VIDA Blog
Jul 28 2016

Prenatal Yoga at Metropole

Prenatal Yoga Instructor Laura Trejo!

Prenatal Yoga Instructor Laura Trejo!

Staying active is key for a healthy and happy pregnancy, and prenatal yoga is a popular and effective way to do so. Practicing regularly can help improve sleep, reduce anxiety and increase muscular strength and endurance – especially those needed for childbirth. Our six week prenatal yoga program starting August 7th will help new moms form relationships with other expecting mothers and help make the path to childbirth as smooth as possible!

Prenatal yoga instructor Laura Trejo explains that this program will offer seated, standing and balancing poses, pelvic floor exercise and avoid postures that put any strain on the abdomen.

“I offer modifications and alternatives to yoga poses so prenatal students are not compressing their abdomen (i.e.,cow or camel pose instead of cobra) or (the “lounger pose” instead of corpse)  or lying on their backs for an extended length of time, and add a pelvic floor exercise to the class. I also offer restorative poses (passive posses where students are propped up by blankets and blocks.)” says Laura.

Students can expect a focus on calming or cooling breathing techniques, which can help with shortness of breath both during pregnancy and during labor.

Prenatal yoga with Laura will meet every Sunday at 4:30pm starting August 7th  in the Inner Fitness Studio. You’ll meet other new moms going through pregnancy at the same time, and will practice at a pace that is appropriate and comfortable for your body.

“Pregnant women deserve a class of their own where they can take the time to savor their yoga at an important time in their lives and build a community with other women,” says Laura.

If you have questions about the program or determining if it’s the right fit for you, please email cpalomaa@vidafitness.com.

Jul 25 2016

New RD In The House: Addie Merletti!

Addie MerlettiOur nutrition department has expanded quickly over the last year, and we’re more excited than ever to welcome a new healthy habits guru to our U Street team! Our new Registered Dietitian Addie Merletti (you can call her AC!) has a passion for creating healthy, nutritious and creative meals in her own kitchen, and she’s ready to share her tips and secrets with our members!

Addie grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and attended college at UNC Chapel Hill. She studied psychology and Spanish during her Tarheel years, and graduated on track to pursue a mental health career in 2010. For the first year post-grad, she worked in community mental health and helped those dealing with mental health issues.

It was through working with clients closely in their day to day life that Addie realized how prevalent unhealthy eating habits and lack of nutritional knowledge were in the people she worked with.

“Food has always been a huge part of my life and cooking has always been a passion of mine. I was raised with great nutritional values, but when I started working in the mental health field I learned that not everyone had that knowledge,” she says.

With a new perspective on how she could help people improve their lives, Addie decided to transition into physical healthcare instead. Food and healthy cooking were her passions, so she began her Masters in Nutrition at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina later that year.

Once finishing her Masters, she received her dietitian creds through the Aramark Distance Dietetic Internship in Baltimore. She completed three rotations, two clinical roles at hospitals and one in sports nutrition for the University of Notre Dame Athletic Department. She regularly performed body composition tests, helped those dealing with eating disorders and worked with the athletes to properly fuel their bodies to maximize performance.

“I liked working with motivated people who have really specific goals in mind, or helping them create those specific goals if they don’t have them already. I love seeing how nutrition can help push people past their performance plateaus,” she explains.

While she loved working in collegiate sports, the frequent travel and long days were less than ideal. She and her husband had moved to Arlington in December of 2014, and she was looking for something close to home. The fitness industry offered the ideal clientele of active, motivated and goal-oriented individuals, so finding VIDA was a perfect fit!

“I love VIDA because it’s a one stop shop for healthy lifestyle goals. You can do everything here – work out, design a meal plan, visit the spa and hair salon. Plus, everyone is so pleasant and friendly! It’s awesome to have a job that you want to come to hang out at even on your days off,” she says.

Addie started with us in mid-June, and has fit in seamlessly with our U Street family. She’s been working one on one with many of personal trainers and their clients, taking tons of group fitness classes (she also teaches Barre on the side!) and has been gracing the office with delicious home-made treats all month long.

She’s already provided a handful of new clients with sustainable meal plans to compliment their fitness routines and goals, and has shared tips with all of us about properly fueling our workouts to get the most out of the time we spend in the gym.

