How Hard Should You Be Working?

Have you ever worked out and wondered, “Am I doing this right?” Have you worried whether you’re breathing too much, or not enough? Is your heart rate in the right range? It can get overwhelming to think about, but thankfully Julia Collins, owner of Ypsi Studio, is here with some workout guidelines. Take it away, Julia!

When you work out, you want to think about your exertion being in zones from one to four — one being up and awake, and four being all out, which you can only do for about 20 second stretches at a time. You’ll want to adjust your zones to ensure that you have ample time for recovery, and that you’re not demanding too much from your workout. For example, if you’re going for a long run, you obviously can’t be in zone four the whole time. You’ll probably want to be in a 2-3 in that case.

Here’s more about the zones and workouts therein:

  • One: You’re up and awake. You’re not breathing hard. You are moving, but it’s not difficult on any level.
  • Two: Comfortable work. You could keep this up for a long while, but you’re still exerting yourself to a degree.
  • Three: Uncomfortable work. This is challenging. Three is a really important zone — one of those places where it’s hard to stay there, but the more you can challenge yourself to endure zone 3, the more benefit your body will get.
  • Four: Anaerobic work. Here, you will be quite breathless, and sweating profusely. You’re only meant to endure zone 4 for about 15-20 seconds.

The trick about zones is that it’s all about perceived exertion. In other words, someone else’s two is your four. So the best thing to do is to check in with your body, and be mindful of how hard you’re working. In a typical 50-minute class, you should be in your 2-3 most of the time. So if you’re feeling like you’re breathless in your two, you’re going to pass out in a 50-minute class. In that case, slow down, and take it to a level that you can maintain through the whole workout. Conversely, if you’ve completed the whole 50-minute class and barely broken a sweat, you may need to adjust your zones so they’re more challenging.


Jump Into a New Ypsi Studio!

We have been working hard lately to listen to our clients and make changes around Ypsi Studio that will benefit everyone. One of the biggest improvements we’ve made is the addition of a new way to check into Ypsi Studio. This new system, called Mind Body Online (or MBO for short) will allow you to track your fitness, check how many classes you have in your account, purchase more classes online, and make and cancel reservations. Everyone will get an individual key tag, which will replace the old punch-card system. It’s going to be truly transformative to the Ypsi Studio experience!

To help launch the new MBO system, we’re having a party this Friday, June 14 from 4:30 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. During that time, you can stop by and get acquainted with how everything works. Then, the system will officially launch on Saturday, June 15.

If you can’t stop by, no worries. The Yspi Studio staff will be on hand to help you engage the new MBO system during your next class, workout, or training. You can also set up your own account by going to

> In the upper right corner, click login

> In the search field that appears on the login page, type Ypsi Studio

> On the following page, type your first and last name into the “New to our Site?” fields

> Fill in in the remaining contact information, and create a login.

> Then click “create account” and you’re all set. We’ll show you all the benefits of the signup and take it to the next level at the Studio.

We are excited to streamline our services and help the Studio be the best it can be!

[Photo credit: Flickr/Creative Commons]

Should I Be Building Muscle?

Today on the blog, Julia talks about strength training and its place in a healthy fitness routine.

Strength training is one of those things that people can get really nervous about. Questions arise such as: Should I be doing it? What if I bulk up? Won’t I gain weight if I’m building muscle?

If you’re afraid of adding strength training into your workout regimen, don’t be. The truth is, there are myriad benefits to this kind of exercise. Working big muscle groups will challenge your cardiovascular system, and you’ll burn calories while you change your body composition. The great news about strength training is that it keeps your metabolism pumping for a few hours, even after you stop. That’s different from a run or a bike ride, where your metabolism goes down almost immediately after you stop. So if you’re looking to lose weight and burn more calories over the long-term, strength training is key.

Women often worry about “bulking up,” but we just don’t have enough testosterone in our bodies to create huge muscles like men. What will happen instead is that you’re much more likely to get lean and strong, and you’ll also see an improvement in your functional living. Did you know that women walk an average of three miles each day? This is much more than the average for men, and as one Ypsi Studio goer pointed out to me, women are usually carrying things as well! Kids, groceries, you name it. Strength training can help make these everyday activities easier.

If you’re looking for ways to fold strength training into your workouts, check out the Ypsi Studio calendar. One great way to start is Boot Camp, and you can always modify the workouts if you feel like they’re too challenging at first. There’s also willPower & grace, which builds strength and is aerobic, and don’t forget TRX with Shirley. You can always book sessions with our personal trainers too. If you have questions about this, don’t be afraid to ask. We’re a friendly bunch at Ypsi Studio, and we look forward to helping you achieve your fitness goals!

