That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Monday, March 31, 2008

Scotland Run!


It's so so good to be back!!!! I have missed blogging so much. I have so many post ideas in my head it will take me forever to catch up.

So while the Scotland 10K is fresh in my mind, I'll give a little recap.

First off, I totally forgot that I had signed up until I got a reminder email on Thursday. I had so so much going on this weekend that I actually was not looking forward to it. Fortunately, I knew several other people running, so I couldn't wuss out.

However, I woke up bright and early to a frigid Sunday morning. The fleece lined Nike running tights, sports bra, short sleeve dry fit t-shirt, the long sleeved dri fit t-shirt and thermal dri fit jacket I had prepared the night before didn't seem like enough.

Over that I layered on a sweatshirt, knee length parka, and lined wind pants. I really needed a hat and gloves but I lost those much earlier in the season.

Looking more like an Eskimo than a runner, I headed out into the "feels like 20 degree" spring morning.

Standing in the subway I was so cold I was power walking vigorously back and forth in the tunnel to try and create warmth. Even in my many layers it wasn't helping. I think I walked about a mile before the train came! At this point, I was wondering if I was going to have to run 6 miles in my parka!

When I got out at central park, I was pretty sure the entire population of Scotland was out for the race. I had never seen so many people for a race before...or so I thought. I have run several Revlon runs for women with 40,000 women, but this event of only around 7,000 seemed like so many more.

So I hustled to registration and bag check. I reluctantly shed my sweatshirt, parka and windpants. Fortunately I was wearing all black and the brightly shinning sun quickly went to work keeping me comfortable. Next I headed to the really long line for the toilets. There was like 5 minutes until the race started and at least 75 runners waiting in line! I thought I might actually miss the start, but I didn't want to be uncomfortable for an hour.
Fortunately, I made it out, I had to wait on the side of the street because it was so packed with runners. That is why you always line up several minutes faster than you actually run! Anyways, the horn went off to signal the start of the run and we didn't move. For the next ten minutes I just enjoyed the bagpipes and the kilts.

Finally we started moving, I found my way the street and started running. I knew with a crowd that thick, there was no point in wasting energy trying to bob and weave and cut through the pack. So I decided I would just sit back and enjoy the ride.

I hadn't run outside in a really long time, so I was happy to not be competitive. The route was one counterclockwise loop around the park, plus an extra .2 miles. It was nice to reacquaint myself with the Central Park landscape. The majority of the hills were over by mile four and what goes up must come down, so you always got a nice downhill recovery.

By mile 2 I was getting pretty warm, but I had pinned my bib over my jacket, so I couldn't unzip it. By mile 4 we reached the really sunny stretch between East 102nd and Cleopatra's Needle, the jacket had to come off.
The whole race was fairly effortless and quite enjoyable, aside from the occasional traffic jams.

Even at the end I couldn't really push through to sprint out the last half mile.

I finished in 1 hour and 47 seconds. Not bad for not running hills in a while. This translated to a 9:49 minute mile pace, finishing 909 and in the 49th percentile for my age group (20-29). 2289 for my age gender group. These races always reinforce my mediocrity, but whatever.

I thought the race demographics were quite interesting, so I pasted them below:

Total Finishers: Men – 3644 Women – 3284 Total – 6928
Age Group

12 - 19-35 men, 25 women, 60 total

20 - 29-784 men, 1307 women, 2091 total

30 - 39-1392 men, 1247 women, 2639 total

40 - 44-476 men, 278 women and 754 total

45 - 49 358 men, 197 women, total 555

It's interesting that there are twice as many women in the 20-29 age group, but a few more men in the 30-39 age group, and almost twice as many men in the 40-44 age group

Lots more fun coming up this week!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Weekly Workout Wrap Up

So I actually found a few minutes of downtime at work this morning. I have been burning the midnight oils with work events, too many social plans and lots of school. It has become clear that I am going to have to rely on Fresh Direct and laundry drop off if I want non-take out and clean clothes.

Sadly, I have been seriously abusing caffeine in all its glorious forms. I love me some legally addictive stimulants! However, I don't feel very healthy, so I am going to make a concerted effort to be extra healthy as soon as my--fairly fabulous, if odious to write--paper is handed in. I am spending all day at Successfully Raw tomorrow, so that should be quite inspiring.

So here it is the wrap up from, quite possibly, the busiest week ever!

Saturday: 1 hour workout from FitTV (7am)

Sunday: 1 hour 40 minute walk (4:30pm)

Monday: 30 minute run, 15 minute elliptical, 10 minute run (8pm)

Tuesday: 30 minute run, 15 minute elliptical, 10 minutes sit ups/ab work (7:30am)

Wednesday: 45 minute power walk (7:45am)

Thursday: Fitness magazine quickie strength workout (7:00am), 20 minute run @7.5mph, 10 minute elliptical, 5 minute stretch (2:00pm), interval studying, 100 jumping jacks, 25 squats, 25 situps, repeated 5 times in 20 minute intervals (10pm-12pm)

Anticipated for weekend:

Friday: 25 minute powerwalk (8:30am)--done, 30 minute run, 30 minute elliptical (lunch hour/right after work)

Saturday: possible rest day because I have plans all day and night, but we will see if I can sneak something in.

Sunday: 6.2 mile Scotland Run at Central Park (10am)

Note: Total lack of strength, I really need to add more into my routine! Maybe I'll do strength first, so I make sure to get it in.

I'll see what I can do between now and Tuesday about posts, but no guarantees :(.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Running around this town...

I am so sorry to say that I won't be able to blog again until Tuesday. :(

I will miss everyone very much, but I will be back next week with lots to say.

Stay fit, happy and healthy--and have some fun while you're at it!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fitness food for thought


I have seen quite a few interesting articles around the web lately, so I thought I would share some fitness food for though with you.

I only remember to check Vital Juice Daily once in a while. Sometimes it's not too great, but in glancing through the archives, it has been pretty stellar of late
A fun spring shopping list. Here are just a few spring stars:

*Asparagus*Berries and Strawberries (look for organic)*Broccoli*Fava beans*Morels*Oranges*Radishes*Rhubarb*Spinach and Baby Lettuces (look for organic)*Sugar Snap and Snow Peas
Click on the link for full list.


Their NYC Vital List mentioned a vigorous Punk Rock Yoga class that is set to music. It sounds really cool, and I have a free pass to East West Yoga. Sadly it is only the last Friday of every month, and I already have plans this month. If it was with girlfriends, I might as them if they wanted to join, but I don't think it's appropriate in this situtation. ;) I guess I'll have to wait until next month. Is it sad that I am a teany bit disappointed?

I am totally obsessed with Sarah Backhouse at gliving.tv, she recently did a 30-day green diet challenge that was very hysterical and very real. Even more recently she wrote a fun article on Green Tea, in case your still on the fence.
Health magazine did an interesting article on new ways to boost your metabolism, nothing groundbreaking, but worth a peruse.

Fitsugar had a fun roundup of healthy tidbits.

While I am totally a google girl Yahoo Health has a lot of great blogs. One of my fav's is Joy's Healthy Bite, by Joy Bauer, who is basically America's nutrition goddess. Gabrielle Reese also has a good blog on health and fitness.


Do good, get beautiful (stuff!) I have learned two horrible things about bottle caps this week. #1 many states/companies won't recycle your bottle if there is a cap on it. So make sure to remove the cap. #2 The caps can coke baby seals, penguins and turtles! Harp seals and sea turtles are my two favorite animals! The best thing to do is to cut down on the amount of bottles you use--most bottled beverages (besides h20) aren't that great for you anyways. But realistically, you are going to use bottles occasionally, so remove the caps and save them. Once you have 25 caps bring them to Aveda (or mail them in), and they will recycle them AND give YOU a free beauty sample! Find out more!

To my running buddies, if you haven't seen mapmyrun. It's fabulous. Far more accurate than my pedometer.

While I don't have too much time to find new blogs, I am interested to know what everyone is reading. I am sure there are absolutely fabulous blogs I haven't seen yet! Let me know, even if it's yours! :) I don't have too many blogs on my list only because I want the list to reflect blogs I check regularly, even some of the ones on my list are being neglected, maybe it's time to update.

Ciao bellas and fellas!

