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.

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All Things Local: Fuel, Fitness + March Mindfulness

I LOVE weekends.  Since I don’t have as much flexibility during the weekdays with my regularly scheduled job, the weekends become my everything days, and I love it.  Our businesses are those of passion and people, so when I can look at my planner and see full days of exactly those two things, I’m pretty pumped.

This past week was so draining that Friday night was a mandatory night in –with Bold Rock Cider and Keswick Gourmet bringing some local Cville love into the mix. Dinner also included zoodles, skirt steak, spring salad, and some of my favorite [paleo] avocado deviled eggs.

fuel sweat grow: at home local dinner

There were definitely years in my life where friday nights out were a constant — but I’ve long since run out of steam for anything too involved (or past 9pm) — so something really comforting to me about being home, having a few friends over, and keeping things low key.  It also helps Saturday morning at MAD hurt a little less.

The Saturday 7:30am class at MAD brought a complete and total sweat-down at the first of a fully packed momentum day. Since my standard Milli Joe coffee run came later than usual at at 8:30am, almond milk lattes that gave us the fuel we needed.

fuel sweat grow: love and coffee

The rest of Saturday afternoon consisted of house chores, some business organization, mani/pedis, and a long awaited night out of the house with dinner at The Local.

Sunday was for community — and it hurt so good.  After a full night of rest, and a slow-ish morning that included adjusting to ‘springing forward,’ we went all #marchmindfulness and took up an invitation from Hannah, owner of the the most recently opened barre studio in Cville, barre[d.] for the 10:30am cardio barre class.

fuel sweat grow: barre[d.]

It was great to see so many faces, new and old, rolling in excited for the change-up.  After an hour of sweat and fatiguing with our new friends, we high tailed it over to MAD for a few meetings, Mia’s athletic recovery and release class and practice with our b:core team.

So, is that weird that we went to barre[d.] because we’re opening b:core soon? Not really — at least not to us, or anyone in the industry that understands the differences across the marketplace, or supports the fundamentals of community.  In the last 3 years I’ve taken nearly every barre class offered in most major markets, in studios big and small.  Knowing what all is out there, and understanding the nuances are for the foundations of each technique are just small pieces what feeds my development — and that hasn’t been specific to any one fitness niche, as will soon be very apparent.  This is actually not really that niche of a marketplace with over 20 dominant methods, and a multitude of others, all with different takes on the structure that Lotte Berk set out, and foundations in yoga and pilates.

The more I push forward my own learning and expertise in functional movement patterns, and the more certifications and trainings I get under my belt across all fitness modalities, the more exciting it is to see new methods popping up that respect similar fundamentals or introduce something completely different.  Of course each technique has their own spin, and none are the same, which is why we were SO excited to try out Hannah’s class and what she’s bringing to our community.  We loved experiencing such a different twist on barre, blended with her own approach on ballet cardio TABATA — so thanks for a great class, we’ll all be back to spread a little more local love soon!

Needless to say after cardio barre, yoga/myofascial release, and then more barre practice with the b:core team, my body was ready for some actual rest and recovery.  So what’s on this week’s agenda? We’re continuing our downtown district tour of our favorite women owned local studios in honor of International Women’s Day by hitting up TRU pilates, Hot Yoga Charlottesville, Opal Yoga, Integrity Pilates, and of course MAD.  We’re also kicking off the 5 day plan for lifestyle clean up – and really just a slight wine reduction, so it’s a big week for health and perfectly paired with some much needed spring weather.

We Got Stoned Last Week [a resurrected life recap]

So, I love writing.  Even when I’m not in a place to post I’ll frequently spew out a draft and either save it or delete it – it’s cathartic for me.  And then sometimes, I write full posts and completely forget that it ever happened — like I did with the below post that I apparently wrote last week.  I wrote it last Wednesday right after the ER trauma, and right before our training for b:core, and while part of me thought maybe I should hit delete and leave it in the past….I’m going to honor the dear diary moment that it was since it leads directly into my upcoming recap of training, the methodology, and what I’m now referring to as the wonder team because they’re all so freaking amazing.

