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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).

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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?

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[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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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

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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.

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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. 🙂

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So beautiful!

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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!

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

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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!

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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! 🙂

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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!

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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!

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Yay! 🙂

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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…

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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. 🙂
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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!

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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.

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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).

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

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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
Mar 042016
 

Hey there! Happy Friyayyy!! 🙂 As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been having some great workouts lately and I wanted to take some time to tell you about them! Here’s a peek at what my workouts have looked like for the last two weeks, all of which were made possible through ClassPass. Yay! 🙂 (Psst – use this link to get $20 off of ClassPass registration!)

Last week

Monday: TRX at Reformation Fitness

I told you guy all about this class already; it was the one that was supposed to be a spin class but due to a dumb mistake on my end wound up being an awesome TRX class. Not a bad mistake at all, really! It was pretty hard and my glutes were really sore after this one, probably from all the weighted jumping lunges. Those get me every time!

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Tuesday: Fly Barre

Ah, this class is always SO incredibly hard! It’s a totally different kind of hard than the TRX class too – instead of sweating my butt off and being out of breath, my muscles shake and quake and I have to force myself to keep dipping and pulsing. The class was taught by Stephen, who is without a doubt my favorite fly barre instructor. I pretty much only take his class! (Side note: I actually talked about this class in an interview I did with WTOP radio recently! Check it out!)

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Wednesday: Run one mile/rest

Wednesday was supposed to be a rest day for me (which I definitely needed – I was really sore) but I still wanted to get moving a little so I took Jack on a rainy one mile run. It was nothing crazy, but it felt good to get my blood pumping.

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Thursday: Run 3 miles

Another rainy run with Jack! This time we covered three miles and made it over to Union Station. Hello, Capitol building!

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Friday: Metabolic Resistance Training class at Definitions

On Friday I joined my friends Anne and Kathleen for the Metabolic Resistance Training class at 6:15 am at Definitions! We love this class and try to take it every few weeks. It’s a small space, but the instructors really maximize the area and equipment to deliver a really fun and challenging workout. Love it!

Recycled picture, same crew!

Saturday & Sunday: Rest (Jess’ Bachelorette in the Poconos!)

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This week

Monday: Rest

Aka recovering from the weekend. 😉

Tuesday: HIIT at Reformation Fitness

I liked the TRX class at Reformation Fitness so much last week that I decided to go back this week for their High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class. I wound up taking the 6:00 am class with instructor Julie, and it was a great workout! One thing I really liked about her class was that she had us focus on technique/form before sending us off to the do the workout (sort of like at a CrossFit class). For example, we practiced doing snatches with pieces of PVC pipe to make sure our form was correct before we spent five whole minutes doing as many snatches as possible with a bar. Phew! It was a really good workout (it was mostly upper body on Tuesday) and the muscles in my back were pretty sore afterwords.

Wednesday: Urban Athletic Club

On Wednesday I joined Anne for one of our favorites, Urban Athletic Club! We always love the variety in these classes and they fly right by. The workout of the day was a particularly hard one, and we went through lots of push ups, pull ups, burpees, mountain climbers, (more) snatches, lunges, and more.

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Phew!

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Thursday: Rest day!

Friday: Run 3 miles

I’m actually writing this up on Thursday evening so this hasn’t happened yet, but I’m planning to run 3 miles with Jack tomorrow or hit the treadmill if it winds up being snowy. We will see!

Saturday: I have plans to join Anne for a special Soul Cycle class on Saturday, and I am pumped! You know I’ll tell you all about it. 🙂

Sunday: Rest day!

So there you have it, a review of two weeks’ worth of workouts all in one post. Phew!

Question of the day: How many times a week do you work out?

Anywhere between three and five workouts per week is good with me! I like my scheduled rest days. 🙂

 Posted by on March 4, 2016
Feb 232016
 

Whew, I had a rough morning yesterday!

I woke up at 5:15 am ready to hit the ground running with a healthier day, and after getting dressed and walking Jack I headed out the door for a 6:15 spin class at Reformation Fitness. After driving over there and parking, I walked up to the door only to discover that it was locked.

