I tried Sakara Life for 2-days and I'm basically a Victoria's Secret model now

I've long been fascinated with Sakara Life. Their branding and aesthetic is beautiful, and the food always looks appealing. I love to eat plants. It's absurdly expensive. *All* the Victoria's Secret models do it. 

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I HAD TO TRY IT.

I'm on this major health kick pre-wedding, I've lost 11 lbs and several inches, and TBH I go through phases where meat totally grosses me out. (Never gonna give it up forever, hence the 'phase') Also I have a very expensive wedding dress I want to look hot AF in. And then 2 weeks in a bikini on our honeymoon.

So I went for it.

Wait, back up, what is Sakara?

The Sakara Life organic meal delivery program is based on a whole-food, plant-rich diet that includes fresh, nutrient-dense, and delicious ingredients.

TL/DR (but you're gonna wanna read it all): I was blown away. I've tried just about every meal delivery in the book and the food is typically underwhelming. Sakara was excellent. The greens were crisp, the portions were perfect, the sauces were delicious and the MUFFIN. OMG THE MUFFIN. I almost cried actual tears when that breakfast ended.

Their difference? 

IT'S FRESH. Within 48 hours of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients arriving at their kitchens, your meals are on their way to you, packed in eco-friendly cooler bags. (We use ours all the time)

CLEAN INGREDIENTS. Sakara sources all of their ingredients from trusted suppliers and organic farms that use healthy, sustainable agriculture practices.

MENUS MATTER. The meals are inspired by everything from the latest microbiome research to Michelin-starred restaurants in NYC, and combine expert nutritional design with sophisticated culinary technique. Literally I had an artichoke heart/coconut 'ceviche' that was better than most restaurants.

Before we jump into the (vegan) meat of it, it's worth your while to understand Sakara's 9 Pillars of Nutrition

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The Deal:

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You can choose how many days you're looking for (3 or 5) and all programs come ready-to-eat and include Detox Tea and Beauty + Detox Water Concentrates. I'm not a tea drinker and I was actually really into the Detox Tea. The chocolates are also a nice little dessert/treat. I obviously ate all of mine in one sitting. It's fine.

The Food:

The food is packed with flavor - I was never hungry. Some of my favorites?

Yoga Bunny Breakfast - it was this carrot, raisin and walnut 'muffin' with this insane turmeric pumpkin butter and some blueberries (I added extra blueberries because I am extra.) I heated mine up in a skillet and I loved every single bite. I SAVORED IT.

Youth and Beaty Salad  - so fresh, so much flavor. I was actually really into the lemony/citrusy dressing and the amount of 'crunch' (hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds) to sprinkle on top. The pomegranate seeds gave it a great amount of sweetness and the thinly sliced beets and carrots and cucumbers made it incredibly refreshing (this is coming from someone who hates beets and still ate them). 

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The Sakara Burger - yes it's your typical plant-based beet/grain burger but it was excellent. It was on this dense bread that heated up really well and came with a side salad. I reluctantly gave my mom a bite (I do not share food well) and she LOVED it. So being daughter-of-the-year, I gave her half. #favoritechild

Cooling Cashew Vermicelli w/ Pink Probiotic Dressing - This was absurd. I've never had kelp noodles before (spoiler: they're really good for you) and I heated this up like a stir-fry. It had veggies, this delicious creamy sauce, nuts, greens, and 'noodles'. LOVED.

Results:

This is what they promise you:

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All of the above is true. I understand our bodies fluctuate in weight quite a bit, but I also understand that in two days I lost 2.2 lbs (water weight, whatever, the number still went down on the scale), I had no bloat, I was very, ahem, 'regular', and combined with my Tata Harper skincare regimen and my summer tan, my skin was freaking GLOWING. 

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I also had no problem completing my daily power walks or my thrice-weekly Bar Method classes. And I'm an eater. This is a big deal. I actually posted this photo ON THE INTERNET after completing my Sakara two-day bender.

Do you know what it's like putting a photo of yourself, in a bathing suit on the internet? 

It's something you only do after a glass of Sauv B by the pool. (Which is exactly how this transpired.)

