February is for All the Things

So far 2016 has been a little bit of everything.  It’s been stressful and exciting, chaotic and simple, passionately driven and at times, completely draining. So basically, it’s just another January trying to get all the things done, working towards a better blend of work, life, businesses, and well, wine.

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The Whole Damn Thing happened, and it happened pretty well again this year, up until the great snow storm of 2016 which made clean eating a very manageable reality (thanks to the in-house imprisonment) but pretty much guaranteed that 90% of our community would be reaching for some non-water beverage to help cope with the confinement.  And also, because, well, happiness.

This year, the beauty of the Whole Damn Thing was that it wasn’t just MADabolic Cville, and it wasn’t just 28toLife or Paleo.  It was about the embraced effort to eat clean, local, healthful, and body fueling meals that would promote strength and health in anyone, whether you eat meat or you’re a vegan-veggie-tarian.  We’ve long been fans of the Dar Salad (paleo/28tolife) at Citizen Burger Bar, for obvious reasons, but this year, we had our amazing friends and favorite neighboring food source join in to create a menu that our clients could not only love, but could also EAT.  Brazo’s Tacos released a paleo menu that essentially kept me, and many other people (as a result) alive for the duration of the month, and continues to be my lifeblood as when I find myself bound to the building several days a week.  Also, online ordering — it will change you forever.  You’re welcome.

In addition to the food efforts, we experienced the inevitable, yet fully embraced post-holiday influx of clients old and new, both at MAD and b:core, inducing wait list stress, scheduling trickery, and most importantly, a whole hell of a lot of excitement and energy in each class to kick off a brand new year.  With new interval and coaching developments at MADabolic (including what feels like the most innovative and freaking challenging intervals to date) and the launch of our cardio barre and core CARDIO class schedules at b:core that have us sweating our asses off every day, it’s hard to think that there could have been more on the docket for the month, but alas, it was also time to launch the sweatIX pricing, and so we did.

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Other highlights of the month include (but are not limited to):

  1. I was able to start using my Simplified Planner, and somehow, having each hour of the day filled out + up magically became appealing ‘structure’ rather than pseudo-organized chaos (although that’s already wearing off to a degree).
  2. We had an amazingly badass and physically/emotionally inspiring photo shoot of the sweatIX team with Andrea Hubbell that was nothing short of amazing and will continue to be coveted.
  3. The Mayor of MADville (Dar) turned 50, and no one wanted to believe it.
  4. Bug turned 4, and I cried.
  5. We had a delicious (and clean) happy hour at The Juice Laundry, and in addition to my obsession with the ‘Rinse and Refresh’ and ‘Cold Brew Latte,’ I finally had the vegan chili w/cashew cream, and some new Chicory Cold Brew coffee from the local Blue Prairie brands.
  6. Most importantly, we survived.  From the snow to juggling everything, January was unbelievably stressful this year with too little bandwidth and too much to-do, so getting through it is something to be celebrated with full abandon, and a deep exhale.

I’m still pending on really dedicating time to digging into my goals, development, and really any balance for myself, but I did book my first (adult) impulsive vacation, so right now, I’m just going to appreciate the fact that I’ve made it through the start of the year, and in many aspects am already beginning to feel like I’m getting my bearings, slowly.

Here’s to an amazing new year, built upon the foundation of chaos, experience, and all the good, the bad, and the strength, that has evolved up to this point.

Fall, You’re my Jam.

October is my jam, more specifically.  It’s the month of all the colors, of the crispest fall air (before winter starts to loom), of all things pumpkin, the return of lattes and the beginning of the cold weather nesting.  There’s nothing I love more than settling into regular supper clubs, friendsgiving gatherings, recipe collections, and more focused gratitude for all of the amazingness in our lives.

It’s not that the rest of the year doesn’t have all these things (except, pumpkin since it definitely peaces out), but there’s a different sense of calm as the weather begins to turn, and this year I’m more than ready to embrace it.

