I heart running. I love how it enables me to let go and simply be. I love how it challenges me yet comforts me at the same time. I love how it makes me sweat unlike no other form of exercise. I love how it empowers me to feel strong, beautiful and sexy (on the inside). And most of all, I love the way it makes me feel (inside and out).
From half marathons to casual strolls on the river, running and I have a very special relationship and have been together through thick and thin. As you can see, I’m pretty darn obsessed with running and all of its hidden benefits (ahem, it’s more than just burning off that piece of cake).
Since the weather finally hit 50-degress in Boston (and the snow started to melt) I figured it was finally time to join in for City Sports Back Bay’s Run Club. Plus, I was even more ecstatic to join as City Sports hooked me up with their sweet CS by City Sports gear, a new women’s line specially designed for both comfort and attraction.
I loved all the options, and find it nice to know you can wear comfortable, breathable clothes that are good-looking at the same time. Even better, they now offer Extended Sizes so all shapes and sizes can find that perfect fit that makes you look and feel good.
If you know me, I love pink so I naturally went for this All Sport Tank in Fuchsia. How cute are the little ruffles on the bottom?
[Source: City Sports]
I completed my outfit with the Sports Core Run Tights in black. I’m generally really picky about pants, but fell in love with these form-fitting (yet comfortable) “run tights.” They even have a zipper right above the butt for key/cash storage. Huge perk!
Now that I was decked out in my fashionable CS by City Sports gear, I was ready to run! The City Sports Back Bay Run Club starts at 6 p.m. sharp, meeting every Tuesday at City Sports Back Bay. There was such a great crowd, and I was impressed by the number of pumped up runners who attended! Each week, City Sports hosts a sponsor and this week was Merrell so they had shoe demos going on before and after the run.
City Sports brothers and fitness-addicts Ben & Alex Eld were super accommodating, and made everyone feel comfortable! While Alex explained the details of the run (giving us options for 3.5, 4, and 5 mile routes), Ben snapped pics of the group and made us feel at home. (Hopefully you can join in next time Ben!)
[Jess's 2 friends, Jess, me & Jess #2!]
[some of the ladies with Alex!]
We couldn’t have picked a more perfect night for running, and once we hit the river I was in my glory! Running on the Charles as the sun goes down is one of my favorite parts about living in the city, and if you haven’t done so yourself I highly suggest you do. It was so nice outside, that I actually tied my zip-up around my waist early on, and simply ran in just a tank!
[off we go!]
I loved running through Beacon Hill, and the Boston Commons, and even heard some city folks pointing us out, saying “It looks like a night for running!” or “They must be part of a run club!” Hearing their praises motivated me to keep moving and finish out strong.
Somehow toward the end I split up from the group and did my own loop, with my friend Jess shortly behind. When I got back to City Sports to find no one there, I was quite confused and one of the staff-members told me to pretend I hit a run club record. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I must have cut the route short. (We’re thinking it was about 3.1 though I didn’t have my Garmin to confirm).
Nonetheless, I got my sweat on and had a great workout! Plus, my new outfit totally kept me just warm enough, by giving me the room to move, super important for runners. I HATE when I’m confined into something too-tight (ick!) or too loose (which can lead to chafing and constant pulling up your pants) CS by City Sports solved both of those problems!
[post run chatter]
After the run, we all met inside for water, snacks (one of the runners brought homemade Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats) and a raffle hosted by Merrell. I won a water bottle (Yippee)!
No matter what city you live in, I definitely recommend you join for a City Sports Run Club, and if you live in Boston please let me know as I’d love to join you for a run! To learn more about City Sports Run Club Back Bay or CS by City Sports clothing, visit their website. As always, feel free to shoot me an email as I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Note: I was given a complimentary outfit from City Sports to review, but as always all opinions are my own.
I’m a huge fan of trying new workouts, challenging yourself and most importantly finding that exercise that makes you shine (you know, makes you feel beautiful, strong and confident in your body!) After all, that’s what FitFluential means to me.
