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Workout Review: Chaise Fitness

I am apparently very into the whole hybrid class thing right now, and Chaise Fitness absolutely falls into that category. When you first hear you are working with a “chair” images of a sexy little strip tease may come to mind. At least it did for a colleague of mine…but the word chair is used very liberally here. IMG_4197

I took the Reinvention class, as this is their signature class and I wanted to start with the basics. I arrived 15 minutes before class, as instructed to get a tutorial in the chair. Cat (the instructor) showed me some basic moves and introduced me to the bungees and how not to fall off. The chair is more like a padded stool, with a bar that you push down on and you adjust the resistance to make it harder. Then you have these bungees that are suspended from the ceiling. They are there both to work your arms and hold you up. IMG_4198

Here’s something else I learned while being there early….people LOVE Cat. She had recently gotten engaged and her regulars were just so excited for her and brought her gifts. It was a really sweet thing to see.

Anyway, the class itself is a combination of pilates, barre, a little ballet and aerobics.

Cat had us performing pumping moves with our arms in the bungees, core work while balancing on the chair and leg work balancing on the chair while utilizing a small ball.  We did some tricep dips off the side of the chair as well as boat poses and C curves while sitting on the chair.

One of the moves that I felt a little uncomfortable in was a signature chair move included lying on one side on the chair with legs straight and one arm resting on the bar while the top arm remained in the bungee and extended straight.  We then pushed down on the bar lowering it towards the ground and back up again.  This created tension in our arms and core and although we were lying on the chair, we still needed to maintain our balance.IMG_4195

Pikes were also pretty tough, in the fact that you really have to engage your core the ENTIRE time so that you don’t hit the ground at all. We stand on the bar with our hands on the chair, using our abs we allowed the bar to lift off the ground and pushed it back down again in small pulsing movements that worked our abs and legs.  A variation of this move included standing with one foot on the chair, knee bent and pushing the bar down with only one leg.  IMG_4194

They have several other classes, including a Cardio Chair, which was going on when I first got there. And truthfully it terrified me. I’m absolutely going to try it though.

A Trip to the Caribbean Without the Travel

At least once a month, Josh and I go to the Caribbean….sort of. We have a favorite restaurant that can essentially transport you to the Caribbean the second you step in — Bamboo Fire Cafe. It’s owned by a husband and wife team, and family supports them.

The moment we walked into the restaurant for the first time, I wanted to be a regular. There was such a welcoming feeling, and luckily the food is legitimately top notch. We’ve had nearly everything on the menu at this point, and taken as many people as we possibly can to eat here.

Everything has such wonderful flavor, and the value is unbelievable. With every meal, you get meatballs, a salad of mango, cucumber, tomatoes, and when you order a main entree you get rice and sweet plantains. IMG_4101 IMG_4102 IMG_4099 IMG_4098

We typically start with these amazing chickpeas. They are sauteed and have flavor that you can’t really describe…but I think there is cumin, pepper, salt & pepper. IMG_4097

I’ve had the oxtail before, which just falls off the bone. They always ask us if we want it spicy “American-style” or “truly spicy.” I’ve had it truly spicy before, and it is honestly mouth on fire.

The last time we were there, I had the seabass in a banana leaf. It was so flaky and just cooked perfectly. IMG_4100

I hesitate to tell more people about this place, because I don’t like not having our table…but if you are ever in Delray Beach on from Wednesday through Saturday…I will consider taking you there.

July Goals

Ok, so maybe I am a little late to the July goal party…but it’s been a very busy start to the month. There’s a project at work that has been incredibly challenging, but should hopefully have big payoffs for my client….I kinda can’t wait to share it with everyone. Anyway….

June came and went…and I sort of stuck to my goals. I got my yoga in every day, I was certainly waking up early, and I did pretty well on the new funtivity schedule (Fat Rooster, Fitness Golf, SLT). The cutting back on sugar though…could still use some work.

