Whole 30 Week 2 and Workouts

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Just last week I sat perched in one of my favorite neighborhood coffee shops writing my first Whole30 post feeling inspired. As I sipped on my decaf coffee with my Whole30 approved nutpod creamer, now a staple in my oversized purse, I felt confident, in control, and motivated. Sure I had been ravenous with hunger all week and yes I had been snacking way too much, but I was eating whole nourishing foods, most of which was prepared by my own two hands. I looked forward to the days ahead where if history repeated itself I would be feeling amazing and questioning why I ever ate any other way. As I write today, feeling annoyed and slightly discouraged,  I can’t help but think what a difference a week can make.

What happened in a week you might ask? Two words, Orlando Flordia. Yep, I had my first work trip of the year. Now managing eating healthy while traveling is nothing new to me. Years ago I embraced being “that girl” who had almost an entire carry on bag with homemade meals and snacks to last me through a good chunk of my trip. I am also quite skillful at researching what is around my hotels and typically have my workouts and grocery store lined up in order to prep for the week. Going into this trip I found one of my favorite barre studios along with a Whole Foods half a mile from the Hotel. As I boarded my plane on Monday, bag full of food in hand, I thought this week was going to be a breeze!

The first day was just that, a breeze. I had my  pre-made snacks and found an awesome all veggie salad at the airport from one of my favorite restaurants in the city Plant Organic Cafe.  I dressed the salad with my carry on sized coconut aminos, saving some calories from the high caloric dressing included with the salad. Upon arriving to the hotel I un-packed and headed over to Whole Foods. I walked up and down the islets at the hot food bar reading every items ingredients thoroughly as if I was going to be tested on it later. As I passed by each delicious looking veggie or meat dish I found there was either soy, dairy, or sugar hiding in it. I gradually became more and more annoyed with the fewer and fewer options I had to eat. Must we cook everything in soy or add sugar!  But at last I found some good options and went back to my hotel room to eat, watch Netflix, and prepare for the couple of long days ahead of me.

Day 2 started fine. I brought breakfast and lunch with me, a combo of groceries from Whole Foods and snacks I had brought with me. Later that evening my team wanted to go out to dinner. I of course wanted to be a good sport and spend time with them, regardless of my dietary needs. I was determined to make it work! At the restaurant I did my do diligence. I asked for the gluten free menu and after reading it thoroughly landed on the chicken lettuce cups with cashew cheese and a couple of sides of steamed veggies. As soon as the waiter laid down the beautiful plate in front of me I took one look at the chicken and knew there was some sort of sauce on it which would not be compliant. I had to be “that girl” and send it back t to be replaced with plain grilled chicken. I left the restaurant feeling proud of myself, I had navigated through my first dining experience out.

Later that evening as I laid in bed my stomach started to feel off. I decided to go online and look at the menu again just to make sure. Apparently the regular menu had more details then the gluten free and right there with the cashew cheese it said peanuts and soy sauce. Um not ok! What if someone who was gluten free also had a peanut allergy, it would have been nice for them to include that information in the regular menu.  Immediately my heart sank. The Whole 30 rules are very strict. You break a rule you start over, no matter what.

I sat there contemplating and debating back and forth on whether I follow the rules or carry on. Starting over meant the last 10 days would have been wasted. The sauce was on the side and I hardly used it, but rules are rules. However this was not a personal slip or from a lack of trying or lack of willpower. I was annoyed, but finally I decided I would just march on as if nothing had happened. I needed to feel motivated to keep going and giving up the last 10 days was not going to do it. Plus I figured at day 30 I could just add one more day. Then after that day, I will add on one more, and so on until hopefully I could make up the extra 10 days.

The rest of the trip and week ended up being smooth, as I just stuck to the meal prep I had. However I started to feel bored with what I was eating and frustrated in how every restaurant prepared food. As the week started to come to a close my emotions started to take a tole. I was now 13 days into the program and not feeling the amazingness I felt by this time on the last go around. Maybe it was the slip up I had, maybe it was the 3 hour time change with the trip, maybe it was the serious sleep deprivation, either way I was not feeling the ease of motivation to continue. Luckily I am pretty determined so once I set my mind to something I will see it through. Although it does make it a hell of a lot easier when you feel like you are getting something out of it. Oh well, now I am just hoping with this next week the tides will change and my body will become the amazing temple I know it can be.

Workouts:

Sunday: Rest Day

Monday: 55 minute spinning class at Uforia Studio.

Tuesday: 40 minute 6 mile Run. Plus LOTS of extra walking today

Wednesday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. 1 mile run. 20 minute heavy weight set.

Thursday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. Was going to run, but woke up with my legs extremely tired after walking 13+miles the day before on top of my workout. I am trying to do a better job of listening to my body.

Friday: 55 minute spinning class at Lavation. This studio is not my favorite, but is only a half mile from my house. Proximity just wins sometimes.

