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The One Where I’m a Yogi

9 May

So after my big “decision” to become more food-oriented on this blog, I have not made mention of any of my recent workout habits. Oddly enough, right around the time I decide to talk more about food, my exercise habits changed pretty dramatically. Here’s what a typical week used to look like:

Monday – Body Pump after work

Tuesday – Spin or boot camp class after work

Wednesday – See Monday

Thursday – See Tuesday

Friday – Rest

Saturday/Sunday – potential treadmill or HIIT workout at the gym in Stefano’s apartment.

When I decided to commit to Chobani’s 10 for 10 goals back in March, my first goal was to attend yoga more regularly and get on my yoga mat at least twice a week.

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Well, once I got into it I was addicted. I loved the feeling of being relaxed yet energized and even when I would go into class feeling sluggish and unmotivated I always left feeling challenged and refreshed. In short, it was everything a good workout is supposed to be. The problem? I felt guilty because I didn’t consider yoga a real “workout”. Sure it was beneficial to my body and made me feel great, but up until then it was not a workout if I didn’t get my sweat on.

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After a few weeks of grudgingly dragging myself to the treadmill or to classes I wasn’t excited about, I said “screw it”. I was getting so much more out of yoga than I was when I exercised and wasn’t looking forward to it. It was kind of like blogging: once it starts to feel like a chore, you shouldn’t do it anymore. So I ditched the spin and boot camp and now my weeks look something like this:

Monday – Evening yoga, Pilates, walk home (about 2.5 miles)

Tuesday – AM walk to gym, AM yoga, PM yoga, walk home

Wednesday – Walk to work, PM yoga, Zumba, walk home

Thursday – AM walk to gym, AM yoga, PM yoga, walk home

Friday – Rest

Saturday/Sunday – 5k on treadmill in Stefano’s gym

I started supplementing yoga with a brisk walk to and from work and home, which is about 5 miles round-trip. It adds a nice bit of cardio to my day, but it’s productive and I’d rather do an hour walk while on the phone with my mom than crank out a half hour of jogging on the treadmill. Overall, it’s many more hours of exercise, but it’s all fairly low impact and I am noticing how much better my body feels. Before, my body would feel simply exhausted by the end of the week and I felt as if I wasn’t giving it rest. Now, even though I’m moving around for about 3.5-4 hours a day, I feel rejuvenated in the mornings and there aren’t any aches and pains in my joints and muscles.

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Is it a bigger time commitment? Yes, but I am enjoying how I am passing my time and I am beyond thrilled with how my yoga practice is progressing. In the past two months I have been able to stay in poses that I struggled with for ages (parsva bakasana, eka pada galavasana) and I can tell that my practice is expanding by leaps and bounds. I look forward to getting on my mat and I always leave feeling like it was an hour well spent.

I’ve also been enjoying the various outdoor yoga events on the National Mall. Lululemon and Down Dog Yoga hosted one a couple of weeks ago for the 5th anniversary of Down Dog Yoga studio and this past weekend was a 2-hour event at the Constitution Gardens to culminate the end of DC Yoga week.

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Am I burning as many calories as I used to? No. But I am getting stronger (your own body weight is an amazing strength training mechanism) and I haven’t gained any weight, so I am going to stick with it until it no longer appeals to me.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the best exercise is the one you can maintain. On days that I get a craving for a run, I get on the treadmill or run outside. Feeling some weights? I’ll head to Body Pump. I love having options and it is freeing to know that I haven’t pigeon-holed myself into a prescribed or acceptable workout routine. I encourage you all to do the same.

For now, I am embracing my inner yogi and loving every moment of it.

Namaste!

Maximizing My Life with Jillian Michaels

25 Apr

If you follow any other DC-area bloggers, I apologize ahead of time because I’m betting you’re going to be overloaded with posts about Jillian Michaels’ ‘Maximize Your Life’ show from last night. I have only seen a couple of episodes of the Biggest Loser and I don’t own any of Jillian’s DVDs, so basically I’m the worst possible person to have gone to this show. Howwwwwever, my awesome friend Allison had an extra ticket and I had nothing else to do last night so we decided to go together.

No day is complete in Sara’s world without a ‘facepalm’ moment and mine yesterday was managing to lose the key to my lock at the gym. Guess who had to have her lock clipped and was subsequently late to her rooftop yoga session at the gym? Yup, I make myself proud. Luckily the people at my gym are rad and it was no biggie. After an awesome, arm balanced-filled yoga session on the rooftop (the weather was perfect and I started to get flying crow for the first time!), Allison and I walked over to Warner Theatre to maximize our lives.

