Kicking It Up With Orange Theory

Fitness has been a cornerstone of my weekly routine for quite awhile now. Even pregnant, I did yoga sculpt, barre and spin for 38 of 39 weeks. Sometimes I think back to my 20’s when I couldn’t be bothered with so much as a yoga class and I am disappointed I squandered all the free time I had not being more active! Such a shame.

For the past few years all of my working out has been done at QiFlow in downtown Denver. QiFlow is a community I have grown to love and I consider myself friends with several of my all-time-favorite instructors. When it comes to breaking a sweat, I am really only motivated by fitness classes. When I can’t get to a class I may go for a run or attempt a DVD in the basement, but the chances are quite slim.

A few months ago, however, I felt myself starting to get a little bored with my same classes and also realized I was hitting some plateaus. Simultaneously, I realized that 5am classes, albeit painful, are doable. I looked around for one more gym to enhance all the great progress I’ve made in spin, barre and yoga and turned to Orange Theory Fitness.

Hot damn.

Orange Theory is no joke. Sure, you can absolutely tailor it to your ability and trade running for walking and pick up the lightest set of weights. But one look around the room during class and every competitive fiber in your body will likely, as it does for me, fire up and push you to run harder, row faster and go big in the weight room. And just when you think you’re at  your max, a glance up to the screen displaying your heart rate monitor stats proves that you’ve got a little more to give. Classes vary each day between endurance, strength and power. Depending on the day the treadmill brings long pushes, hills or sprints, which is replicated on the rower as well. In the weight room you use everything from TRX suspension to free weights and Bosu balls. The 60 minutes ends with a summary of your heart rate monitor emailed to you. Triumph!


Once again, hot damn.

Orange Theory (OTF to its fans) has pushed me to a new level in my fitness. I am faster and stronger and can finally see a noticeable difference in my muscle mass/tone on my arms and legs. In fact, my muscle tone has changed so much that I have had some days where I’ve worried about jeans fitting tighter in the thighs or thinking my arms look a bit bulky–but once I get a grip I see strength, power and feel endurance I’ve never had before.

I aim to take at least two OTF classes per week in addition to my spin, yoga, bootcamp and barre classes at Qi. It’s one of the most productive and impactful 60 minutes of my day. The addition of OTF class packs to my monthly Qi membership hasn’t been cheap, but I’ll gladly cut back in other areas to invest in my health and wellness. I primarily look to OTF for my 5am classes. Even though I can drag a bit at first, I do much better with the OTF intensity early in the day rather than after a long day in the office. OTF sets a “kick ass, take names” sort of tone for my day.

OTF can be for everyone, but I believe the monetary investment in the classes is only worth it if you really want to move the needle and push yourself each class. I am inspired by all of the different men and women who hop onto the treadmills and strap into the rowers–the mix of ages and abilities is truly amazing.

If you live or work near downtown Denver I can’t say enough about the new-ish Union Station location. The equipment is fantastic and the instructors won’t let you quit on yourself.

Try and OTF class and get ‘er done!

Note: I was not compensated by OTF in any way for this blog post. I am simply motivated by my experiences there and hope others will give it a try! 


Daily Fitness: It Is Possible



The world doesn’t need another fitness blogger. And I am absolutely not qualified to offer fitness advice or routine suggestions.

However, working out is a huge part of my “me” life outside of parenting, marriage and a full time career. In fact, my workouts are what allow me to do all of those other things semi-well. I also think I am a pretty good motivator…I think?

Here’s my belief. Under very few circumstances can I NOT fit in a workout. Finding and maintaining this mindset has been a long, slow evolution. I used to be the queen of excuses. Work is busy. I’m sore. I have an 8 a.m. meeting so I can’t go before work. I have plans after work so if I go in the morning I’ll miss seeing Rylan. It’s Saturday, I deserve a break.

But then I decided to try my hand at a 5 a.m. class, and it changed everything. It opened up daily opportunities throughout the week to work out without Rylan even knowing I had left the house. I also blocked time on my calendar once a week for a 4:30 p.m. class. This gave me a reprieve from daily 4:30 a.m. wakeups and still let me pickup Rylan from daycare, a small task that makes me smile every time.

I downloaded squat, sit-up and pushup challenge iPhone apps to get me moving on the days the gym just isn’t possible. My Jawbone steps tracker pushes me to park a little further or take the stairs.

I find ways to move daily. “Never miss a Monday” is a guiding mantra that truly keeps me on track. Healthy decisions on Monday set the tone for a stronger, healthier week.

