Sweat, Snack, Shop: Birthday Bootcamp at Athleta

A couple of weeks ago, I teamed up with Athleta Legacy Place to teach an in store bootcamp class during the week of their one year birthday celebration.

Athleta Legacy Place: Birthday Bootcamp

I arrived around 6:15 to get situated, help clear the racks from the middle of the store, and make sure my music was okay. My class sold out pretty quickly which was AWESOME, and people started trickling in around 6:30. Of course my mom and bridesmaids were the first to arrive!

Athleta Legacy Place: Birthday BootcampAthleta Legacy Place: Birthday Bootcamp

I started the night by welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming, introducing myself and my background, and going over some logistics. I also gave a short talk that would speak to who I am and hopefully leave everyone feeling inspired before we jumped into the workout.

“I’m passionate about empowering women through fitness. I love showing people that fitness is fun. It doesn’t have to be about spending hours on a boring piece of equipment, and it most certainly is not only about how we look. Fitness is about trying new things. It’s about how we feel, how it makes us confident, and it’s about feeling strong and happy in our own skin. Athleta’s tagline is “power to the she,” which I love because it speaks to women who see being healthy and fit as vital to life. It speaks to the fact that it is okay to make fitness and healthy living a priority, no matter how much else you have going on. And you know what’s awesome? That there are 30 of you here tonight, choosing to spend your time doing something for YOU, something healthy, and something fun.”

I then made everyone introduce themselves to someone they didn’t know since the social aspect of fitness is so important to me. As everyone was chatting away, I got my music going, and then we were off!

Athleta Legacy Place: Birthday Bootcamp

After the warmup, I used a tried and true format: bodyweight strength supersets with cardio and ab blasts in between each round. I tried to pick exercises that would show you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or a gym to get a good workout in or feel the burn!

Athleta Birthday Bootcamp: Bodyweight superset workout

This took us right up until around 7:40, so if you are doing this on your own you can allot around 40 minutes for the workout, including the warmup. For the remaining 20 minutes, I had everyone find a partner and do the following partner exercises:

  • Leg throwdowns
  • Crab walks forward and backward + 4 hand claps
  • Cross arm jumping lunges
  • Plank reach and touch
  • Back to back “wall sit”

Athleta Legacy Place: Birthday Bootcamp

Everyone was laughing and having so much fun together by the end of these! <—that is what I LOVE seeing and when I feel truly in my element. We finished class with some of my signature group situp lines and a stretch, and then it was time to mingle!

Here’s a sweaty pic of me and some of my gym friends… shoutout to Jen who took my class at 6am that morning AND came to the event to support me!

Athleta Legacy Place: Birthday Bootcamp

Athleta was kind enough to set up a table with veggies and munchies for people to snack on during the post class shopping event. They also offered a 25% discount off of any apparel purchased that night and two raffle drawings. So generous! I want to also extend a thank you to the folks at Hint Water who donated waters for us to stay hydrated and Joos who donated one of the raffle prizes for the night.

Athleta Legacy Place: Birthday Bootcamp

I would say the event was definitely a success! I ended up leaving with a nice thank you goodie bag from Athleta with a yoga mat, headband, water bottle, and hat. I also purchased this, these, this in white, and a pair of black leggings! Thank you to everyone who came to support me in my first event like this. I loved seeing so many familiar faces but meeting so many fun new people at the same time.
Athleta Legacy Place: Birthday BootcampI left feeling inspired to do more things like this and less of what doesn’t fuel me, but you could probably guess that would happen. Stay tuned!

–Let’s chat–
Have you ever taken a fitness class in a store before?
Were you at my Athleta event? What did you think? What does fitness mean to you? How do you interpret Athleta’s tagline of “power to the she?”

Let me know if you try the bodyweight workout at home or have any questions about it!

Park Bench Circuit Workout

Oh hey. Miss me?

I’ve taken a step back from the blog a bit to work on things like planning my wedding (venue research takes so much TIME), starting to ask my bridesmaids to be a part of my wedding party (obviously need to put together theme gifts for that), putting together a memory book for my dad’s 60th birthday, and getting some preparations together for my friend Erica’s bridal shower this weekend. I also took some time to myself to just breathe and enjoy some downtime during the couple of weekends I had free.

Today I wanted to pop in and share a fun workout that I taught in my class yesterday morning. The theme was “all you need is a park bench.” If you don’t feel like exercising indoors, don’t have a lot of equipment at your disposal, or simply want to change things up a bit, this one is for you!

Park Bench Circuit Workout

In this workout, you will do each exercise for a total of 60 seconds before moving on immediately to the next move. Sometimes I find that 60 seconds can seem like a long time to do something for, so if that’s you, here are some ways you can break up some of the moves to make the time pass a little faster:

  • Step ups: Do 30 seconds of a true step up, but change the last 30 seconds to be a step up with knee lift. You can do this for both the front and side facing versions.
  • Pushups: Do 30 seconds of regular pushups. Then do 15 seconds of pushups with the right leg raised and 15 seconds of pushups with the left leg raised.
  • Climbers: Do 30 seconds of slow climbers and 30 seconds of faster ones. Warning: these burn your shoulders after a minute of pushups!
  • Toe taps: Alternate between 15 seconds slow taps, 15 seconds fast, etc.

