What better way is there to kick off a Saturday than with a race in Central Park?
How about hanging out with my co-workers at FITNESS, my Biggest Loser ladies, Hannah and Olivia (and her husband Ben!), and finally meeting my man, Bob Harper!
I’d say that’s a pretty awesome morning. We even snagged a shot of Bob laughing because some lady decided to cut right in front of us as a bunch of press people were taking our photo.
Isn’t he a cutie?! I sure think so. He’s even cuter in person than he is on the show.
So I hung out with them all morning, right up until 9:50 when my race was about to start! Then me and the fashion girls Marla and Argy scooted off to our corral, and editor Bethany met up with us too! After a few words from our fabulous editor-in-chief Betty Wong, we were off and running!
And run I did. I was determined to set a PR — well, it was impossible not to because I haven’t officially signed up for a 4-mile race before, just ran in them at school without signing up…shhh. But that’s beside the point. The point is that I ran my little heart out while professing my love for Ali and sweat.
Why this picture is now on the Internet at least twice, I don’t know. I should have smiled. But I guess this is my game face. Blech.
The first two miles flew by and I was clocking good speed (for me) on the trusty Garmin. The rolling hills came on mile three, but some good tunes and awesome spectators kept me groovin’ along. I had three people yell to me, “Nice shirt, we love Ali!” during mile three. Guess I’m not the only fan 😉
I kept my pace consistently between 8:45- and 9-minute miles, only dropping down to 9:15 once or twice on a hill. I’m proud of that because I usually maintain around 9:30. There’s just something about races that really keeps the legs pumping. The race was 4.1 miles long and I officially crossed the finish line at 36:41! Here are my splits according to Garmin:
- Mile 1 –> 9:07
- Mile 2 –> 8:58
- Mile 3 –> 9:06
- Mile 4 –> 8:55
- Mile 5 (.1) –> :42
Dustin met me after the race and we hung out with the gang some more, then headed down to Union Square to run a few errands. We picked up some goodies at the farmer’s market and I loved seeing all the fall stuff out for sale! Return of the pumpkins…
Libby is convinced she’s going to force me to like them. Stay tuned on that one.
Then I was starving, so Dustin and I found a new-to-us pub to grab some sandwiches. Once we were seated at Heartland Brewery, I knew exactly what I wanted.
The Cajun Crab Cake Sandwich was dee-li-cious ! Especially the sweet potato fries. Dustin doesn’t like them, so I don’t have them very often. Man, they were good. Dustin really liked the decor, and he had a perfect view of the Yankees game. That makes him a happy camper.
After a shower and cat nap, I’m ready to cook some more grub. Dustin’s currently at the grocery store getting stuff for us to cook meatloaf, and then we’ll settle in to watch the Syracuse football game. Go Orange!
Did anyone else run the MBS race this morning? Send me links to your recaps! And what celebrity have you always wanted to meet? Seriously, Bob was at the top of my list!
The other day Libby and I exercised our rule to test out a new restaurant per week. We’ve been really good about following our respective budgets, and we haven’t even been dining out every week like we originally set our limits at. But after some time at the farmer’s market, our tummies started rumbling and we decided to check out a new-to-us Mexican restaurant with some friends.
Welcome to El Cantinero near Union Square, my friends.
We got a table in their garden rooftop, which was nice and breezy on the warm summer day we were having. I love all of the decorations and I love that it was in a garden, as opposed to another plain ole’ rooftop. This one had some spunk and I liked it 🙂
I also liked the company I had with me.
Shh…Libby says she loves making appearances on my blog. I keep telling her to start one herself so we can show her some love too!
We also had some of Libby’s really good friends, Jane and Darly, join us.
We kicked off the meal by ordering a pitcher of sangria to share. I love sangria simply because I love eating the fruit after my glass is empty. Am I the only one?
Either way, we all thought the sangria was delicious. We each had two glasses and left fully content.
Our food was good too! It wasn’t the best Mexican food I’ve had in my entire life, but it satisfied my cravings and the price was just right.
I ordered a beef taco with rice and black beans. The meal originally came with refried beans, but I swapped those out. I tried to switch my cheesy rice out for brown rice, but for some reason they wouldn’t let me. That’s my only real complaint. But I gobbled up the rice anyway. Love me some rice.
