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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Salaam Alaikum Dubai!

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Hi friends! Sorry it’s been a while. A quick update, again. Currently I’m in Dubai, and it’s breathtakingly beautiful. Spending 10 days here before leaving for India.

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Arrived at JFK in the evening to catch my flight to Dubai. My goodness is New York extremely crowded. Look at all those houses all packed together.

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If you’re traveling, I definitely suggest using Emirates Airline. OMG spectacular service. They pride themselves in being on time. And apparently amazing food. Seriously. Especially for plane food. This was dinner, an hour after we took off. We had an option of vegetarian, chicken and fish, and I ended up getting vegetarian. We call this biriyani (Rice pilaf with vegetables and a cashew garnish on the top). There was a yogurt vegetable salad, and a chocolate mousse for dessert. The mousse was pretty delicious. And I’m picky with my desserts. Throughout the flight, they give snacks, and the hosts are extremely friendly and they give the best drinks too. I could go on and on about how amazing Emirates is.

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More meal time pictures. I was so full, I nibbled on this. Plus we were arriving shortly in Dubai, and I knew I would eat some delicious food when I arrived.

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 Can you guess this movie? It has Gerard Butler look absolutely handsome! There were so many brand new movies playing, that I had a hard time selecting. This was “Playing for Keeps” and I ended up staying up to watch “Argo”  which was fantastic. I highly recommend it! I started “Lincoln” but wasn’t able to finish it. Like I said, I love Emirates airlines. And no they didn’t pay me to say that. I wish they did though 😛

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This is one of the views that greets me from my Aunt’s place. If you squint really hard, if you can see the Burj-khalifa: the tallest building in the world. It’s the one in the leftish area.

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It amazes me that everyone has access to this kind of view. This is the view from my Aunt’s place. Seriously breathtaking. The pictures can’t even express the beauty.

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These mosques like the one behind me are everywhere, and each just as pretty as the other. There is a mosque every mile all around the city to ensure that those who want to pray can be within walking distance of a mosque. And every few hours you’ll hear the imam start praying from these loudspeakers all over the city. The chanting is beautiful, even at 5 am.

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My cousins took a long walk around the city the other day, and we were greeted by this light show in the downtown area. I ran into several Starbucks, McDonalds, and a lot of other American restaurants. It’s amazing how far American companies have spread.

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Henna time with my cousins! Arabic tradition says that the darker the color becomes, the more passionate and better your relationship with your significant other will be. Hmmm…hopefully my future husband will be passionate and loving! 😉

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Went to this hole in the wall Indian restaurant. It was absolutely delicious. Simple Indian food. With extremely fresh roti’s and delicious daal and saabji (vegetables).

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Sunsets in Dubai. Good night for now friends. So much to do, and so little time. Going on a desert safari tomorrow. I can’t wait to ride a camel! I know this is a random post. Bear with me since I’m so new to the whole blogging while traveling. Lots of love!

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Travel Thyme!

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I’ve caught the travel bug, and it’s keeping me up. Butterflies in stomach and I’ve been hit with insomnia  Nothing a little country music and cleaning and excessive packing can’t cure.

Love me some Luke Bryan. That gorgeous smile! :D

Love me some Luke Bryan. That gorgeous smile! 😀

The bags are packed.

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The drug store is bought.

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And now the 2 month journey to INDIA begins.  I am really excited and nervous about this trip. I’m thankful I have this awesome opportunity and the most amazing and supportive parents. I’ve never traveled internationally by myself before. So it’ll definitely be an awesome and exciting adventure. I apologize if I can’t update regularly. I’ll try my best depending on when I have access to internet.

Freakin’ Burpees: Understanding the Physiology Behind the Torture

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Let’s talk about one of Crossfit’s favorite calisthenics exercise: the dreaded burpees. Seriously. I dislike them. With Passion. And every time I’m late for class, which is almost always my coach makes me do several burpees for every minute I’m late. You would think I would learn…

I come to class last week, and find this on the WOD board:

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100 burpees for time. Are you serious?! I was ready to boycott this WOD, but I pushed through and was able to finish it in a little over 15 minutes. It wasn’t pretty, but at least I finished!

And then if that wasn’t worse enough a WOD, the crossfit games started 2 days later, and lo and behold our WOD 2 days later:

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MORE BURPEES!?!! and add Snatches to that?! Yikes. I had no idea where I found the strength to push through this insane WOD, but I did it. It was painful. But it was over.

