Q&A- Brendan Rooney Style!

It’s that time again!  This Q&A with Brendan Rooney is sure to be entertaining and enlightening.  I work with Brendan, but he has written a great bio, so I’ll let him introduce himself and go from there!


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After over 20 years of training in various forms of dance, Brendan’s fascination with movement of the human body was already in full force upon moving to New York City in 2010. Shortly after he began running and training for races and half-marathons, Brendan discovered his passion for the grounding, centering experience of Hatha Yoga. His interest in the physical, asana practice soon broadened to incorporate the philosophical aspects of Yoga while under the guidance of Jodie Rufty during his 200-hour Teacher Training program with YogaWorks in NYC. Brendan went on to complete his 500-hour Teacher Training with YogaWorks and furthered his studies by completing Jillian Pransky’s Restorative Yoga Teacher Training and TRX training under Maeve McCaffrey. Most recently, Brendan became certified in the YogaWorks method, created by Maty Ezraty, and assisted several 200-hour Teacher Trainings with YogaWorks led by Caitlin Casella and Julie Mellk (formerly Marx).

Considering Yoga to be just as much of a ‘work-in’ as it is a workout, Brendan’s alignment-focused classes encourage students to move mindfully as they explore the potential they have in their bodies and minds. Brendan truly believes Yoga is a personal practice that is specific to the individual’s needs and hopes to inspire his students to think less of the picture and more of the moment.

Q:  So what exactly are you trained and certified in?

A: In addition to 20+ years of dance training, including ballet, modern, and jazz, and TRX training (not technically certified) I am a 500hr RYT. I’m also certified in Restorative Yoga (level 1) and the YogaWorks Method.

Q:  What drew you into fitness and teaching?

A: I was a very (over)active child, and my parents put me in dance classes at the age of 6 to provide an outlet for my excess energy. After moving to NYC, my interest in Yoga began to peak as a calming counter to all of the frenetic energy in the city. Although I had taught dance classes in high school and college, I never had a strong desire to be a dance teacher. I originally planned to start teaching Yoga as a side job while I continued to audition and dance in the city; however, about halfway through my certification process I realized that I was developing a passion for teaching Yoga. I felt that I had received such a precious gift in developing my Yoga practice and found new methods to work and appreciate my body in ways that dance couldn’t offer. My goal as a teacher is to offer this experience that so profoundly changed me to others, so that perhaps they can find a moment of serenity in this chaotic city and come to discover a new respect for their body.

Q: What would if the up-side to having knowledge of so many fitness methods?image3

A:  Everything can be overdone, including stretching and strengthening, so I’m a firm believer in bringing balance to the body and mind. The upside of being well versed in so many modes of fitness is that I’ve been able to fine-tune my listening skills when it comes to my body.  I listen to what my body is telling me on any given day and adjust my regiment to suite what I need at the moment, whether it calls for strengthening and cardio work, stretching and Yoga, or resting. I personally believe the most important concept in teaching Yoga (and fitness in general) is the Law of Compensation. Essentially, when dealing with a lack of flexibility or strength, the body will still find a way to do whatever it is you are asking it to do and shift that work into other areas of the body, regardless of how safe it is. Being able to listen to the subtle clues my body gives me allows me to discern what I’m trying to do from what I’m actually doing.

Q:  How do you integrate various techniques when planning a class?

A: When incorporating other forms of fitness, like dance or TRX into a Yoga class and vice versa, I first think of my component parts of my class. In other words, what needs to be stretched? / what needs to be strengthened? / what is the MOST important concept? From there I decide if there are specific exercises or stretches that highlight that concept. For example, in most TRX classes I teach, I spend some time at the beginning of class highlighting the alignment points of plank position (Ardha Chaturanga Dandasana)- specifically the subtle action of lifting the hip bones to the bottom front ribs to help engage the core and prevent the pelvis from dropping and causing strain to the lower back. This is an important action to highlight early on because plank is the foundational pose of nearly exercise in TRX, and the tendency in the majority of students is to allow the low back to sway and become excessively lordotic, losing the engagement of the stabilizing core muscles.

