Posts Tagged ‘Fitness Classes’

Group fitness classes offer encouragement, community, and positive energy that can keep you  motivated and help you achieve your fitness goals.  Not to mention groups are much more engaging than sweating solo and the camaraderie  from the other participants can increase the fun factor in your workouts.  But with millions of different group fitness instructor options, sometimes choosing the right class for you can be daunting. Finding the right instructor can make a huge difference in whether or not you enjoy group fitness and choose to make it  lifelong habit.

The best group fitness instructors make exercise fun and help you improve your conditioning by appropriately challenging you according to your fitness level. They also teach moves that help you get the most out of your workout and avoid injury by providing guidelines during class on how to correct your form.

But choosing the right instructor isn’t just a matter of trial and error. There are steps you can take ahead of time to ensure the instructor you choose is qualified and a good fit for your personality and fitness level. Here are my top tips to help you find your best group fitness instructor fit that will inspire and guide you to greater health and more fabulous workouts!


Check for Credentials

One of the first things to look for in a fitness instructor is certification from a nationally recognized certifying organization, such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). That accreditation tells you the instructor you’re working with has the knowledge to provide you with a safe and effective workout.

The club where you work out should make sure their instructors hold appropriate credentials. But if you’re not sure, you can double-check by logging on to the ACE  or ACSM website or asking the club for a current list of instructor certifications. Doing your homework will ensure you have a teacher that’s qualified to guide you in safe, effective workouts.

Get References.

Ask other participants who’ve taken a class with a particular instructor about the class format and teaching style to decide whether a certain class would be right for you. Have they enjoyed the classes? Are there any drawbacks to be aware of?  Many reviews from other regulars will give you an idea of what to expect in your first workout with that particular instructor. Yelp can also be a good place to do some research online to discover other’s experiences. 

Find a TEACHER not just a leader.

Find an instructor who is a teacher—NOT just a leader. Really qualified group fitness instructors should be cueing form and imparting some information that’s valuable for you to take out of the room with you. Listen to what they’re saying, do their words educate and inspire you? When you can get a great workout AND learn about your body in the process, you’ve found a talented teacher. Heres a clue to help you:  A teacher has good information. A leader may just exercise in front or count a lot of reps.

Find an instructor who speaks your body language.

We all learn and follow in different ways. Some need to hear articulate cues, some need to visually see an exercise, or some may even need a hands-on adjustment to feel the exercise. All instructors motivate their groups in different ways. Its important to find an instructor who “makes sense” to you. It can be highly subjective. Consider it looking for a coach. Who’s going to get you to work harder for your very best results? Chances are you’ll know when you meet him or her after a few workouts.

Just DO IT .

Taking class is the only way to know if the fitness instructor is right for you. During the class, look for an instructor who:

  • Makes the class personal by making eye contact with you and others in the room.
  • Makes you feel welcome, comfortable, and tries to learn your name.
  • Offers modifications and intensity options to meet all ability levels in the room.
  • Makes exercise fun, engaging, and positive.
  • Focuses on improving health and energy, rather than appearance or fitting in “skinny jeans”.
  • Avoids comparing participants or “barking orders” and instead provides genuine acknowledgement for personal accomplishments.
  • Always puts your workout above his or hers. Its a BIG red flag if the instructor is more concerned with getting his/her workout instead of helping you get yours.

A good instructor will do all those things and make you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally happy.  If it’s your first time, consider introducing yourself to the instructor and asking him or her to keep an eye on you, especially if you have medical issues to consider. And always try a class at least twice to see if you really like it. No instructor should be judged by just one class. Everyone has off days and it’s never the same class every time. Give each instructor three classes to see if their style matches what you are looking for. Ask questions. Give feedback. And always give everyone a chance.

Most likely when you find the right instructor for you, you’ll KNOW. A light bulb will go off in your head and you’ll think, ” OH WOW! This is the most amazing class ever! Why haven’t I taken this class before?!!?”. When you find your group fitness fit you’ll be smiling LONG after taking the class. Its a good sign when you can’t wait to go back.

The connection you make with your fitness instructor can be life altering. I am a better person because of my time sweating with Shannon Fable, Stephanie Snyder, Jay Blahnik, Erika Quest, and Buddy Machua. These teachers went above and beyond helping me with my physical strength…. they changed my life simply by being in it.

Do you have a favorite fitness instructor who has helped you grow stronger? Leave your favorites as a comment below – share your referrals and we will all get a chance to take class with top notch teachers!

Hope to see you all in class soon! Till then… keep shining 🙂



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Caroline’s “TOO HOT to TROT” Tabata Workout

Want to learn how to work smarter, not harder when it comes to accomplishing your fitness goals? Become a fan of high intensity interval training (H.I.T.T.).  Short burst, high intensity workouts provide quality training in minimal time for maximum results. One of the most popular high intensity interval training protocols is a method called Tabata. These 4 minute circuits are guaranteed to get you in great shape and leave you breathless. You may be thinking, “Four minutes…. thats IT?!”. But don’t write it off till you try it out. Trust me on this one,  less is MORE when you train smart. Are you ready to sweat? Here’s the scoop on Tabata training and a quick workout you can take with you anywhere for fast results. It’s a fun one…. and I hope it leaves you breathless 😉

What are Tabata Intervals?

