Archive for May, 2014

5 Day Challenge!! #5DayDesirMay

Photo credit: GW Burns

Photo credit: GW Burns

There are five days left of May and what better way to spend them than getting fit!  There are seven days in a week and unless you are training for some sort of competition, it is not necessary to be a strict fitness/nutrition freak all seven days of the week.  That is why I am giving you five days to give fit a go!  I have several guidelines for you and I will be posting daily workout challenges on my Instagram account (@fitdesiree) so play along and see what you can do!  Take pics/video of your workouts or nutrition changes and add #5DayDesirMay to hold yourself accountable.

  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. (Ex. if you weigh 150 pounds, you will drink 75 ounces of water per day.)
  • Eat breakfast. (Even if it’s just a piece of fruit with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter or a glass of skim milk, something is better than nothing!)
  • Eat every three hours. (It doesn’t need to be a giant meal and it doesn’t need to be three almonds.  Caloric intake varies from person to person, but keep in mind that if you are a fully grown, generally healthy adult, a diet of less than 1300 calories should be medically supervised.)
  • Eat at least two servings of veggies every day.
  • Eat at least two servings of fruit every day.
  • Do not add salt to any of your food.
  • No sweets or added sugars! (Cookies, cakes, ice cream, candy, refined sugar, etc)
  • No soda! (Neither regular nor diet.)
  • No alcohol! (All alcohol has 7 kcal per gram and is metabolized to fat in your body.)
  • Eat only low fat dairy products. (No full fat dairy products.)
  • No white foods. (Choose whole grain pastas, breads, and cereals, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, black rice, etc for your carbohydrates.)
  • No fried foods. (Try steaming, grilling, or baking instead.)
  • Take a 20 minute brisk walk everyday.  (This can be broken into two 10 minute walks if necessary.)
  • Do the workout challenge that I post on my Instagram account.  (This is in addition to any physical activity you already have planned  😀 )

Don’t make yourself crazy with your nutrition.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to healthy eating.  You have to figure out what works for you.  Lean meats, legumes, nuts, seeds, veggies, fruits, low fat dairy products, and whole grains are your best choices.  It is not always about making the healthiest choice, it is often about making the healthier choice.

Remember, it’s only for five days!  You can do it!


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Gentle Basics at Vista Yoga


The instructor, Theresa, and I before class.

Studio: Vista Yoga

Class: Gentle Basics, Tuesday 8:30am

Class description from website: GENTLE/RESTORATIVE: Experience the calming and restorative benefits of Yoga through the use of gentle flow, postures with longer holds, mindful breathing and props for support. Soothing and nurturing, allowing the body to return to its natural state of balance.  *For all levels. No prior experience necessary.  BASICS: Safely build your practice and deepen your experience of the fundamentals of Yoga, with emphasis on proper alignment and breath awareness.  *Appropriate for Beginner to Advanced

IMG_7683Location: 2836 Lavista Road, Suite D, Decatur, GA 30033 (Behind Napoleon’s Grill which happens to have really good food.)

Phone: 404-929-YOGA (9642)


Cost: “Drop-In” single class is $15.  They also offer packages for multiple classes.

IMG_7678What to Bring: Water, yoga mat.  They do provide cubbies for you to store your belongings while in class.

What to wear: Comfortable clothes.  Yoga pants, leggings, tank top, t-shirt etc.  Shorts are never really the best option for yoga as you never know what poses will give the person behind you or next to you an impromptu peep show.

The temperature of the studio was comfortable.  I wore long leggings, a tank top, and a thin, long-sleeved shirt and kept my long-sleeved shirt on the entire time.  I covered myself with a blanket for Savasana, which is the traditional closing pose for most yoga classes where you lie on your back with your eyes closed for a few minutes.  Your body temperature tends to drop when lying still so my Floridian roots usually call for a blanket.

No shoes are needed for class.  In fact, you are required to remove your shoes before stepping into the yoga studio from the reception area.  If you are not comfortable with bare feet, you can wear socks, but you might want to purchase socks made for yoga as regular socks tend to be slippery on yoga mats.

