Good morning and happy Monday, everyone!

I’m just writing a quick post today to update you all on some new and exciting news that I’ll be going into more detail on next week.

As you can tell, I’d started this blog as a travel blog, to keep family, friends, and others updated on my journeys and adventures abroad throughout 2019. I continued posting travel-related content once I returned from my semester abroad, but as you can imagine this became quite difficult once travel restrictions were implemented due to the pandemic. I would still love to include travel content on this page, but that’s a part of my life that I can’t fully explore right now or in the near future.

While I began to transition this page toward more lifestyle, health, and fitness related content, as well as focusing on these topics in my daily life, I realized that this is truly what I am passionate about and would like to write about. I’ve mentioned before that I am a spin instructor, and am also now teaching various stretching, strength and conditioning, and HIIT workouts virtually from home – which I hope I can make a career out of in the future! I also love reading and learning about nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes. So, it only makes sense that I focus my energy in the health and fitness field right now, which is something I’m excited to commit to going forward.

I am excited to announce that next week I will be launching an entirely new blog page fully devoted to health and fitness! Because this page was started with a focus on travel, I want to keep it that way and hopefully return here occasionally when I do begin traveling again to update you all on my experiences. That being said, what I really want to do is expand my health and fitness content and career path, and I don’t think I can do that on this page without a fresh start. I have been working hard on creating this new page, and will be completing the finishing touches in this next week so that everything is ready to go for next Monday’s launch.

This new page will contain various work out routines and plans, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and my personal thoughts and opinions on different fitness regimes. I want to create a clean and motivational space to share my passion for health and fitness with you all, and experience a journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle alongside you!

I will be posting on this page again next Monday with specific information on my new page, how you can access it and subscribe, and to say a temporary goodbye to my travel followers. I want to separate the two spaces as they are two different passions in my life, and will therefore attract different followers and community members. I understand that those of you who signed up for this page to receive travel content might not be interested in health and fitness content, so this new page will be 100% focused in that realm.

I’m going to get back to work on my new page for now, but thank you all for understanding my switch and I hope to see many of you on the other side next week! Have a great holiday weekend, and as always, I’ll see you soon 🙂



Five 10-Minute Workouts to Boost Your Mood (& Muscles!)

Happy Monday and welcome back!

This week, as you can tell by the title of my post, I wanted to stick with the health & fitness theme – if you haven’t noticed, I’m very into this kind of thing, and even more so now that traveling is off limits!

I’ve been teaching online fitness classes while in quarantine, and after writing 4-5 different workout routines each week for my classes, I figured I might as well start sharing them on here. I want to disclaim that my only fitness certification is as a spin instructor, so these are simply recommendations of workouts I’ve been doing (and teaching) to get a quick hit of movement in throughout my day.

I wanted to stick with the 10 minute workouts for this week’s post, as this (in my opinion) is the easiest way to start implementing strength and conditioning into your day. Everyone can find 10 minutes to spare at some point during the day, and picking just one focus area for that 10 minutes can make a huge difference down the road!

I’m a proponent of switching things up every day, between muscle groups, activity level, and duration of exercise – this will help your muscles to recover between workouts, and also to get you excited and motivated to try new things, rather than sticking to the same ab workout everyday for a week. I also have noticed that even just 10 minutes of exercise can help clear your mindset and give you a refreshed outlook on the rest of your day, so even if you’re feeling stressed and exhausted and a workout seems like the last thing you want to do, I’m sure you’ll feel MUCH better afterwards. So, without too much of an introduction, here are five 10-minute workouts to get you started!

1. 10 Minute Core Crunch

This set contains 10 exercises, 1 minute each. You can decide how long you want to hold each exercise vs. how long you want to rest – you can start with 30-40 seconds on/20-30 seconds off, and then build up to 45-50 seconds on/10-15 seconds rest depending on your stamina. For an extra challenge, use ankle weights while you crunch!

