Things To Try Thursdays- Barre Classes

Boutique fitness classes seem to be just as prevalent as chain coffee shops these days. On every corner there is a Starbucks, I can guarantee you not too far away is a spin/yoga/barre/crossfit studio.

Studio classes outweigh standard gym classes in two ways…price and quality. You will pay Ritz Carlton prices but the ultimate results are worth the expense.

I have been an avid gym go-er for years. In and out of YMCA’s, Retro fitness, Crunch and Snap Fitness. Every gym was unique but most of the time the classes lacked any kind of professionalism.

By professionism, I mean tact and care. There was no “bedside manner” if you will. The instructor did not correct your form and while you may be his/her friend outside of the class, inside they do not do their jobs appropriately.

I’m not saying I like to be put on the spot or pointed out of the crowd as doing something wrong during a fitness class. I definitely was one of the shy kids in school.

I do appreciate proper form being shown and corrected on those who take classes. It seems like the standard gym which includes x, y, and z amenities in the price allow the members to suffer in ways such as this.

After taking a few boutique classes outside of my regular gym, I have completely changed my point of view on exercise.

Exercise requires your motivation plus your effort. I’m one of the lucky, crazy ones who was blessed with both. I love seeing results and that’s my motivation.

However, recently I had been taking so many classes at my local YMCA that it overwhelmed my body. I became completely inflamed and my muscles were no longer lean and toned. I really disliked the way my body was beginning to look.

About two months ago, a local Athleta opened up in the mall over here.

To celebrate their first month here, they had yoga/zumba classes every week and also a barre class at a local studio.

I signed up for the yoga and barre classes. Loved them both to death!

download

The instructors displayed care and dedication to every single participant. These were free classes opened to the public. It really comforted me and allowed me to get the most out of the workouts.

My absolute favorite was the barre class. If you are not yet familiar, barre is similar to ballet. You perform small movements with very light weights in the beginning. You also go through a series of stretches and strengthening exercises at the barre and then lastly go to the mat for floor/ab work.

The instructor constantly has her eyes on you the entire time. She calls out everyone’s name who she sees is performing exercises improperly. She comes over and corrects your form manually.

The-Bar-Method-Kansas-City

It’s a really amazing experience. It’s been very beneficial to my poor joints which take a beating from all that running on pavement I do. I began seeing some results in just about 3 classes. :)

I highly recommend barre classes if…

1) you are a NEW client (they often will give you a giant discount if so) — my first month was only $75/unlimited classes

2) you enjoy small, controlled movements (not great for those who seek a high from tons of sweating or jumping)

3) you have joint problems (very soothing/low impact)

4) you’re looking to switch up your workouts

5) weight training by yourself is NOT working for you

6) you can commit to at least 3-5 times per week

On days that I do not attend barre classes, I either run/yoga or pilates. I took the weight training days completely out of my training schedule because it was too exhausting for my body. I think it’s best to just focus on barre for the first month, so you don’t burn yourself out with other activities.

content_The-Bar-Method-Gold-Coast

Have you ever tried a boutique fitness class? What was your experience?

Peace, love and barre!

~C.C.D.

Posted in Things To Try Thursdays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Tips To Navigate Processed Food Labels

Food labels are the so called “novels” to our meals. If we aren’t reading them meticulously, we’re sure to miss the most significant details, leaving us feeling unsatisfied.

label10864Z1

Why are we unable to take the CliffNotes version when it comes to reading the labels on our food?

…Because marketers and companies lie…or tweak the truth enough to make you believe that 100% natural actually means 100% natural. Or that just because a product does NOT contain HFCS doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better for you…The examples are endless.

This leaves our bodies with a nutritionally void ending.

IMG_2362

When it comes to reading food labels, I have a few basic tips to share with you.

1. Scan the ingredients list first. These should all be things you are familiar with. If you cannot pronounce it, do not purchase it.

2. Pay attention to items labeled low fat, low carb, or low sugar. Chances are there are other artificial additives in their place, which again, does not make the food more nutritious.

images (2)

3. If you are choosing organic, be sure that the label is USDA organic. Currently, the US only recognizes this label as truthfully organic.

4. Make sure your carbs, fats and proteins are balanced. When purchasing a processed food, always check the nutrition to ensure you are getting an adequately balanced meal. I recommend: no more than 10 g. of fat (healthy fat- monounsatured), 25-35 g. of carbohydrates, and 20-25 g. of protein. Bonus if you have more dietary fiber too!

5. Pay attention to serving sizes on labels. Often times we overlook this and end up overeating. It’s important to stay within your limits to avoid unwanted calories and eventual weight gain.

