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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 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.

NoExcusesBodyWeightBlast

[Image source for printing]

2. Greatist.comGreatist.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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[Image source for printing]

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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[Image source for printing]

4. Blogilates.comLast 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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[Image source for printing]

5. Pinterest and GoogleOk, 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.

KettlebellWorkout

[Image source for printing]

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 042015
 

Woohoo – we made it to Friday! Who’s ready for the weekend? Me, me, me! 🙂

I had some great workouts this week – some new and some not – so I thought today we could take a look back at them. Ready? Here we go!

Monday

To be honest, Monday’s workout was a total blur for me. I took a 6:00 am cycling class at one of my favorite studios – Biker Barre – and I think I may have been half asleep. Waking up that early after a long weekend was really tough, but I’m so glad I did it.

Recycled photo – it was definitely dark out when I got there this week!

Like usual, the class was up-beat with awesome music, and I got to just zone out on my bike. I left dripping in sweat and in a great mood, and I reconfirmed that I love starting off the week with a good spin class. It’s so nice that you don’t have to think too much, and you can just sweat your weekend out to some amazing music. 🙂

Tuesday

On Tuesday evening, I took a new-to-me yoga class at Sculpt DC. (I’ve taken their bootcamp-style yoga before and their spin class, but never their regular yoga.)

The best part was that this guy came with me!

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As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Fabio’s job had a “MOVEmber” initiative during the month of November where they offered a bunch of free fitness classes to employees. To wrap up the month-long initiative they had a free yoga class at Sculpt DC for employees and friends (i.e., me!).

The class itself was your basic yoga class, and it felt so good to stretch out!

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It’s actually been quite a while since I’ve taken a good yoga class, and since Sculpt DC is on ClassPass I’m thinking I’ll have to make my way over there for yoga more often.

Here’s the whole class, which includes a bunch of people from Fabio’s company. Thanks to this crew for letting me join their class!

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Side note: It was really funny to hear all the guys talking about the yoga class afterwords; they LOVED the savasana and also thought the class was way too hot for not being a “hot yoga” class. Haha! Apparently the group also took a barre class at some point during MOVEmber, and I totally would have paid money to see/hear their reactions!

Wednesday

On Wednesday evening, I took another yoga class, but this time it was more of a yoga bootcamp at Flow Yoga in Logan Circle. The class, called Flow Fit, was somewhat similar to my favorite Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga, but it included a lot more circuit exercises and a lot less yoga. In fact, the only thing really yoga related in the class was that we were in a yoga studio and working out barefoot on yoga mats. I don’t think we did one child’s pose, downward dog, or warrior one, two, or three. Instead we worked a lot with dumbbells and resistance bands, and completed a bunch of body-weight exercises.

Since I had just done yoga the night before I was totally fine with/happy about the style of this class, but I think I would have been disappointed if I was looking forward to a real yoga class. Either way, the style of the class was a lot of fun and I can definitely see myself going back.

(Sorry for the lack of pictures for this class, BTW. I wound up getting there a few minutes late and had to lay my mat in the middle of the room instead of along the sides like everyone else. Meaning everyone was staring at me I was right in front of everyone. Welcome to my worst nightmare, which was 100% my fault. UGH. Hence, no sneaky pictures of the studio were possible.)

Thursday

Yesterday morning, I joined my friends Anne and Kathleen for another killer workout at Urban Athletic Club. How festive are their Christmas lights along the workout board?

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I know I say this every week, but these classes continue to be among my favorites – they are just so tough! Our instructor for the day, Teisha, led us through a butt-kicking workout that involved shuffle drills on the turf, plank walks on the TRX, deadlifts, lunges, goblet squats, and much more. Her workouts are so challenging, but the variety and constantly changing movements makes the class fly by. If you are in the DC area and haven’t checked out these classes yet, you’re missing out!

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Anne & Kathleen 🙂

Overall I’d say this week was pretty successful in terms of workouts. I’m not planning to do too much real exercising over the weekend, but I know I’ll be walking all over NYC tomorrow so that will be a pretty active rest day.

