FitPROChallenge

Good-Bye Summer, Hello FitPRO Challenge!

WHAT is the FitPRO Challenge? WHY should you participate?

I hope you enjoyed your summer and were able to spend some time with friends, family, and the great outdoors (maybe some great indoor bars) but now it is time to get back to work! Summer is coming to an end and the holidays will be here before you know it. So we are asking you to take your fitness to the next level and keep it going strong through the holiday months. My partner, Alfio and I have created this challenge to help you get in the best shape of your life. No matter what your current fitness level is, you can always improve something, and we believe that the only way to get better is to step out of your comfort zone and truly challenge yourself to something out of your normal fitness routine.

WHAT:

Our FitPRO challenge is a way to physically and mentally test yourself with actual metrics over a 6 week period. This challenge starts with our “pre-lim” event where participants will experience a guided 30 minute indoor cycling session with specific focus on 3 types of training: speed, strength and endurance. After the 30 minute ride, participants will be accompanied outside for a timed 5K. Runners will have a water station at the halfway point and all times will be recorded by our team of volunteers and trainers. Finally, all participants will complete a series of 5 strength exercises for maximum reps in the time allotted.

All times and repetitions will be recorded so you get your baseline to work from, and THAT’S where the fun starts. All participants have a variety of levels that they can choose from for the remainder of the 6 week challenge. Options include upgrading to training sessions with the FitPRO’s at pura, participating in our group runs, or just the pre and post events. There is something for everyone and our friends over at FitNiche will help us get our feet on track with a running clinic.

At the end of the 6 weeks on Saturday, October 18th all participants will repeat their initial event during our final FitPRO challenge. It will be a tale of the tape as you bike, run and lift your way to the finish line! Afterwards, a member appreciation event will take place with tons of food, drinks, vendor prizes and giveaways for participants in the challenge! Sounds like fun right?

WHY:

You may be asking, OK….I can do this….so why do I need you? Testing your physical limits against the clock and trying something new to confuse your body is an excellent way to take your fitness to the next level. We will be training for 6 weeks with a group of like-minded individuals all ready to take the next step to a healthier and stronger self!

Or you may be asking why this kind of challenge? Maybe you have done endurance events before like marathons or triathlons. But, are you where you want to be currently? Our bodies are constantly changing and it’s OK to change your mindset with them! What are your goals for your own personal fitness right NOW? If you want to be functionally stronger, increase your cardiovascular fitness and feel better about your health in general, then this event is for you!

Not only are the participants and members of Pura always down for another challenge, but our members are always willing to extend a hand for support to help you get up and over any walls you might hit. Plus, our team of instructors and trainers are dedicated to helping you make this 6 weeks the ultimate transformation you have been looking for (in the kitchen and in the studio)!

So it comes down to what you are looking to achieve in a fitness program. Do you want accountability, educated and trained professionals to push you, a welcome and fun environment AND a killer post event party to celebrate with? Then look no further! Take our challenge and take your fitness to the next level. Test your strength, endurance and speed like never before.

We are ready when you are. Click here to see the different levels of participation we offer, then call us to schedule a consultation with one of our trainers! We look forward to seeing you soon,

Pura vida!

813-501-2124

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I saw this quote the other day and I couldn’t help but smile and nod. “Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a cha-cha”.  We like to post some sort of motivational quote on our white board at the studio and this is definitely one of my favorites! Since it is not directly correlated with fitness it got me thinking a lot about how many of us approach a lifestyle change. Whether it is a new job, moving to a new city, or starting a new fitness routine – it helps to be optimistic when entering into a new phase in our lives. And what better way to show your optimism by taking the little things in life and making them GREAT at every turn.

To make it simple, let’s take starting a new fitness routine for example. Say you have been on this great run – walk – jog kick and have seen some good results and now have that “itch” to do more. But, you are a little reluctant because you know that is requires change and you haven’t quite convinced yourself you are ready yet. Well my friend, that’s where the cha-cha comes in. Step 1, find a new fitness class. Step two, replace one bagged sugar/salty snack a day with a fruit or vegetable. AWESOME. Two steps forward, and it feels great! You rock out 3 classes in 1 week and end up finding a new veggie and hummus combo that satisfies your craving. But the following week you get overwhelmed at work and are unable to attend any classes, yet are still enjoying your healthy snacks. Well, my friend you just completed a lovely little mambo number– no matter WHAT your fitness level or experience is, we all do it. That is why we call it a lifestyle and we roll with the punches as they come along – modifying our steps to keep up with a new beat.

Next dance number. We take another step forward to committing to a monthly routine and give ourselves a “cheat” day once in a while so we can still feel confident and great about all the work we did, but are realistic with our goals. We’ve got some friends coming into town and there are some holidays around the corner and we want to live by “Pura Vida” so we plan and prepare our next steps. We will call this one the “ballroom”….one step forward and one to the side…we might end up a step back occasionally, but guess what – we are still dancing!

Now, don’t forget about the whole production. So many times we get caught up in reaching our goals that we forget why we even started! We get excited and jacked-up on the numbers and maybe go a little too hard too fast that we end up either injuring ourselves, getting burnt out or we encounter something that we cannot control. But, I am here to tell you that the show must go on, and sometimes we crash and burn, but the best part is – there is always going to be another song to dance to and maybe that tempo will match you better.

Here are some tips to keep your optimism high going into any lifestyle change.

Set goals: The first thing you should do is write down (somewhere, anywhere) what your “long-term” goal is and WHY you want to reach it. If you can’t write it down, think harder until you are able to express in words what you really want. This way when you take a few spins or steps backward, you can jump back in like you never skipped a beat.

Measure change: How will we know how close we are getting to our goal if we don’t measure our progress? Find something specific that you want to focus on (increasing endurance, completing projects on time, finding a new hobby etc…) and work on it! Every month or so – take a quantitative measurement of how well you are performing that task.

Mix it up: Sometimes we chose the wrong dance partner. Now, I am not giving relationship advice here! I mean that maybe we really loved this new running routine or fitness class but it isn’t really doing it for you after a few months. Try mixing it up! Find a new running route, try a different instructor or get a new workout buddy! Changing elements within your new lifestyle can make all the difference – it takes some fine tuning but you’ll find it.

Don’t be afraid to fall: If it were easy, everyone would do it! In order to reach your goals we need to step out of our comfort zone every once in a while. Try something new, you might surprise yourself on how hard, far and fast you can push yourself! A wise person once said “The one who falls and gets up is much stronger than the one who never fell”.

 

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Potluck Picnic Recipes

Spring time is here, and we couldn’t think of a better way to bring it in than with a Potluck Picnic! The members and friends of Pura Cycling Studio got together over the weekend to share our favorite healthy recipes and celebrate the winners of our 60-Day Body Transformation Challenge at Trout Creek Wilderness Park. The weather was wonderful and of course the company was amazing!

The winners of our challenge were:

Most Body fat % loss: Tatiana

Most Inches Loss: Jessica

Most Body Weight Loss: Christina

A BIG thank you to our local businesses who donated some amazing prizes: Nutrition S’Mart of Wesley Chapel, Massage Envy, Cantina Laredo, and Safety Harbor Resort and Spa! We are so glad you all could join us for this amazing event; we will definitely do more in the future! Here are some of the recipes that were presented at our picnic – as always, if you have more to share, please comment below!

Kim: Flourless and Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Chickpea Brownies

Ingredients

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup all natural almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar (you can also use honey if you’re not vegan)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegan (or regular) chocolate chips plus 2 tablespoons
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 8×8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips, I like to use dark chocolate because it has less sugar but it’s up to you. Note: Batter will be thick and super delicious, so you could actually just eat it on it’s own!
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. (The batter may stick to your spatula, so I like to spray my spatula with nonstick cooking spray first.) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown. The batter may look underdone, but you don’t want them to dry out!
  4. Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt then cut into squares. Makes 16 blondies.

Notes Adding an egg to the batter will make it more cake-like, but not vegan. You can use your favorite nut butter, just make sure it’s all natural. Feel free to add in other things according to your dietary needs like nuts, dried fruit, or other types of chocolate.

Read more at: Ambitious Kitchen

Kim also brought Deviled Tomatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 6 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 tub of hummus (any flavor is fine!)
  • 1 small container of your favorite tabouleh

Directions:

  1. Slice Roma tomatoes in half (lengthwise) and scrape out the insides
  2. Spoon a tbsp. of hummus in each half and drop with a dollop of tabouleh.
  3. Serve chilled or room temperature

Tatiana: Sweet Potato Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 3 eggs (2 whites, 1 whole) whisked
  • ¼ cup Virgin Coconut Oil, melted
  • ⅓ cup raw honey
  • ½ cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 3 tablespoons Coconut Flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Poke holed into the sweet potatoe and put in the microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Once the sweet potato cooled enough . Peel the skin off, mash it up and put it in a glass bowl to further cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F
  4. Add the eggs to a bowl and whisk, add melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla and whisked together.
  5. Add in sweet potatoes into the wet ingredients after they cooled off a bit.
  6. Prepare another bowl with the dry ingredients: coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and cocoa powder.
  7. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix well.
  8. Spread the mixture into an 9×13 baking pan
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350F.
  10. Once they look done, take them out of the oven and let them cool in the pan.

Read more at: Run Fast Mama

Tatiana also brought “vegan queso”  

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of raw cashews, soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes (rinse well)
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 red bell pepper roasted and seeded (I used a jar of salsa instead)
  • ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce
  • Zest and  juice from ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, add ¼ cup of water and blend well until smooth.

Kristen: Turkey and Quinoa Meatloaf (makes 5 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (20 ounce) package ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon water

Directions

  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.
  4. Stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, onions, tomato paste, hot sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet. Combine the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Rub the paste over the top of the meatloaf.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 50 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Read More at All Recipes

Stephanie: Quinoa Bean Salad Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa (dry)
  • 1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can white beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 bag edemame (remove from shells)
  • 1 ½ cups sweet peppers (red, yellow and orange) diced
  • ½ cup craisins
  • 2 tbsp. light rasp. Vinegarette (Newman’s own or Bolthouse farms make good ones)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to directions (no oil necessary).
  2. Meanwhile, sauté peppers until lightly browned. Remove from heat and let sit until cooled.
  3. Rinse and drain all beans. Important!! Let all indredients cool SEPERATELY in the refrigerator until cool. Once chilled, combine remaining ingredients in a large serving bowl. Refrigerate and let it sit over night for best results. Serve chilled or at room temperature!

Alfio: Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 package 99% lean ground turkey
  • ½ sweet onion (diced)
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Separate turkey into palm sized patties.
  3. Flatten and place on a lightly sprayed surface and either grill, bake or pan-sear until lightly browned and cooked through.

Christina and Don: Cilantro, corn and black bean salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can yellow corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can white corn, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 bunch finely chopped cilantro
  • 5 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (or more for zestier taste)
  • 1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste

Directions

  1. Stir the yellow and white corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, red onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a large bowl.
  2. Gently mix in the lime juice and avocado. Drizzle with olive oil to serve.