Rock Your Body Challenge: Just for Fun



I remember totally wanting Britney's abs in high school. In honor of Britney's (questionable) appearance on How I Met Your Mother tonight--I just started watching the show last week--I have made her the official poster girl of this week's Rock Your Body Challenge.


This week I challenge you to break out of your single intensity rut, and throw some fun high intensity intervals into your workout.

This is my favorite way to do intervals or get through a boring run on the treadmill: use the pace of the song and sprint/push harder through the chorus.


Beforehand you'll have to prepare a playlist with songs that speed up and slowdown, and maybe have a few slow ones in between for recovery. If you push as hard as you can through the choruses, you should not be able to do more than 15 minutes, so you get a super effective workout in the least time possible. I also love that you can do this anywhere or on any machine because you don't have to get caught up in exact times, distances or intensity levels.


Just push yourself as hard as you can and enjoy your favorite songs!


Almost any song will work, but here are a couple ideas to get you started:
Rockafeller Skank-Fatboy Slim
I Believe in a Thing Called Love-The Darkness
Lose Yourself-Eminem


Start out with a moderate 5-10 minute warm up, do your song interval workout, cool down at an easy pace for 5-10 minute. You rock!
This post is refusing to format correctly--sorry that it all runs together!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Away for the Weekend--but not without a plan


I will be home for the weekend!

While I will busy with lots of family obligations, I never travel with out a few fitness essentials.

For this quick weekend trip I packed:

winter running clothes
sneakers
a liter of Evian for the train

I almost never go away without workout DVDS. But my parents have Fit TV, so that's a perfect substitute. I started my day at 7:00am with a one-hour boot camp episode!
I even learned something new! Your arms can account 12% of your aerobic workout, so really put some oomph into your arm movements! Think strong solid movements, not limp, lazy or flailing ones. :)
I want to sneak in a run, but it currently "feels like" 14 degrees in Saratoga Springs, and I am huge wuss. Hopefully it warms up--need to start training for the half!

I totally overbooked myself with plans every night this week, plus two huge papers due, so posts will be scarce, but I'll try to sneak a couple in here and there.

My weekend it already off to a great start! I had the distinct pleasure of meeting VeggieGirl and her charming family for an amazing dinner at Pure Food and Wine. Be sure to look for the full recap on her blog! It's so great to meet bloggers in person, and to find out what they are interested in besides blogs, food, and fitness! VeggieGirl happens to be quite the fashionista--love your fabulous jewelry btw! We have lives outside the gym and kitchen haha!

Peace and happy Easter weekend to those of you celebrating.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I Can Hear Music


I know I haven’t been updating my playlist recently. It’s mainly because I have become obsessed with Sleep Through the Static, by Jack Johnson and Be, by Common and those are the albums I have been listening to—although they are not the best to work out to!

So I went to Virgin last night to see if there is anything interesting out there.

Here's what's on my radar:
Randy Jackson’s Music Club
Danity Kane-Welcome to the Doll House
Now That’s What I call Music 27 (I have almost all the songs!)
Step Up 2 Soundtrack—I had the whole first Step Up Soundtrack on my playlist at one point!

Other places I look for new workout music are:
- Vh1 Morning Jumpstart:
-Itunes (the spring break mix and Best of 2007 are pretty good):
-America’s Best Dance Crew-Great Music Ideas on this show. It’s also a great show to watch at the gym!
-The radio-I need to get the radio attachment for my nano!

A few outside recommendations:
Radiohead and Muse—several guys tell me they love to workout to these bands, I’m not sure they are for me!

Albums I found surprisingly wonderful to work out to:
-Everyday by Dave Matthews Band
-The Devil Wears Prada Soundtrack
-Grey’s Anatomy 2 Soundtrack

And here is one of my old playlists that I listen to every once in a while. I broke it up by genre the best I could!

Pop/R&B

Mambo #5-Lou Bega
That’s My Name-Lil Bow Wow
Black Horse and Cherry Tree-KT Tundstall
Let It Out-Hombres
Fergilicious-Fergie
No, No, No-Destiny’s Child
Jumpin Jumpin-Destiny’s Child
Am to Pm-Christina Millian
Do Something-B-Spears
Boys-B-Spears
Outrageous-B-Spears
About Us-Brooke Hogan
Get Mine, Get Your-Christina Aguilera
Dirty- Christina Aguilera
Goodies-Ciara
Oh la la la-Danity Kane
Smooth Criminal-Michael Jackson
100% Pure Love-Crystal Waters
Like a Boy-Ciara
Life is a Highway-Tom Petty
Boy is Mine-Brandy
I do-Toya
Rhythm Dancer-?
Buttons-Pussy Cat Dolls

Rap/Hip Hop
Family Affair-Mary J Blige
Hip Hop is Dead-NAS
Hot in Here-Nelly
Show me the Money-Petey Pablo
Suave-Calle 13
Come to Me-PDiddy
This is Why I'm Hot-Mims
Lighter’s Up-Lil Kim
Poppin Them Thangs-G-Unit
Crush on You-Lil Kim
Give it To Me-Timbaland
The Way I Are-Timbaland
Party Like A Rockstar-Pet Shop Boyz
Hate it or Love it-50 Cent
Beautiful-Ludacris

Rock/Alternative

I Hate Everyone-Get Set Go
So Much to Say-DMB
Wake Up Call-Maroon 5
We Used to Be Friends-Dandy Warhols
The Way We Get By-Spoon
As-Har Mar Superstar
The Way We Get BY-Spoon
Sexy Mistake-Chalets
Intergalactic-Beastie Boys
I Me You-Jim Noris
Monster Hospital-Metric
Kaboom-Ursula 1000
Kryptonite-3 Doors Down

Monday, March 17, 2008

Eating Out Without Filling Out

I admit I am a New York Foodie. I was hesitant to adapt the title, but I have been called it enough times to succumb. My love of restaurants is about more than just the food. I love to know who the owner is, what other restaurants they own, who the chef is, where have they worked, what stars eat there, etc. Atmosphere, decor, and service are also extremely important to me, right down to the place settings. On my first orgasmic trip to Tiffany’s, I bought Table Manners for Teenagers, I was 12. Believe me a lot of time goes into setting down each utensil if the restaurant cares. The food should by artfully arranged on the plate, looking every bit as fabulous as it is going to taste! The staff can really tell you a lot about whether the owners care about your experience. They should be gracious, extremely knowledgeable, not rushing--and in NYC attractiveness tends to be pretty important.

You don’t have to dine exclusively in hot spots (Butter) or celebrity chef owned places (Babbo) to eat well, some hole in the wall places have the most charm (Cafe Habana). If you are on a budget, brunch is the best way to experience NYC dining. For me a weekend without brunch is like Lauren Conrad without (fake) drama-something’s missing.

Just have to include this brunch quote from SITC:

There are very few things this New Yorker loves as much as Sunday brunch. You can sleep until noon and still get eggs anywhere in the city, alcohol is often included with the meal, and Sunday is the one day a week you get the single woman's sports pages: the New York Times wedding section.

On to the food, so here is my intention for this post. Food is fuel; food is also a cultural connector and a passion for many. However, I realize eating out can be stressful for some people. I want to emphasis that I believe you can eat out, eat what you love, and not gain an ounce.

One of the great things about eating out in the city is that you can liberate yourself from calorie counting because the nutritional information is almost never available. I am not saying that calorie counting is bad or ineffective if it works for you, but for me, it’s far too time consuming, and tends to be obsessive or guilty inducing.

So I am going to give you my thoughts on eating out without filling out. I am also going to give you tips straight from the nutritionist I visited a few months ago, marked with an *.

Some of the tips are more stringent than I the ones I follow, so they are italized. I included them because they are safe and healthy, but I would probably only employ them in the following situations:

1.) I was getting married in a month
2.) My last name was Moss and my first name was Kate (negative)
3.) I had eaten 5 meals at the Shake Shack/Chipotle in the last 3 days.

So you have to decide if they are right for you.

I say they are safe and healthy as opposed to some of the tactics used by some super slim people I know. My point is that if you see a body that is too good to be true, it could be genetics; it could be a health issue you don’t know about, or it might have to do with measures involving a lot more than self-restraint, exercise, coffee and even coke.

So on with the tips.

