Zumba with the Bloggies

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Years ago, I used to like eating unhealthy stuff for breakfast all the time. It seemed like breakfast was when they had the good stuff: chocolate croissants, sticky buns and other delectable sweets. But not just the sweet stuff – Bagels with cream cheese, egg sandwiches.

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At some point, I realized that my indulgent breakfasts, while decidedly delicious to eat, were typically not that filling and would often leave me sluggish. So, I cut back on them – a little at first and then more and more. At some point, I fell in love with healthy breakfasts like oatmeal and Power Toast – breakfasts that filled me with healthful food and gave me plenty of energy.

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And while I love my healthy breakfasts and truly prefer them over the more indulgent ones, sometimes you just want something a little over the top. Breakfast was pretty indulgent today. Hubby picked up a GH cinnamon roll and I made us fried eggs. I forgot how HUGE that cinnamon roll is! I stuffed myself trying to finish it. Bad idea. The cinnamon roll wasn’t such a bad idea…eating more than I was comfortable with was. Oops. Next time I’ll save some for a snack later. :)

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Lunch = leftover chicken noodle soup and Whole Grain Goodness toast.

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And I had some Power Toast for an afternoon snack.

Great Harvest Whole Grain Goodness with:

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Organic cherries, too!

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Guess who came to zumba with me tonight?!

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Check out all my bloggie friends: Irene, (me), Katie, Jen, Jen, and Brittney.

We all had a fantastic hour of zumba tonight – the firs time trying zumba for most of these girls. How did they do? They danced like rock stars, of course! :)

Thank you ladies for coming to class with me! I hope to see you there again soon!

Oh and random note, a lady in class was wearing some sort of calorie counter and said she burned like 850 calories in class tonight! Whoa! Michelle is giving me her old heart rate monitor so I’m going to be doing my own experimenting with calorie burning. Can’t wait to see what the number is!

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Post class it was time for a protein shake – Vega Whole Health Optimizer.

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Yay zumba! I always feel like a million bucks after class.

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Post class hubby and I headed out for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant – 1900 Mexican Grill. It’s probably our favorite Mexican restaurant in town because the food is good, the drinks are awesome (especially the dirty margarita), and the owner is sooo nice. I love to support his local business.

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The weather was too gorgeous to not eat outside.

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I started with a dirty margarita – made with tamarind!

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We started with some cheese dip (starting to prefer guac over cheese dip…who am I?) and chips and salsa.

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We shared a combo – beef burrito, chicken enchilada, and rice and beans.

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My portion – I barely finished.

Post dinner, went over to hubby’s bacherlor-friends’ apartment to chill out. We ended up watching a lot of Terminator Salvation before heading home. I’m pooped but I have a big day of dancing tomorrow!

What are you up to this weekend?

Decide What to Be and Go Be It

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Wow you guys are so inspirational!

I loved reading your Own Your Strength stories! Click here to view them or add your own.

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I heard an interesting song on the radio today – “Head Full of Doubt” by Avett Brothers. Good tune. The line that caught my attention was:

“Decide what to be and go be it.”

I love this quote. It’s so simple but so true. I think sometimes we hold ourselves back from achieving a goal because we let self-doubt, worry and fear get in the way. Sometimes we think we need to put 10,000 years of planning something before we move forward with it. Sometimes we procrastinate. Most of the time, I’m guilty of all of these things. And sometimes the problem isn’t the “go be it.” Sometimes the problem is being able to decide what to be. Know what I mean?

Do you know what you want to be?

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Hubby made breakfast today – scrambled cage-free eggs and WW toast with coffee.

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I had lots of water and a banana to help recover from my double-workout-day (yoga and zumba in one day!) and they totally helped. Especially the water – it really helped my muscles loosen up.

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Later in the day I remembered I had 3 precious Green Monster muffins left in my fridge. I heated (in my over-fresh-encore style) 2 up for me and 1 for hubby.

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Someone help me- I think I’m addicted!

