honeygrow: crossing broad & fitness squad

What’s that phrase all the #fitspo folks post on Instagram? You know, the one I’m pretty sure Taylor Swift lives and dies by…

OH!

Find your tribe. Love them hard.

Yup. That’s the one.

There are heaps of tribes in this city. You’ve got yogis, runners, lost Lithers, the Soul Cyclists and the Flywheel fanatics, Freehouse folks, barre babes, and those die-hard November Project kids.

Whether you’re a member of one, of none, of several, or just an occasional visitor to a few, there’s one thing they all have in common: they gotta eat.

Luckily, hometown-hero honeygrow gets it. And they’re taking this idea of tribes, and fueling these fitness fans (and anyone else who’s hungry for some tasty, local, and fast fare) and running with it. And they just recently decided to run right across Broad Street to their newest Philly location on 11th Street!

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Fun Fact: Local Artist Martha Rich created this mural using snippets of conversation she heart whilst dining at honeygrow

I was able to swing by their friends & family opening and try some of the goodies, scope out the scene, and hear a little bit more about what honeygrow’s got planned for Philly (+ other locations) when it comes to fitness.

The space is beautiful, which is no surprise. They’ve got a number of the hg classic features, from their board listing where locally sourced ingredients come from to their futuristic touch-screen tablets for ordering.

Then, they went ahead and dropped some old-school tech on us with this AMAZING board which announces when orders are ready. (Trust me, Instagrammers, this thing is Boomerang gold).

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The new order board at hg 11th Street – going old school

And, as per usual, the eats are as tasty as they are nutritious.

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Spring Thai-m Salad (crammed with crispy shallots and shrimp) & FOUNTAIN green tea! 

In addition to offering fuel, honeygrow’s also recently brought a new aspect of the company to the table: hgAthletics. According to their mission statement:

…a platform for well-being within honeygrow; we are hgAthletics. By exploring exciting curiosities + tangible realities, we foster unity in our neighborhoods, appreciation of our environments and pride within ourselves.

They kicked off their summer in Philly with some killer rooftop yoga at Bok with PLUSgives and that’s just one of many activities lined up for this summer in Philly, DC, Delaware, and beyond!

Check their Calendar of Events for updates, but here’s a little taste:

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I’ll admit, I haven’t found my tribe. I dabble a bit in quite a few, and sometimes [ok, a lot] fancy myself a one-woman wolfpack lifting in the gym.

But it’s great to know that there’s a group of hungry, like-minded fitness friends out there in hgAthletics ready to run, bend, and train with me all summer long.

And if honeygrow happens  to hand out 20% off coupons after every FREE workout… well, that’s just a bonus.

 

GIVEAWAY! Spring Has Sprung: Run (& EAT!) with Blossom – WINNERS!

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UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS to Meghan and Bridget! The random number generator chose YOU!

The salmon-colored shorts are out in full force. The parks are full of picnics. The Rosé is flowing like water, and the sweetgreen Spring Caesar made it’s way to the app.

Yup, spring has sprung in Philadelphia.

If you’re anything like me, some of the best parts of the city thawing is the ability to both eat and exercise outdoors. Long time readers know of my obsession with springtime food festivals, and lately I’ve even been voluntarily running outside. Must be the fresh air…

Lucky for all of us, there’s a way to celebrate both of these in one perfect night!

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The Blossom Philadelphia 5k Night Race is the only weeknight race grandfathered in by the City of Philadelphia. The course meets at the Art Museum takes place on West River Drive on Thursday May 25, 2017 at 7pm. Immediately following the race is an epic After Party featuring some of my FAVORITE food trucks! Baby Blues BBQ, Sweet Box Cupcakes, Taco Mondo, The Cow and The Curd, The Tot Cart and Undrgrnd Donuts will be bringing the heat (and, in some cases, the meat. Or the sweet.)

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The Tot Cart with some extra melty goodness….

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THE COW AND THE CURD slinging those sweet cheese curds!

You can register for the 5k (comes with a t-shirt), the after-party (comes with four tickets, valid for a drink, appetizer, a main course, AND a dessert!), OR get the best of both worlds with a 5k + After Party COMBO (Yup, that’s all of the above)

Oh yes, that drink I mentioned: Victory Brewing is going to be hosting a beer garden all night long! (Don’t worry, there will be heaps of root beer for the kids, this is an incredibly family-friendly event!)