Tip #1 *Check the menu beforehand. I don’t always do this because I like to be surprised, but it can be good to find a few healthy options before you go. The nutritionist I visited said that she makes sure the place has something she can eat. I can’t imagine telling a date I wouldn’t go to a restaurant they picked because there was nothing I could eat.

Tip #2 *The ONE request rule. This is huge. This can transform your relationship with eating out if it makes you uncomfortable. You can only ask the waiter to make one substitution for the entire meal. So if you want your omelet with egg white only, don’t ask for it to be cooked without oil. If you want you salad dressing on the side, don’t drill the person about the way the cook your fish. If you want your fish cooked with olive oil not butter, make that your request. So let’s say your fish comes drenched a top a pool of teriyaki, just move it to a separate plate, so you have a reasonable amount of sauce.

I like this one because it frees you from getting caught up with a million requests and to relax and enjoy your meal. I never could understand the point of order a scooped out bagel! It seems like ordering a pizza and saying crust only please!

The one request rule makes you more fun to eat with. Also it ensures their will be no bodily fluids in your food. Piss off the waiter, and watch out—it happens even in the best places. PS Don’t lie; they know you are not “allergic” to butter. I understand some people do have allergies and restrictions in which case demand away.

Tip #3 *Use your starches wisely. Starches have a place in your meal, but they can add up quickly (wine, sweet sauces, croutons on your salad) and not satiate you the way other food groups do. So if you want a starch with your meal, figure out how to forgo the bread basket--or limit yourself to a half serving. When I am ordering a salad to go, I sometimes say no bread first because I can never say no to the focaccia slice once they hand it over the counter. Although I do happy accept it sometimes. Remember your first wine is free, the second counts as a starch, so plan it in and enjoy it!

Tip #4 *Pick a pair of appetizers, one that is mainly protein. This is one of my staple strategies. I love to get something like mussels marinara with a goat cheese, pear, walnut salad. Then I can have my slice of bread if I want it. This is great because you are not getting too much food. Obviously, fried appetizers are not your best choices. So stick with cheeses, seafood, veggies, small plates of pasta etc.

Tip #5 If you go for perfection, order a salad and two veggie sides. This was a suggestion by the nutritionist, but it was too stringent for me. I feel like I might be ten pounds lighter if I was always perfect and ordered the lightest meal possible, but I wouldn’t be someone anyone would want to go out to dinner with! It took me a while get to a place where I have a very healthy relationship with food and my body. It was worth the work I put into reframing my ideas for the resulting freedom and the pleasure I take in enjoying all the foods I love in moderation.

Tip #6 If you get stuck at a place where there is nothing healthy, remember you don’t have to finish! Pizza is just not something I go crazy for. If I am stuck at a pizza place, I order a salad, and eat a slice. If I decide ¾ of the way through I am satisfied, I stop—foods with fat do fill me up much faster than the typically low-fat things I prepare at home! I also remember to savour the time with friends as much as the food.

Tip #7 Don't feel guilty about peer pressure!
I know how it feels when all your friends what to order appetizers, entrees, desserts, multiple drinks. You shouldn't feel bad if you want to make a healthier decision. If they give you crap, it's probably more about them than you. Once in a while it's fine to go a little overboard, but I wouldn't fit in my jeans if eat heavy, multiple course meals EVERY time I went out. My advice is to not make it a big deal, and order what will make you happy. If someone questions why you are order a veggie burger and steamed vegetables when everyone else is getting fried chicken, corn bread and mashed potatoes. Say, this place is so good, I bet they have a killer veggie burger--or that's what looks good to me today. If you don't want an appetizer and an entree, just say, it's weird that I am always starving, but today I'm actually just not that hungry. Don't get into anything having to do with weight, or "being good," just enjoy the food and the great company.

Since I eat out several times a week I do pay attention to making healthy (but delicious) choices, otherwise I would probably be sluggish all the time. But on special occasions or at really amazing restaurants (The Modern) I order absolutely anything I want. If you eat when your hungry and stop when your full, it is unlikely you will ever have a weight problem. It's the damn emotions that get in the way.

So what do I order?

Well I typically have no problem getting all my grains, fruits, veggies (and sweets) in, but I am not always good about including protein in my diet. I am too chicken to prepare fish at home, so I usually take the opportunity to order it while I am out.

So in an American restaurant or steakhouse:

I will probably order a fish dish, with a steamed or sauteed veggie. I’ll have whatever carb comes with it and eat a reasonable portion of it.

Again I often do the double appetizer-requesting both to ome with the entrees.

Mexican:

Fish tacos in corn tortillas with sautéed spinach and beans

Veggie fajitas—loaded with all the fixings, but I skip the chips and margaritas. Although I do enjoy sangria from time to time.

Enchiritos with extra salsa and salad with jicama and avocado

Italian: my fav! I order whatever looks best to me! Otto is one of my favorite places because they keep portions small! I love the pasta a la norma, which is pasta with eggplant and ricotta.

I am a big pasta primavera fan, but I typically eat all the vegetables, and find myself satisfied with a small portion of pasta, maybe ¾ cup.

Oh and mussels fra diavolo over angel hair.

I also take advantage of the simple salads and broth based soups Italian places offer.

If I am going more tapas style, I will get a salad, eggplant caponata and/or broccoli rabbe with pecorino, a cheese selection with fresh jams, and enjoy some fresh bread.

If there is an amazing sounding risotto, I might pick that.

Thai: Love veggie spring rolls in rice paper, avocado grapefruit salads, papaya salads, and lettuce wraps. Sometimes I do a sautéed dish.

Greek: I love sampling a little bit of everything, pita, hummus, babaganoush, feta, eggplant, bulgar dishes, roasted cauliflower, kolokythoanthoi, dolmas:you can’t really go too wrong if you stick to plant based items.

Sushi: Any kind of brown rice veggie roll (I’ll do white if they don’t have brown). Squash is one of my favorites. I typically love to order an avocado salad, a roll and edammame.

Brunch: I have never been a breakfast person. My parents had to fight with me to eat it, feeding pbjs and cheesecake even! Now I am better, but as mouth watering as bananas foster brioche french toast and Belgian waffles with fire roasted peaches sound, I just don't like the taste. Occasionally, I will try chocolate chip banana pancakes--they sound so good, I wish I loved them! My favorite brunch is actually pretty healthy, a HUGE fruit salad with yogurt, paired with whole grain toast and preserves. If the place has great baked goods (Balthazar), I'll go for a croissant (love them) or muffin (ditto) instead of toast. I have never been an egg person, the texture is a bit weird to me. But I finally learned to appreciate frittatas, especially loaded with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and goat cheese. 7a is one of my favorite hole in the wall places to have a brunch.

What to do about dessert?

Order whatever looks best! I almost never pass up dessert. But I do always share, by the 4th, 5th or 6th bite I am usually as satisfied as I am going to be, no need to take 20 bites to experience cheesecake. I have to admit, it doesn't always stop me!

Nutritionist recommendations:* kinda boring, but if you are into that sort of thing: sorbet, fruit (with fondue is acceptable), berries.

Note that none of these rules apply in foreign countries. Leave no carb behind, never neglect the bread basket or pasta plate, drown yourself in olive oil, knock back the vino and gorge on gelato. When you get home the scale will probably read lighter than when you left it. I do not know why this system works, but I have proven it over and over :)

Yum-O


I just noticed these fabulous vegetarian recipes on Foodnetwork. They all look so good, I don't know which I want to make first. Maybe I'll just 1/4 the recipes and make a bunch of little plates and eat them tapas-style. My fav!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Magazine Madness



I am obsessed with magazines. I always have been. I was a journalism major in college, so I justify it that way. Despite recycling regularly I have quite a collection in my room at all times. They are hidden on the opposite side of my bed, so unless you are going out to the balcony, you would know they were there.

and more

And even hidden in my nightstand with my workout dvds.


I subscribe to several magazines because it is so much cheaper than buying them off the newstand. Shape is $4 a pop or about $15 for the year/12 issues.

I read magazines on a broad range of topics, but obviously I read quite a few health and fitness magazines.

Many fitness magazines do overlap and repeat the same info over and over, so it's not necessary to get them all! Actually magazines in every genre repeat and recycle, so your best bet is to sit down at Barnes and Noble with a big stack and read to your heart and heavy wallet's content.

