This Week: Weekend Catch Up, Workouts, Things I am Looking Forward To

Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend? It felt good to have one since last weekend I was cooped up inside at MANIA on Friday and Sunday and ran the Spartan race on Saturday (I owe you that recap this week!), which didn’t leave much room for “weekending”.  Friday night I went to drinks at Warehouse on Broad Street followed by dinner at Anthem which is always a favorite of mine! Saturday I taught an amazing kickboxing class (46 people came!!!) then ran a bunch of errands and went to lunch at Not Your Average Joe’s with my sister. I went back to Warehouse on Saturday night for drinks with a couple of friends (they ate dinner and said the food was great!!) and Sunday I hosted a Pampered Chef party. So even though it was a busy weekend, it was fun 🙂

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Stemless champagne flutes at Warehouse? New to me… not sure if I’m a fan or not. Regardless, the bubbly tasted good 😉

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Winter beer for lunch and an amazing seasonal flatbread which had pesto, caramelized onions, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and cheese (can’t remember what kind, though).IMG_5872

The girls got the “Greek Nachos” to start, which I tried and thought were delicious. It was such a fun idea!

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How about the workouts? I took Monday and Tuesday as rest days because my body needed it! Holy moly did it need it. I was SO sore and tight after my weekend festivities that it felt good to rest and foam roll. Once I got back into workouts, I felt like I did the right thing by giving my body some time to rest.

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday & Tuesday- Lots of walking! Monday I took the long walk home and Tuesday ran errands and shopped. My muscles loosened up a lot by walking and getting blood flowing. Needed that!

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  • Wednesday- I ran a 5K on the treadmill (a slow one, but that’s ok!) before teaching UXF Burn. It was a big class, so I didn’t get to do as much of the workout since I was walking around correcting form (I brought in some new moves so that required a lot of coaching from me).

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Wore my new shirt from MANIA!

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  • Thursday- Taught SHRED using a format I learned at Sunday’s MANIA events and taught kickboxing with a totally new set of combos (that I made up as I brushed my teeth, haha). It was high cardio- we gotta burn those calories before T-day!
  • Friday- I did 10 minutes of random cardio (jogging, jumping jacks, burpees, jump squats, etc. etc.) and the upper body and core exercises from Athena’s Total Body Blast workout.
  • Saturday- I taught a super sweaty, super high cardio, super crowded kickboxing class at the Oak Square YMCA. I woke up feeling like I had done a million lunges on Friday, and since I didn’t, I blame it on Delayed Onset Soreness from Thursday’s workouts. Felt good to shake my legs out in class!
  • Sunday- Since I feel like I didn’t get a chance to get in some isolated and focused strength training in, I headed to the East Boston YMCA for their 10:30 “Y Pump” class. Felt great!

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- Subbing a kickboxing class at the Watertown BSC- it’s a 6:30, so BSCers if you’re looking for a good class, please come!
  • Tuesday- I will probably head to the gym after work for strength and maybe a little cardio.
  • Wednesday-My 6:30 UXF Burn class is cancelled, but I am subbing the 5:30 Sports Conditioning Class, so if you get out of work early, definitely come- we will work super hard to burn lots of calories before Thanksgiving!
  • Thursday- I will do some type of at-home workout at my parents house. I am trying to come up with a Thanksgiving-themed workout, so be on the lookout 😉
  • Friday- Rest day! I am getting my hair done and then my family is heading to Kennebunkport for lunch at David’s, walking around, shopping, and drinks at Hurricane Restaurant (fun fact: I used to manage the books and be a hostess there- so fun!).
  • Saturday- Heading back to Boston early Saturday morning to teach Kickboxing at the Oak Square YMCA- come burn off your holiday eats!
  • Sunday- Maybe a rest day? I’ll see how I feel.