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All this can be yours for the early bird price (before April 13th, 11:59 p.m.)!

Register HERE

All proceeds from the race help Blossom achieve their mission: to change the lives of children and adults with disabilities (cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, head trauma, and any condition that limits a person’s ability to function independently) in the Philadelphia area.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

But, hey, if you’re feeling lucky, you could enter to win one of TWO free registrations for the Race + After Party Combo (Up to a $60 value!)

That means, you could be joining me May 25th in running + eating our way right into Memorial Day weekend!!

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Feel free to lay right next to me in blissful post-run food coma!

All you need to do to enter to win is check out the Blossom Philadelphia site and tell me one cool / fun / interesting fact you learned in the comments!

You have until Friday, April 28th at noon to enter!

GOOD LUCK and I’ll see you at the Art Museum!

Philly’s Own Women’s Summer Camp!

I remember it like it was yesterday…

Imagine one week to focus on yourself. A better body, confidence, lessons learned, fabulous food and fitness, inches and pounds lost (without going hungry), and unparalleled results.

The first time I ever seriously considered a “Wellness Retreat” was through the former Golden Child of the Philadelphia fitness scene, Lithe Method, their “lithe escape“. It sounded great… until I saw the price point.

 

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Not including the flight there, the time taken off work for a week vacation, etc….

 

Having only recently finished grad school, my bank account (and accrued vacation time) could NOT handle that.

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Luckily, the gang from Rise Gatherings knows that, though luxurious, these week-long tropical yoga- or fitness-retreats are NOT for everyone. And they managed to bring the best parts about a retreat (i.e. gorgeous natural scenery,  healthy foods, opportunities for fitness, workshops focused on body and mind) and pack it into 42 hours just down the road from Philadelphia (well, about 120 miles down the road, but no flights required!)

Rise Gathering is a summer-camp-for-women experience “designed to promote personal growth, enhance overall well-being, inspire collective connection and share some serious fun.”

Sounds good, right? Well, there’s more.

What’s got me excited about Rise Gatherings?

  • 305 Fitness – This insane NYC-based dance fitness class is 90% cardio, 10% toning and stretching, and looks 100% badass. Like Zumba turned up to 11. I’M IN! (especially since the class hasn’t yet made it’s way to Philly)
  • Kayaking and Waterfall Hike – Since Rise takes place at Camp Canadensis, we’re actually going to be able to do things as if we were at summer camp. HECK YES.
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  • Bonfire – The night you arrive is kicked off with a bonfire celebration to welcome everyone. I only pray they have enough s’mores for the rest of the women….
  • Options – I like yoga, but I’m not obsessed with it. I could use some more mindfulness in my life, but I don’t want to spend the whole weekend focusing on it. Plant-based cooking is a part of my life, but not a HUGE one. Rise Gatherings is offering you the chance to make this weekend exactly what you want. By bringing in a number of women all focused on different practices and specialties, it’s like a “Choose-your-own-adventure” book.
  • Connections.

According to one of the producers:

Rise Gatherings is much more than a one time event.  We are launching a community of empowered women of all ages who want to raise their voices, spirits and hands.

There are few things more inspiring than a community of empowered women of all ages. This is why I’ve already convinced my mom and sister to join me May 12-14 (That’s right, it’s Mother’s Day! Bring your mom!)

AND because I’m slightly obsessed with the concept and wanted to share it with everyone, I reached out to Rise Gatherings and got a special code in case you’d like to come along.

Use code: food_sweat_beer at Checkout for a $50 discount off your ticket OR a double ticket for you and a friend/mother/sister/soul-sister.

I can’t guarantee there will be enough s’mores to go around after I get a crack at ’em, but I can pretty much guarantee it’s going to be an amazing weekend!

Win a Race Entry! BOMF 5-Miler

UPDATE: The winner is….

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Comment #4: S.J., I’ll email your code shortly!

Whether you lucked out in the Blue Cross Broad Street Run lottery and are ready to start training  or you’re lamenting not getting in AGAIN, I’ve got some pretty great news for you. And that news is all courtesy of Back on My Feet: Philadelphia.

