VIDA Blog
Jan 21 2016

Same Boring Breakfast? 3 Ways to Spice Up One of Our Breakfast Staples

By Guest Blogger Danielle Pastula

Oatmeal 1Breakfast is one of those meals where you either: don’t eat at all, always eat it on the go, or it’s your favorite meal of the day and you take breakfast very seriously.

Given the primary D.C. lifestyle of go, go, go, we’re guessing you probably fall in to one of the first two categories.

The first one is bad, you need to be eating breakfast. “Most important meal of the day” isn’t just a lie your mother told you growing up.

The second one is okay, we understand it, many of us eat on the go too, but that also paves the way for picking up more bad-for-you breakfast items than healthy ones. Think croissant with your coffee versus banana and oatmeal with your daily Starbucks run.

But we want to show you that healthy breakfasts don’t have to be boring and you can absolutely make them friendly to your on-the-move lifestyle. It’s just a matter of making a few simple tweaks with taste and portability.

Here’s some of our best tips for one of our favorite aforementioned healthy breakfast items, oatmeal! But first…

The Nutritional Run Down

  • It’s heart healthy: While it’s important to note that the type of oats you eat matters in how heart healthy your breakfast will be, overall, oatmeal is a heart healthy breakfast because it is an excellent source soluble fiber, which is known to lower levels of LDL cholesterol (aka the bad cholesterol). To make sure you’re getting the most soluble fiber as possible, opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties. 

 

  • Good for weight control: With oatmeal being a great source of fiber, not only will you stay fuller for longer, the fiber in oatmeal will also aid in digestion and help regulate your blood sugar, which helps with weight loss and maintenance. 

 

  • Nice balance of fats and protein: According the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup of oatmeal cooked with water gives you 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat per serving. This makes it a great food to give you fuel for the day so that you’ll feel full and have energy, and that’s without putting anything additional on top. Don’t worry, we’re getting to that.

 

Oatmeal 2 Making it Taste Good 

 

  • Add some flavor: Without a little help, oatmeal is pretty bland and not very appealing. But you don’t have to buy flavored oatmeal packs from the store for it to taste great, you can do it yourself! Not to mention, those packets have tons of added sugar you just don’t need. Use spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom or a little ginger to bring life to your oatmeal. Or try maple syrup, honey, or vanilla, but use sparingly as that can be a lot of sugar if you’re too heavy handed. 

 

  • Add more nutrients: Whether you add a scoop of protein powder, mix in some chopped nuts, stir in ground flax, chia seeds, peanut butter, there are plenty of things you can add to oatmeal to up the nutrition factor plus the taste. Then when you think of all the fruit toppings you can add, the options are practically limitless.

 Making it Easy 

  • Become friends with mason jars: Mason jars are one of the easiest ways to prep all the ingredients for your oatmeal, and the only thing you need to do is add your hot water or milk. Pro tip: you can place your jar under a Keurig without a K-Cup for when you’re really in a hurry. 

 

  • Make them while you sleep: If you’re not a fan of hot breakfast, or if it’s really hot outside and the thought of eating oatmeal sounds horribly unappealing, try overnight oats! Compile all your oatmeal ingredients in a mason jar including your liquid (add everything except maybe the fruit if you want your fruit pieces to stay crisper) and leave in the fridge overnight. Voila! 5 minute prep oatmeal and ready to go in the morning. 

 

  • Meal prep your oatmeal: If a mason jar seems too clunky, or you want something you can easily take multiple days worth of breakfasts to work, meal prep in ziplock bags! Put your own DIY “instant oatmeal packs” together for the week and keep at your desk. All you have to do is pour your bag in to a coffee mug, add milk or water, and heat up. Breakfast at your desk made easy!

 

As you can see, oatmeal really is a wonderful blank canvas breakfast for anyone who lives life in the fast lane, but also cares about their heath and wants food that’s yummy.

Let us know if you try out any of these ideas on social media, we’d love to see your creative combinations!