Routine Analysis

How do you avoid the dreaded “workout slump” but still get to the gym regularly? Julia Collins, owner of Ypsi Studio, offers some tips for finding balance between the necessary and the mundane.

People say to me all the time, “If I work out every single day I’ll get bored.” I usually have two thoughts in reply. One, is that you brush your teeth and shower every day as well. Those things aren’t optional, they’re necessary self-care, and it’s often helpful to think about exercise in the same way. Do it because it’s great for your health, your body and your mind. Secondly, I remind people that if you do the same thing every workout — running, lifting weights, indoor cycling — you WILL get bored. Monotony is not the same as routine.

Routine means you’ve carved out regular time and space in your life for exercise. But that doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing over and over. Remember to keep an open mind about taking new classes and exploring new types of exercise. That will help you avoid fitness ruts. Keep in mind that even working in your garden for a period can be exercise, if your heart rate is up and you break a sweat.

You don’t have to love the exercise that your best friend loves, either. Find what works for you, and keep doing it. That’s when routine really works.

Be My (Studio) Valentine!

How do I love Ypsi Studio? Let me count the ways …

As the holiday of cupid and love approaches, let’s put down the candy hearts and write a Valentine to Ypsi Studio. After all …

Has the sheer awesomeness of Ypsi Studio made a difference in your life?
Have you found a workout class you love?
Do you have a trainer who supports and encourages you?
Have you challenged your idea of your own limitations?

These are all reasons to declare our love for Ypsi Studio. And there is a contest and prizes if you do!

Right now, there’s a box at the front desk where you can place your Valentine to Ypsi Studio. You can write a poem, draw a picture, pen a Haiku — whatever you wish! The deadline for submitting your Valentine is this Thursday, February 14, at 7:00 P.M. Julia herself will pick a winner from the entries, and she’ll be giving said winner a chakra water bottle and a free hour of personal training time!

So get out your construction paper and paste, and have at it! Be creative, have fun, and bring the romance! For the Studio, that is …

Looking Bad to Look Good

Today’s blog post comes from Lara Zielin, who teaches indoor cycling at the studio. She talks about how scary trying out indoor cycling was at first, and how tempting it was for her to stop working out, especially when she knew she wasn’t very good at what she was doing. But she didn’t let the journey stop there. Here’s the story in her own words:

Since many of us are making New Year’s resolutions (and trying to stick to them), I thought I’d tell the story about the first time I went to an indoor cycling class. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution per se, but it was definitely part of my plan to get in shape and try something new.

Can I just tell you? I WAS SO SCARED. Holy crap.

I mean, I really didn’t want to go. And also? I didn’t have a friend to go with me, so I was winging it solo. And having never done this before, I didn’t really know what to expect.

We all know that Ypsi Studio is a really community-oriented place. Well, imagine being on the OUTSIDE of the community and walking into a space where everyone knows everyone — except you. YOU are the outsider. And you are here to do something you’ve never done before.

Holy fishsticks, I was petrified. I was going to look like an asshat. And be on the outside of a tight group of people while I did it.

I’d love to tell you I didn’t look like a struggling newbie that first time on the bike. But I kind of did. I mean, everyone looks like a struggling newbie in their first ever indoor cycling class. But that’s kind of part of trying something new. You’re going to not look like a total professional for a while.

I’d love to also tell you that I was accepted into the fold at that first class and everyone wanted to make friends with me. But that wasn’t true either. I slunk in and out of the class, and it wasn’t until I’d gone a few times — and made the effort to talk with some folks — that I started making friends.

These days, I’m part of the fabric of Ypsi Studio, and I teach indoor cycling classes there. But the reason I’m saying all this is because it’s easy to think that just because I do those things that I never struggled with it. But I did. Big time. It took a while for me to get into the grove of the workouts, the people, and to find something I loved doing and wanted to stick with.

So when I do half marathons or teach classes or whatever — just know, I’m not a size six (far, far from it — in fact, double that number) and this stuff didn’t/doesn’t come easily to me.

So maybe our New Year’s resolution shouldn’t be to lose the weight or get to a certain fitness level, but rather to just keep on keeping on (“just keep swimming” as Dory would say) and to keep going back, again and again, even when we think we’ll never master whatever it is we’re attempting.

It’s okay to look like an asshat.