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Back on My Feet is a national organization operating in all across the U.S. working to combat homelessness through the power of running, community support and housing and employee resources.

How does it work?

Back on My Feet recruits members (individuals experiencing homelessness) at homeless and residential facilities around the country and begins with a commitment to run three days a week in the early morning.  After 30 days in the program, members with 90% attendance earn the opportunity to move into the second phase of the program called Next Steps, which provides educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources. Almost 80% of individuals who start the program move into Next Steps.

This race is the nation’s largest 10 mile race and it all takes place on Philly’s iconic Broad Street. Along the course, runners speed past Philadelphia landmarks including the Divine Lorraine Hotel, City Hall, and the infamous Catharine Street Popeye’s Chicken before coming to a close just past the gates of the Navy Yard. According to Philly runners, it’s a must. Entry is done through lottery (which closed February 13th, and winners were announced yesterday.) LOTS of people got in!

Some did not. Let’s make this post easy for everyone.

If you did NOT win the Broad Street Lottery

For those of you who didn’t get lucky, BOMF has a great idea: For guaranteed entry, become a FundRacer with BOMF!

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The FundRacing minimum for the 2017 Broad Street Run will be $500 (PER INDIVIDUAL) with a $25 registration fee (that is put towards your fundraising minimum) and gets you guaranteed race entry, a personalized fundraising page to collect donations, post-race massages, and more.

If you already HAVE your registration for Broad Street confirmed and need a fun training run, here’s your CHANCE:

The 2017 Stroehmann Bakeries BOMF 5-Miler is coming up March 25, 2017. I’ll be running it. But YOU could be, too!

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Comment on this post to WIN free entry in the 2017 Stroehmann Bakeries BOMF 5-Miler!

Join me and over 1500 other runners on Saturday, March 25, 2017 for this gorgeous 5 mile run along the Schuylkill River and support BOMF’s righteous cause.

Want to win a race bib? Comment below with your favorite Philadelphia landmark!

(For an extra entry, follow foodsweatnbeers  and/or Back on My Feet Philly on Twitter and comment about that, too for up to 3 entries per individual!)

Entries close March 1, 2017 at 12pm!

(Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post, and I paid for my BOMF 5-miler race entry BUT BOMF Philly is donating a race entry to the winner!)

Differences Between Barre3 and Pure Barre

You’ve probably heard of Portland, Oregon. This coastal Pacific Northwest city is known for a few things.

  1. Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, was born in Portland over 60 years ago.
  2. Put(ting) a bird on it“.
  3. In 2008, Sadie Lincoln and her hubby Chris started a killer brand of fitness called Barre3 that, in February 2017, finally opened in Center City, Philadelphia!

Barre3 has been around for a while, but, as they’re new in town, you might be wondering: What makes it different from other barre classes? Maybe you’re a Pure Barre fan, or you’ve never tried any barre classes and just want a crash course. Either way, let’s get down to brass tacks.

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The Studio & Equipment

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Wide open space in Barre3’s GIANT studio!

Barre3, unlike many barre classes I’ve taken (and I’ve taken quite a few in my day), takes place on a hard wood floor. Bright lighting for sure, and I noticed the instructor will dim the lights and turn up the music during certain points (like when you’re repeating a move for a little longer). You’ll use the barre around the room for leg/thigh work.

The only equipment you’ll use is a super squishy ball and a set of hand weights (ranging from 1-5lbs). Your instructor will bring you a mat when it’s time for that.

Pure Barrelike most other barre classes I’ve attended, is on a carpeted floor. The lighting starts bright and gradually gets darker, and I felt as though you used the barre much more often, for more than just leg work.

You use a ball, small hand weights, and a resistance band during class. The instructors bring over mats.

What to Wear

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Barre3’s gorgeous retail section

Barre3 – While there’s no required attire (officially), the “unofficial outfit” of the ladies of Barre3 is typically leggings or crops and tank tops. I don’t think I’d personally enjoy wearing anything with sleeves due to the larger movements of arms, but that’s just me. Barefoot in the studio!