So when I was invited by Jen and Kerrie from Blog & Tweet Boston to attend a complimentary class a Pure Barre Boston yesterday afternoon, I jumped on the opportunity! While I have taken barre-style classes before through Core Fusion at Exhale Spa, I have never tried Pure Barre so I was excited to see what was in store!
Pure Barre recently opened their new Boston studio at 350 Newbury Street, which is a prime location for anything & everything fitness and health if I do say so myself. (Side note: sweetgreen will be located just a walk away right by Copley Station, scheduled to launch in June. Boston foodie & fitness peeps, I know you are going to fall in love. You can read all about my new job at sweetgreen here!)
The first thing I noticed upon walking in was the beautiful space: clean, fresh with lots of natural light. Plus, they have lockers and keys available to students, so you don’t have to lug around a clunky lock or worry about stollen goods (huge plus)!
Before class, I chatted it up with some fellow bloggers (new & old). Most of us were new to Pure Barre so we knew we’d be in for a serious sweat sesh! As we were waiting for class to begin, the lovely instructor Fiona went around to shake everyone’s hand and introduce herself. I loved her energy and personal approach, making everyone feel comfortable and pumped for class to start. The studio owner Lauren was also there to take class with us, and help with corrections, which was a nice treat!
The Pure Barre Scoop
Class was an hour long, with loud fast-paced music blasting throughout. Let’s just say, Fiona gave us a killer workout, with pretty much nonstop movement for the entire 60 minutes. I totally felt the burn especially in my abs and thighs, and still do (in a good way)!
We worked everything from arms and butt to thighs and abs, moving from the floor to the mat to the bar. I loved the fast-paced, energetic approach, as I didn’t get bored once!
I also really liked Fiona and Lauren’s genuine care for their students, encouraging us to hold a little longer (or sink a little lower) and correcting our posture. This was especially helpful during the glutes work on the bar, as I totally needed a hip adjustment. We were also constantly reminded to tuck, a super important part of the workout to really get as much as you can out of it. The instructors definitely know their stuff, which is important to me as a first-timer!
I’d definitely recommend Pure Barre for anyone who wants a real challenge, and likes a group fitness atmosphere in a non-intimidating setting. It’s also great for those looking for results, as the barre method has been known to tone and sculpt the body and really work your core.
[me with superstar instructor Fiona! Photo credit: Jess, Little Miss Runshine]
Many thanks to Pure Barre Boston and Blog & Tweet Boston for putting this fabulous event together. Feel free to email me or comment if you have any questions regarding the workout, as I’m always here for honest feedback and advice!
P.S. Here’s my message of the day that I’d like you all to reflect upon, which also happens to be a tweet I posted earlier today!
Have you ever tried Pure Barre? What was your experience like? How can you celebrate and encourage other women?
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or ever took a sneak peak at my About Me page, you know that healthy living didn’t come naturally to me. In fact, my entire college years were consumed of yo-yo dieting, hours and hours at the gym, “fake food” and obsession with my weight. I can’t even tell you how many tears were shed over the darn scale alone! I was unhappy, and in effect definitely unhealthy. I felt frustrated, F-A-T, alone and “not good enough.”
It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I decided to throw all of my “food rules” and restrictions out the window and actually start LIVING. At this time I also discovered yoga, running, clean eating and my secret talent for cooking. When I switched from dieting to living (and felt OK with it), everything and I mean everything began to change.
If this sounds like you, or you know someone struggling with similar issues, here are 10 mantras to repeat over and over again to start make that positive shift toward a healthier lifestyle. Because, after all, you won’t see a change in your body or your health if you aren’t OK up there first (in that beautiful little mind of yours, that is).
1. This is the body I was given. It is strong and beautiful. Embrace it.
2. No one can love me until I love myself first. Self love is the most powerful kind of love.
3. My body needs good food for energy and support. I will fuel it with wholesome, healthy goodness.
4. Just because something is sugar-free, low-cal or fat-free doesn’t mean it is healthy. Read the ingredients! Know what’s in your food!