Things I am Looking Forward To

Gosh! There are so many things! I am exited to sub a few classes since I am missing both of mine on Thursday. I am excited to be home in Maine for Thanksgiving. We are doing dinner just the 4 of us and then we head to Sara and Amy’s mom’s house for dessert… a tradition for as long as I can remember! I’m excited about getting my hair highlighted and then spending the whole day with my family because we have lots of fun together 🙂

Questions for you: What was your favorite part about last weekend? Do you plan on working out on Thanksgiving? What are you looking forward to this week? Please share- I love hearing from you 🙂

SCW- Boston MANIA 2013 Recap {PT 1}

As I’ve mentioned quite a few times at this point, I attended the Boston MANIA event held in Danvers last weekend. Since I was running the Fenway Spartan Sprint on Saturday, I could only attend the event on Friday and Sunday, but even with limited time there, I learned SO MUCH. As I was writing up my UXF Burn and SHRED workouts this week, I really struggled to figure out what I wanted to teach based on all of the new formats and exercises that I learned. I had to keep reminding myself that I didn’t have to include everything I learned in my classes this week… as long as I have them written down, I can always look back and quickly be reminded of everything new!

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When I arrived at the hotel bright and early on Friday morning (literally early… 7am type of early), I breezed through check in and quickly bumped into Athena and Lauren. Athena and I did not talk to each other before signing up for our courses, yet we managed to sign up for all of the same courses… I guess we are really alike!

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Sessions started at 7:30 and ended at 5:30. I can’t go into every detail from every class, but I give you a brief overview of my thoughts of them!

Kettle Weight Drenched

I’m always very intrigued by Kettlebells and KB workouts, so I figured it was a good time to get a better understanding of what KB’s are all about. The class wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, but I did get a couple of moves from it (coincidentally, none of them involved using a KB… whoops!). One thing that I took away from the class was that only 19% of the American population works out, but, when you think about how hard working out can/should be, it’s not really surprising. We joked about how we are the crazy people who think everyone loves to work out, but that’s only because we usually surround ourselves with other crazy people who love to work out 😉 We did get to do a 45 minute KB focused workout (Tabata themed) and my plans of keeping my workouts lighter and low-impact for the day (since I was doing the Spartan race the next day and wanted fresh legs) went right out the window 2 minutes into the workout. What can I say? As soon as I start working out, I always want to give it my all… no wonder why I’ve been so sore this week!

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R.I.P.P.E.D.: The One Stop Body Shock

I actually really liked this session. The instructors were SO energetic and got us up and moving really quickly. R.I.P.P.E.D stands for: Resistance (biceps, triceps, shoulders), Intervals (ramped up recovery), Power (Metabolic- chest, back, squats, legs- lots of compound movements), Endurance (Cardio- mostly kickboxing/martial arts related) and Diet and the class is set up to move from one to the next (except for the Diet part- you can access that online). Athena and I talked about how it was a little weird to start out with upper body exercises instead of legs (usually workouts start out with the bigger muscles: legs), but I actually didn’t mind it (I later found out that you don’t have to teach the class in that order… you can mix it up however you want). The class is choreographed to songs for each part of the workout, which has pros and cons: I could see myself getting bored when teaching it because you teach the same type of routines each week, but I can see how members would love it since they generally like consistency and like to know what’s coming next. I got lots of good moves from this class and had a blast jumping around. I think I would like to get a certification in R.I.P.P.E.D., but not to necessarily teach it every week because I think I’d get burned out, but to have it as another option/format to teach.

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Sport Conditioning Goes Group!-

Sadly, I was not very impressed with this session. The instructor made it seem like we would be up and moving around a lot, but that didn’t prove to be the case. He showed us a video of the classes he has designed and I was hoping to learn more about that so I could take bits and pieces to add to my classes. We did do a few good core exercises (standing on a BOSU, hold a stability ball and have a partner push the stability ball around, thus causing you to tighten up your core in order to stay on the BOSU… and a neat stability ball roll out combination), but other than that I didn’t get many “take aways”.