Read More at All Recipes

Debbie: Ham Pinwheels

Ingredients:

  • Fat Free Cream cheese
  • Sliced Low sodium honey baked ham
  • 1 cup Baby arugula
  • 1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Spinach tortillas

Directions:

  1. Toss arugula lightly in balsamic vinegar until coated.
  2. Roll out tortillas and spread a light layer of cream cheese on the tortillas.
  3. Layer ham and arugula then sprinkle with parmesean cheese.
  4. Roll up into a wrap and slice into 1-2 inch pinwheels.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Claire: Ginger Basil Grilled Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Grated fresh ginger
  • Two fresh cloves of garlic pressed
  • Fresh whole package of basil
  • Bousari orange ginger seasoning salt
  • Black pepper
  • Dash of gluten free tamari sauce
  • Dash of Worcestershire sause
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of fresh pressed pineapple juice.

Directions:

  1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry, poke holes with a fork and pour the marinade and chicken into a large ziplock
  2. Massage the meat well so the marinade covers all sides and the fresh herbs spread evenly.
  3. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator and cook or grill.
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Find Your Inner Spartan in 3 Steps

All of us have obstacles in our life, albeit some greater than others but nonetheless they occur quite frequently. They may not be actual greased walls, or mud pits or barbed wire, but we have them and what separates us as individuals is how we overcome them.  Over the past few years as a trainer, coach and small business owner I have learned a lot about overcoming obstacles both in my personal life and in the lives of my clients. My passion is in helping others get up and over their obstacles, stepping out of their comfort zone and reaching new highs. And I am always keeping an open mind for new theories and ideas on how others have traversed through their own struggles. This is why I had to learn more about this new book that is coming out May 17th called “Spartan Up!” by the creator of Spartan Races – Joe DeSena with the help of Jeff O’Connell.

Spartan Up! is all about overcoming obstacles (both physical and mental) by embracing the Spartan lifestyle. Spartan…hmm… what? Have you heard of or tried a Spartan race before? They are obstacle races that range in distances but always have dozens of challenges placed throughout the run like greased walls, monkey bars, and of course the ever popular mud pits. These races test both your physical and mental strength as you push yourself, and help others get through obstacles to finish as a Spartan! The mindset behind these races is based on living and really understanding the Spartan way of life. This book Spartan Up! is a guide to help you overcome obstacles based on three basic principles: question your assumptions, embrace the “less is more principle” and understand that discipline is everything.  You will learn how to master “obstacle immunity” in 10 chapters, designed to teach you how to systematically apply the Spartan way to every aspect of your life: food/diet, working out, health, business or work, education, relationships, parenting and more. The book is broken up into these three sections to help your achieve a life worth living, rather than simply living life.

1. Learn from the past. For centuries man has been pushing through the mud to reach their goals – both on the battlefield and in our daily lives. This section takes you back to the beginning to truly understand how to confront your biggest obstacle –your will, charge up and over greased walls, testing your perseverance, and then finally passing through the barbed wire to find mental and physical endurance. You will take a closer look at how we make decisions and what implications they have had on our life.

2. Understand the present. How can we look into the future until we understand what is happening in the present? This chapter is about the here and now, assessing your fitness and WHY you are “training” and if it is beneficial to your goals and the life you want to live. This section has me especially interested as they dive into “Spartan nutrition” and planning/preparing for success. You cannot expect to get through the mud and over your walls if you don’t set yourself up for success by planning, preparing and facing your challenges head on physically and getting real with your nutrition and exercise. Then, what happens when we fail? This book will challenge you to endure failure so it humbles us, makes us stronger and challenges us to find a good attitude in any storm.

3. Master the future. Finally we take on our distance challenge by calming our current minds to look down the road at what really matters. It’s easy to get caught up at the shiny objects within reach when there is so much more waiting for you down the road. Learn how to silence yourself and take control of your mind to improve focus so no obstacles can hold you back. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and finally put it all together to embrace the Spartan lifestyle. The author will take you on a few journeys that will help you understand that sometimes less is more and that life is not worth living unless you are living it fully.

I encourage you to pick this book up when it is released on May 17th or click here to pre-order it online. Spartan Up! is filled with unforgettable stories of Spartan racers as well as hard-won truths learned along the course. This book will help anyone reach their full potential—in life, business, relationships, indeed anything one sets out to do. It is the blueprint that takes you right past. Learn how to live like a Spartan and become the strongest you – mind, body and spirit.

Listen below for an Audio excerpt of Spartan Up!

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Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

We all know that hydration is important. But the questions is, are you hydrating enough or with the right fluids? Today we are going to talk about water; simple, honest and pure water. After all, our bodies are made up of a majority of the good stuff, but how much water should you be drinking each day? It depends. There isn’t a right answer to this question as everyone’s body differs from one person to the next. Here are a few guidelines to help you determine how much water is the right amount for you.

First, let’s discuss why we need water to begin with. Besides the most obvious benefit of keeping you hydrated throughout the day or during a tough workout, water also allows you to perform at a more optimal level during exercise (i.e.: no cramping). It also helps to maintain homeostasis by replenishing any water you lose through sweating. Every system in our body relies on water to help flush out toxins, especially when you get sick, along withcarrying and distributing vital and essential nutrientsthroughout your body. Getting in enough water daily will also help keep your body functioning properly and prevent things like kidney stones and constipation. Furthermore, studies have shown that dehydration can be contributed to fatigue and headaches. Who wants that?

So how much water should you be drinking? The recommended amount you should consume daily is pretty standard with the average being six to eight 8oz glasses each and every day.Although, some may need more depending on their activity level and the climate they live in. Living in a hotter climate (such as our beautiful Florida heat!) means more sweating which means losing more water throughout the day. Here is a simple equation to help you determine how much water you should aim for each day:

  • Average person: divide body weight in half = number of ounces per day for normal everyday functioning
  • Active person/warmer climate: body weight = number of ounces per day

How do you know if you’re still not getting enough? The easiest way to tell if you need more water is by looking at the color of your urine. If you notice a darker yellow color, chances are you’re not consuming enough. A clear-pale yellow color typically means you’re well hydrated. If you’re sick, water should also be at the top of your priority list as consuming an adequate amount will help your body flush out toxins along with helping you to recover more quickly. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should also be more aware of their water intake. However, always be sure to consult with your doctor to help you determine what a safe amount is for you, if you are unsure.

A super simple way to help you start drinking more water is to drink two full glasses of water with each main meal and one full glass with or without a snack in between meals. At the end of the day you will have already gotten in your full eight glasses!  Also, often times when we feel like we are hungry, it may just be your body telling you that you’re thirsty and not necessarily hungry. So on your next meal or snack time, be sure to keep a bottle of water with you and finish it before jumping back in for seconds!

Pura Vida - Stephanie

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Clean Cooking with Pinterest

I love to enjoy the holidays – good times with good friends and GREAT food and I am not ashamed of it. Now, that doesn’t mean that I skip my workouts or let my normal schedule fly out of the window, but my calorie intake does increase a little and recovery time is a bit more substantial.  So, to counter this holiday indulgence I kick start my diet and exercise every January (like many) holding myself VERY strict to a complete nutrition and exercise regime for 90 days. This will be my third year going really strict on myself and so far it is going great! However, I remember the first time I tried to cut back on foods (like cheese, bread and sweets) I was NOT a happy camper and was finding myself extremely bored with the weekly meal plan I had set for myself. Then one day, a friend introduced Pinterest to me and I can honestly say I have never spent more time on a website in one day!

I suddenly found myself searching ravenously for more and more healthy “skinny” recipes to quench my thirst for new and exciting foods. Now, my idea of eating clean is EXTREEMLY strict which is why I only do this once a year (for 90 days) and then continue on to a maintenance diet and exercise routine. So, when I started looking around online I found tons of recipes that I could easily swap out ingredients to fit my dietary options.

—-what’s that? You don’t know what Pinterest is!? Pinterest is a social-media Web site on which users compile collections of pictures they find on the Internet or just browse the collections of others. The site’s name combines the words “interest” and “pin,” in reference to “pin boards,” which are also known in various creative professions as inspiration boards or mood boards…Pin…interest…get it? Ok back to why it is so awesome…

I love to make things ahead of time, especially for early mornings or when needing healthy snacks on the go, so naturally I am always looking for “mini” things. Not sure what I mean by swapping out ingredients in already seemingly healthy recipes? Here is a mini quiche recipe I found when typing in “healthy recipes” into pinterest:

Muffin Tin Quiches

  • Yields 24 muffins or 48 mini muffins
  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash browns
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 green pepper
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 tsp pepper (optional)

1. Preheat over to 375*. Grease muffins tins using cooking spray.

2. Defrost 4 cups hash browns in microwave.  Pour 2 tbsp melted butter over hash browns. Stir.

3. Spoon hash browns into muffin tins.  Press hash browns into muffin tins creating a hash brown cup.  Bake at 375* for 15 minutes.

4. While the hash browns are baking, cook the bacon in a frying pan.  Dice the bacon and green pepper.

5. Whisk the eggs, and optional pepper, together and set aside.

6. When the hash browns are lightly browned around the edges, pull out of the oven.  Fill each hash town cup with a small amount of bacon, green pepper and cheese.

7. Pour eggs on top of hash brown cups and filling.  Fill 3/4 of the way full.

8. Bake at 375* for 15-20 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean when they are fully cooked.

Now, seemingly healthy if you can eat one MINI quiche or a half of 1 muffin, but for most of us that are trying to really cut back, this is simply not a healthy choice off the bat. However, using the same basic instructions and swapping out a few ingredients you get the same idea, with less than half the calories! So you can take 2 or 3 of these bad boys with you and not break the calorie budget.

My version:

Muffin Tin Quiches – Yields 24 muffins or 48 mini muffins

  • 4 cups shredded sweet potatoes (or baby reds – require less cooking time)
  • ½ tbsp. spray butter
  • 1 green pepper
  • 6 slices turkey bacon
  • ½ cup low fat cheese
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 15 egg whites
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon and red pepper flakes

Prepare the same way, minimizing the oils and cheese and voilà! A substantially healthier, on-the-go part of your breakfast or afternoon snack.

It may seem like a bit much, but when your brain is fried from the daily grind and you don’t feel like coming up with a  complete recipe, and fast food is NOT an option, sometimes it is just easier to swap out healthy ingredients for an already existing recipe and go from there. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Cut the cheese in half or LEAVE IT OUT! We need to realize what cheese does for dishes. It adds creaminess, salt and savory-ness. So get creative with spices instead, add hummus as a spread rather than cheese on a sandwich etc… cheese has long been our crutch in making meals tasty. Step out of your comfort zone and explore the wonderful seasoning and spreads that are available with just a little extra effort.

2. Eliminate butter and margarine completely and minimalize oils. There are so many spray butters, oils and alternatives (like coconut and hemp oil) that are much better for baking and sautéing anyway. Cut the trans fats from the traditional oils and go for heart healthy options full of omega 3’s instead. Most of the time the recipe really does not require the full amount of oil as indicated by the recipe. Start small and add along the way if you decide that your dish really needs that extra Tbsp. of olive oil.

