End of A Fitness Instructing Chapter…

After a nearly ten year long chapter in my book of life, the time has come to say “see ya later” to teaching fitness classes.  I taught my very last class this morning at the Council Bluffs YMCA and I absolutely cannot think of a better gym to close out my fitness instructing tenure.  These people all showed up in my fave color of BLACK, with smiles on their faces, ready to get their butts handed to them as I dished out a mashup of all my FAVE moves.

Even the slackers killed it. ❤

 

I know for most, this isn’t much of a thing.  But this thing is HUGE for me and I am not sure I am emotionally QUITE ready for this chapter to end, however, professionally and personally it’s time.

With a career shift (I am still in higher education but have switched institutions and programming size), comes great opportunity, and I am eager to spend my time really digging deep into strengthening programs that cater to our under-served student population and bridging the gap between secondary and post-secondary education across the Metro area.

Some really exciting stuff, guys!

But, with that, comes sacrifice!

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My fitness instructing career began clear back in 2002 in my hometown fitness facility and after a brief hiatus in between my move to the City, I held positions with 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym, IWCC, and the Omaha Metro YMCA, specifically with the Council Bluffs branch.

I LOVE(D) it.

Teaching fitness classes in the city opened up the door to my stint as a national fitness trainer as a Master Trainer for BBLive, which provided an incredible opportunity to meet fitness minded folks from all across the U.S. and within my territory of Iowa and Nebraska.   (You can read more of my Master Trainer life here and here).

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I still to this day talk to Sarah (second from right) at minimum once per week.  The friendship built through MT’ing was a gift in and of itself.

And the HUNDREDS of people I had the great privilege of training over the course of two years was such an incredible journey.

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To close this chapter is pretty sentimental.  But, to close it with the YMCA folks who have been with me for nearly FIVE YEARS at the same time, same day, is something I will cherish to the end.

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The CB-YMCA is where the Slacker Corner was formed:

 

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And where I earned the OFFICIAL rights to be the Supervisor of them all:

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It’s where I learned time and time again that age is just a number and mental strength always perseveres.

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It’s where I got to know members on a deeper level and held the honor of celebrating their milestones and achievements in their health and wellness journey (here’s looking at YOU Randy in your incredible journey to doing a BURPEE in class with us)

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The folks at CB-YMCA learned to live with me through all my costume themed classes and endless photo opportunities:

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The CB-YMCA is where we celebrated members, turned family, and fought with them battles never before imagined:

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We celebrated BIRTHDAY’s and HOMECOMINGS in a BIG way:

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They chastised me with signs, questionable words under their breath and always with splashes of humor:

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And celebrated with me my LOVE of all things BLACK:

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We grew together as a family as we left the old for the new:

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And banded together to overcome not only the end of the workouts, but life’s ever waving highs and lows.

Class was more than class. It was (and will continue to be) a time of togetherness, camaraderie and love.

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In my reflection over the last several years, I see grit, tenacity, passion, exhaustion, fear, triumph and happiness.  I gave it my all and I sure hope every class, every trainee, every one-timer and every regular truly felt the love I had in teaching and took away something from their experiences.

Putting that mic on brings out a side of me that is a rarity.  Taking the microphone off for the very last time this morning has left a void, but I know, in my heart of hearts, I WILL be back again one day in front of the class.  Let’s just call it a cliff hanger with a sequel to be determined.  And I am sticking around on the sub list so I can get my “fix” on the occasion… 😉

Until then, I am going to continue my participation at a gym I attend as a participant (here’s looking at you, Edge Body Bootcamp) that challenges me physically and mentally every single day.  It’s my personal happy place.  Fitness is a LARGE part of who I am and what makes me happy.  It is not something I will ever let go.  I live for the challenge it places on me. It’s my own personal competition and I am my own opponent.  I friggin’ LIVE for it.

So, on that note…

Here is a CHEERS to my run in fitness instructing.  It’s been fun!

Until next time…

Memorial Weekend, the MURPH Challenge and some Yummies!

