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tour de fitness

Let’s Dance!

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca, tour de fitness
on November 20, 2015


Today Tour de Fitness is headed to swing dancing class! There is a Swing Dance Association (funnest association ever) in my town, and I bet there is a group of some sort in your city as well. Although my class is located on a university campus, everyone is welcome. On Wednesday nights students and adults alike lace up their dancing shoes to either take beginner, intermediate or progressive level classes. It feels like stepping straight into a movie scene from the 20’s and it’s so much fun.

My two left feet and I started out in the beginner level, then after 3 or 4 classes, I felt comfortable enough to move up to the intermediate level. A few more intermediate classes and I danced myself right into the progressive lessons!

Here’s what to expect in your first beginner class: learning simple movement patterns that make up the foundation of swing dancing. The main basic we learned was how to be “light on our feet,” which essentially means moving from foot to foot, shifting weight, and letting our bodies move our feet with ease. We also learned fun movements like triple steps and rock steps.

Typically, the lessons last 30-45 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to get the new steps and movements down pat. Then the fun starts! All 3 classes come together on the dance floor and anyone can ask anyone to dance and practice their new moves!

Dancing with everyone after the lesson is my favorite part because you get to put everything you just learned to practice while learning from others that you are dancing with. Plus, you get to watch some pretty incredible dancers who have been “swinging” for years!

My favorite thing about swing dancing, though, is getting to meet new people. By being open to dancing with anyone, you can make new friends in a fun and unique environment. Beyond that, as followers of Christ, we are called to be prepared to share Jesus with anyone, anywhere so, who knows, you may have the privilege to share your faith or encourage someone in Christ who may never have been to church.

My class is only $2 for beginners and intermediates, and $5 for progressive classes – which is a steal for the instruction that you get! Don’t be afraid to try something new, although I felt I had a rough start to swing dancing, I stuck with it and caught on after a few weeks.

If you’re interested in swing dancing but not sure where to start, just Google a class in your area, grab a few friends and try it out! It’s a great workout, you can burn up to 400 calories in an hour! The great thing is, though, you’ll be having so much fun that you will actually enjoy the cardio burn (take that boring ol’ elliptical)!

Exercise has numerous benefits, and our body is the temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), so it is important to make the discipline of exercise a priority! Most people take a break from being health-conscious during the holiday season, but I challenge you to make sure you stay active. Your workout doesn’t have to be boring, you can find something active that you love. Who knows, that might just be swing dancing!

All About Barre

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca, tour de fitness
on November 13, 2015

It was a rainy Saturday morning as I pulled into the parking lot of the cutest, most hipster barre studio in Knoxville. Have you ever taken a barre class?

Barre is a popular fitness craze that has popped up all over in the form of studios over the recent years. It is a combination of ballet, yoga and pilates with part of the workout being on a mat and part standing at a ballet barre.

As I walked inside of my local studio, Neighborhood Barre, I instantly noticed the light and airy white tapestries hanging from the ceiling and gold chandeliers scattered throughout the studio. The wooden floors creaked as I walked barefoot (no tennies needed here!) to the equipment room to grab a mat, tubing (resistance bands) and hand weights. 

The music was fun and upbeat, adding to the already delightful atmosphere.  While the decor and atmosphere are great, the quality of the training and instructing is what stands out to me. The instructor at Neighborhood Barre (and other barre classes I’ve taken) walked around during the entire class to correct and tweak mistakes in form, insuring that you are doing each movement correctly. This is so valuable, especially if you are a beginner. It is important to make sure your hips are in alignment as well as ensuring that you get the most out of each movement while avoiding unnecessary injury. Starting something new can be daunting so an attentive instructor can help make all the difference, especially in regards to form.

The instructor walked us through each move which covered dance conditioning, weight training, and pilates. The poses and movements require control, strength, and balance, making the exercise hard but still a fun challenge. My class was around 50 minutes and ended with a nice cool down and stretch.

If you are looking for a low impact workout that is still very effective, I would highly recommend trying barre. Most of the movements are very small but deliberate and get your muscles burning fast. It is known for helping create lean and toned muscles while burning fat, so you can’t go wrong there! Barre also improves your balance, posture and flexibility. Although it is not a high intensity workout, you will still get great results if you stick to it.

Look around for a studio in your area and go try it out! Most, if not all, studios allow for a free first class so what do you have to lose?

If you don’t have a studio near you, or if you just want to try this out at first alone in your living room, check out Barre3’s 40 minute workout! This video will help you get started and also give you a good idea of what to expect in a standard barre studio.

Thanks for joining me in my most recent stop on my Tour de Fitness as I investigate all kinds of different workouts! To read about my experience at spin class, and also to learn about running and marathon training, check out my previous posts below! There are so many fun ways to get moving and active — let me know your favorite workouts or what you think of barre below!

