Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Party at Fit Girl!

Let me start by saying that I've felt pretty craptastic the past three days. I don't think it's the flu because it's just that my tummy feels yuck! But, I took off today to just rest all day after waking up and having a horrendous stomach ache. With that said, after resting all day- a night at the studio was exactly what I needed (at least I hope my body agrees with that in the morning!).

Party at FG:

Fit girls know how to make working out FUN! Period!
Katy, Siobhan and Amy- awesome Fit Girls!

Gap Fit Takeover~!

Not to mention, that the Gap Fit studio takeover was still in full force! Free classes and free workout pants for every participant sponsored by Gap Fit! So many new faces! I loved it!

Michelle taught a spin party tonight! My friend, Lauren, joined me and we had a blast. It was a challenging endurance ride filled with dancing and swayin'. But, the ending was the best..Did you ever have a teacher end the day with freeze dance (my old elementary students favorite!) or a dance party? Personally, my students love to end with song requests in circle time. Wellll... Michelle ended the class with class choice! She walked around asking for a move for the next 30 seconds! I was up first and called out "around the world jumps!" We also did races, a hill and dancing in 2! It was a sweaty, dancing, spinning blast! Thanks for SUCH a fun class!!

After class, I started home but got to the corner to realized "My running shoes are getting wet from the snow..." Duh! My boots were still at the studio! I headed back to grab them when the girls all informed me that there was space in restorative yoga! Ohhh finnneee – I'll stay if I have to!

Right before class though, I had TWO girls come up to me individually and say "I see you every class and you're SO good! You're such an inspiration! "Well, that made my night! I had to stay for class then… :-)

Kristina's class was a relaxing way to end my day. Now off to shower and get to bed. Here's to hoping whatever's goin on with my stomach leaves me alone tomorrow!

Night, fit girls!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Product Review: Zing bars!

I was introduced to Zing Bars by my dietitian, Kelly. She informed me that they were a great Paleo snack when in a bind and were a lot better at regulating blood sugar than other bars.

I received a box of variety flavors from Zing and I was so excited to open the box! I felt like I had to try every flavor that very moment.

  • Chocolate Coconut (chocolate covered)
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter(chocolate covered)-contains dairy
  • Dark Chocolate Hazelnut(chocolate covered)
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (soft cookie)
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (soft cookie)-contains dairy
  • Coconut Cashew Crisp (soft cookie)
  • Almond Blueberry (fruit & nut)-contains dairy
  • Cashew Cranberry Orange (fruit & nut)

ALL of the bars are gluten/wheat and soy free. The bars are also dairy free unless otherwise noted (there are 3 that are NOT dairy free).

Chocolate Coconut and Dark Chocolate Hazelnut were by far my favorite. I also really liked the Cashew Cranberry Orange. The fruit flavors tasted real and not "fake" like many bars are.

I have to go back to the Chocolate Coconut for a's HEAVEN. It tastes like a clean Almond Joy. I couldn't even handle it! I WANT to order more but they're so delicious that I don't know if I even have self control enough to keep a box in my house!! They're THAT good!

I would most certainly recommend Zing Bars to ANYONE. If you're trying to eat clean or struggle with regulating blood sugar- definitely give them a shot.

Where can I find Zing Bars?
The website has a store locator. It also has these stores on their site.

However, I had a difficult time finding them at Whole Foods and Dominicks.

Your best bet is to buy them online and Zing has shared a discount code if you mention that you saw them on our website! The discount code for 15% off your online order is: FitGirl (offer expires February 20,2013)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mango Shrimp Salad

  • 1 lb of shrimp (I used Trader Joe's salad shrimp)
  • 1-2 mangoes (I used Trader Joe's frozen organic mango)
  • 1 avocado
  • Coconut flakes (optional)
  • juice from 2 small limes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 table spoons of olive oil

  • Mix all ingredients together
  • let set for best flavor
  • serve cold
  • enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekly Fit Tips from a Fit Girl in Progress

Hydrate! According to WebMD, “Your ability to perform athletically can decline with a very small amount of dehydration,” says Carlson, director of performance nutrition for Athletes’ Performance, which trains many of the world’s top athletes. “Just losing 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%.”     As a rule of thumb you should drink:
  • One to two hours before your workout, drink 15 to 20 ounces of water
  • 15 minutes before you begin, drink between 8 and 10 ounces of water
  • During your workout, drink another 8 ounces every 15 minutes 
So keep that 32 ounce bottle of water with you for every hour class and DRINK IT!

