Fitness Travel

Spin in The ‘Dam

Traveling through Europe for a month can be an exciting and exhilarating adventure. It can also be mentally and physically taxing – especially if you are like me and find comfort in routine. So two weeks into my European Freedom Tour (yes, that’s what I called it), I was getting the itch. 

Canals of Amsterdam

While I was in Paris (see Paris Spinning post here), I was able to spin almost every day. When I ventured into Belgium, however, there were no spin classes to be found. Now don’t get me wrong, running around Belgium was incredible, both Brussels and Bruges are electric cities, but there’s something about sitting next to strangers in a dark room and sweating your ass off while someone guides you one, two, one, two. 

Arriving in Amsterdam was just what I needed. Not only did I have friends that live there (yay familiar faces!) but one of them was a regular spin goer. AMEN! Through my research leading up to my trip, I had heard that Rocycle was a good studio not far from where I was staying. To have someone who frequents the studio affirm it is the best in the city (thanks Gabriella!), made me even more excited to try it. 


With three studios in Amsterdam (and one soon to open in Utrecht in 2019), Rocycle is a spin haven with an endearing origin story. In what started in a KITCHEN (that’s right!) in 2015, has grown to a prominent fitness establishment in one of the most known cities in the world. See Rogier’s story here.

While in Amsterdam I attended classes at the City Center location. You can get your first 2 rides for only 18 Euros and individual classes are only 12 Euros each! This beautiful studio sits right along one of the city center canals AND it has a juice/smoothie bar where you can order drinks ahead of class and they’ll be all set for you when your sweat sesh is crushed. 

Vibe: Classes are structured very similarly to SoulCycle; beat-based, motivational, choreographed – and in English. Shoes are provided and they have Stages bikes which are top quality! The locker rooms have all the shower amenities you need with yummy Zenology products. 

Class: My first class on Monday with Luuk was fine. He used a lot of quick movements with significant speed and cuing was a little off. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of 80% being balls to the wall speed – but it may work for others so this is just my opinion. Aside from the style, Luuk was absolutely lovely. His attitude and motivational cues were PHENOM. He can really hit you to the core and make you feel the ride. Fun fact, he is also a stage performer outside of teaching spin, something I learned chatting with him after class – if anything, he’s a wonderful person to know. 

Tuesday I woke up early and crushed an 8AM class with Rowen. Oh. Em. Gee. SHE F’ING ROCKS. Motivation, counting the beat, “stage” presence – whatever it is, she had it. She introduced me to this AWESOME new drill called a Pyramid. Think alternating between a push in 3rd and a shift back for 8, 4, 2, 2, 4, 8. For those of you who take my class…you can thank her for this heart pumping move ;)! Lots of high energy movement and all the feels. If you are ever in Amsterdam…GO TO HER CLASS! I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

I obviously took advantage of the juice bar both days and was quite impressed by the guidance I received from the nice gentleman manning the bar. I explained what flavor I was looking for and he provided wonderful recommendations. Monday was the “Pro Juice” which had apple, fennel, lemon and probiotics. Great post-sweat fuel. On Tuesday, I was looking for something with more zing so went for “The Reset” which included grapefruit, cucumber, lemon, ginger, cayenne, and orange…YUM!

Vélo Amsterdam

While I did not attend any classes at this studio, I wanted to give it an honorable mention. Vélo Amsterdam is located in De Pijp, a very cool neighborhood bustling with restaurants and coffee shops. 

Classes run similarly to Rocycle in that they are choreographed beat-driven rides with an arms set. With each class, you receive complimentary spin shoes to ensure the ultimate riding experience, and in the fresh white & wood locker rooms you can find all your post-class shower needs. 

I truly appreciate when studios have an intro pack that includes two classes because honestly, you may not love the first instructor you take. But that doesn’t mean the studio isn’t great! Having a multi-intro pack allows the rider to experience the studio more like a regular and Vélo has not skipped a beat. Offering your first two classes for only 14 Euro (!!) and single classes for 12 Euro. I must say, the affordability of Amsterdam spin is ON.POINT.

Coffee Sidenote: If you do find yourself wandering De Pijp, please do yourself a favor and stop into Coffee & Coconuts. This coffee shop is a little slice of Heaven on Earth. Multiple floors with comfy seats for gathering with friends or working. Try the Lavender Coconut Milk Latté – it was divine.

In love and health.

Fitness Travel

Spinning in Paris

Some people throw a party. Others go out to dinner. So when my 32nd birthday came around this year, what did I do?? Bonjour Paris!


After quitting my job of 10 years this past fall, it did not take long for me to return to the city that has captured my heart. This time around, I had different plans for my trip. Touring like a local is more my style and having hit all the big monuments 2 years ago (Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, etc…) – I was ready to GET.MY.SPIN.ON.

Fitness? Travel? Music to my ears. The idea of experiencing indoor cycling classes in other countries had me bouncing with anticipation – and seriously organizing and reorganizing which workout outfits I would bring. (Sidenote – I am a TERRIBLE overpacker. Probably doesn’t help that I had to buy a separate dresser last month for my leggings and sports bras…woops!)

This year, my goal was to hit all five spin studios in the direct city limits and experience indoor cycling, à la français. Needless to say, the city did not disappoint.

