Fitness & Lifestyle

We. Are. Sparta. #ChallengeAccepted

To say I was ecstatic to finish the Color Run a few years ago is an understatement. Running a full 5K was something I never thought I would do because (1) I hate running and (2) I hate working out. It wasn’t until I was coerced into doing a Spartan Race that I realized the Color Runs of the world are just child’s play.

I ran my first Spartan Sprint in 2013. I was the most out of shape I had ever been and was practically dying the whole time BUT I finished. I couldn’t believe it. I even jumped over the fire at the end (which looks a lot scarier than it is). After accomplishing that goal, I was ready to come back for more!

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My PIC, Shari, and me crossing the finish line!

The following year I signed up and this time I knew what to expect and was in slightly better shape. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I crushed it. My time was better, my attitude was better. Overall I felt great! However, the trend I was noticing is that once you finish, you just want more!

Once you accomplish something you never ever ever thought you could accomplish, it makes you wonder… what else could I do that I didn’t think I could do? Could I do a Spartan Super? Or even a Spartan Beast?! Maybe I could accomplish the coveted Trifecta?!?!?! Okay… so I’m not there quite yet but I am ready to take it up a notch.

Knowing that I completed this back in 2013, I truly believe anyone could do it. You’re probably thinking, “No way can I do that. It’s scary. There are monkey bars. You get dirty.” My response would be “Yes, it is terrifying at first and there are monkey bars and you will definitely get dirty BUT you will finish. And you will feel like a f^%&ing champion. Plus, you get a free beer at the end.”

So if you’re officially convinced to try it out, now’s your chance! There are upcoming races in the tristate area that you can participate in ASAP! For 10% any race, sign up here and use the discount code SPARTANBLOGGER. I’ll even give one lucky winner a free code to get you started! How? Just comment below telling me you want it and I will select one random winner to become a true Spartan! #LETSGO

*Promo code and coupon code was provided by Reebok Spartan Race.

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Recipe: Mini Chicken Pot Pies

There’s nothing I love more than an idiot-proof recipe! Last week I made mini chicken pot pies for a pot luck that I had with some friends. If I can make this… anyone can.

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Here’s what you need:

  • Pillsbury Grands
  • Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Frozen peas, corn, carrots combo
  • Pre-cooked Perdue chicken

First you want to pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and you need to microwave your peas, corn, carrots combo so they are cooked and ready to go.

Second, take your pre-cooked chicken and either chop or shred it into smaller pieces. This really depends on preference. Personally, I enjoy pot pies with little chunks of chicken in it but I know others who like it shredded.

Next, place your cream of chicken soup, your veggies, and your chicken into a bowl and mix. This is important because you want them to all be together. The first time I did it, I placed them into the crust one by one and it came out a bit layered.

Time to pull out the Grands! Each of the Grands are already pre-cut so you will see exactly how many pot pies you can make. Cut each of them in half so you have a top and a bottom. Using a cupcake tray make a mini pie crust with one of the halves.

Once lines, you can pour in your pot pie mix. Each pot pie only needs a small amount to fill to the top. Once filled, you can place the other half of the Grands on top of each pie and place in the over.

Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the Grands look golden. Cool off and FEAST! Enjoy the portion-controlled, idiot-proof meal!

Fitness Review: Mister Abs East River Boot Camp

Details: 77th and the East River , New York, NY 10018 – levi@misterabs.com – misterabs.com/

Studio: N/A
Timeliness: 4/5
Instructors: 5/5
Overall class: 5/5

The boyfriend and I bought a Groupon for 4 boot camp classes with Mister Abs. The guy looked ripped, the videos looked legitimate, and the price was right so we figured we had nothing to lose! The first class we signed up for was a rainy day, and bootcamp was outdoors. There was some hesitation, but bootcamp with Mister Abs was rain or shine so we went and we weren’t disappointed.

Levi (“Mister Abs”) is an excellent trainer and does not let you quit. It’s raining? So we won’t lay on the floor, but you’re still going to work your butt off. You think you can’t do anymore? Well, try anyway. He’s not going to just let you off the hook. This was a full 60 minutes (sometimes longer) of unique exercises that build strength and stamina. 

The class is set in the park and uses all the bars and fences available. Levi also brings lots of props such as rings, TRX, resistance bands, and even a trampoline. The class requires that you bring your own 3-in-1 adjustable resistance band but if you forget, one can be provided for you. Levi also provided gloves for us to do some of the floor work.

Honestly, I can’t say enough nice things about Levi and this class. Not only am I exhausted and sore after every class (in the best way), but Levi is also a really nice guy and makes the hour enjoyable… even when you can’t breathe and feel like you want to die.

I highly recommend taking this class. Luckily, the Groupon is still available and you can purchase it here. We purchased the 4 pack and immediately regretted not getting the 8 pack.

Fitness Review: Power Play

Details: 555 8th Ave, Rm 902, New York, NY 10018 – (212) 564-0500 – revinmo.com

Studio: 4/5
Timeliness: 5/5
Instructors: 4/5
Overall class: 3/5

I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for this class, and this was not it! The class was mostly stretching, balance, and abs. I was pretty sore from previous work out classes when I came in so this was exactly what I needed. Loved the use of the yoga balls and weights but the balance boards were crazy difficult. I wasn’t 100% sure I was doing everything right but when I was, I felt it.

Would I recommend to a friend? Depends what you’re looking for…

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes

Hello, my name is Cara and I am the worst cook ever. I really never cook. Partially because I hate to clean up afterwards and partially because anything good requires too many ingredients. However, sometimes it becomes necessary to cook.