Saturday: 60 minute Burn Class. Burn is a mix of cardio ( burpees, mountain climbers, sprints, etc.) plus weights, and a pilates board with bands. Great full body workout

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Whole 30 Week 1 and Workouts

 

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I am officially 7 days complete into my January Whole 30 and so far so good! Luckily I came from a pretty good jumping off point. Having already completed 16 days  of the Whole 30 in December and holding onto most of the principles the rest of the month has made this transition a lot easier. In general the majority of the food I already consumed was in the fruit or veggie family, but I have never been a big meat eater. In December the hardest transition was stopping my morning greek yogurt or overnight oats, obsessed, and having to add in more protein. I get very easily confused for a vegetarian, but in reality I just never never been one to crave meat. It feels quite bizarre to now be eating chicken for breakfast.

Now let’s get real for a moment. Although I have been 100% compliment in terms of the food you are allowed to eat, I do need to improve upon some of the core principles. For instance I love to snack and have been a grazer the last five years. This has made it very challenging for me to adhere to the 3 meal a day rule with only having snacks if you are truly hungry. I also have a fruit problem and pop grapes like candy. This goes against the whole “Slaying your sugar dragon.” I have also just been plain ravenous this week. Maybe it is due to workouts, hormones, or what have you. Either way I would like to get a normal appetite again.

If this whole 30 goes like the last one did it was around day 9-10 my appetite started to get suppressed, I had more sustained energy, and was not reaching for food to help get me through the day.  It usually takes about 10-14 days once you get sugar out of your system for your body to start using fat to run off of instead, which then helps in aiding weight loss. On a positive note my sleep has dramatically improved over the last 4 nights. I always struggle with sound sleeping, so having had 4 nights of rest makes me feel like a whole new person!

I thought for the month of Jan as I am going to be talking a lot about my food why not add my exercise routine in as well. Since it is a huge component to the overall picture. Below is what I did this past week. On a side note I also walk a TON, which I didn’t include as I just count is as a part of my daily life. Most days I walk an extra 2-5 miles outside of just my usual moving around. This is why I love having a dog, they force you to move. I wear a fitbit and walk a minimum of 10k steps a day for reference. On average I am in the 14k-16k range a day.

Workouts:

Sunday: New Years Day Special 90 minute barre class at one of my favorite studios Mint!

Monday: 50 minute spinning class. First time trying Flywheel in the city. As you know from previous posts I am obsessed with this place and overtime I go to New York it is on my hit list. I was a little underwhelmed with the SF class.

Tuesday: 60 Minute Barre Fight Class at Salt. A mix of Barre and Kick Boxing. 30 minute weight training set at my work gym.

Wednesday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Thursday: 60 minute strength training session with my awesome personal trainer.My favorites moves of the day were the trap bar deadlift and the landmine

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Saturday: 40 minute sculpt class on reformer machine. 50 minute spin class. Both at Body Rok

 

 

 

A 70lbs Weight Loss Through Pictures

As you all know I started my weight loss journey 5 years ago today with a New Years resolution to lose 20lbs. At the time I never would have imagined this resolution would end up resulting in losing a total  of 70lbs and changing my life in ways words could never explain.  When I look back now at each phase of my weight loss I can remember all of the numerous feelings I went through at every stage and milestone I passed. To this day I am in awe of the dedication, perseverance,  and commitment I had.  With today being my 5 year anniversary from starting the new me, I figured there is no better day to share the journey I went through then today.

Starting Weight

I have pretty much been un-happy with my body since I can remember. In elementary school I recall stepping on the scale with my friends and not understanding why the number I saw below me was so much higher then everyone else’s. Mine was 3 digits, while their’s was just 2. I remember asking myself why did this happen to me? Why was I different then all of my friends? Couldn’t I just be the same? I never quite understood how your body weight worked. I always just assumed being slightly bigger was my destiny, it was in my DNA, and there was nothing I could do about it. I dreamed about being thinner. I would watch movies and idealize the tall slender girls. I would lay in bed fantasizing what it would be like to be one of them. Maybe one day my body would change and I could be like them, I could be like my friends.

As I grew older I went through various stages with my weight. I would lose 10lbs over a few months followed by gaining 15lbs back. This cycle would continue year after year resulting in a net weight gain every year.  After college my body finally found a weight it decided to stay at. This was the weight I would be for the next 5 years. I was in my early to mid twenties and accepted this was where my body wanted to be at. I had a great job, fantastic family & friends, so maybe we just cant have it all. Then on a New Years Eve night 5 years ago I laid in bed crying because I felt too large to go out with friends. It was at that moment that I decided to make a change. Screw what I thought was my destiny. I would make a new body for myself.

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At 15 Lbs Lost

My original goal was to lose 20lbs. The first 15 lbs came off fast, in less then 6 weeks. I was eating 1,200 calories a day and working out 3 times a week. When I hit the first 15lb loss I remember feeling this sense of  amazement with myself. For the first time in my life I felt in control of my body and empowered. Waking up every morning was like Christmas Day. I was so excited to get on the scale to see the progress I was making. The lower the number got, the more it drove me to continue. I felt confident, motivated, and was dedicated to continuing to lose weight.

