Springing into Summer: A May Weekend in Cville

fuel sweat grow: Charlottesville Paramount TheaterWe’re only 4 days into the month and I’m already missing May in Charlottesville.  After starting off the week with three straight days of miserable rain, high 70’s and sweet spring air has been more than welcomed around here.  It’s usually tough for me to pick an absolute favorite time in Cville (it usually spans from spring through late fall) but the extended winter has me so grateful for each day that my body welcomes in vitamin D, and I’m loving hard on this late spring.

This weekend definitely included a long list of to-do’s, prepping ourselves and MADville for our long departure from the day to day, but there was no shortage of the spring weekend things that make this place so magical.

Friday’s After Five was of course the end of the week highlight for the group, which included a core contingent of our MADville members, several of which had used the 12:15 class as the start to their weekend, working their way through the downtown bars until 5pm became an official reality.

fuel sweat grow: charlottesville Fridays after Five

I’ve recently switched over to white wine as I’ve eased my way back into the warm weather, but I haven’t drawn a hard line in the sand.  I think white will just continue to be my outside drink and I’ll relish the indoor moments that red and I continue to have.

fuel sweat grow: Fridays things

One of the least obvious things that I absolutely love about Friday’s is the kettle corn.  I’m obsessed with it.  It’s the end of the week treat and pre-dinner snack that I work towards, and the fact that they’re making it hot and fresh right there just makes it all the better.  I didn’t realize (because I live under a rock?) that you can actually buy this stuff in stores all around Charlottesville – but to be honest, for me, it’s the experience of the in-the-moment purchase that makes the experience so special.

Fuel Sweat Grow: Kettle Corn

Saturday brought an early morning of MADness, but for the first time in what seems like forever, it was just for operational support.  Saturday is actually my favorite day in MADville and you’ll rarely see me sitting out, but after the previous four intervals I did this week I needed a break – body and mind.  I’m always on the later end of the City Market, so I made a point to get there before 8am yesterday, scooting right over to see Erin McDermott for a little jewelry shopping before the masses.  And of course, I got it all packaged up in sweet little bags, just because she’s always adorable like that.

fuel sweat grow: Erin McDermott

I made my way back to MAD in plenty of time to check out both morning classes, and watched two packed classes experience what we by far the most grueling interval of the week.  Sorry guys, you’re better for it.  Brunch happened at The Southern (again) for a little business meeting with our friends who are launching Swim s’cool this summer in Charlottesville, and then it was back to the gym for a private class with the Sigma Kappa sorority chapter from UVa.

After everything at MAD was wrapped up, errands happened, including a late lunch at Zoe’s Kitchen (Greek Salad, no potatoes, add grilled chicken), and finally wrapped up in enough time to take the dogs for a walk.

Fuel Sweat Grow: zoe's kitchen

The rest of the night was spent celebrating a very special 2nd birthday.

fuel sweat grow: happy birthday charlotte

 

fuel sweat grow: sharing is caring

Sweet Charlotte turned two, and despite having her own personal smash cake, she preferred to delicately and intentionally share pinches of her cake with her best friend Eloise.  The cake was of course done by Maliha Creations, and was the best cake I’ve had since the last cake she made, and that’s a pretty high standard to hit.

All in all it was another great weekend in Charlottesville, and the last May weekend I’m going to spend here this year so I tried to soak in every last second.  I head back to Charlotte mid-week this week, and down to Charleston next week to finally get MADabolic Charleston opened and rolling with preview classes and the much anticipated grand opening.   At this point I think it’s safe to say we’ve essentially missed spring, so let’s do this summer, I’m ready for you.

 

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Wednesday, Thursday, FRIDAY….plus a little weekend

This week was more than a little crazy, but despite the long work days and project balancing, I was in Charlottesville and that in and of itself is something to be celebrated.  And it was, because Friday’s After Five is back for the season and we all finally have a renewed sense of motivation and drive to push through the rest of the week.

Fuel Sweat Grow: Friday's After Five 2014

Based on sales there were an estimated 20K people in attendance on Friday, only slightly down from last year – which I’d imagine was a result of the 50 degree chill, but still no place in the world I’d rather be.

Earlier in the day I actually took a little lunch break adventure as a part of our #MADloveCville campaign around town, and grabbed some sweet Cadbury Egg FILLED cupcakes from SweetHaus and dropped the off with a note and free class for a little ‘Free Sweet, Free Sweat’ action.