Pure Barre – I believe they require socks (you can buy at studio if you always forget, like me. Note: this can get pricey.) Leggings were “strongly suggested” at my studio. I felt silly in crops, as I was the only one wearing them.

The Class Itself

Barre3 – These were my first few Barre3 classes, and I gotta admit, I liked them more than most barre classes I’ve taken. This is probably due to the addition of large, dynamic movements in addition to the teeny-tiny pulses that most barre classes highlight. The class went:

  • Warm-up – In the center of the room, no equipment at first. Lots of movements to stretch you out, open you up, and get the blood pumping. Eventually you’ll use the hand weights.
  • Barre Work – Leg-centric, this portion of class was pretty similar to many barre classes I’ve tried before. Squats, tiny pulses, raising of the heels. My inner thighs were burning.
  • Mat work – Here’s where the balls come into play. Your abs are gonna be ACHING after this set, but it’s totally manageable and instructors offer modifications when necessary!

Pure Barre – Format is always the same so you know what you’re in for (they do have a “Platform” Class I’ve never done, so I can’t speak to that)

  • Warm-up – Center of the room. Lots of marching.
  • Arm work – Here’s where their weights come in, with a systematic pumping of biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
  • Barre Work – Focuses on “Seat” (read: tush) and thighs. They love the term “Tuck” and you’ll hear it a lot during this portion of class, as you tuck your backside in and tighten your core.
  • Ab work – on the mat, sometimes leaning against the barre. This was always tough for me as the barre isn’t meant for someone over 6′ tall…
  • Cool down – Stretching, pretty similar to Barre3

Cost

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Keep in mind the UNLIMITED cost of Barre3 is ONLY for the Barre3 Rittenhouse location, and only for a limited time. SO if you’re gunning for that unlimited membership, you gotta strike while the iron is hot (if you go 4x/week, that’s $8.06/class!) (Bonus at Barre3: $5 gets you childcare during your class!)

I don’t know if I could do either of these methods EXCLUSIVELY, but I think they both make a challenging and unique addition to any workout regime. I’d lean towards Barre3, personally, but I’m a big fan of those LARGE dynamic, explosive moments, and I know that’s not for everyone.

Welcome to Philly Barre3!

Have you ever done a barre class? 

What did you LOVE?! What did you HATE?!

(I can’t stand the marching portion… ugh.)

 

Flotation in Philly: Don’t Fear the Unknown

I’ll start with a confession: I’m rubbish when it comes to recovery. Well, active recovery, or even conscious recovery. I love to destroy my body with a great workout, and there’s no pain sweeter than the deep muscle soreness the following day. It’s after the sweat has dried, that’s when I get lazy. I may half-heartedly stretch a bit, or cool down with a walk, but a gal needs some help now and then.

Enter: flotation Philly

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After somewhat secretly starting Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide a few weeks ago (more on that, soon), I was feeling the burn in all the best ways. When I got the opportunity to finally try one of these sensory deprivation tanks, I went running (in the rain, to Fishtown).

The question that everyone’s been asking: what was it like?! Here goes nothing:

You’ve got three options

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The Tank is SERIOUS business (at least outwardly. It’s the more classic sensory deprivation option, but I was warned it can be a bit much for first timers.

The POD is the most fun word to say, and apparently, also one that most folks choose for their first time. It’s got lighting and music you can control from the inside, so if you’re prone to claustrophobia, this could be the one for you!

The Cabin, well, that was mine. As a 6’2″ Amazon lady, I was placed in their largest option. So that’s the experience I’ll speak to.

You’re led into a room containing the sensory deprivation tank of your choice. Scrub off in their WONDERFUL shower, jam some earplugs in, strip down, and dive in (well, step in, it’s only 10 inches deep).

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(OK here’s what it was really like)

There’s a little optional head rest float to put your noggin in, but other than that, your body just floats in water saturated with HUNDREDS of pounds of epsom salt. I closed the door, laid back, and closed my eyes. For once, I hadn’t done a ton of research on the experience, checking all the reviews. I was going in blind. And as the darkness set in, I was left alone with my thoughts.

