3 Ways to Push Through Wednesday + MADabolic Innovation

Welcome to Wednesday, otherwise known as the day that simultaneously sells you on a ‘slow descent into Friday’ and slams you with all the things at once.  The only thing you can do is slam it right back (with maybe a little more force?) and take that sweet little ride into the weekend.

Three things happen to me on days like this:

1. Hyper-structuring.  Every moment is accounted for, every detail is organized, and edges are just a little sharper.  It’s about getting things done and propelling forward, because honestly, there’s no other option.

2. Food becomes fuel.  Efficiency is the goal, and that includes meals.  Somehow with limited time meals seem to come together with a greater purpose — and that purpose is to fuel me through the next phase of motion without a crash.  I don’t know why (or how) but the most innovative and delicious combinations always come out of these days.

3. Definitive thinking. Hyper structure typically breeds more than just sharp edges.  Thoughts become more black and white, capacity for the unnecessary is limited, and emails tend to have a little extra bite to them.  It’s business time y’all, and apparently there is no more space for the grey area.

So, lets be honest, while today started off presenting as a bear of a day, it has since been defeated thanks to some great developments on all sides of my world — beginning with our exciting morning news that greatist named MADabolic as one of The Top 28 Most Innovative Gyms in America.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Cville

This was definitely a big endorsement and an awesome compliment coming from the greatist blog which happens to be one of my own top 28 blogs to follow (and that full list is a lengthy one).  Just over three years ago when Dar and I went to the first preview class at the MAD headquarters in Charlotte we knew that it was the next thing — with the crux being the program design and science that goes into it.  We both immediately began to resent the other fitness concepts we were knee deep in opening and knew it was only a matter of time before we would have to make a change to bring the MADness to Charlottesville.

You live and you learn I suppose, and it didn’t take us much time at all to find a way to get back to the roots.  I think that’s what I love the most – the science behind the programming, the functional elements, and the informed reasons behind those patterns.  It’s really hard to find methods that are smart when it comes to functional movement patterns or the ‘why’ behind it all, and that’s definitely not something I will ever compromise on again.

So, here we sit two years later, and all we have to show for it is an amazing community (communities, really) of MADones, healthier lifestyles all around, and a brand growing in both power and numbers.  Not a bad place to be if you ask me.

After this morning news peak my focus thankfully remained and I was able to leverage hyper-structuring mode to get some more ducks in a row.  I can only hope to be all set for mother nature’s next slap in the face.  Tomorrow is looking like it will be a pretty definite snow day, so here’s to keeping things in high gear, fuel included, to march hard into Friday and a three-day weekend.

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Durable Weekend: Moving, Brunch + Wahoowa

The weekend was an exercise in durability for me, all around, but was sweetly padded with these stems on Friday night from Robin, the lovely owner of Tru Pilates here in Charlottesville.

fuel sweat grow: friday flowers

Little did she know that we were testing her most durable nature Saturday morning at MADabolic (sorry!) with a killer combination of movements packed into our Twice As Nice interval.  [Disclaimer: the ‘Nice’ part of the name is slightly deceptive — just ask Throck (pictured below).]

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Durability

Immediately following my test of will in the interval, it was time to move yet another 16′ container of all my earthly belongings into the new house.  ON a normal day this would have been tasking, but after my early morning abuse it was absolutely brutal.  By the end of the night I was ready to collapse, and I’m assuming that’s what happened since in retrospect I have zero idea what I even did.

Sunday morning included a stop in at MAD to get a few items in order, and then brunch at Beer Run.  My short review of brunch: it’s possible to eat clean, but the presentation and amount of food is underwhelming at best.

fuel sweat grow: beer run brunch

 

It was well past my normal morning eating time when we got the food, so I ate the whole thing in about two seconds.  I had the snow white omleette [basil, purple onion, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and whole eggs] which really was good — but I could have eaten two for sure.

After brunch I actually made a follow up smoothie with ice, coconut milk, cold brew coffee from Stock, a spoonful of almond butter, banana, a tiny bit of vanilla extract, and a touch of raw cocoa powder for a little kick of flavor.  It was good – SO good.