Tabata’s is a form of High Intensity Interval Training. In the mid-90’s, Dr. Izumi Tabata at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo started experimenting with various exercise protocols to study their energy production systems in athletes. One protocol, now known as Tabata, produced major athletic performance improvements – increases in VO2Max, anaerobic threshold, fat loss and overall aerobic conditioning were all observed in repeated studies. Further research has shown the 4 minute Tabata protocol to be more effective than 60 minutes of endurance activity at improving anaerobic and aerobic capacity.

What are the benefits of Tabata training?

  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Increased anaerobic capacity
  • Increased resting metabolic rate (RMR)
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Said to improve insulin levels which could help with type 2 diabetes

How do I do it? 

Tabata intervals are set time periods of work and rest: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. Tabatas can be performed anywhere and on any exercise. From swimming to spinning, lunges or burpees, Tabata training is convenient and doesn’t require a gym or fancy equipment. To perform the workout warm up properly for a minimum of 3-5 minutes. Then complete Tabata intervals (20/10 x 8: 4 minutes). You can add another exercise tabata circuit for a longer workout or simply stick to one 4 minute drill for a short, quality sweat.  Once you’re done, cool down, stretch, and enjoy the endorphin rush!

Things to Consider before you Tabata:

Tabata is considered an advanced form of training and should be treated as such. The goal is to challenge your body at a maximum effort – you should feel breathless and wiped at the end of each 4 minute circuit. It should be TOUGH! As with any type of high-intensity training, it’s best not to do interval workouts on consecutive days. Aim to alternate days and only perform interval training 2-3 times a week max to stay injury free and reap the most benefit.

First time interval training?

Don’t be intimidated, just ease your way into it. When trying out a workout for the first time its always a good idea to start out with less intervals or decrease the intensity. Try adding in 2 sets of tabatas at the beginning or end of your next cardio workout and build on from there, depending on how you feel. Then when you are comfortable add in more interval rounds and amp up the intensity. If you pace yourself and listen to your body you’ll improve your fitness gradually and injury free!

Caroline’s “Too Hot To Trot” Tabata Workout!

There are a LOT of ways you can personalize this workout to meet your needs. After the warm-up, choose to do one tabata for a short workout or mix and match with the other exercises included below for a longer sweat sesh. Customize the routine to fit your schedule and fitness level. Have fun, move well, and enjoy TABATA!

Warm Up (10-12 minutes)

An extended warm-up is always a good idea when getting ready for a Tabata workout. The warm-up not only helps prevent injuries, it allows you to push at a higher intensity when the time comes for 20 seconds ON.

  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 25 mountain climbers. Plank position, crossing opposite knee to elbow
  • 20 walking lunges
  • One minute of high knees
  • Repeat entire warm-up twice before beginning tabatas.

Exercise 1: Lower Body/Cardio. Side to Side Squat

Level 1. Perform side-to-side squats. Step left foot out to left, slightly wider than hip width and squat. Stand up from squat and bring left foot back next to right. Repeat the squat on the right. Continue on alternating for 20 seconds.

Level 2. Add hop between squats as you switch legs.

Level 3. Touch floor during squat, and add hop between squats as you switch legs

Exercise 2: Upper Body. PUSH UP.

Level 1. Do push-ups on knees.

Level 2. Do push-ups on toes. Between each push-up, perform a “jack” by jumping feet out and in.

Level 3: Do continuous push-ups on toes.

There are many different levels of the push-up. Click here for all the details on each one and to make sure you are performing yours with good form!

Exercise 3: Lower Body / Cardio. Alternating Lunges

Level 1. Alternating Lunge left and right for 20 seconds

Level 2. Perform one set of alternating lunges left and right. Then perform one plyometric lunge. Repeat.

Level 3. Plyometric jump lunges. Lunge down and explode body up in the air to switch sides.

Exercise 4: Core. Cross Fit Situps

Level 1. With soles of the feet together and knees apart, perform a crunch

Level 2. Same leg position perform a full sit-up

Level 3. Same leg position, perform the full sit-up for speed and QUALITY.

For a sample video of what this looks like, click HERE. 

Exercise 5: Total Body Burpee

Level 1. Hands to the floor. Step legs out to plank and back up to stand

Level 2. Hands to floor. Hop legs out to plank. Perform one push-up. Step or hop back in.

Level 3. Chest to the floor, body on the ground, hands by side of the chest. Quickly hop the legs between the feet and hop. Repeat.

Watch this video to see the burpee done WELL and for helpful form tips.

Once you have completed your workout, be sure to take 5-10 minutes to cool your body down, stretch, and hydrate. After all those burpees, this video might be a good choice:

The above workout can and should be modified to meet your specific needs. As always, HONOR your body and injuries. While I am a certified fitness professional, its always a good idea to check with your doctor before making any fitness and nutrition changes.

Copyright Caroline Jordan Fitness

Are tabata intervals part of your fitness routine? What is your favorite exercise to use for eight rounds of 20 seconds ON? Leave a comment below with your #1 favorite move to use  for Tabata training. I love sharing new ideas for workouts with you, together we can get STRONGER!

Have a great week and let me know how I can support YOU in all your fitness and life goals. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Till next time… keep shining 🙂


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“People always say:

‘I’m too busy to exercise,’

‘I have to be there for the kids,’

‘I’ve got too much work.’