“I’m a big fan of meeting people where they are and customizing plans to an individual’s goals and lifestyle. I only prescribe things that are actually doable, I’m not an advocate of cutting anything out completely from someone’s diet. I like to find creative ways to satiate that craving instead,” she explains. “VIDA members are already investing  time and money into getting results, and without a proper nutrition plan you’re only going to get halfway there, maybe less.”

Addie has a strong understanding of cooking and preparing foods that she loves sharing with those who those skills don’t come as easy for. She recognizes that many people seek out information online that can be confusing and contradictory, and she offers a science-based explanation of what they’re reading and how it actually applies to their unique goals and nutritional needs.

Her favorite foods? Anything Mediterranean, and anything resembling Peanut Butter & Jelly! She’s also a big fan of Le Diplomate on 14th – so you may catch her and husband there enjoying some tasty French food this summer!

Interested in setting up your complimentary Nutrition Fit with Addie? Email her at amerletti@vidafitness.com to schedule your first consult, all U Street members receive their first visit free!

**Attention U Street! Addie will be hosting a Healthy Happy Hour at the Penthouse Pool on Thursday, July 28th from 6:30-8pm. Come get to know her and try her signature healthy whole fruit margarita – it’s to die for! 

Jul 22 2016

The Best Snacks for Your Beach Bag!

Leigh DelavanBy: VIDA Registered Dietitian Leigh Delavan

August is a popular time for beach vacations. What’s better than getting away from the D.C. heat and dipping your toes into the cool ocean?

Unfortunately, these beach vacations can be a bit of a challenge in terms of keeping up with your fitness and nutrition goals. While no one expects you to be running marathons on your week off, below are a few simple tips to help keep you on track while you relax.

Healthy Beach Snacking: rather than relying on dismal boardwalk options, fill a cooler with some healthy staples and non-alcoholic beverages to keep you hydrated

  • Cut veggies (carrots, celery, bell peppers, etc.) and hummus (single-serve cups are a convenient option)
  • Fresh fruit (apples, oranges, watermelon, etc.)
  • Frozen grapes or cherries (great for a hot day)
  • Almonds (bonus points for individual portion-controlled packages)
  • Pistachios
  • Air-popped popcorn
  • String cheese
  • Edamame
  • Low-sodium turkey jerky (look for brands with no preservatives added)
  • Roasted chickpeas

Another tip—try to maintain a normal meal schedule so that you aren’t relying solely on snacks for sustenance. Now go soak up that sunshine!

Jul 12 2016

Change Your Body with Outdoor Boot Camp

U Street Boot Campers at Meridian Hill Park!

U Street Boot Campers at Meridian Hill Park!

We’re halfway through another DC summer and our outdoor boot camp is hotter than ever! Dozens of our dedicated members have spent the last 12 weeks waking up at the crack of dawn or skipping that post-work happy hour to break a sweat with us instead, and we couldn’t be more proud of them.

Depending on which VIDA you belong to, our outdoor boot camp locations vary from the stairs of the Nationals stadium to the National Mall, and groups of burpees can be spotted all up 16th street, from Logan Circle to Meridian Hill Park.

Yards boot camp Instructor Kelly Moyers with two of her boot camp champs!

Yards boot camp Instructor Kelly Moyers with two of her boot camp champs!

Marie O’Hara has been a U Street boot camper for over two years, and says the results-driven workouts and the camaraderie developed with her fellow boot campers have been the key factors in keeping her coming back month after month.

“The last 14 months of boot camp have been the perfect cocktail: equal parts personal accountability and a physically challenging workout, plus a splash of motivation and tough love from Alexx who achieves body-changing results in the most efficient way,” says Marie.

Boot camp instructor and Regional Group Fitness Director Alexx Griffin explains that accountability is one thing that sets boot camp apart from your ordinary group fitness class. His boot campers expect to be held to a high standard when it comes to showing up on time and not slacking off during exercises.

“We go from one exercise to the next without rest in between. We focus on speed, power, strength, endurance and proper technique in a competitive environment that helps build a strong bond between the participants, ” says Alexx.

Marie O’Hara knocking out some shoulder presses!

Although the workouts are challenging, they are modifiable for every person regardless of experience, age or fitness level. Most boot camps meet twice or three times a week, with different times and dates available per VIDA location. Even if you’re new to working out, you’ll feel successful and strong in our boot camp program and progress at a level that is right for you.

