Prepping for the Week + The Whole 30 Challenge

There are some weekends that stand out from the rest, and this weekend was one of them.  Fall is in full swing in Charlottesville, and things in MADville are getting crazier by the day.  A full social, sweat, and food recap of the weekend is in order, but I need to take a day or two to get myself in order and honestly just recover from what feels like a week of constantly being on the go.

While this week is another over-full week of work and life (in a good way), the most exciting for me is a client-driven restart on the food front.  Some of our clients signed themselves up for the Whole 30 challenge from Whole 9 and are starting tomorrow.  Hearing this was awesome not just because I have a group to motivate and recipe share with me, but also because it’s such a huge part of the lifestyle and health change we continue to love seeing slowly take over this community.

Since I was out for most of the weekend and didn’t have a kitchen at my disposal to prep meals, I’m a little behind, but I’ve committed to getting my life together tomorrow to walk (or eat, really) side by side with this group as they start this 30 day push.  That being said, here are a few of my favorite / must-have ingredients, recipes, and just generally amazing food to lead off week 1.

fuel sweat grow: Whole 30 Grocery list

STANDARD Grocery List:

- Chicken (skinless, boneless, thighs or breasts)
- ground beef (or turkey / chicken)
- applegate farms chicken sausage
- yellow & purple onion
- zucchini / yellow squash
- red/orange/yellow bell peppers
- mushrooms
- cauliflower (2 heads – I <3 it)
- celery
- carrots
- spaghetti squash
- avocados (MANY)
- asparagus
- (local) Keswick Gourmet Marinara Sauce (the only one WF sells that does not  have added sugars…and it’s local, so that’s a bonus)
- kale
- romaine
- cucumbers
- broccoli slaw (only at Trader Joe’s)
- blueberries
- green apples (usually 6, but if i’m making the streusel recipe about a dozen+)
- bananas
- strawberries
- lemons / limes
- almond butter
- coconut oil (for cooking)
- olive oil (for salads only)
- coconut milk (light)
- eggs (I buy 2-3 dozen at a time….but I’m also usually feeding Dar)
- plantain chips (only at Trader Joes — NOT to be confused with banana chips)
- almonds (whole and slivered)
- sunflower seeds
- fresh ground almond butter (if it’s not ground fresh, check the ingredients to ensure it’s just almonds and doesn’t have added sugar or chemicals)
This isn’t totally exhaustive, but for the most part every recipe that I make that is an ‘everyday’ recipe includes these ingredients.  Every once in a while I’ll really branch out, but only if I’m making a new/special recipe.  These staple items will still be stocked in the fridge.   The MOST important part of staying sane during the first week or two as you quit sugar and adapt back to real food is to HAVE food available.  This is not a starvation diet — you NEED to eat, so make sure you have good clean food available and prepped to keep your energy up and balanced.
fuel sweat grow: grocery list and meal prep
The easiest thing to do is to make a big dinner on Sunday night (or any night really) with several sides and spend some extra time chopping things up (like zucchini or celery, etc) to have ready for cooking or snacks.  I’ll usually roast a spaghetti squash or two on Sunday while I have time so it’s ready in the fridge for quick meal assembly since my week nights (and days) are usually much tighter on time.
Here are a few favorite meals that can all be made with the food on the grocery list above, and save amazingly well (read: amazing leftovers and quick grab-and-go options).
  • [Lunch / Dinner] Thai Chicken Stir-Fry is probably my favorite rainy-day or winter meal, but it’s still awesome in the summer with cauliflower rice OR over spaghetti squash. There are no exact measurements, but the feedback we’ve come up with is that adding a little more coconut milk for a thinner sauce is better than a really thick one.
  • [Lunch / Dinner] Spaghetti Squash Bolognese.  It keeps AMAZINGLY well as leftovers, so this is a great one to make in excess and pack up for lunches during the week.
So, to our Whole 30 first-timers getting ready to give up all of their ‘favorite foods’ tomorrow…. congratulations, you’re about to know what it feels like to be fueled with the best stuff on earth – REAL food.  It will change your life.
For other general ideas, search salads, vitamix (for smoothies) or dinner, or check out the eats or fuel categories on the blog.

 

Welcome to Fall: Comfort Food + Charlottesville Weekends

It’s fall.  It’s a leaves changing, crisp air breathing, college football kind of fall, and I’m so in love with it.

fuel sweat grow: pumpkins and fall

I love warm weather just as much as the next winter-fearing southern transplant, but there’s some naturally ignorant draw to the changing of the seasons that fools my body and mind into thinking that there will be a favorable outcome, or at least a perpetual new reality where life is all hot-chocolate, boots, and pumpkin everything.  And listen, if there’s a world like that somewhere, please send me the coordinates.  I’ll be there….fully engulfed corduroys, a turtleneck and tall boots – because that’s my jam.

This past weekend, despite Saturday being unreasonably hot, was a beautiful first full September weekend in Charlottesville.  Football, the downtown mall, long sleeves and my first hot chocolate provided the perfect lead in to what I’m hoping will be a little calmer season than the last.

Sunday, outside of just football and the steep break in the weather from Saturday, was the perfect day of balance and organization.  The morning included my favorite Sunday activities – coffee, breakfast, and strolling the downtown mall, and in the process, seeing this sweet little love note on the door of Mudhouse downtown. [MUD + MAD = <3].

fuel sweat grow: charlottesville mudhouse downtown

Early afternoon kicked off at Citizen’s Burger Bar in tandem with the 1pm NFL kick off, and was followed up by a nap, a trip to HomeGoods and Whole Foods, and then an evening of food prep glory.  It was perfect.

For this week in food, a few things went into production to prevent any meal driven panics, starting my favorite Spaghetti Squash Bolognese. As far as clean eating goes, it’s one of the best cold weather comfort foods you can imagine, and might be even better reheated (so make a LOT and pre-package lunches for the week if you can).

The squash was already roasted, so I took some ground beef from Whole Foods, simmered with squash (zucchini and yellow), and then added in the ‘spaghetti’.  The sauce was my favorite (at least favorite store bought), Keswick Gourmet, made locally in Charlottesville.

fuel sweat grow: spaghetti squash marinara

fuel sweat grow: spaghetti squash bolognese

While this was happening on the stovetop, SO much more was happening all around it to make my new favorite pack and go snacks, including chopping, grilling, and even more stove-topping.  The result: amazing spring rolls.

fuel sweat grow: hand rolled spring rolls

I made a batch of these last weekend in Maine with my Aunt, and immediately got all of the necessary ingredients to bring them back to my everyday life.  Stay tuned for the full scope update with recipe options and process.  I’m obsessed.

I guess the cliffs notes version of all the above is: welcome fall, you’re beautiful.  The rest of the week is promising to be pretty awesome as well with the cool air sticking around, amazing sweats, happy hours, live music, and food throughout.

Peace Driven Anxiety & Labor Day Weekend

This was my view this past weekend as I sat on the porch checking in on work.  The only real noise came from birds, a calm in the air emanated through the fog, and there was no where to be with any sort of urgency.

fuel sweat grow: #takethelake maine wedding

It was beautiful, calm, and so far from my norm that I started to actually get peace driven anxiety.  I officially fail vacation.

