Metabolic, V02 & Nutritional Testing

How I figured out my food intolerances

For my entire 20’s, I’ve struggled with food allergies, digestive issues, sinus issues, and brain fog. After trying different supplements, getting allergy tests at an ENT office, and trying different diets (paleo, vegan, vegetarian, etc), nothing was helping.

After a little more research, I stumbled upon a business that had just opened in Columbus, Ohio – Rock N Shock Fitness. Rock N Shock is an all-female community focused on getting you in the best shape of your life. The owner, Danielle Miranda, spent years developing a system that encompasses the entire body, internally and externally, to get you to your healthiest self. This is done with initial testing to find out what is really going on with your body – food & non-food intolerance tests, nutritional deficiencies, metal toxicity, V02, and RMR testing. There are other tests that can be done, like DNA testing, and oxygen therapy + infrared saunas for detoxification. After getting your results, you can choose to work with someone on your diet + begin a workout plan based on your fitness level.
**The intolerance testing (without metal toxicity) was $250, and the V02/RMR test (membership pricing included) was another $125.

To get started, I made an initial appointment with Rock N Shock to discuss my fitness/nutrition goals, and what I was looking to get out of working with them. After speaking with the owner, she gave me a tour of the facilities and explained my options based on what we talked about.

I chose the below services:

V02 testing – to measure my physical fitness level
RMR – to find my resting metabolic rate (how many calories am I burning just sitting here?)
Intolerance testing – what foods am I eating that are causing issues?
Nutritional deficiencies – what does my body need more of?
**I fully intended to begin the workout program after receiving my results, but ended up moving to Florida.

I booked a second appointment to get all of the testing done, and it took less than an hour – a few strands of hair were taken for the intolerance testing & nutritional deficiencies, and the RMR & V02 test took about 30 minutes. I also couldn’t eat 2 hours before the test, and minimal to no exercise is recommended the day before so your body is fully rested & ready for the test. (I went on a 16 mile hike the day before, so don’t be like me!)

To begin, I had to breathe into a tube hooked to a computer for 10-15 minutes for my RMR test.

You can only blow through the tube, so you have to wear a clip on your nose – see above :p

You can watch the screen while you are blowing to make sure that everything is being recorded properly – I am not sure exactly how it all works, but after blowing for 10-15 minutes, I was relieved to be done!

RMR testing screen

After the RMR test, I was hooked up to a mask, attached to a hose – think Bane from Batman. The hose was hooked up to a computer, and I had to run with the mask on. It looks a little scary, but you can breathe just fine.

v02 test with mask

The person running the test started the treadmill low, with a little incline. Over time, she did timed intervals for increasing my pace & the incline, then back down again. At any time, when you feel like you cannot go any farther, you can tell them to stop the treadmill. Depending on how in-shape you are, it can be anywhere from 4 minutes to 20 minutes before you throw in the towel. I lasted about 11-12 minutes, which was the point where I felt like my muscles had no juice left in them (I could still breathe ok!). Below was about the halfway point for me – I was up to 6 or 7 on the treadmill, and things were really starting to get tough!

Normally when you throw in the towel, it’s not because you can’t breathe – it’s because your muscles are being deprived of oxygen, and the V02 test basically measures how well your body uses oxygen. The RNS site describes what exactly the test measures:

…how effectively your body consumes and uses oxygen, your breathing patterns, recovery of heart and lungs, calorie expenditure at various heart rates, your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds. We will be able to identify the exact heartbeat your body turns anaerobic and exact heart rate zones for you to train and compete at in order to stop you from “hitting the wall “and then allow you to maximise every minute of every session and race.

After the test was complete, I had to wait a bit for my hair analysis to come back. After about a month, I went back in to take a look at my final results:

intolerance test

nutritional deficiencies

It was honestly a bit of a shock to learn that I had food intolerances to things I ate almost everyday – olives/olive oil, strawberries, sweet potatoes, carrots… basically, all things I thought were healthy, but were really things my body was rejecting! On top of that, I had amino acid and Vitamin B12 deficiencies. After talking over my results, I decided to cut out the foods on the list, as well as begin supplementing with a few vitamins. So, for the past 8 months, I’ve noticed an increase in energy, less brain fog, and less reactions to food after eating (I used to get mini panic attacks after eating sweet potatoes & anything with olive oil in it!).

