Five Things to Do Before Trying A New Workout

We’ve all had that horrible feeling. It’s the cold sweat or butterflies that start fluttering in our stomach as we walk through the door into a new workout class or studio. You have no idea what to expect, you become intimidated and suddenly forget everything you’ve learned during other workouts. You consider leaving or hiding in the back of the class during the 45-minute workout. You are miserable the entire class and regret the choice you made.

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Last night as I walked through the doors of Title Boxing Club, I felt all of these emotions and more. The studio was larger than I expected, I was learning to wrap my hands for the first time and I was intimidated by the 60-minute class which was longer than other boxing classes I’ve taken.

Since moving back to New York City, it’s no secret that I love trying new classes and workouts. Thanks to ClassPass, I’ve had the opportunity to try over 65 classes in the past few months. But, trying new workouts and studios can come with a certain level of intimidation and fear. Trying something that you don’t know much about, especially if you’ve heard horror stories from other people about how hard and challenging the class is, can leave you wanting to stick with the studios that you know.

But, getting out side of your comfort zone can help you learn more about your workout style, improve your cross training, challenge your muscles and discover what could be your new favorite studio.

If you’re trying to step outside your comfort zone with a new class or studio, here are a few tips to help ensure you have the best workout possible even when you’re trying somewhere new.

  • Do your research ahead of time. Spend at least a few minutes doing some research on the workout ahead of time. I recommend going to the studio’s website, if one exists, as well as a review site like Yelp or Rate Your Burn. Make sure you can answer these few questions before you leave your home or work for the studio. There is nothing worse than showing up at a studio late because you can’t find it or assuming you can rent a towel or buy a water only to find out that this studio is barebones and doesn’t offer anything other than a water fountain.
    1. What do I need to wear?
    2. What do I need to bring (mat, towel, water, boxing gloves, wraps, etc)?
    3. Do they have showers?
    4. Where is it located? Is it upstairs or on street level?
    5. What time do they close the doors or can I show up a few minutes late?
  • Arrive five to ten minutes early. I know this can be difficult especially if it’s a before work class or directly after work but having time to get acclimated to your surroundings and speak with the instructor will help you feel more comfortable. I always recommend letting the instructor know it is your first time taking the class so they can keep an eye on you and provide you with a higher level of instruction or provide pointers.
  • Be honest with the instructor. There is a time and place for the whole “fake it until you make it” mentality. A workout class that you’re taking for the first time is not that time. Be honest with the instructor when describing your fitness level, experience and any injuries you may have. The last thing you want to do is get injured.
  • Convince a friend to join you! Walking into any new experience is more comfortable with a friend by your side. After signing up for the class, do your best to convince one of your friends or workout buddies to join you. Working out together is a great way to catch up and have new experiences together as well as providing you with someone to grimace or give the side eye to during the hard sets and laugh with during any awkward moments. You’ll set yourself up for even more success if you happen to find a friend who has taken the class or visited the studio before as they can provide you with first hand advice.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay to take a breather, laugh or even skip a move if you’re not comfortable. When last night’s boxing instructor told us to jump on the bags and hang for as long as we could, I looked at Jess and laughed out loud. Trust me, during a hard or intimidating class, laughter can infuse you with the energy you need to push through the rest of class! 

title boxing with classpass

(Picture source)

Luckily, I ended up having a great first experience at Title Boxing last night due in part to the ClassPass friends who helped me push through the class, the instructor who gave me pointers during class and the research I did in advance which let me know that I’d need to buy wraps in advance.

What was the last class that left you feeling this way? Or, is there a class you’re thinking about trying but are too nervous to try? I’m definitely intimidated by the reviews I’ve read about Tone House but have promised myself that I’ll try it this month!

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Meatless Monday – Vegetarian Carbonara Recipe

This seems to be a week of firsts on the blog. Last night I shared my first StitchFix experience and today I’m sharing our first Meatless Monday recipe. A popular hashtag on both Twitter and Instagram each Monday, it inspires many people to eat less meat by experimenting with one day of meatless cooking or meals each week.  Over the years this movement has become quite popular as more and more research shows that reducing meat consumption can have many positive health benefits.

As I searched my blog, trying to see whether I’d previously shared a Meatless Monday recipe, I was surprised to not find a single Meatless Monday post. Maybe that’s because until recently, both Bo and I were of the mindset that a meal needed to have meat in order to be filling. Luckily, we’ve come a long way and now enjoy a meatless dinner every other week or so. Sometimes it is more simple, like spaghetti squash and marinara while other times it becomes a fun challenge which results in a delicious, often healthy recipe.

