Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

150 Minutes of Exercise a Week

Fitsugar posted a great article with some new ideas on how to get 150 minutes of exercise a week (which is what is being touted as the current minimum amount required to maintain a healthy lifestyle).

I am more than intrigued by the Tabata workouts, and definitely plan on trying the one below as soon as possible.  Have you done any before?  Let me know!
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And without further ado, the inspiring article:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympics!

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I hope you all are enjoying the Olympics as much as I am!  I'm a complete sucker for the swimming, beach volleyball, and ladies' gymnastics (Jordyn and I are even birthday twins!).

Seeing so many people passionate about their ultimate goals in fitness and healthy lifestyles sure is inspiring, isn't it?

Go USA, go!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Afternoon Links ~ 7.30.12

Here are the links that have my mind and body buzzing this week:
  • McDonald's recently unveiled an Under-400-Calorie menu that highlights popular items that fall lower on the caloric scale.  Check out some of the options here.
  • One of the biggest frustrations about migraines is not being able to tell what exactly they are, or where they're coming from.  This helpful guide points out some common migraine symptoms and effects you may have missed.
  • No sushi meal in my eyes is complete without a steaming bowl of miso soup.  Think it's just tasty?  Think again - here are three healing benefits of the salty soup.
  • Live in the city and desiring some new ways to burn calories?  Check out this list, and get inspired!
  • Protein is important for many reasons.  Meat and eggs are common sources, but it's easy to get creative with these protein-laden choices.

Musical Monday

Here is the jam that is keeping my legs pumping and my mind occupied in the gym this week:

For some reason, I keep hearing this song when I'm out and about these days.  And every time, it makes me very happy because it's catchy, it's got a great beat, and it makes you want to get up and dance.  All of these things make it a perfect cardio jam at the gym - a winner, indeed.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Light

What a wonderful way to live one's life.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Afternoon Links ~ 7.23.12

Here are the links that have my mind and body buzzing this week:
  • I swear by my 100 calorie packs of almonds (Healthy fats! Cholesterol lowering! Tasty!), but they can get a wee bit repetitive after a while.  Thankfully, Blisstree put together a slideshow of some great variations - keeping the beneficial little snack new and fun.
  • Want to have a long, healthy life?  Make sure to incorporate lots of these superfoods into your diet, and embrace longevity!
  • The more I focus on my appreciation of a healthy diet and lifestyle, the less I feel the pull from fast food chain restaurants.  And incidents like this one are just another reason why I'm okay with cutting the cord on my relationship with them.
  • Be prepared to have your mind blown with this list of 20 naturally zero-calorie (or super low calorie) foods.  Snack away!
  • Road tripping this summer?  Check out some awesome snack recommendations from healthy food bloggers to keep you feeling good in the car.
  • I admit - I love Chinese food, and probably always will.  That's why it will serve me greatly (and hopefully you too) to follow these tips to make Chinese food takeout a healthier endeavor.
  • Trying to kick the diet soda habit?  These health risks related to diet sodas may help you make that move.
  • I don't think it's a coincidence that small free hand-weights at the gym are called dumbbells, because dumb is exactly how I feel most of the time when I'm trying to use them.  Luckily, Fitsugar has posted a list of a bunch of exercises to get us more comfortable using the weights.  Killer arms, here we come!   

Musical Monday

Here is the jam that is keeping my legs pumping and my mind occupied in the gym this week:

Woah-oh-oh-oh-oh, yeah-eah-eah-eah-eah!  This was the theme song for the Euro Cup this year, and I fell in love with it when it was performed during halftime of the finals (¡viva EspaƱa!).  The beat is fantastic, it's catchy, and it's a perfect anthem for the summer months.  This past week, I have found myself putting this jam on repeat and using it to push me through my intense cardio workouts - it keeps me going, and I hope it'll keep you going, too!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Indoor Barre Routine

Fitsugar, another amazing health blog, recently posted this awesome indoor barre routine.

With the price of barre classes through the roof these days, it's awesome to find out that good ones like this exist that you can do right in the privacy of your living room!

Enjoy - and get ready to feel it for days!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Global Fat Scale

BBC News created a very interesting online app that asks you to plug in some information about yourself, and then lets you know where you fall on the global fat scale.