Initially, those thoughts raced. Everything from my week’s workout schedule to cookie recipes to bridesmaid dresses. Sometimes I forgot to breathe for a second and had to take big gulps. Gradually, and then all of the sudden, it just stopped. I realized I had my eyes open at one point and didn’t remember opening them, because it was pitch black. My mind was blank. I didn’t fall asleep, I just… floated. I couldn’t tell which parts of my body were under water, because everything was the same temperature. But my breathing slowed, and I kept floating, completely weightless. It felt very natural.

Not asleep, not fully awake, my mind floated along with my body. I can’t remember thinking anything specific, just a peaceful dreamlike existence for my hyperactive mind. Fun bonus for the sore body: All that epsom salt can boost your magnesium levels, which can improve your circulation, improve your body’s ability to use insulin, ease muscle pain, regulate electrolytes, and relieve stress. So flotation has science backing it, too.

Unfortunately, my reveries were interrupted towards the tail end of my float (I opted for the 60 minute experience, but you can do 60 or 90). The jets that regulate the temperature kicked in, and shook me a bit. I’m assured this does not normally happen, as they can assure they’re off, and a total mistake. I will say, though, I wasn’t able to get back into that same state after settling back into my cabin of quiet. It was definitely calm and soothing, but I had trouble disconnecting like I did for the first 40 minutes.

That said, I was still surprised when the quiet music began and the glowing lights came back on.

REALLY?! That was already 60 minutes?!?!
(plus a few he added to make up for the jet mistake)

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Typical.

I, of course, immediately documented my post-soak spooky cabin on Snapchat (@jpreezy22 in case you’re interested), and showered again.

For the rest of the night, I realized that despite leg day the previous day, my legs were no longer sore. Nothing was sore. Full disclosure: a day later, I’m sore again, but that’s probably because I worked out about 3 hours before my float.

flotation’s pricing ranges from $75 for a 90 minute float, to $60 for 60 minutes, and this price drops if you sign up for a monthly membership.  If you have trouble shutting your brain off, floating could be great. If you want to soak up some of that beneficial magnesium, head on over. If you’re looking for the gift for that fit freak that has everything, or your workaholic pal that could use an hour of relaxation, BAM consider a giftcard.

flotation’s up in Fishtown, at 534 E. Girard Avenue.

honeygrow, hgAthletics, and YIP!

A little while back, a group of road warriors banded together, as they do every month, for the YIP (Young Involved Philadelphia) Running Club. The only difference that month: I joined them. That’s right, this  self-proclaimed “non-runner” decided to lace up her sneakers and sweat-wicking tank top and bring new meaning to “fast-casual”.  Lured by the guarantee of wholesome treats and an insider’s look at Honeygrow HQ, 20 of us knocked out 3.5 miles from Center City to Fishtown before reaching the Promised Land at Front and Oxford.

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Photo Credit: Matt Wargo, Inquirer

YIP, an organization full of civically minded young professionals in the City of Brotherly Love, puts together these 2-5 mile runs every month. Each run begins at Philadelphia Runner’s Center City location and ends at an interesting spot in the city where the gang can explore and mingle with some new and like-minded Philadelphians. It’s no coincidence that I chose September as my first running club. What can I say? I’m a sucker for post-run snacks, especially if they’re from Philly’s own Honeygrow.

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See, Honeygrow.and I, we go way back. Or, at least 4 years back. In June of 2012, Justin Rosenberg, the founder of Honeygrow, opened his first location at 16th and Sansom. And a few months later, I moved to town, following the migration patterns of approximately 100,000 other 20-34 year olds since 2006 seeking an urban center teeming with creativity and potential. Justin, who chatted with us briefly when we arrived, explained that despite a rocky first few months, the idea soon caught fire.

Like many health-conscious millennials, I chose Philly for the affordable rent, thriving job market, and, of course, the 24/7 accessibility to soft pretzels. The idea of an affordable, healthy, and customizable fast-casual dining experience is appealing to the young professional – none more so than Philadelphia’s own Honeygrow. Honestly, I don’t know a 20-something in the city that hasn’t waited, salivating, for their stir-fry or salad at one of Honeygrow’s Philadelphia locations. From my own experience as a graduate student at Penn and a frequenter of many of Center City’s boutique fitness studios, their West Philly and Rittenhouse locations have saved me from mid-study session starvation or post-sweat stove-top slumming more times than I can count.

