This Week: Workouts, JP Morgan Race Review, Things I’m Looking Forward To

Hi there! Happy Monday 🙂 Can you believe tomorrow is JULY 1st?!?! Where the heck has the spring gone?! I feel like once July 4th hits, it’s a race to the end of summer- I hate that! Although my July is crazy busy with a cape trip for the 4th, Bachelorette party on Nantucket the weekend after and Chicago at the end of the month, August should be a bit slower, which will be nice.

Last week was a good week of workouts, for the most part. I’ve really started to enjoy teaching my Monday morning class- it’s such a good way to kick off the work week! On top of a full teaching schedule (5 classes this week), I also ran the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge with my company. There were over 12,000 runners this year and while they tried to make it more organized by bib colors, the start of the race was still a big cluster and I found myself forced to walk until the crowds thinned out a bit. But, even with that, I finished the 3.5 mile race in 29:29, which I was happy about considering my first mile was 9:25! I came in as the first girl for my company which was pretty cool, especially because I’m not a “runner”. We headed to Granary Tavern after the race for celebratory drinks and food. I was STARVING by this point, so the flatbreads, sweet potato fries, fried calamari and buffalo wings couldn’t have tasted better 😉

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Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I taught my 6am muscle class and did a Tabata format, which left me sore for literally 3 days! I finished up my workout with 20 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Tuesday- I ran the 3.5 mile race and did a little extra running/walking when getting there, too.
  • Wednesday- I ran a hard 3 miles before teaching my UXF Burn class. It’s so crazy how runs can be good one day and bad the next day. I blame it on the heat!
  • Thursday- I taught SHRED and Cardio Kickboxing… in some more new lulu 😉

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  • Friday- I went for a 25-30 minute walk during my lunch break and then walked a bit when I went into the city for drinks.
  • Saturday- I taught Cardio Kickboxing at the Oak Square YMCA. Smaller crowd, but we still got in a good workout!
  • Sunday- I did an at-home, self lead 30 minute yoga sesh and then 15 minutes of abs. After breakfast, RM and I went for a 45 minute power walk.

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This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I plan on going for a run (4 or 5 miles?) and then doing some core work.
  • Tuesday- Some of the ladies in my office invited me to check out a muscle class at their gym during lunch time, so I think I will do that, which works out well because I have a hair appointment after work.
  • Wednesday- I’ll probably run before teaching UXF Burn.
  • Thursday- Sunday- To be honest, I’m not sure! My Thursday classes were cancelled and I am heading to the Cape so it’s hard to tell what I will do. I’m sure I’ll go running and go for walks and do some at-home boot camps when I’m on the Cape. Anyone have any good ones I should try?

Things I’m Looking Forward To

This is a fun week because the 4th of July is one of the best holidays! Tuesday I have a hair appointment to get some highlights, which I’ve been waiting to do for a while now. On top of that, I’m really excited about going to the Cape for the holiday weekend. Although I’m going to miss being in Maine with my family and friends (and going to the parade!), it will be fun to try something different.

Questions for you: What was your best workout last week? Did you run the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge? What are you doing for the 4th of July?

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Homemade Gluten Free Nutty Granola (low sugar!)

Hi there! Happy Friday 🙂 I hope you’ve all had a good week. Anything fun planned for the weekend? I am SO excited to say that I have relatively nothing planned. It’s been a longgg time since I’ve had a mostly open weekend, so I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of it! Before I get to that, though, I wanted to share a recipe that I came up with a few weeks ago. Enjoy!

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During my “funemployment” (my friend JP coined that term for me) week a few weeks ago, I had plenty of time to do some baking and cooking in my kitchen. After seeing Fed Up, I was in the mood to make a healthier, lower sugar version of one of my favorite things: granola.

