Tag Archives: Body Pump

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Apple Cinnamon Bread [Recipe]

7 Feb

Say hello to my new, beautiful computer monitor.

IMG_1994[1]I originally received this after my old monitor at work started having weird glitch-y things happen to it. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I was able to get it set up. Aside from being a massive upgrade size-wise (it’s got to be at least six inches wider than my old one), the screen is bright and clear and beautiful. It made the second half of my work day so much better – amazing what little magia moments can do.

After work, it was time for Body Pump, which has lately been called “Whatever Our Instructor Wants Wednesdays”. Instead of the usual Body Pump routine (warm-up, squats, chest, back, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, abs, cool-down), he switched it up by incorporating lots of planks, push-ups, and reverse crunches. While I can appreciate wanting to take the monotony out of a class, I want my Body Pump, darn it! I felt pretty unenthusiastic the whole time and was happy to be done.

IMG_1989[1]I finished my last bowl of lentil soup at dinner…sad days! I haven’t been posting my meals recently because it has consisted of lentil soup for lunch and dinner and a yogurt bowl for breakfast.

IMG_1990[1]Inside the bowl:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries

Delicious? Yes. Repetitive? Absolutely.

We have a double birthday at work today, so last night I raided my pantry and fridge to figure out something to make and came up with this easy and super delicious apple cinnamon quick bread.

IMG_1998[1]It takes an hour to make, tops, and most of that time is spent in the oven. The cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice made the kitchen smell absolutely heavenly and I couldn’t wait for it to cool down so I could have a slice! I’m glad this is going to be at work because it would be gone in a matter of minutes if left at my house.

Apple Cinnamon Bread

1 loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apples

For crispy topping:

  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

I always start quick breads the same way, using the first 9 ingredients on the list. Then I change it up using spices and different mix-ins. In this case, I added cinnamon and apples, but I also added some pumpkin pie spice because I had some leftover pumpkin frosting I wanted to use as a glaze. You could easily omit that and it would be wonderful.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs for 30 seconds, then add vanilla, white sugar, and brown sugar to the bowl. Stir until well combined and then add Greek yogurt, mixing until smooth.
  4. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients mixing until just combined. Fold apples into batter until evenly distributed.
  5. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon topping mixture until well combined.
  6. Pour batter into a greased, 9″ by 5″ loaf pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar topping.
  7. Bake bread ~45 minutes or until forking/toothpick/poking device comes out clean.

I have completely jumped on the Greek yogurt instead of vegetable oil bandwagon. I have substituted plain Greek yogurt for oil and butter and it always comes out tasting fabulous. Plus side? It saves so many calories. In this particular recipe, using half a cup of vegetable oil came out to 964 calories. Instead, I used plain Greek yogurt (0% fat, Trader Joe’s) and it was a total of 60, yes SIXTY calories. WHAT?! That one substitution eliminated almost 1,000 extra calories from this recipe. Mind blown. Some people say that plain makes it taste a little tangy. Personally, I can’t tell, but if you use honey or vanilla Greek yogurt, that should mask any tanginess, and the added calories still won’t compare to using vegetable oil or butter. I always just do a 1:1 ratio and haven’t had any problems, thus far.

The total calorie count for the whole loaf was 1742 calories (can you imagine tacking on another 900 in oil?), which made each serving 145 calories (if you divide it into 12 slices). I don’t calorie count, but if you do, this is a nice little treat.  It’s kind of fun to plug the recipes into MyFitnessPal, just to see. I learned that cinnamon has a whopping six calories per teaspoon.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got for you today. I’m off to spin this evening and then I’m going to do more research on Polar watches. Impulse shopper is something I will never be.

Wishing you all a magical Thursday. Much love!

Baby It’s Cold Outside Tabata Workout

25 Jan

It’s still cold and it’s getting pretty old (ha, I rhymed!) but at least it’s Friday!

It’s becoming more and more difficult to get to the gym and it seems as if I’m only making it there for Body Pump on Mondays and Wednesdays because I just can’t get enough of the Pump! Luckily, I am getting better about doing my at-home workouts and came up with a pretty awesome full-body circuit yesterday.


The circuit is done tabata style, which is an exercise protocol developed by Izumi Tabata of Japan. He conducted a study involving a series of tests on two groups of athletes which compared moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training (HIIT).

In group one, the athletes trained at moderate intensity (70% intensity) for one hour, five days a week, for a total of six weeks.

Group two trained at high intensity (170%) for four minutes, four days a week, for a total of six weeks. The 4 minute session consisted of eight rounds of 20 seconds of intense training (170% intensity) followed by 10 seconds of rest.


