Category Archives: Health and Fitness

FlyWheel GlowRide – Like a rave, but with bikes instead of drugs

Earlier this week I wrote about my experience at BodyRock with Trophy Wife Fitness as part of the Yelp Quirks Out event series. I’ve been enjoying fun, ‘quirky’ workouts from fine fitness facilities all over Charlotte, and my experience at FlyWheel for their GlowRide event was every bit as fun as my evening with the TWF ladies – but this time we had glowsticks, and bikes. The last spin class I took was at the YMCA over five years ago. I was looking forward to giving FlyWheel a try because I have always enjoyed spin. This time I decided to do a little research before the class so I knew what I was getting into. After an evening with Jiya and the TWF ladies, I didn’t know whether to expect a nice, safe spin class or an impromptu booty shaking session. I wanted to be prepared.

Our instructor for the evening was Jenna, and she was adorable with a capital A and the energy turned ALL the way up.  From the moment I clipped into my bike with my fluorescent yellow necklaces and bracelets emitting a healthy glow, she started getting us pumped to spin. The lights went out, the music volume was jacked up, and looking into the mirror on the opposite wall all I could see was discombobulated glow jewelry in tones of purple, pink, yellow and blue. After a brief tutorial on how to adjust torque and RPMs, as well as how to  keep an eye on our Power output for the class so we could compare ourselves to our peers on the leader board (hey, nothing like a healthy bit of competition!), we were off. We jammed out to classics such as Pour Some Sugar on Me and some hip hop that I can’t recall the name of but thoroughly enjoyed. Jenna encouraged us to pace with the beat, and it was easy to do with the bass pumping loud in our ears.

Did I mention Jenna’s energy? She was right there with us the whole time, but with the added challenge of talking through the entire workout. The most amazing part is she hardly even sounded winded. I loved that we incorporated some upper body exercises into the class. They had a three and five pound bar weight you could easily grab from in the ‘saddle’ as they called it, and we did a brief but challenging series of bicep curls, tricep dips, and shoulder presses all while keeping our legs moving.

I thoroughly enjoyed the class, and the facilities were nice with towels and shoes offered to members. They have an easy check-in system and bike assignment so you aren’t lost searching for a bike. You can even track your stats using their online portal. Best part – they offered all participants a chance to come back again for another spin class or to try out FlyBarre. I’ll be booking my next class soon!

GlowRide

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Trophy Wife Fitness – It’s not what you think

Over the past two weeks I’ve been participating in a great event series from our local Yelp community called Yelp Quirks Out. My first event was a BodyRock class with Trophy Wife Fitness. To be honest, when I saw a two week period filled with fun, free workouts – I didn’t really pay too much attention to what I was signing up for. I saw key words like “trophy wife,” “aerial silks” and “sunset yoga,” and I signed up as fast as I could before the events filled up. Beyond reading the tagline, I didn’t do much research into what I was getting myself into. To put it simply, Jiya’s class was not at all what I imagined (but in a good way.)

The term “trophy wife” conjures – for me at least – an image of a slender, probably blonde, woman in a Lululemon ensemble with a huge rock on her finger, I expected leg lifts, maybe some squats, and most definitely an obligatory set of crunches. I wasn’t too pumped for Bethany Frankel to lead me through calisthenics, but hey – free workout? I’ll take it.

Jiya and her front line of ladies blew my image of Trophy Wife Fitness out of the water, and now when I think TW I see a beautiful, vibrant, and booty shakin’ goddess. That’s exactly what we did – or in my case, attempted to do. We shook our booties for 45 minutes to loud, powerful female vocals and had way too much fun doing it. The energy and enthusiasm in the room was infectious. It was impossible not to smile, laugh at my lack of both hips and rhythm, and just keep shaking it as hard as I could.

And as far as the intensity of the workout? I was sore for three days. Specifically in my *ahem* booty area. Those under the butt muscles (you know the ones), butt cheek muscles, and inner thigh muscles all had that nice, tortuous ache that simultaneously makes you super proud and super not into moving for awhile.

I’m looking forward to mixing up my regular yoga routine with some more TWF in the future.

Yelp Quirks Out BodyRock TWF

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If you’re the type who gives up on things mid-way through – don’t do that today.

Last night I took my first Kundalini yoga class at Okra yoga studio in Plaza Midwood. It was a night of firsts, as it was also my first time ever at Okra. Luckily I’ve been disciplined in my practice this week so an hour of god-awful uptown traffic to drive all of 8 miles to the new studio didn’t ruin my zen. I’d hoped for a nice 15-20 minutes to get acquainted with the studio, but instead I had to quickly snag a (luckily) open spot across the street and dash in. I was instantly struck by the homey vibe. The studio felt well lived in, like a place you wanted to spend an afternoon sipping tea and chatting yoga with your best friends – or new friends. The yoga room itself spoke to nature and the earth. Curtain rods resembled branches, soft yellow light filled the space, and some sort of essential oil or incense gave the room a soothing scent. I think it may have been lavender. I love that stuff.