And it got me thinking…Burpees suck. I have yet to meet anyone who truly loves burpees. Yet they’re part of our workout at least once a week. I had to find a way to appreciate burpees despite how much I despised them. So I did a little research and was surprised to learn some cool facts about this powerhouse exercise that really works your entire body: your arms, core, legs, and even challenges you mentally. I mean something that sucks so royally and leaves you so exhausted even after 5 reps has to have some rewards at the end right?!

Nifty video on the History of Burpees

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eqkQ7azPm5c)

5 cool facts about Burpees

  1. It was founded in 1930’s by American physiologist Royal H. Burpee who created the burpee test for a Ph.D thesis to test for fitness
  2. The actual burpee consists of a combination of jumping jacks, squats, and pushups
  3. They burn a lot of calories. Because of the high intensity of the exercise, researchers say that if done properly, burpees can burn 50% more fat than moderate exercise like walking and jogging. (instead of spending hours on the elliptical, do 100 burpees instead!)
  4. No equipment necessary! It’s all about using your own body’s resistance and going at your own pace. You can do burpees anywhere. It’s what makes it such a versatile little exercise!
  5. 1,840: The Guinness World Record for most burpees performed in an hour. This was done by Paddy Doyle in the United Kingdom on Feb. 4, 1994

Performing a Burpee (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU9vmUk8jUg)

Physiology behind the Burpee

Step 1: From Standing to Squat position:

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Muscles Used:

  • Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Gluteus Maximus: contracting and lengthening at the same time (eccentrically)
  • Squatting causes knees and hips to flex and ankles are moving to dorsi flexion position.
  • Using your muscles in the back to maintain an upright position
  • Using core to prevent excessive forward bending

Step 2: From Squat to Push up or Chest to the ground position:

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Muscles Used:

  • Biceps/Triceps of arms to support upper body and elbow as you push your legs back to start the pushup
  • Quadriceps allows you to move your knee forward
  • Hamstrings and Glutes allow you to move your hips back.
  • Upper chest muscles: pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and rotator cuff all contract to keep your body off the ground.
  • Shoulder muscles: trapezius, rhomboids, serratus anterior and pectoralis minor all contract to stabilize shoulder/scapula area.
  • Rectus abdominis contract to keep core stabilized

Step 3: The actual Pushup:

Muscle Used:

  • Pectoralis major and anterior deltoid muscles contract to stabilize shoulders while performing the actual push up. 
  • Tricpes contracts allowing elbow flexion
  • Rectus abdominis stabilizes core and keeps them contracted

Step 4: From Push up to Squat Position:

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Muscles Used:

  • This is one of the worst part of the burpees. 
  • Gastrocnemius (calves) contracts allowing feet to be lifted and knees/hips rapidly flex to the squat position
  • Rectus femoris (part of your quadriceps) and hamstrings contract as well as lower part of the core to maintain upright position

Step 5: The Jump

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Muscles Used:

  • Gastrocnemius, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes all used to forcefully jump before landing on your feet and repeating the motion again and again. 
  • Back muscles and core used to stabilize the core and the back.

So when all is said and done, Burpees suck. But they suck for a reason: They really work out the whole body. Not only physically but mentally as well. It takes dedication and perseverance to really finish all 100 burpees.  Do it long enough, and you’ll definitely see some radical changes. I appreciate burpees for their potential, but I’ll still complain and curse each time I do one.

References:

1.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_(exercise)

2.http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/the-burpee-or-squat-thrust-what-this-exercise-is-and-how-to-do-it/2011/08/11/gIQAY995IJ_story_1.html

3.https://www.biodigitalhuman.com/home/

4.http://blog.spartanrace.com/muscular-analysis-of-the-burpee-wod-fundamentals/

Restaurant Review: Eola Wine Company

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Truth: I love to cook. I do. It might not appear that way, since I’ve yet to post any recipes or of anything I’ve made. But I love being in the kitchen and coming up with new dishes. I credit my mom for my love of being in the kitchen. When I was little, I would stand in a stool and watch her whip up dinner from all the freshest ingredients. And that hobby passed on to me. I experimented a lot, especially in college when I refused to be part of the freshman 15 club, and opted out of the meal plan and started cooking regularly. But as much fun cooking is, it’s always fun to give the cutting board and knife a rest, and get all fancied up for a dinner or lunch date. This weekend, my friend Margarita and I decided to get lunch after our aerial class. We decided to try Eola Wine Company  in Winter Park. It was a gorgeous day outside, and we opted to sit outside and catch as much Vitamin D as possible!

