Race Recap!

12 Jul

Hello all!

Happy Friday! I am so looking forward to the weekend, what do you have on deck?

Last night was the 3rd of the Thursday Night Race Menu Summer Series along the Charles in Boston.  There are 6 total races starting in May through the end of September. It is really great because you run the same course each time, so you can really track your progress.  They have great freebies and a fun after party sponsored by a different brewery each time at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square.  The next race is August 8th-sign up if you are looking for a fun low key 5K!

J and I made it to all 3 so far-and had a blast at them all. Last night, J improved his time by 2 minutes, HUGE in a 5k!  I was the first female overall woo hoo :)  I ran 19:24, a bit slower than last time but I was fine with it considering the Crossfit workout the day before involved thrusters (hamstrings and quad’s burning!).  I won a box of Kind bars in Almond, Walnut, Macadamia, +protein. I tried one last night, and they are pretty good! I also got a free sample of the new Dark Chocolate, Nuts and Sea Salt bar which I am dying to try post workout today!  I’ll let you know how it is.

In other news, Casey went swimming for the first time this week! We took her to Rexhame beach in Marshfield and then to Bare Cove Park in Hingham. She was a little afraid of the waves at Rexhame, but braved it once we went in.  She LOVED Bare Cove Park-there were no waves and lots of other dogs around.

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This week I have been really into finding new races to do. Three of my girlfriends and I are signing up for a marathon relay in the Fall. Registration for the Big Sur Marathon begin Monday…and I am seriously considering signing up!  I need some motivation, and the most beautiful marathon in the US might just be the ticket!

Are you running any races this summer? What keeps you motivated?

4th and Weekend Recap!

9 Jul

What a busy weekend! I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th, I had a blast and can’t wait to tell you all about it!

I started the 4th off with a “red, white and blue-ish” smoothie,  it was delicious.  I used a mini-blender and made the white layer first, red layer second and blue layer last. That way, I only needed to rinse out the blender instead of carefully cleaning it each time. I made a white layer with homemade cashew milk, canned lite coconut milk and a little ice. I then blended some frozen raspberries and cashew milk for the red layer. Finally, I mixed up some frozen blueberries, cashew milk and spinach for the blue layer. It was a great refreshing way to start up the day!

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I headed out to a special July 4th Crossfit class with a Paleo Potluck after.  I made a delicious watermelon cucumber salad from PaleOMG-and it was a big hit. I used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, and it still tasted great.

After an intense workout, I chowed down and headed home.  Lucky for me, my husband J’s friend has an apartment directly across from the fireworks barge in Cambridge. We headed there to watch the fireworks over the Charles, they were incredible! Did anyone catch the red lanterns? Such a cool addition this year!

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On Friday, we were off to Maine for a wedding.  We stopped at Red Hook Brewery on the way up with some friends-it was fun! We checked into the hotel and headed to the wedding. It was a blast, the bride looked beautiful, the food was great and there was plenty of dancing!

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On Saturday, I woke up and got in a quick run.  I used the hotel gym to do some body weight work.  I was hoping the gym would have some free weights, but it did not so I used what I could!

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On the way home on Saturday, we stopped in Newburyport for some beach and eats with friends. It was so hot that jumping in the water didn’t seem so bad!

What’s on deck this week?

Now, I am trying to get back into a normal work/workout schedule. J and I have a 5K on Thursday, so that will be a nice automatic speed workout.  He and I will be doing 3 X 1 mile repeats on the track today. We have a race at the end of the month that he is hoping to run quickly, so I am helping to pace him in a workout today. Blog-wise this week you can look forward to…

-The 3rd part of the “Exercising on the Cheap” series

-Race Recap from Thursday’s 5K

-Make it Fast Friday and What’s New Weekends will return

Did you have a nice 4th? How do you exercise when you are on vacation? What do you want to see on this blog this week?

4th of July

3 Jul

Hello!

Happy almost 4th of July! I am getting ready for all of the 4th festivities, and wanted to share a couple [healthy-ish] Red, White and Blue snacks that I will be bringing to parties.

Let’s talk dessert first! I saw these cute cupcakes from Shaken Together and wanted to make a somewhat healthier version of the dessert.