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At 30 Lbs Lost

When I hit 30lbs down my parents came to visit. I remember picking them up at the airport and my mom looked right at me and then continued to look around for her daughter. When she finally recognized it was me her mouth dropped and she ran to give me a big hug. I felt this pride in myself I had never had before. It made the feeling even better when I saw how proud my parents were of me. It had been 3 months since I had started. At this point I was eating the same amount of calories, which to be honest left a lot of days going to bed still feeling hungry. However that slight hunger was worth what I would get out of it, weight loss. I upped the amount of time I was working out to 4-5 days a week. If I worked out more then the weight would come off just that much faster.

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At 40 Lbs Lost

I went back home to Colorado for the first time. I was so excited to see all of my friends from growing up and college. I was proud of my body for the first time in my life and wanted everyone to see the hard work I was doing. I loved the positive feedback and support I received from everyone, but it was really what I felt for myself that was the most empowering. I had been working hard for 5 months. I was now addicted to fitness. Working out slowly increased to 6-7 days a week. I loved the feeling I had when I was moving. I would lay in bed at night with excitement to wake up and go running the next morning. I wanted to be in constant movement.

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At 50 Lbs Lost

I started to feel like a whole new person. I had never dreamed I would lose 50lbs! It felt so good! I was becoming the girl I had laid in bed at night dreaming of becoming one day. I was confident and secure in ways I had never been before. I was ready to take on the world.

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At 55 Lbs Lost

Feeling like I was a sexy bad ass at 50 lbs down, only meant I felt even more so at 55lbs. The smaller I got the longer it took the weight to come off. However just 5lbs started to make a big difference on my frame. It was at this weight I met the love of my life. For the first time I felt in love with myself, which meant I was open to loving someone else. At this point I was still working out everyday, but had slowly starting to increase my calories. It was really hard for me to start eating more. When you get used to being very restrictive with your food, you start to feel a loss of control when you allow yourself to indulge and enjoy more.

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At 60 Lbs Lost

I was not intending to lose more weight, but the healthier I became the more I obsessed with having a healthy lifestyle. I cut out all splendia and diet soda, which had been a crutch for me in weight loss. I gave up a lot of processed food and really focused on making sure all of my meals were with whole and real foods. As I made these changes the weight continued to melt away. It was slow now, a 1lb-2lbs a month vs the 10lbs a month when I started. However at this point it was not as much about losing the weight as it was about giving my body the right fuel.

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At 70 Lbs Lost

I never would have dreamed I would have dropped 70lbs. With every pound I dropped the sexier and more confident I felt. For the first time in my life people called me skinny and tiny. The lower the number got on the scale, the more accomplished I felt. I was in love with my new body, something I never dreamed would be possible.

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The last few years I have relatively maintained my weight. There was a time where I got too skinny, yes below the 70lbs weight loss, and there are times like currently where I am a few lbs heavier then I would like to be. However at the end of the day I have been the same pant/dress size for the last 4 years, which to me equals success. Weight loss is not easy and maintenance is even harder, but for anyone who is looking to make a change I hope my story can help motivate, inspire, and prove that you can control your own destiny. You are stronger then you know you are and your body is capable of anything. So if today is the first day of a new healthier you, believe in yourself. You can do it!

Dailey Fest- A Morning doing Barre in the Sun

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I first started incorporating barre into my fitness routine about 2 years ago after having a lower back stress fracture. Up until then running and body pump had been my two main workouts. Over the years as I started to continue to increase my intensity with these two workouts my body could no longer take all of the excessive pounding and forced a break on me, literally. At the time it was one of the scariest places I had ever been mentally. How would I survive 6 months without running? What if I gained weight? How could I tell people I was a runner if I was not actually running? Like anything in life you learn to survive with what you can control. For me that was finding new ways to keep active without pounding on my body. It was with this break I found my obsession, barre classes.

The first studio I went to in the city was the Dailey Method in the Mission-Castro district. For me it was love at first site. The class was hard, while also being fun. The music was current and up beat,  the teachers were helpful while still providing adjustments. It was a great workout, but one I always looked forward to. I found I never dreaded it like I would some days with running or spinning. I was always excited to go, the more classes in a week the better. For the last couple of years barre has become a huge part of my everyday life. So when I received an e-mail with a barre event in the city I knew I had to attend!

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Last Saturday in celebration of the Dailey Method’s 15 year anniversary Jill Dailey the founder had a barre celebration in the Presido Park. There were several fitness and health vendors there along with various teachers from all of the Dailey Method studios across the bay area. The morning started with Jill Dailey leading a 60 minute mixed class at 10:00 am. I was wondering how the class was going to be structured considering usually a good chunk of the class is done with the barre and several different props. I was impressed with how creative Jill was with the class. For instance when it came to barre work barre work everyone had to team up with their neighbor for stability and use them in place of a barre.

