2016 Reflections + 2017 Goals

Wow…2016 is over! Just like that. I keep seeing people online saying 2016 was the worst, and 2016 needs to be over, etc. etc., but for me, 2016 was an amazing year, and I can only hope that 2017 is just as good.

This will be a longer post and is also working as a semi-scrapbook for me to write down some memories :) I do want to finish my travel videos and my goal was to do it before 2017 but doesn’t look like that’s happening lol.

Here are a few things I’m reflecting on:

Year Of Travel

I kicked off 2016 with a trip to Mont Tremblant (Canada) with one of my best friends, and then a few other amazing trips. This is the most I’ve ever traveled in a year, and I’m thankful that I have the flexibility to work from wherever I want.



 It was my first time dog-sledding! Ever since this trip, I’ve been planning my trip back. Hopefully Dan, myself and our 2 friends will be able to go on a little getaway this Februaray!

After that, Dan and I planned a TOTALLY spontaneous trip to Arizona. Literally booked a flight on a Thursday night that left Friday at 8 AM lol. Probably the most spontaneous thing we’ve ever done, but so worth it.

We flew into Phoenix for a long weekend. We went to a Devils game at Gila River Arena which was pretty cool, and of course saw the Grand Canyon. One of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do much hiking becuase trails were snowy/icy. Another place I need to go back and explore more.

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I would love to do Rim 2 Rim one day, but first need to actually find someone to do it with me lol.

In May, my mom, sister and I went to Paris for a girls trip. I’ve been dreaming about Paris since I was in middle school. And I absolutely fell in love with it. I think I have a problem where I fall in love with every city I go too and can’t wait to go back :-P

We spent a few days in Paris, then flew to Nice for a Coldplay concert, and then flew back to Paris for a few days. We did all of the touristy things and according to my steps app on my phone, we were walking anywhere from 6-8 miles per day. I remember saying we needed to run while on our trip, but that didn’t happen. We were walking all day every day, and way too tired at the end of the day to go out for a run.

My favorite parts of this trip were walking around Montmartre and eating in little cafes, and seeing the incredible blue Mediterranean. I loved our cozy airbnbs that we stayed in. It really added to the experience. Our studio apartment in Montmartre was perfect. Tiny but fit all 3 of us and gave us a truly Parisienne experience. In Nice, our airbnb apartment was only 6 blocks from the beach!



What I loved about this trip is the fact that my mom was with us. My mom has never traveled outside of our usual trips to Paraguay or Brazil. She never in a million years thought she would see the Eiffel Tower. She grew up in Paraguay, and when you hear some of her life stories, you can’t even believe it compared to what our life is now. I’m so glad we were able to make this dream a reality for her – and I think the wanderlust bug bit her a bit after this trip ;)

At the end of June, Dan and I took our yearly trip to Myrtle Beach, though I doubt we will be going this year due to wedding planning and our bachelor/bachelorette trips being this summer (woooo!!!).

We love Myrtle Beach and spend close to 2 weeks there. This year we stayed at an ocean side resort which was great. It was right in the beginning of marathon training, and I loved exploring the side streets and houses in the area (while Dan sat and drank beer on the beach lol). 



When I got back from that trip, about 2 weeks later we headed to Rio for the Olympics, which was probably the coolest experience of my life so far. Well, first we went to Paraguay to visit my family for a week, and then Rio.

I spent my birthday at the Olympic Stadium watching track and field. I mean it doesn’t get much cooler than that!! My brother and I were able to get on the track after the races were over which was even cooler. 





We saw beach volleyball, track and field, and the women’s marathon. Definitely an experience I’ll never forget.

I Ran My 4th Marathon With My Mom

We ran the NYC Marathon in Nov. 6, which was our 4th marathon and 3rd NYC Marathon. While we didn’t run the times we wanted, it will always be a great experience to run a marathon with my mom. I can’t imagine running 26.2 miles without her…nor training for 18-20 weeks for a marathon alone! I don’t think I could do it.

This marathon was the BEST I’ve ever felt (read my full NYC Marathon race recap here). I think NYC Marathon will always be my favorite marathon. The spectators are amazing and the course is challenging but scenic in that you’re running through all five boroughs.

Although I didn’t get to cross the finish line with my mom this time, there is nothing like that feeling of crossing the finish and getting your medal. It makes all those months of training worth it.

