May’s Music

My sister said I was overdue for music post …so here goes.  I can’t get enough of Tennis Court by Lorde. I’ve been running to this song and have found it to be great for keeping a consistent pace.  This got me thinking about how a song’s beats per minute (BPM) might be impacting my workouts.  According to jog.fm, I’ve been running at a glacial pace!  Songs recommended for a 9 minute mile have 160 BPMs. This tune has 90…looks like maybe I need to double my speed rather than running to the tempo!

I also added a little R&B and even Reggae (Aloe Blacc & Sister Nancy).  While these are better cocktails by the pool type songs, these tunes work well for cool downs and stretching.  You can add these to your BBQ playlists for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.  I recently heard Ciara’s One, Two Step and had to incorporate this oldie but goodie!

Run Hundred also appears to be a good resource for choosing music based on your exercise pace, and it’s monthly top ten list is pretty decent.  What are you listening to?  Here is what is currently on my workout mix.

  icon-music “Beating Heart” by Ellie Goulding

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

Nine & Wine

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As our golf courses begin to thaw from that long cold winter it’s time for DC professionals to get back to their favorite past time…golf!  East Potomac Golf Course is conveniently located in the District and while it isn’t the most glamorous course, it offers a unique round of golf -“Nine & Wine.”  For about $30, the event includes 9-holes on the White Course followed by cocktails and cheese in the clubhouse.  I did this last year with a group of friends and colleagues and it was a great way to network outside of the traditional happy hour scene.

Nine & Wine takes place on select Fridays during the summer at 6pm – June 13 & 27, July 11 & 25, and August 8 & 22.

Group lessons are also available for $25-$30 per person depending on the number of golfers in the group.  This is a great way to bond with your girlfriends over some bad shots on the green!  The driving range is also an ideal spot to unwind after a long day, work on your golf game, or search for an Adam Scott look-alike if you’re single:)

icon-music“Come With Me Now”“Come With Me Now” “Come With Me Now” by KONGOS

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

Paddle Boating on the Potomac

I always wanted to try these little boats and cruise around the Tidal Basin.  As we pedaled away from the dock, I realized that this activity actually looks more glamorous from 395!  Although, after a few glasses of wine – which I highly recommend sneaking on your boat – I was less concerned about how close I was to the murky Potomac water and enjoyed the unique views of the Jefferson & MLK Memorials and Washington Monument. I imagine it’s also a great way to see the cherry blossoms.

Jefferson

This was a fun and cheap way to spend an afternoon… especially on a sunny day.  It’s $14 per hour for a 2 seater boat – although they didn’t seem to keep track of our time.  You can also reserve your boat on the Tidal Basin Paddle Boat site, but this didn’t seem necessary.  Boats for 4 passengers are also available for $22.

Washington Monument

Is this really considered exercise?  Heck ya!  Believe it or not, working those pedals was actually kind of a workout.  While you don’t necessarily exert as much energy as you would on say those Exorcist Stairs, you’ll still need to take break and sip your wine as your co-captain pedals!

icon-music “Girls Chase Boys”

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

Best Stairs in the Beltway

You may think I’m crazy but I love breaking up the monotony of a jog by running the stairs.  In general, I’m a believer in skipping the elevator and hitting the stairs when you can…especially when our demanding work schedules interfere with our gym time.  My stair climbing inspiration…  Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi.  In a Fitness Magazine interview the former model described how regularly doing the stairs helped her shed pounds after having a baby.  Not only is it a major calorie burner, but its an effective way to strengthen your quads, glutes, and calves.  Here’s a list of my fave stairs to run in the Beltway!

Fave stairs #1 – located between the Potomac and Lincoln Memorial.

Stairs

These stairs are surrounded by great jogging paths in the area around the Lincoln, Jefferson, MLK, and Roosevelt Memorials.  I typically sprint up these stairs 10-15 times…depending on the distance of my run.  The good thing about these stairs is that they are spacious and can support many joggers.  Also, the grassy area above these steps is a great place to do planks, pushups and sit ups…if you are feeling extra motivated!

