Pressed Juicery: Juiced to ImPRESS

4 Aug

It’s not news that I love juicing. Blue Print Cleanse has always been my cleanse of choice on the east coast. But in LA, it was hard to swallow (pun intended) the hefty delivery fees, or the limited pick-up days at Exhale. So, my search began for a local LA juice company to test out. And boy, did I find it.

Pressed Juicery is a tiny, hole in the wall, in Brentwood. Literally, it’s a closet with a cute barn door. There’s just enough room for a cash register, a person, two stand up coolers filled with juice, and a wall of supplements/elixirs. It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Ok, the guy on the phone kind of ruins the rusticness of it, but you get the idea. Good things do come in small packages. And I love any place where I can bring my dog, and eat.

Pressed Juicery, Brentwood

True to their promise “designed for your everyday life”, their menu offers flexibility unlike any juice program I’ve tried. Want your juice delivered? They can do that. Prefer to pick-it up in Brentwood? You can do that too. Not ready for a full-on cleanse? No problem. You can buy juices individually so you can test out as many as you like.

Pressed boasts 17 signature juices like Almond Milk (my fave), Blueberry Coconut Pear, Greens, and Roots. They usually have specials like Watermelon Mint which is TO DIE FOR. Sampling is ideal, particularly if you’re new to juicing. It’s an easy way to test out the juices without committing to a full-on cleanse. All juices are $6.50 for sixteen ounces, except almond milk ($8.00), aloe vera ($3.00) and carrot ($5.00).

If you’re looking to cleanse, you can choose which level you want (Cleanse 1 for less experienced, Cleanse 2 is most popular, Cleanse 3 for experienced/hardcore). And within each level, you have options: Greens 1 (no apple & lemon) or Greens 2 (with apple & lemon), Roots 1 (with beet) or Roots 2 (no beet), and Detox 1 (lemon, cayenne, filtered water) or Detox 2 (pineapple, pear, ginger, mint). Each cleanse ends with Almond Milk, those familiar with Blue Print and other cleanses know how the nut milks are known for being the dessert they look forward to all day.

PJ’s (we’re friends now, I can call them that) juices are pressed daily at an offsite facility in Beverly Hills. They use premium, organic ingredients, which is evident in each juice.  I was taken aback by the creaminess of their Almond Milk and the Carrot Coconut. I swear I was drinking a dairy product. And look at the color of this juice! It’s startling how bright and orange it is.

Carrot Coconut Juice

The Watermelon Mint is divine. It tastes like you’re sucking juice out of a perfectly ripe watermelon. The mint balances out the sweetness so it’s refreshing and light. I threw this back in about 10 seconds.

Watermelon Mint Juice

Their Almond Milk is one of the best nut milks I’ve ever tasted. It’s creamy, sweet, rich, dotted with vanilla bean specks, and literally tastes like melted ice cream.

Almond Milk: almonds, dates, vanilla bean, sea salt, filtered water

If I had children, Pressed Juicery would be my go-to place for juice. If you’re going to have juice, you might as well have the purest ingredients, and reap the maximum nutritional benefits, right? So many packaged juices are full of chemicals, additives, artificial x-y- and z, added sugar, it’s horrifying. Plus, these taste amazing and won’t fool those young palates into thinking cherries are supposed to be fire engine red, dye your tongue, and taste like sugar.

PressedJuicery.com is loaded with information about what to do before, during, and after the cleanse, and general F&Qs about cleansing. Like this one:

What is the difference between a “hydraulic press” and a regular juicer? At Pressed, all of our juices are produced on the highest quality juice press that exists. As opposed to a normal “centrifugal” juicer which takes a whole fruit or vegetable and squeezes out the juice, a hydraulic press actually grinds the entire thing into a fine pulp, after which it applies thousands of pounds of pressure to this pulp, extracting every ounce of juice that the fruit or vegetable can possibly yield. The results are smooth-tasting juices that contain the maximum amount of nutrition contained in each item. The gentle pressing action allows for little to no air to be introduced into the juice, and because of this each bottle can be kept in sealed, refrigerated containers for up to 3 days with little loss of taste, nutrients, or color.

Wish I could buy a hydraulic press but for now, my Breville Elite will have to do.