Grimmy’s Tuesday feels:

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The good ol’ Midwest went from freezing to blazing in 5 seconds flat!  And that meant Memorial weekend had a lot of this…

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And this…

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Friday of Memorial Day I got to spend time with my girl, Claire.  And by time spent, I mean packing up her SHIT so she could move.  I have seen Claire through I don’t even know how many moves, and I swear that girl has enough clothes to last a year without laundering, and hangers to fill even the Kardashian’s closets.  Girl…. You’re lucky I love your butt.   We worked our tails off from mid-Friday afternoon until well after 9pm before we decided a Jeep ride, dinner and beers were in desperate need.

Saturday was 1.5 million degrees.  What the heck even was that?  I don’t know.  I don’t care either.  I spent it shopping, cleaning, donating, cooking and baking.  It’s called staycation vibes and I was loving it.

Key Lime Pie Recipe Link

Cosmic Brownies Recipe Link |   Guys.  This recipe.  The chocolate ganache frosting.  This was the treat of the week at Walkup Wood Products.  Sinful.  Gooey.  Magic.

Drool.

Sunday, Clint and I cruised out to Catfish Lake Restaurant for some beers and grub.  What an adorable little craphole with amazing food.  Clint ordered escargot as an appetizer.  After digging through the cheese and gallon of butter I was able to find that cute little bite and enjoy it.  Clint, on the other hand, ate it, as served, in its full glory.   Cheese and garlic butter have its place… apparently, this restaurant believes it is in your arteries.

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Bellies full, we motored on…

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… And found ourselves at Heron Bay to close out the night with some friends and their buddies.   I will take beers on the river any day.

Let’s talk the Memorial Day MURPH.

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You can read about the origination, purpose, and goal of the MURPH here.

The MURPH workout in its true form (in sequence):

1 Mile Run

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-Ups

300 Squats

1 Mile Run

While wearing a 20lb vest or body armor

Variations of the MURPH include removal of the vest, splitting the movements into sets, dropping to knees on push-ups, splitting the workout into partners etc.

I wanted to challenge myself to the max, so chose to do it on my own, with a few variations.

  1. I did not wear a vest (I think there were only 3 who did out of the 75+ who completed it at my gym)
  2. I ran the first mile at an even pace, preparing myself mentally for what was to come.
  3. Split the middle into 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, 30 squats | 10 times through.
  4. Used a band for assisted pull-ups to help remove some weight, but still maintained a strict hand grip and only progressed to heavier bands as the reps increased
  5. I only did 30 of my 200 push-ups on my knees.  I have a thing about completing full range motion push-ups.  I get pissy when I drop.  Real pissy.
  6. Finished with the mile.

That last mile.  Woah.  Legs were jello for a minute before I got my pace settled back in.

Guys, it was effing awesome.   I cannot wait to do it again, and I will for sure be watching my time this go-round.  I am a little competitive in non-competitive events.

Organized sports for me = gross. 

Gym organized events that equal camaraderie and support and all-in-it-together mentality?  YES! 

My competitiveness is within just me and that is what I am loving about this new gym I call home.  It’s made me so happy.  That’s another post, for another day, but know… it’s one of those things that makes you want to talk all day every day about, but don’t, because you don’t want to be that annoying guy, so you go on loving it and kicking its ass every day with other people who love it and kick its ass everyday too.

Yep.  That kind.

Here’s looking at you, Edge

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The rest of Memorial Day Monday was spent soaking up the sun, AC and ice cold beverages at the Sejhaur’s with a little side of washers.

 

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Cheers to you, Summer 2018 and your happiness… and random 2pm middle of week texts from one of your bestest to meet up at “your” bar.

Summer (and this guy) are looking mighty fine.

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CHEERS!!!!

The Half Marathon Breakup

10.31.17

 

Dear Half Marathon,

You and I… we just don’t mesh.

You demand too much of my time.

Your 10, 12, even 14 week training plans are insane.

You require long distances and hours on sacred weekends.

Each weekend you even go as far as to increase in mileage requirement.

You force short speed work runs during the week in between work, gym, activities, LIFE.

You wreak havoc on my inner workings if you know what I’m sayin’.

 

The forced nature of our relationship is downright draining.

I don’t want to have to stick to your demanding schedule anymore.

It’s annoying.

And who are you to tell me what to do?