  • Plank rockers (elbow plank while shifting your weight forward and backward)
  • Flutter kick
  • Boat to low boat (hands off the ground for a challenge!)
  • Leg lifts
  • Russian twists (hold a 5-10lb. weight to make it harder!)
  • Straight leg crunches
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Penguins (on back with feet on the ground/knees pointed up, reach for alternating ankles)
  • Hip lifts (legs straight in the air, lift your hips up using only core muscles)
  • Reverse crunches (hold a weight to make it harder!)

2. 10 Minute Leg & Glute Strength

For this exercise, I definitely recommend working up to using ankle weights eventually – if you don’t normally do leg exercises, you will benefit from just bodyweight, but adding weight definitely increases the intensity of this workout! Similar to the core crunch workout above, I am giving you 10 exercises, and you can choose how you want to build the intervals of working time vs. rest to reach 10 minutes!

  • Bodyweight squats, or hold a weight for higher intensity
  • Squat pulses (weight also optional)
  • Alternating right/left donkey kicks (from tabletop position)
  • Alternating right/left fire hydrants (from tabletop position)
  • Right side leg lifts (laying on left side)
  • Left inside leg lifts (laying on left side)
  • Left side leg lifts (laying on right side)
  • Right inside leg lifts (laying on right side)
  • Right straight-leg reverse leg lifts, straight up or side-to-side for challenge (from tabletop position)
  • Left straight-leg reverse leg lifts, straight up or side-to-side for challenge (from tabletop position)

3. 10 Minute Arm Toner

Choose an accurate weight for these workouts – I use 5lbs because I want to tone my arms rather than bulk up, while my brother, a college football player, uses 10-15lb weights to build muscle. Even starting off with 2-3lbs will make a difference, and if you don’t have weights at home, you can use any household object, like water bottles, soup cans, or shampoo bottles! Once again, this workout contains 10 exercises where you can choose your intervals – I recommend spending less rest time on these, though, as our stamina tends to last longer with arm exercises.

  • Bicep curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Overhead press
  • Chest fly
  • Tricep extensions OR tricep kickbacks
  • Bent over rows
  • Wide arm bicep curls
  • Front to back narrow rows
  • Lateral raises
  • Boxer punches

4. 10 Minute Full Body STRENGTH

This set combines core, legs, and arms to form one cohesive strengthening exercise. I recommend holding onto a light weight for most of these to up the intensity, and I suggest 45 seconds on/15 seconds off as a good starting point – but feel free to switch things up as needed!

  • Reverse lunges + torso twist, alternate right/left
  • Wide arm pushups, on knees or on feet
  • High plank jacks (step out right/left, or hop for challenge)
  • Side lunges, alternate right/left
  • Bicep curl to overhead press
  • Torso dips in horse position, alternate right/left (lean toward alternating sides/knees)
  • Plié squats (horse position)
  • Tricep dips OR tricep kickbacks
  • Boat to low boat
  • Hip lifts, hip lift pulses, or hip lift hold

5. 10 Minute Full Body CARDIO CONDITIONING

This fifth and final exercise is perfect for when you don’t have the time or energy to go for a run, do a full HIIT workout, or any other cardio of choice. Once again, I am giving you 10 exercises for which you can build your own intervals to reach 10 minutes, but I challenge you to work up to 1 minute of each exercise – that means no rest! This way you are getting a FULL 10 minutes of cardio!

  • Jump rope in place
  • Jumping jacks
  • Torso twist shuffle (twist hips right/left while hopping)
  • Butt kickers
  • Hop-hop-squat
  • High knees
  • Jumping jacks
  • Side shuffle 2 steps, touch ground on 3rd (alternate right/left)
  • Alternate front kick + toe touch with opposite arm
  • Mountain climbers

Well, that is all to get you started! These five sets should give you enough of a variety to pick and choose what you want each day, and of course feel free to switch out certain individual exercises for other modifications, or other moves you enjoy more. I personally like the structure of a 10-exercise, 10-minute workout, because I can get through it fairly quickly, so I hope you can all find a similar motivation! Pairing two or three together can also make for a great, 20-30 minute full body workout 🙂

Hopefully I can film a live workout soon to share with you all so you can better see the exercises and form I am explaining, and you can workout alongside me. I will also be posting more blogs like this in the future with different and new exercise ideas – so until then, good luck and happy moving!