There was a sign on the door saying they keep the door locked during non-peak hours, and you should check your class confirmation email for how to get in (there was a key pad next to the door, so I thought maybe you had to enter a code?). I had been to Reformation Fitness for a morning spin class before and didn’t remember this happening, but I checked my email on my phone anyway to see if there was a code for the key pad. Nope. I stood around awkwardly for a few minutes watching the minutes tick closer to the class start time, and was so confused.

Thankfully one of the employees from Reformation came to the rescue and unlocked the door, and she asked if I was there for the 6:30 HIIT or TRX class. Hmm – no, I’m here for spin at 6:15? I double checked my ClassPass reservation and saw that while yes, it was at 6:15, it was actually at 6:15 pm. Ahhh!!

On Sunday when I was booking my class, I used the ClassPass website instead of the app, which has a new feature that recommends classes for you based on your previous classes. I saw spin at 6:15, which I know is a class I’ve taken before, so I signed up. Oops. I guess I should have looked at the class listing more carefully!

Luckily, the lady who let me in was very accommodating and she let me sign up for a 6:30 am TRX class instead. It was also really lucky that I wore my regular sneakers, since a lot of times when I take spin I wear my comfy Uggs and then change into my spin shoes right before class. Crisis averted!

I was then led into the TRX studio, where I sat and looked at my phone for 15 minutes while I waited for class to begin. I tried not to think about that extra 15 minutes of sleep I could have gotten. Sigh.

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Soon enough our instructor Erika arrived and walked us through our workout for the day!

We began with four minutes of as many rounds as possible of 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, and 10 squats. Then we rowed 850 meters on the rower. Truthfully, I started hating that rower after a while. Get me off of that thing! We also did a couple of planks and side planks to finish off the warm up.

Next it was time for our circuit of the day! Erika had us complete three rounds of the following:

    • 30 tuck jumps
      • Plank holds
    • 20 weighted jumping lunges
      • Up and down push-ups with feet in the TRX
    • 40 plank jacks with feet in the TRX
      • Weighted squats

This wound up being a partner exercise so while one person completed the first exercise (e.g., 30 tuck jumps) the other person would hold a plank. Then we would switch, until we’d each done the two exercises three times. After that, we moved on to the next set of two exercises (e.g., 20 weighted jumping lunges and push-ups).

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This was a really tough workout, it reminded me a bit of the Kayla Itsines workouts that I used to do/still do on occasion. I can’t say I missed the tuck jumps or weighted jumping lunges! Everything was also much harder with our feet in the TRX bands, which I’ve learned from past workouts at Urban Athletic Club. Phew. It was definitely a hard workout, and I’m actually glad that I mixed up the spin class time so I could try something new!

At the end of class during our stretch, I realized I didn’t pay my parking meter because the 6:15 spin class was supposed to end at 7:00 am (the time you have to start paying) and with the class confusion I forgot to go back out and pay it. Erika mentioned that the meter maids were outside right as we were wrapping up class, so I high-tailed it out of there and arrived at my car right before I got a ticket. Side note: I also packed myself a delicious salad for lunch about an hour later, and then left it on my counter. What a Monday!

Anyway, the TRX class at Reformation Fitness wound up being really great, and I will definitely be back. When my hair is sweaty and my face is red, you know it was a good one!

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By the way, if you want to use my ClassPass referral code, you can get $20 off your first month!

Question of the day: Please tell me about something stupid you’ve done recently to make me feel better. 🙂

 Posted by on February 23, 2016
Feb 122016
 

Hello there, and happy Fri-YAY! 🙂

Last night I attended a really fun fitness event with my friend Anne at Sculpt DC. It was called Sip, Sweat, Shop and included two 30 minute fitness classes (one spin class and one yoga class), some new fitness gear on sale from Reebok, and some free food and drinks from local vendors. Fun!

I arrived at Sculpt DC around 6:30 pm, and enjoyed seeing the Valentine’s Day decorations they had on display. Cute! Plus it looks like they have  a Valentine’s Day sale going on – hint hint to all the fellas out there!

