A Purposeful Break in the Routine

Life lately has been a balancing act, a constant grind, and at times an overwhelming pursuit of magically jamming 36 hours of work into 24, with no consideration for how.  Like anyone else, when I can’t fit work between 8a-8p, the day (‘graciously’) extends itself to fit the need; and all the ‘for me’ things on my docket become expendable suggestions rather than the priorities they should be.

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I have clients who have this issue constantly, because, well we’re all human beings, and my rational informed answer – to them – is that they need to make themselves a priority; you’ve got to put your oxygen mask on first if you want to be of any use to anyone else.   It’s the good old ‘do as I say, not as I do’ cliche, as I wonder if maybe I left my oxygen mask in my other bag or inadvertently gave it away in a box of old forgotten things.   During really busy weeks I will frequently basque in the irony that I own three fitness businesses and I can’t seem to get into a class to save my own life.  These are the weeks when I confuse ‘fitness’ with ‘health’ and understanding what I really need to be able to sustain a pace anywhere close to what it’s been lately.

The reality is, that sometimes you just need to give yourself a damn break; whether it’s a real unplug and go off-the-grid type break, or just the grace to be imperfectly human and an actual better, truer, version of yourself — or maybe both.IMG_7119

So here are the things that I’ve really learned, and am learning, about life and myself as I chew through the ‘too much’ that I bit off in 2016; and while I’m working on getting that balance, or ‘blend,’ back in the corner of my most productive, healthy & happy self, since lets be honest, those bites have never been, and are not likely to ever get much smaller with what I’ve got on the docket.

  1.  Fitness is everything, but it’s not the only thing.  I obviously believe strongly in fitness as a mechanism for overall health and wellness, because it is, but that doesn’t mean that 365 days a year of it is ‘healthier’ than a schedule that has balance and recovery — because it’s not.
  2. Take a break.  Whether you plot out two days a week that you go to yoga or stretch class rather than doing something higher intensity, or you literally cut-and-go on vacation – give yourself that break from the grind once in a while, and love every second of it.  Including the food that makes you say YUM.
  3. Do one thing a day that brings you happiness, for the sole reason that it makes you happy.  While I sometimes will go through a full day without a spare second to myself  the one thing that I do every.single.day., unless something is gravely wrong, is have my coffee.  It brings me joy, [relative] patience, comfort, drive, focus….and any of the caffeine generated superpowers required to not lose my shit on the days of constant demands and not-so-emergencies that pile up higher than my most lofty ambitions.  Pretty much coffee saves lives, but more importantly, it makes me happy and that in and of itself makes my life possible.
  4. Cut out the crap: the food, the jobs, the drama and the people that not only bring you down, but actually stunt your ability to do and thrive.  On the food front, rid yourself of the chemicals, but not the joy of eating.   Quit any jobs that you hate; not with abandon, but with the intentional process of setting yourself up to have a development path, to achieve something you’re proud of — because if you’re not motivated to do the work every day, you’re not the right person for the job.  When it comes to drama and the people that create it, forget them. They will always create it and they’ve got no value in your story; don’t waste a pretty little second on it.
  5. Know where you are going: life can certainly be an inexact science, but you will never regret working (and I mean REALLY working) towards achieving something.  If that process lands you somewhere a little different, well, that’s freaking awesome, but never stop learning, never stop developing, and never ever stop building for the future.  If you earn it, you will always deserve it.

And on that note, it’s back on the grind tomorrow, but I’ll be reminiscing about vacation all over the internet for the days to come.

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.

In Case you Missed It, Christmas is Over.

Christmas happened.  I know that because I was there, but also because that’s what the calendar tells me, and the calendar seems to rule all.

When it comes to managing life and time, the calendar presents as my perpetual nemesis.  Whether it’s moving at a clip that’s too fast, or painfully slow, disagreement on what reality is seems to be perpetual.

So, while I recognize that chronologically speaking Christmas (and Hanukkah for that matter) has come and gone, I still find myself in a state of disbelief.  This was hands down the least festive holiday season I’ve ever known, and I blame both myself and mother nature in equal measure.