So here it is….

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Seriously, but not seriously, we got stoned this week — kidney stoned (or Dar did)– and it was not cool.  It was not cool because it’s never cool to get severe pain in your kidneys, or to throw up your whole life in front of your dog, or to have to take a not-so-joy ride in an ambulance because you can’t walk or move.  Those things are mostly not cool for the person going through the actual ‘pain’ process, but it’s also not cool to be the person calling 911, exhausted enough to start wondering if their questions about ebola might actually be relevant to the situation (has Dar been in close contact with animal blood from West Africa recently? I don’t know! Maybe?); or did it just sound too appealing to have a root cause for why the person keeled over next to you seems to believe there is an alien trying to escape their abdomen.  I mean, I guess there are just some things we will never know?

Regardless, Monday night through most of Tuesday is a complete blur, and all of the front loading of work that I had planned kind of evaporated while coping mechanisms took over.  If there was one serious positive about the whole thing it was definitely the reiteration of something that was already pretty understood – we’ve got the best community ever, and our friends are unbelievably awesome.

From quickly picking up classes at MAD to delivering dinner two nights in a row (ehem, Anita) and to the constant check in’s to make sure everything was going smoothly, there was never a lonely moment, and for that I thank you.  I may currently look like a homeless insomniac, but I am chock full of gratitude for all of the sweet people that we are lucky to know.

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Today was the first full day back in life and I’m pretty sure while my body completed some overtime (I had actually worked from 2pm-11pm yesterday to make up for my life evaporation), my brain was still on break for the first couple hours of the day.  I finally started to feel less foggy by 10am, and that is exactly when the flood gates all opened.  One million emails? check.  Three somewhat illogical fire drills? mmhmm.  And of course, there was the anxious yet exciting status reports on the next business to join the family, so I was back on all-cylindars digging out.

Tomorrow is going to be epic, and the first of several PTO days that could not be more well spent.  It’s foundation building time, and I could not be more excited about completing that stage.  I’ve got so many updates, so much crazy news, and of course some already stored content to publish when I have the green light to share the final pieces of what feels like an incomplete puzzle at the moment.  All in due time I suppose — but patience never was a virtue of mine.

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So, there you have it.  The exhale of some stress, and the inhale of a new experience that has proven to be far better than anything I could have hoped for.  We’re still concealing three big surprises with b:core, but at least the barre piece is out there and our teachers are able to fully realize their own passions, dynamic personal brands, and so much more.

fuel sweat grow: barre training b:core

This is just the beginning, and that’s what makes it so much more fun to get up every day and hop right on the grind.

Paleo Eats: Game Day Style

So, one of the hardest things about a real food / clean eating challenge can be the social aspect — especially if you’re not surrounded by people who share a similar lifestyle, or that support what you’re doing.  That’s usually the biggest fail point for anyone looking to make a lifestyle change — being surrounded by people and choices that counter the healthy habits they are trying to form.

The first time Dar and I completed 28toLife we were pretty much alone on our own island.  Friends would want to hang out and fear and panic would set in because we didn’t know how we could possibly make it through an outing where everyone else is eating and drinking whatever they wanted.

fuel sweat grow: all i need is food

The second time we went through the 28 days of garbage-free living was a little easier, and we had far greater understanding and appreciation for the lifestyle and how to find that place of complacency even when out of a controlled environment.  This third official time that we’ve completed the full 28 days was the best of all, not only because we had a pretty secure grasp on how to live in normal-ish society, but mostly because the community that surrounds us was a part of what we were doing, all inspired and motivated with the same healthy sense of purpose, and commitment to living a better cleaner life.  And it was awesome.

It’s February now and the ‘challenge’ is over, but the lifestyle remains, and so does the awesome community that came together over the last 28 days, and this weekend we proved it.  While Saturday brought Dar’s 49th (that’s not a typo) Birthday and a little bit of an off-the-wagon wine and beer indulgence (not to mention the most amazing ‘asparagus’ cake from Maliha Creations).

