Healthy Hiking Snacks for Extended Energy

June 28, 2016

Grand Tetons

During our cross country road trip we were fortunate enough to hike through some gorgeous National Parks. Because we were constantly on the road, changing hotels and totally off of any normal schedule, our eating schedule was pretty out of whack. Before each hike I made sure our backpacks were filled with enough goodness to keep us energized, whether our hike was 30 minutes or 5 hours.

Obviously each hike should begin with coffee, right?

grand tetons coffee

And then onto the snacks, here were my top five during our hikes:

Epic Bars: These are like granola bars…but made out of meat. Yep, it’s a meat bar. Sounds a little weird, I know, but if you’re a meat-eater and enjoy beef jerky, you’ll probably like these bars too. Each bar has a short list of ingredients and doesn’t have any weird byproducts or mystery ingredients.

Hiking Nutrition

That’s it: If you’re looking for something lighter to snack on, these bars are literally just two fruit ingredients and only about 100 calories. If you love dried fruit but aren’t great at portion control, these will give you the perfect fix.

Premier Protein Bar: If your tired legs are getting to you and you really need a boost, a proper protein bar is ideal. These bars pack 15-30 grams of protein each and will definitely keep you on the trail longer.

premier protein bar

Homemade Trail Mix: Customize your mix with your faves. If you’re adding dried fruit, look for ones with no added sugar, it will be sweet enough and much lower cals without. A few ingredient recommendations: goji berries, raw almonds, raw cashews, raisins, mulberries, coconut chips, dark chocolate chips.

Coco-Roons: Craving cookies on your journey? Opt for a healthier, but just as tasty version with Coco-Roons. These raw, gluten free, dairy free, Paleo, organic bites are made with real ingredients, and ones you can pronounce.

hiking snacks

Keep your crew energized with the right bites and everyone will be smiling like…

Dog hiking

What are your favorite hiking snacks? Anything I should toss in my backpack for the next trip to the mountains?

Road Trip Stop #2: Ann Arbor, Michigan

June 24, 2016

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I couldn’t make a cross country road trip without a special stop at one of my very favorite places, Ann Arbor, Michigan! As a University of Michigan alum, I never pass up the chance to visit the campus. I was particularly excited to show Ollie the gorgeous campus, he seems to like it, don’t you think?

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Don’t step on the M Ollie! For any Michigan readers, you know that it’s bad luck and you’ll fail your first blue book exam (do blue book exams still exist?).

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Ollie made a quick visit to an Ann Arbor classic spot, Rick’s. He’s ready to party.

ann arbor

When visiting Ann Arbor, I have a few food-musts. Zingerman’s for breakfast is a no brainer. And on the way out, we grabbed Pizza House Chipatis for the road, yum. Nothing like your favorite college food to get you through a 7 hour drive.

Ann Arbor

We got the chance to stay with one of my best friends and we were SO excited to introduce our crazy dogs. Ollie & Wrigley got along great! Oops, Lauren & I spent all our energy trying to get these two to look at the camera that we never took pictures of us 🙁

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During our quick trip, we also had the chance to see another college friend and her cutie-pie baby. Such a treat.

I absolutely loved our stop in Ann Arbor, which is no shock, because as any Michigan alum can attest, it’s a special place. Plus, seeing friends that I don’t get to see nearly enough, well that’s just the best.

The next stop along the way, Madison, Wisconsin!

Also check out Stop #1, Niagara Falls.

Staying Strong Through Life’s Chaos: #WhyWeSweat

June 23, 2016

whywesweatAs I begin to settle into life completely across the country from what I’m used to, everything seems to be confusing, different and just a bit stress-inducing. After what seemed like a small series of bad luck upon our arrival in San Francisco (flat tire, stolen phone, you get the picture), I’m finding balance through my daily workout routine.

whywesweat

Working out and getting in a daily sweat has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. Even back to my college days, if I was having a bad day, a run seemed to help solve my problems. While many things in my life are currently in a state of change, I’m looking to my workouts and daily sweat sessions to stay sane and centered.

