Wellness Wednesday Dates

It’s not uncommon for me to call, text or email with friends and while reconnecting, for one of us to say “let’s get together for some drinks!” Don’t get me wrong, I love having a good time, but I’ve grown pretty sick of the icky-ness that I feel after drinks the on a “school night.” There is basically nothing worse than being hungover at work…nothing! I guess I might be growing out of my old school “Happy Hour” ways after all!

So, what to do when you want to get together with friends and make healthy decisions vs unhealthy ones? Enter Wellness Wednesdays! My friend Katy and I started making dates to try out different yoga classes, and we realized that we kept on landing on Wednesdays. Eventually we started nicknaming these Wednesday get togethers “Wellness Wednesdays”, and sometimes when time allows, eat a healthy dinner together.

Don’t get me wrong, the party girl in me will NEVER go away…

Ultimate Party Girls rocking out at a wedding September 2010

But this party girl is trying to focus some of that intensity into accomplishing all of my workout goals of 2011!

Plus this week I have my new Lulu Lemon Scoop neck tank to make me feel pretty while sweating up a storm. SO excited. I’ve been coveting this for about a year now!

This week’s wellness Wednesday? Core Fusion Cardio Class at Exhale

Back at it!

Yes folks, I am alive! It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of January, where did the first month of 2011 go?! After New Years in New Hampshire, a long weekend in NYC with my mother for her business, a long weekend of skiing up at Sunday River in Maine, a weekend spent fighting a bothersome cold we’re closing in on another weekend away in NYC, and the end of the month!

Healthwise, the year really started off with a bang, I was hitting the gym with renewed interest and getting psyched up for ski season. Instead of just doing my standard winter “run 3 miles on a treadmill, stretch, do abs and maybe 2-3 weights and leave” routine, I was mixing it up. I would run 3-4 miles tempo, then 10-15 minutes on the BIG step, making a big effort to work in lower body strengthening exercises and core work. I felt great! Then, I went down to NYC, and my knee started bothering me. I just told myself, “You’re out of town for a few days anyways, maybe a break would be a good idea” Then, walking around New York City, I felt a tiny pain in my shin, which I was nervous might be a stress fracture, eek! So I pulled the breaks on running…so far, knock on wood, everything feels pretty good!

The culprit(s)?

I blame my Nike Frees (more to come on that later)

Lack of stretching (why do I do this to myself? Bad Kim, BAD!)

And the INSANE amount of snow Boston has gotten this winter

and of course, my busy schedule! Below is the past Four weeks:


Now don’t get me wrong, I love traveling, visiting friends, skiing and getting out of the city. It’s a lot of fun! But, when I end up getting a steamroller of a cold, that’s when my love turns to hate.

The silver lining? This pesky cold was an excuse to keep me grounded in Boston, clean my apartment and catch up on some amazingly awful, and tasty Food Network shows and of course, get better. Sometimes we all need to force ourselves to pump the breaks on life. The coughing-sneezing-chills-runny nose-congestion-headache wasn’t fun, but all you can do is sleep, get some vitamin C and hope for the best right?!

The cold has left me, but a killer snow storm is looming over the Northeast just waiting to unleash havoc on the residents of Boston and all of New England. Oh goody!

So, how will I manage? One day at a time! For now I’m just trying to slowly get back into running with avoiding getting injured. I’m looking forward to forcing myself to log my workouts on the Daily Mile and of course, here!

How do you manage training and your busy schedule and traveling?

