Very Veggie Ginger Smoothie & A Tip About Warming Up

Today we get our vegetable on with an all-veggie smoothie. There’s really no better way, in my opinion, to get all the vegetables you need for a day than by throwing them all into a smoothie. Of course, that’s pointless if it tastes gross and you don’t want to eat it. This is where the liquid base can make all the difference. I used coconut water to add just a hint of sweetness to the smoothie. Ginger also adds a nice kick to any smoothie, which makes this great for a morning pick-me-up when you don’t feel hittin’ the caffeine first thing after waking up.  Enjoy!

Smoothie - Veggie

1 Cup Kale

1 Cup Celery

1 Cup Carrots

1 Inch Piece of Ginger

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1 Cup Coconut Water

Food Key

– Kale: vitamins, A, B6 &C, potassium, copper, folic acid, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and zinc (MEGA-STACKED!!)

– Celery: potassium, folic acid and vitamins C & B6

– Carrots: vitamins A & B6, folic acid and magnesium

– Ginger: stimulates digestion, combats flatulence (NICE!) and is effective against colds 

– Chia Seeds: omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, phosphorous and magnesium

– Coconut Water: improves digestion and metabolism, supports immune system

WARMING UP – My advise about warming up is simply to DO IT before any strenuous workout.  I know this and of course, I still decided to jump into a workout over the weekend without warming up even a little.  My body was cooler than the other side of the pillow and I just got right at it.  I was doing a HIIT workout and right around burpee #8, I felt my hip tweak, and down I went.  I’ve mentioned my history with lower back and hip injuries, so I knew right away my workout for the day (and the rest of the weekend) was over.  As I type this a couple of days later, I’m still convalescing.  Warm ups are simple, yet effective ways to get your body ready for more rigorous activity.  Weather it’s 50-100 jumping jacks, running in place or shadow boxing for 5-10 minutes, make sure you get a little something in before getting into a heavy weight training session or bootcamp or HIIT workout.  Injuries suck, so do what you can to avoid them.

I often use mini workouts like the one below as a warm up.  Do each exercise for 30 seconds, resting 15 seconds in between exercises.

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Doga (doh- guh), Ashtanga Practice

This morning I had a very special partner for my yoga practice – my dog, Oppa.

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Today I went with a beginner Ashtanga Yoga class from Lesley Fightmaster.

I was reading up on the various types of yoga out there and Ashtanga sounded right up my alley based on my goals:

Ashtanga yoga metaphorically focuses on eight limbs. Considered a form of power yoga, Ashtanga is fast-paced and intense with lunges and push-ups.

  • Purpose: To help improve one’s spiritual self
  • Benefits: Relieves stress, improves coordination, and helps with weight loss
  • Good for: Fit people looking to maintain strength and stamina, and those who want to get in touch with their spiritual side

Dailycupofyoga.com has a great breakdown of 5 common styles of yoga which you can find here.

I found this practice pretty challenging since parts of me were a lot tighter than I realized.  I’ve decided to rock this practice out every other day until I can nail every pose just as Lesley does in the video.  Oppa is a natural and was breezing through the whole routine, taunting me the whole time.  I would have been upset, but how can you get mad at this face?

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Tour De Dance – A SoulCycle Review

I decided to see what all the fuss was about and try a SoulCycle class.  After reading the reviews and testimonials I found online, I was expecting to walk into a spin class cult meeting.  One review that stood out to me was a woman who professed that she had a loving husband and great life, but SoulCycle was her true “happy place.”  I thought she sounded nuts.

The first thing that struck me when I go to the SoulCycle Studio (The 19th Street location in Manhattan) was how sleek everything looked, from the lockers to the studio itself to even the bathrooms.  The studio reminded me a bit of those dark, dingy nightclubs where I frequently busted moves back in the day.  The bikes and mandatory shoes you had to wear were kinda futuristic looking, and the instructor’s bike was up a candle-lit podium kinda like a Shaman/DJ.

The shoes you wear actually lock you to the pedals, which eliminates the possibility of your feet slipping off the pedals (or sneak out of the class unnoticed if it gets too intense).  That was what I thought was the most obvious difference between SoulCycle and other spin classes I’ve tried.  The instructor for my class was Anthony F (pictured below in black and white), who had more energy than maybe anyone I’ve ever seen.  It was infectious, and really helped me keep going.  The music also played a big part as Anthony played some of the sickest beats you’ll hear anywhere, much less during an afternoon fitness class.  Good Job, Anthony.

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The workout itself is equal parts amazing and brutal.  I was hurting during the early, leg-centric part of the class that was pretty much all pedaling, with your ass on and off the seat during different intervals.  After toughing through that, we got to the arm part of the workout which incorporates dumbbells.  You can choose dumbbells ranging from 1 to 5 lbs.  I was tempted to grab the 5’s since I roll like that, but settled on the 3’s, thinking I should ease into this.  You end up throwing what felt like 1,000 punches with the dumbbells, along with various pressing motions.  When the class finally finished, I was ready for it to end, lol, but I really felt like I got my money’s worth.  SoulCycle is definitely one of the best workouts I’ve tried, as well as one of the most fun.  I suggest going with some friends so you can motivate each other (or abuse/shame one another into not giving up).

Just in case my review hasn’t convinced you to try SoulCycle, know that Schmidt from “New Girl” (funniest show on TV) not only does it, but apparently teaches it as well.  SOLD

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YogiLatiO…DO IT

Yoga, Pilates and Cardio training all have great health benefits, so why not do them all?  You maybe asking “What about strength training?  Do you even lift, bro?”  Actually I do, but “YogiLiftAlotiO” doesn’t roll of the tongue as nicely.  Not everyone has the money or time to hit the gym or yoga studio everyday, plus the YogiLatiO fitness craze is, well, non-existent right now.  Enter YouTube.  In my quest for the perfect morning exercise routine, I decided to check out YouTube, and found a countless number of great trainers and videos.  My personal favorites include Sadie Nardini, Sean Vigue, FitnessBlender and Mike Chang (Six Pack Shortcuts).  Not only do they provide excellent routines that pretty much anyone can follow, they also offer great nutrition advice and fitness tips.  Since I’m awesome, I have provided the links to their channels below:

Sadie Nardini

Sean Vigue

Fitness Blender

Six Pack Shortcuts