To step or not to step…

Step aerobics: Made popular in the 1980’s, this exercise class is based around movements involving a step and riser. Normally paced to the music in 32 counts, the class is a high-energy, caloric torching workout! 

I’ve never been a dancer, well not a good one at least. Not trained to know beats, hear counts of the music or “feel” the tempo. This is why I LOVE Spin. Except for jumps and some other stuff, choreography is not part of it. I’ve been a group ex. instructor for 3 years and have never had to learn these techniques. Whenever I teach a muscle conditioning class I use an individualized circuit system and time it out. This has fit me just fine and my students seem to love it! But it’s time. Time for me to learn how to Step.
So I have decided to start taking other instructors classes to learn more about the technique, how to count the music, get some ideas, etc. I did not begin with a full blown Step class however. I have decided baby “steps” are the best way into this process.

Tips to trying out a new Group Ex. class: 

  • DON’T be nervous. Instructors deal with newbies all the time. We are trained to make you feel welcome. If you don’t feel like this… switch instructors. Trying out different instructors/classes is the only way to know what you like. 
  • Come prepared to work hard, have fun, and learn a lot!
  • Arrive early to get prepped for the class. Even talk to the instructor in the beginning if you are scared!
  • HAVE A BLAST! You never know, this class could be your next favorite fitness activity 🙂

For me, I began by taking a integrated cardio and muscle conditioning class. During the cardio portion all we did was step work. I looked like a fool and was off beat, but was determined to get it right AND have fun doing it.
Second class I took was a Total Body Conditioning class. Same concept except more of a circuit style (weights/cardio/repeat) class.
All I can say is…. much better! We not only did step but she also put some cardio kickboxing in there. I felt much more confident about my step work and staying on the music.

I am sure many can’t believe that step aerobics is still around. No there are no leg warmers or Olivia Newton John beats on the iPod, but it is still the upbeat class it once was. It can be an acquired taste and not for everyone. But try it on for size…
You never know until you step 🙂

Reader Response: Milk.

Dear TTT, 
I am wondering about the benefits of chocolate milk after a workout? Is it worth it? I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews and I would love your opinion about it. Thanks! 

Great question! Although I am not a RD (Registered Dietitian), I do have some info regarding the pros and cons of drinking the chocolaty goodness post-workout. Plus my opinion 🙂
As always, please always make sure to check with a doctor before making any significant changes to your diet or nutritional intake. 


  • Milk contains protein. Protein helps build lean muscle after they are “broken down” during exercise. Therefore many frequent fitness buffs turn to milk as it is a fast and easily digestible (for some) way to aid in this recovery. 
  • Easy to transport. Shaker, thermos, etc…
  • Tastes yummy! Many like the taste of choco milk better than protein powders. 
  • If you go with skim, it is fairly low in calories and fat free. 
  • Many nutrients not found in traditional sports drinks or water.
  • Watch out for that sugar! If you aren’t careful you could be taking in the same amount as a candy bar! Read labels.
  • Not easy to store for post-workout drink. Needs refrigeration. 
  • Shouldn’t be a replacement for water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
  • This shouldn’t replace lean proteins at your next meal; chicken breast, lean turkey, fish and legumes. 
In a study done by the American College of Sports Medicine,  “Post-exercise consumption of low fat chocolate milk was found to provide equal or possibly superior muscle recovery compared to a high-carbohydrate recovery beverage with the same amount of calories.”(Source). It is also thought that if you are aiming for weight loss, then the additional caloric intake is not necessarily worth it. Foods like Greek yogurt or string cheese are a fantastic alternative that contain protein and might have slightly fewer calories. (Source). That way you are not drinking your calories and feel satisfied with your snack.  

TTT opinion: 
Personally, I love the protein powder that I use (Syntrax Matrix Simply Vanilla). I normally mix it with water (when I am at work), OJ or almond milk. This alternative has more protein per serving and less sugar. I have gone down the CM route and love it as a post snack. I love chocolate and find it is almost like a prize waiting for me when I am done with a hard lift or run. 

So, it is up to you the consumer and fitness guru. To drink or not to drink? What is your favorite post-workout snack? Comment away 🙂 

Fall trends preVIEW

Happy Sunday funday everyone!
No I don’t want summer to end. We still have time before the cooler weather hits us. Let’s not rush this.
But we can look forward to some exciting new fitness trends headed our way! Here are some fun new activities you can enjoy in the next couple months…

  • Cy-Yo: A fusion class of group cycling and yoga. Intended to be a mind/body experience with a high-intensity twist. 
  • YogaFit: Again, a fusion class of traditional muscle conditioning techniques mixed with yoga moves in a flowing class.
  • Zumba: Think of a Latin dance party! Considered the original “fitness-party” that is addictive as well as down right fun! 
  • Aerobarre: This studio offers multiple options of classes with a basis of ballet and barre work. Intended to create “ long, sculpted, lean yet strong muscles“, this workout is currently offered in NYC. But definitely look into it in your area! 
I will be headed to a Summit come November and will be sure to have new ideas then… 
Any class that you’ve taken that has inspired you? Kept you wanting more? Couldn’t get enough? Post a comment and share 🙂