Jan 15 2016

Changes at the Fuel Bar!

By: Jason Royce

Over the past year, we established a plan to offer healthier products at each VIDA Fuel Bar. We spent quite a bit of time identifying items we no longer wanted to sell based on their ingredients and nutritional value, and at the same time we spent many hours selecting and taste-testing new, healthier and tastier products that we hope you will love as much as we do!So many new exciting options at the Fuel Bar!

We also developed an easier way to identify these products and to help you better understand when to consume them based on their ingredients and nutritional value. We assigned each snack to one of three categories: 1. Quick Energy/Pre-Workout, 2. Recovery/Post-Workout, and 3. Good Snack/Sustained Energy. We also identified key nutritional information for each item such as if the item is Vegan friendly, organic, high in protein, low in fat or low calorie.

We encourage you to drop by the Fuel Bar before or after your workout and try some of our new items from Epic, Simple Squares, Tosi, Orgain and more! You should also give one of our many tasty, protein packed smoothies a try. We’ve tweaked a few of the recipes and added additional options such as pre-workout and post-workout supplement powder blends, multivitamins, spinach, kale, cashews, Greek yogurt, and vegan protein powder to name a few. Our awesome Aura Spa staff even developed a brand new, post-massage smoothie for those who want to detox a bit after a relaxing spa day.

New and exciting items will be added throughout the year at each Fuel Bar location. Keep your eyes out for our new line of cold-pressed juices and Grab-N-Go food items! We’re also excited to announce to our City Vista members the addition of a full service Fuel Bar complete with a full menu of signature VIDA smoothies! Having smoothies available after your workout has been one of your number one requests, and we listened. Construction has already started and we’re scheduled to blend the first Chocolate Monkey in less than two months, so stay tuned!

We’ll also be highlighting one product a month as our featured item, so check back with us on the blog to see what we’re featuring next month!

 

Interested in having your product sold at the VIDA Fuel Bar? Contact Jason at jroyce@vidafitness.com!

Jan 14 2016

Leigh Delavan Joins the VIDA Nutrition Team!

Living in a city like DC, it can be tricky sticking to a clean diet with things like post-work happy hours and boozy brunches popping up all over the place.  How else are you supposed to catch up with friends, other than over mimosas and pancakes on Sunday mornings? Luckily our new Registered Dietitian Leigh Delavan is a pro at balancing a jam-packed social life AND maintaining a healthy, clean diet while doing so!

Leigh DelavanLeigh grew up in Annapolis, MD, and is excited to return to the DC area after completing her education at schools all over the country. Her interest in fitness was sparked in high school, after years of playing field hockey and lacrosse. She realized she wasn’t into competitive sports as much as she was into her gym routine and community, and eventually started working the front desk at the Merritt in Annapolis.

“Working at the Merritt is where I was first exposed to a dietitian and what their job entailed. It was a very fun, supportive community that set the bar pretty high for any environment I’d want to work in again. Through that job, I realized how supportive the fitness community can be—something that I’ve now found at VIDA,” says Leigh.

After graduating high school, Leigh went on to the University of Pittsburgh where she explored a few different majors before settling on Nutrition & Dietetics. She dabbled in both anthropology and pre-law, but neither of them seemed like the right fit for her.

“When I was struggling with ‘what I should be when I grow up’ my mom gave me the advice to major in what you enjoy learning about in your free time. To me that was nutrition!” she says.

She finished up her B.S. in Nutrition & Dietetics at University of Pittsburgh in 2012, where she also served as the Vice President of the Student Dietetic Association and as a tour guide for the university. The next step was starting an internship program, which she decided to do in conjunction with a Master’s program at the University of Arkansas.

After her internship, and while working on graduate school credits, she worked full time at a children’s hospital and then at a weight loss clinic as their nutrition specialist.

“It was a pretty busy time in my life! At one point, I was taking 12 credits, working 45 hours a week and doing an internship. I didn’t have a lot of free time,” she laughs.