The good news is that I managed to rein it all in and march on like a normal(ish) person thanks to the incredible surprise gift of wifi and was able to check in virtually to the happenings in Charleston and Charlottesville.  I’m not going to say I wasn’t sad to be missing out on what looked like some amazing packed classes of my favorite people, followed by the first UVa Football game in Charlottesville and beach trips in Charleston, but I had something a little more rare waiting for me in the afternoon — one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen (pinterest wedding boards included).

fuel sweat grow: #takethelake Wedding in Weld

The wedding was held on a beautiful property in Weld, Maine, recently purchased by Linda Bean (of L.L.Bean), with the ceremony looking over the lake and the reception in an incredibly beautiful and newly renovated barn…that was almost immediately filled with 140 screaming, dancing, and laughing people.

fuel sweat grow: Wedding in Weld #takethelake

The wedding details and decor were gorgeous, and even more impressively, were largely created and arranged by the Bride’s family members.  I have always known Emily to be artsy (exceptionally amazing at cookie design), but I had no idea that it was such a strong family gift.

fuel sweat grow: #takethelake Wedding in Weld

In addition to this being a beautiful wedding for two beautiful people, it was also a mini-reunion with one of my very favorite people from college.  I met Laura while we were both undergrads at UVa, and she quickly became my workout, healthy eating, and too-many-selfie taking friend who was a constant in the rest of my college career.

fuel sweat grow: weld wedding selfie

After graduating from UVa we both moved to Philadelphia, Laura to go to med school and me to return for my first job in my hometown.  Over the next three years I got to meet her growing friend group from medical school, which included her brother Daniel (groom) and his now wife, Emily.  Amazing people all around, and the faces that can be seen in a majority of the pictures from my early – mid 20’s.

All in all this was one of the most beautiful and rustic weddings I have ever been to, and was complimented nicely with the high energy, major love, and complete involvement of both families and all of their friends.  And there’s not much that can top that.

The remainder of the long weekend was wrapped up back in Belgrade Lakes, in the kitchen with my Aunt, making a pretty awesome Monday night dinner before what turned out to be the worst / longest travel day of my life on Tuesday.  More on that later :)

Thanks to the Spectors and Godbouts, and all that fall in between, for making the #takethelake #spectorwedding such a beautiful experience.  And, of course, many happy years to Emily and Daniel as they grow their own arm of the family.

Pausing in Maine: Vegan Lasagna + Higher Vantage Points

Life has been stuck on fast forward lately.  Time is moving fast — too fast — and while all the balls still seem to be in the air, I needed to hit a hard pause, away from all the noise.  So, in the spirit of my new theme, ‘reconnection,’ I took off to Augusta, Maine…on this tiny plane.

fuel sweat grow: tiny plane to Augusta, ME

Destination #1: Belgrade Lakes.  My dad’s youngest sibling, my Aunt Patty, as lived here for 20+ years with her family, enjoying what feels substantially like the opposite of my life — and it’s wonderful.

Food and cooking has always been a central bonding force for this side of the family, and without fail, our first catch-up conversations happened in the kitchen a short 5 minutes after my arrival.

The project: vegan lasagna (pretty far out of my carnivorous wheelhouse, but surprisingly awesome).

The How to:

1. Sauce.  The sauce that goes into this dish is a lighter sauce (non-cheese laden) and, in this case, homemade.  [Ingredients: sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, fresh red pepper, 1c packed basil, garlic and lemon juice (+ a little water for consistency), all blended together.]

fuel sweat grow: vegan lasagna

2. Zucchini Ribbons: With a peeler, ribbon out zucchini, and spread it across the sauce, slightly overlapping.

fuel sweat grow: vegan lasagna

3.  Vegan Ricotta: Cashews, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Soak the cashews overnight, drain, and give it a whirl in the food processor with the garlic salt and pepper.

fuel sweat grow: vegan ricotta

4. Keep on layering until you’ve got a sweet stack of goodness packed together. Top with a little fresh basil, and then take a DEEP breath in through your nose.  That might just be all you need.

fuel sweat grow: vegan lasagna

Thirty minutes after I arrived in this quiet space we had a full meal packed and ready in the fridge (p.s. the lasagna is no bake — just a raw dish of vegness) and I was in bed before 10pm, which is usually a pipe dream for me.  Sleep was perfect with windows open, and what felt like fall air breezing in.  No alarms, no noise, nothing being demanded or expected from me in the morning, and it was wonderful.

I came down to this sweet note (Aunt Patty is known for her love notes, and even the most logistical ones are chock-full-o-love).  So, as you can imagine, I set forth making myself some coffee and spent the morning taking my time with a few things on my mind, going through the personal to-do lists that I never seem to get to, and ignoring any sense of urgency in the matter.

fuel sweat grow: sweet Maine mornings The rest of the day was spent talking, hiking, eating, cooking, and eating some more. The timeline was flexible, the moments were fluid, and nothing was set in stone.

fuel sweat grow: belgrade lakes, Maine

This was the view on one of our hike/walks, and could not have been more perfect.  Sometimes it’s hard to tune out or even just organize all the noise in our heads (at least it is for me).  I can’t tell you exactly why, but for whatever reason, there’s a clarity that comes from a little higher altitude and a broader view of the landscape.  Thoughts are more clear, perspective is reflective of the higher vantage point, and conversations are more productive.  I’m a believer in the big picture, the root and the purpose of people, moments, and lessons, and what possibilities exist in each experience and choice we are presented with in life — but I’ll be the first to say how damn hard it can be to maintain that mindset when faced with the small moments, minds, and crossroads in life.

This was only day 1, but somehow it felt like it could have been a week, and I’m so grateful for the pause, and such a beautiful place to go and recharge.  Dinner and some more amazing recipes to follow up, but for now, I’m disconnecting.

A Year of MADness: gratitude, awards, community + <3

It would be impossible to put into words just how amazing the experience of opening MADabolic Cville, and mostly growing [with] this community, has been.  We opened with new programming and a logo, and that’s about it.  Over the last year we have built a (small, but mighty) machine that runs partially on our developed structure and mostly on the energy, humor, and incredible support of the clients (now friends) that walked through the doors and brought this concept to life.

The foundation, for me, definitely comes from my business partners.  If there’s one thing that I’ve learned it’s the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people; the educated challengers, the perpetual learners, and the people who push you to be unhappy with the status quo.  They’re the people that share not only your vision and goals, but also the drive, passion, and business acumen that actually makes those goals attainable — and they would be doing it even if you weren’t there.  The truth is, you really are only as strong as your weakest link, and that’s always the biggest risk to any effort, large or small, entrepreneurial or corporate.

I’m so grateful for the strengths of my business partners.  The different perspectives, experiences, and business maturity that I get to learn from and collaborate with every day are unparalleled.  There’s a contagious enthusiasm as we run our businesses and plan for whatever it is we decide to do next — because I know that it will be the enemy of our discontent, and the byproduct of our learned successes and failures.  I’m a complete believer in strengths based architecture and professional development in establishing high performance teams — all of which takes some level of intention and accuracy when constructing, but I’ll be the first to admit that I got really freaking lucky when I stumbled upon these amazing individuals.  This is not normal, and I know it.