I won’t be running a marathon in 2017, but hope to improve my half marathon and 5K times.



I Got Engaged!!!

And the biggest news for 2016 is that Dan and I got engaged! He proposed on Sept. 4 (Labor Day Weekend) and we will be getting married on Sept. 2, 2017. It was perfect and still feels surreal to me. I still stare at my ring all the time when I’m wearing it LOL.


The weekend turned out perfectly. A hurricane was supposed to hit, and he had planned this beach trip for us (under the guise of us going out for LDW with friends). I remember being like, why the hell are we going to the beach if a hurricane is coming??? He was like it will be fine. Afterwards he said he would have taken me to the beach and location where he proposed even if it was raining out haha. But it turned out to be a beautiful day, with the perfect sunset for our post-proposal photos. His friends were hiding and taking pictures when it happened.


I haven’t done much in terms of wedding planning. We have our DJ and videographer but still need a photographer and to reserve hotel blocks…and a bunch of other little things. So all wedding planning tips are appreciated ;)

My 2017 Goals

Not sure how 2017 can top 2016 but I know it will…especially if we are getting married! I’ve started thinking about my goals for 2017, both for personal and business. Here are a few:

  • Get a 5K and half marathon PR
  • Continue growing my social media marketing business – specifically gain 3 new clients within the first 6 months and my first 1-on-1 coaching clients. 
  • Shoot more fitness videos for my YouTube channel.
  • Learn a new skill. This was one of my goals last year which didn’t happen lol. Perhaps playing tennis? Or skiiing?
  • Post on this blog and my marketing blog (pattyrivas.com) at least once a week
  • Try to do Facebook live videos on my business page and FB group once a week. (Want to stay up to date on social media trends and learn about social media marketing? Join my free Facebook group!)

So that’s that. 2016 is over. I’m so grateful for these opportunities and always count my lucky stars. I certainly do not intend for this post to come off as braggy. In writing this post and recap for myself, I am reminded of how lucky I am, especially to have such amazing friends and family, and now a fiance :)

I hope your 2016 was great and that 2017 is even better!!

What is your favorite 2016 memory?


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Fitness Vlogs – I’ve Been Loving Vlogmas!

For those of you who haven’t been following me (or other vloggers) on YouTube, you might have heard about Vlogmas. It’s a vlog (video) each day until Christmas. I figured I’d try it out since I’m trying to get back into YouTube, but honestly figured I wouldn’t last haha.

But I’ve actually been having fun with it! It’s been fun to film my days and document things. I decided to throw in some fitness/running related stuff in there too. Which are the ones I wanted to share with you today. If you haven’t seen them yet, here are a few that might be of interest!

My Leg Day Workout

This one was from yesterday. Short video but showed me current leg day workout that I’ve been doing with my sister. My legs were so sore yesterday!

My Favorite Running Bloggers & Running Websites

Shoutout to some of my favorite bloggers! If you need some running inspiration, check out the websites I mentioned:

Here are links to the sites:

Courtney : http://eatprayrundc.com
Wendy : http://takethelongwayhome.com
Tina : http://tinamuir.com


Taste Testing Halo Top Ice Cream

Omg how did I not know about Halo Top before this?? We tried out chocolate mocha chip and birthday cake:

What’s In My Fridge

My fridge is currently a mess but showed a few of my favorite things. Number 1 is definitely turkey Bubba Burgers!

Do you have a favorite vlogger on YouTube?

Any topics you’d like to see discussed on my channel? I think some of my next videos will have my foam rolling and stretching routine. Just got some resistance bands so might do a resistance band workout as well :)

Stay tuned!


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A Day In The Life/Vlogging For Vlogmas

I know, I still haven’t put up a marathon recap (for anyone who cares lol) because I want to finish my video first!

But in the meantime, I’ve decided to start vlogging again and participating in Vlogmas. Vlogmas is a new vlogging video for 25 days leading up to Christmas :-O

I’m a bit late, because I started yesterday, Dec. 5 and not Dec. 1, but whatever – going to try to be consistent! I like vlogging and watching other people’s vlogs so figured I’d join in. Here’s my vlog from yesterday/Day 5:

Also, some exciting (for me) news…last week I found my wedding dress! If you’re in the NJ area, I highly recommend visiting I Do…I Do… in Morristown. They were so amazing and I found my dress in just 2 visits – I didn’t even want to go look anywhere else! I wish I could share photos but alas…I’ll have to wait until September to do that ;)

In running news, I entered myself and my mom for the NYC Half lottery – we find out this Thursday. Really hoping we both get in but I have this feeling that I’ll get in and she won’t and I’ll have to train for a half alone this winter. I really, really hope not.

