To Eat Meat or Not to Eat Meat

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First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who reached out to me regarding last week’s post. To be honest, it was really hard for me to write and talk about some of those things, but hearing all of your feedback and support made it so worth it. Part of the reason I started this blog was to talk about my struggles with a healthy body image.

Several years ago (before I started blogging), I stumbled upon a blogger who openly shared about her struggles with an eating disorder. Her openness and vulnerability inspired me to want to be more open about my own issues in hopes that not only others could relate and know they were not alone, but that we would combat these negative thoughts together.

Satan wants us to keep all of our sin struggles to ourself. He doesn’t want us to be authentic and vulnerable with others and God because he knows we are set free when we confess our shortcomings.

Two passages on this topic come to mind:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

So if you are struggling with a healthy body image or an eating disorder, talk to someone. Don’t give Satan the power by keeping it to yourself. I hope to continue to write about eating issues and share my journey to finding freedom from my struggles.

But now onto the real topic of discussion for today: my transition to eating meat (only chicken so far) and what I think this will look like in the future.

I knew about a month or so ago that I wanted to surprise P for Valentine’s Day with barbecue chicken. He LOVES barbecue, but we have not been able to eat it together since we’ve been dating because barbecue restaurants rarely have anything vegetarian to eat (except maybe a baked potato and cole slaw). So I thought the ultimate surprise would be to not only make his favorite kind of food but eat meat all at the same time!

But there was no way though that my stomach was going to be able to handle barbecue chicken at the first go around, so I spent a couple weeks prepping myself to get there, mentally and physically. I had also never cooked chicken before, so that was something I needed to do some research on.

Prior to going to the grocery store, I did research to learn about Whole Foods meat grading scale and where the chicken comes from at my local Whole Foods. Once I had confirmed that the chicken was hormone-free and antibiotic-free, I was ready to try it. I asked the butcher for only half of a breast (got to start somewhere) and after a confused glance or two, he eventually obliged.

In my research I had also found this AMAZING tutorial on how to cook chicken. And when I went to cook the chicken, it turned out perfectly the first time! (This was a miracle in and of itself.) I seasoned my chicken with a little olive oil and lemon pepper (the same way I cook most of my fish), but only ate half of the half breast because I was concerned it wouldn’t sit well the first time. But I felt find the rest of the night and the next day when I ate the rest of it for lunch. (This was a good sign!)

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the first chicken meal
Two weeks later, I tried chicken again and upped the intake to half a breast per meal, seasoned and cooked the same way. And again I felt fine after eating it. So after this second experience, I decided I was ready to make and eat the barbecue chicken.

I found this recipe for barbecue chicken “burgers” and was especially drawn to it because I could throw all the ingredients into the crockpot and not have to worry about it. The recipe suggested eating the “burgers” with guacamole and shredded cheese, so I did exactly that. I also made some roasted okra (P’s favorite) and bought sweet potato tortilla chips at Whole Foods (these were a BIG hit!).

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chicken burger, okra and sweet potato tortilla chips
Despite my nerves, everything turned out great and his reaction was priceless! I wish I could have gotten it on camera because he nearly cried. Yes, cried! He was so excited! And he LOVED the food as well. It couldn’t have gone any better.

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he was so surprised!
I felt totally fine after eating the barbecue chicken the first time, but when I tried eating some of the leftovers the next day, that didn’t sit as well. I think moderation is key, and I overdid it by trying to eat the two meals so close together.

Overall, I would say it was a very successful surprise! It was something that I know meant a lot to P, so I’m glad I did it.

But there were (and still are) some mixed emotions after, only because I feel like I have failed at being a vegetarian. This is completely irrational thinking, considering I was a vegetarian for 5 and a half years (and you can’t really “fail” at being a vegetarian), but I can’t get the thoughts out of my head.

So what does this mean moving forward? Am I a meat-eater? A part-time vegetarian? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s been hard to label, and I frankly don’t want to put a label on it. I have a tendency to do things ALL or NOTHING, 0 or 100, so this type of restriction I don’t think is good for my personality type.

