Total Pageviews

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

to compete or not to compete....REDONE!!!!

yes, an article I wrote up a few years ago as a simple how-to guide for anyone considering to enter the world of competing is back....since writing that article two new categories have been added and the one piece round in figure and fitness have been like the sport itself the article needed to grow, it is for you to enjoy in it's newest incarnation:

Whether it be bodybuilding, figure, fitness, bikini, or the new women’s physique, you need to take a good, hard look at your inner self as well as the current state of your physique before you begin any prep for this typically 16 week long endeavor.
#1: Who am I competing for?
If the answer to this question is not “me,” then I highly advise you leave the idea of competing behind for now. You should not compete because a significant other or family member thinks you should do it, or because someone in the gym or a friend told you you should. Competing is a very personal decision and it should be something that you look at and say, "I want to do this to challenge myself and see what I'm capable of accomplishing.” If you look at a competition as something you do for someone else, then I say don't even go through the hard work because you won't enjoy it, plain and simple.
#2: Do I have Support?
Competing is a very selfish endeavor. When in prep your world must revolve around you and often times family members and significant others feel neglected and ignored. Gone are the days of sitting around the TV eating popcorn, chips, and candy. Sunday dinners with the family? Forget about it, unless you bring your chicken breast and broccoli to the gathering. If you have kids, prep can be especially challenging with all the snacks and “kid meals” you need to prepare in addition to your own. If your loved ones don't understand what you're going through there will be resistance, tension, guilt, and sometimes anger to deal with that only intensifies as your contest date draws closer. Also be prepared for the kind of people I call “the sabotagers.” There’s always a coworker, family member, or friend who will wave pizza or candy in your face to try and make you break down and eat the food. Some people may do this just to make you laugh and relax. Others are simply jealous of your willpower and resolve and want to see you be human and crack. Don’t! Hold strong and stand your ground. Does this mean you shouldn’t follow through with a show? Absolutely not. But it is a reality many competitors are not prepared for so be ready to deal with possible friction. And who knows, you may actually be pleasantly surprised at the support you receive.
#3: What category should I enter?
If the first and second questions have been answered and you feel like you're ready to go forward then the next decision to be made is what category to enter. Do you go into fitness? Figure? Bikini? Bodybuilding?  Try the newer women’s physique? Open? Novice? Masters? Many questions to answer but all pertinent ones. Do your homework and look into restrictions on categories like age, height, etc, then sit down and really think about your physique and what you have to work with. Are you more of an X shape or a Y shape? Thicker or skinnier? Do research on what is required for the category you've chosen. For example, if you chose fitness, be sure you have your bases covered with the fitness routine: time limit, mandatory moves, proper music, etc. Bodybuilding and now women’s physique have mandatory poses that will be done during pre-judging that need to be practiced daily, and figure, fitness, and bikini require that you walk on stage in heels with mandatory turns and a certain walk. You may think practicing in heels is silly but come competition day you can easily point out who feels comfortable in them and who does not!
#4: When should I compete?
Ok, you have a category (or possibly categories if you're allowed to enter more than one at your chosen show) picked out. Now you need a date. Check out your local NPC website for a list of competition dates to see what's feasible. Be sure to give yourself enough time to diet and never be scared to pick a date in say, January, for a show in November. More time is always a good thing. It's better to be ahead in prep than to be behind and try to crash diet and cardio your way to the end. That method will always show up in your final results and you never want to sacrifice your hard earned physique in order to meet a deadline.
#5: Who should do my prep?
