TV Without TV? Yes!

Hey guys! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I hope you’re having a wonderful time with your families out there and that Turkey Trot attire is all ready to perform, and Turkey is ready to go into that oven!

I am here today to talk about something different than my usual post subjects, but I hope you enjoy it. Before we dive in though, I wanted to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for another great year with Lean Lena. If it wasn’t for you, this blog wouldn’t have existed. It would have been stuck somewhere between a food journal and an exercise log.

THANK YOU for your ever inspiring comments, your support and dedication in making me a better blogger and making Lean Lena a better resource for indoor cycling instructors, TRX coaches and yoga enthusiasts.

TV without TV Continue Reading

Tasty Tuesday Linkup #49 and Exciting Tasty News

Hey guys! Happy Tasty Tuesday Linkup day to you! How was your weekend?

Mine just flew by. Seriously, before I knew it – it was Sunday night 🙁

This Saturday we (just out of the blue) decided it was Christmas – Take #2 at our house, at least food wise.

Hubby made an incredibly delicious leg of lamb! (I have no idea what’s gotten into him, I was afraid I’d spook him if I asked).

tasty tuesday linkup Continue Reading

30 Days Active Challenge: Week 4 Recap

Hey-hey my fit friends! It’s Hump Day and that means what?

Correct! Time for another 30 Days Active Challenge recap.

The past week was hectic and busy-busy-busy with both mine and my husband’s birthdays – I feel like all I ate was cake all week 🙂

But yes, I did have this challenge I put myself through on my mind all the time and even on the days when I didn’t have an “official” workout, I tried to stay active or eat extra healthy.

So here’s what happened last week:

{WEDNESDAY}  was my birthday, so official workout didn’t really happen. I had a wonderful birthday celebration both at work and at home.

My awesome husband took me out to Rock Bass Grill for dinner where I had the 2nd best crab cakes in my life!

crab cakes

Guess what I got for my birthday? 🙂

garmin forerunner

Yep, I’m married to the BEST guy in the world, you know? 🙂

Exercise on Wednesday: walk-walk-walk!


We had a yoga class at work over lunch time. I love those classes! It’s like somebody pushes your reset button in the middle of the day and you come back to your desk all balanced and calm.

Then somebody pisses you off again, but that has nothing to do with yoga 🙂

Anyway. After work on Thursday I needed to go to CVS. So instead of driving a few blocks like I usually do, I walked there.

30 days active


There was so much cake on Wednesday at work, and then dinner at the restaurant….so we didn’t get to my birthday cake at home until Friday 🙂


No official workout, but lots of activities and walking that day.


On Saturday I finally got a chance to try an indoor cycling class with a recently hired instructor at our Y. She teaches in the mornings on weekdays, which of course I can’t make because I work.

So I was pretty excited to see her name on the Saturday rotation class schedule this past week. I signed up and bam! I was there at 8:00 AM on Saturday.

Here’s my blurry “Pilot” at the end of the class 🙂 It’s blurry because taking a picture while still pedaling is not the best idea in the world 🙂

30 days active

The class was good, just a couple “funky” moves and that’s it 🙂 I still got an awesome workout, which was nice – just being able to concentrate on your own effort without having to guide anybody else. 🙂

After the class, hubby and I took a long walk to Cole’s bicycle shop where I almost agreed to buy a $1200 road bike… Crazy woman 🙂

That didn’t happen, though. $1200 is waaaaaaay over the budget I was planning for my first road bike. So…we’ll keep looking 🙂 I got fitted though and tried several bikes which was A LOT of fun!

Here’s the bike I was trying out on Saturday – Trek Lexa SLX:

$1200 is a good price for this bike. Just not good for my budget 🙁 (sigh)

Good steps that day!

30 days active


No official exercise on Sunday. Hubby and I had something planned which ended up taking up most of our day (More on that this coming Tasty Tuesday).

So…steps, steps, steps.

{MONDAY} Cycling

Monday was my husband’s birthday. As I usually teach indoor cycling on Mondays, and he wanted to come to my class this week, I designed a riding profile just for my him – with the happy birthday song in the beginning and some of his most favorite songs throughout.

My class is called “Road Trip”. So I announced this past Monday class as a “Rocky Road Trip” because most of the songs in the class were rock 🙂 If you would like to see the latest class playlist, check out this page here.

30 days active

Good burn and fun class. My birthday boy was happy with the ride 🙂

We then got home and celebrated his birthday with his favorite coffee chocolate chip ice cream pie, and gave him a special birthday present he requested.


Steps-steps-steps. No official workout.

Healthy choice of the day:


Watermelon, strawberry, mint and cottage cheese smoothie

And that was it, my friends.

I am not particularly happy with the past week for a few reasons: I didn’t run once (my knee was being funny pretty much all week), I had too much cake, I had too many days with no official workout. I did stay active every day, I did what I could when I could. I guess it’s the most important thing, but somehow it doesn’t feel like it’s enough…

Ok, so today is Wednesday and it is the beginning of the final week of the challenge. I’m gonna make it count!

Stay tuned for the next week’s recap and more!