I like the idea of eating what makes sense in each situation. For me, I think this looks like still eating mostly vegetarian or pescatarian. I love eating a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole-grains for my meals. But I think sometimes there will be moments where eating chicken or some type of meat is my only option and instead of eating nothing (which I have done), eating the meat is the better route to go.

I’ll update y’all as I go along because this is a journey, and I’m not sure where it’s taking me right now. In the meantime, thank you for your support, love and encouragement! It means the world to me.

The Year of the Chicken

chicken

This past weekend I had chicken for the first time in five and a half years. Well, technically that’s only partially true because I first tried it a couple weeks ago, so that I could get my stomach ready for the “big reveal,” but you get the point.

I’ve been a vegetarian for five and a half years. And I love being a vegetarian. After all I had a Vegeversary Party to celebrate five years of it! I also cook lots of vegetarian dishes (several of which I have shared: here, here and here). Part of what defines me is being a vegetarian. So why change? Why eat chicken?

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was thinking about eating meat again, that I was calling this the “year of the chicken.” When I first became a vegetarian, I always knew that I would eventually start eating meat again. I never thought it would be a forever lifestyle, mostly because I didn’t think it would be sustainable with a husband and family. But having been single for most of my twenties (with a few short-term boyfriends here and there), I never saw a reason to start eating meat again since I was usually only cooking for myself. So five and a half years later, here I am.

When I started dating P, I told him all of this. And although being a vegetarian was (and I quote) “not his favorite thing about me,” he accepted it in hopes that someday I would eat meat again (someday being sooner rather than later). It wasn’t a big deal. He ate everything I made (vegetarian or not). He would almost always have me choose restaurants, so that I wouldn’t have issues finding something. And when in the rare occurrence, he would pick, he would look up the menus and find a few things for me just so I had some options (he’s the sweetest, right??).

Hear me when I say, I did not start eating meat again solely for my boyfriend. He definitely played a significant part in the decision, particularly in speeding up the timing of when I did it, but there’s so much more to it.

Another big contributing factor was the annoyance of it in social situations. (I talked a little bit about this in my Thanksgiving post.) Whenever you go to someone’s house for dinner or you go to a nice restaurant, there are times when being vegetarian is not feasible. I remember several instances where the only thing I could eat at a party was a dinner roll and some cheese or even restaurants that I had to make a meal out of random sides. And when we went to Colorado over New Year’s, there was literally nothing I could eat in the house for breakfast or dinner. Everything had meat in it.

And you don’t want to be the person that picks through their food or rudely rejects a dish that someone prepared. You don’t want to be difficult every time you go out to eat. You don’t want it to be a big deal, but sometimes it is. So when I stumbled across this TED talk a couple months ago, the speaker’s points sparked my interest. I had never thought about being a vegetarian part-time because for me, it was always all or nothing. But his argument made me think a little differently.

And that’s not all. Health-wise, I think I used being vegetarian as a crutch in a lot of instances. I used it as a way to be restrictive in my eating without being “suspicious” of having disordered eating patterns. There were many times where I wasn’t eating properly, not getting enough protein, not getting enough calories, and I justified it in my head because of the “diet” I was on.

Now, do I think that being a vegetarian for five and half years was a cover up for an eating disorder? Not all the time, no. I know I had pure intentions to start and continued to have pure intentions for most of the time I was a vegetarian. With that said though, if I’m being brutally honest, I know at least part of the reason I stayed a vegetarian for so long was because I feared eating meat again. I feared gaining weight.

Even typing this now, I feel so silly saying that. Who fears chicken because they think they will gain weight? I know how irrational I sound, but it’s how I felt, how I still feel as I venture into new territory.

So with all those reasons in hand, I decided this was the year. I knew it would please at least my mom and my boyfriend. I knew it would give me more flexibility in social situations. And I knew I needed to get over my irrational fear of gaining weight. It was time.

