Friday Things! All sorts of random things…

Hi friends! Happy Friday! and long weekend… the best kind of weekend, right?! What do you have planned this weekend?? Unfortunately, I am not going to Figawi, but now that I have seen the weekend weather, I am not as sad about that decision! I am teaching kickboxing tomorrow morning at the YMCA and then my sister, chuck (aka her cat, Charlie) and I will make the trek north. Our family always hosts the Memorial Day BBQ and our friends, the Mahoney’s, always host the 4th of July BBQ (because they have a pool and pool parties are the best!), so I am looking forward to helping my parents host a little get together!

Unfortunately, I don’t have the day off today, so let’s get right to the post so I can get back to work ūüėČ (I wrote this on my lunch break, so no worries!)

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On Wednesday, Danielle came to my UXF class and then we met up with Amy at Redbones for some delicious, cheap BBQ… can’t get better than that!

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I got lunch from Bee’s Knees¬†yesterday. Bee’s Knees recently opened up a location in Fort Point directly across the street from the entrance into my building for work. I immediately fell in love with it. Literally, if I could design a store, it would be Bee’s Knees. They have all sorts of weird, quirky, “granola” type items that they sell and as a foodie¬†and health nut, I love it! Oh, and they have a nice wine and beer selection, too- told you it was the perfect store!

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(I got this on sourdough because I learned on Sunday¬†that if you can’t order whole wheat or Ezekiel, order sourdough since it’s much easier for our body to break down)

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I had my butt handed to me when I took a Core Fusion Cardio class at Exhale Spa. Seriously, I despise mountain climbers because I struggle so much with them (my shoulders burn!!) and we did enough for a lifetime. But still, I left that class with a smile! I even took one of the moves and brought it to UXF:

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1-legged walk out push-ups. Love!

Speaking of more moves that I have loved bringing into class this week, I learned this beauty from Celeste at the Wellness By The Water Retreat.

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Run the plank!!! so fun.

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My dad’s emails literally crack me up! What is even more funny, is that he doesn’t comment ON my blog posts, but rather, he sends me an email with his comment. So funny.

023Deep Knee Bends= the new way to refer to squats. Wadda ya think of that?! I love it.

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Speaking of Jess, she just sent out her first newsletter, featuring yours truly! As I have mentioned before, Jess and I have partnered together to create “Mommy’s Moves” which will be a series of short, but effective workouts with busy mom’s in mind. This one is just 7 minutes, including my intro, warm up and cool down, and I don’t care how busy you are, you have 7 minutes to dedicate to your health and fitness! Click on this link to check it out. If there are any new mom’s out there reading my blog that have ideas of what they would like to see in a quick workout, please shoot me an email or leave a suggestion in the comments section!

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Look what arrived on our doorstep this morning!

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My sister and I splurged and purchased Jack Rogers for the summer. I absolutely love the ones I bought, but I think they are a smidge too small:(

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This is why I don’t shop online; I like instant gratification so when I order something and it doesn’t fit, it is REALLY disappointing:(

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Try this circuit 4 times through!

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Ok, one more thing. JP sent me this from http://whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com/post/51016946731/when-i-take-on-too-many-things-at-once. Hahaha totally me!

Phew! I think that is it? If you’re around for kickboxing tomorrow morning, please come! It will be the best way to kick off your long holiday weekend ūüôā

Questions for you: What’s the best thing you’ve done or seen this week? Do you own Jack Rogers? Are you a fan of online shopping? Ever been to Bee’s Knees or Redbones?

Exhale Spa: Core Fusion Fest

A few weeks ago, I received an email from someone at Women’s Health inviting me to join them for a Core Fusion class at Exhale Spa.

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Umm, twist my arm, will ya? It’s well-known¬†that I love all things health and fitness related, so of course I said yes! In addition to my love of working out, I love to take new-to-me classes, because they are always humbling. I may be able to Kickbox for an hour no problem, but Core Fusion Cardio for an hour? An entirely different story!

Anyway, May 22nd was “Fusion Fest” at Exhale Spa- how fun?! I signed up for the 7:45am Core Fusion Cardio class with Chrissy Snyder.

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From their website, here is how they describe the class:

core fusion cardio

Sweat it out in this barre-less, fat-blasting cardio class, designed to sculpt and tone your entire body. Consisting of weights, mountain climbers, karate kicks, speed skaters, flowing yoga poses, and an ab sculpting series, this high-intensity class followed by a calming cool finish will leave you feeling energized and strong. Kick your heart rate into high gear with this non-stop, endorphin-filled hour. Open to all levels.