Lean Lena

This post has been shared on: Work Out Wednesday Link Up, The Hump Day Blog Hop

FitBloggin’ 14: Tastes and Sights of Savannah

Hey guys! How was Monday?

I was dragging after the FitBloggin’ weekend. Lil’ better today, but still catching up on my sleep and getting back to my routine.

So! As you may have noticed, yesterday’s brief overview of the whole experience did not touch the two exciting parts of the trip to Savannah – food and sights 🙂

Since it is Tasty Tuesday, I’m going to tell you what I ate in Savannah as well is what I saw.

If you get to Savannah by air, here’s what you see when you get to the airport:


yep, that is INSIDE the airport

Most of the meals were provided so we had just a few chances to go and explore Savannah and eat out. Here’s a glance at our typical breakfast:


fruit, eggs, sausage, potatoes and a muffin

On the first night, Jennifer and I decided to eat at the hotel we were staying at (Hyatt Regency Savannah) at their Lounge called “Windows”

I ordered a crab cake sandwich looking forward to tasting the delicious fresh crab in it!



Well, that crab cake was HOT! It was so spicy I could not eat it. Thankfully Jennifer came to my rescue and we swapped halves of our sandwiches. The lounge was so nice as to give us 50% off that crab cake sandwich since I didn’t like it.

After dinner we headed out for the Ghost Tour with Peg Leg Ron and his shipmate Jacob 🙂 It was a ghost tour in a real hearse!


Ready to Roll! Photo credit

I didn’t take many pictures on the tour. I mean I did but none of them really turned out. Mysterious, isn’t it? 🙂


except this one pic of this spooky house!

But don’t you think Savannah is all that spooky and dark. It’s not. It is a very beautiful place – full of history and beautiful places to see and go to.


View from our hotel terrace


One of the 23 squares in Savannah


City Hall

But back to the food….

FitBloggin’ 14 was sponsored by many yummy brands 🙂


California Almonds had a whole snack bar set up for us to use!


California Avocado Commission made THE BEST blueberry muffins ever!


Run Disney provided lunch one of the days while presenting to all the runners in the audience 🙂

We also had a chance to explore Savannah and grab some food outside of the conference venue, so Jennifer and I went wondering around and found this:


Pralines from River Street Sweets

Remember I got a Foodie Penpals box from Tiffani with a bear claw from this store in Charlston? Yep, that was the same chain and their sweets are ahhhhhh-mazing! They deliver, you know? 🙂

On Saturday we had dinner to ourselves (not arranged) so we ventured out to Ruan Thai Cuisine where I had this delicious reminder of my days in Thailand:


Fried rice with scallops. YUM!

All in all, guys – I am in love with Savannah! Despite the heat and humidity – I’m ready to go back TODAY!

Now link it up! Share your recipes or any food related posts below. Nothing to share? Tell your friends!

Take care and talk to you soon!

Lean Lena

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FitBloggin’ 2014 – Recap

Hey guys! I’m back from FitBloggin’ 2014 in Savannah, GA!

I am so overwhelmed with emotions, information and experiences that I kept my husband up real late on the day I came back telling him all about it. Just couldn’t shut up 🙂 I think he fell asleep while I was talking…and so did I. 🙂

Anyway, here’s a brief recap of the conference and I will be getting back to it again and again and will give you more details on just about everything I experienced there in the next few posts as it is just too much for one.

Let’s see…


Giving some last minute instructions to hubs at the airport while he's taking a picture

Giving some last minute instructions to hubs at the airport while he’s taking a picture

The trip itself was awful – every flight I was on (both ways) was delayed. I had to make a run through Dalles Airport for a gate change and all that kind of “fun” stuff.

Tweeted my unhappy face to United and got this in return:

a compliment!

a compliment!

The view was totally worth it, though.

Chicago on the way back

Chicago on the way back

Beautiful sunset in the sky on the way back

Beautiful sunset in the sky on the way back

{THE SESSIONS} were so much fun!

Great information, a lot of food for thought and ideas! Just a few favorites:

Brooklyn Fit Chic talking about how to pitch to brands. Yep, that’s right. THAT Brooklyn Fit Chic. 🙂 Click here to view the live blog of the session.


Dan Morris from Blogging Concentrated talking about monetizing your blog. Was stoked to meet this guy! I’ve been reading his newsletter for a while. He is even a better speaker than he is a writer.

Dan Morris and his session on monetizing your blog

Dan Morris and his session on monetizing your blog

Cutting Edge Culinary with Michelle Dudash was a great presentation of a whole new way to cut and peel an avocado 🙂

Cutting Edge Culinary with Michelle Dudash, RD

Cutting Edge Culinary with Michelle Dudash, RD


Can you believe they trusted the demo part of that one to A Hungry Runner? 🙂 Seriously? 🙂

{WORKOUTS} were numerous!

I slept in on the Boot Camp morning but was there bright an early for the Yoga with Kia.


Photo credit: Carrie D Photography

I didn’t go to any other workouts. They looked like they were ton of fun but I chose to attend sessions instead.

{PEOPLE} oh my….