This is possibly the most difficult and most important question to answer. Do your homework. Ask other competitors whose looks you like about their coaches. Visit websites of some of your favorite athletes to see if they do prep for other competitors. Even if you don't see any contest prep information on their site, don't be afraid to email them and ask. Always go with your gut when choosing your prep trainer. If you don’t get a good vibe from someone, thank them for their time and move on. This is your body, your time, your effort, and your money. And if you think you can handle doing your own prep then do it! It’s a rough undertaking but can certainly be done. Just remember that having someone at the very least look at you through your prep is a great idea. I equate it to someone proofreading a paper. An extra set of fresh eyes is always a good idea.
Also consider hiring someone for posing coaching. If you are fortunate enough to have your trainer be there for you in person then they can help you along with the proper posing techniques. If you are utilizing an online trainer then look for someone local who is an experienced competitor to guide you. Also look for possible camps hosted by experienced competitors/coaches. Why put in all the hard work of obtaining a great physique if you don’t also show it off properly once you hit the stage? Competitors can tell you that there was many a time when they saw a great physique ruined by improper posing.
#6: What should I wear?
You have your date set, your prep coach selected, and your category chosen. You are mentally prepared and you have your support in place. So, what do you wear? Like posing, suits can literally make or break a competitor. The wrong cut or the wrong color can all have a profound affect on the look of your physique. Bodybuilders will want to go with a plain, solid colored two piece for pre-judging and then a fully decorated two piece for the night show. Figure, fitness, and women’s physique will need to go with a fully decorated two piece suit. Fitness will also need an outfit for their routine round that is eye catching, easy to move in, and fitting to their theme. Bikini competitors need a cute two piece suit that flatters their curves (but no thongs!). Figure, fitness, and bikini will also need heels. My personal suggestion (one passed along to me from an IFBB pro) are plain, four inch clear heels. I would avoid straps unless you feel uncomfortable without them. Anything flashy can take away from your look because remember that the judges are right at your feet and you do not want to draw their attention away from all your hard work. AVOID PLATFORMS!!! Judges are typically not fond of “stripper heels.”
#7: How will I fund this?
Paired with who will do your prep this question could be the most important to answer before going forward. This is often a big hurdle for those who have limited funds. This is not a cheap sport to compete in, but deciding on a budget from the start helps. Learning ways to skirt costs helps tremendously, so check out sites like ebay, check with fellow competitors, or consignment sites like Diva Exchange for used and new suits. While a pre-made suit may not be the absolute perfect fit, odds are it will be a good one. If you're not comfortable with that idea then shop around for someone to make your suit(s). Again, don't be afraid to ask around to other competitors and don't forget that you can also get plain suits and decorate them yourself with crystals. Sometimes this is cheaper than having someone do it for you. Another idea to cut competition costs is to put some feelers out there for sponsorship. Check locally with tanning salons and supplement stores. Check online for contests. Even if all a company can do is contribute a tub of protein it's something and every little bit will count. Food and supplementation are big expenses to consider. Chicken breasts, eggs, vitamins, and protein powder add up! You also have to budget for your prep coach unless you're lucky enough to have a friend do it or you feel confident enough to do it yourself. Don't forget other important expenses like makeup, tanning supplies, bikini bite, entry fees, NPC card fees, and travel expenses. There are always ways to make the journey more affordable including, but never limited to, finding roommates for shows that require hotel stays, seeing if the hotel offers a special rate for competitors, carpooling, asking a skilled friend for help on hair and makeup, etc. 
While this seems like a daunting list, in the end it is a very doable one. If it weren’t then men and women would not be entering shows every year. Competing is a serious commitment mentally, physically, and financially. Many don't realize how tough it really is until they take on their first prep. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But it has by far been one of the most rewarding tasks I’ve ever taken on and completed. Just like all things in life, if it is wanted badly enough then the correct sacrifices will be made to make it happen. Listen to those who have gone before you. Often their advice is more valuable than anything you will receive during your prep. And who knows, maybe one day you, too, will find yourself sitting down at a computer to write your own advice article to help out future competitors.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

