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Jul 072016
 

Hey friends! How’s everyone doing today? I attended another fun class at Urban Athletic Club with my buddies Anne and Kathleen yesterday, and instead of just glossing over it with some vague details I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you more about how this class is structured and why I love it so much.

I’ve received a few emails/comments lately from other DC locals on ClassPass who are looking for recommendations on classes to take, and Urban Athletic Club (UAC) is definitely one of my favorites! I usually go once a week using a combination of my ClassPass classes and a package of classes that I bought a while back, and it’s such a great workout every time. Plus, I love having the opportunity to spend an hour catching up with Anne and Kathleen while we work out! Multitasking at its finest!

UAC has a couple of different locations, but I’ve only ever been to the one in north Georgetown. Take note that it’s not down by the waterfront, but up closer to Dupont on 27th and Q NW. There is usually street parking and/or meters available nearby, and the entrance is located right on 27th up a flight of stairs. There are signs, but if you don’t know where you’re going it can be easy to miss!

When you arrive just ring the doorbell (it’s marked) and the instructor will come open the door for you.

Speaking of instructors, my favorites right now are Teisha, Romain, and Graham. Graham is the owner so he’s not teaching classes very often, but when he does they are always fun and challenging! Teisha’s classes feature tons of 90s throwback songs and plenty of cardio, whereas Romain plays the latest house music and songs on the radio and is a little more focused on mobility and strength (though really, all the classes are pretty similar).

When you arrive, the instructor will take you through a warm-up (Teisha’s are usually ladder drills and Romain’s are usually stretching/walking movements) and then he/she will go over the workout for the day!

The class is broken out into three sections: turf, grid, and open.

The turf area is usually where all the cardio takes place, the grid uses TRX and monkey bars, and the open uses weights. The class divides up into groups of 3 or 4, and each group will cycle through all three stations for a set period of time (either as many reps as possible – AMRAP – in a certain number of minutes, or tabata style with a few seconds on and a few seconds of rest).

Once each group has gone through all three stations, it’s time for “half time” which will usually involve something like running around the block or holding a plank. After that, everyone breaks out into their groups again and goes to each station for the second half, but this time with completely different movements than the first half.

I’ll explain all of this in greater detail as we go, so I think this will all make more sense in a minute!

Turf

The turf is a long strip of red turf, and is usually used for activities like burpees, suicide sprints, shuffle runs, wall balls, bear walks/crab walks, jump rope and more.

This is the area where most of the cardio takes place, so you’ll likely be the most winded after being at the turf. Phew!

Grid

The grid has a combination of monkey bars and TRX equipment, and in my opinion is the hardest station!

Exercises at the grid can include pull-ups, chin-ups, knees-to-chest, various rows, and pistol squats (among others).

The hardest part for me is when the TRX straps are lowered down to the floor and we put our feet in the straps for mountain climbers and ab work. Ouch! Any time I walk into the studio and see that the straps are low I know it’s going to be a hard workout. 

Wouldn’t it be more fun to just hang around on the monkey bars? 🙂

Open

The open is just an open space in the back of the gym with lots of different kettlebells and weights. Usually this area will include kettlebell swings, walking lunges, sumo squats, snatches, cleans, and whatever else the instructor throws at us that day.

Some of the toughest moves we do in the open involve really light weights. Whenever the instructor tells us to grab a lighter weight that usual, it’s another sign that a tough move is coming!

Halftime

Halftime occurs once each group has cycled through all three stations, and is totally different each time! Yesterday we had the option of running around the block or doing a wall sit with bicep curls. It was really muggy outside so Kathleen, Anne, and I opted for the wall sit. It was tough!

Sometimes the halftime challenge is something more simple like a plank, which makes chatting easier. 🙂

After halftime we go to each station again and do completely different exercises! Because the class is structured this way, it absolutely flies by and I usually am left feeling sweaty, tired, and completely shocked that an hour has passed by already. In this class I’m always thinking about what movement I need to do next, and before I know it class it over and it’s time to stretch!

By the way, there is a shower at UAC, but only one. They provide towels too!

If you couldn’t already tell, I love this class so much and really enjoy working out there every week. If you’re local and haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot! 🙂

*Note: this post is not sponsored in any way and I pay for all Urban Athletic Club classes on my own. I just really love these classes!

Question of the day: What’s your favorite type of class to take?

