Category Archives: Exercise

Pacifica Hike – Montara Mountain North Peak

The Montara Mountain North Peak Hike at McNee Ranch has become one of my absolute favorite hikes in the Bay Area, and I’m going to share all the deets with you! It’s about 7 miles out and back, and takes about 2-2.5 hours roundtrip depending on your speed and skill level (this is a moderate hike FYI). Begin at the Grey Whale Cove Trail, and right from the start, you’re greeted with a refreshing coastal breeze and gorgeous views of the ocean. Yesssssss, give me nature!  While enjoying the scenery, you’ll quickly realize that you’re basically climbing one very large mountain, which can get quite steep at some points. Bring on the increased heart rate! When you finally make it to the top, you are rewarded with a 360 degree view of the entire Bay. I’m talking San Mateo Bridge, Oakland, SF city skyline, Sutro Tower, Pacifica beaches all the way to Half Moon Bay… you’re gonna see it all at the top. Hello beautiful! And on the way down, get ready to burn them legs because some parts can get quite steep. Engage the core.  All around, this is a great workout. Like, you’re guaranteed-to-sweat-kind-of-workout. And don’t forget, definitely bring a large water bottle with you. Optional: put the water in your super-hip fanny pack and get made fun of the entire time by your fiance. Or don’t… totally up to you.

Oh, and I almost forgot!! The best part after the hike… FISH BURRITOS. I’m not kidding you, the best fish burrito I have ever had in my life is at El Toro Loco in Pacifica. You earned it!

McNee Ranch Directions:

Photo: Google Earth

On the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo County, Montara State Park is approximately 20 miles south of San Francisco. There’s a large parking lot situated along the CA-1 Cabrillo Highway. We like to start at the Grey Whale Cove Trail next to the Grey Whale Cove Beach, as there is a larger parking lot, and smaller trail to start from. You’ll only be on the Grey Whale Cove Trail for about 200 yards, or about 5 minutes, because you’ll want to take the first left up the mountain heading east. This left turn is unmarked and informal (keep your eyes peeled!) but be sure to take it because it climbs directly up the mountain. This informal path is much steeper but it does shorten the total time to North Peak. The informal path meets up with a larger path, and it’s pretty straight forward to the top of the hill.

(And in  case you wanted to see what it looks like when I see a good burrito…)

Lagree Pilates at Core40 SOMA

Before I begin, I just want to point out that I realize the photos of me on the machine are extremely dorky. Hey man. Take me as I am. So, I’ve been going to Core40 in San Francisco for about a year now, and it’s one of my favorite studio classes to take because its quick, efficient, and fun. Only 40 minutes of intense muscle burn! The Core40 Studio has both spin classes (shoutout to my sister-in-law, Stephanie Jensen, one of the BEST spin instructors!) and lagree pilates classes on the M3 Megaformer.

So what exactly makes lagree different that traditional pilates? Simply put, lagree is much more intense, with more weight resistance and increased targeting on more muscle groups at one time. For example, I can be in an “elevator lunge” and be working my legs, core and arms all at the same time. From Core40.com:

In Pilates, you typically take breaks between each set of exercises (similar to a Yoga class). The Lagree philosophy is that shorter transitions lead to a quicker burnout and a shorter workout (less time, more intensity).Use slow movements (to target slow twitch muscle fibers, scientifically proven to burn more fat), resistance training (to build muscle strength), continuous tension (via spring resistance) and constant engagement of your core (on a moving platform) to push your muscles to maximum exertion and keep your heart rate elevated throughout.

There are several studios in San Francisco, but I love the SOMA studio because it offers special “Ramped” classes which is even harder. The reformer basically has an electric ramp attached, and it changes the angle of the exercises, creating more intensity and a bigger burn. YAS please.

Weekend Bike Ride: SF-Tiburon Route

biking-tiburon-san-francisco

biking-tiburon

Nothing screams awesome workout like a 40 mile bike ride on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Yep, that’s what I did last weekend, and it was so nice. The above map shows the route that we took, and it really isn’t too bad. We biked pretty much all day, stopping in Tiburon for a hard-earned lunch as well. Easy, right?

