A Banana on a Fancy Plate

Pretty random blog post title, huh?

Last Friday, I wrote a bit about my President’s Day Weekend adventures in Vermont.  I promised you I’d break down some of the specifics of all our fun, so here’s my next installment.  And yes, it’s going to be out-of-order.  What of it?

But first, I’d like to thank all the people who pointed out the hysterical error in my original post.  Yes, I wrote Lake CHAMPAGNE instead of Lake CHAMPLAIN.  Two things:

  1. Yes, I did that by accident.  Maybe I had alcohol on the brain?
  2. No, I didn’t really think that was the name of it.

Funny mistake!  🙂

Vermont Culinary Weekend Getaway:  Saturday Morning Breakfast + Workout

Being the huge fitness nerd that I am, when I found out we were staying at the Essex, I immediately went online to check out what kind of workout options would be available to me during our stay.

This is what I found:

Our state-of-the-art fitness center features the complete line of cardio and strength equipment from Technogym, a recognized world leader in fitness and the official equipment supplier of the last four Olympic Games.  The Fitness Center at Spa at The Essex is also proud to be one of only two facilities in the world to feature the unique free-weight system designed by Precision Athletics.  Specially-designed by an orthopedic surgeon, the system allows quick and easy transition from barbell to dumbbell, saving you time and effort and allowing you to keep your focus on the reps.

The Essex also has a movement studio, perfect for yoga, Pilates, or some time for quiet reflection.

If you are interested in visiting a larger gym, take our 3 minute shuttle to our sister facility HammerFit Athletic Club, featuring HammerStrength Equipment.  Day passes are available.  Hammerfit also offers zumba, fitness, pilates and yoga classes multiple times a day.  Check out our activities calendar for more information.

That would do!

I told Tim that I only wanted to squeeze in one workout while we were there, and the other day could be my off-day.  Friday night wasn’t going to be too crazy, since we were all pretty tired and in bed by midnight after our first cooking class.  So we decided Saturday morning would be our workout time.

Before our workout, we went to The Tavern for a quick bite to eat.  We didn’t want anything too heavy, but we did need fuel to give our bodies energy before our workout!  The Tavern had a lot of healthy options to offer and of course some probably not-so-good-for-you breakfast dishes, but we didn’t want anything too filling.  So instead, we awkwardly asked our waitress if she could bring us each some wheat toast and one banana to the table with some peanut butter.  She didn’t seem pleased with our request (I mean who asks for that at a culinary resort, really?!) but she obliged.

This is what she came back with:

LOL!  Look at that whole fancy plate and setup for just a silly banana!

But this did the trick.

Side note:  I often get a lot of questions on advice and recommendations for eating healthy while at restaurants, traveling, or not making your own food.  My biggest piece of advice is to just NOT CARE.  That meaning, who cares if you ask for something that’s not on the menu?  Who cares if you mix and match salad options, or put together something that is healthy and still tasty that will make you happy?  Hence this banana & PB toast.  Maybe it sounds or looks lame, but I was a pretty happy camper after I got what I wanted.  You are the only one who will regret it later if you don’t at least try!

Moving on!

On the agenda for our workout sesh was Workout 4 from my personal training program.  This completed Workouts One, Two, and Three from that week.  Once again, all credit goes to Tina for these workout ideas.  🙂

Nerdy index card workout, pre-written from Friday morning:

Instructions for this workout:

  • Do a proper 5 minute warmup plus stretching.  I did 5 minutes on the elliptical and some active stretches.
  • Go through all strength moves shown above, in this order, one time.  Then repeat through the circuit for a second time.
  • Then it’s cardio time – do 20 minutes of steady state cardio, with your mode of choice.  Elliptical for me!
  • Finally, a 5-10 minute cooldown and more stretching.

We did have to make a few changes with this (the facility didn’t have a bosu), but I think we modified just fine!  Boy, were we sweaty by the end of this.  Maybe extra sweaty because I think we were sweating out a couple of cranberry mojitos each from Friday night?  😉

The workout facility wasn’t anything special, but it was WAY better than your typical hotel fitness room that usually has 1 treadmill and a couple of weights in it.  If I go back to The Essex, I would want to check out that yoga space as well as maybe take a class at their sister facility.  Fun!  Regardless, it was a fantastic way to start the day before lunch and shopping and touring downtown Burlington.

More Vermont adventures coming soon!

Do you ever plan workouts for when you are traveling or away for the weekend? Do you look up the available fitness facilities ahead of time?

Happy Wednesday, you guys!

Move of the Week: Sumo Deadlifts

Good morning!

Sometimes I think dead lifts sound like an intimidating move if you aren’t familiar with them.  Especially with the word “sumo” in front of them?!  Come to find out, “sumo” deadlifts are actually a more beginner version in lieu of a regular deadlift.

Here’s the breakdown on how to correctly do one.

Sumo Deadlifts

Step 1

Load the barbell and roll it against your shins.  Stand with your feet about twice shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out at an angle. Bend at your hips and grasp the center of the bar with your hands 12 inches apart and palms facing you.

Note:  Here I am still rolling that bar toward my shins – you should try to get it as close to your shins as possible!

Step 2

Without allowing your lower back to round, pull your torso back and up, thrust your hips forward, and stand up with the barbell. Squeeze your glutes as you perform the movement.

Step 3

Lower the bar to the floor, keeping it as close to your body as possible.

So what’s the difference between a deadlift and a sumo deadlift?!

  1. Works different muscles:  This version of a deadlift focuses work on the quadriceps and adductor muscles of the legs; the initial squat pose puts more of the work on the front and inside of the leg, as opposed to behind.
  2. Less back work:  This exercise may be safer for beginners.  In the sumo deadlift, there is less back involvement as you do not bend forward as much as in a standard deadlift.

And how can you incorporate a sumo deadlift into a workout?!

Check out the workout I did with these the other day!  This was the third workout from my four-week customized personal training plan from Tina Reale over at Best Body Fitness.  If you missed Day One and Day Two from Week 1, make sure to check them out too!

Pyramid Strength Sets + 20 Minute HIIT Cardio Intervals


  • Perform a light 5 minute dynamic warmup.
  • Go through entire Pyramid Strength Set series.  Start with a light to moderate weight for the first set.  For each following set, the reps will decrease and you should increase the weight you use accordingly.  For my class takers – I used heavier weights for these exercises than I normally do in class since it’s less reps!
  • Finish workout with the 20 minute HIIT Cardio Intervals.  This can be done with cardio of your choice, I opted for the elliptical!

This kicked my butt, ESPECIALLY the cable leg extensions.  And I thought the sumo deadlifts would be the culprit, ha!

See my Tweet?  I just had to let Tina know.  🙂

Ever done a deadlift or sumo deadlift before?  Are there any moves out there that sound scary or intimidating to you?  Or, were you ever nervous to try a move and then come to find out it’s not that bad?

Have a fabulous day, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win four free boxes of cheesesticks!  They are all natural and yummy.  I’m announcing the winner tomorrow!!