F&F Friday Favorites ~ 08.29.14

Hey there! I haven’t posted Friday Favorites in a couple of weeks, but I’m back today so you guys can get your Friday distraction-procrastination-get you to the long weekend reading material in.

Friday Favorites


Food & Recipes

Inspiration, Life, and Self Image

–Let’s chat–
Any of today’s links resonate with you? What’s up for the long weekend?

I am so happy to say that aside from a couple of venue appointments, I don’t have any plans this weekend. I didn’t even make any plans yet for my birthday on Sunday! Normally I’m all about celebrating my birthday on as many days as possible, so I think that’s a definite sign of being old turning 29. Tim and I are also off from work all week next week, with a mini getaway to Maine in the cards, and I’m looking forward to some much-needed time off and R&R.

Descending Run Ladder and Ab Circuit Workout

Hey guys! Thanks for all the positive feedback you’ve sent my way on yesterday’s post. I’m glad you enjoyed the little chat on a non-deprivation approach to healthy eating. If you missed it, check it out!

Today I’m popping in to share a fun new workout with you.

Descending Run Ladder and Ab Circuit Workout

This workout was inspired by the lovely blogger Nicole of Pumps and Iron, as she posted a similar format a couple of weeks ago. Last week on a day that it was way too nice out to exercise indoors, I took my workout outside to a local track with Nicole’s workout in mind. Since I didn’t want to do back to back days of strength, I opted for an ab circuit instead of a total body bodyweight one.

Track Workout

For the cardio portion of this workout, you start by running one mile. The distance you run will then decrease in a descending ladder style after you do each ab circuit, so in total you run 2.5 miles. Since the running is broken up into shorter distances, really try to push yourself to go as fast as you can, especially during those last .5 and .25 rounds. I found that my splits were pretty constant throughout the entire workout, with the exception of that last surge on the quarter mile.

Track Workout

For the ab circuit, I only did one round of each in between for four total rounds in the entire workout, but you can choose to do 2 or 3 rounds of it in between running if you want to.

Here are your moves:

  • 15 leg drops
  • 15 slow alternating leg drops (flutter kicks)
  • 15 quick alternating leg drops (flutter kicks)
  • 15 hovering scissor cross beats
  • 30 seconds side plank on the right, directly into 10 side plank knee crunches
  • 30 seconds side plank on the left, directly into 10 side plank knee crunches
  • 45 second elbow plank

Track Workout

Don’t mind my dirty knees! That’s what outdoor workouts get you.

I enjoyed taking this one outside, and it was nice to change up my running from my usual route. You could still do this one on a treadmill, another cardio machine of choice (might have to adapt mileage/format a bit), or along your usual route if you measure your mileage.

Let me know if you try it out!

–Let’s chat–
Do you prefer exercising indoors or outdoors? Do you prefer running on trails, the street, a track, or a treadmill? What ab exercises are you loving lately? If you don’t feel like chatting about fitness, tell me about something fun going on this week.

For me, I tried November Project this morning (and survived). I can’t wait to share my experience with you!

Boston Bloggers Dish: Splurges, Treats, and Moderation

Good morning!

I was recently joking with some of my friends that the last two months have involved a lot more feta than fitness. I mentioned in this post that I’ve had to scale back on lifting this summer and modify my routine to fit what works for my schedule, and since my schedule has a lot of parties and celebrations, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve let myself indulge at multiple occasions this summer. And at said occasions, I will sometimes get comments like, “Athena, what are you eating today? Really?” or “How does Fitness & Feta eat at an event like this?”

These types of comments and questions, while probably not asked with any kind of bad intent, are starting to bother me. How the heck am I supposed to respond? My honest answer is “just like anybody else.”

I want you to all understand that even the “healthiest” people indulge. I ate a bowl of ice cream on Saturday night because my friend’s parents offered it to me, and it sounded delicious. I also enjoyed a big cup of ice cream with two giant chocolate chip cookies in it last weekend when I went to SOWA, just because I felt like having it. Sure, I ate a pasta dish (yes, a whole plate of white pasta smothered with cheesy goodness!) at a wedding a couple of weeks ago, but guess what? It tasted amazing. I also want to snack on ungodly amounts of pretzels after work sometimes. So I do.

I’m a sucker for margaritas, giant glasses of wine, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, pizza, ice cream, and bread. When I eat (or drink) these things, I don’t dwell on it, and I make sure to enjoy the taste of my favorite things. I know these aren’t my usual choices for every meal and snack, and I most certainly eat whole, nutrient-dense food about 85-90% of the time. But I make room for the treats, the cravings, and the foods I really love too, because deprivation typically results in frustration and leads back to bad habits. Letting yourself indulge 10-15% of the time really is the only way to sustain a healthy eating lifestyle for the long term.