As far as health and fitness, I like Women's Health because it is put out by Rodale which takes proper research and reporting very seriously, so I trust their information. Women's Health tends to have less fluff, although lately it seems to be seeping in.

Fitness is really jammed packed with workouts, playlists, and tips, and I find the workouts are actually possible.

Shape has a much larger on clothing and beauty products for a health magazine. It has a stronger celeb focus, if you are into that kind of thing.

Self is one my favorite magazine forever. I had the best internship ever there! It's approach is about an all over healthy lifestyle, mind, body and soul.

Runner's World is fabulous if you are a runner. Also put out by Rodale.

There are so many more health magazines that I don't read regularly, but are worth the occasional peruse: Natural Health, Body and Soul, Fityoga, Eating Well, Prevention, and so many more.

Someone asked me about Real Simple, I never could get into it. I am more of a ReadyMade kind of girl. ReadyMade has nothing to do with health. I actually prefer Good Housekeeping to Real Simple, sometimes I am an old soul.

Now that I am back in school, I make myself read my textbooks during my commute, so I am really behind on my magazines. I keep saying, I am going to go through them, tear out my favorite articles and make on massive magazine bible. Someday!

Here is what I subscribe to:
Fitness
Self
Shape
Glamour
Lucky
New York Magazine
Time Out New York
The Economist
Women's Health

I read also read Instyle and Cosmo when I get a chance.

My roommates get (I very occasionally browse through them):
Martha Stewart Living
Vogue
Details
Entertainment Weekly
GQ
W

BTW I have totally weaned myself off of all the tabloids--Life and Style, etc. So if anyone is addicted it is possible. I felt like I would be single-handedly responsible for B-Spears inevitable end if I kept reading!

MonQi Fitness


I was expecting great things from this studio, which spreads across three floors. The only free double class option opened when I called was the 8:30 spin, 9:25 abs and butt classes. So I made it to the studio at 8:15 wondering who else was crazy enough to be up and at em at that hour.

Not many people.

I waited in the very cramped locker area with two very lean upper east side women. (I couldn't help thinking that these were the type of women who must have subsisted on the froyo at 40 carrots in Bloomies during the '80's.) One was going on and on about how she was going to have to sell her country house, and how she was devastated for her kids. How she supposed they could just take a week vacation somewhere, but she just could imagine the thought of not having a home away from home for the summer. I am not perfect, but I try not to take anything for granted. I almost said something like, yeah I bet women in Darfur really miss their summer homes too, but I managed to bite my tongue.
Okay off the soapbox on to the spin bike.

The studio was huge with 40 bikes. There were only 6 people in the class, and for some reason a woman decided to sit on the bike right next to me, but whatevs.

The class was very challenging. It was a cross between the type of spinning where you kind of do a different activity each song (jumps, moving back and forth, changing handle positions, balancing on your fingertips, dancing on the bike, etc) and the continuous journey type ride. I am a fan of the former, it's so much more fun.

Music really makes a spin class for me, and despite my extremely low tolerance for remixes and techno, I liked the music. It really got us through some tough cycling.

I learned a good take home tip: Driving through resistance creates long lean muscles, whereas puttering through creates bulky ones.

I really had to focus and push myself through the workout. I just tried to remind myself that if I had to stop, my body would just stop moving, but I had to hang on until that point.

I was sweating like crazy halfway through, fortunately we had a mini break on low resistance to flush out the legs. The midpoint recharge was crucial!

I went immediately from the bike to the studio upstairs for abs and butt. There were only 5 people in the class.

The instructor played all my favorite workout class songs, golddigger, right there, milkshake, i do, and all those great hip hop songs, so that helped because I was definitely tired.
Her teaching style was not my favorite. She started out by saying how tough she was, and before any hard moves she would be like, "everyone hates these." I prefer more motivational, "you can do it types." But at least she wasn't annoyingly peppy. The class was tough, but not impossible, which is good. I wouldn't pay $30 for it because it was pretty similar to most ab and butt classes at gyms.

I wasn't blown away by anything at MonQi. The atmosphere wasn't anything to write home about, and the clientele was just not me. I felt like I was in the Real Housewives of Manhattan or something. Although if you are into gossip, this could be the place for you. As I was getting stuff out of my locker a woman on her phone was instructing someone to "buy the Post, page 9 is all about Jay!"
This review is of one trip to MonQi. It was a pretty unusual time to be working out, and so I would have to go back and try several classes to be totally objective. The citysearch reviews say great things, so I encourage you to check them out too. While I did think the spin class was pretty great, $28 a class is pretty darn pricey. So unless another great special comes around, I probably won't be back.

Weekly Workout Wrap Up

The week flew by! This weekend was especially busy with parties, catching up with people for lunch, coffee, shopping and dinner. Somehow I managed to fit in workouts here and there, my week looked something like:

Monday: 20 minutes pilates/ab work first thing in the morning--well after I turned on VH1 morning jumpstart which is the FIRST thing I do in the morning.
Evening: 1 hour cardio, 30 treadmill, 30 elliptical

Tuesday: 45 minute workout video.

Wednesday: 30 minutes on the elliptical at lunch, really easy, just let myself daydream away about pretty much everything.

Afterwork: 35 minute hard treadmill run, 15 minute elliptical, ab workout from Women's Health Magazine pullout booklet. This one required a lot of balance and coordination, I definitely flew off the ball a few times. Fortunately, at the gym I have no shame!

Thursday: No formal working out, but I did walk about 120 blocks in the city throughout the day, which is roughly 6 miles.

Friday: Nada--although getting ready to go out was a marathon event :)

Saturday: Treated myself to a great class at Physique 57, then strolled from 57th street down to 14th street to meet up with a friend.

Sunday: Spinning class and Awesome Abs and Butt at Monqi Fitness (I almost didn't make it because I had to get up at 7am, but I knew I had to review. Thanks for keeping me accountable guys!)

Not too bad. I really need to start training for the half, so I am going to try to step it up with the running. So long runs every weekend, starting at 6-7 miles, plus a tempo run once a week, and interval once a week, and maybe a 5 miler. Plus, my usual power 1 1/2 hour workouts with the boys twice a week, and at least one yoga class and strength session a week.

That's the plan. If only I had as much discipline with my diet haha!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Two free classes

I just saw this deal in Time Out and I had to take advantage.

Two free classes at MonQi Fitness. MonQi is supposed to be a really great studio, and I am 90% sure it was mentioned in Self as a celeb favorite this month.

The classes look pretty intense, and you have to take both back to back in order for them to be free.

Sign up soon the offer ends 3/23!

I signed up for ZHcycle and Awesome Abs and Butt! The cycle class is through their partner Zonehampton.

Also, if you didn't see the SNL spoof of Christian from Project Runway, check it out on my friend's fabulous blog. Fierce!

All right, see Sunday with the review!

Rock Your Body Challenge: Increase Your Speed!


This week's challenge comes to you straight from my hard core running friend! The following plan will help you increase your speed and reach your 5K goal time.

The best part is that you only have to do it once a week.

This plan will get your 5K (3.1 mile) time under 30 minutes. Basically you are just adding an extra interval for the weeks 2, 3, 4 and then practicing sustaining a high speed.

So if your goal is faster, substitute 6.9 for a faster pace. My goal is 25 minutes, so I am going to try to do 7.4 mph--roughly an 8 minute mile pace.

Week one

Warm up 10 minutes
Run 8.49 pace (6.9) for 3 minutes
Recover for 5 minutes
Run 6.9 for another 4 minutes
Recover for 5
Run 6.9 for 3
Cool down.


Week Two

Same as above but add another Run 6.9 for 4 minutes recover for 5

Week Three

-add to week 2 another 5 minute run at 6.9, recover for 5

Week Four

Add to week 3 another 3 minute run at 6.9, recover for 5

Week Five

Warm up for 10 Stretch
Run 6.9 for 1 mile
Recover
Run 6.9 for however long you can hold it
Cool down

Week 6
run 6.9 continuous for 2 miles straight
Cool down

Week 7 - Race. 5k

What was your result?

I won't be posting again until Sunday, but I'll try to come up with something good!

