Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Spooky Halloween Butt Workout

Halloween, how I love you. I am pretty lucky, I never had to "out grow" one of my favorite holidays because I moved to the Halloween Mecca, NYC right after High School. Halloween is a big thing around here and I LOVE it.  I haven't missed a holiday yet. 
This past week has felt especially long to me because I have been waiting for Halloween.
I put together a 30 minute “Butts & Guts” workout for you to try at some point.  And not just ANY workout, a SPOOKY workout.  By the way, I know I am a big dork when it comes to my love of this holiday. 
In Health,

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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