Fitness Reading Recipes

The Perfect Exercise Class?

Like so many others, when all the stars align, I love group exercise classes.  Stars aligning include:

  • A good teacher who keeps the class moving, has good technique, interesting choreography, good music and a pleasing personality
  • The class is at a time when I can attend
  • Includes moves I can actually do

I can no longer do all the crazy aerobics things I used to do, nor do I want to.  I joke with my friends Evon and Cindy that burpees should be illegal.  What in the world can be gained by that horrid move and in how many ways could I hurt myself performing one?  Alas, it has become necessary for me to find new and enjoyable ways to exercise.  I still want a class that is challenging, but not quite so painful.

Anthem Gym

Is there a perfect exercise class that will interest hard-core cardio attendees, pregnant woman and older people?  Would that perfect class be an exercise unicorn?  Only existing in someone’s imagination?  What if you didn’t even need a pair of shoes for this class, much less a $129 pair of Asics?  Well, Barre class has increasingly become more popular with many studios, online streaming classes and fitness centers offering them.  I’ve even found some really good classes on YouTube.  In fact, I love Jessica Smith.   And, many of those studios tout themselves as the perfect exercise (of course they do).  Barre3 has a studio close to my home and I’ve seen they offer free classes at my local Athleta store so I’ve been curious enough to check them out.  Their site claims that participants will build muscle, lose weight, aid digestion and decrease stress, among many other benefits.  Well, ok.  I’m skeptical of any claim that includes digestion.  Or weight loss.  We all know that 90% of weight loss comes through reducing what goes through our lips.

But….drumroll, please.  I have been attending barre twice a week, offered at no additional charge through my gym, with a fantastic instructor, Solangy.  I am addicted and I love it.  My digestion is exactly the same and I haven’t lost an ounce, but I love it.  It really is a class challenging enough for runners and also works perfectly for people who may want a lower-pace workout.  We have participants from 17 years old to 70+ and they all get a great workout.

I read that barre was started in 1959 by an injured ballerina and over the course of many years, it’s made its way to the US and increases in popularity.  Although I don’t buy that the workout that will give me a dancer’s body or keep me strong in my old age, I do agree with many of the benefits claimed. 

Solangy, Skylar and I after Barre

Using light weights with lots of reps means the arthritis in my hands doesn’t get in the way of my workout.  In addition, there are a number of isometric moves and combined moves that I feel make the workout very efficient.  For instance one move might be holding a plie with a releve, crunching obliques and using a light weight for a lat pull.  As you might have guessed, some of that movement will also get the heart rate up, but not for the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate cardio exercise recommended by the American College of Cardiologists.  In fact, I don’t usually work up enough sweat to need a shower after class.

So, just like any other exercise routine, variety is the spice of life, and a balance of activities will provide the best results.  But let’s face it, liking a class and getting to the gym is more than half the battle.  I’m keeping this class in my rotation.  And, since no shoes are required,  I’m asking for a pair of socks for Christmas!

What I’m Reading

I finished The Institute audio by Stephen King.  I loved it.  It wasn’t a bit scary in case anyone is worried, but it was a fun read.  There is a tiny bit of violence and bad words.  Ok, maybe more than a little, but not as violent as Carrie.  Many years ago I ready Wool by Hugh C. Howie.  I was recently reminded of that author and realized I had never read anything else by him.  It turns out he has a series set in the future with a young woman pilot named Molly Fyde which is in the name of each of the books.  I read Molly Fyde and the Parsonna Rescue and I liked it pretty well.  It’s more of a YA book, but it’s quick paced and had some twists and turns in it to keep it fun.

What I’m Eating

I’ve been a little on the lazy side with meal prep this week, but I did try a salad recipe I found on Pinterest.  I modified to a) fit my palate and b) use ingredients on hand.  Here’s the end result:

Apple Feta Salad

Apple Feta Salad


  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard


  • 3-4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 Tbs Feta
  • 1 Tbs slivered almonds
  • 1 apple cubed
  • 1 Tbs dried cranberry

Whisk dressing ingredients in a large bowl, add mixed greens and toss.  Top with remaining ingredients.

Super easy and I added half of a par-baked dinner roll and felt like I went to heaven.

What I’m Doing

Company season is starting in Arizona and I absolutely love that.  My cousin David and his lady Ethel visited this week from San Antonio.  My S-I-L Linda and her hub Dan are coming the week of Thanksgiving.  My sister Monique and her hub Peter will be visiting over Christmas, along with some of Peter’s family. Fun!

We have rain in our forecast.  Now, generally, I would not mention that in a hundred years, because the chances of it actually happening will diminish every day, and then someone 50 miles away gets 20 drops and we call that rain.  But, when the monsoons come, or the occasional winter rain that lasts for days, that can be a problem.  Especially when you’re in the middle of a roof replacement.  Which we are.  Oh, man it’s been a noisy mess with dirt and nails and construction debris coming through the idiotic skylights we have in our kitchen.  The poor cats have been hiding under the bed.  Traumatized, of course.

I did manage to get the linen closets organized and I feel pretty good about that.  I got some cute and inexpensive baskets at At Home to help round up odds and ends. Believe me, that Shark steam mop is really getting used with this construction. We bought extra replacement pads and ended up using it on the kitchen floor twice yesterday. Ugh – the dirt!

Organized Linen Closet

Do you watch Hallmark movies?  They really are my guilty pleasure.  They are all exactly alike, but for some reason, I like them.  It helps that I can also read a book and do a crossword puzzle while I’m watching them.  But, if you watch them, have you noticed how very lame their decorating is?  If a home is done up for Christmas, it looks like a set designer went to a thrift store, bought everything and then threw it all up (I get the association with vomit LOL) with no sense of it going together or anything else.  It’s like, hmmm, you’re Hallmark.  You make, sell and market holiday decorations.  Can’t you do a little better and then maybe actually self-advertise?  But who am I?  Just one more business major in the world with lots of suggestions.  However, I hear this year their first Christmas movie is done in conjunction with World Market.  I’m hoping for a prettier set!

That’s it for this week. Hoping to get through this roof replacement unscarred. Many blessings to you and your family as we enter the holiday season.

Here’s a pic of my chunky Kinsey enjoying the sunshine.