logo
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
Jan 132017
 

Hi friends! How was your week? Did it go by quickly? Mine was a good one, but I’m especially happy that it’s almost over because I am SO excited about my weekend plans – we are driving up to my Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s place in Otis, Massachusetts for a weekend of skiing! Since it’s MLK weekend and Fabio and I both have off from work on Monday we figured it was the perfect time to make the trip up.

We’ve only seen it snowy up there once, and although I’m not sure how much snow they have right now I think the slopes should have enough for us to ski. (Not that I am a good skiier by any means…)

Plus their house is always so cozy in the winter!

Eek! I can’t wait!

Before I get too far ahead of myself though, let’s take a step back and talk about what made me smile this week in today’s Favorite Things Friday post. Feel free to play along in the comments below!

Favorite Workouts

Now that you know a little more about my goals for 2017, I thought I’d start sharing a recap of my weekly workouts to help keep myself accountable. Here’s a look at my workouts this week!

Monday’s class was a good one, and we focused on strength over speed. Our intervals included weighted elevated split lunges, kettlebell farmer’s carries, plank holds on the rings, and a kickboxing combo.

Photo from Anne!

We also got to use these new-to-me slide boards! Have you guys ever tried these? You put little booties on over your shoes and then slide back and forth along the board. You have to push off pretty hard to slide all the way across and you have to squat pretty low to keep your balance, so it’s a good workout! They kind of reminded me of skiing (or maybe that’s just because I have skiing on the brain?).

  • Tuesday, Jan. 10: Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga

The sculpt class at CorePower Yoga is not new to me in any way – in fact I used to take it once a week when it was still regularly available on ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off!) – but this week I tried a new instructor who totally kicked my butt!! Her name is Monica and she teaches the sculpt class on Tuesday mornings at the Clarendon location (which is actually in Courthouse, but whatever). Fabio and I took a sculpt class on Friday at that studio on Friday last week, and there were maybe 15 or 20 people there. On Tuesday though, there were closer to 40! I knew right then that something was going to be different about this class, and as soon as Monica came into the room I saw why. I knew she was going to be tough, but man! Her class was killer! I will definitely be back.

Fabio and I took a sculpt class at that studio on Friday last week, and there were maybe 15 or 20 people there. On Tuesday though, there were closer to 40! I knew right then that something was going to be different about this class, and as soon as Monica came into the room I saw why. She looked really strong, and had a no-messing-around attitude. I knew she was going to be tough, but man! Her class was killer! Even though she was hard, she was still really positive and gave everyone a high-five after the tough cardio intervals. I will definitely be back to her class!

  • Wednesday, Jan. 11: Spin class at one of my old favs, Biker Barre

I always have a good time at Biker Barre since they plan the sprints and climbs to the beat of the music. It feels like you’re dancing on your bike! I always sweat a ton in spin class too, so it was nice to mix in this cardio with all the strength training I did this week.

  • Thursday, Jan. 12: Bootcamp at Definitions DC with Anne and Kathleen

Thursday’s class was another good one, and our instructor DeShay had us running through a bunch of intervals including of rowing, Russian twists with sandbags, burpee jacks, plyo jumps, kettlebell lifts and more. It’s always fun when I have my two workout buddies by my side!

Picture from Anne!

  • Friday, Jan. 13: Rest day!

I don’t think I’ve been stretching my quads enough after working out because I’ve been experiencing some pain around my knees that I think is due to some tenditinits. Womp womp. I’ve been foam rolling like crazy and trying to stretch more, so we will see if it gets any better. i figured another rest day wouldn’t hurt either!

All in all, I’d say it was a solid week of workouts!

Favorite Splurge

Anne and I have been going to MADabolic a lot lately; we like the classes and especially like that it’s right in Clarendon and only a quick drive from our houses. One thing I don’t like though is that they charge you to rent gloves every time the workout includes some kickboxing, which lately has been every time.

Even though it’s only a few dollars, I figured I should just buy some gloves of my own to save money in the long run. Plus, Anne and I like going to 9Round kickboxing on occasion, and I thought it would be nice to use my own gloves (truthfully, theirs are kind of stinky).

I wound up getting these gloves off Amazon (in pink, obviously) for $25 which I thought was a pretty good deal! I can’t wait to test them out.