You know what? These are little lies you’re telling yourself, and the go against the laws of self-preservation, because the more WHOLE and HEALTHY you are, the more fully you can give to other people.”

– Oprah

Leave it to Oprah to remind us the importance of prioritizing personal health in our lives. But sometimes life gets in the way of your fitness goals. In our crazy world, it is a huge challenge to make time for yourself, let alone a workout. That’s why it can be helpful to have an exercise routine that you can do anywhere, anytime, no matter how busy your life seems.

Lucky for YOU making it count doesn’t require a whole lot of time or equipment. Short sessions and smart, high quality training WILL add up. Here are easy-to-follow exercises that will get you up and moving, anytime, anywhere, no matter your fitness level. Whether you’re stuck at the office or traveling for work, at home with baby or simply can’t get out of the house, these no equipment needed workout moves will help you sweat when life gets hectic. You can mix and match all of the exercises and choose to fit in a few anytime during your day. Or you can combine all the below for a complete total body workout you can take anywhere. I hope these no equipment needed moves help you the next time your life has left you scrambling to find time to schedule in a workout or two.  Enjoy and remember that whether you sweat in your hotel or while cooking dinner, it ALL adds up towards a healthier, happier you 🙂

Caroline’s Anywhere Anytime Exercises:

Fantastic no-equipment needed fitness moves!


Plank: Lie face-down on the floor with your legs together, forearms close to the torso, and toes perpendicular to the floor as if you’re going to do a push up. Lift your body using your abdominal muscles and your arms, until it’s in a straight line from head to toe, and the only things touching the floor are your toes and your forearms. Hold this position for as long as you can, working up to three minutes at a time. Click HERE for more of my perfect plank tips. 

Seated Leg raise:  Seated on the floor upright with the legs extended straight out in front of you and feet flexed, place the hands on the floor and slightly round the torso. Then, lift the hips off the ground, hold for five seconds and release. Repeat!

Push Up to Side Plank: Combine pushup and plank for the BEST bang for your buck! Perform one pushup. After coming back up into a starting push-up position, rotate your body to the right and extend the right hand overhead, forming a side plank with arms in a T position. Return to the starting position, do a normal push-up, then rotate to the left.

Bicycle: Lie down with knees bent and hands behind the head. With the knees in toward the chest, bring the right elbow towards the left knee as the right leg straightens. Continue alternating sides. Its as easy as riding a bike right?! Go slow, focus on form, and aim to get the shoulders off the ground 🙂

Crunch: Form is key when it comes to this standby! Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With hands behind the head, place the chin down slightly and peel the head and shoulders off the mat while engaging the core. Continue curling up until the upper back is off the mat. Hold briefly, then lower the torso back toward the mat slowly.

Windshield Wipers: Target the oblique muscles. Lying on your back with your knees bent and core tight, let the knees fall gradually to the left (feeling a good stretch). Hold for five seconds, return to center, and repeat on the right side.

Butt Bridge: Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Place arms at your side and lift up the spine and hips. Only the head, feet, arms, and shoulders should be on the ground. Then lift one leg upwards, keeping the core tight. Slowly bring the leg back down, then lift back up. Try to do 10 reps per leg, then bring the knee in place and spine back on the floor.

Single Leg Ab Press: Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet on the floor. Tighten the abs and raise the right leg, with the knee and hip bent at a 90-degree angle. Push the right hand on top of the lifted knee, using the core to create pressure between the hand and knee. Hold for five counts, and then lower back down to repeat with the left hand and knee. 

Double Leg Ab Press: Two legs is twice the fun. Follow the same run-down for  the single leg press (above), but bring up both legs at the same time, pushing the hands against the knees.

Side Plank: Roll to the side and come up on one foot and elbow. Make sure the hips are lifted and the core is engaged, and hang tight for 30-60 seconds (or as long as you can stomach!).

Sprinter Sit-Up: Lie on your back with the legs straight and arms by your side — elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Now sit up, bringing the left knee toward the right elbow. Lower the body and repeat on the other side.

Russian Twist: Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet together, lifted a few inches off the floor. With the back at a 45-degree angle from the ground, move the arms from one side to another in a twisting motion. Here, slow and steady wins the race: The slower the twist, the deeper the burn.

Have internet with you? Here is one of my quick, no equipment needed core workouts:

Lower Body

Wall Sit: Slide down a wall until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure the knees are directly above the ankles and keep the back straight. Go for 60 seconds per set (or however long it takes to turn those legs to jelly). Need more fire? Add some bicep curls or hold the arms out straight.

Lunge: Stand with the hands on the hips and feet hip-width apart. Step the right leg forward and lower your body until the right knee is close to or touching the floor and bent at least 90 degrees. Return to the starting position and repeat with the left leg. Try stepping back into the lunge for a different variation.

Clock Lunge:  Complete a traditional forward lunge, then take a big step to the right and lunge again. Finish off the semicircle with a backwards lunge, then return to standing. And all that’s one rep! Aim for 10 reps and then switch legs.

Lunge-to-Row: Start by doing a normal lunge. Instead of bringing that forward leg back to the starting position, raise it up off the floor while lifting the arms overhead. The leg should remain bent at about 90 degrees. Add weights to really bring the heat.

