You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2010.

The launch of Body Jam 53 was AWESOME!  We had a full studio with amazing Jam music blaring on a hot summer Friday night, and it was a blast team-teaching with Tavia and Brooke.  The only problem?  I think I got a little too ‘Jammie’ with my Jam.

Since Tavia was wearing the mic, and I had free reign to be dancin’ fool, I got carried away on one of my moon-man jumps and landed wrong on my left leg.  Consequently, I jammed my left hip — or strained a ligament somewhere in that general vicinity.  Now, as a good friend of mine likes to say, “my hips don’t lie.”

Actually, lie was pretty much all I could do all the next day.  Lying on my good side to elevate the bum hip, I iced 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, hoping that my hip could be cured before Sunday morning Body Jam so I could be ready for Disco 2010 round 2!  Honestly, I didn’t mind the excuse to lie around and do nothing.  I felt a little better after many cycles of the icing regimen, so I walked to the grocery store.  I came home nearly in tears.  My hip just did not want to do anything.  Ugh!

The worst part of all of this was the fear.  The fear of not being able to teach my classes and move my body at the gym.  I knew I was okay because I had been able to finish class after the nasty jump, and I could get from Point A to Point B without terrible trouble the next day.  But I have always been terrified of serious injury, and this little ligament incident was too close for comfort.  I hope I haven’t been taking my physical health for granted because I’ve certainly had a wake-up call with this minor injury.

Ice, ice, ice and more ice.  Rest, rest, rest as much as possible.  I repeat the mantra, follow the directions, and will myself to get better.  I love teaching my classes — not teaching them halfway using only my upper body — but teaching them full out, getting everyone in the room fired up.   I’m working on getting back to 100% and soon as possible.  And forever after I’ll be bracing my core on all jumps to avoid jamming body parts.   I dance like a maniac, but I want to be a healthy, smart dancin’ fool!

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I’ve been indulging in some pampering lately and, I have to say, it feels good!

Last week I had my first-ever facial with Nina in the Healthworks spa.  I was definitely nervous going in, as I had no idea what to expect and had heard that it can sometimes be a slightly painful experience.  However, other than getting gently scolded for not removing my make-up before workouts, the experience was wonderful!  Nina taught me so much about my own skin that I just never knew.  Plus, she urged me to sign up for one of her free 15-minute skin consultations this week so that she can check on my progress.   I’ve been following Nina’s directions, so let’s hope I pass her test!

This past weekend, I also got my hair cut, something I rarely do.   I’ve been known to go a full 12 months without sitting in the salon chair.  Yes, I realize that’s a little ridiculous.  So I visited the new Rock Paper Scissors Salon on Newbury Street for my Saturday appointment with Sami.  It was a fabulous hour!  I was in very good hands and got to listen to 80’s Hair Band music the entire time.  YES!  I left feeling like a million bucks, got compliments all afternoon on my new ‘do and will definitely go back to Sami’s chair next time I need a cut.

This week, I’m up for a leg-waxing.  I have a few days to brace myself for the varied pains of the waxing table, but my legs will be so much cooler and aerodynamic once I’m done.  I can’t wait– it’s been a HOT couple of weeks.

So what started me on this pampering kick?  It had to have been my one-hour massage with Back Bay’s Lisa a few weeks ago.  I hadn’t taken time for myself like that in over three years.  And Lisa took such good care of my tired muscles, I felt like a new person for the rest of that day — and for days after.  The experience got me thinking about how much I push myself and how, if I want to continue pushing, I need to stop and take a break every once in a while.  Respite is good, and we all need some pampering now and then.

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours” – Richard Bach

Cambridge Healthworks members: Did you know that your Healthworks membership gets you into the J.F. Kennedy School pool for just $3? The opportunity to use this pool is also available to Somerville residents at a discount.

I’ve wanted to try swimming as an exercise for a while, but had my doubts about getting started. I’ve never been much of a swimmer – I have the basic strokes down, but I’m slow as molasses with an irrational shyness around lifeguards, which had always hindered me in the past.