IMG_2459[1]There were lots of different backgrounds of people there: thin people, overweight people, old people, kids – she really drew a wide audience. We got to see Melissa and Laney before the show started, too!

IMG_2463[1]Side note: the Warner Theatre has a grilled cheese bar. You choose between different kinds of cheeses and they grill the sandwiches for you. It was not lost on me that people were eating grilled cheese and drinking alcoholic beverages while seeing a show that was focused on losing weight.

IMG_2460[1]The Warner Theatre is a beautiful venue and I would definitely like to go there for a show soon – they had a good lineup of acts in the next couple of months so hopefully I’ll make it out there again soon!

IMG_2467[1]And then it was time for the show! Guys. Jillian Michaels is hilarious. Honestly, the best part about the show for me were all the entertaining, off the cuff comments she would make about the information she was presenting. She swears at the drop of the hat and gave the FDA “the finger” when she was describing the 56 different names that they came up with for sugar. I like her.

IMG_2468[1]Yes, I took notes at a Jillian Michaels show – I am a nerd. These were some of the key points I took away from her show.

  • Eat less, move more (can you believe that shit?): What was so great about this is that she prefaced this statement by saying, “I’m about to give you the Holy Grail of losing weight” and then followed it up by saying, “Can you believe that shit? It’s so simple, but I have made so much godda** money off of these two sentences.” And she’s right. The basic principle is SO simple. But she then went on to say that it was a challenge for myriad reasons and the second half of her show was about getting the motivation and support to make a big change in your life.
  • Turn on your bullshit meter: She used the example of ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ spray, which says that each serving has 0 calories. Yet, when she called the company up after looking at the ingredients (which includes sweet cream buttermilk), they told her that each container contained 1,200 calories. The reason they were able to get away with calling it zero calorie was because each serving (1.25 “sprays” – WTF?) was .9 calories. Since it’s technically under 1 calorie, they can legally get away with calling it ‘zero calorie’. As Jillian would say, “bastards” (I told you she swears a lot).
  • When the better choice is there for you, take it: This is where she gets realistic. She knows that you can’t eat organic and clean all the time, but make the healthiest choices possible in your situation. If there’s a salad and fruit available at the roadside restaurant where you stopped on your road trip, choose those instead of fries or onion rings. You don’t have to act like it’s the end of the world if you can’t get your 100% clean food, but make better choices when they’re available to you.
  • If you want to be a vegan, go with God – but this bi*** wants a hamburger: She has a much more entertaining way of explaining all these things that most people already know. She doesn’t condone eliminating entire food groups or macronnutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) and believes in moderation. However, she also acknowledges that each person is different and what works for some people may not work for others. This is my home run motto because in all aspects of life, I believe that one thing may not work for everyone but everyone can find something that works for them. Be it your eating habits or exercise choices, it’s all just a matter of getting out there and finding what works for you.

The majority of the “information” section of the show were things Allison and I know like the backs of our hands (Basal Metabolic Rate, looking at nutrition labels, the Dirty Dozen, etc.), but Jillian presents it in a way that’s relatable and entertaining (I guess that’s why they pay her the big bucks).

I am interested in reading about other attendees’ experiences, especially if they are more familiar with Jillian Michaels and her workout DVDs. If you have written about your experience, let me know so I can add your link to this post!

Allison and I ended up leaving at intermission because it was almost 9:30 and we both had early wake-up calls and we’re grandmas.

IMG_2465[1]Since we could walk part of the way together before splitting off to go our own separate ways, we had a good half hour or so to chitchat about the show and life in general on our way home. I told her about blackberry bushes and how shocked I was that people pay money for blackberries in the grocery store (they grow like weeds, literally, in Seattle) and she told me about cranberry bogs, which are all over the place in Massachusetts. I honestly had never heard of them before and I always wondered why Ocean Spray commercials showed people standing thigh deep in a pond full of cranberries. You learn something new every day!

It was great to see her before she leaves on her big vacation to Miami, especially since our weekly lunch date didn’t happen this week. That girl is seriously wonderful. One of my very favorite things about blogging are the connections I have made with people online that have turned into friendships – the HLB community is the best.

Food for Thought: Do you watch the Biggest Loser or own any of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs? Are you Team Jillian or Team Bob?