It does this by calculating your BMI (body mass index - your weight in relation to your height), and then comparing it to worldwide results.

I plugged in my data - first, for when I started Get Bizzy Living, and then again for my current weight.  The change has been immense. For the sake of full disclosure here on GBL, here are my results:

Before Get Bizzy Living (approx 3 months ago):

Now:

As you can see, the Get Bizzy Living techniques I have been employing are really working - my BMI has dropped 4 points!  I sincerely hope that the techniques and tips I post can do and are doing the same for you.

So, are you ready to find out for yourself where you fall on the Global Fat Scale? Click the link below!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Afternoon Links ~ 7.16.12

Here are the links that have my mind and body buzzing this week:
  • Need another reason to be grossed out by fast food?  A group of workers give the low-down on just how some classic food items are prepared.  Yuck.
  • Hot sauce is my favorite go-to condiment (no egg whites are complete without it!), so it pleases me immensely to find out that there are health benefits to the spicy stuff!
  • Ready to have an awesome day?  Follow these six tips, and enjoy!
  • Love beer and want to know which ones are the healthiest options for you?  Check out this list!
  • I love my kitties, and I am always in awe of the health benefits of owning animals.  Here is another reason why owning pets can be beneficial!
  • I have always been a nervous flyer.  This article does an excellent job of giving some organic advice on how to overcome some of those flying fears.
  • How many of the 50 world's healthiest foods (according to the Huff Post) do you eat on a regular basis?
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Musical Monday

Here is the jam that is keeping my legs pumping and my mind occupied in the gym this week:

There's nothing like a strong female vocal telling me to be bulletproof to keep me going when I want to give up.  Back that up with some strong beats and a catchy melody, and we have ourselves a winner of a song.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cake Day!

It's my birthday!  Which means no healthy entry today, just a bunch of pictures of sharks and cats.  I hope you all have a wonderful day! 

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

75 Happiness Quotes to Live By

Marc & Angel Hack Life posted an awesome list called "75 Happiness Quotes to Live By" last week, and it's a really good one.  I've highlighted my favorites, but I suggest checking out the full post to find the ones you like the best!  I hope you have a very happy day!


1.  Smile every chance you get.  Not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have and all the problems you know you don't have.

22.  Someone else is happy with far less than what you have.

23.  Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems.

27.  The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.

34.  One of the greatest freedoms is truly not caring what everyone else thinks of you.

58.  Good things don't come to those who wait.  Good things come to those who pursue the goals and dreams they believe in.

71.  Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

75.  It's not that everything will be easy or exactly as you had expected, but you must just choose to be grateful for all that you have, and happy that you got a chance to live this life, no matter how it turns out.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Afternoon Links ~ 7.9.12

Here are the links that have my mind and body buzzing this week:
  • Lots of summer foods are delicious, but not the best for us.  Here are some great swaps to enjoy the most of summer eats without going overboard on calories and fat.
  • DC has been hit with record-breaking heat, making it tough sometimes to keep fitness motivation up.  Here are a few ways to keep it going, despite the hot weather.
  • Having a rough day?  Take a second to check out this inspiringaffirmation, and let your light shine!
  • Do you like to sprinkle black pepper on your meals?  Here are some reasons why this may be a healthier move than you may have thought!
  • Friday was National Kissing Day!  Here are five reasons why kissing is actually healthy!
  • Forget to put on the sunscreen and feeling it the next day?  This soothing method will help relieve your hurting skin.
  • Greatist is one of my favorite healthy life websites, and this new-and-improved list of 21 health and fitness resources is a real winner.
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Musical Monday

Here is the jam that is keeping my legs pumping and my mind occupied in the gym this week:


It's catchy and fun - a perfect way to keep me moving and motivated on these super-hot summer days!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

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Happy Independence Day!  I hope you have a wonderful, patriotic, stars-and-stripes-filled day! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Healthy 4th of July!

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, which means bbqs, pools, and a whole lotta love for our nation.  I've found some great links on ways to ensure that you have your best (and healthiest!) Independence Day yet.  Enjoy!
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Hope you enjoy, and have a WONDERFUL Independence Day!  America!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

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This is one of the best metaphorical parallels to working out and a healthy lifestyle that I have ever seen.  Bravo, bravo!