I hope to have my marathon recap up this week, and in between now and January, just continuing to work on my business, and have fun with friends and family. I should probably also get my Christmas tree this week :-)

Anyone else enter the NYC Half lottery? Or are you doing a spring half?


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Glute Strengthening Exercises Pt. 2

Now that marathon training has started, I really need to make sure to work on my glutes, especially my glute medius. I wrote a previous post (that somehow blew up on Pinterest) on strengthening your glute medius (and why it’s important).

Today I wanted to talk about some of my favorite glute exercises. I haven’t been strength training much, mainly because I have been balancing running, cycling and yoga. But I need to get back into the gym this week.

Your glutes are your powerhouse. When you’re running, you need strong glutes to push off the ground and give you, well, power. It’s not uncommon at all for runners, and most people in general, to have weak glutes from sitting all day and not really activating them. So here are a few exercises you can start incorporating into your routine. Plus, you can do them anywhere, either bodyweight or with dumbbells. So add a few reps and sets in after your runs and you’ll be on your way to buns of steel.

Here are my top 5 exercises to strengthen and grow your glutes! | http://reach-yourpeak.com


These are so easy to do anywhere! If you’re out for a run, you can find a park bench or table to use. If you’re at home, you can use a chair or your stairs. You want to make sure your form is right with these, and that you’re not using your back leg to bounce you up onto the step. Your back leg should stay completely straight, and you should focus on using your front let (the one on the box) to push you up. Here’s an example of someone using that back leg to power them up (which means your front leg and glute are working less):

It might take a little practice, which is why it’s good to start off with your bodyweight only, and then progress to adding dumbells. Here’s an excellent tutorial video:

Walking Lunges

Another one that can be done anywhere, with or without weights. If you have knee issues or knee pain, you may want to stay away from walking lunges. You can do do split squats (stationary lunge) or reverse lunges instead. You can also switch those up by elevating your front foot. Lots of options here.

With walking lunges, take a step forward and really focus on keeping your chest up and shoulders back. Lower your knee as low as it can go, and then switch. Do not force yourself to go lower than what is comfortable. You also want to make sure that your heel on the foot that is stepping forward is planted on the ground. If you step forward and your heel is up or you’re on the balls of your feet, it means you’re not taking big enough steps.

Hip Raises

Hip raises are probably my favorite exercise, mainly because I can lie down while doing it :-P

Did you know hip raises are more effective at growing your glutes than squats are? Start off with just body weight hip raises. Lay on your back with bent knees. Plant your feet and lift your hips up as high as you can. Squeeze your glutes as you lift and really focus on utilizing those muscles. You may feel this in your hamstrings and calves too. Hold at the top for about 2-3 seconds, lower and repeat. In order to see if you’re using your glutes and not your hip flexors, try doing a single leg hip raise with one knee bent. What I mean is, take one knee to your chest and hold it there with your arms. THEN, do a hip raise. You should really feel that in your glute. Once you get the hang of it, you can add a weighted plate or barbell on top of your hips in order to make the move more challenging. 

Bulgarian Split Squats

This is a more advanced exercise, and a variation on lunges. You can work up to this by doing reverse lunges with your back foot elevated on a small box or step. Eventually, you’ll be able to do it with your back foot on a bench. Here’s what it looks like (including good cues and common mistakes):

Remember to always keep your chest up and shoulders back. You don’t need to lower yourself all the way down if you can’t. Go until you can, and then come back up. Work your way lower and lower over time.

Back extensions

You will need a back extension machine for this one, or you can get creative and use the end of your couch or bed. I’ll show an example after I explain.

Doing back extensions on an incline back extension machine will target your hamstrings and glutes, maybe your calves too if they’re a little weak. If your lower back is weak, you’ll feel it in those muscles as well. Lower down all the way, then squeeze your glutes to lift yourself up. Be careful not to hyper-extend. See how he is in a straight line?