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After the first class was complete there was a 15 minute break before the 45 minute interval class started. The interval class was lead by 5 of the different studio owners taking turns on the microphone. What I liked about the interval class is it was fast paced and really got your heart rate going. This is something I find hard to achieve in barre classes. So when it does, I know it was a good one. I am not going to lie, but the end of the almost 2 hours of barre I was a sweaty mess! All in all it was an amazing morning. I loved being outside in the sun practicing something I love with others, feeling like part of a community.  I had hoped to bring a friend to join me in the festivities, but alas my fellow fitness pals were all busy. I deiced I wanted to go to bad to let going alone stop me. Sometimes it is good to push ourselves, to not let obstacles get in our way, and if you want to do something go do it. I had no regrets on my morning date with myself and the other 100+ barre fanatics in the city.

Colorado Let’s Get Physical!

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A couple of weeks ago Dustin and I were able to go back to my home state of Colorado for a 5 day trip. It is amazing how you can grow up in a place and never really experience all the city has to offer. I am not sure if others feel this way, but for myself coming back home as an adult is different compared to how it was in my youth. I have grown to appreciate my hometown in a way I never did when I was younger. Home used to just be a place to come and see family and friends. Now home has become a vacation. It has now become a place to not only enjoy time with the ones I love, but to also spend that time doing things I love with them.

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So what did 5 days of activities and fun look like in Colorado? Well Day 1 started with a 3:30am wakeup call to get ready for the airport. Now I am one who will stop at no cost to get a workout in the morning. I mean I have been known to get up at 4:00am to get a run in before a really early flight or work meeting, however we all have our limits and 3:00am was mine. If I am being honest I thought about working out all morning. When was I going to be able to get it in, how could I balance spending time with my family while also doing what I needed for me? Once the plane touched ground and I saw my parents waiting to eager and happy to see me, I decided being with them was way more important than any workout I could get in. So I just made this day my “rest” day for the week. Now this might sound like nothing to most, but for me it was a big step. One of many steps I am slowly making to learn how to balance my life more.

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Day 2 started with a morning at the gym. I went to an hour spinning class while Dustin hit the weights on the gym floor. Afterwards we headed home, ate some breakfast, and got ready to play golf with my parents. This was the first time I had made it out to the golf course this year and boy did it feel good. I forget how much I enjoy playing. I love being outside, being completely engulfed with concentration, almost into a meditation at times.  For me when I  play golf it is a true  mind-body connection. When I am out on the golf course I am thinking about nothing else but what I am doing in that very moment. If your mind is off then your game will be too. There are few opportunities we have in life to fully be present, to not have our minds wander. When I find an activity that allows me to do just that I love it.

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Day 3 was a day of running and hiking through Garden of the Gods. I grew up with this magical place practically in my backyard, well a 15 minute drive. In my adolescence I never enjoyed any of the outdoor beauty that Colorado Springs had to offer, so I am only grateful I have learned to love it as an adult. I try to make it to the beautiful red rocks every trip home I can. My run for the day was 5 miles, followed by a couple miles of hiking/walking. For me every time I go home to Colorado I never know how my body is going to react to the altitude.  The longer I have lived at sea level the more I feel a difference when I go home and attempt to run. Some trips are easier than others. I have found if a trip happens to be a hard one for me to acclimate then I need to listen to my body. This typically means a shorter run than usual, a slower pace, and if a break is needed in between miles then that is ok. What is important is I am out moving my body.

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Day 4 was maybe my favorite day of them all. I started the day with a 4 mile run around the neighborhood. I love this run, for the sole reason of every time I do it I get flooded with memories. I see the house of my best friend in 3rd grade where I had more slumber parties then I could ever count, the friend’s house where in high school on summer nights we would sit around a big outside fire pit, playing guitar, talking, and just hanging out. I run by the neighborhood pool where for countless summers I spent sun bathing while my friends had their first summer jobs as lifeguards. Then to bring the run home I end right in front of my elementary school where I spent years learning and growing. After getting home Dustin and I grab my parents bikes and do the 10 mile bike ride on the Santa Fe Trail to downtown Colorado Springs for breakfast and coffee. This trail is amazing. You go through the whole length of town seeing a vast array of views. You cross over multiple bridges and get waved at by every biker/walker/runner you encounter. It is a true heart of Colorado Springs in my mind. After breakfast Dustin and I saddled back up and rode the 10 miles back home.

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Day 5 was all about the Manitou Inline.  I am pretty ashamed to admit this, but I had never heard of the Manitou Incline till this past Christmas when chatting with my uncle. Even though I was not into fitness growing up, it feels like this should have been something I at least knew about. Either way once Dustin and I learned about it we decided next time we were out in Colorado it was on! Let me tell you a little about the incline. It is located in Manitou Springs, a quick 20 minute drive from my parents’ house. “Since its closure as a railway in 1990, the trail has steadily grown in popularity as a hiking trail and fitness challenge. The base of the Incline sits at 6,600 feet (2,000 m) and the trail climbs 2,000 feet (610 m) in just over 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km). Parts of the trail are extremely broken and steep and will require even the fittest of hikers or trail runners to scramble over the broken rocks and steep trail.”