Below you will find a breakdown of each studio, in order of when I attended. Enjoy!

  1. Kiwill Indoor Cycling


Set in the 11thArrondissement de Paris (Roquette) right next to Le Marais, Kiwill is a delightful little studio with a crisp/natural feel hidden from the main street.

All the necessities are available in the locker room, including shower products by L:a Bruket. They provide shoes with each class and your first ride is FREE!

Overcoming jet lag, I took myself to a Tuesday 12:30P class with Emeric. He challenged the body with sprints galore. While it was a little difficult to hear him on the mic, it wasn’t too much of an issue as I only understood about 2% of what he was saying. Personal opinion, if you speak no French at all and aren’t a seasoned spinner – go to Dynamo instead (see more below).


The class was similar to a SoulCycle with jumps, shifts, and pulses and the arm segment was a killer! Overall, I was happy with the class and felt I got in a good workout.

  1. Dynamo Cycling

Dynamo has four locations throughout the city; Opéra, Boétie, Oberkampf and Lafayette and each of them ROCKS! If you’re familiar with SoulCycle, you will feel right at home. Over the course of 45 minutes, your body will become one with the rhythm of the music. With movements ranging from sprints and climbs, to crunches and tapbacks, you are guaranteed to walk out of class reinvigorated – and sweaty! Oh and don’t forget the arm song where a 2kg dumbbell never felt so heavy 😉

Classes vary from 40-50 riders in size, depending on location, and while most rides are taught in French, there are English classes offered a couple times a week at the Opéra and Lafayette locations. If you’ve taken spin classes before, comprehension of the French language is not required. Ya, you may be behind a couple beats but just take a bike towards the back of the room and you’ll be just fine!

All locations offer full amenities including Malen & Goetz shower products and all the Bb hair styling goods you need. Shoes are offered with each class – a fitness traveler’s dream – and each studio is equipped with Schwinn bikes. Your first class is only 10Euro or if you’re a fitness fiend like myself, you can also get a 3 class beginners-pack for 45Euro (2 week expiration).


Vibe: Crisp and natural – all white with wood floors and potted greens. Very small locker/shower area.

Class: Wednesday 12:15P with Karine did not disappoint. She had so much excitement and encouragement in her voice (while a lot of it was yelling it actually wasn’t unbearable) it really kept you honest with yourself.


Vibe: Clean cut industrial – white with concrete floors and countertops, exposed structural columns and air ducts, and potted greens. There’s also a little seating area in the lobby with a juice fridge for post-class goodness.

Class: Thursday 7:30A class with John was packed and full of energy! If you’re looking for a fun and challenging arms track…John is your man. My muscles were burnnnning!


Vibe: Clean and crisp – white with potted greens.


Class: Saturday 11A Tyga vs. A$AP Rocky ride with Vince….FIIIIREEEE!! Not only did Vince have amazing energy, and a packed class, but the music was awesome and the choreography was both challenging and fun. My favorite class of the entire week!


Vibe: Most gorgeous entrance – down this cute courtyard that just screams…Welcome, I’m here for you.  Industrial/rustic vibe similar to Oberkampf. And of course, potted greens.

Class: Sunday 12P with Cyril. Good class and killer arms track – he had us holding our arms out straight for long periods of time! There were also small random interjections of English throughout the class which made me giggle.


My favorite part of the entire experience was that each instructor, no matter where I was, hit us with the Droit, Gauche, Droit, Gauche (Right, Left, Right, Left). It made me smile every time. No matter where we are, in spin, we are one.

Let’s just say, if (when??) I lived in Paris, I would be here ALL the time! So, clip in and let the music take over your soul. Rayonnez!


Sidenote: When searching indoor cycling studios in Paris, you may come across Let’s Ride. In February of 2018, Let’s Ride announced its merger with Dynamo Cycling to further extend its business and impact. More about the merger can be found here. Alors, if you come across Let’s Ride, it is now Dynamo Cycling – Lafayette.

Fitness Travel

Baxter – San Diego loves you!

Gaslight San Diego

Hi friends! Long time no talk – which I am seriously sorry about. As someone that is in public accounting, I tend to get a little crammed Jan-Mar but that means that come late March I am ready to get out and explore! This year, I was planning to go to Miami, sit in the sun and sweat it out at some local studios, but then I learned that it was the Ultra Music Festival (not my jam), pricing was through the roof, and clientele was more ‘spring break’ than it was zen relaxation. So I decided to pack my bag and travel cross country to San Diego, CA. Knowing that it wasn’t going to be sit by the beach and tan yourself weather, I wanted to explore the spin/avo toast community during my 2 days there. I hope you find some inspiration!

Rush Cycle

Originating in 2011, Rush Cycle opened its first studio in La Jolla, San Diego, CA. So it only made sense for me to pay Ian, the owner, and his crew a visit. While located right on La Jolla Boulevard, the studio offers an intimate, community driven setting and a rock-solid instructor team.

I popped into Paulina’s Friday afternoon class ready to get my legs moving and my mind lost in the music. Rush offers two styles of class: Rush and Interval. Friday’s class was a Rush Ride, which is driven by the beat of the music and incorporates full-body moves (think tap backs, push ups, crunches, etc…). To say the ride was heart pumping is an understatement. Paulina’s expert timing of queues, motivational words and #fire playlist kept my muscles guessing and my soul smiling.