Q:  Why is this integration important? Can’t we all just do one form of workout and be in shape?

image4A:  Integration of various forms of movement and exercise is important because, in my experience, nothing does everything. Yoga is great for stretching the hamstrings, but there are no asanas that strengthen the hamstrings as effectively as running does. We do a lot of pushing in Yoga, working the triceps and serratus anterior, but there are more opportunities to work our pulling muscles like the biceps and lats in TRX (not to mention grip strength!) When students ask me if Yoga will help them lose weight, I hate to break it to them, but as great as Yoga is for finding more range of movement and developing a stronger sense of proprioception, it doesn’t really count as cardiovascular fitness (sustained aerobic exercise). Those students are better off going for a jog, swim, or bike ride.

Q: What’s it like in “a day in the life” of a New York City fitness instructor?

A: “A day in the life” with me would look different depending on the day. My schedule is constantly fluctuating, depending on what private clients I have that week and what additional classes I might sub for another teacher. Generally, each week is a bit different from the prior week; some days I start teaching around 9am and will teach up to 5 classes before finishing my day 12 hours later, and other days, I may have just one class and have the whole rest of the day to do as I please while everyone else is at work. It can be a very sporadic schedule, but it keeps me stimulated. Change is always good- one of the main requirements of my job is being able to easily adapt. Just like each day’s schedule may be completely different from the last, each group of students is different from the ones before and may require a different approach.

Q: What are the physical demands of teaching fitness class(es) and what do you do to stay in shape- ready to demonstrate in class?

A: The physical demands of teaching fitness classes can certainly start to weigh on the body. Predominantly, I teach more beginner-level Yoga classes, which tends to require a good bit of demonstration (as does most every TRX class), so when I practice on my own, I tend to work on countering all of the demonstrating that I do throughout the day. I have a brief morning ritual that I repeat about 4-5 more times throughout the day (usually while waiting for the subway in between classes) that consists of shoulder openers, side stretches, and twists. Teaching can take a lot of energy, both mentally and physically, so fitting in my own workout regime (Yoga, running, gym, TRX) requires some planning and negotiating. There are also times when I’m assisting a Yoga Teacher Training or just teaching so much that I can’t always adhere to my own fitness schedule, and those are the times when I try to cut myself some slack and do more Restorative Yoga.

Q:  When you are not teaching what are you up to?IMG_7123

A: When I’m not teaching, I spend as much time reaping the rewards of my hard work as I can. I absolutely love NYC, and I spend much of my free time exploring the city and discovering new places. My ideal day would consist of a nice walk with my dogs, some time resting outside at a park, and spending the evening cooking dinner with my man and watching our shows on TV.

Q:  What are your long term goals?

A:  I don’t really set many long-term goals. I’ve worked very hard the last few years to get to a position where I can teach full-time, and it is such a rewarding experience that I don’t imagine I’ll be changing career paths anytime soon. Now, I’m starting to focus more on anatomy and Yoga therapeutics, so I imagine the next step will be a deeper dive into more specific teaching methods. Eventually, I would love to lead my own Yoga Teacher Trainings, and pass on all that I’ve learned to new, eager teachers. On a personal level, I’m beginning to physically and mentally prepare myself to run the NYC Marathon in the future.

Q: Give me some words of wisdom!image1

A:   “We are what we think” ~Buddha~ We will always have ups and downs, good days and bad days, but the one thing that we can rely on is that the only constant in life is change. So it’s important to be kind to ourselves during those rough patches. What you think about yourself can build you up or tear you down. That’s why the brain is the most important muscle to exercise.


And I’m still looking at the puppy picture!  But really, I take classes with Brendan at least twice a week (yoga and TRX) and he is one of the most inspiring and encouraging instructors I know.

Learn more about Brendan, what he’s up to and when he’s teaching on Instagram @_brendan_rooney_ and on Facebook here!


Have a great Memorial Day weekend, ya’ll!

Always,

C

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For the Love of Jura (part 2)

Do you know what day it is?!

Yes Christiane, it’s Wednesday May 25th.

Yes it is… but do you know what DAY it is…  No!

It’s National Wine Day!!


What a second best way to celebrate (obviously having a glass or 3 of wine comes first) then learning a little bit more about the new craze in the apartment- Jura wines.  Megan had the exciting opportunity to attend a Master Class on Jura wines a few weeks ago and below she not only educates us on exactly what a wine master class is… but what she learned and experienced.

The Master Class. The really intense day where I usually sit in the back with my glasses thinking “How the hell do you know that off the top of your head?” while I’m surrounded by people that are much more knowledgeable than me.
Backing up, a master class is seminar about a specific topic in the wine world. It can be a specific producer, a region or a topic that is usually a lecture paired with a tasting. They can be incredibly inspiring and informative as well as a great way to pick up a little knowledge from the greats in the wine community.
They can be a little hard to find and most of what I have attendedhas been through work. However you can find some good similar classes though places like Corkbuzz and your local wine shop that will make you a more educated consumer and give you a go to conversation topic for almost any party.
Recently, I went to one focused on the Jura region of France that I found through work. I knew already I liked Trousseau from the Jura (see last week’s post!  Check out For the Love of Jura: part 1) and I’d done some studying about the other wines but not much. It can be a little intimidating as the wine that this region is famous for is vin jaune, a traditionally made oxidized wine that people either love or hate. I’m just starting to appreciate dry sherries so this was more than a little off putting to me.
You start out with the history and geology of the region, in order to get an idea why the wines are the way they are. In this case the name “Jura” comes from the Jurassic limestone that gives the wines their unique flavors and the region is still recovering from phyloxera. Moving into the wines, you typically go from light to heavy, making the Jura a perfect region to explore as they produce Cremant de Jura, light and heavy whites, light reds, oxidized vins jaunes and a grape based spirit called Macvin.
Brief overview of the wines: Cremant is a great flavorful sparkling wine made in much the same way that Champagne is, but without the price that Champagne commands. Most producers are now making a variety of white wines. Some are made in a traditional style that makes them slightly oxidized, but there is a trend for light fresh and fruity whites to keep up with demand. Reds are light and fruity from Poulsard or Trousseau and can be great if you can find a good, well balanced one. Vin Jaune is unique and more than a little bit funky. It has a great oxidative character that is light and nutty while also having a little dried fruit and spice character. Under good producers, it’s light and very easy to drink, but it is FUNKY. If you don’t know if you like funk, then try a biodynamic Loire, oak aged if you can find it, before you try vin jaune. Personally I like it, but I know Christiane won’t. Macvin, I love. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory with a flavor that I can only identify as rye bread. Actually not made with wine, but with reduced grape musts that are fortified with grape brandy. So good.
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This was a great one, as each wine was by a different producer that gave their own little spiel as to the wine making techniques and their wineries to tell us what made them different. Really interesting to hear different perspectives on what is, overall, a very small region for French wine.
Then comes the fun part. The tasting. These producers all make between 5 and 15 wines and if you want, you could taste them all. I don’t recommend it. Laugh all you want, but tasting that long is exhausting. There’s so much wine.  Narrow down to the things you like, and the things you want to explore and overall it will be a much better experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or just say that you’re taking notes. (Reminding myself of that too.) The producers want to talk and educate you about their wines so that you’ll come back and get them again. I definitely found some new favorites and am looking forward to the next one!
~M
There you have it!  Have you googled and scheduled your next wine master class yet?  Or maybe you’ve decided that bottle you plan to uncork after work today?!
Let me know what you plan on drinking and keep your eyes peeled for more exciting posts headed your way!
Always,
~C

Dolce Nothing

Sweet nothing.

If you know me at all, then you know that spontaneous impromptu plans and I are not best friends.  I like to have a game plan and a time frame and more or less a schedule.  I suppose it’ s just how I’m wired and it can be for better or worse, depending on the day.  But when your friends like to go where the wind takes them and explore with ideas that can change as a speeding taxi, then you miss out on a lot of fun times and adventures staying tethered to your strict plan.

With that timed out game plan can come an aggressive sense of urgency, and whether you know me or not, you probably know that in New York you are always on the go… seldom stopping to smell the flowers or sit at that patio bar for another drink.  We are always on the go.  All to often with the mind set — time is money and wasting time is wasting money.  But is time really wasted if you stop to lay in the sunny park on your day off?  To run into friends and join them on a stroll in the opposite direction you were headed?  It is a waste  to allow ourselves to slow down… to relax… to live in the moment for just a moment?

I think not!  Do nothing and totally enjoy it every once in a while.  Let go of the plan and see what you discover.  Walk slow and look up from the phone.  You might be surprised.


Today I did a pretty good job of throwing this caution to the wind and letting the plans change as the day went on.  I knew I had the day and no where to be, so why rush?  And you know what I was able to enjoy?

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A rainbow flashing over my head in the sky,  5 baby ducks swimming about in the Hudson after Momma Duck, beers, street jewelry, and of course friends and great conversation.

I’m even being spontaneous in posting this!  I usually do write content then schedule it out, but today this was just what needed to happen.


So happy weekend fabulous readers!  I challenge you to do something this weekend that’s not on the calendar- go someplace new or fall asleep in the park.  Relax and enjoy the sun!

 

Always,

C

It’s coming….Brooklyn Half — ThisGlitterRunnerGirl

RE-BLOGGING!!!  My Dear friend Holly wrote this great post about the upcoming Brooklyn Half Marathon.  We both ran this race last year and while I’m not running it this weekend, I’ll be cheering for all the runners that are!

Check out her post and more here!

 

It is just under a week away to this years Brooklyn Half, and I will say I feel pretty good! That was last year, wave 2, curious To see where I fall this year. I must say, last years race was NOT good. At all. So I am hoping to redeem myself this year! Last year […]

via It’s coming….Brooklyn Half — ThisGlitterRunnerGirl

For the Love of Jura (Part 1)

From the desk(top) of none other then our local wine specialist comes this little piece on a type of wine you may or may not be familiar with- Jura wines.  If you’ve never heard of it, you are about to  as it’s getting more then one “Part”!

Lets see what it’s all about:

“I love Jura wines. They’re different and funky and traditional. I found Domaine Grand Trousseau 2014 at my local liquor store in the organic and natural wines section. The student in me just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try a new wine from a new region.

Trousseau is native to the Jura region of France, a tiny little sliver east of Burgundy and south East of Alsace. It has a proud history of traditional winemaking that tends towards the funky. It’s regularly compared to Burgundy with a similar soil type and climate, but the wines stand apart with a little something different. It’s growing in IMG_3444popularity, but very little is seen outside of the region.

Like the other native reds, it’s thin-skinned and looks more like a deep rose than a red, but it has some great tannin while keeping the wine itself incredibly light. It’s a little like Pinot Noir, with the same red fruit notes, but the spicier, slightly gamier nose gives it away. It’s definitely rustic and its flavors of wild berries, mushrooms, pepper and game are just begging for food. Roasted chicken, cheese, sausage, crackers.

I may need to run out and get another bottle…”

~M

Maybe the next time you are looking to try something new you will consider a Jura wine and then let us know what you think!  Send a picture or tasting thoughts and join in the conversation.

Look for Part 2 in the coming weeks as Megan tell us what it’s like to attend a Master Class and Tasting of Jura wines!

Always,

C

Friday the 13th Edition: Little Black Cat Tat

Well, it’s Friday the 13th, that unlucky day that creeps up on us a few times each year.  A date that causes anxiety and paranoia abound, when sidewalk cracks and black cats are avoided at all costs.  I’m definitely a little superstitious, but a black cat crosses my path every morning on the way to brush my teeth, so it’s something I’m used to…?

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Lenny the Cat, our resident black cat

 

 

From the little research I did, this chaos originated through the horror films and folklore of days gone by.  Almost all cultures it seems, have a tale us misfortune and supernatural events.  Add in the current phase of the moon and the path of Mercury’s orbit, and you can have quite the day!

To each their own as to how they spend this notorious day… but I have my favorite Friday the 13th story.  This fun fluff piece is the story of my little black cat tat.

Yes, a few years back on a Friday the 13th with a full moon and Mercury in retrograde, I wondered into a local hole in the wall tattoo parlor with a sketch.  For about 5 years I had been designing a black cat tattoo and I was finally ready to commit it to my body.  Why a little black cat, you may ask?  Well, if you know me at all you know I am a total cat person but due to a family full of allergies, was never able to have a kitty of my own.  There were plenty of cats in my life, I’ve been cat sitting for friends and neighbors sense I was like 10… but I wanted my own cat… and I had created a design that I really loved.

So I went and sat and had a needle repeatedly pricked into my forearm.

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Outline done, fill in begins

Click on the images to read the fun captions!

 

Getting a tattoo is different for everyone, and I’m not saying I am an expert, but I have a little experience.  My top 3 tips:

  1. Know what your design is (and like it) and where it’s going to be placed.  I’ve always designed my tattoos and been sure they are exactly what I want– once it’s done it’s kinda hard to change.
  2. Give yourself plenty of time for the session.  Whether you are just doing a walk in (many studios allow it depending on staffing and scheduling) or have an appointment made in advance, allow time.   It can take longer then you expect and being stressed about running late to something else will only make the process more uncomfortable.
  3. Follow all the care instructions, it’s like a cut- let it heal.  One of the biggest contributing factors, I think, to why I love my ink so much is that none of them got infected, scabbed off poorly and lost color or detail, because I took proper care and let them heal.  Yes it’s itchy, yes it might bleed or ooze, but when that’s all over it’s worth it to have a well done tattoo!

Each time I’ve gotten a tattoo (3 in total to date), I get a different reaction from friend family and new acquaintances. When I got my first tat (around my ankle), some loved it and appreciated the art and statement, some people got flat out mad, and others got concerned… concerned that I was becoming some strange tattooed rebel.  When I got my 3rd piece- my mantra across my rib cage- I quickly discovered that while the words were meaningful and unique, the location is what society is making the “new” tramp stand.  Getting this, my second tattoo, due to the timing made many people see it as a “F**k my Ex” piece.  (Which was not the case).

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Most people don’t know what it is at first.  The cat faces me and from the opposite perspective looks like some pretty squiggly lines (or the “Death Eaters” design from Harry Potter)!

 

Well, that was 2 years ago.  The sharpness of the lines has faded and color has faded slightly, but she is still beautiful and maybe one of my favorite pieces.  Others will always have words, but it’s my body and the store is what really makes it special and unique.

 

What are you up to this Friday?  Cuddling the nearest black cat perhaps?  When in doubt it’s a nice little excuse for being “out of it” at work at the end of a long tedious week… because it’s the 13th.

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we have pretty eyes 😉

Always,

C

 

Just One Rep at a Time

Something I really want to share and explore through this blog are all the amazing people I know who are pursuing a fit active life.  Deciding I wanted to do a Q&A series was the easy part… actually approaching people about being interviewed for it, that was harder.  There was that fear that they wouldn’t be interested, this it was a silly waist of time, or that I would seriously drop the ball in publishing content and having readers.

As I began writing and designing this blog, I got up the courage to ask a very dear friend of mine, Akeem, if he would be the first Q&A.  You know what he said?  A big honest “YES”.  That he would love to be part of something so encouraging.

Akeem lifts; lets find out more about that…


Q: Ok, so you lift- what does that mean?

A: Take it in the simplest of terms, I go to the gym and I push/pull weights in a way that’s smart and allows my body to progress in strength and physique. Not just physically, but mentally as well. The more I indulge in this fitnessFullSizeRender 2 lifestyle, the more I realize that a good bit of making improvements in the gym deals with the mind. My biggest competitor is myself and what I think I can do. 

Q: What motivated you to start?

A: Well I gave the gym a shot my first year in college. In middle and highschool I didn’t have the opportunity to pursue sports so I didn’t develop the way a lot of guys did who were freshman in the city. That kind of kicked me into gear to give weightlifting a shot. After I went the first time I got hooked! Sure I was slinging around 10’s and 15’s and had no idea what ‘form’ was, but I had a great experience researching and learning all about muscular development and training. 6 years later and here I am. Still learning and still enjoying the process.

Q: Where do you want this to take you?

A: As far as where I want to go…I don’t really have a stopping point. My main overall goal is to build a healthy foundation so that I can have a long healthy life with my wife and family. One short term-ish goal does include competing in the NPC Men’s Physique category, but I’m seeing that it’s going to take me a few more years to develop out my weaker features. I’m still learning more as I go, but I’ve gotten a lot better with eating correctly for this sport so we’ll see how long it takes.

Q: When you get stuck (physically, mentally, etc) how do you over come that and keep training?

A: I am exceptional at looking at progression in a long term format haha 🙂

I definitely have some bad days in the gym- missed reps, and failed PR’s- but I take it as just one set back. I don’t think it’s possible for someone to be 100% every workout session, so I don’t put that pressure on myself. If I get stuck, I let myself feel it, I reassess for next time, and I prepare myself mentally for the next session.

FullSizeRender 3I also make the time to follow people that inspire me to work harder and keep moving forward when I feel like i’m getting stuck. Mike Rashid, Matt Ogus, Bradley Martyn, Zac Smith, Rob & Dana Bailey, and Gokuflex. They all are down to earth, informative, and positive people to follow.

Q: When you are not in the gym, what do you do!?

A: I’m a Creative Director at a small Ad Agency in the Greater Boston Area.  I do creative marketing with various clients needing web design/development, print advertising, and broadcast work done. Outside of work and gym, I like to play music and explore with my camera when I have the opportunity.

Q: What is your favorite exercise?

A: I’d have to say bent over rows. For me its one of the few back exercises that has helped me develop a solid mind-muscle connection.

Q: How important is cross training to your lifting?

A: I think its very important! The lifting is only one part of fitness. But to become a better lifter, you need to have things like flexibility and a strong cardiovascular system to be able to push yourself further. Implementing training like Yoga, would work into loosening up your muscles and preventing injuries in lifting from lack of mobility. Yoga does great as well to improve balance and spatial awareness, which also goes to help in lifting safer and smarter.  (I did not bribe him to say that! lol)

All of that is only from one alternate training option, there are many others that go to help as well. Crossfit, for one, is a stigma in the bodybuilding community, but if you’re open minded you’ll see that in short stints it helps to increase muscular and cardiovascular endurance. I think its important to be open minded and try new things at least once to see how they may benefit you. 

 

Q: What would you tell someone who wants to start lifting?

A: First thing I would advise is that this is a long game when it comes to making gains and building a physique. Patience is key! When you first start lifting you’ll make gains right out of the gate (Newbie Gains haha), but after a few months strength and size will get harder to put on. That’s why you also need to do research on workout plans and nutrition.

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The best thing you can do is find some people in the fitness industry that you trust (after researching them) and follow them on YouTube. These guys and gals are constantly giving out advice and tips on proper lifting and dieting for progress in the gym and in the kitchen for free. A lot of them have workout plans and online coaching, but I’m finding that if you’ve been researching for a while and doing programs on bodybuilding.com they’re all kind of the same. After a while you learn about your body and how to make plans that can benefit you on your own, but we all start somewhere 😉

Give me some words of wisdom!

A: Regardless of your training preference do it for yourself, do it safely, and make sure it makes you happy!


Want to keep up with Akeem as he continues to hit the gym and reach new goals?

Follow him on Instagram @akeem.lifts

Want to be a featured Q&A?  I’m looking to interview many more friends on fitness, “lifestyle”, food stuffs and more.

Thanks for reading y’all!

C

Half The Training

With the Mystic, CT. Half Marathon coming up next week, I wanted to write a little about what else goes into training other then logging miles.

What do I really love to run?  A good well planned, organized entertaining half marathon.  5ks are always over too soon and full marathons seem daunting (just having 1 in my race calendar this year has me excited but terrified).  10ks, 15ks, 10 milers, and such are fun too and usually come with a lovely course and fun bling (it’s all about the bling).  Still,  that 13.1mi is something special.  You can cover a lot of ground in 13 miles and have a lot of time to think about, well whatever pops in your head.

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Side sit-ups on the barrel 

But what about all the pre-race work you should put in to be ready for an enjoyable race day?  What do I do?  Aside from training runs of various distances and paces-  A LOT of cross training.  No no, not cross fit, I’d probably be dead… no, all various types of cross training- weight training, strength training, stretching, toning… you name it.  My go to?  Pilates classes.  About 10 weeks out from the next planned half, I splurge on my physical health and wellbeing and purchase myself a 10-pack of Private Pilates Equipment Sessions.  I schedule with my trainer for the next 2+ months and put it in my scheduler.  I’m ready to go.  I enjoy working with the same trainer because she knows my body, what I need, and where I’m weak (or injured).  She can be another set of eyes assessing my physical progress and giving me tips along the way.   What do I work on? Core strength is a BIG one, and my personal fav.  Also a lot of inner and outer hip stability and strengthening, upper body (arms and back).  Some days, especially if I”m going in after a long training run, we will do what I describe as “Therapeutic Pilates”…. stretching tight muscles and back articulation.

Is that all?  Definitely not!  I’ll get myself out from behind my desk and get into a good yoga class to keep my body flexible and my breath focused.  Yoga can, and will, be it’s own many posts, but in general I like a level 1 class.  I’m in no need of hot yoga, I sweat plenty on my runs.  I’m in no need of a flowing cardio driven Vinyasa… again, get all that in my training already.  What I do need is a class that opens my forward rolling shoulders and releases my hip flexors.  A level 1 class can be as hard as any flow.

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Challenging stability, control, and core strength on the Chair.

 

 

On my own time at home or in the park before/after a run I’ll several squat series and functional reaches.  Working to strengthen and activate the muscles of my legs and hips help the running part of things drastically- when there muscles can function properly, extending and contracting to their fullest in proper form, I know my body can cover the distance… then it’s all mental!

I’ll save that for another post, but tell me: what do YOU do to cross train?  It could be very different from my plan depending on what you want to accomplish.

On Wednesday (5/11/16) check out my Q&A interview with my friend Akeem (IG @akeem.lifts) to learn more about lifting, his goals, and his thoughts on cross training!

Always,

C

Tequila & Mezcal; Cinco de Mayo Edition

Until last night I’d never heard of Mezcal.  Tequila, sure, we’ve all been there drunk that.  To celebrate Cinco de Mayo today, Megan decided to do a little tasting and tell us about the similarities and differences between these two:

At one point, I went to a birthday party for a coworker and I remember this chick in our party making a stink because the bar had given her tequila instead of mezcal. “Mezcal is brown and tequila is clear, they gave me tequila.” Now the memory makes me laugh and reminds me not to order something just because it’s the new hip thing, since both tequila and mezcal can be a range of colors from clear to brown depending on the age.

We all know tequila. Either as the start of a great night or the beginning of the end of a bad one. We’ve done shots, had margaritas or classed it up with a tequila sunrise.  It’s been the sign of rebellion and the harbinger of a wild night. Mezcal is very similar, but with several distinct differences and a very different flavors.  Both are made from the agave plant, which is harvested in the same way and has very similar production. In the world of craft and small batch cocktails that we live in, both are experiencing a bit of a revolution in terms of premium 100% Agave options and various degrees of aging.

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Tequila is produced around the town of Tequila, Mexico and comes from the cooked heart of the blue Weber agave plant and only blue Weber agave. It has delicate and distinctive agave flavors that are almost unmistakable. For this comparison, I used Olmeca Altos 100% Agave Plata Tequila from P&Js Wine and Liquor ($35). It’s a little bit piney, a little bit briney and a little floral. Almost lemongrassy. Very clean and fresh. It balanced and ready for shots or to drink on its own if you’re used to it.

Mezcal has a wider growing area around the town of Oaxaca. It can be made from many different types of agave, though Espadin is a favorite, and are usually cooked and ground in more traditional methods which will give it a rural quality. It’s going to be smokier and earthier and more savory than tequila. Tonight we’re trying Fidencio Classico Joven Mescal from Park Avenue Liquors ($40). What I love about it is the smoky character. It smells like leather seats in a vintage car and tastes like a late night campfire.  It’s got a little bit of fruitiness and grassy character.

Goes best with:

–          Chips

–          Salsa

–          Guacamole

–          Salt on the rim

~M

And there you have it!  I hope you all have a fun (safe) Cinco de Mayo weekend and enjoy all things Tequila, Mezcal, and more.

 

Always,

C

Pin Win! Margarita Cupcakes

Doesn’t that title kinda say it all?!  Let’s get this party started!  What is one to do when their boss’s birthday and Cinco de Mayo are in the same week?  Why search Pinterest, of course, for something festive involving cake, frosting, and booze.  But you know when you attempt a Pin and it turns out NOTHING like the picture you were Oh SO inspired by?

Well last night I found, attempted, and conquered a very fun festive Pin for Lime Margarita Cupcakes. 

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The cake batter is basically a pound cake- very easy to throw together if you have a stocked kitchen.   And the frosting is literally 2 sticks of butter, a lot of sugar, and lime juice.  I definitely recommend having an eccentric blender and the batter can get stiff and the frosting needs to be whipped very well so it can be pipped on smoothly.  Like for real though… between the batter and frosting there is like a pound of butter happening here.  Oh and did I mention tequila?  Umm hmm, yup… that’s right… the batter and the frosting have a generous dose of it, making them truly exciting.

(you can choose to make them without the tequila… that’s ok too)

Topped with a thin slice of lime and you are all set to go!

I mean, they look GREAT!  Seriously proud of the baking part but also the presentation part.  I always wonder how these Pinterest Post People make thinks look so perfect and then I see what a difference it makes if you have the time, space, and proper equipment.  Cupcake papers are a must, as is a pipping bad and tips for the frosting.  (Thank you Bed, Bath, and Beyond).

12 of these babies accompanied me to work today and are definitely proving to be a hit!

You too can be the Margarita Cupcake Master, cause I’m not taking credit for this recipe.  Check out The Brown Eyed Baker for this treat and many others!

So, if you are feeling creative later this week or really need something festive to take to your Cinco de Mayo fiesta, try these adorable edgy cupcakes and post your photos here!  Comment, like, and share the joy.

 

Always,

C