Very excited about this full body circuit workout because I finally figured out how to add countdown clocks to the video! It’s actually not that hard, and I should have done this way sooner. It was just a matter of sitting down and sifting through how-to videos on YouTube until I found a good tutorial. You’ll now know exactly how many seconds of torture you have left during each work interval.
15 or 30-Minute Full Body Circuit Workout (Med Ball)
Med Ball Workout: Full Body Circuit - YouTube
This workout can take you 15 minutes or 30 minutes. If you’re looking for a longer workout, repeat the video twice. That being said, this is plenty challenging as a 15-min routine.
There are five exercises in this circuit. For each exercise, you do an interval structure of 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest x3. Move immediately onto the next exercise when you’ve completed the three rounds.
As with all workouts, make sure to warm up beforehand. Listen to your body and modify as needed, stopping altogether if something doesn’t feel right.
To see how each exercise is performed and how to modify, check out the above video @1:36. Below are some additional notes on each exercise.
Low Lunge – Squat – Lunge Pulse with Extension
Med Ball Slam Stop Burpees |If you’re doing the workout at a gym or another place it’s ok to slam the ball onto the floor, you can do full slam burpees instead of stopping the momentum of the ball. (I have downstairs neighbors so I can’t).
Deadbug with Medicine Ball | If you don’t have a medicine ball or want to modify with less weight, you can use really any object (a yoga block works well!). Just make sure to actively press it between your hand and leg.
Logger Jumps to Squat Hold
Jump Lunge with Obliques Scoop
Hope you’re all having a great week so far! I filmed this video on Tuesday so you can see the Nor’easter raging outside my window. Anyone else counting down the seconds until spring weather arrives??!
It’s been a while since I last blogged about transitioning to a plant-based diet, so I figured it was time for a six-month check in. Am I sticking with it? Have I noticed any changes in my body? Has it been challenging? Let’s catch up on my experience so far going plant-based.
Over the last six months, I’ve probably eaten 98% plant-based.
Since summer ended and I let go of fish and shellfish, I haven’t had a single bite of meat. That 2% is rare bits of dairy and/or eggs. I don’t think of it as “cheating” or “slipping up” because perfection has never been the goal. I’ve never forced it and have transitioned gradually and naturally over the last several years—it’s not about denying myself of things, it’s about eating in a way that I feel really good about.
When I have eaten a little bit of dairy or something with eggs in it, it’s usually by accident. I’ll be at a party and absentmindedly grab a cookie from a tray and bite into it and then think, “Oh riiiight. This probably has eggs and dairy in it.” Do I spit it out mid-chew and toss the cookie in the trash? No. I finish the bite and then offer the rest of the cookie to Joe. Or maybe I finish the whole cookie. Being perfectly vegan isn’t important to me so I really don’t think twice about it.
It’d be another story if I were allergic to dairy and eggs and eating them made me feel sick, but they don’t (in small amounts). That being said, if I were to sit down and eat a steak or something totally smothered in cheese, I’d probably get a stomach ache and have some major digestive issues since I haven’t eaten those things in so long. Small amounts here and there are fine though.
The hardest part is social events.
I mentioned above that when I have consumed dairy or eggs, it’s mostly been by accident. A few times, however, it’s been because I was at a social event and A. felt rude for not eating anything being served or B. didn’t plan ahead and was really hungry and had to eat something, anything.
Even going out to dinner with friends can be hard if it’s not a restaurant with which I’m familiar. The other night Joe took me out to dinner and the only thing I could get on the menu was a side of sautéed mushrooms. Womp wommmp.
All of this can be avoided by:
checking menus ahead of time;
bringing my own plant-based dish to parties so that I’ll have something to eat (and share, of course);
eating before the party/event so that I won’t need to eat there;
realizing and accepting that no one is paying as much attention to what I am or am not eating as I think they are.
Yet I continue to do none of the above because I’m an imbecile who routinely makes life harder for herself than it has to be (lol).
I still get defensive when someone “outs” me as being vegan.
I don’t know why I have this frantic need to avoid inconveniencing others with my food choices, but it’s an insecurity I haven’t been able to kick. I don’t like attention being drawn to my food choices when I’m out to eat with friends or at a party, and I hate the thought of people altering their plans to accommodate me.
