Monday, August 1, 2016

Don't Fall In Love. Rise In It.

I used to think drama in relationships was inevitable.
I used to think relationships were a lot of work.
I used to think I wasn’t deserving of true love.
I used to think I’d never let my walls down long enough to experience love.
And ultimately, I used to think if I ever did meet the right one, I’d fall in love.
I had it all wrong.
I did meet the right one. But instead of falling in love, I rose in love.
This love is easy. In fact, it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to wonder.
I don’t have to fight for my relationship’s success.
I may not always be easy going, but I’m in the calmest place I’ve ever been.
Any time two people come together – be it in a work relationship, a friendship or a passionate relationship – there will be bumps in the road. After all, that’s what happens when two opinions, two thought processes and two egos are brought together. But bumps are merely ways to gain greater understanding of one another. They’re meant to educate us and ultimately bring us closer together.
I’m not writing this to brag about the love I am graced to receive. I am writing this because there were many years of wondering, of worrying, of crying – scared that I would never find it. That I’d never meet someone who loved me and stood by me. That I’d never meet someone I wanted to open the dark corners of myself to.
But here I am. I’m still the same imperfectly perfect someone. It is possible. It’s possible to find someone who loves all the things the people before ran from. It’s possible to find someone who makes being vulnerable not seem so scary. It’s possible to find someone who brings purpose to your life like you never imagined.
I write this in case you – or anyone you know or love – is scared. Scared they’re undeserving. Scared that after too much heartbreak it’s just not possible. I’m here to tell you it is.
Rising in love has humbled me in a way I never imagined. It has woken me up in the middle of my life. It has brought meaning to the most meaningless things. It makes me strive to be softer. To be kinder. To be more tolerant. And for those reasons – and a million more – I will never be the same. And that’s 100% okay by me.

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Latest ClassPass Experiences and Why I Decided to Quit

Before I get to a few reviews of recent ClassPass experiences, let me first say despite cancelling my membership, I am not knocking the service entirely. I think it’s a great option if you’re looking for variety and affordability. However, I feel as though the brand has grown at rapid speed and I have become frustrated at how difficult it is to get a spot in my favorite classes, the fact that I cannot take more than 3 classes per month at favorite studios, and lastly the issue with dramatic increases in their monthly unlimited memberships.
When I initially signed up for ClassPass in 2015, it cost $89 per month for an unlimited membership. Less than 6 months later I received an email stating the price of my membership increased to $120 per month without additional services ($165 per month for new members!). While I was slightly annoyed to receive an email providing no real detail as to why my rate went up, I stuck around because I honestly felt the new price point was still worth it! Since then, I’ve become frustrated that once I fall in love with a studio, I cannot take more than THREE classes per month despite having an “unlimited membership.” I also do not appreciate that most studios don’t open up all of their classes to ClassPass. Working a full time job and having a life to live makes scheduling my workouts at convenient times of utmost importance. The final straw came last week – when I uncovered that my membership was about to skyrocket from $120 to $175 per month ($200 for new members) with again, NO NEW additional services. I've since decided to sign up directly with a CrossFit gym and a barre studio (with the hopes of becomming an instructor there later this year). 

Like I mentioned, if you’re new to town (or new to the fitness world) and need variety and affordability, I say give ClassPass a shot. But if you’ve found a studio (or studios!) you love, call them directly and speak with the owner to figure out an affordable membership option. And treat yo self to a manicure with the $$ you save! 

