If last week was any indication of what this month is going to be like at CycleBar, I better prepare for killer music, tons of fun, and get ready to sweat my butt off!! Last Tuesday’s class was #FatTuesday themed & packed with an upbeat playlist, king cake, beads, and booze… Yes, we had our own Mardi Gras celebration after class. And as if that wasn’t fun enough, Thursday’s ride was TBT Hip Hop themed. We may or may not have jammed to some Biggie Smalls ;).
I have been consistently taking classes at CycleBar for four months now, and I’m already so close to reaching the goals that I set for myself. Not only do I leave after a class feeling amazing body-wise, but I also get a mental escape, and feel my stress levels lowering when I am there. As hard as that first month was for me, I kept pushing through and am now seeing real results. My instructor, (also named) Jess, has been so inspiring to me and I thought, “Hey! Why don’t I ask her fitness related questions to share with all of you too?!” She did not hesitate to sit down with me and let me ask her a MILLION questions (bless her soul). But, if you take the time to read through the questions and answers, I know that they’ll hit home and her advice can help you reach your #GOALS too.
And to brighten up your Monday, I’m teaming up with CycleBar Winter Park for a GIVEAWAY! Yep, you read that right! I am giving away free rides to two lucky winners! In order to enter, follow me (@the_writestuff_) and CycleBar (@winterparkcb) on Instagram! The two lucky winners will be announced on 3/14.
Q&A with Cyclestar Jess:
Q: What inspired you to become an instructor and how long had you been spinning before you decided to get certified?
A: I used to take group classes at the gym, but absolutely hated cardio! One of my friends kept pushing me to take a spin class with her and at first I was like, “No way! That’s an hour of intense cardio,” but I finally gave in and tried it out. I had an amazing instructor, who was so motivating, and you could just tell she really believed in everyone in the class. I was hooked from there and started spinning 3-5 times per week. It took me about a full year before I actually enjoyed the workout though! I only ever took classes with that instructor and after 3 years, she approached me and told me I was ready to get certified. I never in a million years had any intentions of becoming an instructor, but she kept pushing me and telling me that I was ready. Again, she motivated me, and I decided to go for it. I took a one-day workshop at UCF and just like that, I was officially certified.
Q: What is your weekly workout routine?
A: When I started working at CycleBar, I left a gym that I was teaching at and didn’t have a membership anymore, so right now I’m working out at home. I teach at CycleBar Monday through Thursday and will try to take one class on the weekends. I aim to get cardio (including spin) in five times per week, and that is what is suggested to be the best for your body. I also try to fit in my other workouts 4-5 times per week. I do a lot of body weight exercises with core and legs and love doing Alexa Jean Fitness routines and following her monthly challenges. I also keep 10lb weights at home for my upper body workouts and find a lot of my workouts on Pinterest too!
Q: So I know you have an adorable two-year-old. How do you balance your fitness life with your social/mom life?
A: Basically, I adjust my workout schedule to whatever my day is going to be like. But, I make working out a priority over everything else, even when it’s not what I want to do. I mean, I’ll even put it above doing laundry if I have to, haha! I try to fit it in when my daughter is napping, but it doesn’t always work out that way, so I’ll break it up if necessary. I’ll do 15 minutes of abs here, and then 15 minutes of arms when I get my next break, and just fit it in whenever I can. Even if you have a different schedule than I do, it’s much easier to still get it done in increments on those busier days.
Q: For most women today, I think that the hardest part is finding a good balance. How do you stay on track with your goals and how often do you give yourself a cheat day?
A: I try to practice an 80/20 balance but sometimes it’s more like 60/40, haha. The toughest part is learning how to manage a compulsion problem and start taking things in moderation. I used to have trouble with my mindset, but I know that if I just lock it up for a short amount of time to get the results that I want, it will be much easier to manage later. You don’t have to cut everything out of your diet, though. It isn’t “you can’t eat any cookies,” but more of just learning to eat only one cookie. I’ll usually give myself the weekends for cheating. I eat pretty healthy and try not to drink at all from Monday to Thursday and then on the weekends get to have my fun. But, I make sure to workout at least one of those weekend days. If I take Friday off, I’ll come to CycleBar on Saturday and take a class.
Q: What pushes you to work out when you feel tired or unmotivated?
A: I know it’s not easy for everyone to hold themselves accountable and I wasn’t always self-motivated, either. I’m a firm believer in group fitness and working out with a partner or friend because it gives you that accountability. I used to just make plans to work out with friends because I would never bail on someone, and that helped me a lot in the beginning. I stay motivated because I worked too damn hard to lose it now! When I started teaching at CycleBar, I lost an additional 6lbs, putting me at the weight I was in high school! I didn’t even know that was possible and it was definitely not something I was shooting for. CycleBar rides have helped me maintain my goal weight, but I give myself a fluctuating 5lb slide, since I retain water like a camel! I weigh-in at least once a week, just to stay accountable. If I am at the top of my range, I lock it up with my diet until I see some of those pounds come back off. Like I said, I tended to be a yo-yo dieter and I could hit goal weights but never keep them. This is the first time in my adult life that I have been able to maintain my weight and like how I look in the mirror. I don’t have to be extreme, because I keep the indulgence to the weekends and bust my butt during the week.
Q: So, I’m starting to get to the age where a lot of my peers are having babies (AHH I feel old) and I know that when I start a family someday, the hardest part of pregnancy, for me, will be dealing with the weight gain. Did you spin while you were pregnant and how often did you spin post pregnancy to get back to your original figure?