Class size: Small.  There were 12 people including me, and a range of ages.

IMG_7676Props used: Yoga mat (you can find relatively inexpensive yoga mats at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.)  The studio provides blocks, bolsters, blankets, and straps if needed.

Volume and type of music: Music was quiet.  It sounded like a folksy type of music, but I honestly barely noticed it.  The teacher, Theresa, was easy to hear and understand over the music.

Impact: No impact.

Modifications: As with any yoga class, modifications were provided throughout the class.    Theresa wandered around during class so she was easily accessible if you had questions or concerns.

Format of class: The class was 75 minutes.  Theresa informed me ahead of time that the class moved slowly and began with a long warmup and a focus on breathing.  We did not do any vinyasa (a basic definition for this sanskrit term is systematically moving from one posture or pose to another letting your breath guide you).  Theresa said she has formatted the Gentle Basics class to allow students to open up physically and reflect inwardly mentally.

Before beginning class, Theresa asked if anyone had any tight areas they wanted to focus on for the day so she could make adjustments to the class as needed.  We began the class in a seated position and spent the first 15 minutes going through some breathing exercises and techniques.  If you are new to yoga and think this sounds hokey, I invite you to attend any yoga class with an open mind because you have no idea how healing deep, full breaths can be.

We spent the next 25 minutes with some basic postures, or poses, on the floor.  We spent quite a bit of time in each pose and moved slowly from one pose to the next.  We didn’t go into Down Dog (hands and feet on the floor, hips up in the air) until 40 minutes into the class, or into a standing pose until 45 minutes in.  We eventually did a couple of *balancing poses (Tree Pose and Warrior III) and a variety of *standing poses (Warrior II, Side Angle Pose, and Triangle Pose) throughout the session.  The teacher guided us slowly through these poses and we only held each pose for a few breaths.  For the last 15 minutes of class we brought our mats to the wall for Legs Up the Wall (lying on your back, head facing away from the wall, hips against the wall, and legs extended up the wall).  We did a few variations of this pose and then made our way into Savasana or Corpse Pose.

We were in Corpse  Pose for about 4 or 5 minutes…heck, I’m not going to lie, I have no idea how much time we spent in Corpse Pose, but it’s never long enough!! 🙂  Following Savasana we made our way to a seated position, and participated in one last “Om” to finish class.

When we exited the studio there was fresh fruit in the reception area for us to nosh on.

*You can google any of these poses to see what they are.


What to expect:

Expect a basic yoga class that is appropriate for all levels.

Expect to move slowly.  This is not a power yoga class so don’t go expecting to sweat or wrap your leg around your neck by the end of class.

Expect some breathing exercises that you might find silly if you’re new to the yoga way, but I challenge you to participate!  Remember, yoga is much more enjoyable when you go in with an open mind.

Expect an “Om” at the beginning and end of class.  Everyone will have their eyes closed and you don’t have to be loud.  I bring this up because I have several friends who are not fans of the “Om,” but it only lasts for a few seconds and then you move on.  Again, open mind and it’s painless.

Side note: As with any yoga studio, Vista Yoga offers a variety of classes ranging in style and level.

Who should take this class: This class is wonderful for yogis of every level.  I consider myself to be an intermediate to advanced yogi but I am NOT a morning person so the speed and format of this class was perfect to wake up my body with minimal effort.

This class is perfect for people who are new to yoga and are still exploring how their body moves and adapts to each pose.

It is also ideal for someone who is recovering from an injury but still wants to participate in some form of movement.

Professional advice: Arrive 5-10 minutes early so you can set up your mat, use the bathroom and get settled.  If you can’t get there early, don’t stress.  If you are late, just make sure you are quiet as possible.  Again, don’t stress too much, life happens.

As I’ve stated throughout this post, always approach yoga with an open mind.  You might not feel comfortable with certain poses or breathing techniques, but everyone who has taken yoga has been in that boat.  You get comfortable with it quickly.

Leave your competitive spirit at the door.  This is not a competition to see who can balance the longest or get their leg the highest.  Yoga is a never-ending journey.