I have to admit, I was nervous. Seeing pictures of how steep the trail was and just knowing how my lungs had not been cooperating with me on my runs all week, I was not sure how this hike was going to go. However regardless of my fear I knew I was physically capable of doing it and had a great partner in crime to do it with. We arrived at the trail head early Friday morning. We looked at the trail, looked at each other, smiled, and started our walk up. Was it steep, yes. Hard, yes. Did moments of rest have to occur, yes. But overall I would say it was a breeze and by the time we reached the top we were excited and marveled by the view. It is good to remind yourself from time to time you can do anything. We hung out for a bit and then hiked the 3 miles down the Barr Trail instead of hurting our knees trying to go back down the incline. All in all it was a perfect start to my Monday and a great way to end the trip!

A Week Of Fitness In Greece

 

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View from our sunrise run in Athens

Before going on any vacation abroad I always get anxiety about fitness. Call me crazy, I know, vacation is about rest, relaxation, and getting away from your normal routine. The problem is exercise is a way for me to rest, unwind, relax, and frankly is just how I like to start my day. I travel enough within the states that it has become easy to figure out ways to incorporate fitness in. You can almost always find a gym somewhere or if you are lucky enough a new studio is close by to try out. Every now and again I can end up in the middle of no where and that’s when lacing up my sneakers and going for a run works perfectly.

I have found this does not hold true for foreign countries though. Europeans for example are active in many other ways outside of the typical treadmill run or spinning class. They walk everywhere, take the stairs, and just live a balanced life of moderation. This is a cultural way of life I envy and try to embody for myself when I happen to be on the other side of the ocean.

This leads me into my most recent vacation, a 10-day trip to Greece. Even though I was worried about finding my way with fitness, I just pushed myself to find my own routine abroad and enjoy a change of pace from my normal workout regime at home. So how did I incorporate fitness into my day to day?  Well it was a lot of walking, running, and moving. In fact in 10 days I had over 215k steps. This is about 108 miles to be exact. Although this is a lot of steps, my workout intensity was less then what it usually is. Instead of pushing my muscles to a point of exhaustion, I did lower intensity runs half of the time in order to make sure my muscles had the stamina to walk everywhere my heart desired.

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Viewing Athens after our first morning run

The 10 day trip was spread out over 3 different places in Greece; Athens, Crete, and Santorini. First up was Athens for 2 days. Dustin and I went on 2 morning runs for our daily workout. In total we probably ran about 4-5 miles each day, but stopped and walked to explore as we went. The first day we ran all around the Acropolis, dodging and diving tourists as we went. The next morning at about 4:30am Dustin and I were wide awake. We attempted to g back to sleep unsuccessfully and decided since we were already up we might as well get out of bed and go on a run to watch the sunrise. This was by far my favorite workout of the trip.

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Yoga on the beach

 

Next up was Crete.  We checked into a hotel, which happened to have a gym. This meant the 4 mornings in Crete I was able to do morning treadmill runs. It was nice to get into a semi-routine and not have to map out where I was going. Of course the first time I got on the treadmill I didn’t even think about the fact that Europeans use kilometers over miles. This meant the treadmill was speaking a completely different language then I was. I just ended up going with what felt like a push and ran for my usual time. Later I converted and found I had ran the 5-6 miles  I was intending to do. I stuck with this quick morning run the whole time we were there.

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My private yoga class from my hotel in Santorini

By the time Santorini came around I decided it was time to relax and enjoy vacation a little more. For the first morning I had a private yoga class at my hotel. I had found Veronika my yoga instructor for the morning on yogafinder.com, a site that tells you various yoga classes and teachers around the globe. I had also used this when I went to Portugal a couple of years ago. For only $40 Veronika came to me at my hotel for a one on one sessoin. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to do Yoga outside with an amazing view. It just happened to be a bigger bonus it was in a foreign country. Veroknia’s teaching style was pretty mellow and not very strenuous, however in my mind it was money well spent. The next day I went on a 5 mile run exploring the Island. There is no better way to see what a place has to offer then getting out and exploring on foot. This was my last workout before we headed back the next day.

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View from my morning run in Santorini

I typically never take airplane travel days off from working out as I know I am going to be sitting for long, extended periods of time. By the last day though I was just too mentally tired to try and get up early and run outside. Plus it was vacation. However with a 13 hour plane ride ahead I had to get creative to get all my 10k steps for the day in. I ended up walking around the airport a lot on our layovers and on the plane I got up every hour or so to do some laps, stretch, and run in place in the back of the plane. I have come to a point in life where I don’t really care what other people think. I hate sitting for long period of times, so if jogging in place for 5 minutes helps my legs I am going to do it. Mission accomplished, I ended the day with over 11k steps!