I’ve been spending all my time keeping my head above water, to the point that I didn’t have time for a tree, much less decorating, and most of my shopping was done either online or locally in November, without even the excitement of seeing people savagely elbow each other in line at some overpopulated department store.  And then, of course, there was the easter bunny weather that threw off all bearings related to space and time.

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At this point HomeGoods should likely revoke my VIP status, and if it weren’t for the fact that I still obsessively purchased things I barely needed all season, I would just cut my credit card up right now.

In addition to my poor holiday showing, the last two weeks has brought ups and downs of the most unreasonably warm t-shirt weather that took away even the most remote thoughts of holiday hibernation, and for that, I say shame on you mother nature; SHAME.

In an effort to make up for the shortcomings of myself and nature, I did the only other acceptable thing: I ate all the foods.

On Christmas Eve, in full boycott of taking on any personal responsibility of feeding myself or others, we let Orzo fill us with Christmas Cheer the best way they could, with delicious food and wine that warmed the heart (even above the already balmy atmosphere).

Since my parents moved to Charlottesville this year it takes out some of the question of whether or not travel is required during the holiday season (which is great, since holiday travel anywhere that is not tropical and warm is the worst).   The other perk is that the Holidays become an amazing blend of family + friends (that are family), and community roots grow just a little deeper over shared holiday meals, sweats, and overall love.  This is what the Holidays are for me now, and is the real basis for why I’m being agreeable with the fast march into 2016, and the end of what has by far been the craziest year of all.

So, here I stand, just a couple of short hour left in 2015, and while I’m committed to squeezing every last working minute out of each of them, 2016 is kicking off with some amazing promise of just a few of the things I love most: community, professional development, fitness expansion, clean eating, forward progression… and lots of it all.

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This week we kick off the #wholedamnthing16, our annual and not-actually-cliche ‘life changing’ community initiative (regardless of how cliche it sounds), and it’s already better than ever.  More to come on this, but if you’re local in Charlottesville, join us at b:core methods on Sunday at 4:30pm for a kick off community potluck to meet the troops, community leaders, and connect with the resources that will help you evolve your lifestyle into what is healthiest and best for you. [If you’re not local to Charlottesville, you can join us in our Facebook group, or right here, to follow along and engage virtually].

So in summary, in case you missed it, the Holidays happened, and we’re on to a new year.  Clean slate, let’s do this.  Loved to know ya, 2015!

 

 

How my Cream of Mushroom Soup Went Paleo to Complete my Thanksgiving and Save my Life

This Thanksgiving has lasted for what feels like forever, yet despite it being December, it’s still not over for my crew.  Apparently 2015 is for epic ‘Thanksgiving Never Say Die’ efforts [read: excuses] to keep the wine flowing until it’s appropriately close to the next Holiday, for eight crazy nights, to then ultimately transfer the blame onto an old fat man and his elves.  Whatever, long live all the holidays, I say.

The truly amazing thing about my Friends/Family-giving crew this year is that over the last two years it has, for the most part, not only evolved into a paleo/cleaneating lifestyle, but actually owns it like bosses…..and at this point, they probably do it better than us.

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After teaching barre at b:core bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, there was nothing more I wanted to do than exactly what happened next; park sprints with the dogs in the 70 degree weather and a full blown dinner with some of my favorite people.

There’s something to say about how food brings people together, and having a group that likes to eat the same way, testing new clean recipes with love and lots of flavor…well that’s pretty much the best possible holiday combination.

Now, I did an absolute garbage job of documenting the first (and probably most important phase) of my Turkey Day kitchen therapy, but thankfully the foundation of it all persisted through two more amazing meals this week.  And it all started with just seeing those green beans.

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I’m pretty obsessed with green bean casserole (alarmingly obsessed), so I didn’t want to forego my one true holiday love, just in the name of Paleo Thanksgiving.  So, like any innovative and desperate meal experimenter, I took to the internet to make my dreams come true.  And I found it, a paleo recipe for cream of mushroom soup that is surprisingly easy to make, and even more surprisingly delicious.

