Exploring New Studios: DanceFit

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This past week I decided to continue exploring new studios in the area in order to mix up my routine; and the next on my list was DanceFit Studio. I tried out their HotBarre class last Thursday and went again for a second time last night. Lets just say I have fallen in love with this little studio.. DanceFit Studio is located in Natick and offers a variety of fitness classes for all ages that focus around different types of dance. For Adult Fitness they offer Zumba, BalletFit, CardioBalletFit, Pilates, PopFit, BlastFit, HotBarre, and a Deep Stretch & Tone class. I have only been to their Hot Barre class twice but can’t speak highly enough of the owner and one of the instructors; Gina. She makes her classes up beat and very instructional as well. I learned a lot about ballet in my first class which I didn’t expect going into it. HotBarre is a quick 45 minute class in 94-96 degree heated room. It incorporates a lot of the same technique as Pure Barre but with a bigger emphasis on ballet postions and movements. Many of the rountines require small weights to add extra strength conditioning throughout the class. I really enjoyed this class because it was very different from what I am used to and fun to incorporate ballet dance into a fitness class; It brought back memories of doing Ballet as a child. The heated room allowed me to challenge myself and stretch my muscles further than I thought possible. Gina ends each class with a few minutes of stretching and breathing to make it a very relaxing experience and a perfect way to end the evening. I am excited to continue to try the rest of the adult fitness classes she offers because I know they will all be just as great. You definitely feel sore everywhere the next morning too!

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DanceFit also has a studio in Brookline for those of you who live closer to the city and want to try out their classes! Another great perk is that one of their membership options is virtual classes, so you can take them from your own home or while traveling! All in all, I <b>highly</b> recommend anyone looking to switch up their routine and try something different to try out this dance fitness studio.

Sign up for their new client special and try two classes for the price of one : http://www.dancefitstudio.com/barre–fitness.html

Things I am Loving Lately

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1. Coconut Butter
Specifically, Essentially Coconut’s line of coconut butters. This local company creates coconut butters with no additives just coconut meat slow churned. They do love to add in different types of nuts making many flavor variations. I currently love the Coconut Cashew flavor. I am hooked on drizzling a teaspoon or two over a baked sweet potato. It is the perfect complement and acts as a great ending to a dinner or even a dessert. I also enjoy it on a piece of Ezekiel toast or English muffin topped with banana slices as a breakfast treat!

Health Benefits of Coconut: It is packed with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Coconut has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is known to improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Coconut is also great for your hair, skin and nails.

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2. Kale Sprouts
I had heard all the hype about this new hybrid vegetable but had not come across it in any grocery stores until last Sunday. Trader Joe’s now sells bags of Kale Sprouts. I quickly grabbed multiple bags and brought them home to try. They are a perfect blend of the two vegetables; a mild version of a Brussel Sprout in obscure shapes with small kale leaves attached to them. If you throw them in the oven with some olive oil and garlic powder they are the perfect side vegetable.

Health Benefits of Kale Sprouts: This is self explanatory; two of the powerhouse green vegetables and superfoods combined into one!

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3. Roasted Pumpkin
Trader Joe’s has another win in this week’s post; they currently sell bags of pre-cut pumpkin. I have been adding these to dinners and lunches since I first saw the product hit the shelf. It is as simple as laying them out on a sprayed baking sheet, spraying the tops with olive oil, sprinkling garlic powder and rosemary and baking for 35 minutes or until golden brown. You can also substitute the garlic and rosemary for pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon to make a sweeter version of this side dish.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin: Pumpkin tastes very similar to squash and has the same nutritional value but contains a lot less natural sugar. It is very low in calories for a root vegetable and contains a great amount of fiber. Pumpkin is known to be a tremendous source of Vitamin A; just a cup of cubed pumpkin packs twice the daily recommended amount. Pumpkin is known for its anticancer properties since it is also filled with beta-carotene and antioxidants.

