Ryde – River Oaks

I can’t say enough wonderful things about this place…but I will start with the few minor cons and then unleash my love for this place. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Con #1: I passed it up…I had it plugged into my GPS and I still passed it up! Ryde River Oaks is in the River Oaks Shopping Center off W. Gray St. Con #2: Parking sucks over there. Everywhere I tried to park was a 30 min parking spot, so I had to park in a lot across the street and walk over, which wasn’t a big deal, but looking for parking in Houston is not really my cup of tea. Con #3: Although the facility was really nice and clean with great equipment, there was little to no seating/waiting area. So before and after class was somewhat of a clusterf***. I think that is all the cons.

Now on to all that I loved about Ryde. Front desk people were super friendly and got me signed in and hooked up with a pair of shoes (first pair is on them, every class after that is 3 bucks – I think – to rent them). When the doors finally opened for class to get started, I had a hard time finding my bike because it was sooo dark, but I finally found it and within like 2 seconds a staffer was there to help me set up my bike and answer any questions. After I was set up and waiting for class to start, the instructor came up and introduced himself, which we all know I love! I think it is so incredibly important to make sure first timers at any gym, restaurant, store, wherever feel welcomed. Drew was my instructor and he was GREAT! Within the first 2 songs my quads were already burning. I would say Ryde is most similar to Revolution Studio as far as style of class goes. It was very dancing and you really had to have rhythm… which I struggle with… a lot! Regardless, I had fun, which ultimately trumps everything else.

Class was 45 minutes long. We did sprints, and hills and push ups and tap backs and side to side things and arm weights. I am writing this the day after class and I am super sore… although I kind of live in a constant state of soreness. Anyways, the music was loud, the class was energetic, it was a good time and great workout. They also keep track of your stats throughout class and then email you a summary which was cool! Here is mind below:

Ryde Stats

So thus far here is my ranking for cycling studios, and again, these are based on the location I went to and most importantly the instructor, so this is just my opinion on the few trial classes I have taken.

  1. Revolution Studio
  2. Ryde
  3. I feel like CycleBar would be here, but I need to try a real class
  4. Soul Cycle
  5. DEFINE West University


For more information on Ryde visit http://www.letsryde.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rydehouston/ and Instagram at @rydehouston

Camp Gladiator

One day I was working out at the little gym at the apartment complex that I live in and towards the end of my workout, one of the others guys that was in the gym stopped me and was like, “Have you ever heard of Camp Gladiator?” He said the workout I was doing that day reminded him of it and that I should go with him one day, so I took him up on that offer.

Camp Galdiator is typically 4 weeks of unlimited workouts, for all fitness levels, led by a personal trainer at various locations. When you sign up you can go to any location as much as you like. The workouts are 60-minute long, total-body workouts done in a group class format. I joined Mariano on a Wednesday morning at 5:30 AM at the River Oaks location which is in front of the lululemon in Highland Village. The workouts are done outside in the parking lot and the only equipment required is a mat.

McKenzie was our trainer that morning and can I just say, I almost bailed before I even got there because that morning was 45 degrees and raining… I am so proud of myself for just showing up. Anyways, there were about 15 or so people at class that morning, which was apparently a light crowd, probably because most people aren’t as crazy as me and would prefer to stay bundled up in a warm bed for a few hours longer.

Anyways… We started the workout with 3 laps around the stores then some other light cardio for the warm up, like high knees and hip raises, and a bit more jogging. After we finished the warm up we really got to work. I would describe is best as a HIIT (high intensity interval training) style workout. The first round went something like this:

In and out squats – 20

Hip raises/bridges on the mat – 15

Star Jumps – 10

Sprint to cones and back

5 min on repeat

All out 30 sec burpees to reach your maximum burn out

We did that 2x then did another round of other exercises in the same type format. Classes ended with 1 all out spring around the parking lot, then abs and stretching before taking a group photo and heading home to unthaw.