Ski Season Training

I am a skier. My mom’s mouth drops to the floor when I tell people that, because unfortunately this wasn’t always the case. Starting in 1996 and ending in winter of 2008, I HATED skiing. People would talk about an awesome day out on the slopes and I would roll my eyes. All of that equipment? Stupid! Expensive! Plus, It’s dangerous! These thoughts were firmly planted into my head by numerous swim coaches over the years. They said the risk of seriously injuring yourself was too high and we simply weren’t allowed to do it. Even when I would go skiing I would get so nervous that I couldn’t enjoy myself. So, I hung up my mid 90’s ski equipment and bid farewell. My dismissal of skiing was sad, but swimming was the most important athletic goal of mine and I didn’t want anything to interfere with training. Then in 2008, a few of our average joe skier friends mentioned that they wanted to do a day ski trip. I almost responded no, but then I thought about it, what was there to lose?! So that weekend we packed up the car, rented equipment at a nearby ski shop and hit the slopes at Waterville Valley Ski Resort in New Hampshire. It was a tough day, Rob and I struggled. Ultimately we left the mountain feeling like we should at least try it again. Plus, having beers after a long day on the slopes felt amazing. Since that first trip we have continued to improve and challenge ourselves, and yes, we know proudly tell people that we are skiers!

Proud Skiers since 2008

The health benefits of skiing are obvious, cardiovascular and muscular namely, but one of my favorites is exposure to vitamin D during the cold and long winter months. Skiing has made me hate winter significantly less, I actually <gasp> sort of like it now. Instead of getting angry about getting hit with 20 inches of snow (ok, that still happens sometimes…) I get excited. I start tracking snow reports at New England mountains and hit the gym to prep my legs for the inevitable burn from spending essentially an entire day in the squat position. In order to help avoid crying on the mountain and stopping every five minutes (yep…that has happened…), I work in a variety of squats, lunges, and core balance work to help ease the pain.

Me skiing in Breckinridge, Colorado March 2010

Below is roughly an hour long workout that I have developed from reading a few articles, talking to friends and basic athletic training principles.

Kim’s Fabulous Ski Season Leg Workout

Stretching– I usually do my standard series of running stretches. My favorite being any stretch or maneuver (be it stretching or using a foam roller) that involves working my IT band

Cardio – I usually pick and choose 20 minutes of the following:

  • Running– It certainly isn’t earth shattering that I add running into my ski season workout, but I usually like to do a slow warm up to get the blood flowing and then speed work to get my legs ready to tackle tough terrain! I usually will run at least 2 Miles.
  • Stairmaster– Or as some people like to call it, the stair mistress šŸ™‚ I usually do this for at least 15 minutes if it’s my only cardio.

Squats w/ weights/Medicine Ball– This is an awesome core exercise, I highly recommend it! I usually like to hold the weight or medicine ball out like this and do 3 sets of 12 reps and on the 12th rep, I hold the squat position for 10-15 seconds to increase the burn!

Lunges w/ Dumbells or a Weighted Bar– I like to walk back and forth a gym instead of doing them in place, that way I feel like I am accomplishing something and not feeling like a caged rat! The amount of times I go back and forth is usually dependent on how I’m feeling, but as a rule of thumb I usually like to make at least two laps.

Hamstrings– When I hurt my knee this past summer, my physical therapist gave me a variety of Hamstring and Knee exercises. Many of the Hamstring exercises I do are similar to the ones listed here. I usually do the standard 3×12 reps.

Wall Sit-This helps strengthen your quads and get them ready for the burning sensation that you will feel for your day on the slopes! 2 sets of 60 seconds, and if I’m feeling ambitious, I put my hands out to increase difficulty

Leg press– These are great for strengthening your Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes. 3x 12 reps

Roman chairs– to help strengthen and avoid lower back pain, this is a pretty good visual. 3×10-12 reps w/ a 10 pound weight, and if I’m feeling frisky, I will add in side dips.

CoreCaptain’s Chairs, I usually do 6 sets of 10, mixing in legs out and legs pulled in, Plank, and when I’m feeling good I will lift up one leg at a time and hold for 10 seconds, as well as modified Side Plank Dips

All in all, I hate doing most of this stuff, I would much rather go for a run or go to a class and sweat for 60 minutes. I definitely need to credit my new found love of skiing for forcing me to do these workouts!

What are your favorite ski or general cross training exercises?