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Lunch started with a huge veggie salad: baby spinach, farmers market cucumber, carrots, celery, tomatoes from our garden, and sunflower seeds.

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Lookie what Girard’s sent me! I got 4 salad dressings (*): Champagne, Peach Mimosa, Creamy Balsamic and Apple Poppyseed. (there will be a chance for you to win these same flavors very soon, so stay tuned!)

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Hubby and I decided to try Girard’s best-selling Champagne dressing (*). We both really liked it. Hubby said it reminded him a bit of Italian. I could see that except minus all the spices. The dressing was sweet but not sweet. Light yet flavorful. It was really good, even though it’s a bit hard to describe. :lol:

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I also had leftover Lemony Lentil soup and more WW toast but with a dab of real butter.

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A Cashew Cookie Larabar was my pre-workout snack today.

Pre-workout for what??

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For teaching my FIRST Zumba class! I mean, I’ve led songs solo and I’ve even led classes solo, but tonight was the first class I led as an official instructor. It was too cool! Class was with a local company who signed up for some private sessions so sorry if you’re local and were hoping to go. I’m hoping to have a public class soon.

Anywho, here are some of my fave songs from the night:

  • La Colegiala
  • Let Me Think About It
  • El Alacran
  • Billionaire (my cool down)

Class was a blast! I surprised myself with all the energy I had give my intense workout schedule the last couple days. Guess it’s easier to find energy to share when you have so many people to share it with! Luckily, I have a rest day planned for tomorrow. Phew!

This is the exact type of place where I put the above quote to good use. I decide to be an energetic, enthusiastic, loud and fun zumba instructor and just be that way in class. Seriously, that’s what I try to do for real. Since I have a little stage fright, this is easier said than done for me, but I try to push out of my comfort zone to be a better instructor. :) It makes things more fun, too!

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Post class I had a half scoop of Vega Whole Healthy Optimizer mixed with just water to help recover from class.

Then I hit up the grocery store.

Here are some buys:

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They had this Pacifica body butter $6 off!

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Chocolate syrup to top my homemade vegan ice cream. Also on sale.

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Sweet Cacao nibs were on sale.

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A mini Justin’s Natural Maple Almond Butter.

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Organic spelt flour

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More hemp seeds.

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Organic cherries.

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And plenty of applesauce so we hopefully don’t run out next time I’m baking.

Got some other stuff, too, but you don’t need to see everything….riiight?

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Dinner was Robin Miller-esque. I roasted 4 chicken breasts – 2 to eat tonight for me and hubby and 2 to make something different tomorrow! Need it twice, cook it once, right?

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And since I went to Earthfare for groceries tonight, I definitely got a vegan WW chocolate chip cookie for dessert. (Hubby got a PB Choc chip). Nommm!

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I get the feeling I’m going to be saying the quote in the title of this blog post a lot. Could it be a new motto for me for awhile? Maybe?

What’s your current motivational motto/quote?

Cut Zumba Tank Top Tutorial (Deep V Neck + Front Lines)

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As promised, here’s a little tutorial for cutting a zumba (or other workout) tank top.

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I found this fabulous design in my Z Life magazine. NOTE: I did not design this tank top, I’m just trying to provide some pointers for any one else who wants to re-create the look like I did.

In fact, Z Life has a nice tutorial on their web site (click to view) for some of the cutting, but I thought I’d share some extra photos for some of the stuff they don’t detail out.

Materials

  • Tank top (recommend pre-washing in case there is any shrinkage)
  • Rotary cutter
  • Chalk/pen/highlighter
  • Sharp scissors
  • Cutting mat
  • Note pad
  • Cutting edge

Cutting the V Front

The top I liked from the magazine featured a deep V front halter.

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After having practiced on a cheaper tank top, I was comfortable cutting up a zumba top. I followed the Z Life tutorial to get the halter style top out of my racerback.

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To get the V, I marked as low as I wanted to cut and in the middle of the tank top with a highlighter (I didn’t go as low-cut as the magazine example). Then, I used my cutting edge to draw a straight line from the top edge of the tank top to the point.

