Shaking Things Up w/Carolina Barre & Core: Thanksgiving Edition

I’m not going to lie – I don’t love winter.  I love the idea of it; pumpkin things, snow days with hot chocolate, beautiful blankets of white snow that lasts for a day before magically disappearing, and all of the holiday things that HomeGoods has to offer.  I love the storybook moments of winter, and none of the dark, cold, everyday parts hat come from shorter days and wind chill.

This past week was a cold one in my part of the world, and I can’t say I was too thankful for that life reality, but I’m Thankful nonetheless.  I’m still in complete denial that it’s not summer anymore (deep denial apparently), so the 30 degree weather that we met in Charlotte for Thanksgiving week was a bit traumatic.  Naturally, I took to wine, blankets, and barre to recover…along with a pretty significant amount of cooking.  I was in good company for all of those things, so it managed to balance out the wind chill and a happy wine-giving was had by all.

On Thanksgiving Day the Mayor of MADville (Dar) and I made a pilgrimage (get it?) out of the full house and over to Carolina Barre & Core to shake things up with our good friend Amity.  Amity was one of my first ever Barre teachers, and is (and probably will forever be) my favorite teacher of all time.

fuel sweat grow: carolina barre and core

About two years ago I got a phone call from Amity telling me she was thinking about leaving her previous studio to open one, with programming powered by Exhale Spa, and the Barre technique that started it all.  And when I say it all, I mean it.  This method is the first derivative of the Lotte Berk method that spawned the frenzy of barre techniques and studios.

I was already a huge fan of Amity’s, but I’m also obsessed with the diversity of this method, the flexibility and depth of programming, and the warm spirit that it brings to the community of her studio.  In addition to just having standard Barre Fusion classes, they also have Advanced Barre, Cardio / Barre [LOVE], Cardio Sport, and Yoga Fusion classes, just to name a few.  The other huge plus, in my opinion, is that they don’t promote ‘tucking,’ which is a big criticism of more main streamed techniques for the negative impacts the repetitive motion and pelvic contraction can have on women’s bodies.

I love the classes at CBC, but it’s truly the community and the friendly vibe inside the studio that makes it feel like a home away from home for me, and when I’m in Charlotte for work, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.

fuel sweat grow: Carolina Barre and Core

I can’t say that I was totally feeling up for any sort of sweating (first thing) when I woke up on Thursday, but about 3 minutes in to the class I remembered why Amity is everything, and why I was never able to walk, breathe…or really move, after I took one of her classes.  All of those thing proved true again, and on Friday morning when I returned, very stiffly, for day 2, I met my complete match in 30/30 (Cardio/Barre).  That class is my own personal love.  It starts with 30 minutes of body weight, and light weight, cardio isometrics, utilizing full body movements to elevate the heart rate and simultaneously strengthen with slight weights through more functionally designed movements.  It’s not about just isolating one single group at a time, and it’s everything about feeling the burn, and apparently sweating like an animal if you’re me.  The second half of the class is Barre, but only my favorite parts (thighs, glutes, abs, and stretch), and then almost as fast as it started you find yourself laying peacefully on your mat lingering just a little longer before you have to go home.  And then there’s the bonus: there are two stall bars in the studio for you to stretch out and re-align your body/spine, which is pretty critical.

fuel sweat grow: carolina barre stall bar Needless to say, after two consecutive days at Carolina Barre & Core, followed up by Saturday morning back at MADabolic in Charlottesville, my body welcomed a much needed rest day today to get organized for another week of everything at once as we steadily build into the thick of the holiday season. Tomorrow is December 1st, beginning the last month of 2014 and I’ll be damned if this year doesn’t end on a positive note, so who’s in?

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Convenience v. Efficiency: A Food + Fitness Story

I’ve been a little off-target over the past two weeks with planning my food and getting into any sort of consistent sweat routine.  It’s not historically in my nature to take long breaks from working out, but over the last year I’ve developed a (much) more balanced approach to letting go of structure when the stress of trying to force fitness in any given day is greater than the benefit.  I’m not sure if it’s a product of ‘growing up’ or just ‘getting old,’ but it’s a real need a couple times a year to slow down and I’m always so thankful when I allow myself to let it go.

Part of creating that balance has also been efficiency.  Convenience is something our whole world seems to be driven by these days, but somehow efficiency sometimes gets lost in the mix.  They’re not the same thing, in fact, they’re grossly different.

