Orange is the New Workout

I quit going to the gym two years ago.  

Traditional gyms, like Fitness Edge did not do it for me.  For starters, as a fitness professional for the last 10 years who is a stickler for form and stability, I can say with authority that the trainers employed there are lazy and unskilled.  Sorry if that offends anyone, but I only speak the truth of what I witness.  Seeing this incompetence around me every time I worked out made me angry, which is not the emotion I was going for when I entered the gym.

Also, DESPITE being a fitness professional, I found a way to wimp out on my workouts.  Not terribly promising for progress.

I needed a good push from a force outside myself.  

Enter my two favorites dressed in orange!

Orangetheory Fitness in Fairfield, CT and JoyRide Cycling Studio in Westport, CT both kick my hiney out of it's lazy comfort zone to such a point that at times I feel beyond the point no return (please see previous post "Not Dead Yet" to see what I am talking about).  

Both offer a great product for a premium price, which I find is worth every penny as it is giving me the results I desire while keeping me motivated for my own personal workouts in between class days.
The two are very different in method and philosophy while equal in encouraging members to believe in themselves and go higher, which for me makes it a winning combo.

At Orangetheory, heart rate monitors are at the center of this high energy circuit training workout that includes a treadmill, water rower and a weight room with free weights and TRX straps.  There is a big screen monitor in the stuido that shows a box for each participant with their heart rate, percentage of that rate, and calories burned.  The color of your square determines where you are in your exertion:  Blue iswarm up/ recovery/ not doing much, Green is a base pace, Orange is your best fat burning zone (now you see where the name of the company comes from) and Red is your all out max/potential-cardiac-arrest-if-here-too-long zone.  

No two workouts are ever the same, which is great and never makes it boring.  The instructor splits the sold out class into two groups between the treadmills and the rowing machine or weightroom, depending on the workout of the day and verbally dictates the class to both groups.  It is based on time blocks, so the instructor has many things to monitor, including the stop watch.  Although the instructor is great at encouraging participants to push a little more and get in the orange, what is fun is keeping an eye on your stats and challenging yourself.  At the end, there is a cool down stretch and the final results for everyone is displayed... a humbling moment at times and exciting when improvement is shown in the numbers.  Later, you get an email with those stats so you can personally keep track of your progress.

JoyRide is the opposite of all of that... In the center of this incredibly hard, intense, aerobic/anaerobic workout is a spiritual, yoga-like philosophy.  Cell phones and any electronic distractions are probhibited. The lights get turned down to near black and the rider is encouraged to get out of their head and into their body, leaving whatever baggage at the door for just one hour.

The instructor not only guides the class, encourges and pushes the riders, but DOES THE WHOLE RIDE WITH THEM.  While talking.  That part still blows me away.  

There is nothing to monitor except your breath, your water intake and your attitude.  If you are normally not one to perspire, you will find that you definitely need one towel if not two as you drench though the hour.

I personally want to cry or quit several times through the ride, but the energy of the instructor, the music and my fellow riders gets me back out of the saddle.  To date I cannot fully keep up, but each week I get a little stonger.  Despite my internal despair, it really is a JOY to do the class and live to ride another day!

Both workouts, in combination with my daily MELT discipline have been transforming my body, mind and focus.  One thing I have noticed that significantly has improved is my singing.  Along with having more energy through a gig, I find there is more power and range within me than I ever had. That was an unexpected and cool bonus!

Obviously these workouts are not for everyone.  My boyfriend is a great example.  I had given him an Orangetheroy membership for his birthday, thinking it would be a fun couples activity and a way for him to get in shape for upcoming soccer season. Unfortunately, he hates it. Every week he lives in a state of dread a half hour before the class all the way through to the end.  He can't stand being on a treadmill and rowing machine, and lifting weights is not interesting to him.  Give him a trail in the woods run or a soccer ball to chase and he will workout all day.  I think we will set him free come end of the month...

I will most likely pause my membership at Orangetheory and ease off JoyRide as we enter the warm spring and summer months, as I love to be outdoors.

This year though, instead of slow walks through Black Rock or drinking Coronas on the beach, I will committ to running through Black Rock and the trails of Lake Mohegan , kayaking Long Island Sound and cross training with my TRX straps tied around a tree branch.  

Thanks to the push from Orangetheory and JoyRide, I am excited and inspired to do just that.

Be sure to check out the various Orangtheory Fitness and JoyRide Cycling Studios near you and GET INSPIRED to GET MOVING out of your comfort zone!



In past blog posts, I have mentioned that I named my business "Consistent Fitness" as a means to keep myself in check.  In spite of that, consistency is still a tough one for me.  I can talk myself out of going to the gym any day of the week and hit the pub with friends instead.

On Tuesday I turn 43 and will be flying to Florida to vacation with my mother for a week.  Seeing I was going to be another year closer to 50 and I would be putting my middle aged hiney in a bikini, I should get myself in some sort of bikini worthy shape.

Typically, I go the gym without a plan.  The one thing I do for sure is MELT.  I bring my own roller, mat and resistant band so that I can take myself through a nice long MELT Strength and Length Map to prepare my body for cardio and weight training.