Next week I’ll share how I handled the transition (those first couple meals) and what I think my diet will look like moving forward.

Back to the Basics: Part One

unsplash treesThe best way I can describe 2016 in the 20 days we’ve had so far is like drinking out of a firehose. It’s funny because I have always thought of January as a sleepy month, a month where you’re getting over the post-holiday blues and getting back into the swing of things. But not this year.

And I truly can’t complain. The activities and events that have filled my calendar so far have been fun, rewarding and beneficial. I love all of the different things I have going on in my life right now. But that doesn’t deter from the fact that I need a regroup. I need to evaluate priorities again and get rid of the “clutter.”

My new year’s resolutions were mostly about my faith. And that is purposeful because it is the biggest area I want to see growth over the next year. But after reading so many inspiring posts and articles these past few weeks, I’ve been inspired to take the approach I’m taking with my faith to all areas of my life. So this is going to be a “back to the basics” year.

This plays out in several ways, but mostly boils down to de-cluttering, to getting rid of things in my life that are meaningless so that I can make time for the things that are important. This is a lesson I’m trying to learn and re-learn.

Last year, I got really hung up on the details, the little things in life that in the grand scheme of things weren’t the most important. I over-extended myself into so many different areas that I wasn’t able to focus on the things that mean the most to me. This year, I can’t promise that I won’t over-extend myself (because who am I kidding?!), but I am going to promise to not spend so much time in the details and non-critical, non-important things of life.

P makes fun of me with this because I have a never-ending to do list filled with mostly menial tasks that I have a really hard time prioritizing. He always asks me what’s on my “must do” list instead. Hilarious, thanks P. but that is what this year is going to be about. Tackling my “must do’s” so that I don’t sacrifice the “basics” of life.

As best as I could categorize, here is where I see this playing out:

Health

I need to get more sleep PERIOD. I need to make it a priority to be in bed at 10 during the week no matter what. How can I expect to be productive and effective without a good night’s sleep?

I also need to drink more water. I spend so much time and energy on my diet and eating healthy it blows my mind that something as easy as drinking water is difficult for me. Although I’m not making it a resolution like last year, I need to make a point to be drinking more water.

I’ve been calling this the “year of the chicken.” There are several reasons why I’m going to be looking into adding meat back into my life (but we will save those for another post). I want to re-look at the dietary choices I’m making and evaluate what I think is most healthy for me in this season.

Finally, I want to get back to cooking more regularly and cooking different things. Because of my 2014 resolution, I have a few go-to’s that I always make. But I want to expand my horizons this year and get back into cooking new things. How are you going to learn if you don’t try, right?

De-cluttering

I need to de-clutter. Mind you, my house would not be categorized as cluttered. I clean out my closet and things at least once or twice a year. Everything is always picked up and clean. But after reading so many articles about a minimalistic wardrobe and de-cluttering your house, I want to re-look at this again. Plus, it’s good to have a good clean-out every now and then.

And on that note, I just bought Marie Kondo’s book and can’t wait to dive into it. I’ve heard such wonderful things about it and hope to incorporate some of her de-cluttering concepts, which I know will translate themselves to all areas of my life.

Time

Time is the ultimate enemy for me. I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want to do. This year, I really need to hone in on where I’m spending my time. How can I manage those 5-10 minute pockets of downtime better and not scroll through my Instagram feed for the 100th time that day? How can I make the most of my time while remaining flexible and free for some spontaneity too? How can I make time for the things that matter the most to me? These are all questions I need to process through and evaluate.

I also want to make more time for reading. During the first half of last year, I was reading about three books a month and loving it. But during the back half, I was lucky to read one book a month. Now there are a number of factors for this (looking at you, P), but hopefully I can make it a priority to make more time for it. After all, there are so many benefits to reading.

And lastly my blog. Writing and sharing what’s on my heart has been such a joy for me this past year and a half. There are so many ideas floating around in my head that I would love to write and execute on, but time always seems to get in my way. I hope to find a better way to schedule time for writing this year because writing and using my creativity to come up with post ideas have become a favorite outlet of mine.