This month’s goals include:

1. Eating clean (at least until we go on our cruise). Maybe it’s a little vain, but leading up to July 19th, I plan to eat as clean as humanly possible. I’m traveling a whole bunch and of course July 4th sort of through a wrench in that plan (I CAN’T SAY NO TO HOT DOGS), but I am focusing on one cheat meal a weekend right now and it is working. Eat-Clean

2. Limiting sugar intake. I am separating this out from the above, because it is seriously a challenge for me, especially when I am stressed with work. I can’t help it…gummy bears and Swedish Fish are my comfort food.

3. Relaxation. We have a fabulous cruise planned, with funtivities galore. You’d think this will be an easy goal, but my big work project is going live on Day One of the cruise (was supposed to happen the week before we left, but the timeline shifted) and it is going to be hard for me not to log on and check everything. IMG_4152

4. Abs plus yoga everyday. It’s so easy, yet somehow it slips my mind to just take 10 minutes and do abs. Adding on to my little daily yoga flow should be pretty simple.

Workout Review: SLT NYC

I’ve been taking pilates for a few months now. So I was feeling pretty confident about my pilates skills going into SLT, which stands for “strengthen, lengthen and tone.” I was in for a rude awakening.

Megareformer pilates is basically pilates on crack. Seriously, you think you know what you are in for when you head into a pilates class and you are wrong. I’d watched the introduction video before I signed up for class, but still didn’t really have a clue.image1

The space is reminiscent of a NYC dance studio – one long room with mirrors on one side. There are cubes to store your things, and two restrooms for changing. There are no showers. We are talking minimalist at its finest.

There were quite a few newbies in the class, and Audrey took us through the paces of pilates on the megareformer. You can use both ends of the megreformer, you have your standard loops for legs and hands, and there are other fun little tools.

The bed has numbers on it (1, 2, 3) with little hash marks so you know where to place your feet, hands and knees when the instructor calls it out.

Right before class started Audrey said “I’m just here to kick your ass” and she wasn’t joking.image5

It’s a pretty fast paced class. You get a count down from each move so there are no true breaks. I don’t know how each class is structured, but this one took us through core, arms, legs and glute exercises.

I was quickly drenched in sweat. The move where we slid into a standing star position and then pulled our leg on the reformer back? Yeah that’s an inner thigh workout if I’ve ever seen one.

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The one where we did oblique twist/crunch (believe it’s called a mermaid), just about made me cramp up it was straining the side of my glute so badly.

There certainly wasn’t as much core work as my standard pilates reformer class – with the set of 100s and knee tucks, but the “bear” and “snake” moves did the trick.

This is either snake or bear, I can't recall
This is either snake or bear, I can’t recall

The website says that if “cardio, strength training, and pilates had a baby, it would be SLT” and that is probably the most accurate coupling I have ever heard.

also, great mantra
also, great mantra

Eating an Award Winning Sandwich: Fat Rooster Review

I ate an award winning sandwich this past weekend, and my taste buds fully agree. I tend to have one fully indulgent meal and this week it was Saturday brunch following an entirely calorie-blasting workout at Orange Theory. (I ate all the calories back and then some, but that is besides the point.)

Gary Rack’s Fat Rooster, which opened several months ago, was our cheat meal of choice.

I had the “Hen Loving Waffle.” A fried chicken thigh on sweet potato waffles, with a peanut, benne, and Granny Smith apple slaw and frisee. There is crunch, there is sweetness, there is awesomeness.

This is an award-winning sandwich if I ever ate one
This is an award-winning sandwich if I ever ate one

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Josh had the “Fat Hash — The Farmer”. A sweet potato hash, with scrambled eggs, cheddar, avocado and veggies.IMG_4137

Confession…we also started with “Lucy’s Chicken Biscuit Oh My!” which is fried chicken on a biscuit with apple pepper jelly. IMG_4130IMG_4129

All of it was supremely delicious. It was a perfect indulge meal.