But, really, this isn't normal.

No, but, seriously, this isn’t normal.

 That’s what fills me up every day, it drives me, and fuels higher performance levels from me in my ‘real’ job, these businesses, and my own training (well, that, and all of the amazing people that bring our concepts to life).  The fitness piece of what we do is just the hook.   It’s a passion for all of us, sure, and it’s what gets people in the doors, but at the end of the day this is a business, just like any other, and a passion for the product doesn’t make the machine function.  Without the insatiable energy and enthusiasm that our communities fill our spaces with every day, I don’t know if the rest of it would seem as worth it.  While it’s critical to build the right management team, part of surrounding yourself with the right people includes developing strong client relationships, and reciprocating on the value that is provided from both.   The shared experience and the dual benefit — that’s the power of community — and it’s not a one way street.

fuel sweat grow: MAD cville

Last Saturday’s 8:30am class / post lululemon product bomb

That’s what we’ve found to be the beautiful reality in Charlottesville over the last year (and let’s be real, Charleston, you’re right on our heels already).  Once again I feel like we already won life with our community alone, and I so appreciate it.  Each small business venture brings a new perspective (this is my 9th and counting) and I couldn’t be happier with what has been built here.  Charlottesville is my heart, it’s my own personal ‘Best of,’ and it’s every sweet niche pulls on my heartstrings.

fuel sweat grow: MAD cville

fuel sweat grow: MAD cville

fuel sweat grow: MAD Cville

fuel sweat grow: MAD cville

This week Cville Weekly announced the winners of it’s ‘Best of’ awards, an award that simultaneously means nothing and everything in this small town, and we were lucky enough to win Best Niche Gym.  The winners just so happened to be announced and featured the same week we are celebrating one year of business, which just made the celebration all the more meaningful.

fuel sweat grow: MAD Cville Best of

So, to make a long story longer, thank you Charlottesville and all of our MAD clients for giving us all the love you have, and a big thank you  to my business partners for not only buying into the idea of bringing an unknown concept to such a crazy small town, but also for hanging in through chaos, sharing your experiences, and allowing me to leverage all of your strengths to navigate what has certainly been a year of unknowns.

Sweet Home Cville: Friends + MADness

When the surroundings of your hometown look like this, and come with amazing food and constantly flowing (and delicious) local wine, there’s really not a lot to complain about.

fuel sweat grow: pippin Hill

I’ve been in a little bit of a home-sweet-cville fog for the last two weeks, not to mention an absolute crazy circuit of life trying to get ready for all of the big things that have been happening in MADville.  Tack on home construction, and the pieces of my own life that need attention and balance now and again, and you better believe I had a pretty full August.

Last weekend (yes, 9 days ago) we extended our Saturday morning MADness and went off-site to Pippin Hill Vineyards, just outside of Charlottesville proper for a relaxing, community rich, and beautiful afternoon in the blue ridge.

fuel sweat grow: pippin hill

Not much else could beat that view, and there’s nothing that can beat a sweet Saturday with friends.  There’s an endless list of things that I just adore about our MAD community in Charlottesville (including the fact that they are such active community builders, which certainly makes our jobs easier), but what really stands out is just how blended the group is in terms of age, experience, interest, involvements and friend groups.  Despite having such a broad spectrum among all of those areas, when everyone comes together it is always a seamless and awesome time.  That’s a really challenging thing to create, and replicate, and I’m always in awe of our community and the amazing people that find their way into my life.

Case in point: the night before our wine-ventures I had the great fortune to align schedules with one of my favorite humans, and pseudo out-of-towners, for a happy hour walk downtown.  Also a UVa alum and business owner, Erin’s life mimics the same crazy travel mine does, between Charlotte and Charlottesville, our work/home cities.  It’s always a special day when our schedules overlap in the same place and we can do a real life check in.

She’s one of the sweetest humans ever, but she’s also an amazing jewelry designer,  and creates beautiful jewelry that is slowly pushing out anything else I ever owned, acting as constant staples in my life.  She brought me these sweet treats when we met up for our walk, and you better believe they perfectly made their debut on Saturday at Pippin, merging two things I love together into a little weekend bundle of love.  [Check out her website here.]

fuel sweat grow: Erin McDermott

The weekend was then completed with a post-wine trip to Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie (conveniently across the street from Pippin’s driveway) and Sunday afternoon kickball with our MADabolKick team.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Kickball

All in all, my return to Cville was exceptional, and everything that you could hope during August in this sweet town; and despite the constant grind of work and business ownership, there were even more beautiful days and MAD events that followed.  Definitely stay tuned for those updates, with special emphasis paid to our 1st Birthday Party for MADabolic Cville, the end of the kickball season, and a very exciting ‘official’ announcement and celebration coming up this week.  It’s all happening – and it’s all awesome.

 

Between the Verses: July in a Lyrical Nutshell

July was a very long month; with work, travel, grand opening parties, and all things life, it required a conscious push to march hard toward each thing that was ‘next’ on the docket.  It was a definite challenge to constantly fire on all cylinders, but it was worth it, and thankfully interrupted by a handful of very memorable and unreasonably perfect summer nights.

While summer nights in Charlottesville all typically equate to the good life, there was one Saturday in particular that stood out from the rest.  It had been a pretty full day of MADness (see this post for a more macro level recap) and life-things, so by the time 5pm rolled around, I was ready for a low-key summer cville night and I knew exactly where I wanted to go: the Sarah Bareilles concert at the n’Telos Wireless Pavillion downtown.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles charlottesville

It might not necessarily sound like a relaxing night — going to a concert — but one of the most beautiful things about Charlottesville is just how accessible and intimate the entire downtown scene is, concert venues included.  You would think that being such a small town with smaller venues might not attract the same caliber of artists, but it’s just the opposite.  We are spoiled.

By 5:15 I had convinced Elly and Dar to come with me; at 5:30 I had all of our tickets in hand.  By 6pm I had picked them up in the party bus (enjoy the slightly exaggerated mental image) and we were en-route to Bella’s for a little pre-show wine and dinner. It was the perfect prelude to a ladies night out, and I didn’t think it could get much better – but it did.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles charlottesville

The weather was perfect.  No humidity, low heat, rain AND insect free; a seemingly impossible combination.  Add on a box seat upgrade from MAD auto girl herself, Jamie Schwartz, and you’ve got the best of everything right there.  Also, she played this song, which might have completed my life.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles cville

Fast forward two and a half weeks; skipping over week 1 of work back in Charlotte, all of the adventures in Charleston for the Grand Opening party, CLT work week 2, and say hello to this past Monday which brought the 2nd Installment of Sarah Bareilles into my summer, this time with 3rd row seats at the Uptown Amphitheater at the Music Factory.

fuel sweat grow: sarah bareilles

Sometimes you just need it; lyrical connection, live music, an escape from the day to day, and a night out with friends.  The Charlotte show brought another night of seemingly impossible summer weather: no humidity, low 80’s, and just a general calm in the air that lends itself directly to a state of relaxed euphoria.  Tack on 5 people I love, and you’re really gaining momentum.

fuel sweat grow: sarah Bareilles

I’m not sure what it is about this particular artist; if it’s the nostalgic connection some of her songs have to my happiest and most painful memories, or if just the perfect storm of conditions and known songs was enough to peel back every layer of stress and concern that have formed around me, but I seriously considered quitting my life to follow this tour and see if I can find all the answers somewhere between the verses.

