CLASS PASS SERIES: Spinning With A Competitive Edge

I have heard many good things about Flywheel Sports. I have been wanting to try a spin class at their West Hollywood location for quite some time and when I realized I had some free time today and they had an open morning class, I didn’t hesitate to book it.

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This particular Flywheel location is one of two in Los Angeles. There is also one in the Larchmont Village area. Both are particularly inconvenient for me or anyone else who lives south of the Beverly Center area, but it is definitely worth a try if you have the time.

The West Hollywood location is located on the second floor of a complex in the center of West Hollywood. Some might consider this convenient, but depending on the time you want to take your class, you best allow enough time to get to the location and park. Santa Monica Boulevard in this area tends to be extremely prone to bad traffic. Keep that in mind. You will enter the Ramada Inn parking and go to the second floor, where Flywheel kindly validates your parking for 2 hours.

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One thing I noticed immediately is how friendly the staff is at this location. When I made it known it was my first time to Flywheel in awhile (I had been two years prior to try a class but didn’t really remember much of my experience from back then), the front desk staff was eager to check me in and de-brief me on how the class was set up. The manager of this location was also present and validated my parking for me before I could even ask. They offer cycle shoes, which is nice, but I did bring my own. Other conveniences at this location are free towels. You might be surprised to know that some boutique spin classes do not offer complimentary towels, so I consider this a bonus.

Outside of the actual spin room are lockers, a filtered water system to fill your water bottle, and plush white couches to sit on and converse with fellow classmates while you wait to take your class. I like that the waiting room area is all white, it enhances the energy of the facility.

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The spin classroom is set up stadium style, so no one is ever directly in front of you (in other words…no ones behind is in your face…yay!). All of the equipment is cleaned between each class and ready to go when the next class walks in. The bikes are custom engineered for the Flywheel program. This particular class lasts 45 minutes, but they have 60 minute classes as well. There is a computerized “tech-pack” on the side of your bike. What is that, you ask? Well this will display your resistance (“torq”), your speed (RPM) and your power output, both at the current moment and for the total class time. What is really cool is if you are the competitive type, you can compete with others in the room by participating in the in-studio Torqboards, which will occasionally flash up on the screens in the room and show how you are performing versus everyone else who chooses to participate in this option. As a Class Pass member, I was not given this option, but it is a cool idea, nonetheless.

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Your stats for every ride are recorded and made available for your private account on the Flywheel website. This is all a very cool feature, because you can also challenge yourself by trying to go faster or harder every time you ride with this program.

All of this aside, the music and general vibe here is great. The bathrooms are clean and there are showers available if you need to shower after your class. I would come back more often, but the location is not convenient for me to be a frequent visitor.

SIDE NOTE–they also have a Flybarre class, which is a total body sculpting class that blends the best of light weight training, dance, and core strengthening exercises. Their classic format uses small intense interval exercises choreographed to music. This class is intended to quickly reshape the body to create lean, strong, and elongated muscles. Maybe another class worth trying another time!

FLYWHEEL-WEST HOLLYWOOD
8599 Santa Monica Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Have A Healthy Cinco De Mayo? It Is Possible…

Today is Cinco De Mayo. This day is actually meant to commemorate the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over France at the battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. It is not Mexican Independence Day, which some of you may not know. What it has become for many Americans however,  is a day where we excessively chow down on greasy Mexican fare and margaritas.

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I do happen to LOVE Mexican based foods…however, the grease, heavy meats and cheese don’t always agree with me, or my hips. Here are some of my thoughts on how to have your Cinco De Mayo and eat it too…still delicious…and healthy!

-Use guacamole instead of extra cheese and sour cream. Guacamole (check on how it is made if you go to a restaurant!) is made with avocado, which is good fat; make it with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime and pepper.

 -Grill some chicken seasoned overnight with lots of garlic, onion powder, black pepper, Dijon mustard, red pepper flakes.

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-If you are at a restaurant, choose fajitas. This should be chicken, steak or some sort of fish grilled with bell peppers and onions. This is one of the healthiest restaurant items, because you can mandate whether or not you use the tortillas and it is easy to share with a friend. Ask for black beans instead of refried.

-Carbs will be hard to avoid. If you are trying your best to do so, nix the chips (good luck with that!!) and order black beans instead of refried as your carb option. These are high in fiber and protein and a good choice provided they are not cooked in a ton of lard, which they usually should not be.

 -Make or ask for grilled vegetables-Asparagus and poblano peppers are great grilled with a little lemon pepper and lime.