3. Mind the serving sizes. Most recipes tell you how many they serve, but some don’t. So keep in mind for the average woman – single palm is your protein serving, cupped palm is your grains, size of your thumb is fats, and a fist size of veggies. (double it for most men)

4. Drop the extra carb. Breaded fish, chicken and eggplant is not entirely necessary to create that recipe is it? Every now and again it is OK, but if you do – choose the Panko plain breadcrumbs – not the seasoned Italian crusted herb blend. Minimalize seasoning blends in general as these tend to have extremely high levels of sodium  which will leave you bloated, dehydrated and fill in unnecessary calories you could otherwise use in your meal.

5. Swap grains and proteins. If a baked chicken dish calls for Swiss chard over rice pilaf feel free to swap out your veggie and protein for something healthier but still in the same serving size/calorie realm. Like using kale or spinach rather than Swiss chard and whole grain brown rice or quinoa rather than rice pilaf, then serve with fresh cod or lean extra firm tofu (for my veggie friends) rather than chicken.

Using a simple “healthy recipe” from pinterest as your starting point can open up your world to a whole new realm of possibilities. Just remember what your specific goals are and what it is going to take for you to reach them. You may not want to be as strict on yourself as others, but substituting out ingredients for healthier options is a great place to start!

Want instant inspiration? Check out our Pinterest boards with Pura Cycling Studio. We update weekly with inspiration from the web and from our members!

“Moderation in all things, especially moderation.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monthly Metrics and Nutrition Assessments

Fit or skinny, which is better?

If I have another lady come into my office wanting to get to a size 0 because they saw Jada Pinkett Smith waltzing down the red carpet with her toned arms and sleek silhouette, I’m going to pull the last bit of hair out of my head!

I’m not saying that looking good shouldn’t be a goal, but let’s be realistic about 1) your own body type and 2) what you’re WILLING TO DO to get to your goal.

Most people, probably 99%, aren’t willing to do the work that will take them to a size 0…AND THAT’S OK.

There needs to be a happy medium. A person shouldn’t be so overweight that their health is suffering, especially with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, low back pain, and on and on.

AND you shouldn’t beat yourself up over the fact that you’re not a size 2.

Where is all of this coming from you may ask? In my “spare” time I’ve been watching a TV Show called Drop Dead Diva. It’s hilarious. The basic premise is that a 24 year old, size 2 model dies and comes back as a size 14 super smart lawyer. One of her revelations was that a person has to be happy with who they are. Like the Dove commercials say, love the skin you’re in!

Some might be thinking right now, but Stephanie, you’re a trainer and want people to get thin…WRONG! I’m a fitness professional who wants to get people HEALTHY. There’s a big difference.

After many years in this business, I realize there is just a small percentage of people who are willing to do what it takes to get super low body fat percentages. It’s a lot easier to integrate healthy eating habits and daily exercise to get healthy rather than skinny.

In fact my 21-day program is all about helping people integrate daily exercise (about 30 minutes each day) and sensible nutrition, (no special foods or pills or potions) to kick start a habit to get HEALTHY…and in the process you’ll shed some pounds and inches.

More importantly you FEEL so much better, have more energy and MUCH MORE self-confidence.

So, if you’re a person who beats themselves up for not looking like a super model STOP IT. Strive for health, get to a healthy weight and body fat percentage, and start feeling better about your self.

If you’re interested in learning more about how EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has FINISHED my 21-day program has integrated health into their lives and has lost pounds and inches along the way, then sign up below to see if the program is right for you. I don’t take everyone into the program and you must have an interview with me first.

REGISTER HERE!

I hope you call now to start on your journey to health and fitness…not a skinny super model! You’ll be glad you did.

Reach your goals

A New Year or a New Day?

January is the “dedication” month – we pick new resolutions and plan out a few benchmarks along the way to make sure we stay on track, but what happens most of the time? We either get distracted, bored, or “life gets in the way”. Sound familiar? I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like that this year, and you don’t have to wait until January 1st to make the decision to commit to a fitness and nutrition plan.

Take baby steps

Making small changes one at a time is the best way to start a new habit so that it can develop into a lifestyle change, not just something you tried for a little while.  Some examples would be to:

  • Get a reusable, fun/sporty water bottle and keep it with you – refilling at least 6 times a day. (think half of your body weight in oz/day)
  • Substitute one splenda for one truvia or natural sweetener in your morning coffee or skim milk/light soymilk rather than creamer.
  • Add 1 cup of vegetables to your lunch and dinner.
  • Add in 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise two times a week, then three, increasing until you get to 5 solid days of cardiovascular exercise.

Big tasks are manageable in small chunks – so take it one step at a time and start small. Set one measurable and REALISTIC goal a week that you can look back on at the end of the week to see how you did. When you have mastered that one, maintain and move on to the next!

Get Creative

Do you try to use recipes when cooking “healthy”? Great, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to recipes to get comfortable with a new style of food, but don’t let it hold you back! Take a look at the recipe and analyze what the main ingredients are. Look at the protein, grain and veggie and see what substitutions could work. Lean turkey and chicken can almost always be substituted for each other; if a recipe calls for spinach – try it with Kale or Swiss chard, if the main grain is brown rice or couscous, try it with quinoa.

Add in YOUR favorite spices and try to eliminate any additional sodium (many seasoning blends are loaded with salt) by sticking with a few basic spices (pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano etc…). You would be surprised how different you can make a favorite dish just by switching up the grain or main vegetable. Just be sure to accommodate the cooking instructions as needed (time for grains especially) and portion out your meals in advance.

Challenge Yourself

Take a step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. Whether it be a new fitness class, a new route on your walk or run, or a new style of cooking; challenge yourself and see where it takes you! Not quite there yet? No worries, start by bringing a friend, family member or co-worker with you on your first journey outside of your comfort zone. Having a “healthy buddy” is a great way to get new habits started and you get to create a bond with your buddy!

Set Yourself up to Win

Groupon and Living Social Deals are great ways to get started with something new. There is little to no barriers to begin and most of the time there is NO commitment required. So you get to try something new (with a buddy) for little to no impact on your wallet or conscious. Browse around for local activities, fitness or cooking classes – who knows, you might just find that activity/recipe/class you have been searching for!

A client of mine uses this phrase frequently and I absolutely LOVE IT. She says “I need to set myself up to win” whenever talking about preparing meals or scheduling time for exercise each week. It truly brings a smile to my face and is so simple, but so true. If you want to succeed, you need to set yourself up to WIN. It’s as simple as that. Olympic athletes don’t just step out onto the track and hope for their best 100M sprint. They spend every single day prepping, preparing and training for their events. Now, I am not saying you need to dedicate 100% of your day to your health and fitness routine – rather plan and schedule time to make it PART of your daily routine.

Preparing meals ahead of time and physically blocking out timeon your calendar to exercise and pre-portion your meals are all steps that set you up to WIN. Planning and preparing takes the guess-work out of your regimen and makes it part of your day, which removes the anxiety and pressures you might have from starting a new routine. Take the time once a week to plan out your main meals, schedule your work outs and set realistic, measurable goals on a weekly basis.

It doesn’t take a new year to start a new routine. All it takes is a new day with the determination to succeed. Take small steps, get creative, challenge yourself and most importantly – set yourself up to WIN. If you are struggling with any of these components please reach out to the FitPro’s at Pura Cycling Studio at 813-501-2124. We provide the programs, education and accountability to make your goals a reality. Set yourself up to win today by taking the first step. Commit to your resolution and the rest will follow!

For more information or to request a complimentary consultation, contact me at 813-501-2124 or shoot us an email at joinus@puracycling.com

 PURA VIDA!

Stephanie

Nutritional Guidance and Meal Plans

Spin on the Holiday Meals

Holiday treats are good for the soul but not always so good for the body.  Some of you may get strange looks and awkward sneers when you pass up on a round of pie and for many of us, we give in and throw our diets to the wayside then make plans for a new year’s resolution to trump last years!

Now, you know we live the Pura Vida lifestyle which is all about living life to it’s fullest and enjoying every moment which is why I am NOT going to tell you to be the dessert Grinch and pass up on your Aunt’s famous homemade pumpkin pie. We work hard, and it is important for us to endulge every once in awhile. We have said it before – being fit is a lifestyle, not a fad, which is why we remain flexible and allow ourselves the occasional indulgence.

So, this year I am challenging myself and family to make healthy alternatives and substitutions to at least two of the items in our large family dinners. I don’t know about your family, but when my cousins get together there is plenty of food to choose from, so when I am given the option to bring a dish – I am going to make a healthy alternative and hopes to inspire someone else to think outside the bread stuffing box.

The best way to tackle adding in new “traditions” to the holidays is one step at a time! So when creating your dishes, try to keep 3 things in mind:

  1. The more color the better
  2. Smaller flavor packed portions
  3. Substitutes are your friend (recipe calls for sour creme or creme cheese? use greek yogurt)

Below are some of my favorite recipes that I have been playing around with.  Keeping those 3 things in mind, get creative and try something new! Most likely there are plenty of things on the table for others to choose from, so reach out this year and see if you can’t turn someone else’s healthy leaf over.

Sweet Potato, Bean and Quinoa Salad

Serves 8 (1/2 cup serving size)

This is perfect for potlucks, especially if you have a few vegans or vegetarians in the crowd this year. Stick with small servings of this superfood dish – a little goes a long way!

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 cups red and white quinoa (dry)
  • 2 Sweet potatoes (cubed w/skin on)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can white beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 12 oz edemame (out of the shell)
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. light raspberry vinagarette
  • ½ cup craisins
  • ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp. thyme
  • Pinch of salt, pepper and oregano

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 deg.
  2. Coat a baking sheet in foil and lightly grease the pan with coconut oil
  3. With remaining coconut oil, toss cubed sweet potatoes with cinnamon and salt
  4. Bake potatoes for 40 minutes or so (tossing halfway) until slightly browned on top
  5. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to directions (use 1 tbsp. olive oil)
  6. Let both the quinoa and sweet potatoes cool in the fridge for 30 minutes-1 hour until closer to room temperature. (you want everything around the same temperature when mixing so that extra moisture doesn’t occur to make a soggy salad)
  7. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl – be careful not to add too much dressing or lemon juice – start with half the quantity and add until you get desired taste.
  8. Refrigerate overnight and serve chilled!

Quinoa Dressing with Roasted Chestnuts and Cranberries

12 servings (1/4 cup serving size)

This healthier version of stuffing is a great option for those who worry about indulging in this holiday treat. If you follow my guidelines for eating slowly, and eating until just satisfied, it’s a healthy part of a holiday meal.

Also note: this recipe is flexible so treat it like a blueprint to play around with. For example:

  • Add cinnamon, thyme, cloves, and fresh rosemary
  • Mix up with different nuts like walnuts or almonds
  • Use barley and quinoa instead of rice

Play with it until you reach your ultimate turkey stuffing formula!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken/vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups whole roasted bottled chestnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups halved lengthwise and thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/4 cups thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepperCooking spray (light olive oil)

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine rice, broth, 2 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. (Do not drain.) Place rice in a large bowl; cover.

3. Arrange chestnuts on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Cool slightly; cut chestnuts into quarters.

4. Place cranberries in a small bowl; cover with hot water. Let stand 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and add to rice.

