Weekending: It was all about the food

Hi there! It’s nice to see that the “big” snow storm has already come and gone- don’t get me wrong, I love snow, but at this point I am ready for sunny, warm, spring days!

Did you guys have a good weekend? Ours was great… and included ALL THE FOOD. No, seriously- it was filled with the most delicious eats. Let’s recap- I hope you’re not hungry 😉

Friday night, Liz had some of the gym girls over for a “bar” party. Now, I know what you’re thinking (or at least what I was thinking), it wasn’t an alcohol party, it was a food bar party! There was a taco bar, pizza bar, grilled cheese bar, fruit bar and an ice cream bar. And yes, everything was as amazing as it sounds! It was so great getting to catch up with the girls, especially since a few are also engaged so we did lots of wedding talk. Wedding talk and working out talk pretty much equals my life these days.

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On Saturday, it was an extra early weekend wakeup call so that I could get to the gym before we hit the road to go to NH. I was telling Athena that I was really craving a heavy lift sesh. I hadn’t been able to get under the bar all week, so you can imagine my surprise when my Saturday lift felt- dare I say- easy? I felt so strong with my back squats and pushups- it was awesome! And, I didn’t feel the tiniest bit sore the day after so I think I could’ve gone heavier- looking forward to the next time.

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After showers and breakfast (RM had pancakes made and waiting for me when I got back from the gym- he’s a keeper!), we swung through Starbucks and hit the road. Since I never finish my drink (Chai Tea Latte with 1/2 the syrup pump), I ordered a kiddie size. it was perfect!

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The trip north went smooth and we arrived at the Wentworth before we knew it.

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Weekending: Party, Party, Party!

Hi there! I know I say this often, but last weekend was SO MUCH FUN! Starting with a gym friends party on Friday night, continuing on to my party and then a Sunday full of errands, laughs and “Sunday Dinner” with RM, it was pretty awesome.

I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy our “gym friend” get togethers. I’ve got a lot of friends from various groups, but my gym friends are a group of girls that get my intense workout mindset, love of trying out new classes, and can relate to my crazy schedule. After the week I had last week, the combination of those things, as well as some amazinggggg (healthy!) food and drinks helped relax me from the week and get me excited for the weekend. The cause for this gym friends party was to celebrate Jen’s birthday. Jen is a huge inspiration for working out and eating healthy- she has lost so much weight over the past couple of months and looks truly fantastic. She has been doing two-a-days and eating healthy and you know what? It’s paid off BIG TIME. I’m so proud of her!

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I made these and they were a big hit!
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I finally slept well on Friday night- I can’t tell you how happy that made me! Kickboxing was a blast- the crowds are back and I loved that I will be there for the next 2 weekends. Burning 531 calories in under an hour is a great way to start the day 🙂

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After my class, I went home and got into full party prep mode. Thankfully my sister was around to help! I made a crockpot chili, we made Stromboli’s and buffalo chicken dip and we had a bunch of veggies, crackers, hummus and some cookies. Oh… and a lot of wine 😉 We were SO LUCKY that the weather was warm and sunny because there certainly wouldn’t have been enough room in my apartment if we were all stuck in there! I loved that it was kind of a random group of people who came… well, random in that there were friends from multiple different groups: gym, college, home, RM’s family… the best part was everyone was having a great time mingling with each other, which makes “hosting” easier 😉 Big thanks to everyone who came- and thanks for the wine, too!

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Sunday was a busy day for RM and me. We woke up and had some healthy pumpkin protein “pancakes” before hitting the road to check out a health food store in Quincy. Good Health was amazing! If you’re in the hunt for a fully stocked healthy food store, you should definitely head to Quincy- they had everything!

From there, we did food shopping at Whole Foods, car shopping and then had Sunday dinner at his brother and sister-in-law’s. It was fun re-hashing the party with them 🙂

I finally got home and sat down to relax around 7:30- and I was definitely in bed before 9 and I loved every minute of it!

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Did you get outside to enjoy the beautiful weather on Saturday? Do you like hosting parties?

Stephanie’s Avocado Tomato Corn Feta Dip {Perfect for the 4th of July!}

In honor of the upcoming holiday, which is sure to bring about lots of BBQ’s and parties, I wanted to share an absolutely delicious appetizer dish that is most definitely a crowd pleaser. My gym friend, Stephanie, has brought a few variations of this “dip” to a couple of different gym friends parties and I was so happy she agreed to let me share it with all of you!

Stephanie’s Avocado Tomato Corn Feta Dip

Stephanie's Dip

Ingredients:

  • 3 large avocados chopped
  • 1lb diced grape tomato
  • 1 bag of sweet grilled corn
  • 6-8oz Mediterranean herb feta
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 diced red onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 limes, squeezed
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Chop your ingredients and place all of them together in a big bowl.
  2. Stir together and place in the fridge to chill for a few hours.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips or your whatever dipping “utensil” you choose!

