Boston Recovery Run in Tampa

April 19, 2013

With so much going on surrounding the tragedy in Boston, many people want to help, but just don’t know where to start. Here is one small way that you can participate in the efforts to raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Local running stores across the country are participating in a Boston Recovery Run. At 6:30pm on Monday, April 22nd, there are a number of stores meeting to run in honor of the Boston Marathon. FitNiche in Tampa will be hosting this run for all the Tampa runners. Meet at the Hyde Park store to participate. We will run the first mile in silence, along with thousands of other runners across the country. A simple t-shirt will also be available at the stores for $20.00 with 100% of the proceeds going directly to One Fund Boston. If you aren’t in the area, you can donate to One Fund Boston directly through the link, in any amount you care to give. The shirts will be available sometime Monday at each of the stores in the area.

One Fund Boston

If you are associated with a running store, part of a running group, or want to participate on Monday, tell others! Start your own group in your city and team up with your local running store. As for all of the Tampa people, come to Fit Niche Hyde Park on Monday night. Let’s all band together through this confusing time, and raise money for those who were affected.

I hope to see as many of my Tampa friends on Monday night as possible! Email me at foodfunrun[at]gmail[dot]com if you need any more details!

Adding Protein With Designer Whey

April 17, 2013

Ever since I had the opportunity to attend the ISSN Sport Supplement Workshop, I have had a much better understanding of my diet, including the need to take in more calories than I had been. I was constantly plagued with afternoon stomach cramps, resulting from not eating enough protein throughout the day. At first, I thought it was a some kind of allergy. I soon learned there was a direct correlation between what I ate, when I ate it, and what nutrients it was made of.

In the past weeks since the conference, I have made it a goal to eat more frequently, as well as right after I finish exercising, which is something I had not been doing. I have protein with each and every meal that I take in, which has been helping dramatically. As luck would have it, I received an awesome package full of protein packed options a few weeks ago from Designer Whey.

Designer Whey

In the box was protein powder, protein shakes, protein bar, and a protein on the go water mix. I can’t say much for the On The Go water mix – it tasted artificial and just didn’t do it for me. However, I love the other items.

The protein bars are the perfect size with 10g of protein and 160 calories, which is perfect for me to pair with a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack. Pictured below is the chocolate caramel crunch, which had a light outside layer of chocolate. Perfect for those of you with a sweet tooth!

Designer Whey

The white chocolate protein powder won me over. Most companies will send milk chocolate protein powder, which just isn’t my favorite. I love white chocolate though! It blends well, both in a shaker and in a smoothie (my favorite way to use protein powder). If you are looking for a great smoothie to fuel up after a hard workout, use what I have been drinking the past few weeks – the white chocolate & strawberry protein smoothie.  It doesn’t disappoint!

Designer Whey Smoothie

With only 100 calories, and 18g of protein, this is a great option for those people looking to maintain weight, as well as gaining that lean muscle we all work so hard towards. This is also gluten-free, has no artificial sweeteners, as well as no soy protein. Here is the nutrition label from the vanilla powder.

Designer Whey

Do you eat a lot of protein throughout the day? How do you supplement your diet?

Disclosure: Designer Whey provided me with this product via Fitfluential LLC in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review, only given the product. All thoughts and opinions are truthfully my own.


Terror In Boston

April 16, 2013
Boston Marathon 2013

I can not seem to shake the images plastered all over the internet and media. Pictures and video of the Boston Marathon finish line, in utter panic and pure terror. The moment of crossing the finish line on Boylston Street should be one of elation, not one of the scariest moments of one’s life.

The Boston Marathon has an incredibly special place in my heart, as I, like so many others, worked incredibly hard to get there. I can remember, pretty much step for step, my journey on Boylston once I got to that final stretch. The goose bumps on my arm knowing I was really there, running the world’s greatest marathon. The noise of people cheering like crazy, crunching mylar blankets, and the clinging of finisher’s medals. The smell of sweat, hot pavement, and post race treats. These sounds will forever be replaced with the noise of two detonating bombs, screams of terror from runners, officials, and spectators alike.

