Here's how to beat that seasonal fitness slump.
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A yoga instructor, barre enthusiast, and full-time mom, Amanda Nurse ran her first Boston Marathon in 2010 and 17 marathons later, she's a pro. Now an elite runner, Amanda has pivoted her life to fully embrace the world of fitness—owning and managing Wellness in Motion, Boston's first yoga studio for athletes.
We asked Amanda to share what inspired her journey, and how the MINDBODY and Strava integration will further motivate her fitness goals.
At Bowdoin College, I played Division III Lacrosse and put in a lot of miles during games, but I never had a love for running races until 2009. I moved to Boston after college and joined the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team to train for my first Boston Marathon. At the time, it felt like a bucket list item—one marathon and done (I thought!). But, after meeting so many great friends through the training process and running a BQ (Boston Qualifier) in 3:26 my first time, I decided to run another... and another, and another.
I fell in love with endurance running, and have run a total of 17 marathons, qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials. I’m currently training to run the Berlin Marathon next month! I started taking yoga classes to complement my marathon training, as a form of both strength training and stretching. Being prone to injuries such as plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome and runner's knee, I knew I needed to take care of my body, and yoga helped combat these issues. The only problem was, it was hard to find classes geared towards athletes. So, I used my background in running and team sports to create yoga sequences designed to help athletes recover on their off days while helping them stay injury-free.
I have taught classes to Harvard University teams, pro-hockey recruits, Boston marathoners through Runner's World, as well as starting my own yoga studio for athletes. I discovered Barre3 in 2017 when it opened in my neighborhood, and I was newly pregnant. Providing me with an amazing low-impact workout throughout my pregnancy—and now postpartum—barre has been instrumental in keeping me injury-free and strong during marathon training!
Juggling new motherhood and personal fitness goals can sometimes feel daunting, but it's actually helped me stay more focused. I only have certain times each day that I can work out, and almost always it involves running with my son in the stroller. Luckily, he loves running with me so we get in outdoor time together and I find that pushing a stroller has made me a stronger runner. I also love bringing him to barre classes. I don't feel like I need to sacrifice my "A" goals, I just need to plan ahead, and make the most of my time. It's all about quality over quantity.
Strava is an amazing fitness tool and has created a great community of like-minded athletes. I love seeing my fellow runners' workouts, recaps and running routes—it helps motivate my own running. I also love reflecting back on my runs and seeing the progress I've made. I sync all my GPS data to Strava so I can see my splits, heart rate, along with the elevation, etc. It's awesome!
I've found so many great barre, yoga, and running classes through the MINDBODY app, and it's so easy to book. Syncing my MINDBODY classes with Strava will add another layer to keeping my fitness training in one place. I like to analyze what's been helpful in my routine—what I've done for cross training versus strength—and it'll be awesome to have it all automatically synced to my Strava account. It's been really helpful having my Barre3 online classes syncing directly to my Strava!
First off, be kind to yourself. In times when it feels hard, know that it will get easier with practice—don't give up or get discouraged. Secondly, think of each workout as a gift to yourself, rather than something you have to do. You get this time to improve your well-being, so enjoy it.
Get after your goals like Amanda and learn more about syncing your MINDBODY and Strava accounts
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.