Sunday, October 15, 2017

Repost: Sassy Girl Takes A Stand

Since the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment report came out nine days ago it takes me back to my situation. I know that every woman has a story no matter where you work. I posted about my experience with harassment in the work place last year and I think it needs to re posted.

Here is the original post:
I thought I was getting sick. My symptoms were nausea, headaches and restlessness. When the shakes first started, I thought it was probably too little sleep.
The symptoms came and went, off and on over the course of many months.
It took a while before I noticed that I'd start feeling sick as I was heading into work.

As a freelance fitness instructor I teach at about a half dozen fitness centers, and gyms each week.  Some are very high scale and some are very prestigious.  After many years teaching fitness I’ve learned how to command a room and be good at my job.  I can teach as many as fifty people simultaneously and still give each client individual attention.  In short I am good at what I do and as a result I am sought after.

A few years ago a new gym opened close to my apartment and the owner asked me to teach for him. They couldn't afford to pay what some of the other gyms could but it was appealing to teach somewhere in the neighborhood.  I was also able to come in on the ground floor and start a barre program to my own specifications.

Things started out relatively well.  Local clients followed me to the new gym and soon new students began to fill the room. I was creating new classes and feeling good about myself.
Flash forward a year later, and things started to change.  A man who I will call “Joseph”, a co-worker began making unwanted remarks and comments to me and to clients. I was uncomfortable with the way he was treating many of the women who he came in contact with. Being that his job was as a receptionist he came in contact with everyone.

I heard from multiple sources that he had been spreading a rumor that he and I were having an affair.
He was unprofessional and intrusive.  He was making me look bad and was turning off the people I had been working so hard to bring in.  

I complained to the owner right away.  I pointed out that this man was causing a hostile work environment.  I complained to the owner a short time later that after a series of encounters with “Joseph” I was beginning to fear for my safety.  
Nothing was done. In fact after complaining often times I found myself alone in the gym with only “Joseph”.

Not only have my complaints fallen on deaf ears I have watched time and again as fireable offenses have gone unpunished.  He has been caught training his own clients at the gym without permission, effectively stealing revenue from the gym.  He was caught on camera bringing a woman to the gym after hours and having sex with her.  

He has flirted with clients and I know at least one or two who have complained.  
This is a small gym with no security.  I have complained and have offered written accounts of what I have seen and experienced.  Yet time and time again the owner has given me myriad excuses as to why he can’t let this man go.  
“Work with me, Jessica. What can I do?”  
“I have no one to replace him.”
I tried reasoning with the owner and giving him simple suggestions for fixing this problem. I didn't want to give an ultimatum because I know they never work. Basically it came down to him or me.  He works at the reception desk.  That job can be filled a dozen times over with little more effort than posting an ad online or even posting a flier at the front desk.

But nothing has been done.  Month after month. I am so angry at myself that I let myself be disrespected and so unappreciated.  That I let myself feel threatened and intimidated.  That I waited so long.  

I have come to realize that I am in a hostile workplace.  The fitness industry is by and large progressive when it comes to women in the workplace. Look at any gym and you see girl power on display.

I think that is why this bothers me so much, because a gym I helped build has chosen to side with a male employee over a female teacher.

I don’t think that in locker rooms men talk as grotesquely as Donald Trump would have us believe.  But I have experienced first hand the boys club mentality and it angers me to the point that I have begun to tremble all over again.

*Update: it has been one year and NOTHING has been done at this gym. I do not work there! I quit last year. I encourage everyone to stand up and share your story. Yes, it is scary but you are NOT alone.

In health,
Jessica Bailey
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Why I LOVE teaching fitness!

This post is a little gratitude check. Today the world is hard. Stuff is happening often that makes me sad. I needed to write this post to remind myself that I love what I do for work.
I've been teaching Group Fitness since I started college. It was a way for me to keep in shape without having to pay for a gym membership. When I started I was not good. My very first class almost everyone walked out.  I don't know what encouraged me to keep teaching, but I am so glad I did.  When I was growing up, I was always told that I should be a school teacher, and I rolled my eyes at the thought of it. I even took education classes for 1 week in college. I quickly decided that was not  the route for me. I think educators are so important and greatly under paid. Today, I couldn’t imagine not teaching (group fitness).
1. Teaching has made me a better student.