Boston Marathon 2013

I am unable to comprehend why someone would perform this disgusting act of hatred. I, like so many of you, feel directly impacted by this event. As runners, we are all a big family. We relate to each other through each pounding mile we run. We have an immediate connection when we meet. There is no other family like it.

I hope to see everyone wearing a race shirt today in support of the victims, and to support this great running community. This is a time for us to band together – to not allow troubled people to affect our love for the sport. Run a few miles today in honor of someone who won’t be able to take another step. Run for someone who was stopped before getting to the finish. Run for each and every person that has ever crossed a finish line. This could have been at any race in the world, but these people chose Boston.

Today, I thank those selfless enough to run towards the explosions to help those wounded. 

Today, I am running for those who can’t. 

Today, I #prayforBoston.


Hot Air Ballooning

April 15, 2013
Balloon Ride

After what many people would consider to be the worst week of work ever, Marcus and I took a much-needed trip to Orlando for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary. The timing worked well in our schedules, even though it was about a month after our actual wedding anniversary. We had a very fun activity planned bright and early Saturday morning, so it was early to bed for us!

An early alarm woke us for our fun day that started like this…

Balloon Sunrise

and continued like this….

Balloon Ride

We went on a hot air balloon ride!

Balloon Ride


Balloon Ride

Balloon Ride

We received a gift at Christmas for a balloon ride with Orlando Balloon Rides, and I can not recommend them enough! They were friendly, professional, and have a 100% safe flight record –> pretty impressive. We expected to be with a few other people in a mid-size balloon, but boy were we wrong. There were 23 people in our balloon! It was actually the largest balloon in the world, holding over 250,000 cubic feet of air in the balloon. Each pilot is required to have a commercial jet liner license, which I was quite impressed with. These guys knew what they were doing. Not only were they smart, but they were funny too! The jokes they told the entire time we were with them had everyone chuckling. We had the tour leader, Damien, and we loved him!

Balloon Ride The baskets were divided into different sections, so everyone’s weight was distributed equally to make the sure the balloon would float correctly (and safely).

Balloon Basket

Balloon Basket

It was a pretty cloudy day, with very little wind, so we floated pretty slowly. We were in the air for about an hour – I was surprised how quickly the time passed! Balloon Ride

Balloon Ride


The rest of our weekend was filled with food, pool time, and some serious relaxation. We had planned to head to Disney for the day, but opted for a nice quite resort pool instead. We ended up Pricelining our trip, and were lucky enough to get the Marriott World Center Hotel, which is undergoing a huge renovation! The pool was just finished, and it was amazing!

Marriott Pool

Insider Tip: If you go to the pool early instead of heading to the theme parks, you will be one of just a few people there. Everyone else heads to the parks early, so make your way to the pool!

Marriott Pool

Marriott Pool

I am taking my taper quite seriously this time around – relaxation and extra sleep is a must!!

How was your weekend? Have you ever been on a hot air balloon ride?


Orange Theory Fitness South Tampa

April 12, 2013

I had the chance to try a new fitness class yesterday, and I have to say – it was awesome! It was a great mix of cardio and strength training that kept my body guessing the whole time! Their marketing campaign has gone viral around Tampa with a simple piece of exercise equipment….

Orange Bike


Yep, I checked out Orangetheory Fitness for the first time! I scheduled the class for a Wednesday night, not really sure what to expect. I knew I was in for a tough workout (I was prepared for it), but I really wasn’t exactly sure what the workout was all about. I walked into the very welcoming and brightly lit lobby, with knowledgable staff and excited participants, and the class before mine was still going on, so I was able to sneak a peek. The “orange box” is where everyone works out, and can been seen through the floor to ceiling windows that divide it from the lobby. I could see treadmills, rowing machines, free weights, bosu balls, benches, and TRX-type straps. I was in for a good sweat!