Life lately has looked a lot like this, with even more crazy planning, fall organizational efforts, and big exciting news (to come soon) than can’t be captured in only so many pictures:
fuel sweat grow: life lately instagram @valeriemorini

At b:core we’re settling in to our systems and structure, just in time to get ready to launch our cardio component, which take the intensity of barre up about ten notches, with the most structured, athletic, and bad ass functional cardio compliment than you can get.  Our MAD folks complimenting their lifestyle with b:core will be pushed to their heart’s content with this hybrid method, and our barre athletes will get that extra level of functional and full movement to increase strength, endurance, and overall activation of those fast-twitch muscles.   Translation: get ready to start your engines, friends.

Also, get pumped to grab some LUMI juice after class, fresh from our fridge. We’ve narrowed down to some of our favorite flavors (it was harder than it sounds) and can’t wait to share the juice love.

fuel sweat grow: b:core methods LUMI juice

Our website and blog launch is happening this week after much back and forth, development, and thought, so stay tuned, we can’t wait to share the voice of our #corelife.

On the MADabolic side we just started a new program cycle (welcome to durability month, my friends!) and are in a state of constantly evolving with our communities and demand, so it goes without saying that there’s some pretty exciting phases of MADness coming at us soon.  We also finally have some of our sweet new merch in, most notably our new trucker hats from our partnership with Big Truck Brand.  Big Truck Brand is an awesome company, and rather than offering wholesale accounts for typical merch, they choose to partner with the brands they represent on their hats, and hand pick which companies and brands they’re willing to be partnered with.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic MADlifestyle Big Truck Brand Hats

Needless to say we’re pretty stoked to have these guys are digging our #MADlifestyle and are letting us share their sweet hats with our community.  There are four different styles, but only a few left in total, so if you haven’t snagged yours GET.IT.NOW.  [If you post a pic of you living your MADlifestyle with your Big Truck Brand hat [and tag #MADlifestyle & #BigTruckBrand] you’ve got a pretty awesome chance of winning $100 to MAD from MADabolic corporate and getting another $100 matched by us to either Cville or Charleston.]

On the ‘other’ development front, I closed out September with my third class/seminar of the semester on personal brand and career path development [strengths finder heavy, of course]; the last class being with the 4th year trustees at UVa.  This is my second semester doing this with undergrads, and it’s been a really awesome experience, though pretty different from the typical early to mid-career groups that I have historically workshopped and developed through with these programs.  I’ve got a lot coming up with this, and some pretty awesome new opportunities, but I’m going to have to come back to that at another time when I can do it all proper justice.

fuel sweat grow: personal branding career path development

The same is true for the food and fitness [development] side of life.  While I’ve been cooking more, I’ve been sharing less, and that’s on my shortlist of things to change in the very near future — but you’ll be able to catch a lot of the relevant business content on the b:core blog, and this will dig back into a more functionally evaluative forum for food, fitness, and the personal growth.  In the fitness space I’ve still been researching and pushing forward with my own development needs, but I haven’t get committed to a certification (outside of Lagree) for 2016, and am torn on where the most value lies for me at the moment.  If I were advising myself I’d say that it sounds like I’m overdue for some serious vision boarding, goal mapping, and accountability setting, so thats exactly what I’m going to do.

So, October, it’s time for you and I to get a few things done.

Fueling Up: Greens, Eggs + Sweet Potato Noodles

I’m not sure what’s in the air, or if it’s just the sheer fact that it’s cardio week at MADabolic, but I feel hungry all the time.  ALL the time.  I’m usually slow to start in the morning, not grabbing any real food until I’ve had ample time to get coffee, settle in, and assess the schedule for the day.  This week, I have one objective, and it’s to get food into my body.

While vacation is great in concept, any travel where there’s no kitchen is always challenging for me, so the last few months have been hit or miss for me.  My first destination when I got back into Charlottesville was to hit up the grocery store, and I did just that — hard.

Whole Foods here (and maybe everywhere?) has this awesome kale slaw in the juice / chopped veggie section that also has shredded cabbage, carrots, broccoli (sometimes) and green onion that I seriously can’t get enough of.  I’ve historically used it to make salad and sides for dinner, but it just so happened that I was craving it one morning, so I went hot with it.

Sautéed in some coconut oil ad seasoned with a little sea salt, my little green friends made a turn for the even more delicious, and perfectly accompanied my eggs.

fuel sweat grow: green eggs and bam

I’m calling this ‘green eggs and BAM’ because it was totally a power breakfast that I needed to get myself going. It’s going to quickly become clear that I was loving on kale this week, but I’m still not sick of it, so no apologies here.