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 10.07.21 PM

Sunday re-directed itself back on track thanks to sleep, recovery, and the continued culinary expertise of Anita (the love behind Maliha Creations). So, instead of having a Sunday afternoon full of food that we just spent a month detoxing from, it seemed only fitting to re-create our favorite treats, paleo style.

Homemade salsa, to ensure no sugar; stuffed peppers (amazing); spaghetti [squash] + meatball nests, and a veggie ‘chip’ plate for scooping guacamole, all helped us kick off the game.

fuel sweat grow: paleo super bowl snacks

fuel sweat grow: paleo super bowl snacks I brought the guacamole deviled eggs (upper left corner above), which are easily my new favorite quick grab snacks to make.

Quick details:

Ingredients:

  • One Dozen Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Sea Salt
  • Chili Powder
  • 1/2 LIme (sqeezed)
  •  Garlic Powder

The quick how-to:

  • Shell the eggs
  • Cut the egg in half with a sharp knife
  • [in a small bowl]: Combine egg yolks, avocado, sea salt, chili powder, garlic powder + lime juice
  • Mash all together (with fork or avocado masher)
  • Spoon filling into egg white
  • garnish with a light sprinkling of chili powder

All in all, while the weekend brought back wine and some dessert cheats, it all came back around in the end, and things went (relatively) back on track.  I’m actually so excited to do food prep tomorrow night for the rest of the week that I almost can’t contain it — and I probably won’t.

The Middle Week + Work Travel

This past week, end to end, felt like a 9 or 10 day week.  As I sit now at the end of day 6 of the week, and day 17 of The Whole Damn Thing, I am just so happy to be this far along in the hard push that I knew January was going to be — and even happier that I am still rolling right along.

I was due in to Charlotte from Wednesday – Friday for work, and after a packed Monday and Tuesday trying to get everything ready, Tuesday night Yoga was more than in order.

fuel sweat grow: charlottesville opal yoga

A big group of us MAD ones got caught up in a non-stop Facebook thread that landed us in Opal Yoga at 5:30, prepped and ready for a near 90 minutes of Yin Yoga and myofascial release that was led by Mia in her Rasa Yoga Lab class.  And I needed it more than I even know.

fuel sweat grow: opal yoga charlottesville

Still sore from a killer workout on Sunday, my hamstrings needed some serious love to help recover and release.  While the early moments of the class my ability to make it through seemed a little questionable (my hamstrings were not remotely forgiving), ten minutes in I had generated some good heat, and slowly but surely things began to move a little easier, feel a little better, and ultimately felt amazing.

I needed it.  Not just my sore and stress bearing body, but my mind.  I needed the time away from everything else; the time in my own body, my own breath, and my own mind.  Even if just for a moment

Still in the zen-ish wake of savasana, I got to work in the kitchen cleaning out the rest of the fridge contents with a serious focus on getting meals organized for my trip.

fuel sweat grow: ground beef and roasted sweet potatoes

It was ground beef with zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers made the bulk of the meals, and roasted sweet potatoes with rosemary sea salt on the side.  The whole meal was plated with some leftover cole slaw (green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot, green onion, kale and a light olive oil and sea salt dressing.

fuel sweat grow: The Whole Damn Thing Dinner

While I loved this meal round I, the best part about all of these items and their flavor is that they are even better as leftovers.  Seriously.  When you travel as much as I do, and you’re constantly bringing food in tow, it’s important to plan meals that are good two to three days after the fact.

This particular meal got me through my trip to Charlotte (in several different installments), which was so critical since lunch is the absolute hardest time of day for me when I’m in the office.

By the time I got home, around 8pm on Friday night, I was beyond ready to be back to my Charlottesville routine — which I’ve got three (now two) days to enjoy before heading out to San Francisco for another work trip (though, I’m not fighting against mid 60’s temps, and my favorite city to visit).

Today kicked off with my two favorite Saturday things: MADabolic Cville and an almond milk latte from Milli Joe, and for that I am thankful.

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.