Camp Gladiator_River Oaks_Group.jpg

I really enjoyed McKenzie’s energy, especially at 5:30 in the morning. The group I was working out with was also really nice. Everyone was high fiving and there were a few partner exercises that we would do while also answering a question about ourselves. For instance, we were asked to tell the other person how we spent Thanksgiving while we were facing each other doing high knees and like high fiving … okay this sounds really corny, but I don’t really know how else to describe it…

Overall I really enjoyed class. It was definitely a good workout, but just tons of cardio and lots of squat jumps. My quads were pretty damn sore for the next few days. I think what I liked most about it was the group accountability aspect. I would think if you go to the same class/location consistently for 4 weeks then you would form a pretty close group of friends from it.

If you are interested in trying a free session, just look up a Camp Gladiator Trainer near you and ask to join in a class just to try. McKenzie was more than happy to have me there and not pushy at all about joining which is refreshing.

Camp Gladiator_River Oaks_McKenzie

You can find out more about Camp Gladiator at https://campgladiator.com/ or follow McKenzie at https://www.facebook.com/cgtrainermckenzie/

30 Days of Yoga

If you’ve been following along with my fitness journey thus far, then it is no surprise that I am mildly obsessed with Revolution Studio. I got hooked when I did their yoga and cycle intro special and went religiously for 2 weeks to as many classes as I possible could, then I signed up for a yoga special they were running and went to as many yoga classes as I could in a 30-day period and most recently, I signed up for another 30-days of unlimited yoga and have practiced yoga EVERY SINGLE DAY for 30 days. Here is what I have learned from practicing yoga every day for 30 days.

First of all, yoga for me is more of a mental exercise than a physical one. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen incredible physical changes in my body, but that’s not what it is about for me. When I get on my yoga mat, it is time for me to focus on nothing but the current moment. It is very hard to practice yoga while carrying the weight of the day with you. When I walk into that room, nothing else matters except for my breathing, my focus and my practice. The other thing I really love about yoga is that it is MY yoga practice. Everyone in the room has their own yoga practice and is doing their own version of the suggested flow. At Revolution Studio, the instructors are adamant about listening to your body and doing what your body is craving, not what they are instructing. I remember one time one of the instructors was like, “If you lie in child’s pose for the next 45-minutes and do nothing but focus on your breath, I would be ecstatic that you listened to your body and were confident enough to do something different.”

Time of day made a huge difference when it came to my practice. If I could wake up to yoga and fall asleep to yoga, I would be a very happy human. Any day that I was able to wake up and practice yoga was a much more focused, peaceful and productive day, however, on days when I didn’t have time to squeeze in an A.M. flow, but instead ended the day with yoga, I was able to show up on my mat and just release whatever happened earlier that day and retire the night much more relaxed and calm.  

So how did I really benefit from 30 days of yoga? My mindset shifted. I was constantly embracing the little wins and setting new ‘impossible’ goals for myself. I couldn’t do crow pose 30 days ago. It was physically impossible for me to do, but I kept telling myself that I wanted to do crow pose. That was my goal. At some point I was able to sort of do crow pose, but only for a few really brief seconds and only if I was having a good day, but I geeked out about my progress. It may not have been pretty, but I was doing something today, that I couldn’t do yesterday and I completely and wholeheartedly embraced that. Now I can do crow pose like nobody’s business and although I am still geeking out about this little win, I am already setting new goals for myself. I am looking at poses that are physically impossible for me to do right now, but I know one day I will be able to do as long as I just keep practicing and celebrating the little wins to keep me motivated along the way.

Physically I can see and feel a HUGE difference in my arms and core. I used to have arms. Just arms. They weren’t defined, but they also weren’t not defined. They were just arms. Now I can actually see and feel defined muscles, especially my shoulder and triceps. Don’t get me wrong, you might look at me and be like, “She’s cray cray. I don’t see shit.” But, I noticed a major difference and can tell during my practice. Down dog or plank use to be very hard for me to hold for a long period of time, and I would constantly have to drop down into child’s pose for a break. The past few classes, I have been able to move through the entire 45 minutes without dropping or even wanting to drop. My core is also much stronger and I know this because my balance is like night and day. I still wobble and occasionally fall, whatever … but it’s nothing compared to my first few classes. I can’t say I really see a physical difference in my core, but I can tell a major difference in my practice.