The thing that really started my love affair with kale was it’s amazing relationship with all things citrus, and the fact that you can absolutely douse it in lemon/lime/orange juice based dressing and it didn’t become slimy or sad.  In fact, while it does soften (thankfully), it seriously takes on the flavor and tartness of the dressing, and that always makes everything more delicious.

This salad wasn’t anything particularly special; just kale, blueberries, cucumber, and some leftover grilled chicken to give it a little boost — but to be honest, it didn’t need anything else [the dressing was fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt sprinkled].  It stood just fine on it’s own, and was a great partner for my new favorite thing: sweet potato noodles.

fuel sweat grow: summer kale salad fuel sweat grow: kale salad and sweet potato noodles

I’ve long been loving on zoodles and spaghetti squash, but I never really took the time to dive hard into the sweet potato arena. I think this ignorance was in part because the first time I did 28 to Life I convinced myself that sweet potatoes were on the naughty list (I was later corrected….but not until much much later).  Recently I’ve been seeing more and more meals pop up on blogs, and also on MODpaleo’s menu that are centered around them, so I figured it was worth a shot.  And worth it, it most certainly was.

I sent those sweet P’s through the spiralizer and then sent them straight into a pan with some ghee (yeah, it’s butter folks, and it was delicious).  In case you can’t tell, just writing about this meal is making me hungry all over again, so I definitely recommend it.   I also recommend the (RED) meals on the MODpaleo menu, because they’re amazing too [and friends that use the code MadnessCville get 10% off their first order, so get after that…stat].

I did get after it again with the spiralizer again, with an awesome new thai cucumber noodle salad that I made last night, but that one is going to have to wait because it was too good to rush through.

fuel sweat grow: cucumber thai noodle salad

Now that I’m back to cooking and feeling a little more food-stable, I’m pretty excited to start playing around with some old favorite recipes and clean them up – at least as much as is reasonable.

I’ve got a goal to make one new recipe each week, minimum, and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be rolling through a whole new cycle of favorites.  But who knows, if I stay hungry like this I’ll probably hit that full 52 new recipe marker a lot sooner than I projected.  If you’ve got any favorites of your own, shoot them over — I’m most definitely taking suggestions.

Vacation and Barre + Conchella and Table 7: June Revisited

It’s been a while since I’ve had a few minutes to sit, process, and share anything more than just a single moment in time.  The last month has been filled with celebrations, construction, some serious bouts of hard core work, and the significant kind of family time that can only come from celebrations of life and love.

After celebrating Year 1 of MADabolic Charleston being open, it was time for vacation…and one that had been long since due.  Since I’m historically (and deeply) terrible at committing to vacation, it was incredibly important that this trip had deep roots, and thankfully, this one had the deepest kind of roots I could ask for – Morini Roots.

My dad’s the oldest of 5 kids in his (Italian) family, and his youngest brother Mikey (aka Big Mike) was getting married, so you better believe the M side rolled in strong for the occasion.   Neither the photos or my words will be able to do the setting or experience justice, but I’ll certainly throw out a few feeble attempts to at least tee it up.

fuel sweat grow: Gansevoort Turks and CaicosThis is the Gansevoort in Turks and Caicos, arguably one of the best places you could go if you’re looking for beauty and relaxation with both a pool and beach setting.   It also happens to be the partner resort for the Exhale Spa in Turks, which means all the life forces in my life converged (just missing MADabolic) and set up a vacation scenario that would be next to impossible to argue with.  In addition to their regular spa treatments, they also have twice a day classes at the outdoor studio, offering Exhale’s signature barre, cardio barre, sport, and yoga classes, which we’re so pumped is the same programming and training we’re bringing to b:core methods in Charlottesville. So basically, this was a business trip, or at least that’s what I’m going to try and sell my accountant on.