 Posted by on July 7, 2016
Mar 242017
 

Hi friends! I’m going to keep things short and sweet today for two reasons.

Reason number one: A furry visitor just got here (it’s Thursday night as I type this), and I feel like I should give him some attention! We are dog sitting for our good friends Megan and JR this weekend while they attend a wedding in Florida, and it’s always a lot of fun when we have Tully staying with us.

When I brought Tully home today after work, he and Jack spent a decent amount of time sprinting in circles around the couch. There was also a lot of squeak toy action happening, so things are pretty noisy and chaotic around here at the moment. I feel like a mom whose kid is having a sleepover!

And the other reason I’m keeping things short today: Fabio is finally home from his work trip! Yayyy! He’s been gone since 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, which was entirely too long in my book. Jack and I missed him!

Before I sign off though, let’s chat quickly about my workouts this week.

Sat., March 18: Rest day! Fabio and I were supposed to do a long run this day, but our schedule wound up getting really crowded with other appointments so we decided to postpone it until this weekend instead.

Sun., March 19: Another rest day! I spent this day cleaning the house, running a million errands, and getting a lot of wedding planning done. 🙂

Mon., March 20: Three mile run with Jack! This run actually felt pretty easy and my pace got back into the 8:50 range, which is more in line with how I used to run back in the day. When I started training for this Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, I felt like I would never get back to feeling like three miles was an “easy” distance, but it’s looking I’m finally back in that place. Yay!

Tues., March 21: On Tuesday, Anne, Kathleen, and I took a bootcamp class at Definitions. It was a really good class, and took us through three stations with a variety of exercises including curtsy lunges with kettlebells, TRX rows, pushups, one-legged squats, jump squats, ab V-ups, rowing, and more. We definitely worked up a sweat, and had a great time chatting throughout the workout like usual.

Wed., March 22: On Wednesday, Anne and I headed out for another bootcamp, this time at Urban Athletic Club! Our instructor Romain took us through a workout that was half AMRAP (as many reps as possible) and half 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off. Our exercises included box pushes, hurdle/sprints, burpees, kettlebell swings, TRX rows, up and down planks, wall balls, TRX mountain climbers, pull-ups, jump rope, kettlebell snatches, overhead presses, bicep curls, and treadmill running. Honestly when I saw treadmill running on the board I was disappointed, but then Romain explained we wouldn’t actually be turning the treadmill on – he wanted us to move the tread just with our feet! It was tough and added a fun new element to our usual lineup.

It was a good one!

Thurs., March 23: Rest day! After two days in a row of early wakeup calls and showering in the crappy shower at work, I wanted a day to sleep in and get ready at home.

Fri., March 24: Tomorrow I have a spin class at Revolve DC on the agenda!

Alright friends, I’m calling it a night. Have a good weekend!

Question of the day: Do you ever pet sit for friends? If so, do the pets ever do anything weird?

We once watched a dog for Fabio’s coworker who used to steal all of Fabio’s dirty socks out of the hamper and drag them around the house! I also remember he wouldn’t let go of them when you asked for them back, haha!

Then again, Jack brings whatever clothing item we last wore to the front door every time we leave the house (he also grabs clothes out of the hamper) so I guess our own dog is pretty weird. The worst is when he brings our sweaty gym clothes to the door and then we have guests over! Eek!

 Posted by on March 24, 2017
Mar 172017
 

Hello there! How was your week? I had a particularly good one–despite some bitter cold weather–and it seemed to fly right by! Here’s a look back at my workouts from the week.

Sat., March 11 – Solo eight-mile run into D.C. and along the Georgetown waterfront.

As I mentioned in my weekend recap, I was super proud of myself for this run since I was cold, alone, and struggling to run up all the hills in Rosslyn. The thought of taking an uber home crossed my mind a million times during the hilly part of the run, but luckily I stuck with it and powered through to the end. Woohoo!

Sun., March 12 – On Sunday I took a Yoga 1 class with Fabio’s sister Diane at Edge Yoga in Courthouse. This is one of my favorite yoga studios and I love that their Yoga 1 class is really what a Yoga 2 class would be anywhere else. We got into some challenging poses (we even attempted flying lizard, which was a no-go for me) and I really enjoyed the stretch after the long run the day before.

