Sweating + Working and Celebrating America

I keep thinking that it’s Saturday, but alas, it’s just Thursday so nobody panic.  We still have 3.5 sweet days left in this weekend and I, for one, intend to use them all.

Since getting back from Charlotte last week I’ve been a catch up and settle in cycle that can only be described as organizational chaos.  Thankfully I’ve squeezed in enough sweats to keep my brain functioning and my body awake.

Sunday required planning + body testing Tuesday’s bootcamp workout, which I was more than happy to oblige to since I needed a little circuit to get myself going in the morning.

The time table looked like this:

  • 45 seconds on / 15 seconds off (rotating through each station once per round)
  • 1 minute of rest in between rounds
  • 5 full rounds of high intensity pace

And the menu was:

  • Kettlebell RDL (option of 12, 16, or 20 kg kettlebells)
  • Medicine Ball Thrusters (holding ball at chest squat full down, drive up through heels extending arms and ball overhead while fully extending hip flexors)
  • Kettlebell twist (using 10 or 12 kg bells – slight dip with hips twisting to one side + pop up to extend hip flexor and twist bell to opposide side of body.  All while keeping an engaged core + strong back)
  • Turkish Getup w/barbell
  • Slamballs (12 or 20lb)

After testing this Sunday, Monday was a welcomed day for a long run + walk around town to slow things down a little and lengthen out the soreness in my glutes and hamstrings.

Tuesday morning was a boocamp morning which means a bright and early 5-something in the morning wake up, and kicking off the day with the 6 + 7am classes.  Per usual everyone rocked it, and we shot this picture of part of the 6am gang after the workout.

fuel sweat grow: 6am bootcampers

Usually I’ll try to swap coaching times with Dar if I can convince her, and I’ll take the 6am and she can take the 7 (if we feel so athletically inclined in those early morning hours) but Tuesday I happily delayed my activity until the afternoon and took a quick 2 mile warm up run before doing the circuit for the second time in three days with the 5:30pm group.  (I’m not pictured because apparently I have the most superior photo-taking skills – or at least that’s the reason I give myself.)

fuel sweat grow: 5:30pm boot campers

Meals this week have also been slightly chaotic, and have involved far more restaurant food than home-cooked, which is something I don’t usually like to let happen.

Monday night I did manage to pull myself together before too late and used the last of the fridge contents to make this meal.

fuel sweat grow: dinner at home

Ground local (Wolf Creek) beef with zucchini, onion, and mushrooms all sautéd together, plus a salad with romaine, almond slivers, blueberries, cucumber and avocado.

fuel sweat grow: guacamole and carrot chips

A side of my homemade guacamole and sliced carrot chips (for dipping and eating) also doubled as the salad dressing.  I’m not sure if it was just a really filling and great meal, or if I was so craving something home cooked, but it was exactly what I needed to kick off the ‘work week.’

There were multiple mornings turned ‘breakfast meetings’ at LaTaza this week, and I finally converted over to Dar’s full-time ‘regular’ order of scrambled eggs with veggies and extra avocado.

fuel sweat grow: eggs and avocado

This used to be my go-to for healthy (@28tolife style) breakfast out, but lately I had fallen into a pattern of getting the same thing, just wrapped up in a burrito.  I highly recommend both from a taste standpoint, but my body is thanking me for cutting out the gluten-full wrap.

Wednesday, which happened to be an off day for my body started with a LaTaza breakfast and began celebrating America a little early with an afternoon bar business meeting in Richmond.

fuel sweat grow: tequila snack time

It’s pretty uncommon (outside of such holiday events…) that I’ll decide on cocktails in the middle of the day, but somehow yesterday fit the bill, so I went for it.

After a full afternoon of meetings, and a quick trip over to Short Pump for a little retail tour, it got too late to think about going to the grocery store and cooking and when we got back to Charlottesville around 8:45, Dar and I settled on the idea of an extended post-business meeting business-meeting at The Local.

The one single change to my usual order is that I ventured over to the House Salad, forgetting my usual goat cheese favorite, and lived on the wild side of choice, even for just one meal.

The Local: House Salad

I’m not someone who can eat the same thing every single meal, or even every single day for that matter (outside of coffee and wine) but I have a hard time diverting from my favorite dishes at certain restaurants, especially if they’re local and real food oriented.  Therefore, once again I got the Tenderloin Special, and unlike Dar I opted to keep the potatoes rather than getting double vegetables.

The Local: tenderloin special

We’re celebrating America here people, and America (apparently) is about starches and butter, not vegetables.  [Disclaimer: I do not actually recommend that choice model or mentality any days of the week or year outside of some select holidays, and in moderation…].

This morning (Thursday — yep, still Thursday) since everyone was off work for the 4th, bootcamp turned into 1 group class with everyone still in town and moved to the park at 9am.