Envisioning the studio during my pre-vacation daydreams, I never considered an outdoor space, so I was a little caught off guard when we headed to our first class and found this al fresco setting for our morning sweat.

fuel sweat grow: exhale barre studio Turks and caicos

fuel sweat grow: Exhale barre studio Turks and CaicosThat being said, I absolutely loved it.  While I’m not really living in a geographic market that could ever sustain a full blown outdoor studio, the whole setting really played into the island lifestyle, the absolutely euphoric fresh salt air, and quite honestly my need for some real good sweating to detox from all the food and wine.  The instructors we had were awesome (what up Kim and Josie!) and were so welcoming and open to to Dar and I especially, knowing that we’re just weeks away from bringing this same method and class to life in Cville.  The universal language of barre as it’s been so fully and authentically taught to us by the founders and pillars of the method, is on the whole is something that is pretty incomparable these days in fitness, so we feel beyond grateful to be able to deepen these connections away from the home base.

After class our typical routine was to have ‘second breakfast,’ the better half of ‘first breakfast’ which was largely made up of coffee and just the basic ‘barre class survival’ fruits that were absolutely necessary to survive cardio barre.  Second breakfast included more coffee (obviously), fresh fruit, egg scramble or omelets (MTO), a side of bacon, and of course, my iPad so I could keep up with email, the MAD communities, and our b:core buildout.

fuel sweat grow: Turks and Caicos and b:core buildout

The rest of the day was a combination of pooling, beaching, napping, and showering before assembling the family again for the schedule of nightly events (both leading up to and following the actual wedding).  The family update will come at a later date since there’s some more reflection to be had there, but here are a few of my favorite shots from the wedding events, so eat your hearts out instafriends.

fuel sweat grow: Conchella at Da Conch Shack Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella Turks and Caicosfuel sweat grow: Conchella Wedding Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella wedding Turks and Caicos

fuel sweat grow: Conchella Wedding Turks and Caicos

If you’re up for the full scope look at what went down on that island, well, too bad, you’re going to have to settle for my piecemeal accounts and photos, or the slightly more diverse instagram version by streaming #conchella and getting a glimpse into more perspectives.  Or, if you’re really into it, go to about 7:10 in to this clip, and get another first hand account of the wedding week.  Mmm hmm, yeah.

That’s the quick and dirty of vacation barre / wedding-ing, minus the deep thoughts and over-sensitive feelers surrounding all things family at the moment, and the million+ things that are on the docket for the now and upcoming moments of life.

fuel sweat grow: Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

Until next time, good night, and sleep tight.  Turks, I miss you even more terribly now that I’ve forced myself to look at all these pictures again. Sigh.

MAD + lifestyle = The Best Summer of Your Life

We keep talking about this ‘lifestyle’ thing.  We talk about what it means to us, what our lifestyles made up of, essentially, and how to connect all the pieces when it comes to what drives us forward. We spent last week in Charleston getting a few key things in order, doing some spring cleaning, and more than anything, getting all our ducks in a row to make sure that the lifestyle piece has the best opportunity to find it’s roots in the community as we close out year 1.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston Mount Pleasant

We happened to be there through Cardio Week – the most passionately loves and hated week of all, depending on how your lung capacity is.  Across all MAD locations, clients and friends commiserated with and encouraged each other through the sanding test of the previous three months, and it was awesome. Charleston, you impressed and pushed us through an amazing week, so THANK YOU.  And thanks to Donna and Tim for unintentionally defining the not-so-promoted lifestyle realities of Cardio week (relaxing low country afternoon, meet our friend, Advil).IMG_2464

With cardio week behind us, this week we’re getting back to the base (durability month), to strengthen us, and to propel us forward into our full cycles of the pace (momentum month) and then return to the race (anaerobic month). That’s where we build our strength, we sweat out stress, and push our bodies to function just a little better.  But that’s not the whole lifestyle – that’s a habit of passion, and the fitness side of things, and while it’s important it’s incomplete.

When we have new clients join our community, that’s kind of the hook — the sweating, the intensity, and the results.  The fitness piece is the starter that’s sparked by the diverse science that drives forward not only how we do our programming, but how we view fitness and health on the whole.  It’s about how you’re training your self: how you’re challenging your body and mind to push forward, to build strength, to increase endurance, and to know how to do so smartly, safely, and with balance.  The securing factor is community.  The connection, the interaction, and the full support of all members, that’s that keeps us growing — growing strong, not dilute.