Jump POWER Lunges: We do these moves a lot in my group fitness classes in San Francisco. Stand with the feet together and lunge forward with the right foot. Jump straight up, propelling the arms forward while keeping the elbows bent. While in the air, switch legs and land in a lunge with the opposite leg forward. Repeat and continue switching legs. Try to do 10! This move is great for explosive power and cardio.

Curtsy/ Crossover Lunge: Another one of my fitness class favorites.  When lunging, step the left leg back behind the right, bending the knees and lowering the hips until the right thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Its most important to remember to keep the hips square and watch your posture!

Squat: Stand with the feet parallel or turned out 15 degrees — whatever is most comfortable. Sit the butt back and down, bringing the thighs parallel to the floor. Make sure the heels stay on the floor and chest stays lifted. Press through the heels to return to a standing position.

Single leg Squat: Stand holding the arms straight out in front of the body, and raise the right leg, flexing the right ankle and pushing the hips back. Lower the body while keeping the right leg raised (a squat with one leg). Hold and then return to standing. You can use a bench to squat/sit on to work your way towards doing the single leg squat if needed.

Squat Jump: Cardio squat! Perform a normal squat and then JUMP, reaching the arms straight overhead. Aim for 15 reps, taking a quick breather before the next set.

Chair Squat Pose: Stand with the feet hip-distance apart and squat until the thighs are parallel to the floor while lifting the arms up. Straighten the legs, then lift up the right knee while swinging the left arm outside the right knee. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.

Step-Up: Find a step or bench and place the right foot on the elevated surface. Step up until the right leg is straight then return to start. Repeat, aiming for 10-12 reps on each side.

Single Leg Deadlift: Start in a standing position with the feet together. Lift the right leg off the floor and lower the arms and torso while raising the right leg behind the body. Keep the left knee slightly bent and reach the arms as close to the floor as possible. Raise the torso while lowering the right leg. Perform 12-15 reps and then switch legs.

Calf Raise: From a standing position, slowly rise up on the toes, keeping the knees straight and heels off the floor. Hold briefly, then come back down. You can also try standing on something elevated (like a step) to achieve a wider range of motion.

Here are a few of the above lower body moves in action:

Upper Body

Push-Up: The classic. Start in plank position with hands shoulder width apart keep the feet flexed at hip distance, and tighten the core. Bend the elbows until the chest reaches the ground, and then push back up (make sure to keep the elbows tucked close to the body). Can’t do a full push-up just yet? Thats ok! Use my helpful push-up guide and find the variation that currently suits you.

Donkey Kick: Start in a push-up position, with the legs together. Tighten the core and kick both legs into the air with knees bent, reaching the feet back toward the glutes. Just try to land gently when reversing back to the starting position.

Reverse Fly: For DIY dumbbells, grab two cans or bottles of water. Stand up straight, with one foot in front of the other and the front knee slightly bent. With palms facing each other and the abs engaged, bend forward slightly from the waist and extend arms out to the side, squeezing the shoulder blades. Repeat.

Superman: Lie facedown with arms and legs extended. Keeping the torso as still as possible, simultaneously raise the arms and legs to form a small curve in the body.

Contralateral Limb Raises: Lie on your stomach with the arms reaching forward and palms facing one another. Slowly lift one arm a few inches off the floor, keeping it straight without rotating the shoulders and keeping the head and torso still. Hold the position, then lower the arm back down, moving to the other arm.

Triceps Dip: Get seated near a step or bench. Sit on the floor with knees slightly bent, and grab the edge of the elevated surface and straighten the arms. Bend them to a 90-degree angle, and straighten again while the heels push towards the floor. For some extra fire, reach the right arm out while lifting the left leg.

Diamond Push-Up: These push-ups start with a diamond shaped hand position (situate them so that the thumbs and index fingers touch). This hand readjustment will give those triceps some extra (burning) love.

Boxer:Starting with feet hip-width apart and knees bent, keep the elbows in and punch one arm forward and the other arm back. Hug the arms back in and switch arms — like you’re boxing! This one counts as cardio.

Shoulder Stabilization Series (I, Y, T, W O): Lie down on your stomach with arms extended overhead and palms facing each other. Move the arms into an “I”, a “Y”, a “T”, a “W” and an “O”. (Gimme a Y, you know you want to!).

This video combines a few of core, upper body, and total body workout moves in 7 minutes:

Total Body

Inchworm: Stand up tall with the legs straight. Bend at the hips and bring your fingers to touch the floor. Keep the legs straight (but not locked!),and then walk the hands forward bringing yourself to plank position. Once in a plank, start taking tiny steps so the feet meet the hands. Continue bugging forward and in for 4-6 reps.

Bear Crawl:  Starting on the hands and knees,  rise up onto the toes, tighten the core, and slowly reach forward with the right arm and right knee, followed by the left side. Continue the crawl for 8-10 reps.

Plyometric Push-Up: Start on a well-padded surface and complete a traditional push-up. Then, in an explosive motion, push up hard enough to come off the floor. Once back on solid ground, immediately head into the next repetition.

Stair Climb with Grocery Carry: Turn stairs into a cardio machine — no magic wand necessary. Grab dumbbells (or household objects – bags of groceries work great!) and briskly walk up and down the stairway while simultaneously holding weight with GOOD POSTURE to work the whole body.

Mountain Climber: Starting on your hands and knees, bring the left foot forward directly under the chest while straightening the right leg. Keeping the hands on the ground and core tight, jump and switch legs. The left leg should now be extended behind the body with the right knee forward.