This was all quite different from my yoga experience to date. For some context, aside from a few occasions of home practice or catching a class while on vacation, the majority of my practice has been at Arrichion in Southend where the style is hot and the vibe is athletic versus spiritual. I’m addicted to the heat and I love being constantly challenged to become strong – not skinny. Having recently completed the instructional piece of my RYT200 certification, I’ve challenged myself to try new studios and new yoga styles to help define what I want to personally teach and bring to my students.

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Mermaid Pose – one of my challenge poses during RYT200 training.

Kundalini was definitely a departure from everything I’ve practiced before, but I enjoyed it immensely. The focus of the class as described by our instructor, Carly, was to move energy in a precise, specific way through the body – or along our chakras (energy centers.) It is a perfected ‘technology,’ she said. We were warned that as a style of yoga which emerged in the ’70s we may find some of it ‘silly’ but to just do it any way. It would be worth it. It was.

The class consisted of focused breathwork, endurance-challenging holds, deep stretching, and meditative chant. Throughout the emphasis was on opening the heart and at the end we focused our energy at heart center and released it along with well-wishes to the world. We closed with a song, and I may have found my voice mingling with my fellow practitioners to be the most cathartic release of the class. Carly was charming and fun, but she also challenged us exclaiming ‘if you’re the type who gives up on things mid-way through – don’t do that today!’ Those words struck a chord and after class I continued to meditate on what they meant to me. I’ve found I have often set things aside when they became dull, too hard or too easy, unpopular or frustrating. Her words – while not directed at me necessarily – really hit home. I know there most likely won’t be an overnight miracle, but I suspect that next time I’m going to release my yoga pose just as the burn sets in, or I’m thinking about quitting a job, hobby, eating regimen or other personal challenge, I’ll hear Carly’s words in the back of my mind and maybe, just maybe I’ll reconsider and I’ll choose to push through instead of giving up.

Thank you Carly for giving me that gift, and for introducing me to a beautiful new practice. Namaste.

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On cleansing – Day #4 and post-cleanse

For lunch this afternoon I incorporated meat, cheese, and pasta back into my diet all in one go. I’m anxiously (and a bit nervously) waiting to see how my body responds. It has been about half an hour, and so far so good. 

So how’d the cleanse go? Well, I lost 7 lbs all said and done. I thought I’d plateaued at day 3, but the morning after day 4 I was down another 2 lbs. Most juice cleanses are recommended at three days, but I’d certainly recommend four days. I probably could have gone the full seven, but this was a nice introduction to the process. Most undoubtedly the majority of weight lost was water weight, but I haven’t felt this good about my body since high school. I know I’ll have to make smarter decisions to keep it this way. I’m excited about the prospect of a healthier diet combined with my normal exercise regimen. This process has made me more confident in the knowledge that I really can have the body I want – as long as I exercise discipline, consistency, and smart decision making. 

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First day post-cleanse I stuck to the plan and ate a mostly plant-based diet. Breakfast was an Activia yogurt, mid-morning snack was a small apple, lunch was a field greens salad hold the cheese and dressing. I used a ‘dipping’ technique to use very little dressing, but I did need a bit for flavor. I mean, let’s be real, chewing on lettuce just doesn’t taste good. The heirloom tomatoes in my salad had an amazing burst of flavor. I suspect my taste buds are a little more sensitive to natural flavors now. Had the salad had more tomatoes and cucumbers, the dressing may not have been necessary at all. Throughout the evening I snacked on sliced fruit and threw in a handful of nuts for some fat and protein. I felt good, but a little hungry. It is amazing how having a juice (or, I suspect this would work with a small meal/snack) every 90 minutes to 2 hours really kept hunger at bay. 

So here I am post-cleanse, and I’m tentatively back in the realm of deciding what to eat. It is a bit scary out here, and given I’m at the start of a week of business trainings (full time job and Mary Kay) where food is provided for me, I’m limited in my options — hence the whole meat, cheese and pasta experience. When all you have available is deli sandwiches and tri-colored tortellini pasta salad, that’s what you eat. Or, you become the weird girl who only ate cucumbers at lunch. Or, alternatively, the snob/health freak who went across the street to the juice bar. And so, sandwiches it is. I am proud to say I avoided the Doritos and Oreos. Small victories. For breakfast I ate a small plate of fruit and a blueberry pastry. Man, what a sugar rush! I felt completely buzzed for all of an hour, and then felt a noticeable crash. It is amazing how little you notice the impact of foods high in sugar when you eat them all the time. Suddenly my constant fatigue, mid-afternoon crash, and inability to leave my couch after an ice cream binge all make much more sense. Tonight I’ll be choosing salad for dinner to help bring back the balance to my diet and give my body the nutrients it’s come to love these last five days.