The rest of the day flew by with some pool time and last, but certainly not least, the UVa v. Ole Miss game in the College World Series – and a crazy walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth.  Seriously, I’m not a fan of the high-anxiety, right-up-to-the-last-out, kind of games, but I agree that it truly adds to the excitement – as long as we win in the end.

Late night stress aside, it was a damn good night for UVa and a great way to kick off another 5-day haul.

 

Full Health + 1/2 Birthdays: Celebrating the Good

The total chaos of the past few weeks left little time for grocery shopping, and even less time for at-home food preparation.  The unfortunate consequence of all this was that meals became few and far between, and resulted in frequent meals out.  On the other hand, the fortunate upside is that living in Charlottesville allows for pretty awesome clean eating (if that’s your thing).

Still on my kale binge, I was beyond excited to walk into The Farm and see these fresh Kale salad’s being set out for lunch.

Kale from the farm

I grabbed a huge water (since coffee had been overly dominant in my total beverage intake), a banana to add a little more to the meal, and happily set up back at the office.

There were carrots, sunflower seeds (my favorite) and a lemon juice and salt dressing.  I’m a huge fan of citrus dressing on Kale salads, and if it sits for a little while prior to eating it, it softens the leaf so it’s not such a huge dry crunch.  My dad actually gave me that tip and has an orange kale salad that is on my short list to make this fall.

kale lemon salad

The week I discovered this amazing lunch option at The Farm happened to be two weeks prior to opening the Charlottesville location, and the week that my parents were coming to visit.

One of the most exciting summer traditions in my parent’s lives (that sounds sad, but it’s not…) is my dad’s garden.  Growing up we always had an overflow of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and whatever other vegetables we chose to plant that year.  In the last few years my dad has started growing Kale, and it yields such a huge and continuous crop that he some with him.

Ralph Kale

This is just a small bunch from the huge bag he brought, and went into a number of meals, smoothies, and salads over the following two weeks.   But that all happened after my parents left. While they were here, the food tour of Charlottesville continued — and hit it’s peak during Dar’s 1/2 birthday party.

Since life has been crazy, and work has been even crazier, our clients, friends, and all of Dar’s boyfriends (with their significant others) met at Champion Brewing Co for a surprise 1/2 Birthday + 1 year in Charlottesville night of fun.

Dar Birthday at Champion

It was a great distraction from the (then) half-complete build out, and an amazing group of people.

Champion: Dar's birthday

After we left Champion, we all walked over to one of my favorite local spots – Mono Loco – to continue the fun, just with food.   Dar led the way, ‘Up-style’ with the balloons Uday got her, attached to her belt.

Dar's 1/2 birthday

Throw in some bubbles and Dar was a happy 1/2 birthday girl.

Bubbles

Surprise parties, beer, and bubbles aside, the night was desperately needed.  There are times in life when everything collides at once: stress, work, and anxiety; and we don’t take care of ourselves the way we should.  Sometimes that means not eating well, other times it comes from sacrificing our own workouts, and most times, it means we’ve deprived ourselves of the happy and fulfilling stimulus of being surrounded by friends and conversation.

food blog: mono loco

food blog: mono loco

I think that’s the  piece of the ‘health’ recipe that we sometimes miss – the complete and total human need for other humans.  For friends, for connections, and for the ability to escape the stress of regularly scheduled life.

mono loco

The last few weeks, through our opening, it has been this third element of health, and life, that has been so critical in keeping things in perspective– lessening the weight of all we have to do.  I am so grateful for all of the support from friends, family, and our new growing community — seriously thank you all, it has truly made all of the chaos worthwhile.

Today marked the end of the 1st week of business, and was met with a full 9:30am class – full of bodies and full of energy –  which made for an amazing morning.  Tomorrow begins week 2, and I can’t wait to see what it holds.  I’m thinking that more friends and less stress are exactly what’s on the menu.  Plus, I finally managed a full-restock of the fridge, so things are definitely looking up.

MADville is Open + I’m Back on the Blog

Hey there.  It’s been a while.

The last couple of months have been beyond packed, prepping to open the MADness in Charlottesville.   As we got down to the wire, I had to unplug for a while, but I’m finally (almost) back to normal.  And you know what that means — we’re finally up and running in Charlottesville.