new Balance

New Balance recently launched a campaign asking women “why we sweat.” Right now, I’m sweating through the chaos to find a sense of calm. As we go through the stress of apartment hunting and navigating a twisty new city, I can count on my daily sweat session to clear my mind of all the items on my to-do list and simply focus on the one task at hand, whether it’s getting through a conditioning class, making it up the giant hills of SF or staying put during a hot yoga session.

new balance

Beyond that, fitness brings people together and can kick off the building blocks of new friendships. I only know a handful of people in San Francisco and have high hopes that just as fitness brought me new friends in New York City, it has the power to do the same here. Fitness friends are great friends to have. You tend to have similar goals, share personality traits and push each other to go one step further. And not only all of that, you get to do something healthy while hanging out with friends.

whywesweat

So why do I sweat? Sure I want to burn calories, be fit and feel strong. But I sweat because it’s what I do, it’s a part of my day, it’s a part of my life. Sweating keeps me sane through the chaos of change.

new balance

Now you tell me, why do you sweat?

*Thank you to New Balance for outfitting me for my daily sweat sessions!*

Shoes: New Balance 811 Trainers

Leggings: Night Floral Fashion Crop & Precision Run Capri

Tank: NB Ice Hybrid Tank

Jacket: Windcheater Hybrid Jacket

Road Trip Stop #1: Niagara Falls

June 22, 2016

Niagara Falls

While relatively close to NYC, I’d never been to Niagara Falls. It’s been on my to-visit list for a while and with our move to the West Coast, I figured I better get a visit in quick (it was one of the failed items on my 30 under 30 list). Fortunately, it didn’t throw our intended road trip route too off course, so we made it our first stop.

The drive from NYC is a little under 7 hours. If you’re headed to Niagara Falls, head for the Canadian side, perhaps a slightly longer drive, but the views are much better. Because we were packing up our apartment and doing final pre-move errands, we got a late start and didn’t arrive in Niagara Falls until about 2am. A bit of a rough start to 17 days on the road! After a drive through customs, we quickly settled into our hotel so we could wake up and hit the falls. We stayed at a cheap motel that isn’t worth recommending, but considering we spent about a total of 8 hours there, I’m glad we didn’t opt for a more expensive hotel.

Niagara Falls is gorgeous. The expansive falls almost don’t seem real. The little town around Niagara Falls? Well, that’s another story. We drove through quickly but it’s a bizarre little tourist trap. Take my advice, head beyond all of that and go straight to the falls.

You don’t need too much time there, take in the views, snap a few pictures and you should be good to go. I’ve heard the boat ride Maid of the Mist is cool but with Ollie, we opted out.  The views from land were amazing enough. We probably spent a total of 1-2 hours at the falls. I’m not sure what else you’d do in the area (perhaps a hike?) if you created an entire weekend out of visiting Niagara Falls;  I suggest making the falls a quick stopover as part of a trip elsewhere.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls

I mean really, doesn’t that look like a tiny fake boat?

Next Stop: Ann Arbor, Michigan!

We Made It! Cross Country Road Trip Recap

June 21, 2016

Road Trip Route

Remember when I said I’d try to keep you posted about our cross-country road trip whereabouts? Well, I failed! Instead of trying to login and post from the road, I took our 17 days of travel to keep my laptop firmly shut. I wouldn’t say I truly disconnected as I definitely took advantage of wifi when available, but I did stay away from my computer, which was a nice feeling. After working a desk job for years and years, to spend a few weeks not sitting at a desk staring at a screen felt pretty awesome. But don’t worry, now I’m back to blogging!

In upcoming posts I’ll give you the details of our time on the road. As a general overview: the trip was FANTASTIC. Sure, we had some highs and lows with hours on the road, hotels and motels, amazing towns to desolate highways, but overall I give our road trip an A+. We saw so many cool, beautiful, breathtaking places. There were parts of the US that I’d never explored and this adventure was the perfect opportunity to see something new and exciting almost every day.

Road Trip Photo

A couple of days ago we arrived in San Francisco and we’re trying to get our footing. This city seems incredibly confusing (& hilly), but I’m hoping it will all make sense soon. We are currently spending our days apartment hunting. As anyone who has done that in a big expensive city knows, it’s not the easiest process. I’m feeling good about what we’ve seen so far and I *hope* we are close to picking a place.