Funtivity: Sushi, Saki & Strolling

You know how Central Park is an oasis in the middle of the city? You step foot in there, and it is as if the world around you just shut off. You would think the beach would be the same, but it doesn’t quite have the same effect.

The Morikami Japanese gardens on the other hand….

Boca Raton, Florida may seem like an odd place to find 16-acres of bamboo & bonsai trees, koi, turtles, and serene rock and sand gardens, but it is there. The museum was opened in 1977, and has villas mimicking those in the Japan and give you a glimpse of life there.Morikami 024

On the second Friday of each Summer month, Morikami hosts “Sushi and Stroll,” where you get to stroll, drink saki, and eat sushi and some other Japanese fair. Josh and I, and our friends Brett, Lauren and their adorable little boy Zachary, headed into the hot summer evening to enjoy it.

 

Hey Buddah man
Hey Buddha man

Things I learned while at the gardens:

  1.  Bamboo makes the most amazingly soothing noiseMorikami 018
  2. I have no idea what makes a Bonsai tree, a Bonsai…I know that you shape it and grow it specifically, but does that mean any tree can be a Bonsai? Morikami 007
  3. KitKat is a big thing in Japan, and they have ridiculous flavors like green tea and purple sweet potato
  4. Staring at carefully racked sand is weirdly peaceful

 

I’d love to go back and explore more, maybe when it is cooler.

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Summer Things I’m Loving

Let’s just call a spade, a spade and admit to ourselves that it is officially Summer. It’s hot as hell already and when I walk outside, even if it is 6:30am, you will be hit by a wall of heat that makes you regret leaving your A/C immediately.

I love Summer for its longer days, but I also loathe it because I sweat quickly and that makes everything miserable. So things that are making me not hate being outside right now:

1. Show Me Your Mumu Riri Romper

I don’t know which Instagram user introduced me to Show Me Your Mumu, but I now own two Riri Rompers and they are perfect for the humid days here. I’ve worn it to run around Miami, to the Darius Rucker concert, and then out at the Morikami Gardens. In addition to being light and airy, it also dries really quickly after you get poured on. It is virtually wrinkle proof. Highly recommend.

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A little stop for #yoga while taking in #art #detoxyobody @aloyoga @beachyogagirl @kinoyoga #yogapose #yogachallenge

A photo posted by Laney Landsman (@lanes0220) on

 

 

2. Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow

I’ve sadly reached that stage in my life where I don’t think I can go out makeup free, unless of course it is to the gym. To balance my need for coverage with the sweaty sticky runiness that is my constant state of being I’ve started using a BB cream. It is light, gives me the little bit of glow I am looking for, and doesn’t make me feel like makeup is running down my face.

Thank you to Birchbox for introducing me to this awesomeness
Thank you to Birchbox for introducing me to this awesomeness

3. Sunscreens Galore

I’ve become a sunscreen fanatic. I do not leave the house without some sort of protection, and I have ensured that I have a sunscreen that fits whatever activity I am doing. My anti-aging eye cream has SPF (Supergoop), as does my tinted moisturizer (Sweet Science). I’ve got every day wear sunscreen (Supergoop again) and sports sunscreen for my sweaty outdoor activities (Banana Boat).

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I was recently introduced to Block Island sunscreen, which is good for sensitive skin and is ultra-lightweight. It doesn’t feel goopey or heavy (hence the lightweight) and goes on really easy. It’s also pretty nice that it is all natural and organic.

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That’s what is currently on my list, and it isn’t even the Summer Solstice yet. What’s in your summer routine?

Slash Fitness: TRX Yoga Review

If you’ve ever wanted to prove that you are entirely not flexible…take TRX yoga. The suspension both supports and challenges many yoga poses, helping you deepen the stretch while working your entire body.