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This was actually my fourth time at the Sculpt DC studio – I’ve been to their spin class once, yoga class once, and attended the DC ClassPass launch event there with a special rooftop bootcamp yoga class. It’s a great studio, and I love that it combines yoga and spinning, two fairly different workouts that I love!

For the event, I wound up wearing a new pair of workout tights that I bought recently from Fabletics!

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They’re really comfortable and thick (which has been great since it’s so cold out right now!) and they didn’t fall down at all during either workout. They also have a nice wide waistband that doesn’t dig into my sides, which I like. Plus how fun is the pattern at the bottom? 🙂 It sorta’ looks like a cow to me, but in a good way. Haha!

As soon as I put my coat away, Anne arrived and then it was time for our first class: 30 minutes of spin! I really liked how they divided up the evening into two shorter workouts; it was such a good teaser for a full class!

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Our instructor was very energetic (and funny!) and she led us though a fairly tough class that had me dripping in sweat in no time. It’s amazing how quickly you work up a sweat on the bike!

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(Anne’s workout tights are from Victoria’s Secret’s fitness line, for anyone wondering)

Anne and I both agreed that it was a really fun class, and the playlist was especially energizing. So fun!

Then after a couple minutes of down time where we browsed through some new fitness gear on display from Reebok, it was time for yoga! When we entered the yoga studio, we were surprised to find that the room was totally dark, and each mat had a few glow sticks set out for participants to make necklaces, bracelets, or just leave on the mats.

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This was the best picture I could get since it was so dark!

Our instructor explained that this class was all about depriving our usual senses (sight) and connecting with our inner selves. I really liked the idea of her class, but still took a minute to get a good glow stick selfie before really focusing on connecting with my inner self. 😉

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The class was challenging enough to feel like you were working on your body, but also very relaxing and zen. It was the perfect way to spend 30 minutes after the noisy and intense spin class! Our instructor also used two essential oils during the class: one that she rubbed on our lower backs that felt similar to icy hot, and one relaxation one that she sprayed in the air during savasana. Both of the oils added a little something special to the class, which I really enjoyed.

Soon enough class was over! Anne and I took another glow stick selfie as soon as the lights came on. 🙂

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What a fun class!

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Once our workouts were complete, we spent a few minutes trying some “spa water” from the juice company Jrink

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…and we also tried some delicious forbidden rice with salmon and beet/goat cheese salad from Galley Foods.

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I really liked the concept of Galley Foods, which delivers healthy and delicious meals all over the DC/MD/VA region. You can order the food in advance, and the chef-made meals come right to your door! I could totally see myself using this service on nights when Fabio isn’t home and I don’t feel like cooking anything for myself. All the food we tried was delicious!

All in all we had a lot of fun at the event, and I’m so thankful to Anne for inviting me!

Question of the day: When you order delivery, what kind of food do you usually get?

 Posted by on February 12, 2016
Feb 052016
 

Hi friends! Happy Friday!

This week I tried a new-to-me studio via ClassPass, the Dailey Method! Located right in the heart of the U St and 14th St corridor, this studio that opened last August combines both cycling and barre into a super effective one-hour workout. Based on their website, it looks like traditionally the Dailey Method is focused more on barre, and they combine moves from ballet, yoga, and pilates to deliver a great toning workout. The DC studio, however, has spin bikes as well, so they can offer a class that includes 40 minutes of cycling and 20 minutes of barre. What a great combination!

I arrived about 10 minutes before class, and was able to find plenty of street parking right outside the studio (then again, it was 5:50 in the morning and I bet parking would be a lot harder in the evenings). The studio is located a few blocks from the U St metro (it’s on the same block as Ben’s Chili Bowl) and is on the second floor above street level.

the dailey method DC

As I climbed the stairs, I noticed a sign that said I should consider the stairs a warm-up to my workout. Ha!

I also saw a sign for their new member deal – $99 for 4 weeks of unlimited cycling and barre. Not a bad deal!

the dailey method DC new member deal

The entry area was very inviting, and after being greeted by the woman at the front desk, I was asked to sign a quick waiver via iPad. From there I was shown to the cubbies where I could store my coat and shoes, and then I changed into my bike shoes and entered the studio space.