6. The best food to buy has zero labels. These are our bountifully nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. There’s no need to worry or count calories when it comes to servings of these! Just make sure you’re buying locally and organic as much as possible to avoid pesticide exposure.

raw-fruits-and-vegetables

What guidelines do you take to the grocery store with you?

Peace, love and food labels!

~C.C.D.

Posted in Motivational Mondays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

#FitBlogNYC Recap

photo (1)

Ah the most glorious day of the year took place last Thursday, October 16. No, it was not my birthday or even some strange early Christmas celebration… (although it might as well be in my book!) #FitBlogNYC happened!

#FitBlogNYC is a blogging event hosted by Fitness Magazine. It’s their third year hosting it and every year they outdo themselves. It’s mainly created for bloggers to actually meet in person. At the event, there are several sponsors who give you free product in turn for you sharing them in some way, shape or form on social media. In addition to sponsors, there are valuable listen and learn sessions from speakers of all different health, fitness and food backgrounds.

If you go to any blogging event, this should be THE ONE.

Not only is is set in beautiful NYC, but it’s free admission and a great networking event to grow your online presence.

photo 1

So the food is always fantastic and super healthy…this year breakfast involves JUICES (you know right up my alley!) and fruit with a delish strawberry sauce and either the choice of muffins or scones…both vegan and gluten free. YUM.

photo 4

 

photo 5The first few speakers expressed the importance in maintaining the balance between a healthy dose of exercise and overtraining.

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 1.09.22 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 1.10.00 PM

Oh…Carla Hall was next…and I got a pic…no big deal! :) She’s going to be launching her new restaurant pretty soon, so stay tuned!

photo 1 (1)

After the speakers, we made our way to the sponsor tables!

 

fblog

You know my soulmate was right by my side the entire time…I love her, she even waited for me in the NYC rain before we went in! :)

Soulmate (Karina) & I plank challenging it up at the Tonalin table! You can do anything for 30 seconds :)

Soulmate (Karina) & I plank challenging it up at the Tonalin table! You can do anything for 30 seconds :)

We didn’t have the opportunity to take out of the norm pics this year (no photobooth fun!) but we did get a minute to cheese together :)

soulmate

Oh and of course there was more greenie goodness…

photo 3 (1)

There was one more panel of speakers left…this was all related to blogging. One of my favorite bloggers, MizzFit Bianca was invited to speak. Everyone had such great information and was so inspiring!

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 1.20.04 PM

The day was over…but as if we had not been showered with enough product love…we were blessed with this GINORM bag of goodies! Seriously, I’m five feet and I felt like I was carrying a whole other me!

Swagtacular!

Swagtacular!

The swag was so absolutely amazing. I feel so honored and incredibly lucky to have attended for the third year in a row!

This jewelry really spoke to me, I think it’s my fave part of the swag!

photo (1)

Thank You Fierce Forward For Life & Erica Sara!

Many thanks to Fitness Magazine and all sponsors: Hoka One One, Tria Beauty , Luna, Balance Bar, Pure Protein, Tonalin, Eddie Bauer, Dermalogica, and Oster

Peace, love and blogging events!

~C.C.D.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Runcap: Run 10, Feed 10

Yes, I did it!

photo-126

I have had the habit of in the past saying I would commit to something but never following through. It has happened quite often with my fitness goals. Becoming injured has been a very real and legitimate excuse most of the time.

As you may know, I was obsessed with training for a bodybuilding competition a while back. I had made my workout and eating plans up, stuck to them and about halfway through both times injured myself.

It completely disheartened me and left me with a complete lack of motivation. It also left me with those awful voices of comparison. (so and so can do this, so why can’t I?) I also do not include I CAN’T in my vocabulary.

Well there’s obvious times you must cease the current goal you are working towards. Injuries are no lazy excuse.

After healing up for a few months, I decided in July that I would begin training for my first 10K and first race ever!

It was a daunting challenge as I mostly did no more than 3 miles every once in a while.

I followed their training plan in the beginning but then was becoming too exhausted and sore to increase my weekly mileage.

So, I scaled back to two runs per week: one lower mileage run (2-3 miles) in the beginning of the week, one longer distance run (4-5 miles) towards the end of the week.

I had improved results by scaling back this way.

I only had completed a full 6.2 miles twice before actually running the race. Both times it was incredibly humid and trying on some pretty steep inclines!

I was definitely proud of myself. It completely boosted my confidence just knowing I would be able to pull myself through the race.

Two days before race day, I began to go into panic mode.

I could not sleep properly due to the anticipation and excitement.

Once 400 AM came around on Sunday, September 21st, I was in full adrenaline gear.