Best of Boot Camp 2013-

This class was taught by Mindy Mylrea and after Athena told me how awesome Mindy was, I couldn’t wait for the session to begin. As soon as we walked in and Mindy got her mic on, I knew Athena was right- I was going to love Mindy. She was this little, petite lady with enough energy to fill the entire {big} room. I learned a lot about how boot camps should be set up (circuit style- no more than 60 seconds at each station, use numbers to identify the stations, use picture signs so people know what they should do and don’t have to ask you a million times) AND I was pretty much obsessed with each station that she had us do. In between stations, she had us work with partners for all sorts of various body weight exercises. I cannot wait (side note- when I re-read this post, I realized I wrote out “weight” instead of “wait”. #fitnessinstructorproblems) to do the same exact stations in my SHRED class in the next few weeks…if people thought I was crazy before, they haven’t seen anything yet 😉

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Myofascial Compression Techniques: Trigger Point Performance Therapy

I originally signed up for Cardiopump Fusion, but by 4pm, after having taught Wednesday and a double Thursday and working out in all the other classes, I was absolutely beat and decided it was better to skip out on more cardio. There was a lot of scientific/muscle type of talk that mostly went over my head, but I thought the class was really interesting (and I kind of developed a crush on the instructor… whoops!). A few summers ago I had to go to physical therapy for a knee injury and I remember finding the whole background behind why injuries happen and what affects what to be SO interesting. Here are some of the most interesting points I took away:

  • It’s important to stay hydrated: when you’re dehydrated, your body starts to grow together (internally… I think he dumbed the process down for us when explaining it…) and adhesions start. Hence why we tend to be “achy” and sore when we first wake up. Ever notice that before? And then do you notice how everything loosens up once you start moving and drinking water? That’s because you’re getting hydrated again!
  • Most of our stress lies in our shoulders, but the tension lies in our legs/Achilles. Removing tension there will help relax your shoulders.
  • You should always foam roll before you workout: it acts like a warm up in that it helps to get the blood flowing
  • Hamstrings are stabilizers and in order to loosen up tight hamstrings, you need to release the quad.
  • Fascia is connected tissue throughout the body and it wraps around everything. Muscle is inseparable from fascia. Fascia responds to everything and adapts to help us do what we want to do (running, lifting, squatting, etc.). When we are seated or sedentary for a long time, our fascia adapts to that, so when we start to workout (after not doing it for a while), we are generally not prepared (because we are used to being sedentary) and therefore get injured.

Phew! How’s that?? We used these fun toys and worked through our entire right side of the body and wow could I feel a difference between my left and right side after that. It was incredible! If only I had someone to walk me through that painful, painful process every day… I’d feel amazing!

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I was going to recap Sunday’s classes in this post, too, but this post is getting quite lengthy so I’ll save those for next week as part of my “This Week” post.

I think you can tell, though, that MANIA was quite the awesome event… especially for fitness enthusiasts like myself! I was in heaven being surrounded by so many passionate instructors- it really made me want to be a better instructor and I felt myself using a lot of what I learned this week. And not just with the new exercises I taught, but HOW I taught them. I have a long way to go to be the instructor I know I can and want to be, but I am getting there! Already looking forward to next year 🙂

Questions for you: Instructor friends- have you ever been to a fitness conference like MANIA before? Anyone ever been to a R.I.P.P.E.D. class?

Chicken Divan {A Healthified Version}

I’m a big fan of making casserole-type dishes on Sunday night because they are easy to reheat and eat throughout the week (not to mention I think they reheat really well!). Even though I’ve had a fairly quiet start to my week (I seriously don’t know what to do with myself when I don’t have plans after work and am resting from the gym!), I was so tired on Sunday night and just wanted a warm, one-dish meal.

