On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


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Today: The sport of fitness has arrived. {Part 2}

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After an incredible morning at Reebok World Headquarters, I could only imagine what the afternoon had in store.

We finished up at Reebok CrossFit One and headed back to the main building to find that the brand room had been converted for lunch and our afternoon conversation and focus group with some of the ladies from Reebok’s women’s division.  No detail was overlooked during our visit, right down to the CrossFit notebooks and colorful Reebok centerpieces.

Each of us had a bag of goodies waiting on our chairs, filled with clothing and a fresh pair of ZigTechs in the perfect size.

Kate Young and her colleagues lead a great discussion about how fitness brands reach out to women, and the importance of using real women as ambassadors.  We all giggled over this video, but it helped to drive the point home.

When brands are marketing product to women, whose voices are they using?  What stereotypes or perceived weaknesses are they playing into?  When it comes to fitness apparel and footwear, why wouldn’t we want to see and hear from real women?

We learned all about Reebok’s shoe lines (and got a sneak peak at some top secret projects due out this fall… very cool stuff), and I couldn’t help but think back to my mom’s Reebok Princesses.  Remember those?  Times, they are a changing, that’s for sure.  From shoes designed for lifting (like the one above, Reebok’s CrossFit Oly Lifter), to those designed for high mileage running, we got to experience them all.

After a delicious paleo-friendly lunch, we headed down to Reebok’s Human Performance Engineering Lab to meet with Bill McInnis and get a behind the scenes look at what goes into designing and producing each pair of Reebok shoes.

Bill showed us all kinds of prototypes, allowing us to see how our RealFlex and ZigTech shoes came to be.  There’s so much more to the process that I could have imagined.  As someone with a strong mistrust of fax machines, I shuddered to learn that shoe models used to be made by fax, as a shoe designer would fax a rendering to someone who would then carve their interpretation of the shoe from a block of wood.  Inevitably, it was a long and involved process.

At our next two stops, we got to see the shoe magic happen.  From CAD to 3-D printers, we got quite the tour.

I could have stayed down in the labs all afternoon, watching models being made.  It was really fascinating.  Soon, though, it was time for us to trade our safety goggles for dancing shoes.  Ilyse Baker, an accomplished dancer, choreographer and Reebok Ambassador was flown in from California to lead a cardio dance class in one of Reebok’s studios.  We were truly spoiled over the course of the day, and this was no exception.

Even before the music started, I could feel the smile on my face growing.  I was reminded of something Johnice said to us earlier in the day: fitness is supposed to be fun.

And man, was this class fun.  Ilyse‘s energy is infectious.  She took us through a fluid warm-up before teaching us some really fun choreography.  Every time I looked up at the mirrors, my goofy grin grew bigger and bigger.  It was a fantastic workout.

What a way to end an exceptional day!  I am so thankful to be included in the event, and am especially grateful to everyone at FitFluential and Reebok for the opportunity.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  And Happy You’re Almost a Mother’s Day to my sister-in-law, Colleen! 🙂
  • 10 tasty sangria recipes, perfect for this gorgeous weather
  • Getting ready for the week ahead

How do you keep fitness fun?


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Today: Flashcards for grown-ups.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I wouldn’t have survived 17 years of schooling had it not been for flashcards.  Lots and lots of flashcards.  While I pride myself on being a good listener, I am most definitely a visual learner.  When it came time to pass my finite math final (a class my mom helped me choose because finite means there’s an end, and I hoped that class would mark the end of a tumultuous streak of, um, not being able to add), I stayed up for nearly 36 hours straight, memorizing formulas.  And hoping I could figure out which variables to replace with which numbers.  Flashcards saved my life.  Or more accurately, my GPA.

They still come in handy, now that I am grown-up.  From putting together a workout, to keeping the condo in relative order, to finding a bit of inspiration, there’s a flashcard for just about everything.  If if there isn’t?  Welp, you can make one.

A few years ago, my brother and sister-in-law gave me a pack of brilliance cards with my Christmas present.  I had no idea things like this existed, but I was instantly hooked.  They’re like fortune cookies without the calories.  And crumbs.

