Feb 272017
 

Hellooo! Did you have a nice weekend? Mine was a pretty good one and was filled with fitness, family time, and relaxation. Not bad at all! Here’s a recap.

Friday

Giant has been sending me their new Savory magazine lately, and each issue has so many delicious looking recipes! I had bookmarked this butternut squash tagine with chickpeas a while back, and I figured Friday night was as good a time as any to throw it together. We are trying to eat more vegetarian (and even vegan…story for another day) meals lately, so I was excited to try this one out!

I wound up making everything in a soup pot instead of in the crock pot (I didn’t have time to get everything ready in the morning) and it turned out great! I also wound up adding a little curry to the dish which I think really rounded everything out. Nice!

I am really liking Savory magazine as a free resource for quick, healthy, and delicious meals, and you can pick it up at the store for free with your bonus card. Just an FYI for any others who shop at Giant! 🙂

While we ate dinner we watched Hacksaw Ridge, which was one of the movies up for a bunch of Oscar nominations. Have you guys seen it? I don’t usually enjoy war movies, but this one was excellent. Highly recommend!

Saturday

On Saturday morning I was up fairly early to get in my long run of the week. Fabio decided to skip this one as he has a nasty blister on his foot so I ran solo. Like last week, I decided to drive over to Iwo Jima so I could spend more time running in D.C.

Can you see the monument in the bottom left there?

It was another gorgeous day for a run, with temperatures in the low 60s and clear skies. Beautiful!!

I initially had 8 miles on the docket, but I decided I would cut my run short because a) I was only able to find a one-hour parking spot and b) I decided I’d rather have some extra time in the morning to hang out with Fabio since I wasn’t going to see him for the rest of the day.

Luckily my route was pretty easy to modify, and after running across Arlington Memorial Bridge, down by the Georgetown waterfront, across Key bridge, and down Mount Vernon trail, I arrived back at Iwo Jima.

Of course I was treated to some pretty stellar views along the way! I just love running over here.

By the time I was done, I had covered 5.59 miles and avoided getting a parking ticket. Sweet! 😉

After my run, I headed home for a quick shower, and then Fabio and I drove over to Northside Social for a breakfast date! It was so beautiful out and we were lucky enough to snag a table in the sunshine. 🙂

For breakfast, I ordered a small latte and a sandwich with smoked salmon, arugula, and a poached egg. Yum! It was fantastic and I had no problem polishing it off.

After eating and lingering for a while in the sunshine, Fabio and I returned home and hung out outside for a bit until 11:00, which is when my mom arrived for our road trip down to visit my Grandma in Hague, VA. My grandma hasn’t been feeling well lately, so my mom and Aunt CC decided a ladies’ weekend might cheer her up. 🙂

Her house is about 2 hours from ours, so we arrived with plenty of time to enjoy the afternoon sunshine from my Grandma’s back deck.

What a pretty view!

We spent some time chatting and catching up until the sky got overcast and a few raindrops started to fall. At this point we went inside and started looking through old pictures, which was a lot of fun! I found some really funny ones of me that I hadn’t seen before. For your amusement…

I thought my smile in this one looked just like the emoji. Haha!

Ooh and do you like my tweety/silvester nightgown? 🙂

Then I stumbled across this really nice photo of my with my Grandpa.

I got a little emotional when I saw this one and decided it needed to come home with me. <3

Eventually it was time for dinner, and we headed out to a restaurant my Grandma likes a lot called The Lighthouse. I got the scallops!

There was also some delicious warm bread and butter. Yum!

When we got back to the house we had one last glass of wine and called it a night. Phew! What a busy Saturday.

Sunday

We drove back from my Grandma’s fairly early on Sunday and were home by 11:00. Woohoo!

After my mom left, Fabio and I ran a bunch of errands and did some chores around the house.

Later in the afternoon, I started packing for my bachelorette party, which is later this week. Eeeeek!!

I currently have seven pairs of shoes to pack which seems excessive even to me. Help!

Now I’m sitting at the computer writing this post and waiting for the Oscars to come on. 🙂

Have a good week, my friends!

Question of the day: Any tips for not overpacking?

 Posted by on February 27, 2017
Feb 242017
 

Hi friends! How was your week? Fabio was away for a work trip for the majority of the week, which meant I did lots of fun things I don’t usually get to do like wear face masks and go to bed at 9:00. 🙂 It was a pretty lonely week, but thankfully I had Jack to keep me company.

I also had a good book to read – I just finished America’s First Daughter which was really good! If you like historical fiction you’ll like this one. It also had some mentions of Alexander Hamilton and since I’m also loving that soundtrack right now it made me doubly happy. It was a good one!

Aaaaand, I started rewatching Grey’s Anatomy! I used to watch this show with my friends back when we were in college, but once I got out of school I fell way behind and haven’t watched since. I decided to start all over again from the beginning once Fabio left, and it’s made me so happy.

Fabio gets home later tonight (it’s Thursday night as I type this) and I can’t wait to see him! Woohoo!

