the lifestyle reporter

Fitness Finds: Orangetheory Fitness Santa Monica, CA


Orangetheory Fitness Santa MonicaSummertime is coming, whether you like it or not. Getting in shape is not the easiest, but luckily, there are ways to burn a lot of calories without spending hours at the gym. Last weekend, my sister and I tried out a class at Orangetheory Fitness in Santa Monica, California.

What is Orangetheory fitness? Well, according to their website, it’s a one hour workout class that uses “heart-rate based treadmill interval training, the efficiency of Indoor Rowing for increased power and the proven concept of Weight Training blocks to create the fitness level and body you have always desired.”

We went to the Santa Monica location and my first thought was, wow this place looks so clean and modern. As soon as we walked in the door, we were greeted and welcomed.

The Orangetheory Fitness Santa Monica is at such a good location! Parking is always such a hassle, especially in LA and Orangetheory Fitness Santa Monica is literally located on the first floor of a huge parking garage. Best part is that you get 90 minutes free parking—the class is an hour so you’ll never have to pay. Unless of course you walk over one street to Third Street Promenade to go shopping (which is what we did 🙂 )!

The facility was really clean and the bathroom immaculate. They provide a locker and lock for you to put your belongings away during the class. Everyone was super nice and helpful—and I actually enjoyed the workout and felt good for the rest of the day!

Orangetheory Fitness Heart Rate Monitor

The heart rate monitor that you wear during the workout under your shirt.

Before you head into the class, they give you a heart rate monitor that you put around your abdomen, which you strap on below your sports bra (under your shirt). It has a strap you clip on around your body. During the one-hour class, we used the treadmill, the indoor rowing machines and did floor exercises including squats and push-ups. The class we went to was pretty full but the instructor had half the class on treadmills and half on rowing machines. My sister and I started on the rowing machine and it was tough! I felt the burn in my legs, arms, back, shoulders and core. Then we switched to the floor exercises.

A disclaimer: my sister and I were definitely the beginners in the class but we never felt intimated. Some people were sprinting on the treadmill, and others were power walking like us. The instructor encouraged the whole class to push and work hard but not to the point of overdoing it. You go at the pace you feel most comfortable. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we pushed hard, but at a place where it felt comfortable.

Orangetheory Fitness Santa Monica

After a couple of rounds of rowing and floor work, we switched to the treadmill where we would went at a pace we felt comfortable–either as a power walker or jogger and then the instructor would call out two minutes sprint, which is where we would increase the incline and speed. We did that several times and then switched back to rowing. We did 1,000 meters and then switched to floor exercises, including lunges and squats before going back to the treadmill.

The great thing about the workout is that the entire time you can look up to the huge TV screens and see your heart rate as well as everyone else’s.

Orangetheory Fitness Santa Monica

The instructor for the class really wanted everyone to succeed and went by and helped everyone, corrected technique and gave tips and encouragement. I was really impressed with how hands on and helpful he was. We were not the strongest or fastest but he didn’t get irritated by that.

After the class, we each got our results sheet (they email it to you), based on what our heart rate was throughout the workout. They really utilize the science behind the workout-the heart rate monitor provided specific numbers on how much time you spent during the workout in each target zone. According to mine, I burned 449 calories! The instructor also said that post-workout, you’ll continue burning calories. The workout is different every day, so you will not get bored!

Orange theory Fitness Santa Monica

Overall, I would absolutely recommend Orangetheory Fitness, especially the Santa Monica location. It’s a great introduction to fitness or beneficial for someone who just wants to add a different workout to their current routine. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at—beginner, intermediate or advanced. You will feel exhausted after the class but also really good–the next day my whole body ached! If you are interested in taking a free class (for local residents) at the Orangetheory Fitness Santa Monica location, contact them @ 310-730-1399. They are open seven days a week and currently have 52 classes and will continue to add classes.

A great benefit of the membership is that you can use any of the other Orangetheory Fitness studios throughout the US and currently there are 200 open. Orangetheory Fitness has also expanded their orange wings into UK, Canada, Australia and Colombia—so make check out one near you. If you want more information on pricing and locations, check out their website

Orangetheory Fitness Santa Monica:

1431 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401


Parking Structure #6 (Orangetheory Fitness is on the first floor of this parking structure)

Social Media:

Orangetheory Fitness Santa Monica Instagram and Twitter: @orangetheorysm

Orangetheory Santa Monica Facebook page

Orangetheory Fitness Instagram and Twitter: @otheoryfitness

Orangetheory Fitness Facebook page

Orange theory Fitness Santa Monica

Orangetheory Fitness Santa Monica

The Most Delicious Vegan Chickpea Shawarma Recipe!


