Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thoughts of a fitness instructor.

Hello! I've been gathering some thoughts that I wanted to share with you. But first, let's check out the outcome of my latest Trader Joes adventure:

Notable items include: rice pudding, frozen tamales, spinach and kale Greek yogurt dip, and coconut body butter. Also, if you can't tell, I really like melons.

I also got some gluten-free granola which is a winner because it reminds me more of cereal than actual granola. I like to use it as a topping for things like chia seed pudding in fancy glasses:

This particular chia seed pudding included chia seeds, plain full-fat yogurt, and vanilla coconut milk, all mixed together and left in the fridge to set overnight. If you're wondering, yes, that is sunflower seed butter drizzled atop it all. 

I'm trying to be more cognizant of chemicals and such in my everyday items, which is why I am a fan of the coconut body butter. I also picked up some natural shampoo and conditioner at TJs (I have yet to try it but I will keep you posted on that!). One other item I'm a huge fan is this natural deodorant which I got at Whole Foods:

It is made of mineral salt and it works well - even for sweaty workouts!

So, I wanted to discuss some observations I have had the past several weeks in some of my fitness classes. I was used to teaching only aerobic-style classes until recently when cycle became one of my weekly classes. And I quickly realized that cycle is a whole different culture of group fitness! 

I've found that people feel more comfortable in a cycle class versus an aerobics class, because there is no pressure to do everything exactly right. However, I've noticed that some people come into the cycle class, only to not actually participate in the class (listen to their own music/do their own routine). And they might even use a bike in the front row. It is definitely a bit odd to me to see this, especially because this is something that typically doesn't happen in aerobics classes, since most of the class is too focused on just doing the movements properly.

The other thing I have noticed is chatting in the middle of class. This is something I've observed in any fitness class, and this basically means one thing to me: the people in class are not getting a hard enough workout! In cycle class, this is an indication to me that the resistance is too low. In aerobics, it is an indicator to me that maybe the movements are too fast or confusing. Either way, while you should be able to still talk (maybe just a little) while you're working out, but not so much that it comes in the way of the workout. 

What do you think? Have you experienced any of these, even if just participating in a fitness class? 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Foodie finds.

It has been quite some time since the last edition of foodie finds...and lately, I have been finding some great stuff. Without further ado, let's get to it!

We can't have a foodie finds post without some gems from Trader Joe's. I think the frozen veggies are seriously underrated - when I go I always stock up on old favorites and pick up something new to try. I am so happy I picked this up a couple of months ago! This mushroom medley has quickly become a favorite:

I like to sauté it with other veggies, or eat it taco style with a corn tortilla and egg.

The last time I went on a TJs run, I picked up this zucchini and eggplant combo, and oh my. It is awesome.

One more TJs find - trail mix, which has become my new favorite snack. Nevermind the fact that this one shown here is how I found out I am allergic to cashews.

I found this at a regular grocery store the other day, and I bought it since I've heard so much about these juices. It definitely tasted like a green juice! But it was of course refreshing and energizing, and a super convenient way to get in some green juice action.

More snacks - I am always looking for snacks. I found these chips at Costco! They are gluten-free, and the first ingredient was beans, so I was sold. They tasted pretty good with some guacamole as well, so I am definitely a fan.

Yesterday, I really, really wanted some noodles, Asian-style. Today, my goal was to find some gluten-free oriental noodles. Lo and behold! I found some buckwheat and rice vermicelli. So exciting.

I had a vision about these noodles and prepared them as closely to this vision as I could. I cooked the noodles and added to them some napa cabbage, mushrooms, and tofu stir-fried in sesame oil and tamari (gluten-free soy sauce). I had also pan-fried the cooked noodles in some coconut oil to try to crisp them up a bit before combining them with the veggies. This will be my lunch for the week, so I will definitely be looking forward to lunch time tomorrow!

Have a nice week!

Sunday, July 6, 2014


The worst part about long weekends is that they feel like a vacation. And when you're on vacation, you eat like you're on vacation. And then you wonder why you just did that (or is that just me?).

Either way, I'm sure all of us are feeling the long weekend Sunday blues! Usually I beat those with my usual Sunday cooking session. The past couple of weeks I've discovered the gluten-free beauty of polenta. And baked polenta is even better! I just slice the pre-made polenta and drizzle with olive oil before baking until slightly browned.

Pictured below: baked polenta rounds topped with sautéed veggies, black beans, and salsa.

And then I decided to get a bit fancier and try some polenta "fries" which I also baked. This polenta was basil garlic flavored, and I dipped these in marinara sauce. So good!

Otherwise, I am still obsessed with weekend green smoothies. And now I am topping them with all kinds of stuff! Including this chia/hemp seed/buckwheat cereal.

So, it's been a while since we discussed fitness. I know I mentioned a video for this post, but in my opinion, this is even better.

As I'm sure you already know, I currently teach my two favorite forms of fitness: kickboxing and zumba. Recently, I obtained an indoor cycling certification as well. The irony of this is that cycle is not one of my top workout classes. 

