Tag Archives: Fitness

Friday Favorites: What’s In My Gym Bag

It’s been quite some time since I did a Friday Favorites post! I thought now that I’m attending a lot of fitness classes, it would a great opportunity for me to share with you the favorite things I keep in my gym bag. So far since being injured I’ve taken a bunch of different yoga classes (including aerial!), spin classes, and my current beloved, Refine Method. It’s almost a guarantee that I’ll be a sweaty mess after every class, so I make sure to pack my bag accordingly – doesn’t matter whether I have errands to do after class or I’m just going home… no one wants to smell or be sweaty on the train or while walking home in the cold!

Gym Bag Essentials | FoodosaurusRex.com

My collage making skills are less than stellar, so this one goes counter-clockwise… which kind of drives me insane, but I don’t have the patience or time to re-make the collage.

Forever21 Gym Bag

The most important piece here is my gym bag, obviously. I never had the need for one before, but since I started taking classes that require me to hop on the train, I knew it was time to upgrade from my old Long Champ Le Pliage tote. I really loved the look of quite a few bags, but didn’t want to plunk down the cash for something that was just going to hold my sweaty clothes and sneakers. Eventually I found one from Forever21 that was only $23 and had great reviews. I figured that for $23, I couldn’t go wrong! I’ve been using it multiple times a week for a few weeks now and couldn’t be happier with it. It has plenty of compartments both inside and out, and is large enough to hold everything I could possibly need without being a huge bag. Unfortunately they don’t have the same bag online anymore, but they do have a few others that look awesome!

Pacifica Coconut Water Facial Wipes

I got these facial wipes as a sample pack in the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet goodie bag, immediately fell in love with them, and went to Target to buy some. They smell amazing (think coconut butter on a tropical island) and do a good job of wiping off all the dirt and sweat without being harsh. My skin is really sensitive (and dry and acne prone, yay!) so I have to be careful about what products I use. I love them so much that I also bought some of their body butter which is equally amazing.

Nathan Power Shower Body Wipes

These bad-boys are a life saver. I’ve had plans after almost every Refine Method class (usually errands or brunch and not something that required a full shower) and I sweat a lot, so these have come in handy. One wipe is all you need to refresh yourself and feel like you can go about your business without being the smelly kid in class. They aren’t a shower replacement by any means, but they definitely keep me from feeling gross. I bought a bunch on Amazon and they’ve been perfect after races where I want to hang out and cheer or go grab food after!

Nuun/Picky Bars Water Bottle

This might seem silly, but I’m kind of picky about my water bottles when it comes to working out. I want something that I can easily grab and don’t have to struggle with to get a drink from. The bottles that I’ve gotten from Nuun and Picky Bars do the trick! The body of the bottle has enough give so I can squeeze it if I’m in dire need of water, and the  top doesn’t require anything fancy from me in order to actually get water out. Plus, it fits perfectly on a FlyWheel bike, next to my yoga mat, or in between stations at Refine Method!

Infinity Scarves! 

With winter (officially) only a few days away, I’ve found an infinity scarf is the perfect thing to have with me for pre and post class. It keeps me warm on the walk there, but it also helps to keep my sweaty hair off my neck for the walk home! My favorites are the Oiselle Runfinity scarf (I have the regular stripe in fresh green, the lux runfinity in fast red, and the fleece infinity scarf) as well as the Lululemon Vinyasa scarf. I pack one even if it’s a “warmer” day because by the time I’m heading home and back out in the cooler air after sweating, I need a little something extra. Once the cooler weather months hit, you can almost always find me wearing some type of scarf, so it seemed only natural to wear it to and from my workouts, too!

Tell me…
Do you have any gym bag essentials? 
What’s your favorite group fitness class?

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Filed under Life

More Than Running

When you love a sport, you want to do that sport all the time. And when you’re trying to be competitive in it (whether “competitive” means against others or just yourself), it’s easy to get wrapped up in doing just that. But if there’s one thing I know as an athlete, it’s that you need to do more than just your sport in order to excel.

