Fitness Hopping and the Holidays

Hello, hello, and happy holidays!

I have a recipe to share at the end of this post, but first I wanted to talk a little about about what I’ve been up to over the holidays!

As I mentioned last post, due to the devastating wildfires in Butte County, we ended up having the whole week of Thanksgiving off of school. As a result, things were really hectic when we got back. I was able to help out with some of the wildfire victims though. We had 35 burned kitties come to UC Davis, and I was able to help with some of their treatments. In addition, the weekend before finals, I went up to Butte County with a few other UC Davis vet students and we helped vaccinate and give care to a ton of the kitties in a shelter up there. These experiences have been some of my favorite in vet school; this is why I’m here—to be able to help when something terrible happens. It also amazes me how sweet all these homeless kitties are. It really puts things perspective.

On a brighter note, I’m currently home for the holidays! My first weekend home was the Santa Run in San Jose. Can you believe this is my7th year doing it, and it was my first 5k race ever?

Winter break has actually been pretty active for me. I tried out Classpass, and there is a free week trial which gives you access to a TON of classes in that week. It’s been really fun popping into new studios and trying new things. That’s part of why I wanted to post today. I know how scary it can be to walk into a new studio, and try something new. I do want to try and assuage some of those fears.

Classes I’ve tried out:

Barre at Barre3

Cycling at LIFT

Barre at LIFT

Reformer at Bodyrok (this was probably the scariest one for me)

Barry’s Bootcamp

Core Cycle at Core Studio (with real ryder bikes—they move!)

Barre was the first class I tried. I’ve done a fair amount of yoga, but never really any type of pilates, and CERTAINLY never anything ballet related. I’m not necessarily the most coordinated, especially when it comes to anything dance. One tip I have if you’re intimidated to try a class is to bring a friend! I brought my friend to try this.

What to expect: lots of burning and leg shaking, lots of squats. I was pleasantly surprised that it was pretty easy to follow and required less coordination than anticipated. I liked that it had the same intentionality of movement as yoga, but was a little faster paced. You can be barefoot or wear sticky socks. I did my first couple classes without socks, and my feet were slipping all over the place. Other people didn’t have that problem as much as I did though. I invested in some sticky socks, and they were a game changer for me!

Cycling classes are something I’m pretty comfortable walking into a new studio and doing. That being said, I know they can seem intimidating! Check ahead of time to see if the class requires cycling shoes/if the studio rents out cycling shoes. If you need help setting up your bike, don’t be afraid to ask! Team members are always happy to help! Especially since there area a lot of different bikes out there that have slightly different setup.

What to expect: lots of cardio! Definitely bring water. Some studios use small hand weights for 1 song near the end of class. Some classes ride to the beat of the music and do things like push-ups on the bike, whereas some classes are numbers based and show your bike speed. If you’re going to a class with real ryder bikes (these are pretty rare): these bikes move side to side when you lean one way or the other. My biggest tip with these is be patient with yourself! They take a while to get the hang of; I had been on them a couple of times before at IDEA World Conference, and even though it has been years, it does get better each time. Standing on the bike was the hardest for me; really focus on stabilizing with your quads!

Reformer classes were easily the most intimidating for me. I actually signed up for one on accident; I probably wouldn’t have signed up for one, but I’m glad I did! Bodyrok recently opened nearby, and they offered “cycle and sculpt” class. I didn’t realize the :sculpt” portion was on a reformer until I showed up, but at that point I said to myself, “well, I guess I’m doing it.” I actually really enjoyed it! If you’re not familiar with the reformer, it’s basically a machine that looks like a torture device, with sliding platforms and handles on cables. It’s a big core workout! The sliding platform is moved by pulling on the cables, so you can use for anything from core work to bicep curls.

What to expect: slow, intentional movements, and burn! Get there a little early to have the instructor help show you what everything is used for and how everything moves. The class I went to required sticky socks, so check the studio standards on that! It was also really helpful for me to be directly next to someone to see what they were doing if I was ever confused. The instructor was very clear though!

Barry’s Bootcamp is a trendy fitness studio that recently reached Northern California from the East Coast. I dropped into a class while my family was in San Francisco to see the Union Square Christmas tree and other holiday festivities. My parents had a coffee date while I took the class.

What to expect: a dark room, with loud music, and high intensity cardio. The workout is split into a treadmill portion, and a floor portion consisting of weights, bands, and bodyweight movements. On the treadmill, we did intervals at sprints and on hills. My only complaint is really a personal one: I didn’t run as fast as I would have wanted to get an even harder workout because I wasn’t comfortable running over a 8.5/9 on the treadmill for fear of falling off. The instructor gave plenty of modifications, but I’m not sure this would necessarily be the best workout for beginners. In addition, there was a lot going on in the room because there were people doing the floor portion while others were on the treadmill so the instructor was yelling out instructions for both at the same time.

