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Step It Up

Happy weekend everyone! I got my weekend off to a most excellent start – with a Friday off!! Ooohhhh, it was glorious. I slept in until 8am, but after a very late evening, so I sort of felt like I’d been run over by a truck. I was croaking for two things – coffee and waffles.

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Maple cinnamon waffles with almond butter and blueberry jam and a few grapes on the side. This was supposed to be a light breakfast because I had step class an hour later. But the behemoth-sized mug of coffee I had filled me up soooo much! Oops.

To be honest, I was kind of scared for BodyStep. I’d watched the videos of the moves online. Or rather, studied, full of hesitation and fear. I thought I’d be lucky to make it out of the class alive, or even with my ego intact! Here’s a breakdown of what the class looked like.

  • Warmup
  • Step warmup (easy moves on the step)
  • Step orientation (more easy stuff, but a little faster with some jumps)
  • Step athletic (lotsa moving, getting the heart rate up)
  • Mixed strength (a mix of steps and squats)
  • Power peak (intense, confusing)
  • Step recovery
  • Party step (fun and silly, kinda do what you want)
  • Speed step (on a low step, moving your feet super fast)
  • Recovery/Push-ups/Abdominals (to get a little whole-body work in)
  • Cooldown/Stretch  

So my verdict? I absolutely LOVED it!! Who woulda thought? I’m a really clumsy person, and thought I would be in over my head. Granted, at times it was a little too complicated for me. But I think I could really get into it after a few more classes.

I also took this at the “women’s only” location, so it was smaller and more “communal.” The instructor was amazing. And everyone in the class was at all different levels, doing a variety of different step options that I could mimic.

Oh, and I burned almost 400 calories, which is pretty good for me. I burn only slightly more in spin class, so you know it was intense!

The rest of my day wasn’t really noteworthy. Vegged out for a little bit, ran a bunch of errands around town. Had a wonderful “snacky” lunch.

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Yves veggie salami sandwich with marble cheese then mushrooms, carrots and hummus.

I was supposed to make a special feast for Chris and I tonight, but I forgot to buy the key ingredient! It was too late to go back and get it, so we ended up just going out for dinner. There’s a music festival going on downtown this weekend, so in order to avoid the crowds, we went across the river for some pub fare.

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The Cannon’s Cross Pub to be exact. The same people who own the Snooty Fox, where I frequent, um, frequently.

Chris ordered his usual mountain o’ nachos.

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So eager to dig in he couldn’t even wait for me to take a photo!

I went for the Chef’s salad, as I was really craving some plain meat and veggies.

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Just a regular garden salad topped with grilled chicken, ham and a boiled egg. I ordered it without cheese, and got some light Italian that I drizzled on post-photo.

Exciting news: Chris is going to run the race with me on Sunday!! Well, maybe. He’s never actually ran before, but we both think he could do the 5k. He’s in crazy good shape from cycling. He’d have no cardiovascular problem getting through it, it would just be a shock to his legs and joints I think. We went out and bought proper running shoes for him tonight (he liked the New Balance). Even if he decides against the race on Sunday, he’s going to take up running as it gets too cold for road biking here. Yay for running buddies!

To be honest, I think he just wants to get good enough to beat me :P

Sorry I don’t have much more for you tonight! I was actually hoping to have a video post up on how to make a breakfast cookie. But it’s a “hugh jass” file as they say, and has 10 hours left to upload!! No, I didn’t film a 4 hour documentary on the breakfast cookie, Chris just felt the resolution needed to be high enough to see my pores. Hopefully it’ll be up tomorrow!

Question of the day: Do you prefer working out alone or with others? Ultimately, I prefer alone, as my exercise time is my “me time.” But it’s really nice to have a companion sometimes, keeps it fun and light :)

Starbucks How-To’s

Happy, um, Thursday? Unless you are reading this on Friday – then T-G-I-freakin-F!!

Loved reading the types of foods y’all could never get sick of. Seems like it’s the same things for a lot of us – oats, nut butter, cereal, yogurt, etc. The staples in any diet really, especially if you eat them all together ;)

It was hovering around 1 C this morning. I’m too lazy to Google what that is in Fahrenheit, but just know that’s reallyreally cold! I made a big ‘ole bowl of oats to warm my insides.