As a swimmer in high school and college, I understood the importance of “dryland.” I didn’t always make it a priority, but I always tried to remind myself that there was more to swimming than just swimming. When I actually hit the weight room and did things to supplement my time in the pool, I saw results. I’ll never forget the summer after a disappointing freshman year season – I made as many 6am long course practices as possible and, thanks to not really having a job (which was not so fun when I had no money sophomore year) I also did a lot of running and weight training. It paid off big time and I told myself I’d be diligent with cross-training for the rest of my swimming career.

No shame then, no shame now. See, I used to swim!

No shame then, no shame now. See, I used to swim!

Well, my swimming career ended (for now), but I didn’t keep the promise to myself to be good at cross-training when I started running. I’ve found myself being great at it when I’m injured, but as soon as I start to get into the depths of training for whatever upcoming race, my cross-training falls by the wayside. It’s a combination of things; I’m tired, I’m spending more time running and have less time for “other stuff,” and if we’re being honest, sometimes I’m just plain lazy. But with this last injury preventing me from running a fall marathon for the second year in a row, I realized it was time to get serious. Or as my mother would say, time to shit or get off the pot.

Since I’m slightly injured right now, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to explore some cross-training options that would allow me to help me reach my running goals. Not having to worry about weekend morning long runs leaves time for fitness classes that I would otherwise skip because I wouldn’t want to waste energy on a non-running activity, or be afraid I’d be too sore. I’m also much closer to a variety of fitness options that I didn’t really have before… so there’s really no excuse!

Swimmer turned runner... kind of.

Swimmer turned runner… kind of.

This past weekend I got adventurous and tried two new-to-me workouts. First up was yoga with Dori on Saturday at a local yoga studio. After finding an Amazon Local deal a few weeks ago, we decided it would be in both of our best interests to check it out. The studio, Jivamukti Yoga, offers a variety of classes throughout the day, which is convenient. Unfortunately they don’t offer any early classes, making it a weeknight and/or weekend-only kind of thing.

Since we’ve both practiced yoga before, but it’s been awhile for us (and we’re far from experts), we decided to try the Beginner Vinyasa class. The mid-afternoon class was small (there were 7 of us including myself and Dori) which allowed for personal attention and a relaxing environment. We started with some chanting which I always have to try not to smile/laugh during because I’m a child, and then we moved on to some basic poses and a few sequences. It felt good to stretch out while also getting a little bit of a workout (my back and arms were slightly sore the next day). We ended the class working on an assisted shoulder stand, but both Dori and I agreed it would have been easier with out the blanket prop. It also made me realize the importance of a shirt with an elastic or adjustable waistband! Since we purchased a 5-class package, we’ll definitely be back. I’m looking forward to trying some of the other types of classes they offer, like their spirit warrior class which is a one-hour workout styled class, as well as their aerial vinyasa.

On Sunday, I finally tried out Refine Method, which I’ve been meaning to try for a long time. I have a lot of friends who love it, so now that I’m a quick PATH ride away from the city, it was the perfect time to give it a try.

As with all new things, I was a little nervous for my first class. Not because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do the work, rather I was scared of the unknown. I didn’t want to look like a total newbie, and sometimes when I’m working out I don’t pay close attention to instructions which leaves me clueless. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about because Dori was with me to help, and it was all really straight forward and simple – I wasn’t confused at all! The instructor, Laura, took the time to introduce herself and set me up on their pulley system, and to tell me what weights she thought I should use. Once the class started it was go-go-go for 55 minutes (followed by core-work and a cool-down for the last 5 minutes).