Photo source

If you want to add weight, hold a weighted plate to your chest to make it more challenging.

Start incorporating these exercises into your routine and not only will you have stronger glutes, you’ll be helping your body stay injury free. Writing this just motivated me to get my butt to the gym this week. Another thing I need to work on ASAP is my core strength. Please leave me your favorite core workouts below because core is my least favorite thing to do haha.

What is your favorite glute exercise? How often do you train your legs/glutes?


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I Love Yoga

I had an amazing yoga class yesterday…and am so sore today.

So as I’ve written before, I’ve been really loving cycling classes lately. But yoga has been slowly growing on me too. Every time I go to a class, I end up leaving feeling good and on some sort of endorphin high. But for some reason it’s getting to the class that is hard. But after yesterday I plan on going more often for sure.

I got to class and it turns out it was just me and one other woman. The instructor said she would give us a workshop on “the basics” and do hands on adjustments throughout. 

She put us up against the wall and then we went through poses like Warrior I, Warrior II, Triangle Pose and more. We used the wall to align oursevles right, and the instructor gave me cues for things I had never even thought to do or engage. I am feeling it all today!

We ended with handstand practice. I’m no where near close to doing a handstand, but she showed me how to practice kicking up, how to engage my core and back, and other tips.

We used the wall to do revolved half moon pose but I just couldn’t get it. My foot kept sliding off the wall and then my standing leg hip started to cramp (why does this always happen to me??). The other lady did it perfectly haha. Here’s a photo of what it should have looked like:

revolved half moon posePhoto Source

I really, really enjoyed this class. I like that the classes offered at Ride + Reflect are strength based (along with offering more vinyasa flows and gentle yoga classes). I guess in the past I wasn’t going to yoga as much because I wanted to lift in order to gain muscle strength, but let me tell ya…yoga works your muscles. My glutes are on fire today.

So for you yogis and yoga teachers, I have a few questions and hopefully someone can help!

  • Why does my hip cramp up in the above pose and also crow pose? Is it because I need more hip flexor strength? My hips aren’t tight (the instructor and an athletic trainer told me this), so I’m not sure what the deal is. I legit can’t even get into crow pose because one of my hip flexors immediately will cramp up.
  • What are some cues you give to people for basic poses like the warrior poses? Something I need to remember is to keep my chest and ribs up.
  • Any tips for learning how to do handstand? Should I also be doing poses or exercises for my arms?
  • If someone has anterior pelvic tilt like I do, should we avoid poses where you bend backwards?

Thanks for your input!

How often do you take yoga classes? What do you think it has helped you with the most?


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5 Yoga Tips For Beginners

Happy Monday! I know I haven’t been writing as often but things have been pretty hectic. But I will be trying to write more regularly this week.

Today I wanted to talk about yoga. Last week I went to yoga classes and I really want to try to keep going more often. I always prefer running or spinning to yoga but after I leave a yoga class I’m always thinking, “wow I really need to go more.”

I did have strength class last week with my sister and really loved it….and even learned how to do a variation of compass pose! I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do that at all.

My sister was kind of nervous to go to this class because she’s only done one or two yoga classes before. And that’s why I wanted to write this post. I wanted to give some insight to fellow newbie yogi’s since I am one as well. So here are a few tips and insight before you go to your first or one of your first few classes.

Just starting yoga? Here are 5 yoga tips for beginners! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Don’t Be Intimidated

It can be scary to go to a class thinking that you’ll be the only one who can’t do certain things or that you’ll be surrounded by super flexible people. And while you might be surrounded by super flexible people (like I am in my class) it’s totally OK. Yoga classes are so open and accepting and that’s why I really love them. No matter what your ability is, the instructor will help you and talk you through poses. My instructor was very hands-on and adjusting my feet making sure they were the right width apart along with showing me how to properly do exercises so I don’t get hurt. She also spoke with my sister and I after class about how to do certain things to aid our neck pain and wrist pain. Your yoga instructors should make you feel comfortable and excited to continue learning and practicing.

Be Ready To Sweat

While yoga might seem like this relaxing meditative thing (and obviously some classes can be), you should also be ready to sweat. We went through a flow in my strength yoga class that had me dripping in sweat all within just a few minutes. Make sure you bring water to your class along with a towel if you sweat a lot like I do. An extra towel on your yoga mat can also help with hand grip if your hands start sliding.