Preparing this meal was certainly not a one dish event- in fact, the meal took a bit longer than I anticipated, but I had a nice bottle of J. Lohr wine that kept me company 😉

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I know I say this all the time, but my mom makes the best Chicken Divan, so I consulted with her on what I needed to make the dish. I also checked out a few recipes and ended up combining notes from my mom and bits and pieces from both recipes to come up with my meal… whoops 🙂

Chicken Divan- adapted from Skinny Taste and My Recipes (linked there from Cooking Light)

Ingredients

  • 1lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I chose chicken thighs since they are way more flavorful than chicken breast, especially in a casserole dish)
  • about 8 oz. frozen broccoli (enough to cover the bottom of a small casserole dish)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 can of reduced fat cream of celery soup
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • bread crumbs

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Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Preheat a skillet and cook the chicken thighs for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until mostly cooked. Sprinkle salt & pepper on both sides.

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2. Place a layer of the frozen broccoli on the bottom of your casserole dish and put the chicken thighs on top. You can leave them whole or cut them up!

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3. Chop your onion. Heat up 1 tbsp. of butter in a skillet, add in the onions and minced garlic. Sautee until onions are translucent. Add in the chicken broth, wine, milk, and cream of celery soup. Stir everything together and bring to a boil and let boil for about 3-5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Add in the cheeses and stir until they have melted.

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4. Pour the mixture over the chicken and broccoli, coat the top with bread crumbs and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges are bubbling.

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5. Serve yourself a nice heaping bowl of it and enjoy!

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This is certainly not the prettiest meal to photograph, but don’t let that fool you- it was delicious! I find myself eating it by the spoonful as I am heating my serving for dinner… anyone else do that? This meal has been wonderful to quickly reheat after work and the gym all week. I might have to freeze some later this week since I still have lots left over.

Questions for you: Do you combine multiple recipes when you’re making a meal? Do you snack on crackers/chips/anything while you’re heating your dinner? Do you like to freeze meals to eat later on?

Wednesday Workout: 3-2-1 UXF Burn (Cardio, Strength, Core) Workout

Hi there! How are you doing today?! I’m finally starting to feel back to my normal self (physically); last week/weekend really took it out of me with all the working out I did! I owe you recaps for MANIA and the Fenway Spartan Sprint, but I’m still digesting everything I learned at MANIA and want to wait for the professional photos from the Spartan race to be posted.

I usually teach a 60 second strength and core format in my UXF Burn class on Wednesdays, but last week I decided to change it up and bring back the newest UXF format in my class: 3-2-1. We are supposed to teach it with 3 minutes of the SAME cardio move (ie: burpees), but my class hated that so I decided to switch it up and do 3 different moves for 60 seconds each in each set. I asked them what they thought and they said they liked it this way much better. Another thing they like about this workout is once you finish the strength and core exercises in each set, you’re done with those exercises for the rest of the class. If you don’t like circuits or repeating things, this is your type of workout!

3,2,1 cardio, strength, core workout

Doing the same strength exercise for 2 minutes straight can be tough… and boring… so I changed it up and had them do a few different exercises per strength set. Think: OH tricep extensions, one and two armed tricep kickbacks, pulsing, changing up the speed, etc. For squats, we did narrow, wide, normal width, plié, pulsing, different pacing. It helped to keep people engaged and pass the time more quickly than just standing there for 2 minutes of bicep curls.

I added in some new moves, so here some descriptions and links in case they are new to you, too!

  • Around the clock bicep curls: start out curling the weights in front of you at 12 o’clock, then move so you’re curling at 1 and 11 or 2 and 10 (or in between those two… basically at a 45 degree angle), then move so you’re curling at 9 and 3 for a wide curl. Make your way back to 12 and keep going like that.
  • Pendulum lunges: step forward into a lunge with your right foot then step back into a reverse lunge with that right foot. Do the same on the left side.
  • Plank Push-Up- I can’t find a video (and I’m in my jammies so I’m not about to video myself!), but you start out in a forearm plank and then slide your shoulders back and push your butt up and back so that you’re in a dolphin plank/downward dog pose. Bring yourself back down to a plank and repeat. If you work slowly, this is great for your lower abs!
  • Side plank with hip drops

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! This workout can be cut back if you don’t have a lot of time… all you have to do is pick a few sets and rock it!