Anyway, let’s take a peek at my workouts this past week.

Saturday, Feb. 18 – Seven mile run with Fabio on the National Mall! Gosh, that was such a good run. The weather made a huge difference!

Sunday, Feb. 19 – Rest day! I spent this day grocery shopping, running errands, and doing some meal prep.

Monday, Feb. 20 – Rest day! This was a fun day spent with my mom getting my hair done, going shopping, and enjoying a delicious lunch outside!

Tuesday, Feb. 21 – Bootcamp class with Anne at Definitions DC! As we drove into Georgetown for this class, we couldn’t get over the beautiful sunrise. Plus, it was light out – spring is coming!!

Our class was a good one, as usual, and led us through a bunch of different exercises including rowing, staggered-arm push-ups, various squats and lunges, kettlebell swings, and reverse crunches.

Anne and I both agreed our abs were sore from the reverse crunches the next day. Ow!

Also, for the picture above we decided to grab kettlebells that matched our outfits instead of the kettlebells we actually used during the workout (#bloggerproblems). Can you tell this 20 lb purple kettlebell was way too heavy for me? I’m practically falling over! Haha!

Wednesday, Feb. 22 – Another bootcamp class with Anne, this time with our friend Kathleen at Urban Athletic Club! For whatever reason, this class was totally packed on Wednesday and was one of the largest UAC classes I’ve ever seen. Maybe the warm weather has people scrambling to get in better shape for bathing suit season? Who knows.

Our instructor Romain had us going through lots of difficult exercises that were a mix of strength and cardio.

The hardest thing he had us do was the “zombie walk” where we put our feet on these little furniture slider things and “walk” in a plank down the length of the gym. Anytime he brings those sliders out we know it’s going to be a tough workout. Phew!

Thursday, Feb. 23 – The weather was beautiful again on Thursday (it’s been awesome all week!) so I decided to take Jack out for a run instead of going to the spin class I had originally planned to take (luckily I made this decision on Wednesday night so I didn’t get charged for canceling a ClassPass class). We wound up running a 5K!

We finished in 27 minutes which is definitely not my fastest (my 5K PR is 25:19) but I feel like it was pretty good for a random Thursday morning run with Jack, especially given the number of times he made us stop so he could sniff and pee. 🙂

Friday, Feb. 24 – Rest day! The weather is supposed to be beautiful again tomorrow, so I’m hoping Fabio and I can go for a long walk with Jack after work. Fingers crossed!

Alright friends, that’s all for today! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Question of the day: What things do you like to do when you’re alone? Also, does anyone have a face mask recommendation? I’m in the market for a new one. 🙂

 Posted by on February 24, 2017
Feb 212017
 

Global warming is real my friends – this past weekend we enjoyed the most beautiful weather. With clear skies and temperatures in the high 60s/low 70s, everybody was out and about the entire weekend, including us! Here’s a peek at what we were up to.

Friday

When I got home from work on Friday, I saw that I had received two packages: the first was a bachelorette-themed Stitch Fix. I’ve been wanting some fun new pieces to wear to my bachelorette party next week, so when a coworker recommended I get a Stitch Fix and ask the stylist to include a bunch of bach-specific pieces I decided to go for it. I hadn’t ordered a Stitch Fix in a couple of years (!!) but I decided to give it a go. The result? Meh. I didn’t wind up loving anything in my fix so I sent it all back. Womp womp.

The second package was a bit better: my friends from Giant sent me some products from their new “twisted chocolate” line!

Since receiving this package on Friday I’ve already tried all of these and can confirm that they’re quite tasty. Now I want to try the “chocolate hummus” which is made with hazelnuts and probably more similar to Nutella than hummus. Yum!!

Thank you, Giant!

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing on the couch with Fabio and Jack. 🙂

Saturday

We slept in a bit on Saturday morning and then laced up our sneakers and headed out for our weekly training run! We decided to drive over to Iwo Jima so we could run through DC instead of through Arlington, which turned out to be a fantastic decision. I think we’ll do this more often!

Our seven-mile run took us across Arlington Memorial Bridge, past the Lincoln memorial, and down the mall to the Capitol building. Then it was time to turn back!

It was SUCH a beautiful day on Saturday which made our run a million times better. Beautiful weather + beautiful scenery = a great run.

With all the hostility/anger/sadness/disappointments happening in DC right now it was nice to just get out there and enjoy the beautiful day.

7 miles = done! This was one of the best runs we’ve had in a while!

We didn’t go too fast, but our focus for now is just getting our endurance back up. We can always focus on speed later!

After our run we headed home, cleaned up, and grabbed some lunch. Then we decided we weren’t ready to head inside yet so we took Jack over to Shirlington dog park where he splashed around in the water with some furry friends!

He was definitely loving life.

What a happy pup!

After all that swimming he really needed a bath, so we headed to Unleashed for their $10 DIY doggy wash. Poor Jack – he hates baths. Haha!