Okay, so here’s the REAL story of how things ended up that day. First off, I was hungover Saturday morning…like, real hung over.  Like, definitely in no shape for a 40 mile bike ride hang over. I know, that’s so #unhealthybex of me, but all I can say is that I am human and those cocktails were a TGIF necessity. Nonetheless, I gathered myself and got myself on my bike anyway. Originally, I planned this ride with my friend, Tim. It was supposed to be a casual, relaxed opportunity for us to do something fun together. We were supposed to meet at 10am at the Golden Gate Bridge (and naturally, I was late because well, remember I was hung over). I show up to find that Tim is with what he calls a “casual group of riders.” What Tim really meant to tell me (and forgot to mention) is that this is actually a quite serious group of riders…I’m talking everyone in padded bike shorts, sponsored shirts, fancy expensive bikes, you get the picture. Here I am, showing up in my T-shirt, Northface jacket, cute capri leggings and makeup from the night before. All I could think of was: THANK GOD I BOUGHT THOSE CLIP-IN SHOES. Ha, so let’s take a moment to talk about those clip-in shoes. Those things have been the biggest blessing and curse. I love love love wearing them as I climb hills; the truth is that despite the TGIF drinking, I was feeling really good climbing up the hills thanks to my new shoesies. Like, the endorphins suddenly kicked in and I felt 100% again, which is pretty freaking awesome. See ya, hangover. Okay, the curse part. Basically, your feet are glued to the bike, and you have to consciously know ahead of time when you’re going to need to put a foot down. You must unclip in advance. I will honestly admit that I fell not one but two times on this bike ride because of those stinkin’ shoes. I can’t describe it, but there’s a huge learning curve for me. Clipping out has to become second nature when you need to stop, and I’m just not there yet. The first time I fell was because Tim suddenly stopped and I wasn’t expecting it, so then I suddenly stopped and I didn’t have enough time to consciously unclip before trying to put my feet down. Thar she tips over. FML. Second time was probably my mistake (“probably” ha, who am I kidding….) I was trying to manuver through this tiny island and suddenly lost my balance on the foot that was still clipped in. Epic fail in front of a group of people. FML. Makes for a good laugh though. “Hey, did you see that girl just fall over on her bike? Bummer.”

So that’s been my experience with the clip-ins so far. When I’m moving, I’m perfectly fine…it’s just the stopping and being stationary part that is tricky. I estimate perhaps 5 more solid falls before I finally get the hang of ’em. They’re totally worth the embarrassment though, and the falls never really hurt. Still going to keep riding and trying. Thinking about joining some local bike groups – ride on, baby!

Hiking Marin: The Dip Sea Trail

dip-sea-hiking-marin-redwoods

Celebrate a Healthy Friends Day this weekend! I did this 7 mile hike a few months ago – and since Spring has officially sprung –  it’s definitely worth exploring now more than ever! This particular hike is located in Marin, past Muir Woods, and combines the Dipsea Trail, Matt Davis and Steep Ravine trails into a sweat-bustling 7.3 mile loop hike. The adventure offers a wide range of scenery and terrains: from waterfalls to redwoods to oak forests to spectacular ocean views. It’s moderately challenging, as it has a 1,60o ft elevation change, and it takes about 4 hours depending on how fast you walk.

Getting There (taken from BAHiker.com):

From US 101 in Marin County, exit CA 1/Mill Valley/Stinson Beach and drive on Shoreline Highway to the junction with Almonte, about 1 mile. Turn left, remaining on Shoreline, and drive about 2.5 miles to the junction with Panoramic Highway. Turn right on Panoramic and drive about 1 mile to the junction with Muir Woods Road; stay straight on Panoramic (right lane). Continue about 7.5 miles (past Pantoll) to the junction with CA 1, just before the town of Stinson Beach. Turn right, drive about 0.2 mile, then turn right (at the fire station) onto Belvedere Avenue. Look for parking on the left side of the road before the “do not enter/wrong way” signs.