What I am getting at here is…

We’re over.

We had some ups and downs, but in the end, our 3-time relationship was beautiful.

I will forever be grateful for the challenge.

It’s not you, it’s me.

And all that other breakup crap.

Sincerely,

The Non-Forced-I-Like-To-Run-At-My-Own-Leisure,

Jordan

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Sunday, October 29th, 2017 concluded my half marathon running days.  From my first half-marathon in 2013 to my second in 2014, it’s been a journey.  A fine one at that.  But, ladies and gents, I am for real done with the training of it all.

I set out on my third half marathon journey in July of this year.  I committed (silently) to run the Good Life Halfsy as my last half-marathon and conquer a new PR of 1:59:59.  My first half I finished at 2:10.  My second half I finished at 2:05.  Surely I could knock out another 5 minutes off my time, ya?

TOTALLY!

And I could have, had I taken the training a little more seriously.

But I didn’t.

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I didn’t account for the amount of time I’d be out of town in September or the work events and travel, I sometimes bypassed a distance run on the weekend due to some of that CRAZY rain we had for a while and I am a NON DREADMILL runner.  I won’t.  Just won’t.   I ran when I could.  I stayed as close to the training schedule as I could.  I realistically reduced my goal time of 1:59:59 to 2:04:59.

And then October hit and I put in one serious distance run of 10 miles and only logged 7-8 distance miles the other weekends, and a few 4-5 milers during the weekdays leading up to the event.   I just was over it.

And I also scheduled my LIFE first, training second. 

I ran an out and back if you are trying to figure out my mapping situation above. 

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No excuses.   I am just not a dedicated runner.  I don’t claim to be.  I don’t want to be.  I have many friends who ARE runners and holy shit they are SLAYING it out there.

Let me brag on Cara for a sec.   She started running (seriously running) last fall.  Competed a few halfs and began seriously training for a full early summer of 2017.

On October 15th she completed her first FULL marathon (26.2 freaking miles) and came in at 3:54:45.

Guys, that is SMOKING fast.  Especially for a first-timer with an average pace at 8:58.   So crazy proud of her.

Cara on the right. 

Tori (marathon master and extraordinaire, dual Boston Marathon conquerer) is on the left and helped coach Cara through her training.

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She LOVES to run.  Lives for it, actually.  The day after her marathon she was running on the treadmill before coming to my PiYo class.

Ok, let’s call it like it is.  She’s a weirdo.

Anyway, back to the story at hand.

You still following me?

Bless you, my child.

I set out on October 29th with no expectations, which is a big deal for me.  I am super competitive with myself when it comes to the mileage and my pace.   Note the keyword there: myself.   I don’t give a darn what others are running at.  I truly don’t.  But I care about how I am doing compared to myself.  But, I also had to be very realistic.  I am most definitely not in what I consider my best shape.  I’m probably the most out of shape I have been in since 2013.   I went through a phase the last 8 months.  Quit master training, cut back from teaching 7-8 classes a week to 2-3 classes a week.   I stopped hitting the weights in August when my work-life balance were competing with each other.  I was burnt out.  BIG time.   And I simply have NOT been motivated to get myself back in the game at my 100%.  I am still in the game, but not playing competitively.

So, Sunday October 29th came, ready or not.

And off I went.

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I had a good playlist set, I was content with whatever time I was going to come in at, I tuned out everyone around me, and I just ran.

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The hubs met up with me around mile 3.5.   He had every intention to meet me again at mile 10, but somehow we missed each other.  I was fully prepared to yell some very explicit language at him.  Sometimes you just need to get your words off your chest, you know?   But instead, my fellow running neighbors got my words.   We had a laugh about it.

And we kept going.

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Miles 10 through 12.5 sucked.  No way around that.   My breathing was on point.   My head was clear.  But my legs…. they were on fire and not afraid to tell me every single stride and step they took.  I had also been nursing a pulled hamstring in the days leading up to it so was overcompensating a little on the right to alleviate pressure on the left, so that played into the leg sensations as well.