As for the V02 & RMR test results, they basically just confirmed that I have a high metabolism, and I workout….a lot. If I had stayed in Ohio & started a workout plan with RNS, it would have been to increase strength & speed & make my training more efficient.

v02 test results

RMR test results

Depending on your results & your end goal, everyone will be different! There are no bad results – because once you know where you are physically & nutritionally, you can only improve from there!

If you are in the Columbus, OH area, check out RNS (for women only, sorry guys!)… If not, google intolerance testing/v02 test/RMR test & your city/state… there are places all over the US that can do this type of testing for you. If you are looking to lose weight, get in better shape, get on a food plan, figure out why you are tired, improve your physical performance, or get more energy, I recommend investing in some sort of testing.

Overall, I highly recommend getting some sort of nutritional & physical fitness testing done – it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for my health! We can do what we think is the best for our bodies, but there might always be something that we are missing.

I hope this helps – if anyone has done anything similar, comment below on your experience & if/how it has helped!

**Please note I did not receive anything in return for this blog post – I am writing this from my own personal experience, and I paid for every service received. I am writing this post in hopes that it helps anyone else interested in finding answers for their health, or for improving their physical fitness!

Studio Review: Iyengar Yoga in NYC

After completing 8 fitness classes in 2 days, Iyengar yoga was # 9 on the list, bright and early on a Sunday morning. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, as I had never taken an Iyengar-style class or really done any research on what to expect. With that being said, I was thinking it might be an intense class, since the first thing you see is Iyengar (the man who created this style of yoga) doing some crazy advanced yoga pose as soon as you open the Iyengar website.

Upon arriving, me and my 3 friends walked up a flight of stairs to a very pristine-looking studio, with glass doors & a very open reception area. We were the first ones there, so we popped off our shoes and signed in at the front desk (we signed up for a level 2 class). The staff at the front desk was extremely nice and gave us a tour of the studio after we signed in.

We walked into the main studio, and lining the right wall were straps (see pic below). I have to admit, I freaked out a little. But, was also super excited – what the heck were we going to be doing in class??

iyengar

photo credit: http://nyescapades.blogspot.com/2009/06/awe-inspiring-yogathon-at-iyengar-yoga.html

As far as security goes, we could bring our bags into the room with us, so there were no worries of theft. We grabbed a mat, blocks, a strap, bolster, and blankets for class – I don’t think I’ve ever used so many props in one class!

After talking with the teacher, Richard Jonas (sweetest person EVER!), he showed me an exercise to relieve my low back pain (My QL has had huge knots on it for the past year) & told me to hang out there and breathe into the stretch. Then, class began!

We started out with meditation, then went through a series of poses, in insane detail. While I love an intense yoga class, Iyengar was almost like taking an informative workshop that breaks down different yoga poses. You also use a ton of props to help you get into poses properly, which also helps with proprioception of different parts of your body. It was incredibly helpful as a teacher, as Richard broke down how to get in difficult poses in different ways – I’ve been incorporating a lot of what I learned in my own classes!

IyengarYoga

We did end up using the wall once, which was pretty cool. We took a middle rope and wrapped it just below the hip bones, leaning forward, and relaxing. It felt so. so. good. I wish we spent a little more time on the wall, but there wasn’t enough time. All the more reason to come back!

Before the end of class, we did a shoulder stand with a bunch of blankets & a bolster – I’ve never used props like this, and it made the inversion a lot easier & more comfortable!

iyengar 2

pic credit: http://nyescapades.blogspot.com/2009/06/awe-inspiring-yogathon-at-iyengar-yoga.html

Overall, I think Iyengar yoga is an amazing practice for those looking to learn the correct technique for all yoga poses, but in extreme detail. It’s not like a normal vinyasa class where you are constantly moving – you are sitting a lot during class, listening & learning from the instructor before trying the pose yourself. So for all you yoga lovers out there wishing to deepen your practice or just learn how to do yoga poses correctly – I highly recommend checking Iyengar out!