When doing most strength exercises don't forget to "square off!" Make sure that your hips and square and even your shoulders. You want to think of your hips and shoulders as "two headlights shining forward!" Thanks, Amy!
 If your knees are hurting during strength exercises on the floor, grab a mat! With the cold weather, it can most definitely have an impact on the overall wellness of our bones and joints.

Don't feel the pressure to use the heaviest set of weights. Drop down if needed. You get a workout with lighter weights and even no weights at all from the same movements.
When in any fitness class, make sure to only push yourself to your limits. If something hurts beyond a stretch, it probably isn't right. Ask for a modification when needed and DON'T be afraid to take it!

If you have any specific questions for your Fit Girl in Progress- email me at !

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cooking with coconut flour

Today was my first attempt at cooking with coconut flour! After my first few months of being gluten free (years ago) I kind of gave up on my adventures in gluten-free baking. But, I heard all about these wonderful coconut flour pancakes that were Paleo friendly. So, I headed to Whole Foods and picked up some coconut flour!

This morning, I decided to give the pancakes a shot! Kelly had a recipe on her site and I followed that. I think I did something wrong because my first try the batter was a cookie dough consistency mess! I added more coconut milk and more and more! I burned a bunch on a too-hot pan and filled my kitchen sigh smoke! Finally, I decided to tahr a break. I put the batter in the fridge and figured I would try it again later. Then, I headed out to the studio for spin shed.

When I got home, I got out the batter and added more coconut milk. Finally, I got the tight consistency! The only problem now, they were kinda crumbling apart. I probably could've added another egg.

I had a few pancakes come out right! I topped them with a smidge of almond butter and a drizzle of raw honey.

I had a ton of batter left over so I hit creative and pulled out my muffin tins! I poured the batter into the tins, added frozen berries and coconut shreds. Viola- coconut berry muffins. They came out pretty good! I need to play with this recipe a bit more! Since I'm on a roll, ill be sure to post the perfected recipe soon!

In summary... Sometimes baking gluten free can be tough. Ingredients are often expensive and it gets really frustrating feeling like you've wasted time and money. Always try to save your recipe even if it means playing with it or converting it into something else. Hey, you never know what deliciousness you might end up creating! ;)

Do you bake with coconut flour? If so, what is your favorite recipe?!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fit Girl Studio-summary of classes

Even after 3 months of consistent workouts at Fit Girl, Cardio Barre still kicked my butt tonight! But, I had a blast. The room was PACKED for FREE Cardio Barre tonight! Some faces were familiar and many were new . And THAT excites me! I LOVE seeing others find out how amazing, wonderful and addicting Fit Girl workouts are!

I overheard a bunch of people tonight, new clients, talking about how "hard" classes are. I even heard someone say, "It's more likely that I'll become the president of our country than be a fan of spin classes." "REALLY?!," I thought.

So, here's a quick summary on the classes offered at Fit Girl Studio:

Spin: 45 minutes on the sway bikes. It's great for all levels!
SpinShred: 60 minutes- 20 on the bike, 20 in the studio doing cardio and strength (weights) training. It's challenging but goes by very quickly because it's split up. This is my favorite class because I LOVE spin!
SpinFlow: 40 minutes on the spin bike and 35 minutes in the studio doing yoga flow. I have only taken it once but it was fabulous.

Barre: 60 minutes. It's a SLOW class and some don't like slow. It is about micro-movements and fatiguing muscles and immediately stretching them out as you go. You typically focus on thighs, glutes and abs.
CardioBarre: 45 minutes. Bursts of cardio (some tabata movements), strength training and barre (micro movements barre) mixed in.
Ballet Body Bootcamp: 45minutes. Honestly, not too much to do with ballet- it's cardio barre on steroids...and I love it! It's a hardcore bootcamp class. You'll sweat, work all muscles in your body and leave feeling amazing. It's a challenge but it makes you want to work harder!

