Fitness: Pure Barre Update

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It’s been a little over a month since I started Pure Barre classes in San Rafael and I have to say that I’ve noticed a change in my body already. While it’s helping kickstart my weight loss goals, it’s also allowing me to tune into my body more than I ever have. I know how each and every muscle feels and when I’m overdoing it or need to push myself more. In March they had a “March Madness” challenge where you had to complete 20 classes in 31 days. I made it to 15 classes, which is pretty great for me.

Incorporating Pure Barre classes into my work-life schedule wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I’ve committed to going at least four days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, repeat), and I’ve only canceled my reservation twice for good reasons (swollen ankle and a cold). If I miss a Wednesday or a Friday class, I push myself to make it up during the weekend, like tomorrow, for example. I skipped this Wednesday’s class because I wasn’t feeling well, so I’m going to class tomorrow morning to make up for it.

Each class I attend has a different instructor, so no one class is ever the same, and I’ve gotten to know them fairly well. I know that my instructor on Monday might focus a little more on core than my instructor on Wednesday who might focus on toning your seat and my Friday and Sunday instructors might incorporate new moves to challenge students.

Lift. Tone. Burn. That’s the motto at Pure Barre and even after a week you feel your body toning up and your flexibility getting better. I can’t forget to mention that if you do sign up for a Pure Barre class, be sure to bring or purchase a pair of sticky socks – otherwise you’ll be sliding all over the place since there are no shoes allowed in the studio.

Have you taken a Pure Barre class or a class like it? I’d love to know about your experience.

xoxo,

Leigh

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Vegan Cran-Cherry Almond Power Cookies

Cran cherry cookies

During my 30 Day Challenge, I’ve been seeking out healthy snacks. While perusing the grocery store one day, I discovered these healthy cookies – they are so delicious, but I also thought that I could easily make them myself at home and control the ingredients (and of course it would be much cheaper to make them myself). I found this recipe online, and made a batch for my book club a couple of weeks ago. They had good flavor, but were very dry. I asked my friend Kelly (who happens to be vegan and an amazing cook) what I could do to help the cookies, and she suggested adding some applesauce for moisture, and a dash of vanilla for some more flavor and sweetness.

So I tweaked the recipe with her suggestions, and made a batch over the rainy weekend. I’ve got to say, the recipe is nearly perfect now. The added applesauce really helped to moisten them, and I decided to add in some dried cherries as well for extra flavor (I upped the amount of dried fruit and nuts a bit so the cookies had more texture). The biggest win was that they got the hubby stamp of approval 😉 I’m even going to make some for our long flight to New Zealand!

Tip: Besides using these as a snack, grab 2 or 3 for an easy breakfast, or pop one before a workout for an energy boost.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (traditional oats, not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, cranberries, cherries, almonds, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together almond butter, maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix well. Adjust accordingly by adding more oats or more applesauce if needed to get to desired consistency. All of the oats should be coated in the wet ingredients, and should stick together to form a small ball when rolled in the hand.
  5. Drop cookies (about the size of a golf ball) onto a non-greased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The recipe yields approximately 15 cookies.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try! Do you have any favorite healthy snack recipes?

xoxo,
Veronica

30 Day Challenge Update

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I’m officially past the halfway mark in my 30-day challenge, and I feel amazing. It definitely hasn’t been easy fitting workouts into my schedule 6 days a week (especially when they last from 1-2 hours), but I’ve learned to drag myself out of bed at 5:30am when I have plans after work so that I can still get my workout in.

The food portion of the challenge has been relatively easy. I’ve had the occasional cravings I’ve had to overcome (one day I exclaimed to my husband, “I just want some tortilla chips!!”), but I’ve realized that if I just stay strong they’ll pass, and in the end I feel better for not giving in. Or if I really need a crunchy chip-like snack, there are always rice cakes. I’ve found while watching what I’m eating that we don’t eat out anymore, as it’s just easier to cook at home and control the ingredients going into our food. However, we get one “treat” meal every week, so that’s when we’ll take advantage and go out to dinner or order our favorite takeout.

My biggest takeaway from Cody has been “Stay off the damn scale!” He preaches this constantly, and it’s so true. Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you’re lifting weights you might actually end up gaining a pound or two before you start losing the weight. But your body shape will be changing for the better and you’ll be losing inches even if you’re not losing pounds. So the best way to track progress is through before/after pics and body measurements.

