#hellyesyoucan {My First Recycle Studio Experience}

Boy, oh, boy. Where do I even begin? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that I’ve never really been a “spinner”. In fact, I actually used to hate it. The more I take classes, though, the more I am growing to like it.

With that said, did you know indoor cycling is different from spinning? I didn’t, until I read this excerpt from Boston Magazine which explained the difference:

IMG_6415

“Indoor cycling, though, features choreography that works the whole body. Classes also target arms and abs, and not just as an afterthought. The choreography and the music keep you mentally engaged, so you’re never bored. The best part is when all of the riders are in sync, sweating together to tempo to create an energy unmatched by any other group class out there.”

This is what sold me on the idea of indoor cycling. All of the things listed out in the article are exactly what I look for in a class. Why go to a class and only work your lower body? I want to leave feeling like I got a full body workout… and after taking my friend Lindsay’s Saturday morning “Reboot” ride, I can honestly say I didn’t feel like I need anything else after that class. We worked our core, we worked our legs and holy moly did we work our arms (a 4 minute song with 2lb weights for upper body toning is NO JOKE.), so it’s no surprise that I left there feeling totally hooked on the “indoor cycling” workout.

Let’s back up, though. Lindsay and I met a few years ago, back when she just checked people in at Recycle Studio. Recently, Lindsay went through the teacher training and now has 3 permanent weekly classes on the schedule and when she sent me a free code to come try a class, I was stoked!

IMG_6498

I wore my brightest pants to get me pumped up… it worked.

I arrived at the studio, rented shoes (btw, spinning with spin shoes makes a WORLD of a difference. I feel like I need to buy a pair.), and got set up.

IMG_6501

Lindsay turned the lights off and at 9:30 on the dot we got spinning. She started the class with an intention and some motivational words and thoughts, which reminded me of yoga and has been something I’ve been trying to bring into my own classes. Here’s what Lindsay’s intention was:

I suffered a hip injury years ago which has totally inhibited my running. I went to Barry’s Bootcamp Friday night and on the treadmill  realized I can be pushed and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. So, today my intention is to break through the point of comfortable because that is where your body will change- If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.

I couldn’t agree with this more. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: decreasing my cardio and increasing my weight training has changed my body in the best way possible. Sure, it’s “easier” to jump on a cross trainer for 45 minutes to an hour, but that’s not going to give you the best results. We often skip the challenge because it’s hard, but Lindsay’s message about needing to break through that because that’s when change happens couldn’t be more spot on with the truth. If working out and being fit and healthy was easy, everyone would do it. It takes determination, motivation and dedication to get the change you want to see, and that is NOT easy.

With that said, I kept that mantra (If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you) in my head throughout the whole class and it really helped push through the various challenges I was faced with. Between the “booty drops” (umm, loved that move and the name!), tricep presses, chest presses, isolations, hill climbs and 4 minutes of crazy upper body work, the class certainly pushed me out of my normal boundaries, but I loved it! I am big on choreographed routines, so “going with the beat” and being able to anticipate the next move and keeping up with the routines made the class fun and literally made me smile through the pain (yes, I caught myself smiling AND laughing at various times throughout the class).

As an instructor, I have to say I can be overly critical of other instructors, not because I think I’m a terrific instructor (because I am not- I have loads of ways to improve), but because I just hold them to a higher standard because I know what goes into training and prepping and actually teaching the class. Lindsay far surpassed any expectations I could have had. She had so much energy, gave clear directions, had amazing music and really pumped us up with various things she said throughout her class.  Her words made me want to push myself harder, even when I didn’t know I could!

“Thank yourself later for the work you put in this morning”
“We are a team, a unit that gets through 45 minutes together.”
 “When it comes to 2lb weights it’s mind over matter, you have to believe you are strong enough to push into the point of uncomfortableness.”
“Everyone here has a heart of a champion. We can’t stop won’t stop… so dig deep, leave your worries behind you and give 100% into a sprint that will leave you breathless
“Every bead of sweat has a purpose. Every minute of your ride has a purpose.”