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Warm Weather Workout Ideas

Happy Monday!

I’ve had a pretty busy morning considering the current situation, so I’m finally getting around to finishing up and posting today’s post. I’ve been spending a lot of my time these past few months staying active, and not only has it kept my physical health on track, but it’s really benefitted my mental health as well, and helped me pass the time. Now that it’s finally getting warmer out (for the most part), it’s been a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable to stay active. So, this week I wanted to share some of my favorite ways (and new habits) of getting exercise throughout my day, and hopefully I can inspire some of you to work some of these into your routine!

1. Walking and Running

I mentioned this in my last fitness-related post, but I can’t stress enough how amazing it’s been to get out of the house for at least an hour every day and run or walk. I definitely plan out my runs during the week to spread them out and make them more a part of my exercise routine, but I also make a point to walk a little bit at least once a day. I track my steps on my phone (especially after studying abroad, I was walking way more!), so I’ve been trying to keep my average steps level around the same number as it was before quarantine. At first this seemed impossible, since I’m not walking to class, work, etc., anymore, but it’s actually been a nice challenge to hold myself accountable for. When I run I need to listen to music, but when I go for walks, it’s been nice to meet up with or call/FaceTime friends, listen to a podcast, or just walk alone in silence with nature (I’ll usually only do this if I’m hiking or walking through a woods/nature path). It’s such an easy way to get movement into your day, and it completely changes my mood!

2. Yoga

I’ve always liked the idea of yoga and occasionally would go to hot yoga classes before quarantine, but to be honest, I could never fully implement yoga into my exercise routine. I’m very productive in all aspects of my life, including fitness, so my thought process was that if I were to take an hour out of my day to work out, it would be much more effective to run for an hour, or take a spin, barre, or bootcamp class. Yoga seemed like a nice way to relax, but not a high-intensity workout. Now that I have much more time on my hands, I’ve been doing A LOT more yoga (almost once a day) in addition to my regular daily workouts. The one yoga studio I would go to before quarantine (very rarely) was CorePower Yoga, and thankfully they’ve been live streaming SO MANY classes on YouTube. It’s been really nice to take a C2 yoga flow class after a long run, or take a yoga sculpt class as my daily workout (these are very hard).

Another fitness company whose workouts I’ve been loving recently is P.volve. This isn’t yoga, but it’s a low impact, high intensity workout that builds lean muscle strength with very little equipment, if any. They’ve been posting Instagram Live stories pretty frequently, so it’s been nice to add these onto my daily workouts as well. The workouts are much different from anything I’ve done in the past, so it’s a nice way to change up my routine and work my muscles in a new/different way.

Now that it’s warmer, I’ve been really liking doing both yoga and P.volve workouts in my backyard in the mornings – they’re not too high intensity, so it’s a nice way to wake up and get some fresh air before starting my day!

3. Cardio and HIIT Workouts

As I mentioned, I’ve always found the most productive way to work out (for my body) to be condensed, high intensity workout classes. This was the hardest part about social distancing for me (in terms of exercise) – not being able to take group fitness classes. However, I’ve actually gotten really into at-home workouts and I’ve been able to try so many different workout classes and studios than I could beforehand.

One of my new favorites is cardio kickboxing. I had heard lots about these classes in the past, but I never actually tried one for myself. This has now become one of my regular go-to’s, and it’s actually a much more effective workout than it seems in the moment. Punching the air doesn’t feel that difficult while taking the class, but when you’re doing it for an hour, you sweat a lot! This is also a much more fun way to work different muscles than just doing sit-ups and pushups.

