' Adventures with FitNyx: November 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Couple things I missed!

Though I'm finally doing at least a *little* better about writing more consistently, I still miss some of the things I'd like to post due to changes in work or unexpected additions to my schedule.  Having my stuff stolen was a big hiccup, and during that time I missed two big announcements that I would like to take a minute to share with you now!

I was selected as one of the inaugural FitFam Ambassadors!

Formerly Gametiime, FitFam is a massive race event compendium that has upped its game to the next level.  Over the past year, the company has hosted virtual runs (including The Puppy Run and others I have helped promote) and has started to form a community of runners across the country!  I first joined Gametiime to help find local races and to share my thoughts and race recaps to help others decide which races are right for them.  Now, FitFam is getting bigger and better, starting with the FitFam Challenge to kick off 2016.  Another great virtual race, the Challenge will bring together runners, walkers, and cyclists from all over the nation to participate in what will live on as the company's flagship event.  As usual, there will be medals and great swag for every participant, and also as usual, I have a nice little discount code for anyone interested in signing up!  Use BEYOURBEST10 at registration to get 10% off the FitFam Challenge!

As a FitFam Ambassador, you'll be seeing a lot more discount codes and other cool information from me as FitFam launches an entire year full of virtual runs and other surprises.  If you haven't signed up for the site yet, hop over soon and DO IT!  It's free and it's a great tool for any level runner/walker/biker/OCR addict/whatever!

FitFam Ambassador Logo race directory virtual runs

I was interviewed on WeightLiftingGloves.Com!

Now that I'm increasing my lifting and building better cross training habits, I've found myself investigating techniques and products for the other side of the gym - that scary area outside of the group ex room with all the weights and machines!  Gearing up has led me to making connections with various companies (for example, I talked about Brick Built last week, and there are more to come), and my search for the right products put me in touch with WeightLiftingGloves.Com a month or so ago.  After talking to them about my needs for my new POUND classes, I was invited to join their ambassador program, and was featured in an interview on their website!  I've been testing a few of their products, including wrist wraps in my POUND classes, and I can't wait to share more of my discoveries as I learn about ways to make lifting safer and more productive!

weight lifting gloves ambassador logo gear equipment gym accessories

Thanks, as always, for reading!  What fun, crazy adventures or accomplishments have come up in YOUR life lately?  If you're a racer, have you checked out FitFam yet?  If you're a lifter, what kind of equipment do you use to maximize those gainz?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Brick Built Women's Lifting Gloves Product Review

Ever since I started boxing, I've been focusing much more on strength training - a.k.a, weightlifting.  Some of you may have noticed that the vast majority of my "things" are pretty heavily cardio-based, and there's a reason for that: I have always been intimidated by weightlifting.  Even back in college when my teams had mandatory weight training days, I always managed to do the bare minimum and squeak out early.  And honestly, I don't think I could actually explain what my aversion was.  Probably something like "but it's haaaaaard!"  Ugh.

weight lifting dumbbells e-card training body building

I am very proud to say I have started to overcome that admittedly pathetic excuse and am slowly building up my weightlifting routine.  My lifts are light for now, but I'm focusing on form, technique, and a well-rounded program to ensure I build the proper base.  As I started to get more serious about my gym time, I realized (as always) having proper gear might be a great asset in keeping myself safe and efficient.  Buffie over at Brick Built stepped up to help me take my game to the next level with a great pair of lifting gloves that haven't missed a gym appearance yet!

Disclaimer: I was provided a pair of training gloves free of charge in exchange for my review.  I have received no additional compensation; all opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are my own.

training gloves weight lifting gym brick built badass foam roller

While the Brick Built training gloves only come in size medium or larger, and I have tiny (let's pretend like they're dainty) hands, I found the fingers to be a very comfortable fit, and the adjustable velcro was sufficient to pull the wrists tight enough to stay secure.  The only indication that my gloves are a size too big is the extra flap of the velcro closure that sticks up off the back of my hands when I pull it tight - but that flap has yet to be in the way of any of my lifts, and I'm more concerned about the functional side than that bit of extra fabric.

