What a week what a week what a week!

So, some updatey-type things.  I am still pregnant lol.  Every day I walk into work, I see my boss’s eyes widen, and he’ll (in the nicest way) be like “Oh thank God, you’re here!”  It’s funny, like on Wednesday, I was feeling a little pukey, and I ended up lying around the house for a long time, and on Thursday when I came in, everyone was like, “Oh!  We thought you might have had your baby!”  Nope, still here!

The week’s been good.  Productive at work, and not so much at home, but hoping for that magical burst of fairy energy that will help me straighten up and get that last push to get things together.

First let’s talk about the funniest thing that happened last week – this spine thing.  So like a year ago, someone left this really really elaborate, doctor-grade spine in my office, and we could not figure out where it came from.


Since I’m going to be out on maternity for a while starting sometime soon, I’ve been straightening out my office, and the spine had to go. So I put it up for free on one of those buy/sell/trade/free pages on Facebook, and within MOMENTS, I had requests left and right for this thing. And then I got these unbelievably weird comments. One suggesting that I send the spine to Obama, and another simply stating that there were plenty of spineless people in this country that could use it. Uhhh…ok weirdo, do you want this thing for your classroom that you’re decorating or not? Anyhoo, a guy ended up coming to get it, and I hope it works out for him. I had ZERO idea that I was in possession of such a hot ticket item, but glad this somewhat offbeat item could find a home.

I think I found a new occasional lunch spot?

I sort of mentioned this last update this place I found in downtown Raleigh, Raleigh Raw, which is this really crunchy kind of juice place with really interesting food combos.  I will caveat this place by saying it is pricey for lunch, okay?  I’m not saying it’s not worth it, but it costs more than snagging something quickly at like Wendy’s, but hear me out. IMG_9351.JPG

My friend Devin went and told me exactly what I needed to order, this bowl thingie with rice and sesame seeds, and mango and watermelon and some salmon…I don’t know, there was a lot going on, but it was delicious, super super filling, and I didn’t feel the least bit crappy when I finished it. Now, someone in my office complained about what that horrible smell was, but hey, can’t win ’em all.  If you’re local and and all into this sort of thing, check it out.  They also had kombucha on tap and some other interesting stuff in their grab-n-go, so it’s worth checking out.

I also swore I was retired from teaching as of last week I think, but that was not to be.

I had to fill in last minute for class two times this week, and I think I’m really retired now.  This Zumba class I did today, I did a lot more coaching than I am used to, but it was literally exactly what the baby wanted, and I couldn’t do more without feeling like I was overdoing it.  I am so grateful for the fact that I have remained active for so long, and I plan to keep walking and stretching, but my Pump/Cycle/Zumba days are on hold for now, and that’s what the baby wants 🙂

On that note, I am so excited for when the time is right and I’m able to run again.  I miss it.  More than missing running, I miss the social aspect and the efficiency of being able to go for a run and then pretty much being done with my cardio for the day. I’m not good at doing things slowly, and sometimes I’m too slow for my own liking these days.  But that’s okay.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Glucose Test


How was your week?

Mine has been good.  I had to work on Monday, even though folks had the day off.  It was fine – most of my team was there, and I was able to steal my way into a step class again.  Funny enough, the week still felt really short and really compressed still, and I found myself rushing to get things done.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I spent a good chunk of the day at my desk ironing out some of the holes in the June schedule, and before I knew it, it was Thursday, the day of a much-needed chiropractic appointment and my glucose test.

So, my lower back has started to feel irritated, and like it could use a good crack, but since I can’t really contort, I can’t get it to crack, and I didn’t want to do anything too twisty.  Per the recommendation of the instructor of the prenatal yoga workshop I did a few weeks ago, I consulted a chiro that specializes in family chiropractic, but my back was such a mess, I called my old guy, and kind of remembered that close to the beginning of my pregnancy, he’d said something about his ability to adjust preggos.  I couldn’t wait the two weeks, and I went and saw him, and I am so glad I did.  He had me like lay on some contraption that allowed me to lay technically on my stomach, but…idk it’s weird to explain.  Anyhoo, he totally adjusted me, and it was fine.

On the way back, I’d scheduled my glucose test, the test to determine whether I have gestational diabetes.  That is the weirdest thing ever.  So here’s what goes down.


I have heard this varies between practices, but the general idea is the same. So you chug this thing one hour before your scheduled appointment.  You have like some limited amount of time to chug it, but I got it down in like two or three minutes, and I was like “oh man, that is easy!”


Like 20 minutes later, I just was not feeling well at all.  The stuff is really syrupy – it kind of reminds me of those ice pops you eat that cut up the sides of your mouth in the summer time.  Except maybe sweeter.  And not really cold and there’s not a pool.  So I started to feel kind of sick to my stomach before I came into the office, and by the time I got in there, I wasn’t in great shape.  But you tell the receptionist when you get there when you finished the drank, and they get you back really quickly, since you only have an hour from when you finished, to like an hour and fifteen to get your blood drawn.  After that, I laid down in the exam room while I waited on the doc, who measured (right on track) and listened to the baby’s heartbeat (fuerte) before I hit up the TDap vaccine.