You Might Get Gassy

This might be a little TMI but gotta throw it out there. I asked Christine of Love, Live, Surf about this (she is a yoga instructor) and she assured me it’s totally normal. In yoga classes, since you’re doing a lot of twisting and inversions, you might start feeling a little bit gassy. And obviously that can be embarrassing. I really don’t have a solution to this but just know that it’s a possibility haha. Christine said that instructors really don’t think anything of it and my thorough Google searches confirms that. But obviously that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing!

Use Props

Props are there for a reason such as blocks blankets and straps. Don’t be afraid to use them. Those aren’t just for the more experienced yogi’s. Those props can help you get into poses and in better alignment during poses. For example, I still can’t do triangle pose, so I use a block so I’m able to get to where I can as opposed to forcing my body to stretch beyond its abilities.

You Can Always Go To Child’s Pose

Whenever you feel like you need a break or you’re not comfortable with a pose you can always go into child’s pose. Instructors encourage that and should remind you of that throughout the practice. I really love this because if I can’t do something or I’m just feeling tired, I will go into child’s pose for a few seconds to catch  my breath. Child’s pose is such a great restorative pose and something you should add to your regular routine as it is! I love doing it after runs.

I really do want to go to yoga classes more often and I need to make that commitment. I even ordered myself a Jade Yoga Mat! It’s a bit pricier than any yoga mat I have had but I love how grippy and cushioned it is.

So now I just need to actually make it to classes! My goal is 2 times a week. It’s just so hard balancing running, cycling, yoga and strength training. But I also know that if I am able to do all of these things now it will make me much stronger for when marathon training starts in July.

How do you balance multiple types of exercises during your half marathon or marathon training? Share your schedule with me please so I can get some ideas!


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3 Reasons Exercise Programs Fail & How To Overcome Them

It’s February 1st! A new month…a clean slate…

Did you know that a third of those who make New Year’s Resolutions don’t even make it to the end of January? We need to stay strong and committed as a new month rolls in!

Many people make resolutions to be healthier, work out more, etc. So why do they fall off within a month or two? That’s what I wanted to talk about today AND invite you to participate in a FREE 5 day fitness challenge that starts next week, so we can hold each other accountable and motivate each other. I’ll talk about that more in a bit.

Here are 3 reasons why exercise programs fail, and how to overcome them. + a FREE 5 day fitness challenge to re-ignite your goals and motivation! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Getting to the gym is a hassle

For many people, in the beginning they’re going to the gym every day, and then it starts to taper off. Why? Because getting to the gym might be a hassle. If you’re going after work, you might have to sit in traffic to get there. If you’re going in the morning, you might opt out because you don’t want to lug your work clothes, towel, shampoo, etc. for the post-workout shower. These small annoyances might start leading to, “I’ll just go tomorrow.” Here are a few ways to get back on track:

  • On days you get out of work late, or you wake up not wanting to drive to the gym, do an at-home workout video. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, it is better than nothing, and you’ll feel great. I love Fitness Blender on YouTube for home workouts.
  • Sign up for fitness classes. I’ve been staying consistent with my morning cycling classes because if I cancel I have to pay $20. When you have a commitment, you’re more apt to go. A second idea is to schedule a workout time with a friend…you can’t bail on your friends!
  • Create your own dumbbell workout routine that you can do at home. I wrote more about creating a full-body routine here.

Gym equipment is confusing

Alright so maybe you get to the gym, but then what? There are so many pieces of equipment, how do you know which to use OR if you’re even using them properly? This overload can cause some to feel intimidated and stop going to the gym all-together. Check out the link above on how to create your own routine. You can also use sites like bodybuilding.com that have a ton of workout plans and show how to do each exercise. My advice is to just stick to dumbbells or kettlebells. You can get a great workout with just those pieces of equipment, and oftentimes a BETTER workout than using a machine.

No accountability

If you’re trying to go at this alone, it will get tough at times. Even though I train with my mom, there are days I dread going to the gym or running. And that is even with a workout partner, so I can’t imagine if I didn’t have her! You need people to hold you accountable. Find someone to go to the gym with or run with a few times a week. Tell yourself you can only do X if you go to the gym that day (watch Netflix, get a manicure…whatever you think will work for you!). It doesn’t necessarily have to be a workout buddy either. Tell people about your goals and ask them to check in with you. When you know that people know what you’re working towards, you’re more apt to actually achieve those goals. Which is why my 5 day fitness challenge is perfect for you if you want accountability…we will all be checking in with each other and supporting each other!