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So, as you’ll see above in my less than delicately organized plate, we had mashed yucca (or YUMMA!) at 12 o’clock; my butter lettuce with cherry tomatoes, almond slivers and truffle salt/olive oil dressing at 2pm; brussels sprouts and root vegetables at what looks like 5:30 and then my coveted, ever loving paleo green bean casserole with oven broiled onion topping (victory!) at 7pm, before filling the rest of the space up with Turkey and carnitas.  Yes, paleo carnitas.  Life was amazing, and when washed down with good wine and great conversation, there was nothing else I could have wanted in life.  Bonus: we were all wrapped up, home, and asleep by 8:30 – magical.

So, what’s the rest of the story?  Well, it all comes back to the cream of mushroom soup that I made with my very own hands and killer hand blender.  It didn’t just end with the green beans; a couple of days later it found it’s second home in a chicken, brussels sprouts, peppers, and brown rice bake that rocked my midweek world.

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The finished product was awesome, and was the perfect pairing for a romaine, tomato, avocado, almond sliver, radish, and tesse mae dressed salad.

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And just when I thought that perhaps the (mushroom) gravy train had possibly ended, I was lucky enough to get whatever horrible winter cold is circulating at the moment and found myself miserable, hungry, and desperate for a little cold weather therapy — so I made some.

Sauted onion, brussels sprouts and zucchini in a pot, followed by the remaining chicken/rice/veggie leftovers, all the rest of the cream of mushroom soup, a full liter of chicken stock, all came together to bring SO much happiness into an otherwise dreary evening of sick.

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Now, off to sleep because there are way too many amazing things happening this week (and that need to happen) to let this cold crush me.  So, in closing, paleo cream of mushroom soup is a real thing, it’s amazing, and it has already begun saving lives this holiday season.

 

 

 

Hey June, I can See You + b:core updates

Hey.  Profound, I know, but short and sweet is how I’m coping with all the things happening at the same time.  It’s just been a week since I rolled back in to Charlottesville and I’ve been trying to get everything set and ready before heading back to Charlotte this week.

Like every holiday weekend I’m not really sure where the time went, but I can tell you for sure that it’s not standing still, and in some ways, that’s something to celebrate.  Construction has also (finally) started for b:core, which is turning out to be better than I had imagined, and is lining up to mirror the vision that had long been living in my mind.

fuel sweat grow: b:core construction plans

I’m trying to squeeze in another 3-4 day stint in Cville before heading on Vacation (which is ‘conveniently’ out of Charlotte) so this whole month is pretty much wiped out, and each day feels crucial.  We’re past most of the logistics and planning for creating the space and business foundation, so now it’s ramping up into my favorite part — aesthetics and strategic planning.   The good news is that most of this direction can be given remotely (as we’ve finally mastered) but I’m a little bummed to be missing out on seeing the day to day progress first hand through this initial phase.

Over the past two years our MAD folks have become pretty familiar with the IX building — at least the sweetly tucked away location, and our extremely visible retail storefront.  b:core, while in the same building (and actually sharing a back wall with MAD) has a much different entrance, vibe, and overall comfort and serenity that so perfectly matches what we’re building. So, here’s a little tour in pre-build pictures.

[ this is the entrance hallway to the space; the actual entrance will be on the left hand side; and that sweet sunlight? that’s our little outdoor zen garden with exclusive entrance to/from our reception area.]

fuel sweat grow: b:core entrance

[ this is the inside – inside of the above wall; entrance on the right (and future barre studio to the far right), zen garden in the center right off of reception area; and that far, far left nook? that’s a small view of purvelo’s cycle studio]

fuel sweat grow: b:core space photos

[and this is the back side (the gluteus maximus, the guts, or the power source, if you will) of the whole enterprise — barre studio on the left, reception + core studio straight ahead, showers/bathrooms/changing rooms to the immediate right, and then the small sliver of purvelo, peeking through again.] 

fuel sweat grow: b:core methods studio space

Obviously these were pretty preliminary pictures, and I’m pumped to say that work has started and progress has been made on all fronts to take this shell and breathe life into it’s four (or I guess soon close to 20?) walls. I’ve got more (about a million) pictures that I’m saving for further down the road where I can see extremely tangible progress and share it with you via my ‘construction photo diary,’ but until then, these bones will have to do.