Group 1 had a significant increase in the aerobic system (cardiovascular system). However, the anaerobic system (muscles) gained little or no results at all.

Group 2 showed significant increase in their aerobic systems and their anaerobic systems increased by 28%.

Conclusion? According to the study, “adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both systems.”

Basic Tabata Design

Any exercise can be incorporated into the Tabata training, but the protocol for the basic Tabata method is:
•    4 minutes long
•    20 seconds of intense, as hard as you can go training
•    10 seconds of rest
•    8 rounds

When I say I did this “Tabata-style”, it means I incorporated the idea of rounds of intense exercise with brief rest periods, but this particular workout was 24 rounds, meaning four rounds of each of the six exercises.

If you have a Smartphone, there is a great app that helps with this style of training. It’s the GymBoss app and it’s free! When you open the app, it looks a little something like this:


As you can see, the timer in purple is set for my 24 rounds, with 30 seconds on and 10 seconds off.


You can change the background colors so it is easy to tell when your 30 seconds is up and you can rest. I make it super easy for myself by making the 30-second “on” period in green and the 10 seconds of rest in red.


Green means go and red means stop! If you look near the bottom, you will see how many rounds you have left to complete, as well. The timer can be set for any number of intervals, for any period of time. It’s like a stopwatch on steroids.

Exercise demonstrations and modifications

I did the side lunges and tricep kickbacks with a 10-pound weight, but if you want it to be equipment free, you could always substitute the kickbacks for some tricep dips. For those who are not familiar, here is a link for a dive bomber push-up video tutorial. I definitely feeling those near the end and had to go down on my knees.

I added a flutter kick to the Superman, so it look a little something like this:


[ source ]



[ source ]

Side lunges:

mv-alter-side-lunge[ source ]

The nice thing about training at home is you can eat and shower right after your workout. I made myself a heaping bowl of roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts, sprinkled with some grated mozzarella cheese. On the side was a big smoothie with frozen berries, a banana, plain Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and some vanilla soy milk to get everything moving.

IMG_1945[1]Post-workout, I crashed on the couch and watched American Idol with my roommates. This was the first time I had seen the show since Kelly Clarkson was on it in the first season! I can’t believe that Ryan Seacrest is still doing it. One of the background songs in the show was ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ by Bruno Mars and none of us could get it out of our heads for the rest of the night! An impromptu dance session in  the kitchen may or may not have happened…

My goal this weekend is to make it to the gym for at least one yoga session. The more strength training I do, the more I find my muscles feeling tight and cramped. A good stretching sesh is much needed!

Food For Thought: Are your workouts short and sweet or is quantity > quality?

It is still taking some time for me to get used to the idea of short workouts being equally as effective, but I sure do appreciate the extra time in the day!

Wishing you all a very happy weekend ❤

A Sore Return

9 Jan

Whew! Either the two weeks out of the gym completely took it out of me or maybe I’m still recovery from being sick, but the Cardio and Tone class I went to during lunch yesterday has left me s-o-r-e. Like, waddling around, bracing myself to sit on the toilet sore. Definitely didn’t see that one coming, but it was a fantastic workout. The instructor was upbeat, knowledgeable, and offered varying levels of difficulty for each of the exercises so it was good for all fitness levels. The class was set up like high intensity interval training (HIIT), except there wasn’t much rest time from what I could gather. It was basically a bunch of supersets (one exercise immediately followed by another), taking a rest break when you absolutely needed to. Wowza!

The nice thing about going to the gym during lunch is that I get to go home straight after. There was a package waiting on my doorstep when I arrived home. How I love getting mail!

IMG_1813[1]My dad had wanted to buy a winter coat for me for my birthday, but waited until I was home in December so I could try them on myself and see what fit best.

IMG_1817[1]It’s so warm and cozy and purple! I love it. It looks pink in this picture, but I assure you that it’s purple. Also, don’t mind the fact that I’m wearing PJ pants underneath the jacket – I may or may not have changed right into them as soon I got home from work. Major plus on the coat?

IMG_1823[1]Thumb holes! I love them.

After modeling my coat for myself, I went downstairs to rummage for some food because if I’m not at the gym, I’m eating (duh). On our recent Costco trip, I bought two pounds of cherry tomatoes and a box of individually packaged Sabra hummus to bring to work in lunches, so I decided to break them out and see how they were.

IMG_1825[1]Sabra is not really my favorite hummus, but the individual packs are a perfect serving and will pair well with some sliced cucumbers (my fave) and the tomatoes.