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Using a sharp pair of scissors (that haven’t been used to cut paper), I cut from the inner edge of the tank top top seam to the point

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and repeated on the other side.

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I left the other edge intact. I think the tutorial said to cut along that seam, too, but I didn’t want my straps to be too narrow, so I left it. I cut the straps as long as they’d go – rounding out the top edge. I figured it was better to have more strap than less as I could always cut more off but it would be harder to sew it back on.

Cutting the Front Lines Down the Middle

The top I was trying to re-create also featured short lines down the front of the tank top.

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I put a pad of paper inside my tank top to prevent my rotary cutter from going through to the back of the tank.

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I lined the tank top on the mat so it was directly in the middle and my edge guide had a line matching up with the middle of the tank top and so the lip of my edge tool was straight with the mat – to ensure straight edges.

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Note my edge tool is straight across the top and even horizontally. The 12 marks the middle of my tank. I measured out about 2 inches of space between each column of lines.

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I made 2 cuts at each level approximately 1 1/2″ long.

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I made my cuts in 1/2 inch increments.

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And I repeated till I had 15 rows of cuts.

Now just tie up your halter and get thee to a zumba class to rock out your new tank top!

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Ta-dah!

Can’t wait to cut some more tops! Hmm…what to cut next!? :lol:

Oatmeal Snack (It’s Not Just for Breakfast)

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You guys know I love oatmeal. I love it especially for breakfast, but I’ve also eaten it for lunch, dinner, and dessert.

And, today, I enjoyed some oatmeal as a….

S-N-A-C-K!!!

A pre-work-out snack that is.

After a pretty awesome day of eats, I wanted a really good afternoon snack.

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What to look for in a pre-workout snack: I always try to fuel up for a workout by eating a little extra food to give me energy and make up for some of my soon-to-be-burned calories. I look for carbs with a little protein. I shoot for between 100-250 calories for my exercise fuel, depending on what else I ate that day. If I already had a snack earlier in the day or a large breakfast/lunch, I stay to the lower end and visa versa.

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When to eat a pre-workout snack: I try to eat my snack about an hour to an hour and a half before my work out.

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I usually go for a meal bar, but mostly because they’re convenient and I can keep them at my desk at work.

Today, since I was WFH, I decided to make…OATMEAL! :) Oatmeal is great for breakfast but also makes for a great pre-workut snack.

I went for AB+J (almond butter and jelly) Oatmeal. I think I would have been better off using dried fruit as my sweetener instead of jelly. I don’t think (though I’m not exactly sure) that jelly gives you energy (maybe a sugar high if anything?) but dried fruit gives you a good energy boost from what I understand. Today, I was more worried about getting some good carbs for energy.

AB+J Oatmeal

To the pot:

  • 1/4 cup organic skim milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp flaxseeds
  • (no sweetener)

Cooked stove top till thickened.

Toppings:

  • Barney Butter (about or just under 1 tbsp)
  • Earthfare Organic pomegranate jelly (about 1 tbsp – this was my sweetener)
  • Chopped raw almonds (about 2 – I mean, I already had plenty in the Barney Butter!)

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Not sure if it was the oatmeal or my good job with Project Hydrate today, but I had an awesome workout and plenty of energy! Yay!

1 amazing hour of dance fitness…I love starting my weekend out with a good exercise!

We worked on more of my choreography tonight: Meet Me Halfway (as a warm up song). We just need to polish that one off and finish Bad Romance. Oh yea! I love choreographing songs. Perhaps I should have been a figure skating instructor or something?

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Check out my friend Megan rocking out a song at class tonight. Get it Megan! :)

Reader question: Have you eaten oatmeal any time other than breakfast?

Mac and Kale

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I kicked off today with the last of our Great Harvest cinnamon swirl bread. I really think this stuff is pretty good for you since it’s whole grain. The sugar is the unhealthiest part.