Park Bench Circuit Workout

In class, we broke up the workout by doing a running lap around the Y in between each round of the circuit., and we did three rounds total. Short on time? Try just one or two rounds for a ten or twenty minute sweat sesh. Want more? Go for a fourth. Want to throw in some abs at the end? Try doing in and outs, bicycles, decline side planks, and elevated foot v-ups all with the bench as well.

There are a lot of options with this, just make it your own and pick something that works for you!

Park Bench Circuit Workout

At the end of class, we played on the monkey bars! Everyone took turns doing isometric holds in a chin up position. It was fun to play on the playground toys, but I wish there were more swings. One just isn’t enough for my class members to all do TRX inspired moves at the same time. I also wish we could go outside year round for bootcamp, baseball diamond, and playground workouts, but it’s already starting to get darker in the morning. What the heck!?

–Let’s chat–
Have you ever done a park bench workout? What other park bench exercises could I use in a different workout? What about playground moves in general?

Hope you guys have a great day!

SoulCycle Chestnut Hill: Class Review

Last month I was invited to a free wellness event at SoulCycle in Chestnut Hill in celebration of the limited edition Women’s Health July Birchbox. Unfortunately the Women’s Health box is no longer available, but you can still subscribe to Birchbox at this link. Tim gave me a 6 month subscription to Birchbox for Christmas, and while it was fun to see what came in each month’s delivery, it wasn’t totally for me. I’m not much into beauty products, but if you like trialing different body lotions, lip glosses, and other similar lifestyle samples, Birchbox would be more up your alley. I was hoping for more food and fitness focused products, but to each their own! One thing I did like about Birchbox was the ability to purchase full size items from their online store.

Anyways, SoulCycle.

SoulCycle Chestnut Hill

This was my first experience at any SoulCycle class, nevermind at the new(ish) location in Chestnut Hill that opened in March. When I arrived, there was another class going on, but it got me pumped up and energized for class since I could hear the loud, upbeat music as I walked through the door. The registration staff was very friendly, explained the bike reservation system (specific bikes are reserved ahead of time), and pointed out where the lockers and changing rooms were. It didn’t seem like this studio had a ton of changing areas (only two bathrooms and two showers), but they had a massive amount of lockers down their hallway. As people swarmed in to take class, it got a little chaotic. I also awkwardly locked myself out of my locker and needed help getting back in to my belongings. Whoops!

I was glad I arrived early so I had time to put on my cycle shoes. First time riders get a free pair, but after that shoe rentals are $3. You cannot wear sneakers with these bikes. I also had a few extra minutes to poke through the little gift bag I was given during registration. Inside was a bottle of water, the latest issue of Women’s Health (also the issue my co-worker Jen is featured in!), and the July Birchbox products.

SoulCycle Chestnut Hill

Once it was time for class, we headed into the studio. My bike was right up front, which is usually my preferred spot in a fitness class. It’s just the instructor side of me that hates being buried in the back. The SoulCycle staff helped all the newbies like me clip into their pedals. While I’ve taken countless spin/indoor cycling classes before, I had never needed to clip my shoes into the pedals, and I still don’t think I could do it myself. I will definitely need adult supervision with that for future cycling classes!

Our class was taught by one of the male instructors, Todd. I really enjoyed his music, and the class was taught to the beat. I didn’t think the class was CRAZY hard, but it was definitely challenging. My legs were already feeling like jello after taking a class at Studio Empower that morning, so I found it a tad difficult to keep up on some of the rotations and booty taps. Todd’s energy, having Sarah on the bike next to me, and all the motivational mantras displaying on the walls around the room kept me going. I also liked using hand weights at the end of class (definitely an indoor cycling trend!).

However, the real kicker of this class was Todd’s cooldown. I felt like he immediately morphed into somebody completely different than who he was during the rest of the class. Honestly, Sarah’s description of it in this post says it best: “Todd’s voice went from upbeat and motivating to soft core porn in a Saturday Night Live skit type of way.” SO TRUE. I couldn’t stop giggling during the cooldown, and at one point even whispered to Sarah, “is this real life?” It was cheesy and hilarious. Despite the funny end to class, I enjoyed my experience. I had fun seeing Boston blogger Nicole again and meeting Sarah in person for the first time.


If you are interested in trying SoulCycle, your first class is $20, and a single walk in after that is $30. The price is definitely up there, but it’s honestly comparable to other boutique indoor cycling studios in the city. If you get a ten pack, you can save $20. One last thing – I really enjoyed that this studio is located in Newton. Since I work outside of the city, it’s often hard for me to get into Boston to try new classes. The inconvenience of the morning or evening rush hour commutes often deters me, so I liked that this studio was a little closer to work and home for me.

Glad I tried it!

–Let’s chat–
Have you tried any SoulCycle indoor cycling classes before? What about at the Chestnut
Hill location? Tell me about your experience. Did anyone find themselves giggling during the cooldown like I was?