The other girls also ordered tacos and enjoyed their meals just as much. The waiter was really accommodating for Libby’s diet restrictions (no dairy) and she got exactly what she wanted too. We’ll be back!
In other news, I got to spin with two of my favorite Biggest Loser girls again tonight, with one of my all-time-favorite instructors, Jenny!
The FITNESS staff took a little field trip to SoulCycle to spin with our September cover girls. We were able to bring along some readers too, and I finally got to meet Theodora, Margo and Jess in person! Unfortunately, I didn’t snag a photo. Bad blogger. Next time, I promise! But the class was still awesome. Jenny knows what beats to play and she won my heart when she played a Backstreet Boys throwback to tackle a hill. Holla at my boy bands!
Anyone else love boy bands? I still can’t get enough of the Backstreet Boys, and am not ashamed to admit I still listen to N*SYNC and NKOTB now and again.
Happy August! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and is ready to kick off August on a great note! I know I sure am…but man, where did summer go?! I can’t believe how fast it’s flying by. Why does summer seem to disappear so quickly when winter always drags on? I’m not a fan.
Anyway, I thought I’d share some fabulous things that I did over the weekend. First up, my Friday morning at SoulCycle.
I went to the Sports Bra Challenge in Union Square for the 9:30 a.m ride. To give you the short summary, I’ve always been terrified of working out in just a sports bra. I always think I’ll be judged and am just not confident enough in my own skin to get my sweat on sans tank top. With the help of instructor Jenny Gaither, Biggest Loser season 11 winner Olivia Ward and her sister, runner-up Hannah Curlee, I put my fears aside and rode it out with a whole room full of women who were only wearing sports bras!
It was fantastic. Invigorating, inspiring, energetic, motivational. I could go on and on describing this class. The energy pulsating throughout the room was insane. The music was perfect. Jenny was incredible. Everything about this class was great. I haven’t pushed myself this hard in a class before (seriously, I left sooo much sweat on the bike) and I felt so accomplished and beautiful at the end.
If you want to check out my full recap, you can read my blog post about it for FITNESS.
After my class I hopped on a bus with Dustin and made my way to Oswego for the annual Harborfest festival! A bunch of my college friends were up visiting for the weekend and Bare Naked Ladies were playing a free concert, so I was able to have a ton of mini-reunions, listen to great throwback music, and stay with my old roomie Meghan! Thanks for housing us, Meghster!
Meg and I go way back. We lived right next door to each other freshman year and became fast friends. After that, we were roommates for three years! We lived together in the dorms for sophomore and junior years, then moved off campus with a third roomie (Kayleigh!) senior year. We’ve made a ton of memories, this girl and I!
It really was great to be away from technology for the weekend and just enjoy being around friends for the weekend. I got back to my country roots for a bit and soaked in all of the nature. Being back by lake Ontario was awesome too.
The weather was perfect summer weather! I spent the majority of my time outside and soaked in my fair share of rays (with SPF). I even enjoyed the three fabulous B’s.
Harborfest is also extremely well-known for their fireworks display. Seriously, they rival the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show in NYC. I was at both this year and honestly, Harborfest won this time around. Sorry New York, I love you, but I have to be honest!
I ran some errands on Sunday, visited some more friends, then boarded another bus back to the city. After an extremely frustrating trip back, I happily collapsed into my bed. Overall though, it was a glorious weekend. Many great memories were made and I’m so glad I went.
What fun things did you do this weekend? Can you believe it’s August already? I’ll have a goals post up tomorrow!
Guess who went spinning with Brett Hoebel this morning? This girl did!
Side note: I told you I’d bring you some sweaty goodness today. I’m the sweaty, he’s the goodness.
As you already know, I’m a huge fan of The Biggest Loser and absolutely loved watching Brett on the show every week in season 11. I love that he has a strong science background and his experience with Capoiera (a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts and dance) was fascinating and definitely brought a new element to the show. I was extremely disappointed when they revealed that Anna Kournikova would be joining next season, effectively replacing Jillian Michaels, Brett and Cara Castranova. I just don’t think she should be on the show because she is not a certified trainer. It’s clear that this decision was based on an attempt to improve ratings.