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

I usually aim for four “real” workouts each week, and then I try to include some active rest days. Sometimes I only get in three workouts though, and that’s ok too!

 Posted by on December 4, 2015
Oct 302015
 

Hi friends! Despite the busy work schedule, I’ve actually had a really nice week! Here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to.

1. We’ve been eating some delicious meals. Last week I got my first delivery from Washington Green Grocer, which came with goodies like eggplant, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, radishes, cabbage, apples, and more. In order to use everything up, I got a little creative with this week’s meal plan and tried out some new recipes.

First up was a delicious sweet potato and acorn squash soup!

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It was actually really easy, and was oh-so perfect for fall. Plus it used up some of the sweet potatoes and the acorn squash! Win! I’m planning to share the recipe with you all soon, so be on the lookout for that.

On another day, I made these slow-cooker beef tacos with a slaw made from cabbage and radishes.

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Truthfully, I had very low expectations for this recipe and thought it would wind up being bland, but it was fantastic! The beef had so much flavor, and since it cooked in the crockpot it was really easy too. Cabbage? Check. Radishes? Check. So far so good!

Up next was the eggplant, which, again, I was not excited about. Honestly, I’m just not a fan of eggplant. I don’t like the way it tastes! Luckily this recipe for eggplant Parmesan involves breading it and smothering it in homemade tomato sauce, melty cheese, and fresh basil, and I’m pretty sure a rubber shoe would taste good when cooked that way.

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This meal was delicious (though not exactly healthy…) and I was super impressed! Here’s my wedge.

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Someone else was interested in it too! 😉

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The other good thing about this recipe is that it made a ton (even after I cut the recipe in half!) so Fabio has plenty of leftovers for when I’m out of town next week.

Overall, I’d say we had some really tasty meals this week, and did a good job at using up our produce! I absolutely hate throwing food away, so I’m really glad we were able to use everything up.

2. The World Series has taken over our house. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you probably know Fabio is a huge baseball fan. He played the sport during his entire childhood up until college, and to this day he plays once a week on a competitive softball team. Although Fabio is a die-hard New York Yankees fan (he had season tickets from 1995-2009), he also grew up in Queens and worked as a ball boy for the New York Mets for a while in high school. (He got to work for the Yankees some too.)

Of course this means that we he has been watching all the World Series games this week, and has even gotten Jack on board. This is one of Jack’s favorite toys right now!

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Then earlier this week, Fabio texted his old boss at the Mets and asked if they needed any help with the World Series, and, what do you know, they did! As I type this (on Thursday night), Fabio is on his way up to New York where he’ll be working as a bat boy for the World Series games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you happen to be watching any of the games this weekend, keep an eye out for him in the dugout and on the field!

And, although I’m sad he’s not here on the last few days before I leave for California, I’m pretty proud of him for getting this opportunity. Go Fabio! 🙂

3. I meal-prepped breakfast this week, and it was awesome. On Sunday I took some extra time to make a batch of these egg muffin cups, and they turned out great!

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This particular one had eggs (duh), cheddar cheese, breakfast sausage, bell peppers, cilantro, and a finely diced jalapeño pepper. So good! The other variation that I made just had bacon and cheese, and it was another hit. Both Fabio and I loved having these on hand this week!

Of course they were a little small, so I liked pairing my egg “muffin” with a banana.

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BTW, my bananas were perfectly ripe this week, which is always a nice bonus. I’m such a picky banana eater, and all the ones I had this week were on point! Ok, banana tangent = over.

4. Workouts were great this week too! In addition to the spin class at Zengo that almost made me cry
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I went for one run with Jack (in the rain – bleh – but it was still nice), and then on Thursday I hit up my favorite Urban Athletic Club class with Anne!

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This time around we tried a new-to-me instructor, Teisha, and she was legit. Next time I take her class I’m definitely going to ask about her background; it was clear she knew what she was doing, and by her physique I’m thinking she must have played some collegiate sport like track or basketball. She was great!

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I’ve also set my ClassPass “flex” location to LA so I can hopefully try out some new classes while I’m there, even though I know full well that the chances of me having enough spare time to do so are slim. I mean come on, we’re having 6:00 am staff meetings! Blerg! I’ll still try though!

