Tag Archives: fitness

Traveling Fit

In the summer, NYC seems to empty out, people just like to escape.  Work madness dies down a wee bit and the New York minute gains a few seconds.  I’ve definitely posted on healthy traveling tips before—including tips from fellow bloggers, but every summer, I like to revisit the topic, certainly a worthy one. 

When it comes to diet, I don’t worry too much.  As a child, I always lost weight on vacation because my dad was always running around from activity to activity not wanting to waste precious time and money on food.  Nowadays, dining is part of my vacation experience, but I feel fairly confident that I can factor in a splurge meal and an ice cream daily due to the sheer fact that I am moving more and sitting at a desk less.   Breakfast and lunch I try to keep a bit lighter and more simple to stay energized through the day, but without stressing much. That’s just me, to each their own.  I am not talking about food today, I am talking about…

Fitness–an area where I feel more comfortable debating different approaches to vacation.

I know there are a few camps.  Camp Relax might say, it’s vacation, diet and exercise can take a week off too—and that’s totally fine.  Camp Habit might feel like their day is not complete without their daily workout and with multiple trips per summer, too many days off can add up. Camp Incorporate might say, I don’t plan to go to the gym, but I’d like to naturally do activities during my vacation that involve exercise—hiking, biking, swimming, surfing, etc.    I am generally a cross between the later two camps as I just like the feeling of a daily workout, but don’t necessarily want to spend my vacation in a gym.

Honestly, a trip to a fitness resort, health spa or yoga retreat on the beach is kind of my dream in life, but I am not sure my travel partner(s) are ready to commit to that quite yet.

Camp Incorporate

In Cape Cod I do a fair amount of running.  On the Vineyard, I like to bike. 

In fact, last summer the boy and I did a 40 mile bike that seemed mostly uphill and almost killed us!

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But it’s a great ride with so many great stops along the way, Menemsha, Gayhead, the Alley’s General Store, just to name a few.  I won’t lie, there were so many hills that I almost burst into tears at one point, but making a bee-line to Ben and Bills Chocolate Emporium immediately after returning our bikes made it all worth it!  A slightly less demanding ride to South Beach and back is in order for our next trip!

I think biking is a really great way to exercise while seeing the sights, and bike rentals are generally really affordable.

In my research, several places recommended biking in Alsace, France as a top fitness vacation.  Looks nice to me!

Hiking  is another fun way to combine fitness and pleasure.  In fact, I find it a great NYC day trip.

When I think of dream hikes, generally the Grand Canyon, Peru and Redwood Forest come to mind, but the Top 100 Trails actually include plenty of hikes in the Northeast, in fact, I’ve done a few!  The photo above is Vermont!

Camp Habit

I can definitely appreciate those who don’t like to break their fitness routine, the body just feels better after a workout and swimsuit confidence skyrockets—at least in my case.

If I summered in the Hamptons, my fitness life would be ridiculously simple—they have everything. Physique, Core Fusion, Flywheel, and so much more, just check out the Well and Good Guide!  Add in some runs along the beach, life in the Hampton’s is like life in the city with less work and more sand.  Can we please arrange a blogger weekend in the Hamptons just to try all the classes and tan on the beach—Dori I am talking to you amongst others?

For the gym folks, let’s talk.  Check out some of the best hotel gyms in the world, according to Travel and Leisure and Fitsugar. 

I’d like to mention a major pet peeve: hotels that charge extra for their gym.  I don’t care how nice your gym is, if I am paying $300 plus a night, the gym should be free.  Oddly, I’ve never been to a cheap hotel that charged for the gym, it’s only the expensive ones.  While I pick outdoor activity when possible, I never mind doing a quick workout in the hotel gym if that gets my workout in and my schedule back to sightseeing and exploring.

