Random Tasty Tuesday Things

Hey guys!

Happy Tuesday! I hope you had a great weekend.

So I decided to make this Tasty Tuesday post about totally random Tasty Tuesday things. I’ll try and keep it food-related with one or two exceptions 🙂 Here we go!

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Whole30 Week 2 – Eats, Results and Plans

My latest update on our Whole30 Week 2 experience: eats, feels and results.

whole30 week 2 Continue Reading

2014 Review: What Happened and What Didn’t

With 2015 approaching, I couldn’t help but think about what 2014 has brought, what I have accomplished and where I’ve failed. It is that time when we all reflect, analyze, think, and hope.

So I decided to do a 2014 review: go back to my 2014 Resolutions and see what happened in 2014 and what didn’t.

2014 review Continue Reading

Polar Ambassador and 4 Random Things – Five on Friday

Hey-hey, guys! It’s Friday finally!

So it’s been a while since I shared anything about the things I like, what’s going on with my life these days, and all that – you know, fun stuff 🙂

Looking at my blog’s front page lately I realized that all I’ve been posting about was Tasty Tuesdays and Cycling Class Profiles.

Time to share something else with you, like good ol’ days 🙂 What do you say?

So, here are 5 absolutely random things I’ve been loving lately (random = not related to each other at all).

{ONE} Polar

You probably noticed by now that I have a new badge in the right sidebar. I announced it on Facebook, but I didn’t share it here.

I am extremely excited, proud and honored to be selected as a brand Ambassador for Polar.

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ICI/PRO 28 Day Instructor Challenge Week 1 Recap

Hey-hey, everyone! Happy Hump Day!

Today’s post is about ICI/PRO 28 Day Instructor Challenge Week 1 Recap, since the week 1 ended this past Sunday.

If you missed the beginning, read this post to find out what the challenge is all about. You can also listen to a special edition of the ICI/PRO Podcast below that we recorded to give you a better idea of what the challenge is all about and what cool prizes will be awarded at the end.

ICI/PRO challenge week 1 recap Continue Reading

ICI/PRO Indoor Cycling Instructor Challenge

Hi guys! Special announcement today! Well, actually I got two announcements – one really special, and one a little less special 🙂

I’ll start with BIG news.

Remember my interview with John for the ICI/PRO Podcast? While we were talking I mentioned how my fitness journey started – with a personal 30 Days Active challenge. After the interview was over, John had an idea to create a similar Indoor Cycling Instructor Challenge.

Well, fast forward a few weeks, and today marks the day we announced the challenge!

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Interview for ICI/PRO Podcast and Other Awesomeness

Hey-hey! Happy Tuesday, you guys!

Is your week off to a good start? Mine is pretty darn awesome so far.

Today we’re interrupting out regular broadcasting for some breaking news 🙂Continue Reading

30 Days Active Challenge Follow Up Report – Week 1

Hey guys! Happy Hump Day!

As you may remember, last week I posted a Tough Love Letter to myself where I promised to go back to basics and workout every day for 30 days, and post weekly progress reports here.

So here is Part 1 of the 30 Days Active challenge recap, as promised.


Last Wednesday, after I published the tough love letter, I was all jazzed up to get started on my new challenge!

So I grabbed my husband and we hit the weight room together (followed by a yoga class for me).

30 days active challenge

It felt awesome to be back in the weight room! I ran into a couple of my cycling students, which is always a pleasure. Love my people!


Oh, was I sore on Thursday! I think I pulled a muscle in my arm as it still hurts today – been working too hard 🙂

Since I couldn’t really use my arms to workout, hubby and I went on a long walk on Thursday evening.

30 day active challenge


On Friday I woke up with an itch only a run could “scratch”. 🙂

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I got injured running about a year ago (on my first run in forever), went through a long and expensive PT, got a pair of expensive running shoes and never got back to running – story of my life…

Until the 4th of July 2014.

So at about 7 AM on the 4th of July, I dusted those Brooks off, laced ’em up, left a note for my husband (who was still asleep like most of sane people out there), and went for a run with the C25K® – 5K Trainer.

30 days active challenge

No, my bad knees didn’t give out and I ran/walked for about 1.7 miles. I know people who eat marathons for breakfast, and I’m awful proud of them and proud to be friends with them. But you know what? There’s no feeling like being proud of yourself for making those first 1.7 miles after a long period of being a lazy ass  injury!

I felt horrible every step of the 1.7 miles, and  felt awful proud of myself afterwards!

No knee pain so far (and it’s been almost a week), so I decided to stick with the C25K for now.


It was my turn to teach Saturday Cycle at the Y at 8:00 am last week. The Y has dropped the 9:00 am class for the summer and made the 8:00 am class an hour long instead of the usual 45 minutes.

I have to admit, I dislike an hour long cycling classes. I think 45 minute format is ideal for getting a good workout and not overdoing it.

But hey, the boss is the boss, so I put together a hilly, one hour long nightmare plan on Friday night 🙂

30 day active challenge

It is VERY schematic though – the height and steepness of the hills in the drawing above had nothing to do with the actual intensity of the class profile elements. I just did that so I could better visualize the terrain I planned out for the class.

