FREE Outdoor Fitness Classes in Boston

That’s right, FREE! The summer is going by quickly, so don’t let these opportunities pass you by.

Yoga on the Boston Common:

yoga

Come to Frog Pond on Tuesday nights (6:00-7:15 p.m.) for a FREE expert-led yoga class (power vinyasa flow). Participants are encouraged to bring their own mats and blocks, and all ages and levels are welcome. For more information, read here. Classes run every week June 4 – August 27.

Healthy, Fit, & Fun at the Esplanade:

The Esplanade Association is hosting FREE Healthy, Fit, & Fun classes this summer (through August 30). All abilities and ages are welcome to participate. For more information, read here. See schedule below:

  • Mondays: 2.5 mile Community Power Walk (meet at the Hatch Shell at 6:00pm)
  • Tuesdays: Zumba (meet at the Hatch Shell at 6:00pm)
  • Wednesdays: Sunset Yoga (meet at Fiedler Field at 6 p.m) & Run Club (3, 5, & 8 mile options, meet in front of Marathon Sports Boston, 671 Boylston St., at 6:30 p.m. warm-up begins at 6 p.m.)
  • Thursdays: CrossFit (meet at Fiedler Field at 6 p.m)
  • Fridays: Boot Camp (meet at Fiedler Field at 7 a.m.)

Hope to see you there!

– Kelly

Advertisements

10 Best instagram accounts to inspire healthy living

I’m not hugely into social media. In fact, I’ve never even had a facebook page (gasp!). But if there’s one thing I do love, its getting inspired by beautiful images. That’s why I love instagram (and that’s also why I have over 10,000 pins on Pinterest). #guilty

There are plenty of nutrition, health, and fitness accounts on instagram. But I’m not looking for images that promote fad diets, extreme exercise, or anything heavily processed. What I look for in an instagram account are beautiful images of farm-fresh produce, great scenery and photography, and inspiring quotes that remind me why I love my body and why I want to treat it with care. Confession: I also love design and lifestyle accounts. It’s good to not think about food all the time!

So here it goes… The 10 best instagram accounts to inspire healthy living:

LULULEMON

@lululemon Staying fit has never looked so fun! Only lululemon could make sweat look fashionable. Now, if only I could afford the gear…

HANNADALE

@hannadale The beautiful, balanced meals and the gorgeous European outdoor shots make me want to go on a hike, and take homemade, organic granola with me.

GREATIST

@greatist Healthy living at it’s greatest. These enticing images will inspire you to get fit and get moving.

PASSPORTSANDPANCAKES

@passportsandpancakes Gorgeous photography of whole, unprocessed foods, as well as other food and travel shots. Megan’s photos will inspire you to get into the kitchen and prepare something from scratch.

UNSQGREENMARKET

@unsqgreenmarket New York City. Farmers Markets. Could there be a sweeter combination?

YOGAINSPIRATION

@yogainspiration While I don’t practice yoga on a regular basis, this daily dose of yoga inspiration definitely makes me want to up my game.

AMYSTONE

@amy_stone It’s not a traditional pick for a healthy living blog, but I can’t help but be inspired by the gorgeous pics of life’s simple pleasures! While ice cream gets photographed a bit more frequently than I would like, what I really can’t stop drooling over are the pictures of fresh berries, ocean waves, and colorful hydrangeas.

YOGABEYOND

@yogabeyond Great photos of people practicing yoga in scenic locations. I only wish the logo wasn’t there!

CHOBANI

@chobani I’m a proponent of choosing organic and pasture raised dairy products, and unfortunately, Chobani doesn’t fit the bill. But nonetheless, their instagram account is awesome, filled with lovely pictures of colorful parfaits and other nutritious creations.

BOUNTYHUNTERVAN

@bountyhuntervan This account is loaded with beautiful images of farm-fresh produce. Melissa can stimulate a vegetable craving in even the pickiest of eaters.

As you can see, these certainly aren’t the usual nutrition instagram suggestions. But these are the kinds of images that inspire me to live healthier, and I hope that they inspire you too. Now that you have a taste of my style, don’t forget to follow me on instagram as well! @kellytoupsrd

Who are your favorite inspiring instagram users?