Nantucket Triathlon

Keeping on pace to accomplish a few of my 2011 goals/resolutions, I decided to sign up for the Nantucket Triathlon. I’ve heard great things about this sprint triathlon, and I’m even more excited that it gives me the excuse to take a day off from work and make a long weekend on Nantucket.

Here is a quick breakdown of the race:Ā 

Swim (.33 miles) starting and ending at Jetties beach (located by Brant Point.) Unlike other newbie triathlete’s this section of the triathlon is what I am the most comfortable with. The fact that I have been a competitive swimmer since the age of 10 definitely helps this portion of the tri! On top of that, in high school and college I was a beach lifeguard on Cape Cod, so I am very familiar with open water swimming!

Training Plan: Swimming Roughly 2 times a week, with a mix of distance, pulling and interval work. I’m basically just going to scale back a few of my favorite workouts from my college swim team and use those. Plus, I am planning on doing a few open water practice swims during the summer months to prepare for the race and get back into the grove of sighting.Ā 

Bike (14 miles) The bike route is a loop around the west side of the island. This is going to be the toughest part of the race, and especially where I need to focus the majority of my training. My first triathlon biking experience was a total disaster and I was seriously contemplating dropping out! I’m hoping that extra training and the proper equipment I can do a better job šŸ™‚
Training Plan: Spinning 1-2 times a week, and then once the weather gets nice buying a bike and completing several long bike rides so I get the hang of it.
Run (3.4 miles): Once off of the bike, the run goes on a smaller loop around the west side of the island and finishes on Jetties beach. The run is also an area that I am less worried about, however after 14 miles on the bike, I have very clear memories of my legs feeling like complete jelly. So clearly I need to read up on properly training for running a fast 5k with lactic acid build up.

Training Plan: I’m planning on training for this like an average 5k, a lot of speed and tempo work.
Other training notes
  1. Transitions: I know this is one of the most important aspects to train for when competing in a Triathlon, so I plan on practicing these quite a bit. Any and all tips are much appreciated.
  2. Practicing Multiple sports, back to back: It only seems to make sense to practice swimming & Biking in the same work out, same as Biking & Running. This will help prepare my body for the transitions between each sport and the different muscles that each of them use.
  3. Core Strength & Cross Training: I plan on doing Yoga once a week to help keep me limber and to build up core strength, as well as do a variety of weight/core exercises to help reduce the risk of injury and keep my core strong which will propel me through the toughest parts of the Triathlon
I’m really looking forward to what will hopefully be a better triathlon that my first experience back in 2006. I’ve always been happiest when I am swimming, so I’m looking forward to mixing swimming in with my new love of running, and hopefully I will learn not to hate cycling so much šŸ™‚ For more information on the Nantucket Triathlon go to http://www.acktri.com/
Have you ever done a triathlon before? What are your favorite training tips?

Circuit Training with David

David Hill (@DavidKHill) is a good friend of mine at work, and a fellow endorphin junkie; he recently got into running over the past year, and recently completed his first half marathon–congrats David! David is a big dude, and really knows a thing or two about weight training, so I’ve been wanting to pick his brain on the best weight training for running. As a football player in high school, he carried the football player training mentality with him to the gym throughout college and his first few years in the “real world.” He told me that the real game changer was when he moved to New Hampshire and started attending theĀ prestigiousĀ Tuck Business school at Dartmouth College and he started seeing a trainer once a week. He had muscle, but he said he was bulky with a great deal of extra weight, and he wanted to change up his plan and drop a few pounds. He said he immediately dropped significant weight and now does a mix of the work out below 3 times a week, interspersed with running and bootcamp class.

This work out is a good mix of cardio and weight training, which helps keep workouts fresh and combat boredom. Mixing up your workouts into short bursts and hitting different muscle groups also increases the rate of your metabolism, what’s not to love?