Alexis, who runs the yoga practice at Saltwater Brewery, also leads the TRX Yoga class at Slash Fitness. I’d never been to Slash, but have heard good things so I was excited to see the space.IMG_3970

First impression? I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t shown around or explained how the studio works. Maybe I just have high expectations, but felt like I was left to my own devices. The person at the front desk was incredibly nice, and answered my questions though.

The class itself was seriously challenging. Alexis wasn’t joking when she said that it was a great core workout. She took us through a pretty standard yoga flow with down dogs (or pikes), warrior I and II and III, forward folds, side planks, and lunges.

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I reached proper sweat mode pretty quickly for a non-heated yoga class. I was a bit fumbly moving through the flow and there were a few times where I am pretty sure I just got completely twisted. IMG_3988

While I easily got into the hand stand portion of class, the chest openers, lunges and bow poses were incredibly challenging. My short little limbs just aren’t made for bending that way. I can only hope that after more practice that will change. IMG_4012

21 Drops – Essential Oil Blends

Essential oils have been floating around little universe for a couple of years now. A spritz here and there at the end of yoga class. During a massage they were placed into that little machine that puffs them into the air. I had a colleague who even used them in the office, but I never thought about purchasing them myself.

Two weeks ago as I was running low on melatonin (I use it regularly to help me sleep), I decided to investigate essential oils as an alternative. Living in Delray Beach, I drive by 21 Drops and their gardens on the regular…so it seemed like the best place to start.

21 Drops uses combined essential oils to treat and prevent, nurture, fortify and heal. They use 24 different oils in 21 varying combinations. Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 5.45.12 PM

Since I travel so much, I opted for the “Travel Well” package, which comes with three different oils:Essential Oils 001

#14 Immunity: Made of eucalyptus leaf oil, lavender flower oil, ravintsara leaf oil, and rosewood oil to stimulate the immune system and fight infection.Essential Oils 003

#17 Digest: Fuses cardamom seed oil, ginger rhizome oil, German chamomile flower oil, and sweet orange fruit rind oil to ease the discomfort.

#18 Sleep: Made of palmarosa grass oil, sandalwood wood oil, vetiver root oil, and ylang ylang flower oil to sedate, soothe and quiet.Essential Oils 002

I also picked up #21 Inspire, which is made with black pepper, cedarwood ground and sandalwood  and jojoba oil. All together they release blocked energy, support confidence and quiets mental activity.

So far they have all helped immensely. I’ve been falling asleep quickly, feeling refreshed when I wake up, and when I had a little tickle earlier this week the Immunity seemed to do the trick.

They are perfect for dropping into your bag and carrying with you. This first dip into essential oils has me wanting to explore more, particularly “De-stress,” “Focus” and “Headache.”

Funtivity: Fitness Golf

Sometimes I really enjoy sleeping in. When I wake up without anything that I need to do immediately and then can lay around for another hour or so, that’s amazing. Then I get antsy. This happened last Saturday. Both of our weeks sort of dictated the need to sleep in, which meant we didn’t go to our usual Saturday morning Orange Theory Class.

The thought of running at noon made me want to vomit before even stepping outside, and swimming just wasn’t going to work since by that time the pool would be crowded. I wanted something new, and different.

Josh, I think jokingly, suggested putt-putt with a twist…we would do an exercise at each hole, the number of reps dictated by the hole. Of course, I loved it, wrote up a quick routine and off we went.

This is how the workout went:

burpees on holes 1,3,5

burpees make everything harder
burpees make everything harder

spiderman push-ups on holes 2,4

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lay down push-ups on holes 6,8

snap jumps (or pop jacks) on holes 7,9

you might as well just call these half burpees
you might as well just call these half burpees

 

squats on holes 10, 12

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x jumps on holes 11, 13

single leg squats on holes 14, 16

jump lunges on holes 15, 17

grand finale 18 burpees for hole 18

People thought we were a little crazy….no less than three people commented on our “double duty.” I was truly sweaty and got my heart rate up in a fun and innovative way.