Strong Fitness & Performance Center Review: An Essential Workout

The Dallas Fitness Ambassadors rolled into Strong Fitness & Performance Center recently for a group workout in their newly designed Fitness area. The North Dallas gym, which is massive and well-designed, is divided into four Core Programs: Fitness, which we tried out, 24/7 Olympic, Crossfit, and Strength training.

strong fitness dallas review veleisa burrell

Once the DFA team took our time to Instagram and Snapchat the posted workouts – because what is a workout if your followers can’t follow along – the fun began! We split between two groups and handled a low-impact warm-up which had me thinking “Okay, I can do this.”

The lovely trainer, Coach Lizzie, took us to the next level as one group jumped on the spin bikes for intervals of sprints, standing resistance and recovery while the other half worked on lunges, rows, burpees (the worsssttttt) and mountain climbers (the other worsssttttt). Mind you, at this point, I am hungry and trying to work through it, but I was making eyes at the vibrant green selection of juices that Substance Juice had lined up for post-sweat session recovery.

substance juicery dallasEight minutes finished on the first half and it’s time to switch to treadmills and TRX for squat jumps rows, chest press, and knee tucks. I’m a huge fan of TRX so I was actually excited to finish the session on these straps. The self-propelled treadmills…will one day be the death of me.

veleisa burrell strong fitness dallas review

Workout finished and it’s time to jump on the healthy snacks provided by Strong Fitness and the yummy green juice mimosas courtesy of Substance Juice. I recommend coming to this Fitness workout fully satiated, since my hunger slightly sapped me of energy that could have gone into lifting heavier or pushing harder. If you get to work with Coach Lizzie, you’re in luck. She managed to be both motivational and funny, which you don’t always get in a trainer.

strong fitness dallas trx workout

strong fitness dallas treadmills

Thank you, Strong Fitness & Performance Center, for a hard workout that hit all the high points of what I need to stay in shape: conditioning, cardio and weighted exercises. Plus I won a beautiful “Millennial pink” Lululemon yoga mat that is already a constant companion in my CorePower classes!

strong fitness review veleisa burrellStrong Fitness & Performance Center provided my workout at no cost. The opinions expressed about the facility and employees are my own and have not been influenced by Strong Fitness & Performance Center. 

Photos provided by Dallas Fitness Ambassadors.

Congrats to the Leap of Faith 5K + Namaste After the 5K Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest for a ticket to the Leap of Faith 5K and the post-run Namaste After the 5K yoga session.

I’m happy to announce that Ginger Marie of The Ginger Marie Blog and Stephanie Suire will both be making an investment in themselves on February 25, 2017 at the Leap of Faith 5K! I can’t wait to run alongside both of you and then get in a deep stretch.

leap of faith 5K giveaway winners

If you didn’t win, don’t worry. Tickets for the 5K and yoga event, which will also feature a rousing speaker to inspire you, are still available. Sign up for Leap of Faith 5K today!

Gearing Up for Spin: GRIT Fitness REVOLUTION Cycle Spotlight Party

I have a confession.

I don’t like cardio. Like, at all.

Running: no thanks. Elliptical: puts me to sleep. Stairmaster: torture.

Group fitness is probably the only time that I can get down with cardio. I told you all about the fun I had recently at Jam Box fitness.

One of the best places in DFW to have the group fitness experience is GRIT Fitness. I’ve gotten down to yoga, HIIT and other classes with the ladies of GRIT and it’s always a blast. Plus, the owner, Brittani Rettig, is a total #GirlBoss.

But one group fitness class has always given me angst: SPIN. Remember what I said about running, elliptical and Stairmaster? There is something about the same motion on a stationary machine that elicits dread. But when I heard GRIT Fitness owner Brittani Rettig and her rockstar team of cycling instructors are hosting the REVOLUTION Cycle Spotlight Party on Friday, September 30, I knew I had to be there. GRIT always has the best music and the most pumped-up instructors for the other classes, and I’d expect no less for their Cycle party.