My key-takeaways?

Yes it's expensive. But so is organic food and high quality superfood supplements. You're also paying for convenience. But to do this every now and again is worth it. It instills a mindset and resets you. Or if you have a stressful period in your life coming up and you don't want to think about food (hello wedding planning + new job), it's a great way to take the work out of what you're eating for a few days.

Want a discount?

Check out Sakara's menu here. Use code REF_KRISTINE15

 

 

A Little Bit, Every Day.

Progress is a funny thing.

When you're in it, day-to-day, sometimes it's hard to notice change.

It's easy to get discouraged.

It's difficult to see progress.

Then one day, it just hits you in the face. 

And you're like, damn, I'M IN IT.

I was always an athlete. I played soccer and I swam competitively for 10+ years growing up. In college, I went to a gym for the first time and got real cozy like with the Elliptical. Never touched a weight. Never ran a mile. Running was always punishment in soccer. I stayed far away.

Post-graduation, I moved to SF, and joined 24 Hour Fitness. Where I did the same workout every single day. Literally. Boutique fitness didn't exist. I figured out there were people that actually ran for fun, so I signed up for a 12K; the Bridge to Bridge in the Fall of 2007. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't train. I was unaware people "train" to run. But something shifted.

I ran a few more 10K's and signed up for my first half-marathon with this cocky mindset of, "It's running. I got this." And then I got served a HEAPING slice of humble pie. 

Actually screw it, I got served the whole damn thing.

I wore the wrong shoes, never ran more than 3 miles at a time, had no idea about any pre-race rituals (ahem, like using a restroom), didn't know people eat while they run, and Gu was a term more foreign to me than kale at that time. (It was 2008, kale wasn't cool. JUDGE ME.)

Then I met runners. I learned you follow a training plan. That there are running shoes and there are gym shoes. That you fuel to keep from hitting the wall. That you eat, coffee, use the facilities before runs. (Sorry not sorry, we're all adults and it's true.)

But it wasn't until the summer of 2011 when, while on a booze cruise in the San Francisco Bay celebrating a friend's birthday, that a dear friend and I (over multiple Sprite and Vodkas) decided it was a wise decision to register FOR A MARATHON. WHILE ON THE OPEN SEAS.

So the next morning I woke up to a raging headache, a craving for a breakfast burrito, the very real "YOU'RE IN" e-mail sitting in my inbox and my bank account down ~$150.

Huh. So we're in this.

I downloaded a training plan (literally Google searched: "Marathon Training to not die") and a Hal Higdon plan came up. Novice 1. Perfect. Great. I'm a Novice and 1 is a beginning number.

I'm a very committed person when I have a goal I want to hit so I threw myself into my training.

I went from struggling through a 3-mile run, stopping every mile to "tie my shoes" (i.e. breathe and will myself to not lie down on the street to call an Uber home), to running 20+ miles on a Saturday without stopping. I cross-trained. I checked PR distances and times off the list. Racing became second nature. A 5-mile run followed by a Pilates class was a normal Wednesday.

Little by little, I started to look the part, and little(r) by little(r) I started to feel the part.

I could see my own progress. I could feel the hours upon hours spent paying off. 

I was stronger. I was more powerful. I had core strength. I was mentally focused and driven.

On Day 3 of Week 2, I couldn't see it. By Day 5 of Week 7, I felt like a different person. 

And come Marathon Day? I ran all 26.2 miles and finished in under 4 hours. And I felt pretty freaking good about how far I'd come. The cheeseburger I had afterwards was also pretty freaking good. And the multiple Peppermint JoJo's from Trader Joe's (it was Christmas time).

My point is - progress doesn't come easy. It's not instantaneous. It's not even quick. It takes a lot of work, and more importantly it takes time.

At SoulCycle the other night, Chris (come take his class with me ASAP) said something that resonated with me, and continues to resonate.

It's not 1,000 steps.

It's 1,000 hours.

It's making small decisions that lead to big changes.

It's progress, not perfection.

As Justin Theroux would say in one of the greatest movies of all time, Wanderlust, "Suck on that for a little while".