In an effort to push a little more cardio, and account for a larger group, the workout was structured a little differently.

4 people per station: 4 stations (each station had 2 exercises)

1. speed balls (modified wall balls)/breakdancers

2. jump squats/plank

3. slam balls/walking lunges

4. KB swings/star jumps

We started at each station for 2 minutes (1 minute of each exercise + then switch), with one minute of transition rest in between.  It may have been the heat, it may have been hangovers, or it may have just been much harder than we thought, but after the first round of 1 minute for each exercise, we took it down to speed rounds with round 2 having 45 second intervals, and round 3 pushing through at 30 second max effort intervals.  Regardless, there was heavy breathing, lots of sweating, and three full rounds of work.

Fuel sweat grow: boot campers

The rest of my day consisted of catching up on work, stocking up at Whole Foods (updates on that to come later), and this:

Fuel sweat grow: Ball Jar Mimosas

So far I’m enjoying my celebrations of both Freedom and America, but I’m ready for a nap, and still hoping to squeeze out a little more work.  Two contradictory forces working there, but I’m optimistic.

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 Week of Updates: From coffee to wine

This has been ‘one of those weeks.’  You know the kind where your workouts and meals seem like they’re wedged into 30 minute blocks and the rest of life slops out of it’s designated time slots to overtake your day?  Yes, it was that week.  Thankfully those brief windows of fueling and sweating managed to persist, and I have lived to tell the tale. Next week I will update you on the actual contents of my to-do lists, with big announcements coming out of FemCity Charlottesville.  Ah-mazing upcoming events.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but coffee is the only reason that I’m alive.  This is one fact that I’m certain of.   One of the hardest things about running around town on a crazy schedule is getting my coffee fix, but also getting some good food into my body to start the day.

LaTaza coffee

One of my favorite spots in Charlottesville, LaTaza, has the awesome coffee house community vibe, with great coffee, and great food to back it up.  The breakfast menu is awesome in and of itself, but they are also amazing about modifications.  I’ve found myself there several times this week for meetings, but Wednesday morning after bootcamp I desperately needed a re-fuel.

Scrambled eggs with zucchini, tomato and a side of avocado. If that’s not an awesome healthy dine-out breakfast, I don’t know what is.  Oh, also, it was delicious.  It’s so hard to find a spot that has great coffee and great food, so this was such an amazing find.

laTaza breakfast

As I was heading back out into the world, well fed and caffeinated, I caught a glimpse of this flyer for Adam & Katie’s yoga workshop next weekend at Opal Yoga, right here in the heart of Charlottesville.

KatieAdamYoga

I can not wait for next weekend not only to see those two jokers, but to show them around our beautiful city. Since I know that they’re on the same page when it comes for having locavore hearts and a love for all things farm to table, one of the stops on the docket will undoubtedly be the city market. This way I can fulfill my produce needs for the week, buy my local meat, and see the ever-loving ever-amazing creative soul, Erin McDermott, who will be selling her jewelry there.

Quick sidenote: check out this guide from Real Simple on the best spring produce.  It’s a great one to keep seasonable vegetables in mind, and generate some new fresh meal ideas.

spring produce

Dinners have been mostly grilled or left over this week, with my personal favorite meal of grilled flank steak and vegetables.

flank steak grilled

When it comes to grilled vegetables, the most commonly grilled for me are usually asparagus, squash, eggplant, and peppers/onions when it’s kabob time, so I wanted to throw in something different.  A few weeks ago I had some grilled cauliflower at Zinc that I absolutely loved so I gave it a shot at home.

grilled zucchini + cauliflower

Truly, it was awesome.  Cauliflower doesn’t have the same crisping tendency that broccoli does, so it gets nice and tender without the same burning/dry tips.  You can lightly brush with olive oil and season with salt (or whatever you want – maybe throw in a little cayenne for a kick) and grill it up.

The other upside to grilling a little firmer of a vegetable is that they really hold up well as leftovers to use with other meals, and in the case of this week, in scrambled eggs.  Seriously, it was good.

My sweat schedule this week consisted almost exclusively of Bootcamp, with one simple quick and dirty run that may have actually been my first run in a few weeks. I’ve been nursing a tight back thanks to some not-so-smart adventuring that I did, so my goal was to keep moving, but take it all in stride.  Rest can be a good thing.

I’ve hit my limit of work interest for the day, or maybe the week, so I’ve planned a walk into the afternoon and will be shutting down for the rest of the night with a couple productive but social (socially productive work) meetings to kick off the weekend.   As I  always say, ‘when in doubt, wine,’ and that’s exactly what’s on the docket.

wine

Until next time, keep it local + cook it clean!

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.