Favorite Weather

Wow – the weather was absolutely GORGEOUS yesterday, and I treated myself to a long walk outside during my lunch break.

Amazing!

Favorite Surprise

On Monday, my friends let me know that FedEx had dropped off a little surprise for me. When I got home I practically ran out of the car to get the box, and when I opened it I saw the sweetest bachelorette surprise! (Warning: the photo below includes references to male genitalia…)

My sweet friends had written me a note that was themed like the Bachelor and talked about how season after season we watch people on the Bachelor/Bachelorette accept the final rose to find love, but since I already found love would I please accept a bouquet of penises for my bachelorette party! Ha! How thoughtful and funny. (For anyone who doesn’t know, most bachelorette parties in the U.S. have all sorts of penis-themed stuff, like straws and balloons and cakes and more. Don’t ask me why it’s a thing, it just is!)

Anyway, I thought this was super cute and it’s getting me even more excited for my bachelorette party in early March. My friends are planning the whole thing and keeping the destination a surprise, so I can’t wait to see where we go! Eek!

Favorite New Tradition

My dad bought Fabio and me each one of these weird little glow-in-the-dark figurines for Christmas, and we’ve been hiding them around the house ever since.

They’re really small – just a few inches tall – and they’re so fun to stash in places like the medicine cabinets, Fabio’s shoes, sock drawers, etc. They make me smile every time I see them in a new spot!

 

Favorite Late Christmas Gift

Remember my sweet friend Vic who got me the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse cookbook for Christmas? Well she also got me this awesome monogrammed apron that arrived earlier this week. I love it!

Favorite Snuggle Buddy

This is how I watched the Bachelor this week – with Jack literally laying across my body. Oh well, I didn’t mind. 🙂

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

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

 Posted by on January 13, 2017
Oct 212016
 

Hi friends! Happy Friday! Today’s post is going to be a bit different from your usual Favorite Things Friday update, as I came to an interesting realization about myself that I wanted to share with you all.

So, as you know, I started a new job last week at a new organization that I’m really passionate about. Obviously changing careers is a pretty big life change, and it wound up affecting me much more than I realized – and not just work-wise. Allow me to explain.

Before receiving the offer for the new job, I was happily chugging along at the old place. I was doing my normal routine, including working out in the mornings, going to work, bringing healthy lunches from home, and making dinner/blogging/watching TV in the evenings. It was nothing crazy, but it was a routine that was working for me.

Then I received the job offer and gave my two-weeks’ notice at work. After that, I wasn’t receiving any new projects from my manager and therefore wasn’t super motivated to get a lot done. I didn’t feel like I needed to prove myself anymore – after all I was leaving to explore a new and better position somewhere else – so a lot of my motivation to work hard went out the window. I’m a pretty intrinsically motivated person (i.e., I work hard just because I want to) so when my motivation to excel in work was gone, it was kind of a whole new feeling for me. Suddenly I didn’t mind arriving to work a few minutes late or turning in an assignment that was maybe 98% of my effort, whereas normally I give 110%.

Of course all of this is to be expected when you’re moving on to a new job, but what I didn’t expect was that this lack of motivation would carry over to my personal life as well. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like setting my alarm super early to wake up early to take a class, and instead I went on a couple of measly runs with Jack. I didn’t feel like grocery shopping on the weekend to set myself up for a healthy week. I didn’t feel like packing a healthy lunch, so I wasted a ton of money on SweetGreen (thankfully SweetGreen is still healthy! Just expensive).

For almost my entire last two weeks at work, I barely followed through with any of my usual healthy habits. What the heck?

As soon as the new job started, however, I was more motivated than ever to prove myself in the office. Not surprisingly, that motivation has continued to my daily routine as well. Since I started the new position I’ve taken more classes than usual, cooked tons of healthy dinners, and brought a salad and an apple every day to eat at work. I’m back to making healthy and affordable choices.

I guess all of this is to say that I really surprised myself with how I reacted to this big life change. Sure, I could have easily sucked it up and fixed my habits when I was in that slump, but I just didn’t want to. It was like I was finally giving myself a break, giving myself permission to be something less than 110%. I guess I sort of looked at that two weeks as a mini vacation from my life. It was a weird thing that I experienced, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Maybe it was good for me to take a break and reset? Maybe I was just being lazy? Who knows.