Here’s how it’s worked for me in the past:

In Aruba, I took the do as little as possible approach.  I did stop in the nice gym at the Westin quite a few times and I took a water aerobics class, but that was balanced out by a hell of a lot of time lounging at the pool.

aruba 092

In South Africa, I joined the Virgin gym and formed a running group with fellow students, but that wasn’t really a vacation—but it proves you can find fitness absolutely anywhere no matter how little you know about the place.

On the cruise, we did the gym, a spinning class, some running and some snorkeling—it was necessary since cruising involves a LOT of eating.

On my brief to Boston getting a reader tip to check out Backbay Yoga was incredible!

This summer, I am still thinking about how to balance fitness and fun, but since I will be training for half and full marathons, I’d say running is a safe bet!  In fact, I am really looking forward to running along Lake Michigan in Chicago in a few weeks!

I head to Chapel Hill next week, if you have any tips for running routes or healthy eats, hit me up!

Boston Guide and other stuff

I want to sincerely thank everyone who gave me suggestions for Boston!  They were so great that I felt that I should compile them to share with everyone!

Before I get to my stellar beantown guide, I have a few fitness things to mention.

The 17th annual SELF Magazine Workout in the Park, taking place Saturday, May 8th at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 P.M.

I have gone to this 4 years in a row and always had glowing reviews of the fun classes and great freebies to snag!  I hope to attend for a fifth year, although I may have to work, so I will let you know! 

Basically, it’s a full morning and afternoon of condensed versions of Crunch’s famous cardio, pilates, rebounding and yoga classes.  In addition, there are lots of free snacks and other giveaways, and some contests, nutrition information, beauty consultations and mini spa treatments all available for the $20 ticket price—which includes a FULL YEAR subscription to SELF!  A great deal.

MORE INFO/TICKETS:     Log on to www.SELFWorkoutinthePark.com

REVLON RUN WALK

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Also coming up on May 1st in the Revlon Run Walk for Women.  This was the first race I ever ran—way back in 2003!  My friend Heidi and I plan to revive our tradition this year!  The event includes a celebrity intro, a great fun race right through Times Square into Central Park, a full lunch and lots of other giveaways!

I encourage anyone who is looking for a non-competitive race to get them started to join this one, it’s all about fun.

BOSTON BLOGGER GUIDE!

Here is a list of some of the great Boston suggestions ya’ll gave me.  The ones in blue are the ones I have done on previous visits.  I don’t know how much free time I will have at the conference, but I hope to knock several more off the list. 

SHOPPING AND SIGHT SEEING

  • Go to Quincy Market/Faniel Hall  (sophie)
  • Take a boat trip around the harbor (they have boats for public transit, too!)  (sophie)
  • Visit Bunker Hill and the Boston Common  (sophie, BC seconded by Diana and Gaurav)
  • Freedom Trail
  • Go into Brookline/Coolidge Corner…lots of cute shops and houses  (sophie)
  • Do the Skywalk at the top of the Prudential Center  (sophie)
  • Fenway Park tour (sophie)
  • Harbor Cruise (diana)
  • The Aquarium (nicole)

MUSEUMS

  • Institute of Contemporary Art (shane and Nicole)
  • Isabella Gardner (Nicole and Shane)
  • Museum of Science (katherine)

FITNESS

  • Running on the Charles River Esplanade ,(nicole, katherine and gaurav) I did this a few times with Greg years ago when he was training for the Marine Corps in 2006. Watching him run it, inspired me to run my own ‘thon.
  • Exhale (nicole)
  • Back Bay Yoga (nicole)

EATING

  • Go to an Irish pub in Southie (sophie)
  • Eat at the Union Oyster House (best clam chowder ever!) (sophie)
  • Get Italian in the North End (diana)
  • Eat at Grezzo (gena, katherine, nicole)
  • Brunch at Aquitaine.  Literally, a tragedy to miss. (nicole)
  • South end restaurants: Stella, Cafe Umbra and Mike’s Diner  (nicole and katherine)

COFFEE

  • L’Aroma (nicole)
  • Espresso Royale (nicole)
  • FLOUR.  Flour also has the most delicious pastries/sandwiches/soups ever (nicole)