We’ve got a pretty sweet inspiration board locked down on Pinterest that I’ll share later, but our Brand DNA certainly gives us the warm and fuzzies, and mirrors the vibe of all our bells and whistles.

fuel sweat grow: b:core brand DNA

With so much happening and so many gears shifting constantly, it’s been tougher than ever to manage all things time, work, and life (but you can follow us, or me, on instagram anytime!).  We’re just about through the hardest parts and I could not be more ready for the next stretch of the build.  June not only brings more progress on the buildout, but it also brings two big celebrations at MADabolic Charleston (It’s our 1st Birthday!) and the impending vacation that you better believe I’m ready for this year.  Here’s to you June — I love you already.

Hello World; Here’s What’s Next

When I started my very first blog the short, yet profound, phrase ‘Hello World’ was sitting in the first draft post.  It sat, perfectly simple, in the wordpress template as if it were helping to push me along into the future, a little more open and a little less anxiously than would typically mark the beginning of the unknown.  Granted, I think everyone who started a blog had the same stock welcome note waiting for them on their first post, but in that moment the welcome felt very personal and very real.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about new beginnings – about the difficulties of wrapping up the past and stepping into the instability of the future – no matter how bright it might look.

If you’re standing at the edge of something new, no matter how much certainty you carry in the decision, you’re bound to feel vulnerable.  New jobs, new relationships, new businesses — and even just new routines.  It’s far too frequent that people tell me that they’d love to try out MAD, or they are really excited about b:core but they are afraid they wouldn’t be good at it, aren’t fit enough, or will try it ‘next month’ (when, clearly, all the rest of the world will have aligned around them to make the adjustments to their current schedule seamless and powerful).  Obviously I’m joking a bit there because I’ve never known any phase of my life, or even any day really, to perfectly align in a way that makes my goals easy (can goals be easy?).  If I learned anything during my tenure at lululemon and the hundred some goal setting sessions I conducted, it’s that if you’re not really reaching for a big goal– and maybe reaching, finding a step stool or ladder, and creating a pulley system to get to that top point — you’re not aiming high enough.  And if it scares the pants off of you? Great.  You’ll thank yourself later.  In short, you’ll have to create your own perfect alignment, your own power, and your own conviction to go after that next goal.

fuel sweat grow: b:core

Today as I sit here, amidst quite a bit of the anticipated ‘new’ and a list of far too many to-do’s, I’m embracing it all.  I have endless opportunities, a handful of things that are all building quickly, and powerfully, to lead to wherever it is I’m going to end up — but I can’t complain.  The good far outweighs the bad, the creative outweighs the mundane, and the strengths outweigh the weaknesses.  We are finally on the brink of being exactly where we anted to be with ALL the businesses, and it’s time to appreciate their energy, success, and communities – in a big way.

Today we announced another exciting piece of our b:core lineup – b:elite.  The b:elite program is geared towards developing high school and college athletes looking to build, or enhance, strength and endurance fundamentals through personalized and focused skills development and conditioning.

fuel sweat grow: b:elite programming

This training and programming is expertly developed, implemented, and paired to bring a well rounded and effective curriculum to the athletes it serves.  Stay tuned for more detailed information about the coaches programming, and partnership (yep, b:core and MAD will be teaming up to make sure these athletes are getting the benefit of the well rounded training regimen and lifestyle we promote through our barre, core, and interval programming. Questions? email belite[at]bcoremethods.com for more information or to sign up.

This summer is already off to a full and amazing start, and it’s just the beginning of May — not too shabby.  Between our MAD locations in Charlottesville and Charleston, b:core coming also to Charlottesville, and a few other things up our sleeves, there’s never a dull moment, but there are a lot of exciting moments filled with amazing friends, exciting new partnerships, and of course…..fitness + food.

Hello (again) World; I’m back and it’s time to embrace all the positive that comes with change, and walk eyes wide open into the next chapter.  Things will never be the same, but sometimes can mean a lot of beautiful things.