So what will this 5 Day Fitness Challenge entail?

  • Daily 15 min. workout videos by me, sent to you for 5 days so you can work out right at home (and you only need dumbbells)!
  • PDF printables of the workouts in case you want to do it at the gym.
  • Instagram hashtag so you can connect with other challenge members and support each other.


  • PRIZES! One lucky winner will win a PlantFusion prize pack with 1 full-size PlantFusion product of their choice (Thanks PlantFusion!). PlantFusion is a plant-based protein powder (which I love) that is perfect for smoothies and post-workout recovery shakes.

So here are the quick details:

WHEN: Feb. 8 – Feb 14

HOW DO I SIGN UP: Click below and enter your email to sign up. I will send you all the details before Feb. 8 so you’re ready to hit the ground running!

Leave a comment below and let me know if you signed up! :)
What do you think is a reason many people “fall off the resolution wagon” come Feb. or March?
What steps do you take to make sure you stay strong and committed?


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Indoor Cycling Tips For Beginners

Guys…I seriously am obsessed with my cycling classes. Before I start, apparently they aren’t actually called “spin” classes because that is trademarked. So from here on out, I’ll refer to it as cycling (or try to remember to refer to it as cycling).

But anyway, I have been loving taking cycling classes at Ride + Reflect in Bernardsville, NJ. I remember taking cycling classes before and counting down the minutes until it was over (mainly because it was so hard for me), but these classes fly by. The instructors are great and push you hard, the playlists pump you up, and before you know it, the workout is over.

I’ll admit, that first class I took (and it was only a 30 min. class) was hard. I was like, “how will I survive 45 minutes of this??” But, as with any exercise such as running or lifting weights for the first time, the first day will always be hard. Once you get over that hump, you’ll feel great and get stronger each class.

While I’m obviously no expert (this is only me second month of classes at Ride + Reflect), I wanted to write a few tips for those who might want to start cycling or tried it but didn’t love it at first. If you’re a runner, check out my previous post about how cycling can make you faster.

Here are 5 indoor cycling tips for beginners. Don't be afraid to take a class - it's a killer workout! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Dress Appropriately

You will be sweating a lot. I need 2 towels on the handlebars to wipe my sweat (but I also sweat more than the average person…or at least I think so). You definitely want to be wearing a sweat wicking shirt as opposed to cotton. Go for capris or longer shorts too. I wore shorter spandex shorts once and they were riding up the whole time and distracting. I love UnderArmour and Nike tops for any workout. My favorite is actually Coach Marc’s TrainWithMarc team shirts (by Nike). I swear I sweat buckets and that shirt stays dry(ish). He sells tanks too.

Ask For Help

Don’t be afraid to tell the instructor it’s your first class. In fact, do it! The instructor will help you set up your bike specifically to your height and other factors. The great thing about Ride + Reflect is that they write down your specifications, so whenever you walk into the class, your bike is already set up for you. I know many places don’t do that, so write down your numbers or keep it in a note on your phone so that you remember. Having the right seat height is really important, especially to prevent knee strain. Same with handlebar placement and seat placement (forward or back). Also, by telling the instructor, they will give you tips on the class, fill you in on the link (position 2, position 3, etc.), and make you feel more comfortable.

Cycling Terminology

Let’s talk more about the terminology I used above…though if you don’t remember this, no worries, your instructor will fill you in. Here are a few different things you might hear:

  • Position 2: This means you’re out of the saddle (aka standing up) with your hands on the handlebars closest to you.
  • Position 3: Out of the saddle with your hands farthest away from you on the handlebars. Back is flat, hips are back.
  • RPMS: Rotations per minute. If your bike has a screen, it will flash RPMs. Usually instructors give you a range, like, “Ok you want to be around 90-100 RPMs.” Don’t worry if you can’t hit their numbers, I sometimes can’t either, but it gives you a goal to work towards.
  • Resistance: Cycling bikes come with a knob or lever to increase resistance, or how hard your legs have to work to turn the wheel. Instructors will tell you to increase resistance to go “up a hill” or increase resistance and keep the same RPMs. The higher the resistance, the harder your will be working, and the more your quads will be burning! If you can’t keep a resistance at a certain level, don’t be afraid to take a break, pedal easy for a minute or so, and then get back into it.