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I really like to hide vegetables in other dishes-you get your veggies in and you barely notice the taste!  I used beets to make a red velvet cupcake, and honestly you cannot taste the beets.  Beets just make the cupcakes super moist! For the cupcake, I modified a recipe from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind.  I made up the frosting on my own since I wanted something light and sweet.  Add a blueberry on top and you have red, white and blue!

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Red Velvet and Vanilla Frosting “Red White and Blue” cupcakes:

For the Cupcakes (recipe modified from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind) :

3 Eggs
6 medium sized cooked beets (I used one package of the Trader Joe’s cooked beets)
1/2 cup of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup of Coconut Butter (I simply ground up unsweetened coconut flakes in a food processor, and you get coconut “butter”)
1 cup of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (**warning-if you want really “red” cupcakes, I would use less than that. My cupcakes came out a dark brown/red)
1/2 cup of Raw Honey and 1/4 cup of Agave
3/4 cup of Almond Flour
3/4 cup of Coconut Flour
1/2 cup of Canned Coconut Milk (I used the lite version and it worked fine)
1/2 cup of Unsweetened Apple Sauce
2 Tbs. of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp. of Baking Powder
1 tsp. of Baking Soda
Pinch of salt

1. Put beets in a food processor and let it run until they are pureed. Combine other wet ingredients into the processor as well until everything is mixed together. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix together.

2. Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners (I would not recommend spraying the cupcake tin and not using liners. These are heavy cupcakes and somewhat difficult to get out of the tin without liners)

3. Fill the liners with batter. Feel free to fill them fairly high since the cupcakes do not rise too much.

4. Cook for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the icing:

1/2 cup vegan butter
1/3 cup of coconut milk (I used lite but full fat should work as well)
1/8 cup of raw honey
1/8 cup of agave
2 tablespoons of coconut butter (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut flour
pinch sea salt

1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and mix until fluffy. Feel free to use less of the honey/agave if you do not like things sweet.

On to the appetizer!

So this might be more of a “Red, White and Purple” recipe…but it was as close as I could get :)  I used purple potatoes and paired them with beet hummus and regular hummus for a fun and healthy appetizer. Check out the health benefits of purple potatoes here.  As you can tell by these two recipes, I am loving beets right now.

Recipe for the Purple Potato Chips:

Purple potatoes (as many as you need given your party size)
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

1. I sliced mine very thin, feel free to make them a little thicker/thinner based on your preferences.

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2. Soak the slices in water for 15 minutes.

3. Dry the slices well-either leave them out on a paper towel for some time or dry them by hand with a paper towel.

4. Put some olive oil/salt/pepper to your taste in a bowl. Place slices in the bowl and coat them in the olive oil.

5. Bake on a cookie sheet in the oven at 425 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes. Keep on eye on these, some may cook more quickly than others.

Beet Hummus Recipe:

1 package of Honey Ginger “Love Beets“-any variety of cooked beets works, I just happen to like these. There are about 9 beets/package

1 can of cooked chickpeas
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of Tahini (I used a bit more than this because I LOVE tahini)
Salt and Pepper to your taste
Juice from 1 lemon (don’t over squeeze here, you just want a little bit of lemon juice)

1. Mix everything in a food processor until smooth

I then mixed in a bit of normal hummus to get my “white” and enjoyed with the potato chips!

SAM_0671 What are you doing for the 4th? What treats are you bringing to parties?

Happy Monday!

1 Jul

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I have been addicted to reading health blogs lately, and love looking at how others plan their week ahead (Carrots ‘N’ Cake and Jen’s Best Life post weekly meal plans and exercise goals). So, I’ve decided to lay out my weekly exercise plan on Mondays to hold myself accountable.

Weekly workouts:

Monday: Pure Barre

Tuesday: Crossfit + 4 mile run with a friend

Wednesday: Crossfit

Thursday: Track Workout (did you catch my AMRAP 20 workout from last week? Try it out with me on Thursday and post your results to the blog!)