Summary: Perfect for beginner yogis. Wide range of classes for beginners, to prenatal, injuries, etc. (free classes specifically for breast cancer & HIV students) Very welcoming, clean studio.

Pros: Lockers (bring your own lock!). Decent locker/bathroom space. A few toiletries provided. Awesome staff & teachers.

Cons: Not sure how clean the props were, as no one cleaned anything after class

Cost: $15 for a 1.5 hour single-class drop-in

Studio Review: Barry’s Bootcamp in NYC

While I travel to NYC to check out other yoga studios/teachers/workshops, it’s also helpful to try other types of workouts to see the set up of the studio, what is offered, the type of motivation, exercises, etc. Although I generally stick to running, yoga, & BBG, I do love me some intense circuit training. If you’ve ever heard of Orange Theory Fitness

Barry’s Bootcamp is essentially the same workout. Except, 5 times harder.

The workout is described as “hour-long workouts.. [which] include 25-30 minutes of interval cardiovascular treadmill routines and 25-30 minutes of strength training utilizing free weights, resistance bands, medicine balls and other equipment. Instructors, muscle groups and even workout segments vary throughout the week so that no one class is ever the same.” (website)

Frid-Sun is designated for overall-body conditioning… So, as the 12th and final class of the weekend, I was a little scared if my body could keep up. Luckily, something inside of me kicked in, and I had the energy + much more to push through the class. It ended up being my favorite workout of the weekend! Also bonus: You can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour. Yep.

Following Soul Cycle, we went back to our hotel & showered, then headed to the NOHO location. barrys bootcamp noho

We walked in, and were greeted by employees at the smoothie bar – which, btw, you can order a smoothie for post-workout BEFORE class even begins. So, your ice cold smoothie is waiting for you as soon as you are finished with your workout. How awesome is that??

Noho-Lobby1

Anyways, we walked to the back of the entryway, checked in, and were told where the locker rooms were & what to expect. After putting our items in the lockers, we headed to the room to find our assigned spots. I was a bit confused when we first walked in, as there are mirrors EVERYWHERE. It was almost like a fun house, and I wasn’t quite sure where the room began and ended.

barrys noho

photo credit: http://www.jeanninemorris.com/the-jm-edit/2015/5/2/barrys-boot-camp

Since the class was so small, we all started on the treadmills. Following 1 yoga class & 2 cycling classes (Cyc Fitness & Soul Cycle), my body was obviously ready for more cardio :p

The class format was:

8 minutes on the treadmill w/sprints
8 minutes strength training w/weights (8-15 lbs for me!)
8 minutes on treadmill (incline sprints)
8 minutes strength training w/weights
8 minutes on the treadmill w/ even faster sprints
8 minutes strength training w/even heavier weights
cooldown/stretch

There was about 30 seconds-2 minutes of recovery in between sets, which didn’t seem nearly enough… however, it didn’t give my mind time to think about stopping, and only pushed me to go harder.By the time I was doing my final 1-minute sprint on the treadmill, I was past the 11 speed, and my body felt amazing (11 speed is about a 5:25/minute mile, to give you an idea of what torture was happening to my legs).

Our instructor, Shannon, was seriously awesome – I loved the circuit she put together, and she pushed me past any limit I thought I had. I mean, 11 on the treadmill at the end of an intense workout?! I need to start giving myself some pep talks, because I can obviously do better than my 30-second 9.5 speed sprints during my own workouts.

locker-rooms-women

Following the workout, we showered at the gym & got ready. The showers were huge, and included shampoo/conditioner/face wash/body wash. Towels were also included, as well as hair dryers & toiletries for women. I could have left half my gym bag at home and been ok!

Summary: Awesome workout that kicks your butt – can I move to NYC just so I can take all these amazing workout classes all the time??

Pros: Free towels. Lockers. Endless supply of toiletries. Huge showers. Burn up to 1,000 calories/class. Workouts are always different, every time. Instructors are well-trained. Staff is welcoming & helpful.

