AML Tries Gym Classes: Les Mills’ Body Pump and Les Mills’ RPM

I’ve been going to my gym for about six months now, and since I joined I’ve always wanted to try a spin class. In fact, my gym (Edge Fitness) has spin classes as part of the top level of membership, and that’s why I signed up for that level. So far I’ve tried two Les Mills classes: Body Pump and RPM.

What is Les Mills’ Body Pump?

Body Pump is a fast paced workout where you lift light barbells for high reps to up tempo music. It’s a full body strength training and cardio workout intended to help you build lean muscle.

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Picture courtesy or Oregon State University via Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/8200556369

AML & Body Pump

I freaking LOVE Body Pump. This is the perfect workout for me: steady reps of weightlifting with quick transitions and low down time. This workout gets your heart rate up without making you feel like you’re going to die, and the music helps keep you in the rhythm of it all. My instructor was upbeat and friendly, and the mood was positive the whole time. My first time I was sore for several days, and I LOVED it.

What is Les Mills’ RPM?

RPM is a spin class, meaning you and several other people are all in a spin room on stationary bikes. RPM features hill climbs, sprints and flat riding without any special moves. You just use the speed of your pedaling and the resistance knob on your bike to make the workout harder or easier. This is all done alongside loud, upbeat dance music to help you keep pace, similarly to Body Pump.

Fitness 'sanctuary' for families
(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Miguel Lara III) http://www.whiteman.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2001697665/

AML & RPM

I have been intimidated by spin classes for a long time, but I’ve always wanted to try one. I introduced myself to the instructor before the class and told her that I had never taken a spin class. She warmly showed me how to set up my bike and explained how the class would work. I chose a bike in the front row but slightly off to the side so I could see the instructor well, and so I wouldn’t be able to see other people and compare myself to them. What helped was that the room was darkened and flooded with a cool blue light, giving the room a dance club-like feeling.

The moves were all relatively easy to pick up, and it’s very easy on the joints if you set your bike up correctly. The hardest part of the workout was when we did hill climbs: cranking the resistance up on the bike so you need to stand and use your body weight to pedal. There were definitely times where I had to lower the resistance and return to sitting, as my heart rate got into my red zone. But once I was back in a safe range I went back to following the workout, making adjustments as necessary.

By the end of the 45 minute workout EVERYONE was literally DRIPPING with sweat. It took me a moment to allow my legs to slow down so I could carefully stand, but as I exited the spinning room I was struck by such a sense of elation from the adrenaline I felt on top of the world.

There is a tiny downside to spinning: I was sore… on my “seat”. As in, where the seat hit my… uh… you know. Where you sit on the bike. Ladies, you know what I mean. This lasted 3 days! Not awful, I just had to be careful how hard I sat down on my couch at night! I didn’t experience any leg soreness, but I did burn more than 500 calories in a 45 minute session, and I count that as success. In the end, it was a blast, and I’d definitely try it again!

Ready to Try a Class?

Arrive early and introduce yourself to the instructor. I made sure I let both instructors know that I was new to both their class and to that style of workout. It’s in their best interest to help you both enjoy yourself and get the best workout, so they’ll want to help you. And don’t worry about the other people in the class, they’re all all just focused on their workouts, and you should too. So go, try it out, and have fun!

Adventures in Cloud Bread

I’ve seen the name Cloud Bread thrown about all over Pinterest for years now, and I pinned it ages ago, but never actually made it. I was skeptical: how can you make a good tasting bread out of just eggs, cream cheese and cream of tartar?

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Excuse my terrible cell phone photo, I was making 4 recipes at once this day and didn’t document anything very well. 

Cloud Bread was originally devised as a bread substitute for those on low carb diets, specifically Atkins, but has recently had a resurgence from those trying to avoid gluten as well. If you have the right equipment, it’s ridiculously simple to make, and also very budget friendly. You only need 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons of cream cheese (I used Neufchatel) and a pinch of cream of tartar. Many recipes call for a sweetener, but it isn’t necessary to the chemistry of the recipe so it’s easily skippable. I made mine without.