In the end, I’m glad I’m back to my normal routine and incredibly happy I didn’t let myself stay in a slump for too long (two weeks was plenty!!).

My new suggestion based on this experience is that if you’re finding that you’re having trouble sticking to your healthy habits – especially ones that you know you can stick to – it might be a good idea to take a step back and look at your big picture. Are there other things in your life that aren’t motivating you? Is there something you’re feeling less-than-thrilled about in your life? If there is, change it. If you can’t change it, try to change how you feel about it. Think of a way you can motivate yourself or find some small goals to work toward. That will most likely result in the change you are looking for; at least that was the case for me!

Question of the day: Have you ever experienced a slump like this? What did you do to fix it?

 Posted by on October 21, 2016
Aug 032016
 

Hey friends! How’s everyone doing on this glorious hump day? It feels like it’s been FOREVER since I’ve updated you guys on my meals and workouts, so let’s get back to it today!

First, workouts.

As usual, I’ve been dropping into my favorite Urban Athletic Club classes about once a week with my buddies Anne and Kathleen. These classes continue to challenge me week after week and they’re always such a blast. I’m really loving the instructor Romain’s classes lately, but tomorrow we are taking a class with Teisha who’s great too. I love using this time to not only get a great workout in, but also catch up with my friends! Having a standing weekly workout session with friends is the best.

IMG_4400

I’ve also been trying out some classes in my new neighborhood via ClassPass! First, Anne and I hit up 9Round Kickboxing. Have you guys taken these classes before? They are located all over the country and offer 30-minute kickboxing classes that you can take at any time.

IMG_4252

So for example, we arrived right when the studio opened at 6:30 am, but other people trickled in at various times throughout the morning. The class is broken up into 9 stations and the instructor sets a timer to guide you through each one, so you just jump into an open station and start the cycle whenever you show up.

IMG_4255

It was a pretty good workout and I especially liked that it was only 30 minutes. I can definitely see myself going back!

I also tested out a Body Pump class at my local Gold’s Gym. It had been ages since I had taken a Body Pump class, and like usual I felt a little nervous about whether I had grabbed all the right weights.

IMG_4047

Luckily I creepily watched all the ladies around me and it wound up working out just fine. 😉

I also want to mention that I couldn’t believe how crowded the Gold’s Gym in Ballston is at 6:00 am. Holy moly! That place was bumping. I forgot how fit Arlington is, and I love it.

Another new spot I checked out recently? Lava Barre in Rosslyn. Truthfully I haven’t been that interested in barre classes for the last few months, but Lava Barre also has cycling and TRX classes that I wanted to try.

IMG_4601

I took the TRX class yesterday and man, it was tough! The hour-long class was divided into three blocks, each with a bunch of 60-second exercises featuring a mix of cardio and strength movements. I was pleasantly surprised by how challenging the class was, and I’m sure I’ll be back there too. (Plus it had free parking outside until 8:00 am, which is an hour later than DC parking! Woo!)

Lastly, I’ve found that I can take the metro directly to the 7:00 am class at the new CityCenter FlyWheel and then hop on the metro to work right after. Granted that means I have to brave the crazy shower line after class (seriously, why are the showers at FlyWheel always so ridiculous?) but it’s worth it to sleep in a little later and still take one of my favorite classes. Can’t get enough of those!

Oh, and I’ve also been getting in lots of short runs with Jack – just 3 miles or so – but it has been nice to have such pretty trails to run on again.

So that’s what’s been happening on the fitness front, so now let’s take a look at food!

Over here meals have been all about the produce, starting with this amazing delivery I received from Seasonal Roots!

IMG_4258

How cute is that slogan by the way, dirt to doorstep?

Seasonal Roots is a personalized online farmer’s market, and unlike other CSA shares where you just get a box filled with whatever they decide to send you, with Seasonal Roots you can browse their products online first (the menu for the week is posted every Friday afternoon) and then personally select what you want to arrive in your basket.

