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]

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 …

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.

Cold-Weather Workouts

And suddenly, it was cold.

Our incredibly warm summer made it seem like the weather might never change but, lo, the frigid temps are upon us once again. But don’t let that stop you from having an awesome outdoor workout. Would you believe working out in the cold is actually good for you? Studies show that working out in cooler temps can boost endorphins, not to mention burn more calories because your body is working harder to stay warm.

That said, it’s also important to stay protected when the temps drop. Here are four tips for safe, effective outdoor workouts:

Layers, layers, layers. Starting out warm and shedding layers as you go is a great way to ensure your body temp doesn’t plummet while you exercise. You can always off a sweatshirt or fleece when you get warm — that’s a lot better option than freezing and not having the right clothes at all. There are many lightweight but warm jackets and tights made especially for outdoor workouts. Consider investing in warm workout clothes that won’t weigh you down — you’ll be so glad you did!

Head, hands, feet. Eighty percent of body heat is lost from the head, if you can believe it. Which is why protecting your head and ears will be crucial to staying warm during an outdoor workout. Even just a headband over the ears will go a long way toward protecting your whole body. Other extremities, namely hands and feet, should be covered, too. These will likely be the first places to get frostbite or go numb if left uncovered.

Keep drinking that water. It’s easy to think you don’t need just as much hydration when it’s cold as when it’s warm, but you absolutely do. Make a conscious effort to gulp down some H20 to keep your body healthy and hydrated.

Check the windchill. The temperature might read thirty degrees, but make sure you check the wind chill readings as that can make it much, much colder. Personal comfort will determine part of your ability (or desire) to get outside and exercise, but if the thermometer dips below 0 degrees (F), that’s the point at which it’s truly unsafe. For reference, the Ypsi Studio running group doesn’t go out if the temp goes below 20 degrees (F).

If outdoor exercise isn’t your thing, don’t worry — Ypsi Studio has lots of great indoor classes for you to choose from. Whether it’s indoor cycling or willPower & grace or boot camp (or any other of our many, many classes!), the weather doesn’t have to dictate your workout schedule.

[Photo credit: Flickr/tcd123usa, used under creative commons licensing]

Rocktober! Happy birthday to us … and more!

This month, Ypsi Studio turns eight! Our fearless leader and founder, Julia Collins, started in a small one-room studio on Packard Avenue. She jokes that her first indoor cycling class she taught to herself. Not a single person showed up.

These days, things are a lot different. Ypsi Studio is thriving, and its members form a rock-solid community of people who care about each other and care about health and wellness. October is the perfect month to come and join us on this marvelous journey!

To celebrate the eight-year milestone, Ypsi Studio is offering some amazing specials, which you can read about by clicking here. They include an eight-month unlimited pass to all classes PLUS two hours of personal training for $375 (an unbeatable deal), not to mention lots of personal training deals and other goodies. So check it out!

October also has an unbelievable array of new classes and offerings!

SHOPPING FOR FOOD AND GOOD HEALTH: Many of us wonder, “What do I even buy at the grocery store? Are rice cakes good for me or bad for me? If I’m lifting weights, should I eat different foods?” Personal trainer, firefighter, and all around amazing woman Jen Wenzel will be taking a group to the grocery store on October 21, from 12:30 to 2:00, to shop for health and fitness. If you’re interested in signing up, or have questions, call the Studio at 734.845.0542.

NEW WILLPOWER AND GRACE CLASS! Casey Dawson, the Studio’s newest willPower & grace instructor will be teaching classes on Wednesday mornings at 6:00 A.M.! Early birds, this awesome class is for you!

RUNNING BASICS: Ever think, “I want to run, I just am not sure I’m doing it right?!” Then this class is for you! Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:45 P.M., our trainer Moe will help you learn the basics of running form, technique, stretching, and goal-setting.

That’s not even all! There’s ballroom dancing, a willPower infusion, and an intro to cycling class. Really, you must click here!

And while we’re at it, let’s give a rousing shout-out to Julia, for pouring her mind, soul, heart, and body into Ypsi Studio — and all of us — for eight whole years. Thank you, Julia!!

Less is More

In a world of processed foods, environmental toxins, and more sugar than you can shake a stick at, it’s good to give our bodies a break from … well, ALL of it. There are myriad health benefits to nutritional cleansing, which is, at its core, reducing the amount of food we put into our bodies and ensuring that what we do consume is mostly raw and whole foods. Doing this for even a short period of time can be extremely beneficial. One study found that nutritional cleansing is great for your heart and your weight. Some findings link nutritional cleansing to higher levels of energy, better skin, and increased sex drive. Booyah!

Ypsi Studio owner Julia Collins periodically leads a nutritional 11-day cleanse using the Isagenix line of products, which ensure that the body has the nutrients it needs for optimal health during this time. The next cleanse starts on Monday, September 10, and it’s not too late to sign up or speak with Julia if you’re interested in finding out more.

I (Lara Z) can attest that I personally have done this cleanse, and I’m doing it again on the 10th. The first time I did this cleanse, I lost 12 pounds and felt amazing. It challenged me to be sure — I definitely had to battle cravings and the desire to shove an entire bag of cookies into my maw — but that’s the point. I believe our bodies can heal themselves if we give them the opportunity to do so, which means cleaning house every now and again.

To learn more or to sign up, call Julia at 734-845-0542!

[Image credit: Shutterstock]