For example, you may be invited to a pot luck, you may not want to spend money on ordering out, or your job may request that you bring in a food form your heritage. For me, it was the last one. Seeing as I don’t recognize with a particular heritage, I decided to go with something American. What can be more American than buffalo wings and cupcakes?

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Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cans of canned shredded chicken
  • Bottle of hot sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of Ranch dressing
  • Pillsbury pie crust
  • Shredded cheese of your choice
  • Cupcake tin
  • Oven

Preheat the over to 400˚.

In a bowl, mix the chicken the hot sauce and the Ranch dressing in a delicious concoction of goodness.

Take the pie crust and cut into squares. Line each square in one of the cupcake tins. Make sure to have a little bit more than the size of the tin so you can have room to cover the cupcake.

Fill the pie crusts with your concoction and then close up the cupcake with the leftover pie crust.

Place the covered cupcakes in the oven for about 15 minutes. Periodically peak to make sure it’s cooking nicely. You should smell the hot sauce!

With about 3 minutes left, take the cupcakes out and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. Put back in the oven and in a few minutes they are done!

If I can make this taste good, anyone can. Good luck!

Fitness Review: Core RxN

Details: 33 W End Ave, New York, NY 10023 – (212) 561-5435 – pedalnyc.com

Studio: 4/5
Timeliness: 5/5
Instructors: 5/5
Overall class: 4/5

First things first… if you plan to take a class at this studio, make sure you give yourself PLENTY of time to find the place. The address is super confusing and the studio is hidden behind a bunch of stores and a huge building. It was only by miracle and walking into 2 wrong buildings that I was able to find it!

As for the class, it was a lot of fun and very intense. The studio is known for spinning but I tool a core class that seemed more total body to me. You used the TRX, sand weights, kettle bells, and more. The teacher was super fun and motivating and really gave good moderations for people who were new. I had a lot of fun and felt incredibly sore the next couple days!

Would I recommend to a friend? Yes

Fitness Review: Boxing

Details: 47 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011 – (646) 684-4912 – bodyspacefitness.com

Studio: 5/5
Timeliness: 5/5
Instructors: 4/5
Overall class: 4/5

Holy crap, this studio was gorgeous. You ride up this dinky elevator only to be brought to this gorgeous studio. Body Space Fitness has everything. There were treadmills, spin bikes, rowing machines, ropes, TRX, sleds, and more. I was very impressed.

I was there for boxing and the class was very small – just me and two others. It was essentially a private lesson but he worked us hard. I mentioned that I had taking a kick boxing class once before and the teacher took that to mean I knew what I was doing… I did not. Even though he didn’t explain everything as much as I would have liked, I still worked my ass off and got an incredible workout.

You can tell that Body Space Fitness is a place for everyone. While my class was filled with beginners, another class was going on nearby called “Training for Warriors” which made CrossFit look like a walk in the park. You should definitely check this place out.

Would I recommend to a friend? Yes

Fitness Review: Muay Thai Kickboxing

Details: 500 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018 – (646) 450-8966 – fitnessfightcamp.com

Studio: 4/5
Timeliness: 5/5
Instructors: 5/5
Overall class: 5/5

I absolutely loved this class. Slightly hard to find (there’s an elevator, and stairs, and more stairs… I was confused) but once there it was a blast. As a newbie who has never taken a kickboxing class before I was basically given a private lesson. Laurel, the teacher, walked me through every step of the process from including how to use the equipment and how to do the moves. By the end, I was sweating and had let off a lot of steam. It was an excellent workout and it was a lot of fun!

Would I recommend to a friend? 100%

Fitness Review: Slip n Slide Workout

Details: Revolution in Motion, 555 8th Ave, Rm 902, New York, NY 10018  (212) 564-0500 revinmo.com

Studio: 3.5/5
Timeliness: 3/5
Instructor: 4.5/5
Overall ClasS: 4/5

I was really nervous for this class because I had no idea what to expect. Basically, the workout is done on this ice-like mat. There are barriers so you don’t fall off and special slips to wear over your sneakers to help you glide.

The class was small – there was no more than 7 of us. The instructor knew it was my first time and walked me through everything. I love getting individual attention to make sure my form is right. Which, even with his guidance, I wasn’t sure it was. The class was HARD. It was using muscles I wasn’t used to working. The class focused on legs and core, and when I woke up this morning I was sore from my neck down to my lower abs.

This class reminded me a bit of Pure Barre, because it’s one of those classes you will not perfect every move in the first class…or even in the first week of classes. 

Would I recommend to a friend? Sure, but I’d warn them not to get frustrated when they couldn’t do all the moves!

Originally posted on Just Donk It.

Fitness Review: Pilates

Details: 43 W 46th St, Fl 3, New York, NY 10036 – (212) 302-5651 – your-movement.com

Studio: 4/5
Timeliness: 5/5
Instructors: 3/5
Overall class: 3/5

This class was not meant for beginners. It was supposed to be, but it wasn’t. Part of the problem was the class was filled with regulars. It was clear from the moment I walked in that I was the odd man out. It appears that all the students come every week (and may even work at the same office?). As a new person I was hoping to get acclimated to the class, meet the teacher, get an intro, but no. 

Instead I was positioned in the back of the studio. Yes, I chose the spot but had I have known that I couldn’t see the teacher or hear anything over the music (which was right next to me) I would have probably chosen a different spot. 

The class itself wasn’t awful. It was a typical pilates class mostly done on your back. The class was only 45 minutes, which went by very fast, but the moves themselves were hard. I wasn’t sweating but my muscles were shaking.

Would I recommend to a friend? Skip this one.