IMG_4260

The company is based out of Richmond, and all of the produce is locally grown by Virginia farmers. Baskets can be delivered to many regions of Virginia, including Northern Virginia where I live. Baskets come in three sizes, small ($24), medium ($36), and large ($42). Plus delivery is free. Not too bad at all, I’d say!

IMG_4263

I’ve really been enjoying all the produce I received in my box, and can’t get over how fresh everything is! When I chopped up my golden apple for an afternoon snack, it started turning brown right away, which I actually liked because it showed how fresh it was.

IMG_4397

Also I feel like most apples you buy in the grocery store can sit for weeks without going bad, which definitely freaks me out. What on earth is in/on those things? That was definitely not the case with these.

The nectarines were amazing too! I ate them all up in no time.

IMG_4246

I also made some cashew chicken with zoodles one night with a giant zucchini, and some unpictured eggplant parmesan with all the eggplants. Yum!

IMG_4271

Outside of my box from Seasonal Roots, I’ve also been enjoying some fresh fruit that I picked up at the grocery store.

Of course that means a giant bag of cherries! I can’t get enough of these right now.

IMG_4603

I also think strawberries are really delicious this time of year. Fabio put together this dessert plate for us the other night with a little bit of plain sugar in the middle for dipping. Does anyone else like to dip their strawberries in a little sugar for dessert? I’m not sure where Fabio learned this trick but it sure is tasty when your sweet tooth is calling!

IMG_4598

As for breakfast, it’s been so hot out and I’ve been really enjoying making smoothie bowls. As I mentioned last week, it’s really easy to make these; all I do is dump plain Greek yogurt, frozen mixed berries, and milk into the food processor and whip it up until it’s the texture of melted soft-serve ice cream. I usually top these bowls with chia seeds, sliced banana, and granola, and voila! It’s like having ice cream for breakfast. 🙂

IMG_4402

Last but not least: sushi. Sigh. When it’s hot out and I haven’t meal planned or don’t feel like cooking whatever I’ve got on the menu, all I want to eat is sushi. (And wine.)

IMG_4056

I recently discovered a small sushi store outside my metro stop called Sushi2Go where they make sushi fresh to order that you can take home. They have a pretty decent selection and I love that it’s made to order vs. having been sitting around in a container for a few hours. Since it’s right by the metro it’s always so darn tempting! I have to admit I’ve had it one or two times too many in the last few weeks. Ah well, YOLO as they say. 😉

And that’s it! Phew!

Question of the day: What’s your favorite summer produce?

 Posted by on August 3, 2016
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
Apr 132016
 

Over the last few months, I’ve been in a bit of a fitness rut. Well, I guess that’s not technically true since I like my rut and am not planning to get out of it anytime soon, but I have been taking classes at the same few studios over and over (and over) again for the last few months. While it’s keeping me happy for now, I know it’s always good to get out there and try something new, so I was pretty excited when the folks at BLAST emailed me about trying out one of their new bootcamp classes in DC.

BLAST – which I will now refer to as Blast, so it doesn’t look like I’m screaming at you. 😉 – stands for Balanced Level of Aerobic/Anaerobic and Strength Training. Plus their classes are pretty fun (dare I say, a blast?) and I feel like you’re blasting fat when you’re there, so the name just makes sense to me. Blast is a Georgia-based fitness company and they just opened their first studio in DC a few weeks ago (for the locals, it’s located next to the SoulCycle on M Street).

IMG_0362

In addition to offering fun, challenging HIIT classes (more on that below!), Blast offers two other services: “profile” and nutrition counseling.

Through the profile service, you work with a personal trainer to discuss your fitness goals and then assess your current physical abilities. They put you through a number of tests to assess your resting metabolic rate, body composition, strength, flexibility, and more, and then help you determine what your ideal heart rate should be to reach your fitness goals when exercising. I think they even give you a heart rate monitor to wear during class, though I could be wrong about that part. Either way, the machines at Blast connect with whatever heart rate monitor you do have, and it’s clear they place a big emphasis on monitoring your heart rate to make sure you’re performing at peak levels. Pretty cool, huh?

profile-top

[Source]

Blast also has a package for nutrition counseling, which comes with not only a 60 minute consultation with a Registered Dietician, but also a 90 minute grocery store tour with the RD. How cool would it be to walk around a grocery store with a dietician? While I think I know a decent amount about nutrition, there are certainly many more things I could learn and I think grocery shopping with one is a great way to do it.