Well, I’d say that was a perfect description! I wish my heart rate monitor worked, because I’d love to see that stats on what I burned for calories and what my average heart rate was in the class. It felt HIGH the whole time! Mountain climbers after mountain climbers after mountain climbers, and lots of push-ups squeezed in between and then the legs and weights! My goodness. My legs were absolutely BURNING during the lunge portion of the class. I actually had to take multiple breaks.

012(Sorry for my blurry pics, I was trying to be stealth and fast!)

Chrissy did a wonderful job speaking clearly throughout the class without fumbling her words. She was incredibly encouraging and I really liked how she counted out loud the whole time because personally, I like knowing how much longer I have… it helps me push through the pain! She also remembered my name right away- big plus in my eyes! As an instructor, this is something I am constantly working on because I think it makes people feel really good when you remember their name and refer to them by name throughout the class.

We worked through “sets” throughout class. The first set was primarily mountain climbers and push-ups, and from there, we focused on upper body, lower body, kickboxing (umm hello. loved this!!), more mountain climbers and push-ups and ended with great core work. Mind you, we did cardio throughout the WHOLE class. I have never done so many mountain climbers! My shoulders will be screaming tomorrow. A lot of the poses were yoga moves, too, which felt great.

011Going into the class, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I think the class exceeding any expectations I could have had! I loved that the cardio was relatively low-impact… my poor joints need that. By the time we finished our core work, I was more than ready to shower and eat!

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The locker room at Exhale was absolutely beautiful. I loved the products and the fact that they had everything you could ever need: towels, robes, slippers, combs, hair gel, deodorant, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, razors, shower caps, q-tips. Seriously, they didn’t miss a thing!

016I was so happy that I took the morning off from work today so I could have as much time as I wanted in the locker room! It’s always such a nice change of pace from the usual locker rooms I am in ūüôā

After I was showered and lotioned up, I checked out my swag bag:

022There were coupons in there for future visits, and I can absolutely guarantee I will be going back. I also want to look into the Sports Massage that they offer as I think that would be super beneficial for my sore and overworked muscles!

Big, big, BIG thank you to Women’s Health and Exhale Spa for inviting me to such a wonderful event! I received such a warm welcome from Samantha and Chrissy and all of the other employees… Can’t wait to go back!

Questions for you: Have you ever done a Core Fusion class? What’s your favorite thing to find in a locker room? Favorite thing about trying a new class?

Wellness By The Water Retreat

You guys. I had the most amazing day on Sunday at the Wellness By The Water Retreat, which was hosted at Le Meridien Cambridge hotel. Going into this day, I knew that I would be in my element as the website described it as:

Join us for a luxury fitness and wellness retreat in the city. Escape to beautiful Boston for a full day of fitness, yoga, nutrition, spa services and wellness.Sought after professionals brought to you for all of your wellness needs including:

  • Bootcamp
  • Yoga
  • Stretch & Breath Work
  • Nutrition
  • Spa Services
  • Wellness Services
  • Catered nutritious meals and snacks
  • Health & Wellness companies providing information and samples of their products!

But I had no idea just how awesome it would be. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to that! (well, some people, but I am guessing most of my B2B readers would think it’s pretty amazing).

Anyway, I arrived at the hotel just around 9am, quickly realizing that I forgot my yoga mat (which they reminded us to bring in an email that I looked at earlier that morning). #epicfail. I did OK without one, but I did feel a little silly! After I checked in, I met up with Athena and Ashley. I was SO excited to get to hang out with two fitness enthused people like myself for the day, as well as many, many more people just like us!

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athena, ashley, me

Photo Credit: Athena

 Shortly after everyone settled down, the two creators of the event, Kendall and Celeste, introduced themselves and gave us an overvue of the day.  By 9:20, we were already on our first workout of the day: 30 minutes of Boot Camp with Celeste!

026It was awesome! We did some really neat partner exercises such as partner¬†sit-ups, “run the plank” and partner lat. pull downs,¬†and I can’t wait to bring some of them into my classes! After boot camp, we broke out into smaller groups based on the color on our name tags.

029We were scheduled for 30 minutes of the following workouts:

Barre. Omgoodness. Let me tell you were my legs and core BURNING! I have done a couple of other Barre classes, but no one has ever made me hold a plie¬†squat so darn low, with so many pulses. I was literally dripping. Tessa was AMAZING and I totally want to take private classes with her. I loved it! Tai Chi was pretty cool as well, since that was something that was totally new to me. I work at the Y with Julio, who lead us in Tai Chi and his knowledge and passion for this was wonderful.¬† We focused on a lot of breathing in Pilates, which couldn’t have come at a better time for me. As you have probably noticed, May has been a little rough for me thus far, so taking some time to really BREATHE was juuuust what I needed!