Prone Walkout: Beginning on all fours with the core engaged, slowly walk the hands forward staying on the toes but not moving them forward. Next, gradually walk the hands backwards to the starting position, maintain stability and balance.

Burpees: One of the most effective full-body exercises around, this one starts out in a low squat position with hands on the floor. Next, kick the feet back to a push-up position, complete one push-up, then immediately return the feet to the squat position. Leap up as high as possible before squatting and moving back into the push-up portion.

Here is an example of how you can put all the above moves together for a quick 10 minute circuit you can do anywhere:


You can roll out your yoga mat just about ANYWHERE you want. Do your sun salutes in a neighborhood park, on the beach by the water, or in your hotel room while you travel. If you have a computer or phone with access to internet, online yoga streaming websites like YOGAGLO are helpful in providing quality yoga classes. And of course you can stretch, breathe, or meditate anywhere as well. Take time to enjoy BEING and appreciating the moment. Real relaxation isn’t found on the couch – take it all in and practice gratitude for every second. Ive done yoga in union square, at lululemon Grant Ave, and even while waiting for the bus! Check out some fun photos of my yoga adventures and a 10 minute stretching sequence you can do anywhere:

Yoga with Stephanie Snyder in Union Square San francisco

Leading a yoga class at lululemon Grant Avenue San Francisco

10 minute relaxing stretching sequence – take off your shoes and relax!

Looking for more motivation or need to see the exercises in action? Check out all of my workout videos on my YOUTUBE channel. While they may not be filmed professionally, these short videos offer quick workouts you can enjoy anywhere and Im sweating along with you! You can piece together 5 or 10 minute segments for a complete workout – or squeeze in one when your tight on time. They can be downloaded to your Iphone, ipod, or computer for at home or on the road workouts to go. I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy these videos and  find them useful in times your busy schedule challenges you. I love feedback and  requests – so if you’d like to see another workout video or two,  leave a note as a comment below and let me know what you’d like to move to.

Do you have a favorite “take with you anywhere” fitness move? Whats your strategy for fitting in exercise with a busy schedule? Leave your #1 on-the-go workout tip as a comment below. Together we can inspire each other to be healthier.

Onward and upward…. hope to see YOU soon for a workout. Till then, keep shining.


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The low lighting. The techno music. The jersey fitted regulars who walk out the door covered in sweat. The world of “Spinning” can be intimidating. But don’t let the bike shorts fool you: Indoor Cycling is for EVERY gym go-er. If you are in a search of a fun group workout that provides a serious sweat, you might want to give cycle class a try. This low impact exercise option provides a great workout challenge and is designed to accommodate to all fitness levels. The bike will only work as hard as you want it to as both the  speed and resistance are in YOUR control. This is one of the reasons why I love indoor cycling: EVERY one can participate no matter what age or fitness ability. Its welcoming, fun, and a great workout for everyone.

Whether you’re a regular or never stepped in a spin room before, there are a few things to watch out for when you get your biking cardio. Here’s my guide to getting the most out of your ride and becoming a spin fanatic for life.

Indoor Cycling 101. Your Guide to Riding STRONG.

“Spinning” / Indoor Cycling Defined: A cardio class utilizing a indoor spinning bike. The pedals and wheels spin, but the bike stays stationary. There is a knob for you to adjust your resistance and make the workout more challenging or easy to handle, depending on the instructor’s directions and your preferences.

What to Expect:  Usually a 45-60 minute class in which the instructor will lead you through a warm-up, cardio workout, and cooldown. Different instructors will use different ways to gauge how hard you’re working. Some will use levels (“On a scale of 1-5 right now, you should be at a level 3”), resistance (“turn the knob twice”), cadence (how fast your wheels are spinning. Some clubs have spin bikes with consoles on them which help keep track of time, cadence and power), and all instructors will focus on your position (seated, standing or climbing). Speed will also be emphasized throughout the class through slower hill climbs (with heavy resistance), steady state or sprinting (speed intervals). Expect different drills of sprinting, hills, jumping, and tempo work set to the instructors choice playlist. The type of workout you get in Spin will depend a LOT on the instructor, their teaching style, exercise /cycling background, and music preferences. I have been to some classes where techno is blasted and the teacher doesn’t say a word; others with detailed drills and a cheering crowd. The best way to find the right instructor/class fit for you is to shop around and try them all. EVERYONE has a unique style and is looking for something different out of the spin class experience.

Getting Started

Comfortable workout clothes, a water bottle and a BRING IT attitude are all you need to get started. The following things can make a great Spinning class even better.

  • Moisture wicking tops to keep you cool and dry – expect to sweat A LOT.
  • A longer pair of shorts or padded cycling shorts to make the ride more comfortable for important parts 😉
  • A great water bottle to keep you hydrated and performing your best. Its a good idea to consume at least 40 ounces of water before, during and after  a 40-minute ride.
  • Shoes with a thick sole.  Thinner soles can be painful on your arches when the medal pedals are in the middle of your foot (nike frees would be a bad choice for cycling). If you fall in love with Spinning, you might choose to invest in cycling cleats. They provide much more power and muscle engagement in EVERY pedal stroke. Invest in one pair and they will last you years. Sports Basement is a great spot to buy high quality cycling cleats at a discount. And who knows… you might buy a pair and turn into a real outdoor cyclist 🙂
  • A small towel. Or two 😉

Ready to Ride

Spin bikes are designed and engineered to fit all shapes, sizes and abilities. Adjustable, with a real-bike feel, these bikes let you tailor seat and handlebar height to create the perfect fit thats right for you. With the proper bike setup, you can reap the full benefits of the cycling class and minimize the risk of injury. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin your spin workout.

