How A Fitness Instructor Should Make You Feel

Photo by  Hayley Fisk . Makeup by  Kinx Active . Location  dr pilates  Los Angeles.

Photo by Hayley Fisk. Makeup by Kinx Active. Location dr pilates Los Angeles.

I’m not sure if you know this fun fact about me, but I’ve taken close to 550 group fitness classes in the past two or so years. I’m not trying to brag or say “Look at how fit I am,” but I want to share what I’ve learned through the process.

Last week, A Sweat Life published an article I wrote about group fitness. I briefly mentioned a horrible experience I had with an instructor. If you haven’t had a chance to read that post (and you really should), let me recap.

Two years ago, I unknowingly signed up for a West Coast Pilates class. If you aren’t familiar with West Coast style Pilates, it’s essentially Pilates on crack. It was my first time at that studio and I felt like a complete idiot. I had no idea what was going on or what to do. To make matters worse, the instructor was particularly unkind to me for no reason. While I have seen so many instructors go out of their way to help first-timers, this guy seemingly enjoyed making me feel unwelcome. I had to hold back tears. I felt like my body didn’t work right. A good instructor will gently guide you and NEVER shame you. Luckily, I gave the studio another chance and found several instructors who were nothing like that guy. I’m happy I didn’t let him ruin it for me entirely.

A good instructor should be able to teach multiple levels at the same time, beginners to advanced.  Everyone in a group fitness class will have different strengths and weaknesses anyway. For example, some people have strong arms, but weak legs. A decent instructor should at least try to accommodate everyone. And if they can’t, someone doesn’t have a challenging workout and someone else inevitably ends up injuring themselves.

Furthermore, an instructor needs to make sure everyone knows how to the machines and equipment properly. Being short (5”3 on a good day) can be a challenge for me because most equipment is designed for taller people. Some exercises have to be modified or I sometimes use equipment differently than someone who is six feet tall.  We all deserve to get the most out of our workout and if you aren’t comfortable working with equipment, it becomes impossible to have correct form. If you feel something isn’t right or you just aren’t sure if you are performing an exercise properly, ask the instructor. Their job is to guide you.

Then there’s the playlist factor. Musical taste has no correlation to teaching, but we all know there’s only so much EDM a person can take if they aren’t on molly. But, in all seriousness, we know how much easier it is workout to music we actually like or at the very least provides a beat that’s compatible to the tempo of the exercise at hand. I once walked out of a spin class and canceled my membership to a gym after an instructor played this song. If you aren’t sadistic enough to click, it’s a super slow, annoying song and by annoying I mean pretty much a musical abomination. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only person who walked out of that class. As a result, my current standards for playlists consist of anything that isn’t that song.

But I’ve also had lots of positive experiences. Because I’m rather petite, if you tell me I’m strong, you win my undying love, appreciation and extra karma points. Say I have great form, then I will think of you as the American Express Platinum of fitness instructors. Because of my stature, many people perceive me as weak. I even use to think of myself as weak, until I had instructors tell me otherwise. While anyone has yet to describe me as the kind of person you “wouldn’t mess with in a dark alley,” you wouldn’t want me to accidentally kick you. 

Fitness can be transformative. It’s a cliché, but changing your mind can change your body. Instructors should encourage you and safely push you to try harder. I think this is all part of body positivity. If you are going to do something to improve your physical and likely emotional wellbeing, you deserve to do it in a supportive environment with people who make you feel more confident. It doesn’t matter what your ability is, what your body looks like or what your goals are.  And if you’re really lucky, they like Beyonce just as much as you do.

 

Things We're Too Lazy To Blog About Podcast: Fitness

Let's cut to the chase, it's easiest to listen on iTunes or Stitcher.

