rykä Fit Club Offers Discount to Fitness Professionals

January 22nd, 2012

Attention Zumba lovers: If you are considering buying the Kelly Ripa Collection Ryka Transition Shoes for Zumba, you might want to register for the rykä Fit Club.

I just discovered the rykä Fit Club. According to the website, the rykä fit club offers a 20% discount on everything at rykafit.com to fitness professionals, group fitness instructors, personal trainers, and athletic trainers. You can’t visit the rykafit Store unless you are a member of the club. I just filled out the application myself using my ZIN membership number. I’ll let you know what happens…

Chinese Pop Music for Zumba – Happy Chinese New Year!

January 22nd, 2012

The Chinese New Year is upon us! The Year of the Water Dragon starts Monday, January 23, 2012. How about some Chinese pop music for your Zumba classes to celebrate this new beginning?!?

One of the benefits of teaching Zumba at a large American state university is the large number of international students. Here are some Chinese artists that were recommended to me by Chinese grad students studying abroad who take my Zumba classes. My personal favorite is Jolin Tsai. Enjoy!

Aaron Kwok – Just Move, Para Para Sakura

Coco Lee – Hip Hop Tonight, No Doubt, Real Lover

Jay Chou – My Zone

Jolin Tsai – Oh! Oh!, Honey Trap, Dancing Diva, 36 Ideas of Love

Penny Tai – Cinderella

Sammi Cheng – Enrapture, One and Only

Stefanie Sun – Green Light, Be Straightforward, Running

Wilber Pan – Happy Worship

2012 year of the dragon

DC Skate Shoes for Zumba

January 21st, 2012

I started doing Zumba at a new studio, and I saw something I have never seen before: Skateboarding shoes in Zumba class.

What are skateboarding shoes, like DC Skate shoes designed for? Grip. Keeping the skater’s feet on his or her skateboard without slipping, sliding, or rocking off the board.

Is grip what you need for Zumba? Absolutely not!

Of course you don’t want to go sliding across the studio floor, but Zumba requires turns and twists. Your feet must be able to pivot or your ankle, knee, and hip joints will suffer. Skate shoes also do not allow the lateral movement required in the most basic of salsa moves in a Zumba class.

While skate shoes might look cool, they are not the right footware for Zumba.

DC Skate Shoes for Zumba

Bloch Dance Sneakers for Zumba

January 7th, 2012

I see a lot of Bloch dance sneakers like the Bloch Trinity, Bloch Twist, and Bloch Wave in my Zumba classes.

Bloch Dance Sneaker for Zumba

The nice thing about Bloch dance sneakers is that they are available for women AND men. Bloch sneakers are affordable and easy to find and buy online.

If you’re considering buying Bloch dance sneakers for Zumba, please keep in mind that Bloch sneakers are designed primarily for dancing – not high-impact group fitness classes like Zumba. Bloch sneakers might work for Zumba for light people with strong, healthy feet or low-impact Zumba like Zumba Gold or Curves Zumba in the Circuit. Some people might think their feet are strong and healthy until they experience arch pain due to the lack of support.

Split sole dance sneakers are designed for flexibility and precision, such as pointing ones toes during a dance performance. Bloch sneakers with a split sole do not offer the arch support necessary for the jumping, pounding, and stomping choreography in many Zumba classes, especially for those people with more body weight to absorb.

Kelly Ripa Collection Ryka Transition Shoes for Zumba

January 7th, 2012

Who doesn’t love Kelly Ripa?

You probably also know that Kelly Ripa does Zumba. Earlier this week, Zumba Fitness creator, Beto Perez did Zumba with Kelly Ripa, Rob Lowe, and Vanessa Lachey on  LIVE! with Kelly. Watch it here: http://bcove.me/d2g03fc0

kelly ripa zumba

The RipaRyka Kelly Ripa Collection by Ryka features a shoe called the Transition that is perfect for Zumba. I have heard a lot of good things about the Ryka Transition for Zumba, Zumba Gold, and Curves Zumba in the Circuit classes from my fellow Zumba instructors and participants. The mesh upper reminds me of my old favorite Zumba shoes, the Nike Musique IV, which is no longer available. The Transition studio shoe is light, flexible, and breathable. The Transition studio design provides support and stability, but also allows lateral movement and just the right amount of grip need for Zumba. These shoes are readily available – at least online.

