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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ Any guesses? Haha.



Post Navigation:


  1. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on February 24, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    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.

    • Fitnessista on February 24, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      she is the weirdest and sweetest dog at the same time ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on February 24, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    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. Laura @ FitMamaLove on February 24, 2014 at 11:38 pm

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

  4. Debbie on February 25, 2014 at 12:37 am

    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. Coffeeandjetplanes on February 25, 2014 at 12:46 am

    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. Julie on February 25, 2014 at 2:08 am

    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. Cate on February 25, 2014 at 6:58 am

    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. Cara's Healthy Cravings on February 25, 2014 at 7:13 am

    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. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on February 25, 2014 at 7:35 am

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

  10. Rhiannon @ Bound to be a Buckeye on February 25, 2014 at 7:54 am

    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. Taylee @ twist me fit on February 25, 2014 at 8:08 am

    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. Rachel on February 25, 2014 at 8:10 am

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

  13. Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More on February 25, 2014 at 8:13 am

    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. Sana on February 25, 2014 at 8:36 am

    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. Livi on February 25, 2014 at 8:37 am

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

  16. Paula on February 25, 2014 at 8:42 am

    “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 on February 25, 2014 at 8:52 am

    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. Katie on February 25, 2014 at 9:49 am

    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 latelyโ€ฆ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Cassie Vaughn on February 25, 2014 at 9:59 am

    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. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Jackie on February 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I love succulents I think they’re really pretty!

  21. Jennifer on February 25, 2014 at 11:43 am

    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. Tracy on February 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Tricia Coniglio on February 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    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!

    • Fitnessista on February 25, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      music makes a huge difference! glad you were able to get some extra energy to push through! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. queenoffitness on February 25, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    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 on February 25, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Brianna K. @ Hungy Gator Gal on February 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

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

  26. Liz L. on March 2, 2014 at 11:50 am

    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 on March 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      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. Amanda on April 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    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!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.