Mon., March 13Anne and I decided to start the workweek off on a sweaty note with a Monday morning bootcamp class at Urban Athletic Club. We had the new(ish) instructor, Ali, again, and she took us through a couple of rounds of EMOM (every minute on the minute) and AMRAP (as many reps as possible) intervals with moves like toes to bar, TRX rows, TRX mountain climbers, burpees, thrusters, and more. I challenged myself to use heavier weights than I usually do and I was SO sore after this workout. Phew! It was a good one, if a little more CrossFit-y than I usually like.

Tues., March 14On Tuesday I enjoyed a lazy, snowy rest day! We were initially supposed to get between 8 and 12 inches of snow on Monday night/Tuesday morning, but it wound up being only about 2 or 3 inches here in Arlington. It was still enough to allow Fabio and me to work from home though, so I was a happy camper!

We took Jack to the park before we got started on work, and needless to say, he had a blast in the wet, heavy, snow.

We played a couple of rounds of fetch with a stick we found until we all got too cold and decided it was time to head back.

Once we were warm inside, I made us some blueberry muffins for breakfast using this recipe.

The recipe was perfect since we only had a tiny bit of almond milk in the fridge, and I liked that it called for Greek yogurt, honey, and old fashioned oats instead of any butter, oil, or refined sugar. Woohoo!

Fabio and I wound up working from the couch in front of the fire for most of the day, which was lovely! I could get used to that!

Wed., March 15 – Anne and I were ready for another sweaty workout on Wednesday morning, so we hit up BLAST in Foggy Bottom for a treadmill/strength workout. For anyone who hasn’t been to BLAST, it’s very similar to Orange Theory in that half the class is spent on the treadmill completing various different intervals (sprints and steep hill climbs) and the other half is spent on the floor doing various strength work.

Anne and I both agreed we enjoyed the BLAST workout more than we did the last couple of times we’ve gone to the class. I don’t know if it was the instructor (we had Lauren) or just that we are getting more familiar with the format, but I have a feeling we’ll start going back to BLAST more often!

Thurs., March 16  On Thursday, Fabio and I took a spin class at FlyWheel in City Center. It was a great class, and as usual, I sweat up a storm.

My overall score at the end of class was 158, and when I checked back to see how my score compared to last time, I realized that the last class I took was exactly one month ago (Feb. 16) and I got exactly the same score then too. How random is that? I usually fall somewhere between 230 and 270, but to get the exact same number two classes in a row is a pretty big coincidence. What can I say, I guess I’m consistent lately? Anyway, the class was great! Plus I always like when Fabio joins me for a class. 🙂

Fri., March 17 – Rest day!

Ok so really quickly before I sign off for today, I have to share this random story with you from this week.

So on Monday at Urban Athletic Club, Anne and I were chatting with this girl during our cool down stretch about where she likes to go on ClassPass. I remember she had a really cute matching leggings/sports bra set that had black and white palm trees on them, and she had a University of Maryland gym bag. We left class and I didn’t think about her again.

Then on Wednesday as I was leaving BLAST, I noticed the girl walking out in front of me had a University of Maryland gym bag. I looked down and saw the black and white palm tree leggings! My first thought was, OMG – it’s that girl again! My second thought was, I hope she did laundry yesterday! (Lol – hopefully she did.) She was too far away from me by then for me to say anything to her, but I remember thinking it was such a coincidence to see her twice in one week.

THEN on Thursday when I got to FlyWheel, I saw the University of Maryland gym bag again! It was sitting under a bench and when I looked around, sure enough I saw the same girl sitting by me putting on her spin shoes (this time she was also wearing the palm tree sports bra so again, I hope she did laundry lol). This time I said hi to her, and we laughed about how we took three of the same classes this week.

Anyway, I just thought it was such a random coincidence that I had to share here! Now I’m wondering when I’ll see her again, and if she’ll have on something other than the palm tree outfit, lol. Next time I see her I also want to ask if she went to University of Maryland! I’d love to find out if we have any Terp friends in common.

Alright friends, that’s all for today. Have a wonderful weekend!

Question of the day: Have you ever seen a stranger more than once in a week? It’s so weird when that happens, right?