It’s the appeal of convenience that leads so many of us to drive-thrus, to processed foods and sugar addictions.  It’s what keeps us on the continuous (proverbial and literal) treadmill for years without seeing any significant change or improvement to our bodies or lives —  and in fact, it usually has the adverse effect.  Efficiency is completely different. It’s the ironic counter to convenience; it’s the most effective way to reach a goal or see a result, and without it, I would never accomplish anything.

So, let me talk clean to you for a second…  [clean + efficient meets food + fitness].

The most important part of eating clean (for me, in my crazy life) is preparation, and packaging.  When I cook it’s never for one meal – I’ll happily live off of leftovers for a week of work lunches and on-the-go dinners.   Example: on Sunday morning I made breakfast for my Charlotte family – 18 eggs worth of breakfast.

fuel sweat grow: steak and eggsZucchini, leftover chimichurri marinated skirt steak (a YUM from Fresh Market), and 18 full fledged eggs.

fuel sweat grow: egg scramble #paleo breakfast

I’m terrible about giving myself enough time for breakfast during the week, but I love breakfast on weekends, so having these leftovers is such a huge thing for me.

Sunday afternoon I followed right up with a bulk-cooking marathon to get ready for a week in the office with my favorite Thai Chicken Stir-fry (with spaghetti squash).

fuel sweat grow: thai chicken stir fry

fuel sweat grow: thai chicken stir fry

To compliment (and balance out the days) this salad came to be — and is always a consistent favorite of mine. It’s definitely more of a summer salad, but it was 80 degrees in Charlotte this weekend, so I’m going to give it a seasonal pass.

fuel sweat grow: fall summer salad

Efficiency is also what I look for in my workouts.  Well, that, and a little escape once in a while.  I still run when I’m feeling inspired — its one of the most freeing actions, and sometimes the only time I have to be in my own head.  I still crave yoga + stretching because it feeds my body and soul.  And I still love sweating for the sake of sweating, when that’s what I need, but for my actual fitness, strength, and total body change, I go for efficiency – and that’s the theme of the week.  So here’s how I’m hoping to balance it:

Monday: Run + new playlist

Tuesday: Carolina Barre + Core: 30/30 Cardio Barre

Wednesday: MADabolic

Thursday: Walk with a friend + Run/body weight circuit

Friday: MADabolic

Saturday: MADabolic

Sunday: a day of REST (or maybe a hike with the 4-leggers)

And the reality is….if somewhere in there life gets a little too jammed and my sanity depends on a little lunch time yoga or childs pose in my office, then so be it.  Sometimes being effective is just about being still.

A Head-down, Strategy in Focus, Hard March Kind of Week

There’s nothing like the start of an up hill week to keep you humble.  It’s an amazing thing how Friday can bring such a natural tapering of events and urgency, but Monday never fails to re-open the flood gates.  C’est la vie, I suppose.  Which brings me to #23to30 guideline #6:

fuel sweat grow: humble mondays

 

Over the last year I’ve tried to routinize myself enough to set aside a chunk of time on Mondays for circling back on loose ends and setting a basic plan for the next 5 days.  It’s always humbling, and somewhat overwhelming, to look at the full list of to-do’s, so I like to take a moment (coffee in hand, in immediate route to belly) to make an execution plan.  Workload isn’t something that scares me – believe me, I love to work and I’m terrible at vacation – but I have to have a plan or even smallest sense of organization and structure.  I need a strategy for how and why I am doing things and big picture approach –  without that, I suffer from what feels like a severe adult case of no-freaking-focus syndrome.  I’m pretty sure that’s not an actual ‘medical’ diagnosis, but it should be, because I think all my friends have had it at one time or another (we’re probably just passing it back and forth via viral emails and Facebook posts).

The reality is, no mater what, I’ll eventually get it all done, but I’d prefer to not waste my time (or others’) to get there.  Whether it’s work, life, or a combination therein, it all seems to be about perspective and and vision.  When both of those things are present in the foundation, it’s not so hard to deal with the unexpected, or adjust on the fly.  All in stride, and all with a deep breath, and all with trusty cup of coffee (or beautiful glass of wine).

So far this week has required many moments of pause, coffee drinking, and list-making….and the fact that it’s not even half way over should probably scare me, but thankfully the careful structure of my sweat schedule has added an extra precautionary layer to boost my mental preparedness.

We wrapped up MAD cardio week on Sunday with the longest, most grueling, and most intense hamstring and glute interval that I had felt in a while, so I took today as a rest day with the full-on commitment to my sweats for the rest of the week, as follows:

Tuesday: MADabolic

Wednesday: MADabolic

Thursday:  Run + kettlebells + band stretch (yep, i’ll be posting this)

Friday: MADabolic + Stretch

Saturday: MADabolic + foam rolling / stretch

Sunday: REST.

