Local Programs Encourage Health and Movement in 2019

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Carl Zovko of ZSP CrossFit. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Those resolving to get healthier, move more, eat well and stress less don’t have to leave Crozet to find help in the New Year. Plenty of local businesses and programs––some of them fairly recent to Crozet––have ideas, products, information and specials to point everyone in the right direction.

“I didn’t like driving a distance for my exercise program,” said Monica Asplin of barre.[d]. “That’s one of the reasons I located the studio here.” Asplin, whose Piedmont Place business will celebrate its first birthday this month, said people have responded well to the studio: “I hope to hire four new instructors in the new year.” For those freshly resolved to strengthen core muscles, she’s offering a New Year’s challenge of 20 classes in 30 days. “People seem to love the competition,” she said. For those who feel more apprehensive and less competitive, she promises a welcoming, supportive atmosphere, no matter the fitness level. For schedules and other promotions, see Barredstudio.com.

Monica Asplin of Barre.[d] Studio. Photo: Theresa Curry.
Over at ZSP CrossFit, Carl Zovko said his young business has been well-received by the community. He now sees his new Crozet Physical Therapy clients at the studio as well. A big believer in the importance of nutrition, he will offer a nutrition challenge program designed by a dietitian beginning January 19 in addition to the range of CrossFit exercise options. A veteran physical therapist, Zovko said his new private practice will specialize in helping those who want to participate actively in their recovery. He’s glad to see those who have been inactive for any reason and start them on a path to fitness. For information about the nutrition challenge or the CrossFit options, go to ZSPcrossfit.com.

Santosha Yoga will offer “Shedding Layers,” taught by Mia Hamza, Monday through Friday, January 7-12. The week of daily yoga practice, myofascial release, and conscious breathing and meditation, along with nutrition guidance, is designed to detoxify the body, mind, and spirit. The course includes an initial introductory session to answer questions, and some homework and journaling to stay in the spirit once class is over for the day.  This is in addition to the dozens of classes scheduled every week. To shed some layers, or to find a class schedule, go to Crozetyoga.com.

Smojo’s Smoothies now offers a weekly meal plan.

There’s an option during the cleanse to order fresh, nutritious food for the week from Smojo Smoothies, with smoothies, snacks, fresh juices, salads, soups and hearty, plant-based dinners. You don’t have to take the cleanse to order the meal plan developed by Smojo’s owner, Beth Harley: just sign up for the menu sent by email on Thursdays and respond with your order by Friday; then pick up your box between 5 and 9 p.m. Monday. Harley believes that our daily rush often results in making food choices that are quick but not nutritious. She offers three protein-rich meals each day with vegetarian and gluten-free options, and wild-caught salmon or responsibly raised chicken or beef for omnivores. To find out more, go to smojosmoothies.com.

John Andersen of Crozet Running said one of the best motivations for fitness is simply to get outside.  “Crozet is a pretty special place and I feel like there is an above-average fitness vibe here—it is so beautiful here and we’ve got so much great terrain, great sidewalks, and great mountain trails that there is just a lot of outdoor activity.”

The key is not special equipment or a complicated regimen, he said: “My main advice is to think heavily about why they want to get back to fitness; really think about that and commit to it and realize that nobody changes overnight.” Andersen said that one of his favorite jobs is to help people find what keeps them motivated, whether races, group practice, or solo running. Find out more at crozetrunning.com.

Winter’s the time when it’s possible to watch the now-swollen creeks through the bare trees and walk almost anywhere you want to go using Crozet’s network of trails. It’s an amazing advantage of living in Crozet and represents the hard work of many dedicated people. For maps, events, or to volunteer, go to crozettrailscrew.org.

Crozet has its own bicycle shop. Photo: Theresa Curry.

No matter the weather, Cor Carleson of the Crozet Bicycle Shop gets out and rides. He’s not alone: Crozet has very active biking groups that are not deterred by winter. If you haven’t ridden for a while, Carleson suggests you choose a bike that’s not overly complicated, invest in a good one, and keep it well-maintained. If you’d like to ride with company, find options for your level at Crozet Cycling Club on Facebook.