Now, on to those ClassPass reviews I promised above…

1)      UFC Gym I came on a Saturday morning for their boxing class, described on their site as: Boxing Conditioning teaches basic boxing skills and techniques, designed to increase muscular strength and cardio endurance -- the perfect class to get shredded! Boxing Conditioning will include cardio calisthenics, shadow boxing, bag work (150lb. bag) and core strengthening exercises. You will sweat like crazy, build a rock solid core and burn hundreds of calories
My ratings:
Instructor: 4 out of 5. Brandon was definitely knowledgeable as a Boxer by trade, however his quick combos without any set up left me with awful flashbacks to my one and only experience at Zumba. Everyone went left, and I went right. Everyone stepped forward, I was walking backwards.
Ability to break a sweat: 4 out of 5. I definitely worked up a sweat throwing around all of those jabs, hooks and crosses. I didn’t, however, love how the smell of sweat permeated everything from the bags, to the mats, to the gloves I had wrapped around my hands.
Chances I’ll return: Unlikely
2)      Trim Fitness Studio It was the day after CrossFit and my body was begging for a day off from lifting weights, so I headed into this studio for a Lagree method pilates-style class. If you’ve never heard of Lagree, the class is described on their site as follows: Lagree Method is a vigorous fitness program that fuses the principles of Pilates with strength training, cardio, resistance & counter-resistance for full body conditioning. Each student enjoys an intense and safe workout while burning between 500-700 calories in a single 45 minute class! The highly motivating, certified instructors combined with the new M3™ Megaformer machine will give you the optimal results you’ve been searching for! This core targeted, high-octane, shirt-drenching workout will strengthen your body, tighten, lengthen & tone your muscles, burn fat, improve endurance plus jump-start your metabolism!
My ratings:
Instructor: 2 out of 5. Kimberly was the only staff member when I arrived at the studio and was very friendly. She explained the megaformer machine to me quickly and before I knew it, shoes were off and class began. For something like pilates on a reformer, I would’ve appreciated a bit more hands on (especially being my first time there) or at least a bit of teacher demonstration. Kimberly shouted out orders so fast, I felt as though I was at Sotheby’s buying a piece of art. Personally, this style of teaching is not effective for me.
Ability to break a sweat: 2 out of 5. I may have sweat a tiny bit here and there, but I spent most of my time looking around trying to discern what I was supposed to be doing. It felt like a game of Twister gone wrong. Right foot here, left hand WHERE?!?
Chances I’ll return: Very unlikely
3)      Full Pshycle I checked out an early morning spin class here with a girlfriend and loved it! I may have initially been intimated when upon check-in was asked if I wanted a pair of ear plugs, but the studio was adorable, the staff friendly and equipment brand new!
My ratings:
Instructor: 4.5 out of 5. UGH I so wish I could give Shelby 5 out of 5, but her constant repetition of the words “OH YEAH!” sort of drove me nutty. Aside from that, she brought an awesome level of energy to the class and even when it was hard to understand her, I loved the class. She even came by to explain the bike to me (the bikes are a bit different than standard studios). She seems to love what she does, which is always what you want to see out of an instructor!
Ability to break a sweat: 5 out of 5. I was basically swimming in my own sweat at the conclusion of our class.
Chances I’ll return: Highly Likely
4)      Xtend Barre It’s been so long since I’ve taken a barre class! I loved teaching classes last year, and was so sad when I chose to walk away from teaching because of how hard it was balancing a full time career and training for my first fitness competition. It was simply too much. Since then, I honestly haven’t taken more than a handful of classes. I’ve recently thought about going back to teaching (for fun) and stumbled upon this studio in my ClassPass app. After reading great reviews, I decided to take a class this past weekend with a girlfriend. For those unfamiliar, here is a description of an Xtend barre class: Xtend Barre is Pilates and Dance Amplified! Xtend Barre is a 55 min multi-level class geared to challenge bodies of any age, gender, or fitness background. You'll get it all in one class! Full body toning, cardio, core and stretches! Sound too good to be true? It's not! All exercises can be modified for beginners, pre and postnatal clients or clients with injuries, but that can also be amplified for advanced clients that are looking for an extreme challenge.
My ratings:
Instructor: 5 out of 5. If I could give Jordan a higher rating, I would. She was amazing – such positive energy and with such grace! She smiled the entire class and I felt her attitude was 100% genuine.
Ability to break a sweat: 5 out of 5. Honestly, I was surprised with how much I sweat during this class. It was intense!! We used props (mainly a small ball and light hand weights – I used 3lbers) and I was sore the next day (particularly in my side-butt region). I loved how hard segments of this workout were. Earlier in the week I crushed a long, intense CrossFit workout – and to come get my butt handed to me in this barre class was a reminder to always vary my types of workouts to ensure I work all my muscles in different ways!
Chances I’ll return: Already signed up for membership :)

What about you? Have you heard of (or tried) ClassPass? What do you think of the model?


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Healthy and Fit on the Road: It's Possible!

I feel like one of those shitty friends who calls after letting days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months with zero contact. Thankfully I haven’t been MIA because something bad happened, I’ve just been busy adulting over here. Work demands have monopolized quite a bit of my time these days – but I’ve also been busy spending time with friends and the boyfriend, too! Things have been so hectic, in fact, that I’m writing this to you from 35,000 feet. Which brings me to my next thought…

I know I’m not alone in saying it’s hard to balance a hectic life with a healthy life. You feel me?! 

Maybe you’re like me and fly more days in a month than some fly in a year – or maybe you haven’t stepped foot in an airport since  you could picked loved ones up at the gate (ah, the good ol days). Maybe you’re busy juggling work, family demands, squeezing in your workouts all while trying to keep up with all your other obligations. Either way – it’s trickery I tell ya, trickery!