I loved this. It really made me think about why I was there, why I workout, why I love to workout and try new things. I’m there for the passion. I’m there for the endorphins. I’m there for the energy. I’m there for those 45 minutes where all that matters in my life is getting through the next hill/sprint/song/etc. And… it’s wonderful. Sure, the physical aspect and benefits of working out are great, but even more than that, I live for the mental benefits and the way I feel after an amazing workout is one of the best feelings.

So, thank you, Lindsay, for not only an amazing workout, but for asking us to give our ride a purpose, an intention. For making us feel like a team and for making us appreciate every bead of sweat that we dripped (ok, dripped is an understatement. I was pouring out sweat throughout the whole class.). Thank you for reminding us that we are blessed to be able to do what we do and that we have the ability to push our boundaries. It’s easy to take things for granted, so it was a nice reminder to appreciate all that we can do. I can’t wait to go back!

IMG_6506

Questions for you: Have you been to Recycle? What’s your fitness mantra that helps get you through a tough run/ride/class/workout?

PS- When you go, be prepared to sweat. A lot. I went in with straight hair and when I left, the end of my pony tail was totally curly. That’s the sign of a good sweat sesh if you ask me 😉

IMG_6505

Advertisements

Quinoa Granola

Say, what?! I know, it sounds a little weird, right? That’s what I thought when my sister sent me an email with a link to this recipe from her favorite blog, Iowa Girl Eats, but after making it, I can promise you there’s nothing weird about it!

I made a number of additions/substitutions based on what I had in the apartment and based on what I thought I wanted to include in it, but using her recipe as a base was a great place to start. I never would have thought to have included quinoa in a granola recipe!

Crunch Quinoa Granola– Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

IMG_6433

Ingredients

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup sliced almonds– I used 1/2 cup chopped almonds and 1/4 cup copped pecans
2 Tablespoons flax seeds– I ran out of flax seeds so I left this out
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt
1/4 cup honey– I used a mixture of honey, maple syrup and agave. I probably used between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup combined.
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted– Left this out since I didn’t have any. I added in 2 TBSP of almond butter instead.
1 cup raisins– I used craisins instead because I like them better

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 350*. Combine all ingredients except for the raisins or craisins.

IMG_6417

2. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes, checking on it periodically and stirring to ensure that everything is baked evenly.

IMG_6418

3. When it’s cooked, remove from the oven, add the raisins or craisins and enjoy!

IMG_6419

Not surprisingly, I couldn’t keep my hands out of this granola. Ugh, it’s such an obsession! What I loved about this granola, though, was the extra dose of protein and fiber from the quinoa that helped kept me full and satisfied for longer. It was the prefect fuel for the run I did after eating it by the BIG handful.

IMG_6421

Needless to say, this batch didn’t last every long… whoops!

Questions for you: What’s the “weirdest”, but surprisingly delicious, recipe you’ve ever made? Do you prefer raisins or craisins?

Wednesday Workout: Full Body Supersets Workout

As I said on Monday, I taught a workout in SHRED last week that I loved when I did it on my own, but wasn’t crazy about it when I was teaching it. I based my workout off of Athena’s 35 Minute Upper Body Blast workout that she posted a while ago. I knew I wanted to do an upper body strength workout, but since I was at my apartment, obviously without a rowing machine, I had to do something to replace that piece of the workout. Enter: core supersets and short cardio blasts.

Since the workout left me really sore, I thought it would be good to teach (I’m evil that way 😉 ), but I knew I wanted to add in some lower body super sets so that my members could have a more well-rounded workout (when I workout on my own I can pick and choose what I want to do, which is why I loved Athena’s upper body focused workout). Here’s what I came up with!

Full Body Supersets

I’m not really sure why I didn’t love teaching this, perhaps because we did each superset 3 times through and it felt too repetitive? Regardless, I liked the actual workout and can see myself doing it again, which is why I’m sharing it with you today!