Even more ironically, my teaching schedule is soon changing, and I will be teaching my own cycle class! I've been recently doing a lot of research for cycle class ideas, and I super appreciate when I see song ideas and routines posted online. The more classes I attend and the more ideas I see, I will admit, the more exciting cycle becomes. Yesterday, I subbed a cycle class and below are the songs/routines I used. I thought it was a fun one - and I think the class thought so, too :).

80s Themed Cycle Class:
1. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"//Warm-up 
2. "Beat It"//Seated with moderate resistance, standing during chorus
3. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"//Fast pace with sprints during chorus
4. "Don't Stop Believing"//Seated climb
5. "Bust a Move"//Downhill, gradually decrease resistance from previous song
6. "Living On a Prayer"//Seated with medium-high resistance, alternate between standing and hovering during chorus
7. "Vogue"//Seated climb
8. "You Spin Me"//Fast pace with sprints during chorus
9. "Love Shack"//Jumps during chorus; alternate between standing and seated for counts of 8, 4, or 2
10. "Holiday"//Moderate pace and moderate resistance
11. "I Love Rock & Roll"//Cool down and stretch

This can even be done on a stationary bike (although I do caution trying the standing position on those bikes - some of them are not meant for that). If you give this a try, let me know!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Veggie Love

If you didn't already know, I love food. The past several weeks have involved coming up with ways to still love food even if it doesn't include gluten! It gets better each day, but it definitely has taken some work.

I found it particularly difficult to come up with office-friendly snacks. Of course, raw veggies are always a great option, but I like being a bit more creative. Also, I'll get to the veggies in a second! 

Enter: homemade popcorn. With some nutritional yeast for bonus taste/nutrition!

Trailmix was my favorite snack last week. I will definitely be going to TJs for lots more of this:

About those veggies! Apparently my body has no problem with those, so my meals have been full of a variety of vegetables. One can never have too many veggies, right?

This was a green lettuce salad along with an egg, red peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and cauliflower cooked with coconut oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika:

My new favorite weekend breakfast food: green smoothies. The below included almond milk, mango, frozen banana, frozen spinach, and mint leaves. Delish!

And lastly, I found a new way to enjoy noodles. Tofu noodles! They take two minutes to cook, and I enjoyed them with marinara sauce with added vegetables (of course). 

This picture is the worst. It was late and post-kickboxing. But it was a great post-kickboxing meal.

No fitness videos for you today, but there will likely be one on the next post! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Don't mind the cryptic acronyms...I will explain shortly!

Hi friends! It has been a while, and a lot has happened since we last met, which is actually the reason I am providing you with this update today. So, let's get to it!

As I'm sure most of you know - I am not much of a fan of "fad diets," one of which happens to be the gluten-free diet. Obviously, for those people who are diagnosed with Celiac disease, that is a different story altogether. What I mean is going gluten-free for the sake of weight loss, etc.

And then, the craziest thing happened. Due to stomach issues and blood tests and doctor advice (which I could not bear to believe!), I am now on a gluten-free diet.

What?!?! No. It can't be.

At first, it was a tough adjustment, but when I began doing more research, I realized that I just had to bring out my inner creative cook! And I will admit, it has been fun coming up with new GF recipes.

My favorite weekend breakfast usually involves pancakes. This weekend, I experimented with cornmeal and came up with this recipe which is a little reminiscent of cornbread.

Cornmeal Pancakes
(Makes four medium-sized pancakes)

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2-3 tsp coconut oil for cooking

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for coconut oil. Add the oil to a non-stick pan, and place on the stove over medium heat. Spoon batter onto pan and cook evenly on both sides until slightly browned.

Serve with honey, maple syrup, or nut butter.

And to conclude, I have a new Zumba choreography video to share with you - one of my originals. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

TFG Speaks

Hi friends!

TFG is coming back to life (again). Mostly because I had to make a little recipe video and I figured...I might as well share it with all of you.

First and foremost, can I just announce my love of sweet potatoes? I think I've been eating some form of sweet potatoes every single day for the past couple of months. Quite excessive, I know. But if you know me, I do love my winter root vegetables. Usually it is winter squash. This year, it is sweet potatoes.

The best part about sweet potatoes is that they are extremely versatile. They can be baked (or twice baked!), fried, microwaved, mashed...and combined with pretty much any ingredient ever. The possibilities are endless.

Without further ado, here is my recipe for sweet potato fries. I've been making these for the past few weeks and I never fail to eat the entire batch all at once. The written recipe is below the video. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1 large sweet potato 
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • Salt/pepper to taste 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice sweet potato into thin wedges, and mix in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Place the wedges on a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Flip the slices over and bake for 15 more minutes or until the slices are crispy on the outside. 

Serve with condiment of choice. My favorite way to eat these is to arrange them on a place and top with some shredded cheese and jalapeno slices!