Upon entering, I noticed 25 bikes set up to the left,

the dailey method DC spin bikes

and a barre-style set up to the right. Cool!

the dailey method DC barre

I immediately hopped on a bike near the front and got warmed up. Once class started, we spent the next 40 minutes pedaling to some great music (our instructor Molly even played one of my absolute favorite songs, Love Again!). I will say that if I was coming to this class just for spin, I probably wouldn’t be super impressed. The bikes were really close to one another, and Molly seemed like maybe she wasn’t all that comfortable up there teaching the class. It’s not that she did anything weird or bad, I’ve just taken about 100 spin classes at this point and she didn’t seem to be as confident as some other instructors I’ve taken classes with. Either way, she led us through a bunch of sprints and climbs, and before we knew it, 40 minutes had passed and we were stretching on the bikes.

Molly told us to leave our shoes right by the bikes, and head over to the barre area. (Note: If you care about things like this, you might want to pay attention to what socks you wear, because unlike in a normal spin class, everyone is going to see them during the barre portion of class. I obviously was not thinking about this, and wore my favorite workout socks which are pretty worn out and even have a hole in the bottom. Oops.)

Once at the barre, Molly led us through a bunch more exercises that had us focusing on our core and technique. We held some planks and side planks, did a short arm sequence, worked on our obliques and lower abs, and concluded the workout with some stretching and yoga poses. Molly seemed way more comfortable when teaching the barre portion of class, so I’m guessing that’s just where her experience is. I’d be interested to see how their other instructors compare!

Overall it was a fantastic workout, and I definitely plan on going back. 🙂

Question of the day: Which do you like better, spin or barre?

 Posted by on February 5, 2016
Jan 272016
 

With mountains of snow piled up outside, it’s looking it might be a while before I can drive to any of my usual fitness classes. Luckily I have a gym right in my apartment building, but honestly I loathe going there.

Usually when I find myself in the gym, I wander around aimlessly from machine to machine and don’t really feel like I make the most of my time. I’ll hop on the treadmill or elliptical for a few minutes, think about how bored I am, and then go try out some of the machines, do some ab work, and get the heck out of there. Now that I’m so used to taking classes via ClassPass where an instructor tells me exactly what I should be doing, I am totally lost in the gym!

Nowadays when I head to the gym, I have to come prepared with a game plan.

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Also, when it comes to said game plan, I have to admit I’m a bit picky. Sure, there are millions of printable workouts out there in the interwebs, but I only like the ones that have pictures right next to the name of the movement. Does that make me weird? Lazy? I know what a burpee looks like even if there’s not a picture, but I just like having the photo there for reference and to clear up any questions I might have about my form. I can’t be the only one, right?

Either way, I have been reaching for printable workouts that have pictures to go along with them more and more this week, and since a bunch of you East Coast dwellers are probably snowed in like I am, I thought you might find it helpful to see where I go to find them.

1. POPSUGAR.com. I always see so many good printable workouts on POPSUGAR! While you can browse through all of the different types of workouts yourself, this post with 13 printable body weight workouts features a pretty good collection. While not all of them include pictures, a lot of them do! The POPSUGAR Fitness page on Pinterest also has a ton of good options. POPSUGAR is also a good source for general health and wellness news, and I like to browse around at everything else on their site whenever I have some free time.

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2. Greatist.com. Greatist.com is another one of my favorite places to find printable workouts! I like that some of their workouts – like the one I’ve included below – even include detailed descriptions and animated GIFs to walk you through the exercises. They also usually include some kind of explanation as to how these moves positively affect your body (like the benefits of HIIT workouts), which I always like reading about. Like POPSUGAR, Greatist has a lot of other interesting health and wellness news in addition to workouts.

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3. WorkoutLabs.com. In the past, I had only ever browsed pre-existing workouts from WorkoutLabs via their Pinterest page. However, I recently learned that you can create custom printable workouts on this site by dragging and dropping exercises that you like to create your own workouts. How cool! I think you have to sign up to be a member to access some of the features, but if you’re just looking for free workouts they still have tons of those too.

