Girl Boss Guide ft. Jessica Walton of barre3

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When I took my first barre3 class with Jessica, not only was I hooked on the format of the workout but thought to myself how amazing of an instructor she was. From the second I walked into the studio, she made me feel extremely welcome and at home in a studio I had never even set foot into before. I was so excited when this bombshell agreed to sit down with me (over hummus, pita and veggies, mind you) and let me pick her brain on all things health, fitness, food and more.

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Yes Girl: So tell me a little bit more about your role at barre3 and what you love about working there!

Jessica Walton: My official title is Client Relations Manager, so with that role I basically handle anything client-related –from welcoming people who are new to the studio to making sure our members are always happy. It’s important that I’m supportive and act as a friend to our members. I’m also in charge of managing any outside partnerships – with another business, a charity, etc. – so I plan any community classes, private bridal classes, outside events or anything across that spectrum. It’s super fun – I love getting to organize and plan our events! I also run our Instagram so that helps to incorporate my love of photography in with my job as well.

YG: I feel like fitness studios have to be active on social media these days. How have you seen that evolve and what has been the role of social media in continuing to develop the business?

JW: We’ll have people come in to the studio just because they saw something on Instagram or Facebook. Without those platforms, we wouldn’t have those people walking through our doors so it’s really interesting. We’re always trying to find ways to make our social handles entertaining for our clients for potential clients, too.

YG: What is so different about the barre3 method?

JW: The good thing with barre3 is that it’s celebrated to take care of your body and to modify where you need. It’s low impact, but it is so incredibly effective! Even if I’m feeling depleted and fatigued, I’m comfortable with modifying in any barre3 class, and we have some amazing instructors who offer personal attention to everyone in class. Barre3 has online workouts where they post a new workout every week that you can do right at home. They really take the time to make the workouts totally fresh and interactive, and the instructor that teaches the class will do live chats about the class if you have any questions or anything like that. Barre3 is constantly doing research to find out what’s going to work best for our clients. Sadie Lincoln (founder) has always said if she finds out one day barres are not best for our clients, then she’ll rip out all the barres in the studios! Also, company-wide we really focus on off-the-scale victories like “I had to have my clothes tailored down a size.” We celebrate those accomplishments, whether they take a week or a year.

We don’t support counting calories or obsessing over the scale.

 

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YG: You look amazing! What is your workout schedule like?

JW: I try to take three barre3 classes each week. I’ve learned that that works really well for my body. I also really love yoga so I try to get a class in once per week. My favorite studio is Tough Love Yoga! I also love spin classes, specifically Cyc Fitness who we’ve done a few events with (spin and barre are such good complements to each other!)

YG: How do you maintain motivation in your workouts? 

JW: I’ve tried everything from belly dancing to bootcamp. I think you have to find something you love and that you’ll keep gravitating toward. I see so many people fall out of love with a workout, and then they just can’t get themselves to make it happen. I think consistency is also key. If you can get yourself to move for ten minutes a day, it makes such a difference verses doing nothing.

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YG: What does a usual day of eating look like in your world?

JW: I have never had to fuel my body like I do now with teaching – As soon as I started training, I was ravenous! I eat an hour before any class I teach, and I usually like to start the day with something substantial, so I’ll do a protein with a healthy fat. I love sprouted grain bread with almond butter and banana slices or avocado toast. If I skip breakfast, my whole day is shot so I’m pretty consistent with my breakfast routine. I snack a ton, so I always have bananas, almonds, nut butters, and Kind Bars or Perfect Bars on hand. I’m on the move a lot, so bringing a lunch isn’t that feasible for me. I’d rather take a break during my day and get a salad at Zoe’s or an Unwich at Jimmy John’s, or one of my other go-tos. I definitely eat really intuitively and just try to get what I’m craving that day. Dinner is kind of the same thing!

YG: What’s your food philosophy and how did you get there?

JW: When I’m craving a sandwich, I just eat a sandwich. I’ve finally figured out that my body craves certain things for a reason, so I give my body what it needs. With time and becoming more mature and learning more about nutrition, it just kind of happened naturally. A lot of that came once I started with barre3 because they really help to guide you nutrition-wise. Learning from binge-eating mistakes combined with gaining the right knowledge helped me to figure out what works for me. I love dessert, I have a huge sweet tooth! And I love wine, too. If you don’t overdo anything, I think you can enjoy the things you love. Your body just kind of adjusts once you start to listen to it.

I don’t punish myself for eating things that aren’t necessarily the most nutritious, but I’m also careful about making healthy decisions most of the time so that I never have to feel guilty. 

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YG: How do you deal with society’s version of ‘perfection’?

JW: I could make a list of things about my body that I want to fix, and it’s just kind of crazy that we still think that way. I will say though, there was a time I would carry that list with me and now I’ve learned to ignore it. I’m so impressed by the rise of the body positivity movement and I think we’re really headed in the right direction. There are so many amazing women out there being brave and putting themselves out there to create something positive.

YG: What are some actionable items you do to combat negative self-talk or body image issues?