I fully anticipated going back to the office to take care of a few holes and return some emails, but I was feeling pretty icky after the test, and I ended up at home, napping sort of fitfully for an hour before I had to be back to teach my strength class and teach a short class for camp training.

I think since my body has recovered from being assaulted by the orange drank and I was able to burn off some of that sugar, I’m feeling like I’ve returned to the land of the living, but holy shit.  I hope I pass that test so I don’t need to take the three hour one.  God only knows what the in the hell they’re going to have me eating.

How was your week?

Fitness instructors, leave your ego at the door.

I’ve been teaching fitness officially since 2010.  I’d been taking Zumba classes from the time I was about 16 until 20 or so, and the entire time, had been really curious about what it would take, and what it meant to teach.  I somehow got the balls to hunt around, and contacted the woman at NC State, the graduate school where I was attending, my first semester there, and asked if she was interested in a Zumba instructor.  The next thing I knew, I was teaching to a staff at a staff meeting, and without realizing it, my future husband may have been in that meeting.

But Lindsay, who managed us, took a chance on me, and after a short 20-minute demo, she allowed me to get onto the spring schedule one day a week.  And the response was absolutely overwhelming.  I regularly had over 100 students in the class, and as my class gained traction, I began to look forward to my time on Sundays with the students.

One thing I remembered, and one thing that I took with me in my time taking classes with Koh Herlong, who apparently was a Zumba superstar and we never knew it, left her ego at the door when it came to class.  She worked the room, starting from the front, and dancing in the crowd, dancing with students, and pointing out a nice booty shake or a great-looking bicep when she saw it.  The class wasn’t about her, it was about us.  And we left the room feeling that way each and every time we took the class.

Fitness instructors, your class is not about you. 

I’ve certainly fallen into the trap before.  When a student wants to take a pic with me or when I’ve seen myself talked about in a review of some place I’ve worked, I’ve wanted to dust myself off.  And when I do, I remember that there’s always an instructor who’s better than I am, and that being a decent teacher doesn’t mean shit if I have a bad attitude, or think I’m here for folks to be amazed by me.  There’s nothing amazing about what I do.  I just love to do it.

Zumba Instructor

That said, here are a few reminders for fitness instructors who are starting to feel their heads get a little bigger with each time they catch the eye of someone in their class.

  • The workout doesn’t belong to you.  It’s theirs [your students].  My mom has often asked me why I work out when I teach so many classes, and simply it’s because the energy you devote you your workouts and and workouts you provide to your students is and should be different.  In your classes your focused on the safety, the comfort, and the fun that your students are having, not your own.
  • But don’t give too much…everything needs a little balance.  Don’t give so much that you’re hurt or that you hurt the people in your class.  Balance is key.
  • Open your eyes!  Are you stuck in the mirror?  This is a terrible habit, and a huge pet peeve of mine.  Look around your class.  Face your class.  Look into people’s eyes!  If you find yourself “stuck in the mirror,” as an old tap teacher of mine would say, you’re doing it wrong.  Your class can sense when you’re looking at them, and when you’re checking out your own biceps.  And having an egotistical maniac for an instructor doesn’t do much for people.

And finally…

  • Make ’em feel good.  Folks got in their cars and drove over, not for you to tell jokes, right?  Thank folks for coming.  Introduce yourself.  Point out good work!  Shout encouragement.  Whisper adjustments.


What’s the best/your favorite fitness class you’ve EVER taken?

You’re a fitness instructor, now what?

So first and foremost, I would be a sucky blogger not to acknowledge the fact that our country has been thrown into turmoil.  And not to get all political on the blog, but suffice it to say that being black in this country over the past few weeks has been really difficult.  Like, my chest-is-tight-what-the-hell-are-we-gonna-do-to-make-sure-this-never-happens-again difficult.  I’m praying.  Hard.

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So in a continuation of yesterday’s post we’re talking today about what happens after you take the plunge and go for a weekend and get your license or your cert in a certain fitness format.

Becoming a fitness instructor
Aw snap, Nike Hoodie Cheri is back….

First things first.  I kind of thought about this after I wrote the post that went live yesterday, however, I didn’t really address the process that goes into becoming a Yoga instructor.

So for starters, I am not certified to teach Yoga.  I love Yoga, and one day, I may become certified, however, I think it’s important to realize that Yoga instructors go through a different, much more intensive process to get certified.  A lot of times it involves a lot of money, some travel, and a lot of continuing education workshops.  If any of you guys are looking to become more proficient in the Yoga arena, I definitely can point you in the right direction, however, this isn’t necessarily the post, or post series for you.