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 For 10

7 Mar

Don’t worry guys, I made it through the #snowquester (hashtag required). IMG_2153[1]

It’s funny because that picture was taken during the half hour or so in the morning that it actually snowed. The rest of the day it slushed – not quite cold enough for snow, but too cold for only rain.

Don't worry, it will be in the mid-60's by the weekend?

Don’t worry, it will be in the mid-60’s by the weekend?

So even though the weather was not as disastrous as everybody predicted, it was still not very pleasant outside and I was content to sit inside with my mug of tea after waking up at 6:15.

But then it hit noon.

And I got restless.

Then this happened:

IMG_2156[1]Yep, yours truly went for an outdoor run in that hot mess of a “storm”. I’m not sure who was more surprised, myself or Stefano, after I called him up to deliver the news. I can honestly say that this is the first time in my life that I have run outside in inclement weather. Cabin fever will do that to you? I honestly don’t know who I’m turning into.

The rest of the day was pretty average – hanging around the house, watching too many episodes of the Biggest Loser with roommates, and plenty of snacking.

One meal highlight was this ginormous salad that feature a whole avocado and a large portobello mushroom with a fried egg inside.

IMG_2159[1]Delicious does not even begin to describe. A friend of my roommate was over at the house and, upon seeing the size of my salad, bet me that I couldn’t finish it in one go. Oh, you poor naive girl. I killed the thing in about 5 minutes and her eyes looked like saucers when she saw the empty bowl. Should I be proud or ashamed?

Non-meal highlight: in bed by 9:30 PM, waking up at 7 AM. Why yes, #snowquester, I will take 9 1/2 hours of sleep.

10 for 10

So one of my very favorite companies, Chobani, posted a blog the other day that really intrigued me.

10for10_LOGOThey admitted that they were a little behind on the New Year’s resolution thing, but still wanted to set up some personal goals to achieve throughout the year. The challenge? Set one goal for each of the remaining months of 2013. They can be as simple as crossing a restaurant you’ve wanted to visit off your list or larger growth goals like applying for a new job or travel to a new country. I love this because I am an obsessive planner and I love having things to look forward to. What’s great about this is it breaks up the monotony of having one longgggg goal that you’re trying to achieve throughout the year and keeps it interesting by switching it up each month. Visit their site if you want to see what some of Team Cho’s goals are and share with the rest of those participating on Twitter by using the hashtag #10for10.

Sara’s 10 for 10

  • March: Get on my yoga mat at least twice a week (so far, so good!).
  • April: Drink my body weight in ounces of water per day (that’s going to be a doozy).
  • May:  Have a weekend picnic.
  • June: Update my resume/CV.
  • July: Keep up workout/eating habits while on vacation (I will be in Seattle for the first part of the month).
  • August: Take a trip to the beach.
  • September: Pretend I am a student and register for some kind of class.
  • October: Have a birthday party (I never do anything for my birthday).
  • November: Host a Friendsgiving.
  • December: Have $10,000 dollars saved by the end of the year.

Your turn! Share some of the things you’d like off your bucket list this year.

Plaid by Post

5 Mar

Good morning, darling readers! The sun is shining here in Washington and it is g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s. I left my house at 6:30 this morning to get to yoga and the sun was already up! I’m going to enjoy this until daylight savings time starts in a few days and we are back to morning darkness.

After my three mile run at the gym last night, I got to my doorstep and found this:

IMG_2137[1]My grandma had told me to keep an eye on the mail this week, but I totally forgot until I saw this box! You guys know how much I love mail, so I did a little happy dance and brought it inside.

tinafeyLove you, Tina ❤

What was inside (hint: not writing/read stuff, as the box would suggest)?

IMG_2138[1]A handmade robe!!! Grandma made me a gigantic, pink polar fleece robe a few years back (that I still wear to this day!), but this one is shorter and for warmer months when it gets a little chilly.

IMG_2142[1]I just love the pink and blue colors (great minds, Grandma!) and I am pretty much going to rocking it all over the house.

IMG_2148[1]The question is, can I get away with it at work? If anyone has figured out how to successfully wear yoga pants and bathrobes at a law office without being frowned upon by your co-workers, please contact me immediately.

My grandma is better than your grandmas. Just kidding, I’m sure they are darling, wonderful people – it’s in the Grandma Rule Book.

