Cravings

24 03 2011

Wow, some of those stats about childhood obesity are pretty sobering. After reading Chloe’s post on my first day back from a business trip where I had been pretty sedentary and ate pretty poorly (Chicago style pizza, Doubletree cookies, and fried ravioli- yikes!), I was definitely craving of some gym time and some healthy eats.

So, I headed to the gym for a spin class.  Spinning is one of my favorite ways to get a kick-butt workout at the gym. And that I did. The instructor started us off with 3 sprints in the first working song and the room was also like 80 degrees, so I definitely satisfied my craving for a good sweat session:-) I’ll spare you the pics because I was one hot mess.

I was also craving some veggies and, oddly, I wanted steak too. Some times a gal just needs a good steak ok? I think my body was telling me it needed some protein.

My solution: Steph’s Steakhouse Salad!

Start by caramelizing some onions:

Sauteé some mushrooms:

Fry some bacon:

Throw some steak on the grill(pan):

Since reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I make sure to buy grass- fed beef to the extent possible. According to Whole Food’s Animal Welfare Rating Standards, this particular brand received a 4: “Pasture Centered: When living outdoors, chickens get to forage, pigs get to wallow and cattle get to roam.” Roaming cattle + grass diet = better tasting beef.

Top your greens (I used Earthbound Farm’s Fresh Herb Salad) with the onions, mushrooms, crumbled bacon, pear slices, crushed pecans, and blue cheese. Slice steak and place it on top. Dress it with your favorite dressing:-) Enjoy!

Hit. The. Spot.

This was one satisfying salad.

Question of the day: What food have you been craving lately?

 

 





To Spin or Not to Spin

23 02 2011

Happy Hump Day!

Today I am going to address a somewhat controversial issue: spinning.

I may be fairly new to the triathlon world, but I would guess that discussions and debates over the value of taking a spin class as a means to continue training when the weather turns cold, your bike breaks or you are just in the mood to let a spin instructor yell at you while you ride to the hopefully good beats of the class are nothing new. I personally love spin classes. I have been to tons of spin classes…some better than others, (if any spin instructors are reading this…Enya and Jack Johnson are not pump up jams) but with an instructor who knows what he/she is doing and a really good playlist, I leave the class feeling stronger, more energized and ALWAYS a sweaty mess.

 

But just because I love spin classes and am a complete believer that they allow me to maintain my endurance on the bike even when I can’t ride outside, doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the case. There is no doubt in my mind that spinning is great exercise, but I have been wondering for a while now, what the experts think about the value of a spin class. I figured that one of the best places to start would be on Lance Armstrong’s website…so I checked it out. And this is what I found…

Benefits of Spinning

  • Indoor cycling eliminates traffic, coasting and stops, making it a safe way to develop strength, technique and aerobic capacity.
  • Spin classes are often high-quality workouts, that are fit into a shorter period of time than riding outdoors.
  • When the weather isn’t conducive to riding outside, a spin class is a great way to get your ride in while feeding off of the energy from the others in your class!
  • Spinning allows cyclists to work on specific drills, such as timed sprints.
  • In the off-season, spinning classes are ideal for developing bike-specific muscular strength, improving pedaling skills and raising lactate threshold.

Sounds pretty good huh! Now check out some of the disadvantages..

Disadvantages of Spinning

  • Spinning is great for developing your cardiovascular and muscular systems, but it does nothing to train the skill-related aspects of bike racing, such as passing, maneuvering around sharp turns, etc.
  • While spin classes include high-resistance riding that most instructors call  “hills,” spin class  “hills” bear little resemblance to the technique of riding up a real incline.
  • While they do build strength, spin class exercises like “jumps” (alternating quickly between sitting and standing) and “running” (standing upright with your hands in the middle of the handlebars) don’t resemble anything you do on a real bike.
  • The workout planned by the instructor does not necessarily fit the workout that you have planned in your training plan.