Tonight’s Meatless Monday recipe is the former. After a week of staring at the spaghetti squash just sitting on the counter, we knew we needed to put it to good use. An especially cold night inspired us to create a healthier version of one of our favorite comfort foods – carbonara. We ate our weight in carbonara when we were in Italy, our favorite of which was the fresh carbonara tossed table side in Rome during our meal at Felice A Testaccio. In fact, just thinking about it has my mouth watering. Can I please return to Italy immediately for wine, gelato and pasta? Until we can make our return, this recipe is going to be a regular in our rotation. It is healthy, at under 500 calories per serving, and it is full of rich flavor.

carbonara

We are very aware of the inherent contradiction in the term “vegetarian carbonara”.  After all, what is spaghetti carbonara without those deliciously salty hits of pancetta.  However, it is that luxurious egg yolk that coats the pasta that provides richness and makes the dish so luxurious.  For this vegetarian, carb-free version, we used spaghetti squash instead of pasta and a generous amount of sage for a rich, deep, flavor.
Worried this healthy, vegetarian dish won’t be enough to satisfy your appetite?  We paired it with a simple arugula salad to make a complete dinner for two.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Sage pic JPG
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Sage
Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves – grated on a microplaner
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (If you are a strict vegetarian, make sure you buy a vegetarian approved Parmesan such as Trader Joes!)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Extra virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks
1/2 Tbsp. heavy cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 375, and roast the squash for about an hour; cut in half, scoop out the seeds and use a fork to scrap the meat into a bowl – set aside
2) Beat the egg yolks and cream and add a pinch of salt; set aside
3) Heat butter and 1 Tbsp. of EVOO in a skillet over medium heat; add garlic and soften for 3 minutes
4) Add squash, sage, and Parmesan and toss to mix
5) Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper
6) Take the skillet off the burner and allow squash to cool for a minute
7) Fold in the egg / cream and mix lightly for about 30 seconds; adjust seasoning and serve immediately.
If you’re curious in the nutritional information, see below for the breakdown.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Sage
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My First Stitch Fix Experience

Stitch Fix Fun
Happy Sunday!

I hope you guys are enjoying a wonderful weekend. I enjoyed a great long run with Lululemon run club yesterday before a fun evening in Brooklyn with friends. This morning after church I headed to Williamsburg for brunch with a few girlfriends. It was definitely a busy weekend but wonderful to see so many friends.

Before heading to brunch, I finally opened up my recent Stitch Fix delivery. I think I’m officially the last person to try Stitch Fix! The company launched while we were living abroad so I was excited to finally register and give it a try for myself after hearing about it from my mom and a number of bloggers and friends. It’s become VERY popular for a good reason. If you rarely have time or patience to go shopping at a mall or fight the tourists in New York, it simplifies life by bringing the clothing to your doorstep!

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In case you haven’t heard of it before, Stitch Fix is an online personal shopping and styling website. After registering for the site, new members fill out an in-depth style survey and profile which helps the Stitch Fix personal stylists get to know you. The questions include things like sizes, styles, favorite colors, brands, and other likes and dislikes.  I appreciated the fact that you could opt-in or out of certain items or accessories. I have plenty of accessories and therefore will most likely opt out of these in the future.

Once you finish the profile you are able to schedule your first Stitch Fix delivery. Each Stitch Fix delivery is a box of five pieces of clothing or accessories. Your personal stylists selects the items for your individual fix based on the answers you provided in the survey. There is a $20 styling fee which you have to pay up front, but, the good news is that this $20 works as credit towards any of the items you want to keep.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and per my personality, I managed my expectations by telling myself that the first fix may not be great since they are just getting to know me and my style. As soon as I opened the Stitch Fix box I saw that there was a style card which provided inspiration on how to wear each of the items. This served as great inspiration for style options and combinations as I tried on each of the items. A person of habit, these style cards will be helpful in the future to inspire me to style items differently than I normally would.

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Once you open the box you can try each item on and decide whether you want to keep it or return it. Similar to an item you’d purchase from any other retailer, each item has a tag on it with the size, brand and price information. If you don’t want to keep an item, you just put it in the pre-paid shipping bag and return it within three days.Stitch Fix Checkout

I apologize in advance for these pictures as they aren’t very flattering but they will give you an idea of what I received in my first package, which included four items of clothing and one necklace.

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  • Just Black Adorra Skinny Jeans – $88.00 (I loved that these were the perfect length and flattering, however I have a similar pair from LOFT which were half the price. RETURN)
  • Market & Spruce Dexter Faux Wrap Dress – $68.00 (This dress is the perfect three-season dress that can be dressed up for work or dressed down for the weekend.  I love the print and the faux wrap styling is flattering as well as practical since I don’t have to worry about falling out or pinning it. I’ve already worn it once with boots and black hose and another time with heels. KEEP)
  • 41Hawthorne Neo Pullover – $58.00 (As soon as I saw this I new it would be returned. The cut and color were very boring and didn’t do anything for me. RETURN)
  • Market & Spruce Chaplin Lined Anorak – $94 (I loved this jacket and though it would be a perfect Spring and Fall jacket but I felt that it was too similar to my Barbour jacket and therefore chose to RETURN. )
  • Bay to Baubles Dallas Geo Pendant Necklace -$28 (I didn’t like the quality or style of this necklace. It felt cheap and is the reason that moving forward I won’t be requesting accessories in my Stitch Fix boxes. RETURN)

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Overall, I really enjoyed my first Stitch Fix experience and am already looking forward to my February box. While I only chose to keep one item, I found it to be a good deal since the $20 styling fee went towards the price of the dress. In addition, who doesn’t love getting packages in the mail, especially when they are filled with fun, new clothing. Many of the brands are ones that I wouldn’t discover otherwise!

Want to try it yourself? Use this referral link!

Have you tried Stitch Fix before? If so, what were your thoughts? 

The links to Stitch Fix are affiliate links as I have partnered with Stitch Fix to provide monthly reviews. Though Stitch Fix provided me with the first box free, I paid for the item I kept and all opinions are my own! 

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