5. Counting blessings is much more therapeutic (and fun) than counting calories.
6. I will never be truly happy if I am depriving myself. Stop doing this. For real.
7. Food is meant to be celebrated, not feared. I will celebrate and honor my food.
8. There is no such thing as a perfect body. I choose to love up my assets and forgive my flaws. They make me ME.
9. If I am beautiful on the inside, I am beautiful on the outside. I will take care of my inside.
10. An hour of solid, blissful yoga is more powerful than running 10 hours on an elliptical machine could ever be. It’s not about the number of calories burned. It’s about how I feel.
For more information on living a vibrant, diet-free lifestyle, check out my invigorating health coaching programs or schedule a FREE 15-minute healthy lifestyle consultation with me. Life is meant to be LOVED and CELEBRATED and I want everyone who went through what I went through to know that it doesn’t need to be this way forever. YOU are in charge of your destiny and health. Sometimes, we just need a little helping hand or change in mindset. Happy weekend friends!
As I’ve mentioned before here on Healthy Chicks (and as I’m sure you can tell by the badge on the right), I am a proud FitFluential Ambassador. If you haven’t checked out the FitFluential community before, which was founded by Fitness Rockstar Kelly Olexa, I strongly suggest you do so over here.
While FitFluential is packed with an amazing group of like-minded enthusiasts sharing their passion for wellness every hour on the hour, today I wanted to share with you what “FitFluential” means to me. More specifically, my very own definition of living a “healthy lifestyle.”
Discovering an Exercise Routine that Makes you Shine
[Move100 Campaign; Photo Cred: Move100.org]
Just like there is no Perfect Man for every woman, there is no perfect exercise that works for everyone. In fact, I don’t believe in rules or perfection at all.
Some live for CrossFit and Pilates, while others feel their best by doing yoga and running. Some spin 6 days a week, while others enjoy being one with nature and going for long hikes with loved ones.
The point is, it’s not going to work for you unless you enjoy it. Find the exercises that make you shine, and run with it. What gives you a natural high? What makes you feel strong and confident about your body? What moves you?
Remember this can change, as we go through phases throughout our lives. Currently, I’m into yoga (for inner peace and serenity), running (for clarity & sweat) and circuit training (for strength). However, I wouldn’t reccomend this routine for everyone as THE. BEST. EVER. There is no best. Do you. This right here is one of the many reasons I love the FitFluential community so much: everyone brings something different to the table.
Also, be sure to take risks by trying new classes and different types of exercise, as you may surprise yourself. This morning I took a hot yoga class with a friend at Prana Power Yoga in Central Square and haven’t felt such a sense of bliss in a long time. In the past year, I’ve completed my THIRD half marathon (I can’t believe I’m saying that), PR’d my 5K by over a minute, and took part in the Move100 Initiative.
Setting intentions for yourself is really helpful in reaching your fitness goals as you are doing it for YOU and no one else. Attempt to let go of competition and comparison and challenge yourself. It’s much more fun that way!
Fueling Your Body With Food That Makes You Feel Your Best
Just like my viewpoint on exercise, I feel the same way about how we eat. One diet doesn’t work for everyone! Remember that. While your best friend may do well on a strictly vegan diet, you may thrive on good-quality, organic grass-fed meats. While some may be able to devour the bread bowl like it’s no tomorrow, others (like myself) may have difficulty digesting gluten in large amounts.
While we’re on this topic, I don’t even like the word diet in the first place. To me, healthy living is a lifestyle and something that’s a part of your life 365 days of the year. So you over-indulged in pizza last night or your weight went up two pounds on the scale. When you’re living a healthy lifestyle, those little “slips” start to not matter as much.
In fact, I am so passionate about helping other women overcome a diet-obsessed lifestyle, that I’ve created a unique wellness program for exactly that. I’ve been in there, that place where the scale rules your life, where you stay in from social outings with friends out of fear of the menu, where food is scary and overwhelming. And let me tell you, there is not fun.