After sampling practically every juice they make, I’ve embarked on a 3-day cleanse. More on that when I finish it.

Don’t miss this amazing hidden gem. You can order online (they now deliver nationwide), pick-up in Brentwood, or swing by their mobile truck in Malibu. I’m dying to check out their truck because I heard they do remixes like combining Detox 2 + coconut + almond. Um, YUM. I’m imPRESSED.

Pressed Juicery

310-477-7171

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Peeled Snacks Recipe Contest: Enter NOW for a chance to win $250 in CASH!

28 Jul

Calling all Food Buffs!

Peeled Snacks is hosting their first recipe contest, the Ultimate Recipe Remix. Enter for a chance to win $250 in cash and a chance to compete in a live cook-off!!!! All contestants will receive a discount code for 40% off Peeled Snacks, so either way, it’s a win, win!

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Submission deadline: SUNDAY, July 31, 2011 (11:59PM PST)

Here’s How: Create an original appetizer or entrée recipe containing Peeled Snacks as an ingredient and submit your entry to contest@peeledsnacks.com (up to five entries per person). All contestants will receive a discount code for 40% off Peeled Snacks, and finalists will compete for cash and prizes at a live cook-off event in NYC this September.

Entries must include:

    • Image of dish (either photo or video)
    • Dish name and recipe
    • Name(s) of Peeled Snacks used in recipe
    • Brief description of yourself

See entry examples at Peeled Snacks’ Tumblr page. Click here for contest details. 

*TheFoodBuff.com is not responsible for any aspect of this contest including its production or coordination. For any contest rules, regulations, or other questions, please contact contest@peeledsnacks.com or refer to their contest page. Thank you!

“I am Thankful” for Cafe Gratitude

28 Jul

I always try at least one vegan/vegetarian/raw spot whenever I’m in LA. I found Cafe Gratitude through a Google search. It’s on North Larchmont in LA, a short walk from the main part of Larchmont Village which is full of quaint shops, and outdoor dining.

There’s a large outdoor patio where dogs are welcome and treated to a bowl of fresh water upon seating. The scene is very casual, perfect for a low-key brunch or lunch. They serve alcohol too (hallelujah). The menu is partly raw, and partly cooked. Everything is 100% organic and vegan. Produce is from “Be Love Farm”, their farm in Vacaville, CA.

Outdoor Seating area at Cafe Gratitude

Our server, had a huge head of coiled up dreads, and a soft-spoken voice. After Husband and I ordered, she asked “Today’s Question” which was, “What do you love to give?” Of course, you can imagine the Beavis answers THAT conjured. For a second, I stared at her vacantly wondering if I was supposed to answer, and then she was gone, presumably placing our order.

We ordered the “I am Accepting”, ironic considering I wasn’t feeling very “accepting” at the time. Perhaps if I’d eaten two portions I would have felt differently?  Our dishes arrived looking gorgeous with vibrant green kale and sprouts. I felt healthier just looking at it. It just goes to show its the QUALITY of ingredients that really counts. Look at what you can do with amazingly fresh, locally sourced, organic food, and the simplest preparation! This “sushi” bowl even got a thumbs-up from non-vegan Husband.

"I am Accepting" - "Sushi" bowl with raw kale, cucumber, avocado, nori, and fresh herbs, quinoa, spicy wasabi ginger sauce, topped with sprouts and kimchee.

I asked for hot sauce and of course, they make their own. LOVE that!

Cafe Gratitude's Homemade Hot Sauce

I was dying to try one of their smoothies. Despite being full, I couldn’t help myself. The server recommended the “I am Cool” so I got one to-go. And no, I didn’t order it because I just wanted to say that I’m cool. I was impressed how much it reminded me of a mint chocolate chip milk shake. However, the consistency was very thick, almost chunky, with constant hard bits of cacao that had to be chewed. Although I enjoyed the taste, I couldn’t take the consistency for too long and ended up pitching it halfway through.

"I am Cool" smoothie Mint chocolate chip "milkshake" with Vitamineral green and raw cacao

Of course, we couldn’t leave without one last Cafe Gratitude thought-ism. This card arrived clothespinned to our check. We didn’t do it.