#2 – Lincoln Memorial – these stairs make for a great climb… as long as you don’t mind weaving your way through the tourists.  The memorial is usually much less crowded first thing in the morning.

LincolneveningII

 #3 – The National Gallery of Art - these stairs are typically much less touristy.  I caught these girls making their way up the stairs to do a set of squats.  It looked like a great way to tone up the legs!

runningstairs

#4 – The famous Exorcist Steps near Georgetown University.  I chatted with a track coach there who had his team doing five sets of climbs (three times each set).  Needless to say the runners looked exhausted.  These stairs are by far the toughest and steepest.  Parking is conveniently available at the bottom of the stairs.  And these steps aren’t so scary as long as you do them during the day!

Exorcist Stairs Black & WhiteDon’t forget about DC Metro stops!  These are good spots to get your steps in on your way to and from work.

icon-music Sexy People (The Fiat Song) [feat. Pitbull]“ this song will definitely get you sprinting up those steps!

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

Terrifying Trapeze

Trapeze School New York has made it’s way to DC and it’s “Forget fear. Worry about addiction.” mission statement truly sums up my experience.  Although absolutely terrified, I quickly became addicted to climbing that shaky, seemingly endless ladder to fly through the air.  My hands are sweating just thinking about it!

The instructors and even the other students made me feel extremely comfortable on the trapeze and making that initial leap off the platform.  Still, I often had to mentally prepare and force myself off the edge upon the instructor’s call out to ”ready… hep!”  After a few attempts I realized I was in good hands and got past my fear, focusing more on the moves they instructed us to do as we soared.  I figured the class was for gymnasts and I’d never be able to flip and do all sorts of maneuvers on the swinging bar.  I was wrong!

upsidedownII

Before making your way up to the trapeze, I recommend doing some light arm exercises and stretches to loosen your muscles.  You’ll likely be in a class with a number of other students… volunteer to go first to avoid the anxiety from building on the ground as you wait for your turn…had I waited too long I may have snuck out the door!

Other tips – consider purchasing hand grips …that bar can be rough on the hands.  Circus inspired socks are a must to fit in!  Instructors don’t shake hands…they shake forearms to familiarize you with the grip you’ll hold when reaching for that catch!

Speaking of, I’m going to have to go back to achieve the infamous catch that Carrie Bradshaw attempted in a Sex and the City episode.  Plus, it was sorta fun doing something so terrifying!

Wondering if this is actually workout?  Absolutely…my arms and abs in particular were sore all week.

icon-music “Pumpin Blood” by NONONO

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

SoHo’s Chobani

SweetOn a recent trip to NYC, I stumbled upon the booming Chobani store in SoHo.  We tried the delish Toasted Coconut + Pineapple which equals pineapple, toasted coconut flakes, crushed hazelnuts, and light agave nectar.  I also sampled the Pistachio + Chocolate… this unusual combo consisted of pistachios, dark chocolate flakes, sliced orange, fresh mint, and clover honey…and was surprisingly SO good!

menuchobanis

chobanistore

I was so impressed with these little greek yogurts that I tried a few of the toppings on their menu at home.  These make for a good quick lunch or afternoon snack…

Blueberry+Power and Fig+WalnutBlueberry + Power = blueberries, chia, pumpkin, and toasted sunflower seeds, walnuts, and light agave nectar.  These seeds are loaded with omega-3s, fiber, antioxidants, etc.  Chia seeds are tasteless ..so you can sprinkle them on anything to add nutrients.  Check out Huffington Post’s 10 reasons to add chia seeds to your diet.  And did you know that pumpkins seeds help produce melatonin?  Will keep these sleep inducing seeds around for restless nights!

The Fig + Walnut featured above contains dried figs, walnuts, clover honey.  Perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Hoping Chobani makes its way to the Beltway…  Enjoy!

icon-music “Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh” by Say Hi.

