This Week in my ‘healthier me’ journey: Jillian Michaels’ BODYSHRED, Zumba Convention, and At-Home Workout Pack GIVEAWAY with Boomchickapop!

There's no hard feelings in BODYSHRED! Jillian Michaels poses for a picture with me and Kristin, just minutes after kicking our asses.

The last month, as I’ve finally been back on my feet (so to speak), I’ve been working really hard at living a healthier life — emotionally, of course, but also what I eat, and how I take care of my body.

I went from never exercising at all to going to 3-4 fitness-related classes a week — and some have been pretty hard core!

Last week, my bestie Kristin and I went to a pretty incredible class – Jillian Michaels herself taught the  sneak peek class to her new BODYSHRED, a new group fitness class she created for  Crunch Gym that will be launching this fall.

The new workout, utilizes Jillian’s 3-2-1 approach, and it was intense.

The sneak peek class was “only” about 30 minutes, which made my crazy brain think it would be a breeze — but, it was hardcore. For those 30 minutes, I was pretty sure I was going to die – burpees into mountain climbers into a series of abs work – then planks – then pushups — then crunches and lunges and I’m having post-traumatic stress during THINKING of it.

But the class was amazing, and by the end of it, I was so incredibly grateful to have survived it – to be able to have done as well as I did – and for Jillian being tough as nails and not appreciating any slacking whatsoever. “I want you to feel like you are going to die!” she shouted. “If you want accelerated results at an accelerated pace, you’re going to pay,” added Jillian.

At one point, I did slack a bit, and she screamed, “Move your ass, or I will come over and KICK IT.”

Also, scary.

But for a long-term slacker like me, America’s toughest trainer was exactly what I needed — my fear of being shamed trumped my fear of pushing myself further, and that’s what kept me moving! Ultimate motivation — Jillian is a genius.

It just so happened that was the beginning of a weekend of new beginnings – the very next day, I was invited as a guest of Zumba to attend their annual Instructors Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Alberto "Beto" Perez - he's the guy who CREATED Zumba. Sounds about right that'd he teach me my very first Zumba class, no?

Now, the funniest part of all this is that I have never Zumba’d a single time in my life.

So, here I was, on the flight down to Orlando at the crack of dawn Friday morning, still sore from the Jillian experience (which may have been capped off by going directly from there to a Vinyasa class!) – and imagining how befuddled I was going to appear, being the Zumba-virgin, taking classes in a room full of people so advanced they were INSTRUCTORS.

Intimidation be my name.

I had the BEST time there (and my interviews with Beto and a lot of his team are coming up on LovingYou!) – and what did I discover?

Well, a new favorite way to burn calories, for one.

You can burn (way) upwards of 500 calories in an hour doing Zumba,  engage a ton of muscles, and do fitness moves like squats and lunges and free weights without REALIZING they are fitness moves because you are having fun and it doesn’t feel remotely like exercise! And that means people (like me) will keep coming back, and have amazing results, and may even fit into my jeans again!

And there’s fun variations. A few hours after taking a private class with Beto, where I learned tons of fun Zumba Sentao and Zumba Toning (where he was wearing EXACTLY as pictured above. I was totally having Baby and Johnny flashbacks) –  I visited Ann Saldi’s “Hip to Strip” Zumba class and it was AMAZING. Ann created Hip to Strip, and I knew IMMEDIATELY I’d love her when I saw her  slogan for this class is “Dancing Naughty is Good for the Body” — agreed! They use props ranging from chairs, a man’s tie and a towel as props into a dance that felt parts Zumba, parts Burlesque, part chair-dancing and striptease workout.


Speaking of.

I came home from this fabulous weekend of rediscovering myself (exercise can be fun? Really?!) and received a mailing from a brand called BOOMCHICKAPOP.

It’s made by the people behind Angie’s Kettle Corn – a new brand of popcorn that is low-calorie and really yummy — I tried their first flavor, Sea Salt, is free of gluten and preservatives and is Non-GMO Project Verified (rare for a popcorn).

What I like is that it’s made with just three ingredients: popcorn, sunflower oil and sea salt. Best of all, it boasts only 35 calories per cup, meaning I can embark on my new plan of being babilicious – AND snack.

In the name of me having such an incredibly awesome week, I’ve teamed up with BOOMCHICKAPOP to do a super fun giveaway!

The giveaway (pictured above) and will include two bags of BOOMCHICKAPOP, a dumbbell weight set, yoga mat, exercise ball and Nalgene awarded to one very lucky winner!

