Weekending: Kickboxing, Babysitting, Breakfasting, Beaching

Good morning! I had a busy, but fun weekend this past weekend, anyone else? I feel like I’ve been in constant “go-go-go” mode for a few weeks now and I’ll be honest, I am ready for a little down time! This weekend, besides the Color Me Rad race on Saturday is pretty much wide open. It’s going to feel great to have TIME to get things done, or, to do absolutely nothing but hang out and relax! As I will be moving in a few weeks, I am sure there are lots of things for me to do around here!

On Friday, I dropped Tim off at the airport around 2:45. From there, since it was so hot, I headed to Starbucks to get some work done. It wasn’t at all what I wanted to do, but I didn’t have a choice:( Once I got to my apartment, I pretty much stayed in my air-conditioned bedroom since our apartment thermostat read 93 degrees. Yikes!

Saturday morning, I woke up mostly rested and mentally prepared myself to tackle the day! On the agenda, going to the bank, teaching kickboxing, grabbing lunch, babysitting and then stopping by Rachel and Dans’s for a BBQ. As I said yesterday, kickboxing was SWEATY! I think it’s because our body temps are abnormally high because of the crazy heat wave- does this make any sense? I got a kick out of the twitter messages post class:

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At least I wasn’t the only one:)

Babysitting was hot, but fun. Watching the kids play in the sprinkler was so fun- ah, to be a carefree kid again, just for a day, would be so great. I brought pizza dough and toppings since I thought it would be fun for us to make pizza together, instead of ordering out. The kids LOVED it. Trying to explain the concept of what we were doing and what it would “turn into” after we baked it was hilarious. Lila said it was the “best pizza she has ever eaten”… job well done 🙂

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Unfortunately, Rachel and Dan’s BBQ had ended, but it was nice to chat with them for a little while. I was ok with going home early as I knew I needed to get up and leave the house by 8:30am on Sunday to meet Meredith for breakfast in Portsmouth. Meredith moved to Australia about 8 months ago, so it was SO GOOD to finally see her and catch up. We joked, though, that there’s no way to catch up on that many months in an hour and a half breakfast. We did our very best! Meredith is literally the sweetest person I know and I am so happy that we are such good friends. She’s the best listener and just “gets” it (whatever “it” may be). Thanks for meeting up, Mere!! Miss you already!

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Since I was already north of Boston and the weather was nice (the heat wave seemed to have finally broke!!), I decided to hit up a beach that I might not normally go to. I had a million things on my “to-do” list, but when I looked at it, I realized that I really needed some quiet “me” time, so I decided to go to Plum Island in Newbury. The beach was really nice and luckily, it wasn’t too hot. I stayed for about 2 hours until I realized I was a. starving and b. nearly out of water. If hangry Monique is awful, hangry and thirsty Monique is a monster!

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On my way home, I stopped in Danvers at the Stop n Shop to grab a few groceries and lunch and made it back to my apartment early enough to have time to water my garden, blog, do laundry and get ready for dinner.

I went to dinner in Dorchester and was very surprised with how nice the restaurant was! When we walked in, the place looked dead, which generally makes me nervous, but as soon as we walked outside to the patio, we realized why the inside was empty: the back patio was awesome!! I was bummed when the server said they were out of the Miso Glazed Salmon, but when I took a bite of the Ahi Tuna Taco’s, I pretty much forgot about the salmon! I am so happy that the weather has cooled down a bit because outdoor dining in the summer is my favorite!

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(Pretty rainbow I saw when I was driving!)

All in all, it was a great, but busy weekend!

Questions for you: Do you like to make your own pizza? Favorite restaurant in Portsmouth? Do you feel like you sweat more in classes when it’s hot out even though they are indoors?

I want to wish my very dear friend, Sara, a very happy birthday!!!

Weekly Workouts- Travel Edition

Hi friends! How are you doing today? I am good, besides the fact I am not ready to get back on the road for another work trip. Luckily, this one is short and if all goes well with travel on Wednesday, I should be back for my 6:30 class at Central!

As all of you probably know, I was away for a work conference most of last week. The trip was a blast (I promise, I’ll recap everything later this week) and I am happy to report the fact that I got in a couple awesome workouts! I am hoping this week will be the same as I should have already gone running before this post gets published and will try to get in a workout Tuesday morning before a long day at our client’s office.

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I went to the Wellington BSC and did my own UXF/CrossFit inspired workout consisting of a brief warm up and 4 rounds of: 500M row, 60 seconds ropes, 60 seconds kettlebell swings, 1-legged push-ups up and down the ladder, 60 seconds pike plank with feet in TRX straps. Felt great!

