1. Lent starts next week, so I’ve been doing my darndest to get my fill of sweets before next Wednesday. Trader Joe’s has been my primary place for indulgence, but on Sunday I wanted something a little less prepackaged, and made my way to Dinkel’s Bakery.
Oh MAN, you guys. This cake donut with chocolate frosting and coconut was everything. I know the artisanal fancy pants donut shops get all the hype around here–and I totally buy into that hype, as evidenced by my trip to Stan’s after F^3 last week–but I was super impressed by this Dinkel’s number. AND instead of costing $3+, it was like $1.90 or something else equally affordable. That’s what I’m talking about!
2. Speaking of Chicago institutions, I went to the French Market for the first time ever this weekend. I was in the West Loop on Saturday and needed to get downtown to stop by Nordstrom Rack. Normally I would’ve taken the Green/Pink Line, but it was nice enough outside that I decided to walk instead. When I realized my walk was going to take me right past the French Market, I decided to stop in.
What a cool little place! It reminded me of a MUCH smaller Pike’s Place Market, which obviously pleased my Seattle-loving heart. I didn’t get anything, but it was fun to wander around for a few minutes and finally see this place I’ve heard about for years.
3. I don’t think I ever ~officially~ mentioned this in a blog post, but my fitness plan for February is to follow a training program created in the NTC app. I’m following Get Strong: Intermediate with running, though I plan to sub out all the running for other cardio, while I give my mind (and, more importantly, my knee) some time to rest before gearing up for Shamrock in April.
Things got off to a slightly rocky start on Monday, when I intended to go to the gym to complete a 30-minute strength workout followed by 15 minutes of cardio. I forgot to pack my sports bra in my gym bag, however, so I went home and just did the strength workout. Oh well.
The program assigns you days to do certain workouts, and I thought it’d be a little more flexible, but it won’t let you do the workout through the program itself on a day other than the assigned day, which I think is a little unnecessarily rigid. Of course, you can go to the workout part of the app, download the workout, and do it on your own whenever you feel so inclined (which I did today, because goodness knows I am NOT dragging my booty out of bed early on a Friday to go to the gym before work, and I also most definitely am not dragging my body to the gym AFTER work on a Friday. This girl takes rest days on Fridays, and asking me to do otherwise will illicit a similar reaction to asking me to go skydiving.).
I really love NTC workouts. They can be pretty intense, but I appreciate that a lot of the strength moves hit multiple muscle groups at once (squat to shoulder press, lunge with arm curls, planks with rows, etc.). It makes me feel like I’m getting a lot of bang for my buck, and I’ve never walked away from an NTC workout–even one of their yoga workouts–feeling like I wasted my time. It’s also done a good job of sneaking in PT exercises I should be doing, like side lunges (which I don’t ever do, because they take too long), planks (which I don’t ever do, because they’re hard [I KNOW, I KNOW. I’m not claiming I have good excuses for not doing my PT. I’m just telling you why I don’t do it 😛 ]), and even cones, disguised as “single leg clock squats” in the app (which I don’t ever do, because I HATE THEM. I don’t know why I hate cones so much – probably because they take even longer than side lunges, and man, I hate PT exercises that go on and on forever). I know I need to do more PT more regularly if I expect my knee to be in good shape once I start running again, but, as always, knowing and doing have not been one in the same for me with PT. Having NTC keep me at least a little bit accountable helps big time.