5. Spray olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, and celery; cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in herbs; remove from heat. Add to rice mixture. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, chestnuts, and pepper.

6. Spoon rice mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup 

Serves 4 (1 cup serving size)

Easy to make for larger groups and it keeps for at least a week in the fridge! Feel free to add in extra seasonal spices like ginger and cloves for an extra kick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy/almond milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a roasting pan, toss the cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil. Bake for 40 minutes.
  2. In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil and saute the onion until browned. Add the garlic, salt, sage and pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. In a food processor combine onions, garlic and squash with 1 cup of broth into processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Add 1 cup of broth to the pot while squash is blending. Add in mixture once smooth and remaining soy/almond milk to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. Let everything simmer together for a few minutes, adding more broth if needed.

What to Take Away from This:

With some creativity, you can modify familiar holiday favorites to be (a little) more nutritious while still satisfying. Just remember:

  • Eat slowly.
  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Eat until just satisfied.
  • Keep moving. Get outdoors for some fresh air.

Make and bring some healthy treats to share with your friends and family this year. Who knows? You just might start a new holiday tradition.

diabetestest

Riding for the Cure – Diabetes Awareness

Answer me this: What can be prevented or delayed, affects 28.5 million Americans, and causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined? The answer is…..Diabetes. As unfortunate as this is, most of us probably know someone that doesn’t even know they have diabetes yet. This disease affects over 8% (almost 26 million people) of the population between type 1 and type 2, and is this number is only increasing. This puts diabetes as the seventh leader in cause of death in the United States. Diabetes also contributes to the leader in kidney failure, blindness, non-traumatic lower limb amputations, heart disease and stroke (2 out of 3 persons with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke which are the number 1 and 2 causes of death in the US).

This may be surprising news to you, and I am not trying to scare you, but most of us can see the trend happening here in our country if we just take a step back. Food portions are getting larger, and highly processed, packaged foods are becoming more readily available which is aiding in the increase in childhood obesity (some might even call it an epidemic). In 2010, 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people 20 years and older and approximately 79 million people were diagnosed with pre-diabetes (blood glucose or A1c levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes). Needless to say, the numbers are not looking good since people with pre-diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Do these numbers make you cringe? I haven’t even touched on the medical costs yet. This year we are projected to spend $254 billion(up from 172 billion in 2007) in total medical costs (including medicine, disability, work loss and premature mortality) on diabetes diagnoses. That’s billion…with a “B”. There is a bright side though! The more we know about diseases like diabetes the better we can control, cure and even prevent this from carrying over to future generations. But, we cannot do it alone. Self-management and education is the most important step of improving the health of individuals with diabetes which is why the American Diabetes Association needs your help!

This November, my cycling studio is celebrating our 1 year anniversary by holding a Cycle-a-Thon Charity Ride for Diabetes Awareness. 100% of all proceeds will directly benefit the ADA towards research for the cure and prevention programs like the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). This program has indisputable evidence that lifestyle intervention to lose weight and increase physical activity has reduced the development of type 2 diabetes by 58% during a 3 year span. This was seen even greater in populations of 60 years or older at 71% success rate. These interventions to prevent type 2 diabetes are feasible and cost-effective alternatives to traditional medications.

So what can you do to help? Spread the word about diabetes prevention and management, get tested and make a healthy lifestyle change TODAY! To learn more about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website for valuable facts, tips, and information on living with diabetes.

If you want to help us ride for the cure, join us at our cycle-a-thon this November 9th from 9am-1:00pm at Pura Cycling Studio. We will have rides every 45 minutes (switching out instructors and riders) where you can sponsor a bike, or ride for a single class with all proceeds directly benefiting the ADA. Raffle prizes, food, drinks and free schwag will be provided for all participants! To learn more about our event, visit our Facebook event page here. You can contact us directly to reserve your seat or donate via the ADA’s website under our team name as a virtual rider. What will you change this year? Are you living with diabetes or know someone that is? Share your story and join us!

Sources:

American Diabetes Association – Diabetes Statistics. Updated on  August 20th 2013

Active Family Together Outdoors

Tips for a Healthy Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend marks the first day of summer for most of us Americans. The weather is perfect, the weekend is long and the grill is ready to fire up! But before you dive into the ocean and grab that BBQ burger, let’s take a moment to make sure we get the most out of this weekend without overindulging or underpreparing for the festivities ahead!

Planning is your friend

I know the last thing we want to do over the weekend is plan, since most of us spend every day planning out every last detail of our work week. However this weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Whether you are driving, flying or just going around the corner, a little preparation never hurts.

Pre-road checklist : Check your tires, view traffic reports for any major delays before heading out, and get gas today! Prices will undoubtedly spike throughout the weekend due to high traffic volumes. Most importantly, don’t forget to buckle up – safety comes first and nothing puts a damper on the weekend like a ticket.

Get a good night’s sleep: Even if you are not traveling far, no one likes a cranky partier, plus the more you take advantage of a good night’s sleep the better you will feel about indulging in holiday activities. Long days in the sun can easily wear you down from your body constantly working to regulate its temperature. So remember to HYDRATE the night before especially. Having enough water in your system will give you a healthy glow before you even step into the sun, plus you will have more energy to get through the day.

Meet up points: Crowds will be everywhere this weekend, so plan on a meet-up spot before you get to your destination. Picking large landmarks like the ticket booth, front of the pier at the beach, or a photo booth/viewing area at amusement parks is always a good idea.

First aid: Bugs, cuts, and rashes are always around if you have little ones so be sure to bring a first aid kit with you (keep it in the card or make a mini kit and stuff it in your beach bag). Think anti-itch cream, antibiotic ointment, bandages, bug repellant and sunscreen.  Always load up with sunscreen BEFORE you get in the sun, that way you know you are covered and you don’t have to fuss with it when you get to your destination.

Enjoy without OVER-indulging

It’s the weekend, you worked hard all week to stay on a scheduled eating plan and workout routine – so don’t throw all that hard work away over the weekend! There are always ways to stay active and make substitutions, even if you aren’t hosting the party.

-Prepare a healthy side dish: If you know you are going to a party where the focus is burgers, hot dogs and chips – why not set the mix it up with a veggie tray and delicious home-made dip! If you have health-conscious friends they will undoubtedly appreciate it, and if you have healthy food skeptics, just don’t tell them what’s in the dish. You’d be surprised what people will try if you leave out a few ingredients! Cold quinoa salads, veggie trays with hummus or guacamole, fruit salads and veggie + bean salads are quick and easy alternatives to the regular potato and pasta salad sides. Think cool, raw and refreshing – no one wants to eat a casserole when its 90 degrees outside anyway!

-Breakfasts are for champions: If you know where you are going won’t have a lot of healthy options, having a complete breakfast in you with lean protein, carbs and a fruit is your best plan of attack here. Building a strong base in the morning will help you make better decisions throughout the day and maybe you won’t want to indulge in that extra spoonful of potato salad. Think whole grains, egg whites, and berries or other high-fiber fruits to keep you fuller, longer.

-Fitness CAN be fun: Grab a buddy and hold each other accountable for your weekend activities. Beaches are easy – go for a long walk, pick up the football or soccer ball and pass it around, play tag, just play! Pool party – make a fun game of volleyball in the pool. You get everyone involved and it doesn’t even feel like exercise. Take the dog for a walk, play catch with the kids, go for a bike ride, rent a paddle board or kayak for the afternoon, throw a Frisbee, just keep moving!

-Drink it up: Staying hydrated is probably the most important thing you can do over the weekend. This is why I am mentioning it twice! Typically I suggest drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water in a day, and remember that fruits (like watermelon and oranges) are full of water so take those into account as well. But over the weekend, try to keep a designated water bottle with you and bring some sugar free flavored packets or drops with you to mix it up a bit. Staying hydrated will help maintain your energy levels, prevent you from indulging in empty calories like soda, and keep your digestive system in check even if you can’t make the best eating decisions.

Just because it’s a holiday, that doesn’t mean we have to fall off the wagon. Your body needs the rest and your mind needs the relaxation, so get out there this weekend! Have fun and enjoy yourself – you got this!

Pura Vida!

Music

MUSIC. It’s What Moves Us.

So we all know that GREAT music is one of the most important parts of a cycling class. Having an instructor that can bring new, fresh music to class weekly is a plus. So you know we are ALWAYS looking for new music! I will be updating this page weekly for some of my favorite tracks of the week.

This is also a great place to tell us what kinds of music you are looking for in class. We will always try to accommodate different music styles – so don’t be shy. Let us know what you want to hear!

FireFly – WhitePandaMusic

BEAutiful mashup perfect for a mid ride rolling hill set or even a nice long cool down. I love how the different music styles blend so well together here. There’s Ellie Goulding, Kendrick Lamar, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lumineers mashed up in this one.

Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell

Nice request the other day from one of our members! A good warm up song with a couple of jumps in there possibly. Hey hey hey!

 Fire – Jacob Plant

This one is not due to release for sale until June 24th but it is BUMPIN! I love the build up and can definitely feel a good climb interval track right here.

Pretty Lights – Pretty Lights vs. The End of the World 2012

AWESOME combination of rock/electronic sounds with some classics thrown into the mix. A little slower tempo here – I can imagine a solid hill climb on this one. The louder the better with this one – feel the bass, push and pull through!

Humanity – Les Castizos

A little electronic rock to get your legs pumping. I absolutely love the build up on this one, should give you plenty of time to find your top speed with some recovery built in. Time to race!

New Politics – Harlem

I am loving these guys! New simple sound with a little rock kick in to pick things up. Their new album is called Bad Girl in Harlem and has got some great tunes to get your toes tappin! I am feeling some jumps and sprints in here!

Krewella – Alive (Hardwell “The Final” Remix)

Love this remix that you might have already heard in some of our classes. Nothing like a good bass drop to get you up and over a mountain!

Daft Punk ft. Sam Sparro – Get Lucky

This remix on the new release from Daft Punk gives it a little extra kick and bass to get your legs spinning! LOVE this remix.

Fergie ft. Q-Tip and GoonRock – A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)

This is from the Great Gastby soundtrack that has a got a lot of great spins on some old-style swing.  Makes me wanna spin – complete soundtrack on iTunes should be released May 7th.

Phoenix – Entertainment

New album release from these guys today – a nice little pick me up, quick cadence warm up/recovery track.

Fall Out Boy – The Phoenix

Fall Out Boy’s new album “Save Rock and Roll” shows a little more maturity for this band and I have to admit I really like it. Good beats, some nice collaborations with a message. Even though this song’s soundrack is borrowed from Peter Fox’s “Alles Nue” it is still good and makes for some good hill climbs!

The Rolling Stones – Doom and Gloom (Benny Benassi Remix)

This is just a teaser, but I HAVE GOT TO FIND the whole song. I absolutely love it when someone can improve a classic, not just remastering it and ruining the original.

Kaskade – Lessons in Love

Fun little diddy to warm up with.

Empire of the Sun – Alive

Just dig into this one and smile. Enjoy the ride!

¡Pura Vida!

