Egg (not mc)Muffins

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I don’t have a lot of time in the morning to prepare a healthy breakfast. So what do I do? Make a healthy breakfast ahead of time when I do have a few moments to spare. No excuses!

I shared one of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts (overnight oats) with you a few months ago, and now I wanted to share another. Behold, the egg muffin.

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Do I wish I could make a hearty, delicious veggie omelet each morning before I go to work? Sure I do. But considering this is real life and I have a lot going on (like trying to brush teeth and make coffee in the morning), that’s just not going to happen. So I did some searching on the interwebs and found these gems. They’re basically omelets in the shape of a muffin. Genius? I think so.

Make them on Sunday, pop them in the freezer, and microwave one each morning. Add to toast, melt with cheese, schmear with avocado, slice on top of a salad…you decide. But no more excuses for not eating a healthy, filling, nutritious breakfast! Got it?

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The recipe variations on this theme could fill a blog on their own. If you don’t like the way I made them, do a little searching and find a version that looks good to you. Bottom line: if you don’t like it, you won’t eat it, so make sure to tweak this to suit your fancy. 

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Ingredients: 

- onion
- red bell pepper
- mushrooms
- salt and pepper
- eggs

Instructions: 

- preheat oven to 350*
- chop up veggies and sauté in a pan
- add six whole eggs to a bowl (you could opt for egg whites if you like)
- add sautéed veggies to the bowl, sprinkle salt/pepper
- whisk all the ingredients together
- grease cupcake pan (I used olive oil)
- pour the egg mixture into the cupcake wells (my mixture filled six)
- make sure to leave plenty of room at the top, these muffins grow in the oven
- cook at 350* for about 10 – 15 minutes (keep checking)
- enjoy!

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I wrapped the cooled egg muffins in saran wrap and popped them into the freezer. They de-thawed after about 2 minutes in the microwave – the exact time it takes me to make my morning coffee. Perfect!

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If you are feeling more ambitious and really want to up the ante on your breakfast prep, check out these delicious egg muffin breakfast sandwiches (think turkey bacon, cheddar cheese, golden toasty english muffins) from Taralynn on the Undressed Skeleton.  Bon appetite!

Feeling the Burn at Lava Barre

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Crash Course: Lava Barre is a high-end boutique barre studio located in Clarendon. Their “Lava Burn” class is a 45 minute express version of their signature hour-long Lava Barre class, but with less stretching and quicker transitions. Expect all of the traditional leg, thigh, and booty blasting action found in other barre classes, served with a side of upper body weights and abs. You will definitely feel the burn, so come prepared to have a sore derrière the following day. Check out a full list of class times and types at Lava Barre.


wear: comfortable clothes, no-slip socks

instructor: Morgan

cost: drop in rate is $24

 

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Lava Barre has been on my list to crash for quite some time now. I have heard rave reviews from so many friends and readers that it was impossible not to make the trip to Clarendon to see what they were oogling about. First things first, I had to find the place. Easier said than done! The studio is seriously tucked away, located on the second floor of the inconspicuous, no frills building you see above. There aren’t any discernible Lava Barre decals from the street, so you have to know where you’re going. Watch for the big “Saffron” sign – a dance studio located in the same building – and you’ll be going in the right direction. If you are driving (as I did) don’t park in the lot adjacent to the building (which would be convenient) – the studio recommends trying to find metered parking behind the Northside Social coffee house or on the street.

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When you enter the building, the first floor hosts the Saffron dance studio. I was greeted by a group of ladies whirling about in bellydance costumes and scarfs. While I would love to go back for a crash, something told me that was not the studio I came for this evening. I found a flight of stairs and was thankfully transported to the calm, spa-like oasis of the Lava Barre space. It is really beautifully decorated, with calm lighting, fresh cuts of flowers, and the kind of furniture I’d be happy to host in my apartment any day. One thing that struck me right off the bat – it is teeny tiny and gets crowded quickly before class. There didn’t seem to be a lot of space to store belongings, so I ended up just piling mine in an empty corner.

There are two bathrooms, one with a baby changing station stocked with rows of diapers – and the front desk is located to the right. When I signed in, I was greeted with a calm and sincere “Hello, we’re so happy you’re here, how was your day?” by Lauren, one of the owners. Talk about classy – I was really impressed with the level of sincerity and interest. Made me feel right at home and like we were old friends. Love it.

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There is only one barre studio space and classes are capped at 15 students, so the entire experience from start to finish feels very personal. The studio itself was really lovely, with small topiaries hanging out outside the windows, gleaming wood floors, and fun artwork hanging on the walls. For our class, we wasted no time and got right down to work. We only had 45 minutes and the we were going to use every minute to tuck and lift, and tuck and lift. One thing to note: wood floor is incredibly shiny and beautiful, but also very slippery, so remember to bring socks with grips on the bottom. You can buy them at the studio or find them at any athletic store. I got mine from Lucy.