I was able to catch-up with Paulina after class and she explained how all Rush Ride instructors are required to take an intensive 3-month training course, specific to, and originated by, Rush. This helps maintain a consistent, high quality ride regardless of which class you take. From what I experienced, the blood, sweat and tears….ok maybe not the blood and tears, but for sure the sweat, pays off for us in class.

I also had a pleasant conversation with Ian, who made it a point to welcome me personally, offer any assistance, and connect about my being from out of town. Brownie points, Mr. Owner. Well done! But honestly, after talking more with him, it didn’t surprise me. Ian is so passionate about being the outlet people need in their day. Their “me-time”, their “escape.” He mentioned that the culture of Rush is to make each rider’s day a little bit better from when they walked in. As someone who eventually would love to open her own studio one day (can’t believe I put that in writing!) it is that leadership I hope to replicate. Inspiring others, one ride at a time. That’s the dream, isn’t it!?

As with all rides, if you aren’t using spin shoes, you really aren’t getting the most out of your workout. Personal opinion – but true. What I fully appreciated was that Rush provides them for $1 if you don’t bring your own SPD compatible shoes. For a fitness-loving traveler who already packs (way) too many shoes as it is – THANK YOU!

Overall my experience at Rush was awesome! If I had one small asterisk, it would be that there were no showers – so make sure you plan for that if you are on the move after class. However, the close community vibes that radiate from all staff members, the top shelf studio lighting and sound system and the make-your-heart-pound classes put this on my list of “must visit” studios while in San Diego.


Friday was an exhausting day. After a run around Mission Bay and a killer spin class at Rush, I am pretty sure I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow at 9P. Early to bed, early to rise! Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I woke up Saturday morning and made my way along the Mission Bay path, walking this time – my shins were on fiiire from the day before. Note to self and everyone out there, “training” shoes are NOT meant for a 5-mile run. You’ve been warned. Anywho, I was in search of my love….Avocado Toast. I mean, I’m in California so they must have delicious choices on every corner. While that wasn’t necessarily the case, to my own dismay, I did find the most incredible coffee shop – Better Buzz Coffee – in Mission Bay that was for sure a highlight of my trip.

I walked in to Better Buzz around 8am, like I said – I was up early, and ordered a Cold Brew “on Nitro” and one of their two, that’s right….TWO, avocado toasts. I got the 3-seed avocado which had mashed avo, sesame seed, chia seed, hemp seed, lemon, crushed red pepper & micro greens on thick cut multigrain toast. Let me pause for a moment and let that all sink in…

Holy YUM!! 3-Seed Avo you rock my world

Needless to say, it was heavenly and honestly one of the best avo toasts I have EVER had. They have four locations in San Diego (and others in Pacific Beach) so if you ever visit, make sure to stop on in. I was so happy I arrived early because by the time 8:30A rolled around the place was packed. Like, line out the door packed. Clearly their motto, “Life’s Better Buzzed” has caught on.

better buzz

Saturday, after breakfast, I made my way Downtown to Pure Indoor Cycling on West A Street for a Pure Rhythm ride with Rachelle. I signed up prior to leaving Boston and man am I happy that I did. The class was full by the time I arrived on Friday afternoon. Pure opened a little over one year ago, and is a beat-based cycling studio. I just happened to be visiting at the end of their Insanity Week, which is a challenge to ride 5 times in 7 days. I loved seeing the wall of people’s names near the entrance of the studio who had reached their goal – visible encouragement never goes unnoticed.

Saturday was the final day of the challenge and man did I luck out! I walked in and was greeted cheerfully by a handful of staff who got me situated with complementary spin shoes – maj points for us travelers – and they had a free braid bar by Wash which I obviously took advantage of. Oh, and after class…bubbly and Pressed green juice – if you make a cocktail out of it, it’s still healthy, right!? Sidenote – If you want, you can use your own spin shoes as the pedals are equipped for both SPD and Look Delta cleats.

The studio is equipped with Stages bikes, which if you have never used them before, just let me say…they are awesome! They have a “SprintShift” which enables you to go from Light to Moderate to Heavy in one quick flick of a lever. No more turning the dial and wondering if you’re at the right resistance. The lighting system was also on point with stadium seating for optimum viewing capacity (mirror and instructor). Don’t tell me you never look at yourself in the mirror when you’re in class. I do it all the time and in all honesty it actually makes me work harder because I feel like I’m competing against myself.

Ok now about the class. I think it was fine. The choreography were guided through was on par with what I would expect from a well-trained trendy studio; pushups, crunches, tap backs, etc. I must caveat this with a disclaimer that the class I attended was Rachelle’s first class outside of the training room – so I understand the nerves and emotions that occur at that time. That said though, I felt like there was no emotion or encouragement during the first 40 minutes of the 45 minute class. It was more robotic, cuing dryly on what is next. The motivation comes with time so I would not discredit taking a class with her – but I am speaking from my initial experience and it could have been better. Especially since it was the last day of the challenge, I would have thought a more seasoned instructor would have been rocking the bike.