Then I parked myself on the couch and watched the rest of season 1 of Downton Abbey. Whoops. I had big plans to clean my room and do laundry and all that fun stuff, but it was thrown by the wayside in favor of the drama of the Crawley family. I won’t give anything away for those who haven’t seen it but the episode with the Turkish attaché just knocked me on my butt. Touché, Julian Fellowes, touché.

While on the phone with Stef last night, we were discussing our plans for this weekend. Our anniversary is on Friday so we are hoping to do something a little more romantic than our usual Trader Joe’s grocery date. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to spend my Friday night than walking in a giant room full of food with my boyfriend. I’m kidding, I think.

Anyway, the weather is supposed to be really nice this weekend, get a load of this:

IMG_1827[1]Highs in the sixties over the weekend??? Tell me this is actually the middle of winter. With warm temps on the horizon, we are hoping to find something fun to do outside over the weekend.

This morning’s breakfast was a lox and cream cheese wrap using some smoked salmon from Trader Joe’s.


It was also featured in my omelette yesterday and I’m having a salmon fillet for lunch – overkill? I also had a bowl of honey Greek yogurt (the best flavor) mixed with some frozen wild blueberries that I briefly thawed in the microwave. The smokiness of the salmon really made the wrap and the juice from the blueberries turned my yogurt a beautiful shade of purple. Simple and so delicious.

Body Pump is on the books for tonight, though my muscles are fatigued and I don’t know how effective my workout will be tonight. It’s pretty amazing what two weeks of being sedentary will do to you after months of regular activity.

Food For Thought: Do you go through periods where you eat the same thing repeatedly? What are some of your favorite food regulars?






Cinnamon Apple Chips

20 Dec

There is only one more day between me and Friday and going home is so close I can taste it! My only hope is the winter storm that’s making its way across the nation won’t interfere with my travel plans. PLEASE, weather gods, have mercy on Christmas travelers!

After my Body Pump workout last night, I was craving a burger and fries in a major way. I am in the process of trying to eat all my food before I leave town and I knew I had some sweet potatoes that needed to be used, so sweet potato fries it was! What I usually do to make mine is slice up one large sweet potato into 1/2″ slices and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil on a cookie sheet, then top them with salt and lots of pepper.

Then I pop the sheet into a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.

I was super hungry and had some cucumber slices and hummus to stave off hunger while the fries were baking.


After 15 minutes is up, I take the cookie sheet out to turn the fries over, then put them back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how crispy you want them).

IMG_1652[1]While the fries were baking, I prepped my burger by defrosting two MorningStar Farms tomato basil burger patties (vegetarian) and topping a sandwich thin with mustard, ketchup, and relish. That came together quite easily and was all ready when the fries came out!

IMG_1655[1]Delicious! I love being able to make fast food items at home – you know exactly what’s in your meal and you can customize the meal exactly to your preferences.

A week or two ago, I bought a big bag of apples from Trader Joe’s that just weren’t very good. I kept bringing them for lunches, but I really wasn’t enjoying their flavor. I still wanted to find a way to use them because I abhor wasting food. That’s when the idea for Cinnamon Apple Chips came into my head. I wasn’t really sure how they would turn out, but I just decided to go for it. They turned out pretty well! The only thing I recommend now is having a mandolin for making the slices nice and thin. I had to bake mine for almost three hours to get the desired crispy texture of chips because my slices were cut with a knife and a little on the thicker side.

IMG_1653[1]All you need to do is slice (or mandolin) your apples as thinly as possible, then place them on a cookie sheet with some parchment paper (so they don’t stick), then top with a light dusting of cinnamon. I contemplated making it cinnamon sugar, but I figured that apples are already so sweet, I didn’t need to add extra sugar. Then I stuck them in the oven for an hour at 200 degrees. I kept checking on them and adding more time to the oven until I felt that they were at the texture I desire. The total time ended up being about 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Luckily, I had season 8 of Scrubs and a notebook of goals for 2013 to pass the time.

IMG_1663[1]The kitchen really started to smell like apples and cinnamon and I was tempted to just take them out and eat them the way they were! I managed to resist until they were finally ready.

IMG_1665[1]Of course I had to taste them, which is why you might notice a missing piece or two. The rest I bagged up and put them in my lunchbox for a sweet snack today! While they do take quite awhile, most of that time doesn’t involve being anywhere near the kitchen, so it’s not that time consuming. Next time, I will make a big batch and save them as go-to snacks when I’m craving something crispy.

Food for Thought: Do you ever try to make a fast food favorite at home?

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