Sunday, August 12, 2018

OrangeTheory Fitness (OTF) and Fitness Favorites

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you all had a great weekend. If you’re like me, you’re probably soaking up those last few hours before the work week begins again. We are in full Back-to-School mode in this house. Even though Ryan and I both work all summer now, the pace seems to change (ahem, speed up) when August arrives.

Time to be honest...I’ve been completely sporadic about my workouts all summer. Trust me, I have all kinds of excuses (and I promise they are legit) but I’m working on getting back into my routine of going to OrangeTheory about 3-4 times a week. I don’t think I have mentioned OrangeTheory Fitness (OTF) on the blog yet, but I have been going for about a year and a half now and I love it. You guys all know that I’ve been a Zumba instructor since 2011 and I still love Dance Fitness. However, a couple of years ago I just really wanted to add something different to my fitness routine. I knew I needed to add in some weights and some cardio that was different from Zumba. Two years ago, I started seeing Orange Bicycles around town and wondered what they were- turns out they were for OTF! I stopped into their temporary location to find out some information and signed up for a membership that same day.

I really liked their concept of cardio mixed with strength training. Going to OTF is a lot like going to a personal trainer because they tell you what to do and how to push yourself during class, plus they will help to make sure you use proper form throughout class. I work out so much harder on the treadmill there than I ever did on my own at the gym. OTF isn’t a traditional gym— you don’t go and just work out on your own. You sign up for classes ahead of time and workout in a group setting. I definitely work harder in a group than on my own, too. One thing you might be wondering is why it’s called OrangeTheory. Well, during class, you wear a heart rate monitor. Everyone’s name is up on a TV screen so you can see what heart rate zone you are in all throughout class. The goal is to get most of your minutes in the Green Zone (a.k.a. Base Pace) but to try and get 12 minutes in the Orange (or Red) Zone. I’m one of those weird people who never ever gets 12 points (minutes) in Orange or Red— and many times I get 0— but today I got 4! That’s major, for me. I think I just have an unusually low heart rate. I don’t worry too much about that— I just go by how I feel.

I tell everyone who asks that even though I have been exercising pretty regularly for years and have even been a fitness instructor for 7 years— I never worked out before like I do at OTF. I’ve learned I can do things that are a lot harder than I ever thought! Like burpees. Although, I swear I will never EVER love burpees. I love the way that every workout is different— you never know what you might do each day. My favorite kinds of workouts are switch workouts where you rotate to different stations or kinds of equipment every few minutes. It makes the classes go by really quickly.

Speaking of fitness, I wanted to share a great fitness apparel find with you. My favorite workout leggings were Under Armour for a long time. However, they were $40 a pop (sometimes more!) and then a few years ago, UA changed the way they were made and they just weren’t as thick as they used to be. Luckily, Amazon to the rescue! I found these great leggings.

I’ve bought 4-5 pairs now and I love them. I especially love that they are high waisted so I don’t find myself pulling them up all the time. And did I mention the awesome price? Most colors are around $19.99 and have free returns, so if you don’t love them, you can always return them.

I also have come to love Beachbody’s Energize for a pre-workout boost.

I used to try and eat some kind of protein bar before class, but I found many of them taste like cardboard. This mix actually tastes good— just like lemonade. I mix it with about 10 oz. of water and drink it about 30-45 minutes before my workout. Since I usually work out at 5:45 p.m., sometimes I need a little something to energize myself before walking in the door at OTF or for a Zumba workout. (FYI— I am not a Beachbody Coach and do not sell this product— this is purely my own opinion based on my own experience.)

And finally, I am never without PanAway!

This is one of my favorite oils. I think everyone has their own trusted brands, but I began using Young Living oils several years ago and I love them. Sometimes if I have missed a week of workouts or if we have a particularly tough workout and I’m pretty sore, this little bottle to the rescue! PanAway has Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Clove, and Peppermint— all great for supporting your fitness routine. Sometimes I add a drop to my lotion or to some coconut oil and I’ll put it on my muscles and joints before OR after exercise. It’s also great mixed into Epsom Salts for tub soak. Trust me on this! You can purchase PanAway through Young Living OR it is also part of the Premium Starter Kit, which contains 10 other oils, a diffuser, and lots of samples of other great products. Plus, you also get a one-year membership and you get discounts on all products. Click here for more information on the Young Living Starter Kit!

What are some of your favorite workout products?

By the way, I forgot to mention that I am right in the middle of a Whole30! I’ve been reading a great book and will share some details soon! It’s got some great meal ideas. More info to come!

Monday, August 6, 2018


So, last week I did something a little crazy. Well, crazy for me anyway. I tried to get Hamilton tickets.

I imagine if you’re reading this, you probably fall into one of three categories of people and reacted in one of the following ways to what I just said.