ATL trip, part 1....

so on Monday, I took what was my first real vacation in four was short and sweet but EXACTLY what I needed! let's detail from beginning to end, shall we? :)

we'll start with Friday before I even left....I received an email back about an inquiry I had made on ATL's craigslist about some tickets for Monday night's game between the Giants and the Braves....someone had beaten me to the punch, however, this woman had not heard back from the other interested party....we discussed it and I said I could use paypal right that second and she could overnight them and we'd be good to go! She gave him a little more time, didn't hear from him, and let me know they were mine! WOOHOO! So I send her the money and she sent them immediately via USPS....oh, did I mention the tickets were HERE in NC???? yes, that's right....I found tickets on ATL's craigslist for an at home Braves game vs my Giants....from a woman in NC....where I am....

Only me ladies and gentlemen....

so Monday morning I get up and head to ATL....directions were funny....I-40w to I-85s....take I-85s to freakin' easy is that! I only had one merge to I-285 and then just one turn off for my friends' complex where I got to stay (more on that later) for this poor child in dire need of a gps you could not have asked for better directions!

George was ready to roll!

So I hit the real adventure there...which was a good thing b/c that meant no traffic, no running out of gas, flat tires, or any other car issues....and unlike six years ago when I last drove down to ATL I didn't sneeze the entire trip! so fastforward to getting there....I made pretty decent there, met my "roommates" (see pic below), and finally got to meet Shereen and Corey....I have e-known them for a little while so to actually make it down to GA and meet them was pretty freakin awesome....they were SO VERY KIND as to open their home up to me and allow me to crash with them....

I got there and immediately the dynamics of being married began to unfold before me....hahahahaha....they started to go back and forth about whether the MARTA would be better to take in or chancing traffic was within 15min of me being there we decided to head to the ballpark....sweet! I'm down for leaving early :)

my roomies!

we get into the truck and start to head towards the stadium....we decided to chance the traffic and drive all the way in....guess what? good call! giving that it was a Monday and that we hit the road just before the 5 o'clock mess started we were able to get to parking before most and we even got great parking advice....let me pass it along to you: park near the entrance you came into and walk a little further-that way you're right there at the exit as opposed to being in the back when everyone starts to file out....brilliant! why I've never thought about that for all the events I've attended I do not know but trust me when I say it WILL be implemented the next time I go to see something!

we arrived!

now, I know Shereen and Corey probably thought I had lost my damn mind but at this point I was starting to feel like a 5yr old on Christmas morning....and it would get worse....we're walking towards the stadium, we cross the street, we walk into the gates (not the pearly ones), and this lil cutie greets us saying welcome, have a great time, etc....then I hear as I pass by, go blue, I'm sorry WHAT?!? see, I was wearing my I <3 UNC shirt so he got a little shot in on me....I turned around and just pointed my finger at him and said, oooooo no no no no....he just laughed and poor Shereen, she had no idea what just happened....hahahaha....Corey and I were explaining the rivalry to her....he was also talking about her needing to attend a UGA/GT football game, what tailgating was, this point I won't lie, I wasn't listening to either of them anymore....I was too focused on getting to the field!

we get through the little checkpoint and I see that yes, we were indeed early enough to see batting practice....and it was SF Giants batting practice!!!! fucking sweeeeeeeeeeeet! IMMEDIATE scan of the field like I was a freakin terminator or something looking for the Beard....where is that beard....I mean come on, you could see that thing from space for freaks sake! where is it?????? oh hey look, there's Sergio Romo, Brandon Belt, Tim Lincecum, wow! but I'm not seeing the beard....ok, fear not....he could be in the training room or the meantime, OMG I'm in a major league baseball park!!!!!!!!!!!!

SF GIANTS batting practice

I start to see some of the hits coming all the way back and I panic a little bit....seeeee, I don't have the best depth perception (which was why I stopped playing outfield and started pitching-oddly enough that was a better spot for me) so I would see the ball coming towards the outfield and I'd go, oh god oh god, is it going to make it? is it right for me? didn't even make it to the wall....opps

I take the time to walk around....get better looks at the Giants from all sides of the field....and to see if I spot anyone else....I mean no one in particular....ok yeah, even in font I can't lie....we all know who I was there to see....ok, he's not out here right now....let's tour the stadium....I walk around, enjoy looking at all the people, surprised at just how many Giants fans I saw walking around, have a woohoo to someone who said Go Heels, buy some Chic-Fila waffle fries, and go find my actual's still early so it's just me sitting by myself (friends went to go grab dinner before the game) I'm sitting there going, wow! if he comes out for a save he'll be RIGHT FREAKIN THERE! I mean, check out the below pic! I was pretty much giddy! 

oh and did I mention I downed a sugar free red bull before entering the ballpark? yeah that probably wasn't helping the giddy thing :)

yep, my seats-freakin' sweeeeeet

now, all in all I was actually surprised at the size of the felt small to me! I was not expecting part of that could have been b/c it was maybe only 1/3 lie....I know it was Monday but this was a big series for them, Giants are reigning World Series champs, it's a rematch from the playoffs last year, etc....but hey, it worked out since it meant less traffic and people to fight through while walking around....

so we're getting close, my friends join me, and the dugout starts to fill up....we're sitting on the side of the Braves so I can't see in it but I am opposite the away dugout....we know that that means :D now, I did not have binoculars...I had meant to buy some before leaving NC and I totally forgot....but remember what I said: that beard can be seen from outer not only did I see that beard, but I recognized him by booty....oh you read me! I know that cute butt of his anywhere! it's a long tradition passed on to me from my mom ;) so in the pic below I give you my first beard sighting:

you don't even want to know my thoughts....