I’m really excited to see how I’m feeling at the end of the challenge on March 8th! If this halfway point is any indication, I think “amazing” will only begin to describe it.

xoxo,
Veronica

P.S. Short story about the shirt pictured above – Cody has a saying at the beginning of each challenge that we write on a piece of paper and hold up in our “before” pics. A member of the group found a shirt at Target that had this challenge’s EXACT saying written on it, so of course all of us ran out to buy it. We plan to all wear it in our “after” pics!

Fitness: Pure Barre

 

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(photo credit: pure barre)

It has been four months since my wedding, and let’s just say that I haven’t been working out and eating super healthy since the day after my wedding. With spring approaching and summer right around the corner after that, I figured it’d be a great time to amp up my fitness game and get in shape so I can wear those cute outfits and swimsuits.

I have heard wonderful things about barre classes, but never had the courage to actually sign up for them. To be honest, I truly didn’t know what to expect. Would I get a good workout? Will it help me with my weight loss goals? Will the class target my problem areas? After researching extensively for about a month – and going back and forth in my head about whether or not to sign up for it – I took the plunge and signed up for Pure Barre in San Rafael.

If you’re looking for a new class, definitely give Pure Barre (or a class like it) a try. There are studios all over the country and they offer a great introductory class called Behind the Barre. It’s a 75 minute class where the instructor breaks down the choreography and you can ask questions and learn modifications for each move. In this class, you’ll learn about the small (dime-sized) movements that really make your muscles burn and shake. The instructor will show you how to use certain parts of your body to get the best minute movement and burn. Pure Barre’s motto? “Lift. Tone. Burn.” If you’re out of shape like I am, then you’ll feel those three things at the end of the Behind the Barre class, for sure.

If you enjoy that class, Pure Barre currently has a new client special: unlimited classes for 1 month for $99 (you can pick a studio, create an account and purchase online). That’s the offer I claimed before even signing up for the introductory class.

I had my first real Pure Barre class yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be back on Wednesday, then again on Friday and Sunday, giving myself the goal of four days per week of lifting, toning and burning.

Do you have a favorite barre class that you attend? Let me know in the comments!

CSATT Fitness 30 Day Challenge

I’ve taken the plunge, and decided to join the CSATT Fitness 30 Day Challenge. The days of winter hibernation and comfort foods have come to and end, and it’s time to start thinking about swimsuit season and just getting into better shape in general.

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If you’re not familiar with CSATT Fitness, it was founded by none other than Cody Sattler (pictured above) of The Bachelor franchise (he appeared on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise). He was best known for his killer physique and his upbeat and positive personality. So what better person to start a fitness empire that’s based on a community of positivity!?

This community, known to members as the “Fit Fam,” is what really makes the whole challenge so special. There’s a private Facebook page that members comment on everyday, all hours of the day, motivating each other and sharing pictures and words of encouragement. This family helps with accountability and also helps to answer any questions you may have while working out or about the nutrition plans.

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So what exactly is the challenge? It’s basically a workout and nutrition plan that lasts for 30 days. By joining, you get:
– Two 30 day workout challenge programs customized for either novice or intermediate/advanced levels that maximize fat loss and muscle growth
– Video guides for every exercise with Cody demonstrating proper form and technique
– 30 day nutrition plans, including meal-by-meal breakdowns and preparation tips
– Nutrition and training e-book
– Live SpreeCast with Cody every Sunday night where he answers questions
– Daily motivational blogs from Cody
– Access to the private Facebook page.

Oh yeah, and it’s also a contest – you take full-body pics at the beginning and end, and Cody determines a top 10 best transformations. From that, voting determines first place ($5,000) and second place ($1,000). Below is the winner from the last challenge – pretty amazing right?

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My favorite part of the program is that the workouts can all be done at home, and the whole plan only costs $69 for the month. Pretty good deal for a personal trainer and nutrition plan! My challenge started on Monday, and lasts until March 8th. Wish me luck! I did the program last April and lost 12 pounds and several inches all over, so I’m hoping for great results again!

What do you think, would you give it a try? Do you have a favorite workout program?

xoxo,
Veronica