Cross Training on the Cheap

My major focus for this month post-marathon is recovery and cross training. I’m including strength training in this since it’s something I need to kick up a couple notches, although I know some runners only consider cross training as other cardio activities.

Cross training can get expensive though, especially when you live in a city where fitness classes can easily range from $15-30 dollars per class. I already talked about how I was trying to pick more budget-friendly races, so I thought I’d share how I was keeping costs down with cross training also. After all, there are plenty of Christmas presents to buy, holiday happy hours to attend and plane tickets/gas money to shell out for this time of year, so saving a few bucks is always nice.

I can always count on a kick-butt workout from my favorite spin studio, Revolve. I saw a Facebook post on their page awhile ago about a work-trade program and decided to check it out. In exchange for helping out before and after certain classes, I get to ride that class free.


It’s pretty simple, I show up early to help riders checking in with lockers and shoes, get the room reset/clean if there’s a class just ending and help newbie riders with setting up their bike. Then after getting a killer workout in I hang around, wipe down bikes, sort and clean shoes and make sure everything is ready for the next day or next class. There are a few others plus staff helping out, so it’s a quick and painless process. I did my first “shift” last week and really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to getting in more rides like this! I’d highly suggest checking with your favorite gyms or studios to see if they offer something similar.

Awhile ago I did a post on a community class I took at Dancing Mind Yoga. It was a fun and intense workout and one I definitely wanted to try again. Well, just my luck, a Groupon came out recently offering an unlimited month of classes at the hot yoga studio for just $30! I just activated my month yesterday and look forward to telling you how my yoga adventure goes!


I’ll be honest, it used to really bug me when I taught boot camps and people would only come when they had a Groupon or Living Social deal even if they really liked the class. From the other side though, I get it. During times when the budget is not as tight, I will certainly go back to places that I got great workouts at, but why not take advantage of the plentiful discounts available when you can? It’s a great way to try out new kinds of exercise and really mix things up too. Check Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local and other daily deal sites for local fitness deals whenever you can!

Finally, moving on to strength training. I’m lucky enough to have a gym right in my apartment building I can use for free, but if that’s not available, you’re certainly not out of luck. I’m a huge proponent of strength exercises that require nothing more than your own body weight. Think push-ups, planks, lunges, squats, wall-sits and more. There’s no reason you can’t get a great strength workout in wherever you are. Check out this Runner’s World article listing essential strength exercises for runners – many of which don’t require equipment.

How do you cross train? Do you shop around for budget-friendly deals or stick to your favorite spot regardless of price?

Getting Others to Their Fitness Goals

As a runner and an athlete, setting goals and working to reach them is a major part of my life. It’s what drives me to get better and it makes me happy. Even more fun though, is helping other people reach their goals.

Back in high school I was always putting together plans and forcing my friends to run sprints in an empty gym during the off-season to get ready for basketball. For years I’ve acted as a personal trainer for my Mom setting up workout plans for her and teaching her how to swim so she could add a new cardio element to her routine. A couple years ago, I got to take things a bit further.

I saw an ad for a company called Custom Fitness Concepts (CFC) looking for outdoor boot camp instructors. I had taken boot camp classes for a few years and thought this would be a blast, so I replied to the ad with my background and reasons for wanting the job. After a month and a half of CFC’s in-house training program and shadowing other instructors, I was getting my own class. It would be a new site up in Quincy Park and would be held Monday through Friday at 6 a.m.

I had five people show up for my first class – four were friends of mine. Attendance was a bit rocky at first, but eventually it built up and I had a pretty solid showing most mornings. During the nicer months, especially when we were running Groupon deals, I often had 20+ people showing up. Despite the early hour (I’m not much of a morning person), I absolutely loved it.

A few months later I took over the evening class at Quincy Park as well for a trainer moving out of town. That one met Monday through Thursday after work at 6 p.m. I was able to do both classes and my day job for a little over a year before it became a bit too much and I dropped the morning class. If only there’d been a financially feasible way to turn fitness-related work into a full-time gig!

It was so fun to see so many people coming out and trying to get in better shape while having some fun doing it. Although, a lot of my bootcampers out there might say that I was the only one having fun, they kept coming back, so I don’t believe it! It was especially great to get to know the regulars who came over a long period of time, and see how much of a transformation some of them made. If you’re in the DC/NoVa/Maryland area and are looking for a kick-butt workout, look no further than CFC.

I had to give up teaching boot camp when I started my new job and at the same time my car died at the beginning of this year, but it was an awesome experience. This summer I started doing some personal training for CFC. I only have one client a couple days a week right now since that’s pretty much all my schedule allows for, but it’s great to be back to helping someone take a step towards getting more fit and leading a healthier lifestyle.

While it’s no doubt rewarding to reach my own fitness goals, there is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing I helped someone else do something they didn’t know or never thought they were capable of accomplishing.

How do you reach your fitness goals? Do you like to go at it solo or take group classes? What are your favorite types of classes?