Succulents and Zumba

Hi friends <3 Hope you had a wonderful day.

Some adventures of the afternoon:


Succulents  1 of 1 2

I replanted some succulents aka the one plants I can keep alive. I think it’s because they’re technically cacti and don’t require much watering. My goal is to one day have a succulent garden half as gorgeous as my nana’s. She has a gloriously green thumb and mine is grayish black.

Succulents  1 of 1 3

Caroline helped.


Caro  1 of 1 7

Livi and I had a great afternoon together, and before I knew it, it was time to teach Zumba.

A little pre-Zumba energy truffle:



And an amazing time booty-shaking it with my favorite Zumba girls. I have four regulars now, and I love them. Quality over quantity, all the way πŸ˜‰

Here’s the playlist I used for tonight:



A few old songs on there (flashback to the YouTube video of teaching Zumba with a giant pregnant belly) and some new ones. We got a new ZIN CD/DVD and it’s kind of womp womp, so looks like I’ll be making up some new stuff.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about music as motivation, especially when it comes to classic faves and songs I REALLY love. Turns out that music has a huge impact on perceived exertion and enjoyment during a workout. This makes a lot of sense because there are some instructors I’ve loved, but they played music that wasn’t my style, so I stopped attending their classes. Also, when I’m doing my own workout or taking a class and a favorite song is played, I work so much harder.

In a 2013 two-part study, participants either cycled or ran while listening a combination of music. In the first part of the study, cyclists either listened to music, watched a video, enjoyed a music/video combo or the control (which involved wearing eye patches and ear plugs to block external stimuli). The cyclists, who were told to bike as hard as possible for 12 minutes, experienced a lower perceived exertion while listening to music. In part two, music preference and motivation were included in the mix, and runners who listened to their preferred music experienced a significant performance increase. Their perceived effort was also lower. Pretty interesting, huh?

Spin jam from back in the day:


When that song came on, I’d sprint my little heart out.

Do you notice that music impacts your performance? One of my worst half marathons was the day my iPod died. (It was a sad day, indeed.)

Current jam? I absolutely love “Animals (Oliver Heldens Remix).” Soooo good.

Have a great night and I’ll see ya in the morning with some fun twists on one of my least favorite exercises πŸ˜‰ Any guesses? Haha.



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  1. Omg that spin song gave me serious Jersey Shore summer flashbacks. They used to blast it from all the arcades and people would have DDR battles to it. haha Wow that feels like forever ago.

    Caroline is so cute! She seems like such an old soul.

  2. Music is sometimes the only thing that can get me through those tough workouts and runs. I will put on my favorite pump up music when I Need a boost!

  3. Interesting since I almost never listen to music when I workout. Makes me wonder how much harder I could be working!

  4. I feel like I really need music when I workout. It pushes me to give more and go farther. It’s like I can run twice as fast when a really upbeat song plays. An added bonus is that I don’t end up overhearing all the gossip.

  5. Succulents LOVE San Diego. I once left my beloved pot of succulents in the sun for a month in August to visit my brother in asia, and they were happy as could be when I got back (though they appreciated a little water). Sage does really well there, too. And plumeria!

  6. I don’t have a preference in music when working out. I just roll with whatever is at the gym or Pandora. Certain workouts require it like Zumba or anything choreographed.

  7. I love succulents. They have a distinctive beauty.

    By the way, I was looking around the blog after reading yesterday’s post on the protein muffin, and I landed upon this older post:

    It includes great anniversary pictures and a boot camp workout. I just finished the workout, and wow, my shoulders are done. Thanks for the oldie but goodie. It’s nice to roam around and see what I find from time to time.

  8. I only like listening to music when I do “standard” cardio like running, elliptical, spinning etc., not when I am doing hiit or weight training….don’t really know why, maybe it’s a focus thing.

  9. Music absolutely drives workouts & performance. My favs now are Lets Go by Calvin Harris & Footloose. Gotta have an oldie always!

  10. Music is a huge part of my life and exercise is no different! There are times I feel like I’m going to die on the treadmill and then a good song comes on and I’m back in the game. The strange thing is, even a good slower tempo song can really make me pick up the pace.

  11. I couldn’t imagine running a marathon without music. I recently lost my headphones, and just going to the gym without them is awful!

  12. I keep hearing Burn by Ellie Goulding and thinking it would be a great song to choreograph a Zumba routine to!

  13. Music is everything when working out for me. I once took a spin class where the instructor played country music. Slow, unmotivating country music. It was horrible.

  14. Very interesting study! When I am working out I definitely feel that having music helps me push further and gives me a distraction.

    Btw, Gina, I have a question regarding your amazeball recipe. I have aarge 8 cup food processor. Can I adjust the proportions to make them in that? Maybe double them?

  15. Music makes me work harder and push more! I rarely workout without it!

  16. “Animals” is great for a tough workout. I also really love — and don’t judge me — “Feelin Myself” by and miley. I may or may not be the weirdo who gets down to the music at CrossFit during rest periods.

  17. Fiona MacDonald says:

    Animals is an amazing tune! We use it in our spin clasess and now every time I hear it NOT in class, I feel like I should be on a bike some where!!!!

    Anything with an amazing techno/house beat is great to keep your heart pumping!

  18. Hi Fitnessista,
    I am a busy university student, trying to eat meals that are healthy but also quick, especially quick lunches between classes. I always pack my lunch and feel like I have been in a rut lately… I was wondering if you could help me out? What are your favourite go to packed lunches? I would really appreciate some new ideas. Thank you πŸ™‚

  19. I also cannot wait to start working on a garden! I go back and forth with using music, but I coudn’t imagine NOT using music on the treadmill. πŸ™‚

  20. I love succulents I think they’re really pretty!

  21. One of my favorite running jams: The Roots – Here I Come (I think the entire Game Theory album is great for long runs).

    Least favorite running / exercise music: any song played just so you can barely hear it, drives me nuts.

    Like food, music is one of the most important parts of my days and moods!

  22. I’ve read your blog for so long I feel like I should know what your least favorite exercises are. I can’t remember you ever saying you didn’t like any exercise!! You’re always so positive πŸ™‚

  23. Gina Fitnessista! This reminds me of how much I was beginning to struggle at the gym. I had to DRAG myself there and I was trudging through my workout. No real energy, just getting by. I thought it would be good to change the music I listened to and OMG what a difference it made.

    I hit it so hard with my new playlist. Wahoo for music!

  24. queenoffitness says:

    AGREE about the new zin. it’s blah. i only like song #1. i’ve been waiting to hear your opinion and YES the sandstorm takes me back to spin class anytime i hear it. it is a spin song legend.

    • Fitnessista says:

      ugh i was disappointed, but figured this one would suck since the last one was so good. i love the “work” song by lil jon, but the choreo is LAME on the dvd, so i’m excited to make something up! like song #1 too πŸ™‚

  25. Nothing pumps me up like EDM. Animals is one of my favorites too!

  26. I was wondering what the name of the knee brace is that you recently mentioned in a post. I recently had a knee injury, and would like to try the same one. Would you mind letting me know the name of it? I love you blog and have been reading it since you were in Oklahoma City. Thanks so much!

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you so much for reading! i’ve been using KT tape on my knee and love it. i run in cw-x tights, which mimic kt-taping

  27. I am a zumba fitness instructor too, agreed that some of the cds are a bit of a bummer. I get the most compliments on my playlists so it is so super important! loving some of the tunes you picked!

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