Have a fabulously fit weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A few things even a "no frills" gym should have


I feel as though all of my friends belong to these swank gyms. I hear how about the amazing personal trainers at Equinox, how they enjoy nice salmon lunches at the cafes, how they saw Jerry Seinfeld on his way to the platinum class locker rooms at Reebox Sports Club.
Meanwhile, I just canceled my membership at the dowdy NYSC. I belonged to NYSC for three years, I actually liked it for it's Starbucks ability to be found every three blocks--and it's 24 hour locations. Many NYSC's are pretty grubby, but the Astoria location is quite nice, with a gorgeous pilates reformer room.

However, being a student gives me access to two gyms, so I figured I could save the extra money even if it meant not have a gym in my neighborhood, unlimited free classes or a huge variety of interesting looking takes on the traditional treadmills and ellipticals.
I have to say one of the school gyms is from the middle ages, dungeon-like and humid. The other is much more state of the art. Plasma screen tvs, good ventilation, one of the best pools in the city, and my favorite good lighting. Why some gyms are so dark is beyond me.

It has some things even NYSC didn't have--and it is missing a few things I think are minimums for any workout facility:
1.) Free locks. You hand in your card, you use the lock to secure your stuff, you return the lock, you get the card. Why some gyms make it more complicated than this I do not know. I am not a fan of carrying around heavy locks.

2.) Hair elastics on sale in the lobby. How many times have you forgot an elastic?

3.) Pre-moistened cleaning cloths to wipe off machines--love these.

4.) Tv and radio plug ins for when your ipod runs out of gas before you
do.

5.) Towel service

6.) Lots of toys to play with: foam rollers, exercise and medicine balls, dyna bands, stability boards, etc.

Other essentials not currently offered by my facility but I generally feel to be necessary

6.) Decent quality and pleasant smelling shampoo, conditioner and soap. If you are going to offer these things, get things that are pleasing to the majority. I am not a fan of gym showers, and the stuff at NYSC and Crunch is not fit for my dog.

7.) Fans on treadmills-best invention ever!

8.) Free classes--I don't have the flexibility in my schedule to stick to a rigid schedule!

And a few things I hope to have in my next gym:

9.) Steam rooms, sauna and roof deck

10.) Chilled mint- and eucalyptus-soaked towels :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Salad Shopping Primer


Today I I was planning a big salad post. Since I really needed to stock up on produce, I thought I would show you some of my salad essentials.
A lot of the time I get a box of organic produce delivered through urbanorganic.com But sometimes I like to pick out my own things. I love that urban organic is local and organic, but it does take lots of washing and salad spinning because it is straight from the ground!
I went to Trader Joe's right after the gym (it's next door) so I bought everything that looked good! I also bought a lot of things that are ready to go because time is not of the essence!
Here's what I got:
Colored lettuce--tons of diffent greens, chards, a rainbow of colors to make salads a feast for the eyes!
-broccoli slaw
-snow peas (great in salads as are sugar snap peas)
-cherry tomatoes
-broccoli and cauliflower florets
-steamed beets-ready to go--beets are one of my very favorites
-cucumber
-mango--one of my favorite salad toppings
-carrots
-apples
-bananas (not for salad)
-strawberries
-baby spinach
-I also got some yogurts, trying a macca green tea yogurt, a bit weird especially since I can't remember my last flavored yogurt. Maybe it's like Pinkberry!
On my way out I picked up an impulse, seedy currant cookies. They reminded me of these great seed honey cookies I bought in Switzerland this summer. Kind of granola -like.
Despite the fact that I was pretty hungry, I managed to devour Glamour on the subway home rather than the food. Somehow I even unpacked, made my salad and took some photos for the blog rather than gobbling up the food at the counter as quick as I could chop it! Haha

The Art of Salad Making



Several readers have asked me about salads, and I have to say salad making is an art. The proper combinations of creamy, crunchy, sweet, bitter, acidic, and rich paired with a stunning dressing can make each salad a sumptuous meal. Conversely, over doing it with way too many ingredients or under doing by limiting the beautiful potential of vegetables can turn one off to salads rather quickly.

I could probably post pages upon pages about salads, but I will do my best to be as succinct as possible!
I have pretty much always loved salads, but two women in particular taught me the art of salad making, and I would love to share the lessons I have learned, and where you can get more detail too.

Reading Raw Food Real World by Sarma Melngalis taught me how to balance flavors and textures, after a few weeks of using her techniques all I ever wanted to eat was salad--at least one massive one a day. Obviously I can't copy the amazing passage on salad making directly, but I will leave you with a few great quotes and a summary of the advice. Read the book for more info and recipes.

"We think salads are a great opportunity for creativity because you can easily combine many ingredients, and because you can unite so many varying textures and flavors and get them all in one bite...Constructing salads is easy but keep in mind that some factors do apply to making a great salad. Think of them as vegetable sundaes..." Raw Food Real World page 99.

The most important rules are to make sure you balance your flavors and textures. Contrast acidic ingredients like balsamic and citrus fruits with rich, creamy ingredients like avocados or goat cheese. You might use a soft mild lettuce like butter lettuce with a crunchy sharp vegetables and nuts.

Aim to have a delicate balance of:
- acid/citrus
-creamy/rich
-tart/bitter with sweet
-chewy/crunchy with smooth
-salty/watery or juicy ingredients--celtic sea salt tends to balance and intensify flavors in recipes.
You don't need every single one of these elements in each, but having some contrasts in texture and depths of flavor makes salad more interesting.
Sundried tomatoes, heirloom Tomatoes, goat cheese (raw of regular), with fresh basil and oregano, red and green peppers, cucumber and jicama tossed with balsamic and some sea salt, is a delicious example. You might not need to include all of those ingredients, but I wanted to give options. There are so many textures: crunchy, creamy, crisp, and chewy, and flavors rich, salty, spicy, acidic.
Here's one last classic example: Pecan crusted goat/gorgonzola cheese with pears and dried cherries and balasamic. So you have got a rich creamy cheese contrasting a sweet juicy fruit, crunchy nutty pecans, and tart/sweet/chewy dried cherries, balanced with acid from the dressing.

Remember that your choose of base greens in limitless, you can find soft lettuces like mesclun, peppery greens like arugula, watery ones like romaine, bold flavors like spinach, bitter ones such as chard or kale, and sweet, substantial bases like shredded cabbages. Research and explore your options they all offer different benefits. Personally I love baby spinach and purple cabbage.

For one of my favorite salads look here, for one of Sarma's favorites look here. (I was really into raw a while back, but I found that I needed more balance in my life although clearly I enjoy raw food.)

Rule number two, you are creating a salad not a chopped meal. This is from Natalia Rose. Her books are worth buying for the salad recipes alone, totally amazing!

While many restaurants chop up a meal throw it on lettuce and call it a salad. A really salad consists of mainly vegetables with one or two other elements like a protein or nuts. If you are eating a salad with lettuce, chicken, cheese, beans and croutons, you are not going to feel light energized and radiant afterwards.

Which brings me to my third tip. Limit your salads to one or two fatty items, such as avocado (which I encourage you to try until you love. It took me a long time, but they are amazing for you! To start, make sure they are the perfect ripeness (too hard and they taste like soap) and spread them on whole grain toast--then tell me you don't love them!) cheese, nuts, or dressing. Although when you are starting don't worry too much about the dressing, if it makes you love salad and it is made of high quality ingredients, you should digest it seamlessly. That being said you need at least one fat to keep you full and to digest the fat soluble vitamins in vegetables. Fat is really essential to feel all the amazing effects of the nutrients you are consuming.

Keep ingredients to around 5. Too many more than that and you start to lose the individual tastes. I count cucumber, jicama and diakon radish as freebies.

Tip four, add sweet, juicy and chewy and you will be diving in for more. When I started adding mango to my salad, I couldn't get enough. Juicy fruits like mango, kiwi and grapefruit makes salads refreshing, hydrating and uber delicious.
Apples and pears make them crunchy and hearty.

The vast array of dried fruits like golden raisins, dried cherries, etc. add a great sweet flavor and chewy texture that is just divine. Corn is also a great sweet, chewy addition, fresh not canned!

If you are confused on salty-sea vegetables, dulse, many seeds, corn, tomatoes, cheeses are just a few examples of salty.