 Posted by on March 17, 2017
Mar 022017
 

Well friends, by the time you read this I will be on my way to my bachelorette destination! My girlfriends planned the whole thing (kudos to my MoH Bianca and awesome bridesmaid, Megan!!) and the location is a surprise! All I know is that I’m supposed to pack bathing suits and warm-weather clothes, so I know it’s going to be awesome. Plus, I just love my friends so much that you could literally stick us in a shack somewhere and I’d be a happy camper. 🙂

Anyway, I’m out for vacation today and tomorrow, and I’ll *try* to get a recap post for you up on Monday but that will depend on what time we get back on Sunday (since my friends booked my flights for me too, I don’t know when we get back!). Surprises are so fun. 🙂

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s talk about this week’s workouts.

Saturday, Feb. 25: A beautiful 5.6 mile solo run through Arlington and D.C. It was pretty challenging, which always seems to be the case when I run alone. It was so pretty though!

Sunday, Feb. 26: Rest day!

Monday, Feb. 27: Anne, Kathleen, and I decided to try something new on Monday — we took a kettlebell conditioning class at CRUNCH gym by Metro Center. As soon as we arrived, we were blown away by how nice and welcoming everyone was. We got a tour of the gym and the nice locker rooms, and then it was time for our class!

We were especially happy about the variety of kettlebells available, which is very much the opposite of one of our favorite spots, Urban Athletic Club. Over there, there are limited options and we sometimes have to share kettlebells. Not at CRUNCH!

We all grabbed a few kettlebells and picked up a big exercise ball for our workout, and then got started!

The class was relatively low-key as it focused more on strength and didn’t include any cardio, which I actually thought was a nice change of pace for us. I also liked that you could make this class what you wanted – if you used heavy kettlebells then it could be really challenging and if you went lighter ones it would be a nice, relaxing strength session. I wound up using fairly heavy kettlebells (two 12 lb. ones was plenty challenging for me) and was sore the next day.

I liked this class and would definitely go back when we’re looking for something a little different!

Tuesday, Feb. 28: Fabio and I headed into Georgetown on Tuesday morning for the C2 class at CorePower Yoga. Fabio’s been getting more and more into yoga lately so when he requested going to a class on Tuesday I happily obliged. 🙂

Sorry for the grainy and dark photo!

The class was fairly challenging and also gave us a good stretch. I also was a sweaty mess by the end, so I’ll consider that a success.

Wednesday, March 1: Anne and I headed into Dupont Circle for another class at CorePower Yoga (two days in a row!), but this time it was their sculpt class. Our favorite instructor Mandy was teaching, and she absolutely killed us! For whatever reason, the class was much harder than last time, which was both horrible and great. 🙂

All in all I’d say it was a good week of workouts so far! I didn’t have room for my sneakers in my carry-on, so if I do any workouts while I’m away it will probably be something low-key like more yoga or some walks on the beach (assuming I’ll be by a beach?). But, if I don’t get any workouts in that’s ok too! I actually planned around this weekend when making my Cherry Blossom 10 Miler training plan, so I’ll be happy with whatever happens.

And now let’s talk about my Monday night, which wound up being super fun and special since we had our wedding menu tasting!

We had initially planned to do the menu tasting on a weekend, but sadly we couldn’t get our schedule to align with the staff at the wedding venue (they have a lot of weekend events and other weddings) so we went on Monday night instead. My mom, stepdad, dad, and little sister joined us for the fun. 🙂

While there we got to try the champagne (woohoo! Fun Monday indeed.) as well as a ton of hors d’ouvres, salads, and entrees.

Everything was extremely delicious, but my favorite items were probably the “Wye River salad” which comes with strawberries, goat cheese, and candied nuts, and the crab dip. Because how can you not have crab dip when you’re on the eastern shore of Maryland?

Really though, everything that we ate was absolutely delicious and we were so happy with the food for our wedding. I think our guests are really going to enjoy it!

After we ate we went through a bunch of other details like what napkin color we want, selecting china, chairs, table numbers, etc. etc. etc. It was a productive evening and we made a lot of important decisions!

We didn’t wind up getting home until past my bed time (around 10:45) but it was worth it to have such a fun and productive night! 🙂

Alright friends, that’s all I have for you today. I’ll talk to you when I get back!! Woohooo!!

Question of the day: What’s the best wedding food you ever had?

My friend Megan’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream stand was a memorable one for me!

 Posted by on March 2, 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 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 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 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
Jan 202017
 

It’s Thursday night as I write this, and everyone is buzzing about inauguration tomorrow. I had the chance to take a spin by the White House after my workout this morning, and I couldn’t get over the fact that in just a few hours Donald Trump will be residing there (or, more likely, keeping his stuff there while he stays in his tower).