Since I had this same feeling at the Delta Rae show in Charlotte just a couple of months back (good thing it was their last tour date), I’m going to chock it up to being a love and connection for music – live music specifically – and am committing to doing a better job of making time for these blissful life escapes.  We all need a break from time to time; a recharge, and reconnection, to reflect and process the chaos that came before and will undoubtedly come after.

So, that being said….who’s got any good suggestions for must-see shows?

 

Kale is King

After this summer I think that I’m going to designate Kale as it’s own food group.  It’s not just that it’s such a nutrient rich plant (or, you know, the most ‘in’ leaf right now; my excitement really revolves around the fact that it keeps so amazingly well marinated in dressing that other soggy and often slimy leftover salads just don’t stand a chance.

fuel sweat grow: kale saladIt’s the easy travel, prep in advance, versatile and vibrant solution to any big dinner and week of leftover lunches.  In a world where healthy and clean eating convenience is so hard to come by, Kale is King.

When I do have time, or at least some time, on week nights I like to keep things pretty simple.  The main objective is easy cooking, and lots of leftovers that lunch is ready to go for a few days and I’m not stuck in a morning, or lunchtime panic at work trying to find something that I can eat. (Add roasted cauliflower and chicken to any kale salad and you’ll be SO happy. promise.)

fuel sweat grow: grilled dinner

So far this week has continued to be sponsored by Kale for lunch (and a couple dinners too) with a little extra flair to keep the variety up.  The base, however, is the same with Kale marinated overnight in fresh squeezed lime, drizzled olive oil and kosher salt.

Today I ate my breakfast and lunch pretty much back to back, so I had some eggs scrambled with squash and steak as an appetizer which truthfully only made the whole experience better since my stomach had been talking to me through three hours of meetings.

fuel sweat grow: kale summer fruit salad

There’s just something about summer fruit that goes perfectly with the lime tartness of the dressing, and the tenderness of the kale leaves, combined with the crunch of sliced almonds seconds that perfection.   For those 10 minutes I was eating, this salad was everything.   I’m pretty much always eating lunch at my desk – or a desk – these days, so having bright happy colors and bold flavors really helps to create a happier experience and a little boost in my day.

fuel sweat grow: work lunch

This past weekend I actually tried my hand at cauliflower pizza crust for the first time, and I have to say, while I’ll definitely make some tweaks to the recipe next time, it was great.  Pizza without the grain, but all the fun of the crust — that’s what I’m talking about.

Since I don’t really eat a lot of cheese, or much dairy at all, these days, the whole thing was a pretty awesome treat, and paired with filet, salad, and some veggies, it was a brilliant Saturday night dinner despite really not feeling well at all (who started circulating this mid-summer cold? because we’re not friends).

I need to read a bit more on how to REALLY get all the moisture out of the cauliflower before mixing together all the dry ingredients.  Sounds easier than it seems, but you’d be amazed by how much moisture it holds in just the raw state without any steaming or added moisture.  As a disclaimer, it’s kind of a messy process (such is the nature of cauliflower in general) so I bypassed pictures for attempt #1, but I’ll be sure to share the whole experience next round.

The rest of the week has been a hodgepodge of leftover meals, a few quick grabs (big hugs to Foodiecall and CPK!).  I’ve got just about an hour left in Charlotte before I make my way back to Charlottesville to get ready for our 1 Year Anniversary Party, and assorted celebrations therein — and I could not be more excited.  It has been a long last month and I’m ready to spend a weekend full of nothingness in my favorite city.

A Celebration of MADness: Charleston Style

Hello, Charleston.  Yep, that’s right, we’re back again, and all in the name of MADness.  We opened the doors to MADabolic Charleston (Mt. Pleasant) in the beginning of June, and this weekend we celebrated the coaches, community, and the complete disbelief that it’s only been 7 weeks.

After an epic Thursday and Friday nights (which I’ll recap later this week) we kicked off the Grand Opening celebration on Saturday with some morning interval action (it.was.brutal.) followed by FREE samples from our friends at modpaleo.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston

I met Amber and Carter, the creators/owners of Modpaleo, a few years ago – just prior to their meal plan launch- when I started to drop into their morning bootcamp in Charlotte for lululemon.   Like anyone who has pushed hard to eat clean,  they recognized the lack of convenient or easy meal options for those days or weeks when you just don’t have the time to spend hours doing prep work.  Thus modpaleo  was born providing amazing chef prepared paleo meals to their pick up locations (in select cities…).

We are now one of their pick up locations in Charleston, and the only one in Mt. Pleasant, so check them out and place an order! The food is amazing, and the convenience seriously can’t be beat.

fuel sweat grow: modpaleo

fuel sweat grow: modpaleo

[coconut curry beef - roasted cauliflower - apricot glazed chicken - YUM ]

fuel sweat grow: modpaleo

After two packed morning classes, and two additional preview classes for new clients, there was just enough time to take a 30 minute nap in between setting up and getting ready to go.

I don’t have all the pictures back from our photographer to really do the whole event justice, but I have to give a huge shout out to the guys from Charleston Choo who catered the event and did an amazing job.  I absolutely loved all the food, and they went beyond what I was even envisioning with the house made dressings and original recipes to fit our locally-sourced and more farm-to-table requests.

Our friends from King of Pops were also there to round out the catering with their sweet treats and signature pops.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston grand opening party

The party was awesome, and a great celebration of our community.  And let’s not forget our awesome founding team of coaches, all of whom made this community (and stream of photos) as ridiculous and fun as it is strong.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston coaches

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston coaches

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston coaches

There’s really nothing as good as a Saturday night well spent with a group of great people.  Thanks Charleston for another awesome weekend.

Monday Coffee + Some Work-Lunch Balance

I’m definitely a fan of three-day-weekends, but there’s something a little painful about it when the short week comes on the front end of the holiday.  Adding an extra weekend day never achieves that extra rest and work catch up that would probably be the responsible time spend.  Instead, adding an extra 30% to the weekend immediately results in a 50% increase of overall wine consumption, sun exposure, and as a combined result, sunglass wearing to compensate for the consequences of both.

