Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Scramblin' in Actionville, Florida

This past weekend, my friend Becky and I decided to try a race unlike any we had done before.  The City Scramble takes a cue from The Amazing Race on a smaller scale. Contestants race around the city to destinations based on clues given at the beginning of the race.  Some destinations require contestants to stop and complete a challenge that can involve brawn or brains (or both).  Some just require a bit of extra effort and knowledge to find.  The course is open and there's no set order of which to complete tasks.  The two major rules are that you must complete each task to win and that you can only travel by foot.  The first team to make it back with all tasks complete wins $500.  The top three winning teams win medals.

Becky and I did not win $500.  Nor did we win medals.  However, if there was a prize for most kickass outfit, Team Gettin' Physical would've taken the cake times infinity!

Despite being robbed of a prize that does not yet exist (but soooo should), we had a blast!  We ran/walked/jogged 5.58 miles around the stellar neighborhood we live in (it's one of the top 10 in the country!!) searching for landmarks we didn't know existed, attempting to fly paper airplanes against the wind, circling a pond on buddy boards, solving crazy math problems (THAT'S what Algebra class was for!) and constantly asking store clerks and passers by to please, please, please take our picture!

In the end, we came in 6th place out of 18 (reminder! 1st place in fashion!).  I admit, my gimp shins couldn't take it like I'd hoped and I was out of commission the rest of the weekend, but it was so worth it!  It was a good reason to get up and enjoy a pretty day while taking in a somewhat unlikely workout with the coolest partner I could've asked for.  The best part?  Post-Race tequila cocktails!

Floridians!  The race is coming to a location near you this year!  To get in on the fun, visit City Scramble's website to see how you can get in on the action!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Boot Camp

Personal Fitness was a class requirement in high school.  For a grade, the coach made everyone bench press.  I flashed him my weenie arms to show they were useless at lifting, so he removed the weights from the bar and I laid down on the bench as he promised to spot.  Together, we removed the bar from its stand, lifted it above my chest and then it happened...Coach let go, sending the bar crashing down on top of me.  I was powerless to lift it up and lay squirming underneath until he came to my rescue.  All 25 pounds of it.  And yes, this was in front of the entire class.

A few years later, my friend Lucia challenged me to a foot race across the warehouse where we worked.  It may have been 30 yards.  I pulled a hamstring and limped for the next 3 days.

Last year, I tried to share the common interest of running with a friend.  I couldn't even huff and puff it a mile.  I was not an obese person.  I didn't look out of shape and the scale had always been kind to me.  So why was it that I had the strength and stamina of a vegetable?!

Determined to change it up, I did some research and discovered Chris DeRoo's Get Fit Bootcamp: a four week, Monday through Thursday high intensity exercise program designed to shock the body into getting fit.  I signed up, paid my dues, and prepared to have my ass kicked.  If an ass-kicking was my goal, I definitely got my money's worth!

Boot Camp training is a group fitness program that combines cardiovascular and interval training and many other exercises using weights and/or body weight to lose body fat, increase stamina and strength, and help people get into a routine of regular exercise.  Each day is an efficient, hardcore full-body workout and no day is like the next.  It's been ten months since I began and I'm still not used to it!  One day we may be doing traditional weight lifting, the next we're swinging sledge hammers and flipping truck tires, the next we're running around a baseball diamond doing different body weight exercises at each base until we drop...and then there's likely something else still waiting for us!

I've done body sculpting classes and personal training in the past.  The work was tough, but it was never engaging enough to keep me going back.  Landing in bootcamp gave me the motivation to strive to get better and stronger.  I've made friends who cheer me on when I'm doing great and pull me back in when I'm falling off track.  To top it off, I have a trainer who I know genuinely wants to see me do well and expects nothing but my best (and let's me know when I'm not giving it).

I've come to accept the constant sore feeling of muscles I didn't know I had.  Some days I might sit down on the gym floor after a workout and know I'll be there at least 15 minutes before being able to get back up.  In exchange, I've also discovered that I can run way more than one mile without pulling a hamstring or losing my breath, and lift 40lbs without worrying if my spotter gets distracted.  The disappearing act that my cellulite's been doing isn't so bad either! 

