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Surviving the Hunger Games

This pretty much sums up my philosophy about working out these days:


Oh, and this too:


I may or may not have that set as my actual alarm…minus the picture. My phone isn’t that fancy.

So when Theodora invited me to a Hunger Games-themed workout at Daily Burn, I was all over it. It was extra fabulous when I found out I was hangin’ with these ladies:

Laura, Ashley, Erica, Theodora, Some Sweaty Girl and Cat.

(Photo courtesy of Theodora)

Daily Burn is a customizable workout program that you can access on your computer, iPad, iPhone, etc. Not only does it personalize your workouts on a daily basis, but it helps you form a nutrition plan and connects you with other users, which obviously helps with encouragement and motivation. It’s still in its baby stages, so there are only about 33 different workout videos, but they all vary in time and purpose. So whether you want a simple quickie (TWSS) or a long, hard, sweaty beast (calm your dirty minds), you’re likely to find it here. And it suggests what type of workout you do the next day based on what you’ve been doing all week. So if you’re doing some strength work on say, Wednesday, it automatically knows to mix things up for you. If you decide you’re not feeling that video though, you can reject it and it’ll offer you a new one. Rinse and repeat until you find one you like.

Obviously they’re looking into expansion too, so more videos will be coming our way soon. Hopefully they’ll get enough user feedback so they can make the programs even more individualized, so you could plug in that you’re specifically training for a full or half-marathon, for example, and the program will take that into account too. Fingers crossed!

(Photo courtesy of Theodora)

We went through the “Animal Core” workout, led by the hilarious trainer Eitan Kramer. We’re doing the crab walk in the picture above. Who else remembers doing these in, like, second grade? No matter how many times I do them, I still feel like a little kid. We did some other hardcore moves, many involving plyometric movements, and this morning I was feeling quite tight. Makes me wonder how Rue blissfully pounced from tree to tree all the time! Anyway, it’s a good thing I had physical therapy so my trainer could streeeeetch me right out.

But if Eitan isn’t quite for you (which would mean you don’t like to laugh during your workouts, and that’s just silly itself), there are five other trainers you can choose from. Animal Core is rated on the intermediate level for intensity and lasted about 40 minutes. But again, you can choose which you like and discard others. Me? I would definitely let my pterodactyl come out to play again. Who knows, she might be able to take out a tribute or two for me.

My favorite part of the program? Most of the videos are equipment-free. And if they say you need equipment, usually a body-weight modification is available. Makes it a great tool for those constantly traveling, or those who have trouble accessing a gym (or just don’t want to). If you’re the kind who brings your iPad to the gym, it would work well for that, too. I’m way too scared to bring that puppy out, though. With my general clumsiness, that’s just asking for a broken piece of technology.

(Photo courtesy of Theodora)

We popped some bubbly afterward (something I think should happen all the time) and snacked on fruit and veggies while chit-chatting some more. It was a great night and I was stoked to meet some more NYC bloggers, most of whom I already stalked online.

I know I said I’d have D.C. plans for you, but clearly some more fun events have popped up unexpectedly that I’d rather talk about. But you will learn these plans of mine, I promise (or maybe I should stop promising things?). For now, I’m off to rest before my fun day of travel down to D.C. (that’s sarcasm). As much as I wish I was as badass as Katniss, I realize that I am not — which means I need to do everything I can so that the odds are ever in my favor.

(Photo courtesy of Theodora)

Point in case: I don’t think Katniss would ever make that face I’m sportin’. I’m not even sure Haymitch would. *shakemyhead*

Good night!

What new workouts have you tried recently? Loved it or hated it? 

Workout Windup: Sticking to Goals

Workout windup is back! Although I’m in the midst of some crazy pain problems as far as my hip and knee are concerned, I’m determined to still fit in as many workouts as my body (and doctors) will allow me. So I’m resurrecting Workout Windups on Sundays to help keep me on track. I’ll recap what workouts I completed for the week, then plan out what I’m doing the next.

Let’s get right to it, shall we? This week I…

  • Went to hot power yoga at Pure Yoga on Wednesday. My friend, Lauren, tagged along for a community event Pure was having. We selected hot power, one of my favorites and her first go at it, and then sampled some sushi after. Perfect combination! Next time I’ll remember to take a photo…
  • Ran 4 very cold and blustery miles on Sunday
  • Did a yoga DVD twice on Sunday. The only one I have in my apartment right now is a half-hour long, so I went through it twice to give me a good 60 minutes. Right now yoga seems to be the only thing I can do that leaves me completely pain-free (I haven’t tried swimming yet), so I’m going to try and incorporate that into my workouts more often.