I think most of the moves are self-explanatory, but if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Also, if you’re running short on time, but still want a full body workout, feel free to do only one or two rounds of each strength/core exercises. Or, you can skip the cardio! I do this all the time with workouts that I see online. I’ll change something, add something, remove something… you get the idea.

Let me know if you try this!

Questions for you: Instructor friends- do you like to teach different formats from what you do when you’re on your own?

Weekending: Relaxing, Spontaneous Girls Night, Sunday Dinner

I wasn’t sure what my weekend was going to entail going into it, which is very unlike me! For once, I went entirely with the flow and sans plans. It was quite nice, might I add!

Friday was weird since I went into the office. Luckily, we can wear jeans on Friday’s now. Since I was dressed and had my hair done, I had wanted to get drinks after work, but no one was around and by the time I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was go back out in the cold so I just stayed in.

IMG_6492

Saturday morning I took a class at Recycle studio with my friend Lindsay which was the best way to start my day!

IMG_6498

We grabbed coffee (tea for me) at Starbucks after class and it was really interesting to hear how she got into teaching at Recycle. It makes me want to do it, but it was a huge time investment and I don’t know if my schedule allows for that right now. By the time I got home, I was starvinggggg, so I quickly whipped up this delicious quesadilla.

IMG_6507

Ground turkey, mushrooms, kale and cheese. It.was.perfect.

I was able to spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on a LOT of blogging. I don’t often have a solid chunk of time to do that, but I wish I did because I was so productive.

I met my sister and Amy at Stoddard’s in Downtown Crossing for a drink before our dinner reservations at 49 Social. It worked out perfectly because they are literally across the street from each other. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably remember that the “Shapleigh” girls like to get together for girls nights. Rachel was out of town, so it was just the 3 of us this time.

49 Social was really, really good! I didn’t take any pictures of the food, but we got hummus, a Duck Confit Quesadilla, a burger and some asparagus and everything was absolutely delicious. We always like to get things from the bar menu or appetizer section since we all like to share, so it was perfect. Danielle and I shared a bottle of this sauvignon blanc which was quite tasty.

IMG_6510

For once, I didn’t want to go home after dinner. We were having so much fun that we decided to keep it going and have “one more” at Gem as it was nearby. Well, “one more” ended up being “three more” without even really realizing it! I absolutely love nights that turn out like this. We were all just living in the moment and enjoying being out together, so we kept it going.

IMG_6532 IMG_6531

We met the young man in the photo above when Danielle was showing off her stellar dance moves. He was visiting from Australia and I’m not sure he really knew how to handle us. It was hilarious.

Anyway! Sunday was productive, but also flew by. I went grocery shopping and then next thing I knew, it was time to head into the city for a class at Exhale Spa. When I got home, I got cookin’ in the kitchen. I made garlic and cheese mashed cauliflower, roasted veggies and marinated chicken. It was simple, but healthy and really good. The flavors were spot on.

IMG_6537roasted veggies IMG_6541 dinner

Fantastic way to end my weekend!

Questions for you: When’s the last time you were spontaneous? What was your best meal over the weekend? What was the best part of your weekend?

This Week: Workouts, Things I’m Looking Forward To, & Week 3 of the January Challenge Check-In

Hi there! Happy Monday! I hope you’re all feeling refreshed after the weekend.

At the beginning of last week, I was feeling bored with my workouts. I don’t really know why, because I feel like it was just a few weeks ago where I said my workouts left me really sore, so that must mean I’ve been doing different things, right? Whatever the reason for having that feeling, it went away just a few days into the week. Between subbing a class, doing an at-home workout and going to my first class at Recycle Studio, I had a fun-filled week of fitness by the end of it!