  • Be sure to arrive to class at least 15 minutes early to discuss bike safety and setup procedures with your instructor. When you are new to a Spin  class, its important to let your instructor know. He or she can help you adjust your  bike and familiarize you with its features.
  • Adjust the seat height so that your knees are slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
  • Adjust fore/aft seat position so that your arms are a comfortable distance from the handlebars and your elbows are slightly bent.
  • If you’re a beginner, start with the handlebars in a relatively high position. As your flexibility increases and you become more comfortable on the bike you can begin to move the handlebars downward until they are approximately level with the saddle. Always make sure that the handlebars, seat post and seat slider are securely attached and that all pop pins are completely engaged.
  • Remember to ride at your own pace and learn the seated movements before advancing to standing movements and jumps. Always stay in control and focus on your form.

During Class

  • Place the ball of your foot over the center of the pedal. If wearing sneakers, make sure that your shoelaces are tucked in and your feet are securely attached to the pedals.
  • Note that most spin bikes have a fixed gear, you must gradually reduce the speed of your pedal strokes to stop the pedals from moving. To decrease the speed of your pedaling, press down on the red resistance knob to stop the pedals.
  • Remember, there is no competition in Spin class. Go at the pace that feels right for you.
  • There should always be some resistance on the bike. Familiarize yourself with all movements at a moderate pace before you attempt to increase your speed.
  • Stay in control. Focus on your form and on making smooth transitions between movements.
  • If you begin to feel faint or dizzy, slowly stop pedaling, carefully dismount from the bike and inform your instructor immediately.

Spin Class DO’s And DONTS

Form and Figure: Proper form is an essential part of a Cycling program. If you don’t have the right form and technique, you not only lose out on a great workout, you may be putting your body at un- necessary risk. Here are some of the questions that determine whether a movement should be used in Spinning class:

  • Can you perform the movement on a road bike? If not, don’t do it!
  • Are you in control?
  • Does the movement seem to have a physiological function, or is it just used as “choreography”?
  • Is the movement safe and efficient?
  • Does the movement feel natural?

Watch Out for these technique DON’Ts! The following are variations on Cycling technique that can compromise your workout AND cause injury:

  • Excessive Movement. Excessive upper body movement, including crunches, push ups and excessive side-to-side leaning is not only inefficient, it can throw off your balance and possibly strain your back. If you want to build-upper body strength, dedicate time to these exercises in a separate strength building session—off the bike.
  • Riding Posture. Riding seated with the arms reaching FAR  forward and the back rounded may seem harmless, particularly since elite cyclists ride in a similar position using aero bars. Since triathletes have custom fitted bikes with shorter top tubes, they can stretch into this position comfortably. However on the Spin bike, this hyper-flexed position may strain the back and can be uncomfortable, particularly for shorter individuals. Keep your shoulders down, core engaged, and maintain strong posture when you ride.
  • “Squats” and other Isolated Movements: Isolating the lower body while pedaling might feel like a great exercise for the quadriceps, but it can place undue strain on the knees and spine or cause injury. You would never do a “Squat” on a real bike, its NOT a good idea in class.  Instead, try a hill climb  and give your legs a good workout with the right form.
  • Pedal Stroke. Watch out for POINTING your toes as you complete each pedal stroke. Work instead on dropping your heel while you cycle, moving your foot as if you are scraping mud off your shoe.
  • Jumping too Quickly. Jumps are effective and challenging, but when they’re performed too fast, they don’t do any good. Since the focus of Jumps is to create smooth transitions between seated and standing positions, the key is proper speed. If Jumps are performed too quickly, the exercise can be ineffective or cause injury.
  • CRAZY Legs.  Riding at high cadence without resistance is ineffective on a Spin bike (and could cause serious butt soreness). Instead, ride at 110 RPM or less. If you begin to bounce in the saddle, increase the resistance. Riding at a consistent pace with good resistance develops power, strength and endurance.

Class Etiquette: 

  • Sanitize! Many gyms have bottles of sanitizing spray and towels handy for a bike sweat clean-up after your workout. Fancier clubs take care of bike clean up for you after each class – the maintainance staff at Equinox is FABULOUS!
  • Talking. It can often be perceived as rude to have conversations or talk loudly while the class is going on. Some instructors dont mind, but other participants might. It’s best to save your coffee chat for after class. That way everyone can enjoy their ride without having to hear you’re latest gossip.
  • Cell Phones. It’s best to leave the phone OUT of your workout so you can get the most from the experience (multi-tasking works the OPPOSITE way you want it to trust me). If you really must have your phone on you for emergency calls, please take the call OUTSIDE the spin room. Yes it’s happened in my class…. so its out there on this blog post 😉
  • So fresh and SO clean. Clean clothes and deodorant are a MUST. The bikes are close to each other, be a nice neighbor.
  • Connect with your instructor. We are here because we LOVE cycling with you. Say hello, it makes our day 🙂

I have taught cycling for 14 years and LOVED every second. I look forward to every class I teach and a chance to connect with others through movement and music. If you are in the Bay Area, I’d love to share a class with you. I currently teach the following Cycling classes in San Francisco:

Tuesday: 1230-115pm “CYCLING the Workout” at EQUINOX Pine Street and 6pm SPIN Circuit (one part cycling one part weights). Club One Citigroup Center

Thursday: 1230-115pm “CYCLING the Workout” at EQUINOX Pine Street

Friday: 12:15-115pm “CYCLING the Workout” at EQUINOX Pine Street

Saturday: 11am “CYCLING the Workout” at EQUINOX Pine Street

If you cant make it in to ride with me, here are a few songs that are on my spring spinning playlist. Maybe they will inspire you to get on the bike and sweat.