First Stop: the NEW Sass Factory Salon on Main Street (next to Bella’s).  These ladies are awesome, and despite being MAD in their own right, they’re some of our favorite clients to have in class so it made perfect sense to drop in.

fuel sweat grow: Sass Factory Salon #MADloveCville

Stop #2 happened at lululemon Charlottesville (showroom now located next to Shenanigans in the Main St. Annex) where Coach Kiks watched over the sweet little bundle and made sure it went to a good home.

Fuel Sweat Grow: lululemon #MADloveCville

I had two more cupcakes to give out, but was tight on time, so I saved them for the evening and left one with the awesome police at the information booth on the way in to Fridays to give out with their best discretion, and soldiered on into the MADness that was Fridays to give out the remaining treat, along with about 50 free class passes.  The beauty of Charlottesville is the community, the events that bring us together.  It’s rare to be able to go out every Friday night and know where all your friends are, and that there’s a single place to bring everyone together without having to juggle scheduling and multiple obligations.  For the constantly over-scheduled and under-available of us, it is the best way to streamline friends and friday plans into a pretty concise and guaranteed package.

By 8pm it was time for some food, and wine apparently, and Orzo was an easy choice after last week’s great dinner.  My parents were in town checking out houses, again, so it was a great meal to add to their slow tour d’Charlottesville.

Fuel Sweat Grow: Orzo kitchen

While it was pretty substantial that my parents were looking to retire in my favorite town in the world, the most substantial thing was the unlikely reality of the place they finally found.  My parents have a thing for water and land, which made some of their initial choices a little ‘interesting,’ but they eventually found ‘the one,’ that just so happens to be a house that I’ve observed from afar more times than I can count.

It’s not central in town, or on the typical beaten path that everyone would know, but if you were a rower at Virginia, it was on your daily path…on the water.

fuel sweat grow: Rivanna House

The edge of their property lines up with the final 250 meter marker on the rivanna 2k course, on the water UVa rows on.  It’s beautiful, it’s sentimental, and it’s the last little puzzle piece tying so much of my college experience together.  Even though they aren’t planning to move for a couple of years, I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to be sooner rather than later.  And the best part?  There’s a pool that will be ready by closing in a month, and you better believe I’ll be ready too.

All in all the weekend was a pretty great start to ‘summer,’ and the rest of what’s to come.

 

 

 

 

Some ‘Almost’ Summer Sweats + Eats

Happy Memorial day WEEKEND!  It feels a little strange to think that it’s already memorial day weekend since I’m not sure how we got to May, and have seen only a handful of days that I would categorize is truly ‘spring’ days, but hey, if everyone is in agreement I think I’ll just take it as the truth.

So far the weekend has been amazing.  Totally relaxed, driven less by a to-do list than a want-to-do list which is just beautiful in and of itself.  The lead into the weekend was pretty sweet with Thursday night’s bootcamp group rocking out a partner workout.

Workout: 3 station with 7 minutes of constant work for BOTH partners, alternating work at each station.

There was a 2:30 break in between rounds.

Station 1: 6 Box Jumps / 6 slam balls (counting rounds)

Station 2: KB swings / 200m run

Station 3: Air squats (or goblet squats w/KB) / Plank hold

After bootcamp was in a complete grilling (and using everything in the fridge) sort of a mood, so here’s what happened.

1. grilled asparagus.  made the usual way – light olive oil + sea salt.  grilled to tender, but not wrinkly.

asparagus

2. grilled turkey burgers! I bought ground turkey from Whole Foods a couple days prior so it was time to put it to use, so, that’s what I did.  I literally just made them into patties and added nothing except for a little ground sea salt on the outside.

turkey patties

While they grilled I set out the ‘fixins,’ which included iceburg lettuce for buns, tomato, cucumber, avocado and (not pictured) some amazing dijon mustards.  I always order the dijon at Citizen Burger Bar when I build almost this same burger there (but with Timbercreek beef and pickles instead of cucumbers) and it has this unbelievable kick that I can only assume is horse radish, so of course I bought some.

fixins

Here is my completed plate for a meal that was exactly what I needed.  I did add one more lettuce leave for full coverage (and control) of the burger, but it was amazing.

val burger complete

A few hours after dinner I somehow managed to make a slightly better choice than the Sweethaus cupcakes that Margaret had dropped off during her lunch hour, and had strawberries, blueberries, sliced almonds, a few mini chocolate chips, with a shaken coconut milk/cocoa/vanilla extract ‘sauce’ on top.  It was awesome and I got exactly the right amount of sweet from it.

dessert

Friday morning we had the 6 and 7 am bootcamps who did the same workout as the Thursday night group, and then I jetted off to Richmond for the morning to get some things signed and to get a little retail therapy in on the backend at Short Pump.  I scored some amazing new sneaks at Nordstrom and a new outfit at lululemon, of course.  By the time I got home (and after I woke up from a surprise hour-long nap) it was time for Friday’s after Five downtown.