So on Saturday morning I grabbed my husband again (gotta love that guy for everything he takes from me!), and we headed out the door for the morning cycling madness 🙂

30 days active challenge

We killed it! It was a wonderful class – great energy from my students, lots of compliments from the class on my playlist. By the way, you can check out the playlists I use in my indoor cycling classes here.

After getting home, taking a quick shower and grabbing breakfast, I went back to the Y for a yoga class. Oh did that feel good to my sore legs and arms and shoulders!


Regular workout was just not playing out for me on Sunday. The evening was approaching fast so I had to come up with something to stay active.

When the family decided to drive to our local swim club, I decided to bike there.

It’s not far – just about 1.73 miles one way, but that was better than nothing.

30 days active challenge

It felt great to do some laps at the pool afterwards, too!


On Monday I taught my regular indoor cycling class to my regular 3 summer students 🙂 You know, you might see a lot of instructors complaining about attendance numbers dropping in the summer time. I LOVE this time – I use this opportunity to try new things in the class that I wouldn’t be able to try with a bigger group, use it to bond with my students and give them more attention during and after class.

Love-love-love small classes. They might not be blasting the bigger class energy, but they sure feel rewarding and challenging!

30 days active challenge


It was HOT here on Tuesday. I kind of gave up on the idea of going for a run since early morning – it was sticky! Options were: home yoga DVD or weight room at the Y.

Since my arm is still not 100%, I decided to wait with the weight room.

Home yoga DVD seemed a little boring….It cooled down after the rain…So I ended up going for a run 🙂

10 days active challenge

I love that feeling of freedom running gives you…All you need is a pair of shoes and some motivation to lift yourself off the couch and get out of the door – and you won’t regret it.

I felt so much energy after the run last night!

So, friends. Here are the results of Week 1 of the 30 Days Active Challenge:

  • I. AM. SORE. Like, all the time and everywhere 🙂
  • I am 2.8 lb lighter (that’s after a 6 months plateau and then a gain – I couldn’t believe the number on the scale finally moved in the right direction!)
  • I look at my FitBit more than I look at my watch 🙂 Sometimes I feel like I look at my FitBit more than I look at my husband! 🙂 🙂 🙂
  • I feel empowered!

That’s it for now, guys.

Remember to check back next Wednesday for the Week 2 recap of my 30 Days Active challenge I brought onto myself 🙂

Stay strong!

Lean Lena

This post has been shared on the Work Out Wednesdays Linkup. I am also a featured blogger there this week! Check it out – it is a great weekly linkup with wonderful people.


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

Latest Playlists for Indoor Cycling Classes and a Couple Learning Moments

Hi friends! Happy Hump Day!


Today I’m packing for FitBloggin’ 2014 and sharing my latest playlists for indoor cycling classes with you!

FitBloggin’ starts tomorrow, so I fly out tomorrow morning and get to Savannah around 2:00 pm.

I have SO many people I am excited to meet in person there that I had to make the list! Not kidding you. I did totally just make a list.

Don’t want to rank my list – I will be equally happy to meet everyone on it, and whoever is not on it, but here are a few people I am particularly excited about meeting:

A Hungry Runner

The Lean Green Bean

Manifest Yourself

Fit and Free with Emily and many-many-many other wonderful bloggers!

I am pretty sure I won’t have time to blog while I’m there – it is my very first blogging and fitness conference, so I will probably walk around with my mouth open most of the time 🙂

I will sure tell you all about the adventures in Savannah when I get back on Monday!

Now back to our regular broadcasting 🙂 It is workout Wednesday after all!

So after the previous post I took a couple yoga classes as part of my stretching/recovery/rest day routine (that was on Saturday and Wednesday).

On Saturday I taught one of those super exciting cycling classes where you don’t know whatcha gonna get 🙂 Meaning the crowd is changing from week to week and there are a few regulars.

indoor cycling

This past Saturday I had a wonderful group of people! Most of them experienced cyclists (either indoor or outdoor). It was easy and super rewarding to teach them!

I got a thousand compliments on the playlist – one from one of my regular students (“Good sounds, kid”), another one from another fairly regular attendee of Saturday classes (“You were born too late! Love your music!”), another one from a teenage girl (“I LOVED your soundtrack”) and more. 🙂

SO nice to hear that people are happy about the music in the class. It is hard to please everyone. So, may be those who didn’t say anything didn’t like it all that much. But everybody was sweating 🙂 That’s for sure.

This time the class was a lot quieter that the Saturday before – it was a gloomy rainy day, 8 AM…I guess it took my students a while to wake up and stop asking themselves the “what the heck am I doing up and on a bike so early” question 🙂

Anyway, here’s the playlist everybody liked on Saturday in case you need song ideas to incorporate into the playlists for your next indoor cycling classes.

On Monday I suddenly found myself teaching my regular class to 8 (!!!) people instead of my regular 3-4 summer indoor riders 🙂 That was exciting!

indoor cycling

Here’s what we rode to:

Couple of people in my class were indoor riders getting back on tack after a couple years of break, so I had to set up their bikes and remind them how the Pilots work. Thankfully they came in with enough time before the class so I could do that.