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PB&J oats to be exact :)

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp plain soy protein powder
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • blueberry jam

I “sandwiched” half the jam and PB in the centre of the bowl again. So sometimes I’d get surprise spoonfuls of PB&J. So fun!

I’d just barely digested this monstrosity by the time I went to BodyPump class two hours later. It at least gave me lots of pumpin’ energy!

This was my first ever “weight lifting class.” I was equally excited and scared, with a little bit of cluelessness. Thankfully, a nice lady in the class helped me pick out appropriate weights and set up my “station.” I knew sort of what to expect going in based on the Typical Class outline online:

  • Warmup (lotsa light deadlifts and bicep curls)
  • Legs/Squats (basically a whole torturous song of nonstop weighted squats)
  • Chest (presses)
  • Back (more deadlifts)
  • Triceps (awful push-ups, with some kickbacks and overhead extensions)
  • Biceps (nothin’ but curls)
  • Lunges (kinda fun! few different kinds which kept it interesting)
  • Shoulders (clean and press with a few rows – my new favourite move!)
  • Abdominals (crunches, etc)
  • Cooldown (lame stretches, where’s my pigeon pose??)

I was still feeling good after, so I did 15 minutes HIIT on the elliptical. Then I called it a day.

I’m not a huge fan of low weights/high reps, I usually do the opposite. Not sure if the class will make it into my regular rotation, but I will definitely use it to switch up my lifting routine once in a while! Gotta keep those muscles guessing ;)

My body was feeling mega empty when I got home, so I pounded back a little protein juice to get me through till lunch.

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Appetizing photo :P About a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a small scoop of chocolate whey powder.

45 minutes later I had a very satisfying lunch full of things I could never get sick of ;)

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Pita with hummus, turkey, tomato, onion, mushrooms, green pepper and zucchini. Wrapped in reinforcements! The key to a sturdy pita. Oh, and some carrot sticks (organic, because they are the sweetest and juiciest and worth every penny!).

Then I rushed off to Starbucks, again! This time to meet a university friend who’s in town from Japan.  I sipped a Zen tea while we chatted about life after uni.

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The only time I like green tea is when it’s infused with other flavours. Especially peppermint!

I was scheduled to work afternoon/evening today which is sometimes a nice change to the usual 9-5. This afternoon’s assignment was particularly interesting. I attended a lecture by Reverend Brent Hawkes. He’s originally from New Brunswick, but moved to Toronto in the 70’s to join a special ministry that’s tolerant of homosexuality. He was SO inspiring. The kind of man that just oozes passion and motivation. He was also the reverend that married the first gay and lesbian couples in the world in Toronto in 2001. He said he had to wear a bulletproof vest to the ceremony. Crazy, eh?

Anyways, I got in a quick supper break at home, and just had leftover solyanka and beet salad.

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Second verse, same as the first. Just as good the second time around!

 

In light of my recent Starbucks trips, I thought it would be fun to re-post a series of Starbucks tips I published on my old blog back in March. Some of you may not know that I worked at Starbucks on and off for five years, at several locations. I even managed one during a brief break between high school and university! So without further ado, here are the tips:

1. Ask for no whip. Approximately one-third of a drink’s calories comes from the whipped cream.

2. Ask for non-fat, 1% (they can mix the skim and 2% together on request) or soy milk. Make sure you watch the barista make your drink. The milk canisters are the easiest thing to mix up. It’s never intentional, but pretty easy to dump 2% into a non-fat drink. I always double check the cup is marked as non-fat at the cash after I order, and with the barista when i pick it up at the hand-off counter.

3. Order your drink half-sweet or with sugar-free syrups. Not all syrups come in the sugar free option, so ask which ones they have (it can vary by location). If you don’t like artificial sweeteners, you can order your drink “half sweet” or even specify you just want “one pump of syrup” in your drink for a little sweet kick. This is another thing that’s easy to screw up, so don’t be scared to double check this one with the cashier or barista too.

4. Ask for your frappuccino to be made with skim milk and a shot of espresso to skip all the weirdo ingredients that go into the coffee base. Just keep in mind that the consistency will be a little less creamy.

5. Instead of an iced coffee (which is automatically sweetened), order an iced americano and add your own sweetener and milk. If it’s too strong, ask for one less shot of espresso.

6. Ask for your iced tea unsweetened and add honey yourself at the condiment stand. Be careful when you do this with the iced tea lemonades! The lemonade they use is verrry sour!

