Group boxing and shadow boxing classes are so on trend right now. I scroll my IG feed and every other picture is a chick post-class with gloves up and I love it. All things women empowerment are totally my thing, but my easily inflatable arm muscles and pesky shoulder tear had kept me from latching on to this hot workout trend.
I met Ashley Guarrasi at an Adidas’ Wanderlust event in Los Angeles last month. As we ran, yoga-ed, meditated and braided our hair I had no idea she was an absolute powerhouse in the world of boxing. If it weren’t for needing to keep her face in tact for her acting and modeling career, she’d be standing opposite Ronda Rousey for the win.
After creeping on Ashley’s Snap and witnessing her take blows from clients, often men 2-3 times her size, I decided if I were to feed my curiosity about boxing, it would have to be from her.
Warm up- Jumprope. 2 rounds of 3 mins.
Shadow Boxing: She introduced me to basic punches and proper technique. We combined the punches and performed various combinations without gloves.
Boxing and Conditioning: Gloves on, baby. Alternating between throwing combinations to her on mitts and performing sets of planks, squats and push ups.
I expected that my upper body would be absolutely destroyed by the end (it was,) but I didn’t think my core and legs would get as much action as they did. My obliques fired up on every cross punch and I especially felt my core clench on uppercuts. Also, because Ashley alternated between boxing and plyometric exercises, every inch of my body had to engage. The entire session was cardio / non-stop interval training which means the hour workout packed a calorie burning punch (pun intended).
Boxing is great for the mind and body. The sweat and body fatigue was undeniable but I also had to keep my head in the game the same way I need to in a dance class. Boxing combinations are essentially choreography you have to remember. Instead of tuning out like I do when I run, I needed to dig in and engage.
Fitness X: A fitness experience for women who do more than burn calories. Adidas is always thinking outside the box. I leave all of their events having tried something new and exciting. Fitness X paired working out with three other aspects important to today’s fit woman: nutrition, design and styling. The typically sunny SoCal weather was uncharacteristically cold and the misty rain was cramping my hair-style but we pressed on 🙂
We started the day with a hour long work out led my girl Ashley Guarrasi on the Santa Monica Pier. Ashely led us through an on-your-mat circuit class combining resistance bands, plyometric training and shadow boxing. Our shivers turned to sweat and it felt amazing.
FITNESS X DESIGN
We were then led on a short run through Santa Monica to our DESIGN activity: Candle making at Stone Candle Bar. We chose our oil/scent and were instructed how to assemble our very own candle. I went full Tom Ford and combined Vanilla Cashmere and Tobacco. Our hand poured, sleek black coconut wax candles would retail for 45 big ones, so Diptique and Jo Malone better watch out.
FITNESS X STYLING
Next we ran to the STYLING activity: Succulent arrangement at The Leaf and Petal Co. The nursery looked like an enchanted dream. We were allowed to roam about and choose whatever our succulent hearts desired. Not only are succulents super on trend, they’re beyond easy to care for- water your succulent with 2 ice cubes every other week or every week if there is a drain in your pot. Using ice cubes ensure that you don’t drown the plant and that you water it slowly (as the cubes melt). Mind blown.
FITNESS X NUTRITION
Our final stop was lunch and our NUTRITION activity at True Kitchen. True Food has created a menu that is anti-inflammatory by nature. It was super fresh and we were starving so it was extra delicious. We passed herbed hummus, kale avocado dip, chopped salads and antioxidant cocktails. We chatted, laughed and bonded over loving veggies but needing more pita bread. This 3.5 hour event was jam packed. I met so many new rad women from different walks of fitness life so thank you adidas for yet another fun and adventurous event!
All of the participants received a packaged that included a full outfit to wear to the event. I lucked out with these:
Super low in carbs and packed with flavor, spring rolls seem super impressive but it’s really not that hard. I stuff mine with roasted chicken, cilantro, cucumber, sprouts, shredded carrots and avocado. I’ve also gone full veggie with flavored tofu or hard boiled eggs. Sorry for the awful video, I just uploaded my Snapchat story. Though the quality is rough it shows just how easy the process is. I’ve even had a small dinner party where I prepped a variety ingredients and let guests make their own! Pairing spring rolls with cauli-fried rice is one of my favorite fresh meals.
As a dancer, I travel a lot. Whether I am on tour with an artist, performing at a corporate event, or shooting on location, there are certain easy to pack items I bring to ensure I always have a healthy option when I can’t find something fresh. My requirement for all the items are that they be – 1. multipurpose and 2. relatively sturdy (kale chips turn to dust).
Produce Items: Unripe bananas and avocado (more durable for travel). Apples.
Other Items: Brown Rice Cakes, Instant Oatmeal packs (original or a brand that’s not loaded with sugar), Seaweed snacks, Homemade Trail mix – often almonds, sunflower seeds, dates, dried cranberries, goji berries and mulberries.
My friends at Rockit Apples sent me some of their cuties (pictured above) to try. They come stacked 5 high in a plastic tennis tube like container which made it super easy to chuck in my suitcase and backpack without further protection. The apples stood the test of travel and tasted sweet and delicious. The packaging is too much to replace my hand picked farmer’s market beauties for home, however they served their purpose flawlessly in this case.
healthy hotel room snacks and mini meals
Oatmeal with Almond Butter and Banana – Use the coffee pot on your hotel room for hot water
Oatmeal with Trail Mix
Rice cakes topped with almond butter and banana
Rice cakes with Avocado (add salt, red pepper and lemon if possible)
Avocado sushi! Slice up avocado and wrap in seaweed snacks. Surprisingly satisfying especially when you buy the wasabi seaweed.