I was dripping sweat by the end of the class, and knew I’d be sore on Monday. We did everything from side lunges with single leg squats, to jump-backs (burpees) and kettlebell swings. My favorite part about the class was that each exercise was done for no more than a minute at a time, and just as you were starting to feel like you couldn’t continue, it was time to switch to the next exercise! And each set included a move targeting your upper body, followed by one targeting your lower body (or vice versa). It really is a total body workout that pushes you without feeling impossible. I felt really accomplished by the end of class, and was already thinking about when to go back! I think doing workouts like this two times a week could really help with my running because a lot of the exercises are things that are part of my simple strength work now. The classes are a little expensive, but I think I can make it work if I scale back on other things (aka my online shopping habit).

Needless to say, I’m ready to put in the work – both with my runs as well as my cross-training to make sure I stay strong, healthy, and get to the start line so I can crush my goals!

Tell me…
Do you cross train to supplement your running (if you’re a runner)? And if so, what do you do?
What’s your favorite workout?

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Filed under Life, Running

On Keeping It Real

I stay away from talking about weight, diet, eating habits, and the like on the blog for a number of reasons. Mostly it’s because I’m not qualified to talk about those things and it drives me nuts when people that aren’t qualified (try to) give advice. I know most of these people are trying to be helpful, but what I don’t think they realize is that they can actually have the opposite effect. I see it rampant in the blogging world, because, as a society, we’re so obsessed with diet, exercise, and “looking and feeling our best” (which really means “looking what we think society sees as the best”). That being said, this post is about how I feel about my own body, and how it affects me not only as a runner, but as a human being.

I actually had this post on the back-burner for awhile because I wasn’t really sure exactly what I wanted to say or how to say it. But when I saw that Lauren Fleshman posted about keeping it real over on the Runner’s World blog, I knew it was time for me to share.

Growing up I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. When I was very young (toddler and pre-school age) I would eat anything and everything, no questions asked. I then went through a phase where I was extremely picky; my mom referred to it as “eating like a bird.” Being naturally thin, I never thought about my weight during those dangerous pre-teen years when girls start to realize society puts a high price on “skinny.” I do remember whining about not fitting into size 0 shorts at some point in middle school—to which my mother quickly shot down with a “you are a woman. You will have hips!” I started swimming in middle school as well and, despite being in a bathing suit in front of people (sometimes hundreds), I was never self conscious. I also ate anything I wanted. Double quarter pounder with cheese, super-sized, from McDonald’s once in awhile? You bet. I always ate a balance of “good” and “bad,” and my parents did a good job of keeping overly processed foods out of our reach. My ability to devour food without any consequences carried throughout college. I did have a period after my freshman swim season ended where I put on a few pounds (I’d say maybe 5-10), but it quickly dropped once I was home for the summer and back to swimming regularly and not spending my weekends at keg parties.

Once I graduated college, though, I realized I didn’t have the type of physical activity in my life that allowed me to eat whatever I wanted. I spent periods throughout that first year worried about putting on weight, but not doing much about it. Eventually, I decided to start running just to give myself a safety net; for some reason, I worried that one day I would just wake up and realize I’d packed on post-college pounds. It never happened and I fell in love with running enough to keep doing it, regardless of what it did (or didn’t do) for my waistline.

About a year into running I discovered social media. Twitter! Blogs! Running and fitness groups! Instagram! For the first time in my life, I questioned my body. I’m the “thinnest” I’ve ever been by almost ten pounds, but, at any moment, I can log on to any social media site and read about how someone just crushed a workout or ate a super healthy meal (also known as “eating clean”). I can see pictures of their ripped and lean bodies and tiny meals. Or they just had a killer long run and are stuffing their faces with mounds of pancakes, but still seem to be extremely fit. I’m sure there are plenty of people who scroll right through those posts and think nothing of it, but not me. When I see these kinds of posts, I tend to have two very different reactions. Part of me wants to be able to be disciplined to “eat clean,” workout hard, and be the epitome of physical fitness, but then the other part of me wants to still workout hard and run fast, while eating whatever I want, whenever I want. I want to show people who are overly restrictive about food and intense about their workouts that you only live once. If I want a second serving, I’m going to go for it!