We’ll be out to eat with friends and Joe will mention that I’m vegan. “No I’m not!” I’ll respond defensively, and immediately will try to explain it away:
“I’m not like super strict about it, I can find something on any menu, it’s really fine, it’s not a big deal, we can still go out to eat anywhere, don’t worry about changing plans because of me, I’m like not even really vegan.”
But … I am.
I know it sounds silly (especially since I’m blogging about it!), but talking about being plant-based makes me uncomfortable in real life. I wrote more about feeling judged for going vegan in this older blog post if you’re interested.
I haven’t noticed any big changes in my body or how I feel (physically).
You read all these articles about going plant-based that are like: “I lost 50lbs!” “My acne cleared up!” “My cancer was cured!” “I have so much more energy!”
But I honestly feel pretty much the same physically. A big reason behind that is going plant-based wasn’t a drastic change for me. I’ve never been a big meat eater, and I went fully plant-based sooooo gradually. I also didn’t have any major ailments or health complaints to begin with, so I suppose my Plant-Based Saleswoman career was doomed from the get-go. “Go plant-based: You’ll feel the exact same.” Not the best pitch.
One thing I have noticed is that I never feel sluggish after eating a meal. I can’t even remember the last time I felt like I needed to elevate my feet and take a nap after mowing down a dish. Eating this way just feels right for me. When I see cute farm animals, it feels good to know I’m not contributing to their suffering (says the girl with a cowhide rug in her apartment—I’m a work in progress, ok?!). Going plant-based has also encouraged me to get creative in the kitchen and experiment with new recipes. It’s fun for me!
I don’t miss or crave animal products. Not even cheese (whaaaat?!).
If you had told me two years ago that I’d be disinterested in cheese one day, I would have laughed in your face. Gurrrrl bye. But now you could put a platter of cheese and crackers (my former Kryptonite) in front of my face and I wouldn’t have the slightest craving to dig in. I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself of anything—I just truly don’t desire meat and animal products anymore.
In part, I’m sure this is just a function of time. The longer you go without eating pretty much anything (sugar, meat, dairy, soda, etc.), the less you’ll think about it and crave it. I think it’s also helpful that I didn’t rush myself and I let things fade from my daily diet when I was ready to be done with them.
And let’s not forget there are some pretty phenomenal vegan versions of just about any comfort food you can imagine. I don’t miss mac ‘n cheese because I can still eat mac ‘n “cheese.” (By Chloe has an unreal sweet potato mac ‘n “cheese” and in the grocery store aisles look for Annie’s vegan mac ‘n “cheese.”)
Ok I probably shouldn’t have bragged about not craving cheese at the beginning of this section because my mouth is actually watering thinking about vegan “cheese” right now …
TBD if I eat seafood this summer.
Throughout the process of going plant-based, I’ve found it interesting to explore the reasons why some animal products are harder to let go of than others. Cheese, seafood and eggs stayed in my diet the longest, all for very different reasons. I think cheese was a straight up addiction. Eggs were just really convenient to eat (no-brainer breakfast, in almost all baked goods, etc.). Seafood, however—and this is about to sound really dramatic—felt like part of my identity.
Growing up on the Vineyard, many of my fondest memories involve seafood. Picking mussels off the jetty as a kid to eat later at home; eating steamers with my dad out on our back deck; shucking oysters at beach parties; the treat of getting lobster for dinner—the list is endless. I plan on spending a significant time on the Vineyard this coming summer, and I’m honestly not sure how I’ll feel about seafood.
On the one hand, it does make me a little sad to think of it not being a part of my summer. But when I really think about it, it’s not the shellfish itself that I hold dear; it’s the people with whom I was sharing it. I can still sit on the deck with my dad and eat something else while he enjoys steamers. Beach bonfires aren’t any less fun if I’m not eating fish. Hunting for sea glass is just as entertaining as hunting for mussels.
Let me know if you have any questions or there are topics I didn’t cover here that you’d like to know about.
