Tag Archives: working out sucks!

First Restaurant Visit of 2012: La Petite France

Happy Hump Day! For me it’s more like a Thursday because I’m taking this Friday off work, but not for a fun reason (hate you, wisdom teeth). Had a bit of a bummer yesterday when my favorite spin class was full – got to the gym a bit later than I usually do on Tuesdays. The combo of New Year’s Resolutioners and weather that’s too cold for outdoor workouts always makes spin hard to get into at my gym until about March or so. Hope I have better luck next time, but I got a class in this past Sunday that was great, so all is well!

Ended up doing the Step Mill, my go-to machine for an efficient HIIT workout. I worked my way up to Level 16 speed intervals for the first time recently, and always do 30 minutes, so I wanted to push it and see if I could do 40. Felt like I was gonna die by the end, but I did it! Magazines are SO helpful (and the evening news during the fast intervals, when I’m climbing so fast there’s no chance in hell of me reading a single word).

If you want some cardio machine reading ideas, Diva on a Diet might be able to recommend “Working Out Sucks!” to you, since she won it recently in my giveaway. Thanks for the shout-out, girl!

Workout talk done, now who’s hungry?!

Of course I had to start 2012 with a visit to a newish-to-me restaurant on New Year’s Day, right? The star of today’s post is La Petite France Bakery & Cafe of West Hartford, CT (conveniently located on Farmington Ave, right by Blueback Square). I call this place “newish” because I did have a chance to sample one of their indulgent plain croissants at Bethany’s holiday brunch last month! After one bite I knew I would need to make my own visit, since I am a self-proclaimed cafe-enthusiast.

Remember these? Plain, chocolate, and almond croissants.

My good friend Kelly has been away at law school in Michigan all semester, and after we figured out that between our schedules our only day to meet up while she was home on winter break was New Year’s Day, we knew we had to make a date. We frequented Starbucks and Cafemantic at UConn together, so a cafe seemed an appropriate choice for a lunch spot!

I loved the exterior of the cafe from the very start. I’ve never been to Europe but it certainly looked authentic to me! I was totally starved after a good Stair Master session at the gym, so lunch sounded great to me. Of course the pastries looked incredible…but at lunch time, I’m always craving savory.

It didn’t take long at all for me to decide what I wanted. I was sold when I saw a build-your-own salad option, with an ingredients list that included some of my favorite creative salad best ingredients!

I love the casual setup of the coffee prep table!

I ordered a mixed greens salad with prosciutto, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and balsamic vinaigrette. I couldn’t believe that the salad was one price, meaning I could add a ton of ingredients and get a more-interesting-than-chicken meat option, for a completely affordable price! The salad also came with a crusty piece of baguette.

This salad was so, so wonderful. The prosciutto was out of this world and the dressing was one of the best balsamic dressings I’ve ever had. The baguette was perfect, nice and crusty just the way I like them, and the veggies were abundant.

Of course, seeing as we were at a cafe, we had to get our caffeine on. When I saw that LPF has mugs for their coffee and espresso drinks, I was even more excited!

Jealous of Kelly's cute mug.

I selected my usual nonfat cafe au lait sprinkled with cinnamon, and Kelly got a cappuccino, which looked perfectly foamy.

I would love the chance to come back to La Petite France and do some studying sometime. The atmosphere is exactly what I work best in.

The cafe is also very active on social media. We’ve been known to trade a few tweets, and they even linked to my post about the croissants on their Facebook!

I will definitely be back to La Petite France Bakery & Cafe. A welcome addition to West Hartford Center!

When was the last time you pushed yourself extra in a workout?

Have you ever been to a French cafe – or France?!

Anytime Fitness Review and Giveaway: Working Out Sucks!

You’re probably confused by this post’s title, right? Read on!

There are plenty of reasons why being a FitFluential Ambassador is awesome. A supportive community, plenty of health advice, blogging tips…I could go on forever. Another perk is getting the chance to interact and work with fitness and nutrition-related brands, which just so happens to be my passion and dream career. Thanks to FitFluential, my dreams are coming together already!

There’s a new gym in town, literally. Anytime Fitness, a 24/7 health club, just opened a new location in my hometown of Glastonbury, CT. In fact, my friend Kelly, a fellow social media enthusiast, just joined with her mom! I haven’t had a chance to check out the facility, but she had nothing but good things to share. With her membership she received three personal training sessions, two of which she has used already. She adored her trainer! Her mom (they joined together and got couple’s pricing – how cool is that?) did not have as good of a personal training experience – her assigned trainer seemed less personable and a bit too “hard-core” in her attitude. However, Kelly and her mom both love the look and feel of the gym so far. She even told me about a virtual classroom in which members can select classes anytime (even spin classes – a bike can be wheeled into the room) so that group-fitness lovers, like me, can do a variety of instructed workouts on their own schedules!

The owner of the Glastonbury facility, Andrew Breton, is also a fellow UConn alum (and a CPT himself)! If you live in the area,  you can sign up for a free 7-day pass online.