All of this running, moving, and walking also served another purpose besides just being healthy and wanting to see everything the cities had to offer. It was so I could eat and drink my way through the country. Up next I plan on sharing all of the amazing food I ate!

Yoga, Sake, and a Night Club, Equals A Workout Party

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A couple of weeks ago I had a friend send me a link to a pop-up yoga event in the city wanting to know if I would be interested in checking it out with her. Upon looking at the title I saw pop-up vinyasa yoga followed by sake tasting and in less then a minutes I had already RSVP yes! My two favorite things in life, sweating and drinking together, well how could I resist.

The event was run by a VinyaSF, a group who hosts pop-up yoga events at various bars around the Bay Area. As their website states they are “An underground pop-up power yoga movement in San Francisco. Our goal is to create balance, fun, and community through awesome power yoga classes that change locations throughout the city a couple of times a month.” Personally I love this concept. There is something very liberating about bringing fitness to an unexpected place you would usually not associate with health, aka a dance club or bar. It reminds me of events my girlfriend back home used to do where she would teach yoga classes in Breweries. Which we named”Bend and Brew” after a night of brainstorming on good micro-beers.

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The event was on Wednesday night, which was perfect for a mid-week pick me up. Usually by Wednesday I am itching to do something with friends, but don’t always want to go out to dinner or drinks. Doing a yoga event with a friend was that perfect balance of still being healthy, but also getting some social time in. The class started at 6:30 at a bar in the SOMA district called Audio Night Club. I made sure to arrive a little early to get a spot and have time to catch up with my friend. Upon arriving I was greeted by a few very friendly ladies who signed me in along with giving me some free swag from Luna (chapstick and granola bars.) I am a sucker for free stuff and took this as an omen the event was going to be good. I headed up the stairs to the night club section with my girlfriend as we picked out a cozy spot on the dance floor to setup our mats.

The yoga class was 1 hour and 15 minutes, which I was nervous might feel like an eternity. We started off in typical fashion on our mats as the DJ started to get the music going. I have to say I ended up loving the music in this class. It was not the typical yoga mellow music where the goal is to make you relax and focus on being stress free. Instead it had an upbeat to it, which made you feel more suited to be in a dance club. The lighting was also a big selling point as they kept the red flashing lights going, so not the full on party mode of the club, but a nice change of pace.

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The class itself ended up being a pretty good yoga class with a perfect mix of strenuous moves balanced out with stretching. After having already worked out on the morning, I was not looking for a workout to completely kick my butt so this ended up being exactly what I had wanted. Our instructors were a couple of different girls who alternated giving us instructions throughout the class. Every now and again they would throw in a joke or something light hearted to make sure everyone was having fun and not taking themselves to seriously. As they said “In a few hours someone will be drunk right where you are doing your downward dog.”

I also really enjoyed the sense of community which was built throughout the class. The teachers did this by having us at one point reach out to one another and put our hands on each others shoulders as we lifted one of our legs behind us while trying to stay balanced. Something not typical, but it did make you feel connected to everyone around you.

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As we wrapped up I felt relaxed and at ease, however also ready for a drink! We made our way downstairs to the bar and proceeded to get our sake tasting on. Of course with everyone coming down all at once it ended up taking a while for us to get our drink. So by the time we were done with our first round of sake we were ready to call it a night and go home to eat dinner. I was starving and had started to fantasize about food during our last bit of stretching.

All in all I loved the experience! There is another event in May, which I might have to attend. One of my favorite things about living in San Francisco is exploring the new. Hopefully this is just one of the many new fitness experiences to come.

Sierra City- A Weekend Getaway

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

 

Growing up I would spend a lot of time with my family at our cabin in Leadville, Colorado. When I was young I hated going to it. To me the cabin felt old, small, and minimal. There was no cable TV, taxidermy was the decoration of choice, and time spent there was being active during the day and relaxing at night. Two things I hated in adolescence.  My grandfather had built the cabin, so it was just that a true “cabin.” Friends parents had condo’s in fancy places like Aspen or Breckenridge. I would find myself being resentful at how rustic our cabin was, embarrassed to bring friends to it. I always wished it was fancier and in a popular mountain city.

However as I got older I realized how special our cabin really was. The features I hated about it as a teenager are now the reasons I love it the most. I learned to not only like our cabin, but I fell madly in love with it. I am not able to make it back to our cabin as much as I would want, so now any chance an opportunity arises to  get away somewhere remote I am all in. Even thought I might still be local it is comforting. Like going home without being at home.

This past weekend I had just the chance to experience a piece of home in California. One of our friends has a family cabin in Sierra City and invited Dustin and I along with another one of our close couple friends to come up and enjoy a weekend getaway.