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  • Tuesday- I got up in did a jump rope and ab circuit and was sore the next day!

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  • Wednesday- My coworker, Tim, and I skipped the ice cream social at the conference and went to the gym. I let him run ME through a workout (I had to use every bit of my self-control to not take over the workout!) because I wanted to focus on isolated strength moves. We did back and biceps, which Tim lead and then I lead abs and then we went on a 2 mile crazy trail run. It.Was.Awesome. I’ll save most of the pictures for my VT recap, but here are a few:

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  • Thursday- Tim and I had planned on working out in the afternoon, but ended up going to Ben and Jerry’s. Sometimes you need an ice cream 🙂
  • Friday- Tim and I met at the gym before breakfast for a morning workout since we were hitting the road around 10:30. We did our separate workouts (I ran on the treadmill 1.5 miles to warm up and then did a circuit I’ll hopefully post on Wednesday), but joined together at the end to do abs. Tim loved what I ran us through which was fun! We used a medicine ball and did lots of Dynamax-esque throws. Loved it!

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  • Saturday- I taught the most sweaty kickboxing class ever. I know I say that all the time, but literally this was like nothing I have ever seen. I could barely see the mirror in front of me it was so coated in sweat! Members/friends agreed!

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  • Sunday- Rest. My back was feeling SUPER tight, as was my right quad so I decided to take it easy.

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- As I said earlier, I am hoping that by the time this post goes up, I will have gone for a run and maybe have done some strength stuff.
  • Tuesday- I will be in Toronto, Canada, but hope to get a workout in before work. I think it’s going to be a very long day, so I know a workout will help mentally, more than anything. If we don’t have to be to the client site too early, I’ll go to the hotel gym, but if we have to get there early, I’ll likely do a short workout in my room.
  • Wednesday- Hoping to make it back per my itinerary so I can teach my 6:30 UXF Burn class- I missed them last week!
  • Thursday- Teaching my Thursday double: SHRED followed by Kickboxing. Again, missed these guys last week so I am excited to be back!
  • Friday- I may workout at home, but I may use Friday as a rest day pending on how I feel.
  • Saturday- My friend, Lauren, and I are doing a Color Me Rad run in Brockton on Saturday morning. I’m nervous/excited!
  • Sunday- Again, pending on how my workouts went during the week will determine whether I work out or rest on Sunday.

So, there you have it!

Questions for you: What was your best workout last week? Have you ever done a “Color Run”? Is there anything I should be warned about?

Hot in the City. Literally.

Hey everyone! How are you?? I am back from a wonderful little getaway at a work conference in Stowe, VT from Tuesday-Friday. The conference was held during a great week; being in VT and in a hotel during this crazy heat spell was amazing! Even if the temp was as high there as it is back in Boston (which, it wasn’t), there’s something about being surrounded by beautiful mountains that makes tolerating the heat a little more bearable. I’ll get to a full recap of my trip next week, but for now I just wanted to pop in, say hello and make sure that you checked out the two awesome guest blog posts from a couple of my friends:

Guest Post: It’s Not About Having Time, It’s About Making Time

Guest Post: Summer Favorites from The Truth About Vinyl and Bikini Tops

Big, big thanks to Athena and Rachel for helping me keep you all entertained while I was away!

Anyway! On Monday I had a long day at work trying to get everything ready for my week away. Doesn’t it always seem like work gets so much busier when you’re about to be out of the office for any amount of time?? By the time I left work, I knew I was in need of a solid workout. I knew I would workout while in VT, but I wasn’t sure how long or strong or intense they would be, so I wanted to make sure I got in at least one good workout during the week! And good workout it was! I hopped on the elliptical to warm up and then I created a circuit that I did 4 times through:

  • 500M row
  • 60 seconds ropes (If you’re not familiar, check out this video. killer!)
  • 60 seconds kettlebell swings
  • 1-legged push-ups up and down the ladder (a ladder is painted on the turf)
  • 60 seconds plank pikes with feet in TRX straps

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I did a few more ab exercises and a few shoulder exercises before calling it a day. I was SPENT! My knees were irritated from the turf, my hands were getting calluses. I call that a good day at the gym 😉

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Post gym, I came home, watered my garden really well and then made myself the easiest dinner alive:

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English Muffin Pizza’s. Doesn’t get much better than that, right?! Brings me back to my childhood big time!