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Although people often think of granola as a “healthy” snack, it really isn’t. Most granola’s out there are FULL of sugars and seemingly unnecessary ingredients (there shouldn’t be anything in a simple granola recipe that you can’t pronounce.), which make them a not-so-healthy or smart snack. Since I love granola so much, though, I’ve turned to making it for myself when I can. By doing that, I can pick exactly what I want in it and keep all the unnecessary ingredients out.

Knowing that I would be sharing with RM, I used my gluten free oats and kept all other gluten ingredients out of it. I loaded it up with healthy nuts, fats and super foods to help keep me full and satisfied after snacking on it. In the past, I have added in agave, honey or maple syrup as a way to sweeten it up a bit. This time around, I opted out of adding in any of those things because even though they are a “healthier” sugar option than others, bottom line is that they are still added sugars.

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While the end product wasn’t as “omg I can’t stop eating this granola” as I would’ve liked (goes to show you how much of an effect sugar has on the taste of the food we eat), it was still a great addition to my daily yogurt bowls that left me feeling guilt-free. Please note that if you’re looking to make it a little sweeter, I would certainly add in an eighth to a quarter of a cup of a liquid sweetener.

Homemade gluten free nutty granola

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free oats (or regular oats if you’re not looking to be gluten free)
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup of each: pecans, hazelnuts & cashews (or whatever type of nuts you have on hand and would like to use)
  • 2 tbsp. almond butter (I had a Raw almond butter, which didn’t help with adding flavor to the granola. Next time, I would use a roasted almond butter)
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325*. Combine the dry ingredients (GF oats, flax seed, chia seeds, nuts and cinnamon).

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2. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl (almond butter, coconut oil, egg white and vanilla).

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3. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, making sure to mix it up halfway through. *please note: it make take more or less time, depending on your oven. I checked on mine a lot and stirred it often to make sure it was cooking evenly.

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Although this wasn’t a super sweet granola, it totally hit the spot for me and I still found myself going back for more handfuls even when I wasn’t hungry. What is it about granola that does that to me?! I generally pride myself for having good self control when it comes to portion control and knowing when (and being able) to stop, but when it comes to granola, all of that goes right out the window!

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Looking for more granola recipes? Check these out:
Grain Free Granola
Quinoa Granola
I have a granola obession…

Questions for you: What’s your favorite brand of granola? What are your favorite granola ingredients? Do you eat it by the handful or just in yogurt bowls?

“Why do you love to teach so much?”

The other day, RM and I were talking about my schedule and ways to possibly take some of my load off. Lately, it seems like I’m running on empty more often than not. Between my new job and new commute, teaching and subbing, events with friends/coworkers after work, spending time with RM, spending time with my sister and friends, etc., there’s very little time for me to relax, which can really take a toll on the mind AND body.

I can do everything
Source– actually a good post to check out!
(This is basically how I feel like I should live… and what I’m trying to get away from!)

When we got onto the topic of teaching, he asked why I didn’t give up some of my classes, especially now that I make more money. My response? Because it’s not about the money. It’s because I love it. His response? What about it do you love so much?

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Source
I went on to tell him that there are so many things that I love about teaching, but I think the thing I love the most is the way it makes me feel knowing that these members take time out of their day to come to my class as a way help them do something healthy and good for themselves. When you think about it like that, it seems like a huge responsibility, right?

As fitness instructors, people come to us for motivation and encouragement. They come to us for advice to help them meet their fitness and health goals. They come to us to help push them outside of their comfort zones and help them achieve things they otherwise wouldn’t know they could achieve. They come to our classes when they’ve had a bad day and need to release negative energy. They come to us as a healthy part of their day.

Just writing down all those things we, as fitness professionals, provide to our members on a daily/weekly basis makes me SO PROUD.

And, as much as my members feel like I’m helping them, they are helping me be a better me and a better instructor for them. One of my favorite Recycle instructors has a mantra she shares during class: I push you, you push me. I think it’s great- Yes, I’m there to push and motivate and guide my members, but without them being there as a motivation for me to keep teaching, I might not be doing it.