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MS “sausage” for protein. Carbs + Protein + Fat = Good Breakfast

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Coffee = Happy Me

Fresh Market Spring Blend Coffee = Extra Happy Me :)

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I had a lot of stuff to take with me to work today: lunch, snacks, granola bars for my zumba friends (Kat, I gave Stacy yours – go to her class this week lady), WATER (hello Project Hydrate!), and I put a couple tea bags of my new Yerba Mate in a plastic baggie to keep at work.

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I typically don’t do so hot drinking water in the morning. I seem to consume most of it after lunch but before 4pm. If I have hot tea in the morning, I do a lot better, but I could use some more H2O. So, this morning, I reminded myself to get started on my first bottle of water. I had twice as much water to drink than normal and I really wanted to spread my water consumption over the course of the day. I started with my new pink Gaiam water bottle.

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The result of my AM water-guzzling? I downsized my Starbucks Monday. Instead of a grande, I got a tall vanilla soy latte. I was feeling pretty full from the water, so I figured a tall would be just enough. Saved myself some money and calories! (Not that I’m counting, but why consume something if you’re not trying to nourish yourself or at least satisfy an indulgence of sorts).

I was so full from the water and caffeinated from the Sbucks that I wasn’t feeling tea, even though I really wanted to try my new Yerba Mate. Now I have something to look forward to tomorrow, though!

By 11am I was halfway done with the first bottle of water.

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Lunch was a pretty sweet spread…

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Fontina mac and cheese leftovers from last night’s dinner.

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Marinated kale (I think I finally nailed the recipe…yay!) – Updated – recipe now posted! Click here to view.

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Toasted Great Harvest honey whole wheat roll.

I was SO GLAD I prepped food yesterday! I eat so much better (healthier, cheaper, and all around better) when I prep ahead. Lunch was a little light on the protein, but I had a snack to make up for it.

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In the afternoon, I had a Chocolate Oikos with some homemade granola (from my oops granola bar crumbles). So tasty…so so good!

By around 3:30pm I had finished off my first bottle of water. Hooray! The bad part was that I typically don’t consume many liquids after 4pm. I seem to wake up in the middle of the night needing a bio break if I drink much after 4. Is it just me?

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Zumba workout fuel = a homemade granola bar with dried cherries, dates, and currants plus Kashi crackers.

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Double header zumba class! 2 sweet hours. And my hubby came to class tonight! He said he had fun and might come back. I hope he does. ;)

I worked on my second bottle of water during class, but only managed to finish about half the bottle.

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Post workout sushi with a big glass of water. Even with this water, taking my workout into account, I don’t think I quite made my quota, but I did pretty good for Day #1.

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Miso soup and salad

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Mini cucumber salad

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Tempura zucchini

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California roll with masago

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No problem finishing my cup of water after 2 hours of zumba. Phew! Dinner hit the spot, plus I got to catch up with a girlfriend.

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Dessert – banana and a couple small pieces of dark chocolate. Mmm

Project Hydrate Day #1 Comments

I knew Day #1 of Project Hydrate would be pretty hard for me. Sadly, I barely consume the water in this 3 cup water bottle. Now, I usually do have a mug of coffee in the AM, plus a cup or two or hot tea during the day, plus a little water at dinner (but not too much – see above), so I know I haven’t been getting enough liquids.

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To illustrate, I’m attempting to go from drinking this…

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…to drinking this.

I think the key will be reminding myself to spread my liquid consumption over the entire day instead of trying to chug it all in one sitting (which is simply not healthy – do not try this at home people!).

Consumed:

  • Pink bottle – finished off around 3pm
  • Turquoise bottle – finished half of bottle around 8:30pm
  • 1 large (probably 2 cups) of water consumed at dinner
  • No tea consumed
  • 2 cups coffee consumed but I did not count them towards the total

I don’t anticipate noticing many changes on Day #1, but I’d like to post some comments every day.