– Kelly

Gym Rat

Gym rat

Exercise has never been my strong suit. While I go through spurts of motivation every now and then, for the most part, it is difficult for me to motivate myself to work out. I am no personal trainer. And now that it’s warm outside (and inside, thanks to the lack of AC) the last thing I want to do is work up a sweat.

So I joined a gym. A temperature controlled paradise with group fitness classes, towel service, and an outdoor pool. Maybe all of the amenities will lure me into going frequently? At least it’s worked for the past week or so. When I work out alone, it is far too easy for me to call it quits early. But in a group fitness class, I can’t just quit in front of everyone. So I keep going, and end up pushing myself to have a tough yet rewarding work out. And best of all, at only a 5 minute walk from my apartment, the location of the gym is hard to beat.

I know what you’re thinking. This sounds expensive. And I’m not gonna lie, the payment stings. But physical activity is the component of my health that has always needed the most help, so it only makes sense that it’s where I choose to invest. Wish me luck!

How do you stay motivated to exercise? Do you belong to a gym?

– Kelly

Exercising when traveling: A new way to experience the city

soulcycle

As a food and nutrition professional, one of my favorite ways to explore cities when I travel is through the cuisine. However, sometimes my travels have a tendency to transform into an all-out food fest, where many of my planned activities revolve around eating out. Not a healthy mindset.

However, on a recent trip, I met someone with a different approach. This person told me that she was taking a yoga class in the city, and that whenever she travels, she tries to take a fitness class. Now, I don’t exactly have the greatest fitness routine to begin with, but nonetheless, the idea struck me. I decided that moving forward; this is a practice that I want to adopt. So I did!

This past weekend, I trekked down to New York City for the Summer Fancy Food show (a trade show for food professionals). Knowing that eating was going to be a big component of my trip, I decided supplement my trip with a fitness class. Naturally, I chose SoulCycle.

I first heard of SoulCycle on a Regis & Kelly episode a few years ago. Since then, it has continued to gain hype from many of my favorite NYC based bloggers. Although I’m not an experienced cyclist, the class was completely rewarding. Hard work, great music, and even better attitudes. Also, whoever thought of holding a fitness class by candlelight, rather than unforgiving fluorescent lights, was a genius. Genius!

Not only is taking a fitness class in a new city a great way to maintain healthy habits when traveling, it is also a great way to break up the monotony of routine exercise. I found myself actually looking forward to the fitness class, because it was new and exciting to me. And now I can’t wait for my next trip!

How do you stay in shape while traveling? Have you tried SoulCycle?

– Kelly

Austin Fitness Bucket List

^^ Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail. Image via American Forests

^^ Stand up paddle surfing in Lady Bird Lake. Image via meetup

Austin is quirky and fun city with a great music and nightlife, a bustling university, and best of all, an amazing local restaurant scene! That being said, nonstop tacos and barbeque can begin to take a toll on your health. But don’t fear- Austin is consistently rated one of the healthiest cities in America for a reason. Are you looking for something active to do in Austin? Here are some ideas to get your muscles moving:

  • Go for a walk, jog, or bike ride around the 10 mile Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, which winds through the middle of downtown and offers unmatched views of the city.
  • Another great way to enjoy Lady Bird Lake is by renting a kayak going stand-up paddle surfing. See here for rental info.
  • Pease Park trails and the beautiful surrounding neighborhoods are the perfect place to go for a jog, take a leisurely stroll, toss a frisbee, and gawk at lovely houses.
  • Spend a day outdoors in one of the many natural springs. Barton Springs, McKinney Falls State Park, the Greenbelt, and Hamilton’s Pool are just a few that come to mind.
  • Dance up a storm at Midnight Rodeo or the Broken Spoke.
  • Explore the city on foot! From the University of Texas campus, to the Capitol Building, to the shops along South Congress, there is so much to see. Austin is also incredibly bike friendly.
  • Drive out to Fredricksburg and go hiking or rock climbing at Enchanted Rock. Fredricksburg is also a great place to go peach picking in the summer.
  • Work up a sweat by volunteering. The Green Corn Project builds organic gardens for those in need, and is one of my favorite volunteer groups in Austin.
  • Give yoga a try! Black Swan Yoga has 4 different locations throughout the city, and offers classes (including hot yoga) for a minimum donation of $5. On a similar note, $10 yoga classes are offered on Wednesdays and Fridays at the Umlauf Sculpture Gardens.
  • If traditional yoga isn’t Austin enough for you, try full moon yoga. Every month (during a full moon) free yoga and meditation classes are offered at a scenic outlook.
  • Sign up for a race. From the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, to the Capitol 10K, to the Chuys 5K fun run, there are always plenty ways to stay active. See here for a list of upcoming races.