So how do I make time for working out while ensuring I’m eating nutritious food on the road? With over 11 years of business travel under my belt, I’ve developed a few tips and tricks I’d love to share:

1)      Don’t let yourself get hangry. How many times have you rushed out of the house and thought, “I’ll just grab something when I get to airport”? Your intentions may be good. Perhaps you’ll scour the terminal for a grilled chicken salad or search for a freshly prepared acai bowl – but chances are, you won’t. I’m not being Negative Nelly over here, I’m simply being realistic. Far too many times we run out of the house without eating, fully intending upon “grabbing something” once we get past security and settle in at the terminal before take-off. Chances are by this point, we’re hangry and reach for the first thing we see. And let’s be honest, healthy choices at the airport are not aplenty. This morning I witnessed it firsthand – folks grabbing McDonalds and candy before boarding our 10:30am flight. While I could’ve easily done the same (or bought my ultimate favorite airport indulgence – I mean really, how good are Twizzlers?!?!) – I didn’t. Instead I bought a tall Cold Brew at Starbucks and drank it alongside a baggie of celery and grapes I packed from home. Knowing I’d need a protein boost, I also tossed an RX Bar in my bag (if you haven’t heard of them – go check em out!! They are made with minimal ingredients and are essentially a protein-packed version of a LaraBar). The lesson here is just as the old adage goes – “Fail to plan and plan to fail.” Maybe it’s the night before, or maybe if you’re like me it’s the 5 minutes before your Uber driver arrives - but go ahead and pack those healthy snacks so whether you’re stuck at the gate or trying to get through a long flight, you’ll have healthy, notoriously dense sustenance to keep you going!
2)      Schedule your workouts in advance. I may not be as avid of a CrossFitter as I once was but one of the things I’ve always loved about CrossFit was the community. Whether you’re walking into your neighborhood box or one on the road, you’ll generally always be welcomed with friendly, smiling faces. In fact, “dropping in” on a local CF box has been a longtime favorite of mine – whether I’m traveling for business or pleasure. When I know I have an upcoming trip, I’ll look at boxes close to my meetings or to my hotel – and I’ll reserve a spot for myself. Paying in advance ensures I stay accountable and follow through with my commitment. This way if my coworkers try to convince me to join for happy hour or drinks after dinner, it makes it easier to pass knowing come 6am the next day, I must be ready to lift my little heart out. Which brings me to my next point…
3)      Limit the booze. Gosh, when I think back to my rookie business travel days at 21, I had NO clue how to do it the healthy way. I’d be on my feet in the production studio working 12+ hours days, followed by indulging in a heavy steakhouse meal with my team (I mean, it was FREE!), coupled with copious amounts of wine, followed by “just one drink” at the hotel bar… just to go upstairs, catch a whopping 5 hours of sleep and do it all over again. Not surprisingly, I quickly burnt out and began to dread business travel. Nowadays, my trips look a whole lot different. I never drink alcohol on flights anymore and if I do join colleagues for happy hour or dinner, I limit myself to 1-2 drinks no matter what. Getting in the gym by 5-6 am, followed by brainstorming in a boardroom for 10 hours (or more) leaves me exhausted come the end of the workday. These days the idea of drinking at a bar has zero (maybe less than zero) appeal. I’d rather go back to my room, unwind, talk to my loved ones and hit the hay. And if I’m going to expend the calories on drinks, I’d rather wait until I get home and share a bottle of wine with the boyf anyway J
4)      Bring the comforts of home. In my bag right now (aside from work attire) are my resistance bands, workout clothes, running sneakers, dry shampoo, BCCAs, vitamins, and protein. Sure it’s a pain in the ass to pack it all – but it ensures that even when I’m staying in an unfamiliar place, I still have just some of the comforts of home. And while this isn’t fitness related, I even bring all of my favorite skincare products. Did you know Sephora gives out free samples of any product they sell?? And have you ever asked your facialist or dermatologist for samples of the products they use? This way even if you’re bringing a small carry-on like me, you can still have all your guilty pleasures right at your fingertips!

