Monthly Archives: September 2016

Weekly Workouts+Monster Root Beer Floats

Hello! I’m popping in on a Friday night while watching college football. My team is actually on ESPN so I get it here! It’s not going well though…

I don’t normally do workout recaps for the week, but I figured, why not this week?

But first. Food.


And cheetah.

After work on Thursday, some of the interns and I made a trip to Fitz’s for root beer floats. Ignore the fact that I froze outside all day…

For my main meal, I had a black bean burger on a GF bun. This thing was massive.


But of course the floats were the main event. These things were crazy.


I got the Ghostbuster, simply because I wanted chocolate syrup. It also had a little bit of marshmallow fluff. Rootbeer on the bottom, of course!


It was delicious, but so, so messy. And I kind of wish the ice cream was IN the root beer. I ended up scraped a lot of the ice cream off to reach the root beer!

Sadly, no one was able to finish this monstrosity. But not a bad way to spend a Thursday nigh!

One thing I do want to mention before I get back to workouts is that I’ve been focusing more on half meals lately, and in just a few days I noticed a big difference both in my body composition and in how I felt. It’s crazy how well my body responds to more, smaller meals. Go figure. That being said, I’m currently stuffed as I write this. But more on that in a later post. But workouts!


Crossfit-Back squat 5 sets of max reps at tempo (I got 5 reps at 145#)

5×6 bent over row

3 sets max pul ups+10 pistols+20 hollow rocks

Teach spin. I’m going to attempt to link my spotify playlist here.


Blogilates Extreme Abs

Crossfit-Bench press+WOD: 5 rounds 15 push ups, 20 lunge jumps, 25 sit ups


Crossfit-4×3 Sumo deadlift @ 175#+ 15 Min Partner AMRAP of Fran: 21-15-9  Thrusters (65#)+Pull ups

One partner did 21 thrusters, the next did 21 thrusters while the first rested. And so on. We got through 1 full round and a few reps. I thought for sure I was going to rip my hands…

Rest and Restore Yoga (super slow and relaxing)


Run 3 miles.


I learned that my runs feel better if I don’t do them after PM Crossfit. That being said, my feet have been feeling a little beat up this week. I don’t know if I’ve been standing a lot more at work, or what, but it feels like it! I spend a ton of time at the zoo either walking on standing, so it can be a little hard on my feet.


Crossfit-1 rep max full snatch. HAH. This did not go well. I’ve actually always been way better at either hang or power snatches, because I have trouble getting in position and stabilizing the bar overhead. I got super strong last summer before partially dislocating my shoulder. I was only just getting back into snatches when I got my stress fracture and had to shut it down again, and haven’t done a ton of snatching since. It’s easy to forget that my shoulder still isn’t the same. I only got up 74# today, despite my 1 rep max being 108. I just couldn’t stabilize it overhead, partly due to lack of stability in my shoulder, partly due to poor positioning, and partly due to lack of confidence and getting in my own head at some point. I missed 80 twice despite it not feeling super heavy, I just couldn’t stabilize. I ended up just dropping down the weight and working on my form. But not how I like starting the morning. The WOD was good though.

3 rounds:

15 pull ups

15 hang power cleans

15 front squats

I used 75# for this. I scaled from 105. I wasn’t trying to die, and I know heavier cleans would kill my grip for pull ups. I think I finished in a little over 14 minutes.


Teach 8am spin!

What was your favorite workout this week?

Fitness Identity

First things first: Happy Birthday to my wonderful father! Thank you for raising me, and may your day be filled with as many desserts as your age. (Who needs a candle for every year? How about a dessert for every year?)


It suddenly feels like fall here! And it’s so, so nice.I actually could have used a jacket today, but I decided I wanted to embrace the cold. Hot soup at lunch was amazing though!

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Welcome to fall at the zoo!

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There are pumpkins literally EVERYWHERE around the zoo, and I love it. The animals seemed to like the brisk weather as well, a lot of them were out and especially active today!
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^painted dogs

Another thing that kind of made my day was that I found this on my windshield:


I kind of love it, and have no idea why it was there. But I should probably turn it in to the lost and found.

Plus, adding to the fall ambiance is baseball stress. GAHH

Before I get onto today’s main topic, I wanted to share my dinner.