7. Order a chai latte as a “chai tea misto.” This way, you’ll get a drink made of half chai tea and half steamed milk, rather than one made with a chai syrup base. This tastes awesome when sweetened with a little honey!

7. Ask for your latte “dry” to get more foam and less milk. Cuts back on the calories and makes your drink stronger and creamier!

8. If your drink ever tastes off or not the way you ordered it, bring it back!It’s a Starbucks policy to automatically re-make any drink you’re not satisfied with. Don’t be scared of getting mean looks from the baristas, so long as you’re polite about it, they will be happy to give you another drink or help you find one you may like better! Remember, you’re paying serious cash for some of these drinks, you deserve to get a drink you like!

There you have it! What are your favourite drinks to order at cafes? I’m a dry nonfat cappuccino gal, sometimes with a squirt of vanilla if I want a sweet treat :)

See ya tomorrow for my first ever step class! Eeek!!

Happy Baby

Hey blog friends! Is it just me or is this week going by sloooow… Chris and I actually just booked a trip to Windsor, Ont. for the first of October! His best friend lives there and I’ve never been! Anyone have any suggestions on things to do/places to visit in the Windsor-Detroit area?

Back to the present day, it was an active rest day for me. Which means no morning workout and extra time to enjoy my breakfast :)

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My best bowl of oats ever.

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate whey powder
  • half a banana
  • shredded coconut
  • chocolate chips
  • peanut butter

*drooooool* This bowl kept me full for a long time too!

My morning was spent with my tuckus on a court bench. I was back at the office for the usual lunchtime fare.

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Pita! I mashed up one can of sardines in a mustard sauce with a laughing cow cheese wedge and capers, and stuffed in a pita with a couple slices of Montreal smoked beef, tomato, zucchini, cucumber and romaine.

Carrot sticks on the side!

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Crunch crunch crunch.

I got off work early so I came home and started working on food for tomorrow. I’m working 1-10pm, so I thought it would be nice to have a meal ready so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. You’ll have to wait till tomorrow to see though, they’re completely new dishes for me from the Moosewood Cookbook ;)

Tonight’s dinner also featured something new!

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A yuca!! According to Mr. Wikipedia this is also called a cassava root. It’s high in calcium and Vitamin C, but pretty low in protein and other nutrients.

The exterior is thick and waxy. I was surprised when I cut into it that it’s raw texture was a lot like a coconut, and smelled like one too!

I made it into fries, spraying it in some olive oil and barbecue seasoning then baking at 400 F for 25 minutes.

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These were SO good! Seriously. Butternut squash has a new rival! Baked, they were thick on the outside, and mushy on the inside. A little more dense and starchy tasting than potatoes. They held up really, really well, unlike many other fry substitutes I’ve tried. I also had an old-school egg salad sandwich with mayo and some beet slices (hint to tomorrow’s dinner!).

Afterwards I went to the BodyFlow class at my gym where I spent a lot of time like this:

Okay, maybe I don’t look quite as cute in happy baby pose. But I love it!

As I’ve mentioned before, my gym, GoodLife Fitness, is the only gym in Canada that offers Les Mills fitness classes. Les Mills is a New Zealand athlete/fitness instructor/businessman who designed a line of pre-choreographed fitness classes used at gyms around the world. The routines are designed around the same music, and then changed every four months along with some new tunes.

The BodyFlow class is a mix of tai chi, yoga and pilates. All classes, while changing every few months, follow the same format, which can be found on the website:

  1. Tai chi warm-up
  2. Sun salutations
  3. Yoga standing strength
  4. Balances
  5. Hip openers
  6. Core work
  7. Twists and forward bends
  8. Relaxation and meditation

At first, I was really skeptical about doing the same classes over and over, and to cheesy music. But I love it! This class in particular is the perfect mix of poses and moves for me. The music is actually really well timed and suited to what we’re doing.

I’ve already decided that I want to try out all the classes that are offered at my gym. This week I’ll also be doing BodyPump and BodyStep. I’m excited!! (and slightly scared I may break my nose on a step :P )

What’s your favourite group fitness class? Least favourite? My fave is still spin class, but I’m a yoga convert now too :)

Time to hit the sack! I’ve got an early morning “business meeting” and a long-ish run to do before work tomorrow! G’night!

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