Just another reason to love Kelly Ripa!

If you use Ryka Transition for Zumba, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

kelly ripa ryka transition zumba shoe sidekelly ripa ryka transition zumba shoe

Chocolate-Covered Fresh, Raw Cranberries

January 5th, 2012

I’m always looking for healthy, vegetarian snacks. Okay, this one is not so healthy, but I needed a dessert to take to Christmas. One of my professors brought these chocolate-covered fresh, raw cranberries to school the day we discussed the gastrointestinal tract and exercise. I loved them and thought these chocolate-covered cranberries would be a “healthy” dessert option for my family for Christmas. Cranberries are a big industry in Wisconsin so I thought it would be patriotic to my home state as well.

Here’s what I did:

1) Rinse and completely dry 1 pint of fresh, raw cranberries.
2) Melt 1 bag of milk chocolate chips in the microwave. (You’ll need about 1 bag of chocolate chips per pint of cranberries.)
3) Coat each cranberry with chocolate and set on wax paper. (I had trouble with my chocolate seizing so I melted chocolate, spread the chocolate on wax paper, and coated each cranberry in chocolate that way. I then separated the cranberries and set them individually on wax paper.)
4) Refrigerate to set the chocolate.

I love these chocolate-covered cranberries. Some of the cranberries are solid and firm, but some of the cranberries break as you bite so you get a surprise burst of tart cranberry juice with chocolate… I think it’s delicious!

How well did it go over at Christmas? Not well. I made 4 pints of cranberries and I estimate less than 1 pint of them got eaten over two days. This was one of those lucky situations where I made something I loved to eat so at least when I got stuck with leftovers, they were leftovers I loved to eat. I did learn an important lesson: Making food that no one eats, no matter how much I love it, is a waste of money.

The fresh cranberries cost $3.99 a pint. Hershey Toll House Milk Chocolate chocolate chips were on sale for $2.50. Here is what you get nutritionally from one batch (1 pint of raw cranberries + one bag of Hershey Milk Chocolate chocolate chips) for about $7:

1632 calories
222 g Carbohydrates
99 g Fat
22 g Protein

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any suggestions!

chocolate covered cranberries

Roasted Seasoned Chickpeas

January 5th, 2012

I am always looking for new healthy, vegetarian snacks. Today, I tried this Baked Garbanzo Bean (Chick Peas) with Moroccan Spices recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen via Eddie on Everything.

I modified the recipe quite a bit. I don’t cook often, and I am of Scandinavian and Irish heritage, so I had NO spices in my kitchen – sea salt, black pepper, and paprika – that’s it. (My mom doesn’t eat marinara sauce because it’s “too spicy” if that tells you anything…)

I’m cheap and lazy so I didn’t want to pick up all nine spices that the original recipe calls for, so I bought “Less Sodium” Lawry’s Seasoned Salt for $1.66. One can of garbanzo beans was $.66. I had olive oil on hand.

Here’s what I did:

1) Preheat oven to 350°.
2) Drain, rinse, and dry one can of chickpeas (also ceci bean, garbanzo bean, chana, sanagalu Indian pea, Bengal gram).
3) Toss chickpeas, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, and 1 Tbsp of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.
4) Spread chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet.
5) Roast at 350° for 50 minutes or until brown.

They are pretty tasty! They remind me of a cross between soy nuts and roasted pumpkin seeds. Eddie suggested roasting for closer to an hour and I agree because I like the crunchy chickpeas the best. My version is pretty salty – if you’re using Lawry’s, you might want to use less than 1 Tbsp.

These seasoned roasted chickpeas are tasty, but be careful not to eat the whole batch: There are more calories here than you might think. Nutritionally, here’s what you get per batch, all for about $1.00:

497 Calories
70 g Carbohydrates
7 g Fat
21 g Protein

Enjoy, let me know if you have any suggestions!

Can You Afford to go to Physical Therapy School?

January 5th, 2012

I came across a journal article titled, “The False Wisdom of Tuition Based Ranking of Allied Health Programs: Is Your Program Affordable?” through a tweet by the Department of Physical Therapy at University of the Pacific on Twitter (@PacificDPTweet).

