Feeling Strong at Kong Crossfit Norwalk

by Maria on July 16, 2014

Fairfield County has no shortage of Crossfit boxes, but how do you pick which one to go to? It’s times like these when Groupons come in handy! A few months back, I purchased a Groupon for Kong Crossfit in Norwalk. I had heard about it and since it was so close to my office (at the time), it really was a no brainer. It was also nice to find out that an old college friend, Will was also a trainer (UCONN representin’!)

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The Groupon terms included 6 on-ramp classes. Will suggested that I just meet with him to review the basics and see if I should just skip the on-ramp since I’ve done Crossfit in the past. I decided that since I had never officially been on-ramped at any box, I probaly should, especially since I was a little rusty. I’m a stickler for form and would rather be safe than sorry!

I signed up for the late morning on-ramp classes with trainer, TJ. The class format started with a warm up and a lot of stretching, something I admittedly rarely do. After that, we reviewed movements and practiced form and technique. Often, what we practice is included in the WOD (Workout of the Day). An example of an on-ramp workout we completed:

3 Rounds for Time

  • Run
  • Wall Balls
  • KB Swings

I didn’t list the length or reps because well… I forgot. It was a while ago and I can barely remember what I did yesterday. Actually, I’m quite surprised that I remembered this much!

Other on-ramp WOD exercises included push press, knees to elbow (variation on toes to bar), assisted pull ups, snatch, and others I’ve forgotten, but I loved them all!

After on-ramp it was time for the real deal! Lucky for me, I didn’t have to go it alone. My coworker, Nicole is already a member of Kong, so she and I were able to get to some classes together (and ditch work). I call that a win/win. This is Nicole and me post burpee/box jump WOD, thrilled that it was OVER.

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So in short, here are all the things I liked about Kong Crossfit:

1. The schedule. Early morning, mid morning, late morning, afternoon, evening. Something for everyone. I really liked the late morning classes because it was a smaller group, and it really re-energized me while also breaking up my work day. I eat lunch at my desk anyway…

2. The trainers. They all kick ass, and didn’t mind my foul language during WODs. Their focus on technique and form was remarkable and something I really value in trainers.

3. The facility. The box itself is SO large, the equipment is always stored away neatly, it’s clean and the art work is pretty fancy.

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4. The location. Very easy to get to in Norwalk with plenty of parking. It’s also conveniently located across the street from Valencia, you know, if you’re into delicious food (guacamole) post WOD.

5. The people. The other members are extremely warm, welcoming, and most importantly, encouraging! When you’re battling through those tough workouts, encouragement from others plays a very large part in pushing through! They never once made me feel like a newbie.

Unfortunately for me, the end of my month was also when I found out I got a job in Cos Cob, which is not near Valencia or Kong. I was pretty bummed, but now I know I can enthusiastically recommend Kong for anyone looking for a top-class Crossfit box in Norwalk. Oh and imagine the odds…there is a Groupon currently running for 12 classes at $49, or $30 if you go into the deal with friends. Get the details here.

For more information about Kong Crossfit programs, visit their website - kongcrossfit.com

What is most important to you when trying out a new Crossfit box (or gym)?

If you had to choose, burpees or wall balls?

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Feeling NOURISH-ed with Lorna Jane

by Maria on July 8, 2014

I have always been a fan of the Lorna Jane brand for both her fabulous athletic apparel and for her positive outlook on health so I was really excited to have the opportunity to review her new cookbook, NOURISH, the Fit Woman’s Cookbook.

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NOURISH is not what you would expect when you think of a cookbook. Sure, there are recipes, but the objective in the book is to help you create a healthy lifestyle that is reasonable and delicious! As I went through the book, I was happy to see so many creative recipes with real ingredients, and no complicated preparation techniques. The book begins with various topics like My Life Rituals, Seasonal Eating, My favorite Greens, Superfoods, and my favorite, Myth Busters from Lorna herself. The recipes aren’t your usual cookbook style categories (Apps, Salads, Entrees, Dessert), instead you’ll find, Wake Up, Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Snacks, Lunch, Dinner and more!

I knew I was hooked when I saw a recipe for brussels sprouts! Well, it was actually a Roasted Pear, Kumara (sweet potato), and Brussels Sprout Salad. I roasted the brussels, sweet potato and pear with coconut oil, but instead of putting it on a bed of arugula, I just ate them alongside chicken sausage. The recipe says it’s two servings, so naturally I ate it all. :)

Roasted Pear, Sweet Potato & Brussel Sprouts - NOURISH
ROASTED PEAR, KUMARA, and BRUSSELS SPROUTS Salad (from NOURISH)

  • 1 large pear (330 g)
  • 1/2 medium kumara (orange sweet potato) (200g), chopped coarsely
  • 4 oz (250g) brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 teaspoons cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups (80g) baby rocket (arugula) leaves
  • 1/4 (40g) cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • 1.5 oz (50g) soft goat cheese, crumbled

MACADAMIA and MUSTARD Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons macadamia oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
  2. Cut unpeeled pear into 8 wedges; remove core. Combine pear, kumara and sprouts with the oil and rosemary in a small baking dish, season; roast about 25 minutes or until golden and tender.
  3. To make the macadamia and mustard dressing, place ingredients in a screw-top jar, season to taste; shake well to combine.
  4. Combine roasted pear, kumara and sprouts with rocket and the dressing in a large bowl; toss well to combine. Serve sprinkled with nuts and cheese.

I loved this!! I always roast my vegetables, but the coconut oil, rosemary and pear were such a great combination that really boosted the flavor of the sprouts and sweet potato. The pear was soft and lightly caramelized and was so savory with the chicken sausage I made. Many recipes (including this one) have a “Cook’s Note” with helpful tips to enhance the dish, like adding chicken for added protein. Each recipe also includes nutritional information MINUS the calories, which I love!! Lorna only includes the macros for protein, carbs, fat and fiber. You know, the important numbers.

There were also some very quick and easy salad dressings, which was a great bonus. I hate spending money on dressings when its so easy to make fresh and tasty dressings at home.  I made the lemon dressing for my raw zoodles and it was so refreshing, especially for a summer dish.

Another favorite of mine is a list of “20 Healthy Habits.” #6 is something I have always stood by…

Listen to your Body - Lorna Jane

I already made a list of the other recipes I plan on making, Cauliflower, Pea, Mint & Lemon Frittata, Lemon & Thyme Carrot Dip, Fruit Chips, and some other tasty treats…

Are you intrigued? Join the movement with #LiveLoveNOURISH. You have the opportunity to be 1 of 10 winners that will get their own hard copy NOURISH cookbook. The most active participant will receive a cookbook AND a $200 Gift Card to Lorna Jane! Show us how the NOURISH cookbook works for your lifestyle – in between work, play, sweat sessions, etc! Join the live Twitter Party tomorrow night (7/9) 6pm PDT/9pm EDT. Click here to tweet and enter to win —> Tweet: Join the #LiveLoveNOURISH initiative w/ @LornaJaneActive @FitApproach! Giveaway of: 10 NOURISH Cookbooks + $200 Gift Card to #lornajane!

In the meantime, you can browse the Lorna Jane website (some pretty sweet sales are going on) and get the full scoop on her cookbook, NOURISH here.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of NOURISH for review purposes, however, all opinions stated are entirely my own. 

How do you NOURISH your body? 

Have you roasted fruits before? (Besides apples of course!)

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