Caroline’s Fun Spring Cycle Playlist 2012

  1. Pjanoo (Club Mix) / Eric Prydz
  2. Too Much In Love ( Original Version DRM ) / Chris Willis
  3. You da One (Dave Aude Radio) / Rihanna
  4. I’m a Machine (feat. Crystal Nicole & Tyrese Gibson) / David Guetta
  5. Turn Up the Music / Chris Brown
  6. 6 Foot 7 Foot (feat. Cory Gunz) / Lil Wayne
  7. Lights (Fear of Tigers Remix) / Ellie Goulding
  8. Don’t Hold Your Breath (Kaskade Remix) / Nicole Scherzinger
  9. Sorry for Party Rocking / LMFAO
  10. Million Dollar Bill (Rauhofer Reconstruction Mix) / Whitney Houston (shout out! RIP Whitney 🙂
  11. Jesus Walks / Kanye West
  12. Levels / Avicii
  13. Took My Love (feat. Red Roo, Vein & David Rush) / Pitbull
  14. Block Rockin Beats / Chemical Brothers
  15. Pass At Me (Junior Sanchez Remix) / Timbaland
  16. We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monáe) / fun.
  17. Choose (feat. Ne-Yo & Kelly Rowland) / David Guetta
  18. titanium ( feat. sia) / David Guetta
  19. Cheers (Drink To That) / Rihanna

Indoor Cycling workouts can be a great part of a regular fitness routine. I challenge you to try out a class or two this week – your legs, lungs, and heart will THANK YOU for it!

Do you take cycling classes on a regular basis? What is YOUR favorite song to ride to?

Thanks again for being such a fabulous fitness family. I look forward to seeing you in class or on a bike for a workout soon!


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End of the year Fitness Motivation made easy. 

I want to share my recipe for fitness motivation with you.  This “secret sauce” will help you finish the year right and jump start you towards a successful 2012. Remember, it’s not just how you start but how you FINISH that matters. Follow the directions below and give 2011 a STRONG farewell. Looking forward to an inspiring new year of fitness happiness with you all!
Caroline’s Finish The Year Strong “Secret Sauce” Recipe:
1 part Inspiration
2 parts Perspiration
3 parts Determination

Add couple dashes of love. A teaspoon or two of positive thoughts.

Shake and repeat often.

Ingredient Details:

1 part Inspiration

I try my best to inspire you to take action, get fit and live better but I am certainly not your only option. There are incredible stories everywhere about someone deciding to make a change then doing the work to succeed.

Whether you find it in a magazine success story, a blog or a workout video, uncover what truly INSPIRES you. Use that inspiration to light a fire in your belly and jumpstart you into action.  Remember, if someone else has done something amazing, so can you. Choose a positive thought and get inspired. There are no limits to what you can do.


Unfortunately you cant just watch a workout video and  be transformed. You have to do the work and it’s not a walk in the park. To be successful in any endeavor you have to put in some blood, sweat and tears. The  obstacles you overcome are what make the reward so SWEET in the end. The challenge is there to teach you that you are STRONGER than you think you are. Don’t turn away from the work – embrace it and make yourself stronger with every step.

Success is sweet: the sweeter if long delayed and attained through manifold struggles and defeats.
-A. Branson Alcott


Regardless whether you want to be race day ready or just fit and strong in 2012 it takes consistent action,consistent workouts and consistent healthy eating. You have to find the determination to keep going when it gets tough. To believe in yourself when you want to quit. To get to the gym when you really want to skip it. When you stay determined and DO THE WORK you will reap the results you want. Strengthen your mindset by staying focused to reach your goals. Dont give up, you are worth every drop of sweat.

To keep you motivated till the clock strikes midnight on the 31st, Ive put together the below holiday workout JUST for you. This body weight circuit works your ENTIRE body using functional training and dynamic movement. It doesn’t require any equipment and is perfect for at home fitness, traveling, or when you need a quick workout that provides results FAST. The exercises will challenge your legs, butt, chest, arms, and abs. This routine is good for improving strength, preventing injuries, improving performance, losing weight, and cross training for sports.

Challenge yourself by working through this exercise circuit video 2 or 3 times through for a longer workout routine. Tight on time? Go through the video once  with a focus on QUALITY and giving your best. Remember, when it comes to improving your fitness, ANYTHING counts. Keep moving, stay positive, and you WILL reach your health goals.

