My Thoughts on Hot Yoga

Happy Halloween! I hope you have some fun plans tonight. I’m passing out candy at my mom’s and seeing all the neighborhood kids I used to babysit dress up. It’ll be fun, but it always makes me feel old!

This past Sunday, I went to a donations-only event put on by Cleveland Yoga that benefited Girls with Sole, an organization that benefits young girls who are in need of some love—and supports them through teaching the benefits of exercise, specifically running, and how it can help strengthen them physically and mentally to meet their personal goals. Pretty cool, huh?

Source: clevelandyoga.com
Source: clevelandyoga.com

The event started with a three-mile run through Lakeview Cemetery and ended with a 75-minute HOT yoga session at the Cleveland Yoga studio. The run was awesome, but boy, was I not expecting the hot yoga—I have only done one other Bikram class years ago, and there’s a reason I haven’t done one since.

I know some people swear by it, but I personally find myself focusing on not passing out from the heat and humidity rather than getting a good workout in. I find myself going into child’s pose, grabbing my water bottle and trying to not see stars every time I go from down dog to warrior II. And trying not to think about how I’m in a 100-degree room with 50 other sweaty, nasty people and wondering if it is possible to hold my breath for an hour so I don’t have to breathe the same air.

And then it happened. I woke up the next morning with a bad cold. Now, I’m sure it has no connection to my hot yoga session and more of a correlation to me being around sick people lately and getting no sleep, but I can’t help but vow never to go again.

I love yoga and besides running, it’s my most favorite form of exercise. It relaxes me, helps clear my mind and leaves my muscles feeling sore every time (can you say sculpted arms?). But I prefer the room to be warm, not comparable to Florida air in August, and there to be at least two feet between my mat and my neighbor’s mat. You catch my drift? Plus, this article claims there are no added benefits to sweating your butt off versus a traditional yoga class. So why put myself through the torture?

How do you feel about hot yoga?

Side note: What are you dressing up as for Halloween? I didn’t wear a costume this year, and Timmy doesn’t have any plans, but if he did, I think he’d make a pretty cute bat cat like the one below. Don’t you agree?

Source: imgur.com
Source: imgur.com

 

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Thankful: Halloween Edition

Guys, this past week kind of sucked. Excuse my language, but between my loud neighbors keeping me awake, locking myself out of my apartment one morning and missing a meeting, and burning my hand on a 400-degree pan, things were not exactly going my way. But as the week winded down, and Friday night went on, I was sitting on my couch with a pack of ice on my hand (burns are no joke) eating pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins we carved and thinking about how lucky I am.

We’re all blessed, and my wise mother always reminds me to count my blessings when I’m having a rough day/week/month. This fall has been one of the best yet, and I have my amazing family and friends to thank for that. No matter what’s going on in our lives, we can always find the sun shining through. I think the Thanksgiving spirit is arriving early for me, so I decided to share.

Source: pinterest.com
Source: pinterest.com

This Halloween, I’m thankful that I can:

Carve pumpkins with the guy I love most. He not only puts up with me daily, but he spends his Friday night carving pumpkins, he brings all the supplies and takes out the garbage when we’re done. I’m not one to brag, but look at those skills!

A nosy pumpkin and a witch
A nosy pumpkin and a witch

Make yummy food for my family and friends. Not everyone has the money to buy quality food to cook healthful meals. Between the spaghetti squash—that I owe my swollen hand to—my homemade pumpkin muffins for my company’s Fall Fest next week and my amazingly spicy white chicken chili, I’m on a roll!

Spend time doing fun activities with my friends. This week, I’m hosting my very first Pinterest party and am making a holiday wreath. I’m no Martha Stewart, but if some of the bozos on Pinterest can craft, well then so can I!

Run my little heart out. This morning, I’m doing a 3-mile run and 75-minute yoga session on Cleveland’s east side. I’m hoping for no rain, but either way, I’m thankful I have my health to do this and can see some of Cleveland by foot with my running partner. I’ll post a recap later this week!

Spend quality time with my mom. Not only is she one of my favorite people, she’s just fun. We spent some of last weekend together and laughed harder than I have in a while. I love every minute I can spend with her, and she’s a true testament to how a baby shower, a Target run and a TGI Friday’s dinner is the equation for the best Sunday ever.

Me and my beautiful mom
Me and my beautiful mom

What are you thankful for?

I Run Because…

Hey guys! Hope your week is going well—we’re halfway there!

Last night was my first official run since the half marathon a couple weeks ago, and it felt so good. All I needed was some time off to make me miss my nightly jogs and go back to my fitness staple.

I run for a lot of reasons, and the number one motive is because for me, it’s an easy way for me to stay fit and not feel guilty when I give in to a cookie or a cheeseburger every once in a while. You also don’t need a lot of fancy equipment, or even a gym membership, to get in a good run. All you need is a road, some beautiful scenery and your thoughts.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m reminded weekly why I run and sometimes even find new reasons why I love it so much. And this week, the main reason I found my run so therapeutic was because it’s a guaranteed stress reliever.