San Fran Painted Ladies

Before I get to our SF adventures, I’ll first fill you in on our road trip. Here’s the route we took:

NYC->Niagara Falls->Ann Arbor, Michigan->Madison, Wisconsin->South Dakota->Montana                                 ->Wyoming->Utah->Los Angeles->San Francisco

Tomorrow I’ll give you the highlights of our first stop, Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls

Starting the Journey West

May 31, 2016


Wow, how did this all happen so quickly? For months we’ve known about our move from NYC to California, but as these things go, the time sped by and here we are, moving day!

I had planned to write all about our planning and packing and prepping but life suddenly got crazy. About an hour ago we packed up the car and started our drive west. I’m going to do my best to post during the trip, but really the best way to keep up is to follow me on Instagram & Snapchat (both accounts are ShapinUp). There you’ll get to see the daily adventures during our 16-day road trip. 

Excited for the trip ahead and to share it with you!

24 Hour City Escape to The Lodge at Woodloch

May 27, 2016

The Lodge at Woodloch

With all the craziness happening in my life right now, I decided that before things got even more hectic, MM and I should take 24 hours to zen out and get away from all the items on our ever-growing to-do list. Timed with MM’s grad school graduation and birthday, I planned a surprise trip for us a quick two hours outside of NYC.

The city can feel overwhelming and a bit suffocating at times, but the good news is you don’t have to travel far to feel a world away. We jumped in our car and headed to The Lodge at Woodloch in the Poconos. I had gone a couple of years ago with my mom (recap) and I’ve been waiting for an occasion to go back.

The Lodge is a peaceful spa set by a lake, surrounded by trees and fortunately for us, warm weather and blue skies. For overnight guests, meals, spa & fitness center access and a long list of activities are included.

The Lodge at Woodloch

After checking in we headed to The Tree for lunch. I got the edamame dumplings and MM got the crab sandwich. The menu has a selection of healthy spa-like and heartier more indulgent dishes, plus a stocked salad bar.

Lunch at The Tree

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Next up, we had some down time as we prepped for our massages. Down time at the spa can be spent in a variety of ways: wondering around the property on the nearby trails, taking a cooking class, trying a class at the fitness center, hanging in the outdoor or indoor hot tub or swimming in the indoor pool.

lodge pool

photo via

We took a quick stroll to check out the on-site garden that the restaurant sources from and loved that it was open for guests to explore.

Lodge Garden

Lodge Garden

And then it was spa time! Our massages were both excellent, one of the best and most relaxing I’ve ever had. Afterwards we enjoyed a glass of wine by the fire pit.

Lodge Firepit

The next morning we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading back to the city.

Breakfast at the Tree

Have you ever spent time at an overnight spa? I’m used to the go-go-go mindset and even at the spa, I was like, ok what’s next on the agenda? The answer is nothing! The spa is for relaxing, enjoying the open hours and not worrying about what is happening next. Bonus points for it being acceptable to walk around in your robe. Even after just 24 hours at The Lodge, my mind felt a little more at ease.

If you are ever feeling like I was, like you need to hit the reset button, look into a quickie spa getaway. Even one night away will change your outlook and mood. I recommend finding a place no more than 2 hours away so the travel time doesn’t cut into your relaxation time. If The Lodge at Woodloch is in that two-hour window, I can’t recommend it enough.

lodge at woodloch

photo via

A huge thank you to The Lodge at Woodloch for welcoming us for the night!

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2016 Recap

May 23, 2016

Brooklyn Half Finisher

Saturday’s Brooklyn Half Marathon was a surprisingly gorgeous day and my race was surprisingly speedy. Those are two pleasant surprises!

With threats of rain earlier last week, I worried the race would be a chilly washout. Thankfully, the rain held off and the weather could not have been more perfect. Race morning starts early, and to make it more enjoyable Meaghan and I made the Brooklyn journey together. We met bright (actually, still completely dark) and early at 5:20 am and hopped on the subway for the long ride to the Brooklyn Museum, excited to kick off our race.