An active lifestyle is one of our best bets to ensure a long and healthy life.  So let's go out there and kick our life-mousetrap's butt, shall we?

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, indeed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Feeling Blue

Coming off of yesterday's post and the potential goodness that blue M&Ms can provide, I thought I'd share with you all some love about my current favorite little round blue comestible - the blueberry.
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I have loved blueberries since I was a little kid, when my father had a blueberry bush growing behind my childhood home.  It was a yearly tradition for us to help him pick blueberries, and our spoils from the event would be 10+ plastic containers filled to the brim with the delicious little guys. We'd put most of them in the freezer, and as a result, all year round we could enjoy blueberries in our pancakes, muffins, cobblers, or just as an afternoon snack.  It was paradisical.

Considering my love for blueberries at the time, I'm somewhat surprised I didn't end up turning into one, a la Violet Beaureguarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I guess my lack of a gum fetish saved me on that one.
It could have been me. (source)
It's been years since we moved away from that home (and subsequently that blueberry bush), but I'm happy to report that blueberries are back as my current favorite fruit obsession.  Now that they're in season (and cheap!), I have been buying about two cartons a week, and I am totally okay with the fact that I crush the contents within a matter of days.

Can you blame me?  They are delicious, they are adorable, and the health benefits are off the charts!

Did you know that:
  • Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant concentrations of any fruit?  Antioxidants boost your immune system and prevent you from getting sick.  They also keep you feeling in tip-top shape from head to toe.  And that is a great way to feel! 
  • Blueberries can keep your brain healthy and strong?  Tons of the nutrients - like vitamins A, B, C, and E, manganese, zinc, and more - are associated with healthy brains.  There are even studies being conducted associating blueberries as a cure for Alzheimers - pretty awesome!  In addition, blueberries are believed to help keep your memory going, so pop a few and then try your hand at a good old round of Simon.
  • Blueberries can keep your heart healthy and strong, too?  Blueberries are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and cholesterol-lowering agents - all crucial for keeping your heart beating beautifully.  They have also been known in studies to help fortify the cells in the heart's blood vessel walls, and to keep blood pressure at healthy levels.  Bump-bump, bump-bump!   
  • Blueberries are a natural anti-carcinogen?  They have also been shown to help those currently suffering from cancer by stunting the growth of cancerous cells. 
  • Blueberries potentially could reduce belly fat?  Some fad diets of the past recommended eliminating fruit since the fructose (a form of sugar) was thought to make people gain weight, instead of losing it.  I'm so glad that blueberries (among other fruits) are finally touting as a good healthy diet tool, instead of a harmful one. 
All of these facts come from research garnered from World's Healthiest Foods: "Blueberries" and WomenFitness.net's "Top 10 Health Benefits of Blueberries."  There are even more health benefits to blueberries than what I listed above, so I strongly recommend checking these two sites out to learn more!

So, as you can see - blueberries are a powerful food.  And a mad tasty one at that - so pick up a carton today, and enjoy them with me!

If I keep this up, you might start having to call me Violet Beaureguarde.

Or maybe Bizzy the Blueberry.  I don't know, it kind of has a nice ring to it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Junk Food That's Good for You

Shape Magazine had an excellent and very fun post yesterday on 15 junk foods that actually have potential benefits.  There are some commonly known ones that have already made the rounds on the health circuit, like red wine.  But some others may surprise you - like blue M&Ms for example!  Give the article a read, and let me know what you think!

Junk Food That's Good for You

(from Shape Magazine)

There are health benefits in these?  I'm down with that. (source)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Afternoon Links ~ 6.25.12

Here are the links that have my mind and body buzzing this week:
  • One of the stressful things about eating healthy is the false assumption that it's expensive to do so.  Here are 10 ways to eat well and save money.
  • Sometimes after a hard gym sesh, I feel worse than I do better.  It's nice to find out I'm not the only one - here's an explanation and some tips on what to do when you feel flu-like symptoms post-workout.
  • Have you been to a BBQ yet?  If so, you probably served or were served the basic grilled treats - burgers, hot dogs, maybe salmon or grilled peppers if you're feeling fancy.  This list of 10 foods you didn't know you could grill is awesome - I can't wait to grill some nectarines (my fruit of choice at the moment)!
  • Fat-free salad dressing has been my go-to for a while.  Here's a report on why it might be time to revamp that choice.
  • Weight Watchers and Trader Joe's fans, rejoice!  Slender Kitchen has put together an ever-growing point list for all of their most popular items!
  • Yoga's real-life applications are numerous, and amazing.  Check out this list of 5 things yoga taught one practitioner about life in her 20s.
This, in a nutshell, perfectly explains the origins of Get Bizzy Living (source).