This is a one crazy crowd those fitness bloggers, let me tell ya 🙂

Well, first of all, I finally met my blogging buddy Jennifer aka A Hungry Runner. We shared the room – if anybody tells you that she snores – don’t believe them, it’s a lie 🙂

Rocking the Sweat Pink glasses :)

Rocking the Sweat Pink glasses 🙂

I also met another wonderful Jen – from over at Cranky Fitness. Click-click on that link over to her blog – she’s awesome, I promise 🙂


Just about the only two weirdoes who didn’t take a celebrity selfie when they had a chance

I met a whole lot of wonderful people! It was awesome to be a part of this event even though it was at times overwhelming and awkward being a newbie in the crowd mostly consisting of “seasoned” bloggers who had met before and are having a reunion.

I wish there were more activities for new attendees’ assimilation.

{ORGANIZERS} – last but not least.

Roni and her wonderful team did an AMAZING job making sure everything was running smooth. Seriously, this team needs to be delegated to organize Academy Awards they are so good!

This is Roni and her bloggers 🙂


Yep, that pretty much sums it up 🙂 Photo credit: Carrie D Photography

Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow for the food and sights of Savannah recap as part of the Tasty Tuesday Linkup Party! Feel free to come link up your recipes, food adventures and other tastiness on tomorrow’s post.

Bye for now!

Lean Lena

Cycling Instructor: Students Teach Us Too

Hey guys! How is it Wednesday already? My week is just flying by (it’s a busy one, too). How is yours going?

So I went to a cycling class this Saturday – as a student. It felt super nice to not be teaching 🙂 Besides, I decided to hold off the stress for now and go to my YMCA where I know the instructors are highly professional, so I can relax and just spin that wheel. So I did!

indoor cycling

It was a great class with Tara – challenging, difficult and very satisfying! 9:00 AM on Saturday – we only had 2 people in the class not counting the instructor. And it was part of the fun too!

Since we went camping last weekend, I didn’t get a chance to practice my profile for the Monday class. I put together the Movie Ride – with songs that were part of or specifically written for movies. Here is what it looked like:

I thought the fanfare of the 20th Century Fox in the beginning was a nice touch 🙂 Anyway, my students loved the music and the class. My husband, who took it too said it was my best yet.

I really tried to focus on my “problem areas” this time – I moved my bike closer to the class and away from the speakers so I could have a better judgment of the volume of my voice projection vs. music.

In my previous classes, since I didn’t have a mic (still don’t), I felt like I was failing to motivate my class by verbal coaching, so I worked out more myself – motivating them by sweating my butt off (that’s what they are used to and that I thought was extra motivation for them). Moving my bike closer to the students (hub’s idea), turning the music down a little, and limiting my “moves” to demonstration only really allowed me to coach more. And I think my class definitely benefited from it – I was able to give them more guidance, watch them closer and adjust my cueing accordingly. It was great seeing them react to my guidance and cues.

It is mentally hard to not work out while teaching. Please, don’t get me wrong – it doesn’t come from the desire to get your own workout in. It comes from lack of confidence. I have the knowledge – I need to be more vocal and share it. You can’t be vocal while out of breath…not so much as you should anyway 🙂 I felt a major shift in my priorities as an instructor during the Movie Ride – all thanks to my students letting me feel the difference between instructing “by example” and coaching.

I am learning to be a better instructor for them – one step at a time.

indoor cycling

Still got my burn though. No idea how that happened.

Look, they have my name on the board in the cycling room 🙂 How nice is that!

cycling instructor

What else is up this week: I am subbing for another instructor today at lunch time (if I don’t have the same students in the class that I had on Monday, I am planning to do my Movie Ride again).

I am also teaching two Saturday morning classes this month before I head out to Fit Bloggin’ 2014!

indoor cycling

On an unrelated subject: I’ve been invited for an interview by Adam and Devon Bate over at the Lifestyle Accountability Show!

life style accountability

We are recording it tonight, and I will make sure to let you know when it is out! I am so honored and stoked to be given this opportunity!

Super happy and excited to chat with these guys tonight! Thank you, Adam, for reaching out to me!

Now do share:

What was your “Workout of the Workouts” this week?

Have you ever been interviewed?

Does it inspire you to see your cycling instructor getting a workout in the class?

Take care, boys and girls 🙂

Lean Lena

This post has been shared on Femme Fitale Fit Club as part of their Workout Wednesdays series.

Vega Bars Review

Hey guys! Happy New Week!

As you might have noticed from following me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – I’ve been selected to review Vega Bars through Fit Approach. I am super excited and honored as it is my very first product review and it is for Vega! I wanted to thank both Fit Approach and Vega Team for this great opportunity!

The very first time I ever heard of Vega was when I got one of my Foodie Penpal boxes from Heather over at Kiss My Broccoli – she sent me a packet of Vega Sport Performance Protein. I am not very big on protein powders. I do add them to smoothies occasionally but mostly I dislike them for the artificial aftertaste. I was intrigued by the product of Vega back then for not having that aftertaste! So when Fit Approach sent out an opportunity e-mail to review Vega bars, I jumped right at it and was selected as one of the bloggers!