PSA announcement – I almost lost it on one guy in the class. If you are taking a spin class, and you are out in 3rd position and your legs are moving at more than 120 RPM…you’re ruining your body and doing absolutely nothing beneficial. Ya, you’ll be out of breath and your legs will be burning, but that is not safe in any environment. Don’t be a dumbass, you’re not impressing anyone. Exercise smart.

As a studio, Pure itself is crisp, clean, and has a small merchandise area when you first walk in to get your swag on. Also – very important…there is one shower for those of you who plan to head out on the town (or to work) after class. Anything you need to get ready for your day is provided; just remember to bring shower sandals and a bag for your sweaty clothes.

If you work downtown or are visiting the city, I would recommend taking a class at Pure. The feeling of community at this studio is overwhelming and I love when you walk in as an outsider and don’t feel out of place.


To finish my trip, I ventured a short walk towards Petco Park (super cool ball park btw) to Skybound Coffee on West Market Street. Again, I had a hankering for avo toast…surprise surprise. Caprese avo toast and a fresh squeezed dragonfruit/passionfruit (ya, you read that right) mimosa was exactly what the doctor ordered…hey, it was the weekend and I already broke a sweat. Balance my friends, balance. The staff couldn’t have been more personable; I felt like I was a regular and I had only walked in 30 seconds prior. The place has several different seating options, couches, tables, outside, and a nice rustic vibe.


Also on my list of studios to visit were Sparkcycle in La Jolla and CycleOM downtown, however, given that I was only there for the weekend, I did not have the opportunity to check them out. Looks like I’ll have to go back another time! Until then…stay classy San Diego.

In Sweat and Health,




Fitness Travel

RIDE Cycle Club – Dance On!

Call me crazy, but when a friend that lives halfway around the world is visiting a city reachable in less than 2 air hours, it only makes sense to book a last minute ticket and hop on a plane.  So when I heard my girlfriend from South Africa was going to be in Toronto…cabin crew, prepare for takeoff.

True friendship is irreplaceable

Being back in Toronto (see CYKL in The 6ix) excited me for other reasons as well. It gave me the opportunity to check out new local workout digs. This time around, I had the advantage of chatting with my girlfriend’s cousin, who lives in Queen West, and could give me some insider 411. Score! After much discussion, I landed on RIDE Cycle Club, also in the Queen West neighborhood.

The Studio

Walking in, ok that’s a lie…literally running in, because I used the Toronto Bike Share and couldn’t find a hub to save my life. (Sidenote: there’s a hub just down the street from the studio, I’m just blind). Anywho, running in, the first thing I noticed was the crispness of the place. Almost everything was white and shiny. The friendly woman at the front desk got me signed in and handed me a complimentary pair of spin shoes…which is key to us spinners who love to travel but don’t want to carry around yet another pair of shoes. Oh and did I mention, first class is FREE!

Crisp! And awesome gear!

The locker room mirrored the clean white vibe from the lobby, and was a fair size with a handful of showers and hairdryers. And you guys…I totally did NOT plan my outfit (case and point, I was traveling), but when you vibe, you vibe (mind the selfie..but I had to).

I match the decor!

The Sweat

 From the time you walk into the studio you feel welcomed and a part of the team. Either the instructor or another member of the team is available to assist in bike setup if you are new to cycling or haven’t used Schwinn bikes before.

I took a class with Cat and it was a legit party. If you have ever taken a Soul Cycle class, think about the tap backs, push ups and crunches on steroids. She had us bouncing around the saddle for almost the entire class. While the music was great, I found it hard to get “into” the ride with so much moving around. The beauty of a cycling class, though, is that if you aren’t feeling a movement or if your muscles don’t want to do something, your workout is in your own hands. Instead of a push-up, work in a jump. If you don’t want to move in 3rd, keep your bum in the saddle and pick up the pace. And like I said before, the music was top notch…which, let’s be honest, makes or breaks a class. Cat’s energy was also contagious and kept you feeling engaged and ready to push.


The Results

Saying I left that class sweating is one of the biggest understatements of the year. Try dripping, pouring sweat. Ya…definitely more accurate. Between the constant movement on the bike and a great arm weight track, my body was feeling pretty worked – a great way to start off the day.

I would recommend trying out this studio if you are into the ‘dance-like’ format, but traditional cyclists beware. Knowing that each instructor has their own style, I would return for another class and see what others have to offer.

In Sweat and Health,


Meal Prep

[All the] Soup for You!

Summer in Boston is a magical and beautiful time. The flowers are out, Charles River is bustling, and all the patios/roof decks are open. If you’ve ever been to New England in the summer, you might think that 80 degrees might not be too bad but HOLY CANNOLI the humidity can be a KILLER! You walk outside and immediately start sweating. And forget about keeping that cute hairstyle…frizz central!

Being a soup person (cue Seinfeld Season 7 Episode 6), I was always a little bummed when winter ended and fresh soups were harder to come by. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of Gazpacho – the chunky kind, don’t be puréeing that shiz – but there’s gotta be more to the chilled soup game, right?!

Enter my most recent project: Finding amazing, healthy, chilled summer soups. I’ve spent the last couple weeks testing out various recipes and fruit/veg combos and I have to say…YUM. My body has thanked me for all the vitamins and my taste buds have been having quite the party!