Questions for you: What is the most boring exercise for you to do? Have you done a 3-2-1 workout like this?

Chicago: Part 3 {Brunching, Architecture Tour, Homemade Dinner}

Hi there! After this post, my Chicago recap is finally done 🙂 In case you missed the other posts, you can find them here, here, and here.

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling mostly better, but my stomach was still a little off. We hung out in the hotel for a bit and I blogged and we watched some tv. Around 11ish, we ventured out into what looked to be another beautiful day in the city! Seriously, I cannot believe how lucky we got with the weather. It could have been miserably cold/snowy, which we were not prepared for at all!

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We met up with JP for brunch at Eggy’s, but not before going to the grocery store to pick up a bottle of Prosecco since Eggy’s was BYOB. How fun is that?! Dining out would be so much more affordable if you could bring your own booze. Boston, get on that, will ya?!

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Apparently cheese curds are big in Chicago (I didn’t even know what they were until Danielle and JP explained the to me), so we go an order of the fried cheese curds to start. I was pleasantly surprised by how good they were!

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I got the green eggs and ham, which was one of their signature dishes. Sadly, it looked better than it tasted. It wasn’t bad, there was just too much stuff going on… too many flavors.

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We walked around for a bit after brunch to digest and then jumped on an afternoon Architecture Tour. Whenever I go to a new city, I always try to go on as many tours as possible because I think it’s the best way to see the city and get a good overview of all the important pieces of information and dates. JP took this photo of my sister and I as we waited for the tour to start. Whoops. Not very good company!

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Our tour guide was fantastic and I learned so much about Chicago! As I mentioned in my last Chicago recap, Chicago completely burned down and was rebuilt in the 1900’s, so a lot of the buildings are relatively “new” and really interesting to look at since so many famous architectures came to Chicago to show their talents. I didn’t take many photo’s on the tour because it was SO COLD. Seriously… We were freezing because it was mostly in the shade and on the water. Brrr. I did get this one of the Sears (now, Willis) Tower, which is the tallest building in Chicago (right? I think it is…) since they count the tall things at the top in the measurement.

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I didn’t take this photo on the tour, but we did see them and talk about them, so I’ll post it now.

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Danielle and I immediately noticed these buildings when we arrived in Chicago. They were so cool looking, and when we found out that they consider themselves mini “cities”, we thought they were even cooler. Apparently they have everything in the building that a city would have, so basically if you lived in one, you’d never have to leave. A little weird, right?

After the tour, we warmed up by walking around the mall on Michigan Ave and then got a drink in the lobby of our hotel. Danielle and I went to JP’s to make dinner on Sunday night since we were tired of eating out and were craving healthy food. Ok, and, we wanted to shop at the amazing grocery store across from JP’s apartment building. It was like a mix between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s… but better! It was two levels and had the best deli/hot bar section I’ve ever seen. I died and went to grocery store lover’s heaven!

We went simple for dinner and I just made a veggie and chicken dish, served over a fancy fettuccine with a nice, big salad on the side!

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Yum. It was so good! Danielle and I were in bed by 10pm on Sunday night and it was wonderful. Between traveling for work and then going right to Chicago to travel for fun, we were both exhausted!!! I think I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow 🙂

Monday morning we both got up and went to the gym and then hit the road for the airport.

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I traveled in comfy clothes, which I never do, because I had to sub a class on Monday night and was worried we might be delayed and I wouldn’t have time to change. Lucky for us, everything was on time (shocking for the Chicago airport) and I got home and to the gym with plenty of time to spare!

All in all, both trips were a blast. I might be going back to Chicago with a group of friends over the summer and I’m already looking forward to that possibility because I seriously loved Chicago. If I didn’t live in Boston but had to live in a city, I would choose Chicago. There was just something about it that I loved and I could see myself living there!

Thanks for following along through my recaps of the trip!

Questions for you: Have you done the architecture tour? If you had to pick a city to live in other than where you currently live, where would it be? Do you know of any BYOB restaurants in Boston?