Yoga was wonderful this morning and was much more vinyasa-y than usual, so I worked up a bit of a sweat. Luckily, my desk is in Siberia, so I don’t have to force my post-workout stench on anybody. There’s a Pilates class at my gym tonight, but it doesn’t start until seven, so I may go to the yoga class at six to kill time before Pilates. Overkill? Maybe. But it’s either that or go home and stuff my face, so it’s not like I am interfering with huge plans. I lead the most exciting life.

Confession: I have never been to a Pilates class. Does that get me kicked out of the healthy living blog club? Was I ever in the healthy living blog club?

shunAnybody else remember Charlie the Unicorn? Just me? Okay then.

I think I’ll quit while I’m not too far behind ahead and call it a day. I promise there will be a normal fitness-related socially acceptable post tomorrow.

Ciao friends ❤

Food For Thought: What do I need to know about Pilates ahead of time so I don’t look like a total n00b?

DC Fit Blogger Meet-Up at Revolve

4 Mar

By now, many of you have probably seen the recaps of this event from many DC-area bloggers. Remember when I told you last week that was going to be attending a meet-up with some fitness bloggers from the area? The wonderful people at Revolve DC were so kind and offered to host all of us for one of their famous Body Rides. Their studio has a couple of options available and this one was a combination of intense cardio and some upper body strength conditioning with weights (go here for a description of all of their classes).

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I took the metro over with Allison and we got to meet some of the other people riding with us before the rest of the group arrived.

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From the left are: Allison from Wicked Healthy Washingtonian, myself, Ashley from Coffee Cake and Cardio, Jummy from ABC News, and Melissa from The Washingtonian.

The instructor leading our ride was the lovely Francina, who also teaches Zumba, in addition to her day job as a lawyer. I was talking with some girls after the event and just amazed at how much she manages to fit in one day. Are you sure your day is only 24 hours, Francina?

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Anyway, she was so much fun and gave us a few minutes before the ride to introduce ourselves. It was the most bizarre feeling to meet people for the first time in person, yet already know intimate details about their lives from reading their blog. Each time she introduced a blogger I follow, I thought to myself “wow, I probably wouldn’t have recognized her on the street but I know what she ate for breakfast.” Strange.

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It was so, so fun to be able to meet the people behind the blogs I have been reading. I was seated next to Allison, whom you all know by now, and on my right was Molly from Heart, Sole & Cereal. I had only discovered her blog about a week before this event, but she is hilarious both in writing and in person. We rocked out to some awesome jams and I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who knew all the lyrics to Kanye’s Gold Digger. You best believe we all “want pre-nup”.

The ride itself was such a fun experience! I had never been to a proper spin studio before and had only taken the spin classes offered at my gym. At this studio, spin shoes are required (you can rent them for $2 at Revolve) and it makes a huge difference in the ride. I felt much more comfortable and secure while riding in the spin shoes. Usually I find myself “gripping” the pedals with my toes to get more control, but the spin shoes take out all that mumbo jumbo.

Francina was a fabulous instructor. She confessed to us that she was super nervous about the ride because she knew we would all be writing about it afterwards, but she was wonderful – seriously. She was upbeat, fun, and motivating. The time flew by – rare for me because I’m almost always looking at the clock during spin class. Before I knew it, the 45 minutes were up and it was time to socialize!

After the ride, Gouter was on hand to provide us with delicious post-workout libations and snacks. Because we are fitness nuts and food bloggers, we had to have an awesome post-workout happy hour. Gouter is a company specializing in raw vegan tonics and treats and they sold me on them as soon as I tried the Mexican “hot chocolate”. It was made of raw cashews, coconut nectar, cacao, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and sea salt and it blew me away. Who knew cashews were so creamy in liquid form?

IMG_2116[1]They also had some delicious treats that were unlabeled, but delicious nonetheless.

IMG_2117[1]When I found out they sold their products at Sticky Fingers, a vegan bakery near my house, I made a pledge to drop by soon.

Before everybody went their separate ways, I got to chat with the other bloggers who were all so nice and friendly! I loved getting to see more of their personalities outside of their blogs.

meaghanallisonHere I am with Meaghan of DC Fit Crasher and Allison (thanks for the picture, Meaghan 😉 )

bloggersandfrancinaThe three of us with Anne of fANNEtastic Food and Francina, our wonderful instructor, on the far left!

There were so many other wonderful people I didn’t get a chance to talk to and I am looking forward to the next opportunity to see all of these inspiring bloggers. Despite the initial weirdness of meeting people from online in person for the first time, I had a total blast and I can’t wait for the next meet-up!

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Thanks again to Revolve DC for being so kind and offering to host us at your beautiful studio!

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