I got up early Tuesday to A. work out and B. try to beat the heat for my workout. I was feeling pretty sore from my Sunday and Monday workouts, so I ended up doing a jump rope and ab circuit which was perfect!

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After my workout, I showered and worked from home until it was time to pick my coworker, Tim, up at the airport. To ensure that we had healthy snacks for the road, I went shopping over the weekend and stocked up.

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I also brought a few peaches and a yogurt. I don’t have a huge appetite in one sitting, but I sure do love to snack! It helps keep me from being “hangry”, which, if anyone has seen the “hangry Monique”, I think you can agree she’s someone we all would like to avoid 😉 These snacks kept both of us totally satisfied and the 3 hour and 20 minute trip almost flew by! I went to Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT, so the ride up 89 (both through New Hampshire and Vermont) is one I could likely do with my eyes closed. Tim had never been in that area (he lives in Florida, originally from NY), so he was totally in awe of all the mountains and trees and beautiful scenery.

Driving past the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, Cabot Cheese store and Pie In The Sky totally brought me back to my college years when my girlfriends and I would make the short-ish trip down to Stowe to (basically) eat our way through it. Ah, the good ol’ days! Anyway, it was fun reminiscing. #ilovermont 🙂

Well, that about does it for me today! I am teaching my 10am kickboxing class at the Oak Square YMCA and then babysitting for Trent and Lila again from 1-??? Pending on how I feel after that, I am going to try to make it to a BBQ at Rachel and Dan’s apartment. I hope you all have a great Saturday!!

Questions for you: Have you ever been to VT? What is your favorite New England state? What’s your favorite “healthy” road trip snack that you always make sure to pack?

Guest Post: Summer Favorites from The Truth About Vinyl and Bikini Tops

As I am still away for work travel, today’s post is your second guest post of the week! This post is especially exciting for me, as it comes from one of my very best friends, Rachel! We have grown up together and lived together for over 3 years when we both first made the move to Boston. I was also the Maid of Honor in her wedding, so we share lots and lots of memories! Rachel and I write very different blogs, but I love popping over to her blog to read about really fun DIY (do it yourself) projects, fun drinks and events, and all of her “must haves”, which change every season. I hope you enjoy this post- make sure to go over and check out her blog 🙂 Thanks again, Rachel!

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Hello Burpees to Bubbly readers, I’m Rachel over at The Truth About Vinyl and Bikini Tops.  When Monique asked me to write a guest post while she was busy traveling for work this week, I was delighted. I know you’re usually reading about new workouts but today I will be sharing with you some of my favorites for summer.  Hope you enjoy and can stick it out!  So with out further ado here are my summer must haves.

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 1}  These have been my two favorite accessories so far this summer.  The hat is great with just about every outfit and it also protects your lovely skin from the sun while you’re at the beach.  The fabulous sparkly gold belt adds a little something to everything you wear.   And the truth is I can’t really live without a little glitter.

2}  As much as I would love a week or two at the beach during the summer, it’s just not in the cards for me.  But I do try and get as many great beach days in as I can.  This bag and cotton fouta are a must have for beach days.  The boat and tote bags from L.L. Bean are not only made in Maine but they are also made to withstand a lot of wear.  I have the large bag with the long handles {get the long handles so you can throw it over your shoulder} and it’s perfect for the beach.  The fouta makes a great blanket or towel {depending on what size you get} and they wash and dry so easily.

3}  I don’t have many beauty essentials, especially during the summer months, but these three items I can’t live without.  Coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer, makeup remover, cleanser, and I even add a little to my hair to keep the frizz down.  Plus, it smells great.  The sunscreen and the beach hair wave spray are two new items I have added this summer and I can’t do without them!  Just try them and you can thank me later…

4}  Last but not least, two of my favorite things in the summer are all the local farmers markets and of course my homemade sangria.  Who doesn’t love a good cocktail and some fresh produce in the summer?

Thanks so much for having me today Monique!  I hope you guys enjoyed these summer favorites!

What are some of your must-haves for the summer?

Thanks again, Rach!! Your homemade sangria is my absolute favorite- can’t wait to have some tomorrow!

Guest Post: It’s Not About Having Time, It’s About Making Time

Hey Friends! As promised, here is a guest blog from my friend, Athena. I was so happy when she agreed to write a guest post for my blog because, well, we are pretty much twinnies and share so much in common! I hope you all enjoy this post as much as I did. Thanks again, Athena!

