Take advantage of your own backyard

For those of you who don’t know, I was born and raised in Florida and lived there until two years ago. That’s when my husband, Dave, and I packed up and went west.

When we first moved to San Francisco, we would spend every single weekend exploring new restaurants, parks, festivals and attractions, as well as getting out around the Bay Area to see what there was to see. We hiked to the top of mountains, visited lighthouses and even picnicked above the redwood forest. (If you’re wondering some of the best ways to experience this city as a visitor, be sure to check out my list of the Top 10 things to do in San Francisco.) 

Marin headlands view of city

A view of San Francisco from Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge.

However, as the months went on and we got into a more normal routine in San Francisco, our adventures pulled back a bit. One year ago, I started teaching regular group fitness classes on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, which meant we’ve been tied to the City until at least noon every Saturday. We’ve managed to make a few day trips here and there, but overall our excursions have been less regular. We’re still really good at trying new restaurants every single weekend, but we’ve slacked on the day-time fun department.

That’s about to change. There are endless things to do every single day and weekend around the Bay Area, and we’ve (I’ve) decided it’s time to take advantage of all of it. I don’t plan to be out gallivanting on weeknights, but I do plan to get off the couch on Saturday afternoons (as much as my post-BODYATTACK body wants to stay there) and embrace the urban setting and culture a little more like we did when we first arrived.

And we got a jump-start on that mission last weekend.

Tour de Fat in San Francisco

On Saturday, as soon as I got home from teaching, I showered up and we headed out to a festival. This was one of those oh-so-San-Francisco events called Tour de Fat, which took place in the huge Golden Gate Park across the City.

Ladies and gentlemen, this was a strangely entertaining activity. Tour de Fat is hosted and sponsored by New Belgium Brewing, the folks who make Fat Tire beer, and it happens each year in 10 major cities across the U.S. The event tagline should give you an idea of what you’ll find there: “Bikes, Beer and Bemusement.” Why, yes indeed.

As expected, attending this event made someone very happy …

Dave at Tour de Fat

Dave enjoying two new beer tastings in the VIP area.

The event itself has a great message. It’s all about bikes and bike safety awareness, which is incredibly important in a city like San Francisco where bicyclists have had some issues in traffic. But to showcase the message, the New Belgium people offered weird carnie fun. There were life-size board games, hula hoops (which I definitely did, although that picture will not be making the blog) and all sorts of odd carnival-themed entertainment, as well as food and plenty of beer. While we didn’t watch any of the bands, we did catch the tail-end of a dance contest, in which someone shook their booty to win a nice bike.

Because Dave knew the organizers, we got some free stuff, had access to the VIP area and even got first-dibs on seats to see a funny little magic show.

Le Tigre tent at Tour de Fat

A tiny little tent where the magic show took place.

The people watching was nearly as good as the City’s crazy annual Bay to Breakers event that Dave and I participated in May with some friends. There were tons of people in costumes, tons of hipsters, bikers, hippies and some average Joes like us. And although I’m not much of a beer drinker, I can never turn down a cold light beer at a festival in the park. When in Rome, my friends …

Ashley and Dave Tour de Fat

You know it’s a good event when there are suggested hashtags.

We weren’t totally sure if we were going to go, expecting the park to be crowded and cold. Well, it was both of those things. But as soon as we arrived and soaked up the vibrancy of the people and surroundings, we were so glad we made the choice to get off the couch and enjoy our backyard.

It’s fun to get out there.

What’s not so fun? I’m about to head out to handle some civic responsibilities — jury duty awaits me. But at least I have an awesome event coming up tonight, which I can’t wait to share about.

Giveaway reminder

If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in winning two weeks of free classes to the new Avant-Barre studio, please enter today. The contest closes tonight, and I’ll announce a winner tomorrow morning.

Questions of the day

Are there entertaining activities in your city that you’ve been meaning to do? Are you a planner before the weekend or do you like to let things unfold on their own? Do you have any vacations planned soon?

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Who doesn’t like pictures of food?

Welcome to “What I Ate Wednesday.” What does a regular weekday of eating look like for me? It always has the same formula:

  • Three bigger meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Two medium-sized snacks: Mid-morning and mid-afternoon
  • One recovery drink: A protein shake consumed directly after my workout
  • Lots of water

While I don’t count my calories (even though sometimes I check in on my protein intake via MyFitnessPal), I aim for fairly equal serving sizes for my meals most days by using similar containers/dishes for food. During the week, I tend to stick to a handful of tried and true healthy-ish items and save my desserts and indulgent eats for the weekends.

The biggest things I try to do each day include eating frequently enough that I’m never super hungry and having protein in every meal or snack so I stay full for longer.