Vegan Shawarma Recipe The Lifestyle ReporterIf you follow my instagram @thelifestylereporter, then you’ve probably seen the photo of my vegan shawarma from Mendocino Farms, a popular sandwich shop in Los Angeles.  It was absolutely delicious and so fulfilling.  It’s funny though, I honestly didn’t know what shawarma was until I saw it on their menu.  I wanted to try something new, because I usually got a salad there.  After I had my vegan shawarma wrap from Mendocino, I started thinking about how to recreate it in my own kitchen.  I also had a good motivation–I don’t want to dish out $10 every time I wanted it.

My sister and I decided to take a stab at it and created our own recipe. It came out so amazing!  We made it two times within three days to one, test the recipe, and two, because it’s that good.  Shawarma is a Mediterranean dish and typically made with meat, but vegan shawarma can be created with chickpeas or seitan.  I’ve never tried seitan and I honestly don’t want to, so that was out of the question for me.  I love chickpeas and so we when we started crafting the recipe, we included the chickpea base, and a tahini dressing, all in a whole wheat tortilla.

Anyways, the recipe is below–it’s completely vegan, healthy and delicious!  I hope you enjoy!

The Lifestyle Reporter Vegan Chickpea Shawarma

Vegan Shawarma (Serves 4)

-2 cans of garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas)

-7 TBSP Tahini

-1/2 of a yellow onion (medium sized onion)

-2 cloves of garlic

-2 TBSP Lemon Juice

-2 Persian Cucumbers (skinned)

-1 tsp cumin

-1 tsp turmeric

-salt and pepper to taste


-2 TBSP Tahini

-1 clove of garlic

-1 TBSP Lemon Juice

-1/4 of a yellow onion (medium)

-1-2 Persian Cucumbers (skinned)

-Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Wrap:

-whole wheat wrap bread

-purple onions, diced

-tomatoes, diced

-romaine, diced

-cucumbers, skinned and sliced into long, thin sticks

The Lifestyle Reporter Vegan Chickpea Shawarma Wrap

 To Prepare:

1. In a food processor, add the onion and garlic.  Blend the two ingredients.  Now add the tahini, spices, lemon juice, and cucumbers and blend well.  Finally, add the two cans of beans after you’ve washed and drained them.  Don’t blend the beans in too well, just roughly blend it, leaving beans mostly whole.  Put the mixture into a separate mixing bowl.

2. To make the dressing, use the food processor again.  You don’t need to wash it, because you want the flavors from the bean puree to infuse with the dressing.  Add the garlic and onion and blend well. Next, add the remaining ingredients: the tahini, lemon juice, cucumber(s) and salt and pepper.  For the cucumbers, first add one and mix.  If it has a creamy/liquidity consistency, one is enough. If it’s not wet enough, add the second cucumber.

3. Turn the stove on to medium temperature and use an olive oil spray to coat it.  While it’s warming up, assemble the wraps.  Lay the wrap bread down and then add the bean puree, making sure not to go to far out near the edges.  We put a couple of big spoonfuls of the puree because we were really hungry ( 🙂 ) and then on top of that layer, add a thick layer of the sauce, spreading it evenly.  Next, add the cucumber slices in the middle, and then top it with the romaine, tomatoes, and onions.  Fold the bottom part of the wrap up and then pull each sides to meet in the middle. Use a little bit of purified water to kind of seal the fold so it stays like a open-ended burrito.

4. Put the wrap on the stove open side down and let it cook for a few minutes to get a golden crispy texture.  Turn it over and do the same on the other side.  Once it’s done, cut in half and enjoy.  We had it with a side of baked potato slices.

The Lifestyle Reporter Vegan Chickpea Shawarma with baked potato slices

Let me know if you try the recipe below!  Ok, now I’m totally craving some more of this shawarma 🙂 !!

Five Healthy Breakfast Ideas


English Muffin Avocado Breakfast

My resolution for the New Year is to eat healthier, to lose weight and to tone up.  People always say you’re abs are made in the kitchen, and it’s true, you are what you eat.  I have lost 40 pounds in the past, about four years ago.  My goal is to lose a little more weight and to tone up–in a healthy way!

To do so, I know the most important meal for me is breakfast, and as a vegetarian, it can be tricky on what to eat.  Here are five different meals I like eating in the AM for breakfast.  Check them out below!

1) Oatmeal, Made With Almond Milk

Oatmeal is probably my go-to breakfast option–I love having something warm when I wake up.  For me, I always choose almond milk instead of water or dairy, to make my oatmeal.  I usually top it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a little bit of coconut sugar.  I limit the coconut sugar to about one teaspoon.

2) Whole Wheat English Muffin With Avocado

I love carbs but that can make you gain weight if you’re not careful.  I always choose whole wheat bread and one that is as natural as possible.  I like english muffin because it’s a controlled portion, you eat one and it’s usually about 130 calories.  I like to use only 1/3 of an avocado and spread it on both halves.  Avocado has good fat but remember, it’s still fat, so moderation is key.

3) Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt With Bananas and Honey

I enjoy eating sweets for breakfast so this is something I reach for if I have a craving for something sweet.  I only use a tablespoon or less of honey and slice up my bananas and mix it all up.