My boyfriend and I literally bolted out the door and arrived super early for the race. I was still super jittery even though we had enough time to make it there.

The race was held on the West Side Highway paralleling the Hudson River. The views were an added benefit and welcomed distraction.

I began at a 9:45 pace for the first two miles and then I held a steady 10:00 after. (This was impressive enough for me!)

photo-128

I only stopped once. Mile 5 for water. (Another amazing grace!)

The run did not seem as long as I though it would. I PR-ed and finished in 1:07! That’s a huge improvement from my 1:30 it was taking me previously. I also believe the flat terrain was the reason.

I was proud, proud, proud of myself. On top of the humidity and early waking hours, I also had a severe case of PMS. (seriously, when do I not?) It makes running with a chest that much worse. I wore two bras because I knew I would NOT be able to stand the pain without some kind of shelf security.

photo-127

My boyfriend finished in an hour. I am super duper proud of him too!

Afterwards we hit up a few of the tents for some goodies, but we were so exhausted we only stayed for a little while.

That night I slept like a baby. I was so elated that I was able to accomplish something like this. I was never a runner before. This has only added fuel to the running race fire…I want to do another…:)

What was your first race like? Did you enjoy it?

Peace, love and firsts!

~C.C.D.

Posted in Motivational Mondays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Ingredient Oat Balls

It’s September. For me, that means it’s just like every other month. I don’t have kids and I don’t teach, so life goes on as usual.

For others of you though…September is a time to reinstitute a routine. You wake up early, workout (or try to), get the kids up and fed and head to work/school.

You had better hoped to regain your strength over the summer because the fall requires energy…and lots of it!

My favorite time to create recipes is usually during this time of year. Everything is so pumpkin-y and maple-y and spice-y. It’s the precursor to Christmas, which is just heavenly in itself. (minus maybe the cold and snow!)

I made these oat balls a few weeks ago and in true me fashion, they were devoured within less than two days.

photo-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet maple/brown sugar instant oatmeal
  • 1/2 crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 handful of chocolate chips
  • dash of non-dairy milk to cut the dryness

You simply mix in a bowl until desired thick consistency and roll into balls!

It’ll be hard not to lick your hands afterwards! ;)

These balls are awesome for storage up to 1 week frozen and 3 days in the fridge. It makes meal prepping that much easier for healthy snacks! :)

Peace, love and easy balls!

~C.C.D.

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m NOT Half Crazy…YET

Everyone has a little bit of crazy in them. Whether it’s pouring a bucket of ice water over your head for a good cause or eating an entire loaf of amazingly soft bread (yes, unashamedly ME!) instead of finishing off a handle of vodka. To each his own…

As you may or may not know, I’m always up for a challenge. I cannot just work out for the sake of working out. I know it’s great for me but the whole purpose becomes like a boring office job. Do I ever want my life compared to an office? No. The only cube life I want to experience is in the form of an iced beverage.

As for the challenge part, I have decided to actually SIGN UP for a 10K. That means live running with other people, race numbers, packet pick ups and times.

For a while I have been running solo and to be honest it can also be filed away under “boring office job”. Leading up to my runs is always a huge surge of energy but when I’m actually doing it, there’s zero exhilaration.

I’m registered for the Women’s Health Run 10, Feed 10 race in NYC this September. I have also recruited my boyfriend as my race buddy. This will be my FIRST EVER OFFICIAL race. Take that, boring workouts!

As for training, I have been following the awesome training plan provided by Women’s Health and for the most part sticking to it!

I’ll have you know the furthest I have ever run is about 4 miles..so indeed this will be a challenge. If I master this…maybe I’ll actually be able to qualify for a half crazy marathon! :0

The only thing missing now are my kicks of choice…I have about 3 different pairs of sneaks (Saucony, Reebok, Mizuno) I rotate around with…but they are all getting pretty worn, so maybe I should splurge for a new pair.

I’ve been searching for a great pair of running sneakers for about a month now, so clearly I am indecisive.

These are my new babies:

photo-2

 

Peace, love and challenge yourself!

~C.C.D.

Posted in Motivational Mondays | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deconstructed Cherry Chocolate Mint Blizzard

If your tastebuds are anything like mine and you were lucky enough to live near a Dairy Queen that was opened year round, blizzards were ARE the hallmark of life. Along with… maybe…your tamagotchi and cabbage patch doll.

Dairy Queen was my equivalent of today’s Mickey D’s. I always had a tendency to crave more towards the sweet and less toward the salty.

I lived off of blizzards for probably way more of my childhood than I should have. When I actually discovered how detrimental these blizzards were to my health, I knew it was time to eliminate them.