Later in the evening we stopped by a housewarming party with a few friends, and eventually the beer pong table – which was actually a door – got brought out. Fabio and I played a couple of games and proved that even though we’re getting older, our 8+ year history of playing beer pong together had us on a winning streak. 🙂

We went out to El Centro in Georgetown after the party and wound up doing a lot of dancing! It had been a while since we’d gone out together like that and we had a blast. 🙂

Sunday & Monday

Sadly I had to drop Fabio off at the airport on Sunday morning for a work trip, and I spent the rest of the day running errands, meal prepping, grocery shopping, etc. It was another gorgeous day so I made sure to take Jack on some extra long walks to the park once my errands were complete!

I had off from work on Monday due to President’s Day (woohoo!) so I kicked the day off with a haircut and highlights.

I’m a lot blonder now which I’m loving, even though I know the upkeep will be expensive.

Look at all those highlights!

After my haircut, I met up with my mom for an afternoon of shopping and a ladies’ lunch out! We went to Coastal Flats and wound up indulging in all kinds of delicious (not at all healthy) seafood treats. Yum! The weather was also nice enough for us to sit outside in the sunshine, so I was a happy camper, through and through. Thanks for lunch, mom!

And now we’re all caught up!

Question of the day: How is the weather where you live?

February is usually my least favorite month because of the weather, but this one hasn’t been bad at all! *Knocks on wood.*

 Posted by on February 21, 2017
Feb 172017
 

Happy Fridayyyy!! How was your week? Mine went by really fast, which always a good thing. And now I have a three-day weekend in front of me so I couldn’t be more excited! Woohoo!

Let’s jump right into today’s post with a recap of my workouts this week.

Saturday, Feb. 11 – Rest day! We ran about a million errands this day, so at least I got plenty of steps.

Sunday, Feb. 12 – Ran six wet and cold miles with Fabio. This wasn’t our best run ever, but it wasn’t too terrible either. Listening to the Hamilton soundtrack while running helped. 🙂

Monday, Feb. 13 – Rest day! I don’t usually take rest days on Mondays, but I was all out of classes on ClassPass and didn’t feel like going for another run. It was nice to sleep in!

Tuesday, Feb. 14 – Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga with Anne. We took Monica’s class and it was just as hard as I remembered. She led us through an intense plank series during the class that had my core BURNING. Phew!

Wednesday, Feb. 15 – Bootcamp at Urban Athletic Club with Anne and our friend Kathleen. Our instructor Romain (who we love!) took us through three stations with various exercises like broad jump/burpees, pull ups, mountain climbers, TRX rows, chest presses, thrusters, squats, lunges, and more. It was a great variety and the class flew by!

Thursday, Feb. 16 – FlyWheel class with Fabio. Now that Fabio is signed up for ClassPass (he gets 5 classes a month) I have been LOVING having him come with me to all my favorite spots! He seems to like FlyWheel a lot, which is great for me since now I have a buddy to keep me company during those classes. 🙂

Also, I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the shower at my office that never has a line, because it means I don’t have to deal with situations like this:

I have stood in that line before and it is NOT fun. Thank you, office shower!

Friday, Feb. 17 – Rest day!

Overall, I’d say it was a good week of workouts!

And now let’s chat about Valentine’s Day! Of course I wore my favorite heart sweater from J. Crew. My Grandma bought me this sweater a few years ago, and I feel like you can’t own a sweater like this and not bust it out on Valentine’s Day.

When I got home, I saw that Fabio had surprised me with beautiful roses!

He split them up into two vases so I could enjoy them twice as much (you can see the second vase in the background here). He is the best!!

He also knew that I would be disappointed if I didn’t get any chocolate, but I’d be more disappointed if he bought me a whole box (haha!). Yep, he knows me so well. So he bought me just a few Lindt chocolates, which was exactly what I wanted! 🙂

Since we already celebrated our Valentine’s Day date on Saturday, we kept things low-key on Tuesday night and cooked a delicious dinner at home. We played some music from Spotify’s Valentine’s Day playlist (all the while thinking about songs we could potentially use as our first dance song at our wedding – that playlist had so many contenders!), sipped on wine, and cooked dinner together. It’s always nice when Fabio joins me in the kitchen to help me chop and cook!

Before long we were digging into a delicious meal of salmon with cabbage slaw that was tossed in a Greek yogurt sauce with fresh wedges of grapefruit and grapefruit juice (this is one of the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse recipes).

It turned out SO well, and was maybe one of the best pieces of salmon I’ve ever cooked. Delicious!!

We spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching The People Vs. OJ Simpson (we just finished this show – it was a good one!) and snuggling with our furry friend.

The end.

Question of the day: How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?

Admittedly, Fabio and I are pretty terrible when it comes to celebrating these kinds of holidays. I guess neither of us are that romantic? I think Fabio has stepped up his game lately though — this year he did great!

My dad always made a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, and I remember being a little girl and getting some really thoughtful gifts from him on this holiday. 🙂 Dads are the best.