Now that you now how to make salads sinfully delicious through flavor combinations, here are some tips to keep you full and lean:

Start with your leafy base
-add 3+ fresh vegetables, with no more than one starchy-like corn or peas
-add protein of choice
-add fat
-add an optional fun ingredient, such as nuts, fresh/dried fruit, or other item you love-1-2 TBSP.
-somethings, like laughing cow cheese fall into many categories (protein, fat, creamy) so you can get some bang for your buck and a nice dressing as well.
-Nuts and dried fruits go very well together with an all vegetable salad, so think of nuts as your fat/protein and dried fruit as your fun item. Top with balsamic, agave, or a fruity dressing like the All Natural Maple Grove Farms ones.


If that's not enough to get you started, I went through the menus of some NYC restaurants that make great salads (Chopt, tossed, FreeFoods NYC, benvenuto, Angelica Kitchen, Candle 79, Caravan of Dreams--look them up on menupages or google them for full menus, I was too lazy to include all the links!)and listed them as ideas for you to make your own! Some may not follow all the rules, but I tried to pick ones that came close.


Summer Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette baby field greens, roasted corn, grape tomatoes, cucumber, golden raisins, strawberries, homemade plantain chips.


Chopped Greek with Two Virgins baby field greens, grape tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, feta, fresh peppers, red onion.


Garden Salad baby field greens, grape tomatoes, cucumber, shredded carrots, golden raisins, sunflower seeds.

Spinach Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette baby spinach, shiitake mushrooms, roasted portobello, roasted sweet onions, toasted hazelnuts, homemade croutons.


Chop't Ten Vegetable iceberg lettuce, grilled asparagus, green peas, hearts of palm, carrots, broccoli, beets, white mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes and corn we recommend chop't secret house blend


Teriaki Shrimp a blend of spinach and romaine lettuces, carrots, slivered almonds, real oranges, snow peas.


Sea Caesar crisp romaine lettuce tossed with creamy garlic dressing. Topped with seasoned sourdough croutons, a sprinkle of smoked dulse & nori strips

Orchard mesclun lettuces, apple, toasted pecans, dried bing cherries & sourdough croutons; tossed in a rosemary vinaigrette

Mixed Sprout a refreshing toss of snow pea shoots, sunflower sprouts & seeds, & mint; mixed with cabbage, daikon & carrots in a cool mint vinaigrette. Adorned with toasted peanuts, onion sprouts & watercress


Balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes & basil marinated chickpeas, over local greens tossed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, & coarse sea salt.


Baby Greens Salad baby greens, cranberry beans, roasted butternut squash, quinoa, avocado, toasted sunflower seeds, poblano dressing

Roasted Beet Salad mache, arugula, beets, baby carrots, haricots verts, ginger gold apples, fennel, toasted pecans, vanilla-fig dressing


Formaggio Di Capra E Noci pistachio encrusted goal cheese, beets and seasoned pecans, on a bed of arugula, endive and radicchio

Final notes: The salad above is a mix of all kinds of romaines and rainbow chards, carrots, snow peas, kiwi, a sprinkle of pure food and wine cheesy raw crackers (to make it more fun for you guys), cucumber, and cherry tomatoes. After I dressed it lightly with Newman's Light Honey Dijon. I served it fage mixed with cinnamon and strawberries.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Are you hardcore?

So I am officially back on track. I had am amazing workout last night. It just felt euphoric to be moving my body after days of sluggishness. I actually felt like crap all day, and it wasn’t until I was sprinting on the treadmill that I felt alive again.

During class I asked a co-worker I sometimes workout with if he wanted to go to the gym after class. (I find it incredibly hard to go straight from a full day at work to class and then the gym, so it’s good to have a buddy.)

He was like, “sure. I already went at lunch, but I want to go again.”

I was like, “whoa there! Look at you!”

He was like, “Melissa you are just not as hard core as us.” Not being sarcastic!

I was like, did he really just go there? Me not hard core, as if!

This conversation made me think about how many girls (myself included) think guys have it so easy; they don’t have to work to get those six-packs. But lots of guys work pretty damn hard for those abs and biceps, and sometimes we don’t give them enough credit!

On the other hand, I could do the exact same regimen as my (already pretty fit) co-worker who lost 15 pounds in like 3 weeks, and not drop more than a few pounds, eating less! Okay so maybe they deserve the crap we give them. But at least they have to put in some effort.

Back to me not being hard core. For a second, I was like damn I need to prove I am just as hard core. I can do doubles! But then I realized I am consistent and balanced. I don’t really need to be hard core about everything in my life: school, work, fitness, diet, social life, clean apartment--moderation is just fine with me.

Besides, even if I was as “hardcore” as my male co-workers. I still wouldn’t be as hardcore as my friend Rebecca. She ran her first marathon with me in October, and immediately signed up for the Paris Marathon and Gulf Coast half ironman. On Saturday night, she came out with us, and then work up to run a few miles, BEFORE her 15K race and then continued running after—a total of 24 miles!

So moral of the rambling story: decide how much fitness is important to have in your schedule, for your lifestyle and your body, and let that be enough! At some points you may enjoy more and some points less.

“Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”

During my fabulous workout last night, I decided success for me will be the following to goals:
1.) to complete a strong ½ marathon in April
2.) to get my 5k time down to 25 minutes from just under 29 minutes by August—hopefully sooner.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Om Yoga




Om sweet om!



Entering Om is like entering a quiet beautiful yoga world. The studio winds and stretches on with ample closet space for coats and shoes, a cozy shop, a reading area with couches and yoga books, and that's before you even reach the studios. Most yoga studios are very small and pretty crowed, Om has an entire floor of lounges, changing rooms with showers for yogis and yoginis, nooks and crannies and of course several studios, everything is muted, peaceful and completely protected from the chaos that floods Broadway six floors below the center. You can take a virtual tour online.

My passbook only has one free class although I could have brought a friend (my yogi buddy was working). I was actually really craving yoga Sunday. I didn't feel very well and all I wanted was some inner peace and time with my thoughts. The staff was extremely friendly, and mat rentals were only $1!

I took a basics/intermediate class with Jeremy. It started out very different from any other yoga class I had ever taken. We rolled up our mats Buddha style and lay them along are vertebrae to feel the heart lifting and sides of the body falling down. It really helped me feel the proper alignment throughout the class. Then we did some strange shaking of the legs and arms above our heads while lying on our backs.

A lot of the poses we did were new to me, but Jeremy was by far the best instructor I have ever had. He explains everything perfectly! He corrected my position allowing me to feel perfect in every posture. The class was difficult in that it required significant strength and focus to hold the positions, but it was not a very fast class, so we didn't do any jumping from pose to pose.

Because I was feeling less than stellar it was great to go slow and learn exactly how to form each pose. Sometimes I want to take a really fast-paced class above my skill level to really work up a sweat, but it is probably better to be patient and learn how to do everything correctly in the beginning.

Halfway through the class I had a little moment of bliss. In a very Elizabeth Gilbert manner, I said to myself "is this me loving yoga?" And I think it was.

Not only was Jeremy very clear, but he was very complimentary. He kept us encouraged by telling us our poses were delicious. I guess I'm not yogini enough to forget about ego yet, I lapped up every sweet word!

By the end of the class I felt very restored.

Om also offers many interesting workshops like Thai Yoga Massage. They have a yoga workshop/cleanse combination in April that sounds really interesting. However, I am doing a half marathon the weekend after the last day of the cleanse, so I don't think it is ideal timing.

I will definitely be back to Om. They have several 1 hour express classes that cost only $12 each, a pretty great deal. Sweaty Express here I come!

If you are interested in learning more, you can buy the Om Dvds, books, box set, clothes and lots more in their online shop.

Confessions and Lessons Learned

Oh my, I am embarrassed to admit that I totally disregarded my own advice on drinking responsibly this weekend! I feel I should be honest about it because sometimes life just happens and your best intentions seem to wander away. (Just so you know, I typically do follow the happy hour scenario suggestions, and feel much better than I did this weekend!)

On Friday I had plans to meet for drinks around 10, so I was just planning on having a glass of wine or two. But then another friend asked if I wanted to get drinks after work. I wanted to catch up so we went to one of our favorite wine/tapas bars, KashKaval. I stuck to one glass of wine and we shared a small tapas plate or hummus, roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, and eggplant caponata with pita bread. I love eating tapas style and this greek/italian mix is my favorite. We also split a salad. I requested dressing on the side, but it came already dressed. The waitress said it was lightly dressed, but there was definitely a huge pool of dressing in the bottom of the bowl. Oh well, at least it was olive oil based!