Get on the soup train…Larry Thomas approved.

Soup #1: Chilled Cucumber Soup from Garlic & Zest

While I usually steer clear of softer tofu, the addition of it in this recipe added a beautiful silkiness to the texture. The soup itself is light, airy and refreshing. I whipped this beauty up in less than 25 min as part of my Sunday meal prep and brought it for some lunches during the week. It keeps nicely in the fridge for a couple days, just add the toppings day of. This soup can also be used as a nice appetizer.

I followed Garlic & Zest’s recipe pretty closely, with the only difference being the Pico de Gallo since I didn’t have a jalapeño at the time. Instead, I topped with cilantro and cucumber slices. I bet the little kick the pepper gives would have been a nice addition though.

Soup #2: Cold Carrot Soup with Jalapeño Coconut Milk from Spiced Blog

Looking for a summer soup that will fill you up and keep you satisfied? Look no further. This carrot soup was thick, creamy (without adding any cream – yay!) and had just the right kick. Adding the jalapeño coconut milk on top really made a difference. The pieces of jalapeños not only added crunch but also paired wonderfully with the touch of cumin to add a little heat.

I did make a couple modifications to the recipe. I swapped the chicken stock for reduced sodium vegetable stock to make it vegetarian. I also used Trader Joes Reduced Fat Unsweetened Coconut Milk. This worked for the soup, but I would recommend getting the full fat version if you want to make the jalapeño milk topping. Mine was watery, where I was hoping for a bit more thickness. Cooking is about experimentation. There’s a beauty in making mistakes and trying new things. Lesson learned.

Soup #3: Quick Healthy Zucchini Basil Soup from Feasting at Home

OK if you want to know what food heaven tastes like…make this soup. We’re talking about a silky smooth mixture of farm grown zucchinis and basil that is completely vegan. No milk products needed. This incredible vegetable provides texture that’ll blow your socks off – keep the Lactaid in the cabinet.

I followed Feasting At Home’s recipe quite closely, save for the garnish of yogurt/sour cream. Instead, I topped with basil leaves. I also used 1 cup each of water and veggie stock, instead of 2 cups of either. This recipe is legitimately on point. There’s nothing I would change about it. It is a great soup to eat warm, but I also packed it up in containers for a cold work week lunch. If you have the opportunity to hit up a farmer’s market before the end of August, the zukes will be phenom. I got mine from Plainville Farm in Hadley, MA.

Soup #4: Pea and Mint Soup from Not Enough Cinnamon

This soup is nothing short of two peas in a pod…OK cheesy I know, but totally had to make the reference. Petite peas are used in this recipe instead of regular green peas because the adorable petite variety adds a sweeter flavor and creamier texture. Because peas have such a short growth season, purchasing frozen petite peas reduces the starchiness you will get from the legume.

If you are not a pea person, this soup is not for you because the taste is like a pea party in your mouth. The hint of shallot and mint adds some depth to the flavor profile. It’s a refreshing and smooth soup that can be served both hot or cold (although I prefer it cold). I’m also big on adding a kick to my food, so I experimented with chopped jalapeños (seeds removed) and it gave a slight heat and crunchiness to each bite that tied all the flavors together nicely.

Soup #5: Yellow Tomato + Corn Gazpacho from What’s Cooking Good Looking

It just wouldn’t be summer without farm stand tomatoes and corn on the cob. So when I came across What’s Cooking Good Looking’s gazpacho, I knew I had to try it. I kept to the recipe and honestly wouldn’t change a thing. The colors from all the produce were so vibrant, and the fresh crisp flavors did not disappoint.

I packed these up for weekday lunches, which was quick and easy. My only piece of advice would be to add the avocado and micro greens day of. Then sit back and watch as your “another deli sandwich” co-workers look on with envy.

Soup #6: Chilled Watermelon Gazpacho from Spiced Blog

What better way to celebrate summer than with the ultimate thirst quenching staple; the watermelon?! Ever since I was a kid, I can remember enjoying cold watermelon slices while my toes were dug deep in the sand. Not only is the beautiful fruit full of nutrients and antioxidants…it’s down right delicious!

August is when we find watermelon at its prime. It’s sweet, refreshing and the perfect twist to a summer gazpacho. Using the Spiced Blog’s recipe, I made a couple tweaks based on personal preference.

First, I used a shallot in place of red onion as shown in the recipe. Shallots tend to carry a sweeter flavor when eaten raw, compared to its red counterpart which are more on the spicy side when not cooked. Shallots also bring a hint of garlic (and who doesn’t love garlic), which is always welcome in a dish of mine.

Now, I don’t know about you but I am a HUGE fan of spicy margaritas. One of my girlfriends, Jacki, has the best spicy marg recipe and I’m literally drooling just thinking about it. So in honor of her smashing bev, I diced up a jalapeño, discarding the seeds, and added to the blender. Coupled with the chili powder (which I would only add a touch of), the addition of the jalapeño married deliciously with the watermelon and added that heat that I love oh so much.

Lastly, I wanted to balance out the heat so I didn’t start sweating during lunch in the office. Toss in a couple mint leaves and not only will the herb calm the peppers but it also aids in digestion and stimulates the mind.


