Scary Group Fitness Classes

Scary Group Fitness Classes

The thought of going to a group fitness class can be scary and is not appealing to most people. Visions of fit young people who all know what they’re doing…. except you! You can’t move and bend like that. You feel fat and maybe older than everyone else. You have no idea what to do. And it all seems silly…. this couldn’t be serious exercise!

Maybe you’re remembering exercise videos you’ve seen or maybe you’ve had an actual experience. If you’ve had that experience or think it will be like that, I empathize! No one should go through that as it can be humiliating! I’ve felt it myself… and I’m an experienced teacher!

If you haven’t been to a club or studio lately, you might not know that much has changed in group classes. Many instructors have been trained to teach to all levels and to give options in class for people with back trouble, knee pain, shoulder trouble or other problems which are very common these days. Gone are the days of high impact jumping with leg warmers and fancy choreography. You’ll find a more health oriented approach in group exercise classes than in the past (but still fun!!)

Here is what you should expect if you attend a well run group fitness class:

  1. The instructor should ask your name and welcome you to the class. Maybe even introduce you to another class member. The instructor should ask if you have any physical difficulties that the class would impact… then give you brief directions for how to handle that.
  2. The other class members should appear friendly and welcoming. This is a direct result from how the club or studio is run. The studio management should be fostering an inclusive environment and you’ll pick up on that right away. If it’s there, it will feel good to you. If you feel left out and lonely, something is not right. It’s not you.
  3. Once the class starts, you should feel like you can follow what’s happening. The instructor’s voice should be pleasing and easy to hear and understand what they are saying. If you are completely confused through the whole class, it’s not you. It’s the instructor.
  4. You should feel like the intensity and difficulty of the exercises is just right for you, whether you are very fit or a beginner. It’s the instructor’s job to assure that beginner to advanced people are doing the right options for their abilities.
  5. You should feel challenged physically, but also feel some fun and excitement. It should feel like the time goes by quickly and you never get bored.
  6. As you leave, you should feel a sense of success…”I did it!”

I often hear people say that they need to get in better shape before they show up at a class. Realize that the reason for the class is to get into shape. Don’t wait. If you don’t want to see yourself in the mirror, choose a spot where you can’t see yourself. People are much more supportive than you may think. People get inspired to see a new person in class. They remember their own first class and remember how hard it was for them to walk into that room.

A group fitness class may seem like a big social event, but it’s really a time for you. No need to be all social and extraverted… most people are not. They’re normal, regular people with the same issues you have. During class, you can go internal and challenge yourself. The instructor’s voice is just there to guide. But it’s really about you and your own awareness of your body and what it can do.

The beauty about being in a group is the motivation. The group format gives you a structure and you’ll do far more in a group than on your own…. you simply feel more motivated.

The key is to find the right gym, fitness center or studio that offers classes with the above points. If you land at one that doesn’t work, try another.

Barre Exercise Classes for a Sculpted Lean Body

Barre Exercise Classes for a Sculpted Lean Body

Everywhere you look you see barre classes… at studios, barre fitness centers, gyms and videos! They’re popular because you get results. If you haven’t tried barre yet, we encourage you to find a class and get started.

Barre classes tone like nothing else. You’ll see a visible difference in your body very quickly. Your clothes, especially your pants, will fit differently almost immediately. How can that be?

Barre is designed to quickly transform and shape your body using isometrics and tiny pulsing actions. Moving tiny like this, your muscles start to burn and even shake! You’ll feel it right away. But this is why it changes your shape so rapidly. Large movements are great when you’re looking for cardio or generalized movement…. but nothing will change your shape faster than almost isometric-like movements.

After you’ve worked a muscle, say, your thighs, you’ll do a quick but very deep stretch… then quickly move on to the next exercise.

Your barre class should target all the “trouble spots”….. abdominals, hips, thighs and upper arms. You’ll see more tone in your arms, a flattening of your belly, narrowing of your thighs and your seat will mysteriously “lift” and reshape. Improved posture and a stronger back are 2 huge benefits of doing barre classes. However, if you have back trouble, let your instructor know. You’ll be given modifications until your back becomes stronger.

Be aware that with the popularity of barre classes, you’ll see quite a variety of styles. If you’re looking for rapid bodyshaping, avoid classes that

  1. Move slowly and have long breaks between the exercises
  2. Substitute yoga or Pilates exercises for the intense barre work. Though we all love Pilates and yoga, it’s the barre exercises that rapidly change shapes
  3. Have mostly all big, or full range of motion movements. Though large movements are great for overall health, they are not the most effective for changing shapes.
  4. Are taught by instructors that don’t offer help with technique. In barre, technique is critical to be sure you get results (and don’t get hurt).

Barre classes appeal to a variety of people. It’s ideal for pregnancy and post partum. If you have a knee or hip replacement or a newcomer to health and fitness, barre fitness classes could be very appealing to you. It’s no impact and doesn’t have tricky choreography or jumping around. You won’t be lifting heavy weights or feeling like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Beginners who are interested in Barre can feel confident knowing that it’s easy to pick up when trained instructors are guiding the class. Results will come quickly from doing Barre about three times a week. It’s also a great workout for those involved heavily in sports. It’s so important that physically strong people receive deep stretching of the muscles while maintaining strength at the same time.