Note that came with our check

As we were leaving, I spotted a guy wearing aviators and casual workout gear. It was none other than, Jake Gyllenhaal. He ordered a smoothie (I couldn’t hear which one), hopped back in his Mercedes, shook hands with a fan through his car window, and was off.

Conceptually, I respect and applaud what Cafe Gratitude is doing and wish there were more restaurants that did the same. I’m a fan of any place going against the grain with a new and different experience. However, the way it’s all packaged together was too over-the-top, touchy/feely for my taste. Each dish on the menu is named something like, “I am Extraordinary”, “I am Courageous”, “I am Luscious”, you get the idea. So when you order, you have to say, I’ll have the “I am Accepting” and the “I am Cool”. Not really my cup of tea. I couldn’t buy into but hey, that’s why the world is great right? We don’t all have to like the same things, but I can appreciate that they’re doing something unique.

There’s one thing you can’t argue. The food is fresh, tasty, and I left feeling nourished by a healthful meal. And really, that’s what us Food Buffers care about right? Good food, not trendy scene? And hey, if it’s good enough for Jake, it’s good enough for me.  I’ll definitely be back to try some of the raw food and smoothies. I am Thankful for Cafe Gratitude!

Cafe Gratitude

Casual, vegan, raw, organic

Starters – $6-$12/Entrees – $7-$13/Sides – $1.50-$3.00/Juices & Smoothies – $3.00-$9.00/Desserts – $2.25-$8/Beer & Wine -$5-$9 (glass), $21-$28 (bottle)

639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90004

11am – 10pm 7 days/week

How to Feel Your Best When Traveling

23 Jul

I love traveling. It’s one of my favorite things to do next to cooking. This summer, I’m doing a ton of it, and it can take its toll if I don’t take good care of myself. Flying can be brutal. Seats are tight, waits are infinite, and unpredictable. With nothing but peanuts and pretzels, it’s no surprise we end up feeling disgusting. We’re bloated, tired, dehydrated, hungry, and just plain CRANKY! This is why whenever I travel, I try to be kind to myself so I don’t end up feeling like a wreck.

Here are some guidelines on “How to Feel Your Best When Traveling” with a before, during, and after plan.

Got a travel routine you want to share? Let’s hear it! Perhaps you’ve got an upcoming trip or vacation that you’re not sure how to prepare for? Just ask!!

BEFORE YOU LEAVE

  • Fill-up on a nutritious, satisfying meal at home. Try hearty foods like whole grain oatmeal (not instant) with fresh fruit, multi-grain sandwich with veggies and lean protein.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – Drink tons of water (and coconut water).
  • Pack snacks and meals for the journey. Make your own trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, pack an orange (they’re durable, can go through security), sandwich wraps travel well, or healthy snacks
  • Make time to exercise before you leave. Get your blood flowing and lift your spirits before you embark on your trip.
  • Research and plan out exercise & meals in advance – Find out if there’s a hotel gym or  See if there are studios in the area you may want to try. Maybe this is an opportunity to try something new! Make dinner reservations in advance so you know you’ll have options and won’t have to rely on the hotel.

DURING YOUR JOURNEY

  • Stick to the plan! Stay away from anything processed. Don’t get distracted by the airport newsstands and fast food stations. Many airports now have healthier options. Sweets, chips, and sodas are going to throw your blood sugar levels off, and add to the dehydration you’re already going to experience.
  • If you can, try not to sit too much in the airport. You’re going to be sitting for hours so try to move around and keep the circulation going in your legs.
  • Skip that in-flight coffee and soda. Stick to water and lots of it. Coffee and soda will just add to your dehydration. I even politely decline the free handouts on the flight so I’m not tempted.
  • Snooze on the flight. Pack an eye mask and ear plugs (or noise canceling headphones) so you can rest without disruption. Being overtired often makes me susceptible to poor food choices later.
  • And if you can’t snooze…Keep your mind occupied with books, magazines or movies

ONCE YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION

  • Get Creative. Ask the hotel for a second mini refrigerator so you can stock up on water and healthy eats. (This can also prevent that mini-bar raid and save some money!)
  • Hit the local grocery store. Pick up some fresh fruit, green avocado, hummus, coconut water, small bag of veggies or baby carrots.
  • Be active. Try walking as much as you can throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to lunch or dinner. Explore your new area! Maybe hit a museum or go to a local park if you have time. Try stretching in your room or sign up for a yoga, spin or Pilates class. Many studios even offer a free first class!