Now this is not meant to be another round of resolutions. Good grief, I don’t think adding resolutions would help get “back to the basics,” do you? This list is however a reminder to myself of the areas where I wasn’t successful last year and where I want see growth in 2016. So hopefully on December 31, 2016, I will be able to look back and say I successfully got back to basics and formed healthy habits again.

Part two will be coming your way shortly. And for that part, I want to focus on my faith. Stay tuned.

#SomethingNew January: Skiing

IMG_5434Over New Years I went skiing for the first time. Growing up in Chicago, our family never went on “cold weather” vacations — we had all the cold weather we could take during Chicago’s six-month long winter. And because I don’t like the cold weather, I never thought twice about skiing. That is until I started dating someone who LOVES skiing. So for his birthday which also happens to be New Year’s Eve, we went skiing with a big group of friends.

I would love to sit here and say that I couldn’t wait to try it out — that I was beyond excited to go barreling down a mountain at full-speed, but you can obviously tell that was not the case. Not only was I terrified about getting hurt having heard countless horror stories of people tearing their ACLs, but as I checked the weather closer and closer to the trip, the temperature seemed to drop lower and lower in Colorado.

So I did as much prep work as I could before getting there — grabbing everything warm in my closet and making a few much-needed trips to REI to get socks and anything wool that they had. I was prepared. I had all the gear, so I looked the part. Now I just needed to bring my A-game, so that I wouldn’t get hurt.

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After all that anticipation, the day was finally here. We picked up my rental skis, boots and poles and headed to the mountain for my ski lesson. We practiced our “pizzas” and wide S’s down the bunny slope. Then, we practiced getting on and off the lift and eventually graduating to bigger bunny slopes. We practiced and practiced, until finally it was time to just go for it. Go for the green!

My first time going down the green slope was probably the best run I had that day because I had no idea what to expect. I remember asking my ski instructor, how much of a difference there was between the bunny slope and the green, and he kind of looked at me and laughed. I don’t think I ever got that answer, but that was for the best because once I knew what to expect, I kept psyching myself out.

The other couple runs I did that day were less successful than the first, but successful nonetheless. I fell only a few times (maybe three or four) throughout the day, but needed to work on SLOWING DOWN and not panicking and flailing when other people were around (which you can imagine was often).

Going into this trip, I knew I was going to have a hard time skiing with P. I never want him (or pretty much anyone else for that matter) to see any of my weaknesses. So I wanted to be perfect at skiing right away (much like a lot of my other #SomethingNew attempts). I didn’t want him to give me feedback. I didn’t want him to see me fail (my version of failure at least). I wanted to be the next Lindsey Vonn after day one.

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But putting that kind of pressure on myself automatically set me up for failure. When P did try to help me, I got defensive and completely shut down. I wanted to figure it out by myself. I didn’t want his help and I didn’t want him to see me struggle.

Thankfully, I have a gracious boyfriend, who looks past my stubbornness. So after pleading with him to let me figure it out myself, he left me alone and I went down several more times before ending the day with a much-needed glass of wine.

Three cheers for the bars at the bottom of the slopes!!!

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Day two was a million times better!! Not only was I able to sleep on everything that I had learned, but I had a different mindset going into the day. I didn’t have to be perfect, and P didn’t expect me to be perfect. By taking that pressure off myself and reminding myself that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” as I am (a beginning skier), I was ready to take on the day!

P and I skied together the whole second day. It was magical, romantic, fun and terrifying all at the same time. I loved getting to experience it all with him. He was so patient with me, so encouraging and so gracious. I’m beyond grateful for him.