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Dinner a la Five Spice stir fry!

Speaking of which, we only could explore Honeygrow’s inner sanctum for so long before our stomachs began to rumble. Luckily, the team had us covered and quickly doled out their signature Honeybars and something a bit more savory. In between shoveling stir fry into our mouths, we were able to have a revealing Q&A with David Katz, the culinary director and palate powerhouse of Honeygrow. He spoke to the focus on regional styles and recipe popularity, Honeygrow’s plans for expansion over the next year (spoiler alert: it’s gonna be fast & furious, with over 15 locations by 2017) and, of course, how his Jersey Shore and Philly roots influenced the menu.

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Love this message right in the heart of their HQ!

In a swirling sea of fast-casual options, Honeygrow stands out for the hungry and healthy, who are often in a hurry. Their founder, a former financial analyst himself, knows the grind well, and saw opportunity in Philly like so many of us did . We’ve got some of the most passionate eaters around and, with YIP being just one of DOZENS of run clubs, I can almost guarantee there’s always going to be someone down to carbo load.

ALSO, Honeygrow’s new hgAthletics program has opportunities for fitness of all kinds. From testing out PLUSgives new yoga mats

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…to a BOOtcamp with an Olympian, check out the hgAthletics Facebook page to stay in the know and get involved!

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I’m a GOLD RUSH. Get it? Don’t worry, no one else did, either. (Photo cred to Kyle Huff, Honeygrow’s social media master)

Check out Honeygrow’s monthly run club if you wanna get in on the “dash & dine” action on the fourth Tuesday of every month. After your 3-5 mile run, you’ll get 25% off your Honeygrow order! How’s that for instant gratification?

ALSO, word on the street is that the next hgAthletics event is going feature a partnership with PLUSgives AND Reading Terminal Market. Stay tuned!

DIY Juicing on a Budget

In the fall, the term “basic” is tossed around in the direction of those well-coifed women clutching their pumpkin spice lattes and rocking boots and vests for 3 months straight.

I think the summer equivalent would have to be a Lululemon-clad lady, yoga mat swinging from her shoulder strap and a pricey green juice in the other.

And if that’s basic…. I’m guilty as charged.

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you’re damn right I am.

Nothing like a fancy juice after a workout class to make you feel like you’re on a different level of healthy.  Which is why, after 2-3 weeks of straight up INDULGENCE on the eating front, I decided to reboot with juice (let’s take it down a notch from Jordan’s Whole30 experience). 3 days, 5 juices, on meal of vegetable and lean meats.

Unfortunately, Ryan Crown Juice Club seems to be MIA, and is more expensive than I’d be able to handle. Even if I nabbed my juices at Philly’s most affordable “juice bar”, Fuel, it’d be over 20 bucks a day, and I’d be working with what they offer. Even the cheapest “juice cleanse” I found online seemed steep, and I hate paying for what I can do at home.

Luckily, I had all I needed to DIY my juice on a budget:

  • An affordable juicer (the least “budget friendly” portion of this, I received mine as a gift, and isn’t that exact model, but is similar. I’m not going to include this cost in the price, as I received mine as a gift, but “I get it”, they don’t grow on trees.)
  • A few hours of free time

I modeled my juice “recipes” and timing off of BluePrint, one of the better known “Juice Cleanse” companies online (who ships your prepared, bottled juices directly to your home!) And then I made a list of ingredients I needed and headed STRAIGHT to Reading Terminal Market to bring back fruits and vegetables from Iovine Brothers and OK Produce. (This is Philly specific but I’d recommend you just go straight to your local produce market, if possible).

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New FRIENDS!!

Green Juice (2/day)

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 apples
  • Little bit of parsley
  • KALE!
  • ROMAINE!
  • SPINACH! (the amounts on the greens are up to you, but you truly can’t taste them at all)

Snack Juices (2/day)

  • Spicy Lemonade  (I just used honey instead of “Agave” because we had some)
  • PAM (Pineapple Apple Mint)

Dinner Juice (1/day)

  • 2 large green apples
  • 2 beets
  • 3 large carrots (or 1/3 bag of mini carrots!)
  • 1 lemon
  • Honking chunk of ginger

I got all the ingredients for these (other than the honey, which I already had) for $33.86, or about $11.28 per day. I used the leftover kale for my “greens” and I did buy a pound of turkey for $3.99, making the total cost for all the food-products I put into my body $37.85 for 3 days.