If you're looking for a new take on fitness that won't bore you and will give you the results you want, search for boot camps in your area and get ready to break a sweat!  Your body will thank you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm Keen on Quinoa!

I found this amazing dish at Epicurious and adapted it slightly based on what I had (or didn't have) in the fridge.  I must say that this is a new favorite comfort dinner!  Earlier this week, I researched which veggies were in season at the moment (winter squash!) which then led me to this recipe.  It's definitely warm goodness on a chilly night!

Tonight was my first attempt at quinoa and I must say, I totally dig it!  For those who don't know, quinoa is the seed of a leafy plant (not a grain) but it can be subbed for nearly any grain.  It's full of protein, fiber, potassium, and iron and digests easily.  Mix cooked quinoa with veggies and spices to eat as a side at lunch or dinner.  Mix it with honey, nuts, or berries for a filling breakfast.  Gotta love the versatility!

As for the recipe: Quinoa with Moroccan Squash & Carrot Stew
Want to see what's in season in your region right now?  Click Here for Epicurious' Peak Season Map!

That's all for now.  Fancy bootcamp tales later this week!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fridge Remodel and a Happy Breakfast

I finally did it. I finally rid the fridge of all things crap! It's been no easy task and come Wednesday, I'll no doubt find myself rocking back and forth in the fetal position on the kitchen floor screaming, "WHY? WHY? WHY?" but for the moment, I'm feeling accomplished!

I owe many thanks to my good friend The Farmer's Market. I made the trek Saturday and for $14, scored a butternut squash, 2 grapefruit, 5 bananas, 3 apples, 1 red onion, 1 giant avocado, 2lbs of mushrooms, 2 lemons, 3 limes, 2 ginger roots, a bunch of cilantro, and 2 tomatoes. Not only did I get the exact quantities I wanted, but I also saved myself $20 in the process. No way the grocery store would've been that generous!

So now, I have given myself the task of eating it all before the week's up! It will be a bit of a challenge, but I'm up to it. I started by banning items from the crisper and placing all veggies on the main fridge shelf and all fruits in a bowl on the dining room table. Here we go day one! Taking a cue from SELF Magazine's Jump Start Diet, I had quite the fancy breakfast this morning. How's this for a Happy Meal?!

One grapefruit sliced in half and each half drizzled with honey. I stuck them both under the broiler about 5 minutes (until the honey started to bubble and the grapefruit began to brown). I had a leftover half of a whole grain pita so I topped it with crunchy almond butter and WAH-LAH! How can you not smile at that?!

I admit, this morning was my first attempt at eating a grapefruit.  It was definitely a struggle and if anyone can tell me how to eat one in less than an hour without dousing the dining room in juice, you will win the prize of being my best friend! 

And now, to ready myself for bootcamp.  Old Navy had a sale on workout gear recently and I took advantage of it.  No doubt the new threads will make me a badass champ in the weight room today!  Or the usual could happen and I'll be shouting "UNCLE!!!!" as soon as we've completed warm-up.  Either way, time to get movin'!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Today's Fancy Scoop: Fancy Hula Hoops!

My friends Elise, Valerie, and I took advantage of this past Saturday's delightful weather and retreated to the park to play like kids while getting a bit of a workout.  What better activity than to hula hoop?  Oh yes, you know you spent hours with your hula hoop when you were eight, seeing what tricks you could make up or how long you could keep it spinning.

Or perhaps you were like Valerie and never hula hooped as a kid.  But Valerie wasn't shy about trying to learn and neither should you be!  It's pretty much impossible to take yourself seriously while hooping...unless you happen to be at a hippie music festival in which case EVERYONE seems serious while hooping and I for one get very intimidated by their skills.**   