  • Fall In Love with New York

    ***Just realized this can really be added to my Fit Recessionista series, all of the ideas will are targeted toward affordable health and fitness for fall!**

    Most people say fall is their favorite season.  I am not one of those people, but I definitely understand appreciate for crisp, fresh air and an escape from the humidity that only Manhattan and Miami can provide. I will say that fall is a wonderful time to get in as many fun city activities as possible before the bitterness of 17 mile an hour winds howling through skyscraper tunnels makes you reluctant to go outside to do anything more than get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

    Fall displays the marvels of nature releasing and cleansing and preparing to rest and renew.  Even though most NYCers don’t seem to realize that they are missing the beautiful foliage offered elsewhere in the vast part of the state that doesn’t get nearly enough credit—ahem ahem, nyers are more than willing to pitch in and do their part to help create a sustainable future for the city and beyond. 

    My job involves a lot of programming and event planning and this month we dedicated a week to focusing on sustainability and green living. I really feel in love with some of our activities, and I wanted to share them with you, so that you could take advantage of all the green knowledge going around on our urban archipelago. If being green is not your thing, don’t worry, I have lots of fun ideas for your too and some fitness finds as well!

    Check out Design for a Living World at Cooper Hewitt Museum, which features fashion designers from all over the world using sustainably grown and harvested materials to create conservation focused designs.

    Round up the gang or plan a meet up with sustainability-minded strangers at a sustainable, organic restaurant for a night full of green conversation and yummy food.  We are checking out Gusto Organics.

    Get the behind the scenes scoop on bargain shopping at Whole Foods.  Whole Foods offers free “value” group tours of the store, showing shoppers where to find the best buys in the store and simple ways to economize.  I was actually wondering if people would be interested in attending if I organized a blogger bargain tour.  Takers?

    Go apple picking.  Time from tree to apartment doesn’t get any shorter than if you go a pickin’ yourself.  We are heading to Stuart’s Farm, but here are 6 places that are public transportation accessible, some involve a little more effort than others. For ambitious folks here are 25 orchards that only require a day trip. Don’t forget to throw in a hayride for good measure.

    Foliage Run!  We are heading to the tree lined Van Cortland Park for a fun 5K!

    Green Market Tour, if you have been holding out on the Union Square Green Market, don’t miss it in its most bountiful season, it’s open M, W, F, and Saturday.

    Those are just a couple ideas.  A couple practices I am trying to implement in my own life are never taking plastic bags and reducing the amount of bottles and cups I purchase. 

    I also do my best to eat at the sustainable, mostly organic and locally grown dining hall.   There are many great green dining initiatives at NYU.  All of our to-go containers, cups and utensils are biodegradable. And many of the dining halls are Tray Free Zones:

    injury 001

    We also like to feature local produce—yum-o

    injury 002  injury 004 injury 005

    Okay for those who only do Green on St. Patrick’s Day, Time Out  New York has an excellent list of fall diversities. Here are 101 Fun Fall Ideas.

    My favs from the Time Out list:

    • visiting the cloisters
    • watching the NYC marathon
    • Go to the Gugg for free
    • Checking out the Tim Burton Exhibit at the MoMa (can’t wait for that)
    • Renting a weekend cabin with friends
    • learn to knit
    • checking out the botanical gardens (never been)
    • Getting spooked in sleepy hollow cemetery
    • Brooklyn Brewery Tour—never been heard only great things

    If I had to create my own list, I would add:

    Finally, just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t break a sweat! If you are bored with your gym routine, shake it up with Time Out’s latest reviews of 50 city-based workouts!  And, even better, take advantage of TONY’s workout deals, discounts and freebies!