Circuit workout with David 60 Minutes

Watch out for a second installment full of great action shots! šŸ™‚

Class Review: Gravity Bootcamp

I’ve always wanted to get in a better routine of working out in the morning before work, but I rarely can execute this task. I’m usually too tired, comfortable in bed, or just plain lazy to do so. However, since I’ve moved to a different neighborhood that is a little bit of a longer commute, I told myself I had to start going in the mornings in order to insure a faster, and safer commute home at the end of the day. So, when I was heading out of the gym on Monday night and noticed a sign up for a new class called Gravity Bootcamp at 7am, I decided, why not? My logic was if I signed up for a class, then I would be that much more apt to actually get my butt to the gym and follow through with my goal of transitioning to morning work outs.

The next day my alarm went off at 5:45am, and total shocker, I actually got up! I walked to the T, got on and arrived at Boston Sports Club with enough time to stretch and wake up beforeĀ indulgingĀ in the fun of Gravity Bootcamp. The class was comprised of eight people, and four GTS machines, which essentially looked like souped up Pilates reformer machines. Before we got going the trainer had all of us make specific changes to the machines so we knew all of the settings and didn’t injure ourselves, this was key!

An advanced move that I certainly didn't attempt!

He organized us into two groups of four people, when one group was using the four machines, the other group would be doing static exercises on training mats. Directly following the instruction we launched into our lower body work outs on the Gravity Machine: a series of squats, squat jumps, one legged squats, all intertwined with a variety of static exercises, which were essentially repeating the aforementioned exercises. At first I thought, Hmm, this isn’t THAT bad. Then I got to the one legged squats, HOLY HECK! I did three and struggled to make it to ten of each side.

Once we finished lower body, we went directly into upper body work outs, which consisted ofĀ bicepĀ curls, seated rows, pull ups, skull crushers and over the head pull-downs. The static mat exercises were a series of planks, side crunches, bicycle abs, push ups, etc. Since I’ve always had shoulder issues, I was a bit leery of this portion, but I actually felt great. I think that all of my hard work in Core Fusion has paid off in terms of upper body strength šŸ™‚

I found this promotional video that highlights most of the moves we did in the demo class. Not only does it show everything, it’s accompanied by some rockin’ tracks to really get you in the mood to try this gravity machine! (or..NOT)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqIZAB7x4sw&feature=related]

At the end of the class the trainer gave us a hand out to enroll in the 8 week class, which met once a week and cost $189. Whoa, $189?! On top of a $72/month membership, no thanks! However, after thinking more about it, I think I might pursue this post marathon training and really dedicate time to trying to increase my strength training. I think this class would be an amazing way to kick yourself into great shape when you have a goal in mind, brides to be, take note! The class does come with a hefty price tag, but it holds true to my theory on spending money on working out. If it’s good for your health and wellbeing, and it might cost a little extra, it’s probably worth sacrificing a few nights out at a bar or fatty dinners!

(NOT so) Patiently Waiting For My Knee to Heal

This is me, obviously unhappy about the current state of affairs

As you probably have noticed, I haven’t posted in a few weeks. Sadly, that’s because my worries of a knee injury came true and I have been unable to run since mid-July šŸ™ But wait, you are probably asking, aren’t you supposed to be training for a marathon?! Yes, I am. And I’m doing my best to keep up my aerobic endurance by exercising on the elliptical, swimming and taking exercises classes. I will absolutely, 100% be running Chicago on 10-10-10, COUNT IT! I can’tĀ guaranteeĀ a best time, but I will certainly be running 26.2 through the streets of Chicago šŸ™‚

Luckily, my injury, while it is a hugeĀ inconvenience, is not that large of an issue in the grand scheme of things. What I worried was aĀ meniscusĀ tear, was actually just bothersome kneeĀ tendinitisĀ and some meniscus deterioration, whatever that means! Anyways, for the past few weeks I haven’t been running, but instead I have been busyĀ diligentlyĀ doing my knee exercises. Fingers crossed that I will be back up and running on July 30th, so on that day I ask that you send some good vibes my way! For those who have knee issues, I will be documenting my knee exercises (however awkward they may be) on the blog and sharing them with you. They’re relatively easy and can be done at home! Even if you’re not injured they are great exercises for strengthening your quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and other little pesky leg muscles.