This project has been as enjoyable as it has been delicious. I’ve had so much fun experimenting with various produce and seeing what heavenly concoctions they can create. I’ve also proven to myself that soup isn’t just a cold weather comfort food. There is a world outside of the traditional gazpacho, and it is yum-my (don’t worry G, you’re still a fav)!

What cold soups catch your eye every time the temp starts to rise??

Bon Appétit!

Fitness Travel

Sweating with Zeus, Apollo and Athena

It feels like it has been an ETERNITY since my last post! Over the last couple months, I have been enjoying the beauty that summer brings to Boston as well as taking some much needed vacation. If you’ve been following my Instagram (@willtravelforfitness), you may have noticed that I was recently in Greece. Let me say, what an incredible experience! But I have to be honest, vacationing can get you out of your routine, especially when traveling internationally and navigating cultures that are different than your own.

Tree posing at the Temple of Zeus – Acropolis in the distance

Living in Boston has spoiled me. There are fitness studios on every block, and no matter what hour of day, you can always find a fun and challenging workout. In Athens, Greece, it was a little different. The studios were few and far between, and while Street Workout Athens was very intriguing, our schedule did not allow for it. This is where creativity is key. Luckily, our hotel the King George Athens had a small gym where cardio and strength exercises were possible. It’s important to remember, though, that it doesn’t matter where you are; a workout is always one step away.

King George Hotel

During one of our days in Athens, we visited the Panathenaic Stadium – which is literally made entirely out of marble. If you ever want to be in awe, make this a stop. The 2004 Olympics graced this amazement of a venue, so to get in some exercise you HAVE to run the track. If you don’t…were you even there???



From Athens we travelled to Crete. Now, we didn’t do the typical island tourist visit. Instead, we stayed in this small village of Choudetsi in the center of the island to get the feel for how true locals lived. We stayed with Evangelia at Villa Memories who not only provided personalized assimilation to the village (yes, we drank Ouzo with the locals…or as we liked to call it, “fire water”), but also owns Rhous Winery. Talk about the royal treatment…some of their wines are even sold at Milos in New York City! We were given a private tour and tasting, which reaffirmed my love for international wines. Oh and sidenote…Grecian coffee….hands down the best I’ve had thus far. Cappuccino Freddo needs to be in my life, always.

Enjoying Rose amongst the vines at Rhous Winery

And let’s be honest…with all the hills in the countryside of Crete (and there are A LOT), I had to take advantage of the breathtaking views…which resulted in a magnificent, yet tiring, run.


Santorini was a little more tricky from a fitness standpoint as we stayed in the town of Oia. Being one of the most popular destinations, and renowned for the MOST beautiful sunsets on the island, it is tourist haven. However, since the town sits on the caldera, there are cliffs and hills like no other. To get to Amoudi Bay, you have to walk down 200+ steps…and watch out for the donkeys because they literally have NO sense of personal space! While riding them looked like quite a fun experience, I saw the opportunity to get in some stair sprints. Long strides and fancy footwork (watch out for donkey poo!) make running up these stairs both entertaining and tiring! Don’t mind the weird looks you get from passersby…they’re just jealous you’re getting in a workout. Piece of advice…wear sturdy shoes/sneakers.

Donkey rides from Oia to Amoudi Bay


Overall, this vacation was about immersing ourselves in the culture, relaxing and enjoying life. While I did not get in a daily sweat, my body thanked me for the recovery and rebuilding. When traveling, it’s important to find the balance and not stress out if things don’t go according to routine. When on vacation…get in that sweat, but be creative while you do it!

Cheers! Yamas!


In Sweat and Health,


Fitness Travel

CYKL in The 6ix

I’ve been traveling for work this month, which has brought me back to part of my roots….Toronto, Canada. While I love traveling, it seems to always break my routine, both fitness and meal-wise, and it drives me freaking bonkers. Even though it may take extra effort, I’ve found that keeping one small piece of your day the same helps overcome the “blahhhh” feeling. For me, it’s spin classes.

While looking to get my exercise fix, I was surprised to see that the number of workout spots in the Financial District were limited. Where does everybody get their sweat on before/after work?? If you know the secret, please share! Anywho…I decided to go on a little journey and took a 25-minute walk to the west.

As I was craving a good spin class, this place called CYKL caught my eye…

The Studio


If I hadn’t done a little research ahead of time, I would have taken one look at the outside of this studio and ran for the hills. It looks like a run down building with random exposed pipes along its storefront. Knowing you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I took a deep breath and walked inside.

Talk about “no frills!” The inside was just as rustic as the exterior. Think unfinished basement vibe. Crumbling concrete, peeled paint and the like. The studio is one big room with a section in the back for class, which holds about 30 or so bikes, a little side area with cubbies and benches, a space up front with a couple TRX straps, and a small spot by the window with merchandise for sale. Although the ambiance may be a little less glamorous, the equipment and sound system is on point.

Downstairs there is a small locker room (don’t forget your lock) and two showers. Piece of advice, don’t go down there. It’s deeper into the basement and unless you’re smaller than 5’4” and 110lbs, the shower sitch will be a challenge.

