Thursday, May 29, 2014

My First Spin Class

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a Groupon for 5 spin classes at a local studio called Pure Ryde. I paid $43 for 5 classes, a $90 value...apparently spinning isn't cheap. I've been wanting to try spinning for a while now, so I finally bit the bullet and went for my first time last night. 

Whenever I try a new workout or venture into a different gym, I'm always a little nervous and intimated. I imagine I'm not alone in feeling this way. I like being in my comfort zone and knowing what I'm doing, so I really had to convince myself to attend the class. But I'm SO glad I did. 

The studio is only about a mile or two from my office so I had plenty of time to arrive, change clothes, and get familiar with the bike before the 6:00 class started. This specific studio is "clip-in" only, which means you have to either bring your own clip-in shoes or you can use the ones the studio provides (no regular tennis shoes allowed). Most places make you pay extra for shoe rental, so I was pleasantly surprised when Pure Ryde told me they were included with the class (as well as a free towel rental). 

I was one of the first riders to show up so I had a few minutes alone with the instructor, Aimee. She was very friendly and helped me properly adjust my bike and clip in my shoes. I've never clipped my shoes into any bike before, so it was a feeling I had to get used to. I had about 15 minutes before class started and slowly peddled to warm up my legs while others arrived. I noticed Aimee helping a few other people, so I felt more comfortable knowing I wasn't the only newbie. 

There were 24 bikes in the room, with the instructor in front on a stage facing the class. Once everyone arrived, Aimee kicked everything off with a great warm up. There is a tiny computer screen at the front of your bike that shows your speed (RPM's) and the instructor guides the class to keep each individual's RPM's within a specific range during certain songs. She also has you adjust your resistance from time to time to mimic hills and increase your heart rate. 

One thing I really enjoyed about the bikes and was not expecting was that they rotated from side to side. I was imagining stationary bikes but these could actually veer from left to right, giving you a great arm and core workout as well. Their website describes the bikes as "state-of-the-art equipment allowing you to experience the most dynamic indoor cycling classes around. They are the only stationary bikes in the world that allow riders to move in three planes of motion throughout the workout. As a result the workouts are more dynamic, intense and incorporate more muscle groups during use than a traditional indoor cycling bike." Most people view spinning mainly as a leg workout, but these bikes work more muscles and help tone the entire body. 

The music was upbeat and extremely motivating and I loved that the studio turned off the lights during class (with dim light on the instructor). My only complaint was the comfort level of the seats. I imagine this to be the same at any studio because most bicycle seats are not very tushy friendly, if you know what I mean. They did have seat cushions at the front of the studio, but I was already clipped into the bike and too stubborn to go get one. Next time I will grab one and hopefully that will help! I'm a bit sore in the bum area today. 

I will definitely be back for my 4 remaining classes! It was a great workout and good change of pace from my normal exercise routine. I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay $20 something dollars for a class, but thankfully I am a member at Gold's Gym where they have certain spinning classes scheduled on their calendar. I may test those out soon! 

Pure Ryde still has their Groupon up here. They have studios in 3 other locations in addition to Austin: Oxford, MS, Bethesda, MD, and West Bloomfield MI. I highly recommend it and encourage others to try it if you haven't already! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday At Home Workout

Happy Friday! 

We all know by now that running is my preferred method of exercise. But sometimes I like to mix it up and work on my strength training. If I'm not taking a class at the gym, I usually incorporate some at home workouts 1-2 times a week. 

I ran 4 miles yesterday and played sand volleyball after work, so my cardio was taken care of. I woke up this morning and completed the below workout in my apartment (ceiling fan blazin'). 

Whether you have 10 minutes or 30, this workout can be incorporated to fit into any schedule. I completed each set 3 times and it took me around 30 minutes. If you only have 10 minutes, go through it once and call it a day! It'll still get your heart racing and you will definitely work up a sweat. 

In the 3rd Set, I used 8 lb dumbbells. Feel free to use whatever weight you're comfortable with. 

I've included some links below with pictures of some of the workouts, in case you might not be familiar with their names.

Glute Kickbacks
- Russian Twists
- Bird Dogs
- Downward Dog Ab Crunch 
- Squat Kicks

After I completed 3 rounds, I did about 5 minutes of random yoga stretching before it was time to get ready for work. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Silent Run

Notice anything different?? 

Thoughts on the new design? I'm diggin' it. 

Today marks 2-weeks strong of No-Meat May! I haven't had any intense cravings for it, minus my Chipotle withdraws, but that's a whole different issue all on its own. I have an addiction to the place and the green tabasco, not the chicken itself. That will 110% be my first meal in June. 

This morning I headed out for a 4 mile run before work. It's been pouring rain here for the past two days, so when I woke up this morning to the best weather ever, I decided to take advantage of it. 

On my run, I did something that I normally don't do (if it does happen, it's on accident). This morning I purposely ran without my GPS, iPod, or knee brace. I had this random desire to "be free" (please don't accuse me of being an Austin hippie). 

It was so amazing and liberating. I'm usually focused on my pace (AKA "when can I take a walking break") and what song is playing, that I sometimes forget to just enjoy the run and scenery. Since it's been raining, everything was extremely green this morning. Mixed with the cool breeze, and no humidity, today started out delightful. 

By taking away the distractions, not only was I able to focus on enjoying my surroundings, I was more in-tune with my form and breathing. Sometimes I forget how important those things are! It was refreshing and I see myself leaving those things behind at least once a week. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Vegetarian Check-In

Happy Friday Eve!

Today marks one week since I started my May goal of eating primarily vegetarian. So far, it hasn't been that difficult!

By opting to not buy meat products at the grocery store (money saver - cha-ching) and with all of the vegetarian options at restaurants these days (especially in Austin), I haven't struggled with this goal as of yet.  I haven't even been tempted with it. 

In my previous post, I did mention that I'd be aiming for 90% vegetarian, with absolutely no animal flesh products consumed. I have had a little bit of eggs and cheese, but not a lot. Even in my drunken stupor during this weekend's country concert extravaganza, I still managed to stick to veggie options from the food trucks (falafel gyros, anyone?). 

Here are some foods that have made up most of my diet for the past week:
- Homemade fruit and Matcha Green Tea smoothie for breakfast
- Sweet Potatoes
- Quinoa
- Black Beans
- Veggie Chipotle (more on that in a minute)
- Veggie Pizza
- Salad...lots of salad
- Hummus and carrots
- Almonds
- Artichoke Ravioli
- Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Apples 

I enjoy all of these foods so I feel like I can stick with this goal throughout the rest of the month. And who knows, maybe I'll convert full-time? Maybe. 

Side Note: The only thing I'm really upset about is my Chipotle addiction. I usually go there about once a week and get the Chicken Salad Bowl. I went there on Friday and got the salad with the grilled veggies and was NOT impressed. I don't like grilled onions or grilled peppers, so major disappointment there. Even if I left off the grilled veggies, I still don't think it's worth $6.50 for lettuce, black beans, and salsa (PLUS guac...yes, I know it's extra). This will be my Kryptonite.