 Posted by on February 17, 2017
Feb 162017
 

**UPDATE: This post was written in February 2017. Since then, the Designed to Fit Nutrition founders have added one-on-one coaching to all plans, added four Registered Dietitians to their staff, and improved their software system. My experience is likely different from what current program participants will experience.**

Hi friends! As you know, right after Christmas I signed up for Designed to Fit Nutrition because I a) was looking for something to help me get my eating habits in gear before my upcoming bachelorette party and b) really wanted to know more about macros and learn how to count them/target them. I knew it was expensive, but I asked for the program for Christmas and my family was nice enough to gift it to me. It’s now been four weeks – which is how long the meal plan lasts – so I wanted to share my thoughts in case there’s anyone else out there who’s considering signing up.

If you’re a reader of Carrots ‘N Cake (which I would assume many of you are) then you’ve probably heard all about the program already. In a nut shell, it’s a four-week meal plan customized to your body type, eating/workout habits, and goals. The most attractive part for me was that the meal plan includes customized macro targets – i.e., the amount of carbs, fat, and protein you should be eating every day – which was definitely something I wanted to learn more about. The plan also comes with one-on-one coaching to help keep you on track.

So, what did I think?

To sum it up in a sentence: I learned what I wanted to learn, but ultimately I didn’t find it to be worth the cost. 

Here’s why.

To start off with, there were a couple of minor software bugs right from the get-go. My schedule was off when I received my first week’s worth of recipes (meaning I received recipes from Thursday – Thursday instead of Monday – Monday) and one time when I tried to access my account I got locked out because the developers were working on something (right around dinner time when I needed a recipe – grumble grumble). Luckily, both issues were resolved quickly and easily via email. I know DTFN is a new program with all new software, so these bugs are definitely to be expected. I think the DTFN staff did a great job at resolving the issues, and I’m sure they will continue to improve over time.

The biggest issue for me was the food. I guess I was expecting that the recipes given to me through DTFN would be unique since I was paying so much for the plan, but many of them were recipes that can already be found on Carrots N Cake’s blog. I liked all of these recipes – and some of them I hadn’t made before – but having been a reader of that blog for almost seven years (phew – that’s a long time!) I had seen a lot of the recipes before and was hoping for something a little more unique (especially given the price tag of this program).

I also was disappointed with some of the meals that weren’t recipes. For example, lunch some days included sandwiches made from Sara Lee bread, deli meat, American cheese, and pickles. I try to steer clear of overly processed foods, so having a meal plan that required me to buy these foods wasn’t ideal for me (in fact, I didn’t buy the American cheese at all, and used cheddar instead). I know Tina from Carrots N Cake has raved about Dave’s Killer Bread – an organic, non-GMO bread brand that does focus on wholesome ingredients – so why did this meal plan recommend Sara Lee? This is probably just a preference thing, but I feel like a heavier focus on wholesome ingredients wouldn’t be bad for anyone. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate shortcut meals – I definitely do! – but I also don’t want to be eating a lot of crap.

Lastly, the plan was just too much food for me. Again, this is probably just preference because a lot of people seemed to do well on their plans and lose weight, but I found myself eating much more than usual and didn’t feel comfortable with my progress. In fact, for this last week of the program I decided to ditch the meal plan altogether and follow my own instead. For $200, you don’t really want to be skipping 1/4 of your program, you know?

I also didn’t get any one-on-one coaching, but to be fair I think that might be a new add-on to the program (the price has gone up since then, which is what makes me think that feature might be new).

One caveat that is definitely important to mention here: There was an area to provide feedback and “check-in” with the DTFN planners, and I did not leave any of these comments there. Therefore, I didn’t really give DTFN a chance to course-correct these issues and I’m aware that is MY fault. I understand I shouldn’t complain if I didn’t even try to leave the feedback. BUT, I did leave some feedback about meals that I’d like to see repeated (which is one of the questions they ask you in the feedback section) and I never saw those meals actually repeated, so I didn’t know how much the DTFN planners were looking at those responses.

Anyway, I don’t want to be a downer or say anything bad about this program – after all it seems to work well for a lot of people and ultimately I did learn more about my target macros and how to track them after following this plan (which was my main goal). I wasn’t even going to write this post at all because I’m a big believer that if you don’t have something positive to say, then you shouldn’t say it. BUT, this program was a lot of money and I feel like I was very gung-ho about it in my first couple of posts about it, so I thought it would be important for me to share an update with my experience so you can make an informed decision about if this is something you want to try out yourself.

Alright, I think that’s all for now. Phew! That was a lot of words, and no pictures at all. Sorry about that. Tomorrow I’ll be back with my regular positive attitude. 🙂

Question of the day: Have you ever bought a meal plan like this one? What was your experience like?

 Posted by on February 16, 2017
Feb 132017
 

Well hello there! How was your weekend? Mine was a fun one, but it went by way too quickly. Sigh. Here’s a recap!