1: Ahhh! Hamilton! I’m obsessed with it, too! I know all the songs, and I’ve been dying to see it!

2: Hmmm… another person talking about Hamilton tickets. What is it about this show? Maybe I should see it to see what all the fuss is about.

3: Ugh…another person talking about Hamilton. Just stop already. Who cares?

If you’re number 3, I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends anymore. Just kidding. Maybe.

I first heard of Hamilton a couple of years ago when it started really making headlines on Broadway and then especially when it won like a billion Tony Awards in 2016. In fact, I was in New York right after the Tony Awards in 2016 when Hamilton tickets were going for thousands of dollars a piece and no one could get them. Since I knew I wouldn’t be seeing it anytime soon, I bought the soundtrack of the Original Broadway Cast Recording to see what the fuss was about. I was immediately hooked. I must have listened to it 15-20 times in a row. I loved listening to the story of Alexander Hamilton play out in such a unique way. I mean, Hip Hop + History? Sign me up. Even Sadie got obsessed with the music. She started picking up on the voices of the different characters and downloaded it on her own iPad so she could listen to it. (Disclaimer: I did make some of the Explicit songs off-limits.) Listening to the music inspired me to read Ron Chernow’s book and it inspired Sadie to read a Biography and write an essay about Hamilton.

I’ve attempted to get tickets in New York but wasn’t able to find any under $600 on the weeks I’ve happened to be there. So when I heard Hamilton was coming to Charlotte, I knew I had to try and get tickets. Which brings me to the crazy thing I did last week.

When the official ticket sales information was released about 5 days ahead of the sales, I started researching the best strategy. I knew from reading about ticket sales in other cities that there would probably be online sales and in-person sales. After thinking it through, I decided to take the in-person route, even though it would mean getting up at a ridiculous hour and standing in line (possibly in the rain). After all, I could always use my phone to try and get tickets online as a backup plan.

I was too excited to sleep, so I probably didn’t fall asleep until 12:30 a.m. and I woke up at 3:00 completely wired. There was no way I was gling back to sleep, so around 4:00, I threw on my rain boots and raincoat and headed to Charlotte. When I arrived around 4:30 a.m., there were probably about 50-75 people in line already.

I was excited because I knew I was early enough to definitely get a wristband. According to the directions that were sent out about in-person sales, wristbands would be given out from 5:30 am to 7:00 am— or until they ran out.

The line quickly grew!

At 7:30, they would begin calling random groups of people who would have an opportunity to buy tickets. This meant that the person who arrived at 3 am had a chance that was equal to the person who arrived at 6:55 am. I would estimate that around 1000-1100 people got wristbands. If your number was called, you’d have an opportunity to buy up to 4 tickets to see Hamilton.

I hoped that 568 would be a lucky number… but just in case, I made sure I was in the virtual waiting room before 8 am so I could get a random spot in the queue to buy tickets online.

I have to say, the coolest thing about this experience was seeing the mix of people there to buy tickets. There were people of all ages and races. It’s so awesome to think that a Broadway show has such a broad reach. It gives me hope for humanity.

At 7:30, they began calling numbers. Everyone gathered around to hear who would be the lucky group to go first.

It wasn’t my number.

Neither was the next group…

or the next…

or the next…

or the next.

After only 5-6 groups (of 60 people each) were called, they made the sad announcement that they would not be selling any more tickets at the box office. It felt like I got punched in the stomach. Never did I think they would sell less than 2,000 tickets in person, of the 40,000 available tickets.

Oh, and online? I was number 54,429 in the queue.

That was a sad drive home… especially calling Sadie to tell her that I wasn’t able to get us tickets. She took it much better than I did. She said, “That’s okay, we’ll see it someday.” And she’s right. We will see it someday. I’ll still troll the website regularly (just in case) and also enter the daily lottery. And we’ll try again for the Greenville tickets in a couple of months, because that’s fairly close to us. (And next time I’ll just use every device we have and hope one of them gets a lower number in the queue. Because 54,000th in line? That’s just depressing.)

So I’m sure you’re wondering, what’s the point of all of this? Why write this long blog post about something that I didn’t evem get? I guess the point is, sometimes things are just out of your control. Sometimes you have to be a good sport because you have to show your kid how to be a good sport— although in this case it was the other way around. For whatever reason, it wasn’t our lucky day, and it’ll be ok.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who got tickets, YAY! I’m sure you’re going to see something amazing and I can’t wait to hear all about it. I’d recommend listening to the music ahead of time because it’s so smart and creative, there’s no way you could take it all in during the show. (Plus, I always love being able to sing along during a musical!)

And if you get sick on the night of your show… or you unexpectedly have to go away for business and you can’t use your know who to call.