That being said, Monday morning brought a pretty harsh snap back to non-holiday reality, so, naturally,  I coped the only way I knew how: with an almond milk latte from Milli Joe.

fuel sweat grow: Milli Joe Coffee

And since Monday’s are tough (and this one didn’t disappoint), I decided to keep the celebration going after work with wine and a catch up friend date at Commonwealth.  I mean, it’s America kids, lets not limit our freedom celebrations to one day in July – celebrate every day and wine when you damn well please.

fuel sweat grow: commonwealth restaurant

And why quit while we’re ahead?  I was bordering on hangry driving while I was looking for parking downtown (which only took about 90 seconds, but they were 90 long seconds), so with my coveted wine I paired up two quick appetizers that proved to be a pretty awesome little meal. [Brussel sprouts and spicy chicken lollipops - try them Charlottesville, they're both amazing.]

fuel sweat grow: commonwealth dinner

Today was another packed day, so work-life balance quickly translated into a work-lunch balance experiment of trying to eat, type, and strategically mute myself through conference calls to fit in chewing (Kale is NOT a quiet food).

fuel sweat grow: work place lunch

I had actually gotten myself up for the early am classes at MAD this morning to hopefully clear out my schedule for the rest of the day and enable myself to stay in my house with no interruptions, but of course I found myself rolling up to the 5:30 class to check in and take some much needed photos of our clients doing what they do – being awesome.

Dinner was a plethora of leftovers; kale marinated in lemon juice and olive oil, grilled flank steak, cucumber, and avocado.  I’m apparently on a kale binge, which was not intentional, but mostly just a product of some pretty aggressive fridge stocking last week.  Thankfully there’s not much I love better than some really great leftovers, so I’m all for it.

Here’s to hoping that the rest of the week shakes up a little to find some pockets of calm, but I wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway, so I might as well just hope for large periods of productivity coupled with some good food, great company, and MAD sweats.  I’m back to Charlotte next Tuesday so I’m trying to pack in as much time in MADville as I possibly can, and I couldn’t have picked a better line up of intervals than this week.

 

Starting the Week with Sunday

Sundays are the days that I look forward to most – not just because it’s part of the weekend, but because it’s usually the re-grouping day.  It’s the day when my errands happen, groceries are stocked, and the chaos of the last week gets settled so life can be organized.  It’s also the day that I spend the most time in the kitchen, and is arguably the most involved dinner of the week.

Last night’s dinner included a grilled flank steak, grilled chicken thighs, roasted cauliflower (seasoned with sea salt and light olive oil), and a salad with kale (marinated for an hour in lemon juice), cucumbers, slivered roasted almonds, and avocado drizzled with olive oil and sea salt.

fuel sweat grow: sunday dinner

While I like the therapeutic process of Sunday meal prep, the absolute best part about Sunday dinner is Monday lunch.

fuel sweat grow: monday leftovers lunch

I am such a huge kale fan in the summer because I’m on the go so much, and when I’m packing lunch for work it is the ABSOLUTE best and easiest salad to have.  I can make a huge salad on sunday, and leave the lemon juice (or lime juice) and olive oil dressing on it, and it just makes the greens softer and more flavorful.  Other greens just get soggy and slimy with dressing, or wilt when prepared dry in advance.

Today I threw all the leftovers in together to make a sweet combo lunch for work and it was even better than last night.  There’s nothing better than heading into a busy work week prepared with meals and snacks to sustain you, and nothing worse than walking in unprepared and hangry even before the case of the Mondays has sunk in.

This week I’m back in Charlotte after an extended stay back in Charlottesville, and while I’ve got a lot of great things going on this week, it’s hard to watch the HOOS in the College World Series and not miss the homeland.  I took this picture walking over to Friday’s after Five last week, and just love the little piece of the city and the huge part of our community culture that it captures, so please, indulge me for a second with this extra boost of Cville love.

fuel sweat grow: Fridays after five

In other news, I want to send a big congratulations to my dear friend Tracie Chan on opening MADabolic LKN, in the Huntersville/Lake Norman area north of Charlotte.  I absolutely can’t wait to come up an get in on the MADness with her this week, and I hope all of my Lake-living co-workers and friends will check it out too.  Better yet, let’s go together, and then get coffee.  Maybe on Sunday, my favorite day of the week.

 

Work Week Closeout: Friday the 13th

There are good weeks, and bad weeks, and then the weeks that come out of no where to remind you that the universe certainly has a sense of humor (a bonus to the previous 30 years of undeniable proof).  This has been a week of everything, and the fact that we’ve still got one day left actually intrigues me more than anything else — like the mystery surprise in the cracker jack box, or a sneeze…but better.  It’s Friday the 13th y’all, so I’m moving methodically to push through the final day of the work week so I can coast into the weekend.

In addition to being Friday, it is also day 5 of 28toLife for our small real food army, and I’m feeling great.  Wednesday night turned into an impromptu Bachlorette viewing party and post-MAD dinner with some of the usual crew.  The provisions in the fridge were dwindling down to nothing, so I made the best of what was left over, and despite my personal opinion that it could not have been more random, it was voted high on the charts of favorite meals from this group.

[Kale salad with slivered almonds; lime, olive oil, and salt dressing....again]

fuel sweat grow: kale salad

[Broiled/roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts; touch of sea salt and olive oil]

fuel sweat grow: cauliflower and brussels

[Ground turkey simmered with zucchini.  Period.]

fuel sweat grow: ground turkey

It all seemed like an unlikely (and kind of sad) combination, but together it actually created a pretty awesome meal and got us through what could have been a food shortage crisis.

fuel sweat grow: real food dinner

Last night I met up with a good friend at Commonwealth to catch up so I have nothing new to share on the home cooking front, but stay tuned for some ‘dining out’ options and updates — always a question and a hot topic related to how NOT to become a social recluse and still eat clean.

On the sweat side of things, here’s this week in small snapshots from MADabolic:

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville

 

I still owe a full recap on last weekends MADrave, but for now, I’ll let C-Ville Weekly do it for me with this awesome review of the event.  Now that we’re over the major hurdles of the spring, the MADcharleston opening, and a million other small milestones we can really focus on the next phase of this great fitness family and building off of this first event into a deep and longstanding relationship — my favorite kind.

For now, that’s a wrap and I’m off to complete this work-day, squeeze in a quick run and enjoy a night of drinks with friends, Friday’s After Five, and dinner with my family.  Not too bad for a Friday the 13th, but I don’t want to speak too soon…

Day 1 of 28: Real Food + ‘Real’ Life

Day 1 of 28 is in the books — and it was a great one.

I had done my due diligence of stocking the fridge and cabinets with all of my favorite clean foods and ingredients, but I completely failed on the Sunday prep piece so meals today were a little bit of a scramble (and a lot off schedule) but it all worked out.

I’m not big on early breakfasts, so I typically start myself off with coffee, and today in order to ease my way back into the swing of things I grabbed my favorite almond milk latte from Milli Joe and got to work.  By mid-morning I was ready for some breakfast — Eggs scrambled with zucchini/yellow squash and mushrooms – avocado on the side (standard).

breakfast Eggs

Prior to 28toLife I didn’t eat eggs more than a couple times a week, and now they’re definitely a staple.  I still try to abide by the food pairing rules: Protein (eggs – and sometimes meat); carbs (vegetables); fat (avocado) and it really does make all the difference in how long my energy is sustained and what that level is to begin with.

