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Fall 2014 Workout Jams + Benefits of Group Fitness

Fall 2014 Workout Jams + Benefits of Group Fitness

Listening to music while working out is SUCH a treat these days. Let’s just say armbands, headphones and Spotify are no bueno while working out with the Ranger Challenge team. 

Needless to say, it’s been months since I created a new playlist for the gym. The one below is a mash-up of my current favorite songs.

Fall 2014 Workout Jams from Hungry Gator Gal

Spotify playlist:

P.S. Follow me (Brianna Kolota) on Spotify if you like what you’re hearing. I pay $5 per month as a student to have access to a bazillion songs with zero ads. I have the ability to follow and make as many playlists as my heart desires. It’s TOTALLY worth the money. Ask for a Spotify Gift Card $30 (affiliate link!) for your b-day or a holiday. 🙂

I’m not going to lie and say working out without music is easy. Learning how to run four miles with only my own thoughts was difficult at first. . . especially when I was thinking about how much I dislike running. HA!

But you know what? I’ve learned that I don’t need music. I have my teammates, their words of encouragement and the inner motivation to push through the last mile, the last rep, etc.

If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m a longtime fan of group fitness, and Ranger Challenge is no exception. The workouts are never easy, but my teammates and I bond in our pain and constant endeavor to become faster, stronger and smarter.

The good news is that you don’t have to be in the Army to reap the benefits of group fitness. Check out a class at your local gym. Find a CrossFit box or boot camp club. Find or start a running club. Join a local club sport or intramural league.

The key is to find a group of people who are in similar shape or slightly better shape than you, whatever that may be. They’ll push you to improve, and you’ll probably make friends in the process. You might even build teamwork skills that are transferable to other parts of your life (i.e. your job).

Sounds like a win-win situation to me. What do you think?

Note: If you need help finding fitness clubs or group workouts, check out apps like peerFit and SweatGuru. They’ll help you “try before you buy.” You’ll pay for individual classes or a pass to try a bunch of different classes before deciding to commit to one single gym. You can also check the group fitness schedule at your local gym. Most gyms will let you try the first class for free.


  1. Are you a fan of group fitness? If so, why?
  2. If you’re a fan of group fitness, what’s your favorite class? (I’m always looking to try new formats!) 

Related HGG Posts:

August Workout Jams

August Workout Jams from Hungry Gator Gal (An @spotify playlist)

Pumping Iron Playlist

Pumping Iron Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal (an @spotify playlist)

Yoga Workout Playlist


Tips for Setting Realistic Fitness Goals in 2014

Tips for Setting Realistic Fitness Goals in 2014

Hey everyone, I hope you’re having a good new year so far. I’ve been swamped (pun intended!), but for good reason.

I’m currently taking an LSAT course and will be taking the actual LSAT again February 8. The course is intense in terms of the time commitment and brain power needed to succeed. In order to devote myself to the class, I’ve been purposefully neglecting other things, including Hungry Gator Gal.

Needless to say, don’t be surprised if you only hear from me two or three times in the next month. I love writing but have decided raising my score is my top priority right now. Although I won’t be posting, be sure to check out the fitness page to see what I’m doing in terms of workouts each week. I hope I can at least provide some inspiration there.

On that note, here’s a guest post from Julie Roberts, a longtime HGG reader who so graciously offered to write a post for you guys in my absence. I appreciate your understanding and support during this whirlwind month of classes, LSAT prep and working. I hope you enjoy her tips for setting realistic fitness resolutions in 2014. 🙂

Hi! I’m Julie Roberts, a proud wife, stay-at-home mom, runner, fitness junkie and nature lover. Although, even I have to admit, enough of this recent cold spell already!

One of my greatest joys in life is to write, and thanks to Brianna, I get to share my writing with all her wonderful readers. 🙂 So for today, I have some great tips on how to stick to new year’s resolutions, which may seem daunting at first but are achievable if you start with a plan.

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch, just send me an email! I hope you enjoy!

1. Be Reasonable

Moderation is key when it comes to making plans to do something new. Choose a workout program you know you can handle to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Tackling a goal bit by bit is easier than trying to bite off more than you can chew all at once.

For example, I can smash out a Focus T25 workout, a new program I ordered from Beachbody, even if I only have 25 minutes. If you’re not interested in starting a program, simply resolve to attend a group fitness class at the gym each week. 

If you need help starting out, this article from Mind Tools has some great tips.

2. Be Specific

Whether it’s a short-term or a long-term goal, I find it helpful to write the goal down and revisit it each day until it is reached. For example, last year I doubled my running distance over a period of about a month. My plan was broken down into several pieces, much like the Couch-to-5K

3. Consistency is Key

Whether I’m starting something new or taking a familiar exercise regimen and ramping it up, I remember it takes about four weeks to form a habit. For those weeks, I commit to following the plan every day without fail. By the end of that period, I’ve gotten over the hump and am eager for more.

4. Reasonable Rewards

Exercise and fitness should really be its own reward. However, it’s nice to have a little boost here and there to keep you going. 

My reward this January is a pair of winter-weather running shoes. In order to earn the reward, I have to work hard outside and at the gym, running my regular distance at least three times per week. Once I’ve got the shoes, I’ll set the bar even higher with another reward.

If you are someone who needs a “push,” a phone app called Gym Pact will reward you with real cash you when you stick to the fitness goals you set for yourself. No joke. However, the app makes you pay if you don’t stick to the goals. They say people will do anything for money!