This week, we get into it about fitness. I talk about inconsiderate people at the gym, my love for AKT, ClassPass, the car accident that changed my life, anxiety, the wisdom of Keltie Knight, The Hamptons, my favorite Pilates studio in LA (dr pilates) and what I has learned after taking 500+ group fitness classes. Ali chats Krav Maga (not to be confused crab dip), working out at home, DVDs (remember those?), feeling good, Danette May and more.

Things I Said I Would Link To In This Episode

AKT

Use promo code ALAKT4U for 50% off your first month of AKT On Demand.

To take a free class in LA, register on AKT. Then email clientservicesla@aktinmotion.com and tell them you heard about AKT through the podcast, as well as the date of the class you want to take.

I wrote an article for A Sweat Life which further details my experience at AKT. So, obviously if you haven't quite had enough of me talking about AKT, give it a read.

Fab Fit Well by Chanel

dr pilates

Wanna collab? Write us love letters? Please email thingsweretoolazytoblogabout@gmail.com

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Don’t forget, you can earn extra karma points subscribing and by leaving us a five star review on iTunes or Stitcher

 

From Post-Workout Triage To Actually Making An Effort: Best of Gym Bag Beauty

Hurray for honesty. Also this cute  gym bag by Ban.do .

Hurray for honesty. Also this cute gym bag by Ban.do.

I wrote an article for A Sweat Life featuring my favorite post-gym beauty products. So, if you're stinky, sweaty and have a tendency to break out after you workout (no judgements, but obvs you want that to stop, right?), head on over to A Sweat Life.

F-it Fridays: Activewear You'll Get Off The Couch For

This photo was taken by  Hayley Fisk  at  dr pilates , which is my favorite studio in Los Angeles. I love dr because it's small and boutique, so every class feels like a private session. The instructors are fun and give you an intense workout (hardcore = a hard core), but also know how to make adjustments for people at various levels. If you are in Larchmont Village, you need to stop by and take a class. If you are not in Larchmont Village, it's totally worth dealing with the traffic. I feel like very few things in Los Angeles are actually worth the traffic, so that's saying a lot!

This photo was taken by Hayley Fisk at dr pilates, which is my favorite studio in Los Angeles. I love dr because it's small and boutique, so every class feels like a private session. The instructors are fun and give you an intense workout (hardcore = a hard core), but also know how to make adjustments for people at various levels. If you are in Larchmont Village, you need to stop by and take a class. If you are not in Larchmont Village, it's totally worth dealing with the traffic. I feel like very few things in Los Angeles are actually worth the traffic, so that's saying a lot!

There are so many ways to motivate yourself to workout. Some people buy fitness trackers or join Facebook groups. Others watch The Biggest Loser to make themselves skip dessert (I feel this way about Hoarders and cleaning). But, my favorite way to motivate is buying stylish activewear. After all, who doesn't like wearing a new outfit? If you don't, I feel sorry for you. 

So I guess this F-it Friday is also Fit Friday! If you've worked out a lot this week (or even if you haven't, no judgements), you deserve a calorie-free treat! F-it and buy yourself something nice. Here are some of my favorite activewear pieces to get you off the couch and onto the reformer (or spin bike, or treadmill, or insert your favorite piece of fitness equipment here). 

DG LUXSPORT Leggings & Tank

Back in March (which wasn't that long ago, really), I  collabed with Kinx Active, which is an activewear makeup line, on a photoshoot. Several of my outfits were from Diane Gilman. If you haven't heard of her, she's dressed some of the most iconic rock stars in the world including Janis Joplin and Cher.

The comfort waist leggings are available in two different flower prints, which as you know is a huge trend this spring and not going away any time soon. (So, if you don't like flower prints, you're kind of SOL for a while because they are EVERYWHERE.) The matching tank is also available in several colors. 

Michi Dive Rash Guard Crop Top (Yes, I have no idea what's going on with the name either)

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I love this crop top by Michi. It's literally one of the sexiest pieces of activewear I've ever seen. Wear it to barre and channel your inner badass ballerina with literally any pair of leggings. 