It was easy to get through security but the real challenge came when we went made a bathroom break before lining up to start. Why oh why are there never enough porter potties? Literally our entire corral was a giant winding line for the bathroom. Phew, we made it to the front before the starting gun went off.

I was so thankful to have a friend to spend the morning with because making your way to a race and waiting for the start can be tedious and nerve wracking. At 7am though, Meaghan and I parted ways to take on the 13.1 miles ahead of us.

Going into the race, I did a decent job with my training. If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve run about 1-2 runs per week, completed most of my long runs, and complimented my runs with lots of cycling and conditioning classes. To keep things interesting, I tend to do more cross-training than actual running, and for me this works. It keeps me in shape, feeling strong and I happily avoid running burn out. When I crossed the starting line at the Brooklyn Half, I felt confident in my abilities to have a good race. I didn’t think it would be my fastest or my slowest. I was looking forward to a comfortable and enjoyable race. And that’s what I had.

The first half of the race takes you through Prospect Park with small hills here and there. Honestly, I didn’t really feel much of the hills. The park is gorgeous, the weather was ideal for running and the race vibes were all positive. After the park it’s a steady straight line to Coney Island. This part can get a little boring, turns in races keep things interesting, but during a straight shoot for 6+ miles, it can be hard to stay motivated.

Throughout the entire race I had the 1:50 pacer nearby, sometimes really close and sometimes just slightly out of my view. To keep myself motivated, I aimed to keep the pacer close. The first half of the race felt more like a chase trying to keep up with the pacer, but in the second half, I had an energy spike, passed the pacer, and made it my mission to stay in front of him until the finish line.

Brooklyn Half FinishIn the last 800 meters of the run I spotted MM cheering on the sidelines and that gave me the extra boost to sprint to the finish. In the last push of the race, you get views of Coney Island roller coasters, can see the beach in the distance, and get to do your final 200 meters on the boardwalk, such a fun way to finish.

brooklyn half runner

So excited to see a friendly face along the course!

brooklyn half strong

The final kick!

I completed the race in 1:48:56 (8:19 pace). I wasn’t expecting to go this fast, my goal was only to beat my time from the 2014 Brooklyn Half–1:53:34 so I was very happy with my finishing time. I was shocked at the burst of energy I felt halfway through the race and saw my average pace steadily dropping as the miles went by. My slowest mile was 8:37 and my fastest was 7:53. I call this a success!

Brooklyn Half Finisher Selfie

Sweaty finisher selfie

After I met up with MM, we joined the crowds at Nathan’s for a famous hot dog and french fries…and a corn dog because I just ran 13.1 miles and why not!

nathans brooklyn half

Oh hiiii beautiful (quickie food review: French Fries A+, Corndog A, Hot Dog B)

Brooklyn Half The Fit Crasher

Meeting up with Meaghan after the race.

The big takeaway from this race was that while I may not always be motivated to do training runs, I still love being able to get out and complete a race feeling strong. For me, it’s all about balance; doing workouts I love and staying fit and race-ready through running, strength training, cycling and whatever other workouts make me excited to get moving. Find what works for you to get you to the start and finish line happy and excited to run.

Brooklyn Half Medal

What’s next? I’ll be doing the Lululemon Seawheeze half in August. It may be tough to keep up with my running while I drive cross-country to San Francisco starting next week, but once I get settled I’ll be back at it.

Did you run the Brooklyn Half? Tell me how it went!

Is Tone House New York City’s Hardest Workout?

May 20, 2016

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Is this what I will look like after Tone House? If so, I’ll be back. Photo via

Are you looking for a challenging workout that will leave your muscles burning and sweat dripping? Well, I’ve got a place for you. Earlier this week I attended class at Tone House. This was my first full class at Tone House (I had taken a 30 minute preview class a while back) and knew that I was in for a challenge as I’ve seen Tone House described as the hardest workout in New York and some of my super fit friends are even too intimidated to try it.