now, I won't lie, I did that whole speaking as I inhaled thing while saying, ooooohhhhhmmyyyygooodddd....FINALLY! I thought, if I drove down here and he's not with the team I'll be pissed off! but there he was in all his hairy glory....ew, wait, that sounded terrible....anyways, let's just get to the game....they do the national anthem (where I got a shot of him w/o the hat on-yeah I was really paying attention) and then the pitchers head to the bullpen....that's when I discovered my camera had a super zoom feature on it and I got the following shot....and who needed binoculars! I now could just zoom in with the camera like a good little stalker :)

super zoom found!

so for the game itself: well, weather was great! I really could not have asked for much better to be wasn't too hot and once the sun set it really felt awesome....slight to no humidity....which for anyone in the South that is a rare moment at this time of year....the offense/defense goes back and forth....and I'm definitely the only one in my section cheering when the Giants score....hehehehe....sorry! I didn't come to see your precious Braves....matter of fact, fuck yo Braves! ok actually, I take that back....I typically reserve that foulness for the yankees ;)

I did get one shot that I really liked of Bumgarner in mid-pitch....I like him....he's from Hickory, NC....yea mountain boy!

nice action shot

so now, after a solo shot from Cody Ross (I think...he hit one the next night so I may be mixing it up), Giants are up 4-2....and it's the bottom of the 9th...being the good stalker, er fan, that I am I had already been monitoring the bullpen...I had seen Affeldt warming up previously but Lopez came in in the 8th....I wasn't sure who may come in for the 9th b/c I thought it was slightly odd that Wilson had not been used for the previous game but I zoomed in and what do I see? him getting up and taking off his sweatshirt....oh shit! he's warming up! and yes, I documented that....I got him warming up, coming out, and of course, him pitching....

total heaven for me

now....I'm not sure if I can properly type out exactly what happened in the game....I may have to come back and edit it in but I watch as he loads the bases, gets two outs, and then get to that dreaded 3-2-2 count....when he got to that I don't know....I just knew....something didn't seem right with his pitching, even with his tortuous style....and sure enough, I heard the crack of that bat and I didn't even look up....I knew....I look down, curse under my breath, and look up at the scoreboard and see 4-3 (since one run had already scored) turn into 4-4 and then over....

now this is the part where I proceed to lose absolutely, lose my shit....I literally looked up at my friends and yell, we're out of here! and I just storm off up the steps....I came so close to kicking trash cans as I left....VERY close to throwing my phone b/c it just happened to be the object I was holding....I was HOT! I had seen him do this only twice before this season and my reaction was very similar....but this was different....I saw it in person.....fuck me running what was turning into a perfect night was just totally destroyed in one simple swing of a friends? totally laughing at me-as they should have been! I, um, tend to get wrapped up in my teams....ask anyone who has ever seen me witness a meltdown by the Tar Heels, the Panthers, or in one uncharacteristic game, my App St Mountaineers.....

so after I calmed down and the adrenaline left, I realized my blood sugar was totally gone-opps :D so I get some greek yogurt, eat it, and go to bed....I had to do nothing but laugh at myself for my reaction but what really made me "calm down" was a text from my mom...she said that all during the game they were questioning whether he would even be brought in, whether he'd be taken out once he started struggling, etc....she didn't tell me b/c she didn't want me to be upset about probably not seeing him....awwwwww! my mom is so sweet :) but reading about the back issues and then the elbow inflammation I thought, that actually explains what I saw...his pitching was not what he's normally throwing....he was not the saves leader going into that game on accident....the boy has skill! and guess what? he wasn't there the rest of the series due to being looked at by the doctor in while the ending was not perfect, it did unfold just right for me to see him in person...which was exactly what I wanted....

oh but there was one perfect to speak:

the money shot!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

a few easy smoothie recipes

so I recently purchased a Hamilton Beach individual blender (only $15 at WalMart!)....I really enjoy it and it does actually crush up ice like a pro! major plus since my larger blender was never too good at I was talking to a coworker last night (babygirl!) and I told her I'd post up some of my favorite recipes since she likes to make them and take them to class....these are way easy and can easily be manipulated for your needs and/or tastes....I did not do macro breakdowns for these but I don't think it'd be too difficult to look at the labels and see what you're getting....these are all low in sugar and high in protein....

