Life Lately: A Quick Update, Some News, and The Future

Life Lately: A Quick Update

Hi everybody!  Just checking in real quick with a life update and a few pieces of news to shed some light on why my posts haven't been as frequent as they once were.  First off, though, that picture!  It looks almost like a painting, but it's actually a photo of Stillhouse Cove in Rhode Island, where I was this past week visiting family.  Instead of putting up a picture of clouds, which I was about to do, this one seemed more optimistic and cheerful, which is the tone of this post, too.  Okay, onto the news... :)

I don't write many personal life posts here on the blog (I prefer to have this blog serve as more of a fitness resource for you rather than a personal journal for me), however, when life events happen that affect my writing and publishing, I want to keep you all informed!  Don't worry - nothing bad is happening.  In fact, it's all good!

I'm a barista at Starbucks.

Starbucks Apron
Starbucks Guilderland Drive Thru

Gold nametags & fedoras at the drive-thru to promote the Starbucks Rewards program. #noshame

I used to work for Starbucks back in college and I loved it.  The partners (what Starbucks calls its employees) were fantastic, the company was (and is) great to work for, and the job itself was (and still is) pretty fun.  When I moved to upstate New York in 2015, I spent a great deal of time applying for many full-time Wellness Coordinator and Health Promotion Specialist positions (what I ultimately want to do), but nothing worked out (yet!).  The time came to look at other options, even if only part-time, so I took a job as a barista back in March to start earning a bit more while I continue to work on my career trajectory.

I'm concentrating on my CPT studies.

Back in October I decided it was time to pursue my Personal Trainer certification.  It seemed like the logical next step for my career and would help develop my training for my group classes as well.  I was really good at setting aside time to study... for the first 2 weeks I had the materials. After those 2 weeks, I started having the "not this again" feeling and the studying slowly went to the back burner.  BUT!  I've set a test date (September 29, 2016) in hopes that that'll kick my butt into gear now.  So far I've been pretty good, and I aim to keep it up (September is approaching faster than I care to admit!).  While this means that my blog posts will be secondary to my studies right now, I do hope over the course of my cramming that I can provide you with better workouts and health advice here on the blog.  Quality over quantity!

I'm considering going back to school.

"It's your life, but only if you make it so."
Don't stop believing

Since having a few initial interviews for Wellness Coordinator and Health Promotion Specialist positions over the past few months, I've learned that in order to be considered for that type of career, I need to boost my credentials.  After meeting with an academic advisor here at SUNY Albany School of Public Health, getting my MPH (Master's in Public Health) is the next best step. The idea of going back to school for a Master's in something I am passionate about excites me, and the more I think about it, the more it seems like the right decision.  I'll keep you posted!

What this all means...

Alright, so I have a lot going on in my personal life, but what does this mean for YOU?  Well, if you've been a long-time subscriber, you may have noticed my publishing frequency has dropped significantly over the past few months.  It's a shame, honestly, because I have so many things I want to write about, and so many workouts I want to share with you.  Unfortunately, I just don't have the time that I used to what with working, studying, and teaching fitness classes. 

While I focus on the above, my goals for the blog are still to create quality content for you all and keep publishing - the blog isn't going anywhere!  I aim to publish at least once a week while I focus on my CPT studies right now.  I have a few killer workouts in the queue (get excited!), along with some lifestyle-focused posts and a few recipe & product reviews (hint: some great giveaways are coming!), all of which I'm excited to share!

So I hope that you'll continue to follow along, and also take this time to look back at previous workouts, healthy lifestyle tips, and delicious recipes.  Let me know what workouts you're loving or recipes you try!  And of course, thank you for your patience and being loyal readers of the blog - I couldn't do this without you!

I'd love to stay connected with you on a more frequent basis!  Follow me on social media here:

Personal Training, Here I Come!

ACE Personal Trainer Manual, 5th edition

YEP!  I decided to take the plunge!  As of today, I'm hitting the books and studying for my Personal Trainer certification through the American Council on Exercise!  I'm super excited (and also pretty nervous - see the picture below).  Nerves aside though, I think this is the logical next step in my fitness career journey and I'm pumped to keep furthering my education.

I got my Group Fitness Instructor certification back in December of 2014 (wow, almost a year ago!) after realizing that the fitness industry is where I want to be in life.  Since then I have definitely grown as an instructor and I've realized that I love teaching groups of people.  Group fitness allows me to teach on a larger scale, but with personal training, my hope is to start teaching small group training sessions and bootcamps, in addition to one-on-one coaching.

This also means that the blog will get better and better during my studies, too!  I hope that while I study, I can provide you all with better workouts, more educational posts on training and fitness in general, and a better fundamental knowledge to take with you to the gym or use at home.

Here goes nothin'!

Here goes nothin'!

Today marks Day 1 of cracking open the books and getting serious.  (I say that mainly to hold myself accountable.  Eeek!)  To study, I'll be going through that hefty manual pictured above, plus the workbook it came with, in addition to another textbook (Essentials of Exercise Science) not pictured all with the help of many online courses and practice exams.  My goal is to sit for the test by January, though I have 180 days to schedule the exam.  So, I'm keeping an open mind and staying flexible with that goal.  I don't want to rush it, but at the same time, I don't want to put it off.  So, wish me luck!  I will update you all from time to time on the studying (again, holding myself accountable here!), and of course I'll still be posting regularly too - no worries!  

So, here's to the road ahead!  "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  Or in this case, the journey of 2 huge textbooks, 1 workbook, a million note cards, 18 online modules, 2 practice tests, 1 final exam, and infinite cups of coffee, begins with Page 1.

