A Quick POP Pilates Update

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Happy MLK day my friends! Hope you all enjoyed your day off.

It’s been a while since I’ve given a POP Pilates update so I thought we play a little-catch up.

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To rewind a bit, POP pilates is a workout inspired by traditional mat pilates but the biggest difference is that the moves are choreographed to music! The format was created by Cassey Ho, one of the top health & fitness influencers in the media (she has over 3 million followers (on YouTube). I’ve been following Cassey since 2012, around the time when I started my own health journey. Fast-forward to June 2016, I somehow mustered the courage to go through the POP Pilates teacher training. I was certified by August, I auditioned for a position at 24 Hour Fitness in September, and now, a few months later, I am officially hired!

The process was longer than expected but I was a bit relieved because I needed sometime to let it fully sink in that I was now an instructor. I taught a couple of free classes at local studios to keep my teaching chops up to speed, but I’m ready to be thrown into teaching to experience a real learning curve.

I am a still a little nervous I will admit. I had a dream a few nights ago where I was teaching my first class at 24 and it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to play the music! Let’s hope that doesn’t happen in real life. I’ll be teaching twice a week at a 24 Hour Fitness 2 block away from my full-time job. Not bad, eh? They will be 7am classes so I need to adjust my schedule so I can wake up early!

Even though I am a bit anxious, I’m going to accept I’m a beginner in this process. We all need to start somewhere. We aren’t going to be naturally amazing at everything we try from the beginning and that’s okay.

Anyways wish me luck! If any of you are fitness instructors, please share some words of advice! What should I expect for my first few days of teaching?

Citrus & Gold Year in Review: 2016

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Like many people, I was interested to see what my “2016 best nine” were for Instagram. It’s a fun thing to do but it leaves much to be said about the year! 2016 was not just a year of smoothie bowls, overnight oats, and fun photo shoots. It was a year filled with many other amazing memories and events, and some not so amazing events and memories. Today I want to talk about the good, bad, and the ugly for 2016 (I’ve always wanted to use that saying!).

The Good:

Creating the Citrus & Gold brand: Early in 2016 I decided I want to take blogging more seriously and in June I launched Citrus & Gold. I’ve had the opportunity write about my passions, interview some amazing people, and host a couple of fun events. It’s taking some time for me to believe in myself 100% but I’m prepared for even more growth in 2017.

Getting Certified as a POP Pilates Instructor: For a long time I had been thinking “one day I will teach a fitness class.” I had no idea that would happen in 2016! The certification process were nerve-wracking and a little scary but also so fun! It was so worth it and if all goes well, I will start teaching a regular class at 24 hr Fitness by the end of this month!

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Traveling a ton: I feel enriched and nourished by the travel I’ve done in the past year. The places I visited include: Big Sur, New York, Chicago (twice!), Austin, Sedona, Yosemite, and Costa Rica. I actually just came back from Costa Rica a few days ago and I’m itching to plan my next big trip (well after my trip to Mumbai next week ;).

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The Bad:

Dealing with Health Issues & Anxiety: This past summer I was dealing with some bad gut issues and anxiety that had left me feeling exhausted and unhappy. Other than taking time to heal myself, what really helped me was working with a nutritionist. I had no idea how much the mind and gut are connected.

I actually took some herbal antibiotics last month to start the healing process (I’m thinking of writing a post on it soon – would you guys find it helpful?). I’ve learned that treating gut issues is a marathon not a sprint, so I know I will have to be patient and persistent.

Experiencing my First Running Injury: I’ve been an avid runner for the last 3-4 years and in 2016 I suffered my first running injury. Many experienced runners have had their own set of battles but this injury was a major bummer because it caused me to miss not one, but two half marathons! I started working with a physical therapist right after the injury so the recovery was manageable, but I’m still slowly trying to build up the mileage.

As I’m trying to get back into normal running mode, coincidentally, I was contacted by WholeYou to try out their Dynamover Knee Brace. I was pretty excited because the drugstore knee braces just weren’t doing it for me – they were too stiff and itchy, and never fit me correctly. The Dynamover Knee brace comes in six different sizes so you are virtually guaranteed to find one that fits (my size fell into the kids category – go figure :)).