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I’ll admit though, teaching isn’t always sunshine and roses. I’m sure we can all agree we’ve had one of those classes that we want to forget, right? And sometimes, I just don’t want to teach, but it’s those days where I’m reminded how much I love it because by the time I start the warm up, I am totally amped to be there. And the endorphins after a class is over? Priceless.

only one workout away from a good mood

So, with that said, even though I know I need to cut back on my teaching schedule, it’s going to be a very hard decision figuring out where I’m going to cut back. I’ve got such a great following at my various gyms, but does the location and commute to get to those locations make sense? That’s what I need to figure out. One thing is for sure, though, there’s no way I would ever give up teaching all together- I love it too much for that.

Questions for you: Fellow fitness instructors- Why do you teach? Do you love it? Class goers- what’s a reason you go to classes? If fitness isn’t your thing, what’s something you do because you love it, not because of the money?

Wednesday Workout: My favorite “towel” workout (aka, “Make your schoulders scream” workout”)

The one thing I really love about the BSC is that they have a towel service. I don’t know about you, but I get SWEATY when I go to the gym, which means I need to towel off often throughout my workout. Using paper towels can be so wasteful, which is why I think every gym should have towel service, right?! But towels aren’t only good for wiping sweat, they can also be a great piece of “equipment” for your workout.

Why am I talking about towels, you might ask? Well, I’ve been meaning to post this workout for a while, but for some reason it keeps slipping to the back of my list. It’s a shame, because it’s a killer workouts that really doesn’t require much besides a mat and 2 of my beloved towels (or Gliders if you have those, or even paper plates).

What I love about the workout is it’s not your traditional “bicep curls/tricep extension/squats/lunges” type of workout. It’s  just body weight and resistance from the towels. I’ve incorporated strength exercises, core exercises and cardio exercises, but I will warn you now… it’s heavy on the shoulder burn!

Make your shoulders burn workout

So, the way this workout goes (similar to this workout), is you do 60 seconds of move A, then 60 of move B. Before moving on to the next A and B moves, do 30 seconds of mountain climbers. The idea with this workout is everything will be done using the towels. They make an ordinary move seem so much harder, which is what I love about them. Just adding that extra bit of resistance or unsteadiness is a great way to change up your normal workout exercises. I promise you’ll feel it the next day!

Lastly, if you need help with some help with some moves, here are descriptions and/or videos:

  • Pendulum lunges- With your right foot on a towel, lunge/slide into a forward lunge and back into a reverse lunge. Repeat for 30 seconds then do it on the left side.
  • Side Squats- Stand with both feet on a towel. Step/slide right into a squat, slide it back to center and do the same going to the left. Focus on your abductors/adductors here- that’s where you should be feeling it if you’re really pushing and pulling your legs on the towels.
  • Tricep push-up & regular push-up- I do these on my knees because they are TOUGH. Place your hands on the towels in a high plank position. Perform a tricep push-up and then when you’re back in the high plank position, slide your arms out to do a regular push-up. Repeat.
  • Plank w/knee tuck- Place your feet on 1 towel and in a high plank position, tuck your knees into your chest. Repeat.
  • Spiderman plank- Place each foot on a towel and get into a high plank position- Slide your right knee up to your right elbow/tricep. Bring it back and repeat on the left. Focus on the obliques here!
  • Plank w/opp knee to elbow- Same as without towels, just do it with towels under your feet.

The cardio moves are performed just as they would be without towels, just do them with towels for the added challenge!

If you need more help or want demos, let me know 🙂

Questions for you: Do you ever use towels in your workouts? Do you have Gliders? What’s the most challenge move for your shoulders that you do?

 

My first Stitch Fix: Why didn’t I love it as much as everyone else seems to?

