Beets + Greens Salad and Fridays After Five

Things have been deliciously crazy around here as of late, and we have lots of overdue updates from the past week’s adventures to share in the coming days, along with some long awaited announcements about upcoming events.

Last weekend I scooted up to Philadelphia for my CrossFit certification course at CrossFit KOP (more to come on that soon), so needless to say when I got home I was working with limited resources left over in the fridge.

salad + chicken

I had gotten some beets from C’ville Market the week before that I had been saving for a beet salad, so there was no time like the present.

I peeled, chopped, and steamed the beets until they were tender, and let them cool to the side.  Once the beets were cool, I added in some chopped avocado to top a bed of arugula for a beet + green salad.  Since I haven’t been eating much dairy at all lately, I added a favorite little treat to the top of mine: local caromont goat cheese.

beets + greens w/caromont goat cheese

It was perfect.  Dressing was just balsamic + a touch of olive oil, keeping things simple but still adding flavor.  I fell in love with the Caromont Farms goat cheese in the Caromont salad at The Local.  One day I might replicate it for you, but they do such a great job that if you’re in Charlottesville (or ever visit Cville) you need to go try it for yourself.

For the most part since finishing the ‘28 to Life’ challenge I have been sticking to the basics of the plan, but occasionally I’ll expand the menu options a little bit.  There are so many ways to eat clean at restaurants these days and keep modifications within reason.

gluten free pasta primavera

Last night was the first meal in several months that has had a grain component to it, and thanks to the gluten-free menu at Bella’s, I was able to stray without getting to crazy (or sick).  I had their Primavera Pasta (gluten-free).

I was a little sluggish this morning, but I am confident that it had less to do with introducing brown rice pasta back into my diet, and more to do with the three glasses of wine I had before dinner at last night’s Friday’s After Five downtown.

fridays after five

It’s the 80/20 rule in full effect.  For the most part I think I’d say I live more in a 90/10 world, but I sure do make that 10% count!

Next week I’m kicking off a modified 2 week challenge that I will share tomorrow, with my grocery list and prep plans.  Stay tuned for complete ‘meal plan’ updates, and the 2 week trial of the Cville Fit Fuel Meals.  So excited!

Easy at Home Workout: Barbell Circuit

Bug is pretty much summing up the ‘it’s been a long week’ sentiment that has been lingering in the air.  I’m not sure if last weekend just blended into the week, or if this week has been that non-stop, but I found myself being slightly jealous of her ability to throw down and nap, anywhere, anytime.  It’s an enviable skill.

tired bug

Since end-of-week workouts can be sort of blah when you’re drained, here’s one that I did with Dar last week for a quick and dirty garage gym workout that was felt for days.

circuit workout

This is a barbell workout, so anywhere you can find a 25lb, 35lb, or 45lb barbell, or just a really big stick (kidding!), you’ll be good to go.  While I love all the awesome toys that we have these days to make workouts more dynamic and varied (i.e. wall balls, medicine balls, bands, kettlebells, etc), sometimes it’s nice to keep things simple and just crank out a workout with one tool only.


This workout was TABATA style, 45 seconds on/15 seconds off, cycling through all the exercises and repeating the circuit for 4 full rounds. It did change a bit from how I wrote it out (note: ad-hoc arrows), so here’s how it works best:

1) composite rows: starting with the bar at/against your shins with feet hip width apart, and knees slightly bent. Drive through your heels to drive the bar straight up, standing tall, finishing with a high pull and returning all the way back down to the initial set-up and repeating the pull in a continuous cycle.  These are tough (essentially a narrowly set up sumo deadlift high pull, simulating the full body rowing motion). These were my nemesis circa 2002, thanks to Jim (GYM) Ferris.

2.  Back Squat: just what you think it is – standard back squat.  Feet about shoulder width apart, drive through your heels to keep your glutes and core engaged.  Since there’s no extra weight on the bar emphasize rhythm, sticking with a consistent speed and getting a full range of motion (hip crease drops below knee level). Think about pressing your knees out as you pull your hips towards your heels.

3. Push Press: Feet hip width apart, bar resting high on (in front of) shoulders.  Grip slightly wider than shoulder width, elbows in front (pointing at 45 degree angle), fingers wrapped around the bar.  Bend from hips and knees to initiate the dip, keeping your core engaged, drive through your heels to straighten your legs (and extend through hips). Finish by pressing the bar overhead right in line with your shoulders, hips and heels.  Just tilt your head back so the bar doesn’t hit you as you press it straight up to the ceiling (arms fully extended).

4. RDL : for this one you’ve got the bar in front, set up similar to the composite rows – feet hip width apart, slight bend in the knees, back straight (core engaged) and hinging from the waist.  The movement here is keeping your core engaged, weight in the heels, hinging forward until barbell comes to mid-shin, and standing straight up keeping the bar close to the body, and hinging back down to repeat.  This is one of my favorite moves of all time because it feel so good like a hamstring stretch while you’re doing it, but always leaves the glutes and hammies screaming the next day.

5. Front squat: Just like the back squat you’re keeping your weight in your heels and squatting until your hip crease is below knee level, but the bar is resting on the front rack position (on shoulders).  Arms are in front, elbows pointing forward and high, with the bar resting and balanced on your fingertips.  Unlike the back squat that emphasizes gluteal and hamstring work, this will light up your quads and tops of your thighs.

Like all interval workouts, the key here is really setting a consistent, and challenging pace.  If you push it during the work time, you are guaranteed to get your engines going.  If you just survive it, you’ll still be sore but you’re missing most of the benefit.

Give it a shot, and even modify whatever you’d like (time, weight, sequence) and let us know what works or doesn’t work for you.  We’re always playing with different combinations and love to change things up.

Happy Squatting!