A 3-day “Renovation Cleanse” from Blueprint costs $195 (and does NOT come with turkey, though they do include a sort of dessert juice with cashews and blueberries).

The cost difference is $157.15. That’s enough to buy a juicer and still have money for savings.

I’ll admit, it took me about 40 minutes a night to make the juices for the next day and they didn’t come in sexy BluePrint bottles. Toting them was a bit weird, as I’d have glass bottles in my bag headed to work each day.

But I’ll take a tasty and fresh juice that clanks when I walk if it saves me $157.15…

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This is kinda pretty, right?

After the three days, I actually had enough ingredients for another green juice in the morning. I also felt fantastic and refreshed. I didn’t weigh myself, and I didn’t take photos. I just wanted to remind my body what all those good veggies and fruits tasted like, and see if I could do it on a budget.

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Mission: accomplished.

Now, can someone pass me a carb?

Whole30: Results, Regrets, and Reintroduction

“So….”

“Hmm?”

“How’d it go?”

“What?”

“Come on! WHOLE30?! How’d it end?!”

Has it been a full week since I finished that Whole30 days?! It seems like I just started it. And then I was 20 days in. And then I was finished.

Regrets

It ended with success. The results were fantastic, and I woke up on Day 31, June 30th, feeling incredible. But I just want to start off with one part that I did not succeed in. The second part of Whole30: Reintroduction.  They recommend introducing foods back into your system one group at a time, in order to figure out how your body responds.

I introduced just about every possible lousy food into my body in one fell swoop this weekend. And I’m paying for it today. See, the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. I spent it with my favorite people, surrounded by my favorite food. And instead of gradually reintroducing, I rocked my body like a hurricane.

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Captain of the S.S. Eatsa Lott

From pizza to beer to hoagies to donuts, I didn’t even bat an eyelash. And on the morning of the 5th, I woke up with an aching tummy finally understanding why they suggest gradual reintroduction. Feeling like a garbage fire the past 2 days was NOT part of the plan.

I’m back on a semi-healthy wagon for a bit, not quite as strict as Whole30, but I would like to feel as incredible as I did on day 31. Ideally, I’d like to feel that great all the time, but I could realistically shoot for 80% of the time and still be living my best life.

RESULTS

Ok, let’s get to what you really wanna see. The results.  Left is the morning of Day 1, right is morning of Day 31.

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So yes. 30 days of clean eating. I forgot to weigh myself on day one, but remembered by day 3. So, in 28 days, I went from 173.2 to 166 lbs.

166 lbs is the lowest weight I’ve ever been in my adult life (I believe I hit 166.1 once before back in 2012, but in a much less healthy way that involved over-exercising, under-eating and ZERO socializing).

The most amazing thing about this experience?

I never felt like I was missing out on things. Not even once. Were there some nights when I wished I could’ve attended a PR event or try a new restaurant? Sure. But I never experienced the crippling FOMO that my generation is known for.

My friends all knew I was on Whole30, and (even though they knew I couldn’t drink or eat fried foods or food truck offerings) invited me to dance, to explore daytime festivals, to festive Game of Thrones finale meals. I felt supported and encouraged every step of the way.

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To my squad: Thank you. I love you and would be lost without ya!

Advice for folks who wanna try Whole30

I was lucky enough to have a wildly supportive partner AND a super enthusiastic mother who were both doing Whole30 with me. It definitely would’ve been nearly impossible without them. If you’re thinking about undertaking this challenge, find your support network. Teamwork REALLY made the dreamwork here.

Also: trust the process. Do NOT introduce ALL your favorite foods in the weekend after you finish. Sure, have a slice of pizza. But you don’t need pizza for 3 meals in two days (oops).

Going forward

I think I can sustain, as I mentioned, about 80% of this type of lifestyle. Whether that’s eating clean during the week and partaking in one night of indulgence every now and then, or adding cheese but not grains, or shifting my focus to some grains to fuel exercise (I never really felt SUPER STRONG during this challenge. Didn’t feel hungry after the first week, but the sustained energy just wasn’t there.)