Allow me to get right to the point: Folks, I’m dealing with some noisy neighbors. Nocturnal noisy neighbors.

A few months ago, some new people moved in above me, and since then, it’s been on-and-off utter chaos. I’m not sure if they’re professional river dancers or enjoy wearing lead boots in the middle of the night—the verdict is still out. But my 2 ½ peaceful years in my cozy apartment have been shattered. Destroyed. My home is a mere ghost of my warm, quiet nights snoozing away without a care in the world.

OK, that’s a bit dramatic, but let’s just say I’m at my wits ends. Being stressed out is bad enough let alone being stressed out with no sleep. So last night, instead of sitting on my couch stewing about the pandemonium above my head, I went for a run. I talked all about my neighborly woes with my running buddy and I ran.

I may not have solved my life’s problems, but I’m feeling a little better. Let’s just say, I’ve taken a step back off the ledge. I also called my landlord and upped my daily coffee intake from one cups to two.

And that’s why I run. Because no matter how bad my day or my outlook, it’s always a bit brighter after breaking a sweat. Who needs therapy when you have a cool fall evening and a trail…

Source: POPSUGAR Fitness
Source: POPSUGAR Fitness

…Actually, I may need therapy if the noise and no sleep continues. Stay tuned.

Why do you run?

Fueling My Runs

Happy Monday, everyone! It was a rainy, chilly weekend in Cleveland (and it doesn’t look like the weather is changing anytime soon) so I didn’t go on run Saturday morning like I had originally planned. But this week, it’s no excuses! It’s been two weeks since my half marathon, and I’m ready to get back to my running schedule, after doing other forms of exercise to give myself a break.

I am by no means a running expert or a dietitian (but my sister is!), so this post on how to fuel your body while running is purely my opinion and from my own experience. Although I’ve done quite a bit of research on nutrition and fitness, different diets work for different people, and I encourage you to experiment and find what works best for your body. With that said, here’s what I eat to help ensure a successful run.

Source: believeintherun.com
Source: believeintherun.com

Before:

Before I set out on a run, I try to have a light snack about an hour to two hours before. Sometimes it’s hard, especially when I come home from work and am starving, but I find something light is best to avoid stomach issues during my run. My snacks include:

–          A waffle with peanut butter

–          A half of a banana with peanut butter

–          A (very) small bowl of pasta

–          A half of a cup of coffee (this gives me a boost of energy to power through and speed up)

During:

I usually only drink water during my runs, unless I’m running above 8 miles—then I’ll incorporate a sports drink (my favorite is Vitamin Water Zero flavors) and/or an energy supplement. My favorite energy supplement is GU Chomps. They give you a boost, clear your mind and give you some energy to push through that high mileage. I find the texture of plain GU gross, and other supplements too hard to chew. I used to always use supplements, and then I learned from research that they’re completely unnecessary calories unless you’ve been running for more than an hour.

After:

After I run, I hydrate with water (lots of water) and protein. A few of my favorite post-run foods include:

–          A small protein shake

–          Greek yogurt

–          Chicken and veggies (this is an ideal dinner after an evening run)

–          A spinach salad

Again, my diet is by no means perfect, and sometimes, I admittedly come home from a run and shove chips and guacamole or a few cookies in my mouth before I hop in the shower. But if running has taught me one thing, it’s that it’s important to take care of your body and properly fuel it so it can perform. I have some of my best runs when I pay close attention to my diet and eat cleanly.

Me and my running buddy at mile 13 of our marathon in 2011. My stomach was full of Gatorade and GU Chomps.
Me and my running buddy at mile 13 of our marathon in 2011. My stomach was full of Gatorade and GU Chomps.

What are your favorite snacks to eat before and after exercising?

Pure Barre Review: A New Respect for Ballerinas

Let me first say that when I was little, I failed miserably at ballet class. All the screaming and crying and “Where’s my mommy?!” wails aside, I was clearly not a natural. So when I signed up for this Pure Barre class, I was hoping what little coordination I had, along with my runner’s endurance, would kick in so I could coast through the 55 minutes…

Pure Barre Westlake. Looks innocent enough, huh?
Pure Barre Westlake. Looks innocent enough, huh?

…I admit that sometimes runners can have a false sense of confidence, and it’s nice to get a hard slap of reality.

Pure Barre is not for the weak of heart. And before considering this form of exercise that focuses on isometric (ie slow, painful) movements, you need to be sure you’re comfortable with the following:

  • Looking slightly foolish in front of a group of strangers and not being afraid to scare them with some interesting facial expressions
  • Listening to techno music while you (attempt to) move like a ballerina
  • Making small, controlled movements—this was harder than I thought it was going to be
  • Moving in a way that looks like you’re, um, thrusting into the air (I found no direct eye contact during these portions of the class helped)

All kidding aside, this workout rocked my world. I left with legs, arms and abs that felt like jelly, and after talking to one of my friends who has done it for about six months, I wasn’t surprised to hear you quickly see results if you stick to it. It’s the perfect supplement to the cardio I do through running.