To have your chance to win, tweet me at @AlyWalansky and tell me about your own personal wellness “aha” moment. You can also leave your answer in the comments below! For extra credit, please visit and “like” the Boomchickapop Facebook Page AND RT this giveaway! They have some great content, including “Healthy Bites,” “Wednesday Wants,” and “Snackisms.”  Deadline to enter is August 25. Good luck!




  1. Lily

    I recently had an accident, and shattered my elbow, as part of my recovery I have to lift weights with my injured arm, since I want my arms to be even I am lifting weights with both arms and getting both toned and stronger.

  2. Erica Best

    when i found a workout dvd i could and i was happy to be doing it.

  3. I always had such a hard tome losing weight, and then I joined a weight loss challenge and had to write down everything I ate. Writing it all down was an “aha” moment for me. I realized how much I was actually eating! Since April 2012, I have lost 28 pounds!

  4. I like Boom Chicka Pop on Facebook!

  5. Erica Best

    fan of Boomchickapop

    • Lauren

      My college gives us a free YMCA membership, so I started trying classes. ZUMBA made me enjoy cardio for the first time. Dancing trumps running any day!

  6. Amber

    My wellness aha moment was the first time I did yoga and I realized how fulfilling, both physically and spiritually, that exercise could be.

  7. nancy reid

    My wellness aha moment came in my later 20’s when I was injured by an ocean wave and developed back problems, after traction and therapy I discovered yoga and have been practicing it ever since. Despite arthritis, spinal stenosis and herniated discs I am not on any medications and live virtually pain free!

    I am a fan of Boomchickapop on Facebook as Nancy Reid and,

    tweeted the giveaway because I can always use another yoga mat!!! https://twitter.com/Boomchickapop/status/235832420719546368

  8. Marianna

    Being required to take a “health and wellness” course in college – I never knew exercise could be fun until those wonderful professors taught me how (and I never would have done it voluntarily unless my health-minded college had required me to)!

  9. Kels

    When I got out of a toxic relationship with a depressed man I was out of shape and misserable. I started doing more yoga, dance, and riding my bike. My aha moment was that exercising and taking care of yourself must be a priority. There is a lot u can’t control, but u can control how you treat yourself. Exercise is a great way to find inner peace & have fun :)

  10. M.J. Moore

    As a kid, I was active and played outside nearly every day. When I moved to the MidSouth and experienced humidity for the first time, I became an indoors girl. So by the time I was a teen I thought I disliked exercise- really I disliked organized sports at school and pretty much anything outside. It wasn’t till my mom convinced me to try a Pilates DVD with her (I was in my 20’s) that I found an exercise I loved. It was challenging and empowering, and the idea that I could really do it made me a different person. Now my kids see me lifting weights and staying active, enjoying being stronger than some guys I know!

    FB fan of Boomchickapop
    RT’d- @butterflyrouge

  11. Betty Baez

    My aha moment was when i realized that although I may not be able to do all the yoga poses it helps me relax and control some of my anxiety. Would love to try out the pop corn it sounds awesome.
    Liked them on fb
    And retweeted @angelgenius27

  12. shannon Heitt

    my aha moment was when i realized that the fat wasn’t going to dissapear after one workout. In my head I thought if I worked out for an hour it would be gone…but its a long process. I am still on my journey, so we shall see where i end up

  13. nickie

    The first time I tried pilates and yoga.

  14. nickie

    facebook fan nikki burke

  15. Tari Lawson

    My ah ha moment was when I had been lifting weights for a few months and saw the bulging muscles in the mirror for the first time. I felt so strong.

  16. Casey Everidge

    my moment was the first time i actually worked out for a long period of time… i felt soo good, and full of energy

  17. Christine

    aha-when my exercise routine just clicked

  18. jednc@hotmail.com

    My ah ha moment- when I saw a photo of my tubby grandmother and realized it was ME!

  19. jednc@hotmail.com

    I l ike the Boomchickapop Facebook Page and retweeted the giveaway.

  20. Denise L.

    My Aha! moment was 3 yrs ago when I went to my first #Zumba class. Now, I’ve been teaching for 3 years w/ no turning back!

  21. Teresa Kwiatkowski

    My aha moment is when I can remember what comes next in my exercise routine without looking in the instruction booklet every time.

  22. Judith (from Israel)

    My own personal wellness “aha” moment came when I saw a photograph of myself in a bathing suit.

  23. Shannon Hamner

    When I was trying to help my son practice to get in shape for his upcoming football season and I felt like my ankles would break after taking off running! I’m only 34, I shouldn’t feel like that!

  24. Karen Gonyea

    My wellness AHA moment was my first 5K :)

  25. leslie

    My most recent AHA moment was truly realizing that I am what I eat. The grazing, high sugar treats, etc. are self-sabotage even in small amounts- it feels good to get to a more empowered place of making decisions about food.