I had a repeat of yesterday’s dinner (leftover chili) but this time with 2% cheddar instead of fat free cheddar. Because today I decided that life is too short for fat free cheddar. It is definitely not worth it, especially in this context!

Dessert was super awesome too. I bought a giant can of pumpkin pie filling, and mixed a serving with egg whites and threw it in the microwave. Then, I topped it with whipped cream, and it was basically pumpkin pie. SO delicious. I think I’m ready for pumpkin!


Now onto today’s topic. I went to a yoga class today. I don’t think I’ve been to yoga since, oh, I don’t know, January? This class was a super slow and restorative class, but the stretch felt awesome. Also, something about these cool, dark nights makes me crave yoga.

The teacher mentioned she was going to a fitness conference this weekend for continuing education stuff, and it got me thinking about IDEA World that I went to last summer. It was honestly one of the best weekends of my life. (Recap 1, 2, 3, 4.)

The conference came at an interesting point in my life. I had been teaching spin for nearly a year at that point, but fitness wise I was off. Ever since I got involved intensely in sports and fitness in high school, fitness was part of my identity. And honestly, it was clear from my muscular, athletic build that this was the case.


(^that picture will always be one of my favorites)

When I started college, I was still that girl. I was rowing and was in crazy good shape. (I also started my blog!) But with mono came a lot of changes. I suddenly found myself overweight and in the worst shape of my life. Throughout college, as I carried around extra fluff, I felt like it was covered more than just my body, but who I was. I didn’t quite feel like myself. Like something was off. While I still valued and worked towards fitness, I didn’t have the same fitness identity overall (some stretches I felt closer than others).

The summer after my junior year was particularly tough. I was really sick with my stomach issues, and I was the heaviest I’d been in my life.

That conference was amazing for me. Not just because of all the things I learned and awesome people I met, but also because while taking 5000 spin workshops, I felt like a fit person again. Suddenly, I caught a glimmer of myself. Just to be clear, I don’t base my entire identity on fitness. At all. Others things are definitely (more) important. But I almost felt like I was living a double life with this “fitness blog” and a lack of fitness. I know I was still a fitter than average person, but I still felt off.

Sitting in yoga class today though, I thought about things. Throughout the past year, I feel like I’ve found myself again. My fitness identity. I feel confident in myself. I can do pretty much everything in Crossfit (yay pull ups!). I sometimes am one of those semi-obnoxious people working out in spandex (sometimes it’s just easier!). It’s like I’m finally myself again. The interesting part is what makes my fitness identity has shifted. And continues to shift.


I used to think I had to do double days of workouts to be “fit enough.” But I’ve learned that to actually feel fit in workouts, rest is important and I have to balance my workout schedule. My fitness identity is every-changing. One month I might be a super hero at burpees and sprints, while the next I might be knocking out pull ups and bench presses, or maybe I’m killing the running game (relatively, of course). I’ve been to 4 different Crossfit boxes regularly over the past few months, and every single one gives me a different type of fitness, based on their focuses. It used to worry me that when I switched away, I would lose everything and all the fitness I gained, but I’ve come to embrace the journey. Honestly, my fitness is for my own enjoyment, and I don’t take weightlifting too seriously. By this, I mean I’m not trying to win any weightlifting meets. I want to get stronger, but I don’t feel the need to track much more than my PRs.

My fitness identity has changed, but finally, I feel like myself again. And it feels pretty good.

WIAW-How to Clean a Burnt Pan (Oops)

Happy Wednesday! Let’s get straight into WIAW, shall we? Thanks as always to Jenn for starting this linkup!


Breakfast: I don’t know what it is about my days off, but it seems like every week I reach for a Flapjacked muffin. I had a chocolate muffin with one of the season’s last nectarines. Sidenote: I always add a little extra water and a little yogurt to the muffins!


After breakfast, I started prepping my dinner since I knew I’d be around the house for a bit before leaving for the morning. I made vegetarian chili, and just winged (wing?) the recipe.


I started with a can of diced tomatoes with onions, and added a bag of butternut squash (the only shape the store had left was zigzags….), a bag of carrots, salt, and the above pictured spices.