Stephanie

Earth month

How to take Spring Cleaning to the Next Level

Spring is here – which is wonderful news for most of us that really enjoy our sunny Florida lifestyle. Flowers are blooming, weather is getting to that perfect temperature, our bodies are coming out of hibernation and getting ready for bikini season! So this is actually a great time to take inventory. I am talking mind, body, physical goods, emotional and environmental aspects, EVERYTHING!

REDUCE, reuse, recycle

Is there some stuff in your life that is weighing you down that you could really do without? It could be something as simple as old tennis shoes that are so burnt out/don’t fit anymore, or something that might take a little more tasking like your kitchen pantry. What are we really hording at home and/or stuffing into our daily lives?

The kitchen is always a great place to start. If your family is anything like mine, most of the time at home is spent handing in, around, and rummaging through the kitchen. For me, the kitchen has always been a comforting place to be and hang out with friends while catching up and snacking here and there. BUT it’s hard to make the right choices when you still have Halloween candy stuffed into the corners of the Tupperware cabinet. Taking a monthly or even quarterly inventory of your pantry, refrigerator AND freezer is a great way to stay organized and on track with what you really need in your day to day cooking/dining routine.

Holidays (like Easter) are a great time to start a kitchen cleanse – these events may have added a few extra ingredients to your pantry collection that you could probably do without . Now, I am not saying throw away perfectly good food – instead, try to limit buying fancy ingredients and accessories that you really won’t need in the long run when searching for new holiday recipes. OR try re-using or storing ingredients (especially herbs/spices) in another way. Ex: fresh herbs can be frozen in ice cube trays so they keep, and substituting greek yogurt for other dairy options (sour cream and cream cheese) in desserts and side dishes like dips and casserole toppings will give you more bang for your buck! Greek yogurt is so versatile that you are much more likely to use it up rather than buying a tub of sour cream for 1 meal, then cream cheese for another, and frosting for that 1 batch of cupcakes etc…oh, and did I mention that Greek yogurt is packed with protein, low in natural sugars and fats?

Eat Clean, Train Mean, Live Lean

So, now that the pantry is taken care of, what about where we put the food? Spring is an excellent time for a cleanse or starting a new diet and exercise routine. Now, I am not talking about a cleanse where all you do is drink lemon water, suck on some kale and cry – but rather a healthy, well-rounded cleanse that is supplemented by working out and kicking up your fitness/diet routine. Change (in moderation) is good for your body – and sometimes that is exactly what it needs. If you have been in the same routine for several months, chances are your body is comfortable where it is, and may not be performing at its maximum potential. A group of us at the studio recently took on the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge to see what it could do for us in our own Spring Cleanse. My favorite part of this particular cleanse was that only the first 10 days are a cleanse – but there is no cutting out of meals or substituting out food groups. Rather, we are eating 5, well portioned, clean meals a day while encouraging physical activity daily. Currently I am 7 days into this cleanse and have more energy, feel leaner and stronger than I did at the beginning. I have not cut out any exercise, but rather increased my actual weight lifting and I honestly could not feel better!

If you are looking for something to kick start your spring – I highly recommend doing a short cleanse. You could do one on your own by simply increasing your intake of dark, leafy greens, eliminating sweets and alcohol, drinking PLENTY (half your body weight in ounces daily)of water and cracking down on your portion sizes. A cleanse does not have to be scary and gross – it is SPRINGTIME so we have got all kinds of antioxidant fruits, dark leafy greens, beans and other vegetables ripe for the picking. Try going out to your local famers’ market and seeing what is available –you get the freshest and cheapest goods in their prime season all while helping out your local small businesses! Win-win for all :) .

Breathe it in

Alright, so we have got the food aspect taken care of. Now, what about our mental or emotional self? Just like it is important to take care of your body, your mind should always get special treatment. Spring is an amazing time to connect with the world around you by simply stepping back and enjoying the beautiful things that surround us daily that we tend to ignore. Try getting out to a park and going on a long walk, a picnic, or even just sitting on a bench under some trees on a beautiful day. Unfortunately, the majority of people (especially children) in the U.S. are in a vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight and/or poor diets.

Vitamin D can be found in foods such as eggs, fish and fortified milk – but you can get your daily recommended dose of Vitamin D with as little as 10 minutes exposure to the sun! Vitamin D is a hormone that aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. It is used alone or in combination with calcium, to increase bone mineral density and decrease fractures. Research has also suggested that vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases! If you ask me, ten minutes a day in the sun sounds pretty lovely considering the positive health benefits associated with a little sun worshiping. While enhancing your vitamin D levels, take that time outdoors to escape in your mind – read a book, go on a bike ride, take up yoga, or just do some deep breathing and stretching on your own. You don’t have to be an enthusiast or professional to reap the benefits of daily stretching and breathing. By taking the time to actively breath daily you are providing a natural and FREE way to relax and helping to reduce stress levels which is key to having a happy and healthy mind and body.

Give a little bit…

Sometimes though, it just feels good to GIVE. So while you are cleaning out your closets and taking inventory on your physical self – try donating some of those extras to a charity or even better, donating your time to an organization or cause that is meaningful to you. April is Earth month, so there are plenty of ways to get out and active in our community – like beach clean ups, tree-planting, organic gardening classes, trail maintenance or even helping out at your local farmer’s market! Heck, if you go out on a weekend for a beach clean-up you can knock out everything in one shot! Donate your time, get your daily dose of vitamin D, and crank out some physical activity by walking/working on the beach. Here is a page with some local Earth day events, but if you know of any particular special events please feel free to share them with us!

I encourage you to try a few of these things this spring. You don’t have to do them all at once, or even all of them. But just try something new – help someone, help yourself and see what difference it can make in your daily life and the lives of others you touch along the way. Every little bit helps and you never know what you are missing out on until you try something new.  So do it! Try that yoga class, or start a cleanse and pick up a community project- then share it with others! If you don’t know where to start - just ask – We are always here to help! We are best when we grow together – and together we will grow.

¡Pura Vida!

Stephanie

Love

Falling in Love with Fitness

Ah, love is in the air – it must be February! I know this mooshy stuff isn’t for everyone, but most of us try to be on our best behavior or at least try to make positive changes for the loved ones in our life. What about making a positive change for YOURSELF this February? I want you to fall in love with fitness all over again by trying new things, getting friends and family to participate, and taking time for YOU. I know a lot of us have a love/hate relationship when it comes to fitness. But what makes up a strong relationship anyway? Patience, trust, commitment and the FUN factor are just a few that I can think of. I can tell you that I struggle with finding new workouts that really work for me and keep me entertained and pushing me to want more! BUT what if we took our fitness relationship as seriously as we do the other ones in our life?

Commitment and Patience pays off

I recently took up yoga and strength training (which is a KILLER combo if you were wondering) and it is has not been an easy road, but is starting to really work for me (still keeping up with my regular cycling and running routine). Now, this may not be the combo for you, but you never know what might work until you give is a shot.  This is where the patience and commitment part of my fitness relationship came in. Pretty much anything worth having in life takes time, commitment and patience until you get to enjoy it. So naturally, starting yoga from a NON FLEXIBLE, cycling and running athlete was a bit of a stretch if you know what I mean ;).  However, pushing myself to start a weekly routine (by myself in my living room watching a DVD to start) no matter how ridiculous I felt, I know it could only help me in other aspects of my fitness. I had to physically write down stretching and yoga into my week in order for me to do it – and I recommend doing whatever it takes if you really want to build that lasting relationship. Yes we are talking commitment here! I know, scary stuff right – but this relationship is ALL ABOUT YOU! So don’t worry, all you have to gain is your health!

Make it FUN

Yes, exercise should be fun, not a chore. One thing that really helped me fall in love with my new combo of yoga and core was being able to bring my significant other into it! Alfio and I try to do Yoga and strength training whenever we can – this not only pushes us to keep up with our workouts, but also gives us the added encouragement and reminds us why we train! Eating right and training hard is a lifestyle, and in order for it to work for you…a commitment has to be there! We push each other every day to train harder so we can be stronger and healthier together while making it fun for each other. We both look ridiculous and inflexible so we have fun with it – but I’ll tell you what, it feels so good to see improvements in your personal relationships AND your fitness at the same time!

Make it Social

Do you have a family member, friend or significant other that helps hold you accountable? Would they be interested in joining you on your fitness journey to find a stronger, healthier you? Ask them to join you on your next group fitness class, run, walk or training session and see what you can do together. Sign up for something together and you might just get to work on two relationships at once!

Trust in science

Be honest with yourself and write your goals down. Pencil yourself in for an hour a day and commit to using that time for fitness. Scientifically speaking, the more you work out the happier and healthier you should be.  This is all thanks to our friends, Endorphins, which are naturally released during exercise. Endorphins act on your brain’s opiate receptors to block their ability to receive pain messages from the sensory nerves. This makes you less sensitive to pain. During prolonged exercise (longer than 30 minutes) massive amounts of endorphins are released to help you mask any pain and help you push past your normal threshold – you may know this as the “runner’s high.” After exercise, instead of being tired, you actually may feel more exhilarated and remain invigorated for the next couple of hours (which could help improve your other relationships if you know what I mean…). This is due to the high level of endorphins that remain in your system. So, if you don’t have a “work out buddy” that is perfectly OK. The time you commit to a happier, healthier you is NOT time wasted.

Spice it Up!

All relationships take time and it might be tough – but once you fall in love with fitness, that love usually sticks with you the rest of your life!  Trust your body that it can do more. Communicate with others (or yourself – keep a fitness diary!) about your progress or any challenges you may be having so you can work through them – remember, we are always here to help if you need it!

Our friends over at peerFit are challenging everyone to Fall in Love with Fitness this February and I encourage you to rekindle that love as well. The great thing about peerFit is that they make it easy for you to find the classes that work for YOU based on reviews and ratings from others seeking the same thing! So try a new class, have patience, commit to your goals and most of all HAVE FUN!

Commit

5 Tips to Keep You Focused This Year

We are almost through the first month of our “best year yet” – how are you doing? We have been getting a lot of questions about healthy eating, how much exercise is recommended and how much we should be eating etc… so I thought I would break down healthy eating and exercise as best I can by giving you 5 basic tips to help you stay on track this year.  I will start by saying that our fitness goals should revolve around a lifestyle change in order to create something lasting that you can really be proud of.  Committing to a healthy lifestyle is the most important step you will take in your fitness journey and it starts whenever you decide to commit! I am sure we have all read endless lists of how to reach your goals, so I will not go overboard here, but these are a few tips that have worked for me and a few others along the way.

1. Set a long term goal

I know we do this EVERY year, but honestly – what is your long term goal for your health? What is it that you really want? Think back on your previous fitness journeys and how you got there, or maybe didn’t quite get there.  You may have taken a few steps back, or even leaps above and beyond what you could have imagined years ago.  If you have had some setbacks, think about what was going on at that time in your life and how you can make a positive change. Maybe you moved and were getting used to the area, finding new social circles etc…Find out where you strayed along the way and set a goal above and beyond what your goal was at that time.