Restaurant Experience: Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen

11 Jul

If you’re looking for a casual place with exceptional wine, relaxed but fun atmosphere, and tasty eats in Santa Monica, try Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen. The ambience and shared plates make it perfect for either a romantic date night, or an intimate dinner with a small group of friends. The menu is inspired by farmer’s markets, with a Mediterranean influence, sourced from local, sustainable agriculture, giving it a very seasonal focus. I hear the burger is what they’re known for so if that’s your thing, it’s probably worth ordering. Service at both the bar and table were friendly and attentive. I’ve read some reviews that people find it too loud, but we were there at 8:30 on a Friday and didn’t experience any issue with the noise levels.

Husband and I started at the bar with a glass of the 2009 Red Car, Box Car, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. It was fruity, light, and worth every penny of its $16 price tag. Had I not been the designated driver, I would have downed the entire bottle. The bar is small with five or six stools. Good for a drink with a friend or significant other, but not ideal for a larger group.

We got seated on time and received a beautiful bowl of olives to tempt the palates. I do like that they didn’t start off the meal with a huge bread bowl.

Olives with citrus and thyme at Rustic Canyon

Then we dove in…

Roasted Beets & Farro with feta, cucumbers, fennel, red onion, cherry tomatoes, yogurt

OK, I know it looks like a Jack-o-lantern in the pic below, but it’s actually a pile of bite size fried artichokes. I think this dish was the only disappointment for me. They were kind of fried beyond recognition so I really couldn’t even taste the artichoke. Or perhaps it’s a situation where what I was envisioning wasn’t what showed up. Next time I’ll try the fried cauliflower.

Fried Artichokes

Succotash: corn, tomatoes, spring veggies

Branzino with roasted eggplant, fennel, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, black olives & salsa verde

This pasta was incredibly tasty and although it was not an entrée portion, given its’ hearty, filling nature, it was portioned out appropriately.

Homemade Pasta with Carmelized Corn and Parmesan Reggiano

Overall, this was an enjoyable meal without breaking the bank. Most of the small plates are between $10-$16, but the entrees are a little pricey, with the Branzino at $32. That said, price is relative considering I’m used to the inflated costs in NY. 🙂

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen 1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401, Ph: 310.393.7050

Click here for reservations.

Back in LA: Recharging after a long flight

10 Jul

I made it to LA! Ugh, finally. What a flight. Flying is just a miserable experience anymore. Husband and I have been loyal Delta flyers for years, but the lack of benefits lately are making me consider committing airline adultery.

Here was the level of comfort achieved on our flight out. I’m 5’6″, people. My knees shouldn’t be jammed against the seat in front of me.

Cramped Delta Airlines Seats

With these conditions, and nothing but peanuts and pretzels, it’s no surprise many of us end up feeling disgusting when we travel. We’re bloated, tired, dehydrated and hungry. This is why whenever I travel, I make a point to eat well to ensure I don’t end up feeling like a wreck.

I stocked up on food at Balducci’s in JFK. Although they’re expensive, they always have vegan/vegetarian healthful options. The mediterranean wrap was tasty, but packed with onions so beware. My breath could have choked a horse.

Crudite and Hummus snack. Mediterranean Veggie Wrap.

I brought a pack of Peeled pine-4-pineapple snacks from home. They’re such a convenient treat to stash in the carry-on. The packaging is flat so doesn’t take up much space in the “seat-pocket in front of me”.

I spent my first day in LA treating my body to healthy food and rejuvenating fitness to offset the damage. I took Simon for a long walk and stopped at Earthbar at Equinox Westwood for a veggie juice.

Total Greens Juice at Equinox Earthbar, Westwood. Parsley, Celery, Spinach, Kale, Cucumber. I added Lemon and Ginger for extra $0.50.

Then ended the day with a decompressing, stretching, YW Flow 2 class at YogaWorks. I needed something to help stretch me out after that brutal plane ride. And honestly, nothing could have worked better.

