Tag Archives: spin

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!

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!

Not Sure When That Happened

28 Feb

At some point this month, I turned into a runner.

IMG_2106[1]Not sure when that happened, but I have been running for my workouts at least 4 days this past week. As someone who usually only runs when somebody is chasing her (or when her boyfriend convinces her to race), nobody is more surprised than myself. Yesterday I popped on the treadmill for a short run because I had to get home to work on a translation project that I am doing. I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like 60 pages of translating to make you feel simultaneously proud and embarrassed about your skills in a foreign language.

My dinner was in two parts because I did a horrible job of timing when to start cooking my salmon. I had some sweet potato fries roasting in the oven and thought they would be done by the time my salmon fillet was done, but nope. So while I was ready for this:

IMG_2109[1]The sweet potatoes were still in here:

IMG_2108[1]Sigh.

I am love love loving sweet potato fries this week – they are totally worth the wait.

Since I had plans to go to yoga this morning, I also prepped some overnight oats in advance for breakfast. This batch included sliced strawberries and shredded coconut.

IMG_2107[1]Even though I’m not anywhere tropical, my breakfast doesn’t need to know that!

After a less than stellar night’s sleep, I made it to yoga this morning (whoohoo! Two for two this week!) and was, once again, super thankful I did. After two classes I am feeling so relaxed and can feel the tension in my shoulders and hips easing up a bit. I’m on the lookout for some at home yoga videos (preferably online) so I can do it from home on the weekends.

This morning, our instructor really focused on loosening up the hamstrings, so there was a lot of this:

trikonasanaAnd this:

reclined-big-toe-pose-exI definitely can’t do that – thank goodness for straps!

This evening, I am looking forward to an extra special spin class at Revolve. They are hosting a class for DC fitness bloggers and I am so excited to meet people like Anne, Joelle, and Meaghan. Of course, my girl Allison will be there, as well. I can’t wait to work out with these ladies and so many other great bloggers I have yet to meet!

I have heard so many wonderful things about the studio and I think it’s going to be amazing, particularly because I have never tried spin outside of my gym.

Then it’s Friday and the first day of March! Holy cow, did February fly or what? I need to start getting my act together to plan something special for Stef’s birthday at the end of the month, so give me some ideas, folks! After six years’ worth of birthdays, Valentine’s Days, anniversaries, and Christmas-es, my creative juices are running a little low.

Food For Thought: If you are a blogger, have you ever been to a blogger meet-up? How did it go?

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.

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  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!

PTX Concert

6 Dec

Hello everybody! I had a wonderful evening out with my roommate last night at Howard Theatre. I had tickets to one of my favorite artists, an a capella group called Pentatonix. You may have heard of them from the Sing Off, where they were the winners of Season 3. They got super famous after a couple of their videos on YouTube went viral and they have become really popular. I just love a capella and they are particularly good. My roommate went to college with Kevin, the beatboxer, and so we were both pretty excited about getting to see them live!

IMG_1587[1]The Howard Theatre is an absolutely beautiful venue in Washington. The layout is a bit unusual, in that the main area for viewing is set up with tables where dinner or dessert can be served. I have never been to a show where you can sit and eat dinner while the group is performing! My roommate and I had already eaten dinner, but we decided to order dessert. She ordered their glazed mini donuts and I ordered apple pie with a cinnamon spice glaze.

IMG_1592[1]Super tasty! The donuts came with all sorts of things to use for dipping: caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, and a variety of different sprinkles.  The only drawback was that both of them were served pretty lukewarm. I prefer all my baked goods to be nice and hot, so that was a little disappointing. The cinnamon glaze on the pie was really good, though.

The show was so wonderful! They sound just as good live as they do on their videos and just had a great energy about them. It looked like they really seem to enjoy performing for people and that they love being around each other. They’re just finishing up their 2012 tour, but be on the lookout for the next time they come to your city! Also, their ‘Carol of the Bells’ cover is my new favorite holiday song of the season.

Incredible, right?

I managed to rush home from work and grab a quick dinner (veggie burger!) before leaving again. As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to do a lunchtime workout because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do my usual Body Pump class due to the concert. I signed up for spin and hustled my butt over to the gym for the 45 minute class.

So, what do I think about lunchtime workouts? Fabulous for efficiency, terrible for hygiene. It was a pretty exhilarating mid-day energy boost and it helped me power through the rest of the work day without getting the usual afternoon slump. I swear, I felt like I had just injected myself with some kind of energy drink – I was wired. The only downside is that I don’t have enough time to shower and groom myself after the class, so I had to change back into my work clothes after a quick wipe down and felt pretty gross with my sweaty hair. Verdict? Not my first choice, but definitely a possible alternative if I have evening plans.

I ate lunch at my desk after I returned from spin and wasn’t as ravenous as I usually am by lunchtime, probably due to the exercise.

IMG_1569[1]In the lunchbox was a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, some mini sweet potatoes, and a packet of trail mix. I also raided the office snack basket that was out in the kitchen and came up with an nutrition bar I’ve never tried.

IMG_1570[1]I don’t know anything about the Zone diet and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve eaten a nutrition bar, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

IMG_1585[1]That’s my ‘what the heck is this?’ face. Please excuse the post-workout hair – seriously, it was not cute. The bar turned out to be okay, though I would prefer 210 calories worth of real food over a nutrition bar any day. I was pretty impressed with the touted 14 grams of protein, though.

I’m going to be a little drowsy today at work because of the late night last night, but it was so worth it and tomorrow is Friday! I am going to do another lunch workout today because I have a happy hour with friends after work and I’m trying a new class! It’s called ‘Cardio and Tone’ and it is described as “A perfect combination of cardio and toning exercises to shape your body. This workout includes cardio fitness and with intervals of sculpting exercises using dumbbells, body bars, tubing for upper and lower body. Abs included.” Sweet.

Before I sign off, I want to show you the breakfast I have been super into the past few days: 2 fried eggs on a whole wheat sandwich thin, with a spread of a Laughing Cow cheese. Yum! I always forget how easy it is to cook eggs in the morning. I’m usually deterred from using the oven in the morning because I associate it with time-consuming meals. This took about ten minutes from start to finish. Get that stove top going!

IMG_1597[1]Okay beautiful people, time for me to head out, but I wish you a wonderful Thursday! Much love ❤

Food for Thought: What is your favorite holiday song this winter?

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