Saturday, December 29, 2012

My CrossFit Experience

It seems like everyone I meet in Boston is somehow involved with CrossFit. I am always hearing what a "wicked" good workout it is, once you start you'll never stop, it is like a 'cult' of workout groups... you name it. So I decided I wanted to see what this fuss was all about... and today was finally the day I got to try it!

....... And yup, now I know exactly why everyone loves it. Dang it, I might just have to become a CrossFit junkie. I LOVED IT! This is about to be another one of those "TRY SOMETHING NEW" blogs! You never know what you might like and it is always so refreshing to switch up your workouts!

Lucky for me, my Aunt Sarah goes to CrossFit and insisted that I tag along (if you read my blog, you know how I'm a huge believer in finding a workout buddy!). We attended an 8am Saturday class, which is geared more toward a bootcamp, compared to a 'normal' CrossFit workout that targets heavy lifting (according to awesome Trainer Andrew).
Post-workout Beast Mode. Muscles=burning.
Before ever attending CrossFit, I was paranoid that I wouldn't be able to handle it. Everyone I know that does it is ripped out of their mind and surely does 100lb bicep curls... while I'm still hangin with my cute little 12 pounders. Wow, was I wrong. Listen to me loud and clear: Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try! Every single circuit had a huge variety of weights, and the trainers had modifications for newbies or people working their way up to the "buff" stage. Trust me, you can handle it!
my workout buddy, Sarah! so motivational :)
Today, the workout of the day was "Battle Buddies", where you had a workout partner to make your way through 7 stations. There were 2 workouts at each station and you had to do 3 sets of each. After completing that, you finished the circuit by running 3 laps (gotta keep the heart rate up) before moving onto the next one! At the beginning of every class, the trainers demonstrate each workout and answer any questions. Signs at each station remind you of how many reps to do, and the trainers constantly help you fix your form and improve your technique. It was GREAT!
our total body workout schedule
This workout included everything from pull ups, bosu supermans, squats, push ups, shoulder press passes, mountain climbers, kettle bell swings and squats, bicycle crunches, hip lifts, etc..... obviously targetting our entire body. Talk about a good workout! It took Sarah and me 45 minutes (rock on girl!) and the purpose of the workout is to hopefully improve your time next time!
CrossFit Lakeville
pull-up bars and TRX knee tucks
Trainer Andrew
Honestly, it was a tough workout. Not nearly tough enough to give up (there is never a good reason to give up), but I had a good sweat going! Sarah and I had to motivate at each other at different parts of the workout so that we would finish strong! Which is exactly why there is nothing better than a workout buddy. Not to mention a professional snowmobiler was working out with us... awesome reason (and eye candy) to push through it. I was huffing and puffing by the end, but who ever said a workout was supposed to be easy? No pain, no gain. Thanks to Andrew at CrossFit Lakeville for a killer workout and helping to whip me into shape! Can't wait to go again on Monday!
thinkin I'm all tough now that I've done CrossFit ;)
That is all for today, folks. I hope I have inspired you to give CrossFit a try, or at least try something new! I can guarantee you won't regret it. 2013 is right around the corner... where are you going to take your body this year? Give it all you got! And don't forget a healthy diet is CRUCIAL if you want to accomplish your goals. My blog is filled with healthy recipes and motivational tips to help you- check it out!

 Ready, Set, Get Buff!

Friday, December 28, 2012


As a dancer, flexibility is always something I have needed to maintain! In general, staying "nimble" is so good for your muscles, so I thought I would share my stretching routine! After all, I did this exact combination 7 days a week in high school, it targets every muscle group and it definitely helped to increase my flexibility!

Lets stretch :)