The gloves extend up to the first set of knuckles, which is more than enough coverage to protect my palms and the parts of my fingers that grasp the weights.  On the middle two fingers there are flexible tabs extending from the top of the finger hole to extend the protection on the inside of your longer fingers.  The whole grip surface is covered in grippy-bumpies (is there a more technical term for this?) that prevent slippage, while the backside of the gloves have mesh to help manage sweat during the workout.  I found the inside of the gloves to be incredibly comfortable - not at all scratchy or stiff, which had been a worry when I first considered using lifting gloves!  And with the relatively good fit, I have yet to notice any blistering or chapping from my sudden increase in weight lifting action.

weight lifting collage push ups curls bench press gloves training

Overall, I'm so happy I have training gloves for my new workouts!  Wearing my gloves makes me feel more confident in my lifts.  I'm not sure if this is because I trust the extra grip and appreciate keeping my skin intact, or if the confidence is more of a psychological effect.  Strapping on my lifting gloves has become almost a mini-ritual and sends the signal to my body that it's time to work hard.  I've also noticed that I feel more like I belong in the gym, which used to be an intimidating world, when I wear my gloves.  Proper gear has me feeling like a proper gymrat!

brick built logo fitness fashion women accessories workout clothes

These gloves were fabulous for me as a newbie lifter, but they'd be equally excellent for someone more seasoned.  They're simple but effective - and they happen to make great gifts for the weight lifters, Crossfit junkies, and general fitness enthusiasts in your life!  AND, Brick Built has tons of other amazing stuff for the fit females in your life, including an amped-up new line featuring bright, bold prints and hilariously awesome new tops!

What's your favorite gym gear?  Do you lift with or without gloves?  How about handwraps?  What does "gearing up" do for your mental state when you workout?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Word: Cherish

I sat down to tackle this week's Wednesday Word and honestly found myself at a loss for words.  Today we're talking about cherishing and I was surprised to find myself struggling with the topic.  I understand the meaning of the word, both in denotation (the literal definition) and in connotation (the adapted meaning cherish has received in my own mind), but when I tried to think of things I actually cherish, I was coming up short.  Sure, I can say what everyone says: I cherish my family, the friends who have stuck by me through good times and bad, memories of amazing days or moments, and so on...  But for some reason that little list doesn't make me feel like I am truly catching the spirit of cherishing.

As many of us do when we are stuck on something, I turned to Google.  Running an image search for "cherish" brought up hundreds of inspirational quotes on fancy backgrounds, all perfectly Instagramable and ideal for tossing up in the middle of my post to add depth to my writing.  But none of them inspired me.  For example, "cherish every moment" made me scoff - I can think of hundreds of moments I will never cherish.  Not in a million years.  I can appreciate the "cherish it because you're alive and still have it better than others" mentality but that's not what makes me tick.  Naturally there's "cherish the ones you love" because that seems to make so much sense - until you look at a long history of loving people who never deserved it in the first place.  It's hard for me to cherish time that was ultimately hurtful and wasted.  Perhaps "cherish happy moments" gets through to me a bit; when I tried to think of things I actually cherish, there were flashes of smiles or a glimmer in someone's eye or a remembered sense of elation or other overwhelming emotion.  Even still, I'm not sure "fond memories" are necessarily "cherished" in my heart.

Then I found a quote from Mark Pothier, who said "don't dwell on those who let you down, cherish those who hold you up."  I honestly don't know who he is, but it's a good quote, and it helped me understand what I do truly cherish.  Surprise, surprise - it was on my original list, I just hadn't realized why it was on my list in a personal context.  So what is it that I cherish?  The very small handful of people who have, for the past decade or more, been there always.  I've gone through the wringer more than a few times over the years, and every time I come out stronger, but it's not because of me.  It's because of the people who are there supporting me, believing in me, and doing whatever they can to help.  There are many times when these people actually can't help, and they get frustrated and look for other ways.  They don't give up on me.  And that is what I cherish.  I wish I had more of these people in my life, but I am intensely grateful to have the few I do.

And to those people (you know who you are): THANK YOU.  Without you, I would have given up ages ago, and probably wouldn't even be here anymore.  I certainly wouldn't have made as much of my past few years as I have without the unrelenting support of my inner circle.  Sending big hugs to all of you, all across the world!

Deb Runs Wednesday Word

Wednesday Word is hosted and coordinated by Deb Runs! Want to see what other bloggers had to say about what they cherish in their lives? Visit the Wednesday Word linkup page and share the love with other writers. Don't forget to check back every Wednesday for an entirely new set of the Wednesday Word!

What is it that you hold dear and cherish?  Who helps you through your darkest times?

Monday, November 16, 2015

A dirty confession.

Over the past year and change I have found myself connecting to an absolutely amazing (and surprisingly vast) community of fitness fanatics.  These people inspire me, motivate me, and encourage me to continue on a path that has made all the difference in my life lately.  And I, for the most part, have managed to keep pace with many of them - except in one vital way.

So here is my confession: I am horrible with nutrition.

Scrolling through my Instagram feed makes this especially clear: while my blogger friends are posting photos of their home-cooked, nutrient-conscious, intelligently-scheduled meals, I'm scarfing down a bag full of McChickens (plain, only ketchup) ten minutes before teaching back to back high intensity cardio classes.  If I were to post photos of my meals on social media, you'd see a whole lot of this for lunch:

food choices nutrition root beer butterfinger candy malnutrition
I took this picture five minutes ago.  Because it's
*actually* my lunch.  I'm not kidding. 