While this article focuses on the costs of physical therapy programs, it raises some good points if you are thinking about going back to school for any discipline. I wish I would’ve read this article a couple of years ago while I was researching physical therapy programs. I’m now in the middle of my first year of a DPT program, so I thought I would share the article with you in case you are considering physical therapy school or some other grad program and don’t know what to expect.

Schools are often ranked by tuition, but as the article above points out: “Regional differences in the cost of living and the total length of the program made a significant difference in the total cost of attending the program.” I attend school in Duluth, Minnesota, a small city on beautiful Lake Superior, where 56% of renters pay more than 30% of their household income on rent according to a recent article in the Duluth News Tribune. Finding acceptable housing has proven to be a challenge for me and several of my “transfer” DPT classmates. I am a 30-something returning student with pets, so cramming myself into traditional college student housing with a bunch of 21-year-old’s is not an option for me. I am certainly paying for it.

Another bit to consider, according to the article, is “the lost opportunity to earn wages.” Some graduate programs are flexible and allow, or even provide, opportunities for grad students to work and get paid. Some graduate programs, like physical therapy school, require students to work (clinical internships) and not get paid. The DPT program is very time consuming outside of regular class time with cadaver lab; exam, evaluation, and modalities open lab practice time, and clinical experiences. While it is possible, finding a flexible part-time job that does not interfere with studying can be difficult in PT school.

The article above is from 2006 so it also considered length of program. All PT programs are now Doctor of Physical Therapy programs and most likely 36 months in duration. Some programs were offering at “3 + 3″ option which allowed undergraduate students to apply to physical therapy school their Junior year of college and enter physical therapy school their Senior year of college. This would allow the students to be considered undergraduates for one year of the PT program and pay less tuition. I believe most programs have eliminated the 3 + 3 option with the new Doctor of Physical Therapy program requirement.

Of course it is also important to consider the program ranking.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from going back to school. I just want to help paint the realistic picture I wish I had had going into physical therapy school. I hope it’s worth it.

More about going back to school if you’re interested:

What to Wear to a Physical Therapy School Interview
Physical Therapy School Interview Questions
DPT Post Interview Thank You?

physical therapy

PINK by Victoria’s Secret and Wisconsin Sport Team Merchandise – Packers, Badgers, Brewers

January 4th, 2012

Dear Victoria’s Secret,
When are you going to stop discriminating against Wisconsin’s sports teams in your Pink NFL Collection and Pink Collegiate Collection and Pink MLB Collection? How good do the Green Bay Packers, University of Wisconsin Badgers, and Milwaukee Brewers have to be before you will offer a variety of merchandise for Wisconsin sports teams*?

Victoria's Secret Pink Loves Sunday Football

For example, let’s start with the Super Bowl champion, regular season 15-1 Green Bay Packers. On your Field Lineup of Facebook “Likes”, the Packers have 984 Likes – the highest of all 32 teams. The nearest teams after the Packers are the Dallas Cowboys with 940 and Pittsburgh Steelers with 914. What Pink Green Bay Packers merchandise is available for the most liked team with the best record in the NFL? One pair of $50 sweatpants. Not even the jersey worn by the Packers model is available. No thanks.

Now, let’s look at the miserable 3-13 Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings got 148 Facebook Likes. FBD. Yet, what Pink Minnesota Vikings merchandise is available for this terrible and unloved football team? Three whole pages of Pink Vikings items. Lame.

Wisconsin sports teams are loved nation-, and world-, wide. Time to start offering cute Packers, Badgers, and Brewers clothing, Victoria’s Secret.


* For anyone who cares about Wisconsin sports, I am not leaving out the Milwaukee Bucks – Victoria’s Secret does not have a Pink NBA collection.

Victoria's Secret Pink NFL Collection

New Zumba Trend – Dedicated Zumba Studios

January 4th, 2012

What’s new with Zumba for 2012? Small businesses dedicated to Zumba Fitness classes are popping up in American cities of all sizes all over the United States!

The Zumba studio in my city is holding its first-ever master class on Friday night to celebrate their grand opening: Zstudio – Duluth, Minnesota, USA

Other studios dedicated to Zumba Fitness classes have opened in Stillwater, Minnesota and Mason City, Iowa.

Do you own or go to a dedicated Zumba studio in your area? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment and share a link to your Zumba studio!