There’s not a ton of graffiti in Charlottesville, or really much at all that I could even recall, but this was on the wall at my new favorite ‘not so secret anymore’ parking spot for Fridays.  There’s something about it that really actually appealed to me for some strange reason, and added a little color to a random and hidden side street.  There is a serious artistic talent to some of these sections that I totally appreciate and that actually make me miss making art.

charlottesville 'street art' charlottesville 'street' artcharlottesville graffiti art

Friday’s was awesome as per usual, despite the chilly winds that took the heat of the sun away, immediately.  Most of the usual suspects were out, and Dar of course managed to meet some new people that will likely now add the group of ‘The Usuals.’

Thanks to the chilly winds we did split a little earlier than usual to find refuge and delicious food at the upstairs bar in The Local.  I love the local in general, but there is something about sitting at the bar and getting to chat with other people, bartenders included, that really adds to the element of being out, and Dar and I were able to talk at length about new ideas and thoughts for the Fight Gone MAD grand openings here in Charlottesville, as well as in Richmond.

Sidebar: have you ever read the ‘history of the building’ section in the menu? It’s so very Charlottesville, and gives a great historic feel to the whole space.

The Local History

 

The drinks definitely helped the feeling of excited jubilance.

bold rock cider

They have my favorite Bold Rock Cider, which helps me cause greatly, and then my favorite courses of local meals around.

Local (Caromont) Goat Cheese Salad:

the local's goat cheese salad

Followed by the tenderloin special with no sauce, cheeses, or dressings of any kind.  Asparagus and red bliss mashed potatoes underneath.  It’s amazing people, you need to try it.

The Local's tenderloin special

That was a wrap for Friday night, and it was a good one.  Definitely an awesome lead into a three-day weekend full of beautiful weather and nothing but want-to-do’s.

More to come on that later.  Hope you’re all enjoying your weekends, let us know what eats, treats, and possibly even sweats (?) made their way into your holiday fun!

A Weekend of Workouts, Yoga, Friends + Yum

Last week was exciting, overwhelming, and completely packed.  Thanks to the rain that had been pouring down for days, we had to split up the bootcamp groups to bring them inside which meant early mornings every day.  When the sun finally came out on Friday morning, it was almost euphoric, and a definite prelude to a classically beautiful Charlottesville weekend.
morning bootcamp

The Friday bootcamp workout took us right up to the hour marker with a solid warmup and stretch followed by a chipper-style partner workout that took all the groups between 22-30 minutes.

The rules of the WOD were that both partners had to carry the med ball at some point during the run, and only one person’s work counted at any given time, so the resting partner was either at rest, or holding a plank, while the other was working.  The workout was:

  • 800m run w/med ball (12 or 20lbs)
  • 100 Box Jumps (resting partner held a plank)
  • 150 Kettlebell swings
  • 100 Push-ups
  • 150 Air squats (resting partner held a plank)
  • 800m run w/med ball (12 or 20lbs)

I worked out with the 7am group which was an awesome way to kick off the day.  I love getting a solid workout in early so I can either take the rest of the day easy, or take an afternoon run or walk when it’s nice out.  Dar actually offered an optional Saturday bootcamp to anyone that could make it, and found herself with a full house on Saturday morning for a killer Barbell Complex that I’m going to try out tomorrow morning.

The rest of Friday flew by with meetings and to-do lists in anticipation of a pretty awesome weekend.  As I shared a few weeks ago, two of my favorite people – Katie and Adam – were coming up from Charlotte to teach an inversion workshop at Opal Yoga here in Cville.  Neither of them had ever been to Charlottesville before, so it was game on to try and show them the most abridged version of everything that makes Charlottesville unbelievable.

We strolled the downtown mall, hit up the middle of Friday’s after five, and then made our way over to The Local for a long (and overdue) dinner.

The Local

The weather got a bit wonky as our drinks came out, so our awesome waitress let us move into the private wine room that was empty after a reservation cancellation.

the local wine room

I’m not sure if it could have gotten much better than that; great friends, amazing food, and the ability to hear each other and have very in-depth conversations – all surrounded by walls chock full of wine.  In the words of our friend Brandon: #notbadifyoulikeperfect.