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All photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

The drive was long, about 4.5 hours to be exact. However we caravaned up there  early afternoon. We stopped ion Sacramento for dinner at a little whole in the wall Mexican restaurant. I had double downed on exercise earlier that day (spinning and barre) as I knew I would be sitting for a long period of time and wanted to be able to enjoy myself full over the weekend without worry. I ordered the chicken fajita’s, which had to be some of the best Mexican food I have ever had.  Of course I had to indulge in the tortilla chips, a guilty pleasure of mine I have too hard a time ever saying no to. After dinner we did a driver swap so the girls and boys could each ride up together.  We arrived at the cabin around 10:00pm and settled in quickly with a fire and some drinks. The cabin was just as cozy as I could have hoped for!

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

The next morning I woke up cozy, relaxed, and excited for our day! We had made plans to go on a 10 mile hike. After a week of hard workouts I was looking forward to moving my body in a less intense way. In typical fashion the girls made breakfast for the group, which was enjoyed with freshly brewed coffee. Next we packed up and proceeded to the starting point.  The hike was absolutely beautiful! It was just warm enough outside to not be sweating, but wasnt so cold that it was unbearable.

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

The first 2.5 miles took us up to a beautiful lake. Upon arriving we stopped in our tracks just marveling at the beauty of it. We were surrounded by everything that is amazing in nature. Just the 6 of us, Cooper, and nature. Of course this was just the start, we had another 2.5 miles to explore.

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

We continued to march upward, passing along amazing rock formations and just looking at the bright blue sky ahead. As we started to approach the last leg of our hike and what would be our summit spot for the day, we had one last large push up. Only a steep hill was between us and the summit. By the time we made our way up the hill the group was huffing and puffing, ready to relax and enjoy the view. Although we had hiked 5 miles at this point the group still had enough energy to throw a few snowballs and have a photo shoot. Yoga poses on top of a mountain, yes please!

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

 

Next we hiked back down the 5 miles and made our way back to the cabin.  I made some chips and guacamole, an easy snack, but always a crowd favorite.  It was all devoured quite quickly as none of us had eaten lunch and had only had snacks on the trail. After sitting for a moment we decided our next stop would be into town to grab a beer at the local watering hole.

I loved the small town of Sierra City. It was just a road with a handful of places to go. We made our way into the local bar and proceeded to have a few drinks, play the jukebox way too loud, and shoot some pool. Oh did I mention this was one of the places Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild, stayed on her hike of the Pacific Coast Trail! It felt like being where a celebrity had been. Nerdy yes, but true.

After what had been a couple of hours and as it started to get dark outside we realized we had not had a full meal yet. Of course when you realize this you then become immediately hungry! We all quickly rushed home to prepare what we would later call the meat fest. In just one hour the group was able to grill ribs, chicken breasts, sausage, veggies, make a green salad with fruit, mashed sweet potatoes, and a bean/corn salad. For 30 minutes no one talked as we cleaned every last plate of food. By the time we were done we all were beat and ready for bed.

The next morning was an early departure as everyone wanted to get back to the city before the day got away from us. We picked up, packed the cars, and at 9:30 am were on our way back to reality. All in all it was truly an amazing weekend with great friends and nature!

New York City Studio Re-Cap

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The first studio stop on my recent trip to NYC was Row House NYC. I have wanted to try a rowing studio since the moment I first read about this new workout trend in one of my fitness magazines. Of course when I researched studios in the bay area there were none in San Francisco. Therefore I knew I would need to check it out on my next trip to New York.

This studio was about an mile walk from my hotel. Upon arriving I was greeted by a very friendly staff who showed me around the facility since I had gotten there a little early. I am going to be honest here. I was a little nervous prior to starting. Thinking about rowing for a whole hour just made me cringe. My initial thought was it would either be so monotonous that I would be bored out of my mind or it would be so hard that I would be hating every moment of it. Of course I decided to do it regardless of my apprehensions and luckily it ended up being neither.

The space was large and had quite a few rowing machines to support a large class. For this particular day though there was only a handful of client. I always find packed cardio type classes more fun as you feed off of one another, but the smaller class did make it better for more personal attention though. I grabbed a rower up front and got myself situated and ready to begin.

The class was broken down into alternating segments of rowing and floor training with weights for abs, arms, and legs. Each rowing set was 10-15 minutes, which after completing would be followed by a 10 minute strength training set on the floor. The rowing segments were broken out into speed, endurance, and then the final one which was just going all out. This last segment was by far my favorite one. At the very end of class when we started on the last song the instructor turned out the lights so we were in a pitch black room. Then they started to play this song that just gets the blood in your veins boiling and without you even knowing it you are going all out.

All in all I enjoyed this class, but I have to say I did not feel like it was the most challenging class I have ever done. It was not till the end I started to break a sweat. I cant say I would make this a weekly routine for me, but it is a great alternative for a cardio class and worth checking out.