^^ Yoga at the Umlauf. Image via Austin 360.

DSC03845

^^ Kayaking in Lady Bird Lake (view from the Congress Ave bridge, while waiting for the bats)

While the following activities won’t require quite as much exertion, these are still some excellent ways to check out the city and enjoy the outdoors:

DSC03869

^^Mount Bonnell

DSC00864

^^ 360 Overlook

Did I leave anything off of my list? How do you stay active in Austin, TX?

– Kelly

January in Boston

I have officially made it through my first month of winter in Boston… we’ll see how the next two go! Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot more to do than sit inside and drink tea (although I admit, there has been a lot of that going on in our apartment). Here is how I have been staying busy (& warm!)…

Ice Skating at Frog Pond

Ice Skating at Frog Pond

Ice skating is one of the few outdoor activities that is made for winter, so I made sure to not miss this opportunity. It’s chilly at first, but once you start moving around get the hang of it you warm up. We chose a day that was about 40 degrees- not 10!

Touring the Taza Chocolate Factory

Taza

Taza Chocolate Factory

Taza Chocolate

During the winter months, indoor activities (such as museums) are a great way to have fun while escaping the cold. As a gastronomy student, I’m partial to food related factory tours. The Taza Chocolate Tour was only $5, and well worth it! We learned about the chocolate making process from bean to bar, and because we were the only 2 that showed up for the tour, we got to ask plenty of questions along the way. The tour was much more fun and informative than I was expecting because we got to see every step of the chocolate making process up close and personal… not to mention the endless supply of chocolate samples! 🙂

Touring the Sam Adams Brewery

Sam Adams Boston

What can I say… I love food and beverage related tours! The Sam Adams Brewery Tour appears on many Boston Bucket Lists, and for a good reason. The factory tour portion was a tad shorter than expected, but we still got to see different parts of the brewing process, as well as get our hands on various hops (to smell) and malted barley (to taste) to see how they affect the profile of the beer. The second part of the tour was the tasting room. We tried 3 different types of beer (including the original Boston Lager), and even got to keep the glass as a souvenir. This tour was FREE, with a suggested $2 donation. Proceeds go to local charities.

Doing work out DVD’s

Winter Exercise on a budget

Let’s be real. All of these food factory tours, while educational, aren’t exactly easy on the waistline. But going for a jog isn’t an option in winter weather (at least not for me). So that’s where exercise DVD’s come into play. My brothers got me the Jillian Michaels Yoga DVD for Christmas, and that is definitely my current favorite. But when I am looking for something a little more intense, I do the kickboxing segment of the top DVD. Check out my last post to read more about my exercise routine, plus tips for morning workouts.

Tasting Authentic New England Seafood

Summer Shack

Last week I joined the Gastronomy Student Association for a seafood bake at Summer Shack. Although clam bakes and the like seem like decidedly summertime affairs, our group dinner was a huge success. My classmates showed me how to properly tackle King Crab legs and Lobster tails, and the paper lined tables and bibs left us no reason to worry about making a mess. With sides of corn on the cob and red new potatoes, the whole experience reminded me very much of a crawfish boil. This experience was definitely a must-do for my New England food education!

Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow yesterday, so spring could be here sooner rather than later. How are you going to spend your remaining days of winter?

– Kelly

Winter Exercise on a Budget + Tips for Morning Workouts

I have never really been one to look forward to exercise. I’ve never been good at competitive sports, and sweating just isn’t my thing. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of exercise. By my senior year of college, I was a regular at group fitness classes (dubbed “Texercise”), I went on semi-regular jogs, and I even took a cardiovascular and weight training PE class for credit.

Flash forward one year later…

Boston weather

Not exactly fitness inducing weather. While I have been able to go for some scenic jogs around my new city, and even participate in a 5K, winter in Boston isn’t calling me outdoors. So what’s a girl to do? The group fitness classes that I grew to love (okay, like) in Austin are an option, albeit, a pricey one. And on top of working 4 days a week and taking graduate courses, I don’t have the luxury to pick from a variety of classes like I did in college. My only workout options are before work, after work (only on non class days), and weekends.