Next up is swing dancing. See you then!



Stride by Stride

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca, tour de fitness
on October 28, 2015
“When you run alone, you run fast. When you run together, you run far.” Zambian Proverb
Welcome back, friends!  If you’re just now joining us on this journey, I’m Rebecca, and I’ve been sampling a variety of fitness activities and sharing my experiences here on The Pineapple Porch to encourage every woman that she can find a fitness plan to fit her personal style.
Today we’re shining the spotlight on Knoxville Endurance, a running group with a focus on personalized training plans. As a member, you are provided a personal coach who writes your workouts, tailored to your individual running goals, and participate in practices hosted in different areas of the city throughout the week alongside other runners with similar goals. In doing so, you meet many people who are around your pace and maybe meet a training partner for life!
I met my running coach, Robin, while training for a half marathon earlier this year. She coaches with Knoxville Endurance, and we hit it off immediately. As I was considering signing up for my first shot at a full marathon, I was eager to learn more about Knoxville Endurance. Just one chat over coffee with Robin at Panera, and I knew this was the game plan for me.
Since June, Robin has been writing my workouts in 3-week segments and tailoring them to my goals. Luckily, I have met several other runners around my pace that I now am able to work alongside on speed workouts and even tag alongside during my long runs!
So what does a typical week in the life of a pre-marathoner look like? Here’s what last week shaped up to be:
Monday: 5 miles at an easy pace
Tuesday: 2 mile warmup and speed drills (similar to those sprints in gym class where you had to run back and forth touching each painted line on the basketball court), 25 minute tempo run (picking a pace that you stick with for the duration of the workout), 2 mile cool down
Wednesday: Cross training (something apart from running that mixes up my workout routine to avoid boredom and prevent injury)
Thursday: 2-mile warmup, hill repeats (repeatedly sprinting up a hill and jogging down the other side), and a 2-mile cool down
Friday: 4 miles at an easy pace
Saturday: 10 miles at an easy pace (This is my long run day, and a day that I take very, very slow – much more about consistency and completion than speed)
Sunday: REST
It really helps me having someone else plan my workouts because it takes the guesswork out of my training when I barely have enough time to train, much less plan in advance to where I will be equipped to have a good race day.
Along with a tailored workout schedule, other elements to joining a running group and having a coach that I’ve found beneficial include:
Feedback. Having the eyes of a coach as I train is invaluable. She has noticed small things about my running form that I never would have seen in myself, and over time it has really improved my efficiency as a runner (aka – how easy I’m making it on my body to get from point A to point B). It is not uncommon for me to run by her doing mile repeats to her saying, “Rebecca, take a shorter stride! Look up! Relax your shoulders!”
Celebrating other runners’ victories. Each week, we receive a newsletter outlining where practices will be held for the week as well as motivational quotes and advice. The thing I look forward to the most you ask? Recorded at the bottom of each newsletter are the stats from all Knoxville Endurance athletes who participated in a race the previous weekend! “Kristi ran her Personal Record on her half marathon!” “Someone else qualified for the Boston Marathon?! Wow!” It’s so exciting to celebrate victories with others who are sharing in this journey.
I don’t know what your experience with running is. You may be a seasoned runner with three marathons under your belt. (Congrats, by the way!) Or you may have never run anything but late, and you’re starting to entertain the idea of giving this training a shot, perhaps starting with a 5k in your community. If that’s the case, you may have taken a glance at what my weekly training looks like and thought, “There is no way I’m setting back that much time to train!” Or maybe, “Is that really what it takes to run ‘right’?”. My answer to you is that your fitness goals are worth fighting for. You were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) by a God who desires for you to know the true strength and endurance that the human body is capable of (Proverbs 31:25, Psalm 18:32). So if running sounds enticing to you, I would encourage you to search around for local running groups in your area similar to this one, especially if you’re a newbie. What better way to begin than finding a group of people who can hold you accountable?
Currently, I am training for something on my bucket list – a marathon. It won’t be easy. I’ll probably experience some exhaustion in the next coming months, but in February 2016, Lord willing and with the help of Knoxville Endurance, I will cross that elusive finish line I’ve always dreamed about (even if I’m crawling).
Will you join me in the journey?
Click here to learn more about Knoxville Endurance. If you’re not from Knoxville, use this site as a reference of what to look for locally.

 

Coming up, I’ll be stopping by a barre studio on one of my cross training workout days. Not exactly sure what a barre class is? Join us next time to find out!
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Tour de Fitness: Spin Class Review

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca, tour de fitness
on October 1, 2015
Tour de Fitness - Spin Class Review | The Pineapple Porch

Welcome to the first installment of Tour de Fitness! The first stop on our tour of boutique fitness centers is a spin class! And no, I’m not referring to a room where you twirl around in a sassy skirt until you’ve reached your calorie-burning goal for the day. (Although, that sounds simply delightful yet nauseating at the same time. Quite conflicting.) Today, I tried out Knoxville’s newest cycling studio, TurboSpin!