Breakfast and snacks are always the toughest meals to stay on track with, so I always try to make extra of everything when I do cook so there is something to reach for when I need it.  If you have a quick morning routine, I highly recommend making a big batch on Sunday to grab and go on Monday/Tuesday morning, or even make them while you’re cooking dinner the night before.  Since I typically don’t get hungry until 9 or 10am for actual food, having something to pack and take to work with me is a life saver.

fuel sweat grow: Kale Salad & Stock Provisions

Lunch yesterday came a little late (and rushed) after the 12:15 MAD class, but it turned out to be a winner.  Kale, softened slightly with lime juice (did this first and let it sit for the 10 mins it took to get the rest ready), and avocado, almond slices, hard boiled egg and grilled chicken on top.  The dressing was finished off with a little olive oil and sea salt, and was exactly what I needed.

The background items are two of my new favorite local finds (thanks Elly!): cold brew coffee and fresh farm eggs from Stock Provisions on Main Street (just next to Bellas!).  I’m addicted to cold brew to begin with, but I can’t say enough about how amazing and fluffy these eggs are.  It’s actually disappointing to eat store bought eggs after having experienced these guys.

Dinner came a little later after I helped my parents unload a 16′ truck of furniture into the new, aptly named, ‘summer house’ they closed on the Rivanna in Cville yesterday, adding one more layer to the amazing summer to come (and their retirement winters).  Don’t worry guys, I’ll make sure the pool gets plenty of attention until you get here.

fuel sweat grow: rivanna summer house

Since I had pretty much had two full workouts by the end of the furniture moving sweat session, I just needed a little refuel without getting too complicated.

fuel sweat grow: broccoli slaw, chicken, avocado

Broccoli Slaw sauted in coconut oil, grilled chicken, and avocado.  It was exactly what I wanted, and with a little apple + almond butter later on for dessert, I was all set to close out on day 1 of my return to ‘real’ food.

I’m hoping to carve out a little time tomorrow to get some end of week meals prepped, but until then I’ve got some chicken, salad, and great snack/smoothie options awaiting to keep things on track.

Here’s my sweat schedule for the week!

Monday: MADabolic [+ manual labor] = done!

Tuesday: Run + Stretch

Wednesday: MADabolic

Thursday: MADabolic + Stretch

Friday: MADabolic

Saturday: Run/Walk + Yoga!; Come get MAD with me at 9:30 in MADville!

Sunday: Kickball w/ the MADabolic Team!

 

Returning to MADville + Real [Clean] Food

Last Monday was the official first day of business for MADabolic Charleston, and if you told me it was two months ago, I would believe you, 100%.  The last four weeks have included a ton of travel, way too many hoops to jump through, and a complete and total sense of chaos that is just beginning to settle.  Along with the MADness, there was lots of food — great food — and wine.

The great part of opening fitness concepts is that you typically get to workout a decent amount, but the restaurant hopping really took it’s toll on my energy and overall wellbeing.

Prior to leaving for Charlotte and Charleston I had committed, along with several of our clients in MADville, to kick of 28toLife this week.  While I always tend to teeter on the edge of a modified version, and typically try to eat 80/20, the detox from the last four weeks had me SO incredibly ready to get back into the full routine of planned eating.

On Wednesday night I hit up Trader Joes to get some of the most essential staples for survival.  I had gotten into the habit of making the quick trip to Whole Foods out of convenience, and forgot just how much more expensive it is — which will have to be a post of it’s own.

fuel sweat grow: trader joes grocery cart

So, starting back at the basics, here’s the note that I sent out to our small (but mighty) group of real food freedom eaters to kick off the next 28 days:

The Rules:
-no grains
-no dairy
-no sugar
-no alcohol
-no legumes (soy, beans, peanuts, etc)
Basically, nothing comes out of a box or package.  Below is my most standard grocery list for survival :
- Chicken (breasts or thighs)
- ground beef (or turkey / chicken)
- applegate farms chicken sausage
- yellow & purple onion
- zucchini / yellow squash
- red/orange/yellow bell pepped
- mushrooms
- cauliflower
- celery
- carrots
- spaghetti squash
- avocado (MANY)
- asparagus
- (local) Keswick Gourmet Marinara Sauce (this is the local option at Whole Foods — and they typically carry the most local brand in each market)
- kale
- romaine
- cucumbers
- broccoli slaw (only at Trader Joe’s)
- blueberries
- green apples (usually 6, but if i’m making the streusel recipe about a dozen+)
- bananas
- strawberries
- almond butter
- coconut oil
- sesame seed (or safflour) oil
- coconut oil
- coconut milk (light)
- eggs
- plantain chips (only at Trader Joes — NOT to be confused with banana chips)
- almonds (whole, slivered)
- sunflower seeds
-lemons
-limes
This isn’t totally exhaustive, but for the most part every recipe that I make that is an ‘everyday’ recipe includes these ingredients.  Every once in a while I’ll really branch out, but that’s if I’m trying to follow a recipe from someone else, or get a little creative.  When I do 28toLife everything else (for the most part) gets totally cleaned out and only the good stuff is left, and that makes it so much easier to pick the right things and really prep food.
The easiest thing to do is on a Sunday night (or any night really) make a big dinner with several sides and spend some extra time chopping things up (like zucchini or celery, etc) to have ready for cooking or snacks.  I’ll also usually roast a spaghetti squash or two on Sunday while I have time and will then have it ready in the fridge for meals that I don’t have a ton of time for during the week.
Here’s a post with our favorite quick breakfast option (Apple Streusel ‘Muffins’) which do require some time to make in advance, but are easily kept in the fridge or frozen
This Thai Chicken Stir-Fry is probably my favorite rainy-day or winter meal, but it’s still awesome in the summer with cauliflower rice OR over spaghetti squash. There are no exact measurements, but the feedback we’ve come up with is that adding a little more coconut milk for a thinner sauce is better than a really thick one.
This is by far my favorite meal and the best replacement for spaghetti and meatballs/meat sauce.  It keeps AMAZINGLY well as leftovers, so this is a great one to make in excess and pack up for lunches during the week.
And that’s where it begins.  Tomorrow morning, it begins with breakfast, and most likely the biggest Almond Milk Latte that Milli Joe can make.
Lets do this!

Charleston MADness + Juice Blends

It’s official — MADabolic Charleston is finally open!

MADcharleston

After what felt like endless months of build out and training, the doors are now open and the foundation of this new community has already begun to form.  And it’s been nothing short of amazing.

Thank you Charleston for the amazing reception — and our MADabolic family (flowers courtesy of Tracie and MADabolic LKN) for the support as we open #2.

MADcharleston

MADcharleston

Preview classes were awesome, and we got to christen the space with some packed classes, which is always amazing energy.  If you live in Charleston, have friends in Charleston, or just vacation there, come check it out — we’re here.

I can’t really pinpoint what the ‘best’ part of this whole endeavor is, but I’m pretty sure that just shy of the amazing community, it’s going to be having the excuse to be in Charleston ALL the time.  Things could definitely be worse.

On Saturday, after the two morning classes, I hit up Blend Juice Bar (in Mt. Pleasant) with Dar, Heather, and Mike (two of our coaches at MAD) for a little boost in our energy.  This was an absolutely amazing find, and it’s only been open for about a month.