Here’s a handy little image I found showing hand positioning on the handlebars:

Photo source

Sit In The Front

Remember in college when professors or advisors would tell you to sit in the front of the class to get better grades? Cycling is similar. Don’t be afraid to sit in the front even if you’re a beginner! By sitting in the front you will see and hear the instructor better, which is very important if it’s your first class. If you’re not comfortable with that, sit in the second row and keep your eye on other spinners to check your form or get cues from them. I usually like to sit in the front row of one of the side seats, so I don’t make awkward eye contact with the instructor lol (I hate awkward eye contact).

Go At Your Own Pace

You might be competitive by nature, like I am, but you always want to make sure you’re going at your own pace. And the great thing about cycling classes is that no one has to know what that is! No one knows what resistance you’re at or your RPMs (unless they are peeking at your monitor I suppose). Everyone is focused on themselves and their own ride. I take classes regularly with this instructor who is an avid cyclist and obviously WAY more in shape than I am. He’s like, “ok let’s crank out 120 RPMs!” and I’m pedaling all out at 100. Go at your own pace, and work your way up. Each class I’m able to add RPMs and total mileage. Just like with running, start slow and you will improve. One day you can barely run 1 mile, then you’re able to run 6 miles no problem. Cycling is the same thing.

So hopefully these tips are helpful! If you haven’t yet tried a cycling class I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to exercise indoors when the weather isn’t the best, and also a good cross-training choice for athletes. The first few classes will be challenging, but once you get into the groove of things, you will feel fit and strong.

PS – I found this link today and it is TOO accurate: 19 Things That Happen In Every Spin Class

Do you take cycling classes? 

Has there been a class (any type of fitness class) that you’ve been intimidated to try out at first but then ended up loving it?


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Let’s Catch Up

I love reading the coffee date link up posts hosted by a few of my fellow fitness bloggers (find more info here). So I wanted to write my own fun little Friday post to catch you up on what’s been going on with me. If you care…keep reading, if not, no worries! :)


Yesterday my little brother graduated from high school! He’s the last of us to graduate high school and will be attending our local community college (where I also work and coach) in the fall to play soccer. I love graduations. I love feeling the excitement, which is especially high at high school graduations.

Remember that feeling of being done and being so ready to head to college? Being excited to receive your orientation packets and class info…if I could go back in time and start again from any point in my life, I think it would be senior year of high school. Freshman year of college was the best year, and obviously college in general was a blast. Not a care in the world for my brother and the rest of his peers who graduated yesterday. Just ready to enjoy summer and go to college…must be nice! :)


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I had a great run on Wednesday. But Tuesday was a different story. It was 87 degrees and 80% humidity. It was drizzly when I was about to start running, then of course it stopped and the sun came out as I started which made everything hot and muggy. I could barely finish 3 miles, and ended up walking most of the last half mile. Aren’t those runs the worst? You just feel defeated and wondering “why is this so hard?”

The next day I had a tough workout on my schedule from Coach Marc: 1.5 mile warmup, 5×5 minutes at 5K effort with 1 min. break in between, 1.5 mile cooldown.  Do you ever get nervous before workouts? Because I was nervous before this one. Before starting instead of visualizing running strong, I was already thinking about how the last 2-3 reps I would probably slow down and be struggling. Clearly, I really need to work on my mental game…this is a common issue. Any book recommendations or something?

Anyway, my mom and I crushed the workout! I ended up feeling great the whole run (thankfully it was a cloudy day, low humidity, slight breeze), and we completed 6 miles for the day. I love when you have a run where everything clicks, especially after a run that was really bad.


My sister and I had the opportunity to attend a yoga class thanks to ShoeBuy this week. I will write a longer post about the event next week, but all in all it was pretty cool.


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It was supposed to be a rooftop class but since it was rainy, we went indoors. The class was led by a Pure Yoga instructor, and I thought it was tough! Mainly all the balancing poses. The next day my hamstrings were really sore from stretching them so much…is that common?