In addition to cardio kickboxing classes, I’ve also been trying a bunch of different dance workouts and HIIT classes, while still using my Nike Training Center app that I mentioned in my previous fitness post to target different muscle groups. Again, now that the weather is warmer, I’ve been loving doing these classes outside! I’ll usually do one midday, after lunch or before dinner – this is when I have the most energy.

4. Outdoor Circuit Training

My favorite outdoor workout right now is something I’ve created on my own, and I’m excited to explore more/try with friends (hopefully soon)! I was fortunately able to bring home some equipment from the gym that I was working at before social distancing measures were strictly implemented, so I’ve been using this to set up some circuits throughout my backyard and driveway. It’s been nice to do this on the weekends when I have a bit more time in the mornings.

Specifically, I’ll set up various sets of dumbbells, resistance bands, an agility ladder, a jump rope, and a mat, and then I’ll write down a different exercise or set of exercises to do at each station. Depending on how long/difficult each round is, I will usually repeat everything 3-5 times. This has been a lot of fun to design workouts that I enjoy doing, spend time outside, and move around between arms, legs, core, and cardio. These are definitely very physically exhausting workouts, but they’re fun to do and far from boring!

5. ANY Outdoor Games/Activities!

Finally, it’s been nice to spend more time just being outside recently, with family or social distancing with friends. Even when I’m not doing a high intensity workout, spending time outside in the fresh air has been so beneficial for my physical and mental health. I forget how much I take time outdoors for granted, but now that I’m in my house most of the day, I make a point to get outside and just sit in my yard for a little bit each day. This tends to make me more active, whether I start going for a walk, play catch with friends, etc. So in any way you can, being outside is usually better than being inside!

I hope these activities can inspire you to be a bit more active in whatever ways are enjoyable for you, and if you have any of your own suggestions, please comment them below! As much as this situation has been difficult, I am looking forward to having a lot more time to be active and to be outside this summer. I’m excited to keep trying new exercises and make fitness more of a priority, and I hope you guys are too!

As always, stay healthy and safe, and I’ll see you all next week 🙂



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Staying Active at Home

Good morning and happy Monday!

Writing these posts each week makes me aware of how much time is going by, and it’s crazy to me that this is already my third post from quarantine. I’ve had to get creative with some ideas, but the timing worked out – right when I wanted to take a turn with my content away from travel for a bit, the world gave me a sign to do that 🙂

As most (or all) of us are pretty much at home, inside for most of our days, I wanted to share some things I’ve been doing to stay busy and keep some normalcy in my routine. Until the past few days, I really haven’t felt like I’ve had an excessive amount of free time, which I expected to feel immediately after coming home. Although a lot of my time is still being taken up by schoolwork, I’ve found some other ways to stay active in the free time that I do have, which has really helped me to stay levelheaded throughout this whole situation.

First, since I mentioned that most of my time is spent at my desk on the computer doing schoolwork, as soon as I’m done for the day I find myself with lots of energy and a drive to be physically active. One simple thing I’ve made a point to work into my daily routine are long walks and runs. Now that it’s getting warmer out, these are getting easier and more enjoyable as well. For at least an hour every day, I’ll either walk or run around my town/neighborhood, or through local parks and woods. I usually switch off with walking and running every other day so I don’t get too tired of one or the other, but especially during this time, I’ve found it so much easier to clear my head and actually enjoy the exercise, since it’s the one time of day I can set aside to safely be outside of the house. I’ll use the Nike Run Club app to track these runs, which is nice to see how much I’m moving in my free time, since otherwise I’m not getting around too much!

Continuing on the exercise path, I’ve really increased the at-home workouts I’ve been doing (as most of us probably have!) I’ve always been into at-home workouts, so this is not a new concept for me, but I’ve also always had access to a gym or a space where I can do these workouts, and where I can add whatever equipment I like. Now that I only have what’s in my house, I’ve had to really set aside a time and space to get these workouts in – but it’s working! All I use at home are a yoga mat, dumbbells, and ankle weights – pretty much all of which can be substituted by household objects if you don’t have the equipment!