Friday

After getting home from work on Friday and taking Jack on a long walk with Fabio, it was dinner time! On the menu: Bubba turkey burgers and Alexia sweet potato fries (bunless for me, though Fabio had his burger on a potato hamburger bun). Plus pickles, ketchup, and mustard on top. Yum!

This meal is a new staple for us when we want something more “fun” than our regular weeknight dinners, but don’t want to get takeout or turn to something super unhealthy. I have a feeling this one is going to stay in the rotation for a while!

While we ate dinner, we watched the movie Girl on the Train. Though I read the book ages ago, I honestly couldn’t remember how it ended so it was still pretty suspenseful for me. I also had a glass of wine during the movie and a certain furry friend on my lap. Can you see Jack in the corner there? Haha!

This guy loves to snuggle.

I think we were in bed by around 11, which was fine by me! 🙂

Saturday

On Saturday morning we were up relatively early because we had an 8:00 a.m. appointment to get our car serviced (there was a recall on one of its gauge systems and it needed a quick software update). While they worked on our car, Fabio and I ventured over to a little cafe to sip on some cappuccinos.

We wound up spending an hour or so in the warm cafe talking about wedding plans, and I felt pretty accomplished by the time we were done! Soon enough our car was ready and we realized they had given us a free car wash and carpet vacuum while we were there. Sweet!

The rest of the morning was spent running a bunch of errands, including a trip to the mall where I bought two new bathing suits for my bachelorette party coming up in just two and a half weeks (!!). This was a big relief because the bathing suit I bought online a couple of weeks ago didn’t wind up working out, so I was sort of stressing out about what I’d wear. Bathing suit shopping is never a fun task for me (is it for anyone?) so I was really relieved when I found two that I liked. Woohoo!

One of our other errands took us into D.C., and since we were already there we decided to stop into Ghibellina for a lunch date! I’ve been wanting to try the pizza at Ghibellina for ages, and we realized we probably weren’t going to be able to squeeze in a Valentine’s Day dinner on Tuesday, so this lunch would take its place. 🙂

Fabio and I ordered two pizzas to share, and we wound up taking a whole pizza home with us as leftovers.

Both of the pizzas were absolutely delicious, and I really liked that they gave you scissors to cut the pizza slices with. So fun! I definitely recommend Ghibellina if you’re in D.C. and looking for some traditional Neapolitan style pizza.

The rest of the afternoon/evening was really relaxing and included a nap on the couch, some meal planning, leftover pizza, and the movie The Accountant, which we both really liked.

Then it was another early night in bed!

Sunday

Sunday’s plans included a six-mile run per our training plan for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. It was raining out when we woke up and we debated putting the run off until later in the afternoon when it was supposed to clear up, but I really wanted to get it over with so off we went in our rain jackets and hats.

The route I planned took us through a couple of new-to-me parks, including the really pretty Lubber Run Park which wound through the woods. I bet it would be beautiful in the fall!

Unsurprisingly, our run felt pretty challenging (and wet) and I was SO happy when it was over and we arrived back home. There’s nothing like the feeling you get after completing a run!

After showering up, we headed into D.C. for lunch at Modern Market. The D.C. location just opened at the end of January, and the kind store managers invited me in for a free lunch with a friend. (Lucky Fabio.)

Right away I knew I was going to like Modern Market – the flavor combinations on every meal item sounded phenomenal and I loved the focus on fresh, wholesome ingredients. Plus, each meal had the calories and macronutrients listed so I was a happy camper! My biggest problem was deciding what to order – everything sounded amazing!

I wound up ordering half a blueberry pesto sandwich (omg) and half an order of the butternut cashew soup, and both were incredible. I liked that this order came with a small salad on the plate as well. Extra greens are never a bad thing!

Fabio got the BLT+A sandwich with broccoli cheddar soup, and he was equally thrilled with his lunch. All of the food tasted so fresh and flavorful!

Later on, I also wound up ordering a peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie because it looked amazing, and I just wanted to show you guys the receipt for a second. See how it lists the nutritional information right on the receipt? Now that I’m using MyFitnessPal to track what I’m eating, I found this to be so incredibly helpful.

I also love Modern Market’s values on the back. 🙂

I have to say Modern Market is probably my new favorite fast-casual spot, and now I’m hoping they’ll open a location in Arlington soon. 🙂 Thanks for having me, Modern Market!

The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping and meal prepping.

We’re having these blueberry oatmeal breakfast bars this week, and I’m so excited!

The end.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite fast-casual restaurant?

Before trying Modern Market, I would have said Taylor Gourmet!

 Posted by on February 13, 2017
Feb 102017
 

Hi friends! How was your week? I had a pretty good one over here, and it included lots of great workouts! Here’s my recap.

Saturday, Feb. 4: Hilly 4.2 mile run with Fabio around Diane and Alex’s neighborhood. It was cold but sunny, and it felt pretty challenging. Listening to the Hamilton soundtrack while I ran helped me push up the hills. 🙂

Sunday, Feb. 5: Rest day!