Since I left my spin shoes at home, I was happy to hear that they provide shoes complementary. Granted, the shoes are a thousand years old, but cycling is so much better when clipped in as opposed to with sneakers, so suck it up, Heather.

The Sweat

The bikes at this studio are RealRyder® bikes which are cray-zy. They MOVE with you to simulate more of a “real bike” experience. It definitely takes a bit to get used to, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like I was going to fall off a couple times, but it was a really cool feeling nonetheless.


I took a Wednesday evening “CYKL Top 40 Ride” with Diana. She started class by breaking down the structure of the ride bit by bit. Now, if you’re someone that likes to know what’s coming up, this is really helpful – especially because she put the layout up on a whiteboard at the front of the room. On the other hand, if you’re like me and like to be surprised at what’s coming next, this portion of the ride could have been better left out.

The ride itself was fun. There were no silly “push-ups” or “crunches” on the bike – AMEN. Instead, we took off on a course mixed with heavy hills, fast sprints, bends in the road and a combination thereof. The bends I found to be particularly challenging because you have to guide the handlebars to one side with your arms and abs and hold it there without letting them snap back to the front.

Diana was a very low key, calm instructor. No jumping up and down, dancing or yelling for this one. Personally, I love the energy instructors bring to class so it was a little hard to keep up the motivation, but she was technically strong and still kept me engaged. She cued on point, when needed, but otherwise didn’t talk much.

The Results

Overall the class didn’t make me sweat, huff and puff like others have, however, when I went to get out of bed the next morning my abs were on fiiiiire! Being suspended on these RealRyder® bikes really forced me to keep my entire core engaged throughout the 45 minutes. Kudos!


If you aren’t looking for a spa-like studio with state of the art bathrooms and beautiful ambiance, and want a raw, classic ride, try out a class at CYKL. Your first ride is only $12 which is a really nice break from the regular $25-30 normally charged for similar classes. Couple words of advice though….bring your own shoes.

In Sweat and Health,


Fitness Travel

Thirsty For Juice – Miami, FL

I love juicing. Not so much the, don’t eat anything else for 3-7 days, type of juicing – I’ve tried it and was so ravenous I couldn’t even make it 2 days – but as a snack or post workout quencher, I am all for it.

My favorite time to grab a juice is after a workout. Now before you start yelling at me about the need to replenish your nutrients and get some carbs and protein to repair your muscles directly after a workout…Chill. Out. It’s vital to recovery, I know that, but after spinning for 45min or running 5 miles, the last thing I am thinking about is a protein heavy sandwich. As long as the bigger nutrients are replenished within the 2 hour window following a workout, go ahead, have a juice.

Sill with me?? Great! I’m a sucker for a good green juice. Not all juice is created equal, so when I was visiting Miami, FL, I went on a mission to find what the Brickell neighborhood (home of the Four Seasons) had to offer.

Stop #1

Cold Pressed Raw Kitchen


Think light woods, whites, cushioned benches, and potted greens. They prep and bottle their juices once a day so you better get there early because it is first come, first served.

I learned the hard way and got my hands on one of the last juices called Zen-ahoria. Carrot, orange, lemon and ginger. Refreshing, with a bite. Order it. Thank me later.

If you haven’t heard – Avo Toast is so hot right now, and I.Am.Ob.Sessed. When I saw it on the menu, it was a no brainer…I had to try it. The menu originally listed a house pesto, but when mine arrived with balsamic vinegar in its place I couldn’t complain (I actually think it made it even better). It added a pop of acidity to the creamy, buttery avo spread. While presentation was a bit to be desired, my tastebuds, and muscles, were saying thank you.


Stop #2

Brickell Fresh Cafe

Talk about an adorable hole in the wall. This place is legit a little window surrounded by wooden planks and plants galore. Their juice flavors vary by day, so I tried the “SP2” juice – spinach, coconut water and pineapple. That’s it! And seriously, that’s all that was needed. If you’re looking for hydration, this is it.


Their menu consisted of quinoa/rice bowls, salads, and smoothies, which catered to both vegetarians and carnivores. If I am ever back in the area, I am 100% returning, testing out the menu, and bringing whomever I can with me!

Stop #3

GreenLife Organic Bistro

Patio seating. Check. Water fountains. Check. Fresh juices. Check.

If a menu has a green juice called “FCK Cancer 2” you buy it. No questions asked! It had spinach, cucumber, lime, green apple and celery. Jackpot. I had found true bliss.

Upon checking out their website, I was happy to read that they utilize ingredients that are “free of genetically modified organisms, pesticides, hormones, and anything that doesn’t belong in our food much less in our body.” Yes, GreenLife! Good in = Good out.

It was almost lunch, and I was hungry, so I decided to take a peek at the food menu. One piece of advice – if you are a pescetarian like myself, you may not be impressed. The salads and sandwiches were limited, and honestly quite boring. And alert, their tuna contains fat-free mayo. Not sure how you feel about mayo, but it freaks me out.

One thing that you absolutely cannot miss….If you want the taste of…I can’t believe I’m going to use this word….moist (*cringe*), orange cranberry bread, without the guilt, Oh Em Gee, you MUST try the Chia Ballz. 100% whole, natural, organic ingredients that you can read without a translator! Chia seeds, almond butter, shredded coconut, honey, cranberries, orange and salt. I must learn how to make these. Make sure to carry some floss when eating these, though – chia seeds are sneaky little buggers that like to get stuck in your teeth!