Alo Yoga Epic Leggings

Although they are white, you can totally wear Alo Yoga’s Epic Leggings before Memorial Day.  After all, they do live up to their name. Perfect for cardio activities, even if you don't workout your hardest, at the very least, your style will be epic. 

Calvin Klein Modern Cotton Bralette

The Modern Cotton Collection Bralette by Calvin Klein is retro chic. Wear it under a black tank and let the logos show or alone (but obvs with pants or shorts because you don’t want to be creepy) during an extra hot hot yoga session. If you were wondering, I have this bra and it’s more supportive than it looks. 

Body Language Aven Pullover

I love this pullover by Body Language. First of all, it will look super cute any of the pieces featured in this post. I also really like it because it’s lightweight for those times when you don’t want to freeze, but you know a big, thick sweatshirt is going to be too warm.

Forever 21 Active Slashed Leggings

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Everyone loves a deal and these Forever 21 Active Slashed Leggings cost less than a Flywheel class. I'd seriously consider buying these in bulk. 

ban.do Water Bottle

This ban.do water bottle isn't technically clothing, but we all know how not stylish dehydration is. I love this bottle for its sheer honesty! 

BooHoo Keira Metallic Contrast Weekend Gym Bag

Say yay for this gym/weekender bag by BooHoo! Made of synthetic materials, it's the chicest place to throw your stinky grippy socks and that leaky bottle of green juice you didn't close properly. 

It's Amanda Lauren X A Sweat Life

I am obsessed with group fitness, but it's an expensive habit. I wrote a post for A Sweat Life featuring my best tips on how to afford those pricey classes and still have enough left over to buy yoga pants that aren't on sale. Click on over to A Sweat Life to check it out.

Five Ways To Trick Yourself Into Achieving Your Fitness Resolutions in 2017

Welcome to January! It’s the official month of no one being able to shut up about their New Year’s resolutions. Let’s be honest. Everyone is talking about changing their life forever, but if you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to recharge from the holidays and can barely change your socks.

It also feels like fitness takes so much more effort in January than it does during a more ideal time of the year like April. You have to wait for your favorite treadmill at the gym (seriously, the sign says there’s a 30 minute limit, you’ve been waiting for 33 and the person who is currently walking 1.3 miles per hour is the most selfish person in the universe), all the good group fitness classes are booked, and if one more person on Facebook asks you to join their Whole30 group, you are going to deactivate your account for a whole 30 days. Losing weight (or any other fitness goal you may have) shouldn’t come at the cost of losing your mind. So, stop listening to that person who keeps bragging about how they’ve lost six pounds since Sunday (and we all know it was water weight anyway), and listen to me.

Don’t Make Resolutions

I’m convinced the person who came up with the term “New Year’s resolution” never achieved one because it sounds intimidating. Who wants to do something they’re not current doing for a whole year? I don’t! Instead, make short-term goals as part of an overall lifestyle change. What sounds easier? Losing 30 pounds this moth or taking three group fitness classes per week? Change your vocab and then change your life.

Something Is Always Better Than Nothing

No matter how realistic our goals are, we all have emergencies, commitments or simply get tired. I try to workout five days a week. But, there are times when I get really busy and four workouts feels like a miracle. I used to feel really bad when I didn’t achieve my weekly goal, but then I changed my perspective, choosing to focus on the positive. Four is better than zero, right? I worked out four days last week. Good for me! 

The Best Workout Is The One You Actually Do

Every day, someone makes a claim that they’re invented some kind of new fitness program that burns 8 million calories per hour and will make your body look like Jennifer Lopez’s in 3 weeks. That’s awesome, but totally ineffective unless you actually do it.