This injury also means that I have to bow out of the Marathon Sports 5 Miler, which is taking place in Weston, MA and several of my favorite Boston based twitter/blogger friends are taking part of! Good luck to @ninaruns @reallynotarunnr @petfxr @bostoncardiovet andĀ @foodtorunfor! Kick butt and PR’s to all of you šŸ™‚ I’m sorry that I can’t join you, but I look forward to partaking in the festivities next year!

Exhale Class Review: Core Fusion Cardio

Core Fusion Co-Creators Fred and Elisabeth

As I have made it painfully clear, I am COMPLETELY obsessed with Core Fusion at Exhale Spa. It gives me the chance to stretch, sweat and tone in a way I have never experienced in a regular gym or yoga class. Now they have found a way to amp it up to yet another level, Core Fusion Cardio. The class is founded on the same principals of Core Fusion, a toning and core conditioning class. The basic Core Fusion class blends the Lotte Berk Method and pilates in order to help you tone your body and increase flexibility. All of the classes claim to have a cardio element, but none of the classes have quite the same intensity as Core Fusion Cardio. The class blends not only the Lotte Berk Method and pilates, but also kick boxing and cardio elements for prolonged periods of time throughout the class. Other Core classes put you in the cardio zone for 25-30 minutes whereas Core Fusion Cardio keeps you there for a non-stop, fat burning, and extremely sweaty 45 minutes. The rest of the class is comprised of warm up, ab focused exercises and cool down.Ā Check out the official description from Exhale:

Core FusionĀ® Cardio is a calorie burning, sweat inducing, body sculpting, power-packed fitness experience, masterminded by the co-creators of Core FusionĀ®, Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito. Merging cardio with intense strength and flexibility moves, this 60-minute class generates maximum calorie burn, resulting in defined abs, sculpted legs, and high, rounded glutes.

So, fast forward to MY experience. I had heard about the class from one of my favorite teacher, Catherine, and decided to go out on a whim and try it if it fit into my schedule. I love Core Fusion and I love cardio, why not merge the two?! In addition, I received a tweet from the co-founder of Core Fusion, Fred Devito, telling me that he would be rolling out the class in Boston at the end of March and I should go to his class. I loved the personal touch, passion for the class and enthusiasm he exuded, so I knew I had to get in. Apparently, everyone else that attends Core Fusion wanted in too! It took me nearly 10 tries to finally secure a spot in the class. Once I did, I was so excited I was doing fist pumps in the air, pathetic I know! Working out really gets me going I guess šŸ™‚

The minute I walked through Exhale’s doors I felt the energy and excitement brewing, I knew it was going to be good! When I entered the classroom I was greeted by excited Core Fusion instructors, all of them were attending in order to take notes and learn the method so they could, in turn, teach the class on a regular basis. Instead of traditional Core Fusion, this class uses yoga mats and also allows for you to go sock-less, cool stuff! Before class began Fred Devito gave a brief explanation of what we were going to be doing and how we were going to feel, as well as including a disclaimer that we might not know what we’re doing at all times and that’s ok. Then, he launched right into it. After a brief 5 minute stretch series, we started into doing Mountain Climbers and then directly into yoga inspired moves combined with low weight repetitions of various toning moves. Each of these moves on their own are difficult, but when combined they become a fantastic core, toning, and cardio work out! As the class went on, the intensity of each move increased and so did my sweat glad output, sorry Core Fusion Cardio neighbors!! We gradually increased the amount of mountain climbers (moving from 8, to 6 and then finally to 48!) and the difficulty of the moves. At times it was difficult to keep up, seeing as how there were so many complicated movements paired with new body position, but I kept telling myself, everyone else is in the same boat! I was lucky to have a Core fusion teacher trying the class directly next to me, so I was able to cheat and glance over at her movements whenever I got overwhelmed. Ā The class then ended with one of the most intense ab routines I have ever done at Exhale. At the end of the hold the entire class let out a collective heavy moan and sigh of relief that the pain was over!