This weeks focus is a head down, strategy in focus, and a hard march on toward the end-zone as a restart to this final quarter.  The holidays are coming sooner than we think, and it’s time to get prepped, so who’s with me? I’ve got barely three weeks until I turn 30 and you better believe that 29 is going to finish out stronger than it started….and this year has certainly been a big one so it’s go time.

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 ❤

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.

[Foam] Rolling Through Another Cville Weekend

On Tuesday afternoon I thought that this week may never end, but now, as we get ready to turn the page to what then was ‘next week’, I’m realizing that I’m already behind on tomorrow.

We’ve already ‘rolled’ through our Foam Rolling Clinic with Airrosti at MADabolic (Charlottesville), and are just under a week out from our Grand Opening Party at MADabolic (Charleston) – which if it’s anything like that community, is going to be incredible all around.  I’m heading back to Charlotte on Tuesday to squeeze a few days in the office before heading to Charleston.   Since I’ll be gone for the rest of the month,  I’ve been packing in every last second of Cville summer life while I can.

There are parts of my split and transient life that I love; the amazing friends, communities, and teams that I get to look forward to seeing in all the Charl-cities that I land in – but it’s the transitions out that are hard.   And of course,  leaving my little love bug behind is the absolute worst (even if she is so pre-occupied with her camp friends and holding down the fort in ‘her office’ at MAD to probably even notice).

fuel sweat grow: Bug Says MADness

After my much needed R&R on Monday, I got back into the MAD intervals on Tuesday and Wednesday, both of which were absolute crushers.  My arms and legs were so sore by Thursday that I had to make a point to walk around my office every 30 or so minutes, standing during conference calls, and finally at 6pm managed to run it out with a slow and steady 5 miles.  Friday was off in preparation for what was a very, very, MAD weekend.

Saturday morning the weekend crew was out in full force with waitlisters on deck to get in to all classes, as well as the Foam Rolling Clinic with Airrosti.  I played coach support and amateur photographer in the 8:30 class, and got to sweat it out in the 9:30.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Intervals

The Foam Rolling Clinic was led by Page, our favorite Airrosti guru and client, and was so unbelievably needed by all of us – judging from the groans and nauseous looks that were spread across the room.  Our community is so incredibly committed to our intervals and intensity, the clean eating we love to promote, and the strict rules about being on time and doing the full warmup, but its so much less prevalent to see anyone take more than a few quick minutes to really work-out the days work with a little foam roller or lacrosse ball.  And I’m fully open to the reality that I’m probably the worst – over the last year my yoga attendance has decreased by several thousand percent, and stretch class?  I wish.   This is definitely something that I’ll be talking more about (and committing completely to) to give back a little love to my body that I ask so much of.

Today was the first weekend that I’ve been in Charlottesville where I haven’t made it up to at least check in with the classes, but I just needed a morning to sleep, and slowly prepare for the day; long coffee, dog time, and then my favorite home cooked eggs for breakfast.

We had a 1pm kickball game – yes, that’s right, we have a MAD kickball team, made up of just a small sample of our awesome clients, friends, and coaches.

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

We’re not exactly Championship bound, but we do have a perfect record (it’s all how you look at it …backwards helps), but it’s a great group and a really fun way to sweat a little differently.

After the game I actually hit up MAD to get my sweat in for the day, just a little bit off the grid.  Heading there I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do – would it be today’s interval that I missed, or the one coming up for tomorrow?  In the end I decided on my own flashback to college, full out slideboard interval series that I would do with my strength coach as part of my cross-training and rehab when I was injured.  I needed a little break from weights, and it was perfect – details coming in the next couple days on what it all entailed after my Apollo Ono stance was put into action.  I think I missed my calling….but I also think I seriously missed the height cap for that sport, so I’ll settle for just living the dream when I can in the privacy of my own workout.

fuel sweat grow: slideboard speed skaters

To wrap up this very incomplete summary of an amazing weekend (including also Sarah Bareilles live at the Pavillion and dinner at Bella’s); here’s the short story of Sunday night dinner, as I love to make it with as many leftovers as I think the week can possibly handle:

fuel sweat grow: sunday night dinner in cville

[Steak (fresh ribeye, and flank steak from Whole Foods); brussel sprouts and broccoli slaw, both sautéed in coconut oil with a little crank of himalayan sea salt on top; roasted/grilled cauliflower; and a kale salad with cucumber, avocado, and a fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing.]

All in all, it’s been a crazy-beautiful Charlottesville summer weekend and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Charlotte, I think I might actually be ready for you this week – and I’m certainly ready for your yoga.

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!