Alright friends, that’s all I have for you today! I’m not sure what my posting schedule will look like next week from California, but you know I’ll check in when I can! Have a great weekend, and happy Halloween!

Question of the day: How often do you try new recipes?

P.S. I’m planning to get my haircut around lunchtime today. I’m thinking about doing something like this, but would love any suggestions!

 Posted by on October 30, 2015
Oct 212015
 

Before I joined ClassPass, I was pretty intimidated when it came to trying out a new fitness class, and I felt much more comfortable sticking with the same old routine. Maybe it’s the “right” clothes that everyone else seems to know to wear. Maybe it’s the ladies who see each other in class every morning and know about each other’s husbands and kids. Maybe it’s the instructors who are used to seeing the same faces every day, and aren’t always overly welcoming to newcomers. Whatever it is, there’s just something slightly scary about entering a brand new studio where tons of other fit men and women know exactly what they’re doing when you don’t even know where the bathroom is or how to use the lockers. Even as a relatively fit person, I think taking a new class all by myself can be really intimidating!

However now that I’ve been a member of ClassPass for quite some time, I’ve learned that visiting a new studio doesn’t have to be scary (especially if you do a little research beforehand), and it’s totally worth getting out of your comfort zone because you just might find a class you love.

Before ClassPass I hadn’t really dabbled in spin classes, and I remember feeling so lost and overwhelmed during my first one. I’ve now taken a ton of spin classes, and feel much more comfortable entering a brand new class all by myself. Today I thought I would put together some of my thoughts on what to know before taking a spin class in case anyone else out there wants to try spinning/cycling, but feels a little lost.

Also let me know if you guys find this post interesting and I will put together my thoughts on other classes like barre, yoga, and bootcamp. It can be a little mini series!

Ok, so here’s what to know before going to a spin class.

1. Research the studio. Once you’ve found a spin class you want to take, research the studio to make sure you’re aware of important details. I almost always Google a new studio before going to see if I can find any reviews or special tips about parking, hidden entrances, etc. If you’re feeling nervous, it’s also a good idea to call the studio before your class to ask whether you need bike shoes, whether you have to pay to rent them, whether there are showers, etc. I’ve totally done this before, and the people on the phone have always been really helpful. It’s worth noting here that while most studios have pedals where one side works with regular sneakers and the other side has clips for bike shoes, not all of them do. Some studios only have clip options, which is why doing your research is so important. If you don’t have bike shoes, you can usually rent them at the studio for a couple of dollars. Lastly, make sure you know how far away the studio is and how you’re going to get there.

2. Research spin basics. When I took my first “real” spin class, I had no idea how to set up my bike or clip my bike shoes into the pedals. I had taken a spin class years before at Gold’s Gym (it was Fitness First back then), but it wasn’t even close to a regular class, and I remember feeling like a total doofus during the real thing. As soon as I signed up for my next class, I hopped onto YouTube and watched some videos about how to set up a bike (this video is good – I usually just make sure the seat is in line with my hip) and how to clip into pedals (this video is also good – the key is to slide your foot down into the clip. It helps to look at the clip on the bottom of your shoe, and then look at the clip on the pedal). With this knowledge in mind, I felt much more prepared for my next class.

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[Source]

3. Arrive early. When I arrived at my first spin class five minutes early (i.e., 5:55am for a 6:00am class!) I found that everyone was already on their bikes warming up, which added even more stress to my already intimidated mindset. For whatever reason, people always arrive at spin classes absurdly early, and I’ve found that doing so myself makes me feel more prepared for class as well. Getting to class 10-15 minutes early gives you enough time to change into bike shoes (if needed), put your stuff in a locker, and set up your bike so it’s comfortable. Getting there early also allows you time to ask the instructor for help setting up your bike if you need it, and time to wander around reading the numbers on each bike so you find the right one (most studios assign you to a specific bike, and if you don’t know what order they’re in you can waste a lot of time wandering around looking for your number). I’ve also been to classes where they shut the door and turn off the lights right at the time when class starts, and then they don’t let anyone else in once the door closes. You also really don’t want to be that person who comes in late and has to set up their bike in the dark, so just get there early!