Monday, Feb. 6: Bootcamp with my favorite workout buddies Anne and Kathleen at Urban Athletic Club! We had Ali as our instructor again and she split the workout into a couple of different formats so we did some moves that were EMOM (every minute, on the minute), some AMRAP (as many reps as possible) and some tabata (a few minutes of high intensity work followed by a minute or so of rest). It was a good one!

Tuesday, Feb. 7: Three mile run with Fabio and Jack! Thankfully this three-miler felt much better than last week’s, and left me feeling more confident about our upcoming training. Fingers crossed for a good run this weekend!

Wednesday, Feb. 8: Anne and I took a C2 yoga class at CorePower Yoga on Wednesday, and it was just what we needed! After a couple of days of cardio and strength work, a heated yoga class was just so, so nice. It was definitely relaxing but still challenged our core and balance muscles. I’ve also been improving on my crow pose, and can now get into it pretty quickly. Progress!

Thursday, Feb. 9: Fabio, Anne, and I checked out the Orange Theory in Clarendon and loved it! More on this below.

Friday, Feb. 10: Rest day!

So. Let’s chat about Orange Theory. I’m guessing most of you have at least heard of Orange Theory, but the premise of the class is that it’s a mix of cardio and strength-based exercises with a little extra motivation from a heart rate monitor customized to your personal heart rate goals.

Your first class at Orange Theory is free (!!) and the kind people at the new Clarendon location recently reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in taking a class. Of course I said yes! I brought my favorite partners in crime, Anne and Fabio, with me. 🙂

We arrived at the studio 15 minutes early to get set up, and our contact Alex took the time to show us around and help us put on our heart rate monitors.

Warning: all of these pictures are very orange. 🙂

Then she explained that for class we’d be spending half of the workout on the treadmills and half on the rowers/with weights and the TRX. She recommended that we do the treadmills first to get the cardio portion out of the way, and I’m so glad she did. It was by far the hardest part of the workout!

Ready to run!

Soon enough the rest of the class filed in and then it was time for the workout! Our coach for the day, Caroline, somehow was able to multitask enough to instruct the group on the treadmills and the group on the floor at the same time (similar to how things work at BLAST). She did a great job of us leading us through the different intervals, and I never felt confused about what I was supposed to be doing.

Unlike my experience with BLAST though, I never got bored on the treadmill portion because looking at my heart rate up on the screen was so motivating! Caroline would tell us when we were supposed to be in the “base zone” (a steady pace that you could keep up for a while, color-coded green), the “push zone” (a faster pace that you could sustain for a couple of minutes, color-coded orange), and the “all out zone” (basically a sprint, color-coded red).

The heart rate monitors meant that people could run at different speeds and still get the same intensity workout. So, for example, someone who’s not a great runner can get a workout of the same intensity as someone who runs all the time because they can adjust the speed of their treadmill to reach their target heart rates. It was such a cool concept, and I really felt like I pushed myself hard so I could get into the orange and red zones at the right times. (Plus we wound up covering almost three miles, which is good for our race training.)

The workout on the floor was pretty basic, and we did some rowing, squat presses, chest-presses, skull crushers, tricep extensions, and supermans. I liked that the strength part of the workout switched things up and gave you a break from the treadmill.

When we were done, I saw that I had burned 604 calories and had an average heart rate of 163. I also had 26 “splat points” which means my heart rate was at peak levels for 26 minutes. Phew! It was hard!

All in all I loved our time at Orange Theory, and I am so grateful to Alex for inviting us. Now I’m trying to figure out how I can get back more often since they’re not on ClassPass. Hmmm. Should I buy a package? Decisions, decisions.

Question of the day: Have you ever tried Orange Theory?

 Posted by on February 10, 2017
Feb 082017
 

As most of you know, I’m currently following the Designed to Fit Nutrition Plan because I really wanted to learn more about macronutrients, or macros.

In case you’re unfamiliar with macros, they are the types of foods you eat throughout the day and include protein, fat, and carbs. Science is showing that tracking your macros and hitting macronutrient “targets” – or specific ratios of protein, fat, and carbs – can help keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day (limiting cravings) and help your reach your physical goals (burn fat, increase muscle mass, etc.). Everyone has different macronutrient targets based on their body type and goals.

I’ve been wanting to learn how to set targets for my macros and track my intake for ages, but I didn’t know how to do it! Though I read a couple of articles online, I guess I was just too lazy to really figure out how to implement it on my own. Thankfully, Designed to Fit Nutrition was the catalyst I needed to learn more, and I now feel like I understand them pretty well!

Unfortunately I won’t be on DTFN forever, so this past weekend (admittedly, during the Super Bowl!) I decided to try tracking macros on my own so I wouldn’t feel so lost when this meal plan is over.

And you know what? It was totally easy! In fact, the answer was lying in an app that I already had on my phone that I hadn’t used since about 2012. 🙂 It was MyFitnessPal!