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Hi, Burpees to Bubbly readers!  My name is Athena, and I blog over at Fitness & Feta.  I’m sure you have seen my name on Monique’s blog before, as we are constantly linking back and forth to each other in our blogging adventures.  Monique and I met years ago when we took several of the same classes at the Oak Square YMCA.  Back then, she was “the girl with the curly hair and glasses” that stood in the front row toward the right.  After a while, Monique started coming to my Thursday morning class, then started following my blog, then I hired her to teach at the Y, and now all of a sudden we chat almost every day.  I’m telling you, shared passions can lead to a lot of friendships!

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Monique and I are the same person in many ways.  We are both fitness instructors, obsessed with all things food and fitness, we both have just a little bit (ha!) of Type A in us, and I’d say we are probably the two busiest people I know.  We both work a full time 9-5 job, teach multiple fitness classes a week, and blog on top of making time for friends and family, attempting to get enough sleep, and (gasp) maybe even enjoying a little me time every now and then.

However, despite being really busy, both of us make our own well-being a priority in our lives.  Maintaining a (mostly) healthy lifestyle is important to us, and I think we agree that sometimes too many people pull the “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” excuse all too often.  I would actually say two of the most common things people say to me are either “how do you fit it all in?” or “I wish I could be like that.”  Well today I am here today to encourage you that you CAN be like that and that you CAN fit it all in.  It’s all about how you manage your time and what you are willing to move around to make a healthy commitment to yourself.

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That being said, I want to share my top five tips for making time in a busy schedule for healthy living:

Plan Ahead

Every Sunday I sit down with my planner and take a look at the week ahead.  After taking a look at what I have for work obligations and social events, I map out when I will fit in my workouts.  Each week I post a Weekly Workouts series on Fitness & Feta to help me stay on track and to inspire others to do the same.  I find that once I have made a commitment to myself and it’s on my calendar, I’m less likely to skip out on my exercise!  Every week I shoot for 5-6 workouts, that way if something comes up and have to miss 1 or 2, I am still getting a decent amount in.

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Prep, Prep, Prep

Along with making a workout plan at the beginning of the week, I also try and use Sundays as a way to get organized when it comes to food.  First I take inventory of what food I already have in the house and what’s on sale at the grocery store that week.  Then I map out what I’ll eat for lunch and dinner for the week, trying my best to use the ingredients from step one.  This helps keep my grocery budget down, even though many people think you can’t eat healthy food on a budget.  Finally, on either Sunday or Monday I will prep as many meals and snacks ahead of time as I can.  I wash and chop veggies, portion snacks out into baggies, and get lunches ready for the week.  This can be a lot of work up front, but it saves me over an hour a day during my busy weeks… which then in turn keeps my stress levels down!  It’s so worth it.  You can check out some of my weekly meal plan ideas in my Weekly Eats series.

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Maximize Your Workouts

If you feel like you can’t workout because you don’t have an extra hour in your day, guess what?  You don’t NEED an hour to work up a good sweat.  You can definitely use any of the following methods to squeeze in exercise into a busy schedule:

  • Split up cardio and strength and do one in the morning and one in the evening

  • Get your heart up with interval training so you get the most bang for your buck

  • Find a good 20 minute no equipment at home workout

  • Embrace compound exercises so you work upper body and lower body at the same time

  • Just move more!  Walk on your lunch break, go on three different ten minute power walks throughout the day, park further away from the building, take the stairs, print to a printer that isn’t close to your desk… you get my drift.

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Prioritize and Don’t Overcommit

If your schedule is nutso, ask yourself if you HAVE to participate in everything on your calendar.  Chances are, there are some events you’d rather not go to anyways!  Learning to say no is key.  Maybe you don’t have to go out to eat twice in one week, but the night you don’t go out you can try a new group exercise class or clean your house instead, both of which can reduce stress.  Sometimes we don’t want to admit it, but we have to pick and choose what’s more important.

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Find Balance and Start Small

Finally, I think just aiming for balance is the best thing you can do.  If you are so busy that fitting a workout in every day of the week is overwhelming, start with two or three days a week and work your way up.  Or maybe it’s too much to prep all your meals on Sundays, but chopping and washing veggies is something attainable for you.  Whatever it might be, remember that small changes can often times lead to big results.  You don’t have to start with something grand for it to be an accomplishment.

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What are your tips for staying healthy despite a hectic schedule?

Thank you for reading my tips, and a big thanks to Monique for asking me to guest post on her blog this week while she is away for work.  I hope you’ll stop by Fitness & Feta every now and then for more from me!  You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  It’s been fun!

Make sure you go check out Athena’s blog!! 🙂