Tag Archives: Boot Camp

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!

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The Angel Effect

5 Dec

How cozy does the lobby of Stef’s apartment look? Between the pretty lights on the tree and the fireplace, I definitely want to just snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. Unfortunately, it’s Wednesday so I’ll have to hold out for another few days.IMG_1568[1]

Here’s another pretty tree I saw through the window as I walked home from boot camp at the gym last night – I just love the stuffed bear!IMG_1567[1]

Lunch yesterday: An assortment of veggies (cucumbers, grape tomatoes, baby carrots), strawberry Chobani, an apple, and a sandwich thin with a wedge of Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss inside.

IMG_1564[1]Last night I went to the boot camp class at my gym and had a fabulous time. The weather has been extremely warm for December this past week, so our trainer took us outside to enjoy it while it lasted. We warmed up by jogging to a nearby church and assembled ourselves on the wide steps just below. After a few quick stretches, we partnered up (Allison was my partner – yay real life blogger friends!) and were given our assignment: partner 1 waits at the base of the steps while partner 2 runs up the first set of stairs, does a burpee, runs up the second set of stairs to “tag” the pillars at the top of the stairs, then repeats the process on the way back down. We ended up doing it pyramid style (first round was one burpee, second round was two burpees, etc.). WHY ARE BURPEES SO HARD?! It never ceases to amaze me how quickly I tire when I am doing them.

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We made our way back to the gym and went up to the roof, where we have a turf area and started our circuit which included Russian swings, chest presses, push-ups, jumping lunges, V-sits with weights, squat jumps, and the ever-present burpees.  I was pretty good and sweaty by the time it was over. Sometimes I’m concerned about the time spent standing around and waiting for instructions while I’m at boot camp, but the time we do spend moving is time well spent.

After my workout, I went over to Stef’s to watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which brings me to the title of this post. There is a certain phenomenon that takes place every year after this fashion show that I like to call the Angel Effect. I first started noticing it in college, when I worked out at the athletic center we had on campus. Without fail, the day after the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the gym would be jam-packed with women on ellipticals and treadmills. The locker room was totally full and it was impossible to get to the StairMaster without standing in line.

You can’t really blame anyone who watches this show to feel out of place, but I want to tell everyone a secret***: normal routines of diet and exercise will not get you a Victoria’s Secret Angel body. I see workouts pinned on Pinterest all the time that say “Victoria’s Secret Workout” or “Get a Body Like a VS Angel”. Let me tell you, every single woman on that stage falls into one of two categories:

The Ectomorph to the Max: There is a percentage of the population that just doesn’t carry much body fat. They’re almost always ectomorphs. Do you have a friend that eats whatever she wants, never exercises, and still doesn’t put on an ounce of weight? She would be in this category. When some models say they don’t work out very much or just try to “eat healthy”, they probably fall into this category, or they’re lying. Which leads me to the next category…

The Square in the Circle: The square in the circle is the person who doesn’t have that body type naturally and has forced their body to look a certain way through a variety of unhealthy practices (not eating enough, overexercising, etc.). There are many models who are naturally skinny, yes, but there are plenty who suffer from a variety of eating disorders that sometimes end up being fatal.

***I am not a dietician, a nutrionist, a doctor, or a personal trainer. This are my own opinions and should not necessarily be taken as fact.

There is so much discussion on the internet concerning body image, eating disorders, and unrealistic expectation about what the “perfect” body type is. There isn’t a “perfect” body type. Not everyone has the same body type, just like people don’t have the same hair or eye color. At the risk of sounding like a Dove commercial, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. The most important thing is health and whether you are taking care of your body.

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The show and its aftermath reminds me of why I joined the healthy living blogosphere in the first place. There are so many inspirational people out in the world wide web of ours who strive to take care of themselves and make little changes every day to improve their health. I am constantly inspired when I hear of somebody who has decided to exercise for the first time ever or is cutting out fast food or is starting to meditate for their mental health. Your mental, emotional, and physical health is the foundation from which the rest of your life stems and it should never be neglected. So, if you’re feeling like you should get on the treadmill and run, that’s fine – but make sure you’re doing it for you and your health and not because a lady walking down a runway in her underwear is making you feel bad.