Ok so here’s the deal. I had to take a full two weeks off from working out because of the flu, and while I’m back at it now, I’m still dealing with some limitations due to all the muscles I pulled from coughing (all aboard the Hot Mess Express!). I can’t do anything specifically targeting obliques, and have to modify most core/lat stuff. I feel weak compared to where I was before getting sick and the limitations are admittedly making me a little frustrated, but what’s most important is giving my body the time it needs to heal (but, like, hurry up, Body!).
So even though the last workout I posted was lower body focused, we’re going to do it again this week because it’s the only muscle group I feel comfortable pushing myself with right now. This workout is low impact (don’t confuse that with “easy”!) and utilizes sliders and a resistance band loop. I’ve posted slider workouts using similar exercises in the past, but the addition of resistance makes it feel like a whole new move.
For my fellow Btone/megaformer lovers, this lower body slider workout has your name written all over it!
Lower Body Slider Workout with Resistance
Slider Workout with Resistance (Lower Body) - YouTube
EQUIPMENT I USED:
Sliders (dish towels work for hardwood floors; paper plates/furniture sliders work for carpet)
Resistance band loop – I’d go with a medium resistance; it should be challenging but you still need to be able to get a big(ger) range of motion
The workout starts and ends with a squat-to-slide combo at center. The rest of the routine is broken up into 8 minutes of work on the right leg (no rest!) and 8 minutes on the left. In total, this workout will take you just under 20 minutes to complete.
As with all workouts, make sure you’re properly warmed up beforehand. Modify or stop as needed, always listening to your body.
There’s a preview of all the exercises in the above video @2:38
Squat to Slide (1 min)—hold low and just slide the last 30 sec
Back Lunge (2 mins)—40 seconds full range, 20 second hold with pulses x2
Lunge Press (1 min)—40 seconds full range, 20 second hold with pulses
Single Leg Squat (2 mins)—40 seconds full range, 20 second hold with pulses x2
Squat Side Press (1 min)—40 seconds full range, 20 second hold with pulses
Curtsy Lunge (2 mins)—40 seconds full range, 20 second hold with pulses x2
Repeat on other leg
Squat to Slide (1 min)—hold low and just slide the last 30 sec
This post was sponsored by NutriBullet. All opinions—as always!—are my own. I appreciate your support of the brands that make this blog possible.
A timely post, considering I’m on Day 7 of my battle with the flu. At this point, the fever is long gone, but I’ve got no energy, some serious congestion, and a gnarly cough that won’t quit. I’m trying to flood my body with fluids, vitamins and minerals to support the healing process, and this cold & flu season smoothie was made with that very purpose.
Before we break down the ingredients, I want to talk about how I did the *literal* break down: The NutriBullet Balance. This is one seriously cool kitchen gadget. The quality and functionality are great—it easily blended all the ingredients, both frozen and soft—but its abilities go far beyond that.
The nutrient extractor syncs to the NutriBullet smartphone app (available in the App Store and on Google Play) via bluetooth. In the app, you can pick from a ton of existing recipes or create your own. The NutriBullet Balance acts as a scale as you add ingredients, precisely tracking in real time how much you’ve put in, and displaying the information for you on your phone.
I’ve mentioned that I don’t personally track nutritional info or calories of food I eat, but if you do, this app-extractor duo is right up your alley. And if you’re like me, the functionality is still pretty awesome because it automatically tracks amounts of ingredients so that you can easily save recipes for later. When I make smoothies, I typically just dump unmeasured handfuls of ingredients in and hope for the best. This way, when it’s a winning combination, I’ll know exactly how to recreate it.
To see the NutriBullet Balance in action with the app, check out the quick video I put together below:
Cold & Flu Season Smoothie
This citrus zinger of a smoothie contains oranges for their Vitamin C, turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties, and the ginger and lemon duo for an added boost to the immune system. Typically I use frozen bananas to thicken smoothies, but I wanted to keep the sugar content down given I’m sick and went with frozen zucchini instead. If you want a sweeter drink though, go with banana.
The night before, chop up a zucchini, place in a sealed container, and place in freezer.
Put all ingredients in the NutriBullet Balance extractor and blend until smooth.
To find out more about the NutriBullet Balance, visit their website. I hope you all are staying healthy this cold & flu season! Whether you are or, like me, have fallen victim to the flu, be sure to give this smoothie a try.