While that was cooking away, I did a short ab workout (Blogilates). It’s been a while, and I was definitely feeling it more than normal!

My chili was looking and smelling good, and I was watching it carefully. It was nearly done, but the carrots were still pretty solid. I left it for a few minutes, and when I returned, I smelled burned. UGH. Luckily it was almost entirely salvageable, just a little dry. The real tragedy was the state of the pan. The entire bottom was burned. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. I soaked it in water. I soaked it in dish soap. Finally I turned to the internet. Apparently this is what you do: cover the bottom of the pan with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup white vinegar (I didn’t have a full cup, and I only had red wine, but you have to work with what you’ve got) and let it boil. The burn should start to look different (not much for me). Then, add 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda.

Pro tip: do this over the sink. Yeah. The stovetop got a little extra cleaning today…Let sit. Then scrub off.

Did this work? Sort of. It helped loosen it, but I had to really scrub and even scrape the bottom with my nails…

I spent probably an hour on this. I left the house in the worst mood. Plus, I started to feel a little bit alone in St. Louis. I feel like there are so many things I want to do with people, and I was trying to figure out what I would do with my weekend.

The weather today was perfect though. I wore long sleeves! With shorts, but whatever. I’ll take it. It turns out my bad mood was nothing a cappuccino couldn’t fix. I tried another coffeeshop on my list, Foundation Grounds in Maplewood.

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As per usual, I had a decaf cappuccino.

This is my favorite coffeeshop thus far. I loved the ambiance—it felt really cozy and friendly, and was a great place to spend the morning studying. The coffee was good, and for some reason tasted like fall. I got briefly homesick when I realized the cappuccino reminded me of my favorite coffeeshop on campus in CA. A lot of my friends are staying at Stanford for their graduate degrees, and they all started this week. It’s so weird to be thousands of miles away.

While this was my favorite coffeeshop and the coffee was really good, it still wasn’t at the very highest level, so while I plan to be back frequently, it will land in the #3 spot, behind Blueprint and Comet Coffee.

Another plus? This coffeeshop has food! There were lots of delicious baked goods as well.

I stayed for lunch, which I figured earned me another hour or so time studying there. I got a salad with red onion, dried cranberries, apple, and gorgonzola, dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.


It was good, but kind of pricey for what it was. They also have a soup of the day, so in the future I might go in that direction.

After the coffeeshop I went for a much needed haircut. I always chicken out and never get quite enough taken off, so I committed to 3 inches off and I LOVE it. I feel SO much better. I actually hate when my hair gets long.

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These pictures don’t really show it very well, so here’s a pre-Crossfit shot.


I was trying to figure out where to study next, and since it was so beautiful, I decided to go to a nearby park to enjoy the perfect weather (because I know it won’t last!)


I had one of these bars as a snack. They’re sunflower seed based!

While in the park, I came up with some plans for the weekend, as well as plotted a potential next trip. <-very potential but would be awesome if it worked out!

Crossfit destroyed my arms. We did lots and lots of bench. 6 sets of 3 to start. I worked my way up to 100# for a set of 3. I’m pretty sure I’ve never benched 100 at all, so that was exciting! I’ve never actually done a 1 rep max though. THEN we did 3 sets of 8 close grip bench. These stink.

And because we didn’t push enough, the WOD was lots of push ups. Cool. We did 5 rounds of 15 push ups (I had to scale most of these because #dead), 20 lunge jumps, and 25 sit ups. Lunge jumps are actually the one thing that I sort of worry about with my foot at this point. By the end, I was feeling my foot a little bit so I eased up. It wasn’t pain, just that overworked feeling I haven’t gotten in a while.

Dinner was a breeze, thanks to my meal prep. I topped my chili with fat free cheddar (honestly the fat free aspect…probably not worth it for rubber) and avocado, and has some sweet potato tortilla chips on the side.


While I was eating, my parents were sending me pictures from Hawaii of their amazing desserts. Sadly, all my amazing pumpkin cookies are gone (oops), so I tried to make my little single serve ice cream a little more exciting with whipped cream.


This ice cream was actually super disappointing. These was like ONE caramel swirl. I’ll stick to my Yasso salted caramel bars from now on!