Mocha Protein: now this one has a couple of versions-play around and see which you like best

1 greek yogurt (plain)
1 indv packet of instant coffee
~1/4c unswt choc almond milk (I use Blue Diamond)
2 packets Stevia in the raw
ice to desired thickness

1/2c coffee of choice (I used some Bean Traders southern pecan roast-yum!)
2 packets stevia
1 scoop choc protein (I'm using Optimum Nutrition's Natural Whey)
~1/4c unswt choc almond milk
ice to desired thickness

Berry Smoothies:

I have not played around with fresh fruit yet, only frozen-so far I've worked with raspberries & blueberries-again, there's variations and just play around and see what you like!

~1/2c blueberries
1 greek yogurt (plain)
1/4 packet of white choc ff/sf pudding mix
1oz walnuts

blueberry #2:
~1/2c blueberries
1/2c unswt vanilla almond milk
1/2 serving of hemp protein powder (I'm using Nutiva)
2 packets stevia
ice to desired thickness

for the raspberry just sub in for the blueberry for the above recipes....I love the hemp protein added into the one recipe b/c it gives it a nutty flavor without sacrificing any added calories (if they're not needed at that meal)....and hemp protein is gluten and soy free! woohoo!

you can also sub in cottage cheese for the greek yogurt....I also recommend trying vanilla or honey flavored greek yogurt in place of the plain just be sure to check the labels since some companies add in too much sugar in those flavors....I have had good luck with Kroger's brand of greek yogurt and they're usually only $0.89-$0.99 a cup!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

signs, signs, everywhere are signs....

another among many.....more to be written later:

April 25, 2011

  1. CapricornCapricorn (12/22-1/19)
    In the mood for an overhaul? The universe is putting out a lot of transitional energy today, and there will be many possibilities for you to change your style or attitude. A shopping trip may be in order -- hit the mall with one of your most fashion-forward friends, and see what new looks you feel like adopting. If slogging through the crowds in search of the perfect outfit isn't your idea of a fun time, then flipping through a fashion magazine may help you uncover a whole new you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I am only human....

A concept I do not handle with the greatest of ease....I expect more from myself than anyone rightfully should...I'm a perfectionist who is never satisfied....and yet, time and again, I wind up failing b/c of this....and what do I do? go right back to the same mindset of old....rinse, lather, repeat...

so how does one break a trend such as this? I have been asking myself this question over and over my entire life...especially since I started college....this pattern is not just a physique's evident in my schoolwork....and one of the reasons why I'm STILL at it after all this time....

so last night I messed up....and once again I find myself trying to figure out where I went wrong and why it went that way....I don't quite get the cycle of self sabotage that I put myself through b/c all it does is make myself miserable....and usually I eventually wind up in a deep funk for which it feels like there is no while I'm not in that place right now I know it could end up that way if I don't find a way to cut myself a break and just soldier forward....

one thing I will do is learn from this and aim to not repeat it....the more rigid my routine the better so I need to find that something to keep me focused....and my yoga! it definitely keeps me feeling centered....and anything that keeps me grounded is a win in my book!

it's never easy to come clean about things like this....but like I've said before, if it helps even just one person on their journey in life then I know it was all worth it....

My interview with Jason

I have to send a HUGE thank you to Jason for interviewing me for his blog....always great for some kick me in the butt inspiration!

Monday, April 11, 2011

hot yoga, pt2, and other randoms

so today I attended the Topaz's the description:


Arrichion Hot Yoga Core Foundational Series
32 poses
Class duration: 60 minutes
Room temperature: 102 F
Beginner to advanced students

Topaz means fire or heat in Sanskrit. In Greek, the name topaz is derived from the word topazos which means to seek. In addition, the stone was recognized by the Greeks as the stone of strength. Another symbolic meaning of topaz is that it represents hope and the healing energies associated with expansiveness, rejuvenation, dispelling anger, and balancing emotions. The cultural and mythical meanings associated with this gemstone provide the basis for naming the core Arrichion Hot Yoga class Topaz.

The 32 postures included in this series will help you to stretch and warm muscles and ligaments; improve balance, and increase strength and flexibility.

this was a great class! not nearly as intense as the first one I took which was great b/c I was able to really get in there and stretch through the posing....this is a great class for any beginner looking to try it out b/c of the emphasis on the basics....once class was over I stopped briefly to pick up a paper copy of the schedule to keep on me and the instructor complimented me on my practice and actually went so far as to call it beautiful....WOW! I was so humbled to hear that! she was shocked that this was only my second class but as we kept talking and she mentioned my flow I said, must be a dance throwback :) one thing about this class that I truly loved was that it was small enough that she was able to go around and do little corrections....she helped me get deeper into one pose and I was thinking, yep-there's that tension in my back! I am forever tight in my upper back and her pressing me deeper into the pose made me realize that is still very much an issue I need to continue working on....