Anyway, back to the bars. I have received a box of goodness from Vega to try out.

Vega bar

There were four kinds in my box: Vega Snack, Vega One, Vega Sport Protein Bar and Vega Sport Energy Bar – I got 2 flavors of each kind.

I won’t bore you with nutrition facts and such in this post. All that information is available online and you can access it and decide if it is right for your nutrition goals. This post is all about my personal experience trying the bars and how my taste buds felt in the process. 🙂

Of course I had to try one right when I received my box! I just got home from work and was getting ready to go to my Wednesday night yoga class, so I thought that would be a perfect time for a snack!

Vega bars

Well, hello there!

I started with Cranberry-Almond snack bar. LOVED the combination of almond and cranberry! I personally found this bar a little too sweet, but you’re looking at the girl who loves super dark chocolate the most. Otherwise, it did the job just great – it was a perfect snack to keep me going for a few hours until dinner time.

Next up was Vega One meal bar and I tried Chocolate-Peanut Butter flavor.

Vega bars

Let me tell you, this is a one serious bar right there! It has 13 g of protein, it is just the right amount of sweetness, and it has peanut butter AND chocolate in it! I was a little skeptical about the name to begin with – meal bar? There’s no way I can be satisfied subbing a meal with a bar – I’ll get hungry in an hour! – I thought. So I had this bar as a snack between meals at work. Erm…I was not hungry for HOURS! I just wasn’t. I had it for a 10 am snack and didn’t have lunch until 2 pm while my usual lunch time after the 10 am snack is noon. Hey, if you know you’re going to be hellishly busy and will not have time to sit down and eat a meal – this is a perfect on the go solution. My favorite part was that having 13 g of protein in it – you get none of that disgusting artificial powder aftertaste you get after eating a protein packed bar. NONE!

On Saturday I headed out for my usual Saturday double in the morning – indoor cycling class and then yoga. Sometimes I eat breakfast before that, other times I don’t – depends on how early I get up and if I feel like eating. This past Saturday I didn’t – so Chocolate-Coconut Vega Sport protein bar came in very handy in between the classes – it was a perfect snack to keep me going for another hour of exercise after cycling.

Vega bar yoga cycling

Just look at this goodness!

vega bar

Yesterday my husband and I went for a 30K bike ride at our local Rail Trail. I absolutely LOVED the event and the trail, but 30K is a long way to go and you know me – I need a snack every 2 hours. I made sure I am well prepared for the challenge!


Once again, Vega Sport Energy Bar performed – I had my snack before the ride and then half way through:

cycling vega bars

Don’t mind my face – I just really wanted to finish my Vega bar!

The conclusion, my friends is this:

If you’re looking for a healthy AND delicious snack – Vega Bars are the way to go – no funky ingredients, yummy flavors, plant-based, gluten free and non-GMO.

Best thing – they taste GREAT. They taste like a treat without the guilt part of having one.

I absolutely and sincerely loved being a part of this campaign held by Vega and Fit Approach!

I hope you decide to try Vega Bars, friends. They are 100% worth it!

Have a great week and I will see you back here tomorrow for the Tasty Tuesday linkup party!


Disclosure: this is a sponsored post. I have received complementary box of Vega bars from Vega and Fit Approach. All opinions in this post are my own.

Teaching my First Indoor Cycling Class – Recap

Hey, guys! Happy hump day! How is your week going?

Mine started off with teaching my very first indoor cycling class, as you know from this post. Back here today to tell you all about it!

Well, most of the Sunday night I was teaching the class in my head and in my sleep 🙂 I think it might be what helped me not to freak out completely when it was actually time to teach 🙂

All day Monday I kept playing my music and cues in my head, and before I knew – it was time to leave work and go to the YMCA.

I got there 40 minutes early (which is pretty close to normal for me on Mondays even when I take the class, leave alone teaching it for the first time), got changed, went upstairs to the cycling room, turned on our “racing lights”, opened the windows, turned the fans on, had my fight with the stereo (which of course was acting up and didn’t want to switch from CD to AUX), set everything up and started waiting for my riders to show up.

indoor cycling
Yeah, I wish those were Spinner® bikes, too 🙂

Getting there early definitely helped me relax and calm down. I was still nervous, but felt much better after spending some time alone in the room and getting everything ready for the class.

I used most of the tips that other instructors on Team Spinning gave me:

  • I have prepared and practiced my profile in advance.
  • I backed up my playlist on a CD, printed my notes for it, and put it in the CD envelope. This can actually be my back up at any time now.


  • I took my population into account. The class I was going to teach was the one I had been taking myself every Monday for the past couple years, so this was pretty easy – I knew the “regulars” and what music they liked. Half of the songs I played had been used by the regular instructor of that class, but I modified the drills for them. I got some great feedback on the new songs that I used for the class, as well. It was great seeing some riders actually sing along 🙂

Here is what my playlist looked like:

I won’t get into much detail about the routine. I will just say I think that it was challenging enough and involved a lot of climbing – both seated and standing.