A: I was 37 weeks pregnant still teaching and lifting three days per week. I stopped teaching at that point, but still worked out until I had my daughter. Even with all of that, I had gained 55lbs and throughout my pregnancy, my doctors kept commenting about how much weight I had gained. As hard as it was, I finally had to accept that my body was just doing what it needed to do to grow a healthy baby. There is a positive to this story though… When my daughter finally came, I was in labor for 36 hours, and I swear if it were not for spin, it would have been a much different situation. I attribute the endurance training for helping me get through labor. As soon as I was cleared, I started spinning four times per week (along with eating clean) and within 6 months, I had lost 60lbs, more than I had gained! It’s all about taking it in steps, or 10lbs and then another 10lbs, it applies to any situation.
Q: Were you always into fitness or what triggered your lifestyle change?
A: I’ve always been into fitness because my mom was into fitness. I can still remember doing her Jane Fonda workout tapes with her and loving the Olympics because I’m just naturally drawn to strong and powerful athletes. I love that you can put your mind to something and watching how your body will respond to that. But, that doesn’t mean I never had to make any changes. I got serious about my fitness goals once I had my daughter. It was never the plan to gain 55lbs, putting me at 200lbs, especially since I worked out the entire time! Once I had her I was determined. Twenty five pounds came off within the first three months slowly (a lot of that happens naturally), but the other 30 was all me! I had to change my priorities and became laser line focused on my diet. I started eating clean, minimizing the alcohol intake, and cutting down on dairy, along with excessive water intake and exercise. Plus, I booked a girls trip to Vegas, so I had added incentive!
Q: What kind of supplements do you take? Do you think that they help and why?
A: Yes, they absolutely help! I take Advocare supplements and I swear by them because they aid in your efforts to give you maximum results. There’s no perfect diet supplement that will be a solve all. But there are tons out there that can help you get the most out of what you’re putting in to reach your fitness goals. Advocare helped me get into my wedding dress, lose the baby weight, and keep up with my baby haha. I distribute their products because I know they work! Their amino acids, called Catalyst, help protect and repair muscles and aided me in staying lean. I also take Spark first thing in the morning in place of coffee and again prior to teaching. Even though it only has the same amount of caffeine as 1 cup of coffee, I find it more effective since it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals for added energy, mental focus and clarity. If you’re thinking about trying it, Fruit Punch flavor is my jam!
Q: Everyone has a vice. What are your go-to healthy snacks to help you avoid unwanted cravings?
A: When you’re craving, you are either thirsty or haven’t had enough protein. When I can’t get full, or want that extra snack I know I need either one of those two things. First, I will try and force myself to drink 32oz of water (I have a water bottle that I am constantly filling) and if I am still hungry after that, I’ll go for some protein. Hard boiled eggs, almonds, quest bars, and apples with almond butter are all great snacks!
Q: What is your go-to for finding healthy recipes? Do you have a favorite you always make?
A: Pinterest for sure! You can find absolutely everything on there. I love making baked salmon because it’s quick and easy. Also, Crockpot shredded chicken is one of my favorites. You just put a bag of frozen chicken in a slow cooker and let it cook for 8-10 hours while you go about your day. It shreds so easily and depending on what seasoning you use, it can go with just about anything (Mexican, Italian, etc.)
Q: What would you tell someone who is hesitant about trying spin?
A: Don’t be! It’s your ride, and you take it at your own pace. The first time you come, just focus on taking it all in. You don’t have to get off of the seat or do any of our moves and you will still be getting some benefit because you’re constantly moving the pedals. The first hurdle is committing mentally to staying in the room for the full 50 minutes. Don’t worry about doing it all, just stay for the entire class and build from there. People try to come and automatically be this spinning superstar, but it takes time.
Q: How often should you spin if you really want to see results?
A: I would say at least 3-4 days a week, for sure. You are supposed to do cardio 5-6 days a week just to improve your overall health. You will see the benefits of what you get from the bike much faster though and I’m not even talking about just weight loss! You’ll increase your strength, get leaner, strengthen your heart, and even sleep better at night. To get personal, before spin, I had pre hyper tension blood pressure and I was also struggling with my anxiety. I’m so committed because I have seen the benefits of it mentally too. People don’t think about how beneficial it is to stress levels, but sweating it out and releasing those endorphins is so good for you.
Q: How many calories on average does a person burn during a 50-minute spin class?
A: I would say 500 is a good average. It can range anywhere from 300-1000 depending on the person and the amount of effort being exerted.
Q: Spinning can be tasking, especially when first starting out. Is there anything you do to help your muscles recover?
A: Yes, make sure you drink TONS of water before, during, and after your ride. Always drink at least half of your body weight in ounces daily and even more if you are sweating out that intake. Also, make sure that you stick around for the cool down and stretching at the end of class. If you are really sore, foam rolling and Epson Salt baths help, and two Advil before bed never hurt nobody!
Q: What is your favorite part about being an instructor?
A: Motivating others to achieve their fitness goals and hearing the stories. Whether it’s how they have lost weight, or gotten better at their workouts. Or someone in their 50’s that couldn’t even get through a class is now ranked in the top 3 of the class. Everyone’s story is different, but it is so cool to see each individual goal be achieved. I love being a part of that journey.
Q: What is your schedule for March?
A: I teach every Monday & Wednesday at 5:30 and Tuesdays &Thursdays at 7pm. Here are a few of my themed classes coming up…
March 6- Back to 2010’s
March 7- Back to 2000’s
March 8- Back to the 90’s
March 9- Back to the 80’s
March 10- I am subbing the Happy Hour ride at 530pm!
March 16- TBT to NYC Hip Hop
March 23- Spring Fling Ride
March 30- Prince Concert Ride
See the full schedule at Winterpark.Cyclebar.com
I also post my themes for upcoming classes on my instagram. Follow me @cyclestarjess!