Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love List

Clockwise from top left: 

  • Scrubs season 8 - Jared and I have been laughing our way through Scrubs for a few months.  Yes, we live in the dark ages and don't have TV.  Perks: no commercials, unbounded hilarity (particularly the My Muscial episode a few seasons back), and getting to unwind together after work.
  • Endangered Species All-Natural Extreme Dark Chocolate - Jared bought me this a while back, and now I'm hooked.  I'm a dark chocolate gal by nature, but after this 88% pure gold, almost everything else tastes like milk chocolate (read: dirt) to me.  Perks: antioxidants, very low sugar content, and seratonin boost.  Mmm.
  • Nike Game On tee - I bought this last week on a shopping trip to Sports Authority that officially was for Jared to get a padded shooting sleeve for basketball.  Somehow I ended up with this tee, new Nike capris to match, and a long-sleeve Nike therma-fit shirt for running.  Perks: cuteness, sweat-wicking properties, and minimal to zero buyer's remorse.
  • Real Marriage book - We attend Mars Hill church and are currently going through the Real Marriage series, to which this book and the study guide are companions.  This book has been astoundingly controversial to people of all opinions and beliefs.  We personally have found it incredibly helpful...but if you don't like it, don't read it.  It ain't the Bible, folks.  Perks: learning how to be a better friend to your spouse, going on date nights as required homework, and getting some honest advice from a humble couple.
  • Basketball @ The SJCC - Basketball is totally my favorite sport.  It moves fast and I actually understand some of the rules and most of the scoring.  I really love getting to watch the hubby hit some threes...even if I get kinda stressed when we're losing.
  • KIND Healthy Grains - Generally, I'm not a huge cereal/granola kinda gal...but these are pretty much amazing.  We're currently enjoying Vanilla Blueberry Clusters with Flax SeedsMaple Walnut Clusters with Chia and Quinoa, and Oats & Honey Clusters with Toasted Coconut.  Perks: low sugar, amazing taste, and perfect way to upgrade Greek yogurt into a parfait.
  • nuun Lemon Tea: I first started using nuun when training for a half marathon...did the trick to keep me hydrated, but didn't really wow me.  But I think maybe I just hadn't found the right flavor until I tried Lemon Tea!!!  I drop a tab in a water bottle full of...water (genius, right?), let it mix up, freeze it overnight, and take it with me to hot yoga.  LOVE IN A BOTTLE.
  • ToneItUp.com: I first saw Katrina and Karena in a copy of Self I'd picked up from the library...I was so impressed with their workout that I made a photocopy to keep in my health and fitness binder!  I've done it several times, and it requires minimal equipment and kicks my butt.  A few weeks ago, I realized they have their own website/mini fitness empire!  They are super inspiring and offer a TON of resources for free on YouTube.  Their Valentine's Day workout is absolutely adorable.
You tell me:  What are you loving these days?  Do YOU have a favorite brand of dark chocolate?  Do you get a kick out of watching your spouse/friend/sibling/random stranger do something they love? 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Post...@ROJ Running!

Good morning!

If you are looking for me...

I'm not here! 

Visit ROJ Running for my guest post (and Julie's dish on running, bath & body products, and life in general).

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

REVIEW: Redmond Athletic Club

As you know, I am all about mixing it up and trying new things.  I love checking out popular classes or picking up Living Social deals to keep my workouts fun. 

Yay fencing date!

One of my latest expeditions was a visit to the Redmond Athletic Club in downtown Redmond (right near Bella Bottega and Z-Ultimate).  My teaching schedule puts me in the area often, and one day I decided to head over and check it out.

Uber-spacious weight "room"
I went online and looked for the RAC to see if there was anything I should know before coming.  It looked like they offered a free 5-day trial pass, so I submitted my email to get one in time for my visit.  It didn't show up in my inbox before I had to leave for teaching, but I didn't think much of it.

Boot camp class on the basketball court

When I arrived at the RAC that evening stoked to workout and explore, the guys at the front desk were gracious enough to honor the trial pass I mentioned, even though they didn't seem to know what I was referring to. 

I found out later that I had been on a completely different website for a Redmond Athletic Club in a completely different state.  Embarrassing.  I'm now EXTRA impressed that the "real" RAC honored the guest pass just because I mentioned it, rather than making a stink about it or tossing me out on my hinny.

Honestly, the staff was awesome.  They took care of me, gave me a great tour of the gym, and okayed me bringing my camera along for the ride.  They gave me some details about pricing, answered my questions, and were always available to explain equipment.  If I understand it correctly, the front desk staff also work as trainers at the gym...so anyone on hand is qualified to give you input on how to use a particular machine.