A little bit every day. Commitment. Focus. Determination. Grit. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because it's not all fun and games and sometimes it doesn't feel great.

Training faster to run faster, pushing harder against resistance, using heavier weights, jumping in a freaking POOL to swim laps after 13+ years out. 

Whatever it is, in Chris' words, be about it. 

Find a pack or a community that supports you. Recognize those are your people. Support them. Give back what they give you. 

Oh, and don't forget to work your ass off. 

Crushing goals doesn't exactly come easy.

The Couple That Sweats Together...

Um you guys. 

First things first - THANK YOU for all of your words, notes, comments, like, etc on my last post. Means the world to me, and I'm truly practicing what I preach. Goals are never met but ticking off boxes. They're met with hard work.

They're met with effing GRIT. I'm all in.

Exhibit A: My weekly SoulCycle double. Turning it up. 3lb weights. Even if I was "tired".

Exhibit B: Today (okay and yesterday's) run. Not stopping, showing up.

And in a seamless transition, today is VALENTINE'S DAY. Love yourself, love your significant other/partner/spouse, love your friends, love your family, love YOUR LIFE.

(Fun fact: this guy has never missed the finish line of one of my races in OVER 9 YEARS, spanning multiple states.)

I was thinking all things love, and then I was thinking that something that's been a part of my relationship since the beginning some 9ish years ago is our mutual love of exercise.

I've tried every possible workout class, run, walk, weights, swim, etc. Boyfriend has stayed true to weights, running and basketball. But the overarching factor? We (often) do it together. Even if we just show up, start, and end at the same time, it's something that bonds us.

(Also he's 6 feet, I'm 5'4, and our running paces aren't exactly the same.)

But I'm convinced the couple who sweats together… stays together. Essential to our current routine is heading to The Bay Club multiple times a week together. He usually does his thing, I usually do mine, but it's this time we have together. We grab a bite after, or have a "lifestyle Sunday"" - watch a game, sauna, spa, etc. We love it.

I get a run in and some weights or pop into a class, he plays basketball and hits the free weights. We're both there together. We make plans around it. It's our thing.

Because life gets BUSY. Between work, family, friends, social obligations and having time to breathe, relax and sleep, time isn't exactly unlimited (even if it does seem like it is at 2pm on a Wednesday in the office, just sayin'.)

DID YOU KNOW: Exercising together rebuilds connection, allows you to have fun together, and gives you pre-planned time in your otherwise busy and unpredictable week. ("Shhhh don't talk to me, Scandal is on. BE QUIET OLIVIA IS HANDLING IT.")

So grab the love of your life and get your sweat on.

Seriously. Here's 5 reasons it’ll benefit you and your relationship. (And c’mon, who doesn’t want to see their guy/gal all glistened with sweat?) 

5 Ways Exercising Together Benefits Your Relationship

1)   New opportunities together – When you’re working out together, your significant other is seeing you as strong, fit and capable. In the future when they want to try something new, athletic or extreme, they think of you to join them. Cue new experiences, memories and passions together.

2)   Chase a common goal – Whether it’s a half-marathon you train for together, or simply hit the gym or take a walk, working out as a couple gives you a chance to bond over attaining a common goal and also to spend some damn time together. Cue support and motivation of each other in and out of the gym. 

3)   Find something new – When your significant other drags you to his-or-her favorite spin or yoga class at the gym? You never know, you may have just found a new class to add into your weekly workout routine. It goes both ways, introducing your partner to your favorite workout gives you something new to do together and new healthy habits to create. (This is a strategy I'm currently employing with boyfriend and SoulCycle.... and failing.)

4)   Your, ahem, bedroom life will thank you – Working out creates endorphins and produces pheromones. Watching the love of your life sweat, pulse, grit and grind it out? Does it get any hotter?

5)   Dinner dates just got a whole lot better – All that sweat, all those calories burned, all that effort… now you get to refuel together, order ALL the things, have a drink (hello, beer = carbs) and spend time not in spandex (or do, because athleisure is super trendy and YOLO.)

XOXO

Goal Crushing.

Can I tell you guys something? Spoiler, you don't really have a choice. 