We are currently in the golden age of fitness. No matter what your goals, ability, body type, patience level or budget is, there is some kind of exercise that you will like. And by like, I mean at the very least, not hate entirely. Are you a good dancer? Try AKT or a dance class at your local studio. Like to show off how tough you are and learn new acronyms? Get your WOD on at one of the thousands of Crossfit affiliates. You don’t want to sweat because you get weekly blowouts (on that note, I really want to be you)? Pilates and barre can help you achieve your fitness and hair goals. Do you love spin class but have a crazy schedule or live in Antarctica? Buy a Peloton bike. Perhaps you’re equally serious about fitness and avoiding people? Stream it up with Tone It Up. Between group fitness, gyms, old school DVDs, online programs or just getting outside and putting one foot in front of the other while listening to music or a podcast, there is something for everybody and no excuses for anyone.

Multi-Task & Get Your Friends Involved

Sometimes it’s hard to find time for your social life and fitness, so why not combine both? Instead of drinking 5000 calories worth of mimosas at brunch or beers at happy hour, why not exercise together? Group fitness classes are perfect for friend dates because you have to sign up in advance, making everyone less likely to flake out. If group fitness isn’t your thing, why not go for a hike, ice skate, ski or try a new sport together? Then grab a healthy meal afterwards.

Go Shopping

I know I’m more motivated to workout if I get to wear something stylish. Activewear should be an 100% guilt-free purchase. But getting fit doesn’t mean your wallet has to be lighter, especially if you have a spending hangover from the holidays. I’m absolutely obsessed with the limited edition AKT by Anna Kaiser X Target collaboration that launched this week. Three of my favorite activewear brands, Zobha, Carbon38 and Bandier also have some pretty impressive sales right now. Treat yourself and your body. 

So Last Week... Things I Read That Are Totally Worth Your Time

Happy Holidays! My gift to you is bringing back So Last Week (I know… You were hoping you’d get a handbag, me too). From self-love and body acceptance to turtlenecks, here are some of the best posts I read last week.

Did you read or write something that needs to make So Last Week next week? Please email AmandaLauren212@gmail.com

The Cut: Why I'm Proud To Be A Size 10

I love this essay from The Cut by Nadia Aboulhosn. It’s about loving your body and not letting other people’s standards influence your life decisions. As someone who is short, has an hourglass figure and fits into clothing ranging from size XXS to size 10 (not kidding and yes, I totally should write a post about this), I have a deep appreciation for what she has to say.

Man Repeller: Monocycle Podcast Episode 44, Hi Again

In this episode of Monocycle, Leandra Medine talks about having a miscarriage and learning to have more compassion for herself. Warning: listening to this podcast will make you laugh, cry and give yourself a big hug.

A Sweat Life: A Yoga Workout To Calm Your Mind

Want to namaste sane when you visit your family? Try this workout.

Cupcakes and Cashmere: Spotlight On Statement Tights

Living in Los Angeles, I totally forgot statement tights existed, but after reading this post, I literally want to buy every pair.

Le Fashion: How To Toughen Up A Chunky Turtleneck Sweater

Turtlenecks are everywhere this season. Le Fashion shows you how to make them chic in a way you probably didn’t even think you could. 

New York Fitness Fave AKT Comes To Los Angeles & Target Stores

If you haven’t heard of AKT yet, I won’t judge you (that much), but let me take this opportunity to inform you, it’s one of the hottest workouts right now. AKT was created by Anna Kaiser, a professional dancer turned A-list celeb trainer. After shaping some of the hottest bodies including Kelly Ripa (I know I can stop right here, but let me drop a few more names), Shakira and Sarah Jessica Parker, she opened up her first New York studio in 2013. Very quickly, AKT achieved “it” status. Four east coast locations later, they are getting ready add another one in Los Angeles in 2017. The brand is also launching a limited edition collaboration with C9 Champion, available exclusively at Target (so feel free to pronounce it Tar-jay).

