guest post: spinning for the first time at Ride + Workout

A NOTE FROM PIP:  Jess from Happy = Healthy is a busy young gal livin’ the life in Cleveland, but she somehow found some time to sneak in a workout and write this guest post. When I reached out, I didn’t have any specific suggestion on what to share, but then she surprised me by writing about one of my favorite cardio workouts at one of my favorite studios in all of Northeastern Ohio – taught by one of my great friends, Bethany. Thanks Jess – take it away!


Hi Poise in Parma readers! Thanks so much to Alicia for allowing me to guest post. I’m a young professional in the advertising field who’s on a journey to a healthier & fit lifestyle. I’m training for my first 10K and have been looking for new ways to cross train. I’ve been wanting to try spinning for quite some time now (along with yoga, Crossfit, and pure barre), and I recently got the chance to check it off my list!

I actually had a class credit at Harness Cycle but wasn’t able to make it out to The Cycle Lab before they move to their Hingetown location, so I have another spinning class to attend in the near future. I decided that I wanted to try a couple places and see how my experience was at each one, so I booked my first ride at Ride + Workout in Lakewood, Ohio.

Spinning Collage.jpg
[Images courtesy of Ride + Workout’s website]

The class I took was actually a Ride/TRX Basics class, so we did the cycling for about 30 minutes and then the last 15 minutes we used the TRX (suspension training) system. (You can learn more about TRX here.) I had never done either, so it was a fun way to experience 2 new things! I’ll tell you now, after class my muscles were WEAK. Like, wobbly shaky weak. But in a good way 🙂

ride + workout equipment Collage.jpg
[Images courtesy of Ride + Workout’s Facebook]

The instructor (Alicia’s good friend Bethany!) was incredibly friendly and helpful to me and the other new attendees – she showed us how to set the bike up, the proper height for the seat, and how our feet should be situated. More people filled up the other bikes and we all started slow cycling to warm up. As newbies, we were told to focus just on riding and form, and we could jump in and out of the more advanced moves as we felt comfortable. The lights were dimmed, the music was turned up, and we got to work! Non-stop spinning, with periods of more resistance and slower motions, mixed with periods of standing up and alternating in “jumps” made for some really awesome, intense cardio. I didn’t do as much of the standing up spinning because my legs aren’t as strong as I’d like them to be, plus with my heart condition I got tired pretty quickly. I did keep the intensity at a level I could handle but that also challenged me and I alternated between a lower resistance and faster pace with a higher resistance and lower pace. It was a lot of fun, and really got me sweating! The instructor showed me how to keep my feet and heels for better form, and she encouraged us to do whatever was comfortable for us. I am glad I pushed myself more than I normally would, but also knew when to do my own thing. After the 30 minute session, we did a quick cool down on the bike before hopping off and heading over to the TRX area.

It was interesting getting to use the suspension trainer for the first time, too. We did lunges, push ups (while we were standing), SO MANY PLANKS, and some other strength moves. Then we did a little stretching at the end. It was really intense and I got a great workout. I also learned how much work I need to do on my muscles, I don’t have much strength in my arms.

Overall, it was a fun experience and I will definitely take more spinning classes in the future. My only concern was the price – it does add up if you go enough (but if you love it, it’ll be worth it).

photo credit here

Thinking of trying spinning for the first time? Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Consider trying multiple locations and instructors. Part of the appeal is the experience and atmosphere, so you’ll want to find a place you feel comfortable and an instructor you like. Most places offer a discounted price for your first class, too.
  • Arrive to your first class early! The instructor will help get you ready with bike adjustments and just generally talking you through how the class will go.
  • Bring a hand towel. I did not bring a towel to my first class and while I was fine without it, it would’ve been nice to have to wipe off my forehead.
  • Bring a water bottle. You will definitely need this. Also the instructor told me to drink a lot of water after the class too – you want to stay hydrated.
  • Bring a friend (if you can). I went alone, which was fine… but it definitely would be more fun with a spinning buddy. Plus, if it’s both of your first times, you won’t feel so awkward. Then you’ll have someone you can start regularly going with!
  • Be prepared for your butt to hurt. I was told it would take about 3 classes for it to not hurt anymore. There’s no way around it, the seat is just not going to be comfortable and your butt will be sore afterwards for a day or two.
  • Don’t worry about getting spinning shoes until you know it’s something you want to do long-term (and even then, it’s not a requirement). Most places have cages that fit a regular tennis shoe, or may even offer a spinning shoe rental. For the price, it’s best to wait since they can be pricey (unless you find a good deal somewhere!).
  • Most importantly… HAVE FUN! Get in the moment, find your groove, and just enjoy it.

guest post: my love for my yoga mat

A NOTE FROM PIP: In today’s guest post, Rachel from shares her love for one of my most favorite objects in the world. As I come off the Wanderlust Festival, I can’t wait to share my similarly themed thoughts next week. But until then, thank you Rachel for these beautiful words!


yoga mat photo

I started yoga 6 years ago. In those 6 years I’ve gone through 4 yoga mats. I started with a basic Target yoga mat, it evolved to a Jade mat, then a Manduka Eko Lite, and then back to my beloved Jade.

Regardless of which mat I was using in those last 6 years, I’ve returned to it time and time again for the intense physical workout I get with my vinyasa practice; but I also find myself coming back for the unseen benefits – the psychological and emotional benefits.

Life can make my heart feel heavy and my emotions run wild. My mat has ended up being the place where I can let it all out. Where I can feel the release from all of it — life, that is.

Everything in the class – the teacher, the music, the other students – bring me back to reality; and the reality of it all is, life is happening now — so show up for it.