  26. Jean F

    My moment came when I realized I’d better start becoming more healthy, so that I could raise my daughters

  27. Diane Baum

    My moment came when I saw myself in a dressing room mirror and didn’t know who the fat chick staring back at me was!

  28. having breast reduction surgery. now all i see is gut!~
    Thanks for the contest! Janna JOhnson jannajanna@hotmail.com janna@feedyourpig on GFC

  29. Janice

    my ‘a-ha’ moment was seeing my mom’s weight gain and the effects on her health. I don’t want to follow in THOSE footsteps!

  30. Shaun

    My a-ha moment was realizing that all the soda I was drinking and late night chocolate was leading to heavy belly gain. When I couldn’t fit into my clothes anymore I refused to buy anymore. I have already lost 3″ off of my waist and I’m going to keep going!

  31. Angela Neynaber

    My aha moment was when I realized that I exercise not only to look good and to lose the weight but that it made me feel better about myself. Not just for the moment but for the rest of the day I would feel more accomplished in general, in my life. My relationships do better, my diet does better, I laugh more!

  32. Ed Nemmers

    The result of staying away from processed sugar and seeing its effects on my body was my aha moment!

  33. sarah t

    my aha moment was when i started a couch to 5k training program and found i loved running

  34. Sonya

    My ah-ha moment was when I couldn’t keep up with my kids! https://twitter.com/dewer421/status/239102496805646337

  35. Erica C.

    My wellness aha moment was realizing my favorite jeans didn’t fit well anymore…it was time to kick it in gear!

  36. Ambre W.

    My aha moment was when I saw the results of my cardiac and lipid bloodwork. I knew then it was time for a change.

  37. Valeen N

    My Aha moment came when I realized I was having a hard time keeping up with the kids. Not gonna happen!

  38. Lauren

    My “aha” moment was when I trained for and successfully ran my first ever 5k, and got 2nd place in my age group! I did this after having my fifth baby, and going from 221 lbs to 150 lbs! I learned I could do ANYTHING I set my mind to! It was great!

  39. Dawn

    My aha moment was worrying that I would embarrass my son! Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

  40. Dawn

    I am a fan of Boom Chicka Pop on Facebook! Thanks!

  41. jen gersch

    i found doing yoga is a challenge that I loved off the bat

  42. April V.

    I haven’t yet reinvented myself or had an ahah! fitness moment. However, I must soon learn to get fitness into my daily life ere I turn into a couch sitting mushroom.

  43. Kim Bordeaux

    10 years ago I was in a car wreck. I broke my back and injured almost all of my disks. Since then I have been to physical therapy, neurologists, pain specialists… nothing has resolved my constant pain. I was told by the last doctor I visited that I should try yoga. I hope yoga is my answer.

  44. Sarah Yurga

    I knew I needed to get in shape when I realized I will be in my late 50’s when my youngest graduates high school

  45. Jennifer B.

    My health aha moment was when I saw the photos from my most recent vacation. I was overweight and I just didn’t look healthy.

  46. Jennifer B.
  47. Denise M

    After i had to have my second abdominal surgery and narrowly dodged cancer, i realized the importance of a strong core

  48. susan smoaks

    fb fan tony l smoaks
    twitter follower @fdp4life
    RT’ed and tweeted!

    i am working out every single day now, i do pilates, walk and do some aerobics too!

  49. Ash Johnson

    I had been feeling really ‘blah’ and I was attributing it to a bum thyroid. But then I started running with my boyfriend in the morning and all they sudden I found myself having much more energy all throughout the day. I guess exercise really can work.

  50. shirley zolenski

    My workout moment was walking with my mom to help her tone up and realizing how invigorated I felt

  51. Janet Boyanton

    When they told me my toumer was not malignant.
    jboyanto at swbell dot net

  52. Veronica Garrett

    My aha moment came when I had my yearly physical and realized I needed to get in shape.

  53. Kathy Hanley

    I tweeted at you as @njsunbunny

  54. Kathy Hanley

    I like Boomchickapop on Facebook!

  55. Gianna

    After I had my twins, it was a little harder to get back into shape.

  56. Doris C

    I think Jillian Michaels is so great at what she does and although I am not healthy enough to do this workout I would love for her to do a video for people who have limited mobility. I do have a work out video from her but can’t do most of it but it’s totally amazing!

  57. Mr Thomas E Ticknor

    My aha moment was when I started exercising and was finally able to get off of my BP meds

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Speaking of hair: Katy Perry is (as usual) a goddess

Pull yourself away from the ... confusion...that is Miley's new look and just take a second to behold my beloved...