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Things that I loved about Lava:

  • The small class size
  • Personalized attention from the instructor that helped me correct my moves and get the most out of each lift and tuck
  • The entire space – although tiny – is beautiful
  • Lava Barre is a welcoming place for moms with their prenatal workout program, baby changing stations in the bathrooms, and a child care option during class

Things I wasn’t so keen on:

  • The price. Barre classes in DC are some of the city’s most expensive workouts – I have yet to figure out why exactly that is. If you have an idea, please let me know, because I continue to be baffled with $24 – $25 classes popping up. It’s fun to go occasionally here and there, but at least for me, it’s not a cost effective way to get in shape on my budget.
  • The tiny space is beautiful (see above). But it can also feel crowded, especially when we were all taking off coats, boots, and milling about before class started. Not a huge deal, but something to consider.

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Thank you to the lovely ladies at Lava Barre for hosting my crash! And a huge thank you to Amber (not pictured) for joining me for her first barre experience (after 2 back to back spin classes…beast!).


What are your thoughts on barre being a “luxury” workout?


Tips for Trying a New Fitness Class

Happy Monday everyone! I partnered with the lovely folks over at GoRecess to share some of my tips for trying out a new fitness class. I’ve been a newbie at quite a few classes around town lately, and these are always on the top of my list every time I walk in the door. I hope they help you get excited about crashing that new class you’ve always wanted to sign up for. Don’t have one in mind? Try GoRecess – a website that finds and compiles a list of all the workouts going on your neighborhood by type, time, and location. Give it a go, find a new class, remember these tips, and get crashing!


Metabolic Acceleration Training at The Body You Want

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Crash Course: The Body You Want is a split level gym tucked away on one of the southern side streets of Georgetown. They don’t offer drop in classes, but did invite me to crash one of their signature metabolic conditioning classes, which are part of any gym membership package. The class was an extremely well put-together high intensity interval training session with eagle-eye instruction and gobs of fun equipment. I was impressed with their quality, enthusiastic about their technique, and am scheming about how I can come back for more.


 

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I would have never found The Body You Want if Josef, its owner, hadn’t reached out to me. I have never seen it advertised, don’t recall ever passing by its storefront, and nobody I know has ever been there. After visiting for one of their groups fitness classes, I think it’s safe to say that this spot may just be one of DC’s best kept secrets. While I am dying to tell you about the class itself, let’s cover the basic tour first. The first floor is home to the front desk and a training area with various light equipment, mirrors, and mats. The group class is held downstairs on the lower level.

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The men’s and women’s locker rooms are located on the lower level. The women’s area was bright, clean, with plenty of room to move around and get changed. I loved the wallpaper and the scented oil sticks hanging out on the vanity. There were also two hair dryers – big plus! I hate lugging those things around with me.

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The locker room also had three or four showers, plenty of fresh clean towels, small lockers, and two sinks. Because the gym is relatively modest in size, I can’t imagine it gets too crowded.

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Now on to the best part: the workout! Everyone gathered on the astroturf to foam roll for a solid ten minutes before class. The gym had many different sizes and shapes of these torture tubes, and even had a bucket of lacrosse balls for those knots you just can’t quite shake. I love foam rolling and think it’s a critical part of taking care of your muscles, but it is also the ultimate definition of “hurts so good.”

At this point in the class, Josef and Michelle walked me through a series of diagnostic tests to make sure my body was ready for the workout. They noticed an interesting disconnect between my core muscles and my hamstrings, and after a few specific exercises to fix the issue, had everything working in harmony. I was so impressed with the level of detail, knowledge, and care with which they approached my individual workout experience. Definitely made me feel like I was in great hands.

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After the foam rolling, we moved into a series of moves called the “ramp up.” These were basically exercises and stretches to get the body warmed up and ready to take on the challenging circuit workout ahead. Josef noted that this is an integral part of the workout, particularly for those of us who have been sitting at a computer all day (guilty). I definitely felt better performing explosive movements knowing that my body was ready for them. It’s never fun to swing kettle bells or slam medicine balls cold turkey.

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Michelle is one of the trainers at The Body You Want and led tonight’s workout. It consisted of five stations: heavy ropes, switch lunges, weighted squats/kettlebells, medicine ball throws, and explosive side lunges. Each station required 20 seconds of effort, and we had 30 seconds of rest in between. I believe there were a total of 14 rounds, but to be honest, I was so into the workout I lost count.

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The group was a really fun and supportive. Joking and laughing were normal, which is so much more inviting than going to a gym where everyone is super focused and serious. Michelle played great music, there was a constant blast of motivational yelling from her and Josef, and everyone was extremely friendly. Well, when they weren’t slamming medicine balls into the ground or strangling the heavy ropes to death. Speaking of those ropes: this was my first time giving them a try and man oh man, were they challenging. Just a few seconds with those things and my heart rate was through the roof! Not to mention my arms felt like jello. Phew!

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The three rules of the workout were (1) no puking (2) no passing out and (3) no pain. Sounds like a winning combination to me. While the workout was really tough, if at any time anyone felt like they needed a break, they took it. The atmosphere was extremely supportive and not at all judgmental. At least that’s the impression I got as a newcomer who had no idea what I was getting into.