Comments:

  • Drinking all the liquids I planned for was difficult, considering how little I was drinking before. I think I need to get started on liquid consumption earlier in the day.
  • Consuming more water than normal in the morning helped curb my Starbucks habit.
  • Looks like if I can drink my two mugs of tea and half a water bottle more, I’ll be meeting my planned intake.

How did you do today with Project Hydrate today for Day#1?

Zumba 101 – What Is Zumba and What to Expect?

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Have you heard about the hottest cardio workout around – ZUMBA!? If you’re interested in trying a Zumba class but want to know more first, read on for some Zumba 101 questions and answers.

What is Zumba?

Zumba is a Latin-dance inspired fitness. Zumba is also exercise in disguise because you’ll get a great workout, but you’ll have FUN, too.

What to expect?

Expect a high-energy, cardio workout to upbeat music with plenty of booty-shaking. Unlike hip-hop style classes where you learn a choreographed routine with many different steps, Zumba choreography is typically pretty simple. Usually in Zumba, you’ll do the same moves or set of moves for the chorus and then a new set for the verse, but repeat the chorus-moves each time the chorus plays, etc. Zumba choreography is supposed to be so simple that anyone can do them without any experience, so if you’re on the fence about going to your first class, do it!

Can men do Zumba?

Absolutely!

Who can do Zumba?

Anyone! You don’t have to have a dance background to do Zumba. Also, I’ve seen men and women of all ages in Zumba class (though you will have to gauge your personal situation as far as health level and ability before trying a new exercise of any kind. You may also wish to speak to your doctor or health care provider).

What to wear?

Wear anything you’d normally wear to a cardio style class: comfortable clothes and tennis shoes (plus a sports bra for the ladies). Most people wear pants and t-shirts or tank tops with sneakers. You can also get some cute zumbawear online at zumba.com – I adore the cargo pants.

What to bring to a Zumba class?

Water – definitely water. A handtowel may be a good idea, too. I also like to bring a post-workout protein shake/snack.

Do you get a good workout with Zumba?

Zumba is an excellent all-over, cardio workout. I’ve even heard Zumba can be good for your core. Additionally, I’ve seen different web-sites online claiming Zumba can burn 600-1000 calories per hour! I’ve never measured it myself, but I’d believe it. But, if you want to get a maximum workout, don’t do the moves halfway. Do them like you mean them! Really doing zumba and sort of doing Zumba is like the difference between jogging and running. You’re essentially doing the same move, but you’re not going all the way in one version.

Where to do Zumba?

You can find classes online at zumba.com. You can also purchase DVDs if you want to do Zumba at home, but I highly recommend going to a group class because the group energy can help make the experience extra-awesome. You can find DVDs no zumba.com or on ebay.

My personal tips for your first zumba classes:

  • Dance like no one is watching – I very much remember my first zumba class. I remember strategically placing myself in the back of the class so there would no one behind me watching while I made an idiot out of myself. As I came back, I learned a few things: the instructors mess-up, too, and that’s ok AND most importantly, that most people in class are so freakin busy trying to figure out what the instructor is doing, they are SO NOT watching you!
  • Ask your instructor for tips before/after class – Zumba instructors are very nice, fun and helpful. If they did a move in class that you just don’t get, ask them to show it to you after class. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to help you and when you nail the move in class, you’ll feel like a rock star.
  • Have fun – zumba is exercise in disguise. It’s a workout hidden in a party. So cut-loose and enjoy yourself. You’ll get a better workout if you let go, too.
  • Dance near the front – following the instructor is much easier if you can actually see the instructor. And remember, it doesn’t matter what the people behind you think – see my first tip.

That’s it. I could write more, but really the first tip is IMO the most important.

Have any more zumba questions? Email them to me at thechiclife at gmail dot com.

NOTE: Always workout to your own comfort level and ability. Be sure to consult your physician or health care provider before attempting a new exercise program.

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Also, Click here to read about my personal story with Zumba. which includes my favorite songs, zumbawear, why I love Zumba.

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Join the party!

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