 

I ambitiously decided to go to a 6 AM class, and my sleepy bear self got there just in time to get prepped before we began. At TurboSpin, you rent shoes that clip into your bike (like a bowling alley…except cooler, of course) so you may want to allow yourself a few extra minutes for this before class starts.

 

After getting my shoes, the instructor directed me into the large studio of around 25 bikes lit up by a black light and helped me get my seat set up properly, and clipped my shoes onto my bike. Then she made her way up to the front of the room to a bike facing me and my fellow spinners. She then proceeded to give us direction as we biked along to music — a workout soundtrack of songs with varying tempos to allow for different speeds and resistances which could be controlled on our individual bikes.

 

Shortly after the music cued up and the peddling began, I knew I was right in my wheelhouse. (Pun intended? Maybe.) Fun fact: I’m a very competitive person. The TV monitors at the front of the room lit up with each biker’s stats including the power we were exerting and our RPM (rotations per minute). These stats and rankings were tied to our bike numbers rather than our names so no one knew exactly who was ranked in which place. Didn’t matter to me, though. It was game on. I was determined to be ranked at the top.

 

However, by about the third song in, I had come to the realization that I was a novice at TurboSpin and was in for quite a tough workout. Though I managed to maintain a solid fourth place for a good while, this class certainly kept me on my toes. Throughout the 45 minutes of biking, we rode in the saddle (pedaling in your seat), jogged out of the saddle (pedaling while standing), sprinted (high resistance pedaling as fast as you can), climbed up hills by adding resistance…you name it! And it was actually so fun!

 

Now one thing I will say about spin classes is the music makes or breaks your drive and energy. A good ways into the class, I was really starting to feel it and dropped back to fifth or sixth place. As Katy Perry’s song Roar was playing, we began climbing up a huge hill (meaning we added a bunch of resistance to our bikes). At this point, I was starting to drag, feeling pretty worn out. Then (thank goodness) the music builds and I hear, “I’ve got the eye of the tiger!” And just like that, I was back in the game, chuckling at how, in that moment, a little Katy Perry was all a girl needed to keep pedaling.

 

Forty-five minutes, 19.2 miles and 620 calories later, I was nothing short of drenched, and my legs felt like pure Jello getting off of that bike…in the best possible way!

 

I really enjoyed TurboSpin! If riding a bike is something that is not currently part of your weekly workout plan, cycling classes are a great way to cross-train or even grab some high-intensity interval training (HIIT). I also highly recommend it if you are a beginner and need a starting point. The cool part about spin is that it is YOUR workout. You decide each and every minute how hard you are going to work, and your tool for that is your resistance knob. You turn it to the right…you feel as if you’re cycling through sand. Turn it to the left, and you can kick up your speed. Simple as that!

 

By creating a high-energy atmosphere, spin classes are such a great way to get your day started. Plus, cycling is a terrific, low-impact cardio option. And it gets better: most studios will offer the first class to you complimentary! So what do you have to lose? Find somewhere locally where you can try a cycling class. Typically, larger fitness centers have cycling studios, and most cities have independent studios like TurboSpin. You’ll burn a TON of calories and have a blast while you’re at it!

 

Up next, it’s all about endurance as we explore running groups. Have no clue what those are? Come back next time to find out! Until then, remember we are called by God to keep our bodies strong and healthy to fulfill His purposes. Let’s live that out by staying active!

 

Have you tried TurboSpin or something similar? Share your experience in the comment section below!

Hey neighbor! Did you enjoy this post? If so, make sure to share it with your friends on social media using the hashtags #tourdefitness and #thepineappleporch!

Tour de Fitness: Fitness Class Reviews

Posted in Get Fit, rebecca, tour de fitness
on September 30, 2015
Tour De Fitness - Fitness Class Reviews | The Pineapple Porch

Everywhere you look, boutique fitness studios and new exercise trends are popping up left and right. There’s Zumba, Spin, Kickboxing, Yoga, Crossfit, Pilates… even Yogalates! (I think we can all agree the word “Yogalates” just sells itself.) Choosing a fitness fad to venture into can feel like a workout all its own.

 

So I’m taking a tour — a fitness tour. Over the next few months, I will visit a variety of exercise classes and studios around town getting the skinny (see what I did there?) on each workout trend. I’ll report right back here about my experiences to hopefully help you choose something that works for you. Are you ready?

 

>>>> Pssst…Update! — Our 2015-2016 Tour de Fitness is complete, but don’t worry, we plan to start back with #tourdefitness in Fall 2017! To catch up on all of our #tourdefitness posts so far, click here!