Just don’t stop there.

[This post originally appeared on]


Julia Looks Back, Looks Ahead

As many of us think about the start of 2013, I know we’ll be crafting New Year’s resolutions. What will we do better? What will we do differently?

This is all well and good, and goals are critical to success. But before you look ahead, I hope you’ll reflect on all the wonderful successes you had in 2012.

At Ypsi Studio, I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing people, day in and day out, and I know there are so many people reading this who kicked butt this year. 

For example, many of you ran races in 2012 that were big milestones. A first 5k, a first 10k, a first Iron Turkey, a first half-marathon, even a first Iron Man! And many of you set personal records when you ran said races. We call these “P.R.’s” and the number of times I heard the phrase “P.R.” this year was mind-boggling.

Many of you also challenged yourselves physically by beginning a personal training journey with Shirley, Josh, or another trainer at Ypsi Studio. These workouts are no joke, and I have seen the results firsthand. I am so proud of all of you who get up when it’s early, or when your muscles still ache from the LAST workout, and you do it even when you don’t want to. That right there is courage and grit and determination—all rolled up into one.

So many of you also got out of your comfort zones with Ypsi Studio classes this year. Whether it was giving willPower & grace a try, or TRX, or a group training class, or climbing on a bike for an indoor cycling class for the first time—I saw countless folks just getting out of their routines. I love to see that. Shaking it up, finding the workout you’re passionate about—these are keys to long-term success.

And I can think of so many people who have experienced a monumental physical transformation as a result of all this hard work. Weight losses, personal bests, added strength and confidence—this is what keeps me coming to my job day in and day out. This is the stuff that changes our lives. It is truly transformative, and I’m so excited by all of it. By all of you.

The community at Ypsi Studio is what knits us all together and keeps us on the right track. So for anyone reading this who is new to the studio, trust that the people you meet (and will become friends with!) will help you in your journey.

I thank all of you for making 2012 so great. Here’s to celebrating what you’ve all done, and to even more success in 2013!

Peace and love,


Glorious Gloria!

Today on the blog, we talk with the lovely Gloria Gaynor, who teaches Bedtime Yoga at the Studio. Gloria is in her 60s, but you’d never know it. She’s fit, positive, and proactive about her health. And, would you believe it, Gloria didn’t start exercising until she was past 40! She tells us all about her fitness journey in today’s post.

How long have you been teaching yoga, and how did you get started doing it?

I started practicing yoga about five years ago. After the first class, I decided I would never go back because I felt so inflexible – everyone was “better” than I was! Eventually, I returned to yoga because I realized I felt so much more relaxed after yoga – both physically and mentally. In May 2009 I started training to run a half-marathon. One day, as I was running with my run-coach, it was as if I had a revelation – I turned to him and said: “I am going to retire and teach yoga.” Two years later that is exactly what I did.

I have been teaching yoga since January 2012. Of course, since that first class, I have learned that yoga is a journey – no one is “better” or “worse” – everyone is just at a different place in their journey. I also realized that I teach yoga not just for the physical aspect but also for the mental relaxation and the mind-body connection.

What was the inspiration behind bedtime yoga?

Bedtime Yoga grew out of this desire to offer everyone the opportunity to relax, restore, spend time within, and to become aware of the movements of their bodies.

What has your fitness journey been like? Have you always been active, or is this something you’ve started doing in the past few years?

I was not physically active, unless you count running after two growing children, until the year I turned 40. Again, a revelation! I decided I did not want to be “fat and forty” so I joined Weight Watchers and started walking. I eventually took classes at Washtenaw County Recreation Center, my favorite being kick-boxing. I lost over 50 pounds and have stayed physically active ever since. On my 60th birthday I held a five-minute plank and that record stood for several years at YpsiStudio. Last August, 2012, I held a 10+ minute plank as a part of the YpsiStudio/Infinite Iron StudiOlympics. Plank is somewhat like yoga for me, it is less about the physical and more about the mind-body connection.

What might you say to someone your age looking to jump-start their fitness routine?

Ypsi Studio is a place of refuge for me. I like to be there, not only for the physical challenges I experience when I am there, but also the community of people. Julia Collins is an inspiration and a motivation. I treasure my experiences teaching yoga as well as staying active and fit in so many other ways. I will be 65 this coming August and I would say to anyone who wants to begin a journey toward physical fitness and self-awareness, be they 20 – 40 – or 60+, find something you enjoy doing, find a place you enjoy doing it, and people you want to be with and then, do it for yourself. There is no one in your world more important than you!