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And my skiing got better and better throughout the day, but more importantly my insecurities of not being “good enough” became less and less powerful. Even when I fell or flailed or did something dumb, I was able to laugh at myself and not take it all so seriously. I don’t have to worry about being “good enough” for someone. My security is in the LORD alone.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

The LORD is continuing to break down my pridefulness by putting me in situations where I will not excel the first time, where I can’t be perfect because I’m not perfect. He continues to refine me in my relationship with P as I continue to find insecurities that I didn’t even know existed, like not being good enough for someone. Wondering how can pride and insecurity exist at the same time? That will be a post for another day. But basically, the #SomethingNews are back this year because I still have so much headway to make in extending myself grace and letting go of perfection.

So will I ski again? Yes. Especially because P enjoys it so much. And honestly it was pretty enjoyable. I can see why he likes it so much. Would I choose a cold weather vacation over a beach vacation? Probably not, but that’s okay. At least when we go again I will know what to expect and I will never have to deal with the dreaded “first day of skiing” again. He tells me it’s like riding a bike when you go again. I hope he’s right.

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Eat With Joy

unsplash food

I read a book a couple years ago that changed my life and my relationship with food. The premise of the book was redeeming God’s gift of food in a culture that struggles with obesity and eating disorders. Instead of seeing certain foods as “good” and “bad,” the book challenged me to see food as God’s good gift of provision and care for us. I am forever grateful that I read it.

The holidays are a hard season for people with complicated food relationships. I know that full well because I’ve had a complicated relationship with food since I can remember. At parties especially, my lack of control over the menu would give me anxiety about what I was going to eat and how I was going to work it off the next day.

I know not everyone struggles with an unhealthy relationship with food, but for those of you that do, this year I want to challenge you (as I challenge myself) to eat with joy.

Don’t look at the mashed potatoes and pecan pie and see the calorie count.

Instead eat with joy that God has given you food as a symbol of his constant provision and care. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Don’t skip your grandma’s stuffing because you know how many sticks of butter the recipe calls for.

Instead eat with joy that God has created all of those flavors and foods as a gift for you to savor and enjoy. (Genesis 9:3)

Don’t waste your time and energy thinking about how you’re going to work off the meal the next day.

But instead eat with joy that God has given you family to eat and fellowship with during the holidays. (Acts 2:46-47)

But ultimately, we can eat with joy because God doesn’t want you to be enslaved to your unhealthy relationship with food. He wants to set you FREE from it! (Romans 6; Romans 14)

So I hope you are able to savor each meal and each conversation you have this Thanksgiving. And if you find yourself getting anxious about the food, remember that your Creator created food for you to enjoy! He gives us perfect gifts (James 1:17)! So receive that gift and eat with joy!

Wish List: My Gym Bag Essentials

Aside from workout clothes and shoes (obviously needed!), the three essential components of my gym bag include: water to hydrate, hair ties/headbands (9 times out of 10 I forget this one!) and the bag itself. Without one of these three things, my workout will be off to a slow start! So after all those work out classes I took last week, a post about my gym bag essentials seemed especially fitting. You can’t have a good workout without planning ahead, right?! (At least I can’t!)

gym bag essentials

  1. Athleta Nylon Mesh Bag 
  2. Under Armour ‘Gotta Have It’ Tote
  3. Lululemon ‘Gym to Win’ Duffle
  4. bkr Lola Water Bottle 
  5. S’well Stainless Steel Water Bottle
  6. Contigo Purity Glass Water Bottle
  7. Lucy ‘My Favorite Hair Tie’ 3-Pack
  8. Zella ‘New You’ Headband
  9. Lululemon Skinny ‘Fly Away Tamer’ Headband

My other gym bag essentials include:

What do you keep in your gym bag?

Take Back Your Mornings

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I have been a morning person all my life, so having productive morning is the best way I can start my day. I love being able to get things done first thing and not feel rushed while doing them. But the only thing standing in the way of a productive morning is a late night, which has been my biggest nemesis lately.

Because I do my quiet times in the morning, it is very important that I am not rushed because I never want to feel hurried while spending time with God. Yet, I have been staying up later and later trying to get things done and having a harder and harder time getting up early in the morning (well, early for me anyway). After weeks of feeling this way and reading article after article about how successful people get up early (examples here and here) AND seeing this post from one of my favorite blogs (what perfect timing!),  I decided to take back my mornings and make the most of them once again.