I bet you could make a great set of your own with an old deck of playing cards and your favorite quotes, mantras, inspirational sayings, or photos of my dog.

My collection of grown-up flashcards includes Portuguese words and phrases (made that set myself using some good old fashioned index cards), a yoga deck, Jillian Michael’s Hot Body in a Box, and various others.

In my perpetual quest to stay organized at work and at home, I stumbled upon Buttoned Up and their great line of notepads and other products.  They make a set of grown-up flashcards aimed at building better organization habits.

They’re all great for travel, stashing in your over-sized lady briefcase, or for spreading out across the floor like a stressed out coed during exam week.

Speaking of which, good luck on finals, student friends. 😉

Also On Tap for Today:

What kind of learner are you?  


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Today: Ultimate Bootcamp, Days 15 and 16

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I can’t believe my four weeks of Ultimate Bootcamp have come to an end; the time truly flew by.  Our last two days featured great workouts by the water.

On Wednesday, Kim brought us back to the beach, where it all began.  I seemed to have misunderstood the assignment when it came to one of our first drills, monster walking, suicide-style, in the sand with resistance bands.  I quickly found myself at the back of the pack, quads burning and legs shaking.  Apparently I missed Kim’s instruction about setting the appropriate amount of resistance.

Once I caught on, it got easier.  Slightly.

Wednesday’s workout included:

  • Warm-up and cool-down runs
  • Side shuffling in the sand with a resistance tube
  • Push-ups (regular, dive bombers, staggered)
  • Squats
  • Planks
  • Mountain climbers
  • Bear crawls
  • Crab walks
We also completed a fitness test, counting the number of squats we could complete in one minute, which we compared to our results from Day 1.  I improved by six squats, but more importantly, I’m much more confident in my form.
Now if only I could figure out how to keep the sand out of my shoes.

Thursday’s workout included:

  • Incline push-ups
  • Triceps dips
  • Hills
  • Plyometrics
  • Squat thrusts
  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Jumping jacks
  • Running

I was so excited to earn my Ultimate Bootcamp shirt after four weeks of awesome morning workouts.  I’ve loved the community and camaraderie, and look forward to signing up for another session soon.  I cannot say enough about the program, truly.  I feel stronger, faster, and fitter.  Plus, getting up before the sun?  It’s a piece of cake now.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you celebrate when you reach a goal?


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Today: Oxygen ads make me go, “hmmm.”

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] I’m a big fan of Oxygen magazine.  Each issue is full of great workouts and training tips, recipes and clean eating advice.  Aaaannnnd the most ridiculous ads ever printed.  While the magazine’s articles provide some excellent answers, its ads provide some excellent questions.  Shall we? (That was just a plain old question, not an excellent one.)

What's with the stick? And is that a real arm?

Who lusts after protein bars? (People without faces, I guess.)

Is there room on that bike for me? I promise to leave my shirt and helmet at home.

Why do supplements always seem to make people's pants fall off?

Isn't jet fuel for jets? And pyros for... suspicious warehouse fires?

Where'd she get such a huge bottle?

I, um.... I'm going to leave this one alone.

Are these pants so expensive that she couldn't afford a shirt? Or did it fall off when she took some supplements?

Why ya so maaad? Is it 'cause yer lips ended up on a different ad, leaving yer face behind?

Why's everything red? Are you pumping iron in Hell?

Who on Earth works out in jean shorts? (I'm not even going to address the under-boob situation. This outfit is a compromise, for sure.)

Okay, okay. You love your jorts... but one last question. Does Michael Jackson (RIP) know you've got his tube socks?

So many questions.  So, so many.

Also On Tap for Today:

Can you answer any of my questions?  Please?


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Today: Back Bay, Bosu, bloggers.

I can think of no better way to spend a summer mid-week evening in the city than browsing at the Copley Farmers Market… and sweating my face off at the gym… and enjoying Whole Foods and Joosbites and heavenly Mix Bakery cupcakes.  And I can think of no better people to do the aforementioned with, than these ladies: Ali, Bridget, Chelsee and Susie, Melissa, Elina, Jean, Meghan, Sharon, my homegirl Colleen, Jacqueline, Natalie and Emily.  The lovely Judith and Hannah of Healthworks Fitness planned a perfect evening for us in the city!

