Daily Archives: January 8, 2010

Quizzes&Classes&Training- oh my!

It’s Quiz Time:

Question 1: Remember that time I said I was going to review some gyms in order to find the right fit for me?

A) yes
B) no
C) no, but I would like to read about it here.

[Answer 1: A or C acceptable 😉 ]



Question 2:  I had 4 gyms on the list to review. I made it to 2 of said gyms. So why did I stop my quest to find the perfect place to burn calories
and tone up?

A) I fell off the treadmill mid-jog and broke my left leg, leaving me
work-out free until March.
B) I decided that I am done taking steps towards healthy living, and
want to turn THS into a fan site for John Stamos.
C) I fell in gym-love during my 2nd work out of the trials and decided
to join, right then and there.

[Answer 2: although answer A is probable, given my clumsy nature, the
correct answer is C- TOTAL gym love.]



Question 3:  What was it about my new gym that left me all googley-eyed and butterfly filled, convincing me to sign on?

A) $20 a month with no start-up fee
B) a large variety of cardio machines, and many many of them.
C) a variety of classes offered, including some with punny names
D) two large strength training floors
E) I saw a foam roller
F) located 6 minutes from my apartment
G) all of the above

[Answer 3: G. all of the above.

There are more TYPES of cardio machines than I’ve ever seen in a gym. It’s a plethora of cardio-options. I tried to count yesterday as I was on the treadmill, but after I got to 12 my cool down automatically started, dropping my speed with out my noticing and I ran INTO the front of the treadmill.  Ahem.  There are at least a half dozen different ellipticals, 3 different types of stair climbers, two kinds of stationary bikes plus a spinning simulation video game looking type thing in which I am slightly fearful.

The list of different classes offered each week is 21. This doesn’t even include the spinning room- just the fitness room schedule.  Also, some of the classes are offered various times with different teachers, which in my opinion is basically a completely different kind of class.  One of the classes I’m most attracted to is titled "Willpower & Grace".  As a self-proclaimed Pop Culture Princess, you know I’ll be sticking my head in that window to see if I can find the namesake, or Jack or Karen or any jazz hands of any sorts.

The Strength training areas look fabulous. There is an area specifically for beginners, which I especially love, because no one wants to try out an exercise they just read about right next to Mr. Universe. I’m just saying.  Each of the two areas are set up for circuit training if that’s your thing, and they are FILLED with all types of equipment;  free weights, machines, body bars, resistance tools, cable machines, benches, medicine balls and I’m sure a bunch of stuff in which I have no idea what to do.]



Question 4: What does the gym offer that I am terrified to try?

A) Free endless Personal Training Sessions
B) the software The Biggest Loser uses to see you in 3D now, and your
goal 3D self.
C) a variety of classes, including some with punny names
D) Spinning classes
E) all of the above

[Answer 4: E. all of the above.

I can’t  decide how I feel about working with a Personal Trainer (or
the 3D technology they provide).   I think this may be something I need to
get over, though.

I have this thought that I can read/study/ask when I have questions/learn enough that I don’t need anyone "trained" to stand next to me and tell me what to do.  It’s weird because I would totally like to work out with my friend Trav in Texas, who is a PT- because I know I trust him and know that he would do an AMAZING job correcting me, encouraging me, and convincing me to do what needs to be done.  Same goes for Jessica of Fit Chick in the City, or Jessica of How Sweet It Is (trusting my blogger friends more than someone I can see in the flesh 3 times a week. Hmmm….) .  But some stranger at the gym?  Terrified.

I’ve been thinking about it and I can’t decide if it’s because I don’t TRUST the stranger, or I don’t trust myself to be able to do what the trainer wants of me.  Bench a certain weight, run a certain distance, hold a certain pose- I’m terrified of failing to someone else’s standards. When it comes to myself, if I say I’m going to run for 10 minutes, and I get tired, and I stop at 8- I’m not being judged by anyone.  I can just evaluate my workout myself and move on. But with a trainer I feel like I will be pushed.  I KNOW that this is a good thing – being pushed to my limits is probably what I need; but as I think it through, I think I may just be afraid of failing.  Of not being able to reach the limits someone else has for me.