Don’t be afraid to dream BIG! Maybe you want to run a marathon, complete an adventure race, or maybe you have an intangible goal such as finding the energy you once had as a younger you! Whatever it is – write it down, stick to it, and set smaller goals along the way to help you get there. Once you complete those smaller goals (signing up for a first 5K, completing a triathlon, outrunning your kids around the yard…) the bigger picture gets closer and closer. Whatever you do, set a realistic time frame for yourself, because sometimes it’s the journey that is more rewarding than the finish line. Enjoy your journey and the rest will follow.

2. Step out of your comfort zone

Tight schedules and strict regimes work for some of us, and if that is you – congratulations, the planning is taken care of!! However I would recommend mixing your routine up every once in a while – and that goes for everyone. A lot of controversy has been held over “muscle confusion” and whether or not it is a healthy/good way to improve strength. Some say that it is worthless, and only works for a little while, while others (P90X followers) claim that it changed their life.  So why not take the best of both worlds and combine the thought process between training with muscle confusion and standard weight lifting/cardio routine.

It’s no secret that the more muscles you engage and continuously push to their limit, the quicker you will see results. Thus, resulting in your initial burst of “wow I look great, now I can relax”.  But we have been there before, right? So try new workouts and keep it exciting! Mix up your regular weight lifting and cardio routine with some different group exercise classes, or do more plyometric routines one week and go easy on the cardio. I am not condoning going out there and trying every group fitness class and doing jump squats in the parking lot because you saw it in a video online. BUT you will never know if something works for you if you didn’t try it first. I can honestly say I was a skeptic on the whole P90X thing, but I kept my cycling schedule the same, added on the P90X routines, and here I am a month in already seeing the results I wanted and feel stronger than ever. Now, this may not work for everyone – but I do recommend trying something new that you may not have thought of before! Whatever you do try, stick to it! If anything, you can always have a great story to tell about the one time you went trail running and ended up 7 miles off course in the middle of the woods.  BUT, did you feel stronger or even a little more accomplished that day?

3. Time is on YOUR side

Along the lines of tip #1, take your time. The more you enjoy the journey of reaching your goals, the more attainable they will become. And by your time I mean YOU time. We are human, which means we often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day, sometimes wondering where the day went. This is when we need to step back and take care of ourselves. How many times have you thought about getting a massage, or taking that extra class, but didn’t because your schedule was too full with activities or duties for others? Find time in the day or even the week if you are really crammed for time, and do something for yourself. Meditate for 3 minutes every day, stretch before you go to bed, read a book, take an extra class, or just go for a long walk! Your muscles need recovery and your body performs at its best when well rested, hydrated and relaxed.

4. Quality over quantity

Now, when I say quality over quantity, I don’t mean only eat home cooked meals or work out a couple times a month really hard… I mean whatever you commit to doing – do a quality job. Often times in my classes I ask riders to take “quality turns” on the resistance knob. I would rather you add the gears  you commit to off the bat, than adding smaller and more frequent turns that may not allow you to reach your full potential. You would be surprised what you are capable of when you really push yourself.

The same thing goes for food. If you add more whole grains, vegetables and fruits into your diet – you shouldn’t need a high quantity. Your body will absorb more nutrients and vitamins from the well rounded meals full of whole grains and veggies that may look small on a plate compared to the giant burger and fries that will leave you hungry in just a few hours after the bloating goes away. I know it isn’t always easy to make the right decision when it comes to eating – so take baby steps. Start by substituting fruit for fries as a side or skipping the roll and adding another veggie (veggies have GOOD carbs and fill you up just the same). Make a new quality over quantity decision each day and stick with it.

5. Consistency is key

If you haven’t noticed, there is a common theme will all of these tips. STICK WITH IT! If a particular exercise didn’t work out, try something else –but don’t give up! Sometimes it takes a couple of rides/runs/sessions to get into it. BIG goals take time, but remember to enjoy the journey along the way. If you have tangible goals like weight loss, inches, body fat etc… take your measurements, write them down, and compare from where you started. Don’t get too caught up on the numbers – but over TIME you will see the changes happening. If your goal is intangible, write it down and reassess every so often as needed! How closer are you to that feeling? If you feel like you have taken a step back, recap and see where you can improve next time.

At the end of the day, living a healthy lifestyle should be FUN, not a chore or set of tasks to get through. Find the routine that works for you and stick with it. Everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with dancing to your own drum beat. The first step is committing to making a change for the better; once you believe it you can achieve it! How will you make a change this year? Leave your comments below!

¡Pura Vida!

-Stephanie

SteveAoki

Our Favorite hits of 2012!

What a year it has been for us in 2012! Yes, the end of the world year is here and we haven’t

looked better…right? I know that a lot of us set goals in January, then work on them for a little bit, take breaks here and there (you know for birthdays, holidays, random celebrations….) and then swear that this is the LAST time we are going to make the same resolution to “get in shape” and try something new this year. Was that the case this year? If so – I hope you achieved your goals and if not – don’t worry there are more years to come (despite the Mayan predictions) and it is up to YOU to make next year, even better than the last! And we are here to help make your fitness goals a reality this year! We here at Pura Cycling Studio are SO thankful that we were given the opportunity to share our passion with our community every day! Our goals would not be possible without you lovely members, friends, family and local business supporters. So again, thank you all for an amazing start and we look forward to all of the exciting things to come.

BUT enough about us, what have you accomplished this year? Did you set a tangible goal or was yours an internal dedication? Whatever it may be, big OR small – congratulations! This year I want to challenge and encourage you to make a different kind of “resolution”. What if we made small improvements in ourselves every day, before we conquered bigger and better things? Sometimes finding what makes you, YOU can be the most satisfying reward of all. By taking every day one at a time, we can make a difference in not only OUR lives, but those of others who you may not even know yet.

We all have our own struggles and you never know what someone else is going through – so try and keep that in mind when road raging at someone on the interstate in traffic….(even if they are on the phone going 20 mph under the speed limit).

So, on a lighter note – how about 2012!? We are all about the tunes here at Pura and there was some great music this year! Below are some of our favorites and notable songs that you just can’t get out of your head…(your welcome!)

FUN. “We are Young” – Never ceases to amaze how FUN this song is to sing to no matter how many times we have heard it. A true anthem for the late night youth.

The Black KeysLonely Boy” This was one of my favorites from the first time hearing it, and then I saw the music video – low budget, amazing video that never ceases to put a smile on my face.

I don’t know what it is, but it makes me just want to dance! Try not to smile while watching…

Of Monsters and MenLittle Talks” These guys are amazing – beautiful music and a funky music video!!

PSYGangam Style” I think this one speaks for itself….

Imagine DragonsIt’s Time” These guys came on the scene in a BIG way this year. Their feel-good jams are a nice twist on some of the harder music that is out now – you may know their other chart topper “Radioactive” as well.

Niki MinajStarships” Its so catchy I cant even handle it – plus the video is pretty entertaining.

The LumineersHo Hey” Grab your partner and spin ‘er round! This is another great feel good song that is sure to put a smile on your face. Bring the hipster out in you and give this one a shot – it’s short and sweet :)

Steve Aoki and LAidback Luke ft. Lil JonTurbulence” This is your captain speaking – this is the BEST music to pump you up for anything. These guys are crazy all together – Steve Aoki has some great hits on his Wonderland album if you are ever looking for a quick pick-me-up! “what a rush!”

What are your favorite songs of 2012? Music is constantly changing, morphing into something different, beautiful and new. Next year, lets work on ourselves first and see what new, different and beautiful changes will happen.

¡Pura Vida!

Stephanie

Holiday Dinner

Holiday Recipes for your Health

Looking for a healthy alternative for some of your holiday favorites? We all know that the best part of the holidays is spending it with the ones you love and enjoying all the tastes that come along with family gatherings! AND since we live the Pura Vida Lifestyle, that means that we encourage you to enjoy your holiday treats, but try and limit those unnecessary calories when you can.

Try some of these healthy recipes for a spin on some holiday must haves! These work great for potluck or family dinners when you get to bring your own dish!

Quinoa Dressing with Roasted Chestnuts and Cranberries:

12 servings (1/4 cup serving size)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken/vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups whole roasted bottled chestnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups halved lengthwise and thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/4 cups thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine quinoa, broth, 3 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until quinoa is tender, stirring occasionally. (Do not drain.) Place quinoa in a large bowl; cover.

3. Arrange chestnuts on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Cool slightly; cut chestnuts into quarters.

4. Place cranberries in a small bowl; cover with hot water. Let stand 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and add to quinoa.

5. Coat a large nonstick skillet in cooking spray over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, and celery; cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in herbs; remove from heat. Add to quinoa mixture. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, chestnuts, and pepper.

6. Spoon quinoa mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Nutritional Facts

Amount per serving

Calories: 213                 Fat: 2.4g

Carbohydrate: 44.4g      Sodium: 182mg

Protein: 5.5g

Citrus Green Beans with Pine Nuts

Makes 4 servings (1 cup serving size)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sliced shallots (about 2 large)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted

Preparation:

1. Cook green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Add green beans; stir well. Add rind, juice, pepper, and salt; sauté 2 minutes. Spoon onto a platter; sprinkle with nuts.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

Calories: 86                                Carbohydrate: 12.8g

Fat: 3.8g                                    Sodium: 76m

Protein: 2.5g

Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Herbs

Makes 6 servings (1cup servings size)

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups cauliflower florets (about 2 heads)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley   
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°

Place cauliflower in a large roasting pan or jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with oil; toss well to coat. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring every 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, thyme, tarragon, and garlic. Bake 5 minutes. Combine cauliflower mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well to combine.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 89                               Sodium: 251mg
  • Fat: 3.5g                                   Carbohydrate: 12.1g
  • Protein: 5.2g

Pear-Cranberry Pie with Oatmeal Streusel

If you can’t find fresh cranberries- feel free to substitute with frozen berries.

Ingredients

Streusel:

  • 3/4 cup regular oats
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Filling:

  • 3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled Anjou pear (2 large)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Remaining ingredient:
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pastry shell

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. To prepare streusel, combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

To prepare filling, combine pear, cranberries, 2/3 cup brown sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl; toss well to combine. Spoon pear mixture into pastry shell; sprinkle streusel over pear mixture. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until bubbly and streusel is browned. Cool at least 1 hour on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 240                       Carbohydrate: 41.5g
  • Fat: 8.2g                             Sodium: 118mg
  • Protein: 1.6g

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie:

If you have time to spare – try making this ahead of time and freezing for 3 days. You will need a 9inch deep-dish pie pan.

Makes  10 servings (1 slice serving size)

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 30 small gingersnap cookies, (about 7 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened (see Tip)

Filling:

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.

  2. To prepare crust: Combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Facts:

Amount per serving:

Calories: 230                             Protein: 4g

Fat: 5g                                      Sodium: 179mg

Carbohydrates;42g

Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting

Pura in the news

Eddie Daniels, from the Tampa Bay Tribune was nice enough to interview us in our sixth month of operation to learn more about our studio and the new FitPro camps we will be starting to offer this summer! Thank you guys for coming out, now it is time to get you on a bike!

We celebrated our official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce on April 2nd, 2013. Thank you Chamber Members for supporting small business!