Musical Monday #11 - The Run the Night Edition

Here is the jam that is keeping my legs pumping and my body moving in the gym this week:


It has a catchy chorus, it's high-energy, and Pitbull's in it.

She shoots, she scores.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rooftop Yoga

Isn't it the best when fitness opportunities seem to fall directly into your lap?

strike a pose - a yoga pose, that is.

I was beyond delighted when I saw a poster in my apartment building advertising free weekly vinyasa yoga classes on my rooftop for the summer.  If you're like me, it's hard to do anything on Monday nights, let alone drag myself to the gym.  But a free yoga class right upstairs?  Where do I sign up?

I attended last Monday, and it was wonderful.  The weather was breezy and cool, and our instructor played calming music the whole time as well. Because of the focus on meditative breathing in addition to movement, vinyasa yoga was a perfect way to get my mind relaxed, focused, and in gear for the week - a very worthy Monday evening workout.

Our teacher, Amanda, was great.  She also teaches classes at BicycleSPACE, an awesome spot downtown that serves as both a bike shop and a community gathering area.  The space offers multiple yoga classes a week on a donation basis - very cool stuff.

On days when it's tough to get my butt in gear, it's nice to know that easy and accessible options can exist nearby.  But they can exist for you as well! Deal sites like LivingSocial and Groupon offer class packages for yoga quite frequently, and if you live in or near a big city, there's a decent chance that yoga classes, like the ones at BicycleSpace, are available on a donation basis as well (the ones I'm familiar with in DC are usually around $5-$10 a class).

I highly recommend checking out a vinyasa yoga class if you haven't already.  It's doable for beginners (as I definitely consider myself to be), but advanced and complicated adaptations of the poses are presented as well, making it a worthy challenge for more experienced yogis too!  

Strike a pose - and feel good all week long.

Yoga Bear! (source)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Burning Summer Calories

The summer solstice is upon us (at 7:09pm EST, in fact!) - and that means summertime is about to be in full swing - hooray!  Warm weather!  Watermelon!  Other words beginning with "W"!

As much as I love this time of year, it's not always the easiest season to maintain a healthy lifestyle, since, if you're like me, you tend to inhale pretty much every good comestible in sight as you make your way through barbecues, picnics, ball games, pool parties, and the like.

Luckily, Fitsugar posted an amusing and helpful chart that equalizes yummy summer eats and drinks to fun calorie burners in an aptly titled post called How to Work Off a Corona and Other Summer Favorites.

It's a great way of keeping things in perspective, too - multiple hours of tennis to make up for a funnel cake will certainly make me reconsider my portion size when it comes to that delectable treat!  

Hope you enjoy!

Check out the whole article here.

By the way, Fitsugar (as you may know from my Monday Afternoon Links posts) is one of my favorite health blogs.  They have tons of great fitness, food, and general well-being tips and ideas and present them in super cute ways.

Check them out, and get inspired to be healthy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Someday

"There are seven days in a week, and someday isn't one of them."

Just one of many awesome life lessons from this website.  Check it out!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Afternoon Links ~ 6.18.12

Here are the links that have my mind and body buzzing this week:
Barbie is now a yoga teacher.  And she comes with a small dog instead of yoga accessories.  Interesting. 


Musical Monday #10 - The More Edition

Here is the jam that is keeping my body pumping and my mind occupied in the gym this week:

This tune was playing during one of the most intense parts of my bar method class last week, and it gave me renewed energy and strength when I was convinced I was going to collapse on the floor.  It's an excellent work-out song that will help you "push it to the limit" when you want to give up.  Absolutely great.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DC Bar Method

I have never been one to turn down an opportunity to hang at the bar.

Had I known that this was the bar in mind, however, I might have reconsidered:
Stretching out my muscles post-class.
Just kidding.