Cons: a little pricey, but worth it for what you get! Water filter is behind the smoothie bar, so every time you need a water refill, you have to have someone get it for you.

Cost: $34 for a 1 hour single-class drop-in

Studio Review: Soul Cycle in NYC

Following a 45 minute class at Cyc Fitness in Chelsea, me and the 3 other women I was traveling with raced to Soul Cycle to get to class on time (30 minutes in between classes in not enough time!). 1 protein bar, a few wrong turns & some serious speed walking later, we arrived at the Union Square Location in time for our 11:45 am class.

While I took my first-ever Soul Cycle class in San Francisco earlier this year, every instructor & location is going to be different. With that being said, Danny was the instructor, and he was a lot of fun! Even though my legs were a little burned out from the 45 minute Cyc Fitness Class, I was able to keep up, and the energy in the room was incredible.

ssus

photo cred: https://www.yelp.com/biz/soulcycle-union-square-new-york

Compared to the previous cycle class we had just taken, the room was smaller, and the bikes were very.very.close. You had to weave in and out of the bikes to get out of the room! Insert: Minor claustrophobic panic attack. I had to talk myself down from a ledge, so I focused on the instructor and ended up being fine. Note to self: next time, choose bike near exit.

The workout itself was great – legs were burning, although the arm workout with small weights wasn’t too challenging. Danny’s playlist was awesome, and he even ended up doing done high-kick dancer moves on the stage for the class… definitely kept us entertained the entire class!

soul cycle union square

post-sweaty cycle

Summary: While I don’t normally like cycling, the energy of the class & instructors is what pulls me in. I personally like Cyc Fitness better for various reasons, but Soul Cycle is still a great workout.

Pros: Towel set up on bike when you arrive. Showers at the Union Square location. Toiletries provided in the bathroom. Filtered water station.

Cons: Long line to the bathrooms, showers were dirty & gross at the union square location. Bathrooms/lockers were in the basement, which was super crammed & the air smelled & felt pretty gross. Pricey for a 45 minute workout class

Cost: $34 for a 45 minute single class pass

Studio Review: Tangerine Hot Power Yoga in Brooklyn

I’ve been wanting to check out Tangerine Hot Power Yoga since the beginning of this year, and I am so glad I was able to squeeze a visit in. Since I traveled with 3 other yoga teachers from Melt this time around, I wanted to make sure we hit a good hot yoga studio.

As our 8th class in 2 days, and final class on Saturday, we were a bit rushed to get to Brooklyn, and the trains were running slow. We ended up just catching a cab, and were 10 minutes late to class. With that being said, Tangerine has a 10 minute grace period for late-arrivals, so we were still able to take the class! Seriously, so awesome.

Luckily, the owner of Tangerine was teaching, and she was the sweetest person ever! She taught a nice, easy flow, perfect for beginners to advanced – and while she spoke a little softly & was sometimes hard to hear, it was the perfect, slow class to end with after taking 3 other yoga classes beforehand.

The studio itself was super clean, and I LOVED the interior of the studio. It was clean, organized, and looked brand new.

tangerine hot yoga 2

Entry of Studio

There is only 1 studio for classes, and the changing room area was pretty roomy. I never felt crammed like other studios, and I had enough space to move around in the locker area.  You get a free towel & mat for use during the class, which is unheard of in NYC (or most studios anywhere!). Following the class, we were handed a cold towel with essential oils on it, which felt awesome after the heat.

tangerine hot yoga

Inside the Studio

The actual temperature of the studio wasn’t extremely hot, and it was a drier heat than what I am used to. However, I loved it! According to their website – which, BTW, is pretty amazing (I build websites for a living, so I totally appreciate how awesome it is!) – “Radiant Heating Panels that simulate heat from the sun ” are used to heat the room. Since I normally teach & practice in a room at 99 F & 65-75% humidity, it was easier to breathe & not as intense. I would definitely come back to this studio for a light, easy class!