I mean you do but... you get where I'm going with this.

2017 feels to me, like my goddamn year. I don't know what it is, but I've got this feeling.

That I know where I want to be and I know the steps I need to take to get there.

I love to workout. Running has come back into my life with this fiery passion and I'm so into it. SoulCycle is a staple. I even do (light) weights now. 

The last few months I've worked my ass off - running, weights, form on the bike, on cross-training, on endurance, on nutrition, to be the strongest athlete I can be.

Recently, while my dear friend geared up for a quad (that's 4 classes in a single day peeps), I got the opportunity to ride her podium.

By myself.

To me that was everything. The biggest honor. 

Not familiar? Riding the podium mean's riding the instructor's bike. Being up in front of the entire class - completely exposed and completely accountable to being on your game, and giving it absolutely everything you have. 

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I reveled in it. It was one of the best 45 minute periods OF MY LIFE.

No bullshit.

It felt like 3 years of classes, of community, of building relationships, of making SoulCycle my haven, had come to a tipping point and I was given this experience. 

And I made the most of every, single second.

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It was scary. It was thrilling. It was unknown. It was exciting. It was inspiring. 

I have a tradition of housing Pressed Freeze after 105 minutes of SoulCycle. 

That was the start of my 2017 year of #goalcrushing. I got into the Brooklyn 1/2 Marathon last week and I'm excited to kick off a new kind of training plan that works for me to run my best in New York later this spring - full of weights/strength training, SoulCycle and a few runs per week. (Ugh, fine and yoga. FINE.) I've got more goals to work towards later this year as the opportunities present themselves.

I've left extremes and excuses behind.

I'm ready.

I'm focused. 

So 2017, let's get on with it.

5 Ways to Win Dry January

Dry January is the new juice cleanse. It's the better juice cleanse because you get to eat, you aren't miserable, and it's not like $189 for 3 days of liquid.

You know the drill.

After all the holiday revelry and celebrating and boozing, you commit to a "dry" January. 

As in no booze. Of any kind.

(Sometimes I moonlight as a bartender for charity - I make a mean Moscow Mule.)

The thought is that January is usually pretty dead - the SuperBowl isn't until February, and with all the $$ spent in December and all of the parties, you back off for a few weeks to recoup the funds and let yourself detox/recover from the holiday season.

Your biggest concern when committing to Dry January? 

"But like, will I become a hermit? Can I go out? WHAT DO I DO?"

Fear not my friends, I got you covered. Mostly because I just did a dry month. (I KNOW.)

5 Ways to Win Dry January

  • Stock up on the essentials. Kombucha, La Croix (Coconut or Grapefruit gets my vote), Pellegrino, the works. Rather than making mocktails which can be loaded with sugar, stick to sparkling water or 'booch. I like it out of a wine glass. Sets the mood.
  • Fake it. Order a sparkling water with lime in a low-ball glass to avoid the "WHY AREN'T YOU DRINKING?" inquisitions you'll inevitably get. Trust, it's easier for everyone that way.
  • Either announce it and commit to it - or shut up about it. If your friends/people around you/coworkers aren't into Dry January, they don't want to hear about it every single, solitary second. So avoid letting everyone know HOW WELL YOU'RE SLEEPING. Or HOW GREAT YOUR JEANS FIT. Much like if you've just decided to go Vegan. Or try Crossfit. Announce it, commit to it, and then drop it.
  • Sign up for all the early (or mid) morning workout classes on the weekends. Post about how amazing you feel on social media afterwards. 
  • Set a goal. You'll have a lot of extra awake time from sleeping so soundly all month - why not set a goal at the end of January for a 5K/10K/half marathon? 

Honestly, it's over before you know it and you're ready to take on the year with a clear head, less bloat/pouf to your bod, and a month of solid sleep under your belt.

Or cheers your success with a cold brewski.

Your call.

Gettin' HIIT at the Bay Club San Francisco

I like to sweat - a lot. (Like frequently, not a lot if we're talking amount of sweat. It's also not my fault I end up sweating a lot amount wise as well. I read somewhere it means you're well hydrated and also in very good shape.)