  • During my “dress rehearsal” last Saturday I tried to concentrate on giving clear instructions and not getting my own workout in. That was the hardest part for me – I am so used to getting on that bike and working my heart out that it was hard to not get aerobic 🙂 Hey, I did my best!
  • I did use songs with lyrics (except for the warm up and cool down song), but practiced giving instructions in between the lyrics, i.e. brief overview of the drills for the next song at the end of the previous song, etc.
  • I tried to keep my instructions simple and specific without talking too much, and yet providing enough guidance for my riders.

I also did some things in addition to what was suggested by the Team Spinning members:

  • I brought a Suggestions Jar and put it next to the sign in book that we have for students, and told them to feel free to leave any feedback (good or bad) on the experience they had in my class. I got 2 wonderful notes in writing, and a lot more positive feedback and a round of applause at the end of the class 🙂


  • I brought a pack of index cards with me for new students to write down their bike settings. (didn’t need them this time though)
  • I used Class Builder™ – Cycling Fusion app for the class. LOVE this app! Whether you are a beginner instructor, or an experienced one – I think this is a great app to incorporate into your class. Definitely check it out! It is not free and not really cheap, but I am SO glad I invested in it!
  • I used my flexible mini tripod to attach my phone to the handlebars so it is right in front of me and I don’t have to glance down at it.
  • I found and printed out bike set up guidelines from the manufacturer of the bikes we have at the Y (LeMond RevMaster). Since I was trained by the Spinning® program which is designed for different bikes, I thought it was a good idea to educate myself on the proper bike set up for this particular kind of bikes.

Things that didn’t go so well/I need to work on:

  • Voice projection – I got quite a few comments that people couldn’t hear me very well. I didn’t have the mic in my class. It will definitely be a must if/when I get hired – no doubt about it. For now I should really work on my voice projection skills – always good to have in case of emergency 🙂
  • Teaching off the bike – I did not do it this time. I was very nervous and worried that if I get off the bike I will lose track of my planned profile and cueing times. I think this will change as I get more experience, practice and confidence that comes with it. I totally understand the value of teaching off the bike, I was just not up for it at the very first class – one step at a time.
  • I need to remind my riders to hydrate more often. I noticed that with so many things going through my head as we moved along I kept forgetting to hydrate myself and remind them to do so. You’d be surprised – but their attention is focused mostly on the instructor and their own riding – they forget to hydrate. They really need to be reminded.
  • I need to work more on disconnecting the two things – teaching and working out myself. It was one of the hardest parts for me. I was NOT trying to get a workout myself and was trying to concentrate on teaching, but it kinda happened anyway. I need to work more on shifting my focus to my priority as an instructor – my riders’ workout, and take it easy myself. It is a habit hard to break!
  • Cue more on proper form – I am hoping the ability to do that will also come with time and growing confidence.
  • And obviously many other things that I have yet to discover I am not good at as I keep teaching 🙂

Overall – it was an incredible experience! I’ve never enjoyed seeing others sweat as much as I did this Monday 🙂 I was waiting for them to start sweating! 🙂 I know it is not a 100% validation, but I needed it.

Teaching this first class made me realize what a wonderful group of people the Y brought into my life. How lucky I am to have met Jim Mader who has become my cycling/yoga/lifting guru, and other wonderful people – Fiona, Susan, Marlene, Lisa, Don, Sandy, and many more.

THANK YOU, guys! For making my first experience of teaching indoor cycling so UNFORGETTABLE!


This post was shared on:

Femme Fitale Fit Club

Five on Friday – Shoes, Bling, Bikes and More

Hey guys! It’s Friday! I am so happy about it!

I had a horrid week at work. I really hope you did better than me 🙂

Anyway, it’s time for the traditional Five on Friday post to show you five things I’m loving lately. Here we go!

{ONE} Vibram FiveFingers – Seeya



I just got these in the mail a couple days ago. They are much lighter than the Traksport Sandals I got before and I am absolutely loving them!


I’ve been wearing them to work every day of the week since I got them…Yeah, it is a bit of a dress code violation but really, I don’t have customers visiting me and spend most of the day commuting between the printer and my desk. I don’t think anybody cares about the shoes I wear (if any).

Buy Seeya’s here if I got you interested.

{TWO} Mantra Bands – One Day at a Time

I now have two in my collection, and check out how well they go together!


Looking at them is an inspiration and a reminder that it is a journey, not the destination that matters. And of course I love me some bling, too 🙂

{THREE} Entry Level Road Bikes

The subject of road bikes has been of interest in my house for a long time 🙂 I have never owned a road bike in my life. I have a $50 Walmart “no brander” right now 🙂

So one day I just said I wanted a road bike. It kind of frustrated my husband a little… I quote: “You can’t just say you want a road bike! That’s not enough information! What kind of bike? What brand? Components?…” Anyway, turns out he thought that would be a great surprise gift for me. But since I started bugging him about why he’d gotten so frustrated, he confessed and there will be no surprise (don’t bug your husbands, ladies) So! My wonderful husband started doing some research and stumbled upon this great article here, which is called “Top 5 Entry Level Road Bikes”.

And I am totally drooling over this Schwinn!