Thank you John, from New Tampa Patch for the wonderful write- up, it was great meeting you! Read what he had to say here

That’s right ladies and gents – Pura Cycling Studio is officially open! Check out what the local voices of New Tampa Patch had to say about us here

 

fatigued-woman-running

The 4:1 Ratio for Results

Will I be doing cycling or strength training today?  What muscle groups will I be working out and how? Am I training before or after work?  Did I eat enough before my workout or did I eat too much?   There are many things to consider when planning your workout for the day.  Yet, there should be only one thing to consider after a great workout has finished.  How will I fuel my body to maximize my work out and get the results I want?

The results we want and positive changes to our bodies won’t just appear after a workout.  Whether it is enhancements in performance, a slimmer waistline, or adding lean muscle for a tone physique, the key is to allow your body to recover from the stresses of the awesome workout you just pushed it through.  Recovery from a workout is crucial, and is considered the most important part of the workout itself.

Your body needs some very important things after a workout.  Water, protein, and more energy!  And what most people don’t realize is that your body needs these things immediately following a workout.  After an arduous workout, your body has catabolized much of the energy storage your muscles had to offer.  Muscles have been torn apart, fat storage has been tapped if your workout was aerobic for long enough and in most cases digestion has slowed if not almost completely stopped.  It is now time to kick your regular metabolism into high gear again and give those muscles what they need to grow.

Fortunately, research into muscle recovery has given us a magical formula of sorts, that gives us a proper proportion of carbohydrates and protein to maximize the body’s ability to repair itself.  You must ingest a meal that is 4 parts carbohydrate and 1 part protein that can kick start your stomach into working properly and is easy to digest.  This can be done many ways, but the easiest and most convenient is to make a shake from a pre-made recovery formula powder and water.  The water will allow your stomach to begin its normal functions again, and the quick dissolving powder will be able to enter your bloodstream much more rapidly than other solid forms of food.

Be aware though, that there are many types of recovery formulas on the market that contain all sorts of extras, and often time excessive calories.  While your body does need calories to recover, too much will be counterproductive.  The best recovery drink that the FitPros at Pura suggest is called Dark Matter, from a company called MHP.  Dark matter has around 40g of Carbs and 11g of Protein per serving, giving you just about that perfect 4:1 ratio. It also has a little bit of sugar to help restore insulin levels in your body, and gives it a sweet and tangy taste that is quite refreshing after a hard sweat.  And, since Dark Matter recovery powder must be mixed with cold water, so it re-hydrates you as well.  Dark Matter can be found online, but can also be found at your local GNC.

Many of us don’t have the time to prepare a meal immediately after a workout, and that is why recovery formulas work for the majority of people.  But if you work out from home or you can’t get into the pre-made recovery formulas, you still have options.  Just remember, 4:1 Ratio of carbs to protein, and don’t forget to hydrate.  Two pieces of 100% whole wheat toast and a two hard boiled eggs, with a tall glass of water and 8oz of fresh squeezed natural orange juice doesn’t sound half bad.  This will do the trick, but just remember, you must eat as soon you can.  Preparing your meals in advance can take the stress off and make sure your muscles get that fuel in a timely manner.

Recovery is key to working out.  Allowing your body to rest and repair is the only way to see positive results in physique and performance.  Taking the extra steps you need to have a proper recovery meal ready after your work out could mean the difference between where you are now and seeing the changes you want.  Remember the 4:1 ratio to recovery and results will follow!

 

heart

Get in the zone…for your heart!

We all know that your heart is a muscle, and just like any other, needs to be exercised and trained in order to maintain its strength. The more we take care of and improve our hearts capacity, the more improvements in our fitness level we will see (toning muscles, losing weight, improving circulation etc…). BUT, the question is, how do we make sure we are getting the most out of our cardiovascular work outs? Using a heart rate monitor to track your fitness level and by sticking to the five generally accepted fitness zones you can monitor, track and improve your heart’s strength and overall well-being.

However, just having a heart rate monitor and glancing at your max HR isn’t exactly what we are talking about. You need to start by finding your resting heart rate, gauging your max heart rate, and then work through your fitness zones to actually get those numbers on your heart rate monitor to make sense. Luckily, there are several heart rate monitors that are affordable AND user friendly. Now, if you have a heart rate monitor and want to see results, please understand that this will take discipline and some time to get used to, but the benefits will be well worth it!

  1. Find your resting heart rate: This is a good indicator of your general fitness level. The more conditioned you are, the less effort and fewer beats your heart needs to generate. Do this by measuring your heart rate first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. Count your heart beats for 60 seconds (or use your nifty heart rate monitor). Do this for 5 mornings in a row and take the average – this should be your resting heart rate. Be sure to continue to measure this often as this is a good general indicator that your fitness level is progressing!
  2. Find your maximum heart rate:This can be achieved through a general age-predicted chart, or (more accurately) by executing a physiological maximum heart rate test.
    1. Age predicted maximum heart rate: Most people will go by 220 minus your age, however a more accurate way is to take 210 minus half your age, then subtract 5% of your body weight in pounds. Add 4 for a male and 0 for a female.
    2. Physiological maximum heart rate test: This should only be executed if you are fully rested and exercise regularly as this may be dangerous to those not used to regular fitness. Warm up thoroughly for at least 15 minutes. On a long, steady hill start off fairly briskly and increase your effort (turn up the gear) every minute. Do this seated for at least five minutes until you can’t go any faster. At this point get out of the saddle and sprint as hard as you can for 15 seconds. Stop and get off the bike and immediately to check your HR reading. This is your max HR.

*it is good to note that heart rate tests are sport specific- your maximum on a bike will be much lower than it is when you’re running because the bike is taking some of your weight.

3. Become familiar with the training zones:  There are five generally accepted fitness zones that will help you build your aerobic base to get you the results you crave based on your maximum heart rate (MHR).

Recovery: 50 to 65% of MHR. Improves combustion and storage of fats – long, easy ride.

Endurance: 65 to 75% of MHR. Basic training zone – helps increase metabolism and burn fat.

Strength: 75 to 85% of MHR. Builds aerobic capacity, endurance, and increases mental focus.

Interval: 65 to 92% of MHR. Trains your heart to recover quickly from work efforts.

Race Day: 80 – 92% of MHR. Challenges your anaerobic threshold – should only be done if you are in peak performance.

 Remember, these zones will correlate with whatever your fitness goals are,which is why we highly recommend heart rate training during our classes! For example, if your fitness goal is to generally enhance your fitness levels we would suggest the following cycling program to help you lose weight, increase cardiorespiratory fitness, decrease body fat/increase muscle mass:

Monday              Endurance

Tuesday             Strength

Wednesday         off

Thursday           Endurance

Friday                 off

Saturday           Interval

Sunday               off

Keep on…

The hardest part of heart rate training is having the patience and discipline to stay in the zones so you don’t over-exert or cheat yourself on days that you may not want to do that long endurance ride. Over-training can be very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. You may not see the results you want immediately, which is why working through the zones and building your aerobic threshold is so important. If you start off slow, and build your cardio base, your legs and other muscle groups will automatically fall in to place and you WILL see results!

Another issue that a lot of riders come into is comparing heart rates with others. Just because your resting HR is 52 and your neighbors is 48 doesn’t mean either of you are

in better shape or have a higher VO2 max! Remember to always focus on yourself first if you want to reach your fitness goals. Also, please be conscious of the additional factors that affect your heart rate such as sleep, hydration, caffeine, and stress levels. Your working heart rate can vary day to day, so don’t be discouraged when you are exhausted halfway through a class when last week you were flying through it! Find out the source of the issue and take action to resolve it.Once you have gotten the hang of using your heart rate monitor and can begin comparing results from week to week, we encourage you to test yourself once a month. As you are getting stronger and more fit, your body can complete more work with the same effort. A race day is a great way to test your aerobic and anaerobic threshold. Race day rides keep you at a consistent elevated heart rate for the entire class and can be best compared to a “time trial”. Remember, you should always be mentally and physically ready for a maximum effort ride when participating in this zone.

When done correctly, using a heart rate monitor is a great tool to help you achieve your fitness goals! Do you have a story about heart rate training you would like to share? Let us know! The FitPros at Pura Cycling Studio is dedicated to helping you find the real you and we are more than happy to help you with your heart rate training goals!

¡Pura Vida!

leader

Small businesses filling needs in our community

We have all sat through an economics course of some kind at one time in our lives.  Whether you are a marketing professional or you just remember parts of the high school lecture that you mostly slept through, one key lesson surely stuck with you.  If what you provide is in high demand, your business will likely succeed, right?  And that is all we are taught a business is good for.  Well, it turns out there’s a little more to it than that.

It is obvious our community is rapidly growing.  There are new restaurants, retail stores and corporate centers springing up all over Wesley Chapel and New Tampa.  But there is one local business that is new to town that is likely to provide something a little more to our community than just a supply for the ever growing demand.

Inside The Shoppes at Wiregrass, a new business has opened that provides one of the most important commodities a growing community could need.  Their name is Monkey Bizness and they are a great addition to our town.

Monkey Bizness provides a safe and fun place for parents to bring their young children to play, exercise and engage in educational activities like arts and crafts.  Being located inside the Shoppes at Wiregrass, Monkey Bizness provides a well deserved escape for parents as well.  Monkey Bizness gives parents an affordable place to bring their children and escape the crowds while offering a variety of cold and hot beverages and food to parents and their children.  It is truly a unique place and provides an excellent service to our community.  What’s more?  Monkey Bizness allows parents to come in and drop off their children for short periods of time while Mom or Dad goes about shopping at the mall.  The owner, Kristin Green, and her professional staff will engage your children in activities that exercise both their bodies and minds.

We at Pura Cycling Studio like this type of business and feel it provides services beyond that of the normal business model we all learned about in school.  As our community continues to grow, it is important to nourish not only the basic demands of an increasing population but to also nourish the not so obvious needs of the hard working people of our neighborhoods.

If you are a parent with young children or know someone who is, check out Monkey Bizness!  Go to their website here for more information, or head in and meet the owner, Kristin Green and her staff, and see for yourself what just one business can provide to our growing community.

**Do you know of any other businesses that provide a valuable service to our community?  Please leave a comment below!**

-Alfio

Know Your Neighborhood

Move over Tampa, there is a growing city to the North that’s going to need some more elbow room.  With what is now the second largest intersection in the U.S., Wesley Chapel is making room for some big changes to what was once just a cattle farm and dirt roads.

Wesley Chapel has already experienced huge growth in terms of population, job availability and housing.  Until now though, the expanding city has been another sleeping suburb of Tampa, whose residents, according to City-Data.com, travel an average of 33 minutes to get to work.  This will all soon change as new opportunities arise and a once easy to by pass Wesley Chapel becomes a major economic player in west central Florida.

Here are some new changes to keep an eye out for that is putting Wesley Chapel back on the map.