Moving right along…

So we talked about the appropriate steps to go through to become an instructor in your area of choice.  So you’ve done all that stuff, right?  How do you become a working instructor?  How do you continue to deliver safe, effective, and relevant classes?  How do you make sure that you don’t get yourself in legal trouble?

Here we go.

So, for starters, you’ve got your certs and your licenses, right?

  1. Get your CPR stuff updated.  Honestly, it’s not a bad idea to have that stuff done anyways, and a lot of time, your job will offer it, or get it paid for for you.  It seems silly, but you never know when you’re going to need it, and you have to have it to teach at most gyms.
  2. Continue to take classes in the time you’re not teaching. I can’t stress this enough, but you need to be auditing other classes.  What are other instructors doing? What’s hot in the streets?  What’s up with music?  What do the classes seem to respond to?  What doesn’t work, even?
  3. Contact the group fitness director at the club/gym you’d like to teach out.  So, that’s what I do when I’m not running/teaching/writing.  I am the director of a large group of fitness instructor.  My job is to coordinate like a million instructors and make sure our group fitness schedule is diverse, robust, and running effectively.  If this info isn’t clearly listed on the club’s website, call the front desk and ask for the group fitness manager, or the director of group fitness.  Usually, they can at least provide you with an email address. When you contact his person, introduce yourself, clearly outline what classes and formats that you’re comfortable teaching, and ask if you can come in to do a demo.
  4. If your demo is good, it should be pretty easy to get onto the schedule, or at least on the sub list.  If you’re on the sub list, sub often and be available, and you should be a regular instructor in no time.   

As you can see from the tips above, once you get your certs and licenses together, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get on a schedule somewhere, provided you’re a good instructor (a topic we will touch on), and you’re prepped to either teach your one format like a rock star, or you can teach a variety of formats well (seriously, we LOVE that stuff).

This is how you get IN.  Now stay tuned, next week we talk about what makes a good instructor, and what makes a ::shudder:: bad one : )

On becoming a fitness instructor

First things – I was supposed to come into work super late, but ended up having to come in early because my email was EXPLODING, so to alleviate the pain and suffering I was dealing with from having to answer 65,000 emails, I bought myself an inappropriately large coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and it’s been sloshing to and fro in my belly.  Wanna know how good it feels to have 18 million gallons of a diuretic sloshing about in your stomach?  Not good at all.

But enough complaining, life is wonderful, and I’m not here to talk about my GI issues.

But I am here to talk about a question I’ve gotten a lot since becoming a fitness instructor in late 2009, after I completed my undergraduate degree.

First and foremost, I can, without a doubt say that becoming a fitness instructor completely changed my life.

I’d been taking Zumba® Fitness classes for a number of years, and had always toyed with the idea of teaching, because I loved the way my instructor made me feel.  After a boyfriend made fun of me so badly that I didn’t want to get certified, I finally got up the nerve and took the plunge a few months after I graduated.  I’m still amazed that my chubby ass got up the gall to to to the licensing weekend, but I went and it changed my life.

As a total side note, I was never obese, but I was eating really poorly, and had put on about 40 pounds when all was said and done in college.


So my process for getting licensed and certified in fitness goes like this.

Zumba® Fitness ->Schwinn Cycling Certification->AFAA Group Exercise Certification->Body Pump™ Certification

So for those of you interested in getting certified in group fitness and becoming a fitness instructor, here are a few steps that can get you from the process, to getting the credentials needed to effectively teach a class.

Becoming a fitness instructor

1.  This one seems pretty obvious but go to a lot of classes.  What do you like about your favorite teachers?  Start paying attention to their cueing, their mic level, and how they interact with the class.  My strengths are my dance classes as well as my toning, but it made me a much stronger teacher to see how different groups do different things.

2.  Get the basics.  Before you hop to teaching/getting certified/licensed in something crazy or a specialty like Yoga or Zumba® Fitness, look for a group fitness certification through a program like AFAA.  I DID NOT do this, I did it all backwards, but looking back on it, AFAA was valuable and helped to remind me about some of the safety cues we often forget when we’re getting all hot and heavy in a class.  Like I said, I did this all backwards, but an AFAA cert is really valuable.

3.  Sign up for a training.  Whether’s it’s AFAA, Zumba® Fitness, Pound, or what have you, go ahead and sign up for a training.  Once you sign up (early, cause those things can really sell out), you will be sent some materials.  Definitely look them over, and if it’s a training where you will be presenting for evaluation, definitely study.  ‘Cause you don’t want to be the problem child who has no idea what’s going on.

4.  You’re all signed up for a two-day training!  It’s the night before!  Pack your stuff, pack some snacks, and be prepped to be sore.  I am super active, but the Body Pump™ process had me the most sore that I’ve ever been in my entire life, mostly due to the fact that in the span of 48 hours, we took like 5 classes, and did the Les Mills challenge.

So all of this is how you get to become a fitness instructor…stay tuned for info on how to get to teaching at the gym!