Totally looking into buying one on Amazon – women’s version, of course 🙂

{FOUR} FitBloggin’ 2014


So here’s the story. Last week my blogging friend Jen over at A Hungry Runner threw a question at me on Facebook:

Are you going to the Fitbloggin’ conference? I want to go so badly!

I was not planning on going. Well, of course I know what FitBloggin’ is and how awesome it would be to go, but I didn’t think me and my blog were quite there yet.

But it is a whole different story when you have a buddy by your side 🙂

Anywho, within 24 hours from that question on Facebook Jen and I had our attendee registrations done and hotel booked.


To say that I am excited is a HUGE understatement. I am SO looking forward to meeting the fellow fitness bloggers and learning more about fitness blogging by attending sessions, as well as working out with a bunch of awesome people, exploring the beautiful Savannah, GA and so much more!!!

Jen, you’re the best for throwing that idea out there and taking me along on this adventure with you 🙂



{FIVE} Spinning® App

Did you know there was an app for that? 🙂 I didn’t!


Image source and app download link.

Anyway, I have downloaded it and hubby and I went on a quick bike ride on Thursday to try it out.

The app is pretty awesome, my friends. Check out the summary of our ride:

Speed graph

Speed graph

Elevation graph

Elevation graph




Ride summary

Loved this app! So easy to set up and use and so much useful information about your ride.

And that’s my Five on Friday, guys! Hope you have a wonderful Friday and weekend!

Do share: do you or have you ever owned a road bike? If yes, what brand and model is it?

Motivation Monday: Farewell February – a Month at a Glance

Hey guys! Happy Monday!

February has come and gone. Let’s wrap it up, shall we?

It was a busy month for me (even though it didn’t feel like it most of the time) – full of events, emotions, changes, achievements and more! Here it is at a glance…

{February 8} 

I went through my Spinning® Instructor Training – something I’d been dreaming about for quite a while has come true! It was also a great opportunity to meet a whole bunch of awesome, driven, like-minded people!

Thank you, Mad Dogg Athletics!

{February 13}

I passed my assessment test and officially became a certified Spinning® Instructor.

On this day I also got accepted to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador!


Always knew 13 was my lucky number!

{February 25}

I posted the very first guest post on this blog! Thanks so much to Amber for sharing her recipe in that post!

{February 28}

What an awesome end to an awesome month! I have been accepted to be a FitFluential Ambassador!!! That is another dream come true right there! I am so grateful and so excited to become a member of this great community of fitness enthusiasts!


And…I spent 19.8 hours exercising in February. That is not too bad!


If I ever lose my motivation – I should go back to this post…February felt like a very slow month where a lot of times I felt like I am stuck in place, not moving anywhere. It wasn’t until now that I realized how much I have accomplished in February!

Do share: what are the highlights of your February?

Stay fit and warm!


Valentine’s Day DIY Gift Ideas

Hey guys!

How did the Valentine’s Day get so close again? Totally sneaks up on me every year.

I have a selection of Valentine’s Day gift ideas for you if you are as into DIY as I am 🙂 Links below will take you to tutorials on the blogs of the gift ideas’ authors.

{ONE} Wooden Polaroid Gift Set by Sugar & Cloth


{TWO}Photo Puzzle by All for the Memories


{THREE}Personal Picture Clock by Rosy Red Buttons


{FOUR}Garage Hook System by Lemontree Creations

Garage Hook System

{FIVE}Bookends for Baseball Lovers by Mod Podge Rocks


{SIX}iPhone Apps Magnets by Infarrantly Creative


Have a great Valentine’s Day, guys. Show some love to your special ones!

Question: do you ever make gifts yourself or do you prefer buying them?

Dreams Come True – Awesome Weekend Adventures

Hey guys! How was your weekend? Mine was AWESOME!

As you probably remember, I had becoming a Spinning® instructor as one of my New Year’s Resolutions.

Well, this past Saturday I went for my Instructor Training session at the East Shore YMCA in Harrisburg, PA. It was a full day of training + 2 awesome rides – all done by an incredible Master Instructor Meg McNeely.

Gosh…where do I begin?

Well, first of all, for over a year I had no idea that the classes I was taking were not actually Spinning® classes. They were indoor cycling classes – thanks to Meg and Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc. – now I know what Spinning® really is 🙂

With this knowledge came a lot of revelations (mostly unpleasant) – starting with the basic moves I’d performed in cycling classes for the past year and a half being not so good for me, and ending with the whole different philosophy behind Spinning® classes as opposed to the classes I’d been taking… and unfortunately, I was not alone. 13 other people in the group were sitting there nodding their heads as Meg described the misuse of the terms Spinning®, Spin® and Spinner® and the basic moves used in indoor cycling classes that don’t do you any good and may be harmful.

This training was an eye opening experience!

I didn’t really have time to take any pictures except my Polar FT40 screen after rides.

Ride 1

Ride 1

Ride 2

Ride 2

I still have to pass the online assessment and get my instructor card, but I now have the Certificate of Completion of the instructor training which gives me the right to start teaching.


I am SO excited!

Now on to looking for a place to teach and continuing my education as an instructor. So far I have one place expressing interest I my services. We’ll see what happens!

