1st Annual Cuisine for Cancer Event

Join us next Friday, August 7th for the first annual Cuisine for Cancer presented by Imerman Angels and Sleefood.  August has been declared National Cancer Support Month by Imerman Angels (they support cancer fighters, survivors AND caregivers throughout the world) … Continue reading

Prepping for the North Face Endurance Challenge with Ultrarunner, Rob Krar

Are you ready to take your run to the next level? North Face’s free endurance workouts at Millennium Park and Lincoln Park continue on to prepare you for one big event: the North Face Endurance Challenge presented by Gortex on October 3rd and 4th.  Located in the beautiful Kettle Moraine Park nearby Madison, Wisconsin, athletes (and semi athletes like us) have the chance to try their hands and feet at anywhere between a 5K and a 50 (WHEW!!) mile run.  North Face is bringing in top athletes/North Face ambassadors for the next few months to guest star and prep you for the race of your choice.

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This free training series kicks off with ultrarunner and 2x Western States Champion, Rob Krar. *The Western States Endurance Run is a 100-mile (161 km) ultramarathon the California Sierra Nevada mountains.

This Thursday, July 30th, Rob Krar will host the semi-weekly Mountain Athletics workout at Millennium Monument at 6:30 PM. More info on the free event and sign up, hosted by The North Face, here.

Rob will also be leading a run in the gorgeous and nature filled Waterfall Glen this Saturday, August 1st at 7 am.  Details and sign up here.

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Interview with Rob Krar

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K & M: From the newbie perspective, how did you get started in ultrarunning and what do you love about it?
Rob: Like so much of my more recent past, my introduction to ultrarunning happened quickly and unexpectedly. After returning from an injury and surgery I was sure would never allow me to walk comfortably again — let alone train and race again — I was determined to approach the opportunity with a new philosophy in order not to lose, again, something that means so much to me. Respecting rest and recovery, mind and body, and finding my peace alone on the trails is what I love most about ultra running.
K & M: How do you plan to continue to challenge yourself?
Rob: A large focus and goal for the year has been stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself in new ways — two ski mountaineering races over the winter in Colorado that found me wondering if I’d gotten in over my head, speaking of my struggles with depression at a medical conference ahead of the Western States Endurance Run, and have an ambitious race schedule for the second half of the year including racing the six day TransRockies Run stage race, the 106-mile Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc in France, and the 100-mile Ultra-Trail Mt Fuji in Japan. I feel it’s important to challenge myself in ways beyond running to allow for a better balance in life.
K & M: Any tips for brand new runners?
Rob: Ultrarunning is incredibly rewarding. Start with shorter trail races and learn your strengths and weaknesses. Take your time moving up through the distances, always focused on maintaining strengths and improving on weaknesses heading into each race. Keep it fun and soak up the amazing energy that surrounds the ultrarunning community.
K & M: How do you keep things fresh?
Rob: If things get stale, fall back on an old activity from yesteryears — like badminton!
Big thanks to North Face for connecting us and Rob Krar for sharing!  We appreciate Rob’s humility over such amazing achievements and encouragement for people just starting out.
Wanna learn more about Rob?  Check out this fast article from Runner’s World and come join him this week.

Fitness Friday: MatBox for a Knockout Body

Tired of the same ol’ cardio, weights, rinse, repeat?  Your body is too! Since variety is the spice of life and the booster of metabolisms, we always try to mix up our routine.  And mix it up we did in the newly created matBox workout at Pilates ProWorks Lincoln Park this past Monday.

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Pilates ProWorks was co-founded in 2010 by a fit husband and wife duo, Oscar Sanin and Taylor Carter.  Oscar sustained injuries during an accident that required rehabilitation and found quick gains in strength with Pilates.  He also noticed, however, that Pilates machines, workouts and even cost of classes could be improved.  Thus, he and his wife reformed the typical methods of Pilates with Pilates ProWorks (hahaha fitness joke).

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MatBox is only offered in Chicago and San Francisco currently and will expand nationwide to all Pilates ProWorks by the end of July.  So get this, whether you love Pilates, boxing, HIIT, yoga or even running, you will find something to love during your matBox class.  Its like a workout for the spontaneous (or easily bored).  The first 30 minutes of class centers around interval training with kick boxing rounds and high intensity cardio (think burpees, football runs, in place sprints).  Next, you head to the mat for classic Pilates moves like the one hundred (abs up for grabs!).  Finally, you stretch out with a relaxing yoga sequence (well semi relaxing as a chaturanga is thrown in here and there).

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Here are our core tips to be a powerhouse in matBox class:

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  1. Prep-Bring a water bottle and a towel with you and wear grippy socks.  You will drip off calories, no lie.
  2.  For the boxing portion of matBox, you need hand wraps and boxing gloves. Hand wraps must be purchased but come in cute bright colors.  Monica chose red and Kate snagged the blue (for ‘Merica, ya know).  Give yourself 15 minutes before class to get ready.  Our teacher, Rita, helped us wrap our hands as we were newbies but there is an online video if you’re a DIY kinda gal.
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  4. If you’ve never boxed, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Classes are relatively small so individual support is available.  Rita walked around throughout class and adjusted students’ form, encouraged us to push harder and pointed out when we were rocking our body.
  5. You’ll be sore! That’s a good thing right? By the end of the boxing sequence, our punches and kicks became less Wonder Woman and more wimpy. MatBox works to drive your endurance up so don’t be discouraged if you need to take a breather several times during class.

