Kathryn Morgan’s 12 Week Challenge — Day 1

If you don’t follow Kathryn Morgan on social media, then you might not know that she’s performing at the Kennedy Center at the end of March. To help her prepare and get fit for it, she invited her readers to join her over the next 12 weeks to get fit, strong, and in amazing shape — by launching her 12 Week Challenge:

Morgan has created two versions of the challenge – regular and light. She’s also created workout calendars for the next 12 weeks (although only January is available right now).

Right now, I’m probably basing most of what I’m doing off of the Light schedule, although I expect to move everything around a lot (based on class, work and other workout schedules) since my life can seem so hectic at times. I’ve also done a lot of pilates and running lately, so I don’t want those to fall to the wayside for this challenge (since there’s only a day or two of core and cardio each week).

I don’t expect my workout schedule to change too much (other than coming back from ballet after a one month hiatus), but I love that this challenge will help me be more accountable and track my workouts more. I plan on keeping a journal of it here so that I can track my progress.

Here’s what I did for Day 1 (January 4):

  • 2 miles cardio on the treadmill
  • 15 minutes Pilates Flow (from this DVD set — which I love!)

Plan for tomorrow is to do follow along to one of Kathryn Morgan’s barre and center videos on YouTube (check out this great YouTube playlist with video suggestions for the challenge by fellow adult ballerina Mary Fran). I’ll also probably at least throw in a quick pilates flow as well with some light stretching.

Are you taking part in Kathryn Morgan’s 12 Week Challenge? Let me know in the comments!

Getting Enough Sleep Over the Holidays: REM-Fit Review

Disclosure: I received REM-Fit in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

It can be really hard for me to get a good night’s sleep — especially during the holiday months, when both my work and life can get pretty hectic. Plus, I really need my sleep now that I’ve stepped up my fitness game: running 3-4 times a week, Pilates, and ballet (although, for now, ballet is on a hiatus for the holidays — more on that later).

So I jumped at the chance when Fitfluential offered me the opportunity to check out the following products to see if they would help with my sleep issues:

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I’ve struggled a lot lately to find the perfect pillow that would help me sleep better (especially since I can get quite grumpy when I don’t get enough sleep!). I’ve bought really stiff pillows to see if they would help (they didn’t), I’ve also had really fluffy pillows that were huge (that wasn’t great either). However, REM-Fit’s 300 series pillow has been great so far, and the perfect combination of the two: the right amount of fluffiness and stiffness as well as the perfect height. I’ve been calling it my “Goldilocks” pillow for being jusssssssssssst right. It’s been the perfect fit for me and has helped me sleep a lot better, whether I sleep on my stomach (yes, I know its bad for you, but it happens), my side, or on the rare occasion, my back.

Things I love about this pillow:

  • It’s adjustable: There’s cute little fiber-fill on the inside that you can leave in or take out to get the pillow to the perfect height for you. I like to leave it all in, but it’s nice to have options, too.
  • It’s cool: There’s a ton of features that help keep this pillow a nice, cool temperature.
  • It helps protect against allergens: Allergies are my worst enemy, pretty much year round, so I love this feature. A lot.

REM-Fit also sent me a sleep/activity tracker that’s been great for tracking my sleeping progress as well as my many activities. I also love that it has a watch face, which my previous tracker did not.

So if you’re looking for a great gift for the athletes in your life and you know they struggle to get the perfect night’s sleep — REM-Fit might be the perfect fit for them. Plus, you can use my code, KG20, for 20% off in the REM-FIT store!

How do you make sure you get enough sleep when life gets busy?

Disclosure: I received REM-Fit in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

How I Spent My Summer…

It’s been a really long while since I’ve posted a personal post — a really long time. I spent most of my time this summer dancing — including a performance at the end of July that went well and taking several classes a week since I had only been working two, part-time writing jobs (hence the limited amount of writing here — I found myself writing dozens of blog posts a week).

Now that summer is pretty much over (first day of fall is this Wednesday) — I’m planning on getting back into blogging, back into running profiles and working on getting the studio guide more complete!