The hard work paid off though, and she received her M.S. this past April. When applying for jobs, she knew she wanted to find the type of environment she loved so much at Merritt again, and says she has found all that and more at VIDA!

“As soon as I saw the job posting I knew it was the job for me. It’s a young, hip and most importantly supportive community that’s always adapting to current trends. As soon as I was offered the job I packed up my Uhaul, drove across the country and moved to DC! This is my dream job and I’m very happy to be here,” she says.

As the new designated dietitian for Metropole, Leigh is excited about sharing her approach to nutrition with our members. She focuses on creating feasible long-term goals that work with a busy social life, rather than against it.

Let’s face it, we’re all going to end up at a bottomless brunch at some point, staring at a menu offering countless ways to consume three days worth of calories in one sitting. Leigh specializes in navigating that menu – so you can make healthy choices while still enjoying the experience with your friends! (Hint: her brunch go-to is eggs benedict with no hollandaise – even better if they can make it eggs florentine – and skipping the carbs on the side when you can!)

“I don’t expect an unrealistic lifestyle change with  my clients. I like to meet them where they’re at, and try to encourage small, manageable changes. I’ll pull up the menu for the bar they’re going to later, and help them find the best option to order. If they’re going out drinking 3-4 times a week, I’ll see if we can cut it down to one, or at least cut back on number of drinks per outing. I know people aren’t going to stop going to happy hour, so I try to set realistic goals,” says Leigh.

She also knows that while many people have the best intentions for making good food choices, they simply don’t have the time to meal prep or grocery shop.

“I know that some of my clients just really can’t make a weekly grocery store trip. I’ll see if there’s at least a Trader Joe’s they can stop in on their way to work or home, or help them with menu options at the places they eat out at the most,” she says.

As for Leigh’s go-to meals, she says there’s nothing better than cooking at home. Her staples that she recommends always having in the fridge include plain greek yogurt (Faye 2% is her fave,) frozen vegetables (or fresh, if you can go through them fast enough!) and apples. She also loves string cheese and raw almonds for snacking throughout the day, and encourages you to opt for wine when happy hour-ing.

Leigh & a friend conquering a new hiking trail!

Leigh & a friend conquering a new hiking trail!

“I’m all about creating plans for my clients that will last long-term, even if it means allowing for a little more freedom. If it’s not realistic, it’s not helpful,” she says.

When she’s not meeting with clients or finding healthy brunches with friends, Leigh enjoys game nights, hiking, exploring the outdoors and cycling (you can find her teaching a few classes on the group fitness schedule too!)

Leigh can be reached at ldelavan@vidafitness.com, or stop by her office next to the PT desk on the second floor to chat. We encourage all of our Metropole members to schedule a Nutrition Fit with Leigh if you haven’t yet, and join us in welcoming her to the VIDA family!

Jan 13 2016

New Year, New Goals? Tips for Staying on Track

By VIDA Guest Blogger Danielle Pastula

New-YearNew-Goals2Alright, we’re in mid-January now, so the crazy crowds at the gym are starting to dwindle down as people find their routines and stop with the every-single-day working out New Year’s resolution madness.

But that’s not to say all goals have gone out the window.

At this point you’re probably realizing what areas you’re going to have the hardest time with when it comes to meeting and succeeding at your goals, and you might have already gotten a taste of failure or what it feels like to let yourself down.

Well, as you would guess, we’re not going to coddle you or let you continue carrying on a pity party. We’re going to give you the honest-to-goodness truth on what it’s going to take to see your goals realized so that you can look back at 2016 a year from now and feel accomplished, healthier and like the goal-crushing badass we know you are.

Let’s get started:

1.) Pump the Brakes

If you’ve worked out 14 days straight since January 1st, well, congratulations, you’ve stuck to your resolution for 2 weeks.

Not easy by any means, but it’s also not smart.

When you dive in head first to a new exercise regimen without room for proper rest, you’re going to hit a wall where you become burnt out, overwhelmed, injured, or all three.