Anyway, Brett came to a SoulCycle class and then he hung out with Jenna and I for a bit (he’s friends with her). He’s a total sweetheart and very humble. I loved chatting with him and learning more about his career path. My final opinion: he’s a great guy and I really hope he succeeds in whatever he decides to do. Not to mention he’s very, very easy on the eyes!
The rest of the day was filled with work and yummy eats. My lunch was a whole wheat pita layered with hummus, cucumbers, feta cheese and chickpeas. Delicious! I followed it up with a strawberry Chobani.
I plan on having that lunch again tomorrow.
On to fashion shot number two! I wore another new dress to work today and quickly realized this is going into my favorites pile.
Isn’t it cute? I love the pattern.
I’m off to bed to try and get a good amount of sleep before another spin class tomorrow morning (lots of spinning this week)! Have a great night!
If you could work out with any celebrity, who would it be and why? I’ve met Brett and Jillian Michaels, so now I need to get my hands on Bob Harper!
Hey, everyone! A lot of you have seen it already, but welcome to the completely new design of Check My Pulse! I hope you’ll find it more fun to look at and easier to navigate. I’ve been working hard to bring the new design to y’all after some personal dissatisfaction with the blog, and I’m more than happy with the product I now have to present.
The first thing you may have noticed is the name change. Formerly known as The Pulse, I switched over to a lengthier version for multiple reasons. Mainly, I was never completely sold on just The Pulse. I wrestled with a title for a really long time while creating the blog and ended up with The Pulse because it was the best I could come up with at the time. I thought it was creative, yes, but it just didn’t jump out at me. I was afraid of being forgettable.
After awhile, Check My Pulse kept popping into my head because:
- It was my URL with .wordpress.com attached to it. I wasn’t able to get http://www.thepulse.wordpress.com or http://www.checkthepulse.wordpress.com (and many other variations), so I resorted to checkmypulse.wordpress.com.
- It was lengthier and more catchy.
- I was more interested in that blog title than simply The Pulse.
I’ve also bought my own domain! I got rid of the pesky .wordpress.com addition and bought a domain to give my blog its very own home. Not to mention it’s easier for people to just remember checkmypulseblog.com than checkmypulse.wordpress.com. As a journalist, I also like to believe that having my own domain provides a bigger sense of professionalism than not having one. So, it’s a win-win for me.
There are a lot of other tweaks that I gave the blog, including the theme design I was operating under. I’m hoping these changes make my little corner of the blog-o-sphere more eye-catching and give you more access to the entire site.
This makeover has made me more excited for the year to come. I plan on continuing to develop the blog and have some exciting adventures planned for us!
Speaking of makeovers, did anyone catch tonight’s episode of The Biggest Loser? It was Makeover Week!
The show’s producers were even kind enough to bring in one of my favorite Project Runway pals, Tim Gunn!
Gunn was dubbed the contestants’ “Fairy Godfather” as he worked with celebrity hair stylist Ken Paves to give them a head-to-toe makeover. He also granted each contestant three wishes (total).
- Complete makeover.
- Visit with family.
- Erase the yellow elimination line.
Talk about the best Fairy Godfather ever! The contestants got pretty much everything they could have asked for in that episode (short of winning the show) and didn’t have to face an elimination. Kudos, Mr. Gunn, Kudos.
Guess I wasn’t the only one ready to reveal a makeover tonight!
Now you tell me: What do you think of the blog makeover? Is there anything else you’d like to see? And did you catch The Biggest Loser? If so, which contestant got the best makeover?
Week four of season 11 of The Biggest Loser has passed and it’s been a whirlwind of a show. A team of unknown trainers have been revealed, game play has gone on and pounds have been added in unbelievable amounts. Looking to catch up? Here are a few highlights:
The producers brought in two new trainers to replace Jillian Michaels after this season. Recently revealed as Brett Hoebel and Cara Castronova, the two took a team of players to Fitness Ridge, which is the training camp for the Unknowns team (All players who opted for the Unknowns received four weeks of immunity from elimination). Hoebel is famous for his holistic approach to fitness and his experience in Capoeira and Muay Thai kickboxing. He’s definitely a looker, just like Bob Harper, but doesn’t seem to be as hard-core as the Bob and Jillian combo.