I’d be lying if vanity isn’t a driver. Who doesn’t like to feel their best in a bathing suit or bounce back from a pregnancy, stronger and more fit than before? But it’s bigger than that. Much bigger. Daily movement is my Xanax. It’s one of the only assurances I can control to help me stay healthy for Mike and Rylan. I can’t answer emails or go down the Facebook rabbit hole when I am doing sprints in an Orange Theory class.

How did I function for so long without daily fitness?

This weekend I am lucky enough to be a part of The Blend Retreat (#blend2015) in Boulder, Colo. The bloggers who flew in from all over the country and brands that graciously gave bags upon bags of free product were inspiring to say the least. The experience also made me realize that I want to infuse more fitness and wellness into what I talk about here–through the lens of a hectic working mom of course.

I hope to create a culture of motivation here!

The 5am Workout

Until about four weeks ago, I scoffed at the notion of a 5 a.m. workout. Who in their right mind wakes up in the four o’clock hour to lift weights or run? Crazies.

But it was also about four weeks ago that I decided to follow a few happy-lutions in 2015. What is a happy-lution? Instead falling for the standard New Year’s resolution mumbo jumbo I decided to think about what makes me happy. The things that keep me sane and my light heart. No surprise, working out is a big part of that.

As a full time working mom outside the home, it gets trickier and trickier every day to maintain a fitness routine. Some weeks Mike travels. Other weeks I have morning or evening commitments. Every so often I make a weeknight plan with friends. And mostly, I hate when the gym gets in the way of my quick but precious morning and evening rituals with Rylan.


Enter the 5 a.m. workout. This time allows me to get out of the house and back with more than enough time to shower and be ready for Rylan’s morning routine. My energy level is high most of the day and I feel great about being present before and after Rylan’s day at daycare. Mike is not impacted by my schedule juggling and is asleep for most of my workout anyway! So far my 5 a.m. classes of choice rotate between Orange Theory Fitness and my regular gym, Qi Flow, which offers fusion-style classes of spin, yoga, barre and kettle bells depending on the day.

It isn’t for everyone, I get that. Before a 5 a.m. workout I aim to be in bed by 8:30 p.m., and the day of the workout I am typically a zombie by about the same time. Therefore, it eats into my evenings with Mike or ability to catch up on things like work, blogging, reading, and so on. I absolutely cannot commit to 5 a.m. classes every day, but one – two days a week feels feasible.

As busy parents we do what we have to do. I wish I could turn on a fitness DVD after Rylan goes down or get out for a quick run before my morning shower, but it doesn’t work. Unless I am signed up for a class that I have to be at in order not to lose money, I come up with every excuse in the book to “go tomorrow.”

I’m three weeks into my 2015 happy-lutions with three 5 a.m. classes under my belt. Soon to be four if I make it to a 5:30 a.m. cycle + kettle bell class on Friday. 5:30 a.m. sure sounds like a treat to me now.

Yes, I’ve joined the crazies. But I am happy and a bit more sane in my continuous quest for a semblance of balance.

Our Days at 14.5 Months


Recently I’ve become slightly obsessed with finding and following other working mom bloggers and social media influencers. Two that I am especially loving right now are Breadwinning Mama and What Would Gwyeneth Do. Breadwinning Mama has a “Her Juggle” series spotlighting working mamas and how they juggle, struggle and thrive. Reading the Q&A’s has felt like a big hug lately. I love seeing when other moms wake up, how they handle household chores and where they too feel like work or family is getting all their attention–never quite equaling out. When Mike is not traveling and my morning meeting schedule allows for a workout, a “favorite” day tends to look a little something like this.