This might be the time where you argue how real gym rats work out 7 days a week, but before you get too lost in the comparison game, you have to understand that someone you see working out 7 days a week has worked their way up to that point, they didn’t jump from zero to gym hero in a matter of a week. (They also may not be working out 7 days a week like you think they are.)

The most CRUCIAL thing you need to know is that your body needs rest days and you need to give time for your body to recover from the tough workouts you’ve been putting it through.

So, before you burn yourself out, pump the brakes for a second, revaluate your workout schedule and make sure you’re starting off reasonably and come up with a timeline where you can start to increase your frequency and duration.

This will help protect you from that burn out that affects so many people with a New Year’s goal of getting healthier and then dropping it off by March.

2.) Change Your Language

We’ve referred to your goal to become healthier in the new year as a resolution because that’s the terminology most people use when it comes to fitness changes in January, but we’re going to stop saying that from here on out because it’s destructive.

When you look at your aim to become healthier as a “New Year’s resolution” you’re not only giving yourself a limited-time capacity on your behavior change, but you’re also overshooting your promise to yourself, which is setting you up for failure.

“New Year’s resolution” implies that this is a first-quarter-of-the-year thing instead of a lifestyle change simply because of the way society has deemed January 1st as being the ideal day to set a new goal. It’s not. Every single day of the year is a great day to start a new goal.

On the flip side, when you set the lofty goal of “I’m going to finally get healthy, workout and lose weight this year,” you’ve set your view too long range and it’s going to be upsetting when you feel like you haven’t made as much progress as you’d hoped for in just a month’s time.

For both of those reasons you need to stop thinking about “New Year’s resolutions” and start asking yourself, “What’s a healthier choice I can make today?” Or “What new thing can I do or try this week to support healthier habits?”

Talk about your goals on a day by day / week by week basis and you’ll be able to get a better grip on actually making new habits stick.

New-YearNew-Goals13.) Realize the Adult Mentality

This one is really simple, but too many people forget about it: we all do things we don’t want to do.

Pay bills, empty the garbage, dropping our kids off at school when it’s 20 degrees outside, the list goes on, but we have to do these things or else bad stuff happens. It’s the same for working out and eating healthfully. If you don’t do it you’ll gain weight, obtain health issues, feel terrible on a daily basis, etc.

Yet, despite these things, people treat exercise and nutrition as if it’s optional. It’s not.

Don’t take care of yourself and you’re only robbing you and your loved ones of having a happy and fulfilling life, no big deal, right?

Be an adult and do the work, even when you don’t feel like it.

4.) Give Yourself a Break

Finally, you have to learn how to be nice to yourself. This isn’t to excuse you from doing the things you don’t want to do, like we mentioned above, but you also need to know how to listen to what your body is telling you.

For example, if you’re going through a personal hardship and find it too difficult to stick to your routine for a couple weeks, that’s fine. If you have the flu, please, please, please don’t try to workout.

Give yourself a couple week break and then make it a priority to get back to your routine by a certain date and put it in your calendar.

You will only cause harm to your health in the long run if you don’t learn how to listen to your body and mind when they’re telling you to take a break. There’s no shame it.

We know all this sounds easy when you’re reading about it in a blog post, but we promise, start integrating these tips and you’ll see it’ll actually become easier to stick to your goals as time progresses.

And if you’re really having trouble staying accountable, talk to your membership consultants, group fitness instructors or trainers. The VIDA team is here to help you reach your goals and live your healthiest life, there’s no need to go it alone!

Jan 4 2016

VIDA’s Guide To Group Fitness!

With such a huge variety of group fitness classes here at VIDA, we get that that sometimes choosing which one to take can be half the battle. Our classes cover a wide range of different exercise styles – from high intensity movements, strength building, relaxation or heavy cardio. You’ve only got 45 minutes to an hour to spare, so how do you know which one to take?