It sure will be sad to see the Obamas go. I can’t help but wonder how all of this is going to affect the city that I love so much (as well as the rest of the world…).

In addition the blockades around what seems like the entire city and millions of police everywhere, the inauguration hullabaloo seriously affected my commute home this evening. What’s usually a 15-minute drive for me took me over an hour. UGH. I guess everyone just wanted to get into (or out of) the city.

It’s an interesting time around here for sure!

Anyway, enough about inauguration – let’s get back to your regularly scheduled blog post with my Favorite Things Friday! Here are some of the things that made me smile this week. Let me know what you were loving this week in the comments below!

Favorite Workouts

As I mentioned last week, I’m going to start recapping my weekly workouts on Fridays to help keep myself accountable. Here’s what this week looked like.

  • Saturday, Jan. 14: Skiing in Otis!
  • Sunday, Jan. 15: Four-mile hike in Otis
  • Monday, Jan. 16: Rest day! My knees have been bothering me lately – I think it’s tendinitis – so I spent a lot of time on Monday icing and elevating them. They’re feeling a lot better now!
  • Tuesday, Jan. 17: Bootcamp at MADabolic in Arlington with Anne and Fabio!

Fabio took advantage of some New Year’s discounts and signed up for ClassPass (<–affiliate link for $30 off!) for the next few months. He’ll mostly be working out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I’m so excited to have him with me for classes! I think our upcoming bachelor/bachelorette parties may have had something to do with his new interest in fitness. 😉

Anyway, Tuesday’s class was a good one and I pushed myself hard with the weights I used. We did a series of kettlebell deadlifts that had my upper back and shoulders SO sore the next day. It was a great class!

  • Wednesday, Jan. 18: Bootcamp with Anne and Kathleen at Urban Athletic Club! It was another really good workout taught by our favorite instructor, Romain, and we did everything from burpees to jump rope to thrusters to bicep curls to suicides to wall balls. Plus a million other things.
  • Thursday, Jan. 19: Flywheel class with Fabio! He’s been to this class before but used a different email address this time, so as soon as we walked in we saw a nice welcome note for him. 🙂

Flywheel is without a doubt one of my favorite classes on ClassPass, and I was really happy to have Fabio there with me. It made everything more fun! My total power at the end of class was 259, which is significantly higher than my last two appearances at FlyWheel. I think maybe having Fabio next to me pushed me harder? Woohoo!

  • Friday, Jan. 20: Rest day!

Favorite Meal Plan

I’m still going strong with the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse! The recipes are all so tasty and if you don’t mind cooking, it’s a great way to jump-start a more nutritious diet. Personally, cooking de-stresses me at the end of the day, so it’s been a great fit. My two-week plan is over tomorrow (wah!) but I have something else in mind for after that. You know I’ll keep you posted! The good thing about this cookbook

The good thing about this cookbook is that I can repeat the recipes as many times as I want, and there is another two-week plan for Spring that I’m looking forward to.

Here are some of the best things I ate on the plan this week.

Unsweetened oatmeal + coconut milk + shredded, toasted coconut + one slivered date + cocoa powder (YUM!!)

Salads with leftovers from dinner.

These might look kind of boring, but I promise they aren’t at all. Clearly.

Rye crackers with avocado crema (leftover from dinner from the night before – see below). Plus some Emergen-C on the side because literally everyone is sick right now and I am trying to stay healthy!

Tacos with avocado crema, roasted red peppers, sauteed kale and onions, and quick pickled onions (these are so great!). Plus spicy black beans on the side. Yum!! This was a terrific meatless meal that even the skeptical Fabio enjoyed.

And I’ve still been enjoying mangoes twice a week for dessert! 🙂

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed this meal plan and recommend it to anyone who’s looking to eat a little healthier while still enjoying bold, delicious flavors.

Favorite Listen

My friends – who we call “gurlays” – started a collaborative playlist on Spotify last week and it is AMAZING! I love listening to the playlist and guessing which one of my friends added the song.

It makes me feel like I’m with them!

Also related to this, my friends and I recently made a group on Snapchat, and it’s been really fun to send snaps to each other all day in the group. 🙂 Sigh. I miss them!