Restorative Yoga: very easy 60 minutes of meditative and stretching yoga. Great addition to your weekly routine or to finish after a barre or spin class.
Sculpt Fusion Yoga: 45 minutes. Yoga poses, flowing with weights.There are some cardio bursts. Full-body toning.
Yoga Flow: 60 minutes. It's vinyasa-style and consistent flow through movements.

So, have it! If you're on the fence about committing to a membership...TRY our the free classes. TRY the $20 week unlimited! Go to as many classes as you can and see how you like it. The studio is such a welcoming place that it makes you want to keep going back. Try new classes even if you think you don't like them! Challenge yourself! You'll get in great shape, have fun, meet new Fit Girl friends and live the Fit Girl slogan, "Love you workout, love your body!"

If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message!

Have fun, Fit Girls and I'll see you at the studio!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Grocery Shopping while eating CLEAN!

I've had quite a few people ask my questions about what I eat and if it's expensive. I have also had some requests for lists of what I buy at certainly stores.

First, cost:
Shopping, for me, is more expensive that it used to be. However, I'm really conscious of what goes in my body and I refuse to put junk in my body any longer. I go to the grocery store about twice a week. I do a big trip and then always seem to run out of something or want to pick up just one more thing. I spend on average about $70-80 a week for myself (my husband doesn't eat much of "my food"). This is not including protein shakes, which I have been slowing down on and doing just for recovery. Some weeks I spend more depending on if I'm stocking back up on something or not.

Where do I shop:
I generally shop only at Trader Joe's (the bulk of my shopping), Whole Foods (a few speciality products) and Costco (some produce when I can get there and when I stock up on proteins).

What do I buy:
When I'm explaining to people WHAT and HOW I eat, I summarize it by saying, "I cut out wheat/gluten, grains, soy, sugar, dairy, caffiene and generally all processed foods. I do however eat proteins, veggies, fruits and LOTS of healthy fats (nuts, avocado and oils)." By eating lots of healthy fats, you need to cut down on something else to balance it out and I eat lower carbs (no grains or legumes). With that said, I do get a LOT of carbs in from fruits and veggies. Don't be fooled. You can QUICKLY rack up carbs from fruits (and even over-do it!).

Grocery lists:
-These are a general list of items that I purchase from various stores.

Trader Joe's
organic spinach lettuce
butternut squash (Whole or already cubed)
bag of organic granny smith apples (much more fresh than their other Fuji organic apples)
organic blueberries
pear apples
Shredded bussel sprouts
Spaghetti squash (when they have in stock)
avocados (I switch back and forth between the bags and single avocados. The bags always seem to be too hard and then all turn ripe and the same time)

Cold cases-
cage free organic eggs
grass fed bed 85/15
nitrate free bacon
applegate farms chicken breast (usually pick up in case I'm in a bind)
Kerrygold butter (new on my list. source of vitamin K2 and very easy on the dairy side)
Prosciutto  (look for the kind without sugar)
Smoked salmon

On the shelf-
organic, no salt added, diced tomatoes
minced garlic
raw walnuts
raw almonds
raw pine nuts
raw slivered almonds
raw honey
coconut milk (TJ brand- vanilla and unsweetened)
almond milk (pacific brand- vanilla)
Coconut oil (in a jar. it's solid at room temp and must be heated to melt.)
White Truffle Oil
canned organic pumpkin
organic unsweetened applesauce

 Crunchy (less watery) unsaletd Almond Butter


Chili Lime Chicken burgers
Seafood blend
Frozen shrimp
Wild salmon filet
sweet potatoes ( they come in frozen "picks" that are clean and make mashed sweet potatoes easily!)
fire roasted peppers and onions
frozen spianch
frozen broccoli
frozen mango chunks
frozen organic spinach

Whole foods:
I only shop here for fill-ins. I find TJ to be a lost less expensive, generally speaking. This list is short; I'm sure I'll think of other things! I do LOVE their shrimp bar ;)

Unsweetened coconut chips (found in the baking aisle by Let's do Organic)
coconut flour
Hemp seed (shelled)

Costco is AMAZING for produce! They don't have too many organic options but I do buy some things there!

