(Spin) Kicking the New Year Off Right!

What up peoples! Blink once and the calendar year went and past.  Blink twice and the Chinese New Year is here and passing.  Xin nian kuai le!  Chuc Mung Nam Moi!  It's the Year of the Rabbit and CJ is ready to hop ahead and get all the carrots dangling in front of us.

Last we left you, C was still in Tejas (mis-spelling deliberate to make our Texan readers feel at home).  Well, CJ is now reunited and it feels so good!  Seriously, I have missed her like cray cray.  Great to have her home.  We've been eating well and living well.  Quite sincerely, health is the truest wealth - without it, you can't experience life with those you love and those who love you.  We enjoy food and appreciate its part of our healthy and active lifestyle.  

Last weekend CJ hit up the LA Fit Expo held at the Downtown Convention Center in Los Angeles.  Our friend Juan was selling Shaker Pros for 4SportLife at the expo and comped us two tickets.  There was a long line of biceps waiting to get in but all the curls in the world won't get you to the front of the line like good friends like Juan will!  

C was pumped (literally!).  She kept on saying "curls for the girls. Curls for the girls!"  Sometimes, I wonder what she's learning in school...

The LA Fit Expo is HUGE!  Hundreds of vendors covering every mainstream fitness trend (nutrition, supplementation) and every fitness subculture (bodybuilding, powerlifting, olympic lifting, mma) - nothing was under-represented.  

Of course, we (and by "we", I mostly mean "I") sampled every protein and workout drink known to man.  

The FRS booth was underwhelming.  Only one person was manning the booth when we where there and a clipboard for email sign-ups.  Come on guys - did you run out of money when you sponsored Lance Armstrong?  Show us that you care.  Geez.    The FRS drink is good though. 

C slammed some protein drinks.  CytoMax's new protein water was good.  Like VitaminWater but with protein.  The carb:protein ratio (1:1.5) is a bit too high to consider it "water" but C didn't seem to mind.  She complained least about this one compared to other protein drinks.  High compliment from the self-proclaimed "Princess of Protein!" (and by "self-proclaimed" I mean "J-proclaimed").    

Here's Juan at the 4SportLife Shaker Pro booth.  It was the best booth in all of the expo.  Plus, it had the best rep of all the reps of the expo.  No bias.  (and by "no bias", I mean "bias"). 

Ok short story here.  A handful of years ago, I was at the expo and ran into a gentleman who was giving a seminar about mixed martial arts.  I was transfixed at his demonstration of a spinning back kick which sent his training partner clear across the expo floor.  It wasn't for show either - you could feel the impact through the pad and through the liver of the poor bastard who was holding it.  Nobody was around the booth and I ended up talking with this nice man, who went by a simple name of Olivier.  

An idol of mine growing up was Bruce Lee - I remember waking up early before school to watch a VHS of the vastly under-rated movie "Way of the Dragon", being transfixed of his grace, strength, and steely self-assuredness - particularly when he beats up Chuck Norris who is disarmingly young, is disarmingly without a beard, and has a disarmingly large amount of back hair in THIS SCENE (CLICK HERE!).  Bruce was the man I envisioned I wanted to be when I grew up!  Anyhow, when I told Oliver that I wished I could learn martial arts, he said with grace, strength and steely self-assuredness - "you can.  You should.  Do it."  The very next day, I joined a local mixed martial arts gym.  Four years later, I have not missed a skill session.  Four years later, I have competed and won before a crowd.  Four years later, I got to tell Oliver about my story.  Oh - did I mention a simple Google search lets us know Olivier is actually Olivier Gruner?  Movie star Olivier Gruner?  World champion combat fighter Olivier Gruner?  Kickboxing legend Olivier Gruner?  

NOTE: yes, you have to say the full name.  It's like saying Tom Brady.  Saying only the first name is a disservice and a disgrace.  To both Olivier Gruner.  And to yourself.  SOH. 

Then I got pulled on the mat and got to train with the man himself!  I now know how Courtney Cox felt that one magical night...

He isolated my mistakes and then, as the coup d'etat, showed me the secret of his famed spinning back kick. To demonstrate, he executed it on me.  I was now the poor bastard who would be kicked and without a functioning liver.  

How much did it hurt?  Essentially, I'd rather rip off all the hair on my leg - repeatedly - before I ever take Olivier Gruner's kick to the gut again.  

After the expo, we got a late dinner in El Segundo.  C had read on Lynn Chen's blog about a place called The Veggie Grill which serves up organic, plant-based food in a hip, modern, and utilitarian-designed restaurant (too many adjectives for one sentence? Nah!)  I got lost on the GPS, which offered Juan and I time to talk about things and for C to snore freely in the back seat with her mouth open and slightly drooling (too descriptive? Nah!). Alas, we got there.  A shining beacon in the middle of a beautiful shopping center!  Nothing wakes up C like the smell of phenomenal food and phenomenal retail (too many digs at C in one paragraph? Nah!). 

The customer service is awesome at The Veggie Grill in El Segundo.  The personable Emanuel greeted us and introduced us to the VG menu.  We got hooked up with samples of their chili which was great.  

Food?  As I am typing this, C just texted me asking about "Fooooooood? :]"  You can't make this stuff up, people...  

Juan ordered the All-American Stack (minus the onion rings) with a sides of sweet potato fries and a bowl of mac and cheese.  YUM!  

Don't worry.  He got over his immediate fear and you'll be pleased to know he finished his food in full.  Whew! 

I got the Bali Burger, kale-style, with a side of mac and cheese.  C got the BBQ Chik'n burger with a side of sweet potato fries.  We shared the sides as well as copious amounts of ketchup.  You know...  The ush. 

The food and service at Veggie Grill was exceptional.  The burger is great and totally things C and I would eat on the regular (and it would keep us regular too, with all that fiber! Hey-o!)  The only thing remotely average was the mac and cheese but I am biased. :)

After dinner, we were stuffed!  Stuffed enough for dessert!  lol.  We dropped by Melt Gelato & Crepe Cafe which is conveniently located in the same shopping center.  Mr. Fitness couldn't resist the strawberry-banana gelato (only 90 calories!).  

C and I couldn't resist the "Taste of Italy" and "Creme Brulee" (only 900 calories!).  :) 

We all had a blast this weekend!  Thanks again to 4SportLife and Juan for having us there.  Totally a last-minute trip, but hey, when you gotta do it... gotta do it.  



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