MADville

It was an incredibly long road (relatively speaking) to finally get here, and given that fact, it was even more exciting to open the doors and share our MAD lifestyle with Charlottesville.  Plus, I absolutely love how our space turned out.

MADville desk

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There is something so vulnerable, raw, and simultaneously empowering about opening the doors to a business that you’ve invested so much of your energy into.  This past weekend was exactly that, but so much better.

We offered four days of free preview classes, and had 200 people come through the door- some familiar faces, and some brand new.  We were lucky to have one of our business partners, Georgi, up from Charlotte to coach and help bring the brand alive.

MADville preview week

One of the things that I have always loved most about Charlottesville is how active and vibrant the community is.  Runners (both marathon and recreational), yogis, triathletes, swimmers, rowers — we have it all, and an overflow of active individuals driven both by competition, and an inner drive for well-rounded health.  That’s exactly what our brand is about.  Our programming was developed to feed that need of the athletically minded and to enhance the performance of competitive and elite level athletes .

MADville

This week was our first week of official business, and I could not be more humbled and excited by the response of the community and all of our clients.  Our clients have brought in so much energy, and so many friends, that it actually feels like we’ve been open for months.

MAD pricing

Tomorrow marks the official end to our first week of business, and we’re kicking off the morning with a full class.  It feels good to look at that in the system, but I can tell you it feels even better when we’re in the middle of a full, energy laden, and intense interval.

Now that I’m just about caught up with everything to be just marginally behind in life, I can catch up in all of the amazing meals, community finds, and updates that have been held back.  Also, don’t be surprised if you see the blog get a facelift — I’ve been getting antsy with it, and I feel like fall is a good time for a style change.

 

The Crunch: time + greens

I think I’m obsessed with kale.  I’ve always liked it just fine, but recently I’ve been craving it.

Usually when my body tells me it’s craving leafy greens I go with it – it knows better than I do – and with all the craziness of the last few months I just need a little more from my food.

We’re about two weeks out from opening the doors to Fight Gone MAD – Charlottesville, and it has been far less than a smooth buildout so we’re all feeling the time crunch.  In fact, I’d say it’s been a borderline nightmare on what should have been a simple project, so the extra anxiety has taken its toll on my body (or sanity).  So, in the spirit of making good of what is possible – I bought kale.  Lots of kale.

Kale

Since I live by the motto, ‘when in Whole Foods.’ I stopped by the meat counter to stock up on some of my favorite grass-fed cuts.

whole foods meat

Whole Foods happened to also be running a deal on chicken breasts, so I got a family pack to go with this meal, and the meat was stocked in the fridge for another meal to come (soon).

fuel sweat grow: food blog kale salad

For greens we had kale and asparagus – kale for the salad and asparagus to be grilled along with the cauliflower and chicken.

Fuel sweat grow: cauliflower + asparagus

In the salad the kale was met with some cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, and a little added spring mix.  A quick knock off of the House Seasonal salad at Nolen Kitchen in Charlotte I shared a few weeks back – it was exactly what I wanted.  Kale has an amazing crunch to it, while also being leafy, so the mixture of the different lettuces adds a great texture.

fuel sweat grow: kale salad

I made some guacamole as a side (with sliced carrot chips), and it doubled as the salad dressing.  It doesn’t take much on the fork or on a piece of lettuce to give it some flavor and saved me the trouble of getting into an oil/vinegar mixture.

guacamole: fuel sweat grow

This meal is exactly right for green-craving day.

fuel sweat grow: kale salad with chicken

It was so good that Bug achieved stalker status (two notches above begging) and employed her deep breath + audible sigh technique to voice her displeasure.

Bug says: stalking

As far as sweats go, I’ve been doing mostly around-town running this past week, fitting in to whatever time slot I have open, actually running to the location to meet with contractors and our super awesome property manager Fabian.

I did manage to slip in some few and far between garage workouts, one of which was last night (a Saturday nonetheless) at 8:45pm.  It definitely felt late, and being post-dinner was a little tougher to mentally cope with, but I needed the sweat, badly, and it was totally worth it.