Plus, how COOL is this cycle studio?!
Plus, how COOL is this cycle studio?!

Join me as I work through my “fear” of spin class and sweat out the work week with two free cycling classes, drinks, treats, raffles, a photobooth and a special gift for the first 100 guests.

WHAT: GRIT Fitness REVOLUTION Cycle Spotlight Party

WHEN: Friday, September 30, 5-8PM

Complimentary classes at 5:30 and 6:30PM; Studio tours, shopping and entertainment throughout the evening

WHERE: GRIT Fitness – Design District, 1729 Irving Blvd., #101, Dallas, TX 75207

SIGN UP: Guests can reserve their spot to ride at dallasgritfitness.com/schedule beginning Friday, September 16.

Check out the Facebook event page and share with a friend who will need the stress-busting fun of SPIN class this Friday.

Can’t wait to see you there! I’ll be at 6:30 class but catch me milling around before then. 

Doing It With GRIT: Interview with Brittani Rettig of GRIT Fitness

If there is one thing the internet (ha, no longer have to capitalize that) is never short on, it is profiles of folks who have created their own fitness tribe. You know the folks, the ones who have instantaneous online following, the perfectly curated Instagram photos and never look like they break a sweat to “do it all.”

If you’re like me, reading these stories may leave you wondering how they get it done and if the fitness “guru” is truly genuine? One person I’ve never questioned in the authenticity of dedication to their awesome is Brittani Rettig of GRIT Fitness.

Brit for DFW Style DailyNEW GRIT logo

 

I found out about GRIT Fitness when Brit opened her East Dallas location about five minutes from where I used to live. (Full disclosure: I had my first audition to teach fitness with Brit and she was so kind in her evaluation. Suffice it to say, I was all nerves and it was a mess.) I kept up with her through social media and attended her community classes at Luke’s Locker. Seeing Brit’s growth has been amazing, as she’s added fans, fanatics, members and grown her team of energetic instructors.

Now, just barely a year after the East Dallas location launch, Brit has announced an expansion to the Dallas Design District with a second location! The new location is 5,000 square feet and will offer original music-driven classes like Body Sculpt™, Dance Club Cardio™, Hip Hop, powerbelle™, Flexin’ Flow™ and more. In addition to GRIT’s seven original class offerings, GRIT Fitness will now offer GRIT Revolution, an indoor beat and metrics-based cycling class where the instructor rides with the class rather than leads it on a pedestal.

Last week, Brit and I talked about her new location, what it takes to make it in fitness and her updated approach to entrepreneurship in an inspiring conversation. Check out the highlights.

Continue reading “Doing It With GRIT: Interview with Brittani Rettig of GRIT Fitness”

Level Up: How to Stay On Top of Your Own Fitness as an Instructor/Trainer

Recently, I had a thought: if I took an informal poll of my fellow fitness teachers or the trainer members of the Dallas Fitness Ambassadors, probably 99 percent would say that as their teaching and training increased, their focus on their own growth went down. An inverse and perverse relationship, if you will. Speaking for myself, as I’ve invested time in reading, learning and teaching others, my training schedule has suffered. I almost have to force myself to dedicate an hour to getting on the mat, not to creating a new flow or reading the latest yoga news.

As a student, you have seemingly unlimited time to learn, explore and jump around to different classes and studios. Now that I teach, I have a home studio and getting to other locations to experience other instructors often takes a back seat to meeting and greeting with the teachers and students at my own location.

It’s easy for me to recognize when I need to switch it up and revert back to being a student. Not only do I physically feel the need for a return to a challenge, but my mind clues me in that I’m not growing. My fitness routine, whether it’s yoga or weight training or my “unbridal bridal” regimen of sprint work on the track, connects me to an inner energy source and allows me to be a better teacher. I sleep better, digest my food easier and generally am a happier person when I’m challenging my body and mind through fitness.

