Print, don’t scribble.

I’ve been getting the most out of my Beat Fitness Groupon and have been going pretty regularly. So far, I have taken their: Tae Bo, Booty Camp, Insanity Express, and Core Tone & Sculpt classes. A few days ago I tried out their Boxing Bootcamp, and was surprised to see that my guest boxing instructor was none other than Billy Blanks! Having tried his at home workouts in the past, I knew exactly who he was, but now I couldn’t pause the DVD to take an extra breather on the couch.

While Billy has aged, he is still an intimidating force. There is no slacking off in his class. He kept yelling “Print, don’t scribble!” when we were working out new combinations on our bags. It’s about getting it right, and then getting it fast. He had us all line up and spar with him which was quite the experience. I learned really fast to keep my hands up because the moment I dropped them, I got bopped on the cheek. It didn’t hurt but it was surprising. Next were flying “Superman” punches. I couldn’t stop laughing as I awkwardly jumped and punched. We ended the class with back kicks and round house kicks. Those were my favorite! By the last set, I had moved my heavy bag 10 ft!

I was such a fun surprise having him teach the class and I look forward to taking more classes there.

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Work It Out: Groupon Style

My favorite form of exercise is channel surfing. But, with wedding dress shopping coming up in the next few months, I need to start getting into fighting shape. I love trying out all different kinds of exercise, but there is no way that I can justify paying the insane monthly membership fees. Enter Groupon to the rescue. I found a steal of a deal for The Beat Fitness in Sherman Oaks ($29/one month unlimited) and last night I decided to redeem it.

The Beat is a tiny studio located in the heart of Sherman Oaks. From the fire red carpet to the onyx walls, there is nothing “soft” about this gym. This is where women (and a handful of men) come to take care of business, and where fat comes to die. I started the night off with Tae Bo taught by co-owner Nathalie Bernard. I’ve taken Tae Bo-esque classes before but never a pure one and man there were a lot of kicks and knees. Nathalie called out and demoed all the movements and by the end she was sweating more than we were. It definitely had a bootcamp feel. The one critique I have of the class was the music. For 99% of the class it was some weird mash up of sirens and alarms. Not dubstep or house or techno. Sirens. And, I was right next to the speaker in a packed class. No bueno. But towards the end of the class, a remixed version of the Jackson 5’s I Want You Back came on and my entire attitude changed.

I am a crazy person so I decided to stay for a second class called Booty Camp. This class was very similar to the Tae Bo class but incorporated weights, a step, and ab work. Also, the music was much more recognizable as well…music. I could barely lift my legs and arms and was half-assing it for the entire class but I made it through.

I look forward to taking more Booty Camp classes and trying out their boxing and insanity classes too!

Not just for hipsters and kids

I attended a friend’s birthday party in the park and one of the guests brought hula hoops for us to play with, including a monster 6′ hoop. I don’t remember the last time I hula hooped. Maybe I was like 10?  But it was so much fun! I struggled a bit with the smaller/lighter hoops but was able to keep the heavier/more adult size ones going. It was hilarious to see some of the guys do it with the grace of well… these guys. Their hips do not lie…

It’s an awesome core/back workout and if you get really good you can be like this girl.

Surfs Up

I recently had the day off from work and had nothing to do. It was clear, sunny, and warm–definitely not a day to be wasted spent inside–so I packed up my bag and headed to Santa Monica. My typical beach activities are: sunbathing, walking along the shore, and reading/catching up on tv on my iPad. But this day, I wanted to challenge myself and try something new: ocean paddleboarding. Now, I have been paddleboarding before, once, on a lake, three years ago. Ocean paddleboarding, is a completely different animal because of the waves…duh.

When I got to the beach I rented a “wee” 10′ paddleboard. I was nervous, not only because this was new to me, but also because I was by myself–no one else had the same day off. Boo friends! I am not the most coordinated person so I kept having these flashes of my almost certain watery death with no one to hear me scream. I told the paddleboard guy that if I was not back in an hour that I was probably dead and he should come collect the board before it drifted off to sea. He laughed it off and I turned to him and was like, “No, seriously. I am probably dead. Come find my bloated corpse…” And with that, I was off lugging this beast of a board down to the shore.