IMG_0363

Then of course, there are the classes! My friends Anne, Kathleen, and I all took a class last Friday at 6:00 am. When we entered the class, we saw that treadmills lined both sides of the room, and numbered stations on the floor were set up with a medicine ball, resistance band, and weights for each person.

IMG_0366

When talking to the instructors, they told us that while the treadmills are almost always used in a workout, the work on the floor changes depending on the instructor and what they feel like teaching that day. I spotted lots of other fun equipment in the back of the room that I’m sure gets put to good use!

IMG_0364

As far as the class went, the 60 minutes were broken into circuits both on the treadmill and on the floor.

P4080004_thumb

Photo via Anne!

The treadmills are not your average treadmill either – the incline goes up to 30% (phew – that’s steep!) and the treadmills also decline to mimic going downhill (very cool!). The treadmill circuits included a mix of uphill walking and sprinting at different inclines. Our instructor did a great job of telling us the different cues, and also provided modifications for anyone who needed them.

When it came to floor work, we did a number of exercises with our medicine balls, heavy weights, medium weights, and resistance bands! Our instructor even incorporated a few moves that were new to me, like holding the medicine ball outstretched in one hand for about 30 seconds. This was a tough one!

P4080006_thumb

Photo via Anne!

After spending about four minutes rotating through different exercises, we would complete one minute of something extra challenging like an all-out sprint or medicine ball burpees, before switching back to the other station.

It was a tough workout but very fun, and I liked the pumped-up energy of the class (especially since it was at 6:00 am)!

Unfortunately for me, Blast isn’t on ClassPass (yet?!) but if they wind up getting on board I will most definitely be back. I also really like the idea of the profile building and nutrition counseling, and am going to consider trying it out before my wedding next year. We will see!

Thank you to the kind folks at Blast for having us!

Question of the day: Have you ever tried nutrition counseling? Do you wear a heart rate monitor when working out and if so, do you know what your target heart rate is?

I used to wear my Polar heart rate monitor all the time when working out until the battery died and proved difficult to find in stores. I could have ordered a new battery online, but it’s been a couple years and I haven’t done it yet. 😉

 Posted by on April 13, 2016
Mar 252016
 

Yesterday morning, I joined my friends Anne, Kathleen, and Sarah for a 5 mile run around the tidal basin, which gave us the opportunity to get up close and personal with DC’s famous cherry blossoms.

P3240027_thumb

Photo via Anne

Every year I make it a point to try to see the cherry blossoms, but it can be tricky since they are only in peak bloom for a day or two, and for the last couple of years their peak has been on a weekday. Trying to view the cherry blossoms on a Saturday when they are a) no longer in peak bloom/starting to fall off the trees and b) swarming with crowds is definitely not my cup of tea. Seeing them during a morning run – on peak bloom day no less – is much more my style!

We began our run by the Georgetown waterfront since it’s not too hard to find parking over there so early in the morning. The sun was just starting to rise when we got there, and the moon was still out which was really pretty.

IMG_9981

IMG_9982

As usual, we chatted during the whole run which made the time fly by. It was fun having such a big group of us yesterday morning; running with four people is so much more fun!

Soon enough, we came upon the Washington monument right when the sun was rising. So pretty!

IMG_9983

And then before we knew it, we had arrived at the tidal basin!

IMG_9988

The cherry blossoms were just as beautiful as I remembered. It was so worth getting out of bed early for this!

IMG_0003

IMG_0009

Even though it was early in the morning, there were still tons of people at the tidal basin. We saw lots of photographers, other runners, and people in suits who were – we assume – heading right into the office later. We saw people taking prom/quinceanera photos, engagement photos, pregnancy photos, and newborn photos.

IMG_9992

Fun fact: Fabio and I actually wanted to take our engagement photos with the cherry blossoms, but then we decided to get them done somewhere else instead. 😉 Sorry to tease you, but you know I’ll share them with you when it’s the right time!

It was a little hard to keep running with all the people everywhere, but that just meant we could stop for more photos. 🙂

IMG_9990

So beautiful!