Lately that sweating is coming in the form of classes at The Bay Club San Francisco. (Want to know more about the actual club? Check out this post I wrote earlier this year.)

I've tried out yoga, a foam rolling class, an abs class (SO HARD, couldn't breathe normally for 2 days) and most recently a 30-minute high-intensity interval training class, called Grit.

Yep, 30 minutes.

I had an eyebrow wax appt (hashtag keepin' it real), but I wanted a legit sweat session. I walked into class on a whim, totally skeptical and <5 minutes in, I was dripping sweat, heart-pounding, completely out of breath. The instructor's name was Willie, and he was encouraging without remotely getting annoying (you know the type that crosses that line), he'd demonstrate the moves, coach you through them, modify for you if you needed it (*I* certainly did) and motivate you to the end of the set.

It was all Tabata style - a minute of work per set, 3-5 sets, then rest. Then we did it all over again. When class was over I was spent. I love feeling like that.

You can't tell but I was lying on a bench after class contemplating if I was every going to be able to get up. Also big ups to my mom for my new socks. I'm a fan.

Especially after 30 minutes.

But like, it wasn't always that way.

Remember when I would spend 3-4 hours at a time STRAIGHT RUNNING? (RIP marathons and half-marathons). I know.

WTF.

Now? I want it quick and dirty. In and out. Maximum calorie burn and effectiveness. (Somewhere boyfriend is rolling his eyes with an, "I told you so..." face.)

I used to think that if I wasn't sweating for hours, I wouldn't get a quality workout. For serious. 

Then I learned all about HIIT. which eventually lead me to Grit. (Rhyming like whoa today.)

Less is More - What's HIIT?

HIIT involves repeated bouts of high intensity effort followed by varied recovery times. The intense effort is typically 20-40 seconds, and is performed at 80% to 95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate (the maximum number of times your heart will beat in a minute without overexerting yourself). The recovery period is usually performed at 40% to 50% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate. 

HIIT training has been shown to improve:

• aerobic and anaerobic fitness

• blood pressure

• cardiovascular health

• insulin sensitivity (which helps the exercising muscles more readily use glucose for fuel to make energy)

• cholesterol profiles

• abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass. (via)

Even better? During the actual HIIT workout, you burn 12-16 calories A MINUTE. Someone quickly calculate how many minutes I'd have to do to even out my Roam Burger after.

With fries.

TL/DR? (Too long/didn't read?)

You're spending less time working out and you're getting more benefit from it.

You're scorching calories, sweating buckets, and maximizing your time and effort so you can do other things, like watch Westworld (am I the only one obsessed?), eat holiday cookies, or put on your J.Crew winter pajamas under a cozy blanket and chill.

I mean be productive and all that stuff.

The Bay Club offers a ton of different HIIT classes (also non HIIT classes if it's not your thing). Local? Come sweat with me, I'm fun, I promise. 

Have Your Turkey and Eat It Too

Well, it's the holidays. Officially.

Can I get a YAAAAAAS?

This morning was brought to you by an AM workout at The Bay Club, and a WHOLE LOT of coffee. A WHOLE LOT. Like my entire pot.

I ain't sorry.

We didn't do anything crazy this weekend to warrant said tiredness, but you know how it is first day back from vacation. My alarm may as well have been in the middle of the night. It's SO COLD OUT. (If you live in an actual cold climate just ignore me). We had a lot of family time, a lot of sleep, some sweating, a good amount of eating and drinking... and getting into the season of all things holiday. 

I couldn't be happier.

My parents host Thanksgiving at their house every year so we had a lovely stay-cation out in the 'burbs. I headed out Wednesday to help my mom with cooking, and is it just me, or does all the cooking get a lot more fun as we get older? It also gets way more exhausting so Wednesday night dinner is always take-out pizza (GF crust for moi) and wine.

Turkey day began with a long walk,  more cooking, welcoming Boyfriend and his mom over, wine, lots of great food, great conversation, a Thanksgiving evening viewing of War Dogs with everyone (surprisingly good - I love Miles Teller in anything), and me trying to stay awake through my food coma. 