This probably also explains my fear of ALL CLASSES; especially spinning
and yoga.  Even though just about everyone I know loves their
experiences spinning and practicing yoga, I still have been putting off
trying either.  But I’m truly just intimidated by classes in general, as well.  I tried going to two different classes at the Y last year, and I felt really anxious about both of them, which I know affected my experience.

I’m not a fan of "shaking in my boots".  2010 I’m facing fears! So what am I going to do about it?

I’m devoted to at least MEETING with a trainer.  When I first signed up
for the gym, they suggested I work with Carly who is a marathon runner,
since I have that little goal of running a race in all 50 states.  I
know that every small step leads somewhere, and my first step is to at
least sit down with the woman, be honest about my FEARS and goals, and see where that takes me. I’m also trying to keep Jess’s post in mind
about the matching of a PT and a client.  I will not be afraid to try
someone else if Carly and I need to break up.

And for the classes?
The fitness class schedule runs from January through March, so I’ve made
myself this promise: TRY EVERY CLASS AVAILABLE AT LEAST ONCE.  What this means: every class that is offered during my gym availabilities hours (when I’m not at my day job) I will attend at least one time.  I
realize that EVERY CLASS will not be for me- but I know that I don’t
always know what’s best for me either. (this would explain why EVERY
formal dress I bought for high school events I hated on the hanger but
my mother made me try on anyway.  Apparently, mothers really do know
  Hopefully, along the way I find that if I open up to some of
these classes, that I may find a few that I absolutely love and want to
continue attending.

I’m going to make sure that after I try Zumba with Dawn, I also try
mba with Judi, and Zumba with Laurie.  And although I don’t plan on
STARTING with Power or Vinyasa Yoga- hopefully by the last week in
March, I will have enough yoga beginner-appropriate classes under my
belt to be a bit more willing to give the intermediate classes a try.

This all boils down to the fact that I will be trying 17 fitness classes ( 5 strength, 4 aerobic/step, 4 yoga, 3 Zumba, and 1 ‘Just Abs’ which will no doubt help me to Whittle My Middle) and 9 spinning (4 Interval, 3 Endurance, 2 Strength & 2 Races. [Eek]).

A total of 26 classes before March 31- can it be done? You can bet your bippy I sure am going to work my bum off trying 😉
[I’ll be adding a "Class Challenge" tab with descriptions, my planned schedule, and notes along the way soon]

Question 5: The Short (or long) answer question:
I want to hear your opinions about working out with a personal trainer.
Have you done it?  Would you do it?  Warnings/Inspirations/Thoughts. Spill it:

Trading Up w/ Antipasto Pizza (& Giveaway Winners)

When I first decided to participate in the Eat In Challenge for the month of January, I’ve started to make a list of restaurant foods I wanted to recreate at home during the month of cooking only.  You know, my go-to ordered out meals from the Irish pub near my house, my favorite burrito joint, and the I can never turn it down, favorite place to watch a football game because their appetizers are just THAT good.  And what may be the end all be all of the Eat In Challenge, REALLY GOOD PIZZA.  I knew I needed to take a trip to the grocery store to load up on some healthy “eat-in recreation” ingredients.

I usually shop at a local grocery store, Price Chopper.  Not too long ago, I started noticing NuVal scores on most of the products at Price Chopper.

What is NuVal?

From the NuVal website:

The NuVal System scores food on a scale of 1-100. The higher the NuVal Score, the better the nutrition. It’s that simple.

NuVal Scores summarize comprehensive nutritional information in one simple number between 1 and 100.  Each NuVal Score takes into account more than just the nutrition fact panel.  It considers 30-plus nutrients and nutrition factors – the good (protein, calcium, vitamins) and the not-so-good (sugar, sodium, cholesterol).  And then it boils it down into a simple, easy-to-use number; a number you can trust to make better decisions about nutrition in just a few seconds

As I continue to make one healthy choice at a time, I truly have found NuVal as a valuable resource.  I’ve used the scores several times in my decision making between brands and “types” of products. 