To really drive my point home, I asked eight lovely ladies from Boston’s healthy living blogging community to share their favorite splurges, treats, and thoughts on moderation with all of you today. Because, REALLY you guys, even the healthiest of them all don’t deprive.

Alaina from The Jogging Concierge

Alaina Jogging ConciergeMost of my favorite splurges are centered around pastries: muffins, scones, banana bread, you name it! I usually save those treats for days that I run long distances, but sometimes I find myself just craving one out of the blue. When those cravings hit, I either grab something from a local coffee shop or even bake them myself. When the craving strikes (usually a couple of times a month), I always enjoy every bite. As long as it’s of good quality (i.e. not from a box in the grocery store), I feel like the splurge is always worth it. And because I only eat them on rare occasions, I never feel the need to “balance out.” I think that the way I eat is fairly balanced already by eating healthy, having fun, and making sure to exercise. :-)

Caroline from The Trendy Trainer

caroline trendy trainerWhen it comes to giving in to temptation, I have a hard time resisting a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc, preferably from Australia. By no means am I a vino snob, but if given a choice on a warm summer night while sitting outdoors spending time with friends… it’s no contest. While moderation is key — ahem, hello late-twenties hangover — I believe that I work my body hard, and therefore a goblet, I mean glass, here and there is not the end of the world. Unless of course that single serving turns into several. Then your body may think it’s end times.


Emily from Stay Healthy, Stay Happy

Emily Stay Healthy Stay HappyTwo things I love: ice cream and chocolate. Lately I’ve been addicted to this soy-based, non-dairy frozen treat from Trader Joe’s. After teaching Zumba, I look forward to a nice wholesome dinner followed by a couple spoonfuls of this delicious dessert. I say, everything in moderation. You don’t need to give up all your favorite treats to be healthy. Love chocolate? Make brownies with black beans, use avocado in chocolate pudding… the possibilities are endless.”


Monique from Burpees to Bubbly

moniqueIf you’ve read my blog, it’s no surprise that I’m all about “everything in moderation.” I don’t agree with diets, and although I’ve been actively trying to clean up my eats and focus on real foods and not processed, “low-fat,” and sugary foods, I am not one to ever deprive myself of those things entirely – where’s the fun in that?! I want to be able to go to a BBQ or a birthday party and have a burger (with a bun!) or a piece of cake or slice of pizza because that’s living a real life to me. Living by an 80/20 or 90/10 rule where I eat healthy 80 or 90 percent of the time and leave room for indulgences is what works for me. When I do indulge though, my favorite things to enjoy are pizza, ice cream/cookies/cake/all sweets, chips, honey-roasted peanuts, chex mix, and muffins!

Sarah G from Go Fit U

sarah go fit uI’m all about healthy eating, but I’ve also got a huge sweet tooth. I’m a sucker for anything red velvet. If you ever want anything out of me, get me in front of Cheesecake Factory’s red velvet cheesecake, and your wish is my command. I recently competed in my first bodybuilding show, and my boyfriend had a piece waiting for me at the end of the night. See the love affair right there? I’m currently studying abroad in Florence and am focusing on staying “Fit in Florence.” I’m eating gelato, pizza, and drinking vino, but I’m also finding healthier options and getting in my daily workouts. Check out my twitter & instagram @gofitu to follow my journey!

Sarah M from Blonde Bostonian

GelatoSarahThe word “splurge” isn’t really in my vocabulary when it comes to food (but it definitely is when it comes to dropping some cash on a cute new top from Lululemon). To me, it’s all about maintaining balance, especially when it comes to eating healthy and not-so healthy. You gotta balance out all those salads with some delicious treats right? My favorite is definitely ice cream. I’m a sucker for a soft-serve cone with sprinkles or some homemade ice cream with fresh ingredients. When my boyfriend and I traveled through Europe a few Summers ago, we made a point to try gelato in every town that we visited. It was a fantastic way to take a little culinary tour through the places we visited, and we made some fun memories along the way. So many of my memories are tied to food, and to be honest, I don’t have many memories about a super healthy green smoothie. They’re always tied to trying new things in incredible places. So make a memory, live a little, and have the ice cream.

Sherri from Fun, Fit, Flavor

Sherri D ice creamI live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, I make the healthiest choices possible. 20% of the time, I splurge a little. My favorite ways to splurge are as follows: cheese, baguette & wine, ice cream, and boneless buffalo wings. It’s going to sound a little off, but as I struggled with post-college 10-15 extra, I realized that allowing myself to eat my favorite foods in moderation is what allowed me to be the healthiest version of myself, both mentally and physically. If you allow yourself to fulfill a craving, your mind won’t be wandering about what else you can eat to fill the void. Just eat it and move on. A healthy salad can be consumed later. :)

Whitney from Live Run Love Yoga

liverunloveyogaMy favorite splurge is ice cream! I can never get enough! I typically reserve ice cream for trips to the ice cream stand and get a single serving. If I buy it in the grocery store, I will eat a half-gallon in no time! My at home alternative is frozen Greek yogurt bars. They are single serving and satisfy my craving without a ton of calories.