Nothing too crazy, but I’m glad I was able to fit some sweat sessions in before heading to the many doctors I owe a visit.

This week, my plan is to listen to my body. So as long as I’m not experiencing a lot of pain, I’m going to:

  • SoulCycle on Monday morning, not going balls-to-the-wall
  • Hot power at Pure Yoga on Monday afternoon
  • Rest Tuesday
  • Yoga DVD on Wednesday
  • Strength, incline walking on treadmill on Thursday
  • Rest Friday
  • Light run on Saturday. Mileage TBD
  • Rest and/or yoga on Sunday

And there ya have it! Now I’m off to relax and watch the Golden Globes!

P.S. Did anyone else watch the football game last night? Broncos got SPANKED! Go Patriots 🙂

Now you tell me: what workouts did you do this week? And what’s on the calendar next week? 

Sharing the Birthday Love (Giveaway!)

November is a very important month. Fall season is in full force, Halloween has passed, Thanksgiving is here, Black Friday scares everyone and then Christmas season bears down on us. Despite the crazy schedules that everyone almost always has during this month, it’s my favorite month. I just love the energy that always seems to be around when November is here, the weather is perfect and people just seem happy.

Plus it’s my birthday month. That’s always a plus 😉

Celebrating my 20th a tiara and sash.

As the years go on, my birthday seems to be less and less of a big deal. I didn’t even realize how close my birthday was until last night (10 days away!) when Dustin asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted. We’re going on a New Orleans trip with Libby for the weekend to celebrate (we were supposed to be running a half-marathon but it got canceled), so I think that’s celebration enough!

However, I knew a while ago I didn’t want my birthday to pass by without sharing the love with all of you! So all of that behind-the-scenes work I was doing before? It’s finally coming to fruition. Enter the month of birthday giveaways! For the rest of the month, I have some fun giveaways lined up each week, so make sure you’re tuning in and entering for some fantastic prizes to help keep you on the healthy living train.

First up: Bondi Band!

I love these headbands so much it’s not even funny. The designs are cute, the phrases fit my personality perfectly and the thing stays put. I have an oddly shaped head (I guess?) because it’s so hard for me to find a headband that stays in the right spot when I’m running. Bondi Band is perfect. I’ve taken it on the Fifth Avenue Mile and it stuck through my sprinting efforts, and I’ve treked through the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon with it and again, it didn’t move an inch.

I recently got a second one with an even cooler saying. “Sweat is my fat crying.” Come on, isn’t that awesome? I wore the band yesterday morning while I was lifting weights and it was definitely motivational for me — I stared at it while performing my reps in front of a mirror.

In honor of my birthday celebration, Bondi Band has generously offered to give one of you lucky readers a Bondi Band of your own! You can pick out whatever design you like and it’ll be shipped over right away 🙂

To enter the giveaway, you can do one (or all) of the following:

  • Check out their designs, then come back and leave a comment here letting me know what one you’d pick!
  • Follow me on Twitter & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • “Like” me on Facebook & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • “Like” Bondi Band on Facebook & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • Follow Bondi Band on Twitter & leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
  • Tweet something along the lines of, “I entered @samanthaxrachel’s birthday giveaway of the week for a @BondiBand!” with a link to this post & leave a comment letting me know you did so.

That’s six ways to enter, giving you a whole ton of chances to win! Just make sure you leave a separate comment for each thing you do because each comment creates a new entry.

This giveaway ends Friday, November 11 at 12:00 midnight EST. Giveaway is open to U.S. readers only.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Workout Windup: Half-Marathon Training Week 2

Another week, come and gone! I don’t know about you, but time seems to be flying by faster and faster. We were hit with a cold front this week and I think it’s safe to say fall is officially here. Woohoo! Fall is my favorite season, by far. It’s so pretty, the temperatures are perfect, the fashion is fabulous and the surroundings just provide a ton of inspiration.

But I’m getting off topic…let’s get to the workouts of the week!