Oh, and of course, I was already plotting out dinner before I went to yoga, so I ordered online from Native Foods, and scheduled it for a 6pm pickup. Sure enough, I walked over after class and my Scorpion Burger was there waiting for me. Skipped the line and was in and out of there in less than five minutes. Brilliant!

Stay tuned for more LA adventures!

Acai Raspberry Smoothie Recipe

6 Jul

First things first. It’s pronounced, ah-sigh-ee. Now that that’s out of the way… acai is said to be full of antioxidants and considered a “superfood”. It’s tart, so I usually like it best combined with other sweeter fruits like banana, to soften the blow.

It has been painfully hot here in NYC. The good news is that heat completely suppresses my appetite. All I want is salad, watermelon, and anything else light and cold. So of course, that means one thing… smoothies!!

After my Bar Method workout this morning, I came home and made this refreshing, fruit filled smoothie. The tartness of the acai and raspberries are balanced with the creamy bananas, almond milk, and sweetness of the agave. Plus, there’s added protein and good fat from the flaxseed oil.

Well, I’m off to LA, and looking forward to my fill of west coast smoothies!

Click here to learn more about acai.

Acai Raspberry Smoothie

3/4 – 1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy bev)

1 frozen banana (equivalent to about 1 cup)

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1 packet frozen acai

1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

1/2 tablespoon agave

1. Blend all together and enjoy!

Please keep in mind I’m not a registered dietician or medical professional, I’m a cook. So if you have any health concerns or dietary questions, please consult your doctor or nutritionist.

Fresh RaspberriesAcai Raspberry Smoothie

Acai Raspberry Smoothie

Orange Glazed Tempeh Recipe

1 Jul

I had a package of tempeh staring at me all week. I just wasn’t inspired so I kept staring back at it until I stumbled upon this recipe for Orange Glazed Tempeh on 101Cookbooks. It was love at first sight. It doesn’t require long marinating times, or steaming the tempeh before cooking. It tastes like it took hours to make, and it was start to finish, 30 minutes.

The recipe is actually from Australian cookbook author, Jude Blereau‘s book, Coming Home to Eat – Whole Food for the Family. The cookbook doesn’t have US distribution yet (big bummer because I want it), but there’s an abundance of info on healthy eating at site and blog. You can also contact (sales@boffinsbookshop.com.au) and to coordinate an order. Beware, the shipping costs to the US are hefty (about $25).

I paired the tempeh with broccoli and quinoa, but you could easily use any lightly seasoned veggies, brown rice, couscous or even orzo. I made a couple minor tweaks to 101cookbook’s version. Although I don’t eat poultry, this sauce would go well with chicken, as well as salmon or scallops, if that’s your thing. It’s a very versatile recipe and could even work with tofu if you don’t have tempeh on hand.

If you’ve hesitated to try tempeh, or introduce it to your family, this is the recipe to try! It’s sweet, with a crusty, meaty texture that’s still light, healthy, and absolutely delicious! Liberate yourself this July 4th by trying something new!

Orange Glazed Tempeh Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3-4 large juicy oranges)
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (or ground coriander)
  • red chili pepper flakes (couple shakes, or equivalent to a couple pinches)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • roughly 10 ounces of tempeh (or extra-firm tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lime
  • a handful of cilantro (coriander) leaves
  • 2 cups broccoli cut into small florets
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

Directions:

1. Put the orange juice in a small bowl. Grate in ginger. Add the tamari, mirin, maple syrup, garam masala, red chili pepper flakes, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.

2. Cut the tempeh (or tofu) into bite-sized pieces. If working with tofu, pat dry with a paper towel.

3. Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden.

Searing Tempeh

Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a lovely thick glaze. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and frequently spoon the sauce over it.

Seared Tempeh in Orange Glaze Sauce

4. Cut the broccoli into small, bite size florets and add them to the pan for 2-3 minutes until cooked through. (If the florets are large, you may need to steam them first before finishing in the pan). Make sure they’re well coated with the pan sauce.

Seared Tempeh and Broccoli in Orange Glaze Sauce

5. Add two cups of cooked quinoa and stir until warmed through.

Orange Glazed Tempeh with Broccoli and Quinoa

6. Serve the tempeh drizzled with any remaining sauce, a squeeze of lime, and fresh coriander scattered on top.

Orange Glazed Tempeh served with Broccoli and Quinoa

Note: If you’re cooking vegetables that are large and require a longer cooking time, cook them separately, seasoning thoroughly with salt and pepper. Same with the quinoa. Then plate the tempeh on top of the vegetables and quinoa with a drizzle of pan sauce.