Round two: We started out a lounge, I had water since I didn't want beer and didn't trust the wine. Then we went to Pure Food and Wine for drinks. Here is where I get into trouble, everything seems so healthy! So my friend G and I love the rioja and we each got a glass--this glass was twice as big as the one from the wine bar! Then we decided to order some desserts, we split those--although we left most of the sundae because it was so rich! I also had a few sips of the cocktails my friends ordered.

Our final stop was Bar Jamon. I managed to refrain from another drink because I knew I didn't need it! But when I got home I definitely had a large handful of crackers to settle my stomach.

So two drinks turned into closer to 4!

Pubcrawl: This one I knew would be a big night. The run down 3 1/2 beers and one shot. Lots of fun.

What I realized from this weekend is that while drinking too much is definitely not great, it's how I feel the day after that really sucks!

Saturday and Sunday I really had no energy to workout, save one great yoga class at Om (more later). I was not too productive with my school work either. I like going through my days full force and alive with energy, buzzing busily from task to task, not dragging around. Of course it can be fun to loosen up with a drink or two, but for me two is the definite time to cap it, after that the price I pay in the days after out weighs the fun. It's kind of like dessert, the first few bites are the best, but after a huge slice of cheesecake, the bloated, sluggish feeling is almost not worth it.

Staying out until 4 in the morning two days in a row was part of the reason I really didn't get much done this weekend was because I have had trouble sleeping. I haven't been able to sleep for more than 4-5 hours in over a week, so that definitely played a part too. All week I felt fine with only a few hours a night, but everything caught up with me yesterday.

But damn is it hard! Looking at my schedule for the week, I could potentially relive this weekend on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but I am going to do my body a favor and pick one night to have a couple drinks. The other days, I will just enjoy my seltzer and lime! In a final revelation, I decided to give up beer for good, why drink something I don't even like. Although, I am not sure what I will do at the Astoria Beer Garden this summer!

xo!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Getting a Gorgeous Bod

Sorry for the delay, blogger wouldn't give me a break this weekend! I'll respond to any comments later tonight!

So you want to look and feel sexy without any work? No this is not an infomercial, and no results are not guaranteed, but if trying a few ideas doesn't make you feel more energized, radiant and healthy from the inside out (or outside in, depending on the particular case), I'd be quite surprised!


While these tips aren't going to change your jeans size overnight, they can help start healthy habits, kick addictions, invigorate your body and stimulate cell renewal (bye bye cellulite), and just generally make you feel more beautiful and happy. Nothing is sexier than your own personal glow!

My ideas for easy ways to cleanse your body and boost your energy are a bit off the beaten path. Mainly because I don't want to insult your well-read intelligence or waste your time writing something you have probably seen a million times from mainstream health sources. Hopefully some ideas will be new to you; however, nothing is way out there! Some things just require a bit of an open mind.


Step one: Infuse

Forget Gatorade, give up sugar free red bull---and take a break from boring plain water.

I love making water infusions because they taste amazing, make me drink more water, keep me away from the diet coke, and seem to stimulate detoxification. On weekends I try to make a big pitcher of one of the following elixirs, during the week I try to just throw some lemon slices in my water bottle when possible. Perhaps with some cayenne--no this is not the master cleanse I just love cayenne! But seriously starting your morning with lemon water (with your breakfast or on your way to work) really does help eliminate all the gunk from the day before!
These are recipes from Natalia Rose's Raw Food Life Force Energy. I highly recommend all her books.


Fresh mint elixir
64 ounces water
1/2 cucumber, sliced
mint
sliced carrot
sliced lemon



Orange Zest--Natalia recommends this as a substitute for soda and hydrating source of electrolytes.


64 ounces water
sliced lemon
sliced orange
mint
sliced lime
3 packets stevia/a drizzle agave


Step Two

Exfoliate

Getting rid of old dead cells is guaranteed to rejuvenate you and get your glow going. You can use a natural sponge loofah, or a gentle exfoliant of a dry brush. It also stimulate circulation which is important for all metabolic processes.


Step Three


Massage

Ahhhh. If you've never had a massage, you really don't know what your missing. I had my first full-length spa massage after my marathon, and the next day my body was like new. Literally, all soreness completely disappeared. You are supposed to get a massage within 48 hours of the event to get all the lactic acid out of your system. I waited an extra day, but it still worked like magic. Like exfoliating, massage helps circulation and rejuvenates the system. Because it goes so deep it also flushes toxins out of your body, and of course alleviates tension. Could their be an easier way to get on the road to gorgeous? haha. I know they are not exactly cheap, so definitely look for deals. There are many places that do great massages even if they don't offer all the pampering and delectables. Another way to get a massage on a budget is to check if your insurance covers medical massages. Most companies offer 1-3 free medical massages a year. Take advantage. Saunas and steam rooms also help move things out of the body.

Step Four

Power breathing


This is one of my all time favorites. So simple, but so overlooked. Breathing is essential for life and yet we often take tiny little breaths, barely filling our lungs. Powerfully breathing oxygenates the cells, stimulates the metabolism and makes you feel amazing. Breathing is so important in yoga and pilates, and it should be important to you all day long. A couple times a day try taking a really deep inhale, then inhale a little more, then hold it for a second. Release slowly, but powerfully until there is no more air in your system and repeat a few times. Now tell me you don't feel a nice, energized tingling sensation! I used this trick while I was running my marathon, and I felt like I had a special secret no one else knew. It kept me energized and focused. Being under oxygenated will kill your energy!


Step Five:

Fresh vegetable juice:


I say it over and over again, so I'll make this quick. It is like an iv of health directly into your body. I didn't believe it until I tried it. My favorite is beet, carrot, lots of cucumber and celery, a bit of spinach and ginger. It is sweet, delicious and so so detoxifying. This is great in the morning. I also love it if I am going out for a late dinner. I'll have it around 5 or 6 to keep my blood sugar stable and to keep my mind off food and to feel truly alive! There is nothing like it, so get yourself to a juice bar. Don't be worried about calories! This juice isn't pasteurized, so it does its job cleaning your cells, energizing your body and gets the heck out of town!

Step six:
Consider supplements/super foods:


I am not a huge superfood/supplement person, but some people swear they change their lives and their health. I am not talking about things like blueberries, I mean things like spirulina, e-3 live, hemp and chia seeds, maca, super green powders, bee pollen, goji berries, wheatgrass, and chlorella. Personally, I like e-3 live and that's about all I use, but I should try more things. I think Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Cancer has a good article on getting started. Do some of your own research if you are interested!

*I will say that the benefits of these products are MAXIMIZED if you already have a fairly healthy diet. Like multivitamins, they are not an excuse to eat crap. In fact, it is a waste of money to take e-3 live (which is expensive) and then drink diet coke. You have just killed off the nice alkaline balance the body craves. So please experiment and let me know what you think or what you already use, but don't expect to get a 1/2 pound burrito and a shot of wheat grass and to feel like a rockstar. :)


A closing note on my philosophy behind why these things can actually improve your body even though they seem so simple. If you have impurities in your system from the environment, food, smoking, etc., your body is going to be spending a lot of time undoing the damage. If you help stimulate the removal of these undesirable elements, your body can spend its time improving what you have, your metabolism should be optimized, your mood improved and your mental clarity at its peak.

Natural beauty

A reader asked me what natural beauty products I used, and I have to say, I need to explore this area more. I really hate lotion and don't use hundreds of different products. But I do wear make-up and I should check out more natural sources. I do like Fresh brand and all Kiss My Face products.


This is a great article on natural beauty products from Raw Faith.


In my apartment we have made the switch to using all natural cleaning products. I love them, and I never feel lightheaded like I do when I use the scary toxic mainstream ones! We use Seventh Generation and Meyer's Clean Day (smells heavenly-and I hate most scents, bath and body makes me gag).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Real Life Scenario: Happy Hour!

Going out with friends for wine, cocktails, beers, etc. is fun, it's social, and let's face it, it's part of most adults lives. Whether it's to network or just recreational, opportunities to drink abound.