Large tub of organic spinach
mini sweet bell peppers
Frozen shrimp
Frozen organic berries
Frozen Empire kosher chicken
mahi-mahi frozen
organic free range beef
wild salmon (cut up in smaller portions and freeze)
water! (I know, It's not Eco-friendly)
Trio of olive oils (basil, chili and garlic)

Whew!! That was a lot! I hope this gives you a better idea of what I eat and how you can eat CLEAN and maybe even Paleo!

Thanks to Kelly, Jennifer and Molly for assisting me over the past few months on my nutrition aspect! It's constant work in progress. You have to do what is right for YOU and YOUR body! For ME this is the first time that my stomach doesn't hurt, I'm not starving or eating pre-packaged foods and actually losing weight by simply working out and eating right.

I want to leave you on a final note...
I often see posts on Twitter about people asking, "Is this healthy?" or "Give me some healthy meal ideas!" I want to remind you that "healthy" is all relative and means something different to each person. My vision of healthy is not the same as a vegan of vegetarians. Someone may think eating low-fat and sugar-free is "healthy" and in my mind it is most certainly not. We're all at different stages in our nutrition journey and you need to remember that. The one thing that IS a one-size-fits-all eating plan/diet (ewww-the dirty D word) /lifestyle is CLEAN EATING. Figure out what works for you continue on your journey :)

If you have any clean eating products that you buy and think should make the list- LET ME KNOW! I'd love to hear what goes in your shopping cart!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

...because it's cheaper than therapy! (& THANK YOU!)

...or something like that!

I had a rough day at work! I'm a special education teacher for early childhood students (3,4,&5 year olds). Between the fevers, bloody noses and accidents (#1 AND #2-ugh!) it was a LONG day!

I was signed up for spin class but earlier in the day, I changed my mind and switched to barre. By the time that bell rang for dismissal, I KNEW that I NEEDED some seriously cardio to get out my frustration tonight. The spin class was full now, BUMMER!! So, I headed to the studio earlier for ballet body bootcamp (BBBC) with Amy!

I haven't taken classes with Amy in a while and it was nice to take one! Amy has seen me on my journey from day one and knows how much my fitness level has changed. She knows when to let me be because I'm trying my hardest and when to push my butt (sometimes literally) just a bit more! I had sent Amy a tweet that talked about burpees being the best full-body cardio exercise. Today, during class, she proclaimed, "SOMEONE told me that burpees are the BEST full body workout exercise! I don't know who it was though..." Then, she winked at me. Oy! I was annoyed during that 8 round tabata exercise of burpees (8 rounds of 20 seconds of burpees with 10 seconds off) but I still had to laugh. I love my classes!

After BBBC, I checked to see if there was an open bike in spin. There was! Things work out in fabulous ways! Now, I know that I'm supposed to be cutting down my workouts but my body was CRAVING this today so I did it!ays

Spin with Betsey was fabulous, as usual! It was an endurance ride that challenged us, for sure! I was dripping sweat and pushed myself to the limits in class.

At the end of the night, I came home, cooked a clean dinner and am now relaxing watching The Biggest Loser.

I've posted this before, but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all of those helping me and supporting me on my fitness and nutrition journey. I have an ARMY helping me along the way and I truly wouldn't be building myself up to the best that I can be without you all! Thanks Michelle and all the girls at Fit Girl Studio (too many to list!), Kelly with Paleo Infused Nutrition, Jennifer and Molly with Arbonne, my amazing husband and all of my friends and family who put up with my list of "things I don't eat" and always keep my goals in mind! I love you ALL xo!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sweet & Savory Roasted Butternut Squash

I've had butternut squash plenty of times but I've never made roasted butternut squash. I had a HUGE squash and decided to try out two different recipes.  They were delciious and I wish I could've bottled up the delectable smells in my house yesterday! Make these! You won't be diasppointed!