And that wasn’t even all.  When we got home we had the most amazing treat, literally: cupcakes from one of our favorite friends, Anita, who is the sweet-genius behind Maliha Creations, and happens to also be our neighbor.  We had received (hand delivered by her three adorable children) lavender cupcakes with vanilla + lemon icing on Thursday night, only to be surprised with a second box of carrot cake cupcakes with caramel drizzle on Friday afternoon.

maliha creations - cupcakes

They were amazing.  Seriously amazing.  I love carrot cake, and these were especially good, but there was something so different and appealing about the combination of the lavender and lemon that I couldn’t get enough of.

lavender/lemon cupcake

They were the perfect way to end the night.

Saturday was a crazy morning that included, but was not limited to, 90 minutes of walking for me, getting locked out of the house with all of the keys and dogs inside (thanks Kristin for saving our lives with the million keys at the bottom of your bag), and the Charlottesville City Market.  With all of the bustling around town we got home with just enough time to make a quick salad before the yoga workshop.

grilled chicken salad

Pretty simple no-drama salad here: romaine, cucumber, avocado, grilled chicken, tomato.

The workshop was awesome, and we had a great group of well-intentioned, fun, and engaged yogi’s at Opal, which made it even more amazing.  Here are a few pics that Katie took to capture the event.

Opal workshop w/ Adam + Katie

Opal Workshop with Adam + Katie

Opal workshop with Adam + Katie

Even Dar got into it, and was able to knock ‘crow’ off of her to-do list in her first-ever attempt which is both impressive and really annoying to anyone who has ever struggled. But hey, coordination is coordination I suppose, and you know how she likes those functional movements.

After the workshop we took up four tables at Moto Pho Co AND One Meatball Place and played musical chairs (meals) for a while, getting to know each other a little better, inducting Katie and Adam into our culture (it wasn’t difficult) and enjoying the beautiful day that it turned out to be.

Since Adam also teaches music he and Katie had to head back to Charlotte last night so we capped off their visit with a necessary trip to Paradox Pastry, and then a tour of our top-secret, never been revealed location for the new Fight Gone MAD: Cville.  I think it’s safe to say you can expect to see them here again, hopefully sooner rather than later, and most definitely for some events around the grand opening of Fight Gone MAD, and anything else we can think of to bring them back.  If you have ideas of your own, inbox me, I’m taking all suggestions.

They gave me this awesome spice kit from Savory Spice Shop in Charlotte as a Thank you for having them, and I could not be more pumped to use them in some meals very soon.  Thank you guys!

spice kit

We already miss having them here, but I can’t exactly put into words how devastated Tank and Bug were that they left.  Tank took to Adam more (and faster) than he has ever taken to another human in his life, and bug was sure that she was going to get to live with Katie (and Mitch, wedgie, ralph + weaz).  They even practiced their own versions of sun salutations on the deck for an hour before giving up and settling into the couch. IMG_3454

What they don’t know is that we’re all heading to Charlotte tomorrow so they’ll get to see them again soon.  Until then, I’m going to take a few minutes to unwind before another crazy week begins.   Happy Mother’s day to all you moms out there!

Weekend Workouts, Events, To-do Lists & Relaxation

This weekend was a mix of everything.  Seriously, I think I did everything.  I worked, I played, I worked out, I relaxed, I soaked in the sun, and was soaked by the rain.  As I mentioned in my last post, this week was the first Friday’s After Five, which pretty much signifies the start of the summer season in Charlottesville.

charlottesville-pavillion

 For those of you who don’t know much about Charlottesville, it’s an amazing town that has an intense focus on community, a love for live music, and an absurd amount of amazing local beer and wine vendors that come together every friday from spring through fall to present a free concert series at the n’telos wireless pavilion on the Downtown Mall.  It’s amazing, fun, and completely taken for granted by those of us who no longer remember a life without Fridays.   Friday was sunny and beautiful, so needless to say the live music only made it perfect.

Saturday was a windows and doors open (but screens closed) kind of morning.  With coffee in hand I was able to get work done at a relaxed and pretty enjoyable pace.  I love having time to relax in the morning and use the weekends to prioritize my to-do list and schedule for the next week.  Since this week is shaping up to be particularly crazy (read: exciting), it was invaluable for me to have the time to get things organized.  The rest of the afternoon was pretty low key including dog walk + hill sprint adventure in the park that doubled as Tank’s 7th Birthday outing (and the best shot at tiring Bug out, even if just for a second).

bug says IMG_3262

Both dogs have 50′ leads instead of short leashes so they can have more freedom to run, but not enough slack to take off towards the street (or an appealing looking dog).  While the main purpose is to give them exercise and expend some of their pent up energy, let me assure you, it never fails to leave me winded as well.  As someone who typically prefers longer distance running (at least 3 miles), the short bursts chasing the dogs helps me to get in the sprints intervals that don’t make it into my routine nearly enough.