There were several other spots that were on my list that I just did not have the time to venture to. My apologies…the lounge chair, sun and Mexican Mojito won. See below for those that didn’t make the trip and leave a comment if you’ve been to either of these!

Overall I was highly impressed with Miami’s juice game, and I cannot wait to see how it stacks up to other cities!

In sweat and health,


Meal Prep

Wedding Shower Quinoa


It’s wedding season – Let the festivities begin! Lisa, one of my best friends, (@danceworksboston @danceworksnyc @thefarmhome) is getting married this July up in Vermont and I am over the moon excited for them! Yesterday, Lisa’s sisters hosted a Guys & Gals bridal shower that was fit for the betrothed Syracuse alum. Think, food truck pizza, Pastabilities hot tomato oil dip, local craft brews and anything Wegmans. Needless to say, it was one for the books.

Version 2
Beautiful Bide in the middle!

With all that tasty goodness though, and knowing our group of friends, it’s always nice to mix in some clean, whole foods. So the minute I heard there was a need for a grain or pasta salad – I was all over it. Enter the delicious Quinoa and Carrot Salad with chickpeas, golden raisins and walnuts.

Quintupled the recipe for the party

The great thing about this salad is that it is best when made ahead and allowed to sit overnight in the fridge. Hello weekly meal options! It has the nuttiness of the quinoa, crunch of the carrots, and perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. No need to save this only for special occasions. Break it out during your weekly meal prep!

Quinoa is more than just a cute little grain. With its high protein, vitamin, calcium and fiber content it is a “does the body good” powerhouse. More than you can say for that sad white rice that, let’s be honest, nobody really likes to eat or cook. And great news for Celiacs out there – quinoa is gluten-free!

I got this recipe from Floating Kitchen and made a couple tweaks to satisfy my taste buds. It is great as a side dish, especially to salmon, and can also be an absolutely wonderful salad for lunch. Hope you’re hungry!

In sweat and health,


Quinoa & Carrot Salad

Serves 4 – 30min (plus time to cool quinoa)


  • 2/3 cups dry quinoa, red or multi-colored
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (from about 1-2 carrots)
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  1. Cook the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature to maintain a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 15-17 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa stand covered for 3-5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Once the quinoa has cooled, toss it with the carrots, chickpeas and raisins.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa salad, tossing gently to combine.
  4. Upon serving time, stir in the walnuts and top with the chopped parsley.

Bon Appétit!


Meal Prep

Crazy for Couscous

For so long I put off cooking as much as I could using the excuse that I had no counter space. Living in a one-bedroom apartment in Boston’s Back Bay, my “kitchen” is cute, but more of a closet than anything else.


I was intimidated by the idea of meal prepping at first, and it’s normal to feel that way. The key is finding versatile ingredients that you actually enjoy eating. After that, it’s all about creativity and a little research. Fun, right!?

For those of you just starting out on the meal prep front, here’s some first hand advice I have for you:

  1. Search for recipes with ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes. For example, greens, roasted veggies, tomatoes, eggs, avocado, beans, grains.
  2. Invest in several single serving Tupperware.
  3. Set aside time on Saturday to do your meal planning. On Sunday, pour yourself a glass of Cupcake Sauv Blanc (because…YUM), put on your favorite tunes, and get cooking!
  4. Prepare in moderate bulk – nobody likes spoiled food.
  5. Prep dinner accompaniments such as veggies and grains ahead of time. As a pescetarian, I like to prep my protein the night of to keep it fresh.
  6. Post-It Notes are your BFF! Assemble all lunches and leave notes on those that require day-of additions, such as olive oil or tuna.


Want to know what I’m totally crushing on at the moment? Curried. Couscous.

Now, curry usually isn’t my thing, but this couscous recipe is legit to die for. For best results, I would eat day of preparation (great for a Sunday meal). When reheating later in week, add a touch of water to bowl or saucepan prior to firing up the microwave or stovetop to bring the moisture back to the party.

Try it and thank me later!

In sweat and health,


Curried Squash Couscous (1,001 Low Fat Veg Recipes Cookbook)

(Serves 3-4 – less than 45 minutes)



¼ cup sliced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1½ cup diced roasted butternut squash

1-1½  tsp curry powder

¼ cup golden raisins

¼ cup walnuts

1 cup reduced sodium vegetable broth

2/3 cup Israeli couscous, dry

1 cup thinly sliced kale

S&P to taste

  1. To roast squash: Preheat over to 425 degrees F. Dice butternut squash into cubes, place in single layer on baking sheet and cover with single layer of olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin (to taste). Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes until browned but still firm. Remove from oven and set out to cool. NOTE: Can make this the day before and keep in fridge until needed.
  2. Sauté onion & garlic in olive oil in large sauce pan over medium heat until tender. About 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add squash, cook until lightly browned. About 3-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in curry powder, raisins, walnuts and broth. Heat to boiling.
  5. Add couscous and kale, stirring with a fork.
  6. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, until couscous is tender and broth is absorbed. Above 5 minutes. Season with S&P to taste.



Bon Appétit!