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

 

National Spa Week! April 21-27

Basic RGB

Can’t beat this deal…50 bucks for treatments at a number of reputable spas!  While I couldn’t find my favorite spa, Bliss, on the list I booked a Red Door stress melter treatment which promises to do just that…melt stress and rebalance the spirit.  While it’s an abbreviated version of the traditional massage, it’s still an hour long.  And it’s usually over $200!  BTW, I’ve never tried a body wrap treatment…  I’m sure I’ll have a total claustrophobic freak out moment while I’m wrapped up like a mummy!

You can take advantage of this deal inside or outside of the Beltway … and it isn’t limited to massages….some spas offer both a mani and pedi, deep hair conditioning treatments or highlights, facials, laser treatments….you name it.

This is a great excuse to treat yourself …not that you ever need one!

icon-music “Magic” by Cold Play.

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

 

Cherry Blossom Yoga

Spring is finally here!  I’m taking a break from stuffy gyms, grabbing my mat and some girlfriends, and heading to the Mall this weekend for Cherry Blossom Yoga.  I can’t think of a better way to center myself than doing yoga in the heart of our nation’s capital with my favorite instructors!

Cherry Blossom Yoga

This event is free and will take place near the Washington Monument (Northwest quadrant).  You can register here.  Check out some cool photos from previous years’ events…

Stage(c) Bobby Gill

WashingtonMonumentYoga(c) Bobby Gill

Hope to see you there.  Namaste!

icon-music “Stars” by The xx. 

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

Spaghetti Squash is all about the Sauce

I’m a total pasta, bread, anything loaded with carbs lover.  I was recently introduced to spaghetti squash by a friend who is on the Paleo diet.  Apparently certain carbs are a no-no on this eat like a caveman diet.

Spaghetti Squash Giada Sauce

While I snubbed this spaghetti substitute at first … I’m totally hooked now.  It’s a creative (and delish!) alternative for pasta lovers seeking to curtail the carbs, and it can save you hundreds of calories compared to the real stuff.   Although I topped it with a not so low cal Rachel Ray bacon and beef sauce.  The trick is cooking it with a hearty meat sauce.  For a less smoky flavored sauce, try Giada’s simple Bolognese …it’s also pretty tasty…especially if you add a jalapeno pepper to the recipe.

I cut the squash in half lengthwise and place it face down in a baking dish that contains a little water.  Cutting the squash prior to cooking can be tricky…cut the stem to give the squash and your knife more balance or pop it in the microwave for a few minutes to soften it before halving.  Scoop out the seeds prior to placing it in the oven.

spaghetti squashDepending on the size of the squash, I typically cook it at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes face down.  Then I flip the halves and bake it on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes.  Once it’s cooked use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands.  I add a tiny bit of butter but it really doesn’t need it.

Spaghetti squash is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are good for your eyes, skin, and heart.  And don’t forget about those nutrient filled seeds… I bake them with the squash.

baked seedsII

This is a good rainy/snowy day meal… looks like more snow could be on the way!  The squash also conveniently keeps for several weeks (at room temperature)…and once cooked it makes for good leftovers.

icon-music “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” by Bill Joel.

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

 

St. Paddy’s Day Faves

Since it’s St. Paddy’s Day, I thought I’d share four of my favorite green things…

#1 This spinach and kale smoothie is lower cal and almost as good as the blueberry one I described in a previous smoothie post.

healthy green detox juiceHere’s the skinny:

  • a handful of spinach
  • about 3 kale leaves
  • one banana
  • apple juice
  • small lemon (peel skin off)

Blend, blend, blend…that kale can be tough!

#2 Marjan’s Post Holiday Detox by Kreation.  I’m gifting this at holiday parties this year instead of wine!  These great little juice shops are based in California but you can order their “Kleanses” online.

Kreation bottle

#3 My green Ray-Bans

greensunglasses

#4 Sweetgreen’s kale caesar

sweetgreen

icon-music “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles

Songs provided courtesy of iTunes

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