I know what you’re thinking: what does this even mean? Well I think for everyone it can mean a little something different. For me, as I’ve mentioned above, I would love to be able to spend a good amount of time in God’s Word, in prayer and in a devotional or book of some sort before going to work around 7:30. But in order to make this happen I need to do the following:

  1. Go to bed early. This is absolutely vital to getting up early. For me, social media can be a huge distraction before going to bed, so I need to put my phone away and GO TO BED.
  2. Set your alarm for earlier than you actually need to get up. This will look different for everyone because you most likely know how far ahead you need to set it in order to get up on time. For me, I set it for 10 minutes before I want to be up.
  3. Go to bed acknowledging why you want to get up early. This is helpful because when my alarm wakes me up and I don’t want to get out of bed, I remember why I am getting up (to spend time with God) and it gives me the motivation I need to get moving and start my day.
  4. Spend time in the mornings doing something you love. This will make getting up a lot easier. I love reading, so I added a little more of it to my morning routine.
  5. Make time for reflection and quiet. This might be the only quiet time you get all day. Enjoy it and use this time to reflect on how you want to spend your day. I try to spend a lot of time in prayer reflecting on what my day looks like and how to glorify God with that time.
  6. Don’t rush. Enjoy your morning. The more you start to enjoy them, the easier it will be to get up. You will be a morning person in no time.
  7. Eat a good breakfast and drink some water. It’s the most important meal of the day for a reason. Don’t skimp (or skip) on it because you are rushed.
  8. Plan ahead. The easiest way to have a smooth and peaceful morning is by planning ahead — whether that means picking out an outfit, packing your lunch, taking a shower — all of these things can save you time in the morning if you do them the night before.

Over the last couple weeks, I have taken back my mornings and allowed myself to have the reflective and meaningful time I need before going to work. I find that a good morning is essential for starting my day on the right note. So what are you waiting for — take those mornings back!

#SomethingNew July: Barre, Spin and Yoga

I have been a Pilates evangelist for three years now. During that time, I have seen my body strengthen and tone in life-changing ways, particularly in my core (which has helped with a previous back injury from my cheerleading days). Pilates will always be my go-to form of exercise because of the amazing results I have seen, but this month I decided to try something new (well, three new things to be exact!) in addition to my normal Pilates routine (which includes about 3 classes a week).

I decided to take the below workout classes because I had heard good things about each of them and wanted to see what all the hype was about. Aside from some basic yoga (I’ve taken a beginner’s class at my old Pilates studio and a class or tow offered at my work) and VBarre (a form of barre my Pilates studio offers), I had never taken any of these classes before.

One of important lessons I have learned in Pilates is to always “listen to your body” and know when to push yourself and when not to. I really took this to heart when trying these new classes because I am the only one who really knows what my body’s limit is. And I definitely reached my limit at points in each of the classes! So with that said, here is my experience in each class:

PureBarre

I’ve got to be honest, this class was not my favorite. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was hard. My legs were shaking like leaves during the thigh and butt “sprints.” But there were a number of exercises that I would call “bad Pilates.” Many of the ab exercises at the beginning and the end of the workout were taken from Pilates, but modified in a way that seemed wrong — especially because we were going through them so fast (a point I will get to later).

For those of you that have never taken a PureBarre class, you start out with a warmup that gets your heart rate up and includes some ab exercises (we did a weird version of the “One Hundred” if you are familiar with Pilates). Then, you start these leg and butt sprints at the barre. This is where it all feel apart for me. I had a hard time following because while facing the barre, I couldn’t see what everyone was doing. Plus, we were moving so fast through the exercises that I was hardly able to pay attention to my technique. At one point, I had the “double band” on my legs completely wrong and had no idea until the very end of the exercise.