Here's my point-by-point review:

  • Environment: 5 out of 5.  This is probably the best looking gym I have ever met.  Everything is wide and open and is obviously kept up well.  Everything is laid out well...and in case you get lost they even post signs to help you find your way around.
  • Staff: 5 out of 5.  As I mentioned above, they really want to serve and help you find a gym that is a good fit.  They know their stuff if you have questions...but if you don't, they leave you to workout in peace 
  • Affordability: 2 out of 5.  The price list I got put your monthly membership over $100...depending on how many people are in your family, you can get a better deal...but still pricey.
  • Convenience: 4 out of 5.  The RAC offers great hours, and being smack in the middle of downtown Redmond, makes a great stopping point on the way to or from work/school.
  • Cardio machines: 4 out of 5.  Lots of variety.  There were plenty of machines available, even at their busiest time of night.  You face the rest of the gym, so it's nice to have some "breathing" room and not feel cramped.  My only complaint is...no stepmill (which is my personal cardio fave.)  I DID love the ArcTrainer - had never seen or tried one before.  It's kinda like an elliptical, but more like hiking than running.  There is also a separate room for spin classes.

    Sweat your heart out!

    Super schnazzy ArcTrainer...

    ...which kicked my little tush

    Spin bikes
  • Free weights/weight machines: 5 out of 5.  Again, lots of variety and plenty of room.  In addition to plenty of traditional machines (in great working order), they had one of those cable machines everyone keeps talking about, "boxes" for getting your Crossfit on, and a slider with fancy socks. 

    Cable machine

    Box jumps!!!

    This thing made my butt sooo sore.

    Cool socks!  They go over your shoes.
  • Stretching/abs area(s): 4 out of 5.  They actually have two...one upstairs near the cardio machines and one downstairs near the childcare center and weights.  The have medicine balls, bosu trainers, foam rollers, and all kinds of good stuff.  Some of the equipment didn't look as updated as the rest of the gym, and the downstairs area seems a little in the way of folks on their way to lift, but other than that, good spot to work your core and stretch your muscles. 


  • Awesome extras: 5 out of 5.  The RAC has a basketball court, a racquetball court, and a rock climbing wall.  Pretty sick.

    Shoulda brought my partner!
    If this doesn't make heights look fun, what would?

  • Classes/training: Great Options.  The RAC offers a ton of different classes from boot camp to spin to yoga, and at convenient times throughout the day and week.  Personal training and nutrition coaching is also available.  I can't comment further having not taken a class or had training, but they definitely have a lot of options available.
  • Locker rooms/bathroom: 5 out of 5.  Amazing.  I could have spent my entire visit to the RAC without leaving the locker room and been pretty happy.  Everything was beautiful and well laid-out.  From the sauna to plenty of (carpeted!) benches near the lockers to an ironing board, it seems they've thought of everything. 
  • Atmosphere/focus factor: 5 out of 5.  Honestly, a gym this nice had me kinda expecting folks to be less serious about working out and more into "gym culture," if you know what I mean...folks who come in to jump on the elliptical for ten minutes and then "stretch" for an hour while chatting on their phone.  SO not the case at the RAC.  All the clientele seemed committed and excited about their workout, whether attending a class or running or hitting up the rock climbing wall.  It's always important to exercises in an encouraging environment, and the RAC offers that in spades.
Final verdict: Hands-down, this is the nicest gym I have ever visited.  They manage to maintain top-notch offerings without seeming snobbish.  The only drawback here is the cost...but frankly, if you can afford it, you will definitely get more than your money's worth for the equipment, classes, and "extras."  In the Seattle area, it can be SO hard to stay motivated when the weather gets crappy (you know, from October to June).  But the RAC makes working out so fun, you'd be hard pressed to stay away. 

You tell me:  Have you ever been to the RAC?  Thoughts?  Comments?  Sore muscles?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Running, Fencing, and Waffles (VDay TheMeghaMix Way)

Better late than never, right?

This year we split VDay in half and celebrated in part on 2/11 and 2/16.  When we were dating, we never got to celebrate on the 14th, and so now we keep it that way on purpose!

Our team celebrates holidays, birthdays, and vacations by doing some sort of fit-tastic event.  Last year for Valentine's Day, we did a couples yoga workshop and ran the Greenlake Love 'Em or Leave 'Em 5k Dash

VDay 2011
This year, we kept the dash, dropped the yoga, and added fencing.  SO much better than fighting other couples for a fancy table at a pricey restaurant. 

Saturday morning we got up, grabbed our costumes, and headed out to Seattle for our 5k fun run.  No fun run is complete without a great team name...so we were the lulu lovebirds.  Jared was stoked that he didn't have to wear a boa.