I used my KitchenAid stand mixer for the egg whites, and a hand mixer for the yolks and cream cheese, then folded them together in a large bowl before scooping the fluffy batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment. The bread bakes in the oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees until golden brown on top and dried out. I allowed them to cool thoroughly before using. In less than an hour, my double batch of cloud bread made 16 pieces of golden brown goodness, ready for my chickpea burgers.

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Cloud Bread buns for Smoky Barbecue Chickpea Burgers.

So what do they taste like? I was really worried that these adorable fluffy golden clouds were going to taste like cardboard or sadness,  but they didn’t! They don’t taste like bread either, but they may taste familiar to you anyway: they reminded me of a savory pate choux dough, the pastry filled with sweet cream to make cream puffs or eclairs. (Note, I saw a recipe somewhere for cloud bread cheese DANISH *Homer Simpson drool sounds*)

When used to sandwich a spicy chickpea burger slathered in barbecue sauce these buns were PERFECT. The slight egginess faded into the background and they held up to the moisture of the barbecue sauce well. They even reheated well, in the microwave no less, the next day for lunch!

PROS

  • Holds up well to moisture
  • Reheats Well
  • Easy to Make
  • Super Cheap
  • VERY low carb
  • Low Calorie
  • Vegetarian

CONS

  • NOT bread
  • Need electric mixer to make efficiently
  • NOT for Vegans
  • Short shelf life

All in all, I thought it was awesome and I WILL be making it again! I love a positive outcome from a culinary adventure, don’t you?

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Indoor Decor: Add Carefree Greenery to Your Life

I was sent a free artificial plant product by Plantscapes, Inc. for this review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I’m really bad at keeping plants alive unless they’re edible. I’ve got three gorgeous tomato plants out on my terrace right now that are thriving, but I’ve also got a mostly dead cyclamen sitting on an end table that I’ve either under watered or over watered, I don’t even know! I guess my brain only cares about food. Ha!  But I do love the look of plants in my home: they’re beautiful and help me relax. What’s a lazy girl like me to do?

So when Plantscape, Inc. offered to send me a sample of their product to review I leapt at the opportunity! Plants I’ll never have to remember to water? Heck yeah!

Founded in 1974, Plantscape Inc. is a leading national interior landscape firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We have over 40 years of experience in offering a diverse set of specialty services in landscape planning and design, landscape architecture, trees installation, plant service and maintenance programs and commercial décor. Our team of professionals have decades of experience in designing interior and outdoor landscapes using live plants and trees, especially tropical plants.

Plantscape, Inc. offers commercial interior landscaping services as well as their new artificial plant division, Commercial Silk Int’l. I was thrilled to find succulents on their retail website. I even kill succulents, can you imagine?

My package arrived in about a week’s time, and was exceptionally packed. The two succulents I received came in a large sturdy box and the bases were set firmly into a thick bed of styrofoam. They were even strapped in to make sure they wouldn’t tumble around in the box! Upon pulling one of the succulents out of the packaging I was immediately impressed by the weight. Each one of these babies weighs in at over 3 lbs, so I’m confident that I can leave these out on my terrace without the fear of them being blown over by wind.

The ‘plants’ themselves are set in a ‘pot’ that looks just like driftwood, and unless you get very close or get your hands on it (it’s cool to the touch like concrete) the illusion is complete. On Sunday I had my girlfriends over for brunch and one didn’t even know it wasn’t real until she had it in her hands!

Overall I am extremely satisfied with my new succulents! I have the utmost confidence that they’ll never turn brown and die because I neglected them or cared far, far too deeply for them. The best part is they even offer interior landscaping for businesses, aaaaand can make CUSTOM products! You can find out more here. So if you’re interested in landscaping services, interior landscaping, or grabbing your own artificial plants, definitely head over to Plantscape, Inc. and check them out!

Do you like plants around your house? Artificial or live? Is your thumb as brown as mine? Let me know in the comments!