The Hike:

From Stinson Beach’s Belvedere Avenue, start with the Matt Davis Trail. Continue along this trail and bear left to remain on the Matt Davis trail when you reach the unsigned junction at the Panoramic Highway. The Matt Davis trail will go through creeks and zigzag up the mountain. At 2.5 miles, the Matt Davis Trail meets the Coastal Trail – bear right to continue along the Matt Davis Trail. At 4.2 miles, you’ll find yourself back at the Panoramic Highway near the small Pantoll parking lot. Cross the road and head toward the parking lot. Water/food break! From here, look for the Steep Ravine trailhead (near the bathrooms). Continue through the redwoods and at about 6 miles, you’ll finally reach the Dipsea Trail. It heads left over a bridge, departing from a signed junction. When in doubt, continue straight to follow the Dipsea Trail. You’ll finally reach the Panoramic Highway once again, where you’ll cross then pick up the signed trail again on the opposite side. Continue ’till the end, where the Dipsea drops you on the side of CA 1 – where you’ll walk along the side of the road towards Belvedere Avenue. Congrats! You did it!

For your reference: here’s a map!

 

 

Soulcycle Spin Class – San Francisco

soulcycle-san-francisco-window

souldcycle-find-your-soul

Everyone’s ranting and raving about SOULCYCLE these days, so I figured I’d see what all this hype is about. It was really fun! I went with my sister-in-law and a friend and all three of us enjoyed the 45 minute, music-blasting cardio spin class.

You basically spend the first 30 minutes spinning with cardio music, alternating between sprints, climbs and push-ups in various saddle positions. Then you spend about 10 minutes using 2-3 lb weights on arms (while still slowly spinning simultaneously). And then the class ends with a cool-down stretch sequence. I didn’t really “find my soul” but I definitely got a good sweat going.

My review: It was fun, I liked the overall energy and music. But it was PACKED to the brim. One class is $30 which is kind of crazy considering the overall format wasn’t that much different than other spin classes. Truthfully, my highlight of the class was getting to spend time and exercise next to my bestie!

If you’re new to spin: I would definitely recommend SOULCYCLE just because they’ve created a fantastic culture of enthusiasm and positive energy. Plus, they make you wear clip-ins!

Multitasking: Simple Kitchen Workout

kitchen-workout-drills

This is real life: working out in the kitchen while you wait for your food to cook in the oven! This here is a collection of easy exercise activities just about anyone can do in the kitchen.  These super fancy moves were done at my friend, Jake’s, house and he had a great countertop and kitchen island for me to play on.

Do 3 sets of each, starting from the top left (working clockwise):

  • Pike Hold: Just as you see it, try holding this position for at least 30 seconds. My arms were a shakin’!
  • Tricep Dips: Easy, right? 30 at a time!
  • Countertop Ab Crunches: Extend legs down and up, alternating between right and left sides. Try 15 on each side.
  • Have fun: I did these with friends around, and I couldn’t stop laughing the entire time. The last picture is my friend, Pat, with a giant piece of bacon photobombing my routine. At least giggles engage the core 🙂

Carmel/Big Sur Hiking: Garrapata State Park

Big Sur Hiking - Garrapata State Park

Big Sur Hiking - Garrapata State Park

Looking for a real good workout? Try this hike. Located along Carmel/Big Sur’s breathtaking coastline, Garrapata State Park offers a 7 mile, 1,200 foot elevation gain loop for all the world to enjoy. It’s called the Rocky Ridge Trail & Soberanes Canyon Loop. Not going to lie, this is quite strenuous and the hills getting pretty steep. And by pretty, I mean like, definitely-not-for-a-beginner-steep. But the scenery at the top is SO worth it!

The backstory in these pics: it was my 25th birthday weekend after a very long night of drinking (#unhealthybex). For me personally, exercise is my top hangover cure, and it was my birthday and I thought a little sweat might help the others as well. I might have failed to communicate just how hard this hike might actually be, and there’s a good chance my friends wanted to kill me at one point. The hike started out good; everyone hurting just a little, but still feeling confident nonetheless. All was smiles, fun and games. Then we reached the start of the climb. Needless to say, I am so grateful that this crew put themselves though hot, sweaty, hangover misery just to make me happy on my birthday! They all survived and fell in love with the view at the top (I hope), and I am forever thankful that these babies bit the bullet for me on my birthday, all while being miserably hungover. #blessed!