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On that note, I want to tell you guys about something new I’m trying today: a lunch workout! I am going to a show this evening and won’t be able to make it to the gym at the time I usually do, so I signed up for a lunchtime spin class. I have had some reservations about lunchtime workouts, just because I worry about running out of time and/or spending the rest of the day feeling like a sweaty mess. I figure this will be a trial run and I’ll let you know what I think.

Food For Thought: When is your favorite time of the day to work out? Have you have tried to go to the gym during your lunch break at work?

 

Back on the Wagon

27 Nov

Good morning, sunshines! It’s not sunny at all over here, actually. There was a light mist when I left the house this morning, but I didn’t have to wait for the bus in the rain, thank goodness!

After all of the Thanksgiving festivities over the weekend, it felt good to get back on the healthy eating wagon. Lunch was all about plant power and I loaded my plate with an assortment of veggies, an apple, and fatayer (a Middle Eastern flatbread).

The plate looked so pretty with all the bright colors of the vegetables and filled me right up, thanks to all of the fiber. As I explained to my mom on the phone last night, my stomach was not super copacetic with all of the rich, heavy Thanksgiving dishes. After several months of clean eating, I could definitely feel the effects of the butter and starch-heavy foods I had been consuming. Don’t get me wrong, I love stuffing and mashed potatoes and all the other Thanksgiving yummies, but meal after meal of said yummies definitely took a toll on my body and I was more than ready to welcome the veggies by the end of the weekend.

I headed over to the gym right after work to get my Pump on. Now that the sun is setting so early, it is dark outside by the time I leave the office and it feels much later than it actually is. Luckily, I walk straight to the gym and don’t have any time to talk myself out of a workout. If I had some down time at home before my classes, my gym attendance would drop faster than the Hope Diamond into the ocean (I’ll never let go, Jack!).

I was pretty eager to get to class so I could get my sweat on and also to test out my new kicks!

The shoe is the Nike Dart 9 women’s shoe and there is a similar men’s counterpart, as well. It’s meant to be a cross-training shoe and designed for low mileage (20 miles a week, or so). Since I’m not a runner, I don’t have to be especially picky about my shoes and I picked these because they were lightweight, breatheable, and came in a cute color. Priorities, right?

We had a substitute Body Pump instructor in class who had only been teaching for six months or so. He was a good teacher and definitely gave a good workout, but you could tell that he hasn’t really come into his teaching “style” yet, as he felt very technical. I felt the burn on the arm sets and the triceps and biceps got quite the workout!

By the time I walked in the door to my house, I was majorly craving some protein and threw together a quick tuna and garbanzo bean wrap. Grape tomatoes and Persian cucumbers were on sale at the grocery store, so now I have way more of each than I could possibly wanted. Maybe some cucumber tzatziki sauce is in order this week?

1 can of each garbanzo beans and tuna, a Persian cucumber, a handful of sliced grape tomatoes, a slightly-larger-than-necessary piece of feta cheese, and a drizzle of EVOO later and I had a ridiculously easy salad to wrap up in a whole wheat lavash. PLUS leftovers for lunch! Love that.

This morning it was back to the yogurt bowl, BUT I mixed it up by tossing some thawed frozen berries in the mix for a pop of flavor and color.

Frozen berries are really the way to go – they’re significantly cheaper than fresh berries and they’re accessible all year round. Plus they’re so versatile! Heat them in a saucepan with some sugar and you’ve got a great berry sauce for pancakes or French toast, toss them in frozen with some yogurt and soy milk for a quick smoothie, or thaw them out and put them in your cereal.

I haven’t decided which workout I’m going to do today – I have the option of yoga, boot camp, Zumba, or Spin. I love that the gym offers so many classes for us to try, it’s impossible to get bored!

Food For Thought: What is your favorite shoe for running or cross-training? Do you use different shoes for each?

Have a wonderful day!!

 

Worth It?

20 Nov

Hi all! Sorry for the super late post – it has been a madhouse over in my corner of the office as I try to get the monthly journal out before Thanksgiving. Luckily, it’s at the printer and I am on my lunch break so I have a short amount of time to check in and say hello!

I woke up this morning and my tummy was feeling less than stellar. I thought it might have been due to the fact that I ate a whole spaghetti  squash last night. I usually cut it in half length-wise and save half of it, but I was ravenous and ate the whole thing in one sitting, underneath some marinara sauce and grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano.