 –Let’s chat–
How do you approach eating in moderation and living a balanced lifestyle? What are your favorite go to splurges and treats? What do you guys think about a regular “Boston Bloggers Dish” series?

Cabbage, Kale, and Kohlrabi Slaw

Three items we’ve been getting a lot of in our CSA lately are cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi. Our fridge was starting to overflow with these veggies last week, so we combined them all into one dish and made a slaw. Whenever we make slaw, I tend to eat it as a salad base, but Tim gets psyched for sandwich time. We just stick a big batch in the fridge and use it in our preferred ways throughout the week!

Cabbage, Kale, and Kohlrabi Slaw

Cabbage, Kale, and Kohlrabi Slaw


  • 3 cups of chopped cabbage
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1.5 cups of chopped and massaged kale
  • 1 kohlrabi, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


Mix the cabbage, carrots, kale, kohlrabi, and parsley in a container or bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and s&p. Drizzle the mixture over the slaw and enjoy!

Cabbage, Kale, and Kohlrabi Slaw

I love that this slaw is light, crispy (the kohlrabi really adds a nice crunch!), and still flavorful without using any mayo. You can enjoy slaw in many different ways, but last week we ate it with a variation of this slow cooker peach BBQ pulled chicken recipe. Our variation was sans rice and with Tim’s homemade BBQ sauce (less sodium than buying BBQ sauce from the jar). The chicken and slaw combo lasted us several meals too.

Try it out, and let me know what you think!
–Let’s chat–
Do you eat slaw? Do you have any go to ways to make slaw or eat slaw? In your homes, do you ever make a big batch of something, just to eat it in a few different ways?
P.S. Not sure how the heck to cut up a kohlrabi? I thought it was an alien when I first saw one, but this post really helps!

Park Bench Circuit Workout

Oh hey. Miss me?

I’ve taken a step back from the blog a bit to work on things like planning my wedding (venue research takes so much TIME), starting to ask my bridesmaids to be a part of my wedding party (obviously need to put together theme gifts for that), putting together a memory book for my dad’s 60th birthday, and getting some preparations together for my friend Erica’s bridal shower this weekend. I also took some time to myself to just breathe and enjoy some downtime during the couple of weekends I had free.

Today I wanted to pop in and share a fun workout that I taught in my class yesterday morning. The theme was “all you need is a park bench.” If you don’t feel like exercising indoors, don’t have a lot of equipment at your disposal, or simply want to change things up a bit, this one is for you!

Park Bench Circuit Workout

In this workout, you will do each exercise for a total of 60 seconds before moving on immediately to the next move. Sometimes I find that 60 seconds can seem like a long time to do something for, so if that’s you, here are some ways you can break up some of the moves to make the time pass a little faster:

  • Step ups: Do 30 seconds of a true step up, but change the last 30 seconds to be a step up with knee lift. You can do this for both the front and side facing versions.
  • Pushups: Do 30 seconds of regular pushups. Then do 15 seconds of pushups with the right leg raised and 15 seconds of pushups with the left leg raised.
  • Climbers: Do 30 seconds of slow climbers and 30 seconds of faster ones. Warning: these burn your shoulders after a minute of pushups!
  • Toe taps: Alternate between 15 seconds slow taps, 15 seconds fast, etc.

Park Bench Circuit Workout

In class, we broke up the workout by doing a running lap around the Y in between each round of the circuit., and we did three rounds total. Short on time? Try just one or two rounds for a ten or twenty minute sweat sesh. Want more? Go for a fourth. Want to throw in some abs at the end? Try doing in and outs, bicycles, decline side planks, and elevated foot v-ups all with the bench as well.

There are a lot of options with this, just make it your own and pick something that works for you!

Park Bench Circuit Workout

At the end of class, we played on the monkey bars! Everyone took turns doing isometric holds in a chin up position. It was fun to play on the playground toys, but I wish there were more swings. One just isn’t enough for my class members to all do TRX inspired moves at the same time. I also wish we could go outside year round for bootcamp, baseball diamond, and playground workouts, but it’s already starting to get darker in the morning. What the heck!?

–Let’s chat–
Have you ever done a park bench workout? What other park bench exercises could I use in a different workout? What about playground moves in general?

Hope you guys have a great day!