First, warm up! I did a few laps around the track, you could do jumping jacks, butt kicks, anything to get your muscles a little loose! Hold each stretch for a few 8-counts (if you're not a dancer, shoot for 30 seconds). 
Now, start off by stretching your obliques! You'll feel a stretch on the long side of your torso (in this picture, you would feel it on your left side):
Starting with your right side, go "half way" down, keeping your back flat, and begin stretching your hamstrings. Don't push this too hard- in ALL stretches you should feel a slight resistance (hence the reason why you are stretching). Don't over-do it because it could result in a pulled muscle, ouch. It shouldn't feel unbearingly painful! If it does, stop!
Once that feels comfortable, bend down as far as you can go. The more you stretch, the easier this will become! Once again, don't push yourself too hard. And definitely DON'T FORGET to BREATHE!
 Now take it down to runner's stretch. It is kind of hard to tell in this picture, but keep your front knee at a right angle. Extending your knee past that can cause problems in the future. Protect those precious joints :)
Allow your back leg to bend, and extend your front right leg. This will again stretch your hamstring. Pointe those toes :)
Allow your back knee to fall to the ground and continue extending your front (right) leg! You will feel the burn in your hamstring and left quadriceps. Breathe!
Now "switch" the position of your front and back leg! Bend your front (right) leg and extend your back (left) leg. Bend over towards your front leg. This will stretch out your glutes!
Sit up from your stretch and lean backwards! You will feel this in your back and left hip flexor! Careful on this one!
Almost done with the right side! Head back to runner's stretch.
Lastly, repeat this stretch (it should feel a little easier than the first time!) and you have completed the right side!
Now repeat all of that on the left side! After that, start stretching the "middle". Not sure why I always think of it that way, but it helped me to remember the sequence for all of these years! Stretch your inner leg muscles! (Is it me or do I look super creepy in this picture):
Take it down to the right side. You will feel this in your hip flexors!
Now, switch it to the left side:
And before sitting down on the floor, get a good stretch in, reaching as far as you can to the floor!
Now sit down, and put your legs in a "V". This is one stretch most dancers appreciate, and everyone else seems to hate it! I promise it will get easier with time. Stretch over to your right side, targeting your obliques and right hamstring. Attempt to keep both legs on the ground- you'll notice when you lean over, your opposite leg will try to come off the ground- resist it!
 Next stretch the "inner" portion of your leg.
 Hold it for a while, then switch to the left side....
 Stretch the inner part of your left leg...
 And the worst one.... down the middle.  Breathe, breathe, breathe!
 Butterfly stretch :)
 And another good ole hammy stretch

 Almost done! Stretch those glutes! Feels amazing after being sore from squats!
 Left leg (and a smile doesn't hurt):
 Stretch those quads... repeat on left...
 Downward dog to lean everything out!
 And you are DONE! Do you feel loose and flexible?

 I hope this stretching routine is one you find effective! Remember, flexibility takes time, so make it a goal to stretch after workouts, or as many days as you have time for! Why not stretch while you are watching TV? Props to my sister photographer Paige for awkwardly snapping pics of me at my old high school :)


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Veggie Recipe Discoveries!

Ahhhh, the lovely holidays are already over. I'm sure most of us found ourselves surrounded by endless cookies, candies, and sweets. And I'm sure we all thoroughly enjoyed them! However, now its time to get in shape and make 2013 the healthiest year of our lives! In between all of these unhealthy treasures, I also was able to stumble upon some healthy new recipes thanks to some healthy cooking with my best friend and sister :)

While I oddly LOVE vegetables, I feel like most people cannot stand them. So try these new recipes as a snack or side with a meal and find a way to enjoy vegetables.

Garlic Zucchini
Yum. Totally found an obsession for zucchini this month. I've already made it 5 times, including when I cooked my family's Christmas Eve dinner! It makes a delicious afternoon snack as well! If you're making a serving for just yourself, thinly slice 1 medium zucchini, mince 2 garlic gloves, a few dashes of pepper, and add 2/3 T. extra light olive oil to a small saucepan that you can cover, on medium heat. Allow this concoction to sizzle for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. And enjoy! Your house will smell amazing, and your tastebuds will be satisfied for only ~120 calories! Tossing some yellow squash is yummy too.
Finished product. Scarf it down.

Brussel Sprouts
Well, this recipe is not that creative. However my sister Paige introduced me to brussel sprouts today! I don't think I've ever had them before... but they were delicious! Kind of reminded me of asparagus. All we did was add a few brussel sprouts to a pan, covering the bottom of the pan with water and allowing the brussel sprouts to steam for about 7 minutes.... and all we added was pepper. They were super filling, and a nice change from the normal vegetables I eat. Exciting, huh? Well, the point of this blog is to motivate you to TRY NEW THINGS! So now that Paige inspired me, I am inspiring you.