Favorite Binge

This week, Fabio and I started watching The Last Kingdom on Netflix, and it is SO good!

[Source]

We are totally hooked and like it better than any show we’ve binge-watched in a while. It reminds me a lot of Game of Thrones, and I’m going to be so bummed when it’s over.

Other shows we’ve binged on recently that I enjoyed include The Crown and The OA. Both of those are great too!

Favorite Fresh

Last week we were on the phone with Fabio’s dad and he called us out on our lack of juicing lately. Bustedddd.

After that, Fabio and I decided to get back in the habit of making a big batch of fresh juice over the weekend and enjoying a small glass every morning. It’s been really nice, and hopefully is helping to keep us healthy during cold and flu season (knocking on wood…).

This week’s batch included kale, carrots, cucumber, apples, and an orange. Look at all that pulp!

We need to stock up on ginger, celery, and lemons which I also enjoy in this mix. Next week!

Favorite Delivery

My amazing friend Jess who lives across the pond in the Netherlands sent me the sweetest engagement present delivery this week: a sun hat with my new initials monogrammed on the brim!

I think it’s so adorable and can’t wait to wear it during upcoming wedding festivities and the honeymoon (and everything else after that, of course). Thank you, Jess!! I LOVE it!!

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

Question of the day: What made you smile this week?

 Posted by on January 20, 2017
Jan 062017
 

At the end of every year, I like to take a moment to reflect on the highlights from the last 365 days. It’s a fun way for me to look back at all the high points of the year, and these are always some of my favorite posts to write.

Since I didn’t have a chance to get this post up before the end of the year, I figured I’d share it with you all today! Here’s a look back at my 16 highlights from 2016. Be prepared: it’s a long one!

16. Spent lots of time with family. In looking back over the year, some of my favorite memories were just the casual weekends spent with my family. From playing in fallen leaves with my sister to spending some quality time with my grandparents to family crab feasts at my mom’s house, I have some truly special memories with the people I love most.

15. Kept up my fitness game with tons of spin classes and boot camps. My love affair with ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off!) continued throughout 2016, and I took oh-so-many wonderful classes. My three favorite classes from the year probably have to be FlyWheel’s spin class, Urban Athletic Club’s Urban Athlete (bootcamp) class, and CorePower Yoga’s Sculpt class (which hasn’t been on ClassPass lately, but I took my fair share of those classes throughout 2016).

Close runners up include Definitions, MADabolic, Biker Barre (their spin class), and Reformation Fitness! Oddly enough, I took hardly any barre classes in 2016, though I was a big fan of barre in 2015. I also didn’t run much in 2016, but I’m ok with that. As long as I have a fitness routine that makes me happy and it’s something I look forward to, I will keep doing what I’m doing! Plus I have some running plans in store for 2017, so stay tuned for updates on that.

14. Started planning my wedding! I’m elaborating a lot more on this in the items below, but every detail of planning my wedding has been so much fun. Whether it’s planning our honeymoon in Thailand or chatting with our photographer (love her) or sending out our save the dates, I am enjoying every moment of this process. The photos below are from our engagement session in Jamaica last year, but we’re using them for a lot of the wedding pieces.

13. Crawled around DC breweries for Fabio’s birthday. For Fabio’s birthday this year, I organized a brewery crawl around DC with a bunch of our friends. It turned out really well, and we had such a fun time exploring new breweries and hanging out with all our friends! I also loved that I asked everyone to wear plaid as our theme. Haha!

12. Visited Aunt CC and Uncle Steve in Otis—one of my favorite places on Earth—and learned to paddle board. Visiting Aunt CC and Uncle Steve at their house in the Berkshires is always one of the highlights of my year. This summer when we went up, Uncle Steve taught us to paddle board, which was (surprisingly) something Fabio and I hadn’t tried before. The whole weekend was a blast, but paddleboarding was probably my favorite part. I just love visiting them!!

11. Stood on my chair and spun my napkin around in the air in an Italian restaurant in NYC with so many of my best friends by my side. Now that’s an interesting one, right? Every year Fabio and I try to visit NYC during the holidays to visit our friends and this year’s trip was especially fun. The highlight for me was our dinner experience at Puglia, where we drank all the wine we wanted for three hours and stood on our chairs waving our napkins around whenever the band played “the napkin song.” This sounds like such a weird thing to do, but I’m telling you it was an absolute blast!!