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4. Let go and have fun! During class it can be easy to think that your neighbor is judging you and watching how often you reach down to turn your resistance dial or how fast you’re pedaling. Something about being in close quarters with someone else who is working out as hard as you are just brings out the competitive side in people! But here’s a newsflash: no one cares. They won’t care if you skipped a quarter turn on your dial or if you slowed down during the last 30 seconds of a sprint. It’s dark in those classes for a reason – you’re supposed to listen to the music and the instructor and do your own thing. Have fun with it!

Questions of the day: Do you have any tips for someone who’s new to spin classes? Did you like this post, and would you like to see one on other classes?

 Posted by on October 21, 2015
Sep 242015
 

Hi friends! I’ve been working from home for most of this week (Tuesday – Thursday) because the Pope is in town! Traffic and the metro is supposed to be crazy, so most of DC is working remotely. And you know what that means?? I’ve been spending lots of time in PJs with a makeup-free face. 🙂

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Plus a furry working companion!

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How sweet are my new PJ pants that my dad brought me back from Alaska? Of course they’re not as great as actually going to Alaska, but I had enough traveling of my own lately. 🙂 Fabio is working from home too, so we’ve been having a lot of fun! Can I work from home every day?

On Monday I did make my usual trek into the office, where I decided to take advantage of our office gym! I had packed my gym stuff up the night before, and I guess I grabbed the wrong shirt because when I put it on it was way too big.

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Fabio and I have that same shirt from our first half marathon, so I always wondered if I would mix them up one day. Well, I did. Womp womp. Oh well, it still got the job done.

For my workout, I made sure to print something out ahead of time because I knew otherwise I would spend the hour wandering around aimlessly and not actually get a good workout in. I wound up running one mile on the treadmill as my warm-up, and then completed the following:

PopSugarFullBody

[Printable version here]

It was a good one, and didn’t take too long either. After my workout I headed into the locker room to take a quick shower, when I realized I had forgotten a towel! Ah! I wound up bringing about 10 paper towels into the shower room with me and using those. Ugh. Not fun. I won’t make that mistake again! It was pretty comical though. 😉

Then on Tuesday I took full advantage of not having to commute to work by taking a 7:00 am class with Anne. Usually 7:00 am classes are too late for me if I want to get to work on time, so this was such a luxury!

We decided to try out a Metabolic Resistance Training class at a new-to-us studio in Georgetown, Definitions, and we were so impressed! The class was recommended to us on ClassPass based on classes we’ve taken previously. I love that new feature!

When we arrived at the large office building that houses the gym, a Definitions staff member was waiting for us in the lobby with an iPad for us to sign in. Then he escorted us to the gym entrance and introduced us to the owner, who showed us all the features of the gym. I hate when I get to a new gym and I have to wander around looking for everything, so I definitely appreciated the hospitality! No one knew we were bloggers either, so this is how they treat all their customers. 🙂

Then we were led to our workout space for the morning, a rather small but efficient room that totally took advantage of its small size. They had TRX equipment looped on to random ceiling poles and resistance bands clipped on to the shelves. So smart!

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Then our instructor for the day, DeShay, led us through an awesome workout! Here’s what we did:

Circuit 1* 

  • Station 1: row, lunge with dumbbell row
  • Station 2: ab roll ups with a sandbag, pushups with a band/plyo pushups
  • Station 3: sandbag shoulder lifts, side-shuffle

Circuit 2*

  • Station 1: row, squat jacks with medicine ball
  • Station 2: step ups, resistance band pulls
  • Station 3: battle rope, TRX squat jumps

*Complete each exercise for 45 seconds, with 15 seconds rest in between. Repeat each exercise three times before switching stations.

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Phew! What a tough workout! Anne and I were both red-faced and sweaty by the end.

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Those battle ropes are harder than they look!

We had such a great time and will absolutely be back! Definitely check this place out if you’re in the area. 🙂

Yesterday I enjoyed a nice rest day (although Fabio and I did take Jack for an extra long evening walk) and then today I was back at it with another ClassPass class!