Castronova is a two-time Golden Glove champion and her main focus is boxing, which is good because Jillian is always the one seen doing the boxing. She appears to enjoy putting the contestants through boot-camp style workouts when they’re not boxing. Thus far, the Unknowns have been doing a great job shedding weight, but it was just revealed that their meals are cooked for them to fit exactly into their caloric intake regime and they don’t have to clean up after themselves. Talk about spoiled!
The contestants are competing as couples this season and my favorite is the Aqua team, Courtney and Marci. Courtney is a 22-year-old who was inspired by The Biggest Loser to lose 112 pounds at home, bringing her back under the 400 mark. At the start of the show she weighed in at 323 pounds and has been shedding ever since. She seems to be the most determined of them all, doesn’t partake in game play and is inspiring to watch. With an optimistic attitude, you never know what this girl is going to achieve! I’m really rooting for her to be the big winner, er, loser.
Temptations have begun on the Ranch, this week in the form of the contestants favorite foods. Each player had to confront their favorite dish — from mac n’ cheese and cheesecake to pizza and fried chicken — and decide whether or not they would compete. Whoever ate the most calories got to choose which team would be sent to the Unknowns camp for the week. Arthur (blue team) was the only contestant to participate and sent the green team packing. I give this bunch major kudos for denying all of the temptations and food-taunting they’ve faced this season — they’re really proving that they are here to change their lives.
Game play still hasn’t left the building, though. The black team, twins Don and Dan, did a phenomenal job of throwing the weigh-in last week. Both stepped on the scale to reveal a nine-pound weight gain per person! I know twins are often in sync, but even when you’re throwing a weigh-in?! Dan was sent home, which was the best idea because he was extremely homesick, while Don faced the wrath of Bob and Jillian this week.
Unfortunately, Don didn’t fess up to throwing the weigh-in and instead acted out an f-bomb filled show, denying that he gained weight on purpose. Nobody believes him, so why not fess up? People would have more respect for him if he just said, “Yeah, I did it” and then moved on.
This week’s episode was cut short due to the State of the Union address, so there was no weigh-in or elimination. Next week’s teaser shows that someone gained six pounds! Honestly, what a slap in the face to Bob and Jillian. I have a feeling it’s going to be Don, but we’ll have to wait until next week!
Have you been watching The Biggest Loser? Who’s your favorite team?
P.S. Fellow blogger Jen, from The Biggest Loser Blog for phillyburbs.com, found this awesome video of a girl, Emily Skaar, rapping a potential number for the opening credits. Talk about creativity!
As an obsessed magazine subscriber and purchaser, I constantly forage through as many as I can get my hands on to study layout, design, and of course, look for good content. While I read about 15 different titles a month, there are a few favorites that I always make sure to read cover-to-cover. Of course, they’re all health and fitness related! So, what did we learn this month? Here are three top things I picked up, one from each issue.
1. We have the right to bare arms.
If you couldn’t tell yet, I’m a huge fan of Bob Harper, a personal trainer on The Biggest Loser. I love his personality, the way he connects with clients, and the workouts are sheer torture. I have all of his latest workout DVDs and each one is a doozy. FITNESS created an awesome upper body workout from various moves on Bob’s DVDs, and many of them I never would’ve thought of doing on my own. I’ve done it myself a few times and ran my clients through it, and so far they all love it! No hiding my arms in bulky sweaters this winter!
Added bonus: FITNESS’ Karla Walsh interviewed Bob to get the scoop on his vegan lifestyle and shared healthy eating tips with us!
2. The average smoker inhales 425 cigarettes a month, according to Self.
Wow. And ew. That’s all I can really say. Luckily, Self had a lot more to say. Catherine Ryan wrote a great article that digs into a person’s “smoking personality,” gave them tips to quit, and provided some myth busters. Did you know that the average smoker spends $1,408 a year on smoking? In today’s economy, the cost of cigarettes alone should be reason enough to quit.