I find myself thinking about food all the time, but this isn’t new. You can guarantee that as I’m finishing a meal, I’m already thinking (and asking) about the next one; it drives my mom crazy. But I find myself thinking about it in different terms these days. I compare myself to the images people project of their “healthy living” lifestyles on the Internet, and I can’t escape thinking that I’m eating too much and not the right stuff. I find myself wondering if I’m weird for not craving things like salads and fruit and “healthy” things all the time. Or if I just don’t have enough willpower. I’m the kind of person that if given the option between a fruit salad or home fries with my brunch entree, I will always choose home fries. If I go with the assumed healthier option, I may feel better about myself in that moment, but I’m usually not satisfied. If I go with what I really want, I enjoy it, but usually feel guilty afterwards. As you can imagine, that type of internal struggle can get tiresome (and annoying).

When I find myself worrying about food, it isn’t because of its health value (or lack thereof), but rather what it may mean for the image of my body. And that’s a pretty messed up way to think about food, isn’t it? If I’m expecting my body to perform to the best of it’s ability, I should treat it right and fuel it the way it needs to be fueled. And, at the same time, if I want a little dessert after dinner I shouldn’t feel like I “don’t deserve it.”

Life is about so much more than the number on a scale or the number on the tag in your jeans, or how much skin sits over your pants when you’re sitting down. No, I don’t have a six pack and I have cellulite under my butt that, no matter how many squats I do, doesn’t seem to go away. And guess what? I’m still strong and athletic and am able to push my body to get it to perform to the best of its ability. I’ve always compared myself to others in every aspect of my life, but at the end of the day I’m living my life and no one else’s. What good does it do to compare myself to someone in a completely different situation? They say comparison is the theft of joy and I truly believe it. Everyone is different—that’s the beauty of being human—so how can you compare what you’re eating and how you’re working out to what someone else is doing? Sure, it’s easier said than done, but I think, as a society, we need to do a better job of encouraging one another to live our own lives and to support one another in that journey. If we’re all open and honest about our struggles and try to keep it real, at the end of the day I think we’ll all feel a little bit better. I know I will.

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Filed under Food Blogging, Life, Running

Feeling Free

For the first time in I’d say probably about a year (since I started grad school), I didn’t have any solid plans on Saturday aside from yoga in the morning. The thought of being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted sounded absolutely glorious; I felt like a 17 year old that had just gotten her license and was free to cruise around town with her friends (well, one non-family member these days).

Don’t get me wrong, I like having things to do and structure in my life is important. However, it was great to not have homework and assignments plaguing me in the back of my mind. Taking the summer and fall semesters off so I can train for the Philly marathon and even more importantly finish up planning my wedding will hopefully leave me with a few more ounces of sanity. And it lets me start my weekends with things like this…

Beginning the day with yoga is great – it’s a relaxing way to get your body warmed up and ready for the day, while getting in physical activity. By the end of our hour and fifteen minute session, I could feel the weakness in my arms. In addition to logging miles, I’m hoping to incorporate more fitness-y activities as well; yoga, strength training, some different classes at the gym here and there, and of course reconnecting with the pool, etc. I’m hoping that by upping my overall fitness level, I’ll also help my running and even more importantly, prevent more injuries.

So, after yoga I got to work in the kitchen. I’ve had a few things I wanted to make backed up for awhile, so I figured it was time to actually make something. Since I hadn’t gone to the grocery store and needed important ingredients like flour, I opted for a recipe that only called for one cup of flour, and saved the other recipes for Sunday. I stumbled on this recipe from Andrea’s Recipes, and aside from using regular flour instead of whole wheat, chunky peanut butter instead of smooth, and less chocolate chips, I stuck to the recipe, and it ruled.

The only problem is that now I have it sitting my fridge, screaming my name. In order to ignore the cries, I went out for a solid 3.15 mile run, just to make sure I could enjoy more of the goodies later. And oh, they were (and still are being) enjoyed!

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Filed under Baking, Running, Wedding