Want to learn something inside and out? Teach it. I pay so much more attention to what I’m doing now when I take classes. I'm so in touch with my body that I can take direction well.  I notice little changes in body position and how they affect the difficulty of a move; I notice the ways my body naturally wants to “cheat” when it starts getting fatigued in certain exercises; I keep in mind common form errors I see in students and self-adjust if I find myself making them, too—the list goes on.  Also, I am ALWAYS super friendly and I smile at the instructor a lot during class. I want the instructor to know that I am enjoying their workout, even if I am not.  I believe so much in learning from others that I use Class Pass. Class Pass is a kind of gym membership that grants you access to thousands of different classes at studios and gyms in my city and around the world.

2.  It feels good to be a (small) part of such a positive component of people’s day.

For the most part, people want to be in class. Or, if they don’t exactly “want” to workout, they at least want to do something good for their body and they know that this is it. Either way, taking class is a positive part of someone’s day, and it feels good to be involved in that. It’s like the complete opposite of working at the DMV.

3. It’s rewarding seeing clients accomplish new things.

To clarify, I don’t mean rewarding in the sense that I think I’m responsible any time a student reaches a new goal or holds a plank those extra 30 seconds. Group fitness isn’t like personal training—your students are going to lots of different instructors, working out on their own, and the credit for progress goes totally to them. I just think that witnessing progress in itself is rewarding—every time I see someone accomplish something they couldn’t do the month before, it’s confirmation that I’m in the right industry.
4. It’s fun being able to share a workout I’m passionate about with others.
When I’m planning a class, I always aim to put together a workout that I’d want to do myself. It keeps me excited about teaching, and almost feels like I’m sharing a bunch of my favorite things or a list of recommendations with the class. If, for example, I’m feeling the burn from a particular exercise I did the other day, it’s weirdly exciting being able to then “share” that with my students by putting them through it in class.

5.  It has forced me to FINALLY learn my left from right.

Laugh away. Most people have an innate sense of left from right—not this girl.  I get it wrong all of the time, instruct enough people to cross their right foot in front of their left and even a hopeless fool like me can learn.

BONUS | When your friends come to class, you get to torture them.

Kidding. Kind of …

Group fitness instructors—what’s your favorite thing about teaching?

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In Health,
Jessica Bailey

Saturday, September 30, 2017

HIIT on a bike

If you haven’t been living under a rock, I’m sure you have heard of High Intensity Interval Training – otherwise known as HIIT. It seems like it’s the workout that everyone is talking about. A HIIT workout requires you to do short and intensive workouts. Think 30 seconds of all out activity.  These workouts are proven to help massively improve people’s aerobic fitness and muscle mass. Not only that, but because the exercises you are doing are high intensity you can complete them faster – which gives you more time to go to brunch!
Doing HIIT on a bike can be challenging. Not everyone wants to jump around but a lot of people want to do a HIIT workout on a stationary bike. I got you covered. Here is an idea.  Remember to warm up (including stretches) before you start.

30 Second Bursts
Easy to explain, you get on your bike and after a minute cycling at your own pace, go as fast (and as hard) as you can for 30 seconds.
Once the 30 seconds are up go back to your normal pace (this is your rest) for 60 seconds, then do 30 seconds all-out pedaling again.
Repeat this process four times – this will be considered as one interval.
To complete the exercise, do three intervals with a four-minute easy pedaling between each one to cool down.
If you’re finding it too easy/difficult then adjust the rest period by 30 seconds – 30 second rest for difficulty/90 seconds rest for ease.
In Health, Jessica Bailey