Pilates ProWorks also offers FitFormer machine based Pilates classes, Barre Pro, Barre and Pilates Fusion classes (called 30/30) and TRX classes so there’s no shortage of toning options.

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Ready to knockout the competition?  

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Try a 1 week new client special for only $35 if you wanna try out every class at Pilates ProWorks OR…..break out your guns and pose!

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Pilates ProWorks is kicking off matBox with the #matBoxMug competition, inviting fitness enthusiasts and amateurs alike to post their best boxing-related vogue poses on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win a complimentary one-month membership.  Follow and tag Pilates ProWorks @pilatesproworks with your photo and #matBoxMug for entry.

An Honest Tea Honestly Brewed GIVEAWAY!

Caught ya with the word giveaway eh?  Yes, honestly we love giving stuff away especially when it’s a product we like too. This spring, Honest Tea launched two herbal non-caffeinated spiced teas to spice up your seasons.  Honest Tea was started by two entrepreneurs, Seth Goldman (co-founder and current TeaEO) and Barry Nalebuff (co-founder), who were looking for a less sweet, more flavorful alternative to soda. Fun Fact: It’s also rumored to be President Obama’s choice for thirst quenching but don’t let your political beliefs sway your taste buds!

We were given samples of the new Unsweetened Ginger Oasis and Cinnamon Sunrise Herbal Teas to check for quality control before offering you all a whole case of these goodies! It’s too good to TEA true (hehehe, if we don’t laugh at our own jokes who will). These teas are organic, Fair Trade certified (nothing like a company who prides itself on helping others!) and bikini body certified (our own moniker for no calories, beachhhhh).

So what’s the flavor, tell us what’s the flavor?  We are channeling early 90’s music for this one.

Tea-totalers and non teetotalers alike will like these teas.
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Can’t you imagine heating up some peaches with a little bit of this tea for a tasty cinnamony dessert?

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  • Ginger Oasis Herbal Tea: Organic Indian ginger, green rooibos, and Egyptian lemongrass are twisted together for a swish of citrus and spice.

Ginger is one of our best tummy tamers after an overindulgence.  Overindulgence seems to be synonymous with summer so don’t take our advice to try this tea too gingerly!  Also, doesn’t ginger go really well as a mixer for a summer adult beverage?  We keep it clean for the kids but you get it…wink*.

Both teas are offered in 16 ounce glass recyclable bottles (so you can reuse um at your next outing!).  Now on to the winnings!  Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway below and tell us what type of tea you love in the summer in our comments section.  The winner will receive one case of either Cinnamon Sunrise or Ginger Oasis Herbal Honest Tea!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Throw Shade at Food Allergies with Sun Cups

Ah the pleasures of being Aunties!  You get to see your nephews, hug them, play games with them and give them back.  Both of us have outgoing nephews under 3 who love to snack.  Sadly, both of them have food allergies.  Nut, dairy, shellfish, gluten and more can all lead to unhappiness for many people.  This is precisely how the fabulously chocolatey dessert, Sun Cups, came about.  In 2008, Seth Ellis Chocolates opened their door to find a determined dude with chocolate and sunflower seed butter in hand who wanted a comparable Peanut Butter Cup substitute for his nut allergic son.  Challenge accepted and thus Sun Cups were birthed from a chocolate womb…or maybe created in the store.

Sun Cups are not only nut free (and pack with sunflower butter goodness) but also gluten, egg, shellfish, soy and fish free.  If that wasn’t enough wholesomeness to sunny your disposition, Sun Cups are non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Kosher, and they help the environment by using Rainforest Alliance Certified farms for their chocolate.

We were given illuminating Sun Cups to sample and brought them to a park picnic to share with our peeps.

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Milk Chocolate Sun Cups

Dark Chocolate Sun Cups

The dark chocolate cups had a nice balance of sunflower butter filling and a firm semi sweet dark chocolate shell.  There are 2 in a pack and we refused to share.  Dark chocolate is a great choice for getting your healthy flavonoids while treating yo’self.

Caramel Sun Cups

Our male comrades are caramel hounds and gobbled these up before we could even breathe on them.  One tester commented: “The caramel tastes like buttery melty toffee”.  We are happy it made his soul shine but jealous too.

Mint Sun Cups

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Mint and sunflower seed? Uhh let’s see how this works.

Sun Cups also sell milk and dark chocolate bars for the simplistic types.  C’mon who doesn’t like a good cup!? You can find Sun Cups online or at health food locations nationwide.

