One of my struggles has always been getting cardio into my workouts. I love weight lifting and toning workouts but never enjoyed running, the elliptical or pretty much anything else cardio related.
When I was invited to try out Define Studio’s new Define Revolution class at their West U location, I was excited but also nervous because I hadn’t taken a spin class in years. This past May, I purchased an unlimited month long package at Define (River Oaks location) and took barre classes about five days a week so I was familiar with the studio but not with the Revolution classes which are exclusive to the West U location.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I came to class last Wednesday but all I can say is that once the class was over, I felt like I had literally bathed in my own sweat because the workout was that intense. I forgot how it felt to sweat THAT hard during a workout. Of course I sweat when I do my weight training because I do incorporate cardio elements..but this was a whole new level of sweat (ie: I could only take this class on the nights before I wash my hair because there is no way you can skip washing it after this class).
Here’s what I loved about the class:
- The room---it’s super dark and has these really pretty lanterns lit. I loved that the workout was almost in the dark---I could see the instructor but it was dark enough to where it really created a great vibe. It felt relaxing and you almost felt more secure because you didn’t have to worry about catching a glimpse of your sweaty-self in the mirrors.
- The music was awesome
- The instructor Erin, was motivational and high energy
- The workout was challenging---as a spinning newbie, I couldn’t put my resistance up as much as some people could but I still got an incredible workout.
I asked Erin from Define if she should share some of her best nutrition tips with my readers and she happily obliged. Here is a little more information about Erin so you know about her background:
Erin O’ Leary Stewart is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. She has spent time working in the raw food and vegan kitchen at Pure Food and Wine and owned and operated her own healthy cookie and granola company, O’Cookies Wholesome Bites. As DEFINEfoods Head Chef, Erin brings this expertise to DEFINE West University by providing food education and health-supportive cooking classes to further balance healthy lifestyles.
Tell us what you do at Define and how you got started with barre-based workouts.
I am currently a Lead Instructor and Teacher/Trainer for DEFINEbody and DEFINErevolution. I earned a BFA in Dance Performance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas where I also studied kinesiology and spent the subsequent eight years dancing professionally throughout the greater New York area. A desire to stay in shape throughout audition seasons led me to a fitness class inspired by former accomplished ballet dancer Lotte Berk, called Physique 57, where I spent several years as an instructor, before moving here to Houston and discovering DEFINE.
What are some healthy snacks every woman should pack to make good food choices during the workweek?
My 'on-the-go' snacks are Larabars, Justin's Nut Butter packs with an apple or banana, and raw walnuts or almonds.
What are a few of your favorite healthy summer recipes?
My favorite recipes these days take advantage of all of the fresh summer produce (tomatoes, corn, eggplant, peaches, etc.). Here are a few of my latest recipes:
- Tomato, Corn & Okra Soup
- Peachy Crumble
- Peach & Green Bean Salad with Hazelnuts and Tarragon Vinaigrette
- Roasted Eggplant & Chickpea Quinoa Skillet
- Summer Blueberry Muffins
How important is nutrition in regards to your overall health and fitness plan?
Physical fitness can only take you to a certain point. For overall health, nutrition starts at the home. What you eat is just as important as any physical movement you give yourself. Your food choices can affect both your mind and your body, and can fully determine how you feel throughout your day.
If you wake up and reach for the big coffee and sugary muffin, you will most likely crash come mid-afternoon, which could then lead to more poor choices in order to keep going. Instead, have a bowl of grounding oatmeal or grains with goji berries and pure maple syrup with green tea. The low-glycemic sweeteners and antioxidants from the goji berries and green tea will help to keep a steady energy and a clear mind.
Having a disciplined outlook on eating, versus a controlled outlook, can make all of the difference as well. If you're truly craving that sugary muffin, there is no need to deprive yourself. Instead, have your muffin this time and have the oatmeal bowl the next. As long as you wake up every morning with the intentions to be the very best person that you can be, knowing that you will probably make some mistakes along the way, you will lead a long, healthy and sustainable life.
How can busy women, moms and wives make healthy eating a priority? What are some tips and tricks to help us stay on track?All it takes is a little bit of prep. Head to your local farmer's market weekly and prep your veggies ahead of time. Sundays and Mondays are my days to lie out meal plans for the week. I'll wash veggies and cut up fruit to have in the fridge ready to go. A big key is to roast off veggies in the oven and make a big pot of quinoa or rice at the start of the week. This makes throwing together one-skillet dinners so quick and easy because you've done the step that takes the longest ahead of time.
Any other tips and tricks to add?
I never make just enough for one meal. All sauces and dressings that I prep for a dish, I will make enough to keep in the fridge to use throughout the week with other dishes. Trust me, you won't be able to get enough of my tahini dressing (from the Roasted Eggplant & Chickpea Quinoa Skillet recipe)! It goes well on everything from green salads to veggie stir-fries to freshly baked whole grain toast.
I have asked Erin to become a regular contributor on my blog so I'm going to have her answer a couple of questions each month or two related to diet and nutrition so we can all learn to live a healthier lifestyle. If you have any questions, please leave them below and thank you Erin for motivating us this Monday! You can learn more about Define classes at: http://www.definebody.com/. Thank you Erin for motivating us this Monday!