10. Attended eight beautiful weddings. This was definitely a wedding-heavy year for us, but each one was special and unique in its own way. I had a blast at all of them, and loved getting to celebrate with so many people who mean so much to me. Congrats to all of you!!

…and also, thank goodness for Rent the Runway.

9. Shopped for (and found!) my wedding dress. Eek! This is a memory that makes me giddy just thinking about it. In June, I invited a couple of my friends and family members to join me in shopping for a wedding dress. I really didn’t expect to find one on this trip and thought we’d mostly just be shopping for the fun of it, but low and behold I found my dress! We went out to lunch afterwords to celebrate, and it was just such a fun day with the women who mean so much to me.

8. Spent a weekend touring wedding venues, and had an amazing night in Cambridge, MD, with my mom and stepdad. Thinking back to this weekend always brings a smile to my face. Soon after Fabio and I got engaged, we scheduled visits with a bunch of wedding venues on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and invited some of our family members to come along. We spent the day on Saturday visiting two beautiful wedding venues (see recaps of those here) and then my mom, stepdad, Fabio and I stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast in Cambridge, MD. We wound up going out to dinner at a fun wine and cheese spot, and then bar hopping a bit throughout the cute little town. The evening ended in a bar with live music, and we had such a blast drinking and dancing with my parents. I remember having a bad headache the next day (oy) but it was worth it to have such a fun night. Then on Sunday we visited three more wedding venues, including the one we wound up going with! It was such a fun and memorable weekend.

7. Shopped for bridesmaids dresses, and had an amazing birthday brunch celebration afterword. During the weekend that I planned to celebrate my birthday, I invited my bridesmaids to come into town to try on dresses, and then coordinated a boozy brunch for us all after. We started off our morning at Bella Bridesmaids (highly recommend!), everyone ordered their dresses, and then we spent the rest of the day eating, drinking, and having fun! What a blast!

I also have to mention that my friends Catrina and Britt stayed with me for a few days leading up to this weekend, which was also so much fun. It brought me back to our college days!

6. Met Fabio’s extended family in Colombia, and had them teach me how to salsa dance (among other things). Visiting Colombia earlier this year was such a blast, and I still can’t get over how welcoming Fabio’s extended family was. While we had a really nice time exploring Medellin (touring a coffee farm was really cool, as was seeing Penol & Guatape), the highlight for me was the weekend that we spent in a huge finca (farm house) with all of Fabio’s relatives. While there, we hosted a big party celebrating our engagement and Fabio’s sister and brother-in-law’s one year anniversary. That party was a BLAST and I loved learning to salsa dance with everyone. I wish we could go back and do it all over again!

5. Continuing on with the Colombia theme, I loved visiting the beautiful city of Cartagena with Fabio’s family and our good friends Jojo and Jadd! Cartagena was a beautiful place, and we had a blast going on a boat tour, exploring an old fort, and going out to the bars with our friends to watch a Colombia soccer game. What an amazing experience! There was lots of salsa dancing in Cartagena too, haha!

4. Started a new job. This year I made a big move for my career and switched to a new job with a higher salary, bigger responsibilities, and a fancy new title. I’m still doing what I love – communications and PR for a health-focused nonprofit – but this was a big switch for me and has been challenging and rewarding so far. I know this move was the right thing to do and I am so grateful the opportunity I’ve been given. Now I just have to keep grinding!

3 and 2. Celebrated two amazing engagement parties. Where do I even begin with these? First Aunt CC and Uncle Steve threw us an incredible engagement party in NYC in April, and then my mom and stepdad threw us a second one in July. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for their generosity. Both of these parties were some of the best memories I have – EVER! – and I am so appreciative of my family.

1. Bought a house. Eeeek!! Yep, the biggest highlight for me in 2016 was becoming a homeowner! Fabio and I are so happy (and lucky) to own a 2.5 bedroom, 2 bathroom, town house in the heart of Ballston, just two blocks from the metro. It’s a big responsibility and needs a bit of work, but we’re up to the challenge! Yay!

Phew! What a year, right? Geez, when did I become such an adult?

If nothing else, these posts always remind me what an incredible life I have, and encourage me to spend a few minutes every day being grateful. Thank you to all of you who have been a part of it!!

Question of the day: What was the highlight of your 2016?

 Posted by on January 6, 2017