The piece that completes us, and typically the final piece in the lifestyle for most of our clients, is food.  Food + Nutrition is the game changer.  It’s not something we pretend to be experts in, or something that is integral or forced from a membership perspective, but it’s truly the only way to overcome plateaus, increase energy, and complete the full cycle of the lifestyle.  It’s the maximizer of the group, and from what we’ve seen over the last few years, the thing that makes all the damn difference in the world.

fuel sweat grow: the whole damn thing

You can probably tell where I’m headed by this point…..because as we’re all headed straight into the sunny season (the bathing suit, beach all day, hanging by the pool and wanting to be active 24/7 season) we’re going to head towards local food, clean meals, and more conversation about completing this lifestyle.  Charleston, brace yourselves, The Whole Damn Thing is coming right at you….and soon.

This coming Monday we have MODpaleo heading over to MADabolic Cville for a little Meat & Greet / Taste Testing for their amazing pre-packaged meals that I’m so obsessed with.

fuel sweat grow: Meat and Greet MODpaleo

They’re truly the tastiest, cleanest, and most convenient meal options out there (at least in my life) and happily show up and deliver to all the places that I need in my life (that’s you Cville, Charlotte AND Charleston).

And Charleston (#MADcharleston if we’re being real), don’t worry, we did NOT forget you.  You’re about to get all up in the lifestyle with us  – even more – and we’re pretty pumped.  If you’re a planner, write this down: MODpaleo will be at MADabolic Mt. Pleasant on Monday May 4th from 6:15-8:15pm for a food sampling AND a little paleo fundamentals 101 talk at 7:30. You can count on more information coming your way soon, promise.

fuel sweat grow: MODpaleo

So, it’s all happening.  This is definitely the cliffs notes version, but I can tell you with all certainty, it’s all happening, and it’s going to be amazing.  Make sure you’re tuned in over the next week because ALL THE THINGS will be coming at you, and we could not be more pumped.

b:core – THE Announcement

So here it is: the announcement you’ve been waiting for…or really the one we have been itching to get out for a long time.  b: is for barre, but core is for….Lagree.

We’ve been following this method for a while now, both at it’s foundational level through creator Sebastien Lagree, and also through some of the current top-trending brands that deliver the method globally (try: solidcore, core40, SLT, and over 100 others).  If you’re dialed in to the fitness scene even just a little bit, you’ve heard of it — and if you really have your finger on that pulse, you’ve probably gone out of your way to sweat your face off in a class somewhere, just like we did.

Want to learn a little more? Check out some of these articles from well+good that can give you a little bit more info on some of their top Lagree studios and why they love to sweat at them.  Our studio will have our local b:core branding and a strong athletic vibe, so you can expect some intense sweating to perfectly compliment everything else that you do — at least that’s what my plan is.

When I left Charlottesville after college and began my fitness career outside of college athletics (in tandem with my business career) I viewed the combination as part of my ‘real world’ immersion.  It began as a way to create balance in my new grown up life, and quickly started to set the foundation for my lifestyle.  I travelled often, always finding the ‘best’ place to sweat wherever I was, and was lucky to live in both Philadelphia and Charlotte where fitness is both a focus and something that is done exceptionally well.  I learned the importance of investing in my health, and tapped into my passion for not only teaching, but also building community with that same lifestyle focus.  Part of that path was  pushing myself physically to try everything while continuously learning and evolving beyond passion to establish that solid base for what I believed in and why.  That part of course has continued to evolve, and will hopefully only get stronger.

fuel sweat grow: lagree fitness b:core

The other side of that path was the one leading me back to Charlottesville.  I wanted to live here, that was without question, but I wasn’t willing to give up the fitness and health aspect of my lifestyle to make that happen.  So, of course, the only real logical course of action was to build what I wanted in Charlottesville, and that’s the root of this all.  Basically, what we have now is my ideal world, paired with Dar’s own dimensions and passions, and a community that is transforming before our very eyes.  I think I can also speak for Dar here when I say that we could not be more excited to finally have what we believe are the top foundational, innovative, and expertly designed methods out there all perfectly packaged to compliment each other — and we promise, we’ll never be complacent.

We’ve still got a lot more brewing over here, but now that this cat’s out of the bag, it will all make much more sense.  Charlottesville I hope you’re ready, because things are about to get pretty intense….in a good way.