Would you like to see something not Challenge-friendly at all?

I am going to warn you - it may make you hungry.

Seriously, if you're doing well and avoiding sweets you may want to look away!

Do you promise not to look if you can't handle it?

Yep, that's a rainbow cake. Yep, it's super cool looking. Yep, it's definitely not healthy. But, oh so good. And I actually made that. Which is impressive because I am a TERRIBLE baker. However, when your nephew asks you to make him a cool cake for his 6th birthday and you suddenly realize he won't be five forever and tomorrow he will probably start shaving and getting married, you simply can't say no. That kid could ask me to build a bridge to Europe and I would somehow manage. (Seriously though, why has nobody done this yet - it would be a lot more convenient).

So, after I agreed I immediately realized I was doomed. But somehow, some way, it turned out well. Okay, maybe it's because I had the help of my wonderful cousin, who was in town for a week. She saved the day and was there the whole time to help. With ALL SIX LAYERS. Did I mention my cousin is great?

Yes, she deserves Best Cousin of the Year Award.

And all that work? Definitely worth it.

Besides complaining about baked goods - I wanted to touch briefly on our efforts to stay compliant while around friends or family. In some cases, others can influence us positively and encourage us to do even better than we have been doing already. Sometimes, some people - and I'm not naming names (***cough six year old nephew that demands you also eat delicious butter and sugar filled cake cough***) , can encourage you to cheat  a bit more than you'd like to.

In the case of my cousin, she influenced me so positively that the effects are still ongoing even though she SADLY had to leave me. I begged, pleaded, threatened to hold her hostage, but it turns out she has a real life back in Boston and a job that she should probably go to. Even if she's a teacher and I tried to convince her that a cardboard cut out of her and a tape recorder of her voice saying "Students, please quietly read at your desk" would be perfectly suitable for a few days. She didn't think it was a good idea. Whatever.

Anyway, since we are pretty much the same person, we easily agreed it would be fun to do a different group fitness class almost every day she was in town. And that we did! Here's the run-down.

New Experience #1: Bikram Yoga at Bikram Hot Yoga Kirkland
On Meghan's first day in town, we decided to have a day dedicated to everything that we enjoyed: healthy food, frozen yogurt, a sappy romance movie, and a nice workout. By nice I really mean 90 minutes drenched in sweat and silently cursing under my breath. Yep, I finally tried Hot Bikram yoga. It was long, and at times very challenging - but I actually loved it. The heat does take some getting used to - but much to our disbelief - neither of us passed out. In my opinion, 90 minutes is a bit too long - and I have since then taken a bunch of 60 minute "power hour" classes that fit my child-like attention span far better! Please go check out Bikram Hot Yoga Kirkland - they have Community Classes on Sunday at 4pm for just $5!!

And then the class ended and I realized I didn't have flip-flops and had to leave class looking like this:

Do you think anyone could tell I was new?

New Fitness Experience #2: Spin Class
Next on the agenda? A Spin class at FlyWheel in downtown Bellevue. I recommend giving this place a try - newcomers get one free spin class and one free barre class. Did someone say free? Count me in.

I enjoyed spin class and I now see what the hype is all about - this is a SERIOUS workout. The nice thing is that you can technically "go at your own pace" since you control the resistance and how fast you are going. Unfortunately, you can NOT control when your shoe comes off of the pedal attachment and goes flying across the spin room, causing the instructor to call you out over his microphone. Not that I know from personal experience, or anything. Again, I liked this class a lot and it is a great workout - but the competitive vibe I got wasn't really my thing. They posted the top 15 speeds on a monitor for everyone to see, and while I totally think that can be motivating and great for most people, it just wasn't my thing.  Maybe I'm spoiled by the Element 5 Fitness group mentality - or maybe I'm just a huge baby! Either way, it was a serious calorie and quad burner!
P.S. Luckily, nobody was impaled by my spin shoe in the great shoe disaster of 2013.

New Fitness Experience #3: Barre Class
This was also done at FlyWheel since, as I mentioned, you get two free classes. If you've never heard of Barre, it's essentially a mixture of pilates, ballet, yoga, and ancient torture techniques. Being that I have never been a huge fan of pilates, ballet, or torture, I did not walk into this class with much confidence. But I opened up my mind and just went for it. And you know what? It was pretty rough - but I DID it. There were tons of moments where I had to rest for fear of my leg snapping in two or falling backwards and taking Meghan down with me, but I just took breaks as needed. The instructor didn't seem bothered - and by some miracle, I would say I managed to keep up with the rest of the class fairly well. I still don't think this type of exercise is something I  love - but I would force myself to go if only for the fact that the instructor and regulars looked GREAT. We'll see.

My Final Opinion: In this case, my companion influenced me in a HUGELY positive way. It was seriously awesome to do all of those things with my cousin and to try a different variety of exercises. I probably would not have done them on my own. Since trying those classes, I have found ways to incorporate Bikram Yoga and Spin into my weekly routines. Because of this,I have been suprisingly more motivated to work harder at Element 5. I think mixing it up helps me keep things fresh, and each workout is different and exciting. Plus, with a combination of routines, I know for sure I'm hitting all my major muscle groups and "trouble" areas. Bootcamp is still my favorite kind of workout, and I definitely still enjoy it the most, but it's definitely fun to mix it up, too! So - I'll always keep my workouts at E5 my main routine, but supplement it with various new workouts as well. I mean, where else can I do this:

So let's hear it challengers, do friends positively or negatively affect your health choices? Have you tried any new workouts lately? Sound off!


Jennifer Deering
3/1/2013 05:22:09 am

This is an AWESOME experience!!! So thankful you shared your different adventures in physical fitness.

3/1/2013 07:25:37 am

What a beautiful cake you made!

It's funny, I hadn't thought about this before, but I tried a lot of different fitness classes before joining E5 - different boot camps, kickboxing, even Crossfit. I didn't get hooked on any of it (obviously). But now that I have a tried and true routine that I really enjoy, it might be fun to change things up and try something new once in a while. Thanks Casey for another entertaining and helpful post!

Sandy Harms
3/1/2013 07:56:53 am

Casey, thank you for, one again, using your skills and sense of humor to share with all of us in a way that we can relate.  I appreciate the time you take to write the blog.
I come from a family of "foodies".  I use the term lightly because they are not necessarily gourmet cooks but my family knows good tasting food and where to find it.  From the time I could walk I remember being both encouraged and consoled with food.  ("Congratulations!  Have a cookie!" "I'm sorry you're sad.  Have a cookie!") It has taken many years to break away from that mentality and, like so many other things we learn as children, food tends to be my first go-to when I need to feel comforted.  Your question about who encourages or discourages us is a good one - thanks for bringing it to the forefront.
PS - great looking cake! You've gotta be the favorite Aunt after that effort! :)


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