IMG_9999

IMG_9997

At one point we noticed there was a wall of photographers set up in a specific spot, and although we knew it was really pretty we couldn’t figure out why this particular part of the tidal basin was so much better than the others. And then we saw it: the sun shining through the Jefferson memorial!

IMG_0004

So beautiful, right?? I love how you can see the silhouette of the Jefferson statue.

IMG_0006

Clearly these photographers know what they are doing. They were very serious about their picture taking!

After making our way 3/4 of the way around the tidal basin it was time to head back to Georgetown. We wound up covering 5 miles which was pretty awesome considering we mostly just wanted to see the cherry blossoms. 🙂 What a fun morning!

P3240028_thumb

Another photo borrowed from Anne

Question of the day: Have you ever seen the cherry blossoms?

 Posted by on March 25, 2016
Mar 162016
 

Look at that – we made it to hump day! Is this week flying by for anyone else?

I had a really nice day yesterday and I always enjoy reading day-in-the-life style posts on other people’s blogs, so I thought I would share a recap of my day yesterday in a similar (if less detailed) format. Ready? Here we go!

My morning began with a run on the National Mall with Fabio and Jack! It was super dark (definitely a downside to daylight savings time) and a little rainy out, but I’m glad we made it out there anyway.

We began our run in front of the Capitol building, looped around the mall by the Washington monument, and then ended again at the Capitol! Seeing this view (even with all the scaffolding around the Capitol) definitely made me think of House of Cards. I love this city! 🙂

IMG_9799

Sorry for the crappy photo!

Initially we had plans to run with with our friend Dan, but apparently we had a miscommunication about the time we were meeting and he didn’t have his phone with him, so Fabio, Jack, and I waited around for a little while before running on our own. Next time we will be more coordinated!

IMG_9801

It was a lot of fun running with my two favorite guys; Fabio doesn’t join me for runs nearly as often as I’d like. The spitting rain was a little annoying, but it was worth it for these sights!

IMG_9805

Yay! 🙂

IMG_9808

In the end we wound up covering only two miles, but a two-miler on a cold and rainy day is still a lot better than no run at all. 🙂

When we came back home, we downed some of our fresh juice (this week’s batch has a lot of beets in it!) and then I made some avocado toast using Dave’s Killer Bread, 1/4 an avocado, a slice of turkey bacon, sliced tomato, and cheddar cheese. I popped the whole thing under the broiler for a few minutes to make the cheese melty. Yum!

IMG_9811

I’m actually trying something new in regards to meals this week; I’ve been stuck at the same weight for a couple of years now and I’d really like to lose a couple of pounds before our engagement party in a few weeks. I’ve been trying all my normal tricks and although I’m back down to the bottom range of my usual weight, I would love to go a little past it. I’ve been reading lately about the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet, and decided to give it a try. I’m loosely following a meal plan I found online for that type of diet for this week, and I wind up liking it I’ll be sure to share it on here. So far I’m feeling great!

After I got into work, I sipped on some tangerine-flavored “positive energy” tea that my coworker brought in for me. It was yummy!

IMG_9814

Soon enough it was time for lunch! The meal plan suggested turkey club wraps with spicy sprouts, with the wrap being a kale leaf. To make this, I spread some Laughing Cow cheese on a large piece of kale, then layered in sliced tomato, turkey, turkey bacon, and sprouts that I had tossed with some sriracha.

IMG_9819

While this was a good idea in theory, my kale leaf was a little too small for all those toppings and things got really messy. I wound up ditching the kale for the second one and just wrapped everything in the piece of turkey, and it turned out much better. The spicy sprouts were especially tasty!

At around 3:30 I broke for a snack: two celery sticks topped with peanut butter. Does this remind you of childhood or what? All that’s missing is the raisins! Also, the celery sticks look massive here but it was actually a pretty small plate. Then again, they were pretty big…

IMG_9826

Works for me!

One benefit of daylight savings time is how light it is when I get home! I got home yesterday and the weather was just beautiful, so Fabio and I took Jack on an extra long walk. We even spotted some beautiful crocuses on our way, and you know what that means: spring is coming!