I loved this class.  It kicked my butt three ways to Mars, but I loved it.  To date, this was the hardest class I have taken, and I hope I can go back again as soon as possible.

Margo, my now-dubbed exercise-class-partner-in-crime, joined me as we took on the world of barre-style fitness at Bar Method DC downtown earlier this week.  They offer free classes every once in a while, and Margo and I jumped at the opportunity as soon as one became available online.  

Bar method is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about, trendy, intense ways to strength-train and lose weight.  It involves using poses, small movements, and stretches focusing on your arms, shoulders, legs, back, and abs for a full-body muscle-strengthening workout.  The instructors are enthusiastic, loud, and play upbeat music to keep you going throughout the workout.  Though the moves don't look as intimidating or grandiose as some of the ones you see in hardcore strength training classes (Body Pump, for example!), they are incredibly difficult, and amazingly effective.  Muscles I didn't even know I had were burning like I had fire ants in my blood.  As I write this entry almost 24 hours later, my legs are still aching, my abs are still groaning, and my shoulders are still smarting.    

Let me put it this way - this class is not for the timid or unsure.  

While in one, it's impossible to go anything less than 100%.  Why?  Because the teachers memorize your names before you start the class, and then proceed to call you out, compliment you, and come over and fix your body/posture throughout the entire session.  Suffice it to say I got called out by our awesome instructor, Kate, a lot.  A lot.  I even had to stand at the ballet bar in front of her (and the class) at one point so that she could monitor me closer, hahaha.  I'm not embarrassed about it, though!  It was my first class, I have the flexibility of a plank made out of solid steel, and I basically had no idea what I was doing the entire time.  I'm sure that if I go back, I'll continue to be called out to push harder and to adjust my movements to get the ultimate workout, and I'm totally okay with it.  Because if I'm not there to push myself to the best of my ability, why even go in the first place?  

One of the interesting aspects of bar method is the encouragement from the teachers to make sure your muscles are shaking. And shake they do!  During the leg routine, my thighs and calves were trembling like my body was the East Coast earthquake of Summer 2011.  And that was the goal!  I was engaging muscles I don't typically use on a normal basis, and the trembling was a sign that I was doing the moves correctly.  It's a crazy concept, but true.

Another cool thing the bar method incorporates is a heck of a lot of push-ups, which are actually a welcome respite from some of the tougher intricate moves required by the class.  Yep, you read that right - this is a class where push-ups are a respite.  It's not easy.  It's not meditative or calming like yoga.  It's intense, and it will push you very hard, but in a very good way!
Post-class!  In all honesty, I can't believe I was able to lift my left arm as high as I did in this picture.
After just one class, I already feel like my muscles are tighter.  I can see how people who attend these classes frequently can shape and tone their bodies in record timing.  People rave about these classes and the results they get from them, and with good reason!

The one drawback is the classes are quite pricey, so it would seem hard to commit on a long-term basis.  But on the flip side, perhaps spending a fair amount of money on these classes would be a good way to keep me tied to going on days when I'd rather lay on the couch watching How I Met Your Mother re-runs with my cats (I'm really cool, I promise).

So, are you ready to start trying out some of the moves for yourself to see if you're ready for a class?  Fitsugar recently posted a great article with some awesome at-home barre workouts.  Check them out!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chef Kass

While road-tripping over the weekend, our car crew listened to a great episode of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me - one of my favorite NPR shows.  It combines current events, trivia, and humor into a very amusing, informative, and fun hour of radio entertainment.

I was especially appreciative of this past episode because during one of the segments, the host, Peter Sagal (who is hilarious, by the way) interviewed the current White House chef, Sam Kass.  Because of the First Lady's "Let's Move" initiative and her push to make families healthier, Chef Kass only serves healthy food at the White House (much of which comes from a garden they planted on the South Lawn!).  

Chef Kass (source)
The whole interchange is interesting, informative, and quite humorous as well.  I invite you all to give it a listen (or you can read the transcript) by clicking here.  

Humor and health - it's a combo that works quite well together.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

60 Quotes that Will Change the Way You Think

Marc & Angel Hack Life had another excellent post last week that I am very excited to share with you all.

It is a list of "60 Quotes that Will Change the Way You Think."  It goes right along with the ideals I'm trying to capture in this blog - positive change, confidence, and self-betterment.  I've highlighted a few of my favorites, but please be sure to check out the whole list to see which ones will inspire you the most!