I’ve got to feel it out. I’m thrilled to continue this journey, and learn more about what makes my body feel good, look good, and operate at peak efficiency.

Guess who’s doing Whole30? (Spoiler: it’s me.)

Folks make life-changing decisions every day. Maybe you’re going to apply to grad school, get a perm, propose to your partner, get a puppy, or buy a house. You can hem and haw, discuss these major (or less major) moves with friends and family, make lists of pros and cons, weigh your options.

Other times, you just send an email to your husband and BAM you bought a house (shoutout to the Ilagans for really leaning in on the whole real estate thing.)

I’m typically the hemmer and hawer. Lists on lists. Venn diagrams galore.

This time, it was as simple as “I’m game if you are” with a link to this Thrillist article.

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Who wouldn’t be inspired by this guy (eating a disgusting-looking red delicious apple, gross)?

Three days later, Tuesday May 31st, was Day 1 of 30 days.

THE WHAT

Whole30 (click link to go to THEIR explanation, here’s my abbreviated take) is 30 days without:

  • Sugar (we’re talking honey, syrup, Stevia… it’s everywhere)
  • Processed foods
  • Alcohol (during Philly Beer Week, smooth one, JP.)
  • Grains (from corn to quinoa, wheat to farro!)
  • Legumes (BEANS! also, all soy. fack.)
  • Dairy (milk? who cares. CHEESE!)

While the decision was made quickly, it wasn’t without reason. Otherwise, why else would I be facing the shocked looks of friends when I pass on incredible, rare Philly Beer Week offerings as I sip seltzer (with lime juice when I’m feeling totally wild)?

THE WHY

This is the part everyone keeps asking me.

WHY would you do this?!

You LOVE grains, sugar, booze, and cheese. You look GREAT now, you don’t need to lose weight! You’re going to miss Philly Beer Week! You’re going to miss (Insert: my birthday! Some cocktail party! A potluck dinner! Whatever.)

But the thing is, there’s always going to be something to “miss”. Whether it’s a meal or a beer. Doesn’t mean you miss out on the events. The real reason why?

I needed to press “RESET” on things. I was already taking a hiatus from drinking, so I figured let’s just really get down to business. I typically have this tendency of hitting the summer hard. PR events, outdoor parties, beer gardens, day drinking, al fresco dining…  And I kind of started revisiting some old, bad habits (namely: “treating myself” every time an occasion felt “special”).

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Date nights, festivals, food trucks, and beer garden openings: apparently they all require loads of indulgence

But my sleep was crummy and my workouts were severely suffering. I hate to imagine myself as sluggish ever, but I was making excuses to skip fitness, or replacing it with meals out.

Shoot, I was sluggish.

TL; DR: My WHY Whole30? Simply put, I wanted to feel better. I’ve always found that a certain amount of self-discipline is required for achieving highest performance. I thrived with Weight Watchers in 2010, losing 40+ lbs and totally changing the way I ate, cooked, and experienced food (for a wordy look back at those days and a photo of me at probably slightly over 215lbs, check out THIS POST). Whole30 seems like a good refresher.

What’s been tough?

Social engagements based around food, cooking constantly, being “that girl” that talks about her slow cooker recipes… I apologize to everyone that hangs out with me for the next twenty days.  I’ll look at your pizza longingly. I’ll smell your cookies and probably hate you a little bit. But I haven’t stopped going out and doing things. I just typically bring snacks and occasionally leave to go eat a meal I prepared at home.

What’s been great?

Oh gosh. I’m going to say it. I feel incredible. I don’t feel tired. The first week, I had some trouble eating enough, so my workouts were either half-ass or nonexistent. I don’t think it’s tiger blood, or sugar demons, or some of the silly terms they spout. I just… feel good?

We’re not supposed to weigh ourselves during these 30 days. But, even though the focus isn’t weight loss, we are supposed to take before photos. In interest of honesty and sharing my truth, here are mine. I’ll definitely be updating at the end, if not one more time around 20 days. But ten days in… This feels pretty terrific.

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Taken May 31, 2016