This time I checked out the cycling class at Sculpt DC. I had been there once before for an awesome rooftop yoga class for the launch of ClassPass DC, but I had never tried their cycling class.

When I arrived, I was treated to this beautiful sunrise.

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So pretty! Also, the streets downtown were totally deserted, which I found weird. I guess everyone was working from home like me, or else congregating wherever the Pope was scheduled to be? Weird.

I thought the class was pretty good, but I didn’t like it as much as some of my other favorite DC cycling classes (FlyWheel, Biker Barre, Wired, Revolve, etc.). The instructor was really nice, but her music didn’t totally wow me, and some of her moves – while innovative – weren’t really for me. For example, during one song she turned off all the lights and encouraged us to do whatever we wanted. Luckily she picked a song with a great tempo for this, so I just cycled along to the beat. I didn’t really enjoy all that freedom though, and couldn’t help thinking that the reason I go to a spin class is for instruction. I can cycle however I want from the gym in my building.

Still, I liked the studio a lot and am planning to go back soon to try again. I was still a sweaty mess when I left, which is always a good sign!

Food!

Ok, now let’s talk about my meals lately. On Monday it was cold and rainy, so I brought back an old favorite: oatmeal!

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For those who don’t remember (it’s been ages since I’ve made this, after all) here’s how I make my oatmeal: mash up a ripe banana, add 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup milk, 1 egg white (when I feel like it), vanilla and cinnamon to a bowl. Mix well and heat for one minute in the microwave. Stir, and heat for one minute more. Let it sit for a few minutes to thicken up/cool off, and then add toppings! I like a lot of toppings so I usually go for some kind of nut, nut butter, and dried fruit. De-lish!

I also made a really delicious egg scramble for us this morning which included farm-fresh eggs, swiss chard, tomatoes, onions, jalepeno (from my mom’s garden!), and black beans. I topped it off with avocado, green onions, and cilantro.

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Such a tasty breakfast! I wish I had time to make this every day.

I’ve also been munching on a ton of apples lately; I got some really tasty ones in my Relay Foods order on Monday and now they’re almost gone. 🙁 Apples are just so good right now!

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Of course you know what goes well with apples? Cheese. 🙂

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I think our time in Paris spoiled us a little bit because Fabio and I have been wanting cheese and wine every day. While I definitely don’t think it would be good to get into the habit of doing this, I don’t have a problem with enjoying some cheese and an alcoholic beverage after work every once in a while. It makes us both so happy!

For dinner on Monday I made a big pot of homestyle chicken noodle soup with plenty of fresh herbs on top. Like I said earlier, it was a really gross rainy day on Monday so this was perfect.

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Having leftover soup for lunch hasn’t been bad either!

Then on Tuesday Fabio offered to make dinner which – no surprise – wound up being steak. I cooked up some black beans, brown rice, and quick guacamole to go with it.

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Yum!

Aaaand now we’re all caught up. 🙂

Question of the day: What did you eat for dinner last night?

 Posted by on September 24, 2015
Aug 212015
 

Helloooo and happy Friday! (Or Fri-yay as I keep seeing on the interwebs 😉 lol.) How did everyone’s week go? Mine was great, and while I initially planned on writing a Favorite Things Friday post today to tell you all about it, I realized that most of my post would have been about my fitness and food adventures, so it actually makes more sense to just chat about those instead. Here’s a peek at my workouts and eats lately!

Workouts

As I mentioned earlier this week, I put my ClassPass membership on hold for my August cycle since I’ll be traveling for almost two weeks and my membership is pretty expensive. Instead I picked up my old Kayla Itsines workouts and completed two of those this week – one for legs & cardio and one for arms & abs. They’re definitely still a challenge!

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Sweaty selfie FTW

I also learned (remembered?) that I definitely need something to keep myself accountable when it comes to working out. You would think that after four+  years of being very active in terms of fitness this wouldn’t still be an issue, right? Wrong.

As some of you may remember, I keep a dry-erase calendar on my refrigerator where I write down the workouts I’m going to be doing all week. I always draw a little box under the workout and after I complete it I get so much joy from checking off the box. When I skip a workout I feel obligated to make it up sometime during the week just so I can check that box off. The calendar works great for holding me accountable and sticking to my schedule.