Now I’ll explain the post’s title. The CEO of Anytime Fitness, Chuck Runyon, has written a sassy, tell-it-like-it-is book called Working Out Sucks! This 224-page paperback also has an important tagline on the cover – “(and why it doesn’t have to)”. The book is about the reasons why working out sucks, the excuses we all make for not taking care of our own health, why those excuses don’t matter, and ways to start changing your lifestyle that are simple and small. Runyon is also joined by Brian Zehetner (MS, RD, CSCS), who offers nutrition and fitness plan advice, and Rebecca Derossett (MSW), who offers advice on beating the psychological challenges that stop so many from adding movement and nutrition into their lives.

Chuck Runyon and co-founder Dave Mortenson, courtesy of FranchiseChatter.com.

Chuck Runyon starts by naming pretty much every excuse one could come up with for not working out, and then shooting it down in anywhere from one to three pages. No long, scientific explanations, just simple a simple “these are the facts” mentality. He does a very good job poking holes in the excuses, including some holes that I had never thought of myself. I recognized many of the reasons I used to cite for skipping a workout when I had just started my fitness journey and was going to the gym regularly for the first time in my life. Sometimes he sounds downright harsh – after all, we are all human, and I think that if a few of these excuses “win” and serve as the justification for a missed workout every so often, it’s really not a big deal in the overall scheme of things. However, the book is targeted to those who are just starting a fitness routine, so their “bigger picture” probably doesn’t contain an overall already-active lifestyle. If excuses are your problem (even if only occasionally for the already-active readers out there), this section is worth a read for some good mental tools you can store away to fight those excuses when they start creeping into your mind.

Rebecca Derossett’s psychology-focused section, which comes next, is also helpful in regards to the mental roadblocks that may get in the way of living a healthy lifestyle. She certainly has the education and expertise to back up her advice and tips. However, her section is not quite as relate-able (and not nearly as sassy!) as Runyon’s. Those who do not enjoy his tell-it-like-it-is writing style may enjoy Derossett’s writing more, though it is not gentle by any means! Her section also contains a lot of very inspiring success stories from a variety of Anytime Fitness members. That variety is key, because the number of readers who can relate will increase.

I consider myself a foodie first, so I was really interested in what Brian Zehetner had to say about nutrition and how those without much knowledge of or experience with it could make beneficial changes. He addresses important subjects like the carb debate, fiber’s benefits, protein needs, healthy fats, water intake, and supplements. Zehetner breaks down each subject and gives a very clear-cut bottom line. I think that’s what’s missing in a lot of nutrition advice, so I was impressed by that.

He also authors the next section, about what kinds of fitness (and how much of it) readers should be doing. The message is simple: movement is beneficial. It doesn’t have to be your typical exercise. Getting up and walking is a start for some, and that’s perfectly fine. I like that this book didn’t focus on just a “workout plan”. The message was really to just move – there are a whole lot more ways to do that than there are on a list of what you can do at a gym! That fact makes the message more attainable, something that could reassure those that were put off by Runyon’s feisty start to the book. Zehetner stresses the importance of stretching, something I know that many of us, no matter how active we already are, can do more of. I know I could! It’s nice to see that the typical “calorie-scorcher” areas of fitness aren’t the only one being promoted here.

The final portion of “Working Out Sucks!” contains a very useful, realistic 21-day fitness and nutrition plan – essentially, it’s a collection of “sample days” that gives great ideas for workouts and options for each kind of meal or snack. Someone new to fitness could simply find a day with a cardio plan, and follow it. A ravenous snacker could keep to book by his or her side and refer to the last section for endless healthy snack alternatives. Those who have been working out for awhile could even refer to the workouts as a source of a new routine (always good to change it up!), and healthy eaters who are getting bored of their go-to meals can use the back pages for new food ideas. I really like that rest days are incorporated into the plan. This serves as a reminder to dedicated fitness buffs that rest is OK – I know I need that reminder a lot (not saying I’m a buff or anything ;-))

Overall, I found this book to be a useful, to-the-point tool for relatively inexperienced readers who are looking for solid advice on how to eat well and work out. A lot of confusion that’s probably out there regarding “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” is cleared up. The tone may not be for everyone, but can definitely be used as effective motivational self-talk against those pesky excuses!

Lucky for you guys, I have three copies of “Working Out Sucks!” to give away! Entering is easy – just comment and tell me an excuse you’ve used in the past to get out of working out (mandatory). For an additional entry, you may tweet “I entered to win the @AnytimeFitness book #WorkingOutSucks from @CaitPlusAte! http://wp.me/p1SfTW-nR” and leave a separate comment saying you did so or the second entry won’t count! US readers only please. Giveaway will be open until this Friday 1/6/12 at 11:59PM EST. GOOD LUCK!

Also, please join in a Twitter chat tonight at 9PM EST to discuss the book further – just use the hashtag #WorkingOutSucks!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.