FREE FITNESS: The Bar Method Classes this Weekend and GIVEAWAY!

Happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Bar Method!!  What kind of birthday is it when you get a present instead of the birthday girls?  A super sweet and sweaty one!

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The Bar Method is celebrating it’s 15th birthday of making ladies long and lean.  Bar Method’s signature moves are low impact yet can strengthen and tone you.  We are huge fans (like the kind of fans that have the big foam finger) of Bar Method and can’t say enough about their results.  Read our past experiences with Bar Method here!!

Oh and your present?  You thought we forgot!

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Take FREE Bar Method classes and tuck for yourself this Saturday 8/20 and Sunday 8/21*.  One lucky reader/new client will win FREE Bar Method cute and motivational sticky socks as well. Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway to win**!  Rafflecopter giveaway

*Only new clients are eligible for a free class.  Not new?  Bring a friend to the Bar!*

**Winner must be able to pick up socks at a Chicagoland Bar Method locations and must be a new client.  Giveaway 8/19 10 pm – 8/20 12 am**.

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Free class offer is valid on August 20th and 21st at any of four Chicago locations.  Call the studio you would like to visit to check the schedule and reserve your spot.
Gold Coast: (312) 573-9150
Loop: (312) 332-9150
Lakeview: (773) 935-2150
Wicker Park: (773) 384-3150
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Winter Running Gear: YakTrax Run

What is it about Midwestern winter (and sadly sometimes spring) that can totally diminish your run game?  The chill in the air, the icy scaled sidewalks, that daunting first inch of snow…man we wanna grab our snuggie and hot chocolate just writing this!  We kept trying to figure out how we could keep running safely when the weather outside became frightful Snow solution?  A fluffy white magical Yak picks you up and you sashay through the shivery slush…or you could try YakTrax for a more realistic tool for winter running woes.

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What’s a YakTrax you ask?  The name sounds like a new Dr. Seuss character and just in time for his birthday!  But we digress.  We read a couple of “Best of Winter Running Gear” articles and YakTrax brand traction devices dominated many a list so we ski jumped for joy when we were given a pair from Implus, fitness accessory brand leader, to trek across the blustery terrain.

Inspired by a Himalayan Sherpa, the original Yaktrax model features a spikeless coil design that grips the ice and snow with each step.  Yaktrax Run’s combination of removable spikes and steel coils, providing 360° of unbeatable traction.  Continue your training during the winter with the same stability you are accustomed to on dry surfaces.  The Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as ‑41° Fahrenheit.

Mittens Up (Yup, Thumbs Up)

Throw your mittens in the air if you just don’t care…about running in the cold.  Here’s the positives about YakTrax Run and winter running.

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  • Fit like a Glove – YakTrax Run snuggled around our sneakers and stayed put during our jogs.
  • No Directions Needed – You could dream of sugar plum fairies while putting your YakTrax on (aka daydream).  They are user intuitive and are marked to guide you (left and right/heel and toe)
  • Dashing Through the Snow – YakTrax did not have a drastic affect on our gait.  They kinda feel like you’re bouncing a bit on a cloud of snow.  We only put in a 5k distance so not sure how they’d fair on a longer jaunt.

Mittens Down (Thoughts for improvements and tips)

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  • The Weather Calls For Snowzilla – When reviewing other runners, YakTrax Run is made for a specific type of weather.  You probably shouldn’t run across an ice skating rink for prolonged amounts of time as they aren’t made for thick ice or feet of snow backwoods running.  Stick to mildly icy pavement and moderate snow for best results.
  • Slushy Slush (our new rap name) – Slushy snow can get trapped in the back of the heel so you may have to tap tap tap a tree once in awhile to get it out.

For you non-runners, YakTrax carries 6 other types of traction variations for any purpose from your ma’s walks in the afternoon, to your bestie who hits the ski slope every weekend.

Strap up your run shoes in some YakTrax Run coils for only $40 here, less than that Yak (about $2000) and besides Yaks weigh 700 pounds so where would you house them?

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For now, the weather has us chanting the mantra of the post office: Neither rain, nor moderate ice nor snow can stop us from running–now that we have YakTrax Run coils.  Maybe a tornado would stop us though…just sayin’.  What do you think about YakTrax or other run traction devices?  We would love to hear your thoughts.  Comment below and until next time, happy trails!

 

Bar Method Challenge Check In

We are 3 weeks in to the #MeInspiresWeChallenge at Bar Method and wanted to give our readers a quick and sweaty pulse point as to how we are holding up with our shakey legs!