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The gym space itself is very unique in that it doesn’t look like any other gym I have ever been to. There are only a few essential weight machines, one stationary bike, a treadmill, and lots (and lots!) of fun “extras.” In my mind, the extras are the best part, but I’m a bit of a workout weirdo. They had multiple TRX hanging from the ceiling, a weighted sled, bungees galore, rope ladders, hurdles, and lots of medicine balls. I was like a kid in a candy store – it was all I could do not to want to play with everything all at once. If you are looking for a personalized attention in a gym without the “big box” feeling, I would definitely stop by to check them out. Also, their website looks a bit gimmicky – almost in a workout DVD series kind of way – but don’t let that deter you. I found them to be very professional and I never once felt pressured to join (like I have after visiting other, larger gyms).


Do you know of any other “best kept secret” gyms in DC?


City Sports Georgetown Sunday Run Group

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On Sunday I bundled up in my warmest running gear and drove over to the City Sports in Georgetown to join their Rock ‘n Roll half marathon training group. Each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. until the race on March 16, the store will be hosting a guided run to help get participants ready to conquer 13.1. This weekend they had 11 miles on the docket.

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I don’t typically eat before working out, but I woke up with a grumbling stomach and knew I needed to feed it something before we attempted any sort of distance. So I stuck with something relatively plain – ezekial toast, almond butter, raw honey, and banana – with the hope of satisfying my hunger without causing any unnecessary stomach upset on the road. It worked!

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There are always so many things to think about when joining a new training group. What pace will they run? How many runners will there be? Are they chatty or quiet? Down for stretch breaks or not? Will the route be worthwhile? Are they friendly? I mean, 11 miles is a long way to go with people you’re not meshing with. That said, you don’t know till you try, so I decided to take my chances and dive right in. Here we are taking a group photo before hitting the road – notice how nice and toasty we all look. That didn’t last long!

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There were two pace groups on this run: one at 10 minutes or slower, and one that was supposed to be around 8 – 9. The store manager mentioned that they typically offer three pace groups, but today one of the leaders couldn’t make it. Because I’m trying to hold somewhere between 8:15 – 8:30 for the half marathon, I stuck with the faster of the two groups. We ended up running 9 minute miles the whole time and I seemed to be the only one keeping track of pace and distance (there were a lot of “what mile is this?” and “how fast are we going now?” questions).

It was the first group training run I’ve ever been on that didn’t have the familiar chorus of chirping Garmins chiming at every mile. Strange and refreshing all at the same time. But for someone who is training with a time goal in mind, the laid-back attitude was a bit frustrating. Then again, I’m a tad competitive…so take that for what it’s worth. My advice is this: if you are looking for an easy going, non-intimidating group to train with, I’d check out City Sports. If you are particular about keeping a faster pace and know your way around the paths and trails of DC, I’d check out one of the more established groups like DC Road Runners, Pacers, or Potomac Runners.

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The other thing that struck me as odd about this group is that the run leaders were not vary familiar with the city or with commonly-used DC running trails. I was happy to point out where Rock Creek Park trail was and how to get through the Zoo to Connecticut Ave., but was surprised that nobody else on the run knew where many of the major landmarks and turns were. I’m not saying runners need to be DC map experts, and going out for an exploratory run and finding your own way can be fun – but joining a group for a training (vs. fun) run shouldn’t come with the adventure of finding your way around the city for 11 miles. Just my two cents – the group is fairly new and hopefully with a few more runs under their belt they’ll have it down in no time.

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That said, I really did enjoy the runners in our little pace group and want to give a shout out to Joy, the City Sports representative on our run, who was a constant source of upbeat energy. We all made our way through Rock Creek Park, up through the Zoo (hello hill!), down Connecticut Ave to Dupont, and over to the City Sports store in Chinatown. This is where we stopped for a quick water break (and to try to return feeling to our frozen fingers). Then we made our way over past the White House to Connecticut Ave., up through Dupont Circle, across P Street to Wisconsin Avenue and then home on M Street to the Georgetown store.

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The run itself was really good and I felt ready to tackle 13 miles in March. But then again, the pace was slower than I was used to and I also had a lot of opportunity to stop and stretch along the way thanks to a route that zig-zagged through downtown (read: stopping every block for the traffic lights). I mentioned to the City Sports folks afterward that this wasn’t a lot of fun for tired (and cold!) legs, and maybe a better route for their 12 miler next weekend could include a few more miles outside of downtown to help keep runners on pace and cut down on lag time waiting at crosswalks.

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After saying my goodbye’s at the Georgetown store, I came home and promptly changed out of my cold and wet running clothes, grabbed a big glass of water, and settled in for a good stretch. Thanks to the cold temperatures, my muscles were already feeling stiff and I knew I needed to give them some extra TLC. I had been hearing good things about the site Do Yoga With Me – which offers an online library of free yoga videos – so I thought I’d give one a try. It was meant to be, because I immediately found a video called “Yoga for Runners: Post Run” that was perfect. It had a few moves I’ve never done before and they felt phenomenal on my tired legs. I’ve bookmarked it to use regularly, but if you have any others that you’d recommend please let me know!


What do you think about training with a new running group? Do you have a favorite?


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