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So many choices, and everything looks so delicious. It was tough making a decision. I was stuck between the veggie and roasted chicken flat bread, and getting a veggie salad wrap. I decided to go with the roasted chicken flat bread.

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$8 mimosa sampler. Too good of a deal to pass up! 4 samples, and then you get a free full sized mimosa on the house. Yes please! The first yellow one is banana, followed by orange, and peach and finally the last red one was raspberry. I didn’t think I would like banana, but it turned out to be surprisingly really good. It beat out the orange and peach, which was really tarty, and the flavors seemed off. The raspberry was definitely the winner though.

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 I love mimosas. This may have been the best part of the entire meal. And it’s such a great deal! Especially since just one glass of mimosa was $5. This whole thing, along with your complementary full sized mimosa of your choice was only $3 more.

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On to the main part of the meal. I ended up getting the roasted chicken flatbread, filled with artichokes, and feta cheese. And let’s not forget that delicious avocado on top. The chicken was a bit overcooked and really tough and chewy, which was a disappointment. But I did enjoy the crust. It was flaky and crispy. The flatbread was definitely flavorful, and all the ingredients definitely meshed really well. I love the mediterrean flavors, and you could tell that’s what they were trying to go for.

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My friend Margarita ended up creating a salad with a steak. The salad looked delicious with the extra blue cheese. She said it was really good, and that they were great with creating her salad since hers was not one of the choices on the menu.

Eola Wine Company I would give:

  • For drinks: 5/5
  • Food: 2.5/5
  • Service: 2/5
  • Overall: 3/5

It’s a great place to just grab drinks and appetizers and catch up on a Saturday afternoon. The food is decent for it’s price. But it took a long time for everything to appear, especially since there were very few customers when we were there. We waited for almost 45 minutes for our drinks to arrive, and even later for our meal. I was with great company and it was a beautiful day outside, so I didn’t mind. But I know a lot of people can get frustrated. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were short staffed for a Saturday crowd.

Silks, Sweat & Soreness

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My friend Margarita invited me to try a aerial class with her bright and early on Saturday. I’ve never done an aerial class before, but I’ve always wanted to try it. I knew going in I was going to have a hard time, because aerial focuses so much on being graceful and a lot of upper body strength. I mean you’re literally doing pull ups on these slippery silks and trying to go as high as possible without falling down. For someone already afraid of heights, this was a tough exercise. But I definitely had fun.

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This is not as easy as it looks. My arms are so shaky. And being graceful..yeah, that’s never going to happen. Those aerial acrobats make it look so easy.

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I did a lot of swinging in class, hence all the blurriness in the pictures. It’s so hard to stay still. A lot of it has to do with tightening your core, and focusing on staying still, and controlling your movements.

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I have to say, Crossfit has definitely made my shoulders look amazing; and it has definitely helped me tremendously with my upper body strength, because otherwise this aerial class would have been impossibly challenging (it still was really difficult, but at least I could actually try some of the moves).

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My friend Margarita is a lot more better on the graceful front than I was. And our coach Sarah in the background! I love her. She’s passionate about aerial, and super encouraging. Lover her enthusiasm and kind words.

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A decent, non swinging picture! Whohoo. My shoulders were screaming in pain. And I kind of overdid it, because right after this skill, I couldn’t hold this stance much longer and ended up rotating my shoulder all the way through. Nothing popped out, and no serious injury occurred. But this activity is something you should definitely do with a professional around.

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Not sure why I’m wearing a sweater, it was hot and I was sweating after that crazy workout. Thanks lovely ladies for an awesome experience. And thanks Sarah at Northwest Dance for taking the time to teach us some aerial tricks on the silk. I can’t wait to try it again. But until then, I’m going to go soak in a hot bath. My shoulders are still sore, and its been 3 days.

Hitting the Barre

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I went to my first Barre method class. It was super AWESOME and really TOUGH! My legs are still shaky!

Gorgeous day to try a new fitness class!

Gorgeous day to try a new fitness class

What is Barre? Barre actually refers to  the stationary handrail primarily used in ballet classes for getting deeper stretches and other warm up exercises. Barre studios and exercises utilize the same principles in ballet exercises, along with a bit more yoga and pilates stretches to get a great cardiovascular and strength training workout.