    My Study Abroad Health and Fitness Plan

    runner

    Yesterday I shared a round up of healthy travel tips.  So today I thought I would go into my specific strategy for this three week trip.  My attitude is always go with the flow and as much natural exercise as possible.  This is a busy study trip and I won’t be back in Africa anytime soon, so I don’t plan to spend all my free time in the gym, but as I do have a marathon to run in November, I hope for a little more than that if possible!

    Fitness

    (Fitness, Fitness is my Favorite! Insert Will Ferrell SMILE!)

    So when I arrived at orientation for the program, the first question I heard someone ask (I was a little late since I had to come from work), was “is there a gym?”  God bless that guy’s heart!  I never would have asked but I almost cried when he did!  JK.  So I knew I was in good company, I hadn’t thought I would join a gym, but since our classes start at 10, there is not a whole lot to do between wake up and class, and the gym seems like a productive use of time for early birds like me.  Actually, almost half the students wanted to join the gym, which is only $35 for 3 weeks!  The cost of 1 Physique 57 class!  So even if I only go a few times a week, it seems worth it!  I am not sure what gym it is, but I am praying it happens to be the Virgin Active that is in the city!  The gym looks awesome and has lots of early morning spinning class-woo-hoo!

    I will also be there with one of my biggest sources of gym-spiration, my friend Nico.  He works out twice everyday!  I hope we will run together fairly often, and he will push me outside my comfort zone to improve my speed and endurance.  I do plan to run 3 times a week with at least one long run. And hopefully, when we aren’t traveling, to take advantage of whatever is popular at the gym.

    I ordered the Garmin FR60 in early May.  It was supposed to be available for shipment by June 2nd, but unfortunately, it still hasn’t arrived.  I give Garmin credit for being quick to respond; I have exchanged over 15 emails with 4 different people, but even though my watch was supposed to  definitely have shipped by June 24th, it never arrived.  I am a little bummed since it was a $175 investment that I will not be able to utilize while I am away, but I pray that when I arrive home it will be waiting for me—preferably with a huge bow!

    Nutrition!

    In South Africa you don’t have to worry about eating things cooked or even drinking the water, so I am not too worried about adjusting my diet.  For the record, the second question asked at orientation was, “will there be vegan options?”, so I figure I am pretty safe.   The only supplement I am bringing is probiotics.

    For the 17+ hour flight, I am bringing the extra veggies in my fridge: baby carrots, celery, cucumber slices and sugar snap peas, plus a couple energy bars and buying huge bottle of Evian at the airport.  I also requested the vegetarian meal, so hopefully that will be honored.

    Every morning the place  where we are staying will provide a “health and english breakfast.” I am not sure what a health breakfast is, but it sounds good to me!

    In general, I tend to eat richer food in smaller amounts while I am traveling. I am usually too busy for lots of snacks and grazing, and obviously I don’t have to worry about boredom eating, plus that tends to be the general lifestyle in Europe.  The three meals plus afternoon gelato tends to work out well for me.  In addition to less grazing, I truly believe the limited consumption of processed and packaged foods makes a huge difference. Even though I find I am served food prepared with much more oils, fats and white flour than I am use to, the overall quality and minimal processing of the foods seems to make them more acceptable to the body–in my experience anyways.

    I know that we have access to the kitchen and there are regular grocery stores nearby.  Even though it is winter in South Africa, I hear the produce is amazing! Tshwane is pretty cosmopolitan, so there is a huge variety of restaurants of all ethnicities. I plan to prepare most of my own lunches, and save eating out for dinner when possible.  I want to try the regional flavors, but I would rather spend my money on elephant rides than food.

    I am bringing some snacks and supplies with me!

    dinner with gena 005

    I almost never eat bars at home, but they are great for on the go.  I also decided to bring some of Newman’s Own Organics Dried Apricots and Prunes to help bulk up my salads and for my sweet tooth.  And some oatmeal–because why the heck not?