Shameful, I know.  My eating habits are atrocious.  I get away with it because I'm so active, exercising for several hours a day, almost every day of the week (I'm an instructor, it's just what I do).  But the moment I stop or change my class schedule I'll see every negative effect of a crappy diet rushing back into my body.  And I am painfully, acutely aware of all of this - but it doesn't change my habits.

I keep telling myself that it's because I have no personal space, and that once I'm back on my own again I'll fill my fridge with fresh fruits and make smoothies every day and eat rainbows and sunshine until my body is full of every superfood imaginable...  I tell myself this because I was doing so much better about nutrition before I left Chicago, so I know I'm capable of doing better now!  The problem is willpower.  Maybe I'm using all my willpower fighting other negatives in my life right now (pretty sure that's a big truth).  Maybe it's living with my mom again, who is a phenomenal baker and a great cook (ugh football gamedays are a blessing and a curse in her house).  Maybe it's knowing that I can get away with it for now...  SOMEthing keeps me stuffing myself with the worst possible choices!

cartoon eyes stomach holiday eating malnutrition poor choices
Image borrowed with love from my friend at

And now we're faced with the holidays.  A challenge for EVERY eater, to be sure.  I might put on a pound or two, and that's okay because I've actually lost more than I planned since I got home, but the real worry is that I'll continue my awful habits, and they'll continue to become more ingrained.  The need to break the cycle is becoming more and more pressing as I feel my body react to what I'm eating.  It's not just weight!  It's mood, it's energy, it's the ability to heal or to keep my hair and skin looking healthy.  When I was drinking smoothies almost every day and making better choices in my meals, I body felt and performed better.  It's time to get back to that.  The outside is there, but I need the inside to catch up!

So talk to me - how do YOU deal with your eating habits, especially if you (like me) struggle to make the right choices?  What kind of sneaky tricks do you have to infuse more nutrients into your diet?  What are your biggest downfalls?  Over the next few weeks I'll be trying to stay more conscious and make better decisions, but I know I'll need some tips and support!  Maybe we can work together and find even greater success - so share with me and let's get on track!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Getting back on the calendar.

You may have noticed - I haven't posted a race recap in a long time.  Well, there was one for a silly OCR a while back, but my last actually race was early July!  Ever since I moved back to Cleveland, I've been so focused on building my group ex career and finding ways to reestablish myself in my old city, I haven't really been making time to just go run!  Much to my best friend's disappointment, I might add...

Can we run yet?  Pretty please?!

With the holiday season coming up, there are tons of fun-themed road races from which to choose, making it a perfect time to start getting back into racing with less pressure.  I've decided to add two local races to my calendar in the hopes that I will get myself (and my puppy) out onto the road a little more often in the next few weeks to prep.  We'll see how that prep work actually goes, but at the very least I'll be out there for the Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving, and I'll try my very best at the Christmas Story 10k just a little over a week later!  Though I've helped coordinate a downtown Cleveland race event this past summer, I've never actually run in my own city of origin, so these races promise to be exciting new additions to my race resume!  If you're in town, come join me!

How are you staying fit over the holiday season?  Running any fun theme races?  Do you have a running buddy?

Monday, November 9, 2015


So, you may have seen on my social media posts lately that my gym bag was stolen last week.  Unfortunately, it was the one time I left my wallet in that bag.  Suffice to say, I have been all over the place in the past few days trying to recover or replace the missing items, and haven't been as active on the blog or on social.  So far I've managed to find my shoes (thank goodness - leading group ex classes barefoot was fun but painful), my lifting gloves, some speaker cables, and a bunch of paperwork, but the majority of my larger items (and my wonderful bag) are still M.I.A.

My bag was taken from my car, in my driveway.  Whoever
took it walked with it down the street, going through the pockets
and discarding whatever they didn't want.  I found a bunch
of my stuff scattered along tree lawns down the street.

Hopefully the police will be able to do something, but I know it's a slim hope.  Meanwhile I'll have to replace my out-of-state license somehow so I can switch it to an in-state license as soon as possible, and I'll probably have to buy new equipment.  Sad, but true.  You'll see me back online soon!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday Word: Complacent

I actually really enjoyed last week's first attempt at Wednesday Word, a blog linkup that encourages bloggers to write their own take on a unified idea, in this case a single word.  Last week's word perspective ironically changed my perspective on linkups a bit, and I'm definitely more eager to continue participating!