Sweet (on the left) and Savory (on the right)
 Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash

Honey (raw preferred)
Coconut oil
1 large butternut squash (I used 1/2 for the sweet and 1/2 for my savory butternut squash)

1. Peel, cut and cube your squash (it can also be purchased pre-cut at Trader Joe's. I will most certainly be doing this next time.)
2. Melt 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil on the stove (the more you use, the more "mushy" -like sweet potatoes- it becomes. The less, the more likely they will burn or be darker) .
3.Drizzle honey over the squash
4. Sprinkle Cinnamon over the squash.
5. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

 Savory Roasted Butternut Squash

Truffle Oil
Italian Herbs (I had a seasoning from Penzeys Spices called Pizza Dash.)

1. Peel, cut and cube your squash (it can also be purchased pre-cut. I will most certainly be doing this next time.)
2. Drizzle truffle oil on your squash
3.Sprinkle the seasonings and pepper on the squash
4. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

The savory roasted squash tastes great by itself but also added wonderful flavor to a salad with chicken and other vegetables! Nom!

Do you have another butternut squash recipe that you LOVE? Let us know and we'll feature it on Fit Girl in Progress!

Update: I had a few readers contact me in regards to buying the pre-cut butternut squash. The last two times that I bought them, they went bad (gooey and mushy) about 3 days before the "best by" date. I went to Trader tonight and they gave me a full refund for the squash. They also let me know that they're putting in a notice to qquality coordinators at corporate.

Prosciutto and egg cups

 Prosciutto and Egg cups

I met with my dietician, Kelly from Infused Paleo, and discusses breakfast ideas. I tried one of this cute cups at our session and immediately headed to Trader Joes to make my muffins for the week! This was my first time so I might experiment a bit more next time.

Muffin tin
10-12 eggs
Any vegetables you'd like to add : mushrooms, spinach, shallots, etc
And herbs that you'd like to add on top


1. Line the cups with prosciutto (I used a strip and a quarter to make sure the whole cup was filled with no gaps otherwise the eggs seep through).
2. I added my "toppings" in the bottom, however- you could add on the top. I added spinach, mushrooms (minced), shallots and pepper.
3. Crack an egg right onto the top of each cup.
4. Top with fresh herbs and any seasonings.
5. Bake for 20 minutes at 375
6. Let cool & then store in an airtight container for an easy breakfast!

Nutrition tips from your Fit Girl in Progress:
Two muffins provide 25 grams of protein are very low carb. If you're concerned with fat (by eating Paleo we are less concerned with fat and calories abs more with whole nutrient rich foods) then you can use egg whites and or turkey bacon. However, when you use these as substitutes you're also taking away a lot of healthy fats and nutrients.

One more tip from Kelly:
"One thing to suggest - you don't need to coat the tin with olive oil. The prosciutto covering/lining already makes it non-stick and when olive oil is heated at high heat, it can create free radicals" 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

FREE DAYS at Fit Girl Studio! Jan. 29/30 !

Mark your calendars:
January 29th and 30th...
Fit Girl Studio is teaming up with GAP for FREE DAYS!
The icing on the cake?
GAP is giving out a FREE pair of GAP Fit pants to EVERY Fit Girl that participates in a fitness class!

What could be even better?
Fit Girl Studio is amping up the classes and offering triple what they normally do to make sure that all the Fit Girls in Chicago get to check out the amazingness that is FIT GIRL STUDIO!

If you're already a member, it's free for your as well. Bring a friend, or three, and checkout what's new at Fit Girl Studio! Class schedules and more details are coming soon. Stay tuned to or follow Fit Girl Studio on Facebook!

FG Studio spin classes are UNREAL!

Can we just take a moment to talk about how amazing Fit Girl Studio's spin classes are?

You may have noticed by now that the spin classes are most certainly my favorite. I thought that I'd be addicted to barre but when I realized how great the spin classes were, I was hooked! I don't know how to explain it... I took spin are all of my other gyms. I  liked the classes and I went often. But, they were nowhere NEAR as amazing as the classes at Fit Girl are!