If you have any burning questions I didn’t touch in this overview, please post and I’ll answer in the comments section. I hope my personal experience may encourage others to give it a try for themselves. 

To your health, and happy cleansing! 

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On cleansing – Day 2 and 3 recap

I’ll lead with the answer to the burning question this time – I’m down about a total of 5 lbs, and I don’t expect to lose much more. After my initial three pound drop, day 2 saw another 1.4 pounds down and day 3 only about .5. I’ve been told that if you follow the recommendations and eat a mostly plant-based diet following the cleanse you can continue to lose weight. Given I’ll be travelling, that may be a challenge, but I am certainly going to try my best.

Day 2 was much easier than the first day, although I had mountains of temptation thrown my way. I’ve heard you’re supposed to excuse yourself from social situations to avoid being tempted, but I had plans I couldn’t cancel. I have to reiterate that I’m amazed I’ve never actually been ‘hungry’ through this whole process. Those who know me well (or have been faithful readers) know by now that I am the originator of the term ‘hangry.’ A hungry or tired Brittany is not one you’d like to keep company with. Aside from some minor irritability the morning of day 2, I’ve been fairly even keeled. Here are the pluses so far:

  1. I wake up more easily, and often before the alarm. Typically I hit snooze 2-3 times before I get out of bed, but I’m finding I don’t need to. They say increased energy is a possible side effect, but I was skeptical. Glad I was wrong on this point. I’ve gained more time in the morning and even made it to work early two days in a row. 
  2. I have more energy throughout the day, and find I stay alert. Pre-cleanse I would drink a cup of English breakfast tea first thing when I arrived to work, and possibly an Earl Grey or Chai tea about 2-3pm. Then I’d have a lighter green tea around 4. I needed to punctuate my day with caffeine because I constantly felt tired. That has not been the case these last three days. 
  3. I feel skinny. If I look at a salty snack I bloat. No matter how much I workout, if I enjoy some cheese or a salted caramel brownie, my body starts holding water like I’ve been stranded in the desert for days on end and my very life depends on it. Yes, maybe my diet these days tastes a little bland, but man I. feel. skinny! No more bloat. My face feels and looks thinner, and I know it’s not just in my head because my rings are little loose too. 

I’m working through the final day of my four day cleanse, and I can’t lie I’m a little excited to wrap this up because I simply miss the act of chewing. I did eat a few veggies Sunday and Monday just because I was in social situations where it was awkward not to, but this is allowed in the cleanse guide. I stuck to raw fruits and veggies with no dips or dressings. More updates to come! 

On cleansing – Day #1

Yesterday I started The Renewal Cleanse from Viva-Raw, a local Charlotte, NC-based juice company. I’d been toying with the idea of a cleanse for some time. I knew I couldn’t handle cayenne pepper, maple syrup and lemon for days on end — and I really couldn’t wrap my head around it being nutritionally sound — but four days of cold pressed juices prepared fresh just for me? That I could get on board with. I checked into a few options around the area, and Viva-Raw had a nice price point along with a lot of information on their site. What I did find lacking was personal testimonials. I found one article written by a Charlotte publication, but no other results. And so, I decided to document my experience in case others were as curious as I.

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So at this point you may be asking “why on Earth would you want to drink juice for four days?” I’m hopeful the claims are true and a juice cleanse can break me of my addiction to processed foods high in salt, sugar, and potentially harmful chemicals. That’s not to say I’ll never eat another Dorito or double fudge brownie sundae after this, but, if I can learn to actually enjoy a healthy and clean eating regimen, that would be fabulous. A juice cleanse is intended to give your body a break from the foods which are harder to break down and process, i.e. processed foods such as breads, pastas, dairy and sweets. Given this break, the body is supposed to work overtime eliminating harmful toxins and generally flushing out your system. In the process, since you’re consuming only juices from fresh fruits and vegetables (more heavy on the veggie as there’s less sugar) you are also breaking the cycle of addiction to salt and sugar laden foods. As a side bonus, you also tend to lose weight.

Now you’d probably like to know how it’s going? Right?

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Pre-cleanse

I should preface by saying I didn’t follow the instructions to the ‘T’ in the pre-cleanse phase. Although I did focus on my diet consisting of 1/2 fruits and veggies, I didn’t entirely give up bread and dairy. I had PB&J on wheat or a salad for lunch. Dinner was chicken and veggies. The night before I did cave and have a peanut butter brownie. I also didn’t avoid alcohol entirely and had a glass or two of white wine in the evening one or twice the week before. Ideally, the week before I would have 100% cut out dairy, grains, caffeine and alcohol. This helps your body ease into the detox.