I had booked a SoulCycle class for Friday morning mainly because my girl Steph was teaching a Survivor (and like hell I'd miss) and because I love a good sweat, whether it's the day after Thanksgiving or a random Tuesday morning. 

1-Minute Rant: By 7am Friday morning I'd already received multiple emails from multiple brands advertising "post-Thanksgiving juice cleanses" and "specials on class packs to burn off that turkey". STOP THE MADNESS, IT'S ONE MEAL. You didn't get in shape or get healthy from one meal. And you won't undo anything with one meal either. I've had weekend food/wine benders last a lot longer than that and no one is offering to help pull me out of it. ENJOY IT.

My family generally eats pretty clean - we do a roast Diestel Turkey, GF Sourdough Stuffing (Bread Srsly is EVERYTHING, no one knew muahaha), my mom's homemade Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Sweet and Regular Potatoes (guess what? you don't actually need to add a stick of butter to either, promise), Green Beans with Toasted Almonds, the Shredded Kale Salad from OhSheGlows (crowd favorite), Gravy (with cornstarch vs white flour to keep it GF) and for dessert? Flourless Chocolate Torte, Minimalist Baker's Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars and Coconut Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream. Decadent, indulgent, clean.

And like all the Rombauer and Justin Cab you can drink. 

Throughout the long weekend I went on a few long walks with my mom (it's our thing), a couple SoulCycle classes, and spent more time horizontal on the couch, under a blanket by the fire than I have in a looooong time. I freakin' loved it.

Today is hard.

So hard.

But, like Britney Spears in 2007, we will prevail. We've got ~3 weeks until Christmas break, and a shit load of holiday parties in between now and then to navigate, to dress up for, and a whole season of festivities to be on point for.

Whether or not you've had an indulgent weekend, or just want to start the week off right, do it. I kicked my own ass into gear this morning with a 7am workout, a healthy green smoothie and a packed lunch to keep me from dropping $15 on lunch.  I'm planning to get all my Christmas shopping done THIS WEEK (I know), and I'm tryin' not to blow the bank while I do it. (Besides, something has to pay for all those SoulCycle classes that even out my holiday revelry.)

I picked up Amanda Haas' Anti Inflammation Cookbook at Williams Sonoma the other day (she's a genius) and it's a great way to cook if you're feeling "poufy" after Turkey Day, or if you just try to eat clean and avoid gluten like I do. 

The trick is: 1) Cook for yourself between holiday functions and festivities and 2) MOVE every day. Even a walk. I walk every, single day for an hour. Sometimes it's broken up into 4, 15-minute walks. Sometimes it's an hour straight. Just move those legs, get your steps.

That's IT. It's pretty simple. Have your cake/wine/champagne/cookies... and button your jeans come January 2 too.

How was your Thanksgiving?

 

Routines.

I'm someone who enjoys a routine. I'll be the first to say that I love my weekends as unstructured as possible, but when I'm all Type-A going about my week? Yeah, I like routine.

I wake up at the same time every weekday morning, I usually have 1 of 3 of the same breakfasts (smoothie, oatmeal, or toast), and get my workout in every day. I aim for 2x Pilates or Yoga and 3x Cardio (it's always SoulCycle so let's just call a spade a spade and start referring to my cardio as SoulCycle).

I always go to the same instructors at said workouts of choice because 1) I like them, their style of teaching and the way they run their classes and 2) boutique fitness is expensive man... I don't want to gamble with my $30+.

Sometimes sticking to your routine is a great thing - it provides a sense of structure and familiarity, it builds good habits, it increases efficiency (I can make a smoothie in like 2 minutes flat at this point) and it takes will-power out of the equation. I don't have to talk myself into a healthy meal or a workout during the week - it just happens. It's habitual.

But sometimes, it's important to stray from routine and to push past it - even if it's just a small step outside the box.

The other night for example, I went to a  SoulCycle class taught by an instructor I'd been to once before, years ago. Frankly trying something or someone new can be a bit of  a crapshoot- Will I like their style? Their personality? Their music? Their method of teaching? Will it be too easy? Too hard?

SO MANY FACTORS.