I’ve had a lot fo fun trying things! Here are some tips to fight that first-timer intimidation:

  • Bring a friend (see above)
  • Check the website to know what to expect/what to bring/what to wear. You can even look at reviews or blogs (like this one!) describing the class.
  • Arrive early.
  • Watch other students to see where to go/what to do/what equipment to grab.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the instructor questions and let him/her know it is your first time.
  • People are so nice! Seriously. The staff at all the places I went was super friendly and welcoming.
  • Let go of comparisons. The person next to you may have been taking this class for years. Take modifications if you need them!
  • Have fun!

On that note, let’s get into some of the other holiday festivities!

I made a list of holiday things to do while on break, and one of them was to go out to dinner at a particular restaurant and see a movie. This burrata and poached pear with balsamic is actually one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, and was a seasonal special I remembered from a visit a few years prior. Afterwards, we saw the Grinch. It was cute!

Just like every other year for the past 10 years, my high school friends came over for our annual sugar cookie decorating! This year was the first time with fur babies! My friend brought her cat over to play.

As mentioned above, we visited Union Square and the giant mall up there!


On Sunday, my sister and her husband came over with their kitties for a wine and cheese night. Cheese selections included, aged gouda, havarti with dill, goat brie, stilton with cranberries, and a hard cheese with syrah.

As per annual tradition, on Christmas Eve we had dinner at Benihana, a Japanese steakhouse.

And finally, it was Christmas! My family hosted everyone this year. Marie enjoyed her first Christmas.

Also per somewhat newer tradition, we took Chloe for a walk along the water on Christmas morning.

For food, we got a precooked turkey along with mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and gravy. My sister made an eggplant parmesan and I roasted brussels sprouts with aged truffle balsamic (amazing).

For dessert, I made an amazing GF pear gingerbread upside down cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction. My Grandma brought white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.

It was a great day of food and family!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


Chocolate Mint Protein Muffins

Happy Thanksgiving week! I’m getting to celebrate a bit early, but I wish it were under better circumstances.

The Camp Fire has been raging in Northern California these past few weeks. This tragedy has blown an insane amount of smoke throughout the state, including into my school. We had all of last week’s classes cancelled. The air was really too bad to go outside at all. I went home this past weekend, and they ended up cancelling all of Thanksgiving week of class as well.

I think it’s been a rough couple of weeks for our state.

On a lighter note, I obviously brought my kitties home with me.

I dressed kitten up.

Anyways. The point of this post. We had a couple of ripe bananas that needed to be used up, and I was starting to feel the holiday baking. I wanted something a little bit healthier, so these muffins were born! They have about 5g of protein each, which I know is not a ton, but they’re not huge muffins and it’s more protein than normal muffins have! Plus, they’re delicious! I got the whole family’s stamp of approval with these.

Chocolate Mint Protein Muffins

Makes 6


1/4 t salt

1 packet/1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (I used Quest)

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 t vanilla

3 T egg whites

2 T milk

2 bananas, mashed.2 T mint baking chips

1 T dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix together all wet ingredients.
  3. Add and stir in dry ingredients.
  4. Put into muffin tin.
  5. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.



Day in the Life: Fall 2018 (Second Year Vet Student)

I know, I’ve been a bad blogger. But I did want to squeeze in a day in the life post, so here it is!

5:30am: Kittens don’t understand the time change and start wrestling on my bed.

6:05: I finally get up.

I get ready for morning Crossfit and eat some Cheerios.

I was up earlier than I needed to be so I had plenty of time to snuggle kitties.

6:45am: Leave for Crossfit.

7:00: Crossfit. For strength, the rest of the class did cleans and I did snatches. My wrist has been feeling a ton better but cleans are going to be the last thing I’m able to do. The WOD was a long one.

100 sit ups

400m run

75 push ups

400m run

50 box jumps

400m run

Oof. I did push ups on a box because I am not strong enough and it’s easier only wrist! We ended up finishing class a few minutes late, and then I hit really bad traffic going back, so I was fairly flustered and rushed when I got back!

8:20: Arrive home.

8:25: Sit down to breakfast. I did a 9 mile race this past Sunday, and ever since then I have been so hungry! I was starving and had a few bites of chicken from soup that I made the other night because I knew my breakfast wouldn’t hold me over. This hunger will be a theme of the day, haha! Breakfast is cottage cheese with an apple from my Apple Hill weekend (where I did the race) with sunbutter.

8:45: Leave for class, more or less on time. We have lab today so I’m in scrubs, so thankfully getting ready is pretty quick!

9:00: First class of the day! We just started Reproduction, so I’ll spare you guys pictures.

After my first class, I actually ate a full size 3 Musketeers bar. Someone put out a big box of giant candy bars and I haven’t eaten a full sized candy bar in years, plus I was quickly burning through my breakfast so I just went for it. I only intended to have half but ate the whole thing and don’t regret that at all. I was expecting to feel sick afterwards, but again, my metabolism has been on fire since the race so I was more than hungry at lunch, after another couple of lectures!