Meanwhile I have a lot of work to do profiling classes, choosing music and thinking it all through while learning-learning-learning.

On a slightly unrelated subject – I have just been accepted to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador!!!

I have been waiting for a loooong time for this to happen. First, Fit Approach didn’t have their application process open when I first found them, then they opened it, I applied and waited and waited 🙂 I am SO excited to finally become a part of this wonderful community and to be their Ambassador. Thank you, Fit Approach!

Thank you, my wonderful friends, blog readers and my family – for your constant support and encouragement in what I do. I wouldn’t be able to do it without you!

Now I better go check what else was there on my Resolutions list and get cracking 😉

Stay fit, my dears!


Last Week’s Exercise Recap and a Fit Family

Hey guys! It’s Monday again! I know, I know…But hey – it is a new beginning, isn’t it? Say, if you didn’t exercise as much last week (like this girl) or made not so good of food choices (like this girl, too), you should be happy for this chance to start over, right?

Yeah, me too 🙂

So, let me tell you what I did to exercise last week and a little about my fit family members. 🙂


Was supposed to spin, but got held up at work until late and then I had a Skype call with mom scheduled for that night, so I didn’t work out. Rest day #1.


I don’t remember what the excuse was, but that was a Rest day #2! Keep reading 🙂 I am going to get to the exercise part eventually.


I finally sucked it up and decided to try something new. The Wednesday Y schedule had Zumba on it, so I decided to go for it.

I had very little clue of what I was doing, but I had a blast!!! I really liked the atmosphere of the class – it felt more like a party than a workout. Thank you so much, Terre, for a great class!

Totally killed my knees though. I did my research in advance and chose the shoes that had little tread, but it still wasn’t enough for my knees.

So I am a recovering zumbanaut 🙂 Still.

Check out what a great burn it was, though! More than in some of the spinning classes I take.

Yeah, baby!

Yeah, baby!


Guess what? Aha, that was the rest day #3. Right after work we headed to Simon’s swim meet. Oh, that was so much fun! I am so proud of him! Scored a smile, too (can’t take that for granted when it comes to TA boys:) )


He swam like he had a motor!


They also had a small party for seniors there that night. So sweet!


Simon got a bag of candy and a balloon with his name on it.


Of course the kitty had to have the balloon when we got home 🙂

What do you mean it's not for me? Who is it for then?

What do you mean it’s not for me? Who is it for then?


Had to suck it up again and go lift – I am a fitness blogger after all, right? Not gonna keep my readers interested if I post about kitties all the time 🙂

Anyway, on Friday I decided to go for an evening workout!

I walked on a treadmill for a bit to warm up:


And then lifted some heavy stuff!


I mostly worked on my arms, shoulders and abs as my legs were still sore from Zumba and I was saving them for Saturday morning 🙂

The gym was almost empty. So were the locker rooms, so I had some fun after the workout 🙂



On Saturday I took an early spinning class with Tara so I could later go to Carmen’s basketball game. The class was a blast! I could feel my heart in my throat the whole time – that’s a sign of a good workout 🙂 A cold refreshing smoothie after that workout never tasted better 🙂


Shortly after I got home and showered, we headed out to Carmen’s basketball season play offs. Her team won both games they played that day and are officially the #1 team in their league as of last Saturday. The last two games will be held next Saturday and I am sure these girls will be the Champions!



Was a busy day – all the prep. work for the Super Bowl (grocery shopping, cooking, setting the table, etc.) and….such a disappointment… Don’t even want to talk about the SB…

Let’s just end this with Sunday being Rest Day #4!

So. Let’s see… I didn’t exercise as much as I usually do last week, but I had a fun, busy week full of fun events and pride for my step-children.

I’ll count that as an AWESOME week!

Now, tell me: did you have a good week?

Stay fit and awesome, my friends!


NY Resolutions: Status Update

Hi! Happy Tuesday, guys!

I thought I’d give you a status update on my New Year Resolutions post today.

So…one of the resolutions was to become a spinning instructor in 2014.

I have been thinking about it for a while now and even did some research before making that resolution! There are a lot of options out there for all kinds of goals, willingness to travel, price ranges etc. etc..

I looked into online training and certification with AFPA.

I looked into going to Philly for a pre-conference training and certification at the SCW MANIA in February…

Another option for instructor training I was looking at back when I first started thinking about becoming an instructor was with Mad Dogg Athletics. Last time I checked, the closest to me (geographically)  instructor training session they had was in Washington, DC. It’s not that far from me, but would still require travel, time off work, accommodation and meals expenses on top of the training cost, that I wasn’t really looking forward to, so I kept researching.

Once I made this resolution in the beginning of this year and made it public, I looked at their website again and…they had a session scheduled on Saturday, February 8th, 30 minutes away from where I live at a local YMCA!!!

Of course I signed up right away!

Marked my calendar!

Marked my calendar!

So, on February 8th I am going for a 9 hour spinning instructor orientation training.

Last Friday I got a box in the mail from Mad Dogg Athletics.


with my Instructor Manual in it!