  • 5:30 a.m. – One or both of our alarms go off. We hit snooze in denial
  • 5:50 a.m. – Mike hits the shower
  • 6 a.m. – I get up, make the bed and throw on workout clothes
  • Pre-6:50 a.m. – I try to fit in a variety of tasks, such as packing my lunch, starting a load of laundry, sorting mail, starting the dishwasher, meal prep for dinner, and preparing Rylan’s breakfast
  • 6:50 a.m. – I head to the gym and Mike takes over where I left off on breakfast for Rylan
  • 7 a.m. – Some sort of spin/barre/yoga class clears my head for the day and then I shower and get ready at work
  • 7:30 a.m. (ish) – Mike gets Rylan dressed and takes him to daycare across town (We love our daycare but did not count on the traffic when we thought it was only slightly out of they way. It can be a nightmare)
  • 8:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. (ish) – Calls, meetings, emails, more meetings, media pitching, writing, planning…in PR no two days are ever the same but it’s fast-paced and the days fly by
  • 5:15 p.m. – I bolt out and fight traffic to get Rylan, then fight it home and hope to be in the door by 6 p.m. or a bit after
  • 6:15 p.m. (ish) – Rush to get something resembling nourishment on Rylan’s plate before he totally loses it. We’ve now started giving him a small snack so that I can try and cook more rather than dump random things on his dish
  • 6: 45 p.m. – Bath
  • 7:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. – Play in Ry’s room or at least attempt to play depending on how well he napped at daycare
  • 7:15 p.m. – 7:25 p.m. – Accept Rylan’s eye rubbing, give him a bottle (you got me…haven’t cut that last one out yet) and put him down for the night
  • 7:30 p.m. – bed – My bedtime is all over the place. Some nights I barely make it to 8:30 p.m. while others I stay up past 10 p.m. to work or watch TV with Mike. I always regret staying up past about 9 p.m. though. And during this time I finish my morning to-do’s…laundry, meal prep (tonight I roasted butternut squash for tomorrow), email triage, blogging, organizing, cleaning. Basically, I can’t sit still. No time for that

Woo hoo (sarcastically typed). When I decide to have a “take care of me morning” at the gym (once or twice a week) I get very little time with Rylan overall. Not much changes if I flip this and workout at night either. So I am down to about two – three workouts a week, sometimes four depending on our weekend, and try to make the most out of them by taking as hard of classes as I can. When Mike travels there is typically no working out with drop off and pickup duty. I shower by 5:45 a.m. at the very latest when he is out of town and tend to fall into bed around 8:30 p.m.

Balance, my friends, is a misleading word. For years I chased balance, even before having Rylan, and failed to achieve it. So instead I am in a reset mode. At work I am 100% in and know it’s okay that I don’t always have time to stop and think about Rylan during the hectic days. At home I am increasingly strict with myself and Mike about putting down the damn phones unless something is urgent with a client or media. 

It feels good to give you a glimpse into our days right now. For me, reading about how other moms juggle is inspiring so I hope my approach to the chaos us helpful to you as well.

Review: Soybu Yoga Wear

Disclosure: I was generously given a Soybu yoga top and pants to test in my everyday fitness classes. All opinions and observations are my own. 


My body has changed. Despite what people see or what the scale says, my body has changed since having a baby. Most notably, none of my old workout clothes fit quite like I need them to in the chest or stomach areas. I need more support and more “holding in” than before.

That said, my old clothes fit so I have had a really difficult time justifying new activewear purchases. I own quite a bit of Lululemon but following last year’s PR debacle I have not wanted to purchase any more of their products. So, imagine my thrill when a very dear friend joined Soybu as a local PR consultant here in Denver. Before she even began talking to them I had observed what looked like a fantastic Mile High Mamas event at Soybu’s new flagship Denver store and loved all of the photos I saw being posted by local moms I admire on social media. All different body types yet everyone was smiling and posting about how good the clothes fit–how they felt beautiful, strong and supported.

When my friend asked if I’d be interested in trying an outfit I leaped at the offer. I do not do a lot of traditional yoga, so I told her the clothes would be put to the test in kettle bells, sculpt, cycle and more.

On my doorstep, just in time for a Saturday morning kettle bell + barre class, was a pair of the Killer Caboose Crop (um, yes please) and Goddess Tank. At $59 and $44 respectively, both pieces are extremely durable  and versatile investments without breaking the bank. The top has removable pads and is ruched in all the right places, especially for us mamas. I am still nursing and like to add a little extra support for classes with a lot of intense movement. I wore one of my lighter sports bras for added support and it was an extremely comfortable layering fit. The pants lived up to the name and gave my struggling booty a noticeable lift. And finally, for once since having Rylan, I felt like they sat properly on my new waist and stomach–a huge boost of confidence.

But how would they perform?

To be fair, the gym I frequent can be pretty hot in the summer. Add on hundreds of kettle bell swings and plank jack tabatas and it’s a sauna. The top did not breathe quite as much as I needed it to but in other classes that has not been an issue whatsoever. Now I wear wear the top and pants separately depending on the class, saving the tank for classes where I know there is A/C or a slower, yoga-focused pace. The pants are good for just about everything and I have no fears of mistakenly showing off my backside when doing a forward fold or leaning back into race mode on the bike. That’s key!