Friday: Crossfit

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Crossfit + Easy 3 mile run with friends

I love starting the week off with a Barre class-it is challenging but eases me into the week since it is less jarring for me than Crossfit or a difficult run.  I’m hoping to rope in a friend for the Track Workout on Thursday.  I have a 5K next week and really need to get some speed into my routine!  I wouldn’t normally plan a double workout on a Sunday, but I’m going to a wedding this weekend for a High School friend and can’t resist the chance to catch up with friends on a nice run.  Let’s hope I can stick to the plan!

This summer we have 7 weddings to attend and my husband works every other weekend so we have quite literally one weekend to ourselves. Apart from the Thursday night summer races we do, I won’t have many opportunities to race this summer.  That being said, I am looking ahead to the Fall for something competitive. I have been happy training without a real goal (other than to be fit) for a little while now, but am looking ahead for something specific.  I’m thinking a half marathon, Rookie Crossfit competition, or maybe some sort of obstacle race.

What are you training for? What events should I give a try? Do you rope in friends for your workouts?

050After last year’s Harborthon 5K

What’s New Weekends

30 Jun

Hello again!

I’m starting another series on the blog, “What’s New Weekends”.  I’ll discuss new health-related things that I find interesting during the week and sum them up here!  Some will be Boston-based, but others will apply to just about anyone. Here goes!

1. Menus of Change Annual Report:

I have my Masters in Public Health-so I try to stay on top of some of the larger population-based health news. The Menus of Change Annual Report is the first of its kind from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America.  The report discusses trends in the US diet and rates how well we as a population are doing in certain food-related areas (see Page 7 of the document if you want to skip to the ratings). The report incorporates health, environmental and restaurant-business concerns to produce recommendations for people in the food industry. I love anything that brings people together from different disciplines for  a common cause (healthier eating!).  If we hope to make it easier for restaurants to serve us healthy food-more evidence based collaborations like this need to happen.  Click here to download a PDF version of the document or view it online as a flip book.

2. Sweetgreen Boston:

After reading through the report, I am inspired to incorporate more veggies into my diet.  I am already in love with Juice in Boston, they offer delicious fresh pressed juices. We are now lucky enough to have the DC chain sweetgreen open up in Back Bay.  They offer a number of fresh pressed juices and make your own salads.  I am always looking for a quick and healthy place to eat lunch, and this might do the trick-I can’t wait to try it next week.

3. Hip mobility stretches:

As a runner, my hips/glutes are often tight. I notice this the most when I try to do anything squat-related in Crossfit. I’ve been working on this, and with the help of one of my coaches, I have a new favorite hip opening stretch.  I tried to take some good pictures to show you a visual…but Casey wasn’t having it and kept interrupting the photos. You simply go into a bottom of a squat and keep your back as upright as possible. To balance/increase the stretch, place your elbows on the inside of your legs as you can see below. Make sure to have your toes pointed slightly out (preferably less than mine if you are more flexible) and do not let your knees collapse in.  I usually hold for 30 seconds-1 minute. If you want even more of a challenge, hold a weight in your hands.

What are you excited about this week? What new things are you really loving?

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Make it “Fast” Friday

28 Jun

Hello!

An ongoing series on this blog will be Make it “Fast” Fridays. I’ll either talk about making a fast and healthy meal or my favorite workouts that help me to be a speedier runner!  This week, we’ll start with my new favorite speed workout.  I am using this to speed up my 5K time since there are so many local 5K’s over the summer.  However, this would still be great for someone training for a longer distance and looking to pick up some speed or simply work on their kick to the finish line.  I love this workout because it works multiple body parts while giving me a healthy dose of cardio. I use the Crossfit “AMRAP” as a basis for the workout. AMRAP stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible”.  Keep the 400’s quick but sustainable-you have 20 minutes to get the work done.  Click on the image to get a larger picture of the workout. I’ll go through each of the movements and variations below.

AMRAP20If you have access to a track, you can do this workout there:  400M=1 lap. If you don’t have a track, but have a GPS watch, 400M=.25 miles.  If you have neither of those things, you can run hard for 1:30-2 minutes instead of the 400m run.  The sit-ups can be your favorite challenging version of ab work-think bicycles, v-up’s, or plain old sit-ups. Feel free to change it up each time you do this workout.  It is absolutely fine to do the push-ups from your knees, but challenge yourself! Maybe it is too difficult to do 10 push-ups at once, but try starting each set with 3 regular push-ups and then 7 knee push-ups for example. You’ll be improving your push-ups skills without making the workout impossible.  I’ll keep track of my rounds completed and try to get more done the next time I do the workout.