After suffering a fall on my bicycle during a ride on the Minuteman Trail this past weekend, my knee has been bruised and sore, so I decided to overcome my intimidation and take advantage of my access to this challenging, low-impact exercise. Excited by the prospect of a new exercise in my routine, I went shopping for a swimsuit (on sale at CitySports Boston right now), goggles, and the mandatory swim cap. My expectations were low – I figured about 4 minutes of breast stroke would leave me wiped out.

The pool lanes are separated into slow, medium, and fast, so there is little need to be worried about your speed in comparison with other swimmers. I showed up for the 6 p.m. start of evening adult lap swimming, and found it to be un-crowded, and unintimidating. Turns out, at almost 30 years old, I really don’t have to be worried about the judging eyes of lifeguards, or how slow my stroke is. And lo and behold, I ended up swimming for 35 minutes! Varying the strokes and pausing to catch my breath between laps helped to lengthen my endurance. I also tried using the kickboard for a few lengths of the pool – a serious leg workout. I looked to these pool workouts for varying skill levels from Fitness Magazine, to help me get started. The time went by quickly, as it usually does when you’re trying something new and are pacing yourself without judgment. I left feeling both tired and refreshed, and happy to have challenged myself with something new.

It’s nice to be reminded that  expectations for yourself can always be surpassed!

Lately the basil plant potted on my porch has been growing out of control, so I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate basil into my recipes as much as possible! Its fresh flavor is an easy way to make even the simplest dishes taste gourmet. Last week I came up with two great recipes to make use of this lovely herb: zucchini basil soup and pasta with fresh vegetables, basil and parmesan.

The basil soup recipe was a variation of a dish that I found on Epicurious.com. I happened to have about 5 zucchini on hand, an impulse buy from Marketbasket that I couldn’t turn down (only $2.34!). I diced an onion and 4 cloves of garlic, and sautéed in olive oil in a 3 quart pan on the stove, for about 5 minutes until browned. Then I sliced up the zucchinis into large chunks, and added in, sautéing for another 5 minutes, until they were tender, then added 1 cup of chicken broth to the mix. This got added into my blender, in two batches (careful when blending hot liquids!). I grabbed a huge handful of basil and chopped it up – it came out to about a cup – and threw in the blender as well. The result? A delicious, creamy soup without any added cream! I was pretty amazed at how great the texture was. This recipe is definitely for basil lovers – the flavor is very strong, almost tasting like a pesto soup.

Later in the week, I brought home yet another zucchini, plus some summer squash and cherry tomatoes, from the farmers market. For a quick and easy dinner, I sautéed the zucchini and squash in some olive oil until tender, then added the cherry tomatoes for about 1 minute. I threw the vegetables in with some whole wheat spaghetti, about a tablespoon of olive oil, about ¼ cup parmesan cheese, and ½ cup of chopped fresh basil. Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best!

With every meal of this heat wave week, I’ve been on the hunt for something easy with little to no cooking required…For lunch, I also needed something that would survive Tupperware transit in good condition. I generally don’t like bringing regular salad greens to my office, because I find that their taste and texture goes downhill after being in a container for a few hours.

I found this recipe for a salad made with Japanese buckwheat soba noodles, edamame, carrots, and a citrus vinaigrette on the Women’s Health magazine website. It was delicious, nutritious, simple, and eaten cold/at room temperature – making it perfect for bringing to work, or maybe to the beach this weekend. Sadly, I couldn’t find the white miso that the recipe called for, so I left it out of the dressing, but it still tasted great. I ended up adding a sprinkling of white sesame seeds on top – they add a little crunch and flavor, and provide an extra boost of minerals like copper, manganese, and calcium.

The forecast for next week is looking steamy again — let me know if you have any suggestions for recipes that hold up in the heat!

I am tan.