Blend Juice Bar Charleston

Blend Juice Bar

To start we (each) did a grand slam of juice shots:

1. Red Dragon: lemon, ginger, cayenne

2. Green Dragon: wheat grass, kale, lemon, ginger, cayenne

3. Tiger’s Blood: beet, carrot, ginger

4. Nature’s flu shot: garlic, ginger, beet, cayenne, romaine, jalapeño, lemon, oj, apple, kale, spinach, lemon

Blend Juice Bar

These definitely had a kick to them, and my belly was warm for about 10 minutes following, but we definitely felt awesome.  I HIGHLY recommend checking this place out…and not only for the pure juice.  Their smoothie selection is unreal, and the Green Sweetie might be the best green smoothie I’ve ever had or even dreamed of.

There are so many new spots I loved from this week’s trip and I absolutely love Charleston, but I’m still homesick for Charlottesville and the MADville crew.  I’m back in Charlotte this week for my ‘real’ job, so it’s going to be a little longer, but you better believe I will be ever-so present at Friday’s after Five and of course the MADrave on Saturday night.

It’s both amazing and challenging to balance life between three cities, but I don’t think I could have picked three better places to have an anchor. This is going to be an amazing summer of MADness.

 

Eating Local: Charleston Tour

I’m definitely a creature of habit, with all the potential for an addictive personality – energy that thankfully (usually) gets focused around food and fitness.  This past week was exactly that, all set in the ever-loving and beautiful city of Charleston.  From beginning to end the trip was an exploration, and a somehow stressful break from the normal routine (such is opening a new business), but the food scene and amazing weather made it worth it.   Here’s a quick glimpse into the food tour that became my life, and the sweet local spots we experienced.

Verde:

Salads and wraps — with all the fillings — either tossed or chopped.  This concept is so simple, clean, and done exactly right with quick and convenient and the ‘create your own’ combination(s) had every option i could have wanted.  And if you live in Charleston (or vacation there), it’s all within your reach because they have two spots: mount pleasant and charleston.

fuel sweat grow: verde chopped salads

fuel sweat grow: verde chopped saladI think I ate there 5 times in a week (not kidding) and never repeated the same combination. This summer combination blended their mixed greens with kale as the base, and then added cucumbers strawberries, almonds, grapes, hard boiled egg, and avocado.

I always got the salads chopped, and then played between their chipotle lime vinaigrette and just balsamic and olive oil.  On Wednesday as I was heading out of town I stopped for my last and final visit (for the week) and switched things up with a wrap: base of arugula,  with added cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, hard boiled egg.  Cilantro lime vinaigrette, chopped, and wrapped — it was AMAZING.

Between my trips to Verde, and our time at MAD with the trainers, I also squeezed in some amazing meals out in Charelston:

SALT at Station 22:

fuel sweat grow: SALT at station 22

This spot on Sullvan’s Island is awesome – the perfect higher end and foodie friendly beach restaurant with a great seafood selection, and an incredibly diverse (and delicious) menu — because it actually changes daily.

fuel sweat grow: SALT at station 22

The first night we went there for our MAD management dinner (yes, first night, because I had to go back) I had an awesome arugula salad with beets, goat cheese, and homemade croutons.  For dinner I had their tenderloin special with a pretty awesome sweet potato mash.

The second stop at SALT was actually on the last night and I had the absolute best roasted half chicken of my life — the Roasted Tanglewood Chicken.  The chicken itself was unbelievable, and it sitting atop of a mix of crispy sautéd onion and vegetable and jus.  It was unbelievable.  This will, without question, be a favorite for me every time I’m here.

Graze:

This spot is so close to our space in Mt. Pleasant (in the Whole Foods shopping center right by Pure Barre and Charleston Power Yoga) but to be honest, probably wouldn’t have been on my radar if it hadn’t popped up on Open Table.  As I say that, I want to immediately (and vehemently) say that I will absolutely go back – this place is awesome.

fuel sweat grow: Graze Charleston

This tenderloin entree was honestly one of my favorite meals from recent memory and the roasted cauliflower puree it was sitting on is something that I’m going to have to try and recreate, but I’m certain I will not fully be able to match.

fuel sweat grow: Graze Tenderloin

Low Country Bistro:

Another favorite spot in downtown [Charleston], and the perfect Sunday night dinner.

fuel sweat grow: Low Country Bistro

fuel sweat grow: Low Country Bistro

Dinner was with two of our coaches from MAD, and in addition to the great food and great company, we had GREAT wine – and lets be honest, that’s really all I’m looking for on a Sunday night.

fuel sweat grow: low country bistro

From what I’m told, the Chicken & Waffles are exceptional – it’s a sweet potato bacon corn bread waffle people –  and there ain’t nothing wrong with that….except that it’s not something that would register on my clean eating plan.   For that reason I didn’t even give it the courtesy of a menu skim when we were there but if you’re wondering how I’m feeling about it now — the answer is: slightly regretful.

Crave Kitchen & Cocktails:

Our second to last night in Chuck Town ended at Crave in the Shoppes at Seaside Farms for dinner, and I got the slight indulgence I had been waiting for.  Chicken Marsala over an amazing risotto, with broccoli and sautéd spinach on the side.  I actually took most of this back to the hotel with me and never managed to finish it, but what I did have was awesome.

fuel sweat grow: crave charleston

This place was a really unexpected treat, and from what we learned, the chef, Landen, happens to have an affinity for paleo-esque clean eating, so they’re definitely on our short list to cater the Grand Opening Party for MAD (save the date: July 19th).

All in all, from a food standpoint, this trip was an absolute success.  From a getting the doors open standpoint — well that hasn’t exactly happened on an even remotely reasonable timeline, so I’m just going to focus on the food — the delicious and saliva inspiring food.  Our last team trip in February was full of equally as impressive spots that I definitely want to go back to (Stars and The Grocery, for instance), so Charleston is quickly climbing the ranks as one of my favorite restaurant cities of all time — and I’m okay with that.

I’ve been back in Charlotte for a few days now and head back down to Charleston this Wednesday to hopefully get the doors open at MAD with our team there, and then will finally make my way back to Charlottesville.

Now, for the most important part of this post — any suggestions for awesome places to eat in Charleston?  I’m assembling my to-do list for the next year, and that food tour is definitely on on it.

 

 

Hello Charleston, Lets Get MAD

Where to begin? I think it was Alice in Wonderland that taught us all that it’s usually best to begin at the beginning, so, I will.

I spent the first half of the week in Charlotte tying up every loose end I could think of, preparing to head down to Charleston by Wednesday.  I had my mobile workstation in tow, and with the help of the coffee/smoothie bar at Whole Foods, I powered through everything on my list (I hope).

fuel sweat grow: working morning

By the time Thursday afternoon rolled around and I was officially on PTO, I was so very ready to shut down my mobile work station and take in our new home of the MADness — and the girl was there, awaiting my arrival.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston welcome entrance

We have been pretty delayed in our buildout which has (and always has) led to some anxiety and discontent in the ranks, but we started to get back on track Thursday and can hopefully set our preview week (FREE class) schedule in the next couple of days.  The bright side of the extra time is that we’ve had full availability to spend more time with our trainers to fine tune their coaching, our methods, and the operational procedures that we’ve developed over time in Charlottesville that can luckily kick off day 1 at this location.

fuel sweat grow: trainer training

The past 6 days have been constant work, development, learning, and thankfully, training for this whole group.  We don’t hire ‘trainers,’ or ‘fitness professionals,’ because we’re not just a gym with exercise classes (and because both terms are so generic and overused that they’re virtually meaningless at this point).  We’re a training facility, with a focus on training the everyday athlete.   Our target market ranges from the recreational sweater to the elite level athlete, and everyone in between. And as such, we require coaches – real, knowledgable, credible, fit and inspiring coaches – and that requires not only finding the right people, but providing perpetual training, development, and opportunities for them to better reflect and embody the product and lifestyle that we believe in.