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I did 20 minutes on the cross trainer before doing 10 minutes of abs and teaching kickboxing at the Watertown BSC.
  • Tuesday- It was my plan to go to the gym after work, but by the time I left work it was freezing cold, windy and snowy, so I opted to take advantage of a non-teaching day and head right home after work to do an at-home workout. I based it off of this workout from Athena. I obviously didn’t row, but I did 2 minutes of cardio and core supersets in place of the rowing. My chest was so sore on Wednesday!

IMG_6484

  • Wednesday- I ran 3.5 miles before teaching a packed UXF Burn class. Dana asked for a hard workout and although I planned it before  her request, I think it still ended up being pretty hard!
  • Thursday- I taught SHRED and Kickboxing. I based my SHRED workout off of what I did at home on Tuesday night, and although it was a good workout, it didn’t pump me up while teaching it. Fitness instructors- do any of you ever experience this? You do a workout on your own and love it, but don’t love to teach it? Hmmm.
  • Friday- Rest day! Besides my normal walk to and from work… I had an exciting meeting that I’ll share more about with you later 😉
  • Saturday- I took a “Reboot” ride with my friend Lindsay at Recycle Studio.

IMG_6506

  • Sunday- I went to Exhale Spa for one of their Core Fusion Barre classes. Since I bought the Guilt 3 class pass, I wanted to try out different classes. Last week was yoga, this week was Barre. I liked the class, but I think I like Pure Barre better!

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I’m not sure what I feel like doing after work today! I received a 3-week pass to the gym in my new office building and they offer a ton of classes so I may try something there during or after work or I may head to spin at the East Boston YMCA. After my class with Linsday, though, I’m not sure I can go back to regular ol’ spinning!
  • Tuesday- I have plans after work so I’ll get up and probably do some strength training in the morning.
  • Wednesday- The usual: running and then teaching UXF Burn.
  • Thursday- Again, the usual: teaching SHRED and Kickboxing
  • Friday- Rest- but maybe some yoga when I work from home.
  • Saturday- Teaching kickboxing at the Oak Square YMCA.
  • Sunday- I may be running a 5k in Cambridge with some BSC gym friends. If I don’t do that, I’ll do something else since I think it’s the Super Bowl and even though I don’t watch football, I’ll probably be around people who do… and eating football food (whatever that means… I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy…), so a workout before that is not a bad idea.

Things I’m Looking Forward To

I think I’m getting together with someone on Tuesday after work. We talked about going grocery shopping and cooking dinner, which is one of my favorite things to do! I’m also looking forward to hopefully running a 5K this weekend and then rewarding myself with food, drinks and friends while pretending to watch watching football.

January Burpee and Push-Up Challenge- Week 3 Check-In

I have to be honest with you guys. I did NOT want to do the challenge yesterday. I had gone to a barre class and showered and was feeling super relaxed when I got home and the LAST thing I wanted to do was get out of my peaceful mood and bust out 100 push-ups and burpees.  We also did a LOT of push-ups in the barre class, so  the thought of doing more was daunting. I don’t get like this very often, but when I do, I try to honor my body and myself. My friend, Jen, posted on Facebook that she did the challenge for week 3, but not for time because her legs were tired from snowboarding. I was so proud of her for acknowledging this and modifying for it. It’s important to push ourselves, but we also need to know when to call it quits, right? So, I copied Jen and did the challenge last night, but not for time. I modified the burpees (didn’t do the jump at the top) and did the push-ups on my knees and with multiple breaks within each set of 25. I’m happy that I listened to my body and took the challenge down a notch. I know I’m guilty of getting wrapped up in doing things as fast as I can all the time, so it was a big thing for me to slow down, achieve the challenge, but leave behind the competition with myself. It made for a much more enjoyable experience!

I want to hear from you- Week 3 of the challenge… how did you do?  Did you push yourself this week or did you do it without a goal or time? What was the hardest or easiest part for you this week? We’ve got one week left and I hope you’re all going to stick with me until the end!

Questions for you: Did you make it to the gym in the snow storm or did you opt for an at-home workout? Did you try any new workouts this week?