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the look of skepticism

Not only that, but the “tucking” aspect of the class seemed weird to me. In Pilates we are taught to keep a neutral spine, never to tuck or arch (unless that happens to be part of the exercise). But in PureBarre, you are tucking constantly.

So would I try it again? Maybe. But honestly, I didn’t leave the class on the PureBarre bandwagon. This is not to say, that it wasn’t a hard workout. It absolutely was, so hard in fact that I thought my legs were going to give out at one point. But I didn’t like the fast-paced nature of the class at the expense of doing the exercises properly. (To PureBarre’s defense, I have heard that there is a beginner’s class that teaches you all of the exercises and how to properly do them, which had I known what I was getting into would have been really helpful.) I didn’t enjoy the workout, so I’m not dying to go back.

FlyWheel 

I wish y’all could have seen me after this class (but not really because I thought I was going to throw up). Let’s just say I left knowing that spin classes are NO joke. First of all, I had no idea that you are “spinning” in a dark room! This seemed a little weird to me at first, but then after the first ten minutes I understood and appreciated the fact that no one was seeing me sweat and gasp for breath as we spun away.

The class itself flew by for me, probably because we were constantly changing our torque or our position on the bike (one position, you’re sitting and the other two, you’re standing). On top of it, near the end of the class, we started spinning with a weighted bar and did some arm work. I really liked this part not only because we were finally on the “cool down,” (and my body was thankful for that!) but it added a toning component to the cardio, which was a nice surprise.

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the look of terror

I also liked the competitive nature of the class. When you signed up, you could choose to include your name on the screen to be ranked against the other riders in the class. Although I didn’t choose to include my name in the ranking, knowing where my “power level” was and where everyone else’s was gave me the motivation I needed to press on and DIG DEEP.

Will I take a spin class again? I would say so! As hard as it was (and it was extremely hard!), I felt like I got a lot out of it. My current workout routine includes almost no cardio (aside from walking…it kind of counts right?), so I feel like it would be a good complement to my Pilates classes. Also, my work offers spin classes at an extremely reasonable rate, so I wouldn’t be breaking the bank by taking a few classes here and there. Spin for the win!

Uptown Yoga

To be completely transparent, this was not exactly my first yoga class. Like I mentioned above, I have taken a class or two before at work (we have yoga classes offered weekly) and one that my Pilates studio offered on a whim. In saying that though, I hadn’t ever been to an actual yoga studio nor taken a class that wasn’t aimed at beginners, so it was my first “real” yoga experience in my mind. And I have to say I loved it! I’m almost a little surprised by how much I loved it too because yoga and Pilates always seem to be pitted against each other. But I absolutely did!

Although I did not take a Bikram class, the studio was HOT. It definitely took some getting used to and caught me a little off guard when I first walked through the door. But even through the buckets of sweat, I have to say that the heat really helped to relax my body and muscles and made the positions easier to get into.

IMG_4317
the look of excitement

I think another reason I liked the class so much was because I was able to understand what where my body needed to be in each position, and I didn’t feel like I was completely exhausting my muscles like I did in PureBarre. It probably also helped that I am pretty flexible and was able to do most of the positions. Yoga actually felt good on my body and was enjoyable, something I find important in a workout class!

All that to say, I will definitely be back. And lucky for me Uptown Yoga has a $10 for 10 days of classes offer for new students! I think yoga will be a great supplement to my Pilates classes too because I got an amazing stretch from the class — one that I needed after all of these classes I’ve been taking this week!

As usual with my #SomethingNew resolution, I was humbled in each class. I naturally think I should be good at everything (arrogant much?), so it is hard for me to do things that I am not good at. This new year’s resolution is one that keeps on giving (so many lessons learned over the past couple months) and am continuously thankful for the opportunity each month to be humbled and experience something new.

Something else I learned this month: I’m terrible at taking selfies.

In case you are interested in my other “#SomethingNews”: January: Ballet ClassFebruary: Knife-Skills ClassMarch: JuicingApril: Biking White Rock Lake, May: Watercolor and Brush Lettering Class and June: Trip to Fredericksburg.