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By the time I was through all of these classes, I was really quite thankful that lunch was next on the agenda. We ventured downstairs and couldn’t believe the meal we were served. I was expecting a buffet or something simple, but we were served a lovely salad and main meal (we called it the Wellness Wedding meal!).

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Kendall also spoke about a few ways to “lighten up” for the summer. I am not sure I could cut out dairy all together, but it was interesting to hear the alternatives to dairy! I am always up for hearing about different food “lifestyles”, so I loved learning about all sorts of different new food ideas and recipes throughout the day.

032After lunch, we had time to mingle and browse through the vendors before attending the 6 different 20 minute sessions scheduled out for us. I loved this station by Eventbrite!

040Yum, yum yum! Athena and I had to pose for a pic!

britemix with athenaDuring this “break” before the afternoon sessions started, there was also a “photo booth” area run by Lucie Wicker Photography. Omg I LOVE these things!! Of course we had to jump in for some fun!

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photo-booth-4So fun! After everyone had some time to mingle and check out all of the vendors, the afternoon sessions began. We had 20 minutes at each station, which felt a little rushed at times, but only because I was always so interested in every company that we were learning about! I started at the John Hancock table and learned about financial things (sorry for my lack of better terminology!)

037From there, I went to the Organization Table with Allison Webber, which I totally loved. She was amazing and super interactive and could really just read people very well. She said that 50% of her job is therapy and working with people to let go of their issues in order to de-clutter and organize.

I was so looking forward to my next stop: massages with Body Waves Massage. As you know, I work out A LOT and carry LOTS of heavy bags, so I am always in need of a massage. I stole this pic from Athena’s blog that she got from Celeste Pratt on Instagram¬†and had to use it because that’s me getting a massage in the back right! She said I was really tight, especially my right quad, so I have been trying to foam roll¬†more actively this week. #hurtssogood

massage-room

My next sessions were acupuncture with Synergy Acupuncture¬†and skin care and nutrition with MZ Skincare. I have never had acupuncture¬†before so I was really excited about this! I told her I had shoulder issues and she did a little extra for me. I didn’t notice a huge change, but I wonder if going to acupuncture¬†for full sessions would help¬†alleviate¬†my injuries?? The presentation by MZ Skincare was also really interesting in that they gave us good tips on choosing REAL sunscreens and how to clear up your skin from the inside out, meaning, learning about how to feed your body nutrients that help with your skin. Very interesting.

 Finally, I went to a CrossFit class for a WOD (workout of the day) with Sarah Loomis. Funny side note: Sarah worked for the BSC and taught UXF and actually subbed one of my classes! Small world, indeed! Here was our WOD:

038Good thing I am totally loving real burpees ūüėČ we skipped the 21 reps due to time, but did 15 reps of burpees and lunges, followed immediately by 9 reps of both. If that doesn’t get your heart rate up, I am not sure what will! I also loved the EMOM¬†(Every Minute on the Minute) workout because it was a great way to push YOURSELF, which I am a fan of. The goal was to try to have MORE rest time every round… I can’t say I did, but I did move a lot faster from round 1 to round 2!

Lastly, our FINAL event of the day was a nice, closing yoga session with Kendall. Another funny side note, Kendall was auditioning at the BSC for yoga the same day that I was auditioning for kickboxing and TBC. I knew I recognized her!

kendall-teaching-yoga1From Celeste’s Instagram

After a very busy and physically active day, a nice, restorative yoga session was just what all of us needed. I haven’t been practicing yoga because of my shoulder injury, but it felt really great on Sunday!

Overall, I cannot fully express how wonderful the day was. Athena did a wonderful recap of the day, too, so check it out! As she said, it felt great to be in our “happy places” all day. Huge thanks to Kendall and Celeste for organizing such an incredible event and day! I can’t wait for the next one!

Questions for you: What’s your “happy place”? Ever been to a health and wellness retreat?

Chicken Cordon Bleu… with a new twist!

Hey there! Boy do I have a yummy meal for you this week. I know I say that every week, but this one was really quite delicious, probably because Chicken Cordon Bleu has always been one of my “favorite” meals that momma gag’s makes (close second or third to Chicken Parm). Last week, I stumbled across the idea of using goat cheese and turkey, instead of ham and swiss when I was reading through Fitnessista’s blog. She posted a picture of her Chicken Cordon Bleu-ish meal and I was sold!