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We all know about my love of Flywheel and Soul Cycle, well now there is  a new love on the block and its name is Peloton Cycle. I had been debating on trying this place. I had read the reviews and everyone had nothing but amazing things to say. However the safe side of me wanted to just do Flywheel all week. I already knew I loved it and with classpass I would be able to do 3 classes for free. Plus it can be exhausting to keep trying new places. In the end my adventurous side won and tried it out, boy was I glad I did!

The moment I walked into this studio I knew it was different then any of the other studios I had ever been to. When you walk into the door you immediately walk into an amazing fitness store with all of the latest and hippest clothes. It took all of my self control to not buy it all. I checked in and then walked around the corner to find myself in a little coffee shop. A barista was around the corner with couches for lounging and hanging out. I knew after class I was going to have to take a moment to relax and enjoy the space. How often do you want to stay somewhere after a hard workout?

I walked into the spinning room and started to get setup on my bike. The instructor walked in with more energy then I could ever imagine to have and she resembled Jem and the Holograms, which brought back my childhood love immediately. Her body and spirit were amazing, and I found myself quickly wanting to do anything she told me. If Flywheel and Soul Cycle had a baby it would be Peloton. It had the competitiveness that I love about Flywheel, but also the soul and heart pounding music that I love about Soul Cycle. The 45 minutes flew by in a sweaty, painful kind of way. By the end I had a giant smile on my face and knew I had found a new love.

One other really cool thing about this studio is they offer a subscription model for people remotely. The instructor has a TV on their bike and people at home can log in and spin along from the privacy of their own home. They also have bikes in the studio with TV’s for people who want to work out with an instructor at off class times. Just a very unique business model.

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The Monster Cycle + Studio was a little gem I found in Soho. Walking in you got an immediate vibe of metal, meets garage band, meets faux luxury. The upstairs was the lounge area, outfitted with a chandelier, couch, and cow hide rug. Tucked in the corner was a soon to open juice bar, but for today it was still under construction.

In the basement was the spinning room. Walking down the stairs and into the studio, I felt like I was going into some dark and forbidden place. Like one of those parties in high school with the older kids who lived life on the edge and you knew the moment you walked in your parents would not approve.

The class was pitch black with only the only light coming from the TV’s up front projecting the latest music video’s to the songs playing overhead. All of the music had a very distinct and dark feel to it, think Marilyn Manson. I have to say the TV’s were quite nice though when you needed a place to focus and tune out while hitting another steep climb. Nothing like Madonna’s latest video to motivate you to keep going.

By the end as with most spinning classes I was sweaty, beat, and ready to move upstairs and see the light. This place definitely has the dark and brooding theme down, a great switch up from the usual and perfect for a cold winter day.

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The last studio stop for me was BYKlyn a small spinning studio located in Brooklyn. After having spent all week in the high tech, top notch, studios in Manhattan it was a re-adjustment to come back to a little neighborhood spot. The studio was simple, nothing fancy to it. However the staff was all super friendly and you could tell from the moment you walked in that they were there because they loved it.

My instructor was super energetic and sweet, I ended up chatting with her for a little while after class. She did a great workout, even without all of the TV’s, dark lights, and loud music to guide her. I cant say this was my favorite spot of the week, however if this was my neighborhood spot in San Francisco I would be going there often.

New York City A Week Of Workouts

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When getting ready to travel out to New York City this year I was more excited then usual for my workouts because with my class pass membership I knew I would also be able to use it in the city. What does this mean? Well it meant I would get to try a ton of new studios for free! So then the question would be which ones to try?  My trip this go around was 7 days in the city, some days of pure work mixed with some days of vacation. On my workdays I had to stick to my hotel due to early morning meetings and lets be honest, freezing cold temperatures that were not welcoming to walk at 6:00 am. However once Wednesday came around and I was officially done with meetings the workout fun began! So what does a week of working out in NYC look like for me?

Sunday: 7 mile Treadmill Run at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC

Monday: 6 mile Treadmill Run at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC

Tuesday: 6 mile Treadmill Run at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC

Wednesday: 5 Mile Treadmill Run at at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC and 60 minute Rowing Class at Row House at W 59th St

Thursday: 45 minute Spin Class at Flywheel Sports followed by a 1 hour Fly Barre Class in the Flatiron District

Friday: 45 minute Spin Class at Peloton at W 23rd Street

Saturday: The Monster Cycle + Studio in Soho on Lafayette Street

Sunday: 5 mile Treadmill Run at the local YMCA in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn

Monday: 45 minute Spin Class at BRKlyn Cycle in Brooklyn

In general I ended up doing more cardio then I would usually, but in a city that has so many amazing spinning studios how could I not. One of my biggest issues with the San Francisco workout scene is our lack of innovative and unique studios, especially when it comes to cardio like spinning. As for the studios I tried I actually ended up really liking all of them, obviously some more then others. My top picks of the week though would be #1 Peloton, #2 Flywheel (as always), and #3 The Monster Cycle + Studio. I plan on going into detail on each place in my next post, so check back if you are looking for more details on the places!