Eliminate is a powerful word…maybe it’s more appropriate to say I took a blizzard hiatus.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started making healthier substitutions for foods/sweets I loved. I’ve become pretty good at subbing this for that, without any outside help from the Eat This, Not That diet.

The past few weeks I had been craving ice cream in the worst way…the blizzard way!

My frozen banana faux yo wasn’t cutting it, so I was faced with the temptation of DQ Chips Ahoy commercials and actually contemplating giving in.

Luckily for me, my willpower and the fact that my stomach was beginning to resemble a flat tire, stopped me. A trip to Whole Foods proved to be a healthy substitution.

I ended up creating a deconstructed blizz with the following ingredients: (cherries for added antioxidant benefit)

blizzard

  • 1/2 c mint chocolate chip organic ice cream (Whole Foods brand)
  • 1¬†crumbled soft chocolate chip cookie
  • 3 frozen sweet red cherries
  • lightly drizzled maple cinnamon agave syrup

I’m no calorie counter but I can guarantee you this is nowhere near the calorie/fat content of what a regular blizzard clocks in at.

What are your favorite versions of the worst desserts/snack foods?

Peace, love and blizzards!

~C.C.D.

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frozen Banana Cacao Smoothie

Since the eighty degree temps and high humidity have gotten us all pregamed up for summer, the only perfect way to celebrate is with food and beverage.

Frozen beverages are my kryptonite during the summertime. A kryptonite I will completely accept any day of the week.

I’ve been back on a mainly liquids as nourishment kick and figured I’d try to fuse my two loves…juices and chocolate.

(The only pre-prep you need to do is freeze some ripe bananas and make some iced coffee cubes.)

Frozen Banana Cacao Smoothie

Frozen Banana Cacao Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2-1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2-3 frozen iced coffee cubes (I used vanilla creme brulee flavor)

This has been tripling as my breakfast, pre-workout and caffeine boost in the morning. It’s also super satisfying in that it abates sweet cravings. I have noticed my cravings at night have decreased immensely while incorporating this smoothie into my diet.

What’s your favorite beverage or food during the summer?

Peace, love and smoothies!

~C.C.D.

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bone-Breaking Facts About Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a term many of us millennials have probably heard, but few of us are actually privy to what it means.

Osteoporosis is the breakdown of calcium in our bones, which makes fractures more likely to occur. The disease has been said to be a “silent killer”, because most of the time individuals aren’t aware they have the disease until a bone has actually broken.

Osteoporosis tends to affect adults over 50 years of age, as bone density tends to decrease in that range. Women are two times more likely to develop the disease than men.

While there is no cure, there are ways to prevent and treat the disease:

1. Ensure that you are acquiring the proper daily amounts of vitamin D and calcium. (especially if you’re under 18)
2. Resistance training and regular exercise will help maintain the vitality of the bones.
3. Quit smoking and don’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage per week.
4. Get a bone density test from your healthcare provider.

Did you know that May is National Osteoporosis Awareness month?

Osteoporosis_Facts

courtesy of Mario Trucillo, Managing Editor of The American Recall Center

If you or someone you know is at risk for osteoporosis, talk to a healthcare provider about getting a bone density test.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Two Dollar Alternative To A First World Problem…the spa

DIY ideas are a no-brainer way to save a ton of money while still gaining the benefits of a product or service you’d shell out a lot of dough for.

As a struggling entrepreneur, I find it incredibly comforting to know that there are ways to still have it all without spending it all.

Being pretty low maintenance, it’s probably hard for you to believe that I really dream of pampering spa days. I’ve only gone to a spa twice but it was glorious enough for me to add it to my “Routine things to do when I’m rich” list.

I’ve been training a lot lately. My muscles ache, my energy has been extremely low and I’ve been generally crabby. (and yearning for a masseuse)

My pain was intense enough for me to cancel Saturday night plans and lay lifeless on the couch.

I figured I’d try an epsom salt bath to alleviate my aches.

Epsom salt is a centuries old cure to a few different maladies. (aches/pains, constipation, wrinkles) Even though it’s a salt, it actually reduces inflammation and acts as a calming aid when poured into a bath.

Epsom-Salt

It’s recommended to pour about 2 cups into a warm bath for optimal support. I also had two cups of honey chamomile tea at my side while in there.

I only was in the bath for a total of 15 minutes but it was just enough to loosen up my pulled muscles and sore knee joints. It felt just like the spa minus the expense and extra tipping principles.

I highly recommend pampering yourself and your sore muscles at least once or twice per week. Epsom salt runs between $2-$5 and can be found at your local pharmacy, health food store or other retailer.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments