Monday, December 29, 2014

Lose 15 in 2015

Today marks 365 days of logging on myfitnesspal.

So why am I significantly heavier than I was in December 2012/January-April 2013?

I'm calling 2014 my year of misfires. I tried many, many, many things, and failed at almost every single one of them:

Dating, an experiment I went into with a side eye, and came out the other side the exact same.
Paleo (96%, anyway).
Not one, not two, but THREE rounds of the 21-day sugar detox diet.
Counting macros.
Following a meal plan set for me by my favorite City Surf instructor. I'm a dumb ass and don't know how long prepared meat lasts, so I food poisoned myself TWICE doing #mealplanning, most unfortunately on Thanksgiving Day.


I scared myself into losing 22 lbs from July 2011-December 2012, all for someone else's wedding.
I maintained that weight, give or take 5 lbs, and felt GREAT through May 2013.
Then, everything went to shit.

I started teaching classes, and as a result, let other workouts (namely, 2x/wk BODYPUMP) fall by the wayside. I felt invincible, and let go of my strict eating habits.

When I got on the scale in December of last year, I was shocked, angry, and plain and simple, fed up.

So, since 12/29/13, I've logged into myfitnesspal and for the most part, earnestly logged every single thing I ate and burned. It hasn't done a damn thing. I'm still shocked, angry, and plain and simple, fed up, and can't really put my finger on the cause of the weight gain.

I think it comes down to 1) not lifting weights regularly and 2) never being able to determine exactly how much, calorie-wise or otherwise, what to eat on a daily basis, and it's been a struggle my entire life.

I'm going back to basics and starting with a clean slate TODAY.

My goal is to lose 15 lbs in 2015. I figure, if I could scare myself into losing 22 lbs, I can get myself on board with a cute/motivational stupid phrase to do just the same thing 2-3 years later.

How am I going to do this?
1) MEAL PREPPING like a goddamn boss. I work better when I pack my meals and keep my fridge stocked with healthy things. I also work best when I pre log an entire day's worth of calories so I don't overdo it on dinner and dessert when I get home from teaching or taking a class.

2) Sticking to no more than 1,542 calories a day.
I went back through YEARS of food logs on LoseIt and Myfitnesspal, and that number seemed to do the trick for me back then, plus...

3) NO LESS than 2x/wk of BODYPUMP
It means swapping out a City Surf class here and there, but I can't neglect weight lifting any longer.
It's so much easier and more fun to lift weights to music and in a group setting than trying to figure my way through weights on the gym floor, intimidated by the many grunting bodybuilders in the gym. And, I have to believe that BODYPUMP was the main game changer in 2011-most of 2013, body-wise.


I don't mind keeping it real, so I will, which will help keep me accountable.
July 2011 starting weight: 158 lbs 


This is when I had JUST started on my journey, so I likely had club soda in hand. I used to go out EVERY single weekend. Now? I couldn't tell you the last time I went out, and it hasn't made a lick of difference, unfortunately.

I'm 5'7" and "big boned," and got that way by STARTING drinking alcohol at age 22, and indulging in post-drinking late-night eats, and wasting many hours on cardio machines, late at night. I never, ever drank in college because I was so afraid of the freshman 15, and knew I had addictive tendencies. I still managed to gain and lose the Freshman 15, and gained the post-college 15 as well. My life has been one fat rollercoaster.

Here's me on the left, pre-Freshman 15, the first weekend of college.
I THOUGHT I WAS FAT. I distinctly remember this day, constantly putting an arm over my stomach to conceal my fat, and thought I was the clear fat one in this group of friends, pictured here.
Little did I know...


December 31, 2012 weight: 136 lbs
Feeling FINE in 2009 (+3) at 136 lbs!!!

That's me in the middle-ish in the black, probably 140 lbs.
I didn't appear to have too much muscle, but damn, I thought I looked good.



Felt like a goddamn boss. This was right before RPM instructor training, so I was doing 2-3 workouts/day, and counting every single calorie, and my workout schedule looked like this:
M: 6A RPM
T: 7P BODYPUMP
W: 7P RPM
R: 7P BODYPUMP
F: 6A spin (+ an hour or more of RPM practice, leading up to training)
S: 9A RPM (+ an hour or more of RPM practice, leading up to training)
Su: 10A RPM (+ an hour or more of RPM practice, leading up to training)

April 27, 2013: 143 lbs and feeling FINE in the goal dress with my BFF bride




December 31, 2013 weight: 148 lbs


Most of 2014: Varied between 147-156 lbs
I definitely gained some muscle this year, starting in April (when I joined City Surf and started going 5x/wk on top of my existing weekly workout schedule), but the weight gain is NOT "all muscle," as lots of people like to tell me when I freak out about the gain.




Last weigh-in on 12/8/14: 153.9 lbs




Yuck.


I don't like how I look.
I don't like how things are fitting.
It's not all about the numbers, but it's mostly about the numbers, for me.

It's sad, really. I was talking to my mom this past week in NYC about my goals and how unhappy I am with my weight, and how *disgusted* she looked when I gave her the breakdown of the numbers, especially my current weight.

Apparently, my happiness has everything to do with the number on the scale (and how I look). I know I'm not alone in this, and wish it weren't so, but I'm trying my darnedest to get my happy back in 2015.

I come from a family with a lonnnnnng line of eating disorders and obsessions with food, and fat, and not gaining weight, and ALWAYS always ALWAYS talking about food, fat, and not gaining weight. My mom is the "fat" sister of three girls, and she's 5'1", 105 lbs. FAT, right? She complains to me about gaining anywhere from 0.5 lbs to 3 lbs, and it's usually just bloat that disappears after a few days.

If I weighed 105 lbs, I would be dead. DEAD. I don't know the last time I saw numbers that low, and I'm not saying that's where I want to be, but always hearing fat talk and from people who are anything but has been hard.

I binge ate like a motherfucker over the last week, and I think I got all of the sweets and cravings out of my system.

I'm nearing 30, and that scares me for many, many reasons. Gone are the days of eating with abandon and never having to work out.

And seeing the magical "Nutcracker" at Lincoln Center probably didn't help my #fatfeelings much either. I definitely googled "Ballerina Diet" the next day...SIGH.



I haven't gotten near the scale since 12/8, and don't intend to weigh myself until...March 8, just before my birthday on March 11.

GOAL WEIGHT for December 31, 2015: 138 lbs, or somewhere in the low 140s.

I hate being in the 150s, and hate feeling like a "fat" fitness instructor.
I've done this before, and I can sure as shit do it again.


Here's to some serious weight loss and toning, and healthy habits and mindsets in 2015 and forever.

XO,
A more-determined-than-ever Stel




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Matchbook Questionnaire

October is coming to a close, and I'm ready for November and for this half-shiteous year to be OVER!

#bye @ 2014 (soon).

I've had little to no motivation/inspiration the last few days, but got a much-needed boost from teaching a "packed" (5 of 5 bikes full at my apartment spin gig last night) class last night.

I've had lots of days in the past few months where I could barely muster the energy to get out of bed and go to work, so I took quite a few mental health days just to get rest and get my head screwed back on tight. I'm still not firing on all cylinders, but hopefully will soon.

I need to stop scheduling 6A workouts on days where I know the previous night of working out/teaching will wear me out. It's a costly $10 mistake per cancellation (at City Surf), and I just need to get a grip.

I need to prioritize sleep as much, if not more, than I prioritize my workouts. It's all about balance, and man oh man does it feel like I'm juggling way too much! My body has been fighting back in the form of broken calves after logging way too many steps one weekend, and just general tiredness/sleeping in and skipping workouts.

On to lighter and happier things.

I read TEDDI, SET GO! (my original SPinspiration, thanks to her posts about SoulCycle and how it changed her life and body) on the regular, and today, she posted her responses to a questionnaire featured in Matchbook Mag.

Here are my answers:

TEA OR COFFEE?
Both. Before and/or after teaching or taking 6A workouts, I either make hot or iced coffee with a touch of half and half, or splurge ($-wise) and get an Iced Venti No Room Americano from Starbucks.

If I feel like I need something in the afternoon or evening, I go for iced tea. Since I'm trying to get more sleep, I try and avoid highly caffeinated varieties, so I'll go for an Iced Venti Unsweetened Black (low caf) or Passion Tea (decaf), or if IDGAF, I go for an Iced Venti Unsweetened Green Tea. Some great restaurants in town offer decaf varieties (herbal, or just straight up marked "decaf," like at Cafe Express or Village Burger Bar), so I go for those every time.

I COLLECT...
Any and all write-ups on Daniel Radcliffe, Zooey Deschanel, Daniel Craig, and often, Emma Watson. I've got quite the coffee table magazine display right now.

FAVORITE CITY?
USA: San Francisco and New York City (and Dallas, my home)
Europe: Paris, hands down. March 2015 can't come soon enough!

SPRING OR FALL?
Fall, for sure.

BLOOM OF CHOICE?
I know nothin' about nothin' about flowers. If I had to pick, I'd say hydrangeas.

STYLE ICON?
Zooey Deschanel

CHINA PATTERN?
Hmm...not really on my radar, but I'm sure it would be something Kate Spade or Crate and Barrel. I've got all Crate and Barrel in my cabinets now, as a single lady, and they suit me just fine.

I'M LUSTING AFTER...
The new Fitbit models. I love mine to death, and have only had it since June, so I will likely stick with what I have. Thankfully, the new model I'm looking at only comes in Black and Slate, and I prefer colors with a bit more personality. 

MOST PRIZED POSSESSION?
Man, that's a tough one. I love the David Yurman ring I got for my birthday this year, and wear it daily, unless I'm lazy and leave it in my gym bag.

Other than that, I have a beautiful gold bracelet with tiny different colored gems on it that my late French grandmother gave me years and years ago. I found it in my jewelry box when I was hurriedly packing for a last-minute trip to France after we heard she had suddenly fallen ill, and unfortunately, she passed away while we were in the air over the Atlantic. 

I wear it when I need a bit of luck, and wore it the day I had to give my suit school presentation. Last month, it got caught on a shirt I was wearing and a piece of it broke off, so it's sitting on my nightstand, waiting to be repaired.

GIRL CRUSH?
Zooey Deschanel

BOY CRUSH?
DANIEL RADCLIFFE.
Runners up: Daniel Craig, Ben McKenzie, Jake Gyllenhaal, and the new actor on New Girl who plays Geauxinue <3

ON WEEKENDS...
I teach spin classes, both Saturday and Sunday mornings. On Saturday, I RUN from teaching at the gym about .4 miles to City Surf to take the 10A circuits class. The circuits class is one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life, and I absolutely love it. After class, I walk back to my car, drive home, and prepare a #macros-compliant lunch. I typically fuck around for a few hours and catch up on "Gotham" on AppleTV before finally showering, changing, and getting things accomplished. 

Sunday, after class, if I'm livin' right, I get my ass to Trader Joe's and buy everything I need for the week. If I'm living in the light, I actually prep a few things, like overnight oats, some vegetables, or just get a game plan together for what breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks will look like every day. Again, that's what I strive for, but it doesn't always happen.



Here's to hoping I find the light in November. I can't believe this year is almost over, and I can't wait for it to end. I'm a few months away from my 28th birthday, which is depressing and awful, but I'll get over it. I have to say, getting older is better than the alternative, but that's just another lie I tell myself.

We're coming up on one year since my grandma had her massive stroke, which is unbelievable. We'll be visiting her in Atlanta in December for her 88th birthday. It won't be a fun trip, but I haven't seen her since December, and hope I can bring her some joy and fun in the few days we get to spend with her.

To health, happiness, and joy,

<3, STEL


Friday, October 17, 2014

Gotta get down on Friday: jams for your earholes

Recently, I gave in and bit the bullet and signed up for Spotify unlimited.

BEST DECISION EVER.


I was sick of constantly searching for and buying new music on iTunes, spending God knows how much money on a regular basis, and figured Spotify was a cost-effective way to help keep my playlists fresh, and my runs and workday more fun.

I apparently had a lemon iPhone 5: it NEVER ever connected to my Wifi at home, so I was constantly paying AT&T for data overages.















Enough was enough, and I'm now rocking an iPhone 6 on the TMobile network. It always connects to Wifi without a second thought, leaving me plenty of data to run to Spotify unlimited for however long I want. Money saved. Workouts improved.
















Here are 10 things blasting through my earholes now:
1) Clapslap - Original Mix (Rampue)
2) Problem (Natalia Kills)
3) Blame (Calvin Harris, John Newman)
4) Break The Rules (Charli XCX)
5) Left Hand Free (alt-J)
6) Canyon Moon (Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness)
7) Go (Grimes, Blood Diamonds)
8) Stolen Dance (Milky Chance)
9) Feelings (Maroon 5)
10) Five Hours (Don't Hold Me Back) - Radio Edit (Deorro, DyCy)


Want to follow my favorite playlists on Spotify? Click on the links below, and enjoy.
RUNSTELRUN














6A before class (I constantly update this one because I get really sick of what I put together for my pre-class jams)











Cooldown (good songs for stretching or general relaxing)














Happy Friday! May your weekend be full of sick tunes and good times.

XO,
Stel

Thursday, October 16, 2014

BEYOND500

BEYOND500 is officially open for business! 

BEYOND studios has revolutionized the fitness scene in Dallas over the last few years with BEYOND PilatesBEYOND Pedaling, and now, BEYOND500. I've taken classes at all three, and I think BEYOND500 might just be my favorite.

Two of my all-time favorite City Surf instructors, Mitch and Catherine, have been training for the studio opening for the past few months and posting snaps of the gorgeous and innovative studio on Instagram, so I couldn't wait to try it out opening week!

I took advantage of this week's FREE class offer, and rocked it out last night under Elissa's tutelage.

According to their website, BEYOND500 is broken down into three components:
01 RUN
02 REFORM
03 ROCK

The "RUN" part is where it really gets interesting here. An ordinary treadmill wouldn't do, so BEYOND500 brings you the Woodway Curve treadmill, which is human-powered, and thus, said to be 30% more effective than the standard treadmill

Image c/o WOODWAY website
The 500 in the name signifies that in a 50-minute session, you'll be burning at least 500 calories. SOLD! 

Here's my take on my first class at BEYOND500:


The workout
HIIT (High-intensity interval training) is almost old-hat these days in the fitness industry, but it's what you should be doing to get the most out of your workouts.

To take this a step further, BEYOND500 brings us the "PHIT" principle: Pilates Hybrid Interval Training. According to their website, this method "combines three disciplines to create the most efficient and balanced workout system: Pilates-inspired functional movements, cardio intervals, and strength exercises."

At the start of class, Elissa instructed us to form a half circle and counted off the 20 of us into three groups. I was in group three (03 ROCK), so I would be starting with kettlebells. Group one started with the Woodway (01 RUN), and group two started with the "hot seat" Pilates chair (02 REFORM).

Before getting into the workout, we were led through a quick 5-minute or so warmup set to bangin' tunes. It was a series of jumping rope (without rope, but jumping up and swinging your arms as if you were jumping rope to the beat), side lunges, and crab toe touches.

From there, Elissa told us the gameplan: a 3-by-3, or three workouts done three times through. The only workout that changed was what was being done at station 01 RUN, making it easy to nail the exercises throughout the night. 

You're at each station with your group for 4 minutes, and there's a 1 minute break in between stations so you can quickly towel off and hydrate.

There's a clock toward the front of the room that counts down the 4 minutes, and it's mostly to help keep the 01 RUN group moving.


01 RUN
Image from Beyond500 website (http://thebeyondstudios.com/henderson/#!)

Round 1) "Flintstones": One foot is on the side of the Curve, and you use the other foot to quickly drag the treadmill belt as you hold on to the handlebars. You do this for 30 seconds, then jog in the center for 30 seconds, and then do "Flintstones" on the other side. Repeat through the entire 4-minute period.

Round 2) "Flintstones" to the side, meaning you're facing the side instead of the front and dragging the foot laterally instead of straight. This time, your 30 second jog is BACKWARDS, which was super trippy and hard for me to nail, but you can hold on to the rails for support. Then, "Flintstones" on the other side. Repeat through the 4 minutes.

Round 3) 30 second jog at around 6/6.3 MPH, then a 20 second sprint, aiming to improve your speed by 1.2 MPH. This was tough because slowing back down to the 6/6.3 jog isn't much of a break, and you're beat by the time you get to the last round, but it was well worth it.

02 REFORM

Image from BEYOND500 website (http://thebeyondstudios.com/henderson/#!)



Ah, the "hot seat." I have a love/hate relationship with reformers, but I really loved the chair, I must say. 

At this station, we went through 3 exercises, 10 reps each, through the 4 minutes.
1) You lie on the floor, and butterfly your legs, keeping your feet and toes touching at all times. Your feet are on top of the bar, and you're slowly lowering the bar down and up for 10 reps. 

2) You lie face-down on the chair and use your hands to push down the bar slowly for 10 reps. Controlled and slow movements are key here to maximize the effects of the resistance here.

3) This is what I like to call the "Flashdance" exercise. You sit on the chair, hands behind you, ready to reach for the bar. You start with the L hand on the bar, slowly lowering yourself down while pressing down the bar as you raise your R arm straight. Come back to the top slowly and switch sides, 10 reps total, and then you start back with 1). This one was a great side stretch.


03 ROCK

Image c/o BEYOND500 website (http://thebeyondstudios.com/henderson/#!)


Kettlebells are hot these days, and I've gotten to know the movements through sandbell training at City Surf Fitness. I like to do some strength training on Sundays after teaching RPM, and I always head straight for these babies. They torch calories and they're just a lot more fun to use than the traditional hand weights or barbells, in my opinion.

Here's what we did:
01) Kettlebell swings, and you have your choice between a few different weights. I opted for the 18 lb kettlebell for all three rounds, which was plenty tough. 10 reps.

02) Kettlebell pushups: get in pushup position and place your R hand on top of the kettlebell, and do a pushup. Then move the kettlebell to the L, and do the same thing on the L side. Repeat until you get your 10 reps.

03) Kettlebell situps, however you want to do them. I held the kettlebell straight overhead and knocked out my 10 situps each time.

At the end of the 50 minutes, I was drenched and felt incredibly accomplished. I wasn't bored for a second, and loved getting both a correction and praise from Elissa throughout the workout. I was impressed with my performance and can't wait to go back to do it all again.


The studio and parking


The studio is located right next to The Gin Mill on Henderson Ave. They have a parking lot right in front and directly behind the studio, but all spots were taken when I got there (there was a class still going on), so I sneakily parked at Gin Mill. Henderson Ave. parking typically gives me an anxiety attack, so this might be a deterrent for me moving forward. 

I would think that parking would be easier if you do a morning class, but I haven't been able to test out that theory yet.

The studio is bright and clean, and there's a bathroom if you need to freshen up before or after class. The space is fairly big and very minimalist. They have a long bench with storage cubbies underneath where you can put away your things during class. 

Bring a towel and wear trainers or other sneakers that allow you to move and run easily.

It's best to try and get to class about 10-15 minutes before it starts to get familiarized with the equipment, sign in (via iPad), and introduce yourself to the instructor (as long as there isn't a class going on when you get there, of course). 

They've got lots of cute tops and bottoms for purchase, and I may have already snagged a Texas tank that I can't wait to wear! It's black with a Texas state graphic on the front, and BEYOND is written on the back of the tank. They have a few colors of "PHIT" tanks and a few that say "BEYOND500" on the front.

I arrived with an empty water bottle in hand, and they unfortunately don't have a water fountain, but they've got water bottles for purchase. I'd recommend buying one there or filling yours up before coming. 




The instructors
Image c/o BEYOND500 website (http://thebeyondstudios.com/henderson/#!)

I had taken Elissa's class at BEYOND Pedaling and loved her sick playlists, motivation, and infectious energy. She was no different at this studio! I was amazed at how she was able to monitor, correct, and motivate ALL three groups at the same time throughout the duration of the workout.

I absolutely loved the music, as expected! It was mostly remixes and things I'd never heard before, and it helped serve as background to fuel me through all of the tasks at hand.

I'm sure the rest of the instructor lineup is great, and I definitely recommend Elissa, Mitch, and Catherine from experience. You won't be disappointed!

How to sign up


Create an account on the BEYOND website, and pick your day/time/instructor of choice. There are a few spots left in some of the FREE classes, which are through tomorrow. 


Pricing
After Friday, your first class is $15, and there are some great limited time offers for initial pricing.



RUN, don't walk to BEYOND500 ASAP!

If you're interested in the other workouts BEYOND offers, you can check them out on their recently revamped websites, which look pretty damn sexy. On the new and improved BEYOND Pedaling website, you can now learn a little bit about the instructors, get access to the latest and greatest playlists on Spotify, and most important, book your specific bike, just like you can for Flywheel and SOULCYCLE





GO BEYOND!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The best breakfast I'll ever eat

I've made the same breakfast all week, but I'm always so excited to eat it that I miss the opportunity to snap THAT chat.

This morning, I pulled out my phone just before digging in:


What is this?
-2 eggs, beaten, with a shake of cinnamon
-Pour into a pan (I spray mine with Coconut Oil Spray from Trader Joe's)
-Let the eggs cook through and keep as an Omelet shape
-Top with 1 sliced banana and a spoonful of TJ Sunflower Butter (or unsweetened Almond Butter)

Stats, prepared as shown: 
329 calories
27 carbs (23 g from the banana alone)
8g healthy fat (just from the Sunbutter)
17 g protein

If I remember, I like putting a teeny tiny spoonful of chia seeds or flaxseed on top - just because I can.

SOFA king good, and so easy to make. With the cinnamon, it tastes almost pancakey.

Here's to a successful weigh-in tomorrow AM! I'm really hoping that my small changes this week have made somewhat of a difference.

LOWER carb.
LOWER calorie.
MINDFUL eating.
Making calories COUNT. Myfitnesspal tells me to eat 1,580 calories/day (based on my goals and my typical expenditures), and I try to stay within that. I went a little over a few days, but with the amount of calories I burn, and the QUALITY of the calories I eat, I'm not too worried about it.

I'm trying to stay under 150 g carbs/day, with the goal of carbs being no more than 30% of my daily stats (they give you a little graph on myfitnesspal, which is super helpful), and I'm killing it.


I'm 27.5 years old, as of yesterday, and I'm determined to make the last years of my 20s, and then 30s, 40s, etc. my best yet. I'm not doing this for anyone or anything. I just want to create the best/fittest/LEANEST version of me.


<3
XO
Stel

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nothing changes if nothing changes

"Nothing changes if nothing changes."

It's hard to argue with that, and since I'm in the middle of a full-on war against my scale (and my body), I decided there must be something I could do differently to help me get to where I want to be.

And so begins my #lowcarbliving experiment.

c/o Les Mills


#croptopsummerinthekitchen

Since we all know I'm pretty darn active during the week, logging on average, 16 workouts per week, I can't go too low carb (I don't think). I'm aiming to log no more than 150 carbs per day, and I'm diligently logging it all on myfitnesspal.

#TIRED on Saturday after three particularly grueling workouts


It's all about counting calories (and carbs) and making them count. I'm sorry, but no offense, even if a Quest Bar says it only has "X" net carbs and "Y" calories, at the end of the day, you're eating a processed piece of garbage that's trying to be a Cinnamon Roll, Cookie Dough, or Cookies and Creme.

Can you really eat something like that and tell yourself you're doing something "healthy"?

I'd much rather eat the exact same amount of macros that I can get from things like a combination of eggs/lean protein, fruit, vegetables, nuts, nut butter, or a small amount of cheese, for example. It's better for me, and it's also budget-friendly. Quest Bars clock in at $2/piece, and I know that when I ate them for a few months last year, they indirectly contributed to some weight gain because they stirred up my hard-to-kick cravings for the sweets those damn bars imitate. If you haven't tried Quest Bars, don't do it.


Now, I'm no Saint: in a pinch, I've been known to eat a LÄRABAR® or a Kind Bar, but I analyze the shit out of those nutrition panels before buying/consuming. If there are funky ingredients in there (like xylitol, chicory root, or any number of chemical-y icky, non-natural things), I don't buy it.

Yes, LÄRABAR® is high in sugar and carbs, but those numbers are coming straight from dates or banana, and not from fake or real sugar. It's still sugar, but I find the source to be a lesser of a few evils. It's not perfect, and indulging in more than one a day or week is probably not a good idea, but I find these to be a better thing to grab than a Quest Bar, Clif Bar, or Powerbar, for example. Or the worst of all, Fiber One products. DON'T DO IT.


LARABAR nutritional panel



Clif Bar nutritional panel (YIKES)



I started this experiment somewhat on Friday, and it's been going pretty well so far. I was down one lb in a week when I weighed myself Saturday AM, and I hope to see similar progress when I hop on the scale this Saturday.




#croptopsummerinthegym

Outside of the group fitness setting, I usually find myself a little bit clueless when I've got idle moments in the gym, like when I'm killing time before teaching a class.

Thanks to my favorite instructor at City Surf Fitness, Catherine, I've got an easy-to-memorize but tough-to-complete challenge that I like doing either before or after class.

Give this a try:

50 jumping jacks
40 high knees
30 mountain climbers (15 each leg)
20 burpees (letting your chest hit the ground every time)
10 push-ups

50 jumping jacks

40 high knees (good idea to keep hands up to establish your knee height)

30 mountain climbers (they don't have to be fast - these are one of the toughest things for me!)

20 burpees (I usually start getting exhausted around number 10/20)

10 pushups (on toes, or on knees, as shown below)




Try it out! It's sure to get your heart rate up quickly, and it's a great little cardio burst.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Try a new workout.
Try making tiny tweaks to your intake.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator (Thanks, Fitbit).
Run or walk to your gym (if the distance/elements/time cooperate).

Here's to seeing this #low(er)carblife thing through!

PS Are you in need of some new workout tunes? I've got JUST the thing: my "RUNSTELRUN" Spotify playlist. Check it out and see just how far you can go.

PPS On an unrelated note, I absolutely CANNOT WAIT for "Horns" to come out, starring my boyfriend, Daniel Radcliffe :) I read the book a few weeks ago, and it was absolutely awesome. It's written by Joe Hill, son of Stephen King (Joe Hill is his pen name so that he could stand to earn some credit for his work and not just due to his last name).

Check out the trailer here:

XO,
Stel

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2/3 of the way through 2014

It's been a while!

It's August, and September is a few days away. We're somehow 2/3 of the way through 2014.

Here's what you missed on GLEE, or really, a recap of my year to date:

  • January
    • January 1: I begin seriously following the Paleo diet and by now, I'm a few days into DAILY myfitnesspal food and exercise logging. I haven't stopped either since, and I'm now on my 241-day streak on MFP!


  • February
    • Presidents' Day: I decide to put my money where my mouth is and actually give dating a try instead of just telling everyone I have no interest/that it's not for me. 
Update: It really, really, really wasn't for me, but I conducted this experiment through July. I'm just holding out for Daniel Radcliffe, methinks, or I'll remain an independent woman until the day I die.




  • March
    • March 11: My 27th birthday comes and goes. 
I told my friends I wanted NO acknowledgement of the day and no STELLAbration, but my core near and dear group of friends insisted, and I'm so glad they did!

My mom made the day great, even though I had to work (FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWENTY SEVEN YEARS. I've always had spring break or took the day off, but figured, 27 sucks, so I might as well go to work) and we had a great lunch at La Duni, and I got a David Yurman ring I fell in love with a few days prior and a delicious pair of Kate Spade aviators.



My podmates ("pod" = group of cubicles) were amazing and surprised me with a sneak attack decoration of my cube, flowers, a hilarious card, and a cake.




I went to dinner with my parents at True Food Kitchen (my latest obsession), and it was phenomenal.




That weekend, some of my best friends and I (the ones who insisted I do something to mark the occasion) went to (you guessed it) True Food Kitchen, and it was the first time for all in the group, and they absolutely loved it. We stayed late, chatting with the manager who became our new best friend, and then we headed to Knox/Henderson to meet up with more good friends at Barcadia.


  • April
    • April 5: My RPM mentor/teammate and I get some great feedback in writing at Gold's!
#2 :)

    • April 19: I take my first-ever City Surf Fitness class, and it's City Surf Circuits. 
I took this right after my first class, and never looked back. Absolutely obsessed!

It's quite the introduction, because CSF Circuits is undoubtedly one of the toughest classes they offer.

I walked in 15 minutes before class started, as they said to do in the confirmation email, and the class before ours was still going. I had a moment of panic, and texted my friend Brittani to ask her what the hell I had gotten myself into, but it ended up being something I've since become full-on addicted to in the form of a 5x/week habit.

Here's how circuits goes:
2 rounds. 50 minutes.
Each board has a sticky note with the name of the exercise, and the instructor walks through every single exercise once before we start.
10 boards, and typically 3-5 other stations at the mirror or on the floor, like battle ropes, resistance band kickbacks, lunges, and towel sliders (plank with a towel under each foot, and slide one foot across the body and back)
30 seconds per station, 10 seconds between stations, and before you move to the next, you have a "middle station" move, which is also 30 seconds long.

Here's what we did Monday:

In between:
Round one
MIRROR STATIONS: Side plank (r, l, then regular)
FRONT ROW STATIONS: Burpee with a 10 lb. sandbell slam when you rise up to stand
BACK ROW STATIONS: Low pulsing lunges

Round two
MIRROR STATIONS: Squat jumps
FRONT ROW STATIONS: Surfboard burpees (no chest to board, just extending out to a plank)
BACK ROW STATIONS: Plank shoulder taps (SO SO SO TOUGH!)

STATIONS
1. Curtsy lunge R (holding 10 lb. sandbell at chest)
2. Squat low on the board and do knee drops, turning one knee in and down - close to the board as possible
3. Curtsy lunge L (holding 10 lb. sandbell at chest)
4. Surfboard sliders - rest elbows on board, towel under each foot, and either slide both feet out to the side, do plank to pike, mountain climbers, or slide feet so they both go front and back together
5. Lie back on the ground and place feet on the board, and do a pulsing hip bridge (up and down)
6. Lie down on board and do skull crushers (tricep extension to the skull with a 10 lb. sandbell) with feet on ground, on board, or do a hip bridge
7. Do push-ups on the board for 30 seconds (knees OK but try toes)
8. Sit on the board, and have palms flat with hands facing the front of the room. Lift one leg up and do dips, focusing on the triceps here. Switch to the other leg on round 2.
9. Stand on the board and hold a bag in each hand. Then, bend over, hinging at hips, and row - L, R, then both twice (1, 1, 2, 2 rhythm and repeat)
10. "Ice cream scoop" R: Stand on the board, and plant the L foot. Then, carefully let your R foot hang off the board and make a motion with your foot as if you're scooping ice cream. Goal is to get as low as possible. Balance focus here.
11."Ice cream scoop" L" Same as 10, but with L foot doing the scooping
12. Weighted board hops: Squat low, holding the 10-lb sandbell at your chest, and hop to the front and then to the back of the board. Stay low so that your butt touches the surfboard every time. Tough!
13. Squat knee drive: Stand on the board, facing the wall, in a squat stance. Squat, then bring your L leg to l elbow. Squat again, and then bring the R leg to R elbow.

After the two rounds, our instructor told us she had a "surprise" for us, which I also chose to do after teaching spin that night:

50 jumping jacks
40 high knees
30 mountain climbers
20 burpees on the ground where chest hits the ground (tough!!!)
10 push-ups

  • May
    • No particular highlights or milestones, but what I have written in my agenda is, "The I'm Just Gonna Do Me Month." I'm guessing this was when I decided to give up on the dating thing and completely devote myself to working on the best version of me, which is what I'm still doing ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Looks like it's also when I first tried the 21DSD and didn't succeed.
That was one Sunday. I've lost my damn mind, but can't seem to lose any weight. INTAKE IS KEY, and the BS is over.