I’ve been doing some at-home classes straight from YouTube just by searching a 45 minute or 1 hour HIIT workout class, or a full body exercise (whatever you’re feeling, I’m sure they’ll have it!) I did a one-hour kickboxing class last week that was so different from my normal workouts, so I was definitely sore after! I’ve also been using the Nike Training Club app, as right now all regular and premium workout videos are free! There are so many workouts put together on this app, varying from length to intensity to muscle groups, so you can definitely put together as short or as along of a workout as you like. I’ve been FaceTiming some friends at home so we can do these workouts together, and it’s been such a nice way to catch up while also making sure we’re both getting in some activity for the day!

Now that life has slowed down in all aspects, I’ve finally found the time to really get into yoga – something I always felt was too slow for me before. I’ve tried a number of different yoga classes, and while I love it when I’m in the middle of it, it’s not something I can usually justify taking the time out of my day to do. Not only would I prefer to take a spin class or a bootcamp class to get the most out of a 45 minute workout, but yoga puts me in a much more relaxed mindset – something I previously couldn’t afford to do in the middle of a school day. Now that I have extra time in the mornings, at night, and between classes (without anywhere to be), it’s been much easier to incorporate shorter yoga classes or segments into my day. I also get some of these from the Nike Training Club app, and others from YouTube.

Again, now that the weather is finally starting to look a bit brighter, being outside has been so much more enjoyable (and even when it’s cooler out, I can appreciate the fresh air so much more.) So, just spending time in my yard, playing pick up sports, going for short hikes/walks in the woods behind my house, and really just taking the time to think and appreciate nature right now, has significantly boosted my mood and kept me calm during this time. I’m normally an extremely busy, active, and organized person, so not having a schedule or places to be has been hard. However, scheduling my day like I normally would – with my classes, workouts, and phone calls all in my calendar – has given me more structure and allowed me to take advantage of the free time I find myself having more and more each day.

These are just a few suggestions of ways you can stay moving and keep it fun while we’re limited right now – this is obviously not an extensive list, but this is what I’ve been doing, and what’s been working for me. If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please let us know in the comments!

Once again, I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe, and please continue these distancing practices to keep others safe as well! Have a great week, and I’ll see you all next Monday 🙂



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How I Became a Spin Instructor

Happy Monday! I hope everyone is staying healthy, safe, and somewhat busy during these difficult times. I’m finally catching up on schoolwork and housework, and getting back into a relatively normal routine, so hopefully I can keep this up!

This week I wanted to go in yet another direction, avoiding talk of travel for now and touching on another fitness aspect of my life – my job. Over the past year and a half, I’ve trained to become a spin instructor, gotten my certification, and begun teaching classes. Unfortunately I am unable to teach at the moment due to lots of gyms and studios closing, and this is not a format which can easily be transferred to online classes, so for now I’m just hanging tight and prepping for future classes, whenever those might be.

This is definitely not the most traditional career path, but it’s something I’ve developed a strong passion for and hope to continue for as long as I’m able. I get a lot of questions about what the job entails, what it’s like being an instructor rather than a participant, and how others can get involved – so I want to address these here for those interested, and also share some things I’ve learned which I didn’t know before teaching myself.

Why I Started Instructing

I had only been to a handful of indoor cycling classes before starting college, most of which were mandatory team workouts for my swim team. So, this was never something I sought out on my own, or something I thought much of other than a workout moms did in their free time. When I got to college, I found that my school’s fitness center offered a number of group fitness classes for students for free, ranging from yoga to barre to kickboxing to, you guessed it, spin. I still wasn’t comfortable taking a class on my own, so I signed up myself a long with a few friends to try out a spin class one night. This was the best decision I ever made.