Back in the day, I used MyFitnessPal to log what I was eating every day, which was mostly processed crap left over from the days when I followed Weight-Watchers like principles and ate a lot of 100 calorie pack nonsense. I remember that logging my food was a pain in the butt and it didn’t really change my eating habits, so I stopped after a while. I did remember that MyFitnessPal tracked all sorts of data about what I was eating – including my macronutrients – but it wasn’t something I wanted to use long-term.

Then after revisiting the app over the weekend per a recommendation from both DTFN and a friend who already tracks his macros, a lightbulb went off.

What if instead of using the app to track what I’m eating, I use it for meal planning?

I thought this could be the perfect solution, so I tried it out with next week as an example. I started with what I already knew I wanted to make for dinner on Monday (a random recipe that I imported), and then scheduled my breakfast, lunch and snacks to fill in the rest of my macro and calorie goals for the day.

Instead of using the app to track my food in real-time, I’m going to use it to plan out my days and weeks to ensure I’m reaching my goals!

Maybe this is obvious to some of you and you already do this, but it was a really big revelation for me.

 

So when planning out a sample day next week, I was able to add and subtract foods until I had reached a number close to my goal (by the way, MyFitnessPal also helps you easily create your goals, so you can do everything in one place). It took some guessing and checking and a lot of tries, but eventually I got five solid days of meal planning that are pretty close to my targets.

You can also enter the exercise you plan to do that day and see how it will affect your overall targets! So helpful!

I should also mention that there’s a SUPER easy recipe import function where you copy and paste the URL of a recipe you see online, and it will instantly add the recipe to your saved recipes folder and calculate the nutrition for you.

Basically, everything about the website was incredibly easy to use and the functionality was much better than I remembered. While I can still use the tool to track food in real-time, thinking of it as a meal planner was a total game-changer for me.

Next week will be my first week trying out my own meal plan based on my target calorie and macronutrient goals, so I’m excited to see how it goes!

Question of the day: Do you track your macros? If so, how?

 Posted by on February 8, 2017
Feb 062017
 

Hi friends! How was your weekend? Ours was a really fun one, and we spent the majority of it at Fabio’s sister Diane and brother-in-law Alex’s house outside of Baltimore. It was so nice spending quality time with everyone! Here’s a peek at the highlights.

Friday

Fabio, Jack, and I hopped in the car after work on Friday to make the hour and a half journey to Diane and Alex’s house. Diane had some delicious chicken salads waiting for us for dinner. Yum!

Fabio’s dad had arrived from New York earlier in the day, and his older sister Karen and her daughter, Sofia, were on their way down from New York as well. We had planned to have this “family weekend” back when we last saw each other for Christmas, and I was so happy everyone was able to stick to the plan and get together!

We spent the rest of the evening chatting around the kitchen table before calling it a night around 11 p.m.

Saturday

On Saturday morning, Fabio and I were up before everyone else for a run! It was only 18 degrees out and we had five miles on the docket, so I was not looking forward to being out in the cold for that long.

At least it was nice and sunny out!

As for our route, I looked at my Google maps app ahead of time to figure out where we should go in the neighborhood. It was hard to tell how far five miles would take us, so I made sure to have a couple of back-up routes in case we needed to tack on some extra mileage.

The one thing I didn’t realize about Diane and Alex’s neighborhood was that it was so hilly! Phew! It made the run challenging for sure, but Fabio and I powered through it.

We wound up using all of my back-up routes and arrived back at Diane and Alex’s house after only 4.2 miles. While part of me wanted to keep running the last .8, Fabio and I were both cold and tired and going inside sounded like a better idea. 🙂

Once we got inside we showered up, changed into comfy clothes, and spent the rest of the day relaxing with Fabio’s family!

We had a fun day snuggling on the couch watching Finding Dory (so cute!) and playing with all the dogs.

It was nice and relaxing!

Later in the afternoon, more of Fabio’s family came over, and Alex’s parents joined us as well! We don’t usually all get to see each other except during holidays, so I was really happy that this family weekend worked out.

Eventually we sat down to a delicious dinner of Greek food that Diane, Karen, and I put together, and midway through dinner, Diane and Alex said they had an announcement to make.

….and then Diane pulled out a picture of her sonogram!

I just love this picture. 🙂

Diane and Alex are going to be parents!!! Yay!!!

I could not be happier for these two and am SO excited for all that is to come. Woohooo!!

Truthfully I was not very surprised by their announcement – I actually had an inkling that Diane might be pregnant back in December – but it was still SUCH a happy confirmation!! 🙂

We spent the rest of the night eating cake, laughing, talking, and even doing some salsa dancing (as this family tends to do…).

Congratulations, Diane and Alex!

Sunday

We drove back home on Sunday and I immediately got to work meal prepping for the week. The grocery store was a mad house with all the Super Bowl shoppers, but we made it out fairly quickly thanks to a shorter list this week.

Now that everything is all prepped Fabio and I are getting ready to watch the Super Bowl! (It’s Sunday night as I type this.)