  • 1 strength workout
  • 1 yoga session
  • 1 spin class
  • Run 15 miles
  • 7 planks

How I fared:

Monday: Ran 3 miles

Tuesday: Spin with FITNESS staff and Biggest Loser girls, Hannah and Olivia

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Ran 5 miles

I’m really proud of this run. I hadn’t gotten in this many miles before work yet, and my mind was constantly going back and forth about backing out of the last mile, but I told myself to suck it up and just do it. I did and it ended up being a great run!

Friday: Ran 4 miles + CoreFusion strength class

Funny story: I went through my whole work day thinking I was going to yoga in the evening with Libby. I walked through the door and the instructor looked at me funny, asking “why do you have a yoga mat?” Oops. Turns out Libby signed us up for a CoreFusion class, which incorporates components from yoga, but is mostly strength training with a lot of planks. Oh well, at least I got that workout out of the way.

Saturday: FITNESS Mind, Body, Spirit Games 4.1-mile run

I snagged a PR! It felt really good to get out in Central Park and face some more hills. I’m going to try to get one run in a week over there from now on.

Sunday: Yoga + Meeting Lance Armstrong

Tested out a new DVD at home and was pleasantly surprised! It’s great for beginners and I got a great stretch in. I still prefer going to a studio because of the atmosphere, but this is definitely handy for when I can’t make class.

Oh yeah, and I met Lance Armstrong. It was his birthday and he hosted a 4-mile run to celebrate that and his 15-year anniversary since his cancer diagnosis. I didn’t run for multiple reasons, but I went and met Lance and wished him a happy birthday. Unfortunately, it was crazy busy so no pictures were taken.  He’s a really nice guy though, in case you all were wondering 😉


Miles run (this week): 16

Miles run (total): 29

Strength workouts: 1

Yoga sessions: 1

Spin classes: 1

Planks: Who knows (Only from CoreFusion..failed doing these on my own)

Celebrity meetings: 3 🙂

I call this week a success! I’m really happy with all of my workouts and my body is feeling it. Doing my best to pay attention to it and make sure I don’t injure myself. I see yoga happening more frequently in my future!

Oh, and I have some stuff in the works for a new race…when details are confirmed I’ll let you know!

How did your workouts go this week? 

Rockin’ Summer Playlist

Sweet, sweet summertime

Now that I’ve fully admitted to the fact that I really don’t enjoy winter, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m already craving summer. Actually, I’ve been daydreaming about the beach since the third week of November (yes, that’s when the bitter cold starts to seep in at Oswego). So it makes sense that music about summer tends to pump me up the most during my workouts. The pulsating beats that go along with the warm-weather lyrics syncs with my heartbeat and I always find myself running farther, spinning faster and pumping out more reps.

In the hope that winter decides to be a shorter season this year, here are some of my top workout tunes that are mostly about summer in some way or another. There’s a mix of old stuff with new and warm-up tunes with fast-flowing beats. Enjoy!

“Summerboy” by Lady Gaga — She makes it clear that she’s only interested in a summer romance, but wants to make it a summer to remember. Who can blame her?

“18 Till I Die” by Bryan Adams — Summer always makes me think of younger years.

“Boys in the Summer” by Jessie James — One of my all-time faves. I can’t help but sing every time it plays.

“DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” by Usher — Summer love found at a beach party, maybe?

“Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys — This song always reminds me of my 2010 summer.

“Endless Summer” by Cascada — Hoping that summer love will never end.

“Day ‘n’ Night” by Kid Cudi — They’re practically the same when you’re young and it’s summer.

“California Gurls” by Katy Perry — “Daisy dukes, bikinis on top.” Enough said.

“Summer Love” by Justin Timberlake — Who doesn’t want to think about J.T. with his shirt off?


“Memories” by David Guetta and Kid Cudi — This is mostly just about partying, but it has a great techno beat.

“Sexy Chick” by David Guetta and Akon — Watch this music video and you’ll understand why it makes me think of summer.

“Starstruckk” by 3OH!3 and Katy Perry — For those of you who love being single, especially during summer.

“Call N’ Return” by Hellogoodbye — Tryin’ to have fun in the sun while still missin’ someone. (Good rhymes, eh?)

“All Summer Long” by Kid Rock — Kid Rock manages to capture some of the greatest things about this season in one song.

“Boys of Summer” by The Ataris — This song is completely different from the similarly named track by Jessie James, but I love them both.

What summer tunes do you like? Are you, like me, hoping summer comes quick?