Assortment of apple and banana slices and dates with dollops of almond butter
This pic doesn’t do these pancakes justice. They’re totally dairy and gluten free but beyond satisfying if you are missing a sweet treat breakfast. I’ve seen a ton of posts about making 2 ingredient pancakes with mashed banana and egg. I set out to make this, but got carried away and turned mine into a 5 ingredient, fiber and protein filled version.
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used vegan SunWarrior Classic Vanilla)
5 shakes of cinnamon
(1 teaspoon coconut oil for cooking)
Mash the banana with a fork until there are no chunks left. Mix in egg. Add flax and protein, mix well. Heat pan and add coconut oil. Canola oil would be fine too, however I think the coconut oil takes the flavor next level. Small pancakes (4 inch diameters) cook best. 2-3 minutes each side. This recipe yielded about 8 little guys, but don’t think you have to share 😉
I used the same pan to melt almond butter to drizzle on top instead of maple syrup. I added pomegranate, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries straight from this morning’s farmers market. Enjoy!
I use Class Pass so I take a lot of group workout classes, like a lot. I’ve been averaging about 20 per month in various fitness disciplines and a variety of studios. Jumping between various workout hot spots continuously exposes me to new workout enthusiasts and fellow fit fanatics. Though I raise my glass to anyone who is there because getting to class is half the battle, I can’t help but notice how many people are wasting their precious time and potentially hurting their bodies by not focusing on form and function. I see two extremes: People who go balls to the wall and lift the heaviest weight or use the maximum resistance no matter what, and people who float through every exercise like it’s cake completely unaware that it’s literally all wrong.
I am pretty hardcore when it comes to working out, but at the same time I am never too proud to modify. For instance, if in Pilates we’re performing a long plank series and I feel my body sagging and traps taking over, I regroup on my knees. I’ll hold my plank modified until my traps have relaxed and I can feel all the right parts working again. Similarly, if I’m performing a new squat series and my quads are burning or my lower back is pulling, I’ll stop and ask the instructor to correct me. Often it’s a minor adjustment that changes the exercise in a major way. The dancer in me has the discipline dialed in: I observe the way the correction changes how my form looks in the mirror and notice how it feels different on my body so I can apply this knowledge on my own. This is how change happens and You Kong Do It too!
Be aware of your body. Be aware of the exercise know why you’re doing it.
Listen to your instructor, your body and use the mirror to:
learn correct form and build the correct muscle
make the workout more fulfilling and enjoyable
maximize your time- you’ve made time to workout you might as well see some results
look like an athlete
photos: Nikki Dalanzo
Clothes: adidas Women
Shoes: Pure Boost adidas Women
These clothes were given to me by adidas to wear and share with you ♥
My dad grew up cooking in our (then) family restaurant called Kong Cafe (genius). I grew up on my dad’s stir fry thinking it was a recipe straight from Kong Cafe, but recently he explained, “no no no, we’d make fake ‘Chinese food’ for the customers and this is what we’d eat.” I apologize to the customers of Kong Cafe who weren’t ready for the real Chinese deal because this is bomb and with a couple of tweaks, healthy too.
Shitake Mushrooms- Fresh mushrooms are fab but sometimes it’s easier to always have these dried ones on hand. To rehydrate just soak them in a bowl of water for approximately 10 min. Drain and squeeze excess water out of them like you would a sponge.
As your mushrooms are rehydrating, chop the veggies, then line them up in the order you will cook them. The veggies that cook the fastest go in last, the longest first. Here is what we went with today:
1/2 red onion
1 red pepper
2-3 handfuls of broccolini
6 shitake mushrooms
6 leaves of bok choy (regular opposed to baby)
Also chop: 2 colves of garlic & 1 inch of ginger root
MAKE THE SAUCE
1.5 Tablespoon Cornstarch- The nutritional and caloric value of corn starch is negligible, especially when you use this little. Cornstarch gets a bad wrap because it’s highly processed. I use it so sparingly, this doesn’t bother me however arrowroot powder is a less-processed thickener that people often use in place of cornstarch.
1/4 Cup Oyster Sauce. The flavor of my youth!
1 cup chicken broth (or water for less sodium or for Veggies)
Optional: 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce or Tamari (gluten free)… add while cooking and tasting if you’d like more sodium
Optional: Sesame oil to drizzle on finished product
Cube your protein, we used chicken. Cook the chicken first wish some oil and salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
Now, we stir-fry! Since all your vegetables are organized in the order they cook in, this will be easy. Heat 2 Tablespoons of canola or coconut oil. When the pan and oil are super hot, add garlic and ginger and stir. Add onion, peppers and broccoli- cook for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms- cook for 2 minutes. Add bok choy, cook for 1 minute. Use a large spoon and back of spatula to push mixture around between each of these steps.
Add half of the sauce and let simmer for a minute. Add the second half and let simmer until the sauce has thickened to your liking. I like a more syrup-y stir-fry because it really blends well with the rice, so I let it cook down for about 5 minutes.
Drizzle with seasame oil and serve over rice. Healthify with brown rice or even cauliflower rice sautéed in coconut oil with red pepper flakes. YUM!