Enter these guys…

Winter Exercise on a budget

I decided to give work out DVDs a try before work. The workouts I choose last between 35-45 minutes. It’s enough time to work up a sweat  and lift my mood, without wearing me out so much that I am tired throughout the day. The purpose is to energize me at work and to start my morning in a healthy frame of mind. The yoga DVD (Jillian Michaels, 2nd from top) is great for small spaces (see below), and doesn’t require any additional weights. The top DVD has a kickboxing segment that I really enjoy, even though it is a bit of a tight squeeze in my small room. I like workout DVDs because they are an inexpensive way to get guided fitness training, without the hassle of transportation to and from classes, or having to work around a busy schedule.

Winter Exercise on a budget

This is my setup. I usually work out barefoot, as a small gesture of kindness towards whoever lives below me.  Morning exercise is new to me, so here are my tips to make it work:

  1. Go to bed on time. If I am ever tempted to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep, it is not because I am bored by my workout, it is because I am tired. Aim for 7-8 hours each night for optimal performance.
  2. Don’t make it optional. Decide that you are going to workout, and then follow through. Don’t leave it up to the condition of whether or not you will feel like it. Don’t give yourself a choice to stay in bed. Turning on my bedside lamp when my alarm goes off is a signal to myself to get moving.
  3. Prepare the night before. Before you go to bed, clear out your workout space and set out your DVD and a water bottle. It also helps to sleep in your workout clothes. I sleep in a sports bra, T shirt, and Nike shorts each night, so that I am ready to get moving in the morning.

How to exercise in the winter, on a budget AND tips for morning workouts

Also, just in case you were wondering, I eat breakfast AFTER my workout because 1) multiple studies (here and here) have shown that exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat, and 2) I’m not doing anything that requires an intense amount of fuel or endurance. I will say that this approach is not for everyone, particularly not endurance athletes. For more on sports nutrition, I highly recommend Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

What are your secrets to a successful fitness routine? Are you a morning warrior, or do you prefer a different time of day? Also, if you know of any good YouTube workout routines, or other fitness DVDs suitable for small spaces, do tell!

-Kelly

Weekend Highlights: Hard work, Harvard, and Healthy Pizza

This weekend the Massachusetts Dietetic Association hosted a spin class at Harvard, followed by breakfast at Clover Food Lab.  One of the Dietitians in MDA has been a spin instructor at Harvard for 9 years, so she was kind enough to help put the event together. It was such a tough workout!

Malkin_Athletic_Center_-_IMG_1766

Malkin Athletic Center- I can’t believe I got to go inside! Image via Wikimedia Commons

We went to the Clover Food Lab in Harvard Square, where I got a popover breakfast sandwich with tempeh. This was my first time to try tempeh, and it tasted great! Now I really want to try some of their lunch items as well! Although we went to the restaurant location, Clover started as a vegetarian food truck. It reminds me of Conscious Cravings in Austin, TX.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image via Drink & Dine Boston

The rest of the weekend was spent doing schoolwork. My roommate is also a BU graduate student, so we spent a few hours at the Boston Public Library studying. Bates Hall is absolutely majestic!

boston_public_library

Image via Time

Because it is finals time and I still have no food, I decided to call in a pizza. I was curious about Naked Pizza, because they advertise that their pizzas are made without added chemicals, preservatives, or additives. Additionally, I discovered that the dough is made with whole grain and prebiotics, the cheese is 50/50 skim milk and whole milk mozzarella, the pizza is made without adding sugar or butter to the dough or sauce, and the nutritional information is all online.

Naked Pizza

At the end of the day, it is still a pizza (still a significant source of fat and calories). But a lightened up pizza made with wholesome ingredients? That’s something that can definitely be incorporated into a healthy diet! I got a thin crust with artichokes, mushroom, garlic, and roasted bell peppers. The 10’’ is perfectly sized for 2 meals, especially if you enjoy it with an apple or a few raw veggies. My only complaint is that there was too much cheese. Next time, I will ask them to go lighter.

 

Hard work, Harvard, and a “Healthy” pizza. How was your weekend?

 

-Kelly