Day 1

It is recommended to start with a 10 oz. glass of water each morning, so I did. I started my first juice at around 9 am and it is the Clean Green. This is your primary juice and you drink it four times a day. I don’t mind it, even enjoy it, although I’ll admit by the fourth I was a bit weary of it. It is mainly leafy greens, cucumber, celery, apple and lemon. I HATE celery, but I can’t really taste it here. I had some Mary Kay work to do that morning, I packed juices 2 and 3 into a small lunchbox with ice and brought them along. You’re supposed to have a juice every 90-120 minutes. If you are going the 120 minute route like me, I’d recommend starting your first juice at 7 or 8 am. Starting at 9 am I was drinking my last around 9:30 pm, and it was a bit late.

Today food was really tempting. My MK event that morning was a spa brunch and the blueberry bagels smelled tantalizing. I did cheat and had two watermelon cubes, but I figure they were mostly juice any way. I don’t think I was actually hungry, it’s more just the habit of snacking. I’m used to reaching for food all day long, so this was a training in impulse control. I caved once again late afternoon with six apple slices but again – there’s juice in them! On my way home I called my fiancée who was also heading home and picking up lunch. I begged him to eat it wherever he was ordering from and not to bring it home. He reluctantly obliged. I’m not sure I could have resisted the smell of my favorite pasta dish from Noodle Co, so I was grateful.

While with two fantastic ladies for a pampering session at 4 pm, somebody brought pizza into the studio building. It smelled so. damn. good. Strangely, when Brian heated up his leftovers for dinner later though, it really didn’t phase me. I think I’m over the hump.

In regards to the other juices, the beet and carrot-based juices are really good. A nice break from the green. They are a little sweeter given the veggies are more naturally sweet. By the time I got to the protein drink – almond butter base – it was like a milkshake. There is cinnamon and cacao and it is delicious.

I didn’t feel hungry when I went to bed. It is 8 am on the next day, and I didn’t wake up hungry either. I’ve had my first juice of the day and I thought I’d have to force another green down, but actually it went down easily.

What you’re really curious about is if I lost any weight. Yep, down 2 pounds. What you may reluctantly be curious about is if I’m “backed up,” or much the opposite. Simply put — nope. All systems are operating normally. 3 more days to go.

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The Great Spew-off of 2013

**SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT**

I’m sure the title of this post has enticed you to read further. But first, I must insert a plug for my XTREME Hike to benefit the CF Foundation! If you aren’t up on the details, read here. There are two ways to support this amazing cause:

  1. Donate directly via my fundraising page
  2. Shop my Stella & Dot trunk show for a cause and a percent of sales go directly to my hike fundraising

No amount is too large or too small – thank you in advance!

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If you haven’t noticed, (although if you are one of the ten people who read this blog – 99% of which are related to me – then I assume you have noticed) I’ve been shirking my blog duties. I want you to know I have a really good reason — really good. Let me recount for you the happenings of The Great Spew-off of 2013.

One balmy August evening the boyfriend and I were scooted to the farthest edges of the bed possible to avoid stewing in each other’s sweat. (This is what love actually looks like. Only crazy people spoon in the summer, in North Carolina.) My little boy kitty Axl was curled into my chest, and my foster girl-dog Demi was in her crate after starting her late-night pacing rounds at midnight.

Right around 3:30 am boy kitty starts convulsing. A few seconds later I imagine he looked something like this —

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But it was 10 times worse. By which I mean my entire bed was covered in vomit. The.whole.damn.bed. Uncharacteristic for me, but I stayed calm. I grudgingly began to strip the bed as this was the third time that week my bedding needing washing due to a cat-related incident. (Yes, he went to the vet as I know this wasn’t normal. On an unhappy note there is a really awful reason for the projectile vomiting. My advice to everyone with a pet — get insurance. Terminal illnesses cost a shit-ton.)

My wonderful boyfriend – who normally can sleep through anything and probably wouldn’t have roused if Axl didn’t attempt to puke on his head – headed into the kitchen to grab cleaning supplies. He was nearly knocked down by the smell of the explosive diarrhea which Demi had thoughfully provided for us to also clean.

I’m not sure which prompted the other. Perhaps Axl caught whiff of Demi’s explosion with his sensitive nostrils. Or, maybe Demi could not longer hold it in when she caught the delicious aroma of partially digested cat food mixed with bile. Either way it was clearly a competition – and I am declaring it a tie.

You want to know what else is real love? Turning to my boyfriend and saying “Which one do you want?”

It wasn't nearly this cute.

It wasn’t nearly this cute.

 

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