Meet Jo Brown

Can exercise help you lose weight, sing better, and alleviate depression? It did all that and more for Ypsi Studio’s own Jo Brown, who shares her journey and the secret of working out when you have four kids.

When did you start your fitness and weight loss journey, and what prompted you to begin it?

I started walking in the mornings when I had insomnia. After a while I lost 20 pounds. I also noticed that the exercise helped with the anxiety and depression that were keeping me from sleeping. Then I got a groupon for Ypsi Studio and discovered yoga and spin and WillPower and Grace. I like being strong! I like being fast(ish). I like that my kids see me as strong, particularly my little girls. My girls like to do yoga with me at home and my oldest is eager to join Girls on the Run when she is old enough.

Besides being a positive influence on my children, the main thing that keeps me exercising still is that it really helps keep mental illness at bay. It’s a shame more people don’t realize this and a shame that it took me so long to. Fact is there is still so much stigma attached to mental illness and people don’t talk about it. But I am a healthier person inside and out because of exercise.

How much weight have you lost?

Between 40 and 50 pounds. I’m not 100% sure of my start weight. I also have about 10 pounds that I tend to lose and gain back over and over (that was always the case for me anyway.)

As a busy mom, how do you make time to work out?

I have a supportive spouse, a helpful teenager who doesn’t mind babysitting, and I do workouts in the early morning when I can. I include my children as much as possible.

Do you have tips for people who have a tough time scheduling workouts?

First thing in the morning is the best time to workout. All day long you can smile to yourself thinking how strong and awesome you are for already working out. Also, sleep in your workout clothes, get up in the morning and pull on your shoes like a firefighter.

What has been the most surprising thing you’ve discovered on your weight loss journey?

Thin priveledge. I never noticed it when I was bigger or when I was thinner. But now that I’ve lost weight people are nicer to me, quicker to help in the stores, holding doors open. It is rather unfortunate.

But on the plus side, I love feeling strong. I love having energy to keep up with my kids. I love being able to chase all the preschoolers when I volunteer at my daughter’s preschool. I like showing off my muscles. My singing range has improved and my endurance for singing has improved. I used to get tired from a couple of hours of singing and now I can sing all night! If you are singing correctly, you really use your core a lot.

More about Jo!

Jo Brown is a mother of four and a singer with local duo Dark-Eyed Molly. You may have seen her on Tuesday afternoons during the past two summers singing at the Downtown Ypsi Farmer’s Market.

She hails from Memphis, Tennesse. She’s lived a lot of places: California, Indiana, Wales; but has called southeast Michigan her home for two and a half years. You can find her at Music on the Mat, weekday morning spin class, and just about any yoga class she can make it to. You can keep up with her musical comings and goings at

Bootcamp Basics with Jenn!

Bootcamp is quickly becoming one of Ypsi Studio’s most popular classes. It’s an intense, all-over workout that will jump-start your strength and endurance. If you’ve never done bootcamp or if you have some anxiety about this being the right workout for you, never fear. Bootcamp instructor and all-over awesome person Jenn Wenzel is here to answer your questions about the class.

How would you describe the boot camp workout?
Boot camp is a functional training class. This class is for the athlete who wants to improve their race times, or the person who is looking for just a new challenge in life and is tired of the same workout they have been doing. Each class will be different moves with usually a theme behind each session such as cardio, legs, upper body, or core strength.

Do you have to be super fit to do boot camp? Is it only for athletic rock stars?
Boot camp is designed to be modified based on an individual’s level of fitness. All of the exercises come with a modification option so the workout can fit your capability.

Can you give an example of a workout modification?
Take leg raises, for example, where you lay on the floor, on your back, and raise and lower your straight legs. A person with weaker abs or who is new to the move can bend their knees at a 90-degree angle, thus lessening the intensity of the move.

When is bootcamp?
Bootcamp offers continuous variety — from the length of time to the workouts we do, to when the sessions are offered each week. This will keep the body guessing and bootcamp attendees will always be surprised. You’re guaranteed to never get bored! Check out the schedule and come in when you can!

Jenn was nice enough to add a little bit about herself — in her own words!
Hello future and returning boot campers! I live in the little Ypsi we all love so much. I enjoy this town and the community this Studio has created. I have a full time job with the City of Dearborn Fire Department. I am going on my 10th year of firefighting and have kept physical fitness as a top priority ever since high school and in college where I was an collegiate athlete. I have enjoyed creating classes and personal training for the past eight years.