Day 17 – Work – What sort of work did you do in 2014?
I could bore you to tears talking about government contractor pricing… zzz… I almost fell asleep just typing it.
But, I have no interest. And, you wont’ either, trust me. I do love my job. I am well suited for it. But, it is a means to my ends, and I work in order to live my life, I don’t live for working.
I’m really lucky to have two jobs that I love. My professional Big Girl job which earns my way through my life, but primarily my mortgage, and my fun job which earns me enough to take cool trips, get regular pedicures which I am in hella need of right now, and all of the lululemon my heart desires.
My fun job is teaching group fitness classes. My interest in group fitness started when I was in college, a girl named Ashley taught a freestyle kickboxing class at Virginia Tech’s McComas Hall and her music was awesome and I made friends in the class who kept me accountable. Group fitness is the perfect storm of energy, motivation, hard work, and social interaction. I progressed to spin and step classes. And when I moved to the Northern Virginia area after graduation, I found a brand that upped the ante with its perfectly choreographed to-the-beat movement and amazing instructors — Les Mills.
I never considered teaching classes myself. I wanted the hour to be a sacred slice of time that I dedicated to myself. I also suffered an insecurity about how I could possibly be a motivator for others. What if I just wanted to go to the gym to feel good about myself, catch up with my gym friends, and check a box instead of really working? Sometimes we all have those days, and it’s OK. Instructors… they don’t have it so easy. They have to be On. They have to be Energetic. They have to be Inspiring. That’s a lot of external demands for an introvert.
I was harassed by my RPM instructor, Gerry, for at least a year before I started to think about it seriously. And, in 2008 I decided to dive in with RPM for my first certification with the amazing Heather Bedell. It went well. I felt confident at the training. But then, scared to death to put on a mic and tell 30 people on stationary bikes what to do. It went like this… Add resistance. Race. Climb. Recover. Add resistance. Attack. I’m falling asleep again… I was stuck in my head thinking about all the things I wasn’t saying instead of just having a conversation with my crowd. My initial taping video for RPM is hilarious!!! I have no idea how I passed, I don’t think I would have passed me, watching back. I had good technique, I rode on the beat, but I was awkward and boring. Fortunately, they saw potential.
So I taught my first few painful classes, and then I built my vocabulary and felt a little more comfortable. It was easier to teach to a room of strangers than to my friends who I knew were super supportive. I got my Friday morning class at Golds Gym in Merrifield, which I still teach to this day (!!) and have come a long way.
From there, it was BodyStep, then BodyAttack (my other all time favorite). I thought I was done but then decided BodyPump would be my last addition. Then, I thought I was really done, but just taped my initial video for GRIT series. OK now I’m really really really done.
It is a job. It’s work. But, I definitely don’t do it for the money. Initially, I did it for me. But now, I do it for the many many gym members who have touched my life and I have come to know and love like my family. I think that it’s one of the most important things that I can do – connect with my community and keep the people that mean so much to me healthy and feeling good. I am so fortunate to have this opportunity to change people’s lives. I see it every day, the progress that is made over time, and it makes all of the hard work worth it. Teaching group fitness is one of the greatest joys of my life.
Teaching 5-6x per week also allows me to eat excessive frosting now and then.
As promised yesterday, here is my recipe for a super tasty easy to make salad dressing. The base of this dressing is very versatile and there are many many variations that you can experiment with if you find you love it as much as me!
Ingredients (per person):
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tsp Champagne Vinegar
1/2 small clove of Garlic, pressed/minced
1/4 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 small Squirt of Dijon mustard (approx 1/4 tsp if you’re measuring)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Seriously… that is it.
So to make this thing you can just throw everything together in a small condiments bowl and whisk with a fork. But, there are a few things you can to do make sure it is top notch.
1. Always use fresh garlic. The kind you have to peel the skin off of. Pre-minced garlic or cloves from a jar do not have the same flavor or potency. Crushing with a garlic press is the best way to get the most juice out and to distribute flavor evenly throughout the salad once tossed. Love garlic? Use more than the recipe calls for. I love garlic, and sometimes put a whole clove in just for myself. I have also been asked “Did you want any salad with your garlic??” and hence have instituted a general measurement for if I am making this dressing for others.
2. If your garlic is a little on the mature side and has a little bit of a green sprout coming out of the small end, just cut it in half and scoop out the green middle. It doesn’t taste bad, per say, but it doesn’t help either. Sensitive palates say that it can leave a little bit of a bitter aftertaste.
3. Shake the Oregano into the palm of your hand and roll it with your index finger or thumb as you dispense it into the bowl, this crushes it and allows more of the flavor to come out. I recommend this approach anytime you use dried Oregano for any recipe!
4. Add all ingredients except for the olive oil first, and then while you whisk the ingredients together, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to help it emulsify as it gets added. This is not super important, I usually skip this step because I don’t have time or patience. The mustard helps emulsify the oil and vinegar together if they are just whisked with a fork simultaneously also.
5. The ingredients are listed for just one serving, so double, triple, or x10 as necessary. If I’m planning on having salad 3-4 times during the week, I’ll go ahead and make 8 servings for G & me at once, stick them into a small bell jar and shake (this shaking in a bell jar method works great for emulsifying the oil and vinegar also!) It refrigerates well for up to a week. 3 Tsp = 1 Tbsp so you can cut down on measuring 24 different teaspoons of various liquids- guarantee you can’t keep track if the TV is on 🙂 And, when you serve from a bell jar, a serving is just 1 Tbsp of the dressing, since that would include your 2 Tsp vinegar and 1 Tsp oil. Make sure you shake well before you scoop out!
6. Try the recipe once as stated, and then start experimenting!! The base of the recipe is olive oil, vinegar (of any flavor or variety), garlic, and dijon. The type of vinegar and spices added can vary.
If you want a red (or white) wine vinaigrette? Just add red (or white) wine vinegar instead.
If you like your dressing a little sour, add a splash of lemon juice to any variety. If you like it sweet, add a tiny bit of Stevia or a squeeze of orange.
If you want a balsamic vinaigrette? Add Balsamic vinegar instead, take out the Oregano (and dijon for that one), and add a little raspberry or strawberry preserves for a twist. With strawberry preserves, this dressing is particularly good on spinach with some goat cheese.
I’m starving now. Time to go get a snack!! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Happy salad eating, everyone.