That’s all for today—I might grab a bite of something a little later (maybe pineapple) but for now, I’m off to Skype a friend!

What is your favorite ice cream topping?

I don’t think you can beat hot fudge.

It’s Monday

Hi guys! I feel like a lot of my posts lately have been just WIAWs or weekend recaps, so I wanted to do a normal day to day blog post. I’m currently blogging while watching the debate. One of the upcoming debates is actually in St. Louis, and I’m going to stay as far away as possible…

I started my morning with 6am Crossfit. Beforehand, I grabbed a few handfuls of pumpkin spice cheerios for some squat fuel. Lately, Monday workouts have been entirely strength, no conditioning, which is a good complement to my schedule because I teach spin (aka cardio) on Monday nights. The main events were squats, and we did 5 rounds at 75% of as many reps as possible without losing tempo. For reference, I did all my sets for 5 reps.

Then, we did 5 sets of bent over rows, before moving on to a final strength portion.

We did 4 rounds of max reps of kipping pull ups (I got 8 good ones and then called it there because I wasn’t fully making it over the bar), 10 pistols, and 20 hollow rocks.

I think I’m already sore from squats…

Breakfast post-workout was cantaloupe.


And a yogurt bowl. It’s not the prettiest, but I’m bringing this old favorite back. Mashed (super) ripe banana with cocoa powder, plain 2% Greek yogurt, and sunbutter.


Then, it was off to work! I actually saw a cheetah up close today! They’re usually hiding.


The weather was SO nice today. It was 60s and 70s. I almost needed a jacket! Fall, please stay around!

While I’ll start transitioning away from this salad once nectarines stop being so good (Target has the best), and will be having soup later this week, today’s lunch was one of my 2 typical (my other being sunbutter+jam sandwich with carrots).


Butter lettuce, nectarine, chicken, goat cheese (this week it’s garlic and herb!), and Newman’s Own light balsamic vinaigrette. Van’s GF Everything crackers on the side.

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My coworkers are awesome. I feel like we’re finally getting to know each other, and they certainly brighten my day!

For an afternoon snack, I had a chocolate mint Vega protein bar. I love that flavor, and stocked up yesterday.

After work, I headed straight to the spin studio to teach my usual 6pm class. It was a good one!

By the time I got home, I was more than ready for dinner. I drank some mango kombucha and snacked on some of this gluten free snack mix while getting everything together.


Dinner was leftover ginger chicken mushroom soup+avocado toast with garlic salt. It’s been FAR too long since I’ve had avocado toast, and I was impressed with this avocado!


For dessert, I had a sea salt caramel Yasso bar.

I’m trying to get back into the whole “more smaller meals” thing, so for a mid-deabte snack, I had a rice cake with asiago laugh cow, which I had never had before, and raspberry jam. Honestly, I think all the laughing cow flavors basically taste the same.


I’m not sure how long I’m going to be able to hang with the debate for. I also took some allergy medicine which is likely to start knocking me out soon.

But it’s nice to check in with a normal post! I’ve seen some posts come up on time hop, and I miss the day to day blogging! In all seriousness though, it’s crazy through how much this blog has taken me. I started it at the beginning of my freshman year of college, and now I’m blogging from my house in St. Louis. What??

So we’ll leave it here.

Did you watch the debate?

The Craziest Museum+Surprising Cooking Win

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.


I kicked off my wild Friday night with some coffeeshop studying. I was sitting next to some pre-meds working on a chem lab report. Felt like home. I went there for dinner, which was a Mediterranean salad, with delicious warm GF bread on the side. Plus a GF cookie. I’ve had so few GF baked good since coming here, so I went to that coffeeshop just for that.

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I had been putting off a quiz for my online class, and decided I just needed to bite the bullet and take it Saturday morning.


Saturday morning, I taught my usual 8am spin and then headed to the store. My Target trip had 2 highlights: lightbulbs (my room was super dark) and these cookies:


I don’t care if you’re GF or not, you should buy these cookies. They’re AMAZING. I’ve had this brand in other flavors (a highlight is the key lime), so I was expecting nothing less! I guess my post-spin 10am time is turning into my “try new pumpkin products” time? Last week it was pumpkin ice cream. I only have one serving of these cookies left, they’re that good.