I could go on and on but the flight attendant just informed me we’re on our final approach and I must shut down the laptop. I hope some (if not all!) of these tips helped you – whether you’re running yourself around the country for business or simply running around your hometown juggling the endless demands of life!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bathing in Mustard and Other Random Fitness-Related Faves

Bathing in Mustard. Okay, hear me out. Maybe you body build. Maybe you CrossFit. Maybe you run long distances. Or maybe you work a corporate gig and always feel tight, stiff and achy. Shy of shelling out major bucks on massages every week, what are we supposed to do to alieviate sore muscle pain? If you've tried soaking in Epsom Salt, you've seen nothing in comparison to... you guessed it. Mustard!! I know it sounds so weird - but trust me on this. Found on Amazon or in your local Whole Foods Market, this stuff is the bom dot com (are people saying that anymore?!). Run a hot bath (as hot as you can take it), throw some of this mustard bath in and get ready to be pleasantly surprised at how amazing you'll feel afterwards. I've used this stuff for years - it's helped me through sore muscles due in part to CrossFit comps, training for my fitness comp, after triathlons, even after a long day of work. It even helps open up your sinuses and you'll notice you start sweating out impurities just sitting in the bath (may want to take a quick shower afterwards #justsayin).  

IT Band Pain. Gawdddd my IT bands are always in a constant state of torture. My monthly massages consist of me screaming bloody murder from the pain radiating out of my tight and over worked legs. Anyone else feel my pain?! (See what I did there - so punny!) For my fellow fitness enthisuiants constantly fighting IT band issues, I strongly encourage you to start incorporating some stretches post-workout. I've bookmarked this bad boy and plan to incorporate some much needed post-lifting stretches. Thanks! 
8 Yoga Poses and Stretches for Tight IT Bands

Tumeric Protein Smoothie Bowls. Switching up the beautifully delicious Acai Bowls I've been making lately, I decided to start experimenting with tumeric. I've begun incorporating it into a lot of my meals - and holy yumola. I invented this breakfast - which can literally be throw together in less than 5 minutes and can easily be taken on the go. Simply throw into a blender:

  • 8 ice cubes (the more ice, the thicker it'll be!)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Cashew Milk (I think this is way creamer and more flavorful than almond milk!)
  • 1 scoop favorite protein (I love the way PEScience Snickerdoodle tastes in this - but anything will do)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 teaspoon each of: cinnamon, powdered ginger and tumeric
  • Blend!

If you're taking this on the go, you're done. If you're enjoying this at home, I like to pour the mixture into a bowl and top with 1 teaspoon of chia seeds and a 1 teaspoon of Cake Batter Buff Bake (because I'm obsessed and because some healthy fat is great since the bowl is virtually fat free). 

Macros for the bowl (without toppings): 171 Calories, 15 carbs, 2 fat, 25 protein, 8 sugar

I hope you give some of the three things I've been loving lately a shot. And if you do, I'd love to hear what you think!!


*As always, all opinions are my own. I'm not being paid to endorse any products I blog about. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

How I Overcame My Destination Addiction

Are you addicted to the future? Do you tie your happiness to short-term goals? How many times have you associated happiness with the next happy hour, the next orgasm, the next fancy date night out, the next time you get on the scale and realize you’re 5 pounds down?

You say: “I’ll be happy when…” Happy when you find a partner. Happy when you receive a promotion. Happy when you go on vacation. 

Don’t get me wrong – there's nothing wrong with wanting those things. They're all wonderful! But things becomes dicey when we unknowingly place the key to our happiness in the pocket of the future.

It’s frustrating – I get it. If we at all feel like we’re not living the life we imagined, it’s easy to get caught up thinking our happiness resides in the next place. But the hard truth is, until we let go of the notion that happiness lies somewhere else, it will never be where you are.

Great. So Now What?
For me, it all started with the conscious effort to stop making plans. Stop making resolutions. Stop setting goals. I simply decided to stop planning and start living. The shift came to me as the New Year approached. I was racking my brain (like I usually do!) about what lofty goals I should set for myself in 2016.

But the truth was, I was tired of chasing goals. I was tired of keeping my eye out on some future date. So just like that, I decided to live like tomorrow doesn’t exist. I got real honest with myself and asked: “If all I have is this day, will it be enough?”

With that new frame of mind, it just seemed silly to waste hours fantasizing about vacations a year from now. It seemed counter-productive worrying about what could be.

I started living with purpose and found contentment. I started telling those closest to me how much I love them. I stole a few more kisses from my boyfriend. I turned off the tv and cuddled up with Lucy (despite her trying to wrangle her way out of my love grip). I took the time each and every day to look around at my life and realize it was enough. I had enough. I am enough.

And just like that, I started to overcome my destination addiction.