I’ve twittered messages to Tina while standing in front of the Peanut Butter asking her to help me narrow my choice down.  I’ve picked sweet potatoes over white potatoes because sweet potatoes score is just about as perfect as you can get.  And I’ve made a few “trade ups” along the way in deciding what specific package will be coming home with me.

When choosing items in the supermarket, I usually purchase whatever is least expensive. (remember, I am cheap, errr…thrifty!) Ever since I have started to make more conscious decisions about my health, however, I’ve been starting to not care AS much about price, and instead care more about quality.  I don’t go CRAZY, not caring about budget buying all the noted “healthy foods” that cost an arm and leg- but I am willing to spend a bit more change on something that is truly better for me than what I would normal by.  This is one reason why NuVal is so helpful. If you ask me, $10 more a month on groceries is worth knowing that I’m fueling my body with good stuff. 

Since I knew I would for sure be making my own DELICIOUS Pizza during the Eat In Challenge, I decided to take the opportunity to show you how easy using the NuVal scores can be. 

I like to use tomato paste instead of pizza sauce when I make pizza at home.  It’s a bit thicker and personally I think it’s a much richer taste.

The tomato items were a plenty!  There were probably 15 different cans of paste, but I decided to just focus on the 3 I would be most likely to buy.  I should note however, that when I was looking over the name brand cans, the NuVal scores were MUCH LOWER on any of the “additional flavor” cans- such as “garlicy” or “Italian spices”.  This just solidified my desire to use fresh herbs and spices from my own garden and farmers markets to spice things up in my meals rather than just grab something fancy sounding off the shelf, which is usually more expensive to boot.

These are the three items I decided to compare:


The Price Chopper brand had the lowest price and the lowest score (.59/57), followed by the Cento (.75/75).

 IMG00165    IMG00166

The highest NuVal score was the Full Circle organic can.  For only 40 cents more than I would have paid for the Price Chopper brand, I decided it was a good call to go with the Full Circle.  I know that this little $1 can of paste would actually be used in 4-6 of my meals, and the extra 30 points on the NuVal scale are very convincing!


I know that there is a lot of debate about the importance of consuming organic products.  I personally believe that SOME organic products are more healthy for you than the non-organic versions- but studies have shown that in some products there isn’t much of a difference. (Here is a list suggesting the top 10 foods to splurge for the organic version)  This is another reason I like to use NuVal- such an easy way to compare Organic and non-Organic products!

NuVal is not yet available at all grocery stores, but they are expanding.  You can also look up products and types of food on the NuVal website.  It is filled with TONS of information, suggestions, tips, and even a game!  Be sure to check it out.  Also take a look at Tina’s new blog, Trading Up Downtown.

Now that I had my Tomato Paste, it was time for me to find some other ingredients for my pizza.  I found myself inspired at the Olive bar, and felt like lending my creative thoughts to an Antipasto Pizza.

Antipasto, which literally means “before the meal.”  Antipasto plates are simple- usually filled with marinated vegetables, olives, breads, meats and cheeses. 

I decided to keep my pizza meat-free and loaded up on a variety of veggies and olives.

100_2133 What I used:
-Personal Pizza Crust
– Tomato Paste, 2 T
– Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
– Seasoned Olives
– Marinated Roasted Red Pepper
– Marinated Artichoke heart pieces
– Italian Cheese blend

Building my Antipasto Pizza went as so:

 100_2135 100_2137 100_2139 100_2145 100_2150    

And after baking for 10 minuets at 400- Delightful!:


I want to thank all of you for the kind words you left on my Sparktastic post!  I feel even more encouraged and motivated to keep tackling the healthy decisions after reading all the sweet things you folks had to say.

The 5 Winners of The Spark giveaway are:


Congrats to the winners!!!:

#2 Jessica,

#3 Estela @ Weekly Bite,

#10 Danielle

#14 Mrs. B 

& #20 samztoyzz


Please email me your mailing address and phone number (for the delivery slip) at – thenheathersaid@gmail.com and I will forward it on to the market guru at Spark People to have your copy of The Spark sent your way!