If you’ve been reading blogs for a while, I’m sure you’ve seen Stitch Fix reviews here and there, right? Well, if you haven’t, Stitch Fix is an online type of “stylist” service. You log onto their site and fill out a very detailed questionnaire directed at your style, size, shape, likes and dislikes. Once that is completed, you’re given the opportunity to schedule your “fix”. You’re charged $20 per fix, regardless of whether or not you keep the clothes, but, if you keep anything, you get $20 off of that item. It’s a pretty good deal if you don’t necessarily like shopping and want to have some stylish pieces added to your closet. I don’t have the best sense in fashion, so having a little extra help is always nice!

Here’s where things start to go south for my first Stitch Fix experience. I was all amped up after completing my style questionnaire, so you can only imagine my disappointment when the first fix date wasn’t until June 4th (mind you, it was April 24th when I completed my fix…). But, whatever… I shrugged it off. Stitch Fix was amazing, right?! Everyone that does it loves it so it must be worth the wait, right? I convinced myself those doubts were silly and that it would be worth it.

Well, June 4th came and went, sans my Stitch Fix. To say I was bummed was an understatement; I had made a special request for white skinny jeans as I was heading to Miami on June 6th and thought they’d be perfect. Sadly, nothing came by the 6th and when I emailed them about it, they told me my fix had mistakenly been cancelled- say what?!? Luckily, they were able to schedule me a fix for the next week and the person I emailed with was super nice and understanding and ended up waiving the $20 styling fee.

Finally, on June 17th, I found this on my doorstep:

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I couldn’t wait to open it up!

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My first thought?! Ok, I like these colors… and look! They gave me my white skinny jeans! Sadly, after opening everything up, the jeans were not white (off white) and not skinny (boot cut). I still liked them, but they were a bit too small and too long and, well, not what I was looking for. Otherwise, I liked the colors of the shirts, but wasn’t CRAZY about anything. All of the items were totally my style and matched my profile, but I guess I had been looking for more “flashy” items that I might not otherwise buy myself. Looking back, I should have filled out my profile according to that- my bad!

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Here’s a look at everything on me. I didn’t think most of it would fit right, but I actually really liked the way everything looked on me, which did make my end decision on what to keep a little harder.

Henry & Belle Reese Slim Bootcut Jean- $88

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Even though they were a little too small and not what I was looking for, I really liked these jeans! The fabric was really nice and soft and I loved the gold accents.

Market & Spruce Corinna Striped Heathered Dolman Top- $48

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I ended up keeping this top. It’s not usually something I’d buy (I think I look better in fitted tops), but when I tried it on for RM he thought it looked great and would be a good shirt to wear on summer nights. Since I had a free credit, I decided it would be worth it!

41Hawthorn Montgomery Chevron Cross-Front Top- $48

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I actually liked this shirt much better on than when I first saw it in the box. It’s totally something I would buy and wear, I just felt like I could get it at Banana Republic on sale for half of the price it was from Stitch Fix.

Market and Spruce Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top- $48

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This was my least favorite item in my fix. I thought it was boxy and just not my style, but, when I tried it on I actually didn’t think it was that bad. Not worth me keeping, though, so I sent it back.

The necklace was nice, but I’ve got lots of statement jewelry and can get it for a lot cheaper than they had it priced at.

So, even though my fix wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, I liked it enough to keep a piece and sign up for my next fix.

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Everyone raves so much about the company that I felt like I needed to give it a second chance. I gave good comments for each piece and updated my profile so I think I’m going to love the next fix.

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you about the BEST PART of Stitch Fix. All you have to do to return your “non-keep” items is put them into the prepaid bag they provide and put them in any blue mailbox. How easy is that?!?! Part of the reason why I don’t do online shopping is because I hate returning stuff by sending it back, but this was a piece of cake!

So, if you’re interested in getting your own fix, click this link and sign up (that is a referral link- everyone gets one when they sign up for a fix!).

Questions for you: Have you heard of Stitch Fix? Have you done it? Do you like online shopping?