My poor tummy. As a result, I really wasn’t feeling breakfast this morning, but I had a smoothie just so I could get my metabolism up and running.

In the mixer:

  • Handful of frozen berries (from the big bags you get at Costco)
  • Half a cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • A cup or so of vanilla soy milk to get things nice and smooth

I took a long time to drink it, but it ended up tiding me over until lunch! I still wasn’t too hungry when lunchtime rolled around, so I nibbled on the rice and tofu veggie stir fry I had made over the weekend.

Pardon the messy desk, it’s deadline time! I also tried to drink some Sprite to ease my tummy, but it’s unfinished and I’m still not feeling too hot. What gives, body? I’m hope that it will calm down in the next couple of hours so I can make it to the gym. I still haven’t decided which class I’m going to, since Spin, Boot Camp, and Zumba are all at the same time. Hurray for variety!

Speaking of lunches, I got together with a classmate from college  yesterday and we had lunch together. We went over to Chop’t, which is a salad bar that takes all of the ingredients you want in a salad, chops them to bits using a couple of knives, and gives it to you in a massive to-go container.

In my salad, I chose arugula as my base, with cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, avocado, and hard boiled eggs “chop’t” in.  They also put a slice of pita bread on the side! I thoroughly enjoyed my salad- it was delicious and filling. My one qualm is that I spent almost $10 on something I could just as easily make myself. Is it worth it to buy a salad when you go out to eat? I always try to choose something I would never make myself, so it feels like a special treat.

Okay, it’s time to put the nose back to the grindstone and crank this journal out! The more I get done today, the less stressful tomorrow will be. I hope everybody is enjoying their day and getting all their Thanksgiving preparations together (if applicable!). I can’t wait to scan the blogosphere and see pictures of all the delicious pictures people have posted of their meals.

Food For Thought: How do you feel about ordering something at a restaurant that could easily be made at home? What’s your favorite special meal to order when you are out to dinner?

 

 

 

 

 

Gizmos and Gadgets

15 Nov

So, let’s talk about my arms and how I am struggling with moving them this morning. Ouuuuch.

Between the pull-ups on Tuesday and Body Pump yesterday, my upper back and arms are feeling the weight (ha!). I’m glad for this because I had been a little too comfortable in my routine and the soreness is a sign that my body is reacting to the change-up.

In other news, you don’t get to see pictures of my food today because I forgot my camera cord. Whomp whomp.

My roommate totally made fun of me for taking pictures of my dinner the other night. Sigh.

Today, I am looking forward to going to the gym and trying spin class for the first time! My knees are not so good with bicycles and I’m going to be a total n00b, but I need to give it a go at least one time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get addicted to it and it will cycled into my exercise rotation.

Then again, it’s an image like this that makes me worried. Somebody please tell me that it’s not as bad as I’ve made it out to be in my head!

Gizmos and Gadgets

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen the New York Times article I tweeted last night, which reviewed the new line of fitness tracking bracelets from  Nike and Jawbone.

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I’ve never had any kind of fitness gadget, but I know some people use pedometers, heart rate monitors, FitBits, and other gizmos to keep track of their daily activities. Reading the review of the new bracelets, I am definitely intrigued by both but also a little bit skeptical, given the drawbacks of each.

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I am really curious about the sleep monitoring feature touted by the Up band, made by Jawbone. One of the perks that comes with that are these “Insights” that the band comes up with after monitoring your activity, eating, and sleeping levels. As the Times said,

“But if you do, the new Up band is supposed to do something useful with the information. It comes up with what Jawbone calls Insights — observations that it determines by correlating your sleep, activity, food and location information. ‘You tend to eat more when you’re on the West Coast,’ it might say, or, ‘You don’t sleep as well when you eat after 9 p.m.,’ or, “‘You fall asleep faster on the days when you’ve worked out.'”

The Nike Fuel band has the added perk of being able to sync your data to your iPhone wirelessly, while the Up band demands a somewhat complicated process.

They’re both pretty pricey, with the the Nike Fuel at $150 and the Jawbone Up at $130, but Christmas is also right around the corner 😉

Food For Thought: Have you ever used a fitness gadget to monitor your activity levels? If you have one that you really like, what do you recommend?

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