I look like I spent hours on the beach working hard to become a golden goddess. Truth be told, I have spent some time soaking up the sun this summer but yesterday, I got the tan of my life.

And it only took 10 minutes!

I decided to try spray tanning. I have heard a lot about it — both good and bad — and thought it might be interesting to give it a whirl and then write about it here. Healthworks partners with SkinHealth Centers so I decided to book an appointment at their Newbury Street location. The ladies at SkinHealth know what they’re doing so I was confident I was in good hands — and wouldn’t end up an orange, streaky mess.

When I arrived at SkinHealth yesterday afternoon, I filled out a brief health history form. Then, I was brought into one of their treatment rooms. There, was a tall black tent that was completely open on one side. I had the option to be as naked as I wanted so I decided to take it all off, except my underwear. I started with my back facing out and the aesthetician turned on the tanning machine.

It was loud and sounded like a vacuum cleaner.

First, she sprayed some air on me and then the tanning began. The color was cold and wet and she painted my body, making sure to get every nook and cranny! I turned around and she sprayed my face and then my front side. Yes, it was a little strange having another woman “paint” my chest but I knew the tan would be worth it!

After the spraying was done, she “dried” me off with hot air. I was told that I could shower in about six hours and when I did, the initial bronzer would come off (the water was indeed brown-ish) and then the tan would remain. And stay for a week or so! Cool!

I bought some “natural glow” body moisturizer (on the recommendation of the aesthetician) to help extend the tan on my skin.

It looks natural (got the thumbs-up from all of my co-workers right after I had it done) and it only smells a tiny bit —  but in a good way  —  like something sweet.  The tanning product has no alcohols, no oils, no artificial preservatives and no perfumes. Even though I have sensitive skin and sometimes break out in eczema, I have had no problems.

 Totally tan — and lovin’ it!

ps In a few weeks, I will blogging about my experience trying a week-long juice cleanse. I will be trying my best to follow the JOOS program, which involves two juices a day and a vegan meal. And some healthy snacks, like hummus and nuts, if I’m dying of hunger. Which I have a feeling I might be. But, I’m excited to try it. All in the name of blogging….

Since it’s been about 75-85 degrees every morning this week, nothing could be less appealing than my normal breakfast of cooked oatmeal and hot coffee. As I mentioned, I recently purchased a new blender, and have been putting that appliance to work at every chance I get! I was inspired to change up my morning coffee routine, and came up with my own frozen frappacino-esque drink. I brewed a pot of coffee the night before and let it cool, then added it to the blender this morning with some skim milk, a dash of half-and-half, and about 6 ice cubes. Voila – frothy, cold java jolt. I’m not a fan of eating cold packaged cereals for breakfast, because they always leave me feeling hungry after about an hour! Instead, I’ve changed up my hot oatmeal by soaking ½ cup of regular oats in about a cup of almond milk overnight, and adding in fresh strawberries/blueberries, chopped dates and walnuts in the morning. The berries and dates are so naturally sweet, that this dish doesn’t even need to be sweetened. You could try this with any variations of nuts and fruit, for a filling, cool breakfast.

Have you been switching up your normal diet during this heat wave?

Certainly, Bostonians, you don’t need me to tell you how hot it’s been lately. Right now I’m actually thankful for being in my office where there’s air conditioning. Not so lucky at my apartment, where one little window unit is working overtime and struggling to keep us cool. Last night I made fish tacos with cilantro-lim crema, using this recipe I found on Cooking Light’s website. No one needs a sweltering kitchen right now, which made this recipe great – it requires minimal cooking (just baking the fish for a few minutes).  I left out the mayo, replacing it with extra sour cream, and topped with some salsa, yum!

I also recently invested in a new blender, just in time for icy drinks! When it’s this hot out, there’s nothing better than drinking something fruity and frosty. I made up some fresh margaritas using frozen berries, lime juice, tequila, triple sec, and ice. Frozen antioxidants, anyone?

Stay cool, ladies!