class, but I haven't been able to test out that theory yet.

The studio is bright and clean, and there's a bathroom if you need to freshen up before or after class. The space is fairly big and very minimalist. They have a long bench with storage cubbies underneath where you can put away your things during class. 

Bring a towel and wear trainers or other sneakers that allow you to move and run easily.

It's best to try and get to class about 10-15 minutes before it starts to get familiarized with the equipment, sign in (via iPad), and introduce yourself to the instructor (as long as there isn't a class going on when you get there, of course). 

They've got lots of cute tops and bottoms for purchase, and I may have already snagged a Texas tank that I can't wait to wear! It's black with a Texas state graphic on the front, and BEYOND is written on the back of the tank. They have a few colors of "PHIT" tanks and a few that say "BEYOND500" on the front.

I arrived with an empty water bottle in hand, and they unfortunately don't have a water fountain, but they've got water bottles for purchase. I'd recommend buying one there or filling yours up before coming. 

The instructors
Image c/o BEYOND500 website (http://thebeyondstudios.com/henderson/#!)

I had taken Elissa's class at BEYOND Pedaling and loved her sick playlists, motivation, and infectious energy. She was no different at this studio! I was amazed at how she was able to monitor, correct, and motivate ALL three groups at the same time throughout the duration of the workout.

I absolutely loved the music, as expected! It was mostly remixes and things I'd never heard before, and it helped serve as background to fuel me through all of the tasks at hand.

I'm sure the rest of the instructor lineup is great, and I definitely recommend Elissa, Mitch, and Catherine from experience. You won't be disappointed!

How to sign up

Create an account on the BEYOND website, and pick your day/time/instructor of choice. There are a few spots left in some of the FREE classes, which are through tomorrow. 

After Friday, your first class is $15, and there are some great limited time offers for initial pricing.

RUN, don't walk to BEYOND500 ASAP!

If you're interested in the other workouts BEYOND offers, you can check them out on their recently revamped websites, which look pretty damn sexy. On the new and improved BEYOND Pedaling website, you can now learn a little bit about the instructors, get access to the latest and greatest playlists on Spotify, and most important, book your specific bike, just like you can for Flywheel and SOULCYCLE