*As you know, I’m not a doctor or nutritionist. If you have gluten allergies, please check with your doctor if you are uncertain about wheat content in any of these products. Some tempeh does have gluten so be sure to double-check before consuming.

Serves 4


Raw Vegan Coconut Almond Macaroons

23 Jun

I rarely venture above 23rd street, so when I had to go to the Upper East Side the other day, I made a few stops along the way. First on my hit list? Candle Cafe!! I didn’t have time to indulge in a full-fledged meal, but I got the Green Goddess juice which boosted my spirits. (I’m sure this guy would appreciate looking like he’s scratching his butt in the picture below. He’s actually just putting his wallet in his pocket, but my version is funnier).

Candle Cafe NYC

Look how vibrant and beautifully green the juice is!!

Green Goddess Juice at Candle Cafe. Mixed Greens, Apple, Lemon, and Ginger.

I swung by Beanocchio for a soy latte and couldn’t resist these delicious coconut macaroons.

Raw Almond Vegan Macaroons at Beanocchio

And they’re even heart-shaped (-ish)! So cute.

Raw Vegan Coconut Almond Macaroons at Beanocchio

They were sweet, but not cloying, and held together perfectly. I love raw cookies and bars because I don’t feel gross after I eat them. They aren’t packed with processed sugars and artificial ingredients that can send your body into a frenzy. Plus, raw desserts are filling and satisfying. They’re typically high in protein, good fats, and fiber, which means I don’t get the urge to binge on 50 of them. It’s not about the calories, it’s about the quality of the ingredients.

I took a stab at making my own raw vegan macaroons. Next time, I think I’ll try chocolate covered ones. Mmmmmmmm.

Raw Vegan Coconut Almond Macaroons Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup almonds (soaked for 1 hour)

1/2 cup toasted unsweetened, low-fat organic coconut

1/2 cup unsweetened, low-fat, organic coconut

1/4 cup agave

Directions:

1. Soak the almonds. Drain, disposing of liquid. Reserve almonds.

2. Toast coconut in a small saute pan over low heat.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

4. Put all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until finely ground and begins to hold together.

5. Using a tablespoon, scoop mounds of the mixture and place onto prepared baking sheet. Note: when scooping, be sure to press mixture into the tablespoon to ensure it forms a mound and holds together. If the mixture is sticking in the spoon, have a cup of hot water to dip the spoon into between scoops.

6. Refrigerate for one hour. These little mounds of joy were soft but held together, even when bitten into. They tasted even better on the second day.

7. Eat!!

Raw Vegan Coconut Almond Macaroons

I Survived Barry’s Boot Camp

19 Jun

I started “food buff” to talk about my two loves: eating, and ironically, fitness/exercise. I figured it’s about time for a fitness post or I’ll have to change my blog to “food liar”.

What better way to kick things off than with the much-anticipated, newly opened LA transplant, Barry’s Boot Camp. Holy _______ (insert favorite profanity here). I’ve tried many different workouts over the years, and I think this is the hardest yet.

Barry’s Boot Camp, which opened June 4th in Chelsea, is not what we’re used to seeing from boot camps. The studio is not covered in camouflage like a base training camp. It’s a fairly large studio, able to accommodate about 40 people, brand new Woodway treadmills, in a “club-like” atmosphere. The music is rockin’, and the dark, red lighting is figure flattering (which helps since you’re staring at yourself in the mirror all class). My instructor wasn’t yelling at us, but I’ve heard others (especially Barry) use more of a pledging approach to get you motivated.

Classes are one hour, with a combination of 25 to 30 minutes of interval training on the treadmills (a.k.a. sprinting your $ss off) and the other half focusing on strength training with free weights and other equipment. Monday through Friday the strength training focuses on different body parts each day. For example, Monday is arms and abs, Tuesday is legs and butt, etc. Full schedule is here. In theory, if you go every day, by the end of the week you would have worked all muscle groups. But if you need it all in one class, they offer full body workouts Friday through Sunday, which is what I took. The instructor had us do (four) 15 minutes segments: 15 on the treadmill, 15 on the floor with weights, 15 back on the treadmill, 15 on strength. After the first 30 minutes, I thought I was done. You can imagine my disappointment when we were told to get back on the treadmill and I realized we were only halfway through.