If you try out the workout I want to know! Tell me when you’ve completed the routine so I can congratulate you on being a fitness rockstar. Have a special request or want another fitness video for stretching, strength, or cardio? Leave me your requests. I’d love to film more videos that help you on your path to success 🙂

I know if you follow the recipe above you will have a strong jump start on 2012. Get inspired. Be willing to perspire. Stay strong, focused, motivated, and DEDICATED. Finish the year right and ring in a new one with positive energy.

Heres a TOAST to your health and a CHEERS for another fabulous year of fitness.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy holiday –


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The long road from New Year’s to Easter is relatively holiday-free. Of course, depending on where you’re reading this from, you may be blessed with a long weekend or two, but overall it’s pretty sparse. The weeks run long. The weather is less than appealing and leaves you dreaming of an elusive getaway and warm, sunny days.

Getting away doesn’t necessarily mean searching for your passport and hoping your carry-on shampoo bottle will make it through customs. You can escape from the day-to-day with an amazing yoga class, a beautiful run, or a night spent with good friends. No, you don’t have to travel to get away from it all…but who doesn’t want to travel? Making time for a vacation is good for your body, mind and SOUL. This year, prepare to leave winter behind and escape to Hawaii for a unforgetable wellness retreat.

I am gearing up for an inspiring fitness getaway in Maui Hawaii in February. Join me and escape to Hawaii for sunshine, surf, and healthy food. Wake up your days with invigorating workouts, hit the surf, soak in the sunshine, or relax on the beach and sip fresh coconut water. Its the retreat you have been waiting for. Read below for details and sign up NOW. I can’t wait for our memorable island time together. ALOHA!

“Follow Your Bliss: HAWAII RETREAT with Caroline Jordan Fitness!”

Join Caroline Jordan Fitness & Julie Bennett Yoga for a rejuvenating fitness retreat to Maui, Hawaii! The experience will be grounded, playful, and inspiring. Four days of invigorating fitness activities and goal setting workshops to MOTIVATE your spirit, tap into your INNER strength, and energize you like nothing else. Start 2012 off in a balanced, blissful state with Caroline Jordan Fitness in HAWAII!

Our journey will include two fun fitness classes each day, as well as luxurious accommodations and vibrant local cuisine. There will be ample space for rest, reflection, adventure and community connection. Explore the land and culture through hiking, water sports, biking, whale watching and much, much more. Relax and soak in the sun at the world-renowned Kaanapali Beach hotel – Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.

Space is limited and this sweet retreat deal will sell out FAST. To reserve your space and get the best deal on an ocean view room (and free breakfast buffet – WOO!) contact,  Kay Ryan kay@mauikay.com (808.669.0451) and mention Caroline Jordan Fitness when booking. Prices will change as we get closer to the date—so confirm now to lock in best rate!

Single Occupancy

February 23 – 27, 2012

Round trip airfare for 1 persons on United Airlines, SFO direct to Maui

4 nights at the Hyatt Maui, Partial Ocean view room

includes daily breakfast buffet for 1

Trip protection plan

Resort fee

Total cost including taxes is $2776.00

Same package with flights on Hawaiian out of Oakland is $2661.00

Double Occupancy

February 23 – 27, 2012

Round trip airfare for 2 persons on United Airlines, SFO direct to Maui

4 nights at the Hyatt Maui, Partial Ocean view room

includes daily breakfast buffet for 2

Trip protection plan

Total cost including taxes is $3543.00

Same package with flights on Hawaiian out of Oakland is $3313.00

To secure your space $400 is required as a deposit. Check and Pay Pal options are available for all retreat attendees. This covers all your organized activities and events with Caroline & Julie. Please pass on the info to your friends as well. Who doesn’t need a little sunshine in their New Year?

Explore Further at: 

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa: http://maui.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp?null

Caroline Jordan Fitness: http://www.carolinejordanfitness.com/

Julie Bennett: www.facebook.com/JBYoga

JUST GO FOR IT! Follow your bliss 🙂

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Its been almost THREE years since I started the weekly Caroline Jordan Fitness Newsletters. I hope you have enjoyed all of the fitness facts, health tips, and workouts as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I want to make sure you’re always motivated to mix it up, work it out, and live a HEALTHY life!

Its about time to spice up your weekly workout routine…. I dont want you to hit a FITNESS plateau and lose your motivation!!  I’ve ROUNDED UP some of our past workouts and I want to challenge you to give them another shot. The first time was your practice round  after all 😉 Below is my list of “Caroline Jordan Fitness Favorite Workouts”. I want you to MIX up your fitness routine and continue seeing amazing results from your time in the gym.  So what do you think… are you up for the challenge? How many of the below can YOU sweat through this week? I challenge you to complete as many as you can before next Sunday. Then leave a comment below this post with the # of workouts you sweated through. The person with the highest # of total finished fitness sessions wins a little special something 🙂 Cant wait to read your comments and see how you feel after all the workouts.  CHALLENGE YOURSELF…. HAVE fun…. and BEST OF LUCK to everyone!

Caroline Jordan Fitness WORKOUT ROUNDUP. 

Its a total of 10 workouts – some complete hour long routines and others quick bursts of movement. Looking forward to reading your comments and congratulating you on how many you accomplished this week! And dont forget the special prize for the most completed workouts…. trust me its WORTH IT! Need something to sweat to while you power through the above? Check out my SPICY summer spin mix and HAVE FUN!
Thanks again for being an amazing fitness family. See you this week for Chisel’d, Cycling, Core, and more workout mania!
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