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I’ve taken it out for short runs and I love how it feels more like a compression sleeve than a brace. It’s a lot softer and flexible. It gives the right amount of support without constricting your knee too much. Plus it looks way cooler than traditional braces! For a limited time you can use my promo code “CITRUSANDGOLD” for 50% off and free shipping (they have a money-back guarantee as well which is nice). If you have knee problems, I’d recommend trying it out!

The ugly:

My birthday was the same day “you know who” was elected as President. That’s all I need to say.

All in all it’s been a good year, even though there were some less than pleasant things we all had to deal with. Personally it was a year of lot of growth, which wasn’t always easy. There were many moments of self-doubt, confusion, and exhaustion – but that’s what growth is about, right? In 2017, I’m hoping to build on the “growth” foundation I created for myself in 2016.

What do you all have to share for 2016? Please do tell me :)!

*Psst! my review of the knee brace is sponsored post by Mirum Shopper. All opinions are my own.

uforia Studios Review: The Coolest Fitness Studio in Nob Hill

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You want to know what brings me back to the same fitness classes over and over again? Good music. Music seriously make my workouts 100X and it’s half of the reason I’m obsessed with SoulCycle, POP Pilates, and uforia Studios.

You all have heard of Soul, you know I’m certified in POP Pilates, but have you heard of uforia Studios? Uforia has two locations, one in Palo Alto & one in San Francisco, and they offer three kinds of classes: Revolutions (spin), GRIT (high-intensity strength training), and Hip-Hop Club. What ties these classes together is that all of them are to the beat of the music.

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My roommate Vrinda took me to my first Hip-Hop Club class, my friend Monya took me to my first Revolutions class at Uforia, and my former-roommate, Jessica, now works at uforia! Major community feels :).

What keeps me coming back are the hip-hop classes, even though I’m a terrible hip-hop dancer (I feel so badass but look so ridiculous!). I still enjoy these classes because everyone there is welcoming, non-judgmental, and there to have a good time. The instructors are amazing and all of the songs are on point.

I’d love for you guys to experience this studio with me so I’m partnering uforia Studios to give my readers a free class with the code citrusgold. You can use it at the Nob Hill location or Palo Alto and towards any of their classes ($25 value).

Also, I’m organizing a meet-up at the Nob Hill studio on December 2nd for the 6PM hip-hop class. Use the code above to join the class for free!

Yay can’t wait to embarrass myself ;). 

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Uforia offer three kinds of classes: Revolutions (spin), GRIT (high-intensity strength training), and Hip-Hop Club and they all have amazing music!

Interview with Leila Burrows from The Pad Studios

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One of my favorite things about blogging is that feeds my curiosity and it gives me an excuse to ask people a lot of questions.

I’ve always wondered how it’s like to run your own yoga studio. The idea of it sounds so perfect….it’s like I have this preconceived notion that those who dedicate their careers/lives to yoga are somehow more fulfilled and happy.

But I’m not naïve enough to believe it’s all butterflies & daisies (or lotuses & asanas?) – running your own yoga studio is a business, just like it is to run your own restaurant, law practice, or even your start-up. I wanted to learn more what it’s like to run your own yoga studio from Leila Burrows, co-founder of The Pad Studios, after one of our morning practices.

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Tone It Up Bay Area Getaway: Part I

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The Getaway

I’ve been a silent follower of Tone It Up for the last couple of years. I’ve wanted to get involved in the community for so long, but hesitated in the past. I’m a bit of an introvert so I tend to shy away from group activities and do more things independently.

But I still really wanted to get involved…so I finally took a leap of faith and signed up for a retreat with 30 other local TIU members. We rented a house in Marin and spent three days working out, relaxing by the pool, working out some more and then drinking a lot of wine. It was like a weekend with your sorority sisters…but better.

The Tone It Up Getaway wasn’t actually sponsored by Tone It Up or affiliated in anyway with the official Tone It Up Retreat. The trip was actually planned by a few special women who thought it would be fun to do our own mini-retreat at a much more reasonable price.