But here’s a tip and note to self: GET THERE EARLY. Make sure you’re the first one in the room and greet your students when they come in. ASK them if they have ever done indoor cycling before. If they say “Yes” and you see them struggling with the bike set up – GO HELP. A lot of people feel embarrassed to admit they’re new thinking “It’s just a bike. I can figure it out myself”.

No, they can’t.

You need to help them.

It’s like being a doctor – you can’t walk by someone who needs medical help. You simply MUST NOT or you’re in the wrong job.

Anyway 🙂

The Monday class also got me thinking about something else…

Every time we’d get out of the saddle to a standing flat, there would be this one person leaning forward onto the handlebars and isolating the upper body.

I kept saying “Light grip on the handlebars, just to keep you balanced. Don’t lean forward. Relax your shoulders”.

Nothing helped.

I tried getting frustrated but I’m too kind 🙂

Just kidding.

He stopped by after the class and said his back really hurt whenever he was out of the saddle, and that’s why he was leaning forward carrying a lot of weight on his arms on standing flats.

I told him to just stay in the saddle next time if getting out of it bothers his back.

But here’s the thought: next time you see that stubborn rider in your class who just wouldn’t do the right thing despite your instructions – think twice before getting frustrated or thinking they are just another “know-it-all” and “know-it-better”. I’m glad this person told me after the class what his issue was and let me help him out the best way I know how. Think how many of them will never talk to you about their health issues and why they can’t do certain things. Think about how many of them will never admit it even to themselves.

Talk to them. Offer help. Ask questions. Be discreet and polite. Find the key to every one of them.

That’s what this job is about for me: building your own community of like-minded people and making everybody feel welcome and “at home”.

There you have it – a couple playlist ideas and a couple pieces of valuable advice 🙂 🙂 🙂

Ready to start this Wednesday now!

Question of the day: What’s the worst case of a “know-it-all” student you’ve ever witnessed in your/somebody else’s class?

Take care, friends, and talk to you soon.

Lean Lena


This post has been shared on Workout Wednesdays Linkup.

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.

Random Likes – Five on Friday

Hey guys! TGIF!!!

I can’t wait for this weekend! So much going on lately – I have to tell you about it in my Five on Friday post today 🙂 Here we go!

{ONE} Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails

This is an awesome trail close by where we live and we went there last weekend for a bike ride. It was my very first time there and I LOVED it!


It is a beautiful trail, and the day was just perfect for a ride – nice breeze, not to warm, no bugs yet. Pure AWESOMENESS! And I got a pretty good workout out of a recreational ride.

bike ride

We went out 4 miles, but then Carmen got tired and we had to go back. Was still a fun ride and we got to style at the finish line. Well, I personally was mostly styling my helmet hair 🙂

bike ride

This Sunday hubby and I are going back there again for the 8th annual Race, Run, Ride & Ramble Trail Festival – we’re doing the 30K bike ride part of it. SO excited! Stay tuned for recap next week, friends 🙂

{TWO} Lucky Brand

I’ve been a huge fan of their purses for a long-long time – well made, stylish, super convenient and spacious (crazy bag lady here) and just beautiful. I am a proud owner of this one:

lucky brand purse

I love their jewelry, too – like this Green Stone Woven Bracelet:

lucky brand

Or these gorgeous Two Tone Oval Orbital Earrings

lucky brand earrings

{THREE} DIY Easter Baskets

We had a wonderful Easter this year! We had the kids and since they are all grown up now, we decided to go with the DIY Easter baskets rather than the egg hunt. So, on Good Friday when everybody was taking their nap in the afternoon, I put together these baskets:

Easter baskets

DIY Easter baskets

Don’t mind my washer and dryer – I was hiding in laundry room while putting these baskets together 🙂

{FOUR} Homemade Quesadillas

Oh I have been addicted to those! Carmen loves enchiladas, so we always have tortillas in the fridge. What better way to use them than make a breakfast quesadilla?

breakfast quesadilla

Takes no time to make, too – just whisk an egg, fry it as a pancake, put on a tortilla, add whatever else you want on it (I have cheese and ham), fold, brown on both sides, cut and devour! 🙂

{FIVE} Indoor Cycling Instructor News

Well, you guys know that this Monday I taught my very first indoor cycling class at the local YMCA as my audition for the job there.

I passed and got a job offer, which I happily accepted!!!

I have yet to pass all the checks, orientations and such, but this goes to show how determination and hard work always pay off! Once you get on the right track, once you really want something and are determined to get it – the whole world helps you reach your goals.

You suddenly find just the right people to help and support you.

You suddenly find energy in yourself to do a cycling class, a yoga class and then come back to cycling room to practice teaching for another hour – all that on a Saturday morning.

It is an amazing feeling when you see your riders’ eyes and smiles at the end of the class. I want to do it again and again 🙂

I am super excited about this job opportunity and the community of people I will be working with.

And that was my Five on Friday, folks 🙂

Do share: what have you been liking lately?

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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!


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