Here’s a breakdown of our group fitness classes by studio, showing what type of classes to expect in each space and info for picking the class that will best help you reach your goals!

GROUP FITNESS

Most of our group fitness classes are geared towards those looking for a full body workout focusing on both strength and cardio. Classes like VIDA Xtreme, VIDA Body, VIDA Circuit, Conditioning, HIIT and RIP 30/45 all use high intensity interval training techniques to build muscle, develop technical skills and burn fat. In these formats you can expect a good mix of body weight exercises, plyometrics and weight training to elevate your heart rate and build strength during active recovery periods. Basically you’ll need to come prepared for all the push-ups, burpees and high knees you can handle!RX

If solid weight training is what you’re after, VIDA RX will be your best friend. This hour long class follows the same 10 track format every time with each song spent on a different muscle group. You’ll load up your barbell with weights that you choose, and you can add or remove weight as necessary throughout the class. It’s super easy to follow along with the instructor due to the structured nature of the tracks and a great way to work on proper form and technique for standard weight lifting movements.

Looking to let loose and have some fun? Try a Zumba or Sensazao class to get your dance on, or VIDA Knockout or Kickboxing to throw some punches and feel the stress melt away. These classes make doing cardio so much fun, you don’t even realize how hard you’re working till you’re drenched in sweat at the end!

Also held in our group fitness studio are classes designed to work those problem areas – i.e. your abs and butt. VIDA Assets focuses entirely on lower body exercises (squats, deadlifts, lunges, all that fun stuff) and Killer Core is 15 minutes of purely abdominal exercises. Fifteen minutes may not sound like much, but we promise you’ll be feeling the burn after the first five!

INNER FITNESS

The inner fitness studio is where you’ll find your Yoga, Pilates and Barre classes. These classes build flexibility & core strength, improve posture and target small muscle groups difficult to hit with standard exercises.

Power YogaNew to Yoga? Try a Yoga Basics or Vinyasa class – you’ll go through all the poses at a slow and controlled pace with lots of guidance and attention from your instructor (if you want it!) Ready to take your practice up a notch? Our Power Yoga, Rocket Yoga and Ripped Yoga formats offer more strength building exercises such as inversions, arm balances and more variations to poses at a slightly faster pace.

Pilates uses deep abdominal contractions (not your average crunch) in conjunction with your breath to develop strong and solid core muscles. Pilates moves also increase flexibility, improve mobility in your joints and help with proper body alignment – the perfect addition to a regular strength training routine!

If ballet and Pilates had a baby, it would be VIDA Barre. Barre adds traditional ballet movements to Pilates exercises in a fluid, fast paced class that targets all your major muscle groups. Those with a dance background, or those just interested in a dancer-style body will love this class!

CYCLING STUDIO

While cycling sort of speaks for itself, we do have a few different cycle formats you can choose from. Our regular Cycle class is 45 minutes long and includes a series of sprints, hills and climbs to upbeat music, designed to give you a powerful cardiovascular workout.cycle

Don’t want to commit to a whole class on the bike? Try Spin & Sculpt – you’ll spin for the first 30 minutes and then move to the group fitness studio for the Sculpt half (weight training usually focused on upper body.) A great way to squeeze in all your cardio and strength training in just an hour!

Last but not least, our super popular iRide class incorporates weights, jumps, high energy music (and sometimes a live DJ!) into a 45 minute workout on the bike that will leave you pumped up and energized. If you’re into having so much fun while you’re working out that you don’t even notice the sweat, then this is the class for you!

 

No matter which class you try, it’s important to remember that ALL class formats offer modifications for exercises and are open to people of all fitness levels! If it’s your first time trying a class, just let the instructor know and they’ll make sure you have all the proper information and guidance to complete the moves correctly and successfully.

It’s also a good idea to show up early if you need some assistance setting up, or want to know what to expect in class first. Our instructors are always happy to answer your questions and make sure you get the best workout possible.

Want more info on a class? Check out our full list of class descriptions here. See you in the studio!