Once I'm done MELTing, I put my things in a locker and hit the floor.... now what?  I jump around from cables to free weights to the treadmill.  It's disjointed and boring.  I figured that with ten years of a fitness professional background that I could just wing it, but the reality is that without a plan, my workouts were not what they could have been.

In the last few weeks, I have taken the time to think through and draft a workout that I now faithfullyt take with me to the gym.  I have strayed a bit from it, adding alittle bit here, changing another thing there, but the framework remains the same and the workouts are great.  I shared a couple of these workouts with friends of mine and they love them (including one's friends 53 year old mother).  

That being said, I have decided to post my workouts here on this blog so that those of you who need a little motivation and a plan can now have one.  The next post will have the workout I did a few weeks ago... it's a lovely circuit training killer.  Well, maybe not a killer, but it will get your heart pumping.  

Be sure to edit the workout based on your fitness level and / or equipment available.  If you are unsure what something is, just give it a Google search, or comment on the post.

Feed back is not just welcome, it is essential for my consistency!

(pitiful) Confessions of a Fitness Professional

I am out of shape, drank too much this summer and am turning 40 in November.

If it sounds as though I am being dramatic and fishing for compliments, believe me, I fish not.

Let me begin by clarifying that it is not that I drank too much in one sitting night after night, just more than I have normally (or at least since I turned 30).  A six-pack of Corona looked like such a tasty treat at the grocery store, that I almost always put it in my cart along with my vegetables and fruit.  In the summer it is a guarantee that margaritas will be my craving and sipping a beer while sunbathing on a Saturday…and Sunday…is not beyond my reality.  I usually don’t drink at all during the week, yet on some days I could be found patting myself on the back for going a couple of nights sans cervesa.

As for turning 40, I am not opposed to getting older, but I must admit that the actual number looks ominous to me…Like it doesn’t belong next to my name or go with my hair. 

I get many an eye roll when I shamefully admit being in horrible shape.  People assume that being thin means being in good physical condition, and I am here to tell that could not be further from the truth.  At present, I am weak as a kitten and have the endurance of sedentary sloth. 

This fall, I am putting an end to this nonsense.  My battle plan has already been put into action and consists of the following: 

To start, I am doing a very mild cleanse called New Start which I got from  I love Mercola’s products, especially the Krill Oil which is the best Omega-3 anti-inflammatory I have ever taken.  The cleanse is one that is done at dinner time and ‘works while you sleep.’  I was initially worried that I might soil the sheets at three in the morning or have some unpleasantly momentous morning.  None of this has happened thankfully and I am a week in to this 10-day system.  However, I find that I think of food almost constantly.

With that, I put myself on the wagon so the cleanse can effectively do its job of making my liver happy again. 

My meals are frequent and healthy, including eating two apples a day! 
The lights are out no later than 10:30pm (although some nights I am done and asleep by 9:00p… don’t judge me).

My skin is even receiving a new routine with the Roc Multi-Correction Skin System (  I can’t sense a change as all I see are the flaws, but maybe someone else can.  I do feel satisfied when my skin tingles after I apply the night cream, confirming that wrinkles are being stopped before they can begin!

Drinking up to three litres of water a day has been a standard for a while, but for some reason, it seems to taste better these days.  I have a BPA free Nalgene on my desk that I fill three times a day.

Getting my fitness routine back in has been quite humbling.  I began by taking a Cardio Kickboxing class at the East Coast United Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Boxing in Fairfield, CT (   In truth, I had no business taking this class that was taught by Alex, one of the owners (and an accomplished fighter), who is not too far removed from Ivan Drago.  If you don’t believe me, check out their site for proof (and the amazing class schedule for adults and kids): Needless to say the class kicked my hide and I had difficulty walking the following week.  I saw Alex yesterday and told him I was coming Tuesday: “Blah, blah, blah… I believe when I see… you are a wimp!”  I did not disagree with the ‘wimp’ accusation but assured him I would be there Tuesday (please pray for me…).

Along with that, I have given hot yoga a try at Fairfield Hot Yoga... just because I can.  I like the sweat effect and they offer Vinyasa, which is perfect for me.  The facility is really cool and there is quite a variety of different classes to try:  (

I have not made as much of a habit at hitting my regular gym, (, but plan to add that to my weekend schedule… in between teaching MELT, laundry, homework, cooking, cleaning and football (watching, not playing).

Of course, I MELT and I have made it part of my morning routine, whether I want to or not.  I can talk myself out of just about anything, including MELTing, which is just plain silly considering how great it makes me feel.  Recently, I became an Advanced MELT Instructor by getting trained in the MELT Strength Series, which integrates proper muscle timing along with hip and shoulder stability.  I have made a point of incorporating various Strength routines into my morning MELT to get me through a 9.5 hour day of sitting in a chair and typing at a computer.

November 26th, 2010 begins a new decade for me, and at that point I plan to be, if not at the top of my game, at least 80% of the way there.  The tricky part will be staying there once the cold rolls in, making my desire to nest in my little apartment all the stronger. 

Consistency is one of the keys to longevity.  My short term goal is really intended to be the long term goal of approaching 90, looking and feeling great.  Unless I get hit by the proverbial bus, living to be a hot & healthy elder is where it is at for me.

Happy Fall!