I think we can all agree this post is a shining example of groundbreaking journalism. A topic never before covered by wellness blogs. Uncharted territory for the Instagrammers of the world. I mean, I bet this is the first time you’re even hearing the term “avocado toast.”
But that’s what makes Pumps & Iron special. I’m different from the rest. A visionary in my field. A true leader. I’m not afraid to take risks and break away from the pack. If “3 Simple Avocado Toast Ideas” doesn’t win me a Pulitzer then, well, I just give up.
Ok. Cue the basic jokes. But sometimes the simple food ideas are the best—the ones that you can whip together with just a couple ingredients already in your kitchen. These are currently my three favorite ways to eat avocado toast.
3 Simple Avocado Toast Ideas
Sometimes I get crazy with my avocado toast if I’ve done some meal prep for the week and actually have sauces and other stuff on hand (pesto, roasted chickpeas and sweet potato hummus are my fave toppings). But more often than not, I’m lucky to even have an avocado in my kitchen. These are easy but delicious avocado toast combos.
Red Pepper Flakes & Nutritional Yeast Avocado Toast
This is my go-to! A generous amount of smashed avocado, sprinkle on some nutritional yeast and red pepper flakes and finish with sea salt.
Za’atar Avocado Toast
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice combo that you can usually find in the ethnic foods section of your grocery store. I was turned on to this avocado toast topping by B.Good’s menu and decided to buy some and make my own at home. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Strawberries & Balsamic Vinegar Avocado Toast
I love this combo for a snack during the day (not so much for breakfast). Chop up strawberries and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Simple and delicious!
And since the theme of today is sharing non-groundbreaking things …
If you continually smoosh your bread flat when trying to mash up your avocado toast, you’ve gotta start smashing it up IN the skin and then scooping it onto your toast.
I have a love/hate relationship with ClassPass and have cancelled and rejoined about 10 times since it first came to Boston. I think what it comes down to is that I mostly dislike it but am not rich enough to ditch it for good.
The service has changed a million times since its inception (as most new companies do), and will probably be structured differently by the time this post is a few months old. As of today though, there are three membership options. In Boston, the pricing is as follows:
3 classes/month for $40
5 classes/month for $65
10 classes/month for $120
You can go to any given studio 2-3 times a month, depending on your package. Some (not all!) studios will let you purchase additional classes through ClassPass if you want to go more than the 2-3 limit. If you live in Boston, most studios are on CP, with the exceptions of B/Spoke, SoulCycle, YogaWorks, Pure Barre’s Newbury location and SLT (and maybe a couple I’m forgetting).
Right now, my account is in a beta testing mode where instead of 10 classes, I have 80 credits to use on classes that range in 4-8 credits each (less popular times are fewer credits). So if I were to go to low-credit classes, I could take more than 10 classes a month (all the classes I like are 8 credits so it doesn’t make a difference for me). I’m not sure if this credit system will become permanent or not.
I took advantage of a limited time offer that gave me 20% off a 10-class membership if I stuck with it for six months. I’m nearing the end of my six months and think I’m going to cancel when it’s over and become a member at Everybody Fights. I’m really into boxing right now, and want to get better at it—something that’s not going to happen if I’m only going a few times a month. I used to enjoy ClassPass but have grown tired of it. Today, by request, I’m breaking down the good and bad for anyone considering the service.
Pros of ClassPass
It’s the most cost-effective way to take group fitness classes at multiple studios.
This is the big selling point. With ClassPass, you pay $12-13 a class if you use your membership to its fullest (in Boston), compared to the $25-30 price tag you’d pay to drop into a studio. Now if you were to buy a membership at a studio, that price per class would be lower, but probably not $12-13.
It’s good if you just moved to a new city or are traveling to another city.
ClassPass is a great way to test out lots of different studios to see where you like best. If you travel for work, you can also use your CP membership in most major cities throughout the country.
It’s good if you have a free gym at work or are an instructor who can work out for free somewhere and just want to supplement with a few different classes each month.
I think ClassPass is best suited for you if you’re looking to supplement an existing membership or at-home workout routine. For example, if you’re a runner and are just looking to cross-train a couple times a week, ClassPass could be a good option. I know a lot of other instructors choose to join ClassPass because they can already workout at their studios for free and are just looking to switch it up a couple times a week.