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Practice makes Progress

Monica’s thoughts: I’ve done Bar Method in the past but this time seems different.  Bar Method really pushes pass my limit to where my muscles start quivering which doesn’t happen in other workouts.
The first day I was doing well but I didn’t pushed myself.  I just stayed within my normal range of movement while doing thigh and seat work so I didn’t feel sore next day.  The teachers fixed my posture and urged me to dip my thighs and seat lower to the ground and, BLAMO, tiny movements make quakes in my muscles.
It is immensely helpful to get tips from the instructors for correct posture and where to feel each exercise.  As I am deaf, I definitely need the hands on adjustments.
Now, halfway through, after an average of 2-3 workouts (first week I did 5) and I do now notice results in the tone of my body from impact in this barre technique.  I still have quite a while to go, however and probably need to do average 4 -5 workouts to see greater results as is recommended by Bar Method.

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Compliments, Compliments:

Kate’s thoughts: Ok so self love is one thing we got going.  I’ve been flexing around the house and eyeing the small formation of an actual tricep hiding underneath the granny arms.  I noticed suddenly how Monica was looking svelte and toned, like who is this strong chick!?

And the adoration of others….I also received a few “Did you lose weight?” comments although, no no, I have not. Muscle, my friends, all muscle.  The number on the scale doesn’t always demonstrate the health or strength of your body.

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Have we inspired you yet?  There’s still time to join us for the #MeInspiresWe campaign and get 5 weeks of the Bar Method for the price of 4.  Come get sculpted and shakey with us!

 

Bar Method #MeInspiresWe Challenge

Cue the Final Countdown Music and say this in a movie phone voice: “We challenge you, dear readers, to a battle to the death…of flappy arms and thighs.” Join us this month, from January 11th-February 15th, and get toned as … Continue reading

Free Workouts in the New Year: Part 2

In the new year, would you prefer barefoot or lacing up your kicks for a jog?  Either way we got you covered (and for cheap too!) with Part 2 of our Free Workouts in the New Year blog.

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Running

Fleet Feet Run Clubs

With 9 different Chicago area locations, you could run with friendly folks every day of the week.  Fleet Feet fun runs include themed runs like Chick’s Night, Pint Night as well as new running gear demo events.

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Shake Shack monthly runs

Looking for Pavlovian fitness techniques?  Trendy burger chain, Shake Shack, hosts monthly fun runs on the second Tuesday of every month with a twist.  Your reward for running: A free shake, beer or discounted burger!  Details here.

City Fit Girls

Starting in Philly and imported to Chicago, City Fit Girls strives to give women and comfortable and supportive environment for stretching their running legs.  Chicago fun runs are Wednesdays at 6:30 pm in Lincoln Park.  More information available here.

Yoga

Community Yoga

Chicago has an infinite amount of yoga studios and many of them aim to give back to community with donation based or free yoga classes.  Our top choices are Zen Yoga Garage (Logan Square), Tejas Yoga (South Loop) and Pilsen Yoga Tribe (Pilsen) at Thalia Hall.

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Yoga at your fave clothing store

Whether you rock Lululemon, Athleta or Lole, each of these clothing stores encourage community yoga with weekly or monthly free yoga and strength training events.

Yoga With Adriene

This talented Texan yogi is friendly, silly and cares enough to share the gift of yoga classes with us!  She is currently running a YouTube 30 day Yoga Camp to your daily yoga flow fluidly flowing.

 

Free Nutrition and Fitness Event with Freshii and Trainology!

Quick: Name some famous duos!
Batman and Robin
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Freshii and…Trainology?
Teaming up this week, TRAINology Fitness Chicago‘s top trainer, Michael Wollpert will bring his “A” game and freshii franchiser and former personal trainer, Alex Blair, will bring the “lettuce” for a night of health and wellness tid bits, freshii bites, giveaways (we heart these) and Q&A, so ask whatever you like!
When: Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 5 p.m.
Where: The brand new funky fresh 1871 freshii location on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart.
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What: An hour long fitness and nutrition talk with experts, Michael and Alex, moderated by A Sweat Life blogger, Jeana Anderson Cohen.  Food and giveaways throughout the evening.  RSVP to allison@trainologychicago.com to save a spot!