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2017

In honor of Mesothelioma awareness day, today, September 26th, I thought I'd dedicate my post to my grandfather who was affected by this disease. He ended up passing from this disease when I was a little girl. I didn't understand Mesothelioma at first so I thought I'd share what I do know with you.  Here are some facts you should know
The word mesothelioma may not be familiar to most people, of course it is a big word and it is not an everyday word. But would there be any one who has not heard about cancer?
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occur within the layers of cells that line the internal organs, these organ lining isknown as mesothelium. The term mesothelioma is derived from ‘mesothelium’ which is the tissue that line the stomach, heart, lungs, liver and other organs. The mesothelium serves as a protective cover for most of these internal organs.
Mesothelioma can also be called the tumor of the tissue. When it is cancerous, it is called malignant mesothelioma, and just mesothelioma when it is not malignant. It is a rare but serious disease.
There are quite a number of causes for this condition, but the leading cause of mesothelioma is prolonged exposure to asbestos. It has been shown by the interaction with patients that each one that has been diagnosed with the disease has come in contact with asbestos at some point.  Results from the medical laboratories have shown that the inhalation of tiny asbestos fibers, is the precursor for the chain of processes, both physical and metabolic, that lead to the condition. The mouth and the nose are the two paths of entry of mesothelioma causing particles.
In general terms, there are three types of mesothelioma
Pleura Mesothelioma.  This is the most common form of the disease and statistics have shown that it around 70% of mesothelioma a cases are of the pleura type. It is called Pleura because it occurs in the lining of the lungs known as the pleura.
Pericardial Mesothelioma. This form of the disease is not too common it occur in the pericardium, this is the lining covering the heart.
Peritoneal mesothelioma. This is also a less common form of the disease, it occurs in the peritoneum, which is the abdominal lining.
• Shortness of breath.
• Uneventful weight loss
• Pains around the chest wall or abdominal region
• Fever
• Night sweating
• Constipation or vomiting.
• Fatigue
• Wheezing or coughing
Once the disease has been diagnosed, a patient has a number of treatment options which include:
• Surgery 
• Radiation
• Chemotherapy

• In March 2009, the International Agency for Researchon Cancer, confirmed that exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma and all other forms of asbestos cause the disease.
• Signs and symptoms may not appear until 20 – 30 years after exposure.
• The disease does not spread to other parts of the body, like bones or the brain.
• The duration of exposure to asbestos which could cause mesothelioma can be short, one to four months in some cases.

PREVENTION: the disease can be prevented by limiting exposure to asbestos and asbestos containing material, if your spouse is asbestos, run away, but if its just a name, please hold on tight.
For more info about Mesothelioma click here

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How long should you foam roll each body part for?

Foam rolling is a great way to relieve muscle tension and help get those painful "knots" out of tight muscles. When using the foam roller hold pressure on any sensitive areas for at least 20-30 seconds, or until you feel the tension lessen and the muscle start to relax. Once this occurs, you can then move on to the next tender area. On particularly sensitive areas you may need to lessen the pressure applied by the foam roller and hold the tender spot for a longer duration - generally up to 90 seconds.

The goal of foam rolling is to reduce tension in the muscles. Foam rolling can be quite uncomfortable, especially on certain areas such as the IT Band, so focus on breathing and trying to relax as much as possible when on tender areas. It’s easy to rush, but remember you have to give the brain time to tell the muscles to relax.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Where to Donate for Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Irma created a mess, and I couldn't stop watching the news last weekend. I have very close friends in Miami and my GrandMother lives in Marco Island. They all are safe and evacuated so that was a relief but seeing them stressed about their home was heartbreaking. It made me want to donate again to hurricane relief. Because there are SO MANY "charities" to donate to, I thought I'd do some research. Here is what I found.

Picking a place to donate to Hurricane victims is difficult. Scammers often try to take advantage of disasters. And there are many real charities that, despite their promising names and flashy websites, do very little to help anyone.
If you want to give with confidence, then the best thing to do is to give to established charities that meet standards

The charities that most deserve your donations at this time are those that actually are in a position to help on the ground.

Here are some places I recommend you donate to:

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Do You Warm Up?

I understand you might be pressed for time and want to skip your warm-up and jump right into your workout. It sounds like a great idea but is it?  No, a warm up won't get you flat abs but it has a very important place in your workout routine.  

Why warm up?  Here are a few good reasons.

Warming up before you work out will..
  1. Increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which prevents you from getting out of breath to early or too easily
  2. Improve coordination and reaction times
  3. Reduce the chance of injury by allowing your muscles and joints to move through a greater range of motion easily (and safely)
  4. Lubricate your joints for easier (and less painful) movement
  5. Help mentally prepare you for the workout ahead, giving you a few minutes to get "pumped up" for a great workout!

I suggest you warm up before EVERY workout. Yes, even yoga! I'm not saying you have to spend 20 minutes rolling out and preparing your body for exercise. It doesn't have to take a lot of time since 5-10 minutes is typically all you need to get your body ready for working out. You should spend more time warming up for very intense workouts though.
What should I do to warm up?  A warm up can be a lower intensity version of the activity you're about to do, or it can be something different.  A proper warm up gradually raises your heart rate and gets your muscles primed for activity. Want a quick video to help you warm up? Check out this Easy 5-Minute Mobilty Warm-Up from WebMD
Do you ever skimp on your warm-up? If so, why?