If this doesn’t describe your current situation, see the first bullet point below …
Cons of ClassPass
If you want to workout more than 2-3 times a week, you’ll need to supplement your ClassPass membership with at-home workouts or another gym/studio membership.
Back when there was an Unlimited option, ClassPass could completely replace your gym membership, allowing you to take a class every day of the month if you wanted to. Now it’s more of a supplemental thing because even with the new credit number system, you’re only going to be able to take 2-3 classes a week if you want to do popular classes. So yes, you save a bunch on group fitness with ClassPass, but if you want to work out more frequently, you’ll need to supplement.
You can purchase additional classes at some studios through ClassPass for a slight discount, or pay for an outside gym/studio membership. But unless you’re supplementing with running and at-home workouts, prepare to pay in addition to your core CP membership.
Some studios block off their most popular class times from ClassPass users.
This is one of the biggest downsides for me. Yes, I have a weird job and can technically work out at any time of day. In theory, I’m the perfect candidate for ClassPass because a 9 or 10am class can work with my schedule. But I hate working out then! It’s 6/7AM or bust in my book.
Most people work roughly 9 to 5 and accordingly, the most popular class times at fitness studios are typically 6/7AM and 5/6PM. So you’ll notice that some studios don’t open those times to ClassPass or severely limit the number of spots CP users can take. The studio has no problem filling these peak times with their clients, so it makes sense.
The bummer for me is that Barry’s (understandably) does this. I usually just end up buying classes directly through them in addition to my ClassPass membership so I can go early in the morning.
Some studios limit the number of ClassPass clients per class so you have to sign up for your favorite times a week in advance.
The allotted slots for ClassPass users can fill up fast at popular studios so you have to sign up right at 12 noon the week before the class in order to snag a spot. You can chance it and try to sign up last-minute, assuming someone will late-cancel the night before or day of, but I typically like to plan ahead for my workouts. Not a WEEK ahead though.
Variety is GREAT, but when you’re totally all over the place, you’re not going to see specific progress.
I’m a big proponent of switching up your workouts, but you can definitely spread yourself too thin. At my peak ClassPass usage when it was only $99 for UNLIMITED classes, I was all over the place with classes—yoga one day, bootcamp the next, barre, spin, boxing, pilates. It was fun to try new things for the first couple months but then I had the realization that I was just “meh” at a lot of things instead of really working to improve at the things I enjoyed most. Sure I was maintaining my fitness level just fine, but I wasn’t really seeing specific progress in any one modality. Of course not! You need to do something more than three times a month for that to happen.
You’ll want to go to your favorite studios more than three times a month.
At this point, I know what my favorite studios in Boston are and I just want to go to those. I currently only use my membership to go to Barry’s and EBF. Those studios are walking distance from my apartment and offer the workouts I’m currently loving the most. It’s more expensive, but it’s getting to the point where I’d rather just give my money directly to those studios and reap the benefits of being able to go whenever and how often I like.
You get charged $15-20 if you can’t make class.
If you cancel within 12 hours before the class starts, you’re charged $15. If you don’t late-cancel and just don’t show up, you’re charged $20. If you’re someone who has an unpredictable work schedule, this could add up quick. You could opt to book last-minute instead, but you run the risk of the class being full or maxed out with CP members.
If your first visit to a studio is through ClassPass, you’re not eligible for their new client specials.
This is more a #ProTip than a true “con.” If you’ve never visited a studio before, look at their new client specials. Often they’re even better than the savings you’re getting through ClassPass, or at least comparable. Buy directly from the studio, use those initial visits from them, and if you love it, you can always continue to go via ClassPass. At most studios though, if you initially go through ClassPass, you’re no longer eligible for any specials they have for newbies.
Thoughts on ClassPass as an Instructor
I’ve heard a lot of people say they feel a little bad/guilty or like a second-class citizen when they come to a studio on ClassPass because they’re not paying full price. I can’t speak for all instructors, but let me assure you that I do not think less of you as a client if you roll up to my class through CP. I get it—boutique fitness classes are expensive and there are just so many awesome studios out there. Yo, I’m a member, too! And I do genuinely love that by being on ClassPass, more people have access to this workout who might not have otherwise.