Self also gave 10 reasons to quit, most of which I didn’t know before. If you don’t want to quit for you, do it for your favorite pets! Secondhand smoke can lead to them developing cancer. Want to have kids someday? Smokers have a greater risk for infertility. This article is full of interesting information — I immediately texted my smoker friends and told them to go buy it.
3. The average supermarket carries 46,852 items, and Women’s Health scoured the aisles to find 125 of the best packaged food for women. Now I don’t have to search through everything! I don’t know about you, but I hate the fact that grocery shopping takes me about two hours to complete whenever I’m buying a lot of stuff. There are so many labels to read and prices to compare. And I’m still a college student — I have homework to finish, meetings to attend, and work to do! Women’s Health did a great job of narrowing things down for me so I know which packages to not even give a second glance.
The categories are broken into “sweets & treats,” “breads & cereals,” “condiments,” “pasta & rice,” “snacks, crackers & chips,” “frozen meals,” “drinks,” “fruits & veggies,” “soups,” “dairy,” and “meat & seafood.” Phew, I think they’ve got it all covered! I’m not going to list everything they have, but let me just say, I’m glad they have Emerald’s Trail Mix – Tropical Blend and Campbell’s Select Harvest Light Italian-Style Vegetable Soup — they’re both staples in my house. Now that I have this list, I bet I’ll be able to transition my boyfriend over to some healthier meals!
Each magazine has a ton of other great articles (FITNESS’ “Power Surge,” Self‘s “Lose weight like a guy” and Women’s Health‘s “Is your health on the line?”), so make sure you go out and snag a copy!
Have you read these issues yet? What did you like about them?
On the latest episode of The Biggest Loser, the contestants were whisked away to one of the boot camps for the U.S. Marines. The contestants, still split into teams of black and blue, raced through an intense obstacle course and the first ones to finish received a phone call from home.
Who did you root for?
Personally, I root for team blue during every challenge and at every weigh-in. Not only because Aaron Thompkins, my favorite contestant, is on that team, but also because the black team is way too into game play and they whine all the time. Brendan Donovan makes me angry when he tries to act completely innocent, and the same goes for Frado Dinten when he apologizes at the weigh-in before the scale even shows his current weight. Not to mention Brendan’s new bald head isn’t flattering in the least bit.
Sorry for my rant there, but I needed to get that out of my system.
Needless to say, team blue came out on top and they received their coveted phone calls. After being cut off from everybody in their lives for more than six weeks, I’d say all of the contestants deserve to talk to their loved ones. But alas, it’s still a game, so dangling phone calls as a prize only pushes the contestants to work harder. Watching Aaron talk to his adorable little boy and Lisa Mosley choke up while she talked to her little ones was so heart-wrenching; it makes me cry nearly every time. It truly is the icing on the cake –no pun intended.
While the contestants spent their week with the Marines, they faced another challenge: they didn’t have any control over what they ate. There was no way for them to measure their portions or stay away from certain foods because they had to eat what was given to them. As a result, three of the contestants gained weight at the weigh-in, and the rest lost less than five pounds. Aaron was the only one who lost a massive amount of weight still, adding 14 pounds to his total weight loss (Another reason he’s my first pick to win). Jillian Michaels was surprisingly nice about it and blamed the circumstances the contestants were under, but Bob Harper was clearly pissed. Hopefully we’ll see both trainers kick some major butt in the gym next week.
The black team lost the weigh-in and were forced to eliminate another player from their team. It was obvious that game play and alliances were put into action during this time. Elizabeth Ruiz, who has never lost more than five pounds in a week and is never a valuable asset in the challenges, allows Brendan and Frado to shelter her, just like her brothers did when she was growing up. It never allowed her to gain strength and stand up for herself, and now it lets her slide by from week to week without actually changing her life.
As a result, Anna Wright was sent home. Yes, she also struggles during the challenges, but she works hard and needs to be there to work through emotional and mental issues — her three-year-old son died from cancer and she never fully allowed herself to heal. Talk about a big cry for help to focus on yourself and finally heal from something so traumatic. Unfortunately though, Frado and Brendan are very persuasive and sent Anna packing.
What did you think about this week’s episode? I’d love to hear from people rooting for the black team! Which contestant would you like to win?
One of my favorite holidays arrived: National Dessert Day!