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Workout with your pet

The same way we humans need exercise, our four-legged friends also need it as well. Working out with your dog or cat can help improve their cardiovascular health, keep them engaged, and prevents them from becoming bored and tearing the cushions off the sofa. Each exercise that your dog does increases their lifespan, which gives you just that much longer to spend with your little fluffball.
The best way to encourage healthy habits in your pets starts with you. Whether you like taking your dogs for walks, to play with their fellow dogs in the park, or chasing them down when they escape off their leash, there is always something you can do with, or alongside your pet to get them to become active and healthy balls of fur.

Working out with your pet also strengthens your bond with them. Running around with a pet and having fun makes them feel more attached to you. If you think your dog goes crazy when you are gone for 10 minutes NOW, just you wait.

One great website that promotes working out with your pets is Barks and Burpees. This group sells workout merchandise about the bond that you have with with your pets. They want to support all people who work to make the lives of animals better. The best part is that a portion of every sale they make goes to providing food and supplies to animal rescues and shelters.

If you are in need of a good pet to help encourage you to work out, I highly suggest going to your local rescue center and adopt a pet of your own or check out PuppySpot. Your pet will thank you for it later.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

What to eat post workout

What you eat and when is a super important part of training. The first meal after your workout is very important as our body is in the rebuilding phase. Your meal should help your body repair, recover and adjust to the workout you have just completed.
Your meal needs to have both proteins and a bit of carbohydrate and a little fat

It is best to have this meal sooner than later as the body is ready for good nutrition! Having it within 30 minutes of your workout is ideal.

The fear of gaining weight with pre and post workout meals is a myth. As long as you do not exceed the calories you need to have, it’s fine. Both these meals should be a part of your total calorie intake. What one must remember is that the most important part of any diet is the calorie count.

Here is one of my favorite post workout meals:

2 salmon fillets or 1 salmon steak
½ tsp ground garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 tblsp finely chopped fresh basil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 lemon wedge

1. Rub the salmon with lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and basil and keep aside for 15 minutes.
2. Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan. Add the salmon, skin-side down, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side till browned and flaky. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

My Summer Vacation

This past summer my husband and I took a family summer vacation with his parents and his sister’s family of four (they have a 7 year old girl and a 4 year old boy). That’s right. I said we chose to spend time together on a family vacation. That phrase, family vacation, reminds me of a John Candy movie that is full of weird family drama. And for some people, a family vacation sounds like absolute torture, but for me, I loved every minute of our time together.
None of us had ever vacationed together so we were unsure of how it was going to go. Needless to say we had an awesome and very comfortable, and of course, fun time. Fun is what we all aimed for. We had so much fun laughing and playing nerdy games. I got some much needed R&R and a perfect amount of Aunt and Uncle bonding time.  As much as I love spending time with my cute niece and nephew I made it a priority to find 1 hour each day to workout. I did barre, HIIT, and stretching sessions. I think it’s important for me to set a good example for the little ones that working out equals a happy life.
I love my in laws, but I really like them. There is a profound difference to me. I like hanging out with them and spending time together. We share life and laugh. A lot.
I always learn something new about my extended family when we spend time together, like how my sister and brother in-law parent. They are very patient and awesome parents. They are so loving with their little families.
Taking a family vacation with your in-laws takes some serious effort on my part to seek out relationships with them, but honestly, it is worth every bit of it. It’s really worth it.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Breakfast Ideas

Why is the most important meal of the day, oftentimes overlooked or eaten on the fly? It's one of the most delicious meals.
I always eat breakfast. That is a guarantee. A bowl of Oatmeal is my breakfast of choice.

Here are my 3 go to AM meal choices:

1. Steel cut or rolled oats oatmeal (made on the stovetop or in the microwave depending on how late I am running), with ½ cup fresh blueberries, and 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds and if I am feeling fancy,  a splash of unsweetened almond milk. PERFECTION! I love waking up to this!

2. Another Breakfast option in my rotation is a shake!  Make a chocolate shake with bananas, frozen berries, cocoa powder and honey. Mix all in a single serve blender and drink!

3. I have this option sometimes not only for Breakfast but I eat it as a mid day snack too. I just love this! 1 slice of whole wheat or sprouted grain bread with 1 Tbsp almond or sunflower butter + ½ sliced banana and 1 Tbsp honey drizzled on top

So it turns out that your mother was right: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

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