Like I mentioned earlier though, you’re not going to get the full benefits of the workout only coming two-three times a month. If you’re cool with that, so am I. I’d certainly rather you come a couple times a month than not at all! But if you’re feeling frustrated by lack of progress/results, don’t automatically discredit the method or your instructors. Now you also don’t need to come every day or five times a week, but if you commit to even just twice a week, you are going to see FAR better results than if you come just a couple times a month.
The whole anonymous review system on ClassPass is also not ideal for instructors. Feedback is important and I welcome both the good and bad because I truly care about teaching and want to constantly make my class better. Some of the “bad” reviews on ClassPass are constructive and helpful. Other reviews though … pretty sure the people leaving them would choose their words differently if they weren’t anonymous. And it’s especially frustrating because it’s impossible to have a fully formed opinion on a studio if you’ve only been to one class with one teacher. In my opinion, ClassPass users shouldn’t be prompted to leave a review until they’ve visited a studio three times.
The Bottom Line
ClassPass is a good supplement to your workout routine, especially if you have a flexible schedule. If you love multiple boutique fitness studios and are on a budget, it’s a great way to be able to visit them a couple times each month. If you’re new to a city or your city’s fitness offerings, it’s a fun way to test the waters before committing to the one or two studios you like best.
I really liked it at first, but have grown tired of the inconveniences. I don’t want to schlep across the city to a class because I’ve already used up my classes at the studios close to my apartment. I don’t want to work out in the middle of the day because it’s the only class time available at my favorite studio. I miss the feeling of having a home base for my workouts. I also want to focus on progressing at the types of fitness in which I’m most interested. For me, I think it’s worth spending some extra money to have access to a workout routine that truly excites me and works best with my schedule.
$40 off Your First Month
It’s kind of weird to end the post with this because I spent the last 2,000 words basically being like PEACE OUT, CLASSPASS. But it can be a great option depending on your situation. If you do want to give ClassPass a try, this referral link will get you $40 off your first month. They also do promotions frequently though so I’d check their homepage, too, just to double check the $40 off is currently the best deal.
Are you a ClassPass member? What your favorite and least favorite things about the service?
As promised, this week’s workout uses the same structure as these full-body and upper body/core workouts, but today we’re focusing on lower body. This legs & butt workout will take you just over 20 minutes to complete and as always, I’ve got a video to go with it so you can follow along at home.
I mention this is the video, but I just want to emphasize that you should use HEAVIER weights than you used for the previous two workouts I posted using this structure. Yes, I’m using 10-lbs again, but that’s because I only have one set of dumbbells in my apartment. Were I in a Barry’s Bootcamp class or at the gym, I’d go up in weight for the circuit (20-25lbs) and then just drop down to a single dumbbell if any exercises were too difficult.
Legs & Butt Workout (Strength Circuits + Tabatas)
Butt + Legs Workout (Tabatas and Weighted Circuits) - YouTube
EQUIPMENT I USED
Set of medium-heavy dumbbells (I’m using 10-lbs because it’s all I have, but if you’re roughly the same fitness level as me, I’d recommend going in the 15-25 range) – I’m also using a 20-lb kettlebell, but this is totally optional; you can just use one of your dumbbells
This workout consists of high-intensity bodyweight tabatas and circuits with weights. You’ll alternate between the two: weight circuit, tabata, weight circuit, tabata. A tabata is 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. For this workout, you’ll do four exercises, cycling through them twice. For the weighted circuit, you do each exercise for 60 seconds and complete all six exercises back to back with no rest.
As with all workouts, make sure to warm up beforehand. Listen to your body and modify as needed, stopping altogether if something doesn’t feel right.
Here’s the breakdown of the exercises in the workout. If you’re unfamiliar with any, just watch the video above. I’ve put the times down so that you can fast forward to the previews of each section.
Video previews of each exercise @ 1:55
Curtsy Lunge to Knee Up with Pulse at the Bottom (right)
Deadlift Combo (right)
Curtsy Lunge to Knee Up with Pulse at the Bottom (left)