All Posts By

Nicole Riga

Protein Bowls- Vegetarian and GF

By | recipe

I find that I eat healthy at breakfast and dinner, but tend to struggle at lunch to not either a) eat out or b) eat a bunch of random poor choices that don’t keep me full. Full disclosure- I’m currently eating Annie’s Mac n Cheese for lunch- like, at this moment- because I ran out of spinach (a staple in my house) and this was the best I could do today. It happens. But on a normal day, this is one of my favorite lunch salads because it can be prepped the night before or even served for dinner the night before with leftovers the following day. Terra’s Kitchen (my fav meal delivery service- click the link for a discount) calls them “Sweet Potato, Spinach, Apple and Quinoa Bowl”, but I think they could use a bit of help in their titling department so I renamed them. Here is the adapted version from their bowl!

Serves 4. Time to Table 30 Minutes. Calories 477

16 ounces sweet potato chunks (roughly 2.5 chopped)

6.5 ounces red quinoa (or any color)

3 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/4 tsp dijon mustard

1 1/4 tsp honey- preferably local for the anti-allergens!

1/8 cup pecans, chopped

half an apple, chopped into chunks

2 loose cups of spinach

Feta to sprinkle on top

olive oil, salt, and pepper.

1. Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 425°F. On a greased rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with 2 teaspoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes, or until browned and tender, tossing halfway through.

2. Rinse the quinoa: Place the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse under cold water for a solid minute, swishing the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain.

3. Cook the quinoa: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1¾ cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt to the pan. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, COVERED, for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork.

4. Make the dressing: While quinoa and sweet potatoes are cooking, whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.

5. Toast the pecans: Place pecans in a dry small skillet over medium heat and cook 3 minutes or until toasted.

To Serve: Arrange quinoa, sweet potatoes, apple slices, spinach, the pecans and feta in serving bowls. Drizzle with dressing.

Pro Tip- Meal prep the sweet potatoes and quinoa at the beginning of the week and grab as needed! I can usually get 4-6 lunches out of this one. Not looking to go meatless? Shredded chicken and wild salmon are also great add ins!

Zoodles (Zucchini Spaghetti)

By | recipe

My absolute favorite quick dinner has to be zoodles. If you’re not familiar, zoodles are zucchini noodles that replace traditional pasta- I think they taste even better! Zoodles are a breeze to make, add an extra serving of veggies into your dinner, and don’t leave you feeling stuffed afterward like other pasta dishes might. Pick up a few zucchinis from the store and a spiralizer of your choice (I like the kitchen aid attachment, but there are hundreds of options in every price range) and get to Zoodling!

There are countless versions of Spaghetti Zoodles. Sometimes I add ground turkey, sometimes I go veggie only (it depends on whether my husband has any input). Sometimes I make my own sauce and sometimes I pick up a jar from wholefoods- play with it to see what works for you and your family.

Weeknight Zoodles:

Time to table: 25-30 minutes. Serves 4

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add turkey breast, pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, ground black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes (if you like heat…which I don’t). Cook until turkey is lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Move to a strainer and set aside.

While the turkey is cooking, Spiralize your zoodles- following the instructions on your particular spiralizer. Important* After you’ve turned the zucchini into zoodles, pour them into a colander with salt to draw water out and let them drain for at least 15 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water- you don’t want all that water in your sauce!

Add your veggies to the turkey pan with 1 tsp oil. Saute until tender crisp. Add your pasta sauce (I make mine in a big batch and use it throughout the week for 2 or 3 different meals. If you opt to buy yours, look for one that is low in sugar like Thrive Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce. Read the labels!) Add your cooked turkey and mix.

In a different sauce pan or even a wok, heat 2 tsp oil until shimmering. Pour your zoodles into the pan (but not the excess water!). Cook for only 2-3 minutes. You still want them to crunch slightly. Overcooked zoodles are soggy.

Plate your zoodles and spoon the sauce on top. Voila, a healthier take on spaghetti!

Kindness in the Studio- More than a tag line

By | Blog

Note from Niki

I saw a quote recently that said, “Remember what it felt like to be excluded so that you can help build a community where everyone is included” and it really resonated with me. You may have heard me talk about it before, but Flex was built around community on purpose. When I first moved here, I had zero friends, my S/O worked beyond full time and my family was in another time zone, so I would go to all these different fitness studios just to get a little bit of human interaction in my day. I vividly remember sitting in a big, fancy yoga studio and feeling like a total loser- at this point, I didn’t even know what Lululemon was, let alone where to get it. I bought my pink mat at Walmart that morning because I realized I didn’t even have one in CA. The teacher never even acknowledged my existence! I’m this lonely little Alaskan girl sitting in the veryyyy back corner watching all these gorgeous regulars stretch and warm up and I just felt so…out of place.