Anyway, it reminded me of how I really want to do more yoga, but I just don’t know how to fit it in my running schedule. I don’t want to do 30-45 minutes of yoga after long runs. Should I do it in the mornings? Yogis, do you find that yoga really does help with building core srength/strength in general? I know my core strength needs a lot of work since I could barely do boat pose :)

I also got to meet Toni from RunningLovingLiving! Always fun to meet bloggers in real life.


A photo posted by Toni (@runninglovingliving) on

Any fun events for you this past week or coming up? 

If you could go back in time and start your life over again from a certain point, what age would you choose?


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“My Knees Hurt When I Squat”

“My knees hurt when I squat.” This is a common complaint, and one I have heard many times as a personal trainer. Because their knees hurt, people end up not doing squats at all, when in fact, squats can help you get stronger and actually decrease knee pain!

Today we are going to talk about why your knees hurt when you squat, and what you can do to fix it. 

How To Squat Without Knee Pain

Okay, if you’ve had a knee injury in the past, then yeah, that might be contributing to your knee pain (and you should see your PT or doctor to discuss whether you should or should not do certain exercises). However, most people have muscle imbalances and weaknesses that are causing this knee pain.

One of the main culprits is not engaging the core (or simply not having core strength) during the squatting motion. As you squat, you should be hinging at the hips and moving backwards as if sitting into a chair. If you don’t, your torso will lean forward, and your knees will be at an awkward angle, causing most of the load to be on your quads…which leads to the knee pain.

Here’s great info from trainer Kevin Yates:

When you lack proper core and hip strength muscle imbalances often result in the quadriceps and lower back over working. This is one of the main reasons for knee pain during squatting.

Movements like squatting and lunging are not bad for your knees and they don’t cause injuries.

Muscle imbalances are the real problem.

One of my favorite trainers, Tony Gentilcore, has a great post about fixing your squat and avoiding knee pain. His tip, box squats, was something I practiced regularly with my clients.

Basically, you set up a box or bench behind you in the squat rack. Your goal is to squat back and touch the box with your butt before coming back up (do not actually sit on the box and then come up, you are just tapping the box).

Tapping a box or bench helps you with that movement of sitting backwards. Your weight should be on your heels and not your toes during a squat. I’ve talked about squat tips in the past, and how you can improve your form. I’ve mentioned putting a plate under your heels. Why? Because if you have a muscle imbalance or tightness, your heels might be coming up during the squat movement. Elevating your heels a bit helps you get deeper and keep the weight in your heels.

From Tony Gentilcore:

If squatting hurts your knees—and you’re not suffering from an injury—it’s because you’re making your knees do more of the work than the hips. Learning how to utilize the hips during a squat is important if you want to make them more joint-friendly. Box squats can do that.

Squats and lunges are not bad for your knees! That’s a myth similar to that of running being bad for your knees and cracking your knuckles leading to arthritis. Squats and lunges, if anything, help improve your knee health. Start working on your core strength to take the pressure off your quads and knees.

One more thing before I move on to talking about your quads…if you’re having trouble sitting back into your squat, try doing front squats and goblet squats. Since the weight is in front of your body as opposed to on your back, it will make it a bit easier for you to sit back into the squat. I talked about that in this post about squatting tips.

Moving on…another thing that might be causing your knee pain is quad weakness. If your knees hurt during walking lunges or after running, this might be why. In order to fix this, you just need to work your quad muscles a bit. Focus on exercises like the split squat, and progress to a reverse lunge. Avoid doing any forward movements like (duh) forward lunges or walking lunges…just until you build up your strength.

Here’s one of my first YouTube videos showing the split squat.

Similar with the squat, you should be going straight down NOT forward. If you are moving forward as you’re performing this you will probably feel that knee pain. Cues to repeat to yourself are: chest up, shoulders back. Your front heel should stay planted on the floor – if you come up on your toes, step your back leg further back/away from your front leg. 

My dad had knee pain during running and leg exercises, but once he started doing more split squats, his knee pain disappeared. He now runs 3 miles most days! Progression ideas for this exercise (once you master the split squat) would be: reverse lunge, front foot elevated split squat, rear foot elevated split squat, step-ups, and walking lunges.

***Remember though, please talk to your PT or doctor if knee pain is something you have regularly dealt with. Of course there could be some underlying issue that is not as simple as a muscle imbalance or lack of strength.***

Do you squat regularly? Have you ever felt knee pain?


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