In the past few years, I’ve never been in a happier place with myself and my body. And it all started when I stopped dieting and starting living, when I stopped buying fat-free, cardboard tasting, diet-everthing and started eating real food, when I stopped fearing food and began to fall in love with it.
For me, eating well means filling my plates with clean food, local and organic as much as possible but not ALL THE TIME. It means eating a plant-heavy diet (lotsa greens!) with loads of colorful fruits, good quality grains, fish and occasional organic chicken. It means having fun, and not being afraid to make mistakes, in the kitchen! It means recognizing the foods that make me feel crappy (too much gluten, fried food, etc) and loading up on the foods that make me feel fantastic (sauteed greens, quinoa bowls, green smoothies in the Vitamix, homemade soups, sushi + fish).
And of course, there are nights where I drink one too many glasses of red wine or indulge in a little too many cheese & crackers, but that’s OK. Be realistic about it and ask yourself “How Do I feel?”
Communicating + Collaborating
This one’s a biggie! I think making relationships with other people (both similar and different to you) is key. I love how everyone in the FitFluential community is so willing to share, connect and spread the love!
It’s so fun discovering different bloggers, attending unique events and taking part in incredible wellness initiatives.
I find such a joy in creating new friendships (both in person & virtually) with amazing women all over the web including some of my old-time Boston faves like Jess from Eat Drink Breathe Sweat (who actually introduced me to FitFluential) to some of my new faves like Heather from For the Love of Kale and Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate. Honestly, these women are amazing and ever-so-inspiring. This whole community is!
Oh, and communicating & collaborating goes outside the “blogosphere” too. It’s about connecting and networking with people every day to ignite that inner passion, and potentially create amazing relationships along the way.
Having a Positive Attitude (Most of the Time)
[enjoying some giggles & QT with the boy]
For me, above anything else, healthy living is about your attitude and mindset. Be confident in who you are, walk your talk, fill your life with positivity, take risks, embrace your body, lend a helping hand when you can, and SMILE. I think it’s important not to take life too seriously and to have a little fun with it.
Be sure to make time for the people you love and surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you. Drop the envy & jealousy and replace it with admiration & determination. Be the best you that you can possibly be!
SHARING TIME! What does FitFluential mean to you? For fellow FitFluential Ambassadors, share your thoughts here! For others, how is living a “healthy lifestyle” defined according to you? What do you agree or disagree with? Remember there is no right or wrong answer. That’s the beauty of it all.
Today’s ChickLit: Take time every day to MOVE, even if it’s just taking your dog for a brisk winter walk or dancing in your PJs.
We all know exercise is good for our health, and can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and other serious health concerns. However, to me, exercise is much more than that.
It’s about movement, clarity, motivation and feel-good energy (you know, that thing called endorphins). While usually I like to sleep in on Saturdays, today I woke up (sorta) early for an a.m. Hatha yoga class at my local gym.
Not only did it feel good to stretch, strengthen and challenge my body, but it gave me an incredible rush of energy and “happy hormones.”
So even if you don’t have time to run 7 miles or take part in a kickboxing class, make time for something, anything that’s going to get you moving.
As we like to say over at FitFluential: #MOVE #GETAFTERIT
How can you make more time to move? If you need a little boost to get started, check out my “From Oy Vey to OK in 30 Days” Health Coaching Program, individually catered to Y-O-U. I work with women in their 20s to help them reach their full potential in fitness, healthy eating, lifestyle and happiness!
Good morning ladies! I hope you are all safe and dry from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately, the worst of it for me is losing power for a few days so I can’t really complain, but I’m praying for those whose homes have been flooded or destroyed.