When I finally got down to the water, the beach was deserted except for two paddleboarders who were out floating. One caught a tiny wave and expertly surfed it down the coast. I grabbed my board, said a tiny prayer, and ran into the freezing Pacific. Did I mention that I didn’t have a wet suit? Yeah it was c-c-c-c-chilly! I paddled out as fast as I could past the break, drinking in a few sips of salt water as I went. Flapping my arms wildly, I eventually made it out to calm water. Proud of my accomplishment, I promptly laid down on my board and let myself just float there. It was so peaceful and calm. The water was actually so still that I could see schools of fish swimming below me.

I finally got the nerve to stand up on the board but when I looked around, the paddleboarders had vanished. I hadn’t drifted far, they had just decided that they were done and headed in. I was by myself in the ocean with no one around. I immediately saw the watery death flashes and promptly sat down. No death today. I paddled around on my knees for about 10 more minutes before the waters started to get rough. I could no longer see the fishes, and was having a tough time keeping my balance. I positioned myself back in the break to ride a wave in and was immediately knocked off my board. I cut my shin on the fin and hobbled back up to the shore. Wet and now slightly bloody, I dragged my sad little body up back to the equipment stand and deposited the board. Despite the injury and minor panic, I would definitely like to do this again…with a buddy.

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

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I went back to archery with the main goal of not bruising myself and I succeeded! Progress people. My accuracy, however, was all over the place. My best grouping (2 bullseyes and one just outside the bullseye) was my very first set and it just went downhill from there.

In my very first class the volunteers/instructors made it a point to not give too much instruction on aiming. In class two, now that I’m an “old pro,” everyone made it a point to give me their advice. I totally appreciate their help because they are SO much more experienced than I am, but it got very confusing/overwhelming as most of their advice contradicted each others’. I would hold the bow one way and then and instructor would come up and be like, “What are you doing?” and then would adjust my stance. The next round I would try the adjusted stance and then another instructor would come by and be like, “Um…why are you holding the bow like that?” and adjust me to another stance. That continued for a few hours. It was crazy making. I even tried shooing with a heavier and right handed bow.

It goes to show that there are so many styles of shooting and it’s all about what makes you most comfortable. My goal for the next class is to improve my accuracy (while continuing to not bruise myself).

Katniss, eat your heart out

Last night I tied up my best Katniss braid and headed out to the Woodley Archery Range for their FREE archery class. When I was a kid, I used to frequent this park to go bike riding but I had no idea that tucked back between the golf course, Japanese gardens, and cricket pitches is a rustic archery range. That’s one of the things that I love about moving back to Los Angeles, the chance to rediscover my city.

I read on yelp that the class fills up fast so I made sure to arrive early. GPS will only take you so far. Make sure to check out these turn by turn directions before you check it out. The registration process was pretty straight forward: show up, sign your life away, get fitted for a bow, etc.. but what surprised me was that since I’m left eye dominant, I have to shoot left handed even though I’m right handed. According to a few of the certified archery instructors, 1/3 of archers are cross dominant and the act of shooting an arrow is so awkward at first that it’s better and safer to go with the dominant eye rather than the dominant hand. Also, for us double jointed people, we need to make the extra effort to rotate our bow elbow in. Why you ask? Well, if you leave your elbow sticking out then it has a really good chance of getting smacked by the arrow and/or the bow string. Don’t believe me? I got lazy a few times and now have the battlescars to prove it. The more you know….

I have to give the Woodley Archers an A+ for their range safety. For someone as accident prone as myself, I truly appreciate their step by step instruction in arrow recovery and shooter awareness. They even went over park and bathroom safety. No joke. Apparently there are some “shady characters” who frequent the public restroom near the range and “vice squad is in and out of there weekly.” Welp. The more you know?…

The actual act of shooting was so much fun! I was lucky enough to have a small class and so, I got a lot of one-on-one instruction from an instructor who also happend to be a Michigan dad. Go Blue! He was really helpful, respectful, and informative. By the end of the class I had shot a few bullseyes!

The overall vibe of the crowd was eclectic: from the pre-teens to the corporate types, frat bros, to the tatted up Scottish man wearing, I kid you not, a purple kilt and combat boots, it goes to show that everyone appreciates a good deal and a good time. I will definitely be checking out this class again in the future.

Skeet Shooting

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I bought a groupon for Mike Raahauge’s Shooting Range in Corona and took my dad (above) for some quality father-daughter time.

My dad was an ace shot who rarely missed. I, on the other hand, was an absolute disaster! I think I hit 5 targets out of 50. Apparently, even though I’m right handed, I’m left eye dominant which made it nearly impossible for me to line up the shot. It was even harder when I instinctively closed my eyes when the gun when off. Not good. Seriously! I’m glad I tried it but this is definitely NOT my sport.