Now what does all that look like in pictures? Here you go …

Breakfast at 5:30 a.m.

Overnight oats and tea for breakfast

Overnight oats, made with Greek yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, rolled oats and cinnamon, topped with a banana. A mug of green tea on the side.

A creature of habit, I eat this nearly every single day. Lately I’ve been trying new combinations, like adding a scoop of almond butter (it doesn’t spread well throughout the bowl) or crunched-up almonds (a little bland, and I eat enough almonds every day anyways), but nothing has been as good as the original. I’m still searching for a way to liven it up. Pumpkin perhaps? ‘Tis the season.

Morning snack at 8:45 a.m.

Cottage cheese morning snack

Cottage cheese with blueberries and crunched-up almonds.

Cottage cheese is full of protein and can be used as a base for anything. It’s a major staple in my diet. I go through a tub a week, sometimes more. I know it doesn’t sound tasty, but it’s worth a shot if you are looking for a filling and healthy snack idea.

Lunch at 11 a.m.

Salad with chicken for lunch

Salad with grilled chicken, grilled peppers, spinach, purple cabbage, grape tomatoes, garbanzo beans and balsamic vinaigrette.

My weekday salad is the place where I use any leftover meat and veggies from dinners. You can see taco night extras made it into this particular salad. In the break-room at work people always compliment my meals because the colors make it seem so fancy. It’s not fancy, but it does taste good.

Post-workout protein at 2 p.m.

Protein shakeOne big scoop of Game Plan Vanilla Whey Protein mixed with water.

This is nearly the last of my Game Plan supply, so I’m on the hunt for another protein powder to try soon. I have a protein shake every day that I work out, within about 30 minutes of finishing, and it’s something I look forward to. I’ve been using this same pink bottle for so long, I think it may be time to invest in a new one. Poor little guy is starting to look worn.

Afternoon snack at 4 p.m.

Yogurt, apples and nuts afternoon snack

Greek yogurt, a chopped up gala apple and some raw mixed-nut trail mix.

Parfaits are the way to my heart. I like to have plenty of textures and tastes in a meal, so mixing up a few of my staple items like this is an easy way to fill up with goodness. I’m pretty sure I go a little heavy on the nut eating these days, but they’re just so yummy.

Hydration stop at 5 p.m.

Coconut water

A hearty helping of coconut water.

Outside of one mug of green tea in the morning, water and milk, coconut water is the only flavored beverage I drink on the regular. This is my go-to brand, and when I’m feeling frisky on the weekend I like to reach for the pulpy kind. Coconut water is always in my water bottle when teaching BODYATTACK, because I need that little extra push to re-hydrate while dripping buckets full of sweat during the one-hour class.

Dinner at 8:30 p.m.

 Veggie pasta for dinner

Zucchini pasta topped with sauteed collard greens, purple cabbage, tomatoes and turkey meatballs covered in tomato sauce. 

Another smorgasboard of items, of course. I make my zucchini pasta noodles with a Veggetti during the day so I can have them ready quickly at night once I get home from classes or work. This is by far my favorite weekday dinner, and so I eat it at least twice a week. Last night was extra special, because I tried a new gourmet and healthy 100% natural pasta sauce sent to me by a company called Sauces n’ Love. More details on that coming soon, because it’s worth sharing.

*Un-pictured — A few swigs of almond milk straight from the carton. No judgment zone.

Okay, folks! That’s all the food I had yesterday, a regular ole’ Tuesday in the City. I’m heading off to work to train some clients and then teach BODYATTACK tonight. 

Readers in the San Francisco Bay Area

You have until tomorrow night at midnight to enter the giveaway to win two weeks of classes at the popular new Avant-Barre studio in the SoMa neighborhood.

Stay in touch

I know you like to look at pictures of food via “What I Ate Wednesday,” so let’s stay in touch. Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin’InstagramFacebook and Twitter for more food and fitness talk throughout the week. And if you want to enjoy more recaps of daily eating, check out my previous posts:

  1. A full day of eating in pictures
  2. Another full day of my eats and drinks
  3. Real food isn’t always pretty
  4. Do you have a balanced dining out strategy?
  5. What I ate and drank all day
  6. Three meals, two snacks and a shake
  7. Food trucks and rest-day eating
  8. Plenty of protein at every meal
  9. Colorful fuel for a day of training
  10. Long days of training require a lot of food
  11. Making do on “What I Ate Wednesday” 
  12. Healthy foods for a rest day

Questions of the day

What’s one fun thing you’ve done lately? Do you have a favorite protein powder? What’s your most frequently eaten weeknight dinner?

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