12:00: Lunch at home. The handyman was supposed to come and I had a big gap between classes so I went home. On the menu was a big salad with persimmon, deli turkey (I recently started buying nitrite free deli turkey), cranberry goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.

I also had a square of dark chocolate.

I watched an episode of Parks and Rec while eating. I don’t love it yet, but I’m still giving it a chance, and I needed a shorter show.

12:30: Study! With a side of wrestling kitties.

Marie’s current obsession is to climb on my shoulder and bite my hair.

Which usually quickly progresses to this:

1:45: I’m hungry (again) so I have my afternoon snack.

2:20: Take a short study break to start typing up this post.

2:35: Leave for lab.

3-4:30: Anatomy lab! Today is male reproduction.

4:30: Out of lab a little bit early, but it’s already getting dark!

4:45: Arrive home. I’m hungry (shocker) so I pick some veggies out of the soup I made.

Then it’s study time with the two babies!

5:45: Leave for soccer! We have a vet school team in the intramural league. Today’s game was against the 3rd year vet students and we sadly lost in penalty kicks! I still had fun and my ankle is not thrilled with me.

7:30: Finally sit down to dinner with an episode of Netflix ( I just started Riverdale). No matter how busy I get, I consider my Netlfix and dinner time sacred! On the menu is a stir fry of sorts. I microwaved some frozen stir fry veggies and then sautéed up tofu and spaghetti squash (Kind of weird, but sort of like chow mien!) with GF teriyaki sauce and served that on top of my veggies!

For dessert, I had a mini sunbutter cup and a GF snickerdoodle.

8:00: Have a few more Cheerios while icing my ankle.

8:20: Pick out an old spin playlist to teach tomorrow for Sunrise Cycle at 6:15am! I have actually a million old playlists to choose from. I teach 3 classes a week so I definitely don’t make a new playlist each time, but I have so many from years of cycling that no one will ever hear repeats!

8:25-8:30: Finish up this blog post. Before bed I’m going to try to squeeze in a little bit more studying or work on some emails, but on nights before I teach early morning spin, I try to be in bed reading a book and getting sleepy at 9, and asleep before 10!


Another Week, Another Big Test

Guess what? I finished Cardio! I’m currently at home with my family; I came back because I wanted kitten to get used to the drive. I have a few full days of eating last week I wanted to share, so let’s go straight in!


I had a few pumpkin Cheerios before Crossfit.


Cottage cheese with sunbutter and pumpkin pie filling.


We are officially at the end of peach season. This nectarine in the salad was probably my last!


And then I had a soccer game that I was really hungry before that evening so I had another little granola bar type snack:

Dinner post-soccer:

I really like this salad. It makes me feel so healthy. It’s kale massaged with olive oil and aged balsamic, salt and pepper and garlic powder. Spaghetti squash, and then fresh mozzarella.

Dessert: Another slice of mediocre homemade pumpkin bread.

Evening snack:

I ran a lot at soccer so I definitely needed some extra protein! I had half a container of this caramel apple Noosa.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Hello from Cardio Finals week! It’s going to be a rough one over here, I’m not going to lie. Since starting out Cardio block (class), I’ve made an effort to do at least one fun thing on weekends. I’ve had a great time—visiting a college friend, having my family come up and meet kitten, having friends from back home come up. I have a lot of fun things coming up as well…but also a lot of work! I’ve always thought that I could easily study 10% better to make time for the fun stuff. That’s what the next few weeks are going to look like! After Friday. Until then, it’s study central over here.

I figured I would pop in with a quick full day of eating. My current emphasis is to actually eat up the food I buy, and to increase my protein. I’m doing quite a bit of exercise these days now that I’m teaching 3 cycling classes a week. I’m also attempting some long runs (more on that later), and recovery is feeling more important than ever!

Pre-teaching: A handful of pumpkin spice cheerios.

Class was awesome. I love the morning crew. I’m amazing by how full a 6:15am class on a college campus is!


Smoothie with a frozen persimmon, frozen cranberries, chocolate protein powder, plain greek yogurt, and cocoa powder. Plus a few crackers.

Lunch: I went to a lunch talk on treating respiratory distress in the emergency setting, which was really relevant given I was in class all day learning about respiration. We were given Mediterranean food at the talk. I had some chicken, a falafel, and veggies with hummus and tzatziki.

Snack: Luna bar and some dried carrots (still obsessed).

I had been planning on going to crossfit this evening, but I was pretty sore from yesterday, and I just couldn’t justify a second workout for the day on a week with so much studying.

Dinner: This was a good one! Spaghetti squash with parmesan and garlic, topped with Trader Joe’s Fall Harvest pasta sauce and fresh mozzarella.

For dessert, I had some pumpkin bread that I made over the weekend. I’ve been using the same recipe for years, and honestly it didn’t turn out too well. It was dry and too flour-y tasting. I realized that I don’t think I’ve made a good batch since I’ve been using GF flour so maybe that’s it. I froze most of it, and it should be better on ice cream.

Later in the evening, I had some dark chocolate and dried persimmons. And now it’s back to the grind!