So with this information, I can see why the debate continues. There are clearly pros and cons to taking a spin class. If you do choose to take a spin class, there are a few things to keep in mind…

Tips for Spinners

  • Make sure that your spin bike position mimics your position on your outdoor bike. Adjust handle bars, seat position etc.
  • Don’t forget…the class might be designed in a specific way, but it is still your ride. Do not participate in exercises that you do not feel are conducive to making you a stronger better cyclist. It is OK to sit and ride while the class does something else.
  • Check out the instructor ahead of time. Make sure that he/she has experience and is a certified instructor.
  • Make sure that your spin instructor has good taste in music (ok, maybe not super necessary, but c’mon…pretty important)
  • DRINK WATER! Spin rooms are often very hot and dry. Spinning.com recommends drinking about 40 oz. water total during a 40-minute spin class

So there you have it! A little insight into the oh so common debate over the spin class. What are your thoughts on spinning versus riding outside? Leave me a message below! I know that until the weather hits at least 50, you will find me in the spin room 🙂

Now onto the next topic of the day: Chloe’s Super Duper High Protein Energy Bread (aka: Banana, Apple, Date, Walnut Bread). This loaf is super high in protein as a result of the use of Greek yogurt and super sweet, not because of the added sugar, because the sugars in the fruit!

Chloe’s Super Duper Energy Bread (aka Banana, Apple, Date, Walnut Bread) (Adapted from Andrea, over at Bella Eats)

makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 3  ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup fat free plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped apple (or pear!)
  • 5 medjool dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup lightly chopped walnuts
  • 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I would have used whole wheat but was out)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan
  2. In a large bowl, combine the bananas, yogurt, sugar, egg, apple (or pear), and dates.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.
  5. Fold on the walnuts.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes before slicing or burn fingers and tongue by eating immediately like me.

This bread is a great pre or post workout snack or just a great breakfast bread. Toast it and smear on a little almond butter and you have yourself a super filling, super delicious, SUPER healthy meal!

I’ve got 2 questions of the day for ya! Leave me a message below and share your thoughts!

1) What are your thoughts on spin classes vs. cycling outside?

2) What is your favorite homemade bread to make?





Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.

20 02 2011

Happy President’s Day!

As I shared with you in my list about me…I can’t sit still. I try…I really really do, but getting me to sit and watch a movie or even a 30 minute television show without getting up is a challenge for me. So, you won’t be surprised to hear that my weekends are ALWAYS jam packed with activities. I have tried to not schedule anything on Saturday or Sunday in the past, but somehow I still go to bed on Sunday night more tired than on Friday night. 99% of the time however, I also go to bed thinking “now that was a great weekend.” So…here is a snap shot of this past weekend!

Chris and I started off the weekend at a new bar in Dupont Circle called Dirty Martini.

We were pretty lame however and just opted for wine. We left Dirty Martini and walked down the street to a local restaurant called Nage, where we had a Groupon deal. If you don’t already use Groupon, DO IT. You will thank me.

A sweet Riesling for me and a Malbec for the boy

Delicious Chesapeake Crab Cake with Roasted Vegetables

Saturday started off with a 1 hour spin class  and was followed by a smoothie in a bowl (SIAB), inspired by Kath over at Katheats.com. My smoothie consisted of a blend of Strawberry Fage greek yogurt, 1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, topped with some TJ’s Maple Walnut Granola

I also decided that breakfast needed dessert and finished off this bottle with some strawberries.

I hit up Trader Joes (TJ’s) on Saturday afternoon (without a shopping list). NEVER a good idea! Just like a kid in a candy store, I went to town. I spent way more than expected but came home with some pretty good finds! A few of my favorite buys…

  • TJs Almond Butter with Sea Salt
  • A French Style Flat Bread Pizza with Ham, Caramelized Onions & Gruyere
  • Gone Bananas (frozen bananas covered in chocolate). UM- YUM!
  • A ginormous container of blueberries
  • Steamed and peeled beets (i love beets)

Sunday started with JUST under a 9 mile run. I finished in 1:10, which is a really fast pace for my long runs!

My legs felt super strong ( a big delicious dinner on Saturday night at Ardeo Bardeo definitely fueled this run.). I have been running in Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoes for about 3 years now. I swear by them…

A loaf of Banana Date Apple Walnut Energy Bread (oh yeah…ALL OF THAT) was baked as well 🙂 Recipe to come soon!

And then Chris and I were off to visit the Spy Museum!

No cameras allowed...so this is the best I could do.

Again, Groupon was to thank for this adventure. It was a blast! and very informative! Did you know that D.C. is the city with the most spies in the entire world! We both walked away with our eyes peeled. No luck so far. I highly recommend taking a visit if you are in the D.C. area.

And that brings us to Sunday night. That TJ’s pizza above, a few of those Gone Bananas and the Duke Basketball ended yet another great and exhausting weekend!

Take a quick peek at some of the fun that Steph had over the weekend…

See you on Wednesday!

Photography Class Field Trip

Naan Pizza!

Question of the Day: What is your favorite weekend activity that you look forward to? Leave us a comment below!