From the sway bikes (with comfy seats), killer music, dancing ON the bikes, energetic and motivating instructors and great clients- the spin classes at Fit Girl are THE BEST that I've ever taken!

Two classes this week that rocked:

Betsey's Spin Class
-Betsey did a workout that I've NEVER done before! She told us at the beginning that we were going to do a pyramid and that it would take the whole class. She warned us that it sounded boring but that it would be fabulous. She also gave us a fair warning, "I'm in full-on bridal mode! This means, that all of you lovely ladies get to reap the benefits of my intense workouts!" YESSSSSS!!!!
The pyramid went something like this:
60 seconds hard climb in position 1
60 seconds hard climb in position 3
60 seconds sprint in position 1
--we continued this for 50,45,30,20,10 and then back up! It was AMAZING! 

Michelle's SpinShred class
-Michelle, the owner of Fit Girl Studio, is the epitome of a great instructor! She motivated you, talks you through the workouts (to make time pass more quickly!) and incorporates fun moves into a class that COULD otherwise be mundane (oh, trust me...I've taken boring spin classes at other gyms before).
Tonight, we did a 3-4 minute climb. Each minute as added a little bit on. We kept our RPMs above 50 (mine were around 60) the entire ride. Even as it got harder, our goal was to keep that number. I looked at Kate (a fellow Fit Girl) after class and said, "OMG! I want GRUNTING during that endurance climb. It was an intense workout!" Well done, Michelle; my body loves and hates me all the same time right now!

On that note, if it isn't full already- CHECK OUT A FREE SPIN CLASS AT FIT GIRL STUDIO (LINCOLN PARK) ON SUNDAY 1/13 AT 9:30 A.M. !! I'm bringing a friend to class and cannot wait to show her what it's all about!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Spin Flow- Where the sweat is flowin'

Class Review: Spin Flow
Instructor: Michelle P.
Description: A Fit Girl fave! An exciting 40 min ride followed by strong flow yoga . Our 75 min fitness fusion will leave you feeling stronger, longer, and leaner. Total Body Success!

I was signed up for Spin Shred (my favorite class at Fit Girl Studio) when I saw that Michelle had added a new class on the same day: Spin Flow. I IMMEDIATELY got on my FGS App. and changed my class to Spin Flow. Now, I've never been a Yoga fan (and I hadn't taken Yoga Flow) so I wasn't really sure what to expect.

The spin portion was GREAT. Michelle is ALWAYS so motivating and makes the moves fun. I am drenched every time I ride with her and smile the entire time with her funny remarks. Today's Favorite:
-after we finished a set of sprints on a hill and we were all huffing and puffing and "water and towel (ing) off" We must've looked like we never wanted to get back to work-
Michelle looks at us and says, "Okay really, now let's get back to work..."

After the spin portion, we headed into the barre studio and grabbed a towel and a mat. The Yoga portion was a constant movement between poses -flow-(different than the restorative yoga class that I often take and more like Yoga Sculpt). I actually knew a lot of the poses/postures from taking Yoga Sculpt. It was challenging and I was instantly sweating.

So- we started with hardcore spin, another strength/cardio-burst and ended with a beautiful cool-down of yoga and meditation. It was an AWESOME class. Michelle did a GREAT job and I cannot wait for Spin Flow to come back to Lincoln Park!

"These ABS are on Fire!"

As per YOUR request- a sweat-breaking, burn-making, deep-breathing AB WORKOUT! This workout is inspired by the lovely ladies at Fit Girl Studio! The workout can be done once or two times! Enjoy! Let me know what you think, Fit Girls.

Butterfly Crunch:
C-curve with a tuck:
Make sure to have your knees loosely bent You abs should create a bowl. As your breathe in and out create a tucking movement with your pelvis. It should be subtle and you should feel a tightness in your lower abdomen

Toe-touch crunches (alternating leg- opposite arm to opposite toe-right hand reach for left foot)

Full toe-touch crunch
Flutter Kicks

Bicycle crunches

High Plank

Low Plank
(Body in one line. Shins should hover. Do not let your legs touch the ground)

Forearm Plank