Workout Review: Core40

by Kristine on August 21, 2014

Friends… it’s FRIDAY EVE. Almost there.

Let’s interrupt all this Whole30 chitchat and talk workouts. (In case you’re wondering Days 1-4 are going swimmingly and I haven’t felt deprived, hangry, headachey, tired… or had any stomach “issues” since starting this  - working on getting my thoughts down for a Week 1 recap/meals/recipe post on Monday!)

Currently my abs/arms/legs/everything is sore. Actually they were sore immediately after finishing class last night with Laura. She is incredible. I don’t even know what happened during those 40 minutes. Just that I physically was barely able to move afterwards.

I just finished my first month at Core40 yesterday, and I figured it was time for a review on the classes that started to take priority over… well everything but running in workout land.

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It’s not a secret I have a thing for Pilates and for reformers. I love it so much I got certified to teach it, still teach when I can find the time, and seek out the best (in my opinion) classes in the city to give my muscles a beating and hopefully develop some definition and you know, abs.

For me personally, a Pilates class (whether traditional, cardio based, megaformer, etc) must have the following:

-Instructors who know what they’re doing, are energetic without being peppy, and don’t talk to clients like they are 5 years old (if you add -ie to the end of any cue you give me I will never come back to your class – ie: “move those leggies! take a breathie!” I swear this happened to me once.)

-Good music (ie: not Pandora Top 40, I can listen to that on my own thank you very much)

-Dynamic classes – I don’t want to come into class and know exactly the sequence of events and what’s coming next – I love when instructors mix it up, try new moves and focus on choreography.

-Offering variations (more challenging) and modifications (less so) – there are some things I can do really well and want to make it harder and there are some things I can’t and need to modify them. A great class offers both options in addition to the cue-ed move.

-Make. Me. Sweat.  (Not as simple as you may think in a Pilates class)

My Experience

After 30 days at Core40 (actually, truth-be-told, I knew this after about a week) I can honestly say I’m a huge fan of all the instructors I’ve taken thus far (Madison, Melody, Danielle, Laura, Jill and Dominique), I love the music (thank you for introducing me to Sia’s Chandelier and for playing The Chainsmokers Kanye), the classes always challenge me and mix it up, and there are always ways to make it harder or easier. I’m not joking when I say often times I need the modification it’s that challenging.

I’ve also never left a class not dripping sweat, which is why, as much as I’d like to, I cannot take these classes at lunchtime.

From the first class (which is FREE - try it out!) I walked into the studio and was greeted by the instructor who took the time to have a conversation with me. It wasn’t one of those “everyone is staring at you because you’re the new kid” places or the type of place that you feel like you have to have a 24 inch waist, perfectly curled hair in a high ponytail and perfectly coordinated workout apparel to go to. Clients actually chat with each other. There is no staring down of one another. I legit made a friend in less than 30 days of going. We’re going to SoulCycle and having brunch this weekend.

I also heard there mayyyyy be a new location opening in Lower Pac Heights? SAY IT’S TRUE Core40 SAY IT’S TRUE.

The Workout

Core40 is a 40-minute core-focused full body workout. And that is the truth. You will leave with every muscle in your body completely burnt out, probably already sore, and you’ll get some serious shaking in. The class works to burn our your abs, obliques, glutes, legs, arms and you often use multiple muscle groups and some serious core stabilizers to accomplish this. The key to all of this? YOU GO SLOW. Like 4 counts out, 4 counts in slow. The slower, the better. The slower, the more burning.

Class is done on the Megaformer – created by Lagree Fitness. It’s essentially a Pilates reformer… on steroids. It can do so much more. And you will use every part of this machine in 40 minutes. And if you’re new, you’ll get a full walk-through. I’m not kidding I want one of these in our house one day. And a treadmill. Then I’ll be SET.


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Class is fast-paced. It’s 40 minutes. So you transition quickly from one exercise to the next, but the instructor will always cue what the next exercise is, what springs you’ll need to be on, etc about 30 seconds before you make the change. These fast transitions keep your heartrate up and your body working, the entire time. If you’re new, you catch on quickly or just look to the person next to you for what you should be doing. I’ve also never seen instructors so involved with their classes before. They help the new people, they adjust the experienced people to make things harder. It’s pretty great. You actually feel like you’re part of something.

See? I stole this from Dominique (I’m barely visible in the very bottom left of the photo)- one of my favorite instructors . You should take her class with me. It’s BRUTAL. But she knows the name of every single person in class and gives you a ton of positive energy and is always finding ways to mix it up (UGH GIANT SPOON), even when you want to kill her for making you do Giant French Twist after Scrambled Eggs and multiple other oblique exercises.