I still owe updates on our training at Fight Gone MAD (Inc)’s flagship in Charlotte with our management team, and initial team of trainers, but until then, here’s a little peek at some of the canvases waiting to find their new home on the walls in Charlottesville.

fuel sweat grow: MADness photos

fuel sweat grow: fight gone mad canvases

From the Beach to the MADness

This week started out at the beach, on what was a last-ditch attempt to get away and have some semblance of a vacation before all the MADness hits the fan, and ended with 4 days that felt like 4 weeks, with hours of to-do’s crammed into half-hour time slots.  We’ve all been there, so I’m sure you get the picture.  It was chaotic, it was all over the place, and despite some major logistical debacles, was pretty productive.

My sweat schedule went like this:

Monday: Run

Tuesday: Flywheel w/Jenna!

Wednesday: Fight Gone MAD w/Brandon (and the ever present coach, Kirk, working out with us)

Thursday: 16 oz curls (read: pool grilling and drinking)

Friday: Fight Gone MAD w/Kirk

Saturday: a last minute, totally stressed out squeeze into an empty bike in Jenna’s class.

Today: another Flywheel, because it’s so darn convenient, and tomorrow it’s time to roll back into the MADness.

I haven’t been cooking much as of late, so I’ve been subject to the menu options of restaurants all over Charlotte.  Before I get into that, I’d like to personal thank Starbucks and the fine iced coffee brewers over at Sunflour Baking Company for sponsoring my caffeine fixes, and keeping my brain functioning.

As for food, here’s some of what fueled me this week

A (very) late breakfast at Cheesecake factory consisted of their Energy Breakfast: scrambled egg whites, roasted tomatoes, and grilled chicken over a spinach + mushroom sauté.  It’s one of my favorite daytime items on their menu, and if you’re so inclined can be requested to NOT be cooked in butter.

cheesecake factory

Another on-the-go lunch took place at one of my favorite spots in Charlotte, The Cowfish Sushi + Burger Bar.

CYO burger at Cowfish

This particular meal was a create your own with a regular burger on a lettuce wrap (sort of…the lettuce wrap was kind of weak) with lettuce, tomato, onion, roasted red peppers, avocado, and a side of grilled veggies).  I have to say, I have infrequently (in the past) opted for the veggies over their sweet potato fries, but the squash stalks were amazing.

On Wednesday night we had a little Fight Gone MAD ‘owners dinner’ of our own at 1900 Mexican in Elizabeth.  Dar was also in Charlotte getting ready for her big Main Stage Show this weekend, so we met up with Tracie + Roland who recently announced that they will be opening the Fight Gone MAD in Lake Norman (north charlotte).

I love the food at 1900 Mexican, and the food was amazing, but I didn’t take pictures of it.  I did however capture the most important new menu item, and that was this Breakfast Margarita.  The addition of grapefruit juice and either grapefruit or orange zest was perfection.

1900 Mexican, breakfast margarita

Thursday was a really long day for me so I was happy to get a text from Dar and our friend Billy in the mid-afternoon saying that grilling and beer-ing (or in my case, cider-ing) was underway out by Billy and Gwen’s pool, so I hightailed it over there as soon as I was able to wrap up a few more to-do’s and errands.

Food credit on this meal goes entirely to Dar who has in the last year not only learned how to feed herself, but now also others.  And well.

fuel sweat grow: food blog

We had amazing skirt steak and filets from Whole Foods, grilled zucchini + yellow squash, and a huge awesome salad, a la the summer fruit trend.

fuel sweat grow: summer salad

Even Bug, who has recently NOT been eating the same way she used to, enjoyed herself and a new toy that she got for being good (well, pretty much for no reason at all, actually).
bug

Friday I took myself to the mall during lunch to get a few errands under my belt and break up the work day, which worked, and also allowed me to catch up with some of my favorite lemons at the lululemon in Southpark, and then capped off the late afternoon with an early evening Fight Gone MAD class, and dinner at the Peculiar Rabbit with Kelli, another FGM regular and a great friend.

What I didn’t anticipate was the craziness of the rest of the weekend (not in the going-out-hard way), or the impending chaos of the upcoming week.  The good news is everyone survived, no one got injured, and I managed to knock out a big load of necessary tasks in the last 24 hours to ease the harsh return of Monday.