After that first class, I completely fell in love with spinning to the point where I would take 4-5 classes each week just for fun. Not only was it a great workout, but the atmosphere of a dark room with loud music filled with 29 other students doing the same workout as me, made the 45 minutes go by without even feeling like a workout – it was honestly just fun to be there. What really kept me going back, though, were the instructors. I found a couple whose classes I couldn’t stay away from, to the point where I would only go to their classes, but I would go to all of their classes, each week (and instructors typically teach 3-4 times/week).

By the time I was a sophomore, I found myself still regularly attending spin classes, but also doing 45 minute cycling workouts on my own. I would line up 10-15 songs, hop on a bike, and go through the motions of a regular spin class in my head, thinking through the cues I would be given if I were being instructed. It soon occurred to me that I liked a certain style of cycling and instructing – to the point where I was instructing myself – and I was already going to classes nearly every day, so why shouldn’t I teach them? This is where my journey to becoming an instructor began.

The Process

Becoming a group fitness instructor of any format is not easy. Becoming a spin instructor was even more difficult, I would argue, because there’s really no way to practice or train with proper equipment without access to a bike or a studio. Fortunately, Boston College has a group fitness prep course, along with a mentor program, which I was able to take during my sophomore spring semester. This course taught me how to actually teach a room of 30+ diverse participants, how to write not only a workout but a playlist to go with it, and how to assess any potential medical concerns and instruct accordingly.

This prep course had both a classroom and an in-class portion, as I mentioned with the mentor program. I chose my mentor because she was really the only instructor whose classes I was taking at that point, simply because I loved the structure of her workouts and the energy she brought every day. For about 10 weeks, I shadowed and eventually helped teach her class once a week. By the end of the semester, I was ready for my final audition, which consisted of me writing and teaching an entire class on my own, and being evaluated by BC’s group fitness coordinators (and I passed!).

Alongside BC’s prep course, I also had to be certified from an outside company. I took an online certification course from Spinning™ throughout the spring semester, so by the time I auditioned and was hired by Boston College, I was also a certified instructor. As you can see, this was not a quick or easy process, but I learned so much valuable information that I never thought would be necessary to lead a group fitness class, yet I’ve found crucial not only in my classes but in my personal life today.

How I Teach My Classes

Before BC suspended it’s group fitness classes due to the current situation, I was teaching three scheduled classes each week, and subbing here and there for other instructors when I could (so usually ~4 classes/week). There’s a lot that goes into each class, including the workout sequence, the choreography of each set, the playlist, and the cues. I make a new sequence and playlist for each class I teach (unless I’m teaching multiple in one day), since I usually see the same set of participants, and as a rider I appreciate a variety in instruction and music.

I can spend anywhere from 10 minutes to two or three days working on a playlist, depending on how quickly I need it done and how motivated I get for the class. I love looking for new music and building playlists to hype up my mood, so my Spotify spin collection has gotten very lengthy over the months.

As far as my actual classes go, there’s nothing I hate more than riding to a different beat than the music. I find it so much easier to keep pace when your speed matches the music, even at faster speeds – so, 95% of my class is on-beat. This makes building a playlist slightly more difficult, but it’s always worth it. I tend to stick to the same general outline of climbs, sprints, jumps, etc., but I’ll play around with the order and occasionally try out new sets. I teach my classes in the format I like to take classes, so I enjoy doing this multiple times each week and I attract participants with similar riding styles.

All in all, I love my job as a spin instructor and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to start back up again in the (somewhat) near future. I’m definitely going a bit crazy not being able to ride at home, but I know this break will only energize me more once I come back!

This week’s post was definitely on the longer side, but I figured with all of our new free time that more content is always better, and there’s a lot about group fitness instruction that people don’t know! I could talk about this job for hours, so if people have any questions or want another post like this, please let me know and I would be happy to share more. For now, I’m going to keep working on my playlists and find some exciting new music so we come back strong 🙂

As always, I hope everyone is staying inside and staying safe, and I look forward to sharing more health, fitness, and hopefully travel content soon. Have a great week, and I’ll see you all next Monday!



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