I knew that when I started my studio that I didn’t want that to live at Flex. As the instructor, I always look for the person in the corner because I know what that feels like. However, I’m only one small part of the equation. You, our beloved flexfam, are the heart of Flex. When you take a second to welcome someone new, you bridge the gap to make them feel like part of the fam and that can totally change someone’s day.

We have a kindness challenge starting soon and I hope you’ll be apart of it. Maybe we’ll start a flexfam revolution and it will spill out of the doors…Go make someone’s day and stay tuned for more info!

Be Limitless,

Niki Riga, Founder


 

What Class to Choose?

By | Blog
We know… staring down our insanely full class schedule might leave you wondering what to tackle first (we have trouble deciding which classes to take ourselves… we love them all!), so we thought we’d offer a few suggestions to make it smooth sailing.

If you’ve never done barre, yoga, boot camp or TRX before, here are a couple of classes to consider starting with:

Barre: If you see Barre Basics on our schedule- start there! We offer Basics at specific times throughout the year and it is a perfect spot to learn (you guessed it) the basics! Another great option is Iso Barre. This class is the perfect place to learn the modality with lots of attention from our teachers so you can flex those limits in perfect form. Don’t be surprised if your legs find a bit a of a shake- it means you’re working and your teacher will love you for it!
Intro to TRX: This is 
your “start here!” class for any of our TRfleX or TRYoga classes. In this quick 15-minute free class, you’ll learn how to quickly adjust your suspension straps, how to modify and amplify, and how toget into the core exercises that you’ll see in class. TRfleX immediately follows Intro on Sundays, so you’re more than welcome to sign up for both to test out your newfound skills.

Yoga: New to Downward Dog? Slide into a Gentle Flow and Let Go class where you’ll spend longer in the poses and experience
 some nice stills while you relax your mind. Silicon Valley is stressful- add some Zen to your evening and feel the effects all week. 

If you’re an ‘ol pro and want to maintain your pace or step it up to the next level, here are a few classes we think you’ll love:

Barre Burn: We’ve added some cardio bursts to our barre so you’ll tone and sweat in this full range of motion class. Expect bigger movements than ISO barre and a twist on the traditional barre class that you may be used to. Jumping is always optional in class, but we think the flying is part of the fun!

Limitless Yoga Sculpt: Like boot camp? Love yoga? This is your class. Carry your free weights through your Vinyasa practice to add some resistance to your practice. This is a cult favorite at Flex and is our own twist on the Yoga Sculpt class. Get ready to flow while sculpting muscle definition.
Circuited: This circuit style boot camp class will have your cardio, strength, functional training and core work all in one 45 minute express class. Your teacher will guide you through the stations while you keep your heart rate up and increase your stamina. You may want to bring a towel, we bet you’ll sweat!
No matter what class you decide to take, we know you’re going to feel great afterward, and we can’t wait to welcome you into the FlexFam. Need a bit of help deciding? Send our Client Success Manager an email here!

Recipe of the Week-Butternut Squash Soup

By | recipe

Hi Flexfam, Niki here. Happy February! It’s so cold out! Today, I pulled up the weather for the week and thought I had accidentally pulled up my homeland- which some of you know is Alaska. You know what this Alaskan eats when it gets cold? Comfort food. The key is to make something that won’t make you regret it later. I found the original butternut soup recipe on Tera’s Kitchen, which I’ve talked about before. (Here’s a link for $40 off). This is my very favorite soup recipe because it is completely dairy free. A lot of creamy soups use heavy cream to get their consistency and it never fails to make me feel sick. I’d rather get my dairy in grilled cheese sandwich form (which, coincidentally, is what I make with this soup recipe). So- on to the soup!

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves: 2 for dinner (bowl) or 4 for lunch (cup).                Time to table: 25 minutes                  Calories: 490

  • .5 ounce vegetable stock concentrate
  • 1/c cup sliced apples (skin on)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 3/4 cup cubed butternut squash
  • 1/4 medium onion, sliced (or 2 oz)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt & pepper
  1. Prep the ingredients. Whisk together the stock concentrate with 2 cups of hot water. Slice your apple.
  2. Cook the soup- heat 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add squash, onion, and apple slices. Saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add stock, 1/4 tsp each thyme, coriander, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until tender.
  4. Blend. Transfer to a blender (we use a vitamix on the soup setting) and process until smooth.

pro tip- add toasted walnuts or sunflower seeds for a tasty protein kick.

If I’m making soup dinner, I’ll sometimes add mini grilled cheese sliders to this to keep the other half of Flex happy (Bryan’s not a just-soup-for-dinner kinda guy). You can put any leftover apple slices in your sandwiches for some added crunch!