Coriander Cauliflower
Now this was an exciting moment for me (wow I'm a nerd). I haven't had cauliflower in forever, and I don't recall ever spicing anything with coriander! Thanks to Kate, I discovered this. Dice up the cauliflower head, put on a cookie sheet with a light drizzle of olive oil, preheat your oven to 425, and sprinkle the cauliflower with coriander and pepper. Take them out after 18 minutes, and they should be soft, slightly browned, and ready to be eaten!

Baked Sweet Potato
I love sweet potatoes! Tonight I had them baked for the first time. Usually I create my own version of sweet potato fries (see below) but this was a nice twist! Poke several holes in the sweet potato (so it doesn't explode), microwave it for about 2 minutes to beginning softening it up, cover it in tin foil, then put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes- 1 hour. It literally doesn't need anything on it! Keep it simple and healthy. Avoid the salt and butter! It honestly tastes like nature's candy- leave it that way and enjoy! Thanks Mom and Dad :)

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
 These have become part of my weekly menu. They are sweet and spicy and addicting. I often make them the main part of my meal since they are so filling (plus I like to eat them all!) Take a medium sweet potato, peel it, and dice it into small pieces. I usually cut eat slice into fours so that it cooks faster. Put them in a metal pan or on a small cookie sheet, and drizzle them with 1 T. olive oil. Sprinkle cajun seasoning and a touch of pepper, coating the sweet potatoes evenly! Bake them at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, stirring them half way through. You can taste-test them to make sure they are soft enough, and I like mine a bit crispy so I turn on the broiler for an extra few minutes. Thanks to my bestie and old roomate Svenja for introducing these to me... my life feels more complete.

Well, that is all for today! I hope I've inspired you to try a few new vegetables. After all, I've already tried 4 new recipes in the last week.... now it is your turn! Enjoy!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Give The Gift of HEALTH!

Okay, well maybe you can't exactly give health as a gift, but you sure can give gifts to motivate your loved one to be healthy! For all those health freaks out there like myself, what else could be better than receiving a gift to enhance your health and well being?

- Workout Clothes. This is a good place to start. At least from a girl's prospective, I know that having cute or new workout clothing motivates me to get up, wear them, and get in a killer workout. And for the guys out there, if you are still wearing your high school gym shorts... its time to upgrade. Maybe you'll meet a gem at the gym. You never know?! Why not look cute while gettin a sweat on? ;) Check out Target, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls for good deals on good clothing.

-Gym Membership. Well, this would be a good one to ask Mom, Dad, or Santa for! What better way to stay in shape?! If you read my last post, you saw my recommendation to check out Groupon/ GILT/ etc. to find gym membership or fitness class package deals. This is a great way to save money! If you're a college student, stop by your gym on campus (where your membership will be free).

-Under Armour for a chilly run. Girls and Guys alike! What workout fanatic doesn't like some good, comfy workout clothing?! Okay, yes, they are even good for being lazy in :) Might as well toss in a running headband and gloves to complete the "outdoor run" look!

-Running Shoes or a Giftcard. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say that they're excited to go for a run.... but first they need new running shoes. Stop putting this off (because otherwise you will never go for a run) and get this on your Christmas list! Running shoes are a runner's ONLY piece of equipment, so invest some effort into buying them. Go to a running store (I love South Boston Running Emporium ) and have them fit you for shoes. Buying the correct size/width/shape/fit is crucial to save your feet and joints from damage.

-Water bottle. Save the Earth! (or shall I say "World Peace"?) Eliminate waste and increase your water consumption by adding this to your wishlist!

-Registration into a race! I like this idea, haha. Typically races range from $20-$50 from what I've found, but it is an amazing experience, usually benefiting a great cause.... and you will get a free t-shirt (my fav part). This will motivate you to begin or continue training up until your race day.

Other general ideas: workout videos (love Jillian Michaels/ Insanity/ P90X), workout books, a magazine subscription (I love SELF Magazine), free weights, kettle bells, headbands, a tub of Muscle Milk (YUM), yoga mat.... the list goes on! Get creative!

Thanks to my bestie Svenja for inspiring me to write about Runner/Workoutaholic gifts :)


Friday, December 7, 2012

Switch It Up: Spinning!