All in all, I think this is an absolutely fantastic class and I can’t wait to try it again! The class combines the already amazing toning aspects of the regular Core classes with the chance to burn calories and get your sweat on, perfect for cardio-aholics like me! I can’t wait to work this into my weekly work out routine. Great work Fred and Elisabeth!!!

Getting in Tune with MN (Mother Nature)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w7sVSMbjyM]

My sister in law shared the sheer brilliance of this “Cross Country Snow Boarding” clip with my boyfriend and I sometime this past summer. It never fails to put a smile on my face and fill the room with my obnoxiously loud laughter.

While I don’t have the patience, nor the desire to master regular snow boarding, not to mention that of the cross country variety, I have however, been tearing up the slopes quite a bit this winter!

My first trip of the winter was to Stowe, VT, which is the idealic and picturesque definition of a ski town if I’ve ever seen one before! My boyfriend and I went up for the weekend to visit my brother and sister in law as well as get some quality time in on one of the most prestigious and beautiful mountains on the east coast.

My brother, KC & I on the top of Spruce Peak


We got an early start and for the first time in my life I skied “corduroy” (for those who aren’t skiers, it refers to shallow, closely-spaced parallel grooves in the snow made by grooming machines.) We started easy, but with the help of my brother, quickly moved onto more difficult and steeper terrain. We had a fantastic day, but by the end of it my legs were shaking uncontrollably! OWWW!

Foxy enjoying a walk through the notch with some pups

Our next trip was to Sunday River with some friends for a day of good skiing, good music and of course good times. Rob and I were still sore from hard work outs earlier in the week and some late nights so we made the decision early on to stick to easier trails and stress the social aspect of the weekend rather than pushing our skiing ability. Great weekend all around. I really feel like both of us are really getting the hang of skiing and hopefully will be really ready to challenge ourselves during our next ski trip!

Kate and Jeff Enjoying a Break on the Deck of the Foggy Goggle


Tired after a long day, but happy šŸ™‚

Exhale Core Fusion: Review

Last Thursday I finally tried the much anticipated Core Fusion class at Exhale Mind + Body Spa in Boston, it was great!

The moment I stepped foot into the spa I instantly felt at ease. The entire space smells of wonderful eucalyptus, which was a delight to my senses considering the polluted city walk I took from my office to their Arlington st location. The lighting and decorating were also very inviting, I definitely couldn’t wait to change into my yoga gear and get to work.

I was lucky enough to try the class out with a friend who goes on a regular basis, so she set me up with the necessary workout aids: a cloth band and light weights. The class is all done on carpet, so it was surprising and felt a little funky, but certainly no bad by any stretch. You are also required to wear socks during class, so that was another funky little detail.

So instantly I loved the class instructor, she was spunky and cute, you could tell right away that she loved her job and couldn’t wait to have all of us feel the burn. She came around and said hello to all of the regulars and introduced herself to all of the newbies, which was another sign of excellent service and attention to detail.

The class started with a series of warm up exercises and launched directly into difficult plank based core movements, ouch! I was still sore from a rough bootcamp class on Tuesday so I knew I was going to have to bite my lip to get through this 60 minute class. From there we did multiple ballet bar based movements, yoga inspired stretching, leg and ab work among many other exercises. All of the movements were extremely challenging, but the teacher was very good about addressing the varying abilities of those attending the class which enhanced the overall experience, especially as a beginner!

Overall, I loved the class and I look forward to the rest of my nine classes. I think it will be a great diversion from running, spinning and another way to work my core aside from bootcamp class. Even though I loved the class, I still really found myself wishing I was in a yoga class, which surprised me. I thought that Core Fusion would be the perfect card infused stretching regimen I craved, but instead it made me think that I should be doing yoga in addition to core fusion, bootcamp, spinning, etc. I look forward to tracking and updating my progress on my new workout plan throughout the next few weeks!