Fitness Friday: Equinox Ropes and Rowers

For those who haven’t been to Equinox, you’ve been missing out on a luxury fitness experience.  Think top tier fitness instructors, a wide array of fitness tools at your fingertips and a cool lavender towel resting on your neck after busting your butt.  If that weren’t enough, Equinox’s group fitness classes keep you on your toes as they constantly think of new ways to challenge your svelte regime.

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Equinox has two new classes in heavy rotation: Best Butt Ever (who can say no to that! Bounce a quarter off this pup) and Ropes and Rowers.  We wrangled our schedules to make time for Ropes and Rowers and the calories were roasted!  We loved the interval format as we moved through 4 different stations: Rowing, Battle Ropes, Step Work, and Weighted Exercise Balls.

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Here’s how to survive this intense class and feel like an Olympic Champion:

  1. COME EARLY! We had a major fitness faux pas as Kate thought the class started at 6:30..soo…but our instructor Tanya from Equinox Lincoln Park not only made space for us but took time to get us set up and explain what was happening.
  2. Get tough!  Neither one of us have experienced a Battle Rope before.   Battle Ropes are said to improve body balance, encourage functional fitness and boost mental toughness.  Our favorite station included thwaping this heavy rope first, then pulling the ropes (attached to a heavy weight) all the way to you, and finishing with pushing the weight all the way back to start.  Killer abs here we come. 20061180962_9b45200960_z
  3. Pace yourself and keep going!  Even though the class isn’t super long (40 minutes with about 5 minutes of stretching), you will be surprised how exhausted you get after donkey kicking, speed water rowing, and Russian twisting your tail off!  One of our rowing segments, consisting of 100 meter row sprints, took our breathe away (and not in the romantic way)! 19881273140_94eede02cf_z

Ready to battle?  Check out Ropes and Rowers at any Chicagoland Equinox.  Has anyone experienced the battle royale of battle ropes?  Let us know what you think!!

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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.

Be Bold with Brooklyn Boulders and Luna Bar

It’s FITNESS FRIDAY and if you’re stuck in a fitness rut, we know just the way to climb out!  Try indoor rock climbing!  Being bold on the boulders not only challenges your body, it can also calm stress and amp up your brain.

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Last Wednesday, Luna Bar continued it’s #LUNAChiReveal with their Salted Caramel Protein Bar, Brooklyn Boulders and a host of talented and strong Chicago women to give us a chance to try indoor rock climbing.  Brooklyn Boulders Chicago is one of facilities in the U.S.  Not only can visitors try traditional bouldering, auto belay or rope climbing, but they can also sample fitness classes like Acro-Yoga, weight training or bring a laptop and get some work done in between climbing in the relaxing upstairs meeting space.

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Luna Bar mixed it up with 3 stations for us rookie climbers:

Bouldering

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing sans a harness or ropes.  Ob-v, Brooklyn Boulders loves safety so there’s a crash mat waiting for you in case you can’t find your way down.  There are various routes, called problems in the rock climbing world, with easy level climbing and ultra hard climbing.  First, BKB staff had us practice falling.  We call it the upside bug technique.  Basically, the goal is to land face up with the impact on your cushiony butt and your extremeties curled in like a insect that’s been flicked over.  Next, we scurried our way up the simpler routes.  Monica is a natural as she made her way to the top and back no problem (or maybe she’s part squirrel).

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Auto Belay Certification

The auto belay, an automatic rope connected to a harness that supports the climber, is a daunting yet thrilling. BKB instructors demo-ed the proper way to connect the auto belay to the harness as well as how to descend (although none of us Luna participates did it quite as gracefully).  Once connected, you freely ascend up the problem of your choice and when you feel you can’t move up any longer, you let go.  The auto belay catches and lowers you safely.  Once certified by staff, visitors of BKB are allowed to move about different courses with auto belays.

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Dream Space

We named this ourselves but Luna put together some inspirational crafting, delish new Salted Caramel Protein Bar samplin’, and blogger minglin’ in the upstairs work space.  Postcards with antique style ink stamps were set up in a cute mailboxes and we were encouraged to write encouraging words to our selves!  There was also a colorful chalkboard set up to channel your motivational side by writing when you feel the most strong.

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We highly recommend rising (ahaaa) to the challenge of indoor climbing.  BKB staff are friendly, professional an truly made us feel safe as first timers.  Step up to Brooklyn Boulders with a Salted Caramel Protein bar to replenish yourself after a grueling but rewarding advance!  Has anyone else been to Brooklyn Boulders?  What do you think!?

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