JW: I honestly think the best thing to get me out of a slump is moving. It’s not moving to look better, but to feel better. I measure how much activity I need by how I feel, not by how many calories I need to burn or pounds I need to lose. I think the fact that I don’t punish myself keeps me from having those down days all together. It’s more like down moments and, to combat those moments, I’ll usually get up and do a 10-minute online workout, take my dog for a walk, etc. I try not to let myself stay stuck in that slump.

With all the tragedy and unpredictability in the world, I would much rather just choose to be happy every day. I would much rather connect with people that I love and not really be worried about what my ass looks like in my jeans.

 

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know From a Personal Trainer

Happy weekend, guys! I have pigeonholed myself into the blogging/errands/working out/cleaning cave this weekend and am kind of loving it. Sometimes you’ve really got to force the productivity, am I right?
@seewantshop
photo via @seewantshop

So, as many of you all know through my Instagram stories and photos, about a month ago, I was working out twice a week with personal trainer, Kyle Black, CEO Of KB2Trainu-Fitness, LLC, at H.E.A.T., located in Midtown, while supplementing those workouts with my own cardio and full-body workouts in addition. I had always wanted to try personal training, but let’s be real – it ain’t cheap. I honestly think that was the main thing holding me back; it wasn’t that I was too scared about the workouts or that I felt uncomfortable, but dishing out the kind of money some of these trainers were asking for just wasn’t plausible to me.

When I met Kyle and he offered me a free session to try a workout with him and see how I felt, I of course reached out to him within a couple of days to get that scheduled because, what did I have to lose? My first session with him was awesome. I felt empowered and strong (thanks to maintaining a generally healthy lifestyle prior to meeting him), but also challenged and a little weary of whether or not I could finish the workout. As I quickly learned, those last few, hard-as-shit reps are where you really begin to see the change. So, after that, I was hooked and knew I wanted to train more with him.

Shelling out my precious funds to Kyle (although at a discounted rate for my blogging and social media services) wasn’t easy – I mean, let’s be honest…. how many margs and tacos at BarTaco could that money have bought?!… but so worth it.

I spent one month training with him at two sessions a week, like I said, and really learned a lot about proper form, the right workout formula and, really, a lot about myself. I haven’t done a full pull-up in my life, and Kyle had me doing 3 sets of 15 (granted, they were assisted with a band buuuuut still, an accomplishment nonetheless.) That’s something I learned, too – treating the so-called small wins as large accomplishments is an amazing source of motivation to continue pushing through your workouts, and living a generally healthy lifestyle overall.

While I wish I could’ve trained with Kyle forever, as I mentioned, champagne taste on a beer budget doesn’t quiiiite allow for it – but hey, when I’m ready to start working out with a trainer again, Kyle will be my first call. His kind, supportive demeanor really helped me to work toward my goals, and not get discouraged or frustrated. No scary drill sergeant with Kyle!

So, all rambling aside, I conjured up all of the questions I’ve ever wanted to know from a trainer and had Kyle answer them. Grab a cup of coffee (or wine… or a protein shake… whatever floats your boat) and sit down for a great read.

Yes Girl: What do you recommend eating or drinking pre- and post-workout?

Kyle Black: I recommend eating something light about 1.5-2 hrs before working out. Hydration is really important too. I would say something like a banana, oatmeal, protein bar or egg whites. I also drink a pre-workout drink 20-30 minutes before my workout for extra energy. I drink a protein shake post-workout & I make sure that I get it in me within 30-60 minutes so that my body can absorb the protein, which helps rebuild & repair the muscle fibers that are broken down while working out/training.

YG: What type of cocktail do you order when you go out but don’t want all the calories?

KB: Kettle One or Tito’s Vodka on the rocks/ice with a lime. Vodka has the least calories.  You get the calories when you start adding juices & soda.

YG: What is the ideal combo of cardio and strength training in a week? In other words, how much time per week would you dedicate to each?
KB: I do think they are both very important. You should at least train 3 days at a minimum of 30-60 minutes. Time is the number one reason that people give an excuse for not training. So I would say do half cardio & half strength training.  Cardio works your heart (cardiovascular system) & burns calories as well as fat. Strength Training builds muscle mass. Both are very important & should be done with one another. Cardio alone will not make you toned – you may be slim but you will be soft or mushy. Strength training alone will not burn as many calories as cardio, which burns the extra fat off of the muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn daily.
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YG: Do you think women must lift heavier weights to see toned muscles, or what do you recommend?

KB: No, I do not think women should lift heavier to see toned muscles. If you cannot control the weight then you should not be lifting it. I recommend light to medium weight & high repetitions – 15-20 repetitions, 30-60 seconds, or until you reach failure. Circuit training/ H.I.I.T. (High-Intensity-Interval-Training, which is getting your heart rate up, then back down is the quickest way to burn fat/calories. Correct form & having a workout prepared instead of just winging it & trying some machines or not having a plan is the most important thing.

YG: What’s the best type of cardio for fat-burning?