I think the thing I am truly enjoying about the yoga practice is that for once I have something to do that involves no thought....I have only experienced "no thought" twice in my life and that was the two times I smoked pot....but since this is not exactly something I do I never get a break from the constant borage of thoughts....but during these classes I can somehow go in there and just shut it all out and concentrate on breathing and stretching and working out all these kinks....I like this a lot :)

now for the RANDOM: I have an always growing list of go-to words that make me smile no matter what....they're words that I could never say and be angry....feel free to add to this list for anyone's what I have so far:

tater tot

I notice a food theme here....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

my first hot yoga class experience at Arrichion

so tonight I decided to take on the world of hot yoga....I've been wanting to for some time now but work schedule and then some weather issues were hampering my attempts but tonight FINALLY all the stars seems to align....oh and it helped that I actually remembered the day before as opposed to 3am ;)

below is the description of the class I took:


Arrichion Hot Yoga Core Strengthening Series
Class duration: 60 minutes
Room temperature: 97 F
Beginner to advanced students

The Ancient Greeks believed that Krystallos (crystal) was light frozen into an ice so hard that it could never be thawed. These gemstones have long been used for protection and healing. At Arrichion Hot Yoga, Krystallos will harden your core through a series of core strengthening postures. This series includes techniques that will help you build muscle through resistance to your body weight and of engagement of small muscle groups. This series is a great complement to Topaz for all students.

this is not the hottest class they provide but it's right up there (102 would be the tops)....I'll start by saying my drive over in typical raleigh traffic was highly annoying and, of course, I hit every fucking stoplight along the way....I kid you not! EVERY ONE! hahahaha....I'm thinking, I'm going to need this class to calm me down! I finally get there to meet up with my fellow Outbacker Varia....I get all registered and in we go...

immediately the obvious hits you: IT'S HOT! but it was a kind of hot that for a while you thought, wow, this feels good! kind of like when you lay in a tanning bed and get all relaxed even though you're sweating like a mutha...the class begins and it's a good mix of new and usuals....I really enjoyed the fact that no one watches each other, everyone keeps to their own moves and breathing, and if you need to stop, well, then you stop....and trust me when I say I was not alone when I had to take a few moments to gather myself....

this class was a core intensive class and I realized very quickly just how often I DON'T do crunches....I don't typically work abs exclusively b/c I'm always quick to use my core for all my moves plus I like to do hanging leg raises on my pullup bar in my apt....but even with that um, yeah, hi abs! how YOU doin'? they're pretty fatigued right now as I type this but it's a good thing, trust me :)

some of the core work involved leg and glute work....some of it reminiscent of my dancing days at App when we would do leg swings while laying on the floor to warm up our hips....I was very surprised at how well I did on the work where we were on our tummies and would arch up, lift one leg higher with the opposite arm outstretched, reverse, repeat, guess is that all those deadlifts did their job :) as I sit here right now I can feel my glutes and hammies like I had done a leg I know why yogis have great butts!

I did make sure to keep well hydrated during the day and this was definitely a good idea...I think next time I go I'll opt for a light but longsleeve shirt....I am not a huge fan of sweat dripping off my arms while I workout and would much rather sweat up a shirt....oh and definitely a large towel! I just took a personal towel and um, yeah, a larger towel the size of your mat is a must so you're not slipping and sliding all over the mat....

as for the actual work, I was really worried about halfway through b/c my heart started beating like a hummingbird....thought I might be sick a few I was on the mat controlling my breathing I went, oh, note to self: no caffeine within an hour of this class! also note to self: don't set up in the corner....I just got where there was room and it was nice little nook in the back with a tapestry hanging up above me that I focused on quite a few times but being in the corner meant all that heat would almost feel like it was trapped back there....

I think once I get adjusted to the heat I could actually do the class without is without a doubt a very unique experience....I would recommend anyone try this....I cannot speak for other studios but when they list this class as suitable for all levels they do mean it...I never once felt I was in a class that was above my skill set (which I think speaks well of the instructor)....

so if you're in the Raleigh or Charlotte area (there's a studio there, too) I highly recommend you check it out!