Listen to your body.  Yoga should not be painful.  It might be challenging at times, but it should never be painful.

Always tell your teacher at the beginning of class if you have any injuries.

Don’t eat anything too heavy too soon before class because certain poses (e.g. twisting poses) might encourage unwanted emissions during class…

Thank you to my instructor, Theresa, for a lovely class and thank you to the co-owner, Marty, for being so welcoming!

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Icebox Cryotherapy



Studio: Icebox Cryotherapy

Description from website: Icebox Cryotherapy uses gasiform nitrogen to lower the client’s skin surface temperature from normal body temperature to 30 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 seconds or less and keeps it that way for two-three minutes. The skin reacts to the cold and sends messages to the brain that acts as a stimulant to the regulatory functions of the body. It produces the scanning of all areas that may not be working to their fullest potential.

Cryo_DeskIcebox Storefront

Location: Buckhead Court Shopping Center, 3872 Roswell Road, Suite A-2, Atlanta, GA 30342

Phone: (404) 890-7066

Cost: Single sessions are $70.  They also offer packages for multiple sessions.

What to Bring: Yourself.

What to wear: Anything!  You’re going to end up taking it all off when you get there.  They provide you with a plush robe, gloves, and, booties (not to keep, just to borrow).   Don’t worry, no one sees you naked but you!

Plush robe, warm gloves, comfy boots provided by Icebox.

Plush robe, warm gloves, comfy boots provided by Icebox.

What to expect: After signing in and filling out the appropriate waivers, I had my blood pressure taken to ensure that it was not too high or too low.  This was done because your blood pressure may fluctuate during the treatment.  Following the BP reading I was shown to a private Cryo_Des BPdressing room that connected to the treatment room.  After putting on my birthday suit, the robe, the gloves, and the boots I was ready (and slightly nervous) for the ice box (technically called the cryosauna)!  After getting into the cryosauna I removed my robe and braced myself.  It’s like a giant tube with an opening for your head to stick out of the top, so I don’t imagine that people with claustrophobia would have a problem.  You stand the entire time you’re in the cryosauna, and none of your body touches any part of it, so don’t worry about your naked bits touching places other people’s naked bits have been.  Since the session only lasts three minutes the cryosauna got chilly quickly.  In the first minute I felt myself getting a little panicky because it got really freaking cold, making it a little difficult to breath, but I was able to calm myself down with some deep breaths, and a little conversation with the staff keeping me company during my arctic endeavors.  I am not going to lie, It was a looooong three minutes, even so, it was still much more tolerable than an ice bath.  Just so you know, there is no water involved, it’s just a super cold fog that chills you to the bone…in a good way!  Once the treatment was over, I put on my robe and I went back to the dressing room to get dressed.  No need to shower before or after (at least no need to shower because of the treatment) just dress and go! I was offered warm tea and, believe it or not, a stationary bike to pedal, if I needed to warm up before leaving (the bike is not done naked…only the cryotherapy), but the freezing feeling had gone away once the treatment was over and I put on the robe.  A few minutes after finishing the treatment I started to feel amped up, like I had just consumed a few cups of coffee.  This feeling lasted for a few hours.  The following day, I didn’t notice a big difference, however, two days after visiting Icebox my knees felt great and the dull aches and pains that haunt me on a daily basis were barely noticeable.


Who should do this treatment: Athletes, weekend warriors, people who exercise regularly, anyone who has soreness, aches and pains, crackling joints, and other irritating ailments that plague active people.  Icebox provides a list of health issues that prohibit you from getting cryotherapy treatment so make sure you read the list carefully when filling out the waivers.

Professional advice: Don’t psych yourself out.  I got nervous right before entering the cryosauna and I think that is what freaked me out, not the actual treatment or the cryosauna.  Just remember that it’s only three minutes, less than a song, and you can jump out at any time.  The absence of achy irritation a couple days later is worth three minutes of being naked in a frozen tundra.

Thank you to the staff at Icebox for a wonderful and refreshing experience!


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