Mantra I picked up at City Surf Fitness from the Tuesday Buddha Board instructor, Aleena

A delicious 21DSD lunch: grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, and zucchini noodles

Everything blue is a workout

  • June
    • Friday, June 27: I see DANIEL RADCLIFEE LIVE on stage in "The Cripple of Inishmaan," and don't get a Stage Door selfie (didn't shove the line aggressively enough), but did get some pretty damn good close-up pix of him while standing on my tiptoes. 
    • I get to see New York on my own terms for a day, walking EVERYWHERE and finding and loving Union Square and lots of shops, restaurants, and fitness studios I've followed from afar via Instagram. My parents join me and we spend some good quality family time in NYC (The High Line, Central Park, and just a lot of general walking EVERYWHERE, which I loved) and Connecticut to see family we hadn't seen in years.
#thehighline

Breakfast at Max Brenner - SO GOOD. Granola/yogurt/fruit/cacao nibs + a litttttle chocolate to pour on top

#thehighline

View from The High Line

Stumbled upon the Flatiron building!

DYING DYING DEAD DYING

View of the City on my Uber ride from LGA --> the hotel

This is a slide from my upcoming #suitschool presentation. Because IDGAF :)
It's framed, and I just need someone with half a brain more than I have to help me hang it up!

  • July
    • I start and FINISH the 21-day-sugar detox diet successfully!



  • August:
    • Saturday, August 9: My friends and I see "What If" at the Angelika, and it's absolutely fabulous. Even my non-DRad-fan friends were suddenly in <3 with him. Step aside, y'all. But seriously, go see it.

    • Friday, August 15: After work, accidentally run a 5K (distance-wise, not for charity) for the first time ever without stopping! 


I'm telling you, #fitbitmademedoit is VERY, very real. I am SUPER competitive and was driven crazy by constantly falling to the number 3 spot on my Fitbit friends weekly step rank.

I was determined to get to the top of the list. Friday, I did 6A City Surf, spent a full day in paradise in the ad world, and then headed home, threw on clothes, laced up my sneakers, packed my SPI belt, and got the playlist ready and my Fitbit app on to track the run. I have it set up to interrupt the music every mile to let me know my average pace and distance, and I was suspicious at a certain point in my run when I hadn't heard the "ONE MILE" call yet.

I glanced at my armband and saw that I was already at 1.83 miles, and I was ecstatic! That pushed me to keep going and make it all the way back home until I hit 3.1. I did it, and had a respectable pace of 10'01". I'm thinking of trying to make Friday5K a thing.


  • September
    • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16: I absolutely CANNOT WAIT until 8:30 a.m. on September 16. That's when I'll be DONE with #suitschool. This is sort of a rite of passage where I work. 
Every Tuesday at 8 a.m., a brand manager (what I do) has to deliver a timed, scripted, rehearsed, and interesting 20-minute presentation to the head of our agency and a table full of men who have been here for 20+ years, plus 100 or so brand managers around my age in the audience. It's videotaped. It's scary as HELL. It's probably the thing people here fear the MOST, and it's been something I've freaked out about since March when my boss said, "Oh, by the way - did we tell you? You've got suit school."

I've spent many a weekend not working on it, and finally forced myself a month or two ago to go to a (gasp) library on Saturday afternoons to get away from distractions at my apartment, like sleeping, watching Netflix, or doing about 10 million other more fun and interesting things.

I *think* I'm done with it, and I'm just waiting to get some feedback from my boss. Fingers crossed the feedback isn't too extensive or horrible so that I can memorize it and be done! I probably won't have to do it again for another 5 years or so, and thank GOD.

It's going to look a little something like this, but with 100+ (I'm bad at counting) people


Teaching RPM has definitely been good preparation for this because it's put me in front of a crowd and I've had to deliver a presentation of sorts 5x/week for almost two years.



I can also thank Occidental College for setting me up for success under stress. At least 5 times over the course of my time there, I had to deliver a scary timed presentation to a group of people and a discerning professor. It wasn't fun, but I survived, and it's helped me get through some pretty tough presentation situations at my current job.

Miss this place.



I can also credit some time spent on the small-town musical theatre circuit back in junior high, as well as doing dance recitals and band concerts from 2nd grade through 9th grade. Thanks, Mom, for forcing me to do those things that I really, really had no interest in doing, but were indirectly pretty damn influential/skill-shaping for this sort of "real-world" stuff.


I've got a pretty lofty weight loss goal ahead of me, and I'm more determined than I've been all year to get this DONE. It's a constant and lifelong battle, but it's not one I'm willing to give up on. I'm still making tweaks on the intake, and trying to force myself to work in weight training and some runs multiple times a week to see if that helps shakes thing up.



It starts with FOOD. You can't out-exercise a bad diet.


Here's to a successful last few months of 2014, and to creating the absolute best version of me in 2015 and beyond.

XO,
Stel