With the end in sight and the dreaded HILL at the end (for the LOVE people), I SPRINTED my little heart out the last .25 miles.   I set my eyes on roughly 6 people ahead of me and made it a point to pass them.  I passed all of them, with the last girl getting passed literally two steps before we crossed the finish strips.

Goal accomplished.

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2:10:10

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A respectable time.   A time I am honestly proud of considering all the other factors that came into play in my training and lack there-of.

  • I finished milliseconds faster than my first half marathon that I trained religiously for.
  • I finished in 1,966th place of the 4,505 finishers that day. First half of the group, yo!
  • I wasn’t one of the 47 runners who started but didn’t finish.
  • I wasn’t one of the 2,000 runners who registered but didn’t participate.

It also proves to me that I know I CAN do better, I did it before, and with a little more training I could master my 2:04 time, or maybe even my 1:59:59 time.

But, those days are officially done and over for me.

I like to run for ME.  For the fresh air.  To clear my head.

I like my 3 milers.  I like my 6 milers.  I like to run them when I want to and I like to run for as long as my body chooses to.

Not when a training program tells me to.

So with that, I can officially say…

It’s been a good run.

Cheers to never again.

 

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Special THANKS to the fine folks of the Good Life Halfsy!   This is such a well put together run and event.  I was completely blown away by the organization, the structure, the route, the after party (that I didn’t get to stick around for since I had to be back in Omaha at lightning speed to make my Nebraska Wind Symphony concert).

Well done, friends.

Well.   Done.

Chatbooks | The MVP of Instagram

Chatbooks: Saving each Instagram account, 60 photos at a time.

I was introduced to Chatbooks by a friend last Christmas and was instantly intrigued.

  1. IG photo preservation that isn’t virtual
  2. Two options of books to preserve IG photos
  3. Automatic shipping
  4. CHEAP
  5. Easy options to change/manipulate an order before its shipped

The question I asked myself was: Do I find my Instagram photos to be worth saving outside of the Instagram app?

The answer was a definite, YES.

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When sharing on Social Media I only share the photos that are most important to me and that (most often) have a story behind them.  Gone are my younger years when I shared every last photo I ever took of an occasion.  Nope. Not interested in that, at all.  I find it to be less authentic and feel a point can be made and a bigger impact felt by sharing a few meaningful photos, or photos that capture the eye, or photos that are telling of yourself and your own personal story, or of others, in a positive, heartfelt way.   The photos (and I take a lot) that aren’t shared on Social Media platforms are uploaded on a monthly basis to Snapfish for storage, print and photo album creation, for my own personal use.

But, Instagram?   That’s where I like to post my favorite photos.  The ones that encompass who I am, what I believe in, the friendships I cherish, the family moments, the vacations, the scenery.   My IG photos tell a story.  With Chatbooks I get to preserve that story in the form of a book, forever.

About Chatbooks

Chatbooks started in 2014 by a husband and wife duo looking to preserve memories with little time investment.   The company has grown to employ over 85 individuals across the country but remain “small” in nature to provide a foundation built on people and individuals.   Their motto:

“Chatbooks exists to help people hold on to what matters.”

What Options Are There?

With Chatbooks you have two options.  The Chatbook Series Option and the Custom Chatbooks option.

I use the Chatbook Series option.

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Series books are ongoing and linked to Instagram, Facebook or even your own camera roll favorites.  For every 60 photos uploaded, Chatbooks will create a new album, (or in their words, Volume) and send it to you for $8 Automatically.  Three days before shipment you get an email where you can manipulate some of the photos/captions by removing anything unnecessary.

 

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 Chatbooks also includes the accompanying caption and the date uploaded.

 

Questions

Chatbooks has an awesome support center where all your questions can be answered at the click of a button:

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I love my Chatbooks collection and I know I will love them even more as the years go by, their purpose evolves and the documentation becomes even more significant.

 

Life is big and beautiful and I ❤ to live it.

Ready to connect your IG, FB or personal photos for your own set?

Click here for quick access! (This link is tied to my account for referrals, but in no way is this post sponsored.  I love this product enough to shout it from the rooftops!)

Cheers!

 

Say No To Crack | A Gym Rats Must Do Test

In the fitness world belongs a peculiar little test that should always be administered before an individual steps foot into the gym.  This little test MUST be passed with flying colors as it is the best defense against the involuntary showing of one’s butt crack.