Summary: Perfect amount of heat. Not too difficult, great place for beginners. The staff & owner are very, very sweet. Very clean. Eco-friendly.

Pros: water filter station. Free mat & towel. Free cold towel post-class. Lockers. Eco-friendly products. Great class for beginners. Late arrival up to 10 minutes!

Cons: Only 1 bathroom

Cost: $22 for a 1 hour single-class pass

Studio Review: The Class in NYC

After teaching at Lululemon a few weeks ago, the manager there told me to check out “The Class” while I was in NYC. Since I was traveling with 3 other women this time around, it was a little harder to create a schedule to accommodate everyone. However, I managed to squeeze the class in right after our flight landed – 9:30 am.

While I looked up details about what to expect beforehand, the class ended up being something completely different than what I thought (in a good way!).

We arrived at the 5th ave location around 9 am & was greeted by a doorman at the front of the Bandier clothing store. We walked through the store & went upstairs to the studio, where someone was just starting to set up all of the mats.

The class nyc

We dropped our things in a locker & grabbed some water, waiting for the class to start. Then… people started to pour in. By the time class was ready to start, there were well over 60 people squeezed in close to each other.

the class nyc nina elise

The owner/creator of The Class was teaching that day – Taryn Toomey – and I was able to chat with her before & after the workout. She is seriously such an amazing soul!

Again, I just want to mention that I had no idea what to expect. I watched videos online beforehand, but I was thinking this would be more low-key. Nope. This. was. intense. By the end of class, I looked like I had jumped in a lake, and there was a huge pool of sweat on my mat. I am not sure I can articulate in words exactly how the class went, or exactly everything we did – but I can tell you how it made me feel. Free. Open. Loose. Emotional. Fearless. Intense.

There was a mix of yoga, pilates, plyometrics, dancing, shaking, shouting, screaming (yes, some people were screaming), meditation… the perfect mix to let loose & feel empowered.

Class began with Taryn walking around the room, waving sage around to clear energy & set the tone of the class. We were told to close our eyes the entire class… which, I was initially confused, but as class went on, I understood why. This wasn’t just a physical workout – it was a process of going within, forgetting everything around you, facing that heavy shit inside of you, and releasing it in any way that felt right to YOU. We moved our bodies until our muscles gave out on us, then kept moving some more, allowing ourselves to push past what we thought were our limits. We shook our arms, our hands, our bodies, shaking out any energy we were holding onto. All the while, our eyes were closed, and Taryn spoke beautiful, powerful words to push us through the workout and go within.

Class ended with core work, stretching, and meditation. I felt lighter, stronger, and ready for the rest of the day.

the class nyc bandier

Yes, this is my sweat. Yes, this is just from the last 15 minutes of class.

Overall, this was an amazing mind-body experience that allowed me to release any thought of looking dumb and move my body in a way that felt GOOD. Different, but so, so good. It’s like free therapy rolled into an intense, physical workout. The women (and men!) at the class all had something in common – yes, they were all pretty fit, but all came to release something – stress, work, brain chatter, the past… whatever. And that is why this class is so amazing – it provides an environment for people to be themselves, with no judgement. So thank you, Taryn, for creating such an amazing, empowering method for all <3

Tatum toomey the class Nina yoga

Post-workout sweaty selfie w/Taryn Toomey

Summary: Can this pleaaaseee be taught in Ohio?! It’s like therapy & and an intense workout, all in one. I would go to The Class a few times a month just to let loose & let off stress. It’s now one of my all-time favorite workouts ever! Go try this – it might be a little out there, but trust me – no one is even looking at you the entire class. Basically, a free pass to get weird, and who doesn’t want that?!

Pros: carries Smart water (my fave). Free towels + free mat. Water-refilling station (however, was broken at the 5th ave location when I went). Decent-sized lockers (bring a lock!). Toiletries + hair ties available in bathroom. Post-class, you just rolled your mat up & left it in a pile – everything was cleaned & taken care of for you.

Cons: Only 1 bathroom. Locker area was a bit tight to change/grab your things after class.

Cost: $30 for a 75-minute single class pass

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