6.  No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying.

8.  Making one person smile can change the world - maybe not the whole world, but their world.

10.  The only normal people you know are the ones you don't know very well.

18.  If you really want to do something, you'll find a way.  If you don't, you'll find an excuse.

28.  There isn't any nobility about being superior to another person.  True nobility is in being superior to the person you once were.

38.  Love and appreciate your parents.  We are often so busy growing up, we forget they are also growing old.

43.  Be happy.  Be yourself.  If others don't like it, then let them be.  Happiness is a choice.  Life isn't about pleasing everybody.

47.  No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up every day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.

50.  Learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you to appreciate the things you once had.

57.  What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.

60.  If you don't like something, change it.  If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

Click here to check out the list in its entirety.



I love these quotes - they're very inspiring, and many would serve as perfect mantras for this blog.

I hope that you are able to find some inspiration from this post, as well!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Afternoon Links ~ 5.11.12

Here are the links that have my mind and body buzzing this week:
  • Some foods are worse for you than others.  These triple threats are bad for you in more ways than one - yikes!
  • Beach-bound anytime soon?  Here are some easy ways to stay fit while hanging out by the water.
  • The is-chocolate-good-for-you? debate seems to rage on and on, but more evidence is claiming that there's a likelihood that dark chocolate is good for you.  Hooray!
  • Not sure what to order the next time you're out at a restaurant?  Use this handy guide to recognize words that are potentially helpful - or problematic.
  • I've always been a huge fan of hydration - but this article plays devil's advocate to the idea of needing eight glasses of water to be healthy.  Worth a read!
  • Made enough of my quinoa pizza bites and need some new recipes?  Never fear - Shape mag just put out a list of 10 new ways to prepare my favorite little super-grain! 
  • Are you a sunscreen addict?  If not, your mind may change after seeing this - proof that sun damage is a very real thing.
  • Beer prevents colds?  Chocolate milk helps you lose body fat?  Blueberries are a runner's superfood?  Check out these crazy food study discoveries and more here.
  • This tearjerker will make you rethink the purpose of sport competitions - winning isn't the most important thing!
I wish my cats could do squats with me like this pup.  (source)

Musical Monday #9: The Strictly Miami Edition

Here are the jams that are keeping my legs pumping and my mind occupied in the gym this week:

Album: Avicii Presents "Strictly Miami"
(the song highlighted below is "Bromance (Avicii's Arena Mix)" - Tim Berg)

My good buddy EvDawg let me know about this album last weekend, and it has been a game changer for me in the gym ever since.  All of the songs have incredible beats and catchy melodies, giving me the endurance I need to get through long cardio sessions.  This album may very well be the soundtrack to my summer workout sessions.  I highly recommend checking it out!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

MM & BB Zumba It Up

Yesterday, Margo and I went to our first-ever Zumba class at the LivingSocial building downtown.  It was our second foray into the world of LS's sponsored fitness classes (the first being the yoga and wine shindig we partook in a few weeks ago).
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I had been excited about doing a Zumba class for quite some time - I felt like people were constantly rave about how fun they are and how effective they are as a cardio workout.

I was also nervous, though.  Despite the hours I've been clocking at the gym lately, I still didn't feel that my cardio strength was up to par to endure an hour of straight hardcore aerobic dancing.  In fact, I was fairly certain before attending that I was going to be the girl who passed out in the middle of an intense number.  I also thought that my lack of grace and dance ability would be a hindrance - that I would end up making a fool out of myself and/or being the laughing stock of the room.

I am elated to report that I had absolutely nothing to worry about.  For starters, I don't think I stopped grinning the entire hour that the class was going on.  Seriously.  It's really, really, really, really, really fun. 

The dance routines and the accompanying music were peppy, energized, and completely varied (one of the songs was Mambo Number 5 by Lou Bega - need I say more?), so I didn't have time to think about how my muscles were hurting or how tired I could be feeling, as I am apt to do on cardio machines in the gym.  The dances challenged different muscles, too!  Our thigh muscles were impacted with squat-influenced moves, our arms were feeling it as we continually waved and pumped them in the air, and our chest, hips, and abs benefited greatly from the bumping, hip-swishing, and shimmying the routines required.

