Jul 242012
 

I’ve never been a big “fitness class” person. The schedules never worked with my schedule and I’d struggle to get to the classes consistently. I also always felt like I was two steps behind the rest of the class. I tried yoga, Turbo Kick, aerobics, and step aerobics to name a few.

My first successful fitness class experience was Spin. While I’d scoffed at whether or not it was a good workout compared to going outside on my bike, I fell in love with it immediately.  It was a challenge and I could keep up which was crucial for me to like the class.

But how many mistakes did I make in all these classes I tried? I made a ton! Are you making any mistakes? See below.

You Aren’t Pushing Yourself To The Limits

If you’re just half-assing it at the class, you’re going to be disappointed with the results…or lack thereof. I definitely half-assed my fair share of classes. Which is probably what lead me to think they were a waste of time. But if you give it your all you’ll see results.

Going to a fitness class (whichever you choose) is a good way to find your working out mojo. Are you the type of person that needs that extra push of a personal trainer but can’t afford one? A class is your best bet. Take advantage of that “free” personal trainer!

When I first started spin class, I went VERY easy on the resistance on the bike. I ignored the instructor when they said to make it as hard as we could take it. I was concerned about my knee issues, but eventually realized I was wasting my time by NOT making it hard on me. It made such a difference and really helped me get through winter with a cycling base.

You’re In The Back

This is usually where I am at classes! I don’t want to be in the front. Yet, I struggle the entire class to see the instructor, figure out the moves and keep up. Why don’t I move closer to the front so I can see? Suck it up and move to the front.

You Have Bad Form

This is a trap I often fall into and need to remind myself frequently to check my form. I do this will running, hiking, walking, definitely with cycling. “Do I have good form?” No? Fix it.

You Have Unrealistic Expectations

If you’re expecting to go to a few aerobics classes and magically lose 50 pounds, it doesn’t work that way. It takes time and patience and consistent activity. Give yourself a break and enjoy it! It’s a process.

You Aren’t Stretching

I need to take my own advice. But to be honest, ever since my running injury in 2010, I’ve been much better about stretching after every workout. I also try to warm up before whatever class I’m taking. It could mean 20 minutes on a treadmill before yoga or lifting weights before spin class. Something.

You Aren’t Fueling Properly

Do you have a water bottle with you in class? Are you drinking from it frequently? (In spin class I have 2 bottles.) Did you have a small snack before the class? Are you eating a sensible meal or snack afterward to help with recovery? Depriving ourselves of fuel for a class will result in low energy and probably mental fatigue (at least it does for me).

You’re Doing The Same Thing

Switching things up frequently is the key to transforming your body. I find that I get too efficient in certain activities and I stop seeing the results I want (my heart rate doesn’t get high, I don’t burn the same amount of calories, etc). HIIT workouts are awesome (who doesn’t want to have a SHORTER workout but with the same calorie burn as a long one?)

Classes are a good way to get STARTED with your weight loss journey. You can get extra motivation to go to the gym consistently when it’s scheduled, you can bring a buddy along with you to class to make it more fun, and you learn something new. While sweating!

QUESTION: Are you a fitness class fan? Are you making any mistakes in class?

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Jun 212012
 

Spin class kicked my butt. Intervals. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? Well check out this workout:

  • 40 second intervals with the first 20 seconds being faster than the normal pace, then the last 20 seconds as fast as we can (medium resistance- 6 out of 10).
  • Followed by 1 minute of “flat road” recovery.
  • Repeat 3 times total.
  • 1 minute standing climb, resistance 7 out of 10.
  • New set of intervals: 50 seconds of intervals, first 25 fast, then 25 seconds maintaining the same speed with hard resistance added.
  • Followed by 1 minute of “flat road” recovery.
  • Repeat 3 times total.

It was a hard one! I was glad I worked up a hard sweat though. I had plans afterward!

There are a lot of good restaurants in Portland, but honestly it’s rare that both Michael and I walk away from a meal gushing. “Oh my god, that was so good.” And then hours later, “That dinner was really, really good!” Not only that, we both agreed that it was a good enough Mexican restaurant that we could take his parents when they visit from Texas…that’s high praise considering they refuse to eat Mexican food outside of Texas. Que Pasa Cantina in Portland raised that bar.

Michael and I went recently to use up a Groupon that was expiring soon. (We’re running low on our Groupon purchases!) I’ve been to Que Pasa before, but it was at least 5-8 years ago. It was a distant memory and I couldn’t remember whether I liked it or not. The recent visit will always be in my memory now!

The place is trendy and in the SE Hawthorne neighborhood (warning: parking is a nightmare, be prepared to walk). It’s right next to the Hawthorne food carts. Que Pasa also has outdoor seating.

The typical “chips and salsa” is not brought automatically, in fact it costs a few bucks extra to have it. At first we were going to skip it, but decided to try it and it was totally worth it. The chips were homemade and they are probably the best tortilla chips I’ve ever had. They were thick, warm like they were fresh out of the oven, and had a mysteries seasoning on it that made my mouth water. The chips were thick, almost like pita chips. The salsa trio was delicious: a regular one, a creamy avocado salsa, and the middle one was so spicy I could barely stand it.

I had a hard time deciding what to order. Everything sounded delicious but I was trying to make a good choice–a sensible choice. Thankfully, I did not order a burrito which was humongous (but looked amazing). I thought about the Mexican Chopped Salad but it came in a fried shell. I thought about the Jalapeno Mac n’ Cheese but at the last minute I ordered the corn tacos.

My dinner was two soft tacos–one was carnitas and one was steak. I skipped the refried beans and got the pinto beans instead. The rice was tangy and delicious (Michael even commented that he loved the rice and he usually doesn’t like it).

The steak had a sweetness to it but it was mild. The carnita taco is where it’s at, though. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth soft with a little bit of smokey crunch. For the life of me I could not figure out the spice they used on the carnitas but it was mind blowing.

Michael’s dinner was the winner of the evening. He got the chicken enchilada. At first our portions looked tiny, but they were so incredibly filling I was full all night. His enchilada was decadent and the sauce was a cross between tangy and spicy as hell.

We walked out of the restaurant into the blinding sun, our bellies full and happy and slowly strolled back to the car. We were both satisfied and incredibly impressed by the meal. We will be back. By far, one of the best Mexican restaurants in Portland.

QUESTION: What do you think is the “healthiest” choice at a Mexican restaurant?

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