We roamed the Copley Square Farmers Market, which is open Tuesdays and Fridays, 11 am-6 pm  through November 23rd and boasts an incredible selection of local produce, dairy, baked goods and a few surprises (like jewelry!).

After I took approximately 5,600 photos of eggplants, we met up with the rest of the group at Healthworks’ Back Bay location (my home gym!) for a sweaty 30 minute Bosu Challenge class with Kate Perez.  I had no idea what we were in for!  That class is the real deal, Shaq O’Neil (welcome to Boston, by the way, sir).  I’ve used the Bosu– which is an acronym for “both sides utilized”— before for bridges, lunges and planks, but I had no idea you could run and jump on that thing!  After a half hour of plyometric jumping, crunches, squats and push-ups, my arms and legs were shaking, but I was smiling.  I think that means we had a great workout.

After showering and changing, the group met in the lobby and headed back to Copley Square for a picnic dinner provided by Lynay and Melissa at Whole Foods Market.  I loved the quinoa salad, and enjoyed the vegetarian sandwich option (avocado on sprouted bread with lettuce, sprouts, tomato, red onion and hummus… in other words, delicious).  While we stuffed our faces, we learned a bit about Whole Foods’ healthy eating principles and their commitment to health.

We also sampled three juices prepared by Lauri of Joos, and muffin-like joosbites made from juice pulp and quinoa flour.

The big finale was, undoubtedly, the cupcakes.  Lorrrrrd, the cupcakes.  Kelly, Mix Bakery‘s founder and baker extraordinaire, brought us the most divine classic carrot cake and peanut butter cup mini-cupcakes.  I am pretty sure I dreamed about these babies last night.  There is a reason why everyone’s talking and tweeting and blogging about Mix Bakery.

***A big thank you to Healthworks Fitness for such a fabulous evening!  If you’re in the Boston area, I’d love for you to check out Healthworks for yourself.  If you have any questions about why I’m such a big fan, you know where to find me.  For a free three day pass (ladies only… sorry, Dad) please follow this link for On Tap for Today readers.***

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite way to spend a summer evening?  Favorite class at the gym?


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Today: Step one is acceptance.

[Photo source]

Before you get too involved in this post, I need to warn you that I am about to reveal just how much of a dope I am.  And you may never want to hear from me again.  So quickly peek at a few videos of Clark, grab a book recommendation, check out my guest post for Real Fit Mama… read this post, and prepare to be horrified.  And thennnn, delete On Tap for Today from your Google Reader.

If you make it the end of this post, however, there’s a giveaway with your name on it, so-and-so! Isn’t bribery fun?

The Trouble with Pedometers

There are some many days when I don’t make it to the gym, there’s no race on the schedule, and I can’t find my yoga mat.  To be sure I am not being a lazy donkey, I make sure I get some extra walking in.  Studies have suggested that 10,000 steps a day is a reasonable target for staying active.  More often than not, my end-of-the-day count is closer to 20,000, thanks to the puppy and living in such a walkable city as Boston.  And the fact that our office mailbox is located a mile away.

Having a pedometer in my pocket keeps me on track.  If I leave the office with only 3,000 steps logged, I know I need to take the long way to the garage.  Or chase  Clark around the condo with a squeaking hippopotamus.  Or go for a run.  Or take a long walk along the beach.  Or all of the above.  You get the point.

I’ve tried a few different models, including the clip on kind.  For some reason, the battery rattled around and the clip was absurdly large.  Who wants to walk 10 steps, let alone 10,000 steps, looking and sounding like you’ve got an econo-size package of Tac-Tacs hot glue gunned to your waist?  Not me.

Wanna go for a swim?

[Photo source]

Two pedometers later, I stumbled upon this little beauty.  Slim, well designed, and easy to use.  It’s perfect, and relatively inexpensive.  Unless you’ve bought nine of them.  Yes, nine.  And yes, this is where you become horrified with me.