Screenshot 2014-08-19 11.44.59

Then 40 minutes later, it’s over. I love it because I actually feel SPENT at the end of that 40 minutes. Not like I need to go for a run or something like I usually do in “toning” classes. (Sidebar: I’ll probably still run because I have an endorphin addiction but I don’t need to, you know?)

Nitty Gritty

Locations: All over San Diego and 2 locations in SF – Nob Hill (California and Larkin) and SOMA (5th and Harrison)

Price: First class FREE! Then you can opt-into the First-Month Unlimited ($149) or Core 4 for $40. The best part is you can actually do both of these. I just did the unlimited month and then I purchased the 4-classes to get me through the next couple weeks.

What To Wear: Workout tights/capris, sweat wicking top, and (optional) grippy socks/toe socks/or these sweet Nike wraps I saw on someone.

So there ya have it. In 30 days I’ve become more toned, I have abs (4 at last count), I have more strength, and exercises that were difficult on day 1 (all of them) are now doable. It honestly never gets easier (or hasn’t for me after 30 days) but you definitely get stronger.

Soooo when are we taking class together?

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WIAW – Whole30

by Kristine on August 20, 2014

So it’s been 3 days on Whole30. (Today is Day 3).

Something I’ve noticed?

It weirds me out to eat meat with every meal and to increase the fat I eat with each meal. Not for like an OMGWEIGHTGAIN reason, but because I feel like I’ve been conditioned to repeatedly watch portion/serving sizes with things like avocado, meat (#meatlessmonday anyone?), etc.

But as yesterday’s eats show… there’s a lot of healthy fats in there. And veggies. and things that give you energy, not weigh you down. I’m most surprised at how SATISFIED I feel at the end of each meal. I mean, I still want dark chocolate, but once that thought goes away I’m good to go for a few hours. That said I think it’s too early to see any changes in mood, sleep, energy and that it’s probably the placebo effect but I do feel like I’ve had a lot more energy the past couple days. I slept great last night and even woke up a few minutes before my 7am alarm. Typically I’m still deep into my REM cycle come 8am.

I  think I need to re-think the workouts and cut ‘em down a bit. Aiming for max 15 miles a week at most. 2 Core40 classes a week. I get that this isn’t exactly “not very many” but for me, it’s cutting back.

So far Days 1-2 have been relatively painless. Even though The Timeline says it should be otherwise.

Days 2-3: The Hangover

The alarm rings on day 2 and you pop out of bed expecting the same kind of Charlie Sheen winning feeling you had yesterday. Instead, you get the other side of Charlie…you know – the pounding-head-cross-eyed-can’t-see-straight side. You know you didn’t down a fifth of tequila in your sleep, so what the heck happened?!

And it is definitely true that the amount of suck you experience in this phase is directly proportional to the amount of crap you consumed before you began the program.

I do think that since I had eliminated gluten (for the most part) and avoided processed junk (for the most part) I didn’t experience the major sugar/wheat/crap detox that comes with headaches, fatigue, etc. I hope. I REALLY HOPE. That said, I still struggled with being a little snacky yesterday when I got home from my workout. Not because I was hungry but because… normally when I get home in the evening I munch (chips/hummus/salsa/whatever) as I cook/prepare dinner. More a habit to break out of than a real need. Nonetheless I prevailed, cooked dinner, ate it, and was done for the night.

Let’s hop right into WIAW – Whole30 Edition (although this are actually Tuesday’s eats).

Breakfast – 7:35am

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Sauteed a (small) chopped up sweet potato in 1T coconut oil, salt and pepper. Added in some chopped onion and kale at the end. Then cracked 2 eggs on top of everything. Flipped the eggs once. 1/2 avocado on the side. Runny yolks (which I’ve come to love thanks to boyfriend). 1 pan. 15 minutes.

Lesson #1 – cooking this on a daily weekday basis is not at all feasible. I wish it was but I’m going to have to do some serious evening prep work to make that happen. Do you know how hard it is to cook the above meal in relative silence while boyfriend sleeps in our Jr 1-Bedroom apartment? CHALLENGING.

Last night I made a frittata and sauteed a chopped up sweet potato in coconut oil which is lot easier to deal with in the mornings. It’s like make coffee via French Press, heat up frittata and taters, top with avocado… eat. There was way too much thought involved with yesterday’s meal. It was kind of like Christmas morning. I was EXCITED damnit.