KB: The Step Mill on Fat Burner or Interval Training, the Rower, Spinning, the WoodWay Manual Treadmill or Curve. You can do sprint intervals with 30 seconds sprinting 30 sec rest, running 20-100 yard sprints or suicides, sprint up hills, running up & down steps, jump rope & swimming.

YG: Do you recommend women take any supplements for working out? IE: pre-workout, certain vitamins, etc.

KB: I do recommend that women take a multivitamin, vitamin C, calcium because women are at risk of osteoporosis & most women do not drink enough milk to get the calcium that their body needs, which helps keep the bones strong. One supplement I recommend is taking protein post-workout like Core-Power or Muscle Milk. They also come in light if you are trying to watch your calories. You can also do some type of whey protein. All it does is rebuild & repair the muscles after they are broken/torn down during the workout.  Protein shakes can also be used as a meal replacement/snack.

YG: Give an example day for what you think women should eat in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

KB: Breakfast: egg white & spinach in a whole wheat wrap or on a whole wheat bun & turkey bacon, or a bowl of oatmeal with fruit/banana. Lunch: Lean turkey, chicken or fish with a side salad or a green vegetable & fruit., with a cup of brown rice if needed. Dinner: A lean protein like turkey, chicken, fish or a lean steak & vegetables like a sweet potato, broccoli, zucchini, squash, or salad with balsamic vinaigrette – not ranch or those fattening dressings. Snacks can be almonds, fruit, yogurt, protein bars, or healthy smoothies. Basically 3 meals & 3 snacks – you should be eating every 2-3 hours, that way your metabolism is constantly firing.

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YG: What are your absolute favorite ab toning, tricep toning and booty-toning moves?

KB: Favorite ab toning exercise is hanging leg lifts with straps, v-ups & planks. Favorite tricep toning move is tricep push-downs with the braided rope & tricep dips – different ways using different equipment – & tricep kickbacks. Favorite booty toning exercises: squats, pistol squats, glute bridges, single-legged deadlifts, both walking and stationary lunges, fire hydrants & kickbacks.

YG: What’s your advice for losing workout motivation… How do you stay motivated to stay in shape and live a healthy life?

KB: It is too easy to be lazy – you have to find an underlying motivation but it also has to be a lifestyle. You cannot workout/train for a vacation, wedding, or something short-term because it will not last. It has to be part of your daily routine just like bathing or brushing your teeth, & you have to do it even when you do not want to or feel like it. I have never heard someone say after a workout that I wish I had not worked. It is one of the best stress relievers, it helps you look & feel good & I know that everybody wants to look & feel good! Everybody wants to improve something on his or her body. My motivation to workout relentlessly is #1 that I am an athlete to the core & I know that is my gift/talent & I do not want to take it for granted. My goal every year is to be in better shape than the year before, so that means that I have to constantly turn up the intensity every year – I don’t believe in getting old. Some past experiences also drive me: not making it to the NFL & losing my mother when I was 14, my grandmother in college & my father 4 years ago who was my best friend, but they all smoked cigarettes & had health issues because of it. So as long as I can control my health, I will continue to push myself to GREATNESS & nothing less.

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A big thank you to Kyle for training me and for collaborating with me on this post! If you’re interested in trying personal training, he’s your guy. Feel free to email me with any questions or reach out directly to Kyle at kb2trainu@yahoo.com.

Burn Baby Burn (Off the Fat)! – A Review of The Skinny Confidential Bombshell Body Guide

When Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential came out with her Bombshell Body Guide, I was intrigued and excited to learn how my fave blogger ever stays in shape. I’ve been following Lauryn’s blog for years now, and was always interested to know how she eats flamin’ hot cheetos while maintaining a fit and toned figure, and now I get it. These past few months I’ve been incorporating her workouts into my weekly routine and have been loving them.

[A little sneak peek. Photo cred: TSC Bombshell Body Guide]

Here’s the lowdown on TSC BBG:

  • A 28-week plan filled with fat-burning, muscle-toning workouts for the girl who likes a plan (hi!) – all which can be done in 27 minutes
  • Effective, targeted workouts like “Muffin Top Blaster” & “Team Tight Ass” – Yaaaaas
  • Exclusive online membership so that you can interact with other like-minded users, and even Lauryn herself
  • Healthy meal plans and recipes that fuel your body & taste amazing

Watch her vid for more info: 

What I love about it:

  • 27. minute. workouts. It’s perfect for the busy woman who’s always on the go because, let’s be real, that’s every single one of us.
  • Her recipes are honestly so good – The TSC Hotcakes are a weekly staple (and boyfriend-approved!) He always requests them.
  • With the 28-week guide, it gives you 3 workouts a week, so that leaves room to incorporate all of the other workouts you love. For me, I like to add in cardio and barre classes.
  • It’s a great at-home workout. All you need is a mat and a set of dumbbells.
  • It’s just the right amount of challenging. The workouts don’t feel so unattainable to where you get fed up and quit, but they kick your ass in all the right ways.

If you’re interested in learning more or signing up, just head here!

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Thank you to Lauryn & The Skinny Confidential team for the opportunity to try out this amazing workout guide. While my one-month membership was comped, all opinions are my own.