Challenge yourself with the boot camp at the Crozet YMCA, or learn the weight circuits, take a swim, connect with a personal trainer, do yoga or a group exercise class there. If you’d like some companionship with your workouts, the “Brunch Bunch” begins January 8 and continues once each month. Find out more at piedmontYMCA.org. Over at ACAC in Old Trail, there’s a huge array of classes as well as a well-ordered and maintained gym with free weights, machines and treadmills and a friendly staff, with free personal training for new members. Not all fitness classes are held in gyms: don’t forget the popular Monday yoga by Ra class at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Ivy; or the Age-Reversing Essentrics on Tuesdays and Fridays and Saturday morning’s Blue Ridge Tai Chi, both at Tabor Presbyterian Church. Find information on the church websites. 

“You can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” said Carl Zovko of ZSP of CrossFit (above) and whatever your choice in eating better in 2019, chances are you’re trying to reduce processed food and increase fresh, nutritious foods. That’s the purpose of “Plant-based Crozet,” a group that meets monthly to discuss ways to incorporate more whole grains, vegetables and fruits into their meals. Group Leader Melissa Healy said she has experienced weight loss, better digestion and an improvement in her sense of well being, over time, but other results were even faster. “I immediately noticed an increase in energy and mental clarity,” she said. Other members have inspiring stories of healing through food. The group sponsors lectures by doctors and other health professionals, as well as personal stories, potlucks, and cooking demonstrations.

The theme for the January meeting (Thursday, January 17, at 7 p.m. at Crozet Baptist Church) is a three-week kick-start for the New Year. “We’re going to discuss the basics of a plant-based diet, the benefits of the diet and invite anyone who wants to be involved to do a 21-day plant-based challenge,” Healy said. Newcomers are always welcome and do not need to register in advance. To be included in the e-mail communication about upcoming meetings and other plant-based events, send email information to [email protected]

Find healthy choices at Green House Coffee. Photo: Theresa Curry.

If you’re serious about improving your diet, you don’t have to completely give up on eating at local restaurants. A couple have intentionally added healthier choices. Wayland’s Crossing Tavern is one. It offers gazpacho (“Goose-Poncho” on their menu) year-round, a vegetable soup with garlic, parsley, and extra virgin olive oil; roasted Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries; steamed or grilled shrimp; Big Island Pearl Oysters, raised with care in Gloucester; a lighter burger portion with an optional lettuce wrap; and an entree that pairs vegetables and steamed rice with lean chicken or fish.

Up at Restoration, Manager Dale Farthing said the new cauliflower steak has been popular, and the roasted vegetable ravioli remains a frequent choice, along with salads, soups and seafood entrees. Morsel Compass also has salads and soups, and a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients in all their tacos and sides. Mi Rancho has black bean soup, chicken soup, and a selection of fajitas, burritos and quesadillas featuring beans, vegetables, rice and avocados, and the folks there are glad to hold the cheese or sour cream for those wanting to cut down. Fardowners has many fans who choose the vegetarian chili, the vegetable-stuffed potstickers, the soups and the fish specials as well as the “no bull” burger. 

Even if you’ve sworn off barbecue for a while, you can pick a great salad at Smok’d; or choose grilled salmon or a few of the wonderful sides. Asian restaurants are always a good bet for vegetables and lean meat and fish; and the New China in Crozet and Tea House and Love2Eat just east of town have many healthier offerings, with lighter sauces and lightly cooked vegetables. At Burritoh you can choose what goes into your tortilla, and Maria at Las Cavanas at the BP station will also stuff your burrito with whatever you ask for. For years, Green House Coffee has been serving healthful soups and salads, along with imaginative, fresh sandwiches on locally made bread. There, as well as at Grit and the Mudhouse, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with Crozet’s famous powerballs that cram huge amounts of protein and fiber into a sweet little package.

Even places specializing in comfort food try to have at least one dish to accommodate patrons with New Year’s resolutions, and are glad to serve it with a smile. Otto’s and The Whistlestop Grill have salads and vegetable-based burgers, and Trey at Sam’s Hot Dogs has a low-fat veggie hot dog that tastes almost like the real thing, once you’ve covered it with sauerkraut. The wonderful folks at Sal’s Pizza and Crozet Pizza will toss a salad, hold the cheese, add more vegetables, fire up a gluten-free crust, and generally do whatever it takes to fit your diet plans. 

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