One thing that makes me super duper happy and excited: switching up my workout routine. Not only is it good to confuse your body with different exercises, but it's good for your mind and keeps you from developing "workout boredom syndrome."
spinnnnn :)
After a fun holiday get together with the Miss Boston crew last Saturday night (and WAY too much delicious food, compliments of Dustin Rennells), I was determined to get in a killer workout. Lucky for me, the wonderful Miss Boston Executive Director, Steph Janes, is an amazing Spin Instructor at the Boston Athletic Club in Southie on Sunday mornings.... I knew this the perfect opportunity to get my sweat on- boy was I determined.

The last time I took spinning was probably a year ago, and I forgot how much I loved it! It's the best way to clear your mind and relieve stress... Especially when there's an awesome playlist (thanks Steph!). If you've never done spin, I strongly suggest giving it a try. The instructor sets a workout to a set of songs and combines sprints, jumps, and hills to make you burn crazy calories. Throughout the workout, you adjust your resistance knob based on what the instructor tells you to do.

Honestly, the first time I tried spinning, I was so nervous. (For some reason before my first class, someone told me a majority of people vomit after their first session because it is THAT hard..... False). If you've ever been told this, ignore it, you can do it!! I was worried I would be embarrassed if I couldn't keep up with everyone. The beauty of spinning is that nobody knows how much you are increasing your resistance (except yourself), so don't worry, you won't make a fool of yourself! Now, don't interpret that as me telling you to "slack-off" in spinning, but if you were petrified like I was, take my advice in your first class. Challenge yourself each more with every session!
This time around, I had a blast and really pushed myself to pedal harder and faster than I ever have before! Needless to say, I left the class feeling refreshed and so proud of myself! My favorite part of a workout is the feeling afterwards. I also have to attribute my spinning success to having the world's best instructor (another shout out to Steph!!!).
***Check out Groupon or GILT (or any of those sights) for gym deals. Today I found a deal for 10 fitness classes for $35. Deals are everywhere! Now that it is winter, get your bum off the couch and get active! Start your New Year's Resolution early! There are plenty of indoor fitness classes to keep you entertained and in shape... or you can tough it and take a jog outside in the brisk weather (bundle up)!!
Get motivated, DON'T BE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING NEW, and most importantly, have fun.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Avoid the Holiday Bulk-Up!

Ahhh, it is finally the best time of the year! Wow, how time flies. While I 'm sure everyone can't wait for the the cozy sweaters, Christmas baking, candles, lights, and happy music, it is crucial to not completely abandon the workout and dieting routine you have finally perfected!

Here are a few little tips to avoid the holiday "bulk-up":

Remember to keep your portions small! You don't need to avoid all of the delicious appetizers and cookies that make Christmas so wonderful, but do remember to enjoy them in moderation! If you know you are going to a holiday event on Saturday, save that day for your cheat meal. Using a small plate can be helpful (rather than hovering over the food and inhaling the entire thing before you even realize it).

If you can't make it to the gym, make time for an in-home workout! In fact, last year my amazing sister Paige bought me a kettlebell and workout book for a gift, which has been put to great use this year! Buy yourself a little Christmas gift: kettlebells, workout videos, yoga mat, or even a cute new workout outfit- anything that will motivate to stay fit during the colder months. For some reason a new workout tank gets me SO excited to exercise (must be a girl thing?) so treat yourself! And why not give a "healthy" gift to your loved ones? Maintaining your workout regimen will greatly benefit you, especially if you're indulging :)
why WOULDN'T you want to workout when you have these?
If you are cooking, opt for some healthier options! Instead of high-calorie dips and appetizers, bring a colorful vegetable plate, a colorful dip with pretzels, cute sliced-fruit desserts, or why not my delicious sweet potato recipe? Avoid cream-cheese dips (even though they are incredibly delicious)
fruit kabob- healthier alternative
New Year's Resolutions. Why not start them now? A gym membership or setting a new goal can be the perfect fuel to kick off the new year healthier than you ever have before, but why wait until January 1st? A healthy lifestyle is a DAILY routine, not an on/off habit. If you want to see results, you must dedicate yourself every single day.

Drink lots of water! Holiday drinks and celebrations can quickly add excessive calories to your intake, so be aware, and try to replace as much soda/juice/alcohol with water! 
how perfect is this?
Most importantly, enjoy your loved ones, and keep your body happy by staying healthy!
MERRY CHRISTMAS! (soooo happy I can finally start saying that!)