The rest of the night included dinner at Bella’s with great friends, and then the most entertaining parking lot event that I’ve been to in quite a while: CLAW.  I have heard about the Charlottesville Ladies Arm Wrestling group for years, but somehow never actually made it out to witness it first hand.  It was nothing like what I had imagined and was, in fact, amazing. 

CLAW

I had imagined pairs of super serious arm wrestlers sweating it out at tables, fully engrossed in the fiercest battles of strength.  And I imagined it was going to be scary, like sumo-wrestling scary.  It was neither.

CLAW is mostly theatrical, and fiercely entertaining with each competitor fully engrossed in their own special ‘persona.’  The wrestlers are escorted by full entourages of complimentary characters that tell a story sparing no cheeky (or blunt) innuendo or four letter word.  It’s fantastic.

The event always benefits a cause, this time supporting Common Ground Healing Arts, and was followed by a full fledged dance party.   There are 20 different leagues across the country now, all spin-offs of the original group here in Charlottesville (co-founded by Jodie, pictured on the right with the cowboy hat), so if you don’t live here, check to see if there is one near you.  It is more than worth your time.

Today was just as grey as the forecast predicted, which actually helped me to buckle down and crank out a few more of the tasks on my to-do list before getting in a short workout in the late afternoon.

DAR TABATA

Dar had done this workout just before I got out there, so those are her numbers for each round written in under each exercise.  Per usual I made a few changes to the program, this time simply using both arms for the swings, and replacing the Turkish Getups with plank variations keeping little to no transition rest in between variation changes or intervals.

One thing to remember with swings (which I don’t have the best or most complete or professional pictures for from today) is that it’s a hip hinge and extension.  It’s a common misconception to bend the knees to a near squatting position rather than focusing on the hinge and keeping an engaged and stable core.  It helps to start with the kettle bell in front of you just far enough that you can reach it from that hinge position without a deep knee bend.

KB swing setup

If you train with Dar on kettlebell technique, she usually refers to this position as the football hike position.  For girls that’s usually met with a sort of blank stare, but for guys it’s more like a perfect english translation to their understanding.

KB swing

To start the swing keep focus on the hinge and swing the KB high between your legs and then drive your hips forward to a full extension position, keeping your arms straight (holding ON TO THE KETTLEBELL) launching them up to eye level as you snap your hips forward.

KB swing KB swing

Dar is working on a series of kettlebell posts to help translate common misconceptions into proper technique, so hang tight, it’s coming to you soon.  As someone who didn’t start using kettlebells to train until the last two or three years, I have to say it is my favorite and most versatile tool for everyday workouts.  (If you don’t own one already, get one.  You can get them for cheap at target, and they fit in your closet.)

While Dar loves the turkish getup since it falls into her beloved ‘kettlebell movement’ category, I love planks.  I love lots of planks, for long periods of time, with little rest and lots of variations.

standard plank

Maybe it’s my pure barre background, or maybe it’s the plank holds we used to do in my ‘younger’ days, but forearm planks are a happy comfort place for me, relatively speaking.

side plank 1

I started to love side arm plank variations when I got into yoga.  My alignment isn’t quite perfect in these pictures, and my spirit fingers are sub-par, but the basics are there.  Since I was holding the plank series for nearly 4 minutes straight I transitioned through center with a slight rest in a straight arm plank until I was ready for the other side.

side plank 2

For the last 45 seconds I played around with a borderline mountain climber prep position, alternating sides for a knee to elbow movement that really helped to keep a more than steady burning through my core.

mountain climber

All in all this weekend somehow managed to be productive and relaxed, while also being activity laden and highly social.  I’m not sure exactly how that happened, but I’m not complaining.  The week starts for me bright and early tomorrow morning at the 6:15 bootcamp class, followed by a full day of task mastering so it’s time to shut down and scoot to bed.

Tomorrow we’re going to kick off a new (modified) real food challenge, so expect a little more nutrition talk complete with grocery lists and meal planning.

Beets + Greens Salad and Fridays After Five

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

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

salad + chicken

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

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

beets + greens w/caromont goat cheese

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

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

gluten free pasta primavera

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

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

fridays after five

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

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