Well, I sort of got away from using my calendar during the last six months or so that I’ve been using ClassPass. That’s ok because ClassPass makes it easy to log in to the website or app and see everything that I’m signed up for in one place, so I haven’t felt the need to use my dry-erase calendar in a while. Plus that $20 missed class fee for ClassPass totally keeps me accountable!

Then this week I obviously didn’t have my ClassPass schedule to fall back on and I hadn’t written any workouts on my calendar, so I found myself sleeping in and making excuses to do my workout another morning or another time.

What the heck? Have I learned nothing over these last four years?! I still wound up doing the workouts, but I didn’t do them when I said I was going to and wound up completing the abs and arms routine after work one evening when I was much less motivated. Even though I still got plenty of workouts in this week, it never feels good to push back a workout just because you were being lazy. Oh well, lesson learned. This is why I have a stupid calendar on my fridge after all!

Ok, moving on.

Another good workout from the week was a run with my two favorite boys!

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Too bad they’re blurry here. 🙁

On Thursday morning,Fabio, Jack, and I tackled about 2.5 miles. Not a long run by any means, but it felt good to get sweating first thing in the morning. Our route also included a bunch of hills, so it was still a decent workout.

On Tuesday night we wound up finishing dinner pretty early and it was still nice out so we decided to go for a nice long walk! Walking counts as a workout, right? 😉 It was such a nice summer evening and we enjoyed a gorgeous sunset while walking around all the cute streets near our apartment.

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This week I also made it back to Urban Athletic Club for my favorite Urban Athlete class! I still have a bunch of classes at UAC left in my account from when I bought a package of 10 classes over the winter, so I plan to stop in at this gym a lot over the next month while my ClassPass is on hold. This time I joined my friends Anne and Kathleen for a 6:00 am class!

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It looks like Anne and Kathleen are just standing around here, but they’re actually mid air squat! 

It was tough as usual and we were all dripping in sweat by the end. I loooove this class! If you live in the area definitely check it out! (You can read some of my other reviews of the class here.)

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Sadly one of our favorite coaches, Andrew, will be moving to Texas next week. We will miss you, Andrew! Thanks for all the great workouts!

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Eats

As for food this week, we’ve had some tasty meals! On Monday we had blackened chicken with fried green tomatoes.

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Not the prettiest plate, I realize. We need some color!

After taking home a bunch of green tomatoes from my mom’s house last weekend, I wanted to figure out something fun to do with them. I really liked this dinner combo, and thought the fried green tomatoes turned out great! I’m not sure I’d really go out of my way to make fried green tomatoes again, but since I had some green tomatoes to use up this was a perfect solution. Yum! Fabio was a fan too.

Another night we had one skillet Tuscan chicken. I wound up adding cauliflower and spinach to the dish since we had a bunch to use up, and I think that might have been a mistake. There were just too many textures going on!

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Overall I liked this dish, but next time I will leave out all the add-ins and add a few more spices!

On Wednesday I was on my own for dinner since Fabio had a work happy hour and volleyball. I wound up making a version of these skinny twice baked potatoes (made with smashed cauliflower) but I replaced the broccoli with spinach and added some cannellini beans for added protein.

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I wound up making one big potato and I had half of it for dinner and saved the other half for Fabio. It came out really well and I thought this was a perfect dinner for a night at home by myself. Plus the melted white cheddar cheese on top didn’t hurt either. 😉

Last but not least, we enjoyed some delicious cheese raviolis with bolognese sauce that Fabio brought home from New York last weekend (I think they might have been from Vitamia in New Jersey actually?).

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Topped with fresh mozzarella, of course! 🙂 These raviolis were SO good and Fabio and I both practically licked our plates clean. De-lish.

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

Question of the day: What’s the best thing you ate this week? Best workout?

 Posted by on August 21, 2015
Jul 212015
 

Hello friends! My workout on Friday was pretty amazing and since I never popped in to tell you about it, I thought now would be a good time for an update.