Feel the Burn with OrangeTheory Fitness

Finding time to work out can be challenging enough without worrying about whether or not what you’re doing is effective!  Recently, we were invited to try out OrangeTheory Fitness.  Breathe a sign of relief, there are no solving of the math problems involved but there is SCIENCE, a science-y type theory forms the foundation for OrangeTheory.  Co-founder, Dave Long, and the OrangeTheory team started OrangeTheory in Fort Lauderdale, Florida centered around the concept of the very epic EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).  Read all the beaker and measuring kind of details here.  In laywoman’s terms, when you work out, you monitor your heart rate and try to get as much time as possible in the orange zone.  This zone gives you a stronger afterburn, aka you burn more calories sitting around on your tushy after.

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We traveled to newly opened Wicker Park location to get our afterburn on.  Troy, our instructor, was kind enough to give us an overview of the class before we started.  We wrangled our heart monitors around our rib change (to check our orange essence) to prep for the workout.  The class was large so we split into 2 groups. Our group started with weight bearing sets while the other group cardio-ed it up with intervals on the treadmills.  After half an hour, the groups switched.

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What we dug:

Technology!  Screens showed examples of the order of each of our weight sets and demonstrated how to do the exercise.

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Another monitor showed group members’ names and what zone they were in at all times.  Our heart monitors, linked to the screen, showed green, red or orange depending on zone.  It definitely made you strive for that orange and kept you engaged.

Class goers also get a full report of their workout sent to their email so they can track their progress.

No boredom!

The equipment options and intervals keep you on your toes!  Each class promises variety.  You may row on a water rower one interval, move on to TRX the next, and then on to free weights and have a totally different set of exercises next class.

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Best news!

First timers to OrangeTheory can try out 2 sessions for FREE!  Get ready to burn baby burn for hours after you check it out.

Whether you are looking to lose weight or just improve your speed, strength or stamina, OrangeTheory will make you say “Orange you glad you came to workout!”

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Super Sonic Health Tonic: Tonica Kombucha

If you haven’t been reading our blog since the good ol’ days, you may not know we are Krazy for Kombucha.  Kombucha, a fermented tea, provides a boost of B vitamins, probiotics to help your tummy, and is rumored to have detoxing and immunity boosting powers.  We tend to go for kombucha when when we have have the digestive downers and are known as kombucha pushers on our friends with colds.

Now that has been cleared up, we have to tell you about a new Kombucha we are loving, Tonica Kombucha.  Tonica comes from our neighbor to the north, Oh Canada.  You may know Canada as the land of yummy things like poutine, ketchup fries, and Makintosh toffee.  Now you can also equate it to something healthy!

Tonica Kombucha was started by Zoey Shamai who, in our opinion, is sort of an Emma Stone doppelganger as well as (more notably) a traveling yoga teacher and home kombucha brewer.  Once she started sharing her home brew, her Canadian crew went crazy too so she expanded into a business.  Her Toronto based Kombrewery pumps out 8 different fuzzy flavors of Kombucha: Ginger Rapture, Green Tea Revival, Nude Brew, Peach Resolution, Mango Passion, Coffee, Vibrant Blueberry and Jasmine Tea.

We were given samples of Jasmine Tea, Coffee and Peach Resolution to try and review.

Coffee:

We were a quite curious to see how this kombucha would taste.  The coffee kombucha had a bubbly texture and light coffee flavor.  It also provided a decent boost of energy that could replace a moderated coffee drinker’s caffeine needs. It had a balance of sweet without being overpowering.

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Jasmine Tea: 

Most of us know that tea is a go to health drink as it has super anti-oxidants and Jasmine tea happens to be a star in the tea world.  The Tonica Jasmine tea has a fresh floral flavor along with the fizz and a sweet fragrant balance.  Jasmine tea also has caffeine (surprise) so you can sub it in for a detoxifying morning jolt!

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Peach Resolution:

If you have a resolution to lose weight or kick a sugary drink habit, try this inspired flavor. Peach resolution has only 30 calories, 4g of sugar and a mix of fermented organic green and black tea, rooibos, which are great for metabolism boosting and halting hunger. It surprises your palate with blackberry leaves, ginger pieces, calendula petals and organic peach extract as well.

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Tonica is only 45 calories for 1 bottle with natural carbonation.  It’s 100% raw and certified organic.  It’s also full of healthy bouncing baby bacteria, the kinds you need to keep a balanced body PH.  Tonica can be purchased in ‘Merica at Whole Foods.

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FINAL FIZZ THOUGHTS:

One kind tip for 1st time kombucha drinkers: Tonica, like most kombuchas, is a fizzy party.  Unless you want to shower in kombucha, DO NOT shake the bottle and for extra precaution, open over a sink so all your delicious kombucha doesn’t escape.  Ready to taste Tonica?  6 flavors are available at our Chicago area Whole Foods or you can check to Tonica locator here!

    WHAT!! This dude runs 100 miles? You have to have respect for that. We got the chance to interview Rob through email before his visit to Chicago to find out what draws a person into ultrarunning.