Fun socks with sticky bottoms so you don't slide during your workout
Fun socks with sticky bottoms so you don’t slide during your workout

Because of the high price, I plan on holding out until I find a Groupon to buy a full package—plus, there is one opening close to my home in December! However, I plan on taking some of the movements and immediately incorporating them into my strength training.

Until my local studio opens, you can find me searching for cute tutus and practicing my plies.

What new workouts have you tried recently?

Yoga Musings

Hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather!

This weekend, I felt lazy. Like, didn’t want to move off my couch to make myself a cup of coffee lazy. I think it’s because we in the professional “9-5” world tend to use up all our energy during the week. Back-to-back meetings followed by late nights catching up on emails and trying to squeeze in cooking, working out … it’s exhausting. By the time I hit the sheets on Friday night, I’m d.o.n.e.

But I think that’s OK—right? We all need time to relax, and let’s face it—sometimes, giving your body rest is more beneficial than putting it through a strenuous workout (in my opinion). So on Saturday morning, when I wasn’t in the mood for a run, I turned on a Pandora yoga music station to get me in the “Namaste” mood and made up my own sequence.

Source: icanhascheezburger.com
Source: icanhascheezburger.com

I feel like yoga can go one of two ways for me, depending on the day. It can be extremely relaxing and easy to flow through or challenging to quiet my mind. This Saturday, it was the later.

It’s truly amazing what can go through your mind while you’re trying to silence it during yoga. Things like:

  • Oh my Lord, look at my carpeting. When was the last time I vacuumed? I need to do that immediately after I’m done with this. In fact, I wish I were done now, so I can just get my Hoover out.
  • I really shouldn’t have had that second glass of wine last night. Seriously, it probably added another 200 calories to my dinner and barely gave me a buzz. Plus I shared that pumpkin cheesecake. I’m done eating for the weekend.
  • Well, but I did run 13 miles on Sunday, less than a week ago. That has to count for something. I deserved that second glass!
  • I wonder what pumpkin recipes I can make next week. My mom made these Weight Watchers pumpkin muffins, and they were so good!
  • I can hear my sink dripping from here. I need to call my landlord again.

So much for finding my chi. At least I got a workout in and my apartment is cleaner.

Source: mindbodygreen.com
Source: mindbodygreen.com

Does this happen to anyone else?

Tomorrow’s my first barre workout—expect a full report Wednesday!

Fall Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! I’m so excited I decided to restart this blog during my favorite season of all—fall! I know, I know. Fall is totally overdone. But I don’t care. There’s something strangely magical about the lush, green trees of summer transforming to colorful, crunchy leaves beneath my boots. I’m planning to have a really fall-themed weekend, complete with pumpkin picking, so I thought I’d kick it off with some of my favorites as of late.

This fall, I’m obsessed with:

My polka dot sweater from Stitch Fix.

Sweater by Willow & Clay
Sweater by Willow & Clay


I just got my first “fix” from Stitch Fix, and although some pieces were a bit off the mark for me (I think you need to do a couple fixes for the stylists to get a feel for your personal preferences), I fell in love with this red and black polka dot sweater by Willow and Clay. It feels luxurious, can be dressed up or down and just fits me right. If you need some pieces to add to your fall wardrobe and don’t want them to be the same as everyone’s in your office, give Stitch Fix a whirl. You won’t be disappointed.

My Under Armour running capris.

One of the many reasons I love fall is for its crisp nights—they are perfect for an after work run. However, it’s sometimes difficult to dress for an October jog, because you don’t want to freeze in shorts, but you don’t want to overheat. These Under Armour capris were one of my favorite birthday gifts (similar pair here). They’re the perfect weight for a cool evening run and don’t budge during my workout. They come in some fun accent colors, so you can add a splash of color to your gear.

Any wine from Three Brothers Winery.

Vineyards on Lake Seneca, Geneva, NY
Vineyards on Lake Seneca, Geneva, NY

I’m just getting off a wine country high from a trip I took at the end of September to the Finger Lakes. We visited so many amazing wineries, but my personal favorite was Three Brothers. Not only did we get to taste countless wines and brews, the fun and laid-back atmosphere (see the Pirate winery for visuals) fit my personality. And now we have quite a few bottles to enjoy during holiday celebrations. Fall is the perfect time to share a great bottle of wine with friends or family around a fire. To me, it doesn’t matter how expensive the wine, it just matters who’s drinking it with you.

Hope in a Jar.

Source: qvc.com
Source: qvc.com

I don’t care what is in this night cream. The way it makes my skin feel can’t be matched by anything I’ve ever used before. As a girl who’s had her fair share of skin issues, I have a hard time finding a cream that moisturizes without making me oily. I use the night cream which is a bit heavier, but in the morning, my face and neck are as smooth as ever.

My black cat.

Timmy
Timmy

No fall is complete without my Timmy. He’s furry, he’s lovable, he’s my Halloween kitty all year long. Black cats get a bad rap, and I’m here to say differently. You’ve got luck on your side when you love a black cat. When I got Timmy, I didn’t set out to adopt a black cat, but we bonded the minute we met. He moved in with me the year I got my first post-college apartment, and we’ve been roommates ever since.

Happy Autumn!