I did this all with a huge smile on my face, and not just me: the whole class was laughing, cheering,  and clapping throughout the class.
sweaty and happy after being Zumba-fied!
Don't get me wrong, though - Zumba is far from a walk in the park.  I was continually drenched in sweat, my heart was incessantly pounding, and I was constantly gulping down water in between songs.  It's not an easy class, but it's one that can be performed to your own ability, which is amazing.  Our instructor, Shashana, constantly reminded us that we didn't have to go 100% the entire time, and to be aware of the way we were feeling and to keep that in check (by the way, she teaches a Zumba class at Crunch Gym downtown if anyone wants to check it out - I highly recommend it!).

Zumba was everything I wanted from a cardio workout and more:  tons of fun, communal, and effective in helping me reach my fitness goals.

I cannot wait to go back.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rabbit Food

I have spent a fair amount of money telling you all about my love for all things breakfast.  However, as much as I love it, there are two other mealtimes of the day that haven't been getting as much love from me lately, and I am excited to fill you all in on how I get Bizzy living, lunch style. 

For the past few months, my go-to lunch (I'd say four out of five days of the week) has been the ever-popular, super easy:

source
Yep.  Salad.  Or, as it is colloquially known, rabbit food.  

It has become my go-to for a few reasons.  
First, it's super easy for me to obtain because the cafe in my office has an awesome salad bar (I tried bringing my own for a while, but I found myself missing the second point, below).  
Second,  it's a dish that can easily be adjusted to fit my mood.  If I'm not feeling peppers one day and want to overload on tomatoes instead, I can go for it. If I'm feeling iffy about beets but love cucumbers, I can heap it up.  If I just want to eat a big bowl of radishes, I can, um, do that too.   
Third, I can eat a lot since the majority of the ingredients are just vegetables and fruit, and as we learned from my Weight Watchers post yesterday, they're zero points+!  And less points for lunch means more points for dinner (and dessert)!  

I typically pair the salad with a cup of whatever the soup of the day is, and that is more than enough food for me to last until dinnertime.

One word of warning:  As amazing and healthy of a choice as salad can be for a lunch or dinner option, please be careful with the salad dressing - it can turn a super light meal into the caloric equivalent of eating a bacon cheeseburger, which kind of defeats the point.
yes, please.  (source)
To avoid these problems, always ask for dressing on the side.  I tend to stick with just an eyeballed tablespoon (two if it's a big salad) of fat-free Italian dressing (zero points+ for one tbsp, one point+ for two tbsp) or a teaspoon of olive oil mixed with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (one point+).  One of my favorite methods is dipping your fork into the dressing and then stabbing the salad afterwards (thank you, Weight Watchers!).  You still get a good taste of the dressing without packing on the extra calories and fat.  

Here was my lunch yesterday:

Consisting of:
(note: everything is zero points+ unless noted otherwise)
  • Lettuce (I usually like spinach but they were out that day)
  • 2 oz smoked turkey breast (2 points+)
  • 1/2 cup cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup beets
  • 1/4 cup green peppers
  • 1/4 cup artichoke hearts (not marinated) 
  • 1/4 cup hearts of palm
  • 1 tbsp fat-free Italian dressing
I paired the salad with a side of vegetarian curried-carrot soup (~2-3 points+).

Some other variations I love to keep things fresh (pun intended) include:
  • Grilled chicken or roasted turkey breast instead of smoked turkey breast (2-3 points+)
  • 1/4 cup edamame (1 point+)
  • 1/4 cup broccoli
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower
  • 1/8 cup feta cheese (1 point+)
  • 6 medium-sized olives (1 point+)
  • Dressing: 1 tsp olive oil & 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar (1 point+)
As you can see, the possibilities are endless.  Salads don't have to be boring or repetitive because there are so many ways to keep changing them up.  

I used to feel uncomfortably full and icky after trying to wolf down a gigantic sandwich smothered in cheese and dressing, a bag of chips, or a bowl of pasta.  Now I feel full and re-energized heading into my afternoon, and it's all I need to get me powered through the end of my workday and on to dinnertime.

What is your favorite lunch food?  Have you ever considered taking the salad route?  Post your comments below!