This week, the word is complacent.  As with many words, there are several avenues I could take in my approach to this post.  Many of the ideas that immediately sprang to mind when I saw this week's word were pretty negative, and I realized that "complacent" has a very sour connotation in my life.  Complacency has been a factor in the decay of several of my relationships.  Complacency has held me back from higher levels of success, in both athletics and academics.  Over the years, complacency kind of became lazy, and lazy has a nasty habit of leading to problems.

complacency lion hunting deer gazelle watering hole

I realized I was getting complacent in my own life about two years ago, and that my health and fitness were suffering as a result.  I was gaining weight, enjoying fewer hobbies, spending less time outdoors, and devoting more and more time to a job I hated just for the paycheck.  The epiphany came months before any action, but once awareness settled in, I became antsy.  First, I was frustrated and emotional about being stuck in a rut of my own making.  There were tears and a couple breakdowns, but eventually I understood that frustration takes just as much time and energy as trying to actually fix the problem.

The initial steps were slow.  I bought a new blender and started making smoothies, trying to infuse a little more fruit and vegetable into my awful nutrition.  Slowly that practice built into habit, and I got bolder.  I started running, just around the block every now and then, but I was doing it of my own free will.  A few months later I took the leap into group exercise instruction and started teaching ZUMBA Fitness.  As I added more and more exciting and interesting things to my life, I started to dig myself out of the hole I'd fallen into by being complacent with my life.

rut grave quote cemetery graveyard Ellen Glasgow

These days, I try not to let myself get complacent.  My new fitness class is seeing a good crowd - okay that's great, but how can I get more people in the room next time?  I ran a good race and had a great time - how can I improve my PR in the next race?  Got everything done early at work today - good start, how can I set myself up to do it again tomorrow?  By presenting myself with constant challenges, I've found my way into some really cool situations!  Not everything works out the way I'd hoped, but every attempt at pressing forward keeps me from getting stuck in that rut.

Every tomorrow can be better than today, even if it's just little changes.  Hopefully someday I'll learn which things are actually okay to get complacent about, because I know it's irrational to expect every single thing in life to always have a "better" (at least, a better that is achievable within reason), but for the things that certainly CAN be better, I'll be making every possible effort to change the status quo until I find the right balance between challenge and complacency.

Deb Runs Wednesday Word

Wednesday Word is hosted and coordinated by Deb Runs! Want to see what other bloggers had to say about complacency in their lives? Visit the Wednesday Word linkup page and share the love with other writers. Don't forget to check back every Wednesday for an entirely new set of the Wednesday Word!

Do you suffer from complacency in your life?  How do you get yourself out of a rut?  Does "complacent" have a positive connotation to you?  Why?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Marching to a different beat.

Most days are still a struggle for me.  The divorce, the move, trying to move forward while not quite able to be done with the past...  I've been making my time in Cleveland count as much as possible, pursuing adventures and trying to find my place, but it's hard to let go of a life and a person you loved - and still do.

Fortunately, my adventures have been taking me to some interesting places and introducing me to some new things that are slowly helping to turn the tide.  Yesterday, I tried something completely new and different, and found the first bit of true meditative clarity I've had in a long, long time.  I went to a drum circle.

Cleveland drum circle Saint Coleman church djembe conga gypsy

We met in a stunningly gorgeous church in the city.  There were a handful of people to start; more came later, and most of them had been drumming for years.  I was encouraged to grab one of the extra drums, got a very brief lesson on different strike areas and patterns, then someone started a beat and everyone started joining.  I'm rhythmic enough to follow the beat, and was quickly able to jump in myself.  My beats weren't as complex as many of the others, but I found ways to work into each set.  Some rhythms were harder to follow; those times I kept my eyes closed and my hand on the head of my drum feeling the vibrations of the other drummers until the music spoke to me directly and I could speak back.

For hours we sat in the church and played.  My head was filled with the drumbeats - and nothing else.  I could have stayed there all day, all night, all week.  I've practiced several forms of meditation but my mind is always racing, I've never been able to divert my focus to something external so wholly as I did in that drum circle.  I couldn't even hold the realization of my clear mind for long, it was so quickly beaten out of my head by the next rhythm!  Sometimes they also are joined by dancers; I'd like to experience the circle with movement as well for added depth.

djembe conga bongo drums drum circle african rhythm beat

Fortunately, this particular drum circle group meets every week, all year round.  I will have ample opportunity to join regularly, and I definitely plan to stay involved.  Purchasing my own drum may have to wait a while (I'm still broke thanks to lawyer fees) but there were plenty of spares to share, and I'm sure the wonderful people I met last night wouldn't mind if I borrow for a while until I can get my own.  Perhaps I'll even make a drum for myself sometime!  Either way, the drum circle will certainly become a part of my regular routine.  The experience resonated with me on so many levels, and I know I can only build on this first foray!

What helps you find clarity in hard times?  Do you typically have trouble clearing your mind of doubts, worries, and anxiety?  Have you ever joined a drum circle, either as a drummer or a dancer?