Legging wearing gym goer’s.  Come One, Come All!

This is for you, boo. 

Allow me to assist you in avoiding future and/or continued unplanned exposure of your derrière. The following is the greatest preventative measure against personal humiliation you could ever administer.

Are you ready for this?  It’s called…

The Squat Test 

 

booty courtesy of uber fit Lorna Jane girl

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Ya, you got it!  The simplest and most functional of exercises you can administer could actually help you avoid indecent exposure to the entire gym world.

Before you even think about walking out of that dressing room (or home if you are an online shopper) you MUST get comfortable staring at your back end in a mirror under bright lights.

Yep.  

Ya sure do, sweet-cheeks. 

WHY?

Because if you don’t, those sweet-cheeks are on full display for the world.

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I am talking to you Walmart, Target, Old Navy wearing legging friends.   Where’s my Nike PRO and Under Armour loving friends?  You raising your hands?   Guess what?

You aren’t exempt.

Nike has gotten pretty stingy on some of their material and styles of leggings.  One little squat test I recently did at Scheels proved to me that Nike’s weren’t going to be my friend during a good solid downward dog.

Are we having a break-through moment together right now?  Is your face red with heat and embarrassment thinking about what you wear to the gym?

As a fitness instructor and former fitness Master Trainer, I have seen more booties, thongs and granny panties than I ever imagined I would.  I mean, I teach fitness classes. What is this?!

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Now, I AM one of those people who tries to always let others know if they have something in their teeth, or if they have spilled food on their boob, etc.  My goodness, I’d want others to tell me!  How friggin’ embarrassing, yo!  Help a sista OUT!

Now with that said, I always try to cover my fitness peeps butts by letting you know I can see it, but I also don’t want to embarrass you, so I will wait until the end of class if no one is in your direct line of fire.  Here’s the second BUT — sadly I am also forgetful and at the end of class I just want to get everyone stretched and smiling again after the death that was bestowed on them and out the door, so, if you are in my classes you aren’t exempt.  Please resume squat test, immediately, in your own well lit bathroom mirror, k?

The How and What to the Squat Test

  • Turn around so your back is to the mirror.
  • Squat.
    • Deep and low as you can go.
  • Now, stick your booty out there, girl.
    • Give it a little smack if you feelin’ sassy.
  • And then LOOK.
    • Can you see your paisley printed thong through the material?  How about the outline?  HOW ABOUT SKIN?
  • Not seeing anything?
    • Put a light to it.  Natural light or flashlight.  Now whatcha got for me?

EEK!

Put those pants back on the hanger and

W.A.L.K.  A.W.A.Y!!!

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The Higher the Price – The More Dignity You Will Preserve

You cannot be afraid to spend a pretty penny on workout leggings.   Unless you are super eager to show off your scantily covered apple bottom, then there isn’t a price tag too high, in my opinion.   Below are my two favorites from ATHLETA to help you get started.  You can find in my closet two pairs of each of the below, because I believe in them that much.   I also LOVE the mid to high waist bands.  Zero roll down, zero pulling up pants every 5 seconds of a workout, complete coverage.   SOLD.

There are so many brands out there worth mentioning and exploring, so don’t limit yourself.  Lorna Jane, LuLuLemon, Fabletics, Carbon 38 and Victoria’s Secret PINK to name a few.   Heck, try Nike and Under Armour as well!  I have a few myself, but I was very careful with the squat test on those babies.  And, for the record, I love Nike.  I wear Nike Free RN shoes to the gym (Asics Gel Quantrums make a steady appearance as well) and nearly all my tops are also Nike.  Nike FREAK over here, but you just have to be careful on SOME of the legging styles.   They are made for certain workouts and the material is a good indicator of that.  Just didn’t want to hurt Nike’s feelings in case they want to sponsor me and my radness.  You know. 😉

 

Athleta Stealth TruCool Skulptek Capri. $98

 

Athleta Salutation 7/8 Tight. $79

salutation

Athleta Chaturanga Tight. $74

 

Happy Shopping and Mirror Squatting!

 

Cheers!