Here’s Part I of the Getaway… there’s so much to say that I’m going to dedicate Part II to all the food we ate (because it was that freaking good!).

So what do you do at a fitness retreat?

Our first night in the house (Friday evening) we spent time getting to know each other over food, games, and wine. We also received our super cool swag bags that night – I’ve never seen anything like it: great snacks, head bands, water bottles, and other Tone It Up gear.

We kicked off Saturday morning with our Booty Call. For those unfamiliar with Tone It Up workouts, a “booty call” isn’t what you may think; rather it’s short morning workout to start off your day! You can go on a walk, a run, complete a HIIT workout, whatever gets you up and moving in the morning.

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The afternoon was spent relaxing by the pool while drinking sangria & eating Nada Moo ice cream from tub (my new obsession!).

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Later in the afternoon, we welcomed Leila to lead a 90 minute yoga session. We opened the French doors out to the front yard so that we could set some yoga mats in the living room and others out by the pool to create a partially indoor/outdoor yoga experience.

Immediately we knew this practice was going to be different. First, we were at a fitness retreat in a quiet neighborhood where we could see hawks flying, and hear leaves rustling with the wind. But what made the class truly unique was the spirituality aspect Leila had brought. She began the class with a spiritual chant “Sri Ram Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram” while she played the harmonium.

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I’ll be completely honest: I was hesitant to accept the practice due to my personal, internal conflicts with western yoga and Hindu religion (this topic totally deserves it’s own post). However, because she felt so genuine, I was able to fully embrace her style and felt at peace while she chanted. It ended being one of my most memorable yoga practices.

Our final celebrations

You guys, we had our own dance party in the house and it was so much fun! It reminded of house parties we used to have in college, but way less trashy ☺. We converted the living room into a dance & drank copious amounts of wine and tequila, sang our favorite throwback hits, and danced the night away.

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After an intense night, Sunday morning was a bit of a struggle but we were still determined to workout! Our final organized activity was a 5K hike/run – we marched out in our pink Charity Miles tanks to get our sweat on.

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Saying our goodbyes was tough, but luckily the TIU community is very active online. It’s been so easy to stay in touch!

I want to thank Raisa, Lauren, and Kara for planning this unforgettable getaway. They went above and beyond to make this event a success by organizing fun activities, partnering with amazing brands, and by taking every step they could to strengthen our community. You ladies are the best!

Look out for TIU Getaway Part II while I’ll recap all the yummy food we devoured.

The Half Marathon That Didn’t Happen – Recovering from My First Injury

 You know how they say you aren’t a real runner until you get injured?

Well maybe that isn’t a saying but I feel like all runners have experienced some sort of pain or injury with the sport. Running has many great benefits but unfortunately, some side-effects too.

I was supposed to run my seventh half marathon yesterday at the San Francisco Marathon but instead I’m writing this post to whine about my injury.

Fine, it’s not that bad but I can be impatient at times.

Here is what I think happened: I undertrained & overexerted.

First, I went SoulCycle the day before a 13-mile practice run and in hindsight, I should have rested. Especially since I had not run more than 4-5 miles consecutively that month so my body was not ready for distance.

The first miles were fine but after a few hills I felt a numb pain in my left knee. I figured my body needed to warm up before it felt better so I kept going. Fast-forward to mile 8 and the pain is getting progressively worse and half mile later, I could barely walk!

I think I was suffering from “sleepy glutes” and I overcompensated my stride with a lot of hip action. Not so good on my IT band and hamstrings. I had to cut my run short and felt pain walking up and down stairs for a few days. Once the pain subsided, I tried running again only to find myself in pain after 2-3 miles. Darn.

Even though I really wanted to run the half, I made the smart decision to rest. I’m still staying active by doing more yoga, POP Pilates, and rock-climbing! I’ve been stretching/foam rolling a lot more and have gotten a couple of sports massage (which are the complete opposite of relaxing).

I don’t know when I can start running again…hopefully soon since I should start training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in San Jose! Wish me a speedy recovery :).