Catch ‘ya later!

Question of the day: Does your family mostly live nearby or far away?

 Posted by on February 6, 2017
Feb 032017
 

Hi friends! How was your week? Mine was pretty meh – nothing bad happened per se but nothing really great happened either. Plus, as Fabio will tell you, I’m prone to getting the “February blues” because winter is my least favorite season BY FAR. I need some sunshine in my life!

Anyway, I don’t have a full Favorite Things Friday post for you guys today but I did want to stop by to recap my workouts this week. Let’s take a look!

Saturday, Jan. 28 

I went for a quick run with Jack on Saturday morning. We only went about a mile, but it was something!

Sunday, Jan. 29

Sunday was a rest day. 🙂

Monday, Jan. 30

On Monday morning, I met up with my friends Anne and Kathleen for a class at Urban Athletic Club via ClassPass (<–affiliate link for $30 off!). One of our favorite instructors Teisha is no longer teaching at the Georgetown studio, so we were excited to try out their new instructor, Ali.

The first half of the workout was 20 minutes of AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of front squats, kneeling shoulder presses, dead lifts, pull-ups, and burpees. We counted down the number of reps for each exercise, so we started with 10 reps, then 8, then 6, etc. We were also supposed to increase our weight each time, meaning that we were really struggling to complete the two reps at the end because the weights were so heavy.

This workout structure was pretty different from UAC’s usual set-up, which was fine except that there wasn’t really enough equipment for everyone to be doing the same exercises at one time. So, for example, when it came time for me to increase my 12.5 lb. weights, I had to go all the way up to 20 lbs. because all the 15  and 17 lb. dumbbells were being used. This isn’t usually such a big issue when we’re split into different stations, but with everyone working on the same exercises at the same time it was a bit of a problem.

The second half of the workout was 12 minutes of Tabata with exercises including med ball V-ups (holy abs!), kettlebell swings, weighted walking lunges, and hanging toes to bar (omg more abs).

This half went much smoother!

All in all I really liked Ali as an instructor and on Tuesday my arms were SO SORE from all the pullups and my abs were pretty sore too. Success! I think with time she’ll be able to figure out how to get around the equipment issue (or maybe Urban Athletic Club will bite the bullet and buy more…hint hint, Graham).

We got a little snow on Sunday night, so when I got out from class I had to snap a photo of the beautiful snow-covered trees in the morning light.

Ok, maybe there are some good things about winter.

Tuesday, Jan. 31

On Tuesday morning, I covered three miles with Jack to kick off my Cherry Blossom 10 Miler training. Fabio will be running this race with me as well, so hopefully he’ll start joining me for these training runs soon? 😉 The run was NOT easy for me, and we went pretty slow, but hey, I had to start somewhere. It’s amazing how running three miles used to be no big deal for me at all – in fact it was always my “easy” distance – but after so much time off from any serious mileage it felt like a struggle. Ugh. More on this below.

Wednesday, Feb. 1

On Wednesday, Anne and I hit up CorePower Yoga in Dupont Circle for their Sculpt class! You guys have heard me rave about the Sculpt class before – it’s the one that’s a mix of yoga and bootcamp-type exercises and incorporates weights and a burst of cardio. Anne and I decided to go all the way to Dupont for this class since one of our favorite instructors, Mandy, was teaching! She was great, as always. Now I’m dying to take Anne to Monica’s class at the Clarendon location! I know she’s going to love it!

This Sculpt class really is the best – try it out if you haven’t yet!

Thursday, Feb. 2

When I asked Fabio how he wanted to use his last ClassPass class of his cycle, he said he wanted to do yoga because he likes how it “stretches him out.” Well, ok then. Even though I had just gone to yoga the day before, I decided that taking the Hot Power Fusion class at the CorePower Yoga in Clarendon was different enough from Sculpt to do consecutively. We wound up taking the class with Melody and it was just the perfect level of challenging. It was also really hot in there – much hotter than the Sculpt class. Phew!

Recycled photo!

It was a great way to start the day, and Fabio seemed to enjoy the class too!

Friday, Feb. 3

Rest day!

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good week of workouts. There was definitely a bit more yoga that I usually do – especially two days in a row – but the classes were different enough that I thought it was fine.

The biggest thing that’s weighing on my mind right now is my running. I was really surprised by how hard the three miles felt to me, and I have to admit I’m not looking forward to my longer training runs at all. I wound up signing up for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler because a bunch of our friends will also be running it, and I LOVED everything about it the last time I ran it, but I’m starting to wonder if distance running is just not my thing anymore.

Of course I’m still going to do the race (I don’t believe in quitting!), but I think there’s a reason I haven’t done any races at all since 2014. I’m a big believer in doing exercise that you love – exercise that you look forward to – and distance running just doesn’t make me feel that way right now. Maybe that will change once I get back into the longer distances? TBD.

Question of the Day: Do you enjoy distance running?

 Posted by on February 3, 2017