I like to think that I have my act together.  I work extremely hard, I am mature and responsible, and I take life rather seriously.  I try to watch my spending and avoid being wasteful.  My misadventures with pedometers, however, have revealed a character flaw I was previously altogether unaware of:  I am a complete boob.

  • Pedometer 1: Gave it away, hated the bulky Tic-Taciness.
  • Pedometer 2: Apparently I forgot that I hated the bulky Tic-Taciness, may have thrown this one out in a fit of rage (just kidding, I don’t have fits of rage).
  • Pedometers 3-6: Rejoice!  A thin, silent model! But…the thing about pocket pedometers is that you have to take it out of your pocket at some point.  That point being before you start the washing machine.  All four, in succession, fell victim to the spin cycle.
  • Pedometer 7: Um.  It went swimming.  In the Atlantic Ocean.  Yesterday.  I’m a creature of habit and usually stick my pedometer in my bra (TMI? Probably.)  if I don’t have pockets.  Most non-horrendous bathing suits don’t have pockets.  And there you have it.
  • Pedometer 8: ..has been ordered and is en route to Boston.  I am hoping 8 will last.  The odds are not looking good, however.
  • Pedometer 9: Could be yours!

If habitual irresponsible handling of pedometers (and then immediately replacing them) were a crime, I’d be locked up right now.  Pacing in my cell.  With no way to track those paces.

To win a pedometer of your very own, please leave a comment below before midnight on Thursday. If you win, you can break it, or use it like a normal person– the choice is yours alone!  For an extra entry, please feel free to tweet or blog about this giveaway and then leave a comment indicating you’ve done so. I will announce the winning hot stepper on Friday.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your most out-of-character characteristic?  Where do you like to stroll?  Or, how do you sneak in exercise?


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Today: Fun on the run.

Yesterday was our last race for the year, the Jingle Bell 5k in Somerville.  I had desperately low expectations for myself, considering I’ve hardly been running at all since the Tufts 10k.  That’s not to say I’ve been sitting around doing nothing… just almost.  By some Christmas miracle, I had one of the best races of my infantile running career and my fastest 5k (but not fastest race) by over a minute.  What the ho-ho-heck?

I think, if anything, this proves that running is (at least partly) a mental game.  There have been so many races that I’ve diligently trained for, only to wake up on race day a total looney tune.  I get so nervous that I convince myself I can’t go faster, or that maybe I should take a quick walk break, or that maybe I am having an asthma attack even though I don’t have asthma… and so on.

Not yesterday.  I woke up knowing the race would be fun (thousands of people show up every year, many decked in their holiday finest), I’d get to hang out with Nick and Jimmy and Colleen and Shaun, and that it’d be the last race of the year.  And that it wasn’t worth wondering if I’d do horribly, since I knew I’d do horribly.  I could recommit to running and be back on track in 2010.

By focusing on having a grand old time (and listening to Mariah Carey Christmas jams on my iPod), I had a grand old time.  And before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line.  When I saw the time on my watch (and let’s be serious, it’s all relative… I am not a speed demon by any means), I felt incredibly proud.  One of the best things about running is the fact that you can always improve, whether in speed or distance, and your strongest competition is always yourself.

A few things I’ve learned along the road:

  • No running music is embarrassing if it gets or keeps you going.  That includes my standbys: Purple Rain, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas and anything by Miley Cyrus.
  • Similarly, no running outfit is embarrassing if you’re comfortable… well… and appropriately covered.
  • Do not skip breakfast before a race.  I learned this the hard way a few races ago, when I found myself laying on the kitchen floor, convinced I had contracted a rare form of bubonic plague that only lasts and hour or two, but is terrifying nonetheless.
  • There’s a time and place for running with other people.  Figure out what those times and places are, and aren’t.  My sister and I started the Tufts 10k together, and I almost immediately knew I’d be holding her back, so I let that pretty little bird run free!  Muhaha.
  • Planning to have fun, is much more fun than planning to have an awful time.  Any dingbat knows that.

This year I’ve accomplished more than I imagined I could have.  From my first 7.5 mile race to my first 10k, to completing the full summer series and earning a coveted (well, maybe that’s a stretch) red jacket, I must say, I am quite pleased with myself.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you most proud of in 2009?