Now – study, study, study!

Also, on Thursday this week I am taking my CPR certification class. Mad Dogg Athletics does not require CPR certification card for the training, but I will definitely feel better if I have one! 🙂

Ok, so for those of you who are looking into becoming a certified spinning instructor, here’s how to do it with Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.:

  • Head over to their website and find the next instructor training session near you.
  • Register and pay for the training online.
  • Receive your Instructor Manual in the mail.
  • Study, study, study!
  • Attend the training session and receive your certificate of completion, which allows you to start teaching.
  • Take the online assessment test at your convenience.
  • Upon successful passing of the assessment test, get your instructor certificate in the mail – valid for 2 years.
  • Earn the required number of STAR point (CEC’s) in two years by attending their events, taking online courses, or other continuing education events/training (which you can later petition to be counted as your CEC’s).
  • Renew your certification in two years.
  • Enjoy being a spinning instructor and teaching! 🙂

Pretty awesome, huh?

I can’t wait for my training and getting certified – SO super excited!

Question: have you started working on making your NY resolutions a reality yet?

Five on Friday or I Am Back

Hey, guys! Long time no post, huh?

I know…I know… Time to catch up and get back to my blog!

Today I am back with Five on Friday, which pretty much sums up what I have been up to while I wasn’t here with you. So, here we go!

{{ONE}} Christmas!

Where I come from, New Year is a lot bigger celebration than Christmas, and Christmas is celebrated on a different date, too (January 7). However, I came to love this wonderful holiday since I moved to the US. I love seeing smiles on people’s faces, giving and receiving presents and, of course, eating all the yummy things being cooked around this time of year!

We had a beautiful Christmas tree with a lot of presents under it!


And the kitty who thought those were all his gifts:


I got a great present (one of many)!

Braun Single Serve Blender!

Braun Single Serve Blender!

Oh, now you just wait until I start blending those wonderful smoothies and sharing recipes with you 🙂

{{TWO}} Christmas Food – That’s Right, a Separate One for This!

Don’t you love Christmas for all the wonderful foods that bring back the memories of childhood, and make you feel safe and happy? I do! And since I am not American, I brought a little bit of my home to this year’s Christmas table.

Russian potato salad - "Olivye"

Russian potato salad – “Olivye”


Crepes stuffed with cottage cheese and raisins

Crepes stuffed with cottage cheese and raisins

Oh, and of course we had to make cookies to honor the American traditions!


By the way, did you know the story of the Peanut Butter Blossoms? Check it out here!

We also had a beautiful center piece for the Christmas table that I brought back from my company’s Christmas Party:


{{THREE}} The Evil Stepmother Speaks

A little over 2 years ago I became a wife to a wonderful man, and a step-mother to 2 great kids. As great as they are, it wasn’t all cakes and flowers between us. The kids struggled with getting used to having me in their life full time, having to share their daddy with me, finding a place for me in the new family paradigm, adjusting to the changes I brought into the family….Throw in the adjustment due to being newly weds who had never lived together before and you got a pretty “explosive” mix there. I was blessed with great kids who were trying their hardest to adjust, be nice and loving.  With the most wonderful husband, who has been my shoulder to cry on, my biggest supporter and The Man of the family. With an understanding and kind ex-wife who stayed out of the way when it came to our house vs. her house, our life and our decisions. Who has been my silent supporter all the way for the sake of her kids’ happiness.

Even with all that – we have had and are still having issues, difficulties, tension and disagreements, which are bound to happen in any step-family.

Having no friends around to vent to, what do you do? Right, you get online and Google the “happy step-family”. So I did.

I am very happy to have found Barb Goldberg’s blog that I read as a book – cover to cover. I am thankful for the feeling of not being alone on this anymore that reading her blog gave me. (And for oh so many “Thank God, I thought I was crazy” relief sighs that I took while reading her blog).

I don’t agree with everything she writes about. Not everything she writes about applies to me and my situation, but I can certainly relate to a lot of what she is saying. Thank you, Barb, for the hope you gave me with your blog posts! They are so inspiring and motivating!

{{FOUR}} Dr. Kevin Leman and the Birth Order Factor

To continue educating myself on the subject mentioned above, I grabbed my Nook and started looking for books to read to find answers to the questions I have about stepfamilies and step parenting.

I stumbled upon Dr. Kevin Leman’s works on birth order and how it effects the relationships in families. I downloaded his book “Living in a step family without getting stepped on”, and even though the book is mostly about blended families where both spouses have kids from previous marriages, I found it to be a great resource to understanding how the whole family dynamics works, and where the issues come from. Great read!


{{FIVE}}  Back to Working Out

For the past month (oh my God…was it really THAT long?) my exercise has been very sporadic…2 weeks in Russia where all I did was walking from dinner table to dinner table, then Christmas with all the cookies and other delicious foods and practically no activity! It is time to get back on track here!

I did go to my regular Monday spin class!

I did go to my regular Monday spin class!

Tonight – yoga, and my usual Saturday Double tomorrow with my hubby joining me for the spin class part of it. How exciting is that?

And that concludes my Five on Friday post!

Your turn!