Why so great, you ask? My Friday morning began with an awesome November Project workout! In case you’ve never heard of November Project, it’s a movement that began in Boston as a way to stay in shape during the cold winter months (hence the name, November Project). Since I first attended a November Project workout last February, it’s gained a huge following and is now year round! It’s a completely FREE fitness group that takes place all over the country (a list of other cities with November Projects can be found on their website).

DC’s November Project meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and various locations. On Mondays they meet at Meridian Hill park (still need to check that out), on Wednesdays they meet at the Lincoln Memorial steps, and on Fridays they switch up the location and make an announcement on their blog and social media about where they’re going to be.

You can read about my past experiences with November Project at the Lincoln Memorial here, though things looked a bit different since I went last February. Yuck, snow.

Luckily the weather was much nicer this time. 😉

Anyway! It had been ages since I had dropped by a free November Project workout, and my friend Dan had heard about it from some friends recently and wanted to try it out. I suggested we go on a Friday to see how the workout compares to running the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (which gets a bit redundant, in my opinion) and to have a shot at checking out a new spot in DC. On Wednesday I saw that Friday’s workout would be held at Upshur park (north of Columbia Heights), and at 6:30 am Dan and I joined the crowd for our free workout.

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Note: All photos from this point on come from November Project since I didn’t carry my camera around with me. 😉 Thanks, NP!

Our workout began in the usual November Project way – lots of jumping up and down, shouting “good morning” to one another, and hugging strangers.

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Our leader for the day, Steve, happened to be celebrating his birthday on Friday so we all joined in for a gigantic group hug.

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Then we lifted him up crowd-surfing style and sang happy birthday to him. As one does.

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Haha!

After that it was time to get moving! The day’s workout had us running around to various stations and completing a number of exercises at each location. Here’s the breakdown:

  • The soccer field: At the soccer field we had to find a partner and switch off between bear crawls and speed skaters. While one person bear-crawled down the field, the other had to do speed skaters. Then we switched!

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  • The basketball courts: We had another partner activity at the basketball courts; one person had to do suicide sprints all the way down the court while the other partner held a plank. Then we switched again!

 

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  • The playground: Every time we ran past the playground (which was located in between the soccer field and the basketball courts) we had to do 10 tricep dips on various benches, tables, or low walls. I saw two guys do their tricep dips on a see-saw, which looked so hard because they had to coordinate their timing and balance. I stuck to a picnic table bench. 🙂

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Dan and me!

Dan was my partner for the soccer field and basketball court exercises, and I would estimate that we completed four or five rounds of each station (in about 40 minutes). It was a great workout and I was definitely sweaty by the end. Phew!

This was such a great, fun, and FREE workout, and I 100% recommend it to anyone who has November Project near them. I especially liked that the Friday workout was so varied (as opposed to the Wednesday ones) so I know I will be back soon!

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Thanks for getting me out there again, Dan!

Question of the day: Choose your favorite and least favorite – planks, sprints, tricep dips, bear crawls, speed skaters. (Optional: sweaty hugs with strangers!)

 Posted by on July 21, 2015
Jun 302015
 

Hi there! I didn’t have anything specific to chat about with you all today, so I thought this would be the perfect time for a blog survey. I always like reading them on other blogs, so hopefully you’ll enjoy this survey too! Here are some of my responses to a fitness survey I stumbled upon from Tina’s blog way back in the day.

Let’s go!

1. Five fitness items I can’t live without

  • CamelBak Eddy Water Bottle – This is by far my favorite water bottle and I take it around with me everywhere. I’ve tried a couple of other bottles like the Contigo Jackson Water Bottle and although they are nice, for some reason I always come back to my Camelbak. Something about the straw just makes it so enjoyable to drink! I even drink from this bottle when I’m not working out, like when I’m feeling sick (i.e., hungover) and after my foot surgery when I wasn’t very mobile. Love it!