Final Thoughts

All in all, New Year’s resolutions can be achieved, if you take the time to thoughtfully set goals. Taking the time to detail your ideas and rewards while developing a reasonable timeline will help keep you in a “fitness state of mind.” 


  1. What’s one of your resolutions or goals for 2014? (Doesn’t need to be fitness-related)

Top Fitness Posts of 2013

Top Fitness Posts of 2013

Two words can be used to sum up 2013 . . . super sweaty.

But really though. It’s ridiculous the number of times I found myself drenched in sweat after trying a group fitness class, Pinterest workout or a class using the peerFit passport. Just take a look at my weekly workout log.

According to page views, you guys were loving everything fitness-related this year too. There’s no way for me to know if you actually tried the workouts or just pinned them to Pinterest, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. If you didn’t break a sweat, there’s always 2014.

On that note, below you’ll find a list of your favorite Hungry Gator Gal fitness posts from 2013, including workout plans, fitness gear and one upbeat playlist. Click on the titles to see the original posts.

Enjoy! 🙂

1. Weekly Workout Plan + Best Ab Workouts

30 day ab challenge

2. Fall Workout Jams 

fall workout jams

3. What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) + Weekly Workout Plan 

Weekly Workout Plan

4. Weekly Workout Plan + Sweat Pink Announcement

Sweat Pink laces

5. Funny Workout Tanks

funny workout tank - Hunger Games



  1. What’s your favorite workout from this year?
  2. What songs did you love to listen to while working out in 2013?
Best Yoga Stretches for Stress Relief

Best Yoga Stretches for Stress Relief

If you’re a student like me, the 33 Stages of Finals Week article on BuzzFeed pretty much describes your life right now. If you’re not in school, I’m sure the holidays in general are stressing you out.

Regardless of age, everyone should have a way to relieve stress. When I was in high school, I let the anxiety build up inside until I’d start crying. Not exactly the best way to cope if you ask me.

Since then, I’ve learned exercise is a great stress reliever, especially yoga. It allows me to stretch it out while clearing my mind, even if only for a few minutes of the day.

From the Keep Calm-O-Matic

I’ve been practicing for seven months and generally attend one group class per week. I’m so addicted at this point that I can feel tension building in my neck, lower back and hamstrings when I skip a week.

Anyway, I highly suggest you try a power yoga or vinyasa yoga class if you’re looking for a way to unplug. Seriously. Watching Netflix and staring at computer and phone screens all day will only make you more stressed.

Below you’ll find a list of my favorite yoga poses for stress relief. If you attend a class, ask the instructor to include the pose in your practice. If you can’t attend a class, simply do the poses individually or in a sequence on your own.

Click on the title of each pose to see how to perform the pose and learn what muscle(s) it stretches. Also, check out this complete guide to starting yoga from So Much Yoga if you’re brand new to practicing. Enjoy!

P.S. In case you’re wondering, my mental state is at No. 23 on the BuzzFeed article. 😉

Easy Pose with Neck Stretch 

Seated Spinal Twist 

Downward Facing Dog

Cat Pose

Pigeon Pose Fold 

Standing Forward Bend/Fold

Child’s Pose


  1. Do you practice yoga?
  2. What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Related HGG Posts: 

Best At-Home Total Body Workouts for the Holidays
20-Minute Hotel Room Workout 

Weekly Workout Plan + Best Indoor Cycle/Spin Workouts

Girl Crush + Best Upper Body Workouts

Weekly Workout Plan + Best Indoor Cycle/Spin Workouts

Weekly Workout Plan + Best Indoor Cycle/Spin Workouts

Unfortunately, I have the joints of an 80-year-old woman.

Seriously. Walk with me up or down a set of stairs, and you’ll hear my ankles and knees make all sorts of ungodly noises. I blame my dad, who also has crackly joints, for this problem.

Needless to say, anytime I run or participate in other high-impact activities, my knees and ankles remind me the next day. Luckily, I discovered a low-impact, high-intensity cardio option this semester . . . 


As you can see below, it’s on the schedule this week for Wednesday’s workout.

Week of 11/13/13 to 11/19/13

Wednesday: 45-minute cycle class

Thursday: Upper Body Superset Workout + 15 minutes of steady-state rowing

Friday: 75-minute vinyasa yoga class

Saturday: Off/rest

Sunday: Total-Body Circuit Workout

Monday: Power yoga class + Core class

Tuesday: Stadium conditioning class or I’ll wing it
I’m obsessed with spinning and try to attend one or two classes per week. However, the class times don’t always work with my schedule. Luckily, I spent some time on Pinterest and found a few printable indoor cycle workouts I can do on my own.

If you’re like me, you probably like how instructors help you push your limits. Hopefully these plans, some of which are timed to specific songs, will provide motivation while working out solo. 

Let me know if you try one of the workouts! I’ll be sure to incorporate at least one into my fitness plan in the next few weeks. Enjoy! 🙂 

Solo Spin Tabata from FitFluential 

60-Minute Song Cycle Workout

The 45-Minute Interval Indoor Cycling Workout from Fitness Magazine

Super Short Coldplay Spin/Cycle Workout from Crazy Running Legs


  1. Have you ever attended a cycle/spin class? 

  2. What is your favorite type of cardio? 


Related HGG Posts: 

Girl Crush + Best Upper Body Workouts 

Weekly Workout Plan + Best Ab Workouts

All-star Abs Workout

HGG’s New Look + Healthy Living Link Love 


Picture from