I’m running out of power on my laptop, currently writing at Daybreak Coffee House (where I was pleased to run into the lovely Cait from Cait Plus Ate who is just the most bubbly, friendly girl!) This will have to do as my “office” for now, which I don’t mind AT ALL because this Pecan Roast & Vegetarian Egg Sandwich on sourdough is totally hitting the spot.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about a rather popular topic today on Healthy Chicks: motivation. That is, how to stay motivated even during those realllllllyyyy tough times.
Here are some tips to get you inspired, whether you need motivation to run that race or simply get out of bed an hour earlier!
1. First and foremost, you need to have a purpose. If you’re struggling to stay on a healthy diet and exercise regimen, ask yourself “Why do I want to eat well and exercise?” Is it to lower your cholesterol? Is it so you can stay healthy for your kids? Is it so you can get in shape to run that first half marathon? Are you doing it to squeeze into those skinny jeans you’ve been keeping in the back of your closet for years? What is your “Why?” Make it specific. Instead of “So I can lose 10 pounds,” make it “So I can lose 10 pounds in order to reach my pre-baby weight and feel good about shopping for clothes again. ” You see? Find your purpose.
2. Don’t Let Slip-Ups Bring You Down. OK, so you had a brownie even though you “gave up” desserts. Woop-dee-doo. Instead of eating five more brownies, a piece of pizza and your weight in guilt, take control of your slip-up and move on. Because in reality, it’s just one tiny mistake which you can totally work your way out of damage-free. Chug some water, go for a walk and move on with it. We’re only human after all, so don’t try to be perfect. Instead, try to do the best you can do. Remember that if you’re living a healthy lifestyle most of the time, a treat here and there isn’t going to destroy your progress. Rather, guilt and pity parties is what destroys your success. Don’t let this get the best of you!
3. On that note, Don’t Diet! That’s right, I said it: You do not need to diet to lose weight. In fact, I am 100% against dieting because most diets call for some sort of restriction which makes you miserable which then makes you want to eat everything in your cabinet which then makes you guilty. And as you know, guilt is the worst feeling of all. Rather than going on the Cabbage Soup Diet or the South Beach Diet or the Flat-Abs diet, just make a promise to yourself that you’re going to eat well. What does eating well mean? To me, that means whole, clean, REAL foods. Lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, organic meats, local food, and things that don’t come from packages. Also, replace one can of soda a day with a large glass of water. Next week, try two. You get the picture.
4. While this may sound counterintuitive, try to focus on the Little Picture. Instead of trying to be the BEST, run the farthest and eat PERFECTLY, shoot for little goals. Remember, Small changes = Big results.
5. Remember to Have Fun: No matter what goal you’re trying to achieve, if you aren’t having fun with it, you aren’t going to get anywhere. Make it enjoyable! Start a walking group with your girlfriends, take turns making healthy meals with your roommate, get your husband on board, experiment with new recipes, or buy a really bright-colored workout outfit that you feel amazing in. Do whatever it takes to keep things fun and new!
What do you do to stay motivated? Share your tips in the comment section!
As usual, I was inclined to hit “snooze” and simply go back to bed. However, I decided to call The Boy for a second opinion. He had been up since 5:30 a.m. to pick up the Uhaul for our move, so I knew he’d pick up.
Our convo went a bit like this:
Me: Hi Jay, I woke up to run but I kind of want to go back to bed. I’m beat. (groggy, manly half asleep voice)
The Boy: Well, you know you won’t want to run tomorrow, especially after moving all day. Right?
Me: Hmm…yea I guess you’re right.
The Boy: Plus, you always feel better after you run. Why don’t you just do it?
That right there was all I needed to hear. He was right. I do always feel better after a run, no matter how I’m feeling at the time. Running makes me feel empowered, energized, alive. It allows me to think, breathe and spend some quality time alone with my thoughts.
After I hung up the phone, I immediately threw on the first running outfit I could find, laced up my sneakers and head out the door for a river run.
I ended up running five miles on the Charles, and didn’t think about the running part of the run at all. Rather, I just let my mind go, and my legs do all the work.
Morale of the story? Next time you’re questioning a workout, ask yourself “How will it make me feel?” That should be just the answer you need.