Last week, I had the full-on AKT experience at their Beverly Hills pop-up. I previewed the line and was totally wowed. Everything about this collaboration impressed me, including the quality, construction and (let me be truly honest about my priorities) style. Priced between $12.99-$41.99, every piece looks way more expensive than it is. Another great thing about this collab is that it’s body positive and size inclusive ranging from XS-3X. While I wasn’t able to preview the entire line, overall, I felt what I saw was cut on the more generous side. I plan to order a size smaller than I normally wear. 

I also got my workout on, taking a Sweat Dreams class. While this sounds like something that involves napping and losing weight, don’t let the name fool you. It was a fast-paced program that consisted of circuits, which alternated between strength training with weights and cardio moves as well as mat exercises. Designed to consistently challenge the body, I found as soon as I got the hang of each circuit, it was time to move on to the next one. I really had to keep my focus, which made the hour fly by. Incredibly intense, it was a lot of fun with an encouraging atmosphere. I also give the playlist bonus points because playlists tend to make or break my motivation. 

Sweat Dreams compelled me to push myself in ways I normally don’t. Because the class was in a smaller space, we only used two props, 3 and 8 pound weights. I rarely use weights heavier than 3 pounds. It was as if I took a magic confidence pill and I was really surprised about what my body could do. The entire experience has actually made me feel more confident in my other workouts. 

I do not look this fabulous when I exercise, but at least I can buy the clothes.

I do not look this fabulous when I exercise, but at least I can buy the clothes.

The class was taught by one of AKT’s top instructors, Ariel Hoffman. I was floored by her ability to take command of such a large group, making sure no one was lost, especially because it was the first time quite a few of the participants were trying AKT. Anna herself didn’t teach the class, but she had a really good excuse because she is eight months pregnant. However, she was there to supervise and correct forms (mine included). Anna glowed hard and had such a kind, happy vibe about her. I can’t wait until she gets back from maternity leave, so I can take a class with her personally.

While AKT isn’t officially open in LA yet, they have semi-secret classes at the Pacific Arts Center. You can check the schedule and book through the Mindbody and AKT apps. 

If you don’t live in a location with an AKT studio, no FOMO is necessary because a streaming program is available, as well as DVDs. But you will have FOMO if you don’t kick off the New Year with new gear on January 1st at Target. So, don’t forget to log in at midnight. Try not to think of this as drunk shopping so much as starting your resolutions at the earliest possible moment. If you prefer to shop in store, the line is available at select locations only. 

So Last Week... Things I Read That Are Totally Worth Your Time

Happy Sunday! Daylight Saving Time officially starts today, which means at some point this week, you will probably spend at least fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to change the time in your car (how this doesn't get updated automatically in newer models is beyond me) or perhaps on your oven or microwave. If you can actually remember how to do this, use those fifteen minutes to catch up on some of the things I read last week.  

A Sweat Life: Ideas For Moving On After Unlimited Class Memberships Are Cut

This week Class Pass put the kibosh on their unlimited membership plan. If you are wondering what to do now, A Sweat Life offers some good options.

Observer: 10 Tips From Fitness Experts on Working Out in the Morning

Speaking of fitness, morning workouts are far easier said than done. Here are ten great ways to motivate yourself to get your butt out of bed and in a squat position (or whatever position it’s supposed to be in for your chosen workout).

Flight of Spice: Summer Dress For Fall

Despite the falling temperatures, so many of us have summer dresses we just aren’t ready to transition out of our wardrobes just yet. In this post, Flight of Spice shows us we don’t have to, by styling a summer dress for the fall. 

Slate: Dear Prudence

If you didn't know from a previous post, Slate's Dear Prudence is a guilty pleasure of mine. While I don't always side with Mallory Ortberg’s advice, this week was so spot-on. 

Vogue: The Logo Belt Is Back! Here’s How to Wear It Without Feeling Like a Cheeseball

Hope you didn’t let go of your favorite logo belt because it’s back in style again. Vogue makes some suggestions on how to wear it this season.