Overall, I felt like over the past 30 days I was constantly celebrating a win. Whether it was just that I was twisting a little deeper, stretching a little further, breathing a little deeper, or finally being able to hold a pose I had never been able to hold before, I was always winning. Just showing up everyday felt like a win. Now I challenge you to finish the year strong by taking the 30 day yoga challenge yourself! You may not want to join a gym or may hate taking classes, but I just googled “30 day yoga challenge” and there are a TON of results. Pick a program or sign up for a month at your local gym and then commit to showing up EVERY DAMN DAY. You will thank yourself in the end.


Just start…

Today I want to take the time to talk about ‘getting started.’ What do I mean by that? Well, lately (actually for as long as I can remember) I have heard this phrase, “I will start on Monday,” or “I will take that class after I get stronger/better/faster/skinnier.” And quite frankly, this drives me CRAZY to hear. If you want something bad enough, JUST FREAKING DO IT NOW! Procrastinating when it comes to your health is one of the worst things you could possibly do for yourself.

For those of you who say, ‘I will go to the gym once I lose 5-10 lbs …” If I ever hear that again, I will literally slap you in the face, I promise you that. Let’s just think about this rationally. Let’s use yoga as an example because this is one that I hear a lot of excuses with. When I ask a friend if they want to join me for a yoga class, I get this, “But I am not good at yoga. I need to get better before I join you…” What do you think I am doing?! Do you think I was born as a yoga wizard, hell I’m still lightyears away from being considered even good at yoga. I wobble, I shake, I take breaks and sometimes I even faceplant, because I am human. You are human. Everyone in the class is human. We are all perfectly imperfect. I am clumsy, I am ungraceful, I forget poses, but I am practicing and getting better each and every single f***ing day.

I love this quote by Rutherford B. Hayes, “Every expert was once a beginner.” All I am asking you is that you start. Don’t be afraid to go into the weight room only if you can only lift 5 lb. weights. I’ve been that person. Don’t be afraid to go to yoga and faceplant. I have been that person. Don’t be afraid to sign up for a 5k even if you have to walk most (or all) of it. I have been that person. I have been that person and will continue to be that person with every new class I take and every new place I try. I will be that person proudly because I know every time I am that person I become stronger/better/happier physically and mentally. All I am asking is that you try to be that person too. If you want to take a class, just do it. Don’t let the fear of what others will think or say keep you from trying something new. I can pretty much guarantee that everyone else in the class is right there with you. No one is judging you because you can’t touch your toes, and if they are, WHY DO YOU FREAKING CARE?!?!?

I don’t want this to seem like I am ridiculing anyone for choosing not to workout. It is your choice to be healthy. What I do get upset about is when I see and hear people continually talk about bad doctor visits and negative tests results and then continue to make poor choices. When people complain about being overweight and out of shape, but put in zero effort to make a change. You don’t have to be like me, actually I don’t want you to be like me at all. You don’t have to kill yourself in the gym every single day, but you do have to do SOMETHING. I workout as much as I do, because working out to me is therapeutic. Showing myself what my body is capable of doing, takes away any angst and anxiety about what my body looks like. 60 days ago I couldn’t do crow pose to save my life. I have practiced crow over and over and now I can hold it for as long as my little heart pleases and it’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment. Had I not wobbled and face planted over and over and over and over … had I not kept trying, kept practicing, had I not started, I would never know this feeling. And it’s a great freaking feeling!

I am writing this today with a big emphasis on yoga, because I am back at Revolution Studio for another 30 days. They have a special going on right now if you sign up for 30 days of yoga during the month of November, it is only $40 versus their normal rate of $95! My goal is to practice yoga every day for 30 days straight, no if, ands or buts about it. After 30 days I will write a post on how, if at all, my body and mind has changed. I already have a few people who are trying this out with me, but if you are interested in taking the challenge too I would be more than happy to have you join me!