“As always, the day after boot camp I never know which muscle group will be crying out because Alexx found a different way to push my physical limits. But at 34 years old with a toddler at home, I’ve never felt as strong as I do today!” says Marie.

To start the next round of boot camp starting July 25th, speak with a group fitness manager or email agriffin@vidafitness.com. We’ll learn more about your fitness goals and experience and place you in the program that’s right for you!

FYI: we have now opened a new EVENING boot camp timeslot at U Street! New VIDA trainer Khetab Claiborne will be leading a post-work camp for those who can’t make it in the mornings Tuesdays at 6:30pm. Email kclaiborne@vidafitness.com to sign up!

 

 

Jul 11 2016

Healthy or Hoax? Nutrition Facts on Your Favorite Foods

nutrition-foodMost of us mean to make healthy choices at the grocery store or when out for dinner, but it can be tricky sifting through all of the sometimes contradictory information out there. We caught up with our RD Cat Taylor for a breakdown of what ingredients and foods are actually healthy, and which ones are all hype. Read on for more info!

 

 

By: VIDA Registered Dietitian Cat Taylor 

According to The New York Times via Google search trends, below are the most searched for by internet users in the context of “Is ______ healthy?” (Find the whole article here!)

 

1.sushi

2.hummus

3.popcorn

4.peanut butter

5.couscous

6.oatmeal

7.tofu

8.Nutella

9.pho

10.quinoa

11.brown rice

12.granola

13.shrimp

14.tuna

15.cottage cheese

16.rice

17.honey

18.rye bread

19.pizza

20.tilapia

21.watermelon

22.guacamole

23.white rice

24.cheese

25.stevia

26.dark chocolate

27.coconut milk

28.pork

29.canned tuna

30.feta cheese

31.polenta

32.frozen yogurt

33.beef jerky

34.coffee

35.falafel

36.chinese food

37.juicing

38.greek yogurt

39.brown sugar

40.chicken

41.sparkling water

42.turkey bacon

43.yogurt

44.salmon

45.sourdough bread

46.smoked salmon

47.dried fruit

48.miso soup

49.Indian food

50.Basmati rice

 

 

I thought this was fascinating data. So, let me speak to the first two, for now. But first, let me address the concept of labeling a food “healthy” or “unhealthy”. I recommend that we get away from these terms altogether and rephrase as such:

“_____ is healthy”   vs.   “_____ belongs in a healthy diet”

“_____ is unhealthy”   vs.   “_____ does not belong in a healthy diet”

 

Moving on.

  1. Sushi does belong in a healthy diet. However, as with most popular foods, certain types are better for your health than others.
    • Tempura (deep fried vegetables or fish) is not good for your health when consumed regularly.
    • Fancy sushi rolls that contain mayonnaise-based sauces and doused in sodium-latent soy sauce should also be consumed moderately. Hold the sauce and lighten up on your soy sauce.

Choose rolls filled with fresh fish, vegetables, or avocado, and jump on the brown rice when it is available on the menu. Beware that rice contains carbohydrates which want to be controlled to remain between the recommended 45-65% of a healthy American diet. The appropriate serving size depends on the energy and carbohydrate needs of the individual. When in doubt: eat when you are hungry, eat slowly, and stop when you are full. Balance your meal with a vegetable (seaweed salad, i.e.) If you lead a sedentary or low-active lifestyle, consider seaweed wrapped sushi rolls, sashimi, or a combination of traditional rice sushi and the former two varieties.

  1. Hummus does belong in a healthy diet. It is important to note that because it is traditionally made with Tahini (sesame seed paste) and Olive Oil, it becomes a moderate to high fat food, making it a high-calorie food.
    • Consume in small quantities- more like a condiment than a food group or main dish.
    • Vegans and Vegetarians should note that hummus is not very high in protein, contrary to popular belief. Popular hummus brands contain 1-2 grams of protein and ~60 calories per 2 Tbsp. serving size.

 

  1. Sabra: 2 grams protein and 70 calories per 2 Tbsp serving size
  2. Marzetti: 1 gram of protein and 60 calories per 2 Tbsp serving size
  3. Tribe: 2 grams of protein and 60 calories per 2 Tbsp serving size
  4. Cava: 2 grams of protein and 40 calories per 2 Tbsp serving size **Best bang for your caloric buck!!**

 

Thanks for reading!

Cat Taylor, RD, LDN

VIDA Fitness at the Verizon Center