And as I lay in half pigeon, with my forehead on my mat, tears start to roll off my cheeks. Because I recognize that this is where I need to be; this is the release my life requires.

Yoga came into my life for a reason. Sure, it’s been a great way to stay fit, but it’s also the very thing my soul needs time and time again.

There are times that I step away from my mat because ‘life’ just gets too busy; too overwhelming. That’s been the case recently. And so last weekend I returned to a class at Yoga Bliss in Akron. As soon as I walked in I felt like I was coming home! As silly (and ridiculous) as that may sound, it’s the truth. There’s a reason that you hear (very) few people saying “I used to practice yoga.” Because once you invite yoga into your life, it stays there. Forever. You’ll never quit! It may change and evolve as you change.

This is why when I pick up my yoga mat, I can’t help but smile. It brings me instant joy. Only yogis can understand how much I’ll always love my mat. 🙂

guest post: Five Simple Ways to Improve Your Mood

A NOTE FROM PIP: It’s exciting to turn over the blog to some wonderful ladies over the course of the next week or so. Today’s I’m honored to share this post from Katie at Call Me Trouble – a lady who I really got to know at the 2013 FitBloggin’ and one that I need to spend a lot more time with in real life! Her love of life shines in everything she does. Take it away, Katie…


First and foremost – a huge thank you to Alicia for inviting me to guest post on Poise in Parma. When I think about Alicia and her nook of the internet, I always think about how inspiring she is. She inspires a love for Cleveland in me, reminders of self worth and appreciation, and most of all, I love how true she is to herself, her values, and her goals. I hope I can do PIP some of the same justice today.

As a young lady working in a staunch, corporate corporate environment. It’s easy to feel bad for yourself. It’s easy to wonder how you’re not one of the people you follow on Instagram making a living off of doing cool yoga poses in even cooler leggings. It’s easy to feel discouraged when you sit at a table of colleagues and struggle to be heard. It’s easy to think, “why not me?” when you see those around you receiving promotions.

You might also think it’s hard to be the bigger person. Hard to assert yourself. Hard to stay positive.

It may not be easy at first but with a little bit of practice, being more mindful and finding joy in the little things in life is just as easy as being a Debbie-Downer. It might even be more fun too.


There’s no one right step-by-step guide to being a happier person, but I am figuring out a few of go-to tricks.

1. Spread words of love. If you’re in a bad mood – if and when you’re ready to be out of one – send a love/thank you/thinking of you note. I dare you to hold onto your contempt while you’re expressing appreciation for someone special. It may help put into perspective what has upset you. “It’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world.” -American Beauty

Simple cards, e-mails, even texts can make someone’s day and the fulfillment you receive in return is priceless.


2. Listen to something you love. It might be a song (like, “So Much Better” from the Legally Blonde the Musical?), or a YouTube video (David Goes to the Dentist, anyone?), or a really good podcast (like when the guys from Freakonomics justify my stance on cheap wine – it really is just as good.) Creating a sensory environment of something you love will be calming and it doesn’t require money or calories.


3. Wear something beautiful. When you find yourself sick with a case of the winter doldrums – be your own canvas. Apply a bright shade of lipstick. Adorn the statement necklace. Step into your favorite heels (once you’re out of the elements.) I truly think there might be something to the ‘ole “fake it until you make it” and I know I feel better when I dress better. Refusing to brush my hair, change out of sweats, or put on deodorant only seems to compound negative thoughts.


4. Create a “warm-fuzzy” collection and let go of the negative. It’s probably as lame as it sounds, but only if you don’t like celebrating how amazing you are. Whenever you receive a compliment, a well-earned thank you, anything that gives you a “warm-fuzzy” feeling on the inside, save it somewhere. This could be a folder on your computer, in you Google Drive, or a shoebox under the bed – save them. Something in the water has taught us to hold onto our mistakes, failures, and missteps. We ruminate about what we wish we would have said or done for hours, days, weeks, and even years. I can recall a table whose salad I forgot to bring out before the meal when I was a waitress almost 10 years ago like it was yesterday, but I can’t even picture the faces of my favorite regulars who treated me like gold. I want to change this. I want to savor the good, and let go of the bad. I want to remember moments I’ve excelled at being a good friend, an ideal associate, or a daughter-to-be-proud-of. Saving these reminders and revisiting them will help reinforce the good. To celebrate all you do for the world, you have to acknowledge it first.


5. Take care of yourself. Listen to your heart, mind, and body. This may sound incredibly oversimplified but when you feel yourself becoming frustrated, slowly rolling a snowball of unhappiness, take a moment. No, don’t count to 10. Okay, count to 10 if you want it, it doesn’t hurt. Whether you count or not; ask yourself what you want? What will make you happy at that moment? What will calm you? The answers are there but you have to ask the question first. One of my most frustrating experiences in a day can be getting dressed. (I also acknowledge this is a blessing.) Picking out an outfit can be daunting for an assortment of reasons, I might be in a rush, trying to impress someone, configuring an outfit that works for work and for happy hour, feeling fat, dealing with trying something on that would be perfect but does not fit at the moment. It goes on and on. Getting dresses has been the least of my worries lately. Instead of asking myself what should I wear? What image am I trying to present? What am I expected to wear? I ask: What do I want to wear? I almost immediately know the answer and I’m saved from countless outfits that I probably know I won’t like before I even try them on. Trusting yourself is a great gift. I trust I have shopped wisely to put clothes in wardrobe for work, play, and everything inbetween. If you’re unhappy, you have the answer within you, ask for it – nicely, please.


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