Ok, it’s not really my favorite holiday, but it deserves a lot of credit! Too many people spend their days counting every single calorie and worrying over their figures. But the first thing you need to understand is that you are beautiful! I know it sounds cheesy, the whole “beauty is on the inside thing,” but that’s where it starts. If you’re not confident about yourself, then you’re not going to look attractive to anyone, no matter how much you workout or how much you watch what you’re eating.
I fully believe in desserts and don’t believe anyone should deprive themselves. Girls are especially prone to crave sweets more than men, so don’t cut yourself off from that piece of chocolate! All you have to do is enjoy in moderation. Have a scoop of ice cream instead of five. Better yet, try frozen yogurt! It’s usually just as tasty and slashes the calorie count nearly in half.
Be mindful of what you’re eating. If you enjoy something sweet, you can usually find a healthier version that will help you keep your calorie-count in check. So in honor of National Dessert Day, here are a few healthy dessert options I turn to when experiencing a severe sweet tooth:
1. Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches
These delicious treats taste just as good as “normal” ice cream sandwiches, but only register 140 calories. They come in a variety of flavors, like chocolate peanut butter, strawberry shortcake and cookies n’ cream. I enjoyed the traditional vanilla ice cream sandwich today, settled between two chocolate wafers.
2. Low-Calorie Cupcakes
After watching episode four of The Biggest Loser, I can’t stop craving Curtis Stone’s 100-calorie yet oh-so-delectable raspberry frosted cupcakes. The secret: you don’t use any butter! Replace white flour with wheat flour and use pureed raspberries instead of sugar-concentrated frosting, and you’ve drastically reduced the calorie count but kept the great taste! NBC provided Stone’s full recipe, and I can’t wait to taste-test it myself! (Psst: Stone also gave NBC 14 other healthy recipes to try!)
Who doesn’t love this childhood treat? I remember gorging on this when I had my wisdom teeth taken, out and I turn to it when I have strep throat and need a break from chicken noodle soup. Jello only has 80 calories, so feel free to toss a dollop of fat-free whipped topping on top. Two tablespoons will add 20 calories and you’re entire snack is only 100 calories!
What’s your favorite healthy dessert to munch on? I have a pretty big sweet tooth, so I’m willing to give it a try!
The stakes are rising on The Biggest Loser and temptations have been presented to the contestants. If you haven’t seen previous seasons, temptations are an optional challenge that involve food and allow the players to opt into game play. However, every contestant is allowed to decide whether they want to play. If they do decide to play and they win, a source of power is granted to them, such as immunity or a one-pound advantage at the weigh-in.
For the first temptation of the season, the players were offered cupcakes. But they weren’t boring chocolate or vanilla cupcakes that don’t really entice anyone. No, there were about 400 cupcakes of various sizes, colors and decorations. I’m not a huge fan of cupcakes and even I thought these looked delicious, much like the ones from Crumbs Bake Shop (Warning: If you are ever near a Crumbs, walk quickly in the other direction because once you have one it is difficult to resist the rest because they are all different and delectable!)
Adam, Rick, Jesse and Elizabeth played in the temptation. Adam and Rick competed closely with one another, but Adam won out in the end. Unfortunately, his victory was earned to the tune of 1,350 calories (only three cupcakes!). He still has his one-pound advantage disc, so it will be interesting to see how long he hangs on to it!
With temptations comes more game play on The Biggest Loser. After Adam won, Brendan Donovan, 32, made it his mission to put a target on Adam’s back and side as many people as he could against him. He pressured Ada Wong, 27, into a pact to vote Adam off the show once he falls below the line. Donovan also brought three others into the pact, convincing them that Adam will have too much power if they don’t get rid of him.
Now, I understand game play is a part of the show and it’s automatically integrated when there is $250,000 on the line, but come on! Leave the guy alone, he busts his butt in the gym and is terrified he’s going to die like his mom. If he deserves to be there and he’s losing weight, then don’t get rid of him because you’re scared. Man up and have a higher percentage of weight loss than him. Simple as that.
It’ll be interesting to see what other temptations The Biggest Loser producers throw at the contestants. What’s the hardest temptation for you to turn down?