Inside a Barre Studio

Inside a Barre Studio

When I heard that it was just doing a little bit of yoga and pilates, I thought no big deal, I do crossfit, I can definitely handle this. Boy was I WRONG!!. Crossfit is an intense workout that usually lasts for about 20 min max. This Barre class was 55 min of holding certain poses for some time; you could feel the pain in every single muscle fiber. My glutes were definitely feeling it after the workout and the next day.

small medicine ball, 3lb weights, and barre straps.

small medicine ball, 3lb weights, and barre straps.

We started the class with a 5-7 min warm up to awesome poppy music to get all loosened up. Then progressed to using some light weights to work out the triceps/biceps and shoulders. Note: 3lb weight may not seem heavy at all, but repetitive motions using 3lb weights can lead to shaky hands, and sore muscles. What I love about Barre is it’s not about getting bulky. Rather it’s about staying lean and getting toned. And it really is a tough workout. And I love that we had a great teacher: Debbie, who took the time to correct my form and tell me when I need to get deeper into the poses to really feel the burn! By the time we got to the actual barre to work on our hamstrings and quads, my legs were shaking.

Awesome first experience!

Awesome first experience!

Overall, I loved the experience, and I would love to come back and incorporate it into my daily fitness. Unfortunately, these classes are not cheap. My friend had given me a coupon, so I was able to try the class for free. I figure I’m only in town for another few weeks before I go on my overseas adventures, so I might wait until I come back to get on the Barre train. Some things to keep in mind if you do decide to try a barre class:

1. Wear long pants; preferably one’s that go past your knees. Shorts are not ideal.

2. Bring socks; especially the ones with traction so you don’t slip and slide too much.

3. If it’s your first time, definitely come early. The teachers go over key details in class and just what to expect.

4. Don’t forget to hydrate and bring your water bottles!

5. Have fun! 😀

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Successful first day at Barre54.

For more information about Barre exercises, check out: http://purebarre.com/p-story.html

Have a great weekend! So much work to do, and so little time!

A Healthy Eating Epiphany

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Like any college student, I experimented a lot with food. I grew up as an omnivore, and had no qualms with all the delicious food my momma prepared for me. After a year in college, and mostly due to peer pressure, I became a vegetarian. I still ate eggs, but cut out any sort of meat. Then, we decided to take it to the next level, and became vegan. I lasted a week, before I started feeling hungry all the time, and I felt very limited by options. Food didn’t become fun anymore, and it was challenging to find food in a college student budget.  Thus, I decided to become a pescatarian. Basically, I ate a lot of fish and shrimp, and eggs, but no meat. I was a pescatarian for 3.5 years, and I still maintain this lifestyle. But occasionally I have slipped and have added chicken back onto my plate. I commend vegans who are wholeheartedly dedicated to their lifestyle. It is very admirable, and definitely encourages a commitment to the healthy lifestyle.

However, not all bodies are alike. What works for one person, may not work for another individual. And just because you’re a vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating a healthy and balanced meal. My fellow Indians who are vegetarians know all too well, how unhealthy Indian food can be, even when it is all vegetarian. As a vegan/vegetarian, I could tell my body wasn’t getting enough protein and the essential nutrients. I was eating beans, and tofu, and taking my vitamin supplements, yet I still felt lethargic, and exhausted. Hence why I decided to be more open minded and flexible with what I consumed. The only thing I have definitely cut out is red meat and pork. Neither of which I ever really grew up eating nor will I ever really miss. I love food. And I believe in moderation.

But let’s be honest, here are the 4 reasons why I can’t ever really be a vegan or vegetarian.

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1. I love Salmon. Any seafood really. But I can eat salmon every day and not get sick of it. This one is marinated with lots of herbs from the garden and a little bit of olive oil.

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2. I have an unhealthy obsession with cheese. I like to think I’m making for all the lost time I use to hate cheese when I was younger. I have to exercise self control when it comes to cheese.

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3. Eggs. They’re versatile. And they’re nutritious and delicious! 😀 This is supposed to be a veggie omlette with feta cheese (I know: I have a problem when it comes to cheese).

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4. Honey. I use it as an alternative to sugar. Chai tea lattes, baking, etc. I think when it comes down to it, sugar and honey have about the same amount of glucose and maybe the same amount of calories (some say honey has more), but I feel like honey is less processed than granulated sugar.

When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, it’s great to experiment with food and find the one that works for you and your body. I know a lot of vegans who are healthy and make really delicious recipes; and I know plenty of omnivores that are just as healthy and strong. The important part is that you’re eating a balanced meal with plenty of veggies and eating the right foods to keep you happy and healthy.