Lunch – 12:15pm

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Washed/chopped a head of organic kale the night before. Massaged the kale with 1/2 avocado, juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper. Threw in some raw purple onion and nutritional yeast (Whole30 approved, I checked – this is my bible). Topped with sliced almonds and some leftover grilled shrimp. Added in a serving of plantain chips for crunch and salt. (Also Whole30 approved – PRAISE GOD.) No #saddesklunch here.

I ate my lunch almost 5 hours after breakfast. Usually I’m having serious blood sugar crashes, major hunger pangs, and a mid-morning snack attack. I’m also a hangry b!tch by this point. Not today friends, not today.

Workout – 5:45pm

Ran 3 miles at the gym while watching Good Wife on my iPad. Pretty standard. I usually would have had a “snack” around 3pm pre-workout. While you’re “allowed to”, I honestly didn’t feel like I needed one and got through my run with plenty of energy. Had it been a longer workout, I probably would have had some combination of carbs/protein like a banana with a bit of almond butter or something.

Dinner – 8:00pm

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Wild Dover Sole was on sale at Whole Foods this week for $7.99 a pound. Pan seared with EVOO, salt and pepper and served over zucchini noodles topped with a dairy-free pesto with a couple of leftover grilled nectarines wrapped in prosciutto mixed in. Perfection. This would be when I really wanted my damn dark chocolate. Or popcorn. Or something to munch on while mindlessly watching Chopped with boyfriend. Old habits die hard friends. REALLY HARD.

Sidebar: Dairy Free Pesto: 1 c packed basil leaves, 1t lemon juice, 3t walnuts (out of pinenuts), salt/pepper, 2.5T EVOO drizzled in as I pulsed in the food processor. Not the same without the parmesan but it was close enough.

So Day 1-2 are in the bag…. 28 more to go. So far… so good.


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The Beginning – Whole30

August 19, 2014

It’s so foggy this morning that it literally looks and feels like it’s raining. Summer in SF is real friends. And I don’t like it one bit. Especially when you leave Tahoe and it’s 85 degrees. And you arrive home to your apartment and it’s 63 degrees. Something is not right. Labor Day can’t come […]

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Weekly Workouts : August 11-17

August 18, 2014

Well, we knew this would probably happen. I let a week slide. In my defense last week was a REALLY busy week at work. And my mind was going about a trillion miles a minute all week long trying to get everything wrapped up for an upcoming event. And so we’re skipping a week. In […]

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WIAW – Volume 2

August 13, 2014

…and we’re back with another edition of WIAW. I get that it’s Wednesday but on Monday I took photos of everything I ate. So really this is What I Actually Ate Monday… posted for your viewing pleasure on Wednesday. The focus in August is clean, whole, healthy foods and eating every couple hours to avoid […]

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August 12, 2014

Ah Tuesday afternoon. ALREADY. I literally don’t know where this day/week/month/2014 is going. I feel like I’m going to blink and it’s fall. I actually know that is going to happen based on all the travel, work events, weddings, etc I have coming up over the next couple of months. BRING IT. I mentioned yesterday […]

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The Weekend, Briefly

August 11, 2014

Oh wow it’s already Monday afternoon? WHERE IS MY LIFE GOING? For the first time in a loooong while, this weekend felt like, well a weekend. No traveling, planes to catch, places to be… none of that. Any thoughts of signing up for classes or making appointments or plans got nixed real quick. It also […]

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What I Ate Wednesday #1

August 8, 2014

So apparently there’s thing thing. What I Ate Wednesday (#WIAW on Instagram). So I decided to hop on the social media train and rather than a “Day in the Life – Eats” this weekly post will now be known as WIAW. And posted on Friday. Because I had a raging migraine yesterday. To preface Wednesday’s […]

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Weekly Workouts (7/28-8/3) + Some Recent RECIPES!

August 6, 2014

Holy it’s already Wednesday. Not complaining. After traveling the past… 4 weekends I’m more than ready for a relaxing weekend at home. But right, first to get through the next couple of days. Then we’ll talk weekend. So last week’s workouts. Sporadic at best. It was a REALLY busy week (Giants game, lots of pre-event […]

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Indiana and Back in 48 Hours.

August 5, 2014

Happy… Tuesday! It’s gloomy and cloudy outside and this Tuesday most definitely feels like a Monday. I spent the last 4 days in the mid-west, on very little sleep, soaking up time with boyfriend’s extended family (who I basically consider my family too… head’s up everyone in case you weren’t aware how I feel about […]

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