Then the instructor walked into the room and it was just... presence.

You can't teach that. The guy just had it.

The class was, for lack of a better description, LIT.

I rode my ass off, I tried harder than I've tried in a while, I pushed myself and I listened. 

Sometimes the message in class resonates with me and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, especially on a Friday night or when I'm tired, I can sell myself short, but make it look like I'm there 110%. Not honestly give it everything I've got, but make it look like I am. I'm pretty sure that's called bullshitting and I'm pretty sure I can do it well at times. (For better or worse.)

That's when the instructor called it out. And I checked myself. (Long before I wrecked myself.) And had this - what the hell? moment. I paid, I showed up, what was I gaining from not going all out?

I walked out of class just... READY. Mostly for a glass of wine and dinner but ready nonetheless.

November is my birthday month and while I'm not one for a month long celebration, it matters to me to be my best self moving into the year ahead. (And getting a head start on actual new year goals - see you in January, suckas.) So I committed to myself in that moment that I'd stop the bullshitting, I'd stop playing small, and I'd start showing up, 100% for myself. 

Had I continued with my routine (that works just fine for me), I may have had that lightbulb moment, and I may not have. And I'd never be any the wiser.

But taking the smallest of steps outside the box showed me something entirely new.

For that, I'll gamble with $30 any day.

On Balance.

I get asked a fair amount how I "do it".

How I can commit to my (aggressive) workout schedule and never falter, and then only eat picture-perfect foods made with nothing but health, rainbows, and sunshine all day and all night.

You want to know how I "do it"?

I don't. For real.

Life is all about balance and moderation - even when it comes to workouts and nutrition. I'm very up-front about the fact that about a fraction of what I eat makes it onto my social media pages. A fraction. (This girl's got an appetite like a teenage boy folks.)

I try to balance my life like this:

  • Weekdays

    • Nutrition: Clean and balanced: smoothies, salads, lean protein, veggies, whole grains with minimal sugar and booze
    • Workouts: 2x cardio (usually SoulCycle) and 3x Pilates/Yoga
  • Weekends:

    • Nutrition: I typically eat the way I do during the week but I leave room for indulging, going out to eat, dessert, and most certainly, wine.
    • Workouts: I love to sleep in and get in a late morning run with boyfriend, a long coffee walk with a friend, or a SoulCycle class. If I can fit it in, a long yoga class is amazing when you don't have to rush off to something immediately after. But if I don't exercise all weekend? Just fine.

When we vacation, it's a holiday or a special occasion - I treat myself and I indulge in local specialities, wine, or homemade goodies. I don't think about it. I feel my best when I don't overdo the sugar, booze, gluten or dairy but I'm not opposed to every once and a while when the setting calls for it (or when I'm craving it). If someone makes their family's speciality, I'll try it, regardless of what's in it. If I've had a few I'm far more likely to reach for the cheese platter. I don't make a daily habit of it, but if it's there, (and if it's Mt. Tam Cheese), I'll probably have some (a lot.) 

Case in point - I'm usually not one for donuts but there's a time and a place, like when you're dancing your face off at a close friend's wedding and there's a donut bar and you wash it down with a glass of Pinot in between songs. Not an every day thing, but hot damn it hit the spot in that moment.

I also love to exercise on vacation - for once, I'm well rested and I've got time. On a beach? I love to run barefoot in the sand. (And I love the breakfast that comes right after it.) In cities I love to explore local fitness classes or go for a run to really take it all in - I've found the best discoveries running through Paris and London, and my favorite route in the world is the Central Park Reservoir. 

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The key is to not beat yourself up for not eating "perfectly" all the time - in your every day life or on a vacation. So you downed multiple baskets of chips and one too many margs while out with friends? I bet it was a hell of a night with people you love.

You went to Hawaii and didn't move from your lounge chair for 5 days? You obviously needed a break. Traveled to Europe for a week and lived off of chocolate croissants, steak frites, red wine, pasta and gelato without consuming a single vegetable? You walked around the city rather than going to your gym and doing your routine workout? Congratulations - you're living. 

Promise that green juice and your cardio conditioning class will be waiting for you when you get back.