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I mean, how easy is that?! Nothing better than a 1 bowl recipe in my mind- easy clean up!

Big thanks to Stephanie for sharing her recipe with us- I plan on making a batch of this for the 4th!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite party appetizer? Do you have a “go-to” dish that people always request from you? What are you making for the 4th this year?

Weekending: Gym friends, Southie, How to prepare for a busy week

My weekend recap is a little late this week, but it was a good one, so it’s better late than never, right? Although I was super tired on Friday night, I was excited to head to Needham for a gym friends party. A gym friends party, you might ask? What is that? Well, it’s when a bunch of gym-going, gym-loving ladies get together to eat good food, drink good wine and share horror funny class stories (most of us are instructors, so we’ve got stories for dayssss). Athena wrote up a really nice post about why she loves gym friends and I couldn’t agree more. It’s funny because when I was telling my mom about it on Saturday, I used the same exact “they just ‘get’ me” line that she used in her post. gym friends (photo credit: Athena!)

On top of good company, I love gym friend parties because the food is always delicious… and usually healthy! There were so many different appetizer treats to snack on- I was a happy camper 😉 IMG_6833 I brought a dessert treat that I came up with fairly quickly. Could’ve been a hit or miss, but, luckily, it seemed to be a hit. I’ll share it with you soon, but here’s a sneak peak: IMG_6829

I had so many people to catch up with! These girls all frequent the Oak Square YMCA as their “home” gym and get to see each other at least a few times of week, but I only see them every other Saturday if they come to my class. Womp. Needless to say, the wine was flowing, conversation was non-stop and before we knew it, it was time to do the Pink-themed Yankee Swap!

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I put together a cute little “relaxing night in” package which had an OPI 4 color sampler nail polish package, a candle and a bottle of wine. I wouldn’t have been mad if I went home with that, although I was SO HAPPY to go home with a stability ball. It’s been on my list of things to buy for a while now (for exercise and to use as my chair when I work from home), I just keep forgetting to get one. Problem solved!

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Big thanks to Liz for having us and thanks to all the girls for being such fun gym friends!!

Saturday started off my favorite way: kickboxing. Even better, was knowing a bunch of girls from Friday night would be there… they asked for burpees and I aim to please 😉

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The rest of my Saturday was busy with lunch plans and then going to Southie to see my sister’s new apartment. Her roommate, Amy, bought a condo in Southie and they moved in on Friday night. I was a bad sister and didn’t visit until Saturday night, but I did come bearing gifts of Prosecco, Bud Light and an AMEX gift card, so I think that counts for something, right?! 😉 We grabbed dinner and drinks at The Playwright Bar since it’s literally a 3 minute walk from their new place. I am so jealous that they are so close to so many fun places!

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Another friend from home met us out, which was a nice surprise!

Sunday was a busy day. I wasn’t home for more than 5 minutes all day on Saturday, so I didn’t have time to do anything on my to-do list. But you know what? I survived. Funny thing about that! Between laundry, baking, cooking, grocery shopping, blogging, making workout videos and prepping for a busy week… Sunday was over in a flash!

I knew my week was going to be crazy busy between teaching 7 classes, going to the ClassPass launch, going to a wine tasting, etc., so I spent some time on Sunday prepping for the week to make it a little easier! I wanted to share some things I do to help make a busier week go a little more smoothly, especially when I have to be up and out of the house super early to teach in the morning.

How to prepare for a busy week

1. Food prep!! I can’t stress this enough. I don’t have the money to buy lunch out every day (or the snacks), so prepping my salads, fruit, snacks, etc. on Sunday night makes the world of a difference.

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Since I needed to be up and out the door by 5:30 on Monday, I even had to pack breakfast!

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Nothing exciting, but it did the trick!

2. Plan my outfit the night before. And, for me, it meant packing it up in my gym bag since I had to get ready for work at the gym.

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3. Plan my workout that I’m going to teach. If I don’t plan something out, I’ll keep thinking about it, so it’s better to just write it out and be done with it.

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4. Make a meal that can be reheated throughout the week, especially for the nights I get home late (pretty much every night this week). This ensures that I have a healthy, well balanced meal that I can eat within 5 minutes of walking through the door. What can I say? I get hangry!

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5. Go to bed early. There’s no better way to end the weekend and start the week than getting a good nights rest. I’m not used to getting up on Monday mornings in the 5 o’clock hour, so that will certainly take some getting used to, but having everything literally ready for me as soon as I wake up makes it easier!

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Do you have a group of friends that “get” you? How do you prepare for a busy week? Do you plan ahead and do prep work to make it easier or just go with the flow?

#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:

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“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!

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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.

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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!

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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 😉

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