We got to the race way early, picked up our packets, and walked up to Zoka Coffee to grab some post-race snacks.

We didn't end up sticking together for the whole race...but we met up at the end, and that's what counts! 

That afternoon, we finally used our Living Social deal for a two-person workshop at Washington Fencing Academy!

We got to meet a world champion at saber and watch some of the regular students practice their skills:

Our 2 hour workshop included a history lesson in fencing (during which they showed clips from the Princess Bride - AWESOME), footwork, games, and finally, real gear and weapons!

Nothing like stabbing the love of your life.  The room was freezing during the whole workshop, but other than that, we had a great time and enjoyed trying something new together.

Our "official" Valentine's Day is February 16th...it's actually the day Jared proposed three years ago, which makes it extra special. 

Jared had mentioned on Wednesday night that he really wanted waffles for breakfast Thursday morning...but he didn't want to wake up extra early to make them.  (Yes, usually he makes them from scratch.  I'm spoiled and proud.)  I decided to set my alarm a few minutes early so I could run and pickup some toaster waffles from the store!  Thanks, Metropolitan Market, for being open at 4:45 in the morning.  You rock.

It was so fun to start the day off with a fun breakfast!  Sometimes you have to stop waiting for life to be perfect and just squeeze in a little romance whenever you get the chance.

After a day of going our separate ways with work, teaching, and working out, we got to cap off our Valentine's celebration with an amazing meal Jared cooked for us!

Champagne, gouda, and sweet potato chips!
Pot roast roasting

Super incredible

Blended up veggies = soup!
It was so fun to have an evening to enjoy each other's company and share mushy cards.  Jared got me the smooching baby, and I got him a handmade hedgehog card - it seemed fitting with the fencing workshop.  If you like the hedgehog card, check out Tangle's Treasures!  She does beautiful work and always has a new project to share with her readers.

You tell me:  What did you do for Valentine's Day?  Have you ever tried fencing?  Is your chocolate all eaten up already?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Death by Kettlebells - Workout of the Week (Plus Weird Workout Motivation)

Happy Friday!

Boy, did this week fly by.  My workout of the week is from Tuesday: Death by Kettlebell Swings.

Honestly, this is one of the strangest Crossfit workouts I've done.  When the timer starts, you do one kettlebell swing.  Just one.  Then you wait till the first minute is up and do...wait for it...two kettlebell swings.  And so on and so forth, until you could no longer complete the number of reps at the specified minute. 

Yup, iWorkout in skirts.
There was so much standing around, it didn't feel like Crossfit!  The good (?) news is that by round 8 or 9, it started to feel like a workout, and by round 20 I was toast!!!  For those of you non-math majors, that's 210 kettlebellswings in 20 minutes. 

Top - Nike Thermafit, running skirt - lululemon,
socks - Target, shoes - Nike
I used the 26 pound kettlebell.  I thought about going up to the 35, but my arm felt a little odd and I didn't want to risk getting injured.  In the end, I think it was the wise choice.  As it was, I was sore until this morning!

I'm a nerd.

Okay, so I don't wear socks with sandals or use pocket protectors.  But I'm kinda crazy about spreadsheets.  Even when I was young I would make lists of what to pack on a trip...not on paper.  In Excel.

So, you ask, what do I do to motivate myself to eat healthy and workout when I feel like sitting around and eating gelato?

EASY.  I have a spreadsheet for that.

I started my tracking my workouts with Google Doc spreadsheets back on 9/13/10.  I put down what I did (racquetball) for how long (40 minutes).  Then I have handy-dandy formulas that add up my time each day AND each week.  (I'm so fancy.)

I've also added other things to the list that I want to remember to do...like how many hours I sleep on weeknights, how many servings of veggies I've had on weekdays, and whether I rememberd to take my magnesium. 

Here's what this week looks like so far:

I only weigh myself about once a month, and I do my body fat testing around the same time, since I care a lot less about how many pounds I have and a lot more about how much of me is muscle.

I don't track veggies on the weekends...cause I sorta eat whatever I feel like.  And I don't track sleep those nights either, because I tend to get plenty.

For some reason, this little tool has kept me going strong for a year and a half.  It makes me really happy to go and plop my numbers in and watch them add up as the week goes by.  It also allows me to plan ahead what workouts I wanna do which days.  I shoot for plenty of variety to avoid getting injured, bored, or unbalanced.

And there you have it.  Pretty spreadsheets, committed girl.

You tell me:  What do you do to stay motivated?  What are you proud of accomplishing this week?  Do you think it's weird to stand around during a workout?  ARE YOU EXCITED IT'S THE WEEKEND???