What is your go-to speed workout? Do you circuit train or like to keep your running and strength training separate? How many rounds were you able to complete?

**Disclaimer: The workout describe above is strictly from my own experiences. I am not a personal trainer, please consult a health professional if you have any questions starting up a new exercise routine.

Exercising on the Cheap Part 2

27 Jun

Hello all!

As promised, I am going to let you in on ways you can take some of the best exercise classes for free in Boston this summer!  Did you catch Part 1 of the “Exercising on the Cheap” series? If not check it out!

Boston is a great city to find free exercise. In fact, last summer I actually signed up for too many of the things below and had a hard time picking and choosing the events I wanted to attend.  As always, I love the summer because there are warm summer days to get in a wonderful run-of course for free. Sometimes, I need to change up my solo running routine.  Below I am going to outline free ways to exercise in a group all summer based on your needs.

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1. I want to get hooked on a new type of exercise!

The “Healthy, Fit & Fun” series on the Esplanade is a really fun way to try something new.  The Esplanade Association puts together weekly Zumba, Yoga, Crossfit, and Bootcamp classes all taking place along the Esplanade. They gather instructors from all over the city to run the classes. All you need to do is show up and sign a waiver! Last year, I tried out the yoga classes. I had an instructor from Sports Club LA who was wonderful. The best part is, they offer classes weekly so if you can’t make one, there is always another around the corner!  Check out the link below for more information!

Esplanade Association: http://www.esplanadeassociation.org/what-we-do/programs/healthy-fit-and-fun/

Need more free outdoor exercise in your life? City Sports offers a variety of classes over the summer.  I attended their Crossfit and Yoga series last year, so fun! The classes are free and usually require pre-registration. The instructors are from studios around the area and I had excellent experiences with all of them!  They hold free exercise series throughout the year, so keep following them all year round.  Lululemon stores also hold year-round free classes.  Follow them on Facebook to get the latest schedule and registration information.  I’ve seen them hold free Yoga and Pilates classes, but they offer a variety of classes/lectures throughout the year.  Finally, the Liberty hotel holds free Yoga classes on Saturdays throughout the summer. Not a guest? Not a problem! Simply bring your own Yoga mat and you can still attend for free! See the links below to get the details:

City Sports: http://citysportsblog.com/city-sports-events/ or https://www.facebook.com/CitySports?ref=stream&hc_location=stream

Lululemon: https://www.facebook.com/lululemonPrudentialCenter  or  https://www.facebook.com/lululemonNewbury

Liberty Hotel: http://blog.libertyhotel.com/boston-things-to-do/summer-events-at-liberty-hotel/

2. I need a running buddy!

I can understand that! Sometimes, it is just easier to get through a run when you can talk with a group of people.  Who knows, you might even find someone in the group to push your pace and make you even faster than you already are!  Marathon Sports offers a free weekly running club out of their Boston, Brookline and Wellesley locations at 6:30 pm on Wednesdays.  They track your mileage and provide you with prizes for some milestones, how cute is that?  This summer, Lululemon is also offering a running club out of their Newbury Street location.  Runners meet at the Newbury Street location at 6 pm on Wednesdays for a 3-6 mile run.  I’d recommend following them on Facebook since their Run Club time and day of the week may change with the season.

Marathon Sports: http://www.marathonsports.com/pages/wednesday-run-groups-boston-brookline-wellesley

Lululemon: https://www.facebook.com/lululemonNewbury

3. I want to find a new gym!

Whether you are looking to switch gyms or simply get started at a gym, there are plenty of options to choose from!  After following Healthworks Back Bay on Facebook, I recently earned a 1 month free membership.  They posted that they were looking for extras in a 1 hour photo shoot in exchange for a 1 month membership-very easy!  Healthworks is an incredibly nice gym, and they are very generous when it comes to free trials.  As someone who had never been to Healthworks, earlier in the year they gave me a 5 day free trial.  Finally, if you have a friend that attends Healthworks, they have monthly “Member Appreciation Days” that allow members to bring a friend for free.