Florida Hospital of Wesley Chapel This new, state of the art medical facility will bring in over 400 new jobs to the area when it opens its doors in October of 2012.  Located on Bruce B. Downs just north of Wiregrass Mall, the hospital will house an 83 bed, 3 story facility that is already slated to expand into a 6 story, 300 bed medical center as the population increases in Wesley Chapel.  To find out more about Florida Hospital of Wesley Chapel, or information about available jobs, go to their website at www.fhwesleychapel.com

Raymond James Financial:  No, the Buc’s stadium is not moving to Wesley Chapel.  Haven’t heard of Raymond James Financial?  Raymond James is a well admired investment and financial planning company and is the eighth largest public company in Tampa Bay, according to Tampa Bay Partnership rankings.  What does this mean for Wesley Chapel?  Raymond James Financial is planning to open its doors in 2014 just east of Wiregrass mall, and along with it will open 750 new jobs in its first decade in the area!

PHCC’s Porter Campus:  PHCC will be opening its fifth full sized campus in Wesley Chapel in Spring of 2013.  Its location will be at Wiregrass Ranch, adjacent to Wiregrass Ranch High School.  The construction of this campus will bring in several hundred new jobs as well as give local residents an opportunity to achieve a higher level education without the commute to PHCC’s other campuses.  With the increased demand for higher level education degrees in the work place today, this campus could easily add fuel to the already increasing economy in Wesley Chapel.

These are just three of the largest up and coming changes to the Wesley Chapel area.  Undoubtedly, there will be countless other small, individually owned business to come as well, Pura Cycling Studio LLC being one of them.  It seems sometimes you cannot drive down the road without noticing a new business you’ve never seen before.  New businesses mean new jobs; which means a better market for residents of Wesley Chapel.

Check out this video for more information!

 -Alfio

Size Matters!

For those health minded people looking for a superb exercise experience, especially you cycling enthusiasts out there, the independent studio proves to be the way to go – hands down!

Large, all-inclusive gyms, also known as “Box Gyms” because of the amount of diversity they try to box up into one gym, seem to be just about everywhere now.  They claim to offer everything a person could need for fitness, from free weights to an abundance of resistance machines, and even a variety of instructor lead group fitness classes.  Indoor cycling, because of the many benefits that provide you with an excellent cardio exercise, has immensely grown in popularity.  And many big “box gyms” even offer indoor cycling to its members.

But then you may ask, “Why are demands so high for independent studios like Pura?”  The answer is simple – personalization, convenience and attention to detail that no box gym can compete with.

1. It’s Personal!

Most indoor cycling studios, like Pura, are independently owned by people who are passionate about cycling, cardio, and overall fitness.  There is a distinct sense of loyalty and camaraderie toward members and among staff that is generally lacking in the bigger “box gyms”.  Simply being in a smaller gym with other like minded people helps members of independent studios reach their fitness goals much more rapidly.  As with Pura Cycling Studio, a knowledgeable and friendly staff can offer customized fitness plans that help you reach these goals quicker than if you were to do it all on your own.  When you add in specialized classes and member appreciation events, the benefits of going to a smaller independent studio could mean big gains in your personal fitness.

2. Convenience!

Independent cycling studios have defined the term convenient work out.  Let’s face it, most of you do not have time to spend long hours trying to burn calories and build muscle, and especially wait for an opening in a group fitness class!  Often times, members of big “box gyms” must arrive over 30 minutes early to physically sign up for a class that they may not even make it into.  Pura, as well as other independent studios, offers convenient Online Sign-Up that can be made well in advance.  All you have to do is show up with enough time to adjust your seat!  Independent studios can get you in and out easily without compromising the quality of your workout and not waste a minute of your valuable time. Oh and did I mention you burn a ton of calories too?

Most studios, including Pura, also offer a variety of ways to pay for classes.  From paying as you go or buying a few classes at a time, to unlimited memberships, the private studios help match their member’s needs much better than the bigger gyms.

Also, by being able to provide a variety of specialized classes, such as weekly themed rides, as well as having a reliable schedule of classes, independent studios make it super convenient to be a member!

3. It’s All In The Details!

Have you ever raced to one of those big gyms to make sure you get a seat in the next cycling class just to realize you picked a bike that is broken in some way, or even worse…it squeaks!!  Because large gyms don’t specialize in any particular facet of their operation, it is easy for little things to cause big problems for members.

It is the responsibility and obligation of an independent cycling studio to ensure the only thing you’re sweating is the calories!   The owners and staff of smaller studios have the ability to offer a much better quality and specialized product on a consistent basis.  In particular, those who are hooked on indoor cycling can expect top notch equipment in a clean and innovative studio.

It is not only the equipment that is better though.  Independent studio instructors, like those at Pura Cycling Studio, get the opportunity to be more interactive with members, allowing them to take a more personal approach to designing their classes with music choices and class themes.  Owners also ensure that instructors are certified to teach indoor cycling and can offer a variety of classes to meet the demands of a diverse member base.

A LITTLE EXTRA:

Here at Pura Cycling Studio, we offer something extra that sets us aside a little bit more than the rest.  Not only do we offer all the benefits of an independent studio, we try to offer the “Pura Vida” lifestyle to our members as well.  We understand the health benefits of a great work out and the need to get away from the daily grind, but still enjoy burning some calories at the end of the day. Our studio’s staff and instructors take every opportunity to provide a convenient and stress free way to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Remember, it is always important to include a variety of workouts in your routine to ensure your fitness goals will be accomplished.  Putting that responsibility in the hands of an independent studio, like Pura, is proving to be the best and most popular to get the results you desire!

-Alfio

Why Indoor Cycling?

Indoor cycling has been around for decades now, but only recently has it been featured in the fitness lime light as one of the most popular group fitness classes around. Back in the 1980’s Johnny Goldberg (better known as “Johnny G.”) took the leap and marketed his product as “Spinning®” with Schwinn bikes. Soon after, other companies like Reebok and Keiser followed with their own versions. What first started out as a way for road cyclists to train in the off season or in inclement weather has now evolved into the Indoor Cycling fitness program in every major gym. SO, why is this stationary bike in a room with a bunch of random people so popular? Take a look at the top 5 benefits that just might make you give stationary bikes another look:

1. Turn and Burn….those calories! On average you can expect to burn anywhere from 700 to 1,000 calories per class (45-60min). Most classes include a range of aerobic and anaerobic exercise that helps strengthen your heart, burn fat and increase stamina, while breaking your muscles down to stimulate the growth of lean muscles in an anaerobic workout. Unlike walking or running on a treadmill, indoor cycling classes provide a variety of motions to keep you engaged and burning calories from the moment you get in the saddle.

2. Convenience – Each class is taught by a certified instructor with the objective to keep you motivated and on track with your personal health goals. There is hardly any equipment needed to participate and you don’t even have to think! The instructor guides you through the motions that go oh-so-well with their playlist for the class and all you have to do is listen and enjoy the ride! Water bottles and towels are HIGHLY recommended since you will be burning all of those calories and sweating your butt off, but we do recommend heart rate monitors and clip-in shoes to help you get the most out of your workout.

3. Easy does it – Indoor cycling is considered a non-load bearing exercise which means your body does not have to bear the burden of supporting all your weight throughout your workout. Since the majority of these exercises are done while sitting, the pressure is taken off your joints and you reduce your risk of injury. This is something that is not accomplished when participating in other cardio activities such as running. There are no hard roads or awkward movements that are harsh on your joints so long as you have the proper set up. That is why indoor cycling is for EVERYONE at any fitness or skill level – the class is what you make it at whatever intensity you crave.

4. Total Body Baby! Engage your mind and body on every class and see the difference! Warm up and cool down times are a great way to relax and get you ready for the ride and release the stress from the day. Throughout the ride you progress through a variety of motions which engage your largest muscle groups (glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings) that help you build up and tone muscles as well as the surrounding tendons. Cycling also encourages the use of stabilizer muscles found in your trunk, hips and shoulders. Improvement of these muscles helps to enhance body alignment and posture. As you find your rhythm in the ride, your mental focus will increase and help you push through and sweat your problems away. Many people who participate in indoor cycling frequently agree that this focus will carry over to your daily life to help you better cope and deal with your daily stress.

5. Time flies! Participating in an indoor cycling class not only allows you to break away from the humdrumness of staring at a television screen on a treadmill, but it instantly puts you in a class where you are part of something larger. Each class is what you make it, and being part of a group that is like minded can help you push through the tough hills and enjoy the sweat even more. Letting the instructor guide and motivate you through the class (should) make those hour long classes a walk in the park! Before you know it the class is over and you just took one step closer to being in the best shape of your life.

Whether you are training for a marathon or just looking to shed a couple extra pounds, indoor cycling will help you achieve your goals. There is something for everyone, and the benefits speak for themselves. Sign up today and let’s go for a ride!

-Stephanie

National Women’s Health Week is Here!

May 13-19th is National Women’s Health Week – but that doesn’t mean we only need to focus on the lovely ladies in our life once a year! Try adding some simple, new elements to your daily routine to help improve digestive health, enrich your lifestyle, and give you more energy throughout the day! Here are some simple tips we believe can work wonders and are simple enough to add in to any busy schedule:

  1. Limber up: incorporating healthy stretching daily can improve flexibility while decreasing muscle and joint pains. Try to focus on large muscle groups like your core, hamstrings, thighs and upper torso. Make sure you spend enough time slowly stretching your neck and shoulder regions to loosen up the tension built throughout the day. Remember – slow and steady stretching is best; try not to bounce or push further than what is comfortable. Try holding each stretch for about 30 seconds – like anything worth trying; it only gets better the more you practice!
  2. Mix it up: “Exercise” can be a very negative word, but look at it from a different angle and it becomes a happy hour for your body! Try to think of your workout as a self time-out and try something new! Tired of the same old routine? Try a new class that you may not have been interested in before – like dance, Pilates or maybe our 60-min Escape ride to get you in a different grove. Bored? Try bringing a friend or family member with you a couple of times a week to help give you that extra push!
  3. Start the day off right: Breakfast is EASILY the most important meal of the day, so why eat the same old bran cereal just because it promises to shred those extra pounds away? If you take away the best meal of the day you are more likely to indulge later on. Getting healthy amounts of fiber, protein, fruit and dairy in your diet is a great way to keep your heart healthy and keep your energy up throughout the day. Try mixing that granola up with some Greek yogurt and fresh berries to sweeten up your snack. Smoothies are a great way to start your day and are quick and easy to prepare.
  4. It’s all about ME: adding some personal time everyday is good for not only your physical health but your mental health as well! The hustle and bustle of every day and the millions of activities, tasks and appointments add up quickly for most of us women out there! So take some measures to ensure you get your peace of mind in everyday:

-Set the alarm 10 minutes earlier to get a morning stretch in
-On lunch take a walk in the park or call your BFF for a quick catch up
-Before bed take some time to paint your nails, read a book or take a bath

Taking “me” time is very important for women’s’ mental and emotional health and is a sure-fired way to make the week a little more stress-free. Don’t be afraid to try new things, every woman is unique so see what works best for you and pass it on!

Like I said before, just because this week is National Women’s Health week doesn’t mean we can push this aside the rest of the year. Remember to set small and manageable health goals for yourself by adding new elements everyday. Health starts with you, so make a move, share tips with your friends, and let us know how you have made a change to help better your health and well being! To find local events for this special week please visit WomensHealth.gov for more information.