A Strong Powerful Body Equals a Strong Powerful Mind

Becoming physically strong is the first step but maintaining healthy energy levels from the Barre workout will also help you feel and look your best.

Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie

Get variety in your protein shake repertoire by adding this tasty pumpkin smoothie. Along with the Green Shake, this is a favorite with our clients.

As always, we recommend using the Vitamix to powerfully blend your shake. If you don’t have one now, make a plan to have a Vitamix in your life in the next few months. Save up. Look for good deals online. Once you have one, you’ll use it every day……. and so will your family members.

It will become you’re most used appliance. Your shakes will taste better and they;ll give you better nutrition as the blades are able to finely grind up anything you put in there… makin it easy to digest and assimilate. Why let the nutrition go undigested down the toilet? You’d rather have those nutrients go right into your cells….. giving you AMAZING energy.

Use the canned, organic pumpkin. NOT pumpkin pie mix, with added sugar and other ingedients you won’t want. Just the plain pumpkin. If it’s Fall and you have pumpkins available, make your own pureed pumpkin for the shake.

You could use a combination “pumpkin pie spice” for ease and convenience. We’ve found the individual spices listed here make the best taste and flavor sensation.

The “natural” Sun Warrior Blend also works best. We’ve used the vanilla, but found the flavor was not a hit. The “natural” Sun Warrior Blend is ONLY protein (pea, hemp and cranberry). No colors, no sweetening, nothing added at all. It’s a good, pure product that most everyone can use and not react with allergies, gas, bloating, or inability to digest.

Enjoy this one!

Pumpkin Smoothie


1 c water

1/2 c pumpkin

1 scoop natural Warrior Blend (protein powder)

1/2 c raw pecans

3-4 packets NuStevia NoCarbs Blend

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

tiny pinch cloves

tiny pinch Himalayan salt

Ice (3 c)


Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or blender until smooth. Add more ice or water as needed to achieve desired thickness.

One serving.

Healthy Green Smoothie

Healthy Green Smoothie

A healthy green smoothie that’s a favorite in our Nutrition Series. If you like vanilla, you’ll love this one! smoothie greenSuch an amazing way to hide kale right there in your shake! For kale lovers, add more, otherwise just those 2 leaves will give you the added nutrition without the vegetable taste.

As always, we recommend the Vitamix because of its outstanding ability to chop the ice but also the kale into teeny tiny pieces that are easily absorbed….. giving you a nutritin boost!

The Sun Warrior Blend combines pea, carnberry and hemp protein. Ideal for people with dairy and soy allergies or intolerances. Also ideal because the Sun Warrior brand does not include other ingredients such as sugar, coloring and other additives.

Be sure to use the full fat, organic coconut milk and not the coconut milk in the cardboard containers. Low fat is not the way to go.

Green Smoothie


1 c water

1/4 c canned coconut milk

1 scoop vanilla Warrior Blend (protein powder)

1/4 c raw almonds

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 packets NuStevia NoCarbs Blend

2 leaves of kale

Ice (2 c)


Blend all ingredients (except the ice) in Vitamix or blender until kale is completely chopped. Then add 1-2 cups of ice

One serving.

Chocolate Protein Shake

Chocolate Protein Shake

In the mood for a rich chocolate shake? This is not a milkshake you’ll find in a malt shop. it’s a chocolate smoothie chocolateprotein shake! Surely your cravings for ice cream will vanish after you’ve tasted this chocolate shake.

Another amazing way to hide vegetables in your shake. No one will ever know you’ve got cauliflower hiding in this delectable shake!

The protein is pea, hemp and cranberry, unlikely to upset anyone’s digestion or cause belly trouble. And it’s a clean product without all the additives.

If the sweet potato is too high in carbs for what you’re doing (working on reversing diabetes, insulin level high, etc), substitute more cauliflower or broccoli. You could also use cooked and cooled summer squash or zuchini.

The sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli and summer squash all add smoothness and creaminess to your shake. Increase and decrease those as desired.

If you find you shake is too sweet, use less stevia. Use more if you need it sweeter.

We don’t recommend using agave, honey, syrups, organic cane sugar, brown sugar or molasses for anyone with high insulin levels, high triglycerides, higher than optimal body fat percentage or those with gut bacteria issues.

We highly recommend against using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or nutrasweet.

The hazelnut oil is optional. If you use it, be sure to buy a good organic brand where the company took measures to not overheat the product. keep it in your fridge once opened and be sure to use it up before it gets rancid.

You could also use a few drops of peanut oil for a chocolate-peanut butter shake. Almond oil could also work.

Mocha is another fabulous variation. Use a ganoderma coffee packet dissolved in boiling water (use a small amount of water… just enough to dissolve the coffee). Add it in with the rest of the ingredients.

Chocolate Shake


1 c water

1/2 c sweet potato, cooked*

1 scoop chocolate Warrior Blend (protein powder)

1/4 c raw almonds

1-2 Tbsp hazelnut oil (optional)

2-4 packets NuStevia NoCarbs Blend

1-2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 scoop chocolate Dynamic Greens (or extra cocoa powder)

Ice (2 c)


Instead of sweet potato use:

-steamed cauliflower, cooled

-steamed broccoli, cooled

-cooked zucchini, cooled


Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or blender until smooth. Add more ice or water as needed to achieve desired thickness.

One serving.