I also spend the latter half of August (and the beginning of September) getting back into running. It made me forget how much I missed it and how useful all that cardio can be when it comes to long combinations in ballet). I might be starting a running blog to document the rest of my exercising goals as well…but I’ll share more about that later. Back to ballet.

How did you spend your summer? Dancing? Traveling? Share with me in the comments!

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Jessica Bloxom

10885402_10102013620794694_2683103836041901678_nThis week’s profile is of Jessica Bloxom. Read on to hear why she picked up ballet in December!

When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I’m 31, and I just started December 2014.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

I took ballet, tap, jazz, and gymnastics from ages 4-9. I had to stop because of what a huge commitment dance is.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

I always regretted stopping dance and got jealous when I saw dancers who were my age and still doing it. I honestly thought it was impossible to start again as an adult, but I googled “adult ballet class” one day and was surprised to find a class down the street from me. It seemed like fate. I read all the articles on this site before going to my first class, so I felt like I wasn’t alone.

Where do you take classes?

The Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance. Its in Wilmington, Delaware. My teacher also teaches a beginner class at our YMCA, so I take that once a week.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

All of it! I love wearing pink tights and a leo again. I slept with my ballet slippers the first night I bought them because I was so excited to have slippers again. I love stretching. I love petit allegro and the end of class reverence curtsies. I love how pretty it looks. I love that its in French. Ballet is unique in that you work diligently on all of these little details to perfect them: tucked in, thumbs down, heel presented, chin up etc, and the result is a beautiful without revealing the efforts. I love losing myself in concentration on the details and seeing the results.

What is your least favorite part?

Honestly, the cost. I wish I could afford to take a class every day. I also am not too keen on putting my leg on the bar and plie-ing my supporting leg.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

My teacher is inspiring because she started ballet again as an adult when she was 31 also. Again, its fate! My fellow students inspire me so much too.

What motivates you to keep dancing?

My fellow students. When I see one of the more advanced ones practicing double pirouettes or getting better extensions on her grand jete, I just can’t wait to get there! I also want to try en pointe so so so very much.

Do you take any other dance classes?

I took a jazzercise class for a couple years after my son was born, and that made me realize how much I really do love dance. I would really love to try jazz or lyrical.

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I am a runner too. I’ve been running since I was 13, and I run races with my husband. We just entered the lottery for the NYC marathon. I teach chemistry and fancy myself to a mad scientist, emphasis on mad. I love cooking and am an avid traveler. I lived in Germany for three years and spent a Summer volunteering with children in South Africa.

What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started?

If you want to do it, do it! There’s no substitution for the way dancing makes you feel! Also, if you just started, be kind and patient with yourself because your classmates should be kind and patient too. I’ve found my classes to be so hugely supportive of everyone who takes this courageous leap and tries a ballet class for the first time. The more the better, and everyone there had their first class horror stories. The more you mess up, the more you can learn. I appreciate hearing other dancers’ corrections too, so even if you’re the weakest link in class, you’re benefiting the class.

Updates: Nutcracker, Back to Basics, Friends in Ballet

Back in December and early January, my ballet class was working on choreography for the Spanish dance in the Nutracker, which was really fun. My instructor even brought in fans for the final classes we practiced it in the first few days of January.

Soon after that, we dove back into the basics for the yearly crowd of newcomers as the new year began. Surprisingly, it’s been really tough going through the class relatively slow (tough but good). The first weekend of those classes I made it to three classes in one weekend and was super sore. This weekend I found myself sick and barely made it through two classes.

This weekend I did make it to a pointe class, too, despite being sick. That was tough, especially since my last class in December was really tough and painful (I’m still not sure why).

I’m happy that in this weekend’s class I managed to keep my pointe shoes on for the entire class (and not have switched to flat slippers), but I know there’s still a lot of work left to be done there. I’ve tried to keep up with strengthening exercises everyday at home and trying to make it to every class that I can.

I’ve also had one of my coworkers join me for a class, and I’m looking forward to her joining me for more. I love bringing new people to class.

How’s your first half of January been? Please share updates in the comments–I love reading them! 

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