The Dealio with Hooping:
  • Aside from being fun, hula hooping also helps shrink your waist by engaging the muscles along your torso to keep the hoop in motion.  Just 30 minutes of hula hooping burns 200 calories!
  • The hoop is important!  Ideally, it should be 35-40 inches in diameter and between 1 and 3 lbs. Anything heavier may be potentially harmful to internal organs.  This in turn could make for awkward conversation with your doctor.
  • To start the hoop spinning, simply place it around your natural waist (belly button!), perhaps standing with one foot slightly in front of the other, and move your hips in a subtle (but quick) circular motion clockwise and give the hoop a spin to get it going.  Keep up the motion to keep the hoop raised.  If this doesn't feel right, switch direction to counterclockwise.
  • Already an expert at plain 'hooping?  Add a bit of a twist with these moves!
    • One Legged: While pumping the hoop around your waist, shift all your weight to your right foot and lift your left off the ground, while still hooping.  After 30 seconds, put your left leg down and shift your weight to that leg while lifting the right leg and keeping the hoop in motion.
    • Walk like an Egyptian: After you get the hoop spinning, take a step.  Pause to ensure you've still got control of the hoop and take another step.
    • Skip-It: With the hoop around your right ankle, give it a spin and jump over it with your left foot.  After a minute, switch the hoop to the opposite ankle and repeat.
    • Jumping through Hoops:  Hold the hoop in front of you parallel to your body in both hands.  Swing it under your body, like a jump rope and jump through the hoop.
    • Really want to work your middle? Then DON'T FORGET TO LAUGH! This exercise is supposed to be fun--don't take yourself too seriously.
The links below will help you get started:
Looking to purchase a hoop? Check out Hoopnotica
Looking for a great hoop workout? Click here for Health Magazine's Hoop Yourself Slim
Wanna find out more on hooping? Visit for everything you need to know!

That's all for now!  Stay tuned this week for the lowdown on bootcamp and fancy eats!

**Hippies, please don't take offense.  I love hippies.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bellissima Cena!

I had quite the busy afternoon and as I write I've just finished dinner and it's almost bedtime already!  Before I hit the hay, I wanted to make sure to share my goodies.

I know I can't be the only one who walks in the door after a long day absolutely famished, just wanting something quick and easy (insert 'your-mom' joke here) for dinner.  I had veggie stirfry on the schedule, but I just wasn't feeling it.  Aside from that, I was craving a huge gooey pizza that I know is completely off-limits at the moment.  While pouting about that, I looked in the fridge for Plan B in the form of Italian cuisine, pulled out a few things, and WAH-LAH!  One Bellissima Burger!  Me, pouting?  Surely not!

It's yummy in my tummy and won't add jiggle to my middle!

1 portabella mushroom cap (stem & inside ridges removed)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
A few drops of low sodium soy
A few drops of worcestershire sauce (No, I cannot pronounce that.)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 roasted red pepper
1 tbsp pesto
1 Sandwich Thin bun
1 slice cheese, onion slices, slice tomato (all optional)

1: Heat skillet to medium and add olive oil.  Mix the soy sauce and worcestershire together and brush onto the bella cap.
2: Add minced garlic to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add bella cap to skillet, empty side down and cook for 3 minutes, pressing down lightly with a spatula to flatten(especially if it's a smaller, but thicker mushroom).
3:  Flip bella cap and add cheese until melted.  During the last minute, place the roasted red pepper into the pan to heat through.
4: Remove from heat.  Spread bun with pesto.  Place bella cap and any garlic onto bun.  Top with  roasted red pepper, onion, tomatoes, and other half of bun.
5: Eat the heck out of it!!

From fridge to stove to belly took a total of approximately 20 minutes.  Normally, I wash it down with an awesome red, but I made this crazy "No drinking except on weekends" plan (insane, I know).  Thus, I just enjoyed regular ol' water!  Quick, simple, and healthy!

For an equally quick, simple, and healthy dessert check out this fancy treat from Sweet on Veg.  I tried it earlier this week and must say, I'm in love!

That's all for now!  I hope everyone had a fantastic and fancy hump day!  More to come soon!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

And so it Begins...

'sup 2011?!  After ringing in the New Year Friday night / Saturday morning, I didn't feel like doing too much yesterday aside from chow down on some black eyed peas and greens.  I need all the luck I can get! 

Except for a bike ride this morning, I've spent the first two days of the new year taking it easy.  But tomorrow I hit the ground running!  Back to boot camp first thing in the AM and training for a 15k in the PM.  I even invested in some new gymwear to help motivate me!  A girl's always gotta look her best.  Oh yeah, I got this.

Coming up this week: Yummy Food & Hula Hoops.  Stay fancy and stay tuned!