What made this meal even more appealing was that we had bought extra chicken a few weeks ago since it was on mega sale AND I had new package of goat cheese in the fridge. Love that!

Chicken Cordon Blue… with a new twist!

  • 2 Chicken Breasts (mine were very small… TWSS… but you can use bigger ones if you want!)
  • 4 very thin slices of deli ham (stuck with ham for this meal)
  • 2-3 tbsp goat cheese (1-1.5 for each breast)
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • Mrs. Dash

1. Preheat your oven to 350*. Stack 2 slices of ham together and spread the goat cheese in the middle (X2 if you’re using 2 chicken breasts). Roll the ham up just like you’d roll a wrap.

0072. Rinse your chicken and use a knife to cut the breast open in half so you can stuff your ham and goat cheese rolls in them.

3. When you stuff the chicken, use toothpicks to hold everything together. Sprinkle a nice amount of sea salt,009 pepper, Mrs. Dash and paprika on the chicken and place in the oven to cook for about 15-20 minutes (time will change depending on how big your breasts are).

012I like to¬†make a little slice in my chicken before taking it out of the oven to make sure it’s all cooked. Once it is cooked, take it out of the oven.

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(Look at that ooey, gooey melted goat cheese!)

To accompany the chicken, Danielle made some risotto (not sure where she got the recipe from, but any risotto recipe would work) and I steamed up some broccoli. I also made a quick batch of an easy white sauce (1/2 tbsp butter, 1/2 tbsp and about 1/3 cup of skim milk) because, well, I loveeeee sauces and feel that any French meal should have a sauce (hence why French cuisine is my favorite). Nothing fancy, but the chicken was SO flavorful that simple sides were absolutely the way to go.

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There you have it! The risotto took the longest to make, so if you skipped that or substituted it for something else, the meal would probably take you less than 45 mins start to finish. I have 1/2 of my chicken breast left for tomorrow- can’t wait to eat it!

Questions for you: What is your favorite cuisine? Favorite side dish?

Wednesday Workout: 6 Moves Circuit + 2 Focus Moves

Hey everyone! I am trying to get you a workout and a recipe every Wednesday… let’s see how long I can keep it up! As I’ve mentioned, last week I went to one of my favorite instructor’s boot camp class at the Wellington BSC. I love her because she is a super tough instructor, but not tough just because we do the same move for a million reps, but rather, because she is always bringing in fun, new moves and is always changing it up!

Since I loved the class so much (and it totally kicked my butt!!), I decided to take the general format and bring it to my UXF Burn class at the Central Square BSC. I changed up some of the moves, but otherwise, it was pretty much the same!

6 moves circuit + 2 focus moves

The idea was that you keep the 2 focus moves (focus/core moves because they are full body exercises that get your heart rate up without having to do cardio) at 60 seconds each as your starting point. The whole class stays together for these. For the circuit moves, people were able to go more at their own pace. I did make 2 of the rounds be 30 second intervals for the¬†6 moves instead of 15 reps to keep everyone together, but for the last round, I timed them to see how quickly people could finish. Congrats to Graciella for finishing first!! ūüôā

Here are some notes on the moves:

  • Heavy weighted squats-¬†we used a barbell¬†here (like in BodyPump) and I encouraged people to go much heavier than normal!
  • Deadlifts-¬†we used the same barbell for these as we did for squats
  • Squats w/weighted chest push: hold 1 weight (or a medicine ball!) with both hands at chest height. As you squat down, push your arms out to a full extended position. As you rise up from your squat, pull your arms back in. This is great for your shoulders and chest!
  • Frogger¬†Burpees: take 1 big jump forward, and then bring yourself down into a REAL burpee, meaning your whole body is on the ground. Push yourself up, jump to turn around, and do a big frogger jump back to your spot (and then go right into the burpee). Holy sky-rocketed heart rate from these!

To finish off class, we did an Ab Tabata¬†consisting of the following 2 moves: Mountain Climbers and Plank Jacks. I also threw in some more of my favorite ab moves (leg lefts, in and outs, swimmers, etc.). And then, because I wasn’t ready to quit just yet, I made them do a “Power Blast”, to leave class energized and awake! Our Power Blast was a sumo squat straddling the bench, and then jumping both feet up onto the bench- 20 reps. I wanted to do Donkey Kicks over the bench, but we ran out of time:(

I hope you like this workout! Let me know if you need clarification on any of the moves! I am totally loving REAL burpees lately, so class members, take that as a warning ūüėČ

Questions for you! What moves are you loving right now? What is your “go-to” hard class to attend? Ever done a frogger burpee?