Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Challenge Week

I have been blessed with many auditions lately. Three good possibilities hang in the balance and the suspense is killing me (mostly because all three conflict with each other so if I book more than one of them there will be big decisions to be made. On the flip side, I could book none of them which would be very disappointing.) So it goes in this business. I am one of the most impatient people on the planet so this is brutal. Luckily my fitness classes are giving me some much needed breaks of living in my head and trying to rationalize an irrational business and anticipate what other people are thinking or doing. Trading emotionally eating for emotionally exercising. could be less healthy things to do I suppose. So, I've decided to challenge myself to workout all five work days this week instead of four.

My classes for the week:

Monday: Cardio Barre Dance (we did half and half this time: half cardio dance and half ballet style strengthening)

Tuesday: Strength Boxing (This one is a toughie, especially since I sometimes overcompensate arm weakness by using my neck, BUT they are very nice about letting you puts your weights down if you're sacrificing form.) Plus, this class is at 5:30pm and burns more calories than Zumba which I would have had to wait around for until 6:30pm. I hate waiting. Did I mention I was impatient?

Wednesday: Cardio Barre Sculpting (30 mins) and Cardio Blast (30 mins of old fashioned calisthenics and cardio.)

Thursday: WERQ (Do I look like a dork doing hip hop? Yup. Do I love it? Ohhh yesssss!

Friday: Kwando Kickboxing (Billy Blanks style!)

In other news I have been so happy about the abundance of cheap broccoli for the past month or so. Broccoli is a great source of Vitamin C, fiber, and most importantly for me, calcium. I think steamed broccoli with a little Earth Balance, salt and garlic is mega delicious. I believe that everyone needs a handy dandy microwave steamer. (I am not a true hippie yet and still use a microwave).
Stay tuned for my recipe for broccoli soup!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fitness Schedule for the Week

Monday: Cardio Barre Dance-45 minutes of high energy dance (including some fun African dance movements) followed by 15 minutes of ballet style toning as well as some painful planks! We really opnly used the barre for balance, so I guess it's more along the lines of Yoga Booty Ballet or the actual Bar Method (which I really want to try!)

Tuesday: Off. I had an audition over lunch today that required well manicured hands, so I used a gift certificate I had to get my nails and brows done to be nice and camera ready. I had some money leftover from the gift cert so I got this AWESOME Zoya Charisma nail polish to use on my toes, you know, once it stops being painfully cold in Chicago! This pic does not do its amazing magenta-ness justice!
Wednesday: Cardio Barre Sculpt and Cardio Blast

Thursday: WERQ (Oh the hip hop goodness! It's so fun! )

Friday: Kwando Kickboxing ( I have no idea why I enjoy something so ass kicking; I must have lots of pent-up aggression!)

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Ran All the Way Home

I calorie counted for a few days last week. I downloaded an app that lets you track calories and exercise and choose a weight loss goal (1, 1.5, or 2lbs a week). I had baked some (ridiculously delicious) vegan oatmeal raisin cookies recently and made the mistake of doing the math after I ate some. It was a good reminder that vegan treats are still treats, but I found myself panicking. I barely had enough calories left for dinner much less a drink at the closing party for Mr. BB30’s show and I was hungry! Saturdays are typically one of my days off from exercise, but I knew I had to. My current fitness place closes shop around 1pm on Saturdays, I don’t have OnDemand Exercise TV anymore, and the interwebs had highly varying info on how many calories my exercise DVDs would burn. So, I had no other choice but to run. I.HATE. RUNNING. I find it monotonous and miserable. Regardless, I searched out a path, created an Eminem inspired Pandora station, stretched, and I was off. I find rap music to be the very best work out music. It makes me feel tough. I ran five miles in about an hour and five minutes. Not too shabby. Luckily all of my workouts for the past two months have been dance and boxing based so my calves were acclimated to bouncing. My thighs, however, are still aching. I’ve been doing a lot of squats, but alas, youch.
Two biggest take-aways:

1) Calorie Counting makes me crazy. I suppose it is a good thing to do every now and again to check yourself (before you wreck yourself), but it makes me feel like I am in food prison. I’ve worked too hard on my relationship with food to put it in this negative light. It feels like saying to yourself, "great job on eating right and exercising, but it wasn't good enough. I just can’t do that to myself!

2) While my run provided me with some good fresh air and mind clearing, it mostly just made me bitter and frustrated and angry at myself for being so silly and obsessive. I am completely on track for exercising regularly and targeting a 1lb per week weight loss. Why oh why was I so lame and pushed it to 1.5? How did I wander over into the Land of Numbers so quickly?

This has been my public service announcement urging you to be kind to yourself today and all days. Go forth and do good things for your body, mind and soul.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fancy. Simple. Easy. Delish.