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4. Terra Sweets & Beets Chips and their Limited Edition Sweets & Pumpkin Chips
These bags of chips are the best things ever made. Once a bag is opened it is very likely to be finished that day in our house. These chips are a combination of sliced beets, sweet potato, and pumpkin then baked or fried (I don’t want to know) and topped with various flavorings. The original flavor and the new cinnamon and nutmeg flavor are my favorite. These are a great treat once in a while.

Health Benefits: A serving of root vegetables? Treat yourself…

Halloween Candy Upgrade

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As we approach Halloween I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my favorite treats. Growing up, my absolute favorite candy was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I ate them plain, in banana bread, pancakes, and ice cream. Basically, if it had Reese’s or Chocolate Peanut Butter in the description I ate it. Just recently, I have found three “healthier” versions that I believe taste even better and wanted to share them with you:

1. Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

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These Cups are made with organic fair trade chocolate and peanut butter. The dark chocolate and peanut butter combination is amazing as always and is super rich in flavor. Justin’s also makes the best nut butters out there. There are lots of creative flavors to choose from as well (they are expensive but worth the splurge everyone once in a while, especially if you like to eat it by the spoonful).

http://justins.com/item/dark-chocolate-peanut-butter-cup-single/

2. Sun Cup’s Dark Chocolate Sunflower Butter Cups

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These Cups are perfect for anyone with a food allergy because they are nut and gluten free and the do not contain any eggs or soy. They are also made with fair trade ingredients and do not contain any GMOs. The sunflower butter is less sweet than other nut butters but it still has a strong flavor that compliments well with the dark chocolate.
http://suncups.com/products/dark-chocolate-cups/

3. Evolved Dark Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups

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These Cups are made with organic ingredients and never contain soy, gluten, dairy or refined sugars. These treats are naturally sweetened with maple syrup and have no added sugars. These aren’t exactly the traditional chocolate nut combination, but if you are a coconut and/or almond joy fan this is an incredible indulgence.
http://eatingevolved.com/?product=coconut-butter-cups

4. Lastly, for those who are ambitious and have the patience for this can make their own Superfood Almond Butter Cups from an awesome nutrition blogger I follow; My New Roots. She incorporates the superfood, lucuma, into the nut butter filling which provides antioxidants, minerals, fiber and a natural sweetness.
http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/03/superfood-nut-butter-cups/</div&gt;

All three of these companies make different flavors and variations that please a wide variety of taste buds. The best part about these products is that they are all made with real simple ingredients. No preservatives, chemicals, and additives.

PS. They taste even better with a glass of red wine or cocktail of choice..

TuftsHealthPlan for Women 10k

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Back at the end of August I began to search online for a local 5k and hopefully a 10k race (they are hard to find). I stumbled upon the TuftsHealthPlan 10k for Women and quickly without thinking twice registered. I have always wanted to complete an official 10k but had never pushed myself to sign up for one. My manager is an avid marathon runner and was so excited when she heard that I had signed up for a race. She quickly registered as well so I wouldn’t be racing alone and to be able to share the great experience with me. Once I was registered I was excited to start training. I used to be an every day runner but recently had stress fractures in my feet that forced me to avoid running for awhile. Since I have been completely hooked on Pure Barre and have forgotten about my love for running so this was the perfect push to get back into it. I had recently been beginning to run 5ks a couple times a week but needed to train to push myself to the 6.2 and I also wanted to finish in a good time. My training plan consisted of 5k runs, 2 mile fast runs, and a few long runs and before I could blink it was race day.

The event itself was incredible. The amount of women involved was inspiring and so motivating. There were close to 8,000 women running and around 20,000 spectators, so the atmosphere was motivating to say the least. I finished the race in 43:04 and couldn’t be happier about it. I was aiming for 8-8:30 min/miles but never expected an average of 7:36 min/miles! After crossing the finish line, my manager and I got to participate in a stretching class on the Boston Common and then grab a lot of free goodies from countless vendors; Luna, Stonyfield, Sparkly Soul, Nuun, City Sports, and Reebok. It was an amazing day and I was very happy to share it with the hundreds of women participating as well as celebrate with my manager at the finish line! I might now be hooked on participating in races..

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