The idea of “shocking” the body to get the best results isn’t new. I’ve had personal trainers at Equinox and NY Sports Club, and they used the same methodology of interval training with strength. It’s a proven method and I walked out of class feeling tighter almost immediately. I was sweaty, exhausted, and could see that with consistency, this class could get me leaner, toned, and stronger.

That said, I hated every minute of running. I detest running to begin with, and was nervous about the treadmill element. The intervals were hard…high speed sprints (7-12) and high inclines (over 6). Hitting those numbers was next to impossible sometimes, and sustaining them took a whole other level of warrior. Sure there are times when you’re jogging or at a lower incline, but the peaks were brutal and even being in decent shape, I struggled. I haven’t run in over a year, so I’m sure that didn’t help. Also, there are no breaks, it’s a constant, one-hour, beat down.

The strength training portion wasn’t as brutal. They recommended 5 lb light weights and 8 lb heavy weights for women so being a little afraid of what was in store, I went with the suggestion. Perhaps I could have gone heavier now that I’ve been through it, but first class is always hard not knowing what you’re up against.

It was fun to try a new class that was challenging and totally different from anything I have in my current routine. I was completely out of my comfort zone and getting through it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. I can’t say that this will become part of my routine, but I’d like to try it a couple more times to see. This is also a great workout to go with a buddy. Misery loves company, right?

Pros:

  • You sweat. A lot. And probably burn a ton of calories (my heart rate monitor battery died so I couldn’t calculate my workout).
  • The 50/50 cardio/strength mix makes efficient use of an hour.
  • The instructor, and being in a class setting, pushes you beyond what you think you can do
  • My class had an even number of men and women
  • New studio in convenient location. They also have electronic lockers so you enter your own 4 digit code and that’s it. No need to bring a lock.
  • If you’re a runner, you’ll probably drool over the cardio segments.
  • They also have a juice bar which is rumored to be developed by one of the folks from Greenleaf .*
I tried this Chocolate Peanut Butter smoothie. Initially it tasted good, but after a couple sips it had a little chalky aftertaste. I like my smoothies thick!! The consistency was way too thin for my taste, almost like chocolate milk. They also use “Better’n Peanut Butter” which probably appeals to people who are focused on low-fat/low-calorie. (I can picture men who can’t put their arms down, really into these). I’m more concerned with eating whole, natural foods, and would rather they use a small amount of pure, real, organic peanut butter instead of something processed.

Chocolate "Peanut Butter" Smoothie at Barry's Boot Camp

Cons:

  • As a first timer, I was shocked I didn’t receive any training on the treadmill, and no welcome, etc. When I checked in, the front desk didn’t even offer me a tour or any information on class packages. Luckily, I’d stopped in a few days prior and received one from their GM who is an absolute doll. I left class with no incentive to buy a package (i.e. discount on future package?) which was disappointing.
  • The instructor asked if anyone was new. Despite raising and waving both hands, he didn’t see me (in a class of 10 people). He seemed focused on a few “regulars”. Yes the treadmill isn’t rocket science to master, but the Woodway is a bit different, so a quick demo/tutorial would have been beneficial as there were times when I couldn’t get the stupid speed to change, and one time when it just shut off for no reason.
  • The waiver I signed before class didn’t ask if there were any injuries. In small print it says “All injuries must be reported before class.” But no one asked if there were injuries, including the instructor, so I’m not sure when this reporting should have taken place.
  • Instructor gave a couple adjustments, but guidance was minimal.
  • This is a HIGH-impact workout. In addition to running, there are lots of squats and lunges which aggravate my joints. I had surgery years ago for a torn meniscus. The day after Barry’s workout, my knee was pretty inflamed.
  • RUNNING. Did I mention, I hate it?
*I reached out to Barry’s to check details about the Juice bar. At time of posting, I had not received feedback. I’ll update the post with any other info if applicable.
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