    Guest Blogger: Meet Gena and her real approach to raw food

    Hi everyone.  I am VERY excited to have Gena (pronounced Jen-na) as a guest blogger.  I have been blessed to meet a couple amazing people through my , and Gena is one of them.   She is gorgeous, smart, city-wise, a great deal finder, and she introduced me to Girl Talk! Not only that, she is a FABULOUS writer. (No picture yet because the girl doesn’t own a digital camera, but we are going out to dinner on Friday, so I may be sneaky :).)

    While I tend to stay pretty mainstream on my blog (which is quite true to my lifestyle), there are a few things I have been wanting to touch on and the raw food lifestyle is one of them.  While eating raw food may seem bizarre to some, eating pizza, chicken ceasar salads, aspartame-filled yogurts, processed breakfast bars, and bacon eggwiches may seem equally strange to others.  However, I am not hating on any lifestyle or promoting changing your diet if it is working for you. I just like to explore and open the door to new perspectives, ones that might even give you tips to receiving an even higher level of health and well-being.  While I am not raw and I certainly have vices of my own, often times I feel like that SAD is an all to appropriate acronym for the Standard American Diet.  Have a lost you? Maybe you have never even heard of raw food. Or maybe one of the many bloggers that love larabars and like experimenting with raw macaroons.  Either way, you are in luck, this is a great  Raw Food 101.

    When I met  Gena, she was just getting into the raw lifestyle, since then she has progressed to pretty much 100% raw and is loving it. I figured she would be the perfect  person to talk about and to introduce raw food–from the perspective of a real girl, with a real life.  And by the way, THIS GIRL GLOWS! During times when I was quite into raw I felt and looked my best, and reading Gena’s post today really inspired me to incorporate even more raw, natural  food into my diet.  But this post isn’t about me!  If you have any questions, please leave a comment or send me an email(thelittlerunnerthatcould@gmail.com) and we will get back to you.

    So here is part one, covering Gena’s transition to raw and the changes that came with it, as well as common misperceptions about raw foodism.  Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow, Gena will answer common FAQs including what she eats, how  and if she cheats, costs, dining out, going on dates, business dining and more.

    Without further ado, Gena!

    Hello! Thanks to all of you for welcoming me onto the site, and a huge thank you to Melissa for inviting me to write something. I’ve admired her blog (almost as much as I admire her!) for a long time, and it’s an honor to make a contribution.

     

    Melissa has asked me to say a few words about my raw lifestyle here on the blog. To clarify quickly: a raw diet can mean lots of things, but to most people it means that food is not heated above 117 degrees. This means no broiling, boiling, nuking, baking, searing, grilling, etc. Many raw foodists will eat lightly steamed vegetables at times (I do) but many choose not to. On average, I usually eat 95 to 100% raw each day, with the exception of steamed veggies or root veggies, dark chocolate, and tea. A lot of people ask me if raw diets are the same as vegan diets. The answer is, nope. Many raw foodists eat raw fish and dairy. I don’t; I was a vegan before I discovered raw food, and even when I don’t eat 100% raw, I eat 100% vegan.

     

    Many people who have switched to a living foods diet did so consciously, motivated by the desire to reverse illness, obesity, or depression. My path to raw foods was much more unexpected and organic, though the benefits I’ve experienced are no less dramatic. I had been a vegan for a while, and I had heard a lot about the supposed cure-all of raw living: a promise of boundless energy, bright eyes, clear, glowing skin, seamless digestion, and freedom from the common cold, among other things. I was curious, but doubtful. Forgive me, fellow raw foodists, but I just didn’t see enough scientific basis at the time to support all the buzz. The fundamental premise of a raw diet—that heating food about 117 degrees kills not only the natural enzymes in the food, but many of the nutrients as well—made sense. But how many studies had REALLY been done? And what about counter claims? Raw foodists say that preserving enzymes in food means that those same enzymes later go on to help in digestion. But don’t many doctors claim that cooking food is what makes it easier to digest? If raw food were as much of a panacea as people say, wouldn’t more people do it?