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4. Blogilates.com. Last year when I was recovering from foot surgery, I relied on the Blogilates YouTube channel for tons of pilates and low-impact workouts. I recently also discovered the printable workout section of the Blogilates website, which has lots of great options. I love that they are colorful and bright too; it makes me more inclined to actually do them. 😉

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5. Pinterest and Google. Ok, these two are pretty much no-brainers, but they are probably the easiest way to browse for exactly what type of printable workout interests you. Every time I see a printable workout on Pinterest, I pin it to my Fitness board for later. Then when I know I’m heading down the gym, I pull it up on the app and it’s so easy! Google is another good resource, especially if you’re looking for something specific.

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I hope these sources inspire some of you who are snowed in to get active in the gym, without the boredom!

Question of the day: Do you go to a gym? If so, what’s your routine there?

 Posted by on January 27, 2016
Dec 182015
 

Hello, hello! Is everyone excited for the weekend? I have a few fun holiday activities on the agenda, so I’m obviously pumped! Is today over yet?

Before we can get to the weekend fun, let’s take a look back at my workouts this week. I had some really good ones, and I am feeling the effects of them today. I’m actually pretty sore!

Monday

I worked from home on Monday since Jack had an appointment with the vet, so I slept in later than usual and then took Jack on a short (2ish mile) run. It was nothing crazy, but it got me moving which was nice! I haven’t been running much at all lately – I’ve been trying to make the most out of ClassPass since it’s so expensive – so whenever I can hit the pavement with my furry little guy it makes me happy.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning kicked off with a 6:00 am spin class at FlyWheel!

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I’m so happy that FlyWheel classes are on ClassPass because I absolutely love them! There is nothing better than sweating my butt off while zoning out to awesome music. I get so much energy and a surge of happy endorphins when a song with a great beat comes on, and we’re told to sprint our fastest. It’s the best!

I also love that the room is really dark so I don’t have to worry about how my sleepy eyes and messy hair looks at 6:00 am. It’s definitely a perk.

Tuesday’s class was with Richard, and although I’ve taken his class before, I found this one to be really challenging for some reason. Phew! It was a tough one.

Wednesday

On Wednesday morning I actually went back to FlyWheel, but this time for their FlyBarre class with my favorite instructor, Stephen!

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Stephen is just the best and I love his fun playlist and awesome energy. Of course, he kills me with his tough barre movements, but that’s what he’s supposed to do, right? He wound up pushing us through some really intensive inner and outer thigh work – ugh – but he had a great “Let it Go” remix from Frozen playing with a fast beat, so I was happy.

His arm sequence was also really tough, and I was proud of myself for sticking with my heavier set of weights for the whole thing and not dropping down. BTW, it’s crazy that the “heavier” weights were only three pounds, and my lighter set was only two! Barre weight training is just so different from any other type, and all those micro-movements really get you in the end!

Thursday

On Thursday, I joined my friends Anne, Kathleen, and Karen for a fun workout at our favorite spot, Urban Athletic Club!

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This week Graham taught our class, which was nice since I hadn’t taken one of his classes in months. I feel like his classes are a little more strength-focused, whereas our other favorite instructor, Teisha, tends to incorporate a little more cardio. Both instructors are awesome, and it’s good to switch things up. 🙂

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For Thursday’s workout, Graham had us moving from station to station and completing exercises like shuttle runs, push-ups, pull-ups, pistol squats, frog jumps, bear crawls, tricep work, goblet squats and more. Phew! It was a tough one!

For our “half time” exercise, Graham taught us how to do “Turkish get-ups,” which I had never tried before. They were pretty tough and I’m not sure I got the hang of them 100%, but it was good to practice! We wound up recreating part of the move in our group picture above. 🙂

As for today, I was originally planning to take another 6:00 am spin class – this time at Zengo – but last night I was feeling pretty sore and tired so I decided to make today an impromptu rest day. Waking up super early every day takes a lot out of you, and sleep is important too!

I’m thinking I’ll try to squeeze in another workout of some sort – either a run or a class – sometime this weekend, but we will see what happens. 🙂

Question of the day: Do you like taking structured classes or are you more of a do-your-own thing person?

 Posted by on December 18, 2015