4) Banana Ice Cream With Fruit Topping and Almond Butter

I love fruit and when I want to detox and energize my body, I reach for apples, strawberries, bananas, etc!  This can also be a snack or dessert–it literally tastes like froyo.  I just take two bananas and put them in my blender and mix until I get an ice cream consistency.  I top it with whatever fruit I have around the kitchen, and add a tablespoon of almond butter.

5) Cereal With Banana

This is what I used to eat every single day when I lost 40 pounds.  I don’t have it that often, only when I crave cereal.  In the past, I used to eat as much cereal I wanted, and that usually means 400+ calories in one sitting.  So, as a solution, I would take a measuring cup and measure one cup of cereal only.  I would eat that one cup (8 oz) of cereal with almond milk and also a banana after. One serving of a healthier cereal, aka whole wheat, low sugar (no marshmallows, etc) is about 120-150 calories, and so it became a healthy breakfast.

What is your favorite breakfast?  Share below!

The Power of Ginger


One of quickest ways to get rid of a stomachache, bloating, and nausea is to use ginger.  Ginger root is commonly used in Asian cuisine, but it yields a lot of health benefits.  You can purchase fresh ginger root year round in the produce section.  It’s delicious in stir fry as well, but another benefit of ginger is to eliminate gastrointestinal distress.  It can prevent motion sickness, seasickness and is also effective in providing relief of vomiting and nausea, especially in pregnant women.  Throw some fresh ginger in the blender, or have a cup of ginger tea.  It give some spice and heat to a green juice–which I like.  Be aware though that a little ginger goes a long way–only a small dose is needed to help aide in tummy trouble.  Cut one or two 1/2 inch slices of ginger and add to hot water to make some ginger tea (or buy already prepared ginger tea).

Ginger root is also beneficial for detoxification as well as an immune booster.Ginger is made up of gingerols, which are anti-inflammatory compounds, and is believed to help with arthritis-related pain.  It may also protect against cancer by inhibiting the growth of human colorectal cancer cells and kill ovarian cancer cells.

Next time you have a stomachache, try some ginger to help settle your stomach.

Avocado Cilantro Pasta


One of our go-to vegan meals has currently been this avocado cilantro pasta dish–it’s easy and so delicious.  I found the recipe on sweetsimplevegan, but we changed it up a little bit.  The day after we made it, we took the leftovers for our lunch and it still tasted fresh and amazing!


2 cups gluten free brown rice penne pasta

2 cups baby spinach

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 red onion

1 large avocado

1 can garbanzo beans

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved



Juice of one lemon

3 tsp olive oil

1 tsp agave

2 tsp spicy mustard (I got mine from Trader Joe’s)

1/2 tsp. cumin

dash of salt and pepper


1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and let it cool.

2. In the food processor, add the spinach and cilantro and turn on until finely chopped.

3. Add the food processor chopped spinach and cilantro mixture to a large bowl.

4. In the newly empty food processor, add the onion and the three cloves of garlic; chop until it is a fine mixture.

5. Add the onion and garlic mixture into the large bowl with the chopped spinach and cilantro.  Mix.

6. Dice the avocado and cut the tomatoes in half.  Drain garbanzo beans.  Add the diced avocado, tomatoes and garbanzo beans to the large bowl.

7. Pour the pasta into the mixture.

8. Make the dressing in a separate small bowl, mix well and then pour over the pasta and greens mixture.

9. Toss well and serve. Enjoy!

It tastes good fresh or the the next day, as a cold pasta dish.  Best stored in the fridge in small air tight container.

Gluten Free Veggie and Cheese Pizza with Quinoa Salad Recipe


Tonight I was craving some pizza and luckily I bought some gluten free mini pizza crust from Whole Foods.  I added some tomato sauce (just regular canned tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, spinach, tomatoes, and some broccoli.  I also made a side salad with quinoa (for added protein) and a delicious spicy mustard dressing.  It was delicious, minus any guilt.

Gluten Free Veggie and Cheese Pizza














1 mini gluten free  cooked pizza crust (I got my from Whole Foods)

3-4 spoons of canned tomato sauce (or more or less as desired)

2 handfuls of mozzarella cheese (or as desired)

3 florets of broccoli, cut long ways

3 cherry tomatoes cut in half

a dash of salt and pepper

a dash of herb blend no salt seasoning (I got mine from Costco)

I used my toaster oven on 400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes (until cheese melted) and then 7-8 on broil to it nicely toasted.

Quinoa Salad w/dressing:














1 small handful of spinach

6-8 cherry tomatoes

7 leaves of romaine lettuce (loosely chopped)

1/2 avocado (diced)

1/3 cup cooked quinoa (I made a big batch and put leftovers in the fridge)


2 tsp olive oil

2 tsp spicy dijon mustard (from trader joe’s)

1 tsp agave nectar

Juice of 1 small lime

a dash of salt and pepper


Once the salad is put together, toss in the dressing and voila.  Enjoy!


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