orange theory

I was given a heart rate monitor to keep track of my progress in the class. Each session is limited to 30 people (at the South Tampa location) to make sure the coach can pay enough attention to everyone during the 60 minute class. Everyone’s heart rate is shown on multiple flat screens in the gym so it is very easy to keep track of. Rather than having me explain how the heart rate training works, I’ll leave that up to the Orange Theory experts, which is explained right from their website: “The physiological theory behind the Orangetheory workout is known as “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC. By providing you with a heart rate monitor and POD, we can monitor your 5 zone interval training sessions that we call the Orange 60. During the 60 minute workout, you will perform multiple intervals designed to produce 12-20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate, which translates to Zones 4/5. This program design produces EPOC, which is the workout “after-burn” effect, meaning that our interval training design produces a 200-400 calorie increase to your metabolism 24-36 hours after your workout.”

Before the class started, Coach Jeff took me and all the other first-timers into the workout room to give us a run down on all of the equipment. It was a very learning centric environment, which I really appreciated. Too many gyms these days just throw everyone into the same workout without enough explanation, which results in a greater chance of injury and lack of personalization. Orangetheory for the win!

The orange box was dimly lit with an orange hue, and the music was blaring. It was hard not to feel pumped up just by walking into the room! Once we all went into the class (after we lined up and all entered the room at the same time, getting a high-5 from the coach as we entered), we could pick where we wanted to start – cardio or strength first. I prefer to do cardio before weights, so that my muscles are fresh for the run, so I hopped on a treadmill. We had a bunch of different intervals, all based on what you were capable of – walking, jogging, and running. The coach shouted out different inclines and speeds that he expected us to be on for base training, as well as the different pickups. We had multiple sprints, some of them even all out. I was booking it on that treadmill – 10.5 mph for the sprints! My legs were going as fast as I could possibly push it. Don’t worry though – the sprints were short – only around 45 seconds or so. As for the walkers’ sprints, they would just increase their incline and not their speed. There was really an option for everyone.

Heart rate screens


Once the treadmill portion of the workout was finished, the groups switched and I headed over to the weight section. There was a white board with 4 different strength workouts, consisting of 4 exercises (with the amount of reps) that we had to complete as many times through during the given duration. The first was 5 minutes long, the next was 6 minutes, and the following two were each 4 minutes in length. The different exercises consisted of everything from tricep extensions with the TRX-type straps, to bench presses, to pushups, to 150m rows on the rowing machines, and some killer abs. The coach went over each and every exercise before the particular set, so that everyone knew how to perform the exercise safely. For most of the sets, I ended up getting through them 2-3 times. It was not easy! Once the strength portion of the workout was over, I could definitely feel it. I am used to lifting weights, but this was a whole other beast. Needless to say, I could feel the burn.

TRX orange theory



When the class was over, everyone gathered around the heart rate monitor screen to see their results for the day and to see if they got their heart rate into the 12-20 minutes of 84% or higher (zone 4 & 5). I learned something very interesting during this time. Never once did get out of zone 2 for the workout, aka, the green. Myself and one other person had this issue. What did it mean? Well, first off, I am only 2 weeks away from a marathon, so I am currently in peak shape. Secondly, I just have a very low resting heart rate. I was pushing myself very very hard while running sprints on the treadmill, and I would literally have fallen off if I turned the speed up anymore. I moved as fast as my legs would take me – no joke. This also made me realize that I need to focus on strengthening my legs a bit more. If my heart rate isn’t high, then I can push myself harder. I just need to have my legs handle that much of a push. Very interesting….

The biggest thing I walked away with was that this isn’t a cookie cutter gym. The people that work out here are all ages, shapes and sizes. There were 20 somethings that are in the best shape of their lives, to people looking to lose 100+ pounds (and are crazy close to reaching their goal!). It wasn’t intimidating to walk in either. All of the more seasoned participants were very nice, welcoming me to the class and seeing how my experience was. I have a pretty good feeling that I’ll be back!

Have you ever tried Orangetheory Fitness, or another heart rate based training? What did you think?

Disclosure: I wasn’t compensated for this review or post. I want to share with you my experiences of the training and of the gym.