Calling all Fitness Enthusiasts or those who have recently adopted a more active lifestyle, and have felt the benefits. Whether you are a walker, a marathoner, a yogi, or a busy mom, you’re in the running to be the next Move100 Ambassador.
I am happy to announce I will be taking part in this initiative, and couldn’t be more excited! (More details to come) In the meantime, check out my personal “essay” on why I should be a Move100 Ambassador:
[May 2009] [July 2012]
I didn’t always lead a healthy lifestyle. In fact, growing up I struggled with body image issues, dieting and finding the motivation to live well. My college days were consumed of counting calories, binging on desserts, hiding in my room ashamed of my weight or living at the gym to burn off that extra piece of pizza. I was stuck in a lifestyle filled with low self-esteem and guilt.
Flash-forward a few years, and I am now 30 pounds lighter and 1,000 times happier. In the past few years, I discovered a newfound love for yoga, which taught me how to listen to and appreciate my body. During this time, I also fell in love with Core Fusion Barre workouts and running, something I thought I could never do. While two years ago I couldn’t even run two miles, I am now training for my third half marathon in Newport, RI this fall. Not only did these accomplishments change and sculpt my body, but they changed me as a person.
I want to be a Move100 Ambassador so I can encourage others, just like myself, to make small, positive changes that lead to big results which I do every day in my health counseling business Zesty Living. I’m 100% dedicated to empowering others to find an exercise regimen that brings out the best in them and makes them shine. After all, health and happiness go hand in hand.
I have attached before and after photos per your request.
Thank you for your consideration,
If you’d like to get on board, send in your application to AmbassadorSearch@Move100.org
[family hiking trip in Waterville Valley, NH this past weekend]
As you know, I am an avid fan of running mostly due to it’s hidden benefits none of which include losing weight or getting “skinny.” Sure, these are extra perks that may come along with exercising, but they’re not the main reason I run. Rather, I run for clarity, creative sparks (i.e. coming up with a fabulous idea for a new project), getting outside and de-stressing.
I find that when you exercise for weight loss or to obtain that perfect celebrity bikini body it takes all the fun out. And well, when you take the fun out of something, what’s the point?
Exercise should be exciting, invigorating, motivational and even a little surprising. It should challenge you, make you sweat, make you laugh and even make you cry (in a good way like the tears that came when I ran my first half marathon with thousands of other women).
On the other hand, it should not make you feel bad about yourself, evoke jealousy, create anger and bring out insecurities. If a certain exercise is causing this negative impact, you may want to rethink it; most likely there is something out there for you that’ll better suit your needs and your body.
After all, everyone has their own exercise that does this, just as everyone has a certain diet or skin care regime that works best for you. This is an example of bio-individuality, something I learned through my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and incorporate in my health counseling practice every day. Basically, it means that everyone has their own personalized roadmap to health, and what may be one woman’s medicine could be another’s poison.
My “medicine” cabinet in the exercise realm includes running, hiking, skiing, long walks, core fusion, group fitness classes (particularly spinning, step and kickboxing) and Vinyasa yoga. I do not, however, enjoy Pilates, competitive sports, or extreme bootcamp style classes.
A few years ago, I read in a magazine that all the hot celebrities were doing Pilates to develop long and lean bodies, so I thought “I can do that too. I can become long and lean like them.” Well guess what, I hated it, and haven’t set food in a Pilates studio again. It doesn’t make Pilates “good” or “bad.” It doesn’t make me lame or a quitter. It simply wasn’t right for me, and so I moved on.
If you loathe running and never want to be a runner, fine. If you’d rather kayak or spin the day away than set foot in a yoga studio, have no shame. If something simply isn’t for you, it does not make you weak. In fact, it makes you unique. It makes you who you are.
So go ahead and explore different exercise routines to find what works best for you. What makes you feel good inside, fills you up and gives you the motivation to do it over and over again?
What types of exercise get your heart racing, and most importantly makes you feel your best self?