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  • No Crease Hair Ties – I have really fine hair, so finding hair ties that stay put for me can sometimes be a challenge. A couple of years ago I discovered these “No Crease” hair ties, and they’ve worked great! I love that I can wrap them around my ponytail an extra time without them snapping, and it doesn’t hurt that they come in tons of cute colors and patterns too. hairties
  • Apple headphones – I have to admit I have a weirdly passionate relationship with these headphones. It’s like they are a part of me or something, and I get really upset when I forget to bring them with me somewhere. In addition to wearing them while running and working out, I wear them when I walk Jack, when I walk to and from work, and when I’m sitting at work. Basically, I wear them all day. They’re the best. appleheadphones
  • Level Terrain FlipBelt – I wear this belt every single time I run, and I also wear it for activities like biking, kayaking, and hiking. It’s so nice that it stores all my important stuff (cell phone, keys, credit card, driver’s license) and isn’t bulky or annoying. I’ve run multiple half marathons in this belt and it’s awesome!flipbelt
  • Good shoes – Everyone has their own preference when it comes to shoes, and now that I’ve slpurged on a really good pair (I have the Brooks Glycerin 12s) I can’t imagine going back to a cheaper, lower quality pair. Having good shoes that fit you well and make you excited to work out makes such a difference!

2. On my fitness bucket list

I have two big fitness bucket list items: run a full marathon and complete a triathlon. Some days I think running a full marathon is crazy. It’s not great for your body and I have struggled to complete some of my half marathons, so how would I ever run twice as far? Sometimes I think a full just isn’t for me, but then other days I hear people talk about it and see their pictures from races, and I know I can do it. I just have to have the mindset and motivation, which is not really in my cards right now. Maybe next year?

The same thing goes for a triathlon – while I would really love to do one someday (and one a little longer than just a sprint), I know I need some serious motivation to make it happen. Now is not the time, but I’d still love to do it someday! (Pssst…read about that time last year that I got really close to signing up for one here.)


3. Must-have tech tools 

I have two “tech tools” that I love when it comes to fitness: my Polar Heart Rate Monitor and my Garmin Forerunner GPS watch. I love having the GPS watch to track my runs, and it always gives me a little boost to see my pace and mileage displayed right there on the screen (although the RunKeeper app does a great job in a pinch!).

The Polar Heart Rate Monitor is good for every other type of fitness activity from bootcamps to barre to CrossFit, and I like being able to see how much I’m pushing myself compared to my other workouts. I highly recommend both of these gadgets, although I hear the new Apple watch supposedly does all of those things.


4. Top exercise gear

When it comes to exercise gear, I used to just wear whatever old clothes I had laying around that I didn’t mind sweating in. Old t-shirts? Yep. Oversized tanks? You betchya’. Then somewhere along the way I started investing in better quality fitness gear (probably thanks to my Aunt CC showing me the wonders of Lululemon) and now I swear by it.

A few months ago I started a VIP membership with Fabletics (you can read more about that here) and now each month I update my fitness collection with one fun new piece. It’s awesome, and I 100% recommend it. I have so many cute things now!


5. Motivational mantra

I’m not sure I have one specific motivational mantra because they change depending on what I’m doing and how I’m feeling. Sometimes on long runs I will tell myself to “just keep going” or make it to a certain landmark before I’m allowed to stop to walk (usually by the time I reach the landmark I set a new landmark for myself, and I keep doing this until I’ve made it through my whole run). Here are some other mantras that I like and have pinned over the years:

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I really like these two quotes too, even though they aren’t really “mantras.”

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7. Next big exercise goal

…I actually don’t have one! After so many months of not being able to do any high-impact exercise after my foot surgery, I am just enjoying being able to exercise! Currently I take about 3 classes on ClassPass per week and run when I feel like it, and that it just fine by me. I’m sure I’ll sign up for another race at some point or maybe define a more official goal (e.g., do an unassisted pull-up), but for now I am just enjoying my fitness adventures. I am really happy with where I am fitness-wise, and I don’t intend to change that anytime soon!

8. Favorite cardio exercise

Running. I also really like burpees!

9. Favorite strength move

Push-ups. I just feel so good when I can bust out a bunch of them, and I notice an immediate difference in my upper body after.

*Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way, though some affiliate links are included. Thank you, as always, for your support.*

Questions of the day: Where do you get your workout gear? What’s your favorite cardio move? Strength?

 Posted by on June 30, 2015