Me, as a student, working on my handstand.
Me, as a student last year, working on my handstand.

http://www.dallasfitnessambassadors.com/

Returning to the act of being a student is a humbling experience, and often, as teachers, we need a reminder that there is no end to the practice of learning. We can all be taught something new, whether we are a beginning instructor or a seasoned veteran trainer. When we don’t expand our minds through continued education, what we put out to our students can become stagnant or boring. And really, who wants to be a boring fitness leader?

I vow anew to give time back to myself, to explore not only different instructors at my own studio but with other yoga studios. After getting my butt kicked at Surf City Fitness last month, I’m excited to try new experiences and see how it shapes my teaching principles. I’m a big proponent of lifting, and lifting heavy, and I’ve seen the improvements to my time on the mat due to pumping iron. Thankfully, my fiance and I belong to the same gym, and he loves kicking my tail in the weight room, telling me to lift heavier, move faster and challenge myself. I’m excited about my renewed focus; maybe you’ll join me?

If you’re an instructor, have you found that your own fitness journey has stalled as you’ve taken on clients/started teaching?

If so, how do you plan on jump-starting it again to ensure that not only are you satisfied with your progress but you’re giving your students the best knowledge and experience based on what you learn?

Shout out in the comments, or message me on Twitter (@VeleisaP) or Instagram (@LeisaWithAnE). Looking forward to hearing from you!

How to Do Yoga & Surf In the City

One of my 2016 goals is to attend a yoga retreat. There’s something about the thought of waking up on the beach, stepping out to truly salute the sun and then taking a dip in the ocean that puts me in the permanent “vacation” frame of mind. Plus, I want to learn how to surf! Until then, I’m stuck in the concrete jungle of Dallas.

Apparently, being in the relatively land-locked city doesn’t mean I can’t figure out how to find my center while challenging my balance. Last week, I found myself at City Surf Fitness down in Deep Ellum with a group of fellow fitness folks (gosh, I love alliteration), hanging 10 and trying not to tip myself like a little teapot right off the board.

Finding Balance at City Surf Fitness
Don’t I look really calm, as I try to work my guns? Alex of Just Alex (on my right) was a champ and kept me laughing the entire time. (Photo courtesy of Dallas Fitness Ambassadors Facebook page)

The very laid-back instructor, who looked and sounded exactly what you would think of a surfing coach, took us through several incarnations of the City Surf Fitness workouts: Big Kahuna, Beach Body Bootcamp, City Surf Circuits and Buddha Board. While I had a love/hate relationship with City Surf Circuits because of the way it worked my body from head to toe, as a yoga instructor, the Buddha Board held a special place in my heart. I could imagine myself out on the waves, finding my balance, as we moved through Warrior 2, Reverse Warriors and Child’s Pose. Sweat poured from my face and once I stopped rocking, I could sense an inner calm that belied my intense effort to find stillness.    After working up quite the sweat, we were treated to delicious juices and smoothies from Simply Fit Meals. The Almond Mylk was sweet without being overwhelming, thanks to the dates. I have a bag of dates in my fridge, waiting to be used in a homemade snack bar recipe. The Sweet Beet could have used a touch more sweetness, but when I added it to a smoothie, it was the ideal amount of flavor. Simply Fit Meals Juices - Dallas Fitness Ambassador I definitely need to try my hand (and foot) again at working the board. Check my Instagram to see if I make it! Thank you to the Dallas Fitness Ambassadors group for coordinating the workout, I’m hooked and I can’t wait for the next event.

Shopping for Your Workout Without Going Broke

I got a fun package in the mail this week: new exercise tights. Colorful, stretchy, sweat-wicking workout gear. Me, being who I am, I immediately shared it to Instagram.

A photo posted by Leisa (@leisawithane) on

 

Several friends wanted to know about how to shop for their workouts. I’m now working out or teaching upwards of 4-5 times a week, and I’m learning about making a limited supply look good. Plus, according to the sales numbers, activewear represents nearly 16 percent of the total apparel market, which means we’re spending plenty on workout clothes. 