You may be reading this and thinking I’m bat shit crazy. You may be wondering how we’re supposed to live our lives as responsible adults if we don’t plan for the future.
And I hear you. But what’s so different about what I’m proposing versus reality? None of us have a crystal ball. None of us know when our time or the time of our loved ones is up. Don’t get me wrong, I want nothing more than to live a long and full life – surrounded by everyone who makes my heart burst with joy. But WHAT IF we lived like there was no tomorrow? Just think about how powerful that can be.

Okay, I Get It. So How Do I Start Living for Now?
Start with what it is you want. Is your goal to start living an active life? Maybe it’s to spend a bit more time nurturing your friendships and relationships. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to dabble in spirituality or religion. Figure out your WHY – whatever it is that motivates you and brings your happiness. And maybe you don't know what that is yet - and that's okay! Just begin taking small, deliberate steps. Abandon the toxic habits of comparing and complaining, and begin purposely living each day so that what you want out of life eventually becomes your reality.

If you’re never read Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, I highly encourage you to do so. Over 3 million copies have been sold in the States and I think that's because this book truly does help guide us to live in the present moment and avoid overthinking thoughts of the past or future. One of my favorite excerpts is:

It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living. Don’t be one of those people.



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What I'm Loving Lately: Random Roundup

1) Summer dates - I plan to let this handy list inspire a fun summer of lovin with the boyf! Wineries? Romantic picnics? Yes please!
2) Blake Shelton eating sushi for the FIRST time. How is it even possible people who have never tried sushi still exist?! Either way - I nearly peed my pants at how funny this video is. If you're having a case of the Monday's on this lovely Tuesday morning - stop everything and watch this.
3) Starting the day with a beautifully delicious Acai Bowl. Ever since we came back from Hawaii, I just can't get enough of these. I love mixing in some protein powder and spinach (trust me) and getting uber creative with my toppings!

4) If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I am legit OBSESSED with Buff Bake - and they really hit it out of the park with the new Cake Batter flavor. Slather that ish on everything from bananas to rice cakes and I'm a happy, happy camper.

5) Summer reads. Normally I love curling up in bed with a great novel - but in my ever long quest to become more and more knowledgeable on living a healthy and balanced life, I ordered and cannot wait to sink my teeth into this read. Written by a physician, this book explains how making simple plant-based choices can help us all live a happier and healthier life. Once I make my way through it all I'll be sure to post a review and share my learnings!

I hope everyone had a happy and safe long holiday weekend!


Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Transformations We Cannot See

#TransformationTuesday #fitspo #progress

Show of virtual hands {honor system here, clearly I can't see you!} - how many of you have seen those hashtags on social media? Usually accompanying them are photos of someone {likely in their underwear} posting a side by side comparison of their “before” and after bodies. The before I started some diet, some detox tea, some competition prep, or some {enter magical solution here}.

As someone who wholeheartedly believes in the importance of living a fit, balanced and active life I am all for someone’s commitment to getting healthier and becoming more active. But I can’t help but wonder since when did we begin placing such a disproportionate emphasis on the physical transformation while completely disregarding the blood, sweat and tears that goes into {or SHOULD go into} our emotional and mental transformations?

After seeing yet another girl posting side by side comparisons of her near-naked body along with a caption detailing how she's still struggling to appreciate what she sees in the mirror, it got me wondering...

What if we trained our minds the way we train our bodies?

I recently began attending a weekly meditation course with girlfriends and I've thoroughly enjoyed listening to wonderful nuggets of wisdom. Personally speaking, I feel the last 5 years have been a remarkable transformation for me - inside and out. And while I do my best to take pause and appreciate how far I've come, I never want to settle for "almost there." This course has imparted tons of knowledge, but the top two pieces of wisdom I've been anxious to share with you all are as follows:

1) Happiness comes from within - and the inverse is true as well. Unhappiness also comes from within. Think about it - the promotion you don't get, the coworker who seems to always be making your life unnecessarily difficult - none of them can make you unhappy. It's how you perceive those situations that impact your happiness (or lack thereof).

2) Don't run from difficult people. Listen, I get it. We all have people in our lives who bring us down. They're negative and complain the entire time you're with them. The weather sucks, the election is a mess, their jobs stink, their relationship is falling apart. Instead of rolling your eyes and staring at the clock wondering when its time to spring the door, allow their negativity to teach you a lesson in compassion and tolerance.

So the next time work is grating on your nerves and you're thinking "WHY me?" or you're sitting across the dinner table from a friend who just drones on and on about how awful everything is, I hope you take a moment to determine what the current moment is trying to teach you. What can you learn from less than ideal situations? Every moment is brought to us as a lesson. It's simply our responsibility to learn from it.