     

    Still, I couldn’t help but be curious. Few communities of people are more energetic, committed, or passionate as raw foodists, and I was inspired by what I saw on the websites We Like It Raw and Give it to Me Raw (fantastic resources, for anyone who is curious). If these guys were so enthusiastic, I thought, there had to be some truth to it all. So I decided to experiment. I figured I would eat mostly raw for as long as I felt like—just to see if I noticed a difference.

     

    And boy, did I ever. Sometimes the proof is in the pudding, as they say; I still don’t know if I could argue raw living with a team of scientists, but within two weeks of eating raw, I had twice as much energy, bouts of euphoria, limitless stamina at the gym, more even-keeled moods, and rosy, glowing skin. I was shocked. What I had dismissed as a lot of hoopla was turning out to be true—more than I ever could have imagined. And even more shocking was my own capacity to feel fulfilled and happy eating raw foods. I had imagined it would be hard, if not impossible, to go without cooked grains, hot soups, and toasted bread. Incredibly, it wasn’t. I had never told myself I couldn’t have those things if I wanted—it was an experiment—but I was shocked by my sudden lack of desire for them. In fact, I had never felt quite so nourished, satisfied, and happy with my diet.

     

    If you’re reading Melissa’s blog, there’s a good chance that you’re a healthy, active person with an interest in general well-being. What eating raw has proven to me is that well-being isn’t only about what achieve with your body in terms of fitness; it’s about what you put in your body (and what you don’t). The foods that people like to advertise as “healthy” or diet-friendly (protein bars, “light” yogurts sweetened with aspartame, frozen meals, low-carb breads) simply aren’t; they’re too processed to do our bodies any good. There are plenty of bloggers out there who have debunked some of the myths behind the diet industry and advocated whole foods (Melissa is one, Kath is another, my friend Lindsey is another), and I don’t need to say more than these ladies have. But I will say that eating raw is a great way to see the truth of their arguments, since you’ll be truly limited to whole foods—no packaged anything. Period.

     

    When I explain to people that I’m a high-raw vegan, the immediate response is fear, snickering, and/or confusion. The assumption, I think, is that I’m going to be a Birkenstock-clad, dreadlock adorned, hippie who composts in her apartment. I’m not.  I’m (relatively) normal 26 year old. I have a demanding job, friends, some semblance of a social life. I eat out sparingly, but that’s because it’s expensive, not because I’m prohibited by my diet. I have business lunches. I travel. I don’t smoke or drink, but I sure used to (a pack a day), and I don’t get bothered by friends who do. Eating raw hasn’t confined me; it’s only opened my eyes to the energy and well-being  possible in my own life.

    Since I started eating raw four and a half months ago, I’ve seen my IBS (which had plagued me since my teens) all but disappear. I’ve stopped having seasonal allergies. I no longer have menstrual cramps. I respond to stress less acutely than before; I’ll always be a workaholic, but ups and downs at work just don’t bother me as much as they used to, and I find that I have more energy at my job than I did before. I’ve deepened my yoga practice and my workout regimen. I’ve met some extraordinary individuals in the raw foods community. I’ve also begun to clear out almost two decades of toxins from cooked foods, soy products (which always impaired my digestion), nicotine, and refined sugar from my body—a process that still continues and that I hope will deepen as I continue my raw lifestyle.

     Here is a taste of what is to come tomorrow:

    So now, the big question: how do I stay raw and have a normal life at the same time? Isn’t it expensive? Do I miss things? Is it hard when I eat out? What about dates? Holidays? Do I “cheat”? These are all good questions. And here are my answers…

    If you can’t wait for more, here are some of my favorite raw websites:

    Karen Knowler the Raw Food Coach  and her fab blog

    We Like it Raw  and their quickies

    Gone Raw

    Go Raw Chicago  (this is an awesome post for salad lovers)

    The Raw Model

    GLiving

    Ani Phyo

    Oh, if you missed my first guest blogger, see Special Guest with Tips to Becoming a Super Athlete!