Here are some of the things that I’ve learned about shopping for a workout wardrobe that will keep motivated to move.

Buy on clearance. Who doesn’t love a good sale? Online retailers and brick and mortar shops alike have to clear out merchandise regularly, which means a great deal on clothing. Make friends with the team at your favorite store and sign up for email alerts to be in the know about upcoming sales and specials.

Shop at the end of the season. In addition to sales, shop seasons. Once the temperatures start to change, and when you have drastic temperature changes like we do in Texas, you need to move from sleeveless singlets to layers. Some of the deepest discounts I’ve come across have been during the summer and winter gear swap in merchandise.

Be open to non-name brand clothing. Some yogis, CrossFitters and Zumba-heads are label-conscious and only wear Nike, Adidas and Lululemon. But me, the way my checking and my savings is set up…I can’t afford to drop $75-$100 on tights and $20-30 on tanks and tees. Not only am I sweating pretty heavily every workout, I’m washing items at least weekly. While I am not spending $5 on throwaway t-shirts and cotton tights that go nubby in one wash, I do believe in a bit of frugality. I’ve found that J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and H&M (home of fast fashion) provide a cute and comfortable outfits, usually with wicking material that helps keep you dry while you’re lifting, dancing or stretching.

Choose your prints wisely to mix and match. While we all want to be cute in colorful patterns, a monochromatic color palette means no one knows how often you’ve worn a piece. Maybe your lucky color is black, blue, red or green. Use the solid color as a base and throw in patterns for variety.

Here are a few links around the ‘Net that will help you maintain your wardrobe:

How to avoid pilling in yoga pants: 6 athletic wear questions answered – via Today.com

Toxic chemicals lurking in your yoga pants – via PopSugar

What It Feels Like to Return to Yoga After a Hiatus

During training, we ate, slept and breathed yoga. Asana was the word of the day, all day long as we strove to understand every posture. Six months after finishing yoga teacher training, I’m immersed in functional fitness classes as I teach Sweat and Core classes at my home studio. Last year, 80 percent of my physical practice was yoga-based with 20 percent going toward weight training. That breakdown is now flipped on its head, and when I’m not in the studio teaching weight class, I’m in the gym with my fiance doing his regimen. Before I knew it, I’d gone nearly a month without taking any kind of yoga, which is a crazy-long time for me.

Last night, it was me and the mat and my Yoga Studio app. As I stepped to the top of my mat to begin an hour of class, my body automatically went to what it knew: shoulders back and down, chest lifted, breathing in and out deeply. Turns out, my time away doing weight work improved my practice. Upper body and core work helped stabilize Chaturangas and those taxing leg presses and weighted walking lunges meant I could get my thigh closer to parallel in Warrior positions.

Best of all, when I went to practice inversions – handstands – after the class ended, I got some hang time! For reference, just six months ago, I was either kicking over into a backbend or flailing. One key piece of handstand prep I found was from Kino McGrego (Kino Yoga); I’ve embedded it below.

Moral of the story: don’t be afraid to change up your fitness. Engaging in a range of exercises means you won’t get bored, cross trains your muscles and improves your performance. What are your two to three must-do exercise programs? How do they intersect? For example, do you find your Pilates classes complement marathon training?

It’s a Family Affair – Workout Challenge

They say if you want to succeed in life, you should surround yourself with like-minded people. In my life, I have two of them: my mom, who I nicknamed Benjamin Buttons because of her seeming agelessness, and my fiance, who I originally got in contact with to be my trainer. When they get together, it’s like a house on fire. They can spend hours on discussions about finance, investments, veganism and fitness, which leads to me learning new and interesting facts that I can apply to my life.

Recently, my mom decided to issue a family-wide challenge: let’s develop a four-week fitness program, eating a plant-based diet and measuring our results. The fiance developed the functional routine, with five days on and two days rest. My mom is an epic sharer of new recipes, so we’ve not been without inspiration for the challenge. Continue reading “It’s a Family Affair – Workout Challenge”