I love that the company is passionate about making women feel beautiful. Shape and size don’t matter. It’s about feeling strong–strong for you. For me I feel strong in all different ways. I feel strong at the gym, at work and when I am sitting quietly nursing my son. From my brief experiences with Soybu so far, they are a brand that wants to help me embrace all of this.

I am eyeing the Lotus Capri and Kelly Tank next. And the Utopia collection that is being teased as “Coming Soon” on the website currently looks really cute! Are you new to Soybu or have you been wearing it for years? What do you love on the website?


Pregnancy Workout Routine


Since announcing that we are expecting I have gotten a lot of questions and comments about my fitness routine. So, I wanted to share what I have been and am currently doing at 26 weeks and talk about why working out while pregnant, for me personally, is more important than ever.

Normal routine – give or take depending on work and other scheduling conflicts 

  • Monday: Spin + yoga class (30 minutes of each)
  • Tuesday: Yoga sculpt class (60 minutes) or spin + yoga class again
  • Wednesday: Spin + circuit class (core, balance and barre type work; 30 minutes of each)
  • Thursday and Friday: Depends, but usually spin + yoga again one of the days but not both
  • Saturday: Kettle bells + barre class (60 minutes)

The instructors at my gym are knowledgeable about what is and is not safe as my pregnancy progresses. A few of the female teachers also have little ones themselves and have shared their personal experiences with me. I have also asked my doctor a lot of questions and done a ton of research on my own. Because I was working out regularly before I got pregnant my doctor did not think it was necessary for me to wear a heart monitor. She said that as long as I felt okay and never got completely out of breath, my body was used to the pace.

And at the end of the day, I listen to my body. If a move doesn’t feel right I don’t do it. When I need to take a water break I do and catch up with the class when I’m ready, and when I need a day off altogether I take it without hesitation (well, that last part about having “no hesitation” is a lie but I do take it off).

Workout modifications

  • Cut out handstands and inversions completely once I found out I was pregnant
  • Avoid any position that has me lying flat on my back (started at 20 weeks) or on my belly (started around 16 weeks)
  • Lowered which weights I use in most classes, or switch back and forth between a lighter and heavier set depending on the exercise and exertion level
  • Avoid all heated classes and will likely switch to morning classes, when the gym is the coolest, as the temperatures heat up in May and June
  • Avoid all deep twists in yoga
  • Move from a chaturanga pushup back to plank position instead of into upward facing dog (started around 16 weeks when upward dog became uncomfortable)
  • Use yoga blocks in some poses, such as pyramid, as it gets harder to bend all the way over
  • Eat a protein-rich snack before every class (e.g., Greek yogurt, Larabar, apple and peanut or almond butter)

What working out, especially pregnant, does for me 

  • Relieves my stress after work or puts me in the best frame of mind for the day ahead
  • Helps me sleep
  • Keeps me limber and stretched, a god send as my hips and lower back have rebelled against sleeping on my left side starting at about 18 weeks
  • Helped/s me deal emotionally with the changes my body is going through (and the numbers I see on the scale at each doctor visit). I know that I am taking care of little sprout and myself
  • Keeps me strong, which I am told will help me during labor. I used to say “white dress, white dress” to myself during grueling workouts pre-wedding. Now I close my eyes and think, “labor, labor labor,” when the going gets tough in a class
  • Keeps what I have worked so hard for, fitness-wise, within reach for after the pregnancy. Aside from my random decision to run a marathon in 2007, I have never stuck with a workout routine until two years ago and I am determined to keep fitness, in whatever form it looks like once sprout arrives, in my life

I realize that I am very lucky to still be feeling as strong as I do. Many women are forced to take it easy for the safety of their baby and I have tremendous respect for whatever is needed and feels best for your body.

But if I can offer any unsolicited advice for friends and readers who are not yet pregnant but may be one day, do yourself a favor and establish some sort of workout routine now. It is much easier to maintain your stamina and motivation if fitness is already part of your life.

A yoga/spin/sculpt teacher that I adore recently had a baby, but last year I’ll never forget what she told me when I said I wanted to have a baby one day. She said, “train to be pregnant now, before you are even pregnant. Work hard now and you will be grateful when the time comes.” She could not have been be more right.

I have no idea what months seven through nine will hold for me and I realize that at one point, not slowing down will not be an option. As the basketball protruding from my front side turns into a watermelon I look forward to trying some prenatal yoga classes and on potentially more days than not, giving myself a break entirely.