Healthworks: https://www.facebook.com/healthworksfitness?fref=ts

Gym deals are scattered all over Boston.   I had an amazing experience trying out the Tabata class at Equinox during my 1 day free trial.  If you live near a Boston Sports Club, keep an eye out for 3 day free trial flyers in your area (think anywhere with a bulletin board or pamphlets around).  The Allston BSC location often had trainers standing outside their gym with a prize wheel.  The prize wheel allowed people to spin to win a certain number of free days to try out BSC, a fun way to engage new members!

Your exercise options are limitless this summer!  Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Exercising on the Cheap series!

Exercising on the Cheap Part 1

25 Jun

2012-11-16_14-53-011Hello all!

I’m a sucker for a good deal. Exercising in Boston can be pricey.  With that said, I am constantly looking for ways to pay less for exercise classes. Lucky for me, the summertime in Boston is FILLED with opportunities to exercise for free! Need to shake up your exercise routine?  Here are five tips for finding free ways to exercise near you! Want specific classes/deals to look out for this summer? Stay tuned-this will be an ongoing series on the blog.

1. Just ask.

Gyms and studios want members. They get members by reeling you in and getting you hooked on their brand. It is to their advantage to give you a free trial with the hope that you fall in love and have to join. I quickly learned that just about any gym/studio will let you try them out for free! Gyms often give you anywhere from a 1 day to 1 month pass to try them out. Many gyms and studios publish this on their website, but not everyone does. It pays to call/e-mail/go in person and tell them you’ve been dying to try them out. Odds are-they’ll let you try for free!

2. “Like” healthy resources in your area.

Sign up for newsletters and follow studios on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media outlet.  Studios send along special promotions or incentives in their newsletters. If you aren’t worried about doling out too much of your personal info, many times studios will send you a free class or discount on your birthday if you provide them with the date.  Additionally, if you haven’t worked out at a certain studio in a while, many of them try to get you to return by sending you a deal to get you back in the door. Following these studios on social media can help you to learn about events at the studio and any promotions they have going on at the time.

3. Follow less likely sources.

You would be surprised how many sports stores, local parks and recreation departments and even Universities offer free health lectures, exercise classes and contests. Follow them on your social media platform of choice and find out about cool events in your area! In Boston, lululemon, City Sports, Marathon Sports and Athleta all host weekly classes/lectures/runs for free that they advertise on Facebook.  All you have to do is sign up!

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4. Talk to your friends.

Recently, a friend of mine was looking for some workout motivation and needed a workout partner. She then got an e-mail from her gym offering a 5 day pass for a friend, of course I was all too happy to scoop that up! We then found out that her gym has monthly member appreciation days. On those days, all members are able to bring a friend for free! Depending on the gym, they may offer members a certain number of free passes per year as well. You might need to treat your friend to a post workout smoothie if he/she keeps taking you for free :)

5. Be on the lookout for new studios.

New studios need new members. A lot of studios will have an opening party with free classes or at the very least reduced price classes at first.  Signing up for your local “deal of the day” website is a great way to find out about new studios with promotions.  Gyms with monthly memberships may enroll the first batch of members at very reduced rates.  I try to stay on top of new studios in the area through social media or other health/fitness blogs in my city.

First Post!

25 Jun

PicMonkey CollageHello out there and welcome!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog! I’ll start by telling you a bit about myself and my blog. I’m Emily, a Boston girl who loves to exercise. I ran in college and have since used various forms of exercise to supplement my running.  I’d still define myself as a “runner” but am constantly on the look out for new ways to sweat!  I plan to share my experiences finding the right balance of healthy eating and exercising after college. Exercising and meal planning can take up a great deal of time and money, I’d love to share what I do to save on both in Boston.  I live in Boston with my husband and dog, Casey, so you will likely be hearing a lot about them as well. I’d love for this blog to be as interactive as possible, so please feel free to ask questions or suggest the types of posts you’d like to read!

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