I shot the below photo during one of our board talk/interval training segments, and just can’t get past the symbolic nature of the lighting.  This team, and this facility is still living in the shadows: of the hype, of the branding, and of all the unknown that exists outside of these four walls and these 6 coaches.

fuel sweat grow: trainers

In the next two weeks the doors are going to open, the classes will begin, and all the bodies that walk in the doors will be experiencing the product (obviously) but more importantly they will experience the community, the structure, and overall energy feed that we aim to deliver.

We’ve been so spoiled with our staff in Charlottesville that it’s unreal.  We have the best coaches we could have hoped for, and they make us better every single day.  They are the energy that our clients’ experiences and that our overall success is derived from.  The staff in Charleston is going to be amazing, and they are ready, but still don’t know what they don’t know — and that’s the most exciting part.  The next month is going to be crazy fast, and before we know it we’ll all be standing at the Grand Opening party with our brand new community, and a full month of new learnings, and a wide open road ahead.  I remember the beginning so vividly in Charlottesville that it’s completely insane to me that it’s almost been a year.

Which brings me to the much needed, never-long-enough, and just plain delightful non-work portion of this ‘vacation.’

fuel sweat grow: Charleston pool time

I’ll touch back more fully on this later, but we’re staying at the Wild Dunes Resort (I know, cry for me), just for a few days to break up the trip, and it is exactly what I needed.  Sun, beach, pool, and drinks – it was definitely not a bad way to start the weekend.

This morning was another training morning up at the space with a couple hours of coaching discussion and demoing, followed by the same interval that was being done in the other (open) locations this morning…just so no one felt left out.   While it was definitely more of a day of work than a day of rest, it was awesome to sweat with the group and detox from all of the absolutely killer food (+ wine) i’ve been consuming since I got here.  Restaurant reviews are a must, and will definitely not disappoint, since I’m pretty sure I’ve been eating better than anyone on the planet the last few days.

If we weren’t missing our Charlottesville group so much, we might never leave.  But, we are, and I can’t WAIT for the MADrave coming up on June 7th at our Charlottesville space in the IX building, so if you haven’t signed up already, get on it.  I’ll be there, glowing brighter than the sun.

 

Babies, Mothers, Sun and Home Cooking

There’s something to be said for weekends of constant motion — the kind that can take you so far out of the day-to-day that you actually get a break from  the routine.  That was this weekend in Charlotte, and as I sit here wrapping up the last few hours before I check in to next week I’m so aware and grateful for the last 48 hours of reprieve.

Saturday morning started with an early walk with a friend, and party preparations for baby shower brunch. In between the chaos of getting the house ready and getting myself ready (I was all kind of messy by that point) I inhaled some eggs scrambled with a left over zucchini, carrot, mushroom, and ground beef sauté.

fuel sweat grow: Saturday Breakfast

The shower was beautiful (and the company, amazing) but if you know the party hosts and their combined personalities, this would not be at all surprising.  The party favor is just a mere detail, and adorable at that — OPI nail polish aptly named ‘it’s a girl.’

fuel sweat grow: baby shower gifts

My typical Saturday morning routine involves working out and spending the greater part of the day in what seems like a spandex uniform so it was a great change of pace to be productive and dressed in real clothes before noon.  The afternoon was spent talking, eating, gifting, and generally appreciating the good company.

In a complimentary and lucky sequence of events, thanks to today being Mother’s Day, the opportunity presented to have yet another great break from reality.  With our Charleston MADabolic location opening soon and more than enough work happening on all fronts, simplicity and ease on a Sunday was exactly what was needed.

I had a few logistical to-do’s to get done in the morning, which happened even more smoothly and easily than I ever could have hoped, and by 1pm I was headed back to Casa Moertel for an afternoon of sun, aka my perfection.

fuel sweat grow: weekend leisure

Sunday dinner is kind of my thing, and this weekend proved no different so we brought forth a very clean menu to close out the weekend and get this next week started right.

There was salad with Romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, and chopped almonds.  Simple, classic, and exactly what was needed.

fuel sweat grow: summer salad

The big salad bonus was a vanilla balsamic vinegar that Billy had mingling in his collection, which gave a very unique flavor to the simple ingredients.

fuel sweat grow: vanilla balsamic

To go with the salad Dar grilled everyone Ribeyes, and cauliflower was broiled with olive oil and salt until aldente.  It was perfection.

fuel sweat grow: broiled cauliflower

fuel sweat grow: sunday night dinner

All in all the weekend was a great reprieve from the every day, and the perfect prelude to what will be a week of work, travel, and an actual vacation (I hope).   It’s also a week back to working out with a long anticipated and planned new playground in Charleston, so let’s get this all started.

 

Tiny Dog Camp, a Rest Day + Wednesday Chaos

Today was a day that seemed both endless and unstoppable.  It was so chaotic that I lost total bearing of myself and my surroundings.  I didn’t finish my coffee; I spent a solid 5 minutes midday trying to remember what I was looking for (the answer was a post-it to remind me of the very important thing I then couldn’t recall); I fell off my rocker at work; and then, as if that weren’t enough, the unthinkable happened — I forgot to pick my Bug up from day camp.  I failed tiny dog pick up 101, and if we’re being totally honest, that’s a pretty low bar.

fuel sweat grow: BugSays

note: this is the little peanut. but this is NOT a picture from tiny camp. she does not get tied up. really ever.

For the past two years I have joked about, and feared, the possibility that this day might come, and low and behold, here it is.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it would land on a day that tipped the scales of chaos — who would forget their dog on a normal day? Wait…lets not tempt fate.  The good news is that I didn’t forget her ENTIRELY,  I was just late, and she didn’t have to spend the night.

That all being said, this evening didn’t exactly go as planned, and I got an unexpected and much needed rest night for my body.

So far this week my sweat schedule has been MAD (pretty literally), and I can feel my body desperately craving a little lovin’.  Here’s the week spelled out, end to end.

Monday : Run + MADabolic

Tuesday: MADabolic

Wednesday: REST <3

Thursday: Run + Stretch class at truPilates

Friday: Run + Bodyweight circuit (to be posted)

Saturday: Monkey Gym Infused Pilates at truPilates

Sunday: MADabolic + downtown run

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic

So, in the spirit of putting the day behind me and moving on, I’m saying hello to tomorrow.  You, Thursday, have all the makings of an amazing day and I’m excited to meet you.   While chaos has been a main theme around here lately, it’s all for the better.  There are some pretty exciting things coming up for me, for MAD (cville) and projects beyond my current scope.  There’s no time like the present, so you better believe I’m going to try and squeeze every last drop out of what time I do have.