For lunch, I made a simple egg sandwich with cheddar, and a side of extra bread, an extra egg, and asparagus.


That afternoon, I walked down to a strew festival happening in my neighborhood. There was a bouncy house, and a bunch of local restaurants selling food and drinks. Since it was scorching out, I got salted caramel ice cream from a microcreamery.

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The main event of the weekend though was a trip to City Museum with my coworkers. We went downtown and trapped dinner at Pi Pizza first.

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This was super delicious. I can’t even remember the last time I had pizza!

Then it was time for City Museum.



This is certainly not your typical museum. It’s usually described as a giant playground for adults. There is an indoor and outdoor portion that consists of all kinds of structures and tunnels to climb through and lots of slides, including a 10 story slide.

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This included climbing through caged tunnels many stories off the ground. It was a workout, and involved a certain level of strength to pull yourself up through tight spaces. I think the most terrifying thing was actually the 90 degree drop slide. It wasn’t that crazy high, but you had to essentially drop straight down into a hole, and couldn’t see what the slide looked like on the bottom.


We unintentionally ended up pursuing tickets to the roof portion, so we climbed the 200+ stairs and 12 stories to the top.


We enjoyed the view of the city while waiting in line for the ferris wheel.

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Being on a ferris wheel 12 stories up was also slightly terrifying. Again, amazing views though.


After the museum, we went back to one of the intern’s places and watched a horror movie, since I had never seen one before. Honestly, I didn’t find it scary because it seemed so incredibly unrealistic. It was an exorcism type of movie, and it just seemed a little ridiculous to me. I think I would find a psychological horror movie much more frightening.

Sunday morning I lounged around a bit before heading to Forrest Park to run. Honestly, it was not a good run. My legs felt like bricks. Possibly from all the stairs and crawling/climbing the previous, night, I don’t know!


For lunch after 3 miles, I made a simple egg white omelette with garlic and herb laughing cow, and had it with a nectarine and of course some more of those pumpkin cookies.


That afternoon, I went out for coffee and to work on my online class. I’m playing around with a few different study methods to see if I can increase efficiency. I figure this is a good time to play around with these things, before grad school. I went to another coffeeshop on the list, Park Avenue Coffee.

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It was a little disappointing. Not bad, but not on the same level as my top contenders. I would rank this second to last on my list. It should be noted though that this wasn’t their original location, so it’s possible it’s different? Also it definitely needs to be noted that they have tons of delicious looking kinds of gooey butter cake. Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis thing (that and pork steak?), and while I haven’t tried it, I think it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like! It looked amazing.

After working for an hour or so, I ran some errands and braved the Sunday night grocery crowd. I was a little frazzled by the crowds, and apparently had some major slip ups.

For dinner Sunday night, I planned on totally winging a ginger chicken soup recipe. Basically, through things in a pot and hope. Slip up #1 was forgetting to buy spinach. Slip up #2 was buying cucumber instead of zucchini, which I realized when I started to cut it. The sad/embarrassing thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve done that. Also, I really hate cucumber…

So instead, I worked with what I had on hand, and it surprisingly turned out amazingly well.


Here’s what I did:

I started out by boiling a bag of carrots and a little asparagus I had on hand in chicken broth. Meanwhile, I sautéed mushrooms in olive oil, garlic, and soy sauce. Protip: you can buy garlic paste in a tube, as well as other herbs, and it’s amazing. I also got tubed ginger (it’s fresh still), because I want to keep all my gingers an dither’s no way I could mince it finely enough to pull off.

Then, I shredded up rotisserie chicken, and added everything together, along with squeezy ginger, the juice of a lemon, pepper, and soy sauce.

It tasted SO good. The ginger gives it the perfect amount of spice, and despite the unplanned addition, the carrots really worked. And, I have TONS of leftovers!

For dessert, I mashed up half a banana with cocoa powder and served it with vanilla Halo Top and whipped cream.


It’s also possible I found my way back to the pumpkin cookie bag. So good…

That was my weekend! I’m excited for some actual cooking this week. Also on the menu is vegetarian chili, which I also will be winging.

What’s your favorite kind of soup?