And because it's Monday and we all need some motivation and inspiration from time to time, I'll leave you with one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in a long time, right outside my apartment last night (no filter needed): 

Sunset in Albany

Readers: chat with me!  To all my CPT friends out there - what is your best study tip (or two)?  What do you love most about being a personal trainer?  Do you do small group training in addition to helping clients one on one?  For non-CPT friends - have you ever hired a personal trainer before?  Did you like the experience?  What do you/would you look for in a trainer?

Fitness Friday 10/30: A Re-Introduction + A "Spooky" Workday Workout

Warning: LONG post ahead!  Happy Friday to you all!  Before I get to the usual Fitness Friday series posts here, I want to take a minute to welcome all new readers!  This week and next I'm participating in a health & fitness blog hop hosted by Kristy over at Runaway Bridal Planner.  What's a blog hop?  In short, it's a great way to network and get to know other bloggers in your niche.  I've been connecting with so many inspiring people this week and can't wait to continue making friends next week too. 

So, to start things off, I'd like to (re)introduce myself to you, give you a few fun facts about me and let you know what you can expect on the blog here.  To make it easier to read, here's a bulleted list of some facts about me and some links to other things on the blog.

About Me:

  • My name is Ellyn, I'm a group fitness instructor and health educator living in upstate New York.
  • I grew up in south-eastern Connecticut, lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan for 2 years during college, and moved to Rhode Island for 6 years back in 2009.  I just recently made the move to Albany, NY back in September of 2015 to live with my boyfriend.  
  • I regularly teach group exercise classes at Vent Fitness and the YMCA in Guilderland.  In addition, I teach small-group strength training classes at Free Style Fitness & Yoga Center in Albany. I also occasionally teach local in-store classes at places like Athleta. 
  • A few professional goals of mine include getting certified in personal training and fitness nutrition in the very near future.  I would love to start teaching small group training sessions and work with clients one on one.  I am also currently looking for Wellness Coordinator/Director positions in the NY capital region.  My goal there is to help develop client-based fitness and wellness programs for corporations around the state.
  • If you'd like to know more, here are some Fun Facts about me.  I also wrote a post a while back on why I love being a group fitness instructor.  Check it out to learn a bit more about why I'm so passionate about this field. :)

About the Blog:

  • I started this blog back in October of 2014 as an outlet for me to share my journey into the fitness industry and also to share the things I am learning through continuing education and professional advancement in the field.  I also share the workouts I teach during my classes as well as at home workouts and healthy tips to help maintain a healthy lifestyle when life gets a little busy.  We all need help with that from time to time!
  • The name of the blog just came to me one day after thinking long and hard about starting a fitness blog in the first place.  I probably had gone to more than enough weddings at that time and kept hearing the marriage vow "... in sickness and in health...".  After that, the name came to me and it's stuck ever since.
  • A few goals for the blog in its second year are to host fitness challenges for subscribers, start a few new workout series (e.g. Beginner Strength Training Guide, At-Home Workout Series, etc.) and to Link Up with fellow fitness bloggers!  (If you're here from the hop, or are a fellow blogger yourself, and have a few good health & fitness Link Ups to recommend, please let me know in the comments!  I'd love to get involved!)

Okay, whew.  That was a long introduction!  If you made it this far, let's move on to the fitness for today.  For those of you who are new to the blog, every Friday I post a Fitness Friday mini workout.  I originally started this series as a reminder to get up and move your body during your work day, especially for those of us who work desk jobs.  The workouts usually consist of 3 different bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere (like your office or cubicle).  They're designed not so much to make you sweat, but more to get your blood circulating and get you up out of that desk chair.  Ready for the fun today?  Keep reading for the details of the exercises, and here's a reminder that all the workout images are pinnable, so save them to your workout Pinterest board to access them wherever you find yourself! :)

Fitness Friday 10/30: Spooky Edition

Fitness Friday 10/30: Spooky Edition

3 x 3 - 3 times through for the full workout, then repeat 3 times throughout your day today.

Spider Planks - start in a regular plank position on your hands (or on your forearms if your wrists give you trouble).  Maintaining a neutral spine (i.e. no bend or arch in the back, and butt down), bend one knee and bring it out to the side toward your shoulder.  Place it back down and do the same on the other side.  Keep alternating "spider crawls" for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: if you'd like, you can also do these from your knees.  Just remember to keep your butt down and spine straight from neck to tailbone.

Zombie Marches - start standing and reach your hands straight out in front of you.  Keep your arms there, and one at a time, lift your legs up straight, trying to reach your toes to your hands.  Keep marching in place moving as quickly as you can for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: think about keeping your chest up and spine straight here, head up and gaze forward.  Bring your feet to your hands - try not to bend over to bring your hands down to meet your toes.

Scaredy Cat Push Ups - I call these 'scaredy cat' because at the top of the push up you'll round your back slightly, just like a scared cat does (except not that extreme!).  So, start in a push up position either on your feet or your knees (remember spinal alignment!), do 1 push up, and at the top as you come up, round out your shoulders, hollowing your chest, and engaging your abdominals to help you hunch.  Do that at the top of every one, and continue for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: go at your own pace here.  These don't have to be a fast, do-as-many-as-you-can challenge (although if that's your M.O. then go for it - with good form!).  I'd rather you focus on form and do a few than rush through a lot with improper technique.

There you have it!  Remember to get through those exercises 2 more times right now for the full workout, and try to get the workout in 2 more times throughout your day.  Enjoy!

Readers: chat with me!  If you're here from the hop, welcome!  How'd you like the mini workout?  Do you think that's something you'd be able to do in your office or at home?  Feedback about this post or anything else about the blog?  I'd love to hear it!  How is everyone celebrating Halloween tomorrow?  Do you get a lot of trick or treaters?