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I’m not one to back down from a scary workout and signed up with a friend for Evan and Shaun’s Lower Body/Core workout. The class was held in the new Nomad location, which opened early this week. The space is awesome. There is a huge waiting area where you can stretch before and after class, great lockers room with self-locking lockers and a huge studio floor. The entire space is lit in dim orange light, giving everything an intense vibe.Tone house Modelphoto via

And intense is exactly the vibe this studio deserves. The workout starts with what can only be described as the most challenging warm up ever. Cone-like things are set up and you do running and jumping drills over the cones. Sounds innocent enough but then you start doing burpees between each cone and you need to keep a quick pace because the group is running in a line and you don’t want to hold everyone back. But don’t worry, the instructors tell you that if you need to take a beat and catch your breath, do it, no shaming.

In fact, even though this workout is perhaps one of the hardest, it’s also one of the most supportive. As a former high school athlete, this workout brought me back to my team days (which I miss dearly!).  Everyone cheers for each other as you make your way through the workout and the instructors are literally by your side, encouraging you to push harder and go beyond your perceieved limits.

Ok, let’s get back to the workout. After the ridiculous warm up, the majority of the workout involved getting across the studio, going back and forth with various moves like bear crawls (omg I hated these) and sprints. We also used rowing machines and gliders and had all sorts of moves throughout the hour long work out (squats, burpees, lunges, etc).

The workout concluded with a quick stretch session and a feeling of overall exhaustion and accomplishment. I can see why this workout is known as one of the hardest in the city, but don’t be afraid. It’s a studio worth checking out if you like team style workouts, want to workout like athlete and want to be pushed to your limits, all with the support of your instructors and teammates.

But maybe you are a little nervous. And that’s okay, because now Tone House offers a beginner TH 101 class to ease you in.

tone house

photo via

Tone House definitely ranks as one of the toughest workouts I’ve done. And while it was super hard, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back for another round. What’s the hardest workout you’ve tried?

Brooklyn Half Marathon: What I’ll Be Wearing

May 18, 2016

brooklyn half medal

Are you running a half marathon this weekend? If so, now’s the time to nail down your outfit. When selecting your perfect race day outfit, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t try anything new on race day. If you haven’t worn it before, don’t wear it on race day. If you do, you run the risk of being uncomfortable and potential chafing
  • Prep a few days in advance, laying all the items out, to make sure you have everything you need. No one wants to be panicking the evening of race, realizing your favorite sports bra is in the laundry
  • Check the weather and then keep checking it. Make sure you have everything you might potentially need, whether it’s super hot, windy, chilly or raining (please no!)

And now, here’s a look at what I’ll be wearing for Saturday’s Brooklyn Half Marathon.

BROOKLYN HALF outfit

Lululemon Cool Racerback Exhale: This fitted tank hugs just enough to stay in place during the 13.1 miles.

Lululemon Making Moves Sports Bra (available in stores): Perhaps my new favorite sports bra, it’s lightweight and supportive, not suffocating.

Lululemon Tracker Short IV: If you like a little extra breathing room for your thighs, these are the best option, with a little more give in the legs. The waist band is thick and soft so you won’t feel any rub.

Garmin Forerunner 220: An easy-to-use GPS watch, ideal for training and racing.

Nike Expandable Belt: After testing a bunch of belts, I find that this one has the least amount of bounce, yet still fits all your necessities as it expands to the size of its contents.

Pro Compression Calf Sleeves: I can’t go more than 5 miles without compression calf sleeves. If you get tight calves of calf cramps, add these to your longer runs.

Feetures Elite Max Cushion Socks: While a bit on the pricy side, I’ll happily pay $15 for a good pair of socks because a blister on race day really sucks.

Saucony Triumph ISO: These supportive and cushiony shoes have gotten me through a couple of halves and a marathon. I think this will be my last race in my current pair and then it’s time to go shoe shopping!

Saturday’s forecast is looking iffy. Potentially rainy with lows in the 50s. Since I’ll be standing outside for a bit before the race starts, I’ll be wearing a throwaway sweatshirt to toss as I hit the starting line.

I’m excited for this race and will be crossing my fingers hoping for a good forecast.

What are your favorite race-day items? Share them below to help us all get prepped for race day!

 

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