-Pico de gallo, your new best friend– Salsa in general is a good idea over buttery, creamy sauces. Chose the variety made with fresh tomatoes (that are high in lycopene, which fights off certain cancers!), yellow onion, cilantro, jalapeños,  and lots of lime.

 -Caramelized onions-Cook the onions on top of your meats/chicken to get all those flavors until they are brown and juicy.

 -Use a whole wheat tortilla (sprouted brand like Ezekiel or gluten free) when you have the option. Corn tortillas are another gluten free option.

-Grilling is a great method that locks in all flavors without the need of using excess oils. Grilling or pan “frying/sautéing” are healthier methods.

 -Use a lot of lime. Lime’s citrus properties will help you use less salt and all the spices mentioned above will compliment eachother.

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Greatist.com has a few “healthier” margarita recipes for if you are doing your celebrations at home. At a restaurant, my best advice is to stick to either one drink of your choice or sip on a tequila shot. Those sugary frou-frou drinks can have up to 800 calories in ONE GLASS. That could add up to more than your ENTIRE MEAL. Not to mention the sugar…yikes!

Enjoy yourself and be safe!!

Quinoa “Enchilada” Casserole

One of the things I know for sure. Some people love burgers. Some people love pizza. One of my favorite “guilty” pleasures is Mexican food. I love chips and guacamole and could eat them all day. One of the things I don’t like about Mexican food, however, is how GREASY and FULL of CHEESE it can be. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a little cheese here and there, but I don’t like my food covered in it. It’s way too congestive for my system to handle in massive quantities.

That being said, I am often looking for ways to make food dishes that are “Mexican-inspired” without all the cheese and grease. There are quite a few quinoa bakes on the Internet with turkey and black beans, but mine I did with NO cheese and used bell peppers and tomatoes instead of corn, which I find a totally useless vegetable to eat, unless its grilled on a cob from time to time.

This dish can also be made meatless. If you chose to go meatless, I would use a full cup of black bans in the dish instead of 1/2 cup so you get a little more protein in there. I was really impressed with the flavor in this dish and I really don’t even miss the cheese at all!!

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Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

1 cup of organic quinoa

1 cup of organic ground turkey meat ( I used kosher)

1/2 cup black beans

1 large organic red bell pepper, diced

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 large avocado, diced

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup of Frontera Red Enchilada Sauce (feel free to use whatever brand you chose, I liked this brand because it was lower in sodium than others)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375F

Cook the quinoa (boil in 2 cups of water for 12-15 minutes)

Cook the turkey meat (sauté for 5-7 minutes until cooked through)

Once cooked, combine all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl

Pour into a greased or sprayed square baking pan

Bake approximately 15-20 minutes

Top with more avocado and tomato, or add a favorite salsa if you chose.

Enjoy!!

Passover Is Here…What To Eat? Passover “Granola”, Of Course!!

In a few days, many of my Jewish friends who observe Passover will be putting aside their bread based food items and begrudgingly switching over to matzo, or any food that is an unleavened grain, for an entire week! For some, this is no big deal. Listen, you can still eat sweet potatoes and quinoa ( depending on how observant you are), which would be fine in my book. However, this is the time of year Jews go scouring their recipe books for new ideas so they don’t feel like shooting someone by day 3 of matzo with peanut butter and jelly.

Last year I made a matzo brei “pizza” with roasted peppers, olives and parsley. That went over pretty well, but this year I decided I wanted to create something sweet, snack-y and highly portable. photo

This recipe is really cool and easy to make. It is easily stored in mason jars and can be a fun gift instead of a bottle of wine to bring to the houses of guests who invite you over on Passover.

SIDE NOTE- You do not have to be Jewish or even know what Passover is to make this awesome “granola.”

You can use any nut or dried fruit you like. I used dates and cranberries because where I was grocery shopping at that moment only had a few select dried fruits that did not have sulphur dioxide in them. Read here about why I chose only to eat dried fruits WITHOUT this compound in them.

This granola is also relatively low in sugar because I used coconut sugar, which is still sugar but is considered a low-glycemic sweetener and has inulin in it, which supports overall gut health, blood sugar balance, obesity and immunity levels. There is also dried fruit and honey, which adds to the sugar content, so if you are super concerned about sugar you can leave the dried fruit out…you can also leave the honey out, but I am not sure how the taste would be without that…it’s up to you. It’s meant to be a snack eaten in moderation. Enjoy it!

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PASSOVER “GRANOLA”

3 crushed whole-wheat matzos

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

dash of cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (I used cranberries and dates, but you whatever you like)

DIRECTIONS
Stir together matzos, walnuts, oil, sugar, honey, and salt. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes, until toasted, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool. Break into smaller pieces. Stir in dried fruit.