It is no secret that I love the Post Punk Kitchen and its rad matron Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Most recently they have brought into my life a delicious, nutritious and great go-to meal, Chickpea Picatta. Do you love briney things? I do. Thus, I am a fan of capers, a staple of picattas. Salty wee flower buds, what's not to love? If you are looking for a meat free alternative to this traditional chicken based dish, this one is fabulous and would wow any dinner guest.


PPK's Chickpea Picatta
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 scant cup thinly sliced shallots
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
A few dashes fresh black pepper
Generous pinch of dried thyme
1 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup capers with a little brine
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups arugula

Cooking spray

Preheat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium. Saute the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes, until golden. Add the breadcrumbs and toast them by stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. They should turn a few shades darker.

Add the vegetable broth and wine, salt, black pepper and thyme. Turn up heat and bring to a rolling boil and let the sauce reduce by 1/2, it should take about 7 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and capers to heat through, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon and turn off the heat.

If serving with mashed potatoes, place the arugula in a wide bowl. Place mashed potatoes on top, and ladle picatta over the potatoes. The arugula will wilt and it will be lovely. If you are serving solo, just pour right over the arugula.

I have made this dish twice. The first time I put the picatta over nice soft barley with a side of steamed broccoli, and the second time I took their suggestion of bulking it up with portabella mushrooms and served over a little brown rice with a side of steamed green beans and tomatoes. Both ways are delicious and once I hit a sale on arugula, it's on! The chickpeas have a nice full texture to them that satiates that meaty feeling we want in our dinners. I think this would be a great dish to introduce yourself or any friends to vegan eating.

Tried any great recipes lately?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Snack Attacks and Emotional Vomit

The past couple of days I have had to work extra hard to fight the Snack Monster. I just want to snack all of the time. I try to pull from my arsenal of coping methods: I lean on The Nine Rooms of Happiness to get to the root of what might be causing this and Women Food and God to try to identify any self sabotage that might be happening. I think it's a combo of actually being hungry (since over the last month I've jumped head first into vigorous exercise), being dehydrated, being frustrated by some geneology research I am doing and some emotions it is tapping into, and being a little bored. I don't do well when my life pauses. I have a couple of things on hold and/or not moving forward career wise and my bio clock is going nuts (but that must be put on hold as well). I am trying to enjoy this mundane time (because goodness knows things will get hectic again at some point), but I think I'm feeling a little empty and that is driving me to want to fill it up with food. I am fighting the good fight with lots of decaf green tea, water, healthy eats like apples and carrots and daikon and trying to breathe. It's a tough battle though, considering all I want to do now is find the doughiest most gigantic bagel of all time and eat it.

Are you fighting any snack wars on your turf?

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Week in Fitness

Last week I continued my fitness efforts. I’m settling in to this new fitness place and am glad that the total lack of instruction on form from my earlier classes was more or less a bit of a fluke. They have a very reasonable month-to-month rate (no year long contracts) so I think I will stick with them through April (at least).

Last week went like this:

Wednesday-Cardio Bar followed by Cardio Blast
Thursday-none-there were no classes I had any interest in on Thursdays during the time frame I need.
Friday-Kwando Kickboxing

I feel great about making it to class and trying new things. I'm seeing results in my arms, legs, and back. Yay!What’s the cardio bar class, you ask? From the fitness center’s website: “Cardio Bar Sculpting is a high energy, low impact class focused on burning fat and giving the body a more toned look. By combining body bar work and light weights, this workout focuses on toning the glutes, thighs, abs, and arms.” I hadn’t really heard of a body bar before. I saw some ladies going into a class the week before with some long cane-like poles and was intrigued. The work out was good and used some muscles I hadn’t tapped into yet. My left arm is a little sensitive (as it’s starting to show signs of pains like my righty from two years ago), but I made it through just fine. The only thing I had to take at a little bit of a modified pace was bench press, but I got in all of my reps all the same. The bar class was only 30 minutes long. It was followed by a 30 minute Cardio Blast class so I took both.

Cardio Blast was basically an interval training cardio class. High intensity. We did some cardio moves as a group then were given three exercises (burpees, mountain climbers, and full standard sit ups) and told we had five minutes to do 20 reps of each as many times as we could.
Mountain Climber
Following our first set of burpee/mountain/climber/sit-ups we did runs down the room. About 6 of us would line up and head down the room doing various walking lunges, frog jumps, and such. It was like football drills, but not in an intimidating way at all. we finished with another round of reps and a cool down. I felt like I truly got a full body work out.

This week's line up is:
Monday-Club Cardio Dance (It's new and and I'm soooo excited)
Tuesday-off (I have an appointment and Mr. BB30 has the night of rehearsal! Date!)
Wednesday-Cardio Bar and Cardio Sculpt
Thursday-WERQ (dance fitness-the schedule changed and I'm excited to try this one-it's hip hop!)
Friday-Kwando Kickboxing

Watch out y'all. Soon I'll be able to dance-kick your face off!

What have you been doing fitness wise lately?