So, how do you get there? Drive along Highway 1 (northern side of Big Sur) until you reach a distinctive grove of cypress trees lining the highway. Park your car near the trees and the trailhead is a gated dirt road that leads to an abandoned tin barn. Continue on the Soberanes Canyon Trail, where the initial climb is fairly comfortable (this is the part when everyone still felt confident and cheerful; fun and games). After about 1.7 miles, you’ll begin to feel the steep incline. About a half mile later, you’ll start sweating. Like, a lot (this is the part when I realized maybe we bit off more than we could chew). Keep trekking along, and I promise the view at the top is worth it. Once you get to the top, the panoramic views of the Big Sur coastline are off-tha-chains-unreal. #allisforgiven. Loop back down the hill on the Rocky Ridge Trail, all while enjoying some of the most gorgeous views in the entire world!

 

 

 

JUMP! The Inkwell Waterhole

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Often referred to as one of Marin’s “Seven Wonders,” the Inkwell Waterhole is one of the Bay Area’s best kept secret. The Inkwells are small, deep, dark pools beside Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Lagunitas, West Marin. You can be brave and jump into the waterhole, or just sunbathe on the large warm rocks. There’s incredible harmony between the organic rock formation, glittering waterhole and tranquil river sounds.  Definitely worth bringing some friends and a few ice, cold Pacificos  (just don’t litter!). The drive to the waterhole is absolutely gorgeous and it’s fun to check out the little towns along the way as well. Once you arrive, there are tons of great hiking trails in the area as well. Lots of fun!

Directions from San Francisco:

If you’re using Google Maps, type in: Shafter Bridge, Lagunitas-Forest Knolls, CA. Or if you trust my directions, head over the Golden Gate Bridge towards Marin. The Inkwell Waterhole is right before the Samuel P. Taylor State Park, so just continue on US 101 North for about 10 miles. Take the San Anselmo exit, and merge onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Continue on this road for about 15 miles. You’ll pass through some adorable small towns to include Ross, San Anselmo, Fairfax and finally Lagunitas. Once you pass the golf course and hit Lagunitas, keep an eye out for Shafter Bridge.  As soon as you cross the bridge, turn left into the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area Parking lot. If you pass the sign on the right for Samuel P. Taylor State Park you have gone too far. Park the car, cross the street, and the Inkwells are directly in front of you under a red/orange bridge. Follow the small path on the right side of the red bridge until you get down to the waterhole.

 

Triathlon Results & Pics!

We finished the SLO Sprint Triathlon last weekend! The race was so fun, and everyone did so well! Despite my crazy busy life and the fact that I only swam 3 times in the last 2 years, I still managed to shed 5 minutes from my past year’s time! I completed the 1/2 mile swim, 15 mile bike and 3 mile run in 1 hour 43 minutes! #pattingmyselfontheback However, more than anything, I am so incredibly proud of the rest of the gang. This was Steph, Robert and Rachel’s very first sprint triathlon and they KILLED IT! And our other BFF, Aggie, was a rockstar as well! Lastly, I do have to say congrats to one of my best friends, David, for not only smoking his dad, but for finishing the race in less than 1 hour 30 minutes. Awesome work, David! As friends, its our job to continually inspire each other, and my hat is off to these guys for doing such great work!

San Luis Obispo Triathlon 2013San Luis Obispo Triathlon 2013

San Luis Obispo Triathlon 2013 - Breakfast & Prep

San Luis Obispo Triathlon 2013 - Swimming san-luis-obispo-triathlon-biking

San Luis Obispo Triathlon 2013 - Biking

Biking Across The Golden Gate Bridge

Biking Across The Golden Gate Bridge Biking Across The Golden Gate Bridge

It’s always been a dream of mine to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, and I finally did it! My brother, sister in law and bff woke up early on Saturday morning and biked across the bridge to Sausalito. It was about 14 miles round trip and a great spin on the new set of wheels. There were a few small rolling hills, and one very large hill climb at the end. I climbed the whole thing and it felt SO GOOD to get my heart rate going. Once in Sausalito, we stopped for lunch at a place called Cibo. I would highly recommend this place; all their food options are fresh, healthy and delicious. I got the chicken salad and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was garnished with fresh heirloom tomatoes as well! Bonus! Steph got the gazpacho which was to die for and the lentil salad was also very filling and tasty. Nomz.

While the view on the bridge was spectacular, I’m not sure I would do it again to be honest. Unless you’re biking very early in the morning, the chaos of tourists was a bit frustrating. There’s lots of beginners on the bridge who are still getting the hang of being on a set of wheels. Nonetheless, it was the perfect start to a very fun weekend and all I can say is that if you have a bike – RIDE IT!