In fact, I am going on my first ever pub crawl this weekend. It is from 10pm to 4 am! It gave me the idea for this post.

I think there is a line in Skinny Bitch that goes something like "Beer is for frat boys, not skinny bitches." Ummm....yeah, still working on the skinny bitch thing--though not literally aiming for either--Haha.

All joking aside, while I am not a heavy drinker, I do love me a glass...err...bottle of wine or a great martini now and again--and I am not one to stay inside every weekend just because I know that drinking isn't exactly the best thing for your waistline.

So after a few years of trying to find the balance between going over board and feeling like I am missing out, I think I have figured out how to get my drink on responsibly and realistically!

My first tip is to only really go crazy 2 nights a month. More than that and it's hard to justify as healthy.

Obviously, you are probably going to drink more than 2 times a month. I have a drink or two about twice a week, some weeks more, some weeks less. So do interval drinking to maximize your happy hour. One drink, one seltzer with lime (aka virgin vodka tonic). Second drink. Happy hour over!

I am sure you have all seen the magazine articles of the 600 calorie long island ice teas and the 300 calorie frozen margaritas, so still to the basics: wine, vodka/club soda, sake, light beer--the only beer I like is Corona and they usually don't have light--so sometimes I don't follow my own advice! Your body will thank you for not hitting with tons of sugar AND alcohol!

This is straight from the nutritionist's mouth: your first drink is free, the second you have to count as a healthy starch. This means for every drink after the first, you should cut one starch out of your day. So if you have 6 servings of starch (bread, pasta, beans, corn, potatoes, etc.) and you want to have two drinks, just skip the bread with your salad at lunch. Eat a half cup of cereal less. Order mussels marinara, sauteed spinach and salad for dinner instead of mussels over angel hair. You get the idea. Obviously alcohol is not a "healthy starch," but as you can more than safely have two non-healthy starches a week, using them here, plus cutting out a healthy starch a day will do no to minimal damage to waistline and workout efforts.

This brings me to my next point. Do a preemptive workout. Definitely get in your workout the day of a big drinking night, you probably won't feel like working out the next day, so don't miss your chance. Make it a strong one. Also aim for morning or midday, if you workout right before going out, you might hit the floor on the first drink. :)

If your are planning on having beer, watch the fruit. I know this may sound crazy. Because fruit is amazing; I eat a TON of it! But yeast and fruit are not a great combination, so keeping it around two servings is a good idea in my opinion. Focus on the veggies!

My last tip is to make sure to drink some fresh vegetable juice, like carrot, cucumber, celery--perhaps with ginger or parsley--before and after drinking, it will rehydrate you, help flush out the toxins in your cells, eliminate bloating, and knock out your hang over.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Recap and Rock Your Body Challenge 2

Recap: Workout Like/With a Guy--Double Whammy!

Last night I worked out with not one, but two guys! It uped the anti a bit.

Here was the workout:

~30 minute treadmill run-average speed 6.6 mph
~15 rowing
~20 minute elliptical, level 8, hard intensity, 4 minute cool down
~8 minute rowing with underhand grip
20 minutes strength: ab workout from fitness magazine.

After the workout, I had a one hour massage, and boy do I feel like a new person! All toxins are gone! soreness? what soreness? More on why you need to treat yourself well tomorrow! PS I was incredibly lucky and they weren't able to provide the service I originally scheduled, so I received 30% my massage at Juvenex and free access to all mineral baths, steam rooms, saunas and other amenties!

So here is my second Rock Your Body Running Challenge to anyone interested:

PS for a hilarious look at the obsession with running marathon's checkout this!


From my coach, who is running a 100 mile race soon!
Goal and description of the workout : This is all about challenging yourself, and working on strengthening your calf, quad and hip muscles. You will work based on effort and not speed, just put a good effort-7 out of 10.
It is ok to let the breathing to get a bit out of wack today, challenge yourself !

Treadmill workout:

Warm-up 10 minutes

1 min @ incline 2 + 2 mins @ incline 8, recover 4 minutes
Repeat 8 times.
cool down

Push the 1 minute and the 2 minutes, take it easy on the recovery, it is a long recovery, so you can afford to really challenge yourself.

If this is too intense for all of you,tomorrow's (Saturday's--need more time!) post will be "The Lazy Girl's Guide to Getting a Gorgeous Bod"

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I've Been Punked!


















I finally tried Punk Rope, a power jump roping class my co-worker is obsessed with! Wow, what an experience. I can’t remember if I was a good jump roper in elementary school, but I’m not now! Punk Rope is available in many gyms, studios and YMCA’s.

I wore my camouflage shirt to be in the badass mindset, but it turned out that our instructor was a very sweet woman-nothing drill-sergeant about her-and the class was all girls!

Punk rope is a class where you alternate a song of jump roping, with a song of group activities: relay races and squats and mini-handball and other games, kind of like gym-class.

Each jump roping interval incorporated a different skill, such as crossing, double jumping, lounge jumps, side to side, etc. There is a learning curve here, and although the instructor explained techniques very well, I could do a lot of the moves. However, she did provide the option of swinging the rope to the side to get your rhythm.

By the end of the class I had managed to master the basic jump and a few simple moves, and boy does jumping with the rope get your heart rate up! I was winded in like 30 seconds. Jumping rope burn move than 100 calories in 10 minutes, but you never have to jump hard for more than 90 seconds, before slowing down and speeding up again.

For a good jump roper, this workout could easily be an9 out of 10. For a beginner, it was maybe more of a 6 or 7 (because you have to stop when you mess up).

I liked the class, but as it would take me a long time to master the art of jumping, I think I will duck out feeling kind of punked.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Get Fit For Free!

Deals on workouts, spa treatment, fitness paraphernalia and food!

I LOVE a deal! So here's a little round up of just how to steal a six-pack!

Sorry this is a bit NYC centric. Scroll to the bottom for national deals!

First off, do some research and do some asking. Many gyms offer a free introduction week or two, so just keep gym hoping and you have several months of free fitness! You just have to dodge the annoying follow up calls.

Ask to try a class! Many yoga studios offer a first class free, but if they don't ask for one. Same goes for spinning studios and other workout centers. Or just sneak in....shhhh!

Here are a few places I know give you a free first class:

Om Yoga
Stripxpertease
Camp Undefeated class at Energy Fitness
Jivamukti Yoga
Club H-any class
These are just a few!

Train for free!
(These clubs are available in multiple cities, so check the Nike and Addidas websites.)
NYC Running club-Running Club, every Thursday @ 6:30p.m.Whether you’re training or looking for a new motivation, just lace up and join us at the Niketown Running Club. Runners and walkers of all levels meet to run 3, 5 and 7 miles-your choice, your pace. It’s fun, free and guaranteed to give you a great workout! Come join us on Mondays and Fridays at 5:45p.m., followed by post-run refreshments.

Addidas Urban Run: The adidas Urban Run is open to everyone. Runners meet at the adidas Urban Run office at Chelsea Piers, which is located next door to Ruthy's Café on Pier 62. Classes meet Tuesday evenings from 7:00pm - 8:00pm and Sunday mornings from 10:00am - 11:00am.
Two accomplished pacesetters will lead you along the bikeway/walkway on an out and back course ranging from 4 to 8 miles. Pacesetters will check in with runners of various paces to provide encouragement and valuable feedback.

Mediatate For Free!
Open Center
JCC-Meditation Workshop

Free Playlist Ideas:
Zone Hampton spinning studio lists its class playlists, so steal their ideas and give yourself a spinning class.

Free Massage!

Kennedy Chiropractic, Fitness and Wellness
Cash in on the free health/fitness evaluation that this Chelsea center is offering, and then complement it with a private Pilates class, a one-on-one personal-training session or a deep-tissue massage, all free of charge. (from Time Out New York)

FUEL!
Free Fuel for Everyone: I googled free food, just to see what I could get, this site offers links to free clif bars, kashi bars, teas, Bragg's Liquid Aminos, beauty products and more!

This site has free pretty much everything! But watch out, not everything is healthy, don't eat just because it's free!

Great Steal!
Self Workout in the Park
A full day of fitness and yoga classes, plus more freebies than you can carry for $20! I had so much fun at this event! April 26-San Diego, May 3rd Miami, May 10th NYC, May 11th Chicago.