I’d love to hear what you think about working out during pregnancy. I really enjoy learning from others who have paved the way before me!

Gym Guilt

Source: via Alexis on Pinterest


I could not get up for spin class this morning. Yet, I laid there in bed fretting about missing spin so how much extra sleep did I get this morning? Not much at all. And my mood is worse because of it.

Isn’t it amazing when we can’t listen to our own advice? I’m also constantly surprised by how much going (or not going) to the gym class impacts my mood. It has finally, for the first time in my entire life, become so much more than about how I look. An hour of spinning, lifting or yoga-ing is my mood booster and stress reliever. It’s where I get perspective and realize I can take on anything at work or at home. I need it badly.

But today, I needed the snooze button…and I have to learn to let that be okay too.

Do We Ever Really Meet Our Fitness Goals?


The harder I work at the gym each week, the harder it is for this phrase to ring true. Instead of staying “calm” I find myself obsessing over how to get this part of me stronger or that part of me more flexible. It has nothing to do with weight loss (stop freaking out dad!) and everything to do with how competitive I am with myself. As a kid I never played competitive sports (sans a few quick stints on teams to say I tried soccer and basketball. It never ended well.) so the, “I must finish this kettle bell set first and beat everyone around the block” voice in my head during certain gym classes is fairly new to me. I like the voice, but it’s pretty intense. And at times it is impossible to leave that voice at the gym. It follows me home.

So, I have a question for my fellow fitness-minded readers. Are you easier or harder on yourself when you are following a steady fitness routine and eating healthy? Do you find a way to come to grips with your body, and its strengths and weaknesses, or spend a lot of time and energy figuring out how to push to a new level? Is it good to never be 100% comfortable with the progress you’ve made because getting comfortable makes you lazy?

I hope I’m making sense and those of you who hit the gym get where I am coming from. Throughout my entire kettle bells + barre class tonight I couldn’t get this topic out of my head, and sharing my thoughts is what this blog, in its purest form, is all about.

Pin of the Week: Make Workouts a Habit

Make taking care of yourself, however and whenever you can find the time, a HABIT! Motivation comes and goes…just ask any bride a few months after the big white dress has been worn. But a habit can be followed for life, and you’re worth it.

Get to know your gym teachers, schedule workouts on your calendar, plan ahead for meals and other evening responsibilities, and ask your friends, family and coworkers to encourage and respect the time you are carving out for yourself.

Source: via Alexis on Pinterest

First 30 Days of 30: Day Fifteen

                                                                   Source: via Alexis on Pinterest


I’m 30, and probably in the best shape of my life. I truly, 100 percent, don’t mean for that to come across as self-centered. It’s just that I have worked really hard in the past year and a half — harder than I have ever worked aside from the marathon I trained for and completed in 2007. After my marathon I literally gave up everything I had worked for physically, and I never intend to let that happen again.

My motivation and inspiration today goes far beyond skinny jeans and bathing suits. Bodies change and things shift despite hundreds of squats. That’s just life.

It’s different this time around. Being strong gives me confidence. A boot camp session wipes away all stress. How can I worry about a project when I am trying to balance in a handstand following 100 kettle bell swings? The answer is, I can’t.

I also have to give immense credit to the amazing workplace culture of my employer, GroundFloor Media, for being a place where fitness and taking care of yourself is truly a top priority. There is no judgement if you arrive a bit late in order to take an early morning spin class, extend lunch for a yoga session or duck out early to get to a barre class. The flexibility makes us all better and more motivated employees, and is the #1 reason I am able to work out more than I ever have before.

I have bad weeks like everyone else where I either can’t get to the gym because of outside commitments/travel or I am just mentally beat. But on those good weeks, my current kick-my-own-ass class regimen goes a little something like this:

  • Monday: KORE (kettle bells) + Barre
  • Tuesday: Spin + Yoga OR Yoga Sculpt (yoga with weights)
  • Wednesday: KORE + Barre
  • Thursday: Spin + Yoga

On Saturdays there is a Detox Yoga class that I love but we never seem to be in town so that class has been tough to stick with this summer. Luckily many Saturday’s have been filled with hikes and fourteeners so I’m still getting in a great workout. I’d like to squeeze in a very easy run/jog on Friday mornings with Kona but by then, I’m usually in need of a break.

I’m lucky to have coworkers, friends and unbelievably inspiring instructors who push me daily. You know who you are…thank you.

                                                              Source: via Alison on Pinterest

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