IMG_9837

Also don’t be fooled into thinking I found a beautiful meadow in the heart of DC – this is just a vacant lot where we let Jack run around off-leash that happens to have some pretty flowers growing. 🙂

Once we got home, I snacked on one of these Walkers shortbread cookies that the company sent me to review.

IMG_9841

Holy moly, are those things dangerous. So buttery and sugary! After tasting one I made Fabio hide them (haha!) so I wouldn’t go back for more. There’s something about the simplicity of a shortbread cookie that makes me feel like I could eat 10 of them. Yum!

I also snacked on some raw almonds; clearly I was starving and just couldn’t wait for dinner! Eventually I got things going in the kitchen.

I wound up making this recipe for broiled salmon with a honey soy sauce and some simple roasted asparagus.

IMG_9845

It turned out so well, and I will absolutely use this recipe again. The sauce gave the salmon such a good flavor! We actually bought this salmon from Costco and froze a bunch of it, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing this meal pop up again soon. Yum!

I had planned on snacking on some Greek yogurt and fresh berries after dinner, but the salmon was actually really filling (they were big pieces) and since I had splurged on the cookie already I figured I didn’t really need it. 😉

Instead I finished up the evening on the couch with my boys! We watched an episode of House of Cards (of course!) and then called it a night.

The end!

Question of the day: Tell me one thing about your Tuesday!

 Posted by on March 16, 2016
Mar 092016
 

On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to join my friend Anne for a pop-up SoulCycle class at Union Market! SoulCycle recently teamed up with Target to offer free pop-up spin classes around the country, and you better believe I wouldn’t miss a chance to try the much-talked-about class for free!

(How nerdy do we look here? That first one caught us off guard! Haha!)

The class was held at Dock 5 of Union Market, which is the same place where the Lamb Jam I went to over the summer was held. In case you ever go to an event there and can’t find Dock 5, it’s all the way to the right of Union Market and up the stairs. Luckily they had marked it pretty well with SoulCycle and Target signs, so I didn’t have any trouble finding it. 🙂
IMG_9628

IMG_9630

As soon as I arrived, I saw that they had blocked off certain areas of the large warehouse space to resemble a spin studio, complete with a front desk, shopping area, cubbies, and the bikes!

IMG_9633

IMG_9638

After we checked in and reserved a bike, we were given goodie bags with new fitness apparel from Target! I love their C9 Champion line of clothing, which always seems to be good quality, fashion-forward, and much more affordable than my beloved Lululemon.

IMG_9635

As soon as we received our bags, Anne and I headed into the bathroom to change. Might as well use our new stuff right?

I was given a pair of blue capris and a loose black tank top that was open in the back (I couldn’t find the exact ones online, but these are similar to the capris and this is similar to the tank).

IMG_9649

I loved the fit and design of the capris especially, which had a slightly different pattern on the back side than the front.

IMG_9648

So fun!

Once we were changed, it was time to get cycling! We headed into a dark space that had the light blocked out by black curtains.

IMG_9639

There were lots of people in our class, and apparently a lot were even on the waitlist. I felt very lucky to have a spot!

IMG_9643

A few minutes later, we were on our bikes and it was time to get going!

IMG_9644

The class itself was pretty good, but after hearing so many awesome things about SoulCycle I have to admit I left feeling a bit…underwhelmed. At this point I have tried out different spin studios all across the DC area, and I always expected SoulCycle to be the best of the best. I actually found the class to be a little bit slow and it wasn’t as challenging as I would have liked. I’m wondering how much this particular class set-up and instructor had an impact on that. I definitely plan to check out a class at their regular studio with a different instructor sometime before making a final judgement, but since their classes are expensive and they aren’t on ClassPass I can’t really see that happening anytime too soon. Oh well – in the meantime, I’ll keep doing my thing at FlyWheel and Biker Barre. 😉

Either way, the event itself was a lot of fun (and very well organized!) and I had a really fun Saturday morning working up a sweat with a good friend by my side.

IMG_9652

Thank you for having us, SoulCycle and Target!

Question of the day: Have you ever been to SoulCycle? What do you think?

P.S. The new SoulCycle x Target clothing line that we previewed at the event was super cute, and very affordable! Definitely check it out the next time you’re in Target!

 Posted by on March 9, 2016